it’s coming…

This is it, we’re in the middle of it already! It’s the time of year that requires, to my way of thinking, the most adjustment: from Fall into Winter.  Yes, capitalized, just like that.  Its seems like only a few weeks ago that it was all sundresses, maybe paired with boots, but maybe not, maybe still with a bare leg and a cute heel.  But now! No dice.  Even though the temps can still be into the 50s and 60s, the morning-time is chilly-willy, down to the 30s.  Even I, Winter Lover Extraordinaire, experience some difficulty in acclimating.  No, it’s true.  I love winter, but I become slightly squeamish about getting out and doing stuff when it’s cold-yet not winter, with wind-but no snow.

Par ejemplo, last night, I went for a run.  But it took some mind-wrangling to get there.  I came home from work and, realizing I had eaten way too much office-chocolate (this is not a euphemism, though it really could refer to a number of things… there’s chocolate and candy f’ing everywhere in the damn office.  I look at it as a good exercise in self control, though it usually turns into let’s-eat-so-much-chocolate-at-work-that-it-makes-me-sick-and-I-don’t-want-to-eat-it-anymore, however.  This experiment, as yet, has not proven successful.), and because I had chosen not to visit the gym, I decided on the running.  I got home and started eating corn chips, mais oui.  And I ate a lot of them.  Stress-eating, you wonder? Procrastination-induced snacking? Yes, yes indeed.  Because it was COLD (44 deg F, or thereabouts) and it was windy, and I simply DID NOT WANT TO.  But, I went anyway, and once I got out there it was good.

The tricky part of cold-weather activity is managing the body-temp gap between starting the activity and being at the point of sweating.  Layering! Of course! But if you run, you know it’s a real hassle to take shit off and tie it around your waist.  Plus, you end up looking like an elderly woman mall-walking at 7am.  So I dress sparingly, and hope I’ve struck the right balance.  I did, last night, and the run was lovely.

My point being, though, that I have to remind myself every year that, while it stinks sometimes to get out there, it’s a matter of wearing the appropriate clothing, and then you can do anything.  Right?  I saw a guy driving to work yesterday morning, on a motorcycle, in 40-something degree rain.  But he was wearing a nice motorcycle suit and I thought to myself, I’ll be he’s real comfy.  And he probably was.  Because he was protected by his clothing, which is the whole point. Here’s a good frame of reference:

Image courtesy of The Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions.

This may seem like the most asinine pastime in the whole world, but there are those who love ice-diving.  I’ve heard it’s beautiful, though I can’t say for certain I’d ever endeavor.  Properly clothed, though, it’s nearly the same as any other cold-water diving.  It’s all about the equipment.


A mind, once expanded…

I’m back home again after my epic-ly amazing dog-sitting stint in the lovely Kenwood area.  Tonight is the first night sleeping in my own bed in 2.5 weeks.  There are several things I love about shaking up the routing periodically either just a little, like dog-sitting in someone else’s house in another area of the city, or busting loose completely, i.e. moving cross-country to attend a commercial-diving programs (yes, that really happened.):

  1. Your routine is immediately broken up.  You’re in a new place, surrounded by different people (or pets), totally different energy, completely different surroundings.  You simply can’t do things in the same way.
  2. You’re not surrounded by your own stuff.  This I find very liberating.  I have A LOT of projects I want to do, A LOT of books to read someday.  What ends up happening is that I am constantly overwhelmed by the possibility, so I end up doing none of the things on the list.  When you’re somewhere new, you only have the stuff you’ve brought with you, so you are better able to focus on what’s before you, what you intend to work on.
  3. It’s easy to reinvent yourself, even if only a little.  This may sound a little silly, but I think we all need, from time to time, to just sort of pretend a little, to try on new hats.  And this is always easier when you’re not surrounded by people who’ve known you since you were three, with whom you feel obligated to act out that particular role.  I’m not saying it has to be anything drastic, what I mean is more that we often change and grow, but don’t realize because it can be a challenge to allow those changes into a relationship or lifestyle that might be rather static.
  4. You gain insight to and clearer perspective on your life.  Being removed from the ordinary, it’s just easier to see what you do, and don’t like about where you are.

So, I’ve gained some insight, and have a better idea of where I want to be heading.  Now it’s about keeping up the momentum, and not dropping back to the same patterns.

I’m curious to know, how do you keep your momentum going when you’ve made good changes?  Is it will power, or intention that keeps you moving forward?  Do you find truth in the Oliver Wendall quote, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size”?


winter mania!

I’m not sure if it’s because I sit at a desk all day long, or because I don’t get enough sunshine in the winter, or if it’s just because I go a little stir crazy, what with the routine of the work week, but I get a little crazy this time of year!  I mean, now that it’s finally winter, that is.  I would happily spend all of my free minutes outside doing stuff, if I could.

Here’s what my tonight looked like: I rushed home from work to investigate what the dog might have demolished during the day (she was merely cuddling with one of my running shoes, bless her).  My plan was to let her out, then to go for a run because I was miraculously home before daylight had disappeared.  Unfortunately she spied the gentle leader in my hand while she was still outside and refused to enter the house, not even for treats.  Eventually she came in (and if you have a dog, or kids, you know the feeling of wanting to accomplishing something time-specific, and battling with said dependent, all the while mentally hearing the time ticking away…), but I still couldn’t get her on the leash, and so ran the lake alone.  When I came home, she was ready to go, so we skijored for a bit.  She did much better tonight, slowly starting to understand what we’re doing out there.  I was also less ambitious distance-wise, and only ran around Isles, rather than aiming to do more.  When we were done with that, I took the dog home and skied the lake alone.  All in all, I probably covered 6-7 miles.  And I would happily head out on my skates, if I didn’t have to go to bed for the working in the morning.

skijoring fun with Maddy.

Why is it that I think of one MILLION things to write about during the day, and when I sit down to write, I can’t think of a damn one of em?  Shoot.

Clue at the Trylon Microcinema was amazing.  Rather than writing for the rest of the weekend, I worked on transferring old posts from another blog to this one.  Maybe that’s part of the block, I was looking at old blog posts!  It was fun to go back and read some of them.  I ran my first and second half marathons this year and I chronicled a lot of my training, good to look back and see what a challenge it was, and how awesomely I rose to the challenge.  Better still, the first one was hell and I sucked at it- but completed another one a month later in the best time I’ve ever run any distance.

Oh yeah!  I remembered what I was going to post about: New Year’s resolutions!  More on that in the next post 😉

Does this ever happen to you?  I randomly dreamt of someone last night, so I’ve been thinking of him all day long!  He just keeps booping me on the nose at the oddest moments.  Not totally random, someone I have a silly crush on.  But I don’t remember the dream, so it’s a funny sensation when he pops into my brain- do you know what I mean?  How the feeling of a dream can be so strong, but completely nebulous and incoherent at the same time?

What else…  The rest of the weekend was amazing.  Saturday afternoon/evening I ran errands, then came home and lounged.  Took the dog to the park, but it was crazy windy, so no outdoor activities for this girl!  Sunday I got out the skis and hooked the dog up to the Stunt Puppy waist-leash set up for a skijor trial.  With how much she loves to pull, it should have come as no surprise that she was a natural skijorer.  The crazy wind had blown a lot of the snow off the lake, but there was still enough around the outer edges to ski.

I’ve never skied with a dog who actually pulls, but Maddy is a puller!  5.8 in approximately 1 hour 33.  It wasn’t an ideal set-up, I had her hooked up to the gentle leader then to me with the waist attachment.  It kept her from pulling too much, and she kept running off to the side.  It was super fun though, and she was knocked out for the rest of the day, which is always fun to see.  Later that night, I got out the skates and headed over to the rink for a bit.  Just for stinks and giggles, I turned on the GPS for this outing, too. I covered 2.75 miles.

My favorite part is when I was at the rink, shown in detail here:

We got more snow on Sunday night/Monday morning, and by the time I left work, I was so excited to get out into it, I was on the verge of exploding.  I got out the real harness and hooked Maddy and I together, good and skijor-proper, and practically ran to the lake.  And she ran!  Holy hell, did she run:

3.78 miles in 1 hour 20, and that was with a bunch of stops, several off-course veerings, and a handful of falls.  One ice landing left me on the ground for… a while.  Do you know when people talk about having a “goose egg,” like in old-timey shows?  I know what that means.  I have one of these on the elbow that bore the brunt of my last digger.  I also have a kind of puncture on top of the goose-egg.  We skied out in the open snow for a while, especially on Calhoun.  On Isles, there’s a nice skating track cleared around the lake, and she really got moving once she was on a trail (I think any musher/skijorer will validate this behavior, they get in the zone on trail).  It was a good adventure for both of us.  I don’t have my own dog, and I love getting to hang out with sweet pups and get a better feel for what I’d like when I have my own.  I like being able to/having to exercise with the dog, I’ve decided.  I’ve been out every day since I’ve been here, even if it’s just been for a twenty-minute walk (this accounts for maybe one or two days out of 20, and only when it was frigid outside), so it does force one to be active.  It was also way more fun than I could have anticipated to skijor with a willing partner, just to see her want to go!  She would be amazing with a bit of training.

So that’s all, I think.  I’m sure I’ll think of one million other thoughts as soon as I post this…

Bonne nuit, mes chers 😉

Saturday happiness.

So many reasons to be excited for the day!

Exhibit A: First of all, yay to long weekends.  It’s for a sad reason, unfortunately.  I work for Aveda, which is a subsidiary of Estee Lauder Corp.  In December, Evelyn Lauder, wife of Leonard Lauder, the chairman emeritus of ELC and eldest son of the company’s founder, died of non-genetic ovarian cancer.  Friday was the day of her memorial; hence, the day off.  But still happy to have a day away from the office.

B: I’m alive, healthy, with a hot cup of coffee in front of me and the sweetest, cuddliest pooch curled up with her head on my lap as I work.

C: The sun is shining, and there’s a good little bit of snow on the ground.  The ice is good and solid now, so no crackling noises, and fewer of the funny echoing noises.

We walked across the lake last night to the dog park, and the good folks at Minneapolis Parks and Rec had laid the cross-country ski track.  Love that I can look forward to both ice skating and XC skiing at the ready for the remainder of my time dog-sitting here!  Very excite (not a typo).  The snow is not quite enough for skiing my regular spots- I hit Hiawatha Golf Course yesterday afternoon and coverage was pretty sparse.  Will check in with the good folks at SkinnySki to see if any of the other trails are in good condition. Once it warms up a bit, I’ll be outside soaking up some vitamin D!

D. I thought I was out of town this weekend with friends, but come to find the trip is next weekend.  It’s like having a whole 2 days as a gift.  Definitely looking forward to seeing my ladies in Alexandria, but love that I have an unplanned weekend.

E.  My beloved and mildly obnoxious friend, Toni Schewe, celebrates her January birthday all month long.  Though we joke about the ridiculousness of this, it is fun to attend some of the events.  Today we’re watching a movie at Trylon Microcinema.  Last year was Goonies, this year…  CLUE!  Do you remember this movie?  I loved it as a kid, loved the game.  So much room for imagination running wild.  Secret passageways?  Yes, please!  Giant creepy mansion?  Love.  Cannot wait!

Happy Saturday, all!

I really, really miss winter.

There are some amazing photos here of La Grande Odyssee, an 1,100-mille (or, 1.100- for Les Francais, though it would probably be measured in km there, so a completely different number of kilometrage) dog-sled race through the Alps. The long exposure image is amazing, and who doesn’t love dogs in booties?


Racers must finish in 11 days.  That’s 100 miles each day, if my math is correct.  Scheisse, that seems a bit more extreme than the Iditarod.  But I love the Iditarod first and foremost.

Seriously, I miss the snow and wandering around on my skis in the woods where no one else is.

things I like: ice skates!

It snowed today!  And a bit yesterday.  It’s not enough for skiing, just a heavy-ish dusting really, but the temps have dropped so that it actually sort of feels like winter.  On New Year’s Eve, I joined in a yoga retreat with friends and learned from a woman named Eva (actually spelled Ewa, as she had some connection with Germany, and was a dancer) that it was possible to skate Lake of the Isles all the way through to Calhoun.  Now, I haven’t been on skates in YEARS, but it’s winter and I am chomping at the bit to be outside doing wintery activity, and this option of skating the lakes sounded so…  Dutch, and wonderful, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  With the frigid temps of the last week, combined with dog-sitting a skip away from Isles (which is shallower than the others, and has a rink set up on the north side to boot!) this weekend was the perfect moment for the experiment!

The skates I bought were $50 at Dick’s Sporting Goods, nothing fancy, just your basic white figure skates (DBX Women’s 1100 Ice Skates w/ Guard to be specific).  The first sharpening is included in the purchase, and so long as you present your receipt each time you go back, it only costs $3 per.  I can’t imagine I’ll need to sharpen too often, so it’s a bargain.

When I got back to the house, I took the dog for a walk around the lake to scope out the rink.  There weren’t too many people there, and it was being shoveled as I passed.  Encouraging.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure how this experiment was going to play out.  I’m sometimes not very coordinated and can be a bit clumsy from time to time, so you can imagine, I was a bit nervous about balancing my body weight on pencil-thin blades.  There’s also a bit of the doubting Thomasina, she likes to get in her two cents when I try something new.   But she’s almost always wrong.

I went back home and, before I could think my way into leaving it til tomorrow, changed into appropriate attire, put the skates in a bag, and walked to the lake.  I walked for a few blocks, then had an inspiration to have a try before I got to the rink- and this turned out to be pure genius.  This was what struck me when Eva/Ewa was talking about skating the lakes, that the ice had frozen quickly, leaving it smooth enough to skate on outside the rink.  I love sh!t like this, doing something fun in an uncommon way.  The obvious is to skate only on the rink, but what a great little adventure to skate the lake, too.  Awesome.  So I put on the skates, and carefully, slowly glided around for a bit.  When I had gained a little confidence, I skated to the rink and spent some time there, then continued around to the other side of the lake til I was back to where I started.  There are large, cylindrical figures on the ice, all in a line, I think in prep for the Loppet, and I practiced turns around them, and tried to figure out skating backwards.  All in all, I was gone for two hours, and probably an hour-and-a-half was skating.  And I really had to force myself to come back to the house.  Tomorrow, totally planning to skate in the morning, maybe with the dog?  Hmm.  That could be a bit of a sh!t show, but it might be fun!