Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm Changing My Answer

I think I'm an INFJ, not an INTJ.

The F stands for Feeling and the T stands for Thinking, and this letter seems to account for the things I didn't think were me in the INTJ personality. The last time I took the Myers-Briggs, it was several years ago and while I'm not sure if we ever really change types because we're hard-wired, I do think there are different stages of maturity within type, so it's probably possible to have slightly different readings over time. Or, maybe how I took the test then was how I wanted to be perceived. So I don't feel any less accurate by looking at the descriptions and selecting INFJ from the possibilities.

At any rate, I think the INFJ description fits me better.

"INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities.

It still has a lot of the same characteristics as INTJ, but with perhaps with a more sensitive, emotional side, and as much as I like to pretend I'm not, I actually am pretty sensitive.

Here is the full description:

I totally agree with the "intuitive"observation. Once, I was driving past a restaurant that Micah and I loved and for some unknown reason said to myself "I don't ever want to go there again." A week later I found out that something really bad had just happened there, and once I knew this I truly didn't ever want to go back.

So for the record, I've changed my answer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Swing

I would be remiss if I didn't divulge how Thanksgiving went. It went well! My last nerve was shot trying to fit two brined turkeys in the narrow fridge without leaking turkey juice on everything, but somehow we made it.

We had 19 or 20 people, two from as far as California, and we fit everyone around three tables. It helps to have family ins in the restaurant business for renting all these extra tables and chairs and linens. And yes, the turkeys were moist. I wish I could see a graph showing how the use of the word "moist" jumps in the general population around Thanksgiving since everyone is utterly obsessed with how juicy the turkey is. Brining served us well and the turkey was in no way dry. Everyone who was supposed to bring something, did. I mixed and matched my china: Spode Floral Haven and a delicious blue and white pastoral pattern I inherited. My designer sister showed up with the place cards, menu cards, and family trivia quizzes.

What I wasn't prepared for was gravy duty.

Let's just say that if Uncle Ricky the gravy master hadn't shown up from California on Amtrak, the night would have involved much more time with me at the stove. Much more. I was following the gravy directions in my legit cookbook but it wasn't getting thick. Enter my mother in-law's lookalike older brother. He asks me to find a container with a lid on it to make the cornstarch slurry. I bring him a Fuel Belt bottle. I then proceed to get schooled in gravy making. The high volume of gravy from two large turkeys helped make it less noticeable that we didn't even have a gravy tureen. I think we used pitchers instead, but there was seriously that much gravy. What can I say? I am a planner up to a certain point but do leave room for spontaneity and things always turn out. Though I can seriously hear my grandmothers rolling in their graves over my not owning a gravy tureen.

Did I say family trivia quizzes? Yes. We had everyone submit two lesser-known facts about themselves a few weeks prior, and this got compiled into a quiz. A lot of the trivia was super hard and people kept being like "Well I give UP!" but then the unveiling of who was who was where the real gratification was. Who knew my mother shook hands with President Kennedy or that my sister in-law was an extra in Little Big League? My more notable piece of trivia was that I passed my driver's test in a VW Vanagon, parallel parking and all. (Have you experienced the turning radius of this make of car? Awesome.)

So we now turn our attention to Christmas. I can't explain why but I feel particularly FESTIVE this year. I've never before been so fixated on the concept of greenery. I've decked out the front window box with winter cheer and we're getting our Christmas tree next weekend. Zanna's still a little too young to be genuinely excited about things like seeing Santa, but she does smile, nay, BEAM at the cheery Christmas elf ornament I got her. It's a soft toy of sorts with rosy cheeks and she is quite taken with him.

In my efforts to make the house superlatively holiday cozy, I've also procured some stocking hangers from Bachman's that supposedly fit any size mantel. It turns out Completely Mangling Your Mantel by Abbe is a pamphlet I could write. In truth, it's only one small paint touchup I'll need to do when the stockings come down, but it was a little Clark Griswold. It was either this type of hanger or gigantic picture frame stocking hangers from JoAnn Fabrics that were the exact opposite of what I was looking for. At any rate, stockings are in position.

Also at Bachman's, my mom and I took Zanna to see a little free play called "Santa Busts a Move." Santa was wearing red Converse All-Star high tops and his elf Albert tried to teach him how to dance, these being the key points to remember. Then we got in line for Santa, which thankfully was low-key and free, unlike the total ripoff that Southdale has become, sadness of sadness. It probably doesn't need to be explained that an 18-month-old who is just up from a nap had no interest in sitting with Santa. Luckily Santa was on a loveseat so there was room for me to hold her without having to balance on an armrest, but she still was not into it. I don't blame her. I don't like to take pictures with strangers either, frankly. THINK ABOUT IT.

Next weekend I will attend my first ever cookie exchange with mostly people I don't know. I have no idea what to make. Everyone has already called making all the obvious cookies. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve, Basically

Okay, seriously. I have to figure out this Picasa photo limit error I'm getting. I was going to post some really fun pictures and now this whoozit is telling me I've reached blogging photo memory my limit? Yeah right. So much for an easy way to share photos!

I've got to stop typing questions like above because my question mark key is literally jumping off the keyboard and into my hand when I press it. It all goes back to an unfortunate incident involving spilling ginger ale all over the eastern quadrant of my keyboard and then having to remove every affected key and clean out the undersides. Well apparently I broke the plastic piece that holds the question mark in place and two years later the thing has revolted. The dumb thing is that I never even drink ginger ale.

But I figure I'll just keep typing here and see what happens.

We're approaching the holidays and I am feeling...good. We volunteered to host Thanksgiving for the first time and I'm ready for the challenge. Actually it's just been an exercise in delegation up to this point, clearing the way for me to focus on the turkey.


Let me tell you, the last two days of thawing these seemingly benign monsters has been a little more than I bargained for. To clarify, there are two of them. It seems that when you tell everyone you're in charge of the bird this year, you get a fabulous amount of advice. And I'm no slouch when it comes to taking advice, so I'm going with "two small, not one big." The only problem is I pretty much have nowhere to put them since we have a side-by-side fridge where the freezer and fridge sides are super narrow. And it's not like they just sit there! They're basically alive and wreaking havoc as they continue to thaw and leak everywhere. I don't remember this from childhood.

That being said, I don't go down easily. Tomorrow I brine them and we go from there. But seriously, thawing and dealing with this much meat is something that deserves to be a once a year activity at best. Sure, there are fresh ones, but this information really isn't helping me right now.

In other thought planes, what's going on?

I'm not sure why, but yesterday at work I took a break from whatever excruciatingly mind-bending order shortage research I was in the middle of to look up the definition of my Myers-Briggs personality type, INTJ. This personality type goes something like this:

Imaginative, thoughtful, fascinated by possibilities, new ideas and new ways of improving. Independent and autonomous, strongly analytical mind and a clear awareness of your goals. Achievement is extremely important and you define success in your own terms rather than follow a conventional path. Calm, assured and somewhat reserved. Excel at organizing both your own life and other people, and can be relied on to honor your commitments. 

Somewhere I also read something that this type of person can be a bit of a lone wolf and not always want to express him or herself to others because the complicated ideas and concepts would be difficult to explain and not fully appreciated. I can tell you that this is completely me. I do have a lot of, well, concepts and stuff that I think about that aren't weird but are just...a lot. After reading Henderson the Rain King in high school I had an extremely strong nostalgic streak towards old school 80s Minneapolis, don't ask me why, since nothing in the book had anything to do with Minnesota. See?

I kept reading about INTJ and learned that they supposedly make up 3% of the male population and 0.8% of the female population, whereas some of the other personality types represented percentages of upwards of 17% of women. That's a big disparity in type.

Of course I puffed up with some pride at falling into a "different" category, but when I thought about it for more than five seconds, I realized it actually explained a lot about me. I truly do feel different or set at a distance from people a lot of the time, but the funny thing is...I like it. Maybe that sums up INTJ right there. The danger is that people can easily come to the conclusion that you're arrogant or elitist when that couldn't be farther from the truth. I care very much about making people feel comfortable and included and heard but admit that I probably have some blind spots. I'm not always the greatest shoulder to cry on. But for the most part, INTJ is definitely not the "I don't care what you think and I'm better than you" personality. It's something more like being imaginative and conceptual with a major an independent streak, and sometimes being hard to read, but still wanting to be accommodating and reliable to others. And being very achievement oriented. I guess I can only speak for myself.

Any any rate, this is where I ended up tonight just typing what I was thinking. Turkey and Myers-Briggs. Has it been done before??

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A few fall photos

Zanna is 17 months old as of yesterday, and here we are at one of her favorite places: the dog park. Not so much of afraid of dogs, this one! Well actually the really big ones scare her but small dogs are definitely her cup of tea.

We took Gus to the Lake of the Isles dog park last weekend and there were luckily lots of little dogs for Zanna to boss around. Gus used to fall into the dog-park-go-crazy category, but now at the age of five he spends most of his time endearing himself to the other dog owners and occasionally greeting the dogs.

Zanna is a full-fledged toddler now. She's super talkative and active and with the exception of big dogs in close range, generally fearless. I'm thinking about finding her some sort of toddler gym class because she loves running around and climbing on things but doesn't get to do a whole lot of this at home with the hardwood floors. Or perhaps our general unwillingness to line all levels of the house with foam padding.

She knows a few bits of sign language and these have come in really handy. She does please, more, bath, all done, and food. Maybe a few others but these are the main ones. She's saying a bunch of words and the newest ones are apple, baby, and puppy, and she's started pointing out the baby in one of her books. She's little by little figuring out how to say different words and not surprisingly gets a little frustrated when she can't quite say something yet, especially since it's obvious how much she understands. She will go get her shoes or jacket if I tell her to and is really good at following directions (when she feels like it!).

Z's first real chore is that she feeds Gus every day. She gets out his bowl and Micah helps her put a scoop of food into it. Then she hands Gus his morning treat bone. Then in the afternoon after we all get home, she gets the food bowl ready again. It's cute how much she likes this. Sometimes she'll haul Gus's entire food container out of the pantry at a time other than 6:30am or 5pm and we unfortunately can't oblige. Otherwise we'd have one fat pug. One fat pug, mind you, who is feasting like a king on flying people food at dinner.

Which leads me to my next point: finicky eaters. All the literature says this is when many toddlers start getting particular about their food. And they would be correct. I say this as someone who doesn't give up easily. 

Zanna's diet at home mainly consists of peas, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, pumpkin seeds, applesauce, yogurt, those little sesame sticks, pizza, the fruit pouches that come in fabulous fruit/grain combos like Pear Barley. (To which we say "Ha! You reject the zucchini I offer you, but did you know you're eating barley right now?! Even I don't like barley!) 

Okay, so not bad stuff. Just not necessarily broad in category. I actually am kind of afraid she's going to turn into a grape based on excessive fruit consumption. She once ate five tangerines in a row until Nana  cut her off. 

Z used to eat just about anything, but after roughly 12 months of age, veered off on a journey called Oh, I'll Let You Know If I Want It. Which is fine. It's an assertion of toddler independence, I get it. We just keep offering her different things, avoid crap, and try to keep changing it up. She's just not so into meat and a number of things whose common thread we can't put our finger on yet. 

But the fact of the matter is that when a kid doesn't want to eat something, the jaw is pretty much wired shut and it's case-closed. Have you tried putting something offensive (like squash?) in a child's mouth lately? Getting a chemical engineering degree form Harvard would be easier. But, we'll keep offering. Sometimes we make a huge deal about something like broccoli, with both Micah and me gushing over it and acting like we're wondering where it's been all our lives. That once set up a great "Hey, me too!" moment that resulted in Z actually consuming a respectable amount of green vegetables. Unfortunately, she was on to us after that. 

The funny thing is that at daycare, where they make everything on-site and keep it healthy (read: lentil soup), they tell us she eats everything. Positive peer pressure much? I've also been informed that my daughter loves quesadillas. Oh really? Apparently only when Lucy makes them because she blatantly rejected the one I made her after learning this!  

In general, Z is a fan of the salty-savory and not so much the sweets, with the exception of fruit, for which we might as well start buying stock in frozen blueberries. I don't know how much to believe the idea that kids pick up on preferred flavors in utero based on what their mothers ate, but I can tell you that overall her tastes are strikingly similar to mine. I fall into the same salt-biased category but still eat a lot of fruit. I know I ate a TON of fruit when I was pregnant, and my only real pregnancy craving, aside from just wanting to eat a lot, was grapefruit.  

But, if she does end up like me, she'll be eating a healthy share of Eskimo Pies eventually, but just happen to love quiche more. At any rate, she's doing fine in the food department. 

I leave you with a picture of the cousins. It's so awesome that Zanna is old enough that they can play together now. Cute stuff. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The October Chronicle

So much happening! Some recent pictures from the fall: 

Zanna is 16 months! 

 Our entry in day care's Crazy Hair Day. Zanna's classroom won!

Baby Story Time at the Nokomis Library with Lynn & Ethan!
(Books first, toys second.) 

 An impromptu visit from dear friend Megan who lives in Oregon. 

 Cousins! They're at ages where they can play together now. Super fun.

 This is what "napping hard" looks like.

 Grandpa swing

New house! 

Moving is never easy, but a couple weeks ago we did it!  Being in a new house and neighborhood is exciting. After a lot of consideration, we found another (larger) bungalow in Southwest that has undergone extensive restoration, so it's the best of old 1920s house charm combined nice updates.

We only moved 5 miles west of our old house but that's a lot less urban driving to get to family and work. We're a 4-minute jog to Lake Harriet and have a hardware store, organic grocery/corner store, and great French bakery all within walking distance. I miss our old house a little since it was our first house and there were a lot of good memories there, but we have renters in it now and it's their chance to enjoy it! And our new block has lots of families and young kids, so we're looking forward to that!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap!


I've done three marathons now! This makes me sound hardcore...right??

Here is my race racap!
It was pretty cold at the starting line, and up until 15 minutes before the gun went off I wore flannel PJ pants over my capri tights. I started out wearing a long-sleeve top, team jersey, a thin jacket, and tube sock arm warmers, with two pairs of gloves and capri tights, as well as a running hat and a winter hat on top of that. So I had lots of layers to work with. I started well and focused on starting very conservatively. As far as how those first steps felt, which can be telling, I felt good and was looking forward to being out there!

 6:00am before the race start. Note daughter who's been put through cowbell training.

I eased into the first miles around the lakes. I was surprised that I wasn't warming up a ton in my core--the air temp was just so cool. But I was still getting warmer in my extremities. Around Isles I tossed my outer mittens and when I got a lot warmer, my winter hat. Down to Calhoun and up to Harriet I felt loose and happy and enjoyed the crowds, though I was thinking that there were still a lot of miles to go. But I tried to stay in the moment as much as possible. I knew I'd have family cheering at mile 7.5 along Harriet, so it was nice to have that to look forward to. With the cold, though, even as early as mile 7 I was starting to notice that my calves (which weren't covered) were not loving the cold. I had flashbacks to my 2009 Twin Cities Marathon which was similarly chilly, when I started noticing those twinges around mile 12 and ultimately ended in lots of cramping in the last 7 miles of the race...a frustrating experience to be sure. So to keep this in check I kept telling myself not to go out too fast, and I slowed down my pace until it didn't bother me anymore. Actually, it was more along the lines of "Oh, hell no! This is not going to happen again because I'm smarter than that. Don't do anything in the first half that you won't be able to replicate in the second half." 

My fuel was 5 chocolate gels in a flask that there thinned down with some water, and I had two backup gels in a belt. I started taking in sips of the flask starting around 45 minutes. To be honest the gels weren't sitting that well with me. My stomach was hurting a little but I just kept going. Through the parkway I kept focusing on running a sustainable pace...or whatever would fend off cramping. I really enjoyed all of the music on this part of the course! It's hard not to love "I'm sexy and I know it!" blaring from speakers along the parkway and the whole neighborhood dancing to it. With my mind otherwise on my calves I couldn't power up and down the rolling hills like I normally would and that was frustrating. But I actually started seeing people pulling off to the side of the road with cramping as early as mile 10 and heard myself saying "Let that be a cautionary tale," as Aesop's Fables as that sounds. So I continued around Nokomis to the halfway point of the race at a conservative pace and tried to keep myself loose, but it was hard in the cold. I didn't get how all of these people around me were down to their T-shirts and shorts already, if not from the race start, and here I was still super cold. 

Around 13.1 miles I ran into Chuck, an old training partner from P2, aka "Diesel," who was running his 30th consecutive TCM. (Hence the nickname given to him by our then-coach.) I was actually so happy to run into him because he usually runs a very even pace and he wasn't looking to immediately drop anyone he might be running with, like me, so the moral support really helped. I tossed my arm warmers somewhere along Lake Nokomis as weather kept improving, but I was still cold and couldn't believe I was still needing my jacket. Diesel and I chatted a bit and ran together from mile 13 to about mile 20, past Minnehaha Falls, up West River Road (where Micah was cheering!), across Franklin Bridge, and down East River Road in St. Paul. On West River Road my stomach was still hurting a little and I'm pretty sure it was the gels, thought I've used this brand a lot and have never had issues. Diesel and I just kept running through the water stops together and I started taking Powerade instead of water at all the stops to keep on top of calories and electrolytes since I was pretty much done with the thought of consuming more of the chocolate gel that was bothering my stomach. And I needed to make sure I didn't bonk.

Diesel and me, far right. (Me, no head.) 

At mile 20 I finally felt warm enough to toss my jacket. At the water stop after mile 20 I grabbed two cups of Powerade and got those down, of course also getting some in my eye, but then couldn't find Diesel anywhere. I checked in front of me and then behind me about five times but I couldn't find him so I kept going. I looked him up after the race and it looks like he slowed down a fair amount and finished 13 minutes behind me. I certainly didn't feel like I was in a position to drop anyone I was running with, but I guess I did. At this point I was at the hill leading up to St. Thomas near mile 21 and strangely started feeling like I could pick up the pace. I got up the hill and got myself up onto Summit Ave. This is usually where the carnage starts, but I felt great. I focused on drawing energy from the crowd. The crowds on Summit are particularly encouraging, probably in response to the general look of the runners in the last miles. I went between feeling strong and then feeling odd pains in my feet and even some shin cramping. Not shinsplits--shin cramping. I guess there's a first time for everything. In response, I just kept downing Powerade and getting down one of my spare non-chocolate gels, and keeping myself moving forward at a reasonable pace. 

For some reason, the part of the race that goes from St. Thomas up to Snelling Ave always seems so long to me. This proved true again, probably due in part to the fact that it's all a gradual uphill for 1.5 milkes, but I was more focused on how wonderful it felt to have only 3 miles left once I got to Snelling. The runners had thinned out and I remember thinking it was cool to be running in the dead center of the road with no one within a 20-foot radius of me for about 200 meters...I guess it was just one of those cool moments within a moment. Once I crossed Lexington Ave and started mile 24, Brian from my MN RED running group pulled up beside me. He wasn't in the race but someone on the team who had registered for the race ended up not running, so Brian used the race number to run intermittently with MN RED teammates...otherwise he would have been considered a race bandit. We ran for about a mile and I asked him to take my gel flask from me so I could be done with it. It's funny how the smallest things can make such a big difference. Without that to hold onto anymore I felt a whole different energy. 

Brian dropped back to find other runners after determining that I was going to be just fine in the last two miles. I kept smiling at the crowd and saying "Thanks!" to random people, and even gave out one slightly awkward high-five to a stranger. It was so energizing to get encouragement from the crowds. If you're running and look a little too happy and at ease to be 24 miles into a marathon, the crowds seem to love that, and in turn the positive energy came back to me. With the intermittent shin and foot cramps was a little frustrated to be going back and forth between speed up some and then pulling back. Usually at this point if you're feeling good, you just want to go for it! 

I got to the St. Paul Cathedral and waved to Steve Stenzel holding baby Henry in what I remember thinking was a very cute little baby sweater, and right after that I saw my MN RED teammates, and right after that, saw Micah and Zanna! Zanna definitely saw me. Then I powered through the last 0.2 miles and finished my third Twin Cities Marathon!

Me looking much more excited than my fan club....

I feel a huge sense of accomplishment in finishing this marathon. It wasn't my fastest, not nearly. But I overcame and/or avoided a lot of things that could have stopped me in my tracks. I was stubborn and determined to enjoy the day, and kept my mind in check so I wouldn't go out too fast and make any regrettable moves. I'm a little bummed around the GI issues. A few weeks ago I finally came to the realization that I have a certain degree of lactose intolerance and I was really hoping that cutting out any and all dairy for the two days before the race would help. It certainly did, and while I did avoid some bad scenarios, I'm scratching my head over why the gels were still an issue. 

But now I also feel a huge sense of relief in completing this marathon. I'm ready for some time to relax and cook fall food and just have more quality family time. I felt really proud to be completing my third marathon in front of my daughter and husband (as well as all of the rest of my wonderful family), and I hope someday Zanna will think it's pretty cool when I tell her about it.  

Now to go see about that back rub a certain someone promised me....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ringing in 30

A few days ago I turned 30 and had the good fortune of celebrating it up north at our cabin. If this is what 30 looks like, I have no problem with 30.

My parents, in-laws, two brothers, Micah, Zanna, and Gus celebrated on Saturday night with steak, potatoes, sweet corn, and all the components of a great cabin feast, followed by some very delicious cupcakes. 

Zanna was fascinated by everything in the new environment, including the bass hat. I think every time we come back, as she gets bigger, a new set of things will fascinate her. It's interesting to see what they are. Last summer she was only a few months old and it was such a different story, one mainly involving naps under mosquito netting. Now she's running all over, body tackling Gus, and getting her cute paws into things. 

Grandpa bought Zanna the most endearingly designed little float toy. I just like to imagine the thought process of the person who created this thing. "It'll be a red race car...with a steering wheel and horn...and we'll put a huge non-functional spoiler on it that says SPEEDY across it...."

This contraption was actually a great way to have Zanna in the water, tippy though it may have been. She and Grandpa putted around the dock for nearly two hours between this, the open-top kayak, and a random windsurfer board, which is pretty amazing because the lake isn't the warmest thing ever given its large size and uncommon overall depth. It's fun to see her have the same experiences I had growing up here.

For some reason I was fixated on going snorkeling for my birthday. The guys and I loaded up the boat and drove over to "the rock pile," which is a 9-12 ft. deep area where the lake depth drops off all around it. There are some rocks the size of Mini Coopers, and lots of schools of rock bass like to hang out on the dropoffs.

Well...given a combination of factors including decreased visibility due to recent storms, a comical assortment of gear that included no more than one actual dive mask (i.e. enclosed the nose), it wasn't as long-lived an endeavor as planned. (One can only plug one's nose for so long when snorkeling with swim goggles on.)

But it was more about the togetherness. It also helped me get over my strange reticence about just hopping into water that's over my head, smack dab in the middle of a lake. For some reason it kind of creeps me out, despite my scuba background. But watching my brothers nonchalantly fling themselves out of the boat was enough to buck up and prove my tough 30-ness.

Gus even got it on it, though having earlier in the day proved his ability to only swim one inch under the surface due to his concentration of body weight in the head area. But with life jackets on, we provided good flotation on his behalf.

The cabin was appropriately attired with birthday signage, which will be kept up for all continued family birthdays in August and September. (Why take it down?)

There is a lot going on in this picture. I think all I will say is that this is how a Nelson birthday typically unfolds.

One of the many discoveries of things that Zanna was naturally attracted to and insisted on tackling over and over. The very long run of the stairs did make it less difficult for her to go down these steps compared to the average kind of stairs you find at home, but of course we are still talking about concrete. I like to think that I somehow gained bodily strength from being bent over at a 90-degree angle in my goalie stance while she reveled in the art of "Plunk, shuffle shuffle, plunk, shuffle shuffle, plunk, AGAIN FROM THE TOP!"

This is what it looks like when you slap the outside of a fire pit cover repeatedly for ten minutes with both hands. Just wanted to let you know since you probably haven't done this and wouldn't know. Why have you not? Because it is dirty. "Dirty?" the baby contends. "But look at my arty hands!" Well, actually it does look pretty cool.  Nothing a dip in the lake can't fix. A perfect birthday weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Miss Birthday

Little Miss Zeebearski turned one year old on 6/7! Happy birthday, Zanna! Way to handle that angel food cake like a champ.