Sunday, December 6, 2009

Month of November in Review

Wow! Where did the month of November go? I knew we were busy but I did not realize just how busy we were until I was going through our photos.

We ended the month of October off by setting a wedding date. The wedding planning has begun. We already have a church, a reception venue, DJ, photographer and I have my dress. Hopefully the sooner we figure things out, we can coast through the months leading up to the actual ceremony.

So we started the month of November off by attending the University of Minnesota vs. Bemidji State hockey game. It was the first time I had been in the Marriucci Ice Arena. It was very impressive. It was the size of a college basketball arena. It was a lot of fun. As we were leaving the arena the news was doing their post-game report. Alex thought it would be fun to get on tv. I took a picture of Alex on tv (literally). He is the crazy fan in the middle of the 2 commentators.

Next we were off to Chicago/South Bend for a visit with my parents and to close out another disappointing Notre Dame football season. We arrived in Chicago late Thursday evening so that we could spend the day with my parents in downtown Chicago. We stayed outside of the city by the airport and thought it would be fun to ride the "L" into town. It was the first time my parents had ridden the "L." (You can see where my brother gets his sense of humor.)

We had a great time hanging out in the city. We went shopping and had a very nice dinner. My dad and Alex were very good sports. The next day we were off to South Bend. It was a very special day because we were able to watch the game with my very good friends Jeff and Marie that I hadn't seen since I moved to Minnesota. Despite the disappointing loss, we were in very good company.

The following weekend was Thanksgiving. I had every intention of staying put in Minneapolis but I was trying to come up with some ideas for Alex for Christmas. He loves the Miami of Ohio hockey team and hasn't seen them play in over a year. They don't play this year when we are home for the holidays. So as I was looking at their schedule, I saw that they were playing in the Subway Classic hosted by the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I surprised Alex by going ahead and purchasing the tickets.

So after another successful Thanksgiving dinner cooked by yours truly and putting up the Christmas tree, we packed up yet again, and headed north on Friday to Grand Forks. I didn't know much about Grand Forks. I thought it would be an adventure. We were going to drive through Fargo so I thought that we could stop and check it out. Well we drove through Fargo. Stopped to eat lunch and asked the waitress what there is to do in Fargo. You could hear crickets in the room. "Not much" she responded. So we packed up and headed into Grand Forks.

When we checked into the hotel we were told that we could shop at Cabela's, Target, and Kohls. Fabulous! I just thought to myself, "We are here for hockey." So after we picked up our hotel key and settled into our hotel room we headed over to the hockey arena. It was huge! It made the Marriucci Ice Arena look like chopped liver. The place was immaculate. The floors were marble with the Fighting Sioux logo in the marble. Amazing!

After asking a few people about what there is to do in Grand Forks and realizing there is nothing to do we discovered the Blue Moose. A very good and tasty restaurant. We made a note to go back there if we ever went back to Grand Forks. Which if we do go back it will not be any time soon.

The last game of the Subway Classic was Saturday night. The #1 Miami Redhawks played the #8 North Dakota Fighting Sioux. We were 1 of 8 Miami fans and we felt very out of place. The place was packed with North Dakota fans. They definitely love their hockey.

In between the 2nd and 3rd period we were treated to a very impressive laser light show. This place puts NHL games to shame. However, I guess when the hockey games are the only thing to do in Grand Forks, it better be pretty cool.

As I sit here, I am thinking to myself that December is quickly flying by. The next thing we know it will be the new year. Which will probably be the next time I will have time to update my blog.

So just in case I hope everyone has a very
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Grinch Who Stole Halloween

So I have now been dubbed by Alex the Halloween Grinch. I don't care for Halloween. Not sure when I decided I don't like Halloween, but I just know I don't. For example, we (Alex) handed out candy for Beggar's Night. We had one child literally take the candy from Alex and throw it back in the bowl and ask for 2 Hershey bars – 1 for him and 1 for his mom. When Alex told him "No!" he said that everyone else was giving him two pieces. Fortunately, another child came up and when the kid realized he wasn't getting more than 1 piece of candy from our house he stomped off and growled in anger. Another girl just came out and asked for 3 pieces of candy. Then you had kids who wanted a different piece of candy. The kids who had 3 bags in their hands (1 for them, 1 for their sick cousin, and 1 for their mom). And of course, no one says "Trick-or-Treat" anymore. So yeah, maybe I am the Halloween Grinch. Can you blame me?

Despite my feelings towards the holiday, I did carve a pumpkin and I even dressed up and went out to a party downtown. Notre Dame played their game during Beggar's Night so I pretty much watched that as Alex handed out the candy. My pumpkin reflected my support of the Irish.

So for Halloween my friend and neighbor Kristin and I dressed up as Wilma Flinstone and Betty Rubble. We wanted her husband and Alex to dress up as Fred and Barney. We had no success. We got lots of compliments. We turned out pretty darn cut if you ask me.

Alex dressed up as Slash from Guns and Roses. I still think it would have been better if he had dressed up as Barney. Oh well . . .

Despite my dislikes about Halloween, I had a lot of fun hanging out with great friends and Alex.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Last weekend my mom came up for a visit. I had told her last year for her birthday that I would treat her to a weekend in Chicago. Well, for a variety of reasons we decided Chicago was not ideal. I thought it would be fun to have her visit me in Minneapolis.

I had a lot of fun having her in town. We got to go out to lunch and shop and do all the things we would do together in Ohio. We even began talking about wedding plans.

We did a little bit of sightseeing. We went down by the Mississippi River to the see the St. Anthony Falls which are created by the first dam on the river. Unfortunately, the weather was less than desirable. It was rather chilly and rainy. It even snowed . . . again!

Despite all of that, we had a great time together. It was hard to see her get back on the plane to go home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Skol Vikings!

Gosh time flies! A couple of weekends ago, Alex and I were fortunate enough to get tickets to attend the Minnesota Vikings versus the Baltimore Ravens game. It was the first Vikings game I have been too, the first time being in the Metrodome (now called the Mall of America Stadium), and technically the first NFL game I have been too.

It was a lot of fun. I love how the Vikings fans are diehard fans. They love their purple and gold. The Dome was incredibly loud. If I go to another game, I think I would bring ear plugs. It was that loud.

There has been a lot of drama in the news about Bret Favre unable to make up his mind about playing football. I really have no opinion on the topic seeing how I'm neither a Vikings fan or NFL fan in general. However, it seems that he made the right decision to come back. You can just tell the man loves to play football.

I was pretty surprised by the game in itself. The Vikings actually have a "fight song" that is sung when the team scores. They also have people run on to the field with flags that spell out "Vikings." It was quite amusing.

My favorite highlight was seeing Tom Zibikowski play for the Ravens. He played safety at Notre Dame. He was Alex's favorite player because he was tough. Zibby is also a champion boxer. It is neat to see players that you cheered on for 4 years do so well in the NFL.

As I mentioned, the fans are very crazy . . . and kind of scary!!!

A sort of related story to share . . . so as we were searching for a parking spot we came upon what seemed to be a run down hockey arena. When we asked the parking attendant what this building used to be she said this is where the Lakers used to play. As in the LA Lakers formerly the Minneapolis Lakers. It was a "aha!" moment. So that is why the Lakers are called the Lakers. They come from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." And their colors are the same as the Vikings. However, it is hard to believe this is where they played 60 years ago compared to the present day Staples Center.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snow Snow Go Away

It is October and it has already snowed.

I thought I would be okay with it until I woke up Monday morning to this . . .

All I have to say is that I am not amused.

Friday Night Lights

Last Friday, Alex and I headed over to Stillwater to watch Friday night High School football. Stillwater played Cretin which was a very big game. Both teams were undefeated and Cretin was ranked #1 in the state. They have a kid on the team that looked liked he could suit up for the NFL tomorrow. He was huge and is being highly recruited by the big schools - including Notre Dame. Cretin is also where ND Wide Receiver standout Micheal Floyd played.

We had a lot of fun. I forgot how much I loved going to high school games, even though I was in the band. I have to mention that the Stillwater mascot is a pony. I had a very difficult time cheering for the "Ponies." I giggled each time I yelled "Go Ponies!" So . . . I renamed them to the Stillwater Stallions. Not sure if other fans appreciated it but who cares.

The game was a nail biter. However, the Stillwater Stallions came out on top winning 12-7. Cretin had been averaging 35 points a game. So this was a big deal.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Notre Dame will win overall . . .

This past weekend Alex and I headed south to Chicago/South Bend to meet up with my family for the Notre Dame vs. Washington football game. There is nothing better than visiting one of my favorite places to see my favorite people.

Unfortunately, the weather was the pits. However, we were able to get on campus and see some of my favorite spots; the Basillica of Sacred Heart, the Golden Dome, and of course, the Grotto.

For the first time that I can remember we planned ahead of time appropriate rain gear. I have gotten soaked one too many times. My mom was able to locate rain gear for all of us. (Not sure what was up with Joe in this picture – perhaps Ohio State has finally gone to his head.) At the end of the night, when we peeled off the rain gear, not one of us was wet. Amazing!

It was a very close game, too close. However, at the end of the night, the Irish were able to pull off 2 goal line stands . . . in a row, and win in overtime.

Monday, September 7, 2009

One Year in Minnesota

Well, I did it! I "survived" my first year in Minnesota. As I am sitting on my deck writing this, I can't believe that it was only last Labor Day that I pulled up to our new house with Alex in the UHaul right behind me. I am trying to think about what my favorite memory would be from this past year. I can honestly say that my favorite memory is all of the memories Alex and I have created together. There have been so many . . .
It was a bit overwhelming to see that my whole life did not exactly fill a UHaul truck. Of course, I am sure Alex was happy so that there was less to load and unload.

Once I got up here and we got somewhat settled I went straight to finding a job. I was a little worried about what would be available. Fortunately, the house kept me busy and we didn't waste anytime exploring Minnesota. Our first trip north was to Duluth and to the Split Harbor Lighthouse.

Then as luck would have it, I was offered and I accepted a position with Aveda. It has been a great experience overall. I am constantly being challenged as well as learning new things everyday.

Alex did not waste anytime in getting tickets to a Minnesota Wild game, which happened to be my first NHL hockey game.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Minnesota, which meant I had to get comfortable pretty quick in the kitchen. 

Alex got me my first pair of ice skates. I was able to move in them this past year. This year we will work on skills.

Alex participated in the National Pond Hockey Tournament. As I was standing watching Alex play on probably the coldest day this past winter (-30 windchill), I think I was more concerned about the fact that I was standing ON the middle of a lake.

And then there was the snow. 

I went tubing for the first time. It was actually pretty fun. I'd probably do it again.

FIRST and LAST time skiing . . . I am smiling in this picture because I made it down the hill somewhat safe and I knew I didn't have to go again!

I saw Lake Superior split.

I watched mushing.

I saw my first bald eagle in the wild.

Then Spring came . . . and I grew a green thumb.

My parents came for a visit.

I got a new bike. 

Won big at the neighborhood meat raffle.

Joe came for a visit and we had a great time out on the boat.

I finally saw a real live moose! However, I still want to see one in the wild. 

Alex and I went to the PGA Championship game. It was my first time on a golf course let alone watching the game. It was a great time! I would definitely do that again.

Finally finally got to drive a golf cart.

Last but not least, I went to the State Fair.

I think that I have done more this past year than I have in my 29 years of life. We have had a great time exploring the Great State of Minnesota. I have to admit I am still homesick and miss Ohio. I actually got a little teary eyed when I happened upon WKRP in Cincinnati on television. I often think if I would ever have come here on my own if it wasn't for Alex and General Mills. Probably not. However, the opportunities and experiences that Minnesota has given us so far has been nothing but good. Who knows what this coming year will hold for us . . . certainly lots of snow, home remodeling, and hopefully a wedding . . .