Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tena's Visit!

Just spent a LOVELY two (plus) days with DEAR friend Tena! She came up in a TERRIBLE "thunder sleet" storm on Thursday. I was afraid she wasn't going to make it, because of the weather, but she DID!! She said that she drove through TWO INCHES of slush and ice for the first hour or two of the journey...been SUCKS!

Her visit started with a stop at my school for a tour. She got to "experience" some of my lovely first graders (first class AWFUL...second class GREAT!). She also read a couple of the stories that I'd picked out to read to the kids. She's amazing...I was TOTALLY engrossed with her storytelling!

She also got to meet a bunch of my teacher friends...WAY funny, because they all acted like they knew her from somewhere...part of it was that I've talked about Tena A LOT with my "up here" friends, but MOST of it was the DELIGHTFUL :-) picture of her that I have on my computer. It's one of my favorites...where she's singing and wearing a turban...HILARIOUS character shot (although she doesn't really agree!).

After school we had dinner at Italian Pie Shoppe (see review on my blog if you're in the twin cities and need a GREAT pizza!), then met Duane and drove over to Woodbury to go to Trader Joes (see review on my blog if you're in the twin cities and need some FABULOUS groceries!). Tena hadn't been there for a few years, and we were only TOO HAPPY to take her! After Trader Joes, we came back to my place and "caught up" for the remainder of the evening!

Friday, I took a personal day, and we took the light rail downtown to have breakfast at Hell's Kitchen (see photo above...Tena and "the birds"). Tena and I both had the lemon ricotta pancakes, which are FABULOUS, but she also had a side of porridge, and said that it was AMAZING. I'll have to try it next time I'm there!

After breakfast, we shopped at Macy's and Marshall's, looked around downtown, and then headed over to the new Guthrie Theater to check it out. I've been before, but it was Tena's first visit, and I think she was amazed (as we all are with their GORGEOUS new space!). We looked around inside for awhile, then took the LONG escalator up to the "bridge to infinity" (or whatever it's called). We sat outside for awhile, took some cool photos, then headed back to the light rail, and rode it back to the Mall of America for more shopping.

Tena found some AWESOME shoes at one of the stores, and we had an interesting experience in Coldwater Creek. I was picking stuff out for her to try on, and we were putting together outfits for her, and a lady noticed us (me), and wanted to know "how she could get one"??!! (a gay man to help her pick stuff out). Tena, without pausing, said "you have to hang out in the theater...GREAT friends and fashion consultants, but not much in the way of 'husband material' there". TOTALLY funny!

At one point the woman grabbed my arm and asked how much I'd charge to be her "fashion consultant". I think she might have hired me on the spot if I'd agreed! COULD have had a lucrative side job...oh well!

Tena ran into the woman as she was coming out of the dressing room to show me something she'd tried on, and the woman asked "where's your friend??!!". Tena had to let her know that I don't follow her EVERYWHERE...!

After a few hours at the mall, we came back to my place, and then met Duane for dinner. Actually he'd already eaten, so Tena and I had dinner at Red Robin in Apple Valley, and he sat and chatted with us until we finished. We left Red Robin and went for gelato at Ring Mountain, then came home and collapsed.

Saturday, we got up, and headed to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a morning of art appreciation. We saw a TON of fabulous art, had lunch at D'Amico and Sons (the turkey and dried cherry salad, of course!), and then met Duane at Southdale for a movie. We saw "Superhero Movie". My advice AVOID IT! ICK! STUPID! SUCKS! DON'T GO (unless you're a pre-pubescent boy...then you might find it mildly amusing). ICK! YUCK! DID I SAY SUCKS??!! Where do they come UP with this dreck??!! ICK!

A tour of the new Crate and Barrel at the Galleria, dinner at Big Bowl (see review on my blog if you're in the twin cities and need some AWESOME chinese food!), and a night of karaoke with friends from school at Caspar's rounded out our whirlwind Saturday!

A word of advice about karaoke...when the crowd is singing mostly country western stuff, and you get up and sing "You're the One That I Want" from the musical "Grease", the crowd will NOT be very impressed with you...! Tim and Julie were supposed to join us, but Tim threw his back out, so they couldn't come. If HE'D been there, I would have sung "Copacabana" (my SIGNATURE song), because he promises that he'll beat anyone up who gives me trouble :-)

Tena left this morning, and I launched right in to cooking a "post Duane's birthday/weekend after Easter" ham and scalloped potato dinner for Robin and Dave and the girls, and Duane. Now I'm headed to Jake's to hook up with some former Harry & David co-worker friends (need to get the dirt on our managers move to the Albertville location...what's up with that??!!), then will probably be in bed by 9:00...I'm EXHAUSTED!

For more on Tena's visit, check out HER version on HER blog:

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Children...

So I'm sitting with a bunch of first graders yesterday reading "The Frog Prince Continued" by Jon Sciezska. We're JUST starting the story, and are at the part where the princess is unhappy, and the prince is unhappy, and they just don't know what to do...

From the back row, I hear a first grade boy say "call a lawyer"...!

This is why I LOVE my job! Elementary school humor can be a COMPLETE and utter HOOT!

I hope YOUR day had a giggle or two in it!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break Happenings

Thought I'd get to this sooner during this week "off", but it's been a busy week!

Duane and I spent Monday "touring" the was CRAP! We went to the Copper Dome for breakfast...they're closed on Monday.

We then went to Como Conservatory to get some "green" and see the sites, but the sloth was NOT on exhibit in the "Rainforest Room", part of the fern room was being jack hammered as part of a path "reconstruction", and the sunken garden (where we WILL have a commitment ceremony one day!) was CLOSED...the spring flower show doesn't open until this weekend.

After an unsuccessful visit there, we spent an hour trying to find the antique stores on Sibley in St. Paul ("Missouri Mouse", and a couple of other places). FINALLY found them, and they were all closed on Monday as well.

Luckily the day wasn't a COMPLETE loss, as we had lunch at Cecil's in Highland Park (try the spicy ruben...AWESOME!)!

This was all a CLEAR indication that we were supposed to GET OUT OF TOWN! So...we did. I was supposed to go to school Tuesday afternoon to catch up on some stuff with Kate, and write the exhibition unit with the 6th grade team, but instead caught a plane, and flew to San Diego for a few days.

It was AWESOME! We got there around noon, and, after an AWFUL line at the rental car place, headed to our hotel. We were too early to check in, so went to find a place to eat (Carl's Jr....of course...GOTTA have a Santa Fe chicken sandwich when there's a Carl's Jr. around!), and then headed to the beach for a walk in the surf. There's NOTHING like leaving four inches of heavy snow and slush and flying to a warm beach...ROCK ON!

We checked in at the hotel after that, then headed over to Coronado Island to look around the Hotel Del Coronado (see photo above), and do a little shopping. Dinner at Miguel's Cucina (of course again!). They have THE MOST AMAZING sangria there...if you ever go...HAVE one (or two or nine...!).

Wednesday, we toured the S.S. Midway at the San Diego harbor. What a cool museum/ship! We took the audio tour, and I couldn't help but be amazed that 4,500 guys could STAND to be in that big ship at one time, and not go CRAZY. I would NOT have survived being down in those cramped passageways, and REALLY cramped sleeping areas with NO windows and very little room to move around (although it would have been with a bunch of navy guys, so maybe it wouldn't have been so bad!)! I'd have had to have spent ALL of my time on the flight deck, or the other open areas, though, closer to the outside of the ship...oy!

Very cool tour, and DEFINITELY worth a look. We even ran into someone from my school while heading up to the flight deck. Kris K, one of our 5th grade teachers, was there with her family for spring break, and just happened to be touring the boat the same day. I'd forgotten that she was out there, and here she was, coming down the steps towards us! Her classroom is 20 feet outside my library, and here we were, in the HUGE city of San Diego, on the same boat, at the same time...small world!

After the Midway, we went to Balboa Park, and looked around the museums and the botanical building. It was SO nice to see green plants and flowers and stuff! Of the 235 photos we shot in San Diego, I think about 90% of them were of flowers and green things!

We had to check flights, and there was no internet access at the hotel, so after Balboa Park, we headed to an internet cafe near the beach to see how the flights for the next day looked. Since we were SO close to the beach, we walked along the shore again for a bit. Sunset on a beach in California is a truly WONDERFUL thing! GORGEOUS!

It was an AWESOME trip, except for the whole "getting home" thing. We got to the airport for the 12:00 flight, and couldn't get on...too many "real" passengers, and some rollovers from a previous flight. We then got rolled over to the 2:35 flight, and there was only one "standby" seat available. Duane put me on the plane (since my car was at the Park and Ride in Eagan, and I don't have credit cards, so wouldn't have been able to get a hotel room), and I headed back to the cities, while he stayed behind.

Since that was the last flight of the day, he was going to "wait it out at the airport", but, luckily, realized that it would be a 14 hour wait, so got a hotel room. It was an odd feeling to "leave him behind"...we've never had to do that in NINE years of standby travel.

I got home to gray, cold, dreary Minnesota, thinking HE might have gotten the better end of the deal, still being "stuck" in sunny, southern California! A couple hours after I got back, the snow started, and kept falling until we had about 8 inches in Eagan...sigh. LUCKILY, Duane was able to get out on the 6:00 a.m. flight the next morning (he had to get up at 4:00!). We weren't sure the weather was going to cooperate.

He flew on to Minot from there, and I spent most of yesterday in the car with my sister and her family, driving to Iowa for Easter weekend. We antiqued our way down interstate 35, and now here I sit, still in my pajamas, updating this blog. Not much else to do here, but at least the sun is shining!

Hope YOUR Easter weekend is going well, and that you are having a FABULOUS Saturday. I'm NOT stoked about going back to work on Monday, but, at least I had a chance to get out of town for a few days. How long till summer break??!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A New Blog Site!

Welcome to my new blog! My old blog site was soon to be "shut down", so my friend Tena moved to this cool site! Since she is the one who got me interested in the whole "blogging thing" in the first place, I thought it only right to follow her here. There are entries in this blog that come BEFORE today, but those are entries that I "moved over" from Yahoo! 360.

I'm FINALLY on spring break (it's been a long winter...and in Minnesota I think we still have about 5 months of it to go!), so will be able to "upgrade" this blog in the next few days.

Just wanted to say hello!