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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday - Why do you (write or read) Blog?

Today is going to be short and simple... I like simplicity lately.  Being I'm new to the TFT world, I apologize if someone has already posted on the topic.

I started blogging on myspace, not really with any reason or direction.  I wanted to see what it was like.  I got more and more into it, doing movie reviews and then started posting these random blogs with just my crazy thoughts... turns out people enjoy the way my wacky mind works.  As you probably know, Kristi suggested that I start my own blog, and I felt it was time since I seemed to be out-growing the not so user-friendly blog that is myspace.  I'm getting sort of away from the 'randomness' of my blogging... but I think that just comes with growing up and me changing in small ways.
I am finding I enjoy this blogging thing... which is odd to me because I'm not generally the type of person to just let people into my life like this.  I don't volunteer my personal thoughts and words to just anybody... not even people I know super well.  I like having something that is my own... and that, if for no other reason, is a great reason to blog!!

So.. Thoughts for Thursday: Why do you blog?  Why did you start blogging?  Tell me your blogging story.  If you are just a blog reader, why do you read the blogs you do and how did you find them?  If you are a lurker, now is the time to come out of the wood work... why do you only read the blog and not make your presence known (as if you're even going to answer that)?!

Other TFT Posts:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

People Watching

I wrote this last night and forgot to publish it when I got home; just a quick little ditty - enjoy!


So I'm sitting here in the parking lot of Cub Foods in my moms van while she is inside the store. It is hilarious how many people, couples and individuals, walk around the parking lot looking for their cars!
I have always loved the opportunity to people watch... This could be the best people watching I've ever done!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Democrat-Republican, Conservative-Liberal - UGH, Politics!

I started the writing below about a month ago, being that the election is a week away I figured I should get it posted.  I'm no better off now than I was a month ago!

I cannot believe I am writing an entire blog about Politics!

There is so much going on and I feel like this election is huge!  Forgive my ignorance, I'm trying to learn and trying to gain facts so that when the time comes I can make the decision I feel is right for me and our country.

First of all.. and I say this risking having something thrown at me... why do we talk so much about Liberals and Conservatives?  Isn't our political system made up of Democratic and Republican?  Again, forgive the ignorance.
I want a site or some information with facts, not information putting me into a category because of how I feel about government.  What if I'm a conservative who believes in same-sex marriage?  What if I have Liberal beliefs but don't agree with universal health care?  What would that make me?
I took a quiz online to see where I stand  - I scored right in the middle!  So now what do I do?
Does being a Conservative automatically make me a Republican or vice versa?  ...and what is a Conservative Liberal?

I also found this nifty chart stating where everyone stands on the issues.
..and more than all of this, does L vs C and R vs. D really matter?  Shouldn't we focus on where each candidate stands on each issue and vote based on that?

I'm trying really hard to understand all of this and feel myself getting more confused the deeper I get.  I don't expect that it's going to just click one day but the process of trying to understand it is very over-whelming!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I guess I'm going Random again - Vol. 8.19

I'm bored... it's 8:18 in the evening on a Monday night.  Let me apologize right away if you read this and find yourself dumbfounded over the lack of direction and merit.

Let me first say that I completely LOVE my new banner.  It's simple and it makes me happy.  Dawn, you asked where the football is... if you notice, my blog URL mentions dirty martinis and wine, which was my inspiration for the 2 end pictures.  Then, being that I didn't want to make it a super cluttered banner, I thought just one more picture would do... so I had my drinks, or drink themed pictures, now I needed my food (sushi), which brings us to the center picture.  Also, being that my football team is stinking it up this year, I didn't feel football was a worthy picture to have up.
I downloaded the photoshop font from some website and put it all together.  I'm probably the biggest viewer of my blog since I've changed it up :)

Speaking of football and my team stinking... we are about to stink it up even more; turns out there are rumors floating all over the interweb about two of our defensive tackles (Kevin Williams and Pat Williams) facing suspension for testing positive for taking water pills... seems like not such a big deal, but the pills are banned by the league because they can be taken to mask testing positive for steroids.  I couldn't find a good picture to show you what these boys look like, but let me just say... by looking a them, I'd venture a guess that both of them are far from taking steroids and I wouldn't be surprised if both of them were taking the water pills to lose a few pounds.
They could be suspended for 4 games... Our defense is one of the only things that gives us Vikings fans a glimmer of hope this season... if we lose those two boys... I may sit out the rest of the season as well.

I had such a fun weekend and have many pictures to prove this!
Anyone have big plans for Halloween?  I'm probably going to get dressed up again, in the same outfit... I just don't know where I'll end up yet.

Here is a thought that has me all worked up inside... I have this new car which comes full with a car payment - which sucks.  I haven't quite figured out how to best budget my money to make the car payments and still have enough to pay the bills, live my life, AND have some left over to save.  So.. I have insurance going to be due in December, Christmas in December, on top of the things mentioned above.  I need to get on eBay and sell some stuff or something!  Anyone have any get rich quick plans they want to let me in on?  ugh... I'm never moving out of my moms basement :(

I've been watching Weeds ... I have the last disc of the 3rd season coming in the mail and should be here Wednesday.  I do love it, though I feel like they are getting kind of away from the Weeds and focusing a lot on the personal drama.  Who doesn't love drama though... its a catch 22 I suppose.

I have a googlebot that keeps visiting my blog... it makes me happy that something google is coming to see me :)

Here comes the pessimist in me - I hate this time of year, for many reasons.  First, my skin gets dry and it can be painful at times.  With dry skin comes dry scalp and I can't find a shampoo or home remedy to help it.  Yesterday it snowed... it's still October!  It was windy and cold and, on top of being hungover, it just made me want to curl up in a ball - which is pretty much how I spent the day.

On the bright side - the political commercials will be over soon.

I'm Angela Hope and I approved this message ;)

Random - Vol. 8.18

Gas is way down!  $2.09 this weekend is the best I've seen yet!
I'd like to mention and remind people who have taken steps to reduce their usage of oil (gas) by either car pooling or riding a bike or whatever... don't stop what you are doing!  "They" say that oil is going down due to demand... They made X number of barrels when demand was high, demand has dropped due to our economy and people taking other measures to get around, so now they have all this oil and people aren't buying it as much as before... enter falling gas prices.   The next step is producing fewer barrels of crude oil and, while it won't necessarily drive prices back up, it will eventually cause them to level out.  I won't complain if gas prices sit around $2.00 for a very long time!  However, if we all start driving more and we forget about the things we've done to help that demand drop...they will have to start making more oil again, causing the prices to jump back up ... to who knows how much!  There is plenty of supply... and as we all learned back in high school... supply and demand drives our economy.  If the demand is less, then the price should drop, right?  So let's stick to our guns and keep car pooling, keep riding the public transit in your area, keep buying cars that are fuel efficient - keep doing your part to keep our gas prices low.

While I'm preaching to you... RECYCLE!  Don't throw your ciggy butts out the car window!  DON'T LITTER!!!

Moving on...
Part of my job description is answering the phones... it's probably my single most favorite part of my job.  I used to work retail; customer service and sales... When I got this office job I was sad that I wasn't going to have that interaction with other people anymore.  I still have it, just over the phone.  I love being the first voice people hear when they call; I can schmooze like no other!  I've receive many compliments on my phone skills and how friendly I am when people call.  :)  makes me happy.

Speaking of talking on the phone... I absolutely hate it!  LOL... kind of contradicts what I just said, huh?  I don't mind it at work because I can pass someone off to whomever they are calling for at any given time.  When I'm talking on my own phone it's just very uncomfortable for me.  It's not like it's awkward or anything.. I can deal with those awkward moments just fine... I just don't like sitting on the phone talking.  I will avoid phone calls and text or email someone before I pick up and give them a call.  I think it's kind of silly of me.

There is a guy at work that drags his feet when he walks.... it has to be one of the most annoying things ever!  Pick up your damn feet when you walk, WTH?!

I went to a haunted house thing on Thursday night (Trail of Terror), I do not at all enjoy those types of things. I hate being scared, I hate things jumping out at me, I just all around do not enjoy those thing.. my heart beats fast enough without it.  Somehow Erin convinced me to go... I figured I should give it another go, since it had been a few years.  It wasn't all that bad except for in the clown house... thought I was going to have a heart attack!  A pitch black trailer + an unexpected clown over Steve's shoulder and all up in my face = heart attack!

So, I went out this weekend for Halloween... The Johnny Holm Band was playing in a tent downtown Anoka.  Anoka being the Halloween capital of the galaxy, we all got dressed up and went out:
(L-R: Rambo, sexy cop lady, pirate wench, breathalyzer, Pregnant gangsta bitch, Dick Tracy)
I don't remember all of the night... but I know I woke up Sunday with a hangover - that usually equals a good time, right?  We went to Bennigans after downtown... attempted to play Big Buck Hunter and I couldn't shoot SHIT!  I may have been extremely wasted....  I have a bunch of pictures posted from that night on both bookface and myspace.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So, as I was sitting at home this Friday night attempting to learn about Photoshop and design a new banner.  I came up with this:

Then I decided to change my entire layout, and I'm pretty pleased with the end result... what do you all think?
The Orange is not for Halloween, although the timing seems like it should be.  I'm in an Orange phase... 

I also feel like I should be posting the banners so I can look back on them; thats what this post is for.
Here is the first banner I made:
I love that one, and may try to focus my future designs this way.

The second banner I made, which I did in about 15 minutes just playing around with a tutorial I found online, wasn't my favorite.  It turned out okay (and NOTHING like what the tutorial was showing) so I did decide to put it up for a bit:

I have a few other thoughts in mind, but I'm just not smart enough in Photoshop to do them... oh well, one day at a time :)

Missouri - Part V: The Road

Well, I think it's safe to say I had a wonderful time while I was in Springfield, MO.. but what about the actual trip there and back?
I would go so far as to say I've had better times but it really wasn't as bad as I expected.  Most of the drive, while boring, went by pretty fast.

The drive down began from Princeton, MN - where I work.  I had about a half tank of gas and decided to just drive it off.  I left just shortly after 11am, everything packed into my little car, Chex Mix ready and waiting.  Noon time rolls around and I get anxious for the beginning of the Tommy Mischke show on AM1500; only to find out that Mischke has taken the day off and I have to listen to someone else :( - not the best way to get started (I might kinda love Mischke!).  While I was driving off that half tank, listening to some other guy on the radio, I recieved a phone call from a lady who was interested in looking at my van (I still haven't sold it, but haven't really been trying very hard either).  We talk for a bit and I tell her I will be back in town on Tuesday and I hope to hear from her then.

Around that time I also had a pain festering in my back... right under my left shoulder blade.  More on this here .

Once I get near Albert Lea, MN (which is just about the bottom of MN) I have to stop to fill up for gas and use the little girls room.  Loves is the name of the gas station I stop at and I finally figure out how to fill up (no, I'm not an idiot, just didn't read the sign), walk inside to use the pot and I am blown away by how clean and beautiful their bathrooms are!  I wanted to take a picture but I left my camera in the car. 
I did snap a shot outside the store so I could always remember this place:
As I continue to drive and track miles and listen to my music and try not to go insane... I find myself rounding out the state of Iowa and all of the sudden nearing Missouri and well on my way to Kansas City!  I hadn't stopped to pee, I didn't need gas, but I was getting kind of tired as the sun was slowly starting to set.  I pulled over at a rest stop to stretch, fill up my coffee mug, and may as well use the potty while I'm there (Lord knows the coffee is going to go right through me).  Notice how I pretty much just skipped anything having to do with Iowa?  That's because there is NOTHING there!  I'll talk a bit more about it on the way home as it did help me restore my sanity.

I finally see signs for KC, I'm taking exits to other roads, I'm anxious to be this close.  I had it figured to be about 3 hours of driving left once I hit KC.  The pain in my back has subsided thanks to Aleve, but I can still feel something going on there... strange that I have no other pains in my back after being in a car for 7 hours.  I'm blown away by the beauty of Kansas City and their Interstate bridges.  I know it seems pretty stupid to be amazed by ramp bridges on an interstate system, but here in MN we don't have a lot of interchanges where there are 4-5 highays intertwining.  They have ramps that are so high!  Of course I am taking the lowest road possible, so I can look up and around to see all of these ramp bridges... I wanted to try and get a photo, but it was getting dark and I may have been weaving in and out of traffic (oops, and texting); nothing like driving in a city and adapting to how the locals drive!

Its about time to eat once I make my way into Kansas City, so I get on the road I need to be on and pull off on an exit with a Sonic at it.  I figured I should also get gas since I'm there... as I don't know how populated this next road will be if I should need to get gas.  So with the knowledge that KC is dangerous if you travel too far off the highway, I find the nearest gas station (which is just about a mile off the highway!) and fill up.  I crunched some numbers to discover that I got 39MPG on the tank of gas from Albert Lea, MN to Kansas City, MO!!!!  That sure does make the monthly payments a little easier on my mind :)

I had to travel the rest of the way in the dark, which kind of sucked becuase it was a new road and the thought of deer freaked me out.  My car turned over to 7,000 miles on that lag of the drive, I took a picture... it wasn't all that exciting.  I was, however, excited to get to Renee's... and I think I was beginning to go a little bit crazy, or at least that's what Steve figured out while we were texting.  I think he may have been on the right track.  I finally arrived somewheres around 930pm; for a total of just over 10 hours with stops included. (and I had to make my own martini when I got there!!)


I was very sad to be leaving, but I also wanted to get on the road early enough to not get home too late.  I made a quick stop to fill up (with gas being $2.21 a gallon down there, I had to top off!), and ran across the to the Waffle House to see if they sell travel coffee mugs for Bob here at work; they don't.  I jump back on the road and drive for about 45 minutes and have to pee so badly - I was not please about this and will never drink coffee on the road ever again; here is my sad face over having to already make a pit stop:
I stop and pee, grab a gatorade, and get back on the road.  I drive and drive and drive... have to stop again for a potty!  UGH.  While I'm at the store I pick up a new flavor of Pringles, they are supposed to taste like the onion blossoms you can order at the restaurants; they taste NOTHING like that!  Be forwarned should you decide to purchase them... they are not that good.  

Back in the car... making my way thought Kansas City again... I notice rollercoasters off in the distance!  I text Steve and ask him to google the amusement park off 435 in KC; Worlds of Fun, he tells me.  I was seconds away from stopping... good thing he told me they are only open on the weekends in October.  I would have easily made my way through that park to kill some time on a few coasters, I LOVE them!!

More driving... it's wicked windy out and my car is extremely light so I'm blowing all over the road, UGH!  I'm crabby and bored.  
I get up to Osceola, IA and have big plans to stop a the casino I see signs for all over the road.  I blow $50 on slot machines (the first $20 was unintentional, as I thought I was playing a penny machine.  Turns out this machine can be set for 1 cent, 2 cents, or 5 cents - when I sat it was at 5 cents and I bet almost half the damn $20 on one spin!).  I was anxious to get the hell out of there, but not at all anxious to get back in my car.  I noticed a winery at the top of the exit, signs pointed to open... that was my next stop.  I did some wine tasting, interesting stuff, not the best I've ever had but what can you expect coming out of Iowa?!  I ended up buying 5 bottles for $50, not bad when you consider one bottle was a reserve and it alone was $20.  I love fall wine sales!  
Here are a couple photos of the casino and the winery:

Thank God for both places, I was able to restore my sanity and continue on the drive home.  I also topped off my gas tank in hopes to not have to stop again ($2.39/gallon there).  I finally made my way back into Minnesota and was able to capture this picture, which turned out alright considering it was taken from the car while I was driving:

I finally got home around 7:45pm or so - for a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes which, considering I spent  over an hour in Iowa outside of my car, is not half bad.  I did have my cruise set a lot faster on the drive home then on the drive down; this also had an impact on my MPG's, in combination with the wind my average MPG was around 35 MPG.  

A Few Highlights (good and bad):
I didn't kill anything but bugs.
I didn't get pulled over; only seen 2 cops the entire trip!
I have a lead foot now!
I only spent $103.90 total in fuel (which includes starting with a half tank and filling up when I got home even though I wasn't on E).
I didn't stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the drive home and only munched on Chex Mix a little bit.
I traveled about 1287 miles, round trip.

I do have a lot more pictures posted in albums on both myspace and facebook, if you'd like to check them out.

A special thanks to the artists who provided me sanity with their full length CDs: Sarah Bareilles, Eminem, Sevendust, Joss Stone, Nelly, Alanis Morissette, Copasetic, Sublime, and Justin Timberlake.  Also the artists who have made their way on to the CD mixes I keep around: Dave Matthews Band, Howie Day, Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, Damien Rice, Dispatch and some others I don't recall at this time.  Also my good friend Steve, who put up with my continuous texting on both 10 hour drives.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday - Optimism

I wasn't going to do a TFT today because I have been blogging all week and I honestly needed a break.  I'm going to reschedule my last Missouri blog to post tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.  
The reason I've decided to post today is because my aunt Jayne, who is also my boss, handed me a piece of paper this morning and the words on it inspired me to write.  

I have been talking to a few people, Jayne included, about optimism.  I feel like I am a pretty pessimistic person by nature.  I always seem to focus on the negative of a given situation, even though down the road I may eventually find the positive.  A doctor friend of mine mentioned I might should read this book, so I downloaded the audio book before I left for my trip and planned to listen to it while I was driving, but I couldn't get it to burn properly, so I have yet to do anything with it.  I'm focused and determined to at least become a little bit more optimistic in my day-to-day life.  It's a hard battle to learn how to think differently and do it daily.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a negative person... I don't walk around with my head hanging down, I don't snap at people when they talk to me... I just seem to focus more on negative aspects of situations in life.  I really am a happy person.  

Here is what Jayne handed me this morning:

Time Waits for No One
Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.  It carries over no balance from day to day.  Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.  What would you do?  Draw out every cent, of course!
Each of us has such a bank.  Its name is TIME.  Every morning, you are credited with 86,400 seconds.  Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.  It carries over no balance. Each day it opens a new account.  Each night it burns the remains of the day.  If you fail to use the day's deposits , the loss is yours.  There is no going back.  There is no drawing against tomorrow.  You must live in the present on today's deposit.  Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success.  Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That's why they it's called the present.
-Author Unknown
I read that I felt moved.  I think its a great way to begin to think positive.

So my Thoughts for Thursday are these: Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person?  Do you ever stop to try and change your focus on something to be more positive?  Have you ever battled with negative thoughts and if so, how did you overcome those thoughts?  Tell me your life experiences with positive and negative in your life and your attitude. 

Other TFT Posts Today:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Missouri - Part IV: The Inbetween

There are a few other things worth mentioning about my trip, but I'm trying not to blog a million blogs about this trip, so I'm going to cram it all into one :)

A few quick notes:
First, I'm convinced that people in Missouri are hiding dinosaur eggs away from the rest of the world... I think they are plotting a real life Jurassic Park.  It wasn't only the picture below that makes me think this, but I'm doing further investigations before I can talk about it too much!
Second, there was some thing flying through the air while we were at the gas station... it was a Praying Mantis!  Have you ever seen one of those?  I hadn't and was damn excited to be seeing one:

Third, I had some obnoxious pain (pretty sure it was a pinched nerve) in my back, just under my shoulder blade the entire drive down and made for a very interesting first night sleep... I went to the Chiropractor on Friday and he did some very interesting things to me... and I felt better throughout the day.  I'm still weirded out by what happened in that office!

Fourth, I found a fork!  This fork stand 35 feet high... I'm thinking a full set of utensils through photography.  MN has The Spoonbridge, MO has a Fork... now to find a knife!

Last and most important to me is Renee and her family.  She has a wonderful husband, Phillip, and 3 lovely kids, Jacob, Kaitlyn, and Tyler.
Jacob is the oldest and I found myself often forgetting he is only 13 and speaking with him like he is an adult.  He is such a stud and will no doubt be a heart breaker once he gets to that point in his life.  He is such a good kid and stays out of trouble.. unlike most 13 year olds.  I had a lot of fun trying to make him blush as often as possible!

Kaitlyn is the middle child and, while she craves attention like most little girls, she isn't all middle child about it.  By that I mean she doesn't get jealous when the attention is focused on someone else.... at least that is what I noticed.  She speaks like no child I have ever met, takes the time to enunciate all of her words, and puts such thought and emotion into what she is saying.  I fell in love with her the first time I met her in a Vegas hotel room last fall... that love only grows with each moment I spend with her.

Tyler is a little spitfire!  I don't know how Renee does it... he is a handful and I imagine he will only be more of a handful each day older he gets.  He likes to test people and see what he can get away with.  It cracks me up!  He also has the cutest little speech impediment, he says his K's like a T.  He doesnt like to be teased about it, as any person wouldn't, but it just makes me want to grab him and pull him close!  He also says the word "Willn't" instead of "Won't" - which if you think about it makes a whole lot more sense!

Phillip and Renee have an amazing family and I feel so lucky that they have welcomed me into their home many times over.  I love observing them and how they work... they have it down!  I want to thank them so much for everything they did for me this weekend and everything they have offered me over the past year.  I'm truly blessed to have people like this in my life, I only wish they were just around the corner!  I miss them all so much already.

Missouri - Part III: Silver Dollar City & Marvel Cave

My weekend was full of first; first walnut tree, first scrapbook page, first this, first that... Another first, and a pretty damn exciting one, is my first trip inside a cave!  
On Sunday we took a day trip to Branson, MO to visit Silver Dollar City.  It's hard to explain what SDC is exactly, but they have rides, shops, glass blowing, food... those types of things.  I have tons of pictures from that day - some of which I will be posting here.  
Jacob, Phillip and myself went on 3 roller coasters that day, I LOVE roller coasters more than anything and I jump at the chance to go on one!  

They give cave tours which last roughly 45-55 minutes, so we decided to go on one... cause I wanted to go in a cave pretty badly!  There is roughly 600 stairs and we ended up about 500 feet below ground!  WOW!  It's a wet limestone cave and has some of the most amazing formations I've ever seen (not that I've ever seen anything a cave has to offer).  It was breathtaking.  It was also very dark in the cave, so getting a photo to turn out with my little point and shoot camera was quite hard.  I was able to get some:
It was pretty neat stuff, but one of those things that you really must see for yourself.  Photographs just don't show how awesome it is!

Here are some more of me in the cave:
While in Silver Dollar City we also watched some glass blowing, we walked a TON, and we colored some candles:

'Round about the end of the day I was getting tired... a lot because I had been running around with Phillip and Jacob after going on coasters!  Anyhow, we had to return the stroller we got for the kiddos, but before we did I had to pose for a picture, only to have my feet picked up by the kids and pushed/pulled around SDC!!
Renee's father is a dope photographer, so he was snapping pictures all day long... We ended up with this beautiful picture of Renee's daughter, I just happen to be in it:
The picture I posted in this blog was also taken and edited by Renee's father, he was such a treat to get to know!

I had a blast at SDC and going inside the cave is something I won't soon forget.  It's amazing to see places outside of Minnesota... flat ol' Minnesota!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Missouri - Part II: The Crafts

Settle down, I'm not talking about witch craft!

Renee had asked me many weeks before my arrival if I wanted to take a basket weaving class with her.  I had seen some of her pictures on myspace and I was all about it!  I'm generally not one to seek out new crafts, but it seems the older I get, the more money I find myself investing in crafty type things.  I've taken up knitting in the past year, I have TONS of projects in my brain just waiting for me to act on (most involve photos and/or wine), and I love photography as a whole.  

Here are a few pictures of us weaving baskets, (actually... it's just me in these pictures because Renee is a butthead and willn't ever let me take her picture):

The baskets are oil and vinegar baskets, so the point is to get oil and vinegar bottles, fill them and place them inside.  Of course we had to stop at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to pick up our bottles... and of course we had to paint them:

Last but certainly not least, Renee has a room FULL of scrap book supplies.  I can't even begin to tell you what any of it is (besides paper) but it's FULL!  OH!!!  She also has a cricut!  She was quite anxious to get me going on a page (or book) of my own... so I gave in and let her get me going.
Here is a photo of my (almost) finished page.  I have to still print the photo (which is going to be a group shot from the Oct. 12th Vikings game), so the white space you see now will be that photo (and I will post pictures of it complete as well):

Renee is pretty well the bomb and she also hooked me up with tons of paper to get me started on a book.  I will be posting my progress as I get it finished and as I'm working.

Turns out I might be a scrapbooker!  :)

More blogs to come... for now I must sleep.

Missouri - Part I: The Walnuts

I was staying in Wilard, MO, which is pretty well a small little town minutes from Springfield.  Up the Farm Road you will run into Walnut Grove, which is the town Renee grew up in.  They kind of have a lot of Walnut Trees in Walnut Grove.  

Come to find out that it's a pretty serious thing down there.  
Turns out it was harvest season while I was there, so most of the tree
s were bare.  In the area during harvest you can pick up walnuts and put them in a sack and sell them for cash!  We encountered a young gentleman in a orange jumpsuit who had the road blocked off to collect walnuts - he had several sacks in the back of his pickup truck.  It was quite the interesting experience for me, I wish I had taken a photo of him (I'm quite certain he was a jailbird, orange jumpsuit and all).

Once we made our way through Walnut Grove and seeing all of this I became a wee bit obsessed.  I needed to have a photo of a walnut tree, I needed to blog about walnuts, I needed to stage a photo shoot.  I had big plans!

First let me show you a walnut tree.  You will notice little green ball looking things on the tree (there are only a few, click the photo to make it larger), those are walnuts:

Since all the locals had pretty well picked through all the fallen walnuts we kind of had to go on a walnut hunt.  Renee snapped a shot of me on the hunt (although I many not look to be hunting for walnuts, I was in fact hunting for walnut trees near by to hunt near):

Once we finally found some I was absolutely blown away that walnuts don't just grow on a tree as you buy them in a store.  They are in a soft green hull, with a very dark inner core holding the actual walnut.  Here is what it looks like after it falls off the tree:

Once it falls off the tree the hull starts to darken, which is why you see some black in some of these photos.  I stepped on one with my shoe because Renee told me the inside will stain your hands very badly.  Here is what the inside of it looks like (that is the walnut you see there):

Here is a small group of them we were able to collect, notice how they are changing colors:

We staged a photo shoot in honor of Terri, who was not able to join us on the trip but LOVES to stage photo shoots:

Last, because I was so excited to have found some walnuts to photograph, I had to have my picture taken with one.  Can you say you've ever had your picture taken with a walnut?

What I have failed to mention up until this point is that I made Renee drive around for quite some time (and by that I mean at least an hour) trying to find a walnut tree with many walnuts still on it; these were the best we could find.  Turns out people jump at the chance to make a few bucks selling their walnuts!  Strange things you find in other places... 

I had a great time hunting for walnuts while in Missouri!

Random - Vol. 8.17

So, I got home last night to find my Internet wasn't working and I didn't have the patience to try and figure anything out.  So I will be posting about my trip hopefully tonight... I still have to get my pictures off my camera.  

I need technology!  I didn't check myspace and facebook but once this weekend and I think that was on Friday... aside from checking from my phone to poke those that have poked me.  I didn't really pay any attention to my email on my blackberry.  I'm really only posting this blog because I feel like I need a good solid dose of technology!

So, as mentioned, I will be posting blogs about my trip soon... and I think I'm going to have to split them up in sections cause I have a lot to say and a lot of pictures to share.  Though, I may be able to get it all into one or two.  
A few highlights I will be touching on: 
  • I scrapped my first scrapbook page this weekend!  I just have to print the picture and glue it down :)  I'm excited to post a picture for everyone to see.  Renee set me up with supplies to finish my little accordion book - it's going to be a 2008 scrap book... (don't tell her, but I'm pretty excited to be doing this!).  
  • I got EXCELLENT gas mileage - one of the tanks I got 39 MPG!!  
  • I seen my first ever Walnut tree and walnuts in their 'shells'.
  • I went into a cave for the first time ever.
  • Basket Weaving
  • Dinosaur Eggs
  • I love Renee and her family!
Stay tuned for those blogs...  on to my random thoughts.

Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle in real life?  The other week I was driving home from work and looked up to see 2 Bald Eagles flying together... just soaring along in the sky.  I truly feel 'they' (whoever they are..) picked an amazing creature for our nations bird.  They are absolutely beautiful!  
Back in August I was up north at a friends cabin and we were all out in the boat.. someone caught a fish, let it go.. and it died.  It floated away and all of the sudden we see this Bald Eagle circling overhead looking, obviously, at this dead fish floating away.  We continue to watch and then we see it start to get lower and lower... long flight down made short... he swoops down no more than 50 yards away from our boat and picks up the fish.  It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen!  Pictures don't even come close to showing a person just how amazing they are.  If you ever see one in real life, take the time to observe it, you will be blown away!

Being alone in a car with just my thoughts... is sometimes a dangerous thing.

I had about 50 million random thoughts I wanted to blog about - and I can't remember a one of them!

According to my dear friend Steve, Eminem has leaked a song off his new album set to drop this year... I have it sitting in my email inbox, but have yet to listen because of the lack of Internet at my house :(  I can't wait to hear it.

My job is so busy right now... it's job security, so that's good.  We normally have about 10-11 people working here; we are at a total of 18 people now.  We are making 950 Kiosks for a company, not only are we forming the parts (which is like 7-8 different parts) but we are also assembling them all, which takes about 15-20 minutes per kiosk.  It's a CRAZY project.  I'm in charge of keeping track and documenting time for each person... it's one of the biggest headaches at my job (and another reason I am writing this blog... sometimes mental breaks are necessary).

Burnt coffee is nasty.

I love to rap.. and I get a lot of strange looks from people on the road as I'm doing it.  Silly Minnesotans :)

I use the personalize Google homepage, and over the weekend they made some changes... I hate changes.  I have no idea how to get it back to how I had it.  Damn you Google!

I have to get some work done, but first... Renee's father is a super dope photographer and he emailed me a picture from this weekend and I'd like to share it with you:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday - ROAD TRIPS!!!

I am going to post a TFT for today, but its going to be pretty short, I'm only working a half day... I do have to get something done today :)

Since I am leaving today to embark on one of my favorite things to do (Road Tripping!), I thought it would be appropriate to talk about road trips!  I'm leaving in a matter of hours to drive about 10 hours to Springfield, MO - I LOVE taking road trips!!  I've done several with friends and many alone (mostly to Chicago); there is just something about being on the open road that I love.  I don't exactly recall my first road trip, but I think it was down to Texas (Dallas area) to visit my friend Derek; he was in the Air Force and stationed down there.  I made a few trips down there to see him, I was younger then so I didn't care as much about finding things to see or do on the way or while down there.  I took a road trip with my friends, Erin and Pam, to Chicago - we stayed there for a night or two, then drove down to St. Louis to visit my friend Joey.  We then drove back to Chicago for another night and eventually made our way home.  

I've made a couple road trips to Las Vegas.  The most memorable one was leaving MN with Erin and Kristen, driving through North Dakota, Montana, the very tip top of Idaho, into Washington.  We stayed in Seattle for a night, drove down through Oregon and Northern California into San Francisco.  We stayed in San Fran (which is one of my favorite cities, btw!) for a night and then made our way into LA/Venice Beach!  Had a night or two there and drove to Vegas.  Talk about an exhausting trip!!  We made our way back to MN through Denver - but didn't really make any stops on the way home.  3 girls in a car together for a week makes for some crabby times :)

I have driven in every state South and West of Minnesota.  I think that is a neat fact.  I've seen the Grand Canyon, Hoover DamThe Hollywood Sign, Muscle Beach, The Space Needle, and The Golden Gate Bridge.  I've been to Six Flags in LA (so much fun!), I've walked the strip in Las Vegas, and I've dipped my feet into the Pacific Ocean.  I'd way rather take a week and drive then fly to only one destination for the same amount of time!

This trip I will hopefully see and do some fun things while on the road.  I'm excited!  I really just can't wait to See Renee and her family.

So... Thoughts for Thursday: Have you ever taken a road trip?  Where to and what did you do?  Do you enjoy road trips?  Tell me anything and everything about the road trips you have taken!!

Other TFT Posts today:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogging and Counting...

Ok, so I installed this hit counter on my blog last week, but wanted to test it out before I decided to keep it.  After reading Michelle's Blog celebrating her 30,000th hit I've decided to keep my counter, unfortunately I didn't put it up the first day I started the blog, so it's about 2 months off.  I've added the hit counter to my blog under my picture for everyone to see.  Can you believe I've been here on blogger for 2 months?!

I really like the little community in the blogging world.  I've become a part of Thoughts For Thursday, which I'm finding to be fun and I'm always searching my mind for TFT ideas!  I'm also open to suggestions if you have one... I have an opinion on everything!

I still have a small annoyance with people coming and reading but not leaving comments.  Let me know you've been here, even if it's just a small "LOL" or "Word" or "I agree/disagree".  It is nice to know people are reading, but I don't know who you are unless you tell me, duh!  I know the comment options are there for you to post using your name (even if you don't have a blogger account)... so why not do it?  Not only that, but I know you have an opinion too or something to say!  If you found me through someone else's blog, let me know who and why you decided to click on my blog.  
I'm quite certain I've lost a lot of my loyal myspace readers... but what can you do?

There are still a few quirks I'm trying to figure out here (like why I get a different posting screen sometimes, one with a spellcheck and one without), but so far so good!  I need to take more time to play with banners... I enjoy learning new things and trying to make them in photoshop is usually fun.

All in all, I like it here.  I plan to continue to post as I feel the need and find topics to post about... Thanks to those who continue to read and welcome to those who are new.  I know my blog is not grammatically correct most of the time and I, generally, try to check my spelling... its just me and it's how I roll.

Lastly, on a separate/side note: my tattoo is starting to heal, which means it's starting to itch... which means it sucks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The weekend...

So I had an interesting weekend, I'll skip the boring stuff and get right to the good stuff.  

Saturday, kind of last minute I made a final decision to cover a tattoo that I've had since I was 16.  I've wanted to do it for a long time but haven't had the funds, my friend Amy knows this guy who does 'em for cheap... the first one I got was in a shack in some dudes backyard, this dude can't be much worse, right?  Here is a picture of the 'dolphin' I got when I was 16 (it looks like a minnow):

Several years ago my friend Joey drew me a dolphin - it was the outline for this tattoo.  So, after many steps and lots of pictures that I won't be posting... I now have this tattoo of a dolphin:

On Saturday my mom wanted to go out and celebrate her 50th birthday, so I drove to St. Paul (the Mn Music Cafe) and hooked up with her and a group of her friends.  Here is us doing a birthday shot of Patron:

Sunday, a group of us went to the Vikings game.  I won't touch on the game or the fact that we need a new head coach... but here is a picture of us tailgating (from left to right: Jeff, Linnea, Amanda, me, Bronson, Steve):

Then Sunday night my mom and me met up with my brother and Brooke for dinner at Big Bowl.  Of course my beautiful niece was with and just melting her aunties heart!  She has this super cute smile she does... I could never get a picture of it until this weekend, and I just have to share it with you:
Isn't she just the CUTEST thing ever?!  It's unbelievable how much I love that kid!

peace out bitches :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some old pictures

So I was going through some pictures on my computer today... sometimes it so much fun to do that... just think back and remember.  I decided to share with you some of those pictures and memories I have from around these times.  Unfortunately I don't have exact ages or dates for many of these first few.

(Remember you can click on any of these pictures to see them larger)

This first picture is me in what used to be my favorite thing to play with.  It's my little car, I even had the gas pump to go along with it!  I figure I'm probably around 1 yr. old here:
I figure since I don't moon as an adult, I should at least show you guys what I'm working with ;)  I'm guessing this is around 2 yrs. old or so (but I'm very bad at this):
This next picture is my brother and me... cute that we are actually getting along (I think he still liked me at this point in our lives).  I'm thinking I look maybe 2 in this one as well :
I still use this look to this day:
.... and this one too (pretty clear I've been a daddy's girl my whole life, huh?).  I figure this is around 3-4 yrs. old:
My favorite Halloween costume, Freddy!!!  My dad was the shit at making our costumes - I was also, at one point, The Tin Man, Dorothy, but never the Lion because I was always brave ;)  I think I'm around 5 yrs. old:
My mom loved putting my hair in pony tails on the top of my head!  She also loved my freckles and making me pose (which explains why, to this day, I love to have my picture taken) - I look maybe 7 yrs old here?:
My dad and me (I think this was taken the same day as the one above):
This one was taken in July '91 - 9.5 yrs old here.  Again.. my mom loved doing this stuff... and she didn't have to twist my arm too hard at this point to get me to play along:
This next one is the entire reason I started looking through pictures today.  I found this in my mom's bedroom and I wanted to make sure and get it scanned and post it.  It was my trip to Glamour Shots in 1995 - I was 13.5 yrs old:
Moving along to when I was a bit older... and people wonder why we never come out of a Minneapolis Public School with an education:
This is Pam, Amanda, Abbie and myself.  I'm pretty sure I was in high school here, but not sure which year:
I like my hair (and boobs) in this picture, circa 2000:
As an 'adult', with Pam and Alex - Powerpuff girls!!  I was big into pink then... so I got to be the pink one.  Oh, this was Halloween 2001, not just some random night:
Pam, Amanda, Kelley and me.  Amanda and myself skipped most of Kelley's baby shower to go to the Vikings game, oops!  My computer says this was 2002, so I'll go with that:
Ahhh yes... this next picture was taken the night of my 23rd birthday, so it was 12/16/2004.  I'm pretty sure after this was taken Amy and I were called up to the stage at The NE Palace to sing Eminem's Superman - the events following that song are a huge blur to me and all I know is I woke up the next day with a sore tail bone; draw your own conclusion:
A few weeks later, still with a sore tail bone, before the Vikings vs Packers game on Christmas Eve 2004:
Again in 2004, Christmas day with my brother and his now wife, Brooke:
Jan 2005, with my mom, Nancy, and my Brother, Jason:
So... that's really all I've got for you today.  Just thought it was fun to look back and laugh a bit.


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