Saturday, May 31, 2008

May Posts

May 26, 2008
Another six
Another 6 mile bike ride last night as I rode to and from our picnic in the park. I was quite surprised to see it was that far, it felt more like 4!
No pictures from yesterday, I recently had a photo disaster (Hey Jackie, can you come back from England for another photo shoot?) so my camera is in a time out (It was totally my fault, but I don't like to take the blame)
Here is the only photo that turned out from that day:

Here is what the majority look like out of the camera:

such a lovely BLUE mess, eh?
After working it to death I still get this mess:

This one looks better because I added a super cool frame that I was put on to by SDAFUSE. Thanks girl!

sad thing is, my mom was counting on my camera because hers was out of battery life.
Posted at 11:31 AM Comments (5) TrackBack (0)
May 24, 2008
A Week on the Grand Round
It's beautiful here. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are known as the metropolitan area with the most per capita bike commuters. Who knew? But after spending three days on various parts of our bike system I can certainly see why it is worth the effort in our, shall we say "variable" weather?

This sign was something I passed several dozen times this weekend. It signifies a 50.1 mile bike only trail that runs around a pretty decent sized chunk of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I've always thought it foolish to pack up your bikes and drive to a bike route when I have perfectly good sidewalks and streets in my own neighborhood. But this week I wanted to see what I was missing, and now its all clear. In my neighborhood there are some pretty decent, quiet streets to bike. But almost none of them are flat. In fact, you can't leave my apartment in any direction without encountering a hill within the first mile. They are everywhere. And in terms of having a nice LONG bike ride, it is easier for me to maintain a more steady effort, rather then pumping up hills and cruising down the other side.
On Tuesday, I decided to see how far I could run. I have a dear friend out in New Hampshire that is trying to get out here to see me, and she is a RUNNER! She has now run countless 5 and 10ks, and 3 half marathons. If she comes out here I know she's gonna want to run with me, and I wondered, just how far can I go if pushed? Well, I can't say I ran the whole time, but I did go 7 miles on Tuesday. Here is my lovely route:

I really pushed myself too far, and by the end of Lake Harriet I could barely ambulate, much less run, but it felt good to push my limits. It was a perfect day and there were plenty of colorful sailboarders out on Calhoun and such beautiful little waves on Lake Harriet. The gardens are starting to bloom, and as I made my way past the amphitheatre the musicians were warming up for a concert. At Lake Calhoun I passed the lakeside restaurant and nearly keeled over from the lovely smells of food cooking. It was such a wonderful, if painful and LONG run (I don't even want to tell you how long it took me to go 7 miles...a LONG time!)
Wednesday was left for recovery, and I was pleasantly surprised that I felt really good.
On Thursday, Andrew and I met up at my friend Martha's house in St. Louis Park, a suburb directly north of us about 8 miles, and left from her house to catch another piece of the great dedicated bike trails that run through the heart of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis has smartly repurposed old railroad routes, which are already set up to bypass most traffic routes, and turn them in to dedicated biking "freeways". There are few exits and entrances and the trails are smooth as silk and well marked. Most importantly? They are FLAT. Going Andrew's speed, I hardly had to pedal at all! We met up with the Lake of the Isles trail, a lovely paved path that circles the circuitous Isles, surrounded by multimillion dollar estates. We took a short detour half way around the lake to reward the hard working Andrew with an ice cream cone. I think Martha was less than thrilled with the speed the little 8 year old generated, but I was pleased as punch with how well he held up on this 10.5 mile ride! Getting to and from the ice cream parlor involved a treacherous hill, but we were soon back on the pleasant, flat paved path around the lake and back to the dedicated trail to St. Louis Park. The weather again was just stunning, sunny and beautiful, a slight breeze to keep us cool, the temps hovering right at 70.
Friday we took another rest break and just played at the park with friends.
Today we all three headed to Lake Nokomis, the closest in the chain of lakes to our home. Scott and Andrew wished me a nice ride and headed over to the dock to do some fishing. This was my final route although my original plans were a bit different:

I wanted to try out more of the eastern portion of the beltway, so although my original plan was to circle Harriet, Calhoun and Isles and then head back on the eastern side of these lakes, I instead headed straight east from Calhoun, then cut down on Portland for a faster shot to the starting point. (As the boys had called and fishing was a bust.) What is so wonderful about these rides is the scenery. Each part of the trail is set up so that biking involves a minimum of interaction with traffic (must trails are off street and either go over or under cross streets to minimize intersections) and a maximum interaction with the natural beauty of our fair cities. I wound around lakes studded with flowering trees, coasted alongside creeks with gardens and statues and lovely bridges being passed under by families in canoes and kayaks, and on the bigger lakes watched the sailboarders dance across the surface and the dogs catch frisbee's and the families cooking mouthwatering steaks and playing volleyball. I also always enjoy looking for couples on first dates: this is what Scott and I did on our first date and I love seeing the awkwardness mixed with possibilities and remembering back.
A lovely week with 40 miles overall of running, biking and walking. Can't wait for what next week will bring!
Posted at 10:20 PM Comments (2) TrackBack (0)
May 23, 2008
Bike Riding Fools!
Yesterday Andrew, Martha and I rode our bikes from her house, which is conveniently located right by a lovely bike trail, around Lake of the Isles, into Kenwood for an ice cream cone and back to her home again.
Total mileage? check it out here
I'm so proud of that little man.
Later that same day I met up with mom and her friend Jackie from England, and we walked around Lake Harriet and through the Peace Garden there.
I thought I'd be crippled today but I feel great. Ready for another bike ride tomorrow!
Posted at 10:12 PM Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
May 22, 2008
Vinny tagged me, and although I don't usually play tag, Vinny is new to blogging and I want to encourage her to keep it up, so I'm playing along this time!
Here are the rules:1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.2. Share 4 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.see jagged edge here as if part has been torn off thus eliminating my need to tag others...
Here are my four random facts:
I despise television, but still sneak episodes of Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor on the internet
I am not fond of PDC, or Public Displays of Celebration...weddings, parties, graduations...ugh!
I've recently discovered I don't really need any friends...its even nicer to just enjoy them for fun!
Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I play neopets games and feed my sons pet so it won't die.
There you go Gina!
Posted at 04:31 AM Comments (4) TrackBack (0)
May 21, 2008
We are a wee bit more Scottish here these days...
Betcha didn't know that Scotland doesn't have a national anthem. Nope. Here is a song song since the 60's by The Corries that is proposed as the national anthem.
Flower of Scotland
O Flower of Scotland,When will we see,Your like again,That fought and died for,Your wee bit Hill and Glen,And stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.
The hills are bare now,And autum leaves lie thick and still,O'er land that is lost now,Which those so dearly held,And stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.
Those days are past now,And in the pastThey must remain,But we can still rise now,And be the nation again,That stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.
Yes, Saturday last we FINALLY got to the Scottish Fair and Highland Games that we have wanted to attend for about 10 years! Now you may be asking, why would an Irish/Swedish/Romanian woman and a SMITH man want to attend a Scottish event. Scott and I have been fond of Scotland for many years, and we both wish to travel there some day. We have enjoyed all five seasons of Monarch of the Glen and Braveheart is one of Scott's all time favorite movies. Little did we know how the third member of the family was going to affect our interest!
Andrew and I headed out with Ronan, Park and Julie. Park and Ronan are Armstrongs, one of about 20 recognized official clans of Scotland. Ronan has a closet of kilts, so he lent one to Andrew, and we were on our way. Scott joined us later in the day after some sleep. We had an absolutely delightful time. The Highland games mainly consist of big men in kilts throwing really heavy things either far or high. Imagine trying to single handedly throw a 20 foot tall, 20 inch wide telephone pole so hard that it would flip end over end. Imagine throwing up to 60 pounds over 20 feet in the air. These are TOUGH guys. In skirts,if you will.
I was in heaven.
Then there were bagpipes.

And sheep herding dogs. The calling of the clans was so awesome!

We stayed until we were all so tired and sick we could hardly stand...and I havent' been able to get Andrew out of the kilt ever since. He dresses before I get up at 7am. He LOVES his kilt and sporran. So we bought him another and bought a new one to replace the one from Ronan that I can't get off of him.

So please remember when you see him, its not a skirt, its a kilt. He's very proud of it.

He was quite certain he had to have Scottish blood in him, so I set about trying to find a possible link. For the time being, we are assuming we have some link with Clan Cameron. So if you see him, don't argue that point please! He wanted to be linked to Clan Gunn, thought they were the coolest one, but I had no luck!
Posted at 11:32 PM Comments (4) TrackBack (0)
So much is passing me by...
I keep wanting to do a big post so as not to forget anything that has happened, but seriously, I never have time!
Last Wednesday we went to the Bass Ponds on the river for our final Minnesota Valley Preserve class. Mara and the other naturalist there are so awesome with the kids. We spent some time scooping up all kinds of tiny critters in the ponds, the boys had things that even Mara was excited to see, and Andrew got to lead an example of how to "key out" specimens because he had done such a good job on his own findings.
Then we spent the second hour with the binoculars, looking for the larger wildlife that hangs out at the ponds. We saw a blue heron, a muskrat and plenty of turtles, geese and ducks.
Later that day Andrew and Scott went back for some fishing. No bites, but they had a good time.

On Thursday we had our final class at Westwood Nature center. It was on Decomposers, and the day was perfect. Greg , the naturalist there is great about knowing what the kids need, so we spent alot of time running around, lifting heavy logs, digging with sticks and the like. We found many cool mushrooms and little bugs and worms, and as we were leaving, two doe and their fawns were feeding right beside the trail and really weren't spooked by us much.

Its hard to believe it, I know, but Friday was ANOTHER nature center class, this one at Woodlake. We did some resource management, and after taking a pledge to rid the woods of harmful invasive plants, we set out to KILL THE BUCKTHORN!
The kids LOVED this and it was very easy to tell the buckthorn from other plants and trees. A little boy just doesn't have more fun than being told its okay to pull out a 10 foot tall tree! Because they have fairly shallow roots buckthorn is easy to pull up. I had to drag him away at the end, he really didn't want the class to end!
But we had to leave so we could get ready for our concert downtown in Minneapolis! We had free tickets to the Orchestra Hall concert friday night and we headed to Brits first for a true english meal. It was hopping so we sat inside right by the door! So fun to watch the wide variety of people coming in and out. We love downtown. Then we walked around downtown and let Andrew play on the plaza while we drank coffee. Finally it was time for the concert, Schuberts 4th symphony, and we all thought it was over too soon!

here we are at Brits, the waiter didn't bother to wait until I was looking...oh well!
Now Saturday, that was a lifechanging event...more on that later!
Posted at 11:11 PM Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
May 19, 2008
Blues in the Night
Scott took me on the dreamiest date yesterday, here is a little YouTube video about it, doesn't do it justice at ALL, but you get a peek!
Posted at 06:25 PM Comments (3) TrackBack (0)
Post 600 and its a doozie!
So this is it! Finally! My 600th post!
Here is my first post:
August 06, 2005
Bandwagon Jumper
Me, two months ago: Blogs are so stupid! Who would ever read those? Weird!
Me, one month ago: So, did you see what was on Cathy's blog last night? And if you click over to Tara's, you learn all about the next event. I can't believe Karen feels that way about dogs, that is just what I was thinking! Man, I love reading blogs, but I sure as heck would never have one! That's just weird to post your innermost thoughts on the web!
Me, yesterday: Honey, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna start my own blog. I think it will be so fun!
So as you can see, I didn't originally think I'd like blogging, but nearly three years and 600 posts later I guess I can say I'm hooked!
The last two weeks have been INSANE and FUN like you can't believe!
We celebrated Minnesota's 150th birthday by going to the history center and viewing the Minnesota150 exhibit with our homeschool group. Its a wild and wooly group but we love 'em. Here is a few of the boys waiting for the tour to start.

They were all so wiggly, its definately spring in their little bodies!
We had a special treat the following Friday. Mom reminded me of the Wagon Train that was heading from Eastern Minnesota to downtown St. Paul over the course of the week leading up to the big celebration of the MN150 at the capitol. Between the two of us we tracked down their route and then Lisa joined us and we set out to find them. We hooked up with them in Hastings and got some great shots, then followed them for about an hour (at a top speed of 5mp) and got some more photos at a rest stop they took. It was exciting to be in the horse world again for a little while, to talk to the owners, to see the different types of wagon's and hear stories. It was really telling to see how slowly the train moved...and this on good roads and a set course. Back at the forming of the country there were no street signs and well maintained roads to take, imagine the streams they had to cross and the other perils they encountered...very interesting!

Erin encouraged us to meet her at the Festival of Nations, and I'm so glad she did! We have been wanting to try it for years, and just kept missing it. We had a great day there and were surprised to find Andrew's circus coach inside a Ghir (Yurt) talking about her native country Mongolia. She is such a wonderful person. Andrew loved the festival so much and can't wait to go again next year. We tried all kinds of interesting food, enjoyed the music and dancing and visiting dozens of booths from all over the world.

Next up was the Twins Game, Andrew's first. Lisa had gotten the tickets through work, and Dave, Lisa, Andrew, Scott and I all went. Andrew fell in love with baseball. He said outside the game while we were playing around out on the plaza that he thought he would find the outside pregame more fun than the actual game, but once we were inside he was loving it. He asked many questions about the game itself and was very excited. I hope we have an opportunity to go again.
It used to be you could take the family for a reasonable amount of money, but in
the ten years since I've been at the games the prices have skyrocketed. We'll watch for some deals!
We are starting to enjoy our favorite local park, Moyer. It has a creek and a wide walking path and is just so lovely. The creek is high right now because of all the melting snow, and the men challenged themselves to a walk across a log before we had a picnic lunch. Then we built little fairy houses and biked back home. Such a fun place to be a kid!

Okay, that was just two weeks ago! I haven't even hit the past week yet, but I think that is enough for one post. We love spring and I am enjoying the lack of allergies that usually knock me out for several weeks each spring. More to come soon!

Posted at 04:18 PM in Current Affairs Comments (2) TrackBack (0)
May 06, 2008
Will Return after these messages
Turns out that with God inspiring, friends calling, weather stunning, family seeking, scrap happening, work beckoning that blogging loses its place in line.
Hopefully inclement weather will return soon, and I'll be able to post something meaningful for my 600th post!


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