Sunday, April 26, 2009

Home and getting back in to a routine....


We got back from Europe last week Monday evening.

It took me (us) a couple of days to readjust to the time change and to cope with Chocolate Crossiant withdraw.

I'm getting back in to a "routine" -- but surprisingly, have not yet started to get all wrapped up in to work, goals, deadlines and all the trappings of "9-5".

The serenity won't last much longer, I fear. Work is ramping up and I have a pack of 25 new reps coming in for two days of training in seven days.

I'm just going to try to continue to breathe, relax and be grateful.

Fargo 1/2 marathon is in 12 days. My training has really been non-existant. I've run a little, but certainly not like in year's past. I'll be content with finishing the race standing up.

I did get out for an 8 mile run this morning with my friend Mary K, who is also doing Fargo 1/2. We intended to do 10, but it started pouring when we hit four miles and it was also very cold. We turned around, trotted back to her house, where her love, Tom, had coffee waiting for us.

What is freaking me out a bit is the reality that my first tri is in six weeks! I finally got my bike out of the garage yesterday, but have yet to get on it. I've been swimming, so I'm not so wigged out about that, but I do feel very behind the 8-ball as far as training goes.
So... lots of work ahead of me.

In the meantime: Round One of photos from Europe. Enjoy.




Me sneaking a Starbucks in England...


Keukenhoff gardens (above and below)






Paris street scene:

Amsterdam canal:


MORE Keukenhoff....


Paris (really?)



Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fastest post ever...

Only four minutes left on my internet access back in Amsterdam....

My how time flies. (Internet and vacation time).

Lighting recap:

Picking up from our time in Paris:

London was amazing. We were there at total of about 10 hours and packed in about as much as two people can, including a really delicious lunch at The Narrow (a Gordon Ramsey restaurant).

Cologne was very cool. We had rain yesterday, but we still made the most of it. Warren ate about 3 feet of sausage. Really.

We are back in Amsterdam and leaving from here tomorrow....

Back in Mpls tomorrow night and will post LOTS of pics after that.

About 30 seconds left...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Paris

Hubby and I took the train from Amsterdam to Paris last Monday.

The trip takes about 4 hours, traveling through lovely countryside views in Holland, Belgium and France.

Our apartment here in Paris is in the 7th arr., very close to the Eiffel Tower. Literally-- we walk out of our building; turn right; turn right again and we are at the banks of the Seine, looking up at a view of the tower.

The tower is several blocks away, but we see it and can get there very easily. Monday evening, we spent a lot of time at the park near the tower taking pictures and people watching. We had a nice meal at an outdoor cafe and then returned to our apartment to do a little laundry before going to bed.

Today, we went on a very long walk, starting at our apartment, over to the Trocaodero, then to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs-Elysees, through the Jardin des Tulieries, to the Louvre, over bridges to Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame, the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation, THEN over to the Latin Quarter, where we found some wonderful pedestrian and neighborhood steets to wander.

We did a lot of window shopping and store hopping -- ate pain de chocolate TWICE-- multiple coffees, split a truely delicious hot dog/french bread baguette sandwich and some popcorn.

We avoided the gypsys at Notre Dame, who apparently won't beg to just anyone. You have to speak English in order for them to thrust the tiny note from their hand to your face, which asks you for money.

When we were here two years ago, the gypsies were staked out at the Effiel Tower. This year, we didn't see any at the tower, but plenty at Notre Dame. When we were approached today, and they aksed if we spoke English, we'd say "no", and off they'd go, looking for the next English-speaking person.

We took the RER (subway) back to our neighborhood and ate dinner at one of the cafes. We sat next to people from Spain (on our left), Germans (on our right) and a bunch of Brits close by, who were glued to the soccer game being shown on the T.V.

Photos will have to wait -- but we have some good ones!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hello from Holland

Hubby and I are in Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, the internet cafe we are visiting right now does not allow uploading of photos, but when I can do it, I'll have lots of really great ones to post.

We planned this trip about a year ago after NWA and Delta merged. I was afraid I'd lose all my frequent flyer miles, so we got free tickets and then just saved up Euros.

Once the markets and economy started to tank, we thought long and hard about taking the trip, but decided to just forge ahead.

Hubby and I love to rent apartments when we travel, and we found a couple real bargains via http://www.vrbo.com/ for places in Amsterdam and Paris.

Our apartment here is right across the street from Vondelpark. The place is very spacious and has huge windows in the front and back, letting in lots of light and air. We have a little balcony where we sit and watch the world go by.

We left about three days ago. We went to Keukenhoff gardens -- wonderful, green fantastic flowers. After we toured the gardens, we rented bikes and wandered through the little villages and tulip fields. Unbelievable colors, interesting archeticture and landscapes.

We went to the Van Gogh museum -- there is a special exhibit of his work that focuses on evening scenes, including "Stary Night". Wonderful.

Yesterday, we wandered the neighborhoods. We found a great open air market where vendors sold fresh fish, veggies, cheese, clothes, bakery and more. Great bargains; great people watching.

We also ended up at Westerpark -- a little off the beaten path for tourists, which we love.

We've been eating great food; drinking rich coffee and finally, finally FINALLY unwinding.

We leave for Paris tomorrow -- we'll be there for a few days; then to London for one day and then to Cologne, Germany before we fly back.

Fortunately, we've got a great house sitter, so the cats won't be lonely and I don't have to worry about them.

I only have to worry about finding the next interesting place to have coffee...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hubby's TRI umphant event today


Usually this blog is all about me, me, me.  


And then, after I'm talking about
 me, there are PHOTOS
 about me, me, me.



Today, the entry is about Hubby, who participated in the Lifetime Fitness Indoor tri today.

The event consists of a 10-minute swim, 30-minute bike ride and 20-minute run.  

May not sound like a lot to some of you out there, but it really is a challenge, especially if you a) don't do this much (as in "about once per year") and 
b) you really don't like the water.

Hubby can swim, he just doesn't like it much.  He had some bad experiences when he was a kid that soured him
on the whole "head underwater" thing.

Yet, today, he got in the water and did his thing.  


Then he got on a spin bike and did his thing harder.  (This too was a big deal, since he usually rides a comfy
 recumbent bike.  Today, he was riding an official SPIN bike, where the resistance was set by the race officials.)

Finally, he got on the treadmill for his run.  He had trained for several weeks (on a regular exercise bike and the treadmill), so he was fully ready for this part of the event.  

He finished in grand style and I am very proud of him.

My husband rocks.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Out of hibernation

I must have fallen asleep in a cave.

The last entry I made was on March 13th, which feels like a very long time ago.

The last few weeks have been sort of "blah". Nothing too much to report.

Work is okay (which, I suppose, is news in and of itself these days).

Home life is okay.

Weather is pretty typical for March/April in Minnesota. We've had some snow, some chilly days and a few hints of spring.

Lake of the Isles is almost all open water now. Lake Calhoun is working on melting...

I'm anxious to start open water swimming but know there is a long water-warm up process that needs to occur.

My "training" has been spotty. My right knee is squawking. Not really sure what is going on with it. Achy; a little swollen. I saw a chriopractor and he thinks it is nothing serious. Just annoying.

The biggest news is that Hubby and I will be going on a little vacation next week. We are excited to get away and to recharge.

Hopefully we'll come back to open water, blooming daffodils and a true beginning to Spring.

GOOD LUCK to Steve Stenzel and Slim-down 220, who are both doing the half IM NO event this weekend.