Friday, March 29, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday! It's been a pretty good week... and this is the time I get to tell you about the five highlights of mine.

Without further ado, here are the things that made me pretty happy this week:

1. I taught the Angsty Teen and the Stern German that they can't break an egg like this:
I always had heard...and had probably tried it years ago... that you can't break an egg by squeezing it the way I'm trying in the picture. It's true. The Stern German couldn't even break it using his manly, brute strength.

2. I'm happy that I keep an large arsenal of vinyl gloves in my parents' trunk.
Not sure you really want to hear this story...
Just trust me when I say I'm glad I keep these on hand... literally. Definitely a highlight of my week... not the actual using of the gloves... but having a mass quantity of them readily available.

3. I went to Andrea's mom's cooking class again... for the third month in a row!!!
Yes, she is a cute, young, thin MN blogger... If she wasn't so nice, I would have to hate her.
It has been wonderful to take a break from my life each of the past three months and spend time with some great people while sipping wine and trying out some new recipes.

4. We are going to visit Kati for Easter... but she actually came home last night for a one-night stay... you can find out why here.
This may or may not have something to do with Kati's visit...
5. The Stern German shared a hilarious story with us... I laughed so hard I was crying...

When I was gone to my cooking class, the Stern German had a tricky situation arise. He texted me about it... and I couldn't stop laughing as I read his text.  

It's kind of an embarrassing story for him... so I wasn't going to tell the girls. (Well, maybe I would've told them after a glass or two of wine... )

He shared a condensed version of the story with the Angsty Teen at supper... but when Kati got home, he told them the whole story... I laughed until I cried.
Almost couldn't breath.... just kept laughing!
Well, those are the highlights of my week. I'm excited to drive to Omaha to spend more time with Kati. (She is heading back there today.) The Angsty Teen is looking forward to it as well... 

It will be a fun weekend!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

Join me on Monday when I link up with Kati and Kate to bring you:
Incorporating Color

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bloglovin' Business

I am thoroughly enjoying my afternoon. I am sitting at a restaurant called Mad Jack's north of St. Paul...  enjoying my solo Happy Hour time and free wifi! (Hey, Angsty Teen and Kati, this is where we ate the night before our Thanksgiving run two years ago!)

I'm reading blogs, working on iPhoto, and writing this blog... and no one is needing anything from me... well, the waitress needs me to make a decision on my order...

I'm going to stop at Target after this and then get to my cooking class at 6:30 pm... which is about a half an hour away... But, I'm through the tough metro traffic well before rush hour hits... and I'm going to be enjoying a late lunch:
"Jackadillas"... so good... but too mild of salsa... dang.
By now you all know that I'm pretty old... I mean, in my head, I feel perpetually 35ish... or maybe 40ish... but, I'm 50. And in the blogging world, that seems to be pretty old. Most of the bloggers I come across are the cute, young, thin variety... and they are adorable... or as the Angsty Teen would say, "Totes adorbs!"

And, I in regards to blogging and all that it entails, I don't really know much. I mean, I know just enough to be dangerous...

That is why I really liked Google Reader. I could go there and read the blogs I follow and it was a prettty simple thing. Simple and pretty much idiot-proof.

And now, Google Reader is ending in July. (Yep, that's old news by now.) So, that's kind of sad. When it comes to technology... and that whole Old Dog New Trick Thing... I've found the learning curve on new stuff is pretty steep for me.

But, I got myself on Bloglovin' and easily transferred the blogs I read to that site... actually, I really didn't have to do much... Bloglovin' made the set-up extremely easy.

So, now I am learning to navigate Bloglovin'.

The downside to Google Reader was that I would go weeks at a time without viewing the actual blog of someone... When you don't see the blog, and the changes, or the layout... you lose out on the whole blog reading experience. Seeing someone's actual blog is, by far, better.

The downside to Bloglovin'? Well, I found a major issue yesterday. I was looking for a blog post on a certain recipe. On Google Reader, if I wanted to find something like that, there was a search button. Easy.

On Bloglovin' I found a search button and entered what recipe I had seen. I quickly realized that the search button on Bloglovin' only searched for blogs with those words in their blog name. Not what I was looking for.

So I had to go back through dozens and dozens and dozens of blog posts to search for the recipe. I really couldn't find it... But I realized I could still go back to Google Reader and search for it there!

Now I've figured out a little trick.... As I read through blog posts that have a recipe or  some other thing I may want to find again, I hit the little "like" button by that post on Bloglovin'. Later if I want to find something, I could just look through all the posts I've liked.

Unfortunately, all those cute, young, thin bloggers post an awful lots of stuff I like... so, in reality, I may never find that one project in the huge number of posts I have liked... But for now, I'm holding out hope that this will work for me.

Follow on Bloglovin

If that blinking Eiffel Tower hasn't given you a seizure yet... just click on that blinkin' thing to follow me through Bloglovin'. I don't actually know if that will work... but if not, the blinkin' tower on my right sidebar should work.

Well, enough of that.... time to finish my drink, head to Target, and get to my cooking class! What a great day.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Anonymous Affirmations (Part 2)

Here is the rest of the post I wrote yesterday... a few more wonderfully affirming anonymous comments... and my thoughts on them:

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I try pretty hard to be "a amusement account it." And, what can I say about "Glance complex to far brought agreeable from you!" That makes perfect sense to me.

Also, I would think the best way to keep in touch would be for me to give you my home address and have you stop by... We could have drinks on my porch. Wouldn't that be nice?

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Glad I'm able to see that thing is maintained over here... or whatever...
And, I'm sure we in order to hangout in your online casinos we would all love to give you our credit card numbers... along with expiration dates... oh, and the CVC code from the back... because.. you, my friend, couldn't possibly be anything but legit.

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I'm so glad that you "digg" my site... Thanks for telling me I am doing an incredible job.

I would love to click on your tips for picking up women... too bad you don't have tips for picking up men... I'm sure many of my readers would be interesting in that... Am I right?

So after all of these comments, I find myself with a couple of options...

I could change my settings to allow anonymous comments on more recent posts only... I actually did that a couple of weeks ago... and I was still getting a ton of anonymous comments on the recent posts.

I could eliminate all anonymous comments... someone recently suggested that to me... but I decided against that for now. Why? Because I know I have a lot of people that read my blog who don't have accounts through Google, WordPress, LiveJournal, or any of the other things listed... I don't think they could comment without one of those things if I don't accept anonymous comments.

Do I get a lot of comments from those people? Well, ah..... no. But there was this one time... and it was a really sweet comment... maybe it even happened twice... Hmmm....

Maybe I should just eliminate all anonymous comments...

But I will give it a little time using word verification...but, maybe just a couple of days.. since word verification is so frustrating...

Except when it looks like this... then it's just really funny:

Have you ever gotten these same anonymous affirmations?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Anonymous Affirmations (AA?)

Yep, yesterday I finally changed my comment section to include word verification.

I actually don't really like word verification... in fact, I despise word verification. Whenever I comment on a blog and the word verification pops up... I always say aloud, "I hate this." Really.
Why do I hate it? Because I have old eyes... I can't read those hanky (Thanks autocorrect...) jenky letters. And, sometimes those numbers are so faded... I enlarge my screen over and over... and sometimes I still can't decipher those letters or read those numbers.

But I need to try this for a little while... because I get sooooo many anonymous comments... and even though, I mentioned yesterday, some of the comments are extremely affirming and very polite.. there are just too many of them.

I thought you might like to read a few of the wonderfully kind and extremely affirming comments I've been receiving... Here's one:

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Thanks, Anonymous. Yes, I'm really good at "doing any unique trick"...  and "website loading velocity"??? well, I majored in that in college. I'm so glad you think "the contents are masterwork"... whatever that is.

I think your link to payday loans looks totally legit... I'll get on that. Could  I email you my social security number?

Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
Extremely helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such information a 
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My web blog: legitimate ways to make money from home 

Thank you for" checking constantly this blog"... Good luck to you, too... especially with your "legitimate ways to make money from home." I'll be sure to check that site out... hope you don't get arrested.

This is one of my favorites:

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deѕіrеs to be avaіlаble that іn detail, thuѕ thаt thіng 
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Yep, it is important "to be available that in detail"... especially when "some one searches for his required thing"... Not even sure I want to think about what "his required thing" would be... or why it needs to be searched for... Loretta Bobbitt?... Hmmm... Any thoughts? 

Also, if I'm ever in the market for a hidden camera? That is definitely where I'd go.

What's up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this post i thought i could also create comment due to this sensible article.
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Kavin, your homepage sounds like something I won't be needing... especially because I don't actually have a payday.... or live in the UK... But if I visit, maybe we could have drinks... if you buy... with all your money from your payday loans deal...

Oh, and Kavin? You are a dirty rotten liar. This is not your "first occasion to commenting anywhere" as you have sent me this identical message about half a dozen times... Get your sorry story straight.

Well, I'm thinking this post is plenty wordy... but I still had a few more comments to share. 

I will write more on Thursday... or maybe tomorrow... who knows? 

Just check back for part two and for an explanation of why I've decided to try word verification instead of just not allowing Anonymous comments... I really do have a good reason! Well... I think I have a good reason!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

It's Monday... which isn't all bad... family members are back at work and/or school... and...

I'm linking up with Kati and Kate to bring you the news of my weekend:
Incorporating Color

The Good:
My unexplainable sore knee felt better on Thursday.
The Bad:
My unexplainable sore knee felt worse on Friday.
The Ugly:
I worked out Thursday morning using Turbo Fire... apparently, exercising helps my knee feel better. Dang.
 (FYI: That's not a picture of me... honestly.)

The Good: 
I get a ton of comments on my blog.
The Bad:
A majority of them are from anonymous commenters... who appear to be spammers...
The Ugly:
I had to enact word verification... Sorry about that. I despise word verification... but I also hate getting twenty comments a day that are ridiculous... very affirming, but ridiculous, nonetheless. Hopefully this will help.

I actually got this one right the first time!!!

The Good:
It's NCAA tournament time! I love March Madness!! We always do grids... lots of fun.
The Bad:
Gonzaga is already out.. that's unfortunate. (But Kansas is still in it... I think I picked them to take it all!)
The Ugly:
We've eaten a lot of jelly beans.
Every year we taste test a lot of different brands during March Madness.
The Good:
We have plans in place to go visit Kati for Easter!
The Bad:
There are so many details to figure out and so much to do this week before we can leave town.
The Ugly:
I feel guilty about not being here to have Easter dinner with my parents... but... they say they are fine with that... so I will, eventually, get over it.

Hope your weekend was nice. What are your thoughts on word verification? I'm just curious...

Friday, March 22, 2013

High Five for Friday

I was hoping to have had a wondrous Thursday afternoon and evening... and thought that several of the things I did would make the top five for my week...

My original highlights were going to be:

1. The Angsty Teen's concussion continues to improve...
2. I went to an iTunes class...
3. I attended an iPhoto class...
4. I went to Happy Hour at Kokomo at the Mall of America...
5. I came home in time to go to supper at my favorite Mexican restaurant with two of my wondrous friends.

However, yesterday my day didn't go anything like I had planned it to go. Dang. Really? (I'm trying really hard not to sound like I'm whining or complaining... but... it's a little tricky...)

The Angsty Teen came home from school early... because she was sickish. I had my dad at the Physical Therapy department of the hospital and I saw I had three texts...

  1. The Angsty Teen wasn't feeling well. 
  2. The Angsty Teen was in the nurse's office. 
  3. The Angsty Teen wanted me to call the school... because she wanted to come home.

Inside my head... and maybe outside... I'm not sure... but since I got a few strange looks from people, it might have been outside my head... I screamed, "Nooooooooooooooooooooo!"

It is entirely possible that they were giving me strange looks because, apparently, I had grabbed a makeup brush that I use for eye shadow... but had put in the wrong area of my makeup table ... and is identical to a brush I use for my color corrective powder... and used it for my green color corrective powder that morning... I guess it had smokey brown eye shadow on it... and my nose may or may not have looked a little dark...

Anyway, long story short... wait, it's too late for that already...
  • I didn't get to any computer classes... 
  • I didn't get to go to any fun Happy Hours... 
  • My friends decided to meet tonight for supper instead... and I'm not able to join them... Dang.
So here is a new list of the highlights of my week:

1. I survived the In-Law Invasion...

Yes, the Stern German's younger brother looks a heck of a lot like him... and they sound alike as well. Several times during the evening I would hear my husband say something while I was working in the kitchen and I would think, "Really? Since when does he think that?" But, then I would realize it wasn't him talking...
I'm going to assume they were trying to look like idiots... but you now what they say about assuming...
2. My house is pretty clean...

Unfortunately, it won't stay this way forever... but it sure looks good right now... well, the living room, dining room, kitchen, and main floor bathroom look good... Don't look in the Angsty Teen's room... or the office... or the laundry room... or.... well, you get the idea.

3. I was able to get an egg to stand on end for several hours this afternoon:
I thought this was because of the Spring Equinox... but I guess it depends at which website you are looking. Some claim you can do this every day of the year. Maybe that's true, I've never tried it before... I'll give it another shot this weekend to see.

4. We might get to go visit Kati for Easter!!!!

My mom thought that would be a great plan for us... but I still feel guilty leaving town for a holiday since my parents live here...

This trio of pics sums up my daughters'  relationship with each other quite well...
5. The Neti Pot is the Angsty Teen's new best friend.

She would not agree with that statement... but that's a post for another day...

Have a great weekend! Join back up with me on Monday when I link up with Kati and Kate to tell you about my weekend in:
Incorporating Color

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In-Law Invasion

Tonight all, well... nearly all, of my husband's siblings and their spouses descended upon us for the evening. They were going to talk about their dad's health.

I can't really say "all" of his siblings because his youngest sister (who is ten years younger than him... yep, seven kids in ten years with two miscarriages thrown in there... can we say "busy?")...

Anyway, his youngest sister doesn't have anything to do with the family. She only does what God tells her to do... and apparently, God tells her to ignore her family... even her mother... yep, that sounds Biblical... even when her mom had just weeks to live... and God tells her not to cash her Christmas checks... and He tells her what to make for supper... and...  Well, you get the idea.

When Kati was little she wondered what this aunt would do if she had to go to the bathroom and God said, "No." Kati asked me if her aunt would just wet her pants... Kati was pretty wise way back at the age of five.

Anyway, they all came for supper... and the Stern German told them not to bring anything... Really? Why would this be a good idea? When I asked him... he was, suddenly, unsure. But to his credit... he felt bad that he had said that... and he cleaned like a banshee... Not really sure if banshees clean... but you probably get the point that he was cleaning himself out of a corner... so to speak.
I love this picture so much I thought I would include it again...
I made three different kinds of soups this afternoon... Wild Rice Soup, White Chicken Chili that is really reddish... but it has white beans in it, and Sausage, Chicken, and Shrimp Gumbo.
Perfect for a blustery, Minnesota night...
We went through several pitchers of delicious margaritas before the meal... and with our soups...

And for dessert we had mini cheesecakes... plain cheesecake with cherry or blueberry topping and chocolate cheesecakes with chocolate ganache... After everyone left the Stern German said the cheesecakes were really good...

Huh... imagine my surprise since these are the exact same cheesecakes I made to give my stepson and my stepdaughter's husband for Month Two of their six month subscription to my Dessert of the Month Club I gave them for Christmas...

And, a few weeks ago, when I made them... the Stern German and his apparently not-so-discriminating palate... said they weren't very good... So, since I didn't want to give them something that wasn't my best... I didn't give those guys their desserts...

I just stuck them in the freezer... until tonight...
Why did I listen to him? Now I still have February and March desserts to  make...
So now the dishes are all done, one of the Stern German's brother-in-laws helped with some of the kitchen cleanup... he was avoiding the conversation... I can't say that I blame him... It's an interesting mix of personalities.

I think everything is put away, the garbage is taken out, the recycling can go out tomorrow...

Now I need to get ready for bed... it's pretty late...

But... there just happens to be a half of a pitcher of margaritas left...

Suddenly, I'm feeling quite thirsty...

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What We Made Wednesday

I'm wondering what I've made lately that I can use to link up with Dawn from Mom-a-Logues for her "What We Made Wednesday" linkup. Dawn is a fellow Minnesota Blogger. I've only met her once at a Minnesota Blogger get together... I haven't been able to make the last few meet-ups... but I have enjoyed getting to know her through reading her blog.

So, what have I made lately? I think this is a good time to show you our traditional St. Patrick's Day feast.

Every year for a very, very, very, very, long time... maybe about 20 years... I have made green brownies for St. Patrick's Day. How do you make green brownies? With lots and lots and lots and lots of green food coloring... in the batter.... and in the chocolate frosting...

Sometimes they look like a beautiful emerald green... sometimes they look like goose-poop green...

And, the funniest part of this whole dessert is that food coloring doesn't break down in your system... so, in a few days you, pardon my bluntness, poop green. Probably not the healthiest thing in the world... but it's just once a year.

In fact, we kind of have a little family contest to see who poops green first every year. (It's never me... I'm not a fan of how the food coloring tastes... The Angsty Teen would like to be the winner.... but, usually, it's the Stern German... probably because he eats so many more of them than she does...)
This year I used cream cheese frosting....
This year I added a little less green food coloring to both the brownies and the frosting... and I started with cream cheese frosting... instead of chocolate frosting... hence the weird frosting color. Usually it is a deep emerald green. The white frosting? Well, I made Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting for some of the brownies.... soooooo good!

About five years ago for Kati's college spring break her freshman year, the two of us flew to Denver for the week. We had a blast doing Denver-y things, seeing some friends, and taking a cooking class together.

The theme of the cooking class was Irish Foods. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the theme... Italian would sound so much better... or French, or... just about anything except Irish. When I think of Ireland, their cuisine isn't the first thing to come to mind... So, I was a little unsure about the class. (Potato Famine, anyone?)

The class was a lot of fun and the food was, surprisingly, tasty! A tradition was born... well, a few additional foods were added onto the previous menu of my traditional green brownies Now I make Shepherd's Pie and Irish Soda Bread, too.

Since I couldn't quickly locate the recipes from that class this week, I found other recipes online.

I made Rachael Ray's 30 minutes Shepherd's Pie recipe... I kind of followed it... and it was delicious.
Lots of mashed potatoes to top it... 
You can make the mashed potatoes way in advance... in saves all the last minute prep work. Other changes I made? I used antelope meat instead of beef or lamb. It's just a little stronger flavored than beef... so it's kind of like lamb! (This recipe would be easy to make gluten-free... just use a g-free thickening agent instead of flour... and make sure the Worcestershire sauce you use is g-free as well... Lea and Perrins is gluten-free.)

I used an Irish Soda Bread recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.
I used Craisins instead of currants.

As you can see, my bread was doughy at first... I had to bake it a lot longer than the recipe said... so... it wasn't all that great. Maybe my oven temp is off. I'll have to check that. I didn't throw it away... I'm thinking that it might make pretty good French Toast...

So, that's what I've made lately... It looks like this was supposed to be for something "we" made... I haven't made much with the Angsty Teen lately... except we did make fun of some people together... Does that count?

I'm pretty sure I can still link up...

Father/Daughter Bonding

I had always hoped... and hoped and hoped and hoped... that the Angsty Teen would like hunting... with her father. I imagined her going on hunting trips with the Stern German. They could bond over their mutual love of the great outdoors and providing meat for the family...

I pictured quiet weekends at home... all alone... with a good book, a box of wine, and some delicious appetizers... I'm kind of an idiot.

Once the Angsty Teen completed her gun safety class... and it was time to go out and practice shooting.

The Stern German took her out to the shooting range. He was... well, appropriately so, concerned with safety, first and foremost... The Angsty Teen? Well, not so much.

Maybe he was being overly stern... but she was probably being overly spastic... hence the problem. The result? The Angsty Teen refused to ever go out shooting with her dad again... Pretty sure if you won't go shooting with him... that means those hunting trips are never going to become reality.

I came to realize that I would never enjoy quiet weekends without them on a regular basis... Dang.

I have tried to introduce activities that the two of them could do together... But, while the Angsty Teen likes spending money, the Stern German likes to save money. They like different music, different foods, different activities. One of them is ridiculous (can you guess which one?) and one of them doesn't have a ridiculous bone in his body. (I'll bet the word "his" gave the identity away on that one.)

I've tried introducing the idea of the two of them going to a Father/Daughter Retreat at our church denomination's camp... The Angsty Teen didn't think that sounded like fun...

It has been difficult to find something for the two of them to enjoy together... Imagine my surprise and utter happiness when this occurred:

They found something they enjoyed... together! Watching Duck Dynasty!!!
They laughed and laughed together...
This is a perfect thing for them to share... it appeals to the Stern German's love for all things outdoorsy and hunting-related... and it appeals to the Angsty Teen's innate sense of ridiculousness.

Unfortunately they watched it on a computer in the living room... which was way too close to the kitchen where I was hanging out....

But, while they watched Duck Dynasty on Saturday night.... I made tacos, queso, and refried beans for supper.

I also made myself margaritas... apparently, in really small glasses... Those glasses were empty way too quickly!
Now you see it...
Now you don't!
I'm glad that the Angsty Teen and the Stern German found something fun they can do together... something that they can both enjoy.... laugh at... and bring up in their day-to-day conversations.

I wonder if they ever have a week long Duck Dynasty convention?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

It's time for me to tell you about my weekend... I'm linking up with Kati and Kate to bring you:
Incorporating Color

The Good: The Angsty Teen's concussion is getting better... 
The Bad: It's only getting better a little every week...
The Ugly: Her activities are still limited... and her orneriness is still prevalent.
Weebles wobble... but they don't fall down!

The Good: Winter drumline is over for the year! (I really enjoyed it... but it's nice to be done,)
The Bad: I won't need to buy/use as many Groupons/Living Social deals for the Mpls/St. Paul area...
A delicious burger and sweet potato fries.... a tender ribeye steak.... and a lot of fun, unique beer at
The Herkimer micro brewery in Minneapolis...

The Ugly: We probably won't get out of town on a hot date for a while...

Well, as far as St. Patrick's Day goes... It was a bust. We had tacos for supper. Why? Well, the Shepherd's Pie, Irish Soda Bread, and green brownies just seemed like too much work... (We will have them tonight...)

Especially since the Stern German was...
The Good: Helping me with the deep cleaning of the living room....
The Bad: Because his family is coming here on Wednesday for supper....
The Ugly: I thought we would get tons of work done on Sunday... but that doesn't happen when you don't get started until 4 pm...  Dang. I just hated to stop the progress we were making to cook a big supper.
I was taking a Wine Break! He was cleaning the mopboards.

Hope your weekend was good... the Angsty Teen's weekend was extended with a Snow Day today. 

I'm heading out in the storm to take the diabetic, geriatric, bariatric blind guy to physical therapy...  better wear some serious winter gear.

Friday, March 15, 2013

High Five for Friday!

It's been a good week. Everyone at home survived without me for a few days... yay!

Here are five of my highlights from the week:

1. I survived my great Snowstorm Adventure of 2013...
When I drove home from Omaha yesterday, the roads were fantastic... even though earlier that morning that Stern German had driven to work in whiteout conditions!
2. I had a blast with Kati... but, then again, I always do!
$3 Lone Star Teas? Yes, please.
3. When I got home yesterday, we celebrated Pi Day with....
Happy Pi Day!
4. I spent the evening last night at the high school listening to music groups sing in our local contest...okay, maybe that part wasn't a highlight of my week... it was kind of a long night... and I was tired...

Let me do #4 again...

4. The Angsty Teen gets to go on to the next competition in all three of her events.
Nice job, Angsty Teen!
5. I discovered bump, thanks to Kati.

Have you used this website/app yet? It makes sharing photos so easy... I transfer them to my computer by bumping my phone to the space bar... or I can share them with someone else who has this app on their phone... just by touching phones.

I think iPhones have some feature like this... but I don't have an iPhone... so this is fantastic! Click here to go their site.

So, those are my highlights. Today, it is back to the real world... dang...

  • My dad needs to work out. 
  • My mom needs things from the store. 
  • The back seat of their car is flooded from rain and needs to get clean up and/or into the dealership. 
  • I need to unpack. 
  • My parents will want me to eat lunch at their place.
  • I need to wash my car. 
  • I need groceries.
  • The Angsty Teen will want to go out driving... 

I think you get the picture...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

All Good Things Must Come to an End

My spring break time with Kati is ending today... time to drive back home... to my real life. Dang.

If you'd like to read a brief list of what Kati and I have done over each of the last four years for her college spring breaks, click here.

This year we chose to stay put... in Omaha. Based on the snowy delay I had on the way down, it was good we weren't trying to arrive anywhere at a specific time!

We planned our Omaha days around workout classes, food we wanted to make, and the restaurants where we had deals. (And, maybe, just maybe we planned parts of our days around wine and a cocktail or two...)

I had bought a lot of Groupon and Living Social deals to use in the Omaha area. We had deals for a burger place, Indian food, a coffee place, a fancy restaurant where we had sushi, and an eclectic cowboy restaurant.
But now... it's time to leave. All good things must come to an end. I've enjoyed a reprieve from having to use The Kit... although it almost would've come in handy when I was stuck in my car in the storm...

Hey, Angsty Teen, I'll see you in a few hours!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sleeping in Church

If you are a church-going kind of person... chances are you've seen someone sleep during church... or maybe you've fallen asleep in church?

The only time I dozed off in church was when we had gotten home from a marching band competition at 4:30 am and had gone to church a few hours later.

I was doing okay, until I forgot it would be a bad idea to close my eyes during prayer... Kiss of death. Closed my eyes... fell asleep.

Anyway, last Sunday night I slept in church... and there wasn't even a sermon or homily to lull me into slumberland. (No... I wasn't shopping for furniture... Focus, please.)

While I was stranded at the truck stop, the announcement was made that local churches were opening their doors for stranded travelers. I didn't jump on the opportunity right away... because I kept thinking I would get out of there. After all, I was only an hour from Kati's place...

After sitting at the truck stop for many, many hours and hearing that announcement several times, I finally decided to get directions to go to a church. I was gonna have to spend the night in Iowa.

I  found a Presbyterian church that was lit up, grabbed a few belongings, and ran inside. (Using the term "running" quite loosely... after all, I'm old, I'm chubby, and it was really snowy... lots of deep snow.)
They had brought in a lot of blankets.
The people were kind and welcoming. They had lasagna and sloppy joes along with all kind of beverages and snacks. (I was hoping for a little communion wine... that's why I didn't go to the local Baptist church... I hate grape juice.)

There were people spread out all over the church... I was able to get a spot on a ever-so-slightly padded pew... and about 11 pm I was ready to get some sleep.
I hadn't taken into account what it would be like sleeping in a room with dozens of people.

I hadn't thought about the coughing, the sniffling, the nose blowing, the farting, and... the snoring.

Oh, the snoring.

I used to have earplugs in my travel bag... but after hauling them around for years and never using them, I took them out. Not a good decision.

I didn't have any earbuds for my iPod, because I don't ever use them.

I didn't have my flask, because... well, I really just keep it at home... in a drawer.... I'm a smart one... not.

This is what's on it:
Travel advice? Bring your flask
After a while I laid my winter hat over my ear that wasn't buried in the pillow and set the sleep sound app on my phone to get some white noise.. and I fell asleep holding my phone by my face...

 I fell asleep for an hour... and them I woke up... and again had to try to fall asleep with all of the coughing, the sniffling, the nose blowing, the farting, and... the snoring.

I actually took the cougher a cough drop in the night... I offered it t him. He said, "Oh, I have a whole bag of cough drops." I wanted to say, "Well put some in your damn mouth then." But I'm from Minnesota... we're nice here.

I ended up waking up every hour or two... and working hard to get back to sleep. I got a few hours of sleep. The wonderful people who cared for us made us sausage and pancakes for breakfast. And, later in the morning the highways were safe enough for us all to travel.

So, thanks, to the people of The United Church of Avoca in Avoca, Iowa. You were wonderful hosts...  very kind and hospitable. (No, they will probably never read this... I'll have to write a Thank You note.) You thought of almost everything that we would need...

But, next time could you stock up on some ear plugs?

And some Breathe Right strips?

Or maybe a few CPAP machines?

And, please, could we crack open some communion wine?