Tag Archives: weekend

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:


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:


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.

Coffee tour stop #1: Bob’s Java Hut

24 Jul

So a few weeks ago, I asked friends for their recommendations of local non-chain coffee shops. This weekend, my friend SP and I started a coffee tour based on those recommendations. Stop #1: Bob’s Java Hut.

We wanted a place that had food too, because we were both starving. So we went to Bob’s and split the chips & salsa and the hummus & pita. Plus, iced cold press for each of us. (OK nerd alert: We used random.org to pick the place.)

Food! And coffee!

Huge portions! That was more than enough food to feed both of us for dinner. And the coffee was excellent. (Ignore how much cream I have in mine – I got distracted while pouring. Oops.) All that food and coffee for $15!

The coffee shop was really cool. Very old biker bar sort of feel. It’s actually got an interesting background: bikers wanting a coffee shop.

biker bar

There were pictures of motorcycles on the wall, too. I still don’t know the significance of the number 33 there, but we had fun trying to figure it out. They had the whole front wall open as a window because it was the first below-ninety degree we had had in a few weeks. Which was nice for the fresh air, but there was only one ceiling fan and nothing to create a cross-breeze, so it felt warm. Well, warm to me – I don’t do heat well. They also have a big-screen TV (although nothing was on at the time we went), and they compost! Which is awesome. And so easy to do.

All in all, I think it was a great start to our coffee tour. Of course, SP and I can make any coffee shop a great stop just because we can chat for hours. But this one was cool: local, great food, good coffee, interesting/unique/fun atmosphere, very chill and relaxing. Can’t wait for stop #2!

Adventures in dogsitting

6 May

So a month ago, I dogsat for my friend WH. Now, normally dogsitting is not that big of a deal right? The difference here is that she has two dogs who HATE each other. They cannot be in the same room with each other at all, or a big fight will start. So there’s a whole system of babygates and closed doors to keep them apart. But if they got together without anyone there to break it up, they would probably kill each other.

No pressure right?

Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about this. Every time I left that weekend, I was worried I had missed a door or a gate, and I’d come home to find a dead dog. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

Individually, they are both sweet dogs. One of them is silly and goofy (despite being almost 13)…


and the other is super cuddly…


Besides hanging out with the dogs, it was so nice to have a place to myself for so long. Plus, she has cable! So I got to watch a lot of bad TV – all in the name of hanging out with the dogs, right?

Apparently my friend thought it went well on her end too, because she asked me to do it again for a weekend in June. Of course, I said yes. I can’t wait. Plus, I don’t think I’ll have the anxiety every time I leave this time. So it should be good. Especially if my foot is better by then.

Weekly roundup

2 Apr

In the last two (sheesh, I’m behind) weeks, I…

*FINALLY shared some of the amazing recipes I’ve made lately, including a super one for homemade peanut cups.


My friend LG read about them and tried them the very next day and loved them.

*Had a book club meeting where we finished “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It was a loonnnnggg book, and I had the abridged version (by mistake.) I’d like to go back and read the full version someday because I do feel like I missed some details. Someday.

*Went for coffee with my niece LB who was home from college for spring break. So fun to see her!

*Enjoyed a very lovely day off, including a long run outside. Well, long for me…about 2 miles. Slow (about 10:45 per mile), but still, I ran them all!

*Was all fancy and had dinner with my friend SH at a private club in St Paul. So posh.

*Saw the hand surgeon about my wrist. Surgery is scheduled for the end of May.

*Had dinner with my friend SP. And we tried a fantastic place for dessert. SO GOOD. And I could feel the diabetes setting in just walking in the door.

*Practiced at the studio. I do dance homework at home, but some things you just need the studio space for. But I hate practicing at the studio. Which is silly and ridiculous but true. My friend SH feels the exact same way, except I don’t think she practices at home. So we made a pact to meet at the studio once a week to practice. We did it last week for the first time, and it was great. Like having a workout buddy but with dance.

*Caught up with the fabulous KB over coffee. Alas, it was way too short – we didn’t cover everything!

*Took a knitting class with DF. It was great because she had never knit, and I learned some basic things (cough cough cast-on) that I never really learned properly.

*Had Easter dinner with the family.


3 Feb

I’ve been struggling a bit the last few days. I’m not sure exactly why – but I’ve been feeling just kinda blah lately. Some of it might be because I’ve worked a lot of overtime the last two weeks. Some of it might be because I haven’t gone to the gym in a while. Some of it might be that I have a dance performance in a week and this is just the usual pre-dance mental crap I go through. Some of it might be I fell on some icy steps and bruised my tailbone a little bit. Some of it might be I haven’t been sleeping well.

But I do know that I have not been using my tools lately to help. I haven’t worked out or done yoga, I haven’t eaten well, I haven’t had as much water each day as I normally do, I haven’t been writing.

So today is Super Bowl Sunday. I’m going to have one more day of bad food – because I have some great snacks to make. Then tomorrow, I’m resetting and refocusing. I’m actually looking forward to beating myself up on the treadmill tomorrow.

Most importantly, I’m refocusing my attitude. I’m remembering why my life is happy and good and how blessed I am.

But first I’m going to take a nap.

Sloth or not?

7 Jan


I’ve said it before: I think I’m a sloth by nature, so I try to fight that instinct often. But that often leaves me stuck in the middle.

Case in point: yesterday. Sundays are my only day each week that I don’t have anything scheduled (well, except church.) So I rarely schedule anything so I can get my laundry and cleaning and cooking for the week done and relax a bit. Yesterday, I was going to have coffee with SP in the morning but that was the only thing scheduled.

And I was so looking forward to just sitting and doing nothing. Maybe read, maybe knit. I was roommate-less this weekend, so I was going to just sit on my ass and veg out.

So I got up, got ready, ate breakfast and started laundry. Then I left to go meet SP; I got home from that (after a stop at the co-op) around 11:30. More laundry, then baked. Then made chicken and rice for my lunches. More laundry. Cleaned out the kitchen cupboards (the upper ones, anyway – the lower ones will need to wait for another day.) Then made baked oatmeal for my dinners this week. Wrote a quick blog post. Then I finally sat down to knit and watch some TV at about 4 or so.

The whole afternoon, I was lamenting the lack of time to sit around and do nothing. Or sit around, watch TV and knit. The lack of time to just sit and relax. And I did have a chunk of time – from 4ish until Downton Abbey started at 8. And you know what?

I hated it.

Even though I was knitting, I felt like a slug and a sloth. And it got me down a little bit. Being alone with my thoughts for too long is never a good thing. Hello, thinky place! I just felt so unproductive.

Which is nuts because clearly I got a lot done yesterday.

So I need to find this line between having enough time to sit and relax and doing it so much I feel down. I don’t want to be go go go ALL THE TIME, but apparently I need to stay busy.

baby sloth!

baby sloth!

Or maybe I just need to not beat myself up for taking 4 hours out of my entire week to just veg?

It’s Saturday night

29 Dec

…and I ain’t got nobody.

Oh Sam Cooke. Good tunes.

Anyway, having someone or not having someone isn’t my point. Because being single is fine.

Tonight, I’m just tired. And glad I don’t have to give energy to anyone else, which sounds totally selfish. Because it is. But this weekend (I don’t go back to work until Thursday – yay!) is about me. Me doing things that give me energy and relax me. Not me sitting on the couch doing nothing. I mean, some couch time and TV time is fine. Especially if I”m knitting during it. (Please oh please oh please, yarn gods, let my yarn shipment be delivered on Monday!)

But taking care of things…like blocking my new cowl (more on that later), baking, watching football with friends, going to the gym, maybe going to a movie with a friend, cleaning out my files (which I do at the end of every year), finding other craft projects, reading.

Things to make me feel better, more energized, happier, and ready to start the new year!

Weekly roundup

3 Dec

Last week, I…

*Got back to doing yoga in the mornings. OK, so it was only 3 mornings. But still, that was more than the few weeks prior to that. And it felt good, so I’m going to try to do it more this week.

*Realized that for me, dancing is so much more than just dance.

*Started getting excited for the holiday season.

*Watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


And cried. Again. Don’t judge.

*Started working on a new header for my blog. Stay tuned!

*Got stood up by two friends on two days. Both for good reasons, but still. Oh well, at least it was a cheaper weekend as a result.

*Made an egg bake for dinners this week with an ingredient I haven’t used much before…chorizo!


It’s fantastic.

*Made great progress on knitting for Christmas presents. But I can’t show you those til after Christmas. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

*Finally saw the Gangnam style video. Yes, I’m way behind the times. Just call me old and out of touch, thanks.

*Made those chocolate-covered pretzels again. And haven’t eaten TOO many of them…yet.

*Read. I finished “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” for book club and “The Lost World” just because. Now I’m on to “Jane Eyre” and “The Alchemist”. I love reading.

*Went to my first dog agility trial. A friend of mine and his wife run their two dogs – miniature poodles – so cute! Their dogs are really good.

That’s a random shot of the course. Sorry, IPhones aren’t real great for taking action shots. Or close-up shots.


The black blurry ball in front of the tunnel? That’s one of their dogs. It was a very interesting experience and tons of fun. Because at the end of the day, it’s still a dog event. And how can that be bad?

*Had two great dance lessons. Huge progress being made here, people!

*Received what might be the best text message ever.

If you don't watch TBBT, you don't get this.

If you don’t watch TBBT, you don’t get this.

Made me laugh out load and almost spit out my coffee. Thanks, AD!

Alone in a crowded room

1 Nov

It’s been a long week. Very busy at work. Which is good, but still tiring. And I think I’m fighting some sort of bug because my energy’s been super low.

I mentioned before that I had to take the week off last week from the gym to rest my shins. I went today and tried to take it slow. I think not going to the gym has affected me. I learned a while ago that working out is an excellent way for me to stay at an even keel and not go thinky. Well, maybe just not go thinky as often.

I say all that because I’ve had a moment tonight of doubting myself. Of feeling alone in a crowded room. Of not feeling adequate.

And I’m not sure exactly why. Could be the tiredness. Could be Showcase is in a week and I’m starting to get excited about that. Could be a cold. Could just be the phase of the moon. I don’t think it’s important to know WHY (although that certainly makes it easier to push through it); it’s important to just realize it and start to pull myself out of it.

Just a few more minutes of wallowing and feeling sorry for myself, and then pull myself out of it I will. I’m going to bed (early!) after I post this. Tomorrow night, I’m getting together with a bunch of ladies from the dance studio for a girls night. And then I’ll sleep a lot.

And then this weekend: dancing, getting together with friends, and relaxing. I need to set some time aside for ME to just relax: read, knit, maybe watch a movie, go to the gym.

You know, take care of me.

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