Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Four years ago next month, I walked into the Animal Humane Society in St. Paul to check out a tiny 8 week old little fuzzball I had seen online named Trapper Joe. 

He was wild and independent and just the tiniest bit crazy and he had the most high pitched manic little squeak purrs. It's safe to say he stole my heart from day 1. 

Four years later, he's still wild and independent and just the littlest bit crazy, but he's also so funny and affectionate. He's a creature of habit, but it's so neat to watch him develop new weird little habits over the years. 

For example...

He's taken to cuddling with Matt before bed (always on a blanket, and always between his legs), but once the lights are out, he'll find his way to my side of the bed. 

In the winter he paws at me until you lift the comforter, crawls underneath, circles once, and lays down. His new summer routine involves meowing until I move into the position he prefers- which is big spoon position with my legs partially tucked up- allowing him to curl into my stomach area. 

Lately in the mornings when I wake up and can't find TJ, I know the first place to look: under my bed. Matt has usually left for work by this point (I sleep in, what can I say) and TJ is curled up under the bed. He usually emerges eventually once I've woken up. 

When I would shower, he used to hop up, pace between the curtains, and sit on the tub. Now? He waits until he hears the water stop, the drain plug lifted, and without fail he's sitting on the sink or the toilet waiting for me to come out. I pop my head out of the shower and he meows. I climb out, put on my robe, lower my head, he gives me one good nuzzle before hopping down and walking away. 

He's always got his nose all up in EVERYTHING you're doing, often annoyingly so- but when I find myself snapping at him I just remember how nice it is to have such an affectionate and loving little guy. If M and I are working on a project (painting, woodwork, staining) that he shouldn't be in the room for, and we kick him out? He sits outside and WAILS. And no, I don't mean "meow" I mean he honest to God just howls and wails. He hates being away from us. He's got the worst case of kitty-FOMO I've ever seen. 

Which means when we come home from a weekend away, or haven't been around a lot at night during the week due to other obligations, he gets so needy. 

Besides marrying M, adopting TJ (or Tootie as I more often call him) was the best decision we ever made. He completes our family in such a big yet understated way. The house just feels warmer with him padding around and being weird.  

Happy 4 year birthday/gotcha day, Toots. You're my furry-best-friend, and I love you to pieces. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


What's more american than kayak camping down a river on the 4th of July? 
Spotting like 5 bald eagles. 

Thursday before the 4th M and I packed up the car with 2 yaks, camping gear*, and some boxed wine and set off for Wild River State Park in northern MN. There, we met the same couple friend of ours who we met up with in Italy. We camped overnight at the park Thursday night and enjoyed steak and chicken kebabs and cous cous- as one does over a camp fire. 

Bonus of traveling of any kind with fellow foodies is eating really well. Other meals included bacon and eggs, a lunch of fancy cheese, cured meat and bread, spicy Italian sausage pasta, and open faced chicken salad sandwiches with salad. NOM. 

We did about 12 miles each day with pit stops along the route before setting up camp on an island. We had planned to stay at a marked but primitive site along the river but when we arrived it was taken- the next closest one was 3 miles downstream and after 12 miles of kayaking- NOPE. 

We only almost had to fight off 2 racoons and 4 meth heads (long story) but it turned out to be a wonderfully secluded and quiet campsite. 

Some highlights, by way of photos: 

(*and a lot of other things to ensure we did not die). 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


It's easy to fall into the habit of waiting until the weekend to make plans. 
I think I convince myself there's not enough time during the week, after work, to do things. 
By the time you get home it's 5:30 or 6, then dinner, then what? 
Most of the time I just want to unwind. 

That being said, if you live for the weekends only, I realized you can miss some really great stuff during the week. 

Like, say- an impromptu dinner picnic along the shores of Medicine Lake.

I was feeling a bit funky this particular week (last week) and was thinking about dinner plans for the evening. I may have even stumbled on a photo during some IG trolling of a picnic when the idea hit me, and I was on my weather.com app checking the forecast. It was cloudy but the weatherman said by 6:30 or 7 it'd be partly sunny. 

I stopped by cub, whipped up some turkey and brie balsamic sandwiches on little rustic french loaves, grabbed some old fashioned potato salad, raspberries, and wine, and gave M prompt instructions to stay the heck out of the kitchen for 20 minutes. I put together the sandwiches, packed up our picnic basket, and surprised him with a fun dinner outing. 

The weekends are a great time to do things; more involved things, but if we trick ourselves into think they're the only time to do things.. we may miss some pretty sweet little weeknight opportunities.