Archive for June, 2008

our weekend in Milwaukee, featuring gratuitous dog pictures

Our trip to Milwaukee on Friday was reasonably fun. Or, at least as fun as a 5-hour drive that you’ve taken 50+ times can be. Jason thought he was hilarious, and has proclaimed himself the funniest person I have ever met. Which is interesting, because how does he know who I’ve met and how funny they are? Hmm.

So I suggested that he list the top 10 funniest things he’s ever done. He struggled to come up with 2 things, and I can’t even remember what they are.

Anyways, after this conversation, I decided that the dog should get a seatbelt since he sits up like a real boy in the car. Honestly. So. Ridiculous.

We made it to Milwaukee alright, and let the dogs play. Little dog (aka Comet) seemed pretty thrilled to see us and to have a doggy play buddy. He has so much energy. Big dog (aka Barley) was also thrilled to see another of his kind, and the two played like champs for about 45 min. Then, big dog got tired and started doing this defensive move where he spins in a circle and hip checks little dog and little dog goes flying across the room.


But then, this happened:

(you can’t get mad – I TOTALLY warned you).


And we were amazed that the little dog, who is approximately 1/5 big dog’s size would try to dominate him. Crazy little dog. So we thought we should separate them for a minute.

Saturday was busy busy busy! We met with the pastor that will marry us in the morning to find out the results of our marriage test. It was a lovely scantron that we filled out about a month ago and sent to some (real) psychologists to score. We did so well that they suggested we may have cheated on the exam – we scored 90-100% in each category. We take this as evidence that we’re actually becoming the same person. Although, we were a little annoyed that we only scored a 90% in the personality category because I’m stubborn. But we both agreed that I am stubborn, so I really feel like we should get a few bonus points for at least being on the same page with regards to my stubborn-ness.

Anyways, we also appear to have “unrealistic” ideas about marriage (we scored only 30% in the marriage expectations category) – both of us answered “strongly disagree” to the statement, “I expect the romance to fade over time in our marriage” and the “correct” answer was “strongly agree”. Does anyone else find it strange that the church would take such a cynical view of marriage? I mean, shouldn’t they be all smiling-happy-marriage-is-great? Anyways, we get that romance and going out on dates might not occur as frequently now as they did when we were first dating, but we want to really put an effort into making sure that we go on dates and spend fun time together (not just work-on-the-house time). Jason’s parents are actually really good at this… they go to all sorts of charity events and movies and whatnot together. So we’re hoping that they can be our role models in this endeavor.

Another reason we scored so low in the marriage expectations category was that we haven’t talked about the traditional roles that a mother or father would have in raising children. Sitting down and outlining a mother’s vs a father’s obligations in raising a child seemed really silly to us at this point. I mean, moms and dads are mostly there to love, protect, and care for their kiddos, no? And I think that if that’s the bottom line, then it doesn’t matter who changes the diapers, feeds the kid, plays with it, or whatever. I fully expect Jason to participate in all of those things, and I know he expects me to do the same. Anyways, we’re not planning on having kids for a while, so it’s not even relevant. Strike this conversation from your memory.

After we aced premarital counseling and were told that we did not have to go back, we ran some wedding- and graduation-related errands and then met with someone at the grain exchange room (where our reception will take place). More on that tomorrow.

We then headed back to my parent’s house, where they held a graduation party for my brother, Robby, and my cousin, Jessica. The dogs also enjoyed the party – or, actually, they enjoyed destroying my mom’s hastas in front of a relatively large audience.  We got to visit with the fam for a bit (always fun) before getting glammed up for our engagement photos.  More on engagement photos when we get them back (hopefully in the next week or two).

We stopped at John Hawk’s Pub (where our rehearsal dinner will be held) so that Jason could taste and approve of their chicken sandwich. We, unfortunately, had horrible service (although everyone around us seemed to have *great* service, so I think it was our waitress). Jason still approved of the chicken sandwich. Phew.

Then, we walked over to the Milwaukee Residence Inn (and if you haven’t gotten your rooms reserved yet, DO IT NOW). We checked out one of the one-bedroom suites and I think our guests will be quite pleased. The entire hotel was remodeled in April and is AMAZING. Big rooms (or at least the one we saw was), marble countertops in the kitchen, great view of Milwaukee, and REALLY REALLY close to our rehearsal dinner and reception venues. The hotel is also connected to a mall via skyways, and is near a whole boatload of restaurants and bars.

Sunday, we woke up and participated in a walk for Epilepsy. My parent’s wonderful neighbors, the Bergrens, lost their daughter, Darcy, who had Epilepsy only a few years after they moved into our neighborhood. The Bergrens are just the sweetest family ever, so it was fun to go out and support them by walking with their team. They had organized the biggest team at the event, which I think is a testament to how absolutely nice and wonderful they are. So we stuck around after the walk to socialize with other neighbors and friends. And to get a picture of Jason with oversized sausages (the German and Italian Sausages, to be exact). Only in Milwaukee, friends. Only in Milwaukee.

After the walk, we decided some crucial wedding things with my parents, visited with a musician at church and also a musical family that my dad knows to pick out music for the ceremony. While they were playing, it really hit me that this whole wedding thing is real! Yikes! I’m really getting hitched! And then I started tearing up and getting sentimental, just sitting there in the living room of these people that I had met 5 minutes earlier. So there is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER that I will NOT be crying the day of. There’s just something so sentimental about the music in the ceremony that totally gets me choked up. I am going to be a train wreck. Please pack extra kleenex in your purses. I will need it.

After we made some serious musical decisions, Jason headed to Qdoba, while my mom and I picked out bridal undergarments and had my first dress fitting. And I’m even more excited about my dress now that we’ve got that all done. Also, I ended up changing up my shoes – I will now be wearing these fabulous pointy silver shoes with little bows on them. They are so cute, but also look like I could kick someone’s butt in them. So, don’t make me go bridezilla on you. It might hurt.

We finally left MKE around 6, made it to MSP around 11, and passed out just absolutely exhausted.


June 30, 2008 at 11:27 pm 2 comments

more on walking

I mentioned yesterday that we’ve been really REALLY good about walking around here. I blame most of that on the dog – even though he’s the laziest dog ever, we feel compelled to take him out for exercise. He just gets so darn excited about going out – his tail wags so fast and furious that his whole rear end shakes. It’s so cute.

He’s getting pretty good at walking without pulling  your arm off, too.  And even though I have to walk with a bag of chicken to keep him walking next to me, it is SO worth it.  Because getting your arm pulled off is miserable.  And he is 75 lbs of pure muscle.  My arm doesn’t stand a chance without the chicken.

So, yeah, he’s pretty good.  Until…

Oh no!  It’s the manuever we affectionately refer to as “the death roll” (“death” because it totally kills the walk).

See?  Not walking.

Yes, still just wriggling along the ground. (here is where I begin awkwardly looking around to see if anyone is staring yet).

Really, Barley, Come on.


Okay, boy, seriously.  (this is usually the part where I start trying to bribe him to get up and walk again).

Please!  Come on!  Here boy!  Here, here, here!  I’ll give you chicken!

A whole chicken!  Two whole chickens!  Please, just get up and walk like a normal dog!

(insert awkward stares from passers-by)

You don’t want chicken?  How about steak?  Please. Just. Get. Up.

Honestly.  This is ridiculous.  None of the other dogs do this.  Look!  That other doggy is walking!  Can’t you just walk?!?

OH.  Done.  Finally.  -sigh of relief-

If this is any indication of what kind of parent I’m going to be, the kids are totally going to walk all over me.

Only, I suspect chicken isn’t such a good bribing tool with kids.

June 26, 2008 at 10:34 pm 1 comment

The get-fit house

Before we had even moved in, Jason called this our “get fit” house. Why? Because we live less than a block from a really nice parkway and 3 blocks from a lake.

We’ve been so good about walking around here, and many times when I’m walking, I find myself thinking about how lucky I am to live here. I love it.

(this is where I note that Jason has been doing 25-mile bike rides along the parkway in an attempt to get in shape for the wedding. impressive!)

Anyways, who would have thought you’d find this beauty within the city limits?

My cousin, Jim, even had a race on the lake near us a few weeks ago.  (His boat is on the far left).

And his team won! (and we got to visit with Catherine during the race, which is always fun.)

I love it here.

June 25, 2008 at 10:59 pm 2 comments

pictures of pictures

I’ve been informed that some of you are going through “blog withdrawal” because of my lack of recent posting.  Apologies!  It’s just that I’ve been busy writing boring sciencey things for my real job (if you don’t believe me, go to pubmed and type in my name – not all of them are mine, because I have a very. popular. name. but you’ll get the point.), and sometimes, I go through all of my allotted words for the day and don’t have any left for blogging.  Other times, I am just lazy.  Or busy planning a wedding.  Or selling a house.  Or remodeling a house.  Or annoying Jason.  Or pampering the dog.  You see?  I am BUSY.  But I promise to never leave you, to continue to blog, even if I am just blogging about cleaning.  Which brings me to today’s post:

Sunday I went on a manic cleaning spree – I even washed the wood floors and baseboards by hand (typically I rely on my good friend, the swiffer to handle these sorts of things).

Jason did miscellaneous chores – including hanging pictures! Yay! I unpacked some of our decoration-type things and put them out, and now our house feels much more like a home. It makes me so happy. I can’t wait until we can start painting and installing new light fixtures and closet organizers and – oh my! But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Some pictures:

Our living room.  Do you like my curtain tiebacks?  They are only temporary, although, at the rate we’ve been going on the INSIDE of this house, the length of “temporary” is questionable.

More living room.  Note my large stack of work on the couch.  I am currently avoiding said stack like the plague.  Also, I do not like that lamp.  But!  We left all of our lamps in Kentucky and need some sort of light in the room.

The TV (in the living room, of course).  I pulled out a little basket for Barley’s toys that he’s afraid of because they squeak, and I think it works nicely here next to the TV.  I also dug out these vases and the wooden tray on the TV cabinet.  The tray makes me really happy because I can’t stand how the mail and other miscellaneous crap always accumulates there… the tray sort of hides the mess, or at least makes it look more organized.  Faux organization is my style.

View from the living room into the dining room.  Note the exhausted and overheated doggy on the floor.  Also note the ugly yellow extension cord on the floor – we have exactly ONE 3-prong outlet in the living room and it happens to be in the least helpful place (go figure).  So, extension cord it is.  That is, until Jason re-wires the outlets on the first floor.  Anyone have thoughts on whether we can actually rewire the outlets easily?

The dining room (view towards the front of the house).  We hung the little red picture, but I might hang some other pictures in that corner instead.  Really, something just needed to go up, and this was it (you can also see another picture waiting to be hung sitting on the chair in the background).

June 24, 2008 at 9:43 pm 3 comments

Back from SJ

I am back from San Juan! Let the blogging resume!

As I was packing and preparing to leave last weekend, we had a pretty big storm, and the electric went out. Thank goodness we had unpacked all 4 candles that we own and had them sitting on the fireplace mantle. It was a bit tricky trying to pack, do laundry, and prepare my talk without any electricity. Packing went okay, but I had to fix a button on my white blouse, and ended up using bright yellow string to attach it. Oops! The talk and the laundry didn’t happen. Also, the dog was TERRIFIED. Kind of hillarious. See?

Yes, our 75 pound pitbull is cowering behind the sofa AND the side table.

Anyways, that was a fairly stressful way to start the trip (especially since I had NO clean clothes to pack), but somehow I managed to wake up at 3am, when the power came back on, and throw in a few more loads of laundry.

The rest of the trip went without a hitch, though, thank goodness. San Juan is very cool, my CPDD friends were all at the conference, my roommates were awesome, our room was fantastic. I couldn’t ask for much more.

I attended much of the conference, since Jason wasn’t there to distract me and make me hang out at the beach/pool like he usually does (okay, I confess: it didn’t take much coercion to get me interested in hanging out near a beach/pool).

One of the highlights of the week was Bill’s birthday dinner. Bill turned the big 3-0 on Sunday, and we all celebrated by hanging out poolside and consuming pina coladas. Later in the week, a smaller group of us went to an amazing tapas restaurant to celebrate Bill’s birthday again (Bill – what was the name of that place?). It was delish and the sangria was also fantastic. Best meal I had all week. I wish I could go to Bill’s birthday dinner every week.

Greg, Michelle, Emily, Bill, and I at Bill’s birthday dinner!  (Emily and Michelle were my fabulous roommates for the week!)

Mmm… Sangria!  And it tastes even better when it comes in an adorable pitcher.

Me and the birthday boy!

Other than that, lots of great talks, great chatting with people, and all that. My talk on Thursday was the LAST TALK OF THE CONFERENCE (save the best for last?), and most of my friends had left by then, but I think the talk went well. My public speaking skills have improved dramatically in the last year or two – I think because I gave quite a few talks at UK. As I proudly exclaimed to JT after my talk, “I didn’t even do anything funny like itch my neck repeatedly!” He suggested that I check myself in the mirror to make sure… in the past I have done funny things like itch my neck while talking, and he made sure to give me crap for it. Constructive criticism, right? Sigh.  I suppose that if JT doesn’t tell me these things, I will probably not know they happened.

Dr. DJ Stairs pours himself a glass of flavored water in the hotel lobby.

Thursday evening, Emily and I and others headed to Old San Juan for dinner.  We ate at a restaurant called Tantra that featured “Indo-Latino” Cuisine.  Basically, it was a Puerto Rican take on Indian food.  And it was delicious.  And so were the mojitos.

I spent much of Friday morning sunning myself at the pool.  It was fantastic.

Somehow, I managed to drag myself to the airport for the long trip home.  Flights were delayed, and I didn’t get home until after midnight, but JT and Barley came to the airport to greet me, and JT had even gotten a haircut!

June 22, 2008 at 12:16 am 4 comments

headed to San Juan

I don’t anticipate blogging too much this week, since I’ll be in San Juan for a conference (tough, I know!). But! I wanted to say a few things before I left:

1. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Since I have no way of calling you, you’ll just have to look at this post when you get back from Canada (he’s on a men’s fishing trip this week in a remote area of Canada), and remember how lucky you are to have such a great kid (me).

2. Happy 6th month anniversary to our house on Tuesday! It’s been fun. And, we even survived our first power outage in the house last night (packing by candlelight is probably not a good idea… I have no clue what I put in my suitcase)! We promise to hang pictures on your walls soon, house (yeah, we’ve been here 6 months, built a fence and brick paver patio, but have yet to hang a single picture).

3. This week marks the 5th anniversary of meeting Jason! What a lucky girl I am to have met him and for him to stick around long enough to deal with my insanity! Ha ha!

June 15, 2008 at 6:09 am 2 comments

bridal accessories

Another one of the tasks we accomplished last weekend on our bridal extravaganza weekend was to pick out some of my bridal accessories.

Recall that I had originally wanted a sparkly tiara-esque headband, like so:

[Image Source]

I still LOVE the sparkly headband, but will most likely have my hair up in a somewhat messy/loose updo, and I am just not sure that the sparkly headband will work. Here’s an example of what I’m envisioning for my hair (but with fancy hair pins instead of the flower):

[unfortunately, I forgot to write down where this came from – kind of a common theme lately…]

So instead of the flower, I wanted to find some cute and sparkly hairpins. But! The hairpins also have to look a little vintage-y to go with the classic style we’re going for. I love these little hairpins:

[images from New York Magazine via Thoughtfulday]

So that was my inspiration. And I was getting ready to go out and shop when I realized that my great-grandmother’s jewelry was in a box in the basement, and why don’t I go check it out? Well, I found some gems.

Here’s me checking out my great-grandma’s jewelry. Not sure what’s with the funny look on my face…

Look what I found – some clip-on earrings turned hairpins!

We especially liked the idea of using these flowery earrings as my hair pins. And, they can be my “something old”! My “something new” would be my dress/shoes… and my mom and I came up with the idea to add one of the small blue jewelry pieces to my dress for my “something blue”, so hopefully that will be cute. Now, I only need something borrowed…

As for a veil? I really want a cathedral-length veil, so Ashley, mom, and I went shopping for one. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I think I will just make my own veil!

Ashley and I pose for mama bear at the bridal store.

Not sure I like the veil + ponytail look I’m sporting here, but you get the picture.

We also picked out shoes this weekend. My mom isn’t 100% sold on them, and I think both of us will keep an eye out for something that might be better, but here they are:


Yep, they’re red! I am super-excited about wearing red shoes on my wedding day! My dress is kind of an off-color, so it would be difficult to match, and I’ve seen a bunch of pictures of brides with colored shoes lately. Like so:

[from Yellow Brick Blog]

Watch out, groomsmen, or you may find yourself with red argyle socks! Ha ha! For some reason, I just love the fun foot pictures.

One bridal accessory that I will go without is the bridal purse… Since I will be carrying flowers all day, I doubt that I will also want to try to hang on to a purse, so mama bear and the bridesmaids will have to handle that responsibility. But it’s fun to look anyways, and I absolutely adore these purses:

[image from Monya]

June 12, 2008 at 10:03 pm 5 comments

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