(1) The US Postal Service is MAGICAL. They found me even with this ridiculously vague (yet accurate) address. Color me impressed.

(2) SMILE FRIDAY: The Internet kicks ass and sends me “Stop Being Broken, You Dolt” care packages edition! Not pictured: box (see photo [1]) covered with a thousand animal stickers, tea (!!), and a fancy brand of gel I’ve never heard of. Must. Get. Better! I wanna run and try itttttt. </whine></impatience> (THANK YOUUUUU!)

(3) Chrysti advised me to rub the BioFreeze into my KT Tape. HOLYMOLYIAMINHEAVEN. Pro tip: always listen to Chrysti.

Happy Brenna is happy.

MAR (and Eight!): this is a pretty good example of what a false color image looks like (there are other types of false color, which really just means “not true color,” but this one is the most common).

-The river isn’t quite black (as water should be, like those two oxbow lakes east of the river) because it’s carrying lots of sediment (and probably chemicals, too).
-You can see a small town just west of the center of the image, along the west bank of the river. Super cyan!
-You can tell what crops are flourishing and which have already been fallowed (meaning harvested & now pretty much just dirt) based on the color. Pink = highly irrigated, vegetated plots. Darker blues = wetter soils. The brighter the blue, the drier the object. (Which is one reason urban areas are so bright - high runoff!)
-The cyan lines throughout the image are roads.
-Red along the river is grassland; to the east of the river there’s a crescent-shaped road, and east of that is more red, but THIS red is forest. You can differentiate between these reds/vegetation types based on texture. (Grasslands are smoother and forests are rougher.) There’s a bunch of random stands (groups of trees) throughout the image, too, if you look. They’re easy to pick out from the crops because they’re much redder.

If I had internet at my house, I could show you cooler imagery, but Google serves well enough in a pinch.

A Pontoon Houseboat Is Like A Large Version Of What You Described…

…but with a house-like structure built on top.

If you Google “Pontoon Houseboat” you’ll see.

Yes, we were hanging out on a boat and yes, we’re interested in buying a boat but the two are not directly related.

When we decided to sell our beach place, which cost us a pretty penny each month, we came up with the plan to purchase an inexpensive boat to use as a beach place, instead.

We knew Captain Jerry and started asking him lots of questions– which led to a friendship that began to include dinners, dancing and hanging out on his boat.

He knows that Annie and I are married and monogamous but he still likes hanging out with us.

I’m still trying to decide between a houseboat and a sailboat but, in either case, I’ll be looking for a four-figure bargain that has nice living quarters.

My goal is to have a floating beach place that only costs me a few hundred dollars per month, including the boat payment— and I’m 100% sure I can make that happen.

There’s a lot on the market for under ten grand– and the public mooring fields are free.

That’s tough to beat.


markicksass replied to your photo: Sweet baby Jesus. Last one for tonight. Pinky…

I clicked over to Joy the Baker. Why does the temperature of the butter matter? It’s going in the oven, why does it have to be cold? I really like your explanations of WHY for baking. I hate cooking/baking etc because of the unknown factor…

Think about your ideal pie crust. It’s perfectly flaky, right? The layered flakiness is caused by the cold butter.

Let’s logic this one out. Softened butter is great when you want a uniform dough, like in cookie, because it makes it so easy to blend by hand, right? Well with pie dough, we don’t want a perfectly smooth and blended dough. We want to see flecks of butter throughout the dough. The clumps are our ticket to happiness.

Butter contains water, and when that water evaporates during the baking process, we’re left with tiny pockets of pie crust goodness. If your butter isn’t super cold, it won’t retain its shape, and the butter will blend uniformly into the dough. If that happens, the butter (and its moisture) will be evenly distributed, and thus evenly removed. What we would rather have happen is for water to be evaporated from a few select locations (which would cause pockets). Follow? If your dough doesn’t have visible butter (clumps/sheets/flecks), you won’t get air pockets, so your dough won’t be flaky. The same concept applies for croissants and scones. 

The colder the butter, the better the butter maintains its shape, the better the pockets created, the flakier the crust. That’s why so much emphasis is placed on cold butter, iced water to bring it together, and chilling the dough (though the chilling also allows moisture to distribute through the flour in the dough). You don’t want soft or melty butter.

This is also why, if you can avoid it, you shouldn’t use margarine or vegetable shortening in pie crusts. Margarine has some water content, though not much, and it’s largely made up of nasty chemicals. Shortening is pure fat - no water. You can use them, but they won’t ever yield as robust a result as cold butter does.

 markicksass replied to your photoLet the insanity begin! I received the packet of…

You want to leave your job and move to Chicago?

runningthegoodrace replied to your photo: Let the insanity begin! I received the packet of…

Ummm, would this be a temporary job (like Oregon) or a permanent job? Chicago is a bit of a drive to satisfy my Symphony needs. ;)

Lyric Opera of Chicago is a full time position, so in the case that I won, I would move to Chicago. Which would be fantastic for me, since I’m from Chicago and my parents and family are there. It also pays a ton more than I make now, and is an overall higher level of music making. 

mar replied to your post: Hi Nikki, have you talked about your adoption experience before on your blog? Like, how did you decide to adopt and such? I’m curious to know :)

Very difficult as in very costly and lots of fertility type treatments, or very difficult as in very unlikely, but just keep trying and it might happen on its own?


Some fertility treatments we are not morally comfortable with. Others are just too expensive for something that may not even work. (Not as expensive as adoption, but adoption was a guaranteed eventuality.)

We plan to keep trying until I start to get a bit too old for it.

On the plus side, I never have to take birth control again.

On the full marathon

markicksass said: full? I thought you weren’t doing more fulls this year! You crazy!

Untrue. I actually said I wasn’t focusing my training efforts on them, as I was spinning my wheels with such efforts. I will continue to run them, I’m just training for half-marathon distances for pace. 

As of right now, I have the following marathons planned for 2013.

  1. January - Disney (part of the Goofy challenge)
  2. February - Central Park Marathon
  3. March - Washington DC
  4. May - Kalamazoo, MI
  5. October - Chicago
  6. November - New York
  7. November - Brooklyn
  8. December - Las Vegas

Might add one in for the summer to break up the long distance break, especially since I have the Tour Pass, so any of them that I want to do are already paid for.

My whole point is that I can run the marathon distance with no issue, but I have trouble training for pace at that distance, so I should focus my training on something more manageable. for the last year I’ve been fooling myself into thinking I’ll train to run this magical time at 26.2, but get so overwhelmed by it, that I don’t. The fact for me is, 26.2 is just hard and takes time, but I can do it. Once I can confidently drop my average half-marathon time below 2-hours, I’ll start training for the sub 4-hour full-marathon again.

Until then, marathons are just a fun waste of time. :)

frombulktohulk replied to your post: I did Liam Neeson 5k #1

I may have missed the reason, but why is it called the Liam Neeson 5k? At the end do you fight wolves or Albanians that took your child?

I don’t think there’s any  particular reason it’s called that.

mar replied to your post: I did Liam Neeson 5k #1

He’s already walking?!? ;) Have a good time and we expect pics when you return. Especially of Ryland walking at 2 mos… :)

I’m not completely sure where that came from, even joking… Was it because I said he was the ring bearer?

I know this is completely unlike me, but I didn’t take any pictures. My camera didn’t even make it out of the car. There just wasn’t time between getting ready, being in pictures, and taking care of Ryland (though Jeremy had him almost the whole time beforehand).

Whenever pictures start showing up on facebook, I’ll be sure to post them.