Thursday, August 31, 2006

School Dreams

Have you ever had a recurring dream about school? I haven't had one for a while, but I used to have the same dream over and over. I usually don't remember dreams at all. This dream is different, and as far as I know I usually remember.

The Dream:

I'm in college (it's never distinctly UW-Stout or UM-Duluth, just a general college). It's the end of the semester. I've been skipping one or several classes very regularly, and now have come to the question of how I plan on passing. It's too late to drop any of the courses. In some cases I don't even know where the classroom is. Usually it's because the class meets across campus, and I've been too lazy to walk that far. I'm panicked about my transcript and mostly how I'm going to tell my parents.

What does it mean? I'm not sure. I do know that I only dream it when I'm stressed out or feeling stretched pretty thin. Obviously the worrying about my parents probably means that I'm concerned with how others view me. (In college I really did worry about my parents standards)

Chad said he has had the exact dream. Apparently it's pretty common. The alarm this morning was set to KS95, and they were talking about people's dreams there too. That's how I got thinking about this today.

I spent a little time researching on the internet, but I didn't find much (I really didn't look long) about school dreams. The only thing really relevent was this link which is a similar dream to my dream. (Except in mine the problem class isn't Math. I never had a problem with Math)

I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has had similar dreams. But for those lurking, feel free to keep it to yourself too. (sarcasm) Just kidding.. does the guilt factor help at all? Maybe the guilt will sit in your subconscience and you'll have your dream tonight.

If You Like Free Stuff

Free Samples of:

Links originally shared at Boston Gal's Open Wallet

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On High Fashion

When I was 9, my mom made me the coolest outfit. I remember it was an "Annie" pattern (as in Orphan Annie). It was a pair of pin striped denim pants with a shirt that was off white with navy pin stripes. The pants had suspenders, and the shirt had a red ribbon bow tied around the neck. Very cute, with my red hair. :) The whole thing was very reminiscent of the outfit in the picture (found at Anne Taylor Loft)

I know that fashion has cycles. I know that in the last few seasons we've seen ballet flats and gauchos come back. Two styles I really like (although I don't own any gauchos).

But my big concern tonight was not the suspender pants. How could I hate anything I loved in the 4th grade? My bigger concern at Anne Taylor Loft and New York & Company were the slim fit pants. Not just slim through the waist and hip, but the whole leg. Yes. Tapered pants. I'm just wondering what Clinton and Stacy will say about that, because I tried a pair on, and it emphasized my belly and butt. Not good!

Maybe I am becoming an unstylish thirtysomething, but I always said I wouldn't! Anyone else worried about tapered pants?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Madison In The Morning

Why would people be googling on the phrase "Madison in the Morning"? Is it a song or show or something like that? They keep finding my post, and I'm sure they're disappointed as I was actually traveling to Madison in the morning...

Hmmmm.... If you know, please fill me in...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Weekend Recap

We had a great weekend. Friday night Chad and I headed to Hudson to have dinner with Sarah and Curt. Always a good time with the 2 of them, the only downside is that Chad sometimes comes home with new electronic dreams! We had a great time and finally got to experience night life in downtown Hudson!

Saturday morning we ran some errands, including scouring the area for Burnsville Blaze t-shirts. We finally actually found some in Apple Valley.

The shirts were for the bike tour yesterday afternoon. The bike tour is an annual event with our friends in Northeast Minneapolis. We weren't actually sure if we were going to go. But once we found the shirts for Team Burnsville Blaze and realized we could get both bikes there, we were very excited. Can you believe I can fit 2 bikes in my Corolla by taking off only the front tires. And the trunk shuts all the way!

We started out at Kyle's, moved on to Jim and Bridget's, then to Mike and Beth's, stopped at a bar/restaurant for dinner before heading to Jim's (another Jim) and back to Kyle's. Always a fun time. I think the attendance was down a little this year, but very fun, as I've gotten to know more of the ladies in the group recently, so we usually hang out and make fun of the weird girls we don't know or the guys.

This morning we went to church which was followed by a lazy afternoon. The down time was nice. I finished reading my book, and I think Chad watched some golf.

Chad's at a Fantasy Football Draft tonight. Hard to believe the NFL season starts in 2 weeks! Crazy! Summer's still go by too fast!

Stupid and Contagious (a book)

I just finished reading the book Stupid and Contagious, by Caprice Crane. A great read! It's the first in a while that was a real page turner for me. The story is about a friendship of two next door neighbors, Heaven and Brady.

It was so funny. Lots of laugh out loud moments. The chapters flip flop between Heaven's and Brady's perspective which really keep you turning the pages. That and you want to know where the story goes.

I don't know exactly how I stumbled on this at Barnes and Noble. Last week I was just hanging out; actually walking up and down aisles looking at books. This is one I found. Now that I've read the whole thing I've checked out other reviews at amazon.com and bn.com, and they are both averaging 5 stars. And I'd have to agree, because the humor and the story, and the characters suck you in, plus this book has a total feel good factor!

Friday, August 25, 2006

WOMEN READ THIS: An Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer

Yesterday, my friend Anne sent me a video clip. Now I hate being an alarmist. It's really not a great tactic to teach people. But I think in this case, awareness needs to be raised quickly.

The clip was from a news story that Channel 4 out of Seattle (KOMO - ABC) did in May. The story was about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). IBC is a very aggressive form of Breast Cancer that most women (and some doctors) have never heard of. The story centers around how many women are told they have bug bites or were just too embarrassed by this rash they had developed on their breasts, when in fact it's IBC.

Everything we hear about mammograms and lumps does not pertain to this type of breast cancer. Yeah, scary stuff. So I highly recommend that you read the article and watch the attached video clips. Here's the link.

As there is no definite cure, the best chance we have is not being ignorant of the disease and catching symptoms early.

My mom is a testiment to catching Breast Cancer in it's early stage. My friend Karin's mom also! We have to be educated and attentive to beat this.

The article states that 1 of 8 women will have breast cancer at some point in their life! One of the women in the first news story was 16 and died, because she was too embarassed to tell her mom when she first noticed symptoms. My point is here: you're never too young and we'll all know someone.

Please pass the word, this is important stuff!

Thanks, Anne, for sharing with me! P.S. While searching for more information on this. I found a link at Snopes which confirms this is not a hoax.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy 30th Birthday to Sarah!!!

Today is Sarah's 30th Birthday!!
For those of you who don't know Sarah, she and I go way back!!
We met in college (we were both cool math geeks)
Later we became roommates (post college).
Best of Friends!
It'd be even awesomer if we:
A) weren't both so busy, B) didn't live so far apart C) all of the above!

Here are some highlights.
Believe me I have many more, but they are pre-digital camera era and my scanner is not cooperating.

Disney World - Spring Break 1998 - Our Senior Year of College
I like to call this one: Cocktails and Curlers. We lived together one year after college, and I'm sure we were heading to O'Garas shortly after this one was taken. Probably 1999 or 2000.
Sarah and I at her wedding. She was a princess that day. September 2001.
2003: Jennifer and I pulled off a surprise birthday party for Sarah!
Sarah as my Matron of Honor. November 2003
Left to Right: Steph, Sarah, Karin, Nicki

Here we are with Nelson. (yes the twins, and yes they cut their hair)
Sorry it's not a better picture. Chad's Camera Phone sucked. February 2005?
Sarah and I at the Awesome 80s Prom: August 2005. We both fit into our high school dresses!
Here we are in California with a couple beverages of choice! April 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When The Levees Broke

As I'm in a hotel last night and today, I've been able to catch Spike Lee's "When The Levees Broke" on HBO. Well still watching it right now. It has been pretty good so far.

Right after Hurricane Katrina, people kept talking about how this was going to wake up America and help people realize the racial and class inequities in this country. I'm not sure it has. I think it did, but now I feel like it's kind of been forgotten. Especially if you don't know anyone that was directly affected. Sad, very sad.

Valparaiso

I got to Valparaiso yesterday afternoon. I flew into Chicago Midway, and had to drive out by myself. I did not enjoy my drive through south Chicago. But at least it was daylight!

I'm here by myself (meaning no one else on my team is here). I'm just following up with our store here. Making sure things are going smoothly for them with using the new application. Also gives them a chance to ask questions and for me to help them with any shortcuts. They are not very demanding, so it's been a pretty relaxing, but still interesting couple of work days.

Although not so relaxing today as one member of our team was let go. Cost containment. Sad as I have been the one let go before. I'm flying back tomorrow evening. I think I will just be spending a couple hours in the store here, before going back to Chicago and meeting up with some team members in Alsip before heading to the airport. Then home where my husband is all by himself right now. I'm sure he misses me. Unless there is baseball on, then maybe not.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Orange Account

Anyone out there have an ING Direct Savings account?
We are looking to beat our current 0.75% interest rate.
I know they have referral bonus programs. If you want to refer me, drop me an email.

And if you have any reviews about their service, I'd love to hear that too!

Up To Here in Chocolate

I'm a big fan of chocolate. But I don't think I'd ever want to be dipped like this worker from Wisconsin.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

3-2-1 Contact

My eyes were especially dry on Tuesday evening. However, I didn't give it much thought. At least not until I went to take out my contact and I couldn't find it. Now I have previously lost a contact right out of my eye and not noticed. My eyesight is actually pretty strong in one eye (I only wear one contact), and I won't really notice that I need glasses until I'm reading a book or a computer screen.

So on Tuesday when I couldn't find my contact in my eye, I chalked it up to a loss (they're disposable). I also decided to wear my glasses on Wednesday, because I was tired and my eyes had been so dry on Tuesday. Then this morning, in the shower, it felt like I had an eyelash in my eye. When I got out, I tried to rub it around to get the eyelash out. But nope, it wasn't an eyelash. It was my contact - folded up and hiding in the upper inner corner of my eye. Not good.

So instead of falling out of my eye, it got stuck behind my eyelid for 2 nights and a day! Needless to say, I sported my glasses again today. And probably will tomorrow too. I'm sure I will go back to my contact, but I want to give my eye a few days relax without it.

Anyone have any advice for my dry eyes? Besides making me cry?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Book Club Recap

Last night we had book club at my house. It was a small affair: Anne, Luci, Leah (in her first appearance), and myself. Chad joined us later for cake on the porch too.

We were supposed to read Reading Lolita in Tehran but none of us in attendance actually finished the book. (I know Nicki finished it, but couldn't make it last night) This is not the first time this has happened. But I am currently reading it and have every intention to finish.

It was a great night to sit out on my porch, and since there were so few of us, we all got a comfy seat! :)

As we had not read the book, we just hung out, ate (salad, crab dip, chocolate chocolate chip zucchini cake, and Ben and Jerry's), and talked. Always a good time with the book club girls!

We're a pretty fun group. As I was trying to explain to Leah yesterday afternoon, we all have pretty much met each other through our book club, and don't all share similar histories. It'd be pretty fun to map out the different relationships and how each person came to be a part of the group.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Now after another recipe, I only have half of my zucchini left. This was again an excellent recipe. Went great with ice cream!

I modified only slightly. The original recipe was found at The American Egg Board's website.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake
(Makes 12 servings)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt, optional
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup applesauce (2 individual packaged servings)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 1/2 to 2 small, 10 oz.)
1 cup chocolate chips
Confectioners' sugar

In medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, if desired. Set aside. In large mixing bowl at medium speed, beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in applesauce, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in reserved flour mixture. Gently stir in zucchini; then chocolate chips. Pour into lightly greased and floured 9-cup fluted tube pan.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. With narrow spatula or knife, loosen cake from pan and gently shake onto serving plate. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, August 14, 2006

37 Years

Sesame Street is starting it's 37th season today. That's amazing! I didn't grow up watching Sesame Street daily (we only got CBS at home, so I watched Captain Kangaroo), but I loved watching SS at my grandpa's house or my friend's.

In honor of the anniversary, the Lovely Miss Davis is asking parents to post what music, tv, etc from their childhood that they will share with their children. I'm not a parent, but I am an aunt! And I bought my nephew and niece the CD and DVD of Free To Be, You and Me, starring Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda, Carol Channing, and many more. It was my favorite. I never had the video, but loved the record. So funny, and great lessons in stereo-typing.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Last weekend, Lisa sent home a big zucchini from Ed's garden. Not his biggest, but it was pretty big!

I used about 1/3 of the zucchini today in this new recipe: Blueberry Zucchini Bread.

I did make a couple of adjustments (documented below), including making them into muffins instead of mini loaves, and adjusting in brown sugar. They are fantastic. Also in reading some of the other reviews, next time I may substitute half of the oil with applesauce to cut down on some of the fat.

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease muffin pans or line with papers.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared muffin pans.

3. Bake 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 30 muffins.

Over-Reacting - The Conclusion

He's fine. He left late. 9:45. Hard to go 250+ miles in 4 hours. Although that's minor, and apparently not the reason he didn't call earlier.

He hit traffic, caused by an accident and then construction. Also rain on a Sunday in August results in earlier southbound "cabin traffic". And his phone wasn't working due to being left in his golf bag during the rain.

So long story short. He left late, got stuck in traffic without a cell phone. He finally called from a gas station. From his perspective it's not his fault his phone didn't work or traffic was bad. The leaving late will be overshadowed by all that he endured today. (If you sense sarcasm, you sense right).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to be mad. There are "better" things to waste energy on being mad at. It's just frustrating as the sense of "allowing enough time" can be WAY off! At least this time there were no plane tickets or RVs involved! :)

Am I Over-reacting?

I don't think I am, but I also need to vent.

My husband drove 5 hours up to the stix of northern Minnesota for a weekend of hanging out with his buddy and golf. A great opportunity to see his friend from Oregon. No cell phone coverage up there, but that's fine. We can go a couple days without seeing each other.

We also committed to going to his other friend's for an open house for their baby's baptism this afternoon. He said he would be home. Great, I'm glad we can both go.

I asked him if he wanted to meet there (northern suburb) or if he would come home first and we'd go together. He said he'd call me in the morning on his way home, as he wasn't sure what time he would leave. Perfectly reasonable.

It's 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Our commitment to the open house is at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. (45 minutes from where we live) He hasn't called. And his cell phone goes straight to voicemail. Since he got coverage 2 hours from home when he left, he should be back in range by now.

So why hasn't he called? My guess is he may have been up late and slept in. Possibly he has a dead battery, but again, pay phones are not extinct, just endangered. Most gas stations still have them. Or even another possiblity, is that they decided to golf again this morning. (I wouldn't be that surprised)

And it's super frustrating to hope that this all it is. That he just overslept (by a lot) or didn't get up and going like he committed to or even just went golfing.

Can you tell I'm not happy? Am I over-reacting? (This is the point where you can tell me frustrating and/or lame excuses from your significant other to make me feel better!)

Stay tuned.. I'll keep you posted on the excuse later. Or maybe it's a legitimate reason.. I am pretty sure that whatever it is, he's had enough experience with the "not calling when you promised" wrath, that he'll be apologetic when he gets home, before I even say anything.

P.S. Can you tell I don't care if his friends read this??? I'm supposed to edit carefully so they can't make fun of him. I don't care right now.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Project Wallpaper - Take 1

This morning I started on the wallpaper project. I took down the wallpaper in the foyer and the paper leading down the steps. It wasn't that bad. Just sort of tedious. I bought a steamer last year in preparation for the wallpaper event, but today was the first time I used it. It works really well, but it gets things wet, so I'm nervous as how it'll work when we're taking wallpaper down in a carpeted room.

But so much better! I even got whole big strips down. Do you think I should email the lady who took the matching drapes and see if she wants the wallpaper to match?

I'll post before and after pictures once I'm to the after. Right now I'm at the in between. I'm stopping for today, because I want Chad to help me and he's not home today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Weekly Asides

It's so so nice, when a salesperson charges you $20 for 3 pairs of underwear and then chases you down when she realizes it's actually 4 pairs for $20, and THEN doesn't even make you sit through a cash register exchange, just lets you stuff another pair in your bag.

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

It's expensive to use a FAX machine at Kinko's!!! I think that's my next money making scheme. Buying a fax machine and only charging $1/page instead of $1.50!!!

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

My recipes are all organized!!! My next organization project: Wedding Photos. See if I can finish before my 3rd anniversary.

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

Another money-saving tip. If you find money that you didn't know you had, go straight to the computer and transfer that amount from your checking to your savings, and then put that cash in your wallet. I found $6 in two different pockets this week. Now my "Change" account has that money.

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

Yet another $$ tip: I keep a piggy bank in the laundry room. Not kidding. An actual piggy bank, for all change and dollars I find. Why else do you think I do Chad's laundry? It's not for the gum, Tums, or golf tees!

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

Ever take a day off with grand notions of getting a lot done, but then getting none of it? That was me today.

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

Are these shoes cute (in black)? I really liked them in the store, but not sure. Recently I've been really impressed with Clarks' shoes. Is it because I'm 32 and comfort is more important? Or are they getting cuter? Here's the other pair I like; what do you think of these? Neither look as cute on the internet as the did in the store. They're both kind of "practical", but they are for my wide feet in a business casual environment in suburban Minnesota. I don't work in downtown Minneapolis anymore. This is high fashion for Lakeville! (No offense Lakeville readers, if there are any of you)

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

I hate shopping for shirts. I have broad shoulders, so if something fits in the shoulders it is usually too loose in my midsection. I know I can get things taylored, but that's a pain too. My only hope is that when and if I'm ever pregnant, I should be able to wear regular shirts for a while!

~0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0~

I think tomorrow is "rip down wallpaper" day. I have to start sometime. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Discounts on Magazines !!

If you love your magazine subscriptions, here is an EXCELLENT way to save mucho money on them!

Check out BudgetMags.

A Year (52 issues) of U.S. News and World Reports for less than $6!! ($24.97 at Amazon.com)

A Year (26 issues) of ESPN for less than $5! ($14.97 at Amazon.com)

A Year (12 issues) of Fitness for less than $4!! ($13.97 at Amazon.com)

Plus a whole lot more!

-- Yes, I'm into money saving tips right now. Check out a bunch more at the "link-a-thon" posted over at NCN.

Extra Pennies Adding Up

I like to throw all my change in the end of the day in my big coke bottle bank. But with as little cash as I carry, I don’t usually collect too much by the end of a day.

Bank of America has a great program for their debit card users. The idea is based on the idea of throwing your extra change in a jar at the end of the day, but more convenient for us debit card users. It’s called Keep the Change. Basically it rounds each debit card purchase up and at the end of the month, transfers that money from your checking account to your savings account. And for new members of this program, they will match this amount at 100% for the first 3 months. After that they will match it 5% (with a yearly cap of $250).

Free money for those who choose to take part! A great reason to tip your waitress or fill the gas tank enough so the bill comes to 1 penny over an even dollar amount.

At this point I am not ready to switch banks, and forego the convenience of having a physical location to go to. Instead I’m implementing my own Round Up program.

I’m going to go through my bank statement each month and round up each debit and round down each deposit (including interest, paychecks, etc), then transfer the total amount to a separate savings account. Granted I’m not getting a match (unless any of you want to volunteer to match it)! But I’m saving. I’m doing this with my own account and the account my husband and I share.

Today I started with July's statements. My total transfer was $26.20. So if I can average $25/month, that’s an extra $300 a year! And right now, I’ve kind of created my own little “Math Geek” challenge.

I’m always looking for interesting ways to save money, as I don’t think I save nearly as much as I probably could. So if you have any ideas, please pass them on!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pepper Jelly Glazed Chicken

Last night I told Chad I would make him dinner as I have not been doing that much lately. So I decided to start with what I had in the freezer.

I found a couple of chicken breasts that I took out to thaw. Thinking I would make chicken fingers, but then later decided I wanted something different. Then I found this recipe for Pepper Jelly Glazed Chicken, as I had a half a jar of pepper jelly just sitting in the fridge, plus the other ingredients.

It turned out really good. Initially sweet, but then you taste a little kick. I served it with rice and green beans (Target sells awesome frozen veggies that you steam right in the bag). The sauce was really good over the rice.

I did make some adjustments as I didn't feel like measuring. So maybe it was accurate, but I just guesstimated my ingredients. If you don't like guesstimating, check out the recipe at the link above, else here's how I did it.

Pepper Jelly Glazed Chicken
(with my adjustments)


INGREDIENTS:
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
about 1/3 cup red pepper jelly
about 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
about 1/3 cup honey

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees F).
2. Arrange chicken breasts in a baking dish so they are not crowded. In a cup or small bowl, mix together the pepper jelly, mustard and honey; pour over chicken to coat.
3. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, basting occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink, and the juices run clear.

Remember When...

Remember when I was gung ho about Weight Watchers and getting skinny?

I barely remember, except I am reminded when I try to get dressed in the morning. :( It's not fun wearing the same thing week after week, because I only have a few things that fit well.

This job and all the travel has been hectic on my waistline! I don't feel like I have a regular schedule which makes me so uninspired to eat well or exercise even when I am home... (it also keeps me unmotivated to do projects around the house)

But today I did better. I ate cereal (Kashi) before I came to work, and then for lunch, I got a deli round sandwich from Subway (smaller) and ate it with a small yogurt. No chips!! And I am full. My clothes are still tight, but I have to get back to eating smaller portions and making smarter decisions, no matter what "sounds" good at the time. I'm giving myself credit for that at least.

but sigh.. what's even more depressing right now I'm still considerably smaller from when I started Weight Watchers... but I didn't buy many clothes at that in between size.. so I have lots of cute stuff that is too small for me right now, and some that is still too big, but not much of anything that fits really good...

I need to get back on track.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Proof that I Talk Mostly "Normal"

Jane's Linguistic Profile:
70% General American English
20% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Yankee

County Rooaadd

I set out Saturday morning for my road trip to Wisconsin. Chad and I have discovered that taking 90 through La Crosse from our house in Burnsville is actually a little faster when heading to Madison. As we get more freeway time in Minnesota where the speed limit is 70 and Interstate 90 also seems to be less busy than 94. Plus it's conducive to stopping at my parent's in Rochester. Especially this time as I was picking up the sash my mom made for Nicki's flower girl. After a short visit with my parents, I got back on my way, but I realized I was going to be a little late.

Although once I got off the Interstate in the Dells, my trip became more frustrating as I had definitely allowed enough time to get lost! Once I had recovered from being lost for an hour trying to find Nicki's shower in Rock Springs, WI, I was able to really appreciate the song County Road, by G.B. Leighton. I realized just how accustomed to city driving I am! I am used to well marked, straight roads! I am not used to driving for 10 miles and then slamming on the brakes, because I just drove past my turn that was only marked at the intersection! :)

Once I finally found Nicki's shower (I was only an hour late) and enjoyed the last hour+ of the party, I headed on to Monticello to Lisa's house. Now since I had been to Lisa's house before and verified her directions from Baraboo to Monticello with my road map, I was much more relaxed and enjoyed the drive while counting Kwik Trips (my new favorite gas station) and listening to Harry Potter on cd.

Saturday night, Lisa and Ed were hosting a party to break in the new family room that Ed slaved over this summer in their basement. It is a great room, complete with a big beautiful bar, fireplace, and HD TV. Plus to make it even more enjoyable was kicking off football season with the local tv station playing the Packers Family Night Scrimmage. (What other team could sell out a pre-pre-season inner team scrimmage?!) Lisa had made some great appetizers (a lot with zucchini from Ed's garden) so I scarfed down a ton of those, as I had missed the food at the shower!

Ed also built a massive bonfire in his attempts to lure people outside away from his beautiful bar. It didn't work and the bar won! I'm not sure if Ed was happy about his bar being a success or upset that his fire wasn't a big attraction.

We were up late, so we slept in a little the next morning (9 am). Lisa and I got a chance to talk outside of the party crowd over breakfast. We then showered (got out the bonfire smell) and headed to Middleton to meet Angie for lunch at P.F.Chang's before heading back home.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Inspired to Downsize??

Apartment Therapy has some great looking spaces (as small as they may be). I could sit for hours and look through these pictures. Just to see how creative people are and how they use all the space they have, but with beautiful results.

Makes me feel a bit like a pack rat. I admit it; I am. However, I try really hard not to be. Chad and I are both getting better. Our house is functional. Every room is fully finished with the exception of the laundry/furnace room (which is only missing the finished ceiling, as it's tiled and wallpapered). We really don't have any place to just stash stuff, besides a couple closets downstairs and some space in the (unheated, uninsulated) garage.

Even though my kitchen is about the size of some of these apartments, maybe I can still learn some functional space saving techniques to use as we go about starting with our finishing touches.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Talladega Nights and Madison in the Morning

Chad and I have been anticipating Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby all summer, so of course we went opening night. Even though we have Netflix, neither of us could wait for a Will Ferrell movie to make it to DVD. It was good. Hard to tell, when you're so excited for a movie. It was slow at first, but there were definitely some hilarious parts (or maybe what was hilarious was my husband laughing uncontrollably next to me). Of course, the outtakes at the end were super funny too (but they usually are).

I liked it. Doesn't compare to Anchorman, Old School, or Wedding Crashers, but come on... it's Will Ferrell!

Tomorrow I am heading to the Madison area. Reedsburg first for Nicki's bridal shower, and then on to Monticello to see Lisa and Ed. Hopefully Sunday I'll get to see Angie too. I haven't been to Madison in over a year, so I'm excited. Just me and my Harry Potter cds tomorrow!

Swedish Fish

It has been YEARS since I've had Swedish Fish, but let me just say: They are still super yummy!!!

I came across them at SuperTarget today, in the bulk Jelly Belly aisle. I just couldn't resist. So here I am now, just chewing away, and YUMMM!!

It takes me back to when I was a kid in Alma, and my mom needed spices. There was a spice/gift shop attached to Runions Gallery, and I always got to pick something. Occasionally it was a licorice pipe (red only, never black), but usually I liked to pick the Swedish Fish: one of each color.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Happy Birthday to Dano!!


Today is my friend Dan's birthday. Cleveland Dan, if you're wondering.
I doubt he reads this, but I wanted to wish him a happy birthday if he does!!!
Happy Birthday Dano!!!

That's Dano on the left, along with myself, Mikey, and Lisa. This picture was taken on a crazy night in Chicago in 1998, so we're a little younger looking! Sorry about the picture quality, this is how digital was in 1998!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Beginning of My Week

Monday -
Still very very very hot.

Made sloppy joes. While browning the meat, I wished I hadn't started as the stove was very very very hot!

I mixed it up a little too. Instead of my normal Sloppy Joe recipe, I just browned the ground beef and mixed in the following and let it simmer:
  • a can of Southwestern Tomatoes
  • a can of tomato sauce
  • chopped onion
  • chopped green pepper
  • some mustard (a key ingredient to a good sloppy joe)
  • chili powder

They were good. I probably like my regular recipe more. It's one of my signature party dishes!

Monday Night -
Not sure... apparently it wasn't too exciting!

Tuesday -
I worked from home in the afternoon, because Katie came to pick up a table that we are donating to the Luther Park auction. So I got to catch up with her. It has been a while since I've seen her, so that was fun, even though it was a short visit outside.

During the afternoon, I had the TV on for background noise. Watched a show called "Work Out" on Bravo. It was another reality tv show, that I don't need to watch. I watched for about 45 minutes before I finally realized that I recognized one of the trainers from Amazing Race. How pathetic am I. Emphasized the fact that I do not need to watch this show regularly. (Making it public here that I. will. not. get. sucked. in. You are my witness!)

Also joined the BlogHer community. I've been nosing around there a little bit, and found lots of interesting blogs.

I also made a quick trip to Cub where I recognized this sweet girl in a cart by the cheese, so I got to catch up with her mom and dad.

Tuesday night -
We attended a National Night Out picnic at our neighbors house. (Although we weren't outside, because it finally rained. A LOT!! I don't know how much yet, because I didn't want to get wet checking the rain gauge this morning, but it looked to be over 3") Anyhow, all of our neighbors are great. And we met more, including the people who do the magnificent fireworks show on the 4th of July. I feel like we know more about our neighbors from the 2 picnics we've attended with them in the last year, than we ever did living in Columbia Heights for 5 years. My next door neighbor, Nancy, offered to explain to me what I have in my garden and to water my flowers for me when I am out of town, so I don't have to leave that to Chad. Plus she told us that they are seeing deer in our yard regularly (and gave us an idea about a homemade solution to ward them off)