Monthly Archives: August 2011

and then the unthinkable happened.

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The title of this post makes it seem like this story will have a traumatic and dreadful ending.

And it does.

It also contains girly stuff about shopping and underwear, so steer clear if you want nothing to do with that.

Consider yourself warned.

This is my friend.

I’ve written about her before.

She’s short.

Her height has nothing to do with this story.

I just thought I should let you know because based on this picture, we look similar in height.

This picture is a dirty, rotten liar.

Anyway.

Back to the story:

Jenni was in town visiting for the weekend to compete with me in the Gorilla Challenge (more on that later). She had come over a few days early, so we decided we had to go shopping on Friday after work. We had no choice in the matter.

The two of us head off to the mall, looking for “teachery” looking clothes because this friend was going to be starting a new job on the following Monday molding the minds of America’s future: inner-city Milwaukee kids.

Having worn long pants that day, I had decided on also wearing heels, so that (the most expensive) pants (I own) would not be ruined by dragging on the concrete.

Heels were a bad idea.

By the time we made our first shopping stop, Target—the land of awesomeness and where you can’t walk out of the store without spending at least $40. It’s impossible. I’ve tried—my feet were thinking about disconnecting from my body and hanging out in the frozen food section.

My search for relieving set of sandals ended quite quickly. Apparently they aren’t carried in the summer? It’s August, but that seems early to be pulling them off the shelves.

I had to settle for pair of flats, telling myself that I’d wear them to work eventually. I contemplated wearing them around the store, but that elastic cord keeping them together just kept getting in the way.

This cord, however, did not keep us from having a photo shoot. And someday, when my friend figures out how to get pictures off of her phone, I’ll post it.

I promise.

We made our way to the mall to visit my friend Victoria’s little shop. It’s quite lovely.

I had to use all of my will-power not to buy the entire store. Instead, I helped Jenni shop by suggesting all of the most tacky patterns imaginable.


1. The pictures are of ice cream, not sugar. Get it right.

2. I don’t get it. Your butt is sweet? Gross.

Ha ha, Vicky. You made a joke about football and people’s backsides.

Original.

Where are Wayne and Garth when you need them?

Party on.

Now this one is the most ridiculous of all.

It just doesn’t make sense. Your friend’s looking at you in your underwear and that’s how you tell her you’ve been a bad friend? Just plain strange. And I’m assuming that it’s your friend looking at your underwear. I would just let any old stranger take a peek at your under-roos.

Then I suggest some leopard print undies.

Friend laughs.

I do not.

Friend: Do you have leopard-print underwear?

Me: No, but I do have leopard-print bra. See?

I then proceed to modestly whip out my bra that I was currently wearing so that Friend would believe me.

It resembled this one, but not exactly. You get the idea.

Jenni buys a few things while I somehow manage to maintain my ground on not buying anything. I still can’t believe it.

While we’re walking out the door of the mall, Steve calls and I give him an update on the plans: where to meet, how many people, the things I didn’t buy and my will-power prevailing over fun impulse buys.

As I hang up the phone, I feel a twinge on my left shoulder. I reach over to feel what I simply could not believe.

What is this?!?

Tragedy has struck as my bra strap had broken off!

What the!?!

I have never had this happen before!

As I tell Jenni of the incredible disaster, laughter fills the parking lot as we can barely contain our amazement.

My bra broke.

Right after leaving Victoria’s Secret.

Lovely.

Being on the more blessed end of the chest spectrum, I luckily had on one of those tank tops with the built-in bras. Otherwise, there was no doubt that I’d be heading right back into VS and buying the cheapest (and probably most tacky) bra they had in there.

Jenni and I were able to come to a common conclusion of how this modern mystery happened:

Steve undressed me.

With his mind.

15 miles away.

Through the phone.

We’re just so married that he can do those types of things now, I guess.

This makes me nervous to go to work now.

Note: Victoria’s Secret doesn’t know who I am. Nor do they care who I am. And even though I made fun of their underwear, I still buy all of my stuff from there. It’s an addiction. I’m currently getting help.

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northward bound

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I have no idea who those people are, and even though they photo-bombed my picture, I still love this park.

That friend of mine met another friend while she was teaching English in China and this other friend just so happened to be visiting America and wanted to tour the Midwest’s finest attractions. We volunteered to go camping up north so that this friend could “experience” Minnesota.

If you’re in Minnesota, you need to go to the North Shore. No, you must go there. It’s full of amazingly beautiful views and cute small towns. Steve and I find ourselves going up there at least once a year to camp and visit our favorite spots: Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, and lots of other places along the way. And maybe I’m a little nostalgic for the North Shore, too, since that’s where Steve popped the question a few years ago during a snow-filled trip in February.

We weren’t too sure how the weekend would go, since the friend is somewhat afraid of dogs and we have…well…The Beast, but everything went really well, mostly without a hitch.

Except for the rain one night.

And the really slow air pump for the mattresses.

And the hole in our air mattress.

And the hyper-turned-whiny-and tired dog.

But other than that, no hitches.

Luckily, we had just bought a new SUV to replace Steve’s car, which was recently totaled, and we were able to take it camping. Having enough room to not have to cram is so nice!

We drove north, running into the typical Minnesota summer attraction: construction. We had left early enough that we weren’t backed up too much, so it wasn’t too long until we had arrived in one of my favorite cities.

Duluth!

We didn’t want to spend too much time exploring because the sight of nearby dark clouds made us nervous about having to set up the tents in rain.

We walked out to the end of the pier near this little lighthouse, the usual photo op, to get a view of frigid Lake Superior.

Steve’s thrilled.

Feta’s loving all of the attention from the nearby kids gawking at her.

After a few photos, we kept going north until we passed through Two Harbors, Castle Danger, and finally arrived at Gooseberry State Park.

Normally it is nearly impossible to get a reservation this state park because it is one of the most beautiful and mostly commonly visited ones in Minnesota. However, because the state decided to shut down for 20 days (don’t even get me started on this…), I wasable to get the very last site available one hour after reservations started back up again.

As we were driving , the clouds threatened, but didn’t open up on us. But then Steve opened his mouth:

Steve: “Man, we are so lucky it hasn’t rained yet.”

Cruel, little raindrop falls on the windshield as we pull through the gate to the park.

More of the raindrop’s friends fall down on us as we set up the tents.

Maybe Steve had spoken too soon.

We managed to make dinner through the rain and turned in early to be well-rested for hiking through parks tomorrow.

I have to give Hilary tons of props for not only hiking in flip-flops, but also in a jean skirt. And she didn’t complain one bit! Unlike myself…

On Saturday, we started off at Gooseberry, walking down to the shore and then making the no-so long trek to the falls, the main attraction. It really is the best part of the park, getting to walk through the water and gaze at these (usually) impressive falls.

Going to the parks also gives The Beast to live out her lifelong dream of being an action-star-dog, even though she barely survives a walk without scampering toward home to bask in the central air. But in her head she’s Lassie, Balto, and Rin Tin Tin, all in one amazing and hairy pup.

Feta loved the waterfalls.

LOVED

So did a lot of the other visitors. It’s virtually impossible to get a picture without some other stranger hanging out in the background.

Here’s my best attempt of a stranger-free photo, with only one rogue arm making an appearance. We hiked around the lower and middle falls a little more before heading up to the upper falls.

Feta was up for anything.

Even a family photo with her embarrassing parents.

Can I just bring to your attention how incredibly pale Steve makes me look? Geeze. And I thought I was looking tanner than normal.

Here’s a better view of these falls:

Jenni couldn’t pass up an opportunity to capture northern Minnesota, even though she had come along with us once before.

Note her super-awesome bag that she made herself. I can only aspire to be so crafty.

Or sew-tastic.

I attempt to craft, but I’m lacking artsy skills.

That’s why she’s the artsy friend and I’m the nerdy friend.

We make a great pair.

Here’s my attempt to be artsy. It included clicking one button.

After resting for a quick bit, we decided that we’d head north along Highway 61 all the way to Judge Magney State Park to see the Devil’s Kettle. It would be a bit of a drive, but it was a really interesting waterfall where half falls down into the river and half falls down into a hole, where no one knows where it goes.

We swung through the Palasaide Head to view some gnarly cliffs where some crazy people go rock climbing along the sheer edge, dangling above the churning, cold waters.

Next state park stop was Tettegouche, for a short hike down to the water.

The beach was rocky where the river met the lake and some fun friends for Feta had come ashore to say hello.

Or pinch us.

Or just make Steve hungry.

Gross.

At least he didn’t actually eat any of them.

This park isn’t as popular to tourists as Gooseberry Falls, but offers just as spectacular views and if you don’t go, you’re definitely missing out.

And Steve said something about another waterfall at this park and it being the tallest/biggest/something-or-other in Minnesota. I’ve never seen it, but it probably is pretty neat.

By this time, we had done a fair amount of hiking, but nothing too crazy. This coming from the girl whose idea of exercise is walking up the stairs to her car in the parking ramp.

Feta, although happy, had done enough for the day.

Note the gross bug bite on my pasty leg.

What nastiness.

And eventually The Beast realized my leg isn’t all that comfortable.

We finally arrive at the final state park stop, just north of Grand Marais.

After hiking and hiking and hiking and hiking, we reached some falls that you could walk right out to and swim in if you’re daring enough. There was a family with two teenage girls that had way more guts than me, jumping right into the falls.

We knew after seeing these falls that we had to be getting close to the Devil’s Kettle.

Right?

Oh thank goodness! We’re almost there!

But this sign gave us a false hope of a short distance.

700 feet in elevation?

Possibly.

700 feet all uphill?

Definitely.

At least.

But we made it. Here’s the courageous Jenni (barely) going past the railing to get a picture of the mighty Kettle.

I took no pictures of it.

Sorry.

Maybe she’ll post some of hers someday.

When we were hiking and hiking and hiking to the falls, we noticed this extreme set of stairs that we were going down, trying to forget that we’ll have to climb them someday.

Eh, we’d worry about them later.

And then there they were.

In all their disgusting glory.

Mocking us, knowing that we’d never be able to make it all the way to the top without multiple stops.

And so we climbed.

And complained.

Then rested.

And then were passed by a guy who I figured to be about the age of my dad.

Felt bad about my lack of aerobic capabilities.

Craved pizza.

Then we started to climb again.

And complain again.

But then we started whining.

And aching.

And moaning.

I think Steve had had enough of us by that point because he kept getting farther and farther ahead.

Or maybe Feta just wanted to use the outdoor facilities in private.

It was probably that.

But we made it to the parking lot (eventually).

The complaining really did help.

And note my face: the face of exhaustion and desire for pizza.

Overall, our camping trip was tiresome and successful, and captured the  essence of Minnesota:

Outdoor-sey-ness.

Not that I’m outdoor-sey in the least bit.

And after all that hiking, we decided that we need to be treated to another landmark of the North Shore that required a little less physical activity and a little more chewing.

Sven and Ole’s.

Pet Peeve #1: Zipper Merge. If I can change, so can you.

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Someday I’ll take the pictures of camping off of my camera and put them onto the computer, but I’m not so sure I know when that day is quite yet. I promise I’ll do it. Someday.

So, I decided that while there are many people in the world worse off than myself and diseases to cure and better battles to fight, I still wanted to complain about the little things in life that make me want to scream, vomit, gasp, or all three in a variety of combinations.

While this isn’t my biggest pet peeve, it’s one that I deal with on almost a daily basis:

merging into traffic.

I grew up in Michigan, so I can appreciate the view of “Hey, you’re merging into my lane. YOU have to wait for ME. Deal with it.”

But since moving to Minnesota, I’ve learned to appreciate a new outlook on my fellow commuters by using the “Zipper Merge” technique, especially when stuck in never-ending traffic between the Twin Cities.

Everyday I have to go through the main thoroughfare between Minneapolis and St. Paul, which has been under construction all summer, with no end in sight. Not to mention the government shutdown slowing things down a wee bit.

According to the highly respected and reputable website Wikipedia, Zipper Merging does not exist, which is why most of the population doesn’t believe in it. But MnDOT thinks it does:

“…This ‘take turns’ technique, known as the zipper method, is used when traffic is congested. In this instance, drivers should use both lanes all the way to the designated merge point and then take turns merging.”

Death Glare: you will get it if you don’t let me in.

Wait, that doesn’t look scary enough…it’s just kinda cute.

Better…

Horns, angry eyebrows, and badly drawn teeth make anything look scarier.

Even a tiny puppy.

Anyway. Back to the annoyance.

So, when two lanes are turning into one, let me in, you jerk-faces. I guarantee you that you will not get anywhere faster by not letting me in. We’ll actually get through this ridiculous construction quicker.

In fact, I’ll probably just try to cut around you and  s   l   o   w  down, just to teach you the lesson of zipper merging.

Because I’m that nice.

Just because I moved out of Michigan and have accepted the Zipper Merge into my life doesn’t mean I lost my niceness. And by “niceness”, I mean amazing driving skills.

Have I mentioned that I’m quite confident that Steve believes he’s going to be killed every time he rides in the car while I’m driving?

the poor pup

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This weekend we went camping with that friend of mine and a friend of hers who is from China. I’ll write more about that adventure later once I get the pictures uploaded to my computer, but until then, I will leave you with the sad story of how The Beast makes me feel guilty about being at work this morning.


Last night This morning, at 3:30—I didn’t even know that this time actually existed—we hear this horrible retching sound, all too familiar to us.

Flick on this light to see The Beast, hunched over by the bedroom door, puking some sort of goop up. It wasn’t a whole lot and we weren’t quite sure why it make her lose her lunch, so The Husband cleaned it up while I comforted The Beast and then we went back to bed.

Just as I was about to fall back asleep, the vomit-fest continued.

TH leads Feta to the bathroom so nothing would come up on the carpet.

She managed to hit the rug.

With a wad of grass the size of a baseball.

TH and I both with shocked and surprised by this, especially since it didn’t seem like she had eaten that much grass.

But The Beast seemed a heck of a lot better after that, so the three amigos slept soundly until the alarm went off way too early.

This is where we found Feta the day after my brother had left our house following The Move of the Century. She had let herself into the office to rest peacefully. If only she would let us sleep so well.

Hot. And Humid. And Sticky. And Excessive Capitalization and Puctuation.

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I have a brother.

Well, actually I have two biological brothers, but I’m referring to the one that, until today, also lived in MN. But now he’s on his way back to MI in his little two-door Saturn following behind my mom who has a truck load of his Star Wars memorabilia and graphic t-shirts.

To get them to this point was quite the ordeal yesterday.

A day that I will not soon forget:

The day I learned my shoulders could sweat.

Long, drawn-out explanation shortened:

  • Brother’s friend “bailed” on him when he was supposed to be packing/moving things to his storage unit/cleaning. This put him way behind on everything, so he did the only appropriate solution: calling his Mother.
  • Brother calls Mother notifying her of the situation on Saturday night or Sunday morning. (Doesn’t really matter to me. I was unconscious at both times.)
  • Instead of driving down to pack up the truck on the way to MI Monday morning, Brother needs help on Sunday when Sister regains consciousness.
  • Mother, Husband of Sister, and Sister drive down in truck, but first stop to get stuffed hash-browns. (Ohmygoodness. They were the most amazing thing ever. Had I not eaten them before arriving at Brother’s apartment, all hell would have broken loose. The bacon grease helped me keep an even keel.)
  • M, HofS, and S climb stairs to third floor attic apartment attic-ment where B lived. (Yeah, I’m doing abbreviations now. Try to follow along.)
  • HofS looks at S in dismay. S swears aloud at the mess that she sees before her.
  • Group decides that if they get back to the Casa de S and HofS before sundown, the day will be considered a positive one. That was before the humidity and delirium set in.
  • The guys loaded up the truck with large things that were either going to be donated, pitched, or sent into the storage unit. M and S were left behind to battle the 130-degree apartment filled with only God knows what.
  • Eventually, after 3 trips to the storage unit across town, too many trips up and down the three flights of stairs, enough water for a small village, the most glorious lemon-lime Gatorade, and enough mumbled cursing to make a sailor blush, the three suckers who got stuck doing this smelly musketeers took off, all riding in the front seat of the truck, with B trailing behind them in a stuffed Saturn.

A few highlights of the day:

  1. I sat on the concrete steps outside the apartment for a while and tried not to pass out. When I got up, the spot where I was sitting was damp. I knew it had to be sweat before there was no way that my kidneys could be working in conditions similar to the rainforest. Dehydration is key when B has a questionable bathroom with no TP.
  2. I learned that I have self-control. M, HofS, and B all got Dairy Queen. I refused, because I was quite confident that my stomach would quickly reject it. It was way too hot to even consider eating.
  3. Being dehydrated made me feel skinny. Until we went home and I proceeded to eat 2.5 tons of pickle dip. I needed to re-stock my fat reserves for the next ridiculous adventure that takes 5 hours in sweltering heat and humidity with no access to AC and no bathroom. That will hopefully only take place decades from now when I’ve temporarily forgotten about this whole experience.

Overall, we all survived and he’s still my brother so I still love the guy. But next time, we’re investing in some big, burly men to pack this stuff into a semi and drive it to his next living situation.

I’d much rather pay them myself and enjoy a margarita than have my knees sweat ever again.