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Monday, January 31, 2005

Extreme Blonde Moment

It’s taken me some time to collect enough gumption (or maybe for my fingers to thaw) to write about my severe lack of judgment that took place last Wednesday. So, here it goes.

For those of you who live in the Twin Cities you have probably heard of something called the St. Paul Winter Carnival (take note of the St. Paul part, it’ll come in handy for a good laugh later). For those of you who do not live in the area, or if you do are living in some sort of media impermeable cave, this carnival of which I speak, is a two-week long “extravaganza” of snow, ice, and “B” list celebrities, including this years Grand Marshall “Mama” from Mama’s family…I’m totally serious. There are parades, ice sculpting, kite-flying (?), snow sculpting, strange events, tours and sports on ice including hockey and softball along with the grand “Ice Castle” that sits in the center of it all.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, what could Jen have done to create drama out of this seemingly drama-less event? I have two words for you, “scavenger hunt.” This scavenger hunt is one of the most revered of its kind as people from all over the area create teams and wait by their doors for the morning paper. Each day in the St. Paul Pioneer Press they will find quirky clues that will eventually lead them to the infamous St. Paul Winter Carnival medallion. This medallion is virtually impossible to find as no one knows what it looks like and it always seems to be buried under 3 feet of snow in some obscure park. When I say people make up teams I am talking team names with matching t-shirts, hats and gloves. I have even seen people with specially designed shovels and snowshoes for their medallion hunting escapades. This is why looking back at 6:00 A.M. Wednesday morning the 26th of January only 4 days into this two week long event, the sight of me in my Victoria’s Secret yoga pajama bottoms, snow boots, chenille gloves, and blue fleece armed only with an ice scraper and a mission seems quite hilarious. (Danika, your new ice scraper is on its way…I promise)

It was 5:45 a.m., I had just dropped Danika and Ian off at the airport for their romantic getaway to Cozumel Mexico. I had missed my class at the gym and decided to go home and snuggle on the couch before I had to start the daily grind. While watching the morning news, the anchorwoman began talking about the treasure hunt and revealed the clue that would somehow convince me that I knew exactly where the medallion was. The clue was as follows:

“The siren calls, the giant falls
‘Tween field generals the poet sings
That down beyond, the once blue pond
Is treasure fit for kings.”

All that was running through my head at that moment in time was Minnehaha Falls, the giant statue of Longfellow who was a poet, and the home of John Stevens who was once a Colonel in the Army during the Civil War. Plus, the siren had to be that of the light rail that runs directly west and adjacent to the park. My mind flashed to the video footage I had recently seen of last year’s winner holding a gigantic check in the amount of Ten Thousand Dollars. Ten Thousand Dollars! What I could do with Ten Thousand Dollars! So I went to my computer and looked up the previous clue which read:

Be safe and we pledge, neither cliff nor water's edge
Figures in your hunting pursuit
What's that you hear?
Please, have no fear
It was there before we moved in.

Now I was convinced, “What’s that you hear? Please, have no fear, It was there before we moved in?” They had to have been talking about the airport, since the Stevens house was moved to that location in 1985. The reason why I knew all of this was because Josh had researched the Stevens house for a project and I vaguely remembered saying that the poet Longfellow, with his cane and top hat looked like a “big homo.” Sorry Longfellow. Unfortunately Josh was in Michigan at the time with his buddies playing in the snow, so there was no one there to talk me out of what I was about to do, or at least have given me someone to blame after I realized what I had done.

Without a blink of an eye, I grabbed my winter boots, flimsy chenille gloves, threw on a thin fleece and ran out the door. I took D’s car as I had parked it behind mine. No shovel, no scarf, no hat, no nothing. I made it to the park in record time and immediately ran to the statue of Colonel Stevens, dug around in the snow a bit, and then to the statue of the Poet Longfellow. Nothing. I walked back and forth in between the two, madly kicking at the snow and trying to dig to the bottom with my feet, convinced that it had to be there. It was now about 6:30 a.m., it was dark and I was alone. I decided to run back to the car to see if maybe D had stored a shovel in her cute BMW. No shovel, just an ice scraper which would have to do…I was on a mission. I was digging in the snow like it was my job because at that moment I was the most clever person this side of the Mississippi. I couldn’t believe that I was the only one there! Where was everyone else? After digging for another half-an hour I was getting frustrated. I looked up at the Stevens house, over the small white picket fence and there it was. I felt like Columbus discovering America! In all its glory it stood “Tween field generals” and the poet. It was the “shitter.” The outside john to the Stevens house and it couldn’t have made any more sense. It was “a treasure fit for kings” and where else do kings sit? But on the throne. Everything felt so synonymous! It was like I was putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle that managed to fit perfectly, or maybe it was the acute hypothermia that began to fester in my body.

I marched through that fence with my head held high and started to dig. I cleared an area around the outhouse that would have left any seasoned medallion hunter in awe. I was digging so hard that I had worn holes in my gloves and I could no longer feel any extremities including my face. There I was, frantically beating D’s ice-scraper against the frozen ground in my pajamas and I was damn proud. However, the pride suddenly turned to anger. I decided that I needed a shovel, so I actually drove home, grabbed a shovel and went back to continue my search. At this time people were staring to drive by and as my delusion set in I assessed each and every one of them as thieves out to steal my spot and reach the desired praise and St Paul Winter Carnival distinction that was rightfully mine. It was now 9:00, I was frozen, I could no longer feel my fingers and I had decided to go home. After all, there wasn’t anyone around and I believed my secret was safe.

During my ride home I called my mother to recruit her into my insanity. She fell for it hook, line, and sinker and was just as eager as I. We decided I should begin my search again after I had thawed and found some new gloves.

While working at my home office, I decided to take a look at the St. Paul Pioneer Press website. Maybe they would have clues as to what this mystery medallion looked like. The “Rules and Regulations” section caught my eye and lead to my imminent demise. There it was in plain print, “The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt medallion is hidden on public land in Ramsey County.” Ramsey County? But there must be some mistake because it is clearly in Minnehaha Park, which is in Hennepin County! Either that, or I was brutally wrong! I refused to believe this newfound information. I searched the internet for maps on Ramsey County and after numerous attempts at recreating its boundaries to include the park where I had just spent my morning I decided to put my tail between my legs and admit defeat. I called my mother to break the news and had to convince her, as I did myself that the frostbite I suffered on my fingers and face was all in vain. I was no longer the smartest person this side of the Mississippi, which incidentally separates Ramsey County from Hennepin County, where Minnehaha Park, no matter how hard I tried resides.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Watch your dog's tag!

I have officially decided that I have watched too much and should cease from watching "NCIS", "Law and Order Special Victims Unit", "NYPD Blue", and" CSI Las Vegas, New York and Miami".

Yesterday I took my oh so cute Jack Russell Terrier, Lola (55% Swank 45% Skank) to the petstore to get her some chewies and treats when we were approached by some creepy man with a heavy Russian accent wearing black velcro shoes. Now, in any other instance I would see the velcro shoes and infer that I was dealing with a "special" person, however, the only thing "special" about this guy were his shoes and grey sweat pants. As he sat down on the floor and grabbed my dog I began to worry. What was he going to do? He was speaking to her in some sort of strange Russian puppy lingo and he grabbed her and sat her on his lap. Lola was beside herself, licking him in the face and acting like this was the best day of her life. So dramatic.

I have to admit, at the time I thought it was kind of strange, but also sort of sweet and cute at the same time. Until he put her on her back and rubbed her tummy and I caught him carefully examining her dog tags, which bears my address and phone number. Great. My imagination immediatly jumped ahead as I watched him break into the house to wait until unassuming Jen walked through the door. While I was thinking of everything bad that could come out of all this, he got up and left and I didn't see where he went so now I was freaked. Even more so when I swore I heard him say hello to someone in a good old straight Minnestoa accent, yah, you betcha. I looked around for whatever else I needed to buy and then left.

I ended up going home and much to my surprise I did not have a large, velcro wearing, pseudo Russian speaking man in my closet, basement, or any other clever hiding place in my house (believe me, I checked). I then realized that if I had to I could definately outrun him and there is no way he would fit through the windows of my house (I measured), plus, he was probably just looking at her name...right? I have decided, however, to remove my address from Lola's tag and just have her name, my cell phone number and her microchip ID number in case she goes AWOL.

Now there is a ctually a good ending to the story, besides my newfound ultra- careful- check- the- house -over -after- I -enter paranoia. The best part of this incident was that my hubby was forced (out of pure guilt for going snowmobiling with his buddies for a long weekend) to buy an extra dead bolt lock for the front door and finally replace the light bulbs to the front porch, thanks creepy Russian guy.

Posted by Jen

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Day I Almost Died (unbeknownst to me).

This morning when I woke up and went to the gym for an 8:00am H.E.A.T class I wasn’t expecting my day to be so dramatic. Now, I am going to have to preface three parts of this story before I get to the point. First, I know I have to address the question as to why the hell I was at the gym at 8am on a Saturday morning, which has everything to do with my New Years resolution. My New Years resolution for 2005 is to run the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon that will take place in late July, which I made because I believe the whole resolution to lose weight idea is way too cliché. This can be easily explained since my life has consisted of one crazy diet after diet including the year- long ephedra-laced Metabolife bender.

Part two of the story includes the cell phone that was given to my 68-year young mother from my father this past Christmas. Nuff said.

Part three is the fact that my father has been a walking medical dictionary since about 1974 when he had his pituitary gland removed because of a tumor (Or as Governor Schwarzenegger says, “too-mah”). Since then he has suffered 3 strokes and is a self-proclaimed "medical miracle" as he is plugging right along at the ripe age of 71. Having been through the ringer with his health, I have developed a phobia that includes phone calls either before 8am or after 10 pm, and anyone coming up to me telling me to “call my mother immediately” which incidentally happened to me today as I was perfecting the one-legged balancing act on the BOSU. Needless to say, my heart instantly jumped and my eyes filled with tears. I rushed over to my coat to grab my cell phone (which was drowned out by the Abba re-mix that was playing over the studio speakers) and noticed that Josh (80% Swank 20% Skank) had called multiple times along with other members of my family. I decided to call him first and found that it wasn’t my father that had caused the call to the gym (thankfully), but my mother’s pure angst that something was seriously wrong with me. Two phone calls from some woman who sounded either drunk or crazed led her to believe that I was somehow about to die. So at this point in time I had calls from my mother, my sister, Josh, and a text message from Damian, who incidentally has something against using the voice option on his cell phone. The cops were almost called and I was nearly the new recipient of an Amber alert, all while I was “lifting” and “squeezing” at the gym.

I decided I had better call my mother to ease her worries, since she was the one to create the mass hysteria. Turns out, I was simply the victim of two phone calls gone wrong. The first, an attempted miss in the form of a voice mail left on my mothers cell phone at approximately 2:30 am, which was incomprehensible due to the fact that the mystery dialer couldn’t complete a sentence and slurred every word that she tried to speak. The conversation that led to the chaos went something like this:
DB (Drunk Broad): Hello?
JM (Jens Mom): Hello?
DB: Blah, blah, blah, blah, slur, slur, slur, slur……
JM: Jen, let me call you back on the home phone, I can’t understand you on my cell phone.
DB: Slur, slur… What? Slur, slur….
JM: What?
DB: Blah, blah, slur, slur, blah, blah, slur, slur….
JM: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? ARE YOU OK????
Click.

After I had listened to my mother and her hysteria, I had to somehow STILL convince her that I was not abducted, dying, or drugged and that I had been at the gym since at least 8:00 am. It was then that I taught her about the “Call History” feature on her phone, which ultimately did the job and ended up calming her down. As the conversation ensued, it had come to my knowledge that some members of my family had actually contacted each other and had each come up with their own strange theory to my newfound “disappearance”.

It was at this point I decided to remove myself from the drama and join the second class that was about to begin. As I was lifting weights in that second class I came to the realization that in the matter of a half an hour it had been speculated by many members of my family that I had been poisoned by the fumes from Josh’s exhaust-faulty Volkswagen (farfrumbreathen ha!), on some strange narcotic binge, abducted by either humans or aliens, or dying in my home as a victim of carbon monoxide poising brought on by the furnace that is constantly running thanks to the –20 degree weather. Seriously. It was now only 9:30am and somehow I had caused my family to start a search and rescue that led to studio one at the Northwest Athletic Club in Bloomington all because of my moms new cell phone and some toked-out dame in the south suburbs of Minneapolis. Wow. All of this new-found drama led to the realization that it feels good to know that I have people out there that are truly concerned with my safety, and that maybe, just maybe, their imaginative neurotic behavior is their way of saying “We love you.” Nah…they just like the drama, which is O.K., since because of them I will never be bored and I will always have something to write about. I am truly blessed.
Posted by: Jen

Monday, January 10, 2005

American Football

American Football 1% Swank 99% Skank
Ok, so I thought I would write a blog regarding the tremendous feat that occurred at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin Sunday night. However, first thing's first, I must proudly admit that I despise the Green Bay Packers (100% Skank). Now, this is not your everyday garden variety kind of lothe. To give you some sort of reason for these feelings we have to go back to the the root of lothing which begins my Freshman year of college.
I remember it as though it were yesterday, I was with my dad riding in the elevator up to what was to become my new home for the next two years. It was the 10th floor of the Towers South dormitory on the upper campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which incidentally became infamous for wild parties, pie fights and general mischief. As I patiently waited for the elevator to approach the floor, my father (who was standing with my minifridge) made fast friends with some rather large green and gold adorning football player-looking guys and insisted on telling them that he was holding a fridge full of cold beer and that the party will be wherever I was (Thanks, dad). Little did I know this was not the end of the infamous color combo "green and gold." Eventually, the elevator finally made it to the top and with a quick ding and swift opening of two large doors it finally all came to fruition. Staring straight ahead was a bulletin board full of the colors that would begin my quest for "Packer Misery."
Throughout the next series of months that would eventually lead to years, I found myself smack dab in the middle of "Cheese Head" land and "Packer Pride." Every Sunday was filled with obnoxious cheers, high fives and Busch light, enough so to make the carpet that was eventually replaced in the halls smell like a VFW on a Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, those obsessed Favre-worshiping swiss cheese chapeau-wearing fans became like brothers to me and I am grateful I was able to meet each and every one of them. However, for a couple of hours on Sunday when they were all in their own little Lambeau world the tides would change and it would suddenly become everyone elses' headache.
Now if you think I would just sit back and watch the whole Packer phenomenon engulf my new home without a word, you are seriously wrong. I became what was known as the anti-christ of each and every Packer fan who resided on 10th floor Towers. I would make sure to cheer and carry on over every single point or favorable play the opponents made against my newfound arch nemesis. I made it my job to pour salt in the wound of each loss the Green Bay Packers suffered throughout the 4 and 1/2 years I called Eau Claire Wisconsin my second home.
I had the purple and gold Viking horn/braid combo hat thingy, and I wore it with pride. I became the Chicago Bears biggest fan and cheered them on throught their hideous stab at pretending to know how to play football. And when the Green Bay Packers won the Superbowl a couple of years later, who was the first to claim they only did it by paying off the refs and announcing at a busy tavern if it wern't for their sneaky underhanded staff, they wouldn't have won a cribbage game at the local senior citizens center? It was all me.
So, this brings us to the game of all games. The game that would bring validation to my years of antagonistic jeers and obstinance. On Janurary 9th 2005 The Minnesota Vikings stuck it to the Green Bay Packers at their precious Lambeau Field for their last chance to make it to the 2005 Superbowl. I can't even begin to express my absolute freakin joy when those last seconds fell off the timer in a bizarre sort of slow-motion, and the Vikings were declared the champions right in the middle of their opponents home field. It was like my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one with a little meniacle jackpot thrown into the mix. The only thing I could imagine that would have made the experience better would have been the whole thing to have taken place 10 or so odd years earlier.
Timing aside, the lesson I have learned from all of this conniving banter is that we will all have our moment of glory and for some of us it comes a little later than others. Nevertheless, the ultimate victory and chance to bask in someone elses' American football misery is still just as sweet.

Posted by Jen

Friday, January 07, 2005

Questions are answered, dude.

Swank or Skank: The lady that cut me off while jerking her Land Rover across 3 lanes of traffic on 35W while talking on her cell phone only to make her stupid exit. 100% Skank.

1). Would you always have to say everything on your mind, or never speak again?
Well, not speaking is not an option, so I suppose everything on my mind. It could get a little frightening.

2). Would you rather have x-ray vision or bionic hearing?
X- ray vision.

3). Would you rather end hunger or hatred?
Hatred. I suppose if you end that they would cancel each other out.

4). Would you rather be a dog named fluffy, or a cat named killer?
Cat named killer, meow.

5). Would you rather be stranded on a desert island alone, or someone you hate?
I would rather be with someone I hate, because when that coconut “accidentally” falls on their head rendering them lifeless I could use their body parts as fish bate. (ha-ha).

6). Would you rather know it all, or have it all?
Have it all. Ignorance is bliss, my friend.

7). Rather forget who you are or who everyone else was?
Who I am. That way I could wake up every day and be someone different.

8). Rather have one wish granted today or three wishes 10 years from now?
One wish for today.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

OMG, if you love each other so much why don't you just get married??!?

Jenny - I'm trying to call you Jenny because I like it and Jenny was my grandma's name, did you know that? But in college Jen(ny) was adamant that you only call her Jen or Jennifer, it was during that time when it was very unfashionable to have a name that ended in "y".

Aaaanyway. Thanks! Yer sweet. Hey, when did this blog turn into a giant love fest? But seriously... before it gets gross and everyone starts yelling at us to just get a room already - I totally forgot about the BK watch triathlete!! SEE - this is why I need to write stuff down.

So, Jen and I didn't spend New Year's together this year. She had her too-cool party to go to and I had a too-cool party at my house. This year I was stubborn and decided Hell If I'm Going To Leave The House. It was fun though! Low-key... I bought lots and lots of liquor but everyone who came brought their own so now my front porch looks like a liquor store, not that I'm complaining about that.

I made an apple pie (and by "made", I mean "put the frozen pie in the oven and proceed to char the hell out of the bottom of the oven with apple pie juice") and around about 3am, apple pie was sounding pretty good to everyone. So we dished it up and the following conversation ensued:

SN: This pie would be better if it was warm
SW: This pie tastes like ASS
JN: That's really only good if it's Ass Pie.

I even have a picture of what Ass Pie looks like but I'm not smart enough to figure out how to post a picture. Bollocks.

Bollocks is my new favorite word... one of the benefits of dating a Brit is that you get to learn all sorts of fun words like bollocks, squiffy, and knickers. Try to use it 5 times today!

If you live in Minneapolis, you know we had a crazy ice storm on New Year's Day, which was the perfect excuse to hole up inside and watch movies all day. Wish I was doing that now... it's hard to be back at work, isn't it?

If you haven't already, go rent Bad Santa. For real. It's awesome.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This new blog RAWKS

I don't really know how blogger works yet, so I guess we'll just figure it out as we go along.

The blog is called Swank or Skank because we think that's funny. And every so often we'll categorize people, places, things into those categories. But usually we'll probably just post random babbling. Because I don't need to know HTML to bold or italicize or add pictures. Sweet!

Hmmm. I should start off by saying this is a dual-blog between myself and Jennifer. We're so super super funny and kewl you won't even believe it. Even better than being funny and kewl is that we have super spelling and grammar skillz so those of you who get hung up on that sort of thing don't have to worry about that here.

The one thing I can't figure out is how to say "posted by me" or "posted by Jen", did I set this up wrong? Oh well, for now I'll just sign my posts and Jen, you should too. Until we become more blog-savvy, that is.

I'll introduce Jen because it's hard to introduce yourself without sounding like a crazy narcissist. Jen, feel free to add anything you think is critical.
- Jen is 85% Swank and 15% Skank.
- She has a cute Jack Russell terrier named Lola
- She has a cute husband who she just married a few months ago
- She laughs more than anyone I know and that's my favorite thing about her
- She will turn 29 exactly 3 days after I do (bitch!)
- She's real pretty, we used to call her Barbie in college

That's how we met, by the way... in college. A couple of drunken nights and an adventure-ridden trip to Jackson Hole was enough to cement our friendship forever.

Now we're both grownups, sorta. We have houses, "real" jobs, husbands, boyfriends, pets... but I think we still manage to have as much (or more) fun as we did when we were crazy teenagers.

So, that's really all I have to say now. Jen? Take it away!