First Snow of the Year

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It snowed last Friday.

I’m not sure why it always takes me by surprise, but winter’s on its way.

I’d planned to go for a medium-ish long run that morning but after peeking out the window, I reconsidered that decision.

Coffee seemed appealing.

Howling winds and blowing snow did not.

I surprised myself by going, particularly since my comfort zone is approximately 71-73 degrees Fahrenheit (Spouse corrected me when I told him this, saying it’s not a zone when it’s really more of a singular point, specifically 72 degrees F).

Not every moment of this run was pleasant, but I ticked past one, two and then three miles. Four and five came next, and by mile six I had turned a corner into a tailwind that took me the last half mile home.

As part of my running group, Fellow Flowers, I had planned to use this run to complete a virtual challenge called the Joy Run.

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Mission accomplished.

 

 

School Break

Last week the kids had two days off of school, the famous MEA weekend in Minnesota, where public schools ostensibly give teachers two days off to attend an educational conference.

But basically this is a Mini Spring Break in the Fall, and many families take copious advantage of this to escape town for a long weekend.

Per my usual state, I didn’t prepare well in advance and for Day 1 of break, both MGM and Trixie found themselves back at school for an all-day Kids’ Club session.

Miraculously, I’d had foresight back in the summer to take off work for Day 2 of the break, so we had a whole day to spend together. It was a perfect fall day – warm and sunny – and we decided to do something fall-y, which was to go to a corn maze.

Everyone else in the Metro Area had the same idea. This place was a zoo, figuratively and literally since there was a petting zoo area. 

After paying for entrance fees, face painting, some strange food for the animals at the petting zoo, overpriced drinks and for camel (!) rides, I was suddenly $100 poorer for the effort.

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But the kids had a blast, especially in an area that was like a ball or sand pit, except completely filled with corn.

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On the con side, I’ve been digging corn kernels out of the washing machine for a week.

The weekend held one more perfect day and this time, I decided we were going to get some culture. Off the the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden!

If you’ve ever seen pictures of Minneapolis, there’s a fair chance you’ve seen the most iconic work in the garden, Spoonbridge and Cherry.

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The kids appreciated the art about as much as I predicted, which was approximately a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10.

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This “snowman” sculpture was a hit with the late afternoon sun providing a perfect angle for the shadows:

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The giant blue chicken also did not disappoint:

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In the end we spent about an hour and a half enjoying the sculptures and running up and down the hill behind the Walker Art Center (them, not me).

Perfect way to cap off fall break!

Goodbye, Fancy Pants Ranch

We said goodbye to Fancy Pants Ranch today.

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Two years ago, I would have thought this to be impossible.

A year ago, I would have given anything to blink my eyes once and transport us away from here to the next chapter.

But it didn’t happen like that.

And let’s face it: the process of moving is terrible. 

Even with professional movers doing most (ok, all) of the heavy lifting, it’s painful.

Yesterday our pantry was packed and I am quite sure even half-eaten bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were wrapped in paper and stowed away.

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Given the uncertainty surrounding the move, we decided to rent a place for the upcoming year.

I’m calling it the Pop-Up Fancy Pants Ranch, due to its temporary nature.

Our new place is approximately 1/3 the size of the Ranch. I’m sure I will change my tune about this, but right now I’m oddly excited to live with less.

Much of our stuff is going into storage. Maybe we’ll bring it back. Maybe we won’t.

The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is having us all under one roof again. I think that will go a long way toward Happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Off

I had an unexpected day off yesterday, which was absolutely fabulous. 

I’ve been doing much more driving back and forth between my current home and new(-ish) job, which is easily a three hour plus commute most days.

[Side note: If you want podcast recommendations, give me a shout! I’ve listened to a lot.]

Even one day without the drive was simply heaven.

The end is in sight: we rented a place that is less than two miles from my primary office and can move in mid-July. I kept the commute up until school let out (two weeks ago; our kids went very late). Given that our house still hasn’t sold, we also haven’t been in a rush to move, nor been in a position to buy another place.

The in between is killing me, though. Three hours per day of driving also gives you waaaaay too much time in your head to worry about your un-sold house, perseverate on patient situations, ruminate on family problems, pine for vacations untaken and generally feel trapped within your own life as you slowly crawl through endless stretches of road construction.

So that’s going on.

Which leads me to yesterday.

I woke up and remembered I did not have to work. Felt happy. Made coffee. I told our nanny not to come until 10 AM, and then I went for a 10 mile run once she arrived.

This was sorely needed. 

Up until a few months ago, I ran at least one 10 mile+ run every week and have done so for years. Usually, I’ve got a race on the calendar to train for, making those long runs a necessity. In May, though, I made the tough decision to skip the 2017 RunDisney Tinkerbell Half-Marathon and with that, I suddenly didn’t have a reason to cover those distances.

Yesterday went better than I expected and I felt great. This gives me hope for a fall marathon, and even possibly doing an early 2018 one.

The rest of the day was full of leisurely errands, like a Trader Joe’s run (perfectly ripe nectarines, avocados, baked ranch chickpeas and two kinds of cheese), getting shorts on sale for my son (who’s now 10! Sigh), and finishing up the packing list for Trixie’s upcoming three week stint at Camp Ogichi-Kaa-Dwe.

I also prepped for dinner: Home Chef’s Grilled Honey Mustard Steelhead Trout with Fresh Tomato Relish. 

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This pan is only for grilling. I know, it looks gross.

And I went through my new Evereve haul.

Last weekend I was at my friend P’s house and she received a Trendsend box. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically Evereve’s version of Stitch Fix.

Unfortunately, the person who loved almost everything in her box was me, not her.

This blouse was the first item she pulled out of the box and it had my name all over it:

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This is a silky Lovestitch top with fluttery short sleeves and a soft blue floral print on a blush background. I snapped this pic right in her kitchen so I could get my own, which is why the photography is worse than usual. (Note: I couldn’t find this on the site for Lovestitch nor on Evereve.com, but I was able to locate it in store).

Trendsend paired the blouse with this Braeve (housebrand at Evereve) open cardigan.

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The color didn’t translate well in the photo, but it’s a denim blue and looks great with the blouse.

P. wasn’t feeling either of those items, but I was falling hard. I would have bought them directly from her, but the sizes were off. There are about 4 inches and 40 pounds that separate us, with 5’9″ me on the big end of that equation, so a simple swap wasn’t in order.

Another item in the box was a ruffle sleeve striped black and white top from Peyton Jensen. This may also be an Evereve housebrand? I can’t tell, but I’ve only seen it there.

P. also wasn’t digging this top, but I loved it.

She also received a printed skirt, sleeveless black top and a cute fringed dress. These were more up her alley than mine.

On Tuesday afternoon I had a bit of time to kill between work and a haircut, so I went to Evereve (less than a mile from our rental house. Danger! Danger!) to do some sourcing.

One sales associate saw me hunting and asked what I was looking for. She knew the printed blouse immediately and brought it to me. She had an armful of clothes to return to the racks and the denim colored open cardigan was magically in the pile, so I snagged it to try on. Both were winners. Sold, although in the end I decided to get a different size in the blouse (L, not M) to make it more flowy and they have to send it to me).

The salesperson also brought a pair of navy Level 99 cargo-ish pants and I was pleasantly surprised by the fit. Mine. I also spied the perfect long oatmeal cardigan.

They had the striped ruffle sleeve top in my size (M), but in the end, I liked it better in a blush pink color.

Here’s the haul, minus the blouse:

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A closer look at the ruffle sleeve detail on the top:

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I would describe the fabric as a soft sweatshirt material. It is extremely comfortable.

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Like everyone else in Summer 2017, I am all about blush pink.

The long cardigan, in a perfect oatmeal color:

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I’m super happy with Evereve right now.

While every day can’t be an unexpected day off, yesterday was pretty darn awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend

A few scenes from the past couple of days:

Spouse and I had a fun night on Thursday, where we went to this show  in Minneapolis.

Dubbed “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives,” this show was a mix of comedy and music. The crowd skewed a bit older than we are, but then again, Steve Martin is 71 and Martin Short is 67, so that’s about the right demographic. We loved it.

I dressed casually but was happy with the outfit I wore, a faux suede jacket from Stitch Fix and a graphic tee with jeans:

We ate dinner before the show, which was unbelievably early for us (5:30 PM, yikes, that’s practically a late lunch), but it worked out well since it was a school night and the show didn’t let out until nearly 10 PM. We had sushi that was mostly forgettable, although it did not poison us.

Not exactly a four star review.

The weekend weather is not cooperating at all (temps in the 40s and a steady drizzle), but I was able to score the last treadmill at the gym and get in nearly 5 miles on Saturday morning.

I also picked up this book from the little free library in our neighborhood and hope to dig into it before the weekend’s over:

Hope you’re having a great weekend. 

 

 

 

Happy Weekend

The sunset earlier this week – even seen through the window – was so incredible that I had to capture it.

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After a busy week, I’m looking forward to some relaxation, friends and – hopefully – a lot of sleep.

I’m hosting a dinner party on Sunday night for my dear friend G., who is moving to NYC in a few weeks. I’m planning to give my champagne saber a workout and another friend is mixing cocktails. The menu isn’t final yet, but I’m thinking of a Bibb lettuce and hazelnut salad, garlicky monkey bread, a vegetarian polenta and pesto lasagna and my favorite party dessert – flourless chocolate cake – as the finale. Fingers crossed since my cooking skills are not strong.

What are your weekend plans?

Trixie’s 8th Birthday

Trixie turned eight on Sunday.

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She was sooooo excited to open her presents that she woke me up at 6 A.M. to get the party started.

After being told that 6 A.M. was far too early to wake everyone up on a Sunday, she came back to check at 6:30 and 7:00.

At 7:01, I relented, got out of bed and fired up the coffee.

Through my friend M., we were able to secure a Hatchimal as a gift.

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Unfortunately, Trixie’s Hatchimal did not hatch, which appears to be a common problem.

We were able to open the shell ourselves, which prompted her to declare that her Hatchimal – “Pinky” – was born via cesarean section.

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After a birthday party with friends at a local bowling alley, the four of us headed home for her dinner of choice: sushi, followed by a (gluten-free) red velvet cake and ice cream, a round of a new game (Disney’s “Beat the Parents”) and a showing of “Garfield, a Tail of Two Kitties.” 

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She declared it the best birthday ever. Heart full.

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