Sunday, January 31, 2010

28 Hours

Our trek around the world started our quite eventfully as we were quickly reduced by 25% due to some weird passport rule that requires your passport to be valid 6 months after your travel. And of course, this could only happen to one Ryan Plonske. Everyone sprang to action calling his ride back, figuring out the emergency, passport office (thank you Mr. Pawlenty). If anyone could have talked his way into that office without an appointment and made it happen it was Ryan. So we departed a man down and said a prayer that we would actually see Ryan in Thailand.

The first leg of the journey was 12 hours to Tokyo, and I was determined to overcome my inability to sleep on flights and popped 2 "Simply Sleep" pills before take-off, and it worked like a dream. All of these things I brought with me to keep me occupied went untouched as I slept for 5 solid hours. Woke up to some nasty airplane food that Nate had selected for me, and promptly drifted back to sleep. Nate was kind enough to let me build a little nest and lucky for me I curl into a ball quite easily.

The flight went surprisingly quick, but as the slow realization that we still had eight more hours between Tokyo and Bangkok began to sink in, I began to panic a little thinking there was no way I could sleep on THAT leg of the flight. Wrong. Slept 5 more hours, and then read almost an entire book and BAM..the flight was over like that.

Nate really came out the worst on this deal because I fell asleep with my head in his lap, and his arm trapped, and he said he 'feared the ants in the pants Greta' too much to wake me up to free his hand. 

Unfortunately there were no good stories coming out of the flight to make this blog fun and exciting (Except of course the guy that had to get asked to quit drinking, and the guy that said "You DUMBFU**" so loud it sucked all the noise out of the plane)...but I don't think you want a flight to be exciting and eventful.

As the wheels of the plane came down in Bangkok, Nate put "One Night In Bangkok" on the Ipod, and I looked at him and said "Holy Shit...we are in Asia".....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Friendly Skies:Meet the Hansons

And we are OFF!

Peace out Minnesota, America, and North America for that matter.

HELLLOOOOOO Thailand.....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things you eat...

I'm sure you are all sick of the blog posts leading up to the big Thailand trip..but stick with me for just tonight, because we leave Thursday so this will be the last of them...

We decided to try to go the 2 weeks leading up vacation without buying ANY groceries. I'm not sure why we imposed this 'challenge' on ourselves because let me tell you there are things like milk that you realize are a staple to many meals.

Anyway, tonight I had a big bowl of popcorn for dinner. Last night I ate nothing. The night before I had popcorn...are you sensing the theme.

This theme doesn't carry through to Nate. His staple is very clearly PB&J. He even got resourceful and took out a loaf of frozen bread dough to make more bread when the store-bought bread was gone.

So I'm thinking some fresh pad thai for me, and crickets on a stick for Nate is sounding pretty darn good right now......

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sweeet Victory

It's a great day to be a Packer fan in Viking terrirtory tonight.

I realize the Packers weren't playing, but there was somethign inside of me that just did NOT want to see Brett Favre take the Vikings to the Super Bowl.

Now, what I realized through the course of the game is that deep down I still love Favre because when he got hurt I felt really bad for him. Nate and I decided that we like him enough to not wish physical pain on him, but are fine with emotional pain.

Which came in the form of an interception.

Just like the Packer's interception 2 years ago in the NFC Championship. I couldn't have written the story better myself. Saints go to the Super Bowl for the 1st time (who can be mad about that) and the Vikings get a true Brett Favre experience.

Hey you have to take the good with the bad. I mean the Vikings KNEW what they were getting when they signed #4....he was just delivering.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 3

Epic fail in the Hanson kitchen. And it is NOT because of the geniuses at Cooking Light had a slow day. It was because of Target. Yes, the company that employs my husband.

Let me back up. Nate and I decide to try our hand at Shrimp and Broccoli Fried Rice. The lesson this week was how to stir-fry. Now we fancy ourselves a pretty killer stir-fry without a cook-book, which is why we skipped right past the basics and went to the fried rice, and kicked it up a notch with shrimp (vs. our standard chicken).

So I take my list to Target, where I buy their Archer Farms brand of shrimp to the exact specifications that the recipe called for (i.e. UNCOOKED, deveined). See exhibit A:

Fast forward about 40 minutes after prepping and cooking the entire meal (complete with cooking and freezing the rice to make it sticky..neat trick!). We are ready to put the cherry of our meal onto the sundae..or in this case the shrimp onto the rice and GASP! This is what we find:

Half of the bag was uncooked and half of the bag was cooked. Now, to be clear you have to cook the uncooked shrimp longer than the already previously cooked and then frozen shrimp. So when you add it in all together half of the shrimp either come out tough and nasty (which is what we opted to do) or half come out undercooked.

Either way, we were NOT happy with this meal, because not only were half the shrimp tough, but they tasted disgustingly fishy.

Ironically, as soon as I took a few bites and realized it wasn't going to work for me I turned to the treat I bought for us, which also happened to be an Archer Farms product:

Now, I am NEVER a person to call and complain about a consumer packaged good but this was so obviously a mistake Target, and shrimp isn't cheap. So I call the handy dandy consumer services number and this is where Target's epic fail for the night comes in:

1) I call the number.
2) I am prompted through about 7 different menu options.
3) I finally get to my topic, and I press #3 for the last time only to hear: "I'm sorry but our offices aren't open. Our hours are...."

REALLY Target? You couldn't put that message at the BEGINNING of your call-line menu? ARGH....

If Nate didn't get a bi-weekly check from this company, I would call for a boycott of Target. But since he does, and since mine come from Genearl Mills I feel totally justified calling for a boycott of Archer Farms. Still shop at Target people...just buy General Mills food.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First vs. Last

Today was the day.

Nate had his first class of his MBA career at Carlson, and I had my first class of my last semester. (Can I get a hallelujah?).

Never has there been such an easy opportunity to visually depict the difference between first day of class and first day of last semester...

Case in point: Nate's notes from Accounting notes from Consumer Behavior.

Does this make me a bad student? Maybe. Do I care? No. Although I am regretting my decision to challenge my professor on an example she used Cheerios for (hey..she should have done introductions like every other professor I have ever encountered, and not talked about herself and her published books for 1 hour and then she would have known she had someone in the class who worked on Cheerios)....ANYWAY, Since most grading is subjective, and I have learned that in general people don't like to be challenged in their expert area, I figure next week I need to focus on being sickly sweet. days.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I'm not going to try to sugar coat this blog post....I am freaking out a little bit right now.

First, Nate and I leave for Thailand in almost 1 week. This is not the throw in a swimsuit and call it a day in Mexico vacation. This is a  "go get a typhoid shot, call your ancient pediatrician for immunization record" kind of trip.

Second, work is a little crazy right now, mostly because of said trip. I keep all commentary regarding my wonderful, so-glad-to-be-employed job to a minimum, because without it I certainly would not be going to Thailand, but I am feeling a little compressed right now in terms of what I need to do and how much time i have to do it before I board a plane for 20 hours and land in a foreign country.

Third, school starts this week.  Oh yeah...that thing called Grad School. Yup it's back. The good thing? It's my last semester. The bad news? I still have one semester AND Nate is starting his first semester so the whole "help out around the house while I'm in class" goes away and I think what is left is "fend for yourself." Hopefully one of us remembers to feed Lucy.

Finally, what I feel most panicky about is the TWENTY hour plane ride. F. That is long time for someone who typically doesn't watch TV without a laptop, magazine, cell-phone or book in my hands. Nate is feeling very concerned about the likelihood that I will just open up the exit door and jump. I'm thinking maybe the flight attendants would be open to me strapping on my running shoes and running laps around the plane for a couple hours if I talk really nice to them.

All I know if you hear about a free-basing skydiver over the Pacific Ocean next week, chances are it is me....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

Ok, most of you will undoubtedly feel this blog title is stomach-turning, inappropriate, or something in between after reading the following gripe:

Lucy's death growl is out of control.

EVERY FREAKING MORNING at 3:15AM she jumps off her chair, clickety-clacks into our bedroom (because her nails are SO brittle you can't trim them short anymore for fear they will break off entirely) and stands at the edge of the bed, on MY side and does this bone-wrenching meow. In my face.

Nate keeps telling me we need to "ferberize" her. I don't even know how to spell that, but here is what I do know:

1) Nate just heard that on Modern Family (which by the way is the best show ever) and aspires to be as funny as that show so continues to say this hoping it continues to be funny. It does not.

2) If we are having to ferberize anything, we may as well make our first adventure of 2010having children instead of the planned rock-climbing adventure, because seriously we are suffering from some lack of sleep here people. Because of our cat.

I know I shouldn't complain, because I probably will want to death meow when I am 145 years old too. But I fear this, now pretty consistent in the last 3 weeks habit, will only die when...well when Lucy dies, or we finally find her hidden battery that is secretly keeping her alive and we can unplug her--just for the night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 2

I don't want to jinx us very early on in 2010, but we are REALLY feeling our 2010 cookbook. The recipes are good, and (for some reason I am just now putting this together) really healthy (hence the Cooking Light I suppose).

This week's lesson was "Learn to Broil" and our recipe of choice was: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Pork Chops.

One  side note, I need to SERIOUSLY plug Costco for their ridiculously cheap pork chops, which were also tender and delicious.

Anyway, back to the recipe. One of the easiest meats to prep EVER. Broiling is fantastic. It took us 12 minutes to broil these fat old pork chops. Brilliant.

The OPL ( I threw that in there just for you Dad) was that Broiling rocks our world. And so do pork chops. That are stuffed with cheese.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Things I still miss from college....5 years later.

I decided it was time for my first "list of the month" post. I was running around all day hosting a UW-Madison Shadow Day at work which meant two things. First, I couldn't make any lists all day long and I have some pent-up list making aggression. Second, being around bright-eyed (once they got past 9AM) college students made me realize how much I still miss college. And, since I wil be celebrating my official 5-year anniversary at General Mills in a few weeks I thought this was timely.

1) Football Saturdays
        There was nothing better than football days, even if it meant waking up to some loud annoying girl yelling "Badgers...Woo!" over and over again. Madison has a pulsing energy, luring you to get outside at 8AM and start chugging beers, or in my case something without beer in the name. There were rivalries, inappropriate cheers, and general school spirit. Every fall, when football season starts, my heart feels a little pang of jealousy for all those students who are setting their alarms to start the celebration as early as possible.

2) Helen C. White Marathon Sessions
     I'm not going to try to hide anything. The full disclosure, honest-to-god truth was I was a serious book-nerd in college. Apparently I didn't inherit my Dad's gift for skipping every class and getting an A. This lead me to full-day and night marathon session at the only library in the US voted by Playboy as the #1 place to pick up a member of the opposite sex. I loved studying in the middle of all the chaos. I saw my sister there with her now husband Nick, but I seem to remember more flirting than studying, but hey..she scored Nick.

3) Safewalk
     Hands down best college job. Sure it meant working nights until 1AM or 3AM, but it also involved amazing friends, hilarious stories, some exercise, and walkie talkies. What's not to love?

4) Sleeping-in until 11
    A critical component of working until 3AM was sleeping in. I love sleeping. But sleeping in just doesn't have the same allure now that I pretty much have 48 hours of free time on the weekend. If I spend 25 of those hours sleeping how can I get my big girl stuff done like laundry, groceries, cleaning and paying the bills?

5) Living with Girls
    I love my husband. And in general he is a VERY good housemate, but there is nothing like living with a bunch of girlfriends. Always someone there up for anything. Someone to watch a chick movie with you? Always. Someone to go on a Clary's Popcorn run? Always. And getting ready with girls is the most fun part of going out. Crank the tunes, try on a bunch of clothes, drink some good cocktails. Bliss.

6) New Textbooks
    Again, not trying to hide my dorkiness. I LOVED going to the bookstore to get my new textbooks. It helped that I had amazing parents who paid for my textbooks so I didn't have sticker shock. There was something about the promise of a new semester, a fresh start to make first impressions, learn new things, get better grades, meet new people, etc. You just don't get that in your adult life, especially if you are like a loyal lap dog staying at your first job out of college for 5 years.

8) Halloween
     If you haven't experienced a Madison halloween this will be lost on you. If you haven't experienced a Madison halloween between the years of 2000-2004 this will be lost on you. I was there during the heyday. I think 3 of my 4 years ended in a riot on State of which I was heroically 'protecting' my Aunt and Uncle's Hallmark store (while under the influence, dressed as Tinkerbell and wearing my roommates Mullet wig).

You thought I was exaggerating the Tinkerbell with Mullet wig didn't you.....


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend Controversy

After a two-hour workout at The Firm this morning, Nate and I went on an errand extravaganzaa, which included some recipe shopping, and therefore a stop at a grocery store other than Costco.

Enter the controversy. Nate would not stop making fun of my list that kept our little grocery run organized. It was incessant antagonizing of my perfectly organized, recipe-driven, outline, arrowed list.

I maintain that MOST women, or men for that matter, who are in responsible for getting the groceries, have a list of some sort, and that it is probably most likely organized at the same level as mine. And that my list is not any more anal or overly organized than then normal womans.

So here is the list people:

Please tell me that I am not crazy, and have won this 'argument.' And if for some reason I am totally off my rocker and this is a list worth making fun of, then I will eat my words. Or my list. Whatever.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Way to Cook

**First, keep the "Adventure" suggestions coming!! Nate and I plan to try to tackle all of them in some form or fashion (except the babies....) so the more the merrier.

Now...DRUM ROLL PLEASE.....the new cookbook for 2010 is..................

Cooking Light: Way to Cook

We are super excited about this book because it isn't just recipes. The way the book is organized is by cooking methods. So there is a separate section for boiling, steaming, grilling, baking, etc. You get the picture. And there is great explanation on a bunch of stuff from knife skills (which should get even better after we complete Meg's suggested adventure), to how to properly stuff a turkey.

Anyway, the recipes look amazing, and the super bonus is that they are all relatively healthy!

So our first recipe came from the "learning to saute" section, and was aptly chosen because of it's name:
Thai Lime Chicken.

Most of you know we are headed to Thailand soon, so we have been trying lots of different Thai cuisine. Anyway, the reality of this recipe is that I didn't help at all because I as horizontal on the couch with an awful migraine. But Nate assured me it was easy. Which was great because it was amazingly delicious.

Way To Cook, FTW!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Choose Our Next Adventure

Nate and I have always been pretty open to trying new things, from food to make-you-own-art night we try to keep ourselves entertained in our free time.

Now I don't want to say the well of creativity for coming up with cool stuff to do has run dry, but the reality is it would be so much MORE fun to do stuff people tell us to. For those of you closest to me, you know I don't like to be bossed around, so this is a double bonus for you.

So here is the idea:

You, loyal blog readers, submit something you would like Nate and I to try in 2010.
Nate and I will then try said suggestions.
You can check-back and laugh at our trials and tribulations trying new adventures.

Now, before you think of throwing something totally crazy out there (Uncle Todd....) please read the following considerations:

1) We don't want to go to jail--which  probably eliminates anything Plonske might suggest...
2) We are not millionaires so please no world-wide excursions.
3) We live in Minnesota--which means skinny dipping in January is OUT.

There it is. Our 2010 challenge to you to challenge us. You follow?

So think on it. Sleep on it. And let us know what our next adventure should be!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Last year I made many resolutions. Like 10+. Of which I kept like 2.

This year I have made 2.

1) Say what I mean.
2) Mean what I say.

It's simple really, and quite all emcompassing. A fitness resolution could fall under this, a 'try new things' resolution, a 'be less scary' (as per nate's request) resolution, etc.

All resolutions fit under these two tiny little statements becasue it boils down to not being all talk and no action, and being honest about what is going on in my crazy little head. For example, if someone says "could you give my dog a bath tomorrow?" and I don't want to, I will say "No, I can't," instead of doing it and being angry about it, bitching about it, resenting them, etc or making up some elaborate excuse about why I can't bathe their stinking dog.

Really random illustrative example, but you get my point.

Happy 2010!!!