Laura Valaas

Ode to my Gummies

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 | Culture | 1 Comment

Cherished gummies did meet their end.
Began their life with much promise
In a corner store, I commend,
But all too soon they met demise.

At close of perfect summer day
The warmth lingered ‘gainst the earth’s skin
With my sister, friend, and C.A.
We took gummies to the drive-in.

There we did enjoy and munch most
But one small pack, o’erlooked on the dash
Came home with us like parcel post
And, forgott’n, an auto food cache.

But, lo! we woke too late next morn
And the early morn sun did melt
Those poor sweet gummies, all forlorn
Oh! in agony and pain we knelt!

Good gummies, once distinct as worms
Were now a pool of neon goo
The sad sight our neglect confirms
Bright swirls of loss we had to view.

If you love them, do not leave your gummies!
In your car they will cease to be yummies!

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Changes at Skaði!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010 | Current | No Comments
"Skaði Hunting in the Mountains" by H.L.M.
“Skaði Hunting in the Mountains” by H.L.M.

Ideally one would get everything perfect at the first try. Sometimes, however, the first choice isn’t quite right.

Even though Skaði only began in 2009, by spring of 2010 we had started to outgrow our old business name. It failed to capture our passion for skiing, our originality, and our respect for the sport. Rather than trying to mold and suppress the company to fit the old name, we have chosen to rebrand the company as Skaði.

Skaði is a goddess from Norse mythology. We’ll have more the say about the mythological figure of Skaði later. For now, we want to express how thrilled we are to have found a name and an icon that we can draw on for inspiration and for strength. The skier Skaði is mysterious enough that today’s skiers can re-imagine her to be whatever they need her to be while being firmly rooted in Norse mythology and the history of skiing. We hope to honor her past while bringing her forward and into the awareness of the modern skiing community.


On a personal note, I have this to say:

Researching 13th century literature?

Like! Like! Love!

If only the rest of the world shared the same interested I do… then nothing of any material value would ever be accomplished. Wait, maybe that’s not such a good thing. But, we’d all be healthy athletic scholars!

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Life Ruin-er. (and now i shall ruin yours)

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 | Culture | No Comments

The problem with being on a computer most of the day combined with the super-duper connectivity running rampant through every feature of my computer screen is that every one of my friends has several venues with which to distract me and more or less ruin my productivity. (For the more dramatically inclined, we will call this “ruining my life.”)

And now, because you have voluntarily opened this webpage & you may not have the good fortune of having a certain Mr. Farnand on your gmail sidebar posting inane yet addictive links, I will share the current inane and addicting link that has sucked me into a spiral of life ruin-ing.

I can’t help it, it’s one short article after another of some inane guy named David mercilessly email baiting friends, colleagues, and whatever poor unfortunate makes the mistake of supplying him with an email address.

At some level I think there may be something sinister in me since I find the suffering of his victims so amusing. At another level I’m impressed by the effectiveness he’s shown at getting what he wants by being completely unreasonably. See, for example the one on Blockbuster late fees or unallowed pets.

Now that I’ve passed on the curse of this stupid website, I feel much better.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010 | People | No Comments
Laura & Kirsten Valaas
Laura & Kirsten Valaas

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A Difference

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 | Snow | No Comments

I woke up early this morning and went for a run. It was a very enjoyable run. Then I had a very nice yoga session with my new kitten.

Aside: We got the most adorablest, cutest, tiniest, friendliest, lovablest kitten yesterday and said kitten spent most of yoga curled up squarely in the middle of my mat. She even managed to crawl up onto my lap and onto my belly between seated forward bend and bridge. Then I went straight into half-wheel (also known as a back bend for the rest of y’all) and she was perfectly content to perch on top. Shoulder stand to pike rolled her off though. Soooo Cute. End Aside.

I realized, as I was contemplating how nice my run was and how nice it was to stretch out afterward, that THIS run existed for me as a complete and separate entity, apart from any other run or workout or whathaveyou. It started at a certain point in my day, I ran, I came home, it was Good. For so long each run existed as only a part of a whole, one piece in the SkiFaster Puzzle. An individual workout was a means to attaining a goal. Of course I enjoyed my workouts but a huge part of that enjoyment was knowing it was bringing me one step closer to accomplishing something bigger. A run always had its place as 2hours OF THE 800 and I was always very aware after a workout of how that workout fit into the grander scheme of things.

This morning I ran just for the day. Exactly as I felt like running today. I didn’t think about what I had (er… hadn’t, rather) done yesterday, I didn’t think about what workout was happening tomorrow. I didn’t think about getting faster for some far distant race. I simply ran because running was good and running was the proper thing to do this morning. It’s so refreshing! I feel like I have given the verb To Run its proper homage by running solely for the sake of running in that Moment.

When I finished I looked at my watch. 1:16. I looked at it waiting to feel something. Nothing. one hour, sixteen minutes, thirty eight seconds. seventy six minutes. It’s a unit of time and it had absolutely no impact on me. I looked at it out of pure reflex, it doesn’t have any meaning. For so long there was always a value attached to the time on the watch at the end of a workout. Good. Bad. Never indifferent. It was always accompanied by a judgment statement. “I did great!” “I should have gone 90 minutes.” Whatever it was I was always judging my workouts. (And, let’s be honest, I gave myself a LOT of positive feedback. Constructive criticism! Sandwich the critique between two compliments! Positive self-talk!)

No judgment, no value outside of the intrinsic value of running in that moment. That’s the difference. I’m redefining my concept of Running.

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Skaði Contest!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010 | Current | No Comments

I have cajoled and bullied & pleaded and finally… Skaði is having a contest! I know, it’s only July, but July is the best time to getting ready for season and what’s the best way to prepare? rollerskiing? nope. Pull-ups? no way. Earning free gear for your team? Of course!

Skaði wants to support youth oriented cross country ski teams in their pursuit of skiing education, fun & excellence and invites all such teams to fill out a simple application to let Skaði know that you exist & are interested in winning free products. The main portion of the application is a Creative Response to the question, “Why we want BootBuddies.” Creative Response means it can be in just about any format. And that, my friends, is one of the easiest questions you’ll ever be assigned. (I could quote some of my essay topics from college theology classes to prove that point but then everyone would stop reading…) There are two deadlines, August 31st for teams who are proactive and functioning during the summer and December 31st for teams who need to get some skiing before they start thinking about these sorts of things.

So, download the Skaði Contest Application! (in editable pdf format.)

If you know of any deserving ski teams, please let them know about this contest & encourage them to apply.

If you have any other questions, please email me at laura (at) Skaði (dot) com. You can also request a paper application to be mailed to you/your team by providing me with a mailing address.

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Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 | Culture | 1 Comment

I ate at McDonalds today, which I haven’t done in forever. Really, forever measured in years. As I was opening my little silverware packet to get my fork out, I very talentedly managed to slice my finger with the plastic knife. I thought maybe it was a bad omen. And honestly, who manages to cut herself with a plastic knife? I almost deserve a Darwin award for that.

So… fruit & walnut side salad… fresh, delicious… berry smoothie… fresh, delicious.

Oh, McDonalds! I have judged you wrongly these many years. You changed, you grew and I kept you pigeon holed in a greasy, bland cupboard. Now I see, you’ve grown up while I was eating old lettuce at subway. Please forgive me, I will malign you no more.

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 | People | 1 Comment

The beautiful quail babies have grown up and flown the nest. Er, flown the coop?

We released them (legally) into our backyard gully and watched them rise as a flock and, stretching their wings for the first time as they discovered they could fly, beat their way gracefully through the clear blue sky and into a new life of freedom.

Just kidding, there was no soundtrack and it happened nothing like that. They were living on the porch in their chicken/rabbit house and replenished their food and water, opened their door(s) and went back to doing my thing figuring they would meander away and have an entire day to figure out the wild before nighttime. I check back in an hour. No one has left. So my C.A. joins in the cause and attempts to usher them out of the cage. One startles into a short flight into the yard. Success! The next couple are herded out of the cage and immediately try to find their way back in. We are talking straining their necks through the wires like maybe they’ll pop through. So we had a rotating cast of quail as we tried to get them out and they tried to get back in. Another one flies out. Success! Only he flies straight into the wall of the house and does a vertical flight against the wall up to the eaves before a hilariously clumsy tumble back to the porch. Eventually, we get them all out and they stand around dazed in the yard in groups of 2-4. They’re on their own but I go around and pour out the remainder of their game bird food pellets in piles around the edge of the yard. Not like we have any other use for it.

The quail have regrouped since then and seem to be happy and healthy! They’ve been back through a couple of times to eat the wild bird seed I set out. And yes we can tell which birds were ours because 1) none of the wild birids are the same age and 2) I think they’re actually a different species than the local quail. oops.

So… no quail were eaten in the experiment (at least not by us) and I finally got to raise little baby quail chicks, which I have to admit that I’ve always wanted to do.

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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 | Snow | 1 Comment

There’s a high school track 20 minutes from my house. Which is the perfect distance to be from a track. (And obviously when I say 20 minutes I mean 20 minutes of easy running not 20 minutes in a car or 20 minutes on a unicycle.) Now that I’m on the 1hr-workout-every-other-day plan the 20min warmup, 20min of ints, 20min back home is a fabulous way to start the day.

There is one weird feature of this track though… it’s entirely fenced with chain link. Which seems odd to me. As far as I’m aware it’s a public high school and I’ve never really noticed any other track being in perpetual lockdown.

Fences are only there to keep out the people who can’t climb them.


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Monday, June 28th, 2010 | Current | No Comments

I went through four cans of diet coke today. AND I went for a short hike in the morning with my C.A. and Ginger so I didn’t even get started in on the diet coke until the afternoon. Why? Because I’ve been working on a computer all day, frustrated because my competency at set task is way below where I would like it to be. It’s hard. I don’t get it. I have to figure it out. All of which leads to very frequent episodes of get up and get myself a diet coke. It’s an unwanted repeat of study sessions in college when I would sit down to work a math problem, realize I was hopelessly in over my head and pursue some task that would, so I rationalized, assist my mental abilities.

It never worked in college either.

And I think my blood diet coke content is above the legal limit.

Yes, I know there are those of you out there who throw back four diet cokes before breakfast.

I can only aspire.

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