Monday, September 29, 2008

Baseball, Pluto, and Rhinos

The AL Central title comes down to possibly two games. The Sox have to play a make-up game with Detroit tonight. If they lose, the Twins win the AL Central. If they win, the Twins and the Sox play Tuesday to determine who get the pennant. I don't think I'll be able to watch. Eeeeeee!

While at Disney, we spent Thursday at the Magic Kingdom, where we met some furry creatures named Pluto....

and Goofy.

We needed to see some more furry creatures so on the last day we headed to the Animal Kingdom.

That place is amazing. The attention to detail (which I learned all about at the Disney Institute) was incredible! In addition, most of the park is covered in shade, a welcome respite from the sun beating down on us at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

The best part had to be the animals though. First thing we headed to the Kilimanjaro Safari. We waited less than 5 minutes and were able to see so many amazing animals, pretty up close and personal.

After that,we headed to the Pagani Trail and saw several gorillas, just being gorillas.

What a difference from the zoo here where they just sit behind glass and look miserable.

We also headed to the Affection Section, where I got to say hello to a close personal friend, a sheep.

We were so impressed by the safari, we decided to go again. See these rhinos? I DID NOT use any zoom when I took this photo. They were THAT CLOSE to us. Probably 2 - 3 feet from our vehicle. It was just awesome.

Thankfully, the Animal Kingdom closes at 5. I don't think I could have handled another 12 hour theme park day. I have no idea how people with kids do it. We took a little bus/boat/monorail tour around some of the different resorts and Downtown Disney and then had beer and pizza back at the hotel.

I'm still acclimating back to life in Minnesota. I don't go back to work until Wednesday, so I should have some knitting progress to show soon!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me...A Couple Days Late

Note: This post is a few days late because I was so freaking tired after my days spent at Disney World I could barely brush my teeth, let alone login to Blogger.

So, Friday was my birthday! And my sister's birthday, too! Happy Birthday, Gretchen!

What was the first thing I wanted to do on my birthday? Open presents? Hop the bus to Epcot? Call The Little Guy and listen to his little voice say, "Happy Birthday" (which I did later and it was soooo cute)?

No, I wanted to turn on ESPN and watch highlights of the Twins sweeping the White Sox. It might all be a moot point after today, but oh well. It was cool.

Once that was done, I opened my gift from D. It was lovingly wrapped in a sock. Looky what I got!

Yay! An iPod Nano! Now I can download knitting podcasts. I can hardly wait. Here I am rocking out to it early Friday morning.

Sadly, I had to leave my little yellow friend behind and head to Epcot. First stop was Guest Relations soI could get a birthday button. Folks, if at all possible, celebrate your birthday at Disney World. Sure, it was hot and humid, but it sure was worth it.

Right away that morning, a group of custodial workers gathered around and sang "Happy Birthday" to me. The rest of the day was like that too. They sure know how to make you feel special there.

We also got to see our future! Look at us in spacesuits!

We had dinner at the Morocco pavilion. I chose this because they have a belly dancer. I got to dance with her...twice. The second time, our server, Balil, forced me up there since he missed me the first time. Let me tell you, wiggling your hips on a full stomach does not feel so good. Then I got dessert and a birthday song.

Of course we met up with some characters during the day as well.

It was a great birthday! I had so much fun, got to see fireworks, and got a really cool gift that is just waiting for some music.

I'll write more about my Disney World adventures tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Graduated!

I am officially a graduate of the Disney Institute and I've got the mouse ears to prove it.

D arrived today and I reluctantly checked out of the Contemporary Resort and in to a hotel more in line with my checking account. The next three days will be nothing but fun.

It will be even more fun if the Twins can repeat the game last night and sweep the White Sox. Go Twins!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Day, Another Disney

Today our Disney Institute field experience took us to the Animal Kingdom. After breakfast we went on the Asian Jungle Safari Trek.

We saw these ginormous bats.
And some hidden Mickeys. Can you find the hidden Mickey?

Here's a hint.

How about in this picture?

(check out his earring.)

Then it was back to the classroom where there were lots of treats waiting for us. I certainly haven't gone hungry while I've been here.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Institute and then I'll be staying for fun and games.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I (Heart) Disney World

Who knew I was such a sap? So far, we've gotten to spend a fair amount of time in the park during the Disney Institute, and each time I am fairly beside myself with glee. I just spontaneously smile and think, "EEEE! I'm at Disney World! Look! It looks like a frontier village here...and now it looks like colonial America...and listen! Listen to the happy music! And oh my gosh...there are little Mickey Mouse ears all over my couch!"

For the most part, I'm a great big dork about it and I can't believe it's taken me 20 years to come back here.

Even when it rained cats and dogs just as our daily sessions were over and I had to buy an $8 poncho to stay dry.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm Going to Disney World!

I know...there has been a dearth of postings lately on my little blog. I have a good excuse, really.

I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!

As such, I've been busy all week trying to get done all sorts of things that need to get before one leaves work for a week.

The first part of the week I'll actually be working. I'll be at the Disney Institute on Quality Service.

Then, D is joining me for the rest of the week and we're just going to have fun, wear some mouse ears, do the World Showcase bar crawl at Epcot, and celebrate my birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth. Yup...I'll turn (older than I would like to be) at Disney World! Woo-hoo!

Oh, and we're going to do some geocaching in Orlando. D is way ahead of me and found a travel bug near his place that we are going to put in a cache in Orlando. Wish us luck!

I don't know when I'll post again, so here are some cool clouds from the other morning.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Weekend Over...No Knitting Done

What is wrong with me? I long to feel productive, yet do nothing; I carry knitting projects around with me, yet they go untouched; I envy what other people have accomplished, yet my needles remain still. What is the problem?

I'm busy discovering new hobbies! Like Geocaching!

D and I went camping at Father Hennepin State Park for part of the weekend (the rain sent us back to St. Paul and an evening of Yahtzee). The Minnesota State Parks have had a geocaching challenge this summer, with caches hidden in all 72 state parks and recreation areas. Father Hennepin happened to be one of 16 "demo parks" where you could borrow a GPS Tracker for free.

After breakfast and an mid-morning game of Poker, we headed up to the Ranger Station to get a GPS. And we were off!

I thought it was a lot of fun...a perfect activity that combines things I like: being outdoors, getting some exercise, and a puzzle-like activity. For D, there was the technology.

Of course, it did start to rain while were were out there...and by the time we found the fourth of four caches in the park, we were soaked.

Being ill-prepared to camp in the rain, we packed up and headed back to St. Paul. We played Yahtzee (I won) and I drank wine out of this cool Star Trek mug (in keeping with the spirit that we were camping and didn't have wine glasses).

Another weekend done; no knitting. Oh well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Awww....how cute!

This picture is for Sara B. since she wasn't at the Hops Harvest and missed this cute moment from her nephew.

A Good Old-Fashioned Hops Harvest

Sunday afternoon, our friends Patrick and Marcy held their First Ever Hops Harvest at their lovely home in the lovely neighborhood we share. I walk past their place every now and then on the way home and have watched the hops grow all summer long. Finally, it was time to harvest!
Patrick, George, David, Andrew and a few others clipped the hops from the arbor...

and a whole bunch of us (including a lot of people I don't know) plucked the hops from the vines.

Look at all those hops!
Mmmm...you know what hops mean. Beer is just around the corner!

The afternoon included chili and cornbread, which was delicious, as well as a variety of beer that George homebrewed. I enjoyed the Double Chocolate Stout and the cherry beer I tried. Mmmm...there were many comments from people that George should come over more often...with more beer.

I was ready to leave, but could not find David anywhere. Back in the garage several people were playing this game.


Has anyone ever seen this? Know where I can get one? It was so much fun! Patrick said it was as old as he was and he played it as a child. You spin a top and try to knock over the pins. In a world of video games, this is the BEST GAME EVER! I managed to knock over one of the pins in the "attic", the partitioned off area at the far end of the game from where the top enters.
Hopefully we will get to help brew some beer soon and this time next year we will be celebrating the Second Annual Hops Harvest!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Tiki Good Time

Our friend Kym celebrated her birthday this weekend, so we all headed to Psycho Suzy's in NE Minneapolis to celebrate. I also saw it as a chance to replace the bad taste the Republican hub-bub left in my mouth with some good, old-fashioned liquor.

I think the one on the right is a Crummy Scoundrel and the one of the left is a Sufferin' Bastard. D also had a Paralyzed Polynesian.

Then Kym and I shared this volcano drink while Kyle checked out the nutritional value of his PBR.Of course, there is always a bachelorette party at Psycho Suzy's, and D was kind enough to help them out with their scavenger hunt. What a sweetie. He gave the bride a piggy-back ride. I won't mention the other item he helped them check off their list.

With enough liquor in us, we were able to forget that for a moment our city was over-run by Republicans. And that is the last snide comment I will make about that. The weather is getting colder and I will soon be too distracted by my knitting projects.

Here's to more wooly posts in the future.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Report from the RNC

In the end, I couldn't resist the pull of thousands of suited Republicans in St. Paul and D and I headed downtown last night to check things out. Actually, that's a lie. What compelled me down there was my support of St. Paul business. The Pioneer Press reported yesterday on how dismal business was for some of the restaurants and shops around the convention. I figured, "Well, if the Republicans won't eat there, I WILL!"

After work we headed to Cosetta's. As you can see...definite lack of Republicans. They were all outside on the street. I have to say, in my Ravelry t-shirt and Chacos, I felt a little out of place.

This is as close as we could get to the Excel Energy Center. It looks like the city is on lockdown.

While we were just standing around, Sean Hannity passed right by us. I've never watched a day of Fox News in my life, so I would not have known this if someone nearby had not pointed him out. Then I snapped pictures like a good blogger.

We then walked about a mile out of the way to get to the other side of the Excel. Please see photo above of large fence for explanation as to why this long trek was necessary. At least we got some exercise.

The trek was worth it. We made it to Rice Park, where all the action was happening. MSNBC is broadcasting live, and I had an unobstructed view of Chris Matthews and his hair. Everyone at that table was on their cell phone. I heard someone say that was Pat Buchanan to the far left...not sure about that.


It was almost time to go live, so the hair and makeup people swooped in!

We could also see the teleprompter. Exciting, I know.

Here is a view once they went live. Look! There is the back of Chris Matthews...and there is the front of him on TV! I suppose if we had moved a little to our left and jumped up and down you may have seen me bouncing around behind his big head.

Rice Park was full of people and this is where we saw some protesters and other colorful characters.
We did not run in to any anarchists, which was just as well. I did see some police with very big guns, and this gentlemen was kind enough to pose for me.

About 8:00 we headed home, me with my souvenir from MSNBC.

I think I enjoyed most seeing where all the different police officers were from. There were cops from Arlington, TX; Tempe, AZ; Tuscon, AZ; Elgin, IL; and Milwaukee, WI. Those were the officers we saw. We had a nice chat with an officer from Milwaukee. D used his new iPhone to give him baseball updates. Technology: bringing people together at the RNC.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Rest of the Weekend

Not much to see at Valley Fair except people standing in line.


Not much to write about either. Stand in line, go on roller coaster, scream a lot (just me), repeat. It was a lot of fun though. I think the best part though was when D gave away the two extra free passes we had to a family waiting in line. It's $37.99 to get in, so they were pretty happy about that!

We did not head to St. Paul yesterday to check out the RNC craziness. If Katie Couric wasn't there, I didn't want to be either. Judging by what I saw on the news, I'm glad we didn't go. No need to see people smash in the windows of Macy's and get pepper-sprayed.

We chose to stay in and watch the Daily Show coverage of the DNC and Barack Obama's acceptance speech, all on Tivo. This weekend we'll watch the Daily Show coverage of the RNC and John McCain's acceptance speech, and then have a lively debate comparing and contrasting the two.

Oh, who am I kidding? Obama! Obama!