Sunday, September 25, 2011

Destination: Duluth

Starting on Thursday, I've had a 4-day vacation.  You might not know my schedule...why would you.  I have a couple of days off each month.  Last month I tried to do a road trip to Hastings but that fell through because my parents came into town.  I'm getting restless just spending my time off at home.   I make plans to do stuff around the house but I just get unmotivated and it's either accomplished halfway or not at all. 

And the last thing I want to do on my vacation is work at my part-time job.  In the last 25 days of September, I have worked every day EXCEPT for only 5 days.  Besides this week's 4 day vacation (I'm working tonight for someone because I'm nice and really....there's no one else who's willing to help her out), two of these 5 days allowed me to go to the Little Falls Craft Show and to Wisconsin (if only for 14 hours).

Sorry...I'm getting off topic with my rampage.

Vacation...oh, yes....I wanted to set out of dodge.  Do something out of Julie's normalcy.  How about Duluth?  It's the end of September.  Fall began a couple of days ago.  The leaves are starting to change.  It's the perfect time to go.  So on Saturday morning, my sister and I gassed up the car, got cash out of the ATM and were on our way.

Side-note: The leaves weren't that great in Duluth.  However, the miles north and sound the Hinkley had the best reds and oranges.

Last year, I wanted to go to Duluth but wasn't able to make it work.  The major attraction that I wanted to do...Spirit Mountains Alpine Coaster
This is the entrance to the Timber Twister.
It's an easy cart to control with hand brake!  You control how fast OR slow you go.  Tip:  Faster is more fun but slower you can appreciate the scenery.
We're ready to rock-n-roll!
At the end, a conveyor belt brings you back to the top. 
My view as I head back to the top of the mountain.
This is what's behind me.  Beautiful!

They had a zip line too.  Sure, why not?
The view from standing in line.  Gorgeous.
Getting strapped in.
Oh, $h!+.

The zip line was scarier standing in line than actually doing it because you saw all the people go ahead of you.  Some screamed, some giggled.  It was a 50 second ride.  Twenty seconds down and 30 seconds back to the top.  Only one person/pair can go at a time since there's only one line and it's down and back up.  I'm glad to say I did it, but the coaster was more fun.

We were here for about and hour and then we headed into downtown Duluth's Canal Park.  We toured the USS William A. Irvin museum.  I've never been on a ship before and this was pretty cool.  You got to see the engine room, the galleys, the cargo hold, the living quarters for guests and crewman, and the captains deck.  I thought it was just grounded and the anchors in the ground were just for looks.  But it's actually floating in Lake Superior and chains and ropes are keeping it harbored.

Afterward, we had lunch and did some shopping on S Lake Ave and Canal Park Drive.  It was getting late in the afternoon, so it was either head back home or get a motel.  We decided to head back home and sleep in our own beds.

Looking back there's so much more that we could have done and you need more than a day to do it.  I will most definitely be making lodging accommodations next time.  But it was still a perfect way to spend a crisp fall Saturday.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shirt Repeater

It's time to get dressed.

Today is a day off of work so I went out for an early workout and I always come home to shower.
As I was finishing my hair, I was thinking about what shirt I was going to wear.
I have plans of housework and errands.  Nothing too fancy or dingy.

I rummage through a pile of clothes (a neat pile I might add) in my bedroom and I think back to a line that Adam Braverman said to his father on "Parenthood".  It was something about Crosby wearing the same shirt two days in a row.  "That's gross...unless you're working out."

I believe the opposite to be true.  I'm a repeat shirt wearer.  Why launder a perfectly good shirt and wear down the fabric and screen printing?  Maybe it's the frat boy inside of me but sometimes I do the smell test if it's been more than a couple of days.  But any hint of odor and in the hamper it goes.

Now my outfit for working out, I launder that every single time.  To put back on yesterday's sweaty clothes gives me the willies.  It makes me feel dirty and yucky.  Socks, undergarments, pants,'s fresh every day.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quickest Vacation Ever

Sixteen hours....the perfect-summer-coming-to-an-end vacation.

My best friend, L, and her family rented a cabin in Dansbury, WI and they invited me to tag along.
Unfortunately, I had to work all week.  However, I did make the 2 hour drive Friday night after work to spend a night on Bass Lake. 

I got lost a little bit in Wisconsin, twice actually.  But I made it just in time to see the lake before dusk and then see the moon rise up over the horizon.  I also had my first chili dog, which was accompanied by roasted corn on the cob.  Oh, and s'mores and mixed drinks while sitting (and dancing) by the campfire. 

The morning came too quickly and it was time to come back home.  I wanted to away from the freeway as long as possible.  How can 75 mph be too slow for the fast lane??  So I took the scenic route to Grantsburg.  I guess it has a famous dairy building where you can get delicious ice cream but somehow I missed it.  I was through Grantsburg before I knew I was even in it.  Oh well. 

Her family is so gracious and welcoming.  They made me feel like I was one of the bunch even though I was the outsider.  They said that next time they go on vacation, I need to be there longer than sixteen hours.  I agree.

Even though it was short, it was perfect.  Even though it was 54 degrees, it was perfect.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Movie Monday

Date of Viewing: Monday, September 12, 2011
Method of Viewing: Redbox
Familiar faces:  Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Rachel Dratch
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Let's start off by me saying that I don't like Adam Sandler's movies.  Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore are not my kind of comedies.  I'll lump them with Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber.

But I saw this preview and it actually looked entertaining. 
So glad I rented it.  Super funny!

Jennifer is a perfect match to play opposite Adam.  The story line was cute: pretend to be my soon-to-be-ex-wife to make my girlfriend jealous.  As the lies keep getting twisted, the characters that surround this couple get hilarious and ridiculous. 

Look out for Rachel Dratch as she visits Adam's character's plastic surgery office.  Eick!  And the lady that makes her own bra because her girls are two different sizes: B cup and DD cup.  Wouldn't that be embarrassing. 

Nicole Kidman has many more scenes than Rachel, but I don't know if comedy is right for her.  She was a little awkward, but I went with it as the title goes.

This was NOT the movie I was expecting.  It was better!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ER -vs- Craft Fair

It's the weekend after Labor Day.  That means its time for the Little Falls Craft Fair.

It was last minute plans to head Up North.  Mom was going to be home alone because Dad was heading "up to the 40" to do "yard work".  To translate, this means playing with big boy machinery in the woods.

We headed out early Saturday morning.  Our thoughts were to get there when it was still cool. my @$$.  It was so hot you thought I just got done running a marathon.  And it was crowded.  By the end of 2 hours, I was done apologizing for running into or hitting other people.  Minnesota nice time was over.  And I didn't want to be apologized to either.  Just bump me and walk away.  I asked for it just be being present.

I didn't have anything specific in mind.  I did have a shopping list for a coworker which I was successful at completing.  One of the last booths we were at before heading to the car was dips and soups.  We dunked our pretzel sticks into various dips to sample them.  I had a soup's official...I'm not a soup person. 

But my mom must have had a reaction to something she ate because her lower lip got swollen.  First just a little puffy on her left side.  When we got to the car 15 minutes later, even more so and the right side just a little.  We headed to the Pizza Ranch....YUM!...for lunch and by the time we were done it was time to make the decision on whether to go home or to Urgent Care.  Her lip was now smooth and shiny and deep purple/red.  And her arms were itching with welts and her hairline from ear to ear looked like little mosquito bites.  The more she itched the bigger they got.

We thought as long as we were in town that we should just go.  You don't mess around with facial swelling.  If we had gone home, it'd be 20 minutes for the ambulance to get there, and then a 20 minute ride to the hospital back in Little Falls.  At least we right here and get it checked out before it got even worse.

Mom was admitted and we spent 2 1/2 hours there.  We had nothing better to do. 
Hives is what they thought so she got Benedryl and steroids.  But from what??  Medication reaction?  Food allergy?  Sun reaction?
The itching stopped and the swelling went down.  Still a little swollen this morning but tons better.

To make light of the situation, I told my mom that some women pay a lot of money to get plump lips.  She tried to smile, it didn't work so well.  And it was funny to hear her try to say words that started with b's or p's. 

Even though we took her condition seriously, there was someone a little worse off than us.  As they only let one person in the ER at a time, I switched with my sister and let her stay with my mom for a bit.  While I was waiting in a boring and dull lobby with no magazines and stupid football on the one and only TV, I eavesdropped on a dad talking to the police about his little girl (2 years old??).  She got bit by a dog on her head.  You could hear her crying and screaming from the lobby.  I can only assume she was either getting Novocaine and/or stitches.  Ouch!  They left minutes before my mom was discharged and she was all smiles.  Thank goodness she's okay.

That September Day

I don't remember much of that day.  It was all a blur.

It was a Tuesday morning and I was working the early shift with Dr. Jensen, a resident from the U of M.  I only worked with him 2 days a week for 6 months.  After all these years, I should have forgotten all about him, but we are linked by the events of September 11th. 

We were working on a patient in an operatory when another dental assistant came in and said that a plane flew into a building in NYC.  I just thought to myself..."okay.  That's nice."  I didn't register the significance of what that meant.  We were with a patient and everything outside of that room was irrelevant.  We had to focus on the treatment for the patient.

Twenty minutes later, that same dental assistant came back in and said a second plane hit a building in NYC.  Now I thought "What is going on?  What's with all the craziness?"

It wasn't until an hour later that I was able to sit in the break-room huddled around Dr. L's 8" TV with my coworkers.  I remember just being in shock.  This couldn't possibly be real.  It's all a soap opera.

I was only able to see footage for a couple of minutes and I remember wanting the patients for the rest of the day to be canceled.  I didn't want to work anymore.  How could we go on after what happened?  I couldn't wait to get home at 3pm so I could plucker down in front of the TV and absorb it all.  I was still living at home and reflecting on it now, I'm sure glad I was able to see my parents and eat supper with them and go to bed with them under the same roof.  Having them near gave me peace.

If something that BIG were to happen now and even though I'm almost 30, I would still want my mommy and daddy.  Going Up North and seeing them is comforting.  "Home" is wherever they are and wherever they are is "safe".

This past weekend my sister and I were at our parent's.  We didn't watch much TV but what we did watch were shows about 9/11.  Even though I wasn't personally impacted by the terrorist attacks, I can only sympathize with what the victims and survivors went through.  

The stories of those that died were touching, but it was the stories of those that survived that had power to them.  How a single staircase only two stories tall could remain entombed after the building collapses and people are still alive in the stairwell is amazing.  It was the decision of the firefighters of Ladder 6 to help an elderly lady make her way down 80 floors but then she can't make the last 4 that saves them all.  If they had made it down those last 4, they would have died on the sidewalk.

The power of miracles!