My Baby’s Home

My baby’s home for a few days and it’s so nice to have him here. I couldn’t believe how old he looked when he walked in last night. Time has flown by so incredibly fast. He’s doing really well and is enjoying his time on Florida’s west coast. I just have to say we are blessed that he has an incredible billet family and incredible billet brothers. I’m glad to see him thriving away from home. My boy is definitely not tethered to my apron strings. Tonight we’re going to celebrate him being home with some Sushi Yama for dinner.

Meanwhile, I’m still packing for my trip. I didn’t get much down yesterday and need to do some laundry. I’m trying to pack light, since we’ll have laundry at every AirBnB we’re staying at. The hardest part is trying to decide how many pairs of shoes to bring. I’m bringing two pairs of hiking boots/shoes. I have hiking sandals that’ll work well for the hike through the Narrows at Zion. Aside from that, I’m trying to decide if I need to bring dress shoes. We’ll be having dinner out some nights. Clearly, I don’t want to show up in dirty hiking gear. From snippets I’ve read, it seems like Southern Utah has some fine dining options. Hopefully, the food is better there than it is in Ogden.

Beautiful Bryggen

What aspects of your cultural heritage are you most proud of or interested in?

I’m proud of my family’s Norwegian heritage. When we went to Norway in 2017, it felt like going home. The way people spoke, and the way houses looked back in Minnesota all made sense after that trip. I could see why they immigrated to Minnesota as it looks similar to a lot of Norway. Of course, nothing in Minnesota can compare with the beauty of Fjord Norway although Lake Superior is pretty spectacular. One thing I love about our heritage is that our ancestors wasted nothing. Food and farmable land were scarce, so they used every part of the animal. In fact, it was this ingenuity that led to the creation of Brunost (brown cheese,) which uses whet a byproduct of the cheese-making process as its main ingredient.

It’s Almost Time

It’s almost time to start packing for my trip to Utah. This will likely be my last trip to visit my Boy before he moves out of the state. I have really enjoyed our family trips to Utah. Particularly, I’ve enjoyed exploring the mountains of the Wasatch Front and surrounding national forests. It is an absolutely beautiful place to visit even if the food sucks. I’m hopeful that the food in South Eastern Utah will be better.

This trip will be different because Jake and I are going to explore the Mighty Five and surrounding state parks. For the uninitiated, the Mighty Five are Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park. Southern Utah is jam-packed with wonderful places to explore. We’ll be there for a week, so it will be quite busy as we explore as much as possible. I’m really looking forward to the different hiking experiences each park will bring.

I may try to post some updates while in Utah, but most of our time will be spent off the grid. In fact, the Hubby and my folks have a copy of our hiking itinerary, so they know where we’re at. This was if we get lost on a trial and they don’t hear from us, they know where to direct people. Obviously, I don’t think anything would happen, but these parks, their canyons, and rivers can be unforgiving. I want to be prepared in the event one of us gets injured.

I’ve already bought most of the stuff we need for the hikes with a few exceptions. Once I get to Utah, I’ll pick up some bear spray. The Mighty Five have plenty of bears and plenty of latibules where they can hide. Honestly, and I don’t know why, but I can’t talk about or write about bears without thinking of Dwight Shrute from The Office. In addition to the bear spray, I’ll pick up snacks for the trail out west.

What could you do more of?

What could I do more of? Travel! I don’t travel nearly enough. I wish we weren’t strapped to 9-5 jobs that keep us from exploring the world. It’s kind of a shame that we don’t have enough time off in the year to explore the world with our families. The culture of working 24/7 is toxic and serves nobody, but the C suite and shareholders.

Great Time

I had a great time this weekend with the puppies traipsing through the neighborhood. I spent much of it at home binge-watching Sex Education on Netflix. The show is both well-written and well-acted. Gillian Anderson’s performance is amazing. Needless to say, the show was really entertaining and provided a good backdrop to my weekend and my weekend chores. I have to say it’s nice to have full authority over what I watch on television. It’s been a long time since that’s happened.

Saturday afternoon I made it out for my good friend Lisa’s birthday party. Lisa is one of my favorite Kaplan people and I hadn’t seen her in so long, so I didn’t want to miss it. The weather was looking a bit sketchy, so I was worried there’d be a shower or two, but the weather held out. This is important since the party was on a tiki taxi that cruises the Intracoastal. For $10, you can ride it for as long as you’d like and it comes back to the dock on the hour. It also has a bar onboard and a jukebox. Ok, probably not a jukebox, but the music covered all the genres much like a jukebox.

In addition to Lisa, there were a bunch of great people from Kaplan that I hadn’t seen in forever. I got laid off shortly before the pandemic, which really put a damper on all of our social lives. I’ve seen a couple of them at concerts, but it was so good to see so many folks in person again and reconnect. We ended up in the tiki taxi for a couple of hours. The weather was overcast with a nice breeze, which was perfect because it kept us from getting too hot. It was a great night.

Yesterday I spent the morning doing chores. After lunch, I headed to Terri and PJ’s house for coffee. It was nice to see them again. I haven’t seen anyone for months thanks in part to travel and an autoimmune flare. Thankfully, I think I’ve been on the upswing. Hopefully, my doctor will think so too when I go see her for a follow-up tomorrow. I ended my weekend with some sushi and more Netflix. It was a great weekend.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I was given was to cherish and enjoy my kids’ childhoods. When you’re a new mom, the advice sounds a bit cliche. When you’re the mom of a screaming toddler, the advice seems absolutely ludicrous. And when you’re dealing with a teenager and big kid problems, woah the advice can feel dead wrong. When, however, your kids leave the nest, it makes sense completely. The bad days make up such a minuscule part of your life, but the good days and joys of raising your kids far outweigh everything else. So if you’re kids are young and you’re reading this, buckle up and enjoy the ride because it’s over really fast.

Too Soon

Is it too soon to be thinking about the holidays!? Today’s prompt has me looking ahead to December and winter break. My busy season ends after the first week n December, so I’m thinking Goalielocks and I may fly up to Minnesota for a visit. The Mayor has a showcase in Tampa the following weekend, so I’d like to be back in Florida for that. Once the showcase is over, he’ll be on winter break too.

How do you celebrate holidays?

We celebrate the holidays with family and friends. I bake a lot of cookies some with the boys’ help. If my mom’s in town, we’ll get more ambitious and make lefse. I’d say that a good portion of my weekends leading up to Christmas are filled with baking Christmas cookies for our annual Christmas brunch.

On Christmas Eve, we join Melody’s family for church service, which is an absolute joy. Melly is one of the singers at the church and is so talented. Plus, the sermons are always top-notch. Afterwards, we do a family dinner. Last year, it was at Melly’s folks house. Sometimes we have dinner at my brother’s house with him and his friends. I use friends loosely because family would be a better way to describe his circle.

On Christmas morning, we host a brunch for our family and friends. The centerpiece of which is my caramel rolls and the hubby’s cholesterol bake. Personally, I’m partial to Brandi’s cheesy hash browns. It’s a high-carb, high-calorie meal combined with mimosas, Bellinis and beers served around our commodious dining room table. The food is always as magnificent as the company. Needless to say, there’s no food waste at this brunch.

In years past, we followed brunch up with paintball, but the place closed down a few years ago. It reopened last year under new management, but they don’t have many maps anymore. We may still try to play some paintball this year or even ride the go-karts. It’s nice to do something active after eating your weight in carbs. Our Christmas finishes off with some delicious Chinese food. Anyway, I suppose it’s never too soon to start looking forward to the joy of the holidays.

Frosting fail

Write about your most epic baking or cooking fail.

Today’s prompt is about my most epic baking fail. While I’ve had several, but if I were to pick my most recent one it would be a frosting fail. A couple of weekends ago I decided to make homemade toaster strudel. This was a part of my prednisone-fueled baking fest. I also baked an apple tart, kouign-amann, and short ribs that weekend. It’s no wonder that prednisone makes you gain weight.

The recipe was super simple and easy to make. Yet, I managed to royally screw up the frosting. I mixed everything together and it looked super clumpy. As an aside, frosting should never look like pastry dough. Since it looked so odd, I decided to taste it. It was then I realized I had accidentally grabbed flour instead of powdered sugar. Whoops! So if I may give one piece of advice, label ziplock bags when you put flour or sugar in them.

Another baking fail, and I swear it wasn’t my fault, was when I baked lasagna after Goalielocks’ graduation. My parents were staying with a few weeks, so I decided to make lasagna as it is always a crowd-pleaser. Everything was going well and I put it in the oven. When I checked on it thirty minutes into the baking time, I noticed it wasn’t cooking. That was a fun and expensive puzzle to solve! Ultimately, I was able to cook it in our bottom oven, which was thankfully still operational. Eventually, I got a new oven and I absolutely love it.

I think all bakers and cooks have failed in the kitchen. Often times the failure leads to laughs and second attempts. Some recipes take a lot more practice and refining than others. I, however, find it rewarding to finally master a more difficult bake. It should come as no surprise that I love watching the Great British Bake-off. I often end up baking items I’ve seen on the show. It’s a fun journey that connects me to my mom, my grandma, and all the bakers in my family.


It was a quick weekend and here we are back to Monday. It’s as if the weekend never even happened at all. We did have a busy weekend planned. The Mayor’s first games of the season were this weekend in Fort Myers. Consequently, we planned to drive over both days for the games. This plan was obviously not great, but that way we didn’t have to find someone to watch the dogs.

We left the house Saturday intending to drive to Fort Myers for hockey. As we were driving on the Sawgrass, the Mayor texted that he was a scratch. Since we hadn’t driven that far and I was nursing the remnants of a nasty headache, we decided to turn back. Instead of driving home, we ended up at Skate Zone watching the Typhoon play the Tampa Bay Jrs. This ended up being a pretty fun afternoon as we were reunited with a lot of our friends. It also made for a much shorter day than our original plans.

We left the house yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m. to be there by 9:00 for the puck drop. He was scratched again, but we wanted to see him and support the team. It was a great game and the Eels came out on top. More importantly, what came out of the trip was seeing the Mayor in his element and hearing about his experience. He loves the program. He accepts that he’s a young player on an older team, which means less ice time. What he has gained, however, is a bunch of mentors who are helping him and the other new kids acclimate to junior hockey.

After the game, we headed to grab lunch. Not surprisingly, the first thing he said to us when we saw him was that he wanted hibachi for lunch. I don’t know about you, but I’m never thinking about hibachi at 8:30 in the morning. We did, however, end up having Hibachi at the outlets and it was really good. The Mayor has matured a lot in his time away from home, but more than that he’s found a program that fits his goals. He knows it may be less ice time in the beginning, but in the interim, he’s working hard to get better, not getting complacent, and being a great teammate. I couldn’t be more proud. He did play this morning and had a great game.

Share a lesson you wish you had learned earlier in life.

I wish I understood that experiences are far better than material goods at a younger age. I think growing up I was too fixated on having things instead of enjoying life’s moments. So when I look in the mirror that is definitely something I wish I learned or should I say heeded earlier. I’m proud, however, that my boys firmly understand the importance of experience versus things. Although to be fair, they still want a lot of things. Nevertheless, we don’t talk about graduation presents, we talk about graduation trips. When I’m gone I want them to have a life full of memories made (and of course some mementos) with their mom exploring the world.

Game Day!

It’s game day! We’re headed to Fort Myers for the first game of the junior season. The change from youth to junior hockey is big. I’m excited to see what the season brings. Hopefully, the drive across the peninsula is quick and uneventful. I’m bringing the big camera, so hopefully I’ll have some good pics to share.

How often do you walk or run?

I run six days a week for usually forty five minutes. I’m loving Apple Fitness + treadmill workouts. The coaching and intervals are really helping whip me into shape. After a month of doing these workouts, I see a big difference in my fitness level.

Oh Yeah

Oh yeah, it’s Friday. I’m counting down the hours until the work week is over. It’s been a long week and I’m ready for a break. I don’t know if there’s something in the water, but people have been extra special this week. Although I have to say today has been a fruitful. Hopefully, I end the day strong Anyway, the weekend is quickly approaching and I’m ready. I should share one bright spot in my week was when Chewy (the online pet store) sent us flowers in memory of Athena. It was such a sweet touch.

The Mayor has the first game of the season over in Ft. Myers tomorrow versus the Atlanta Mad Hatters. We’re planning to drive over for his first game. Since this is juniors, there is no guarantee that he will be playing, but we still want to be there to support him and the team. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the dogs as I don’t think Anakin would do well at a doggy resort.

At the moment, I’m sitting in a team meeting. Thankfully, Google Hangouts muted everyone, so we’re subjected to the continuous interruptions that happen in team meetings. There was always someone at my old job that kept asking questions like they were paid by question. As their leader, I can tell you they weren’t paid by question asked. In fact, I would have paid people to not ask stupid questions. Otherwise, team meetings make you feel like your stuck in the Bermuda Triangle.

Do you see yourself as a leader?

I do see myself as a leader. Every place I’ve worked, I’ve ended up in a leadership role. I have never thought of it as managing or leading, but more so developing and coaching. The thing I have enjoyed most in all my roles, agnostic to the company my, was the opportunity to help people develop into the best iteration of themselves.

What day is it?

What day is it? I woke up thinking it was Thursday, but my work computer must have thought it was Monday. Google Authenticator threw me into a death loop of back-up codes that lasted nearly an hour. During this time I couldn’t access anything on my laptop. I was completely sidelined for the first hour of the day. Unfortunately, I was not the only one locked out by Google’s duplicity. Fortunately, I was the first to get a hold of IT and got my issue resolved pretty quickly. Nonetheless, it cost me an hour of day, which does suck.

Last night we watched the Mayor’s team in its first scrimmage. As expected, his team dominated the Warriors. It was, however, a good opportunity for the squad to play together against someone else. He didn’t see a ton of ice, but did make the most of his opportunities. I’d love to see him get more ice time, but this is the reality of being a young guy on an older team. The best thing about my Mayor is he knows how to work. He’ll work harder than anywhere else to get to the next level.

I was thrilled that the scrimmage was run time. It started at 8:30 pm, so I was worried I’d fall asleep before the end of the first period. This was our first time watching a game on FloHockey. What a difference from LiveBarn! Livebarn is great because it gives you an opportunity to watch games you can’t attend, but the cameras are flimsy and the quality not great. The camera on FloHockey isn’t fixed and there is actual camera work being done. It’s not a fixed camera like on LiveBarn. I’m really excited to watch his games from our couch.

What’s your favorite word?

It starts with a f and ends with an uck. It’s a, as SpongeBob would say, a sentence enhancer that I use quite liberally. It’s a catch all for frustration, anger, insert negative emotion here. They say smart people swear a lot, so I’m just over here waiting for my Mensa invitation to come. While I wait, let’s enjoy a song.

And So It Begins

And so it begins. Tonight is the unofficial start of the Mayor’s first junior season. I think they’re scrimmaging a local college or u18 team, but I’m not entirely sure. Of course this could also be the first time in his life that he’ll be a healthy scratch. He chose the program that was unequivocally the best program for him. That program, however, has a lot of tenured players. This means he’ll have to work really hard for a spot on the ice.

When we spoke with him Sunday, it was obvious that he is very happy with his choice. The Eels organization has a done a lot work, like forming ad hoc groups, to build team camaraderie. He loves that everyone is bought into the program and working to their best. I don’t have the highest opinion of Junior hockey (that’s a whole different post,) but the life skills this experience is giving him are invaluable. As the breadwinners paying for the hockey, I think they hubby and I would agree that the investment has been worth the return.

What are you doing this evening?

Tonight will be the Mayor’s first scrimmage with the new squad, so we will be watching from our couch. Although the game has a super late start time, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to stay up and watch.