Tag Archives: life


Today is 25 years since my dad died, and it is super weird. Like, I want to talk about it but I also totally don’t want to talk about it. So many feeeeeelings, which I suppose isn’t that surprising. It seems like only within the last year or so it’s gone from “here’s this unfortunate fact about my life” to “holy wow, this is actually a super horrible and traumatic thing.” So that’s been interesting.

Anyway, here’s Wonderwalll Cloud Cult.


2016 – the weirdest year

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

None resolutions. I should do the burrito one again, that was awesome.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

A coworker & some FB friends.

Did anyone close to you die?


What countries did you visit?

No trips this year.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

A different president-elect. Alas, no such miracle exists.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Paid off one student loan and bought a muthafuckin’ house. Those things are unrelated but both super rad.

What was your biggest failure?

I was hoping it would be a cavity-free year. April’s dentist visit gave me hope, but November’s brought failure.

What was the best thing you bought?

Haus. The car is a close second, though, and has been less temperamental.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

The wonderful folks at Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Where did most of your money go?

This friggin’ house.

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

Um, our house… there’s a pretty clear theme here.

What song will always remind you of 2016?

Maybe “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

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

I mean, some good stuff happened this year but it has also been pretty stressful. Plus we’re about to enter into possibly a nightmare, so.

Thinner or fatter?

Fatter. Oops. My pants still fit though, so meh.

Richer or poorer?

This is a loaded question.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Adventure/travel, but we just had other priorities. Womp.

What do you wish you’d done less of?


How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas eve was in Pequot, Christmas afternoon/evening was in Farmington. Then we came home and had to smash a hole in our kitchen ceiling- blog post to come later.

Did you fall in love in 2016?

With our new car, lol.

How many one-night stands?

*obligatory joke about nightstands here*

What was your favorite TV program?

I don’t know, maybe Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I’ve still only seen the first season!

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

Yeah, probably.

What was the best book you read?

Furiously Happy.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Not so much a discovery, but Cloud Cult’s album “The Seeker” came out this year and it is everything.

What did you want and get?


What did you want and not get?

A million dollars. This answer will never change, until I get a million dollars.

What were your favorite films of this year?

The Seeker. It’s an album and a film!

What did you do on your birthday?

Went to yoga, got a tattoo, ran some errands, then had a nice dinner.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Simple, neutral.

What kept you sane?


Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


What political issue stirred you the most?

Um the entire election *crawls into a hole and dies*

Who did you miss?

My dad, actually. He’s been gone almost 25 years but I guess it’s been a long time since I overtly missed him.

Who was the best new person you met?

Some of Darren’s coworkers. I don’t think I can pick just one.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:


Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

There’s no use running unless you run like heck
The best things we’ve learned, we learned from the wreck…

the move! it’s happening!

All the big paint jobs in the house are done, and we have decided that this Saturday is moving day. We’ve reserved a U-Haul, and our internet service is scheduled to switch. Some stuff has already been moved, but boy do we still have a lot to pack.

This past Saturday, Darren and his dad fixed the garage door (again, but probably for real this time?) while I painted the living room. Darren’s friend Justin came over and helped clean up some of the paint dribbles from when Darren was heavy-handed with the paint sprayer during the ceiling-priming process. Dan and Rich came over later, and they painted around the baseboards and trim while I took the roller to the walls. In the end, the ceiling got two coats of white (on top of two coats of primer! Yikes), and the walls got two coats of Tower Bridge.

By the time we finished it was too dark for photos, so all I have is this blurry sneak peek that Darren took yesterday when he was there dropping off a car load of boxes:


I am obsessed. Proper photos to come.

Our post-move-in to-do list is still pretty long.

  • Paint closets
  • Buy or make curtains in lieu of closet doors
  • Most of the windows will need new curtains too
  • Touch-up paint in entryway and kitchen
  • Caulk baseboards & trim
  • Paint a fresh coat of white on baseboards and trim
  • Install ceiling fan in dining space (eventually we’ll put one in the kitchen, too)
  • Clean out random basement junk
  • Repair screens
  • Murder all the weeds
  • Paint the back porch
  • Replace back steps (lol, maybe next year)
  • Buy some damn rugs
  • ….and so much more!

gettin’ a move on

Our mission has changed from “we have plenty of time to get stuff ready for move-in” to “let’s get the goddamn paint on the walls and we’ll deal with everything else later.” Basically. We’ll see how well that goes.

Saturday I finished painting the half-bath, and got one coat up in the bedroom (excluding the closet. Gotta do that still). That was rough on my neck, but hooray for accomplishment! Yesterday, Darren used his dad’s paint sprayer to prime the living room ceiling. It already looks so much better. Getting that sucker painted a nice solid white will make a huge difference I think. I’m probably most excited for the color that we’re going with for the living/dining room. Of course I left the color cards at the house so I can’t tell you the exact name of the color we’re using, but it’s a Behr paint in the teal family. Ha. I’ll do a whole post about our colors later. With pictures! That’ll be fun.

Also, our garage door broke again. Or, the temporary fix that Darren and Lee used was even more temporary that we anticipated, I guess? We had a guy out yesterday to take a look. Darren is taking charge on that, too… It’ll get fixed, that’s all I care about. At least it closes in the meantime, and the little bit of stuff in there isn’t exposed to the world.

Anyway, we’re hoping to get our stuff all moved over by the end of the month, but we’re out of town for part of this weekend which is just awful timing. Meanwhile, at the same time Darren ad I are moving homes, my office is also moving to a slightly new location. At least the office move is within the same building, and we’re hiring professionals to do the bulk of the work. Still have to pack though. Packing is the worst.


you gotta put in work, work, work, work

Saturday we (mostly Darren) made several more house-related purchases, including a good sized charcoal grill and miscellaneous yard maintenance tools. I picked up the pendant conversion kits I had ordered for the kitchen. While at Home Depot, we grabbed some color cards. We decided on colors for most of the rooms we want to paint, and once we decide on a color for the living/dining room, we’ll be good to go.

When we got back to the house I installed the pendants and patched some old nail holes in the walls while Darren grilled dinner. Later I started priming the orange half-bath, and discovered that all of the painting skills I had learned in college have vanished. Between the two of us Darren and I got most of the room primed, but fortunately Darren’s friend Dan is a skilled painter and has offered his assistance, which we will be taking full advantage of.

I also hung this banner next to our front door. I bought it at the fair, from a delightful shop called i like you.

mn banner

front door is just to the left of the banner

On Sunday a hinge on our garage door broke, because of course it did. The automatic opener does not like this, but we can still close it manually. Darren was Not Pleased. But we went to Ikea as planned anyway. We picked up a lamp, a bench for the entryway, and shades for the kitchen pendants. Exciting.

Yesterday, Darren brought Dan over. Darren’s dad also headed over after work to help repair the garage door, and I went up after work. We ended up being there until nearly 10pm. In that time, Dan finished priming the bathroom (two coats!), the shades were attached to the kitchen pendants, the Ikea lamp was assembled, Darren finished removing the old caulking from the door and window trim in the living room, Darren and Lee fixed the garage door (turns out the automatic opener had been poorly installed and basically broke itself), I built the bench for the entry, filled some more holes, touched up the paint over the previously filled holes, found the grey paint for the upstairs bathroom and used it for the first coat inside said bathroom’s linen/storage cabinet. My painting skills still exist on a small scale, at least. I think that’s everything? Of course I failed to take pictures of any of it, save for this one I posted on Snapchat (username: trinalobax).

entry prog

Darren has Saturday off, so we’ll probably put some more time in. Lee bought him a nail gun (he also picked up one for himself. They were on sale, haha), so that should help a few projects along. That said, it seems like most of our spare time has been spent working on the house. I don’t mind, but at the same time I’m thinking we should take a few hours and just hang out. We still have a full two months before we need to be out of our apartment, so we can certainly spare a night off.

home is where your rump rests

We bought a house today!

What a pain in the ass, oh mah gah. Weeks of paperwork and waiting, and more paperwork and more waiting. Plus a tiny hiccup at closing today. But we survived and it’s ours. We’re still in our apartment lease until the end of October, so we can take our sweet time moving in – although we’ll be out well before our lease is up, we are SO OVER IT. We have a little bit of painting we want to do, and we need to get the basement ready for the cats (it’s where their litter boxes will be, so we need to cover any spaces they might want to try to crawl into). Really there are tons of nitpicky little things to deal with, but most of them can be spread out over the coming months.

Anyway, it’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 109-year-old Dutch Colonial in North Minneapolis. We looked at a lot of houses in St Paul because StP4lyfe, but for various reasons this is where we landed. My commute will be shorter, and Darren’s shouldn’t change too much? It’s about the same distance, but time will tell with regards to traffic.

We spent a good chunk of time chatting with the sellers today and it sounds like the neighbors are awesome, which was great to hear. And the next door neighbor has a very nice dog named Norman.

Am I going to start blogging about house stuff? Maybe! I do like reading house blogs, but whether or not I like writing about that stuff remains to be seen.

All right. You want to see pictures? Here are the listing photos in all their flaw-hiding glory. Hooray! Gory details can wait. For now, we are just excited.

house 01

house 02

porch! the window & door trim are not red in real life.



dining/living area

dining/living area

first floor half-bath off the kitchen

first floor half-bath off the kitchen

back porch/mudroom

back porch/mudroom

house 07

this will be the office

this will be the office

guest room/yoga space

guest room/yoga space

master bedroom

master bedroom

our bedroom features a walk-in closet

walk-in closet

house 12

view from the garage

view from the garage

no mud, no lotus / happy birthday to me!

Today I turned 31, which is weirder than 30. I had to write my age on a form today and it was bizarre. I’m not entirely sure why, but Brenna suspects it’s because we’re “reeling on 40,” which is probably accurate. Oh well!

My birthday went a little something like this:

  • Aerial yoga in the morning
  • Birthday tattoo! More on that in a minute.
  • Errands. This is not birthday related, just stuff that needs to get done because adulthood.
  • Dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack with Kyle, Jenna, and Harrison (Darren requested the wrong day off(!) so he had to work)
  • Now I’m watching Fixer Upper, drinking a vodka tonic, and writing this. I need some cake.

It doesn’t sound like much, but I like a good low-key day. I’m going to see Paul McCartney on Wednesday, which was my gift to myself, so I still have that to look forward to!

All right, so here’s the tattoo story and also the meaning behind the design.

Darren told me several months ago that he knew what he was going to get me for my birthday, and it required an appointment. I was like “oooh, massage?” but he said he wasn’t going to tell me and it was going to be a surprise the day of. So I figured, definitely massage or spa day or something. HOWEVER. The day he called to make the appointment, we were IMing. He told me that my appointment was scheduled for 12:30pm on my birthday, but then he said that he had to spill the beans because “she needs some info in advance so… what are you going to get for your tattoo!!??” I was PISSED because who schedules a tattoo as a surprise? You need to be prepared for that shit. After our wee fight, I started warming up to the idea. I had been talking about a tattoo for a couple years, so it’s not like it came from nowhere but it’s a good thing he told me. If I had shown up there with no clue, I probably would not have gone inside.

Anyway, when I first started considering said tattoo a few years ago, I was leaning toward something cat or generally pet related. That’s still on the table for tattoo #2, but I had since made a different plan. I was in a yoga class one day, and the teacher quoted Thich Nhat Hanh, and talked about the idea behind “no mud, no lotus” – the secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not run away from it. So I decided to get a simple lotus tattoo. If I go deeper, it does become a sort of memorial to my father. I could probably do a whole post on that, but the point is that my life (and Kyle’s, of course) was going in one direction, but then dad died and it took a hard, horrible turn… and still ended up being pretty great. You know what I mean?

Side note: there’s a Cloud Cult lyric version of this idea from the song Complicated Creation, and it says “you can’t know beauty if you don’t know pain.” Always happy to incorporate Cloud Cult into everything, forever. That song also includes one of my favorite lines “some days you give thanks, some days you give the finger.”

Whew. Okay, so here it is, and it definitely felt like a being poked by a bunch of needles. At least it only took about ten minutes, although I sure did sweat a lot in that short amount of time (ew):

lotus tattoo