Thursday, December 20, 2007

wrapping with maps.

map box

I have this conflict with wrapping paper. I love meticulously wrapped presents and can spend lots of time in fancy paper stores. I also hate how inherently wasteful the process is, both monetarily and in actual paper waste. You can spend a lot of time and money making something look pretty, only to have it torn apart in seconds, leaving a pile of paper that can rarely even be recycled. (Or in my case, you carefully open any present with superior paper, in the hopes that you might use it later but you never ever do, are you kidding yourself?)

Maybe I haven't mentioned this here, but anyone who knows me knows I love maps. My shower curtain is a map, I have a map under plexiglass on my coffee table, and I collect them whenever I have a chance. I especially like old maps with countries that don't exist anymore, so I of course jump at the chance to grab any old atlases that are about to be thrown out at school.

The last atlas I got is relatively large, and I've been cutting out map pieces to decorate postcards and such. But at the rate I'm using it will be with me for years, so I have a new plan: map wrapping paper! Alright, so it's not super Christmasy. BUT it is pretty, it's reusing old things instead of throwing them away, and it's maybe teaching people geography while they get gifts. (maybe.) I wasn't even sure of what to wrap yet, so I made one of those gift wrapped boxes that stay wrapped forever, which is nice in and of itself. It's the gift box that keeps on giving!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

coat conundrum, part 2.

About a week ago, I ordered this coat from J. Crew. I had a 20% off code for the night only, I could get it in tall aand with thinsulate, so it seemed like the right thing to do. When it finally arrived, I put it on, looked in the mirror and sighed. It just wasn't right. I wasn't sure why, but it wasn't good. I whined to friends online who assured me that it probably wasn't that bad, why not take a picture and show us? So I did, and the results were the same: something was off with the fit. I sighed some more, promised to return it, and quickly deleted any pictures posted. For some reason, I felt embarrassed that I had bought a bad coat, even though it's not my fault! The pictures were cute! Other coats in the store were cute! How did this one go so wrong?

So, we're still on the lookout for the perfect coat that doesn't exist. I did move one of the buttons on my formerly way-too-boxy tweed thrift store coat to give it a little more shape. It's not fabulous, but better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the side effects of winter: part 1, the gym.

The winter this year has turned me into a total baby. I can't stand the cold, and I don't have enough layers to keep me warm wherever to go. The cold weather has even driven me to a horrible thing: joining the gym.

The thing is, I'm a runner. I step out the door and go. It's free (save the cost of apparel and shoes) and fast and it works. And I could run the same route four times a week and not get bored because there's always different people and different cars and different light. But this just doesn't happen in the cold, when it gets dark at 4:30, when there are unplowed sidewalks all over the place. So, the gym I went.

There is the good and the bad. The bad is mostly that I'm moving but I'm not going anywhere, that the scenery never changes, and that I have to pay for all of this. Something seems wrong with that. The good is that it's not cold, I can sort of read the New Yorker on the elliptical (which is also better for my knees), and can catch conversations like this:

(scene: locker room, where the girls swim team had just finished practice)

Girl 1 (presumably Nina): Someone left the shower on!
Girl 2: Nina I can hear you!
[Nina returns from showers]
Girl 2: Did you turn the shower off?
Nina: Uhhhh....[turns around to amend the situation]
Girl 2: (in a sing-song voice) Nina, turn the shower off because that wastes water which causes global warming which makes the glaciers melt!

(Cute, but I think I'll try to avoid the locker room around that time from now on.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Some random stuff, in numerical order.

  1. My new favorite blog is Strange Maps.
  2. I am making Christmas presents. Normally whenever I made something I immediately post pictures on flickr and blab about it, but no. Recipients of the gifts could be reading this! (Note: they largely don't, but they could.)
  3. Though I did make a bib for my niece and decided she needed to have it right away.
  4. Sometimes I get flustered because I want to make things for myself instead of other people. Such as this purse made from old pants.
  5. Not to mention, something about the holidays makes me want to buy tons of things for myself.
  6. Pictures of Christmas cupcakes, you say? Try here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

coat conundrum.

With the first major snowfall expected to arrive this weekend, it's time to face the facts:
  • Winter is here.
  • It was 10 degrees today.
  • I am pretty much always cold.
  • I don't like muttering "fuck" every morning when I head out the door.
  • The last time I spent more than $50 of my own money on a coat was..well, never.
With all of these in mind, I figured now is the time to spend some hard earned money on a coat that is cute and warm. And hell, it's even okay to splurge a bit because coats are important in Minnesota.

Sounds easy, right? No. The problem is simple: cute coats are rarely warm. Coats built for warmth are always lacking just a bit in fashion. They look similar enough, but something is off and you can tell at first glance.

But I was (am?) determined. I started looking at J. Crew, and found some promising coats that I wouldn't want to buy without at least trying a few on. Which is how I ended up at the Mall of America tonight strutting around the store in this:

Yes, it's very cute. It's green and adorable and it feels like it is made out of NOTHING. And so I very sadly put it back on the rack and sighed, and moved on, emboldened to find the perfect coat.

I stopped at Macy's and immediately walked past the grays, browns, blacks, and creams. I needed color and would not settle for anything less at this point. Okay, or maybe patterns, like in this one:

Maybe it was just me acclimating to the mall climate, but somehow this one felt warmer. And it is rather cute as well. But I still can't shake the fact that I would be paying what I used to pay on rent for a coat that just isn't that warm. Perhaps that's the sacrifice we all make: cute and cold, or warm and dowdy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

in praise of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday by far. It has everything a good holiday needs, and none of the extraneous stuff that cloud other holidays. The commercialism and crowds of Christmas are already starting to wear on me. New Year's Eve is fraught with the pressure of having the perfect party, the perfect bar, along with the perfect outfit to start the year out right. Valentine's Day...well, the idea is nice, but it tends to make the coupled feel guilty, and the single lonely. But Thanksgiving is only about family or friends and food. That's it. There's no need to worry about presents, or a lack of a significant other, or what shoes to wear. All I need to worry about is what vegetables to include when I roast a giant vat of them, and that's actually fun.

Things to look forward to: mashed potatoes with peas and carrots, stuffing with cranberry sauce, leftover turkey sandwiches, and a brand new niece who will most definitely be mauled by relatives.

Monday, November 19, 2007

a short list of things i used to be more afraid of.

  • Spiders.
  • Making my own salad dressing.
  • Foam soap.
  • Homemade tomato sauce.
  • Riding my bike on heavily trafficked streets.
  • Running outside.
  • High heels.
  • Make-up.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

you laugh too much at dumb jokes.

I was trying to keep an open mind about you, but something was off. My suspicions were confirmed when I made a silly joke of average to below-average hilarity. Now, most people would give a slight chuckle at the pun, and honestly, if they didn't laugh at all I wouldn't be offended. But you didn't stop at the polite chuckle, you laughed just a little too much. I think you may have even snorted in there. And after you finished laughing, you went into an analysis of why this really-not-that-funny-joke was so funny. It was already beyond dead, and you killed it two or three more times. Is this what you always do? A four minute recounting of everything that's only mildly humorous? Sounds exhausting.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

down with plastic bags!

The internet is both wonderful and embarrassing. On another, unnamed (and ahem, unlinked) site not unlike this one, I have maintained a blog type thing for over six years now. Six. Years. Now, most of it is locked and tucked away just in case some old friend stumbles upon it and wants to read my deep thoughts on the world and cute boys at house parties. Sorry, pal. While there is some embarrassment to looking through these old entries, a scant few stick out as being...okay. Such as this rant against plastic bags, written five years ago. I'm posting it unedited.

today the girl at the grocery store did not ask, "paper or plastic?" and before i knew it my $30 worth of groceries were in SIX PLASTIC BAGS. that's six more plastic bags that i can add to my ever growing pile of plastic bags. they invade my closet and even though i reuse them as trash bags, i cannot keep up with the influx of bags. they suck because unlike paper bags, they cannot be easily recycled along with normal paper products, nor can they be used as wrapping paper, or any other useful purpose one could think of. they are so flimsy that baggers often feel the need to DOUBLE BAG, which makes the whole situation worse.

the worst is when you buy something like a tube of toothpaste and the evil earth-hating clerk attempts to throw it in a bag as you dig for change in your wallet and in the midst you notice and say, very frantically, "no, that's ok, i don't need a bag" and they look at you as if you are insane because EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET LOVES FLIMSY, IDIOTICALLY STUPID PLASTIC BAGS THAT SERVE NO PURPOSE OTHER THAN TO TRANSPORT ITEMS TO YOUR NEXT DESTINATION. and although they are sometimes necessary for that, that doesn't mean i won't continue to abhor plastic shopping bags for as long as i both shall live. the end.

Why this trip down memory lane, you wonder? I'm thinking about getting some reusable produce bags. And it got me thinking about plastic bags in general, and how even though I'm using envirosax pretty religiously these days, I still feel a bit weird about it in some places. Although maybe this means I need to stop shopping at stores like Target and only go to the co-op, where my reusable bag sparks a conversation with the cashier. But really? Some things never change. I still hate plastic bags just as much as I used to, only now I have many more options to deal with it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

diy, for food and craft.


Sew, Mama, Sew (which I only recently discovered) is listing ideas for homemade holiday gifts all month long. Ack, what a fabulous idea! Of course, in order to finish presents by Christmas, I probably should have started them in...oh, I dunno, April?

One of the gift ideas that I would rather make for myself is this lunch bag. While trying to make sense of the directions, I managed to find a video on how to make a messenger bag out of plastic bags. Neat!


Inspired by this question [What cooking do you do diy?], I finally made my own granola using this recipe. It turned out pretty well and was so easy. I also am very intrigued by making my own yogurt, since I like to eat it a lot and I get mad at all the non-recyclable yogurt containers I have. So, that's something to think about.

Monday, November 05, 2007

food for fall.

The downtown farmer's market is officially over, which means I have little place to turn but the co-op (overall good) and the grocery store, where they individually wrap sweet potatoes in plastic for some godforsaken reason. Whatever. Given all of this, fall is prime cooking time. It's dark, it's cold, and what else is there to do? So, my favorite fall recipes.

No Knead Bread
This is all over, here's just one recounting of how to make it. I made it tonight and was sure it was going to fail - it was too wet, it was sticking to everything, but's delicious. I also figured out that it's much better without any wheat flour.

Vegetable Soup
I love this soup cause it's so free and easy. Get out a big pot and throw a bunch of stuff in. It's much better than all the recipes that expect me to know what two pounds of butternut squash looks like.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
Yes, Rachel Ray is annoying, but this recipe is yummy and astoundingly easy.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Everyone loves this, I kid you not. They make great muffins!

I ate too much soup and bread for dinner and feel like I am going to explode.

Monday, October 29, 2007

i am my own sweatshop.

I've only been to American Apparel a few times (we just got a local store), and every time I go I'm somewhat dazzled by the array of colors and the comfy knits. But there's always something a bit troubling about it at the same time, something that I can't always put my finger on. And although their stuff is not prohibitively expensive, it's just expensive enough to keep me from buying any of it, especially when it seems like I should be able to make something so simple myself.

Never fear though, as I am on my way. Here is my copycat version of the sheer jersey scarf:
jersey scarf

I'm sort of ashamed to say I even needed help coming up with this one, but I got the idea here. Let me sum up it for you:
  1. Find some stretchy and thin jersey cotton in a color you enjoy. (Really, this is the hardest part.)
  2. Cut it.
Et voila, a scarf! Now, American Apparel retails this for $15. Atrocious. I found clearance fabric for $1.50 a yard, and could probably make three scarves for less than $4 total.

Going back to American Apparel..I'm still a little confused as to why this girl has to model the scarf in 18 colors wearing a sheer tank top. There's nipple showing there! What the eff! (Yeah, this is probably why this place is a bit unsettling.)

Sunday, October 28, 2007


It took a short trip away from home and a beautiful descent into MSP for me to notice that fall was really here. The view from the plane was one of the best I've seen, with circles of yellow and orange amongst the green.

And part of me is worried that fall is almost over. I don't mind the end of winter, spring, or summer because they all bring wonderful seasons and changes with them. The end of fall signifies the end of a lot of good things - the farmer's market, longer days, leaves on trees, and decent weather. Winter tends to put me into a rut. Sigh.

Additionally, why is it cold everywhere I go?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

food will save the planet.

Although I tend to be wary of most trends, I'm okay with environmentalism being a trendy and hip thing right now. In fact I hope it becomes so trendy that the envirohipsters start rolling their eyes when hordes of unfashionable people commence to swinging their reusable bags at Target.

Going along with the current trend, I'm pretty amused by this site that claims eating peanut butter and jelly can reduce global warming. Now, I fully realize that vegetarian diets are better for the environment, but if you keep reading there's some sort of challenge to eat pb&j sandwiches as much as possible for two weeks. WHY? I guess because pb&j is marketable (the tofu campaign doesn't sell as well). And curbing global warming is marketable. And there you have it! Eat completely bland sandwiches forever even though there are many other veggie options for you that taste better. Though wait! It says to eat foods that use less pesticides and then this nytimes article says that peanuts use LOADS of pesticides!

Confused? Try reading The Green Lantern on Slate - this week, vegans vs. vegetarians! I like this column too, although I'm starting to think it's a lot of number crunching designed to make people feel less guilty.

Where am I going with this? I'm not really sure, but I find it intriguing how everything in the world is changing how people view food. It will be interesting to see if trends hang around, or if they just get kicked to the curb like most food fads.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


My flight to San Francisco leaves in about two in a half hours, and I am miraculously ready to go a whole 30 minutes before I need to leave! Amazing! And thus, I bring you links.

Gabe & Max's Internet Thing

Well thought out advice on how to use the internet for maximum benefits.

David Byrne likes the Blow!
Wow, that's a much better capsule of her live show than I could ever write.

Also, in case you're wondering, my love affair with butternut squash has not cooled down. In fact, it's so sizzling and hot it burned my mouth.

Okay, vacation! Wahoo!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

my first marathon.


The following is long, unorganized, possibly boring, and more for me than you. In fact, writing this was maybe more difficult than the marathon itself, and I feel a huge sense of relief knowing that it's finally done.

A lot of people have asked me why I wanted to run a marathon. Although there were a lot of reasons, they often escaped me in the midst of training. Somehow in the middle of everything it just became something I did. There were benefits, sure: I could eat whatever I wanted and still be thin, and not to mention the bragging rights. But there was also a lot of time and pain invested in the whole process.

It really started last year when I ran the 10 mile race at the Twin Cities Marathon. It was fun, but at the end I felt like I hadn't been challenged enough. I wanted to do more. And while I realized 26.2 miles is a lot more than ten, it was something I wanted to do at least once, just to say that I did.

In the week before the race, I started to get more and more nervous. I worried about the weather, leg cramps, or anything that would get in the way of me not being able to finish. I'd get anxious at work just thinking about it, and would have to change the topic if it were being discussed too long. It wasn't until Saturday night sometime, when I put on my running shorts and straightened my hair, that I started to calm down. It was an incredibly silly thing to do but somehow it relaxed and excited me at the same time. The marathon was coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it, nor could I control the weather, but it was going to be okay.

And the marathon did come. My friends and I wondered why we were so worried, after all, it was just running. Not a big deal at all! It was so hot and sticky we started sweating at the gates. It didn't take us long to realize that any time goals we might have had were about to be thrown out the window.

For me, the heat was sort of a mixed blessing. Since it was my first marathon, I couldn't think about how much better the weather was elsewhere. And it really solidified why we were there - not to finish at a certain time, but simply to finish. All we had to do was relax, and run. Sure, it was damn hot. At points I said, "We are running in a fucking sauna." So I adapted by pouring water over my head at every stop. I ditched my tank top somewhere past the halfway point. And I laughed when we crossed any splits (for instance, my half marathon split was almost 20 minutes slower than the one I finished in October). Eventually the sun went away and a breeze came out and I felt much more comfortable.

It's hard to talk about a 26 mile run because it's just so long. But overall, it went really well. All of the worries I had that my legs would fall didn't happen. I even felt like I had a decent amount of energy considering the heat..and the miles. Here's the crazy part - I had a good time. I was expecting portions of it to be really painful, to feel like I wasn't going to be able to finish, or just to have some other mental anguish. And maybe I was just in a continual state of delirium, but I had a really good time. Yes. I had fun running a marathon.

The crowds were fabulous. There were so many people out and in some sections it was like I was completely surrounded by people cheering us on. Some people dressed up, and I even hugged one person dressed as a chicken because my friend dared me to. Others gave out food (bananas, apples, candy, even beer) or were just encouraging (who doesn't like to hear they look gorgeous when they feel sweaty and disgusting?).

During the last six miles, we started to slow down and took a lot more walk breaks. I was okay with this. The end was definitely the slowest part, as evidenced by our splits. But at one point I remarked about how with every step we took, we had run farther than we had even run before. By the time we got to mile 22, 23 it was just a matter of going through the motions to finish. As we descended the hill by the Cathedral to the Capital, the last two tenths of a mile, it was almost as if my feet and my legs were moving but I wasn't moving them anymore - they just kept on going, controlled by inertia. We crossed the finish line just under 5 hours by the official clock, and at 4:53 according to our chip time.

Afterwards there was some recovery - I didn't really feel like eating and felt kind of crappy for much of the day later. The next few days involved walking slowly, cringing as I went down stairs, and lots of sleep.

I've been asked if I'm going to do another marathon, and my best guess is that someday, I will. But I'm not in any hurry.

Thanks to everyone for their support: my family for coming out to cheer me on (and also for sending flowers), Nick, Cassie, Kim, Julie, LaVonne, Niko, countless friends of friends, and everyone who cheered me on even if they couldn't be there.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


two days.

It's soon. It's really soon. It's a little over 48 hours away and I'm nervous.

To distract myself, I've been falling in love with butternut squash.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

seven minutes in heaven.

I try not to fall into the trap of the snooze bar. My alarm goes off too early and sometimes it's beyond too early even though it's the same time every day. And as I catch the NPR people talking about Burma Myanmar, again, for the sixth day in a row, I more minutes. My trusty dream machine is flirting with me, aching for me to touch it ever so gently. Come on, it says. You know you want to. Seven more beautiful minutes. You know being horizontal is so much better than vertical right now. I give in easily - why waste time on deciding whether or not to sleep more? That time could be spent sleeping! - and close my eyes. I open them four minutes later and think, three more minutes! Three more minutes of the best sleep of my life! Yet even before my time is up, I'm already awake. I glare at my alarm clock and get up, not about to be swayed again. I feel like the snooze bar has taken advantage of me, as I'm now going to be ten minutes later than usual and I feel not a minute less tired. I'm not falling for you sneaky ways again.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

khaela & miranda.

It only makes sense that Miranda July and Khaela Maricich (The Blow) are good friends and stage ridiculously quirky and charming interviews with each other. Of course it also makes sense that Khaela interviews her song instead of, well...I don't know what.

And it makes sense that instead of doing the dishes and picking my perfect outfit to wear to see The Blow tonight, I am reading interviews and updating this.

It makes sense that on the day I am to see Khaela play, I also returned the Miranda July book to the library. Although some of the stories were much better than others, when I finished it I felt kind of sad. It was that whole What am I going to read now? feeling. (The New Yorker? Gosh, the New Yorker is like a second job.) And it's sad to return a book when you meant to write down more quotes from it to remember it by. I only got one:

Past a certain age, they give up on the name games, which is regrettable for someone like me who loves anything that involves going around a circle and saying something about yourself. I wish there was a class where we could just keep going around the circle, around and around, until we had finally said everything about ourselves.

[From No One Belongs Here More Than You, by Miranda July]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

it's a little weird that you're so obsessed with squirrels.

You seem like a nice guy and all, and I hate to be the one to tell you this, but...well, here goes. It's a little weird that you're so obsessed with squirrels. Everyone has their interests, and sometimes quirky interests are endearing, but the squirrel obsession is a bit much. Sure, squirrels are kind of funny and entertaining, for a few minutes, but the average person's interest stops there. But not for you - you take pictures, you name them, you take some more pictures. It's like you don't realize that most squirrels look the same. What's even worse is that your obsession with photographing squirrels isn't a little-known secret on your hard drive, it's all over the internet, so anyone who comes across it knows you're crazy. Oh gee, I'm sorry. That's a little harsh. But it is a little weird, that's all I'm saying. Do you really want to be that guy who's obsessed with squirrels?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

home stretch.

On running:
The marathon is now only 18 days away. Eeek. We finished our last long run, 20 miles, on Saturday. We ran (and ran and ran and ran) and reminisced about how far we've come. Remember that awful 12 mile run way back in July? I'll spare you from going into the super cheesy bit about how proud I am of myself and yadda yadda. As crazy as it sounds, getting up early on Saturdays to run a for few hours has become pretty normal and almost addicting. That said, I'm really happy to be getting a slight break from it. Only 10-12 miles this weekend! Woo!

On reading:
I signed up for a MPR membership way back in June, partly because I had been meaning to for a while, but mostly because I wanted a subscription to The New Yorker. And FINALLY, it's here...just when I have no time to read it. Never mind that I'd go to the library specifically to page through it over the summer....but it's still lovely to have around. I'm also working on No One Belongs Here More Than You (Miranda July). It's good before bed stuff.

Fall is almost here, so I guess that means it's the perfect time to get a cold. So. Awesome.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The fleeting colors of summer are just a reminder of what's to come. I can't wait.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

open letters to food.

Dear Almonds,

You are so delicious, and yet you will prove to be the death of my bank account. I just can't help it. I always buy you from bulk bins for at least $8 a pound, and your goodness comes pouring out and before I know it, I've spent $11 on almonds that I can eat in a week! Why can't you be priced more like a peanut?

Yours for richer or poorer,

Dear Apples,

Sometimes I forget how delicious you are. I'm truly sorry for that. I also understand where the term "bad apple" comes from. But the apple I ate today, you are a good apple. I look forward to eating you while walking, because for some reason that is really fun. And sexy.


Dear Grilled Cheese with Sharp Cheddar,

You are possibly the most versatile sandwich in the world. You are good with mustard, you are good with tomatoes, you are good with avocado, and you are splendid with the aforementioned apples. Is there anything you can't do?


Dear Body,

Thank you for putting up with my many miles of running, which in turn lets me eat anything I want.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The problem with teaching is that you can prepare everything for the first day down to the minute, you can put on a cute outfit and actually wear makeup to work, and the end of it you can think to yourself, "well, that went pretty well." And it's not until 4:15, over 90 minutes since the kids left that you realize you still have the rest of the week, the rest of the month, the rest of the entire school year.

So, if any poor soul is wondering why this is never updated anymore, it's because I'm exhausted from working from 7-5 and then running afterward. Yawn.

I love it when my yahoo horoscope recommends that I exercise more. Hah!

Monday, September 03, 2007

aimless day.

The last day of summer, by my measurement, calls for bike rides to get brunch. It calls for biking fast down to the river. It calls for getting a mimosa with eggs even though that's a bit ridiculous. It does not call for my pedal falling off my bike on the way home. I could blame the situation on the less than stellar craigslist bike, but whatever, the story I'm sticking to is like this: DUDES. I biked so hard I broke my bike.

Other tidbits:
- I'm addicted to Scrabble on facebook.
- Running is sucking, and I miss it.
- Work, dear god. Goodbye, daytime internetting.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

half the distance, twice the fun! maybe.

One of my more hardcore running friends (aka my crazy running friend) invited me to do a half marathon last Tuesday. As I considered it, I thought, when did I become crazy? When did running a half marathon on a whim become a normal idea?

To make a long story short, I decided to go for it. I woke at 4:30 am yesterday to meet people at 5:30 to drive to Rochester together. They were all seasoned runners, and I was the newbie. I ran the race pretty much by myself, and really had no idea what I should expect for a finish time. That said, I was pretty happy when I crossed the line at 2:02:something (official times are still not online! Boo!).

Oh yeah, and then I ran the Milk Run 5k at the State Fair today. But after 13.1 miles, 3.1 is a cakewalk. Fine fine, a cakerun in which my legs felt verrrry tight.

So yes, on my last weekend before going back to work, I woke up at 4:30 on a Saturday, 6:30 on a Saturday, and willingly ran two races. Insane.

In other news, I hurt.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

raindrops on roses.

Some of my favorite things this week:

  • Homemade pizza. (Although be warned, it sounds impossible but there is such a thing as too much pizza.)
  • Colorful umbrellas. (You with the gray umbrella, what are you doing to help society? That's right, nothing! But you, oh you and your yellow flower umbrella, you make me smile.)
  • This blog. A song and a picture, every day.
  • "Wildcat" - Ratatat. "First Gear" - The Rapture. "Fireworks" - Animal Collective.
  • Finding candy in my purse that I forgot I had.
  • Being able to sleep comfortably under my comforter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

my domestic future.

I think that instead of going back to work on Monday, I should become a housewife. That's really what I am right now, except for that whole husband thing. Let's ignore that little detail, because after I paint this lovely picture I presume the suitors will come a running.

I can cook, and I can bake. I can make you a healthy lunch in a reusable lunch bag, and then have a meal ready when you get home. Nearly everything will be made from scratch, when possible. Cookies? All the time. Now, since I'm not working you will need to make a fair amount of money - all this fresh produce isn't cheap! Unless of course you buy a cute little house in the city and we can fill the backyard with a vegetable garden. Hell, let's get some chickens too.

If I start to get bored or depressed because I feel I have no purpose in life, I can volunteer! Just enough to maintain my sanity, but not so much so I can't attend to keeping our humble abode neat and tidy using only environmentally friendly cleaning products. I also have my sewing and craft projects as a back up career, but that could take some time to get started. In the meantime, you have a hole in your pants! Let me fix that, dear.

Sometime in the future we may wish to bear children or adopt. Perfect! I can make organic baby food and sew jumpers for the little ones. And by this point, I'll probably be bored enough to have taken up knitting. There will be booties, booties all over. As the kids get older, I can bring them around the neighborhood with my jogging stroller. I'll befriend other urban moms and we will have lunch and hopscotch dates.

By the time our young ones are ready to start school, I will have enough anecdotes to write a memoir on housewifery. It will sell many copies and the profits will go into college savings accounts. Doesn't life sound grand?

[Heh, I would probably go insane.]


Summer is melting, melting away and I was feeling guilty for not doing the millions of projects I intended to. It's never too late to start, right? So I made this purse. The pattern is from Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter, which is a cute cute book. I had some trouble with the directions and had to read them about twelve times, but then I figured out I was just overthinking things. (Overly Complicated Sewing doesn't have the same ring to it, y'know?)

One awesome thing about this purse is that it is made completely from scraps, which led me to dig in my fabric scrap box and find tons of other leftover goodies. Next up: napkins! (For the many dinner parties I intend to have...)

Monday, August 20, 2007

don't understand about the weather outside.

This weekend was rainy, cold, and felt oddly like fall. It was a fitting finish to my already depressing week, so I decided to relish in it.

On Saturday I went to the farmer's market, and was faced with the decision: drive, bike, or walk? Driving is lazy, biking is fast but offers no rain protection, and walking would be potentially miserable but at least I'd have an umbrella. I headed out on foot, wearing sandals on my poor blistered feet. It wasn't even raining that hard, but my umbrella was like a shield - I could cry under that thing and no one would be the wiser. For the record, I didn't. (Not that there's many people walking around downtown on a rainy Saturday to notice, anyway.) Instead of crying, I ended up singing with my headphones on the way home. Not quite happy, jumping, singing in the rain, but rather sad and lonely on the streets singing in the rain. And yet, after all of this - the cold feet, the lonely walk, the sagging jeans - I was much happier than earlier in the morning. I thought rain was supposed to be sad?

Then on Sunday my friend and I set out to run. The good news is that it was nice and cool. The bad news is that there was a slight drizzle, and when you have a slight drizzle for 16 miles, well, things get wet. EVERYTHING gets wet. It wasn't as bad as it sounds, just cold. And wet. Did I mention wet? I think my shirts weighed three pounds when I took them off. But at least we could say, "We are now officially hardcore." Oh yeah.

So that's my weather weekend. Is it seriously going to be like this all week? I'm about at my limit here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

skirts! for running!

So, I was emailing a friend about running this weekend and one of the google links on the side was about running skirts. I thought, "skirts? While running??" but was also very intrigued. And this is how I ended up at Some thoughts that went through my head as I explored:
  • "Girly-girl" style? Ah, HELL NO.
  • There's a whole side-tab designated for PINK SKIRTS? Oh god.
  • Well, okay, let's check out the design.
  • Kind of pricey, but HEY! THEY COME WITH POCKETS!
  • Hmm...skirts in action...oh man, cute girls in cute skirts RUNNING. I must have one.
And thus was the process of my semi-brainwashing. But really it makes sense. I like running. I like skirts. Put them together? RUNNING SKIRTS! Sort of genius.

(It's kind of sad though, that I don't buy anything except food, drinks, and running gear as of late.)

Oh god, now I'm looking at another site and it's so ridiculous. They're telling me to embrace my gorgeous wearing a running skirt. This ends now!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

my new friends.

Over a week ago I stopped by the park on my way home from the coffee shop, which I had to leave because it was too freaking cold in there. I planted myself at a shady table and worked on a stolen crossword puzzle and then continued to read my book. The park is close to the Y, and there were a group of kids wandering around having a bbq. It smelled really good.

As I'm reading, a group of boys, carrying plates of food, approached my table (hey, a shady table is prime park real estate) and asked if they could sit there. I said sure, and since my book was boring me I started talking to them, asking them where they went to school, what the camp was like, etc. Before long their counselor calls them back. I say, "Tell him you're not bothering me." They came back, and there was some confusion and I had to assure the counselor that I was cool with the kids.

The boys (who are in middle school) wandered back and forth, and at one point one came back and asked if I wanted a hamburger or hot dog. I took the hot dog and thanked him. He said, "Yeah, I thought it was rude of us to eat in front of you." Then he explained that they were all members of the Gentleman's Club. "Uhh..the what?" I asked innocently, though thinking of things too naughty for boys their age. But it was nothing of the sort, the Gentleman's Club is a club they joined after they passed a test about manners, and the bbq was their prize.

The whole encounter was super charming and made my day. I ran into one boy I was talking with this Monday. He called me "teacher." It almost makes me ready to go back to work.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


In case you haven't heard, a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River.

I was at Run n' Fun (in St. Paul) when the news started to break. There was a lot of confusion and disbelief in the store, until we started realizing that this is a big effing deal.

Of course, you know how sometimes you don't realize and you make stupid jokes? It takes some time to hit.

Now all most people can do is sit, watch the news, refresh the news sites, and wait.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

on training, ii.

Today was a 13 mile run. I went with friends who were going 11, so I parked a mile away from the meeting point to get my extra two miles in.

The run today was just...hard. It was hot. I wouldn't say I've gotten an ample amount of sleep in the past few days. I started out fine, being a cheerleader to my friends and trying to end any negative talk. But in the second half of the run, I was the negative nilly. My breathing was heavy. I started to whimper like a sad puppy at stoplights. A whiny voice in my head said, "I don't wanna run a whole marathon! I don't want to even run half!"

Somewhere a bit later, the breathing got easier but it was like my legs couldn't move. By this point we were going pretty slow. We passed a family on the sidewalk, who were of course taking up the whole thing with their strollers and what not. The guy had the nerve to say, "Come on, you can go faster than that!" It took a lot of strength not to say, "Shut up." Instead I just said, "11 miles," the tone implying, "Hey bunghole, talk to me when you've done the same." My friend smartly muttered "Fuck you" under her breath.

And after all of this, I somehow pulled it around on my last lone mile. It was slow, but not awful. The good news: next week, my long run is only ten miles. (haha. haha. What have I gotten myself into? I don't know either.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

master of what?

This AIM snippet pretty much sums up my week:

Me: god. grad school makes me whiny and crabby.
Me: don't i sound important?
Friend: oh yea.
Me: hahah
Friend: although it doesn't sound like it makes you charming.
Me: i don't need to be charming! i'm in grad school
Me: !!

6 more days until I am a Master, folks. Just you wait.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

on biking.

I have classes at the U this week and next, and after perusing my many options of getting there, I decided to try out biking. Well, it's been two days and I am exhausted. It's kind of hilarious, I'm training for a marathon and a 7 mile, relatively flat bike ride makes me feel as though I'm going to die? I feel rather pathetic slooooowly climbing a rather meager hill in the lowest gear possible while the smug spandex boys glide past me effortlessly. Hey, I know I look like I'm out of shape but I'm NOT! It's just these unformed biking muscles! You want to feel my rock hard quads? HUH?? ...My craigslist bike also leaves something to be desired, but it gets the job done. I'm thinking about a shiny new bike with more gears...but not now. Later, perhaps.

Class and biking have definitely ruined my training a bit, so tomorrow I'm taking the bus. The bus is expensive and slow but at least I can get some reading done. Hooray for transport adventures!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

clicky clicky.

Today is a good day for the internet. Yes, other days are bad. Sometimes very bad. Look what I found already!

Super cute Parisian girl at the Sartorialist
Even her cigarette is stylish! How is that even possible? (and omg, the shoes. the shoes.)

The World's Best Candy Bars? English, of Course. [NYTimes]
It's so true. I would eat a cadbury milk bar nearly every day and still managed to lose weight while studying in London. (Again, how is that even possible? Answer: lots of walking and soup. And chocolate.)

Is My Hybrid Turning My Kids Into Eco-snobs?
Funny. I don't know if it's just one of those selective observation deals or what, but I feel like I see Priuses everywhere now. While reading that I also confirmed an earlier discovery that my nytimes login, taken from bugmenot, is a New York Times SELECT ACCOUNT. Take that, New York Times! I am not thwarted by your little orange icons!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

food, once again.

My dear, it's been a whole week since I made my friends dinner and I have not told you all about it! (Don't you love that I write this as if I have more than 2-3 regular readers of this blog? Oh, you care, you person looking for "pictures of ______" in google! YOU CARE!)

One paragraph done and I'm already off track. Let's just get to the menu of dinner last week, which looked like this:
(you can click that if you want, and around it you'll find close-ups if you really care. Which I know you do, dear reader!)

Appetizer: Gouda and organic cheddar with no-knead bread and crackers.
Salad: Mixed greens with grapes, craisins, toasted walnuts and feta (with balsamic orange dressing).
Additional Salad: Beets, carmelized onions, and goat cheese. (oh my god, this was yummy. Also, half of my friends didn't like beets. More for me!)
Other thing: Yukon gold mashed potatoes with pesto.
Dessert (not pictured): fresh strawberries (really, we were all full).

So, I didn't really have a main course which I feel is fine. I thought I did a pretty good job at showcasing local produce and my friends were happy with the results. Success!

In other food news, I'm starting to realize how much fun this cooking from scratch thing is. I've always enjoyed cooking for myself, but cooking for myself hasn't been quite as labor intensive or creative since I started forcing myself to use seasonal produce. I can easily spend an hour constructing the perfect salad and vegetable side for lunch and be completely happy. I'm almost completely off of processed foods and feeling good. What's the problem? I will not have time for a lot of this when I have to work again in the fall - I will have 22 minutes to EAT, let alone prepare anything (which is why I live for leftovers). In the meantime though, I'm inviting more people over for dinner.

p.s. places like this make me wonder why anyone buys cookbooks anymore.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I don't like to babble on in here about my personal life, as in "I went here with so-and-so and then we ran into what's his name..." That gets boring, and you, dear reader, do not know my friends. Probably.

But Tuesday night was one of those great nights where everything just worked. The evening started with having friends over for dinner, then heading to the Taste of Minnesota to see Tapes n' Tapes, watching the fireworks, and drinking overpriced beers on a rooftop patio. We were having a good time when it was decided that it was imperative that we go to U Otter Stop Inn, a divey bar (with karaoke!) in Minneapolis. It was one of those moments where we collectively became very excited about possibilities, and our expectations were thoroughly matched. I fell in love with the bar the minute I walked through the door. It was the energy, the atmosphere, the lighting that, although a little too bright, allowed me to view everyone in the open room, singing along in various states of inebriation. It was the gay boy complimenting my dress. It was everything magically coming together to make the night fantastic.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday madness!

I decided to get my sister a pedicure for her birthday, and figured I might as well get one for myself too. My feet are nice and soft from the scrapings (although I tend to do that pretty well on my own), but now my formerly naked nails have GIRLY PINK ON THEM. (A poor color choice on my part.) They are so pretty and GIRLY I kind of can't stand it.

The nail place we happened to go to (which did a fine job for a decent price) is in Coon Rapids. Coon Rapids is a suburb with a horrible name. Coon Rapids also has this frightening maze of a shopping complex which has, by my estimation, every American chain store/restaurant in existence. It's so big it spans two exits! We took the wrong one, looped back, and in driving around trying to find the nail place came back to the same place. Surreal. (No really, my sister didn't believe me when I said it didn't make sense that there would be TWO PetSmarts that close to each other.) There was also this hilarious sign: a crossed out pedestrian, like a no parking sign! YOU CAN'T WALK IN THE SUBURBS!

Buying Into the Green Movement
I like this one, even though I think it kind of polarizes the issue. Someone suggests to buy one normal pair of jeans instead of buying 5 pairs of organic cotton jeans, to which I ask, "Who is buying 5 pairs of organic jeans??" And hell, don't compare a hybrid Lexus to a Yaris, that's just nuts. But they do address the conflict of trying to decide how much one can actually do on a personal level, which I appreciate.

Tread Lightly, Fly Directly
Similar stuff, but in a nice list format! Mmm lists.

Response to NYTimes article from WorldChanging

Good stuff here, too.

Friday, June 29, 2007

on training.

I am in the midst of marathon training, which is only 99 days away! Yikes. Today I ran about 10.3 miles. Now, I have friends who have run multiple marathons who would just nod as I tell them this. I also have friends who would say something like, "WHAT? You are crazy. How do you do that?"

So, a primer. How to run 10 miles.

First you tell yourself that you are going to run 10 miles. Then you do it. While you do it, leave your ipod at home (headphones hurt for that long, and it's bad for your ears). Don't even bring a watch! Do bring a water bottle. Go slow, and walk frequently. Write blog entries in your head, or have conversations with cute boys you will meet in coffee shops, bars, etc. When you get to the Mississippi River, smile. It's blue and the leaves are green and everything looks a little more amazing when you just ran 5 miles to see it. Then turn around and think about how awesome you are. When you're done, stretch a lot. Look at the clock and laugh at how pathetically long you've been gone. Then eat a lot, and take a nap if you have time.

Yeah, fine, there is some training involved before you can get to this point, and my legs are kind of dying right now, but that's how you do it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I almost forgot this one.

A girl at the coffee shop headed outside to smoke a cigarette. A button on her bag said, "Cancer sucks."

Yes. Yes it does.

Monday, June 25, 2007



This is what you do when you have clothes you don't wear anymore, and also an unexplainable affliction for plaid, and also a lot of free time. You make a new shirt, dammit.

My weeklong project of eating all the vegetables I bought will be trying, but I will succeed! Mashed potatoes every day! Also, I'm so annoyed that I didn't buy snap peas because if I did I could make this...which looks really good. Recipe idea for dinner, perhaps?

Elsewhere on the internet: Viewing American Class Distinctions through Facebook and Myspace

Truly fascinating stuff. It's long, but entirely worth reading. The commentary on the use of these sites in the military is interesting too. Quotes!

They see it [myspace] as gaudy, immature, and "so middle school." They prefer the "clean" look of Facebook, noting that it is more mature and that MySpace is "so lame." ... That "clean" or "modern" look of Facebook is akin to West Elm or Pottery Barn or any poshy Scandinavian design house...

When I first started tracking soldiers' MySpace profiles, I had to take a long deep breath. Many of them were extremely pro-war, pro-guns, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, pro-killing, and xenophobic as hell. Over the last year, I've watched more and more profiles emerge from soldiers who aren't quite sure what they are doing in Iraq.
[Also, if I ever go to grad school for sociology I would be ALL OVER internet research.]

Sunday, June 24, 2007

to market.

This weekend ended up being a weekend of farmer's markets, which was quite fine by me. A review.

Saturday - Mill City Farmers Market

The good news about the Mill City market is that it focuses on all things local and organic, and it also has delectable goodies to munch on while you wander. The bad news is that everyone else knows the good news, which results in all the produce being sold out and massive lines for tarts and donuts. My friend and I settled on some delicious organic bratwurst, which I devoured in about...oh, two minutes? Sadly, right after that we discovered all the local eggs had just sold out. Shucks. Next time we will go early and eat to our heart's content.

Sunday - Downtown St. Paul Farmers Market

While I was disappointed in the downtown market at the beginning of the season, there are now vegetables aplenty and it is wonderful. In fact, there are TOO many vegetables. Today I ended up with mixed greens, kohlrabi, beets, gold potatoes, onions, and strawberries. I passed on broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh cut flowers. The good news about the St. Paul farmers market is that it is close, in fact in walking distance. The bad news is that the walk home is mostly uphill, and that gets difficult in the hot sun when you are carrying eight pounds of vegetables.

There's also something really nice about buying what's available and figuring out what to do with it later. I always have some trouble figuring out what to cook, but it's easier when I just think, "You are eating fabulous salads and beet greens because that's what you bought this week. Got it?" I'm hoping to cook a mostly local dinner for friends pretty soon...whee! I'll let you know how that goes.

In other bloggy news, I changed the layout a bit and am organizing my links and sidebars. Of course blogger had to delete a lot of my prior changes, so I'm still working out the kinks.

Friday, June 22, 2007


NYTimes article about freeganism.

With my recent interest in sustainability (that has not gone away), I found this article quite fascinating. In particular, I've been having pangs of guilt nearly every time I drive my car or buy bananas from Guatemala. It's hard knowing what's reasonable to cut out or change when you can't do everything. (Unless I join some commune and live off the grid completely. Yeah, not going to happen.) It's trying to find a balance and do more, knowing I can't do everything.

Anyway, some quotes!

"Not buying any new manufactured products while living in the United States is, of course, basically impossible, as is avoiding everything that requires natural resources to create, distribute or operate."

“It’s always hard to give up class privilege. But freegans would argue that the capitalist system is not sustainable. You’re exploiting resources.” She added, “Most people work 40-plus hours a week at jobs they don’t like to buy things they don’t need.”
I guess when I read this, I didn't immediately think, "I'm going to start rummaging through dumpsters!" (Although not a horrible idea, really...) To me it's just about simplifying things. Not buying things that aren't necessary. Buying used when possible. And just..having less stuff.

And of course, as I write this I'm thinking about when I should go to the Gap so I can use my reward certificate and also use my credit since I accidentally overpaid my bill. Sigh. Next step: cut up that damn thing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

simple frames.

plexiglass frame

I believe I stole this idea from a ReadyMage magazine that is no longer in my possession. Yet the idea was so good, it was imprinted into my brain! Here's what you do:

1. Cut plexiglass into two equal sizes. (Note: you probably don't need very thick plexiglass. Be careful when you cut it! It's a little tricky.)
2. Put a picture in between the layers.
3. Attach the pieces together using binder clips from your large collection of colored binder clips. (WHAT? You don't have a large collection of binder clips? Get thee to Office Max!)
4. Put on wall and say, "awwww how pretty."

WOW. So easy. And they're foolproof, too. Some of my pieces have scratch marks from figuring out how to cut the plexiglass, but it still looks fine!

[In other news, I am so proud of myself because it's 12:15 and I've already gone for a run, watched an episode of Six Feet Under, made frames, made lunch using mostly local produce from the farmer's market, AND updated my blog. Amazing.]

Friday, June 15, 2007

climate control.

To A/C or not to A/C, that is the question.

It has been 90 degrees for over a week or so here, and my apartment does not have air conditioning. I have a window unit (somewhere - my sister's house?) that I could put in, but that involves getting it, and you know...actually putting it in. Last summer I got stubborn after an atypically hot Memorial Day weekend. I thought, I lived through that, I can live through anything! Most of the time, it was fine. And when it did get unbearably hot I knew all things would pass before I got the damn window unit set up.

The truth is, I sort of hate air conditioning. I hate being cold in a skirt and flip flops when it's 90 degrees outside. I hate that it feels fake. I hate that it's more expensive and is worse for the planet than using fans and keeping the lights off. And when people are complaining and wondering how anyone can survive without it, I wonder about unbearably hot places like the Middle East. Or the Sahara! The jungle, even!! They don't have air conditioning and they live! Probably because they just get used to it. So that's what I'm trying to do.

Furthermore, summer shouldn't be about layering cardigans over tank tops and hot days and wishing you had brought a pair of socks because your feet are cold. Summer is about wearing as little as possible in the comfort of your own home (and possibly others'), relishing in cold showers, and taking afternoon naps because it's just too hot to move. And when it really gets bad, I can just walk to the nice cool coffeeshop or visit my parents and their pool.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

food for summer.

There was some blip in the Onion AV club a few weeks back, and they said that in the summer we can only eat foods that are frozen, grilled, or in salad form (ala bean salad and potato salad). I want to entertain and cook this summer, but it gets damn hot in my tiny kitchen. What are some good summer foods, besides salads and bbq? (I don't have a grill, anyway.)

Also, a new idea: black bean spread! Think of hummus, but chunkier and darker. I found this recipe but of course had about half of the ingredients so I just adapted like so:

1. Saute some onions and garlic in olive oil, add cumin, chili powder, and cayenne.
2. Throw that in a blender with a can of black beans and some salsa and blend.
3. Since blenders aren't food processors, remove portions of the blended mix to make sure all is blended.
4. Serve with tortillas, chips, pitas, hot or cold.

(Okay, in the end it's a lot like a can of black refried beans but it somehow SEEMS better and it doesn't really take that long to make.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

the big to-do.

Here it is. My summer vacation. And no, I am not teaching summer school. Which makes this my SUMMER OF FREEDOM. Everyone has been asking, "What are you doing this summer?" Last year, it was pretty planned out: Summer school, trip to NYC, trip to Guatemala. This year....well, I am making a list of things to do. In categories.

Things that must be done:
- Two weeks of grad classes to finish my master's.
- I'm currently taking a Spanish class at the Resource Center of the Americas.
- Oh yeah, there's that marathon thing. Yep folks, I done signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon. So I need to train and get really sweaty and such.
- I'm also hoping to volunteer at a summer enrichment program once or twice a week.

Things that would be good to do:
- CRAFTS. Mostly sewing stuff. I finally hemmed my curtains, so the sewing machine is out and ready.
- READING. I'm hoping to read many good books. If you have recommendations, please...tell me. (also: my goodreads profile.)
- BIKING. I got this new bike, so I want to start exploring by bike. And biking to places I would normally drive to. Yeah. More of that.
- WRITING. I want to update this blog more. And somehow I also want to be on the internet less. This could be tricky.
- TRAVEL. Well, I don't have any plans yet but with this much free time I clearly need to go somewhere.
- FUN. Self explanatory.

What else? WHAT ELSE?

Monday, June 11, 2007

happy monday.

Some good things for today.

1. Envirosax.
These are much better than all the tote bags you get from schools and from joining npr. Super comfy, super cute. My bag stash is already starting to dwindle. I love it.

2. Make your own fabric, kind of
It's expensive and somewhat limited, but the idea is KEY.

3. Buying a bike that's older than me, found on craigslist. (pictures later)

4. Jumping pictures.
jumping goons

Sunday, June 10, 2007

places I used to live.

My old apartment.

My old roommate discovered this gem of an ad for our old place in Madison. When I read it, I like to pretend that it was written with a sort of "wink wink nudge nudge" sensibility, not to mention a complete overusage of the thesaurus. I will "make the cheeks on your face turn red" while it " seals the deal of satisfaction" (with "benefits"), AND you can share "illusionary desires" with your roommates. Are they not completely pandering to sexually frustrated college students?

Heh, or maybe I'm reading a little too much into that.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

morning glory.

The time between 5 -6 am might just be my favorite time of the day. I was out the door with my running shoes on at 5:31. I spotted a bright red cardinal in a green tree. I ran by houses and condos and wondered if the people inside were blissfully asleep, hitting snooze for the 3rd time or starting their coffee pot. Why is it that "good morning" sounds better than any other greeting? Caribou is open, but not chaotic. Everything is just calm. Some people are getting to where they need to be, but they're not stressed out about traffic - there is none. In my mind, they're not stressed at all. They are sleepily getting to their first destinations of the day. But then again, not everyone is a morning person. I never really thought I was, either.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

diy. or, buy diy.


I stumbled across this through one of those funny blog trails, and I find it so inspiring. Really cute clothes altered beautifully using mostly found fabrics, thus reducing dependence on both sweatshops and farms to grow cotton and the like. It's silly how I always bookmark sites like this with the intention of emulating their designs and ideas, and rarely with the intention of buying anything. ($88 for a shirt is just not something I'm used to. Yet.) And do I make anything similar? Rarely. There is the hope that someday I will be able to make creations like these. Someday, someday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

more pictures of cupcakes (and a story).


I made cupcakes for Mother's Day, and when I told my sister they were vegan, it brought the inevitable questions: "Do they have tofu in them?* And why would you make vegan cupcakes if you're not vegan?" A fair question deserves a fair answer.

This is why you make vegan cupcakes. You are in college and you are working, erm, volunteering at a coffee shop that is almost entirely employed by volunteers. It is warm, friendly, has cheap coffee and cheap homemade lunch, and you bake there for an afternoon once a week. But it is mostly run by volunteers, and sometimes things don't get done when people aren't getting paid. You make vegan cupcakes because one day you are supposed to bake, and there are no eggs. No eggs! You make vegan cupcakes because you found a recipe in the Joy of Cooking that looks simple, has no eggs, has no tofu, and also has none of that weird fake egg in a box stuff that's sitting on the shelf. (You are not a vegan baker by trade, and you are afraid of the non-eggs in a box.) You make vegan cupcakes because not only is there a vegan cake recipe, there is a frosting recipe that can easily be made vegan with coffee and soy butter.* You make vegan cupcakes because you know your audience - vegans come to eat here, as do people who won't run away at the mention of vegan dessert. You make vegan cupcakes because they look like snow covered chocolate mountains when you sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You continue to make vegan cupcakes because the people love them and they say, "I can't believe they're vegan!"

There's your answer. That's why you make vegan cupcakes.

*(I did make a cake with tofu once. It wasn't good. This isn't to say it can never be good, but I probably won't repeat that again.)
*(Also, I didn't make these particular cupcakes with vegan frosting because I'm not vegan, and what's the point?)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

omg shoes.

So I decided to keep these shoes:
shoes - HELP
I debuted them at the Peter Bjorn and John show. Unfortunately, I now have two blisters on my left toes, one of which is looking kind of bad. Oops.

So hooray for new shoes. But I am still on the lookout for cute espadrilles that do not have 4 inch heels. I swear, they barely exist! I'm still thinking about these ones. But I need to decide soon or they will run away. [haha. shoes. running away.] Anyway, in looking at possibly every shoe website imaginable, I must say that my new favorite is Their search options are awesome, and it looks like right now they are paying you to send you stuff in the mail. Sweet!

(p.s. thank you to whoever thought of wedge heels. You are a delight.)
(p.p.s. I almost forgot! This is just...well, yeah. Wow.)

Friday, May 11, 2007


Sometimes it's a total fluke of how I end up listening to certain music. There's some mp3 blogs I scan from my bloglines - I don't read them religiously, and I don't download everything on there. But when something catches my eye, I'll download it. And most of the time it will sit around without being listened to for a few weeks or months.

Such was the case with the song "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John. One day a few weeks ago I loaded up a bunch of downloaded songs and very quickly became infatuated with this song. Which quickly led to me buying the cd from amazon (along with a sewing book), which led to me to seeing them in concert a few nights ago at First Ave.

I ended up going all alone, and I'd like to share some tips for show-going on your own.
  • Timing is important. You don't want to get there too early. If doors open at 8, you can be pretty sure that the first band won't start until 9 or later. And really, the first band doesn't always matter. Later is better (as long as you're not worried about it selling out).
  • Earplugs. They're important because they're just good for your ears. But! The added bonus is that they take out most of the stupid conversations going on around you. You can be a bubble.
  • Have something to look at. Whether it's other people or movies playing between sets (thanks, First Ave!), you need some distractions.
  • Dance and don't really give a shit about what other people think. By the way, this helps too with show back pain.
Yeah. So the show was really fun. I danced and had a good time. Hooray for music! Wow, I could use some work on my reviews.

(Apologies: I promise to never start an entry and then finish it two days later. That just does not work.)

Monday, May 07, 2007

someday I'll be creative again.

I'm still not a huge fan of buying books for the sake of buying books, UNLESS they can be used over and over again as reference books. As a result of this, I've bought a relatively huge amount of craft related books in the past few months.

Craftivity - by Tsia Carson
I think I saw this originally on notmartha, and I got it as a birthday present. It's a tad disappointing, to be honest. I really only found a couple of things I actually wanted to make in there. There are some cool ideas, but a lot of it is just too much. [I do love the shrinky dink necklaces, though. Mine here.] Maybe part of the problem is that I've seen a few of the ideas on, back when it was getcrafty and not supernaturale or whatever happened. Why pay for a book when it's all online?

Simple Sewing - by Lotta Jansdotter
Another notmartha recommendation, and a total whim purchase from amazon. While I'm sad there are no patterns for actual clothes, the other projects (aprons, handbags, duvets, oh my!) are adorable. They could potentially make really nice gifts, too. Not to mention, this book is laid out beautifully with crisp pictures.

The Crafter Culture Handbook - by Amy Spencer
I found this one on a recommendation shelf while at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. [The recommendation shelf at a massive book store is a blessed thing indeed.] The projects in here are all over the place, in a totally good way. Sewing projects, reused objects, and homemade bath's all there. It also has fun little articles from crafters.

So yeah. School is over in about a month. Summer projects? Oh yes.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

it has sprung.

It hinted, it hid, it came out again and ran away, I saw it in Seattle and came back to 30 degrees, but finally I can say that it is here, with confidence. Yes, spring is here.

For the past week I have taking in the buds on the trees, the warmth, the ability to wear a sundress (with a cardigan) without feeling like I'm jumping the gun, the blossoms, the faint scent of lilacs as I run, and birds happily chirping when I go to work with the sun out.

Pretty soon the trees on my street and others will be reaching out across the cars and people below them, making a beautiful arch of green. Don't you love that?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

well, it was a good effort.

A week ago I pledged to keep track of everything I ate in an attempt to track where it was from and see how much of my food was actually local. It only took about a day to realize that pretty much all of my food is from far away. Of course, this isn't too much of a surprise, considering that it's still relatively early in the spring in Minnesota and I am accustomed to eating bananas. But there is hope! The farmer's market is within walking distance (although not a very interesting walk - downtown St. Paul is very boring on the weekends...), and pretty soon the locally grown veggies will all be all over. Also, the co-op nicely designates which products are local. We're trying. We're also trying to get a bike, but give us time.

In other internet wanderings....some things I enjoyed reading this week.
The New Snob Appeal of Tap Water

Middle East Conflict Intensifies as Blah Blah Blah, Etc.
So true, so sad, so funny.

The Onion on This American Life
"Seeing this project through to its culmination was equally satisfying and strange," said Vowell, speaking at a book signing in Colonial Williamsburg dressed as Betsy Ross. "I feel not unlike the early Pilgrims, who, standing atop Plymouth Rock after a long and arduous sea voyage, reflected on their journey, perhaps thinking to themselves 'For God's sake—doesn't anybody have anything to eat in this settlement?'"
(Ha. I own two Sarah Vowell books now.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

earth day.

I guess it's something about April and people discussing the environment more that gets me thinking about my impact on the earth. I took the ecological footprint quiz again a few days ago, and one question in particular confused me a lot.

It reads: How much of the food that you eat is processed, packaged and not locally grown (from more than 200 miles away)?

[Now I'm going to ignore my minor quibbles with the way some of the questions are worded in the quiz, as I don't think all options are covered. They have to simplify it somehow, I suppose.]

I read it and thought..."I don't know." It's true, I've been trying to cut down my reliance on heavily processed foods. And I've been thinking more about buying local stuff, but thinking does not equal doing. Packaged? Huh? How does one buy milk if not in a package? The question left me flustered and I just shot for the middle and clicked "half."

So in an attempt to really figure this out, I decided that for one week I would meticulously record everything I eat and see my food's environmental impact. Yes, this is inspired by Michael Pollan. No, I am not going to buy a cow or slaughter a chicken. My reasons are mostly dorky curiosity.

[Many hours later....] After day 1, I am not doing so well in terms of impact. The good news: most of my food today wasn't processed and a good amount of it was organic. The bad news: nothing was produced locally and the only thing that didn't come in some sort of packaging was the garlic for my pasta. Oh well, this is what reflection is about. (Also, I thought about taking pictures and making a list of everything I ate but then I realized that is pretty boring.)

My other big change I want to make is to start using reusable bags when I shop. I already hate getting a mountain of plastic bags as it is, and I cringe when cashiers wrap my stuff way more than necessary. No more!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I think you're really "cool."

You know those people who always have to point out errors in grammar? These "people" are often annoying. And I am about to become "one" of those people.

Smoking "hot" body at Festival Food Store today

I just laugh at this whole thing. I "think" it's supposed to be a compliment. Thank you, anonymous author, reading this was a "pleasure!"

Sunday, April 08, 2007

pictures! of! cupcakes!

Hey, all you people who arrived here from google looking for picture of cupcakes! Here you go!


From Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle. Yes, they were delicious.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

mirandy july.

Mirandy July has a book coming out, and damned if this website doesn't make me want to buy it immediately, bring it to a grassy area on a sunny day while wearing my new dress and flats, and dream about writing stories of my own.

But since the book is not out until May (and it is below freezing outside), she instead motivated me to clean my gross stovetop. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I'm a bit of a romantic. Sometimes I seek romance in really silly ways. I boil water in a teapot, even though I could save a lot of time in the morning by just using the microwave. Microwaves are not romantic. I don't have a coffee pot, but if I did, it would be a french press. I sing while I do my dishes. These are all small things, but they help in the end.

And yet, there are always the things that seem romantic but are actually romantic fallacies. Running in the rain is one of these. Maybe it's the movies - we always see lovers running in downpours, trying to catch the one that got away, to finally grab them and kiss passionately. Even if they're running to catch a bus and they miss it, it's still that much more romantic because it's raining. But running in the rain for the sake of exercise, starting at one point and making a circle, plodding along with no real change of pace...well, it's not romantic. It's wet. It makes your eyelashes start to stick together. It turns any bare skin into a weird shade of red. If it doesn't make you cold, it makes you feel like your own personal jungle. All this from a mere drizzle.

There is hope though. On one typical spring afternoon about a year ago, one with typically unpredictable weather, the sun came out and I saw my window to go for a run. Of course, the rain started again at my furthest point from home. I begrudgingly kept going, did I really have a choice? As I neared my apartment feeling moist and annoyed, the sun came, full and bright. Immediately I looked for the rainbow, and there it was - a full arch over downtown St. Paul. And I ran straight for it with a huge smile on my face, looking like a big goon. It took me a few seconds to realize that "Walking on Sunshine" was playing on my ipod, which made it all the more perfect.

So what if it wasn't raining then? That is romance.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Sometimes there's nothing worse than yearning to update this and feeling like I have nothing to write about.

I have been listening to a lot of Joanna Newsom. But mostly "Cosmia" and "Only Skin."

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever stop loving spinach.

I used to love the color purple. Then it was red. Now I am all about green.

I am writing letters in my head. Some are angry, some are nostalgic, and the rest haven't been written yet.

It's that whole block thing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

in with the new.

I didn't get my first car until I was 22 and starting grad school. It was a 1990 Honda Accord, black with a manual transmission and a sunroof. In a way, I learned how to drive on that car, as I had never driven a stick shift before. It was trying at first, and an incident on a hill left me with hill anxiety for over a year, but now I've come to prefer manual transmissions.

Anyway, the car that was only supposed to get me through grad school ended up hanging around for almost three years. As the months went by it got rustier, it started making more noises, it lost its musical soul, and little insignificant things stopped working. But it always started, even on the coldest Minnesota days. When it didn't start one day after work in December, I knew that after so much procrastination it was about time to start looking for a newer car. And as I later watched my car get towed to the mechanic, I felt a twinge of nostalgia as it looked so sad and helpless on the tow truck. I would miss it.

Well, I finally got a new (used) car. A 2005 Hyundai Elantra. It's light gold (not the best color, but oh well), five speed, and has a cd player. I've been driving it around for four days now, running many errands and listening to many CDs. (Oh my gosh! Stereo!) It drives well, it's fun, and it has a remote control key! So many things my old car didn't have.

So when I drove my old Honda to my parent's house (what to do with it is to be determined at a later date), I realized maybe I won't miss it so much. I won't miss the rusty bumpers, I won't miss the spark plug that kept falling out, I won't miss the hole where a stereo should have been. I will miss the sunroof, ah, the sunroof. I will miss the fleeting feeling that an old rusty car felt more my style than a much newer and shinier one.

Really, nothing reminds you more of the impending doom of adulthood more than spending thousands of dollars on something to get you around.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

snow weekend.

With winter almost over, I finally experienced winter like I should have been doing all winter. (Only there was that lack of snow problem.) On Friday night I broke in my brand new $15 sled at Como Park. And I really broke it now has a crack in it! Sheesh. I thought it was expensive, and then it breaks?

Today I did something pretty monumental: I used my cross country skis for the first time in seven years. You see, nordic skiing was a huge part of my life all through middle and high school - I was on the ski team for six years, 7th grade up to senior year. I was consistently a junior varsity skier even though my team won the state title a few times. (Hey! I helped cheer them on! That counts for something.)

As significant and memorable as that time was, I somehow managed to keep my skis shelved for ages. So when I put my boots in the bindings today I was a little nervous...but it would be like riding a bike, right? I was a little awkward at first, and the hill was tough, but soon I was remembering different techniques. By the end of my first lap around the course, I was feeling more confident. More polished. In fact, I felt...graceful. I was a skier. And then...I fell right on my butt. It hurt both my body and my temporarily inflated self esteem.

I didn't ski for too much longer after that. (It's hard work, yo!) And now that I officially feel Minnesotan again....I can't wait for spring.

Friday, March 02, 2007

snow day.

It finally happened, the thing we all thought would never happen: my school district canceled school because of the weather. We dreamed, we hemmed and hawed, we made plans for what we would do if it happened and what we would do if it didn't. And then came the call: NO SCHOOL! They decided some time last night. Oh, sweet, glorious, weather inflicted three day weekend! And the funny thing is, the roads didn't even seem that bad today.

Part of the beauty of the unexpected day off is that it is rife with possibility. Oh, the things I could accomplish today! I could send care packages, finish books, start writing books, thoroughly clean my apartment, and maybe even cure cancer! Or I could sleep until 11, go work on school crap at the coffee shop, and make cookies. I guess the day wasn't a total loss, but I always feel like I could have done more. But there's still time for sledding and other fun. Hooray!

Funny link of the day: Switzerland Accidentally Invades Liechtenstein.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

you don't have to take my word for it.

I recommend the following:

  • When you bring your groceries or other purchases out to your car, take a ride on the shopping cart. Stick one foot on the back, use the other to push off, and don't forget to lean forward to stay in balance. If you're really feeling uninhibited, you might want to squeal, "WHEEE!!!" as you fly through the parking lot. Don't forget to slow down! That part can get awkward. But however you choose to brake, you will find yourself at your vehicle in half the time and twice the fun. Hell, THRICE the fun.
  • You don't have a dishwasher, and frankly, washing dishes can suck. I know how it is, I feel your pain (and your dry hands). But! It doesn't have to suck so much. This works especially great if you have a laptop or stereo in your kitchen. While you're doing dishes, put on your favorite tunes and sing. Or dance. Or both! Shake those hips, clean those plates, work those pipes, rinse those forks. It's all about the mix.
  • Your cat is lonely because you work all day and are too tired to play! This problem can be temporarily solved provided you have the following: a cat, cat toys, hardwood floors, and lovely pop music. Put on your favorite poppy song and spin your feet on the floor as you play with your cat. I recommend "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" by Camera Obscura.
And there you are. Three ideas for a happier life. Or a happier few minutes of your life.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

snow emergency.

The Hunter-Gatherer, Parking Division

Speaking of parking, I had my own parking troubles to deal with today. More like..snow problems. The phantom snowstorm that people kept making threats about FINALLY appeared and...well, brought a lot of snow with it. It's funny what a pile of snow will do to people - it makes them NICE. As I tried to dig out my plowed in car with a sled (no shovel), a nice church going family helped me out. Then comes more help with a shovel. Later in the afternoon when I was trying to move my car somewhere else so it doesn't get towed tonight, I got stuck in a parking lot trying to turn around. Another nice man helped shovel me out, and then when I told him of my plight he said I should just park there, as they never tow. So when I walked back to my place and saw a girl trying to dig out her car with an ice scraper, I grabbed the shovel from my building and passed along the favor.

Here's to hoping my car isn't towed by the morning.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

triple digits!

I was about to update my silly blog with something inconsequential, but then I realized that it would be my 100th post. Such a monumental occasion deserves something better, more refined. I started this as a link blog back from the days when I was on the internet looking at silly stuff all the time, and I wanted to share my favorite links. But every now and then it branched out, and now its focus is even more scattered. I figured all this out as I was scanning through my old posts, and I thought I'd share my favorites.

Review of silicone bakeware
Review of new Aquafresh toothpaste (which I now use all the time)
Analysis of friendster PR photos
Ode to Martha Stewart
Weekend magazine survey
Mini pop culture review
My lunar love affair

And now I will make the promise that my next 100 posts will be amazing in every way. Happy 100th post, blog!

Monday, February 19, 2007


1. Gap Body cotton hipster underwear
My friend and I have the same problem: we LOVE this underwear. LOVE IT. Except...both of us have had pairs start to unravel after only a few washings. We want to buy more, but we know that they're just going to fall apart! What's a girl to do?

2. Myspace
Truth be told, ever since I've made my profile private I spend very little time on there. But on occasion I do like to check up on friends who insist on using the service - it's just the nature of the beast. Only whenever I try to open a message, see someone's new pictures, or read their blog, it takes FOREVER. And a day. How millions of people are completely addicted to a site that barely works is beyond me.

3. My shower
My apartment is old. It has charm, and it also has charm. My shower is the opposite of charming. Let's ignore the fact that it is low flow - that I can handle. The bigger annoyance is its completely manic temperature control. Scalding hot! Ice cold! And so I spend half my shower in the corner, trying to fiddle with the knobs enough so I don't burn/freeze myself. I never knew I could swear so much at falling water.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

meet selby.


This is my new friend Selby. She's a cat! I got her a couple of weeks ago from the Humane Society. She is a play addict, is very affectionate, and can also be completely needy. She is living up to my grand theory called Selby Loves Everyone. It's been tested on three people so far. My friends say she's like a dog.

If you're wondering about the name, it's a street in my neighborhood. A friend and I went back and forth about cats named after streets, and which prominent Twin Cities streets would make the best names for cats. So, without further adieu, some lists with good and bad street names for cats.

Good names:
  • Selby
  • Franklin
  • Cleveland
  • Marshall
  • Lyndale
  • Emerson
  • Dupont
Bad names:
  • Payne
  • University
  • First Ave.
  • Grand
  • Summit
  • West Seventh Street
  • Ford Parkway

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

in other news

I think Micheal Pollan is my new hero.

The last page of his essay pretty much sums up all my food related resolutions, only much more eloquently than I could put it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

on books and beets.

Cook more. Eat better. Read more.

When I'm in someone's apartment for the first time, whether it's a friend or acquaintance, one of my favorite things to do is explore their bookshelves. (I also use that as a pick-up line..Hey baby, I'd like to explore your bookshelves....) I like running my fingers along the spines, noticing if they organize in any certain ways or if it's haphazard, and wondering if they have actually read all the books their shelves contain. But lately all I notice is, "Hey this person has way more books than I do!"

I have a few reasons for not buying books. The triple threat of the high price of new books, my somewhat frugal nature, and the fact that I'm a library fiend certainly don't help. But I've also come to realize a more crucial cause: when I buy books, I'm not very motivated to read them. I always think, "Oh, that book, that will be around all the time, like when I'm in the depths of despair with nothing to read. But this library book! This library book has a deadline!"

I'm not about to go buy loads of books any time soon, but I'm trying to change my outlook a bit. My most recent book purchase was The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which is quite fitting with my current food obsession. I even started reading it!

Speaking of books about food, I still think one of my best reference books is the Joy of Cooking. I love the fact that you can get practical information about nearly any food, such as beets! Which brings us to beets. (oh transitions, I'm trying.)

So....going along with goals for the year, I've decided that I want to branch out more in terms of recipes and ingredients. And one food I haven't tried, or at least don't remember eating, is beets. Weird, huh? My first venture into the beet world ending up being a beet salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts on spinach. And it was yummy. The end!

(yeah, strong finish. I need to sleep.)