Definition for Kayak :-)

Kayak [] n. 1. an oblong banana shaped boat with a hole in the bottom from which the occupant dangles. Can be propelled the wrong way up by experts. (definition courtesy of Pete Knowles)
(And I've got this one from Chris' Kayak Lexicon)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter Kite Festival at Lake Harriet, Jan 12, 2008

How a big kite takes to the air:

The German word for kite is "dragon" and we can see why.

But there's lots more going on: Toasting marshmallows around the fire.

A little picnic can't be missing, after all the sun is shining!
Ice-fishing of course -we are on a lake for Pete's sake! And you gotta start them young.
Patience in pink.
Now there's an interesting technique from a young hopeful.

Snow leopards sledding.

A n d back to kites!

Are they not an epitome of fun and carefree childhood?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sunshine Gilds the New Year

To cold to linger.

Two bouncing dogs left their traces.

Copper Tones.

Delicate resillience.

Snow dunes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

My all time favorite way to spend the last evening of a year is with good friends at my or a friends home!

I was lucky enough that some of my friends had time to come round for a nice 4 course dinner everybody had contributed to!

Laurie & Kurt and Frank & Laura, Roxanne behind Lila visiting before dinner.

People regularly seem to be surprised, when they first encounter my domestic side. The other day I threw a few simple things for a card evening together and a friend asked me what was going on and whether I had been overdosing on the food network. (I don't have cable, I need to get recipes the old fashioned way, through the internet...)

I am messy and the number of things I'd rather do than spend time cleaning is infinite. But I really like to cook and I really like to set a nice table. Maybe that's a bit of a European thing too, but for a festive occasion a several course sit down meal is quite the standard. It is fun though to mix it up with the more American way of a buffet style meal and alternate between one and enjoy the variety.

Funny thing: I used to think that having sweet and savory food touching on the plate is just gross. In fact my brother who had vacationed in the US quite a bit used to tell me horror stories about breakfasts with sausages and bacon on the same plate as pancakes and people pouring sweet syrup on top of it all. (99% of Europeans will shudder violently) as they read this. And then I saw Swedish meatballs and fresh fruit salad happily intermingling next to each other on my Iowan friend's plate, joyfully forming more and more complex marble patterns of opaque gray and brilliant reds, as the eater progressed. But I digress...just one more note, while I still, after nearly 6 years in the Midwest, can't see myself having meatballs and fruit salad on the same plate , I wouldn't hesitate a second to ladle big dollops of orange jello salad next to pretty much whatever :-)

Hurray! Scott (on the left) had arrived and the feast could begin!

Just to make sure that everybody knows I am not actually "downloading" a life from the internet I made Laurie take a picture, well actually Laurie made Kurt take a picture with me in it as well, just to prove I was there :-)

Aahh, after our leisurely meal, which lasted until about half past 10 we were all pretty mellow and leaning back to give our stomachs a little more space than they had needed a few hours earlier...

We had toasted the New Year as it reached the North American continent at 9.30 pm CST so those who wanted to beat the drunkards could slip out before midnight.

For the rest of us Garisson Keillor counted in the New Year. I take that as a sign that 2008 is going to be a very amusing year ;-)

It was a lovely evening! (Lila and Scott somehow never made it to either of the two parties they were invited to...)

Happy MMVIII !

Come out, the snow is beautiful!

After all this partying in the last month and the afternoon, beforenoon or whenever naps in the last week it was not easy, but so good to get out into the cold, fresh air and for a good workout. I had enroled in a beginners cross country class after doing really, really badly, albeit in crappy conditions, a couple of years ago. I ended up waiting for my friend, who had braved the trail, sitting in the chalet. Well, I can't say that didn't have its attractions, I had a very good view of a lot of fit guys skate skiing past in very tight outfits...Huh, I thought to myself, I won't give up on that sport just yet, I'll have to get myself some lessons!

Here she is carving a track for us on the bunny... er... flat.

We had absolutely perfect conditions, the snow was lovely and powdery and in fact it was snowing all during the day! It was cold enough to have stable snow, but warm enough not to bite our faces. AND I had the best teacher I could have! Her name is Jenny and she had a really gentle approach, putting us at ease and explaining about gear and technique, while at the same time challenging us and constructively critiquing our moves.

Everybody is watching Jenny's technique, while I am funnying about with the camera instead of paying attention of what I am supposed to be doing. I bet Jenny thought I was going to be "one of THOSE students".

Tracey-Lou and Li-Hwa. Yep, it's snowing.

There's Chris and there is Alison! I actually know her from brunch at Hell's Kitchen. I love it, when I bump into people I know, when I least expect it. Makes me really feel like part of a place!

There's Jenny with more helpful pointers! She did a fantastic job! Within a bit more than an hour we had all improved a lot and where ready to go on the trail. After her instruction I felt so good about my skills, that I was going down hills with my sticks tucked under my arms like a race driver in tight bends and everything, only slowing down when I caught up with the skier ahead of me! I can't believe how dare-devil I was! What a great day! I am still sore from it after 3 days, but again, what a great day! I hope to do that again next Saturday :-)