Not much to report

Really don't have anything exciting to blog about at the moment. It is not a bad thing however! Life is slowing down a bit this coming weekend and it's a three day one thanks to the holiday. I'm glad about that. Summer has felt like it's been on fast forward a bit at the moment so it'll be nice to have a few days with not too much going on so we can kind of relax a bit.

We have a concert to go to on Sunday night so that will be fun. That's kind of the only major thing planned this weekend though. Saturday is wide open and I plan to keep it that way right now. We might golf with my parents if anything, that would be fun though since we haven't been out once yet this year.

We have one more day of 30 minutes of running to do and then the 12 week Walk to Run program will be complete. We are going to be running tomorrow morning - it'll be warm out there, but I know we can do it. The next program we're going to do is probably a basic 5K training program - we'll end up doing the Torchlight 5K kind of in the middle of the program, but that's ok. It's still giving us something to work on. The biggest difference will be we'll start logging our miles instead of our minutes. That'll take some getting used to, but I'm ready to try it out. I am so proud of how far we've come, that is for sure!

That's about it. We're so exciting over here! It's not a bad thing though.


My Summer Jobs - Part Two: Target Portrait Studio

Welcome to the next installment of my summer job horror stories. Ok, ok, they're not ALL horror stories, but you get the idea. I realized I never linked correctly in my last post to the Summer Academy post I had written a long while back. So, first off, you can read about my first real job here. There. That's better. Now onto job number three.

Toward the end of my senior year of high school I had the bug to get a job again. Things were winding down at school, all my friends had jobs, I felt like I was slacking a bit. So again, I applied a bunch of places, but this time I stayed away from the mall. If I was going to work, especially during the school year, I needed to work somewhere closer to home. I started applying places in mid to late February and there were slim pickings. Again, I took a friend's suggestion - she had a job at the Portrait Studio at Target and they were hiring. She said it was great, the studio wasn't open any later than 7 on weekdays and about 6:00 on weekends. It didn't sound too bad, seeing as school let out at 2:30, I could make the 3:00 start time, work until 7 and still have the evening free. So I applied and I was hired on the spot.

At first - everything was perfect and totally appealing. I got the Target employee discount, that was a huge deal to me! I was given extensive training on not just sales, but also taking real live portraits. The manager was young and somewhat hip and fun to be around. And once I was good and trained, I would even be stationed on my own and was told if there weren't appointments or whatever I could totally do my homework. Ok, this gig isn't half bad!

The busiest days were Saturdays, but I was usually not alone those days. My manager would usually take the portraits and I'd do the sales. Since she was so good at the portraits, the sales were pretty easy for me! Pretty soon the friend who initially told me about the job ended up leaving, but another friend of mine was hired and I got to help train her in and sometimes we were scheduled together. That ended up being pretty fun for us!

Things started changing though around the same time. Once school was out, I told my manager I was available pretty much anytime. She did start scheduling me more and asked if I was willing to travel away from my store a little bit. I said ok as long as it wasn't too far. At first, it was just over to Roseville, which wasn't too big of a deal. Then things started getting worse.

My manager was asked to go open a brand new studio at the Target in Hudson. So, she needed me and the other employees to fill in at our store a lot. The District Manager was put in charge of us. And she wasn't not impressed with our sales in my manager's absence. She expected us to have a certain number of appointments, sales of specific packages and sales of extra things as well. We had "goals" we were supposed to meet and my regular manager wasn't as strict about them. As a result, once she was gone, the District Manager figured this all out pretty quickly and decided to put us through training AGAIN.

Also, I started getting scheduled at stores further away than I wanted, such as Forest Lake (almost a 1/2 hour drive for you non-MN people). But the District Manager said it would help me improve and they'd compensate me for gas and such. Also, I was having to put in extremely long days. I was finding it very exhausting, so many people just wanted to buy the advertised $1.99 portrait package and nothing else. I did not have much luck getting good pictures of little kids. I was finding myself feeling just sick on my days off thinking about having to go in and work again.

My friend was hanging in there too and usually on down times we'd call each other and lament. If it wasn't for her I probably wouldn't have stuck it out as long as I did. Even though we're not really friends anymore, I'll always be grateful to her for helping me get through that summer!

Similarly to the year I worked at Homeplace, I had two weeks off scheduled, again for Music Ministry Alive and another week to go to a cabin with Nate's family. This time though I waited until I came back and then put in my two week's notice. By then my manager was back full time at our store and she was sad to see me go, as we originally talked about my staying there once I started school since I was living at home. She was willing to work around my class schedule and I'm sure really wanted me around for the holiday rush. I told her I just wasn't cut out for that kind of work, which simply was the truth and we parted amicably. She said I was always welcome back, but I knew I wouldn't be back.

So fortunately I had a couple of weeks off before starting college and figured, maybe I'll just get an on campus job or something. I didn't - but I ended up taking the best job ever the following summer. But more on that later.

The hardest part was giving up that Target discount! I'd kill to have that back!



It's been a busy few days in our world! It passed by in a bit of a blur too, but it was all pretty good stuff.

Friday was Nate's surgery - it went super well! He went back the next day and was testing at 20/15 with both eyes together and 20/20 in each eye alone. His healing is going quite well and I think he's pretty happy with the results so far.

I got this picture of him real quick at our mass on Saturday - it's not great, but I think you get the general idea of his "glasses free" look!

Saturday was a full day for us - we ran a bunch of errands after his very early follow up appointment and then we did an early evening mass with Praise Project and had a nice dinner at Red Robin just the two of us. Came home and watched movies and chilled and it was very nice!

Sunday we slept in a bit, got up and went for our run and.....drum roll please.....

WE HIT 30 TOTAL MINUTES!!! That's right folks, we made it! We still have to do two more days worth of that this week, but that is basically the end of our program. I was so nervous about it but it went super well and I felt amazing afterward. We're not done just because we've hit the final week though, we'll start a 5K training program next. I'm proud of us both!

After we euphorically returned home from our successful run, we were planning on doing some yard work, but then my mother-in-law called and said that there were gorgeous strawberries at the Farmer's Market. It's ironic because we were going to stop there on Saturday, but just never made it. Anyway, she said they looked amazing and asked if I wanted to make jam. I thought about and decided it would be a good day. Since she still had a quick contact lens appointment, I went out and cut up the remaining branches I had in the backyard while Nate mowed the front, then took a shower, grabbed my frozen rhubarb and met up with her.

We got the jam all made and canned in about two hours, which was good because I had an open house for my cousin's graduation. Below is a picture of the jam in the pot and then the finished product in the jars.

I'm excited to taste the jam - we haven't made it since 2008, so this is a nice treat! The strawberries were super yummy too, they were picked fresh on Sunday morning in fact. Nate and I will be attempting a strawberry rhubarb pie next!

I left to go get Nate and we went to my cousin's open house. It was a little bittersweet - she was my "baby" so to speak, I took care of her when she was just about six months old until she was old enough to babysit herself. I have fond memories of taking her and her siblings to the park in the summer, of her wanting to sit with me all the time at Follies rehearsals, and as she was older, going to see her in plays and feeling pride as she followed in my footsteps at Heights. I know she'll do good things in the world.

After we left the open house we went back to my in-laws and had an amazingly yummy dinner - grilled shrimp and scallops, rice and veggies. Very tasty, it was so enjoyable.

It was a full and good weekend, but again, I find Monday is almost a nice break! Hard to believe next weekend is the 4th of July already. Hearing it's going to get warm, but I'm kind of looking forward to it! On we go!


My Past Jobs - Part One: Homeplace

So I'm coming up on five years working for Fairview. I feel very proud of the fact that I've stuck with one company this long and God willing, hope to stay with them for some time to come yet. Sure I've had some rocky moments off and on, but right now, it's good, so I'm good where I am at.

However, I find myself reflecting on the past a bit. Especially with it being summer, because I had some interesting summer jobs back in the day. I wrote a couple of years ago about my very first job at Summer Academy. If you never read that post you can go here and read all about it. It was...an experience, that's for sure.

So the following summer, I was between my junior and senior years of high school and I was driving and dating Nate and finding I needed to have an income for myself. Even though that was the days of 99 cent per gallon gas (oh how I miss thee!!) and it cost next to nothing to fill up my Neon and Nate had a job at Frank's Nursery and Craft and could pay for stuff when we went out, I wanted to be able to pay for stuff too. And I wanted some mad money for shopping and what not. So, in the middle of May I applied a bunch of places. Many of these were at the Northtown Mall, which was only about 15 minutes from my parents house and well, it was the mall. What teenager who loved clothes and shopping didn't want to work at the mall?

Of course, none of the places I actually wanted to work at ever called me. A friend of mine from church told me that Homeplace, one of the anchors at the mall was hiring. She had a job there and said it was awesome, they were really flexible and it was a cool place to work. Well, it wasn't the kind of retail I had in mind, but I figured, why not, it would still be AT the mall. So I applied there for the heck of it too. And they were the ones that actually called me. I interviewed and they offered me the job on the spot.

It sounded perfect - school wasn't quite out yet, but they were willing to work around that until it was. They were willing to not schedule me for any Friday or Saturday nights (still don't know how I worked that out!) I was hired to be kind of a secondary cashier. I trained with a nice older lady and then I was on my own.

Right within the first week was the first problem. When you worked until close, they had all the cashiers stay until everyone's tills were more or less "correct". So that could take some time sometimes. But one night, one employee's purse went missing. And no one was allowed to leave until it was found - I guess we were all "suspects". The store closed at 10 - so it was already late. This was also before the days of cell phones, or at least before everyone had one. And they wouldn't let me call my parents. We didn't get out of there until almost 11, when the purse was finally found. My parents were beside themselves with worry, this was mere weeks after Katie Poirier was kidnapped, so you can imagine why.

We talked to my manager who assured me and my parents that would never happen again. But the job didn't get any better. It only got worse.

Once school was out I asked to be put on as many days as they were willing to give me. And they did, which was great. But, I often got stuck working with cranky people who were maybe ten years older than me and I'm sure were bitter about life in general as this was probably not their true ambition in the world. For whatever reason this one woman really had it out for me, she was super mean and would give me horrible mundane tasks to do and was nothing but rude. I was young and naive, never thought to bring it up with my manager. She'd laugh and talk with some of the floor staff who were friends of hers. If I tried to get in on the conversation she'd tell me to go clean or something. Yeah, that wasn't fun.

My friend who told me about the job in the first place did still work there that summer too, but she was on the floor staff and we were rarely scheduled at the same time.

There was one cash register at the front of the store where I started getting assigned - which was a relief, I didn't mind working alone. Sometimes they had me fold towels and things up there because it could be slower at that register. I was able to people watch out the mall entrance. I kind of liked those days.

Eventually though, I got tired of being treated like dirt by the cranky employees who hated life, I got tired of having to spend way too much time at the end of my shift reconciling the till. I was going to Music Ministry Alive for a week in late July and then on a week long vacation to Maine with Nate's family in the beginning of August and so right before I was leaving on those two weeks - I put in my two week notice. Yes folks that's right, I didn't even finish the summer.

Honestly though, I was happy I did quit when I did, I was able to enjoy the rest of my summer as a carefree teenager. I took on a couple of babysitting gigs to fill in my income and was always good at saving, so I was pretty well set heading into the school year. But, if I knew what I was in for with the job I took the following summer, maybe I wouldn't have been so quick to give this one up! More on that in the next installment.

Oh side note - Homeplace went out of business about a year or two later. I'm not surprised, there were never more than a handful of people in the store and all the stuff was wayyyy over priced for what it was!


Simply Summer

Not too much new here, just muddling our way through a short week.

Why is it a short week? Nate has Lasik on Friday! I'm so excited for him, I know he'll be just as pleased as I am with mine!

Other than that we managed to still run today in between raindrops. We're inching so close to our end goal I can taste it. But I haven't wanted to say much because we're at the point in the training program that we actually made it to last year - and then I got sick - so I'm a wee bit gun shy at the moment. Fortunately we're both (knock on wood) feeling good and doing good right now, so I am confident we will get there.

Summer is just not happening so far - but it did officially start yesterday. I have so many things I want to do this summer and have been reading friend's lists - but as I said earlier, I don't think I'm going to make a list this year. I got kind of disappointed when I didn't hit even half of my list last year. This is not in offense to anyone who has made a list - that's a good way to approach summer too, I'm just trying to go at it differently this year.

Right now my biggest goals are just simply - eat outside as much as possible when weather allows, attend the concerts I have tickets for already, run the Torchlight 5K in July (going to make myself register before the week is over I think) and take our St. Louis trip in July as well.

There's work to be done at home as usual, but again, we'll do as much as we can when we can!

In short, I want to enjoy this summer, but I'm going to try to simplify it - I'm not going to over think it this year. I will have fun, I will work hard and I will enjoy every moment!

Now, if we could just get that sunshine to come back!


More changes!

Well looky what I discovered - Blogger has advanced settings with fun fonts.

Did I ever mention I was addicted to fonts?

However, I want people to still be able to read this - so I chose one that is fun, but made it larger, so hopefully it's still nice and clear.

Please give me feedback if you are having trouble reading this.

In other news, summer starts today, but it's anything but outside. I have been trying SO HARD to not complain about the weather no matter what, but I'm getting to a breaking point. I'd really like to see some sunshine, stat. Sigh.

Happy April Summer.


Wet and Wild Experience

I had some Blogger issues today - so if you read my earlier post, well this is going to be a paraphrase of that one because I couldn't save what I had already written. Sigh.

Ok maybe not a wild experience. But definitely a WET one.

Rock the Garden was wet, cold, and more wet this year. I did enjoy myself despite the awful weather and hey, the sun did come out long enough to pretty much just give us a pretty sunset. Where do we live again? Seattle? Oy.

The lineup was as good as promised. I enjoyed seeing Neko Case live, though this wasn't the right venue for her. She would be better in a small theatre type environment and if I ever get the chance to see her that way I will. She even joked about it during her set, that she wasn't quite appropriate for an outdoor venue. My Morning Jacket was pretty good, I enjoyed their set, they sure have a ton of energy!

Below are a few pictures - the stage when Neko Case was performing, Nate and I braving the rain and my muddy, dirty feet. I'm glad we went, though I don't know that I want to repeat the experience again, I was so cold when I got home!!


What a mess

Last night Nate and I finally set out to start cleaning up the backyard. It's a mess after a big storm last summer, the crazy wind storm of October and then a winter full of very heavy snow.

I swear I have never seen so many branches down in our yard. And those of you who have seen our backyard know that it is huge.

We've been putting off working out there for awhile, but knew that we had to start getting after this sooner rather than later or it was going to get worse and we'd have the city after us for not mowing our lawn - which we've done once due to all the branches and even then it wasn't great because Nate had to mow around all the branches. So last night was the night.

We worked for an hour and a half before getting utterly exhausted and having to stop. I don't know how I was delusional enough to believe we'd get it all done in one night. The good news is we've consolidated to one last pile, so once that is done, that should be the worst of the small stuff anyway.

There are bigger tree branches that Nate will need to use a chainsaw on or we may even have to have hauled away professionally, but thankfully the majority of that stuff is at the way back of our lot.

We loaded up three yard bags worth of the smaller piddly branches that we cut up by hand. Fun stuff.

Seriously though, I am declaring this the summer that we finally get the backyard in shape. We have a good sized yard and a nice deck and we don't take enough advantage of it, namely because we never get our act together enough to do the work to make the yard really nice. Or other projects get in the way. Well, this year, no major projects are scheduled. So it's on. We're going to try and make a planting area around the deck and make it look nice.

And there will need to be bonfires because some of the bigger branches are going to make great firewood. Stay tuned.


No rain, no rain, no rain

Just two days until Rock the Garden.

They (being the weather guys that is) say it should only be raining in the morning of Rock the Garden. I would prefer no rain at all, but if it absolutely has to, then I hope it does only rain in the morning.

The gates are opening at 3:00 with music beginning somewhere thereafter.

Anti-rain dance for Saturday commences now!


Wake me up before you go-go

We get up every day at 5:30 to go running. Starting Thursday, it just might have to be earlier than that even as we jump up to 25 minutes that we need to run.

So you might assume that we are morning people. Well you'd be wrong.

I am so not a morning person. I never really have been (just ask my mom that one, she got to put up with me for years). I have always had a natural tendency towards waking up earlier than most, especially on weekends, but that does not make me a morning person.

Mostly I used to just be grumpy in the morning and it just took me a little bit to perk up. As I've gotten older, I am now finding that I'm cursed with something else.

I'm dang slow!

I can't move fast in the mornings anymore to save my life. I used to pride myself on being able to roll out of bed and be ready to go somewhere in 15 minutes or less. Not anymore.

I partially blame the "black hole complex" of the shower. I get into the shower and think I've been in there five minutes and it ends up being 10 or more. My skin care routine, which has saved my face in so many ways I love it, is a little complex, so that takes some time. Short hair is easy - but it can be putzy too, especially when I'm close to needing a hair cut like I am right now.

And don't even think about making me eat fast. Are you kidding? I just have cereal and coffee most days, but I need time to eat and let it digest and all of that. And who drinks hot coffee quickly? Anyone?

Nate is more or less like me too - he also moves slower than he'd like to in the mornings.

So, that is why we get up so dang early to go running. I know people have often wondered, because we live so close to our respective offices, that we should not need to get up that early to get the run done before showering and going to work. But you factor in the things I listed and yes, we need that time! So while I don't like getting up at the crack of dawn, it's necessary if I want to be a runner AND still have the time I need to get ready in the morning. And I do want to be a runner. I like the way it makes me feel.

For the record - I'm not a "night person" either. I'm a weirdo - I'm a "middle of the day" person. I'm probably at my best from about lunchtime to 8:00 pm or so. Yeah, I'm an odd one.

The good news is we're back to a point in our training where every other day we just do a 15 minute walk - so those days we can "sleep in" a few extra minutes and let me tell you, those are nice days!

I must be getting old. Ha ha!


And we're off...

First full and busy weekend of summer is now under our belts and there is much, much more to come!

Friday was the "calm" day so to speak, as after work all we did was have dinner over at my parents and then went home and watched two movies. So I guess that was the calm before the storm!

Saturday I got up super early and met Miss Gina for coffee and we sat and chatted for awhile and it was nice to do that. She gave me a wall hanging that she no longer wanted that matches my kitchen decor awesomely, since it has a coffee cup on it. I have kind of been doing a "cafe" theme in my kitchen and dining room, so this fits in quite well. It also has a chalk board so now Nate and I can leave each other notes if we want!

After our coffee date I headed down to LUSH, since I was already most of the way to Ridgedale, and stocked up on some facial care items. It didn't take me too long to pick up the things I needed, so then I stopped on the way home at a fairly new to MN accessory store. Yes, I know, Beth in an accessory store is like letting a bull loose in a china shop. I'll have more about this in a Thrifty Tuesday or Thursday post this week and we'll leave it at that.

Saturday afternoon we headed to a wedding for a guy we graduated high school with. It turned out to be a nice day, which was good since they got married outside. We stayed for the dinner and the first couple of dances and then escaped to have a nightcap at Psycho Suzi's - and finally got to check out the new upstairs bar there, very awesome, live music, we did eventually go sit on the patio for a bit, but upstairs is very fun there.

Sunday we slept in for a little bit and then got up and did our run for the day. After that I went over to help set up the graduation house for our Praise Project director's son. She has no family in the area and had no one else to really help her, so a bunch of us stepped up to help put the whole thing together. It was a long day, but overall went pretty well.

After that was over Nate and I grabbed some Famous Dave's for dinner and watched some more of Mad Men - we're almost done with season two now!

So, we're off and running in what promises to be a crazy, busy summer. I'm thankful for a calm week, since next weekend will be another crazy one. Stay tuned, it'll be an interesting summer, that is for sure!


Just my rambles

Just some this and that today.

Today was the first day we haven't been able to run due to weather in quite awhile. I don't feel bad about missing today either, we just finished two rather intense weeks of our program, and while we will keep adding to our total minutes in the coming weeks, the program starts to back off in intensity now. So in a way, missing today wasn't a big deal at all, it's an extra day to rest and celebrate finishing some of the most difficult days!

Rock the Garden is one week from tomorrow. I am getting insanely excited. It is the highlight of my summer every year and I know this one will be the best one yet, since I finally get to see Neko Case live. It'll kick off my summer of music, because a couple of weeks after that we're going to see the Black Keys with Cage the Elephant (Don't you just love band names?) and a week after that I get to finally go to Josh Groban with my mom. So, so excited for all of it!

Nate is going to have Lasik! He'll be having it done at the end of the month. I am excited for him, I am still so thrilled with my vision and how the whole thing turned out and I hope he will be equally excited with his. He hasn't been sans glasses for pretty much his entire life, so it will definitely be an adjustment. It was all his decision, I am glad he's doing it, but it was up to him to decide. I don't think he'll regret it though! We'll save so much money in the long run not having to buy new glasses every so many years.

As I mentioned earlier this week, we have a crazy busy weekend ahead of us with a wedding on Saturday and the first of many graduation parties we have to go to on Sunday. It's just that time of year. And while there are many fun things coming up, there are a lot of different things coming up and I fear getting a bit frazzled, but I have some vacation days coming too, so hopefully that will help quite a bit in the long run. If anything, I fear the summer is going to fly by - going to try to just go one day at a time as much as possible! Because after the winter we just had, this year I actually feel like I AM a summer girl! Ha!


Thrifty Tuesday with a fuzzy picture

So here's another attempt at a "Thrifty Tuesday" post. Once again the picture quality kind of stinks because I'm just not that good at self portraits. Eventually I'll get my act together and have Nate take a picture of me on days I plan to do this.

At any rate, I like my outfit today and am rather proud of it, so here it is.

The rundown:

Capri/gaucho pants - East 5th brand which I think is from Kohl's or Herbergers, I purchased these at Clothes Mentor for around $10.00 www.clothesmentor.com (Search for locations, I usually go to Roseville)

Tank Top - Maurices, $12.00 but I had a 25% off coupon and got it for $9.00 www.maurices.com

Lightweight sweater (or what they are calling a "cardi-wrap) - Maurices, $29.00, but again, 25% off coupon and got it for around $21 www.maurices.com

Bag - Fun Sisters, I believe it was around $30 www.thefunsisters.com

So probably around $70 total for this outfit, though all items have been purchased over time, not necessarily all at once. I'm most proud of the gaucho/capri pants because of course they came from Clothes Mentor which is the best consignment shop around.

Oh and you can't see my feet, but I'm wearing Tommy Hilfiger sandals that were purchased at DSW for much cheaper than retail about three years ago and they're still in awesome shape. (www.dsw.com)

I try my best to be a thrifty fashionista anyway!


First weekend of summer

The weather here in MN was perfection - those who live here, do you agree? Sunny, warm but not humid, definitely summer at it's best!

Friday night we had a nice light dinner at my parents because it was still kind of hot outside. Then we headed home and made margaritas and watched just stupid movies. Sometimes it is nice to just lose yourself in total potty humor type movies and let your brain be turned to mush!

Saturday I got up and met three lovely ladies from my sorority for brunch at Psycho Suzi's and it was wonderful to sit outside and catch up with each other. I love these girls so much, we have such busy lives that we don't get a chance to hang out nearly enough, but when we do it's always a blast and we don't realize how long we've been sitting and chatting! It was gorgeous out on the patio at Suzi's too, though even with sunscreen and an umbrella I managed to get sunburn on just one little spot on my arm. Oops.

I got home just in time to bid Nate farewell as he was heading off to a bachelor party for the afternoon and evening. I had my whole afternoon free and even though it was gorgeous outside, I chose to finally attack a project that's been plaguing me for awhile - cleaning the spare bedroom up a bit. The spare bedroom right now is kind of my "office" and "crafting area" but it's just been full of junk too. But I tell you I worked for about two hours and organized everything, threw some stuff out and now it's much nicer again! You can actually walk around and I no longer need to leave the door closed!

After that I cleaned myself up and went to church, where, in my opinion, one of the most amazing priests ever was saying Mass because our normal pastor was on vacation. I love listening to Fr. Joncas preach, he could read the phone book and I'd still probably find it fascinating. I left feeling super uplifted, I love that feeling.

Then I went to Praise Project rehearsal and stayed there until pretty late, figuring Nate would probably be home from his party by the time I got there. I got home and he was still actually gone and also wasn't answering his phone which sent me into a bit of a cranky mood for a little bit, but fortunately thanks to the host's wife, I found out that he was just playing poker. And then later Nate told me that the chair he was sitting on was making it hard to feel his phone vibrate so he wasn't getting my messages. I went ahead and went to bed and it sounds like he came home about an hour after that.

Sunday we slept pretty late and then got up to do our walk for the day. I was nervous because Nate had been experiencing shin splint type pain last week, but further research found that the new shoes he had bought a couple of weeks ago were not giving him the correct support and was actually causing the shin splints. Before the party on Saturday he went back to the New Balance store and they were awesome - they exchanged his shoes for the other model he used to have without any question. And fortunately it seems to have helped.

After our walk we decided to go out to lunch and simply chose Perkins because it was close and if we felt like breakfast we could do that or have something off the lunch menu. Our experience there was interesting at best - as soon as we were seated we were told that they were running a bit slow and our food could take up to 20 minutes. We weren't really in a hurry, so we said 20 minutes was fine. Yeah, it ended up being almost an hour. I don't know what was going on in that kitchen, because the dining room was pretty empty at this point. We were comped free muffins though to take home, so that was nice of them.

Then we hit the store even though we try to avoid doing so on Sundays, we really needed some stuff at home. After that we were pretty lazy with the rest of our day, definitely took advantage of the weather and grilled outside for dinner then finished out our weekend with a disc of Mad Men, we're almost done with season two.

Not bad for the first weekend of summer! Next weekend will be a bit of a busy one with a wedding and a graduation open house that will be taking up most of our time. Tis the season!


The view from here

Last night was pure perfection in my eyes.

Picture this - sitting on the deck, relaxing on my gilder with a book, ice cold beer, smells of Nate grilling corn and brats (standard summer meal for us, so good). Breeze keeping me cool. Sun blocked by trees in my back yard.

I have said time and again I'm not much of a summer girl - but nights like last night make me love it a little more. And after the winter we just had, well, I'm approaching this summer with a new appreciation.

For a brief moment as I sat I did let my mind wander to how much work we still need to do on our backyard. And how every year I say "this will be the year we really make this nice" and then it doesn't happen because other projects become more important. But I tried to put that out of my head. I'm not making promises this year, if we finally get to some of it, great, if not, I still have a nice deck and it could always be worse.

Instead of dwelling, I just sat back and relaxed and appreciated the moment and what I do have. And it was lovely.


Not just one, but two

So over the weekend we found out that not just one, but two of our favorite eating establishments have closed down.

The first one was relatively new to us - Stabby's Cafe in South Minneapolis. Yes, I know, interesting name right? We found them last spring when searching for different breakfast spots, they hadn't been around super long, but we went and checked them out and loved it. They had a small dining room, but it was always full of people for breakfast! They had outstanding french toast and Nate loved their corned beef hash.

Nate was going to treat us to breakfast at Stabby's on the morning our anniversary and simply went online to double check their hours only to discover, they had closed their doors earlier this month. We only got to eat there a couple of times in the last year and had been talking about going for weeks. Guess we won't be doing that now!

The one I am more disappointed about however, comes as a little more of a shock to me. One of my favorite little sandwich/coffee shops - Urban Harvest in NE Minneapolis is no longer open. My parents tried to go there for lunch over the weekend and found they were closed with paper on the windows.

I never liked the coffee bar much at Urban Harvest, but they had outstanding sandwiches and soups. We loved going there for a lunch treat. It was a little spendier than many sandwich places, but we always felt it was worth it for the amount of food you got and the quality of the ingredients. And I appreciated the fact that it wasn't a "chain". Not that there is anything wrong with chains, but I liked the more independent feel of this place. We've been going there for the last ten years easily, so this is really a bummer to me!

I do know that in tough economic times though, the restaurant industry takes a huge hit, so I'm sure that's what happened to these places. I'll mourn the loss of them for a bit and guess that we'll be on a quest to find suitable replacements as time goes on!