Tag Archives: adventure

First Dates and Consequences

4 Sep

First, let me say that renewing your tabs is hard.  I admire all of you who get it done.  Sometimes I get my tabs renewed, but then putting them on the car is hard.  This was not my first tab-related run-in with the law.  I believe it was my fourth.

When the nice man pulled me over, he said, “Ma’am [cringe], I pulled you over because your tabs are expired.”  I almost said: “I know!  Did you notice how I was trying to stay BEHIND you?”  The clever fella had pulled off the road, let me pass him, then pulled back on and pulled me over.  Sneaky…  What I actually said, though, was, “I know, I just noticed that,” which was a total lie, and “I changed my name and moved last year, so never received a notice in the mail.  I didn’t know they wouldn’t find me like all my bills did.”  That part was true.  And I didn’t notice for a few months, but it should’ve been done by now.

Because we were on the highway, he was talking to me through my passenger window.  When he went back to his car to make sure I’m not a felon or whatever, I noticed that we’d been chatting over an open container of gin on the floor.  In my defense, I don’t have a trunk and the seats are down in my SUV, so that was the least chaotic place to stash it on my drive home.  While he was away, I quickly covered it with my bag and fluffed my hair up a little for good measure.  He came back with a warning for the tabs and a “ticket” for my expired proof of insurance (another thing that is hard), and sent me on my way.  He was pretty nice, but not very observant.

I bet you’re wondering what a nice girl like me is doing driving around with an open container of gin.  Well, it was left over from a first date I had last night.  My lovely friend over at Riot and Frolic was nice enough to have me for dinner, drinks, and blog-strategy.  We’ve been FBBFFs (that’s facebook-best-friends-forever…s) for a while now, but decided it was time to take things to the next level.  It was lovely and charming and full of fresh produce and fancy tonic water in small bottles.  I had brought the drink ingredients, and was just on my way home with my little open container.  No big.

I feel lucky to have so many great friends, but new ones are so great and it’s definitely harder to make them once you’re out of dorm life.  Even turning a coworker into a friend isn’t as easy as you get older.  At least it’s not as hard for me as it is for the menfolk, but I couldn’t help my amusement at how we were both nervous that it might not “work out.”  But it did, and I’ll probably wait 3 days and then call her.  Look out, this could be the beginning of some great writing material…


Don’t Tell Me That’s The Bridge…

3 Aug

I’m not always so outdoorsy…

We went Up North this weekend.  For those of you not from around here, that’s what Minnesotans do on the weekend in the summer.  We spend 9 months shuffling as quickly as possible in our vertical sleeping bags from car to door and back again, so when it hits 51 degrees, all sleeves and pant legs come off and we park our butts outside.  We endure some crazy heat waves, vicious flies, and monster mosquitoes just because we know it’s better than being cold.  As I type this, I’m fighting the urge to scratch my left shoulder completely off.

We made our way up the shore to my favorite spot, Cove Point Lodge.  We had some time to kill before check-in, so we ate (naturally), and crawled around at Palisade Head.  There are blueberries everywhere!  It had been an hour or so since my last pizza, so I had a nice little antioxidant-rich snack.  When we got back to the lodge and got settled, we drank a deeeelishus French white wine in some Adirondack chairs on the shore of Lake Superior.  I couldn’t help but notice the wineless young lady who watched us while she chased her small child around.  I gave her a little pity smile…

We found some decent-tasting, overpriced food for supper…. smoked caribou, anyone?  And that was pretty much the end of the first day.  We got up the next morning and had a bizarre Scandinavian breakfast of pickled fish, pickled cucumbers (why are these not just called pickles?), hard boiled eggs, cheese, and dinner rolls.  And coffee.  We didn’t really have a plan for the day until he flipped open one of the magazines in the room and noticed that one of the state’s “best hiking trails” was about 3 miles away.  He was possibly getting in over his head with this idea, but whatever…

We found the trail and since it was an 11-mile loop, we figured we’d walk for a little bit and then turn back.  I may be a professional dancer, but I’m not exactly graceful.  I only actually fell down one time, but that’s mostly because I’m really, really careful about where I place each step.  Read: slow.  There was only one thunderstorm, which was nice, so we kept a pretty good pace.  We saw pretty flowers…

And took some bad pictures of ourselves… you don’t really need to see those.

We put in 4 or 5 miles on this trail, and pointed the car towards home.  We stopped for some calories we had sort of earned, and thought we’d stop at Split Rock.  Apparently they charge for that now, and we’re on a budget.  So we headed for Two Harbors (destination: Betty’s Pies), but then he pulls over emergency-style at the Split Rock wayside.  “Want to go for a walk?”  I only sort of have to pee at this point, so I figure why not?  We head down the trail, and after a few minutes we get to the first loop.  Again, we’ll just go a little way up and then turn around.  Right?  Nope.  This turned into “we HAVE to be getting close to the turnaround point.”  We were looking for a bridge that went across the Split Rock River.  My dismay was felt for miles when, after 4 days in the wilderness, we came across this…

At this point, it’s personal, and you can’t turn back.  We finally found the Real Bridge, which was leaning strongly to the left, and not so confidence-inspiring…

Much whining was heard up to and beyond this point.  I thought we were just going to “walk a little” and I “had to pee.”  From this point, though, the constant uphill seemed to level off a little.  The views were pretty amazing, and even though I was stuck in the place between feeling every nerve in your body and being completely numb, it felt good to climb hills like an 8 year old.  Apparently, though, it’s unusual to get very low to the ground for some of the steeper trips downhill.  Learn something new everyday, I guess.

Eventually, if we squinted really hard, we could even SEE where we were parked.

See that little inlet?  That’s where our car is.  This is well into Hour Three…

Obviously, we made it out of the Hundred Acre Wood, as I am alive to type this.  We finally made it to Betty’s Pies, and pigged out on some broasted chicken (I don’t know what it is, but it’s amazing) and two kinds of pie.  And coffee.  Cheers!


15 Jul

Remember how I’m not buying things?  Right, me too.  This morning, I poured myself a tall mug of coffee and left for work with enough time to stop at my favorite place for squandering money, the Bead Monkey.  They rearranged!  There was a much better selection of Swarovski crystals, some new semi-precious stones that I hadn’t seen before (lemon jade is my new favorite!), and I played with some of the precious metals they keep behind the counter – I’m making a gift.  And maybe one for myself.

While I was talking to the super nice lady behind the counter, and we were holding chains up to links, some JERK started honking his horn.  And not just honking, really, but laying on it.  Pretty soon, we decided that it must be an alarm going off.  A lady came in and said it was coming from a nearby building, their security system must have been tripped.  Then another lady came in the door on the other side of the shop, and my stomach sank.  I got that feeling you get when you realize the woman in the distance – so far away, you can just barely make out her features – who is stomping towards you is Your Mother.  I recognized that “building alarm,” and the lady said that it was coming from a black Pathfinder.  I don’t drive a Pathfinder, but not everyone knows cars.

I put two and two together quickly enough and ran out to shut it up.  Not happening.  I started the car.  I stopped the car.  I locked the doors.  I unlocked the doors.  I hung my head, walked back into the store to grab my umbrella.  I mumbled an apology to the poor deaf people and high-tailed it outta there.  There’s a repair shop about 4 blocks from where I was, so I went in that direction.  I learned two things along the way: 1. If you seem to be reclining on your horn, people will pull over and let you pass them; 2. As you pass them, they will give you the dirtiest, most hateful look you can imagine.  The guys at the shop sprang to action and got it to stop.

The icing on this lovely cake was the record rainfall happening the whole time.  After I dropped my car off to be muzzled and muted, I walked 3.5 blocks to work.  I was dry when I started out, and 2 hours after I arrived at work, I was dry again.  Sigh.

We’re still in need of some detective work to uncover the cause of this whole horn problem, and then a solution.  The prevailing theory is that a remote trigger was installed by N, and that my proximity to a cash register is what set it off.

Is this really all there is…?

10 Jul

Okay, I don’t exactly have an issue with monotony.  It has been 4 weeks since my last confession.  Post.  Have a seat, I’ll catch you up…

We made it.  We’re officially Not Newlyweds.  I gave him a Kindle (paper anniversary… get it??) which I more or less had to set up for him.  He’s not very technological.  He gave me a hat!  I love it, but I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.  It looks like this:

We spent the weekend at the same hotel we stayed in one year prior.  We had dinner at the same restaurant.  We spiced it up by having drinks at a place that had nothing to do with anything other than I really like it.  Turns out it all felt really overpriced this time, but as he put it, “a nice parallel.”  Next year we think we’ll order a pizza.

The next weekend was reasonably quiet, as I’d thought I would be on a business trip so there wasn’t much planned.  A little garage-saling (saleing? sailing? whatever), a little birthday party for one of my many pregnant friends, and an inaugural batch of bacon chocolate chip cookies.  That’s right, I said bacon.  After this experiment, it may be making appearances in all manner of baked goods that come out of my kitchen.  As I write this, I realize that a “quiet weekend” for me involves baking, shopping, and partying.

The NEXT weekend was Inlawpalooza.  I survived.  We went to Colorado to celebrate my cousin-in-law’s wedding to a lovely man who will not become a priest.  Long story.  Okay, it’s not that long.  She’s pretty hot, so he thought he’d marry her rather than finish seminary.  Good times were had, sleep was not.

Now we’re back in town for a (little) while.  I’ve set up a tentative chore calendar which I am certain he will love, and I’ve got some 3-ingredient recipes to try out.  Next week I have a little more time to myself than I normally do, so I’m trying to think of things to do that will help me feel like a more balanced individual.  So far I’ve scheduled a brunch.  I thought maybe a “pole fitness” class would be fun, but those conflict with my work schedule.  So… maybe some yoga?  Hopefully some writing, I always enjoy that outlet.  Jewelry-making is a distinct possibility.  And chores, though not enjoyable themselves, always make my life seem a little simpler.  I definitely plan to spend some time this week making limoncello.  It has been a couple years since I’ve tackled that, but I’m confident that I can still pull it off.  Now I just need to find a summer cocktail recipe for it… club soda?  mint?  hibiscus tea?  Stay tuned for more on all that, and on my pineapple bok choy slaw.  It can only turn out well.

I don’t mean to brag…

13 Jun

I baked a cake this weekend.  From scratch.  If you spend any time around me, you probably already know this, as I obsessed about it for about 5 days before it even happened.  The victims?  The ladies of book club.  Let me share a little bit about the experience…

I own several cute aprons – at least two of them involve polka dots.  But somewhere in my mind, I have aprons categorized as “retro” or “obsolete” or some other category that deems them unnecessary when I’m cooking.  So when Act I of this cake-baking adventure found me promptly covered in flour, I decided I will start using aprons more often.  Some other things I learned through this experience: parchment paper should come pre-cut in rounds.  Minor pain in the arse cutting circles out of parchment paper.  Also, non-nonstick cake pans are better, because the batter needs something to “grip” while it “climbs” the side of the pan.  Thanks to my pastry-chef-friend E.  Did you know that nonstick cake pans cause the cake to brown more on the edges?  Neither did I.  Did you also know that some recipes call for 9″ rounds, and some call for 8″ rounds?  Who came up with THAT system?  For now, I have 3 stick 9″ pans.  Let me know if you need to borrow them.

The cake was great.  I have a hard time dividing things “in half,” apparently, so when it came time to spread the filling between the layers, there may have been some jamming of lemon curd between two already-set layers.  Turns out it tastes okay even if you rough it up a little bit in the process.

I also made sangria (for my regular friends) and fruit punch (for my pregnant friends).  I didn’t try the non-alcoholic version – what? – but someone asked for the recipe so it must have been okay.  The sangria comes from Emeril and can be found here, and the regular punch was cran-pomegranate, a squeeze of lime, a bottle of San Pellegrino, and some other stuff.  I also made some caramelized onion dip in an effort to get rid of the Greek yogurt in my fridge.  My mom suggested I add some ground chipotle to it, so I did, and it was good.  I like it both ways!

Tonight I grilled some salmon, and managed not to screw it up.  Turning it over was nearly as terrifying as baking a cake, but it worked out.  Look out, I seem to be on a roll.  Next up: souffle!  That was a little culinary humor, I’m not actually dumb enough to try making a souffle.

I know you’re probably already feeling bad about yourself, what with all that I’ve gotten done this weekend, but there’s more.  I managed ALL OF THIS, and also found time to go shopping!  I know!  In a futile search for the Perfect Summer Frock, I bought one dress that he loves (I was ambivalent, it is above the knee and fitted – there is no room for gluttony in this thing), and one that I think he would prefer I never even saw.  It hits me somewhere below the ankle, is blousy-but-belted, and I could probably fit two of my closest friends or several racks of ribs in there with me.  It’s a “maxi dress.”  The best invention of the 21st century, I think.  I am certain that men everywhere are organizing a campaign against them, but ladies, they are genius.  Throw on some flip flops and some bangles and it’s practically evening wear.  Now I just need to get to work and make some jewelry to go with these new friends of mine…