things that made my year 2017

A bit delayed, but that’s pretty much my MO. You know how this goes by now. In no particular order, a bunch of things that made last year less of a dumpster fire.

  1. our gardens
  2. Madeline the pupper, even though she still has so much of the devil in her I considered leaving her off this list.
  3. Enli the angel dog baby
  4. Cloud Cult performing The Seeker live
  5. the Women’s March
  6. this tweet
  7. impressively accurate tarot reading at Darren’s company party (hopefully not too accurate though)
  8. Galentine’s Day
  9. this amazing picture we unearthed at work during our office move
  10. Nazis getting punched
  11. Patrick Stewart and his foster dog, Ginger
  12. basically any dog gif or video
  13. Supernatural
  14. What If All I Want is a Mediocre Life?
  15. Father Mustache
  16. house plants I can keep alive
  17. “Catch him, Derry!”
  18. Saints games
  19. jalepeno cheese curds
  20. the dog park
  21. two Fair trips
  22. eclipse hype
  23. Zip-lining in the Dells
  24. Waterpark hotel with a giant tub on same Dells vacation
  25. Home Service Plus
  26. The free gym my office building added
  27. Getting a signed shirt from Katrina of the Waves
  28. Stranger Things/MN Science Museum hoodies
  29. Hating on the upcoming Super Bowl
  30. ridiculous Christmas sweaters
  31. getting things I really wanted for Christmas
  32. Roku
  33. The coziness of our house when it’s decorated for Christmas
  34. This sign
  35. One of our theatres got nominated for a Billboard award

2017 in Review

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 friends did, indeed, have babies.

Did anyone close to you die?


What countries did you visit?

Wisconsin. Ha.

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

A democratic congress and a different president.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My gardens!

What was your biggest failure?

We failed to get some house projects done before winter.

What was the best thing you bought?

Maybe the hammock.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Nazi punchers.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I will give you one guess.

Where did most of your money go?

House stuff.

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

Gardens! My rose bushes in particular.

What song will always remind you of 2017?

I really don’t think there is one this year…

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

Same, probably.

Thinner or fatter?

Probably about the same.

Richer or poorer?


What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleeping in.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Yelling at Madeline, but she didn’t give me much choice.

How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day with Darren’s. Per usual.

Did you fall in love in 2017?

With Maddie, even though she’s still an asshole sometimes.

How many one-night stands?

I should delete this question.

What was your favorite TV program?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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


What was the best book you read?

HRC’s What Happened.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

This year I decided I like Ed Sheeran.

What did you want and get?

A Roku? hahaha

What did you want and not get?


What were your favorite films of this year?

Hmmm, probably Lion. Thanks, Netflix. it’s been two years since I saw a movie in theatres.

What did you do on your birthday?

Took the day off and hung out with Darren.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

Elastic waistbands for life!

What kept you sane?

Reading books.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

my dude Barack.

What political issue stirred you the most?

lol, what didn’t?

Who did you miss?

Barack Obama.

Who was the best new person you met?

I didn’t meet many new people this year and none of them stand out, so…

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:

2017 was a year of getting by, and trying to find peace in chaos. We did it, I think, so hey-o.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

making plans

This morning, Kelsey posted a list of goals for the upcoming season(s) and you know what, it’s a good idea. Winter for me is generally a time for hibernation/TV watching, but there are a few things I’d like to accomplish:

  • square off the kitchen ceiling hole and fit a patch for it (leak has still not been repaired, patch will be removable)
  • paint the upstairs bathroom
  • hang a plant or two in the living room
  • work on Madeline’s obedience training (puppy classes start on the 30th!)
  • finally post about the guest room, which has been painted and furnished for months

I didn’t actually expect most of these things to be house related, but of course they are. Cold weather is for indoor activities, and home stuff is what I default to if I’m not on the couch. Maybe having this list in the world will help keep me accountable.

Happy Sweater Season!

the fair so nice, we hit it up twice

Good ol’ Jim mailed me two of the tickets he had pre-purchased and left at home last week, so Darren and I made a quick morning jaunt back to the fair this morning. We stopped in the Grandstand as soon as it opened and I bought a thing of JD’s Salsa, you guys. You know what I’m talking about. Salsa samples. Now available at my house.

Here’ what we nommed today:

  • Sweet corn blueberry eclair (this was sold out when we tried to get it last week, and I’m glad we went back because it was am-AH-zing)
  • maple cream nitro cold press for me (I tried to go back for more, but liiiine), raspberry frappe for D
  • corn on the cob
  • jalepeno cheese curds x2
  • pickle on a stick
  • cheese on a stick (it’s wrapped in cornbread and deep fried. uh, yum)
  • german root beer float
  • deep fried peanut butter cups
  • funnel cake (Darren wanted this, then had one bite and decided he wasn’t into it. That shit was six bucks so I brought it home)

Also, we found a little shop called Rock Garden that sells cute garden decor, with tons of fairy garden stuff. We’re both nerdily into the idea of making a tiered fairy garden (this is why we’re married) to put in one of our actual gardens, and Darren bought a cool little door to get it started.

Not bad for a Sunday morning.

State Fair Eatin’ List 2017

Yesterday was Fair Day, one of the best days of the year. They added a giant ferris wheel this year, and you know we went up in that sucker. Mostly, as always, we ate. We tried a lot of the new foods this year, too…

  • cinnamon rolls with milk/coffee
  • mini donuts
  • foot long hot dog
  • tons of samples in the Grandstand
  • jerky
  • mobster caviar
  • big fat bacon
  • deep fried avocado
  • pizzarito
  • fried green tomatoes
  • beergarita
  • tipsy pies x3
  • beer flight
  • smoked gouda nachos
  • mini sconuts
  • honey puffs
  • bacon-up pup
  • in the Dairy Building: chocolate cone, strawberry rhubarb sundae, pie in the sky sundae, chocolate malt
  • cotton candy
  • memphis totchos
  • giant soft pretzel
  • churros
  • bowl o’ dough
  • lobster roll
  • crab cakes
  • bacon fluffernutter
  • chocolate popover with peanut butter
  • cream puffs
  • Swt
  • Sweet Martha’s cookies
  • giant turkey sandwich
  • all you can drink milk
  • 1919 root beer

quick garden update and a little devil

When I last left off, two months ago, I had what I thought was a pretty solid plan for our gardens. For the most part that’s still the case, with two big changes: one, I have eliminated garden 3. Last year Enli completely flattened it, and she and the new puppy did so again already this year.

So yeah, we got a puppy. Darren had been wanting one for at least a year, and I finally caved. Her name is Madeline, she’s almost six months old, and I’m ready for her to get older, calmer, and house-trained, because puppy shenanigans and this major change in our routine is destroying me. No more puppies in future. She’s lucky she’s cute.

why yes, she does look very much like her big sister.

Anyway! Garden three is gone, I’m trying to replace it with grass. Once that grows in, at some point we’re going to purchase a small storage shed. Then we can quit keeping outdoor stuff on the back porch, and we can move the lawn mower so Darren doesn’t have to haul it up and down the steps to the garage all the time.

Meanwhile, big change number two is that garden 6 has been thoroughly constructed, instead of waiting until next year. It’s been filled with more plants from Paula (plus my rose bush, which has grown quite a bit!). Over all, Operation Whimsical Yard is progressing quite well.

the gardens are happening

Every decent-weather weekend for the past couple months, I’ve been getting our flower beds back in shape. It has been a slow, but very satisfying process. Here’s a zero-skills map of our gardens:

hahaha, thanks Google.

Beds one and two are on either side of our front stoop. Three is the one beneath the kitchen window that I dug out. Four is on the east side if the yard, and five is down the steps next to our tiny driveway. Six is a future foundation bed that I’m going to slowly start building.

After the snow melted, beds one and two were in reasonable shape. I pulled out all the dead weed stalks and trimmed off the dried hydrangeas. There were bald spots on either side of the steps, so I planted lilies in each of them (courtesy of my coworker Paula).

Last fall I totally dug out bed three. On a random nice day in March, I raked it and tossed a bunch of pollinator seeds down. Those are growing in nicely, along with some ferns that survived my fall massacre. I moved the ferns to the back of the bed. On Sunday I added some ground-cover sedum, also from Paula; we’ll see if that takes root.

On the same nice March day, I raked out bed four and then proceeded to ignore it until this weekend. It was completely full of grass among the plants. Instead of digging out all the grass, I cut up a bunch of yard waste bags and laid them out, covering the grass while strategically arranging the paper around the plants. Big thanks to the internet for this tip! It suggested several layers of newspaper, but why track down that much newspaper when the bags are so cheap and biodegradable (and similar in thickness to 5 layers of newspaper)? Once the whole garden was papered, I watered it and then put down mulch. It looks so much better!

Bed five got raked out in April, and I pulled out the weeds a couple weeks ago. It got mulched this weekend, too, and I put up a little border fence (although I don’t love it and will probably replace it with something sturdier) to hopefully help keep trash out. Alleys are gross. Alleys in North Mpls are somehow extra gross.

I picked up a baby Knock Out rose bush on Sunday and planted it in what will be the eastern side of bed six. I also planted two irises along the wall there. I’m going to do the same trick with paper bags to get rid of the grass, which means those three plants are probably all that will go down this year.

At some point in the future, we’re going to build a couple small raised beds for veggies. Those beds will go near the fence-line on the north side of the yard.

Slowly but surely achieving #yardgoals, you guys.