Productivity Monday

Wake up: Love it when it happens without an alarm.

Exercise: I headed into the gym and did the "hill" routine on the elliptical.  I tried to also do the rowing machine but every time I did a 'stroke' my Achilles tendon freaked out and I have no idea why.  It was only on the machine, not walking, not on the elliptical, not up and down steps.  I've decided to not worry.

Bakery: Win!

Taxes: Even bigger win.  The  first return is done and eFiled.  I didn't realize what a big relief it was going to be to get that done.  I'll do the state return in a little while.

Shopping: I headed over to my friendly Apple Store.  (They are actually pretty nice there.)  Because of life I had to consider any combination of a new battery for the current laptop, a new laptop, or an iPad.  I played with the iPad for a little while.  I really like the display and the size of the thing.  The onscreen keyboard feels pretty good too.  I ultimately decided the iPad is not the thing for me until it can play nicely with both Firefox and Flash.  And someone tell me why the new laptops don't have the higher resolution display?  Obviously, I just bought a new battery for the current computer.  I am also considering an iMac desktop. 

Laundry: There was a lot today, three loads.  It was another 'let's take an hour to hang everything up' kind of day.  I drank coffee and watched Pirates of the Carribean (my laundry folding movie).

Now I'm waiting for the start of TV Monday.  New episodes of both  House and CastleSweet!


Picture Sunday

The size of some snow banks in Minnesota - Note how the snow is several feet above the trucks in this photo.
This is what I saw when I got back on Tuesday.  It wasn't neighbor Steve's fault.  Apparently plow guy was having an off day.

The pile of snow after my car was removed.  Yes; that is a shovel sticking up there.

How I left my car after removing it from the snow drift.  Happily all that snow just melted off the roof.

How exhausted was I after shoveling and moving my car.

Stopping for a moment because that just looked like a cool picture.

Signs of hope: Sprout is sprouting.

Amanda has a flower too. (That little bud on the top left is her version of a flower.)


Will this winter ever end?

Trying to view this as the best thing that's ever happened - 'I've lived through a record breaking winter...'  Still trying.


Vacation Monday: In which it is too rainy for pictures

Cincinnati is awesome in the fact that it didn't get a foot of snow like my other home town.  (Sorry guys; I'll be back soon to get my share of it.)  It seemed to get about the equivalent in rain today.  I drove across at least one puddle and though "hmm, wonder how deep is this water and how much ground clearance does this car have?"

Morning: Mom woke me up and took me to Jazzercise.  I found myself unable to make excuses since it was so freaking wet outside.  There was no way I could run or do any other kind of activity.  The class was fine although probably not my thing all the time.  Mom was glad I went (which I should remember for later).

Lunch: Still Skyline time.  Just saying.

Vacation Monday afternoon: Mom and I headed over to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.  I liked it but I find the movies easy to follow since I've read the books.  The trick is to not read the books for a while, go see the movie and then re-read the book.  Don't re-read the book to put you in the mood for the movie.  No good will come of it.  The Danburry Dollar Saver on Glenway was filled with every bit of ghetto that I remembered and some additional suck when the GPS on my phone had a its own fail.  I can see the building but I'm in the back of it and there's no freaking driveway here.

In which I see a very old friend: After the movie I deposited Mom, safe and dry, at home and went over to see the girl who grew up in the other family of this two-family house I grew up in.  Our parents owned the house together but there were separate living spaces.  (It was an unusual childhood, looking back now.)  We grabbed coffee at a cool place over on the Northside.  Em and I hadn't hung out the two of us in many years and I had a really nice visit.  It's kind of nice to be able to find our own way to be friends now without living in the same house or our parents putting their expectations on anything.

Where is the food?  It's time to eat again?  We tried to go to the Green Dog Cafe which I support for its local and organic efforts.  Sadly, it's closed on Monday.  (I knew that from trying to buy a gift certificate there once but try telling Dad he's wrong.)  We wound up at an Indian restaurant near home which was nice too.

In which I teach my Mom about TV Monday: I made some joke about Monday being TV night in my house.  It usually is between House and Castle.  Tonight in between loads of laundry Mom and I watched both shows.  She was saddened to learn that Castle is a two-parter.  She is unlikely to stay up next week and see how it ends.

Planning for travel Tuesday:  I'm mostly packed now.  My running gear is drying downstairs since it is not dryer friendly.  I'll get up in the morning and fold that.  Dad was trying to have me at the airport several hours before the flight but I think I've got him talked down to about two.  I did call and talk to Bonnie so I have a ride home from the airport.

Vacation Sunday - Rain is better than snow

I woke up this morning to rain and cold.  I decided I could handle one or the other but not both for running.  Thus, I stayed in bed for another hour, woke up and cooked breakfast.

After breakfast Mom, Marge and I headed up to the Krohn Conservatory to look at the pretty flowers.  It was way less busy than the last time we were there.  It was nice to see Marge because I usually miss her when I'm in town.

For lunch I headed over to see Alicia.  I was thrilled to find her boyfriend is now a cook at the Lav O Matic and Alicia was thrilled to find out I knew how to get there.  We had a nice lunch.  The black bean burger was a little disappointing but the fries and beer were awesome.

Alicia wanted to take me out to see her parents new farm, and to visit with her parents.  Alicia's parents always supposedly referred to me as "quality people" and when Alicia was with me she had no curfew and no rules.  I must have been 'quality' because we never got arrested.  Or even pulled over. (Boring.) It was nice to see them again. I even got to hang out with Alicia's now 13-year old nephew whom I'd last seen about 10 years ago.

This is where I was when it was snowing 10-15" in Minneapolis.

The farm was beautiful and reminded me why I think Kentucky is the prettiest place on earth.  (I've been more places on earth than most people my age.)  The farm comes complete with a slave fence (no, seriously, they're really called that) and an outhouse her dad made.  I'm not sure if that was a joke.  This farm is actually even hooked up to city water.

The tractor is from 1942.  I was given more information about the tractor (like the model and manufacturer) but I do not recall them now. 

Alicia - outhouse in the background!

Vacation Saturday - doing all things Cincinnati Style

Running hills - Cincinnati Style I debated about what to wear (how do I dress for this temperature again?) and then headed out for a hill run in the neighborhood.  Proof that the Flying Pig is just around the corner: all of the Ronker's training groups I saw running the opposite direction (that means down the steep ass hill I was running up).  There sure were a lot of people but I love seeing them all out there. (I should really get registered for the race.)

Breakfast - Cincinnati Style  After running I came home and cooked the family a breakfast of eggs, toast and goetta.  I don't know where all in the United States you can actually purchase goetta.  So far Cincinnati is the only place I've found.

Shopping - Cincinnati Style  I've been in the market for a new pair of running shoes since, well, I probably should've replaced them before the marathon so it's long overdue.  We headed over to the running store so I could get fitted.  A note to my not-from-Cincinnati readers: I waited until I came back to Cincinnati so I could have these guys fit me for a new pair of running shoes.  We actually headed over to Target after the Running Spot and I helped my mom pick out some new Jazzercise clothes.  We placed the "try it on anyway" game.  My pooky bear taught me that game.  Someone always wins.

Friends - Cincinnati Style After shopping and 'lunch' which was toast with peanut butter and a banana I headed up to see Jenny and Doug.  They apparently have two dogs now.  We headed over to park near their house for a walk.

I'm not going down that hill -we're just going to have to come back up

My directive for the day was "I want to be outside"
The walk was nice.  We were up north of the city near what could have been the Little Miami River.  Although I was so totally turned around we could've been just south of Michigan and I wouldn't have known.

We were walking around sunset which means dinner time.  (Plus you read how small was my lunch.)  Dinner - Cincinnati Style
Hell yeah it is...

Grocery Shopping - Cincinnati Style, sort of  Another thing I wanted to do was visit Jungle Jim's.  It's easily the most bizarre, wild, fun grocery store I've ever been.  They get food from all over the world.  The packaged food is less interesting to me but I love looking at all the produce.  They had a lot of Asian fruits like the mangosteens and lychees.  Plus they had passion fruits which I crave constantly and can never find.  If I ever live in a tropical country, Passion fruits is all I will eat.  Ever.

To understand the experience - these are the bathrooms and yes, you really do go in there

Desserts - Cincinnati Style  Last on our agenda was dessert (duh) and obviously we went to Grater's.  There were way too many kids there.  I got three mini cones so I could have all my favorites: mocha, black raspberry chip, and dark chocolate chip.  Yum.

Tomorrow on the agenda I think will be playing with bats *ahem* seeing Alicia.  I mgiht get to see one or two other friends too. 

Vacation - Getting there and day 1: The drama continues

The drama goes like this...

1pm Thursday - First voice mail alert from Delta that my flight is delayed.  Supposed to leave at 7pm, now leaving at 8:30.

1:30pm or so - Delta calls me again to inform me my flight will leave at 9:30pm and get into Cincinnati at The Middle of the Night. 

That information ultimately proved helpful because I had enough time to get all of my work done before leaving town.  (All of the work that should have been done before leaving town; it's not an emergency to me just because someone else uses that word.)

I had a nice dinner with neighbor Steve at Tanpopo (why would anyone have a restaurant and not keep it open on Sundays btw?) and then he dropped me at the airport around 8pm.  Only one security checkpoint (of the usual 6) was open.  Why was no one in the black diamond lane?  The 'casual traveler' lane was packed.  I got right through, although I was body scanned.

The drama continued...
the moment I got through security, 8:05pm and saw the departure board list my flight as both "on time" and "boarding".  WHAT?!?  A frantic dash to the gate later... the departure board was in error.  Big time.  The plane taking me to Cincinnati hadn't even arrived at the MSP airport yet.  Thanks Delta for the mild heart attack.

1230am my parents rescued me from the airport in Dad's new spaceship hybrid Toyota Camry which was pretty fun.

I woke up this morning and hung out. 

Why is it so early?

Dad and I went to Portsmouth to see Gramma and got there around lunch time.
Drama was ongoing
After lunch when we went to see a retirement community in Portsmouth.  Gramma has toyed with the idea of living there.  She has a good friend who just moved in and her friend gave us a tour.

Drama continued
After the tour when Dad and I heard even more of Gramma's thoughts on moving to Hillview, leaving her home, and so on.  Drama.

My family should recognize this...

Drama stopped on the way back to Cincinnati. 
I had Thai food for dinner and am immensely happy to be on vacation.  Especially when I see it's 55* in Cincinnati and 24* with a wind chill of 11* at home.  Did I tell you about all the sunshine here? 
Look, I have a shadow on something that is not snow!
Somewhere in the Appalachian foothills.  Somewhere with big skies and lots of sun.


Vacation: In summary

This is how all vacations should be. Happily, mine pretty much was this way.

from here


Two fun nights in a row

Tuesday night my pooky bear and I had a little adventure in Uptown that ended at Bar Abeline with awesome margaritas and food. It's been forever since just the two of us hung out. I forgot how much we have in common (sorry) so it was a really nice chill night. We should hang out more but I understand you're in school.

Wednesday crazy cat lady (finally found a nickname for Amanda) and I went to Punch Pizza with the rest of St Paul. Amanda drove me around Grand Ave (the only way to do it). We got excellent parking at Punch which is a universal impossibility. Then when Amanda asked for a new Punch Card (like the Subway stamps), the girl was all "we stopped doing that but everyone on our email list gets two for one pizza tonight so I'll give you that instead" which resulted in free pizza for me.  (Did I say thank you for that?  Thank you!)

Amanda and I had originally discussed a night that would require me to sleep on her couch. At points during the day both of us thought we were going to need such an intervention. (Yesterday was wild).  Ultimately both of us practiced good mental health maintenance skills and there was no alcohol.

Today I woke up and run up and down hills with the St Paul ladies. It was so humid (literally 100% according to weather.com) but so much warmer than it has been. We had to do a hill route because we needed a route where we could safely run in the road. I feel much better after the running. Today is likely to be equally as wild as yesterday so I'm just trying to hang on.


Productive Monday - Happy Singles Awareness Day

Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's only 6pm.  (Is it time for bed yet?)

I got up this morning and by some miracle made it to the gym.  7am is such a more pleasant time to be there than 7pm.  Even though I didn't get the good elliptical, at least I wasn't stuck on one of the ones I hate.  I worked out for about an hour.  My legs hate me.

I headed over to get my oil changed after working out.  I decided after like three years perhaps it was time to have my license plate straightened out.  (Did I ever tell this story?)  When I was putting on my original Minnesota plates I snapped one of the two screws that hold the plate on.  So the back plate has always been held on by one screw and lots of duck tape.  (Even in Minnesota winters, that stuff holds, it's been since before the kitchen remodel.)  I showed it to the mechanics who laughed.  I was all "when you take off the plate please be careful not to rip my paint off because there's duck tape back there".  After he changed my oil and fixed my plate he said, "yeah, that duck tape held really well".  To which I replied "Kentucky chrome, I know how it's done."  Hilariously, none of the four mechanics there had ever heard such slang for duck tape(Yes, I could've written "duct" here, but I chose the colloquial spelling because I know how it's done.)

I headed over to Good Will.  (I seem to be there a lot lately.)  I gave them several kitchen supplies from what I had previously referred to as "the box of my emotional baggage" meaning the box of kitchen items that I didn't want but felt obligated to keep because they were my Gramma's when she was alive.  Mom finally gave me permission to set them free.

I tried several times to get my car washed and failed each time.  (Everyone else in the Twin Cities had that idea too.)

So I headed home and did laundry.  It took a disappointingly short time with only two loads (different from the four loads I did last week).  I had time for a nap and to watch and 'old but good' movie during folding and hanging the clothes.  Really it was the folding and hanging that took no time compared to last week.

Sometime in the afternoon I got hungry again.  (More on that at some point I'm sure.)  I decided to treat myself to Thai Food before all the restaurants got wild for Valentines Day *ahem* Singles Awareness Day.  I know I talked about not wanting to drive in some neighborhoods in Minneapolis because of the snow snarling traffic in unbelievable ways.  It's not a sign of my anxiety.  It just sucks that bad.

Why?  Just, why?

I finally made it home and had a great dinner (at 4pm because I slept through lunch).  I played my guitar for quite some time.  Now I'm waiting for Awesome TV Monday to start.

Ice Dam Sunday

To understand my day Sunday, you can watch this video while you read on (or for those of you reading this via facebook, go here for a listen)

Sunday morning I woke up uncomfortably early to go for a run with the St Paul girls.  It was more like "Liz chases the St Paul girls because they're too fast for me" but a good time nonetheless.  (Winter has been rough for training.)  We saw Lake Nokomis, Lake Hiawatha and Mel-o-glaze.  For some reason none of us actually got donuts.

After the run I had a full pot of coffee.  (Win for Sundays!)

About half way into my pot of coffee, neighbor Steve called and said "is there a leak in your condo because the roof is leaking in the laundry room right next to where your unit starts".  Oh fail!
Can you see the puddle?  It's pretty prolific.
So I got an introduction to ice dams (I just want to finish my coffee) from Steve.  The basic theory is that snow and ice stay frozen around the drains but snow and ice melt in other places.  The melted water cannot flow down into the drain normally so it goes all kinds of other crazy places.  Then bad things happen.
Believe it or not, this wasn't the ice dam that actually caused the problem.  The ice dam that caused the problem was so unimpressive that it's not even worth the picture.
Doesn't it look like he's teaching me something right there?  Explaining the structure of the ice dam perhaps?  (He was really just trying to break the sucker up with a garden trowel.)
I'm so grateful for neighbor Steve that I'm adding to my blog here.  The leak in the laundry room was pretty profound but I can't see anything inside my unit.  (Doesn't mean water didn't do crazy things, but I'm happy not knowing right now.)

After the ice dam experience I went and made breakfast.  (It was lunch at that point.)  Then I did my usual Sunday thing of sacking out on my couch.  (Aren't long naps on the weekends just the greatest?)  I never really woke up from said nap although my eyes were open most of the afternoon.  I talked to my parents a little at night and then went to bed for real.


This is what hope looks like

Oh man, it's been a looong rough winter.  Things are starting to look up though.  For two weeks in a row now I've worked the same days as the same number of hours, something that didn't happen at all in January.  Plus, this is the first day since who knows when that it's been above freezing.  Not actually warm enough to melt our stupendous snow pack, but warm enough to be outside for a good long time.  To get the mood of my day, you should listen to the music from this video or listen to the song here while you read the rest of the post: 

Yesterday I worked my half-day Friday, came home and basically collapsed.  I'd meant to get up an run this morning but my running buddy bailed on me.  It sounds worse than it was because it got me out of bed early enough to go to the gym before it got too wild.

After working out I got food. A sure sign of my anxiety levels is that it's easier for me to make the 20 minute drive to Mississippi Market in Highland than to go to Seward Co-op right now.  I'm not sure if it's Bloomington Avenue (ridiculous in its own right because of all the snow), the parking at Seward because of the snow, or trying to make a left turn onto Franklin between the gigundo snow banks but I just couldn't handle it today.

I was collapsed on the couch again (a major theme for all my weekends) after shopping and eating.  Then I saw this picture and heard it scream GO OUTSIDE!  I was all 'okay, you bet'.

And go outside I did.  I went for a nice long walk around the lake.  It was lovely to see all of you there.  The ones I missed at the lake were no doubt shoveling snow off your roof.  I hope the ice dam situation works itself out.

Can you see that bench totally buried in the snow?  Awesome.

See: Sunshine

I saw someone else walking across the lake so I decided to give it a try.  I've never been on a frozen lake before.  It's pretty wild.

My favorite view of downtown Minneapolis - it's much more impressive in person (or from a camera with a more powerful resolution than my phone)

How have I never seen this sign before?

My happy place - not the parkway as much as the lake, but you get the idea

On the way back home

Seriously - I love seeing the sun



At 630am; this is what despair looks like.  For a picture of hope, go here


A ray of hope

This winter in Minnesota - this is what hope looks like


Why is there so much snow?

This morning I got two filling in my teeth.  Boo.  This afternoon I spent doing laundry and cleaning.  (I'm still not finished but I thought I'd take a break.)  One of the 'clean up' jobs I hadn't done was unload photos from my phone and camera.

Yes - the snow piles are as tall as my car

They actually started plowing later this year; last year it was all 'get your car out of here at the crack of dawn'.  This is better.

It's sunny, yet so cold

You can't see the sun dogs in this picture; they were present, I assure you.  What is a sun dog?

Looking down an alley after a run; look at the size of those snow piles!

Me after a run around the lake.  See that snow drift behind my head?  Just saying.

One more picture of the snow

The mountain of laundry I did today since it snowed, was way too cold to run, and I didn't want to anyway on account of my mouth.

What I wish I was doing; probably will be later!