Sunday, January 27, 2008

how to have a girls weekend

So last fall my friends Katie and Jen, my sis Augusta, and Amy decided it might be fun to have a girls winter weekend up in the north woods - and this weekend it happened! Unfortunately Jen couldn't make it, but Katie, Gus, Sherman (Gus's dog - and he's an "it" so the extreme girl-ness of it all didn't completely knock him out) and I got up to Amy's place in Iron River late Thursday night.
So much fun. To have a girls weekend, all you need are great girls to hang out with, great food options, one English bull dog, and plenty of things to do!
The people in this case are a given, as far as awesomeness goes.
Food: besides Katie making homemade pizza and Amy making to-order omelettes, we also made it to the Delta Diner where I just have to say the food is outstanding, and an amazing Thai place, Thai Krathong, in Duluth.
Things to do: well, we made it out nordic skiing twice (hooray!! Katie had never done it before, and took on the challenge like a pro. Gus hadn't been since she was a kid but you never would have known it! Amy hadn't been on classic trails for a long time, and got a whammy of a blister situation :( but had fun getting out there too). We watched tv, bummed around, slept, talked (of course!!), and went to Duluth to see 27 Dresses (definitely a chick flick, but definitely recommended), visit the co-op (hooray!), and eat Thai food.

All in all, quite lovely!

Also - I got the blood work results back on Thursday before I left - and the results for Celiac Disease are negative. *phwew! and thank you Lord!* So I go back for another endoscopy at the end of February (*much scrunching*), and hopefully the doc will have good things to say at that point.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Señor Hanks

Today wrapped up a 2-week work trip to the Neenah location for Thomas the North Carolinian. If I get pics from him, I'll post them, but I think he had a great time. His dad & Nancy and Poky-the-puppy came up from Illinois last weekend - Nancy went to the Packer game last Saturday (thank goodness it was that one, and not today's!). He also hung out with the game night crew, started getting me addicted to the miniseries House, went with me, Javier and Katie to a Badger basketball game, went cross-country skiing, sent Ray & Becky off on their honeymoon, helped me find a car, and took me with him to meet his friends the Falks in Milwaukee on Friday night.
Michael Falk is a school buddy of Tom's who also was the 2006 winner of the Jeopardy tournament of champions! We had a great evening of playing Outburst, Pictionary (that had been a long time!), and Catchphrase. Michael & Courtney were great fun; very down-to-earth and interesting to talk with. A highlight of the evening was watching Tom and Michael play an intense version of Trivial Pursuit of their very own: 15 minutes for the whole game, no turn can last more than 5 seconds or it's forfeited, and Courtney read all the questions. Tom had a huge lead on Michael for the first half, but choked on the last pie piece while Michael bounced around the board filling his. When the timer went off, Tom still had not filled the last pink piece, while Michael had his filled and was just trying to land on the center space - so he won. I've never seen anything like it!
Saturday we hung out with Katie & her brand-spankin' new boyfriend Joel (ok, he's not that new - but she met him not long before the holidays, so I'm still getting to know him!). We had a great time, eating, chilling, and playing Rook and Dutch Blitz. Overall, I think we convinced him that Wisconsin isn't quite as bad as he remembered it being! Now to talk him into moving back!!
After taking Tom to the airport, I met Dave & Paula for lunch (hooray!), and I wrapped up the evening watching the Packers tank with my friend Linda. Ooh-da-lally. Somebody prescribe Prozac for the state!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

the world and I are restless

I went for a ski tonight after work. An illegal one. The park was closing just as I got there, but it was bright out with all the snow, so I just went for it. Somehow, the world matched my mood. Forgive the cosmic arrogance: I matched the world's mood. It was so cold that the snow was nearly silent; I would be within 20 feet before the deer would notice me and slip away. It was windy and great swirls of snow would arise and disappear in the woods as I passed. It was eerie and wild and breathtaking and achingly beautiful.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

a man without a horse is like a man without legs

I love that quote from The Man from Snowy River; and if it was true in the wild west (or the Australian outback, for that matter), it must be true today. Even if we're talking cars, not horses. I had written in November about my car needing to be replaced. Well, it's still true. Still love it, and in spite of that it still eats inordinate amounts of oil, and the clock is ticking on it. Thankfully, I have awesome friends willing to help me in this miserable endeavor. Some of them even insist that they like doing things like car shopping! It's really an amazingly diverse world, if you think about it.
So last Saturday, I went car shopping with Tom's dad & sister who were up for the weekend. And we looked at cars that Ray and Becky had found in their searches. I got a feel for several cars, and then tonight Tom & I headed to Waupaca to look at a Ford Focus a lady was selling there. And I bought it! It needs some minor repairs, (and a new set of clips so I can move the bike rack to it) but overall it's in good shape. It's a 2003 with just under 50,000 miles on it. Now I just have to decide whether to keep my white car for around-town trips till it dies, or just junk it and move on. *sob!* Even though the new one is beautiful and has electric windows, a pass-through to the trunk, and a few other things... I still like my white car!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

gag me with a spoon

So! I have a weird medically thing going on - I went in last Tuesday for an upper endoscopy and they found a small ulcer on my esophagus. So I have to take Prilosec for a few months to see if it can be healed. :( Then yesterday they called to say the biopsy results are back, and I needed to come in for more blood work so they can rule out celiac disease. I went in tonight, so the results should be in early next week. Gee whiz! At least it's not cancer, hey?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Speed Limit: 8 MPH

Well, I got back from Germany and a Christmasy/New-Yearsy loop through Wisconsin/Minnesota in time to take down my wudgy wittle Christmas tree, go to work and do a bit of laundry before heading off to districts (the annual gathering of high schoolers in our denomination) for the weekend. Had a great time overall; Mike (the youth leader) is a bit of a rebel, so our group sort of walked to the beat of its own drum - definitely the way to go! Good speakers, good band, and the kids were awesome as usual. They're just fun people to be around. Our buddy Josh from St. Louis drove up to join us - we'll probably see him again when we go to St. Louis this summer! My only bad moment was when all the boys were up in their room watching football, and the girls decided to pull out the iPod and play musical tunes and dance to them. They're great people, but singing along to musicals is the opposite of a good time in my book... they were having a great time, and I didn't want to rain on their parade - but holy cow! I loved this pic: took it in the parking garage near the KI center. Think I need to plaster a poster of it on my wall at home!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Spending Christmas in Germany meant catching up on holiday-ing on my return! Here are some photos - I kind of fell off as the weekend progressed!
Saturday: I headed up to Iron River to celebrate with Amy and her kids and mom. Gus, Chris and Sherman, Grant and his daughter Margo, Katie, and Grandma Beth were all there. It was so neat to be able to see everyone again and catch up.
Sunday: I headed down toward Bloomer where my college roommate Joce lives. On the way, I stopped in Shell Lake to visit with Uncle Dean & Aunt Dar for a bit. It was great to be with them; they're just fun to be around. Jocelyn, also, is great fun. Her kids Annabelle & Brooke have SO much personality (wonder where they get that!!), and Ed and Joce and I had some great conversations.
Monday: I headed to the Twin Cities to celebrate New Year's with Jen & Mustafa. It was great to catch up with them - Jen and I skied across Medicine Lake, and later the three of us went to a comfy little Thai restaurant. Then we chilled, talked and watched the ball drop.
Tuesday: I started heading back. I met up with Mom, Harley, Jody & Dan in Eau Claire for some present swapping and a lovely meal, then Joce and I met up for coffee, and I headed back across the state and home.
I'm happy to say that in spite of copious oil chugging, my car did quite splendidly throughout it all. *sigh*.