What a Crazy Life

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm writing now because heaven only knows when I'll have time again.  Our life is crazy right now.  With long hours at work, horrible commutes, concerts the next few nights, Eric’s final paper, Ade visiting, the roadtrip to South Dakota...just to name a few things going on.

This weekend was very fun-filled.  After working until 6:30 on Friday, Eric picked me up at the bus station and we went grocery shopping.  We picked up quite a few items on Adrian’s list. Ade, Fa and the kids made lists of things they want Ade to bring back to Brazil.  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was a popular item on the list.

Saturday my family came up for our church’s annual Julifest.  But first we had to go to Costco…a tradition when my family comes up.  After that we had lunch at Pizza Ranch and went to the horse races at Canterbury Downs.  My Aunt Bev has never been and boy did she have fun.  Eric was telling her everything she needed to know.  I don’t really think Eric is much of an expert when it comes to horse racing, we having won millions yet, but he plays the par t well.  We stuck around for a few races. It was fun! 

After that Greg, Celeste, and Evelyn joined us for the Polka Mass on the church lawn. It was such a pleasant night, actually a tad bit cold…YES COLD!  July 27th and the high was barely 60 degrees. A weird thing that happened during the Polka Mass was a car hit the train just blocks away.  The train was stopped for almost 2 hours.  It was a really long train and blocked streets through the entire city of Shakopee. After the Polka Mass we headed for the tents for dinner, Mom had her German Potato Salad!  We also spent some money on the adult games and of course BINGO!  Danielle and I even danced some polkas…my calf muscles still hurt!  And I dragged Mom out for a two-step. She did well considering she had knee surgery not that long ago.  DJ, Beth and Ethan even came to the festival for food and Bingo.

Sunday the family went to my cousins’ house in Columbia Heights. We played cards and had a cook out. It was a fun time.

Yesterday was Eric’s birthday.  After work we went to Centennial Lakes to play mini golf and then went out for dinner. It was a nice evening.  After Eric finished his homework, we went to Mystic Lake Casino…at 9pm last night.  It was such an odd thing for us to do!  We walked out 45 minutes later with $6.05 more than we walked in with.  I won over $22 on one spin!  It was so exciting for me…not so much for Eric.  He didn’t win.

So stupid ol’ MnDOT decided that it was a good idea to close one side of the big Bloomington Ferry Bridge across the Minnesota River and divert traffic to the other bridge.  So they took 6 lanes of traffic and condensed it to 2...single lane across one bridge.  It is a nightmare. The backups are miles long.  So we decided to take the other river crossing on MN 101, you know the one that usually floods and is not very popular. Well yesterday it was very popular, so popular that at 7pm it was backed up 8 miles to Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie. We sat in the traffic for about 20 minutes and decided to find another route.  Well this morning it took us 25 minutes to get out of Shakopee. It is insane!

Ok breathe...

Tonight and tomorrow night I have concerts in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Hopefully we can figure out a faster way to get home so I can get to my concert on time otherwise I have to hitch a ride with my former boss. 

So not only that, but I have to pack for this upcoming weekend. We leave Thursday night for Rapid City, a 10 hour drive.  Eric’s parents are celebrating 50 years of marriage this weekend so almost the entire family will be there.  Well at least 14 of the 15 kids.  One is not coming because her feelings were hurt when everybody was mean to her.  But the rest of us will have a good time!

Swirl's New Tower

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Well Swirl’s tower has finally arrived.  We got it Monday and it was really easy to put together.  Eric and I did in in less than a half hour. I guess this officially makes the crazy cat lady, but whatever. Swirl didn’t really know what to do at first.  I tried putting him on it but he jumped right off.  We tried to bribe him by putting treats on the lower levels and his night time food on another level.  Still he had no interest in it at all. That was not a good sign.  Actually he sat on the floor and glared at me when I put his food on the new tower. I’m sure he was thinking, “You evil bitch, how dare you put my food in a place I can’t reach it”. It really made me sad, I spent all this money on this new toy and Swirl prefers the old one.  Great, another piece of useless furniture taking up space in the house.  So last night, I switch the spots of the new tower with the other tower.  At first Swirl sat on his old tower glaring at me, he was pissed because I moved his old tower away from the window.   After a little coaxing with the rope toy on the new tower, Swirl finally got interested in it. And after that he started climbing the tower, sitting in the little house or on one of the platform, looking outside. He seems to love it now.  He hasn’t ventured up higher than the house part, but we are working on it…I hope my silly cat isn’t afraid of heights! I’m sure in the beginning he probably thought he wasn’t allowed on it or something. Who knows, but doesn’t this look like a cat who loves his new tower?

"Stage & Screen" Concert

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eden Prairie Community Band “Stage and Screen” Concert 
Hopkins Raspberry Festival, July 20, 2013

Captain America March, Silvestri/Brown
Gonna Fly Now, Bill Conti/Mortimer
He Can Do It, Peter Udell, Gary Geld/Nestico
March from "1941", John Williams/Lavender
Hogan's Heroes March (Cl. Choir Feature), arr. Osterling
Seventy Six Trombones, Willson/Anderson, arr. Bocook
Bricusse and Newley on Broadway, arr. Warren Barker
Great Waldo Pepper March, Henry Mancini/Moss
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Andrew Lloyd Webber/Sweeney

Swirl the Thief

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Swirl is quite an entertaining cat. Yesterday Swirl displayed his thieving skills. First, I was eating a Chicken Caesar Sandwich and Swirl stole my lettuce. He stole the lettuce when I was taking a BITE! Crazy cat. He ate the lettuce even though it was covered in Caesar dressing.  Next I was sorting music for my concert today and he took off with one of the pieces. I'm not sure why he is obsessed with paper.  We have to flip all the Kleenex box over because he was shredding the Kleenex.  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of his thieving activities. I could take a picture of my "angel" sleeping, but there are enough of those out here.

So my concert today is in Hopkins. It is the annual Hopkins Raspberry Festival.  The funny thing is I've never seen Raspberries for sale at this festival. You go to the Broiler Days and you get chicken, go to Cheese Fest, you get cheese, you go to Raspberry festival...no raspberries.  LOL!  Every year they have the "Festival of Bands."  5 or 6 area community bands play for an hour each. We have played almost every year. Usually it is hot but today it isn't too bad.  Thankfully!

Speaking of hot, this week has been quite hot and humid.  You would think I would have spent it at the water park, but alas no.  Eric went to school every day to work on his paper.  That means I've been riding the bus home. :( I'm so spoiled being picked up every day that riding the bus seems uncool. Eric has class today.  Poor guy.  So I've been a widow all week and weekend. 

Apparently Abbie is spending the night tonight. She has state soccer in Hugo today and tomorrow she is doing something at Canterbury Park. 

Well maybe I'll go for a bike now.   I was going to earlier but it was raining. 

Painting Class (with Eric!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Last night Eric and I went to a painting class so Eric could discover his creative process. It really is lame.  He had to participate in some creative activity…the teacher suggested a Poetry Reading.  Eric said NO! And decided the lessor of all the creative evils was painting. I think he picked it because he knew I would go with him. He is so smart.  Here are pictures of Eric’s masterpiece in process and our final product. It was fun, I’m not too happy with this one like I was with the birds but it is way better than the stupid wine bottles I did last year. By the way, Eric was the token man in the class. Every class I’ve gone to has had only one guy.  Last night was Eric’s turn. LOL!

Soccer, Writing, Shopping and Biking

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eric did the soccer and (is supposed to be doing) the writing; I did the shopping and biking.  That was our weekend in a nutshell.  

But what about the rest of the week?  Well Eric had a soccer game Monday.  I had a concert on Tuesday. Click here to watch the video. Wednesday we played tennis (and then celebrated our workout by going to KFC). Kind of defeats the purpose of working out but at least we worked out. ;) The rest of the week we did nothing.  And I mean we literally did nothing.

Speaking of shopping, look what I bought Swirl.  I think he will love it.  Actually the story goes like this, Thursday we went to Fleet Farm to buy tarp for our tent. (ok I guess we did something) While walking up and down the aisles we found these 6 foot cat trees. They looked so cool but we had the car so we couldn’t buy it.  Friday at work I decided to see what was online and found this one and it was way cooler and I’m so excited to get. I hope he loves it. Now I have to figure out where to put it. As I asked on Facebook, Can someone be considered a "crazy cat lady" if they only have one spoiled cat? The general consensus is yes :(

So Saturday I spent the day with Greg and Celeste.  We went to Culver’s for lunch, Ikea and Costco shopping and Pablo’s for dinner.  Today I went for an 11.5 mile bike ride. I was planning on going 14 miles but when I got to Eric’s soccer game I felt sick and faint.  I sat on a bench and drank some water and then biked home.  After that I made a great bar…again rewarding my workout.  I’m never going to lose weight if I keep rewarding my workouts! LOL!

Eric had soccer games all day Saturday and today.  Out of the blue, the Referee assignor for Shakopee assigned Eric to games.  He didn’t ref a game for Shakopee at all this year and then out of the blue he gets 6 games.  It is a bit odd, unfortunately it means he really hasn’t worked on his paper due tomorrow.  Ya, that’s about right.  Oh well, such is life.

"The World of Music" Concert

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Eden Prairie Community Band's performance on Tuesday, July 9 at the Normandale Lake Bandshell in Bloomington.

Road tripping

Monday, July 8, 2013

 The long 4th of July weekend is over.  I’m so sad. I really enjoyed my 4 day mini vacation.  Let’s see what did I do all weekend?  I spent quite a bit of time in the car, hence the “road tripping” title.  After work Wednesday we got an oil change…exciting I know!  Then we went for a little ride around Chaska, Carver and Jordan.  I wanted to see if the Minnesota Valley SRA campground was open.  We had quite a bit of rain a while back and the river was near flooding in Shakopee so I thought it might affect the campground. Surprisingly, it is closed for the season.  I’m not sure why and the DNR website doesn’t say why.

Thursday we went to Boston Market for lunch and took it to the local park and had a picnic. Not your typically picnic fare but it was cheap (50% off family meals). There is a really nice park by our Boston Market.  We walked around the park and enjoyed the warm air.  After that, I had to go to the 4th of July Celebration in Eden Prairie.  We played our annual concert. Normally we leave afterwards but my friend, Jenny, convinced us to stay for the fireworks.  So we stuck around and watch her kids play in the new playground in the park.  The fireworks were not bad, the show last about 25 minutes.  After fireworks there was a massive traffic jam and it took us almost an hour to get home.

Friday morning we went to the DMV at the courthouse (and stood in a very long line) to renew Eric’s driver’s license and to renew the tabs on our car…$332 later we came home with stickers and a piece of paper saying Eric can drive.  Man the State of Minnesota likes their taxes!  

We packed up the car and slowly made our way to Rice Lake State Park in Owatonna.  We definitely didn’t take the most direct route, we went through towns I’ve never been to before. We decided the weather was perfect for camping.  We met DJ and Ethan there.  We walked down to the lake (which they are drawing down :( this summer so no canoeing) and that was about the extent of our hike.  We made burgers on the open fire…I am very impressed at my outdoor cooking skills. And of course the delicious s’ mores later. We didn’t stay up too late which is unusual. Sleeping was very comfortable.  The weather was perfect.  We awoke to the birds chirping and the massive amount of daddy long leg spiders covering our tent. Thankfully they were on the outside! We packed up our site and headed to Mankato.  Danielle asked us to come see her new place.  We went out for lunch and then spent some time at her new apartment. It was nice, the typical starting out apartment.  We left there in time to make it back for 4:30 Mass.  Of course it wouldn’t make sense to take the most direct route so instead we decided to venture into Le Sueur; you know the home of the Jolly Green Giant.  Not really out of our way but it was nice to finally see what the town looks like. After driving to Mankato for over 10 years and seeing the sign for Le Sueur, I finally drove through the town.  It was cute.

Yesterday was a day of relaxation. But it was stinking hot we decided to get wet to cool off. We went to the water park at Valleyfair and hit all the slides, lazy river, raging rapids and of course the wave pool.  We were there about 2 hours.  We were starving afterwards so we went to Eden Prairie to Punch Pizza (delicious!).  After a couple of hours of watching TV, I treated Eric to Dairy Queen.  We got a car wash too and decided to “dry it off” by going for a ride.  Well the ride didn’t start off that great because the concrete on Hwy 169 exploded which put us in a very long line up of cars going very slowly.  Then we drove down to Jim’s Apple Farm for some candy.  I found maltesers…my favorite!   Look a whole box:  

Isn’t it disappointing that is the only picture I took the whole weekend!  And it is blurry! I’m really losing my photography abilities! We took the back roads back home and ran into a thunderstorm. So much for drying off the car.  LOL!

As you can tell the long weekend involved two things, eating and driving.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Mourning Grace

Monday, July 1, 2013

It has seemed like a lot longer than a week since I last wrote.  It has been a week of sadness.  My Aunt Grace finally succumbed to cancer and passed away Tuesday. Although she is no longer suffering there is a sense of extreme sadness. As for my mom’s sisters, I was the closest to Grace and her kids.  This past weekend, I got to reconnect with most of Grace’s kids and grandkids and it was great.  It also meant I had to put up with being called Kimmy. Being the youngest of the cousins, I guess I will be picked on. Saturday we went down for the visitation. Afterwards we went to my cousin, Paula’s house for dinner.  The table was all cousins just talking. It was so nice.  And shockingly no cards were played. That is just weird. It is also strange that in a few short years it went from 6 sick sisters to just 3.  Bev, Alice and Mom are left to keep the family together.  The funeral and burial were yesterday afternoon followed by lunch. It was a sad weekend but also a great weekend to see family.  It is really unfortunate that weddings and now funerals are really the only time we see family.  On a funny note, in the Lutheran church they always read the obituary during the service.  As the pastor was reading the obit and got to the family members, I thought of Eric’s parents.  Man their family section of the obit will be long with 64 immediate family members (currently). Good thing they don’t read the obit during a Catholic funeral Mass, we would be there a while.   Anyways, that was a moment that I had a little chuckle.

As for the rest of the week, I tried going for a bike ride on Monday.  The first attempt was on the road bike but the tires got “untrue” somehow and were wobble so back the garage I go.  Next I grab my Townie cruiser. I went down by the river…duh…lots of rain means the river has flooded down there and I had to drive through water and muddy. My tires were caked on and made it difficult to ride so I went home. I thought about taking the mountain bike next but the brakes are bad.  So I settled for crashing on the couch eating raspberries. At least I was eating healthy. :)

Tuesday was finally warm enough for some waterpark action at Valleyfair. Last year with the massive heat wave around this time we were going daily to cool off. This year it hasn’t gotten warm enough yet.  But it was finally almost 90. It was so much fun going down the slides, rafting tube ride, lazy river and wave pool.  We were there about 2 hours. 

Wednesday I took my road bike into the shop for a tune up and to fix the tires.  They won’t have it ready until tomorrow…a whole week! I really need to get training for the triathlon in 76 days…yikes!

Thursday was band practice and boy did we need that.  We start our concert season on July 4th and we haven’t practice since May 30th.  The Carnival musical really cut into our practice time. It was tough though. The musical was easy because even though it was over 2 hours long there were a lot of breaks with no music so my chops could rest.  But Thursday night was almost 2 hour solid of playing. My mouth really hurt.

Friday we suffered through 7 innings of Twins baseball.  And I mean suffer.  It was cold, rainy and windy.  But I’m thankfully for the windy because it meant we stayed dry as the rain was falling in front of us. We saw the grounds crew put the tarp on the field 3 times. The tried to start the game, the Twins went into the field and then another down pour came and a delay.  There really wasn’t much rain after that but the wind really picked up. It is crazy that at June 28th baseball game we would be freezing with sweatshirts on!  We sat in the 2 Gingers bar to stay warm and ended up leaving after the 7th inning (it was after 10pm already). The Twins were losing so bad that if they did stage a comeback it would have been a miracle. We drove past the new I-35W Bridge to get a picture of the rainbow bridge. It was so nice to get home and wrap up in a blanket.
I-35W Bridge
Saturday we did some shopping and Eric got a haircut and we made our way to Wisconsin.  Here is a picture I took of the 3 remaining sisters.  Grace will definitely be missed. :(

Alice, Karen and Bev - the Stai Sisters