2011 - A Year in Review

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!  I sure hope 2012 will be much better than 2011.  The year was full of ups and downs but overall it was a good year. I can't complain really, nothing catastrophic happened to us. Thankfully we didn't lose our jobs or had any major problems.
We started 2011 in Europe. We traveled to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria and Slovakia. We started out in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland and Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The snow capped mountains were amazing and the cities were very quaint! Next we traveled to Munich and enjoyed ringing in the New Year in Marienplatz, the main square. There are no laws on fireworks and everybody was shooting them off. These weren’t the small dinky sparklers; these were the ones that are illegal here. It was like a war zone but very cool. Early the next morning we jumped on the train to Salzburg, Austria. Of course we had to do the Sound of Music tour; no trip to Salzburg is complete without it. Eric really enjoyed it, when we got near the end of the tour his remark was we hadn’t heard two songs on the soundtrack yet. Eric was more interested in the tour than me. We wrapped up our trip in Vienna and Bratislava (Slovakia).
May was busy with a friend’s wedding, a nephew’s graduation from high school and my graduation from St. Catherine’s University with a second degree in accounting. To celebrate my accomplishment I took mom and Grace and Bev on a trip to the Gulf Coast. We stopped to visit Elvis at Graceland, ventured down to the Big Easy of New Orleans, donated to the Katrina recovering casinos in Biloxi, MS, relaxed in the sun and sand on the beaches of Orange Beach, AL and wandered onto a naval base in Pensacola, FL. After a nice visit with Eric’s Uncle Dennis and Aunt Bev in Tuskegee, we started our return trip but we didn’t make it very far, Montgomery, AL to be exact. Long story short Mom’s minivan was no match for a dump truck. Fortunately nobody got hurt. We were able to fly home and we didn’t have to drive all that way back so there is your silver lining.
In June, Mary Linda came to visit from Texas. She brought her mom, her aunt and Sky, the Husky, along for the ride. We traveled up the North Shore of Lake Superior, hiking at the various state parks along the way. As always, the waterfalls were beautiful. We intended to camp but it was too cold, even from me.
Allista, our niece from Nevada, came to visit us for a couple weeks in June and July. We took her to all the sites around here: the Minnesota Zoo, a Twins game, Canterbury (horse track), many trips to Valleyfair (amusement park) and a week in Rapid City. She mastered the Wii and actually beat a game that we couldn’t beat. I think she had fun.

The first weekend of August was a bit stressful. At 3:30am Sunday morning Eric said he had to go to the ER. Thankfully there is an ER/Hospital in Shakopee. Long story short he was suffering from gallstones, inflamed gallbladder and pancreatitis. They admitted him into the hospital and he had emergency surgery. The surgery went well but unfortunately, some of the pesky gallstones escaped so he had to be hospitalized for a few days until they could get them out.

August brought another Sts. Peter and Paul Fall Festival and my 15 year class reunion too. Also in August, we went to Chicago for a quick weekend. We called it the 2 Museums, 2 Towers & 2 Games in 2 Days trip. We took in all the sites of the Windy City and got to attend baseball games at Wrigley Field and U.S Cellular. 

In September, we went on our annual trip over Labor Day. This time we visited the Mid-Atlantic States. We nicknamed the trip the Hurricane Irene tour because a week before the trip, Hurricane Irene ripped through the area. We took Mom along for the ride. We started with a visit to Fort Delaware, a civil war prison camp, next we went to Atlantic City, NJ. We drove and ferried down the coast to Ocean City, MD. The weather was rainy both days so we couldn't enjoy the beach, but one day we drove to Baltimore for an Orioles day game. It was fun; the stadium was empty so we got to sit real close and the rain held off for the whole game. Next we drove down to the Outer banks of North Carolina. Hurricane Irene really wrecked havoc on the area. We couldn't get down to Cape Hatteras which was a huge disappointment. The trip ended with a 7 hour delay at the airport because of a mechanical problem with the plane. Even with all the troubles and disagreeable weather, the trip was good.

Eric celebrated his sixth year with Centerpoint Energy. He also spent the summer keeping the soccer kids (and moms) in line. I celebrated my 11 year anniversary at Ameriprise Financial in June. Swirl is eight now and just as spry as ever, sitting in the window intimidating the birds. He enjoyed “growling” at all the trick-or-treaters.
Happy 2012!!!!

Vacation cursed

Friday, December 30, 2011

It has been a few days. I think I'm vacation cursed. I've been sick the last few days. The one room that I became very close with at the San Diego Hilton was the bathroom.  It is awful. Hopefully I'm better now. I've been drink Pepto like water. 

I started to feel sick at the Safari Park. I couldn't eat anything for dinner. I was up at 4 am and spent 3 hours in the bathroom. I thought I was going to die. I managed to get well enough for our Tijuana tour.

Tijuana was a bust and a dump. They are so poor and the houses are shanties. Kind of sad.  We spent some dollars on leather goods and jewelry that the vendors were pushing.  They are like vultures. Very annoying. We had lunch and came back to the US. I'm sure if I felt better I would have enjoyed it more. The crossing back to US took well over an hour.  We got back to San Diego and Eric, Mike and Mom went on a harbor cruise without me. I was too sick. I actually took a nap. I felt better last night but still couldn't eat anything.

I had another rude awakening this morning but atleast I could sleep in until 5:30. But I finally had an appetite! We left San Diego by 8am. We took the very long way back to Las Vegas via Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park and 29 Palms. It was an interesting drive with different scenery.  We are currently standing on I-15, 51 miles from Vegas. Ugh!  Tonight we are meeting my cousin Jerry.

Waiting in the sun

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hello from the back seat of the minivan standing in a long line for the entrance to the Safari Park in Escondido, CA. It is part of the San Diego Zoo...but much cooler...which probably why we are standing in this long line. :( We are with my cousin Bev. We are heading to the park with her.

The weather is gorgeous. 83 degrees and sunny. Too bad my capri jeans got fish guts all over them yesterday.

Yesterday was a great day. Steve took us to Newport Beach and checked out the beach and ocean. There were a ton of surfers out. The water was freezing! It was also very foggy.  We checked out the pier where they were fishing for smelt. We saw a sea lion and I leaned over the pier to get a better look and I got fish guts all over me. Gross!  Somebody cleaned their fish on the pier railing.  I also got to hold a crab. After that we went to Downtown Disney for some shopping and lunch. We saw some Oregon Duck players.

We had dinner with Steve, Susie, Mike, their son and Miguel a friend. We went to outback steakhouse. It was such a nice night and the place was packed we ate on the patio under heaters. It was so nice.  The gave me ice cream for my birthday...too bad I don't like ice cream...I shared it with everybody. After dinner Steve and Susie gave me a Christmas Train for my birthday. It was a great night!

Yum, Pumpkin Bread.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!  Another day to sleep in and ...NO!  Not even on my birthday.  UGH!  So I'm enjoying some pumpkin bread (thanks to Tracie) and water while watching Brothers and Sisters. Another TV series I'm addicted to thanks to Netflix.

Last night was great.  We went over the Steve and Susie's house.  It was so nice to see the family again. Mike is so grown up now!  We had some dinner and watch some TV. It was a good night.

I'm not sure what the plan is for today. I think we are heading to the beach.  Sweet!

Christmas with the Wards

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yesterday was a great day with the Wards.  I really had a nice Christmas.  They prepared a Turkey and all the fixings.  It was so nice to see the Godchildren and Allista again.  Joseph has gotten so big and he has that smile that melts your heart.  William was his normal high energy kid.  He got a trampoline for Christmas so he was especially bouncy. LOL!

Tracie gave us the Pahrump Tour.  We saw all the schools and the infamous Chicken Ranch.  They had some awesome t-shirts like "Freshly Laid."  We took Mike's picture to show his friends that he made a stop.  But he wouldn't go in and buy a "menu."

Our first stop on the way home was Stratosphere.  We went up to the top.  They have this new experience where they attach you to a cord and you free drop to the bottom.  880 ft. and you go as fast as 45 mph as you free fall to the bottom.  I'm not sure I'd do it.

Right now we are relaxing at our hotel in Whittier, CA.  We made the ever nerve wrecking drive down I-15.  What a crazy drive.  There was a mile back up to go through the inspection station. What a joke...just slows you down to wave you through.  It was so busy too.  I'm so glad I don't have to drive it again for a while.

The weather is beautiful today, sunny and 72 degrees.  I'm not sure what our plans are for this evening and tomorrow.  I guess we will find out.

Bellagio Water Show

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why am I up at 5:30am? Part 2

December 24, 2011 — “Leaving on a Jet Plane” to Las Vegas
View of Hoover Dam from the Bridge
Why is it every time I have a day off I'm wide awake at 5:30 in the morning?  Really?  Why!?!  I could sleep in until noon if I wanted to BUT NO...I'm up early with nothing to do...sound familiar?  

Yesterday was a very busy and fun filled day.  We got up at 4:15 for our flight.  The airport was crazy busy at 5:30 am on Christmas Eve.  Yikes.  Our flight was uneventful.

First stop, Hoover Dam.  The new bridge over the gorge is awesome.  It is so high!  but unfortunately you can't see the Dam because the 
wall is too high.  After turning around in Arizona we head down to the  Dam.  First stop was the rest area just under the new bridge.  After a short walk up 66 steps (or you can do the handicap ramp) we were walking across the new bridge.  It was so cool!  

View of the Bridge from the Dam
We continued down the road and went walking across the dam to get a better view of the bridge.  It was such a beautiful day.   The sun was out, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the mid-60s.

We made our way back to Vegas and In-N-Out Burger.  Yum!  It was so good, I was so happy to finally get my burger and fries.  Its been over 2 years since my last 
In-N-Out Burger. I'm starting to sound like an Alcoholic in rehab. LOL! 

After a long line at hotel registration, we finally got up to our room and relaxed before heading to 4:00 pm Christmas Eve Mass at the Cathedral 3 blocks away (on the Las Vegas Strip!).  It is kind of weird going to Mass at a church on the Las Vegas Strip.

We made Mom walk a marathon up the strip.  We went to the Wynn and checked out their flower display.  It was cool.  Next we stopped at Venetian to check out the shops and gondolas and the Mirage for the Volcano thing.  We went to Gilly's for dinner.  It wasn't that great.  I ate the cornbread and my mouth went numb.  I'm not sure what was in it but it tasted good until the kick happened.  It was very weird feeling having my mouth and lips go numb. They were still numb an hour later.  We gave Mom a reprieve and hopped on the Deuces bus to the Bellagio for the water show. It was amazing like always.

We rounded the night off with a long bus ride to the Fremont Street Experience.  I have to say I really don't like Fremont Street.  A combination of old casinos, weird people,  loud music and a very tired Kimmer makes for a very unhappy person. I was so relieved  to get back to my bed at 11pm.  Which begs the questions....why am I up!!!!!

Why am I up at 5:30am?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why is it every time I have a day off I'm wide awake at 5:30 in the morning?  Really?  Why!?!  I could sleep in until noon if I wanted to BUT NO...I'm up early with nothing to do.  Tomorrow we have to be at the airport at 5:30 am.  Do you think I'm going to wake up that early tomorrow and be this wide awake????  Nope, of course not, I'm going to have to dragging my butt out of bed.

So here is the itinerary for our next week.  I came up with some, I think clever, titles for each day.  I based it on songs.

December 24, 2011 — “Leaving on a Jet Plane” to Las Vegas (Peter, Paul and Mary)
In 1 day, 6 hours and roughly 21 minutes I'll be sitting down to an In-N-Out Burger, sinking my teeth in the best burgers around. I know that Dylan thinks my countdown to In-N-Out Burger is weird but its one of things I look forward to on our many trips to Vegas.  My plan for tomorrow is 7am flight to Vegas, rent the car, drive to Hoover Dam to check out the new engineering marvel, the bypass bridge and than back to Vegas to In-N-Out of burger. After that I don't care what we do.

December 25, 2011 — Christmas in “Pahrump a pum pum” (from Little Drummer Boy)
I also look forward to seeing family again.  We are spending Christmas Day with the Wards in Pahrump a pum pum...ha ha I love that name, it always reminds me of The Little Drummer Boy.  Only seems fitting to be there on Christmas.

December 26, 2011 — “Going to California” (Led Zeppelin)
We are driving to California the day after Christmas. We are heading to LA to see my cousin Steve and his family.  I haven't seen them since 2000.  Ironically, the Badgers were in the Rose Bowl that year too.

December 27, 2011 — “Happy Birthday” Kim (general)
What are we going to do for my birthday?? I'm not sure. Maybe Eric will buy me something Rodeo Dr.?  Ya right.

December 28, 2011 — Driving down the “Pacific Coast Highway” (The Mamas & the Papas)
Leaving LA we head down the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego. We are meeting my cousin Bev at the Safari Park.

December 29, 2011 — Do You Wanna, “Tijuana Taxi” (Glenn Miller)
Early morning wake up call for our trip south of the border to Tijuana.  Mom said she has never been to Mexico and being we are so close we are taking there on a tour from San Diego.  I know it is really Mexico but ha it works.  After we get back the plan is for a cruise of the harbor.

December 30, 2011 — Back to “Sin City” (AC/DC)
Back to Sin City we go to meet my cousin Jerry and his family.   

I think the trip will be fun.  Hopefully all goes well.  My goal is to blog each day.  We will see if that actually happens. :-)

Share the Warmth Concert

Monday, December 19, 2011

Enjoy this playlist from my Share the Warmth Concert. It will play the whole concert.

Bisek Family Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Danielle, Mom and Dylan
at the Holidazzle Parade
As I wait for my website to publish pictures, I decided to reflect on this past weekend up to this point.  It has been a great weekend.  My family came up yesterday for the Holidazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis.  We went out for a great dinner first with Greg and Celeste.  After the parade we went back to the hotel and swam for a while and than played some cards and ate pizza in the room.    We played the card game "31."  I haven't played that game in like 10 years.  It was one of my grandma's favorite games.  I was the first one knocked out. :(

This morning, after church, we opened gifts.  We drew names this year.  Nancy had me and I got my glass and metal 9x9 square pans and a DVD.  Dylan had Eric's name and he got all three Revenge of the Nerds, a gift card to Kwik Trip and candy.  I had Nancy's Greg and Eric had my mom.  Mom really LOVES her gift.  Eric insisted  we get her a digital photo frame.  I loaded it with about 200 pictures.  So when she opened it, I plugged it in and let the slide show begin.  She was very happy...Eric is so smart!

Soon we will have lunch with Greg and Celeste and at 2pm is my Share the Warmth Concert.  I'm very happy that Mom, Mike, Danielle and Eric are coming to see me perform.  It has been a great weekend.  I love these happy times with family.

Welcome Cold Weather

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy December!
Mother Nature didn't waste anytime sending us the cold weather.  I read that it is suppose to be 4 degrees tomorrow morning.  Yes!  I love it.  Well not really but I tolerate it.  I was thinking about this the other day. The first couple weeks of cold weather, all I want to do is move south.  But after that I look forward to walking outside after work into the crispy, clear, cold air. Its so refreshing.  It also means that the ice rinks will be open soon and of course Christmas is around the corner.

Speaking of Christmas...I didn't realize there were so many Christmas movies/shows.  Every night its something different on the TV and they all seem to have same theme.  Evil Santas, Injured Santas, Comatose Santas, Drunk Santas  and Sappy Love Stories...blah, blah, blah how many Christmas movies can one take before they want to scream?  Oh, and Eric has to watch all of them.

Next weekend is my family Christmas.  They are all coming up here.  A weekend of fun and family. Holidazzle Parade, dinner, my concert, Very excited!

Only 17 days to Christmas but we will be opening presents before that.  All my presents are bought, wrapped and under the tree.  Eric still hasn't bought his presents yet.  Procrastinator!!!! 

16 days, 11 hours, 24 minutes until our vacation.  SO EXCITED!!!

Country Murder

Saturday, November 26, 2011

County Murder Play staring Juliette Morales, Banyan Williams, Kim Williams, Chris Williams, Morgan Williams and Eric Williams, Written and directed by Juliette Morales

Dancing in Kimonos

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday!!

We had a great Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping.  We had an excellent meal with Hiram, Bonnie and family.  Juliette, Eric and I went shopping at 10pm.  We started at Walmart and got some fun stuff.  Eric was our "stand in liner."  That line took about 45 minutes.  Than we stood in line for 40 minutes to get into Kohl's so I could get mom's heating mattress pad.  Score us.  That line wasn't too bad.  The last stop of the night was Target. I wanted the I Pod Nano but they were cleared out. We got some dvds and stood in line for over an hour snaking around the floor.  When we got close the registers we realized that it was a waste of our time to standing line, oh well.  We got home by 2:30.  Juliette and I went back to Target later on Friday and they had a ton of the I Pod Nanos.  So I got a green one...woo hoo!!!   We made another trip to Target later to get an IPod Nano for Leilani.  It was a good shopping day.

Today Bonnie, Juliette and I went shopping again. I got 2 pairs of boots. LOVE THEM! After that we had dinner at Chris and Leilani.  Banyan convinced Juliette and I to create a dance. Click the video to be entertained...haha. I'm not sure why the music disappears and why it is sideways. It sounds just fine on the phone.

It was a great weekend.  Tomorrow we get to drive home :-(

Just call me a Book Worm

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'll admitted when I start something I go all out.  Well lately it has been reading.  I bought a Nook about 6 months ago and haven't really used it until about a month ago.  Wow do I LOVE IT.  It came with 100 classics and I have also been checking out eBooks from the library. I think Eric is starting to miss me as I constantly have my nose in a book (or I guess my nook).  In the past couple of weeks I have read the following books (with my comments):

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
 - Another piece of history but it was a 600 page whopper.  I learned a lot but it was very dry at times.  Thankfully I mixed in some fun stuff between chapters.  The benefit of having a Nook eReaders is having 100 books at my disposal at any time.

Bad Dog: A Love Story
 -  Interesting story, kind of corny.

The Dirty Parts of the Bible - It is not what you think but very funny, it was a 300 page book I finished in one day.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - A classic but I don't get the point.

Great Expectations - Another classic but OMG it was bbbboooorrriingg and looonnng...that was the first book I tackled on the Nook....boy was that mistake it seriously took me weeks to finish.

Sh*t My Dad Says - I laughed my ass off.  It was so funny but very profane!

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin - A very interesting true story...wow the Ambassador's daughter was a Nazi slut!

The Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Medicine, Madness & the Murder of a President - Probably the best book I have read in a really long time.  It is ironic that this book is about President Garfield and the Garfield dollar coin was just released by the U.S. Mint on Nov. 17th.  I have a funny story about that...check it out below.

Decision Points - I'm not that big of a George Bush fan but this book really changed my opinion of him and his presidency.  People blamed him for a lot things that were out his control.  Blame for the Katrina debacle is on the Louisiana Governor's head not Bushes.

Answering 911 - A book of short stories from a 911 operator and her experiences.  It was a lot sadder than I expected.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World - LOVED THIS BOOK!  But it made me cry in the end.  Of course I knew Dewey was going to die but it was stills sad.

Beware of Cat: And Other Encounters of a Letter Carrier - A good book for short stories.  It was really short and I read it a few hours.

I currently at reading:
A Christmas Carol
Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

Good thing after tomorrow I don't have to go back to work for 5 days so I can finish these books. :-)

Garfield Coin Story
Setting: TCF Bank counter and my conversation with the teller:

Kim:  Hey do you have the new dollar coin?
Teller: (blank stare, no response)
Kim: It was released yesterday, its Garfield
Teller:  The cat?
Kim:  No the President, on the new dollar coin...
Teller:  There was a president named Garfield.
Kim:  Um, yes.  He was assassinated 1881. (I assume people would at least know all the presidents who have been assassinated ...there have only been 4)
Teller:  Huh, nope don't have any of those.

Leaning Silo of Arcadia

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We had a great weekend in Wisconsin. We drove down Friday with Danielle in tow. On Saturday, Mike had his semi-annual Chicken Q at George's Lounge. We helped serving up the food. The half chickens were huge, weighing in at 3 lbs.

We took back roads to the Chicken Q. On the way we saw the "Leaning Silo of Arcadia." LOL!

After the Chicken Q we went to church and then played cards and games all night. We played 21 questions and Eric won every game of course.

Sunday we had a grill out at Mike's house with Nancy and Greg. It was good, as always.

Overall it was a great weekend and we ate a lot of food. The scale didn't like me this morning.

A Boring Life We Lead

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ok I know it has been a while so I have blogged but life hasn’t been that interesting. The corn maze weekend was awesome. We had a great time with the family. The lasagna was good and the Badgers lost on the last second Hail Mary pass to Michigan State and Dylan threw his phone at the wall.

Since then our life has been sort of mundane. I have volleyball on Tuesdays and band on Thursdays. The weekends have been uneventful too. Eric and I have gone on a lot of Sunday drives. I feel like such an old couple.

Halloween was cool. We had 42 kids come to our door for candy. That was the most we have ever had. Last year we had around 30. That just means less candy for Eric :-(

Speaking of Eric…Good news he was accepted into the Masters of Organizational Leadership at St. Mary’s University. He starts in January. That means 15 months of continuous school and no social life.

This weekend we are going to Wisconsin for the semi-annual Chicken Q. It is a fun weekend with good food and family. Danielle is riding with us so that is cool. I get to help out again scooping chickens. Fun times but hopefully I won’t hurt my finger this time. Maybe I need different tongs.

Well that’s about it.

Corn Maze Weekend

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm so excited for this weekend. It is the annual Sever's Corn Maze/Lasagna Weekend. My whole family comes up for the corn maze and I always make my awesome lasagna. I look forward tho this weekend every year. It is so much fun. The shelled corn pit is my favorite. It is such a fun sensation sinking in corn. I reminds me of the farm.

This fall has been so great. The weather has been amazing. It was in the 80's a few weeks back. The last two have been very nice too. We haven't had anything going on for the last 3 weekends. I love being done with school and having my weekends back. I never realized it until now how much going to school on weekends sucked.

Volleyball started again. It is so much fun to play again. I really missed it last year. Well nothing else is new.

80’s in October?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What a gorgeous weekend! The weather was sunny and warm and it was so nice to be outside with no bugs and no humidity.

Saturday and Sunday we had the windows open to let the fresh air in. Sunday we went for a drive with Greg and Celeste to see the fall colors on the county roads along the Minnesota River Valley. It was beautiful. We stopped at Emma Krumbee’s for some apples and pumpkins. Evelyn loves pumpkins. She was picking the little pumpkins and putting them in the cart. It was so cute. We had a fun time.

Fall is one my favorite seasons, spring is the other. Fall is great because the temperatures are cooler (except for this past weekend) and the leaves are so colorful and awesome. It means apples are in season and taste wonderful. I eat at least one a day and up to three a day on weekends. We made 2 apple orchard runs this year already and I think we will probably go again. I love how the house smell while I back apple crisp. Pumpkins are all around. I love pumpkins. And college football is on every Saturday. What a great time of year!

The only downfall to fall (ha ha it’s a pun, get it?) is that winter is around the corner. Now I love snow and cooler temps but it means my sandals have to be packed away and socks have to be worn again. But that’s ok because fall also means the start of volleyball season. We skipped last year and it was heartbreaking for me. So I’m ubber excited we are playing this year. We start in a week. I can’t wait!!

Life as a bottom dweller

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hey, hey its fall and that means playoff baseball…too bad the Twins are out.

Bottom dweller #1: Minnesota Twins
So the Twins have the worst record in the AL. They are trying not to reach 100 losses. They are currently 60-95, 29.5 games back in the AL Central, 7.5 games behind Kansas City…the next worst team!!! And they are playing their AAA Rochester team. Ack! Boo! I have 3 Twins game in 9 days, 2 down (Saturday with Byron and Paula & yesterday with work) and 1 to go (Monday with Alice and Bill). They won yesterday…the first game they have won in like 2 weeks = Awesomeness.

Bottom dweller #2: Minnesota Vikings
I know it’s early by the Vikings are 0-2 and at the bottom of the NFC North. They have had 4 great quarters…too bad they were the first half of each game. They were leading both of those games but somehow lost them in the second half. We got the see the melt down this past Sunday with Byron and Paula. Byron surprised Paula with tickets. She was very surprised…she thought we were going to the apple orchard. HAHAHAHA.

Bottom dweller #2: Minnesota Gophers
They are 1-2. Hopefully Coach Kill (ya, that is seriously his name) won’t suffer anymore seizures during a last minute scoring drive. :-(
On a positive note, the Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) is in the second round of playoffs and the NBA is still locked out so we don’t get to be tortured anymore with another bottom dweller team.

Also this week…
As mentioned above Byron and Paula visited last weekend. We went to a Twins and Vikings game. Byron is seriously cursed….he has never seen a win for the home team at any pro event he has attended. We also went to the Mall of America and rounded out the night at IKEA. Fun! Wednesday we went to Chanhassen Dinner Theater for their production of “Hair Spray” with Mom and Jeanne. It was great! I love that musical.

Mission for this weekend: Recover from this nasty cold.

Trip recap…looking forward to next year

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We have been home now for 4 days. We eventually got on our original flight from Newport News, VA to Atlanta…it took off at 5pm. By that time most of the original people on the flight had found other flights so our plane was pretty much empty. The comforting thing is the mechanics that fixed the plane were from Atlanta so they were on our flight back. It is comforting that the guys who fixed the plane had enough confidence to fly in it. What a plus! We even gave them a round of applause. Weird. We got plenty of snacks, peanuts and pretzels and cookies, oh my! We had a 2 hour wait in Atlanta for our connecting flight home. We eventually got home at around midnight. What a long day! All told it took us 14 hours to get home. I see now in an email that Delta has compensated us for our delay with 2,500 miles. How nice of them…snicker.

The trip was pretty much a success. Delaware was surprisingly cool. I liked the state capitol grounds and the Fort. The rain sucked but we were in Atlantic City which is so dumpy outside that it didn’t matter that we were inside most of the days. Ocean City was a huge let down. I was expecting gorgeous beaches and beautiful weather. Instead we got very cloudy, rainy and kind of cold weather. And the beach was awful and the hotel was old and stinky. Yuck! The only silver lining with Ocean City, MD is that the weather was so crappy that making the decision to drive 2.5 hours to Baltimore for a baseball game was easy. I really enjoyed the drive and the game, best of all we got to cross another ballpark off our list. North Carolina’s outer banks were nice, the northern part anyways. I can’t wait to visit there again to see the southern side of the outer banks…the place I really wanted to go but couldn’t because of Irene. It wasn’t the best trip but it was still a good one.

Since we have gotten home, I have done absolutely nothing. I haven’t worked out except for the 30 minutes of tennis I dragged Eric into on Tuesday. I haven’t actually cooked a meal at home yet either. It is going to be a bad month on the fitness spectrum.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Byron and Paula are coming up tomorrow. We have a Twins game Saturday afternoon. I haven’t been to a Twins game in ages... For various reason we have only been to 4 this year. With my summer concerts, Eric’s surgery, vacations and family events we haven’t had much time for games. That will change...I will be going to 3 games in the next 10 days! Too bad they suck badly now and are probably going to have 100 losses. What a dismal year!

Usually at this time of year we are either in the hunt or have the division so we can look forward to playoffs. That isn’t the case this year. I can only look forward to next year. Thankfully MLB released the 2012 schedule yesterday. I have so many road trips planned in my head right now. Recently I was telling Eric I wanted to go to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to see their stadiums. The 2012 schedule is very kind to me because shockingly the Twins play back-to-back series in both of those towns in June. Sweet! Can you guys guess where my annual road trip will be?? Ha Ha I thought so.

Delta sucks!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

As we bring this trip to a close we are fortunate to get to spend more time in lovely Newport News, VA. Our flight has been delayed over 6 hours because of a mechanically problem and the part is on the 4:00 flight from Atlanta. Oh the joys of flying with Delta. They rescheduled our connecting flight for 9 PM getting to Minneapolis at about 11 PM. We got food vouchers for a whooping $6. How generous of them. So we are sitting at the only restuarant at the airport to use our voucher and wait. Yippy!

First in Flight

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What an amazing sunrise this morning. I'm glad I woke up for it. Check out my pictures for 9/10 to see the many pictures I took. This morning we walked around the beach but the waves were crashing too hard to actually go swimming. :-( We took a dip in the pool before heading out for the day.

First stop of the day was at Wright Brothers' National Historic Site. We got to see where flying began. Very cool! Tons of exhibits to look at, a replica of their flying machine and the hill where it all began. I took a tumble at the monument...and worst of all Eric got it on tape. So much for showing off for the camcorder.

After that we made our way back to Virginia. We stopped at History Jamestown, the first surviving English Settlement. It was interesting. After that we drove the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown Battlefield. It is where Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. It was very interesting to see all this history.

We are relaxing at the hotel after a great meal at Smokey Bones BBQ. Tomorrow are going home.

Three broken lighthouses

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kill Devil Hills, NC

I got really friendly with the mascot.
Yesterday was a great day. We saw more of the Maryland countryside. We crossed the beautiful Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We saw some of the flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Lee. And the Orioles beat the Yankees. I became close friends with the Orioles mascot. First he tried to kiss my hand (click here) and then he gave me a hug (click here). It turned out to be a nice day, outside of the spotty showers and 100% cloud cover. It didn't rain for the game so that makes a good day. After the game we made our way back to the beach. We stopped for some good steak and drinks along the way.

Today we started our return trip down south through Maryland and Virginia. We crossed the Chesapeake Bay/Bridge again. It is a 2o some mile bridge/tunnel across the bay. It is consider one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World. But it isn't cheap...$12 toll...ouch! We stopped at Fort Story Base to see the Cape Henry Lighthouses. Unfortunately we can't climb them now as Hurricane Irene had her way with them and they were too damage. But I got some nice pictures of the outside. Entering the base was an interesting expense. In May we went to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and we got right on with no searching. At Fort Story they searched the whole car!

After that we drove down the coast of Virginia, entering North Carolina. We drove down the start of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Hwy 12 is still damage so we couldn't go down to the Bodie Island Lighthouse. It was damaged by Irene too. We were able to go to Fort Raleigh though so that was cool. After some dinner we did another round of mini golf. It was such a fun course. To start we had to ride a "train" to the start on the mountain and than made our way down the course to the finish. Very cool. I had 2 holes-in-ones but some how I still tied Eric...hum...

Rain rain go away, come again on Monday!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Well it is day 5 of our trip and I'm ready for the rain to go away. Yesterday was a good day we got up early and headed south to the Cape May ferry. We got there in time for the 9:30 ferry. The ferry takes about 80 minutes and cuts over 100 miles off the trip.

We drove down the coastal highway through Delaware and Maryland to the Assateague National Seashore where you can see wild horses on the beaches and marshes. They were beautiful. Check out my pictures.

After checking out the beach we head back into Ocean City, MD for some lunch at the Dumser's Drive-In. I definitely suggest it. Awesome food and apparently good ice cream. I had strawberry shortcake. Yum! Our hotel is on the beach but the beach is awful. I got spoiled in Alabama and Myrtle Beach. But maybe the beach is suffering from Irene? I'm not really sure. We couldn't go into the ocean as the surf was atleast 6 feet high. Not happening! We spent some time in the hotel pool and hot tub. After relaxing a bit we went and played some mini golf...27 holes! It was fun...mom had 2 hole-in-ones!

Today is a dismal day with showers in the area. We are currently heading to Baltimore for an Yankees/Orioles game. Tickets were cheap so we thought why not?

Atlantic City is a Vegas Ghetto

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Well after two days in Atlantic City I can safely say I never want to go back. Our hotel was nice but everything is expensive and way too glitzy. I finally won some money to cover our losses. The city is a dump. That's why I call it a vegas ghetto. We found an interesting irish pub for lunch. The food was good and cheap but the atmosphere was...well...interesting.

Welcome to New Jersey!

Monday, September 5, 2011

We just crossed an awesome bridge from Delaware to New Jersey. It was cool! We are on our way to Atlantic City, NJ.

Yesterday we flew from MSP to Newport News, VA. We got in our Jeep Compass and away we went. We drove through Norfolk and went across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Very long and expensive...$12!!!! We went through VA and MD to Seaford, DE. We ate at a Friendly's resturant. The burgers were good but chocolate lava cake filled with caramel and top with hot fudge was fantastic.

Our hotel was interesting the first room they gave us wasn't cleaned. My first clue should have been the empty case of Bud Light bottles, the messed up beds and towels everywhere. Gross! They gave us a new room and all was fine.

This morning we drove up to Dover, the capitol of Delaware, and checked out the capitol building. A very historic town since they were the first state. From there we drove up to Delaware City to catch a ferry to Fort Delaware, a civil war prison camp. It was interesting with costumed characters. They even fired an actual Civil War cannon!

That's about it from here...somewhere in New Jersey...

Hurricane Irene, you pain me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who would have thought a Category 1 hurricane would cause me so much grief! I know I shouldn’t worry about my vacation; I should be thinking of those who are struggling after Hurricane Irene, and I do. I hope everybody is alive and well and that the damage is minimal. But I have to figure out what we are going to do on the last two days of our trip. At this point I have 3 hotels reserved for the same night; hopefully I can narrow it down to 2 before we leave on Sunday. One of the hotels is in Kitty Hawk, NC which is on the northern end of the Outer Banks. I watched a news report from WRAL (Raleigh station) that showed that a lot of the businesses were open and begging people to come back. I can see why they lost a busy summer weekend. They live for summer visitors so they want to recover quickly. I’ve been trying to get a hold of that hotel and see if they are up and running as well because that can eliminate my backup hotel in Elizabeth City, NC. That would leave me with two hotels, the one in Kitty Hawk, which cross my fingers is open, and the one on Hatteras Island. Based on all the information about the breaches along NC Hwy. 12 (the only road), I’m pretty sure there is no way we can reach the hotel. That is of course unless they setup a ferry by the time we need to get there. That would be cool, but if the place is damaged what good would that be? I can’t get a hold of that place either which doesn’t surprise me, I’m not sure if they even have power yet. I have a feeling we are going to be making some important decisions in the middle of our trip. AH Dilemmas!!!!

As with most trips, this one is ever changing. If I didn’t have enough stress trying to figure out the last couple of days, I had the bright idea of checking the Baltimore Orioles schedule. And sure they have a day game one of the days we are in Ocean City, MD. It’s only a 2:30 drive to Baltimore; the game is at 1:05 and the tickets are cheap. So of course my mind is churning. We could make it to yet another MLB Ballpark. But do I really want to drive all the way to Baltimore and all the way back? It is vacation and you are supposed to relax, right? But then again it is a “Kim” trip which means go…go…go…

Hurricane Irene Tour

Sunday, August 28, 2011

As I mentioned on Facebook, we leave for the Mid-Atlantic a week from today. I'm now renaming the trip the Hurricane Irene Tour since we will be in all the areas affected by Hurricane Irene. I was checking out the photos of damage on time.com because for once I actually care about a hurricane. The photo above is Cape Hatteras, NC. We will be there (hopefully) in just under 2 weeks. This is the last stop before we fly home. The road looks missing. Hum...

If you are interested in the rest of the Hurricane Irene Tour click here.

State Fair time!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Every year we go to the MN State Fair on opening day. And this year was no exception. What a great event if you can get past the fact you pay money to get in and then just pay even more money for food that almost certainly will be on a stick.

I think I've been to state fair almost ever year of my life except for the year we got married and some in my childhood. I can honestly say it would feel weird not going.

Anyways we meet Greg, Celeste and Evelyn after work and rode the bus. It is really the only way to go. We started out walking through the Miracle of Birth building were you can seriously see animals give birth! We saw some chicks hatch. Then ate various food items like the famous cheese curds, corn on the cob and Ephinany diner...their last year! Eric is sad :-(

We went through other buildings and while walking through the craft building Eric got separated from us...well when I found him, he had knitting needles in his hand and he was learning how to KNIT! The old lady was very excited to teach Eric. I did a few rows too. After that we got our Sweet Martha cookies and head for the all you can drink milk booth. We rounded out the night walking through the barns, seeing beautiful cows, sheep and horses and icky pigs. Another great MN state fair experience. :)

8 years ago...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It is hard to believe that 8 years ago today Eric lost his freedom. In that time we have done a lot. Traveled a ton, welcomed five Godchildren, raised Swirl the mighty cat and bought a house in the entertainment capital of the Twin Cities...Shakopee. Now granted it hasn't been all fun and games. We lost my Grandma in 2003, Eric's Grandma Likens in 2004 and my Dad in 2006. And of course the occasionally blow up with thrown food. From carrots to french fries, from grapes to M&Ms...what can I say I abuse food. But all in all it has been great. Hopefully Eric will say the same. Happy Anniversary Eric!

2 Museums, 2 Towers & 2 Games in 2 Days

Monday, August 22, 2011

We had a crazy whirlwind weekend in the windy city. Get it? It’s a pun. Ha ha. So we flew to Chicago after work on Friday, getting into Chicago at 7pm. We hit the ground running. First stop, drop off our stuff at the hotel and hop on the bus to Navy Pier. We ate some hot dogs at the Chicago Hotdog stand. Eric had a Dallas dog (Chili, Onions and Cheese) and I had a Green Bay dog (Cheddar cheese). Pathetic I know! Next we went on the Famous Ferris Wheel and got some nice shots of Chicago and finished the night off with some mini golf.

Saturday was no stop action. We did a walking tour of the “Loop” and checking out the famous sculptures. We made our way to the Magnificent Mile to see the new Marilyn Monroe Sculpture. Chicagoans hate it. Ha ha. This is when the rain started to fall and soon it was down pouring. We took refuge in a Walgreens. Their umbrella stand was a hot spot! Once the rain sort of let up, we took a bus to Art Institute to check out the Impressionism gallery. We didn’t see every painting but we saw quite a bit. After that we went to Wrigley Field for the Cubs game. It is such a dump but it historic so that makes it ok. It is cool to think of all the baseball greats that have played there and the human run score board is way cool. We stuck around for the 7th inning stretch and then beat the crowds back to Chicago. First stop on the way back into town was the John Hancock Building. It’s the 3rd tallest in Chicago. They have an observation deck on the 93rd floor. Amazingly there were no lines!! We took the elevator up and what an awesome view. Loved it! We got some nice pictures of Lake Michigan and the skyline. Next stop Willis Tower on the other side of town. This place was nice but I like John Hancock much better. The lines were ridiculously long. Thankfully we had the Chicago CityPass which entitled us to skip the lines. Awesome! We took in the view, which wasn’t as great as John Hancock’s view but it was still nice. We noticed that the lights were on at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. We were shocked to find out they were actually home! That night we bought tickets for Sunday’s game. Anyways, we made our way back down and hopped on a bus back the Navy Pier for the 9:30pm fireworks cruise. Well it wasn’t exactly what I expected and it was a bit steep in price. I probably wouldn’t do that again. We basically paid money to see fireworks from the Lake as opposed to just on the Pier itself…same view just $50 more. Lame! Next time I’m doing the Chicago River Architecture tour. It sounds cool. We got back to our hotel pretty late.

Sunday was another packed day, but not as crazy as Saturday. We started out the morning at the Shedd Aquarium. All I can say is way overrated. Yes it was nice, yes we got to see Beluga whales but is just another aquarium. I think the Aquarium at the Mall of America is cooler… I know *gasp!* But it was included in our CityPass so we took advantage of it. Again thankfully we had the pass the lines were awful. Those poor people! The line was seriously a quarter mile long at least. Ick! After that we went to U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox game. It was an ok stadium. Not the nicest one, actually it ranks down near the bottom with Miller Park. Eric wanted a Jim Thome White Sox shirt. I went into the Custom T-shirt Shop and asked them if they could make one. The guy at the counter seriously said, “Who is Jim Thome?” My response, “Are you serious?” The dude says, “Is he a current player? Minor league? Retired?” My response, “You don’t know who Jim Thome is? The guy that played for you guys for years? The guy who just hit his 600th HR? Wow!” The dude says, “When did he play for us?” Me, “Like 2 years ago!” To quote Dylan, “Typical Chicago sports fan. Clueless.”

We got home about 9:30pm last night. All in all, it was another great get away weekend.

Mobile blogging

I'm excited to do mobile blogging...ha sorry for you

Bingo, Root Beer barrels and cakes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yesterday was my hometown parish’s annual Saints Peter and Paul Fall Festival. It was another beautiful day for the event. I don’t think I have ever missed it. It almost seems like that would be a sin to miss it. Mike, Danielle and I dropped off the cake, pies and tickets early in the morning. Nancy, Greg and Dylan came up and we all (except Mike) went back up to play some games and try and win some stuff and of course stand in line for the awesome dinner. First stop, sucker pull for cakes, if your sucker has a pink bottom you win! I think we spent about $40 to win a cake, well actually 2 cakes and tons of Dumb-Dumb suckers. We didn’t have good luck this year but next year we have a strategy. Next we tried our luck on Roll out the Barrel (root beer barrels wrapped in aluminum foil, get a number you win). Didn’t really have any luck there either. After that Danielle, Eric and I stood in line for the awesome take out dinner. We saw the usually suspects in line, my friend Sandy; my classmate, Tracy, former co-worker Jane etc… We usually do take out because the dinners are so huge we share them. After devouring our dinners at Mom’s house it’s time to go back up for the Bingo. (if you’re counting this is my third trip to the festival so far). 3 hours of Bingo. I get sick of it but my mom sits there for the entire time. We had to laugh yesterday she was playing her Bingo card AND doing pull tabs. She didn’t win at Bingo but she won over $25 on pull tabs. I on the other hand won Bingo. Woot Woot $33!! Greg, Nancy’s boyfriend, was very lucky on the Roll out the Barrel. He won a bike! Apparently, Nancy needed a new bike too! Sweet! Eric got his annual strawberry shake from the dairy booth and we had our annual popcorn. Like I said we have this event down pat. After bingo we went back to Mom’s to pack our stuff, including our 2 cakes and Dumb-Dumb suckers, and head back to the festival for the Polka dance. (that would be 4 trips to the festival). It is such a busy day, but so much fun. Next year, Eric and I are going to take Monday off so we can stay for the entire Polka dance and drawings. It is seriously an all day affair from 8am with dropping off pies to 9pm the end of the dance and drawing.

Also this weekend, Friday was a cook out at Mike’s house. Mom’s sisters, Grace and Bev, came down. That was fun. Best sweet corn, yum! Saturday we played cards ALL DAY and then I had my class reunion. It was ok. Not that exciting. The food was good though.

Update on Eric: He is back to eating normal again. He hasn’t taken any pain meds since leaving the hospital and overall isn’t in any pain. He bounced back quickly. He actually went to work on Friday! Still can’t lift for 3 more weeks.

He's home! He's Home!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

He's home! He's Home!!! Eric was discharged at a little past 4:00 pm today. Yippee! It is so nice to be home again. We've upgraded his food to oatmeal and milk. He is feeling pretty good. He hasn't had to have any pain meds. He is lounging around, watching TV.

Green Gorilla

So far so good today. Eric hasn't had any pain meds since I last wrote. He had a restful night; they left him alone all night. Today he finally had some tomato soup and pudding. He has started on more solid food, moving away from just liquids. We did a bunch of walking too. Eric found a friend on one of our walks...the giant green gorilla. Somebody brought him out of the Family Lounge into the hallway. This is the same gorilla that became Evelyn's enemy the night before. Greg, Celeste and Evelyn came to visit last night. They brought me some Chips Ahoy! because the night before i was craving chocolate chip cookies. I ate over half of the bag already. Ugh...there goes the diet. There really isn't much for me to do here except sit, watch TV, surf the internet and eat. Hopefully we get out of here soon.

Ambulance Ride

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well Eric had been feeling fine this morning with no pain. At 10:00 we went to Abbott Northwestern in an ambulance for his ERCP. He was in good spirits when we were going over there and before the surgery with no pain. The procedure was very short, only about 40 minutes. And they got the stones out so he should be good. But the procedure put him on his belly where all his incisions are located. So he came back very sore. During the procedure I went to the ncafeteria for some lunch. The cafeteria at this large hospital was a Mc Donald's...Seriously???? That is crazy. So much for healthy eating. We got another ride back to St. Francis in Shakopee for the evening. The driver of the ambulance used to be in upper management with Aliana and worked part time as an paramedic. He left his upper managment job to be a full time paramedic. He said he hated all the BS and wanted to do something else. Anyways, Eric still has pain and it is starting to get worse. They have given him two doses of morphine and it isn't helping. The nurse said that if doesn't get better he would have to call the doctor. Not cool. Hopefully he will feel better soon. It looks like he is napping hopefully that is a good sign.

Eric's Episode

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yesterday's awesome day was followed by today...a not so awesome day. At about 2am I woke up and Eric wasn't in bed. I went down stairs and he was sitting the coach, not feeling so good. He told me to go back to bed. At 3:30am he woke me up and said I had to take him to the ER. So to the hospital we go, thank GOD we have an ER/Hospital in Shakopee. So they pumped him full of antibiotics and morphine. They did an ultrasound and drew some blood. Long story short he was suffering from gallstones, inflamed gallbladder and pancreatitis. They admitted him into the hospital with intention of emergency surgery first thing this morning. So by 11am he was on the operating table. It was so lonely in the waiting room. The area is so dead as there aren't many surgeries on the weekends so I was the only there. I also didn't bring the most appropriate reading material. I'm reading Anderson Cooper's book A memoir of war, disasters and survival. The chapters I was reading were about people dying, surgery in third world countries and the suffering of people. I was thinking it was rather macabre considering what was going on around me. The surgery went well, instant results. Eric pain basically vanished. He and I will have to compare our war wounds when he is all healed. Unfortunately, though, he isn't home yet. Some of the pesky gallstones escaped into his bile duct. SO, we are still in hospital for tonight as they are transporting him to Abbott in Minneapolis tomorrow for an ERCP...basically another surgery...to remove the stones that got away. As a result of that procedure, he will need to stay tomorrow night as well. So we still have some time before we are "out of the woods." I'm camping out in his room tonight at his request. I'm not sure when we'll get back to work. Hopefully they will release him Tuesday morning so I can get back Tuesday for at least a half day, but for sure by Wednesday. I'll keep it posted

A great day for a picnic

What a beautiful day for a picnic! We (Greg, Celeste, Evelyn, Eric and I) met DJ, Beth, Abbie, Ethan and Danielle at Flandrau State Park today in New Ulm, MN for a picnic. It was a great summer day and Flandrau is one of the nicest state parks in Minnesota. Among other things, the park has a nice sand bottom pool. Evelyn loves the water, by the end of the day she was walking out up to her chin with no fear!

I have gone running 2 more times since Monday night. Both times I ran all but the first 2 minutes (warm up). I'm not really a runner but I am getting faster each time I go out so that is good. Also it is getting easier for me...I never thought I'd say running 2 miles is easy. I was going to run tonight but it didn't happen. Actually I'm pretty lucky, I had my shoes on and was ready to go out the door when I changed my mind....good thing because 15 minutes later it started storming...I would have been over a mile away from home and would have been stuck in it. Phew!

I took some awesome pictures of the lightening (click here). I love storms! It was thundering pretty good too so with Shakopee Derby Days' Fireworks show at the same time as the lightening was flashing and thunder was booming made for a cool surround sound effect. Well Eric just went up to bed. That is a sign I've stayed up way too late, he never beats me to bed. Good night all!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I can’t believe it is August already. Where has the summer gone? Labor Day is only 33 days away…then the summer is gone…so depressing!

What a busy weekend we had. Eric came downtown for lunch on Friday for his birthday. It was so nice to see him in the middle of the day. After lunch we walked around downtown before I made my way back to work. Friday night we went to Houlihan’s for dinner with Danielle, Greg, Celeste and Evelyn. The food was great! We also got Eric a DQ Ice Cream cake. I think he had a good day. I gave him a Doctor Who Tardis Cookie jar that makes the sound of the Tardis taking off whenever you shut the lid. Very cool new toy!

Saturday morning Danielle and I woke up early to make our baked goods for Julifest, our annual festival at Church of St. Mark. Danielle made the Special K bar (her first time every attempting it) and I made an apple pie with pretty lattice top. The old ladies at church were really impressed with the pie.

Mike and Mom came up in the late morning and Greg and Celeste came over too. Celeste and I made Dalek cupcakes for Eric, a continuation of Eric’s birthday. They are cute but Eric was critiquing them…we didn’t ma ke them perfectly! We spent the afternoon betting on the ponies at Canterbury Park, what fun! After that we went to the Julifest Polka Mass (brings back memories) and then we had some food in the tent. Mom got her favorite German potato salad. Eric and I had to work Adult games from 8:30pm to 11pm. Sticking with the theme of the day we did the racing horses. We made a ton of money for the church.

Sunday we went back to Julifest for lunch and Mom and Mike went home. We spent the afternoon at Valleyfair with Danielle, enjoying the waterpark. There were a ton of Manitoba people there. After we cooled off at Valleyfair we went back to Julifest for the end of the silent auction. We won the Twin’s Scott Baker signed baseball. Awesome!

Last night we went to dinner at Wildfire for Celeste’s birthday. It was good. I really enjoyed the steak.

I decided last night at 9pm to start running again. The humidity finally lifted (for a little while) and I went on a 2.2 mile run. The shocking thing is I haven’t gone out for a fun in almost 8 months so it was amazing that I ran most of the 2.2 miles! I only walked for 4 minutes, 2 of which were my warm up. I was very happy with myself. I guess we will see if I continue this trend….

It is two months after my unfortunate accident in Montgomery, AL. I still relive it over and over again in my head. Hopefully someday I can move on. The reason I bring it up is I had the chance to drive my mom’s awesome new car this past weekend. I’m in love with it, I want one for myself.

H.M.S. Pinafore

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The summer concert series is done. Yay! I love playing in band and I like the concerts but I have to say I'm glad it is done. Like I said before we had a concert Sunday at Centennial Lakes and last night at Starring Lake in Eden Prairie. I even played 1st Trombone last night. Yikes!

On Sunday we bought a new TV stand from Ashley Furniture. I love it but I was very upset that it was "Made in China"....WHAT??? CHINA??? Ok like half of my high school class works at Ashley in Arcadia, WI. SO seeing "made in China" kind of pissed me off. But I digress....Our TV looked so silly on the little stand, now it looks cool.

Monday I got an email from Guthrie Theater saying please come back. So the deal was I could get tickets for the Gilbert and Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore" for $20! Cheap!! So we went Tuesday night. It was great. The story is hilarious...click here to see the info on the musical. This play has a special place in Eric's heart as one of The Simpsons episode featured the music from this play, plus it was the play in one episode of Mr. Belvedere and Family Guy made a reference to it too.

1 day until Eric's birthday!!!

Hot! Hot! Hot! Concerts

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July is always a busy concert month but this has been especially true this year. We have been having 2 concerts a week! Thankfully we missed the really HOT weather this past week. But last Saturday's concert at the Hopkins Raspberry festival was hot. We were in the shade so it wasn't too bad. Eric had a soccer game Sunday night and he came home soaked in sweat. GROSS!! Sunday-Wednesday of this past week was hot! Hot! HOT! The temperatures hovered around 95-100 and the heat index was at one point 120!! Crazy! It was cooler in Pahrump, NV. We had some awesome thunderstorm on Tuesday. I love when it storms while I'm at work. Lightening is so much cooler when you are 14 stories up. That was the day of the 120 degree heat index. After the storm the sun came out. We went to Valleyfair and it was DEAD! We got right on all the rides we wanted and the waterpark was even slow. It was so nice to just jump in the water and cool off. Unfortunately, the Wave pool was closed because "some kid pooped in it." That is gross! Other than Tuesday night we pretty much stayed cooped up in our house.
Thursday we had a concert at Chanhassen (see picture). It was a nice night, a little warm, but nothing like what we had the previous days. We have a concert tonight at Centennial Lakes. It is currently 80 degrees at noon so I think it will be a nice day for a concert. Then only one concert left after that.
5 days until Eric's birthday!!!

Allista has left

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wow, it has been a while since my last post. The rest of the Rapid City trip went great. We tried to go tubing down Rapid Creek on the 105 degree day but unfortunately our tubes were too small. But Allista got a taste of tubing and I think she liked it. We split the drive home into two days. Eric was driving his mom’s 1989 VW Fox back to Minnesota. It made for a long trip across the state. I let Eric lead, well the speedometer was off by about 5 to 10 so we drove across the state at 60-65 instead of 75 and it was HOT…90 some degrees the whole way. We stopped in Sioux Falls at Byron and Paula’s apartment for the night. We played some tennis (Byron was my partner and we lost..because of him) and went for a swim. We drove the rest of the way home the next day, July 1st. Of course the MN gov’t was shutdown so heaven forbid I have to pee. All rest areas were closed. How lame!
We got home in time to relax a bit before my family invaded. We went to the Twins/Brewers that night. It was so hot and miserable but than an awesome storm came through and the temp dropped 30 degrees. Unfortunately there was a 2-hour rain delay so the game didn’t start until 9:10pm. It made for a very long night. Allista’s book didn’t come out until the 4th or 5th inning which means that she probably could have made it through the whole game if there wasn’t a rain delay! The rest of the weekend we went mini golfing at Centennial Lakes and went to Valleyfair. We also had a picnic with Greg and Celeste. My family went home early on the 4th. So it was just Allista and Danielle left behind. We went to my 4th of July concert in Eden Prairie with Greg and Celeste. All and all a very fun holiday weekend.
Allista had the rest of the week to herself as Eric and I had to go back to work. She beat the Paper Mario game for the Wii. It took her like 25 hours. On Saturday, Allista and I went to the North Mankato Parade to see Beth march with the Lancers. It was really long parade. We had to leave after 2 hours (!) as I had to get Allista to the airport. I must say it is very weird going through security at the airport but not going anywhere. It was kind of sad, I looked at all these people going fun places and the only place I was going was back home. Allista made it back to Pahrump and I’m sure is enjoying her little brothers again. J
Sunday was great…after 3 weeks with family of some sort it was nice to just sit home and do absolutely nothing. But I got bored really quick and we had to go shopping. Much to Eric’s displeasure, I just can’t sit still!
More car trouble…while driving home from working out Monday morning, the Kia died on me…right on the corner at a busy stoplight…how annoying! Eric came to my aid and so did some of the guys I see at my morning workout. They pushed the car into the gas station, called AAA for a tow and surprisingly I was only 30 minutes late for work! $1,200 later and the Kia works again. Other than that this week has been pretty uneventful.

Allista has arrived!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Albert's gummy bears melted into a gooey colorful mess
What a busy couple of days! We picked up Allista from the airport on Wednesday. She is staying with us for a few weeks. Friday we drove out to Sioux Falls and stayed at Byron and Paula's place and then drove out to Rapid on Saturday. We stopped at Allista's Grandma Ward in Kadoka. She has the most adorable cat that is super friendly. It was a nice visit. We arrived in Rapid City just in time for Eric's mom, Judy's birthday party. When the Williams family goes out to eat we need a whole room. Saturday night we got an awesome lightening show from our hotel room. Its nice to be on a hill. Allista was very much amazed. They don't get the lightening shows in the Nevada desert. Sunday we spent the entire day at Eric's parents. We talked to Adrian and his family for a couple hours. Yesterday we picked up Albert and Judy and went to Bear Country, Jewel Cave, Custer State Park and Keystone. The whole time we were serenaded by Albert. That kid really likes to sing. It was a really interesting day but it was a lot of fun. Albert got some gummy bears at Bear Country, while on the Jewel Cave tour the gummy bears melted into a gooey colorful mess (see inset). After Jewel Cave we took the long way back to Rapid City via Custer State Park Wildlife loop and Iron Mountain Road to Keystone. We picked up some fudge and head back to Rapid. Last night a bunch of us went to Pirate's Cove Mini Golf. Some had a lot of fun, especially Olivia who had a score of 195.5 and thought she was the winner. (we didn't want to break it to her that the lower the score the better) and I was the overall winner with 48. Juanita didn't have as much fun. She threw a few temper tantrums and kept on saying it wasn't a sport. The rest of us had fun. Not sure what is on tap for today....I guess we will see....

Welcome to the Beautiful Black Hills.

Mental Recovery

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Since my last post from Atlanta airport, there has been a lot going on. The van was towed back to Wisconsin, the insurance dude said it was totaled, my mom started looking for a new vehicle and yesterday she bought one. A 2008 Chevy Equinox. I have to say I'm a little jealous...I've always wanted one of those. So I think all and all everything will be ok.

Besides the van dilemma, life is going pretty good. Nothing too exciting has happen in the last couple weeks. Two weeks ago we went to Sister Rosemary's Golden Jubilee. Amazing! It was very fun. Last weekend I had a concert at the Arboretum and we went to Valleyfair for the first time this year. It was cold! Monday I talked to Adrian and Fa and family for over 2 hours. Eric had 6 games this week (every night he had games). Friday we went to the Twins/Padres Game. I got to see Neshek warming up and he even pitched a scoreless inning for the Padres....I miss him! Yesterday we went down to Independence for the day and got to see mom, Mike and Nancy. And today I'm going on vacation with my friend from Texas, Mary Linda, her mom, aunt and Alice. We are going up the Minnesota 's North Shore of Lake Superior. My most favorite place in the world. Very excited, but nervous about the drive.

I'm slowly recovering from the accident, mentally. I still don't want to drive in rush hour (who blames me) and every time I have to switch lanes my heart starts racing. Hopefully I can get over it. I was doing ok but than on the drive home from the Twins game on Friday we came across a deadly crash on I-35W and the Crosstown split. A Jaguar missed the Crosstown exit and took out the guardrail. First I saw the steering wheel in the middle of the road (Yikes!) and than sadly I saw the body, on the pavement, covered with a sheet. :( That didn't help my recover process! But I look at it and I say THANK GOD, we are all ok.

Gate A31 @ ATL

Friday, June 3, 2011

You maybe wondering why I'm writing from Gate A31 at Atlanta airport. The short story is that I got into a fight with a dump truck on I-85 in Montgomery, AL and I lost. Thankfully everybody is OK. Thank GOD! Needless to say the last 24 hours have probably been one of the toughest for me. Mom's van has quite a bit of damage on the passenger side but hopefully it isn't totaled. The people in Montgomery are the best in the world. They made the whole ordeal easy to deal with. The problem is we are 1050 miles away from home and there is no way we can drive mom's car back to WI. After the accident, I was able to drive the van to a gas station that the police officer suggested we go to figure out what to do next and that is were we sat for 4 hours. It was so hot! It took us that long to get the plan. The police officer that responded to our accident even came by at like 8pm to check up on us. Isn't that amazing?? 3 hours after the incident he came and checked on us! After tons of phone calls, we eventually had the van towed to a hotel near the airport. I got mom and Bev a flight home from Montgomery for this morning. Fortunately, Grace was able to go for free since Doug works for Delta. I just got off the phone and they have landed safely in MSP and are on their way home. After a sleepless night and a morning filled with phone calls and tears, Mike and I came up with a plan that thankfully got me out of Montgomery sooner than later. The tow truck drive the night before, Benny, was a sweetheart. We actually did what he suggested. So the van is currently at the towing company's storage lot. Steve, a family friend is driving down on Monday to pick it up. So by 1pm today the car was towed to the storage lot and I was booking on a flight home. I'm so happy! That was probably the happiest moment in this whole ordeal...I was getting home tonight. I'm still tearing up. I am just so thankfully that everybody is ok. Anyways, I have a 3 hour layover in ATL. I'm not sure if I really want to do anything so I'm just chilling in the seats and watching the planes take off. I have an awesome view of the planes going up and I get to see the landing gear go up. I love planes! The only bright side is I get home from vacation a day early. I have to think of something positive. Ok so before this whole ordeal we drove to Tuskegee to visit Eric's Uncle Dennis and Aunt Beverly. IT was such a nice time. They took us on campus and we had lunch. We spent over 4 hours with them. Overall the trip was awesome outside of this little bleap. Hopefully in the future I will look upon this trip as a lot of fun. I hope everybody can forgive me for the stress I have put everybody through the last 24 hours. It will take me a while to get over this.

Surf and drive

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I was up at 5:25 am for a sunrise that was non-existent. :-( I went back to bed and actually slept in...until 8 am. We are staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Orange Beach. It is amazing! It just opened a few weeks ago and the whole hotel is awesome. They upgraded us to a corner suite so our balcony wraps around the building...very cool...we have a lounge area with a couple chairs, couch, and a table for playing cards. These sisters...all they want to do is play cards. I've been very successful, I don't think I've lost yet. After the awesome complimentary hot breakfast, I went in for a dip in the bath temperature gulf waters. The waves were at least 3-4 feet high so it made for fun swimming. I see they have taken the red flag down so I'm sure the waves aren't as great. I also went in the hotel's pool. My mom even went into the pool!!!! SHOCKING!!!! Around noon we went for a drive to Pensacola Beach, FL. It was such a pretty drive over many large bridges! After driving around Florida aimlessly we returned to Alabama and stopped at Moe's BBQ. Really good food...pulled pork sandwich...YUM! Now we are relaxing in the hotel room. The sisters are playing cards (AGAIN!). I'm going to back out the beach for some more swimming.

Sugar sand beaches

After breakfast, I finally won some money on those evil machines. $64 on pull on the Wizard of Oz penny machine, Woo Hoo! We checked out of the hotel and made our way to Alabama. Here is my gripe, who puts the "welcome sign" behind a tree? Seriously Alabama, get with the program! How stupid! So I didn't get the sign, I was a bit mad...I even said f-you Alabama on Twitter. My words to Eric in a text were not as nice. We made our way down to the Dalphin Island Ferry to Fort Morgan, AL. It was a nice 45 minute ride across the Mobile Bay. There was this baby that absolutely loved my mom. Mom said that baby was being held by grandma and the baby reached out for my mom so the grandma handed her to my mom and the baby girl just cuddle up to my mom and wouldn't let go. How bizarre. Apparently my mom looks just like her babysitter and must have thought it was her. Very cute! We got to Orange Beach, AL at 1pm which was too early for check in so we ventured to Florida. Grace was asking for Denny's so I found a Denny's for late lunch. Then we drove down to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola to see the Pensacola Lighthouse. I climbed up the 177 steps to the top for some great views for the Gulf Coast. Awesome! We made our way back to Orange Beach for some swimming and walked around the beach. Very nice day!

You evil machine!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good morning!!! What a sun-shiny day. My mom and I have been up since 6 am. And since the pool isn't open, really nothing is open yet, we had no choice but to go down to the casino. I lost my fortune and now we are waiting for the other sisters to wake up. I lost $30 of my own money and $20 that mom gave me to play. Is that a sign of a gambling problem when you give other people your money to play? I'm joking! But the machines are not very nice, they are evil really. This reminds me why I hate casinos. My $30 could have bought 5 gallons of gas, some sunscreen for my already burnt skin and an A&W Rootbeer. But, alas, I gave it to the Harrah people. Atleast with the casinos in Minnesota I'm giving the Native American cause. Here is the already rich people. Argh! We leave for Orange Beach, AL today. From what I hear the beaches are really nice there. I guess we will see.