Jungle River Tubing and the Beach

Monday, December 31, 2012


I know I’ve been slacking in the writing department. I guess I’ve run out of energy. LOL!  So on Saturday we went on a Jungle River Tubing Adventure.  It was lame.  First thing was they were late in picking us up at the hotel. We waited an hour and they never showed. The security guard at the hotel was nice enough to call and ask where they were. They said that I never confirmed hotel…um I called you yesterday and confirmed hotel and you gave me a pick up time. Stupid people. It was a snafu but we eventually were able to go on the later tubing tour.  We also got an awesome driver Morris. He was a fun guy and he was really early. He said he is on American time not Jamaican time. We picked up another couple from the San Francisco area…it was an interesting discussion there and back.  Morris took us the “scenic” way. Yikes what a drive through the mountains.  Narrow roads with big rigs makes for a fun/scary drive. The tubing experience was ok. The river was so mild it makes Rapid Creek look like the Colorado River.  There were a few rapids but for the most part it was nice float through the bamboo. We were also tied to each other so there was no drifting away or worries of flipping over…the best part of tubing. Oh well, we got to see more scenic parts of Jamaica and not just the beach. This was also the night one of the cats actually jumped on my lap and was head-butting me. He was so dang cute. He was lovin’ me up. And then two other cats followed us up the stairs to our room and kept guard at our door for while. When I checked back later they were still there.

Speaking of the beach, the last two days have been mostly devoted to the beach. Yesterday morning we went to Mass at the Mary of Heaven’s Gate Catholic Church just up the road.  It was an interesting experience. First off the Mass started 40 minutes late because the priest that was saying Mass was in the neighboring town and the main priest was filling in at another church.  It was fun because the main priest asked if anybody from the US was going back this week and then he gave this couple a bunch of mail. Economizing priest. LOL!  We meet a couple from Salem, SD who were staying here until February.  They have been coming here for 25 years and always stay a while.  The warned us that the priest saying mass is long winded…they weren’t kidding.  For the 40 minutes we waited the choir sang songs. They were very festive. The priest had over a 30 minute sermon.  So on top of being 40 minutes late he had a 30 minute sermon. It was 2 hours before we got out of there. And the funny thing is one of the guys trying to sell us pot on the beach the night before was playing a tambourine…Ya Mon!  After that we went over the Coco La Palm, a resort run by Minnesotans.  The service was terrible.  It took over an hour for a cheeseburger and jerk chicken and the jerk chicken was already prepared!  We were so hungry by the time we scarfed down the food. We spent the afternoon on the beach and in the water. It was so nice except for guys harassing us on the beach.  The beach hagglers are AWFUL.  We went for a walk down to the shopping mall which was closed (I guess because it was Sunday?) and the ATM was out of money.  But the ice cream place was open so Eric got some ice cream.

Today we lounged around the beach, reading and riding the waves. This is the first day the waves were actually decent and fun to play in.  We also went back the shopping mall to buy some gifts.  The ATM was still out of money. It is the closest ATM and doesn’t require a taxi ride so this was very annoying!  We had lunch at a cafĂ©…both of us were very disappointed…our food was gross.  Eric also bought me a new ring with a Caribbean blue diamond. I haggled the guy down to over 70% off. I’m good and the ring is beautiful. Well time to cuddle with my cats. Hopefully they will come to me again. It is also New Year’s Eve…I wonder if I’ll stay awake til midnight…doubt it. 

Booby Cay, Rick's Cafe and what is that F-ing Beeping?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm wide awake early from a very awful night of sleep.  Well the first 3 hours were ok and the last 4 hours were ok...it was the 3 hours in between where I couldn't sleep. I woke up around 12:30am with this insane itching on my legs. It wasn't the jellyfish sting, you can't even see that anymore their potion worked wonders. Jamaica has sand flies here which are like a mosquito   They suck. You can't see or feel them biting you but you get the welt later and it itches like crazy. I have probably a dozen or more bites on my leg and there were all itching at the same time. I scratched my legs so hard I thought they were going to bleed. Finally I got up and put cortisone cream on my legs which helped a lot. I'm so glad I brought that along.  So I tried to fall back to sleep but there there was this annoying beeping noise coming from outside our room.I have no idea what it was but it was driving me nuts.  So I turned on the TV to see the last 30 seconds of the Gopher Bowl game. The first thing I saw was the Gophers throwing the interception and Texas Tech throwing 2 passes and kicking a field goal to end the tied game.  Well that made me a little upset but I'm actually amazed it wasn't a blow out. Way to go Gophers! I thought I was tired enough to shut the TV off and fall asleep...wrong. The damn beeping noise again. Finally I put the TV back on and settled for the first Harry Potter movie and eventually fell asleep but I know it was after 2am.  I'm not sure when I shut the TV off.

Last night was lot of fun and was kind of an adventure.  We decided to a sunset cruise with the same guys who did the earlier snorkeling.  Well another group had organized a ride out to Booby Cay, an Island not far from here.  Well we got to do both.  We went out the island which was beautiful. I found an awesome seashell...I'm talking a massive seashell. We hung around for a while so they could do some snorkeling and then we went to Rick's Cafe, Lighthouse and caves.  I got a nice picture of the sunset from the cave. Then we went to Rick's where one of the guys in our group jumped from the cliffs. I don't think I would do it from that height. Maybe the smaller ones.  Crazy! The group we were with were interesting.  There were 3 couples and one other guy. They were from all over the US. The one girl was from Michigan and her father lives here part time so they were staying at his house.  The others were from Northern California, Memphis and Atlanta. The were also smoking ganja (aka pot) most of the ride. It was a long cruise but we saw lots of interesting things.

Jellyfish are attracted to me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

This morning we went snorkeling with Captain Papa and Capitan Sponge Bob. They work for Capitan Moses, a legend on seven mile beach.  It was so much fun. It was nice because it was only 4 of us that went so it was small group. Papa took us around the coral and brought up a starfish for us to feel. Then he brought up a sea urchin. Eric and I both held it. That was a weird feeling.  I got some great shots of underwater fish, urchins, a shipwreck anchor and cannon. It was very cool. I also got attacked by a jellyfish…AGAIN!  It is Mexico all over again.  But this spot was way better than Mexico.

Black River, YS Falls and Appleton Rum Estate

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Happy Birthday to me!

What a busy, bumpy day. We started the day with a 2 hour drive to Black River, Jamaica.  It was a very nice drive but VERY BUMPY.  The roads in this country are horrible!  In Black River we rode a boat up the Black River.  We got to see the crocodiles and mangroves. It was a very nice ride on a scenic river.

The second stop on the tour was the YS Falls.  They were beautiful.  I didn’t know that you could swim in the water around there so I was a little disappointed because that would have been fun but we waded around. It was a multiple layered waterfall. They also had swing ropes. Dang it next time I need to bring my suit.

The final stop was the Appleton Rum Estate. We had a great meal of Jerk Chicken, sweet potatoes (I actually ate them) and rice. It was ok.  Not the best but I was hunger. The tour was kind of short we got to see how they used to get the sugar out of the sugar cane and we saw the vaults in the distillery and final the ageing room.  It was interesting seeing all those barrels.  We didn’t do too much of the tasting as I don’t like rum. I tried the coconut and the mango and it burned.  Water for me please.

After that we had the 2 hour ride back to Negril on the same bum numbing drive. Crazy drivers and roads in this country. 

We were glad to get home and go out for some dinner.  Now we are just relaxing in the room and watching ALF…yes that ALF. LOL!

Beach vendors are like vultures

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Well our first official day at Jamaica is done and it was fun even though it rained this afternoon.  We ventured up the beach to see what is around.  We ran into a lot of people that want to offer you stuff. They are like vultures.  Glass bottom boat rides, braiding my hair and marijuana was a common theme. We stopped a gift shop and got Eric his standard National Team Soccer Jersey.  It is really cool.  Also at this place was the original bobsled from the movie Cool Runnings. How cool is that???  We walked back on the road side and got beeped at numerous times from taxis wanting to give us a ride. They are just as persistent as the beach vendors.  We stopped to check out the Catholic church just up the road from our hotel. We meet Father Jim the parish priest.  He is from Cincinnati and works here as part of his mission...sweet mission...across the street from the beach!  He said that people from Minnesota come to this church the most followed by Wisconsin.  I thought that was interesting.  He said it must be the cold weather that makes us come here. :) After that we stopped at a small street shop for some water, Coke and cookies.  They were playing the Manchester United game on the TV in the show so Eric was watching  the game and talking with the locals while I walked around.  We had lunch at the hotel.  No Jamaica food today...burgers and fries. I know I'm bad but I wanted something that I knew I would like. Bad Kim. We finally got into the water after that. It was amazing.  I think it was warmer last night but it didn't matter it felt wonderful.  We were one of the few people in the water which was odd.

After a quick shower we flagged down a taxi, Carlton was his name, he drove us the mega grocery store where we got some food.  They probably think were sugar addicts because we stocked up on candy bars and sugary cereal. We are just like Santa, we like our sugar. Carlton waited for us to do our shopping and then gave us a ride back. That was convenient. And then it started to rain so it was really good we didn't try walking (about 2.5 miles).

We have a sweet tooth!
After the rain shower we walked down the beach to unexplored stores.  Again more hassling from vendors. I'm not kidding they are like vultures.  One of them though was nice. He was wearing a Justin Morneau Minnesota Twins Shirt.  His name was Lobster and he and his dad, Captain Moses do glass bottom boat tours and snorkeling. I think we will go with them later this week when go snorkeling.  Got to support the Twins...and those who support them. I'm looking forward to that.  We stopped for some dinner and now I'm  relaxing poolside listen to the reggae from the local nightclub..."Enjoy the Vibes." I'm surrounded by cats and a bird that keeps diving for the pool water. I also almost stepped on a crab at the bottom our of step. He scurried away.  Besides the cats, there are dogs that roam the beach and goats that roam the countryside. The cats make me happy.  It reminds me of Swirl.
Cat protecting his alcohol

From 0 to 85

Hey everybody from SUNNY and HOT Jamaica.  I'm having a great time so far.  I'm not sure what the temps is but I'm all sweaty and hot. I can't wait to jump in the water.  It will be awesome.  We went walking along the beach last night the water was amazing.

Well we got here about 5:30 last night.  It was a long day of travel.  It started at 12:30 am Christmas morning.  I woke up with symptoms that I thought was a UTI.  So I waited a couple hours and couldn't sleep so finally I went to the ER at 2:30 just to make sure I didn't have it.  The doctor said that my test came back negative but he was going to give me a prescription just in case it is in the early stages.  So I had to find the closest 24 hour pharmacy that was open on Christmas day.  Thankfully it was only 10 miles away in Savage.   I got home about 4:30. I tried to sleep but couldn't.  Greg picked us up at 5:30 for our early morning flight.  The flight to Atlanta was really BUMPY!  Atlanta to Montego was kind of bumpy too but not as bad.  Immigration and customs went by smoothly and then we got in a mini bus for the 90 minute drive to Negril. What an amazing driving. It was beautiful but also very realistic.  Big beautiful houses next to run down shacks.  I don't think there is a middle class here.

View from the room :)
Our hotel is right on the beach and our room faces the ocean. Unfortunately we didn't get a balcony but we have a sliding door so that is cool.  We got to our room just in time for the first of many sunsets.  BEAUTIFUL!  We ventured down the beach to Alfred's Ocean Palace.  They had good, cheap food and some American food for us spoiled people. I had Jamaican fried chicken. It was good but Eric's fancy chicken was much better.  I had the banana cake for dessert. It was a delicious piece of cake similar to banana bread. I think we will visit them again.

Today we are going to adventure around the beach and see what there is to offer. I'm so excited.

2012 - A Year in Review

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!  We hope you had a great 2012.

We spent Christmas 2011 with the Tracie’s family in Pahrump, NV. Kim’s mom and brother were along.  After spending a few days in Vegas we headed to LA to visit Kim’s cousin Steve and his family. We spent Kim’s birthday checking out the surfers at Newport Beach and shopping at Downtown Disney.  After our stay in LA we went down to San Diego to visit’s Kim’s cousin Bev.  We spent a day at the San Diego Zoo’s very busy Safari Park.  We also took Kim’s Mom south of the border to Tijuana for some shopping.  It was a very interesting time.  We stood in line for almost 2 hours to get back into the States, but at least Mom can now say she has been to Mexico.

In May we attended Abbie’s confirmation. Eric was her sponsor.  The next morning Danielle and Kim had an early morning flight to Milwaukee to meet up with the rest of the Bisek family. We went to Miller Park for the Twins/Brewers game. The Twins won so Kim was the only happy person.  We also attended Dylan’s graduation from Marquette University. Hank Aaron was the guest speaker and he was great! After the graduation we had a picnic in the park along Lake Michigan.

For the Memorial Day weekend, we traveled to Tuskegee, AL and Atlanta. We spent the weekend with Eric’s Uncle Dennis and Aunt Bev.  We attended Bev’s family reunion where meet civil rights activist who marched with MLK in Selma. We visited the Tuskegee Airmen NHS and spent a day touring around Alabama with Uncle Dennis. After that we headed to Atlanta for a few days. We walked through Centennial Olympic Park (1996 Olympics) on our way to the World of Coca-Cola.  We got to see the vault that holds the secret recipe (doubt it is actually in there) and the tasting room of different Coke products sold around the world.  Some of them were good, others were horrible.  After the World of Coke we went to the Georgia Aquarium. Apparently this is the largest one in the world.  It was nice, we got to see some whale sharks, beluga whales and the dolphin show was awesome, probably the best dolphin show we’ve ever seen.  The next day we did the CNN Inside the Studio Tour.  It wasn’t that exciting. In the evening we cheered on the Cardinals at Turner Field.  The park was nice but the Brave’s trademark tomahawk music and chop got annoying.

After we returned from Atlanta, Kim flew to Las Vegas. After a planning snafu, Kim spent the first night in Vegas alone and had to pick up Samantha from the airport early the next morning. We went hiking in Red Rock Canyon and eventually picked up Carrie from the airport. We showed Samantha most of the tame Vegas sites including the Hoover Dam. We also went to a birthday party in Pahrump for Tracie’s kids.  As soon as Kim came back from Vegas, we attended Beth’s High School graduation and party.

Also in June we went on our annual road trip.  This year we followed the Twins to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. In Pittsburgh we went to the top of Mt. Washington on their historic inclines to get a great view of the city. In Cincinnati, we went up to the observatory deck on top of Carew Tower.   The building was built in 1929 and is the model for the Empire State Building.  We also walked across the Roebling Suspension Bridge. The bridge was built in 1867 and people were so afraid to use it that they bribed the German immigrants by providing free beer and brats if they walked to the middle of the bridge.  That apparently got people to use it.  This was the model for the Brooklyn Bridge. Apparently New York uses Cincinnati as their guinea pigs.

For the Labor Day weekend we went camping near Fargo with DJ and family. We visited Beth at Moorhead State. We rushed back so Kim and her mom could catch their flight to Reno.  While in Reno, they visited with family friends, Dave and Joann, who took them all over the area. Lake Tahoe was very beautiful and cold. 

In January, Eric started the Masters of Organizational Leadership program at St. Mary’s University.  So he has been busy writing papers. Also in January, he changed positions with Centerpoint Energy.  He now works in downtown Minneapolis so we get to carpool every day. He spent the summer refereeing adult soccer games across the metro. Kim still works for Ameriprise Financial and continues to play trombone in the Eden Prairie Community Band. Swirl turned nine this year and had another run in with the Vet.  He is fine now but for two weeks we had to try and give him pills…not an easy task.

May you have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love, 
Kim, Eric and Swirl Williams

Ho, Ho, Holy Busy Week

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Firstly, I'm very unhappy.  The first day of Christmas Vacation and I'm awake at 6am and can't sleep. Stupid body let me sleep! But we are still here so the Mayan's must have just got tired of writing out the calendar. LOL!  Well I'm watching the Christmas episode of Keeping Up Appearances.  I love Hyacinth...she is determined to be viewed as popular so she sent herself Christmas cards. She has 112 cards...here are the best lines:
Hyacinth:
 (Looking at Christmas cards) Ohhhh.
Richard (her husband): More Christmas cards? Are they genuine or are they more of those you've written to yourself?
Hyacinth: 
I regard it as a service to those people who may have misplaced my address.

LOL!  I love this show.

I know I'm a broken record but this week has been CRAZY!  It was the last week of work for the year and surprisingly I was busy.  It is good because it made the time go by fast. 

Sunday was the Share the Warmth Concert. It was long buy we sounded great! I don't have a video this year...well I have some videos that my friend's daughter Haley had Eric's phone. Hopefully I can get some uploaded to YouTube.  They are quite entertaining. Afterwards was the Holiday Party. 

Nothing to exciting happened Monday.  I went grocery shopping and made my cheese ball for Holiday Potluck at work. I got to use my new mixer again. It is always exciting when I get to use the mixer.

Tuesday we had our annual Holiday Potluck at work. So much good food!  After work though I had to go to the dentist to fill a couple cavities...it was horrible. I was so glad when they were done.  My mouth was so sore for a couple days afterwards.  It hurt where they put the Novocaine.  After that I had a hard time drinking and eating and smiling was out of the question. My right side would smile while the left side was drooping.  I had volleyball after that so my team was making fun of me. They said that I can frown really well. I went to bed and my mouth was still numb. LOL!

Danielle and Bradley came up Wednesday night.  Danielle was going to work with me on Thursday and Bradley had a test in Eagan. So that worked out well.

Like I said, Danielle came to work with me on Thursday. I got her an information meeting with the Chief Actuary of my company. She learned some stuff but apparently he talked her ear off. LOL!  We also made lots of snowflakes for a project I'm working on for Mom.  So it was fun day...well half day.  We left at 11:30.  I wanted to show her the Macy's Christmas Display.  Well as a result we missed the bus.  We went out the door and the bus took off.  As I wrote on Facebook, I really hate seeing the back of the bus when the next one isn't for 47 minutes. So much for "leaving early." We sat in the Crystal Court of the IDS Center and listened to an elementary school orchestra playing Christmas Music. They were pretty good considering they were 10 year olds. We caught the next bus and stopped by Pizza Ranch for some lunch on the way home.  They hung around the house until 4pm. At 6pm I meet Celeste for a pedicure. It felt great and my toes look nice for the beach.  Eric went shopping for my Christmas presents.

Yesterday was the last day of the year for me at work. It was such a great day.  But it went by kind of slowly.  I guess I was anxiously awaiting our trip to the Waterpark of America. The last time I was there was the last time I saw my dad alive and well.  He died 4 days later. So sad!  It was fun but kind of cold. I can't wait for the 80+ degree weather that I'm going to in 2 days, 23 hours and 41 minutes.  :-)  After almost 2 hours at the waterpark we went to the Mall of America for dinner and some shopping. I got some amazing sandals for our trip.  They are so comfy.  

Well it is time to make my peppermint brownie.  Yum! 

Christmas Lights!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It has been really busy these last few days. Thankfully the commutes Wednesday evening and Thursday and Friday were great. No major back-ups but I guess it helps that it was 40 degrees and the snow on the road melted. Wednesday night we picked up Mom, Grace and Bev from the Casino and went to Chanhassen Dinner Theater’s A Hometown Christmas Pageant. It was ok, not the best performance I’ve seen at Chanhassen.  Mom loved it.  Thursday was the usually band night.

Friday night was great. Greg, Celeste and Evelyn meet Mom, Mike and us at our house and we drove down to Mankato. We meet Danielle and Bradley at Pizza Ranch…our new obsession. It was a busy place but as always the food was great.  After that we all piled into the minivan (9 people) and went to the see the Kiwanis Club’s Christmas Light show in the park. Danielle and Bradley help put up the lights and volunteered one night.  It was really cool. We even saw Santa (Evelyn tried to steal his presents) and Reindeer.  We stopped for some hot cocoa, hot cider and brownies and then made our way back home. Mom and Mike spent the night at our house. It was a fun night. Here are some pictures with more on my website (LINK):
Eric and Kim

Danielle and Bradley

Mike and Evelyn looking at the reindeer.

Evelyn tried to steal Santa's presents

Yesterday I was busy from 6am. Mom, Mike and I went shopping at like 7:30 and then we went to Perkins for Breakfast and they went home. Eric and I stopped by the post office to mail some packages and then went shopping. First stop was Barnes and Noble in Eagan.  They didn’t have a DVD/Music section so that was a failed stop. After that we met a guy at McDonalds. I bought a brand new KitchenAid Professional Mixer from him. He had a listing on Craigslist. I got a good deal on it. So far I used it twice and I love it. I’m so excited.  We made a stop at Starbucks (because Juliette got me addicted), Barnes and Noble in Burnsville (we got Eric a talk Dalek stuffed toy) and the Casual Male XL Store for this Snoopy Shirt.  Isn’t it cute?  

Mike's new shirt
Mike said he liked it but didn’t get it, but after thinking about it he said he wanted it so we swung by and picked it up. We got home from our shopping just in time for 4:30 Mass.  After Mass we came home for dinner and watch a movie and then at 9pm we went out for a Peppermint shake from Arby’s.  Quite a busy day!


MnDot, do you have plows?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Like I mentioned in the last post, I love snow except when it ruins my plans or make my commutes long.  Well let’s just say this week has been hell on the commuting part.  It has really tested my patience. Thankfully we can use the car pool lane, but that only helps to a point.  On the traffic map, every possible route from downtown Minneapolis to our house has been wonderful shades of red. Now I know that Christmas is less than two weeks away but MnDot I don’t like seeing all that red!  Our mornings haven’t been too bad. But maybe my brain is still frozen from my nice walk Monday morning to remember exactly.  Monday morning was the worst one and I understand that it was still snow into the evening on Sunday so I expected that.  We left early but not early enough because I had to walk about 8 blocks. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem but it was zero degrees and the some of the sidewalks were not shoveled.  Add the plows 3 foot crusty hard snow piles at every intersection made it interesting. Good thing I wore boots.  Monday night was horrible. It looked as though MnDot hadn’t plowed at all.  I mean it took us over an hour and a half to get to Eden Prairie (3 times normal time).  I was starving and told Eric I was in no mood to cook dinner so we ate at the Mall and did some shopping. I have to say Hwy 169 heading south was plowed really well.  Tuesday morning was fine but Tuesday night, again, horrible. Again the traffic map was aglow with red.  It took us over an hour and a half to get home.   UGH!!!  The roads are terrible. It is really sad when county roads are in better shape that major interstate. Come on MnDot get with the program!

This morning was good, we will see what tonight will bring. Here is the map…doesn’t look too bad. I guess we will see.

I’m in a Snow Globe

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Well my plans for today have been foiled thanks to a nice snow storm.  I don’t normally complain about snow, I love the stuff. It is so pretty to watch it fall. The only time I hate it is when it ruins my plans or makes my commute long. I’d much rather it snowed on the weekends because hopefully by Monday morning the roads will be clear and our commute won’t be long. So right now it looks like we are in a snow globe that just got shook up. It is so pretty to look out and see the big fluffy snow.

So my plan was to go to the Water Park of America.  I bought a Groupon for 2 admissions for $20.  It is a great deal since it is over $22 for just one person. It was supposed to be Eric’s reward for finishing his third semester of his master’s program.  We had good intentions of going. But we drove as far as Valleyfair and realized this isn’t a good idea.  We saw a van in the ditch, visibility was basically zero and the roads hadn’t been plowed.  My hopes of warm water and fun slides had been foiled.  So we made our way home and now I’m baking instead.  I guess either way, I’m having fun today.

It started snowing Friday night. My commute home from Downtown was really long. I was on the bus and I didn’t have my iPad. Oh so sad! There was a car flipped in the median just south of the bridge so that was the reason for the back-up. It took me a while to drive home from the park-n-ride. Once I got home, I got the urge to put up the Christmas tree, with a little help from Swirl.  As I look at the tree, I realized I need a new one. Ours is 12 years old this year and there are apparent holes and broken limbs…thanks to Swirl.  Here is a picture of Swirl and Snoopy by the Christmas tree. I also put up the lights outside too. Putting them up at night makes it easier to see how beautiful they are and I know it probably wasn’t smart to put lite Christmas lights up while it was snowing but oh well I did it anyway.

Yesterday was quite a busy day for me.  I never really left the bedroom. I did a major cleaning.  It was in dire need of a scrub down. I took away Swirl’s “jungle” so he isn’t happy with me. He laid on the bed and glared at me all day. No more late nights of wonder what the heck is Swirl chewing on. I threw a lot of stuff away.  Reorganized book shelves, picked up all the garbage, dusted all the stuff…the Christmas bears were very dusty, folded all the clothes and vacuumed. It was a major undertaking!  But now the room is clean, organized and feels huge again.

Well my cake is almost done.  Next is frosting. Mom’s chocolate frosting…my favorite!

Technology! What is this magic spell?

Friday, December 7, 2012

So today of all days, a day when work is slow, a day when very few people are at work, a day when I have to ride the bus home, is the day I forgot my iPad.  It makes me sad. What is this spell you have on me technology? I have to settle for view Facebook and Twitter via my smartphone with its small 4” screen.  Oh the travesty!! Well I’m not really that heartbroken but it does bum me out a bit. Like I said, Technology has a magic spell on me.

On that note, yesterday I went to a Business Update and Outlook seminar at The Depot.  It was a day of training.  The afternoon session focused on social media and its effects on the business world.  It was very interesting. They discussed the risks of putting a company out on Facebook and Twitter, but also the benefits too. I have to say it is interesting to see the evolution of the internet from it infancy to what it has become today. I mean you can now take a picture of a check with your smart phone and deposit it into your checking account with a click.  That is crazy but also scary at the same time. One of the other sessions talked about hacking a business’ servers and networks.  The hackers are always a step ahead.  As the presenter said, it isn’t “if” we get hacked it is “when” will we get hacked. Somebody asked if the US can go after them.  Sadly, most of the hackers are from Russia and China and a lot of times the government is paying them to do it.  They aren’t stupid, they know that if they get into some company’s network and find out secret information on something they are working on, they can steal it and do it themselves. They play dirty! Overall it was an interesting day, but some of the sessions were boring…almost to tears.  And the room was freezing! 

On a sad note, the Minnesota Twins don’t care about winning…as evident in their most recent trades.  Denard Span, our amazing center fielder, is now with the Nationals.  I was ok with that. I was sad to see him go but what the heck we have Ben Revere who is just as amazing. Well, I should say “had” Revere as they trade him away yesterday to the Phillies. I found that out during one of the sessions…it was boring and I was surfing Twitter. It makes me very angry that they are giving away quality players for some minor league pitchers. So much for “build us a stadium and we will put a good team on the field,” that lasted a year. 20 years of sucking here we coming.


Wine and Paint

Monday, December 3, 2012

Firstly, I did not win the Powerball. I know shocking. Somebody in Missouri and Arizona won.  It must be nice!

Hansel and Gretel
Well this weekend wasn’t really busy but yet it seemed like it was.   Friday night and most of Saturday Eric was writing his final paper for the term. It was on terrorism…such a nice topic to write a 15 page paper on huh?  By the time we went to church at 4:30, I had almost 8 pages typed.  Not a bad start considering it was due in less than 24 hours. After church we meet up with Greg and Celeste and went to the Holidazzle parade.  We sat in the “hot seats” but it was such a mild night that you could have stood outside in a sweatshirt and been perfectly fine.  As it was, we were roasting in the tent.  Same floats as last year but the Princess and the Pea were missing.  Eric was very dismayed by that. We parked in the Target Parking garage…BIG MISTAKE…it took almost an hour to get out of there.  It was awful.

Yesterday Eric was cruising and gave me more pages to type almost as fast as I was finishing them.  We got to page 15 but he just couldn’t come up with enough to fill the page.  Between the two of us adding more stuff we couldn’t get to a full 15 pages but at that point Eric didn’t care.  It was about 3pm, 2 hours ahead of his deadline.  Whew! 

After a shower, we ventured out for the first time of the day and went to Kohl’s to use up my Kohl’s cash, filled gas and got Culvers.  Exciting day!

Painting crew
Actually the exciting part happened last night.  I met my friends at the Paint Pub in Maple Grove (yes all the way up there) for a Wine and Painting class. I know what you are thinking Kim and wine?  But I went for the painting part. I was a little annoyed that they actually gave us instructions but I guess it was a “painting class.” I just wanted to paint.  It was fun but it made for a long night. Yawn!

Powerball Jackpot Winner? I wish!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I’m not happy today. I don’t know why…maybe it is the hump day blues, or maybe it is because I gained 5 pounds over the past 2 weeks or maybe it is because I’m tired after a long night. Whatever the reason, even a salted caramel hot chocolate hasn’t made it better.   But you know what would make it better? Winning the $500 million jackpot tonight in the Powerball.  It only takes one ticket.  Could I bet holding the lucky ticket? I really hope so but my numbers aren’t that great.  They are all even and the highest number is 26.  So probably not…but stranger things have happen.

So what if I win $500 million tonight, what would I do with it?  Let’s see first things first I would buy a new house…but not a big McMansion, just a nice 4 bedroom house with a large fenced in yard, maybe close to the ocean.  Yea I know there are hurricanes but with $500 million I can afford to build a few new houses if mine gets destroyed. Secondly, I’d buy a dog for the large fenced in yard. Maybe a beagle named Banjo (I love that name) or a golden retriever (no name for the golden retriever but Banjo doesn't seem to fit).  Thirdly, I would by a new car, nothing too fancy, but it has to be fast and not a sports car either, they are death traps. Finally, I’d travel around the world, touching each continent (even Antarctica). I know what you are thinking, how is travel last on my list? Well it really isn’t last. There are other things I’d do with the money, like give some to church, family and friends.  But there are so many other things to add to the list that this would go on and on and I don’t want to bore you.

I saw in the news today that you will now be able to buy Powerball and Mega Millions tickets at the gas pump. Seriously? And you don't actually get a ticket...they "text" your numbers to your cell phone...and the biggest kicker is they automatically deposit your "small" winnings into your bank account.  Crazy!  I'm not sure if this is such a good idea. Could you imagine the fraud? The gambling addictions?  Yikes!  What a crazy world we live in.

In other news, I’m slowly recovering from the busy weekend.  Saturday we went touring around Omaha.  First stop was Whole Foods for gelato, then Von Maur to see Samantha working, then Trader Joe's (Hiram takes us to all the fun places) and then finished up looking at the decorated Christmas windows in some uptown like area.  It was really nice.  After that we went to Chris and Leilani’s house because we pink swore with Banyan that we would come visit her.  She even threatened our lives if I didn’t come over.  We played Apples to Apples (which the only card I got was “Fat n’ Sassy”…seems fitting) and finally I got my Chick-fil-A at around 8pm.  They opened two locations near Bonnie’s and Chris’ houses.  It was delicious as always.  I can’t wait until they move up here (besides the one at the airport)…if they ever move up here.

Sunday we went to church, eat lunch, visited Starbucks (again!) and drove home. We got home around 8pm, just in time for my show. It was nice to get home and see Swirl too. Eric hooked up the new TV which is beautiful.  What a great investment.

Last night was a very BUSY night.  After work I had to get ready for my first concert of the Christmas season.  It was at the inside amphitheater at Edinborough Park in Edina. It was pretty good considering we didn’t know about the concert until 24 days ago and we hadn’t practiced since the Thursday before Thanksgiving.  The crowd is always good there so it is fun to play.  Greg, Celeste, Evelyn and Greg’s parents came to my concert. I didn’t talk to them too much because I had to rush off from the concert to Central Middle School in Eden Prairie for my 9:15pm volleyball game. It was rough. I was tired and cold and all I wanted to do was wrap up in a blanket at home and watch TV.  But it was fun playing so it is all good.

Today is Evelyn’s 3rd birthday. We are going over to their house after work for a birthday party. Fun! Fun!

Only 27 days (17.2 days of work) until Jamaica! Let the countdown begin. :-)

Triple shot to the Achilles Heel

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!  I know I’m a few days late.  I’ve had a great holiday week. Monday and Tuesday were rough days at work…because I had to be there. LOL!  Wednesday we drove down to Omaha. It was so warm we had the AC on for a while.  I’m thankfully it was an uneventful drive.  Once in Papillion we made our first trip to Wal-Mart for water. Soon after we got to Bonnie’s we went to Wal-Mart to pick up food for Thursday. Like tradition, we had Juliette-cotti for dinner.  

We woke up at 4:30am Thursday morning to see if we could get the $97 TV.  Well that of course didn’t happen.  There was a line down the street!  This is crazy, it is Thanksgiving morning!!!  As we tried to get in the door, a woman banged her shopping cart into my Achilles heel. Really woman, why do you have a shopping cart in the line to get into the store…did you have injury me?  Neither one of us were getting the TV and we already knew this! ARGH! We picked up some birthday presents for Evelyn. After that we drove past Best Buy to see if there was a line and there was.  This was 7:30am on Thanksgiving Day!  Seriously people!  We went to Wal-Mart and got kicked out.  Well we got kicked out of the Christmas tree area.  We were looking at the Christmas trees in the garden center and they happen to be storing all the TVs for the 10pm sale in there. Eric started counting them and a very crabby Wal-Mart woman came back and said “what are you doing here, you need to get out here, this is a restricted area.” Um we are looking at Christmas trees and there is nothing saying this is a restricted area. After she bitched us out she put the restricted sign up.  Stupid woman!  After we got home from that we took Michael to Starbucks.

Thanksgiving dinner was great.  The whole family was there. It was great.  Soon after dinner Juliette, Eric and I started our Black Friday Shopping.  We started at Wal-Mart. We got in the really long line for the 32” TV.  The one that they guarantee would be in stock for an hour.  I left Eric and Juliette in the line and I went looking for a present for mom.  While I was walking around a woman with skunk hair did a double hit to my Achilles heel with her shopping cart.  That is 3 times today my Achilles heel has taken a hit.  Good news is we got the TV and got out of there.  After that we went to Best Buy.  We saw the line and decided it wasn’t worth it.  It was out the front door, around the side of the building around the back wall. Wow!  So we went to Starbucks (trip #2 of the day) at the Hy-Vee store, we got there just in time because they closed at 11:55pm.  We went to Target and it was dead.  They had been open for 3 hours already and you could tell it must have been busy at 9pm because the place looked like it had been trampled.  We went back to Best Buy but the line was still really long and the store had been open for over 15 minutes so we decided it wasn’t worth it.  We went to Kohl’s and the checkout lines were ridiculously long so we just went home.

Yesterday Eric, Juliette, Adam and I went to Kohl’s and Best Buy to pick up the things we decided weren’t important the night before.  We made another stop at Starbucks and went to spend time with Chris and Leilani.  Eric and Chris watched the Nebraska game.  When it was done they went to Starbucks.  Juliette, Morgan and I went to Panera Bread and eventually made our way back to Chris' house.  We had some quality family time by watching Maury and then Juliette, Morgan and I went to Victoria Secrets, Bath and Body Works and Claire's. Morgan was so excited to go to Victoria Secrets.  We spent the whole night at Chris' house and got back to Bonnie’s around 11pm.  It has been a very busy holiday week.


...and back to Shorts

Sunday, November 18, 2012

This past week has been loooonnnng. We have finished our quarterly requirements last week so this week was slow.  I'm working on projects for year end and that keeps me fairly busy. But in the back of my head I know that I have 22 working days left before Christmas vacation to get this stuff done.  That really hurts my motivation and productivity.  Why do today that which can be done in the next 22 days?  So I work on these projects and then light bulbs go off in my head. So I stop what I'm doing and do a little research on these ideas that pop in my head. For example, what is my plan for Black Friday shopping? How do I get from my Jamaican hotel to Rick's Cafe?  Is there a Catholic Church near the hotel so we could go to Mass on Sunday? What kind of restaurants are at Montego Bay airport?  The answers to some of the questions are quite funny.  Black Friday is still in a tentative phase. I need to finalize the plan with my niece Juliette.  So far we are doing Best Buy and Wal-Mart for cheesecake. As far as the questions about Jamaica, We need to take a route taxi; there is a Catholic church about 1/2 mile from our hotel that is run by Franciscan Friars from Cincinnati, and the airport has many restaurants to choose from including Dairy Queen.  Eric is excited to have a Blizzard in Jamaica on Christmas day. I told him he better not wish for a Blizzard, God might get confused and give us the blizzard in Minnesota and then we can't get out of here. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen.

Tuesday was another volleyball night.  Eric had to babysit for my friend, Jenny. Her husband had to work.  Her kids love Eric. He is the one that taught Haley to climb a tree.  So we were both busy that night. 

Wednesday morning I woke up with a sore throat and felt awful but we had a happy hour after work so I had to go to work!  I really wish I would have stayed home, I was miserable. 

Thursday morning my sore throat developed into an awesome cold.  Again, I wish I could have stayed home but I couldn't because it was band day. I can't call in sick for work and then show up for band practice...my boss is in the band! I had to go to band practice because it was the last one before our next concert.

I still didn't feel good on Friday but I went to work anyways.  But I came home and crashed on the couch. I also got Eric sick.  We take the whole sickness and health thing seriously. We also like to share.

As a result of both us being knocked out with colds we really didn't have an exciting weekend. It is unfortunately because it was such a beautiful weekend. It was almost 60 degrees yesterday and today. Yesterday we went to church.  An old lady came in during the Sign of Peace and left immediately after Communion.  LOL!  "Express Mass." Today I went to grocery shopping and had all the windows down in the car and sunroof open...listen to Christmas music...on November 18th.  That is just odd.

So as you can tell it was one exciting week. I'm really looking forward to my 2 day work week.  Tomorrow is my "Thursday". We leave for Omaha on Wednesday. Woo Hoo Turkey!!  

Shorts to Winter Jacket

Monday, November 12, 2012

This weekend was very strange.
Friday night Eric and I went swimming laps at the school.  It was so nice to get back into swimming.  It is one of my favorite workouts.  But man the water was cold.  Last year the pool was always so warm so it was a shock when I jumped in.   
Saturday was a beautiful day.  The high was 70 degrees, it was sunny and just plain amazing day. I had the windows open in the house and it still got very warm inside.  We met Byron and Paula at Jim’s Apple Barn. They came up for the Vikings game but were staying by Paula’s sister. It was nice to see them again.  I came home from there and made an apple pie and lasagna for Nancy and Greg.  Dinner was great.  My lasagna is so good!  After dinner we went to Mystic Lake Casino.  We were going to stay for an hour.  After 5 minutes Eric and I both burned through $20.  I was stupid; I forgot to change one the machine from a nickel to a penny.  No wonder I lost so quickly. I was betting $2.50 at a time, not 50 cents. Oops! We walked around and eventually found a bench by the Bingo Hall. We got some free pop and then sat outside. It was so nice out.  It was over 65 degrees at 9pm!  None of us won.
Saturday night thunderstorms rolled through…yes thunderstorms on Nov. 10th. There was some nice thunder and a great lightening display and pouring rain! Our satellite went out! There were even tornados in Burnsville and Eagan!  The last time we had tornados in November was in the 1950s. 
Then the bottom dropped out…Sunday morning it was 30 degrees.  It was so cold! Nancy and Greg left early for the Vikings game and Eric and I went to the new James Bond movie, Skyfall.  It was good but I’m not going to another James Bond movie…they killed off Judi Dench! Eric will go on his own now.  After that we walked around the mall and then came home and did nothing. We sat on the couch and watch TV.  I wasn’t feeling good, must be the excessive salt from the popcorn and nachos. 
This morning I had to drag out the winter coat.  It was 20 degrees with a wind chill of 10. It was so cold. It is hard to believe 2 days ago I was in shorts and t-shirt and was warm and now I’m freezing. It is going to be a long winter. I’m not ready for this.
But in 43 days I'll be soaking in the sun in Jamaica!

Access Denied

Friday, November 9, 2012

So I’m working on my team’s new SharePoint site at work.  We recently switched to Outlook from Lotus Notes (the devil) and as a result a lot of our Lotus Notes databases are going away too.  Many of the databases are being shifted over to SharePoint sites.  So when this project came up, my coworkers thought I’d be the perfect person to take over creating and maintaining the site.  It is true, I’m really good at making websites.  So I’ve downloading hundreds of documents from our lotus notes databases and adding them to “libraries” on our SharePoint site.  Now as you would expect, there are some documents that are confidential and therefore require special access.  So as the owner, I created a library for one of these items.  After trying to restrict access, I must have somehow restricted my access too.  I’m not sure how, I’m the owner and I created it.  Every time I click on the library link I get an “Error: Access Denied.” I emailed our help desk and asked them how it is possible considering I have full access and created it…how can my access be denied?  Ugh!
This week also featured the election.  Or course Obama won which didn’t make Eric happy.  And the Facebook statuses that followed made him even happier…sarcasm! I’m just glad it is finally it is over.  No more nasty ads, no more flyers in the mail!  Only 3 more years until it will start all over again. Oh the joy!
I just hope the economy doesn’t go further in the toilet.  One day this week I looked up the hyperinflation that struck Germany in the early 1920s. It was so bad that prices doubled every 2 days.  In 1919 a loaf of bread was 1 Mark, by 1923 it was 100 Billion Marks.  Could you imagine?  The cause of this hyperinflation was that the German government owed a lot of countries money and to “pay them” they repeatedly printed more and more money...just like the US is doing now.  As a result the German Mark became worthless and foreign troops started occupying the industrial region of Germany to ensure that the reparations were paid in goods, such as coal. Inflation was exacerbated when the workers went on a strike and the German government printed more money in order to continue paying them for striking. And the problem just escalated from there. Most people think that we should just print more money and the problem will be solved, but if you look at history, it is usually followed by hyperinflation. That could seriously happen here. So go stock pile your house with food because you might not be able to afford it soon.

A beautiful Sunday drive

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It has been a really uneventful week for us. Last Sunday Eric (and I) were working on his paper that was due that day and the Halloween candy bowl was between us. It was a dangerous situation. :-)  

I finally carved my pumpkin on Monday. As you can tell it is Swirl inspired.  It wasn't too hard to do when you have an outline.  I almost decapitated the head though.  Whoops. 

Tuesday was a double header in volleyball. Our old captain, Amanda, played with us. She has deserted us this year as she moved all the way to Canada (aka Elk River).  

Wednesday was Halloween. We had about 20 kids. It is so sad that we didn't have more.  But we don't have much candy left so that is good.  Swirl is really funny. He would sit by the door.  GROWL and run upstairs. 15 seconds later we had a trick or treater at the door.  He did this over and over again. He is such a silly cat!

Thursday was the typical band night.  We are playing lots of Christmas music. That is the one disadvantage to playing in the band...Christmas music in October.  

Eric had class Friday so I had the whole evening to myself.  I went for a run at the community center. It wasn't too bad.  I've really cut down on running...shame on me.  After that I watched a marathon of "Becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader." I know terrible!  But it was very interesting. When Eric came home from class I was still watching it. He was a bit surprised that I watch that show.  

Yesterday Eric had class most of the day so again I was home alone.  I had a Band council meeting but other than I did nothing. After Mass, we went to Greg and Celeste's for dinner. They had the amazing chicken pot pie from Costco. They are so good but huge.  We had a nice evening. 

Today we went for a Sunday drive to Hinckley.  We started at Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, MN, took the back roads to Wild River State Park.  It was closed!  Stupid deer hunters...We weren't allowed in because of a controlled hunting.
We ventured to St. Croix State Park next and then we went to Grand Casino to meet my Mom, Aunt Bev, and Aunt Grace. We had a nice dinner and I broke even on the machine.  It was a good day (besides the closed park)


Look who I ran into

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Look who I ran into at the bookstore.  Well actually I didn't just run into her, I saw that she was doing a book signing at Magers and Quinn Booksellers in Uptown (Minneapolis).  Greg, Celeste and Evelyn said they would go with me so that was nice.  Callista didn't know me at first. She introduced herself and I responded with "and I'm your cousin." Then it took her two tries to get my name right.  First she guess from her mom's side and then she said Kim and her eye's lite up. She said that my hair is so long now. I guess that isn't too bad.  We talked for quite a while about the family and about her parent's 50th Anniversary party. It was nice.  I bought her books and she signed them for me. Evelyn got a book too. It was a good day.  

Early in the day I took Greg, Celeste and Evelyn's Christmas pictures. Some turned out really nice. I can't wait to get their card.

Meanwhile...Eric has been working on his paper.  It is due tomorrow.

2013 Vacation Planning

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Well it less than 70 days until 2013 which means that vacation planning has started.  Actually vacation planning started in early September when MLB released the schedule for next year.  Eric had mentioned that it would be cool if the Twins played at the Rangers and Astros in back-to-back series.  Well, MLB didn’t disappoint...August 30-September 4, the Twins play 3 games in Arlington and 3 games in Houston.   Wow!  That is two years in a row we got lucky. Last year I mentioned that I wanted to see Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and MLB granted the Twins back-to-back series on June this year. Seems like the MLB has been listening to us! Ha!
So we are planning on either driving or flying to Dallas, spend a few days there then drive to Houston for a couple days and visit with my friend, Mary Linda. Other than the two baseball games, I’m not sure what else we will do. I guess I have more planning to do.
Another trip that I’m planning is to Rapid City in late June/early July.  Apparently we are biking/running in part of a Triathlon with Eric’s sister Carrie. She is swimming, I’m biking, Eric is running.  I’m not sure which one she wants to do but I’m thinking it is the Rapid City one which is June 29th.
The other reason that I start my vacation planning in late October is because Eric needs to have his PTO for next year figured out about now.  I know that sounds crazy but because of his union they have to plan this far ahead of time.  Now he doesn’t have to plan every day but if there is a day/week he really needs off, he has to do it now.  Unfortunately, he is last man on the totem pole for next year. In his old area he was close to the top so he got any days he wanted.  When he moved to this new area in late January he went back to the bottom.  That means no PTO the day after Thanksgiving or the Monday before Christmas Eve.  How sad! I guess no Omaha for us next year.  He should be able to get off the two days after Christmas though so that is good. 
This is a good time of year.  I love planning vacations and this is great time to start.

I'm shedding corn

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The annual corn maze weekend has come and gone.  It was such a beautiful day.  We got through the maze in record time. This year's theme is Minnesota Corn.  It was so corny.  After that we checked out the exotic animals.  There was a baby giraffe, kangaroos, owl, camels, lemurs, etc... We watched the animal show where we saw a skunk, some random animal from texas, a kikachu and an owl.  We finally jumped into the shelled corn pit.  I think that is my favorite thing.  It just feels so weird on your skin.  We did the traditional burying of the bodies.  Danielle and Bradley were wrestling too.  I'm still shedding corn. We went to Chili's afterward for lunch and I left a trail of shelled corn to the bathroom. LOL! All in all it was a good time...but me missed Dylan, Nancy and Greg. (more on that later)

Yesterday, Mom and Mike came up early in the morning. We went for lunch at Pizza Ranch and then went to the apple orchard and shopping. It was fun.  After 4:30 Mass, we meet Greg, Celeste and Evelyn at Turtles for some dinner.  It was good as always.  They all came to our house after dinner for mom's amazing caramel apple cheesecake. It was so good.  They hung around until 8.  Mom, Mike, Eric and I went Cosmic bowling after. that. We all sucked but it was so much fun.  I broke 100 in the last game.  

So earlier this week, I got a call that Dylan was having emergency surgery.  His appendix.  Poor guy.  So unfortunately Dylan, Nancy and Greg couldn't come up.  It was too bad but understandable.

Nothing else new from here.

TC van Gogh

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What a busy week at work!  It is quarter end which means I'm already busy but on top of that I'm a Care Captain for the Employee Giving Campaign.  Basically I'm a cheerleader and events coordinator. My job is to cheer people to give money to the charity of their choice and the company will match.  I'm not much of a cheerleader but I'm one heck of an events coordinator.  We had a Putting Contest and a Snack Shack (aka the 19th hole).  It was very successful.  So on top of my normal quarter end craziness, I had to do these events too.

Also this week...
Tuesday was the first volleyball game for the season.  And we had a double header. And we only had 5 players. It was so much fun.  We finished the day 5-3.  I was so sore Wednesday and Thursday. I'm normally sore after the first night of volleyball, but add a double header the soreness was twice as much.  I'm getting old.

TC van Gogh...
So on Thursday my coworker, Steve, wanted me to come help him.  Alice told him I like krackle so he threw two mini candy bars over the cube wall as a bribe to come help him.  It scared the heck out of me!  One of the krackles hit my TC Bear bobble head.  This is what happened to him. (If you haven't noticed, TC's left ear is missing.)  He shall now be known as TC van Gogh (like Vincent...left ear...get it?) TC has had a rough life.  Right after we got him, Evelyn broke off his body from his feet. Super glue did the trick, we will see if super glue will work on his ear.

Amtrak, how unreliable you are...
The only reason I'm up so early on a Saturday is because we are suppose to be picking up Beth at the Amtrak station in St. Paul.  Her train was suppose to get in at 7am.  But since Amtrak is so unreliable, the train is delayed 2 and half hours. I should have seriously slept in. I know that Amtrak is unreliable, I wish I was still sleeping and not blogging. ZZZZ.......

Where did Fall go?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Not much has happened in the last couple of weeks. Soccer is done and baseball is over (at least for the Twins). Summer is over and Winter is here.  Not sure what happened to Fall.  Just like last year, it was 80 degrees earlier this week and today it barely got over 40.  It has been cold and windy the last couple of days.  Not cool!

I’ve gone for some rides on my new bike, averaging about 10 miles a time, and I love it! Last weekend Eric was looking at my new bike with longing so I suggested we go for a ride.  I rode my trusty Townie and Eric rode my new bike. Half way through we switched bikes.  It was pretty humorous to see Eric ride my blue Townie.  LOL!

Band practice has started back up.  It has been a 2 month break and it was so hard to get back into it.  I really should practice…but I won’t.  Actually, speaking of music, the Minnesota Orchestra musicians are currently on strike.  They don’t want to take a $20,000 pay cut. They currently make over $100K! Even at $80K I’d be happy to just be playing my trombone.  I choose the wrong profession and should have practiced more. :(

Yesterday and today Eric had class so it has been just me and Swirl.  Yesterday when I got home from work I was trying to clean the house and he followed me everywhere…upstairs, downstairs, here, there, EVERYWHERE! Finally I just sat down so you could sit on my lap.  Just like a little kid!

Also yesterday I made Monster Cookies again.  I forgot to make the ¼ recipe and instead halved it.  I was so sick and tired of making cookies.  It was about a 5 hour non-stop venture.  I was able to listen to the Independence/Whitehall football game on the internet while I was making them so that was nice.  Unfortunately, Independence didn’t win their homecoming game.

Volleyball is starting on Tuesday.  I’m so happy to be playing again.  Band and volleyball are the 2 things that get me through the winter.

From the land of sky blue waters…

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This past weekend I traveled to the Mississippi headwaters in Itasca State Park with my friends Mary Linda, who was visiting from Texas, and Alice. It was a fun weekend but lots of driving. 
Saturday morning I picked them up at Alice’s house which is on the other side of the Twin Cities. From there it was a 4 hour ride to Itasca State Park.  I made a square pan of Special K bars as I know that is a favorite of Mary Linda.  We practically ate the whole bar on the drive up.  They are so good!  The drive was nice and smooth.  The weather was perfect, although a bit cool.  We stopped in Wadena for lunch at McDonalds. When you get up there you need to stop wherever you can find food and it will most certainly be fast food.  Mary Linda ordered a Kids meal.  Boy have they changed.  The fries were micro sized.  Think of it this way, the fries only had 100 calories…so she got 10 fries. LOL!  She also got apple slices so that was cool.  But they didn’t give her the toy.  :(
Walking across the Mississippi River
We got up the park by 2:30 and started at the headwaters first.  We walked across the rocks that mark the start of the river.  The river was very stagnant and the water wasn’t rushing over the rocks like it usually does.  That was weird.  But it was also a good thing because it made it easier for Mary Linda to walk across.  After that we drove around the wilderness drive.  It was beautiful with the leaves changing.  I got some really nice pictures.  We checked out the largest white pine tree and stopped to climb the fire tower.  There was actually a line for the tower!  The climb wasn’t too bad but it got really windy when we got to the top. It was a little scary, but the view was amazing so it was worth the trip up. Going down was actually harder because my quad muscles were freaking out.  I’m still sore from the stupid tower.
We made our way to Bemidji and checked into the hotel.  We had dinner at this fancier restaurant but the food was ok.  Considering the price, I was hoping for better.  Alice and I went for a dip in the hot tub and then spent the rest of the night watching tv and relaxing.
Hiking in Lake Bemidji State Park
Sunday morning was a bit cold. I think it was 25 when we woke up.  We had the awesome breakfast at the hotel and ventured over to Lake Bemidji State Park.  We did some hiking along the lake.  Alice took us off the beaten track and we had to scale the steep hills along the lake. When we got to the viewing area, we had to climb over (or through) a fence.  Again the trees were brilliant oranges and yellows.  It was a beautiful day for a hike. 
We took the other way back to the Twin Cities through the lakes around Brainerd.  It was such a nice drive.  We got to Alice’s house around 5 and I got home by 6.  Like I said it was a lot of driving but it was a nice weekend.  It was so nice to see Mary Linda again.
In other news, Eric’s sister Carrie called and now we (Carrie, Eric and I) are doing a triathlon next year.  Carrie will swim, Eric will run, which leaves me with the biking. When I came home Sunday and Eric told me this, my first thought was I need a new bike.  I can’t show up to a triathlon with my Townie cruiser bike with the fat seat and tires…I’d get laughed off the course.  So this is a good excuse to get a new road bike.  So I did some research yesterday and decided that between work and the Twins/Yankees game we would go to Penn Cycle and try out some bikes.  And hour later, after a 15 minute test ride, I got a new Trek Lexa bike. It is very nice. It moves so fast with little effort and it just glides. I have to get used to the tiny tires again.  But I think this will work great. I pick it up tomorrow.  I’m so excited.  Time to start training!

My new bike!!