Monday, April 29, 2013

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

1 large sweet potato, cut into fourths 
1 banana
½ apple (I used braeburn)
Dry Ingredients
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 chai tea bags (remove tea - throw away bag - duh) 
pinch of salt
⅓ cup pecans or almonds (pecans are a bit sweeter) - chopped or whole
⅓ cup almond flour

Wet Ingredients
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
4 tablespoons dark maple syrup 
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Put sweet potato in the oven at 425 degrees.  Cook until it is super soft.  This will vary depending on the size of the sweet potato but it took me about 35 minutes.  Check it every 5 minutes starting at about 25 minutes.  
Once super soft, let cool and remove the skin.  These muffins gave me a chance to play with my food processor - yeah!  Put the sweet potato, apple, and banana in the processor and puree.  Once smooth, add all the dry ingredients. I used whole pecans but I have an industrial strength food processor (yeah!!!) - so it only took me a couple of minutes to get the whole thing to a smooth consistency. 

Then I added in all of the wet ingredients and pureed again.  (Man... this food processor is seriously AMAZING - new favorite kitchen gadget - sorry KitchenAid.)

Reduce the oven temp to 375. 

I put cupcake wrappers into the muffin tin and filled them up. (I used leftover 'Celebrate' wrappers from a bridal shower a few years ago - turns out I love ridiculous cupcake wrappers - I have WAY too many in my cupboard.)  Because these don't have a whole lot of flour or anything to rise - you can fill them up pretty darn full.  

Bake for 25 minutes - or until your knife comes out clean.  

Unlike most bready things that you want to eat while still warm - let these cool completely first.  They crumble when they are warm and the flavor isn't very good.  When they are cool, however - they are delicious!!  It was a delicious treat with my bacon and eggs this morning.  A little bit sweet - I would maybe use slightly less maple syrup next time.  Overall, a perfect way to cap off breakfast.  

Yummms.  Make these.  It's a good idea. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

To Clean or Not To Clean...

This literally has so many meanings...
#1 - My house is a total disaster. 
#2 - Cleans are totally kicking my ass at the gym right now. 
#3 - Seriously considering hiring a maid service to just scrub my house from top to bottom.  It would be worth it right?  Does that make me lazy?  It totally does, doesn't it.  Damnit.  
#4 - I also need to have my car detailed and do laundry.  Apparently I'm failing a little in the domestic department.  

Back to cleans at the gym - these are just not working for me lately.  And it is seriously pissing me off.  It makes me want to swear.  Actually, it does make me swear.  A lot.  Shit.  

Something about the motion isn't working - fundamentally, I know exactly what I need to do.  I just can't seem to do it.  My shoulders are shrugging before I get the bar halfway up to wear it's supposed to be - my elbows refuse to go high and outside - and there is absolutely nothing quick about my movement.  I think I'm getting in my head about it and the frustration is making it worse.  Blah.  Damn cleans.  Killing me.  

Anyways... tonight's workout also killed me.  Loved coaching it this morning.  Hated doing it.  Overhead squats?! Blah.  Had to bail on one.  That is the worst feeling in the world.  I did 59 of them just fine (or good enough) - and had to bail on one right in the middle.  I just totally lost it.  Ugh.  Whatever.  Going to focus on the 59 good (or decent) ones. 

Okay... as promised... a few highlights of things I ate in Vegas: 

B&B - the Mario Batali Italian restaurant in the Venetian
Totally expensive but totally good.  I have never spent so much money on a meal for one (actually, I've probably never spent so much money on a meal for two either).  It was great - but certain dishes were actually slightly disappointing.  We did a full three course meal.  I had an amazing beet salad to start - seriously, the best beet salad I've ever had.  Yes... I like beets.  This is new.  I'm just going with it.  The next course was  gnocchi with lamb ragu and mint.  Hmmm... didn't love it.  I'm somewhat of a gnocchi connoisseur - it's my favorite Italian dish - and this was just 'eh'.  The last course was a veal chop.  I'm not sure what I was expecting... but it wasn't what I got.  It was good... just not what I was expecting.  Dessert, however, was AMAZING.  I don't even remember what it was called but it was a lemon souffle with fresh honey poured in the middle.  Umm... I die.  It was phenomenal.  The wine was also exceptional.  And the service was impeccable.  Overall... a totally winning experience.  

D.O.C.G. Enoteca at the Cosmopolitan
Woodfire pizza is always my favorite thing to eat.  That didn't change just because I was in Vegas.  Amazing.  Except for one thing:  sopresatta.  Umm... not my favorite.  And I remembered this the second I took a bite of it.  It is a terrible tasting Italian sausage.  Don't love.  Ick.  And then Tara announced that it tasted the way that cadaver lab smelled and now I will always remember that whenever I see it on a menu.  So... there's that.  Ick.  But... the appetizers and our margherita pizza were scrumptious.  And again, total win on the wine front.  Soppresata = bad.  

I ate several other things too.  They were also good.  The croissants at the Wynn were the best croissants I've had outside of Paris.  No lie.  Freaking amazing.  Also - the yogurt parfait was ridiculously good.  I know - yogurt parfait?  Borderline life changing.  

Moral of the story?  I ate approximately my weight in food while I was in Vegas.  And most of it was delicious.  Except for the sausage that tasted like cadaver lab.  That was less than pleasant. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Las Vegas - A Recap

Howdy y'all.  I know that what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas - unless of course, you have a blog.  Then you post all the pictures online for all the world to see.  Here is a picture tutorial of our Vegas trip: (which was AMAZING - FYI)

Breakfast at the airport.  We walked in and the server definitely greeted us with: 'Alcohol.  You are alcohol people.  I can tell.'  It had to of been the hats.  EVERYONE asked us if we were going to have fun.  Hats.  It's where it's at people. 

Look how pretty and enthusiastic we are!
Fast forward three hours:
Winning. (This is also me 'pre-tan'-- hello legs!)  The pool at the Wynn was glorious.  It was also topless.  Hold your judgment - all of our tops stayed ON.  However, the bachelorette party in front of us was a totally different story.
Grapefruit mimosas by the pool?  Yes. 
We avoided pictures in our swimsuits.  Actually - we took them.  And then I deleted them.  Seattle pastey + bikini = not attractive.  Damnit.  

Fast forward another 6 hours + nap/shower time:
Why yes.  This is a giant high heeled shoe in the Cosmopolitan.  And yes, we are standing in it.  And yes, I made them.  And made a random stranger take our picture.  Being bossy isn't just a Seattle thing - I am also bossy on vacation.
We had tickets to see Band of Horses at the Cosmopolitan. The ticket said the concert started at 8pm.  We arrived at 7:45 because all of us are punctual people (after having dinner at D.O.C.G Enoteca - see 'Summary of Things I Ate' for more on that).  Turns out... main acts at Vegas concerts do not start until at least 10:30pm.  No one told us this -- and these are things that I feel people should have told us.  This is what happened during our two hour and forty five minute wait:
Giant Beers!
Angular poses.  Really - I was trying to capture the beauty of the Las Vegas strip at night.  I feel like Tara photo bombed me. 
Girl pictures taken from a random dude.  Who then asked us to get cozy with his brother so he could take a picture and win a bet.  Of course we did it.  He was the luckiest dude at that pool.
Waiting and bored.  Made friends with the old dudes next to us who were smoking cigars and telling us that Band of Horses cancelled.  Ummm... excuse me sir... if you received an email to this effect, why have you been waiting two hours??? At this point we became mildly concerned.
And we actually took a cute picture.  Go us.  We are adorable.  And cold.  Did I mention that we were cold?  60 degrees and freezing.  My dad would call me a wuss.  He would be right.
Finally, at approximately 10:30 - Band of Horses came on stage.  And they were AMAZING. 

Worth the wait.  But still annoyed that the wait was that long.  Also, Las Vegas had never seen so much flannel - Seattle was missing all of its hipsters that night.  At least we weren't homesick.  

The concert was AMAZING.  So glad we went - so glad we waited.  

(Sidenote: this is the never ending day... my apologies... the rest of our short trip was not nearly as full as the first 18 hours)

Fast forward to midnight (yes... midnight... that hour of the day that I RARELY see): 

We went back to the hotel to change.  I have not changed and gone out after midnight probably since I was 22.  Maybe.  Maybe 21.  Regardless - it was a LONG time ago.  

And then... we went to a nightclub.  (I know, I know... we are all thinking the same thing... nightclub?!?!  Who am I?!?!!)  Well... not the kind of person that goes to a nightclub normally but had a TOTAL FREAKING BLAST at this one.  Meera's friends from college were there and had set us up with a private cabana.  Umm... let me say that again.  Private.  Cabana.  Not just a table or bottle service.  CABANA.  Our own private bathroom, private couches, bottle service, private hot tub - all overlooking the dance floor.  It was a spectacular experience.  Meera's friends - Sean and Matt - were both amazing, fun and just generally awesome.  We had a great group of people to have this experience with.  

Here are more pictures: 
I wish I had a better picture of this club.  It was outdoors - at the pool.  And one of the coolest places I've seen in a while -- okay... ever.  I've never been to club like that. 
This is Courtney.  She's a resident surgeon with Meera.  This is what happens when Tara talks your way into the roped off dance floor and Bassnectar is DJing.  It was insane.  Wall to wall people.  We worked our way up to like 6 people from the DJ.  And then we almost got crushed.  True story. 

This is the picture from the DJ booth.  And yes... I stole this from the Bassnectar website.  And yes... I looked at the Bassnectar website to find a picture.  This looks crazy.  It was even crazier feeling six people back from the DJ.  Amazing.  So glad I followed Tara in... I never would have done that by myself! 

This pic is just darn adorable.  Hello Tara - that is a cocktail.  Probably a strong one.
We've had approximately 7 vodka/Red Bulls at this point.  Don't tell me how bad they are for me.  I know.  Downers - uppers.  I get it.  I drink them once every 5 years.  3 am at a club in Vegas - I'll drink what I want. 
We are so darn cute.  I am very short.  She is very tall.  Hmm... how did that happen?!
  Oh... and then this happened: 
One may say: are you in a hot tub?!  Yes. Yes, we are.  At 4 in the morning.  At a nightclub.  In our dresses.  That happened.  And it was awesome.  

So... the next day we were pretty much worthless.  Tired + mildy hungover = full day of sitting by the pool.  Actually - it's a miracle we weren't ridiculously hungover.  Literally - by the pool from 11 am until 4 pm.  Then nap time - then fancy dinner time.  B&B Ristorante in The Venetian.  Pretty girl time: 

It's just nice to get dressed up sometimes.  Love it.
Dinner was good - more on that in my 'Summary of Things I Ate' post.  But that will have to wait until tomorrow - this post is already 17 times longer than it should be.  

Pretty sure I was sound asleep by like 11 pm on Sunday night - we are too old for multiple nights of raucousness.  

We left on Monday and spent all morning laying by the pool - I have the sunburn to prove it.  Sleeping last night was painful and made me add one more thing to the 'Why I Hate Living Alone' list - no one to aloe my back.  FML.  Anyways... here is a Vegas parting shot:

Do my legs look slightly tanner?  They should.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Boston Marathon

"But the night was ordinary.  It usually is, I think, when your life changes.  Most people aren't doing anything special when the carefully placed pieces of their life break apart." 
- Carole Radziwill, What Remains
I read this book not long after Will died and these words resonated with me. It's true. From everyone who I've ever talked to - it's just a normal day when your life falls apart. Maybe you sense something in the air - but you can't quite put your finger on what it is. For all intents and purposes- its just a normal day. 
Today, the explosions at the Boston Marathon are stunning people all across the country, reminding us that life is too short and that sometimes people do horrible things to totally innocent people for absolutely no reason.  I'm sure that eventually we will know some sort of reason behind it - but to the people who have lost their lives and limbs and to the family and loved ones left behind - it may not matter.  

All of these people who were just having a normal day have now had their lives rocked and will never be able to go back to the way it was the second before the explosions went off.  These people were attending the race to cheer on parents, children, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends and complete strangers who were competing. Everyone who was touched by the tragedy today will never be able to go back to the minute before the finish line practically exploded.
I don't know what it was like to be at that race, but I do know what it is like to have your entire world break apart in seconds.  For me, I never get to go back to 3:57pm on January 22, 2012.  For me, it wasn't an explosion - it was a phone call.   It's not the same - it's not even close - but the thing that I keep thinking about is that all those lives will never be the same.  

This is just another reminder to me that life is too short.  It's too short to not make the best of every single day.  It's too short to waste being mad, stressed or unhappy.  Life is too short to not be passionate.  It's too short not to be crazy in love with someone who makes you insanely happy.
It's too short not to laugh or be silly. It's too short not to love what you do.  It's too short to be too busy to take that vacation or spend time with the people you love.  Life is way too short to not tell the people you love that you love them. 

You only live once.  Make the most of it. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Not Even Remotely About CrossFit (okay... maybe just a smidge)

One of my girlfriends asked me recently - why don't I blog more about my dating? Well... let's just do a quick summary of my love life shall we?  



I've got zilch.  

It's not that I don't want to be dating.  I would LOVE to have a fantastic guy around.  But I think I'm taking a break from actively seeking one out on the interwebs.  Online dating is exhausting.  And I'm tired.  All the time.  That's what happens when you have a full time job, are doing a coaching internship AND working out 4-5 days a week.  My house is almost always a disaster, my cats feel neglected and I'm at least three weeks behind on my DVR (that's a lie, I don't have a DVR - but I do have OnDemand).  I don't even have time to see my friends - my best friend lives 30 minutes away and I haven't seen her in at least a month.  I'm a terrible friend.  

The only reason I do hang out with any of my friends now is that they are friends from the gym and we go out after our workout.  And no one cares that I am sweaty and gross looking - because they are also sweaty and gross looking.  No date would appreciate post-WOD Danielle.  This is what I look like: 

Remember this picture? Go me.
Yeah... not pretty.  Not pretty at all. 

It's not that I don't want to date.  Dating is awesome.  I love meeting new people. But... getting all cleaned up to go meet a complete stranger that I may or may not hit it off with when I don't even have time to see friends who I love isn't a high priority in my life right now.  

AND -- I'm sick of guys being intimidated by the fact that I do CrossFit.  Yes- I do CrossFit.  Yes- I'm decent at it.  Yes- I'm strong.  If you can't handle the fact that I can probably outlift you - I don't need any part of it.  Maybe I've gotten spoiled by the fact that  I work out with fantastic guys who are super encouraging and want nothing more than for us girls to get one more rep or 5 more lbs.  I would really just love a guy who will totally rock a 'My Girl Is Stronger Than You' shirt.  

I'm actually totally okay with not dating right now.  I'm having a blast just doing me.  I'm busy and enjoying every minute of it (okay... that may be an exaggeration... but I enjoy MOST minutes of it).  So... the summary of my recent dating experiences?  Nada. 

On the positive side:  being single has given me WAY more time to practice cooking.  Here's a quick recipe for best steak rub ever: 

Coffee Spice Rub
2T coffee (I used Seattle's Best #4. I like my coffee darker and thought this had great flavor)
1t Cinnamon
1/2t Smoked Paprika
1/2t Cumin
A pinch of cayenne pepper (just for a little punch)
Salt (I used Himalayn Pink Sea Salt as it is AWESOME.  And pink.)  

Delicious.  Make it ASAP.  Actually, ditch whatever you were planning to make for dinner tonight and make steak.  It's a great plan.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hot Yoga is Hard

I did my first hot yoga class yesterday and... wow... hot yoga is HARD.  And this wasn't even true hot yoga - this room was only 95 degrees.  Apparently true hot yoga is like 105.  I can't even imagine.  I was a sweat monster.  Like totally disgusting sweaty beast.  And I smelled.  Sexy?  Not so much

Why am I doing yoga, you ask?  Aren't I a CrossFitter?  Totally.  I am TOTALLY a CrossFitter (is CrossFitter actually a word?  It should be.).  But last week - a couple of the coaches were talking about using hot yoga to increase flexibility (turns out I'm not the only one with inflexibility issues) and it piqued my interest.  So, I thought I'd give it a try.  And I have never sweated so much in my entire life.  Maybe not even if you took all my CrossFit workouts and combined the sweat into one.  And I wasn't as bad as the guy in front of me - he was doing yoga in a puddle of his own sweat.  You go sweaty yoga guy - you kicked my ass in every single pose. 

Turns out - I'm terrible at yoga.  I had this fantasy that because I've gotten in better shape that I'd be better at it than the last time I tried.  False.  I was maybe worse. Could be because we did vinyasa yoga (Side note: There are so many kinds of yoga.  SO MANY KINDS.  Bikram.  Flow.  Vinyasa.  Power vinyasa.  Power flow vinyasa.   Gentle.  Aggressive.  Beat yoga.  Yoga for pregnant people.  Yoga for old people. Plain yoga.  Are you confused yet?  I am. SO very confused.).  I'm going to go ahead and blame it on the burpees and deadlifts I did yesterday morning - but my arms were shaking by the time we'd gotten through our second round of chataranga (which I guarantee is spelled wrong - but if you've done vinyasa yoga - you know exactly what I mean).  

I am uncoordinated and not the least bit graceful and I kept looking at the folks around me who were holding poses like it wasn't even remotely difficult while it took every ounce of my energy just to hold downward dog and not fall over.  Grandma on the yoga mat next to me was killing it while I couldn't figure out which hand to put where (cue Jess with the *cough* switch arms *cough*).  Turns out following directions AND knowing right from left are also not exactly my forte.    

By the end of the 90 minutes session, I was a messy puddle of sweat with shaky arms and legs and had missed half of the poses - but I finished it. And it felt damn good.  Being in the warm room, smelling the odor of 25 sweaty people while failing epicly at flexibility and coordination was surprisingly awesome.  Do I want to trade in my CrossFit shoes for a yoga mat and towel?  No way.  I love the energy that goes into CrossFit - and something about throwing weights around while swearing and listening to loud music makes me happy. But it was great to experience something new and to use my muscles in a different way than usual.  I'm definitely going to add some hot yoga into my workout routines... at least for the next 30 days as the girl at the counter definitely convinced me into the 30 day trial. Yoga girl upsell = 1, AmEx Card = 0

Namaste y'all. 

This seems peaceful.  What I did?  Not so peaceful.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Self Control? What's That?

There are two things that will never be my strengths:  self control and will power.  Especially when it comes to food, wine, shopping, and men.  Turns out - I'm not so good at saying no to things.  This is evidenced by my credit card bill and lots of bad dates.  I'm finally mastering the ability to say no to the total jerks (something I didn't have in college - yup - those of you who knew me back then know EXACTLY which jerks I am referring to).  And I'm getting better at saying no to shopping as well - I even walked out of Lululemon without buying anything last weekend (and that NEVER happens).  But food and wine?  It's all: Yes! Yes! Yes!!  

Okay... I LOVE food.  This is a new thing.  I used to be super food indifferent.  My mom is a great cook - but we were on the go all the time between school and sports and so we had a revolving door of a lot of the same dishes.  I love those dishes: mushroom chicken, meatloaf, mac and cheese (to name my favorites!) and they are my go-to's for comfort food.  But we didn't branch out a lot - there were a lot of things that I had no idea what they were until I moved to Seattle and was trying out new restaurants on my own.  I wouldn't even try a lot of new things at first -- we would go to happy hour somewhere and I would order something that I was familiar with and then I would try bites of friend's food.  That opened the door to dates, brussel sprouts, hummus, kale and things like that.  It was actually kind of embarrassing and I always tried to play it off like I totally knew what duck confit was (I'll be honest - I'm still not 100% sure).  I'm sure my friends saw right through it and laughed at me as the crazy food virgin behind my back.  I don't know if it's because I grew up in Montana or what... but we just don't have those things in restaurants there.  We do, however, have TONS of steak and potatoes.  We also have game.  Lots of game.  I know exactly what venison tastes like.  

The thing is:  I love to eat.  It's fantastic.  There are so many amazing restaurants here - and I mean like change-your-life-amazing restaurants.  Also, since I've discovered a love for cooking - that means I get to eat even more.  Four years ago, I was content eating a bag of popcorn for dinner - now, that popcorn had better have artisan Parmesan and truffle salt on it.   The problem here is - I'm single.  I'm cooking for two and eating for one.  Do you know how hard it is find recipes that are designed for one person?  Sure... there are cookbooks geared at singles, but they don't really design their recipes the way that I like to cook.  I'm still trying to eat healthy and focus on a primal diet (although you wouldn't be able to tell from the last couple of weeks - hello shit food diet!).  A lot of those recipes have a ton of carbs and dairy and things that I really try hard to limit.  So... turns out I make a lot of food and don't have enough friends who want to come over for dinner every night of the week.

Since I've been doing CrossFit, I've lost a ton of weight... like almost 20lbs.  Okay... correction - I had lost 20lbs.  I've now gained ten back.  I like to think it's all muscle, but that's probably not 100% accurate.  Coach Jess and I had a talk about it one day and we agreed on a target weight for me and I have to get my ass in gear and get there.  No more f-ing around.  It's only like 7lbs - SEVEN POUNDS.  That should be easy.  She's given me  diet/healthy eating tips and I know that if I just do it - losing the weight should be simple.  But here's where the self control part comes in:  I want to eat EVERYTHING.  Including all the bad stuff - like the chocolate banana muffins my co-worker brought in this morning.  They are delicious.  I had two. (Okay fine... three.  But they are little!)  Self control?  Nope.  

I'm the same way with wine (and tequila - but that's a post for a different day.  Love the tequila.) - I have a hard time just saying no. It's like - okay, well, one glass is good for your health.  Okay, well, work was stressful today - a second glass is fine.  And by the time I'm done - I've had two glasses of wine and all the alcohol/sugar calories that come with it. 

I've been justifying my bad eating habits lately by saying 'it's my birthday week' - and I think that's fair.  But now, it's not my birthday week anymore and I need to get my ass in gear.  I literally sent my parents home with every unhealthy thing that we ate this weekend (they brought cookies AND salt water taffy -thanks guys) including the delicious gorgonzola chicken I made for them.  I think sometimes it's totally worth it to make something totally delectable - any diet that doesn't allow people to cheat every once in a while isn't for me.  Life isn't worth living without the occasional totally bad for you meal.  But... I did send the leftovers to Montana.  I don't need them.  I ate my leftover steak fajitas for lunch - without sour cream, cheese or tortilla.  Good start?  Let's hope so.  Seven pounds could just be the difference between normal pull-ups and chest-to-bar. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

13.5 - Til Next Year, CrossFit Open, Til Next Year

The Open is officially over.  And 13.5 defeated me.  15 reps?  15?!?!?!  Sad day.  I only finished the first set of thrusters.  Chest to bar pull ups are just not in the cards for me this year... next year however, they will be my bitch.  You know, even though I'm disappointed that I didn't do better this year, it was a great eye-opening opportunity to the things that I need to work on and I plan on mastering them before next year's open.  I know that I will probably never be a real competitor or close to regionals - but next year, I fully expect to be in the top third of those competing in the region - and I know I'm going to have to work my butt off to get there. 

On a completely different note - my parents are here for the weekend.  YEAH!  They came up for the weekend to celebrate my birthday and with them, they brought my fabulous new food processor!!  So excited.  It's a little ridiculous to be so excited over an appliance - but I am.  I keep thinking of all the thinks I can slice, julienne, shred and puree with practically no effort.  Amazing.  

Last night I made Coffee Marinated Steak Fajitas - they were pretty darn good.  Steak is not quite my forte - but I'm trying.  I need to add more red meat into my diet and so I'm working on it slowly but surely.  My dad definitely had to help me with the steak -- but I think I've got it (thanks Dad!).  Next time, I'm on my own.  I'll post the recipe for the rub I used later -- it was pretty darn good.  

Tonight... the folks and I went for Via Tribunali pizza.  If you haven't been there - go.  Like drop everything and go immediately.  It's the best wood fired pizza in all of Seattle.  It's comparable to pizza I ate in Rome.  Totally fantastic.  

Margherita DOC pizza.  I almost ate the whole damn thing.  I wanted to. 
Even my Dad likes Via Trib pizza.  Since he usually hates pizza - this is a huge compliment. My mom had actual clams on her pizza.  In the shell.  That was different. 
Tomorrow, my mom and I are going for pediucures.  I can't wait.  I am in desperate need.  And I'll probably get another before Vegas.  And a manicure.  And a spray tan. 
Oh... and my new swimsuit came yesterday.  It's glorious.  And fringy.  It rained all day today - can't wait for sunshine.  Two weeks!