- obviously, buying our house
- getting my tattoo
- hanging out backstage during Cloud Cult
- new car!
- Cloud Cult’s album and film, “The Seeker”
- my fancy new coffee maker
- Paul McCartney at the Target Center
- seeing Dave Chappelle at First Ave during his Minneapolis takeover
- Little Red Porkette
- paying off one of my student loans
- having a woman on the presidential ballot
- voting for said woman, even if she’s not going to be president
- Rebekah’s wedding. Table 7 for liiiife
- growing my hair out…
- …and then cutting it off again because long hair is annoying
- the Chicago Cubs
- The Crown on Netflix
- six years of marriage ❤
- learning how to make scones
- the Tony-Award-winning musical Fun Home
- hot chocolate
- the TSA’s Instagram
- the strange and wonderful art we bought
- another West Wing re-watch (that is continuing into the new year)
- a coworker gifted me a Christmas tree
- chocolate & peanut butter brownies from Pizza Luce
- Leslie Knope’s letter to America
- the Bob Ross Twitch channel
- Halloween cat onesie
- several successful DIY projects
- silicone baking sheets
- Julia Turshen’s Small Victories
- night coffee
- all coffee, actually
- so many HGTV shows on Netflix
- “Delete your account.”
- learning grasshopper pose, kinda
- becoming better friends with our now-former apartment neighbors
- moving out of said former apartment
- pretty sunrise views from our bedroom window
- my solo one-day trip to see some of my WI family
- the super-sweet thing (about being a family) that Darren said to me on his birthday that made us both cry
- Enli being Enli
- Amazon Prime (34 orders in 2016, could be worse? lol)
- not being sick for Christmas break, for the second year in a row!
- my 11 day Christmas break
- TV marathons
- Harrison turned one and continues to be awesome
- Boca Chica’s Taco House
- that there were enough good things to make even the shortest list
Shortly after we bought our house, one of our neighbors told us about the Tree Trust. They were founded in 1976 in an effort to address the Twin Cities’ deforestation and unemployment problems. They’ve expanded over the past 40 years to offer employment training and environmental education, among other opportunities. Pretty rad, you guys.
North Minneapolis was hit by a devastating tornado in 2011, and the Tree Trust launched a program to re-tree the area that was affected (they have since expanded the program to all of NoMi). The city also planted new trees along the boulevards. Our block was in the tornado’s path, so aside from our boulevard trees, our yard is naked. It’s pretty nuts, actually. The blocks directly to the south and east still have plenty of mature trees, including a couple lining the alley in one of our neighbor’s yards.
Side note: MPR posted a story last year showing the still-visible “tornado scar.”
Several of our neighbors have trees from the Tree Trust now, and soon we will too! They do a free tree distribution program in the fall for NoMi residents (as well as opportunities for Minneapolis and St. Louis Park in the spring where you can purchase a tree). Luckily we heard about it in time to register, and last night we attended a workshop to learn about the program, and about tree maintenance. Obviously the trees will be immature, so we need to be sure to take extra special care of ours over the next few seasons. All we have to do until then is stick a flag in our yard where we want our tree, and the Tree Trust crew will call 811 on our behalf, then they’ll come out and plant the sucker.
Tree recipients were offered a choice from four tree options, and we decided on a Redmond Linden. It’s going in our front yard, which faces west so the tree will get plenty of sun and eventually shade our house. Plus it’s good for pollinators! When the tree is a bit bigger the garden out front will have to be re-tooled and filled with shade loving plants, but it’s basically a weed bed right now anyway which is another topic for later.
I’m so excited for our new baby tree!
I’m starting the year with a list, because lists are my favorite. Okay, really I just enjoyed doing this last year, so here’s my “Things That Made My Year” for 2015. Sticking with fifty:
- Nephew Johnston
- playing in the ocean at Laguna Beach
- being in California in March while it was blizzarding here
- The Great British Bake Off
- finding a great YouTube channel for yoga
- playing WoW with Darren
- seeing a lot of touring Broadway with Rebekah
- Hotline Bling parodies
- cinnamon & clove coffee
- cinnamon & clove everything (ok, really just coffee and applesauce)
- Jon & Anna’s moment of fame
- when I saw that kid snuggling with his cow at the State Fair
- quote from Darren that made me cry laughing: “I don’t wear underwear, just a baby sock.”
- our 5th wedding anniversary ❤
- marriage equality
- Grace & Frankie
- my super fun awesome 30th birthday
- Darren’s new job
- new ornaments full of symbolism for our tiny Christmas tree
- Boots Botanics products
- my brother keeping me from losing my mind on more than one occasion
- and letting us borrow his truck for a couple weeks. Who knew I’d enjoy driving it so much?
- homemade sweet potato soup
- drinking on the stoop with the good neighbors when our power went out
- quinoa lasagna
- Tyler & Kim’s wedding/mini HS reunion
- that picture of a bald raccoon
- the Caroll Spinney (Big Bird) reddit AMA
- I started playing World of Warcraft early in the year and I am surprisingly into it (see #7)
- binge watching all of Master of None in one night… two Fridays in a row.
- so much more on Netflix: Tig, two John Mulaney specials, Aziz… it was the year of comedy.
- re-reading some favorite memoirs
- end of the year Star Wars marathon
- Penguin the Magpie
- donations to Planned Parenthood
- being able to make monetary donations occasionally without totally freaking out about our budget
- guided meditation, even if I’m not very good at it
- Sufjan Stevens’ newest album, Carrie & Lowell
- If Stanley Tucci Were Your Boyfriend
- The Small, Happy Life
- not being sick during my Christmas break for once
- Gaelic Storm at the State Fair
- making Darren a penis cake for his 30th birthday, because he asked me to
- dog snuggles, aka snuggz.
- Tim’s “Made My Year” list
- A Brief for the Defense, which I found on Tim’s list. I’m not generally into poetry, but this one is unreal.
My brother Tyler got married last weekend. Well, he and Kim were married in a small legal ceremony in May, but they had a larger ceremony and reception Saturday. So now all four of us are old marrieds. Nice.
The whole shindig was held at Tyler and Cody’s mom and stepdad’s house, just outside of Pequot. They have a large property and huge paved area that is perfect for a party. On the way up I told Darren “I wonder if they’ll do a taco bar,” and I was totally right. Taco bars are perfect for weddings, guys. Especially when it’s all DIY. So easy, so affordable!
Tyler and Kim have four kids between them, so congrats to the whole family! Here are some pictures.
Today was Fair Day. We arrived around 8am. Kate had to leave at noon; the rest of us stayed until the Gaelic Storm show finished at 10:30pm. We ate a lot! Here’s the ol’ list, in order of consumption. We didn’t get two footlongs like we normally do, but we tried a lot of new things so I think it’s a fair trade.
- mini cinnamon rolls with milk
- mini donuts
- footlong hot dog
- apple dumpling with ice cream
- samples of Peace coffee
- 3 types of jerky: cheddar, maple, & BBQ
- corn fritz
- snicker salad
- chilled bread pudding
- giant turkey sandwich
- all-you-can-drink milk, both white & chocolate
- chicken samosas
- frozen cider
- 3 beer flights: darker, belgian, & brewpub (Kate left after flights)
- fried green tomatoes
- raspberry mocha frappe
- ribbon fries with cheese & sour cream
- strawberry lemonade
- deep fried candy bar
- samples of cinnamon butter
- lobster rolls with chips & iced tea
- ice cream from the dairy building (this is when we stop for a while to rest/nap)
- cream puffs
- sweet corn
- 1919 root beer
- s’mores beer
- maple bacon beer
- leinie’s harvest patch shandy
- cheese curds
I had my iPod with, running its built-in pedometer. I started it after we finished our cinnamon rolls, and stopped it at about 6:30 when we sat down to claim seats for the concert. In that time, we walked 18,750 steps. Success! Photos can be found on Instagram.
I’ve written and deleted a whole lot here, but I just don’t really know what to say. My grandma passed away a couple weeks ago. It was not sudden, but it is still sad. Mostly I just wanted to write down some memories, so instead of coming up with a good segue I’m just going to start a list:
Grandma was an amazing cook, as grandmas often are. She made the best and prettiest lemon meringue pie in the entire world.
Taco Tuesday used to happen every week at the restaurant where she worked, so when Kyle and I would visit in the summer we would always pick up tacos for dinner.
Before I got too old, I would often share a bed with her. Every night, no matter the time of year, she would recite The Night before Christmas, which I totally forgot is actually called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
Grandma was in charge of walking the dog whenever they had one (Beagles. First there was Clancy, then a little while after he died they got Corkey). We took many, many long walks around the tiny village of Bagley, WI with those dogs.
There used to always be kittens living in the shed out back of the restaurant and she always let us hang out back there and play with them while she worked.
Only grandma could get the perfect ratio of Hershey’s Syrup to milk every time. Related: it was always her idea to make chocolate malts.
She had gold flatware before it was trendy.
She didn’t teach me to crochet, but she was the only person in my family who actively crocheted. We all have so many afghans. She and I both made blankets for Kyle & Jenna’s baby.
Love, you, Grandma. xoxo
I never thought it would happen, but Darren and I just got back from a sunny, warm trip to California. It is unusual for us to do something so extravagant, but a good-sized tax return and some friends willing to house us – savings us a few hundred bucks, which we did end up accidentally spending but I’ll get to that later – provided us with the perfect opportunity.
This idea was actually born the night before Christmas Eve, when some of Darren’s internet pals came over for drinks. Paul and Aleecia are from Eagan, but moved to Orange County last year after Paul got a sweeeet new job. Come out and visit us and we’ll go to Disneyland, they said. And so we did.