Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Night!

I know I shouldn't be happy about this...but I am.

Apparently there was a 'targeted time threat of violence' at the Business school tonight so I have no class! While I chalk it up to some undergraduate not wanting to take a test or something, I feel good knowing the University takes these things seriously and will do what it needs to to keep us safe in class.

http://www.startribune.com/local/44075722.html?elr=KArks:DCiUnP::DE8c7PiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

So I have decided to kick back and completely enjoy tonight with some hardcore R&R. Nate is off studying so I am catching up on magazines, and TV. The last few days have been interesting to say the least so it is nice to have a night to just take a breather.

Ahhhh.....ain't it grand?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ants in my Pants

I can't sit still. I can't focus. I can't concentrate.

I am suffering from early onset adult attention deficit disorder.

I try to figure out why I get like this and it all boils down to time. Duh, right? But seriously there are just SO many things I want to do in my life. So many things I want to do before I'm 50. Before I'm 30. Before May. Before midnight tonight.

It is thinking of grandiose ideas and plans for my job, or daydreaming about what book I am going to start next. It is considering studying abroad in India, and planning all of the great adventures Nate and I will go on in the next few years.

The good news of EOAADD (see above) is I think it boils down to being extremely happy. I think this happiness I am feeling is being exuded through the thrill of possibility. The possiblity of all of the great things that are still to come. And there are so many things..

Monday, April 27, 2009

Deal or No Deal: Organic Carrot Juice

The common denominator of a Costco membership is a crapload of fruit. Every week. Loads of fruit. And I am not complaining. I love the fruit. Raw, on the go, in smoothies, on top of fruit pizza, in frozen yogurt..it's all good.
But a girl needs some veggies. And I don't know how many more red peppers I can eat. So we got carrot juice...and lots of it. I guess you can call it a good compromise.
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So what's the deal?
$4.29 per liter at Cub Foods
$7.98 for 3 liters at Costco
Verdict: Deal
It's like a buy two get one free deal! WHOO HOO!
Not to dampen the Costco love..but I have to keep it real. The last two big packages of strawberries we got ended in a funky fungus, and last night we were packing up mini carrots for lucnhes and pulled out a handful of nasty, mushy mess. It was actually pretty disgusting. The moral of the store is: It's only a deal if you eat it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fresh Start

Ahh..I love spring cleaning.

Sure I hate thinking about it, but I LOVE the end result.

And Nate and I got a lot of it done this weekend. We took EVERYTHING out of our pantry and cupboards and re-organized our kitchen set-up to make it a little more efficient and organized.

And today we both went through closets and had a good PURGE of all things out of date, out of style, or ill-fitting. To Goodwill and the Viroqua consignment store they will go.

Becca will be happy that I have another 25 books coming her way for Open Books.

I have to admit I think the productive bug hit me slightly because I am procrastinating some school-work, but I'll take it.

Up next, making our wish list for when my Mom and Dad come up on Mothers Day weekend! I see some garden planting, yard-work and maybe even kitchen painting in our future...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Better Together

This week has been punctuated with a reminder that so many things are better together than by themselves.

Oreos and milk
We had milk and cookie day at work and I even broke my cookie ban for it because they had some serious kick-ass variety of old-school cookies. But..nothing beats Oreos WITH milk.

Running and Springtime
Running in the winter in MN sucks. It is dreadful. But it makes running in the spring so much better. I love running outdoors, smelling the mud, seeing the trees ready to burst, smelling the grills fired up for the first grill-out. Mmm....

Celery and peanut butter
We currently have about 5 bunches of celery--thank you Costco. I am determined to eat it all and not let it go to waste, so there has been celery and salsa...celery and hummus...celery and celery (which I personally do not recommend). But hands down the winner is celery and peanut butter. I love those little ants too, but they are not necessary.

Books and Blankets
I am not sure if it is a school complex or what, but I've decided if I am not curled up in bed or on a sofa with a blanket, reading is less enjoyable. Maybe it's because I do my school reading at the table. But at any rate..a blanket is a must to enjoy a good book.

Cooking and Nate
Cooking alone is fine and dandy, but my eyes are on the final prize, and the quickest way to it. But when I cook with Nate it is fun. We laugh, and joke and miss important directions which ultimately leads to more laughing and in some cases alternatives to the originally intended dinner. We have fun doing it. It allows us to quell the "try new things" urge with new recipes instead of jumping out of planes, which I am sure my Mom appreciates.


So there is my list...and that is all just from this week. Imagine the dynamic duos that must be out there.

So what do you say...what is your dynamic duo of "better together?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life After Death

It amazes me that after MONTHS of freezing cold weather, wind, snow, sleet and darkness that plants are able to burst through the frozen soil and look that weather in the face and say: "What? You thought I wouldn't make it?"


But here it is..sprouting up in our backyard. Giving me hope of spring and summer soon to follow.

And so with trepidation I celebrate winter being over. (I say with trepidation because we had snow in May last year).


And with inspiration from my little plant-friend in the backyard, I persevere. Life hands you think that you don't feel like you can handle all of the time. People doubt you. Things blow past you and try to knock you down. There are nights that I might feel lonely or sad. There are days I leave work and feel wilted.


But I persevere. Because life is too short to stay underground. I want to rise up and see the sun in everyday even if the sun isn't shining. THIS is how I choose to live my life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 9

With so many weekends at home, away or with visitors, and with me in class during the week our Nigella nights have been few and far between the last month.


But we scoured the book to find a simple, quick and relatively easy recipe for this week. We landed on: Grilled Cheese and Slaw.

Now for something that was suppoesd to be simple, we definitely had a directions FAIL. As in we were supposed to press the sandwiches with another pan and heavy object, but didn't do that. So you will see the gooey melti-ness that was Nigella's intent did not in fact happen to ours.



BUT, the net result was just as good. Talk about comfort food on a rainy, windy and cold night.

The 'slaw is another story. Perhaps it is because we refused to buy or make mango chutney for onlye 2 tablespoons worth, but it just wasn't good. Bleah.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not Your Average Saturday

After running 8 miles with Katie B., and scoring some serious finds at the library book-sale, I was surprised with a text from Nate who instructed "There is a honey-do list in the car, please get it done"...Inside was a brand new coupon organizer (WHOO HOO!) and inside that was a gift card to Anthro and a gift card to get a massage.

It was a great birthday surprise, and I took him up on the afternoon to hit up Anthro.

We met up with friends in St. Paul for a great night of good food. And some shots...Marie was SO excited at my enthusiasm for Costco that she got us shots to celebrate. A scoobie snack to be exact, and it tasted like vacation. Yum!
The dudes were down 1 as Ryan was enjoying a boys weekend in NYC. BUT this also gave us the greenlight to check out Prohibition...sorry Ryan!



I know I have said this before and I know I am a broken record but I feel so grateful to have such a fabulous group of friends. With my family being strewn about in Wisconsin and Illinois, they are truly my second family and I love every minute I get to spend with them because they are FUN,supportive, thoughtful and downright amazing.
On a completely separate note, Friday night was my secret date. I took Nate to the Minneapolis Film Fest, and we saw the movie Is Anybody There?. It was really good, and really made me miss all of my grandparents.

Nate was shocked because HE had planned on doing HIS secret date today, and also had planned on the film fest. This is a first in almost 3 years of SDN's!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Fun

This is quite possible the best blog ever.

Click here.

Brilliant. A quick read, and pretty hilarious.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On Being 27...

So my 27th year has begun.

It was a quiet beginning filled with a full work-day, a 4 mile run and an excellent dinner cooked by Nate complete with a HOMEMADE ice-cream cake.

It also included buckling down and writing my stupid paper for class. Yuck.

BUT the real celebration will start when we celebrate with our friends this weekend. It will be much different than the celebrations that Nate 'highlighted' yesterday. My guess is there will be no napping on a pole, or sitting in the middle of State Street crying because I am too drunk to get into a bar.

So that is it..I am 27. It is kind of a weird age...I am definitely not in my early twenties anymore, but I certainly don't feel like a full-fledged adult. I'm not sure when this will happen? Perhpas when there are little Nate and Greta Jr's running around? Who knows..How can someone who is working a full-time job, paying a mortgage and thinking about laundry and groceries NOT feel like an adult? I don't get it.

Maybe once I am done with school?

We'll see. Who wants to take bets on when I will feel like a 100% adult?

In the meantime I am going to enjoy my 27th year, and everything it holds in store for me. My final year of class. Vacations with friends and family. A great summer of running, biking and swimming (oh my!). And stuff I probably can't even imagine.

27 is my lucky number afterall.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Greta

Greta hates when I attempt to take over the blog, but seriously, who can resist this face. I put together a few classic pics of my lovely wife. Not exactly like having your baby picture in the Vernon County Broadcaster (local newspaper, for those of you not in Vernon County), but this has to be the next best thing, right?

Remember to Wish Greta a Happy Birthday today!



" I too sexy for this dance, too sexy for this dance..."

"Sleeping on poles is better than dancing on them.."


"Last Man Standing (or most likely dancing)"

Happy Birthday Sweetie! I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

We had a sighting of the Easter Bunny! And no I am not talking about the bunny that Nick killed with his car...
Check out this awesome costume worn by one happy Grandpa:

Finn got a little distracted during the egg hunt due to my poor egg selection. Who knew that a soccer ball shaped easter egg could stop the hunt. Clearly Finn does not know that there is great candy lurking in every egg. I must be shirking my duties as Aunt Candy. Note to self: work on that for next year.


It was a great weekend filled with good food (is this ever a question?), and GREAT weather. Nothing says summer is around the corner than chicken on the grill, a game of bags and bubbles.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Alphabet Monster

Unprompted and left to his own devices, this is what Finnegan chooses to do for fun.

The best part is when he gets to the end.....

video

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just Like That

Forgive me if this post is jumbled because I am still in awe of what just happened today.

It may not seem like a big deal for those whimsical, spur of the moment folks out there, but for this girl who plans and plans and plans what happened today was monumental.

Let me back up..

A few weeks ago a co-worker told me about this site: Luxury Link. Basically the site finds all of these off the wall properties and puts them up for bid like Ebay.

So I have been checking it out..mostly to dream of my "someday" vacations. I sent Mom and Becca a 4 bedroom villa in Italy and said we should go. I've been keeping my eye on Greece, etc. Just looking.

Well today, I happened to be on the site. And I find a KILLER deal to this amazing place in California. Not only does it inlude an Ocean-view room, but $50 per day at the spa, breakfast each morning, and valet-parking service. So I dreamed about a little get away with Nate.

And then I thought...why the hell not. So I bid on it with less than 10 minutes left in the auction. What's the worst that could happen right?

Let me tell you here that i have never purchased anythign on EBAY ever....so I bid and I am hitting refresh on my computer like there is no tomorrow. 10...9..8...7... "WHAT? I have been out bid." Crap. Quick 2 minute battle with myself over whether or not to bid again. I do. 5...4...3...2...4..

"Wait? 4? How did two minutes just get ADDED to the auction?"

And then I was pissed...sure this site was one big scam and there was some pot-smoking high-schooler in the back room at Luxury link whose sole purpose in life was to ruin peoples dreams of a killer, yet affordable vacation.

But wait...DING...my outlook beeps at me and I see I have an email:

CONGRATULATIONS! You were the highest bidder!!

WHOO HOO!!! So now Nate and I are going to California in October to celebrate our anniversary.

Check out this sweet ass place: Terranea Resort. Pretty cool huh? It was a whirlwind and Nate doesnt even really know yet because he is travelling for work.

Now for those of you who may be interested in what Luxury Link has to offer, let me tell you I am their new #1 fan. After winning my bid, I submitted my top 3 date choices to their online concierge service. 6 hours later, I got an email confirming my #1 date choice. Done and Done.

Now all we need is airfare!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This--Not That

My sidebar told me that it needed some love so I thought I would give you some of my opinions on what I have been reading/watching/listening to since some of it is crap and I wouldn't want to lead you astray.


Read THIS: ------------------------------> Not That

We just finished The Russian Concubine for book club (NICE pick Linda). It was a great read. It is set in early 1900's China, and follows and International Settlement of foreigners within a Chinese city. The story follows a young Russian girl who crosses the settlement lines to survive and crosses paths with a young Chinese man. There were great characters, and interesting story lines that kept me turning pages to the wee hours of the morning.

On the COMPLETE opposite side of the spectrum is Gossip of Starlings. This book was a bad combination of the book Prep and a poorly written episode of Gossip Girl. It is completely unbelievable that these girls are in High School and I pretty much hated every character in this book. The only reason I finished it is because I am crazy about not finishing books.


Watch THIS: ------------------------> Not That

Marley and Me is clearly not an Oscar contender and will not be winning any cinematic awards. But if you have every loved a pet, owned a pet, seen an animal, or just in general have a heart that is warm and beating, you will love this movie. I, having a very old--flirting with death every day--cat, bawled like a baby for the last 30 minutes of the movie. It was ugly. Amy can confirm.
The L Word Season 5 is horrible. I realize this TV series may not be everyone's cup of tea to begin with but Nate and I watched the first seasons and enjoyed them. This season--not so much. Horribly self-indulgent, bad acting, bad writing..bad bad bad.


Listen to THIS: Can't Stop to Follow by T90.
Yes, the ditty on Itunes might sound cheezy (Becca...) but I swear once you hear the beat, listen to the lyrics you will be flying down the road leaving any other runners in your dust.
Maybe you have to experience this song with Diva Doug to truly love it. But it is a keeper, and will be carrying me through every run I have.

That's all for now...let me know if you have any of your own recommendations! I will add them to my list.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Deal or No Deal: Blackberries

Yum. Who doesn't love out of season blackberries that actually taste delicous?

Well Costco has delivered these beauties week after week, and I continue to buy them:



I have without a doubt been brainwashed by my Costco-going friends because I would not have bought blackberries in March at Cub Foods in a million years. They would have been reallye expensive and I wouldnt' have trusted that they would be any good.
But bring-on the shining Costco endorsement and apparently I have no issues buying blackberries EVERY week.
The bottom line: $6.99
For 1 pound 2 oz.
At any other grocer, you would get a measly little pint for about $3.50-$4.00 (not on sale).
And I have purchased these bad boys about 4 or 5 times with zero spoilage. Go us.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chi-Town

Everytime I come back from a weekend in Chicago with Becca et al, I come up with these elaborate plans on how I am going to move there. It sucks to leave her and Nick and Finn because it is always such a good time.


And sometimes we don't even DO anything and it is a good time (point in case: mid-Morning nap Saturday...). Who wouldn't love taking a nap with Finn at 9AM?

We did do lots of stuff that was fun though! Becca took me to a GREAT Indian place on Friday. It was amazing. In fact it was all I could think about last night when I was in the airport eating stale caramel corn.

Saturday we napped, went for a good run, and then headed to Navy Pier. Finn was SO excited. You would say "Want to go to Navy Pier" and he would almost scream "OOOOO-k". Love this kid.


Thought Nate would like this picture..future bike partner.


We got to meet up with Meg and Emily for some AMAZING pizza. I would even go as far as some of the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life. Deep dish, with a crunch crust. It's actually blowing my mind a little right now.



It was great to see the 'other' Ekern girls. We have been further apart in distance almost our whole lives, so it is SO nice to have them in the same city and closer to me! It has been fun getting to see them more, and only hope that I see mroe of them!

And then there was Finnegan. I just love this little guy SO much. I can't even imagine what it is like to be a parent and the love that goes into that because I just think of how much I adore and love Finn, and then I think about how that must be multiplied by 1 zillion times when it is actually your kid.



Clearly, a love fest with Finn.
I have graduated from "Teta" and am now "Gweda"..
I gave Finn his first Peep and taste of other Easter candy.
Finn is a crazy alphabet lover. If the kid sees a letter of any sort he will say that letter outloud and then finish of the alphabet from that letter. Crazy.
He is talking more and I loved hearing him say "Octopus, dolphin, shark, turtle" from his Ocean book.
Mom will be happy to know I am prepping him for Syttende Mai by teaching him Uff-da.



Check out this video footage of the "alphabet monster" himself...
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video

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thanks NWA!

I was planning a great post filled with all the wonderful images from this past weekend with the Keaty's, but thanks to NWA I am just arriving home now. A mere 3.5 hours than originally intended.

Note to self: fly Southwest. Their 6PM flight left and landed on time.

Our flight however, had a something wrong with its wing which is what made it late to Chicago. By the time it got to Chicago it was a horrible wintry mix outside (i swear winter follows me where I go) and we got to sit in the plane for 45 minutes while they de-iced the wings.

Now, through all of this I remained calm and stress-free. I swear it. I did some work email. I read my book. I got caramel corn. All was fine in the world.

And then at 10PM the flight attendant came on and said we would have to wait "just" outside our gate because security personnel were not in position yet.

And that is when I lost it. All of my patience was blown on some stupid secuirty personnel who couldn't seem to get in place even though they had almost FOUR FREAKING hours to do it.

But I am home...and ready to jump into bed. Stay tuned for a classic Finn video that I snuck in today...one to surprise even Mama and Dada...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gotchya!

Who out there fell for the "woe is me, I cut my finger" schtick?

C'mon...raise your hand. I know you're out there. FOR SURE I know I got Dad. Which let me tell you that after years of running into the living room and telling Dad there was a deer in the lawn and him always mysteriously knowing it was April fools..FEELS HELLA GREAT! Sorry Dad.

So you can be mad at me if you want to, but ask yourself if you are made because:

You fell for it.

or

You missed the two clues I left you to lead you to the truth behind the joke.

That's right.

Clue #1: Read the first letter in every sentence starting at the top and moving down. It clearly spells out April Fools.

Clue #2: Check-out the hand. Do you notice the hairy knuckles? This hand was lovingly yanked from a Google Image search for "Finger Cut."

So there you have it. APRIL FOOLS!!! Now all of you who were worried about my hand modeling career can sleep better tonight.

One Down

Apparently, I should not operate a knife after a long day at work, class, multiple loads of laundry and cleaning a dirty litter box.

Perhaps Nate should just take to cutting up all of my food for me.

Right now, I am dictating this blog post through Nate.

I cut myself and I bled and bled and bled some more.

Like a stuck pig.



Fortunately, Nate saw this coming as he always yells at me for how I cut and we have frequently joked about which emergency room we would go to when I sliced off a finger.


“Off” doesn’t quite define this incident, but it comes close.


Of course, neither of us was smart enough to grab our phones as we rushed out of the house so we couldn’t call to alert our loved ones.


Luckily, my finger is intact and is now adorned with TWELVE, count them, TWELVE stitches.


So feel free to call me because I am clearly not at work firing off any emails, and I am not up and around doing stuff around the house…