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!



May 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Family, Miscellaneous, Photography | 4 Comments

I haven’t been feeling particularly wordy lately.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating once again living with my favorite roommate, seriously bumming about saying goodbye to friends, family, and coworkers here, questioning what the future holds for me career-wise, and remaining hopeful that my grandma and uncle (who was recently diagnosed with leukemia) will be nursed back to health as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The weekend was spent in Milwaukee, where I got to see this guy:


Saturday, I spent time visiting with the fam, played cards with my grandma, mom, aunt, uncle, and cousin at the home my grandmother is recovering in, and went on a date with this guy (who looks significantly less scary behind a pint of beer):

On Sunday, we visited with my uncle, the godfather (because he really is my godfather), and had a nice Mother’s Day brunch with my mom.  I also enjoyed (taking pictures of) her garden, which is beginning to bloom, and Jason found a baby painted turtle in the yard.  Trevor was delighted!  Check it out:

the city bids me adieu

May 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous, Moving | 4 Comments

A few weeks ago, I thought I quit my job.  The conversation went like this:

Me: I am getting kicked out of my house Memorial Day.  I’m just going to make that my last week and anything I need to finish up can be done via email.  Okay?

Boss: Hmm.  Let’s think about that.

Me (in my head): I’ve thought about it!  I’m outta here!

Anyways, I made it final today, sealed the deal in writing and all of that.  It’s weird thinking that in exactly 2 weeks I will be unemployed.  But don’t you worry – I have millions of brainstorms about what I can do with all of that spare time that I’ll have.  Like, finding a new job.  Unpacking boxes.  Finishing up things from my current job.  Writing a book chapter.  Crafting.  Painting my new house.  Starting my own business.  Blogging about all of it, or at least the (somewhat) interesting parts.

I got a speeding ticket the other day.  My first one in 10 years.  Boo.  It’s strange, because I usually drive the speed limit.  I swear.

Also?  I woke up to some “suspicious activity” last night, which I can only assume is some serious car-to-car drug dealing (at least, I hope it’s not anything worse than that).  And, yes, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that a bunch of teenagers/young adults hanging out by/in cars at midnight, and then driving around the block to return 2 minutes later was probably not normal.  And, no, I have no clue what the make/model/license on the cars was, nor would I have clear descriptions of those involved.  Because I am near-sighted and didn’t have my glasses nearby and was too freaked out to move, much less to go down to the living room to get them.

My fuzzy security system was sawing logs on the floor next to the bed.  He didn’t move once.  I was not comforted by that.

I am totally chalking this one up to the city preparing me to leave.  Because, until last night, I was still feeling a bit weepy about leaving this city that I have grown to love over the 6 years that I’ve lived here.  Yep, unpleasant social security office trip + speeding ticket + suspicious activity = see ya!

Now, though?  I’m just a bit more ready to join my husband in Michigan, where I will *officially* become a country girl.

Officially and Legally

May 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Marriage, Miscellaneous | 15 Comments

I officially and legally changed my name yesterday.

It was bunches of fun a nightmare at the social security office.  I should have expected that this wouldn’t be a particularly cheery or fast-moving office, based on the fact that it was only 1 block off of a particular corner in which drug dealing and shootings are a regular occurrence (and by regular occurrence, I mean regular for a medium-sized midwestern city, not Camden, New Jersey regular).  The full body and purse search that I received upon entrance to the social security office was not thrilling, nor were the two cell phone-less hours that I waited before giving in and secretly turning it on to text Jason about how he owes me a whole lotta ice cream for this.

Thank goodness I had a book in my purse.  Even if it made me stick out like a sore thumb amongst the large group of people waiting.  I was definitely the only one in there reading.

A particularly thrilling moment occurred when a man named Frank was called up to one of the windows.  The woman sitting next to me started yelling,  “He’s collecting TWO checks!  His name is Elmer!  I know because I met him at my AA meetings and he says I owe him $10, but that’s my money and I am not going to give it to him!  His name is Elmer!  I met him at AA and if he thinks he is getting my money, he is wrong.  I am not giving him my money!”  And this went on for the next 10 minutes.  Craziness at the social security office.

Certainly, I would have been much better off mailing in my name change application.  But, I guess attendance at the social security office is the burden I must bear for being completely and totally unwilling to surrender all paper records of my identity to the government for an undisclosed period of time.

Anyways.  The reason I mention this is that it’s kind of a big deal.

I always thought that I would just change my name when I got married – you know, take my husband’s name and all of that.  In fact, until I reached graduate school, I hadn’t ever met a woman who didn’t take her husband’s last name after marriage.  But, it’s totally easier said than done.  I’m pretty attached to my name – probably because it’s been used to describe me for all of my 28 years of life, and also because it’s a nice name, it sounds nice, and my (immediate) family all has my last name.

But, on the other hand, Jason’s name is also a good easy-to-read/spell/pronounce name – and hey! we’re supposed to be a family now, so a family-unifying name seems appropriate.  (Yes, Jason could have taken my last name, but that didn’t feel natural to either of us).

I’ve been planning to change my name since before we got married (7 months ago), but have been procrastinating on the issue.  Even though I had already decided to change my name, actually going and doing it was tough.  Not quite as tough as getting used to trusting and listening to my husband above everyone else, but tough nonetheless (maybe that is a topic for another post?).

For months, keeping my name wasn’t a big deal.  Changing it seemed like a hassle, so I put it off, always too busy to deal with it.  Everyone who was important to us knew who we were and that we were married, and if someone didn’t know, it wasn’t a big deal.  And Jason was only referred to as Jason my-last-name once (which made me giggle).

Anyways, it wasn’t until we started all of this moving nonsense that I really confirmed my desire to change my name.  All of the moving documents/emails/contacts/etc were under Jason’s name and calling someone up and introducing myself as Jennifer my-last-name, wife of Jason Jason’s-last-name got really old.  But, it was necessary for them to make the connection about who I was and why I was calling.  Eventually, I just started referring to myself as Jennifer Jason’s-last-name, and I’ve slowly gotten used to it.  I can only imagine that, as our lives become more and more entangled, that it will just be simpler to identify ourselves as a family unit with the same last name.

The thing that I’ve come to realize is that changing my name does not change who I am.

I am not any less of my parent’s daughter than I was on Tuesday.  After all, my mom took my dad’s name after marriage, and she is certainly no less of her parent’s daughter or her siblings’ sister.  And really, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree anyways.  That is to say, I am still completely, totally, and undeniably my parents’ daughter.  For better or for worse.

I am also not any less of a feminist.  After all, what is my last name, but a name handed down to me by my father and grandfather?  Certainly it doesn’t describe my entire lineage, nor does it represent my entire past, present, and future.  Right?

I should also note that I’m not any more of my husband’s wife than I was, either.  In fact, (to use 50s housewife stereotypes) I am no better of a wife, a cook, a homemaker, or anything else, having added my husband’s last name (no matter how much I wish I was better at some of those things).

I’ve really only changed how people identify me.  And that’s okay with me.

Disclaimer:  I think that its incredibly important that all individuals choose for themselves whether to change a name after an event such as marriage.  I followed a more traditional route, but I know that’s not the best solution for everyone.  Before making my final decision about this, I talked to a lot of different people to find out their approach to this conundrum.  I would encourage anyone facing a similar situation to do the same, and base your decision on what feels right to you.

For those of you that have gotten married or faced a similar situation, I’d love to hear what you decided to do re: name change…

20 things I am happy about today

May 1, 2009 at 10:35 am | Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments

It is sunny here today for the first time since I returned from my secret trip to Michigan.

I’m extra-psyched because I’m in my home office, surrounded by windows, loving the sunlight.  And while the mold remediator is back at work re-remediating the mold in my basement (found out yesterday that we’re still just slightly above normal), I get to sit here and surf the internet work.  Really, it’s a win-win – I’m surrounded by natural light and working in a comfortable environment, and the mold remediator is downstairs cleaning my basement (with a vacuum.  so awesome.).

So it seemed like a perfect time to join in the fun over at The Inspired Room and let you all know what I’m loving about today, this week, this month, this year, this life (in no particular order).

  1. Sunshine and warm(er) temperatures!  How can you not love life on a day like today?
  2. All things blooming!  The daffodils in Michigan last week were wonderful, I got a sneak peak at the loveliness that is my mom’s garden last weekend, and it looks like things here in the twin cities are getting ready to bloom.
  3. College campuses.  I went to a seminar at the University of Minnesota yesterday, and I can’t quite figure out why, but I love walking around college campuses.  Something about the big beautiful buildings, the great landscape, the amazing people-watching.
  4. Being reunited with my husband by the end of the month!  I might have quit my job yesterday.  More on that later.
  5. My dog.  What would I do without him?  He cracks me up, and talking to him makes me feel like I’m not living alone and talking to myself (which is kind of the case).  He’s sunbathing at my feet right now.
  6. My family.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have the best. family. ever.
  7. Girlfriends.  I am so lucky to still be in touch with my awesome group of friends from high school, and my best friends from college, and even a few awesome friends that I’ve had since I was just a little girl.  It’s amazing to me that even if I don’t talk with them everyday, or even every week, that we can just connect up and everything is normal.  Love you guys.
  8. Flexibility at work.  I could not have made it through the past 2 months of moving, organizing, etc without it.
  9. My down comforter.  I got lazy last time I made the bed and skipped the top sheet.  I’m loving just cozying up with the comforter at night.
  10. Cookies and ice cream.  Frankly, I’ve been loving on these a little too much lately.
  11. Reading on the bus.
  12. Movers that will pack up everything into boxes for me.  No packing = happy Jen.
  13. My digital SLR.
  14. Egyptian licorice tea.
  15. The possibilities for the future.
  16. Readers of this blog.  I *heart* you.  Thanks for supporting what has become a writing addiction.  And I use the term addiction loosely.
  17. Pictures from our wedding.  What a great day/weekend!

  18. Having a roof over my head currently, and having the ability to look for a cute new roof in Michigan.
  19. Having a husband who loves his new job, and who will support me, whether I decide to get a new job or start a business of my own or sit on the couch and eat twinkies all day.
  20. Finding cute pants that fit and are on sale.  (I wore a new pair of spring khakis from the gap yesterday that I snagged for a mere $30.  It was a welcome change from my usual jeans-and-t-shirt ensemble).

Kicked out

April 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Family, Miscellaneous, Moving, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

We spent much of our weekend kicked out of the house.  This is a good thing – we had 6 showings and a successful open house.  This is also a not-good thing – I am exhausted and want nothing more than to sit on the couch and watch TV, maybe craft a little bit, hang out with Jason and the doggy, and just generally ignore the fact that life as I know it is about to {temporarily} change in ways that might be less than fun.

Instead, though, we went out.

Saturday we celebrated 6 months of marriage.  I bought Jason a Tangy Taffy, and he didn’t complain too much when I pilfered some of the McDonalds Fries he ordered for lunch.  Because we are healthy and romantic like that.

Since we were unexpectedly kicked out of the house at 10:30 Saturday morning, I got the opportunity to prove that I can indeed shower, scream commands at my husband, and wash floors, dust, vacuum, and make the bed in 25 min or less.  That is what I like to call “multitasking” but I’m sure Jason has other names for the insanity that is his crazy, rushed, and stressed-out wife.  Happy Anniversary, honey! {ha, ha, you are stuck with me!}

We drove to Northfield to watch brother Robby’s LaCrosse game, arriving early enough to walk around the town for a bit, taking pictures, and reliving my college years.  Northfield is pretty much the cutest little town ever, and I wish I had taken better pictures to convince you all of that, but you’ll just have to believe me.

Mmm, yes.  We considered stopping in the Rueb and grabbing a beer, but it was still kind of early in the day.  I don’t think I’ve been in here since the week before college graduation, and I wonder what it would be like to go back.  I mean, I may or may not have used someone else’s ID to get in here and sing karaoke on the weekends.  Maybe. And this is one of those times that I am quite happy that digital photography and facebook came about AFTER I graduated.  Because you will NEVER see those pictures, and that is something we can all be very, very happy about.

Anyways.  We also took a few pictures of us and the dog, mostly because we were still killing time at that point, and also because there was a somewhat picture-esque sidewalk along the Canon River.  Barley was loving staring at the ducks.  Did he want to play?  Or eat?  We will never know.

And, Jason snapped a good one of me!  Even if Barley is still staring at the ducks.

We then headed over to the game, which happened to be the longest game in the history of sports, with the exception of that one recent basketball game involving Syracuse that went into like 6 overtimes.  You can tell how closely I follow this stuff.  Are you amazed and impressed that I am winning my March Madness pool?  By a lot?  {high-fives self.}

The game lasted 2 hours.  Do these things usually last this long?  I had no clue what was going on 99% of the time, and it was cold and overcast.  We saw Rob out on the field a few times, and his team won, so that was awesome.  Barley made a puppy friend, and spent the rest of the game either ignoring or trying to play with the little guy.

Jason found doggy treats in his pocket.  

We headed back to Minneapolis, made a quick stop at the Mall of America, and then celebrated our 6 months of marriage with pizza at Black Sheep Pizza.  Yummy!  (If you’re local and you haven’t been yet, you should go.  Or at least order pizza takeout, since the wait for a table can be long on the weekends.)

We spent Sunday afternoon running errands.  Sunday evening we went out to dinner with friends and then claimed some much-needed time with our couch and TV. 

We’re featured on OPC!

April 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments

We are *thrilled* that our bathroom remodel was featured on the awesome One Project Closer blog today!  (Check it out here)

Welcome, OPC readers!  Take a look around, ask questions, share your thoughts.

To get you started, here are a few of our favorite home-improvement projects:

Unfortunately, the improvements on this home will be coming to an end.  Yep.  In the midst of preparing for an extensive kitchen renovation, life threw a wrench in our plans.  Instead, we’ll begin a new adventure in rural Michigan!  Join us as we sell our home in Minnesota (any takers?) and buy a new home in Michigan.  There’s sure to be mistakes, mayhem, and gratuitous dog pictures along the way.

New Widgets

April 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

You may have noticed a few changes to the site – if not, let me point them out to you!


We’re keeping you clued in on our home-selling statistics via a widget (FYI: widgets are those little boxes of text and other goodies along the right side of the page).  Edina Realty (the company our Realtor is affiliated with) has an awesome website that lets us see how many people have seen our listing, how many have it saved as something they’d be interested in, and other statistics.  Our favorite tool is the one that allows us to see what other Realtors think of our listing.  We’re taking bets on how many of them are disgusted/intrigued/amazed/angered by our stove-less situation.  So far?  We’ve gotten 1 nasty comment by an agent who not-so-politely suggested that we wasted his time.  1 out of 6 showings?  Not bad.

We’re told that the open house went well this afternoon, undoubtedly good news.  We’ve been kicked out of the house for most of yesterday and today, so we’re hoping that our weekend of pointless errand-running will result in something (other than that $16 in-store credit for returning unused fence hardware to Menards).  Keep your fingers crossed.


I’ve added some of my favorite photos to another widget along the right side and will continue to do so.  It makes the website prettier.  (and hopefully not too crowded).

I’ll be back tomorrow with a full recap of the weekend!

Adventures in Antiquing

March 18, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Antiques, Miscellaneous | 13 Comments

As I mentioned yesterday, Jason and I hit up the Canal Park Antique Mall in Duluth on Saturday.  I’ve recently been following the adventures of Eddie Ross and other bloggers who have managed to score amazing finds at flea markets, so I thought I’d document what we found on our little antique mini-excursion.

First up:  I used to play with a set of these when I was little.  I’d make all sorts of awesome (and pretend) things in my yellow-ish beige metal kitchen with these bad boys.  Does this mean I’m old?

Jason spotted this acrylic cowboy hat.  I told him no.  No acrylic cowboy hats in our house.

You can’t tell from this picture, but this plate is a really pretty blue glass.  I’ve recently been loving colored glass plates with designs in them.  If I ever have to get to host an Easter brunch, I might be tempted to pick up a few of these lovelies in light blue, green, or pink, and pair them with our very neutral china to add a little color and charm to the table.  Or?  They’d be perfect for serving dessert after a dinner party.  Note to self: upon arrival in Michigan – become reacquainted with an oven, – make friends, – invite said friends over for dinner party.

Again with the colored glass.  I saw a few different sets of these, and thought that the low glasses would be perfect for ice cream sundae dishes.

This lovely lamp was Jason’s pick.  Again, I had to say no.  The deer/hunting theme wouldn’t have meshed well with the rest of our decor.  (But if the price would have been right, we would have certainly picked it up for a White Elephant gift exchange.)

I dig these old pyrex mixing bowls.  So bright and cheery!

I have a thing for cows lately.  I’m not sure why.  I just do.

I also thought these striped glasses were pretty fun.

Since we’re moving, I’m on a mission not to buy anything that I’d have to pack up.  So I felt a little torn when I spotted these pewter lovelies.  I usually try to pick up some sort of household something when I’m on vacation, so that later, when it’s sitting on my dining room or hanging on my walls, I am reminded of that particular adventure.  In the end, I ended up snagging them for $18, deciding that they are small and unbreakable enough to be easily packed when the time comes.  Until then, they have a new home on my dining room table!

Another post in which I reveal exciting news.

March 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Lesson Learned, Miscellaneous, Moving, Silly | 7 Comments
Tags: , ,

We are now the proud owners of our very own 2009 Toyota Highlander!  Yay!

Jason managed to finagle quite a deal, so we headed down to the dealership, and bought this beast this afternoon:

And since neither one of us has purchased a car before, we just assumed we could put it on the old credit card.  Mmmm.  Not so much.  Note to selves: still bring checkbook for all major transactions, even if the credit card limit is more than you make in a year.

We hope to pick her up on Friday…  After the dealership installs the heated leather seats that I insisted on.  (And after we return with a check, because of our credit card fiasco).  Because that’s how we roll.

Now, all I have left to do is persuade Jason to take the camry to Michigan and leave me with our new baby car when he moves in a month.

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