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Weekend of firsts

15 Sep

There were a lot of firsts this weekend.

I went to the north shore to see my friend JB and her husband. That was a first – I hadn’t been to visit them before. JB and I were friends in college – well, we knew each other in college. I don’t think we were close at all. But Facebook has changed that in recent years. We talk fairly often and she invited me up. And the north shore is always fun, so I figured why not.

I think the last time I was on the north shore was at least 10 years ago. I think the last time was when my ex-husband and I were up there probably in 2005? Or before? Craziness. It’s so beautiful there with fun things to do. Why has it been so long?

Anyway, I drove up Friday night after work. Last week at work was a crazy week. Between my regular job and my part-time job, I worked about 55 hours and didn’t get home before 8:00 any night. Needless to say, I was tired. But I knew we’d have a short weekend, so I figured how bad could it be?

Bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I was so tired. Just before I got to Duluth, I was focusing on how much I needed to focus on driving. Past Duluth, it’s a two lane state highway with zero lights. That was fun. Especially when the car in front of me turned off the road. So I had no one in front of me to be a guide. But I made it safe and sound and without accidents. Whew. But, another first…driving up there alone.

Saturday we went to Split Rock Lighthouse. Another first. I had never been there. And it’s kinda considered one of the top ten landmarks in the state to visit. So we toured the lighthouse – which involved for me a small panic attack about climbing into the actual lighthouse. It’s a spiral staircase. Open heights bother me – the sheer drop on one side makes me dizzy. But I couldn’t go down because there were people behind us. So I continued up. In the lighthouse, I was a bit dizzy but not too bad. My legs though hurt – I think all the muscles tensed up during the panic attack. And then we had to climb down. JB was awesome and supportive. I went slow and tried not to look down the left side.

Then we hiked. Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever been on a hike. I mean, I’ve been outdoors. But not walking and climbing on trails. There are 12 miles of trails at Split Rock; I have no idea how far we went. But you can see the lighthouse here:

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And we kept going after that and looped around back to the lighthouse.

Then we went back to JB’s house and canned. I’ve never canned before but have wanted to learn. So I was excited to learn! They canned a ton of crap every year – spaghetti sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, roasted tomatoes. I helped (kinda) with salsa and spaghetti sauce. And I feel like I learned enough to be able to try it on my own! Think of the money I could save – once I make the investment in equipment that is. Bonus: they sent me home with some salsa, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce. Score!

Sunday we went to Tettegouche state park and did a short hike. Another first – I don’t think I’ve been to Tettegouche before. Stunning views of course:

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Lake Superior is so breathtaking. And awesome in the awe-inspiring sort of way. Those of you who live on or near oceans know this far better than I do. But Lake Superior is just to big, so majestic, so POWERFUL. I don’t think I could ever go on that lake. Especially after you hear about the shipwrecks.

Then sadly, I had to leave. Drove home by myself. I stopped at Betty’s Pies – another first! I have never eaten there. But I’ve heard so much about it that I had to stop. And the pies? Well worth the hype and then some! I got blueberry and Great Lake Crunch. I didn’t keep all of them though even though I wanted to. But they’re so good!! (OMG I just found out you can buy them online!)

So it was a great weekend. And I could feel myself relaxing the whole time. The tension in my shoulders and my headaches went away. Ahhhhhh. Of course, now they’re back. Boo.

I’m looking forward to going up there again soon – JB said she’d teach me to snowshoe!

Chicago outings

22 Feb

Last weekend, I went to Chicago to visit my friends JF and BF and their kids.

My friend SP wanted to go see her friend, too, so she rode with me. I had to work Friday morning (boo) so we left around 1. First stop, coffee and doughnuts! Great way to start a road trip – caffeinated and sugared up. We talked a lot in the car – lots of secrets and analyzing life.

We hit the Illinois border around 7 or so. Both SP and I brought change for the tolls. At the first toll stop, I was shocked – three dollars!?! You can tell it’s been YEARS since I drove to Chicago. Apparently I’ve been flying there for a long time – I was still expecting the forty cent toll. Whoa.

SP dropped me off at my friends’ synagogue and took my car to go the rest of the drive to her friend’s (about 45 minutes). I stayed with my friends for Shabbat which was interesting. I think the only Jewish ceremony I’ve been to was their wedding. My friend JF translated into Catholicism for me, plus the books (I’d call them hymnals but I’m guessing that’s not the right word) were in Hebrew and English both. It was a beautiful service. Then we went to their house.

They moved into this house about a year ago, and I hadn’t seen it yet. Of course, it was gorgeous, and very relaxing.

Saturday morning, we just hung out and watch the Olympics. Then we went to lunch at a pizza and pasta place that I can’t remember the name of. Oh well. After lunch, we were going to go to the Museum of Science & Industry to see their Walt Disney exhibit. But by the time we were done with lunch, it was around 1. It would have taken an hour to drive into the city plus time to park and buy tickets blah blah blah and the museum closed at 4. So we decided it wasn’t worth it. The main reason I went to Chicago was to see them, not the city necessarily, so I was fine not going into the city on one trip.

So instead, JF and I went to a movie which I never do at home. We saw “The Monuments Men” – it was really good. I mean, how could it not be with such a great cast including George Clooney and Hugh Bonneville. And it wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but it was a good story and well done.

Saturday night, we went to dinner at a great Mexican Tex-Mex whatever place called Cozymels. (We had a great debate in the car about whether it was Mexican, Tex-Mex, or something other cuisine.) Excellent food, great table-side guacamole, and lots of good conversation and laughing.

Sunday, SP and I left around 1:30. It took us about 7 hours to get home – silly Wisconsin drivers who go the speed limit and don’t get into the right lane.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I so needed to get out of town, it was great to see JF and BF, and the time in the car with SP was so fun.

Then this week, I got a cold.

Good/bad friend

4 Nov

I’m a bad friend.

I don’t call my friends and see them as much as I would like, especially the ones outside my immediate circle of good friends. SP, MK, LS, SH, DP, ND…I see and talk to them all the time. But others, I don’t contact them as much as I would like to. For example, my good friend SS was here this summer. She lives in Asia, and she came back to Minnesota in June. I kept meaning to call and see her since she was actually within 45 minutes of me and not literally halfway around the world. I never did, and she left last week to go back to Korea. That makes me sad – that I couldn’t get around to call her and get over my slight phone social anxiety to call. FAIL.

My roommate SR moved at the end of June. I have no idea what happened, but she stopped talking to me right after that. I considered her one of my really close friends, and all of the sudden she doesn’t talk to me anymore. I even sent a message to her saying, hey I noticed this, I miss you, I’d love to know what happened, and she never responded. And I didn’t get invited to the wedding either. So clearly I did something (although I honestly cannot tell you what that might even remotely be), so clearly I was a bad friend to her in some way. FAIL.

I have a few people from high school that I’ve reconnected with on Facebook. We have great Facebook conversations, and when I see them at a random social event, they say we should get together sometime. Then when I message them to set up a date, I never hear back. FAIL.

But on the other hand…

I have friends that say I’m a very important person to them. I had two friends last week go through some sort of crisis, and for both of them, I was able to be there and listen and share my experiences and perspective. Both said I was a huge help. WIN.

I have friends that I talk to on a regular basis, and they contact ME. It’s not always me driving the friendship. And that tells me that I mean a lot to them. WIN.

I’m very loyal to my friends. And they say that I’m an important part of their lives. WIN.

I give gifts, including awesome pumpkin hats I knit for babies which look so damn cute, if I do say so myself.

pumpkin-hat

I just have a hard time reconciling these things. Am I a good friend or a bad one? Am I both? How can I be both? I know I’ll probably never have an answer to this; it’s just been on my mind a lot.

If any of you have any ideas on this, I’d love to hear them!

Weekly roundup

28 Oct

Last week, I…

*Blogged more than once! Woo hoo!

*Celebrated my dance anniversary. Four years! And what a great four years.

*Had an amazing chai cinnamon roll with coffee while catching up with my cousin at a great new coffee shop.

mmm cinnamon rolls

*Bought a very big bag of cough drops because of my bronchitis WHICH I STILL HAVE.

big-ass bag of cough drops

It’s getting better though.

*Told you about the way I listen to music and the podcasts I listen to.

*Got the lamest fortune cookie. It’s not a fortune cookie, it’s a cliché statement cookie.

fortune cookie

*Had four dance lessons! In one week! It was great – too bad I can’t do that every week. But at least I can do one a week at a minimum.

*Ate dinner with MK, which hadn’t happened in far too long.

*Finished knitting another hat for a friend of mine. Then I went through all my leftover yarn. The yarn bins are bursting – so new rule: all new projects must use yarn I already have.

(And happy birthday today to my dad!)

One of the hardest things I’ve ever done

1 Sep

On Wednesday, I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My friend LS and I took our friend to her chemo treatment.

And that was so hard to sit through.

I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I knew it’d be tough. I just had no idea HOW tough. To see all these people getting the infusions, knowing that each one was fighting cancer. And to watch my friend sit through that and be able to see her energy get zapped from the drugs. I almost broke down about 3 times. But that day wasn’t about me, so I kept it in.

I can’t imagine the strength it takes to fight that. And to deal with the aftermath of it in terms of the physical and emotional reactions to the drugs. I don’t know if I would have that kind of strength. I’m sure a person finds it if they have to, but it would be so hard to fight for so long.

(This is where you see my petty side.) I don’t know if I would have the outpouring of support and encouragement that my friend has had. I’m so thankful she’s had that! But because I don’t reach out and connect with people like she does, I don’t know that I would have that. And on Wednesday, as she was sitting there and her phone was lighting up time and time again, I felt a bit envious. And then bad for feeling envious. I luckily avoided the thinky place about it. But it’s just a difference in personalities – I have a few friends because I’m shy and quiet, she has lots of friends because she’s so confidant and outgoing. I know the friends I do have would be supportive. I just sometimes get envious of people who have lots of friends. Or a core group of friends. But I’m thankful for the friends I do have!

End pettiness section.

So I pray often for my friend and her battle with cancer. Her prognosis is good. And we’ve become closer as a result of this, I think. Which is awesome because she means a lot to me. And I will go to any other chemo treatment or any procedure or doctor’s appointment she needs me to be at without any problem. I hope she knows that. And that she can ask for anything from me. Because I want to help her fight this and beat it!

Weekly roundup: staycation edition

19 Aug

Last week, I had a staycation. I took the week off from BOTH jobs – haven’t done that in the four years I’ve been working two jobs. My goal was to not be a sloth and just sit on the couch all day every day. I wanted to be deliberate in what I did each day. I also wanted to try to break my TV habit.

I set out a plan of things I would do every day: Run, yoga, read, knit, and dance practice. Then I figured out the other things I wanted to do. Because I’m nerdy, I made a list.

staycation-list

So what did I do?

*I ran four out of five days. Including my first two-mile run without walking since I broke my foot!

*I did yoga four out of five days.

*I read. A lot. All I have left on my reading to-do list is finish “A Passage to India” and reread “Anna Karenina”.

*I purged. Took a bag of books and bag of CDs and DVDs to Half Price Books and made $30 on it all!

*I packed. My parents and nephew came over on Wednesday morning and helped. My mom packed my kitchen, because she ROCKS at that. My nephew (with some help from my dad) hauled everything out of the basement for me. I was afraid to do that because hauling my bike out of the basement is how I broke my foot.

half-packed

*I finished packing everything I own except my clothes, my bathroom stuff, and my furniture. This is everything:

all-packed

I’m trying to decide if that’s still a lot of crap or if it’s a minimal amount of stuff to own.

*I practice my school figures for dance. A LOT. Sometimes I went to the studio, sometimes I did them at home. But I practiced. Four dances down, six to go! (Six? Seven? I can’t remember. That’s my teacher’s job.)

*I listened to podcasts. I was so far behind on mine. I added it up (again, because I’m a nerd), and it was about 20 hours of podcasts. I still have 3 hours left. But I used the podcasts instead of the TV all week – yay!

*I caught up on Game of Thrones. I had watched season one on Netflix. A very kind friend gave me her HBO log on so I could watch the rest. And I did. OK, so I did watch some TV.

*I knitted. Again, I’m up against a deadline, so I’m frantically trying to finish this. I’ll show you it when it’s done. But I made great progress on it!

*I did some strength training on two days.

*I biked. Twice for fun, but four or five times as a mode of transportation around the neighborhood. I biked to meet friends, I biked to the studio, I biked to the co-op.

*I had breakfast with LS, lunch with NA, dinner with MK.

*I purge my closet and took a garbage bag full clothes and shoes to Goodwill.

*I refinished some toddler chairs I had.

refinished-chairs

*I did NOT look at my work email. Not once. I kept the notifications on, so I could see if anything came through that needed my attention. But nothing looked like it did, so I didn’t open it ONCE. Proof:

emails

Yep, 88 unread messages. Sweet. Only about 30 of those are ones I had to deal with when I got back today. Thank you, awesome boss man, for dealing with the rest! I know it’ll be payback when he’s gone for two weeks next month.

*I lost three pounds!

*I got a cold. After all that, a summer cold showed up Wednesday night. Luckily it’s a minor one, so I feel OK. Just a little coughy.

All in all, it was a great week. I feel refreshed and rested and ready to resume my crazy schedule!

Blogging challenge, day 14

14 Aug

August blogging challenge, day 14: Pictures speak a thousand words – share some cherished photos old & new

Well, crap. I just packed all my pictures a few days ago because I’m moving in a week. Not to mention that I’m not a great picture-taker. And I don’t take many photos. So I don’t actually have a lot to share.

IMG_0234

My and my dog, Charlie. I had to put him down two years ago – look at that grey face! I mean, the grey face is not why I put him down, but it shows how old he was. He was my precious puppy; he was my wondermutt.

 

dinosaur moves

T-rex short-arm jokes make me laugh. Out loud. Every time.

trex-hates-pushups

Yep, every time. Even posting these photos, I’m laughing.

 

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I wish I had more and better pictures of me dancing. But I don’t. So here’s this one.

 

dance

I love this one of me as a kid with my friend JF. (I’m on the left.) It just reminds me of how long we’ve been friends. And how much I value friendships that go back.

 

girls-night-bonfire

This is a bunch of my friends from the studio hanging out one night. These women mean the world to me.

That feeling

30 Jul

That feeling when you’ve spent the evening with friends you absolutely love with lots of laughter and dancing? When you’ve feel good about yourself because of how awesome your friends are? When you have a magical evening because of how blessed you are to have such amazing people as your friends?

Yep, that was tonight. And that feeling? That’s how I feel right now.

Love you, my friends!!

Make ’em laugh

19 Jul

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The prognosis is good, but it’s still scary. She’s choosing to use humor as part of her treatment – meaning she wants to remember to laugh. So I thought I’d give her my favorite movie and TV clips that always make me laugh. I don’t know if they’ll make others laugh, including her, but it’s worth a shot!

Oh Donald O’Connor. Comic genius. Vaudeville roots, obviously. And this is from one of my favorite movies…Singin’ in the Rain.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Just say that line, and my brother and I will start laughing.

I heart “Psych”. And Shawn Spencer. And Gus.

Groucho. And his brothers. ‘Nuff said.

I love Will Farrell. And this scene still makes me laugh out loud.

While I really enjoy Cary Grant dramas, he started as a comedic actor, and I think he excels at it.

I can watch episodes of “Friends” over and over and over.

That’s just a sampling. Welcome to my humor!

What I did on my summer vacation

12 Jun

Or at least what I did the last six weeks that I haven’t been able to do anything like run. Or bike. Or dance. Or wash dishes. Or knit. Well, OK, it was just the last two weeks I couldn’t wash dishes or knit, but still. Annoying. But really, what else can you do when you look like this?

gimpy-me
SIGH.

So what DID I do?

I went on a boat ride on Lake Minnetonka with people from the dance studio. It was fun, but it was the day after my surgery so it was a bit exhausting. I got a bit crabby, but I think it was that I was annoyed with the surgery. I was back to feeling that my life was on hold AGAIN, like I did after I broke my foot.

I started going to church again on a regular basis. I had kinda fallen out of that practice, but I really felt the need to go back. So I did, and it was great. And I started doing some bible study with two friends of mine. Which has been really interesting.

I saw a bunch of friends. I tried to stay busy and keep an active social life, since I wasn’t at the studio much and that’s a big part of my social life. I had dinner with friends, watched Sunday night PBS with MH. I saw “The Great Gatsby” with my book club. I went to Showcase. I had coffee with friends.

I worked some overtime at my day job. It’s our busy time of year, and it was completely my choice to do it. But it helped me stay ahead at work and not get so stressed. Plus I get time-and-a-half, so why not?

I dogsat for my friend WH again. She got a new cat (that makes two cats and two dogs), and the new cat THINKS he’s a dog. But look at that face!

crosby-the-cat-who-thinks-he-is-a-dog

So stinkin’ cute. I’m not much of a cat person AT ALL, but he was hard to resist. Especially when he demanded to sit on my lap and then fell asleep.

I watched TV. I caught up on Foyle’s War, rewatched Arrested Development and watched the new season, I caught up on Psych, I watched more of the West Wing, I watched all of House of Cards, I watched some past Project Runway, and I started a new series (well, not new, it aired on BBC around 10 years ago) called Monarch of the Glen. Thank you, Netflix and Hulu. You really helped me get through the last 6 weeks.

I knew I was starting to feel better because I felt like reading this past weekend. I read “The Devil in the White City”. If you haven’t read it, and you like mysteries, read it. It was really good. A little creepy because, you know, serial killers and all. But it’s well-written and a very interesting story. That’s not a story, really, as it’s describing about stuff that really happened. Non-fiction! That’s the phrase I was looking for.

And I thought. A lot. A LOT. Me with nothing to do and no physical activity leads to thoughts. Thankfully, not the thinky place. But thoughts. I realized I like working out. And I actually like running. *Shudder* Well, I like the way I feel after working out. So I know it’s important. And I know it really helps with my mental attitude. I also realized that when I go back to dance, I want to have more fun. I don’t want to get frustrated with me or my progress or my teacher. But a lot of that starts with me and my attitude. I want to just enjoy it. I want to enjoy that I’m there, enjoy that I can do it (now that I know what not doing it feels like), enjoy that I can do it well, and enjoy just the whole process. I still want to be good; I’m still driven in that regard. But I don’t want to forget to have fun. So I need to remind myself of that each and every time I go to the studio until it doesn’t need to be a conscious thought anymore.

Oh, and I also drank. And gained a few pounds. Because, you know…not doing the normal amount of physical activity coupled with sitting and doing nothing except watch TV can lead to that.

But…starting Monday, I can ease back into running. THANK GOD. Tomorrow I’m going to try biking. And then one week from today, I get to DANCE again.

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