Monday, May 31, 2010

Corner: DONE

Ever since we moved in, one part of our yard that I wanted to change was the corner. It had hostas and a rose bush but it looked pretty sad. In the beginning, I thought "how much work could this possibly be? It's a tiny little corner." And so, I convinced Kristin to let me trim the rose bush down (she loved it and didn't want it ruined). Our friend Rosa came over to help, and we went at it with some trimmers.

Once we started trimming it down, however, we realized how out of control it was, and with Rosa's help, I convinced Kristin the roses just had to go. She finally agreed, and we cleared the corner out and replaced the border with a more...colorful version. :)

A few days later we went to buy plants to fill the space, and the woman said "No way! It's too early!" So we didn't buy anything, and the corner plot sat empty. But it wasn't empty for long because soon the weeds took over...which meant when it was finally time to buy the plants we had even more work to do...

Once that was done we went to Leitner's where a woman walked around and told us everything we could have ever wanted to know about the plants that might work in our space, and after making some decisions we headed home with a car full of plants. We decided to get them planted today before the weeds took over again, and we FINALLY finished! We got a ton of compliments from neighbors as we were working on it, which made all of the time and work completely worth it!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Kristin gave me the most beautiful roses for graduation...I love, love, love them. Thank you, my dear. :)

Dear Plant Lady...

Dear lady at the plant store who told us not to plant anything a month ago because it would die, die, DIE. As a matter of fact, they have thrived, thrived, THRIVED. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


On Sunday I graduated from Saint Catherine University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work.

My journey from high school to college graduate was a long one. Thirteen years long to be exact. Sometimes it seems disappointing that it took me so long, but as I look at everything I have done over the past 13 years I realize I wouldn't change those experiences for the world. I have grown so much as a person and those experiences will be invaluable in my future career. I have come to realize that going back to college 2 1/2 years ago was something that happened at exactly the right time.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past couple of years as I worked my way through school, working full time, internships, and more.

First and foremost, to my dear Kristin who listened to me complain incessantly about the homework and the time it was sucking out of my life. Who listened to me cry at midnight because I had a huge paper due the next day and had yet to start it. Who listened to jokes or funny stories from class that didn't sound nearly as funny outside of class. Who understood when I was too tired to clean or too busy to cook. Who read papers and gave suggestions even when she didn't have a clue what the assignment was all about.

To my classmates who also listened to me complain and complained right along with me. Who were there to offer support when life got crazy. Who made group work bearable. Who each in her own way taught me invaluable lessons about life, friendship, perseverance, integrity, hard work, and survival.

To the professors. Who all cared about us as students and human beings. Who were passionate about social work and instilled that passion in each of us.

To my sister, Cassi, who always answered her phone (even if I had already called her 10 times that day) to answer questions or just lend a listening ear.

To my parents who were always willing to read a paper one more time.

To my various coworkers, managers, and friends at Dow Jones who were always supportive and flexible - allowing me to leave early or come in late to accommodate my school and internship schedule.

To friends who have been understanding when I've had to cancel plans at the last minute or who have sat here and listened to me complain (I seem to have complained a lot over the past 2 1/2 years, haven't I?!?) without complaining back. Who called at 6 a.m. to make sure I was up cramming for a Spanish test. Who always had answers when I asked questions.

And finally to the person who once said "if she can go all the way to China to follow her dreams you can certainly go a few miles down the road to St. Kate's to follow yours." Who always told me I could do it even when I insisted I couldn't. Who never gave up hope and assured me over and over that I am not now, nor have I ever been, crazy. :)

I couldn't have made it through the past 2 1/2 years without the help and support of all of you. So thank you.

And now...a few pictures from graduation...

A large portion of the group of amazing women I had the privilege of spending every other weekend with for the past two + years!

Kristin and I after graduation.

Elizabeth, me, and Becky

Kristin and me!

An official St. Kate's aluma!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Social Work Graduation Celebration

Last night was the Social Work Graduation Celebration. I wasn't planning on going for a variety of reasons but decided to about a week ago - and I'm so glad I did! It was nice to be able to be there with friends and professors who I have grown so close to over the past 2 1/2 years. I'll write more about the whole "idea" of graduation later...still trying to work out what i want to say.

This was a portion of the graduates who were there...not sure where the rest of them went - probably said "RUN" when they heard "group photo." :)

Me and my pal, Leela. I told Kristin that we look very "coupley" in this photo. She said she was fine with that. Ha!

And as we were trying to find where the program was being held we totally got lost...It's not like I've been going to that school for 2 1/2 years or anything. ;)

Sunday, May 9, 2010


So today I went to Costco for the first time. For years I had a Sam's Club card. I first got it when I was living with my parents and was able to get a card for free through my mom's work. Back then Costcos didn't exist. At least not in Utah. Anyway, so I had a Sam's Club card, and I kept it even after moving to Minnesota, but I didn't use it very often. Occasionally I would go to get pineapple or muffins, but that was about it. So I finally told my mom to just cancel my membership. Someone, somewhere was paying for it, and it was a waste of money.

A week or two ago Kristin said that the Costco people were coming to her school and wondered if we should get a membership. I've heard excellent things about Costco for years and told her if she wanted one to go ahead. So she did.

We finally ventured to the nearest Costco (10 miles away in Maplewood) today, and, unfortunately, I was disappointed. Maybe it was the fact that so many people had talked it up so much so I was expecting something grand or spectacular, or maybe it really is just a disappointing place...but disappointing it was. It wasn't very busy at all. Everyone says "don't go there on the weekends! It's crazy busy!" It actually wasn't too crazy at all today - probably due to Mother's Day - so I can't blame that for my disappointment either.

Anyway, here are some of my observations:

First of all, the prices weren't stupendous. Now before everyone starts getting all defensive and telling me about the great deals they've found there - I'm sure there are great deals to be had. But we walked nearly every inch of that store, and I didn't see any great deals on anything I buy regularly. $8 for two boxes of cereal? I don't think I have ever spent $4 on a box of cereal in my life. The items that did seem to be good deals were either things that would spoil before we could ever eat all of it or things I would never buy in the first place.

Secondly, the selection didn't seem to be very big. I knew enough going in not to expect grocery store selection, but Sam's seemed to always have a lot more variety as far as food goes and just more "stuff" overall. It felt like more of Costco's aisles were dedicated to free sample people and large items than to useful things I would be interested in buying.

Thirdly, the layout of the store seemed haphazard and confusing. Maybe that could just be chalked up to it being our first time and not really knowing where anything was...?

On a positive note, the employees were extremely friendly...except one...but maybe she was having a bad day.

I'm not ready to trade my membership card back in yet. I am definitely willing to give the place another try, but I'm pretty sure that the only time I'll be driving 10 miles to do any kind of shopping is when we need pineapple or muffins (feels a little reminiscent of my Sam's Club days).

Anyway, in the end we left with a small box of items that cost $85 which apparently should feed us for a week since that's what I typically spend at Target for a week's worth of groceries...I'm just thinking we'll be tired of eating muffins, hummus, and pistachios before the week is up.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day

Tonight we were at Target and Kristin, being the procrastinator she is, decided now would be a good time to get a Mother's Day card. Now, I'm all about Mother's Day. If there is a day for middle children and a day for dads and a day for everyone else in between, there should be a day for mothers. If nothing else it provides a good reminder to say "hey, mom, sorry I was such an idiot as a child"...right?

For some reason, as Kristin was looking at the cards, I just thought about how silly it is for throngs of people (the photo doesn't do the crowd justice) to be crowded around and reaching over each other to find a card that says just the right thing.

A woman picked up one card, read it, and was all weepy. Then then a guy picked up the same card, read it, muttered "lame," and put it back. Wouldn't it be better to just pick up the phone or write your own note?

Anyway, happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there...and for those of you who have mothers still roaming around this big round planet, pick up the phone, write a note, or go see your mother. Forget the card. Then again, I sent a card to my mom AND grandma earlier in the who am I to talk?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ha! Cheater!

Yesterday I went to the eye doctor. For some reason it always makes me nervous to go. Granted, I have a fear of the medical doctor, and I have a fear of the dentist, but the EYE doctor?

My adventures at the eye doctor began after an eye test at school in third grade. I remember standing there and some woman rubbing my back and telling me it was okay. I remember thinking she was weird because no, I couldn't read the letters on the piece of paper half a gym away, but I wasn't worried about it...I certainly didn't need someone rubbing my back telling me it would be okay.

A few days later I went to the eye doctor (who totally freaked me out with all of his weird machines) with my mom and we ordered glasses. Big, pink, plastic glasses. Hey, they were popular at the time (at least I thought so). After they arrived I wore them and was amazed that trees actually had individual leaves! They weren't just a trunk with a blob of green on the top. Nice! Then came the first day of school with my glasses. I had made a diorama of some sort and hid the glasses in there. As soon as I walked in my teacher asked about where my glasses were (sometimes, people, good communication between parents and teachers sucks). I told her I didn't want to wear them. So we started the day with a discussion about people who are different. The teacher asked if anyone had any experiences they wanted to share about being different. One boy said his brother got called metal mouth all the time because he had braces. One girl said that her sister got teased all the time for wearing glasses - people called her four eyes and nerd. This discussion was doing nothing to encourage me to wear my new pink plastic glasses. The teacher asked what things people who had glasses could do that others couldn't. Answers were all over the place and included "read" and "play." And for some reason, this made sense to my third grade mind...even though I had obviously read and played before and everyone else in the class who didn't have glasses could read and play without them. But I took them out, and I put them on and that was that.

Anyway, so it's yesterday, and I check in at the eye doctor. I notice, once again, that I'm the youngest patient there by at least 40 years. The clinic I go to specializes in all sort of surgery stuff, so I assume that's why...but it always makes me feel weird. Anyway, so I'm wearing my contacts and the woman at the front desk asks if I brought my glasses. Oh! My glasses! Does she mean the ones with the broken nose piece, the bent ear piece, and the lenses which were chewed up by the cat? Yes! As a matter of fact I DID bring those with me. I hand them over muttering about how they're old and I don't really wear them, slightly embarrassed at the state they're in, but the front desk people always have to "analyze" the glasses for some reason, so I hand them over.

Eventually, I get called back (Duh-Neat? Duh-Neat? Is Duh-Neat here?...oh! That's me. Silly girl. Blame it on the low battery in my hearing aid), and the doctor comes in and makes a little small talk (Every year he talks about St. Kate's and tells me about how he graduated from St. Thomas and that the speaker at his graduation was so old the doctor thought he was going to fall over dead right in the middle of his speech. While this was a fine story the first time he told me it has now become somewhat funny and I giggle a little as soon as he starts in..."so a looong time ago I graduated from St. Thomas, you know."). After the small talk, he begins with the whole put this machine in front of your face and read the bottom line. I absolutely hate this test. You know...where you get down to the bottom line and then he starts saying "is this one better or worse?" "Do you prefer one or two?" as he flips little pieces of glass around. I always feel like he's trying to trick me - like if he says "one or two" and I say "two" and then he moves things around but really keeps them the same and says "one or two" and I say "one" that he'll jump up and say "ha! cheater!"...or what if I say one is better than two but really two is better than one...then I'm stuck with a wrong prescription for a whole year...I know, I know, I'm a little neurotic, what can I say.

Anyway, after he finishes that and he asks if a resident from the U of M can come in. Apparently my eyes look "perfect" and "young" (uh, yeah, remember the waiting room?) and he wants her to see them. So in she comes. He puts the drops in my eyes and gets all up close to look inside. Then he hands it over to the resident and she gets all up close. The thing is that she can't seem to figure out how to use the eye looker thing...he tells her that when people are near sighted it can be harder to get it in focus and explains how she needs to do it. So she keeps trying and trying and trying. For 4-5 minutes I sit staring straight ahead while she shines a light in my eye and keeps her face no more than 1/2 inch from mine. Ah well...anything in the name of learning and science, right? (She thanked me profusely afterwards and I wished her good luck with her residency.)

And with that, I was given my new prescription (one step blinder than a bat in each eye than I was last year) and left. And now I can say PHEW. Done for another year (and he didn't even call me a cheater).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day 2010

Today Kristin and Ellie went to the May Day Parade in Minneapolis. They went with our friend Jehn while I stayed at home nursing a migraine (which was completely gone by 1. I was bummed I didn't go!). Kristin took the camera (at my insistence) and got some great photos (so a big thank you to her!). Here are a few: