Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Camper

Karl and I went camping at Devil's Lake on Wednesday night. It was so awesome. I love camping. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time. I woke up in the morning and I was smiling.

I used to camp all the time. I worked for five summers as a wilderness canoe guide in the Boundary Waters, and I miss it so much. We don't get to go very often now, and I relish every second Karl and I get to spend setting up camp, sleeping in the tent, and cooking over a fire.

We usually make hobo dinners for supper. We make pouches out of tinfoil and fill them with vegetables, then cook them on the grate.

The secret is getting a really good seal on the tinfoil, so the steam stays inside and cooks everything.

Whose hobo dinner do you think has the best seal: mine (the rectangle) or Karl's (the blob)?

Check out the steam action on that rectangle! It's so poofy, like a steam-filled pillow. The seal must be really tight.

I'm not bragging, of course. I'm just saying that the secret's in the seal!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mexico Getaway

We're back from our vacation/belated honeymoon in Mexico! It was lots of fun, and so beautiful.

We walked on the Malecon (the boardwalk) a lot. It's right on the beach, and there are sculptures and shops all along the way.

We also went on an all-day sailing trip, out to the Marietas Islands, a nature preserve. There, we snorkeled and had a picnic on the boat.

The beaches were gorgeous. It was really easy to take the local bus, so we explored some out-of-town beaches, which were beautiful and mellow.

We also visited the Puerto Vallarta Zoo. It was... questionable. At least they had signs up reminding patrons not to introduce their hands to certain animals. Karl and I did not introduce our hands or any other body parts to any of the animals.

See how close I was to this giraffe?! I wasn't even using the zoom on my camera. I actually thought it was going to bite me. Like I said: Questionable.

Our hotel was lovely and not at all questionable. These are the doors leading out to our balcony, where we did a lot of reading, knitting, and breakfasting. We also had a little kitchen, which was great.

There was a nice pool on the roof. You can see the ocean from here!

There was a mango tree on the roof too... so cool.

We liked staying in town, rather than at an all-inclusive. It gave us the chance to explore and visit a lot of local places.

The food was really amazing. This picture was taken at a hilltop restaurant on our last night. We had lots of fresh seafood and Mexican specialties, all of which were delicious.
We did end up coming home five days early. We had planned to stay in Puerto Vallarta for 15 days. We shortened our trip so that we could spend some time together at home and do some things we've wanted to do. So far, we've gone camping (on a Wednesday night! Scandalous!), done some organizing (this might not sound like a vacation activity to some people, but keep in mind that I'm a librarian... I love to organize), spent a day at the lake, and started building our garden containers. Karl is a serious woodworker, so these containers are going to be amazing. I can't wait to plant our little seedlings and hopefully harvest some vegetables later this summer!
It is so nice to just have time with Karl to do anything we want to do... or nothing. It's been a long time since we had luxurious days like this with no to-do lists (well, okay, we did make a list, but it's purely optional) and no schedules. I love it!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

A month ago, a family down the street had an estate sale. The were planning to have another one the following week, but it has been rained out and rained out and rained out. Finally, this weekend, they set up shop again to try to sell everything that didn't go the first time around.

I had seen these sweet little dishes there during the first sale. I loved them, but they were selling them in two stacks of five dishes, $8.00 per stack. That was a little much for me. But a month later, I was still thinking about those dishes, so I decided to go back and see if they still had them. They did-- and they sold me all ten for $10.00 total. Not the best deal in the world, but that's alright.

Now they're all washed up and ready for berries or ice cream (or both!) when we get back from Mexico! I think I've already gotten $10.00 worth of joy from them...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Watch It

By the time this is posted on our blog, we'll be on our way to Mexico! But here is a little Postal System glee for you...

A package arrived the other day. It was very important-looking. Hmmm... what could it be?

Ooh! It's a note from Candlewick Press! They have a new early chapter book coming out this fall. It's by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. I love both of them. This book will for sure be good. Hopefully it will turn in to a series. Also in the package is a small black pouch. What's in there?

A watch! It's a watch with Bink and Gollie on it. I'm in love. Usually I give book swag away as prizes at the library, but not this time. No way. This cute watch is all mine!

Friday, May 14, 2010

On Wisconsin

Last night, after Karl's graduation, we went out for dinner at a little place on the lake. Our rolls arrived with twelve- yes, twelve- pats of butter.

Additionally, we still have our flannel sheets and our electric blanket on the bed. It is the middle of May, I would like to remind you.

Oh, Wisconsin, how I love you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let's Hit the Beach!

Today is my last day of work before our big vacation! I am so excited. Bags are packed, passports are tucked in pockets, guidebook is marked up... let's go!

We don't actually leave until Saturday, but I feel like our vacation is starting right now! Tomorrow is Karl's pinning ceremony for finishing his LPN degree, and Friday is Relax to the Max pre-trip lounging... well, okay, it will probably be more like cleaning the house, doing laundry, and getting everything ready so that we can come back to a comfortable house. I'm big on getting ready for things, in case you hadn't noticed (remember when I started packing for this trip two weeks ago?).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ten on Ten: May

Ready to go to yoga::A stop at the Post Office::Breakfast::Packing leftovers for lunch::Seedlings::A suprise ride to work from my sweet husband::At work::UW::Old Music Hall, where I once saw Bill Staines; it was perfect::Bag full of cupcakes

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Yesterday morning, I visited the small farmer's market near our house before work. I went in search of two things: morel mushrooms and asparagus (the cheese danish that also ended up in my shopping bag wasn't exactly on the list...). After work, I made the market goodies into this asparagus-morel tart:

I've never made anything with morels before. My husband loves them, though, so when I saw this recipe in our co-op newsletter recently, I thought I should give it a try. It was very asparagussy... and cheesy... and morelly. It reminded me that trying new foods is a good thing. And that, my friends, is the morel of the story.
Sorry, I just had to work that in.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

On April 19, I challenged myself to take 18 yoga classes in the next 21 days. Well, today is Day Eighteen, and this morning I took my 18th class! I haven't gone every day; I skipped one day because I was busy getting a compost bin (does that sound like a lame excuse?), and two days because I was sick. But I've done three double-headers, so we're even.

I don't feel stretchier, but I do feel stronger and definitely more focused. The hardest part was finding time in the day to go to class, which is usually at least a 90-minute venture once you figure in travel time, shower time, getting-there-early time, etc.

Mainly I can't believe I did it. And I can't believe I'm done three days early. I fully intend to spend days 19, 20, and 21 lounging around. And washing all of my sweaty yoga clothes so they're ready for the next time I get a crazy idea in my head!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

When I was in college, I was a Resident Assistant in the freshman dorms for two years. One year, during orientation, we were given a list of holidays and events that we might want to plan events around. And on the list was "May 5: Linco de Mayo." I still laugh about that. Happy Linco de Mayo, everyone!

Monday, May 3, 2010

On Saturday, I got news from one of the members of my Newbery committee. We served together in 2008 to select the 2009 winner and honor books. The news was very sad: our committee chair, Rose, had passed away on Friday.

We knew she was ill; she had been wearing a wig in the summer of 2009 when the award banquet took place. But of course we didn't ask. Rose was very private, and I'm sure she would have shared anything she wanted us to know. None of us would have guessed that this would happen so soon.

Rose was lovely and vibrant. I'd like to share a couple of photos of her...

Early-morning phone calls (with the entire committee huddled close, trying to hear the tinny speaker phone) to the winning authors to share the news. This was probably the 2nd most exciting event of my life (second only to our wedding day), and I would imagine that Rose would say the same.

Rose with author Neil Gaiman, winner of the 2009 Newbery Award.
Rose, you will be missed by many.

Hasta Luego

Karl and I started packing for our trip this weekend. We don't leave for another two weeks, but I like to be ready! I don't want to be running around at midnight the night before we leave, looking for quart-size ziploc bags or lip balm with SPF.

Karl even bought a new (well, new at Goodwill) suitcase for our trip. Sweet, huh? On the table, you can see my big pile of books and magazines... too many magazines. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to read all of the issues I've accummulated over the past few months, but somehow taking ten pounds of magazines to Mexico seems a little ridiculous. I guess I'll have to do some weeding.

We are so excited to go on vacation! Beach, here we come!