Monday, March 22

Date with hubby!

The first day of spring!!-
can't see them very well but some deer are crossing in front of us.
This last weekend my hubby and I took a quick trip to Minneapolis for one night.  It was a really pleasant trip, not just because there was no snow and the temperature was actually above 30 on the 20th of March, but because of this little thing-a-ma-chig, one of the hubby's latest gadgets.  Meet Harmin the Garmin. 
This thing is one of the best things to happen to our marriage in 20 years, I don't know why we didn't get one looong time ago.  I will never again take the blame for wrong turns or not getting where we are trying to go.  The maps can stay in the glove box and I am a happy camper!  Bill can argue with Harmin all he wants, it won't bother me a bit.  Sigh.  ;-)  And Bill makes him work, he had to recalculate a LOT.

Of course, there a couple stops one has to make on the way there, McDonald's Meats for jerky and the Clearwater Travel Plaza for good soup and wow is that delicious bread. 
And if you succomb at the pastry counter, the best fritters ever.

I succombed.  Eating a whole one at one time is not recommended (if even possible) due to massive sugar overload.

We found our hotel quite handily and in good moods thanks to Harmin.  It was a VERY NICE Hilton with a king-sized bed that felt like I imagine heaven will feel like.
The reason for our trip was to attend the Century 21 Agent Appreciation/Awards Gala.  We had a fabulous three course meal including salmon and barbequed beef brisket something or other.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the food! 
Bill and his business partner, Betsy, received the 2009 Quality Service Team Award for the second year.  Woot woot!  Also in the photo is Mark, the owner/broker of Century 21 in Bemidji, with the 2009 Gold Medallion Office Award.  Their spouses/significant others also attended the deal.
....and this award as well.... did I mention woot woot?!
It was fun to get dudded up for this gala event with all those mucky mucks of real estate. :-)  Well, sort of, at least the food and drinks were good.  JK
The next morning, after tearing Bill away from the NFL network, we decided to check out the IKEA store since we had never been there.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea.  I felt very claustrophobic.  It was like a huge multi-storied maze with no windows and no way out except to follow the hoardes of mice people cramming along the gray path that twisted and turned and seemed it would never end.  We eventually made it out unscathed and didn't buy a thing.  We had to ponder the experience for a while afterwards. 

We stopped to pick up Brian's Fantom keyboard at a repair shop.  Here's Bill lugging it to the car- it weighs about 80 lbs in the case!  Brian barely survived the three weeks without it.  He has a new song on his web site called Hearing Things, kinda cool, check it out!

The other highlight was the old barns along the way.......hubby didn't mind stopping for me and Harmin either, even though it meant recalculating sometimes.

I like this one not too far from our house with the little still-frozen pond in front of the barn. 

So thanks for the great weekend, Bill!  And Harmin.  I love you both.

Tuesday, March 16

Sauna 101

The backyard sauna....
A sauna (pronounced /ˈsɑunɑ/), is a small room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions. The Finnish sauna gets its name from the fact that it originated in Finland (duh), where almost every family owns and uses one. The Finnish sauna is an ideal means of relaxation, but in Finland it is also a means of familial and social bonding. It serves as a communal meeting-place, since almost everyone in that land uses a sauna at some time during the day. 
A sauna session can be a social (or alone) affair in which the participants disrobe and sit or recline in temperatures of 70°C to over 100 °C.  This induces relaxation and promotes sweating.  Sauna bath opens the pores on skin and helps body to remove toxins and other impurities from within the body and blood.  People experience freshness in mood and health for longer time once they take sauna bath, as the body gets cleansed through sweating and muscles are relieved leading to the feeling of well-being.

Sauna bath is also useful in joint pains as the warm steam helps blood flow resume effectively in all parts of the body and the contracted muscles are relieved.  Regular sauna bath can also help mental and physical relaxation and release tension. People with sleep disorders such as insomnia and improper sleep condition can be benefited through sauna as it is very effective in inducing a good long relaxing sleep.  The heat generated during sauna bath helps our body in improving our immune system by increasing our body heat which simulates the fever condition. We also know about the medical properties of steam, which proves to be of great help in treating problems like cold (sinusitis), bronchitis, laryngitis etc.   (We put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water that goes on the rocks- works great!)  So there you go, everything you needed to know about the sauna!! (mostly according to wikipedia)

Many years ago Bill got the idea in his head that he wanted a sauna. I probably rolled my eyes, why ever would we need a sauna? How about a dishwasher instead??  He talked about it for a long time and finally one day had our faithful heavy-lifter friends help him move a sauna building to our back yard that he found from an ad in the paper. The kids thought it was great, they were little at that time. We would all sit in there and tell stories and knock-knock jokes and then run out and jump in the snow or the water sprinkler. Well, not all of us would do that, I still can't bear to do that.
When we moved to this house 10 years ago our faithful heavy-lifter friends helped us move it again. It was a sad night on New Years Day a few years later when it burned down in a matter of minutes; I guess it got too hot behind the wood stove. In the front part of the building we had stored all of our camping equipment. So Bill and I had a great weekend in Duluth shopping for all new camping stuff after the insurance check came and then he started sauna hunting again! This time he bought a kit that came from Canada and it went up relatively easy after we had a foundation ready for it. We stained the outside and even learned how to lay brick for the insert where the wood stove loads from the outside of the building.  It can accomodate five very comfortably and seven if you squeeze, which let's just say is not too desirable in a sauna.

I have gone from being a skeptic to a sauna lover liker, lover is a little strong.  There is a momentary uncomfortableness in between feeling REALLY hot and starting to sweat but once the sweat starts dripping it feels lovely.  And from there it doesn't take too long depending on the temperature.  I know I am cooked thoroughly when the sweat is pouring, the skin is rolling and I can feel/hear my heart beat throughout my entire body.  Bill ususally does a cool down and then goes back for another session but not me, I am done at this point.  However, I am not a true Finlander because I can't do the shocking cold thing like most real sauna -ers.  Occasionally, someone is brave enough to throw cold water or snow on me, but this is not a good idea, because if momma ain't happy........well you know how it goes.  So I still take a warm shower afterwards, and loofa all that dead skin off.  And wah-lah, your skin feels incredibly soft and smooth and you are so relaxed you could fall asleep instantly.  You should try it!!

If you ever feel like you need to relax or you have a cold and need to get some moisture in the lungs or maybe just want to do some social communing and bonding, call us and we will stoke the stove and have it ready for you!  Our sauna house is your sauna house.

Sunday, March 14

Brian Rocks Again!

He rocks at curling rocks, that is. Team Epic were the grand champions today at the Winter Olympics Bemidji High School Lumberjack Bonspiel! These boys have been curling together for a few years now and have at least three other trophies sitting on their dressers but I think this was the first time they took first place.  They made their team uniforms themselves!
There were 16 teams competing and they played four games with five ends each pretty much back to back today- here's a shot of the action...
They got to sign the trophy placque that is now hanging on the wall at the Bemidji Curling Club.  Curling is real big in Bemidji.  You might have heard about some of our locals in the olympics over the years.
Yay Brian and team!  It was fun to watch them.

Saturday, March 6

Rise and Shine!!

A sure sign that spring is near in Minnesota!  We saw this black bear yesterday on our way home from town- he was sitting next to a culvert sunning himself.  I guess he decided winter was over and it was time to get up.  I didn't take the photo- it was in our local newspaper this morning.  Seems a bit early to me to be coming out of hibernation but I hope he is right.  We who live here know you can't put the gloves and boots and stuff away, though, until at least the end of April.  This bear may decide to go back to bed if/when we get our next blizzard!
But for now, great to see you, bear!  We are lovin' the 40's and seein' the snow melt!  WoooHooo!