12/31/10

Reflections

And once again, as I say every year about this time "I can't believe a year went by so fast."

More than ever it feels like 2010 seriously zoomed by. Blink once it's January. Blink again it's December.

It was an up and down year that seems to be defined by three themes.

Changes:
We finally got the living room painted. We rearranged the furniture in the living room. Nate along with wonderful help built his awesome bar. I moved office space at work three times. My position didn't go away, but also changed a bit by the end of the year.

Loss:
We lost Nate's cat from growing up. We lost my uncle. We lost my grandma. We lost the person my cousin once was to an ugly mental disorder. We lost the opportunity to refinance our house. We lost other people not directly connected to us, but to those close to and important to us. It was a bit of a hard year that way.

Fun:
We started going to roller derby and became addicted. We got to take the first vacation in four years up to Itasca for an entire week. We had a short weekend getaway to a cabin with the Praise Project gang. We tried many new restaurants. We rocked out at Rock the Garden for a second year. We visited the Science Museum. We attended our ten year high school reunion. We had an outstanding celebration of Oktoberfest with friends in our home on the warmest day of the fall. We had great birthdays and holidays this year.

Those are pretty much the big highlights this year. Overall, I wouldn't say it was a good or a bad year. It kind of just was, you know? I do look forward to 2011 and plans we already have, projects we want to start, things we want to try.

Looking back on the year for just myself, I found myself having moments of self discovery. Not in a bad way, but just truly learning just who I am and also, excepting it. Being ok with where I am in my life journey. Learning not to let anyone else try to define it for me. And I am ending 2010 in a truly peaceful place and am very happy with where my life is currently going. This is me, for better or worse. I thank all of you who have read my story this year and I hope you'll come back to see what happens in my world in 2011!

Happy New Year one and all. (Side note MN Friends - be safe and careful in the potential unsafe driving conditions tonight if you are out partying!)

12/27/10

Short and sweet

I want to enjoy my time off as much as possible - so I don't know that I'll blog much this week, but I did want to get a nice short and sweet wrap up of our Christmas celebrations.

My first major holiday in my home was a huge success - It was wonderful and I hope to do it again sometime.

I got the best present ever from Nate - a stuffed Rowlf the Dog (Muppet) and a toy piano for him to sit at (Rowlf plays piano on the Muppet Show).

We enjoyed time with my mom's family on Christmas as well.

And I have already hit up two major after Christmas sales - LUSH and Old Navy. I think I'm done shopping for the next year now. Ha.

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days. Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas too.


My Rowlf and his piano


Stockings over the piano - didn't get a good tree shot sadly


Table set for nine - it was snug, but we did it!

12/23/10

The greatest of gifts

This is likely my last post until after Christmas Day.

And right now, I don't have much more to say other than right now I'm reflecting on just how blessed I truly am.

My heart is bursting with joy and love for the amazing gifts I have in my daily life, not just at Christmas.

The gift of friendship - I have some of the best ones around, people who put up with my ranting and raving, celebrate the victories with me, support me in the tough times, have fun with me and aren't afraid to get a little crazy, and most of all just understand me and like me FOR ME.

The gift of family - It's a treasure to know that I have a loving family who loves me unconditionally and I'm continually thankful that I can see them as much as I do. We're not perfect by any means, but I still think we are special.

The gift of music - being able to continue to do something I'm so passionate about, singing and sharing it with others. And also as a listener - having so much awesome music at my fingers through my favorite radio station and via the internet.

The gift of love - I still find myself waking up each day wondering how I was so lucky to find someone like Nate. He is my all, my everything. My Christmas wish was for him to get better from a nasty cold and he is definitely well on the way to that point. I am very thankful for that.

I really do not need anything else as long as these gifts continue to be in my life. All I can do is give back as much as I receive.

I wish all of you a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

12/22/10

Countdown is on

Two days to Christmas Eve and Three to Christmas...

Presents not wrapped yet...I'm a procrastinator on this because it's my least favorite Christmas task. I am going to attempt it tonight though!

Mr. Nate is on the path to health, went back to work today and said while he's still worn out, he feels the best he has in several days. Here's hoping he stays on the mend!

My required Christmas viewing is more or less complete - I have a couple of things I'd like to watch if I get time, but if I do not, I won't be heartbroken.

Plans are coming together and I am so excited. I can't wait to exchange gifts with our family. I'm looking forward to spending some time with people I don't often get to see next week while I am off of work.

I'm trying to enjoy every moment of the next few days because we got to this point SO FAST this year and I don't want the entire holiday to fly by too quickly. I'm sure when all is said and done it will still be over too soon, but I'm really focusing on one moment at a time.

12/21/10

All I want for Christmas...

...Is for this guy to feel better!

Nate on a warm day at the Happy Gnome last summer

Yes he is probably not the only one in the world with a bad cold right now, but for him to be home for a second day in a row and heading to the doctor to get checked out, you know he's feeling pretty lousy. So, right now, I don't really care about anything else but getting my favorite person in the entire world healthy. Cause Christmas won't be fun otherwise.

So Santa, if you're reading, that's all we want right now! We've been good little children this year!

12/20/10

Twas five days till Christmas

And I'm nearly ready. I have things left to do - but I am trying to keep faith they will get done. I've been staying on a pretty even keel save for two moments - one minor meltdown last week and one kind of snapping at Nate type incident barely worth mentioning. I think if those are the only "stress" moments I have this year then I'm doing pretty good!

All of my shopping is done save for a few trinkets to add on if I have time to get them. And I really should - there are five days this week in which stores are open (thanks to my mother for reminding me of this fact) and sure they might be busy, but I can always stop for a few minutes if I have time and grab the items I feel I might be missing.

The wrapping - my least favorite part - is going to consume me a bit this week, but you know what, I have a handful of unwatched Christmas movie/specials left, so pop one of those in and go nuts I suppose!

Baking is done, trays are put together and distributed. The cookies are awesome I must say. And tasty.

There will be cleaning and preparations for my big meal on Friday, but I feel if I take a little bit each day, then it will all get done on time.

Of course, I'm neglecting to mention this small thing called "Nate has a bad cold" - but he stayed home today to hopefully rest tons and get healthy. Good thing too with another snowstorm coming here, I need him to be strong to help me shovel!

The other downer is his bar currently isn't working - the second CO2 regulator went bad - which means beer does not come out of the taps. So, he needs to fix that when he has time/or is up to it. If we have beer for his family on Christmas Eve, great, if not, I have wine. Lots and lots of wine!

I realized today too I let my music Mondays fall by the wayside...maybe I'll start up again after the holidays. I will mention, one of my other most favorite Christmas songs ever is the Canon Carol by Trans Siberia Orchestra - I'm sure most of you have heard it, it gets plenty of airplay this time of year. The first time I remember hearing it was the year I was getting married and it just made me think of weddings so much because of it being set to Pachabel's Canon in D and that is what I walked down the aisle to.

So, here we go, twas five days till Christmas and for now, all is well.

12/15/10

The hostess with the mostess

I am a little giddy at the moment. Christmas is 10 days away and even though there is much to do, so much yet to do, I am still giddy.

Extenuating circumstances have led us to be hosting our first ever major holiday in our home. We decided yesterday that we will be hosting Christmas Eve this year for my in-laws. I am sure some would be freaking out or be super stressed out in my shoes right now but I'm not. I am excited. I have never had the chance to do a major holiday for family in the four years we've been married and living in our house. Some years it seems I'm decorating for just Nate and I - which I don't mind and do it because I love it, but I'm thrilled that others will be able to enjoy my happy Christmas environment this year.

It helps that the meal will be a group effort, so I don't have to do too much cooking, and the things I am making are some of my favorites to do. I will have to do some pretty major cleaning, but it is a good thing because it's forcing me to do stuff that would otherwise take a backseat in this crazy time of year. And of course, it doesn't hurt that we have a fully stocked bar at the ready and our favorite Christmas wine already chilling in our wine cooler.

The only downer is we don't have a fireplace like my in-laws do and I will miss that a little - we hang our stockings by it and sit by the fire after we eat dinner and also watch the yule log on channel 45 too, which we always laugh about because it's so silly when we have a real fire. Well, this year, channel 45 will have to be enough. And I might hang the stockings on the entertainment center so they will look like they are hanging by the fire!

So I feel like a big old nerd, or maybe like Donna Reed or something as suggested by my sister-in-law, but I am just so excited. Now I need to get busy getting all that "Stuff" that needs to get done, finished!

12/13/10

Snow My God!

What a weekend. Honestly. I don't even know if I can put it all into words, but I'm going to do my best!

Basically, we just survived the worst blizzard since our famed 1991 "Halloween" blizzard. And let's see in 1991 I was only nine, so yeah, didn't have to really deal with the issues such a storm can cause. So anyway, let's rewind a bit.

Friday night we had a rehearsal with Praise Project and our director was smart enough to call the church we were scheduled to sing at and see if we could set up our equipment on Friday night so we would not have to deal with it in the snow. So after a super short rehearsal, we drove the drums down, set them up and that was that. Stopped to have a beer at Barley Johns and it was just starting to snow when we headed home around 11. It wasn't too bad yet.

Saturday morning I got myself up early enough so I could go and feed my parents cat since they were due in around 3:00. And I looked outside and sure enough, there was already a good seven inches on the ground. Fortunately my CRV gets through just about anything, so I got down to their house with no problem and even made it over to Caribou on my way back also without much problem.

We headed out to start shoveling around noon, even though the plows hadn't been through yet. We wanted to make less work for later. Meanwhile, I was checking the reports and checking in with my parents to find out how delayed they'd be. First they were told an hour and a half, then they were told three hours. My sister-in-law's flight ended up cancelled. When the airport closed here, I figured my parents weren't getting here either, though they kept reporting just a delay.

We finished our shoveling and took showers and got dressed to go to Praise Project. It was just down in Northeast Minneapolis, so I figured a half hour would be plenty of time to get there...except then just as we stepped out the door, the plows decided to come by. And bury us in a three foot plow ridge. There may have been profanities coming out of my mouth at that point.

So, I called our director and told her we'd be late, while Nate attacked the plow ridge enough that we could at least get my car out. We were tempted to just stay home - but since the drums were there, we kind of wanted to go down and get them.

Driving down there I've never been so scared in my entire life. The wind had really picked up at this point and it was true white out. I have never driven with such bad visibility. We went up and over a railroad bridge where it was very open and it was just very scary. Nate was ready to talk me into turning around, but once we got past that point and into an area with a lot of buildings, we were a little more protected.

Fortunately the church parking lot was plowed out really well. We got in just in time for the second prelude. There were two people sitting in the entire church. By the time mass started, there were six people in church, one priest, one acolyte, one reader. And then there were nine of us in the group - so a grand total of 18 people. It was odd.

Going home was much better, the roads were still pretty yucky, but the visibility had improved. I still hadn't heard from my parents again, so figured it was a good idea to go and feed the cat just so she had some food in case they didn't get home until three in the morning or something. We got to their house and I felt so bad - their driveway was a nightmare. And if we had tried to clean it out for them we would've been there until midnight. My mom had previously told me earlier in the day to not worry about it, just make sure the cat had food, so I just trudged up the driveway to get into the house, fed her and we made our trek back home. Now we were seeing all the idiots out on the roads and that made the drive both frustrating, but semi entertaining.

We finally made it home and decided to just make grilled cheese sandwiches and drink beer for dinner. I am not ashamed of our choice! It was a tough day, that beer was well deserved. And definitely helped ease the aches and pains a bit from shoveling. We settled in with some television shows and the phone rang at 6:30. I was shocked when it was my dad on the other end saying they had just landed! I warned him of the roads and what to expect when they got to their house. I was so surprised they made it, it was only about three hours late, not bad all things considered.

My sister in law was not so lucky, she had to spend the night in Atlanta. She made it home late yesterday from what I understand.

Sunday we slept in and then got up and attacked the driveway again. It went much faster and easier without the snow blowing and falling as we worked. We seriously have no more places to put any snow. Backing in and out of the driveway will be a challenge for awhile and I can't believe we didn't bury the lightpost - it's close, but not quite buried. After that I showered and then headed to my mom and dad's to catch up with them and hear all the stories of the trip. Sounds like traveling with 17 other people is an experience to say the least. But they did have a good time.

We finished out our weekend by grocery shopping and grabbing a bite at La Casita and then just crashing.

I had so many other things I wanted to get done this weekend - namely Christmas shopping - and feel like I'm SO behind on Christmas in general right now. I know it will all come together, but I am not as organized as I should be at this point. Hopefully having my mom back now should help and if it just would stop snowing on the weekends, we should be able to get a bunch of stuff done next weekend. Just going to have to be uber efficient!

So that is my story. Hopefully all my other MN friends survived Snowmegeddon just fine as well!

12/10/10

I'm famous again...kind of...

I'm famous again!

Ok, not that famous. But I am proud to announce I have another featured article in the Muppet Mindset that can be found here: http://themuppetmindset.blogspot.com/2010/12/muppet-fan-testimonials-beth-kondrick.html

You may recall earlier this year I had a featured article on Muppet Toys of my youth. This time it is a "fan testimonial" in which I attempt to define my fandom. So if you've ever been curious as to why I love the Muppets - check it out, I try my hardest to explain!

I have to say - the Muppet Mindset has just exploded this last year in popularity and has gained attention from some of the most famous people in the world of Jim Henson, so it's a thrill when I get a chance to contribute. I have known the creator of the Mindset for a number of years now and I couldn't be prouder of what he's doing and let me tell you - this kid is going places, I have no doubt in my mind he'll be part of the Disney/Henson team someday and I'll be going "man, I knew that guy way back when..."

In other news, continuing to pray for the safe return of my parents and sister in law tomorrow. Hoping beyond hope the news folks are just overhyping this entire thing...we'll see!

12/9/10

Stop with the snow already

Ok I am all for a White Christmas. I really am. And I have enjoyed seeing the snow we've had so far. But now they're predicting a potential blizzard on Saturday. Normally this wouldn't bug me that much being on a weekend and all but there's this one little thing...
My parents are due to arrive in the late afternoon via plane from their trip. And I just want them home safe. My sister in law is also flying in late Saturday and I'd like her to be safe too.

And it's silly, but I've missed my parents, especially my mom, more than I really want to admit this week. Of course I'm glad they got to go and I'm glad they've been having a good time, but I seriously miss them.

My mom is my best friend. Even back when I didn't have the opportunity to spend the lunch hour every day with her I used to talk to her every day on the phone - sometimes twice. When I've gone out of town I've called to check in pretty much every day. It hasn't been super easy for her to do that from Florida. So this has been a little bit odd for me.

And now with this impending snowstorm I'm just so nervous about them getting home. So I have to say, sorry to any snow enthusiasts, but I am doing a super big ANTI Snow dance.

Cause you know what, I don't care if I'm 29 years old. I want my mommy back.



Picture done for my dad's birthday once again by my favorite photographer, Jes Lee

12/8/10

Babbles

Wow, I am so glad I'm not having to post every day right now - I have been lacking ideas and motivation to do so!

Even today is going to mostly just be babbles from me.

My week has been a bit of a fog actually. I blame that on having my whole schedule kind of disrupted in the fact that I have to go to my parents a couple of times a day to feed and take care of Cleo. She's doing fine though - she misses them I think, but she's eating good and that makes me happy. She's warmed up to me quite nicely too, in fact, she actually sat on my lap today!

I have heard from them a couple of times - apparently it is quite cold there for Florida, it hasn't been warmer than 60 since they've been there and they've even warn their winter coats a bit. My dad even cancelled his golf game - why would you want to golf in 29 degree weather in the morning? You could almost do that here. I have been told there are "stories"; due to traveling with 17 other people, I suppose that is expected. But they have had a nice time in spite of those issues.

I'm very happy to have figured out most all of my gifts for people now, since my last post on that subject I did some brainstorming and I am pretty excited about what I have come up with. I'm finding I'm having a much easier time getting into a Christmas spirit than I did last year - I do not know what it was about last year, but I struggled a bit. This year, so far, I'm feeling good.

I have my yearly physical today. They wanted me to do a fasting lab (check cholesterol and stuff, I'm young, but apparently it's never too early) but that was not happening with the appointment being at 3:00 in the afternoon. I'll have to reschedule that portion which is fine with me, I wasn't looking forward to being poked today. I hate blood draws - they do not ever go well for me.

A pleasant surprise - or maybe more of an embarrassment - I have discovered I have more time off banked right now than I know what to do with. I'm sure my HR people think I was hoarding it. The problem is, it was never explained well to me that the hours carry over to next year that are not used, while you are still accruing NEW hours. And it wasn't until this year that I really used my time off to my advantage. And now starting January 1st our maximum amount that you can accrue in a year is being lowered and I'm very, VERY close to the capping point where I'll stop earning new hours - YIKES! So, I'm opting to take the week between Christmas and New Year's off for now and will definitely look at using some time off next summer too. It is unfortunate that Nate does not get more time off in a year - but I'm sure I'll fill that week with some fun things. Anyone else off during that time and want to hang out? Let me know!

So there you go. That's pretty much where I am at today. Guess I haven't done one of these in awhile, so I was probably due!

12/6/10

Music Monday - Silent Night

Yes Silent Night is a classic Christmas carol/hymn. Yes I know you've all heard it before. But, have you ever heard this version?

Priscilla Ahn's treatment of this beautiful tune is haunting, goes just a little deeper and almost stirs a bit of melancholy. But it is lovely. It can be found on a CD called "The Hotel Cafe Presents: Winter Songs" which just might be my favorite Christmas CD ever.

As it's a very cold, slightly snowy morning, this song just suits my mood today, so I bring it here for Music Monday.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvjdfFYXYPU

12/3/10

The spirit of giving

It is no secret that I absolutely love the holidays. I love decorating and baking and carols and holiday movies and specials.

I love shopping too...except when I have a hard time coming up with gift ideas. And that is where I'm at right now. So I am kind of NOT loving shopping at the moment. I kind of feel like this year might be one of those years where I have to drop myself down in the middle of the mall and just wander around and see what strikes my fancy.

It doesn't help that my favorite partner in crime for shopping (me madre) will be gone for a week either! Usually she can help me figure things out a bit. We'll just have to hit it hard when she gets back (along with a TON of baking...).

Thanks to the generosity of some friends, I think I have Nate figured out - I had an epic idea earlier this week - but then the necessary items sold out extremely fast so I had given up on it. But I have friends that were able to purchase said items and they have offered to sell them to me, which is just kind beyond words. Yes this is all rather vague, I just don't want to give anything away if Nate stumbles onto the blog. I don't think he reads much but just in case...

But I buy gifts for more than just my husband so I am stumped on pretty much everyone else on my list. And this week I read a blog post of a friend of mine that has definitely had me thinking as well. The post is here and includes a short video that is quite thought provoking.

It should not be this difficult - so I'm really trying to just kind of look inside my heart a bit more this year and I think that will hopefully lead me to ideas that are nice and meaningful. And I know that my recipients will know that what they are given is given with love and that is the only thing that truly matters. That is the spirit of giving.

12/1/10

Once in a lifetime



The people in the above picture (not the greatest picture, but I actually do not really have any of the two of them on my computer) are of course two of the most important people in the world to me seeing as they kind of gave me life and raised me. And in a few days, they are going on the trip of a lifetime and I am so happy (and jealous) but mostly happy for them.

The story begins a few months ago - about two weeks after my grandma died, my mom got a phone call from my aunt and uncle - they said they wanted to take my mom and all her siblings plus their spouses to Disney World. For a week. All inclusive. All expenses (minus spending money) PAID. Airfare covered. Hotel fares covered. Dinners as a family covered.

I should briefly explain - my uncle was an only child and handled not just his mother's finances but his aunt's and he came into quite a bit of money when they both passed on. He and my aunt have been able to do this type of trip a couple of times with my aunt's children and their children in fact. Anyway, my uncle loved my grandma as much as his own mother, so he said he wanted to do this for my mom's family in her honor - especially since she loved Disney World so much.

When it was put to them that way - my parents were like, how can you turn that down? It is extremely generous of my aunt and uncle. Now, my parents and I were blessed to be able to go to Disney World four times when I was growing up - but we never experienced it the way that they are about to. They will be able to do anything they want more or less - if my dad wants to golf he can golf. My mom and aunts are getting massages. They will get to eat at some of the nicest restaurants at the parks and stay in probably THE nicest hotel there.

In all seriousness, my mom's family as a whole has been through a lot in the last few years, not just the loss of my grandma, but also of two of my mom's brothers passed away and two of her other siblings have been battling cancer as well. It's a large family - these things happen. So, I cannot imagine any people who are more deserving than the some 17 of them that will be going. Plus, it'll be a chance for my mom and her siblings to really reconnect since some haven't really had that chance since they were children.

I am so excited for them, I know they will have an amazing time. I'm hopeful that Nate and I will be able to go there with them someday, but for now, I'm going to live vicariously and wish them the best trip ever!

Side note - today is also my dad's birthday - so happy birthday Dad!

11/30/10

Wrapping up

It is the last day of November already - how is that even possible? Man this month flew by! At any rate, it also means today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I am so pleased and even proud that I managed to post every single day.

There were definitely some days that it was more challenging than others - trying to figure out what I really felt was blog worthy to share with the world. I found it most challenging to write on the weekends. I just don't really blog much over the weekends normally, it's easier during the week. Because face it, I work a semi-boring at times desk job, so I usually have a few minutes free to write...and I'm not going to say that too loudly, because I don't like talking about work in my blog and I do like my job a lot of the time...

Anyway, I'm glad I participated again this year. I'm not sure I gained much from blogging every day other than having a good opportunity to work on my writing. Now that the month is over, I do not know if I will keep blogging every day or not. I do still enjoy it greatly, so I am sure I'll still be blogging pretty darn often. In fact, I have ideas for posts to take me through the end of this week even.

But even if I do keep posting nearly every day, at least the pressure of "I have to get something posted today" is over and I am glad to be able to go back to posting at my leisure.

Thanks to all who followed along on my journey this month. I hope you enjoyed the things I shared, from the theme posts to my daily ramblings and recaps of what we did throughout the month. And I hope you'll keep tuning in even after today!

11/29/10

Music Monday - Feels Like Christmas

Getting close to wrapping up NaBloPoMo! I can't believe it! I will have more thoughts on this tomorrow.

Today I bring another edition of Music Monday - I may continue these after NaBloPoMo is over too, it's kind of fun.

Because I have kicked off the Christmas season in my house, I am going to share the first of some of my favorite Christmas songs today.

Cyndi Lauper's "Feels Like Christmas" is a favorite of mine - it is such a happy little song, she's talking about how the person she loves makes it feel like Christmas every day - which Nate certainly does for me, but it also has kind of an old fashioned kind of feel to it and I don't know, it puts me in a good mood and in the holiday spirit!

You can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqU6T4qkyzQ - sadly it's a live version, which is the only one I could find, but it's still pretty good.

December is not long enough for me to share ALL of my favorite Christmas songs, but I'll certainly try to pick my favorites as we go through this season!

11/28/10

Eat and eat and eat some more

Seriously stuffed.

This weekend has seemed to be about eating - today being no exception, we just had brunch at India Palace for my father-in-law's birthday. Such good food. But man. I. AM. FULL.

I kind of wish we were still running - I probably gained about 20 pounds this weekend!

I kid. But seriously, it was a marathon of food, going to have to get back to reality and eating good well balanced meals between now and Christmas I think!

At least it's nice enough to go walking this afternoon and that is next on my very long to do list that I have been avoiding all weekend....

11/27/10

An epic weekend

So far it has been a birthday/Thanksgiving weekend of epic proportions.

Ok, I'm probably exaggerating a bit.

But it has been a good weekend. We kicked it off on Wednesday evening with dinner for the two of us at the Sample Room - we had a lovely time there, it was really quite nice.

Thursday I had my free Caribou birthday drink in the morning with my parents, baked an apple pie with my mom and then headed to Nate's grandparents to celebrate Thanksgiving with them as per our tradition. We headed home around 8:00 and watched a couple of shows before bed.

Friday we slept in. It felt so good! Then we had breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast stops - Stabby's Cafe in Minneapolis. Odd name, great food. After that we headed home, I did a massive cleaning and then transformed the house into Christmas at the Kondricks. I love that I could take the whole afternoon to do that!

We had a light dinner and then played some Beatles Rockband (Nate's b-day gift to me) while we waited for our families to arrive to celebrate our birthdays. We then had a great time with them having cake, opening presents and playing the game Linkity.

Today I got up, met the parents at Caribou once again and then mom and I did a little shopping. Tried to start my Christmas shopping but was somewhat unsuccessful. I have plenty of time and ideas though. Did get some good deals at Clothes Mentor (of course) and also made it to Lush today too.

Tonight we have rehearsal with Praise Project and then mass tomorrow morning and then we're going to India Palace for my father-in-law's birthday brunch. The fun doesn't stop!

But seriously, I love weekends like this!

11/26/10

Him


I love this man more than words can say.

Happy 29th birthday babe! I love you more every passing year!

11/25/10

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving and Birthday Edition

I'm so completely thankful today - thankful for this glorious Thanksgiving holiday and for another year of life.

Thankful to be blessed by so many wonderful friends and family.

Thankful to be married to the most wonderful man on earth.

Thankful for the opportunities I have to do things I love from singing to shopping.

Thankful I have a roof over my head and food on the table every day.

Thankful for these crazy furry creatures who live with us and make me smile every single day.

Thankful to live in a place that sees four seasons in a year and even though winter came early this year, we had a glorious fall and I even am thankful for the snow as we go into the holiday season.

And I'm thankful for anyone who reads this blog and actually likes following my ramblings - you all mean a great deal to me too, even if you are someone I have never met!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

11/24/10

29

My birthday is tomorrow but, I don't want to preempt my Thankful Thursday post tomorrow since it actually IS Thanksgiving, so I bring you my annual birthday post today.

Tomorrow I will be 29.

It is my last birthday of my twenties. In one year I will be 30. It scares me more than I like to admit sometimes. Sometimes I still feel like a teenager - although more and more I'm learning just how much I am not a teenager anymore or anything remotely close.

So many things have happened in the last year - it was a bad year in terms of loss, not just in my family, but as I have mentioned, nearly every person close to me has lost someone this year. It seemed every time we were turning around we had a funeral to go to.

But other than that, it was a good year. I do find myself wondering where the time has gone. With each passing birthday it seems time goes by even faster than the year before.

I have been joking that I'd like to stop having birthdays now. I'll be eternally 29. My grandmother stopped at 39, so hey, I figured I'd do her one better. Someone mentioned to me "ok does that mean Nate can stop giving you gifts each year?" And I thought for a minute and came back with "Oh he still has to - see, next year will be the first anniversary of my turning 29".

I really do joke. Of course I'll keep having birthdays. And I'm sure the closer I get to that big 3-0 the more ok I will be with it. Age is just a number. You're only as old as you feel.

I don't know what 29 has in store for me. I hope for only good things.

11/23/10

Back to the drawing board

So on Sunday I posted about the challenges we're facing with our running program and that we tried out a nearby community center's indoor track. Well, we decided today to get up and try going in the morning to the center just to see how it went.

The pros - it was super quiet this time and not that many people were there.

The cons - they do not open until 6:00. We wanted to leave the center by 6:20 so we could be home and showering by 6:30. They do have showers there, but they are not nice enough for getting ready for a workday. So, that left us pretty much with twenty minutes to work out and honestly, it was only enough to get a mile in of walking around the track and that's pretty much it.

So, we think the community center is out for now. We might try it a couple of times in the evening if it works out but we do so much better if we get up and try and exercise first thing in the morning. It's too easy to put it off in the evenings we've found.

We know that some of the health clubs around us do open earlier or are open 24/7 even - but at the moment, we are wanting to save money for other things so the whole "membership" thing anywhere is just not appealing to us. Our own city's local community workout center is cheap, but is not open convenient hours either and only has about five machines from what I have read. SO we are back to the drawing board.

We have talked and feel that we can stay active through the winter - even if we shelve the running for now - by trying some other programs. I don't know if any of you remember, when we first starting running last spring, we were simultaneously trying to do a situp and pushup program too. But we got to a point where all of that was too much so we kept up the running and that was it.

So, we're thinking right now our best option for the winter is to restart the situps and pushups and walk outside when the weather is decent. I have no problem using our elliptical machine as well, Nate finds it doesn't work great for him. We may also look into some exercise DVDs we can do together as long as we can find one that isn't strictly geared towards women (that was Nate's one request). And hey, maybe Santa will bring us a Wii Fit or Wii Active too. Ha ha.

The goal is to just try to stay active and in some sort of good shape. I don't doubt that when the ground begins to thaw into the spring we can pick up the running program again and just possibly finish it! I'm still extremely proud of how far we did go and it has proved to me that I can be a runner. As of this moment I have no regrets.

11/22/10

Music Monday - Straight To You

For today's Music Monday I am choosing a track off of Josh Groban's newest CD "Illuminations" called Straight To You.

It's actually a cover of a group Nate is a fan of called Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. And it is beautiful cover of their song. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Josh Groban could sing the phone book, but seriously, it's lovely and possibly what I think is the best track off of his new CD and strangely, the last track on the CD.

I think it makes a nice love song and it makes me think of Nate - both because of the words and also because it was originally done by a band he likes. And since it is both of our birthdays this week I thought it was a fitting choice.

Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcaZncMG0xw I am sure you'll find it as captivating as I do.


"Straight to you, I'll go running"

11/21/10

Challenges

So our running program has hit one of the biggest challenges to date - the early arrival of winter this year. After last night's ice storm we decided it's time to seriously look at indoor options.

We decided to try the New Brighton Community Center's fitness center - it was only $2.00 to try out the track for one day. It was...interesting.

It's more difficult to breathe in the indoor uncirculated air. There's no real good place to stretch before and after. And there was tons of distraction from the children's Eagles Nest play area.

But, it may be what our pocket books best feel they can handle at this point in the game. We'll see how things go, not giving up on it just yet. It might be different on weekdays, you never know.

Right now, my goal is to keep us moving at least somewhat through the winter months - so we'll see how it goes! Challenges to overcome, but we can do it.

11/20/10

Caribou Saturdays

It's really difficult to type a blog post when you have a cat fighting to sit on your lap, but here goes anyway!

It's Saturday and my day is pretty jammed packed with stuff, though some it should be fun.

One of my favorite parts of Saturdays though is my weekly Caribou Coffee visit with my parents. Today my dad had to work so it was just my mom and me, but it was still nice.

We've been doing this every weekend pretty much since I got married. It's not that they don't love Nate, but he's not an early morning kind of guy and it's nice for the three of us to have a chance to connect. We've always been this little family unit of three, the Three Musketeers if you will, so I like that we have this tradition to just be the original three. Most of the time we only sit there about a half hour, but it's a half hour I might not have gotten with them otherwise with our busy lives. I miss it if we ever end up not doing it for some reason.

Of course, it never hurts that Dad usually buys. ;)
I wouldn't give it up for anything though, even if he didn't treat.

11/19/10

Bring it on

I love short weeks, it's awesome that it's already Friday. Next week will be even shorter! And no complaints there either.

Heading into a somewhat busy stretch of time here - but feeling good about it. My blahs from earlier in the week have pretty much gone away. In fact, dare I say it, I'm in a bit of a Christmas type mood even. No I am not decorating tomorrow or starting to listen to carols just yet...but I'm getting more in a holiday mood. I'm ready for Thanksgiving and birthdays and segwaying into that season.

So, instead of wanting to hibernate and hide from it - I instead say BRING IT ON!!!

11/18/10

Thankful Thursday Week Three

Man time is flying by - it is my third Thankful Thursday post already?

Today's list is short and simple:

1. Having an entire day off from work and having a short week next week

2. Crazy friends who sit in the cold with you for two hours waiting for a CD, friends who talk to you all during the workday so you do not lose your mind, friends who just "get you", friends who are just awesome. I am blessed to have awesome friends.

3. Music. My new Cities Sampler CD. The ability to make music. I love music.

That's it today friends. I've been up since too early and that's the best I can do for much deep thought at this point!

11/17/10

Coming Attractions

Tomorrow is my annual trek to Target in the early morning hours to wait outside with my fellow crazy friend to get our copy of the Cities 97 City Sampler. Volume 22. I have heard and read reviews that it is supposed to be one of the best they've had in a few years. I am excited. It appears to have some of the best variety I have seen in awhile too. I enjoy it each year, but I still think the best one out of the ones I've collected is Volume 15. It's funny too, that was the first one I ever went to buy in the store!

Anyway, I took the whole day off tomorrow so that will be nice. Hoping to finish birthday shopping for Nate, since I obviously will not be with him!

Tomorrow night Nate has his final drawing class already. The time went fast! I think while he is at class I am going to go to my cousin's play that my dad helped build sets on.

The weekend has us at a mass with Praise Project and hopefully getting some time to relax a bit as well. And then next week is a short one - but will probably also be a bit crazy because we have many birthdays and Thanksgiving to tend to.

I'm feeling less unglued than I did yesterday about everything that is coming up. Of course, it is sunnier today too so perhaps that is helping perk me up a bit too!

11/16/10

Winter blahs

This instant plunge into winter has got me a bit down. I do love this time of year, I love Thanksgiving, which is less than ten days away, along with my birthday. I'm excited for the Christmas season coming soon - but I feel in a sense that everything is going to end up somewhat rushed this year because it already feels like it has all come so fast.

I do have time to get a handle on everything - gifts for people, plans, events, etc - but right now it all looms in front of me like it might end up a bit on the overwhelming side.

It doesn't help that with it getting darker earlier now it leads me to want to just hibernate at the end of the day instead of actually doing something!

I will be feeling better when I finish Nate's birthday present, which I am certain will happen in the next few days here. We have some ideas for Christmas gifts. Mom and I have discussed Christmas cookies a bit already and will start on those more or less the moment they get back from their trip in early December.

Everything is going to fall into place just fine. I will end up loving this time of year as I always do, I just have to remind myself right now more than usual - just go one day at a time!

11/15/10

Music Monday - Firework

So you may have noticed I took down the music player off of my blog. It's nothing against anyone who does use it - but I read an article on Friday that kind of convinced me to remove it for now. I may reinstate it later but for now, I'm going to go without.

But, I'm still doing Music Mondays! Now I'll just include a link to the song I choose and if you want to go listen to it, great, if not, no harm no foul. Or something.

Today's song choice is completely out of character for me. I have chosen a Katy Perry song. Now if you recall in this post I stated that while I was sort of siding with her on that issue, I am not necessarily a fan. But I tell you - I heard this new song of hers last week called Firework and something about it spoke to me.

She talks about feeling kind of down on yourself and how you shouldn't because there is a light inside of you and you need to let it out. It's a great self esteem boosting song. It's human nature that we all can get down on ourselves every once in awhile and it's a great reminder that we are capable of great things and need to live without fear and just burst forth. Someone on the Muppet boards I read even posted that this song is enough to make you forget about the controversy with Katy Perry and Sesame Street and that really - this kind of song actually makes her a bit of a role model. Kind of ironic I guess!

Here's a link to the video on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGJuMBdaqIw
There is a 15 second ad beforehand because this is the "official" Katy Perry channel or whatever. I'm not saying I've become a huge fan of hers after this, but I do know this is a song I want on my iPod.

11/14/10

Still


Want to know what one of my favorite things about a fresh snowfall is?

It's going to sound a little strange - but it's the stillness and silence from it.

This morning I got up to go to church and as I was leaving the house at 8:00 am and shut the door behind me, I was amazed at how dead the sound was.

The air overall just has this calm about it. It's extremely peaceful. And for some reason, I absolutely love it.

Picture taken by Mr. Nate with a Polaroid Land Camera

11/13/10

Instant winter

We woke up to a fresh coating of snow here in MN this morning. More than a coating in fact. It was easily three or four inches at 8:00 am. We were up early to go to a funeral for our dear friend/ director of our music group's father and let me tell you - getting around was interesting. I wanted to hit Caribou before we headed to church and they were only just beginning to plow the parking lot there.

We took Nate's car so we could see how it handled in snow since we bought it late into last spring when the snow was gone. It handles great - but we were nervous about the plow ridges that these guys were leaving. In fact, Nate didn't want to park and risk getting stuck, so he pulled up and I jumped out to get my coffee. As I was coming back out, I stepped off the curb and pretty much sat down. I didn't really fall hard, but slipped enough. Awesome. Did I mention I was wearing a skirt? Then getting back out of the snow was interesting too. Nate didn't even see me, otherwise he would've jumped out to help!

We made to the funeral just fine and were probably at church a little over two hours. As we were leaving, we narrowly missed a downed power line.

Once home, it only took two shoveling sessions to get the driveway cleared, it could have been much worse! It cleared up enough that we then treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Red Lobster to reward our efforts!

I am glad the first storm of the season is out of the way, but man, it has been all or nothing in terms of our weather lately here!

11/12/10

Friday Funnies

My family, like many others I am sure, have several inside jokes. Probably more than several. I don't even really know how many. Most of them relate to some sort of pop culture type thing, be it a movie, TV show or stand up comic. And I realize that they may not make sense or even seem that funny as I list them here, but I'm going to make an attempt at any rate!

We often quote comedian Bill Engvall's early work. Not specificially "here's your sign" but some others. There's a whole routine he does about his son's G.I. Joe toys (which is funny because his son calls them I.G. Joes) and what they would say and one of the things is "No talking, no talking" as they're in a line up - we often times quote the "No talking, no talking" in some situations - even ones that maybe are not the most appropriate!

Countless quotes from the TV show Friends - one of my favorites is from the very first Thanksgiving episodes when Monica and Rachel get locked out of their apartment simply for misunderstanding each other when one of them says "Got the keys?" Pretty soon, leaving the house or a hotel room when on vacation, we'd find ourselves saying "got the keys?" in the same tone Monica used.

Another one from Friends is from an episode when Chandler breaks up with someone and gets somewhat drunk and is talking about where he went and it doesn't make sense, I forget either Monica or Rachel correct him and he says "Yes, that's it. See you and I have always been like this" as he gestures between his head and their head. We do the "You and I have always been like this" thing kind of a lot.

There are so many others that I just can't even begin to list them all. Those are just some of my favorites. Nate and I have a few between just the two of us too that I am pretty sure no one else would ever understand. Same with some of my friends and I. It's those little things that make relationships and connections fun. And that lead to A LOT of laughs. Sometimes we need to take a few minutes to laugh and have fun - keeps us happy and healthy!

11/11/10

Thankful Thursday Week 2

It's time once again to reflect on the things I am thankful for this week. I really like this weekly activity, I think it helps keep me grounded!

1. Friends and family -I was talking to a friend of mine about how 2010 hasn't been the greatest year in terms of loss - almost every person who is close to me, including myself, has been affected by the loss of a loved one this year and my friend made a good point that it's important to appreciate our loved ones and hug them as much as we can because you never know what could happen tomorrow. So today I am more thankful than ever for my friends and family.

2. Muppets - Ok lightening the mood here a little bit - but big news was released in the last week here that they are finally filming the new Muppet movie. This will be the first Muppet movie in the theatre in over ten years and I am hearing that it will be more of a throw back to the older original days of the Muppets and I am insanely excited about that. Unfortunately it won't be released until NEXT Christmas, but I hope it will be worth the wait!

3. My house - As I was driving away this morning I was thinking of how nice the painting came out and even though I will have to redo the one section where my dad had to go into the wall, I am really beginning to love how the house has taken on our own style and I just love how it has all turned out. I am excited for the potential for more things to be done soon.

4. A job with benefits - We are in open enrollment right now and last night Nate and I went through the "oh so exciting" task of looking at the benefits and what makes sense for us this year. And while I don't like having to part with hard earned money to have said benefits, I am still so thankful to have them. I know others do not have this, so I try not to take it for granted that I do.

5. Coffee - again, maybe kind of silly, but I am thankful for coffee. I don't go overboard, one cup is usually enough to get me going in the morning but it helps and I am sure others around me are thankful for the fact that I drink it too, because I'm sure I would not be very pleasant otherwise! My favorite blend of the entire year is now back in Caribou - Reindeer Blend - so I will soon have that in my house, I know that much!

Simple list today. What are you thankful for?

11/10/10

Happy birthday Sesame Street!

Today is the 41st anniversary of Sesame Street and it's still going strong. I wrote a post last year on my thoughts for the big 4-0, so I do not have much to add to that other than I'm so thankful that I was able to grow up watching such a wonderful show.

I also wanted to share a video that if you have not seen, is super hilarious. We are big fans of the recent Old Spice man commercials at our house (you know, with the guy who's like "look at your man, now look at me, I'm not your man, etc). There is a rather funny Sesame Street parody of that ad found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkd5dJIVjgM.

Grover has always been one of my favorites and he does such a great impression of the Old Spice commercials, I tell you I laughed so hard I nearly cried the first time I watched it. Doesn't he make you want to smell like a monster? Who is on a horse, er, cow?

Happy birthday Sesame Street - may you have many more years to come!

11/9/10

Tuesday Thoughts

You know it's funny. I wrote a post earlier this year about how I'm not perfect. And that it is ok. And that we can all learn from our own imperfections.

So I was remembering this as I was getting ready this morning - that I'm not perfect, I don't want to strive to be perfect and that I can accept myself for who I am. And I thought, it's funny because while I'm ok with not being "perfect" somehow I am a perfectionist.

Does that contradict just a bit?

I had this thought as I was working hard to get my makeup just right, my hair just so, needing to look a certain way and not being satisfied until it was well, in my own eyes I guess, perfect. And no, I'm not saying I should go to work looking like a slob, but you know, if I didn't cover that one blemish or if that one hair was out of place, would that be the worst thing ever?

Maybe that is a bad example. I am certainly not saying that being a perfectionist is a bad thing either. But there is a difference between "attention to detail" and "obsessive compulsiveness". I try to be more in the first category when it comes to my perfectionism - I work hard to make sure nothing is overlooked and I'm putting my best foot forward. But on occasion, I slip into the second category and that is where I think it contradicts with my saying it's ok not not be "perfect". If I truly believe that, then I need to not let myself become obsessive when it comes to certain things.

This post is another example - I have written and deleted, written and deleted several paragraphs worth! Again, I want to make sure what I'm putting out is clearly thought out and written well, but what am I so worried about? Yes anyone in the world can read my blog - but it's mostly friends and family who will love me no matter what.

So maybe I just need to remember my feelings that it's ok to not be perfect - because I think it's pretty funny to say that I'm a perfectionist who is ok with not being perfect! I'm nothing if not contrary!

Just random thoughts of mine on a sunny Tuesday I guess! What do you think, can you be a perfectionist without needing to be perfect?

11/8/10

Music Monday - Life in Technicolor

Today's song update is Life in Technicolor by Coldplay. It takes a second or two for the song to get going so if you don't hear it right away, just wait a few seconds.

There are no words to this song, it is all instrumental. I love the way it builds from a quiet acoustic song to something huge and orchestral by the end. This album came out the summer Nate was out of work and I have to say - this song almost underscores that journey perfectly - the slow quiet beginning is the anticipation when he was interviewing and applying for jobs and then the explosion of sound at the end is the joy and happiness we felt when he finally was hired.

To this day if I need a pick me up or something to put me in a good mood - I find this song on my iPod. It feels a nice fitting choice for early November - we're speeding up towards birthdays and holidays which kind of works with the flow of this song as well!

Plus I just love the title - Life in Technicolor - doesn't life seem like that sometimes? There are special moments that make it feel like seeing color for the first time. I think this song represents those types of feelings pretty well.

I hope it helps spread a little joy on a Monday!

11/7/10

It's never that simple

So my very kind and wonderfully helpful Dad is helping us put a fan and shower light in our bathroom. These are things I have been wanting very badly ever since we moved into our house so I'm glad it's finally getting done.

The one problem is that simple home projects never turn out to be quite that simple.

The way our light socket and electrical socket was installed previously is a GIANT pain in the behind to remove. My dad said the good news is that it can be done. The bad news...he had to put a large hole in my freshly painted wall in the hallway to do it.

So, I gave him the go ahead because we didn't really have another option. And now I have a square hole in my hallway. Sigh.

Guess there is more painting in this girl's future. Good thing we bought extra cans.

11/6/10

Refreshed

Today I took some time for myself and Nate and I also took some time as a couple.

I had a massage this morning that was amazing. Wait, let me say it again - AMAZING. I saw a different masseuse than I have before and it was the best massage I've ever had. Makes me wish I could win the lottery or something so I could go more often!

As a couple we had a nice dinner out and are going to play Wii games and watch a movie from Netflix and enjoy the fact that we get an extra hour of sleep tonight - yay Fall Back!

Sometimes you just need a day to refresh and rejuvenate. It feels nice.

11/5/10

Rambles

Just a few rambles today, nothing terribly specific.

On my way into work today I drove past a young girl not wearing a jacket. She looked to be middle school aged. And it was cold this morning. Too cold to be walking to school without a jacket on anyway, at least in my opinion! That is how you get sick.

Speaking of getting sick, I got a flu shot yesterday so I will not be getting sick hopefully anytime soon! It was strange, instead of getting a sore arm afterward it was more a tingly sensation as if my arm was asleep or something. Others have described that reaction to the shot this year too though so I guess it's not that weird.

My dad is going to help us install a bathroom fan this weekend. I am stupidly excited over this. Right now, if we take showers back to back it ends up so foggy in the bathroom that I can't see in the mirror to style my hair and put on makeup. I am so sick of that! Plus the whole bathroom just always feels sort of damp to me, like it never dries out. So a fan is going to make such a difference for that! Also, we're going to put a light over the shower as well, I feel like it is so dark in there and while Nate doesn't mind and actually prefers showering in the dark (weirdo) I need the light! It helps me wake up more in the morning too.

Nate and I finally bit the bullet and officially joined a church. While we travel between three churches with Praise Project, I wanted us to have our names actually registered somewhere. I just wanted to wait until the Archdiocese reorganization announcement was complete. So we have joined St. Williams. I think of it as the home base, it was the first place we went after leaving IC and I felt comfortable there right away. The community is warm and welcoming and I think it's a good fit for us.

That's it for today. Not super exciting, but life is quiet right at this moment. And that is perfectly ok!

11/4/10

Thankful Thursday Week 1

Last year a friend of mine suggested on her blog a weekly Thankful Thursday theme in the month of November and I thought it was a great idea since it is the month of Thanksgiving. I've talked in the past about how I feel Thanksgiving is so overshadowed by Christmas. So I am totally in support of this theme. Here is what I am thankful for today.

1. My wonderful, loving and supportive husband - yeah maybe it's cheesy, but I am always and forever thankful for this man and I never take what we have for granted.

2. I still have a job. Fairview has seen a lot of changes this last year and my specific section of Fairview has really been affected as of late, but I'm still in a job and my location is staying the same so I'm happy for that.

3. I'm finally getting a massage on Saturday. I have only had the gift card since Christmas!

4. Our new bar. I can't say it enough. It is beautiful, I am amazed at how well it turned out and it looks great in our basement. And it doesn't hurt that we have beer at the ready pretty much anytime we want it!

5. I finally had my windshield replaced and am no longer driving around with one that is severely cracked.

6. My kitty cats. They make me smile pretty much on a daily basis

7. The beautiful fall weather we've had this year. It's starting to get colder now, but what a gift to have had the weather we've had for so long.

8. Friends who help keep me sane during the workday.

9. My super easy to deal with new haircut that saves me time in the morning

10. My family - especially my parents who are so willing to entertain me on the nights Nate has art class!

There you have it for this week! What are you thankful for today?

11/3/10

Wordless Wednesday - Cat in a box



Ok, maybe not completely wordless - just felt like posting a couple of pictures of my crazy cat in hopes that it might make some people smile. Cause she makes me smile.

11/2/10

Catching up a bit

So here we are on day two of blogging every day and I figured it's time for a catch up post. Life has been hectic, but that is the norm for us!

Nate's been enjoying his Wednesday night drawing classes. I have been enjoying hanging out over at my parents house with my mom on those nights. This worked out well since this fall my dad agreed to help build sets for my cousin's play at Heights, so he's been gone those evenings too. Mom and I were originally going to use these evenings to start decoupaging again, but so far we've been watching old plays of mine, old Follies videos and this last week we watched the Great Pumpkin and Garfield's Halloween. Maybe this week we'll start up, we'll see how things go.

Saturday of this last weekend we had a mass with Praise Project and then we went out to the North Star Roller Girls first bout of the season. And we dressed in costume. Random people were stopping us and telling us they loved our costumes - we dressed as Garden Gnomes. Super easy costume, but apparently people love it. One stranger even wanted a picture with Nate. It made me laugh.




Sunday we slept in and then Nate got up and started brewing a new batch of beer. He hasn't brewed in awhile and his brew didn't go the greatest, but he managed to do the whole thing anyway. It's going to be called Big Honkin Stout - that was the name the kit came with, no joke. He also started up a batch of apfelvien, which is similar to our cyser if you've had that - it's still apple in flavor, but not quite as sweet. I actually prefer it so I'm pretty excited about this, he said it should be ready by Christmas.

Also on Sunday, my dad came over with the final pieces of the bar - the bottom half - and they installed that real quick. It looks so nice.



Our next project is going to be installing a bathroom fan and also a light over our shower - which should get done in the next couple of weeks. Then we'll take a little time off from projects through the holidays, but believe it or not, we might do some more painting this winter. I know, after all that complaining I did? But we're thinking of painting the dining room and it is a very small amount of wall space, so it would take no time at all.

I chopped my hair again last night - slightly different style again, it seems to keep getting shorter somehow! I don't think I can go much shorter than this though!




Today I am having the cracked windshield in my car fixed finally. Thought it would be good to take care of that before it snows. The rest of our week looks pretty calm for a change and I am totally ok with that! Sometimes you need some downtime and I have been needing it for awhile now.

Finally - to my religious readers - if you have seen in the news this week the story about the missing pilot and his sons in Wyoming - he is the president of the company that our good friend John works at - would you kindly keep him and his family in your prayers? They can use all they can get.

And I think that pretty much catches us up! Phew.

11/1/10

Music Monday - Hide and Seek

Welcome to my NaBloPoMo. Today is Music Day. And I feel like this is the Mickey Mouse Club with these theme days - welcome boys and girls, today is Anything Can Happen Day....

Anyway, the song I have chosen for this week is one of my all time favorites, Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap. It's not a good song for describing me really - it's kind of about a person who is lost and trying to find their way, sort of the end of innocence and that type of thing. And while there are moments in life - even recently - where I wonder where my life is going, for the most part I am on a good path and I'm pretty happy with the way things are right now. But I still love this song, it's haunting and beautiful and I just felt like sharing it!

Sadly there are other wonderful songs I want to share - but I'm limited to what is available in ProjectPlaylist.com's library. Anyway, enjoy my song of the week!

10/29/10

Gearing Up

I'm gearing up for many things right now! We're beginning the best and busiest time of the year.

First up, a busy weekend ahead with Halloween and other things - so I'm gearing up for that.

NaBloPoMo begins on Monday and so will begin my daily posting for a month. I have included a link to NaBloPoMo's website on the side of my page if you're interested in checking out other blogs who are participating. I'm excited for Thankful Thursdays, Music Monday, and other posts I hope to include during the month. It's going to be fun. I'm gearing up for making my goal this year!

There is less than a month now to my birthday and Nate's birthday - a little crazy when you think about that, because that also means Thanksgiving is less than a month away - so I'm gearing up for those events.

There is also less than a month until the Cities Sampler comes out - and I make my annual trek with Gina to sit out in the cold to get my hands on a copy - still so worth it each year! I'm taking the whole day off and we're making a day of it. I need a day like that - I'm gearing up for that.

Dare I mention the holidays? Yep, they're coming whether we want them to or not. This is the time of year that life hits the fast forward button. I don't want to be caught in the dirt - so I'm gearing up for the holidays too. I have some gift ideas already so that helps.

Lots and lots of exciting things ahead and I know I'm going to get to January 1st and wonder how time went in a blur again. I love, love, LOVE this time of year and I'm just going to do my best to savor every moment.

I'm gearing up and my engines are getting warm! Here we go!

10/27/10

Cleo

FYI - this is not a tribute - no worries - my parents cat is alive and kicking.
This is just me being my usual "Rain Man" self when it comes to dates and anniversaries and remembering that it was about this time 17 years ago that a furry creature became a member of our family.

I was in sixth grade and I wanted a cat in the worst way and had for several years - but we had just had the house remodeled and new furniture and my parents told me it would be a couple of years before they wanted to bring in a cat and risk having some of that nice stuff ruined. But finally the fall I started sixth grade they said they were ready to let me have a cat.

We went to one of those adoption events at a mall - and brought home two kittens. Very quickly we discovered these were not the cats for us and they were soon dubbed the "Cats from Hell" and quickly returned to their foster family. I was disappointed, but they were not happy kitties and it was not a good fit.

So some more time went by and then someone who worked with my dad and knew we were looking said she saw an adorable kitten at a vet's office not far from our house that was looking for a home. It happened to be MEA weekend, so I was off of school and mom didn't have to work, so we drove over and took a look. She was a very sweet cat, they let us take her out and hold her and she purred, oh how she purred. We told the ladies we were pretty sure we'd be back for her, but had to run it by my dad. We got home and my mom called my dad at work and said "Well she's pretty cute." So dad went over on his lunch break and then called my mom back and said "Yeah, go get her."

Later that afternoon she was home with us. And she fit in right away. We named her Cleo - my mom thought that was the cat's name from Pinocchio. Well that cat's name was Figaro. Cleo was the fish. But Cleo just fit our cat. It was the perfect name.

Cleo settled into life with us very nicely. She clearly was always a "girls cat" choosing my mom and me over my dad - but they would share treats together and still do to this day - pizza crusts, toast, weird stuff like that. She was always in the room that we were in, no matter where we sat.

She loved to eat - almost too much for awhile - her belly actually rubbed on the floor at one point! She used to sleep with me every night. It was hard for me to leave her when I moved out for good. She doesn't care for me much anymore when I do go over to my parents house - but she is also an old lady now who's kind of stuck in her ways. It's hard for me to have her not like me, but it's just the nature of the beast.

Three years ago she started having some problems - stumbling around the house almost as if she was drunk, very lethargic, no interest in her food. My mom took her to the vet and learned she was suffering from kidney disease. The decision was nearly made to put her to sleep - but then at my dad's insistance my mom talked with the vet and learned there were a couple of not real invasive options for treatment - special food and a pill that they could give her. They decided to try and low and behold it worked. She bounced back pretty well.

So here we are now. She is nearly 18 years old but is still hanging on. She still has burst of energy that make you go - are you really that old cat? But she has slowed down, sleeps alot and that type of thing. We don't know how many days left we'll have with her, but the vet always said that my mom would know when it's time and that time hasn't come yet. She just had a pretty good checkup this week so you just never know. She could be hanging on for quite some time yet!

Recently when I was over at my parents house for dinner on a night Nate had art class, after I ate I sat down on the couch next to Cleo. And I petted her. For a long time. And finally, while it was faint, it was there - the softest sound of her purring. It was like she was saying "yes I still love you, yes I know you have your own life now and that's ok." It was enough for me.

Cleo - still the queen after all this years (picture from 2009)

10/25/10

Song of the week

You may have noticed when you come visit my blog now a song plays. Maybe it annoys you and if it does I apologize. I wanted to try something new though and thought it added a nice background for those who are reading and things like that. I have some friends who have this on their blogs too and I think it's a nice touch.

I also find it is a great way for me to share some of my favorite music so I am starting a new post called Song of the week - where I will introduce the song and explain why I chose it and why I like it, that kind of thing. And naturally, each week I will choose a different song.

For the past week I have had the song Colors by Kira Willey. It's a good song for this blog because she talks about how each color represents how she is feeling today - and that there are so many feelings that she is a rainbow inside. I have many days like that where I have many different feelings inside, good ones, bad ones, indifferent ones, so I like this song for that reason.

Today I am going to switch the song to Us by Regina Spektor. It's a song that doesn't make a ton of sense when you really listen to the words - not much of her music really does - but I like the song anyway and how it's kind of about a couple and the story of them and this blog is the story of Nate and I.

So there you have it! Tune in next Monday for another song choice!

10/24/10

Sisterhood

Flashback to ten years ago. I am a freshman (or as they also called us "first years") at St. Kate's and believe it or not, I was struggling. I chose to be a commuter student which is a choice I am still glad I made at that time, however, it made it extremely difficult to make friends. I made a few connections early on in the music department, but was finding myself a bit lonely.

A few weeks into school I visited the Activities Fair. I wandered around aimlessly looking at booth after booth advertising clubs and organizations you could join and not really finding anything that really struck a cord with me. Then I found a table in the corner advertising for Lambda Sigma Tau - a sorority.

Now I know what you're thinking - Beth has never been a party girl. And you are right. What attracted me to the concept of a sorority was this - LST is a social/service sorority. So, it means that yes, the girls have fun and sisterhood is at the core - but so is giving back to the community. I decided to take a chance on it and I can honestly say, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

Some of my favorite memories from college are memories I made as a part of LST. Volunteering at a community clean up helping clean up lawns for elderly people in the neighborhood, random trips to the MOA just to avoid homework, sister lunches in the cafeteria, playing bingo with nursing home residents, Thursday night get togethers in someone's dorm or apartment to watch Friends and ER, working as Orientation Leaders together, Birthday Tuesday at the Wild Onion, bake sale fundraisers and countless others. Nine times out of ten there would be a good chance that you'd have a fellow sister in a class with you. I eventually moved to campus so I could be even more involved and had sisters as roommates. Every year we celebrated surviving another year with a spring formal. We had leadership opportunities - I served as sisters chair and then as Vice President. We weren't without our problems - we're girls afterall - but I made so many wonderful friendships and I'm so happy to have them to this day.

There's a group of us who managed to stay particularly close all these years - I've sung at several of their weddings, two of them were hostesses (in lieu of ushers) at mine, I am the godmother to one of their babies - and even though many miles separate some of us we manage to get a group of us together about twice a year and it's like not a day has gone by. This weekend was one such opportunity and I got a picture of the occasion because we haven't done so for so long.

I owe a lot to my days in Lambda Sigma Tau - I am pretty sure I would not have survived college without it and the wonderful women who were part of it. To my sisters - thanks for ten great years and here's to many more to come.




Left to right:
Me, Justine with baby Elsa, Stefanie, Angie B, Roxy the dog, Angie W, Seon

10/21/10

Time flies sometimes...

They say time flies when you're having fun. And this fall we have been having fun. And working hard too - September was spent all on projects mostly. But we've still had a lot of fun. And now it's almost the end of October and I find myself wondering where has fall gone?

Actually, much of 2010 in general has passed by in a bit of a blur. And I know that the last two months of the year will definitely fly by because they are the most packed between birthdays and holidays.

So, in an effort to try to slow down and enjoy every moment of my favorite time of year, I intend to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again in November. If you recall, I attempted this activity last year - which involves blogging something every day for one month. And I was so disappointed in myself when over Thanksgiving weekend last year I slipped up and missed one day. I will not let that happen this year - it is a pledge I'm making and a goal I intend to keep.

It was challenging at times for sure, I had to come up with some theme days and I think I'll be doing those again. A friend has proposed Thankful Thursday again, so I will definitely be participating in that piece. I have some other ideas too.

So stay tuned and join me in November for a daily something or another! And let's all sit back and enjoy the beauty and greatness of this glorious Fall season (at least here in MN, cause let's face it, those cold days are coming) before it passes us by!

10/20/10

Today is a special day

It's a special day for two reasons. One, my mother-in-law Barb is 60 years old today. And she is a special lady since she gave birth to the most important person in my life! Happy birthday Barb!

Secondly, today is Nate's two year anniversary at MasterSwitch IT. And man have these last two years just flown by. It's hard to believe that just over two years ago we were in some of the darkest times of our lives.

I want to believe we'll never be in that kind of situation ever again - but I know there's always a risk in today's world. But that's ok. I rejoice in each day that we are where we are.

And I simply love where we are.

10/18/10

Beautiful, Glorious Fall

Nate and I went on a little photo walk on Saturday afternoon this past weekend. It was a beautiful day and we have a great park not far from our house. We took advantage, brought along a few cameras and enjoyed the beauty of my favorite season. Below are some highlights.








A nice way to spend a day with my favorite person in the entire world! Much needed after how busy we've been too. It's good to stop and smell the roses...or in the case enjoy the leaves.

10/14/10

It could be worse

You ever have just one of those weeks? I'm there. It's been a trying week at times, I've been dealing with some less than pleasant issues at work. It's just one of those points in life where things are just not ebbing and flowing so wonderfully right now in general. It happens.

So, I haven't been in the best of moods, but then things pop up that sort of put life back in perspective for me and remind me "It could be worse."

Speaking with a co-worker I learned that she received a huge paycut and slash in her vacation time when her position was changed earlier this summer. While there are some developments with my job I'm less than excited about at the moment - I am not getting a paycut or losing vacation time. I am so incredibly thankful for that right now I could nearly burst.

The other huge thing is that this weekend there's a big shake up coming in the Catholic community - the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have seen it fit to reorganize and restructure the many churches of the greater Twin Cities Metro area. There's a big article about this in today's Star Tribune and they don't mince words. Some churches WILL be closing. We will find out which ones are closing, which ones are consolidating and what not at masses this weekend.

Knowing this, I'm thankful I am in the situation I'm in right now. I'm ok with traveling between churches at the moment. I worry about the church we left over a year and a half ago and wonder if it's on the chopping block. And if it is, I'm super thankful I'm not there. I do feel bad for anyone who's going to be affected by this and losing their worship space. Yes, a church is just a building, but it's still going to be hard on those folks. It will be interesting to see what develops.

So it was another example to me that things could definitely be worse.

The topper was watching those Chile miners be rescued yesterday - such an amazing story of hope and inspiration. Definitely something that gives a reality check that things are not so bad around here.

Sometimes it's good to be humbled.

10/11/10

Success and Normalcy

Oktoberfest 2010 comes to a close and it was a big success. We had so many wonderful people in our home on Saturday night and the bar was a hit! I couldn't have picked better weather - in fact it was almost a little too warm, got a bit stuffy inside the house, but outside it was a fantastic evening. We had more food than we knew what to do with but everything was super yummy. I hope everyone who made it out had a good time - I know we certainly did and feel so blessed and happy to have so many great friends!

Finished bar!


So proud of him - love this addition to our basement!

And now we go back to "Normal" whatever that is. There is one more piece to the bar that my dad has mostly been working on and helping with - he's building a base to go around the freezer at the bottom, but that will be done very soon from what I hear. After that though our projects are pretty much done for now. We'll take the winter off!

We have things going on, Nate's got an art class going right now, we have some birthdays in the family coming up, Halloween is drawing near already and really, our own birthdays and (gasp) the holidays are just around the corner, so there's plenty to keep us busy coming up - but it will be nice to not have our schedule dictated by where we're at with the projects we were working on. We can just go back to living our crazy, busy lives as we usually do. And that feels pretty good right about now!

10/8/10

We are sooo going to party

From Friends - Chandler (to Ross): Are you ready to party?
Ross: I don't know I could go for a couple of beers,
but there's this thing on the Discovery Channel I was going to watch
Chandler: I don't think you heard me, I said are you ready, to party??
Ross: Gandolf is coming to town? Dude we are sooo going to party.

Well we're almost there. We've been working hard and gearing up for this for weeks now and I think it's safe to say we are ready. The weather is looking better now for tomorrow. I'm getting really pumped and excited. And the above dialogue from Friends has been playing in my head all day so far! After all the work we've put in to painting this summer, redecorating and rearranging things and of course, building Nate's bar, I'm ready to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor with close friends and family. It's going to be a rocking good time at our house tomorrow and I am so excited I could just burst.

I have to publically thank in a huge way Jes and John, Gina, my "brother" Dave and last but certainly not least and probably in the biggest way, my Dad - for helping us with these projects this summer and early fall - there is no way in H-E-Double hockey sticks that we would be ready tomorrow without all the work you guys put in with us, seriously, words cannot express our gratitude.

The best part of all of this is we will be enjoying the fruits of our labor beyond this weekend. The bar is a lovely addition to our home and will really help Nate's homebrewing hobby. The living room is finally reflective of my style after four years of living in our house. And we hope to have many more reasons to open our home to others now that all of this is done as well.

I'm smiling. I'm happy. And I am soooo ready to party!