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Archive for the month “August, 2012”

I’m not a Food Blogger but…

…you might mistake me for one.  This is my 43rd blog post and in a quick review I’ve calculated that 44% of my previous blogs have mentioned food, talked about eating, or food has made a cameo in a photo of the day picture itself.  This one is no different.

August 29, 2012: Pre-Birthday Dinner Celebration

Last night we continued my pre-birthday celebration with my official birthday dinner at Honeypie in Bay View.  Delicious.  This one has been on my “Eat There” list for a few years now.  Do you have an “Eat There” list?  Dave and I have a list of restaurants that we keep in my phone so that whenever we are trying to think of a place to go out to dinner we can have the list at our fingertips.  They are all places we haven’t been but want to go.  After we eat at one, we cross it off.  Here is our current list:

–  Pizzeria Piccola:  Wauwatosa, WI

–  Calderon Club:  Fox Point, WI

– Johnson’s:  Glendale, WI

–  Benji’s Deli:  Shorewood, WI

–  Cafe Benelux:  Third Ward, Milwaukee, WI

–  Cafe Centraal:  Bay View, Milwaukee, WI

–  La Merenda:  Walker’s Point, Milwaukee, WI

–  Cafe Corazon:  Riverwest, Milwaukee, WI

I would love it if you would help us add to our list.  The restaurants don’t need to be in the Milwaukee area, or even in Wisconsin for that matter.  If you have a favorite place please comment on this blog post or send me a message.  We will put it on our list to check out.  If you have a favorite dish on the menu, suggest that too.  I’m also looking for a little direction on my dinner selections.  My default is a grilled chicken sandwich.  I’ve had a grilled chicken sandwich so many different ways I’m an expert at this point and looking to spice things up.

In case you are curious, here is our meal and the rest of the pre-birthday celebration.

Appetizer: Pretzel

Dave gets it right again with his “porkslaw” sandwich

A sandwich so good that the embarassing mess you make of yourself eating it is 100% worth it

Dessert: A Surprise Cookie Cake

Remember, please send those restaurant suggestions my way!

Party Like It’s 1981!

I love my birthday.  Unfortunately, the timing of my birthday coincides with the busiest work day I generally have all year.  I’ve worked an extremely long day on my birthday every year since I turned 19.  I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday in style, but that was a lucky fluke.  On my 22nd birthday I worked a 22 hour day and this year I’ll put in at least 16 hours.  Generally I’m lucky if I make it home from work and it’s still actually my birthday.  A few years ago I decided to celebrate my half birthday instead of my full birthday, only to realize that February doesn’t have 31 days.  Fail.

This year I’m pretending like it’s my birthday a few days early and my family also got the memo and gave me a great surprise.  Here’s how it went.

Friday night, 8 p.m., I’m settling into my fantasy football draft and completely engrossed.  I’m screaming out the names of potential picks hoping that Dave, my dad, or my mom will give me some sort of clue who to pick (I went 0-13 last, year, so I can only go up this year).  These photos tell the rest of the story.

“Oh my gosh, I need a quarterback, who should I pick? All my pre-sets are taken already!”

“What? Wow, I stink at this!  No wonder I was 0-13 last year.”

Sometime shortly after this moment I ran upstairs to put my dirty dinner plate away.  I didn’t even think twice about the fact that there was a five gallon tub of ice cream sitting on the counter.  I also later came to find out that I passed my mom at the bottom of the stairs while she was lighting the candles on my cake.  I was so intent on the draft the rest of the world was a blur.

“What is the flaming ball coming at my face? Oh my gosh, it’s a cake!”

“Yay! Cake!”

“When did you all put together this scheme and how did I not suspect a thing?”

“Let’s eat some cake! Wait, am I still drafting? Oh my gosh, too many things going on all at once.”

August 24, 2012:  “Happy Pre-Birthday to me!”

Wedding Wonderful

This fall Dave and I will be attending a wedding almost monthly until Christmas.  I love attending weddings, I’m not such a fan of being in them.  I love going and enjoying the celebration of the day without any of the pressure.  I find it really fun to watch two people who are entirely in love pledging to each other than they will work together to make it through thick and thin.  While we all know the statistics aren’t on everyone’s side, the celebration of a wedding day for me is tough to beat.

I also love how every wedding seems to be a personal reflection of the couple and their values.  Each one with it’s own twist.  In general the standards are always there… bride in white, flowers, dancing, photographer, etc.  The little twists of magic are fun to watch unfold.  One of my favorite wedding additions is a photobooth.  I love them!  Another one of my favorite wedding twists is a candy buffett themed in the colors of the wedding.  We’ve only been to one wedding with one of these.  Top notch!

This weekend we attended a wedding with a photobooth, I loved it!  It’s like the bride and groom knew I needed a photo of the day and the set me up perfectly!

August 25, 2012: www.beyondthebooth.com

Dave and I are famous for incorporating some sort of prop, sunglasses are a favorite.

July 30, 2011:  www.miphotobooth.com

What amazing wedding twists do you love?

August Anxiety

Every year when the calendar turns from July to August that familiar August anxiety feeling sets in.  If you work in education, participate in education, or even have a distant connection to education you probably know what I’m referring to (if you work in retail or for mail delivery you probably get this feeling between November 1 and January 1).  The carefree days of summer are over in August, even if there is still over a month on the calendar until the first day of classes.  As of August 1 a dark cloud of doom begins to hover over your head.

August 21, 2012
* I’m not taking credit for these photos, but still counting them as my photo of the day because they accurately sum up today’s events

My cloud has lifted just slightly this week.  We were able to announce Pantherfest acts so I’m feeling a slight sense of relief.  My photo of the day is a celebration of being able to make that announcement.  J. Cole and B.o.B., yay!  The August anxiety will continue though, it generally lasts until the end of October.  You might be suffering from August anxiety too.  Here are a few of the symptoms:

1).  Sunday night insomnia.  Even if you’ve worked the entire weekend, checked everything off your to-do list, and shouldn’t have a single worry you may still find yourself experiencing sleepless Sunday nights.  For me this is generally followed by Monday night when I go to bed at 7 p.m. and experience the best sleep I will have all week.

2).  Your husband/wife/partner is talking to you, you can see his mouth moving, and your ears can hear him but nothing actually sinks into your brain.  After a few minutes you might make a big mistake and say something like, “We need to go for groceries.”  He responds, “I just said that.”  Fail.

3).  You feel like worked all weekend and on Monday you realize that you didn’t actually accomplish a single thing.

Here are a few ways I’ve found to cure August anxiety…

1).  Run.  I picked up running marathons so that I would work less.  I also completed an Ironman the same August I defended my dissertation.  It’s always good to have something on your to-do list that is much more fun than work.  The larger the amount of stress in your life the bigger distraction you may need.

2).  Plan your next vacation.  I just booked our next trip.

3).  Emotionally eat, yeah, I do that.  Guess what it is?  Cookies!  🙂

Hello Old Friends

It’s not like I’m still wearing around an old letter jacket or sporting my high school boyfriend’s football jersey, but I’m pretty close.  I have a favorite sweatshirt and a favorite pair of shoes that I have worn out and still keep wearing.  The shoes I purchased in December 2006 at Scheel’s Sporting Goods in Appleton, WI for $3 in the summer clearance bin.  The sweatshirt is twice that old, it’s from June 1999.  I bought it at my MSOE summer orientation.

August 20, 2012

See those holes?  Love.  When I put these on this week and my pinky toe poked through the end of the right shoe I knew it was a sign, their days were numbered.  Then on a walk Dave and I had to have a talk about how I needed to retire the sweatshirt if the hole by the “M” gets any bigger.  Holes in the front of your shirts are where I draw the line.  Last year I threw away my high school softball sweatshirt from 1995 on mile 2 of a marathon.  The name on the back read “HI” instead of “HILL,”  it was a great shirt, hard to see it go.

We all have a favorite shirt, jacket, hat, shoes, shorts, etc, admit it.  They are like our grown-up security blankets.  My shoes have over 40,000 frequent flyer miles on them and twice that in memories.  The sweatshirt has logged thousands of miles in long runs, it’s met me at the finish line of almost every marathon, and it’s been a staple in my pajama rotation for over a decade.  It’s stained, ripped, and almost transparent in certain sections.  I love it.

When the time is right I’ll give them an appropriate Viking burial.  Hopefully Dave will let me throw in a few pair of his boxers too.  🙂

Another One Bites the [Chalk] Dust

August 19, 2012: Bayshore Chalk Art Festival

What I learned today is that people do some amazing things with chalk on sidewalks.  What I also learned is that if you are an outdoor chalk artist you have to have a high level of inner peace.  Your hard work can be erased in an instant.  I took these pictures minutes before a storm blew in and washed away all evidence they were ever there.  I’d recommend putting the Bayshore Town Center Chalk Art Festival on your summer bucket list for next summer.  Here are a few more pictures I took today of the amazing art created with chalk, blacktop, and a lot of hard work, talent, and determination.

The Best in the Show

Most Likely to Hang in a Museum

Summer is nearing to a close for me and I’ve only made a small dent in my summer bucket list.  In fact, I think this could be one of the last items I cross off my list before September 1.

Cloudy with a Chance of Weather Geekery

A little known secret about me is that I am a self-proclaimed weather connoisseur.  I love weather!  It started about five years ago when I started following the U.S. Drought Monitor.  There was widespread drought in the southeast United States and I found myself fascinated with its progression, then eradication, and the weather patterns that caused it.  If you are curious, the updated drought monitor comes out every Thursday morning.  I have it bookmarked on every computer and electronic device I come in regular contact with so that I can stay up-to-date.  I’m also a huge fan of the National Weather Services’ enhanced radar.  I like to toggle between the drought monitor and the radar and track how much precipitation areas of drought are receiving.

January 4, 2012: Weather Calendar

That’s me back in January after I brought home my 2012 TMJ4 Weather Calendar.  Look at how happy I am.  Today was another monumental weather day.  I bought my first rain gauge.  I’ve wanted one for quite some time, now I finally have one.  I guarantee it is likely to become a new obsession.  Dave already knows that every morning he can ask me what the weather is going to be like that day and I can give him a complete update and help him pick his wardrobe accordingly.  Now he’ll be asking for precipitation updates as well.

August 18, 2012: My First Rain Gauge

August 18, 2012: My First Rain Gauge

The end of August/beginning of September is generally my favorite weather season.  High pressure typically moves in over the midwest and we experience the bluest of blue skies.  This year there is a high pressure system parked over Greenland though.  We’ve also had a high pressure system parked over the midwest which caused our hot and dry summer while our neighbors to the east have been smushed between those two systems and had a windy and rainy summer.   If the high pressure stays parked over Greenland and it breaks up over us we could be in for a very rainy and snowy fall/winter.

And that my friends, is officially your unofficial weather update.

Summer Walks are the Best

Now that the Olympics are over Dave and I are trying to remember what we used to do to fill our time.  Tonight we enjoyed a beautiful summer walk and took a photo of the day that makes me smile.

August 13, 2012: Summer Walk Fun

I hope you are smiling too.  🙂

Glow Golfing

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything of substance to say about nite glow golfing.  What I am happy to announce is that I did it and I can now cross that goal off my summer bucket list.  I think glow golfing is a lot like Frisbee golfing, it’s more like a drinking game than a sport.  And since I wasn’t drinking, the allure of the sport escaped me.  Here are a few photos of the day that I think accurately depict the action.

August 10, 2012: Me with my Ball and Glow Necklace

Action Shot

It was so dark I had problems determining what club I was using and if my club was facing the right direction.

Dave Golfing

If you really want to try it, there are three Milwaukee County golf courses that host glow golfing, Hansen, Lake, and Warnimont.

We finished 5 holes and then decided we’d had enough.  It was 55 degrees and there was at least a 20 minute wait on each hole.  Sleeping was a much more attractive prospect than night golfing at that point.

Happy to be headed home

Becca Grassl… Diamond Hunter

The stars have aligned, angels are on my shoulders, and miracles definitely do happen.  I never thought I would be able to share a story about finding the diamond from my engagement ring and today I am.  Naturally, it was a series of uncommon circumstances that led to such an amazing event.  Here’s how it went down….

On Saturday morning Dave and I woke up early to go for a bike ride.  We are training for the Potosi Brewery Bicycle Tour in September and have just dusted off our bikes after two years in retirement.  I generally always run on Saturday mornings, luckily I changed those plans today.  After significant putzing around and procrastinating I decided to put my soccer slides on and go outside and stretch my calves on our side steps leading up to the house.  Totally random.  I was bent over doing a calf/hamstring stretch when I looked up at our welcome mat and saw a little sparkle.

I leaned forward to dig it out of the fibers it was ground into with my finger.  At that Dave started to charge out of the house with his bike and hit me in the head with the screen door.  At that point I’m on the cusp of rage when Dave says something that didn’t fully register.  In that split second I thought to myself, “Darn, rock salt, I can’t believe rock salt lasts this long.”  Out of my mouth comes in a whisper, “I thought I might have just found my….” BAM!  It clicks; I am looking right at my diamond.

August 11, 2012: Where it all Took Place

I had initially dismissed it as a piece of salt.  Maybe Dave literally knocked some sense into me when he hit me with the door.  The narrative over the next few minutes went something like this, “AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!  DIAMOND, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.  I can’t believe this.”  Followed by sobbing, smiling, freaking out, and running around the house with a death grip on my little stone.  I called my parents immediately, my mom answered the phone and said, “You must be calling because you’ve heard the news.  Paul Ryan as VP.”  No Mom, I actually have good news to share with you this morning.  🙂

Tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy

I would like to give a special shout out to Karen, the manager at Jared’s in Brookfield.  Over the last three weeks she worked with us closely to try to find a replacement.  She advocated for us and my situation, which I wholeheartedly appreciate.  With her assistance Jared’s was willing to adjust their standard policy to help us out.  That type of customer service is almost as priceless as an engagement ring.  We have had a tremendously positive experience working with Jared’s over the last 7+ years and I give them the Grassl seal of approval.

Best piece of rock salt I’ve ever found!  I’m going to buy a lottery ticket this afternoon; this must be my lucky day.

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