Sunday, May 31, 2009

13.1

I completed my first half-marathon today and as I write this blog post I feel content, accomplished and admittedly a little sore.

The race started at the butt-crack of dawn (7AM) which mean a VERY early wake-up call. I literally could not have ordered better weather. I met up with my running buddy Katie and we headed to the start line. Both of our virgin voyages in the 'marathoning' world, we were pretty nervous.

For some reason I am an extremely afflicted runner. My body can handle the mileage. My brain on the other hand cannot. Without fail, this voice kicks in with about 4 miles to go on any of my long runs no matter what the distance is and tells me to quit. Tells me I can't do it. Tells me that it is less of a let down to quit now then have to quit later because I will ultimately I have to quit. It's like I have this weird evil-naysayer dwelling in my sub-conscious. And about mile 9 today the voice got loud. "You can't do this. You aren't going to be able to finish."


But lucky for me, and to my imaginary enemy's shagrin, I had a kick-ass running partner who kept me going and a full blown cheering squad that was able to station themselves to cheer for us FIVE times. And I needed it.
The course was SUPER hilly. Had I known perhaps I would have ran a few hills during my training. Note to self: if I do another one, check out the course ahead of time.

But at the end of the 2 hours and 9 minutes, I prevailed and crossed the finish line.
What got me through:
1) An always optimistic, cheery and encouraging running partner.
2) A killer cheering squad

3) Some sweet signs that Nate made, that came in handy when it came time for cheering: "K-Bo, G-Rock"

5) A Bedazzled Bandana. To be fair, I didn't know it was bedazzled until after the race, but I could tell it was something special. Seriously...that is some cheer squad dedication. Katie is a professional though! Plus, I got some post-race kisses.


I hope with each run, regardless of a race entry or not, I can eliminate the nag of impossibility.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm....

Nate's secret date last night. It was interesting. And eye-opening.
Enter the wonderful world of Velodrome Racing, taking place in "suburb" Blaine (and by suburb, I mean practically in Canada).


Yes..that's right. Bike racing. Not Motor-bike, or dirt bike..but bike bikes. Two wheels, pedals, no engine bikes. And a really weird track with super high corners.I didn't even know anything like this existed, but now Nate is all jazzed about it and I am pretty sure we are moving to Blaine so Nate can be a Pro-velodrome racer. There was a small-town feel that reminded me of home. They handed out four free raffle tickets where you could 'bet' on a racer and if that racer won you got entered into a drawing for some local hotspot coupons.

But my favorite part of the event was the scoreboard. That is, a chick wearing high heels that manually changed the laps that the racers were on, and an announcer on a microphone who called out who was in the lead. Very high-tech.

But in all honesty, we really did have a good time. I can't say I am itching to go back every Thursday, but that's what SDN is all about, trying new things together.

And, there was a little bit of an "old thing" too! We hit up Mesa Pizza in Dinkytown before heading out into the middle of nowhere. For those of you who enjoyed Ian's Pizza in Madison, it is the same pizza, same owner. YUM....mac n' cheese pizza.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 12

Memorial Day weekend called for a BBQ-friendly Nigella recipe, and so we decided to try our hand at: New Orleans Coleslaw.

Now, to be completely honest, I hate coleslaw. In general, I do not touch the stuff if it comes to me via a little plastic container next to a burger, or other culinary delight at a restaurant.



In fact, I like it so little I am perplexed as to why we would try to make it at home. But we did, and it was my idea...so go figure. I really think it was because Nigella's picture made it look my like a salad than coleslaw, so I was fooled.

See for yourself.



What I REALLY don't understand is that the recipe called for white cabbage, but I used green cabbage. So why, does her cabbage look green and mine white?
Nate and I made this for a lunch BBQ that didn't happen, so we had loads leftover. We learned that this is much better the 2nd day, and maybe even the third. After that...questionable.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Glorious

There really isn't any other word to describe this weekend. A weekend that had no plans, but was filled with friends, sun, relaxing, and outdoor chores. Who knew that doing yard work could actually be fun if the weather was right?



I have to admit I sucked at taking photos this weekend, so call this a weekend in review via Google Images...

EXCEPT for the sweet photo a local radio station captured of some of us who went to Lord Fletchers on Lake Minnetonka for half-day Friday. That's right...half-day Friday's are back. If you don't have them at your place of employment I recommend a petition to HR or something becaues they are incredible.

Here we are soaking the sun up at Lord Fletchers:


Saturday brought Nate's GMAT, a great visit from The Wiktors, and a night of hanging out at Laredos with the Wong/Ponskes.
Does anyone know where we can rent an RV for only a weekend? We cook up some sweet plans when we are with this crazy couple, and that is why we love them.
Sunday morning was my last long run before my first half-marathon next weekend! Nate was nice enough to run with me.When we got home, we immediately hit the yard. We were machines all day, and I have the sunburn to prove it. Well, we have a sweet ass garden to prove it too, but as of right now I am more excited about the sunburn. More to come on the garden...and Nate's adventures in getting rid of bunnies.
We feel a little bad because after we laid 7 bags of cocoa mulch down, our new neighbors (who happen to have a dog names Greta (yeeaahh...nice huh), told us that that stuff is poisonous to dogs...oops. So now we are on Greta look-out...can I tell you how weird it is to hear my name being yelled repeatedly with the word NO attached to it?

Memorial Day started out with a delicious small-town brunch with the girls, and a cute little place Marie picked...Countryside cafe. Reminded me of Central Express in Westby..but without the gas station.
Nate feeling left out of the girls brunch club, finally christened our waffle-maker that we got for our wedding, and made my Mom's waffle recipe. He was pretty pretty pleased with himself when I got home.
And there was some serious movie-watching. We finally got caught up on some Oscar winners...Slumdog and The Wrestler. Well..technically we are watching The Wrestler right now and I am half paying attention..
So there it is..the weekend in review. The weekend was so great, I am actually ready to go back to work. Now THAT is a sign of a complete weekend.
P.S. Mad props to Becca for finished her 2nd full marathon this weekend, and setting a new PR!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Settled

I can't get settled into a new routine.

I feel really antsy without school to keep me running around at night.

I need some projects. And I KNOW it will be a ton better once Nate gets done with his GMAT this weekend, because he has been gone studying every night.

But in the meantime, I need some projects. I have already organized my dresser drawers, organized my coupon (yikes!), did a grocery run, spent a night reading, nightly runs, and I still feel a little (and I feel superstitious even saying it)....bored.

And I EXPECT in 3 months when I am back in school and I post a blog about how I hate school and being so busy and I have no time to do anything fun, someone will kindly remind me about this blog and my boredom.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Videos

Alrighty-here are the videos I promised.

WARNING: Both videos involve either a loud Finn, or a bunch of screaming and clapping adults. Turn your volume down. You have been fairly warned.

So Finn has become recently obsessed with tooting apparently, and here is a fine Kodak moment caught on film of him going through everyone that toots. BUT the hilarious thing is he all of the sudden started whispering..see for yourself.
video

Family Weekend

We headed back to Viroqua this past weekend to help celebrate Finn's 2nd birthday! And it was an activity filled weekend. Including helping Finn learn how to ride his new bike...

Debra and Alex will be VERY happy to know that we taught the Fam Killer Bunnies, which we stayed up playing until 2AM on Saturday night. The red expansion pack adds in a whole other level of fun.


Anyway, back to the birthday madness. This weekend was Syttende Mai in Westby. For those of you out there not 100% Norwegian, that is the Norwegian Constitution Day (or Independence Day). So we headed up to Westby to get our yearly dose of heritage.


And for me that includes HUBS FRIES...awww snap. I love those Fries.


And for Finn that included running around with an American and Norwegian flag. I haev some great video I'll post tonight of this.


Here he is...the little 2 year old Norwegian Nisse..

And in general, there was just some good Finn time. Here he is with Uncle nate watching Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for the 5th time...

Read all about the birthday celebration here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Quick One



I have so much to write about this weekend, as it was filled with a lot of great times with the family. It will have to wait until Tuesday night as I am off to Washington DC tomorrow.

BUT, in the meantime, enjoy this great video of Finn with his new bike that Nate and I gave him for his birthday.

Bet you can't guess what his favorite part is...


video

I love the "again" in between each ding for himself..

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lesson Learned

Lesson learned: Somtimes you just have to know when to stop, even if that means wasting $10.

You may be asking just how did I learn this lesson? Well a lot of bad decisions along the way really helped nail this home.

Well let me rewind about a month ago when I purchased another class package at the best gym in the world The Firm. When you purchase a package, you have so many days to use said classes.

Well between a very busy April, and training runs, I didn't use my classes at the same rate that I typically did this winter. Bad decision #1: Thinking I could get the classes done in the first place.

Which bring me to this week when I had to do 3 classes in about 4 days or risk leaving them on the table. Did I stick to the classes I am used to doing no. Of course not. Let's try Funk and let's try Core. Bad Decision #2: Trying new classes.

Oh yeah, and let's try them back to back with less than 9 hours passing. Bad decision #3: Taking Funk at 7:30PM Wednesday, and Core at 6:15 AM.

Oh, and don't forget your 6 mile run on Thursday night at 5PM.

And that brings me to last night, when the soreness started to settle in. And my soreness, I mean it feels like I have broken ribs. I can't turn my neck (because once the core muscles are shot, you do sit-ups with your neck you know). My back mucles feel like I I spent the last three days picking rock (or at least what I would imagine it would feel like to pick rock). I actually WOKE MYSELF up everytime I shifted last night because I am so sore.

Will I do Funk or Core again? Absolutely.

Will I do them back to back? Absolutely not.

I am just sitting on the couch working from home hoping my house doesn't catch fire, or nothing happens that requires sudden movement, because there is no sudden movement ability right now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Hump Day!

No I am not talking about what is going on between two bunnies in my backyard. Although I have received some great advice on how to get rid of them. Anyone know where I can get some coyote urine?

Anyway, it's Wednesday, and more importantly it is the last Wednesday in the last week before half-day Fridays begin. WHOO HOO!

So, I want to share a few of my favorite new sites:

1) This is Why You're Fat
Gross, yet interesting perspective (in photographs) of why Americans are so overweight

2) Signspotting
One picture a day of a random, mostly hilarious sign.

3) Kittens
This is the site I go to when I need to go to my happy place, because who isn't a little happier when you look at kittens. These are the kittens that are at our local Humane Society and are up for adoption. Nate and I like to pretend to pick which ones we would want. I say pretend, because Lucy is bionic and will live forever.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 11

We thought we would spice up pizza night with a little appetizer.

The appetizer of choice: Mozzarella with Crazy Gremolata.
Don't ask me what gremolata is because I still don't know. What I do know is that it includes a bunch of chopped up olives, parsley, garlic, oil, lemon zest and pepper of some sort.


We couldn't find a long red chile so we substitute a poblano, so clearly ours is not nearly as pretty.



This was just OKAY. Maybe the red chile really does make all the difference but it wasn't my favorite thing we have ever made. I prefer regular old caprese with some tomatoes and basil.
But gremolata is fun to say so bonus for that.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day

Nate put it best, "The weekend your parents come up for spring cleaning/summer preparedness is the single most productive weekend of our entire year."

And oh, how true this is. Here is the weekend by the numbers:

1 2-hour trek around the city in search of free mulch
2 Trips to Home Depot
35 bags of mulch
3 Trips to Jerry's Hardware
2 bags of grass seed and fertilizer for a 'state fair quality' lawn
$150- Virgin voyage to Costco (complete with 1 hot dog and fountain soda)
1 2-hour trek around the city in search of free mulch
2 Trips to Home Depot
35 bags of mulch-purchased at Home Depot
4 scoops of ice cream at Sebastian Joes
4 tickets to Gran Torino
1 18-inch Costco pizza
1st dinner at Tosca in Linden Hills

Oh yes..it was productive. Here are the men at work..which have a striking resemblance to..



And their output was pretty impressive. Dad was unstoppable...up at god knows what hour in the morning, and had practically built up a sweat by the time Mom and I were rolling out of bed.

Of course I can't go without mentioning the voyage to Costco. I was pretty surprised when I mentioned it and Dad said "I wouldn't mind going..". I think Nate oversold the hot dog which peaked his interest. Mom and I were swayed by the sample stations and got some green beans, turkey burgers, and more. No, you are not confused. This is not my weekly Costco post, although the lines sure seem to blur a little huh?

Here is Dad with his winnings...gotta love bulk baking soda to wash your hunting clothes in so that the deer can't smell you.

We had a great Mother's Day morning with brunch at Amore Victoria. They didn't disappoint and were still serving the salmon that was being dreamt about for the last 2 years. It was a great weekend.
Time flies when you're having fun, and even though there was lots of work involved, there was also lots of laughs and good times.

And just for you Dad...this is what I came home to after my run tonight: PROCREATING bunnies. Seriously. That means we have 27-31 days to get rid of these bunnies before we have a baby bunny infiltration...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

6 Hours

My semester is drawing to a close, and I couldn't be happier.

6 freakin hours and it is done. Amen to that.

It has been an interesting 'finish line' as the group I am working on for my International Strategies class in interesting to say the least. As interesting as Fletcher from my first semester who "lived his life in 15 minute increments, so don't blame him if he is 14 minutes late"? Maybe not.

But I have never met a person who was in grad school who was so unwilling to do actual work. This guy first says he thinks we shouldn't assign parts of the paper and just all 'free flow' write into a shared document. Which we essentially try to do.

Fast forward two weeks when Greta has to put the hammer down and basically call out the paper for pile of crap it is. What response do I get from my classmate free-writing friend: " I had really hoped we could write this more collaboratively." Right. And what you mean is I had really hoped someone would just write the whole freakin thing.

Then top it off with a conversation last night where the paper is still crap (and due today at 5PM) and I throw out "Can we all just agree on basic paragraph structure where the first line of the paragraph should hold the MAIN MESSAGE?"

Wonderful classmate friend: "No. I cannot agree to that."

REALLY? Seriously?

And that is when I realized it was hopeless and have started to countdown the hours, minutes, seconds until it was officially 'summer break'

Andt he best part of it is this guy that sucks on a major level is a University employee, therefore is getting is education for FREE, AND has to publish his salary and he is making $140,000 a year.

Fabulous. Maybe if I was pulling in $140 G's I wouldn't care about proper sentence structure, basic spelling or grammar, or being even an ounce accountable for any of my grad school work either.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Progress

We have PROGRESS on the house!! WHOO HOO! One Mr. Ryan Plonske has been working his tail off for the last two weeks getting our new roof on, and new siding on. I don't know how he does it but he does. If anyone ever needs any work done use him, because he is great.

We have a full back side, a full north side, and half of a front.


For those loyal readers out there, you may remember the RIDICULOUS hail-storm we had last May. Well fast forward almost an entire year, and here we are.


THere have been many months of adjusting, readjusting, trying to get the banks to sign our check, going back to the insurance agency, trying to trick our banks into signing our checks, and finally them signing our checks. Seriously, the banks suck.


For those of you who don't know me, this sort of scenario play-out is not my cup of tea. I don't like to start projects, and just have them hanging out there. I start something, and then I finish it. I put my mind to it, and then I do it, and it's done.


So waiting for a whole year because of bank issues has killed me.


But as I said, Ryan is a godsend, and it doing an amazing job. And what's even better...after the project is over, I can only imagine there will be a little of this:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 10

I love when we have somewhere to be the invites a dessert of some sort. I tend not to make dessert for just Nate and I, but there are so many delicious looking dessert recipes in Nigella.

So when we had the option to bring dessert to game-night we jumped on it!

Blackberry Crisp was the name of the game. And save for ONE quick stop to Costco to get some super cheap blackberries we had all the ingrediants in our pantry...a VERY important part of a good recipe. Seriously..I could probably remember every single ingrediant off the top of my head right now if I really tried, it was that easy.
As in, get home at 5PM, go for a quick 4 mile run, shower, and still have time to put the dessert together and get to game night by 7:15PM easy. (Granted we didn't bake it until we got there, but STILL).

Was it delicious? Yes
Am I bias? Sure
Would I make again? You can pretty much count on it.

I'm not one for mushy apples. I hate apple pie. I don't care for apple crisp, but warm blackberries with a buttery, oatmealy, nutty, cinnamony crust..any day.
P.S. A photo credit is due to Alex who took the "ours" picture. Nate and I forgot our camera, but he did a great stand-in job.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

OMG..OMG You Guys

No, I have not gone all teen sensation super lingo on you...it's just the title of my favorite song from the musical Legally Blonde!


Which I was lucky enough to go see with the ladies on Saturday night. It was cute, and funny. Real life chick-lit. And it was exactly what I needed.


It was the first time in my life that an experience had been amplified by watching TV.Yup. I was a religious follower of The Search for the Next Elle Woods on MTV, and I am not too proud to admit.
However, I was able to contain my excitement enough not sing along through the whole show...unlike our neighbors at Grease.


Also making this weekend amazing was a great dinner at Debra's, where Alex introduced us to a KILLER (no pun intended) new game that I will now be on the hunt for: Killer Bunnies.

Who doesn't love killing bunnies with The Ebola Virus, blocking it with a special contamination suit and have "very special" cards that give you magical powers?