snow showers



shower (shower shower)

St. Paul Girls Are Hot



Last weekend we were in the MSP for EXTREME COUPLE EASTER WEEKEND™, including much wedding planning, bridal and baby showers, and general family-related events. And it snowed, everyday...



...which was fine, and made social events that much cozier, wherever they were, and they were everywhere, from Minneapolis to Lake Elmo. Why, I do believe we covered at least 3 of the 7 counties in the metro area, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington.

As they say, come for the showers, stay for the food & drink. From the makeshift Triscuit pizza snack that I made right after touchdown on the tarmac...


...to the bacon-wrapped pineapple at the swanky bridal shower...


...also cocktails...

bar squirrel

...to brunch @ cupcake...


...also double espresso in stainless steel...


...to the babies (x2) shower...


...and multiple family brunches. Of which I have no pictures. For some reason.



I have been wasting my time. All the while I could have been building (and more importantly SELLING) these.

Oh yeah...

Also, I had a normal MRI, no tumors in my head.

double espresso

double, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

This fantastic little stovetop double espresso machine is on clearance on Crate & Barrel's website. Normally around $30 all over the web, now around $20, shipping included!




"It's not a tumor!" I think...

Thursday is my ophthalmologist follow up, but nobody has called to say there is a tumor in my head, so I'm thinking the MRI went well. My eye still isn't 100%, but it's only iffy at great distances and when I look to the extreme right. I have been driving, and I haven't been having the headaches I was having. On to the week in review!


On Saturday, despite the deluge, we went to the local restaurant supply shop to look around. They had the usual more! and bigger! things you would expect for restaurants, and quite a few decorative/ridiculous/useless items that nobody needs. Everyone definitely needs one of these...


Sunday was much sunnier, so we headed down Route 9 to visit friend Bethany in Niantic. Niantic is a cool little town with some nice looking restaurants, antique/junque dealers, and a fantastic used bookstore called the Book Barn. Actually, we only visited the "downtown" branch of the Barn, but it was still pretty great. The best treasure I found was this Russian magazine.

treasure from the Book Barn

It really deserves a post all to itself, but it contains lots of pictures of giant Russian trucks and tiny Russian cars. Besides the store cat Frank, there were store turtles, complete with ID chart.

Turtle ID

There were 5 on the "log" and one in the water but I didn't take the time to properly ID each one.

Book Barn turtles

We also took a walk along the not quite completed Niantic boardwalk, which consists of a sandy walkway and lots of rocks. The seagulls really like the rocks because they find clams and crabs and whatnot and drop them on the rocks to get to the tasty squishy bits inside. We saw it happen, and we saw lots of the discards all along our walk. Example, crab...


Example, clam...


Speaking of clams, before this whole adventure began, we had lunch at the Niantic Diner, where I enjoyed the Clam Roll Platter. Which was excellent.

clam roll

Other excellent highlights included this Rover...


...construction equipment caution stickers...


...dusty fake owls in the Book Barn...

Book Barn owl

...and the powerstrip-in-a-tree outside of the Book Barn.


Also, by the way, I did complete another project this weekend, which was my original intent, an octopus wearing a sweater.

octopus wearing sweater

This "talisman" has to do with things like staying on top of several projects at once, flexibility, wearing sweaters, and general creativity. Also, I like octopi. I like the creature, I like the word, I have even been known to like the food, which maybe means I don't "like" the creature itself as much, but who am I (or you!) to judge? Anyway, first I knit an octopus,

octopus sans sweater

and then I knit a sweater for the octopus,

octopus sweater

which, if you've ever done ANYTHING with double pointed needles, was really pretty easy. I mean, look at it, it's just a collar and sleeves.

octopus wearing sweater

So, besides being wicked cute, it was kind of cathartic to bring this to fruition. I've always done plenty of talkin' the talk when it comes to projects big and small, but I often don't end up walkin' the walk. I hope to change all that, in small but significant ways, so that I spend more time doing what I want and enjoy and less time dreaming and idealizing new projects. It's great to have new and big ideas, but it gets to a point where you end up being all talk and no action, and nothing ever comes of it. I have boxes and boxes of unfinished (and unstarted) projects and there just isn't enough time for everything, so I'm trying to learn to enjoy the things I have, revisit previous interests, and focus on what I'm doing. But enough about me...

While at Chef's Restaurant Supply on Saturday, we did manage to find a few items we needed, including this "octopus" dish scrubber.


And, also worthy of it's own post, I was really surprised to find a Finnish cookbook at the Book Barn.

treasure from the Book Barn

Oh, and not just a cookbook, but "Entertaining the Finnish Way". Yes, by all means, lay out a table and cover it with platters of whole fish, sliced hard-boiled eggs, pickled beets, a bowl of cabbage, and some rolls.


(more Niantic) & (a little more knit octopus)


Pinhole cameras

Still have film at your house?


Also, I had a bad week, but it wasn't this bad.


Now back to our regularly scheduled breakfast

Excited about O'Rourke's


The Cuisine Art Omelet

The wait was long, inside & out, but it was worth it.

The Oscar

Val had the "Cuisine Art" omelet, and I had the Eggs Oscar, with plenty of coffee (starting while we were outside in line), and the usual samplings of baked goods while we were in line and after we were seated.

full & sleepy

It was fantastic and it felt good to see the full operation back in operation first hand. If you go, don't go in a hurry, and enjoy the trip.

Coming soon, octopus in a sweater!


34 going on 70

If you're like me, you spend most of the time not thinking about all the things that can and do go wrong with the human body. I assume that if I get sick I will recover, if I fall I will get up, and so on. This is mostly true, but now that I am 35, I think I'd better pay more attention.

the sun sets on 34

Last Saturday, before the sun set on 34, we went duckpin bowling with a few friends at the T-Bowl over on the turnpike. T is for turnpike! Right?


They were kind enough to place us in an "over 12" birthday corner, since the place was packed with kids enjoying alley-sanctioned parties. We just came to bowl a game, but there were entire party packages available for those who called in advance.

disco duckpin

We got two lanes and split up into two groups and just bowled for a game in each lane. First-time for most of the crew, or so they said. Followed by an afternoon snack across the street at the Olympia.


Mike couldn't help pointing out the terrible headline on the New Britian Herald.


...which comes from "nor'easter", which might not even be something we actually say here.

I still had my appetite despite the headline, and enjoyed a classic BLT with a side of fries.

BLT @ Olympia

Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped at Stew Leonard's, which was another first for many in the party. We hit the wine store section first for the free tasting, bracing ourselves for what lay ahead in the maze of food. Well, actually, FIRST we had to stop by the truck so Emily could get a closer look and brush the snow off the hood.

Emily and the cow truck

We took the "tour" of the whole store, with the samples and the animatronics and all, and took our meager purchases home for a break before dinner.

Dinner was at Udupi Bhavan, where they know me by name due to our frequent take-out orders. It was busy, and good, and someone dropped that it was my birthday so we got free dessert for the table. After that we were all quite full so we retired to Emily's for social hour/gift time/Val cake.

Social hour...

Mike & Bethany

Gift time...

gift time

Val cake...


Thanks to Emily for taking some of those shots while I was otherwise occupied. And thanks to Val for the cake! And thanks to Heather and Bethany for taking the time to join us from points north and south. And thanks to Mike for pickin' up the tab at the Olympia! And thanks to all who wished me phone and email greetings! Especially since I woke up on Sunday, my actual birthday, and I felt like GARBAGE!

sick boy

I was exhausted, feverish, ache-y, and expected the full-flu sinus treatment to kick in at any moment. It didn't. I kept all of my symptoms Sunday, Monday (stayed home, slept), Tuesday (stayed home, slept), Wednesday (stayed home, slept), and in the middle there somewhere, while things progressed and stewed, my vision got screwy. I could see fine in front of my face, maybe 12 feet in front of me, but past that point it was all double-vision. Sometimes I could get my eyes to behave and line things up, but not always. This was concerning. I talked to some medical advisers via phone, did "internet research", and decided something was wrong with my eye muscles. I tried some eye drops to clean out the crud, and some simple soothing techiniques. Cucumber! Feels good! Smells good! Tastes good!

eye relief

Thursday, with my wonk-y eyes still wonk-y, Val took me to work and I got some crap done. I stayed almost a full day with no headaches or falling down the stairs, but my eyes were still not right.


Friday morning I called the doctor and was lucky enough to get in at 9:30 for an actual appointment. Val took me in and they gathered a few doctors around me and said "weird" and referred me to the nearest ophthalmologist, who ran some tests and administered some drops, and pretty much said "weird, but not unheard of, so let's schedule an MRI of your head" which I get to do next week sometime.

In the meantime, he suggested maybe some eye exercises. Here, for your viewing pleasure, some of my eye exercising. Video by Moto cell phone. Soundtrack is "In My Eyes" by Minor Threat. Get it? Minor Threat In My Eyes? So perfect...

This morning I decided to do something positive, creative, and hopefully curse-breaking, so, of course, I designed and knit an owl wearing a sweater.

owl in a sweater

Owls have good eyes, right? I made the owl by just following this "knit balls" pattern I found, and then I knit a little tube of a sweater for it. Talisman, curse-breaker, what-have-you, I hope it works.

owl in a sweater

Cute, right? At least it's got that going for it. Wish me luck with the MRI machine!