Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reverse Keg Ride!

I turned 29!  Again!  It's like the 7th anniversary of that or something.

Local Beer is Delicious!

I had a really great weekend.  I occasionally get irritated at blogs where everything is always rosy and happy; that's not realistic.  In this case, however, we have had such a great October, it's hard not to post all sorts of happy stuff.

black eyed susans are totally happy

Yesterday, I walked to South Hills Power Yoga for a morning class.  (I took the day off, since there's really no good reason to work on your birthday if you don't have to.)

I talked to the instructor a bit before class, because I have some physical weirdness with my shoulder and she gave me some tips.  The whole class went awesomely after that, and I left feeling happy.  Hot Yoga!

(Basically, if you want to take pressure off your shoulder, stay on your knees in plank.  Seems simple, and works like a champ.)

From there, I headed to the Sugar Cafe for some thing kind of like lunch.  I asked for iced tea, but only if I could pick the tea.  The nice guy behind the counter recommended something called Cinnamon Sunset with ginger syrup.  It was fantastic, but not as good as the apple-butternut-cranberry turnover I had for a post-yoga snack. I have heaps of winter squashes and apples and I am determined to make something tasty out of them.  Sorry, no pictures.  You'll just have to head to Dormont for some of your own. :)

Walked back to my house and lounged around drinking coffee and watching TV shows that I legally downloaded from the internet for a small fee.  We are IN THE FUTURE, people.  If you happened to miss 2 episode of Rizzoli & Isles, the Apple TV is here for you!!!

Jeff came home so we dropped the little one off at meemaw's house and went out for dinner.  He slept over, in preparation for our big bike outing this morning.

Basically, the deal is this. My birthday is around Halloween.  That means every year on my birthday weekend, there are too many things to do, most of them involving costumes and probably involving lots of loud people.  I am not super into loud.  Jeff could not decide between the Terrifying 10k or the Reverse Keg Ride this year, since they were both today.  I basically said "hey, we're doing the keg ride, because I don't want to do a 10k on account of how I'm lazy and don't like to exercise, but I can totally bike to where there's beer".

You can read more about it at the link, but basically some folks tow a keg of beer from point A to point B, and when we get to point B, we drink some!  You know, for charity!  This year, point B was East End Brewing's soon-to-be opened brewery and growler shop, which is also a coffee roaster.  roastery?  Place in which coffee is roasted, I guess.

I am not in shape, so it was a pretty long ride for me.  There was fine.  Back was harder, but we went faster and stopped at the old brewery, so it was an extra mile.  I am totally hurting between arthritic yoga, walking 2 miles, and a 13ish mile bike ride in 2 days.

I won't gush anymore, but I will leave you with some pretty pics.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Perfect Fall Day

Today was basically perfect.

To start with, it's fall, which is obviously the best season.  This morning, Jeff let me sleep in and lounge around, which was fab.  Eventually, I got up and we all got cleaned up to go to soccer.

He kicks!

After soccer, we went to the Original Pancake House with my mom and dad.  Someday, I will get there before we are starving and we will order the Dutch Baby and the huge Apple Pancake.  They ask for an extra 30 minutes to make those, and I am never ready to wait 30 minutes.

We split crab cakes benedict and cinnamon apple pancakes.  The boy had rainbow pancakes and hot chocolate.  They were yum.

A friend recommended that we go to Triple B Farms in Monongahela, PA and I've been wanting to go.  It's about a 40 minute drive from our house, which is not too bad, but certainly a commitment.

As soon as we got in the car it started raining.  It rained.  And rained.  And kept raining.  I told Jeff that I was POSITIVE it would stop raining when we got there and it'd be double awesome because it wouldn't be busy, since everyone would have bailed due to the rain.  It was a foolproof scheme!  The guys looked pretty skeptical, but we kept going anyway.

Pretty Farm
I swear, as soon as we parked the car, the rain stopped.  By the time we paid and got inside, the sun came out.  It was like our trip to the farm was blessed by whichever higher power you prefer.  The rest of the day seemed pretty amazing to me after that.  It was sunny.  And warm.  And not crowded.  (That last part is especially important for us introverts.  Crowds make us super cranky.)

We went through a rope maze and a haunted house and down a cool tube slide. We water-raced rubber duckies by pumping a hand pump.

I got to see plenty of goats.  I <3 goats and gnomes.  I also <3 lilacs and coffee and pumpkin pie and tea from that Teavana place in the mall.  

Is this a goat? Yak?  Something?
This is totally a goat.  Love the rectangular pupils.

The guys used a ginormous slingshot to launch tennis balls over towards the apple orchard.

Jeff claims that I have no idea how fun this is.
Jeff is usually right.
We got hopelessly lost in a corn maze.  Last year, we went to a different farm and the maze was basically a path with a lot of turns.  Not so, with this maize maze!  We spent about a half hour wandering around before we found our way out.

 Seriously, it was the only annoying part of the day.  It went on forever.  Also, when you let the five year old make all of your decisions, you don't start out with a plan.  Then Jeff insisted that he wrote a program in college that did this and we could just make all lefts and get out.  The maze was full of loops, however, and that was not an efficient exit strategy.  

Our kid does not want to miss out on *anything*.  When he found out that we could pick apples, we were basically required to do that.  I did manage to get us on a hayride first.  I don't think I have ever been on a hayride so I was pretty jazzed about it.  

 I was surprised how fun picking apples was.  They are easy to see because they are so shiny red.  When you get high enough up in the orchard where the apples aren't picked over, it's pretty easy to fill up your bag.  Jeff and I went berry picking last summer with a friend and her and my little boys.  Jeff was kind of whiny about it because he said he detests berry picking.  Turns out, berry picking out in the country where Jeff grew up consists of "hiking for an hour into the woods to pick berries from a big wooded mess of berries".  Picking berries (or apples) from a farm you pay to get into consists of going on a hayride up to where the nice wide rows of apples are, and then moseying down a path leisurely filling your bag.  Totally different experience.

We picked our five dollars worth of apples and realized that the rain was probably coming back.

Ominous Skies in the Apple Orchard

One thing I failed to take a good picture of was the cider doughnuts.  We wandered into the, er, dining barn?  Not sure.  The covered place with food.  Our friend from New York is always talking about how good cider doughnuts are, and Triple B is the only place in Pittsburgh that has them, from what I can tell.  The whole drive out, I was thinking "it will rain, but at least I can get a cider doughnut, and stop caring about those.  They can't possibly be as good as I keep hearing.  How could they possibly compare to those doughnuts full of chocolate whipped cream?  That's just crazy talk."

Friends?  I was wrong.  Cider doughnuts are AMAZING.  We got 3 and some hot cider and sat down. About two bites into his, Jeff said "we should have got a dozen".  I pointed out that we could get some before we left and he said "wait here, I'm getting a dozen".  Hah!

On the ride home, we determined that the deal is this: Cider Doughnuts are amazing in a completely different way the doughnuts full of pudding or chocolate whipped cream.  They are effectively a completely different kind of pastry.  A delicious, delicious pastry.  If you have them, get them now.  They might be the best thing you can buy for 75 cents a pop.

It was a perfect day.  We bought some fudge and picked our pumpkins and drove home.

I love fall.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lunch systems: Adorable. Functional. Easy to care for. (pick 2)

It is amazing how one purchase can spiral your shopping out of control.

I have been saving up for, and finally purchased refurbished, an 11" MacBook Air.  It is ADORABLE and so far I am really loving it.  (Previously, I was using an older netbook running Ubuntu, which was surprisingly adequate, but just didn't have the full toolset I wanted.)

But now that I have my super portable laptop, I needed an appropriate bag.  My other laptop bags had laptop compartments that were huge and I did not want my fancy new teeny laptop floating around in there.  Enter, the Timbuk2 bag designed for the 11" air
Perfect Bag.  So far, mostly sold out everywhere.

I did my normal thing where I obsess about it for about a week, spending every evening online paying half attention to TV while making myself nuts trying to decide and obsess about colors.  But so far, I am really loving it.  It fits my laptop, my wallet-onna-string that holds my cell phone and wallet stuff (but I can use it as a teeny purse), and my makeup bag, sunglasses, charger.  I am really loving it.

Enter the problem: The Lunch Bag.  

Jeff got me a really awesome little lunch tote a few years ago for christmas, but it's purple and pink!  It will kind of class with my adorable new laptop bag.  So I am investigating new lunch bags. I have found some pretty cute ones, too.

Lately, I have been freezing stuff for lunches in these little glass containers I got off amazon.  They are pretty fab, so I need my tote to be kinda damp-proof since stuff comes out of the freezer and gets a bit wet.  (The main reason I don't want it in my laptop bag.  It totally fits.)  


Lots of cute stuff.  I haven't even gotten started on the thing where all my coats are pink and purple, so I may want to replace those as well.  Oops.  

Well, in any case, it is very easy to obsess about the PERFECT lunch containment system.  Maybe I should perform a requirements analysis.  Perhaps that is too much like work.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ohai! with quilting

I have been considering migrating this blog to a personal domain instead of blogger.  Largely because I'm not really posting much about renovating anymore, since we are on hold with the bath reno, but I have lots of other things I'd like to blog about.  I am still sort of torn about it.

In any case, did you guys know about Connecting Threads?  I ordered some stuff from KnitPicks (which I love) and the box it came in had the names of their sister companies (apparently) including Connecting Threads, their fabric and quilting website.

I was pleased to find out about it, because KnitPicks is so fab with their relatively inexpensive luxury yarn.  Online fabric stores don't seem as well organized or something.  They're free patterns look pretty good, too.

Adorable Kimono, right?
But the MOST exciting thing is laminated cottons!  

OMG OMG OMG Laminated

I'm sort of curious about them, now.  I am trying not to buy myself any craft supplies, though.  My birthday is the end of this month and then 2 months until Christmas.  Buying myself stuff in the last third of the year seems like i'm risking something.  I have no idea what.  Psychology is so weird.