Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Things You Can Buy at a Truck-Stop

Yet again, I'm on the cutting edge. Bringing you important news - stuff you can't find anywhere else - stuff that could change the way you live your life.

For example, did you know the bounty that awaits at a nearby truck-stop? Just off the freeway lies a collection of items you may not be able to find anywhere else. You fancy types who jet-set around the world sure are missing out on a culturally enriching experience. So bring it down a notch, hit the humble highway, and behold:
Swedish Fish! Seems normal enough, right? Look more closely. This is a 1.9 POUND bag. I said it yesterday, and I'll say it again, "Is there a dentist in the house?"

Hood ornament? I think the gift-with-purchase when you buy one of these suckers should be a car horn that plays Dueling Banjos. It's a logical set. You really shouldnt' have one without the other.

Nothing says "classy lady" like the world's tackiest handbag. Fully stocked for the beer-drinkin gal on the go. Open-container laws don't apply to "classy ladies."

Samurai Sword? Definitely on my list of travel essentials. Ironically, these were just down the way from the longhorns. Welcome to the melting pot, people.

Maybe something nice for the home? Ya know, skull figurines are the new hip hostess gift. All the "classy ladies" are giving them.

And speaking of the home, wouldn't this look nice over the davenport? Is it wrong to coat the Messiah in enough lacquer to resurface a basketball court? No! It is the highest form of praise. The clock's real multi-functional, too.

Even after uncovering all those gems, we decided the Best-of-the-Bounty was wardrobe. In fact, they had a full ensemble ready to purchase.

Camo cargos and a sleeveless denim shirt, pre-frayed. You might be able to get away with the shorts, but I'm not too sure about the sleeveless denim. I've seen guys try it twice - once was on a skinny kid in high school (who was beaten up later that day) and the other was on Larry the Cable Guy. I guess this is how ya git 'er done.

Remember those nice foamy hats with the mesh back? The ones t-ball coaches were sporting in 1979? They are alive and well at the truck-stop, and really round out the full outfit.

For those willing to take some risks and set some trends:
Coon-skin caps! Conveniently located between the skull figurines and the dairy case. Right where you'd expect to find them.

And there you have it: nine really good reasons to pull off at the next truck-stop. We recommend the Flying J in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar in middle-of-nowhere, Montana. Although, after sneaking around their shops trying to discreetly snap pictures with my iPhone while surpressing fits of laughter, I'm pretty sure we are no longer welcome in either one. It's a shame cause I need a classy new handbag for fall.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nikki & Henry's Wedding

Was WONDERFUL! SoundGuy and I spent the weekend in Duluth celebrating with our friends Nikki & Henry. I consider Nikki one of my quirkiest, most unique friends, so I couldn't wait to see what kind of wedding they had cooked up. Knowing that at least two of our loyal readers are on the fast-track to engagement (wink, wink girls!) I figured I should share all the fun details that made the day so memorable!

Rehearsal dinner was a BBQ at Elger Tower (for those of you hip to Duluth's hot-spots). Nikki & Henry's outdoorsy style showed up in a canoe full of beverages! Here's the bride, flanked by CSSA pals Tracy and moi. Jillybean - just photoshop yourself in. We missed you!
Apparently the groomsmen spent the afternoon dumping forty bags of ice into the canoe! I have no idea who drew the short straw and had to empty it at the end of the night.

On the morning of the wedding the bride and groom hosted a 5K run, complete with bowties and veils for all the participants. We caught up with Nikki after the race to admire her cute running outfit, and (more importantly) to meet Tracy & Erik's adorable new baby, Ava.
Sidenote: Not only is Ava cute with a capitol Q, she's also the tallest baby we know. At four months, she's already the height an "average" baby would be at 12 months! Better reserve the exit row for her next plane ride =)

The ceremony and reception took place on the shore of Lake Superior, at the Public Beach House.
Everybody kicked off their shoes to enjoy the sand. This adorable row of green shoes belongs to the bride and her gals. Too cute!
Guests were greeted by ushers distributing beach blankets.
When those ran out, some very resourceful ushers rounded up all sorts of surfboards from the beach house and flipped them over on the sand for additional seating.

Henry's dad performed the ceremony, and they exchanged the most touching vows. Not a dry eye on the beach!
Here's the happy couple! Let's get inside so I can show you all the fun details of the reception!
Nikki's favorite food is pizza so the reception was catered by Pizza Luce. NUM! Oh...there's no pizza in this picture. You'll just need to use your imagination. Imagine us eating our pizza with multicolored sporks (also the favors), and following it up with donuts instead of cake.
Note: Tracy & Erik were not solely responsible for the depleted platter of donuts on our table. We all shouldered that burden together.

Nikki & Henry hired a few of Nikki's students to take care of all the details. In a fit of genius, Nikki created t-shirts for the whole crew using the lovebirds graphic from the invitations.
Members of the wedding party also received these t-shirts as their gifts.

In case the donuts weren't enough, a "Tweet" table was set up. Guests scooped up bags of tasty tweets.
Of course, the lovebirds logo showed up on the Tweet Bags as well.

Erik likes Tweets.

The bride and groom kicked things off with a very impressive first dance - choreographed salsa! They had a big finish, but I didn't manage to catch it on film.
Look at our girl kicking up her cute green heels!

In case the donuts and Tweets weren't enough to sustain the guests as they danced the night away, buckets of S'mores supplies were stationed around the fireplace.
Is there a dentist in the house?

My personal favorite (aside from witnessing my friends profess their love and solidify their partenership for life and all that) were the corsages. Nikki's friend, Katie models hers for us:

Do you see what that is? It's a genuine 1980's slap-bracelet, people! Best Corsage Ever! I played with mine all night =)

Lots of details went undocumented...Nikki & Henry's little dog, Stella, attending the pretty new blue dress sewn with love by my future MIL...dancing the night away with my SoundGuy...and, of course, making music to honor our special friends on their special day. Oh, and did I mention that SoundGuy ran the sound and DJ'd the reception? Or did you just assume that already? From now on, always assume that.

Congratulations Nikki & Henry! We loved being a part of your day, and were moved by the love you share!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Filling in the Gaps: How We Got to Yellowstone

SoundGuy did a delightful job getting pictures from Yellowstone posted promptly on our return. As is our custom, he charged out in front taking immediate action and getting things done. I'm following along behind, making sense of the chaos that is his wake. "Know your role", I always say. Mine is to fill in the gaps. With that in mind, here's a little bit of context for our road trip.

As you know from Tales of a Cross-Country Adventure starring the incomparable Lucas Anderson, SoundGuy drove home for his summer break. Eventually we decided he should probably head back to Hotdish Central to return his nose to the grindstone and finish this blessed degree! (And I don't mean "blessed" in the "conferred at a seminary" kind of way. I mean "bless-ed" as in "folksy substitution for a four letter word" kind of way. It's time to git 'er done! But I digress...) . Additional digression: do you think it's at all awkward to use "git 'er done" and "digress" in the same thought? It's sort of Blue-Collar-Comedy-goes-to-the-city. Where was I going with this?

Ah yes, the road trip! Right. Here's the obligatory ready-to-hit-the-road shot. Tony & Pam saw us off with a lovely breakfast at La Provence. I highly recommend it for your next trip through downtown Lake Oswego. And we're off! Down the gorge toward Spokane. I often find myself the passenger seat pondering the still-life that is SoundGuy's console.
It's all right there isn't it? You've got some God...a renowned conductor (missing his baton...poor Helmut)...the iPhone...and a cinnamon dolce mocha. I give you "SoundGuy: Still Life." That makes me an artist. I will start wearing a beret.

We stopped in Spokane to spend the night with my brother Ben and SIL Treena. Though we adore them, we must like their dogs more because those were the only members of the family we photographed. Hmmmm...Well, anyhow, this is Bear. She is the most sincere dog you'll ever meet. Her little eyebrows never fully un-pucker.

Day two was a short trip to Missoula to see Mom and Fred. You know how you continue to discover new things about your partner? Well, apparently SoundGuy plays the french horn! Who knew?! Of course, when my brass-lovin mother heard that there was a french horn player in the immediate vicinity, she would rest until duets had been played.
What you can't see in the picture is that they are playing trombone duets. That means that mom is not just sight-reading, but also transposing. Good grief. But that wasn't enough - the next morning they decided to squeeze in a little improv after breakfast. Here they are playing Clare de Lune. With no music. Want to know what's even more ridiculous? After awhile Mom decided that Clare de Lune was really better on the horn. So they switched. Mom on the piano, SoundGuy on the french horn. Still no music. These two kill me. "Hello? Underachievers Anonymous? I'm gonna need a life subscription to your issues."

The next day's travel took us to Virginia City, Montana. It's an early 1800's ghost town, first populated by the gold rush and is remarkably well-preserved. Calamity Jane once called it home, and it was host to all sorts of boot-scootin' frontier shenanigans including a band of vigilantes bent on keepin the peace by roughing people up. We met up with my Dad, and my adopted aunt and uncle, Sandy & Dean.

Though I am not the resident shutterbug around here, I did manage to snap one artsy shot of SoundGuy (toting all his camera equipment, of course) from the Livery.
Dad and SoundGuy. Those two will kick the tires on anything.

This was not my first visit to Virginia City. I have lots of fond childhood memories of trips to the ghost town. What I remember most fondly is the old-fashioned candy shop. I was a child with priorities.
And the best part? They still carry rows and rows of the stick candy I used to stock up on! Back in the day they were five cents a piece. An eight-year old on a modest allowance can still do a lot of damage at five cents a piece. Though they are no longer the same bargain, I had to buy a handful for old-time's sake. But then I didn't eat them...I just ended up carrying them around, admiring their pretty colors, and feeling nostalgic about them.

Another fond Virginia City memory from childhood is the old-school penny arcade games. There are calliopes and player pianos, little moving pictures (very primitive slide shows seen through and enormous view-finder), and all manner of devices guaranteed to foresee your future. A lot of them still work, too. We burned through all sorts of nickels and dimes making noise and having our fortunes read. My favorite is the game that reads your fortune based on the color of your eyes. It's all very scientific. And I'm sure that all the other blue-eyed girls walked out of there with fortunes completely different from my own.
Another of Virginia City's tourist attractions is the "living history." A crew of volunteers spend their summer dolled up in period dress, performing the work of daily life as it would have been in the mid-1800's. They're quite entertaining - one even offered me a job as a bar-maid. If things don't look up in the Oregon University System I just may need to take him up on that ;) Anyway, SoundGuy tried to get in to the act. What do you think?

I think we're sticking with fedoras.

So there it is - the big lead-up to our arrival in Yellowstone. There's more to share, but I have to spread out my posts lest our loyal readers become accustomed to frequent updates. I don't want to set a standard I can't live up to!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by jimusik

Leave it to EricJohn to capture Choirpres' eyes so beautifully.

shameless plug -


Thursday, August 13, 2009


(insert your caption here....)

Originally uploaded by James Davidson Design

Some might consider him energetic. Some might call him overwhelming. If there's a guy in the world who would literally give you the shirt off his back, it's Lucas.

This is my best friend who assisted me in giving Choirpres (among others) a real headache our freshman year at WU. Without him, I am pretty confident I would not be the person I am today. Choirpres completes me, Lucas is my other half.

When not riding his motorcycle, he likes long walks on the beach, has every pop radio song memorized, is one of the rare few people who enjoys working with middle schoolers and when not posing in pictures for me, enjoys spending time at home with his cute dog Sadie.

Thanks for being there for me my friend and making the world a much happier place for a lot of people.


What should the caption say? Please post in the comments...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

35mm Highlights from the Oregon Trip

A month ago, Lucas and I headed out cross country to get me and my car from MN to Oregon. Here are some of the picture highlights from my trip.
Sunset through the Kent-Luety's front door
I got to fly around the Valley with Jonathan
Landing at Salem Airport
Choirpres and I headed back and had to stop at Multnomah Falls
Saw Fred
And Tomi
And caught up with these silly folks on their way to Yellowstone
We saw Old Faithful
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
And other crazy geological formations
All and all it was well worth it, plus I will never complain about spending 3+ weeks with my Fiancée.
Man, if those eyes don't kill ya, I am not sure what else will.