Mouse...and I'm not talking Mickey!

So really our story begins a year ago at this exact time. You know how this time of year it can start to get pretty darn cold at night, even as it warms a little during the day? Well, it can lead to some unpleasant things when you have an older home with a large field for a backyard.

Last year about this time I remember it was a Monday and I had just come back from my all girl weekend. I had taken that Monday off and was enjoying a relaxing day with Nate. We were in a good mood because he had been called for a second interview for the job he now has. We had just finished dinner and settled in to watch our Monday evening shows when our Taylor started acting a little bit nutty. She ran into our back room in the basement, which is our office. She didn't come out for the longest time, so Nate decided to go check on her.

He didn't come out of the office either. I yelled back "is she ok?" And he says "yeah" kind of slowly and still doesn't come back out. I decided to go see what was going on. Nate is looking at the floor and moved a box. As soon as he did this large black thing came darting after me. I did what any girl would do of course - screamed and jumped up on the office chair. I thought it was a bug, but Nate said "no, I believe we have a mouse." After a trip to Wal-Mart for some supplies, we had a long night of trapping not just one mouse, but several mice. Sadly all we had was a live trap, so Nate just kept getting up all night and emptying it out. He found holes outside the house where he thought they had come in, patched them all and figured we'd be good to go. And we were. For the whole next year anyway.

Fast forward to Fall 2009.

He had left the live trap just up in the ceiling in the office as a "just in case" type measure. This morning, I got up to do my workout and as I got into the basement I could hear a strange scratching noise. Perplexed I wandered around and made sure one of the cats had not gotten trapped somewhere. They were both accounted for. I still could hear the noise and thought it was very strange. Then it dawned on me.

So, I went upstairs to get Nate out of bed since his alarm had gone off anyway and asked him if indeed the trap was still set. He said "yeah, why?" So I told him about the noises. He checked it out and sure enough, we had a mouse. Nate's rather confused by this though, because he plugged up nearly every hole after this happened last year. I guess those little guys will get in anyway! So we dealt with it as best as we could for this morning, he'll attack the problem more tonight. We're both more calm about the whole thing this year, but I still wish we didn't have to deal with it!

Oh yeah, I've said it before, but I'll say it again - the myth about having cats in your house and not getting mice - totally false!! And yeah, Taylor and Pippin, not the best hunters in the entire world, nor do I think I want them to be!



Much like that content, happy, sleepy kitten above...I am very much at peace right now.

I can honestly say, I think I am in one of the best places I've been in a long time in terms of my life. And it's nice. I'm not so naive to say that nothing bad can happen to me - but I'm just in a happy peaceful place. I am blessed with wonderful family and friends. I am loving this beautiful season of Fall now that it has finally arrived. I have so many good things to look forward to in the coming months. Heck, I have good things to look forward to just in the coming weeks.

Nate and I are in a good place as a couple, our marriage has never been stronger. Not to say that we've ever really been in a bad place. Sure there were rocky moments when he was out of work, but that was ages ago. Or at least it feels like it.

I'm just content with how my life is going. I feel good. Peaceful. It's a nice feeling.

Peace to all of you as well.


Updates from weekend

Updates from the weekend:

I came in 5th out of 11 or so women at our family golf tournament. Not bad for someone who hasn't been out golfing once this year! I even took home a little money - on one hole we have a contest for who can shoot closest to the pin on their first shot - I ended up being the one who took that prize!

Beyond that, Nate and I had some nice quality time together this weekend, including a visit to one of our favorite restaurants (Donatelli's) that we haven't been to in quite some time because we like to go there when it is cold outside. Last night it was quite chilly and it sounded just about right!

Other things this weekend turned out less than pleasant, but I'm putting them behind me because today is starting out to be a good day and I think this week just might be a pretty good week!



This weekend I'm going to be playing in a golf tournament with my mom's family. This tournament has been going on for years and years - before I was even born. Apparently it started with my grandpa taking out his sons, it then extended to the son-in-laws and grandsons. It was a tradition that continued after my grandfather died and was dedicated to his memory.

I can remember it from when I was young and we'd always meet up after the golf game for a big luncheon. There are trophies that are handed out each year and passed around, I tell you, this tournament is no joke! The Millers take their golf seriously! My dad's name is displayed a couple of times on that trophy, it was always fun when it was in our house on display.

Somewhere in the mid 90's it was decided that after nearly 20 years they would let the women play as well. They would be in a category on their own, have their own trophy, etc. My dad took this opportunity to teach my mom and I to golf and for a number of years my mom and I passed back and forth the last place trophy. We've both improved a bit - although this year I won't be surprised if I take it home after not getting out once this summer to play AT ALL.

It's fun being out on the course in the cool autumn air, it's a good chance to see family we almost never see and it's just a Fall tradition to me. There have been several years I have missed it, but I've almost always been there since I was eligible to play (must be 13 years or older). Even Nate has played once since we've been married, but I gave him a get out of jail free card on this year since as I said above, we did not golf this summer. He does ok but would be much more comfortable if he'd had a chance to play before tomorrow.

So, I'll be going at it totally cold tomorrow! I can only imagine how it will go, but I could surprise myself, you just never know. Or maybe we'll get rained out, I have heard that is a possibility. Here goes nothing!


Thursday Top Ten

So those who follow my blog know - I am a big fan of lists. I thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit here and present you with a new weekly fun thing - a top ten list. I have seen other blogs do a "theme" post on a certain day of the week and I thought it would be fun to try. So I will be bringing you my top ten of a certain thing and I would encourage any and all of you to post in the comments what your favorites are of my weekly topic as well. Even if you have never commented before - don't be afraid, come on out and play!

So for the first week I bring you my top ten songs that immediately put me in a good mood! We'll call it the "Good Vibrations" (although Good Vibrations the song does not make my list, sorry).

10. Life In Technicolor - Coldplay from the album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
This song starts out kind of quiet and subdued but then it just gains momentum and ends up in a giant climax of sorts - and there aren't even any words, but man, it just gets me all excited!

9. Walk With Me - Seven and the Sun from the album Back to the Innocence
These guys are kind of unknowns as far as I know, but this song always puts me in a good mood, it's lively, upbeat and just fun. I also enjoy an acapella version by the group Fifth Element off their album Welcome to the Show.

8. Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve from the album Urban Melodies
I have loved this song since high school, the violins and strings have always seemed somewhat uplifting and really, you could look at the song as kind of a downer because he is calling life a Bitter Sweet Symphony, but you know what, life isn't always perfect, so sometimes we need that reminder!

7. Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da - The Beatles from The White Album
Come on, are you telling me you don't get the urge to sing along when you hear this one?

6. Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves from Walking on Sunshine
Ok come on, the happiness is implied in the title of this one!

5. You Are Loved - Josh Groban from the album Awake
This song got me through some tough times when Nate wasn't working, it always cheered me up to remember that no matter what, there are people out there who love me. And I could listen to this man sing all day, so that doesn't hurt either!

4. I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker - Sandi Thom from the album Smile, It Confuses People
I love how she wants to be a hippie or a punk rocker, the inner hippie in me feels the same way sometimes, like I was born in the wrong decade or something! At any rate I love to blast this one and sing along.

3. What's Up - Four Non Blondes from Bigger, Faster, Better, More
Oh how I love to sing this one at the top of my lungs when I'm in the car or the shower. Fun fact too - the only time I have ever done karaoke somewhere, I sang this song.

2. If Everybody Looked the Same - Groove Armada from the album Vertigo
Just a fun upbeat song, I like the message and it makes me want to get up and dance.

1. Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard from the album Ocean Avenue
Again, upbeat, fun to sing along to and I just can't help but smile when I hear it. I don't even know why I love it so much, but I just do!

So there you go. I did my best to link each of the songs to a sample on the internet if you're so inclined to check them out! What are your favorite good mood songs? Feel free to let me know in the comments, your list need not be as long and detailed as mine!

Come back next Thursday for a new Thursday Top Ten!


Welcome Autumn!

Ok so I'm a day late.

But my season is finally here! I am a huge Autumn lover as mentioned in this blog several times over. I cannot wait to bring out my Fall harvest type decorations each year, I get excited to rearrange my closet and bring out my fall/winter clothes. I drool over thoughts of apple pies and apple crisp and cider.

Now it's finally here! Although the weather has had a hard time lately realizing what time of year it is. Most folks are going to hit me when I say I'm ready for it to be cooler. Notice I did not say cold, just cooler. I happen to love sweatshirts and sweaters and I look forward to wearing them.

We've got fun fall activities coming up in the next few weeks. My mom's annual family golf tournament is this coming weekend. In a couple of weeks we're having our annual Oktoberfest beer/bonfire backyard bash. I'm super excited for that. With all of our friends so spread out it's really nice to have at least one day during the year when we're able to get everyone together for some fun. And Nate gets to show off his beer at the same time!

Another sign of Fall of course is the new TV schedule - I have some new favorites already this year and I have been enjoying catching up with shows coming back from hiatus. We try not to live our lives around the television schedule and often times find ourselves catching up with shows all in one night, but less commercials that way, so it works out.

So there are many reasons that Fall is awesome, I love that it is finally here and I plan to enjoy every last minute because after Fall comes winter and well....it is Minnesota after all.


A little too close to home

This morning Nate found out that his boss's daughter has a confirmed case of H1N1. There is now a possibilty that he'll be working from home for awhile at least for office work and obviously going to clients only when it's needed. Fabulous. He has been told to get checked out immediately at the first signs of any symptoms.

As someone who works in health care, specificially with vaccines, all I know is we'll have vaccine available hopefully in a couple of more weeks. Not soon enough when your loved one is potentially exposed.

All we can do is go one day at a time I suppose. This is just a bit too close for comfort for me!


Soap Box

I watched the Emmy's last night. I am a giant nerd and really enjoy awards shows. This year was no exception really - I loved Neil Patrick Harris as host, I thought that the overall show was well done, I was moved by Sarah McLachlan's live version of "I Will Remember You" while they flashed the pictures of those stars we lost this year. However, I have one huge complaint.

The same darn shows won this year that won last year too!

I am getting tired of all the awards going to 30 Rock. I apologize if any of my readers are fans, but I just do not get that show! I don't think it's funny. I cannot stand Alec Baldwin or Tracey Morgan. I love Tina Fey - but more in her films and SNL type stuff. So I'm sorry, I want someone else to have a turn in any categories shared with 30 Rock! Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory is a comic genus as Sheldon and he deserved the award.

Instead of Mad Men - did anyone not catch Hugh Laurie's outstanding performance in House, especially the season finale when his character discovers he is severely hallucinating?? Or just the fact that he plays a jackass SO well week in and week out? And actually the entire cast of House works so well as ensemble and there are storylines that go so deep - a main character dealing with Huntington's disease, another with martial problems, the suicide of a main character this last year that they all had to deal with? I'm just saying.

Anyway, I cannot change anything about the way these things work, but it doesn't mean I can't get up on my Soap Box and rant just a little bit :) So there you go, my thoughts on the Emmy's this year. Just wait, in about six months I'll be back to probably complain about the Oscars!


Friday Funny

My cats never cease to make me laugh. In the below picture, notice Pippin has a little friend.

Can you see it?

Her and Taylor both love this stupid little pink mouse that has a black string attached to it. The string used to attach to a little stick - but it broke off after much playing with it. I figured they probably wouldn't enjoy it much anymore and threw it in one of their toy baskets. All of sudden it is THE toy to play with, they both drag this thing all over the house and even fight over it a bit. I'm very glad it entertains them so.

Pippin must have decided that Mr. Mouse needed to stop and have a little snack with her. I came into the dining room and found this scene and just couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures.

Can you see it now?

I guess even toys get hungry sometimes! I swear she drug the mouse right up to the food bowl on her own. Who knows where he'll turn up next!


Another sub blog

I know, everyone reading this is going "does this girl do anything besides write blogs"?

I really do have a life! I promise! But, we do have a new sub blog titled "The Fun Couple's Guide to the Twin Cities" that I encourage you all to check out. I'll be focusing more energy into this blog than the food one. While Nate and I appreciate a good restaurant, we're not true foodies, so it's a hard blog to really work on.

So now, you're wondering, where did we get the idea for this new blog? It's kind of an inside joke. Nate came home from work one day and told me "So I've pretty much decided after talking with my co-workers that you and I are the fun couple." And while I am totally ok with that, I'm like "and just how did you reach that conclusion?" Apparently a single co-worker of his was going on a date with a new person, and was asking everyone what they did for fun with their significant others. Nate said that out of his co-workers, he was the only one that really goes out and does things with his wife. This is of no offense to any of his co-workers, I know a handful of them are parents so that does make it challenging.

For the whole rest of the weekend I wouldn't let go of the whole "We're the fun couple!" thing, which was driving him nuts at first, but then he said, you know what would keep us as "the fun couple"? Let's write a blog about the fun activities we go out and do in the area. And my ears perked up immediately because let's face it, I need blog writers anonymous I've gotten so addicted to blogging.

So there you have it! Our goal is to try one thing each month, depending on money, weather and time. But we're really going to try.

So read along with us there and have some fun! Suggestions of activities are also welcome!


Keg! Nate!

Ok, the subject line is kind of a joke - there was an episode of Gilmore Girls once titled "Keg! Max!" So, I'm just playing on that.

But this post is about our new keg system!

Nate decided bottling beer is, well, for lack of better words...a giant pain in the behind! All bottles must be washed and sanitized. Then you have to sanitize all the bottling equipment. The beer is then transfered to your bottling bucket and you're ready to bottle - which then takes another hour or so to do. Not to mention the fact that the cleaning and sanitizing of bottles can take days.

Kegging beer takes maybe an hour for one batch. Perhaps less once he gets the hang of it. And once it's kegged, it is only about a week before you can start drinking the beer. With bottling, conditioning can take more like three weeks.

So anyway, Nate seriously weighed the pros and cons and decided kegging would be a good direction to go. It's a bit of an investment to get started, but will save us money and time in the long run.

He purchased his kegs nearly two months ago and slowly added the parts and pieces needed to get started. Finally he was ready to buy the biggest piece - the container in which he would keep the kegs cold. He read up on how to set up a deep freezer to be a keggerator. It involves bypassing the temperature controls so it can be a slightly warmer temperature. We had to do alot of searching to find a freezer that would fit in our basement, but finally found a good option and had it delivered last Friday.

Saturday Nate hooked up all the necessary pieces to get the kegs up and running - and we now have three kegs of beer, no waiting. We've sampled all three and they're not bad. Now the next steps will be to rebuild our bar around the freezer. For now, we may end up just throwing a couple of shelves up above the freezer for various alcohol and glassware. Our old bar needs to go, not sure what we're going to do with that yet. So the basement is a bit of a mess. But it will all be worth it.

Nate's so excited and it makes me happy to see him so happy. And I have to say, kegged beer tastes just as good as the bottled beer. Hopefully this will help us enjoy our homebrew for many years to come. AND I may attempt to make my own soda! So stay tuned!


The good, the bad and the ugly

So my weekend can be summed up in three words: good, bad and ugly.

The Good:
Nate got his keg system up and running! The freezer was delivered Friday right after work. He worked on hooking everything up on Saturday. I'll post more about this specifically later, but by Saturday evening we were enjoying beer out of our kegs!

The Bad:
As our breakfast dishes were on their wash cycle after we ate on Sunday morning, the dishwasher started making a strange noise. Nate thinks the motor may be going out. It's unfortunate. No, a dishwasher is not a necessity, I know many people who do just fine without them (I used to be one of them, my parents do not have one), but it sure does make life convenient. Unfortunately, if it is going bad, we're not going to replace it right now. We'll save some money first and then do it.

The Ugly:
While driving to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon, all of a sudden, I could hear this really loud, vibrating motor type noise. I'm looking all around us and Nate's like "what are you looking for?" And I said "the loud motorcycle that is near us" and then realized there was no loud motorcycle - it was my car. It was so bad I could feel my seat vibrating underneath me. We went ahead and did our grocery shopping and returned home. Nate looked under the car and figured out that my exhaust separated from the catalytic converter because some nuts were missing. At first it was unknown if we would be able to just get some new nuts and screw it back in place or if the very worst case scenario - would we have to replace the catalytic converter, which would cost a boatload of money? Fortunately after consulting with his dad and doing some more looking under the car, it sounds like the first scenario should fix it which is good, it should only cost us around $10 which is a huge relief. But until he can fix it, I get to drive around town with a car that sounds like a drag racer. Woo hoo.

So there you have it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I can only hope my week turns around and becomes beautiful instead of ugly!


A note

To the City of Columbia Heights:

Remember a couple of weeks ago I sent you that note about communication and how it needs to improve between us? Well, this is on the same topic.

I just think it would be kind of you to inform your residents when you plan to make changes to the street they live on. It would really help so when they come home from work one day and suddenly see yellow lines painted down the middle of the street and a solid white line on one side of the road they'll understand what is going on. Is it a bike lane? Is it a parking lane? We are confused. I don't know that I like either option, but I would like to at least be told what is going on!

So again, it's just a little note for you that it would be nice to be communicated with. I'm just saying. I am not moving anytime soon due to large amounts of money I put into home projects on my house this summer, but you are not making me happy Columbia Heights. Let's try and work on that.



Was it really a three day weekend?

Man alive we kept ourselves busy this past weekend! I don't know how three days could fly by so fast! When you look at what we did though, it makes sense.

Friday was a low key evening. We did not have a Praise Project rehearsal for a change, so we had a nice relaxing dinner at my parents and then just headed home to watch a movie from Netflix. We haven't had an opportunity to do that on a Friday in weeks, so it was a nice change of pace!

Saturday we got up early and met my parents in Minneapolis and did the Segway tour. It's a little spendy, but if you ever get the chance to try it, you should. It's a neat way to see some of the historic sites of Minneapolis without having to walk as much because you're riding a Segway the whole way! They give you a half hour of training before they take you out. I found that riding the Segway was pretty easy, though it does get a little tiring on your feet and legs. They also have a St. Paul tour so Nate and I hope to maybe go do that one in the spring.

After the tour we had lunch at a so/so restaurant on the river, headed home to relax for a bit and then went to one of our new favorite places, Shamrocks, for dinner.

Sunday was a picnic with the Roman family up in Chisago at the same location we had the picnic over Memorial Day weekend. It's so pretty up there and nice on the lake. We had an adventurous boat ride complete with Uncle Marty getting stuck in the mud when he stopped to let the dog off to go potty. He had beached the boat, but after he got off, we started drifting. Marty took two feet into the water to try and grab the boat and sunk down up to his waste. It was a "kind of have to be there" sort of moment, but man, we all laughed! We managed to get the boat back to Marty and returned to shore where he could get cleaned up.

The picnic pretty much killed Sunday though. So Monday, we slept late, started our quest to find Nate a chest freezer for his beer kegs and then he mowed the lawn. So far we're coming up dry on the chest freezer - it has to fit through our basement door. Remember the couch saga? This is pretty much the same problem. We're hopeful we will find something so we can start enjoying our three new batches of beer! Stay tuned!

So when you look at it, can you understand why I feel like I didn't just have a three day weekend? I'm sure my readers are saying to themselves "When does this girl ever rest?" I honestly don't know the answer to that question!


Then and now

It's funny, I was thinking about it today and right about a year ago at this time, I was at my lowest point ever I think. Nate had just been turned down from another job offer, there seemed to be no end in sight to his unemployment, things were starting to really shift and go downhill at church.

My faith was shaken. My spirit was crushed. Our marriage was still strong, we were holding together, but it was starting to get a little bit rough at times and I think Nate will agree with me on that. It was a tough time for both of us. I know it was hard for Nate not only because of the employment issues but also not knowing how to help me through the other stuff. There seemed to be no light, although we didn't know it at the time, we were mere days from the call that finally changed things for the better. It just seemed like the dark clouds would never part.

We came through the other side, stronger and better for it. One year later I can look back on those dark days and say, wow, look where we were and where we are now! When I reflect on it I see I have become a better person and I can even understand why things happened the way they did.

I had to learn that I am NOT in control even though I want to be the one who is. God is in control. I thought we were meant to travel on one path, but God said, nope, you need to go this way. I see it so clearly now, even if I was looking through the wrong glasses a year ago. Things happen for a reason, even if it just doesn't make sense at the time.

Today I can truly and honestly say that I am in such a good place in my life right now. Our marriage is stronger than ever. Amazing and wonderful things happened even if we were led to leave our church (yes I said led, I still believe this was God's plan for me, hard as it was to go through). We are so blessed with family and friends, beautiful people put in our lives that I never want to let go of. I am feeling comfortable on the path we are walking right now.

Today my faith is strong, my spirit is alive. And perhaps the best gift of all is knowing, if the dark times come again, we CAN get through them. As long as we trust in the Lord and remember it is His path, not our own. I hope those dark times never come again, but nothing is for certain.

For now I just rejoice in what is. And you know what? It feels pretty darn good. The past is the past. I live in the now. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present. And I am at peace.


Summerizing the Summer

And now it is September. Fall is nearly here and summer is more or less behind us. Technically the Autumn equinox isn't for a few more weeks, but we're close enough for me to start considering it fall now. It's colder in the mornings and sun is setting earlier I've noticed.

But, as much as I love Fall, I'm also reflecting on the summer. We had a good one, it flew by rather fast.

June found us celebrating Springtoberest with our friends a little later than originally planned because of Nate being sick in May. We Rocked the Garden with the Current at the Walker Art Center. We sang our first official "gig" as Praise Project at both a Lutheran church and then the Catholic church we've been most frequently attending. We continued work on our never ending painting project and did some small amounts of work in the yard. We had our new furnace and air conditioner installed as well.

July we celebrated a low key 4th of July weekend. We started trying out new kinds of tea. We also visited a few restaurants we'd never been before. We kept plugging away on that darn painting project. I took a Friday off and spent time with good friends at the beach and got extremely sunburned. We finally bought our new couch and loveseat for the basement. Nate's dad had surgery and we helped his parents out for the first few days of his recovery and we rejoiced in the fact that everything went extremely well. We celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday at a Greek restaurant.

And in August we had a family reunion, finally finished the painting project and moved into our new bedroom, spent a three day weekend up north with family in a cabin on a lake, sang at another gig with Praise Project, Nate began the process of kegging beer and we made a trip to the MN State Fair. We had a piano moved to our house and rearranged some furniture. I had a very successful Partylite candle party.

That pretty much summerizes our summer. We had opportunities to spend time with friends, meeting up for drinks or dinner and many times doing these things in outdoor venues which was fantastic. It was a great summer and I have no complaints. But, that doesn't mean I'm still not happy to move onward to Fall!