March 25, 2012

A very springy march

Last week we saw multiple days that were more than 40° F above average. Usually this time of year the great lakes region is still brushing snow off their cars and hoping for a couple days in the 50s to ring in the spring. Instead air conditioners were turned on months ahead of schedule. The daffodils have already come and gone in some places. Tree sex is rampant, beautiful, and smelly (foul smelly in the case of the pear trees that line the boulevards in midtown. And I’ve already worn shorts. Twice. In March. Cue the twilight zone music.

With spring flowers and trees in full blossom, we’ve been itching to get our hands in some dirt. I try to remind myself not to get too eager. After all, next week it looks like we’ll see highs in the 40s and 50s, and our frost date isn’t for another 3 weeks. But it’s certainly not too early to start making plans, and digging beds, and turning compost.

The spring is wonderful because it’s full of hopes for the garden and a clean slate.

Husby and I got hooked up with a new-ish community garden/farm in the neighborhood. They got started last year and are looking for more hands to help and organize. So Saturday we spent at the farm moving dirt and building beds, and filling beds, and moving more dirt, and building more beds, and making plans. Plans for quixotic hexagonal beds, if you happen to be husby. Next week we hope to get our compost situation straightened out, finish building a couple more beds, move more dirt, and start planning out what plants will be going where so that we’re prepared when the plants arrive in a few weeks.

Today my muscles are sore from all the buckets of dirt that got moved and the lumber that got sorted and stacked. I spent this morning planting our seedlings (5 types of tomatoes, if you’re curious) and trimming our mint plant. There’s still dirt under my fingernails. And it’s wonderful.

We’re kind of geeks about this sort of thing. Since leaving the farm yesterday afternoon we’ve been planning butterfly gardens and landscaping, three sisters arrangements and beanpoles.

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March 8, 2012

Seven Things: About Triathlon Training

1. I’ve wanted to do a triathlon since I was 20.  At that point I don’t know that I had ever run a complete mile outside of middle school gym class.  I started the Couch to 5k program and taught myself how to run.  (I did however swim semi-regularly, and swimming a half mile or a mile wasn’t out of the question.) At that point my goal was to complete one before the big 25. I missed that mark because life has a way of changing your plans.

2. I’m planning on doing this triathlon with a couple of girl friends.  When I found out my old roommate was training for one with the aim of completing it sometime this spring/early summer, I jumped on the chance to join her.  Training with a buddy always seems to be more motivating.

3. I absolutely love training.  Every day I get to do something different!

4. I’m following this plan, it’s a 20 week (5 month) 2x a week plan for a sprint triathlon.  This means that each week I swim twice, bike twice, and run twice with the intent that at the end of 20 weeks I will be able to complete a sprint triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 20k bike, 5k run). I work out 5 days a week, which means one day a week I do two different exercises back to back.  This is called a brick training session. I get two days off a week for rest, although I usually do something else (often resistance based) on one of those days off.

5. I love my dates with the stationary cycle.  Only because I get to read while I pedal.  It’s a guaranteed hour and a half at least that I get to spend reading something for pleasure.  And don’t worry, I maintain my 32% resistance, 90-100 rpm, 150 bpm while reading.  I’ll miss my reading sesh when I start doing real bike rides.

6. I’m learning how important my recovery weeks are.  Last week was a recovery week (which was handy since I was back in minneapolis without pool access).  This week’s workouts have been tiring after taking last week easy (maybe a little too easy, actually) but I’ve seen improvements in my speeds in all three sports.

7. We should probably go ahead and actually pick a race to register for.

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February 25, 2012

On the train

The first time I took the train was the summer after freshman year of college. My mom made the trip out to Boston and we packed up my room and took the train from Boston back to Minneapolis. We took one train from Boston to Chicago, and then another from Chicago to Minneapolis.  West of Chicago the trains are double decker because there aren’t the low bridges across the tracks like there are to the east. The top deck was windows all around so you could watch the plains go by.  We ate in the dining car and caught up on the past 4 months that I had been away.

When I saw the price of train tickets wasn’t any more expensive than the couple tanks of gas it would take me to drive home, I jumped.  Husby and I have different spring breaks this year, so I decided that instead of distracting him while he should be studying, I’d head back to Minneapolis for the week.  I’m loving being able to knit, watching shows on my computer, and writing this blog while traveling.

I’m in Chicago now, I’ll see you in Minneapolis soon.

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February 9, 2012

And it explodes!

husby: I had Rainbow Connection stuck in my head this morning, and you know how much I think Kermit the frog sounds like Carl Sagen, so then I had to go listen to something with Carl Sagen in it.

Ode to the Brain – Symphony of Science

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February 8, 2012

Seven Things: We’ve recently watched on Netflix

On pretty much any given night, after having cooked, eaten and cleaned up dinner, you will find husby and me curled up on the couch spending our last wakeful hour or two with a show or movie or documentary on Netflix.

We have a Kinect, so we can control Netflix vocally, by using arm movements, or by using our XBox controller. Husby loves to control it using arm movements and I find this BEYOND. ANNOYING. You see, the Kinect is finicky, and you don’t have a lot of control over it, and the whole thing seems like  a garish waste of energy to me. The vocal commands are fun to use, but limited in their abilities. Also, we’re pretty sure that sometimes the Kinect thinks that the audio from whatever we are watching is giving it commands and it will randomly pause.

So I thought I’d clue you in on our most recently watched Netflix items. Beware, there’s nothing too spectacular on this list.

7.Vanishing of the Bees – I really really want to keep bees some day. I’m fascinated by them. This doco is about the bee blight that’s been going on in America for the past several years. It’s pretty heavily anti big farm, and blames companies like Monsanto for the bee blight. I’m pretty ok with this, since I happen to think Monsanto is the devil, but as a documentary, it’s rather one sided. (But aren’t they all?) Anywho, it also provided an interesting insight into “big bee” farms. Keepers who send their hives around the US to pollinate various crops.

6. National Geographic: American Serengeti – Turn middle America into a wildlife reserve? Where do I sign?  This doco is about all of the animals that are native to the US that are struggling with endangerment and near extinction in some cases as we turn more and more wild into farms. Also it has great footage of prairie dogs fighting off a rattle snake. I’m guessing you might already be sensing a theme with the sorts of things we choose to watch.

5. Can we make it to Mars?: Featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, whom both husby and myself have huge science crushes on. This doco may be mainly geared for the grade school space science unit. It looks at some of the current barriers to manned trips to Mars, and the research being done to address those barriers. Teaser:  space suits may have astronauts looking more like 7 (of 9) (+1000 pts for star trek reference) than the Michelin man.

4. Princess Kaiulani: This is a movie about the last Hawaiian princess. I spent much of the movie upset about anachronisms because that’s how I roll. But it was actually pretty decent. I think we rated it a 3, which is pretty high in our books.

3. I love you Phillip Morris: So, this movie was not at all what I thought it was going to be because I thought Phillip Morris was going to be the tobacco company.  Also, during this movie I confirmed that husby would not still love me if I faked my own death from AIDS to get out of prison to then attempt to get him out of prison.  Also that was a huge spoiler.

2. Make it or Break it: Not going to lie, I love bad teen television. I love abc family channel. And I love shows that revolve around dance/cheerleading/gymnastics. So I’ve been watching this when husby has to be studying.

1. Persons Unknown: We just started watching this a couple nights ago. It came up in our Recommended list. Apparently it was a mini series containing 13 episodes  (I just read that on Wikipedia). We’re 4 episodes in, and not much has happened to move the plot along, although it remains intriguing. We’ve got nothing better on our instant cue right now, so we’re going to keep giving it a shot. It’s reminiscent of lost in that it’s about a group of people taken out of society and we have no idea why or what they’re current situation is really all about.

I’d say this is a pretty accurate account for our tastes.  The only thing missing are all the food docos we watch, but those were numbers 8 and 9. And actually, what is really missing are comedies, but we find the netflix selection to be severely lacking in that department. So instead we just watch Bridesmaids once every couple weeks. The other thing this list doesn’t accurately represent is when we occasionally watch documentaries that we know we disagree with and yell at the tv. Sometimes you just need to yell at something.

So what say you? Anyone have anything they think is a must watch for us based on our most recently watched?

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