Tag Archives: pictures

My Work Day in Pictures

20 Mar

I’m out of here, y’all.

What was the highlight of your day? My highlight was my morning coffee. It was especially good (and needed)! I went to bed at 9 and still woke up completely exhausted. Tonight, I’m going to bed right after dinner. No excuses. No exaggeration.

3 Losers and a Winner.

15 Feb

My cupcakes lost.

I confessed to Travis that I wouldn’t have voted for them either. The cupcakes tasted too much like chocolate cake and I really don’t like chocolate cake.

Travis told me that I didn’t even know what the other options were.

I don’t need to know.

Loser #1.


Saturday night, we went to a college hockey game. Travis and I both had season tickets almost every year in college and whenever the Gophers come out to Colorado to play DU (we drove down to CC in Colorado Springs once but it’s a haul just for a game), we try to go to one of the games.

Traffic on the way down was hideous. But we made it with plenty of time to park, eat at Noodles & Co (which really brought back the memories, since I worked at Noodles my senior year of college), and walk to the stadium. The cold walk brought back memories too – of freezing our butts off every time we stepped outside December through March. I have to say, I don’t miss the tingling sensation of your legs thawing out.

The game was really good – the Gophers scored 2 goals in the 1st period.

But then they let one slip in the 2nd. And another in the 3rd. The game went into overtime and almost immediately, DU scored and the Gophers lost. Seriously, Gophers. You were ranked #1 in the nation and you couldn’t win the one time we get to watch you all year?

Loser #2.


Pictures from the race were finally online yesterday.

Let’s just say they’re not my greatest looks.

First, I faked my happiness {nobody’s that happy during a race}:

And then I didn’t give a crap:

Yes, that was the finish line.

Not even pretending to care.

Loser #3.


Last night, I cooked salmon, dill couscous, and brussel sprouts for dinner. Why I decided to cook (what I thought was) one of the most disgusting vegetables for a special dinner is beyond me. I had tried them once a couple years ago and hated them. But I guess I like a good underdog so I gave them another chance.

Dear Brussel Sprouts,

Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…

and totally redeem yourself!


Your Valentine

I prepared them using this recipe, except that I omitted the cheese because they were so good.

The Winner.

Minnesota: Nevis, Grand Rapids and Voyageur’s

9 Aug

The long-anticipated Minnesota pictures! (You were just sitting on the edge of your seat, weren’t you?) Since I took so many pictures, I’m going to break our vacation up into a couple of posts. Prepare to be shocked and awed by my awesome photography skills.

We started out for Minnesota around 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon, since we had to stop at Cabela’s in Sidney, NE, for a new gun (for Travis’ dad). While Travis shopped…

…I walked the pooches around this nice lake…

…I subjected Katy to taking photos with me – you can tell she’s thrilled…

…and we all rolled around in the grass for a while. I was incredibly itchy afterward. Note to self.

After grabbing some greasy deliciousness from Arby’s, we hit the road for the horrendous 16-hour drive to Nevis, MN, where Travis’ parents have a house (they live in Grand Rapids right now and rent their Nevis house out, but plan to move back to Nevis eventually).

About an hour into the drive from Sidney, I was wondering WTH made me think that I could handle the deadhead to Minnesota, overnight, after work? I hate to say it, but I’m getting too old for this.

I’ll spare you the gruesome details but we finally arrived at the Nevis household. After chatting with Al and Beth a bit, and giving Al his birthday present, I took a 2-hour nap (which in no way compensated for missing an entire night of sleep). True to form, Travis headed out to ride the ATV, shoot guns, and do all sorts of “fun” stuff…

 …like grate the driveway with an antique tractor.

The next day, I tried going on a run at 6 am (after being woken up by the pooches, as usual) but the deer flies were so bad (and those buggers hurt!), I turned around after a mile. It was a nice try. Then Beth, Carolyn (Trav’s sister), and I went to a place near Park Rapids called Summerhill Farm. It’s an old farm that has been turned into shops. There were a lot of things I wanted to buy but I confined myself to these finds:

The jam was made locally in Park Rapids but the salsa was made in Texas. No matter – it’s delicious and has a nice kick. I mostly bought it for Travis, who loves salsa. And the journal was just too darn cute to pass up (some of the trees are actually shimmery gold).

I spent some more time reading and doing crosswords until we packed up and headed for Grand Rapids on Sunday night. Their house in Grand Rapids is on a lake, which is great, but it’s also near a busy highway and other neighbors, which meant I had to watch the pooches instead of just letting them run wherever they wanted. Thus, my many, many mosquito bites. I definitely got bit up while I was there more than anywhere else.

The next day (Monday), we headed up to Voyageur’s National Park, where Travis’ extended family all co-own land that their great-grandmother bought in the 30s (I mis-typed before when I guessed the 40s or 50s). Like I said before, it is absolutely beautiful up there.

It was pretty windy on Monday, which made for a jolt-y boat ride and water too rough for floating. So we relaxed and picked some blueberries.

Tuesday was the perfect day though. Just the right temperature, calm water, nice breeze. Perfect.

Travis and his parents went fishing at sunrise. They brought back quite the haul.

While Travis filleted the fish,

I took my pictures of my feet.

After breakfast, Travis climbed a tree and cut the top off with a chainsaw. Seriously.

The top of the tree was dead, which is why they wanted to cut it off.

At first, the tree fell in the right direction but unexpectedly, got hung up on another tree. Then when Travis cut the trunk more and it actually did fall, it didn’t fall where expected. Luckily, no one got hurt.

After that excitement was over, I headed down to the beach and laid on a free-standing hammock. Katy was hilarious – whenever I was on the hammock, she would come lay underneath it – it was a pretty good deal for her. She got to be by me and in the shade. But there wasn’t a ton of room under there so I got jiggled around whenever she was switching positions.

A little while later, Travis suggested that we swim out to Fish Island and back. Since we’re at different levels swim-wise (the one and only thing I’m better at than Travis, he [jokingly] told me this past weekend), Travis swam out to the island and I swam back, while Beth, Matthew and Drew followed along on the paddleboat. We estimated the distance was 500 yards. Score 1 for an open water swim practice!

Then we went boating and the pooches came along.

I think Charlie actually enjoyed the boat rides.

She sat on the side of the boat a lot – maybe it gave her better balance?

She made a new friend with Drew, Travis’ nephew.

Matthew waterskied for the first time! Travis and I also waterskied a bit.

That night, we sat around the campfire and ate s’mores. Katy also took her first ride on a swing.

The next day (Wednesday) was rainy and overcast.

Travis and his parents waited to go fishing until after breakfast, when it had stopped raining.

Matthew, Carolyn, Drew and I stayed at the cabin and played the quintessential cabin game – Rummy. Carolyn won. (I lost, as usual. Those Kluthes are Rummy-playing fools!)

While we were playing Rummy, Katy and Charlie were vying for a spot on the only dog-friendly chair.


Luckily, the rainy weather did not affect the fishes’ appetites.

They caught mostly walleye but a few small-mouth bass as well (I think – I only know so much about fishing).

After a lunch of delicious fish, Carolyn and I took the paddleboat out to Fish Island to pick some blueberries. Of course, we had to take the dogs with us (Carolyn has two dogs adopted from humane societies as well – one a golden retriever, the other a Rottweiler mix).

After a nap, Travis and I took the canoe out.

In vain, we tried to leave the dogs behind. They weren’t having it.

They chased us down the shoreline, whining and baying, “Come back! Don’t leave us!”I crumble immediately when Charlie bays so we pulled around to the dock in the bay and let them get into the boat with us.

Hence, dogs in a canoe. They actually did really well.

The sunset was gorgeous that night.

The next morning, it was time to leave already. Vacations fly by way too fast!

Stay tuned for tales from Pine City and Minneapolis.

The love of family

17 Jun

Tonight, I finished the book I was reading called The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. It was a very good novel about a little girl who goes missing and the ensuing panicked search for her. The book was a little slow moving in the drama at times but it was nonetheless very insight and interesting. It said a lot about the nature of memories and human desire to preserve moments that are, by definition, passing by.

Which led me to look through old picture albums – first, the one with pictures of Travis’ and my engagement, wedding and honeymoon. Then, my study abroad trip in Venezuela. And finally, pictures of my childhood.

And it was in looking at pictures of my childhood that I realized what a blessed childhood I had. I was surrounded by loving adults – my parents, of course but also aunts, uncles, grandparents. I didn’t realize how good I had it – of course, children never do.

My mom’s mom is who I get my middle name from – Ruth. Grandma Ruth. She lived in Hendrum with my Grandpa Ralph, in a small house on the corner. I can remember exactly what the house looked like inside – you entered into a small mud room, where you could either go down into the cellar (which I never did) or into the main part of the house. Through that door, you came into the kitchen. Straight across the kitchen, there was a cold, mysterious room. The door was always shut because that the kids were not allowed in. Once, we went in and discovered the entrance to the attic but were so nervous about getting caught that we ventured no further.

To the left of the kitchen was the dining room. The right hand wall was lined with windows and the wall to the right of that was lined with cabinets. In the middle of the floor stood a giant table – so big that it took up most of the room. On the left wall, there was first the door to a small bathroom. Then there was an armoire that took up what little wall space there was. Then, the door leading out to a landing that led to the next floor.

Straight ahead through the dining room was the living room. In my memories, the furniture was never quite arranged the same when I came over. But I do remember a TV, a couch, some lamps, a bed perhaps (for when my cousins slept over) and a card sorting machine that my Grandpa liked to use when playing cards.

On the way to the upstairs, you passed by another room, one step down from the stair landing. That was the den – I’m not sure I ever went in that room. It was Grandpa’s room.

There were two flights of stairs – halfway up the second, there was this opening in the wall. It had a door and a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. I think we called it the Fort. It was big enough for 3 of us kids to fit in there at the same time, 4 if you really squeezed. Whenever we went over to Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Ralph’s house, we would race each other to that little room. There was a latch on the inside, so you could allow others to enter (or not allow) at your own discretion.

At the top of the stairs, there were 2 bedrooms – 1 had several beds in it and the other just 1. The room with just 1 bed was Grandpa’s room. We hardly ever went in there either. The other room was fun because there was a hole in the floor that looked down into the living room below. It was entertaining to listen to the adults down there, talking, when all the kids were upstairs.

But I digress. All these memories came flooding back into my head as I looked through my photo album tonight. My Grandma Ruth died when I was only 12 or 13 – I was old enough to understand what had happened but not old enough to really understand. Growing up, I had thought of her as a little bit weird – she had a back condition that made her slightly hunched over. The pictures in my album don’t disclose any animosity toward her but I can’t help but think… how did I act toward her? Did I love her? Did I thank her for the gifts she gave me, as they were sacrifices on her behalf? Or did I act like a stupid child, ungrateful, only focused on superficial details?

These thoughts so overwhelmed me as I looked at those pictures tonight that I started crying. I wish I had known her. I wish I could have told her that her love and generosity mean the world. I wish I could’ve gotten past the outward appearance and seen her for the amazing person I hear she was. Even if I had been older, if I had known her better and been more mature, I don’t know if I could have put into words that kind of emotion.

The same kind of emotion that I feel for my mom. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by how much I love her that I can’t bear the thought of this world existing without her in it. How does one go on without your beloved parent? And I know that I fail to express how much I love her, that I fail to show her how much she means to me. I don’t call her all that often, I don’t say in words how much she means. And I realize that I’m losing precious moments – they’re floating away on the winds of time – but I get too engrossed in the minute details of life to remember these truths. WHY?!?!?

The same goes for when I’m looking at pictures of my dad and me growing up – all the memories we created together. That man has a heart of gold. I know that I am precious to him and that he loves me more than words. Knowing that makes me love him even more. How do I communicate that kind of love back to him? How are words adequate for that kind of love?  The truth is, they just aren’t. And they never will be.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to communicate those feelings and that is where, I fear, I fall very short. I have found myself looking at gifts lately and wondering, “Did I thank that person for this?” Remembering that Travis’ parents paid for the groom’s dinner, I wondered “Did I ever tell them what a huge blessing that was?” I think I did, but I can’t remember. And what if I didn’t? I can barely stand that thought!

Every time I feel like this, so overwhelmed at how much I love my parents, I wonder why I live so far away from them. Why did I choose to move, so that I only see them 2-3 times a year? But I have to remind myself that Travis and I chose to follow the Lord and no matter how much human love consumes one’s heart, devotion to and love for the Lord always have to come first. He is ultimately the one Person who matters. And I have to entrust my heart, and all the love therein, to Him.

But I do pray that it is in the Lord’s will to let Travis and I move back to Minnesota to be near our parents when we start having kids (in a couple of years). I want my kids to know their grandparents, because they are the coolest people ever.

I love you Mom and Dad!

A picture update

26 Oct

It’s time for a picture update. I still haven’t posted any from when the Kluthes (Travis’ mom, dad, and little bro) were out here visiting. So here’s the scoop:

Travis and his dad got up for hunting at 4:30 every morning. They left the condo we were staying at by 5:30, to get out to their spot by sunrise, which was around 7:00. They stayed out all day until sunset, which was also around 7:00. So for Saturday and Sunday, I hung out with Beth and Matthew.

On Saturday, we drove to Estes Park via Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. If you don’t know anything about Trail Ridge Road, let me tell you: the road is intense. There are long stretches of road where there is literally only about a foot separating your car from a sheer dropoff. And there is no guardrail. The road’s highest point is 12,183 feet above sea level. So you are up there.

The beauty of nature, though, is undeniable. Here are some pics from our drive:

The mountains with their leftover snow patches

The mountains--the red trees are ones that have been eaten (and killed) by the Pine Beetle. 😦

If you can't tell, we are absolutely FREEZING in this pic

If you can't tell, we are absolutely FREEZING in this pic--it was only about 35 degrees out there and WINDY.

These clouds were so cool--we actually went under them on the way down the mountain.

These clouds were so cool--we actually went under them on the way down the mountain.

Due to that, the road is usually only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Weather changes fast at such a high elevation and there can be snow as early as September. I was actually surprised the day we drove on it (October 11th) that it was still open.

My surprise was understandable, since they ended up closing the road due to a snowstorm before we had driven back. 🙂 So instead of a 61-mile drive back to Granby, we had a 125-mile drive around the mountains, up through Winter Park. We did a lot of driving that day!!

Sunday morning, we woke up to this:

A light dusting of snow across the hills

A light dusting of snow across the hills

It got into the 50s that day so the snow started to melt pretty quickly.

It got into the 50s that day so the snow started to melt pretty quickly.

The red circle shows where our condo was

The red circle shows where our condo was

We decided to go horseback riding. Matthew thought maybe he wanted to go for 2 hours but we opted for 1. We chose wisely–we were still really sore afterward.

Matthew, me and Beth on our faithful steeds

Matthew, me and Beth on our faithful steeds

Matthew's horse was named Footloose and he pooped a LOT!

Matthew's horse was named Footloose and he pooped a LOT!

Beth's horse's name was either Mare or Mayor. She tripped once and Beth almost fell off--but she held on!!

Beth's horse was named either Mare or Mayor (I couldn't tell which). Mayor tripped once and Beth almost fell over--almost.

My lovely horse was named Cupcake and she always wanted to go faster than the horse in front of her.

My lovely horse was named Cupcake and she always wanted to go faster than the horse in front of her.

Monday morning, I had to go back to work 😦 so I got myself a triple-shot grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbuck’s and hit the road. Travis and his family stayed up in Granby until Wednesday afternoon. After 4 1/2 full days of hunting, the guys still hadn’t seen one elk. Poor guys… We toured the Coors brewery on Thursday after work and then Travis’ family headed home on Friday.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Lately, Travis has been obsessed with birdfeeders. I bought him a little birdbook while we were in Rocky Mountain National Park, since he had been talking about wanting one for months. This is the birdfeeder we first got:

Our little birdfeeder

Our little birdfeeder

Then Travis decided that he wanted to build another one for bigger birds. Only problem is, squirrels can easily get into it. Like this:

Big, fat squirrel eating our birdseed!

Big, fat squirrel eating our birdseed!

Travis took action and put flashing on the bottom of the feeder’s post but the squirrels could still climb on it…so thus far, Travis has been losing the battle against the squirrels. But not for long…Travis has a few more tricks up his sleeve. He will have to be very clever, though, since the squirrels can perform acrobatic feats:

Like hanging upside down on a birdfeeder and eating seed through a tiny hole.

Like hanging upside down on a birdfeeder and eating seed through a tiny hole.

They are very persistent!!

Last night, Travis and I had dinner with our friends, Carrie and Paul. I made lasagna and we also had salad and garlic bread–and strawberries + whipped cream for dessert. Delicious… We also had a friendly pumpkin-carving contest. Both couples ended up carving bats…which was not planned.

Travis and my pumpkin (we used a stencil)

Travis and my pumpkin (we used a stencil)

Paul and Carrie's pumpkin (they did theirs freehand and it turned out well!)

Paul and Carrie's pumpkin (they did theirs freehand and look how well it turned out!)

Travis and me with our pumpkin--can you tell I dyed my hair? Just a little darker...

Travis and me with our pumpkin--can you tell I dyed my hair? Just a little darker...

That’s all folks!!