Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wonderful, wonderful weekend

Although I must admit it leaves me a little sad. My little sister is officially married and on her way to live in Alaska. I'll miss her~a lot.

Anyhow, I was telling Eric on Sunday night that I think I could recount hour for hour what I've been doing since Wednesday last week. It was that busy. But it was just good-busy, not crazy, run my tail off busy.

Wednesday was shopping for some final wedding items (see that outfit Oliver's wearing? $6, new! Can't beat that) then my friend Jen came in the evening to take pictures of my kids. Thursday brought cleaning at home, other errands, then Katrina's bachlorette party that night.

It was track star themed, in honor of Katrina finishing a marathon just the other week. We made the girls do a very entertaining relay race-pictured above. A four o'clock bedtime meant the 8 am wake up call felt kind of early.

Friday brought preparing the church and the food, rehearsal, groom's dinner and coffee at my house.

Saturday was the big day, of course. I didn't have a chance to get many pictures myself, and I'm sharing the best of the few I did get. I stole a few from my cousin Amanda, and might find more as time goes by...

The bridal party.

My Family

It was a fun family and friend filled weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trailer House Chronicals: Serenaded in the Shower

Living in a 1970's era trailer house has to be done with a sense of humor. I mean, what are two-inch thick walls, if not a good cause to laugh at the door jam that sticks out because it's made for those newfangled 4 inch stud walls? Glass windows? Pah. Half of ours are this fancy Plexiglas. Who wants to see outside clearly??

This morning we woke to the usual, and very enjoyable sound of birds singing outside. But there was one particular song that was unusually loud. Like it was right in the room with us.

It wasn't. It was the sound of a happy mama bird just on the other side of the plywood/shower wall. Tra-la-laing away, while building a nest in that two inch thick space. There originally was a small window looking into the shower which at some point was covered over on the inside. However, the window now has a hole in it, just the right size for a little bird to go through. Who can blame that little mother? A cozier place she'll never find, I'm sure.

So I started my day being serenaded in the shower by a happy mama bird.

How about you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gender Stereotypes

Something he'd do for hours, even at one year: Driving tractor

Back in the day when attending the university, I took General Psychology. Although a huge lecture hall class, it was great. I enjoyed it, the prof was great. She taught us lots of interesting stuff about the wonderful human mind.

But I know she never had kids.

Know how I know this? She tried to claim that boys and girls are the same, it's our gender stereotypes that make them boyish and girly.

Her new thing at the time was that when she heard of someone having a baby, she wouldn't ask "boy or girl." She figured that started the gender stereotype right then and there. Instead, she'd only ask "how is the baby doing?" Because that was so neutral.

Hmmm. Well, Miss Ellinson, although Elsa loves mud puddles and Oliver sleeps with a baby doll nightly (he did try a tractor once, but I don't think it was very comfy, cuz he hasn't tried it since), I still beg to differ.

Cuz I'm pretty sure that the first time Oliver sat on the floor with a tractor, he went "brrrrrrmm" all by himself.
  • That Elsa had definite opinions on clothes at the ripe ol' age of 10 months. That she'd find her bright pink shoes and coat and insist on wearing them all day. Every day.
  • And that Oliver still could care less. (Although he does finally know the difference between church pants and not church pants.)
  • That Oliver has loved tractor rides since the day he was born.
  • That Elsa's still on the fence about actually getting on a running tractor.
  • That just yesterday, Oliver was headed into the "forest to shoot a deer, but I didn't see one so I just shot the tree instead." (We have a forest, not the woods at our house. Not sure where that came from.)
  • That Elsa was following along...carrying a purse. In fancy sandals. That she picked out. And insisted on.
  • That while Elsa loves to catch the cat and hold onto it (usually by the tail) Oliver barrels on by yelling "I gonna get that cat! Gonna get Thelma!" with his gun and making gun noises.
I'm pretty sure that at least a few of those things have nothing to do with someone asking their gender when they were born. Pretty doggone sure.

She still insists on that coat and shoes if she can find them.
Or anything shockingly pink will do in a pinch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

And to finish it up:

Because of the way Blogger works it's much easier to split this up into two posts. This is the second of the two to finish up our SF trip.

This is the typical view we had of the Golden Gate bridge. Although very pretty in it's own way, we never really got a chance to appreciate the entire bridge at once. A little disappointing, but still impressive. I once saw a documentary of how this bridge was made, and it's quite the feat of engineering.

The Ferry Building.
A landmark built in the location of what was a ferry port. This building is full of 'foodie' shops; expensive food, kitchen utensil shops and the like. We bought expensive but delicious dark chocolate (Green and Blacks organic ginger-yum! I'm enjoying some with a cup of tea at the moment.) The plaza outside is the location of a massive weekly farmer's market that probably would have been fun to see.

Breaking the law by hanging out of the cable car. SF has 5 different public transit systems, one of which is these classic cable cars.

Katrina and I on the same cable cars.

Not a great picture, but a view of one of the typical hills in SF. A very hilly place-think Duluth hill multiplied many times. You can also see two of the cable cars we were riding on here, although only an end view. Aren't they cute?

They grow massive seagulls there. And they're louder than ours are.

Sunday morning we came upon Andy's car and this was the greeting we got. And it was raining. Arg.
Thankfully, they got a total of about $4 or so.

Katrina with the city in the background.

Being a full blooded country girl-whose son and hubby love tractors-I had to grab this pic.

The Six Sisters. Beautiful houses with the city skyline in the background (I didn't get the best view of it all) made famous by the opening scene in some TV shows and movies.

The twistyest street in SF. If you look closely, you can see the many, many switchbacks here. Just down the block are streets that are only stairs. There are actually addresses on those streets, mail delivery and all.

A few other interesting things we saw include:
  • San Fran's only independently owned pirate shop (great for many laughs),
  • A unicorn.
  • Alcatraz prison-although we didn't have time to tour it,
  • Nob hill-a very-as in millions of dollars-expensive location,
  • Chinatown-which had some of the most terrifying(heehee) markets I've been in (think whole dried fish in a bag, dried shark fin, dried unidentifiable everything!),
  • Wonderful burritos, made with fresh, handmade tortillas-yum!
  • And a bonafied, true blue, you-think-you'll-never-see-one-in-America, sweatshop. Ladies at sewing machines, less than code working conditions, jabbering away in other languages, with piles of clothing around them. This was a shocker we happened upon when checking out an empty space a nonprofit Andy is involved in might rent. Huh, they do exist. Sad.

And last of all, my welcome home committee!

All in all, a wonderful trip. If you ever find yourself in the area, take the time to check out the city!

Finally, some more Vacation!

We've been busy around here. Finally, I'm back to finish up with a few more SF pictures. Doesn't the boat above just look like its asking for you to take a row?

On Saturday, Andy, Katrina and I got a chance to tour the U.S.S. Pompanito, a WWII submarine. I like history, and really enjoyed it. I can't imagine spending months on end in such cramped quarters with so many people. Also, I can definitely see why the short guys ended up on subs!

Katrina's standing next to one of the doorways to provide a little perspective. This is not a place for the clumsy. You'd end up with a lot of bruises.

Every square inch is well used. Andy had to do a chin-up to get on this bunk. It's hanging from the ceiling, directly below it is torpedo storage. That would either make me nervous, or give me a very secure feeling...

As long as we're on history here-Monday Trina and I were set loose for a few hours before our flight while Andy went to work. We happened upon a wharf with 5 reconstructed ships that you could tour (for only $5! Total!) One was this awesome "Tall ship." It's very tall, and seems absolutely huge. But I can't imagine taking something like this across the ocean and around the point of South America to get to California. It sure wouldn't feel very big on the high seas. This particular ship was the most well reconstructed, and we were able to see most of the boat, complete with stories about the crew and trips it made. The others were more of a work in progress, but still fun to see. They included a tugboat, a ferry, and a much smaller tall ship.

The 'loo. Don't think much magazine reading took place on that comfy looking structure.

Another place we stopped at was a wonderful place called the Musee Mechanique. It's basically a large pole building full of old arcade games and machines, from the very first moving pictures, (where you look in the viewing window, turn a crank and watch the lady dance (and maybe take her clothes off!,) big fight, or or other exciting movie) to the classic Pacman machine. Pretty much everything is a quarter, and for a few dollars, one can get a lot of great entertainment.

This picture is proof that I was doing sawmill research-the real point of my trip, after all...

Test your arm wrestling prowess. This guy was tough! (note Andy's two-handed form.)

And the ever wonderful fortune telling machines. According to this one I'm a "Fast worker" in the sex appeal category. Another told me I could look forward to a career as a dishwasher. I'm excited about that. Really.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


A marathon day of preparing for a garage sale! I've been in desperate need of thinning my children's clothing, so when my aunt called saying she was planning a garage sale (this weekend is the city-wides in Menahga) and did I want to put anything in it, I jumped at the chance.

Except that was on Thursday last week. I left Friday, came back Monday, attempted to recuperate and find my house Tuesday and worked a 12 hour Wednesday. So, that left today. Thankfully, the kids cooperated very well, and much got accomplished. Now, lets just hope for another couple beautiful days and a successful sale!

Being as I've really got other things I should be doing, here's just one more photo from the trip: San Francisco from Twin Peaks (evidently the high point of the city) at night. This is probably the one and only period of clearness...you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the upper middle here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

San Francisco

Early Friday morning saw Katrina and I on our way. First with a drive to the airport, than the flight out, after a 20 minute fog delay. Evidently, after a beautiful week, the fog, rain and cool weather arrived in San Francisco with us. It stuck like glue throughout the weekend.

The weekend was a wonderful mix of seeing the sights (with lots of walking!), visiting, and eating. and eating.

Here are some of the fun colored, beautiful houses that cover the city.

We began, after checking in at our adorable inn, with crepes (delicious!) and some wandering of the Hayes Valley neighborhood shops. We were set to meet Erin-Andy's girlfriend-for supper, and they had decided to take us to *ack!* sushi! This lead us to the Japantown area. While wandering there I found Dr. Seuss in Japanese! After the sushi, we grabbed some dessert, then were off to bed.

Me, Andy, Erin and Katrina at a point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

Saturday we spent the morning in a few more shops, met a friend of Andy's for lunch, then headed to the ocean.

Ocean Beach: Katrina, Andy and I. We were only asked about 5 or 6 times by completely random people if we were siblings...

A crab shell

Next: The Muir Woods. Absolutely spectacular redwood forest.
We were told the drive there is also beautiful...the fog kept us from enjoying it.

Andy, in awe of the magnificence.

I've never before seen the point of umbrella stands. Here in MN, when it rains, an umbrella only keeps your top half from getting wet, so why bother keeping them by the front door? But, I've discovered that there truly are places that require one to own an umbrella. One of our first stops when we arrived was to purchase umbrellas for Katrina and I. San Fran gets many-day-long, spitting, misting rain. For that type an umbrella works wonderfully, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors in spite of it. Even the shops and have stands for your umbrellas right inside the door.

A BIG tree.

After the beautiful, but damp Muir Woods, we stopped in Sausalito for seafood. This time they fed us *ack again!* oysters! (Yum, they're much better than sushi.) I also had the most delicious clam chowder ever. Warmed me to the bone!

Consider this the first installment.
I've got a little work to do on a few photos, most of them so far are straight off of camera.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Back to MN

Supper's cookin', the kids are playing, and I'm navigating through a crazybusy weekend/day without coffee (out of filters...aahg.) fog. Due to almost 2 hours of flight delays we didn't make it home until after 1...and of course it took a while to wind down to sleep.

We had a wonderful time, despite the rain/coolness/windy/fog that covered the bay area throughout our stay.

Pictures will hopefully come tomorrow while I'm at work. Today I'm attempting to find the house that I know is around here somewhere... (do husbands ever clean while a wife is away??...)