Prospero Ano

Since I have no idea where I'll be over the next few days, I thought I'd go ahead and post some New Year's well wishes to all of you. It's been a year full of momentous life changing events, and it's finally come to an end. Eric's new job, buying a house, moving, travels, funerals, pregnancies (not mine!), and lessons learned. The list seems small in comparison to the amount of memories and life crammed into the past year.

I wish you all the best for the new year. May you experience everything life has to offer. May your dreams be realized. And may you all find more love than you know what to do with. :)

And to ring in the new year, here's a mash-up of 2009's top 25 songs. Enjoy!


Must Be Santa

"Must be Santa" song + Bob Dylan + Polka + Wig = Merry Christmas Everyone!

For those who like something a little less crazy, check out "White Christmas" by Snowden on this website. I can't get over the beauty of this song. (Just push the play button, you won't regret it!)

And for more awesome Christmas music picks, go HERE. (Gotta love NPR)

And for some festive Christmas music streaming, go HERE. (Yes I am obsessed with NPR, okay?)



Singing Bird

It's been a while since I've been to a concert. Even longer since I've had my jaw drop open in awe at something. Both happened this week at a much anticipated (by me) Andrew Bird concert held at a local Episcopalian cathedral. The combination of music and echo and hallowed space made for a unique and breathtaking event.

We were crammed into the pews, but no one cared. It was negative something outside (does it matter much after -1?), but no one cared. It started late, but no one cared.

I was so moved by the intense passion he displayed and by his ability to layer sound after sound after sound, creating a rich, overwhelming sound. He used large horns to project the sound (versus a traditional P.A. system), which added to the whimsy and mysticalness of it.

To be moved by a single person putting all of their talent on display confidently and unabashedly is moving. What a wonderful memory.


And It's Not Even Halloween...

Could someone please tell the weather makers that it's too early for 2 inches of snow?! Here's hoping that this is just a fluke and not the beginning of a long and early winter season. Brrrrr......

Below are photos of my house and car on Monday morning when I left for work:


New Home Glow

Buying a new home (or an old 1924 one like I did) is a bit like getting a new puppy. It is such a wonderful day the day you get the puppy and you make big plans for how you're going to walk it everyday and train it perfectly and feed it the best food. You throw all your effort into the puppy and every spare moment is spent consumed with the puppy and the new happiness it has brought into your life. As time goes on, you still do your best to exercise it and groom it and teach it new tricks and commands, but you get busy. And before you know it, you have a middle-aged dog who has taken over half of the couch and is looking at you like, 'Could we talk about my diet and exercise regime because I have some concerns.'

Eric and I have thrown ourselves into our new house and we love it. Our social calendar is filled with trips to Home Depot and building shelves and unpacking boxes. We've made a master list of all the things we hope to do to the house in the short-term and we have some big ideas for the long-term. Our dinner discussions are filled with what needs to be fixed and what are dreams for the house are. And we are happy.

But it is funny to me to talk to those who have owned homes for a long time - especially those who have owned the same home for a long time. They are like the older dog owners who shake their heads at the new puppy owners. They say, 'Yeah, I said I was going to do that to my house too, but it's been 20 years and it's still on my to-do list,' or 'You don't have to do everything at once - it doesn't have to be perfect.' Well to them I say, 'Don't rain on my parade.'

I love working with my hands and putting the love and care into something I own. It makes me happy to make plans and have dreams and to finally be carving out a small place in the world for my family. And I'm so glad that I get to spend so much time with Eric doing it. So let me have my enthusiasm and my big ideas. We'll probably slow down eventually, but I'm in no rush to do it.

And yes, Harper, I promise I will use some of that new enthusiasm to take you on more walks. So quit looking at me like that...


Happy Bunnies

I came across this AMAZING video today and just had to share it here. (thanks Dooce!) The song is beautiful, the animation is amazing, and who doesn't just LOVE bunnies? (I'm raising my hand right now.) Also, if you can believe it, this is just a video made by a fan of the song, not a video put out by the musicians. Some dude spent a ton of time doing this for the love of the music, which is really inspiring. So, here's to a happy bunny tune:

P.S. And a happy, happy birthday to a fabulous mom. :)
P.P.S. If you're interested in more great, new music, check out this site: NPR's All Song's Considered 'Best Music of 2009 (So Far)'.


Swans a Swimming

Since the bathroom picture on the last post didn't quite capture the beautiful elegance of our shower screen swans, I thought I'd post a better one for your enjoyment:

And can't you just picture this happening the next time Eric takes a bath...

And for those of you playing 'Where's Harper', here's a larger photo:


Before and During

My life pretty much revolves around our new house these days. (I'm sure this is a big surprise to most of you.) My schedule usually goes like this:

1. wake up
2. stumble around the house looking for an outfit because I have no clue where anything is
3. go to work
4. do some boring work stuff
5. drive home and try to remember where we live (I ended up at our old apartment by accident last week)
6. eat some junky fast food because cooking would require me to spend valuable time not working on the house
7. work on the house
8. have Eric pry me away from whatever I'm working on (I get in the zone, okay?)
9. shower after first checking the bath tub for scary bugs
10. go to bed

Things are coming along, albeit slowly. Eric and I have taken to saying at least twice a night: "Everything always takes longer than you think it's going to." But slowly, the house is coming together and seeing the results of all our hard work is heartening. I'm no where near putting pictures of these results online, however, but here are a few befores and durings for you to feast on. (And a special thanks to Biggie and Mom for driving up a couple weeks ago to help out!)

Our living room - notice the lace curtains. This room has been painted and is pretty close to being complete.

The Dining Room - more lace curtains.

The kitchen - oh boy, what can I say? This will be replaced at some point, but for now, we've spiced up the cabinets a bit and bleached EVERYTHING.

The Bathroom - I'm not sure if you can tell from this photo, but there are swans on that glass. Yup. Swans.

Our Bedroom - This room was sanded by Biggie and then painted bright blue. We haven't managed to get to the green room or the purple room yet, but it's sort of nice to be able to refer to the rooms this way, so we might just leave them for a bit.

Mom glossing our kitchen cabinets.

Eric and Biggie working on the bedroom

Me painting the horrible kitchen cabinets.

Eric - he's a taping machine.

Can you spot Harper in this one? He's doing what he does best - looking mopey and lying around.


Turning 27

A belated thank you to everyone who made a fuss over me on my birthday a few weeks ago. The last few weeks have been consumed by the house and the moving, but I wanted to back up a bit and make sure I let you all know how grateful I am for the presents and well wishes. I think it's wonderful that we all get one day a year to spoil the ones we love, and you all did a great job for me!

P.S. Pictures and updates of the progress on the new house coming soon.

Isn't that a fabulous scarf? (Thanks Mom & Dad)

Harper doing a little jig for me.

The obligatory birthday photo. (Didn't Eric do a great job at picking out this blouse?)

The grounds at our dinner destination in Wisconsin.

Me and my amazing (and handsome) husband in a gorgeous valley in Wisconsin, where we had dinner. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day!


No Rain, No Rainbow

I have much to cover since my last post, but not enough energy at the moment to do it justice, so instead I will post a video that I found extremely satisfying. I finally get what Sarah Palin's trying to say! (see my confusion here).

Stay tuned for updates on the new house and how Harper is convinced that the air intake grate is going to eat him...


Service with a Smile

With all the recent Michael Jackson coverage and trying to navigate the paperwork nightmare of buying a house, I almost forgot that I have a birthday coming up. It wasn't until I received an email from my mom that I realized that, oh, right, it's next week. Thanks mom for the reminder!

So along with this birthday comes the renewing of my driver's license. And I realized this funny fact: This (Minnesota) is the first state I've ever lived in long enough for my driver's license to actually expire. So today I made the trip down to the DMV to ceremoniously recognize the commitment I've made to the great state of Minnesota. And it was delightful.

Though you might think I'm being a bit sarcastic, I'm actually quite serious. The place was filled with a myriad of cultures and colors and ages and basically contained a perfect representation of the United States. And since people watching is one of my favorite activities, it was quite a thrill. I eavesdropped on the Brazilians sitting ahead of me and laughed at the mixed race couple's exuberant children. When I was finally called to the window, I was greeted by the most delightful Middle Eastern woman. She acted incredulous when I answered that I was in fact over 21 years old, so I wouldn't be needing a special driver's license. That in fact, I'm turning 27! And she went on and on about how wonderful and cute my drivers license photo was. I could have hugged her.

So a special thank you to the Minneapolis DMV for turning my annoyed-at-having-to-renew-my-drivers-license frown into a smile in just under an hour. The pleasure was all mine.


A Place to Hang Our Hat

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of house listings, viewings, open houses, loan documents, Realtors, and neighborhood statistics, but I'm happy to announce that as of last night Eric and I bought a house! I'm sure that those of you who have purchased a home before know the insane flurry of things to follow before it can be officially official, but that doesn't make this moment any less fantastic!

We ended up finding a home that needs just the right amount of TLC, just a couple of blocks from the Mississippi River. It was built in 1924 and I believe it may even have the original owner's player piano in the basement. :) It has a nice backyard for Harper and when we told him about it, he did a little dance. I'll admit it, I did a little dance too.

There will be more pictures to follow - especially as we start putting it together - but here's a few for now.

The Front

The Back

The Living Room & Dining Room


I feel It All

I love the new video "I Feel It All" by Feist for the following reasons:

1. Catchy tune
2. That's exactly how I dance (especially at 1:15 and 2:49)
3. Who doesn't love fireworks?
4. One take - are you kidding me?!


Catching Up

The last month has flown by and since I have been M.I.A. on my blog, I thought a bit of catch up was in order. Let's bust out the bullet points, shall we?

Our new race car

  • Bought a car! After nearly 5 years of being a single car family we finally broke down and bought a second car. A car that I'm still learning how to drive because it's a manual. We fell in love with the 2005 Saturn Ion and after it was explained to me that once I got comfortable with the manual system it would be like driving a race car, how could I resist?
  • Eric is a real life attorney! One Saturday in April, Eric and I were driving down to Marshall for my baby brother's prom when he got a phone call. Thirty minutes stopped at a SuperAmerica later, he had a job offer! He now gets all gussied up everyday to fight crime at a small firm in the twin cities. And by fighting crime I mean mostly representing clients in bankruptcies and divorces. If you live in Minnesota and you're in need of competent and good looking representation, email me. I'm just sayin'.
  • Baby Brother Graduated! We got to spend a long weekend with my family for my brother's graduation a couple of weeks ago. And when we all get together for a celebration, it gets a bit wild. It was so nice to see everyone and I swear my cheeks hurt by the time I got home.
  • Feng Shui'd my office! Okay, I really don't have a clue as to how to feng shui, but as part of my new happiness project I decided to spruce up my office space a bit since I spend 8 hours a day there. A bonsai plant and a new fountain have really made a big difference (although when my coworkers pop in to visit, they keep telling me it makes them have to pee). It's still a work in progress, but I think surrounding myself with things that are calming and motivating are important - now I don't feel as if I'm just sitting in a box. What do you do to make your workspace feel more inviting? (FYI - I was inspired by this article.)
Eric and I at my brother's graduation


A friend lost, A lesson learned

I ran into an old friend at the gym the other night on my way to a weightlifting class. We quickly caught up and I asked about a few people we both had known when we had worked together. I was particularly interested in one lady, Cathy, as I had thought about calling her every few months since I had last seen her two and a half years ago. When I asked about her, my old work friend said, “Oh. She’s dead. She died last June.” 

I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I had really admired Cathy and even though we hadn’t spoken in a long time, I considered her one of my good friends. How could this have happened and how could I not have known about it?

Because I did not get the chance to say goodbye, I have decided to do it here and send it out into the universe. So, to the best Norwegian knitter and joke teller that I know, I will miss you and your hilarious stories of the Peace Corp and our gabbing sessions over silly TV shows. Thank you Cathy for your warm friendship and for always making me feel like I had a seat at the table. I will miss you.

Lesson Learned

The loss of this good friend caused me to think about others I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. So I picked up the phone yesterday and called one of them. And it was so good to talk to her.

My challenge to you is: Find someone you’ve lost touch with and call them, or email them, or send them a postcard. You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. I looked back to see where I was in my life when Cathy died and turns out, I was doing this. And the funny thing is, Cathy would have gotten a real kick out of that.


Feliz Diada de Sant Jordi

Happy St. Jordi's Day! For those of you not familiar with this fabulous Catalan holiday, it's a sort of Spanish Valentine's Day. As part of the day's celebrations, the men receive books and the women a single flower. If you find yourself in Catalonia during this time you will see the streets filled with book and flower shops. It's a beautiful sight. And who doesn't love receiving flowers and books?


Don't Be Trashy

In honor of Earth Day this year, Eric and I joined in a local clean-up effort. We were handed big plastic yellow bags and cloth gloves and sent to a local lake front to see what we could find. At first we thought the area hardly seemed in need of a clean up, but little by little we began to fill up our bags. An old newspaper, discarded chip and candy wrappers, soda cans, and water bottles tossed to the side of the trail.

As we ventured further off the path we began to find more carelessly thrown garbage and the bags got heavier and heavier. An old hat, some styrofoam containers, metal scraps, plastic bags, even some 'unmentionables'. As I lugged around that garbage bag I began to spot smaller pieces of trash that I hadn't noticed before. Bottle caps, plastic hair clips, straws and napkins. Our bags were filling up fast.

Although our bags were full, we had a hard time heading back to the community center. Seeing how much better the area looked after only a couple of hours made us want to stay out there all day. But we knew there were other volunteers and we had to get back.

So on this Earth Day, I want to challenge you all to take a look around. If you see a piece of garbage, pick it up. If we all pitch in, think of what a difference we can make.



On the Other Side of the Finish Line

I did it! Despite the frigid 41 degree temperature and the patchy light freezing drizzle, I ran my first 5K. As we lined up at the starting line I realized I hadn't felt that pre-race nervous feeling since high school. The race ended up being shorter than I thought it would be and yet longer at the same time. I don't think I've ever ran such a distance in my life at that speed so you can imagine the sense of accomplishment that I felt as I crossed the finish line. "I actually ran that far?" I thought. I almost couldn't believe it.

Though the time isn't so important, I will admit it anyway. I ran my first 5K in 33:40. (I have to brag that Eric pulled in at 23:30.) When I first attempted this feat a few weeks ago, I clocked in at about 45 minutes. So I was pleasantly surprised when I rounded the final corner and saw the time clock with only a 33 minute number. It was at that point that my inner sprinter kicked in and I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that I smoked a few runners in the last 1oo meters. (Sorry pink velour track suit lady - I couldn't help it!)

So thank you for all the cheers and support. And I must ask - now that I've managed to make it across the finish line, how about you?


Happy Friday!

I came across this clip today (thanks to Rachel Maddow's Tweet on Twitter) and since it brightened my day I thought I'd post it here. I dare you not to have a smile on your face by the end. Enjoy and happy Friday!


Jogging for Justice

I’ve gone and done something totally out of character for me. After some encouragement from my husband and friends, I registered for my first 5K race (The Race for Justice).

Anyone who knows me knows that anything more than 100 meters of continuous running is something I would classify as ‘long distance’. (I believe my best race is actually the 40 meter dash.) So admittedly, a race that is 5 kilometers (or 3.1 miles) is a bit of a stretch for someone like me. But I liked the idea of it…

Last summer I was determined to find the closeted long-distance runner that I knew was hiding somewhere deep, deep, deep down in my soul. I spent several months gradually increasing my stamina until running one mile no longer seemed impossible. In the end, I was able to go almost 2.5 miles (stopping halfway through to catch my breath!). So although I’ve been hard at work at the gym since January, it’s been awhile since I really consistently ran a ‘long distance’ without stopping and I’m a little anxious to see how it’ll go. But of this I am sure: I will make it across that finish line.


A Vibrant Vacation

When you fly from a frigid, miserable, arctic climate to a lovely, warm, tropical climate it seems to make everything just that much sweeter. So it was not uncommon to hear me 'Oooo' and 'Ahhhh' over everything thing green or living while we vacationed in Mexico. Especially over the Iguanas, and oh my, were there so many Iguanas.

To breathe fresh, warm, ocean air and be surrounded by all the colors of the rainbow is good for the soul. The colors on this trip were so vibrant and inspiring that I couldn't help but try and photograph them all. The blues of the ocean, the pink and yellow of the flowers, the green of the palms, the orange of the fading sunlight, the white of the sand. I drank them all in and stored them up, because you never really know when spring is going to show its face in Minnesota.


Cenote Swimming

While it's still fresh in my mind, I've decided to jot down some of the memories from our trip to the Yucatan penninsula. Plus, though down a few pounds, I'm feeling quite a bit better and more able to come up with a cohesive thought. First I'd like to share a little something I've learned through the whole ordeal:

Pepto Bismol can be used as a preventative measure when traveling - just take a dose 4 times a day and your likelihood of coming home healthy are much, much higher. You're welcome.

So one of the coolest things about the Cancun area are the thousands of cenotes scattered about. A cenote is basically a sinkhole, usually with crystal clear water and some other amazing feature. While in Mexico, we visited two: El Gran Cenote near Tulum and the Ik Kil Cenote by Chichen Itza. At the first cenote, we got to sport our snorkel gear and marvel at all the amazing fish and coral and plants and caves up close. At the second, our timing was perfect. Eric and I had the whole cenote to ourselves for a whole 15 minutes (which is a lot at such a popular destination). Cenotes are one of the most amazing natural wonders I've ever seen. Though it can't quite capture the wonder of the 'happy accident', I've posted some pictures below.

The Grand Cenote:

The cenote at Ik Kil: