MN State Fair 2019

Another year, another fair. It was a record-breaking first day, and the weather was perfect. As usual, I kept a list of what we ate and drank. Here we go! New-this-year foods are starred:

  • joey mary (iced coffee with a skewer or snacks)*
  • mini donuts
  • cookie dough on a stick*
  • blueberry key lime pie*
  • maple cream cold press
  • beef sticks
  • halo cone*
  • roasted corn
  • cuban fusion fajita*
  • 2 beer flights (the cotton candy cream ale* was great)
  • frozen apple cider
  • apple turnover
  • first kiss apple
  • honey ice cream
  • brisket taco*
  • korean taco
  • wantons (then we went back for seconds)
  • egg roll
  • vietnamese coffee
  • fried green tomatoes
  • irish whiskey boneless wings*
  • peaches & cream ale*
  • corndog
  • shrimp & grits fritters*
  • latte samples
  • 1919 root beer
  • cheesey sriracha funnel cake bites*
  • lobster rolls
  • chocolate milk
  • turkey sandwich
  • cream puffs
  • cheese curds
  • sweet martha’s
  • lemonade
  • dairy building ice cream


look, we have a shed now

Oh hi. Of course I haven’t posted since my dog died. I miss her SO MUCH it kinda bums me out to be posting and moving her tribute down the page. But here we are. On this, the 5 month anniversary of her passing, I have for you a pretty boring and not dog related post about the shed we installed in our back yard over my long weekend (I’ve taken a lot of Mondays off for the past couple months because I have PTO to burn).

Here’s the deal. We have a one car garage. This works just fine because we only have one car, however, it means there’s no storage space in there. I often find myself parked tire-to-tire with the lawn mower. As an added bonus, the garage is lower than the back yard, so any time Darren* needs to mow the lawn, he has to haul the mower up some stairs. We needed somewhere better to stash that sucker, plus the grill, yard waste bin, and miscellaneous yard tools that didn’t otherwise have a great place to live.

*I have yet to mow our lawn because I do ALL THE OTHER outdoor greenery maintenance/gardening.

Here’s our back yard when we bought the house, from the listing photo.

I ripped out all that ivy from the fence last summer, by the way. It was out of control. Invasive plant problems! Anyway, take a look at the greenery below the kitchen window. That isn’t there anymore either, because of reasons (dogs). After I dug it all out, I spent two summers trying to get grass to grow. It kind of did, but it was pretty thin. Last summer I decided this would be the perfect space for a small shed, because I was over our aforementioned lawn tool storage problem.

Since our electric meter and cable boxes are on that exterior wall, I decided a low profile option would be best. After much research, review reading, and price comparing, I decided on the Suncast Glidetop shed. Menards consistently had the best price, so I stalked their website hoping for a sale. The first weekend of June I discovered they’d knocked 50 bucks off, so we went for it. Good enough! We strapped that sucker to the top of the Forester, I opened the sunroof and kept one hand on it the whole drive home so I could tell if it was coming loose, and we jammed it in the garage for a week – parking with the nose of the car juuuust touching the box – until we could get the area prepped.

Which brings us back to my long weekend. Here’s what we started with (I will not apologize for my cell phone photos, I’m not paid for this shiz):

There’s a raspberry bush next to that downspout. We should probably remove that tree, but it helps hide the neighbor’s backyard hoarder pile.

Saturday, gravel and pavers were purchased. We decided on pavers because they were the cheapest option for base construction. Saturday evening I dug out the space where the base would go. Sunday morning, before it rained, I installed the pavers. I added a little greenery and a lot of mulch:

Wow, wouldn’t that be a great little spot for a dining set? Dang. And there’s that raspberry bush, behind the hostas.

Yesterday afternoon, once the back yard was shady, Darren and I muscled the giant box out of the garage and got to building. A little over an hour later, we were left with this:

I threw down some grass seed over all the excess dirt in the front, and it’s raining today so here’s hoping that grows in quick. The raspberries are still accessible (important!), as is the electric meter, and now we have a place for the things that need it. Hooray!

I do enjoy posting on this little bloggy, I wish I was better about it. You know where I’m always active, though? Tumblr and Instagram. Come find me if you wanna.


We adopted Enli on August 21, 2010 – two weeks after our wedding, and one day after Darren’s 25th birthday. We started that day furniture shopping, and somewhere along the way ended up looking for a dog instead. We’d been talking about wanting a dog for a while, and were living in an apartment where they were allowed. We had even decided on a name for our future dog, after an acquaintance posted on Facebook about an unusual name she found in a baby book. After a peek at the Humane Society‘s website, we saw posts for a couple Labrador puppies and went to go see them.

We wandered through the kennels at the Golden Valley location. The aforementioned puppies had been spayed/neutered that day, so they were sound asleep. Across the aisle, though, I saw a very excited dog jumping around greeting a little girl who was at the cage door. The girl and her dad moved on and we went over to see this dog, a 7-month-old mix who was called Halie, and we immediately knew we had to take her out to play. We took her outside and threw a Kong around for her, and Darren said very emphatically, “I want this dog!”

“Are you Enli?” I asked her.

Of course she was.

the day she came home

The money that was meant for a new couch or at least part of a honeymoon was spent on our new pup and all the supplies.

The first few months were rough, as anyone who ever had a puppy probably knows. There were certainly “what have we done?!” moments. She did potty train well, thank goodness, and in hindsight wasn’t actually too destructive. She wrestled with Buckley the cat, and learned quickly that Lucy was not to be messed with. When Buck died a couple years later (may he rest in power), we eventually adopted Winston and she had another cat playmate. When we started taking her to dog parks, they were the best thing ever. Other dogs were her favorite thing! People were her favorite thing! Everything was her favorite.

creepin’ on people at the park

Like all dogs, Enli was quirky and goofy and sometimes annoying. She wasn’t much of a barker, until Darren taught her “speak!” and then she figured if she wanted anything, it’s easiest to bark for it. She very quickly learned that sleeping in bed is the best, especially under the covers when it’s cold. Sometimes she would sleep in and skip breakfast, so when she finally woke up she was so hungry she didn’t feel good and we’d have to make her eat peanut butter to show her that eating would make her feel better. When we would take her out into the yard of our apartment building, sometimes she would get into the yard next door because they had a dog she liked to play with, and she always flipped out when she got to see her best friend Tank down the street. When we moved into our house, having a yard of her own was the best because she got to sleep in the sun for as long as she wanted. It was even better when she got to lay on the hammock with us.

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Ok bye, I'll be here for the rest of the summer.

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She mellowed out as she got older, and was always down to snooze on the couch while I watched Netflix. Trips to the park became less about the other dogs, and more about exploring, sniffing, and peeing on everything. Although when we adopted Madeline in the summer of 2017, playtime was abundant. Enli taught Maddie how to wrestle, but as far as we can tell that was the only thing she taught her.

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Sometime in late summer, Enli started to wheeze a little when she would get riled up. In the middle of the night one night at the end of September, she started coughing up fluid and wouldn’t lay down. The next morning, she was diagnosed with heart failure. She spent the day at the vet, and came home with some prescriptions. We took her to a cardiologist, who found a mass on her heart. Unfortunately, heart failure made her a poor candidate for any sort of treatment for the mass. Fortunately, her medicine worked very well and for a while you would never have been able to tell she was ailing.

one year ago

In December, all the things going on inside her started making it hard for her to find a comfortable position to lay down. I took her to the vet after Christmas and learned her illness was progressing, she likely had cancer, and soon enough we would have a decision to make. In the meantime, we’d focus on her comfort.

This week it became clear it was time. We gave her whatever food she wanted. I took some time off work. We cried a lot; I wept on the phone with the vet’s office but you know they get it. We took her in last night and said goodbye, and it sucked, and our hearts are broken. But hearing from all the people who loved her has been so nice, she practically had a fan club. Enli was the best girl.

Some good things about 2018

I only did forty. Most of 2018 was pretty good, some of it was the absolute worst (just like any other year). Here are a bunch of the good things:

  1. Kate and Mat’s engagement (which was basically the first thing that even happened in 2018)
  2. and their wedding!
  3. CSP reunion lunch in January when Brenna was in town
  4. the Minneapolis Miracle (even though I don’t care about football)
  5. becoming a Broadway on Hennepin season subscriber, so fance.
  6. Washington vacation/more time with Brenna
  7. vacation tattoo gets its own spot
  8. #mprraccoon
  9. Maddie’s improving behavior and aggressive cuddling
  10. my gardens
  11. the State Fair, always
  12. the Week of Fun
  13. Pequots reunion at the WulfSpaan wedding
  14. Getting a big hug from Harrison as soon as we got to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving
  15. Kate’s goddess-filled bridal blessing
  16. Christmas movie marathoning
  17. Buddhism
  18. decent midterm election results
  19. homemade kombucha (does anybody need a SCOBY?)
  20. The Thirsty Whale
  21. fried chicken at Pearl & the Thief
  22. Bobert
  23. Hamilton
  24. paddle boarding
  25. Jaequan’s hot dog stand
  26. the announcement of a live action CATS movie
  27. witchery
  28. dancing my face off with Kate & Mat at Kelsey’s wedding
  29. having gutters installed on the house
  30. NBC saving Brooklyn 99
  31. the taco truck that operates outside the Columbia Heights Auto Zone year-round. Whyyy?
  32. they caught the GSK!
  33. birthday zip-lining
  34. digging into my ancestry and finding cool stuff
  35. Cloud Cult + Minnesota Orchestra show
  36. hanging dad’s shop sign in my kitchen
  37. talking with my dad about the Christmas movies that him cry
  38. original Charmed on Netflix
  39. building our collection of Chuck U prints
  40. the Andy Samberg screaming GIF


Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

A few people did have babies, but not super close.

Did anyone close to you die?


What countries did you visit?

Washington state is not a separate country, alas.

What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

I would like to not have any unexpected car issues/repairs.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

First real vacation in 3 years? Not having to put the car repairs on the credit card? Both.

What was your biggest failure?

Accomplishing basically no house projects.

What was the best thing you bought?

A few extra months of life for Enli.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Enli, the eternal good girl.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?


Where did most of your money go?

Car repair.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?


What song will always remind you of 2018?

I don’t think there’s a song, but how about a quote?

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or Sadder?


Thinner or fatter?

Probably about the same, it is eatin’ season after all.

Richer or poorer?


What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending time outside.

What do you wish you’d done less of?


How will you be spending Christmas?

As usual, Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas day with Darren’s.

Did you fall in love in 2018?

Not with a person.

*I finally deleted the one-night stand question*

What was your favorite TV program?

Ha, I should ask Netflix about that. I watched like nine seasons of Parts Unknown, so probably that.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


What was the best book you read?

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Don’t know that there were any this year, TBH.

What did you want and get?

A vacation. A ticket to see Hamilton.

What did you want and not get?


What were your favorite films of this year?

Probaby Coco? It was released in 2017, but I watched it in 2018.

What did you do on your birthday?

Skipped work to go Zip-lining!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Comfort first.

What kept you sane?

Quiet time.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

John Mulaney.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Everything about the midterms.

Who did you miss?

Barack Obama, still.

Who was the best new person you met?

I don’t knowwww!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018:

“Don’t worry about whether you like it or don’t like it. Just do it, and your life will blossom.”

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

We are your conscience.
We thought we’d tell you,
you’ve been sleepwalking
through most of your days.

Your eyes are open,
Your body’s moving,
Your lips are speaking,
But you’re far from awake.

(Cloud Cult – Sleepwalker)

cross stitchin’

About that new hobby I mentioned a while back. One day I decided to take up cross stitch. Hey! I bought a starter kit and it was off to the races. Not much of a story, but I’m enjoying it a lot. My first project was this Subversive Cross Stitch pattern. Mine is done in pink and very dark blue, and now hangs in our entryway.

I followed that up with a small My Favorite Murder quote.

cross stitch 01

Then I thought “hey, Kelsey is into cross stitch and I haven’t bought her a wedding gift yet, so I’ll make one!” I traced the script from her invitation and figured out how to translate that into tiny Xs. I created the rest of the pattern from there, loosely based on the design of their invitation.

cross stitch 02

I followed that up with another gift, this time for Kate. I found a line drawing of two hands holding, flipped it over, and just kind of figured it out.

cross stitch 03

For reference:


I also did another MFM quote with a simple heart pattern, but I have no photo. Picture “Fuck Politeness” with some hearts. It’s delightful, I assure you. Since then I’ve taken a bit of a break, but I just grabbed some Christmasy designs that I plan to make into ornaments for my sparsely decorated tree. I’ll post them on Instagram when they’re finished.

‘Tis the season for indoor hobbies.

whirlwind week

It’s been a long time since I was as busy as I was last week (actually, from August 23-31). Of course I was busy by choice, doing only fun stuff, so this is not a complaint. Darren had a couple friends visiting from out of state (Matt from Nebraska, & Jorim from Louisiana), so we decided to do All the Things.

As previously noted, I ended up going to the State Fair three times – that was the 23rd, 24th, and 31st. Day one was a nine-ish hour day I think, with the Wulfs. Day two was with Darren, Matt, and Jorim, and after the downpour none of us were keen on walking around with soaked shoes so we wrapped up early. Day three happened because I wanted a re-do, and the boys were up for anything, so we went back for six hours or so. Many miles were walked and much food was consumed. I regret nothing, but will probably stick to one or two days in the future.

We headed out to the Renaissance Festival on the 26th. Matt and Jorim met up with another friend that Darren wasn’t interested in seeing, so D and I bopped around together. It’s been a few years since we were there last. Good times were had.

I worked for a few days (while Darren took the boys to the Mall of America), then saw Hamilton on the 29th. I bought a season package this year way up in the cheap seats, so I’m looking forward to that. Hamilton was great, the hype is true. It didn’t change my life, but not every show needs to. It was 2 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop entertainment, worth every penny, and I would definitely see it again.

On the 30th, we went to Valleyfair. I hadn’t been to VF since 2007, but we went to Disneyland in 2015. Still, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go because I am getting Old. I skipped the upside down stuff and had to close my eyes on the one spinning ride we tried because motion sickness. Darren and I preferred the lazy river and the wave pool in the water park. As we were leaving, I was very aware of the fact that I may never return to Valleyfair again, although who’s to say, really. When I went to bed that night, every time I closed my eyes I felt like I was back on a roller coaster and was immediately nauseated. I had to sleep on my stomach. Old.

The boys left our house on Friday night, and everything is back to normal, so I think that about wraps it up. Although I also started a new hobby during this time, so I’ll blog about that soon (hint: it’s cross stitch).