Thing #32 – I Turned 40

Remember when your parents turned 40? Didn’t that seem old? I remember being in middle school when my dad had a surprise party for his fortieth. I recall black decorations featuring the grim reaper and “over the hill” balloons.

Forty was adult. Forty-year-olds had their shit together. They had tax accountants and garages full of power tools. Also, my dad had a middle-school-aged daughter when he turned forty. I have a Meyer Lemon tree that might be dying and a dog that barfed unidentifiable blue pieces of plastic this morning. 

Regardless of whether you’re responsible for a fruit tree or a human, turning forty is an achievement. A good portion of my 30s was spent dreading the fact I was aging. And now I’m just thrilled to be here. To be healthy and strong. To have a smile lines. To turn a year older.

You only turn forty once and I wanted to be flashy, flossy and over the top. This is not my style. I’m more of a “save your pennies” kind of girl. … Read the rest

Hermann – Ein wunderschönes Wochenende

I’m forever grateful for my German language education. Not only has it helped me successfully navigate visits to Germany, (including a pre-dawn conversation with a cab driver about where in Berlin my new Swedish friend and I could buy astronaut outfits), but it taught me the underrated art of verb conjugation. Learning languages has become a favorite pastime of mine, mostly because conjugating verbs brings me a level of satisfaction on par with a really big sneeze. You have a formula, some rules to follow and get a correct answer. It’s word math. But a useful math that gets you on the right train and makes you look cool buying eclairs.

Germany has a special place in my heart. Partially because of the years I spent learning the language, but also because it is a country dense with culture, gorgeous landscape and incomparable sausages. When I learned about Hermann, Missouri, I knew it had to be on the top of my to-visit list, and was a no-brainer for my birthday weekend getaway.

Hermann is Read the rest

Flavors of Italy


Our Italian vacation was like four trips smashed into one. I never want to forget one moment of this wild adventure and am keeping its spirit alive by obsessively reviewing pictures, forcing Huzzbot to recount details of our favorite meals, drinking red wine and jotting down memories.

I could start a new blog based solely on the flavors I encountered while in Italy – tomatoes, pistachio gelato, espresso, olive oil, clams, proscuitto, chianti – but instead I’ll simply write a couple blog entries about the things you’d expect from me – bread, pastries, general carby-ness. Until then, here are some photo highlights for your eyeballs.Read the rest

Mystery Cave – the ocean’s basement

I’m constantly working hard to earn “wifepoints,” a recognition system invented by my husband that determines whether I earn his “Wife of the Year” award. I get points for thoughtful gestures like buying treats at the grocery store or bringing a beer to him on the couch. So far, I’ve always won the award, and though I’m the only one in the running, I don’t want to chance it by slacking off. Huzzbot has often talked about visiting Mystery Cave State Park in Preston, MN. He’s been weirdly fixated on it. I knew I’d earn a heap of wifepoints if I planned a road trip that included the cave.

Kolache from Daube'sNaturally, I mapped bakeries along the way. On our way south, we stopped in Rochester at one of Daube’s Bakery’s two locations. Daube’s has been around since 1987 and is known for their cakes – notably the carrot cake – fritters, cake donuts and kolaches. They also have irresistable, chunky loaves of rustic bread. I tested the chocolate covered cake donut and poppyseed kolache. I’m going Read the rest