getting ready to say goodbye

May 17, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Minnesota, Miscellaneous, Photography | 2 Comments

With less than a week to go before the big move, I recruited my cousin, Jennifer, to play tourist with me.  I plan to make a coffee table book full of pictures of the city to help us remember our time here, so Jennifer, Barley, my camera, and I took a tour of some of my favorite areas of town.

In the evening, I had a last meal at one of my favorite restaurants in town with a coworker who was celebrating her birthday.

My absolute favorite part of the meal:

Yep, that’s fries covered in nacho-ey goodness.  Like someone opened a chipotle burrito over a large plate of fries.  Amazing.

And the nacho-fries were closely followed with a delicious lava-cake of birthday goodness.  Delish!

Spring has sprung

May 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Minnesota, Photography | 2 Comments

With the warm (60s!) and sunny weather lately, Barley and I are feeling like we’re on top of the world.  Spring has finally come to Minnesota, and I’m hopeful that the weather will stay this warm and cheery from here on out.  Although, to be honest, beautiful days like the ones we’ve had recently make me fall even more in love with our home and it’s proximity to parks and lakes.  I can’t believe I’ll be off to a new adventure in 2.5 weeks!

Duluth!

March 17, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Minnesota, Photography, Travel | 4 Comments

In an attempt to show Jason more of Minnesota before he moves 3 states away, we headed to Duluth on Saturday.

Duluth is about 2-2.5 hrs drive north of the Twin Cities, on the south side of Lake Superior.  (Here is a map for those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about: View Larger Map)

We arrived around lunchtime, and headed to Burrito Union, home of delicious southwestern food, unusual-flavored margaritas (hibiscus?  ginger?), and one waitress who kind of gave us the evil eye.  We’re still debating whether the cause of the evil eye was Jason’s cell phone conversation while we were supposed to be ordering or my incessant picture taking.  Or maybe a combination of the two?  Perhaps.

Anyways, we ordered – I tried the hibiscus margarita and Jason opted for a taste of a local microbrew.  For lunch, I snacked on some seriously. amazing. nachos and Jason opted for a burrito.  Just thinking about it makes me salivate a little.

Moving on.  The Bar was insanely cool, decked out in old metal ceiling tiles.  I also loved the orange stools in front of it.  Sort of a fun juxtaposition of old and new.

The ceiling also featured a mish-mash of old metal ceiling tiles.  I love the chandeliers (reminds me a little of my own dining room chandelier).  If I ever own a bar/restaurant/coffee shop, I think I will copy this idea.

After lunch, we headed down to Canal Park.  It was an amazing day – 55 degrees and sunny.  So we enjoyed the beautiful weather while strolling down the boardwalk along the shore of Lake Superior.  Online reviews we had read prior to our trip suggested that the boardwalk was similar to that found on the Jersey shore.  I beg to differ.  But we did see this cute little lighthouse, and it looks sort of New England-y.

After walking around for a while, we decided to do a little shopping.  We found a little antique store and Jason let me wander around for a pretty long time, despite the fact that he was overwhelmingly bored.  I’ll share my findings with you tomorrow.

After our little shopping spree, we headed back to Fitger’s, a local brewery (and maker of the beers that Jason drank at lunch).  I wasn’t all that impressed with the Brewery, to be honest.  I was expecting something a little bigger.  Also, the bun on my hamburger was not delicious.  Jason agreed – the buns sort of tasted like cardboard.  And we were seated in the kitchen.  And our table neighbors were so close that when they started up with the PDAs, their elbows nearly knocked Jason out.  Jason’s take: “mmm, it was okay.”  So clearly I am the pickier of the two of us.  But that is not a surprise, is it?

After dinner, we got in the car and drove back to Minneapolis.  With the seat heaters on.  Because we could.

Also, it’s amazing how dark night is in Northern Minnesota.  I forgot how many stars you can see when you don’t live in the city limits.  Perhaps this will be another perk to our Michigan migration?  Guess I should start looking into telephoto lenses for the camera…

Reflections

March 9, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Minnesota, Photography | 4 Comments
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It was an exciting and busy weekend for us… my parents visited, we went to brother Robby’s hockey game, we picked up our new car, and we spent hours cleaning and organizing the house.  So I have lots of pictures to share!

This first set was taken on Friday afternoon.  The weather was beautiful (45 and sunny! It felt like summer!), and the snow was melting everywhere.  So I tried to get a few artsy reflection shots, similar to this lovely engagement photo shot by the very talented Jessica Kaminski.  I also should note that I played around with these a little in iphoto.  Sidenote:  I would LOVE to use Photoshop, but haven’t splurged on the mac edition yet (and the version on my soon-to-be-completely-dead laptop is wildly out of date).  It would make a really nice gift in case anyone happens to be moving away from me and wants to get me a going away present that will keep me busy for hours on end so that I don’t have to spend my hours pining away, missing, crying, etc, etc (ahem, Jason).

Anyways.  The pictures.

I can’t decide which of these last two pictures screams WINTER more – the cold gray one above, or this yucky browner-toned one.  Either way, I’m really ready for some green, some warmth, and some longer days… Bring it on, mother nature.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

February 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Minnesota, Photography | 5 Comments
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Neither of us were expecting several inches of snow Friday night, but the fresh snow outside our windows looked so pretty in the sunlight Saturday morning that we decided to head out to the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center to take some photographs.

Barley was really nervous about stepping up on the moving platform under the sculpture, but he finally decided to jump up next to Jason.

Of course, no trip to the sculpture garden would be complete without photos of the Cherry on a Spoon.

I think my subjects are tiring of my photographic attempts.  Might be time to get some new models…  anyone interested?

Jason stole the camera to capture a few quick shots of Barley and I.  Then, we decided we’d had enough of the cold and headed home for some hot cocoa!

choose our next adventure

February 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Frustration, Minnesota, Silly | 13 Comments

Do you remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were younger?  I used to love them, and would read them over and over and over until I had read all possible combinations of the story.

Anyways, we’re faced with some big decisions here, and we’ve decided to leave it up to a vote.  You choose, and we’ll do whatever you tell us.*  So, read our dilemma below, vote in our little poll on the sidebar, and leave a comment with your thoughts and/or questions.

Remember how I mentioned that Jason was away on business last week?  Well, he actually flew out-of-state for a job interview.  No, he was not necessarily actively looking.  But a few months ago, he was actively looking and posted a resume on Monster.  A recruiter found his resume and applied him to some jobs.  He agreed to go along with it, but wasn’t seriously looking for a job (at least not one that would move him long distance).  Then, 2 weeks ago, he had a phone interview.  Then, he was asked to do an on-site interview.  And, today, his awesome offer package showed up at our door via FedEx.

This is Jason’s dream job.  It’s one of those rare opportunities that doesn’t come along very often.  Jason would get to do exactly what he’s been training and preparing for over the past 9 years, and I know he would be successful in this particular position.  Jason said his colleagues there would be top-notch, and he’s really excited about the possibility of working with them.  To top it all off, the compensation package is ridiculous – Jason would earn more than the two of us combined earn now, and he’d get 6 weeks paid paternity leave (handy if we decide to reproduce), as well as amazing prescription coverage, and health, dental, eye, and life insurance.  He’d get a decent amount of vacation time.  And a very nice relocation package (so we wouldn’t really have to pay to move our belongings, and they’ll reimburse us any money lost on the sale of our home).  All around, this position is MUCH better than his current one.  Fantastic – right?

The catch?  We’d have to move.  Out of state.  To a small town.

A town where I don’t necessarily have a job.  There are job possibilities, but nothing definite.  (Although, I should note that my job here is only guaranteed until October 2010, and then there is just a small chance I could stay.  So I would likely have to begin a job search next winter anyways.)

If we moved, it would mean that my career would likely take a hit.  You know, that career that I spent extra years in school preparing for?  That career that has been the main motivating force behind everything I’ve done for the last 8 years?  The career that I’m really questioning right now – am I really even doing something I love?  Sigh.

We have a house here.  And I love our house here so, so much. The thought of selling the house that we’ve been dreaming about fixing up for the last year and a half is heart-wrenching.  Oh!  The projects that we didn’t get to start, much less finish!

If we moved, our house here would be the second house we have on the slow, slow, slow housing market (anyone want to buy a cute little bungalow in Kentucky?).  And, if you haven’t taken our home tour yet, check it out – because I’d imagine that very few people would be willing to buy a home in this condition.

The thought of packing up all of our belongings for the third time in 3 years makes me want to puke.  It seriously makes me feel sick.  Then again, we’ve still got quite a few boxes still packed from our move to Kentucky in 2006.  Can you believe I haven’t lived in a house that’s been fully unpacked and furnished in over 3 years?  It’s disturbing, really.  I just want a neat home with no cardboard and everything in its place.  Is that too much to ask for?

I love living here.  Our location is perfect – in the city, yet near a few of the city’s billion parks and lakes.  Central to everything.

Some of the most awesome people I know also live here.  I would miss them.

I think I would have to rename the blog if we moved.  Our home in small town America, perhaps?

If we moved, we could support our family on Jason’s income alone.  (Meaning: When/if we have kids, I could be a stay at home mom, or have the freedom to only work part-time since our family wouldn’t rely on my salary.  I think this would be a plus.  Any mamas out there have thoughts on this?  I’m told that having kids changes your life, so I have no clue what I’ll think when/if we actually have kids in tow).

If we moved, we’d be closer to both my family (4 hrs via car) and Jason’s family (11 hrs via car).

If we moved, we’d have a 1-2 hr drive to the closest major airport.  We’d be back in small city America.  There’s no Chipotle there (almost a deal-breaker for Jason, but there is a Q-Doba in town, so he would be able to get his mexican fast-food needs satisfied).  At least there’d be a Target there?  And they get snow?  I love snow.

We’d end up living in different states for at least 6 months, if we move.  This is less than ideal, but we did spend the entire first year of our relationship in separate parts of the country (MN and NC), and when we moved back to MN, Jason lived here by himself for 3 months before I moved back.  So we can do it, and we have done it, but it’s just not really very fun. 

Why is it that the older we get, the tougher these decisions seem to be? This is probably our biggest decision to-date and I’m glad we’re making it together.  Talk about putting our marriage to the test right away…

Although my stomach is churning with nervousness about making the right decision, I am so grateful that Jason has had this opportunity, and so proud of him for nailing the interview!  I’m trying to keep it all in perspective by remembering that Jason choosing between 2 jobs is much better than him having no job at all.

*unless we decide otherwise.

Pond Hockey Championships

January 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Minnesota | 4 Comments
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I spent most of the weekend on the couch, with my laptop on my lap, and papers scattered around me. Ahh, work. The biggest project I’ve done yet is due in only 7 days, so posting might be a little light this week.

I did take a break to head over to the Pond Hockey Championships, which takes place on the lake near our house every winter.  Last winter, we opted not to go because it was the coldest day of the year, and we weren’t into freezing our butts off while watching people that we don’t know play hockey.  This year, it was a balmy 6 degrees (-9 with windchill), so we bundled up and headed out.

I had to let Barley borrow a vest or he would freeze.  I also tried to figure out a way to put a hat on him to keep his ears warm until Jason told me I was being ridiculous.  Which is true… letting the dog borrow my clothes is ridiculous.  And, should I be jealous that he looks better in it than I do?

The boys, all bundled up outside the warming tents.

Pond Hockey!  This is one of 25 rinks that are cleared on the lake.  I think we might go back to skate sometime this winter.

This isn’t a very good shot, but I just want you to check out the number of people outside on a 6 degree day (-9 with wind chill).  This is one of my favorite things about living in Minnesota.  Yeah, it’s colder than cold.  But you know what?  Minnesotans don’t care.  They add a few extra layers and go out to enjoy it anyways.  Sigh.  I *heart* you, fellow Minnesotans.

Our Kentucky dog can’t handle the cold yet… we had to leave shortly after we arrived because he got chilly.  When we got home, he laid down on the landing, I covered him in his little blanket, and he napped for the rest of the afternoon.  For being such a big dog, he can be really wimpy sometimes.

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