Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wee baby radish salad.

Behold the first harvest from my garden. Even better, it is something I planted from seed.

They are my thinned out radish sprouts. I waited to thin them until I had time to actually properly clean and eat the little sprouts. I dressed them in extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then I charged myself 8 bucks for my tiny plate of hand harvested spicy micro greens and served them on Fiestaware.

If you think this is good, you should see what I have planned for the first radishes. I will not be sharing.

* Round corners courtesy of Picnik. It was cheaper than Photoshop Elements to get the premium package, and it is a dream to work with. It even interfaces directly with Flickr. Everything I post here that is altered (most of it) is done with Picnik.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bike Commuting Day 4 - Very nearly the end

Warning: This is a foul mouthed rant, but I nearly got killed today, so I hope you'll forgive that I just need to get this out of my system. It was intense.

Today was almost the end of my bike commuting with M. Mostly because it was very nearly the end of me. Despite caution, and following the rules, some bastardSOBmo-fo tried to hit me. I say tried because there was no way he didn't see me. Except maybe he was a geriatric old white dude. Not that I have anything specifically against old white dudes, but well, they seem to be the cause of all of my vehicle related drama.

The intersection where it happened is on the list of three that were already the most nerve wracking of my trip. I already take extra precautions on that section of road, but apparently not enough. I will be full on walking the bike for a couple of blocks, just to be safe. Not that I think in this case that it would have stopped the obviously going to hell now (he seems like the type to believe) big black SUV driving small peckered scum.

My speed, his speed, the foot or two I ended up getting missed by, there just isn't way that he wasn't aiming for me in some way. A seems to think that perhaps his age could explain him just being so unaware of what was going on, but that just helps me make a case for yearly driving tests and euthanasia. (joking, at least about the euthanasia, I'm dead serious about the driving tests)

The good news is not a scratch on M or I. I first questioned his manhood and told him where I thought he should shove something. I think. Then I got on the sidewalk and then proceeded to freak the fuck out, which made M get freaked too. My basket bracket is broken, something I have no idea when or how happened. A woman stopped to make sure I was OK, while I called 911 to report the vehicle (I wasn't thinking clear enough to get a license plate). After that I tried to call A, because without the basket, I couldn't get home. He was on the road and not answering. Another cyclist then stopped to help, followed by my neighbor Sunny. She is an angel. We bungeed my basket to her rack, and she escorted us home. Where I attempted to hold it together until A got home. Yeah, that didn't work so well.

After A went home, we went out for dinner and ice cream. Now I think I'll have a beer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It is not a sprint, it is a marathon...

... run by someone who is out of shape, and has never done this before, and isn't entirely sure what she is doing.

I have to remind myself, when I don't lose weight like I want to, when I have a bad week and I eat out a lot, when I just can't make it through my day without chocolate, that this is not about if every single day is a good day. It is about making the right choices more often than I don't, and hitting the big goals, not worry about what the scale says on a daily basis.

Overall, my stamina is great. There isn't a week that goes by where I don't get out and exercise at least twice, usually three or four times. Bad days aside, my portions are smaller and my food choices are better. I am moving in the right direction. Just very slowly.

Tonight I took pictures of myself. Like those ones I took way back when. It took some flipping back and forth, but it is there, it is visible, even semi nekkid. It is there in the way my clothes fit, and how my boss keeps telling me it is showing (she is one of my best cheerleaders and I love it).

It shows in how last night I went for a 3.3 mile walk, despite cracks in my calloused heels and blisters on my feet. That tonight I walked another two miles with Kristen, then came home to install my new girly seat so tomorrow I can ride in to work. I may go days without doing stuff, but it never lasts that long. I can't imagine going in to this winter and letting up on this. I'm already plotting how to fit in going to gym downtown during the day.

So, thanks Kristen, and Julie, and Christina. I'm getting there, slowly, but I am getting there. It may take a couple of BlogHer's, but I'll be the skinny bitch eventually.

PS. Weight, still hovering around 232-235. Though there was the day it was 231.something I nearly died. WHEN it drops below 230 I'll likely throw a party.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Wee baby radishes

And bonus marigolds, the real kind, not hybrid.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sidelined by the thing eating my brain.

Between family things, weekend projects, and a two day headache from hell (that kept me home today), I haven't been exercising nearly as much as I wanted to. Tomorrow looks like rain, so this week is turning out to be a complete bust. I'm hoping Thursday and Friday fare better.

In other news, my garden is so far a major success. M wants demands to be outside every single evening, which means I have to find things for us to do while we are out there, lest she eat all of the gravel created by our crumbling steps. This means that everything is getting watered every day like it should. I even had to go out and get her her very own very small watering can. Next will be having her help me spread new mulch on both the area surrounding the garden beds, and where I decided to create a new bed in front.

The only struggle I am having is that she wants to "dig" with the "shovel" in the dirt. That means a couple of times a tomato and a marigold have nearly met their demise. Perhaps I will have the energy (and money) this next weekend to go buy her a large pot of her very own. I'm not sure there is a plant on early that could stand up to Two, but I'll find whatever is cheapest and try again in vain to teach her gentle. Perhaps when things start growing things that she can eat it will get through, but I doubt it. That is asking a lot for anything under ten. I got in trouble all through elementary school for picking peppers before they were ripe and salable on the farm.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bike Commuting With Kid Day 3 - I feel free!

I'm not going to document every time we do this, but I figure that while I'm starting, my info could maybe be helpful to someone else out there. I'm definitely still in the learning phase, so I feel that sharing is good thing.

This morning the ride in was pleasant, if not almost a little chilly. I think I can go up to about 70 without having any issues on the ride in. As in, will not get sweaty enough to feel uncomfortable with my lack of shower facility. As for the rides home, A and have an agreement now that if it is too hot to reasonably ride home with M, he will get her from daycare so I can still get the exercise in.

Today I put that slightly to the test when I rode home after working a half day. I was back later to get a haircut and pick her up, via car. I like riding alone. Not that I don't like having the time to get exercise and be with her, but I like riding alone just as much.

After that ride, and one yesterday, I decided to not wait until pay day and get a new saddle. I just couldn't hold out for another week. The girl parts, they just could not handle it. The new one should work good, if not, it has a 90 day return policy.

Other than that, I'm feeling pretty comfortable. Today was my first ride since the tragic accident, and I made sure I practiced what I preached. I have decided that if it comes down to me or a semi at an intersection, he gets to go first. I would rather know where he is going through an intersection instead of worry if he knows where I am. Not every cyclist out on the road with me today agreed with that, but considering what is drafting behind me, I figure I can't afford to not do that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A question of safety.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about this here, but Darcie Twittered the article to me (I had already been reading about it at work), so I'm going to comment. The safety of my new bike commute is something that I have wanted to talk about anyways.

I may have only rode to work twice, but my experience with cycling goes way back. Over 30 years ago I was where M is, a passenger on a bicycle being peddled around Minneapolis. First in a pack kid carrier (hello not safe), and later in a seat far more primitive than the one M rides in. This was long before bicycle lanes and helmets for little kids. As I got older, bicycles and people who were serious about them surrounded me. As a tween, I went on a serious road ride with a group of family friends. My first traffic ticket was a bike ticket as a teen. I had to go to bike traffic school in my home town. I have been in one relatively serious (and solo) bike crash. It is only as an adult that my interest in cycling (and virtually all other exercise) has waned. Basically, while I am fresh to part of this, I feel comfortable commenting with some experience.

Riding a bicycle is safe. In some respects, it is safer than riding in a car. We take chances every time we get in a car just the same as a bicycle, or a walk down the street. When M rides in the car, she is buckled in a properly installed high end car seat. When she is on my bike, she is buckled in to a high end bike seat, wearing a helmet. When I drive, I wear my seat belt, I adjust my mirrors, and I drive defensively. When I ride my bicycle I wear a helmet, I ride defensively, and I pick routes that have less traffic and marked bike lanes. I follow the rules of the road no matter what I am driving, and as a cyclist, I follow the rules of the road and assume that no one sees me, no one is going to yield to my right of way, and that I am always at risk. In both cases, I use the occasional colorful word when appropriate. (though there is a lot more "fudgsicles" these days)

The route that I ride on has industrial and truck traffic, but it is not heavy when I am riding. Among other things, it is a two (car) lane road with right side bicycle lanes. I know the section of road where the accident occurred and if that were part of my commute, I'm not sure I would be doing what I am. It is a one way street with the bike lane on the left, where right of way and blind turns cause issues.

What happened was tragic. Unfortunately a lot the commentary has turned to "evil truck" and "irresponsible cyclist". The fact is that blame may not be easily assigned, as is often the case in any accident. The bottom line is that a woman lost her partner, and others lost a friend. The truck driver may not be getting a citation, but that doesn't mean that they won't live with that event for the rest of their lives. Anyone who has been in an accident where there was a fatality knows that never leaves you, no matter who is to blame.

The good news is that this isn't something that you read about every day.

What I am asking is that if you drive, watch for the cyclists (and motor cycles and scooters), and remember that they have a right to be there too. If you bicycle, even for fun, let your elected officials know that you use the resources and you appreciate them. Let them know that investing in safe infrastructure is good for everyone. Encourage them to do more to ensure everyone's safety. Follow the rules of the road, signal your turns, be nice to pedestrians.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 32 Square Foot Garden

Since tree removal gave us sun, but not good soil, this year I took my garden's up a bit. From the suggestion of a coworker, I did a variation of this method.

I consulted the coworker, that site, and any others that posted pictures. I also threw in some personal experience and consultations with my mom, the professional (with a Master's now too) environmentalist. I learned a bit from all of them, and we'll see if it pays off. This is what I have.

The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and edible flowers were all from the Landscape Arboretum Plant sale. (a must of you garden or like plants & shrubery and are local). The wildflower experiment was from the dollar section at Target and is for M to have flowers she can pick. We'll see how it goes. I got a metric ton of them for a buck.

The future tomatoes were generously donated by Shanu, a college friend of A's. They are getting a little bigger before going in. The high winds could have hurt the little buggers. The onions were more from the plant sale. I've never transplanted onion sprouts before, and I have absolutely no idea how that is going to work out. The seeds are all from Burpee via Home Depot. I realized when planting them it has been close to 15 years since I last did anything from seed. I'm nervous and may have over seeded. Radishes should be ready to eat in less than a month. Squee!

I'm a bit worried about the whole "compact" thing. However, look at what this guy is doing. The blend of compost and peat moss should create a nutrient rich environment. I even did a deeper soil depth just to make sure I could do root crops. According to both of them, nothing should have to be "planter" varieties, just the plain old stuff. Anything should be better than no garden at all. Worst case, I can always just hit the farmer's market. I'll need to anyways for cucumbers, I couldn't figure out how to deal with vines just yet.

WW - If the suit fits

July 2008

May 2009

Wear it.

More Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bike Commuting Day 2 - Headwind vs. Tailwind

Headwind = bad
Tailwind = good

Today I learned that in addition to temperature it would be a good idea to check wind speed and direction and plan departure time accordingly. Or give up and take the damn bus.

Over the weekend I added to my gear and got a rear light (not installed yet), a mirror (also not installed yet), and a pair of gloves (good god how did I live without). The gloves were on clearance, and actually in my size (women's XL). I was shocked and amazed that they make them in XL. Normally I get the shaft on gloves. I feel that when commuting with the kid, the are a necessity. You spend a lot of time gripping the handlebars. A lot more than if you weren't in a constant battle for balance (and with the ever loving wind). I tried to do three blocks without after dropping M off, yeah, bad idea.

The other thing I learned today is that the city of Minneapolis sucks. Mayor Rybak pushes for bike friendly, brags about how bike friendly we are what he is doing to make it better when came to talk to my office, and then none of the websites have up to date or usable info. Phone calls get you someone who doesn't have a clue. They closed the bike lockers in the ramp by M's daycare and both the office where you rent them, as well as every website I could find, makes no mention of this. Worse yet, if you call the ramps, you get a barely understandable person with no idea what you are asking about. I finally had better luck sending an email. Stupid Twins stadium. It has ruined the street with the bike lane that I could safely ride all the way in on (there is a crater as large as a car on it), and now it has made the whole commuting with a kid thing much harder as well. I may need to stick with keeping my bike at work like I had been doing. I would have much rather stashed it by daycare. Bah!

By the time they resolve all of it, M will be too large for the seat, and I will need to figure out how to store a trailer. (or maybe I'll get lucky and she won't gain any weight for a year and a half)

My next day was going to be Wednesday, but something about 90 degrees and thunderstorms has me thinking "bus". Thursday is out for walking I think since Kristen has family in town, so I'll try to bike then stop at the Bike Festival at our local library on the way home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


At some point during one of my gardening sprees, I got some top soil that obviously was torn from some cow pasture. Either that or it was some manure. Either way, it came with a lot of annoyances, including thistles, which I think are pretty, but are not kid friendly weeds, and columbine. I am constantly torn between removing it from where it should not be, and "ooo, the pretty". This year it sprouted up by the garage. In an area I cannot mow, and a broken weed wacker cannot cut. So this year, it stays. I am so pleased the decision to keep it has been made for me.

Maybe next year M will be old enough to show her how to suck the honey out without opening it up for her to try to eat all of the other flowers.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike Commuting with a Toddler

So, we did it. We survived. Somewhere around 12 miles round trip, to and from work, and everyone arrived where they needed to be safe and sound. It was wonderful to start my day with exercise, instead of ending it with exercise. I felt great all day long. I want to do this whenever I can, and I think I've learned some valuable lessons for if we do this again. I'm breaking it down to bullet points, because I love bullet points.

What I wish I had known before:

  • Apparently the temp this morning may or may not have started with a 3. That is in the same range as freezing. I was determined to do it, so I kind of sort of didn't totally pay attention to the weather, other than the expect high.

What I loved:

  • I love M's seat. It is a Topeak Baby Seat. I only wish we had done this last year so I had a whole extra year of her riding with me. This will be the only year we can, next year another option will need to be found unless she doesn't gain any weight or get taller. I feel totally secure with her in it.
  • My basket, dorky as it may be. I got a basket last night, a must for with the seat when I can't really have a messenger bag in M's face. I smell a bike picnic some time in our future.
  • Minneapolis's bike trails. We had a bike lane almost all the way in and I felt comfortable in it even when traffic got heavier.

What I may do in the future: (if this becomes a regular thing, I will need to refine a few things)

  • Lights. I need lights even if we are out during the day. A tail light at the most. I would feel more comfortable.
  • Mirror. Again, a comfort thing. Checking behind me with the weight in front and behind is a little cumbersome, a mirror would be a good idea.
  • Water. I need to drink less right before I leave work, and bring it with for the ride.
  • Breakfast. I need to pack or plan to have a hearty breakfast after I get to work. Maximize calorie burn and um, I was hungry. Also, small snack at home in the morning.
  • A small lock for the child seat. So I can leave my bike with it on it without worrying someone is going to walk off with it.
  • An ergonomic girly saddle. Um, the bones, they be hurting. I may want to invest in a better saddle.
About the picture: I wanted photographic proof, but my camera settings were messed up and I didn't notice. Between that and my squinting and totally inaccurate sour look, (and the no M face rule), I went all weird, but you get the gist. We did it, there is proof.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WW - Two Words - Tutu - My Head (fine, three)

For the local peeps, I'm doing the Ride to Work day tomorrow, 5.6 miles, with the kid in a seat on my bike. Are you riding (or walking) anywhere tomorrow?

Sunday, May 10, 2009


When I was pregnant, I was huge. Not only had I not cared terribly much about what I ate (I was happy to find anything that sounded good for awhile), but then I had the edema leading up to my pre-e. One of the few things I found that fit me was mens XXL t-shirts. I went to Old Navy and bought a bunch of them and wore them the last couple of months. They covered my belly better than any maternity clothes ever did because of my height.

Afterward, even after you know, giving birth, they still fit. They fit well enough that I continued to wear them for around the house and occasionally on the weekends. Especially the black ones (because you can NEVER have too many black t-shirts).

This morning, before heading out for a casual day, I put one on again. I didn't think much of it, because they've always fit. I even wore it out of the house. When it came time to actually go in somewhere, I made A drive to Target for a quick shopping trip. It was HUGE on me. I've sort of been in denial about my shrinking size.

I'm still weighing around 235, but now I can shop outside of the plus size section some places. There are only a handful of size 20 pants that still fit me. Even my fitness level and stamina shocks me. I find I am having a hard time accepting and accounting for how good I'm feeling. I keep expecting to not be able to do it. Finding confidence in myself has never been easy, but I never expected it to come up in ways like this.

Um, go me?

PS. Went for a bike ride with the newly installed seat this weekend. It was amazing. I went farther and went faster (even with 40 pounds of extra gear/kid) than I originally thought I could. We will definitely be going out more, and I may start bike commuting.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dear Mom,

So mom, what is the going rate for dandelions? I swear I got at least an inch of stem on all of them. Some of them were HUGE too.

There were what, 1 cent per dandelion 22 years ago? With inflation that should be 2 cents, plus now I'm much better at getting them up, so maybe 5 cents each?

I figure that I'm up to at least 5 bucks. That sure is a lot of Lemonheads at the M & H.


A. Sprout

PS. Happy Mother's day. I really appreciate everything you did when we were growing up. Even the dandelion thing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Minneapolis, you fail

Minneapolis, you have let me down. Letting a concert, with very adult music, and very adult decibel levels, happen right by multiple daycare's, is not OK. Especially at 4 on a Friday afternoon. That is still daytime enough to make it inappropriate.

If we had been taking the bus today (of course, I drove, it didn't rain), we would have had no choice but to walk right by it, or walk at least six very unsafe large city blocks out of the way. There is no way we would have made it to the bus on time.

I certainly hope that none of my tax dollars went to the traffic cops, the officers patrolling the concert, or well, any of it. In fact, I hope you made a sweet sum off of it. Could you apply that to the potholes on my street?

I swear, I'm not an old stiff, I just like choice to be exposed to that kind of stuff. It shouldn't be where it was, when it was, plain and simple.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Putting on my running shoes.

You know, the really expensive ones that I bought.

I'm back on track with my Couch to 5K plan. Kristen (not this one, the local one) is pushing me to actually sign up for a 5K and I see her point, it makes excuses harder to make. I think I will bite the bullet some time in the next couple of weeks for something late summer. I'm not going all crazy and do one in six weeks when I know work is going to continue to be hard and July is HOT.

My training program will consist of two days of training with Kristen, one day of training alone. Those are "running" days. I am also going to be going biking with the family (provided the seat installation goes well) and maybe adding another day of walking with Kristen. That should get me up to at least four or five days a week. Better than the two to three I am stuck on now, not as good as seven the way a started out April.

It was nice to do seven, but my house started to get really messy. All of my free time exists after when M goes to sleep at 7. There just isn't any other time with the full time job. I can't get by on a hour or less of cleaning a night to get laundry, dishes, prep work for cooking, etc. done.

To help find the balance, I'm going to do the biking that includes M and A, and I'm learning to push my limits for what I do when M is awake. It won't be easy, but I am still committed to making that six months to a life change goal. Exercise will be come a regular part of my life. I'm even investigating joining a gym for the winter. Since I'll be driving instead of busing when it gets cold, I figure I can stay an extra half an hour downtown, or find somewhere I can go after M goes to bed. I doubt the 7 PM bed time will stay, so we'll see.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bicycle! Bicycle! I want to ride my bicycle!

This last weekend my awesome plans to work on my Square Foot Garden (more about that later) were delayed slightly by a husband who wanted to get our bikes fixed back up so we could all go out. Since I've already made an investment in running/walking and other fitness, I wasn't so sure about it. However, any effort on his part to get in better shape is a good thing. Bicycling is good way for someone with a bad back to get going. Especially when he also has a bad ankle that makes running no longer an option.

So, we carted our bikes off the local norse bike shop, one at a time, since I didn't feel like getting our the scratchy rack for this. The damage wasn't too bad for my bike, it has been barely ridden and tuned right before it was forgotten about. It just needs tires, 10 years is a lot to ask of them. A wasn't nearly so lucky. His requires a lot more work and will be done Thursday. No worries though, we had thought it would be over a week.

We also looked into bike seats to M. I would go for the safer option of a trailer, but if I want to commute with her, a seat is my best bet. Her silly height (still waiting for it to slow down) negated my first choice, the iBert (I also think I would have mounting issues). We settled on what looks like the tallest one available. She may have to bend her knees. (I am a bit jealous that she will have suspension and I won't) I'm really hoping she likes it, since it means we could bike to work some days. Good exercise, and fun for her. Extra nice, there was a sale at REI (that membership has paid for itself I don't know how many times over), so we got it from there. Not so nice, I need to install it myself. I emailed pictures to a bike riding friend from work, and says the rack will fit, but it may be this weekend before we know for sure. By then we'll have A's bike back, and we may be able to go out as a family. I'll take pictures when it is all setup and give an honest review of tall kid in back of bike seat.

If this goes well, and we keep it up, I'll get a receiver hitch and a proper rack for my Hyundai. Yes, I realize a trailer hitch on a small Korean car seems odd, but for regular family exercise, I'll do it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Toddler Messenger Bag

For about the last ten years I've carried a Timbuk2 messenger bag instead of a purse. Sure, I've tried to be a girly, I got a great purse from Harrod's on our trip to London, but I keep coming back to my messenger bag.

My original one was black and it would have lasted forever, but I wanted something at least a little more fun. A few years ago I got a build your own one in shades of green and black. I love it. I keep thinking another bag would be more fun, but I know I would just end up back with this one.

M, being a typical kid, tries to copy me, with sometimes disastrous results. She gets trapped in straps that are too short, or she tries to take my adult bags and gets tangled in them. I have searched to find a kid messenger bag appropriate for a two year old, but no luck. They're either made for school age kids, or absolutely dorky looking. So, I sewed my own. It took one evening, a bit of hand sewing, and I think she likes it.

PS. If I were going to be endorsing products, Timbuk2 would be high on my list. The are indestructible. The ten year old one, still would be fine, I just got bored with black. When work gave us laptops for remote access, I went out and built my own bag for that. When M was born, I didn't get a diaper bag, I got a Timbuk2 tote bag, knowing that I could continue to use well afterward. I have cleaned out ungodly things from the insides of my bags, but still they continue to be awesome. If I had one complaint, it would be that their indestructibility means I cannot justify getting a new bag.