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Not just for Olympians

The Luge.

You may have heard of it. To most of the world, it's a sport in the winter Olympics, but to the Amos/ Jorgenson/ Hromadko/ and now Hilden families, it's something so much more personal. Every year (that we have enough snow) a luge is made up at the cabin. It takes many long hours of shoveling and clipping twigs and test runs before it's complete and ready to enjoy. When it's finished, from top to bottom it's about the length of a football field (is that right dad?). It's probably the most fun you would ever experience. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea.

*side note. The video from yesterday is Dave on a test run of part of the luge. When it's finished it goes WAY faster.



Everyone pitches in to make sure the luge is perfect.





The test runs are really hard work, but the task master (aka the luge mastermind, aka Dad) demands it of us, so we grudgingly obey.





Luging is pretty much the best thing ever, and it was extra special this year because we haven't had enough snow to build one in a long time. Hopefully this winter will be filled with many snowy, luge filled weekends at the cabin!

Movie Monday!

video

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, is it not? This was showcased yesterday as I made my way through a local grocery store to pick up a few things for our little Christmas celebration (just the two of us). This particular grocer was in a rather hoity toity part of town and maybe that had something to do with the extra holiday cheer, but I would like to think it was simply the Christmas Eve eve spirit influencing people in this way. Let me explain.

As I rounded up all our goodies and stood in a very long line to pay for them, a sweet little old lady came around and offered everyone Christmas cookies made fresh in the bakery. Seeing as she looked like Mrs. Clause, I couldn't exactly turn her down now could I?? And boy were those cookies GOOD!
As I was enjoying my sugary goodness, three old men in tuxedos set up shop near the entrance/exit with their instruments and began filling the air with Holiday music. I couldn't help but smile. My tummy was filled with sugar and my ears were filled with the sounds of the season.

I sure hope this holiday cheer greets me today as I'm out shopping 'til I drop.

I'm so Metro Transit.


Last Thursday, I boarded the 4k and started my trip back to our apartment. The brisk air had affected me a little bit, but I really didn't have to wait that long for the bus. Once I stepped in, I was blasted with heat, and I quickly warmed up. I sat on the right hand side, next to the window, and I started to read. Within the next few stops a couple of people boarded the bus. They were loud, sitting next to me, and complaining how the bus is soooo unreliable, and that you can never trust the schedules they post. According to one of the unruly passengers..."You just have to stand at the corner and hope a bus comes".

Immediately I thought these people obviously had no idea what they were doing. They said they were waiting for the bus for 2 hours (doubt it! considering one comes every 10-12 minutes.) and that no bus driver knew what they were talking about. The lady chimed in "this is the last time I use metro transit, I'm driving!" and that would be okay with me lady.

I love the bus. I've ridden almost everyday for the past two years, and for the most part it has been completely reliable, interesting, and enjoyable. I love the fact that I can sit down, and know that the bus driver is going to take me where I need to be. I usually throw on my iPod, and read for the 20 minutes it takes to get to our apartment. Sometimes I just sit and let my jumbled thoughts of the day stack up like a fresh Jenga board, totally prepared for the next game.

My appreciation deepened for the bus last week, when my co-workers were getting home an hour later than normal because of bad weather, and my watch read 5:00 exactly when I stepped off the bus. It's a thing of beauty.

Thank you Metro Transit.

The Annual Cookie Baking Extravaganza!

Once a year the whole fam gathers at my grandparent's house (Za and Bumpa) to bake and decorate cookies until our fingers fall off! It's loud and crazy and just plain fun. Here are some picture highlights of the evening.

There was a lot of this:



And this:



But mostly just this:



Many different cookies were made, around 10 different kinds. One of them was by far the messiest and most time consuming cookie around. The Rum Ball!



Here's Dave and Nicki Rum ballin' it up!



Shaun and his girlfriend Alex helped me make my very favorite holiday treat. Here's how to make it. It's really easy. Ready? Pipe some peanut butter between two Ritz crackers. Dip in chocolate. coat with a few shakes of sprinkles. Viola! Pure bliss.







Everyone worked really hard to make all the magic happen.

Here's Za furiously whipping up some frosting.



And Jacob helped out by making sure the sprinkles smelled ok.





And now Kellie would like to show all of you her handi-work. TA DA!



Thanks Kell. We all really enjoyed that.

Barreling through the snow

Alternately titled: Is this REALLY my job??

We had a major snow fall this past Monday. Yesterday (Thursday) our streets still hadn't been plowed. Ok, so the main part of the street, the part you drive on was plowed, or maybe just so many cars have traveled down it that it looked plowed, but the sides of the street, the areas in which we park had not been plowed. Every time I try and park, I have to barrel over large mounds of snow. We don't drive a large vehicle, just a small sedan. Give me a break Minneapolis!! How do they expect us to park?

After the 13th time of barreling over said snow mounds, I reached my breaking point. I called the City of Minneapolis and asked to speak to someone in the public works department. And guess what happened? The lady I spoke to had to put in a work order to get our streets plowed! WHAT?! Isn't it just assumed that when it snows the city will come and make sure the streets can be used for driving AND parking? Is it really my job to call the city every time it snows and alert them to the fact that it's impossible to park on a major Minneapolis street? Honestly.

Thanks for listening to me vent. It's so therapeutic, no?

In other news: This evening we will be participating in the annual Christmas cookie baking extraveganza at Za and Bumpa's! Pictures to follow.

David's Little Helper

I have to be completely honest with you, bloggers, I did not buy, set up, and light up the christmas tree all by myself. I had a helper. His name is Danny, and he is my sister's boyfriend. He also helped me with a recent smaller project of helping my grandparents get their christmas decorations down from their attic. We had a joyous time, and it happened to be well documented. Here are some pictures of the event. Sorry about the quality, they were all taken with my phone, and I have no flash on it. It was the one time in history that Jessica did not have her camera with her. If I can be frank, I'm a little surprised the universe didn't implode on itself. On with the pictures......!!

The man himself....



Here's the two of us, loving life and finding other holiday decorations....



Hard at work...



It looks like my grandparents killed Santa and put him in the freezer, hopefully he'll make it...



I think he's going to make it out just fine...



I'll leave you with creepiest item of the night....



Thanks for all the help Danny!

Best Husband Ever!

He's mine ladies. The Best Husband Ever!

Exhibit A:

This is our first Christmas together as a married couple and we briefly discussed getting a tree and decided that we didnt really have the time to get one and set it up nor the money to deal with the fact that we have ZERO decorations and to start from scratch is expensive. So instead we were going to borrow a little fake one from Dave's parents to adore and decorate.

Sidenote: I LOVE LOVE real Christmas trees. There's something all together yummy and perfect about them.

Ok, back to the story. For the past week he has been mentioning here and there that he has a surprise for me and for the life of me I couldnt figure it out even when he wanted me to guess. I had one or two ideas but they were pretty lame. When I came home last night from an outing with my sister and sister-in-law, there was a surprise sitting in our livingroom. Can you guess what it was??

Here....I'll give you a hint.



Need another one? Ok, ok but just one more.



Give up? This little beauty greeted me as I waltzed in the door last night. I'm extremely graceful. I waltz everywhere I go.



Isnt it so incredibly perfect? BEST surprise ever from the BEST husband ever! Thanks Babe!

Alternators and other such nonesense

It's Thursday, it's cold, and I feel like I have alot to say.

Last year, the weekend after Thanksgiving was a Hilden/Amos hangout at the cabin and the plan was to make it a tradition. This year, several components of the Hilden and Amos clans were not able to make it for various reasons so that left Dave and I alone at the cabin again. You wont hear any complaints from me however. I love spending time with my hubs.
The plan was to leave early on Friday morning to have as much time up there as possible. This plan was thwarted by one thing and one thing only: an alternator that was heating up to 500 degrees and then shutting down. Drat! We took it in right away and then thanked God that we caught it before hitting the open road. A few hours later, we left town with thankful hearts and skinny wallets.

___________________________________________________________

I have one request from all you bloggie friends:

PLEASE go see the movie Australia. Please. It's so utterly fantastic. And another request: please don't listen to what the critics say about this movie. They have NO idea what they are talking about. It's a truly beautiful film. A must see.

Amen

__________________________________________________________

I have a new love.

It's my cast iron skillet.

We received a set of them as a wedding gift from Za (my grandmother for those of you not familiar with her "name") and I never thought to dig them out of the cupboard to use them because I was already fairly in love with my stainless steel pans.
How wrong I was to neglect them for so long.

Dear cast iron skillet,
I love you dearly and promise never to neglect you again.

Love,
your new admirer.

__________________________________________________________

It's cold here. Really cold. I'm looking at my computer temperature gauge and it says it's a balmy 15 degrees outside. Now I realize this is Minnesota and the odds are not good that this is the coldest it will get this season, but cant a girl hope? Honestly, this happens every winter. I wonder what our ancestors were thinking settling in this frozen land. They must have arrived in the summer, because it's quite lovely here during the warm months. But if I could go back and talk to them, I would warn them that every winter their descendants are not going to be very happy with them and seriously question their judgement.

That is all.

Snapshot Day!

Hellllooooooooo bloggers,

I figured I would unload some phone pictures to share with the world. Here they are....

this one is just from walking into work....when it was nicer outside. Now I mostly stick to the skyway.



Here is one from my new favorite pinball machine "Popeye saves the earth". Get ready to see this in a Hilden basement someday.




A couple of high score pictures from our Chicago trip. We played a lot of pinball and we have the scores to prove it! CDH is my sister-in-law.




A photo from my walk into work again, that middle white light is the moon. I don't think I'll ever get robbed at the bus stop. Robbers don't get up early enough.



My shadow on a wall at work.



This is my sad attempt at getting a picture of the Christmas decorations in the skyway. For some reason, under no circumstances, did I want the security guard to see me taking the picture. I hope no one throws up after looking at it. I'll try and get a better one.



A picture from Thanksgiving at my Grandma's place.



Last, but not least, a picture of my sister and her best friend.

A must read

My sister Kellie is a tuxedo manager at a local Bridal shop.

Thus she has some funny stories to share.

Thus you need to read the new blog she started to tell said stories.



We just got back from a beautiful weekend away...more on that later.

In 2 hours or less...

If any of you live in the Minneapolis area and occasionally order pizza from Uptown Pizza, please consider boycotting them with me. Based on this scenario that played out this past Saturday afternoon, we will no longer be giving them our business.

After waiting almost 2 hours for our pizza:

Pizza dude: Uptown pizza, can I help you?

Me: Yes, we ordered a pizza at noon and seeing as it's 1:42 and we haven't seen any pizza yet, i was wondering if it's possible to get reimbursed?

A normal pizza dude: Oh, I'm so sorry your pizza was so late. We would be happy to reimburse you and give you coupons for your next order..

THIS pizza dude: No, we cant give you anything for free. I'll call the driver and have him come back.

Me: Umm...no, we would like our pizza that we have waited almost TWO HOURS for thankyouverymuch! But since we have waited SO freaking long, do you think we could at least receive a discount on said pizza?!

Extremely rude pizza dude: No, no discount, no free pizza, can I please speak to the person who placed the order?

Me (knowing the person who placed the order isn't argumentative): I don't see how that is relevant to the situation. I am with the person who placed the order, you will be speaking to me!

Pretty much the rudest pizza guy I have ever encountered: Lady, I am the owner and you are not getting anywhere with me.

An extremely upset and disgruntled Jessica: This is extremely poor customer service! Who takes TWO HOURS to deliver pizza and then doesn't given a discount for heavens sake?!

By this time our pizza had arrived and I was too upset to take this phone call any further so I instead ate two pieces or pepperoni and called it a day.

Seriously...Don't get pizza from them. It's just not worth the wait.

Music week 4.


Hello All,

I haven't forgotten about my quest to listen to all my music, alphabetically by song order. I'm still sailing along. I took a little bit of a hiatus last week when we were in Chicago, but I'm back on track. The last few days I haven't run into anything too disagreeable, so most of the songs have been pretty good.

I'm also working on my Grandma's Christmas records. I have about 7 or 8 left to get on CD before Thanksgiving, so it's kind of like a mid-term paper rush from the college days. It will all be totally worth it when I have 13 more CDs to give her on Thanksgiving day. Last night I listened to "The 12 days of Christmas" and "Christmas in Scandinavia". For the Scandinavia record one side was in Norwegian and the second side was Swedish. I couldn't understand a word they said, but the music entertained me while I read and got ready for bed. It's been pretty pleasant to have the old time Christmas music playing throughout our apartment these days. Jessica also bought a very Christmas-y candle, that she has been burning. The candle is a mixture of two different scents. One is called "Christmas Eve" and the other is something like "Santa's workshop". So, I have no idea what the second scent is. I'm sure Jessica will comment and let us know.

BACK to the original intent of this post....MUSIC OF THE WEEK!

Boo yea song: Ask the Lonely by Journey. OH man, this song started in the morning, and carried me through all day. I love that song.

A good but forgotten song: At a Glance by AFI. Always been a fan of this entire album, but I hadn't listened to it in ages.

A good song that I will never understand: At the Bottom of Everything by Bright Eyes. I will probably never understand most of the lyrics that come from this dude. Although, this is the same guy that said "I took a couple of months off from doing cocaine to kind of cleanse my body" so I think it's a little justified.

Well that's all I have for today. It's been a while since I've blogged. I'm glad to be back on the Blog Train.

Wicked Awesome

Wicked is so totally wicked awesome. The music, the costumes, the story....I mean, it's all just so...wicked!

Has anyone seen Kung Fu Panda where Jack Black's character says, "Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.." HA! Oh, it makes me laugh every time.
Please excuse me, my espresso consumption was borderline excessive today.

The company I work for took us all to see Wicked last night for our holiday party. Pretty wicked eh? Ok, last time. I promise.
Though this was not my first time seeing it, it was no less awe-inspiring or dazzling. As I was sitting there with my mouth hanging open I thought to myself, "and why cant I make this performance apart of my every day routine?" I mean, how great would it be if every day I could get up, have breakfast, go into work, leave at noon, go see this truly talented cast perform Wicked and then go home and eat dinner? I don't see where the problem is. I'm going to look into the possibilities immediately.

11-19

Dave and I just got back from a rip-roarin' Hilden family trip to the Chicago area for the semi-annual coin operated machine show! There were nine of us all together and it was wild and crazy but oh so fun. Unfortunately there's not one picture to be had from the entire trip. AHHH. How could I not take any pictures?? I guess I was just not in a picture taking mood. I'm entitled. Well actually....there was ONE picture taken. We all had matching "Crow River Trading" shirts on and our picture was taken for Antique Monthly Magazine, or something like that, so if I can get a hold of that picture, believe you me, I'll pass it along.

In lieu of having pictures to share from the trip, I will share with you more of my "to do before 27" list.

Numbers 11-19

11. Use eggplant in a dish I like. Eggplant Parmesan perhaps?
12. Participate in another race (length? TBD)
13. Make a chicken/turkey dinner
14. Take another road trip with Dave. (and get Dave to finish editing our video from the last road trip.)
15. Get a funky bundt pan and make a funky bundt cake.
16. Start an herb garden
17. Go on a girls trip.
18. Go through the Bible chronologically
19. Pay off our car.

I just LOVE lists. Any other list lovers out there? Sometimes when I'm writing lists I purposely put a few things on there that I've already accomplished just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off. I'm very tempted to do that with this list, but I'm going to refrain.

And...an update on # 2: I'm almost done with my picture project!! I just have to ask Dave really nicely to help me hang it up.

Boots

I dug my winter boots out of the closet this morning because when I looked outside, this is what I saw:



What? You've seen this picture before? In a previous cabin post you say? Man, you people are perceptive. Ok, so this may not have been exactly what I saw when I looked out my bedroom window this morning, but since it was the first snow fall that stuck around for more than 30 seconds, in my mind this picture and what I saw were one in the same.

Winter is officially here I guess. I have to admit, I'm sad to say goodbye to fall. I love fall. But there are things that I love about winter too. Trudging through the snow to get to my car and spending 10 minutes scraping it off just doesn't happen to be one of them. The boots are here to stay.

10 of 27

I made a list.

Since I recently had a birthday I figured I would spend some time thinking about my upcoming year.

I made a list.

Next year at this time I will be 27 so I decided to make a list of 27 things I wanted to do before the age of 27.

Here (with no rhyme or reason) are numbers 1-10 of said list.

1. Get my picture project done
2. Go to the Global Market
3. Finish our wedding album/scrapbook thing
4. Get a funky spice rack
5. Find and purchase wall art for the kitchen
6. Get a bike
7. Get Dave's bike fixed
8. Go on bike rides with Dave
9. Make my own cleaning supplies
10. Finish making my "things to do before age 27" list.

Alright, so that last one probably doesn't count, but it's hard coming up with 27 things ok? 27 is a big number, but I promise to think real hard about it in the coming days and get back to you with numbers 11-27. They will be doozies. Nothing short of spectacular. Get ready.

Music week 3


Hi All,

I'm been slacking lately! I was supposed to post music stuff yesterday, but you guys are getting it today.

Here's what Steve writes.....

Probably my only real boo yeah song so far


Bone Machine by The Pixies

As for me...I bucked my own system this week and just listened to whatever I wanted on the iPod. So I have a few different categories.

Song to get me going in the morning: Don't Tell Locke What He Can't do by Moneen

Album to help me unwind after a long week: A Sunday Afternoon Pops Concert (from Grandma's Records)

Songs I should be sick of but I'm not: Angels of the Silences and Anna Begins by Counting Crows. You guys are going to find that I really can't get enough of the Counting Crows.

Right now, Saturday morning tunes while Jessica bakes: Miles Davis

Salut!

For my birthday we went out with some friends to a lovely French restaurant - er, sorry, French - American restaurant (Dave has reminded me of that 17 times) and had a great time! If you would like to see pictures of our fabulous evening, please check them out on Stephanie's blog.

I love birthdays.

And I love birthdays celebrated at French-American restaurants. The only thing that could have made it better is if we had been in France. Hmm...maybe next year. Dave...are you reading this? Can we? Ok great. Thanks in advance.

It's Over!

This post is brought to you by the letter "O" for It's OVER!

No more crazy campaigning. It's Over.



No more slanderous, relentless TV and radio ads trying to convince us to vote for a certain "so and so," attempting to get us to think, but mostly just making us mad. It's Over.



No more walking around with a constant look of confusion and distress, just willing November 4th to come so all of this would go away. It's Over.



No more spot on SNL skits.


Actually, this is most likely untrue, and I'm glad since those spoofs are quite hilarious.

So, whether or not the person you voted for is our new President Elect, I think we can all come together and rejoice that this whole sticky, messy, LONG election is finally Over!

Music Week 2 again....

First things first, it is an awesome day in Minneapolis! It's supposed to be in the 70s today. Here's a picture of my commute into downtown this morning.



Now onto the music...

Utter Disappointment: Alms! Alms! from the Sweeney Todd soundtrack. I actually do like the music from this soundtrack, but this song flat out freaks me out. The woman sings off key and it's just plain freaky. I usually skip it. Luckily I was just on the bus, so I had some other ambiant noise to drown it out.

Boo Yea: Amy Hit the Atmosphere by Counting Crows. I really love this song. It was a nice one to follow up from the freak show of Alms! Alms!

Weirdest Transitions (I stole this idea from Steve): Amen Omen by Ben Harper into....America the Beautiful sang by the Muppets. I definitely didn't complain, but I had to switch my mind pretty fast.

Well here is my promised update from the musical journey. "Rock over London, Rock on Chicago. Wheaties the Breakfast of Champions." (if someone can guess where I got this quote from, I'll post another music update called Pieces of Eight. It's about two songs that I've had to listen to 8 times in a row.)

Music of the Week 2


Time goes fast people! I'm ashamed to say that I didn't prepare my weekly song winners yet, but I have a couple of entries to share and then I'll have to write mine for Monday. Jessica and I are off to her grandparent's cabin this weekend!

My brother, Matt, was able to finish all of his songs! He's been working on it for a little while and now the task is done! He writes...

Delightful Surprise: Most of the tracks from PFR. Those albums were old and dusty, and it was nice to hear them again. It's still crazy 80's music, but it hit the spot this week.

Utter Disappointment
: Ella Fitsgerald's *bad* attempts at singing in German instead of English on (You'll Have To Swing It) Mr. Paganini. Don't get me wrong, I love Ella; but I can tell a faked German accent when I hear one. Yikes.

Boo-Yea: Finishing the two month task of listening to all of my songs in alphabetical order by song title. Also, the song Words Are Like by TMBG. I like that song.

Steve has joined us for the ride as well. He has a couple of new categories, which are awesome.....

Song so good that I had to listen again - Atlantic by Keane

What was I thinking song?
- Beautiful People by I don't even want to dignify the artist

Pleasant Surprise - Bette Midler song (After all, it's my wife's iPod too)

Until Monday. Keep on keeping on. Slap those iPods into shape and enjoy the sweet sweet songs.

random fact # 8

Public toilets freak me out. When I use a public toilet (even at work) I have to line the seat with toilet paper. For a time, I tried the "squatting" thing, but I decided that just added stress to my life.
In this eco-conscience world, some may consider my extra toilet paper usage to be wasteful. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about being mindful of the environment and the carbon footprint we are leaving, but when it comes right down to it...the 4 extra squares of paper I'm using, allowing me to have peace of mind in that one area of my life is well worth it. I'm just saying.

My One and Only.

Today is my beautiful wife's birthday.

It is a complete joy to have her in my life, and to be married to her. I may be a little biased when I say this, but I don't care....BEST.WIFE.EVER.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

XxOoX
(Big kiss, little kiss, big hug, little hug, big kiss)

The Robed and the Bearded

Wouldn't that be a great name for a soap opera? I thought so.

Alternately titled: HP rocks the party!


Over the weekend we attended and incredibly elaborate Harry Potter party hosted by my very talented sister. She transformed her apartment to look like the inside of a Hogwarts classroom. We had a fabulous time. Here are the host of characters that showed up to join in the fun!
Harry and Ginny


Fred and George Weasley


Professor Trelawney

Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall


And even Moaning Myrtle made a bathroom appearance



We played HP trivia while sipping Pumpkin juice and butter beer and nibbled treacle tarts and mini pumpkin pies. It truly was a magical night!

Luna, Tonks and Trelawney




Fred and Dumbledore did a little hair/beard switcher-oo!


The whole gang