Monday, August 22, 2011

countdown to the fair!

Summer is winding down and here in St. Paul we are consoled by the fact that we end it with one of the best events of the summer, the Minnesota State Fair.

When I was a little girl, living 'up north', I dreamed of one day going to the state fair.  I didn't raise cows or chickens, so I knew I wouldn't get there that way.  My parents did not seem interested, so it was never a family event.

Since I moved to the 'cities' back in 1987, the fair has been a yearly, much anticipated event on our calendar!

Each year we track down our favorites:

And every year we like to find something new:

Whether you gather round that year's biggest pig,

or enjoy a turkey sandwich,

there is nothing like a day at the fair.  And to make this year's event even MORE FUN, Heather and Riley are coming down to join us for our day of fun!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

song for today

It's an absolutely beautiful August day here in St. Paul, and life is good.  Ran across this today, and thought it was the perfect song to share.
The Dick Van Dyke Show cast
Did you know Morey Amsterdam wrote lyrics for the Dick Van Dyke Show theme song?  Here you go:

(Music by Earle Hagen / Lyrics by Morey Amsterdam)Dick Van Dyke

So you think that you've got troubles? Well, trouble's a bubble, So tell old Mr. Trouble to "Get lost!". Why not hold your head up high and, Stop cryin', start tryin', And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed. When you find the joy of livin' Is lovin' and givin' You'll be there when the winning dice are tossed. A smile is just a frown that's turned upside down, So smile, and that frown will defrost. And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed!

Have a wonderful summer weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

fish fry!

The multi-day celebration of my parent's fiftieth wedding anniversary concluded on Saturday.  Heather and I took my mom to Park Rapids and Summerhill Farms for a little lunch and shopping (our almost annual photo, we always sit in the same places at the same table every time we go there),

 and we ended the day with a big fish fry at my parent's house.

We had a LOT of fish to eat from our big tournament!

I had whipped up Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad (ala Ina Garten), and my brother made coleslaw.  My dad had stopped by a roadside stand for fresh corn on the cob, and he and my mom used their favorite recipe to prepare the fish.

There may have been some alcohol involved as well, the weather was nice enough to spend it on my parent's deck:

My parent's cat, Bootsie, joined us for the fun. I did say we were having fish, right?

After this, the party was definitely over, and we all went to bed that night with full tummies and happy hearts.  (No, my brother did not eat that entire platter of fish....we all like a good cold fish sandwich!)

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

fifty years in the making

The big day finally arrived, and Heather and I spent it getting ready.  We had found our second wind after fishing all day, and spent Thursday night making cupcakes.  We thought it would be more fun than a big cake, and knowing our parents favorites, decided to make carrot and red velvet.

Our sweet and talented niece Savanna arrived at Heather's house bright and early Friday morning, Heather whipped up batches of cream cheese frosting and Savanna did the decorating.  She LOVES to bake, and is often found making cakes for her friends.  She would love to have a bakery some day, wouldn't that be great to have a bakery in the family?

Heather and I spent the rest of the day creating flower arrangements, decorating her house, ironing vintage table linens and napkins to bring to the restaurant, and I even found time to write a little speech.  Being the oldest, I felt it was my job.  I don't speak well spontaneously, and I knew that I would get too emotional if I didn't have a piece of paper to hold.

A giant rainstorm with hail and 50 mile an hour winds blew through town not long before we had to pack up and head to the Peppercorn restaurant.  Everyone pitched in to make our private room at the restaurant special, laying out napkins, lighting candles, and making it all perfect.

My brother's wife Angie and his son Kaleb handled this side (apparently Charlie is supervising....)

My niece Savanna listens intently to Kelly's knowledge of salad fork placement:

Ready and waiting for our parents to arrive, we take time out to recreate a sibling photo from years ago:

The flowers included white hydrangeas, red and white roses, yellow gerber daisies, and gold and white alstromeira with some wild peas, in vintage canning jars tied up with gold ribbon and their wedding photo.

The happy couple arrived, and after getting their fresh flowers it was time to order dinner!  The food was delicious, and the service could not have been better.

Once we finished dinner, I made my little speech without totally choking up, and Mike shared his thoughts on their fifty years of marriage.  He knows how to get to the heart of the matter in a beautiful way.

Time for group photos!  The original family:

My mom and dad with their grandchildren:

The whole family, all together.  So glad Mike has a timer and tripod!

And as usual with our family, a little fun:

We all headed back to Heather's house, where champagne and dessert awaited!

Champagne for all!

Once everyone had settled in, it was time for the highlight of the evening.  We had sent letters to all of my parents family and friends to solicit memories and photos, Mike spent a big chunk of time putting together a movie of their lives.  It was sweet, and funny, and I doubt there was a dry eye in the room.  I would post it here, but it is nearly half an hour long!  After the movie, the grandkids took turns reading all of the letters and notes to them from their friends that we had received, it was a beautiful moment.  Then Heather made a very touching speech (she can be spontaneous unlike her older sister...)

My parents talked a little about their wedding, and how they spent the entire night after the reception driving to Duluth and then the North Shore trying to find a place to stay.  They were finally successful at 8 am the next morning!

And we learned that my dad had sold his boat, motor, and trailer to give my mom a honeymoon. incredibly romantic.  He reminded me that back then he never had time to go fishing anyway, as he was working two jobs in order to afford to build our first house out on Lake Avenue.

What an amazing, loving, half century they have spent together.  While it was not all sunshine and roses, as no life ever is, they have endured the rain and storms, and have set a wonderful example for all of their children and grandchildren to follow.

We had a fun, homegrown celebration, just as my parents had requested.  A night we will all remember, for a long time.
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

family fishin' tournament

Please accept my apologies, dear readers, for making you wait so long for this post.  Sometimes I feel like that commercial where the swimmers are in a pool of caramel, and it takes a long time to accomplish anything.

To the fun!  We arrived in Bemidji last Wednesday, and our first order of business was gathering the family at Heather's 'house on the hill' for a night filled with yummy appetizers, free flowing beer and wine,  Dave's Pizza, family memories, and Savanna's soon-to-be-famous whoopie pies.

Heather presented my parents with a beautiful photo album of their life together, here my brother Kelly and his son Kaleb and I reminisce:

The party ended with plenty of time for all of us to get a good night's sleep (well, except for Riley and Charlie, who I suspect stayed up far too late playing video games...).

Having discussed the rules and points system the previous evening, we met up at the Nymore landing on a gorgeous summer day to start the fun.  If we had specially ordered the weather for the day, it could not have been more perfect-blue skies, a slight breeze to keep us cool, and enough sun to give those of us with very pale skin an amazing sunburn.

To accomodate all of us, we ended up in three boats.  My brother took my mom, sister Heather, and his wife Angie, my nephew Kaleb took his sister Savanna and his girlfriend Kaitlin, and his brand new puppy Koda,
while my dad piloted the boat carrying myself, Riley, Charlie, and Mike.  I may look calm, but I am totally focused on finding me a lunker...

Two young boys men, growing up way too fast!  And as you will note, safety first....

Charlie was the first in our boat to land a fish, a nice little perch.  Here my dad is making sure his minnow is ready to be cast back out into the clear blue lake.  Of course by then Heather had already called to let us know she had caught the first fish of the day, which earned her 10 bonus points!

My dad hauls in a walleye.  While no record setter, it earned him 5 points before he returned it to the lake to grow a bit bigger.  Walleyes were hard to come by this day, but of course my dad found them.

Kaleb shows off his latest catch.
Angie found a perch too, but insists on Kelly removing it from her line.  She wasn't raised to pull them off the hook, like Heather and I were.
While their boat is proud to show off how many they have caught, we are holding our numbers close.  Hey, who needs to know?
A rare photo of my brother actually SMILING.  My mom looks dubious.
One of the 20 perch I hauled into the boat (yes, it's the legal limit).  Of course, I am not counting those that were released or got away, just before being hauled in...

While it took Riley a little longer to find the fish, once he did he was hauling them in just like the rest of us.  Look at my dad, so proud!
My niece Savanna is either taking a tanning break, or monitoring the depth finder...

Mike should have probably received a prize for the smallest fish caught all day, we should have saved it to use for bait!
Mike is such a good sport.  He was not raised in a fishing family, but he gamely joined us for the fun-and caught plenty of fish!

We all made it back safely, with many fishing stories to share.
A great day on the water!  My dad collected the most points, but of course refused to be acknowledged as the big winner, so Charlie in second claimed the prize of a vintage fishing lure.  My mom caught the biggest fish, a really nice size walleye, and naturally declined a prize too.  My nephew Kaleb caught the only northern (I was so bummed, I love catching me a blue racer!)   It was all in fun, and after getting the boats out of the water and the fish cleaned we headed to the Corner Bar for burgers and beer and a perfect way to end our day.

My dad was in heaven, the first time he has ever had the whole family, all together, out on the water doing the thing he loves best.

More anniversary posts to come!
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Monday, August 1, 2011

celebrating a milestone

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Look at these fresh faced 19 year olds!  Fifty years ago this Friday, Donald David Hanson and Diane Karen Gulsvig said "I do" and began a fifty year adventure. Three kids, four grandkids, and lots of tears and laughter later, they are ready to celebrate.

We will be heading to Bemidji this week for a multi day celebration that will include a family fishing tournament and fish fry along with other events, ending with a family dinner on Friday evening. Mike has been making a movie of their lives, I have watched it multiple times and still can't get through it without weeping.  But I am that way...I have already packed multiple boxes of tissues for all of us.

Still much to do, so this will be my only post this week.  There will be plenty to share with you next week!

Happy August!


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