It wasn't the State Fair, but . . .

I love the State Fair. I worked there for a few years during college, and since then it has held a special place in my heart. I like seeing the animals (for a little while at least, before the smell starts getting to me). I love seeing oceans of people all around me in every direction (for a little while at least, before the smell starts getting to me). But most of all, I love the food. There are the standards: my annual indulgence of cheese curds (I only need them once a year to remember why I only need them once a year), pork chops on a stick, corn on the cob, Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar (heaven in a bucket), and fresh french fries. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my computer. I love to see each year what new deep-fried food on a stick they've come up with--the possibilities seem endless. I don't need to try them. I just need to see them.

But this year, we decided not to go. We just didn't feel up to following Kyle around ride after ride in the Kiddie Park, not getting to see any of the stuff we wanted to see, putting up with meltdowns every time we tried to leave and go somewhere else. Plus, it's really, really expensive.

Instead, we drove to New Ulm. Yeah, New Ulm. It's about 45 minutes away from here.

What's in New Ulm? Well, our first stop was to see Hermann the German. We thought Kyle might enjoy seeing it. But Kyle is weird about statuary. He loves the buffalo statue here in town. But he freaked out when we tried to show him the spoon and the cherry in Minneapolis. He has also freaked out about the neighbor's ceramic garden frog. And so, he freaked out about our buddy Hermann. Did NOT want to go anywhere near him. Luckily, there was a park nearby, and he had fun playing there for awhile. Before we left, we gave him a chance to see Hermann, but he declined. Troy did go check him out--climbed all the way to the top. But I don't do so well with heights, so I stayed with Kyle on ground level.

After Hermann, we went to Happy Joe's for pizza. Kyle was so impressed. "Wow," he said breathlessly. "That's so cool!"

Hundred-foot statue, meh. Cheap arcade games, now that's amazing.

At one point, Kyle was inspecting one of the games with another little boy. "I saw Hermann the German today!" he told the little boy. I'm sure the other little boy was so impressed.

After Happy Joe's, we went to K-mart. Yes. K-mart. One of my sleazy little pleasures. We don't have one in town anymore, and I miss it. So I go to K-mart whenever I can. In fact, I probably wouldn't have agreed to go to New Ulm instead of the State Fair if there hadn't been a K-mart in New Ulm. Kyle and Troy were bored out of their skulls by the time I finished there, but I found tons of really cute shirts for Kyle for really cheap.

By this time, Kyle was talking big about seeing Hermann. He wanted to drive past him. So we did, but when we asked if he wanted to get out of the car, he freaked again. It's obviously a love affair from afar.

We went to Flandrau State Park next. Troy and Kyle went swimming for a little while, then we spent some time at the play area. Kyle made a new friend--a little girl named Chloe who is starting kindergarten in two days. They were having a blast filling her shoes with pebbles and dumping them onto the metal slide. It made a pretty cool noise. Kyle was sad to leave, but he wanted to drive past Hermann again. Not get out, just drive past. This time I got out and snapped a few pictures.

After that, we stopped for some ice cream at a little shop that sells home-made ice cream. Now, last time we offered ice cream to Kyle, he refused. (I swear, he can't be my child.) So we didn't buy any for him. But after a taste of Daddy's strawberry ice cream, he wanted his own pink ice cream cone. We got him a kiddie size, which we let him eat in the car. Holy mess, batman! He had rivers of ice cream streaming down his arms, even down his legs. He even managed to get ice cream on the front of his hat, which would periodically drip down onto his face.

As soon as we got home, he got a much needed bath.

So, it wasn't the State Fair, but it was still a pretty good day. Kyle had fun, and that was our goal.


How Stinkin' Cool Is This?

My handwriting is now available as a font! Check it out:
You can find it here.

Admit it. You're jealous. And you should be. 

But I have to admit that the simple task of writing the alphabet has turned into an obsession with my handwriting. You wouldn't believe how many sheets of paper I went through trying to write the ABCs. Just ask Troy. I realized that I never write a letter the same way twice. And I worried that the resulting font would be way too boring for anybody to want to buy. But I have to say I am really pleased with how it turned out. I hope people like it and use it!


That's what I call job security

Wanted: Copy Editor
Major League baseball team seeks eagle-eyed editor with close attention to detail to avoid embarrassing snafus. 

Seriously, folks. Which is worse, the error itself, or the fact that it went unnoticed for four innings? 

I suppose you can't really blame the 5-year-old Chinese kid forced to make this jersey for 5 cents an hour.

I wasn't watching the game that night, so we'll never know if I would have noticed it myself. I like to think that I would have.



The Slogan Generator

I needed a little mindless diversion this afternoon, so I came across this stupid little thing. I have to admit it made me laugh.

Your Slogan Should Be

How Do You Handle a Hungry Man? Megan.

And so I had to try it for Troy:

Your Slogan Should Be

Do Me a Favor, Plug Me into Troy

And Kyle:

Your Slogan Should Be

Kyle. Champagne for the Brain.

So, what's your slogan? 


More photos added at Multiply

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I added some more August folders to my gallery at Multiply. You can check them out here.


Random Friday

I have just a few random thoughts to share with you today.
  • My cat Loki landed on my face at 5:30 this morning. Scared the bejesus out of me.
  • The word "bejesus" is actually in the dictionary.
  • Lucky Charms really are magically delicious.
  • More than half of Kyle's sentences lately end with "in my belly," as in, "I did take a nap . . . (pause for dramatic effect) . . . in my belly!" or "I love you, Mommy . . . in my belly!" Then he laughs like he's the funniest guy on earth.
  • I stayed up too late watching the Olympics last night, and I still missed the excitement of the come-from-behind U.S. wins in women's gymnastics.
  • This one day, at band camp . . . Just kidding! I've never even seen that movie.
  • I have Bryan Adams' song "Please Forgive Me" stuck in my head. I don't know why.
  • "Peel" and "unpeel" mean the same thing.  Same with "ravel" and "unravel."
I guess I'm out of random thoughts for today. Feel free to add your own.


Olympic dreams? Special Olympics, maybe.

Maybe it had something to do with the Olympics, watching those athletes perform physical feats. I was inspired. And I was crazy. 

I had a brilliant idea. Riding my bike to work would save gas, the planet, and my ass. Actually, the hope is that it would help me lose my ass. Or at least the part of it that is fat. And losing my fat ass (and any other fat that has accumulated on my body) would make me healthier, thus saving my self. 

I've been working toward this for months. I've gone through every excuse in the book:
  • My bike is old. So I had it tuned up and checked over, and after some new tires, it was given a clean bill of health. 
  • The seat was too low. So I raised it. 
  • I needed a way to carry my stuff to work. So I bought a rack that goes over the rear wheel. 
  • I didn't know where I could store my bike at work. So I asked, and I found out there's a bike rack at the other entrance. 
  • I didn't have a lock. So I bought one. 
  • I didn't know which route to take. So I tried a few routes with the car and figured out the shortest one (about 3.5 miles, in case you're wondering). 
But every morning, I found reasons why I couldn't ride my bike that day. I got up too late, I'd tell myself. I have a lot to carry today. It might rain. It's supposed to be 80+ degrees this afternoon.

And then it occurred to me: I wasn't going to do it unless I just did it. If I continued to wait for the perfect conditions, I would never do it. 

So, yesterday, I decided to do it. Maybe. I almost talked myself out of it. I checked the weather forecast and saw that there was a 30% chance of rain and it was supposed to be hotter today than Tuesday. I thought maybe I'd wait until Friday. It's supposed to be cooler and dry. Yes, definitely on Friday.

By the time I finished my cereal, the little Nike ad in my head was telling me: just do it. 

When I left the house, I had an out-of-body experience. No, I didn't trade my body for the sleek, sweaty-but-sexy beanpoles from the athletic shoe ads. I wish. But I did feel like I was watching a completely separate person. I didn't really believe she was going to get on her bike and ride away. And even then, I had my doubts. She'll turn around. I know she will. She'll come to her freakin' senses. Was she crazy? Was she really going to ride her bike all the way to work? 

Then, before I knew it, I was past the point of no return.

It wasn't pretty, let me tell you. What they say about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true. But that doesn't guarantee you'll be very graceful at it. I've added a lot of extra weight since the last time I rode a bike. And I've lost a lot of flexibility too. Note to self: next time, buy a women's bike. Back when I bought this bike 15 years ago, it wasn't so hard getting on a men's bike. Now, I have to lean it down as far as I can and try to swing my leg up and over the back tire and the seat. You should see me attempting this feat. Sometimes I lose my balance and do a sideways hop to get out of the way as the bike crashes to the ground. 

On second thought, no you shouldn't see me. Because if I knew anyone was watching, especially just for the sake of amusement, I'd never ride again. 

So anyway, after several attempts, I finally mounted my bike (that sounds dirty, doesn't it? it isn't. get your minds out of the gutter!). It took several more attempts to actually propel myself in a forward motion without tipping over. Once I got going, though, I felt a little smug. Okay, a lot smug. "Look at me!" I thought. "I'm so healthy! In your face, car-drivers! You overpriced-gas-buying, pollution-spreading fat asses!" (I could say things like that because I was on a bike and therefore not a fat ass. Plus, it was in my head, so nobody heard me.) 

Then I reached the bridge. Did you know there's a hill there? A mammoth hill. Think: mountain. I didn't know that. It caught me off-guard. By the time I reached Mankato city limits, I was panting. Not a good sign. At least it would be flat the rest of the way. Not. There was another mammoth hill just before Madison Avenue. Funny, I never noticed that before. I tried climbing it, but I'm no Lance Armstrong. I finally got off the bike to walk.

The bike dismount is just as painful and comedic as getting on the bike. It's the same routine, just in reverse. I hoped to God nobody was watching.

So I walked the bike across busy Madison Ave, and I couldn't bring myself to get back on. I was dying. I was sweaty. I was panting. My legs felt like a strange combination of Jell-o and lead weights. I weighed my options. Maybe I could call Troy and have him pick me up and bring me to work. But he'd probably mistake my heavy breathing for a prank call and hang up. (At least, I hope he'd hang up! I don't want my hubby taking sex calls from random women.) So I slowly pushed my bike forward. 

By this time, I was no longer feeling very self-righteous. All those in-your-face thoughts vanished. Instead, the only thing running through my head was, "Never again. Never again. Never again."

I rode/walked my bike to the last great hurdle: Good Counsel Hill. Unlike Bridge Mountain and Madison Ave. Peak, I knew about this hill. And I had no intention of biking up to the top. I had planned all along to push my bike up the "old hill," the road on the other side of the hill that has been closed to traffic for years, far away from the main road where my coworkers could drive past and laugh at my sorry ass trying to get up the hill. But I hadn't counted on being out of breath and dying before I even set foot on the hill. 

So I started up. Really slowly. Seriously slowly. And I stopped to catch my breath. A lot. I started counting the steps. Seventy-five more steps, then I'll stop. OK, now 50 steps. Then 25. Then 12. And with each step, I chanted, "One less step. One less step." 

Kyle's been watching the Little Engine that Could a lot lately, so of course I got that annoying song stuck in my head--"There's no mountain that we can't climb. There's no tomorrow that we can't make it over..." Or something like that.

During one of my many breaks, I did consciously stop to take a look around me. The trees and bushes were a million shades of green. Sunlight beamed through the early morning mist. Birds sang. Everything smelled fresh and alive. 

Except for me. I smelled neither fresh nor alive.

Finally, 50 minutes after leaving home, I made it to my desk. I was sweaty, out-of-breath, and red-faced. But I was there. And I didn't get up again for at least another hour.

By quitting time, it looked like it was going to rain. So I had Troy come and pick me up.

Now here's the craziest part. After a few hours, I recovered. And I'm not sore today at all. (We'll see, though. Maybe it will hit me tomorrow.) And now I'm thinking maybe I will do it again. It can only get easier, right? That which doesn't kill us, yada yada yada, right? 

I do need to make a change in my life. If I want to be happier, healthier, and truly get the most out of this life I've been given, I need to do something drastic. Here's hoping this wasn't the last bike ride for me.


more photos posted

Here are some photos for the month of August. I'll add more as the month goes on.

hoo givs a dam uhbowt speling?

I noticed this article on Yahoo! today. So if spelling is hard, we should just forget about it? I say we do the same thing for trigonometry!

A little less wisdom

I had a wisdom tooth removed yesterday. Good golly, I hope I never have to do that again. But I have two left, so who knows.

What is it with dentists/oral surgeons who think they are comedians? You can crack all the lame jokes you want, mister, but that's not going to change the fact that you're jabbing a 2-foot long needle into my cheek. And I'm sure as hell not going to smile.

I just remembered Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood" was playing on the radio just before the doctor came in. Maybe that should have been a warning.

The novocain injections were definitely the worst part. Then there were the cracking sounds while he tugged the thing out of my chin. They couldn't give me earplugs or something so I wouldn't have to hear that? And then the doctor takes a look at me and says, "Yep, her eye looks a little lower now. I guess we'll have to take out the one on the other side to make it balanced again."

Har frickin' har har.

Actually, though, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I have not even taken any Tylenol yet. Sure, it's a little tender, but nothing I can't handle. I haven't noticed any swelling or bruising yet either.

Now that I've tried it both ways (general vs. local anesthetic--good God, get your mind out of the gutter!), if I ever have to do this again, I want to be completely, totally knocked out next time.


The Girl in the Window

Read this. Trust me. Read it. The Girl in the Window

Then watch this. Video.

Just grab some Kleenex first.

Then go hug your kids.


Put down your testosterone for just a minute, Mr. Tough Guy (TM)

Allow me to set the scene. It was Sunday morning. We had just survived Underwater Adventures with Kyle. The next item on the agenda was to meet Bekah, Paul, and Cora at the Minnesota Zoo. We returned to our van in the parking ramp, loaded the Kylinator into the van, turned on the a/c, and got out the maps.

One of the many things I love about Troy is that he lacks the overgrown sense of machismo that prevents ordinary men from consulting maps. No, Troy realizes that I am little to no use when it comes to finding our way around unfamiliar locations. Plus, getting lost wastes valuable time. And Troy is not a time-waster. So he is always prepared with maps, usually several of them.

As we sat in our van in the parking ramp studying the maps, figuring out the best route to the MN zoo, a car stopped behind us to wait for our spot. Remember, it's a Sunday morning. It's not Black Friday or Christmas or anything. The mall is not crowded. There are plenty of other parking spots available. Our spot is on ground level, but it's not like it's attended by English butlers offering wine and cheese. It's not like it's the local A-list celebrity hangout. It's not like they were giving away free laptops to the first two vehicles parked within its gold-plated white lines.

But this guy wanted our spot. Our ordinary, just-like-all-the-others spot was apparently the Holy Grail of parking spots. He honked. I turned to look at him, and he threw his arms upward to signal his complete disgust and frustration that we had not left the spot. He honked again. Of course, by this time, Troy had finished studying the maps. But hell if we were going to let Mr. Asstwat have our spot. Finally, he sped away, leaning on his horn as he passed us. Several other cars who had been stuck behind this asstwat followed him.

So we finally pulled out of our spot. As we were exiting the ramp, I spotted a guy walking with his wife and two tween-age sons. I hadn't seen the driver's face, but I could just tell by the way this mullet-haired, wife-beater clad redneck was walking that he was the guy. He just looked like a guy who would suffer from roid rage. As we passed him, I made eye contact. He gestured again to me, throwing up his arms as if to say, "What the fark?"

So Troy slowed down and rolled down the windows. "Is there a problem, sir?" he asked.

Tough Guy (TM) started screaming about how we had held up the entire population of Hicksville, USA, by not pulling out of our spot the second we were securely inside our vehicle. As if there's a time limit.

Troy explained, "I was looking at the @!#$ map!"

And Tough Guy (TM) shouted back, "Look at your @#!% map later!"

Now hold your testosterone right there, asstwat! First of all, when do you want us to look at the map? While we're driving? Seriously? Just so you can have your precious magical parking spot? Do I even need to point out that you obviously found another spot very quickly, since you're actually walking from your car to the mall already? And for another thing, those cars lined up behind you weren't pissed at us. They were pissed at you. You were the one holding up traffic. Because you were the asstwat who didn't want to drive 20 more yards to find an available spot.

Anyway, the the conversation escalated into several choice words before Tough Guy (TM) walked away, trailing his over-inflated ego behind him.

Seriously, what was the guy thinking? Is there some kind of unwritten law regulating the amount of time one may spend in the car before pulling out of the parking spot? By climbing into the car, are we required to turn the spot over to the first redneck asstwat who claims it?

i learned something new today

i know it's summertime and We're not supposed to learn anything new until September, but i thought this article was an interesting look at Our language. click here

Maybe e.e. cummings was onto something.

I need a vacation . . .

What is more relaxing than a four-day vacation with a 3-year-old? I can think of a few things... getting every hair ripped from your body one by one, changing the cat litter with a spork, watching a Diego and Dora 48-hour-marathon with your eyelids taped open with duct tape....

Do you think I'm exaggerating? When was the last time you took a vacation with a 3-year-old?

OK, so I'm exaggerating a teensy weensy little bit. We actually had some fun. Kyle had tons of fun, and that's what is really important.

We began our little mini-vacation Friday afternoon. By Monday morning, we had visited the Como Zoo (including the amusement park there), Minnesota Zoo, Nickelodeon Universe and Underwater Adventures at the Mall of America, and the sculpture garden. And that doesn't include the highlight of the weekend--meeting Thomas the Tank Engine! Kyle was practically vibrating with excitement.

Our trip nearly ended before it had a chance to begin. Our hotel room was on the seventh floor, a distance neither Troy nor I wanted to tackle. That meant we had to use the elevator. The problem was, Kyle is terrified of elevators. I'm sure the other guests in the hotel thought we were kidnapping him, the way he was screaming and shouting and carrying on. Troy carried him while I tried to lug the luggage. Kyle kicked and screamed, "I not want to! I not like this!" the whole way into the hotel, on the elevator, and even after we were safely in the hotel room. I seriously thought we'd have to go home. Kyle was hysterical. Then suddenly, he wanted to go see the pool. "You'll have to ride the elevator," Troy warned him. "O-tay," Kyle said. And that was that. Kyle had conquered his elevator demons.

But even though the elevator was no longer a threat, Kyle was a bit homesick the entire weekend. He kept saying, "I want to go home!" and "I want to sleep in my bed, please please!" Poor kid. We thought about coming home Sunday night, but in the end we stayed until Monday morning. Kyle woke up and said, "O-tay, let's go home now." So we did.

I got tons of pictures, of course, so you'll hear more about the trip when I get around to posting those.