Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sewing projects

I like sewing. I have sewn clothes before. Who could forget this moment?

Hahaha…that’s when I did “Little I” at NDSU when I was a senior. That event is called the Lamb Lead and it entails making a garment out of wool, making a matching blanket to represent your sponsor, putting the blanket on a lamb, and showing the lamb. It also entails an interview with the judges prior to the show and a written test about the wool industry. It was a blast. I always wanted to participate in Little I since the first time I attended my freshman year of college. It is a spirited event dedicated to agriculture. Afterwards there is a dance in the arena and after THAT everyone would stay up all night partying.

When I was a junior I got a work study job sewing theatrical costumes for the theatre department where I expanded my sewing skills beyond the home ec sweatshirt I made in middle school and my senior year I decided it was finally time to do the lamb lead. The sewing a garment out of wool was the easy part…the part about showing an animal was the hard part! The lamb lead was different from other events because the competitor didn’t have to spend the time maintaining and preparing the lamb (which, by the way, was a full grown sheep that was still considered a lamb because it was under 1 year old). I borrowed a nice AGR guy’s lamb that he was preparing to show and spent a few hours with him in the weeks beforehand to get acquainted with my lamb.

During those days of preparation I was exposed for the first time to what is involved in showing animals. Although I spend most of my childhood on a farm, it was not a farm that had livestock and the area I grew up in was more of a cropland type of area. Also, my county was not a big 4-H county (although it used to be during my dad’s childhood…go Garfield Rockets!) I was kind of fascinated by the preparation. The animals were washed and groomed and washed and clipped and once again washed! The black colored cows where sprayed look shinier and even touched up with paint! Some of their fur was combed into a little mohawk down their backs! While this was all going on, they just stood there like they didn’t give a crap about any of this and pooped as they wished.

On the day of Little I, there is a morning show, where the in-depth judging takes place, and the night show, where there is more pageantry (complete with king, queen and princess!). During the morning show, the lamb lead judges asked a few questions (we had already had interviews earlier in the week). I recall being asked the difference between worsted wool and wool felt (which I knew) and what the term “blood weight” meant, which I couldn’t remember (wool is measured by the American Blood Grade System. I still don’t really understand it.)

The photo at the top of the post was taken during the day show. That lamb looks beautiful! (No thanks to me!). For the night show I didn't wear that distracting scarf!

During the night show, the animals were all getting really annoyed and starting to act up. One of the lamb lead ladies’ lambs kept trying to lay down. Her dad had been in the animal area earlier and thought she (the lamb) might be pregnant! Mine was starting the be uncooperative as well and when we were lining up the heifers from the previous show paraded by, also rowdy and starting to thrash around, and got the lambs all agitated. Well, not surprisingly, I didn’t win! Hahaha. I think there were seven competitors in the event and they were all long time 4-H members who had grown up sewing and showing. My outfit, a deep purple knee length coat, was really nice. An old rancher type from my hometown area who was in attendance even told my mom it was the nicest one (and he wouldn’t just say that!) The problem was that I didn’t know how to show a sheep! Hahaha no one told me what to do! I was told, if I remember correctly, to walk on a certain side but I didn’t know. I just did what the others did. Also, apparently, you aren’t supposed to touch the animal when you are showing. I was petting mine the whole time because I thought it would calm her down! Ugh! Oh well, I didn’t care. I had a blast anyway. I had a huge cheering section too!

This was taken at KD before I went to my intervew.

There I am in action during the main event! Coicidentally, that guy in the white at the bottom is the guy who let me use his lamb! I never noticed that before now! He is probably looking away in shame at how bad I was at showing.
My fans!
I started talking about sewing because I was sewing yesterday and today. I made a few quilts and I was going to showcase them! Since this is already so long I will just show one.
I made the top of the garish monstrosity two years ago! It is composed of many of my t-shirts from college. I had previously made one of these from my old high school t-shirts and also a few for other people. This one is the biggest of them all, 5 squares by 5 squares, and I know it is waaaaay over the top and almost hurts the eyes to look at! Kind of like pictures from my college years! I put flannel between the squares and on the back so it is very soft. I knew I had to have that crazy flannel as soon as I saw it and based the rest of the quilt around it. With the front and back and batting it is so heavy and I knew sewing it together would be an ordeal so I put it off for two years. Hahaha. Well, DONE! I have to say that my sewing has improved a lot in two years! If you look up close, this quilt is full of little mistakes and puckers. That’s OK, though, it’s just for my own enjoyment. I had a lot of good times in those t-shirts! And that’s not even all of them! I kept some of my favorites to keep wearing. (Some of the ones in the quilt, especially the ones from my freshmen year, were pretty oversized compared to what I prefer to wear now so I didn’t mind parting with them). I like to search thrift stores and rummage sales for old Bison shirts so maybe one day I can make a themed t-shirt quilt!

I made this square with all the little logos from the fronts of the shirts! They were too cute to throw away!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Andrea and Kirk's Patio

This blog is supposed to be focused on homeowner related issues and projects so I will return to my original mission today to give you a look at Andrea and Kirk's new patio in their backyard! Andrea just put up a bunch of pictures of it on Facebook so I stole them to share with you!

When they bought the house it had a "pool pad" for an above ground swimming pool. It was a circular sand pit with pavers around the outside. Since they didn't want an above ground pool they used it as a fire pit instead. Recently they decided to turn it into a patio. I had no idea how much was entailed in building a patio! I wasn't there the weekend they did this, but I remember the weekend and it was really hot! A friend of theirs who is experienced in cement work helped out.
I don't know where they got this little tractor!
I also didn't know they had cement delivered! I assumed they could mix it, but I don't know anything about cement so I guess I'm not really surprised!
Here is the layout of the new patio before the cement was added. I love how it meets the steps because that area of grass was all worn out anyway.

There it is after the stones were added. It looks good! I wish I had a finished photo. They built a little brick fire pit that they placed in the middle and now it is perfect for a gathering! I saw it for myself last weekend and it was nice. It WOULD be nice if someone I knew had a pool, preferably above-ground, but I guess I can live without it! Haha.
This weekend in Bis we went to a pretty cool wedding. My two friends from law school got married to each other and they had their wedding on a riverboat on the Missourri River. It was a really nice day and a fun! It was way hot on Friday, near 100 degrees, and today it is hot and humid but yesteray it was actually pleasant! Lucky day for a wedding!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My NFL Boyfriend

My NFL Boyfriend is….Chris Long, who plays for the St. Louis Rams! I became intrigued when I was randomly watching the NFL draft in 2008. He was the 2nd overall draft pick and I thought…”hmmm, he’s attractive.” So I took interest whenever I saw the Rams on TV. You know, I don’t even know much about his stats. Like I know anything about any athlete’s stats! I’m not my brother! He’d be the one to ask about these things!

There he is at the draft, the first time I knew who he was! I was taken by the cute shaggy hair and gigantic manly neck along with the humble smile. He's like "Me? They wanted me?" Hahaha.

One evening when I happened to see the Rams on TV, I googled Chris Long and came across articles that talked about how he worked really hard to be taken seriously on his own and not just as Howie Long’s son. One said that he played four sports in high school and would spend Friday nights after games lifting weights. A pretty good Sports Illustrated called “The Education of Chris Long” covered his life in high school and college. They interviewed his future roommate who said that when he found out he would be living with him he assumed he would be a d-bag with a sense of entitlement. They roommate was a soon to be teammate and didn’t even respond to Chris’s email he sent to introduce himself because he didn’t think he’s like him. He changed his mind when they met and played together and he saw that Chris worked really hard and took football very seriously and are good friends. AWww, cute. Kind of like me and my favorite Roommate, except we weren’t D-1 defensive tackles and both of us came from farm families in class B towns and neither of our dad’s our on TV. And we already knew each other when be became roommates. Haha.

Also in my research, I learned about the unfortunate younger brother of Chris, who was just as huge of a stud in high school. While Chris is 6’3, this guy is 6’7 and weighs 280 pounds. He was also recruited by many universities for football but decided to play baseball in Florida instead. He said football wasn’t his thing (how can anyone that big not have football as one of their “things”?!) When he was a freshman he got a dui (ugh). He was moving his vehicle out of a tow away zone and wasn’t planning on going anywhere. Also, his blood alcohol level was .1 which is such a close call! Who hasn’t wondered about that before? But, on the other had, if he’s 6’7 and 280 pounds, he probably had to drink about 20 beers and 8 shots of hard alcohol to get that way so who knows! That does suck though. I remember a few times in college when I had consumed a few drinks and then remembered my car was on the wrong street or avenue for snow removal and quickly moved it a block. Anyway, then he got bad grades and had to go home and go to community college. Yikes. I hope he can salvage his talents.

Anyway, this all cemented my interest in Chris Long, even though I don’t really care about the Rams. I care more about the Vikings! And the Rams have been pretty bad lately. Come on guys! Chris can’t do it alone! Haha.

I love this picture because it really shows off the huge lineman neck. How many hang cleans with overhead push presses did it take to form that thing?

Here he is in some photo shoot for GQ magazine. Why didn't I know about this magazine sooner?

Justin, of course you know none of this is serious. Justin has been listening to my occasional Chris Long statements of love for a few years now, since I saw the draft, and is used to it. I would understand if he wanted to come on here as a guest and dedicate a post to Carrie Underwood or some hot model from the Victoria’s Secret magazine. OK, guys, I should be fair to you all after what you just had to endure...

There! Are you happy?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Although only exhibition games are going on so far, the NFL is back. I haven’t been a life long fan, but I have become more and more interested in football during the past few years. It started when I was in my first awkward weeks of law school and everyone was talking about the malpractice bowl, an annual game between the law and med schools. 2005 was a special year because some ladies decided that they wanted to play too so each school formed a women’s team. It was kind of a commitment because the teams held practices a few times a week for the first few weeks of school (the game was usually the second weekend in September).

I didn’t even bother going to the first practice because I thought it wouldn’t be for me. Later that week, I was standing in some line for something, probably for my financial aid disbursement or something, and one of my classmates who was standing in front of my in line started talking to me and told me she had been at the practice and that I should play. I wanted to make friends so I went! It turned out to be a great decision because practice was a blast! So was football! I had never really known the rules and dismissed it as boring. At high school games and Superbowl parties I spent the time talking to my friends. I enjoy the game of basketball and the complicated and tricky plays and the defensive zones. I know I’m not a bad athlete but after a disappointing time in high school I didn’t think I ever really wanted to play team sports again. I kept my athletic exploits to skiing, rollerblading, swimming and weight lifting on my own at the university wellness center. I would fill in occasionally for intramural basketball and played on a co-ed intramural volleyball team that was nothing but a disaster with the males smashing the ball across the arena and through the other games while everyone laughed at them but other than that I avoided team sports.

During malpractice bowl practice we ran drills with our coaches, who were male law students. We ran patterns and practiced throwing and catching. Then we separated into offense and defense (I went to defense because I was better at defense in basketball) and started practicing and I realized that I wasn’t bad at any of this stuff! I could catch interceptions and wasn’t as slow as I thought when grabbing the flags (this was flag football, of course, not tackle). And, the best part was, we laughed a lot! No pressure, no sneers from other players or coaches after a mistake, no eye rolls or drama. No line sprints after mistakes or embarrassment about asking for clarification. Imagine that…a team sport that was fun in every way! Well…almost every way…one of the players suffered a broken nose during practice and there were other minor injuries such as fat lips!

On game day, which was on a Friday, all the players wore their new t-shirt/jerseys to school. The ladies played in the afternoon, usually around 3. The men’s game was the main event afterwards. After that there was a party. There were always fewer fans at our women’s game but that was OK because then we got to relax and indulge in some refreshments in the stands while watching the men’s game! And by refreshments, I mean beer and mixed drinks. Who am I fooling anyway?!

My first and second years, we ladies lost and the guys won. Although the games were supposed to be flag, they always got pretty rough and since we played on the old outdoor football field on campus turf burn was a danger and everyone played in pants. We also wore mouth guards (which I hate!) after a few close calls in practice. I wouldn’t want my years of orthodontia ruined during a non-serious flag football game! During my first year game, I was playing safety and after I dove and ripped off a offensive player’s flag she punched me in the sternum and left a bruise! Yikes. My second year I actually caught an interception but right after I caught the ball the timer buzzed and I didn’t start running because I thought play ended. The med student near me knew, however, and slammed into me (I was just standing there! She could have just pulled my flag…) Haha. The guys watching in the stands thought it was hilarious.

This picture was taken by the school's PR guy who was always on hand to take pictures for brochures and the website. He took many pictures at the games and they were really good and professional looking!
My third year we owned them (the guys lost)! Hahaha! We had a Norwegian student who was a very fast runner and soccer star and she couldn’t be stopped on offense. Also, after two years of physical abuse and defeat we pulled a crazy trick play and they didn’t know what hit them. After that, the rage was ignited and the no-contact rule was disregarded as the med students started pushing, pulling clothes, grabbing the flag belt to yank people down, and stiff-arming. The officials just kind of gave up. I’m laughing just thinking about it. The next Monday at school I commented that the impossible place to tone, the area where the arm jiggles that drives many women crazy, was sore. I wanted to figure out what I had done that made that happen so I could keep doing it! It was caused by pushing offensive players. . Ohhhh yeaaaah. No amount of bench pressing has ever had that effect.

The whole team in 2005
My classmates in 2005

The whole team in 2006

My classmates in 2007. We always took a series of team pictures afterwards. We did offense, defense, each class, and the whole team. Them we had the coaches in there, and us making faces, etc. This last picture was taken at a high school because the turf was being repaired at the campus field. The grass was a relief for the knees!

At the after-party with the med students everyone usually had fun and without fail some self righteous med student would be going around to all the law students asking them if they just wanted to be a lawyer for the money (like any of them wanted to work for free!?). But there was a keg, so that was good!
After I got married I started watching more football with Justin and started taking interest in certain players and teams. I even have an NFL crush/fantasy boyfriend who I will devote a post to at a later date. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh, Allan!

I was just about to start writing about something else when I heard a noise in the kitchen. At first I thought the scrubber in the sink had fallen over but then I remembered...I had left a little tealight canlde burning on the counter. I got it as a free sample from a PartyLite saleswoman and was supposed to burn it and then answer some survey questions. Candles have proven to be a bad choice around Allan in the past because he stares at the flame and his whiskers get singed (seriously) so I haven't burned one in months.

Well, he got into this one and now there is wax splattered on the counter. I don't care about that, though. The poor kitten has wax on the bottom of his paw and I think he might have burned himself! And of course he won't let me hold him long enough to try to remove it. He is just sitting in the corner, licking obsessively. I'm sorry, kitten! You didn't know wax was hot! :(

Today was my uncle Gale's 55th birthday! Happy birthday! I thought I'd mention it because 55 is a mini-milestone birthday, and also because I have this funny picture in my stash. I mostly like how that cat is sitting and looking like it is running the show. There is a whole series of the "Skjo Bros." taken on this day and they all have this cat who is just draped over their trikes and in their arms. So cute!

I'm not sure when this was taken...probably in 1958?

Oh, look, kitty! A baby Tim!
My dad has always talked about his favorite cat from his childhood. They called him Harmon Killebrew because he would stand by 1st base when he and Gale were out playing baseball in the yard on the farm. He was white with dark "cow" spots and he must have been a good coach because they both became good players. Tim became a regular high school home run hitter and Gale pitched at NDSU after high school. I just researched the real Harmon Killebrew online and he was, apparently, a very kind and quiet guy even though he was a huge star. If that was the case, he would probably find this story amusing and cute like I do.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's 8:30 pm and, according to the Weather Channel it is 92 degrees outside. It was 104 all afternoon. It was like the the fiery furnace of Hades out there! I can't believe that during the dust bowl it was like this every day.
We didn't let the heat get us down! When our carpet was installed two of the doors in the basement wouldn't close anymore because the carpet was too high. Justin decided it was time to take care of the problem. I had to help hold the door down while he sawed. The sound was excruciating to my ears! He also mowed the lawn because he will be travelling for the next few days and the grass was getting pretty long. Don't worry, I offered to do it tomorrow if he didn't want to brave the 100+ heat but he insisted!

Justin helped my dad combine on Friday and Saturday after attending a Twins game on Thursday. I met him in Fargo yesterday. We met downtown, in a bar! I went to a bachelorette party in the afternoon and it was fun. The theme was "sporty" and we went to a winery on a party bus. The bus left at 1 pm. . .pretty long day! After the bus returned we kept at it and met up with some dudes (our husbands, mostly!) and stayed up until 2 am (barely!)

Awww, cute.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Neighborhood Fun

Our neighbors house is for sale. After a few months of “for sale by owner” they got a realtor. (It doesn’t help that our street is closed to through traffic!). During this week, there have been people looking at their house. I have been peeping at these people through the windows, pretending I need to do things outside when they are seeing the house and generally stalking them. On Wednesday morning I even decided I needed to wash my car in the driveway so I could listen in on what they were saying when they were looking around outside. Yeah, I know it’s creepy.

Good news. . .they got an offer from a couple who I thought seemed normal! (There had been another young couple who looked at the house and they looked kind of trashy. They guy was smoking in the front yard and the woman was wearing a huge ripped up sweatshirt and mens sized grey sweatpants. Who shops for houses looking like that?) So that is good for me and good for them that they can finally move on. They have three little kids under the age of 4 and have outgrown their house.

Also, this afternoon I was driving down the street and saw a rummage sale a block away. When I got home I walked over there and ran into the girl who lives across the street (she seems to be around 11 or 12) and she was carrying a kitten! Some other people were following her with a little cat carrier. I had never talked to her before today but I told her I had a cat too and she said “The orange one? I see him in the window all the time!” Awww. . .I can imagine her patiently waiting until she could get a cat of her own. The other woman with her was her cousin and had brought the kitten from her farm. The kitten is white with gray cow spots and she named him Patches. Now Allan and Patches can be window buddies! She was a nice girl. I can see a future potential babysitter!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School

Today is the first day of school at the school in my hometown. (Early, I know!) My neigborhood school here in Bis doesn't start until next week. There is an elementary school a block from our house and during school there is a crossing guard on the corner. It's cute! I love that kids still walk in this neiborhood because I recently read that only 10% of kids walk to school anymore. And now 50% of kids are overweight...hmmmm...anyway, I vaguely remember my first day of school ever, when I started Kindergarten in Wyoming. (Well, I went to preschool but that doesn't count). What I remember most is being very excited to go to school because my neihborhood best friend was a year older than me and I always wished I was at school when she was the year before.

There I am, ready to learn! I think Andrea must be jealous of my pink socks. Also, my bangs are all curled and I have a swingy pony tail and she looks all stringy!

That was 1988 and little did I know that by fall of 1990 I would be enrolling in my third different school! Crazy, huh? Before anyone thinks that this must have been traumatic and sad, I really don't remember it that way. Little 1st and 2nd graders are pretty friendly and new schools were never scary. The strange thing is that all three were so different but I really wasn't aware of that fact! The school in Gillette, WY, was a typical "city" elementary school with several sections each of grades 1-6. Then I went to a private, intertational k-12 school in Yemen, with 30 different nationalities represented and lots of outdoor spaces and walkways and where the two first grade classrooms were in thier own little "wing" surrounded by a lawn and flower gardens and the offices and library were arranged around a coutyard. Then, I went to a class B k-12 in Hatton that was like a maze, and where older kids still got excused from school early during the first weeks to help combine. It had several buildings connected together and, what seemed like at the time, a huge gym and another small gym where we ate lunch! And to go to music class we had to climb and climb up many flights of stairs! All three schools were good, it seems, because I was never behind academically after a switch.

I remember my first day of 2nd grade very clearly. My assigned desk was next to a girl with a long french braid in her hair and her mom made us introduce ourselves. Their family had just moved to town as well. Two new kids in one class! Most class B schools would be lucky to have that situation now. It was my friend Beth and we stayed friends until we graduated.

There had been a case of the dreaded head lice, so a county nurse, along with the help of whichever staff members were available, had to come into the room and comb through our hair to make sure no one had it. This made it necessary to take out any hairstyles the girls had and I recall thinking it was too bad that Beth had to have her braid taken out. (Seriously, what a pain!) When the day was over and my mom came to pick me up, a kid in my class said "see you tomorrow Maren!" and I couldn't believe he knew my name already. Then my mom told me this boy was actually my cousin, although not in the same way as the ones I knew.

So I became a member of the biggest class that school had seen in several years and probably will see again. Through 5th grade there were more that 30 of us, and we required a an unusual(for class B) split class. Our class took over the teachers' prep room for those years. In 6th grade the adventurous Mr. S. took us all into one room (scary!) and there were 28 of us that graduated in 2001. That was almost 10 years ago! I can't believe it.

This was senior year! I think it was the first day of school because I remember wearing that shirt but it could have also been after school before we left for a game.

Oh, I have to amend my post about Allen's "cousins" that I made a few days ago. . .little Murphy had a sister and my aunt took her home! Her name is Rosie. Puppies, puppies, everywhere!

So little and cute! But where are their carseats? haha, just kidding!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Year!

I knew it was around this time of year when we closed on the house and also when I started writing this blog to keep family and friends updated about our improvements and homeowner related adventures. I can't believe it! It seems to have gone really fast! I went into the archives and discovered that my first post was added on August 19, 2009 and we closed on the house on August 27, 2009. Oh, what an exciting day that was! I believe we went to the bank at 3 pm and I packed some things in my car to bring over there as soon as we were done! I brought my poor tomato plants that were not flourishing on our sunless apartment balcony that I had been worrying about all summer. I also brought a big bag of paint samples I’d recently picked up from various hardware stores and some soap and hand towels. Kind of random! I recall being very happy though and barely able to believe that we owned a house!

I was reading through my old posts this morning and reminiscing and also laughing at my nonsense! It is hard to believe that I was able to fill a year with house related projects (and of course many off-topic posts as well). Well. . .it’s time for me to wrap this up and keep my life to myself. . . if you want to see our cat and house and yard you will have to come and visit! hahaha just kidding! I have a blast writing this thing and I don’t imagine running out of material any time soon. Please, keep reading! It is actually fun to have a year of life recorded.

Now, I am going to present a retrospective of the more important posts of the year. Well, some of them aren’t important but I just thought they were funny. So we will say they are my favorites!

August 25: In this post I displayed a rug from Pottery Barn that I wanted. Pottery Barn names a lot of its furniture with “people” names and this one was named Maren! Seriously! They still have it in the catalogues!

Sept. 23: This post is not that special but I thought it was funny. I had forgotten what a mess I created for myself by trying to paint over painted furniture without sanding it first. I was trying to paint red furniture brown and it took about 10 coats and the early coats made it look like dried blood.

Sept. 24: I wrote this post when we were in the process of moving and it was devoted to the crap that I have hauled with me since my college years with my roommate, Ashley/Roommate. It still makes me laugh and I know it made her laugh so it is one of my favorites even if it is like an inside joke between us.

Sept 12: This post was short but still had an impact! I found out I passed the bar exam on Sept. 11. I didn’t write on there that day because I was too busy talking on the phone and gloating (never mind it was my 3rd try!). I remember waking up on Sept. 12 and wondering if it could really be true!

Oct 16: This post was devoted to our first day with Allan! He looks like a little baby in the pictures! He weighed 6 pounds when he came to live with us and now he weighs 12 pounds.

Nov. 27: I wrote this post after the first Thanksgiving we hosted here in Bismarck! It was the first that I hadn’t been with extended family since my family moved to ND in 1990! Only my parents and brother were there so it was just 5 of us! It was pretty low key. My mom liked it because she didn’t have to cook for 20 people for once (it was weird for me to not eat food she cooked!) Justin and I made food that was OK, I guess…

Dec. 1: This post has one of my favorite pictures of Allan! In it, he was in the Christmas tree, which is not behavior I appreciated but it was still a good picture!

Jan. 4: We went to Red Lodge, MT, for a New Years’ ski trip and to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my cousin Katie to Adam. We went out on the town every night and had a bachelor and bachelorette party for them.

Jan. 31-Feb. 11: This was a multi-post event! We were in Mexico for seven days for my cousin Greg’s wedding to Lindsay and it was pretty fun. I love Mexico!

March 7: I wrote this soon after I started my temporary job in Fargo. I can’t believe I was there for 3 months! It seems like a long time ago.

March 23: I utilized my scanner for this one. . .it was a wedding themed post about wedding dresses. It was about as girly as a post can get!

March 31: This post was dedicated to my cousin Katie’s wedding! I had three cousins get engaged in the same month (two in the same week!) in 2009 and so I had three cousins get married within a few months in 2010. It was fun!

April 6: I wrote this one after Easter weekend. It was pretty uneventful (even though Easter was also my birthday!) I really like the post because of my description of the eggs we dyed that afternoon. It still makes me laugh, especially Andrea’s egg that was supposed to look like Jake!

April 25: Oh, the garden. We were so optimistic when we planted it one weekend when I was home from Fargo! And what a strange and disappointing garden it has been!

May 2: This post was dedicated to the third cousin wedding of the year. Laura married Kevin on May 1st in Fargo.

May 23: This post was about my parents’ Fargo Marathon accomplishments. They are planning another one, possibly in Bismarck in Sept. so stay tuned!

June 7: June 6th is Allan’s birthday! He is one now, and this post is just funny because we made him a stupid little party hat that he hated.
June 14: This post features the construction disaster on my street (which is still going on! UGH!) I love the picture of the porta-potty on the corner by our house. I never did use it!

July 8: This post was dedicated to America’s birthday and a fun celebration!

The rest are too recent to be interesting to me and probably to you, so I will end it there. Oh, what will next year hold?

Sorry I didn't add pictures from the mentioned posts. . .it would take forever so you can just refer to the archives on the right side of the page if you want to see any!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Allan has a new cousin. . .Yes he has old cousins too!

This morning I was perusing Facebook, as I do most mornings. What do I see but a photo album by my cousin, Laura’s, husband, Kevin (they got married in May) and their new dog! His name is Murphy, and he is a Yorkie-Poo (that means he is a mixed breed of a Yorkshire terrier and a poodle, for those of you who aren’t informed about dog breeds!)

Allan, of course, has no idea I have a cousin named Laura, or that I have any life outside this house that doesn’t revolve around him. But I know who his cousins are! This post is dedicated to those animal relatives out there! They are so cute!

Here is Murphy, in a photo freshly lifted from Kevin’s Facebook album! What a cute little face! He looks quite a bit like their family’s old dog, Snickers, a Yorkie who lived into old age and spent his last years with missing teeth and a tongue that lolled out the side of his mouth. He joined his other old cousins in their attractive old age, including Rascal, a (mostly) outdoor farm cat who lived to be 15 and finally was put to rest as a frail, balding, tumor nosed mess (who I still loved, regardless of his appearance!) and Penny, the 13 year old golden retriever who suffered joint problems and became very good at walking on three legs during her final days. There was also Buttons, Rascal’s brother who died at age 9. He was a Holstein cow patterned cat who spent his last years content and lazy but also drooling as he lounged in the sun all day. They were all loved until the end!

Here are some of the others (that I had pictures of )!

Little Jakey! You all know him if you have been reading this for awhile. . .he is my sister's dog and a mix of a German Shepherd and Chocolate lab. He's a German Chocolate! He always makes good eye contact with the camera in pictures.

There is Wallace/Walter/Wally! He lives with my parents at the farm. I found him in the classifieds last year and Justin and I went to meet him at his old house and knew he was a good boy! His name was originally Waashi or something like that but we thought it was too weird. He is a golden retriever and, although he never had hunting dog training, still shows the instincts of one. He "points", like in the picture above, and last fall he would follow my dad around when he was hunting near our farm and when he raised the gun Wallace would sit close to his side and didn't fear the sound of a shot (unlike our previous retrievers, Penny and Chubby, who would panic at the sound of guns, thunder or fireworks).

These lovely guys belong to my brother and sister and law, Josh and Kelsey. Their names are Bison and Belle. They live in South Dakota and have a new baby around the house (Jack). They like him and are very nice around the baby! Bison is the one on the right, and I'm sorry to say, the more timid and submissive of the two (don't let any Sioux fans know that!). Belle is the female. They are brother and sister.

This is Izzy. She belongs to my cousin Kara. Look at her cute little expression! I remember the first time I met her a few years ago we were at my aunt and uncle's house in Fargo for Thanksgiving and I was laying on the floor playing with her and all she wanted to do was lick my hair! It was cute. I must have used some delicous hair products!

This is Reagan, with my cousin Brenna. "Reagedy Ann" lives in Geneva, IL, with my aunt Kris and uncle Tom.

This is Walker Texas Ranger, usually called Walker. He lives in Northern Minnesota with my cousin Katie and her husband Adam. I love this picture because he looks like a happy farm dog!

This is one of Allan's only two cat relatives! His name is Smithers and he lives with Justin's sister, Michelle, and her family. They recently adopted him from the Humane Society and chose him after he jumped on Jason's shoulder. He really wanted a family! I don't know how anyone can choose just one animal at a shelter. It is a good thing Justin picked Allan as a surprise for me because I never could have decided! They also have two dogs, Suzy and Chloe.

This is Rosco, a boxer that my sister and brother in law adopted a few years ago. He's so nice and really doofy. When he gets playful he gets so exci.ted but he also can be very sweet and mellow (like he is in the photo!)

This sweet little kitty belongs to my grandma Phyllis. Her name is Sadie, and Phyllis took her in after her neighbors moved and abandoned her (the scumbags!) Her eye is kind of crazy and the vet said it is permanent but not a major cause for concern and she still has sight. Grandma also has a little dog named Molly, who is a Bichon and I think some other breed. She is a little curly thing.

This little cutie belongs to my aunt and uncle, Karen and Terry. This was taken on Christmas Eve so she is bigger now. She is also named Chloe. That night there was tons of snow (remember the wretched Christmas blizzard?) and the poor little thing could barely walk through it! Jake and Wally had no problems, however, and tried to play with her in the snow so she had to come in out of the cold!
Wow, when I got to writing this I realized there were more animals in the family than I thought! My aunt Jenny's family, who lives in Michigan, has two dogs, a little black mutt named Clover and a greyhound named, if I remember correctly, Zoe or Chloe. Also, my aunt and uncle Cindy and Steve, who live in California have had many puppies throughout the years who live the good life and get to swim in their pool (Wallace would love to visit them!). If I'm not mistaken I believe their dog's name is Sarah.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finally! A Place of Honor!

This dignified and attractive mirror has been in Justin's office where few people see it since we moved here. Before that, it was out of place in our apartment. Now, it finally has a home hanging on the wall of the landing at the bottom of the stairs!

Very nice!

Also, I have been meaning to post this for awhile. This is probably something only women will relate to. This is the cover of the Self magazine that I subscribe to.

I have decided that I have good taste in clothing because I have almost the same outfit and I have worn it to fun occasions several times this summer!

That was taken at the street dance I went to over the 4th of July weekend. (I was posing with some high school friends and I cropped them out because I didn't know if they would like thier pictures on the Internet or not!) I actually have another striped shirt like that in turquoise like the actress on the cover is wearing! Funny. I guess I'm a follower of trends.
Also worth mentioning, on this Friday the 13th, is that it is several people's birthday! Specifically, my uncle Tim and aunt Jenny, my mom's siblings and the two youngest in her family, both share today as a birthday! They are 48 and 46. Even stranger, Jenny's husband also has today as a birthday! So do several of our friends. Happy birthday to all of you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ooooh YEAHHHH. . .

Yesterday afternoon, around 5 pm, the doorbell rang. An unexpected doorbell is pretty rare, and if it happens is usually a politician or one of the nieghbors. I ran to the front door and no one was there. Then I ran to the side door, only to find Justin, unable to open the door because his arms were full of antlers and taxidermy types of things that have been hanging in his office because I don't like to look at them. Oooooh yikes. In my delight, I had forgotten that the basement is "his" and the new room will be decorated with these items.

Oh well, whatever. . .he's excited and trying to plan everything so it will be just right. He wanted camoflage pillows and whatnot so right after he got home we went fabric shopping and bought fabric and forms for pillows and also fabric for some curtains. These items are easy to make, so I did it last night. FYI, you just cut a square (or rectangle or whatever shape you have) one inch bigger than the pillows. These were 18x18 so the square was 19x19. The you cut two rectangles for the back. They should be as wide as the front square and half of it's height plus a few inches. So I cut them each 12 inches. Then you sew it front sides together, flip it inside out, and shove the pillow in! (Of course, you have to make a hem for the back rectangles so they won't fray).

There was extra fabric, so I am going to make one more.

Here are the curtains for our little non-conforming window. I am also making these for Justin's office to replace the faded ones that were left here and are probably 30 years old.

On another topic, the impossible has happened. I am tired of eating grilled hamburgers. I love grilled hamburgers and there are so many options for making them unique! Yesterday was really hot, too hot to cook with the oven, so I searched the internet for help and discovered the concept of grilled pizzas. . .you make mini pizzas using pita bread! Add the sauce, cheese and whatever else you want and grill it for about 5 minutes and it's done! I made pizzas with canadian bacon and pineapple for Justin and for my own I added green peppers. Delicious! I took a picture. . .I usually wouldn't post pictures of food because I think they look discusting. I have read the consumer reports about how professional photoraphers paint, shellack and do all sorts of wierd things with food so it looks beautiful in advertisements and I believe it is a necessary sales tactic.

Yeah. . .not the prettiest picture but you get the idea. . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Sectional Sofa!

Our new couch was supposed to be delivered between 10 and 12 this morning so I went to the Y and discovered that, for the first time in weeks, the road construction is back in front of our house and the machinery was building a pile of dirt that was expanding toward our driveway. Ughh. Why today? Fortunately, the delivery men seemed like they had tangled with this sort of thing before and pulled right into our neigbor's empty driveway and carried the couch sections across the yard!
I had to close Allan in a room because the delivery men had the door propped open. I had to do this several times yesterday and he seems resentful. Usually, he is laying against the door when I free him, and this time he was hiding under the bed with the dust bunnies, as far from me as he could get! Don't worry, he's over it.

Yay! It looks perfect in the room! Justin picked out that coffee table last night at Target. The top elevates to make a nice computer desk and allows storage inside.

I'm sure he can't wait to add his own decorative touches. After the delivery men left, I brought some of my crap down there and snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to him as a joke. Hahaha I'm so funny.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Carpet!

The carpet is all done! It looks really nice and feels really nice! I still instinctively want to slip on sandals before I go into the basement but now it is SO not necessary!

This is the main living room area, with the leftover carpet by the wall. The room is so much nicer now, and it doesn't echo!

This is the landing area. It went from a clammy, cold tile area to this! The two guys installing the carpet thought the painted panelling looked really nice. However, it doesn't take much to make panelling look better!

Allan was kind of confused that "his" room was suddenly different. Previously, this room is where his little tent was kept and where he slept at night. He seems to like it though!
This was taken after the padding was installed but before the carpet. Oooh, those tack strips are scary! I'm glad I got a tetanus shot in July!
As soon as Justin got home from work we went to buy a new TV! We bought a TV and stand at Best Buy and I took a picture with my phone when we were loading. . .he thought it was really dumb.

There it is, set up with Justin's old speakers from his entertainment system he's had for awhile. We both agree that they look kind of out of place with this sleek setup so we'll see where they end up. They certainly improve the sound.
Our couch will be delivered tomorrow morning!
After spending all morning and half of the afternoon at home while the contrators worked, I decided to go rollerblading at the middle school track near by. I checked when football practice was starting for the year so I wouldn't end up crashing a practice. It starts tomorrow! Tomorrow's forecast includes a high of 95 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms, which lately has been forecast every day an means nothing more than very high humidity. Sounds like a blast! Have fun running the mile, guys!