Sunday, October 23, 2016

Losing loved ones, Hammerschlagen, Cresco and the Cubs!

Tuesday night I received a call that my aunt Opal had passed away.  So many wonderful memories of my childhood flashed through my mind.  She was always very special to me.  I know she’s in a better place now but knowing I would never see that smile or get a strong hug from that tiny lady with a huge heart again broke my heart. 

Wednesday morning I went to leave for work and my car wouldn’t start.  What the &%Q(#*?! * I didn’t have a lot of options at 6:15 in the morning so I called an uber to take me to the office.  Lukas my car guru offered up some suggestions on what could be wrong.  Per usual, Brian saved the day by picking me up from work and jumping my car so I could take it in and make sure it was nothing more than a dead battery.  Luckily, that was the case.  An easy fix and Opal the Optima, yeah, I had named my car after my aunt when I bought it three years ago, is back to purring like a kitten.  Maybe my car was in mourning too? Weirder things have happened. 

Wednesday night was our volleyball league playoffs.  We came in 18-3 and with the #1 seed.  We spent the first round without batting an eye.  Drew injured his knee which was no bueno.  We had a break between games and watched the Cubs put up a win against the Dodgers in LA.  Unfortunately, we played like poo and ended up getting 2nd place for the leagues fall season.  Watch out next year though! We’re coming to take it all!

Thursday our friend Josh came home to visit from Colorado.  Mel organized a wonderful BBQ/bonfire/garage party at the Beaver Den for the crew.  We played a new game that Lukas and Summer had organized called Hammerschlagen.  Don’t know what it is? Join the club.  When they explained it to me I thought it was going to be the lamest thing ever.  It was completely frustrating but fun.  Wanna see how it works?  I posted a video here!  We had the Cubs game playing on the TV inside the Beaver Den. Firing roaring on the “ranger tv”.  Brats, burgers and wings on the grill.  And my bacon jalapeno corn dip went so fast, half the people didn’t get a chance to try it!  It was a great night of shenanigans. 

Friday I went home to spend some much needed time with my family.  I hadn’t been back to Cresco since my birthday party in June which has to be some kind of record for me.  It was so nice to just kick back and relax. I didn’t even take my laptop with me! What? I know! Stop the madness! Saturday night the grandparents and sissy came over for dinner.  Mom made homemade pizza and because I’m a spoiled brat, oatmeal cake!  If you haven’t tried this cake, you really haven’t lived.  It’s one that we get on special occasions and always makes me think of Mother’s Day gatherings with the Underbakke’s. It was a perfect tribute to Opal and hanging out with my grandpa and grandma’s.  To top off a wonderful night…the CUBS are going to the WORLD SERIES!!!!! Errr mrrr gawd!! I am so excited.  Although my friends and I have some super fun stuff planned for Halloween Saturday night, we are debating taking a road trip to Chicago Friday and watching some history happen in Wrigleyville.  You know I can’t turn down a fun road trip.  Go, Cubs, go!!!!!!!! This week looks to be another hectic one with the normal chaos at work and things going on every evening but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Making memories! #fearless40 #lovinglife

Monday, October 17, 2016

Birthdays, soup, family time and the changing of seasons!

My favorite season is here.  There’s something about fall that has always made me happy.  Maybe it’s hoodie weather? Football season? Crockpot recipes? Or the beauty that surrounds me in nature?  It is the season of change. A reminder that sometimes things have to die to be given new life.  And that is beautiful in my mind.  The last few weeks have definitely seen some changes and that’s part of life.  I’ve been reminded of this quite a bit recently.  And no matter how hard we wish for the gold, red and oranges to stay gracing the trees, they must fall. Seasons change.  People change. And the world keeps spinning. 
I’ve been able to enjoy some great family time the last few weeks.  Lakehouse with my parents and Becky and Greg.  Staying with my cousin Erin and her adorable sons.  Lunch with Miranda and Seth in White Bear Lake. Aunt Melody’s birthday dinner with Caitlyn and Sissy.  Can’t ask for more blessings than that. 
I am finally closing the final chapter of a life that seems so far away.  I couldn’t be more ready for this rollercoaster to be over. The steps to finish tying up these loose ends took me on a road trip last week when I had to go to Winterset.  I decided to spend some time exploring the area as I had never seen the Bridges of Madison County that the movie and book boast.  I have to say it was pretty cool! And seemed silly that I had never taken the 45 minute drive to explore this great place and an Iowa point of pride.  It was a nice break from the stress of the situation. 
The last two weeks have been wonderful overall.  Dinner parties and Cubs games.  Volleyball victories.  We celebrated Lukas’s birthday with a night of go-karting.  Safe to say Principal will never have to worry about me quitting my day job to become a professional racer.  I was like a grandma out there on the track! Which is weird because I’m never reserved on the interstates in my own car.  But something about those little karts just freaked me out.  It was a blast though.  After getting my butt kicked racing we all went to Jethro’s and enjoyed some wings and beverages.  It was the perfect way to celebrate one of my favorite guys!
Friday night was the soup cook off.  Holy cow did we have some great food.  Brian made a zuppa toscana.  Summer whipped up a delicious chicken tortilla soup and I went with a pepperjack potato chowder.  My house was a little crammed with 15 of us in here but it was a wonderful night. A total of 12 hours of sleep since I woke up Wednesday morning led to a nice quite Saturday evening at home doing some writing. 

Tomorrow night is game 3 of the series between the Cubs and the Dodgers.  I love the Cubs but it’s always weird to cheer against the team I spent so much time watching at the stadium when I lived in LA.  Go, Cubs, go!!!! Wednesday night is our volleyball playoffs.  We’re seeded #1 with an 18-3 record.  I will be sad when it’s over but hoping we can maybe find an indoor winter league until Spring comes rolling around.  Thursday night is the chili and weiner roast at the Beaver Den, celebrating Josh coming home from Colorado for a few days.  Then I think I’m going to head to Cresco and spend some time with my parents and grandparents for the weekend.