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Baseball is HERE

1 Apr

The day has finally arrived. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this day’s arrival since last fall. Today marks the first official day of BASEBALL SEASON! While I’m no major league team owner or savvy businessman, as a fan I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the Minnesota Twins’ off-season moves (or lack thereof). They got rid of some good players for, what I would argue, too little in return. The Pohlad’s make money, there’s no doubt about that. How about throwing a little of your bazillions at Minnesota’s only major league baseball team to get a team worthy of contending?

Target Field at night

Alas, I am a baseball fan nonetheless. I will cheer for the Twins regardless of how much their owners don’t invest in them.

However, as a baseball fan, I am excited for Mariano Rivera; he is returning to the game for his final season and he looks just as good as he did pre-injury. Even though I don’t want to admit it, my special someone has opened my eyes to appreciate the way other teams and players play the game – including his absolute favorite player, Derek Jeter. It broke my heart to see his ankle snap in two and I wish him well on a speedy recovery to finish out what is a remarkable career.

Even though the snow is basically still falling, I’ll say what I’ve been waiting to say since late last fall: LET’S PLAY BALL!

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The World’s Most Uncomfortable Chair (and a Little Comedy, too)

25 Mar

Saturday night was date night. And we’re not talking any ordinary date night – this Saturday, we dared to venture to the…. MALL OF AMERICA. AH! On a Saturday night. During (an increasingly annoying, long) winter. What were we thinking?! Truthfully, the worse part was finding a place to park, even though I can navigate that mall like my own backyard.

Mall of America

While we try to have at least one date night each week (even if it’s just running to grab some sushi quick), it’s been difficult the past few weeks with how busy life has become! Between covering for people at work on spring break and the Minnesota Wild playing well, Pat has been a busy bee working extra long hours. I’ve been playing catch-up at work ever since the beginning of the year when a co-worker left for a great (well deserved) opportunity and becoming more involved in expanding on my online marketing knowledge. It was a much needed night out.

While we had our sights set on going to the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis, tickets sold out much more quickly than we had anticipated to see Henry Phillips. Since comedy was the desired activity, we searched for a new option and stumbled upon Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy at the Mall of America; Joe DeRosa was performing and though we were hesitant to venture to THE mall on a Saturday night, we thought we’d give it a shot.

The House of Comedy was quaint and provided an intimate experience; we didn’t feel like we were one of hundreds of people crammed into a dingy, questionable auditorium – it was actually quite the opposite. However, the House of Comedy has the world’s most uncomfortable chairs. I’m positive I was re-situating myself every three minutes to try and get comfortable – nothing worked. Our lovely table mates must have thought I had A.D.D.

Amber Preston (a fellow Midwesterner) opened for DeRosa and certainly played up her northern accent. Normally, I’m not a fan of female comedians – with the exception of Chelsea Handler – but I enjoyed the way Preston accented her “o’s” and played off the audience. There was one awkward sketch where she pulled some poor soul on stage to make hand gestures and imitate  her while she sat in the audience talking.

Once Joe DeRosa hit the stage, I feared for our boredom over the next hour. Not knowing anything about him, I wasn’t sure what to expect. His first words: “I hate my life. I’m so unhappy.” Ugh. What did we get ourselves into?! I guess DeRosa’s schtick is to play up how miserable life is, but it turned out to be quite entertaining (and sadly, quite true at times!). My favorite sketch was at the end of his show when he rambled on about Kentucky Fried Chicken for 15 minutes (!). Post-show, we wandered around the mall and I conned Pat into buying fresh cookies from the Nestle stand – only because there was a line of 20 people waiting to get Coldstone ice cream and I was too impatient to wait for sweets.

Would I attend the House of Comedy again? Absolutely. Would I attend another Joe DeRosa show? Maybe, though I might opt for someone – or something – a little more upbeat. Would I go back to THE mall just for Nestle cookies? Hell yes! Overall though, it was a fun (and much needed) evening out.

The Beautiful People Seats

31 Jan

In November 2011, I was a victim of a layoff. Well, technically it was a “company closing” so they had no choice but to let all of their staff go, so it was a forced-layoff. I had been married to my (wonderfully supportive) husband for just over two months – and it was one of the most difficult phone calls  I’ve had to make to him. I was more upset of the position I was putting him in than I was about my actual layoff. Fortunately, as I blubbered to him on the phone, he put me at ease encouraging me that we would be ok; we’re fighters and we would get through it – together.

I was unemployed for three months before I got the opportunity of a lifetime. In the midst of my hundreds of resumes I sent out, I took a chance applying for a position that I knew I wasn’t qualified for. Jen, Ted, Josh, Chris and John took a chance hiring me with little to no experience in online marketing – and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’ve learned more in the last year than I did in the two years prior and I finally feel like I found a career with a future. I continue to learn every day and I love the people I work with.

Working at my current place of employment has some awesome perks, including random drawings of tickets for Timberwolves games. While I am not the biggest basketball fan, I do enjoy going to sporting events to people watch if anything (though nothing beats people watching at the State Fair). I was recently selected as one  of the lucky recipients of a pair of tickets to a Timberwolves game…. in ROW TWO.

Ricky Rubio Timberwolves tickets

Not only did we have seats in row two, they were directly behind the visiting team’s bench – and we sat right behind Tim Duncan! He wasn’t playing due to some injury, but he was still there. It was a nationally televised game on ESPN, so I made sure Pat wore some classier clothes than the sweatpants he is used to sporting around.

Who usually sits in these seats? Beautiful people, that’s who. We felt like celebrities or superstars sitting in row two seats. We’re used to sitting in the rafters, squinting to see where the ball is or trying to differentiate between paint on the floor and the team’s new jerseys. We were able to classify ourselves as part of the “beautiful people” crowd, even if it was just for one night.

Beautiful people seats

Though the Timberwolves lost, we had a blast people watching (the older couple in front us, in particular) and taking in what the beautiful people get to see on a regular basis. Thank you for the awesome tickets, John!

pumpkins

27 Oct

Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I’m not a fan of scary movies. I’m not big into dressing up in costumes, mostly in part because ladies’ costumes are far to revealing for me and the 87 sweaters I’d wear underneath the costume would ruin its ‘sexy’ appeal. I’m not a fan of haunted houses – or any scary places where creepy people jump out at you, testing the boundaries of personal space. I got so freaked out at a haunted house one time, I was following my friend so closely that I tore the bottom of her pants (I still owe you a new pair of jeans, girl!). I also get queasy looking at blood – another reason why scary movies freak me out. I could hardly make it through the first few scenes of Scream (the original. The best part about Halloween? The over abundance of candy.

Another aspect I enjoy of Halloween is pumpkin carving – however, I only enjoy the finished product, getting there is WAY too much work for my toothpick sized arms. I have zero arm strength, so aside from cleaning the pumpkin ‘goop’ out from the inside of the pumpkin, Pat generally takes over carving the intricate pattern I’ve picked out to don the front of my round gourd (thus subsequently developing his growing hatred for Halloween).

Carving pumpkins

Scooping the goop, trying to avoid finishing carving my pumpkin.

Bat and the moon

My pumpkin masterpiece! Thanks in part largely to Pat, as I lost patience.

This year, while Pat was whisked away to Nashville for the spooky holiday, my sister joined me to hand out candy to the munchkins filling the street searching for the house with the best candy selection. I’ve deemed the our household to have the best candy selection solely because we had over 100 (ONE HUNDRED!) kids trick-or-treating on our doorstep, leaving no candy leftover for me to snack on. Talk about upsetting. Luckily, all Halloween wrapped candy is on clearance at Target post-holiday and will be snatched up quickly as I raid the shelves of what’s left of the good candy.

Happy Halloween!

pine tree apple orchard

14 Oct

This weekend was less than desirable weather-wise  We had these grandiose plans to put up shelving in the garage for some extra storage space (let’s be honest, I use the term “we” loosely. It meant my dad and Pat put up the shelves while I sat back with a hot tea and provided encouragement/direction on if the shelf was straight or not) – instead, the weather was rainy, windy and cold. The beginning of winter. Ugh. And our garage isn’t heated, so we opted to wait for a different weekend.

In between downpours of (much needed) rain, Pat and I slipped away to one of our favorite fall places, Pine Tree Apple Orchard. Let me clarify, our favorite place in the fall to purchase delicious apple pies, apple donuts, apple turnovers and any other apple baked goody you can imagine. I suppose I should mention they have these healthy things called ‘apples,’ so we picked up a bushel of those too (y’know to “balance out” the other purchases).

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

Pine Tree Apple Orchard - Pumpkin patch

Pine Tree Apple Orchard - Pumpkin patch

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

For the record, we did get poured on. But the Dutch apple pie was so worth the walk in the rain. If you’re looking for pumpkins and apples all in one place, Pine Tree is the place to go – not to mention the beautiful scenery that surrounding the orchard.

we are the one percent

30 Sep

Earlier this summer, we had a scary incident – involving Max (our gray tabby cat). Some Sunday in July, he was having difficulty breathing and hadn’t moved in over six hours. I calmly – and by calmly, I mean frantically hyperventilating – called the emergency animal hospital to ask what I should do. We rushed him there hoping to find an answer, or a cure for whatever was ailing him.

Nearly seven hours, a few steroid shots, a couple x-rays and several hundred dollars later, the emergency clinic diagnosed Max with asthma. For a cat, you say? Yes, feline asthma. As soon as we got Max home, I immediately googled “feline asthma” to learn everything I could. As it turns out, something as unnoticeable as lotion or air freshener can cause an attack – and only one percent of cats worldwide can get it. ONE PERCENT. Of course our cat would.

Cat Inhaler

Max the Cat

Max had a horrible relapse this weekend – we’re guessing a mix of the unseasonably warm weather and changing of the seasons – and resulted in yet another trip to the vet. We were particularly concerned this time around because he was wheezing and in much more noticeable pain. I did the worst thing I could do before taking him to the vet: I googled his symptoms on Pet WebMD (yes, there is such a thing). ‘Pleural Effusion’ came up as a possible diagnosis, a condition where fluid surrounds your lungs – and the prognosis is not very good. I bawled my little eyes out while Max wheezed.

Call me a crazy cat lady, but Max and I have been through a lot in his four short years on this planet. He is to me as a dog is to a dog owner. I am thankful to the awesome veterinarians at Keller Lake Animal Hospital for fixing Max’s ailments and for calming our minds. Here’s hoping to an incident free few months!

happy birthday, patrice

11 Sep

Coconut cake from Buca di Beppo

I’m not the best at surprises. I have a knack for finding out what Pat is going to surprise me with – and I’m also horrible at keeping secrets from him. For his birthday, I wanted to do something special – but any restaurant I thought would be a perfect surprise, I talked myself out of it or was convinced otherwise from said restaurant’s ridiculous large party reservation requirements or gratuity inclusions (as a veteran retired server myself, I’m all for included gratuity on large parties, but making that gratuity close to 25% is getting to be a little ridiculous – the incentive for the server to provide stellar service is lost). I digress… so, I ended up asking Pat where HE wanted to go for HIS birthday.

He opted to try Buca di Beppo in St. Paul again – even after a horrendous experience last year with thousands (ok, maybe 15) teenage girls shrieking in excitement each time their male waiter came to their table.

When I called to make a reservation, the kind gal on the phone asked if we were celebrating anything special; I said, “yes,” telling her it was my husband’s birthday and requested that a cake be delivered to the table after dinner. Dinner was delicious, we waited patiently for the dessert, and as I saw the server walk around the corner, my face immediately turned bright red and I put my hands to my mouth in the “OMG, what IS that” fashion. The cake was covered in coconut – which Pat is deathly allergic to! The gal on the phone never mentioned it was coconut when I asked her about what types of cake they had available. While I probably should have done the right thing as part of my spousal duty to ensure no deathly ingredients were included in the birthday cake, it slipped my mind – mostly because coconut is NOT a normal thing to throw on a birthday cake. Especially that much of it. And to top things off, “Patrice” was inscribed on the top of the cake instead of Patrick!

Since that fateful September day, I’ve been calling Pat ‘Patrice’ and he’s been affectionately calling me ‘attempted assassin.’ A memorable birthday to say the least.