Saturday, June 27, 2009

A little bit of Dublin in Minneapolis

Every time Alex and I have visited the Sculpture Garden I have been intrigued by this one sculpture (besides the Cherry in Spoon). It is a rabbit on a bell. It felt very familiar to me. It reminded me of these sculptures that were around Dublin during our visit several years ago.

I had gotten Joe to mimic the pose of the "running rabbit" when we were in Dublin. I guess that is why those sculptures have always stuck with me.

Naturally, during Joe's visit, we had him to do the same thing. He's such a good sport . . . or just goofy.

However, as I was going through photos to show the Dublin photo I came across this photo. The "rabbit on bell" WAS in Dublin or we have a replica. That is why it seemed so familiar. 

Joe's Visit

My brother Joe finally had a break in between his schooling to redeem his Christmas/Birthday present from me – all expense paid trip to visit Alex and I in Minnesota. We were both very excited to have Joe come for a long weekend – my birthday weekend nonetheless. 

I had planned a lot for us to do for the 4 days he'd be in town. We picked Joe up from the airport Wednesday night and headed over to Stella's rooftop bar for a quick drink. I got to see Joe drink legally for the first time. Here is the first sip.

We were treated to Mother Nature's fireworks show. Yes, we are still outside. As we were finishing up and paying the bill, the manager was removing all of the umbrellas in case the storm came too close.

Stella's is a great seafood restaurant in Uptown. What I love about it the most is the rooftop and being able to see the city's skyline. Unfortunately, you can't see it in this picture. 

On Thursday we headed over to General Mills for a tour and lunch. Joe got to art direct some packaging – coming to a store near you. We also visited with the Pillsbury Doughboy. 

Next stop the Walker Art Sculpture Garden. Yes it is the Cherry in Spoon . . . again. This time we had fun with it. Joe wanted some dessert after lunch.

I'm not exactly sure what this sculpture is but there is a lot going on in this picture.

The next day, Friday, we headed out onto Lake Minnetonka. Alex had found a great deal on rental pontoon boats. The morning was a bit overcast, but we still managed to get a lot of sun. The trip made Alex and I want to get a boat. It was so relaxing out on the water and hardly anyone was out so it seemed like the lake was ours. Alex felt that standing up would help him drive the boat.

That night, after our boating trip, we headed over to St. Paul to watch a St. Paul Saints baseball game. It was a lot of fun. On the way in to the stadium this bumper stick caught my eye. Enough said . . . *sigh*

The game was fun. There were a lot of crazy things going on. Ushers were dressed up as nerds, lumberjacks, military, etc. There was a guy hanging on the outfield billboard trying to catch a ball. People were in a hot tub. I was a little overwhelmed with all of the activity and was ready to go by the end of the game. The Saints won 4-0.

Saturday night we headed out to Seven Steakhouse for my birthday. We had our first celebrity sighting – Tubby Smith, Minnesota Gopher basketball coach and the former coach of University of Kentucky. I was the one who spotted him. I do know my sports. 

I was happy to have Joe in town to celebrate the big 29 with me. The weekend was a lot of fun. My hope is the next time my family is in town we can go up North and see some scenery.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Growing a Green Thumb

Being a homeowner is stressful. Sure you have to keep it clean, pay the mortgage, replace/fix things when they break unexpectedly . . . but for me the biggest stress I have had so far is figuring out what to plant in my yard. 

The previous owners had an interesting take on landscaping. We don't have a picture but in the
 back yard was a weird shaped landscaped area randomly up against the neighbors fence. There were some random bushes planted. One of the first things we did this spring was to pull all of it up and seed over it. The grass has come in nicely but so have about 6 hostas. I had no idea they were there and that they are very persistent and hardy. We plan on transplanting those to the side of the house. 

Another thing the previous owners had put in were rocks instead of mulch. At first I hated them and decided they had to go. However, when I tried to remove them it became very hard. So Alex and I decided to reshape the front. The rocks do provide some value . . . I think they keep the melting snow from causing leaks in the base





When my parents came to visit, my mom brought some ground cover and salivas (sp?) from her landscaping. They are all coming in quite nicely. It is nice to have a little bit of Ohio in Minneapolis. 

We also finally got our patio furniture and have been enjoying many meals out on our deck. The weather has been so beautiful that we try to spend as much time as humanly possible outside. It will be gone in 4 months and then it will be another 6 months of winter. 

One pleasant surprise from the previous owners is a white peony bush. I thought this thing was ugly in the fall and wanted to get rid of it. I am so glad I waited to find out what its story was after all. As with all fun, pretty, and fragrant flowers – they disappear quickly.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

AVEDA Volunteer Event

Aveda is known for being a industry leader in its environmental practices. We just finished celebrating Earth Month and raised over $3 million for clean water. Aveda encourages all of its employees to give back to the community and Earth. 

For the past few months, my coworker Jodi and I had been planning a volunteer event for the Creative Department at Aveda. We chose to help the National Park Service with their Mississippi River Restoration Fund. We picked Garlic Mustard (an invasive plant), planted trees and flowers. At the same time, we also learned about the Mississippi River and the Coon Rapids Dam. 

The garlic mustard actually smelled like garlic. Apparently it can be used for cooking, however, it has taken over the park. Everywhere we looked there was garlic mustard. You would clean up a patch and look up and see a whole field. It was overwhelming. Hopefully we made a somewhat of a difference. This was just one of many piles that we created.

My director Jason and I worked well as a team planting trees. He dug the hold and I put the tree seedling in. If I am correct, altogether we planted 500+ tree seedlings. I hope we did some good with that too. After we planted the trees we tried to avoid stepping on them on our way out of the woods.

As I said above, we were by the Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River. I can officially say that I have walked across the river via the Dam. It was pretty cool to see. I am always amazed that I live by the Mississippi River after reading about it in school.

The day seemed to be a success. We all had a great time and the Park Service was great. Somehow I got nominated as the social director for future events. So I guess that means everyone had a great time. I was happy to get everyone out of the office to enjoy the weather and not think about work. 

I am really enjoying my job at Aveda despite the many environmental challenges we face in developing packaging. The best part is that I am starting to feel comfortable with coworkers and have begun to develop some great friendships. 

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

A couple of weekends ago my parents came into town for a quick visit. They drove 12 hours in ONE day. I warned them and suggested they stay over night somewhere in the middle, but they insisted they wanted to do it all in one day. I think after the drive, they have decided to take my advice next time.

They arrived late Friday night and left early Monday morning. They drove back to Chicago for a few days to celebrate their 35th Wedding Anniversary. 

We had beautiful weather although Saturday was on the chilly side. Mom and I went to my neighbors Pampered Chef party while Dad and Alex did a few things around the house that we weren't sure how to do . . . getting our wireless internet to work and setting up our water softener. Later that day we all went to the Mall of America for a few hours. Afterwards, we went to Oceannaire for dinner and celebrated their anniversary together.

On Sunday we went to Stillwater to take a boat brunch cruise. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. A perfect day for a boat ride on the St. Croix river. The last time I was in Stillwater was when we got engaged.


The only good thing about the boat was being outside and the company. The brunch was absolutely horrible. You could have bounced the eggs off of the floor. 

We picked up the boat by the famous lift bridge that Alex had to see and then got down on one knee and proposed. The bridge actually lifted for our boat to go underneath. I have never seen a bridge "lift" and was surprised how fast it went up and down.

The day was so relaxing and peaceful. It was a great way to enjoy the day with my parents.
This is one of my very favorite pictures of my parents. I can only hope Alex and I are like this after 35 years.

I was happy to have my parents in town to visit even if it was for a short time. Alex and I will be home over the 4th of July weekend so we'll visit soon enough again. Currently, I am busy trying to plan out Joe's visit. He is coming to visit in little over a week.

Friday, June 5, 2009

SPRING is here . . .

After a long and cold winter, spring has finally arrived. Alex and I have been trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather as much as we can. One of the first nice weekends we packed a picnic lunch and headed down to Lake Calhoun. One of the things I have noticed is that it is a bit on the windy side here in Minneapolis. I usually am still cold and need a jacket.

We headed over to the Sculpture Garden and Alex took pictures of all of the flowers blooming . . . which could possibly be the best thing ever after seeing white for 5 months.

You can't go to the Sculpture Garden without seeing the iconic Cherry in Spoon sculpture. 

I am looking forward to the many more beautiful weekends. I have a feeling we aren't going to get much done in the house this summer, which is fine by me. 

"No Taxation without Representation!"

Alex and I headed over to St. Paul on April 15th to take part in the local Tea Party. I was excited to take part in this grassroots movement. I am mad at myself for letting the protesters at the Republican National Convention keep me away, so I was determined to go. Alex had never been to any sort of political rally, so he did not know what to expect. I think he thought there would be protestors, but I had to explain that we were the protestors. 

It was the first time I visited the State Capitol. I was blown away by the amount of people that showed up. There were reports of 7,500+. There were a lot of great signs and several people even dressed up in period clothing.

Of course, I contributed with my own sign. 

It is not a tea party without tea . . .

From my observation, despite all the media reports, there was a mix of people rich/poor, black/white, Republican/Democrat . . . and a lesson learned to not judge a book by its cover. I would have guessed this guy would be someone that would protest the protest but I was wrong.

The whole experience was pretty neat. At the end of the day, despite what you believe, America is a great country and we are all lucky to live here.