December 30, 2011

The War Rages On.

Day Two of the war on Hector happened on Wednesday.  We stopped at Target and purchased 3 different kinds of traps to catch him.  Justin laid all the traps out and we waited.  I quietly read my book and Justin watched a movie.  We went to bed with a lot of hope that the following day would bring the end.

Hector 6, Justin 0.

We woke up and all the peanut butter was gone, two traps were completely set off and there was no Hector in sight.  He somehow manuvered his way around 4 different traps while eating all the bait and not getting caught.  A few things could have happened... the most realistic option in our minds was that Hector could also open his wings and fly like another famous mouse.

We laughed the whole way to work as we contemplated our next moves.  We came up with nothing.  J called a firend of ours, Matt, who is an Animal Control Specialist and set an appointment for him to come help (calling in reinforcements) on Friday after work (that's today.)  Justin was feeling frustrated.  I couldn't help but sit back and laugh, especially when talking to some friends at work and they were sure that Hector was sitting on our couch eating movie theater candy and watching Star Wars while plotting his next attack.  Then, I received this picture via email... BEST EMAIL EVER.
I could tell he was steaming at his desk and I wasn't sure what to do.  I didn't want Hector to get him down.  It was like we were thinking the same thing at the same time, because I received this email from my loving husband.:

I didn’t tell you what I was thinking this morning after learning that Hector (silent H) had once again bested me.

I was so indignant when I saw that he had tripped two of the six traps and had suckled the peanut butter off of all of them that I actually became unbelievably clear in the head. My anger was a short lived thing and I started to laugh about it; it being the whole situation in general. I am being taken to the house by a tiny black mouse. I am a human. I am at the absolute top of the food chain, and I am being constantly lambasted by this four-legged critter that is usually killed by a cat. Something seems off. Then as I thought more about the situation it became clear to me that this is my life.

My life; a series…scratch that, an epic saga of failures and comical inadequacies that string from one incident to the next.

As I climbed the stairs this morning to tell you the news of Hector’s (again, silent H) victory, I realized that there is YOU. You, that chose to join me in this saga. You that help me get through this saga despite my failures. You, my lifelong teammate and best friend. Just you. Thank you for being there every day for me and for constantly challenging me and making me better. I relish in the moments of our victories and, because of you, can laugh at the mishaps. I love you and am so happy that no matter where our adventure goes – whether to Boston, Burlington, San Francisco or Europe – that you and I are an unbreakable team.

We will defeat this damn mouse. And we shall have victory. And we will have it, like everything, together.

I love you…AND YOUR FACE.

Hector 6, Justin 1.

So, I knew that we would be victorius.  We returned home and tiptoed downstairs.  So much suspense I could barely handle it.  We opened the laundry room door and Justin shreaked with excitement.  He caught a tiny little mouse in a trap.  There was so much excitement and yelling and cheering, our neighbors probably thought we won the lottery.  (I can't imagine the thoughts our neighbors have on us with the random acts of crazy that happen in our household on a weekly basis.)  As Justin was celebrating, I glanced over to the other side of the room where something caught my eye.  There he was, small and gray with a skinny, little tail, making his getaway up the copper piping into our insulation and ceiling (the great unknown.)  I could almost see him laughing and crying at the same time.  So, Hector lives on and we have now figured out that his fiance, Victoria, was sacrificed so he could continue his destruction of our house and our sanity. 

So, the battle continues.  Tonight, Justin will have Matt as backup.  We purchased rubber gloves so Victoria could be disposed of properly.  Hopefully Hector hasn't taken her to a final resting place somewhere in our house of his choice because I don't feel like tracking down a dead mouse.  Tonight, I'm hoping I can video tape some of the shananigans... I mean battle.  Wish us luck.

December 28, 2011

Waging War on Hector

Reason #1 why I love being married:

You're probably wondering if Hector is my husband, but it's not.  Hector is the mouse I discovered last night at about 7:30 PM when I went downstairs to swap out the laundry.  He was running around in circles confused by the light turning on.  I screamed loud enough for everyone on our side of the Mississippi to hear me and scared my own dog.  My husband was pretty sure that I had just encountered a murderer in our basement.  I may have overreacted just a little.  So with that scream heard throughout the neighborhood, the war began.  Two battles were fought last night.  The first involved J (my loving husband), Lola (my badass rat terrier - follow her on twitter if you're interested @lolafromstpaul) and Hector (the tiny little dark colored mouse).  J turned all the lights off and Lola sat on the stairs with him and his light saber and they waited until they saw movement.  I'm pretty sure Lola had no idea what was happening and was bored because she kept trying to sneak upstairs.  I was on the phone with my mom when I heard the light saber turn on (yep, it makes the same noise as in the Star Wars movies) and J yelled some obscene words at Hector and I was sure he had completed his mission.  Wrong. 

Hector 1, Justin 0. 

Our next move was to find some traps.  We made the 8 block drive to my mom's to pick up some glue traps they had and we baited them with shredded cheddar cheese and left them in our laundry room and in the theater room.  This morning, he went running downstairs to see if the traps captured Hector and won us the war.  Much to his surprise, the cheese was gone and Hector was no where to be found. 

Hector 2, Justin 0.

My husband has spent his day consumed with thoughts on battle number 3 and I believe we will be stopping at Menards on our way home to pick up some weapons.  He has been consulting some of the guys around the office.  The email he sent out was definitely necessary to share:

Subject: Unwelcome Intruder.
Last night we found out that we had an intruder in our home. I heard Steph scream and I was actually about a half-second from loading the Glock. Then, I realized that this unwelcomed intruder, the black bastard, was hiding under furniture. I tried to sniff him out and even released the hounds; they had no effect.

I set two traps for him last night only to find my traps still set this morning with the cheese missing. I could only imagine him sitting in a dark hole somewhere chuckling in victory. Tonight, things get real:

 My restored happiness

I will keep you all posted on this epic battle.  I can't even imagine where I would be without my husband.  I know my father would not come over and help me out with something so silly.  Wish me luck as I support my husband as he attempts to take down Hector. 

Also, for all you mouse supporters, we are not trying to harm Hector if we don't have to. We are purchasing "huts" that will trap him and we'll release him outside.

October 24, 2011

Ahhh... TV is back and I have a date with my couch

Fall brings so many of my favorite things:
  1. Television (the item in my living room that makes me stupider) - old favorites are back and brand new shows are catching my attention... this year - I am falling in love with New Girl.
  2. The weather - 60 degrees is my happy place.  I couldn't live in a world that it was that temperature all day every day, but I love the feeling of boots & sweaters and snuggling in without being bone chilling cold.  The sound of leaves blowing down the sidewalk brings back so many memories of walking to school when i was little with my brand new catholic plaid uniform and lunchbox. 
  3. The colors - obviously, I love the fall colors... that was obvious in my last blog.
  4. Pumpkins & bonfires - the outdoor activites that go with my favorite weather include afternoons picking out pumpkins, trick-or-treating with my nieces at zooboo, corn mazes and bonfires.
  5. Busy busy busy at work - everyone seems to want to wrap up remodeling projects before the holidays and get their house in tip top shape before their in-laws and out of town relatives come to stay and celebrate thanksmas (the month between thanksgiving & christmas) so business is crazy.  When you add that to cleaning up year end accounting areas - it's CRAZY but the days fly by.
  6. World series, oh yeah and I like football now.
Our bathroom installation is close to complete, plus we received a free laundry room full of new cabinets, countertop & new washer/dryer so I will finally have some storage in the laundry room.  My allergies are in full swing and making me crazy but I can't help having the windows open and cuddling in at night with the dogs and my husband.  I've been reading The Happiness Project and also I am taking some advice and visiting website which is supposed to help gain some time back in your day by identifying where time is wasted.  I will share what i find out if it's worth anything.

We spent saturday with the Johnson girls and we had a blast.  We started with lunch at Tavern on Grand with Kendra, La, Ava, Anna and my mom.  Kids are so funny and entertaining, but at the same time, they are exhausting :)  We listened to Taylor Swift to and from the restaurant and I was instructed numerous times to turn it up louder.

After lunch, we had some quiet time at home and watched Little Mermaid.  Once movie/nap time was over, the costumes were put on and we headed to Como Zoo for zooboo.  It is their biggest fundraiser.  Kenzy was Ariel and Kennedy was Flounder.  There was a huge line, but once we got in, it was a great time.  Kenzy was able to trick or treat all over the zoo and instead of just giving away candy, they had granola bars, coloring books, a light blub, toothbrushes, stickers and more.

We headed home for movie night after the zoo and everyone changed into pajamas.  We watched Tangled and Up and made popcorn.  Sleeping all in one room was quite an adventure.  Kennedy and I got to have some early morning bonding time again, which I have really missed since being in Okoboji.  After breakfast and watching Up again, their mama came with coffee for us in hand and whisked away the girls back home.

It is always so much fun hanging out with them and watching them get bigger, but each and every time, I'm completely exhausted.  I have so much respect and amazement for my sisters and my mother in law.  Can you imagine all three of those kids 5 days a week?  I'm tired just thinking about it.  so tonight, I'm vegging and catching up on my real housewives.

October 3, 2011

Autumn is Here!

So the leaves are changing and it makes me so happy that I live in a state where these colors are so beautiful.  The sun has been out and the leaves look like they are on fire.  I love the fall.

We spent a wonderful weekend in Chippewa Falls.  We stopped at a few establishments along the way including Pudge's in Hudson and the Hershey Cave Bar in Hershey - where else?  We made it to Brent's parent's house and put our stuff down.  We went to the Leinie Lodge and sampled and sampled and sampled.  We had a not good dinner at the James Sheely house and then headed back to the house to suit up for the wedding reception of Tony & Erika Stevens.  We got there and ... left after about an hour.  We finished the night off with a fire and popcorn.  Thanks to Brent & Kirsten for being such good hosts and thanks to Arver for the entertainment.

Vikings are 0-4 - wow.  They are AMAZING.  I am having so much fun watching football with my husband every sunday.  It's a whole new bonding experience.

September 24, 2011

Goodbye Summer

Summer of 2011 is officially over and I am greeting autumn with open arms.  There is something wonderful and comfortable about 50 degree mornings, trees turning colors, tv premieres, hot drinks, boots, sweaters, leggings, football, chili, slow cooker meals that make the whole house smell wonderful, bonfires, apples and all things wonderful.

Yesterday evening, we went to Brent & Kirsten's for a bonfire/cookout with some old college friends.  We had so much fun.  Joe Peters was there and it's been a while since I've had the pleasure of hanging out with him.  It was like the house full of newly weds :)  We have a wedding to go to with them next weekend in Chippewa Falls for Emma's exboyfriend, seems like it would be a little bit weird, but he's always been a good friend of mine and Justin's.  Plus, I will get to see Kendra & Ava and go to see the Leinie's fall collection.

So, goodbye to summer and hello to my favorite season.  Plus, congrats to my father who just got a job coaching another high school hockey team.

September 16, 2011

My Mom's Cucumber Dip

As simple as it is, this is my absolute favorite dip.  I ask my mom to make it for every party or get together.  It's perfectly paired with the ruffle chips that are a little thicker.  I finally just got the recipe myself so I can make it WHENEVER I want.


1 or 2 blocks of cream cheese (low fat fine works too)
1 or 2 Cucumbers, chopped and drained (no seeds.)  Drain by squeezing chopped cukes in paper towel
1 small onion chopped

Mix cucumber and onion into cream cheese, adding GARLIC PEPPER (quite a few shakes) and a bit of GARLIC SALT to taste.  If I have it I shake in a little Mrs. Dash too.

Chill and serve with sturdy potato chips

September 14, 2011

Oh Keith

Have you ever watched a reality TV show on your television in your living room and known the person you were watching?  It happened to me tonight and it's bizarre.  A good friend from college who I haven't seen in a few years is on the season of survivor that premiered tonight.  He made it through week one and barely said anything on tonight's episode, but that's OK, he laughed a lot and I think he'll do just fine.

Justin is headed to Kansas City and then to Arkansas the rest of this week.  I'm off tomorrow to spend some time with my grandmother and start the process of teaching her how to use the gas pump at a self serve gas station... i know, you ask if there are anything other than self serve gas stations anymore?  Yes, there is one full service in the metro area and she drives quite a ways to go to it... we have to move passed that and I really think if she can figure out how to pump gas, she will view it as a big victory for her.  After hanging with my 76 year old grandma for a while, I'll be taking my 3 year old niece out for ice cream sundaes to hear about her very first day at preschool without mom & dad.  They had a trial run on Tuesday and it went very well, but it will be just her tomorrow and she seems excited now... I definitely don't want to be in nicole's shoes - she is dropping her off.  Not having children has saved me from being an active part of any tantrums and I don't think you can really understand how to handle them until you do it often.  I can't believe she's already going to be wearing her "pack-pack" and going to preschool.  They grow up insanely fast, but I LOVE that she has conversations with us now.  She gets justin into a corner and he can't escape.  Anyways, back to J, he is helping his grandparents move from Arkansas to MN and into my in-law's basement.  It will probably be a pretty stressful trip for him.  He also spent half of his ride today with our CEO... hmmmm.  Opportunity? I hope he sees it that way.

First frost of the year tonight as well.  Happy fall... oh wait, maybe fall is over right as it begins.  Let's hope winter isn't here to stay in the middle of September.  My mums are in the sink right now.

September 11, 2011

Timmy & Jen

I forgot one final thing.  My brother has a new girlfriend named Jen.  She's from South Dakota and has a twin brother and really likes shoes.  She smiles non stop and did a great job meeting our entire family at my Grandfather's service.  And, she puts up with my brother's cowboy boots and loud trucks.

July 17, 2011

it takes a long time to grow an old friend

My husband said something to me a few months ago when I was avoiding people I knew from high school at the mall... this is something I find myself doing quite often and it's disgusting of me.  I don't really love small talk, but he pointed out that others don't really love it either, but it isn't bad to just say hi every once in a while to people who you have spent time with throughout your life.  This sunday, I'm looking back on the last week and i'm super pleased with myself.

mike & ty
brent & kirsten's engagement pic
Tuesday night, we had an invitation to drive up to Elk River to a byob/meat bbq at a friend's house.  We had received an invitation to their last one as well, but it's a far drive and we work long hours during the week, so we had turned them down.  We are going to their wedding in the end of this month and we wanted to catch up with them and see their house before the wedding.  We said yes to the bbq and then told ourselves that we wouldn't turn back.  We made the 40 mile drive out there after work with our Coors Light and Chicken breasts.  It worked out so well.

We caught up with all the guys I was friends with in college and met some new people that we'll see again at the wedding.  About 10 people turned out, so we were able to chat with everyone that came and it worked out great.  Mike and Tyler were super great friends in college and I haven't really heard from them or seen them in almost 3 years.

By coincidence, Justin overheard Mike talking about eventually wanting a job in project management and Justin is hiring exactly that right now for his department, so he gave Mike a business card and told him that if he could come and interview the next day, that he would give him a shot.  By 10 PM, Mike had sent over a great copy of his resume and the interview was scheduled the next day.  Crazy how things work out.  Now, he'll be offered a job this week and will probably be a great fit and if we had not gone to the bbq, Justin would have filled the position with someone that wasn't nearly as good of a fit and we would have seen them at the wedding and then probably again in a few years...

brenden g
After Tuesday night, I felt pretty good about catching up with old friends and decided that I'd keep trying.  The very next day, I received a message from an old elementaty/junior high friend of mine.  He was my best friend growing up and we talked for hours every day.  Once high school came, he went away to boarding school and we kept in contact a little bit through high school.  Once college came around, he moved out to Tacoma, Washington and we got ice cream the first summer back and then completely grew apart after that.

With the magnificent creation of Facebook, we have reconnected via the internet over the few 3-4 years.  He has been leading hiking trips and working with Outward Bound all over the world and it was fun to look at his pictures and follow him around the world.  Anyways, I received a message from him saying that he was coming back to town (his mom & sister live in Edina) for about a week and he would love to catch up.  It just so happened that I had Friday off and didn't really have any plans, so I told him lunch on Friday would work.

It was a super rainy day and we decided to go to McGovern's.  We had a few beers and a good lunch and talked about the past and the future and it was great to catch up.  It will probably be a while until we can do that again, but it was refreshing to catch up with someone who is doing all kinds of cool and interesting things with his life and hearing all about it.  Hopefully, we will make it to Colorado to visit this fall and we can both have lunch with him.

The final example I have of meeting up with an old friend is the fact that I gave in last week and bought Britney Spears tickets.  It was pretty amazing.  She can't really sing or dance anymore, but it was the crazy fans that were all around.  I was planning on taking Anna, but she got really sick that morning, so Justin ended up going with me and because she couldn't sell out, we were upgraded and ended up with amazing seats.  Nicki Manaj was pretty awesome too.

We ran into some old girlfriends of mine before the show.  It fits right into my "staying in touch/putting effort in" because B Spears is like an old friend and you have to show her some grace as she gets older and becomes more of a trainwreck and in my eyes, no matter how cheesy, a real fan will appreciate her no matter how horrible.

Hopefully we are able to get to New York or LA soon so that Justin is able to catch up with old friends.  His are a little more spread out than mine, but it's worth the effort. On a different note, we spent the day with the Cragins/Taylors at the cabin in minong and it was a beautiful day.  Now, we're dealing with the heat advisory all week.  Deep sigh.

July 10, 2011

Cedar Lake Wedding

How much do you love weddings?  I love them.  I love that they can be so different but in the end, the entire day is happening because of the love of two people and their families and friends that love them enough to support them and be there for them.

I attended a wedding this past weekend and it was lovely.  Justin's sister was the matron of honor and her best friend growing up was the bride.  She has lived in california her whole life.  The groom was Justin's brother in law's best friend growing up and he has lived in Minnesota his whole life.  They met because Justin's family moved here from Cali and their friends would come and visit.  This was a love story 11 years in the making and you could see the happiness in every single person there... and liquor was only part of that.

My little niece, Kenzy, was the flower girl in the wedding and even though she's usually a diva, she did exactly what she was supposed to do.  She looked so adorable.  The bride also bought Kennedy a matching dress and I was able to keep her from puking on it for the entire ceremony and part of pictures.  The ceremony took place right on the shore of the lake and instead of unity candles, they had a jar of sand from the beach in California and a jar of sand from the lakeshore in Minnesota and they mixed them together.  The whole wedding was a country theme with yellows, white and tan all the way down to the cowboy boots.  The favors were mason jars you could write your names on and jam that had a cover that said "spread the love".  They had a dance floor set up in the grass at the bottom of a big hall and on top of the hill sat a beautiful red barn.  The tables didn't have numbers, they were named after lakes that had meaning to the people sitting there... we sat at the Lake Okoboji table.

It was awesome to see two very tight knit group of friends join together to celebrate.  The song they picked for the first dance between the bride & the groom said it all.  Congrats to Brian & Tiff.  Thanks for letting us be there for your celebration.

And people that I barely knew
They love me cause I’m part of you
Man it’s tough to figure
How two souls could be miles from one another
But still you and me somehow found each other

June 22, 2011

Boston - You Got Me Again

After our first night, I was too excited to be back in Beantown that I couldn't find time to log our activity.  We had such a great time.  I would highly recommend our hotel, the Charlesmark Hotel, in the back bay.  It is an old town home turned into a store and some apartments and then in 2000, a man bought it and turned it into a beautiful boutique hotel in a great part of town. 

We had some wonderful food.  I ate crab cakes and lobster for the first time.  The claws were fantastic - easily the best part.  We had fruit tart and chocolate cake at "Modern Pastry" in the North End.  We ate a few times at Quincy Market and had some great canoli's and mac & cheese.  There was some fantastic greek food and bbq.  It was all fantastic.

Justin & I did the Sam Adams Brewery tour on Thursday and had so much fun.  Poor Dan & Rhonda went on a whale watch and Rhonda and 95% of the other passengers threw up the entire time.  They still had some fun, but I can't imagine puking that much would be fun for anyone.  We made it to the JFK Library & Museum and that was very well put together.

We walked around the Harvard campus and the Boston Common and the public gardens.  We took the tour of Fenway Park which was SOOOO worth it for any baseball fan... even if you like the yankees :)  We ended our fun adventure with a nighttime ballgame - Red Sox vs. Brewers and the Sox won 10-4.  Here are some of the photos from beantown...

this is the front of our hotel - it overlooks the finish line of the boston marathon
boston bruins were playing game 6 and 7 while we were in town which was AMAZING.  the whole town had decorated themselves including the paul revere statue you see here.  the bruins ended up winning the stanley cup on wednesday night.  it was awesome!

fenway park - it was all ours
dan, j & i with our lobster bibs on
j & i in the courtyard behind the old north church

June 15, 2011

Boston... You're my Home

We returned the car and took a crazy cab ride to our hotel.  It's a beautiful place with small but functional and updated rooms.  J & I are on the 5th floor and our window looks out back of the hotel to the alley so it's fairly quiet.  We picked up our trolley tour pass and jumped aboard.  We went through the Cambridge side of the river and ended up near the aquarium.

We got off and had some lunch at the Cheers bar - I was a little upset because I really like carla's meatball sub and they were out of meatballs so we had a grilled chicken sandwich and garlic cheese bread - interesting combination.

Upon leaving there, we headed over to North End (my second favorite part of Boston), we walked through the Old North Church and then grabbed a cocktail at Goody's.  We crossed back over to the gov't center area and had a drink at Bell in Hand Tavern - the oldest operating tavern in the country.  They were doing a Budweiser supports the troops promotion and J recorded a video to thank the troops and we all got free beer and can coozys.

The wait at the Union Oyster House was an hour and we weren't exactly interested so we walked a few doors down to an irish bar and decided to eat there.  They had a $12.99 lobster special that we couldn't pass up so I enjoyed lobster for the first time in my life.  I had a blast putting on the bib and cracking the claws open.  The claws are BY FAR the best part.  We had so much fun eating.  We followed that up with a beer and some live music and by 10 we brought Dan & Rhonda back to the hotel and went out exploring in the back bay.

We found a place called Whiskey's and met some new friends - Joey and his girlfriend who live in Boston but they are from Connecticut and we also met Brian & Sanjay - flight attendants from London.  We had a great time chatting and drinking and we made it back to our room at about 1am.

We were up bright & early today - more on that later.  For now, I'm sitting in our room resting my feet and watching the 1st period of game seven for the Stanley Cup.  They have shut the streets down in downtown Boston and brought in an additional 2000 police officers to help stop a riot if the Bruins win - even though they are playing in Vancouver.  Lines to get into bars are around the block.  This night is going to be CRAZY.

Hyannis, Mass (round 2)

We enjoyed the remaining full day out on the Cape.  We started our day with breakfast at this perfect perkinsesque restaurant.  We took a horrible duck tour around Hyannis and the tiny little harbor... the lady that narrated was not super good at her job, but it was something to do.  I got a great new t-shirt and a sweatshirt - both red sox obviously, although now I think I should have gotten at least one piece of Bruins apparel since they are in the Stanley Cup Finals and J is a huge fan.

After the duck tour, we walked through the JFK museum that had lots of good photos of him and the Kennedy family.  There were some beautiful pictures of him & his kids.  After the museum, we ate lunch at a place called the Black Cat Tavern.  It was all pretty good.

We took a harbor tour after that.  The ship we toured in was called the Prudence and it is 100 years old this year.  This tour took us out to see the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport.  It is a beautiful cluster of houses in the middle of a neighborhood and it's beautiful.  We strolled over to the JFK memorial fountain that overlooks the Nantucket Sound.

To end our day, we ate at a place called Tommy Doyle's on Main Street and had a super friendly bartender and the BEST food.  I had homemade mac & cheese with the breadcrumbs over the top and Justin ordered a grilled cheese & tomato/basil soup.  We arrived back at the hotel and Justin & his dad went to the bar and watched the bruins take game six.  I went to bed early.

The drive back to Boston was quick and painless.  We returned the car and I felt at home again.

June 13, 2011

Cloudy without Rain (Provincetown)

Our Sunday plan was to explore P-town (Provincetown) and show J's parents where we got engaged.  That town is one of our favorite places.  It is surrounded by water on 3 sides - the Provincetown Harbor to the west, Cape Cod Bay to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.  We had Dunkin Donuts for breakfast - other than the fact that the employee there couldn't understand our coffee orders, it was impressive.  We headed out there using highway 28 instead of 6 (the main route), we cruised through small little nautical towns and saw some of the most beautiful homes and coves.  The fog was starting to thicken, so it gave it a very peaceful and calm feeling.

Once we arrived in town and parked, we navigated the narrow streets until we reached the town hall.  We brought them inside to see and then snapped some photos of the outside.  They have resided since we were here in 2007 and it's green & yellow now.  We caught the trolley tour and froze for about 45 minutes as we cruised out to the national seashore and got the history of the little town.  We ate lunch at an overpriced and underimpressive restaurant where the only thing worth the money was the service.  We then climbed the 116 steps and 60 ramps of the Pilgrim Monument only to find out that with the fog, we couldn't even see the parking lot below us.  Dan purchased 4.97 pounds of taffy that will be following us around for a few days now.  He was definitely on a sugar high the rest of the day.  We browsed some shops and then returned to our favorite pizza place "Twisted Sisters" for a slice and a beer - helped make up for lunch.

We left Provincetown and headed back down 6A.  Once we got back in town, we had a beer at the hotel bar and a snack and then headed to the local movie theater to see bridesmaids.  It was bad weather and that was a great way to laugh and wind down the day.

I think we're going to skip Martha's Vineyard this trip because of the bad weather we've been seeing.  Also, I slept in until 8:00 AM today... that is so crazy for me, but now I'm wired and in need of my usual morning coffee, news and shower.  I'll have my phone with the camera today, so I'll upload some photos.

June 11, 2011

Hyannis, Mass

We arrived this afternoon in Hyannis, Mass.  We had a pretty easy flight into Boston.  The only exciting thing that that happened was the little boy behind Rhonda threw up on his pants and his brother and the older man in front of me had a super creepy ponytail that I wanted to pull on.

Once we got our rental car, we attempted to navigate our way out of Boston and ended up in neighborhoods that we didn't belong, but once we hit the tunnel under downtown, we knew we'd make it.

We drove the Ford Escape until we reached Plymouth.  We had lunch at Mamma Mia's - tortellini for me (it was a HUGE plate) and bbq chicken pizza for everyone else.  We then walked in the rain down the shore for a while.  We checked out the Mayflower 2, but we were unaware that it's not the Mayflower but a replica, so we passed.  I bought a $4 umbrella that didn't really work.  We saw the Plymouth Rock - it's a tiny rock now in a cage because people continued to chip pieces off of it.

We took 3A south to the Cape Cod Canal and then we took 6A until we reached Hyannis.  It was a beautiful drive with LOTS of antique shops. 

Once we arrived in Hyannis, we checked into the Hyannis Harbor Hotel.  It is a great place with a BEAUTIFUL exterior including bar/grill, outdoor pool, fire pit, courtyards and each room has a small outdoor space.  The inside isn't as pretty, but still would recommend to any traveler.  It's across from the harbor and the boats come in and out all day.  It reminds me of Duluth and the lift bridge back home.

We walked down main street and had a beer and dessert at the British Beer company - I tried a Mayflower IPA and then a Cape Cod Blonde.  Justin had a Cape Cod Red and a piece of peanut butter pie.  After snacks, we shopped for a bit - found a great gift for brian & tiff's wedding - the "red-neck wine glass" which is a mason jar attached to a wine glass bottom.  Fantastic.  We had dinner at a nice place called Schooner's and I tried crab cakes for the first time with a glass of riesling.  I will definitely eat those again.  Any seafood put in front of me on the ocean is hard to turn down.  FRESH. 

We capped off the night at our hotel bar where we were able to write on the bar with chalk.  We played hangman and tick tack toe.  Tomorrow, we are bring Dan & Rhonda to Provincetown.

June 8, 2011

I Heart Countdowns

So, I read somewhere that planning your vacation is almost as stress reducing as going on the vacation and it prolongs the positive impacts.  Since I read that, I decided that it was necessary to let the others joining me on my adventure to start getting excited even though I did the planning.  I started at 10 days and today is 3 days away and I'm still PUMPED.  I'm now working on confirming all the confirmations... I know - do I have a control problem or what?  Can't wait to share some photos with you.

Also, family pictures happened last weekend and we received the shots yesterday... here is the lovely family I married into.

i love the face on kenzy.  she was not happy to be taking pictures in the heat
Then, lucky me, last night I got to hang out with Maddy and take some photos of her since she's 9 months old this month.  Here is my favorite of the evening.  It was 103 degrees outside and all she wanted were my Burberry sunglasses and to sit on my parents' fountain in their backyard.

Being an auntie is one of my favorite things.  On that note, Kendra is having her baby any day now.  We went to Eau Claire on Saturday to shop for baby clothes while the boys bonded over beers.  Kendra was sure that she would have the baby yesterday... didn't happen.  She did get to enjoy a mocktail that resembled a sex on the beach and we stopped and got Olson's ice cream.  I really hope she has a little red headed baby... we will find out soon. 

Time to wrap up work stuff and start packing.

May 31, 2011

Yikes... Almost a month gone by again

So here I sit, the last day of May.  I just got home from the gym... I've also been tanning which is new to me but I don't want to get burned on my trip where I will be relaxing on the beach in Hyannis, Mass for 4 full days and then wandering through the old twisted cobblestone streets of Boston for 4 days.  We leave in 11 days and I can barely handle the excitement.

The last three weeks have been incredibly busy.  Here is a brief list of things done and accomplished.  I'm sorry if you're looking for more detail, but I just can't provide it at this time.  See, I just purchased the 3rd season of True Blood and I go into work later tomorrow and I'm trying Sam Adams new East-West Kolsch.
  • took Kenzy to the zoo and rode the teacups, the choochoo train, she ate her first ice cream cone and rode on the swings all by herself for the first time... she drug us back to the giraffes time after time
  • had a VIP dinner with my grandparents at Schroeder's and half the Gregerson family joined us - it was Papa's birthday and their dining room was full, so they set up the upstairs private party room and lit candles and served us upstairs.  It was such a special dinner.
  • went to the Usher concert and danced my ass off at Sneaky Pete's with Justin, Jason & Kirsten - it was amazing
  • got a hotel in downtown Minneapolis that was super swanky and had a staycation
  • turned 26
  • J turned 28
  • had a fantastic dinner with kendra & adam including beers and ice cream sundaes
  • J went to milwaukee for work and I went to happy hour 2 nights in a row for my birthday surprising him with a double slice of death by chocolate cake as soon as he returned
  • Papa fell on spilled ice cream at the mall and broke his hip (he's recovering now at the good samaritan center transitional unit)
  • Hosted a birthday party at my parent's house with about 15-20 of our best friends
  • Saw pirates of the caribbean (the newest one) on stranger tides and Hangover 2
One night in bangkok and the world's your oyster... classic movie.

I'll attempt to check in again before our trip, but it will be hard... I will be busy.  I have a crazy work week and then garage sale saturday and then family photos on sunday... then another crazy work week and then we leave at the crack of dawn on Saturday 6/11.  WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 9, 2011

I'm Married to Ron Swanson

I love the Bennewitz sisters who have gotten me & Justin hooked on Parks & Rec.  Also, they think my husband is a tad bit like Ron Swanson.  Here is the email we received last night:

OK Kids- this is a montage of Justin AKA Ron Swanson.

Justin you asked why in the hell Maddie and I think of you as Ron Swanson.. first of all, it is not 100% of the time. But, so many lines and scenes have us in tears both saying.." OMG SO JUSTIN"

It is the delivery he has, the sarcasm, the uncomfortableness in different situations that makes not only Ron Swanson, but YOU hilarious. Thank you for being who you are and marrying my best friend. I hope you find this a HIGH compliment.


May 4, 2011

Keith Sweat

So, this morning, a lady called into our local radio station's morning show talking about her 1994 prom experience.  She wrote in her diary that she was extra excited because they played "freak me." Obviously, my husband and I instantly launched into a discussion about that song and who sang it.  We both guessed, Justin said Silk & I said Keith Sweat... neither of us knowing the answer, we went about singing the dirty lyrics of the song and not arguing about it or instantly rushing to the internet to find out who was right  (odd for us.)

My husband couldn't resist and since we usually spend our lunch hour reading other blogs and internet news sites and looking up ridiculous things on google, he looked it up.  Here is the email I received:
So it turns out when I said Silk I was right…you also nailed it when you said Keith Sweat…AWESOME!

"Freak Me" is an R&B ballad recorded by Atlanta, Georgia-based vocal quintet Silk in 1992. It was co-written and co-produced by Keith Sweat, for whom Silk was a touring opening act. Sweat also performed this on his 2003 Live Album.
So today, my song of choice is "freak me" by Keith Sweat and/or Silk.

P.S. Apparently, I was 7 when that song came out and I know all the lyrics... something is wrong with that picture - or maybe it's what makes me classy??  More to come on that I'm sure.

May 2, 2011

Celebrating Other Marriages

Congrats to one of the girls from my high school hockey team.  Anytime you see a young intelligent woman speaking up for what she believes, it should energize you... even if you aren't a raging feminist.  This is classy.  Good for you Maddie!

Obama takes down Osama

A moment almost 10 years in the making, Osama Bin Laden is dead.  He was killed by a group of navy seals and it was announced by the president last night about 10:30.  It's been so long.  The crazy thing is that it was the most patriotic day I've had in a while and what a marvelous ending.

I woke up in the morning and went to see Water for Elephants with my lovely husband.  It was a wonderful movie.  It was really hard to watch some of the scenes with the animals, but the story was really good and I was very impressed by Robert Pattison's ability to actually act when not in a teen movie.  After the movie, we came home and relaxed watching Parks & Rec, which I had never really given much of a chance... gotta love netflix streaming to my wii.

At around 4, Quincy and I walked over to my brother's friends' parent's house... wow, that's hard to follow.  My brother's best friend growing up was Brian.  I spent a lot of time carting them around and got to know his whole family.  He is being deployed in a few weeks to Afghanistan.  His mom was putting stuff together for care packages to send to 3 other young men that are already in Afghanistan.  My niece even drew some pictures for them where she traced her hand.

Once I saw the email about these boys, I searched online for somethings that are good to send in these care packages.  I picked up some hardcore socks, easy mac, caffeinated gum (I know, right?), beef jerky, deodorant, hand sanitizer, wet ones, chapstick and the cheesiest cards I could find.  I think next month I'll send them all a Maxim.  Anyways, I felt pretty good after leaving her house.  It feels good to give some energy and love and send it far away.  I came home, went to the gym, tanned (that's a whole different blog entry) and then I put on my red, white & blue pajamas to watch Celebrity Apprentice.  Yes, I was watching the man who has been doubting our president is a citizen moments before the historic speech.  

It was funny because I was laying on the couch and you can't see the bottom of the tv, so when we were waiting for the president to come on, it said Osama bin Laden has been killed across the bottom of the screen and I had no idea.  Justin was laughing out loud that I was totally clueless.  Of course.  Anyways, I am glad I stayed up late.  It was very emotional.

It's been a long 24 hours to think about it.  Many mixed emotions.  I mean, I was happy that someone had been killed.  There is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that I really like.
‎"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
I explained this to Justin today on our way home.  The issue I'm faced with is that I'm still so happy for this country that something that we've worked for for almost a decade was accomplished.  Is it going to stop the terrorism madness???  Probably not, but it's a step in some direction.  The thing that made me sooo happy was the state of the citizens in this country last night.  Telebrating and coming together all night long.  Congrats to President Obama for making this happen.

Picture from Washington Post

April 12, 2011

Quick Update

Sorry I haven't been around much lately.  I may or may not have checked out some other blog websites, but I'm not leaving :)  My niece, Kennedy, got baptized and J became a godfather.  He walked around for at least 48 hours talking like Marlon Brando.  Saturday night, some girlfriends came over and we had a scream marathon.  Yes, we watched 2 of 3 scream movies and we would have watched the 3rd if we weren't exhausted.  I think we'll try and squeeze it in this week sometime. 

Last, but not least, I just wanted to share with you the email I received today that made me smile:

FYI.......Mackenzy has just told me that Justin, Steph, Quincy Doo and Lola really miss her. She thinks she will go over to your house tonight for a sleepover. She said she doesn't want you so sad from missing her. Just thought you should know in case you are really sad from missing her that she is thinking of you. 

March 15, 2011

The Golden Rules

I wasn't alive in the "good old days" where kids could run through neighborhoods after dark with no worries and you didn't have to lock your house.  Where gas was 10 cents a gallon and everyone walked uphill to school every day... :)  But I do like to think that there are still people out there who make the little gestures each day to others.  Perfect example is buying the coffee for the person behind you in the drivethrough lane.  Usually it comes full circle.  My sister in law has had it happen to her numerous times and she's a teacher.  Imagine what an extra bit of kindness can do in her day, it can impact hundreds of children.

The story I heard on the radio this morning is what made me want to comment on this.  A lady called into mytalk107 and said she went out on a girl's night for beer and wings a few weeks ago and they saw a group of soliders head into the bar.  They bought them their first round as a way to say thank you for your service.  As they were leaving a few hours later, the manager of the bar went running out to the group of seven girls and thanked them for doing that.  He was so grateful that there were people like them in this world still that he gave them each a $50.00 gift card for doing that.

My husband is a big believer in thanking the troops of this country, anyway he can.  He would have loved that story.  His latest kind act is to secretly buy dinner for any vets that come into our local neighborhood bar/restaurant.  He tells the server not to let them know and usually they think the bar bought it... but that's the beauty.  No credit needed.

So please give back.  Even if it's just letting someone with one item go in front of you and your entire cartful at the grocery store or holding the door for a mom trying to get 3 kids into a restaurant.  Spend an hour a week, month or year helping your community or give a few bucks.  Most important, be thankful for others around you that do something for you.

February 1, 2011

Winter Carnival Heartbreak

So any of you that have ever heard of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, bravo.  125 years ago, a New York reporter came to MN and said it was like Siberia and he didn't understand why anyone would want to live here... so we hosted a huge carnival right in the middle of the coldest month of the year.  My favorite part of the Winter Carnival is the $10,000 treasure hunt.  Thousands of people dig up all the parks in St. Paul following clues that lead you to a puck shaped "medallion."  There was a new clue writer this year, but I haven't decided what I think of her...

Anyways, after 7 days of clues and 4 days of personally digging into all hours of the night and taking an entire day off work, consuming beers and running into old high school friends, the medallion was found at 2:30 AM in Battle Creek Park.  I was asleep in bed when it happened because we had been out all day and we didn't think that anyone other than possibly us would find this medallion on day 7... boy, were we wrong.  Here are the clues they put out this year and congrats to the 3 people that won.  The young man said he was thinking about donating his money to a charity that has something to do with young men and women returning from Iraq.  More power to him.  I would given a little money away, paid for part of my parent's trip to costa rica and then paid off my student loans... not that exciting, right?  I'm going for classy - haven't you figured that out yet?  My reaction to the news this morning however, was NOT classy.  I threw a temper tantrum and physically kicked and punched my bed while pouting and then immediately called Katie and blamed it on her... nobody's perfect, right?

The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt clues and their meanings

Pioneer Press

Hanging like vultures, the icicle sculptures
Show the Vulcans to be most artistic
But forget your worries and find a park amid the flurries
You have reasons to be optimistic
As the cold wind blows through our record snows
In this land of the dammed and ice
We bid you fair welcome, whether heaven or hell come,
To hunt treasure that's sure to suffice
Invoking the Vulcans amidst an unusually cold and snowy Minnesota winter, we direct hunters to a park — a park with a body of water that, like our houses, is subject to ice dams.
Through the stormy seas, minding our Qs and Ps,
He captained a steady ship
With purpose clear he made us cheer
Or at least keep a stiff upper lip
Move with elation like folks from circulation
Each morn they stand and deliver
Take many more steps away from your doorsteps
Like carriers, hunters must shiver
A shout out to our departing editor, Thom Fladung. References to doorstep and circulation are in honor of those who deliver the PP daily; the medallion is wrapped in a clear plastic newspaper delivery bag. Upper invokes Upper Afton Road, near the park.
A chestnut gentle makes me sentimental,
For those glorious stories of yore.
Of the days in the glen, when men were men,
Och! Have I become a prodigious bore?

Chestnut gentle and glen refer to an old song called "Flow Gently Sweet Afton," based on a
poem from Robert Burns; it suggests Upper Afton and Lower Afton roads, which border Battle Creek. The Afton in the poem is a stream, just like the one that runs through the park — where the medallion is hidden, not far from its banks. For you Treasure Hunt history buffs, a similar reference was used in Clue 10 in 1970, when the medallion was hidden in Battle Creek.
Step off the math from the nearest path
The prize awaits excavation
Water to ice is a fitting price
To pay for this prime location
The prize is quite near a popular walking path, but it is buried deep. It is near the frozen creek in one of St. Paul's most beautiful park settings.
Don't give up yet, like aging Brett
Go where winter lovers meet
We hope you find those of like mind
And not da agony of da feet
A shot at our aged-out, finally retired QB; a reference to a park that is famed for its wintry beauty and privacy; and a veiled reference to both the aging QB's sore ankle and to the famed TV phrase "the agony of defeat.'' This was intoned by broadcaster Jim McKay as a ski-jumper fell in the intro to "ABC's Wide World of Sports.'' Our site is at the bottom of the old ski-jump hill in Battle Creek. The use of "da" suggests "da Bears" — or, in the case of Battle Creek, nearby White Bear Avenue.
In pants baggy with dog shaggy
Walk amongst the lonesome pine
Don't forget the clues that fit
Or you'll flub away what's mine
Fred MacMurray starred in "The Shaggy Dog," "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine," "The Absent-Minded Professor," and "Son of Flubber," while another McMurray, a tea merchant named William, helped found the park in 1925 and suggested that "Pine Coulee" be renamed "Battle Creek."
Leave your kettle and test your mettle
Out in the frigid cold
With a nip to brace and a bit of grace
You will have the item to hold
The first rhyming words of the first and third lines are "kettle" and "brace," which is an anagram for Battle Creek.
Strap on each boot and go look for the loot
Don't wait 'til you kick the bucket!
Be you girl or boy, you'll jump for joy
At the sight of the precious ducat
Strapping on boots suggests the skiing — formerly downhill and jumping and now mostly cross-country — that goes on at Battle Creek. Jump refers to the long-abandoned ski jump that once dominated the part of the park where the medallion is hidden.
Hillsides rift and provide a lift
A spot for walking beagles
197 aims toward heaven
Tim was up there with eagles
"Lift" and soared like eagles suggest the Battle Creek ski jump, where Tim Dennison once set the record by jumping 197 feet in 1971. So happens, the medallion is not far from the old stairs that went up the ski-jump hill where spectators watched the jumpers fly overhead.
Even a Norwegian will enjoy a park regional
A bridge too far for a raft
Skip your supper near Lower and Upper
Always look fore and Aft
We salute Minnesota's Northern European heritage and note that this is a "regional" park. We name the site near a bridge that couldn't handle a raft; "Lower" and "Upper" and "Aft" refer to Lower Afton Road and Upper Afton Road, which run through beautiful, snowy, iced-over Battle Creek Regional Park.
Follow the cattle and join the battle
Whether ye be women or men
Those who dare to find the end of White Bear
Jump in the direction of Ten
Refers to Battle Creek Regional Park and the end of White Bear Avenue, which leads to woods and the old ski jump site. "Jump" is a reference to the ski jump, and the direction is toward U.S. Highway 10, which runs along the Mississippi River.
What you need most is to find the last post
Where ski jumpers came to ground
It's not for the meek to be facing the creek
Eight steps to your left 'twill be found
You might be tarried, for deep it is buried
Dig till you feel cold and quivery
Before your hopes sag you'll spot a clear bag
Used for each morning's delivery
The "last post" that supported the steps of the old ski jump is near the run-out where jumpers landed. From the post, facing Battle Creek, eight steps to the left, or up creek, is the site. It was deeply buried under perhaps 18 inches of snow and ice, contained in a Pioneer Press newspaper delivery bag.

So there it is.  My heartbreak is finally passing, but I was able to enjoy the beautiful weekend without being too sore and exhausted.  Friday alone, I dug snow and ice for 6 hours... not in a row, but seriously, it got a little intense.  I had the best teammates though and I will do this every year no matter how many heartbreaks I have to live through.  Thank goodness my husband understands.  We went and checked out the ice sculptures on Sunday and tried out the Great Waters Brewery downtown.  It was wonderful.  I even got mini doughnuts.  This weekend, we are hosting some close friends here for appetizers and then we'll head downtown for the torchlight parade to watch the vulcans overthrow the king.  I love being busy in the winter time.  Also, getting my hair dyed darker tomorrow.  So excited for Trish to clean me up.  She is the BEST.  

January 23, 2011

I am an Auntie again

Isn't she a peanut?  She was 7 lbs and 19 3/4 inches long with tons of hair.  Meet Kennedy Jeanne Johnson. I got to hang at the hospital yesterday with her and her parents and eventually her big sister.  Mackenzy is doing really well with her new baby sister.  I am so happy for Holly & Wyatt.  Their little family is so sweet and happy.  I'm hoping they don't stop after this one... only time will tell.

On a totally different note, the winter carnival medallion hunt starts today.  Nothing much with the clue, but that's ok... nothing much comes out of the first clue except that it tells you that it's hidden in a park.  I'm not sure what we're going to do today, we've both wanted to see True Grit but it's not at our normal movie time, which sounds like a stupid reason, but however we have a nice little Sunday plan.  If we go to a movie around 10:00 AM, the parking lot is empty, we get our favorite seats in the theater, the price per ticket is only $5.00 and we can spend the extra money on consessions and lunch afterwards.  It's been a consistant thing that we've done for a while now and I love our Sunday Fundays (many times Sunday afternoons also involve a cocktail or two... keeping it classy.)  Today, however, with no movie, I'm not exactly sure what we're going to be doing.  I'll probably check in with some girlfriends in a little bit and maybe enjoy a bloody mary somewhere.  Love love love my life.

Welcome to this weird world Kennedy.  I hope you get as much out of each day as I do.  I can't wait to watch you grow.

January 4, 2011

Holidays 2010 - Busy Season

OK, so I have been a little absent for two months.  Duh, it's the holiday season.  We had a good Christmas.  No sisters or brothers shocked us with a proposal or a pregnancy, however one of my best friends is having a baby and I'm so excited for her.  She is the one that recently got married this fall and I'm pretty sure she's been pregnant since that night.  She is going to be the best mother.  As long as I can continue to buy fun little baby toys and listen to my 2 year old niece, Mackenzy, tell me why she's the boss and force me to carry around her princess dolls, I'll be just fine with my husband and the 2 dogs.

Here are my favorite photos of the holiday season:

This was from the day of the biggest blizzard in 10 years.  We received 17 inches of snow in a few hours.  Justin & I obviously didn't run out to the store to stock up on food and candles like so many others did.  We thought it was an exaggeration, so here we were halfway through the storm, plowed into our house without food.  We dressed up in all of our gear and walked to Schroeders (about a mile) in high winds and 4 feet of snow.  It was the best beer and chili i ever had in my life and we had so much fun acting like kids again.  The snow continues to fall this winter and spring will be more welcomed in this house than it has since J & I started dating in 05.  I don't think the snow will melt until July however.

This is the Gregerson family Christmas tree of the year and so many happy things underneath it.

Aunt Jenny hosted our first Christmas without Grandma. She cooked her very first Turkey and the look on her face is priceless.
We got to enjoy Madelyn's first Christmas at just 4 months old. Plus, we got some babysitting time in.
We hung out with my brother and his cowboy boots. He was home for the holidays from South Dakota.

I got to spend lots of time with these two pretty ladies and can't wait to meet the third one.

Hope everyone had a Happy & Classy New Year.  If you're still working on losing 10 lbs and becoming a better person, good luck.  I have no resolutions.  I'm continuing my journey of reading the entire Bible and I'm also reading a cheesy but interesting self help book for the first time in my life.  According to this book, I'll be richer, smarter, happier, thinner, younger, sexier and more relaxed by the end of the year :)  They have yet to write a book like that on becoming more classy.  I guess that's just as ridiculous as a resolution.  Oh well... here we go.