Sunday, April 30, 2006


Busy weekend full of family stuff....and putzing around (as usual). Crappy weather (actually "normal" weather for this time of year but I'm spoiled now) so it feels good to do some inside things...although we did manage to squeeze a quick hike in on The Superior Hiking Trail just north of Two Harbors yesterday.

Just got back from the Omnimax where we saw GALAPAGOS...very interesting and odd place. I enjoyed it. We went with Steve's Dad and his SO. We were going to go to GREECE but it just didn't work out we'll have to hit that one next time.

Dinner tonight at Steve's Mom's house and then hopefully some time painting in the kitchen. I have been derelict in my painting duties since Friday.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday II

I got some sweet fiance stopped and bought me some...*sigh*

I have XTC Radio on my iTunes (seriously - have you checked out iTunes radio? Because it is awesome...and free, two of my favorite things...)

I have a dance party going on in the living room. 2 humans, 2 cats. Okay - the cats don't really dance....but should try it!



A cat puked on the table set up in the den/computer room all over an insufficient funds letter* from the bank. Ha! Take that Wells Fargo! The cats and we apparently feel the same way about that letter.

I'm making Southwestern Bean Chicken Hoo-ha Soup (or whatever its called) from Harry & David. It's starting to smell delish. We got it in a huge gift basket at our engagement party last fall and I'm FINALLY getting around to cooking it up. It's 40 degrees here and gray so I figured a good night for soup.

Painting the 2nd coat on the upper cabinets presently. So sick of painting. Why didn't someone tell me how much painting cabinets sucks? I am enjoying the results however. And yes, I'm very slow because I have a short attention span and little help. (Steve's been extremely busy as of late w/his Dad & work).

I'm wishing I had a cold bottle of white wine in the fridge. Or a bottle of white wine period. Hmmm....

I don't know how to delete spam comments from blogger...any help? I've added word verification so that doesn't happen again. It took 2 years though for me to get my first spam comment. I am more unpopular that I thought.

*we didn't really have insufficient was transferred but apparently the letter is generated IMMEDIATELY. sheesh. Get off my back, WF...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

View west towards the St. Louis River. The trail continues on the ride in the middle of the picture. We walked about 3/4 of the way there...the rest is for next time!

View of the Harbor (east)

Me taking a break.

Perfect Spring Evening

Just a beautiful day here in the Northland. In fact, I could say this was a perfect summer evening. It sometimes is not this nice in the summer (often, actually). After another soul-sucking, mind-melting day of boredom at work. Steve & I decided to hit the trail. We were on a quest to find the new section of the Superior Hiking Trail which is one of the coolest trails, in the country, really. Anyway - the trail currently runs from Two Harbors, MN to the Canadian Border. The new trail will run all the way from the west west west end of Duluth to Two Harbors, thus increasing the trail distance by another....25-40 miles (I don't really know where it 'starts' in Two Harbors). They opened one new section last summer which was awesome and now they're working on the section that is relatively close to our house. We found the trail (it's near one of our favorite x-country ski spots) and hiked for a good hour and 45 mins or so. It's a pretty healthy up & down, rugged hike that goes on granite topped ridges and down to the "valleys" below. A couple creeks, a few chipmunks, a dead deer (p.u.) and some gorgeous vistas and it turned out to be a very fun hike. I can't wait to explore more. We didn't go as far as we would've LIKED because it was getting kind of late and I needed to eat. (what else is new). We went to Taste of Saigon which happens to be my favorite for vietnamese/chinese food in town and got take out. Yummy. And there are leftovers for tomorrow.

So it was a good evening. Steve is out visiting his Dad right now and I'm about to plop on the couch and do some power-knitting while watching brainless television. If he gets back in time, we will watch an Apprentice from a couple weeks ago (on tape) and then maybe another (this week's) - it just depends. I would like to be in bed at a decent hour tonight....that never seems to happen!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekend Update

Well, the weekend's come and gone and that sucks. Hmph.

Friday night I was solo so I rented Pride & Prejudice (the new one) and had a few beers while knitting...what weird combo. Saturday I putzed around - painting a ton of the kitchen (okay, painting cabinets SUCKS people - they take for frickin' ever). I also picked up 3 different pulls to see which I liked the most. I have decided and it was the cheapest one - yes! I cleaned too. Lots of painting & cleaning. I wanted it to be lovely & soothing when Steve got home.

Oh and I loved Pride & Prejudice. Loved it. It made me feel all romantic and happy. *sigh*

Saturday late afternoon Steve got home and we went for a nice hike at Chester Park. It was great - things are starting to pop up and green up and it was so nice to be outside with my honey! We got home late, ate late but that was okay. We drank wine & listened to some music that night. Very mellow and relaxing.

Sunday - putzing, errands, 1-year-old's b-day party, bike ride, movie. We watched Walk the Line which I also really enjoyed and now must get my hands on some old Johnny Cash music (I have some of the newer). But I could really use another cople days off as I'd like to be playing in the garden. I have a new pile of compost (so rich! and full of nutrients! and black!) and I'm dying to turn the soil and get things going. Alas, it's crappy and cold and windy today anyway so I don't want to be out there too bad anyway.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mayo & Hooliganism

Steve's Dad was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester today for surgery. The day has been a long one. Steve took him there at 6:30 this morning and didn't talk to the doctor again until 7:30 TONIGHT! Ugh. He's there with his siblings & his Dad's GF so that's good.

It's weird because they're in the SAME waiting room that I lived in for a week when my Dad was in the hospital. What a strange coincidence. Both of our fathers having brain injuries. And they're both young! (mine 57 at the time of his, His 65). Crazy. A good reason to keep on that healthy living track. (or try to at least).

The surgery went well and hopefully the recovery will go well too. It is planned that he will be discharged on Saturday. Yay! Then they'll be coming home. Yay yay!

Some hooligans woke me up last night with their loud & obnoxious behavior. Usually I don't wake up for such things because HELLO I'm sleeping! And Steve usually is hear to check things out and make sure that everything is a-okay. But he's not here so it was up to me and the 2 "attack cats." Well, I didn't really want to get woken up and the cats were pinning me under the covers, so really, what's a girl to do? It freaked me out slightly (there are some assholes around these parts) but I let it go. This morning when I got up to check the skunk hole (oh my, that sounds really dirty, doesn't it? - it's an actual HOLE outside with a SKUNK in it that we're trying to evict...) I noticed that the front gate was left open. Funny, since I hadn't used it yesterday. Later when I went out to the garage to go to work, the BACK gate was also open. Those damn hooligans must've been closer than I thought and cutting through my TOTALLY FENCED IN YARD! Argh. That pisses me off - probably becaus of the theft that we have and well, me being alone, I don't like the thought of people cavilerly coming through the yard. Anyway -nothing was gone; nothing broken so I guess that all is okay.

Tomorrow's Friday - hee haw....I'm most happy about that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

here is a picture of the prayer shawl, sans my Grandma.

Belated Easter Update

It was a GOOD FRIDAY! We got out of work early - 2pm which was very nice. I was on the road by 3:30pm only 30 minutes past my desired time of departure. Steve didn't acompany me to Austin because he wanted to stay with his Dad so I was flying solo.

Got to my folks house around 7:00 or so. We sat on the deck and had a glass of wine followed by a lovely bbq dinner (burgers). That night I made birds nests (so cute! I should've taken a picture) for table decorations/treats and worked on my Grandma's prayer shawl.

Saturday morning my Mom, sister & I went to a few shops and ate a light lunch at a new cute little cafe in town. That afternoon I took a walk with my mom and furiously knitted some more. I finished the shawl about 30 minutes before my Grandma arrived! Whew!!

We had our Easter dinner on Saturday evening. My folks, my sister & bro-in-law, my grandparents and my cousin. It was yummy (of course) - ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole and some kind of salad I must've pushed out of my brain to make room for more potatoes. Afterwards we had a pineapple/lemon cake dessert thingy. Yummilicious!

The evening ended with a rousing came of Rummy Royale (aka Tripoli) which I came out 65 cents ahead. Yes!

Sunday morning we went to church followed by a lovely brunch at Lansing Corners. I ate too much. What else is new. There was time for a game of Up & Down the River (where I lost my 65 cents + a few more) and then a quick visit with the Grandparents before heading back up to Duluth.

On the way back to Duluth I stopped in Faribault to visit my Grandma R . I was tempted by the pumpkin pie and mandarin orange cake dessert thingy which she had baked but I resisted. Whew! It was tough.

Got back to Duluth around 7. Putzed around the house and REJOICED when Steve got home around 10 because I missed him something fierce.

And that is the story of my Easter Weekend.

OH! I left Steve a letter & clues when I left as I set up an Easter Basket Treasure hunt since I wouldn't be HERE to play Easter Bunny on Sunday morning. He was successful in unraveling all my cryptic messages and found his treats! :-) I'm a huge dork, I know. But he liked it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Grandma! This is my Grandma wrapped in the cozy prayer shawl I had literally moments before just finished tying the fringe on. :-) I like this project and plan to make more.

Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about Easter....

is the ham bone I have currently cooking up w/some split peas & veggies and turning into a lovely homemade (low fat!) soup.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Stress Test

The levels of stress at the R&B household are off the charts.

Familial stress, not good, not mine but mine by proxy.

I can actually FEEL blood in my veins boiling.

Not a good way to end the day.....


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Some Easter baskets I put together which are ready for delivery! These will go to my folks, Steve's Mom & my sister.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Belated Blogoversary

I missed my 2 year blogoversary....

April 7!


Happy 2 years to me.

True signs of Summer To Come

The PIPER is back!!!

(we have a bag-piper who lives SOMEWHERE in the vicinity and likes to practice on nice days. It's a bit weird....)

68 degrees

by the lake. You might as well call that summer and call it a night.

It's so beautiful out it hurts. The lake, the horizon, all the people in shorts! hee hee - we here in the northland celebrate every ounce of day that has warmth from the glowing yellow orb in the sky.

I walked on the Lakewalk for about an hour after work. Hoping that Steve & his Dad would be able to join me, but sadly they could not. I listened to Radiohead's Amnesiac instead which really isn't the most uplifting, sunny-day kind of cd. Ah well.

But all in all, I'm in a crappy mood....I feel fat. There I said it...I've been working out now for months and feel like my hips & butt are just trying to win some kind of growth competition. I'm sick of it. :-( I'm trying to eat better, eat less, exercise more and all that jazz and nothing seems to be working.


Tonight we're grilling, I'll be painting & knitting like I do every night....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I am thrilled with the new "georgia sand" wall color - and it matches the Van Gogh perfectly!!

A sneak peek! The "white" areas have only been primed, not painted yet...

A new adventure

Today I made the first step in what I hope turns into a very fufilling new adventure. I had my first meeting with the Mentor Duluth people - I'm going to be a mentor!

I have a lengthy application process to go through - background check, criminal check, reference check; meetings with screeners, parents and eventually getting matched up with a kid that has similar interests to me and needs a positive adult role model.

I'm really excited! This is something I've wanted to do for a couple of years now but have always found some excuse to not go through with it. I'm proud of myself for finally picking up the phone and making the call and getting the ball rolling.

My idea, if it works out, would be to have both me and my future mentee 'blog our experience...we could share pictures, stories and maybe even learn a little bit about building web pages or something. Could be kind of fun.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Well, I've been painting most of today. Whew. I primed our PLASTIC drawer fronts (egads- horrible) outside w/some plastic primer. It took me about an hour to get the damn spray can to work and eventually I gave up and "borrowed" a top from a black spray paint can and eventually that worked. Next I primed all the lower cabinet "trim" & cupboard doors. We're going to see if we maybe would like to leave the upper cabinets wood as they are in good shape. The lower cabinets are in crap shape and need to be "refreshed." I painted the drawer fronts once they were dry w/the darker color we're going with and then moved on to the cabinet doors. This has taken me ALL DAY. I did take a break to chat on the phone with my friend Sarah but other than that, that's all I've been doing. I'm stopping now even though I feel like I could do more. But it's 9pm, I haven't showered yet today and I'm feeling grimy and painty and want to relax for a little while before bed.

I hate having the kitchen all discombobulated (all the drawers, for instance, have been emptied on to the counter or in boxes) so that is good incentive for me to move quickly and to get this DONE. Hopefully I can finish a 2nd coat on all the darker color tomorrow and possible put coat #1 on of the "trim" color. Whew.

Again, there would be pictures if only I had a digital'll have to wait....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Grilled Chicken`

Today was a day of odds & ends.

Slept in, washed clothes & bed linens, painted the soffet (how do you spell that, btw?), hung laundry out on the line to dry in the light breeze & bright sun, ran errands, made bed w/clean sun-dried sheets (I can't wait to crawl into bed!), went to Steve's Dad's house for dinner, took our bikes up 7 Bridges Road (where we were hiking yesterday), ate a lovely feast of grilled chicken, home-fries & salad, got Steve's Dad back to Lakeshore and now I'm at home ready for bed. Steve popped out for a brew w/his bro but I am lame and just wanted to come home (as usual). Not in the mood to sit & be tired in public.

Tomorrow is supposed to equal or surpass today in niceness. More warm temps (55? whohooo!), sunny skies and more putzing around the house. Oh and it's Palm Sunday so maybe a little church-going will be thrown into the mix....we shall see. I think we're also having dinner at Steve's Dad's again...but we'll be eating before 9pm this time! (thank goodness! I get REALLY hungry!!)

So, with that - hope your weekend is going swell....y? G'night.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Here in the northland spring is TRYING to be sprung. Today for instance was GORGEOUS. Bright blue sky, the lake was a ridiculous match of the sky, the sun was up high(er) in the sky and shining so brightly - but it was a tease. Outside of my work building's walls was the truth. The bitterly cold eastern wind (blowing over the lake which REALLY makes things chilly). But it was fun to imagine even 50 degrees and feeling the warmth of the sun. I did enjoy that.

I went to the Y after work for my usual 30 minutes of biking. Then I met Steve for a hike. We hiked in Lester Park which is one of Duluth's beautiful gems of a park. Filled with lots of trails for x-country skiing in the winter and more for exploring by foot in the summer, it's really a beautiful oasis in the city. We could hike! On ground! (mostly) as most of the snow/ice has melted. The Lester River & Amity Creek were high and roaring with their snow melt and making me imagine the hot summer nights to come and wading in the waters to cool off. We hiked part of a ski trail, we hiked up part of "7 Bridges Road" (which lead's to Hawk's Ridge), we wandered through the new forest-friendly Hawk's Ridge Estates (and found a few PRIME lots that we'd love to have all tucked away in the wilderness) and we decided to have pizza for dinner. hee hee...We walked for almost 2 hours. It was really cooling off by the time we were done but the sky was still light (at 7:45 - yes!) and the fresh air smelled wonderful.

There are a few hints of spring - a bit of green moss here & there, catkins hanging off the alder trees dripping with pollen and the promise of growth to come. *sigh*

Then we had pizza. It was great. And I didn't even feel guilty since I did a double-workout.

Monday, April 03, 2006

2 walls done

I have now painted two walls in the kitchen "georgia sand." I would take a photo but Steve has the digi camera and he's in Rochester. So you'll have to wait.

I de-glossed one wall twice as the can said to do and then I decided that was bullshit so I didn't de-gloss the other walls twice. So there. It's JUST FINE....and I think I saved a few brain cells in the process. Whew.

It needs two coats...perhaps I'll do coat #2 tomorrow night. Oh and I need to paint the wall behind the fridge (especially the one that shows - ha!) but I can't move the fridge by myself so that will just have to wait. I'm anxious to start priming the cabinets - wheeeee!

I wish I had some ice cream.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

And yes....

she's doing our wedding photos and I'm SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!

Good Wine, Good Food, Good Night

My ridiculously remarkable friend Sarah sent me an email last night saying that Steve & I were GOING on a date tonight and to go to Bellisio's (the nicest Italian restaurant in town) and that they would "take care of us."

So we went. And we feasted and we had amazing wine and we sat and relaxed and talked and had a great time. We each ate a lot of food but not too much to feel gross; have leftovers for tomorrow a-plenty and ordered TWO bottles of said wine...Chardonnay 2003 I believe. Delish. I have a lovely wine buzz and although Steve is off to spend the night at his Dad's house (he & his brother are taking turns over this weekend when Roger is home) I am so happy that we got to spend an evening OUT together and ALONE. It was heavenly.

Sarah & Jeff, thank you so much. Your kindness & generosity mean the world to us and is greatly appreciated!!!!


It's time to start a new household improvement project!

We're going to re-vamp the kitchen. Not "remodeling" just updating the look with things like paint, new cabinet hardware, floor and removal of god-awful wall board backsplash. I will document the long ass procedure here and show my progress as I go along.

First step - remove the cabinet hardware. Next up I will degloss the walls and degrease the cabinets. After that PRIMING - whohoooo. I'm so excited.

There are some pictures below showing the ugly 'before.' Our kitchen is a really good size - and we have a separate dining room so that has never been an issue. It's just asethetically unpleasing to me.

A view of the kitchen from the backdoor. There is a mirror above the kitchen sink which I thought was weird at first but it allows me to look out the window (which is opposite) while doing dishes!

A general view of the kitchen from dining room entrance.

We have a HUGE double oven (one big oven/one small) which I adore. I do not adore the "marble" wallboard as the backsplash. Ick.

A fine example of excellent craftsmanship (gag).

Here are our ugly drawers & drawer handles.

This is our ugly kitchen floor. It is orange, brown & green. And very dingy.