Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Tradition Continues


I hadn't planned to fly home for the Fair this year. I was just home for the wedding. It wasn't practical. It didn't make sense.

One thing that I've come to know for certain this month is that practicality is a lot easier with distance. Months ago, I knew it would be hard to skip the Fair and miss a year of my annual tradition with Rosie. Last week, I knew it would be impossible.

And with that, I bought a ticket. The tradition will live on. Tomorrow I will be walking the circuit, eating cheese curds and pronto pups, seeing chainsaw carvers, riding the giant slide and singing along to Garrison Keillor in the Grandstand.

Fair 2014 here I come!! I can hardly wait!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Washington, D.C. in Photos

I was in Washington, D.C. last week for a conference and had a little time to visit some sites. The highlight was seeing Julia Child's kitchen. I also had a fabulous time seeing my cousin and his boyfriend, partaking in restaurant week and trying sparkling rosé. 

 american history museum
 julia's mixer!!
 under construction
 botanic gardens
 natural history museum
 museum of american art
joan crawford's dog sure looks a lot like...
my cousin's dog
(i love, love, love this statue by the way)
 cachaca, lemon cordial, egg white and bitters
 sparkling rosé
restaurant week at fiola

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Long Weekend in Minneapolis in Photos

 wild turkeys of northeast minneapolis. 
they moved in sometime during the last decade. eek!
 panang curry
 a program i helped start 12 years ago. time for a new sign.
 pizzeria lola
day drinking
 korean bbq and hawaii-o
 there in spirit
 photo booth
 only the necessities
 minnehaha falls
 beer chasers = things you miss when you leave the midwest
and cute to boot!
 smoked pork shoulder
missing family already

the main event:
love these two!
 so excited
 such a touching ceremony
 lots of smiles
 sooooooo happy
 oldest friends
 behind the scenes lighting assisting
the world's best photographer

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Story of a Friendship Salad

Your oldest friend asks you to make a salad for her wedding reception, and of course, you say, "YES!"

Your mind immediately starts racing with possibilities before you tell yourself not to overthink it. Your husband points out that not just any salad will do and suggests writing a salad recipe that embodies your friendship. So much for not overthinking it.

You accept the challenge and start a page for ideas in your bullet journal. This is your oldest friend, and only the most perfect salad will do. 

Your husband reminds you that he never actually challenged you. But he knows you well enough to know that you will indeed take it as a challenge and that he can't go around making suggestions without you taking action. He is reminded of that time years ago, before you were married and he casually suggested that the three of you - you, him and your oldest friend - should spend the whole day at the Minnesota State Fair. The whole day. Little did he know it opens at 6:00 am and closes at midnight. He should have learned his lesson that year.

Your list of ideas includes many items that are related to your time together in France. You add chestnuts for the year when you both taught English in small towns in the Alpes de Haute-Provence. That was the year it was certain that your friendship would be one of the most important things in your life. The day you left, her dad said to the two of you, "I'm so happy you guys are doing this together. It means that you will be friends for the rest of your lives." He was right.

Although your towns at the time were so much closer than they are now, only an hour away by car then and almost 24 hours by car now, you had some lonely times that year. One afternoon as you strolled together through Sisteron along the Durance River, probably discussing what you would be cooking for dinner that night, you found a burr that had fallen off one of the ubiquitous chestnut trees, cracked open with two nuts inside. You called them friendship nuts and each one of you took one home so you could still be together even when you were apart. You still have "little Rosie" in a bowl on your dresser. It still creeps her out big time that you call it "little Rosie" but you do it anyway because you like it.

Lemons are added to the list because of all those sunny days in the South of France, the energy of the sun and let's be honest, you guys ate a lot of lemon tarts together in France. Same story with lardons and crème fraîche, the culprits that caused you both to gain so much weight in one year that your jeans barely zipped up by late spring. 

The list includes Brussels sprouts for the year that she visited you on the Mesa for Thanksgiving. You spent months planning the perfect menu, which tasted even better than you could have imagined. That's probably because you had so much fun together cooking it all. The Brussels sprouts hash you made that year was pretty spectacular.

Cheese is on the list because this lady loves it, and cheese curds are the first food on your circuit at the fair.

You add kale because your salad is shaping up to be a little weak in the knees, and because kale is hearty like your friendship. You add that last bit to help justify the kale, but also because it's true.

You put it all together, well, almost all of it, and toss in a French vinaigrette and you get a nice salad. A kale and shaved Brussels sprouts salad with chestnuts, lardons and apple. It's nice. Really nice, but you can't help but think that it's just not good enough. Your husband tells you that it's a great salad and your friends tell you that you're being too hard on yourself. Your brother-in-law is brutally honest and says to start over with something that has more curb appeal. You're not the only one who will be making a salad for the reception. He leans closer over the table and tells you, "let's face it - this is a competition and you need to win it."

You tuck the friendship salad away to send her on a fall day with a nice note about how much you love her, and you cook the cover of this month's Bon Appétit instead. It's a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, who you know she loves, and it has roasted lemons and it definitely has curb appeal. And then on the day of the wedding, you hover next to the salad table as folks go through the buffet line, secretly (not so secretly) hoping that yours will be the first to be eaten up. And you're beyond pleased that it is, and even more thrilled that your oldest friend sits down next to you with her plate and takes one big bite of your salad and declares it "the best one!" She knows you so well. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer This Weekend

We stayed in town this weekend and did many of our favorite summertime things - cocktails on the front porch, burritos from Bode's, a day run on the Chama, hamburgers on the grill and mountain biking up Aspen Vista. We relished summer this weekend.

 andrew gets a break from rowing
 muddy waters on the chama
 rafting chacos
on the way up aspen vista
 view down cornice, a favorite ski run
 at the top of tesuque peak - 12,043 feet
 creepy eyesore at the top
mission accomplished!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fitness Lately: Summer 2014

I was feeling a little sluggish this spring. This was partly due to the lackluster ski season and partly due to all the rich and cheese-filled French dinners we ate after our fairly unchallenging days on the slopes - tartiflette, fondue and our new fav raclette. We usually ski, hike or bike at least once or twice per week and I go to the gym a couple of days a week, but it just didn't feel like enough. This summer I have tried to increase my activity and make fitness more fun. This is what's been working for me lately to get me moving more and feeling all around better.

Working out at the gym at lunch. I find the gym kind of boring and monotonous and spending my precious free time in the evenings there just doesn't work for me. I would wake up in the mornings whole-heartedly intending to make it to the gym after work, but I just couldn't manage to go back inside to work out. I'm lucky to have fitness leave from my job so I can take an extra long lunch break three days a week to work out. Working out at the gym during my lunch break is still boring, but at least I don't feel like I'm wasting my free time inside. I've also been using my time at the gym to catch up on Kelsey's podcast, which makes the time fly by! 

Cute workout clothes. I recently bought some new and cute exercise clothes in bright colors. It might sound silly, but when I wear clothes that make me happy, I have more fun. It's wearing your joy, as Kelly Rae Roberts describes it. It's about choosing to only wear clothes you love and dress yourself up in joy. It works!

Mountain Biking. This has really been the ticket for me this summer. It's thrilling, exhilarating and scary. It pushes me past what I think my body can do. It makes me scream with fear and excitement in equal parts. It comes with a great sense of accomplishment. It wipes me out and exhausts me, in a good way. I am totally addicted to mountain biking this summer. (much to my husband's great delight!)

I recently made the switch from a rigid mountain bike to full suspension. Full suspension! Wow, I never thought I would go for it, but it has changed my biking life. One day earlier this summer, as I struggled up a rocky incline on my rigid bike, Andrew pointed out that just because he's so stubborn about suspension doesn't mean I have to suffer too. I was resistant. I refused to try it. I said, "oh no, I don't need any of that fancy suspension. I want to rely on my own skills and strength."

A few weeks ago, he secretly rented me a full suspension bike to try for the day. Not too secretly, but I would have discouraged him had I known his plans. Even while at the bike shop, I complained about the weight and clunkiness and ugliness (let's face it, full suspension bikes aren't the prettiest on the trails). When we headed out that Saturday morning to the South Boundary Trail in Taos, I was unimpressed.

photos can't capture how beautiful it is at the top...

Then we started the first big downhill, and it was so different. I rode over rocks and roots and drops that would have frightened me so badly on my rigid bike. I rode 22 miles that day on a very challenging trail. Although the guide book says it is intermediate, it is clearly for more advanced riders. Despite a few hairy sections, I had the best time.

We now ride at least two nights after work with long rides on the weekends. Santa Fe has so many mountain bike trails so we never get bored and it's always challenging. It feels invigorating to be in the outdoors after long days inside. It is really hard work, but I can tell my strength and endurance is already improving so much.

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