Sunday, June 27, 2010

Little of this, little of that....

I have no major news to report to you this week, as was the case last week also. But I can't keep my dutiful readers in the dark so I figured I'd better post something. So here's a little catch up.

I finally have a picture of our rain barrel. It's been seeing a lot of good use lately!
For $30, it's not too shabby. One of our neighbors even remarked how clever we are and wants Travis to make one for her too. Although she has a garden, which makes even more sense for a rain barrel. You know, instead of a crack in your foundation....but I digress.

We went out on the town Thursday night for Hibbing's 18th Annual Gallery Hop. What fun! Basically a lot of merchants on our main street downtown open their stores to an artist or two who set up mini "galleries" of their artwork. People stroll around going from store to store to view the galleries, and of course you can buy if you feel so inclined. I often am inclined because I love to support local artists. This particular time we only bought a small Christmas ornament made out of wood that has woods-y scenes engraved on each side. One with a moose - how very Minnesota.

While in Duluth with my parents a few weeks ago we picked up a print from a local artist named Kristina Nelson who does all her artwork in crayon. Her work is really amazing, you would never know it was crayon. How she creates such detail boggles the mind. We had it framed and just got it back last week.This picture does not do her work justice. In real life you can see the striations on each onion, and a little bit of fuzz coming off the tops. It's pretty cool. So now our onions hang in the kitchen. Very fitting since I do not care for onions in my food at all. But we always have some in the house!

As you may have noticed, loyal reader, the landscape of things changed a bit a few weeks ago. I should have taken my choice of library stacks as a premonition, but I never put 2 and 2 together. After many months of questioning my future career, not being able to find the right job, and some overall soul searching (how cliche, I know) I've come to a decision. I have to go back to school.

A part of me loathes this decision. When I graduated from UF, I didn't look back and was 100% ready to move on with my life. But a larger part of me realizes that there isn't a lot I can do with my degree, and I need to do something about it. So I've started the application process to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who has a 100% online Master's in Library and Information Science program.

Why Library Science? Because this is where I should have been all along. Since my Dad bribed me by paying me $5 per book I read when I was young - which quickly turned into a profitable exchange for me, I've always loved reading. And I love books. I know there are such fancy contraptions as the Kindle and such, but nothing beats a book. The weight in your hands, the sound of pages turning, and the smell of a book - all creature comforts to me. I also have this thing about organization and management - maybe a little bit of OCD some might say - that makes me think working in a library would come naturally.

The next question: why UWM? There are several reasons. A) there are only so many MLIS degree programs that are accredited by the American Library Association. B) there are even fewer that offer their program 100% online. C) none of these schools are in Minnesota D) the nearest school is UWM and finally E) WI and MN schools have reciprocity, meaning that I can go to a WI school for the same instate tuition price as a MN school.

So after all that, I officially submitted my application yesterday. Now I have to apply to the MLIS program itself, get 2 letters of recommendations, have my UF transcripts sent to UWM, and probably take the GRE. Probably because UWM waves this part if your undergrad GPA was a 3.0 or higher based on their standards. I know I graduated with higher than a 3.0 GPA, but I'm not really sure how UWM will compute that so I'm not out of the woods yet. After all is said and done, we're looking at a start date of Summer 2011. A year from now. That's the worse part! Also, I'm kind of doubting myself after sending in my application with the "reason statement" required. No where on anything that I read specified a word limit, just what should be in the statement in general. So mine was short and sweet, which now I'm regretting. Oh well, if it's meant to happen, it'll happen, right? I can always reapply. Fingers crossed!

Ok, so maybe we do have some major stuff going on. I just didn't want you to get hyped up about it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Got Ark?

As in, Noah's Ark? I'm thinking we may need one pretty soon. No one told me that Minnesota gets a monsoon season. Honestly, I do not think we've seen the sun in over a week. We're going to start sending Maya outside in a dinghy to go to the bathroom.

If you have a basement, you probably know that tons of rain and basements don't really mix. Knock on wood, we've stayed pretty dry save one small corner. As with most things in our house, we have quickly realize that when the previous owners added on our family room and made an addition in the basement, they didn't do it quite right. I live in Tim "the Tool-man" Taylor's house. They didn't seam the new basement wall well enough with the old foundation, so we had a slight leak. This was only realized when a gutter malfunctioned and was basically pouring water right into this crack.

So what did we do about this? We built a rain barrel! "Built a rain barrel?" you ask? Why yes, ye of little faith. My husband and I are quite creative. If you shop around you can find pretty, fancy barrels for big $$$. Well I just wasn't having that. Off to Lowe's we went where we bought a 32 gallon garage can, a spigot, a coupling (yea, Travis provided the word here), and some kind of a big hose thing. Drill hole in side of garbage can near the bottom, put spigot and coupling together, cut out hole in lid and attach hose to lid and bottom of gutter. Tada! Rain barrel! Our grand total? $31. Time spent? About an hour. Boo yah baby.

We also had a leaky sink this week. Again. Seeing a trend here? Luckily that was an easy fix. Travis bought the right kind of drain and replaced it in no time. It really makes me think "what the heck did the previous owners think they were doing here?" Obviously they had ZERO talent when it comes to plumbing. Or anything house related for that matter...but I digress. I'm starting to feel a bit water logged.

Trav's cousin also graduated from high school this year, and we were lucky to be able to go to his grad party down in St. Cloud on Saturday. Of course it rained the entire day so the party had to be moved inside and into the garage. We had planned on driving down ourselves, but Trav's parents were going and coming back the same day so we decided to go with them too. There just so happens to be a winery (yay wine!) on the way down, and of course I planned on stopping. Luckily I didn't have to work to hard to convince the in laws we should stop. They're closet wino's, I'm sure of it.

This winery uses honey and berries for most of their wines, and I was quite impressed! Check out Minnestalgia Winery to see their selection. We liked the Honeywine and Great Grey the best. If you like sweeter wines, try one of the fruit wines like Raspberry or Blueberry.

The party was fun, despite the rain. Clearly the winery was the highlight of the trip in my eyes, but it was great seeing the family as always.

That's all for now folks, have a great week!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hey BooBoo!

I know I'm a little late on this post, but I had to wait until we could get a good picture of our new addition to the family. He required some work and good weather. He also likes hunting with his best friend for pic-a-nic baskets in Yellowstone Park. I give you:

BooBoo the welcome bear. Here he is also seen with our fabulous new wine bottle house numbers and mail box. Our front porch is finally starting to have some pizazz!

Last week my parents came to visit the cold tundra that is Northern Minnesota. Of course in June you would think we'd have some nice weather that involved shorts and t-shirts. Think again, my dears, think again. I don't think it ever topped 70 degrees. So my parents wore jeans, sweaters, and jackets the entire trip. But we had a good time!

We stopped at the visitor center in Two Harbors and met this guy. Driving north along Highway 61 (any Bob Dylan fans in the house?) you'll find lots of little road side gift shops and stores. This is also where we found BooBoo, at the home of his maker. He does really awesome work, all handmade, and most are twice the size of our little bear.

Then we moved along to Gooseberry Falls, north of Two Harbors. What fantastic scenery! Who knew we had waterfalls in Minnesota? I sure didn't! There were lots of stairs and climbing involved, but luckily there were no casualties on this day. Sometimes my family and I are not always the most graceful of people.

Afterward we went to the infamous Betty's Pies. Holy cow was this place good! Fabulous food, and of course - the pies are awesome. I had the bumbleberry - so yummy that I wanted to swim in a bath of bumbleberry goodness. Order one online! The best money you'll ever spend.

I was so glad to have my parents come here to visit, and it's so hard to see them go! I always cry like a baby because I hate the distance between us. I just have to work harder to convince them that they should move to Minnesota too!