Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ugly Christmas Sweater

I want to make an Ugly Christmas sweater.
I've been to Ugly Christmas sweater parties and they are the coolest thing BECAUSE they are so ugly.

I found one at the Unique Thrift Store a couple of years ago but it's not ugly enough.  It has cute little cats in Santa hats.  

I've been to garage sales all summer and I am surprised that there weren't more Christmas decorations than what I saw.

I know it's only the end of August but one can never be too prepared.  I want to start getting the ball rolling now before I get too busy and then I won't have time.  So I want to pick your brains? Any ideas on how to go about making a Ugly Christmas Sweater?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dream Job

What makes a job fun and enjoyable?  Is it the people you work with?  Or what your job entails?

What makes a job dreadful and loath-able?  Is it the people you work with?  Or what your job entails?

Funny how both of these can either make or break it.

I've started thinking what would be my dream part time job.  Do I want to be stuck behind a cash register for 4-6 hours?  Been there, done that...twice.  Hated it at Menards.  Loved it at Snyders.

Could I do it again?  Probably, but I wouldn't LOVE it.  I don't like being stuck in a 5-feet radius.  I need to be able to wander around.  And after a while, customer service takes its toll.

Do I want to work retail?  I could fold sweaters all day long.  I'm anal retentive on how laundry gets folded, so I've already got the skills.  Again, I wouldn't LOVE it and its still customer service.

Do I want to be an independent consultant?  I'm not a sales person and would not consider myself motivated enough to make sales goals.  Also the idea of traveling to people's homes does not sound like fun.  I know some of you guys work Pampered Chef, Party Lite and Mary Kay.  It's just not for me.

Do I want to work as a waitress?  That's easy.  Hell no.  Pay is horrible.  Tips are okay.  And I'm done being yelled at my rude people.  Bar-tending wold be better tip wise.  I can open a bottle but the only think I know how to mix is a Malibu Diet.

But how cool would it be to work as a banquet server at a place like Majestic Oaks or The Earle Brown Heritage Center (although I wouldn't drive all the way over to Brooklyn Park).  I love weddings (♪ especially the reception part ♫) and would enjoy getting the table linens ready and decorating the tables with various centerpieces.  "Chicken or Beef?  Wine or Champagne?  Enjoy your meal."

The hours would be like Friday and Saturday nights and maybe Sunday mornings for brunches.  I'd look pretty snazzy in a crisp white top and a little black apron.  Yeah....dream job.  It could be hard work, but looks fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eat, Walk and Be Happy

I ♥ the Minnesota State Fair.  Although it's probably a good thing that it only comes around once a year and only lasts 12 days.

I went on Friday with my sister and 2 gals from work.  Our plan was to not have a plan.  We ate, walked and shopped.

We met at the Roseville Area High School at 8:30 am. and took the bus to the fair grounds...standing room only to and from.  We would arrive just as  all the buildings opened.  It's been a long time since I've been there that early.  I actually prefer going at night because there are less stroller and old people.  It was crazy to look down the street and see pavement instead of a sea of people.

Photo taken at 9 am.

Photo taken at 1 pm

Our first stop was at Axel's in the food building.  Nicole wanted to try the Breakfast Lollipop.  I got the Breakfast Burrito.  I would pass on both if I were you.  Gross gross gross!  I threw mine away after scraping out the eggs from the inside.  It kind of tasted like a really bad Beef Enchilada; much too spicy for 9 am.

We also shared the yummy French Fries and Cheese Curds.  Amy tried the new Teriyaki Chicken On-A-Stick.  I got to try a little piece...very flavorful, tender and hot (temperature wise).  Before we left, we stopped by the dairy building for malts.  You know what goes good with malts...Deep Fried Cookie Dough On-A-Stick!  So back to the Food Building we headed.  I looked like a corn dog and was delicious mixed with the ice cream but tummy-ache city.  I was done.  No more.  Nicole and I were so excited that we each wanted our own, but we should have shared.  We each threw out just under half of our Cookie Dough.

We walked through the Merchandise Building, the Grand Stand and the Coliseum.  The same old vendors as usual but there was still new things here and there.  I guess you could say that my sister and I have started our Christmas shopping.

Throughout the day we kept walking in circles and I was surprised to see something new: Heritage Square.  I have never been up there once.  It has a sneaky entrance and is tucked behind the Sky Rider.  It's like the Renaissance Festival, only with a Western theme.

We saw many people, but it was especially nice to run into familiar faces of family and friends.  Oh, and all the HOT fireman too.  It was Governor's Fire Prevention Day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

It's that time of year again.  I will attending the Minnesota State Fair on Friday with a bunch of girls from work.
In the past, I would go every other year but I am in the mood for really awesome French Fries so I say "why not".

Growing up, I would go with my mom, sister, aunt and cousin.  We would carpool together for free parking which is not offered anymore.  My mom and aunt would drag us to every single building and I would HATE it.  I despised the horticultural building.  How long can someone look at apples and bees?  The answer: too long for a 10-year-olds attention span.  And don't forget about the animal barns.  My mom and aunt grew up on a farm but I, however, did not.  That doesn't mean that my nose needs to catch up for all the smells that I'm missed out on. 
Machinery hill....I still don't care what a thrasher is for.  A tractor is a tractor whether it's John Deere or International Harvester.

When my cousin and I were around the age of 18, we went by ourselves.  No Parents Allowed.  We thought we'd be cool and do our own thing and not be dragged into places that contain blue ribbons.  Well, guess what.  We still did those things because that's what the state fair is all about.  Seeing the pies, quilts, paintings that won contests.  We went in the Grand Stand to see the Sham-Wow! guy and the steak knives that cut through steel.  BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT MAKES THE FAIR.

Because I was dragged everywhere I didn't want to go, I seems my mom and aunt were smart to not let us kids know that there was a water raft ride.  I discover that 4 years ago. 

I don't care what I see or don't see this year.  The plan is just walk around and people watch and eat.  But maybe I'll discover something that I didn't know was there and think..."why didn't I know about this sooner".  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Uncle Jim's Funeral

Friday night my sister and I headed Up North to our parents.  Saturday was my uncle's funeral.  After waiting 3 weeks, the time had finally come.  I had mixed emotions.  I was excited to see and spend time with my aunt and two cousins but dreading everything else that came with that.

I did okay throughout the visitation and service.  At S. Michael's Catholic Church, the cemetery is across the street so we all file out of church, crossed the road, walked through the gravel parking lot and down to his spot.  What I saw as we were walking towards the cemetery took my breath away.

I guess I knew that Uncle Jim was in the Navy and very active with the VFW in his hometown in California but I never registered that with having military representation at the burial.  We first passed 5 older retired gentlemen in Military dress with fun rifles at their sides and then further down by his final resting place were two younger guys in fancy formal Military attire.

I have never attending a military funeral before.  I've only seen it in the movies.  I don't want to say it was fun to see them, but it was something I've never experienced before.  It was amazing how silent we all got at the unfolding and refolding of the American flag.  I lost it when one of the soldiers went from being made of stone to having the gentlest eyes and kindest voice when he handed the flag to my aunt.  All i heard was "Ma'am..." but I wish I could have heard everything that he said in her ear.

And then there was the 3 shot gun salute.  That was cool too.  My cousins little boy (Mr. P is 18 months) broke the solemnness by saying "Uh Oh" after the first shot.  It put a small smile on my face.

After an emotionally draining morning, the rest of the day was quiet.  Sunday was more of the same; sitting around and visiting, listening and sharing stories of our everyday lives, playing cards, tossing a football, going for walks around the neighborhood and over to the park "looking for puppies" and eating food left over from the luncheon.

My mom had 5 ice cream buckets full of hot dish, 2 Tupperware tubs of sliced ham, 2 homemade loaves of buttered bread and tons of cookies and bars.  We had trouble finding enough refrigerator space for all of it.

Before everyone left to go back home on Sunday, we took pictures in the backyard.  One was of just the grandkids and great-grandkids (aka everyone under the age of 40) and one of my mom and her siblings and then a big group picture.  We were missing 3 people (an aunt/uncle and one cousin) but it's sad to know every picture from here forward will always be missing Uncle Jim.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Flat Tires

I just experienced my first flat tire Saturday night.  I just got done working my closing shift at the Y.  I always stick around to make sure that my coworker's car starts and then I put my car in drive and head home.  Except this time I heard the "flup flup flup".  My heart sank.

I missed the part on how to change a tire in driver's ed.  I remember being stuck standing in the back behind some tall dudes so I couldn't see a thing and the instructor went way too fast.  Plus, that was like 15 years ago.  You know, they really should have had a class called "Understanding How A Car Works For Girls".  Like I'm actually going to take a auto shop class with a bunch of big burly guys who know what a carburetor is for.  Looking back, that might not have been a bad idea (wink wink)!

I had my car manual out but it didn't give very good directions on how the process works.  So I had two options: Change my tire with the spare by winging it.  Or call my sister to pick me up and deal with this Sunday afternoon as it was 10:30 at night.  I was going to go with option number 2.  That was until the night maintenance guy came out to see what was wrong.  He saw me standing under the parking lamp.  So...he changed my tire for me.  I made sure to watch all the steps and to see his logic.  I am now comfortable changing a tire by myself if another situation should arise.

**So this is the part on where you learn from my mistakes.  Ladies....if you don't know how to change a tire....learn now.  If it's a boring Saturday afternoon and you have no plans to go anywhere, grab somebody who knows what they are doing (or Google it) and do it.  You'll be glad you did when the time comes and it's raining or snowing outside.**

Now that I had my car all fixed up, my next duty was to either buy a new tire or new my flat fixed.  It had something stuck in it.  Not a nail, more like an industrial strength paperclip or staple.  I knew that I still had them under warranty because I got them all in January 2010.  The Tires Plus I purchased them at changed franchises and the new place wouldn't honor my warranty.  So I headed to the next closest store which was at Northtown.  I brought my original receipt that stated my warranty clause: free flat repair, rotation and balancing for the life of the tires.

I walked out without paying a cent.  Even thought I did pay $50 for the warranty, it was a good decision.  It just paid for itself.  And I still have 3 other tires covered. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shopping Days

Well, my road trip to Hastings/Red Wing was put on the back burner.  I had planned on going this last Wednesday/Thursday/Friday but my parents decided take a little trip of their own to my house.  I don't get to see them as much as I would like so instead of ditching them, I stuck around.

On Thursday, I took my mom shopping for a new outfit for a wedding they will be attending at the end of the month.  We didn't have much success at JCPennies or Kohl's but the Dress Barn came through for us.  All that's left is shoes.

I don't have much storage space for shoes in my house.  When entering from the garage you are in a space called the laundry/bathroom/kitchen/pantry area.  Not an ideal place for clutter, so I purchase an over-the-door shoe rack for the basement door.  Shoe problem solved.  This allowed my mom to check out my many pairs of dress shoes.  One pinched her bunion.  Another hurt her hammertoe.  I loved that my mom was playing dress-up with MY shoes so I had just the pair for her to try on.  A 3-inch patent-leather pumps with the sexy POINTY toe.  She said that it looked like her feet were wearing elf hats.  Oh Mom!  She's so funny. 

On Friday I just purchased two new pairs of eyeglasses.  I've seen commercials for Back-To-School:  BOGO.   I'd like two for everyday and one for sunglasses.  I like the clip-on/ magnetics but at Valleyfair a couple of weeks ago, I almost lost my pair of magnetics on a roller-coaster.  Up went my arms and they bumped my glasses and one side popped off.  I would have been really sad if I had lost them. 

I can be picky when it comes to picking out glasses.  I looked at all the stores in Northtown but nothing really spoke to me.  My dad recently got new glasses from America's Best and said that I should check them out.  I fell in love with a pair of frames but I'm not so hot on the designer.  I don't even want to say what it is, but here's a hint.  It's logo is of a sexy feline and it's initials are usually spoken by a douchey-man describing an attractive women.  As for my sunglasses, they are made by Vogue.  Purple with some silver sparkly circles.

Hopefully I won't have to wait too long to get them.  I'm super pumped for my new spectacles.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Road Trip Brainstorming

I want to plan a trip for my next stretch of vacation days. 
I'm thinking of going south along the St. Croix:  Hastings, Red Wing.  I don't think I want to go all the way down to Wabasha though.

I've only driven through these towns once and I was half asleep.
I'm wondering if any of you have any recommendations on things to do in this part of Minnesota.

Do you know of a hidden boutique somewhere?  Or a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant?  Ever been to Treasure Island?

Someone mentioned the I could do a trip down on the MN side one day and coming back on the Wisconsin side the next.  If I did that, I would also need lodging.  Something cheap.  I don't need the honeymoon jacuzzi or kiddie pool.  Clean sheets and polite staff.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


In my last post, someone published a comment implying that I was racist.  This person, of course, published this comment under "Anonymous" because they don't have the courage to use their Google user-name.  But as the middle school saying goes....."Takes one to know one".

Reading that comment set the tone for my day.  And I've been thinking about it all day.  So lets talk about it because I need to get it all off my chest.  You, as my reader, don't need to agree with what I say or any of my beliefs.  That's why we are individuals. You can speak and think for yourself too.  Being politically correct is exhausting.  Even if you think you aren't prejudice, you are.

In my previous post, I said that I was going to "refrain for disclosing their ethnicity".  I guess that is where I went all wrong, because there were more than just one.  If my memory is correct, (it's been a long week) there were three total on the opposing team.  My ethnicity is included so I guess that means that I am prejudice against myself.  Funny!  I am not a white supremacists either.  I am an equal-opportunity befriender.

Here is a list of my prejudices. I am willing to admit them with my head held high.

I have a prejudice against cats.  I am NOT a cat person.  I think they are an ugly creature.  However, my best friends have cats, as does a close cousin.  I like cat-people, just not cats themselves.  I think that this is based on the fact that I am allergic to them.  Itchy throat, red puffy eyes, sneezing and stuffy nose.  I feel miserable just thinking about my symptoms.

I have a prejudice against Ford Motor Company.  I will NEVER own a Ford vehicle.  Growing up it was Chevy, Chevy, Chevy!  Even if they have superior quality, better gas mileage, and where the only American car company to not get bailed out my the US government, I don't care.  Chevy all the way baby!

I have a prejudice against Totino-Grace.  The rich, snobby kids that didn't give me a chance to be their friend in elementary and middle school went here.   They probably thought they were too good for public school.

I have a prejudice against Johovah's Witness.  They are pushy people that keep ringing the doorbell even though mom closes the blinds and makes me turn off the TV so they won't know we're home.  I also like celebrating my birthday.

I have a prejudice against Wisconsin.  I don't know why, I just do.  Maybe it's the whole Vikings vs. Packers thing even though I could care less about football.  I really should reconsider this because Wisconsin along the St. Croix is actually really beautiful.  How sad is this....I once turned down a date because he lived in Amery.  He wasn't "the one" so no biggie.

The two things (that's all I can think of at this moment) that I can say that I am in agreement with that others may not be are:

Abortion rights.  I think women should have the option to be pro-choice.  Let me explain.  I absolutely think that if a couple chooses to have sex WILLINGLY, both partners need to be prepared to have a child and be parents.  However, in the event that the women is NOT a willing participant, she shouldn't be forced to be reminded of that emotional and physical trauma for nine months.

Gay rights.  I do believe church and state should be separate.   As a Catholic, I understand that gay marriage isn't recognized by God.  But we live in the 21st century.  As a registered voter of Minnesota, I would support gay marriage if it was on a ballot.  They have the right for the ability to share health-care, to have their partner be a legal immigrant, to file joint taxes, to have joint parenting and adoption rights, and most important...being able to be listed as next-of-kin in the event of emergency medical decisions or death among others.