Thursday, March 3, 2011

Amy's Bread

I love to read cookbooks and sometimes I even take the time to make something out of one of them. Last week I grabbed a copy of Amy's Bread off my library's shelf and was immediately smitten by the beautiful breads showcased of the cover.

This is a book for bread making beginners as well as those more experienced bakers. She begins by recalling her struggle and journey to opening Amy's Bread. That was enough to keep me entertained but it was the photos of her breads and and shop that kept me hooked. If I ever get to New York City her bakery (at least one of them and maybe all three) is on my list of places to visit!

It was the weekend and the kids were around so I opted to try out her pizza recipe. I've got other pizza dough recipes that I use in a rotating manner depending on my mood but I'm always willing to take a chance on a new one. I was worried the amount of ingredients wouldn't produce enough dough but I ended up with four cute little dough balls that rested lightly dusted in flour as I prepped my pan and toppings.

Here is one dough ball waiting to be turned into crust.

This dough is intended to produce a thin crust pizza that is crispy and not over loaded with toppings.

I was too lazy to run up town and get the toppings I really wanted (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves) so I went with just cheese. The edges were drizzled with olive oil that made for a crisp and tasty crust.

The kids claimed it was better than Arthur's Pizzeria which made me laugh because living in this little town doesn't give them much to compare it to. Next time I'm going to have my favorite ingredients on hand and maybe make a double batch because there were no leftovers and what is the point of pizza if you can't fight over the leftovers?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Reply

SmartWool is fast! But I hate form letters. I already answered her questions in my original email, grrrrr. And now I have to pay to ship their defunct product back to them so they can replace it, which is totally worth it but I wouldn't turn down an extra pair in addition to the broken pair as an incentive for me to continue to purchase their products. We'll see what happens. (And at least she spelled my name correctly!)

Hi Mechelle,

Thanks so much for your email. We know how busy people are so we appreciate it all the more when our customers take a few minutes to drop us an email.

SmartWool does have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. I would recommend trying to exchange them through the store you bought them from. If they can’t and you live in the USA, I would love to take a look at your socks and evaluate them. Please send the product back to me at:

SmartWool Warranties

P.O. BOX 774928 (USPS)

3495 Airport Circle (UPS)

Steamboat Springs, CO 80477


Please include a letter stating the reason for the return, shipping address (FedEx), phone number, and size of the product. Also if you could answer the following questions we would greatly appreciate it.

1) How often do you wear the product?

2) How long have you had the product?

3) What do you wear these socks for – going to work, skiing, running, etc?

4) What size foot do you have, and what size is the product?

5) What type of shoe/boot/sandal are you wearing with this product?

We will try to exchange it for the same style and color, but if it is not available we will return a similar product.

SmartWool Guarantee

SmartWool’s goal is to provide you with seriously comfortable, superior quality products for your everyday lifestyle. Our commitment goes beyond using environmentally sensitive and renewable materials. We guarantee them.

If these products don’t perform to your satisfaction, simply return them following the instructions for a replacement or refund.

We cannot extend our offer to replace or refund product damaged due to normal wear from use. The conditions in which the product is worn, how often it is worn, proper shoe fit, & ensuring proper care instructions are followed, all play a role in the life of your SmartWool product. Remember, SmartWool is made from natural fibers, and designed to deliver maximum comfort and performance. Nylon and other synthetic fibers can be more durable, but at the expense of comfort and performance.

Thank you,

Tracy Norman
Consumer Relations| SmartWool

800.550.Wool • direct: 970-875-2310 •
3495 Airport Circle, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
U.S. Mail: PO Box 774928, Steamboat Springs, CO. 80477

SmartWool. Feels Good

Monday, February 28, 2011

I love my SmartWool

But not when they break :(

I have written SmartWool in an effort to possibly get a replacement pair. If these were $2.99 Target socks I wouldn't bother but these are high quality, sensory-sensitive socks that I love almost as much as my running shoes.

I hope SmartWool has customer service that matches Asics, because Asics rocks.

Dear SmartWool,

I received 4 pairs of SmartWool socks for Christmas and they were the perfect gift because I love SmartWool, they are the only socks I wear. Unfortunately,when I put on one of my new pairs (two months old at this point) last week I felt a sticky spot as I walking and as I looked at what I stepped on I was shocked to find a hole in my almost new sock! These are my daily use socks, I don't run or ski in them so they haven't been put through the wringer. I know your socks will naturally wear out as I found out a few summers ago with several hundred running miles on some pairs but I expected more than two months of wear out of an everyday sock. Sadly, these were my favorite of the four pairs I received :( They were purchased at a Boston area REI and I live in Michigan. Please help! I have attached two photos detailing the hole and the sock design.


I probably shouldn't have subject lined my email "SmartWool unhappiness" but it does sum up my feelings and no matter what happens I won't quit buying SmartWool, I'm too smart for that.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Playing Laura

We've been without hot water for almost a week now due to a faulty hot water heater and a delay in parts delivery. I'm starting to feel a bit like Laura Ingalls Wilder as I boil pots of water on the stove to clean myself and the children. Combined with filling the wood burner multiple times a day, hanging the clothes to dry next to the wood burner, being married to Manly and the braid that has mysteriously appeared in my hair I'm thinking about changing my name. This life is tedious and time consuming. I could make the children share bath water and eliminate some of the labor involved, but my kids don't like to touch another person's dirty plate for fear of cooties so forcing them to bathe in used bath water would be unacceptable. I'm looking forward to a real shower when my scalp won't be screaming in pain from frigid water (the only way to wash hair as long as mine is to suck it up and use the cold sprayer). However, this little lesson has taught me that something we see as a burden is really only an inconvenience. When I put it into perspective, which is difficult to do when I'm standing under a spray of very cold water, it isn't s bad. Our house is a balmy 75 degrees with the wood heat, it isn't too dry because of the wet clothes adding humidity to the air, Manly is able to fix the hot water heater (if the parts ever get here) instead of having to replace it and I rather like the braid in my hair.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Final Tally

I made it. My "race a month" quest is over and now I need a plan for 2011. I'm considering this, as it would be a similar challenge but with races I haven't run before (except for 2 of them). There is a one mile race included in the mix and that is a distance I have never raced at. I always check my pace at the one-mile marker in a race but knowing I have at least several more miles to go that is never an all out effort.

My mileage goal for the year was met and I managed to run 23 races in 12 months. The New's Year's Eve run was iffy with the race location being changed 4 days before the event due to public safety issues and then severe thunderstorms moving across the state just before the race. We lucked out and the race organizers got a new location and course together, the weather cleared up, and I finished the final race of the year with a little over nine hours to spare.

As I perused my running log for the year I paused to question why I run at all. I saw such things as "Very sore muscles and joints" ""Hips!" ""Tired, very sore bones" "Hips tendinitis MRI" "Tore hamstring" "Hip :(" "Nausea" "Felt horrible" "Vomiting" "Ortho surgeon-don't run!" "Back doctor-herniated disc" "Back surgery" "Felt horrible, walked" "Very sore hips @ night" and the list goes on. I appear to have tortured myself the entire year. I'm not very kind to my body at times but my body hasn't been very kind to me for over three years now and I just wonder which one of us is going to give in first. I found a blog the other day titled Despite Lupus and I fell in love with the name, because we all have to keep moving along no matter what is tossed in our direction and despite lupus I'm going to keep lacing them up.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Staying the course

This photo is from Turkeyman Trot in Lansing, Michigan, my last and best 5k of the year but not my last race of the year. One more to run and that will complete my race a month goal for 2010. I'll end the year with a 5 mile race on New Year's day that will earn me the right to go to bed before midnight and miss the coming of 2011.

Truthfully, I've enjoyed running at least a race a month or maybe what I really liked was the selection process and anticipation of each run. I had one friend complete the challenge with me even though several of us started out in January with the same goal. It is easy to let life get in the way but with all the organized races now I'm not sure that there is a single weekend of the year where there is not a race within two hours of where I live and I live in the middle of nowhere.

I haven't set any goals yet for 2011 and this is the first time in a long time, if ever, that I have made a resolution and stuck with it. And although it sounds easy to run a race a month with the kind of year I had medically (torn hamstring, crappy lupus, back surgery, etc.) I'm very pleased that I have almost finished the journey. If necessary, I'll be crawling across the finish line on New Year's Eve unless I run a safety net race between now and then.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight."
M. F. K. Fisher (1908-1992)