Archive for the ‘ Home ’ Category

Still a Work in Progress

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Santa’s Little Helpers

Naughty and Nice

Naughty and Nice

Wow! Those are some interesting elves Santa hired this year. Why, the one with the green hat and collar looks just tickled to be included in the holiday festivities.

Snow Blind

White Christmas

Great White North

We definitely “enjoyed” a white Christmas this year. Seems like we’ve endured several inches of snow every day this month. We’ve had to shovel the driveway many times already … and I don’t like it. We have plenty of extra snow if any of you all want to drive up here with a cooler and take some home with you. We’ll even supply the shovels.

At left is a picture I took looking out from our dining room onto our deck, where the snow is a couple of feet deep in most places. We haven’t been able to get out to the grill to barbecue in weeks. Guess that’s a good thing because the temperatures have been well below zero (up to today, when it warmed right up).

But, since it’s warmed up so much, I think I’ll shovel out to the grill tomorrow and barbecue some country ribs. Mmmmmm. Nothing says “Minnesota Winter” quite like a plate of barbecued ribs.

For those of you who are curious, or who just get some kind of kick out of pointing at us and laughing, here is a handy weather widget to show you what our weather is like right now. Read it and laugh till you weep:

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Are Wii Having Fun Yet?

If they ever make Wii an Olympic sport, I have a couple of contenders for the U.S. team. Look at that concentration on their faces. Better hope there’s no doping test required, because I think these two have definitely been mainlining dark chocolate, a performance-enhancing drug if there ever was one…

Posted by Art (player of many Wii games and master of none)

Merry Christmas!

We got to sleep in a little this morning (yay sleepy teen years!) before getting up and opening presents. The girls, as usual, pulled in quite a haul from Santa — I think St. Nick just saw all the snow in our neighborhood, said, “To heck with this,” and dumped the rest of his load down our chimney. The girls’ big present was a Wii game console, which Laurie bought over the summer, not being sure how scarce they would be at Christmas. The girls were with her when she bought it, but she wrapped it and made them wait six months to open the game. Cruel. Cruel, but fair. Jesse kept forgetting about the hidden game, but Katie would start singing “Wii wish you a merry Christmas” to remind her and Jesse would get all upset. Ahhh, the deep, lasting bonds of sisterhood I keep reading about in all those Oprah books….

So the pictures above show the girls feigning surprise and excitement when they opened the game. Kind of like the fake smiles in our family photos…

Posted by Art

New Scooter, Part Deux

Well, the scooter Art bought a couple of months ago was a bit too small to make the daily commute into St. Paul, so he bought a bigger one (a 200 cc bike). That’s Art above, astride his new blue Vespa Granturismo. It scoots right along and has cut about 15 minutes off Art’s commute time. He still parks it right on the sidewalk outside his office door. So far, he’s getting 73 mpg. Not bad. He has to fill up every two weeks, which costs him about 7 bucks. Beats the $60 a week he was spending in the car. Now, if he can just shake the urge to shout “Ciao, bella!” at all the pretty girls he passes….

Posted by Art


We spent the day yesterday with the rest of the Twin Cities’ geeks at the Star Wars exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota (which coincidentally is run by Art’s cousin). The girls built robots (Katie has one in the picture above) and panned for gems in another of the Museum’s exhibits (Jesse is doing that in the other photo). We all toured the Star Wars exhibit, which included props and costumes from the movies (and R2-D2 and C-3PO, too). Afterward, we ate lunch and visited the shops on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. All in all, a fun (nerdy) day.

Posted by Art


We took Katie, Jesse and two of their friends to our local amusement park the day after the Fourth. Unbelievably, the park was empty for most of the day (remember that scene, when the Griswolds drive into the parking lot of a closed Wally World at the end of Family Vacation? It was like that, without the tears). We walked on to just about every ride. The longest we waited in line was about 5 minutes. That’s the way to enjoy these parks…. A visit to ValleyFair was the main family outing Jesse wanted to make this summer. We’re staying close to home this summer and trying to visit some of the local sights during the kids’ vacation. Up next: Duluth and Bayport, Wis.

Posted by Art

At the Market

Laurie, Art and Jesse visited the Minneapolis Farmers Market last weekend. It is huge, taking up several square city blocks downtown. This early in the season, there wasn’t much variety in the produce. But we walked away with some buffalo steaks (not for Jesse), some fresh green onions, summer squash and potatoes — and a cup of coffee, shown in the picture above, staining Art’s shirt. The hit of the visit, for the girls anyway, were some really cool (cheap) Slinky bracelets and a pair of dangly earrings for Jesse.

Posted by Art

Here, Kitty Kitty Kitty

Watch out, Dad! It’s coming your way and boy is it mad!

WILLMAR, Minn. — The cougar that was captured in Willmar earlier this week will be spending the rest of its days at a big cat facility in Tennessee.
Tammy Quist of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Cedar picked up the cat from a veterinary clinic in Willmar just before noon Thursday. She was taking it to Chicago, where a representative from Tiger Haven of Kingston, Tenn., was to pick up the cat for the rest of the journey to its new home.

EARLIER ON UP WITH THE MOOSES: You think you all have problems with strays in your neighborhood? Look at what Animal Control had to “dart” just up the road from us (OK, a couple of hours up the road, but still in Minnesota).

WILLMAR, Minn. (Associated Press) — Police in Willmar say a cougar was captured near Kennedy Elementary School after being seen running through a residential neighborhood.Officers received a 911 call around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday and found the cougar in a tree when they arrived. Before an officer with a tranquilizer gun arrived, the cougar left the tree and ran around the neighborhood.

School officials made sure all the children were inside and locked the doors.

The animal was lying under a large camper trailer and was shot with four doses of tranquilizer, then taken to a local veterinary clinic around 10:30.

Yes, you read that right: The cougar was outside an elementary school. Mmmmmm. Hey, when I’m hungry, I head to the Chinese buffet. That’s just nature in action.

Posted by Art