Tag Archives: family

Foto Friday: Facebook meme edition

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m getting annoyed by all the facebook memes going around.  I refuse to play out of principle.   However, if I were to play, here’s some of the pictures I’d post:

Throwback  photo
fb instructions:  Change your profile pic to a pic of you back in the day

pampasan chair--check, hammer pants--check, day glo shirt-check= genuinely happy Christmas smile

Sibling  photo
fb instructions: If you love your brothers/sisters, post a photo of you together

Of course I love them! From left: David (half-bro), Jo (sis-in-law), Ryan (bro), me, Kelli (half-sis)

Celebrity photo
fb instructions: Post a photo of the celebrity you’ve been told you look like

I did an entire post on this once. I’m still going with Jewel.  Not so much these days, though.

Couple photo
fb instructions:  In honor of Valentine’s Day, post a pic of you and your significant other and tell how long you’ve been together/how you met

This was taken on NYE. I love it cuz we're REALLY laughing, not doing our usual smile-for-the-camera bit

We’ve been together a little over a year.  Our “story” isn’t really one to pass down to the grandkids, so we’ll just say we met in school and re-connected years later ;)

And, just for fun…
Here are my entries from the Urban Dictionary:

1. Girl’s name
2. A very hot girl who is secretly very dirty but no one would know it.
3. A rampant sex beast – amazing in bed.
4. other meanings: flows like water (turkish)/ melody (old french)/ free man (german/french)/ love (gaelic)/ beloved (latin)

or, alternatively:

A crazy pyscho feminist who rages on most days about nothing in particular, leading you in circles going no where but confusion

Oak Ridge Boys: insta review

I just got home from the Oak Ridge Boys concert and I’m doing an insta-review in order to hit the high points.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

a) I went with my family– my mom, aunt, uncle, grandma, and my grandma’s “boyfriend” (or whatever you call it when the “boy” hasn’t been a boy for a good 65-70 years!)

b) The Oak Ridge Boys was my very first concert ever.  And a *huge* part of my childhood memories, especially at Christmas time (maybe I’ll look up old posts that reference this later.  Not now. )

Okay, so first of all, the show was split into two parts:  the “Greatest Hits” and the “Christmas Show.”    The first part opened with some dude (maybe a tour manager?) announcing this fact and then hawking CDs.  Hmmm…

They opened with a song *about them* written by Shooter Jennings.   Again, hmmm….

CLOTHING
By this point, I was CRACKING up at their clothing.  The guy with the really deep voice looked like he was auditioning for American Idol–in skinny jeans, velvet (?) jacket, I-wear-my-sunglasses-at-night.   Definitely the “hippest” of the group.  Dude even had a flavor savor!

The rest of them looked like your average group of middle-aged Harley dudes.  Except they didn’t really match.  And one guy was wearing what appeared to be black tapered SLACKS.   Weird.   Anyway, it was amusing.

CROWD

It goes without saying that the ORB cater to a decidedly older clientel.   In fact, it took a while to find *anyone* who was anywhere near my age bracket.  And it was FUNNY to watch the crowd participate– by clapping, singing along, waving back to Santa, taking videos on their cell phones.    HILARIOUS!    There was a superfan seated in front of us.  She had a SIGNED sweatshirt from “The Boys” and loved every minute of the show.

THE MUSIC

Remember: this is the stuff I grew up on.  We played the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas CD every.single.year while putting up the Christmas tree, baking cookies, opening gifts, etc.  It’s pretty much a family tradition.    They played quite a few of their famous songs during the “greatest hits” portion….but no Bobbie Sue, which greatly disappointed me.   They played some songs off their new album, which they should do…but, again, I wanted to hear Bobbie Sue!

Then they had intermission (weird) and on to the Christmas portion, which was decidedly longer.  They played *some* of their songs off the Christmas CD and did some standbys (Jingle Bells, The Christmas Song, etc.) but they did a LOT of songs that were unfamiliar to me… and a lot of slow songs.  In a row.  At the end.   My grandma’s 80 year old boyfriends was faring better than me in the I-can’t-fall-asleep-at-a-concert department.

IN CLOSING

The cheese factor was severely high tonight– they did the requisite tributes to family, kids, military, etc.   A lot of heartstring pulling, but people were genuinely enjoying themselves.   And, like I said….this music is so engrained in my childhood that I couldn’t help having my own heartstrings pulled a time or two.  Even if I did bust out laughing during Elvira.  I mean, SERIOUSLY, how that song ever got popular is beyond me.

As much as I’d like to be all cynical about it, the show definitely helped get me in the Christmas spirit, though…  for that, it was a success!

Foto Friday: Crazy Kids

Very soon, these crazy kids will be parents and I’ll be an aunt.   I couldn’t be happier– or more emotional–about it.   Stay tuned!

Jo & Ryan. Minnesota, August 09

Halloween Weekend

Yes, I’m a week behind… but that’s how I roll!

Last weekend was super fun-filled.  It started off with a surprise 50th birthday party for my Aunt Shelly.    It was a great party–lots of friends/family, good food, etc.

I loved this idea:  They had “50 faces of 50″ where everyone got a mask/necklace with a photo of Shelly at various ages.  I think mine was 1972:

DylanFace

My cousin's son, Dylan, had a lot of fun with it too...

DylanShellyMask

He's a ham

They also did a really sweet slide show set to music.  There were a couple photos of me in there that I’d rather forget ;)  If I can get a copy of them, maybe I’ll post.  Maybe not :)

 

ShellyPartyDana

Shelly and Dana watching the slideshow

MeganCari

Megan and I (photo credit: Dylan)

 

DylanDonna

Dylan and Mom attempt a self-portrait

After the party, I made the wise decision to bring copious amounts of wine to my friend Kim’s house.  She’d had a rough week, so I decided to cheer her up.  Greeat idea.

And now… the Halloween pictures:

I had been teetering back and forth between going out for Halloween and not.  It’s my FAVORITE holiday, but none of my usual crowd was doing anything.  So I was happy when some of the boyfriends friends asked me to join them.  YAY for dress up!

Since I didn’t really have a costume “planned,”  I dug out the dress-up tub and put together this concoction.  Most people thought I was your average run-of-the-mill Streetwalker, but I prefer to call her Charlene.  I think she has an 80’s Southern vibe to her (maybe b/c I wore the same wig as Dolly Parton?  IDK)

 

CharleneBefore

The "getting ready in the bathroom" pic. LOL.

 

 

Charlene

The bigger the hair, the closer to God

 

 

 

 

 

GroupShotatO2

Outside a bar w/random cast of characters

 

GroupShotbest

our group at the party--note the tights

 

GroupShot

another group shot--this time w/Chad aka 'Death'

 

 

CharleneWaldo

Charlene and Waldo

CariAndy

Andy's Hooter's girl was a BIG hit.... He makes a better girl than I do!

 

 

 

Bloggity Bloggity Boo

I’m going to stop apologizing for not posting more often.  To paraphrase a popular book/movie title:  I’m just not that into it.

But, since you’re all dying to know what I’m up to, here’s the rundown:

  • Halloween– I was going to do a Foto Friday each day this month of my favorite costumes from prior years.  But, well, I didn’t.   Look for one soon.  Maybe.   I’m working on my costume for this year.  Last year I was lame and didn’t dress up.  This year I’m dressing up, but I don’t have any definite plans, so my costume might be lame.  Whatever.

  • Family stuff-  Last weekend we threw a shower for my sister-in-law. It was fairly low-key but I think she got lots of stuff.  There were LOTS of babies there.  We figured out that out of the 7 “kids” in my mom’s family, 6 of them will have a new grandchild this year.  Yowzah!!   I’ll post pictures if I ever get any (I am still sans camera).After the shower my friend Kelly and her two kids stayed with me overnight.  It was the first time I had youngsters at my house.  It was fun and I  survived!

  • Running--  I made it one full week on my new program and then completely fell off the wagon.  I started back yesterday.  I was hoping to run a race in late November, but it is already full, so I’m looking at one on Nov. 1.    There’s a 10K option and a 5K option. I can’t decide which to do.  I won’t “technically” be done with my 10K program by then… but maybe if I sign up for it, I’ll have the motivation to kick it into high gear?   Or should I just do the 5K and work on getting a better time.  (note: Nov 1 is the day after Halloween and thus far my longest run is only 4 miles.)Oh, and I still haven’t bought my “rewards” for the last 5K. I’m thinking of getting an iPhone instead of a sports watch.  They have apps for running PLUS it has a camera and I’ve wanted one for a long time.
  • Friends– I have another wedding in November. The bride’s sister had a super fun couples shower a couple of weeks ago complete with HILARIOUS scavenger hunt and newlywed game.  Alas–no pix of that either.   The bachelorette party is in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully I’ll be able to take pix by then.   Posts without photos are just no fun!
  • Pop Culture stuff– Besides running (or not) and planning parties, I just watched the entire season of Warehouse 13.  Good, not great– Kinda like an Xfiles/Alias mixture with some Star Wars references mixed in.  The first season just ended, but I’ll probably watch next season.  I’ve also been catching up w/Glee on Hulu.  Hopefully I can start watching in real time this week.   This week’s Mad Men (which I just watched yesterday) had me dumbfounded.    I’ve been trying to watch Season 2 of True Blood, but I have to rely on the kindness of others for that since I gave up HBO (damn economy!)   I also watched the Rob Zombie movie House of a Thousand Corpses this weekend.   It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  Kinda reminded me of a Nine Inch Nails video. 

Foto Friday: Automotive FAIL!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Getting tire fixed in Grand Rapids

True, but blog posts are supposed to be concise…. So, here’s the story, in 500 words or less:

On the way to Minnesota for vacation last month my “check tire pressure” light turned on.  I got off at the next exit, checked my tire pressure, aired up the tires for good measure and proceeded to drive the ~700 miles to my destination.  We continued to monitor the tire pressure, but everything looked fine, so we didn’t worry about it much.  I had my brakes replaced a few days before and figured the light was just a malfunction and carried on with vacation.

By the time we were ready to head back home I had all but forgotten about my tire issue.  We got on the road and prepared for the 12-hour trek.   About an hour into our journey, we stopped to re-fuel on healthy stuff like powdered donuts and chocolate milk.

I got behind the wheel, Ryan climbed in the back seat with his pillow and blanked and Jo assumed donut duty in the passenger seat.   A couple miles after our first pit stop, I heard a noise.

Ryan:  What was that?

Me:  I dunno

Ryan:  I think it might be your muffler or something.

Me:  Oh, I doubt it. I’m sure there’s just something in the trunk.  Do you think I should pull over?

Ryan:  Uh…yeah.

Me (rolling down the window and sticking my head out):  Maybe there’s a helicopter* flying over or something.

Ryan: No, you need to pull over… NOW!

I pulled over and Ryan got out of the car to check things out. Sure enough, I had a flat tire.  And over 600 miles to drive.   CRAP!

We had to unload ALL of our stuff on the side of the road so that we could get out the jack and the spare tire (ironically called… a donut! )– All of our luggage and vacation supplies for THREE people plus some random stuff,  including my boyfriend’s “artwork” that’s been riding around in my trunk for months.

While Ryan was working on changing the tire, lots of nice Minnesotans stopped to ask us if we needed help.  “No,” we’d say. “We’ve got it.”   

We asked one woman if there was a tire shop in Grand Rapids or if we’d need to go further down the road.  She told us that there were two in town, so we started re-packing our gear back in the trunk.

Just as we were getting ready to leave, the nice woman came back (she had been going the opposite direction).  She said she knew a guy who would help us out.    We followed her to the tire shop where we had to unload all of our stuff yet again, where they quickly changed the tire and sent us on our merry way.

you can't see the "velvet Elvis" artwork because it's hiding behind the muted abstract print

You can't see the "velvet Elvis" artwork because it's hiding behind the muted abstract print

An hour later and only $35 poorer, we were back on the road.  A big shout out to my brother for not only knowing how to change a flat but also for asking them to put on a used tire.

* We couldn’t stop laughing about this afterwards. There aren’t any airports, air bases, or anything else in that part of Minnesota to make me think there was a  helicopter flying overhead. So naturally that was the first thing I thought of. Naturally.

Foto Friday: Minnesota Vacation

Last week, I was in Minnesota on vacation.  My aunt and uncle have a cabin up there and they let us stay for free.  I posted a bunch of pictures on facebook, so I won’t bore everyone with ALL of them, but here are some notable photos/inside jokes/general funny stuff:

This sign pretty much sums it up!

This sign pretty much sums it up!

Roxie takes a swim.  And by "takes" I mean "was forced to" :)

Roxie took a swim. And by "took" I mean "was forced to" :)

We were not lacking in the chip department.  Aunt L. even bought us some Funyuns... cuz we said they were the only things missing!

We were not lacking in the chip department. Aunt L. even bought us some Funyuns... cuz we said they were the only things missing!

Highlight of the trip: Getting up on waterskiis for the first time!

Highlight of the trip: Getting up on waterskiis for the first time!

I was super stoked!

I was super stoked!

We spent a lot of time in the sun

We spent a lot of time in the sun

The boys fished

The boys fished

but I think my mom caught the biggest one!

but I think my mom caught the biggest one!

We also went out to eat a lot!  The Gosh Dam Place...

We also went out to eat a lot! The Gosh Dam Place...

Home of the Gosh Dam meatloaf!

Home of the Gosh Dam meatloaf!

And the "place in the woods" the last night (can't remember the name)

And the "place in the woods" the last night (can't remember the name)

home of DELISH pizza & pasta (and a bunch of other stuff!)

home of DELISH pizza & pasta (and a bunch of other stuff!)

We made homemade ice cream (store bought for the preggos)

Back at the cabin, we had homemade ice cream (store bought for the preggos)

Played some bags

And played layed some bags

And took LOTS and LOTS of pictures (this one's my favorite!)Most importantly, we spent lots of QT together (and took lots of pictures. this one is my fave!)
I can't wait to go back,  THANKS Aunt Linda & Uncle Denny!

I can't wait to go back, THANKS Aunt Linda & Uncle Denny!

Long time, no blog

I know the “too busy to blog” excuse is getting lame.  But it’s true.  I was hoping to write some proper blog posts, but since some of you like lists (shout out to Harley Quinn– I loved your last comment!), I figured I’d save myself the trouble of actually having to write anything.

In the last week and a half or so I:

  • Witnessed masked Mexican wrestling in Chicago.  It was awesome.
  • Tasted cucumber-flavored candy.  It was awful.
  • Learned that you really can’t just miss your connecting flight or your entire ticket is invalidated.
  • Re-booked my ticket.  Twice.
  • Got hit on by a Greek waiter in Chicago and a Mexican bar patron in Minneapolis.
  • Spent entirely too much time on Sporcle.  Finally learned the correct spelling of Kazakhstan.  It comes in handy.
  • Ate some killer Malaysian food in MPLS.  Heard a great (albeit very broken) story about a fire in a Malaysian place in Chicago.
  • Witnessed and responded to an on-the-job accident. Not real common in my line of work.
  • Learned I like tamales.
  • Congratulated a friend on her recent engagement. Yay Keem!
  • Almost forgot, and then lost, and then found my journal/notebook.
  • Saw Star Trek. Loved it, despite zero familiarity with the original.  Reminded me a lot of Star Wars, actually.  And Lost.
  • Met (and held!) another newborn baby.
  • Picked up a new nickname (which I’m trying HARD to not let stick).
  • Ran my second 5K, less than a month after my first, with no iPod. After being gone for a week and out drinking the night before.
  • Mowed my lawn immediately after the 5K.  Bad idea.
  • Learned that I was selected to be a Nielsen “family.”  I can’t wait to report my 2.5 hours of TV watching a week.
  • Improved my ability to ride public transportation.
  • Received a comped dessert because dinner took so long.  Waited about 20 mins for said dessert.
  • Had multiple weird conversations about weight loss.  Including one that started with “I hope you’re not offended, but…”  Um, no, not offended!
  • Took a photo next to a statue of Mary Tyler Moore.
  • Met a friend’s new boyf.
  • Spent Mother’s Day with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law. Against our advice, my mom insisted on having it at her house and making all the food.
  • Ran in Chicago.  Gave unsuspecting motorist directional advice.  Felt really bad afterward.
  • Attended a baby shower and graduation party.
  • Received invitations to two other baby showers.
  • Witnessed teachers literally FIGHTING over free books.
  • Engaged in some tipsy shopping.  Bought books and a belt between happy hour and an awesome wine-fueled dinner.

Things I haven’t done

  • unpacked
  • watched last week’s Lost
  • slept, at least not much

30 Days of 30: By the Numbers

Those of you paying close attention may have noticed that the 30 days of 30 technically lasted only 29 days (Jan 5-Feb 2).  There were also a couple of unclaimed days in there, but I filled them by hanging out with my mom and a co-worker.  

BUT… the 30 days aren’t really over yet.  When this blog goes live, I’ll be in Chicago for the finale, so I’m counting my party on Saturday as the 30th day.

If my calculations are correct, here are some other interesting numbers about my 30 days:

60– Number of people I celebrated with this month.* 

36– Number of locations– 16 restaurants, 11 bars**, 1 bakery,  1 arena, 1 bowling alley, 1 movie theater, 1 out of town location (Galena), 1 shopping center, and 3 private residences.  

The most common location for 30 days activities was Bunny’s, followed closely by a tie between Crane Alley and Boltini.   This is notable because I probably haven’t been to either of these places much in the past year, but I really like them.  Houlihan’s and the Courier were the most popular non-drinking establishments. 

6– Number of places I’d never been before: Galena, Bridget’s house, La Gourmandise Bistro, The Brass Rail, The Sandwich shop (whose name I’ve yet to look for), Cakes on Walnut.

14-  Number of different activites: lunch,  dinner, drinks, dessert, Illinois game, bowling, LOST watch, movie, snowboarding, Superbowl party, live band, book club, story teller, trivia

15– Number of times I went out for lunch

13-- Number of times I went out for drinks

6– Number of times I went out for dinner***

2– Number of times I went out for dessert.  Again, notable because I rarely go out just for dessert.

2– Number of Illini games watched**** (one at the Assembly Hall, one at Bunny’s)

2– Number of things I’d never done before:  go snowboarding and listen to a professional story teller

0– Number of pounds I’ve gained.  Seriously. I definitely feel fatter/less healthy, but according to the scale, my weight is the same.

I don’t even want to think about the number of drinks or calories I consumed.  Thank goodness I didn’t have this “by the numbers” idea earlier or else I really would turn into the guy from Supersize Me. Lol.

More importantly, though, I’m amazed at the number of things I was able to cram into one month… and the number of people I convinced to “play along.”  It was really a great experiment and I’m glad I did it.  I highly doubt 31 days of 31 are in my future, though :)

In case you missed them (or just want to relive the fun), here are the weekly recaps:

——————-

Notes on the Methodology

*Includes only people in “my party” and does not include repeats (i.e. if I had lunch with Lisa one day and happy hour another, she is only counted once).

**For this purpose a bar is defined as a place primarily for drinking whereas a restaurant is an eating establishment.  I chose to count them based on why/when I was there.  (i.e. Farren’s is a bar/restaurant, but I was only there for lunch, so it gets counted as a restaurant.)

*** This number is probably lower than it should be.  I counted an event as drinks if drinking was the primary purpose of the activity (i.e. happy hour). It’s more than likely that dinner was also consumed.

**** Again, possibly artificially deflated.  There may have been an Illini game on during a happy hour that I did not record as a “game watch”

30 Days of 30: Week 4, Part 2

Here’s the play-by-play of my actual birthday weekend:

Friday– Although I’d been drinking since Tuesday, I officially kicked off my birthday weekend with  Happy Hour at The Esquire with work peeps.    I was impressed by the turnout– Leslie, Steve,  Janet, Lisa, Paula, Paula’s Husband, Dave, and Andrew all came out.   Peggy was also there and came over to wish me a Happy Birthday– right before the first shot!!

It was Leslie’s day and she bought me a “Birthday Princess” Tiara (pink–which matched my shirt)  and a shot glass necklace (which matched my bracelet).  Here I am modeling my new gifts:

bday_tiara

After Esquire, we went to Bentley’s.  Lisa’s husband’s band was playing there, so we had to check it out.  Here’s a shot of “the girls” at Bentley’s:

bentleysAnd me doing my first “shot” out of the shot glass necklace (note: it’s a shot of beer… this is after a Rock Lobster/Red Lobster shot at Esquire)

beerWe drank a little more and then I headed home. It had been one hell of a week and I knew I had more festivities planned.  It was a great night. I really love my work friends.  Another successful “meeting” on the books!!

Saturday– 

Since Friday was a relatively early night, I was able to get some things done around the house on Saturday.   When I went to check my mail, I got the COOLEST SUPRISE… my mailbox was FULL…. of CARDS!!    At first I thought it was a mistake–that my doctor’s office or vet and accidentally sent me multiple cards or something.  And then I noticed that there was the same handwriting… on each of them.  And no return envelope.  

I tore open the envelopes and discovered that Tracy, Cynthia, and Julie had sent me 30 cards… for my 30th birthday!!    And all of them were different.  Yeah, they had to get creative a couple times… turning a “birthday boy” into “birthday girl”  and “congratulations” into “congratulations, you’re 30″ but it was great!   Coolest idea ever.

stack of cards--before they were opened

stack of cards--before they were opened

 

cards on display

cards on display

Saturday night was the big bowling extravaganza.  Once again, I was thrilled with the turnout:  Cory/Bobbi, Lindsey/Luke, Steph/Drew, Kim, Red, Jeff/Erin and the kids all came out.   And we had a BLAST.   I actually won the first game (well, on my lane) with a personal high of 122.  Yes, 122 was my personal record AND the winning score on my lane.  We’re clearly not professionals!   It was such a fun night and I have TONS of pictures (some I took, but mostly taken by Macie and Elyce).  Here are some highlights:

 

Circle Girls

Circle Girls

Cory and the chicks

Cory and the chicks

 

Red and I... fine as hell

Red and I... fine as hell

 

the obligatory self-portait

the obligatory self-portait

After bowling it was off to Rock’s to meet up with some boys.   They were there for a UFC fight, which –honestly– sucked the life out of me, but once it was over, the party was on!!    

 

Kfish showed up

Kfish showed up

And so did the Siemsens

And so did the Siemsens

 

Drew)

Clennon and Drew stopped by for a drink (Not pictured: Drew)

A SUPER fun night with many of my very favorite people!

Sunday–  Superbowl Sunday!!!   I gotta admit that after such a long week/weekend, I was a little spent.  I went to a Superbowl party at Ron’s and had a great time– good food, lots of drinks, lots of laughs.    We watched the game, got out the 3D glasses during the commercials, the boys played poker, etc.   But after the game was over, I CRASHED!  It wasn’t time to go home yet, so Ron let me sleep in the back room while everyone else continued hanging out.  Turning 30 will do that to you.

Monday–  My actual BIRTHDAY!!   I took off work, lounged around the house and hung out with Kyle most of the day.   We didn’t get going until after 2 in the afternoon, so we just had a late lunch and went to the mall.  OMG– I couldn’t believe how many stores have closed at the mall.  So sad.  After lunch, we piddled at the bookstore for a bit and then I went to O’Charleys to have dinner with my mom and he met his mom and step-dad for dinner.  

Since I had a late lunch, I wasn’t hungry and just got a side salad and a slice of chocolate (dare i say “birthday”) cake for dessert.   It was PHENOMENAL and HUGE!!  My mom got me a bunch of much-needed gift cards and my brother sent up a  “SO IL” hoodie.  It was perfect.

After dinner, I met Kyle back at my house and we went to see The Wrestler.  I liked it a lot… it was pretty much exactly what I expected. Plus, it had a killer late-80s hair metal soundtrack.   Shopping, eating, a movie– what a perfect day to spend my 30th bday.

So, folks— there you have it.  The 30 days of 30 experiment fully documented for your reading pleasure.   The 30 days aren’t officially over yet, though.  I’m heading to Chicago for the last leg of my birthday celebration.    I hope you all have enjoyed following my little experiment.