Fair for all

Just off another lovely three day weekend. I took Monday off this week so I could go to the MN State Fair with Nate. So hard to believe August comes to a close today and tomorrow marks September and the slow creep into my favorite season ever, Fall.

We had a great time at the Fair even though it was one of the hotter ones we've dealt with for a number of years. We've been quite spoiled by picking a day the last few years that has ended up cool and comfortable. The downside of that has been that it's usually been the first Saturday of the Fair and often times it has been the first nice day of the Fair and it ends up mega crowded. So this year we chose to take a day off of work and go. When I saw the forecast for yesterday I was a little unsure, but we went with it and like I said, we ended up having a great time.

It was somewhat comfortable for close the first two hours actually. There was a breeze and the sun was in and out of clouds. We chose that time to go to the animal buildings before it got too hot and smelly later. We still managed to eat a pretty large amount of food - nothing terribly out of the ordinary this year, mostly just hit up our favorites. My favorite thing we did was sample six different types of wine at the MN Wine exhibit in the Agriculture building. I got a chance to taste some from some wineries I haven't even heard of before and now have some wonderful ideas for fall field trips!

We rode the Skyride and Ye Old Mill - both must do attractions for me from the time I was young. We wandered through some other buildings - the Art Building, the Eco living building, the Home Improvement building (and somewhere my father is going - "there is a God!" because I used to HATE that building as a kid). Nate bought a really awesome hat in Heritage Square.

It was a really nice day. We got out of there about 2:30 or so when the sun really started to get to be too much.

I have to say, we've really been making the most of these final days of summer. I'm not sad about summer winding down. I'm enjoying myself in the moment and am looking forward to the days to come, because they are my favorite of the entire year.

*Quick note on my thoughts on the Emmys - last year I ranted and raved about the Emmy awards and how it was the same old, same old. This year I was extremely pleased - I feel they really got it right in most all of the categories and there was quite a bit of variety in the winners this year. And I have now added the first season of three different shows to my Netflix queue as well just based on things I saw!*



Nate and I had a little discussion over the weekend about our running program. We have been struggling a bit ever since the week we totally missed out because I was sick. Yes we did get back into a running groove, but have been having trouble progressing past a certain point. We kind of stopped following our program from Nike and just kind of went at it our own way.

In some cases, that strategy can work out quite well. For us, we finally decided we need to be more disciplined than that and decided to restart the training program. Not all the way from the beginning - but we figured about where we felt like we were at in terms of how much we could handle and then matched up to the right week. Unfortunately it is putting us all the way back at week five, but I do think it's for the best.

I am glad that in spite of our issues over the last month and a half or so that we did keep going out there and running as much as we could. I still feel good about that, but it was almost as if we were running in circles with no where to go, metaphorically speaking. Now I feel like we are moving forward again.

They say that you should restart your computer every now and then if you leave it on all the time because it helps with the "health" of the computer. Seems to me the same philosophy is true with our bodies. No shame in hitting the "restart" button on our physical selves.


The return of lobster legs

I had a day off today and chose to spend it at a place that is becoming one of my "must go to" summer destinations - the Elm Creek Park Reserve man made beach. Yes my friends, it's a beach, but it's chlorinated! No weeds or anything else icky at this beach!

Last year and this year I hooked up with my dear friend Gina and we make the most of our day - eat lunch, swim, lay in the sand.

Today was no exception - I ate lunch, I swam, I played with Gina's niece and nephews and then settled in for the one thing I was most excited about - laying on a towel in the sand. I coated myself in SPF 30 Sport (meaning it should NOT wash off) suntan lotion.

After I got hot I went back in the water for a bit. Not long after we left for the day. I came home, I took my shower, I made dinner. No problem.

Just now, I went to take my evening relaxation bath and discovered my body is RED. Maybe worse than the sunburn I got last year in which I earned the title of "Lobster Legs". This year in addition to lobster legs, I have lobster arms, lobster hands and lobster back - the back may actually be the worst spot.

It was not my intention to come home with a sunburn - but I guess the damage is done. Aloe Vera will be my friend this week and I'm glad I have ALOT of skirts. Here's hoping it fades fast.


It's the little things

I have such an amazing and wonderful husband. Sometimes it's just the the little things.

We haven't had the greatest week as I have shared - we might have one more option to refinance but otherwise we're moving on. Anyway, yesterday we had planned to grill and relax at home, but we forgot to take out our meat to thaw and then the weather was questionable. So, Nate said "I have an idea, but it's a secret." He came home and made me get in the car and wouldn't tell me where we were going.

I was making guesses the whole way based on where he was driving - we ended up going where I was totally not expecting and may not seem like a big deal to some of you - but we ended up at Red Lobster. I love seafood, I've been craving it and it's expensive so we don't tend to go very much. I thought it was sweet that he decided we deserved a treat.

I enjoyed myself, had the wood fired shrimp that I love and for the first time ever, had crab legs. Boy are they messy to eat!

Just that gesture on his part was enough to make some of the yuckies of this whole week kind of melt away. Today I am feeling somewhat better. And I'm on to a three day weekend - can't beat that.

Like I said, it's the little things sometimes that count.


Sticker shock

Thanks to all who commented either here or on Facebook yesterday on my hair dilemma. Pretty sure I know what direction I'm going and I feel good about that at least. Got bigger fish to fry now.

I was so worried this whole time about just PASSING the inspection at our house for the refinancing that I didn't even consider another extremely huge important detail - the dollar amount of which it was valued had to hit a certain point for the loan to be approved by the bank.

Well, we passed with flying colors - the house is in the average to good condition category so that part is definitely not a problem. They gave us bonus points for the new furnace/air conditioner and the fresh paint jobs.

But it's not enough. The value of our house has dropped a shocking 50,000 from our original appraisal 4 1/2 years ago and 30,000 from what we purchased it for originally. And sadly, that is not good enough for the bank unless we want to drop an extreme amount of change at closing - which we are not equipped to do.

I'm not so naive to say that I don't see that home values have been dropping all over - that is why houses are selling for so cheap right now - I totally get that. I just assumed with some of the improvements we made we'd be in somewhat ok shape here. And the county's estimate of our value is more what we thought it would/should be. But apparently, that's not what the appraiser thinks.

Our lender is looking into one last ditch effort with our current bank, but it's likely that we're out right now. And we'll be ok - it's not like we aren't making our payments right now or anything like that. But it's very disheartening after seeing what the numbers could be and the amount of work we just put into the last week or so.

I wish this was a nightmare I could just wake up from but sadly, it is what it is. And it's things like this that sometimes make me wish I was just a kid playing house.



So I have a smallish dilemma on my hands. Any male readers, bear with me for a bit here - I'm going to talk beauty.

About a year and a half ago I decided that it was nothing against the hair stylist I was going to as a person, but I no longer liked the way she cut my hair and also, was tired of only being able to make Saturday appointments. So I shopped around and took an appointment at a different salon, that was even closer to home - maybe five minutes away.

I immediately loved my new stylist K. Right off the bat she had ideas to freshen up my style without changing it too much. She simply had me part my hair differently and only touched it up that first time. I was impressed enough that I went back to her the next time I needed a trim. After I was seeing her for a few months I took the first steps towards drastically changing my look. With her help after another few months we finally got my hair into a style that I can honestly say for the first time in my adult life I truly, truly love. She is an expert on short hair and has helped me really find a style that not only I can easily work with at home, but that grows out nicely. I find I am not super annoyed with my hair in between cuts and that was huge for me. I had a hard time for years with that.

The salon is somewhat upscale I would say. And my cuts did go up a couple of dollars from my old stylist when I started going to K. But, I felt like it was worth it, I was saving gas because it was closer to home and her schedule has many openings on different days of the week and different times. So, paying an extra dollar or two didn't seem like a big deal.

Well, K has now passed some tests to make her what's considered a "senior stylist" and while this is awesome for her, with such a title means something else - she is raising her prices. Kind of alot. And this is where my dilemma comes in. I am not sure if I want to pay these higher prices - but I fear I will not find someone who will cut my hair as well! Do I pay the price, especially when I only go in ever six-seven weeks sometimes? Do I shop around and just try something else to see how it goes, knowing I could easily just go back to K?

I am just curious for anyone who wants to share - do you go to a salon? If so, what is the going rate for your hair stylist, if you would be comfortable sharing that with me? If you'd rather not comment below but wouldn't mind emailing it to me: muppetmusic22@gmail.com - I would appreciate it. Maybe if I see what others are paying I can either justify staying with K who makes me so happy or it'll kick me in the pants to get the heck out of there and find someone else.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Oh and boys - yes I know most of you go to barbers and pay much cheaper prices - I have a husband, I know how that works. :)


All work and some play

Our weekend was a mix of work and play - but mostly work!

Friday night was the 10 year reunion. We got dinner before hand at one of our favorite places and then headed over. It was a nice event - nice to see people I haven't in a very long while, but it was crowded and noisy and a bit overwhelming too. We got our fill and then finished out the evening with tiki drinks at another nearby bar.

Our table at the reunion - credit to Jenny Rae Photography

Then Saturday we got up bright and early and set in to finish up all our scraping and painting issues on the outside of the house to be ready for the appraisal. We worked from about 10:30 until almost 3:00 - and had help from some very generous friends, so we definitely appreciated that. Still, it was a long day of work but I'm pleased with the results. My garage door for one looks practically brand new. We may attempt to finish painting the outside with the leftover paint just because we have it and it really does clean up the look of the house.

Saturday night we had a barbeque with some other good friends at the Holland's house and enjoyed sitting on their gorgeous patio - it's so lovely! As we sat, we felt the cold front pass through, suddenly it was about 10 degrees cooler outside, windy and it even rained a bit. We went home and threw the windows open and enjoyed a nice night for sleeping.

Sunday I got up and sang with Summer Choir at St. William's at the early mass. Got home and set to work again, this time on the inside of the house. We vaccumed out all of the windows, cleaned up areas of the house and decided it was as good as it gets. Finished our weekend with my in-laws at one of our favorite restaurants, Donatelli's.

Today we have the appraisal so I'm just sitting back and praying now and hoping we pass enough to just get the loan approved and done now. If we have to go back and fix anything it could set us back a bit. Here goes nothing!


Then and now

Senior prom - May 2000

And Now
Rock the Garden - June 2010
When you look at the last 10 years for Nate and I, not that much really has changed. Same story, different day. We are as in love now as we were then.
Tonight we go to our 10 year high school reunion. As I said earlier this summer I find myself almost wondering, how did we get here? Where did the last 10 years go? But then if you really look at everything the two of us have been through and done since walking across that stage to receive our diplomas - well, I can see how the time flew by.
I am nervous, but somewhat excited for this evening. Again, we have no surprises in our life. Everyone knew we'd end up together. I look forward to reminicing and looking back. Catching up with where people are now. It is almost like a rite of passage in a way.
And then on to the next 10 years and who knows what that will bring? It will be fun to find out!


Tell me again it's worth it

Man oh man - I'm beginning to wonder if refinancing is worth it.

We just learned we have to fix a bunch of areas where there is loose and peeling paint before we have our appraisal inspection or we won't be approved for the loan.

Has anyone ever seen our garage door?

On the plus side, I guess some quick touch ups will make things look a little better on the house.

I keep seeing the numbers I was quoted and I know it will be worth it. I just hate the feeling of being rushed suddenly to get all of this done! Fortunately the rates are staying good, let's hope they stay good for another couple of weeks...


Nothing much

Reading back through my last couple of posts I'm like, wow, how exciting. How thrilling. A weather post and a music post. Wow.

Seriously though, we're just in a pattern of life being kind of just life. Nothing new and exciting, nothing terrible or horrible, just life. I'm not complaining.

But it leaves me at the moment with very little to write about. So, I'm basically just checking in to say we're here, but I'm just in writer's block mode at the moment. It could change tomorrow. You just never know.

Stay tuned.


Musical motivation

Music makes the time go faster. It motivates me.

My afternoon mix today included: Walking on Sunshine, I Want You to Want Me and What Is Love (yep that song from Saturday Night Live with the Roxberry guys head bobbing) - all upbeat tunes and I'm smiling and in a good mood.

I love how music can do that sometimes!


A weather post...how exciting!

*I started writing this post last week and never finished, but based on how I'm feeling today - well, here you go!*

About this time each year I start to get antsy and even a little impatient when I look out the window. And my reason will lead folks to think I'm crazy - but the truth is - I'm ready for summer to be over. I want it to be fall.

*Ducking to avoid objects being hurled at me*

I am not a summer girl. I want to be. Every year when it starts getting warmer outside and summer activities start up I get excited and I make plans and I really try to get into it. But, the more humid/hot days we have, like we have been having this year, the less into it I get. I don't like this kind of weather. I thrive on the days when it's sunny and in the upper 70's/low 80's with little humidity. And we just haven't had hardly any of those this year. My air conditioner is really getting a workout. I miss fresh air.

I like to be outside and doing activities outside - but not when the weather is the way it has been. It also makes things like our running much more difficult. Today for example, we did go for our morning run and while the air wasn't super hot yet, with the humidity in the air it felt like we were running through soup.

I long for cool days, cooler nights, apples, bonfires, baking....I just prefer fall. I don't want snow or COLD weather at all. But I'm ready to even start wearing long sleeves and sitting around with a blanket. I know it will be here all too soon and then eventually I'll be complaining about how cold it is. In fact yesterday I wrote a tweet on my Twitter that said "Remind me of the weather today when I'm whining in January about it being 20 below". But that's the thing about MN. The weather is always different and it can never be perfect!

I know that the rest of the country is suffering through worse heat than this, so I try to keep it in perspective. And I try to be thankful that I have an air conditioner and a way to escape the muggy yucky air. But I'm ready. I'm starting my countdown to fall. Bring it on.


Small rant: Movies vs Books

Rant time.

So I'm way behind on my movies as I usually am because we just do not go to the theatre ever. We Netflix and even with that it is hard to keep current sometimes. This weekend I finally got around to seeing My Sisters Keeper which came out LAST summer.

Now, I have read the book and I love the book. I love Jodi Picoult as an author and the twists and turns she puts in her books that you just don't see coming. And I won't give out spoilers for either the book or the movie as I complain for a moment here. But I was disappointed in the movie.

Now, I know, most times the movie never holds a candle to the book. Honestly, I think I've seen only a handful of movies that have translated well to the big screen from a book. And I can respect a director's or a writer's choice to make some changes to a screenplay to make it work better as a movie or to put their own personal spin on it or whatever. My complaint is this.

My Sister's Keeper the book has what I think is a huge and significant twist at the end. Like, you just get slammed by it but it is almost somewhat satisfying. My Sister's Keeper the movie chose to totally ignore Jodi Picoult's ending. Everything else in the movie up to that point felt like it worked fine and then this...it just didn't feel right to me. And that made me angry because I actually enjoyed the movie right up to that point and was bracing myself for what I was sure was coming and then bam. It didn't.

Maybe I'm just being way too nitpicky about it - but I just feel it was almost an insult to Jodi Picoult. But I know she put a stamp of approval on it so I really should just let it go!

Rant over.