Monday, August 22, 2005

Here I am in Vermont! Ken and I flew out here on Thursday, and are having an absolute blast!

We started our adventures in Burlington, exploring Ken’s old UVM College campus. I got to meet his cows he played with in CREAM… and made quite a few new friends! After that we explored beautiful Church Street in downtown Burlington… right on Lake Champlain. Our next mission… the “Vermontster” at Ben and Jerry’s (which was born in Burlington). We’re talkin’ 20 scoops of ice cream, 2 brownies, 3 huge chocolate chip cookies, 4 ladles of hot fudge and caramel, 10 scoops of walnuts, M&Ms, jimmies, chocolate chips, and lots and lots of whipped cream. Ken, his mom, and I sat by the lake and tried our darndest to finish it all. We almost got it, but left a bit in the bottom. A sleepy drive to Wheelock followed. Early to bed…

The next morning, after lounging around a bit, Ken and I left for a jog. But this wasn’t any jog! Vermont has NO flat ground… so our first ¾ of a mile was straight up hill! Then we hiked through some beautiful woods only to find Ken’s childhood path was overgrown. After that interesting experience we jogged through town and played in Miller’s Run River. We both were 8 years old again dunking each other and running from rock to rock. Who says a childhood in a small town is boring? After drying off we made dinner for Ken’s wonderful folks and ate until we couldn’t eat anymore (this is a common theme throughout the weekend).

Saturday morning was a bit rainy, but we still ventured to Bald Mountain, and scaled it in no time! So yeah, I was a bit whiny and out of breath, but we made it up fast! The top of the mountain was inside a cloud and SUPER windy. So what do we do? Climb a 40-foot fire tower with no walls or windows! That was a blast! We didn’t have much of a view, but a thrill of a lifetime! That night we had a great pizza dinner (thanks Mr. And Mrs. Goldrick) and crashed.

Sunday began with yet another long hike; this time up Mt. Pisgah. The nicer weather gave us a beautiful view of Lake Willoughby and the Green Mountains of Vermont. That night we played some mini golf (I got two holes in one!!!) and had a great campfire…full of roasted, gushy marshmallows.

Today we went to the “Great Vermont Corn Maze” probably one of the coolest things around… and that’s not an insult to Vermont! We hiked around that puppy for an hour trying to find our way out… then explored the flower garden, gopher holes (underground tunnels) and some other fun maze puzzles. I guess we did a pretty good job with the Corn Maze because they say it is very rare to come out in less than an hour, and around 90% of the participants have to ask for help. We rock! We then went to Ken’s cousin’s Sarah’s house and met up with Sarah, Kerry (Ken’s dad), Cheri (Ken’s mom), Theresa (Ken’s Aunt), and Sarah’s kids Tim, Jac, and Theresa. Cheri made the most amazing brownies… I’ve seriously never had better… my belly is still bulging! After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon at a beautiful cabin on Martin’s pond in Peacham, Vermont. There was plenty of dock flipping and diving, kayaking, and salamander catching to be done. After that Ken took me to a few more Vermont towns, and I tried Maple candy for the first time. Holy Yummy! I think I found a new addiction…

Tonight we had our last dinner that couldn’t be beat and it’s off to bed to catch our early flight (if NWA isn’t still on strike… but if they are… more fun in Vermont!).

I can’t say enough about how wonderful Ken’s family is. They are the kind of people who keep you laughing and make you feel welcome. And I can’t forget to thank Bailey, Jacques, Oreo, Lilly, and Lou for letting me share your house! It was so wonderful to finally get a chance to see the beautiful area Ken grew up in. The stories, postcards, and photos just don’t to this place justice.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I Won I Won I Won!!!

What a wonderful weekend! This weekend was by far my favorite of the summer, and not just because I won. We started with the crappy 8 hour drive up to Grand Marais, Minnesota (North Shore of Lake Superior) and arrived at our Bed and Breakfast around 11pm. We slept SO well with the cool breeze and sound of the lake's waves.

The next morning we went upstairs for breakfast and to meet the B&B owners, Mary Jane and Harry. What wonderful people! The other house guests were a very sweet couple from Fargo on their honeymoon. Mary Jane made the most amazing breakfast I have ever eaten (stuffed french toast, fresh fruit, and stuffed sausage) then we went down to see the lake. I cannot put into words how beautiful the north shore of Lake Superior is. We skipped rocks for awhile, then headed into town for the log rolling tournament.

The rolling was held in a tank right next to the lake (lake was too cold and wavy to roll in). We had plenty of time before competition started, so Ken and I explored the stores and activities. Just about everybody there had a dog! So we spent lots of time petting cute puppies. Man we need a dog. Ken rolled first, and because there was no novice division, he had to roll pro. But he actually got a fall on a pro roller! His rolling has improved SO much. I had a very exciting match with the current world champion Jenny Atkinson, but for once, things went my way and I won. I rolled for first and second against Katie Hoeschler (in my opinion, one of the strongest rollers this season) and with another super close match, came out on top. I won my first pro tournament! Now, like Ken says... I for sure have to work on when I peak during the season. :) I won this beautiful hand made wooden candle holder, which will look perfect in our new apartment. Saturday night we ate at this amazing restaurant called "The Angry Trout". I guess it's called that because trout don't like getting hooked and eaten. But it was good for us! I actually had a glass of wine (Shana doesn't drink, so this was a shocker for all) and enjoyed the fireworks. And no Olivia, I did NOT get wasted. hahaha. Back at the B&B Ken and I went down to the lake and had a beautiful campfire, ate Kettle Corn, and listened to the waves. Did I mention this place was beautiful?

After another amazing night's sleep, we had my second best breakfast of all time: wild rice quiche, fresh fruit, wild rice sausage, and banana bread. Man on man were we spoiled. We said our good byes to everybody and headed out to Jenny Atkinson's cabin for the boom run competition. Her boom run is 11 stinkin' logs long! Talk about a workout! Olivia and I both had some very nice crashes, but Ken took home the award for best falls. I ended up in second (of course Mandy beat me... that girl is just so darn good!!!) and we had a blast. We went down to her lake, which was crystal clear with an amazing view, and Ken and Carl practiced for the big air dog competition for next year's GOG (Ken was the dog). It was a great way to end a great weekend. The 8 hour drive home wasn't much to write home about, but we made it and crashed right when we got into the house. Next weekend we'll visit IKEA to get some furniture, and also a stop at good old Trader Joe's for some REAL food. :)

Congrats to Erin for singing in front of 5,000 people at her most recent Pat McCurdy escapade.

If anybody is interested in a GREAT place to stay on the North Shore of Lake Superior, check out the Superior Overlook Bed and Breakfast.

Friday, August 05, 2005

So sorry for the lack of posts! It's been an INSANE week! We're leaving for Grand Marias, Minnesota in a few minutes, so I have to make this quick.

Lumberjack World Championships: SUPER FUN! I ended up in 5th for log rolling and 5th in the boom (I fell in finals) but had some GREAT matches. It just gets better and better every year! Ken also ran a great boom, and rolled well in the semi-pro division.

New Apartment!: We are now living right on the lake! Moving is taking up all of our time right now, but it's worth it. Ken and I absolutly LOVE our new place. So do the kitties! They have so much to look at! We're taking a trip down to IKEA next weekend to finish furnishing the place. This will NOT look like a college apartment. :)

Frankie Update: Frankenstein still likes to play in the toilet. He found a plastic spoon yesterday... it amused him for hours. I am no longer spending my hard earned money on cat toys. He also got trapped in my t-shirt drawer the other day. Serves him right for crawling back in there while I was getting ready. This morning he decided to annoy the heck out of neighbor's dog by taunting him from our bedroom window. Not much sleep for Shana this morning. He's cute, but still a little devil.

We're off for the 8 hour drive to Lake Superior! Have a great weekened everybody!