Consistently Inconsistent

I’ve got to admit I’ve been consistently inconsistent in maintaining the blog over the past twelve months. It’s not for a lack of trying, I assure you.  Rather it’s a function of pure exhaustion and competing priorities.  As May winds down and we approach the end of school, I’m looking forward to the relief that the start of summer begins.  Our schedules slow down and life becomes somewhat calm and balanced.  Of course, calm and balanced in a house of three boys probably doesn’t fit most people’s definition of calm and balanced.if-you-could-ywky2o

Since the corporate run, I’ve continued to train using the Couch to 5K app to gradually increase my mileage and running time.  Due to the May heat, most of my training has been inside on the treadmill.  Fortunately, my AirPods and closed captioned episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm have carried me through the nine weeks of training.  Last week, Jake and I ran a 5k in Delray.  I’m still slow, but was still managed to take two minutes of my time from the corporate run.

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For the past week, the weather here has dried out considerably, so the Mayor and I have been running in the evenings.  It’s significantly more difficult to run outside versus the treadmill, but it feels great.  There’s nothing better then running with my boys and our little Piggie.  Athena has transitioned back to running quite well.  Although much like mom, she’s also out of shape.  Since Maya’s cancer scare, we’ve been reticent to take her out running in the heat.  After a course of antibiotics and some CBD oil and CBD treats from Honest Paws, Maya is doing amazing.

Tomorrow Jake, the Mayor and myself will run another 5k.  Since the summer heat is here, the run will kick off at 7:00 am.  Undoubtedly, I’ll be lamenting my decision to run when I have to wake up tomorrow at 5:15 am.   Of course afterwards I’ll feel much better and be happy with my decision, but getting out of bed is going to suck.

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Today we’re laying low in anticipation of running tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, I was able to meet up with my dear friend Jessica last night in Palm Beach.   I met her this year on Momcation 2.0 (Cayman Island edition) and we hit it off right away.  We had some fabulous drinks, food, conversation and laughs.  It was an awesome night.  I’ll write more on the beauty that is Momcation in a different post later.

We are, of course, like most hockey families counting down to the start of tomorrow night’s Stanley Cup Finals.  It’s lamentable that we’ve had to go so long without hockey at nights.   I’ve tried to catch as much as the World games (Go Finland!,) but it’s tough when you don’t have the channels playing the games.  Nonetheless, tomorrow hockey returns and we cannot wait. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Bruins come out tomorrow after  quite a bit of downtime.  On the other hand, I’m curious to see how the Blues’ rooking goaltender Bennington is going to handle the pressure.  Should be awesome!  Who are you cheering for?
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Not So Super Bowl

After a not so super bowl, it’s been a brutal forty-eight hours.  Seriously, could there have been a more boring game?  I’d go over some highlights, but the only one I can think of is not having to use Melatonin Sunday night because the game put me to sleep. Unfortunately, we learned during the game that the hubby’s cousin was seriously injured in a snowmobile accident.  She’s presently recovering in ICU at the University of Minnesota, please keep her and our family in your prayers.

super-bowl-memes-more-entertaining-than-the-game-was-30-photos-15Yesterday while I was on a conference call, Goalielocks started screaming.  Fifteen year olds usually don’t scream for S&G, so I was concerned.  I quickly ran out and found him with our eldest and beloved dog Maya.   Maya was coughing up blood and Goalielocks was hysterical.   After calming both of them down, I returned to my call and the hubby called the vet from the job.

We were able to get her into the vet late yesterday afternoon.  My Hubby came home early, so he and Goalielocks were able to take her and I could keep working.  No sooner had they left when Athena began crying and howling.   She had spent her day cuddled next to Maya’s side.   Athena loves her sister and is very protective of her.  Literally, she cried the entire time they were gone.

The vet appointment took a long time, so I had to pick up my Mayor from the bus stop.  I had him take Athena out, but she would only pull him to the front yard and not do her business.  She was too preoccupied with Maya not being there. In fact, she broke out of the garage.  Instead of running freely and as quickly as possible as she usually would, she stopped in the driveway again looking for her sister.

Unfortunately, the doctors found a mass in her lungs that they think is lung cancer.  We are devastated.   Maya is our first dog and has been a member of our family for almost ten years.  Truly, she is an integral part of our family.  The boys took it really hard.  Goalielocks spent the night laying next to her making Maya was comfortable.  The next steps are for Maya to go in for an ultrasound and some additional diagnostic testing. We’re hoping to do this in the next week or two.   Meanwhile, I ordered every CBD treat and treatment I could find for dogs.  I’m anxious to see how our doggies enjoy the peanut butter turmeric CBD treats we bought her.   Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday I took the Mayor to get a haircut. As he gets older, he is looking more and more like Jake.  They truly could be twins separated by a mere seven years.  More than that, he just looks old.  He’s not my baby anymore.   Sunday afternoon he had two games, which were fun to watch. It’s always nice to be at the rink ad with our hockey family.  Plus, it wouldn’t be Super Bowl Sunday if we didn’t have a late afternoon hockey game.  More to come on Sundays games and bad hockey parent behavior in a future post.

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Meanwhile, in Minny my parents survived the brutal cold that is January in Minnesota.  They’re presently looking forward to more accumulating snow as the week wears on.  I have to tell you, I don’t miss it at all.  Nevertheless, I’m relieved that my family is all safe and warm and wasn’t impacted by any of the energy outages experienced during the brutal cold.

I’m off to practice a little yoga and read a little Proust before heading to bed.   Please keep our family in your prayers.

Tough To Swallow

It’s a bit tough to swallow that our vacation ended days ago and I’m still exhausted. Fortunately, the dinner I made in the Instant Pot was not! I love the convenience and quick turnaround of this magical device.

Tonight’s dish was Ropa Vieja and it did not disappoint. The meat (a roast) took only 90 minutes to cook. Once the 90 minutes had elapsed, I was able to easily shred the beef with my fork. I then added in the peppers, so they could cook without contaminating the entire meat (everyone, but me hates peppers) and added the olives.

What’s even better is that while the roast cooked, the Piggie and I were able to run an arduous 3.5 miles. It was not my best run and the first time in awhile I’ve logged over 3 miles. Fortunately, the weather was entirely perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect (at least weather wise) run with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80

During the 3rd mile we alternated walking fast with sprinting. We started with intervals of 1:1 and then moved 1:2 ratio of walking to running. Unfortunately, I still sucked at running. Yesterday’s run was pretty fast and relatively pain free. On the other hand, today’s run was arduous as it’s worst and painstakingly hard at it’s best.

So yesterday’s run was great. Well, except for the squirrelly incident. It was just after mile marker 1, when a grey squirrel popped out from behind the bushes. The Piggie couldn’t control herself, she had to chase. Meanwhile in my head, I’m saying “squirrel” and cracking up. Fortunately, the squirrel quickly made its way up a tree and out of sight. I was dying laughing literally and figuratively, when I had to stop and catch my breath. #squirrel

Despite the difficulty of today’s run, the Piggie and I were able to go the distance. We didn’t quit when it seemed impossible. Rather we kept fighting to breakthrough the wall. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, we’ll be back at it tomorrow. With only 11 days until the corporate run, I’ve got plenty of work to do! I can’t wait to run tomorrow!

Super Bowl Sunday

It’s super bowl Sunday!  I sure do wish my Vikes were playing, but oh well.  Unfortunately, according to Mick Jagger we can’t always get what we want.  So here I am cheering for the Patriots on account of the Philly fans poor behavior.  Thus far the game has been okay, but I am enjoying the commercials.  I love the tourism ad for Australia.  I’d probably follow Chris Hemsworth or his brother for that matter anywhere, but the ad was pitch perfect.  Moreover, I’d be curious to know the increase in flights to Australia after that ad.

JT’s half time performance just finished.  I love the tribute to Prince!  The city and stadium looked amazing lit up in purple.  Prince was an icon in that city and our state. Additionally, as a Gopher it was great seeing the University of Minnesota Marching Band out on the field backing up JT.  What an experience fr those kids!  His set was pretty good, but his outfit looked like he bought it at the local Mills Fleetfarm.  In fact, he may be leaving the Super Bowl to go hunting or something.

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We’re creatures of habit, so we have our usual chili cheese dip in the crock-pot for the evening.  Our sweet Athena is cuddling with us on the couch as we watch the big game.  Meanwhile, the BBQ rib thief Maya, is paying her penance in her crate.  Goalielocks was none to thrilled when she stole some of his ribs off the table.   In addition to our big game treats, I bought ribs for the boys tonight.  Goalielocks was thrilled.  Thank god for Target and cartwheel as I was able to save 20% on all three racks.

In honor of the big game tonight, I’d thought I’d share some of my favorite Super Bowl memes.

Tonight’s song performed by JT is “Suit & Tie.”  He performed this song tonight at the Super Bowl backed my by alma mater’s – the University of Minnesota – marching band.

Come Fly With Me

Come Fly With Me

Come fly with me, no seriously, you’ve gotta try aerial yoga at least once.  Now that I’ve have several classes under my belt, I’m starting to feel much more comfortable in the silk.  After an rousing hockey game last night and kick arse circuit burn class this morning, aerial yoga with Monica was the perfect way to decompress mentally and physically.   Additionally, the communal atmosphere of the class is awesome.  Everyone is supportive, eager to try new things and happy to cheer others on.

I know you’re wondering, what’s so awesome about aerial yoga. So let me tell you.  First, aerial yoga is great for your back.  While you’re in the inversions, your spine is able to decompress and there’s minimal strain on your back.  If you’ve got back problems, an aerial yoga practice may provide relief.

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Since the silk supports you in the inversions, you’re able to get into inversions, like handstands, and hold them much longer.  Consequently, you build not only strength, but also muscle memory for the poses.  This will translate into your mat practice.   Moreover, there are parts of the aerial practice that are nearly identical to TRX.  You’re able to use your own weight as resistance to build strength and flexibility.

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Thankfully, I was able to decompress both my mind and my spine this morning otherwise I would have lost my mine at the mall.   The Hubby and I are way behind the eight ball when it comes to Christmas shopping.  Although to be fair, the boys just posted their Christmas wishlists on the fridge yesterday.  Consequently, I headed to Kohl’s to find a present, but left empty handed.  I could not believe how picked over the shelves were. Since Kohl’s didn’t have what I needed, we headed to Macy’s and Dick’s.

What should have been a five minute ride took nearly 20 in the snowbird laden mall traffic. Ugh, Christmas shopping is bad enough, but throw in winter traffic and it is insufferable.  We ran in to Dick’s first, but again came out empty handed.  Afterwards we made our way to Macy’s, were we finally found what we needed to buy.  Unfortunately, we spent more time trying to exit the mall parking lot than we spent in Kohl’s.  Road rules and traffic regulations are not strong suits of Florida drivers.

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Later the Mayor and I went to Target, so he could by his brothers some presents.  Fortunately, Target was better stocked and well staffed.  We were able to get our groceries, the presents and check out in less than an hour. This was amazing especially considering we made a detour to Starbucks as we shopped.

Tomorrow we’ll finish out last minute shopping after aerial yoga and then head to my brother’s tomorrow evening.  Of course, we’ll have to wrap all the presents and start preparing the dishes for Christmas brunch.  My family looks forward to Christmas brunch as its usually the only time I make caramel rolls.  You may recall that for hurricane Irma I made an exception.  Unfortunately, we were house bound so we couldn’t work off the calories.  Consequently, Jake and I are already planning a long run Christmas Day to counteract the thousands of calories and carbs we’ll consume at brunch.

Tonight’s song performed by the Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra is “Come Fly With Me.” This song is one of my absolute favorites.  Enjoy!

Norway is Calling

Norway is Calling

Norway is calling (so is my bed p.s.) me back.  There’s no way around it and the kids feel the same way.  As a family, we cannot wait to go back and explore it some more.  For my kids, the city of Bergen was particularly memorable.  They’ve even started planning how they can study their in college or move their as adults.  I’d say the city left quite the impression on them.

The most beautiful part of Norway, and there were so many, for me was being able to spend time with my family.  There were no distractions of work, school or hockey.  It was just us enjoying our time together as we discovered our Scandinavian roots.  In addition, it was even more special because my entire family was there together.

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As we approach the holidays and I put out the Christmas decorations I bought in Norway, I long to go back.  One of my goals is to spend Christmas in Norway to enjoy the Scandinavian customs and celebrations.    It would be nice to enjoy a white, snowy Christmas versus our tropical Christmas.  Additionally, I’d like to explore the Christmas markets in Germany some time.

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Oh the serenity of my house was broken as the boys returned from hockey practice.  Goalielocks some how managed to knock a grocery bag with my brie baker off the table.  Consequently, my nice pampered chef brie pan has seen its last day.  Ugh… This is why I can’t have nice things.

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I leave you tonight with some of my favorite pictures from 2017.  There were many memorable moments this year, so picking my favorites was quite difficult.  Nonetheless, I think you’ll find a theme in my pictures.  Hint, hint my favorite moments are all about my family and friends that have become family.

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Tonight’s song performed by Offspring is “The Kids Aren’t Alright.”  I know, I know it is a departure from the Christmas music.  However, I was jamming out on my way to Barre tonight to this song, so I thought I’d share it.  Plus, it seems to fit with the brie, football/invisible hand calamity.

Winter's Arrival

Winter’s Arrival

As I left the gym this morning, it became clear that the morning’s storms were our prelude to winter’s arrival.  When I left my house this morning, the temperature was 78 and it was humid.  No sooner had I parked my car when the cold rain started.  I made my quickly from the parking lot to the gym trying to avoid the rain.  I was moderately successful in this endeavor.

Fortunately, thanks to a heart pounding circuit burn class, I wouldn’t be cold for long.  My heart was soon pumping and the cold rain had given way to sweat.  Amanda’s Circuit Burn class kicked my butt this morning.  Post-class I started getting cold as you could feel the temperature had dropped and I was wet with sweat.  My yoga teacher turned up the heat in the yoga room, which helped immensely.

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Afterwards, I headed to my car in the light, cold rain.  The temperature had fallen immensely, which is not something that happens often in Florida.  When I was growing up in Minnesota, it wasn’t unusual to have a wild swing in the temperature (think 15-60 degrees) in short order.  However, in South Florida, it is quite unusual.  I plopped into my car, exhausted from class, turned on the heat noticing the temperature had dropped from 78 to 63.  Full disclosure, a South Floridians definition of cold is much different than most other people’s.  I would also say that being wet from two hours of hard workouts didn’t help keep me warm either.

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Nevertheless, I headed to get coffee and get on with the rest of my day.  Both the Hubby and Jake are working today, so its just me, Goalielocks’ and the Mayor at home.  Consequently, we decided to take our girls (Maya and Athena) to go and see Santa Claus.  Maya, our older dog, is a bit socially awkward when it comes dealing with new dogs, which makes me nervous taking her out.   Athena loves everyone and everything and is very social with people and dogs alike.

Maya, our socially awkward beauty, definitely gave Santa a run for him money.  She didn’t want to sit and face the camera.  Athena would sit nicely for a bit and then a new dog would come in distracting her from the mission at hand.  Thankfully, both dogs and both children behaved beautifully at the store.  There were no meltdowns or accidents on our excursion to PetCo.

On the way back home, I stopped at the Starbucks for a latte, hot chocolate and a couple of puppacinos for the dogs.  This was our dogs first time enjoying a puppacino and enjoy they did.  They made short work of the cups of cream.  We’ll definitely be treating them to those again.  Now its time to get ready for Goalielocks’ team party!

Finally, I wanted to again share the link for a family that is in dire need of our support during an imaginably difficult time.  If you are able to, please consider helping this family.  Here is the link: Youcaring

Tonight’s song is “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin.  Thanks TW for the inspiration!

Last Night in Bergen

We had a brilliant lunch post Bergen aquarium near Bryggen with our family before J&B headed to catch the bus for Stavanger.  Tomorrow they’ll be on the hike of their life making their way up to Pulpit Rock.   Our waiter was incredible and bought us a round when the fryer broke and our food took longer than normal.  This was a great gift as beer and cider are extremely expensive in Norway even by South Florida standards.  The food was worth the wait and I enjoyed my fish an chips along with my cider.

 

Post lunch we hit the shops to find some useful souvenirs.  The Mayor found a nice knife he can use for fishing while Goalielocks selected a viking horn that sounds a bit like a kazoo.  The kazoo piece wasn’t intentional, so we’ll be looking for another viking horn for the house.   Jake got a nice Norwegian flag he can hang in his room.

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After two ciders at lunch, my favorite local coffee shop Dromedor was calling my name.   Not too far geographically from the tourist hub, but miles away in terms of its customer base.  This is a great local spot with quality coffee and pastries.   I have quite enjoyed their lattes these past couple of days in Bergen.

For dinner our kids wanted frozen pizzas, which was a complete godsend.  Food is extremely expensive in Norway and this was a perfectly economical way to feed the kids.        Post Pizza we headed to the wold famous fish market to meet J&M (my older bro and family), my grandma and my parents.

They were finishing up their dinner and afterwards we headed for dessert and shuffleboard.  We ended up at the same restaurant where we ate and drank yesterday as it had several shuffleboard tables where the kids could play and not interrupt all of the diners’ dinners.

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After two rousing shuffleboard tournaments, Priya and Zak and I emerged as champions.   Somehow I managed to figure out how to score a couple of points, which was enough for me to be successful.  The kids had a blast and enjoyed their desserts throughout the tournament.

After shuffleboard, we said adieu to our favorite spot, Bergenhus Bryggeri, and headed out to walk the city.   For the first time, we headed up Kong Oscars Gate where X&P found an awesome and cheap hot dog stand.  The group continued to make friends with dog owners and their dogs.   Norwegians love their dogs and take them everywhere.  Their dogs are meticulously groomed and extremely well behaved.

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As the sun started to descend in the sky, we headed back to our AirBnB to pack for our trip to Stavanger.  We have absolutely loved our time in Bergen and will be returning to this wonderful city hopefully soon.

Exploring Borgund, Husum and Laerdal

Today was all about exploring Borgund, Husom and Laerdal, which is where my dad’s family emigrated from in the 19th century. We started our day off with some scrambled eggs and bacon in the cabin, which were absolutely delicious. The cost of food in Norway is outrageously expensive, so we’re trying to eat in whenever possible. Food at the restaurant is taxed at 25% whereas food purchased in the grocery store is 12%, which makes for a big difference in cost.

After our protein filled breakfast, we set out to meet my parents and brothers’ families at the Borgund Stave Church. The drive, like most in Norway, was spectacular. The landscape here is absolutely amazing and awe inspiring. Our timing was spot on and shortly after we pulled into the museum parking lot in Borgund, my brothers’ cars followed.

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There is a small musuem at the site with artifacts related to the staves churches of Norway and also relics from the Viking Era that had been excavated at nearby sites. As a history nerd, I was in complete heaven. Once we made our way through the museum, we headed to the church.

What is nice about this site is that the staff monitors how many people are in the church and prevents the church from being overcrowded. This ensures you have ample time and space to view the church and explore the grounds without being overrun by other tourists. Their was a large group in the church when we arrived, so we started to hike the Sverrestigen, part of the Kongevegan (King’s Road.) My grandma, at 87 years old, killed the hike. I had Jacob escort her up the hill as the the terrain, comprised of grass, mud, rocks and tree roots, was a bit slipper and I didn’t want her to fall. If you are wondering what the benefits of walking 3-5 miles daily are, here it is. My Grandma T able to hike the Norwegian hillsides at 87 without so much as breaking a sweat.

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The stave church was amazing. It is very dark inside and modestly decorated with much of the regalia of it’s Catholic era long gone. The details and intricacy of the woodwork and carvings are beyond compare. Interestingly, this church, like the stave church in Undredal, combines christian symbolism with pagan symbolism. This simply does not exist in churches outside of Norway. There were even Rune letters carved into the door perhaps by a parishioner who had become bored during the service.

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After exploring the church, we explored the church and cemetery grounds it was surreal knowing that these were the very soil our ancestors had walked before emigrating to the Untied States. Jacob and I completed the entirety of the Vindhellavegen trail from Borgund to Husom.  Meanwhile Luke and the other two waited for us at a picnic table. The Vindhellavegen drops you right into Husum (Husom) where our family had its farm.  The Husom Store and hotel are found here as well.  We hiked back from Husum to Borgund on the Vidhellavegen taking a steeper, rockier short cut of a climb back to the church.

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I’m sure our legs will hurt tomorrow, but the view and experience were well worth the pain. Post hike we headed to the Husum farm and then on to Laerdal. I loved seeing my dad on this part of the trip. You could see that he really enjoyed seeing where his family originated. Another humbling, wonderful day in glorious Norway.

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My New Toy

After leaving the nice camera on the shelf for the last year or so I brushed it off, charged its battery and got the lenses ready for graduation.  I bought the T2i for our trip to France back in 2011.   If you’re travelling to Europe or planning any major trip, it is worthwhile to invest in a good camera.    Many museums, cathedrals, castles, palaces and other landmarks prohibit flash photography, so you’ll need a camera that takes good pics in low light.

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Since 2011 my Canon EOS Rebel T2i has served us well, but after 6 years, countless trips to Minnesota, countless hockey tournaments and countless school events culminating with Jake’s graduation it is time to move on.  Truthfully, some of the photos from graduation were a bit cringe worthy.  The T6i comes with an improved lens compared to the T2i.  In addition, the camera is a bit heavy by current standards and lacks the connectivity to smartphones and computers built into the T6i and T7i.

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i can be controlled from my iphone.  No more running and tripping to try and beat the timer when taking a group picture off a tripod.  You can also review and manage images easily on your iphone, which is a huge plus.

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In preparation for my trip overseas, I’ve been playing around with the camera to try and learn the different settings and familiarize myself with it.  Fortunately, my puppies, my guinea pigs  and my kids have been happy to oblige.  My initial review of the Canon Rebel EOS T6i is that it is a huge upgrade compared to the T2i.  It is light, easy to use and easy to navigate the menus.  After my trip I will write a more comprehensive review.   Here are some of the practice pictures.