The Grassy Knoll and Rangers

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Well it was quite a hot day yesterday.  At one time my phone said 104.  Yikes!  And humid!!!! We started the morning by going to the place where JFK was shot.  I’m sorry Dallas but there really isn’t anything to see here of interesting besides the JFK stuff.  So we ran into one of the conspiracy theorist guys. They will talk to anybody who will listen.  Anyways he gave us a personal tour of the whole area. He was interesting to listen to but again he is a conspiracy theorists so he tells you what he thinks happens.  Now he had some of the same ideas I did…you know the infamous grassy knoll shooter than was never discussed. 

Anyways we walked around the whole area and eventually went into the book depository building…you know where Lee Harvey Oswald did his shooting.  Firstly, the tour was $16. Ouch! And Secondly, no pictures.  Such a scam…by the $30 book in the gift shop if you want pictures…no thank you.  The displays were very nice and took you through the time…but $16 was a bit much. 
Book Depositry
So after that we escaped to the Old Courthouse where the Dallas Visitor center is located. We did this mostly to escape the oppressive heat and humidity.  But the guy working the desk was very nice, gave us a map and pointed out a few things to see that might be interesting…and FREE!  One of the suggestions was Pioneer Plaza.  It is the largest bronze sculpture.  It shows a cattle drive and it is awesome! I definitely suggest it if you ever visit Dallas. 

The Pioneer Plaza was quite the walk from the visitor center and it was 100+ degrees so we were desperate for some water.  Well the only place to buy water was Mc Donald’s.  Downtown Dallas isn’t a very charming city. It isn’t like downtown Minneapolis.  At least in downtown Minneapolis there are shops and restaurants everywhere with nice outdoor seating.  Downtown Dallas has McDonalds.  And since it is really the only restaurant it is packed.  We stood in line for over 20 minutes to order and another 10 minutes waiting for our water/smoothie/hamburger.  They didn’t have milkshakes…all Eric wanted was a milkshake and they didn’t have any!  Weird! There was hardly any seating and we ended up sharing our table with another lady.  Mass chaos!!  They charged me $1 for my water cup. LOL! We cooled off and made our way back to the car.  We drove into the art district to see the cathedral for the Dallas Diocese…it is in desperate need a repairs. Yikes! 
Pioneer Plaza
We finally got to Walmart!  It has to hurt Walmart’s business where there is a game in town because let me tell you, you can’t get to it on a game day! We picked up our few items. The view from the parking lot is really cool…Cowboy Stadium!  
Walmart Parking Lot View
We stopped at Dairy Queen so Eric could finally get his milkshake.  Hey Mom, they don’t have chocolate ice cream at the Dairy Queens here…never.  Weird!  We spent the rest of the afternoon cooling off in the pool and in the room.  We had to get our game face on for the Twins game…game face…ya right. I bring that up because our hotel has been taken over by LSU fans and apparently they are the rudest fans in college football.  They play in Cowboy’s Stadium today…thank God we are getting out dodge!

Rangers’ stadium is nice but not that great.  First of all I was built in the 90s I think and so they didn’t embrace the open concourses.  You can’t see the field at all from the concourses.   It is something we are spoiled with at Target Field. The stadium really didn’t have anything special about it. It was completely “boxed in” so no open scenic views of anything.  It kind of has the Miller park feel to it except at least at Miller Park you have the windows so it brightens up the place.  This is definitely not my favorite at all.  The fans were really nice.  Behind us was a couple who have a home in Dallas and one in Fort Myers, FL where the Twins have their spring training.  They are season ticket holders for the Rangers and for the Twins Spring training.  SO that was cool.  They were talking about spring training and how they players look so different. It was nice to sit next to people that don’t hate us.  Next to Eric was a family who are from Colorado originally but moved to Dallas many years ago.  They were very nice as well.  Everybody that we talked to said how much they like Target Field.  The people in front of us admitted that Ranger’s ball park isn’t the best and mentioned how they liked the open concourses at Target Field.  So I’ll take that feather and stick it in my cap.

Rangers Stadium
Wow I’m really long winded this morning…At the game after one of the innings a Twins player throw a ball to a man in the crowd…well lets rewind to June 2012, shall we?  We were at a game in Pittsburgh and we meet this nice couple from South Dakota.  Three days later we ran into them in Cincinnati. Ok back to 2013…guess who got the ball thrown into the crowd…well it is the same couple!  Isn’t that crazy? After the game, I talked to them and he gave me the ball!!! Isn’t that cool?  They are going to Houston too and we are going to the same game. Maybe we will see them there??

Time to get ready for our drive to Houston!

Fort Scott National Historic Site

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Well our road trip is going pretty good so far.  We drove to Lamoni, IA last night (about 3 miles from the Missouri border).  Nothing too exciting yesterday

Today we started off heading toward Kansas City.  They finally finished the new bridge they were building the last time were drove through. It is very cool looking.  Our first stop was Fort Scott, KS.  That was after a 6 mile oops when we got on Hwy. 69 too early. Stupid highway crisscross Interstate 35 so many times and I got suckered in to taking it too early.  So we had a 6 mile tour of Overland Park, KS.  We eventually got on the expressway.  Fort Scott has this this very cool fort. It was started in 1842 as part of a line of forts lining the "western" part of the US.  It was to fend off those Native Americans.  It was also used during the civil war.  It was very interesting...but boy was it HOT!
Fort Scott National Historic Site

In 1840's Jail Cell
After Fort Scott we made the long way to Arlington, TX.  The one thing I can say about Oklahoma is they have a lot of phantom construction areas.  Rarely when the sign said you were entering a construction zone did you actually see construction.  One section said "Road Construction Next 30 miles" Really?  Never saw any construction.

Like every other road trip we have ever been on, we forgot a few things and need to stop at Wal-mart/Target.  Well lucky for us there is a Wal-Mart just a 1.5 miles away from our hotel.  We decided that we would stop there first before going to the hotel...MISTAKE!  Well the Wal-mart is across the street from the new Cowboys Stadium...and the Cowboys have a game tonight.  Every road around the stadium is closed with cops around.  We drove around and around and could not get into the parking lot. ARGH!  After 20 minutes of trying to get there we finally gave up and came to the hotel.  So no sunscreen, toe nail clippers or Q-tips for us tonight.  I think we will survive. 

Here is the awesome stadium at night:


He Asked…She Said “I Suppose!”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What a weekend.   Let see where to begin. Well our 10th Anniversary came and went.  Not much happened. We both worked. After work Eric went to class while I cleaned the car and went grocery shopping. Very romantic, eh? Saturday was much the same. I made Monster cookies (and broke another spatula), cleaned the house and picked up a few things at Costco and Eric had class.  

After Eric’s class, we drove down to Mankato and meet my family. We went out for dinner. I had an awesome steak!  It was delicious.  And of course Mike and Mom and to tell them we were celebrating our 10th anniversary so we got a cake and champagne. It was also Bradley’s birthday so he also got cake…but no champagne for him.

After dinner we went swimming at the hotel. When we got sick of that, we played Dirty Clubs…a card game that would never end.  I think Mike ended up winning. Bradley had over 40 points (not good!). Eric and Bradley finished off a bottle of champagne. They were definitely “feeling” it. 

Sunday after breakfast we went to Flandrau State Park in New Ulm.  This is one of my favorite parks because it has a nice sand bottom pool. We try to visit at least once a year. It was the perfect day for it…hot and humid!  We had a picnic lunch and then went swimming for an hour or so.  After swimming we gathered around the picnic tables and played some lawn games.  After everything was packed up and we were ready to leave…Bradley popped the question!  Danielle demanded a soppy story first and then said, “I suppose.” Yep, Danielle is engaged! I couldn’t be happier for them.   I’m very disappointed in myself.  No picture of the ring…I’m not a very good photographer…I should have been all over this.

Well the last two post have been wedding related.  Hmmm...

The next one will be travel related...we leave for our vacation in 32 hours and 24 minutes... 

10 Years of Wedded Bliss

Friday, August 23, 2013

It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since that extremely hot August day in 2003.  In the 10 years, we have had many ups and a few downs but overall it has been fun. 

10 years in numbers…
Residences: 2 (Burnsville and Shakopee)
We only lived in Burnsville for a few months after we got married.  We moved to Shakopee in early 2004.  Granted we didn’t think we would still be in our tiny townhouse but alas the housing market decided to bottom out and here we are almost 10 years later and still stuck. :(

Animals: 1 Cat (Swirl) and many fish…who won’t die!
Swirl came even sooner than our townhouse.  I think we got the call from Eric’s Mom in late September and by October he was in our life.  He is a character.  We had some problems in the beginning with trips to the ER Vet but once we found a good vet in Shakopee we haven’t really had any problems since.  Yes he has a heart murmur but it doesn’t seem to be causing him any trouble. The fish on the other hand…we have 3 fish that are still alive and I desperately want new carpeting in our house but I don’t want to move our aquarium.  So I'm waiting for them to just die. Why is it that when you don’t want the fish to die, they do and vice versa. Seriously, do goldfish normally live 7 years?

Jobs: Eric – 3 with 2 different companies, Kim – 2 with 2 different companies.
We have been very fortunately on the jobs front.  Neither of us was affected by the massive layoffs that happen in 2008 and 2009. We aren’t much of job jumpers (obviously).

New nieces and nephews: 16

Nieces and nephews that have graduated: 7

Godchildren: 5 (Autumn, Gerald, William, Evelyn and Joseph)
Apparently people want us to have godly children not real children.  Just kidding.

Sad Things
Deaths: 3
Grandma Bisek died in October 2003 (just 3 2 months after we married (apparently I can't add))
Grandma Likens died in November 2004.
LaVern Bisek died on December 28, 2006 (the day after Kim’s 29th birthday)

Surgeries: 2 (we are gallbladder-less)
So in 2008 I had a bout of pancreatitis and a lot of pain.  Three months later they took out my gallbladder.  Fast forward to 2011 and guess what, Eric had pancreatitis and pain.  He didn’t have to wait 3 months for his surgery…he had to one-up me and have an emergency surgery and additional procedure which required a multiple-day hospital stay.

Travel Related
U.S. States: 48 (missing Hawaii and Washington)
Yep we have been to 48 states in 10 years.  What can I say, we like to travel.  We have made some really long road trips with family and friends.  Someday we will get to Hawaii and Washington. Someday…

Foreign Countries: 11 (Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland and United Kingdom.)
So 11 countries isn’t bad.  I have many more I want to add to the list. I guess we will see where we are at 20 years. :)  On the list is Brazil, all of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Caribbean Islands, African Safari, China, Turkey and other parts of Asia…but not North Korea and not really the Middle East.

Current Baseball Stadiums: 13 (but soon will be 15).  (Busch Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Great American Ball Park, Kauffman Stadium, Miller Park, Nationals Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, PNC Park, Progressive Field, Rogers Centre, Target Field, Turner Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field)
Our upcoming road trip will take us to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Williams Siblings Visits: 13 (sorry Elaine)
We have traveled from Oregon, to Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Virginia and Maryland (technically we weren’t married yet) oh and Minnesota…duh. We didn't get to Fairbanks on our Alaskan Honeymoon...we have to get there some day and Brazil too.

I’m sure there is a lot more that has happen in the last 10 years but heck that is a long time to remember everything and you are probably bored reading this blog anyways.  So in closing I’ll just say this.  I love Eric and I’m pretty sure he loves me and we look forward to another 10+ years.

Abbie Around Town

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Abbie, Beth and Ethan and I went around Mankato to take Abbie's senior pictures. I'm not a professional photographer but I think some of these pictures are pretty darn good! These are some of my favorites. I took over 150 pictures. It was hard just picking a few.

Let the Countdowns Begin!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

So I like to “countdown” to things and right now there are really 4 countdowns going on.

1 – Our 10th Anniversary (can you believe it has been 10 years!)
2 – Eric’s last class (hopefully his thesis will get approval)
3 – The Lone Star Baseball Adventure (on the road again…)
4 – Triathlon (I really haven’t trained, oh no)

So first things first…our 10th anniversary is coming up in a week.  We have had a crazy 10 years but I’d say most of it has been happy.  I’m sure I will reflect on that later.

If Eric gets his thesis approved, he will be done with school in 8 days and 18 hours. Fingers-crossed this will be the end of his master’s program but I’m very fearful it may not be.

The long awaited and highly anticipated Lone Star Baseball Adventure road trip is in 12 days and 20 hours. The name is kind of a misnomer.  Yes we are going to be spending many days in Texas and we will be going to two Twins baseball games (one in Arlington, one in Houston) but we are also heading over the he beautiful state of Alabama.  Even though my last trip to the Orange Beach area ended badly, I still have fond memories of the area.  I loved our hotel and I loved the beach.  When people tried telling me that Jamaica had white sugar sand beaches…I said no, these aren’t white beaches; Orange Beach, AL has white sugar sandy beaches. We are spending a few days there and then we are making the long way back home.

Last but not least is the Triathlon.  That is in 30 days and 12 hours.  I really haven’t trained. I’ve gone on a few long rides.  I know I can do it but I could do so much better if I was training.  Eric hasn’t trained either and said that the will be walking some of the 5K. It should be interesting…

Another Fall Festival Weekend

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

With annual traditions, like the Sts. Peter and Paul Fall Festival, I feel like I’m a broken record.  But I did so much more this weekend than usual. 

Saturday morning, I met Mom and Aunt Bev in Eau Claire.  We went to my cousin’s baby shower.  She is due Sunday, she was joking with the host that she wasn’t going to make it to the shower, but she was there. 

After that we drove to Independence and dropped off my stuff and headed to Arcadia to Mike’s house.  We went to the Ashley for the Arts at the Memorial Park in Arcadia. Every year Ashley Furniture puts on this event as a fundraiser for various charities.  It is quite a big deal.  Anyways we went to the 3:30 performance of the Memories.  They were good. They have been preforming in the area for over 40 years! After that we went to Mike’s house for a grill out.  My cousin, Paula and her boyfriend Tom came by.  After that we went to the 7:30 performance of Matt Nathanson.  I’m not exactly sure who he is, I guess he is famous or something.  I didn’t really enjoy that so much so I took Shelly, Mike’s friend, for a walk down Soldiers’ Walk.  I love walking down this timeline of historic events. I showed her the sculptures for all the wars and the beam from the World Trade Center.  It was a nice getaway.  We made it back for the end of the concert and then the fireworks.  For such a small town, they were really amazing. 

Sunday morning started our normal tradition. Go to church to drop off mom’s pies and cakes and turn in her tickets. I’m not sure the last time she did this herself! LOL!  I got my verbal abuse from Becky Maule at the cake walk/sucker pull.  I know it is in good fun. This year she told me she dreamt about me all night and then fell out of bed. She blames me for that.  I spent $15 and didn’t win a damn cake.  They rig the game!  I got my cheese coffee cake and we turned in mom’s raffle tickets.  Something out of the norm for us, we went to the Polka Mass on Sunday morning.  It was nice, as nice as can be.  After church we had Chicken and JoJos from East End Bar. It was good but I really wish that we had the dinner at church. Smelling the meatballs cooking in the church basement during Mass was hard to handle. :(

After lunch Mom, Bev and I went back up to church for Bingo. We didn’t win of course. Never do! We left after Bingo so Mom and Betty Jane could go to Aunt Vina’s wake at the funeral home.  Bev and I went to Anna’s house to get a picture of Mickey as the “wheelchair super hero.”  So during Bingo I get a random phone call from our niece Beth. She is doing some scavenger hunt thing and need a “wheelchair super hero” in purple and white with a “G.” I told Eric he was crazy if I was going to do that.  But I told Mom and she said that Mickey would love to do it. So here he is:

After picking up Mom and Betty Jane at the funeral home we went back to the Festival for the polka music.  Bev and I stayed about an hour and then we headed home. We stopped at Culver’s for a burger and I dropped her off and made my way back home. It was a nice, busy weekend. 

So where was Eric you ask?  Well he was in Mankato working with DJ on his paper. 

50th Anniversary Weekend

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What a whirlwind weekend!  I don’t even know where to begin.

Thursday after work we met my mom at our house and drove to Mitchell. Nothing to exciting that day.

Friday morning we left Mitchell and headed for Rapid City.  It poured most of the way there but those die-hard bikers were still out there!  We stopped at a Kadoka gas station and there were 50 bikes under the gas canopy.  Crazy!  We eventually got to Rapid City and the first thing we did after stopping at the parents’ house is go to Red Lobster with Gary, Tracie, Gerald and Abbie.  It was good.  After that I went with niece, Judy, Ethan and Abbie to Albert’s Ensemble performance at orchestra camp. It was interesting. Some of the small ensembles were good, others hurt my ears.  Albert’s group wasn’t bad. We eventually checked into our room at Terra Sancta Retreat Center.  It was a very nice place. I would stay there again. That evening a group of us went mini golfing…there was close to 20 of us. Eric and I were paired up with Libby, Maggie and Maggie’s boyfriend, Cody.  It made for a long evening.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the retreat center and then family pictures. It wasn’t too bad.  Some melt downs but with a family this large that is bound to happen.  The photographer is a family friend and he has done this before with this family so this was nothing new for him. Here is the best photo my mom could get (click to enlarge):

Immediately following the pictures was the Anniversary Mass.  After that we had lunch…tacos…there was a nice video with lots of pictures of the family.  Elaine looks like Judy did on her wedding day. It is amazing.  We relaxed a bit and then mom and I took Allista for some food and to get a card.  Allista was having a bad day so we thought it would be good to take her along. She didn’t eat the tacos so we bought her and her brother, Joseph (who slept through lunch) some Culvers. Joseph was sharing his hamburger with me. He is a funny kid.  We made our way to the house to help get ready for the potluck picnic.  There was a large spread and it was a very nice picnic.   Some drama but overall it was a nice time. Only a few of us helped to clean up and it was way past 9:30 before we were done getting everything into the house and fridge.  We stayed there until 10:30.  We didn’t get a chance to go to Dan’s after party.

Sunday morning we went to Mass at the Cathedral. 9 of 14 kids were there.  That is quite amazing. The funniest conversation of the day was 9 year old Gerald talking to his mom.  

Tracie: Gerald, we have to go to church.
Gerald: I'm not going, we went yesterday.
Tracie: You have to go.
Gerald: Fine, I'll go but I'm not praying.

Afterwards was Samuil’s baptism. That was probably the largest crowd for a baptism in the family!  I took Eric back to the retreat center so he could work on his paper. I swapped my Mom for Allista.  Mom went with Gary, Tracie and family to paddle boats and Dairy Queen. I took Allista tubing in Hisega with Ade, DJ, Tim, Abbie, Beth, Ethan, Judy and Albert.  We only had a few tubes so we had to take turns. I, of course, popped my tube.  We also went swimming in the deep hole of the creek and jumped off rocks…granted it really wasn’t much of jump off, maybe a foot. But it was fun but the water was freezing!  For dinner Mom and I escaped the insanity of the house and went to Arby’s.  I’m sure glad we did.  We spent the rest of the evening at the house. Eric and DJ were hammering out his paper and I just listened to stories.

Yesterday morning we made the long trip back.  We had breakfast with DJ’s family, Ade, and Elaine. We stopped at the house and were on our way home by 11am.  We pulled into our house a little before 9pm.  Eric spent the rest of the night getting his homework done.   There was so much more I could say but this is a brief summary of the 50th Anniversary Weekend.