Thursday, February 26, 2009

Love of reading, passed down

On Tuesday, after the funeral, our family all gathered at Grandma's house to eat some of the food that had been dropped off over the last few days. As usual, I was there earlier than everyone else (I am habitually early...) So once again, I found myself alone in my Grandparent's house.

It wasn't as sad as it was when I stopped there on Sunday afternoon. This time I wasn't as spooked by the memories. When I was there on Sunday, I tried not to really look or focus on anything in the house. I just sat there and read the book that I had in my purse and just tried not to think about why I was back home.

On Tuesday, though, I walked around and looked at my Grandparents' books. I definitely got my love for reading from my Grandparents. It was fostered by my parents, of course, but it was definitely encouraged by my Grandparents. When I was little, they would buy me books for Christmas and Birthdays, and as I got older, my Grandpa always wanted to talk about the latest book I was reading.

My Grandparents have tons of books. They have an entire wall of books, actually - I hope to some day have something similar in my house. As I waited for the rest of the family to arrive, I started pulling books off the shelf and paging through them.

I discovered the neatest thing. When my Grandpa finished reading a book - he put that day's date in the book and would often write down his reflection. So the books would say things like "v. engaging read". If the book was a gift from someone, he would put, "With love, from ___." I looked for the last 2 books I had given Grandpa and sure enough, both of them said, "With love, from Lisa" in my grandpa's handwriting.

Paging through these books, I felt so close to my Grandpa. I hope that someone takes some sort of inventory of the books Grandpa has read. Or maybe that is a project I need to take on myself next time I go home (I'm a list lover & I love making them!). I think it would be nice for us Grandkids to have a list of books Grandpa read, maybe complete with the date read, and Grandpa's reflection. I'd certainly benefit from reading them, as they were pretty much all history books.

So yes, I am still sad and down about the passing of my Grandfather. But I am also feeling incredibly thankful to have had such a wonderful Grandfather in my life. Since coming back to work yesterday, people have asked me how I am doing and whether I was close to my Grandpa. I've had multiple people comment about how lucky I am to have been so close to him as they were not close to their grandparents.

So instead of focusing on the events my Grandpa will miss - like Abby's wedding in August, and my wedding some day, I am focusing on the things that Grandpa was around for, like my HS & College graduations. Because being the positive, optimistic person Grandpa was, I don't think he'd want me focusing on the memories I won't have. He'd want me focusing on the countless memories I do have.

Book Review: Best of Friends

Last week I finished reading, "The Best of Friends" by Sara James & Ginger Mauney. I had mentioned this in a previous "To-Reads" post that I did back in December. I had the best intentions to not buy any books in 2009 until I had read all the un-read books on my shelves... but then I had a really stressful week and caved... So this is one of the 3 books that I purchased!



Memoirs & Travel Memoirs are probably my favorite types of books. I don't know if it is the voyeur in me that makes me love these books, but I just love reading about other people's lives. Especially when they are living overseas. In this book, we meet Sara James & Ginger Mauney - two best friends that grew up together in Richmond, Virginia. Sara is a network news reporter for NBC and Ginger is a wildlife filmmaker, living in a wildlife park in Africa. They live completely different lives and are separated by thousands of miles, but their friendship continues to thrive through the years.

Sara and Ginger take turns narrating the story of their lives, starting in 1983 and concluding in 2006. I've never read a book with two narrators, but it flows very well and the resulting story is seamless. It's interesting to get each woman's take on their life, and also reflections on what the other person is going through.

This book definitely doesn't top my list of favorite travel memoirs (unlike Without Reservations, An Italian Affair, and Honeymoon with My Brother), but it was still entertaining. And it makes me really want to go on a safari trip to Africa!

I own this book, and the other 3 I mentioned, so if you live in MSP and would like to read, let me know! I'd love to lend them out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back in Minneapolis

I'm back home from my trip back to ND for my Grandpa's funeral. It was a tough couple of days, but it was so wonderful to be around my family. All 5 of us kids were able to make it home and my dad's 3 siblings were there, including his sister who lives in CA. It was wonderful being together, I just wish it had been under different circumstances.

There were lots of tough moments during my visit home, but one of the toughest was walking into my Grandparents' home for the first time. My Grandma, aunts, and uncles were all at the Funeral Home, making arrangements, so my mom asked me to come straight to their house when I got to Wyndmere - that way someone would be there to answer the door if people came by to drop off food. I was all alone in the house that is filled with memories. My Grandparents live less than a mile down the road from my parents, so I spent countless hours in this home, playing Trivial Pursuit, talking about books, and talking my Grandpa's ear off. It was so weird to walk into an empty house full of memories, knowing I'd never get to sit down and talk about my job or politics or my Grandpa's latest great read.

The Prayer Service and Funeral were both really nice. My dad is not one to get up and talk in front of large groups of people, but he spoke at the Prayer Service. He did an amazing job and I was so proud of him. He had a good mix of serious stuff & lighter stuff - he made people laugh and chuckle, which was much needed.

I lost my mom's parents when I was much younger - I think I was in 5th grade when Grandma died and 8th grade when Grandpa died. Being 28 and adult made this experience so much different. This time around, I am an adult. I understand more and am able to help out more. I just wish I lived closer so I could stop by and check in on Grandma. Hopefully I can make it home in March or April to visit her again. For now, emails and letter will hopefully help. Yah - you read that correctly - my Grandma emails!!!!! Sometimes she even sends me emails with emoticons in them! Pretty cool, huh?

My Grandpa lived a very full life - next month my Grandparents would have celebrated their 63rd Wedding Anniversary. They were so in love. Grandpa was always so positive and was someone people wanted to be around. I don't think he had any enemies - not because he was a push over or a people pleaser, but because he lived a life centered around the principles of honesty and integrity.

I just hope that, in some small way, I can emulate his life.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

One week later...

Last Saturday at 10:30 a.m., I was sitting with my Grandpa at the hospital, hoping that by showing up, he knew how much he meant to me. How much I love him. How important he is in my life. But I didn't say any of that. I gave my Grandparents a Valentine's Day card and I think I wrote how much I love then & how they are such an important part of my life. After our short 40-minute visit, I hugged him and told him he needed to get better and that he gave us all quite the scare.

This Saturday at 10:30 a.m., my phone rang. I saw Mom's Cell on my caller ID. I thought - that is odd, we just talked last night so what could she possibly call me about? I had a bad feeling.

I answered the phone, and in a tearful voice, she just said, 'Oh, Lisa.' And I immediately knew. I knew she was calling to tell me that Grandpa had died.

He died very quickly. She was there - they tried to give him CPR but it was too late. My mom said he went quickly and wasn't in any pain. I do find comfort in knowing it was quick and as painless as possible. He lived a full life and was such an amazing man.

I have so many memories of him, but what I will remember most is the bond of love between my Grandparents. Out of all the couples that I know, their relationship is an example of what I hope to have someday. They were just so in love with each other and my Grandpa would always tell us that he was a lucky man to have met my Grandma.

I'm going home tomorrow so I can be with the family as we prepare for the funeral. All I can think about is - 'How will Grandma get through this?' Luckily, I have a very close-knit family, so Grandma will have plenty of love and support. And her strong faith in God will also get her through this.

I'm sure some people think it is odd to be blogging about this. But for me, blogging is so theapeutic for me. I always feel better after I get my thoughts down and push publish. So I am hoping that when I push 'publish post' in a few moments, that feeling of calmless will come over me...

Friday, February 20, 2009

How cool is this?

Um, confession: I'm not married. I'm not engaged. I don't have a boyfriend. But I read wedding blogs. I started off telling myself that I read them so I could be a helpful Maid of Honor for my sister's wedding. But really, I just love reading them! They have so many cool ideas that you wouldn't necessarily need to use for an actual wedding. You could use their ideas for any sort of fabulous party. And their party favor ideas would make cool Christmas or Birthday presents.

Like this:



I didn't even KNOW you could make your own vanilla extract! Turns out it's actually really easy. Only 2 ingredients: Vanilla beans and vodka. Seriously - that's all! Directions can be found here. Sounds pretty simple, so maybe this will show up in my friends' & family members' stockings this year!








Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flashback Friday: Firsts...

Ahh, another survey. Because you haven't seen enough floating around on Facebook/etc. Here goes!

1. Who was your FIRST prom date? Brian Wolff

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love? Yep, my first love is the only ex I actually really communicate with!

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink? Fuzzy Navel Wine Cooler

4. What was your FIRST job? babysitting

5. What was your FIRST car? 1989 Toyota Celica. Loved that car!!

6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today? Abby

7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning? Can't say I really thought of anyone this morning. I am not a morning person, so do as little thinking as possible!

8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher? Mrs. Johnson

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane? Chicago for Chad & Emily's engagement party!

10. Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them? My first best friend was probably my cousin Julie & we are still best friends! As far as non-family, I'd say Alysia. We drifted apart when we went to college but are Facebook friends and are going to meet up next month hopefully!

11. What was your FIRST sport played? T-ball. I don't think I liked it.

12. Where was your FIRST sleep over? Probably went to my cousin Julie's or she came to my house

13. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today? The guy who takes money at the lot I park at downtown. His name is Paul and I love the guy. This sounds weird, but he is always so friendly. He calls me sweetheart or sunshine alot of the time, which I would normally hate, but he can say it w/out it sounding creepy.

14. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time? My brother Kevin's

15. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning? Pushed snooze on my alarm...

16. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to? Jars of Clay

17. FIRST tattoo and/or piercing? No tattoos, got my ears pierced when I was in 3rd grade I think. I wish I hadn't - I never wear earrings... which drove my mom crazy when I was in HS. She would also say, 'why don't you put some earrings on?' I don't like wearing them AT ALL.

18. FIRST foreign country you went to? UK to visit a friend studying abroad in London!

19. What was your FIRST run in with the law? Got a ticket for disregarding a stop sign when I was 17.

20. When was your FIRST detention? Never had it, thank God!

21. What was the FIRST state you lived in? ND

22. Who was your first FIRST kiss? Justin - we were in a play together and played a young couple that got engaged. I guess the acting became real because we started dating. My parents were THRILLED when this relationship ended!!

23. Who was your FIRST roommate? a girl named Heidi when I went to UND. We were like oil & water!!

24. Where did you go on your FIRST limo ride? First Limo ride was probably at my friend Alecia's wedding. I think.

25. Who will be the FIRST to respond this? Whoever is really bored!!

My Funny Valentines

I have been slow on posting on my V-Day celebration - the last couple of days have been filled with classes & paper writing. But I finally have time to pull the picture together and share my very awesome Valentine's Day!

I was greeted at the door on Saturday afternoon by Spiderman, aka Andrew! He had gone to a Valentine's Day Carnival at Pre-school and had gotten his face painted/hair colored. Here's a picture of him opening the Valentine's Day gift I got them.



Before Andrew opened the gift, I asked what he thought it would be. Without hesitation, he yelled "Books!!" I guess my gift giving is getting pretty predictable.

After opening his books and running around for a bit, we convinced him that it was time for a bath. He's probably getting a bit old for naked bath pictures, so I refrained from bringing my camera into the bathroom with me. Let me just say that I had to wash his hair 3 TIMES to get all that paint out of it! The bath water was pink!! It was kind of gross but of course Andrew didn't care!

As usual, Matthew was his happy little self. The poor guy is teething, though, hence the drool-stained shirt!

I tried to get a picture of the 2 boys together, but it's like herding cats. Seriously. Here are my failed attempts.


Getting a 10 month old to sit still for a picture is just dang near impossible. I got a great one on my phone, but since I am technologically challenged, I have no idea how to upload it.

Matthew has all sorts of tricks that he has mastered. Like the 'so big' which I was unable to get on video, but caught on film. Look how proud he looks! He's smiling at his daddy in this picture.


He also has learned how to make the kissing noise w/ the dramatic, 'mmmmmmmmah'. It's impossible to explain this. You just have to see it in action. It cracked me up!


video


After changing Matty into his pjs, we played some more - Andrew and Matty play so well together. At one point, Andrew kept chasing him around and around the kitchen which really wore Matthew out!

Shortly thereafter, the tired eyes appeared.
So Matthew went to bed. Andrew and I were both starving so it was time to put the pizza in. I brought over a heart-shaped pizza, which Andrew was pretty impressed with!

Seriously the kid can eat. He actually ate more than I did!! The pizza went from looking like this



to this!


After dinner, Andrew and I popped in "Kung Fu Panda" and relaxed. I had driven back from Fargo that day and was just exhausted so I decided to just close my eyes and listen to the movie. After about 10-20 minutes, I thought Andrew seemed a little bit too quiet. I opened my eyes and looked over at him, and he was sound asleep. At about 7:30. I guess the Vday Carnival wore him out!!

So all in all, a very, very easy night of babysitting. Seriously these 2 boys are always so well-behaved and easy to watch. I couldn't have asked for 2 better Valentine's!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I do still knit occasionally..

So when I first started this blog, I was knitting up a storm. I was probably making a scarf every couple of weeks or so. These days? Not so much. I just don't have the free time like I did before starting this final semester of grad school, which is kicking my arse, to be quite honest. I have never felt so burnt out & I just got the worst grade on a paper that I've ever gotten. In my entire life. So yah. Not really loving on school these days. Or actually, I'm loving Derivatives (go figure!) but am hating my strategy class...

However, I did manage to crank out one project in January/February. I knit this scarf for my cousin Julie for her birthday. I just hand delivered it to her last week when I stayed with her on Friday night.


She loved it so much, she might have even slept in it! Julie is super creative. She's always sending these hand-made cards or painting awesome pictures. She always adds her own creative touch to everything. I, on the other hand, am NOT creative. But I FINALLY have something crafty that I am actually sort of good at!

The style of this scarf was inspired by one that I saw at Banana Republic... and the cost of the yarn was at least 1/5 of the cost of the scarf at BR.

I had such a great time with Julie on Friday night. Neither of us are really phone talkers, but we have the kind of relationship where we can go months without talking and can pick up right where we left off. It helps that we are only 11 months apart and basically grew up together. I just wish we lived closer together; but soon enough, summer will be here & we'll see each other way more often since our parents both have cabins in the same area. Ahh, summer, you can't come fast enough!

Cool Tool for the Kitchen

I grew up in a really big family - 5 kids, 2 parents. All of us were healthy eaters. So it was practically impossible for my mom to make TOO much food. We were also all leftover eaters, so in the event she did actually make too much, the leftovers rarely went to waste.

So, I completely blame my family for my propensity for making WAY too much food. Um, I live alone, but sometimes I will cook an entire pound of pasta. Seriously. 1 person doesn't need a pound of pasta. (note: I do not actually eat all of it, I portion it out into tupperware & bring it to work/school) I've tried to make just 1 or 2 servings of pasta, but I just never can gauge how much one serving is...


Well, this tool might just change my life!


You see those little circles? They represent serving sizes for 1 to 4 people.


It's $35 and can be purchased here.


I found it through this cool blog, which I found through google reader. I've already learned all sorts of things, like how you should add steam when baking bread to get the best crusts. Granted, I've never actually BAKED my own bread, but if/when I do, I'll probably employ this technique. Ahh, the wonderful world of blogging. I love all the random knowledge I am accumulating!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Update on Grandpa

I've gotten some emails/comments regarding my Grandpa - thank you so much, everyone. I appreciate all the kind words/prayers. Means the world to me to have the support of friends/family.

My Grandpa is doing better. They actually discharged him on Monday since there isn't anything they can do for him at this point. They would like to change his pace maker, but right now it's too risky to do that procedure as it's likely he could hemorrhage. So for now he goes home and works on regaining some strength.

Grandpa has a VERY strong desire to live and is a fighter, so I am remaining hopeful, and won't let myself give into the 'what ifs' that run through my mind. I'm also working on erasing the image of what he looked like on Saturday from my mind as I caught him on a really, really off day, so there's no need for me to dwell on the condition he was in. I read this Glamour staffer's blog - she is a major worrier, and her therapist gave her some great advice:

"Whenever you start worrying that something bad will happen in the future," she said wisely, "Tell yourself, 'This is not a story I have to tell myself.'" You just don't have to continue imagining these tragic narratives.

So that's what I'm trying to do this week!

I need this...


Ok, so I probably don't need this little clutch, but I certainly really, really want it. When I was in college, I lived with my best friend Heidi for one semester and we often had these 'want v. need' conversations. Our conversations would go like this:


Heidi: I really need ______ (insert something fun & fabulous).


Me: Really? Do you need it? Or just really want it?


Heidi: Um, I need it.


Me: Well, you need things like water, food, and a place to lay your head. But you probably don't need _______.


So if I employ that interpretation of want v. need, I really don't need this clutch. It's so springy, though, and would be the perfect accessory for a springy Easter outfit.

Image found via this blog, and could be purchased here... if it wasn't already sold out!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A commitment-free week

It's pretty evident, given the lack of book reviews posted, that I have not been reading very much lately. I have a whole stack of books that are calling my name, but I just haven't been able to find the time to read them. I usually ride the bus 2-3 times/week, but since I have had stuff going on pretty much every night of the week for the last 3-4 weeks, I haven't been riding the bus much... which means I've barely read.

I had things lined up for every night of this week as well, but I was sort of a ball of stress yesterday, so I cancelled all my plans for the week. Except class on Mon & Wed of course. Those commitments aren't optional.

Have you heard of the book called "The Year of Yes"? Or the movie, "Yes Man"? Well, there should be a book called "The Year of No" or something because don't more people have trouble saying no v. saying yes to things?

Don't get me wrong, most of my commitments have involved dinners or drinks with friends, or going to a show at the Guthrie. All very fun stuff. But when I plan all these activities, I seem to forget that I have classes to balance, papers to write, and group homework meetings...

Oh, and it doesn't help that I need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Yes, I bolded AND italicized need. It's not optional. Really, if I could function on less sleep, I would! I am not one of those people who lists sleeping as one of their hobbies. I don't really 'enjoy' it and if I could get by on 5-6 hours, believe me people, I would! Sometimes I always get a little annoyed when people comment on how much sleep I need. Especially when they follow up their comment by saying something like, 'well, I only need 5 hours of sleep.' Good for you. (insert barely audible grumble)

Apparently, generally feeling over-tired, needing lots of sleep, and having a poor immune system are all symptoms of a Gluten intolerance, so once I take it out my diet, I am anxious to see how I will feel. I didn't get a chance to do much research this week, so I don't think the gluten free experiment is going to start until next week.

Hopefully with a quieter schedule this week, I will get more sleep and feel less run down. I felt really guilty cancelling plans that I had made with various people, but everyone was really understanding & said they all know the feeling of over-booking your schedule.

One of my classes wraps up on March 4th - that class is the one with all the papers, so once that wraps up, I think I'll be feeling much, much less stressed. :) And then hopefully the fun reading can resume!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shrimp & Spaghetti Arrabbiata

So I've been doing much better on the cooking resolution in February. I've already cooked more in the last 2 weeks than I did in the entire month of January! Some things have been hits. Some have been major misses. Like the Lentil soup I tried to make last Sunday. Which was not very tasty & of course yielded like 6-8 servings. Go figure - the thing I liked the least, yielded the most servings. On Biggest Loser a few seasons back, the contestants cooked a dish w/ Lentils & it looked so good, so I bought some over a year ago and finally got around to making a meal out of them. Not impressed. So if anyone has any Lentil recipes, send them my way. I understand Lentils are very good for you, so it would be nice to find a recipe that incorporates them! I think they are also gluten-free, so if I do give going gluten-free a chance, Lentils would be a nice thing to swap in for pasta or something...

Anywho, the best dish I have made so far this month is Shrimp & Spaghetti Arrabbiata. My aunt Barb posted some amazing pics of Fresh Shrimp that they were eating while in Florida, so I got quite the hankering for Shrimp!
I did woose out a bit and bought shrimp at Byerly's that were already peeled & de-vained. Because, yah, I don't know how to de-vain shrimp. This is actually my first time cooking with shrimp so I figured I better not press my luck & try to figure out the de-vaining thing. Maybe next time I cook I'll give that a try!! The guy working behind the counter was sort of a grandpa-type and was really friendly so I am guessing he would have given me a little lesson, so hopefully he is working next time I buy shrimp!

As I said, I hadn't cooked shrimp before so was a little nervous that I would over cook them, but they turned out great. They went from looking like this,

To looking like this,


Very quickly!!

The recipe is really simple - just shrimp, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil.
I only made one alteration to the recipe - I doubled amount of crush red peppers it called for since I love spicy food. :)
It looked like this while it was simmering away...






I made some asparagus to go along with it - just roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. Here's the finished product!!


It turned out great!!! I ate the meal while sitting at my dining room table - probably haven't done that in, well, I can't remember the last time I did. All of my meals get consumed while sitting on my couch working on school stuff or watching tv. But I had put some actual effort into this meal & wanted to focus on enjoying so am glad I ate that meal at the table. I need to do that more often!

I honestly think I could eat shrimp every day. Or I could at least eat some sort of seafood dish every day. It is oh so good. I am so thankful that my parents didn't raise me to be picky - I can't imagine not loving that stuff!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Exhausted...

I visited my Grandpa this am. It has been a rough week. Heart attack. Tear in the femoral artery. Kidneys started to shut down at one point. Blood pooling in his abdomen. All I can say is he is one tough cookie. The doctors didn't think he'd make it, but he surprised them and came through it all.

All week I'd been hearing from various people that he was doing much better. So I guess I was expecting him to seem like his normal self. Which resulted in my being sort of caught off guard when I saw him this am. He hadn't really slept last night and I guess he hasn't slept very well the last few nights, and that takes its toll on a person. Very fast. My question is: why not give the poor man some sedatives? I am sure there is some medical reason for this.... The doctor hasn't been in to check on him for 3-4 days apparently. Which is odd to me considering the fact that he is in the critical care unit of the hospital...

Anyways, when I walked in, it was apparent that he was exhausted. I sat down and he started showing me his 'war wounds' from the week - much of his arms from his wrist to just above the elbow are black from all the blood that had been drawn. It looked painful, but he shrugged it off and said, "eh, I bruise easily." Did I mention he's a tough cookie?

Since he hadn't slept much, the nurses asked that we keep visits pretty short, so I only stayed for 45 min. My grandma & aunt Laurie from CA walked me to the elevators. My grandparents have been married for 60+ years so I can only imagine how hard this is on my Grandma. Especially since there's been no discussion of what happens next. Does he come home? Does he go to a nursing home? How long will he be in the hospital? My Grandma is handling all the uncertainty quite well, though. When I hugged my Grandpa good-bye, he said, "You know, I still have alot of projects left to do in this life." When we were walking to the elevator, my Grandma commented on how she didn't know how he'd ever get back to those projects considering his current condition.

I said good-bye to Grandma & Laurie at the elevators - I was doing so well and had gotten through the whole visit sans tears. Until the good-byes. I wanted to be strong & didn't want my Grandma to see how much this whole thing is upsetting me, but I couldn't keep the tears in. I couldn't get the words out very well, but in a squeaky voice I said, "You guys just mean so much to me." For the first time in my life, I saw my Grandma's eyes fill with tears and she said, "I know, Lisa." They gave me one last hug and I took the elevator down and hit the road again.

I watched both of my McDougall Grandparents pass away - it was a long, slow process. There were so many times my mom thought my Grandpa was passing away & then he'd pull through and make it another couple of months. So I know these things take time... He could bounce back and be good as new. Or this could be the beginning of the end. There is no way of knowing.

Last night, I couldn't sleep. I must have laid awake until at least 2 am. I laid there wondering if Grandpa was also lying awake in his hospital bed. All my usual tricks like breathing deeply or saying Our Father's and Hail Mary's weren't working. So this morning, I am just exhausted. I need to go to church in a bit. Then meet a classmate to work on a Derivatives assignment. And then write a paper. So there won't be any time for a nap today.

If I'm this tired, I can only imagine how exhausted Grandpa must feel...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Je t'aime Valentine's Day

What's with the use of French in the subject line, you may ask?

For some reason, conjugating French verbs is soothing for me. During a stressful moment yesterday, I started conjugating the French verb, entre. Saying, 'je suis, tu es, il est...' in my head somehow grounded me and kept my mind off what I was stressing about at the moments. Perhaps it brings me back to my Paris days where I would practice asking a question in my head in French before actually saying it out loud - it gave me such confidence to be able to speak to the Parisians in their language. So maybe by conjugating these verbs, I re-gain that sense of confidence.

I love the French language. I think it is beautiful. Of course, hearing the words, "I Love You" are wonderful, but hearing "Je t'aime" would be even better. Hmm, perhaps I need to marry a Frenchie.... or at least date a guy who can google "how to say I love you in French."

Anyways, with V-day just a day away, love is all around us. And boy are there A LOT of V-Day haters out there! Being a V-Day lover, I am definitely in the minority. Yes, I believe that you should show your love for your friends & family 365 days of the year, but I love that there is 1 day out of the year where we are reminded to show that love to the people in our lives. And no, I'm not buying into the Hallmark commercialization of the day - I think a simple - "I love you" or "J t'aime" more than suffices. It is one day out of the year where every person should fall asleep knowing that, through words or actions, they have showed the people in their life:

(image courtesy of here)

So how will I be showing my love for the people most important in my life this year?
  • My grandpa has had a tough week. He had a pretty major heart attack last weekend and then had a tear in his aorta on Sunday night (which has since mended itself. The human body is an amazing thing). He's doing much better, but just in case this is the beginning of the end, I am driving up to Fargo tonight so I can visit him tomorrow morning. I need to be back in Maple Grove by 4-5 on Saturday, so it will be a quick trip, but the hour I'll get with him will be more than worth the 7 hours I'll spend driving there & back...
  • Saturday night I will be babysitting for the boys so that my brother & his wife can go out to eat on Valentine's Day with some other couples. Babysitting for Kevin & Julie gives me an opportunity to show my love for them. It's so important for couples to have dates every now & then, but it's so tough to do that once you have kids, so I am glad that I am able to babysit so they can occasionally get out and enjoy a night of adult conversation!!
  • I actually feel quite lucky that I will have TWO Valentines!! Matthew & Andrew really are so easy to babysit, so tomorrow night will be tons of fun!! Andrew is definitely my little buddy and refers to me as "My Lisa," so when I go to bed tomorrow night, I will definitely fall asleep feeling so loved and important.

So that is how I will be spending my Valentine's Day. I have a red shirt packed for tomorrow (I always try to wear pink or red on V-Day). I'm excited about V-Day. No, I won't get the traditional gifts of flowers or candy; instead I'll share a heart-shaped pizza with Andrew and we'll hopefully bake something together. And I can't think of a more perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day! I'm sure I'll have pictures to share...

So Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Matt Logelin on Rachel Ray

For those familiar with my blog, the name Matt Logelin should ring a bell - he's the widower who lost his wife last March, 27 hours after their daughter, Madeline, was born. He's become quite famous around the Minneapolis area since Matt and his late wife were both from Minneapolis. The Star Tribune has done a few articles on him, and his blog has been mentioned on various areas of the web, from Glamour.com to Aol.com. A lot of people read his blog (http://www.mattlogelin.com/) - he gets about 40,000 hits/day which is just incredible.

His popularity has skyrocketed in the last month - it started with a feature article in People Magazine and yesterday, he was featured on the Rachel Ray show. I've posted a link for the clip below - it's tough to watch without tearing up... so consider yourself warned.

http://tealdesigns.net/video/

He's an amazing guy - he's dealing with the death of his wife & best friend while raising a child who is now a healthy, adorable, thriving 10 month old. As if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, he has has started a foundation, 'the liz logelin foundation' which will benefit the widows & widowers who find themselves in situation similar to Matt's. You can learn more about the foundation here.

I briefly met Matt last September at the Liz Logelin Memorial 5k at Lake Calhoun - it was surreal to meet him in person after reading his most inner thoughts/feeling for months. But it's even weirder to see him on the Rachel Ray show or read about him in People magazine!

I wish that I didn't know who Matt Logelin was because that would mean that he wouldn't have gone through this and wouldn't have his story to tell. That said, I think most of his followers would agree that we all tend to have a better perspective on life because of what we've read on his blog.

There is also an article about his appearance on the Rachel Ray show in the Star Tribune today, which can be found here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saying adios to gluten? or dairy? Or both?? Hmm...

Last night I had an appt with my facialist, Sarah Elizabeth, aka "the miracle worker." Sometimes I feel guilty for getting these monthly facials, but then I remember that the 30 -60 minutes I spend w/ her each month is probably my most relaxing 30-60 minutes of each month. Seriously, she is so good at what she does.

Unfortunately, I seem to have inherited some seriously bad genes when it comes to my complexion. If there was a 'face transplant' surgery out there, I'd sign up in a heart beat. I absolutely hate my complexion, I feel like people look at me and think, "What? Doesn't she wash her face?" I know it is so vain to care so much about one's appearance, but the first thing people usually judge you on is your appearance... so looking like you are going through puberty at the age of 28 isn't helping me out very much...

I've tried going to a Dermatologist, but I kind of hate the man after this last fall. I saw him in October and asked him to put me back on an antibiotic that I had been on previously. He suggested trying something different and put me on Sprironolactone. Yah, it's actually a drug that is used to treat people w/ congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney disorders. When he told me that I was like - 'hold the phone, why am I taking this?' He went onto explain that it does something with the hormonal balance in your body so he thought it might be the solution for me. So I tried it, and my complexion went from not so great to freaking ridiculously horrible. I called the doctor and spoke to his nurse who was completely unsympathetic and basically said to just 'deal with it' and give it more time... even though I'd been on the stuff for 7 weeks and he said it's work after 6.

So I gave up and I don't think I will ever go back to that Dermatologist. I don't know if his nurse was hating life that day or what, but she was so rude to me. Maybe I need to find another Dermatologist but after that whole fiasco, I have no desire to give someone else another try...

So last night Sarah mentioned that other clients have eliminated gluten from their diet and have seen great results - I don't really understand how gluten could impact my complexion, but am pretty much willing to try anything. While I was researching gluten's impact on your complexion (couldn't find anything, I suck at research, by the way), I read a few articles that speculate that dairy might be the culprit... apparently they load the cows up with hormones, so when you consume dairy products, it messes with your hormonal balance as well.

So now I am debating whether I should eliminate one or both of these from my diet... I looked up a list of foods that do/don't have gluten - ay yi yi. Eliminating it wouldn't exactly be easy. But I know it can be done - my cousin has celiac sprue and blogs about gluten-free cooking, so she'd be a great resource....

So we'll see what I end up doing. If eliminating one of both of these alleged culprits results in a clearer complexion, it'll be worth it, so it's probably worth trying.

What pisses me off the most about this whole thing is that my older sister often doesn't even freaking wash her face! Seriously! And I don't think I've ever seen her with a single blemish. I obviously got the short end of the stick when it comes to 'complexion genes.'

Oh, and I googled "Face Transplants" - apparently such a procedure exists, but I'm probably not a good candidate...

* Update *

Google is a dangerous thing. It allows people like me with no medical knowledge to self-diagnose. After all this research about gluten, etc, etc, I have practically convinced myself that I have some sort of ailment. So now I am probably going to be 'that girl' that goes to her doctor and says, 'um, so I was googling, and I think I have ____ (fill in the blank). I bet doctors hate the internet and the resulting self-diagnosis that goes on... Do they, Suzanne?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pete gets a sister...

If you read my blog from my time in France, you probably remember my trusty companion, Pete. Pete was a Valentine's Day gift - he turns 3 this Saturday. He's been my trusty side kick and I've logged thousands of hours on him. But lately, he hasn't been quite as reliable. He freezes up occasionally and a few weeks ago, he froze up and this appeared in the display window... The dreaded "Sad Mac Face."

I decided that it was time to purchase another iPod. Aside from the fact that my nano is a bit unreliable these days, it also only holds 1,000 songs. Yes, I get eye rolls when I mention this to people, but 1,000 songs is not much for a music lover like me. So I decided to upgrade and get a 120GB iPod Classic.


Meet Ellie, Pete's new sister.


She's a beauty. I felt a bit guilty saying "Happy Birthday to Me" and purchasing it, but I figured I have "earned" this. Plus, if you depreciate the cost of the iPod over the number of hours I'll use it, the cost/hour of use is very minimal. Ahh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about spending money...
And yes, I realize that it is very, very odd to name inanimate objects. But I couldn't have a Nano with a name and then have my Classic go nameless. So why did I pick Ellie?
For starters: most expectant parents seem to hope/dream of having one of each sex. So I figured it only made sense to give the Classic a female name. So why Ellie? Well, Ellie is a name I absolutely adore. It is short for Eleanor. Unfortunately, it is a name that my best friend Heidi adores as well. And, well, unless I sign up to be a mail-order bride, chances are she'll have kids before me since she's already married. So I'm giving her custody of that name. Since I won't have a daughter named Ellie, I figured an appropriate consolation prize would be to have an iPod named Ellie.
So there you have it. Pete and Ellie. We make quite the happy little family.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Facing the Ghosts of Grand Ave

I guess today is a double-post kind of day. I just got back from meeting up with my roommate from Lyon, Adrianne, for lunch at Cafe Latte on Grand Ave in St. Paul.

Ryan lived in St. Paul. Grand Ave holds lots of memories for me - many dinner were shared in the fabulous restaurants that line that avenue. I haven't been back since January of 2008. The area just holds so many memories; I haven't returned because I didn't want to re-visit the memories, both good and bad, that were made in that area of St. Paul. I also have a completely irrational fear of running into Ryan and his new girlfriend... Yes, I realize it is ridiculous to give him "custody" of one of the two cities that make up the "Twin Cities," but it's been my coping strategy. We haven't spoken on the phone since March. Our last email exchange was an email I sent after he had cancelled lunch plans via a text message - I couldn't handle anymore last minute cancellations and the use of a text message to do so when he knew I was in a such a sensitive/fragile state was just the last straw. So I sent him an email basically stating that a friendship just wasn't in the cards for us unfortunately. I got what I asked for: aside from an unacknowledged Happy Birthday email I sent, we have had no communication. So even though it seems very irrational to avoid an entire city because of him, it was something I needed to do.

So when Adrianne suggested Cafe Latte for the location of my Birthday lunch, I told myself - you are ready for this. You can go back there.

This morning when I drove over to St. Paul, I took a different route. I didn't want any sense of familiarity. I wanted this trip over to feel completely different. As I drove down Grand Ave, unsuccessfully searching for a parking spot, I felt the sense of uneasiness in my stomach. I bit the side of my mouth to help stave off the tears that were moments from falling from my eyes - tears from the frustration of not being able to find a parking spot (I can't parallel park very well... it's source of stress) and tears from the thoughts of the last time I was in this area. I was going to be briefly seeing a couple, Nick & Maggie, that Ryan and I spent a lot of time with, a couple that Ryan got "custody" of after the break up since Nick and Ryan are best friends. I just told myself - you can not show up at Bonfire with red eyes or tear-stained cheeks. I didn't want to give Nick a reason to report anything besides seeing me in a happy, calm state. So I physically shook my head in an attempt to wipe away all the thoughts I was thinking.

It worked. I walked into Bonfire with smile on my face. I succeeded in not asking about Ryan even though I was dieing to ask 100 questions, such as: How is he? Who is his new girlfriend? Is she wonderful? Is she similar to me or completely different? Does he know you are seeing me today?

But I didn't ask a single question. His name didn't come up in our brief conversation. I said good-bye and asked him to tell all my old co-workers that I said hi.

It was great seeing Nick & Maggie. I miss Nick. I used to eat lunch with him about 3 times a week - I knew what was going on in his life, I knew all the latest milestones his daughter had achieved. Now he is sort of a stranger to me. We share a past full of memories but will not create any more memories together. Ah, the realities of break-ups.

After saying good-bye, I found Adrianne waiting for me outside of Cafe Latte. She gave me a big hug and told me that it's time to create some new memories on Grand Ave.

And she's completely right. I faced down the ghosts and walked away with a new memory. I'll probably never frequent that area as much as I did while dating Ryan, but now that I've faced down my ghosts, I won't avoid the area as I have for the last 12 months.

And in my book, that is progress.

Another Survey...

Alright, another one of those random surveys. I'm addicted! Suzanne did it on her blog, so I thought I'd play along as well!

Where is your cell phone?.......Bedroom
Your father? ........ funny - very quirky sense of humor!
Your favorite thing? .........books
Your dream last night?.... none
Your favorite drink? ......... red wine
Your dream/goal? .......... Having a family
The room you are in? ...... living room
Your fear? ..... unemployment
Where do you want to be in 6 years? ... Living in Linden Hills
Muffins? ... Blueberry
One of your wish list items?....The book "Principles of Uncertainty"
Where you grew up? ........ Wyndmere, aka The Middle of Nowhere
The last thing you did? ..... slept
What are you wearing?..... pjs
Your TV?......... plasma
Your pets? ......non-existent!
Your computer? ... pink!
Your life? ....... busy
Your mood? ..... calm
Missing someone? .... always
Your car? ..... salty
Favorite store?..... Barnes & Noble
Your summer? ..... the cabin :)
Your favorite color? ...... pink
When is the last time you laughed? ... yesterday
Last time you cried? ....... yesterday
Three people who email me? ..... Mom, Broooke, Heidi
Three of my favorite foods? ........ Shrimp, Mashed Potatoes, Vanilla Yogurt
Three places I would rather be right now?..... Italy, Mexico, New Zealand
Three people I think will respond? ...... Um, no one!

If you read this & feel like doing this on your blog, let me know so I can check it out!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Birthday Review

So the big 2-8 has come and gone. For the last couple weeks, if anyone has asked how old I am, I've said 28, so turning 28 yesterday didn't really 'feel' different. Not that you ever really feel older on a Birthday.

I had a wonderful Birthday weekend! I started the festivities a little early by having dinner at my brother's house on Thursday night. I love that they live 30 minutes away from me and would love it if I lived even closer!

January was such a busy month for me, I barely saw Kevin, Julie, and their boys. I feel like they changed so much in the last month. Especially Matthew - he's now 10 months! He's Speedy Gonzales when it comes to crawling and loves walking along furniture. He also has mastered the "so big" trick, claps on command, and will do the "wheels on the bus" rotation with his little hands. Hopefully I can catch these little tricks on film when I see them again next weekend!




Andrew never ceases to amaze me with his computer skills. He also knows how to browse movies on Netflix, watch the previews, and add them to their queue if it looks good to him! In this picture, he's hard at work, typing my name!

Before he went to bed, he made my own little "bed" on the couch downstairs. Then he was quite upset when he realized I wasn't spending the night - he even teared up a bit! It was the sweetest thing! Luckily we reached a compromise - I'll be spending the night on Valentine's Day. I can't imagine a better way to spend that night. Yes, I often rant & rave about being single, but if I wasn't single, I most likely wouldn't spend nearly as much time w/ the boys as I do, and I certainly wouldn't have been spending the night w/ them on V-Day! So yea for being single!

After the boys were both in bed, Kevin set to work on making Stir fry. He has made that every year for my birthday for the last 3-4 years, I think. It is so so so delicious. I ate until I hurt, basically. Healthy? Probably not. But I figured I earned a meal of over-indulgence! And really - check out this photo - who can blame me!!

***
Friday was my birthday and I had a wonderful day. I decided to buy some flowers for myself and dang, that was the best $12 I've spent in months. I think I bought Tulips, but one of my male co-workers thinks they were daffodils or something? They were pink and pretty, and that is all I cared about!
They brightened my day so much, I've decided to start a tradition of "First Friday Fresh Flowers." I figure the $10-15 spent each month will be more than worth it.

Friday night didn't exactly go as planned - Brooke & I got to the theater an hour early to get tickets & the show was already sold out... We re-grouped and decided to go out for dinner instead so hopped over to "Crave" at Galleria. It actually worked out better as we were able to get caught up on what us 7 girls have all been up to since we last got together.

I did go to "He's Just Not That Into You" this afternoon - it was a really good movie. Definitely a tear jerker (IMO) but had a good message and plenty of scenes that made me laugh. So it's definitely worth checking out.

This is the first Saturday I've spent at home in 6 weeks, and I won't have free Saturday for another 6 weeks, so I am definitely enjoying a quiet night at home!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Turning 28

Happy Friday, everyone! The weatherman is saying it might hit 40F today - woot, woot! That's darn right balmy according to my standards!

So today is my birthday. I spent the evenings of my last 2 birthdays sitting in a Finance class of some sort so I can't tell you how excited I am to NOT have class on my birthday this year. And it's on a Friday! I'm wearing my favorite color (pink) and will be meeting up with 6 girlfriends to see "He's Just Not That Into You" which opens today. How apropos that it opens on my birthday, huh? ;) Seriously, if you are single and reading this, you should probably read that book. Yes, some of the advice in the book is a bit obvious to most girls, but it's still worth reading. I can't wait to see the movie tonight!

If I had to sum up the past year of my life, I'd have to borrow a quote from Charles Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Aside from the 3 weeks in France, I don't know that I'd want to go back and live much of it over again, but I have learned a lot about myself, and that knowledge, well, it's priceless. I would try to find the words to explain what I've learned this year, but this poem does such a good job:

After awhile you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight
After awhile you learn
The even sunshine burns if you get too much
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn
With every goodbye you learn.
- Veronica A. Shofstall

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Signature Scent Possibility?

The thermometer is still registering temperatures in the negatives, but I am feeling much better today. It sounds like we might hit the 30-40's by Friday. Thank God. I really hope that this February is like the February of 1988. Why would I remember such a February? Well, that is the February that Abby, my little sister, was born. I can vividly remember the day she was born (Feb 27th). I was outside, riding my bike through puddles, wearing shorts. I think it might have been in the 60's or 70's. I know we have a few weeks until we arrive at the 27th of February but darn I really hope this month turns out like that one did!!!

I made a great discovery this week - I think I might have identified a perfume that I need to buy....


Seriously - a scent that is called 'In the Library'? Sold. Unfortunately it isn't sold in any stores in Minneapolis, but I will be going to NYC in March or April and definitely plan to check it out & possibly purchase a lifetime supply. It's just so me, especially since I am often told that I have a 'librarian' look. When I am told this, I am not sure it is a compliment, but I take it as one.
You can read more about it here, if you are interested! It's pretty funny to read the 'story' of the scent. And yes - this is legit, it's not a joke. This is actually a perfume!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed...

This morning, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Or maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the globe. I turned the tv on, saw the -3F in the corner of the tv, and wanted to go back to bed. Seriously? The fact that it was 45 on Saturday & 32 on Sunday almost makes seeing -3 worse for some reason. The weekend was gorgeous - I didn't wear a jacket, it just felt so heavenly. I thought, "Self, I am so sick of winter, but the end is in sight! It's only going to get better."

Then Old Man Winter decides to show his face again. The last few days have been down right frigid, and it's not making me feel too rosie.

Add to that the fact that I have a sinus infection, and well, my disposition is just not great. Then add in the fact that it took 5 phone calls over a span of 24 hours to get a dang Z-pack prescription filled. I was about ready to just jump across the counter at Walgreens, take the Z-pack, and go. Seriously, people, I just want my meds.

I usually don't have these types of mornings. I think it's just the result of being sick and only getting 5 hours of sleep on Sunday night (I need about 9-10 to really function, I know that is alot and is not normal... I have 'go to a sleep clinic' on my list of things to do with all that spare time I have).

But when I feel like this, I give into thoughts like,

"Gosh it would be nice to have someone that I could call and ask to pick up my prescription for me so I could have had it when I got home from class at 9:30 last night."

or

"It would be really nice to have come home last night to a husband who would have given me a hug and told me it's okay that I don't really understand what a replicating portfolio is and how it hedges your risk on a forward contract" (That's what I 'learned' about in class last night)

***

I guess today is just going to be one of those bad days that will come and go. Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow and think that it was so silly how upset I got over the little things today.

Good news though - I just picked up my prescription so hopefully I'll be on the road to good health in a few days. When the Walgreens Pharmacist asked me if I was feeling any better I almost started crying. But I didn't want to be that girl, crying at the pharmacy.

I usually relish my independence and ability to 'do it all' but sometimes, it's just really, really freaking exhausting.

I Love Hallmark

Seriously, I love Hallmark. Yes, they have commercialized Holidays, like Valentine's Day, but dang I love them. On Friday night, I watched a Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie, "Loving Leah." It was such a great movie. I loved the Hallmark commercials almost as much as I loved the movie!

One of the most poignant quotes from the movie was: "A Mother is only as happy as her saddest child." I don't have any children of my own, but I am pretty confident that the mom's out there who read this would agree with this statement.

There was an awesome song that was part of the soundtrack. Thanks to Google, I was able to track down the artist & I bought her CD on iTunes. If you like singer/song-writers, you'll probably like this artist. Her name is Priscilla Ahn and her CD is wonderful.

Here are the lyrics to my favorite song on the CD, "Dream."

I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me. I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green.

I had a dream That I could fly from the highest swing. I had a dream.

Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I'm supposed to be. The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep.

I had a dream That I could fly from the highest tree. I had a dream.

Now I'm old and feeling grey. I don't know what's left to say about this life I'm willing to leave. I lived it full and I lived it well, there's many tales I've lived to tell. I'm ready now, I'm ready now, I'm ready now to fly from the highest wing. I had a dream

I couldn't figure out how to paste the youtube video on here, but here's the link if you want to hear the song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKfDwChOoHI

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Review

I was home this weekend for the first time in 4 weekends - I naively thought I'd have this quiet, low key weekend with oodles of times to get stuff done. Wrongo batman. Friday night was quiet, but the rest of the weekend flew by! It was lots of fun, though! I could just really use a weekend where I have no commitments. I was thinking back to the first few years that I lived in Minneapolis - I feel like it was rare for me to have something going on, especially on a week night. Flash forward 6 years and this is so not the case. A few weeks ago my brother asked me when I could come over for a birthday dinner and my next open date was over 2 weeks out.... I'm really feeling like I need to purchase a blackberry as I am having trouble keeping track of it. Finishing grad school will REALLY help, though. I am tempted to start counting down the weeks until graduation....

Here's some 'highlights' from the weekend of things I saw/discussions I had:
- On Saturday night, I went to a house party with a friend I used to work with. She didn't think she'd know anyone besides the host so asked if I could come along as a sort of 'wing woman,' I guess you could say. I figured - why not? You never know who you might meet at something like that. I don't regret going, but it was interesting. I didn't get a copy of the Evite, but am wondering if maybe there was a theme for the party - 'weird facial hair.' Seriously. There were guys with old school mustaches (some were sporting trucker hats/seed caps), and a guy w/ a mustache and then hair that went diagonally down his face sort of? It was just plain odd. I so didn't fit in. Oh, and there was a keg... I felt like I should have been chaperoning the party... I am definitely past keg party days. Actually, those never were my thing since I absolutely hate beer and am unable to drink it (trust me, I have tried, it tastes terrible & doesn't seem to want to stay 'down') I should have known when Katalin mentioned that the party was in Uptown. I used to love Uptown but I must say I have sort of 'outgrown' that part of the MSP area... Me & my Banana Republic wardrobe just don't fit in there....

- At the same party, I had a discussion with a girl about dating. She basically said - 'yah, men like to date women who aren't smart. So maybe you should hold off on telling them that you have your masters and maybe play a little dumb?' Um, yah, I don't think so. Thanks for the advice, though.

- I was at a Superbowl Party last night that was hosted by my realtor. It was an impromptu party that they threw together since the party they were supposed to attend fell through due to the hosts being sick. It was great seeing Zeb, his wife, and their 4 kids. Zeb recently purchased a Clavinova so the kids could start to take lessons when they get a little older. Somehow it came out that I play piano so I got talked into playing a song... There were only 4 other adults there & about 7 kids, so it wasn't an intimidating crowd or anything. But I felt like i was giving a pre-halftime show. After I got done playing, Zeb's 3 year old daughter said she really liked the song but asked that I please not take the piano with me. I thought it was hilarious that she was concerned that I'd load the Clavinova up & head home with it!

I hope everyone else had a great weekend!