Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Delicious Bass

This weekend Chuck and I got to spend our time with his sister Katie and her family. I loved being there... they are the greatest people. I am still amazed that we are family, what a happy thought. The coolest thing about it is that I am an Auntie now. I am sure many of you out there already have bundles of nieces and nephews... but these are my first ones. I have never really spent much time around kids in my life.

How grateful I am for these kids... they bring me mass amounts of joy, and I am happy they warmed up to me so quickly. Bill Cosby was right... they really do say the darnedest things. Life would be really boring without kids... I am super excited to have some of my very own:)

We went fishing, which I haven't done since I was little with my dad... which was never a very fun experience for him because I was so high maintenance when we fished. Dad! you would have been so proud of me. I got my own fishing pole ready, baited my hooks and took the fish I caught off. Thanks be to my husband who gave me a couple quick lessons and assured me that i was stronger than I think. I had just convinced myself for most of my life that doing those things was scary... not so, it twas a piece of cake.
I am a little disappointed that I do not have the picture to show you of the bass that I caught fishing this weekend. It was the BIGGEST fish I have even caught!!! I will let you imagine how big it was... just picture me holding my arms out showing you the size right now.
In other news I LOVE farmers tans!!!! My husband was lucky enough this summer to achieve the coveted "Neapolitan Tan." After a day of wearing a shirt that was a little bit shorter in the sleeves he was lucky enough to have the brown tan, the red burn and of course the white natural skin color as well. I really don't think my camera adequately captured the colors. Nice work Chuck :)

Ps... I am doing much better with the stick shift... the trick with the clutch is to "Work it" and not "Pop it" I made up a little song about it to assist me when I get frustrated.... it has a nice hip hop beat....if I find someone to beat box for me I will give you a little performance sometime.

Pps. My MOM started a blog... called the Chronicles of Mary (see my blog list for the link). She doesn't have much on there yet, but I am sure she will have many wonderful posts in the near future.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Memories

I am sure that everyone has been hearing a lot the past two days about the passing of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. It was a big topic of conversation for Chuck and I as we thought back on his musical influence and his life.

I fell in love with Michael Jackson in elementary school with my best friend Krystal Shonka. We loved the song Ben, and The Man in the Mirror. We used to play with our stuffed animals while we jammed out. In high school my girlfriends and I loved to blare Thriller from Angie Craig's truck when we were driving away triumphantly from a football game. Recently the song "Don't stop Till you get enough" has motivated me through a lot of long runs.

Who can forget the Thriller music video, or watching the making of it... so cool. I am sure we have all enjoyed being at a dance and watching people form a circle when Billy Jean came on and then one by one people would walk in the middle to do their best moon walk or foot kick... sometimes someone even broke out the crotch grab with the "Hee Hee!" He can be imitated but he will never be duplicated. I can honestly say that I am really grateful for his contribution... the WORLD will never forget him.

There was definitely no shortage of drama in his life, it makes me sad to think that he lived under such constant public attention and pressure. I can recall many times in my life wondering "what in the world is going on with Michael Jackson?" I will miss hearing about him...

What are your favorite Michael Jackson Memories?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Second Nature

People will tell you that driving a stick shift is "easy" and that is because second nature... I was just wondering how many times on average I will have to stall in the middle of intersections with angry downtown rush hour drivers in 90 degree Minnesota humidity before that happens. My apologies to anyone who was trying to take a left turn from the Harmar parking lot onto Snelling on Tuesday evening... I know you all missed the light, it honestly was not intentional that I didn't get the car into gear until the light turned yellow, sometimes that is just the way things are.

Because I will just tell you that while I find it very funny for the car to violently shake and then stall, I don't think my fellow drivers find it as amusing. Not only do I look ridiculous when I stall the car but I have to talk to myself in order to make sure I am doing everything right...
"Ok, push the clutch... foot on the brake... put it in first.... foot off the brake... and give it gas while you release the clutch (Shake Shake, Stall) Ok... push the clutch... foot on the brake... put it in neutral... start the car.... first gear..." You get the idea:)

So far this has been the greatest adjustment to married life... I have to learn to drive Chuck's car. I don't get why people would want to intentionally give themselves work while they were driving... I like driving automatics because I don't have to think about what gear I am in, where my RPM's are, if the clutch is pushed in far enough... in fact my left foot gets a complete break. I can focus on listening to my music really loud, singing out the window, flying my hand like an airplane out the window and putting on lip gloss in the rear view mirror just like you are supposed to when you drive!

What is really funny about all of this is that when I was in high school I thought that it was cool to have a stick shift, but I did not... so I would PRETEND to be shifting so that people who saw me in my truck thought I was driving a stick.... NERD ALERT. Once again... thanks Chuck for marrying me!!!!!

I have never loved riding my bicycle so much as I do now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Five hours and two minutes

Well... I ran a marathon. 26.2 miles, five hours and two minutes.

Grandma's Marathon is from Two Harbors Minnesota to Duluth and runs along the shores of Lake Superior. It was incredibly beautiful, but just as it is with life, the PEOPLE that I met and talked to were the most amazing part of it all.
There were over 7,000 people who ran in the race... there was a lot of energy at the starting line, and also a deep sense of respect for what we were all about to experience.
Those of you who have ran marathons before can attest that ALL kinds of people run these races... big, small, young, old, tall, short, muscular, thin... there were people with disabilities, deformities, people with expensive clothes and gear and people who looked like they were wearing rags. Their reasons for running were different, some had a goal of how long it would take them, but many people all said the same thing... "I just want to finish"
That was me, I just wanted to finish and I wanted to enjoy the journey.

And I did.
My family came and waited at the finish... I can not describe to you my joy in seeing them after five hours of running. All of the volunteers and people cheering were great. There were times I felt like breaking down and crying with gratitude for all of the support and camaraderie that I felt along the way.
My face hurt more than my legs from smiling... I think I said thank you a thousand times to each person I saw holding out a cup of water to me, a wet sponge, a cup of ice, an orange slice, sports drinks and gels shots. There were people squirting us with hoses, playing music, beating drums, playing bagpipes, horns, belly dancing, cheer leading, clapping, singing...
I wish I could go back and shake every one's hand, they made the journey beautiful and gave me a reason to keep going. I am so grateful for the talented people in the world who love life and share their talents.

It definitely was a challenge, and I could never have done it without all of the hours of training and support that I received from my husband and family.
When it hurt to bad to run, I walked... but I never stopped. I just thought about my family waiting for me at the end and I wanted to save whatever strength I had so that I could run by them at the end... and I did, I even somehow found the strength to sprint across the finish line.
That's how life is... it's hard to keep a steady pace, sometimes we walk, sometimes we jog and sometimes we run like the wind. We can't go at someone else's pace, we must set our own... know our own limitations and use our strengths.
It's great that there really are people along the path to cheer us on, and help us finish... to endure to the end. There are beautiful rewards awaiting us if we will just hold out and not give up.

I hope we can all reach our goals... we are capable of much more than we even know!!!
I can't wait to run another... who's coming with me?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Americana Tourist Junkie Ridiculousness

There is a breed of person that exists in this United States of America, and they are very curious to observe. Upon first view you might be tempted to label these individuals as "Rednecks" yet this is an entirely different creature... however a redneck CAN ALSO be an Americana Tourist Junkie.
My observations of this phenomenon were conducted during my honeymoon. And just in case you were wondering for our honeymoon we spent two nights in a suite at a local hotel, then drove to Wisconsin Dells stayed in the Pink Flamingo :) and tried to go to the waterpark... but for some unforeseen reason they closed it the only day we were there, even though they advertise rain or shine. But we ended up playing basketball and eating at Houlihans instead... to me this was equally exciting because my Rosemary Chicken at Houlihans was FABULOUS! It was in Wisconsin Dells that we entered what can only be described as the Mecca of Touristy Shops and Trinkets that initially looked to attract children into begging their parents to buy them things, but Chuck and I soon realized that much of the crud was aimed at adults, tacky and ridiculous to say the least. The thought kept circling in our minds... "Who the heck buys this junk?" "Are there actually human beings who invest their hard earned money in such things?" The answer to the above questions are Americana Tourist Junkies, and Yes respectively.

For the rest of the honeymoon we cruised around the North Shore and Duluth in an RV that Chuck borrowed from someone at Church.... It was awesome, well until we had to dump the "waste" (aka Poop) that we had been hauling around with us. Which if you don't have an RV just imagine saving all of your toilet flushing for four days, combining them with someone Else's and letting them slop around under a hot machine. I am sure that was enough mental image to make you not want to read anymore but without further adu... here are the TOP TEN ways you know that you are an Americana Tourist Junkie.

10. Games of Mini Golf and Bumper Boats never seem to get old to you.

09. You see Signs for museums such as this and get REALLY excited that you might get to actually see someone get tortured before your very eyes, or even better have someone take pictures of you pretending to be tortured!!!!

08. You think it will be "Fun" to get temporary tattoos with your friends to show off on the water slide:

07. You are wearing a T-Shirt that has Neon Print, a Peace Sign and or Says something extremely crass.... You bought it at a T-Shirt Warehouse where you spent 2 hours reading all of the sayings on T-Shirts and Laughing wildly with the people you were with.

06. Even though admission is $10.00 a person; your curiosity can not hold you back from seeing...

05. Every time you go on Vacation you feel the desire to document your trip by having an Old Timey photo taken with your family:

04. You see billboards like this for the Tommy Bartlet Ski show and believe that watching group ski tricks will make your hair do that.

03. You ate lunch at the Moose Jaw Pizza parlor.... ok so maybe that only applies for Minnesota/ Wisconsin Tourist Junkies
02. You do not have any real currency in your pockets, it has all been cashed in for game tokens and prize tickets... you hope that before you go home you will be able to buy that mammoth stuffed Tasmanian Devil.

01. And the number one way that you can tell you are an Americana Tourist Junkie is that when at the Old Timey Photo shop you thought it would be nice to have a framed photo taken of your baby pretending to drink a bottle of hard liquor... and hold a gun... now isn't that precious :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Best of the Best

LOL... so altogether I think we have about 600 pictures from the wedding, my mom... being the amazing mother that she is carefully went through the lot of them and put together a compilation CD entitled "The Best of the Best." However that was still like 200 some pics.

It would take me ages to put all of those pictures on here, and I am trying to find a job right now... so I have no time for such picture shenanigans. So here are The Best of the Best of the Best.

It starts with pictures of the receptions and then works backwards to the pictures at the temple. ENJOY!