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 . . .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

This past weekend Alex and I headed over to St. Paul for the Minnesota State Fair, also known as "The Great Minnesota Get-Together." It was the first weekend and we were warned that it is better to go during the week. Unfortunately, we had no option. 

We were very impressed with how the whole thing was organized. They had free bus rides to the fairgrounds. All we had to do was go to one of the 20+ spots across town and hop on. They dropped us right off at the gates.

As soon as we entered the gates we headed directly over to the Miracle of Birth Center. They had a variety of farm animals all ready to give birth. This was one of my favorite spots at the State Fair. I could have stayed here all day. 

As we were walking around they kept announcing that a sow was giving birth. We walked over and saw all of the piglets squirming around. They were so cute! This pig was not so cute. I told her to stop being such a pig and close her mouth when she eats. 

Then we discovered the baby sheep. I almost died. They were so little and so fluffy. I just wanted to hold one. This little guy was my favorite.

As we continued to walk around the building we discovered baby ducklings and even watched baby chicks hatch. And then there was the cow. There was a cow laying down in a huge gated area laboring hard. We stayed and watched her give birth to her calf. You can see the Veterinarians pulling out the front two legs.

I was completely awe-struck by the whole experience. From watching her push, to the not so pleasant part of giving birth, to seeing the hooves and the nose and then whole baby calf. The Vets pulled the calf over to the front so that the cow could start cleaning her. This was by far my favorite part of the State Fair.

I wanted to stay and watch the baby calf try to learn and stand up but Alex was anxious to see the rest of the State Fair. We headed off to the Dairy Barn where we saw the butter sculptures of the State Fair princesses.

I was amused by this sign. 

Leave it to Alex to find hockey at the State Fair.

We went into the butterfly house which sounded fun and cool on the outside. However, once we were inside I felt completely different. My fear of multiples (strange but true) hit. All of the butterflies flying around and landing all over the place really freaked me out! So I was out in record time.

After that we headed over to the carnival part of the fair. We got sucked into the sideshow and watched a man swallow a sword and a little person eat fire.

There was so much to do at the State Fair. We weren't able to do it all. Perhaps next year we can hit up the rest of the stuff or pick and choose better what we want to do.


One of the things that we kept hearing about the State Fair was all of the food-on-a-stick. For some reason there wasn't as much food-on-a-stick as we thought there would be. However, that did not prevent us from eating all kinds of greasy goodness.

#1 Onion Blossom. It was decent. I still prefer Outback's Onion Blossom.

#2 Chocolate Malt. This was very good.

#3 Cheddar Cheese Curds. These were okay.

#4 Sweet Corn. Again very good.

#5 Fried Alligator. Very chewy but actually decent.

#6 Deep Fried Snickers. So I thought this would be good. However, the more I think about it now, I wouldn't eat it again.

(The inside of the deep friend Snickers. Not very appetizing.)

#7 Twisted Tater. The top was okay but the center was soaked in grease. It was pretty gross.

#8 Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar with a cold glass of milk. Yummy!

#9 Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a stick. Sounds better than it was.

Alex had every intention of eating a bunch of crap but after a few deep fried foods, we quickly were turned off. I was also glad that we shared all of our food. There was so much and it was expensive.