Monday, April 30, 2007

I just liked this...



Sent to me by Sarah H.

Weekend Update

Another weekend's come and gone. Why oh why must they do that so quickly?

Friday I took the day "off" so I could stay home and clean prior to my parents arrival on Saturday. I cleaned all day on Friday and it felt really good. I love having a tidy & clean house! I even line dried our sheets which is oh so heavenly. Friday night we went to Steve's brother's apt for fondue with a couple other people. The menu was chicken, beef, green beans & broccoli. Um, it wasn't that "varied" of a menu but it was okay. I went home after that while Steve went to a "Guitar Hero" party.

Saturday we finished up the last of our cleaning (scrubbed the kitchen floor, vacuumed stairs) and then my parents arrived. We showed off our "new" floors (my Mom hadn't been up since the wedding so hadn't seen our new floors in person), our new dining set & buffet, new chandelier & new bathroom floor. And our wedding album. It was fun to have them over and be able to show them things! We took them on a "hike" next - the weather was perfect - it was actually HOT! (upper 70's is hot in Duluth). We went on the Western Waterfront Trail which is a crushed limestone path that is fairly level along the St. Louis River/Bay. I think they enjoyed it. We saw a few ducks & geese (and ducklings & goslings - cute!) and one deer. Usually we see TONS of water fowl on this hike. Probably too early yet.

We stopped at a furniture store to check out couches on our way back to our place. We decided to get a couch as a wedding gift from them instead of an armoire for our TV. We found one we really liked and are very tempted to just BUY IT but then think we should shop around a bit more. We'll see. It's a local store & it's in our neighborhood. We like shopping there instead of "over the hill" in mall-sprawl-big-box land. So...it's tempting. The couch is microfiber and fits us shorties so it's ver appealing. (takes 4 weeks to get......).

Then it was HAPPY HOUR! I made margaritas and we sat in the backyard in the GLORIOUS sunshine sipping margaritas, eating dip and chatting. It was very nice. Later they went to check into their hotel and we biked down to meet them. We ate dinner at Fitger's Brewhouse - after I showed off my new office - and ended the evening looking at the lake from the deck at their hotel.

Yesterday morning we met them for brunch and then they hit the road. It was a very nice visit.

Yesterday afternoon - temps in the 80's! - Steve & I drove up to Knife River (about 15 miles north of Duluth) and we went for a lovely 3+ hour hike. It was really beautiful and dang did it feel like summer. If we had had our camping gear I think we would've just stayed. (more details on the hike coming soon). We got home late (stopped to visit his Dad, stopped to buy a few groceries) and we grilled out. I was pooped though and went to bed early (around 10ish).

This morning it is gray, upper 40's and a more typical Duluth spring day. We need the rain, so hopefully, it'll rain, but DANG was it nice to have summer, at least for one weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Postcards From Duluth - let's call it 4

Thank you everyone for your kind words and indulging me on a day when I felt like crap crap crap.

Things are a bit better today - because today's a new day! I made chicken curry last night for dinner - my first time making and practically eating it. It turned out good (a *gasp* microwave recipe from the Everyday Food weekly email newsletter). The sauce was sweet & had a kick (just enough for me to handle) but could probably be a little less sweet next time. After that I knitted while watching the "extras" on the first series of the Brit version of THE OFFICE (which I love love love!).

Today - I biked to work, putzed around, walked to Canal Park where I met my old boss & an ex-coworker for lunch and took some photos along the way. Enjoy.







Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Only the Lonely Girls Get the Blues

Today is not good. A day of utter despair and crying-jag-littered emotional messiness. Iko gets worse and worse. We thought he was doing better but now? No eating, very very little water. Mostly sleeping/resting on our bed. It's like waiting for a clock to stop ticking. I am sad for that and other reasons...reasons that I wont' go into but are probably mostly constructed in my head and of things including (but not limited to) family, family visits, business, business partners, house/home, price of gas, NO ONE to talk to during the day amongst other things.

*sigh*

I'm ready to hit "start over" on today. (but only if the results were much, much different).

Lunching with Rob

On Sunday Jason, Erin & I went to the cities bright and early (7am ugh). We had meetings with some actors, some potential actors and later we were meeting up with our new friend, Rob Nilsson, whom we met at the Fargo Film Festival.

Our first meeting was seriously late. So late that we thought it was not going to happen and it soon became eclipsed by the 2nd meeting...which went swimmingly well. Out of that meeting we cast 3 members of a band which we just formed! Yes!

Finally our potential actor/rapper showed up and that meeting went very very well too - and we finished up casting the 2nd half of our "old testament" rap duo. Yay!! Score two!

At about 12:15 we walked over to the St. Anthony Main theater where Rob was showing his new film OPENING as a part of the Minneapolis St. Paul Int'l Film Festival. We talked with Rob for a bit and sat down to enjoy the film. It was really a lot of fun. He made in in conjunction with a group of actors in Kansas...it was a 3 day process. Day one - actor exercises/workshop come up with ideas; days 2 and 2 1/2 shoot the entire film "direct action" style. It was really a cool little film and I enjoyed it. At first I was intimidated sitting next to Rob, the director, but I just started to relax and laugh when I wanted to and loosen up and it was really a lot of fun.

Afterwards we had lunch & wine and chatted all afternoon about OPENING, upcoming projects, future collaborations, etc. Rob is the kind of person that really just makes you feel fantastic. He's so genuine and sincere and gives a lot of insight - not only to filmmaking but to relationships, art, life, etc.

We ended up persuading Rob to join our production of GOD ROCKS and he will be playing the role of the street preacher-atheist. I can't wait! We have some other projects looming on the horizon as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pre-Gardening

To celebrate Earth Day last Saturday, I had intended on participating in the city's "Clean & Green" program with Miss M (my mentee). Saturday rolled around, however, and we found ourselves to be deluged in April Showers. And very cool temps. So instead of chucking the whole idea out the window, I enlisted Miss M to help me start my seeds...which we did inside.


We planted peppers, mini-pumpkins, spearmint, rosemary, marigolds, ornamental grass and two kinds of sunflowers.

The most fun, however, was digging in the dirt. At first I thought Miss M was going to chicken out and use the little shovel the whole time...but I didn't push her and as I got my hands dirty - slowly but surely - so did she! By the end of our planting session she said "I just LOVE digging in the dirt." I'm hoping this leads to more joint gardening projects this summer. I am looking forward to tending to this plants with her and watching our hard work produce some great results! Right now the trays are all in my front porch which is acting as a sunroom/greenhouse.




We still have more planting to do - carrots, green beans, peas, beets, zuchini, oregano, and tomatoes (but I learned my lesson and will be starting those from plants, not seeds!).

Friday, April 20, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Ice cream & Martha Stewart...sounds good to me!

It's a BOY!


My cousin Jenna & her husband Chris had their baby early this morning. Congratulations! His name is Gavin.

This keeps everything even in my family (gender-wise)...Kathy's triplets are sure to really screw things up! hee hee

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kitty Sitting

Even though Michelle moved to "the cities" a while back, her kitties remain in Duluth with her folks. Her folks are currently in New Jersey so she asked if I could look after them.

Meet Minerva:


and Albus:


I think they are generally appreciative when I stop over and give them some love & attention, refill their food and water and of course scoop the poop (they poop A LOT!). I discovered the other day that they love to play, particularly with Beavis's laser pointer. We've been having fun. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spontaneous Purchases

Steve & I stopped by his aunt & uncle's garage sale on Saturday morning (they're moving to Florida soon) to see what there was. They're not taking most of their big furniture. Steve was interested in a wheelbarrow, but that was gone by time we got there.




Instead we ended up with a new (old) dining room table! And a buffet! Both items were Steve's grandmother's (as was the house before his uncle lived there) so there is some sentimental value too. We're planning on recovering the chair seats & modifying the backs of them (a little triming, a little painting) to something more our style. We already replaced the tired hardware on the buffet. (pictured is the new hardware).

We also ended up with a "new" ironing board, a shovel, some planters, gardening gear and some adorable cordial glasses (also his Grandma's). We weren't planning on making this purchase, but the price was too good to pass up!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bike Ride

I spent most of the weekend in Willmar, MN filming a wedding for a friend but yesterday after I returned to Duluth, I was able to enjoy a lovely spring bike ride with my newly shaven husband!

Rest break on the Munger Trail just south of Duluth.
Our new matching bikes!




(Yes, it feels like kissing someone else. Weird!!!)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Updates

A couple of updates....

Iko had pepped up to a degree a few days after my post about him. We could get him to eat his medicine if it was mixed in a tasty soft food (!). He was more vocal, wandered around the house more and seemed to be sleeping less. He went outside, greeted Steve at the door when he came home, etc. However, last night he didn't finish his food/medicine and this morning Steve couldn't get him to eat at all (I was out of town at a wedding). I tried to get him to eat when I got home (for some reason I sometimes have better luck) but no go. I did give him some water from the shower (his preferred "drinking fountain") but he just isn't interested AT ALL in the food. I'm very scared.

My sister had a doctor's appointment on Friday and the contractions haven't stopped. She is not on STRICT bedrest and can only get up to use the bathroom and to shower (in 7 minutes or less). I've talked to her a few times and so far she's not too bored - just reading like a maniac! Today she thinks the contractions are better (fewer, not as strong) and her back doesn't hurt as much which are good signs. She has a nurse that will visit her on Tuesday to assess the situation. She may have to be admitted to the hospital if she needs another/different kind of med. Hopefully that won't be the case. Otherwise she is VERY excited about going to the doctor on Friday as she'll actually get to go outside! She is 26 weeks today.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Two Issues that Could Use Your Good Thoughts

Firstly - I heard from my folks last night that my sister and the babies had a little scare yesterday. While in for her regular check-up (25 1/2 weeks, for those of you who are counting), they put her on the contraction monitoring device to find that she was having contractions - every six minutes! They sent her to the hospital, called my brother-in-law (who got the message "Your wife's in the hospital having contractions every 6 minutes, come quickly" - no I'm sure he didn't FREAK OUT) and finally was able to stop the contractions with use of drugs. Needless to say this incident has now put my entire family on pins and needles. I can't imagine what Kathy & Jay are feeling. 32 weeks is the goal, 36 weeks would be ideal. These babies aren't done baking yet!! Hopefully they will settle down now for a little longer. They went home last night and everything was okay.

Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers.

Secondly - Iko. Iko has lost over a pound of weight since his March 23 check up. He is looking scrawny. He's just not eating. We noticed last week really, that his backbone was more boney and that he wasn't his usual self. He usually never misses a meal with Steve & I and has his own place at the table (dorky? yes, I know but that's us). He is usually very vocal and can be quite feisty - if he's in the mood to play. So, Steve took him to the vet yesterday - where they ran a battery of tests (ruled out Feline Leukemia, thank god) and prescribed some meds and he has another appointment next week. His blood count dropped from 40 to 28 and although I don't really know what that means (indicates an infection, a virus, internal bleeding?) I do know that it's not good and if iut should drop another 10 points or so that could be fatal.

I am an optimist. I am also a realist. Iko is almost old enough to get his driver's license and logically I KNOW what is lurking somewhere around the corners. I just don't want it to happen.

Please keep him in your thoughts & prayers too (if you're into such a thing as praying for a blogger's pet whom you may or may not know).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

FIN


Ah! Finally we have completed our taxes. I think we were a bit intimidated this year by the whole married filing jointly thing (that and since Steve's self-employed it makes things a little more complicated....but with a little help we muddled through and I'm putting these in the mail today! Whew! It feels good to be done.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Other Easter Goodies

Beavis enjoying the nice sunshine through the kitchen window.

Steve's Easter basket filled with coffee & chocolates.

Our Easter hike - FULL of snow!

The quiet woods (once the snowmobiles left).

Happy Easter!

Ah the cheesecake! That's what Easter's about, right?

I started off here with the MARTHA STEWART BAKING HANDBOOK - New York Cheesecake:


It called for 7 8 oz packages of cream cheese. I thought that was a lot. What I didn't realize was it was a recipe for a 10" pan which as cheesecakes go is quite large. I believe my pan is only 8" doh. So much for reading ahead.


After reading more of the recipe and starting to feel a time crunch as I had to be to Steve's Dad's by a certain time....I started researching other cheesecake recipes in my cookbooks and online. I decided to forgo the "water bath" and bake it the normal way. I did learn though that you can let your cheesecake cool from 3-5 hours IN THE OVEN which apparently prevents cracking.


Hmmmm, the top popped up (I used SO MUCH FILLING - and sadly still dumped a ton down the drain. Pooey for wasting good cheesecake filling! the top got quite brown - unfortunately. Hmmmm.....


After freaking out a bit yesterday to Steve ("...yeah, it's FINE when it's not YOUR mother-in-law who we're taking dessert to! I'm a failure!") - he suggested we cut the top off and sprinkle it with crushed graham crackers. He said "we're sprinkling love on top."


The result was a deliciously rich and creamy cheesecake. From the homemade chocolate crust to the fresh sliced strawberries on top, it was a success!


In fact, my mother-in-law's words were "This is the best cheesecake I've ever eaten."

Whew! I guess I am still in the family!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday

It's been a good day - although I've had a headache for hours (my caffeine intake was much later today than on a normal day - pooey - I hate being addicted to ANYTHING. Hmph).

Steve & I had a leisurely morning and a productive afternoon. I cleaned & did laundry while he did fun things like take our food scraps to the city's compost site and work on patching our upstairs ceiling (ongoing neverending project - ugh). I just finished reading my book (Hansi) and am now going to make the cheesecake for tomorrow - after doing more laundry.

Tonight we're having a lasagna dinner at Steve's Dad's house with his brother, sister, brother-in-law and his Dad's gf. Tomorrow we have Easter dinner at his Mom's (duh, hence the cheesecake).

We went to a really good play last night called NECESSARY TARGETS. It was about two American women (psychiatrist & journalist/counselor) who traveled to a Bosnian refugee camp in 1996 to work with the refugee women there. It was heavy and could've been very depressing but some how I found it optimistic. I think I walked away with it with a larger vision of the world and the knowledge that really I know so little. After the show we had a couple pints at Sir Ben's with Steve's siblings. It was a good night. A Good Friday (hah, get it?)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Clink Clink

A belated wedding gift arrived today for us from my lovely and sweet and wonderful friend Sudhara & her beau - wait - FIANCE - this afternoon. I was so excited to open it but had to wait for Steve to arrive some til I tore it open.

Inside were these amazing & lovely glasses:

They are bluish & speckled (the green "spring" light sort of throws it off). There are also these: which are blue and have flowers in them.

And finally (!) this awesome pitcher which I cannot get enough of. In fact, I'm not sure if Sudhara knows of my deep and passionate love for pitchers (I believe we now have 3 new ones from the wedding- can you ever have enough pitchers?).

THANK YOU so much Sudhara & Alex!!! We love it!

Cheesy Cheesecake

My Mother-in-law has asked us to bring dessert for Easter dinner on Sunday. I am considering making a simple New York Cheesecake w/chocolate crumble crust & topped with fresh strawberries & cream....

The recipe in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook calls for seven 8oz packages of cream cheese.

SEVEN?

Ay yi yi - so much for my "diet."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April *Snow* Showers bring....what?






Keep in mind we had NO snow as of last night.

Weekend Update

It was another busy weekend. I need to have one of those "Laying around" weekends soon - wait, what are those again?

Friday afternoon I drove down to Minneapolis to attend a wine tasting/benefit with my friend Sarah O. The weather was crappy and sleety and I was incredibly paranoid & terrified that I would go careening into the ditch so took it very slow. Luckily I had plenty of time and left earlier than I planned so there were no problems. About 1/2 way there the freezing part stopped and it was just rain (I could tell by the ice that was no longer forming on my side view mirrors & the trees). That made the second part of the drive a bit quicker.

The wine tasting was fun. We sampled oodles of wines from all different vineyards and countries. We munched on cheeses, grapes, crackers, breads, chocolates, etc. (note to self: eat an ACTUAL dinner before if you ever go to this again....). We made it home unscathed (and in a cab) around 9:30 or so where we then devoured a pizza and attempted to watch SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE but only succeeded in falling asleep.

The next morning Sarah came with me to auditions and helped out by signing people in when they arrived. We had a decent turnout - everyone came that had requested an audition EXCEPT for the one guy that we REALLY wanted to see. Total flakeout so we're going to seek elsewhere. We did end up casting one woman whom we called back - so that is cool. We're still up in the air about a few others.

After auditions Jason & I headed over to the Mall of America (gah!) to hit the Mac store again. We talked to the Mac people for probably another couple hours about what kind of system to get - more in depth - what processors, how much RAM, what kind of graphics cards, etc. I think we have it figured out now. My friend Freya met us there and listened in on the conversation as she's about to gear up a bit too for some digital editing.

Freya & I walked around a bit and she MADE me buy some nice shampoo & conditioner from Aveda (okay, maybe "influenced" would be a better word...) and then she was off.

I had 2+ hours to kill before meeting Michelle & Chris for dinner. So...I did a little shopping (cards, new yoga clothes) and then spent about 2 hours knitting! Yes, I'm a huge nerd and I just sat in the largest godawful mall in america and knitted. And people watched. How could I resist!

Michelle, Chris & I went to Famous Dave's for dinner after spending a good portion of time wandering from overly crowded restaurant to overly crowded restaurant. We finally got in at the bar there and a tall ice cold beer was EXACTLY what I needed.

I left the mall after 7 HOURS that day. Yucko. I hit Ikea briefly after that to exchange a coat hook thingy I bought for the office.

That night I hung out with my ever-more-pregnant sister where we talked, looked at baby things and knitted (she's doing quite well!). Sunday I went to church with her & her husband and then we met my parents back at their place. My Mom, sister & I went to Kathy's 2nd baby shower that afternoon. It was very fun and it was fun to see all the baby things - these kids are finally going to have some clothes! Very neutral - yellows, greens, whites, since we dont' know the sexes (this is driving my mother bonkers, btw).

After the shower I headed home through more rain & fog. Blech. I'm sick of traveling and I'm sick of driving in rain & fog. Hmph.

I got to spend some lovely quality time with my sweet husband on Sunday night and we watched the AMAZING Discovery series PLANET EARTH - I highly recommend anyone watching this. It's phenomenal. I can't wait til next week!

Yesterday I worked and then cleaned, sanded & painted. Picked up Miss M and did some sewing, made dinner, ate, knitted and went to bed. Whew.

Today we are having a snowstorm! BLECH. I'm ready for summer, dammit!