Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Getting ready for girls' weekend...

This weekend I'm going to Chicago for girls' weekend. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but I am really excited. I'm flying there on Friday with two of my friends and we're staying at another friend's apartment. We all went to high school together and have never done a trip like this before. The last time I went to visit Erin in Chicago (besides her wedding, which I don't really count since it was so busy) was freshman year of college. So I've never seen her apartment and I've never met her dog, Brady. Otis is going to be so jealous that I'll be hanging out with another dog.

Tonight I went at got my hair cut, so that I'll be looking my best when we're prowling around town. ;) My hair stylist ended the cut by saying, "Mission Accomplished." Haha. She's awesome.

It seems kind of pathetic to have Dave take a photo of my new haircut, just so I can post a picture of it on my blog. So I guess you'll have to wait in suspense until Monday, when I'm home and can post some photos of the trip.

Yes, I run. Sometimes...

One of my ideas when I started blogging was to write about running and training for my next big race (Twin Cities 10-miler on Oct. 7). However, as many of you know, I’m a big slacker when it comes down to actually going outside and running a few miles. So there really hasn’t been too much for me to write about…

But I actually did get an opportunity to run a 5-K race with some friends at work back in the beginning of August on a cold and rainy Saturday morning. It was the Shakopee Derby Days race. Despite the rain, the race was actually kind of fun. It was at Canterbury Downs and the race starts on the actual horse-race track. There was a trumpet player playing a horse race tune (is there an actual name for the horse race music they play??), and then you get to leave the starting gate just like a horse (not that I really want to be a horse, but it is a unique way to start a race).

To my surprise, I got an email this morning with some pictures of the race. Thought they’d be fun to share.

Can you find me in this one?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oh, the places I'll go...

What can I say? I have nothing new or exciting to post. Today was a long day back at work. I'm ready for a vacation. Oh yes, I am going on vacation to Chicago on Friday for girls' weekend! Hurray!! But for now, I guess I'll daydream about all the exotic places I want to go where I've never been (because of course I want to go to all the places where I have family and friends!)
  • Paris, France
  • Anywhere in the Caribbean
  • Australia
  • Africa
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Peru
  • Chile
  • Alaska
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • New Zealand
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Indonesia
  • Prince Edward Island, Canada
Got any ideas for me? I'm sure my geography-teaching/world-traveling sister has some good ideas!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Super Saturdays

I love Saturdays. I have a whole day with no obligations and I can do whatever I want. Well, being the responsible person that I am, I usually spend my day with no obligations doing the things that I've neglected during the, laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc. But it's great because I feel like I get so much accomplished.

Today I woke up with really bad allergies, so I had to wait for the Claratin to kick in. Then I went running. Yes, I ran! Thought I'd get my blog done for the day and next I'm going to clean! Woo hoo. So exciting, huh? I talked to Dave this morning (he's working at the moment)...he didn't sleep too well, so my goal is to get done cleaning before he gets home...then the two of us can go to the grocery store, dry cleaners and then relax the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Live this moment

Today was my first day back at work after a great vacation. It was rough day...getting swept back into the craziness of work. I was pretty stressed out last night and today about everything that's been going on a work lately. So Tonya's post on her blog today helped remind me not to stress so much about the small stuff. Here's what she had to say:

The answer is to live the present moment. Live this minute to its very fullest. Regrets are in the past and won't change history and worries about the future will not add another minute to our lives. We need to appreciate the fact that, even with cancer, you have a life, here, now. Living each moment is the secret to wellness. Many people think that they will get back to living once they are physically better. But, now is the time. Live each moment to the fullest.

So tonight I'm pretty exhausted and I'm going to hop in to bed early and read my book....just relax for a little bit before my alarm goes off and I have another hectic work day. Tomorrow is Friday -- Hurray!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Family vacation

We just got back from our soggy family vacation. Yes, soggy. Only in Minnesota, would you go camping in August and it would be in the 60's, overcast and raining for three days. It rained every day on our camping trip. Actually, the rain wasn't too bad. Dave and I were still able to get our campfires started. I guess I'd rather take the cool, wet weather than 90-some degrees and humid.

Good thing we actually rented a cabin, so I'm not sure if you'd call it camping. Our cabin is best described as a shed with windows. Basically, it had bunk beds and a counter top, with a mini-refrigerator and a microwave. But we had to build a campfire, which was right outside our front door, to make our meals. (Rachel -- I know you've been anticipating the part where I talk about the food we ate.) The first night, we roasted hot dogs. The second night, we grilled steaks. The third night, we made poor man's dinner (ground beef chunks, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil and cooked on the fire). We roasted a lot of marshmallows too.

We spent a lot of time reading our books. We also went rollerblading on the Paul Bunyan Trail one day. We also rented a fishing boat, so I could catch my first fish. (I've only gone fishing one other time in my life, and I have never caught a fish). Well, it turns out the fish weren't biting this weekend. I'm 0-for-2 on catching fish. The only thing Dave caught was a little baby fish off the dock. He didn't catch anything on the boat either. Otis was a little hesitant about his first boat ride, but soon enjoyed the breeze in his face as Dave sped our boat around. (FYI...that was a joke. Our boat did not speed -- we possibly could have paddled faster.) All in all, our vacation was a good time.

Otis is his name and camping is his game.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Otis' bath

We had to give Otis a bath tonight. We hadn't taken any photos of baths in a long time. Here's a picture of him a year ago (7 weeks old) and a couple from tonight. He's grown up so much. And yes, he's fully grown now (in case you were wondering.)

A night at the park...

...the dog park that is.

It has been a while since we've taken Otis to his favorite place in the world, so Dave and I decided that tonight would be a great night to take Otis to the dog park.

It just so happened that Otis' best friend arrived at the park at the same time as us. Otis' best friend, as you can see in the pictures is a golden retriever named Lexi. Lexie lives in our neighborhood and they're almost the same age. They love to play with each other every chance they get. We had a fun time walking around the park with Lexi's parents and watching our kids have fun running around together. Here's some photos of our night.

Lexi has her dummy in her mouth and Otis is saying "hi" to Lexi's dad.

Lexi got her dummy. Check out Otis flying through the grass with his little ears flopping in the wind.

And Otis decided that he wants to be a retriever when he grows up. He kept getting to the dummy before Lexi.

Good sit for Daddy!

And of course we had to end our night right!!! Hope you enjoyed the photos!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Update on Tonya...

Just thought I'd give you all a quick update on my friend, Tonya. (See my July 29 post, Prayers for Tonya.) She's now officially on short term disability from work, so she's been out of the office since this all began. Since I wrote last, it's been confirmed that she has aggressive diffused large B-cell non Hodgkins Lymphoma. The really good news is that they caught it in a fairy early stage (stage 1 or 2), so the doctors said that it is very treatable and there is a good possibilty that its curable. The cancer is contained in one spot and isn't anywhere else in her body. She is so thankful that the doctors found the cancer as soon as they did. (Well, I think everyone who knows Tonya is thankful the doctors found it when they did.)

The chemo treatments have started and she has them every 21 days. I believe she's had just one so far and the next one is a week from tomorrow. From her blogs, she seems to doing pretty good. She gets tired pretty frequently and has had some pain and side effects from the mediacation that she's had to deal with. Her hair has already started falling out. But on the other hand, she also says that she's pretty bored just hanging out home all day. She also said that the cancer has provided her with a new perspective on life...on her blog she wrote, "what a priviledge it is to be able to get up and rock my baby back to sleep. Those times are precious. Interesting how something like this can change your entire perspective."

Please continue to keep Tonya in your prayers as she continues treatment. I'm hopefully going to have lunch in a couple of weeks with her with a couple of my co-workers after her next round of chemo. The doctors are taking really good care of her.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Intermediate Obedience -- Week 5

Tonight was another good class. Dave came and watched us tonight, so that was fun. It's extra hard for Otis to concentrate when he has an audience, but he still did a pretty good job. This week we're going to work extra hard on his stays and wait/recall. He does them great at home, but he doesn't do so great on them in class. He always wants to come before I call him. (But it's better that he comes to me rather than turns and runs the other way.) Those are always the last thing we do in class, so he's concentration is beat and he just wants to go home. Anyway, Otis is going to be a rock star at his class next week!

Otis was pooped after class. We thought it was funny that he laid down on a pillow.

Only two more classes left until we get to start agility. Hurray!

What's wrong with this picture??

I was taking action photos of Dave making fajitas tonight.

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture???

Monday, August 13, 2007

Got the goods?

Tonight I made a really good dinner, so that's what I'm going to blog about. Seafood enchiladas. Yum! I've been craving seafood enchiladas from El Loro, so tonight I decided I'd try to make them for myself. I found a recipe for chicken-sour cream enchiladas and modified that it was made with crab and baby shrimps. Dave gave it 5 jalapenos (which is the highest possible score, meaning we need to make this again and it's awesome.) So the embarrassing part is that the recipe said it served five people...and Dave and I ate it all up in one sitting. I'm just telling myself that the two of us were able to eat it all because I modified the recipe and made it with seafood instead of chicken. ;)

Here's the case anyone wants to try it.

The mixture is made up with 1 can crab meat, 1 can of baby shrimp, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup cheese (I used the shredded Mexican mixture), 1/4 cup salsa, some dashes of dried cilantro and 1 tsp of ground cumin.

Spread it onto flour tortillas and roll them up. Place the tortillas end-down into a baking dish. (I must of over-stuffed them b/c you're supposed to use 10 tortillas and I only used 5.) Then you spread a mixture of sour cream, salsa and cheese on top. Bake it for 30 minutes at 350...and have yourself an awesome dinner!

P.S. Sorry no pictures tonight. I figured no one needs to see photos of Dave and I gorging ourselves with food. Haha.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wonderful weekend..

For Mr. Otis, this weekend probably wasn't one of his favorites. He spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday in his kennel. But for his momma, this was definitely a great weekend.

Saturday, I went to Valleyfair with Krissy, Rachel and Janelle. The morning started out a little drizzly and cool. But right after we got to the park, the sun came out and it got hot! The park was pretty busy, but the lines weren't too bad. Well, the lines were really long for the water rides and the new ones. But the classic rides -- Excalibur, High Roller (the white roller coaster), Corkscrew -- had really short lines. We had a really fun time -- well, who doesn't have fun at Valleyfair? Poor Dave had to work, so I got to have all the fun while he worked. We ended up going out to eat at Buffalo Tap. It's one of our new favorite restaurants. They have great root beer and burgers and onion rings. Yummy!

We had two big thunderstorms at 3:15 a.m. and one right after dinner (remember my nieces' camping trip....well they survived the early morning storm, but the Millers decided that it would be better to crash Grandma's house instead of enduring another severe storm in a tent in the woods.)

Today (Sunday) was a really great day too. Dave had the day off work (HURRAY!) and he didn't even request it off. We decided we better run (the TC 10-miler is coming up soon and we need to serious with our training). So we started the day with a 3-mile run. Then we took Otis for a 1-mile walk. After O-bear's walk, we drove up to Lake Calhoun to meet our friends Angela and Matt. We rollerbladed a total of 6.4 miles (2x around the lake) and ate lunch at the pavilion. The pavilion has this great little restaurant called The Tin Fish. We both got fried walleye tacos....Angela highly recommended them. They were really, really, really good and we'll definitely being going back there again.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to stop by my sister's house. We hung out there for an hour or so and then ran a couple of errands (REI for some camping stuff for our trip next week and PetSmart for some dog food, cat food and cat litter).

I was pooped when I got home, so the family (Dave, Otis and I) somehow curled up on the couch and took a nap. We made a great dinner tonight....pork tenderloin, green beans and Texas toast. Took Otis on another walk and did some cleaning.

It was definitely a busy, but fun weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Camping at Lake Cleary

Finally, a post with photos of people!

My sister Becky, her family and some friends from her church are camping at Lake Cleary this weekend. Lake Cleary just happens to be right by my house, so Rachel, Otis and I went to their campsite to hang out for a while tonight. We had fun! (of course we did, or else I wouldn't be writing about it..) I guess one good thing about camping in a local park is that you can leave the campsite for dinner. As soon as I got there, we had to leave to go get food (went to Wendy's). When we got back, the girls wanted to give me a makeover. They painted my nails, gave me some lip gloss and gave me a back massage. (The massage was definitely worth the whole trip to the campsite).
Otis got to run around off his leash, which he loved. He found a great stick to chew and play fetch. Everyone was excited that I brought Otis with me. They all thought he was a great dog. (of course he is, cuz he's my boy!)
We even got a campfire going and Miki made me a s'more. Yummy! I don't think you can really enjoy and experience summer until you go camping and eat a s'more, even if it's just for a couple of hours. But hey, that was the great part...I got to come home to my air-conditioned house and sleep in my own bed! Here's my favorite photo of the night.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Just another day in paradise...

Tonight was just a quiet night at home. Got home from work. Dave and I made dinner together. Ginger-soy glazed chicken over white rice and green beans on the side. We make a pretty good cooking team. It is Thursday night, so I got to watch my favorite TV show, Ugly Betty. Then we took Otis for a walk around the neighborhood. That's pretty much our night....typical for a night when both of us are at home (except we were too lazy to go to Dairy Queen). Now Dave is playing video games and I'm writing on my blog and checking Facebook and my email. So exciting, huh?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Things to do...

A while ago, a friend of mine posed the question: "What do you want to do before you die?"

I think it's a pretty interesting question, and definitely a fun one to answer. Here's my list. Leave comments and let me know what you want to do in your lifetime.

1) Find a new job. (Completed August 2008)
2) Finish graduate school.
3) Travel to every continent (I can check off North America, Europe, Asia and technically Africa (I was only there for a day)).
4) Meet Justin Timberlake ;)
5) Find a way to make a difference in this world.
6) Be environmentally conscious and reduce my carbon footprint.
7) Be a good mom, wife, sister, aunt, daughter and friend.
8) Paint, draw, throw pots (on the pottery wheel).
9) Learn photography.
10) Sail around the Caribbean.
11) Use my kayak.
12) Lose 10 pounds...and then some
13) Never ever see Dave forced to go back in the army and back to Iraq (okay I just inserted a greatest fear into the list...oops)
14) Own our own home free.
15) And own a cabin by the lake with a boat.
16) Breed puppies and show dogs (Otis is a future agility champion!)
17) Take a vacation with just my nieces.
18) Take a vacation with just my sisters.

19) Own a coffee shop.
20) Take a year or so off of work to simply enjoy life and spend time with family and travel and volunteer.
21) Adopt a child.

22) Buy an old house (with a wrap-a-round porch) and renovate it.
23) Do a mission trip in every continent.

My first haircut...

I gave my first haircut this week. Dave and I decided to invest in a set of hair clippers, so that we can save a little bit of money. Actually, we need the money to supplement our Dairy Queen budget. :)

So Monday night, we set-up a folding chair in the middle of the kitchen. Dave sat down and we whipped out the plastic cape thingy. I was a little nervous (don't tell Dave), since I had never used an electric clipper before. I think I surprised both Dave and myself with my clipping skills. Here's a picture of Dave's new haircut! I think I might have to start selling my barber skills.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Intermediate Obedience, Week 4

We had another class tonight. Otis did awesome! He did all his healing perfectly. We had to do something new -- a figure-8. A handler and their dog sat at one side, a cone was at the other side. Otis had to heal with me, making figure-8's around the handler/dog and the cone. He never sniffed the other dog and stayed right at my side. Go Otis!

We had a substitute teacher tonight, Karen. Karen was the teacher for Otis' last session (beginner 2). She told me that Otis has improved "leaps and bounds." She said that his patience and concentration has gotten better. wooo-yeee!

Otis is his name and obedience is his game!

Only 4 more classes until agility!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Otis loves Rochester...

We made it home safe from our weekend trip to Rochester. Otis had a great time visiting Ann's and his Great-Grandma's house. He also got to meet Mookie, which he didn't like so much. Mookie's little bark freaked out Otis. Once they got to go outside into the yard, Otis liked Mookie much better because they could play chase. Sunday night, Ann had us for dinner. We ate the best sweet corn ever! It was fresh from John's garden. We also had delicious cucumbers, tomatoes, turkey, mangoes, carrots and rolls. And of course, Bakers Square apple pie! We had such a delicious dinner and can't wait to be invited back again. ;) Mookie enjoyed eating Otis' food. Michael and Lisa were visiting from Kansas, so I got to meet them for the first time. What else...oh, this morning we went to Chatfield and visited Hazel in her apartment. So we got to spend lots of great time with family and food. Louise took us to lunch at Bakers Square and then we hung out at her house for a while before we had to head home.

Otis was a very good boy. He enjoyed all the attention. Everyone wanted to pet him. He did a good job at dinner and didn't jump on the table. This morning, he snuck out of our room and woke up his Great-grandma at six in the morning by putting his paws on her bed and sticking his nose up. I thought that was cute. Hopefully, Louise didn't mind the early wake-up!

That's pretty much sums up our trip. It was very short, but very sweet.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Quote of the day archives

I just want to save all the quotes that I find for the "quote of the day." So this entry is just so that I can archive them...

"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)

"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls." ~ John Muir

"Cause sometimes that mountain you've been climbing, is just a grain of sand; And what you've been out there searching for forever, is in your hands; And when you figure out love is all that matters after all, it sure makes everything else seem so small" ~ Carrie Underwood (So Small)

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work." ~ William Arthur Ward

"In summer, the song sings itself." ~ William Carlos Williams

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."~ Robert Brault

"Where there is love, there is life." ~ Ghandi

"Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering."

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." ~ Desmond Tutu

"Run like hell and get the agony over with." ~ Clarence DeMar

"Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and everyday. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it." ~ Saint Francis de Sales

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras

"How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge." ~ Ephesians 3:18-19a NIV

"We are the change that we have been waiting for." ~ Barack Obama

"Two hearts, one dream. Wouldn't trade it for anything. And I ask the Lord, every night, for just another day in paradise." ~ Phil Vassar

Road trip!

Today, Dave, Otis and I are driving down to Rochester for the night. We had promised that we would visit again before the end of the summer. About a month ago, I realized that we better plan something now, or else we'd never be able to go since Dave has to request the time off. So we've been looking forward to this trip for a while. We're going to Ann's house for dinner and spending the night at Grandma's. Otis is coming with us, because last time we were down in Rochester, everyone said we should have brought him. So this time, we are!

I'm sure I'll have more to say after the trip. This morning I have to pack and do some cleaning before we leave. We'll leave as soon as Dave is done with work. Hurray!

Friday, August 3, 2007

A week in the life of Jenny...

This has been one of the weirdest, at times, longest weeks of my life.

It started out Sunday the stomach flu. That's a great start to the week, huh? So Monday I had to call out sick, since I was still ill. Monday night my fever broke. Dave and I stopped by Michelle's house for a couple of minutes to say "hi" to her and Julia.

Tuesday, I went back to work. The day was pretty normal, except it was the slowest day of my life since I felt so weak and nauseous. Especially Tuesday morning. I even took a nap in my car during lunch. After work, I took another nap and went to bed by nine. Needless to say, Otis and I skipped obedience class. I think he was a little disappointed.

Wednesday morning started out with my annual physical. I was deemed so healthy that I didn't need to get any tests done. Hurray! Shortly after I got to the office, we got some visitors that Brett and I had to deal with. That was pretty exciting. Too bad I can't get into much detail here. I went home from work really exhausted. Dave and I were watching the news when tragedy struck. The 35W bridge collapsed. It's a bridge that I've driven across hundreds and hundreds of times. We watched in horror as victims helped pull other victims out of the water. If there is any positive side to tragedy, it is the realization of how truly blessed we are to be safe and well.

Thursday was a fairly normal day. At work, I wrote a memo about the tragedy for our employees. Usually I don't do internal communications, but it's fun to do something different once in a while and help them out. After work, I went to may parents' for dinner. Becky and her family and Rachel came home from their week-long camping trip. I was so happy to see them home and safe.

On Friday, our electricity went out at work. We got to go home early! What a great way to end such a busy work week. Rachel, Annette, Dave and I went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and went to see the Bourne Ultimatum. It was pretty good. We had to sit really close to the front, so it was kind of hard to follow some of the chase scenes. I liked the other two better, but for a trilogy, it's such a good set of movies.

Just ran a 5K race today. It was cold and rainy. I can't wait to take a nap! Hopefully, next week won't be as crazy and I'll stay on top of my blogging, so I don't have to write so much at once to keep all of my fellow readers caught up on my life! (yes, all two of my fellow readers that probably knew 99.9% of all of this anyway...)