Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cousins and curtains

When you live in a small town, chances are that you're related to someone. Or the whole town - one way or another. Travis has a multitude of cousins and second cousins, enough to make up a small town. We always joke that he had to come all the way to Florida to find a wife because he was related to everyone up here.

This weekend we went to a second cousin's wedding, and sure enough we knew most of the people there one way or another, and there were probably 200 guests altogether! I asked Travis "do you think that when people get together up here, they have to find out if they're related first?" I was joking, but his answer was "yeah, probably".

So the Anderson clan and family took over Fortune Bay Casino for the night, and probably consumed all the beer in the place! You know Northern Minnesotan's, they can really put away the alcohol. We danced the night away and managed to get home at the decent hour of 2:30am. Here we are early on in the night:
I was laughing at something Trav's mom was saying about the picture she took of us right before this. We had to redo a few times :o)

It's a good thing that my husband really loves me, because we take the saying "Happy wife, happy life" pretty seriously. Well, I do at least. Travis is kind enough to humor me and go along with it. So today, after only a few hours of sleep, I asked him to help me hang some curtains. Luckily for Travis, he also knows that a happy mother-in-law means a happy life too. My mom is determined to dress every window in our house, slowly but surely. She sent us these lovely curtains for our bedroom just this week, so of course, we had to put them up today in order to get pictures to send to her.
They are from The Country House magazine/website. Not to be confused with the Country House store in St. Charles, MO. Also one of our favorite places to shop. These curtains are great because they are lined to keep the sun and cold out. As you know, we get our fair share of cold here in MN. But what you may not know is that from May to August, the sun also likes to rise at some ungodly hour like 4am. No joking. It's like we live in Alaska or something. So these should help us sleep in a little, or at least until the alarm clock goes off.

So that's what we've been up to. Being party animals and home bodies, all in one weekend!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bear River Fair 2010

It's that time again - time for the fair! Since I no longer write for the Cook News Herald, I was able to relax and enjoy the fair this year. Last year I was on patrol for a good story to write! This year we only spent a few hours there, but somehow managed to still take part in a lot! I volunteered to help out with the concession stand for a few hours, and Travis ended up on a softball team with his cousins at the last minute. They ended up winning, so he had to go back this morning for an 8 am game. Talk about early! I opted out of that trip and stayed home to sleep in :o)

As always, we had a good time with friends and family. Our cousins usually camp there over the weekend since they're on the softball team, so we hung out with them afterward and it turned into a bit of a party. That's how we roll in Bear River! All 3 "B's" were present - bonfire, bean bags and, of course, beer!

I have pictures of the softball game, but unfortunately nothing really after that. So enjoy!
Travis played catcher. He was doing great up until this pop up, and he managed to fall flat on his butt!
Can't take him anywhere! He was appropriately nicknamed "Poopy Pants" for the rest of the night.
Here's the team after the game. They played for Zup's grocery store, but only 1/2 or so had the team shirts on. And they're pretty much all related too - cousins everywhere!

The 8 am game didn't go quite as well as yesterday. From what I heard there was a lot of falling and missing balls. Oh well, you win some - you lose some!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swiss Family Robinson

They lived in a tree house. Most of our week has revolved around our tree house. It's a very loose tie, but there is a connection! We have an ugly (UGLY) tree house in our back yard. Well, let's say we used to have an ugly tree house in our back yard. Now we have an ugly shack:
This beauty used to be the second story of our tree house, underneath was a little garden shed. There was a wooden ladder so you could climb up and the porch had railings all the way around. This 8th World Wonder is insulated, has electricity and even a window. The roof on it is newer than the roof on our house!

From day one I have said "that sucker is coming down!" We have no need for the Taj Mahal of tree houses in our back yard, so Travis got his brain working on this little project. By some engineering feat, he managed to knock down the bottom half with the top remaining in one piece. How he did this, I have no clue. Houdini doesn't reveal his secrets.

Now you're thinking, why wouldn't you just knock all of it down? Well my friends, my dear husband wants to sell it. Like as a playhouse. This is conceivable, no? It would make a very cute little girl's dreams of playing house or school come true. And she could even play in it during the winter! Obviously though, not in it's current conditions. The little bit of sun bleached pink (which used to be Pepto Pink) is probably not enough to convince a naive little 8 year old that this is her own barbie dream house. So off to Lowe's we went to take a gander at their "oops" paint.

We found lots of gray, and lots of wood varnish, but nothing that we really could use to cover this bad boy up. Then we wandered over to the builder grade paint section - you know, cheap but does the trick? Right next to that is a whole "Barn Paint" section. Perfect! The only setback here is our limited color choice: Red, Green, or White. I guess barns don't really come in a whole lot of colors unless you're going the Morton route. Lowe's only had red and white in an acrylic based paint that does not require a primer - so guess what we picked?

Our progress so far:
Just a little more trim painting with the white, put the railings back up, and we'll be all done! Then all we have to do is sell it! Good thing Travis is on a little vacation so he can devote all his time to this project. I sure hope it's worth it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blah, blah, blah

This is how I feel about life right now. Just blah. I failed to update the blog yesterday because, frankly, I have nothing super exciting to write about.

Travis lost his job this past week, so there's that. The district manager decided to close all the one man shops around here. Now they're sitting on 4 offices that they have to pay rent and utilities for, but with no one in them making money. Brilliant business decision, I must say. So now Travis is home all day with me, searching for jobs and keeping up with the very demanding requirements of unemployment. Submit this, fill out that. Unemployment is a job all by itself! Pray that something comes through for him.

I had a job interview with my company for the representative position (which I did for a month) last Friday. But alas, first thing that morning I got a phone call from my boss that my interview was being canceled because they offered the position to a candidate they had interviewed the day before. I still have my job working from home though, thank goodness.

The only shiny spot I have going right now is that I'm still riding and helping out with barn chores. I finally admitted to myself that my saddle is too small for me though, and have listed it on ebay. Talk about stressful! I've already had to re-list it once since it didn't sell the first time around. I currently have no offers on it as we speak. I wish someone would just buy the darn thing! In the meantime, I've been stalking a few other saddles to replace my ill fitting one. However, after bidding and losing on a total of 3, I've given up all hope on winning something via ebay. So I bit the bullet and ordered a new saddle from Dover that I can test ride in for a few days first. If it doesn't fit then I can return it. Hooray! This is the saddle I'm getting. It's a little more than I would normally spend, but I happen to know that they are very well made, good quality saddles that resell very close to their original purchase price. Also, I have it on good authority that many people in the AQHA world use these. Since I seem to be living in the land of Quarter Horses, I figured this will be a safe bet for a future horse of my own.

Speaking of, I found a rescue group in southern Minnesota: Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. If you don't know my horsey history, then you don't know that I learned to ride on rescued horses and my first horse was an off the track Thoroughbred (OTTB) rescue. Rescues hold a special place in my heart for all the good they do. So when the time is right, I hope to maybe find a horse through this organization. There is one cutie, named Sterling, that I would love to take home with me today. If only! They're hosting an auction next weekend for 13 of the horses that were in the Trainer's Challenge (read more about it on the website), and Sterling is one of those. I am trying to convince Travis that we should go watch but given my latest ebay experience, he was quick to point out that I am no good at auctions. Hardee-har-har. It's probably for the best - I need a horse like I need a hole in my head right now!

So that's what we've been up to. I hope to have more exciting news for you next week!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Riding, riding, riding

Lately that's all I've been doing. Really though, that's ok with me! Poor Travis may be missing me a little, but he knows I'm happy and that's a big plus. In addition to my weekly lessons on Monday, I've also started feeding and cleaning stalls on Wednesday and Friday nights. My trainer and I have worked out a deal to exchange chores for rides, so I'm also riding on Thursday night and Saturday morning. My life is full of horses again! And it's wonderful!

Travis came along on Saturday to meet the ponies and see where I'm spending so much time. He also took pictures and a video. Here's me riding Noah:

Noah was being a little lazy so my equitation isn't as good as it should be. I was working really hard on just keeping him going! I can tell my legs are sorely out of shape. So please ignore our transitions. :o)

My trainer also has a horse that she's trying to "give" away. Apparently she rode and showed him quite extensively at one point, but he came up lame. After having a vet look at him, they discovered that the issue was in his back and not his legs, so he's "body sore". The vet said that it would just take time to heal, and now it's been a few years. So she's trying to get me interested in him. It's something to consider, but not until we have a vet look him over to see if he still has issues. We shall see!