Monday, November 30, 2009


The holidays have always been one of my favorite times of the year, from the music, to the scents, to the food, to the general merriment. And each year as it seems life gets more and more busy, I anticipate not wanting to do the decorating, the baking, the shopping, the wrapping... but so far that hasn't happened. I still love all of it.

Tonight we decorated the tree. As I unwrapped the ornaments, and placed each with care on the tree, I couldn't help but feel like I was surrounded by the love of family no longer here. As I searched for the perfect spot for each ornament, I was filled with memories of past Christmases, and I pause to remember how special each ornament and person has been to me.

Grandma Ekern

Grandma Sherry

Auntie Deloris

Uncle Art

It's funny to me how such small things can provide such great comfort. With each ornament placed, I felt the house getting warmer, the tree burning brighter, the memories grow stronger.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deck the Halls!

Thanksgiving weekend concluded with the annual trek out to a tree farm in Viroqua where a tree was purchased for approximately 75% less than the cost of a tree in Minneapolis. It was a great weekend at home, full of good food and lots and lots of Finnegan time.

I am getting really excited for all of the great holiday festivities coming up! We have so much fun stuff crammed into December I'm not sure there will be anytime for lame stuff like cleaning, studying, or perhaps even working. And I am 100% on board with that!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From a cat who is old enough to be one of the Founding Fathers, and the rest of this Hanson household, we wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful For:

To have a job, a house, and the little luxuries of life during this hard time for so many.

Health, especially this year. Dear swine flu: you can't catch me.

Amazing friends that brighten my day, make me laugh and until I cry, and turn my crying into laughter.

Nate. The most incredibly supportive, caring and patient husband a girl could ask for.

Knowledge. I know I complain about school but I do feel blessed to have the opportunity to go, and learn.

Family who love and support Nate and I through thick and thin, on our best and worst days.

U. My blog readers. Who make this little hobby of mine enjoyable with your witty comments.

Lessons I have learned in the last year that will help me grow and stretch myself in the future.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Open for Business

Nate and I headed to Chicago this weekend to surprise Becca at her Grand Opening of the Open Books bookstore. I don't want to usurp any of her stories before she posts to her blog, but what I will say is that I was incredibly impressed, proud, and excited for her.

The store was filled with energy, brilliantly laid out and designed, and stocked to the brim with books. I know with her continued labor of love the store will be a sure-fire success and help so many people in the community with literacy programming.

I was SUPER excited to see they had almost the FULL volume of Babysitter-'s Club books, including BSC  Super Special Series and the BSC Mystery series. I used the absolutely DEVOUR those books growing up. I remember going to B. Dalton in the mall and Mom saying "just 2..." and being half-way through one of the books after the trip back from La Crosse.

It was an extra special treat to be in Chicago this weekend because not only was Becca's store opening, but Amy and Emily met us at the store. I haven't seen Amy since June, which is way too long in Greta/Amy time so it was amazing to get to catch up with her!

Then we headed to Michigan Avenue for the annual Christmas lighting festival!This was much needed because I am just not feeling super 'holiday spirited' yet this year.

I am so proud of Becca for her amazing accomplishment. The bookstore is incredible, and if any of you are ever in the Chicago area, it is a MUST see.....check out their website here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Furminator

Lucy, our incredibly old, yet endearing cat is a hair monster. It is starting to be unreasonable. I’m not sure what it is about her old age that has made her hair thicken (don’t old people usually get thin hair?), but it has.

You can now pull her hair out in tufts without her really even knowing it. Weird.

Well, the time has come for action, and Nate's friend at work gave us her amazing cat brush to try out.


Yup, that is its name...and this is the result

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bleeding Gold and Maroon?

Big news in the Hanson Household!!

Nate got accepted into the Carlson School of Management this weekend! He will officially start his MBA program this January!

Fellow Badger fans, do not fear. We may be attending classes at the fine institution of the University of MN, but we still hate that stupid gopher with the rest of you.

In other news....I am going to have a LOT of free time on my hands come June when I am done with school AND Nate is in if anyone wants to hang-out, let me know... (I know this is 6 months away, but hey..I am a planner!).

CONGRATS Nate!! I am so proud of you!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What happens in Vegas....

To respect the old adage, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" I won't reveal all of our secrets. But given that we are a fairly clean and wholesome group I figured it couldn't hurt to share a few of our pictures.
It's hard to even begin to tell the great stories from the trip because they are pretty much all weird inside jokes. For example, if I were to write: "Siiiixxxxx" in this blog, you would all say BFD (big f'in deal for those old-timers), because you weren't there. In reality this is HILARIOUS to the six girls who were all dressed in black, walking to the club who had one dude just keep saying six over and over again.

ANYWAY, like I said...really only funny to us.So prepare yourself for numerous pictures that look the same but are different to me...(i.e. in a club, mid dance pose/quick group shot on dance floor).

The trip started with a calm lunch as Cesear's...within about 5 minutes (no lie) of being on the strip we were approached by numerous promoters asking us to 'create ambiance in their club.' This lead to me being appointed G-Mama, the agent for our group to manage all requests of our presence for the rest of the weekend. Which ended up working great as we paid zero cover, got a few free drinks and waiting negative amount of time to get into any club.

Of course with any group vacation everyone had a role. AW's role was the "creeper sweeper." is what it sounds like. She and I also shared the same dance-face. Evidence below.

DR made sure we got to the right clubs, and while we all tore it up on the dance floor KB was THE dancer to watch... (she had lots of admirers...)

JC was the virging Vegas-er so she made sure we got out to see the sights.

KW kept our hopes alive for a return trip to Vegas for her 1 hour until we depart Vegas slot win...and I don't mean $10.

Of course you can't go to Vegas without eating GOOD FOOD, and good food we had. Yes, that is a giant fortune cookie. What you probably don't know is that it is filled with chocolate and white chocolate mousse. Heck-yeah.  And then there was my fortune.....

Let me say that I cam back from this weekend in the ultimate state of happiness and relaxation. Even though I had a particular low moment of the weekend, I was reminded that friends are there for support, and support they did. I would have never imagined in a million years that us 6 girls would have travelled so seamlessly together. Girlfriends are the best, and I am so lucky to have some of the BEST girlfriends a girl could ask for.

We are already looking forward to South Beach 2010...Get it Girls....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vegas Baby!

I have nothing to say except:

6 Girls
Las Vegas
Crazy fun

More to come after I catch up on some Zzzz's......

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shameless Plug

I rarely talk about work. For many good reasons:

1) I like my job.
2) I like my job enough to know that on the not so fun days I probably shouldn't be blogging about my disdain for said day at work.
3) We have all sorts of Marketing Guidelines that are in place so that we don't mislead consumers, for very good reason, and instead of even FLIRTING with the wrong side of the line, I choose to say nothing because again...I like my job. And having a paycheck.

BUT, I am going to put in a shameless plug for all of you out there to get on Facebook and FAN CHEERIOS! We just launched this huge initiative where we are going to be doing all sorts of cool stuff in the coming months and years behind Cheerios, Books, Kids, and Good Nutrition.

Right now, for every fan that signs up we are donating one free book to a child who needs it most! Even more incentive to sign up now!

So if you want to see what I have been up to recently, check it out here.

Dad--this could even reason for a 2nd coming of Facebook for you. This time..not on accident. :)

End Shameless plug...thanks for bearing with me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Not So Friendly Skies

When I first started working at General Mills I thought travelling for work was SO sexy. Glamorous. Fun. I thought WHILE I was travelling to places like Bristol, TN, Charlotte, NC and Podunk Nowhere, New Hampshire for NASCAR races.

Fast forward a few, but very educational, years.
Travelling for work can be a great escape from the daily grind at the office. But the problem is the daily grind doesn’t stop. So while you are at meetings, or dinners, or (fill in the blank here) the work continues. And so you are in super fun places like NYC (which I was last night) but instead of going out on the town, you go back to your hotel room to crank through emails and stare longingly out your window where you can see the Empire State Building and FEEL the energy of the city but the responsibility to lock it down and get stuff done.

Not all trips are like this of course and there are those spectacular moments where you get to experience a once in a life time opportunity like a NASCAR race, or other event. I might just be bias this trip because whenever I go to NYC I want to move there. And so to not to be out in the city enjoying all it has to offer even for a few minutes leaves me with a pang of regret. But let’s be real.

Even if I didn’t have the daily grind pulling me back to the hotel room, I would have had school work. And if that wouldn’t have stopped me perhaps the pressure in my face and dark green snot coming out of my nose would have. Mmmm…sexy. I’m sure Nate was happy to have a night away from his sicky wife infesting our house my yucky germs.

Anyway, the point is that travel for work is a double-edged sword. Sometimes I love the escape (especially if that escape is to a warmer climate between the months of October and April) and the thrill of going to a new place even if I can’t explore. Other times I want to be at home…cranking through the daily stuff, and going home to Nate—cooking a meal, snuggling in to watch some TV, reading a book and getting a full nights sleep.

As for my less than 24 hours in NYC whirlwind this week, I can only say that I hope my face survives the descent on the plane since it already feels like it is going to explode with pressure. I’m looking forward to heading home to do those things I love to do, while appreciating the opportunity I have to see more through work.