Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Real Me

Recently, I've read a post from the ladies of the Let's Go Ride a Bike (LGRAB) blog about bicycling and self-esteem, and how Trisha has not gotten thinner as a result of all her pedaling, even though it is exercise.

Around the same time, I had a very strong urge to draw clothing like my twin sister and I used to do, using our modified Barbie Fashion Designer "paper doll" templates. The only problem is that all my artwork, including my paper doll, was abandoned back in Jacksonville as excess baggage when my dad rescued us and we lightened our load in the exodus to Oregon one year ago. So i figured I could find a scan online. I found one skewed photograph of the magazine printout we used to have, and Barbie wasn't even in the skimpy bathing suit so you could see all the lines.

Lastly, I have taken new sewing measurements last week, being as accurate as you can possibly be when measuring yourself all by yourself.

All these things combined to bring me to me latest activity and realization. I photographed myself, standing as best I could in the posture of our Barbie paper dolls. This is harder than it looks to do. Not only do you have to have the space to get a full-body photograph using the self-timer, but inevitably I was slightly angled or something to make the picture worthless. It's very hard to run over, straighten yourself facing the camera and strike a pose while wearing tiny little pointy heels (Barbie wore high heels). I also did this completely stark naked because I wanted honest pictures. My goal was then to get a picture of decent enough quality to trace my outlines in Paint and make a paper doll of ME.

And... I did.

I found out that even though I often look at photos of myself, especially this special temporary set, and make a face of disgust at various pudge and bulges- I am NOT really unsightly. I think anything I have to gripe at would be solved by loosing a few pounds, or toning what is there. I discovered that my body is not just petite but pear-shaped. I have a very short waist, and then large thighs and butt, with bumps as you get to each one along my side. I thought it was very unattractive, until I took away all the textures. I'm actually very womanly. When I smoothed out those bumps, my form is downright awesome. In many ways my paper doll outline is simply a petited realistic version of Barbie! I'm a little thicker overall, and my neck is shorter than hers, and of course as a petite my waist length is short. But I'm a darned good paper doll!

I was in the middle of discovering this when I read the LGRAB post and the older post linked back about self-esteem. It is extremely true that bicycling boosted my opinion of myself, even though physically not much had changed. It is also true at this point that the added exercise, from a completely sedentary lifestyle prior, has not had any effect at all on my body size or weight. The measuring tape doesn't lie! I assume the scale doesn't either, but those things are evil anyway. I enjoy dressing in cute outfits that I've made myself, and hopefully this paper doll will help me design clothing outfits that flatter my particular figure, so I look as good as I can on the outside to match the happier me in the inside.

Next I'll have my twin sister wrap me up in duct tape to have a physical copy of me- a dress form! That will, I think, help me a bunch when it comes to fitting garments and making things from scratch without patterns.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share. If anyone wants an Aimee paper doll, I don't mind sharing since I've made things slightly more symmetrical and smoothed out than the original me. I have front and back views, but I admit the back view is just the front flipped around with some body details adjusted by imagination. I can't wait to design something!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Wonderful Weekend

This week our normal potluck dinner plans were altered to become a pancake breakfast up in the mountains. We had been waiting for a Saturday that Jamie didn't have to work, and luckily I didn't have to wait too long. We ended up driving over to our roommate's grandfather's house, and then riding in his truck to the campground at Brainard lake. The rest of their family was in a second truck. There were lots of cyclists out because of a race. I have to admit that even I got irked at some of them for riding several-abreast and over the white line when a perfectly good shoulder was available. But, we finally made it up there. I think the view- as well as the food- was worth it.

Doesn't that water just look delicious? I didn't drink any, but that's not to say I wouldn't have.

Look at those boots! We discovered they suck for hiking, but oh well.

I unfortunately didn't get any good rock-skipping photos.

Back across the log for more breakfast.

A perfectly toasted marshmallow innard.

I ate lots of these. As in- before the pancakes were even done I'd had two.

I don't LOOK motion sick here do I? Actually, I did not get sick, but the Dramamine sort of made me loopy for most of the rest of our day. Riding in the backseat of a crew-cab pickup truck through winding curvy roads is not very fun.

Next time, I will bring Grunt and Jackjack with us. I think they would love to come along, and explore the woods, lakefront and stream. I also want to have my rubber boots along- it would be fun to walk up the stream I think, and wade in the lake, but that water is COLD.

Last night (I know, it's not technically part of the weekend, but it's my blog, so there) we had some truly wonderful food. Jamie got the idea to recreate a Thai soup that we've had a grand total of one time before in our lives. I'm not sure exactly what is in it to make it so darned tasty, but I had it again this morning straight from the refrigerator. It is just as yummy cold as it was hot last night. I do know that there is coconut milk in it, and pork, zucchini, asparagus, and potato. A little bit of Sriracha in the broth makes it a spicy soup, but not too much for me. The boys both added a bunch more to their bowls.

I might have drawn a Sriracha happy face :)

Then, after that wonderful dinner, we were standing around in the kitchen and I noticed that over the busy weekend our last few peaches were nearly non-edible. Jamie said they'd have to be cooked since they were too mushy to hold and eat regularly. Thus, we issued a Chopped Challenge* for dessert. Ingredients? Peaches, Jameson's Irish Whiskey, coffee, and oats.

I can't remember what he called it, but I call it Peachly Heaven.
I am so spoiled.

In other food-related news: I cannot eat peanut M&Ms! I've tried one more time since we got the giant bag of them, thinking maybe the first time was a fluke. Nope- M&Ms with peanuts in them completely upset my stomach. As in, the first time I was thoroughly convinced that it would be handy to know how bulimics throw up at will. I didn't have the guts to try it, but I was sure that it would have been a quick fix. Instead I laid in bed gingerly on my left side hugging a pillow with warm Jackjack against my back. Any other position made it worse. I thought maybe the combination of spaghetti sauce with too much sugar might have done it. I wondered if it was simply too much sugar. But did you SEE the photo of that S'more up there? I ate bunches of those plus pancakes and orange juice- it can't be sugar-related. The second try was with a very small handful of them (and I have pretty mall hands to begin with). I wonder if regular M&Ms would cause such a discomfort also.

To be honest, I've been really happy with cantaloupe for sweet-tooth needs, and now we have another one of those plus a honeydew and grapes. I wonder if maybe I'm just not a manufactured-sweet-type person anymore. The pancakes were awesome, and the S'mores too, but those are both things that I don't think I'll want again any time soon. That bacon, however, is another story!

Anyway, other than the M&Ms, I had a wonderful weekend. I hope yours was great also!

*Chopped is a television show on the Food Network where four contestants receive the same basket of 4 mystery ingredients that must be combined to create either an appetizer, entree, or dessert dish in each round. The worst dish gets that chef "chopped" until one remains who wins $10,000 for the best dessert dish and all-around meal.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Fruits of A Bicycle Ride

Remember how I was surprised and happy to find out that the trees in the park were actually apple trees? Well, I went to work yesterday to find out if any new bus routes were up for bid (they weren't) after riding with Jamie to his work. I stopped to pick some apples!

There was a tiny little boy there with an itty-bitty wooden cart getting apples, and a horse paused for a break to munch on some too. Most of the apples on the trees were green, many had tiny worm holes. Most of the apples with red blush were on the ground already. I'm not sure if the ones very high up were even as good as they looked, because it seems there were some birds enjoying those. So, I picked a couple apples off the tree to eat, since I was very hungry. They were yummy, and the thought of a free tasty pie popped into mind. I went around several trees picking reddish apples off the ground, and a few better ones from the trees. I wasn't sure how many I'd need since they were very small, but I got as many as my little tank top shirt basket could hold.

Pedaling past the waterfall, I thought I should stop and dunk my feet in the water- something I've wanted to do ever since I first saw it. I also discovered yellow dust all over my feet at that point, so there was another reason to kick off my flip-flops and enjoy the cold water. I did exactly that, and told a runner about the apples further up the trail.

Then, I came home and found Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on apple pie, since I have never made one before. Good Eats is my most favorite food-related television show. I followed his recipe as best I could, but we didn't have all the ingredients. Instead of Applejack liquor in the crust, there is Appleton rum. It has "apple" in the name, that's close enough, right? I had to use strawberry jelly instead of apple jelly in the filling. We didn't have tapioca flour for the filling, so I used regular. That might be why it was still a bit runny when I cut into it. Overall, though, I'm very pleased with my very first attempt at pie made from scratch, and with teeny tiny free apples!

Remember the orchard?

Tiny apples

All peeled and cut up.

Uncooked pie, with an aluminum foil pie bird. I might have to get a real one, they are super-cute. My first try at pie crust isn't too bad, I think.

Uncooked, but now with glaze on top. We don't have a brush to properly get it on there.

This is in the crust instead of Applejack. Supposedly the alcohol makes a nicer stiff crust instead of water. Smelled really nice.

Pie! Cooling on the counter. FOUR hours? That's just torture.

You can see that my bad crust job let some filling bubble through- exactly what the pie bird would have prevented.

Two slices cut out decently. Ah, the filling is still a bit runny.

This was really yummy!
Breakfast of champions, maybe not, but it certainly makes a great reward for yesterday's efforts.

(Oh, and I received a call this morning- I get to be a bus assistant! That's better than a substitute until I can drive my own bus route. Happy Friday-Eve!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Jamie's Commute Too!

So, after I got home today, I realized I had nothing else to do for the day. When Jamie asked if I wanted to ride with him on his way to work, I thought it was a great idea! I even have pictures for you, too, since my camera battery apparently charges lightning-fast. Jamie gets to see all this going to work, but often he works in the evenings and comes home in the dark. These pictures are after I brought him dinner (which I cooked!! with help). That makes 3 trips out from home and back today, and I feel awesome.

Here you go:

The sky as I stepped outside was gorgeous. 
It tends to do pretty things a lot out here, and I'm appreciative.

Zoomie is done hanging out with the gutter pipe. Time for a ride!

On the way out of that shopping area is a neat little picnic area between the road and a building. I always see the cat, but only just now noticed the picnic awesomeness.

That shopping center empties out at a light to cross into this dying mall. I personally think it is sad and a little bit creepy to see an empty mall, but it is a convenient way to avoid a very busy intersection.

A pretty view at the light still. Waiting patiently with the cars.

Free of traffic! First a big field.

Then a park! Can you guess the theme?

Eggs? Or maybe just fun rocks.

And on this farm there was a pig E I E I O.

Sidewalk details!

Moo. Why does this cow look so sad?

I was excited to notice this as I was leaving the park, but it isn't that great. Someone put a tree right where the spyglass looks to. I saw leaves.

The coolest mailbox I've seen in a while.

Some neat little sculpture thingy. I wonder if it moves.

Pretty flowers are always great to see.

The little trail winds out behind a bunch of homes, out of the way, yet convenient to avoid the little circles of roads that cars have to stick to.

Home Sweet Home. For a year, anyway.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ride Home With Me

Happy Friday!

Follow along with pictures on my wonderful bike ride home on the St Vrain Greenway :)

Garden in a circle. 
Work is just to the right along that road. I ride under the overpass and cross a bridge over the stream, then take the sidewalk until I can cross the road right into the parking lot. The path doesn't empty out nicely onto the road for me.

I get to ride under a few roads, instead of having to worry about crossing them! There are gates to close off the Greenway for high water. I wonder how often that actually happens?


I found a tiny soccer ball.

Now it shall be Grunt's new tiny soccer ball toy.

One of several small lakes/large ponds I get to ride by. There are lots of geese to see and occasionally dodge, but today they were having a party somewhere else I guess. I heard them, but didn't see any.

A neat pice of artwork at the edge of the lake. There are bunches of "Art in Public Places" and I aim to eventually see them all- they are numbered on my bike map :)

Little pedestals along the path have odd sculptures on them, and while biking past they resemble dog poops. Now I know they aren't!

Here is the table shown in an earlier post. There were little groundhogs or prairie dogs all over that hill, but they are really hard to spot in person- I'm not sure you can find one at all in the picture.

I finally stopped here! There are usually always people, so I haven't before. 
I sat down and the bowl amplifies the gurgling of the stream in a way that makes me wish I had my own personal Listening Stone with a cushion to curl up on and read a book.

I never realized it, but those are apple trees! I must stop and get some next time, they would make a wonderful snack.

A particularly inviting place along the stream. The Greenway follows it all the way to the pretty waterfall, where my route splits off to go home.  

Because the gravel is loosely packed? Or maybe because you won't run someone over (theoretically) on foot? These little trails look like they go down to the water, or maybe small clearings to have a picnic.

Perhaps my favorite part of the Greenway. I liked the bird immediately, but it took stopping to take pictures for me to read the placard and find out it's supposed to be a Kestrel. 
My favorite bird? No wonder I liked it!

And... here the battery pack in my new camera finally refused to turn back on (it had been flashing the battery symbol at me since the first picture!).

So, I got out my phone of course!

I get spectacular views!

That spec in the sky is a skydiver. 
There were actually six of them or so, but the others are hard to spot.

More mountain view.

The airport is nearby, so I get to watch aircraft landing often.

Under the bridge at my Greenway exit.

The final stretch home!

Happy Friday everyone! 
Have a great weekend.