Update on The Three Lyons Pub Monday, Oct 13 2008 

I don’t really use this blog anymore since I use my old one at blogger, but out of fairness I thought I’d post this anyway.

This weekend, the hubby and I were sans offspring, so we decided to go to Three Lyons so we could get a pint before the movie (in Laughlin, NV, we could purchase a drink AT the theater so we became a bit spoiled). I was hesistant after my first experience but decided it was time to give it another shot.

The food was excellent. I had the halibut and chips and the fish tasted fresh. It was all cooked to perfection (not dried out, thank goodness). I had a pint of cider (I am still disappointed that they can’t get Strongbow or Magners, but Hardcore will do in the meantime). All in all it was a good experience.



TED conference, collaboration and technology Monday, May 5 2008 

Surfing the TV channels instead of the ‘net today, a show called Future We Will Create: World of TED (from 2007) caught my attention. It was a conference of bright, motivated movers and shakers (founders of amazon.com, Google, Peter Gabriel, Al Gore).  The gist o the show was this: some people won prizes for humanitarian ideas that could change the world. This was their way to get their ideas heard, to network, and to collaborate. Nicholas Negroponte, for example founded the MIT’s Media Lab and the One Laptop Per Child Project, which proposed to create a $100 laptop (and electronic book) so every child could have a computer to better their education. Also, I didn’t realize Peter Gabriel founded Witness, which encourages people to record and/or view human rights abuse.

The common theme was how technology allows collaboration for these humanitarian efforts. From websites like Witness or One.org to the laptop and video project, the key words were “sustainability” “green” and “collaboration.” In the words of Cameron Sinclair, a 2006 Ted Prize Winner, “I wish to create an online community where open-source design improves living standards for all.”

It was a very cool show! It was like the CES Convention meets Sally Struthers and U2’s Bono. If you have Showtime, you can catch re-runs at 7 am (central) May 6th & May 7th as well as 12:15 and 3:15 May 9th.

Bon Jovi Concert Monday, Apr 28 2008 

2 concert pictures–not many turned out. The other pictures are my “groupie moment.” I was running errands in the morning and as I turned on to 12th Ave. N, these huge buses rolled up next to me. I figured they were headed to the Fargodome, and sure enough, they were. I don’t know if it was road crew, Daughtry, or someone else, but I became the official Fargo welcome wagon and waved as they turned into the dome parking area. 🙂 What can I say? I’ve been a fan since junior high. No, I wasn’t right up front. This is my camera on 12X zoom! (oh, and I walked up as far as I could to get a closer shot).


Bon Jovi and Daughtry


Jon singing ballad





Bon Jovi Concert Wednesday, Apr 23 2008 

I went to the Bon Jovi concert in Fargo Saturday. The reports vary: 25,000 attendees, “sold-out”, “nearly sold out,” and even “30,000 fans.” It was a pretty packed house and a full dome concert (yea!) I, of course, have listened to the band since junior high but I really do enjoy their music and showmanship. This is my fifth Bon Jovi concert (three times in Minneapolis, once in Vegas and now this). I thoroughly enjoyed the show. This is one of the first major concerts where I was able to get digital pictures (not all great quality, but cool nonetheless. Remember, I was going to concerts in the 80s; we were frisked for cameras back then). I love the digital revolution!

Philly Tuesday, Apr 8 2008 

The Phi Theta Kappa convention was in Philadelphia this year. I had never been to Philly, so I was excited to check out the city.

The trip began rather uneventfully considering all the past problems I’ve had flying out of Fargo. The flight was on time and the take off was smooth. In Minneapolis, however, we had to wait on the tarmac while our gate was cleared. After a wait (15-20 minutes, if I recall correctly), we were taxied to another gate. Sure enough, that little wait was enough to cause havoc. Crystal and I had to book it across 4 concourses to catch a plan that had been boarding for 20 minutes and was scheduled to depart in 10 minutes! We jogged and were greeted by the gate staff, who didn’t even check our boarding passes–they just let us run down the walkway. At the plane, they had to re-open the door for us. The flight attendant who “greeted” us said, “We’ve already moved people around and it’s a full flight. You’ll have to take whatever is open.” Well, we easily located the only two empty seats and made a beeline towards them. The attendant, ever friendly, then adds, “You know, they don’t usually re-open the door” and then “As soon as you sit down, we can take off.” NOT TRUE, it turns out. Our luggage had to be transferred, so we waited another 15-20 minutes for that to occur. As the pilot relayed this info to the passengers, no doubt everyone knew who it was our stuff we were all waiting for!

The arrival at the Philly airport and the hotel was non-eventful, thankfully. The hotel was gorgeous–an old historical government building converted to a Courtyard by Marriot. Blessings of blessings, they sold Mt. Dew in the lobby and the vending machines (trust me, this is critical in my world. I don’t drink coffee and would sign up for an IV hook up for Dew if they offered it). This was a rare treat since, outside of the Midwest, Dew can be hard to find in non-convenience store settings.

We missed the first two rounds of conference forums and arrived before the next event occurred, so we ran to the Hard Rock Cafe to eat. We were famished, as we departed Fargo at 7 am and arrived at 2:30 pm (remember, airlines offer very little in terms of food service any more unless you succumb to the price-gouging fare they sell you).  Afterwards, we walked around a bit and then headed to the Opening Ceremony, which is a grand affair not completely unlike that of the Olympics. Over 3,700 students and advisors were in attendance!

On Friday, we attended forums and general sessions though I spent the morning working on my studio tours. During some of our free time, we ate at an Irish Pub called Fergies (on Sansom), and we walked some more. During one of the general sessions, Christiane Amanpour (CNN correspondent who presented the series God’s Warriors–regarding Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and her husband, James Rubin (a former Assistant to the Secretary of State), spoke about our new Honor’s Study Topic, The Paradox of Affluence: Choices, Challenges, and Consequences. Both were dynamic speakers, and I was a little verklempt, I have to admit, to witness Amanpour live (not “live on CNN,” but live as in she’s right there talking)! I greatly admire her for her experiences, reporting style, and knowledge on political affairs abroad. I was interested to learn that the topic that keeps her up at night is the rate of technological growth and advancement (this is tied to the idea that many, including many in the countries she is famous for visiting mid-conflict, will be left behind). She also said her hope is for an “army of ambassadors” to change others’ perceptions of the U.S. and its policies (this is all a poor paraphrase. She was eloquent). All in all, this was the speaker I was most interested in seeing and it lived up to my expectations!

At midnight, Crystal and I took it upon ourselves to test something she had read in one of the tourist materials we had picked up: in Philly, you can find something to eat at 3 am. We walked and walked but only saw a lot of night clubs but not a lot of options for food. We covered a good 10 block radius we figured.

Saturday included more forums and general sessions, but during the day on Saturday, we had more free time to explore the city, so we visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the famous for the Rocky movie when Stallone runs up the steps), and the Italian market for authentic cheesesteaks (we chose Pat’s instead of Geno’s. No reason why. It’s a great debate) and again, to see the vendors (and it’s another scene from the Rocky movie–Stallone runs through the market as he trains for the big fight).

Saturday also included a session with author Amy Tan. She began by talking about her experiences using Cliff Notes as a student in college (too many classes at once). As an author, she was intrigued when she ran across a Cliff Notes of her own book The Joy Luck Club! She read an excerpt from the biography page and was tickled (or was it alarmed?) to read that she supposedly had an affair with an older man who had ties to organized crime. She, in a self-deprecatory manner, let us in on the facts: the man was 22 (she was, I think, 17 or 18 at the time) and his friends sold pot. She commented “and they were hardly organized about it.” She had the audience roaring with her acerbic wit.

The day concluded with the grand finale: the awards ceremony where chapters received recognition for all their hard work and projects over the last year.

On Sunday, Crystal and I had to be up by 5 am so we could make it to the airport on time. The flight was full, as usual, but we made it on time and with no difficulty. Our itinerary, though, was a little mind-boggling. We went to Salt Lake City to connect to a flight to Fargo. So we were on planes for a LONG time. We departed at 7 am Philly time and got home at 5 pm MN/ND time. You do the math. I am too tired.

There is so much more–I could tell you about the funny songs we heard in the cab rides to and from the airport, I could tell you more about the informational sessions we attended, and I could write much more on my observations of Philly; however, I wanted to get the highlights recorded before I forgot and I think I’ll leave it at that!

New Pub Sunday, Mar 30 2008 

My classmates all get to go to Brigid’s Cross in Bemidji. I’ve been very jealous! Now, though, West Fargo has Three Lyons Pub. I’ll write more after I make my first visit tonight!

Planning Trips for Summer Sunday, Mar 2 2008 

Every spring, I start getting antsy for a road trip!

Last fall, I drove out to Newcastle, Wyoming, to see my aunt and uncle’s new place. I took my two-year old daughter and my six-year old niece. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had planned our trip the weekend before the Sturgis Rally began. We were lucky to have reserved the last KOA Kabin on the outer edge of Rapid City.  It was fun to see all the “hogs.” It was rainy and kinda miserable to haul two kids to the shower/restroom building in the rain, but we managed. The next day, the kids had SpongeBob and butterfly-shaped pancakes and we hit the road. We then spent some time at Storybook Island (more here).

Last summer we also spent a night in Huron, South Dakota, for WheelJam (for Paul), drove to Chahinkapa Zooin Wahpeton, and camped at Itasca State Park. We went the Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown as well.

The Dairy Queen in Moorhead has a new sign: Opening March 1st. That means it is time to start planning this year’s summer road trips!

This year I want to camp at Coffee Pot Landing, somewhere around Duluth, in the Black Hills (maybe Lake Pactola again). Then again, I’ve been there. Done that. Maybe I should look to Iowa and Wisconsin for some new adventures.

Then and Now Part II Saturday, Mar 1 2008 

Looking back, I realize how much we’ve already changed about our house here. Here are some more pictures of the house when we first looked at it with our realtor:

04-2753_2.jpg Country kitchen. Felt crowded and had carpet on floor.

04-2753_4.jpg boring brown carpet; old owner’s furniture.

fargo-houses-036.jpg crazy 80s bathroom

04-2753_3.jpg boring and blah. Loved the woodwork though.

Here are some pictures of what we’ve changed (besides the furniture/decor):

I ripped some bubbled-up wallpaper in the entry way and painted it red just as a test to see if I liked the color. I loved it, so I also painted the mint-green 3-season porch the same color. I then found a $30 rug with a red pattern that fit the whole porch! In fact, every item in the porch is second-hand:

entry.jpg  Front Entry              porch.jpg  Back Porch


Upstair: we made the man-cave more theater-like by painting the old paneling a charcoal grey. We tore up the 70s carpet and put in a dark–almost purple–red carpet in both rooms. We painted the ceiling of the theater midnight purple.

mancave.jpg            theater.jpg

Kitchen: ripped out the island. Replaced carpet with laminate wood floor. We replaced the brown hood vent with a modern black one.  Paul also tore out the cabinet next to the sink to add a dishwasher. We tried to sand and stain the cabinets but they came out looking like streaky mud. We’ll either paint or replace the cabinets this spring/summer and do something with the walls.


Bathroom: that eighties wallpaper that drove me nuts. I painted over it with a sage green and freshened up the trim with antique white paint. Then, last summer, we ripped out the carpet in there (yuck!), replaced it with linoleum. We ripped out the vanity and sink because there was less than a foot of space between it and the tub (this was damn awkward when I was nine-months pregnant). There was a nightmare of a plaster job behind the old vanity, so I decided to add wainscoting as a quick and cheap fix. Our new sink is smaller, but much more in line with the character of the house in general (and our tastes). The light fixture is a $2.00 find from a flea market in Arizona. I love it. This is the second house in which I’ve installed it. I also painted McKenna’s closet (a walk-in) and the hallway between the two bedrooms and bathroom the same color! 

bath.jpg  more peaceful                    bath2.jpg more spa like

We replaced the 80s brown carpet in the living and dining rooms and hallways this fall.  Our furniture right now is leather: kid and pet friendly. Not my style, but it’s OK:


 This summer:

  • Finish cabinets
  • paint our bedroom
  • maybe paint or re-wallpaper kitchen

A bug of some sorts Monday, Feb 25 2008 

Late last week, McK started coming down with a cold. Friday night she was up most the night, screaming and holding her stomach. Saturday then was pretty much a wash. Yesterday, I started out tired, but as the day went on, it got a lot worse.  Felt like I had been kicked in the ribs, ran a 20 mile marathon, and had a vise attached to my head. Needless to say I didn’t get much done at all. McK woke up at 1, 1:30 and 1:50 talking and fussing. At 2:47, she decided to wake up for real. So we have been dozing on and off and watching Little Einsteins since then. I don’t know if we have the flu or what, but we’re all staying home today.

Update: Tuesday, McK and I felt a lot better. I went to work though I tried to maintain distance from folks. When i got home, hubby informs me that daycare said she woke up complaining of earaches. I KNEW, dang it, that I should have brought her to the children’s hospital right away. Here is the run downof what happened that night :

  • put McK in bed around 9:30–a little later than usual. She watched Little Einsteins for about half an hour. I started work. That lasted about thirty minutes.
  • called the AskANurse Line at 10:30 as McK was screaming and clearly trying to sleep but couldn’t be calmed or comforted. Answer: wait two hours. If she doesn’t calm down or sleep, go to ER; otherwise, go to clinic in morning.
  • Sure enough, she fell asleep at 11:30. That lasted for about thirty minutes as well (do you see a pattern?)
  • at 12 pm I woke up dear hubby and said, “Paul, wake up. We’re going to the ER. Now.” (I have had an average of 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night for the last week and a half, so it might not have been worded so nicely, I have to admit).
  • We were admitted within, yes, 30 minutes.
  • Diagnosis roughly 30 minutes later: 2 ear infections. We discussed how hubby and I had flu-like symptoms but that was ignored.
  • Presription picked up 30 minutes later: ear drops every two hours, Amoxacillin, Ibuprofen.
  • Returned home: roughly 2:30 am.

A night passes painfully slowly when it involves a sick child and movement in half hour increments.


  • McK woke up at 5:30, the time hubby was going to work. Then she fell asleep on floor.
  • Gave 6 am SOS to youngest sister whose schedule is a little more free. She agreed to be here by 9:30.
  • 8 am: called campus to cancel classes
  • Daughter was up at 9:30, sister arrived, and we had 30 minutes to get them re-acquainted before distance ed class began!
  • Attended class
  • 11 am: Hubby calls. He went to clinic and was diagnosed with flu. Was told to stay home for five days. Doctor immediately prescribes one more medication for McK, as well as TamiFlu for hubby and I (and cough syrup with codeine. Of course, we have to take it in shifts!)
  • between noon and 2, I email my students, make some lunch, play with McK and sleep.
  • 2:30 I feel more ill (from meds) than I have since Saturday and sleep for an hour.
  • 4:30 Sister leaves. I give baby a bath. She coughs so hard she gags. We get past that incident and play some more. I’ve had baby duty until just half an hour ago (hubby was on the codeine).  We’re nearing her bedtime; she’s in high spirits, re-medicated, and watching Dora. Again. I’ve canceled classes for tomorrow as well.  I’ve been vomited on, kicked and pinched (all by daughter, not hubby, just so we’re all clear). I think it’s my turn for the meds and the bed.

We’re not complaining. We’re just trying to make it through. If you get at all achy, GO TO THE DOCTOR! The fellow Paul saw today said he’s seen 50 cases of flu, often from people who had the shot, this week alone!

Then and Now Part I Sunday, Feb 24 2008 

I live in a house that is 92 years old. It is a story and a half. There are two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and dining room on the main floor. I have a small porch out front and a small 3-season porch out back. Upstairs, there is another bedroom and one room that we converted to the home theater room. The rest of the space is storage. We also have an unfinished basement with plenty of room for the laundry equipment, dusty work out equipment, and storage. It’s maybe 1400 square feet of living space. When we bought it, it was really outdated as you can see (yes, that is electric blue shag in one room and a ketchup-mustard combo shag in the other):




It’s a big difference, though, from what we left in Arizona. There, we had purchased a ten-year old home. We painted almost all of it, replaced all the flooring, installed a hot tub and rock landscaping. The layout was fantastic and the vaulted ceilings made the 1700 square feet feel even more spacious. In addition to the kitchen and dining room, there were 2 (what a luxury!) bathrooms, a main living room and another big room (our home theater) attached through french doors. While there were only three rooms, which were not huge, they were still bigger than our rooms here! I used one as an office and the other was a guest room. We also had the laundry room off the dining room on the way to the garage. I wish we could transplant that house to this location:

home theater AZ

Living room AZ

My office AZ

More to come…

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