Tuesday, July 31, 2007

HomeComing and Re-Identification

I've been accused of not keeping this blog updated very well as of late - well, there's a good reason - mostly because I still don't have internet at my apartment. Something about being too cheap to get it or some such...

Anyway, last week I had a whirlwind visit back to MN in which I....

...hung out with my sister at the Walker Art museum and saw the Picasso exhibit
...checked on the sculpture garden (yep, still there!)
,,,ate Punch pizza with my cousin Mary, her husband and her beautiful (and growing) baby girl
....took Kate to Victor's 1959 Cuban cafe for brunch and walked around Lake Calhoun
....saw my parents new lake cabin site
...visited with my aunt Muriel (and ate her cookies)
...took my cousin Ann and her babies out to pizza (hm, do I notice a trend here with cousins and pizza?)
...inspected her awesome garden
...hung out with my mom at the lake
...went fishing with my dad (and caught a bass)
...visited my uncle Neil and Aunt Nell and inspected their new garage
...had coffee with Megan's mom, as I normally do, and got caught up on their recent trip to London
...partied with Kaydi on a Tuesday night ("Don't mind my friend, she's from France." "Really? You have no accent!" "Yeah, my
mom is American...")
...and who can forget the dude who ate our nacho's and then said they were gross??
...went shopping with mom
...beat dad at Sequence
...hung out of the heat... 104 degrees!
...watched the Marshall County opening parade of the county fair...complete with manure spreader and the Marshall county
mounted posse...
...yelled at some teenage kids (get off my lawn!)
...avoided everyone I knew at the county fair (so what are you up to these days? where are you at? married? kids? why aren't
you fat like the rest of us??)
...finally got to meet Kaia and Will's baby, Evie Lu, in person. Cutest. baby. EVER!!!
...got a pedicure with my mom
...watched a storm front move across the plains, with my brother and sis-in-law
...napped in my car
...said hello and goodbye to my other cousin who is moving to germany for a year
...personally attended my college roommate at her wedding
...bought bananas
...visited with Julie and her husband Thomas, whom I haven't seen since being in their wedding last May
...fell into bed, every night, exhausted.

It was an excellent time- I will soon post pictures. It's a good thing too, because as of this weekend, I'll be officially stripped of my MN identity - I'm getting a new license and new plates for my car. Yes, that's right, I'm becoming - a Marylander (Maryland-ite? Maryland-onian?)

Sigh. It was a good run while it lasted!
M is for Maryland,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I Heart My Bike But My Bike Does Not Heart Me Back

In fact, I think it's safe to say, my bike might be out to kill me.

Friday evening, after a loooooong three weeks of work and before taking off for my well-deserved vacation back to the faterland (MN, that is), I took my bike out for a one last spin.

It was a nice ride, actually. I took it (her?) down to Rock Creek Park, spun around the horse barns, stopped by my friend Mary's house and was back in a bit under an hour.

However, on the last downhill, as I sailed into the parking lot of my apartment complex, something biffed - something biffed big time. I heard metal on metal, hit the breaks and pitched sideways, sliding halfway down the hill. I was doing a fairly hard left hand turn on a steep hill, so my guess is that the metal gear ground against the pavement.

I'm used to my fair share of bruised knees, but the shiner on my left leg proved that I'd deposited most of my skin on the asphalt. The right leg now has four deep gashes, as if I was attacked by a mountain lion, or my bike in fact, bit me with razor like teeth. (In fact, my brother in law suggests that I make THIS the story, rather than the infinitely lamer "I fell off my bike" story...)

Anyway, it looks really nasty. I surprised myself by having non-stick gauze (and gauze tape!) in my apartment, but later got a hold of much snazzier 3M clear industrial bandaids the size of my hand to cover it up. It hurts to bend my skinless knee, and I'm wondering what kind of wicked scars I'm going to have on my leg. I hope it's going to be pretty awesome.

I'm now on vacation and decided that this is probably a good thing for me and my bike. It will give us a little cooling off period, time to think and may remind my bike that without me, it just sits in a closet - and perhaps it ought to treat me a bit better. That is, no biting.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Coffee Makes Me Slow Down (?)

I've written about this before - the slight pre-loneliness feel I get sometimes, especially on the weekends I'm left to my own devices. It's been six months since the last time I remember feeling this way, but it's come around again.

That's actually pretty good - once every six months or so, but still.

I went to bed last night, knowing I had absolutely nothing of consequence to do the next day (Do the dishes? Start that album from the long lost Japan photos I found under my bed while moving? Re-lace my shoes from the time the HMF I had to tie a shelf into my trunk and didn't have any rope?) Stuff that needs to get done, surely, but really, it pretty low on the totem pole.

Honestly, I think this is what community coffee shops are made for - those of us who have nothing better to do, crave a little human interaction (that is, being AROUND people, but not necessarily having to interact with them) and still haven't gotten it together enough to get internet hooked up to their apartments. Also, who didn't get up early enough to find a church.

So today, I find myself at yet another coffee shop (Mayorga Coffee Factory), avoiding the fact that I have nothing better to do, people watching and slowly getting caught up on all my favorite trashy websites (those bitches are funny, but not so Safe for Work!)

I even treated myself to a cup of iced coffee - a MEDIUM, not even a small! Ho ho, things are looking up. And, as I sip it and listen to the hippy lady and her electric guitar sing about how great it is to be single, I realize that these days are kind of nice. Strangely enough, coffee and coffee shops make me slow down. So what if I have nothing better to do? This is just fine. I think I'll just relax into this leather easy chair and take the afternoon as it comes.

Heck, later, I may even tackle a shoelace or two.

M is for Nothing Better to Do,

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Heart My Bike

So, I totally heart my new bike. Earlier this week, I discovered almost a DIRECT route from my apartment building to my job on a beautiful, picturesque, nearly perfectly level, vehicle-free bike route. And it's only 4 miles from door to door.

In fact, even on the days when the front doorman tells me I can no longer take my bike out the front door (wha? because it LOOKS bad??) - even on the days when I get mercilessly caught in the middle of a power struggle and reemed out at work, it still makes me smile.

Still, at the end of the day, even though I'm tired, beaten, broken and downtrodden - thinking about getting to bike home makes me so happy. It's like I can zoom away from all my problems and let the endorphins kick in. I mean really, it's the cheapest Zoloft ever.

And I didn't even mind going in the service entrance!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Baku Photos

The outdoor roadside 'teahouse' Typical streetview in the Old Town - In the olden days, these boxes ensured the modesty of women who want to watch the street below. Now it's just a nice way to expand an otherwise cramped apartment!
Rugseller's market in the Old Town, near Maiden's Tower
This is not a parking lot - it's a crush of traffic. Note the pedestrians!
Skyline of downtown Baku from the Caspian sea boardwalk - note the construction cranes!

More photos

Laundry in Xinaliq A normal street...
Jafar serving "livers and such" at a roadside tea house.
Aybaniz and I in the treetop teahouse
One of the many mountain passes

Belated Photos

It's taken me a long time to post these, but I hope they've been worth the wait. Pit stop on the way to Xinaliq - a bus, a garbage truck and mosque and a mountain.
View of the surrounding valleys around Xinaliq
Sweet little boy!
View from the highest hill...
A very tiny town.