Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 Is Nearly Gone, So I Might As Well Update This Thing

As I mentioned earlier this year, I've been crazy busy with all of the work and whatnot. I've been up to Minnesota and northern WI more times this year than probably any other. After posting the previous photos, I realized that I haven't done a damn thing here for the better part of the summer and fall. Here's what I've been up to:

1. Work - things slowed down a bit in the last month to an extent, but throughout the summer I was going gangbusters trying to keep up. Most of my projects have since wrapped up, but it seems like the respite I've been expecting never seems to come. I'll admit to being a little burnt out on the whole deal, and I'm certainly prone to distraction much more than before. Still, I'd not have it any other way.

2. House - I've got to get me one of these. Seriously, I've been putting this off for the last couple years. Prices just aren't going to get any lower, same with rates, so I've been trying to kick myself in the ass and get looking. So far, I've spent maybe an hour checking listings. I'm an idiot.

3. Shows - I've seen quite a few good ones the past few months, and missed a lot more that I'd have loved to see. Highlights include the whole Forward Music Festival, Lucero last week in Milwaukee, the Weakerthans (a new favorite band), Two Cow Garage with the Suburban Home Records tour, and of course the Hold Steady in July.

4. Great Taste of the Midwest - this coincided with my birthday this year. It was awesome despite the rain.

5. Games - I managed to see the Cubs four times this year, twice at Wrigley and twice at Miller Park. I went 2-2 on the year, undefeated in Wisconsin but winless in the Friendly Confines. I also went to Miller Park on a bus trip for a Brewers-Dodgers game and caught a Mallards game for work. I've only been to one football game this fall, the Fresno State game in September. The Badgers won, barely, and it was very warm that day. Hockey season has started up, and I've got my Friday night season tickets again. We switched seats to avoid this asshole behind us, and so far are 0-1-0 on the season with a disappointing loss to CC two weeks ago. E Eugene, Redbeard and I are also planning on catching an Ice Muskies game or two, as apparently our old ticketmate from last year is going to be the mascot!

6. Vacation (kind of) - I took a day off to play golf with my dad two weeks ago. I didn't actually end up using any vacation time since I worked on the weekend getting caught up, but we had a great time. Otherwise I haven't taken off other than the aforementioned baseball games in Chicago. I'm planning on heading down to the Windy City to visit some friends next month, and I'm thinking of taking a week off to go down to Mississippi and New Orleans in December.

Autumn in Minnesota

Last week I had a long trip through northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. For the most part the weather was gray and rainy, with temperatures hovering in the 30's and 40's. It wasn't exactly pleasant. There were a few instances with halfway decent weather - here's a photo of the colorful woods near Longville, MN:

I also saw this:

For over five years now I've been walking sites in the North Woods, and I've never seen a bear. Granted, these two are caged and "pets" of the landowner.

On Wednesday afternoon the temperature dropped even further, and the rain gave way to snow. It actually may have been preferable to the rain as I didn't get quite as wet, but it was miserable nonetheless. This is how it looked after about an hour and a half:

From here I drove on to the Twin Ports, with the heater on full bore. I had four more sites the following morning, then a five hour drive back to Madison followed by a Lucero show in Milwaukee. I'm still tired from last week, and I think I'll be headed back up later this week. Here's to hoping for no snow.