Keeping Those Puppies Warm

Despite this being our fourth Minnesota winter, our dog Harper has still not adjusted to the frigid artic temperatures. To be honest, we haven't either, but we are able to hide out inside or cover our bodies in 4 layers of clothing, paired with hats, socks, gloves and good winter boots. Our poor pooch is forced to bear these freezing temperatures "naked" several times a day when he needs to relieve himself. Frequently, this ends with Harper striking a pose, frozen in mid-step, afraid that he is done for. On one ocassion, Eric even had to carry all 68 lbs of him inside. To combat this, I ordered him a pair of dog booties. We got them in the mail a couple of days ago and couldn't wait to try them out. The hysterical result is captured for your enjoyment.

P.S. I've also included a picture of what I get gussied up in to take Harper out of one of these excursions.


I Could Have Laughed for Days

So I just spent the last 30 minutes watching 'Single Ladies' videos on Youtube while waiting for my roast chicken to finish cooking. I was laughing so hard that Eric thought I had really lost my mind. For your entertainment I am posting my favorite two (though you could probably find dozens if you really cared to - note to those who venture on Youtube: beware of a certain version involving three very large ladies.)

Video #1: A very shapely man performs a very lively and accurate rendition in Fairbanks, Alaska (in 2 degree weather, in snow). I think the Minnesotan in me appreciates the personal sacrifice exhibited here.

Video #2: This video is so obviously where the inspiration for Beyonce's video came from. These ladies are so ahead of their time (the 60's) it's amazing. And if you're still hankering for more from these ladies (doing this same dance to a different song), click here. Trust me, it's worth it.

Anyone care to contribute their own version?



The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday got me thinking about what I'm grateful for (besides 2 days off of work!), and since Katch posted a list on her blog, I thought I would too.

1. My patient, wonderful, hilarious, intelligent husband

2. Harper - who is always excited to see me when I get off work (I tell myself it's not just because he knows when I get home he gets to have dinner)

3. My awesome, crazy family who I get to see very soon!

4. My education

5. Ramen/Cup of Noodle (I can't explain it, but it's true!)

6. Allergy Medicine


8. My landlord paying for the heat

9. Living in a place with 4 seasons (ask me again in 2 months)

10. Freedom of speech - and you all know I use it!

What are you all thankful for?


Puppies anyone?

It's been a tough week at work. Let's just say that I work at a place that is a less funny and more disturbing version of The Office. So, after a stressful week, it's only natural that all of us in the office have bonded over a live stream of puppies in a crate. I mean, who doesn't feel like all is good in the world while watching puppies sleep, romp and destroy their bedding? It has been on at least three of my coworker's monitors at all day (and yes, on mine as well) and fits of giggles erupt simultaneously when one of the six Shiba Inu puppies does something adorable. Maybe all our country really needs is to switch all of the television stations to a constant live stream of puppies. At least for a little while. Maybe I'll write my Senator....(although I'm not sure who that will be yet!).

For those in need of a pick-me-up or something to bond over, click here. Happy Friday!


Feeling Shiny

I've spent some time thinking about what happened on Tuesday night. The intense feelings of hope and wonder and pride have been with me all week and quickly erupt to the surface anytime I recall the inspiring Obama victory. If I am completely honest about it, I bawled like a baby when the newscaster announced, "Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States." The words still give me chills.

In 2004 I put more of my time and energy talking to people I didn't know about a change I felt we so desperately needed in this country. And I was heartbroken by the outcome. The drive home from volunteering in Denver with my husband and my mother-in-law was eight hours and it was dead silent.

This time around I didn't really do much in the way of talking to strangers, even though I would have loved to. I am proud that at least my husband got the chance to. But what I did do was talk to EVERY person I came in contact with about my feelings, my views. I had some really amazing discussions. I feel I grew closer to some members of my family - not because they felt like me, but because we were able to have such great conversations about it.

And so my hope is that this shiny feeling I have won't fade with the coming weeks, or even years. My hope is that we'll be able to take this magnificent opportunity we've been given and once again become the nation that our forefathers envisioned. A bastion of hope and an example of justice. And we have a leader who can lead us there, reminding us what is possible if we do what we know is right and then fight for it. Yes. We. Can.


Double Take

We had come back to our apartment (Eric and me, my mother, my sister and her three kids) after having had dinner and taking a trip to Underwater Adventures, an aquarium at the Mall of America, and the kids were going wild. As you know, we have a lovable 68-pound chocolate lab who adores company and little kids even more, so our small one-bedroom apartment was in chaos. Not having kids, we realized in about 3 seconds that it's not entirely childproof. Okay, it's not even remotely childproof. In the midst of all this chaos, my niece Madelaine points to a painting on our wall and says, "Diego!"

I was astounded. The painting she was pointing to was indeed a Diego Rivera painting. How could she have known? Were we in the midst of a child genius? We all sat dumbfounded for a minute before my sister busted up laughing.

Something Diego Rivera (1886-1957) could never have guessed was that this painting of Ignacio Sanchez resembles a certain lovable cartoon character - Diego of Dora and Diego, a show popular with the kiddies. A show popular with my niece.

Happy 2nd Birthday Madelaine.


A Concert

Do you ever have that fantasy where you get to see one of your favorite bands in a small, intimate venue with your best friend and the music played proves to be even better than the CD you've listened to over and over and over? Well, I finally got to live it last Saturday when Eric and I saw the Fleet Foxes at a small community center in our neighborhood.

Who are these Fleet Foxes, you might ask? Well, they describe themselves as playing "baroque harmonic pop jams" which I happen to think is pretty cool. And watching the lead singer, Robin Pecknold, felt like watching a legend in the making. At times he reminded me of one of my all time favorite artists, Jeff Buckley, which is definitely a good thing. Besides being deathly hot in the small, cramped auditorium, it was just about perfect. And for those of you who are still wondering what a baroque harmonic pop jam sounds like, check out the video below.


That's Esquire to You

Eric found out that he passed the bar exam today and I couldn't be prouder. ¡Felicitaciones Eric!


Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?

I was talking to Eric the other day about how infuriating it is to me to hear Sarah Palin speak, and that it would be fascinating to try and diagram a sentence of hers, because I believe that many of them do not in fact meet the definition of sentence (See 4a).

Curiously enough, Eric stumbled upon a woman who attempted to do just that, much to my delight. For those who grammar junkies, as I am, click here for the whole article. But if you aren't, no need to worry, because you don't need to be a english major to appreciate the wonderousness of this example posted below. Enjoy!

P.S. I'll be watching the debate tonight and let's hope she's taken a crash course in sentence construction. I'll keep you posted.


Not Just For Kids

Eric and I decided to spend some time outside enjoying the crisp fall weather yesterday, and thanks to my sister Stephanie had a free pass to the Minnesota Zoo in honor of National Museum Day sponsored by the Smithsonian. So we ventured off to see the new Minnesota Zoo exhibit "Russia's Grizzly Coast." It's a groundbreaking exhibit that show animals in their natural habitats engaged in normal animal activities. Seems sort of obvious, doesn't it? I don't know about you, but I tend to get a little sad when I visit zoos where the animals look bored and are confined to small spaces devoid of stimulation.

The exhibit featured mischievous and playful otters, trout, squealing wild boars, leopards, tigers, and of course, the grizzlies. The grizzly part is brilliant because they have it set up so the bears actually get to hunt for trout in a pond - the pond runs up against the glass where the spectators are watching. So essentially, you get to see the bears up close trying their damnedest to catch a fish, as well as lounge by the pool and if you're lucky engage in a friendly game of bear-tag. I could have watched them for hours.

The other highlight of the excursion was the snow monkey exhibit. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am more than a little obsessed with monkeys, and these monkeys didn't disappoint. Inevitably, people in their fascinated state drop things into the open monkey pit and it takes the monkeys all of 2 seconds to claim it as their own. When we first passed by the monkeys we spied an adorable baby monkey cradling what appeared to be a small Dalmatian toy. On our way out of the zoo we passed by again and much to our surprise saw one of the monkeys with a cell phone! All of the monkeys were vying for a chance to hold the new pink thing, and although a lot of gnawing on the phone took place it also appeared as though the monkeys were at times using the phone. I imagine the resulting cell phone bill will include some calls to China.

It was a great trip and
enlightening to see that when animals are given ample space and a little stimulation, they are marvelous to watch.


Jumping the Mississippi

For Eric's 30th birthday we went to Itasca State Park for the weekend. It was the perfect time of year where the night feels crisp and the days refreshing. It was the perfect way to celebrate my wonderful husband embarking on a new decade. We walked across the Mississippi River at it's very root and wondered at the magnificence of the stars. Besides the invasion by the raccoons, it was a perfect trip. Happy Birthday darling.


My Fair Minnesota

Eric and I finally made it to the "Great Minnesota Get Together" this week. After three years in Minnesota, we figured it was about time.

We only had a few precious hours to spend at the Minnesota State Fair, but we figured we'd do it up right. We started with the "Miracle of Life" barn, where we saw a chick hatch out of its shell, day-old baby sheep, tiny piglets, a 5-day-old calf, and a very large cow attempting to give birth. (And for those like us who couldn't squeeze in to see it up close, there were video monitors all over the place giving an up close and personal view of the happenings.)

Feeling hungry after that display, as can be expected, we went in search of cheese curds. Now it has just come to my attention that not everyone is familiar with this drool-worthy food, so I'll offer a brief explanation. Cheese curd: a dense piece of glorious cheese battered and deep fried until it becomes crisp awesomeness on the outside and gooey wonderfulness on the inner. We were NOT disappointed. The curds were followed by a couple of pronto pups (battered and fried hot dogs) and a giant cone of freshly baked mini chocolate chip cookies, all washed down by some cold milk.

Bellies full and happy, we thought what better thing to do than to go on some fair rides? Me and seven other children happily rode my personal old-school favorite "The Swings", while Eric laughed looking on from solid ground. A few rides later I was happy I had resisted the 1-pound caramel-covered bacon on a stick stand we had passed earlier.

We ended the night with an intimate concert by one of our favorite artists, Brandi Carlile. It was a very small venue and I sang along at the top of my lungs, like my life depended on it. It was perfect.

Our long overdue fair experience was everything that we could have hoped. See you next year.


Memphis Memories

Last weekend Eric and I took a road trip with my dad and brother (and Mom on the way back) to Memphis, Tennessee, to meet our new nephew Lennon. We enjoyed the BBQ, the family, and the sights, but not the heat (103 degrees plus humidity = melting Minnesotans). Enjoy the pics.



We were eating breakfast in Bilbao one morning with friends while on a trip last Spring to the Pais Vasco in northern Spain when I saw something that took me by surprise. A procession of blue hooded figures in white robes carrying large stalks of wheat started pouring out of the nearby church and into the city. I was speechless.

So I grabbed my camera and ran out of the cafe, leaving Eric and the rest of our friends wondering what had gotten into me. I hurried into the square and turned my camera on. By the time I had noticed and processed the scene and gotten outside, they were nearly gone. But I did manage to get one good shot of the Semana Santa observers before they disappeared across the bridge and down another street. I later posted this photo on my Flickr account.

The reason I mention this is because not too long ago a woman contacted me from Schmap Guides to ask for permission to use it in their interactive map of Bilbao (giving me credit of course). Flattered, I obliged and thought nothing more of it. Well, today I got another email letting me know that Schmap Guides were just released to iPhone to iPod touch. And my photo will be included.

So if any of you happen to be going to Bilbao, Spain, and also happen to be using the Schmap Guides, you will get to see my photo. For everyone else, you can see what it looks like here. For a larger version, just click on the photo and it will take you to the source.


Scaping By

As many of you already know, I purchased a share in a farm this summer which I'm splitting between me, my husband and my dad). Each Thursday for 18 weeks we get a box of freshly picked produce from our little farm, 45 minutes away on the St. Croix. You get whatever they've got, so sometimes it's slim pickings and sometimes it's a feast. It's all part of the fun.

Another part of the fun is trying to identify the produce you've been given. And then after google has explained what a garlic scape is, you get to figure out how to prepare it and eat it up quick because, after all, you've got another box coming on Thursday. This experiment has been perfect for me because I: 1) hate throwing away food; 2) love fresh produce; 3) have always wanted to eat local & organic cheaply; and 4) love to cook.

So we've had quite a smattering of culinary delights in our household over these past few weeks, and I keep meaning to share, but all that cooking takes up a lot of time! So I am going to try to post a few of the things that I've tried recently that we never would have, if not for this farm share project. And my good intentions to do this earlier mean that I've taken a few photos along the way.
And for those of you wondering about the scapes, I ended up using them in salads, scrambled eggs and even in a pasta sauce I made last night. And yes, they were delicious. Salud!


If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will

And if you want to read more about this brilliant montage, click here.


It's All Ours!

As of today, Eric and I officially own our car! I bought it brand new after graduating from college, after my duct-taped together Geo Prism made it clear that it would go no further. (By the way, the dealer gave me a whole $400 for it.) Now, five and a half years of payments later, we can officially call her our own. And that's a good feeling.


Yes We Can!

Last week, Barack Obama gave a speech in St. Paul announcing he had won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Because it was a weeknight and I had to fight traffic and rush home to feed Harper G, I decided not to go. But my amazing husband made a speech about the historic magnitude of the occasion and won me over. He had been waiting to get in since 4:00 pm. I went.

It was everything I wanted it to be. The crowd was exuberant. Obama was inspiring. The cheers deafening. It felt like we were on the verge of real meaningful change. What a breath of fresh air for my generation.


Viva la Musica

For those of you who are as excited as I am for the new Coldplay album to come out, breathe, because it comes out June 17 (only 1 week to go)! I have had especially warm feelings for the band ever since they gave me a free download of their new single, 'Violet Hill'. And I can't help but get psyched anytime the ad for their cd comes on because it features frontman Chris Martin, dancing like he's all alone in his bedroom to 'Viva la Vida'.

So for those as enthused as I, I thought I would pass along a link that Coldplay has emailed out where you can listen to the new album online in its entirety. Enjoy!


Not the First Time

While trying to use my cell phone after I got off of work today, this happened. Not the first time.


How to Shave a Dog

There was way too much hair circulating around my house. I would sweep once a week. Then once every few days. Then every other day. Then everyday. When that proved inadequate I knew it was time. Time to shave the dog. So you can enjoy the progression as well, I documented the annual event with photos.

Isn't he the most adorable sheered sheep you ever saw?

I hope your Memorial Day was enjoyable as mine. Besides sheering Harper, Eric and I went to our favorite divy deli for some 'doner kabob' style gyros and then enjoyed a walk in the park (despite the blistery weather). It made me think back on last year and helped remind me that our European lifestyle is still possible - we just have to remember to experience it.


There Can Only Be One

In case any of you didn't catch this (like me), I thought I'd share. I really got a kick out of it.

More to come soon, including Eric's Graduation from Law School!!!


Fun, Run, Sun

It's been a busy few weeks. Too much to tell, so here's the poor man's blog:

Eric and I went to the Malpractice Ball, as a final farewell to law school. Eric has less than a month left before he graduates!! Here we are, all gussied up:

I came out in support of all my law school friends for the 'Race for Justice.' It was an unusually sunny and beautiful day in Minneapolis, and the runners were incredible. The cheering was too:

Here's Eric finishing the last stretch:

In addition, there have been a few concerts, a lot of working, some lovely walks with Harper and a new committment to physical fitness. Life is good, albeit busy, and I'm looking forward to Spring (finally!!!). I hope this finds you all enjoying some sunshine somewhere.