Archive for the ‘Loves’ Category

Vegas Finale

May 27, 2009

Time for my final bout of Vegas reminiscing.

By Thursday morning we were understanding why people say 2 or 3 days in Vegas is all you need. We were exhausted and probably overstimulated. We slept late and eventually found the motivation to get out on the strip and see what we hadn’t seen. We had a long day in front of us. We weren’t planning on sleeping until getting on the plane to leave at 6:30am!

We caught the Deuce bus down to the southern end of the strip. We got off at Excalibur and decided to start our wandering there. But first we needed food. We ate at the Excalibur buffet, which was cheap, but also pretty awful. They did, however, have corn dogs, which made up for the rest of the barely edible food.

The Excalibur decor is so 70s “Knightly” that it’s kind of awesome. Once we were done eating, we didn’t really stick around. But I did get a picture with my favorite spongy cartoon character. Nevermind where his eyes are…
spongebob

We walked on to the Luxor, which was also kind of 70s. Although, when we walked into the giant open pyramid, we were kind of blown away. We wandered around in there for a little while, appreciating the scenery. I love all things Egyptian, even the fake stuff, so I thought it was pretty cool.

We trekked on to Mandalay Bay, which was fabulously luxe. We gambled a bit here, but weren’t very lucky. David wanted to check out the Shark Reef, so we set out to find it. When you go looking for something like that, you realize how huge these places are. It felt like we were walking forever. We walked past the wedding chapel (OOOH!!) and business offices and convention halls and finally got there. We had decided that if it was $15 or less, we’d go explore. I think it was $17.95. But after walking all that way, we decided that was okay!

I’m glad we did. It was pretty cool! There were lots of aquatic animals, like fish and sharks, and even sea turtles! The sharks were awesome, and I really enjoyed the Komodo dragon and the jellyfish. Watching the jellyfish was like having a meditation session. It was a relaxing diversion from the craziness of the strip.
mandalay bay

By this time we were feeling exhausted and decided we should go back to the hotel to rest before our long night. We decided to check out two more places on that side of the strip. First was the MGM Grand, to see the lions. They were not that interesting. The set up is kind of cool, but they just laid there on top of the walkway. We guessed it had to be heated to keep them up there.

We did stop in the M&M store, and were underwhelmed. We skipped the rest of the shops and hotels and tried to avoid the “porn slappers” on our way to the Paris. Those who have been to Vegas probably know what I mean by that term. The (probably illegal immigrant) men and women who stand on the edge of the sidewalk and offer you escort trading cards, for lack of a better term. They are thick cards and they slap one down on the pile in their hand and it makes this incredibly loud slapping noise. I actually found it pretty amusing. They aren’t too bad. If you don’t reach for a card, it’s not like they hound you to take one. The best was a row of about 20 of them right before an intersection. Standing on the corner was a street preacher, talking about how God will save us and to turn away from sin. Um, dude? Wrong town…

The second best thing was this family. Walking down a very crowded sidewalk that was already narrowed by construction barriers. We could NOT get around them for the longest time. It was incredibly irritating, so rather than going into a crazed rage, we made fun of them, right behind their backs,  wondered why someone would take so many small children to Vegas, and imagined potential embarrassing conversations related to all the adult visuals. Please note the escort-card strewn ground and the downward-tilted heads of the little boys.
family
Yes, she is pushing a doublewide stroller. Errrgggghhhhhh.

I’ve never been to Paris, but it is high on my list of places I must go before I die. I imagine it is quite different than this casino, but it was pretty cool! It had a lot of the sky-painted-ceiling going on and occasionally you could catch wisps of French music floating through the air. We did not pay to go up the Eiffel Tower, but looking at it from outside was pretty impressive.
eiffel tower

We played slots here too, and did pretty well. Then we lost it all on the big nickel Wheel of Fortune slot game right by the entrance. We thought “ooh, it’s by the entrance, we should win a lot to entice people to come in.” That seemed to be true for everyone else playing, but we burned through about $40 in just a few minutes. Le sigh.

After that, we caught the bus back to our hotel to give our aching feet a rest. I think David took a nap and I took a long, warm shower. It felt great and left me refreshed enough to get dressed and face our long last night.

We got dressed up and went right to the Bellagio to pick up our tickets for “O.” Our show was at 10, and it was already around 8:00, so we didn’t have a ton of time to wander too far. Fortunately, the Bellagio is so amazingly gorgeous. Just walking in stunned us, especially David, who is a huge fan of Dale Chihuly, the creator of this foyer ceiling:
chihuly

I neeeeeded to see the fountains, but we also needed to eat. Throwing caution to the wind and ignoring our budget, we got in line to eat at the Bellagio Buffet. The line was long, and after waiting for many minutes, we started to get anxious. Would we have time to eat? Would we miss the fountains before our show? We almost left the line. I know we wouldn’t have known what we missed out on, but the idea of not eating that meal is so sad!

Seriously, eat at the Bellagio Buffet. I have never seen so much amazing food in one place. We stuffed ourselves silly. I tried anything and everything that looked good. I ate sushi and pesto mashed potatoes and roasted lamb and sea bass and veal and tiny individual ramekins of mac & cheese and the list goes on. And that doesn’t include dessert. I almost fainted when I looked at the dessert counter. Hundreds of tiny, perfect, delicate pastries, cakes, pies and chocolate creations looked back at me. I couldn’t help but sample a healthy portion of those, too! I was so full that it hurt, but it was so worth it. Let me just say this. We finished eating around 9pm on Thursday night. I didn’t eat again until Saturday afternoon. I didn’t feel the need.

Afterwards, we rolled ourselves out to watch the fountains. This is when it really hit me that we’d be leaving this place. The fountains were magical. I cried. I could have stood there for hours, just watching and thinking about this crazy city, in the middle of the desert. It’s like the modern Brigadoon. Things happen here that are totally surreal, and you won’t really be able to explain to people back home! Or maybe you just don’t want to explain…
bellagio fountains

The view of the strip was gorgeous, especially the Paris.
paris at night

We eventually made our way back inside, full of anticipation for our BIG BUDGET show. So in reality, we got “obstructed view” seats for less than $100 a piece. Do this. We were a couple feet away from seats that cost $50 more than ours, and it really was not obstructed at all. There was a railing that might have gotten in the way, sort of. It didn’t matter in the slightest.

Here’s a random picture I snuck before the show started. This is a weird chandelier thing on the ceiling. I knew it would be used in the show. I was right.
O

WOW. O. What an amazing show. It’s weird and gay and French Canadian, but it was SO AWESOME!!! I couldn’t even speak afterwards. The stage was incredible (it turns into a POOL!!!) and the performers were mind blowing. I haven’t seen any other Cirque shows, but I can’t really imagine anything better than this. I would even see it again in a heartbeat. It was breathtaking. I can’t even fathom the work that went into this. And how do you even come up with that kind of stuff?! Wow.

So it felt like the night was over when we left, but it was only around midnight. We had over 4 hours before we had to be at the airport! I wanted to be “daring” and play some quarter slots at Bellagio. I finally found some and even found this cascading slot that we liked a lot. I think it was called “All That Glitters.” I put $20 in and was blown away by how fast it almost disappeared. But it didn’t and I ended up tripling my money! That was exciting, though it just made me want to play MORE! Thankfully I had level-minded David with me, and he got me out of there.

We walked through New York NY, though we didn’t get to do the roller coaster (next time!). The streets were really cool! We played some slots, continuing with our average luck. I wish we could have gotten back to the Venetian, but we went again to visit the Encore and Wynn. The Encore is just as opulent as the Bellagio, but it still feels slightly less cool, maybe because it’s so new. We played a bunch of slots here, wandering between the two, and looking for luck.

I really wanted to try out Roulette, so we decided to leave and head over to Slots-a-Fun, our last stop before heading to the hotel to pack up. I just wasn’t brave enough to get into a table game! I know dealers are nice and if I was confused about something, they’d help me out, but I just didn’t want to seem like a total novice. So I chickened out and played Star Wars penny slots. David and I got on machines next to each other, and mine was hot! I turned $5 or $10 into $30! I wanted to play a different game, so I hit cash out. Apparently S-a-F hasn’t caught onto the “high tech” ticket approach to cashing out (which I love, by the way) so instead I got $30 worth of nickels pouring out of my machine. It was kind of obnoxious, but it was also kind of cool! There aren’t many places you can get that anymore!

We played a little more and finally decided to head back to our hotel. We packed up and caught a cab to the airport at about 4:30am. We were exhausted, but something about the air in Vegas after midnight had kept us going.

We had a moment of awesome hope in the airport when our flight had been overbooked. We volunteered to change our flight if they could get us a direct flight to Milwaukee. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. The travel home was fairly miserable. I don’t remember much about it at all, except that I puked on the plane. I hate that. And the flight attendant made me feel totally bad and embarrassed about it.

We got home around 3pm Friday, Milwaukee time, and pretty much went right to bed and slept until around 11 on Saturday. We even slept through our midnight show!! We felt bad about that part, but the sleep was awesome.

So Vegas is an amazing city. I don’t feel the need to rush back, but I would love to visit again. It would be great to spend another couple days there and have some time to relax and see things that we missed. I know, however, that I can’t go back without having some serious cash to spend. Sure it’s fun to look at and do the free stuff, but I am drawn to the expensive excitement and glamour! David and I had a great time, and it was a totally awesome way to celebrate his golden birthday.

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Love

December 12, 2008

kitchen-aid

Hello Winter

November 11, 2008

Even though temperatures were in the 70s less than a week ago, I think I am ready for winter. Winter was always my favorite season. Now that I’m an adult (Ha, kind of…) it has lost a bit of its luster. But only a tiny bit! Snow is not as magical because I have to shovel it and drive in it, but it’s still pretty fantastic. Lets just say that I’m not dreading the first white ground covering.

Good bye Halloween, perhaps my second most favorite holiday.
IMG_2950

I don’t remember if I bragged about these yet, but these are Vampire Cupcakes. Perfect for Halloween. Or, sigh, your crazy “Twilight” movie watching parties.
IMG_2908

I’m not going to talk about my favorite holiday yet, because I don’t do that stuff until the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, I’m actually kind of starting early because I am going to bake tons of cookies for gifts. And eating. And that stuff has to be done in advance, especially since I will be in a show this December!

My other favorite holiday is, of course, my birthday. Which is EXACTLY ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!!!!! Wow. Kind of scary. The number is… well, young, I know. But I will officially be in my mid-twenties. And that freaks the crap out of me! Not because I’m “old” but because I feel like I should be more grown up by this age, and be more accomplished, and blah blah blah.

I’m less concerned now with presents than I was a month ago, because now my number one wish is to go on a ski trip with some friends to Indianhead Mountainin mid January. AND I am planning on getting my season rental this week! It is really more than I should spend, but I’m giving up an awesome and expensive birthday dinner for it. Maybe we’ll go out for apps and drinks at Cubanitas instead…

I just thought I’d post this on here. My wishlist is almost exclusively baking stuff, which is kind of funny. But I neeeeeeeed it!
My Amazon.com Wish List

So YES, bring it on winter!!

Sunday Afternoon Baking

October 13, 2008

75 degrees in October? Not really an ideal day for slaving away inside over a hot stove, but somehow it was just perfect for me. There was a beautiful breeze blowing through the open window and warming rays of sun shining in on me. Heaven!

David and I went to church (two weeks in a row!!) and then went grocery shopping (including Trader Joe’s!!) to pick up stuff for today. I got these great curry chicken tenders from Trader Joes for lunch. Yummy! After a relaxing lunch while watching Heroes (OMG!!), I retreated to the kitchen to bake before the Packer game started.

Saturday afternoon David and I went apple picking with some friends at Barthel Fruit Farm. It was a little warm for my usual apple picking “uniform” (hooded sweatshirt for protection from scratchy trees and pockets for carrying apples down from a ladder) but I’m really not going to complain about beautiful weather in October.

Golden Delicious apples had just ripened and the trees were full. I was also able to pick a couple Spartans and Jonathans and a handful of Cortlands. Of course I had to sample.

So, armed with freshly picked apples, I knew I had to bake something to use some of them up, because there’s no way we can eat 10 pounds of apples before they go bad! I chose a recipe from Annie’s Eats blog, of Apple Pie Cupcake fame. These were Apple Crumble Bars. Kind of like apple pie, but in bar form.

I took a little liberty with the recipe. It’s a little scary to play with base ingredients in baked goods, but I made some simple substitutions and additions, and it turned out great. Click on that link above for her recipe and instructions, but here’s what I did…

Apple Crumble Bars
Ingredients:
For the base:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill. Regular whole wheat flour would work too, but sift it)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:
Approximately 5 cups of peeled, cored, and chopped apples
5 tbsp. sugar (can substitute 1 or 2 tbsp. with brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh squeezed!!)
1/4 cup fruit jam (I used a low-sugar strawberry preserves from Trader Joe’s)

For the topping:
1/2 cup flour (I used a half cup measuring cup, and filled it about 2/3 with all-purpose flour and 1/3 with whole wheat pastry flour)
3 tbsp. sugar (I substituted 1 tbsp. with Maple Sugar from The Spice House)
4 tbsp. butter, softened

I still used the same preparation method from Annie’s Eats recipe.

Her recipe called for 4 medium sized apples. I had to guess at this one, because most of my tarty apples (Spartan, Jonathan) were very small. So I used a whole bunch of apples, and it was about 5 cups when they were peeled and chopped, and that covered the 8X8 pan pretty well.

These get cooked down with the sugar and cinnamon. I sprinkled a little of that Maple Sugar in there too. Then the slurry of lemon juice and cornstarch is added. If you don’t have one of these adorable little wisks, a fork would work too. 😉

Next is the base. It’s super easy and doesn’t need a mixer (a bonus for me, since I don’t have one). I used a fork and my fingers because I don’t even have a pastry blender. Just keep blending the butter until the consistency looks like breadcrumbs.

This is then pressed into the foil-lined pan. I didn’t press too hard, but I didn’t let it stay crumbly either.

This is then baked, and the jam is spread on, topped by the apple mixture while it’s still warm.

The topping looks pretty similar to the base, and when it’s all combined, it’s poured on the top of this deliciousness and baked. I added a little more maple sugar and cinnamon to the top before putting it back into the oven.

It comes out golden brown and delicious. Be sure to let it cool for a while before cutting into it, because the crust and topping are very soft at first.

I put mine in the fridge for a little bit to really firm up the crust. I found it easiest to eat with a fork and plate, but the crust is sturdy enough to pick up by hand. Just cut the pieces small!

It would be great with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but David and I dug in with a tall glass of milk, and it was still delicious.

Try it! Yum!!

Four Years Ago

October 1, 2008

I started dating this goofy guy. I didn’t want to be in a relationship, and I wasn’t sure where it would go. We hung out and were friends, but I wasn’t thinking about the future. How that all changed, I’ll never know, but I remember the week that I fell head-over-heels in love with him. I don’t know how it happened, but at the start of the week, I was scared, worried, cautious. At the end of the week, late on a Friday night, he asked me again.

“Will you be my girlfriend?”

My heart was bursting with “YES!!!” and my mind finally let me forget all the fears and questions I had and I actually said it.

The last four years have not been all puppies and rainbows, but it’s been pretty close. We talk about EVERYTHING and I think that will get us through the next 40 years. And then some.

It’s amazing to feel just as passionately in love now as I did then. I feel like I’m still in that “honeymoon” stage, especially when we’re cuddled up close to each other. I know, it’s terribly sappy, but it’s true. We have brought out the best in each other and pushed one another to grow and try new things. It’s great!

The most recent example of that: David suggested we go get sushi tomorrow to celebrate. Because HE WANTS IT!!! Finally! So tomorrow we’ll be exploring sushi at Japanica. Yummy!

And now, to make this a little less sappy, here are some pictures.

From the first year of our relationship. I think this was around Christmas. When my blonde hair still looked okay.

From cutesy and dorky (we coordinated his tie with my dress):

To the skanky and retarded. Sorry, this picture had to be posted.

From the scary faces…

To the silly faces…

And the silly moments

And all the laughter

And love…

I can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world. We’ll take on the future together. And it’ll be awesome.

Dreams

September 25, 2008

First off, I’m not going to forget to do this. I was given my second blog award (I am totally lame and forgot to blog about the first one) by Ginesa.

I have to thank her, because if anyone’s blog is encouraging, it’s hers! We found each other, thanks to the internets, and have enjoyed cheering each other on in our weight loss journeys. She is doing GREAT! Not only is she losing weight, but she’s training for a race and doing a kickass job on her runs. Plus she has an adorable daughter who just turned one, and posts pictures often. Yay babies!!

Okay, now that I have remembered to write about that…

I had a dream a couple months ago about a bakery. I’m unclear as to whether I owned it, or was just a customer. It could best be described as a dessert bar. It was decked out in black and pink and had a modern, yet whimsical and a not-too-girly feeling to it. Kind Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. It was in a part of town that was part nightlife/part college area. Although it happened to look just like this street of gay bars that I visited in Thailand.

There were big comfy couches and booths where groups of young adults picked off large trays of gourmet goodies. Fancy versions of youthful desserts like Oreos, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Twinkies, and other treats like cookies and cupcakes. It was like a cafe, where people could come in, hang out, study, work, chat, and eat delicious desserts. Or they could place orders to go. It was cool. And it was open late.

I awoke with the insane urge to open this place.

A couple days after this dream, a coworker talked to me about a thought she had about opening a “Wonka Bar.” She had just seem us perform in “Willy Wonka” and had this idea of opening a bar that served candy-themed drinks. It fit in perfectly with my dessert bar idea. It could be called the “Candy Bar” and could serve all kinds of delicious desserts along with yummy drinks.

Just a couple weeks ago, after dinner with my dad and sister for her 13th birthday, we wanted to go get dessert. I racked my brain for places to get dessert, near downtown. We had just come from a restaurant. We didn’t want to go into another one just to order dessert. Kopp’s custard was far away. We didn’t want to go to a grocery store to get cupcakes and eat them in the car. We settled for gelato from Whole Foods. But eating gelato in a car on the way home was not the perfect way to end the night (though close, because Whole Foods’ gelato is yummy).

I started thinking, does Milwaukee really not have a cool place to go get dessert? Shouldn’t we have one? We have plenty of awesome bakeries, but those require planning and forethought. What if I want to GO OUT for dessert, at 9:00 at night? The closest thing I can think of is at the InterContinental, where you can order up some chocolate truffles or petit fours at $2 a pop. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for.

So now I’ve had this thought, this dream, of opening up a “dessert bar” in Milwaukee. I’m not the best baker, but I would learn. I’m pretty good, and if I had the time, I think I could develop quite a nice talent. But running a bakery? I don’t know… It sounds like a good idea sometimes, but then I think about all the potential problems.

How would I get started? Where would I find money/space? Would I be able to sell stuff? What about equipment? What about health insurance? What about health codes and regulations? What about the potential of financial ruin? What if no one thinks it’s as cool as I do? And so on…

I keep thinking about working towards it, though. Maybe devote my weekends to baking. Learning about it and trying out new recipes. I have a couple friends who own theatres. Maybe they would let me sell some treats on show nights. Maybe I could develop a small following. Maybe I could start a by-order-only business, and then hope for it to grow. Maybe… what if… what about…

I don’t feel like I’m cut out for the 8-5 job that I’m in right now. My creativity is stifeled. I need more. I want more. I deserve more. I wish I could jump into this RIGHT NOW. But I have to step back and think. Maybe I can go to MATC and get my associates business degree. I hear that gives you some good entrepreneurial information, and it wouldn’t take half a lifetime to finish. Maybe in five years, I can really start something. Or maybe in five years I’ll think it’s even more foolish than I do now.

And it’s time for my favorite Disney quote. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast sings,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”

What Is Important

September 11, 2008

On this, the SEVEN year anniversary of the attack that brought down the twin towers, I can’t help but feel a little different. I can’t help but think about what I’m doing and what is truly important to me.

Also, I still can’t think about that day without losing my breath and tears forming in my eyes. I didn’t know anyone who was injured, or worse, that day, but my heart just breaks for those who were, and the families that are still reeling from the events.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when I found out, or how that day felt. I remember watching the coverage in the evening, sitting alone at the kitchen table, trying to do my math homework. I remember my mom keeping my (then 6-year old) little sister in the den, with the TV on PBS, because they were running the normal after-school cartoons. I remember feeling lucky and grateful that my dad’s flight to New York City was scheduled to leave at around noon that day, rather than the early morning flights he was usually on. I remember crying, a lot.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. If anything can be gained from this, let it be that the empathy and spirit of Americans can continue, and we can save and use the best parts of ourselves from those days. Patriotism is not liberal or conservative and neither is compassion. It’s human.

Confronted with our mortality, what is important to us? If we were to die tomorrow, would we be happy with what we’ve done and what we have?

I know that I am not ready to leave this earth. I still have a lot of life to live and a lot to figure out, but I do know that I feel confident in what I’m trying to do and where my priorities are.

  1. Love
    It wasn’t hard for me to realize that love is the single most important thing to me. And because of this, I am SO happy and SO grateful that I have the most amazing person to love, and to love me back. As long as I have that, life can never be too terrible.
  2. Family
    My family is extremely important to me. I’m so happy that we’re all so close. As I grow, I feel their love and support behind me even more. I’m not totally and completely 100% sold on having a family of my own. But I think I will, and the idea really excites me.
  3. Career
    Here’s where I’m stuck. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I was foolish for not finishing college when the opportunity was practically handed to me on a silver platter. As a result, I sometimes feel hopeless. I have a good, steady job that pays the bills, but it’s not where I see myself forever. But I don’t know where I see myself forever. I love theater, but am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not good enough to make a living of it out there. That hurts, but I have to be honest and realistic. I love photography and I love baking, but I don’t think I know enough about either to run with the idea at this point in time. Going back to school for a degree in business would be the easiest option, but all I can do with that degree would be to hope to end up somewhere, and doing something, that I love. At 23, I know I have plenty of time to figure things out, but I’m frustrated in not having any great ideas at the moment.
  4. Money
    Let’s face it, money is important to most people. I can’t live without money. I would like to have more money. I would like to be able to pay off my debt and go to college and travel and have a wedding and a house and kids… but I would not trade money for any of the first three items on my list, and especially not the first two. As long as I have those, I know I’ll be okay.
  5. Cake
    While not a traditional basic need, as long as there is cake in this world, there is good in this world. I speak the truth.

If anything else is gained from the memory of this date, I hope it is that everyone can be reminded of what really matters.

Sunday Love

August 25, 2008

I have been needing a Sunday like this for a long time. It was a little bit of heaven that will keep me going through the week. David and I have been pretty busy lately, and haven’t been able to spend much quality time with each other. I can never get enough, but this weekend was pretty awesome for our couple time.

Sunday was almost magical. Simple, but wonderful.

David and I had been out late the night before, and so we slept in. It was noon before we were heading out the door. We (David) had made up a game relating to Obama’s Vice Presidential pick. Who he picked would determine what we would do. For example, if he had picked Sebelius, we would have rented a paddleboat down by the lake. If he somehow picked Clinton, we would have had to go to Great America! He picked Biden, and so we were supposed to build a fort in our living room, have an indoor picnic in there, and watch a scary movie.

Well, upon walking out to the car, I decided it was way too nice out to spend the day inside. I said we should have our picnic outside, by the lake. David didn’t seem over the moon about the idea, but he agreed. We decided to build our fort next weekend and watch a scary movie. We figured we’d drive to Whole Foods and buy our entire picnic lunch from there. Pricey? Yes, but delicious.

We wandered the aisles, tasting samples, and trying to pick which goodies to fill our cart with. When we tried some barbecued beef brisket, we knew we had to get those sandwiches. We steered our cart through the rest of the store, picking up grapes, Terra Crinkles Garlic Mashed potato chips, a tiny $3 piece of 10 year Wisconsin aged cheddar, a couple iced teas, and the best “healthy” cookies I’ve ever tasted, Grace’s Best Sunflower Seed Cookies.

From there, we drove down to the lakefront to look for the perfect picnic spot. We wanted to be a little secluded, and we needed some shade. The lakefront was pretty crowded, and where it wasn’t, it was smelly. We took a turn up towards Lake Park Bistro, thinking we’d find a spot at the top of the hill, overlooking the lake. Instead we made a right, towards the baseball diamond and big picnic areas. It was practically deserted.

We popped the trunk, hoping we had some sort of blanket back there (when we left the house, we weren’t really sure what we were doing, and so we didn’t prep at all). We had a sleeping bag and a big beach towel/blanket. We walked to a big tree in the middle of the grass and spread out our blankets. The sleeping bag gave us a little cushion against the ground.

This is when the magic really started. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was peeking through the branches of the tree, warming us, and a cool breeze kept us from getting hot. Our food was so delicious. We ate our sandwiches, and snacked on the rest while David read to me. He started reading the book Ender’s Game out loud to me a couple weeks ago. I had always meant to read that book, but never got around to it. So far, it’s pretty great! We stretched out on our blankets and I relaxed as his words poured over me. It was fantastic.

Except for ONE thing.

The spiders. There were several of them throughout our stay in the park. I was laying on my back, my head propped up on an extra blanket, and I saw movement. I looked down, and there was a SPIDER. ON MY BOOB. Sweet baby Jesus. I screamed about it and David was kind enough to remove it. Ick!! I hate spiders, and am terrified of them. I know I was out in THEIR territory, but any spider that came onto our safe haven of civilization, was quickly removed. Fortunately, after boob spider, none were quite as shocking.

Other than THAT, it was just awesome. Time seemed to stand still for us. David read a couple chapters to me, and we lay around, talking and holding hands and smiling. It was sick, really. There was hardly anyone near us. It was like we were in our own little world. We even moved the blanket so that my side was in a patch of sun, and his side was in the shade. I cuddled in his “nook,” in the sun, as he finished one last chapter for me.

When we finally decided we should get going, it was only just after 3:00. What?! We had only been there for a couple hours. It felt like so much longer, in the best possible way. It felt like time had slowed down, so we could enjoy hours and hours with each other, without the whole day being gone.

In the last 20 minutes or so of us laying there, a family had come to the picnic tables nearby. A mom, dad, a boy of about 10, and an (I’m assuming) adopted girl of about 4. I watched them as Dad ran around with the kids, playing frisbee. He and his son were teaching the daughter how to throw it and catch it. I saw her make a catch and she ran around cheering about it. David and I watched them play as we walked back to our car, arm in arm. It was one of the most adorable moments I’ve seen. I may have gotten a little teary eyed, thinking about taking our future family to a park for a late summer picnic. Of course we don’t know what our plans are for kids yet, but I can imagine us having a family that looks very similar to that one.

To anyone else, it was just a picnic. To us, it was the best day we’ve had in a long time.

The rest of the day was nice, but the memories of those couple hours will be with me for a long time. While curled up in bed, David asked me a question. We have been having some religious discussions for a while. He is very much NOT religious, but has been feeling that he wants to believe in something. I’ve been telling him about the things that I believe. Especially about heaven. He asked if that was what heaven was like. I thought about the love and warmth and peace that I felt out there. Yes, minus the spiders, yes, that is what heaven is like.

Blarg

August 15, 2008

I think maybe I’m dehydrated. I just realized that the only thing I’ve had to drink today was a sugar-free vanilla latte from Caribou this morning. Perhaps that’s why I’m feeling totally emo and panic-attack-y?

I forgot I took these pictures, and thought I’d share them because they bring a smile to my face. David went out and got soup and pudding for me to eat after my root canal.

And this:

He said it was the best they had at a grocery store. It is pretty silly, but it brought as much of a smile to my stroke-face as was possible. And it still makes me smile. It’s the little things.

Cake

June 12, 2008

Cake is my favorite food.

And I really want some RIGHT NOW. I would give almost anything for a rich, dense, hunk of vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I can almost taste it. I want it so bad, it almost hurts.

I’m about to leave for my lunch-break work out. Rain is about to start pouring on us, and I thought about not going, because I’m wearing suede shoes. But I have to do something other than sit here and fantasize about cake, because no good can come of that. Especially when my lunch will be a piece of string cheese and an Atkins “Chocolate Shake.”

Sigh. Cake.