27 December 2009

Christmas Time

Elizabeth and I braved the snow, sleet, ice and rain to make it back to the farm for Christmas. The roads were great when we started out, but started to get worse as the trip went on - to the point that it took 2 hours to get to my parents house from Madison (it normally takes an hour or less). We had a great time spending the holiday with my parents and extended family.

On Christmas Day, we headed out on the road again to her parents' house (the roads were a lot better by then). We had a great time spending the day and weekend with her family. Our niece and nephew are the cutest kids ever! Allison invited us to join her and grandpa and see the movie, "Princess and The Frog" which was pretty good - even for adults!

23 December 2009

Splendid Night With Friends

It has been a long, long time since the two of us have been able to get together with the Kooyers. But we finally were able to find a free night on both sides for everyone to hang out. Adam & Heather had us over for dinner and to finish off the remainder of the wine they bought in Italy.

Adam made stuffed manicotti for dinner. Along with the wine. a nice salad and some Italian bread with olive oil & balsamic vinegar, it was a Feast of Italy! The manicotti was delicious - Adam made enough for a large family, which was great because they gave us some to take home. For dessert, Elizabeth and I picked up a French Silk pie at The Baker's Wife in Minneapolis. It was gigantic, but so incredibly yummy - we'll definitely do that again! As payment for the take-home Italian, we left the pie...much to their delight!

It was great to visit with our friends again and hopefully we'll be able to match up our schedules and do it again really soon.

12 December 2009

Happy Anniversary

This past week we celebrated our 4th anniversary. We decided ahead of time that we weren't going to get each other presents, but you pretty much know how that always turns out - there were presents after all! Elizabeth wanted to surprise me - and pretty much did so, as she led me out for dinner and a night's stay at Sofitel. It's a french-themed hotel & restaurant that she has always wanted to stay at. I bought her a gift certificate at Banana Republic, one of her favorite places to shop. We had a great time and it was nice not to have to work the next day (at least for me - wifey still had to work). :)

07 December 2009

Vikings Lost!

The Arizona Cardinals dominated the game almost entirely, winning 30-17. I was smiling. :) Brett Favre wasn't a savior, the defense was exposed and Adrian Peterson wasn't even an issue. Now, the perfect follow-up would be if the Packers end up winning tonight against Baltimore. *crosses fingers*

Update: The PACKERS won their game! *woo-HOO* =)

04 December 2009


The wife and I went to my parents farm for Thanksgiving weekend. I haven't been back home since June, so it was a welcome trip regardless of the holiday. Instead of spending time with the extended relatives, Mom thought it would be nice to just have a small celebration and be thankful in a small fashion. I agreed! We arrived just before the Packers game started (as scheduled) and there was plenty of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and carrots to go around. Mom also made these butter rolls that were to die for! =)

On Friday, Elizabeth and I wanted to go to Galena, Illinois to stock up at their winery and visit the little shops in the historic town. We were a little freaked out to find that our favorite popcorn place was gone - but then were joyous when we found it had just relocated further down on the other side of the street. Have you ever had Grape Popcorn?!?! Splendid...

Elizabeth wanted to run 10 miles in preparation for her next marathon, so I plotted a course through the hilly countryside. She finished it, but I'm sure she will want to look for flatter terrain in the future.

Mom wanted me to put up Christmas lights on the balcony, so that was my task for Saturday. Dad was 'volunteered' (to his dismay) to assist and it made the job a lot quicker. I also helped Dad get the pool ready for winter - the water was 32F. Needless to say, we didn't go swimming.

I ended up getting almost an entire batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies by the end of the weekend. I like going home to visit and it's great to spend time with my family. 2-3 times a year just isn't enough, though - so I hope to be able to make it a little more frequent in the future.

22 November 2009

Winery Road Trip

My parents stopped at a winery on the way home from visiting us this past summer. They are now fresh out of their supply and asked me to pick some up before going home for Thanksgiving next week.

In the little town of Cannon Falls, there's a neat little winery that uses a blend of grapes from Minnesota and other regions. Cannon River Winery sits in the heart of downtown. For $5, you get a full sampling of whatever is currently available - with the exception of the reserve (which requires forfeiture of an extra dollar bill) - from their wide variety of wines. I sampled about 14 different wines and found a few favorites of my own (Nouveaux, Minnesota Meritage, Lorraine's White, Sogn Blush). The reserve was also very tasty - but for $24 it seems a bit pricey for local grape goodness.

Little did I know, but Cannon River Winery supplies the famous Mancini's Char House with both a house white (West 7th White) and red (Mancini's Levee Red) vino. Both of which are quite good - and remind me of several good nights at that establishment.

13 November 2009

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday, November 13th. Are you worried about what might happen? Is the world going to end? Don't walk under that ladder! Beware of black felines crossing the path in front of you...

Want to know what's really weird?!?! I don't have to work another Friday until January 15, 2010! Of course, now that I've said that statement on this unluckiest of unlucky days something is bound to go wrong - isn't it?! =)

I've never believed in superstitions - but yet, I'm quite entertained by them and will sometimes say something just to get a reaction. Let's hope that I don't anger the spirits and jinx myself! ;)

*knocks on wood*

05 November 2009


Elizabeth and I attended her co-worker's annual Halloween party. While last year's bash was held in a small apartment, the hosts (Nick & Tawny) have since moved into a house - and a very nice one, at that! Tawny expanded her Halloween decorations collection and did a great job at making everything spooky - with fog and everything.

This is one of the pictures hanging on the wall. At the party, we thought it looked very similar to David Bowie - what do you think?

Later in the evening, we were entertained by their two dogs. They're pretty funny, especially when they started having a howling contest. They did some other things, too - but this is a PG blog, so we won't go into that. :)

01 November 2009

Birthday, Dinner & A Movie

Last night, Elizabeth and I went to a friend's birthday celebration. It was a surprise dinner at P.F. Chang at the Southdale Mall in Edina. Miranda invited us to join in on the festivities to honor her fiance Gabe on his 30th birthday. Dinner was pretty good - I tried a new drink that I didn't like, but Elizabeth picked a good one (usually it's the other way around)! Gabe's brother and sister even dressed up for Halloween. :)

We had a great time at dinner, then the four of us went to see This Is It at our nearby local theatre. Michael Jackson was in really good form and looked ready to go. It would have been an awesome concert, that's for sure.

15 October 2009

Marathon Mania

Who in their right mind would run the Twin Cities Marathon and then two weeks later run another marathon in San Francisco? My wife, that's who! =) Elizabeth beat her personal record at the TCM two weekends ago. This morning, she and several of her running group friends are flying out to California and doing it all over again.

20 September 2009

Juicy Lucy

Elizabeth and I started going out on Fridays to various local establishments to sample their version of the "Juicy Lucy" - a cheeseburger with a layer of cheese melted inside the burger. It was supposedly invented here in the Twin Cities and there are several varieties.

It all started with Nook, a small bar & grill in residential St. Paul. Their version was so good, we started telling everyone about it. That's when the feedback occurred - our friends and co-workers would say, "Have you tried it at this other place?" We decided that we should do a comparison!

Here's the list of places we've been to so far (ranked in order of preference):

1) Nook - (St. Paul) visited first, hard to beat! *yummmm*
2) Matt's Bar - (Minneapolis) a great Jucy Lucy (note the spelling), cash only!
3) The Cardinal Tavern - (Minneapolis) visited last, good Lucy and Cheddar Crisps!
4) Blue Door Pub - (St. Paul) probably the best variety of Lucy (at least 10 of them)
5) The 5-8 Club - (Minneapolis) recommended by many, but it just wasn't as good.

It will be interesting to see how the list changes as the contest continues.

26 August 2009

Rattle My Bones

Alright, so I haven't been posting to the blog on a regular basis. But who has? Anyway, I've been busy this summer. Take the Rattle My Bones scooter rally for example. I was only able to attend part of the festivities, but let me tell you - riding with 250+ other scooter fans was pretty dang cool! A modest $35 registration gets you full access, plus a grab bag, shot glass, free food & drink and a heck of a good time. At first I thought I was going to be the only person there with a vintage Honda Passport. Then another guy pulls in with one a year newer (close call). However, I eventually got beat out by not one...not two...but three 1963 Honda 50's (basically the predecessor to the Cub/Passport) which were awesome classics. Two of which left before the Big Ride, a 70-mile jaunt through the backstreets of the metro. So mine wasn't the oldest, but Porter was the only blue Cub/Passport in the lot. I'll likely go back again next year - besides, with a kick butt logo and a rally named after a cool Suburbs tune what's not to like?

09 August 2009

Go East!

Last weekend, Elizabeth and I left to join her family on a road trip out east. I wasn't totally enthusiastic about it at first (5 adults and 2 toddlers packed into a Honda minivan) but it ended up being a great trip! We went, we saw and we did many things, including...

Dined with relatives in Cleveland, OH
Chatted with more relatives in Harrisburg, PA
Learned about chocolate in Hershey, PA
Toured the dutch region and ate lunch on an old-time train in Strasburg, PA
Dipped our feet in the Atlantic Ocean at Cape May, NJ
Walked through American history at various sites in Philadelphia, PA

There were a few more details but this pretty much sums it up. Now I have a couple days off to recover from a wacky sleep schedule, eating at weird times and de-kinking the knots in my back. ;)

21 July 2009

My wife is a PK

This weekend, Elizabeth and I went to Eau Claire for her father's ordination. It was a great celebration and he was able to share it with many of his friends, colleagues, family and fellow members of his congregation. That makes Bob-in-law a pastor, where he will start his new call and career in a few weeks. Later on Sunday, both Elizabeth and her sister were saying, "I'm a PK!" repeatedly and it was quite funny. I guess that makes me a PK-in-law. ;)

01 July 2009


The following four celebrities are no longer with us:

1) Michael Jackson
2) Farrah Fawcett
3) Ed McMahon
4) Billy Mays

Okay, now we can move on - right, mainstream media?

21 June 2009

Fathers Day

My parents came up for a visit and to once again go to the Back To The 50's car show. This year it coincided with Fathers Day. I'd say my dad had a great time this weekend, getting to see all the old cars and finding ones similar to his 1959 Chevy Impala coupe. This morning, Elizabeth and I treated my parents to breakfast at Original Pancake House. Dad even got to take Porter out for a spin before they left around noon.

This evening, we met Elizabeth's parents and her sister's family for dinner at the Freight House in Stillwater, MN. The kids (our niece and nephew) were great, especially Will - who insisted that I draw cars and trucks all over his place mat. It was also my father-in-law's birthday this weekend, so we celebrated that as well.

14 June 2009

Strange & Funny Things

I work in downtown Minneapolis, which unfortunately isn't really all that green. Not many trees, grassy areas, wooded parks or anything like that. That's why I found it rather strange that I saw a deer walking around the other day. It was lost and wandered in from a neighboring residential area. The doe just walked around, causing traffic to stop and people to stare in disbelief.

Later in the week, I took the scooter out for a spin after work - and saw the funniest car accident ever! Someone was making a left-hand turn onto a side street and missed the street completely! Instead, the driver hit the corner, went up on the curb and somehow managed to hang their car up on a bracing cable for a telephone pole. All four wheels were off the ground! I tried to take a picture but the iPhone's camera isn't that great with far away items.

07 June 2009

Porter's Revenge

It rained this weekend - a LOT! I'm not complaining one bit, though, because we're kind of in the middle of a drought so far this summer and we need the rain. Also, it gave me some time to work on Porter (my '81 Honda Passport C70...yes, I named it!). Porter has been a lot of fun so far this year, but I couldn't get him running right - ever. I vowed that I'd make him better - and I did just that!

A while back, I bought a carburetor rebuild kit as my first-ever purchase on eBay. I just never got time to put it in because the weather was always nice or I had something else to do. Yesterday, however, I took apart Porter's carb and rebuilt it with new needles, jets and gaskets. After resetting it to Honda specs, I put it back in the scooter - and it fired up instantly! It seemed to run okay but I wanted to test it out on the road.

The road test was today - and all I can say is what a difference it made! It idles smooth, runs without the choke pulled out and doesn't hesitate mid-throttle anymore. The scooter is even more fun to ride than it was before!

However, this enlightenment just furthers my frustration with the repair shop that had supposedly gone through everything and rebuilt the carb already. Why did I give you guys money, anyway?!

28 May 2009

The New Graduates

Memorial Weekend was also graduation weekend for my father- and sister-in-law. Both Georgia and Bob graduated from Luther Seminary this past Sunday. While I was unable to attend the festivities, my wife said that everyone had a great time celebrating with family and friends.

Congratulations to Georgia and Bob! =)

Kickin' Bass

After a shaky start to Memorial Weekend with Elizabeth's car dying on us before leaving town, my friends and I made it to our usual hangout outside of Alexandria on Friday night. We immediately went out on the lake to get caught up on missed time with our swimming friends.

On the second cast, I caught my first fish in three years! After that, things were incredibly relaxed and we were just having fun. I ended catching over a dozen bass the entire weekend - which is pretty good for me! All of them went back into the lake, minus the last one which a friend wanted to fillet and keep.

It was a great weekend! I even won at poker two nights in a row. ;)

19 May 2009

Goin Fishin

This upcoming Memorial Weekend marks yet another trip with my friends and their families to Alexandria for an extended weekend of fishing. I look forward to this trip every year (much to my wife's dismay) and enjoy being out on the lake with my group of friends.

When Todd & Renae first started inviting friends several years ago, I didn't even fish. After a couple years of hanging out in the boat, I decided to give it a go and bought my own pole. The past two years have been rough - not a single fish caught by Loki.

But this year....THIS YEAR....things will be different! OR ELSE!!! :-/

09 May 2009

Porter Goes To Work

The weather for Thursday was supposed to be gorgeous and warm enough in the morning to make my first attempt at taking Porter (my Honda Passport scooter) into work. I estimated my travel time of about an hour and left 15 minutes early in case of traffic issues. It was a bit chilly in the shady areas, but overall the ride was splendid! No real traffic until I got close to downtown Minneapolis - one of the benefits of taking back streets.

Everyone was asking if I was going to commute in this fashion every day. I don't think that would be a good idea, as it's a shorter commute if I take the train. But I might ride my scooter to the bus stop more frequently as summer rolls in!

02 May 2009

Good Day for a Picnic

We went to Como Park for a picnic today in celebration of my mother-in-law's birthday earlier this week. It was really nice out (mid-60s) and even though there was a slight breeze it turned out to be good weather to pull up a bench and have some cake. Afterwards, we watched Allison and Will climb around on the playground - of course, they didn't want to leave when it was time to go. =)

04 April 2009

Think About It. Think About It. Think...

Last weekend on Saturday my friend Jason and I hung out, grabbed some beer and burgers at The Bulldog and then went to see Information Society in concert. We had fun, even though we purposely went late to avoid the opening acts and still ended up catching the last 2 out of 3 anyway. Insoc didn't go on until after 11pm, but it was worth the wait. I've forgotten how insanely hilarious these guys are from seeing interviews on MTV back in the 80's and 90's. They played a great set as well, including songs from their early early days (think 1981) that have never been released. Being originally from Minneapolis, Kurt kept saying, "We claim we are from here." What, like we're embarrased?

26 March 2009

Mission Trip Highlights

Elizabeth and I returned from our Mission Trip to Jamaica this past weekend. It was truly a great experience, one that I will always remember! Meeting the congregation there and becoming part of their community for only a few days was amazing.

We built a house - in four days! The family that was chosen to receive it were very grateful and appreciated it tremendously. Gregory, who was 5 years old, spent every day at the site "helping" us build what would soon become his home. I'm proud to be part of the team of people who helped make it a reality.

Elizabeth also spent time with the kids at the preschool. She showed her given talents in leading the group of youngsters through various songs and activities. My wife did a great job and I'm glad that I was able to join her and see it first hand.

Now I'm back to my normal life and I'm not quite used to it yet. I think that's a good thing...

13 March 2009

Jamaica or Bust!

Okay, I'll be honest - I choose Jamaica! It was -3' F in Minneapolis this morning when I was going into work. I checked the weather app on my iPhone and in Kingston it was 75! With a high of 83 today! The only thing I don't like is that we have to be at the airport at 4am. Yikes!

07 March 2009

Blog Slacking

I realized today that I haven't put up a post in awhile. Not because I've been completely lazy, but there just hasn't been that much going on! We've been laying pretty low and getting ready for the mission trip to Jamaica with Elizabeth's church back home. Other than that, here's what's happening:

- I got J stuck in our driveway coming home from work in the last snowstorm.
- Wifey and I went to Salut for dinner and it was really really good!
- Work has been busy and I've remained off the computer while at home.
- Elizabeth is teaching fitness classes and judging HS speech competitions.
- I can't seem to get past a certain level in Lego Batman...

Oh, and we're going to Mystic Lake Casino for dinner at the buffet tonight. I can't remember the last time I've been there...it might be 1996. ;)

21 February 2009

Birthday Week

While I had intended to put up a post on my birthday it just didn't happen. So, here's the recap of my birthday week! =) On Tuesday, I slept in because I had the day off. Then I bummed around on the computer, went out for coffee with a good friend, went shopping at the Apple Store, had lunch via White Castle, got my free birthday car wash and went out to dinner with Elizabeth. She gave me an iTunes gift card and a new office chair (mine squeaks a lot). I also got lots of text messages, e-cards and phone calls from friends & family wishing me a happy birthday. Gotta love technology! I got a card and phone call from my parents and my aunt sent a card as well. My mother-in-law even sang to me (via voicemail). Cool day!

Last night, the in-laws met us at Macaroni Grill at Rosedale Center. It was probably the best experience I've had at that restaurant - great food, fresh bread & fun with the family! I also got cards & presents there as well.

15 February 2009

Lovers' Night Out

For Valentine's Day, Elizabeth and I started a tradition of going out for dinner and taking turns at picking the restaurant. The only requirement is that it had to be someplace that neither of us had been to before.

This year was my pick and we made reservations for W.A. Frost & Company. It had a great rustic decor and excellent service. Wifey had the special, a tasting menu of six courses of various fare (I'd list them but I can't remember them all). I decided to go a different route, choosing the Tomato & Goat Cheese soup with a Caesar salad and then Norwegian salmon with Risotto. Very tasty!

13 February 2009

Friday the 13th

So, today is supposed to be the day. A black cat crosses your path. You break a mirror. Step on a crack and take your mom out of commission. Walk under that ladder. Breathe while passing a cemetery. Forget to throw spilled salt over your shoulder. How are you ever going to survive an unlucky day like this?!?!

The only thing weird that happened today was at happy hour in Brit's Pub - a nice 50-year-old woman invited me to have a drink with her while she waited for her girlfriends. That's it, really.

I'm still tempted to go see the remake of Friday the 13th but I just finished watching a movie. Oh well, maybe next month! ;)

25 January 2009

No Rest for the Wicked

Last time I checked, the weekends are for sleeping in as long as you want to (or can) because there's not really anything to get up early for. We don't have kids yet - this is supposed to be to our advantage! So what's up with this:

Saturday: Woke up bright-eyed & bushy-tailed at 5:35 (for no reason whatsoever).
Sunday: Phone beeped at 6:20 (a work thing) and I couldn't fall back asleep.

That's 10 hours of sleep in two nights, folks. Not cool!

24 January 2009

My First Root Canal

They say it happens to everyone. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have now joined the Root Canal Club! It all started a couple days after Christmas when it hurt to chew on one side of my mouth. Then my formerly crowned tooth became extremely sensitive to temperature. Finally toothaches. Ouch!

Upon visiting the dentist, he mentioned that I might need a root canal. I've heard the stories. The pain, the agony, the drilling and scraping. I wasn't all that excited about it. The dentist made some adjustments to my bite by grinding off a little of the crown and the toothaches went away. I was praying for the best.....but no! I had been scheduled for a root canal.

Surprisingly, the entire experience was a positive one! They shot me full of five different types of Novocaine, tested with liquid nitrogen to make sure I wouldn't feel anything and explained every step as they went along. Metro Dental Care rocks! They even called me the day after to see if I had any questions and if I was feeling okay.

Now I can eat normal again. *YAY*
(image is of The Tooth Stool, designed by Philippe Starck)

21 January 2009

Heat Wave!

So, Old Man Winter really stuck it to us last week - temps were as cold as 25 degrees below zero on some mornings, making the daily commute quite a pain in the arse. It was so cold that you could spit ice cubes!

This week, however, has been quite pleasurable and mild - for January, anyway. Temps are about 50 degrees warmer than last week (that's 25 above zero, folks!). I was able to clear the snow, slush and ice off my driveway today. Maybe now my garage will stay clean...

08 January 2009

Old Man Winter

We're supposedly going to get a decent amount of snow tonight and tomorrow, with 2-5 inches of white fluffy goodness expected. This is a good thing - I like snow!

The problem is that next week it'll be really freakishly cold. We're talking highs of zero and sometimes below that. This is what I don't like about winter and living in Minnesota. Highs in the 20's are fine. Highs with negative numbers aren't.

Old Man Winter should make up his mind. This up & down stuff is for the penguins!

Update: We didn't get more than a light dusting. Go figure!