Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home Leave Hestons Lodge 2010

We left from Duluth, to the Gunflint Trail for seven days of family and relaxation by the lake. When we arrived, later that night my Mom, Dad, sister Bridge, and neice and nephew Emilia and Jack came. We visited with them and had a campfire that night, and went to bed.

The next day, we decided to go blueberry picking and were told that the area around the Seagull Guard was a good place to go. Coretta, my Mom, Bridgette, and Emilia piled into my car and we went in search of the perfect blueberries. Before we even left the driveway, however, I backed into a tree. No damage, no worries, so we got back in the car and continued our drive down Gunflint Trail Road. Once to Seagull Guard, we parked the car, locked it, and continued down the road in search of the blueberry.

Mom, being a veteran of blueberry picking, was our leader. As we followed her, she reminsced about her experiences in the blueberry patch with her father, brothers and sisters. Grandpa Geno was a very serious picker, and expected each child (he had fifteen) to pick a pail of blueberries. When the kids would get thirsty, he would tell them to suck on a weed, and continue working. It was clear to me that my Mom had adopted my Grandfather's hard work ethic and the inexplainable love of the blueberry.

After picking for about four hours, I looked down to realize that I had lost my keys. When I said this, my sister and Mom didn't believe me, and continued to pick berries. At this point, I was freaking out. One, I lost the keys, and two it was a rental car. The idea of explaining this to the rental agency, let alone Nick weighed heavily on my mind. After looking for a good amount of time, I finally gave up. The only way back to the lodge was to hitch hike the 10 miles back, and walk until someone picked us up. My sister, however, was not too keen on the idea of hitching a ride (especially in the prescence of her daughter Emilia). She half jokingly starts talking about stranger danger and being raped, which I, in turn looked at her and said we are in the northernmost part of Minnesota and I reassured her we would be alright.

It only took a matter of minutes, and we had our first car pull over. It was a big pick up sedan vehicle, we explained our situation, and they were happy to help. We jumped in their vehicle laughing and joking about our predicament, and they brought us as far as Round Lake. We thanked them for their help, and started hitching once again. Again, in a matter of minutes, we had a car stop. They offered to help, but clearly didn't have enough space for us. We then pulled over another in a pick up truck with a dog sitting in the front seat. We again explained our predicament, and he drove us all the way back to the lodge in the back of his pick up. Once back, we learned that he was the husband of the Mayor.

I have to say that this was the most interesting blueberry picking adventure I have ever had, and my Mom still managed to get a full pail of berries.

The next day, we had scheduled time for the girls and Grandpa Beaver to go horseback riding at the Gunflint Stables. This has been a tradition since last year when Emilia and Coretta went for the first time. Once to the stables, they learned about the safety and precaution measures, and then each were saddled on their horses. Coretta had Mrs. B, Emilia had Daisy, and Grandpa Beaver had Jasper. Once in line, they were off for an hour horseback riding adventure. It took a few minutes before they were ready to go, because Jasper, Grandpa Beaver's horse, decided to take a poop and then a pee before they went off. If you have ever witnessed a horse excreting these bodily fluids, you would be amazed.

Later that day, Nick and I took a hike on the Magnetic Trail where we hiked for approximately five miles and at the middle of the hike stopped to take a rest at the foot of the huge Magnetic Rock.

Throughout the first three days, the kids all spent time swimming, throwing rocks, having campfires, and even playing UNO. Bridgette and my Mom even managed to go blueberry picking a second tim (I opted to stay back) since my last experience was still fresh in my mind.
The fourth day at Heston's Lodge, Grandma Marilyn and my niece Imania showed up. We, including my Mom, Dad, sister, and kids decided to go out to eat at The Trail Center located at the end of the trail. Greg, the owner of Heston's, had told Nick that they had the best burgers in the area. Once there, we all piled out, and entered the restaurant. I think we may have overwhelmed the poor worker, since she was on staff by herself and had an order for eleven, as well as other customers. I would have to say that Greg's recommendation was quite true, the hamburgers were excellent.
The next day, we said goodbye to my Mom, Dad, sister, niece and nephew, and had some time alone with Marilyn and Imania. That day ended up being a wash out, so we spent time sketching, reading, playing games, and working on puzzles.
The next day, we took Imania and Marilyn blueberry picking and had lunch at the Gunflint Lodge. Nick and his mom decided to take a hike together and I stayed back with the kids swimming. That night, Barb and Greg, the owner's of Heston's Lodge, had their famous wood fired pizza evening where you get to build your own pizzas. This is definitely one of the highlights of our stay and gives you a chance to chat with other people staying at the lodge. It never fails that Geno finds other kids his age to play with, stick fight with, and play with trucks and tractors.
The next day, we had to say goodbye to Imania and Marilyn, and had the next two days alone. Coretta and Dad decided that they would go on a hike. They chose the Centennial Trail because there were lots of cliffs and rocks to climb. The trail proved to be a lot more challenging then they first thought. They found themselves walking in brush up to their necks without a clear path. Suffice it to say,they still had a good time together.
Hestons Lodge continues to be one of our favorite retreats in Minnesota and look forward to it again next year. Even my Mom, sisters, brother-in-law, neices and nephews are set on staying for a whole week next year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Leave Duluth, MN 2010

While back in America, we spent some time in Duluth, MN, where Nick grew up. We stayed at Fitgers, which is an old renovated brewery on the way up to Heston's Lodge, did some shopping, and spent time down by Lake Superior. On the way back from the Gunflint, we stayed at the Edgewater Hotel which had a waterpark where we met up with Imania, Auntie Sarah, and Grandma Bieter.

Geno had a blast at the kiddie water park and was able to down all of the water slides by himself. Coretta loved the two bigger water slides. I, too, went on these with her, and all went well until I decided to go on the green one by myself. In doing so, I started by sitting up, but the sheer force of the water pushed me on to my back where I swallowed so much water, that I feared being spit into more water by the current, that I tried to plug my nose. Once out, Coretta noticed that my nose was bleeding. I guess I had pushed hard onto my newly pierced nose, and caused it to bleed.

After several onlookers screaming, "Nose bleed!" I refrained from shouting that I had HIV (obviously a joke) and went back to our room. When the kids were done, they came back and we ordered Sammy's Pizza. Auntie Sarah even managed to teach Geno how to say thank you properly, however, when he said it, it sounded like "fuck you." Oh, the Bieter's and their sick sense of humor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nose Piercing at Saint Sabrinas in Uptown Minneapolis, MN

While back in the Twin Cities, I finally got my nose pierced after several years of thinking about it. It went quite well actually. I tried to prepare myself by watching numerous youtube videos, but realized that these were much more horrible than my experience. Although my nose didn't bleed, there was about three seconds of excruciating pain, and it was done. My eyes water a little bit, he put in the jewelry, and it was done. And for the record (Heidi) this is not an early mid life crisis, just me doing something special for me.

Saint Paul Home Leave 2010

The 13 hour plane ride back to America went quite well this time. Geno was well behaved and even slept this way around. Once to the Twin Cities, we drove to our house in Saint Paul, MN and settled in. We visited with our cousin Angie, and Grandpa Tom and Jack came over to go out for lunch at Mama's Pizza on Rice.

The next day, I took Coretta school shopping up at the Rosedale Mall and she bought two pairs of Chucks, and several outfits from Abercrombie, Hollister., Aeropastle, and followed that up with some gyros at Dinos.

Over the fourth of July, we decided to play it low key, and hung out at our house playing bean bag toss, lighting off fireworks, and drove over by the Bascilica to see the fireworks. This was the first fireworks that Geno was able to stay up for. We spent time with Auntie Erin and Ryan and Ryan even brought his guitar over to jam with Coretta.
While back, the kids and I went to see the dentist. Here we all had a clean bill of health, no cavities, and the kids even left with a toy. This was Geno's first dental visit, and he loved it. He kept wanting to go back in the chair and do it again.

Erin's Wedding

Right now my little sister is planning her wedding for September 17, 2011. They hope to have their reception on Lake Harriet at the Pavilion there. erin drove us over there to have a look at the spot and to see what we thought. Above are a few pictures of the space.

I have suggested that black bridesmaids would be kinda sophisticated and chic. Here are some examples I found on the internet. I particularily like the one with the black dresses and green bouquets. We'll see what Erin thinks. The bride has the final say :)