Monday, August 27, 2007

First Days of School

Last Tuesday the kids started school. Phoebe is in third grade, Moses is in first and Oliver started Kindergarten. This morning I started graduate school.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gillian Welch, Ray LaMontagne & Darrell Scott

These are a few of the artists I will be seeing at the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival for which I am leaving in 2 hours. Oh SNAP! I get to leave the fam at home, road trip with my pal Angela, camp in the mountains, drink New Belgian beer, dip my toes in a stream, strum my guitar and hear some fantastic music.

My excuse for not posting all week: facebook. Facebook is the best thing ever. I have to look at it 100 times a day. It makes myspace seem like child's play.

I'll post when/if I return.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I ran the Kool-Aid Days 5k this morning. I was anxious once I got there because most everybody there looked like thin, fit, runners. Why this surprised me, I'm not sure. Luckily my friend Phil ran and his parents came to cheer him on so I had folks to hang with before it started. And they cheered me across the finish line.

There were two other women who ran at my pace. One was a bit ahead of me the whole time and the other would pass me and then I'd pass her and then she'd pass me. To my great surprise the woman who was a bit ahead of me won second place in our age bracket. That makes me a THIRD PLACE runner. Who knew?

I asked Phil how he ran (earlier I asked him if he wanted to hang back and run with me and he did his best not to laugh in my face). He said he started to dry heave near the end so he must have run hard.

Never mind that the guy who finished first was in the 50+ category and ran it in 15 something. Never mind that Phil finished in 17 something. Never mind that I still can't run the whole three miles. It was a very encouraging morning. I'm so glad I did it. I can't wait for the Duck Days run.

Friday, August 10, 2007

ridiculously bountiful

Todd and Cody showed up last night at 9:30 with a trunk full of basil. A trunk full of basil. Cody tried to get me to take three garbage bags full. Three garbage bags full. I talked her down to one hefty bag.
She planted something like 40 linear yards of basil at her in-laws house. This was her second harvest of the summer. She just went after it with hedge trimmers, stuffed it into garbage bags, and then drove around town making deliveries to her lucky friends.

So today was pesto day. I harvested my garlic from the yard, stocked up on provisions at Allen's, busted out the Kitchen Aid mixer, and basically, made pesto all day long. The recipe I use calls for 2 cups of packed basil leaves. I made twenty batches. My freezer is full of pesto. We'll have pesto all year. I still have a collander full of basil leaves (but I'm long since out of olive oil, etc). And Cody will have another harvest before growing season is up.
So tonight it was pasta & pesto with a nice Gewurztraminer. Fantastic.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I got up when the alarm went off at 6:15. I walked straight to the front door to see if it was raining. It was not. It clearly had rained, but it was not currently raining. So, I went down to the laundry and sorted the clothes in the drier so I could find my favorite running pants and Enell bra.

Let's pause a moment to talk about the Enell bra. I paid $70 and waited 6 months for its arrival. It was totally worth it. Is it ridiculous to say a bra changed my life? Prior to seeing it Oprah's Favorite Things I could to some degree honestly blame the lack of a good bra for my lack of physical fitness. Ladies, if uniboob-making unsupportive sports bras have got you down, I recommend the Enell...and back to the story...

I took my clothes upstairs, got dressed, and put my contacts in. Then I started gathering the stuff I need--which is all right by the front door--my watch with the timer (for run4/walk1), my new tiny mp3 player, my drivers license so the morgue can identify me when I've been run over, the key to my bike lock and my water bottle.

I looked out the window and saw that it was still pretty dark out. And I've become a safety nerd. I don't have lights for my bike but I do have a reflective penny (I LOVE that word--like you wore in grade school gym class to form a red team and a blue team) so I dug it out of the closet.

I'm not really a morbid person, but sometimes I think the death of myself or a loved on must be eminent. For a person of faith, I have superstitious tendencies. Or maybe it's a belief in statistics. I just think that since I've never been in a major car accident, odds are one's coming soon. If I looked it up, wouldn't the statistics show that I should have one at some point? And someone dies...what?...every minute?...every second?, why shouldn't I expect itto be someone in my family? Why not me? My life is SO great, the other shoe should be dropping any moment.

So I put on the nerdtastic reflective penny and I put my license in my pocket to make it easier on the authorities if the penny doesn't work. I put all the stuff in my bike basket and open the garage door AND IT'S RAINING.

This explains blogging at 7am.

I guess I'll make coffee and watch The Today Show. Bummer. I should be safe, though.

Monday, August 06, 2007


The past five years have been a series of stops and starts, a series of declarations about how fit I'm going to be, followed by a burst of physical activity, followed by ice cream and lathargy. I never seem to be able to get it together.

Last spring I started talking to runners I know about running. It just seems like the most bang for your buck exercise-wise. There's no gym (yuck). There's no equipment (okay, shoes). You just go out the door and run and get the best possible cardio workout and burn calories. I like that. And then there is my brother who used to be the king of the couch. He's doing 100 mile bike races and running 10 miles a day. He qualified for the Olympic Trials in Fencing for Pete's sake. If all these other people are running and getting in shape--and they aren't necessarily people who have ALWAYS done it--why can't I?

Running the 5k at the youth gathering was a good motiviator. I searched online for training schedules and found one at that looked good. I started three weeks before my trip running 1 minute/walking 1 minute for 3 miles. Then it increased. I'm still only at run3/walk1, which is how I did the race in Orlando. Two days before the trip I tried run4/walk1 and for the frist time I cramped up, felt misreable and went home early. I'm about ready to try it again, maybe tomorrow.

There are two more 5ks in town before school starts. I'm running both. I just bought a $30 mp3 player that is teeny-tiny to strap on to my arm when I run, which made this morning much more fun. I loaded Run-Friendly songs onto it, so I heard Brass Monkey (Beastie Boys), Closer to Free (BoDeans), Knock, Breathe, Shine (Jacob's Trouble), Multiply (Jaimie Lidell), Let's Go (The Cars) and Alfie (Lily Allen), to name a few--nice!

I've heard horror stories from friends who shall remain nameless about some pitfalls of running--namely the need for pitstops--and having to relieve oneself on the go. Maybe that would be more of a problem if I run longer distances. But really I can't see myself pooping in someone's front yard under any circumstances, though it has made me paranoid and I go to the bathroom three times before I go out the door.

All I know is that I am enjoying running. When I'm not running I think about when I will run next. It has been worth it to me to go to bed early so that I can get up and run. During the day I think about staying hydrated so I'll be set for my next run.

When I crossed the finish line in Orlando, much to my surprise, in the big crowd, there cheering for me were Danny, Lindsay and Jon. Lindsay (who I've known to run 2 marathons) asked, "Are you a runner now?" I gave some sort of non-comittal answer like "for this, I am." But now that that race is over and I am still running...and even though this maybe just another start followed by a stop...if Lindsay asked me again I'd say "Yes."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mr. T-shirt Bag

I am entering my first craftster challenge -- making reusable shopping bags with an eco-friendly slogan or design. I reconned my Mr. T t-shirt. He says, "I pity the fool who uses plastic bags." It is shown holding a big can of oatmeal, a bag of onions and four sweet potatoes.

I wanted something that was roughly the size and shape of a plastic shopping bag, but I also wanted simple, fast & easy.

Here's how I did it: I cut off the sleeves and bottom and made the neck hole an inch wider all around.I turned it inside out, folded the bottom like so, pinned and sewed. I turned the shoulders into handles by tri-folding them like a business letter and sewing them crosswise four times at one-inch intervals to hold the fold and reinforce. When I turned it right side out, I top stitched the bottom seam to reinforce.This one is holding a melon and a gallon of milk.

Friday, August 03, 2007

...and we're back

It's been a month since I've posted. Call it my summer break. I initially planned to post again after our trip to Colorado. The Hinton/Swinger/Dunbar Clan met in Breckenridge for a week of family fun. It was great to have the 8 cousins together and to see my siblings and parents.

We came back to Hastings for two weeks. The kids had swim lessons everyday. Robin and I finished booking the Listening Room fall season. I wrote all the artists bios for our brochure. I had umpteen planning meetings for my upcoming trip to the LCMS National Youth Gathering. Then we drove to Indiana to stay with Paul's folks and chill on Oliver Lake (for which our Ollie is named) for a couple days. Last Wednesday Paul and I drove home and left them there. We had two days at home together with no children. We went to $1 beer/burger/fry night at The Reno with friends. We bought a 2007 Honda Odessey. We saw Live Free or Die Hard. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (OH MY GOSH is it great). I did some laundry and packed up.
Friday night/Saturday morning at 1am I met two other adults and fourteen high school kids in the church parking lot and we drove to Omaha where we caught a flight ultimately leading to Orladndo, Florida. Every three years the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod puts on a national youth gathering. This was my second trip as an adult leader. 25,000 teenagers plus their leaders and a slew of volunteers met in Orlando's Orange County Convention Center to worship, hang out, go to concerts, hear fantastic speakers, have Bible study, jump on bungee trampolines, do service projects, and all kinds of amazing things.

The theme was CHOSEN and we learned all about how God does not love us because we have value, but we have value because God loves us. It was a message of undeniable grace--freeing grace--and the kids learned so much and had a ball (as did I). I also got to see Ben and Jon and Stefan and Bill and all kinds of crazy Lutherans I wish I saw more often. Sweet. I also ran the 5k for which I've been training. 12 kids said they'd run; the night before we were down to 6; when 5:30 Sunday morning rolled around it was just Kasey, Cammie and I. Cammie and I finished in 36 minutes and Kasey in 25.
Now I'm back for two weeks and then my pal Angela and I take off for the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival. Can you say Gillian Welch and David Rawlings? Ray LaMontange? Chris Isaak? And so many more equally brilliant smaller names. Awesome.

As for today, it is our 11th wedding anniversary and in celebration we are making sushi. Wish us luck.

I'll try to keep posting. I miss it. I miss hearing from you guys.