Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thankskitten!

So, Willa turned 4 a couple days ago, and she got a kitten for her birthday.


He was called Bruce (which I love; it's like naming a tiny kitten Gary or Keith) when he arrived in her hands yesterday, but I'm not sure what his name is now. Last night it was Snowflake, and later in the evening it was apparently Tiger. My mom was pulling for Opie, which I think is perfect. But Willa is in charge. The little cat seems well-suited to life with a lot of kids around. I just hope he can get enough naps in. Anyway, he's the cutest ever. I want to put him in my pocket. (Willa is pretty cute too.)

Today has been one hell of a lazy day. I made some pretty bad muffins this morning and some soup this evening, and that's about all I've done. I have loved this long weekend, haven't you, US readers? So nice. I am not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow, though I do get to get my ass out of the house early and meet Melinda for breakfast. You have no idea how happy that makes me and it will go by too quickly, and then I will still have to go to work afterward. (Grateful I have a job, etc etc.)

I had another audition yesterday, which was pretty great for me and enthusiastically received by the wee panel of listeners. It will mean some concert work in the new year. I was also jazzed about my outfit, after all that outfit talk in the last post: I wore some wide, drape-y black velvet pants that I must have thrifted years ago and sort of forgot about, a teal camisole, and a soft fitted black wrap sweater sprinkled with silvery sequins. I looked fly and basically felt like I was wearing yoga clothes, which is the best possible state of affairs.

Earlier in the week I did have a callback audition and that went well too. It was for a dippy show, but what are you gonna do? The roles available for my voice type in light opera/operetta are pretty ridiculous--I can be people's mums and grannies and aunties (and occasionally a young man) and that's basically it. No gorgeous leading ladies for me. Still, it would be fun to get cast in something silly and just go balls out with the character and hopefully work with a bunch of my friends again.

I capped off all this serious singing with some more serious singing at karaoke last night. You know you're getting old and boring when the idea of going out at 10 seems coconuts, but I took a disco nap after Willa's birthday celebration and I rallied. And I'm so glad I did--it was a fun singing crowd. You're basically guaranteed to have a good night if two people are singing "Islands in the Stream" when you walk in. It felt like a classics/crowd pleasers kind of night, so I sang "We Are Family" with my friends, then "Son of a Preacher Man." Next round was "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About," then Leah sprang "Alone" on me (which I frankly love to sing, especially when she is providing harmony). Finally, my one and only new song of the night was "Harden My Heart" by Quarterflash, which song I have referred to multiple times on this blog, if I am not mistaken. I think I even have a #quarterflash tag, so I'll go ahead and deploy that on this post. It was super fun to sing, so if you've been on the fence about this song, I say go for it. Bonus: air saxophone opportunities. It had really been too long.

For the past couple weeks, I've been barfing out a bunch of words every day (kinda on the Artist's Way model) using the website It's completely private and not intended for anyone else's consumption or even your own judgment, which is useful. I haven't looked back at anything I've written and I don't have plans to. If you're looking for this kind of daily practice, it's a great little site because it tracks your words and sends you a daily email (if you like) prompting you to write. I'm guessing it's the reason I've forgotten to blog for two weeks. Sorry about that. On the other hand, maybe you were spared the truly garbagey because of my newfound discipline. So, you're welcome.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday night's gonna be all right.

I spent some of my Friday night doing an audition. If that doesn't scream PARTAY, I don't know what does. I honestly can't remember the last time I did an audition, either--or at least, one where my casting wasn't a foregone conclusion, or one that wasn't for a teaching job. So I don't have any headshots printed (no one asks for printed headshots anymore, do they?), and perhaps more important, I don't have a regular rotation of audition outfits! This is a big deal, y'all. You have to figure out what's going to make the best statement about your personality without overshadowing your performance (that is, you want them to focus on you instead of your outfit). Wearing black is a classic maneuver and is super-boring, but depending on the type of company/show you're auditioning for, you might want to go classic instead of interesting. And again, depending on the situation, appropriate gear can range from super dressed up to fairly casual. Running around the house looking for things to wear reminded me of the years I spent doing the fall audition season in NY--and let me tell you, while I miss having a reason to go to NY regularly, I do not miss those days at all. I also had long hair during those years and I used to spend ridiculous amounts of time wrangling my hair into something that looked good. I experienced a wave of gratitude last night when I smeared some styling wax into my hair and sculpted it for 15 seconds and called it good.

I wore a slightly shimmery black vintage floral ankle length dress with high heeled moto boots and a black wrap sweater. It wasn't my favorite outfit ever but it was my best option, considering I watched "Breaking Bad" until 45 minutes before I had to leave and didn't think about my clothes at all until then.

Weirdly, I have another audition in two weeks. Much like the one I did last night, the stakes are rather low, but unlike last night, I actually have to have several arias ready to go. Again, I haven't had to offer four arias in years, and I am a little out of shape vocally because I don't practice regularly. Still, what concerns me most right now is that I don't know what I'm going to wear. I guess clothes are just on my mind these days, probably at least in part because the weather is changing.

Anyway, it went well last night. We'll see if I get a callback.

Today is beautiful and sunny and warm for November, so I am going to hop on my bike and ride to Sally Beauty for some nail treatments. All this nail polish remover is killing my nails.

The cold (dark) bike rides have actually been kind of awesome so far. It hasn't been THAT cold yet--I've had maybe 2 rides that have been below freezing--but honestly right now my biggest problem isn't staying warm, it's having the exact right number/thickness of layers so that I don't overheat. No matter what, I'm totally sweaty when I get to work. I'm also back to pondering (as I ride) how to make my reflective/visibility gear more interesting. I swear there is an untapped market here. Po Campo makes some cute little reflective birdie pins, which is a start, and there's a company called Run Naked that has shirts emblazoned with the reflective words "Run Naked." Oh, okay, and here's another one that got kickstarted and doesn't have products for sale publicly yet: We Flashy (the jerks in the video are biking without lights, however). So other folks are clearly having the same thoughts. For now I'm just wearing a really sweet neon vest and slap bracelets, but if you want to go into business, let me know. At one point I investigated this fairly seriously and then dropped it when I realized I would have to buy a cutter and a heat press to print t-shirts myself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Here is the dress

that I personal-shopped for Tricia, with Tricia in it.


Marigoldie requested a pic of my silk/cashmere maxi skirt, which I am planning on wearing tomorrow--so maybe we can have another fashion photo shoot in front of a file cabinet, piles of paper and plastics, and a beige wall tomorrow.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Food makin'.

Well, it already feels like the middle of the night over here, since it's pitch black. But that's the price we pay for looking up at the clock after a super-productive morning and going WHOA it isn't even 11 yet! I've spent a lot of today cooking, so as to get a jump on the week, and I thought you probably would want to know what I made.
  1. Vegan pumpkin pudding. I am so excited about this that I want to roll around in it. I had started off intending to make these pumpkin cranberry ginger parfaits, minus the raw pumpkin (none on hand, also sounds not very appealing). But I quickly realized I would rather just mix it all together and mess around with the recipe a bit. You need to make the ginger cashew cream in the link immediately, but with less sweetener and a little less coconut oil. You will not be able to stop eating it. My pudding is just a mixture of the cashew cream and a whole wack of canned pumpkin and a bunch of spices. There's only a tablespoon of agave in my entire non-recipe. Tomorrow, I will sprinkle pecans and dried cranberries over the top and die of happiness when I eat it.
  2. Breakfast bulgur. Usually I do quinoa but I was all out, and this needs to get used up. It turned out rather delicious. I spiced it with cardamom and ginger, and I cooked it in mostly water with some apple juice--it won't need more sweetener. Top with apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and yogurt if that is your thing.
  3. Steamed romanesco with lemon. No big secret here, except that romanesco looks like alien babies and that is the sole reason I bought it.
  4. Roasted rosemary garlic potatoes and rutabaga.
  5. Cannellini beans to make today's soup and keep in the freezer.
  6. Cannellini soup with greens. I chopped/sauteed two leeks, a small onion, two carrots, two celery stalks, the leaves from the romanesco, lots of kale and collard stems, and a mutant huge clove of garlic in a bunch of olive oil with oregano. Then added veggie stock, bean broth, and about 2-3 cups of cannellini beans, along with chopped collard and kale leaves (about one bunch total). Simmered for 15 minutes, stirred in chopped spinach and a little sambal oelek and salt to taste, and ate it up with lots of black pepper. Boom.
I spent some of Saturday at the thrift stores and came away with an excellent haul from Goodwill. A black silk cap sleeve DKNY top encrusted with matte black paillettes that make an awesome sound as they move, a Desigual-esque knit skirt that is going directly into my summer clothes bin (alas) and will be a great surprise when the warm weather returns, a totally polyester bright teal knee-length vintage skirt that is going to nestle perfectly into my wardrobe, a pinstripe vest for my non-steampunk steampunk look, a gray and black striped turtleneck dress, and a Prairie Underground Mothette dress for Tricia's Superhero wardrobe. Please keep your fingers crossed that it fits her because it was a HUGE score and I am generally too lazy to sell things on ebay these days. Case in point: I found some beautiful, way too high Fluevog Audrey pumps at Goodwill months ago and they are still sitting in my car, waiting to be photographed and sold for a sweet profit. I used to have endless time for that stuff. Not anymore. 

I do have time to paint my nails, though, so I'm going to go do that now. 

Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday Etsy faves.

Hi! It's Friday, when everyone leaves the internet! Good for everyone; I approve. Go outside. It's pretty nice here! It was my chilliest ride of the year, though: 29 degrees with frost on the ground. Also, my bike seat has this gimmicky channel thing in it for cooling your "area," and I found today that it works as well (or better) in cold weather as it does in warm weather. My area was cold when I got to work. I either need to layer up my area or make a fleecy cover for my bike seat.

Anyway, here is some stuff I like.

Tomato fiesta tea towel by shapescolors.

Ballet flats/house shoes by LaLaShoes.

Nuno felted baby dress by Baymut.

Paper ornament kit by PaperArtbyCNM.

Bright orange recycled t-shirt rug by greenatheart.

Red hooded coat with tall collar by Malam (whose shop I love).

Vintage Yves St Laurent sunglasses from ifoundgallery11.

Wool embroidered pillowcase by pabadoo.

Waves on Winter Rolling giclee print by morrisetsy.

Spider Man on a Bike print by linedraw.

Wonder Woman high rise undies by knickerocker.

Bet you didn't think I was going to end up there, did you?

Happy weekend y'all!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Picking up where Google Reader left off.

I don't know how many of you used to read the stuff I shared on Google Reader, or how many of you maybe used Google Reader in your own right (or use it still), but: Google redesigned Reader and removed all of its social functions last week, and now it's bullshit. It was a wonky, creaky, messy thing before, but it was my source for ongoing conversation with a small group of regular friends/sharers, far from the ridiculum of facebook and the perplexing tumbleweed- and cricket-infested landscape of Google+. It seems that the people at Google didn't know how people were using Reader or didn't actually give a shit, and were trying to force migration to Google+ by making it the most convenient (albeit multi-step and completely unintuitive) way to share content from Reader. The redesign is so wack that former Google techjockeys are offering their services to Google to make it better.

Anyway, until Reader magically meets all my feed-reading and sharing needs, I and some other folks will be sharing stuff on Come on over, check out the scene, leave comments, ask questions, and direct us to other interesting things on the internet.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend activities.

First, I went to Ulta for some ridge filler and cruelty-free polish (Orly, Wet n Wild, China Glaze) and hair goop (Paul Mitchell). Then I returned some bike shorts to REI (I should not even bother trying with the bike shorts because they will never fit my legs, butt, AND waist at the same time). Then I watched Psych and did galaxy nails:

Galaxy nails.

If I were a nail blogger I'd have a picture of all the colors I used, but I am no nail blogger. That's like a whole nutty subculture that I haven't gotten into, apart from stalking some tutorials. This is super-easy; you just need makeup sponges for application. Slap on a dark night sky base, and then sponge thin layers of (sparkly) other colors til you have something you like, then apply top coat. Look at pics of nebulas (nebulae?) for inspiration:

Saturday was a beautiful day, so naturally I stayed indoors (d'oh). I stood in my closet for hours, inventorying my clothes and trying things on. Then I put together 25 outfits and wrote them down. While all this was going on, I handwashed three tubs full of wool stuff and a bonus tub of silk stuff with Eucalan. Sooooo virtuous! I mean I'd only had one of the sweaters for like 10 years without washing it. Am I gross? Maybe I was, but not anymore! I also did regular laundry at the same time. Conclusion: I don't need to buy any more clothes, ever. Having said that, I am stalking vests on ebay.

Then yesterday Molly & co hosted the whole family for pumpkin carving (and chili and cornbread and stuff), which is about as Halloweenie as I'm getting this year (not that I'm planning to turn out the lights and close the blinds or anything). Though I HAVE had "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" in my head all day. How can you not?

ETA: I completely forgot to mention another virtuous thing I did, which was to weatherproof all my boots. I win for weekend wardrobe care.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wardrobe concepts.

Today in First World Problems, I have been thinking about my personal style concept for the current season and I'm coming up short. I think I need to spend some quality time in my closet assembling outfits so that when I get up in the morning I can put on my biking clothes and quickly pack up my work outfit without agonizing over what I'm going to wear. Also, I need a winter biking dress. I like to wear a skirt over whatever warm leggings I'm wearing for functional biking because I'm not really down with my spandex ass hanging out. It's just how I prefer to roll. I like to look a little less sporty, I guess. I tried to buy the Ibex hoody dress off the Public Bikes site when it was SUPER cheap a couple months ago, but the special broke the site and I couldn't check out before all the dresses in my size had disappeared. Wahhh.

Anyway, so at work Tricia and I have been talking about our fashion, such as it is, and she is currently working the Superhero theme, which is mostly about tight pants, shiny boots, and flapping overlayers that might double as capes. I totally support Superhero, though it will not work for me. In the past, my wardrobe concept has basically been Short Pants, and then later it was Skirts and Boots. Not much of a concept, really. So here are some others I might choose this year:

  1. Arty Lady of a Certain Age: Eileen Fisher, chunky necklaces, expensive flats, billowing garments in general.
  2. Tweedy Gentleman: knickers, argyle, cravats.
  3. Shawshank Prison Inmate: seriously the jeans in that movie are the best.
  4. Samurai Poet: hakama pants, slippers, and little wrap sweaters: my top contender.
  5. 80s Businesswoman: duh.
  6. One Dress to Rule Them All: find ideal dress, wear it every day, hope that it doesn't awaken the Nazgul.
  7. Copycat: only replicate outfits worn by popular fashion bloggers.
  8. Kitty Cat: dress like a kitty every day, which is how my sister's friend became class president in elementary school.
  9. Jumpsuit Superstar: this (actually, but seriously, if I could find a coverall that was the correct shape and that draped really nicely I would buy several and wear them every day).
  10. Ensconced in Velvet: I read this to Tricia and she said "oooooh, milady!"
  11. Twee as Fuck
  12. Directoire, minus the hobble hems, but plus turbans X 1000.
  13. Fashion it So
  14. Whatever is happening on the cover of Labelle's first album; let's call it Denim Circus:

    (also, please, if you have a larger photo of this, show it to me.)
  15. An adjunct to the previous: 70s Dirtbag
  16. Severe and Germanic:

    Bonus points if you can arrange to stand next to Jason Priestley all the time.
  17. Oversized Everything: prints, jewels, accessories, shirts, like in the 90s when we all bought our long sleeved tees from the Gap men's section.
  18. Monochrome
  19. Jem: truly outrageous.
  20. Margo Leadbetter, who is seriously one of my style icons:

I am shocked that there aren't more image search results for this character (or the actress herself), because she looked super fresh on every episode of "The Good Life" (AKA "Good Neighbors" in the US).

If only biking in a maxi dress and turban were easier.

Please leave your contributions/votes in the comments.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I am done with my paperrrrrrrrrr. Done done done. I'm praying no one will ask me for revisions, but if they do I am ready for it. I'm also ready to remove the scanner, books, and papers from the coffee table and think about what on earth I might do next.

Here are some celebratory rings and a wig you could buy me, to congratulate me for being rad.

Big ass rose cut chocolate diamond by kateszabone

Vanilla cherry wig by MissVioletLace

Rose cut green tourmaline by JanishJewels

Oregon sunstone and recycled gold ring by mcfarlanddesigns

Spessartine drusy ring by masaoms

Also, this party dress:

50s tulle lace dress from IKAHN

I will wear all of it at the same time and be VERY FETCHING.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Y'all. Y'ALLLLLLL. Please tell me how to conclude my fucking paper. I know part of it involves going for a walk, possibly painting my nails, petting the cats, destroying my high score on Bejeweled, making tea, drinking tea, and maybe folding some laundry. But beyond that I am clueless. I need this thing out of my hands, today. The bibliography is done, the footnotes are formatted, the musical examples scanned and cropped and wrangled. I read the whole thing out loud last night, including the many poems I quote, and I fixed things I never would have seen had I just read it silently. I cut out many cherished bits of my stellar prose, probably 10 pages worth, and unceremoniously tossed them in a file called EXTRA BITS. I hope to delete EXTRA BITS soon, just as soon as I've written the conclusion and know for certain that I will not ever need the EXTRA BITS ever.

But really though, if you know how I should wrap it up besides writing THE END, holler at me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

That Etsy faves post I ordered.

Not that you were like WAITING for it or anything.

Merino fingerless gloves from ianbaldry (Minneapolis holla!)

Porcelain Left/Right Earrings from lilarubyking

Red-orange Fire-King bowls from blurredvisionary

Handwoven tencel scarf from billysuetextiles

Tulip print stuffed mini dachshund from aliceapple

Big crocheted floor cushions from lacasadecoto

A pair of mid-century modern hanging candle holders from MellowMermaid

Red vessel earrings (I love everything in this shop, someone please buy all of it for me) from nervoussystem

Blue leather iphone (or WHATEVER, it doesn't have to be an iphone) case from broundoor

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the drafts folder.

1. Ace is fine. His bloodwork and urinalysis came back perfectly clean; is apparently a "very normal cat" (with some tartar and gingivitis and this obsession with licking his belly fur off). So what was up with him? We may never know. The vet did say a weird thing about cats, which is that frequently their owners sense something is going on, bring them in, find out there's nothing wrong, and then within a few weeks the cats have declined and their bloodwork is all haywire. So I'll just keep watching him, I guess.

2. The weather here has been bonkers. Today was 75 degrees or so, and just balmy as you please, but with crunchy leaves and beautiful colors all over the place. Last week it was in the 80s. The cats, speaking of cats because I am a cat lady, have been galvanized by all the smells and noises, and I've been letting them run/slink/roll around in the backyard. First I let them out supervised, then I let them out and just checked on them, and then I let Momo out unsupervised, which ended with her standing on top of the fence near the garage roof, wondering what to do next. I guess I have to keep an eye on her. All Ace wants to do is roll and dig in the dirt, and attack a willow branch that I wave at him. Momo is also into the branch.


I like giving them the exercise/mindblowing world expansion of the backyard, but the problem is that now they won't shut up about it.


3. I didn't meet my self-imposed thesis deadline but things are coming along. I have done just about everything in my power to avoid working on it in the last week, but then I have also worked on it. What's crappy is that my best working hours are generally from like 9:30 PM on, and I can't fuck around with staying up all night to write, so the evening worktime is practically over before it gets started, siiiigh. And just so you know, putting musical examples into a paper is the worst. THE WORSSSSST.

4. I've been looking at and I encourage you to do the same, but I have to admit that it makes me feel panicky and I am in a good situation over here. But after going through several pages the only thoughts in my head are "I can never, ever quit my job" and "I can never, ever be without health insurance."

5. I ran 6 miles last week after pretty much giving up on running when bike season started in earnest. It's hard to think about doing other exercise when you bike 15 miles most days. Happily, the running was not horrifying. I managed it and it felt pretty good. Just in time for the weather to turn shitty and for me to curl up on the couch and stop moving my ass. November is going to be Move Yer Ass part 2, trust.

6. I have made socca many more times using a variety of recipes, all of which are readily googleable. Basically I whisk 1 part chickpea flour with like 1.5 parts water, a glug of olive oil, and some salt to make a thin batter. Let it sit for an hour or two at room temp, then add herbs/spices to taste and fry it up in a pan like crepes or pancakes (depending on how thin it turns out). Then gobble right out of the pan like a big freak. Or put it on a plate; it's really your call. I've found that letting the batter sit really mitigates the beany flavor that these can have. Half hour=a little beany. Hour=hardly beany at all.

I have also baked it at 400 for about 25 minutes in a VERY nonstick round 9 inch cake pan and then finished it under the broiler for about 2 minutes more. In fact, I am eating that now with a chunky red sauce (eggplant, spinach, kalamata olives) and it's delicious. A little bit like polenta, but with crispy bits. And more protein and fiber! I think I'll bake it longer next time and see what happens. Also, next time I might make it with cocoa powder and a little agave. I'm just saying.

7. I have a cold. A cold that was not helped by the surprise downpour I biked home in yesterday.

8. I reaaaaalllly want to do an Etsy faves post right now but that would be the biggest work derail ever. Here is just one thing for your delectation:

The very fierce Mona jacket from lauragalic. For when it's finally cool enough to wear a coat.

9. Oh, one more thing. I've been loving Fit and Feminist. Very thoughtful, excellent writing about a variety of topics relating to health, wellness, and exercise. The posts are all great, but here's a great place to start. There's also an excellent counterpoint comment on that post that is worth reading too.

Okay byeeeee! Back to work.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lemme holler at you for a minute.

After all the (um, irregular, cursory) blathering the past few months about my monthly projects, I have been silent on the current one because it's going to stretch through to November. It's the previously-mentioned THESIS, the progress of which was impeded by a whole pantload of red tape. I promise you the details are not worth enumerating, unless you're also trying to finish a doctorate at a large public university and want to commiserate about how often you're thwarted by some dumb fucking petition that you need to fill out in triplicate, in which case email me and we'll kvetch. The upshot is that it didn't look like I was going to be admitted, then I got admitted late after all, and now I can finish my thang. But it took until this week. Note to graduate institutions: get a mechanism in place so that doctoral candidates who only need to do the defense can do so easily. Yeesh.

So now! I have a self-imposed deadline of October 3 for finishing my paper. Are you surprised to know that I am procrastinating even now? I have been re-watching episodes of NewsRadio and playing a stupid game on my phone in the evenings, in between plugging away at the paper and lamenting the darkness that is already encroaching way too early in the day. The Brit just left the country for a couple of weeks, so the idea is that the solitude will force me to work. Or will it force me to pet cats? I'll let you know how it all shakes down.

Speaking of cats, Ace has been acting all weird, so I took him to the vet this afternoon. We're not good on routine medical care, either for ourselves or our beasties, so I felt guilty about waiting until Ace was kind of hiding out and ignoring his food and acting strange around his water dish and being confusing about whether or not he wants affection (normally he's all love all the time) to get him to the vet. We'll know tomorrow whether there's anything on his blood panel or urinalysis to be concerned about, but at least the vet didn't palpate Ace and go "yeah it's chronic renal failure," which is what Dr Google, DVM was leading me to believe over the weekend. Happily, I liked the vet a lot and he's in the neighborhood, and even though Ace didn't enjoy the outing, at least he did't completely tweak out in the office. However, he did unleash a fresh piss in his carrier on the way home, which meant I had to dunk him in the tub, which meant he hated me for a short time and cleaned himself for a long time. Now he's been crashed out for about 4 hours. I hope the health news is good.

Here's what I just ate for dinner at 9 PM (very euro):

Meals these days.

I often eat the same thing, or some variation of it, for breakfast. That's a Trader Joe's veggie masala burger, which is basically like a delicious spicy hashbrown thing that has no business on a bun, plus some collards, carrots, and chickpeas that I quick saute-braised with curry powder and lemon juice. And that's a little raita on the side that I made with yogurt, tomatoes (from our pathetic yet fruitful plants), cilantro, and green onions.

I also tried making pizza with a chickpea flour crust last week. It was kind of a disaster because my pan was all wrong; I used this recipe, which has you cook the thing on the stovetop and finish it in the oven in the same pan. Still, it tasted great--it had roasted tomatoes, sauteed zucchini and onions, kalamata olives, and feta on it--but it never really crisped up. I'll definitely try again, maybe treating the batter more like a pancake or crepe (socca, which I guess is what this recipe technically is). It's a pretty slick way to eat a pizza-like THING that's more nutritionally dense than your standard wheat crust, and also incidentally gluten-free if you're into that. It would make a great breakfast. Probably tomorrow.

Do you know Laura Marling, and if so, what do you think? I'm listening on Spotify right now. Some of the album skews a little bit Starbucksy but there's this one song they've been playing on the Current lately that is so cool and interesting and I am astonished that she is 21, though I don't know why. Maybe because of the genre? Whatever, her singing is fabulous and the songwriting is inventive. There's bad lip-synching here and I wish she wouldn't clench her teeth, but that's just the voice teacher talking. Here's the song.

Officially, this is enough procrastination.

Monday, September 12, 2011

You say it's my birthday.

I recently got back from birthday dinner with the Brit at Saffron, which was beautiful and highly recommended. Middle Eastern fusion fine dining with great service and good ambiance and a very vegetarian-friendly (not super vegan-friendly, but at least vegan possible) menu. It's really surprising to me how many of the "good" or high-end restaurants in town basically have one pasta dish on their menu for vegetarians, rather than several small plates (which can be shared as starters or combined as an entree) or two or three really good entrees that are not pasta. I just think pasta is lazy. And I almost never want to eat it when I go out. Also, this is a big metro area. It's not like vegetarians are some exotic fringe group. Anyway! At Saffron I ate fried cauliflower with North African spices and feta fondue, grilled haloumi with watermelon and mint, an incredible corn soup with poached figs, yogurt, and smoked paprika oil, and arugula salad with medjool dates, orange, almonds, pickled (I think) red onions, and lemon tahini dressing. Also: an ice cream flight of spiced chocolate, strawberry balsamic, and salted caramel. And a mocktail called Blood and Fire, which was spicy watermelon and cucumber with a watermelon pickle garnish. And the Brit got to eat lots of meats. I meant to take pictures of everything and failed because I ate it all first.

It's been a nice day. The weather is still beautiful and summery--87 today--though the temperature is dropping now and there's supposed to be patchy frost on Wednesday night whaaaatttt. My bossfriend took us all out to lunch for my birthday at Camdi, a standby for our work lunches. The food's always good, though the place feels a little, I don't know, sticky. I had to renew my license and obviously forgot to do it until today, so I had to go to the DMV after work. It was pretty smooth and I had good parking karma, essential because I had only one quarter for the meter. The woman who processed my application and took my picture loved my hair, which tickled me enough that I think I had a totally genuine smile in my photo. We'll see in about two weeks. I really liked my current DL photo, though my sister Molly said I looked like I was in a tampon commercial.

When I got home, the Brit had red roses and beautiful turquoise stud earrings waiting for me, both total lovely surprises.

Also, I ate coconut cream pie for breakfast, thanks to Molly, who made it for my family birthday celebration yesterday. Emily's birthday pie was lemon meringue. And we each got a Sodastream, a thermal carafe, a sweet steam iron, a vintage apron, embroidered dishtowels, and a cat lady tote bag.

The only thing I didn't do today that would have been nice, especially in the last throes of summer, is go for a bike ride. I drove in to work because of the whole driver's license thing, and there was no time to work a ride in. Instead I wore my stupidest/coolest shoes (in black) in celebration and got a proto-blister from walking around in them. Similar to exercise.

I might make a list of 38 things to do in my 38th year, but so far all I've thought of is "make kombucha at home." I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Friday Etsy faves.

I have another post in my drafts folder about last weekend's Pittsburgh trip, but I can't get any pics off my g-d phone right now, so these pretty things will have to suffice. Is anyone even on the internet on Friday afternoons, anyway? It seems like a terrible time to post stuff but I end up doing it often.

Bicycle Handlebar Purse in Red Bloom by MercyandRuthHandbags

Felted "Wings of Fire" shawl by doseth.

hot tramp, i love you so card by MichelleBrusegaard

"In Groveland" elephant print by valentinadesign

Aerofauna III print by ValeroDoval

Ferris Wheel photo on metallic sheen paper by OldQuixoticShop

70's Vintage Beautiful Green Floral Maxi Dress by nicolasvintage

Patent leather clog in silver by berlin27clogs

Cobalt Blue-Purple Drusy Earrings by JanishJewels

Happy weekending, everyone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I just went outside to snap a shot of the evening sky with my new phone, and I watched a bat circling around and around the trees in front of me, evidently holding onto a cicada. I surmised this because the buzzing dopplered in sync with the bat's flight pattern, until finally it petered out. It's the circle of life! Like literally a circle. But really, why was the bat flying around instead of just taking the bug to its lair? Was it trying to get the bug to shut up so that it could eat in peace?

I think that's all I got right now. There is some straight bullshit going on with THESIS, which I may have the energy to blog about tomorrow. I am actually taking a mental health day to deal with some of said bullshit. One hilarious and coincidentally-timed thing I can tell you is that I got a so-called FINAL NOTICE from the library (there were no previous notices) today about the thesis books I've had checked out for like 5 years with a bill for $1320. HAHAHAAAAA. It will be fine, I just have to take ALL of the books in to the library to check them out again and then the charge will go away.

But food/eating, my adjunct project, has been brilliant. This week I made Bob Barley Salad, some lentil-walnut pate that I sort of free-formed based on this recipe (I have had the inspiration version many times in NY), some baba ganoush that's a bit of a failure because it has no smoky char goodness (I just oven-roasted the eggplant instead of chucking it into a fire), and a whole big wack of chickpeas destined to become chickpea cutlets etc. I'm about to go into the kitchen to make some tempeh salad that I will roll up in romaine lettuce like some kind of dieting freak. Seriously though, romaine is my main jam if I'm not just slapping shit on bread. I highly recommend.

Also, not that you're asking, but here's a wee kitchen hack that is only good if you buy kalamata olives in brine, in bulk: save the brine and use it to salt your Mediterranean-flava soups, grain salads, pasta sauces, whatever.

Next week I'll be taking Tuesday off from the food plan so that I can eat some fried crap at the State Fair. Those french fries better watch out. Their fate is sealed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I feel I have to do something kind of obnoxious and blog a wee bit about food choices. I seriously mean a WEE bit and only for some accountability. So: I'm taking a break from bread, pasta, white rice and rice noodles, cereal, etc., and definitely the sugar, though I don't eat much of that. I do mean a break because I don't see this as a permanent lifestyle change, but who the hell knows. Mostly this means that I need to get more organized about food prep because just about every easy, grab-able food item is some simple-carby thing that is not good fuel for my bod. Either that or it is a shit-ton of nuts and that seems kind of counterproductive (I do eat a fair amount of nuts, just not a shit-ton). So far today I've had tofu scramble with some veg and feta, half a sauteed zucchini, a wad of spicy peanut-cilantro slaw, a romaine salad with pinto beans, zucchini, onions, chipotle bogus sausage, and sweat-inducing homemade pico de gallo. Also some pistachios and ants on a log. All good stuff, but all of it required preparation and planning ahead. And I'm still hongry, so obviously I need to put more food in my bike bag, dammit, or walk over to the union and buy some meatless jerky.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Apparently I haven't posted in over two weeks, leaving the internet to ponder my slightly hungover and dehydrated bike ride of doom. What the hell, August? Do you think maybe I was avoiding making a grand public pronouncement about this month's project, THESIS? You could be right about that. I'll have more to say about it in a subsequent post, I hope, but I'll have to go on a thinky bike ride or solo walk first to work out everything I want to say about procrastination and possibly about fear. I can tell you that some of the roadblocky administrative tasks are underway, and not a moment too soon.

I don't usually blog about my dreams, but: this morning I dreamt that Beyonce gave a small private concert that everyone in my family went to except me, and no one thought to call and wake me up, and when my mom told me about it I wept hot angry tears. Hahahahaha. I'm theorizing that it's because I felt, on some sad interior level, dietarily excluded from the porkfest my parents hosted on Sunday. Even though I was there, eating non-pork food items, and no one was singing.

I have today completely off of work--usually I teach on Tuesdays, but we are on a short break--and I am so excited not to squander it. I have errands to run and degree-related shit and prep-cooking to do. These things will all distract me from the fact that I would rather still be up north, where I was the weekend before last. We finally got out of town for a wee vacation up on Lake Superior, with lots of hiking, including one surprise hike IN a river, straight up the gorge. It was a surprise only because we were rock-hopping and then I accidentally planted my foot in the water and then was like, oh well. This river, the Kadunce, is one you can hike in, rocky and fairly low. It is also quite dramatic, with high narrow rock walls and little (and not so little) waterfalls. We didn't hike up any of the waterfalls, but apparently you can. Also, my barefoot shoes (new ones, NB ones this time) were great in the water, though they took forever to dry.

Anyway, I want to go back up, and take my bike, and stay in the middle of nowhere. And write? Hm. Will have to consider that.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last night my friend T and her man had a few folks over to their suburban outpost to eat dinner and lounge in their pool, and it was awesome--both the company and the lounging. The pool was the perfect temperature, and the weather was perfectly hot, and we had floaty things to sit on and beverages aplenty. So I got alllll hammered and ridiculous, and ultimately disappeared from the festivities to go for a pee and never came back. I realized in the bathroom that I needed to go to bed immediately, so I threw my bathing suit in the tub and conked out in the guest room and didn't reappear until morning. I learned today that Bill barfed when he got home, so I don't feel that I was necessarily the dronkest person there, though I probably was. But at least I was not alone.

And I had planned from the get go to stay overnight and ride my bike home 28 miles in the morning (my bike and I caught a ride to T's with a friend). What, that doesn't seem like an awesome post-party idea to you? So I did that today, though morning turned into mid-afternoon before I got my ass out the door. What can I say, T and I had tons of catching up to do anyway and she is the talkingest person I know, probably. The long chat also gave me a chance to lose the wee hangover, recover some hydration, and eat before hitting the road, and I felt nearly peppy when I got on my bike. T assured me that the route would be all nice and flat, and that I would be surprised at how fast it went. But she was wrong on both counts. Turns out the NW suburbs are full of rolling hills. And there was wind, primarily from the south, which was primarily the direction I was heading. Also, the terrain was kinda all over the place, and I had to stop at A LOT of stoplights. And I took a really dumb detour to see where one path went, and ended up at the Sculpture Garden, where I did not need to be. So no, I was not really impressed with how fast it was. In fact I was mostly slow. But I did get in the habit of yelling "Heyyyyyyyyyyyy" on every downhill.

However! It was not all dogged slogging through the heat. Medicine Lake was beautiful, and I got to ride with a bald eagle for awhile. He was right over my head, close enough to cast a big shadow on me (maybe he thought my helmet was prey?). I also rode my bike over a floating boardwalk on another wee detour in some regional park lake/wetland, which was a little creepy but cool. Then there was all the usual Minneapolis bike trail beauty blah blah love letter to the city trails blah, except I would have given my kingdom for a falafel stand to materialize in Theo Wirth park (it did not).

Now, though, I am thrashed. My ass is all chafed from bike seat friction, and I'm developing a very uncool rash that has caused me to google "bike butt rash." I am completely full of falafel and baba ganoush (holla!) and very, very tired. So I'm going to apply some ointment and get a solid night of sleep. I'll check you on the flipper.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Can you all just come here and go on a long bike ride with me? Would the exhilaration even be the same if shared? I don't know, but I do know that this was an amazing evening for a bike ride. I met Dr. Dra, my dearie and old roommate, for dinner after work and then had a zippy, luscious, fragrant 8 mile ride home at sunset. What's happening outside, anyway? The temperature is perfect and it smells amazing. Woodsmoke, pine needles, a farmy fecund smell that's probably the combination of grass clippings and too much standing water, flowers. I was huffing it like crazy, and I snorked up a few gnats in the process, which was a small price to pay. It was nicely breezy when we were sitting outside at Republic, but heading south and west there was no wind to fight. And I saw a mink humping along by the creek--I've never seen one around here before. I know they're nasty little fuckers but it was so sleek and alert and cute that it just felt like a bonus of the ride to spot it.

This blog is turning into a love letter to the Minneapolis bike trail system, but I don't care. I'm already dreading the end of bike season, and my Steger mukluks came in the mail yesterday as if to remind me that nothing lasts forever, least of all summer, so I better keep pedaling.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

At the end of the week.

I'm on spotify listening to Amy Winehouse (like everyone else on spotify, probably), but I'm listening to old b-sides from her first record--it appears to be mostly demos. I can't get over how different she sounded back then. Fresher, less affected, healthier voice, so much finesse. I wish you were all listening to it with me right now. Everybody saying she was a one-hit wonder, or not such a great talent, needs to STFU.

There's another thunderstorm going on right now. I used to try not to blog about the weather, but this entire year has been wild and it's one of those external factors that affects my (and everyone else's) mood in a huge way. At one point in the past week, Moorhead, MN was literally the hottest/most humid place on the planet. That's up by Fargo, dontcha know. In other words, really fucking far north. As for the Twin Cities, the air has been thick, heavy, and sweaty, and I've been living in climate control. I get antsy, though. So I've been running and biking in some serious heat, and lord have I sweated. I try not to complain, but you know: we had 40 below as well, so that's like a 160 degree spread up in here when you factor in the heat index and the windchill. How are we not all reeling all of the time?

This morning I was up early to go escort at the clinic. It was hot and sunny when I left, so I dressed for heat and slathered on sunscreen. Then as I stood downtown the wind picked up and everything went dark and the temperature dropped. I could see the weather swirling past overhead, between the tall buildings. The wind was blowing trash out of all the dumpsters and garbage cans and I watched a plastic bag get caught in an updraft and go swirling above the street, like the detritus in the Wizard of Oz cyclone scene. But the rain never really pounded down, which is good because you can't hide out in the doorway if you're escorting. Charlie the anti was there as usual, dressed in full raingear with his giant droopy bags of propaganda. One thing he does sometimes after yelling at women to watch their ultrasound is position himself near the windows, presumably so that whoever just went inside will look at him as they wait for the elevator, and he holds up this wee dolly--I don't even think it's an illustrative plastic fetus, just a tiny, caucasian baby that I'm sure is much appreciated by the diverse clientele--and makes sad Muppet face (or puppet mouth) while staring meaningfully into the window. And I look off to the side and laugh because the Muppet face KILLS me. And then I go inside and close the blinds.

Anyway, it started pouring as soon as I got into my car to scoop LA up for brunch when my shift was over. But then it was perfect outside when we were done with brunch. There was even a delicious coolness discernible in the breeze. Thanks, universe! So we snooped around a few NE boutiques, including one that was totally for arty ladies of a certain age. Who can spend $300 on artisanal linen overalls. And there I ran into a choreographer (arty lady of a certain age par excellence) who used to be my sister's teacher, and who I had JUST been talking about at brunch, which was weird--weird that I mentioned her in the first place, and weird that I saw her when I've literally never run into her anywhere in the cities, ever. I should work on manifesting something more useful to me than choreographers, right?

I think I manifested a kickstand earlier this week though. I woke up Monday morning thinking about how I need to put a double kickstand on my bike if I am ever to load the thing properly with groceries, and then when I got on the internet a Craigslist ad popped up in my feed listing a Civia double kickstand--in other words, the double kickstand made by the same company that made my bike. I don't even have a saved search for "kickstand"; why would I? I'm going to pick it up tomorrow morning.

Then I'm going to go visit my friend/mentor/former teacher Glenda, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer this week. This is cancer number three, for those of you who are playing along at home. Naturally when I got the news my first thoughts were of myself, and what a shite friend I've been the last six months. I never write, I never call, etc. I've gotten over my cheap self somewhat but when I finally got ahold of her yesterday, practically the first thing I said was "I hate that I'm calling you because you're in the hospital." Call the people you love, I guess is what I'm saying. Now I have to do some googling for her because I said I'd help with research about treatment. She's staring down the barrel of surgery because I don't think she can handle chemo or radiation. She'd unintentionally lost 120 pounds in the last several months leading up to this, which should have alarmed the hell out of somebody. I can't imagine.

My folks are leaving for their annual Montana trip this week, so I might try to see them tomorrow too. Just drive all over the cities (I'm not biking 10 miles to pick up the kickstand, then 25 to visit G, then 20 to see the parents, hail naw). They're going to take a circuitous road to camp and luxuriate in some hot springs and at some breweries on the way. My mom has contrived to end up in hot springs on many of her birthdays in recent years, and this year won't be an exception. It all sounds dreamy, and makes me want to get out of town. My car AC is on the fritz, which has been unpleasant in this weather, I can tell you, but it's meant driving with the windows down, with my left arm hanging out the window and flapping in the breeze. I can hardly think of anything else that makes me want to hit the road and head north more than that.

I'll try to content myself with some long bike rides around town and hope that I get conducive weather.

Did I mention I did karaoke on a schoolnight this week? Monday was my friend Leah's birthday eve and she and her neighborhood mom friends picked me up in someone's giant luxury SUV for the festivities. I got to sing "Easy Lover," a longtime desire, and crossed it off the crazy list in my little notebook. I should really scan those pages to show you. I discovered that I have written FOREIGNER, emphatically, on two different pages. One page is just entitled "Party Killers" and has all the sad sack songs you would only sing on a typical Monday night at about 9:45, like "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "Nothing Compares 2U." But this Monday was hoppin'! People were killin' it, and not in the party killer way. The Vegas has a great mix of people who are serious closet rock and/or country stars, people who just like to sing, and then drunk people destroying everything that is good about music (in a fun way). I closed out my portion of the night singing Cee-lo's "Fuck You," which is as super-fun to sing as you are imagining. SO FUN. Also, a woman my age who I did not know and who had just had back surgery showed us her bandaged incisions and, incidentally, her entire bare ass, in the bathroom.

As I often say, I still know how to party.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Next up.

Ten more days to think of a new monthly self (or whatever) improvement project. I just found this list, which I think I brainstormed while on hold, on my desk at work.
  • ARMS: truly, this would have to be a lifelong strengthening endeavor.
  • ADVENTURE! would be hard, and probably mostly confined to weekends.
  • BROWN BAG involves bringing lunch to work every single day. I already do this 80% of the time, so maybe this one isn't that interesting.
  • MORNING PAGES. I have done this Artist's Way thing before, and mostly it felt burdensome because I was already writing in so many other places. Still.
  • SUGAR FREE. Low impact because I mostly don't eat it.
  • RAW til DINNER: a thousand times easier in the summer.
  • JEWELS. Y'all, I have so much shit in my jewelry-making stash. JEWELS would be about making stuff with it. Hard to do with cats who are intrigued by all my projects.
  • MENU PLAN! Honestly, I can't even fathom doing this on a daily basis. Making meals out of whatever is around is one of my superpowers.
  • SPANISH. Learn it.
  • PRESERVES: buy excessive stuff at the farmers market and figure out how to put it up.
  • BIKE (daily)
  • UP & AT EM: get up early every day, which also means go to bed at a reasonable hour every night.
  • YOGA (daily)
  • KEGELS (daily)
  • SERENITY NOW! Meditation.
  • PEARLY WHITES is so low-key, I should do it in conjunction with another project. It just involves putting this Paula's Choice 2-minute teeth whitener on my toofs every day. Whitener and Kegels! The most surreptitious project of all.
  • SLEEEEEEEP I don't know what I meant by that. Maybe just get enough sleep? That would be worth doing.
  • NaBloPoMo, sometime in the future. I think that's November, right?
  • WEB LITE. The more I think about web-lite, the less I think it would boost my productivity. Though if I went web-lite at work, my days would change drastically (not for the better). Also, it must be spelled "lite," obviously. 
  • WARDROBE OVERHAUL. I think I made some dopey thrifting choices a few months ago. I seem to have a lot of stuff that doesn't match other stuff. There are too many mornings that I stand around in my closet wearing one half of an outfit and trying fruitlessly to complete it. Getting in there and making some outfit lists and getting rid of some stuff is a high priority. And then I could have a naked lady party.
  • THESIS is the one I have to do. Siiiiiiiigh.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stuff I did last week.

I have been pretty asleep at the wheel where CLEANUP is concerned, but today I came out with my big guns blazing and cleaned the shit out of the kitchen. Like, I removed everything, scrubbed all the surfaces, and then rearranged it all. It took pretty much the entire day, with a few breaks, and it also included cleaning and sorting plastic bags, which I hate doing. Then right at the end as I was cleaning under the sink, I discovered that something, somewhere is leaking a small amount, enough to make everything under the sink gross if left unchecked. So then I had to clean more. But I pretty much made up for all the days I didn't clean something extra.

On my breaks from cleaning I read the advice column at the Rumpus, which is called Dear Sugar. There was an interview with the currently-anonymous columnist somewhere online this week and I got intrigued and read one of her recommended posts, and then I cried. Not every post is like that, but most of them are. The writing is beautiful and the advice is righteous. And there's a whole backlog of them to read through! What a treat.

Today it was 104 with a heat index of 120. When I got up this morning the windows were already fogged up on the outside, from the humidity. I decided right then that I would not leave the house. I went outside once to look around and broke out in a sweat just standing there. It's supposed to be pretty hideous all week, so I better resign myself to sweating it out because I have bike rides to take and runs to do.

Yesterday I drove across the Minnesota River to give myself the "treat" of running on a dirt trail for a change. I had been noodling around down there on my bike last week and found a sort of clandestine trail entrance to a state park, and filed it away for later because I do love a secret trail. What my dumb ass failed to consider is that there had been torrential thunderstorms the night before I set off running, and that the river valley might not be the smartest place to hit the dirt trails under the circumstances. It was not the smartest place. It was pretty dumb, actually. Giant swaths of the trail were completely washed out, trees were down, there were mini-lakes next to the river, and I got dive-bombed by a bat in a tunnel. That fucker was swooping back and forth like a video game trap that you have to avoid and I totally ducked and sprinted, feeling like Mario. Anyway, I had to bag it after 5 minutes and go up onto the paved bike trail across the highway, but it was beautiful and no one was really out and there was a gorgeous blazing red-orange sun to my right. I may have stared at it a little too much.

A remarkable thing is that my left calf had been all spazzed out since my last run, despite much rest and stretching, and even with the tightness and ouchiness I managed to get my half hour in anyway. It's remarkable because I am sooooo not one to persist through pain--I'm talking garden variety pain and not yo you're about to break your foot pain. I took it super-easy at first and finally felt warmed up and okay after a mile, and I settled into a rhythm that I tried really hard not to notice. I find as soon as I notice that I'm comfortable running, the feeling evaporates. Anyway, these are the tiny things that I cling to, the things that give me hope that I will one day knock out 5 miles with no problem. I do need new running shoes though. The FiveFingers are about to bust through, and I'm thinking about moving over to something less gorilla-ish.

It was a good week. Lots of biking, lots of time with various friends, lots of time with my friends' fresh delicious baby, with some good food and beer along the way. Thursday I took a sick day and (I think) headed off a cold at the pass. So far, so good, anyway. Friday night I got to see a professional dance company perform a piece my sister Molly choreographed, and that was an awesome highlight because she is so, so good and previously only students had performed her work. Not that they are MERE students, but you know what I mean. I watched the series finale of Friday Night Lights and, predictably, I cried. Now maybe I can get rid of dumb Hulu Plus.

In the coming week, I would like to eat more green vegetables. I sure as hell am not going to cook anything.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Throw your hands up at me.

I wrote about half of a great post about my 4th of July bike ride before blogger did some f-ed up shit and I lost the whole thing. Obviously I was irritated and I gave up, so now it's been many days and the immediate afterglow of the ride has subsided and I am in fact overdue for another long ride now. Here's a hot tip: if you have aspirations of doing anything on a Saturday, maybe don't go for brunch and bloody marys. You'll have to go home and nap, and next thing you know it will be time to go see your nephew be a flying monkey in The Wizard of Oz (true story).

The 4th of July was clear and blazing hot, but tons of people were out riding (as they are most days in the Twin Cities). Minneapolis has many lakes, as you may know, and most of the major ones are part of a chain of lakes connected by trails (and other waterways). From where I live, it's a few blocks to the nearest lake--it's not technically part of the chain but it's connected to the other lakes by a creek that runs through the entire city. The creek is so high right now that people are tubing down it--I saw a lot of that on the 4th.

This is what the lake and surrounding park near my house looks like:

Luscious grass:

Once I'm on my lake trail I can take the creek all the way to the Mississippi and then ride that trail along the river--which is how I get to work--or I can take the creek trail the other way and connect to the chain of lakes. A lot of that trail looks like this:


I also threw caution to the wind and made a barf-inducing handlebar video of the creek trail. Pardon my not-quite-accurate use of "in spate":

And here's how a lot of the lake trails in Minneapolis look. This one is at Lake Harriet:


This one shows the street, the bike trail, and the pedestrian trail. Sometimes the pedestrian and bike trails combine, but mostly there are dedicated areas for wheel traffic and foot traffic.


On the chain of lakes riders can snake north to pick up a few long trails that provide a straight shot out to the suburbs. These were built either on existing railroad lines or on proposed light rail routes and are less picturesque, generally--they go through neighborhoods, yes, but also through the backs of industrial parks. One of the trails I rode on the 4th is billed as "America's first bicycle freeway," which might be overstating the case, but it is pretty cool nonetheless.

A lot of this was ground I hadn't covered before. I don't think I'd ever even been around Cedar Lake in my life, for one thing, and certainly hadn't been on that bike trail. I've never biked to the western suburbs, either, but it was fun. At some points along the northern spur of the "bike freeway," people's backyards basically open out onto the trail, and one neighborhood association has made sure that all the plantings look beautiful. Adorably, one homeowner had run the garden hose out to the trail with a sign staked into the ground that says "WATER IS ON," so people can fill up their water bottles. Not too long after I passed that sign, there was a little boy selling lemonade for 50 cents a cup. Obviously I stopped for a drink, and obviously I told him to keep the change. About 6 other cyclists rolled up right after me and told him the same thing, so I think he was doing booming business out there.

It was a good day for fellow-feeling. Every time you stop on a bike, people make conversation. There were all kinds of people and all kinds of bikes out on the trail--one excellent specimen was an older shirtless dude in jorts and a trucker hat riding a beautiful old black Schwinn with chopper-style handlebars on it. That's as it should be. These trails are a gift and they are there for everyone to use, just like the lakes and parks are.

Also, once you get out to Hopkins, Pizza Luce rises up like an oasis right on the trail, and it has this genius configuration where you can be sitting outside on the patio, yet at the bar. You're in the shade, getting blasts of A/C every once in awhile, being served by bartenders inside the restaurant, and able to engage in excellent trail-watching (that's where I saw the jorts guy). I sat there and had pizza and beer in the middle of the afternoon after 20 miles of my ride, watching some bullshit on ESPN, knowing that my own power would get me home on my own schedule.


I was hoping to do another long ride this weekend but was thwarted by a late night Friday (excellent wedding/reception with a karaoke band; I sang "I Will Survive"), the aforementioned brunch Saturday morning, and then general plans with family because my brother and his wife are in town for a week. There was never any time for a long ride if I wanted to eat and sleep. What I did do instead was attempt my second "run 25 minutes without stopping" workout in 90 degree heat today, after biking around the lake as a warmup. Y'all, I dieeeed. I had to take two breaks, each less than a minute, but each deeply necessary so as not to get heat stroke. I think I just panted in the shade when I paused ("I totally paused!"). The run wrecked me, energy-wise, for the rest of the day. Also, I have a blood blister on the ball of my foot, which is gross (so obviously I had to share it with the internet). I hope the next 25 minute outing is better.