It's been a busy week and weekend. Normally I'd say that it's nice to come to work to relax but I'm just not feeling it lately. I'm grateful for my job but this strong urge I have to be retired often nudges out those more rational feelings about staying around a few more years to better secure our financial future. It's a good problem to have and I get that.
Tammy and I both took off work last Monday to spend time together celebrating her birthday. We got an early morning start with breakfast at Perkins followed by a 9:00 slot time at Foci. I had a good day there and left feeling satisfied with my progress. That good feeling would vanish come Friday. More about that later.
We left Foci and headed home to clean up before venturing 50 minutes north to Stillwater for the afternoon. It had been a couple years since we'd visited the picturesque city on the St Croix river and we were both looking forward to going back. I'd forgotten how busy with traffic it could be. It's nonstop!
We bummed around in and out of shops that line the main drag in search of maybe a Christmas gift or two in addition to a couple of smaller end-tables for our basement. I nearly pulled the trigger on this Jesus action-figure but felt a quick upload to my Facebook wall would suffice. We made it to Northern Vineyards with just enough time for what would be the last wine tasting of the night before they closed their doors at 6:00. With the exception of one west coast grown grape, they produce wine only from locally grown grapes. It's not the type of California red wine that we typically buy but in an effort to support them we left with 3 bottles. *wink wink*
The woman conducting our wine taste was full of knowledge about the different restaurants in town and gave us a lot to consider. We absorbed what we could from her then headed to the south end of town where we decided on Luna Rossa for dinner. We were seated in a quiet area of the restaurant that would slowly begin to populate as we enjoyed our dinner. The menu had just the right amount to choose from. We split an order of Penne Siciliana which was not only really good but also just the right amount.
Leaving the restaurant I programmed my Bionic's GPS to see if we had enough time to make it to Costo in Burnsville before they closed. We'd have enough time to give it a once-over. I needed to see what all the buzz surrounding this place was about as a few co-workers swear by it. Neither of us were very impressed. I honestly couldn't see any difference between it and Sam's Club...even the layout. I'm not much for Sam's Club.
Thursday night found us in Northfield to take in their Winter Walk festivities. The shops along the main street (Division Street) are open later than usual and the city is alive with people milling about from store to store. I made my way toward the rear of the Scandinavian shop, Paper Petalum where an older man sitting in front of a Krumkake iron offered me a sample. He introduced himself as Al Croon and we began to chat while I waited for Tammy to have a look around. He told me that his father came to America from Småland, Sweden in 1862 seeking opportunity. He settled in Stillwater. He mentioned how he's been to Sweden several times and what always struck him was how similar the landscape is between where he's lived his life here in Minnesota and what he saw in Sweden. I suppose that's why so many Swedes settled in this part of the country; for the familiarity. Tammy came by and joined in our conversation. Our time with him was the highlight of the night...just a very interesting and down-to-earth guy.
We were back at Foci on Friday where I struggled unlike any other time in the last few months to find my rhythm. It was a difficult three hours for me but I came away with some knowledge about what not to do so all was not lost. I would love to say that my poor performance was because I was pushing the limits of my abilities but that simply wasn't so. I had a frustratingly off day but one that only causes me to be even more determined to improve.
We were assembling our Christmas cards Saturday afternoon when Rachel called to ask if I'd heard that pre-sale tickets for Coldplay go on sale Monday morning for an August show. I wasn't aware of that. The best seats aren't available for pre-sale but we'll take whatever we can get seeing as how our chance to score any at all is so small to begin with. Regular tickets go on sale this Friday so we'll try again then too.
We met friends Joni and Rob at Chanhassen Dinner Theater last night to see Hairspray. The dinner there typically leaves a bit to be desired but it was okay. The show made up for whatever the meal lacked. And what a fun show it was! It moves along at a high-energy and fun pace. We've seen two musicals there in the last year (Jesus Christ Superstar being the other) and have loved them both. I think we'll keep the theater on our to-do list from now on.
I'm not feeling the Christmas spirit at all this year. I'm not sure why but it's just not there and I'm not one to pretend it is. I was down in the shop cleaning up when Tammy asked me if I had any requests for Christmas gifts. I honestly couldn't think of one. Nothing. After she went upstairs I was trying to shred some bank statements in the shredder but it wouldn't work. I tried everything I knew to fix it but in the end I gave up. On the way to take it to the trash in the garage I mentioned to Tammy that I actually did have a request for one gift this Christmas. I'm easy to please.