Friday, July 31, 2009

Preparin' to Fish

Tomorrow morning we're headin' to our friend's cabin on the lake. We plan to go out on the boat and maybe get sum fishin' in as well. So that means we had to blow the dust off der old fishin' gear, get me a pole, and prepare da lines. Man I didn't know we owned so much fishin' stuff, hopefully this motivates us to use it a lil more often.

Now I'm not sure why when I think of fishin' I start to talk all country... or why when we take a car trip ride home I always insist we start listen to country... or after watching an English movie I start to talk British... but somethin' in my brain switches and I jus can't switch er off.

The night started off with a little visitor in our back yard:

Now I've seen these chipmunks 'round the neighborhood, but never in our yard so this was pretty exciting! (PS- I know what you're thinking... "didn't they get rid of all that concrete?" those aren't the broken concrete pieces it's on. Those are molded pieces that we might use to make stepping stones, they were at the house when we moved in, just not sure where to use them yet)

We proceeded to Dick's Sporting Good store, where Kyle jus couldn't decide on which kinda line to get....
kyle decidin

many moons later, a decision tis made and back home the preparin' begins.
goin fishin

(I love how the light on the garage kinda creates a spot light around Kyle. And the sky looks so blue in these.)

Her's my new pole, nuttin' fancy, just sum'n' ter fish with:
fishin pole

And, jus to show off my NEW camera bag... tis an early birthday present from da Mister! Oh wait I don't have to talk country no more :)
new bag!

Yummy Food!

If you haven't heard of this place, I suggest you hear....

It's a MAGICAL place to eat! It's an Italian served family-style restaurant. So don't expect to leave here any other way than STUFFED!!! Kyle's favorite is this spicy sausage pasta called "Penne Arrabbiata" (Spicy Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a zesty marinara sauce with imported Italian penne pasta.) he gets it EVERYTIME we go. My favorite on the other hand is the "Chopped Antipasto Salad" (Diced pepperoni, finocchiona salami, red onions, pepperoncini, provolone, cucumbers, feta and Gorgonzola, tossed with our fresh lettuce blend in our signature Italian vinaigrette.) The servings are big, not one person big, but 'serves 2-3' kind of big. There's the small servings (2-3) and the large servings (4-5) so really they don't recommend you ordering a whole thing for yourself. But if they fail to mention this to you, you're going to be stuck with a very large bill in the end and if you eat it all, they'll have to wheel you out to your car. Kyle and I usually order what we want (yes that's 2 orders) but we share a little bit and then take the rest home for lunch the next day. (Salad and pasta... how bad is that)

Okay enough about food, back to the restaurant, I mean it's the experience that really makes the difference. (oh don't get me wrong the food is one of a kind as well)

As you walk up you get greeted by the tacky lawn ornaments:
buca outdoors

and inside is just covered in 'crap' er uh I mean beautiful paintings, portraits and knick-knacks :-)
buca entrance

buca wall

Sometimes you will get seated in an area that requires you to 'walk through the kitchen' this is fun because you get to see what's really going on.
buca chef

It's just a fun place to experience!! We ate here last night, 1)because we were in the area picking up some stuff around dinner time and thought 'Hey we're hungry' and 2)because we had a $10 off coupon that expired that day! hee hee... you won't really find us eating anywhere these days where we DON'T have a coupon :-) It's all about savings, right?

This is one of my mom's favorite places so I imagine we'll be back when she's comes to visit in a few weeks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where have I been????

It's been a few days since I posted. I was really on a roll there for a while. Has my life all of a sudden gotten boring, or have I just decided to take a break from things? Or maybe a mixture of both :)

Lets see Monday I took my beloved camera into the doctor... the doctor?? you ask, yes well the camera doctor. See when I bought my camera it was a display model. The lens was not on the camera, which is a good thing since people weren't able to take pictures with it, but also posed the problem of the sensor getting dirty. I was dreading taking it in because I would have to be with out it for a few days (5 to be exact), but it needed to get done and I needed to stop putting it off. So I called around, and decided on National Camera Exchange. And when I called I asked if I could have it back by Friday, I guess they only have ONE lady that does the cleaning for ALL the stores. You'd think in a place as big as the twin cities they'd have someone else on staff that does this sort of thing. Well they don't, I guess. But she has been on vacation and has a lot backed up, luckily I spoke with a REALLY nice gal and she said she'd put a flag on it so she would have it done by Friday. Yes because I am VERY important and have very important things to shoot, ::snicker snicker:: I'm really just a big dork that loves taking pictures and is sad to be without my camera, but they don't know that. "ssshhhhhh"

The other place I have been is home, relaxing with my husband :) ahhhhh, how cute. We've been getting back to the working out groove, which is much needed. Funny how after a wedding bodies tend to go soft. And it isn't just me. I talk on a forum with a bunch of girls that all got married in April '09... it's all of us, all of us have either 1)gained weight in numbers 2)maybe not gained weight but have increasingly softer areas to our bodies. ha ha... well I have done both! So it's felt good to get back to working out again.

And finally I have been reading a lot lately too. We went to see the new Harry Potter movie a few weeks ago and since then I have had the desire to re-read the HP series. I am currently on book 2, and I have to say - they are better to read a second time through. I never thought I'd read a book a second time, I mean comeon I already read it once! lol but after knowing how things end I find myself picking up on a lot of things i just didn't catch the first time.

So that's my story... and I'm stickin' to it ;)

PS: something has been up with flickr's site lately and it's not just me, random pictures are coming up with X's on many of the blogs I read... hopefully they resolve that issue soon, because I'm sure you don't really enjoy seeing big X's throughout my posts...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Target's night in the sky.

This past week, Minneapolis has been celebrating it's annual aquatennial, honestly I'm not really sure what an AQUAtennial is, but the info page says they named it this because the week that it is held on (3rd full week in July) is typically the driest week of the year... although our whole summer has been dry.

So to wrap up the festivities, Target hosts a fireworks display over the Mississippi river in downtown Minneapolis. Somehow we skipped over this last year, but luckily heard about it this year and attended.

The night started off with dinner at a recommended Thai restaurant in uptown. And you know Thai... which means I also had 5 glasses of water along with my meal, but yum yum gotta love Tom Yum soup! So we made it downtown about 8:00 thinking "okay show is at ten, we'll just go early, camp out a spot and play cards while we wait" I think everyone else had this idea as well! We had to park about a mile away, but we did get a bit of entertainment on the walk, there were little houses:
little house one little house two

all along the path we took. They kinda looked like little Harry Potter houses. Rather interesting and telling us about various old buildings in the area. I also stopped to snap this photo:
quick stop city shot

We continued down with a plan to cross the stone arch bridge and find a spot over by the mill museum, but once we got there we found out the bridge had closed at 8 in preparation for the show (it was 8:15 at this point), if we wouldn't have stopped to read all the little houses we might have made it across in time, but God had another plan for us, and it ended up working out perfectly. At this point, the water from the Thai restaurant had ran right through me and I really needed to pee!!! Too bad there was only ONE port-a-pottie, as far as my eye could see, and a line practically as long as the stone arch bridge... so I just thought I'd try and hold it a while longer. After hearing about the bridge being closed we decided to go back to the spot where I snapped the city view - since it was, well a nice open, quiet area to watch the fireworks. So we went back and camped out, it was quiet to begin with but as ten o'clock drew near other people had the same idea as us, luckily only a few.
our spot for the show

And while waiting for the show, my urge to pee grew, and the good 'ol countryness came out in me... I mean there was tall brush around us, so naturally the idea popped into my head, and it was better than walking to another port-a-pottie - who knows how far away. So I found a hidden area and popped a squat, ahhh the relief. Then I stood up only to find myself covered in cock-a-burs!!!! Rather hilarious of myself, I managed to pull them all off before heading back into view, but it was worth it! :-)

So we played cards while waiting and I got some great shots of the city, the sunset, and the moon:
fluffy ball city bokeh
mlps sunset
sinking moon

And a few Airplanes going over head, can you find the one in this photo??:
moving plane

Then the show began!!!

Kyle said it was probably the best fireworks show he'd ever seen! It was very good, Target does know how to put on a good fireworks show :-)

(**click on any photo to see more pictures from the evening)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The green grass grows all around all around....

We made a trip out into the country today... to pick up some sod!
land of the sod

Since we didn't have much to fill we only got 10 rolls (a little more than we needed, but we planned it that way) sod in jeep

Here is a shot of the whole backyard. Sorry it's a little crooked... I noticed that after they combined and I don't really want to go re shoot them :-) You get the point through right?
backyard panorama

And here are the "Before and After" from the very beginning:

the before of back yard the after of backyard

Here are some older posts of our progress:
Concrete Bustin' (the last of it)
Grey to Green (total overview)
We have Grass! (sod laying last fall)
Concrete Update (our first bit of breakin up)

Friday, July 24, 2009

With a little work...

I managed to muster out something....
lonley boat

A few weeks ago when we went to Lake Harriet and I got some good evening shots, I snapped this photo of a boat sitting on the bank.... then I realized you could see how pretty the sky was, but not the boat, so I changed exposure and snapped again.... dang it! Now I could see the boat but not the pretty sky. Well after some playing around in photoshop and using the ever so popular Layer Masks, I was able to combine the two shots and get the best of both worlds!!!

Here were the two before shots (both SOOC):
number 2 number 1

I kinda feel like a magician reveling my 'tricks' by showing you the before shots.... hee hee

There is editing somewhat like this called HDR, which I will venture into at a later time... I'm still trying out various 'free trials' to see what I like best. And with this shot, the HDR just wasn't working since my different shots were NOT taken on a tripod and the leaves are VERY tricky to line up properly. Stay tuned....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recycle Hill

I took the last load of concrete to the recycle dump today and I brought my camera to capture the beautiful moment :-) ha ha

Funny how they have signs up that say "NO DUMPING" but yet that is exactly what they allow us to do with our concrete, gravel, asphalt, cement, etc.

This sign is at the bottom of the hill:
 recycle yard

Then once you get to the top, you see this:
concrete recycle dump

This is just a small part of a big circle, where I backed up to a spot and unloaded. It's really hard to give you the full effect without being there, but it's just a HUGE work zone with big work trucks driving all over. Any toddler boy would LOVE to spend a day in this place :-) You can somewhat see a truck dumping a load of sand/rock in the far left on top of a hill in the background.... see it?

More backyard happenings!

This past weekend we laid mulch in our back flower bed and also got little block dividers to give it a better look. Whatcha think?
block divider

Now we just need to get the rest of our sod laid and weed eat along our new mini-fence.
Here's Harpo, he's just always gotta be the center of my attention

We also have some action going on with our tomatoes and strawberries! I counted 13 little strawberry buds today and there are even more blooms!! YAH for the patio garden! I ended up having to tie some yarn to the fence to hold up the tomato wire thing, it was always falling over because it seems all our tomatoes decided to grow on one side at the same time. Hopefully after a few of those are ready to pick it will even out a bid more.
 tomato strawberry

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proud NON-owners

It's been almost one year, to the day, that our 'project-concrete-backyard' started. I am happy to say after tomorrow morning we will no longer own a random pile of busted up cement!!! WOO HOO and we hope to get sod laid this weekend so that will be another joyous occasion, but I'll cover that then.

Tomorrow I am taking what is left of the concrete pieces to the recycling center (there is a big work area in Maple Grove that I took it to last time, I drive up on this hill and dump it with all the other rocks, concrete, random asphalt stuff)

I've gathered up the past pictures of concrete piles I'd taken. I tried to only get shots of new piles so there shouldn't be any repeat piles...

Pile 1 pile 3 pile 2 Pile 5 Pile 6 Pile 4 Pile 7

SOOO Out of ALL that!!! .....(thanks to people picking it up via craigslist).....

I have only had to haul away these two loads: (kyle helped me load it, but I have to unload it at the site since they only take it during weekday business hours, and kyle's gotta work then)

load one load two part 1

These are part of load 2, that I am taking tomorrow morning:

load two part 2 load two part 3

Notice that the back seat was up in both shots, so they really weren't that big of loads. Yah for projects getting completed!!!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It can be done....

Last Friday (7-17) we went downtown for the annual 2009 Aquatennial block party. Now last year we went and saw Blues Traveler (well we saw them sing a few songs, we had to leave mid concert since we were starving!, but we came back after eating) This year we planned it so we ate dinner BEFORE the main band came on... but this also seemed to pose a problem. The Gin Blossoms were playing. We arrived at 5:00 I met Kyle there after work. We headed straight to a place to eat, to avoid the problem we had last year with hurting feet and empty bellies. We got back to the block party about 7:00.... some loud awful opening band was playing so we just walked around the streets for a bit, made our way back about 8:00 and were starting to get exhausted.... we ended up leaving at 8:30 because we didn't want to wait another 30 minutes for the Gin Blossoms to come one, yeah I know pathetic - but maybe we'll see the main band play next year.

Before I headed downtown to meet Kyle the sky was looking a little gloomy and I was debating on whether or not to bring my DSLR camera... so I didn't. BUT I did throw in my old dinker.

Now I've been getting so many comments on how my pictures have been so great since I got a new camera. Secretly inside I'm thinking "so were they not great before?" "it's not ALL about the camera people" "what about the person BEHIND the camera?" (hee hee) and luckily I have a few shots to prove that.

...I have many more picture to prove that hanging around my house if you want to come take a looksie....

Now while wandering the streets of Minneapolis I got a few shots here and there (nothing of the Aquatennial - but you're really not missing much). These following shot were taken with my 4 megapixel, Kodak EasyShare C330, point and shoot that I got back in 2005. Mind you it has a 1.5" LCD screen (EEK) and I kept trying to put it up to my eye, lol. Funny how you get used to something so quickly. Anywho, I'm actually impressed to find out that my dinker has a wider aperture than my current (and only) lens. The picture of the road construction was shot at f/2.7!!!!

I always park in this ramp, it's my 'after hours' ramp. If I go to see Kyle over lunch I park in a different lot, but if I'm ever going to meet him after work I always park in this ramp. It always feels like it's going to collapse when I'm driving in it... adds some adventure ;-)

They say it's either winter in Minnesota... or road construction season - and BOY is this the truth!!!

go away pigeons
I thought these little things were cool, this picture is titled: "Go Away Pigeons"

And this is the ING building, I just like the cool columns.
All images are copyright of Daisy Simpson. It is unlawful and illegal to copy, scan, alter or edit the images in any way. This depreciates the photos value as well as my reputation, I take great care in capturing and editing each image and they are each important to me. Thank you for respecting my passion and my copyright.