Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I'm hanging out by the front door tending to trick or treating kids.  It is my first time handing out candy!  During school I was always occupied with other activities on Halloween and there usually aren't alot of trick or treaters in apartments.  Last year, I was in Fargo because my sister had a Halloween party.  The first kids came around 5:30 (they must have an early bed time!) and there has been a slow stream ever since.  There have been fewer kids than I expected.  I think it might be because our street has alot of traffic and maybe people like to stay on quieter streets.  It has been fun.  Lots of polite kids.  One mom saw Allan in the window and said he was a beautiful cat because of his swirly fur pattern.  I held him so all the kids could pet him. 

I love Halloween costumes.  Some of my costumes from childhood include a now innapropriate fringed Indian costume, the ridiculous clown that I featured in my last post, a slice of pizza (oh, yeah, it was awesome), a dalmation dog, a fairy princess (I think most girls are a princess at least once!) a cheerleader, and a poodle skirt wearing 1950's girl.  I wanted to describe some of Justin's costumes from childhood, but he says he doesn't remember any of them.  If he was anything like my brother and my old classmates he was probably a vampire, a ninja turtle, some WWF wrestler, and every sort of athlete you can imagine.  I think my brother was a football player 2 or 3 times.  Last night I went out and dressed like a baseball player, with my Twins jersey, knee socks and eye black.  Not hte most original or mysterious costume, but my friend Mandy and I came up with the idea the night before Halloween and it was better than wearing something I had already worn.  This evening I put on my old hunter outfit that has been worn various times to various parties by various people throughout the years.   

Allan has a costume!  I bought it on clearance last year.  It is a pumpkin, if you can't tell.  It has a little hat and collar that fasten with velcro.  He doesn't like it.  I have been trying on occasion for the entire month of October to get a picture of him in it with very poor results.  Yesterday I managed to get this shot:

 Not too bad...He usually takes his paw and swipes that thing right off his head as soon as it is on. 

Me and my buddy!  He looks so happy, doesn't he?

MMMmmmm...candy...I am actually candied out after this weekend.  At my job on Friday there was a "candy bar" where we could fill little bags with many different kinds of candy and everyone had pumpkin buckets full of candy in their cube areas.  Then I arrived in Bismarck to be greeted with this bowl, overflowing with my favorites!  (I am out of control around Reese's peanut butter cups and Butterfingers).  I am so oversugared that I actually am craving something like celery or cucumbers. 

Enjoy the rest of Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Uhhhh...what are you?

That is the question I am usually asked on Halloween because my costumes are usually odd or unable to be discerned.  I love Halloween, mostly because I love costumes.  I am kind of dissapointed in myself this year for not coming up with anything new to wear.  I am opposed to store bought constumes, the kind you buy that are in a plastic bag with a picture on the front, because they are really expensive and of poor quality.

An assortment...

This is a photo from the awesome AGR event known as Halloween Term.  Oh, this was a fun event.  Well, the part anyone could remember was a fun event.  Fortunately, there was a bus ride there and back across the country side.  The bus usually had to stop several times on the way home so people could pee in the ditch.  Hahaha.  Justin and I attended three of these events together.  The first year we were pirates (my idea).  It was sweet.  I thought so, anyway.  He doesn't like to wear a costume unless it is hunting clothes or Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots.  So...basically his regular clothes!  Haha, just kidding.  Kind of.  The next year we were this hunting couple.  That dress is actually a nightgown we got at Gander Mountain.  I can't imagine a woman really wanting to wear that for pajamas but whatev!  I love this costume because it allows you to be warm and wear warm shoes.   

Justin wasn't my first date to the Halloween Term!  !Escandalo!   Haha, it wasn't really sophomore year of college I went with a guy named Chris at the last minute because his other date couldn't come.  I didn't really know him but we ended up being friends.  We went to a second had store to try to find something to wear and came up with this "shotgun wedding" couple.  I think this photo is hilarious.  When that pillow became to annoying I "gave birth" on the dance floor.  So silly. 

 This is one of my least original costumes...a witch...yeah awesome...A witch in a mini skirt with fishnets...even better...I love this picture because of Roommate's Eminem portrayal in the front.  I burst out laughing every time I see it.  I believe this was also sophomore year (2 costumes in one year!  Fun!)  When I was looking through my old pictures I realized that I was constantly wearing stupid outfits for various reasons throughout college.  I could barely remember what was from Halloween and what wasn't!  I have a Rubbermaid box dedicated to costume's and costume accessories. 

 This was from last year.  I am a gold digger, if you couldn't tell...

This was from 2008.  As you can see, Andrea is wearing the hunter nightgown outfit and our cousin found a matching one!  I am a flapper.  I bought a cheap dress from the clearance rack at Old Navy and sewed that fringe on.  A local fabric store was liquidating their inventory before a move so I got the fringe and those pearls for really cheap.  I bought some fishnets and put a run in them when I was getting out of the car at our first stop of the night.  That would happen to me.  I remember having alot of fun on this night and for the rest of the weekend.  Halloween was on Friday and there was a Bison game on Saturday. 

Awww no....

This is too crazy!  I love those costumes!  If you can't tell, I am a Hershey kiss.  My mom sewed all of those costumes.  She sewed our costumes for years, which might contribute to my aversion to store bought costumes.  I wish I had a picture of my dalmation dog costume from when I was in Kindergarten.  It was a white flannel suit and she sewed on the spots!  Andrea was a pink kitten, with the suit sewn from the same pattern.  I believe the pumpkin and kiss are from the same pattern as well.  I have no idea (NO IDEA!) why in the world I am wearing bright pink slouch socks.  That's just ridiculous. 

YIKES!  Facepaint gone grotesque!

This is a family favorite.  I think it is from 1986.  I believe one of those suits was borrowed from a friend so my mom made another one so we could match.  I wonder where these are...I want to have then to cause my future children embarassment!  I love the pumpkin with it's circle eyes and square nose.  Nice work.

So...that is a sampling of costumes through the years!  I don't even know what I'm going to wear this year.  I think I will repeat something from a previous Halloween due to lack of motivation.  Or I might borrow something of Andrea's.  Wait and see!

Before I go, I have to mention that it is Roommate's 5th wedding anniversary today!  I was a bridesmaid.  I don't have many pictures because her wedding was right before Facebook added the picture feature.  I have pictures from her wedding on a cd somewhere, saved from my old computer.  I think I scanned this one.  

I can't believe that it was 5 years ago.  Now she is pregnant and due in  about 2 weeks!  I was hoping it might happen today but I don't think it's going to...Oh well!  Congrats to Ashley and Ben!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Bombed

The title of this post may lead you to believe that it will be a continuation of my tailgating post from yesterday but you would be wrong.  I think most people who read this live around where I live are listening to howling winds (extreme even for ND!) and unidentified bumps and crashes outside dark windows.  There is a strange sort of raging storm going on right now and it will be going on all day tomorrow as well.  According to the news it is huge and is effecting something like 1 million square miles in the U.S. and is being caused by record breaking low barometric pressure similar to that present during a category 3 hurricane.  Here up North, we will be seeing snow in the morning in combination with the wind and ice caused by borderline freezing temperatures. While we deal with that, there are tornadoes and thunderstorms in Southern areas.  On the news they called it a "bomb" which inspired my title.  So creative, I know! 

I get kind of excited by violent and extreme weather.  Well, I get excited as long as the weather is not going to ruin Christmas or the 4th of July or someone's wedding and as long as there is not a tornado aimed at a populated area.  Also, I don't get excited by the idea of hailstorms ruining my dad's crops or wrecking the shingles on my house.  But I love the electricity in the air before a severe thunderstorm.  I think it is a remnant from my lifeguarding days when the sight of lightning or a rumble of thunder required us to close early (Safety first!  Liquor store second!).  Also, who can resist the possibility of a day off from school or work because of a snowstorm (this was a much more common occasion back in the Class B world of small towns with alot of rural residents.  Nothing was more exciting than watching snow swirl outside the window of a classroom and having class interrupted by the principal's voice over the intercom announcing an early dismissal!)  And I love unusual phenomenon such as this low pressure thing that is going on now.  I would have loved that Christmas blizzard last year if it hadn't been on Christmas!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  The first day out on the roads with snow can be a scary day!

Here are some pictures from more serene days a few weeks ago when I was in Bis...I have been waiting to show off my pumpkins...

Pumpkins and flowers...

I have enjoyed having the annuals blooming during their extra long hasn't  frozen (until now) so they had a good life this summer.

I love mini pumpkins!

I have mentioned this before, but we used to plant a big pumpkin patch on the farm every year.  A few times in the rotation it landed in the "pasture" which is in sight of our house.  It was really fun for us as children and there were so many pumpkins that grew that my parents let everyone in town help themselves for no charge!  The churches were decked out and so was the nursing home.  One year my grandma and my great aunt came from MN and they tried to bring so many home that they overloaded their car and had to leave a few behind! 

The elementary school used to come for a visit so each kid could get a pumpkin and I was so happy to show off what a cool amenity we had at my house!  This picture shows my parents with one of the classes in the background. 

Here is a pretty sweet shot where you can really see the volume! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Tired!

I guess I should say I was tired yesterday from a weekend of tailgating but yesterday I was too tired to write this so I am doing it now...

I love tailgating.  I find it to be relaxing and exciting at the same time and it is surrounded by a fun atmosphere.  There are always alot of people to talk to and delicious food to eat and refreshing beverages to drink...beverages that cool you off if it's hot out and warm you up if it's cold!  (Apple Pie, anyone??)

Justin makes this nasty tailgating delicacy that he calls a "heart attack".  It is a hot dog wrapped in bacon.  The bacon encloses ground beef and pepper jack cheese.  Ohhhh my.  I admit I've never tried one.  I've never been someone who enjoys combinations of meat (like coron bleu.  Gross).  I was going to try to get a picture of this nightmare/fantasy (depending on the individual) but they were wrapped up in foil and when they were done I wasn't around our grill.  I did, however, get a picture of this similar mix of meat...

That is a "bacon explosion".  It was prepared by our friend Chris.  He found the recipe on the internet.  It is a bunch of meat wrapped in artistically woven bacon strips.  It was very dense to hold and fascinating to view.  Although I was disgusted by it in general, I thought the bacon weaving was impressive.  While it was cooking it actually exploded!  The bacon broke apart! 

It was pretty cold when tailgating started.  The game was at three, so we were able to start at 10:00 am.  Justin and I were among the first people to arrive! 

This sweet propane heat lamp is a new and welcome addition to our tailgating area!  You can see in the picture that everyone is wearing gloves and layers of clothes.  The day got pretty nice around lunch time and the extra clothes were no longer necessary.

It was a fun tailgating day because I had alot of relatives there!  My aunt and uncle have a tailgating bus with a big group of their friends (FBC!)  There was an article in a Bison magazine and I tried to find a link but the magazine doesn't have archives online.  My cousins, who are UND alumni, joined the fun this weekend.  They were good sports!  My cousins Katie and Brenna were also there as usual so we all had a good time. 

Here is a picture of everyone, except me and my aunt, at the bus having some sort of nasty shot.  I had one as was so bad it was good!   

When it was game time a group of us went to the bar to eat and watch the game.  The Bison were losing but then they started winning!  Around half time Andrea, Kara and I decided to go to the gas station where we ran into a (much) younger friend who invited us to go hang out at AGR!  So we did even though we are way to old and all of the members were at the game.  We had fun anyway, joking around and drinking our six pack and looking at old composite photos of Justin and Kirk. 

After that unexpected detour we met up with the game watchers at the Turf and the night continued times. 

Oh, those old familiar booths!

Katie/Kathy and Adam!

See you in a few weeks tailgating!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kirk's Birthday and Jakey's Party

Today is Kirk's birthday (Kirk is my brother in law, if you didn't know).  He is 26.  I am at their house right now and I took some funny pictures of him opening presents.  They are funny because of how Jake is acting. 
He was trying to get the gift bag and rip it apart...Naughty.

Then he tried to rip open the boxes... 

Hey, give that back!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Birthday Party

OK finally...the picture problem is fixed.  So...this weekend I went with my mom and sister to the twin cities area for Kara's 30th birthday party.  The party was sandwiched between alot of shopping.  It was great. 

My aunt reserved a room/suite type of thing at an extended stay hotel.  We had some hors d'oeuvres in the room and watched a slideshow.  In this photo you can see that Kara is wearing a sweet happy birthday crown.  It was a surprise from her sister-in-law, Lindsay.  They are both elementary teachers and it is what the younger kids yet on their birthday where Lindsay teaches!  It was also accompanied by a birthday certificate.  I remember how much fun those novelties were as a child.  I liked how at Sunday School you got to drop pennies into a bank (5 if you were 5, 6, if you were 6, etc.) while everyone sang.  When I was in Kindergarten in Wyoming the birthday kid got to sit on this huge block playhouse thing and the other kids would ask them questions while everyone ate the birthday treat they brought.  If you can recall that far back (Oh, about 21 years!) fruit rollups used to be just a plain sheet.  Around my birthday they started making fruit rollups with punch out shapes and I brought them for my treat.  All of my classmates were so busy peeling apart the rollups that they forgot to ask me questions.  I didn't notice because I was doing the same!  The teacher gave us a few extra minutes so I could answer some questions!  Anyway...back to the 2000s'...

 My sister and I were trying to think of a clever gag gift .  When we found out my grandparents would not be attending Andrea thought of the perfect idea!  For anyone to understand this I'm going to have to give some background information.  Do you know what Hummels are?  Hummel figurines?  They are collectible figurines that portray little children doing idyllic, old-fashioned things.  They wear old fashioned European clothes.  They cost between $100 and $200 for a little figurine about 4 inches tall.  My grandma is a collector of these items and has been for years.  When she started having grandchildren she decided she would give us a Hummel for our birthday every 5 years.  So we got one when we were born, five, ten, fifteen, and twenty. 

Imagine being a 10 year old or 15 year old and getting a figurine for a present.  Imagine being a boy and getting that (my brother and cousin Greg have them as well).  As a grown woman I appreciate the thought that went into my grandma's choices.  Since my birthday is in April, mine usually had a spring theme.  There was one called "Spring Dance" that had portrayed two girls dancing in flowers.  Another one had two girls petting bunny rabbits.  And she always gave us a "fun" present like she would any other year when we had a Hummel year.  Since I know she gave them with loving intentions they have value to me and I don't think I will ever part with mine (although I'm not sure where they will fit into my future homes.  All of my Hummels are on a shelf in our dining area at the farm and they really don't match the style of my house now.  They are really something that belongs in a china cabinet or something. 

So, Andrea mentioned that she thought it would be funny to give Kara a Hummel (I guess I should say she thought it would be funny to give her something LIKE a Hummel but alot cheaper).  We decided to go to a dollar store and buy a figurine and forge the Hummel logo on it.  We also labeled a box and gave it a name.  The two figurines they had were a woman holding a pot or a woman holding a dog.  Since Kara has a dog we picked that one and named it "30 year old girl with dog".  Haha.  When we were kids we were always advised to preserve the box the Hummel came in (I don't understand all of that collectible nonsense!) so we wrote instructions about not tearing or ruining on the box right on the front!

It was a hit, of course!  Although now we started something and I'm afraid we haven't seen the end of this "Hummel"!  Unfortunately, I am the next one to turn 30.  I can hardly wait! 
This is the figurine we bought.  I really don't know who would seriously buy something like this to actually decorate their is the cheapest looking thing I ever saw!

These are real Hummels (By the way, my grandmother loves this set and all of us kids have it.) Although not my style, they are visibly of higher quality that that other cheap piece of crap! 

When I was searching for information on Hummels I learned that they are based on the paintings of a German nun from the region of Bavaria name Maria Innocentia Hummel.  They have been produced since 1935.  I also learned that in 2009 the company who has been making them for years decided to cut the Hummel line due to decreasing demand.  But...the line was saved when another company decided to buy the necessary equipment and take over production!  (Dang...if they were not being made the value might go up!)

I was curious and looked up the value of Hummels online.  I almost spit out my drink all over my computer when I saw the price of $22,000!  HOLY CRAP!  Forget the sentimental memories of my grandmother's thoughtfulness!  I was ready to pack those things up and send them off to the Wells Fargo Student Loan processing center and do a dance of joy as the UPS truck drove away!  Then I looked closer and saw that that was the going rate for a very rare and old 32 inch tall figurine.  32 inches tall??  That's like the size of a child!  So...on the shelf they will stay for now.  This nun must have been quite the artist because there are alot of Hummels...this is a link to a value chart I found online...and "30 Year Old Girl With Dog" is not on it...

Anyway, Kara opened her gifts and then we watched a slide show of her life.  It was funny.  I especially liked the old Halloween costume pictures from the 1980's.  That was some scary stuff!  Then we went out to dinner and stuffed ourselves.  Then we returned to the suite to eat cake. 

I made the girls pose for a picture.  My cousins Laura and Kara are on the right, Andrea is in the black shirt, and the one on the end is Kara's cousin Virginia

The cake!  Well, one of several cakes.

There were several puppies at the party.  I think I have previously mentioned Rosie, Murphy and Izzy.  I took this funny picture of my cousin's husband, Kevin, holding Murphy and Izzy...I think it's funny because the dogs look huge but they are actually pretty tiny. 

It was a fun weekend.  My shopping was a bit out of control but I don't have any regrets about anything I bought yet.  My sister bought a cheap sweater at the outlet mall adn when she tried it on in the hotel room a button fell off!  That was pretty funny. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Allan's Vet Visit

I have tried several times to upload pictures to write about my cousin's birthday party and my weekend but the photo uploading on blogger is not working.  The pictures load very slow if at all.  There is a message on the website about maintenance tomorrow so hopefully they are aware of the problem.  So...I was going to write about something that didn't have accompanying pictures. 

This afternoon Justin took Allan to the vet.  He hasn't been there for a year.  He had to get some shots and get checked out!  I was really sad I wasn't there with him!  I didn't think it would be too bad because I took him last year when he was just a little kitten and he didn't even care.  He didn't make a sound when he was in his pet carrier on the way there and he didn't seem to care about being in the office around strange smells and people. 

Apparently he didn't really like being in the car this time!  Justin texted me that he was meowing really loud.  They had to wait for an hour to get in and he eventually calmed down and burrowed under the towel that was in the carrier.  Poor kitten!

He was fine for the shots and exam and didn't get scared of bite or anything.  I will try to avoid sounding like a parent after their babys' checkups (I think all parents do it, and maybe I will too...who knows?) and fixate on the details and development milestones.  (I have never heard of any baby who wasn't at least in the "90th percentile"!  I always wonder what makes the average if every kids is above average...I think 90th percentile should be the new 50th percentile.)  I have, however, been curious about his weight as recorded in a scientific manner by a doctor and not by my unscientific method of holding him while weighing myself.  He weighs 11 points and 4 ounces so that's good I guess.  He is pretty chubby but they specifically said that he's NOT obese.  YES!  Haha.  I was a bit worried!  Justin made sure to tell her that we play with him alot so he gets exercise.  He even admitted that we give him milk on a regular basis (this is supposedly bad for cats although we gave our farm cats milk and alot more and they were always fine).  She said that many cats are actually lactose intolerant but if he's not getting sick from it it is fine.  Oh, Allan, you are a lucky boy!

Justin called me when they got in the pickup to drive home and I could hear the poor guy meowing!  I felt bad.  He got a dish of milk as soon as they got home!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy 30th Kara!

My cousin Kara turned 30 yesterday.  She is my oldest cousin and the only one older than me!  I can't believe what grownups we all are!  Haha...  I went to her birthday party this weekend in the Minneapolis area so I will write about the weekend tomorrow or something.  So...this occasion calls for some pictures!

I scanned this one at my granparents' house...I thought the bunny rabbits making out were hilarious! Gotta love the 1980's...1980 to be exact!

Haha this is really cute! 

This is one of many disasterous "cousin" shots we have taken throughout the years.  7 out of 9 were born at this time.  I love the sweet matching pastel sweatsuits Andrea and I are wearing. 

This is Kara with my granparents.  She was their first grandchild.  It's really funny that my grandpa has a pipe hanging from his mouth! 

This was taken at my aunt's wedding in 1986.  Kara was the flower girl and the rest of us, I think, handed out little bags of rice wrapped in tulle.  Kara was the only one old enough to know what was going on.  Andrea and I also wore those dresses (made by my mom) to our other aunt's wedding and she made us magenta sashes so we would match the color scheme.  My mom was the maid of honor in this wedding and there is a lovely family photo of us in 1980's wedding splendor! 

I didn't have any good photos scanned of us from the elementary and middle school years.  I look really bad in all those pictures so I avoided them when I was scanning!  My aunt had some pretty amazing shots of Kara through the years in the birthday slideshow she made for the birthday party.  Especially funny were the school photos.  In the mid 1990's Kara was a pro at the high bang swoop!  We all used alot of hairspray during that trend...

This was taken on Thanksgiving.  Kara had crimped hair.  It's so nice that we all put on our nicest clothes for the holidays.  Riiiight...we shouldn't have been allowed out of the house!  I think I was a senior in high school because I remember that sweater I was wearing and that was a time when crimping made a brief comeback. 
This was taken  at my grandpa's 80th birthday.  So that means he became a grandpa at the age of 50.  I guess our generation is a bit slower because all of our parents are approaching the mid 50's with no grandchildren yet!
Kara and Laura looking lovely in Mexico.

Kara was in my wedding in 2007.  The photographer took a picture of just the two of us but I didn't reload the wedding photo disk when I got this new computer so I had to dig around on Facebook to find some.  This was a nice picture, even though she is walking with our friend and they didn't know each other! 

I love this shot...the photographer captured a fun moment when we were at the farm taking some outdoor shots. 

I can't believe how old we are all getting.  When we were kids we would have what we called "Camp Grandma".  Kara and Laura would come for a few days every summer and we would stay at my Granmda's house.  We would act silly and my grandma would indulge all of our whims.  We would go to a movie and Grandma gave us each $10 to buy whatever we wanted.  If we wanted something that was a few dollars more, she would fabricate some nonexistent chores for us to do to "earn" the extra money.  Haha.  Grandma would crash at night and be snoring away and we would stay up all night giggling and being stupid.  We always had a blast.  I wish we had taken more pictures of those times!

Happy birthday Kara!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary Allan!

On this day last year Allan came home from the Humane Society!  He was kind of a surprise...Justin had planned on bringing him home (it was a Thursday) without me knowing ahead of time but on Wednesday I was talking about going out the Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursday evening so he had to tell me!  I was so excited  when he pulled into the driveway!  Allan was so little compared to now (he was 4 months old)!  For the first few weeks he followed us everywhere we went around the house and he was always plastered to my side when I was on the couch.  Soon, his trust and confidence started to build and one afternoon I was watching TV and I realized I didn't know where he was!  I found him in the basement on a makeshift bed (this was before hte basement was finished.  We had not even been living in here a full month yet so there were a bunch of plastic boxes stacked down there.  I had made a little obstacle course for him to jump around on with a blanket on the top of a stack).  He just chilling out up there and I knew he was a big boy now! 

I can't believe we've had him a year.  We still think of the brother he was "rooming" with at the Humane Society and sometimes feel bad about not adopting him too (I watched the website and his brother and sister both found homes soon after he did.  The brother was solid orange and the sister was orange and white and looked alot like Al.  They had a sister who was solid black who was adopted first).  He has almost doubled in weight (he was 6 pounds when he arrived and now he is around 11 according to my unscientific method of holding him while weighing us both and then subtracting my weight.  I recall the vet in Portland using that method to weigh our farm dogs and eventually or retreiver, Penny, got so big he didn't even bother anymore for his own safety.  She was a fata$$). 

Speaking of the Humane Society, the local one here just rescuted almost 100 dogs from a puppy mill.  33 others went to Jamestown's shelter.  The dogs were in filthy cages without food or water dishes and they were breeding with no control.  Apparently, a dog gave birth to puppies when it was being trasported from the facility to the shelter.  Many of the dogs were within days of starving to death.  The shelter close for the week so they could get the situation under control and start helping the dogs recover.  The breeds included German Shepherds, Border Collies, and St. Bernards.  I believe the woman was mix breeding and marketing them as "designer breeds".  This is very dissapointing to me.  Over 100 dogs with no homes (yet).  I can't imagine the overpopulation taking place around the U.S.  These faclilties are all over the place.  I get the local Humane Society's newsletter and know that it is always at capacity (it is a no kill shelter so they don't euthanize unless the animal is dangerous or has prohibitive medical issues). And now, because of some irresponsible and cruel breeder they are taking on even more than they can handle running on only donations.  Let me tell you...if I ever win the Powerball jackpot (any day now!) these Humane Societies can expect a big contribution!

Well, that story was sad so back to the happy topic. Happy Anniversary Allan!  We look forward to many more years!

A few photos: 

I have had this on here before, but I couldn't resist...this is the photo from the website!  I never actually saw him like this.  He was just a baby!

This was the first night he was here.  I had a feeling plants on the floor might not work out anymore!

He got comfortable pretty quick!

I took this last night as he was in his favorite spot.  He is gazing at the sunset!  Haha, so cute. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


No, this post is not about real potpourri.  I don't even like potpourri.  I think it is usually unattractive and just another thing to collect dust that is hard to clean!  I am referrring to a random assortment of things, or in this sitation, topics!  I used to watch Jeopardy on TV after school sometimes (prior to 8th grade, when we got a satellite dish on the farm and I had access to MTV, VH1, and reruns of Saved by the Bell on TBS) and I thought it was funny that they called the random category "potpourri". 

First of all, I have been at home in Bis for the last few days due to continuing uncertainty and delays at my job.  Don't worry, I am being paid for my availability so it's not so bad!  I take every opportunity I can to come back here and spend time at home and with Justin and Allan. 

We gave up on most the garden and pulled the last of the potatoes and carrots (which were short and mishappen.  Apparently what I thought was adequate "thinning" wasn't nearly thin enough so they ended up gross looking just like everything else).  All that's left out there are the pepper plants which, I believe, didn't get enough sunlight and never produced peppers (they didn't even flower!) and the tomato plants.  To my delight, I went to check them and found quite a few tomatoes.  Well, quite a few by the standards of this garden anyway. 

They are sweet and delicious. 

On another topic, I got some free address labels in the mail from a charity wanting donations yesterady!  I like having them around for use on bills and other mail.  I use the computer so much I have almost forgotten how to write (haha not really!) and writing our address on the envelope to the Wells Fargo Education Financial Services Dept. is really a pain.  I had some nice ones with whimsical, child-like images of bugs and flowers back at the apartment and Justin had some of his own as well.  I have been waiting to get some free labels since we moved in and it finally happened!  I'm surprised it took so long, since I have several magazine subscriptions so out address is out there for charities to access. 

They are Christmas themed, which is kind of annoying because a normal person wouldn't want to use them after Christmas.  I'm not a normal person though, so I will probably use them until they are gone! 

The gift tags are a nice bonus!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Anyone from the area probably heard about the apartment building that went up in flames two nights ago in Fargo. Andrea lives a few blocks from there and we saw it! It was crazy. That day it was hot like summer so I was out skating around on my ‘blades and enjoying the nice weather while I could. I at the end of my route, heading back toward her neighborhood, when I saw some smoke billowing up into the sky. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from because there was a building blocking the view. When I was able to see the building, I saw flames engulfing three levels of balconies right in the middle! At this point the fire department was not yet on the scene and people were still streaming out of the building. I stopped to talk to a runner who was watching and within minutes a fire truck was on the scene. The hoses came out and soon the fire was out (or so I thought). It seemed pretty serious. I saw a women get rescued from her balcony with a ladder! I hate to just stare, and it seemed like it was over with, so I took off.
When I got home I turned on the news and saw that the fire had not been put out after all and instead had came roaring back and engulfed the whole building. I wend on the deck and saw a lot of black smoke, much worse than it was before. Andrea was out running with Jakey and had been gone for awhile so I assumed they were watching the fire. I jumped on Kirk’s old bike and headed back to the scene (not THE scene of course, but an area where I had a better view). I ran into Andrea, who brought Jake home and got on her own bike and joined me and hundreds of others to watch the flames take over the building.
Why is it so hard to look away from such events? We just couldn’t stop staring at those flames. It was fascinating. Although I knew people’s homes were being destroyed and it was a dangerous situation I still couldn’t stop looking. I wasn’t the only one. Traffic around that area was suddenly dense like it was rush hour and people were crowded on the sidewalk across the street from the fire. I was pretty sure that the people who lived there were safely out because I had seem them exiting when I passed by earlier. However, I had seen a lot of the residents outside with dogs so I knew animals were allowed and I kept thinking about animals that might be trapped. What if someone hadn’t had time to get their cat or dog or what if they hadn’t been home? That would be really awful.
I’ve had about enough of fire lately. Two weekends ago a historic building went up in flames in the middle of the night. I knew it was a restaurant, but it had been other things in it’s time (it was 110 years old). The café closed 15 years ago when the owners became too old to keep up with the business. It was gutted a few years ago when someone purchased the building with plans to renovate it and open another restaurant but the plan fell through due to money problems. Now the poor old building, which holds memories for so many people, is standing on its corner with a collapsed roof, shattered windows, and blackened bricks.

My favorite memory of the café took place when I was in second grade. My dad was still in Yemen and the rest of the family lived in a small rental house in town. My aunt and my two cousins were visiting. We spent a lot of time with them. Whenever my uncle was busy with work or traveling they would come to visit us or we would visit them. Of the five kids, I was the only one in full time school and Andrea was in part time Kindergarten so they could do stuff like that. On that particular weekend, it was blizzarding but I suppose the moms didn’t want to cook so we decided to go eat at the restaurant. Our house was 2 blocks (if even) from it, so we would have probably walked. Since the streets were covered with snow, my mom and Kris pulled us there in sleds! It was very enchanting to be among the sparkly fresh snow. It was a typical café where men sit around and drink coffee. It was a deep building, so it was pretty dark in there, especially toward the back. What I remember most about the interior was that there were pictures of all of the U.S. presidents on the wall.

The weekend before that, an old abandoned farm near my hometown went up in flames and arson is suspected. It was a huge old house, and I believe it once was beautiful. The owners, who I won’t name (one of my history teachers in college was fascinated with local lore and legend and wrote something about it on his website and apparently some family members found it and got upset. However, if they were upset I don’t know why those family members didn’t come back to deal with their abandoned property). Apparently, they were a wealthy and reclusive family and one day they just left the house and never came back. This happened, I believe, in the 1960s. They left the house with everything in it and it was littered with paper, magazines, clothing, and other debris. When I saw it for the first time a few years ago some furniture was left over but everything was completely trashed. There was a basement and a large attic filled with possessions. If I recall, I think I counted six or seven bedrooms in the house and it had two balconies, both which had collapsed. This place was very creepy and the strange circumstances of the family abandoning it have fed into many urban (or should I say, RURAL) legends about the house and made it a fun destination for teenagers trying to spook themselves at night. For example, the family had its own cemetery on the property, complete with a fence and a big gate, which you can kind of see from the main highway that passes by. (The road leading to farm was plowed up years ago by the farmer who owns the surrounding land. The best way to get there is by snowmobile. When I went, my dad called the landowner and got permission to drive across his field so I saw it in the light of day).
Although I love creepy legends and scaring myself, in daylight the place made me pretty sad. The house was once beautiful and special and it became a dump that had been looted and vandalized beyond repair. Even more disturbing, the cemetery markers had been stolen and looted over the years, which is very sick. I wish I knew why the original owners just let it fall into ruin instead of taking care of it or just selling it. I guess that’s why it’s so fascinating. Anyway, someone burned it down. And someone may or may not have burned the old restaurant down too. If they did, I hope they are found and pay for what they did. Seriously, arson is not a funny prank. It puts the fire department at risk and uses resources of taxpayers. And what if another emergency happened at the same time and the personnel were busy responding to some stupid trick? Ughhh…it’s all sad.

Monday, October 11, 2010

1/2 Marathon

 As I mentioned last week, my parents ran a 1/2 marathon on Saturday.  It was my dad's 2nd and my mom's first.  It was a lovely day to stand around outside and watch people run by in their 13th mile while sipping on soda and coffee!  Andrea and I arrived at the finish area and met my aunt and uncle there.  We waited around for a little over an hour until the runners started trailing in.  (The regular runners...the people who won finished about 20 minutes ahead of the masses!) 

Strangely, it was hot outside!  It is almost the middle of October and it was in the 80s.  Kind of strange for this time of year, but nice.  It might not have been so nice for the runners but it was nice for the spectators. 

Apparently, they ran together for most of the 13 miles and my mom went ahead toward the end.  There she is, finishing in 2 hours and 18 minutes.  

 There comes Tim, finishing in 2 hours and 23 minutes.  Nice work both of them!  I really can't imagine running 13 miles...yikes.  The farthest I ever ran was probably 4 miles during track practice in middle school and I didn't like it very much!   

Here they are at the finish.  Last time they wanted to drink coffee afterwards so Andrea and I surprised them by having one waiting.  Apparently, my aunt and uncle saw Ty Pennington from the Extreme Makeover build in that coffee shop earlier that morning!  His hotel was nearby.

This is my aunt and uncle's 4 month old puppy Rosie.  I couldn't resist stopping to pet this gigantic dog after the race was over (alot of people had their dogs out to watch with them).  She rolled over so I could pet her and Barb brought Rosie over to meet a new friend!  That dog's head is as big as Rosie!  She was a gentle giant and Rosie is a friendly little girl so they got along fine. 

That afternoon, I met Justin in GF for our nephew, Dylan's 6th birthday party.  It was at a bowling alley.  In the past, his parties have been low key events with lots of cute little kids.  Now, his parties have become a chaotic, loud affair similar to how I remember my brother's birthday parties being when he was in elementary school.  Oh well, it's fun for the kids! 

There he is with his cake.  If you think it looks like a sugary disaster, you are right.  That frosting was nice and thick and the food coloring was unnaturally vivid! 

After the party I went to my parents' house.  The hot weather has been good for combining and yesterday they finished the beans!  They are more than one month ahead of schedule compared to last year so that is great I guess!  The weather has been nice of course, and I would love for winter to hold off as long as possible but it really needs to freeze around here.  The grass is continuing to grow out of control and the insects need to die!  They are taking over the whole farm!  YUCK!  I mowed the lawn yesterday (with a new mower that is amazing and can mow around posts and trees which eliminates the need for push mowing and weed wacking!) and felt like I was being crawled on by lady bugs and spiders the whole time.  And the mosquitos are vicious!  It's as though they know they don't have much time left and are trying to suck as much blood as possible!