Sunday, August 4, 2013


I'm a bit behind with my List 2013 Progress Reporting - ok that's an understatement - I'm a LOT behind! This month, I'll do the best I can to catch up.  I'll start with a list item crossed off, oh, 4 months ago (back in April, back when it was still SNOWING here in Minneapolis -- thank goodness the snow finally stopped in MAY).

I wasn't expecting to be able to cross "see Aziz LIVE" off my list, but low and behold, Minneapolis was a one-night-only stop on his tour earlier this year, and B snagged us tix!   Sign of the times (and a credit to the media world both B and I have played in professionally), B scored the tix via a Facebook ad.  Ohhh, the digital era!

But enough with the digi media nerd talk.  The show was AWE-to-tha-SOME!  It was all new-to-me material - so no "Raaaaaandyyyy" - but still hilarious.

I must confess, however, that Brian and I were both a bit rude during the opening act.  You see, the Aziz show fell during March Madness Playoffs -- specifically the final four -- and importantly MICHIGAN in the final four. the kids say in their crazy hashtag talk -- #sorrynotsorry -- it was pretty awesome to catch that win before Aziz took the stage.

Go Blue!  And Go Aziz!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wisco Ski Adventure (and the Never Ending Winter continued...)

Greetings from Snowy Minneapolis!  It's April 14th, and we've had 5 consecutive days of snow (though to be fair, the snow has recently turned to rain).  Will spring EVER come?  I figured as long as its still snowy, I should publish this long-overdue post about our March ski trip to Granite Peak, WI.

At the beginning of March, B checked a "first" off his personal life list, and went downhill skiing for the very first time.  He's been wanting to try it out for a long time, and he took it upon himself to organize a ski weekend in Granite Peak for the two of us, plus 6 other close friends from here in Minne and from our former Chitown hood.

B was a natural, and by the end of day two, he was showing some good control, snowplowing and stem christie-ing his way down the mountainside.  He accomplished more in a day in a half than many new skiers do during their first 10 times skiing.  

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to more or less get back into the groove without getting too banged up.  I split my time with B on the blues and greens, and with some of the more advanced group on a handful of black diamonds without getting into too much trouble.  Hooray for muscle memory!

Here's a shot of our dapper ski group!  And, lest I forget to mention it later, I can check off "go down hill skiing" from my 2013 list! B and I are in the matching lime green helmets.  Awwww, how cute are we in our matchy-matchy helmets!

In fact, B enjoyed skiing so much, shortly after the trip he went out and bought himsel!f this pair of badass Technica ski boots.  And he literally JUST ordered a pair of skis while I update this post.  He's a few steps ahead of me now on gear -- my existing gear is a good ~15 years old (not to mention taking residence in my Mom's house in MI), so I'm likely due to invest in some new boots and skis some time soon, since it seems we'll be enjoying more of this sport in the future.  Next winter, we'll definitely have to plan a few more trips to make the investment worth while.  In fact, there's talk of heading to Jackson Hole for NYE, 2013/14 (we'll see...that's a pretty big leap from the dinky hills of WI!).

We rented a house for our Wisco ski weekend, and had a great time imbibing and playing board games, like our old fave Telestrations (previously enjoyed during our weekend at Spicer Castle Inn), so I believe this counts for another item off the list -- #87 "host a game night"

All in all, a weekend of great fun AND two more items checked off my list!  

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Do as the Locals Do

Last month, on a particularly cold day, B and I ventured out to walk on the frozen, solid Lake Calhoun to try to make peace with our new, snowy climes here in "Uptown" Minnesota.

During our snowy walk, B found some very interesting tracks...I wonder what they could be?

BIG BEAR!!!! B narrowly escaped!

...but it turned out they weren't bear tracks at all.  Watch out, B, it's a DINOSAUR!!!!

Crazy day! Of course, the highlight of the day was that I was able to check off an item from my 2013 List - make a snow angel! that I've made my snow angel, I'm ready for Winter to be Oh-Vee-Eee-Arrrr...Winter here in the Great White North is intense!  Good news is, the sun is shining on this Easter Sunda, and the snow is melting...and with the big Wolverine wins this weekend (onto the FINAL FOUR), I think our luck is changing, and spring is on its way!  (Yes, that was a really weak/non-existent connection between the Michigan win and spring coming...but I wanted to work in that big WIN somehow!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spooky Mormon Hell Dream

Last month, on Februrary 15th, I crossed off another item from The 2013 List.  B and I went to see the acclaimed Book of Mormon here in Minneapolis, at the Orpheum.  Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about this cheeky little musical, except that it was written by the South Park guys. So, I figured it would likely be more than just a little politically incorrect, it would probably lean excessively toward the sacrilegious, it was most certain to be highly profane laden, and without a doubt it would be absolutely hilarious.  Needless to say, the show held up to my expectations on all fronts, and did not disappoint in any way.

For those unfamiliar, BoM is a coming-of-age story of a pair of teenage Mormons, hoping to fulfill their mission (and help secure their rightful place in Heaven), by converting locals in Uganda to Mormonism.  Full of kooky characters, spoofs on other musicals, religious desecration, and biting cultural satire, this musical was hilariously awesome, and I didn't feel one ounce of "Catholic guilt" while watching it, and laughing all the way.  The title of this post is my homage to my favorite number of the night -- Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.

This is the 3rd musical that Br has ever seen (we saw Les Mis earlier this year, and last holiday we saw the surprisingly sweet and entertaining "Christmas Story" the musical), and I think he's starting to change his Grumpy Cat "I don't like musicals" tune.  He just had to give 'em a fair shot!  Now, to contemplate what we should see next...

Prior to the show, we had an amazing dinner at Cosmos at the Graves Hotel in downtown Minn.  Due to the Feb 15th date, they were serving a fixed Valentine's Day Menu, and it was delicious.  I enjoyed the crispy fried oyster, sea scallops, veal tenderloin and king crab, and chocolate cake, while Brian dined on the white shrimp,chicken ravioli, beef tenderloin, and passion fruit tart.  We did a lot of sharing across plates.  The drinks were incredible too, and I'd love to go for a casual happy hour some time (and I'd also love to check out dinner on a regular night, without a fixed menu).

All in all, we enjoyed a fun and delightful evening, and the 2nd item is officially checked off my list!  I've actually crossed off a few others at this point, so I better get caught up and start writing, or else they won't count, now will they!?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Professor Plum, In the Study, With the Candlestick

Finally!  Last weekend I officially crossed off my first item from my 2013 List!  The item is #15: Participate in a Murder Mystery Dinner Party.

The Setting:  Spicer Castle Inn (aka "Sir Roger's Wealthy Estate circa 1936")
The Occasion: HR's 33rd party (aka "Sir Roger's Dinner Party")
The Guests:  HR and AL (aka "Actress"  and "Rock Climber"), KM and PO (aka "Billiards Champ" and "El Doctor"), NL and B (aka "Jeiress" and "Financier") and of course BM and me (aka "Golf Pro/Lawyer" and "Personal Secretary to Sir Rogers")

When first approached with the invite to attend (as part of a surprise birthday party for my good friend HR), I was hesitant, yet curious. Curiosity obviously won out, and we called the castle to book our room, selecting an *ahem* economically friendly charmer of a room in the Inn known simply as "Amy's Room," complete with the claw foot tub, situated rather conspicuously in the corner of the room.

Our official "dinner invites" followed shortly thereafter, with only a hint of a description of our characters and suggestions for attire.  As "personal secretary to Sir Rogers" my suggested attire included "granny glasses" "a steno pad" "a lace collar"  and generally "conservative dress." Brian's attire suggestion was a little more straight forward, with the option for a "golf look" or a suit.  I got to shopping, and scored a perfect steal at TJ Maxx, finding a hideous blouse (shockingly by Ralph Lauren), complete with a high ruffled collar and bow around the neck, for $7.  Good old RL was originally asking $70 for the monstrosity, which means I got it for 90% off.  So yeah. SUCK IT RL!  And also?  As you can see, I can do basic math!  Yeah Public School Education! I found a cheesy argyle sweater and flat golf cap for Brian, for under $15 for both.  Finding these steals took the better part of a Sunday afternoon, so I was happy that our collective 'looks' were a hit at the party.

I admit, I was a little worried about the upcoming mystery evening. Was I supposed to create a back story for myself?  Did I miss some email with additional details?  What if I looked silly?  B's response to all, in this order were "no, relax", "no, relax" and "of course you will. that's part of the fun!"  He was right.  I needed to chill.   When we arrived at the castle, our guest of honor was happily surprised, and all attendees came dressed in their part, sporting their own minor insecurities about the evening (much to my comfort, and admittedly I was glad to see I was in good company with my worry), and none of us quite sure what to expect.

Let the games begin!  I won't go into too much detail, as I don't want to spoil the story for any future Spicer Castle Murder Mystery guests, but I will share some of the logistics.  The murder mystery dinner took place entirely around the dinner table, and throughout the span of a 4 course meal.  We did not move room to room, which in hindsight makes sense (it's a dinner, after all), though many of us thought we might be moving about for the game.  The event was fueled by a series of clues revealed across several 'rounds' that corresponded with a dinner course (Our particular game was also fueled by several bottles of wine).  The clues included instructions about what had to be disclosed in each round (and what to keep secret!).  What I found particularly intriguging about the murder mystery game is that it can accommodate up to 40 players.  We had 8 players, and it took us about 3 hours, so I can only imagine the logistics involved in a game of 40!

But I digress.  The events and clues are "supposed" to be revealed through our collective careful sleuthing and logical question-asking, but mostly we went around the table reading our clues in overly dramatic voices.  We started to get the hang of it, more or less, in later rounds.  Yep, we got the hang of it, all right.  In fact, we were SO brilliant that exactly ONE of us solved the murder correctly (...that would be my 'boo' B of course!)

All in all, the murder mystery dinner was a success, as was the "after party" in HR and AL's cabin, where we continued to imbibe and play a rousing game of Telestrations into the wee hours of the morning before calling it a night to grab a little shut eye before our massive breakfast (to round out the 2nd "b" in the whole B&B experience) the next morning.

To summarize:  "Participate in a murder mystery dinner party."  Check!  One item down, twenty four to go.  Whew!

Here's B and me at the "pre-party" celebrating HRs b-day in one of the guest rooms.  I don't know WTF is up with that ridic face I'm making.  I made it all night.  I think it was my "conservative secretary face.  But mostly I just look constipated.  Which I wasn't.  TMI???

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Challenge Accepted!

Well folks, I've started chip chipping away at my list. I am now one-tenth of the way completed with one of my goals. To be specific, I am now one-tenth of the way completed with goal #45 "Make/do 10 “pins” from my Pinterest pin boards (the catch - must be from 10 different boards)".

I actually achieved my one-tenth-of-one-item status on New Years Day, but I've been sitting on it and savoring the glory of my high-achieving status before making it public to the "masses. "Masses", of course, is relative. In this case it approximates to four readers, give or take...well, four I guess..

Anyway, let's talk of my goal-conquering progress! For New Years, I made a delicious Pillsbury Crescent Roll breakfast casserole from my "Breakfast-Rise and Shine!" Pinboard. I think my dream job might actually be to test, rate, and publicize Pillsbury Crescent Roll recipes. Does that job exist? And if so, can I have it? I'm not ashamed to admit my love for those flaky, buttery crescents from heaven runs deep. To paraphrase a quote from Buddy the Elf (though, I mean, that's so passe given Christmas is, like, so over) "I'm in love [with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls] and I don't care who knows it!

But enough dilly dallying. Here is my creation! Interested in the recipe? Follow me on Pinterest, or you can head straight to the source at Bran Appetit!

Here are all the ingredients.  B made fun of me b/c it took me a while to create this artful masterpiece of packaged refrigerated foods. In all of my infinite kitchen wisdom, I almost forgot to add the milk. Almost.

Lots of tasty casserole!  All for me!  Just kidding, I shared some with B.

Om nom nom!  See how I colorfully arranged the fruit?  Such a balanced breakfast, deelish!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ringing in 2013

Happy New Year!  B and I had a chill ringing-in of the new year, which suited me just fine. We had an 830p dinner reservation at Cafe Ena, a Latin Fusion restaurant here in Minne. We enjoyed some delicious ahi, scallop and shrimp appetizers, and ordered a lovely bottle of La Posta, a red blend from Argentina. I had the "Palma" (a polenta crusted grouper), while B ordered even more shrimp. In fact, B is making a shrimp appetizer for us to enjoy later today, so he may actually turn into a shrimp, or maybe go into some sort of Mercury overload. B, no more shrimp for a while after this, ok? We then came home and popped a bottle of champagne, and I was in bed by 1230 while B stayed up and caught up on The League.

B and his unexpectedly massive head-on shrimp at Cafe Ena

2012 was quite an eventful year for us, with B completing his MBA, our 1100 mile move to Minne, and both of us starting new jobs (well, mine only sort of new, as I rejoined the ranks of a former employer). We finished out our year of excitement by celebrating Christmas with B's family in Ann Arbor before driving back to Minneapolis for a quiet new year. One of my favorite memories of our holiday with B's family, was his mom's introduction of a new family tradition, the Peppermint Pig. The Peppermint Pig, according to Victorian Lore, represents good health, happiness and prosperity. After Christmas dinner, a small pig made of peppermint is passed around the table for each person to share a tale of the past year's good fortune and take a swing at the peppermint pig with a tiny hammer. Once everyone has told their tale and swung at the pig, the group then enjoys the broken peppermint in celebration of the past year's successes and in hopes of good fortune for the new year. Needless to say, we had a blast whacking the peppermint out of that pig.

While B and I certainly had a lot to celebrate in 2012, I'm not sad to see the year close and I look forward to seeing what's in store for 2013. I'm not a big fan of "resolutions" - after all, quoth someone literary and famous "a goal without a plan is just a wish" - but I do have one big 2013 resolution. My resolution is, quite simply to DO more. To be a "yes" person! To experience things! To accomplish stuff! Cheese alert - I want to be more than just a 'dreamer' and a 'thinker' in 2013.

So in a nutshell, I resolve to DO things big and small in 2013.  And per the quote, I have a plan of action in the form of "The List" - you can learn more and check it out here.

Wish me luck!