Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beantown

Ahh Boston. How I love you. What I dis-like about Minneapolis, Boston delivered on. Public spaces to sit and read, sit and eat, sit and chat, or just sit were everywhere. On every-street, on seemingly every corner. In fact, on our first night Katie and I just sat at this really cool outdoor space and talked for 2 hours (with Mike's Pastry of course). Here is Katie at a beautiful garden. (Mom do you know what these flowers are called?)...


And Boston is the setting of our country's history. It was a good reminder of all those things I learned in US History (or didnt' learn...thanks Mr. Williams). And we tried to photo-capture the whole Freedom Trail which took us on what we thought was a 7-mile walk (turned out only to be 2.5 miles)...

It all started at the State House...and progressed to Old South Meeting house where apparently the sign was given to start the Boston Tea Party. Here is Katie making what she thinks the sign would have been...




That is me pointing out the mosaic that marks the first ever public school, and standing in the doorway of the site of the Boston Massacre, which was also our orientation point for the entire trip.

So on our Freedom Trail trek, we ran into these two:
It was very ironic because Katie and I had JUST had a conversation about how I really want to have twins when we have babies but she reminded me that most twins have some weird tendencies. These women had to have been 40+ and were COMPLETELY matching, and (unfortunately not captured in the photo) HOLDING HANDS for at least a few block. It was...well...interesting.

Once we lost the twins we finished out the Freedom trail by climbing all 294 steps of the Bunker Hill monument (the site where our army first held their own against the Brits). As you can tell from the glisten on our faces, it was quite warm.





We visited the Cheers bar, which made me think of my dad. Not because it is a bar, but because I always remember him watching Cheers (that was back when he stayed up past 7PM...JUST KIDDING DAD)

AND, there was JP Licks..the most amazing ice cream. ever. In fact, I couldn't make up my mind, so I bought 2 'kiddie' sizes so as to maximize the amazing flavors. I got Coffee Oreo, and a Peanut Butter Cookie Dought (which was supreme). Katie got Banana Oreo which was also ridiculous.

We found the "Friendship Arch" which was in Chinatown and we thought the boys (most specifically Ryan) would appreciate the picture under it since they tease us non-stop.

And we visited Fenway. It was a bummer there wasn't a game, but we still got to see the stadium and see what it was all about. Plus, we set-up this kick-ass photo in front of the Absolut Club. In case you can't tell, that is Katie celebrating a homerun in the window.
And that about sums it up. I dont' feel I have done an adequate job capturing the essence of this vacation because it was the perfect, relaxing long weekend. The Indian restaurant that we went to described it as food for people who are "fun, passionate, and on a mission." I am so lucky to have such great friends as my second family. Katie and I have many grandiose travel plans concocted so stay tuned to see if them actually happen!
P.S. Becca--all the graves had these skull faces with wings, so I am posting this just for you!

Monday, June 29, 2009

LB

LB=Love Boston
LB also= pound.


As in pounds and pounds of pastry consumed.


Now, we did MANY things that did not involve pastries, and I will get to those tomorrow. But it is closing in on 9PM and for the last three nights that meant a box of 4 (yes count them 4 each night) desserts from Mike's Pastries.

Don't believe me? Here's the proof:
Night One:


Night Two:



Night Three:



We went the first night, and I am not sure if we even discussed whether or not we could be going back for night two. Dinner ended and we just went there, even though it was on the other end of town. It was like a magnetic cannoli force pulling us to the bright yellow canopy sign.

The cannoli's are SO good, even contestants from the Biggest Loser can't pass them up.

A girl even passed out waiting in line to get her delicious goodness. SMACK! And someone was yelling for water, a cold cloth, and does anyone have any sugar?!? (umm..yes in fact we are in a PASTRY shop).
Anyway, as you can tell, we heart Mike's Pastry. We hearted it so much we brought it back to our hotel room the 3rd night so we could get into expandable pants and enjoy the desserts in bed. Here was the best of the 3rd night...

Oh yeah...good thing we walked and walked and walked all day long every day. More to come!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boston Bound

Peace-Out Twin Cities...I am making a break for it!

Katie and I booked a girls weekend on a whim and are headed to Boston bright and early tomorrow morning. We really have no plan, except for a few places we know we need to hit up being Boston virgins. But other than that...nada.

I can't wait. Boston-here we come.



But I DO feel bad for leaving Nate home on the weekend he takes he GMAT. So everyone wish him lots of luck!!! Good luck honey, I know you'll do great!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Restless Leg Syndrome

I have SO much pent-up energy. My legs are twitching with the need to MOVE.

And swimming is just not cutting it. Perhaps it is because I am really not an athletic swimmer. I mean who else do you know that comes home after 30 minutes of swimming with a strange, but crippling cramp in her right ring finger...twice??

I just want to feel sore in my legs. I want to have hair so wet it is like I just got out of the shower, but in reality it is from getting my ass kicked at The Firm. I want to run around the lakes.

A girl can only do so many push-ups and sit-ups. Tonight, I was so desparate I just started doing arm circles for like 15 minutes. Maybe I could just start walking everywhere on my hands?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Geriatric Kitty

Our precious Lucy has Kitty Dementia (i.e. alzheimers for cats).

How do we know this? Self-diagnosed from a plethora of animal-friendly website of course. It all started when I had a dream that I googled Lucy's meowing issue (more below) and google told me that she would die in less than 2 weeks. I was so upset that I got up at like 6AM to perform the real google search.

So I know what you are thinking...that is like diagnosing yourself with the Swine Flu (excuse me H1N1) from looking up a 'tickle in your throat'.

But honestly, I did a LOT of searching and the symptoms match up. Most specifically, this weird LOUD, gutteral meowing that Lucy does throughout the day but mainly at night. It sounds like she is going to die. I was going to try to capture video of it, but Nate said that was really mean, so no video.

Meowing doesn't sound that bad. I get it. But you haven't heard this kind of meowing, and people all over the internet with elderly felines talk about their cats doing this same thing. And it is common to happen at night. Which means 2-4 times a night Nate and I wake up to a cross between a cat sounding like it is being choked to death and a cat in serious heat. It's like having a baby, but not...because it is a cat. Apparently, this happens in cats with dementia because when they wake up they are confused and disoriented.

And, probably most sad is that Lucy really does seem absent or confused some of the time. She comes into rooms she would never enter before. She cries and cries until we find her and then she looks up and does a 'normal' "meow"...as in.."there you are..I've been looking for you."

I just love my Lucy so much, and I know her time is drawing near but for now we are catering to her confusion, grinning and bearing the midnight meowing, and loving her up as much as we can.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hula Girl

Nate and I attended Rock The Garden yesterday for Nate's June SDN. The weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor concert, the shaved ice was free-flowing and the people-watching was top notch.

I'm not sure what entertainment was better: the 4 bands that we actually paid to see, or this girl below (whom we adoringly called Hula).

(turn volume down as music in background is LOUD).

video

Now, when she first started in with the hula-hooping many questions raced through my mind:

Who come to an 7 hour outdoor concert and thinks to herself, "must bring hula hoop?" How did she explain this thing to security? Where did she get these mad hula skills? How can I get these mad hula skills? Most importantly, what liquid was in her camel-pak that kept her going for 7 hours? Surely it wasn't just water.

I left early to meet Rachel (who was in town visiting!!) but Nate kept me appraised of Hula's progress. Apparently at about 8PM, Nate insisted the ecstasy (or some other drug) kicked in and Hula kicked it up a level..literally. Leg kicks with the hula sweeping her lower leg, jumping around and more.

But this girl has cracked the code of being the life of the party. It got me to thinking that I really need to conquer a party trick. Since hula-hooping seems to be taken, perhaps I will get my Skip-it out and see what tricks I can do with that thing.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Well Hello, Adulthood.

Some of you may remember a few months ago when I was pondering when I would feel like an adult since it hasn't yet hit me even though I have been in the workforce for almost 5 years, married..blah blah blah.

Well, adulthood walked up to my house, kicked in the front door and said I'm HERE this week.

There were car issues that left Nate and I wondering how many cool things are within walkign distance of our house. Oh yes, a broken radiator to be in fact. Luckily I have great friends that offered me rides, picked me up, dropped me off, in general schlepped me around. So I take the car in.

I pick the car up. The car breaks down again after only 2 miles. I get towed. I get a loaner, and finally get my car fixed.

There were health issues. I have a stress fracture-y injury to my lower left leg. No exercise for me, no walking, no running, no Diva Doug, nada. Oh and by the way..I didn't have a doctor except for the free doctor at General Mills (I know we are spoiled). So finding an orthepedic specialist, dialing a number outside of GMI, actually providing my insurance card...all new to me.

There were house issues. If it isn't the kitchen sink plumbing leaking, it is the water heater leaking. And then it was the AC not turning on. There was minor freak-out about "If we have to spend money on ONE MORE "stupid thing" this week...". But luckily for us, we just had to turn the AC back ON outside (not just in the house).

So now I am working on ushering adulthood back out of my house and life, and fooling myself into believing I will always be "in my early 20's" young at heart.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 14

Please indulge me as I try to sum up our Nigella experience in two words:

EPIC FAIL.


I blame a bad google on the substitution of rice malt syrup. I found some wierd substitution site and they said we could substitute Molasses for said rice malt syrup, but when I tell you taking a bite of our version of Lunchbox Treats was like putting your straw into the bottle of molasses and taking a big swig, I promise I am not overexagerating.

Yuck.

Plus, we couldn't get these suckers to form into balls to save our lives. So granola 'bars' it was..until they all got relegated to the trash..where quite honestly they belonged.

I do think these have some potential as they were extremely easy, relatively healthy and easy to pack for lunches (shocking I know given the name). But until we can find out another substitute for Rice Malt Syrup, or actually find the real thing, I say..stay away.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reading Machine

Some of you observant followers out there may have noticed that I have been going through books at a pretty good clip recently. It is due to a combination of the following reasons:

1) Summertime (i.e. no school, i.e. weather that begs to be spent on a deck/pool/beach with a book)
2) Nate studying every night leaving me all by my lonesome
3) A bum leg that is limiting the amount of running/exercise etc that I can really do
4) There are so many good books on my shelf that literally beg me to be read.

So for those of you who are seeking out there wondering if I actually liked the books I have read here is the moment you have been waiting for...

Curl up and Read It:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Still Alice
Little Bee

Not For Everyone:
Candy Girl
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (I really liked this one, but I it is different)
One Fifth Avenue

Turn the Page:
Dear American Airlines
The World Without Us
*Both of these books were dull, boring and could have been about 30 pages long.

I am currently reading Handle with Care, and while it is definitely a page-turner--it is also completely predictable in a Jodi Piccoult way...

If anyone out there has any good recommendations send them my way!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Deal or No Deal: Waste Edition

This is a bit like ripping off a band-aid..you just gotta do it quick.

I am doubting the greatness of Costco.

There I said it. And I am sure I will want to take it back soon.

But lately, Nate and I have been throwing out more than we have consumed. Perhaps it is because we have both been gone a lot, not cooking a whole lot, and did two trips pretty close together.

BUT regardless of what we could have done differently, let me tell you about the biggest Costco disappointment to date.

The mini-carrots.

We have purchased 4 bags. The first bag was good. The second bag had a weird slime coating all of the carrots. We chalked it up to a bad batch. 3rd and 4th bag were similar. And now we have learned our lesson. No carrots from Costco.

Beans, Berries, Lettuce, Cucumbers...all have spoiled before we can finish them up. Pears that haven't ripened, Plums that aren't sweet...it goes on.

Don't get me wrong, I take about 70% of the blame for this spoilage, but I guess I am tired of the guilt of throwing stuff away. Anyone have any Costco strategies they can share? Or perhaps a "it's ok to throw away because it was so cheap" support group?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ruminations

In the last 7 nights, I have only spent 3 of them at home. Between work trips, and travels to visit friends it has been a jet-setting filled week. I love the thrill of leaving the standard life that I lead every day even if it is for the smallest change-up (like an overnight in Stillwater). Would it get old if it were constant? Absolutely. But that is why I love my job. It is such a perfect mix of new and old, challenge and comfort.

While I love the sense of 'getting away' and something new, I also love it for the feeling of return. Return to home. Return to routine. Return to normal. As I sit on my couch at 3:45PM after a long two-day offsite with Lucy in my lap, work emails handled, and a cup of tea, I am anxiously awaiting Nate's arrival home.

It is true what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. While my heart is already quite fond of my wonderful husband, I find myself with a little extra oomph! in my step to get home to see him once I have been away. And we always settle into our normal routine. It's not like we hit the town and have a lavish date night because we haven't seen each other. It's just us. It's dinner. It's comfy clothes. It's inside jokes. It's the moan and drone of daily life.

I guess my point is that if daily life, even with its ups and downs, can be something you look forward to, are excited about and even pine to get back to because of the person you are going through daily life with...THAT is how you know you have found the perfect match.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mil-Town

I headed to Milwaukee for a quick visit with Amy this weekend. It was a much needed Amy fix, and we had a great time.

We checked out an amazing Mexican joint Friday night and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We also went old-school style and went to the drive-in at Miller Park where we watched Anchorman and Jaws. To be honest, I can't say we really 'watched' Jaws as we moved to the nice warm hood of the car, curled up in sleeping bags and pretty much fell asleep.

Saturday morning brought Amy's volunteer program. LifeStriders is a riding center for children of varying disabilities. They interact, ride and enjoy the horses. Amy nevere ceases to amaze me with her commitment to different causes, and I love that she brings me into them. From the Polar Plung to LifeStriders she is always up for something new.

Well, we pulled up to LifeStriders, and check-in. The volunteer coordinator looks me up and down and says I can't even be in the BARN, let alone help in any sort of way. Amy asks her if I can fill out the forms so I can help, and
Volunteer Coordinator says "Well she needs to have her parental consent form. How old is she?".
I say, "27"
Volunteer Coordinator looks me up and down, eyes me suspiciously and says "I thought you were 14.".

REALLY!?! 14. I mean if someone were to say you look 21, or even 24 I would take that as a compliment. But 14? I was barely in a training bra at 14. Becca called me Angie Cina. I had just gotten over my "I don't want to wear blue jeans ever" phase. Seriously.
We hit up the town Saturday night, and capped off the evening with some amazing desserts and coffee...just like any typical 14 year old.

It was a great weekend, and it is always bittersweet to see Amy because I just want her to move here and be closer. I would move down by her too, but not until the smoking ban hits the city :)


And in the concluding part of my whirlwind travel week, I head to Stillwater tomorrow morning for an overnight offsite for work. Hopefully my hotel is a few notches above my most recent stay in NYC.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Nigella Express: Episode 13

We struck some serious Nigella gold last night. Not only was this recipe ridiculously easy, but it was SO good. I have never been so excited to eat spinach in my life.

Here it is, the champion of recent Nigella attempts: Moonblush Tomato, Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad.

So what makes this salad so delicious? Well first there is the goat cheese, or the crown jewel as Nate called it last night.


Second, the moonblush tomatoes. Now some of you may be whipping our your handy dandy gardeners reference to find out what a moonblush tomato is. But in reality it is just a small, on the vine tomato (cut in half), with olive oil, Thyme, pepper, salt and a little bit of sugar sprinkled on top.


You throw these suckers in a 450 degree oven, and then immediately turn the oven off and let them sit in the oven all night long. The result is delicious.


And bonus, if you suck at reading directions like Nate and I do and decide to make the salad at 6PM and only after prepping everything realize the tomatoes require 24 hours, they are delicious warm out of the over too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Did That Just Happen?

I was all set to enjoy a quick 2-day trip to NYC for work. A little business, a fun conference, a great dinner with a partner.
After the 'little business' on Tuesday, I went to check-into my hotel.

Now I knew going into it that this hotel would be different than the typical hotels GMI puts me up in. I chose this hotel because it was GENERAL MILLS recommended, but still cheap.

This is what I was expecting for rooms:


This is what I got (can anyone say UNDERDELIVER?):




*(NOTE: These pictures actually make the room look nicer than actual as you cannot see the stains, cracks, bugs, etc)

Now I am one that can appreciate a really nice hotel room, but not someone that cannot 'rough' it for one night. But when you have to UNPLUG the alarm clock to plug in your window air conditioner, avoid the weird crusty substance on the headboard, question the BUNSON burner that is next to the sink, investigate the numerous stains that populated the room, put a chair against the door in the absence of a dead bolt, OR enter the room with windows wide open (as in no screens or anything protecting the room for the eements, and by elements i mean cockroaches and other unsavory city-dwelling creatures) one must take pause and ask themsleves if they really can spend a night and survive.

And poor Katie and Nate both received teary calls about how to get another room. So I called our wonderful travel agents, and they couldn't help. So I stayed.
And I "slept" (I use this loosely) with the 14 inch TV and all of the lights on.

Itgot more interesting at about 11PM when my phone died and i realized that I only brought half of my charger, so it was shaping up to be something straight out of a horror movie. But sure as I am here blogging to you now, I did survive the night.
Now that I am home and am researching this god foresaken place, I learn that many famous rock-stars have in fact died in this hotel, which I suppose explains the bunson burners and my assumption there were for some ingestion of drugs is probably not far off.

And Mom--I write this to you because you would most likely be the one who is the MOST horrified at the conditions--I have learned my lesson. No amount of "holistic margin management' will ever be enough to not stay at the W again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Things One Does

I have been getting very creative with ways to adjust to my new free time now that school is out and Nate is studying for his GMAT.

Take a night last week. I decided I was in the arts and crafts mood. Headed out to trusty old Michaels (who by the way has horrible customer service) and picked out some tools to bring my brain-child to life.

What would this shiny idea be? Handmade garden signs for our newly planted garden.

Step 1: Saw the wooden plates in half, with some help from Nate.
Step 2: Make sure I had the correct spelling of each vegetable.
Step 3: Sketch each vegetable with pencil.
Step 4: Paint said vegetables.


And VOILA! Garden signs!

The broccoli is a little questionable...I think Iw ould have been better off just trying to draw a single stalk of broccoli, but I never said I was good at arts and crafts, just that I liked doing them.


So our garden is fully adorned, and ready to get some veggies sprouting. We have some greenage coming up in the radish row! WHOO HOO!
The bunny assualt plan is still working, although to be fair it never really was truly tested since we haven't seen the bunny back in our yard since Nate whipped a full water bottle at it and HIT IT...
Either way, I'll take it. Now if only I could rid my mind of the bunny dropping on impact and struggline to hobble back to the safety of the deck. Who knew my husband was a trained killer?