Monday, January 25, 2010

Pants on the Ground....

Sign spotted in Northfield....

Double word score!

Everyone needs a good engagement story... Since it's going to be told and retold by the bride-to-be, it oughta be a good one. I told Dave I didn't care how he asked me as long as it wasn't on television. And he wound up giving me a great story to tell.

Dave's producer, Yen, came up with a wonderful proposal this weekend to pop the question to his girlfriend.

Since he's the producer type, he had the details worked out perfectly. There's a local bar that has a board-game atmosphere that apparently the two frequent. When they sat down, he pulled out a scrabble board with the above words glued on it.

She said yes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Savings?

I know blog postings have been sparse the past few weeks as we prepare for the baby, work overtime, get ready for another semester of online class (I'm teaching again for the 12th semester, and of course I have a record number of students this time around), and just sit and be exhausted in our downtime.

I did want to share a highlight of the week that truly made my day. I spent $8.90 at Walgreens and walked out of the store with $98.45 worth of merchandise. No, I didn't steal any of it, but rather matched coupons to sales to net some free stuff. This is the best I've ever done.

If you play your cards right and use Walgreens Register Rewards program, you can net some great deals. Since becoming a pseudo-part-time-consumer-reporter at my place, I've learned alot about "playing the game" and as a result, have created quite the stockpile of free goods in my basement. I've learned how you should never pay for toothpaste or dish soap, and you should never pay more than a buck for things like Cheerios, cereals, canned goods, pasta, aluminum foil, ziploc bags, deodorant, razors, and kleenex. I give to the food bank every 6 weeks or so, and Dave says it looks like we're preparing for the end of the world in our basement.

Nope, just a baby.

But I probably do have enough dish soap stockpiled to last until the apocalypse.

What are we doing with this extra dough? Are we doing the fiscally responsible thing and saving it? Not as much as we should. Someone told us to go out to eat and on "dates" as much as we can before the baby..... and for us, that's about like telling an alcoholic to drink up because you are going to go cold turkey later. We love, love, love to eat out--a waiter, no work, no mess, and you can send it back if you don't like it....and as a result, all that money is going right to support our bad habit.

Here's to fewer meals out in about 7-9 weeks!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Skol Vikings!

With the Viking win over the Cowboys Sunday, everyone has Viking fever. It's hard to go anywhere without hearing people talk about the game. Yesterday in the Pancake House, which happens to be a place to spot a Viking or two, one of our acquaintances was raving about giving Vishante a bear-hug. We saw one Viking while we were there, but I wouldn't be able to tell you who it was. Today I received a few texts from friends in Louisiana that I hadn't heard from in awhile...all asking if Dave and I are going to the game in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the answer is nope.

But Dave is going to be on ESPN's First Take tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at 9 am. Or at least his voice is.

The Cowboys game brought our friend and fellow journalist Roy to town. Roy is a sportswriter in Shreveport, so he and Dave ran in the same sports (and poker) circles while in Louisiana. He and Dave hit a few hot spots-- a rousing University of Minnesota/University of North Dakota hockey game (which Minnesota surprisingly beat their rival), our favorite summer bar--Brit's Pub, our favorite pizza joint-- Punch's, our favorite breakfast spot--the Pancake House, and of course, the dome. Both had to cover the big game and put in a long, long day Sunday.

For you non-Minnesotans, "Skol Vikings" is the Viking fight song or cheer. Skol is a Danish/Swedish/Norwegian word for toast, cheers, or salute. I've spoken with a few people who attended Sunday's game, and all said it was the loudest they'd ever heard the dome. Good reason, I guess.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Under construction

With only 10-11 weeks to go, our nursery is under construction. It's a small space, and we've taken care picking out furniture to go in it. Dave got most pieces put together with only a small amount of frustration. We had our first experience with IKEA furniture...... a dresser that will double as a changing table. The furniture might be real wood, but it's understandable why it's so cheap, er, economical. It's a pain to put together. I think Dave only cursed the Swedish once.

If you see the finished crib at the bottom, you can also see a glider that's partially in our bedroom. That's the next project: sewing. I am making a bedskirt to go on the crib and I'm reupholstering the ottoman and glider, which we inherited from friends. Hopefully we'll have a finished product on here soon.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's a niece!

I started to put "it's a girl" in the title, but I didn't want to mislead the audience.

Dave and I will welcome our first niece in the world in early June. Jessica and Craig found out this week that they will be having a little girl. Since Jess and I both have cousins fairly close in age that we probably treat more as siblings, one of our first discussions after the news was that we'll repeat the pattern with some close-in-age cousins. Distance will be a challenge, but when together they'll be playmates that will be in the same grade, go through the same stages, and hopefully like each other. And that's a special thing.

Baby Shower in Delight

Here are some pictures from my baby shower in Delight. Since I was traveling back on a plane, it was mainly a gift card and money shower, which I'm certain was a novelty for the area. Nevertheless, people responded generously and I am grateful.

I am still learning how to use the fancy new camera I got for Christmas, so please be patient. In a few months, or 10-11 weeks or so, I will have a very patient subject to practice on. He or she probably won't mind or even notice how many pictures I take.

And I also wound up only taking pictures before the shower actually began, with the hostesses (and Dave before he skedaddled to go watch the Cotton Bowl.) So I have another reason to get better at documentation in the future.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas leftovers

I didn't blog much during the month of December, but I did get to go out and work on Sundays at the Landing.

It was a snowy, cold December and the folks out there always made sure I had help hauling water or wood at the 1800s village. Doubtless most expecting pioneer women had the same thoughtfulness extended to them, but I appreciated the help nonetheless.

This year, I played a German with varying religious convictions. Sometimes I was Catholic. Sometimes I was protestant, as a Moravian. Once I was a school teacher.

As a Moravian, one of the key Christmas displays is the very large Nativity display. I had to keep an eye on this one to make sure it stayed acurate. Whether bored kids or meddling adult hands, the characters telling the Christmas story took on a life of their own sometimes. Once I found Mary praying out in a field and a wiseman watching over the manger with Joseph. The shepherds were on the roof, and their flock was scattered throughout the entire table. Another time, I found Joseph leading not one, but two Marys somewhere... and it was away from the manger.

I also had grand plans to knit a pair of mittens during Folkways. I bought wooden knitting needles and wool. I had plans that Queen Pauline assured me were 'easy.' They probably are, but I've discovered I ride the short bus for knitters. Since my previous experience extends only to purling, it seems I have a long way to go..... perhaps the mittens will be ready for next year.

This year, we had a new leader overseeing Folkways and it went rather well with the best attendance we've seen in a few years. I call this group my Minnesota family, and it's always good to hang out with them awhile... even if we do smell like woodsmoke when we go home!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Scenes from home

As noted from the previous post, Dave and I made a trip home over New Year's. We flew into Little Rock. We ate good food. We saw family. We watched football. And we then came back home to Minnesota.
Out of my extended family, my branch of siblings mostly live out of state. So when we come home, everyone congregates at my grandparents house. They've accommodated and even encouraged this by finishing off the basement into a nice little apartment. My grandmother cooked every night, and I think she thoroughly enjoys being the hostess to a brood of grandkids.
Aunt Peg and Uncle Jim picked Dave and I up from the airport and took us to La Hacienda in Benton before going home. If I ever have to pick a last meal, it will be the D5: Shrimp Quesadillas from La Hacienda. Good tea (well, it all is down here), the best refried beans anywhere, and large Gulf shrimp cooked up in a quesadilla. It's no wonder this family business with restaurants in Hot Springs and Benton wins "Arkansas' Best Mexican" every year. Last time I was home I ate here twice--on the way to and from the airport.

Then, my first meal home was actually fried chicken with different fixins. Of course, there never is just one meat or one vegetable served. It's always a buffet at Grandmother's.

It seems like this time of year there's always a bowl game on. During the Cotton Bowl, Dave drove out to my grandparents to watch the game with my grandfather. What was he doing? Out taking down Christmas lights. Why? He got tired of watching Houston Nutt run the same play unsuccessfully four times in a row. He did the same thing at Arkansas. So, he turned the game off and headed outside. Said he'd rather take down Christmas lights.

We all seemed rather disgusted with Arkansas' attempt at a bowl game, and even though they came out victorious it seemed rather sad and uneventful. East Carolina seemed tickled and nearly giddy just being in a bowl game with an SEC team, and they deserved to win merely because of that. At least the game gave the kicker, Alex Tejada, a bit of dignity to end his career on. After losing crucial field goals during the Florida and LSU games, it's a wonder he was still alive given the crazed rednecks, er, razorback fans. Here's to next season and Mallet gaining some experience in good decision making skills over the summer.

But back to the food. Aunt Peg did cook up one of my favorite breakfasts one morning... chocolate gravy. Yum.

Dave and I both feel like we gained a good 10 pounds. But at least I have an excuse.

ESPN live from Delight

It could very well be the first time anything has ever been broadcast live from Delight, period. However, I'm fairly certain it's the first time anyone has called and been live on-air on ESPN from Delight.
On the first day of our visit, Dave got to call into one of ESPN2's morning shows and talk about the Vikings and playoffs. Dave went to high school with a producer there, and the two connected months ago over Facebook.
While Dave answered questions and gave his two cents on the phone, I snapped a few pictures of his name on the TV screen. Dave and I are generally pretty tough critics of one another, and I think he did a pretty good job.
The fam definitely did. As soon as he hung up, the phones started buzzing as cousins and friends started calling. Not bad, Schwartzy. Who knew his ESPN "debut" would come from rural Arkansas?