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!



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)


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!



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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


Anti-Rain dance

Yes as I look out my window right now it's sunny and gorgeous and is going to be for the next couple of days. So why an anti-rain dance?

They are threatening rain for Saturday evening. When I may have close to 30 some people in my house. And I promised these 30 some people a bonfire, weather permittting.

Well weather, you'd better permit yourself!!!

No matter what the Oktoberfest event will still happen. I guess it could be worse - last year we had snow. At least there's no chance of that happening!

Paid for by the Committee to Stop Weather from Ruining Important Events. To support our cause, simply think sunny, happy thoughts.


The countdown begins

We're getting there.

Five, almost six, beers ready to be sampled.

Pieces of the bar coming together and final bits being attached and touched up on.

Yardwork accomplished and making things clean and neat.

House slowly getting cleaned up.

We have some shopping to do yet and a few other small things. But it's coming together.

Oktoberfest 2010 here we come, six days and counting....