Friday, May 21, 2010

The end of one thing.

Well, it's over: no more loooooong commutes, no more amazing weeks of teaching, no more buying all my meals at the co-op, no more treating my car like a mobile storage unit, no more meandering trail runs (at least not in IA), no more cooking up diction lectures, no more planning my week's outfits in advance, no more spending my days at the piano. As of next week it's back to my old schedule and job full-time, but I took today off and the Brit and I are heading out shortly to chillax and hike next to Lake Superior for the weekend *angel choir*. Apparently there's some bad road construction on the way up, so the Brit has already located some containers for us to pee in conveniently, should we be completely deadlocked on the road. Remind me to invest in some of those stand-up-to-pee cones they make for the ladies.

Anyway, I have more to say about my semester, but basically I just wanted to say hi.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Move it or lose it.

I was really dragging ass yesterday in my window between afternoon lessons and evening lessons, to the point that I was dawdling and couldn't decide what to do with myself. Usually I go for a trail run-thing, but I was tired and it was kind of brisk outside and I only had an hour to run-thing, shower, eat, what have you--it just wasn't happening. So I thought "okay, I'll go to the co-op and just pick up some dinner even though I'm not hungry yet." Once I got there, I didn't want anything. It wasn't like I was crabby--just tired and indecisive. I got a maple cinnamon roll, which is basically a half pound of wheat bread with some nuts and amazing icing on it. I got some focaccia and chickpea tomato stuff for later. It was a start.

I went back to my car and started eating the roll, which was delicious. It made me want tea, and a nap. Instead, I drove down the crappy road along the river that takes you by the springs and waterfalls, the ice cave, the cliffs, and a hundred secret trails and ravines, and decided to park my car and start walking with the maple cinnamon roll, even though I seriously considered just sitting in the car and watching the river while I munched. The wind was whipping here the way it does sometimes, thanks to the town being in a bowl surrounded by bluffs and cliffs. It was cloudy. I stalked up a trail that abuts a private property that is also, apparently, a vacation home. The owner was outside fussing with something and her two dogs bounded over the hill, barking, to greet me, and I greeted them back. The owner was completely unfazed by this--didn't call them, didn't call out to me--which was fine; they were nice dogs. They trotted out on the path ahead of me, one excited pointerish dog, black and white and silky, and a little golden puggy dog with a pointy snout. I called her Short Legs.

I figured they were just showing me the ropes. The trails are right by their property, after all. The bigger dog kept racing ahead, then turning around and bowing down, then running back to us, then forward--so obviously saying "come ON." The little one trotted at my heels like a good non-alpha dog most of the time, occasionally racing out to join her friend, and then coming back to me. It was cute. I thought they'd get tired of it and go home.

But this routine went on for about 45 minutes, during which time both dogs romped out into the woods and returned repeatedly to the trail with me. Every time I turned down a new path, they followed. My mood and my energy level completely changed. The day was beautiful instead of blustery. The woods were golden and green. The trail was a steady climb, which is how I like it. Suddenly I could easily imagine living somewhere like this, a little remote, spending my days walking the hills with a pair of dog buddies.

The shorter version of this post is: when I don't know what to do with myself, I need to take a walk, always. I always see something I didn't expect, and I always feel better as soon as I'm moving.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hey, I found out what happens if you let your cilantro go to seed and sit under the snow all winter: adorable baby cilantro seedlings volunteering all over your herb patch! We are so pleased with the number of plants that have come back up this spring, since our gardening acumen is pretty half-assed and predicated entirely on perennials. It helps that this has been the most ridiculously good spring that I can remember in MN. I'm not being hyperbolic either. It didn't snow in March, which has never happened, and then April was long and beautiful. It just feels like everything is a month ahead of schedule.

So now suddenly we've got parsley, thyme, lemon balm, and wee baby cilantro that I wasn't expecting to see again. Loads of oregano and sage and chives, all of which I knew would come back. A kale stump that I never bothered to clear out at the end of the season started growing leaves again, so we're just leaving it where it is. Peonies, lilies, creeping myrtle, golden archangel, and lilies of the valley that I very ineptly transplanted from a friend's yard last year are all thriving. Hostas for days, plus yarrow, coneflower, daisies, sedum, bugleweed, spirea, viburnum, dianthus, willow, and more daylilies than you can shake a stick at. A brave little coral bells plant that keeps trying to grow despite the fact that I've moved it 4 or 5 times. And some other stuff I'm forgetting.

Also, the Brit installed a rain barrel under one of the downspouts, so we are building up our hippie cred.

This weekend, I finally felt like cleaning stuff. The Brit was making his little weekly list of chores and trying to figure out what else to put on it, and I said "if you can think of something in our house, it needs to be cleaned." I don't think that's an exaggeration. Except! Now the floors have been cleaned. I won't tell you the last time this happened. And the first floor has been dusted. And the inside of the fridge has been cleaned and the food restocked. It's a start.

And then I felt very productive about food preparation, which has not happened in weeks, so I made a batch of granola, a mess of pinto beans, a pile of guacamole, a gang of tofu scramble, a flock of chipotle-roasted sweet potatoes. These things will all feed me this week while I'm away. Things have been so busy that I've been buying too much prepared food the last few weeks. You know how that goes.

I have two more weeks of classes, then finals and voice juries. I won't miss the running around, but I hate to think of not spending my best workdays at a piano or in front of a class.