Monthly Recap: February 2013

Recap in a sec, but first:


On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

I was so, so thrilled that I remembered to check the Hallmark every-holiday-ever calendar yesterday, especially since I missed the actual national peanut butter day.  (Good thing there’s a day just for the fans.)  I mean, seriously, why didn’t someone tell me?

Maybe you can celebrate by making something, special for tomorrow’s breakfast, like, say, Apple PB Baked Oatmeal. 😉  Or maybe, since tomorrow is National Banana Creme Pie Day, you will choose to whip up some 2-Ingredient Banana Creme and top it off with some peanut butter/sauce…!  The possibilities are endless.  Let your imagination run wild!

Onto February stuff. 🙂

So, during the month of February, I…

acted in a school play, didn’t run at ALL (still) and remained bitter about it, figured out a (somewhat) way to keep my fitness schedule on track even so (hello, strength training and yoga!), became even more enamored with oatmeal now that I can no longer eat it, practiced yoga in a real yoga studio for the first time evah, did a lot of…pondering, took a barefoot walk in the rain, wrote some things, and…acted in a school play.  Rather underwhelming, huh?; but what’re you gonna do.  It was a short month, somehow made even shorter by the lack of a breezy 30-minute run every day.  I told you.  Bitter.

(dramatic sigh) Anyway, now, the feature you’ve all been waiting for:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…


I did have some culinary breakthroughs this month, though I wasn’t as creative with coming up with my own flavor combinations as I would have liked.  Most recently, I went on a Trader Joe’s run a few weeks ago and ate the first tamale of my life.  I’m not quite sure why this seemed like as big of a deal as it did, but there you have it.  Sadly, it rather disappointed.  I was expecting it to be something like a Mexican dumpling, and instead all I get is this dry corn dough lumped together with a bunch of gooey cheese, corn kernels, and an attempt at jalapeno.  *Sniffs disdainfully*

Speaking of dumplings, I also made my first dumpling stew last month; a recipe from Allyson Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats.  Except that now that we’re fairly certain my knee problems are not being caused by a gluten sensitivity and that makes me very happy, I promptly re-glutinified it.  It was highly delicious and highly brown (highly NOT photogenic); the dumplings taste like big gobs of homemade pasta dough and I <3, <3.  Comfort food at its finest.


*Hangs head in shame* What do I really have to say for myself here, guys?  That running has left me too scatterbrained to participate in any of my usual creative activities…?  (I’ve already used that excuse multiple, multiple times, for multiple, multiple things.)  That my food/life has not been very aesthetically pleasing as of late..?  I’m sorry.  I know I make a lot of promises here, but this time when I say I’ll work on it (it being the frequency/quality of my photography), I truly mean it.  As halfway-compensation, in lieu of a proper photography section, here are some snapshots from the month:



I love this picture; but sorry for the smudged face.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

A flub, obviously--I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

A flub, obviously–I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

…things that made me smile:

My poetry winning a contest that you can’t know about because it would tell you my name! 🙂  Ranting about my undying love for chocolate to my friends, on Valentine’s Day and beyond…I have made the resolution never to date a boy until I find one that makes me feel like chocolate makes me feel.  Chocolate makes me feel beautiful and respectable and appreciated and loved and YUMMMM.

I have to close with this since it's no longer my header. :)  Happy March.

I have to close with this since it’s no longer my header. 🙂 Happy March.

Monthly Recap: November 2012

I’ve noticed that all of my monthly recaps up to this point start off with something along the lines of “Aaaacch!  How is it already (insert new month here)?!”  I should think of some way to change it up, but I’m not going to.  The passing of time is utterly baffling to me this year.  I suspect it has something to do with getting older.  As a wee young sprite, I started looking forward to December before summer vacation was even over; October, with its promise of a sugar binge in its final day, absolutely drawled; November was a stupid extraneous month that lengthened the time between Halloween, my birthday, and the rest of the December holidays.  (I was never really big on Thanksgiving except for the annual marshmallow fluff and strawberry jello ‘salad’.  Until this year, when I got REALLY into the Thanksgiving spirit.)

And now…here we are.  Poof, December!  It has long been my favorite month, though I must admit it’s losing a bit of its touch when we fail to have snow on the ground when it rolls around.  (Remember the snow photos in my last post?  Those were taken in MARCH, people, MARCH!)  I’m looking forward to the season of giving, endless mugs of hot cocoa, the first snowfall of the year (please please please please PLEASE), and my birthday.  It’s on the 10th, people.  Cough, cough.

So, over the course of November, I ran my first 5k and began training for me second one, began working on my bird training project in earnest, was sooo close to completing 100k words on my novel, was given the opportunity to (kind of) meet with a literary agency, almost swore when I realized the holidays were less than a month away and my wallet cotnained exactly $40 (man, I used to plan out Christmas presents starting in September!), ate some highly delicious food and made some epiphanies in kitchen, started developing my first two “real” recipes, and sustained my first running injury.  November hit me hard.

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…


The Fitnessista breakfast cookie.  Need I say more?  I’d wanted to make it for a loooong time, but didn’t have any protein powder, which I thought was imperative.  Thanks to a quick internet search that revealed Mama’s Weeds‘ tips, I’ve made it twice already.  Once for dinner.  It’s that good.  Don’t skip out on the cocoa powder, unless you’re going to try to photograph it.  It’s not pretty.

Brown food doesn't photograph well, especially when you don't want to take the time to even put it on a pretty plate or clear your placemat of crumbs.  But it's dang delicious.

But it’s dang delicious.

And lentil flatbread from The Forgotten Beast.

You can make BREAD out of lentils??  Mind=blown.  Since I’ve been running and strength training a lot more lately (well, not lately, since I’ve still got my bum knee), I’ve been consciously trying to incorporate more protein into my veg diet; it also helps stave off late-night snacking sessions that turn into second dinners.  (Let’s thaw a stack of frozen pancakes and eat it at 9 PM!  That’ll be a great idea!  No.)

Mine…doesn’t look like bread.


Shhh…I massacre every flatbread I try to make.  It’s not flatbread, but it IS mighty yummy–I’ve been crumbling this up and tossing it in salads and sandwiches.

I think I’ll do better on the whole flatbread thing the next go-round, when I understand the concept better.  There WILL be a next go-round!

Delicious things I didn’t manage to get a picture of include a tortoise-shaped cake from a local bakery (amazing detail, and the frosting is to die for!, even though usually I’m not a frosting type of gal), and a great lunch yesterday at a local Asian vegetarian restaurant.  BEST. PEANUT SAUCE.  EVER.  I could eat it by the spoonful–I did eat it by the spoonful!  Possibly even more memorable was the fact that I actually managed to drag Daddio along to the restaurant this time.  He’s a full-blooded backwoods steak-n’-potaters dad; I love him, but he was quite apprehensive to try tofu.  In the end, he worked up the nerve to try the deep-fried tofu and pronounced it “not bad…”!!  Baby steps. 😉

Thanksgiving leftovers rocked the world, as always.  Best part of the whole holiday.  At least in compensation for your stressful laboring the day before, you have an unlimited feast waiting for you in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Leftover green salad with romaine, spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, feta, green beans, balsamic vinaigrette and a homemade garlic knot!  Complicated salads make me happy!

Leftover green salad with romaine, spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, feta, green beans, balsamic vinaigrette and a homemade garlic knot! Complicated salads make me happy!

Elsewhere in the food life of The Girl in the Orange…


Apple Nut-Butter Baked Oatmeal!  (And next, Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal!)  Stay tuned! 🙂


I didn’t really do so hot on food photography this month; there was a lot of SHTUFF going on.  So, bear with me, as I share three photos, two of which you’ve already seen before.


PBF’s Vanilla Pecan Baked Oatmeal.  This is probably about the fifth time I’ve mentioned it.  I’m sorry, it just blew my mind.  Delicious, pretty healthy, pretty
Hummus Pasta 015 picmonkey

Mah very own hummus pasta!  Noodles are endlessly forgiving subjects! 🙂

pre-5k 049And an “action shot” of peanut butter pancakes the morning of my first 5k.  I like this picture.  I don’t know why; it doesn’t follow any of the “rules of aesthetics”.  There’s too much white space and some of it is out of focus, but…I like it.  It makes me hungry.

…things that made me smile:

Oh, there’s so many.  Finding an in to a literary agency.  Finishing my 5k in my goal of under 28:00 (my next one will have a fancy-schmancy chip timer!).  Reading people’s responses to my unseemly word count predicament.  Watching my dad try to corral noodles into a takeout box with chopsticks yesterday.  🙂  Ah, sweet reminiscence.

October 2012 Recap

Whew, October sure breezed by, didn’t it?  It wasn’t nearly as bad as September, but the tense Halloween anticipation I remember lasting all month long as a wee young sprite barely hit me this year.  I didn’t count down the days or start planning my costume until about the twenty-ninth.  There has been too much STUFF going on!!  This is better than not enough stuff, most of the time, but (I know I don’t really have a right to say this, seeing how I got back from Disneyland last weekend), it WOULD be nice to have a breather.

This month, I ran in rainstorms for the first two times (there is something absurdly empowering about it), wrote a measly 2,000 words in my novel 😦, trained for my first-ever running race!, cooked black bean brownies, took a trip to Disneyland and blogged about the food :), designed, scoured thrift stores for, and pieced together my own Halloween costume, wrote a short story for Language Arts class that I’m incredibly proud of, got some writing inspiration in Los Angeles, ate lots of squash, celebrated Dia de los Muertos and honored our two large parrots, Java and Sanka, ate a lot of soup, bought new “magic” running shoes, received the Sunshine Award, posted my first two poems here, and complained a lot about homework loads ;).  I also became very excited because now that Halloween’s over and done with, we are OFFICIALLY in the HOLIDAY SEASON! 😀

One month of the Girl in the Orange in terms of…


You might be wondering right about now; how did that Savory October Challenge go over this month, hmm?

Well, to say the least, I learned a lot.  Mainly I learned that homework is going to pick up (even though I thought it impossible) as we get closer to the end of the trimester, leaving me with almost no time to photograph my dinner. 😉  This “challenge” wasn’t the big project I envisioned it, which is disappointing, but such is life.

I also learned some other things though…

…such as the fact that on a Friday or the weekend, when I set aside a large chunk of time and really dedicate myself to taking a good photo, I can do it most of the time.  (Though “good” is relative–the above photos are “good” by my standards.)  I also learned that if you want to get serious about food photography, you should really invest in some photogenic bowls, table runners, dishes, utensils, napkins, placemats, etc (aka, bowls that don’t have a childish grass pattern running around the edges. ;P  You didn’t notice, right? And the photos in The Soup Zone were taken on top of a red shawl of mine, draped over my toaster!)

My allotment for holiday and birthday gifts is small, seeing how EXTREMELY kind and generous parents and grandparents  are providing most of the funding to allow me to take a school trip to Costa Rica in July, but those sorts of things are what’s going on my “wish lists”.  Since food isn’t much of an animate subject, props are really helpful in staging and shooting the perfect photo, possibly one that even tells a story, and I would like to have some non-dorky dishware for this purpose. 😉  I’m also signing up for a photography class at a local college in the future, so I look forward to seeing what the combination of better skills and better props will do for my food photography.


Okay, I really want to make a super lame pun about how the black bean brownies made this month TAKE THE CAKE, when in reality they take the brownie, but I’ll spare you the agony. 😉

All jokes aside, please make black bean brownies.  Next on my hit list?  White bean or chickpea blondies.  Get ready for a (semi)sugar rush…

(And don’t do what I did and add 2 tsp of baking powder instead of 1/2 tsp!!  When I made the second batch for Dia de los Muertos, I realized why my first batch turned out so flat!! ;P [face palms])

…things that made me smile:

Stereotypical Disney, but at the Magic Kingdom we were treated sooo kindly by the cast members!  I hope they get paid well.  They were all very friendly and smiley.

On Friday night in California adventure, we were really bummed because we hadn’t bought Fastpasses for the World of Color light/water show, which you apparently needed to get in.  We were talking to the woman posted at the entrance of the show, and upon hearing that it would be our only day to see the show, and that we had flew in from two states away, she lifted the rope, averting her eyes, and sighed “Well, I guess I’ll just have to let you in then…”  ❤  Thank you, World of Color lady!!

And I already mentioned to you that the next day our family was selected to Open Adventureland and got to ride our own boat on the Jungle Cruise, but it’s worth restating.  Disney is a big corporation, something that I’m generally somewhat opposed to, but I do like to think that it hasn’t strayed away from its founding principals of wonder, happiness, and the pursuit of “your dream” too much, and that’s what I like about it. 🙂

Happy belated Halloween, feliz Dia de los Muertos, y happy beginning of the holiday season!!  I sense lots of baking around the corner… 😉

September 2012 Recap

I apologize for the unexpected belatedness of this recap; rest assured, I do have my reasons!  (I know it was keeping you up at night, worrying about whether I was all right, since my recap was late, am I right?)  My first, less serious excuse reason is the fact that on Friday night my laptop inexplicably DIED and would not come back to life…thankfully the magic men at the computer shop were able to fix ‘er up though.  (All my writings and pictures are on my laptop.  Of course, I have my novel backed up elsewhere, but all my other random scrivenings?  Not so.)  Moral of the story: back up all your important shtuffs right now!  You never know when it could happen to you.

My other, more serious reason?  More on that tomorrow.  Hopefully.

Let me just say that September certainly flew by MUCH faster than August.  I kept a videolog for myself in August and pretty much every day I complained of the “long, drawling summer days”.  Now that they are over, I wish I’d appreciated the leisure a bit more.  No one in their right mind would classify my days now as drawling.

Also, despite my ominous predictions, it most certainly did not rain much this month!  This is good for my running and my endorphin levels but bad for the random fields and forests that are spontaneously combusting all over the Northwest.  My heart goes out to those people whose homes have been engulfed in the devastating fires in Eastern Washington.

Over the course of September, I hit 80,000 words, baked and frosted cupcakes for an entire grade at my school, ran 35 minutes without walking, improved my mile time by 30 seconds, went to a camp that I really was too sick to go to (but had some fun anyway), made sweet potato pie for the first time (Mother Dearest’s birthday), sent one bird to heaven, actually managed to find time to blog, apologized profusely for awful morning photography, cooked, ate, stressed, laughed, slept.  Now that school’s up and running I think sleep is one of my favorite hobbies.  Maybe I should give it its own tab up at the top of this blog.

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…


What’s with me and waaay zoomed in chocolate photos, I ask you?  Maybe I just wanna face plant into the bowl.

Breakfast, all of it.  I think I’m kind of OCD about breakfast.  I freaking love it to death.  Breakfast is the one meal where you can technically consume chocolate and “dessert oatmeal” like carrot cake, sweet potato pie, or Creamsicle flavors, and still be considered within the bounds of sanity.  You are also not obligated to consume any vegetable matter (though I do quite often).  Other people daydream about finding a million dollars or getting asked to the school dance without dropping a million “subtle” hints…I daydream about what I’m going to make for breakfast.  Lest you think I have no life, let me assure you that sometimes I daydream about different things as well!  Like how I’m going to set up said breakfast for the perfect photo. #nerdalert

My ghost bird.

I discovered earlier this month that I absolutely cannot get an in-focus photo of my bird, regardless of shutter speed.  He’s just  incredibly busy a spaz.  A spaz I love with all my heart and then some.


Um, well, hehe, funny stories here.  I have actually burned more foodstuffs in the last month than in pretty much my entire culinary life.  One especially infamous one was when I was baking bread.  I had preheated the oven and was coming back to check on it only to discover thick, black smoke piping out of it like train chimney.  Turns out, I had left a roasting pan in the oven that was caked with the syrupy drippings of figs I had dried in the oven a few days earlier.  I was crying and burning my hands and I almost ruined the roasting pan, not to mention my birds’ air sacs.  Luckily the error was caught just in time.

Additionally, one time while making Savory Rhubarb Lentil Curry from Scissors and Spice, (highly recommended) I THOUGHT I had turned the burner off once my lentils were done cooking…when in fact I, well, hadn’t.  Let me assure you, people, burning lentils is something you do NOT want to smell, much less eat.  I did though; I couldn’t bring myself to throw away that much food.  With the help of a certain Google, I discovered that stirring in a few spoonfuls of peanut butter will get the burnt taste out of dishes.  I tried this and it worked, to some extent…my curry just tasted like peanut butter.  Not that I’m complaining.  It did look quite…interesting…though.

Happily, though, this month I got on the stick and actually fiddled around with some recipes for the blog!  If you’re new to the wonderful world of The Girl in the Orange (a happy place to be, I assure you, even if  my background of the most awesome color in the world tends to clash with most everything on here), check them out here and here.  Yes, they are both breakfast recipes.  They also both happen to incorporate oatmeal…my calling.  It sounds creepy when I say it like that; but, yes, oatmeal is kinda “my thing” and I could eat it all day. Can I get another #nerdalert?

And, one last thing that it would be criminal not to mention: have any of you guys ever tried a peanut butter and carrot sandwich?  I’ve been chowing down on the deliciousness more and more frequently this month and am loving them to death.  Baby carrots work best, and they’re awesome grated very fine.  This is the fourth strange-but-mind-blowing sandwich recipe that I am positively in love with!!  So far, I have tried it on molasses brown bread, pita, and regular ol’ whole wheat (all homemade).  Dare I suggest…you eat it between two pancakes?

Yes, I do.  I dare.  Eat it on pancakes.  Savor.  Realize just how much you love life.

The peanut butter and carrot sandwich is certainly delicious, but for me, it represents something important too.  For a while last year, food was…well, to put it bluntly, not fun for me.  I obsessed about what I ate, when I ate, how I ate it, planning out weeks’ worth of menus in advance and making sure I only ate what I deemed “healthy”.  If I for some reason deviated from my menu plan, I would have a major panic attack, crying and doing everything I possibly could to try to maintain my rigid order.  I think this was my way of coping with stress–food was something I could definitely control, my one constant in life.  But, now I’ve wised up and realized how awesome food can be.  Peanut-butter-carrot-pancake sandwiches are such random, spontaneous meal choices–and it delights me.  It delights me that I now have the ability to just decide ‘screw planning, I’ma make me a PB and C’…and enjoy it!

…things that made me smile:

1: Eating a plum way-back-when on September 1st (don’t even try to tell me that’s not way-back-when; it’s before school started!  Therefore, it is obviously eons away.), I was amused by the little raccoon (I think) footprint impressed into it!

Don’t even try to tell me that that’s not just the darling-est thing you’ve ever seen.

2: People being so, so kind and tolerant of me when I went on a school-wide camping trip while puking my guts out.  A nurse practitioner stayed with me in my cabin, swiped me herbal tea, made me all better.  I was a horrible, mucus-filled burden and I’m sorry; but everyone was just so nice to me.  (: ❤

3: Having been isolated from my this-side-of-the-US friends for three months, I cannot conclude a September Recap with just thanking them for how they remained their glorious selves.  They’re willing to commiserate the massive homework load with me, compliment me on my pixie cut (which I still am rocking and totally in love with), make me smile at all the right moments, support me, love me.  You wouldn’t believe my reaction at a school potluck earlier this month when two of my friends told me they read my blog!  If I do remember correctly, I hugged them.  It means so much to me that people are actually willing to take time out of their spilling-over-with-stress lives to read the musings of a certain Girl in the Orange.  I would like to extend this thank you to my subscribers (I was going to say ‘my followers’, but that sounds creepy) as well!  At present, there is only twenty three of you, but twenty three is a lot.  Blogging makes me happy and it makes me happy when my blog makes other people happy. 🙂

August 2012 Recap

HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!!  A glorious new month, full of potential rain …let’s strive to make it memorable.  It being the first of September and all, I figured it was time for a little recap of the highlights of the past month in the life of The Girl in the Orange.  August was, incidentally, my first month of blogging!

So, let’s see, last month I officially started running, learned how to make my own almond milk, dived into this blog, wrote a good 30,000 words in my novel plus a couple thousand awful ones, had the most fun I’ve had at a party since I’ve moved here, ate too much hummus and too many cookies, received a good-quality fountain pen (SO EXCITING!   and so nerdy…), wrote letters to my faraway friends that I’ve been unintentionally procrastinating for half a year, ate some delicious food, and laughed a lot.  At myself, mostly, but no matter.  Oh, and, yeah…


Still so tickled by that!  But you, on the other hand, are probably bored of it… moving on.

One Month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…


Unintentionally zoomed in dog photography.  Ah, the loyal canine.  They’ll take care of expression without you even having to say “Cheese!”

Although, if you do, I promise you their whole face will light up.  In the case of my dogs, cheese does help with the whole photoshoot process (as a bribe, not a command).

Weird dewy zucchini flowers with inexplicable intrigue.

Blackberry cobbler breakfast attempt.  The breakfast itself was nothing to get excited about, but the photo?  Swoon-worthy.  If you habitually swoon over that kind of thing.

My favorite outcome of Project: Present Peach Parfaits Perfectly.  I love how the fancy-schmancy DSLR camera lets me focus on the parfait while diffusing the book in the background..!  It still adds an air of mystery to the photo.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Oh She Glows.  You guys probably think I’m an OSG stalker by now–I think I’ve referenced at least three of her recipes in the past month.  This is because I am, in fact, an Oh She Glows stalker.

*Blushes* Hi, Angela.

If you’ll believe it, that oatmeal was made with this carrot…

…which we just, you know, grew ourselves.  Can I get a woo-woo?!  This would have never been possible in Wyoming..

*sniff sniff* They grow up so fast.  This is a big deal for me, you guys.  My very own carrot.  Look at how handsome he is.

Pasta salad mother dearest threw together one night.  Arugula (bleck–one of the few veggies I cannot tolerate!) extra-virgin olive oil, penne noodles, grape tomatoes, and various cheeses.  Okay, so technically I took this picture in July, but it’s still one of my favorite food photos that I’ve ever shot.  And I didn’t do a monthly recap in July.

This tofu-less “neat” loaf from the cookbook Let Them Eat Vegan!, which Susan Voisin posted on her blog.  Oh my gosh, this was delicious, satisfying, flavorful…just overall yummy.  And I didn’t need to run to the store to buy anything!  Score two for the “neat” loaf.  I recommend that you make it.  Plus, when you’re mixing all of the seasonings together, they are so gorgeous in their eclectic disarray that you smile quietly to yourself and snap a picture:

That would be rolled oats, tahini, nutritional yeast, fresh thyme leaves, soy sauce, blackstrap molasses, oregano, fresh basil, flaxseed, and ketchup.  Isn’t it just…cool-lookin’?

You know what’s really sad?  I don’t think I even knew what half of this stuff was before I went vegetarian.  But this delightful conglomeration was deliciously savory.

This Iron Woman Gingerbread Smoothie from…uh, well, hehe, Oh She Glows, is delicious and a perfect “transition” smoothie into our cozy fall months.  Please, no one say I have to give up drinking smoothies once October hits!  I’ve made this smoothie three times this month and loved every sip.  The blackstrap molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg combine to make a cold smoothie that somehow warms you up inside…it just feels so snuggly and Fally autumnal.  Plus, what vegetarian girl doesn’t appreciate being able to drink a delicious 30%+ of her daily iron requirement through a straw??

Also, lots and lots of green smoothies made with farmer’s market kale.  They are actually quite tasty, plus you feel so virtuous after drinking one you just want to go run a marathon.

Yeah…I bet you can figure out for yourself why this picture didn’t go into the “Photography Highlights” section.  Do not judge a book by its cover.  Or a smoothie by its apparent sliminess.

The aforementioned Carrot Cake Oatmeal was pretty insane, too.

…things that made me smile:

1st encounter:  I was waiting in line for the self-checkout at the library when little bro pointed out to me that the regular checkouts were open.  He wanted to know why we weren’t using one of them, so I confessed, “Because I’m scared of librarians.”   I must have said it a little too loudly, because then a tall man walked in front of us (I can only assume he was a librarian) and arranged his face into the most bizarre expression ever, complete with fingers in his ears and his tongue sticking out.  I was a little shocked at first, but on the bike ride back home I mulled over it and realized it actually made my day.  Thank you, crazy scary librarian guy!

2nd encounter: On our mountain biking trip in the forest, as I have already mentioned, some more experienced biker saved us from the ‘Lost Valley’ course that we were dying on and directed us to the more user-friendly courses.  I don’t think my excitement toward future mountain biking trips would exist had I thought that all the courses were like that.  Thank you, kind mountain cyclist man!

Ah, August.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.