Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Baby, it's COLD outside!

When I was getting ready for work this morning, the radio kept saying it was 5-degrees outside. Brrrrrr...

So I got all bundled up--winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, warm clothes underneath--for my 1 block walk to the train. 5-degrees is cold, any way you look at it. My cheeks tingled, and my eyes burned. I don't think it was that windy, just cold, bitter, bitter cold. It's gonna be a fun winter.

Of course, the best part is when I get downtown. I'm all bundled up, remember? Well, I have a 5+ block walk to work. Minneapolis has this incredible skyway system,

so I have the option of walking that 5+ blocks inside. Yeah!
Except....I'm all bundled up for the walk to the train. By the time I get to work, I've generally worked up a pretty good sweat. Today was no exception!

Here's to winter!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Freedom Writers

Jeff and I just watched one of the most powerful movies I've seen in a long time. If you haven't seen Freedom Writers, I highly recommend it.

This movie explores racism in today's society and how everyone has their own battles to fight. It shows the power and influence a good teacher can have in the lives of teenagers.

This movie made me cry, but mostly it made me think. It spurred discussion about public schools and the holocaust and parenthood.

Seriously this movie is a definite must-see!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fall Leaves at Minnehaha Falls

Living so close to Minnehaha Park, I couldn't resist going on a little photo shoot one Saturday evening.

Here are my 5 favorites:

If you'd like to see more, you can visit my entire album on Picasa: Minnehaha Falls

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Where I've Been

A friend of mine put up a map of all the places she'd visited. I thought I'd do the same. Mine isn't nearly as impressive as hers, but here it is...

I only included states that I have actually done something in (not just driven through).

create your own visited states map

Outside of the U.S., I've only been to Canada and the Bahamas, so my world map is even less impressive. I'm not even going to bother posting something like that.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Christopherson Clan

These pics were really fun to come across. I had totally forgotten about this pit stop!

When Brian and family moved out to Boston, they made a pit stop for a couple of hours in Minneapolis. Treva and Trevor couldn't join us because of work, but Tony and Ana brought out all the kids. I think everyone had a lot of fun meeting their cousins and playing by the lake.

At the time, I lived in Minneapolis only a couple of blocks from Lake Calhoun, so we walked down to the lake and played around until Brian and Nancy and clan had to
continue on their journey.

Denise, Treva, Jen & Me

I can't remember exactly the occasion of these photos, but Treva and I met Denise & Jennifer at a Famous Dave's. I do remember getting a birthday gift, so maybe that was the occasion.

Treva & Denise Jennifer & Me
The Girls

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Addicted to Blogging??

74%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Dating Site

Friday, August 10, 2007

Today I AM 30!

Well, my big day is finally here! I've been counting down for well over a month.

I have high hopes for this day, but I have no concrete plans as of yet...

As I walked from the train station to work this morning, I couldn't help but walking tall. Today IS special.

I love birthdays! But my 30th...well, that's something to celebrate!

Check out this fun, delicious looking cake! I found it doing a Google Image search. I probably won't get a cake this fancy-schmancy, but a girl can dream. :-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I cut my bangs!

I cut my bangs yesterday morning!

It wasn't exactly the look I was going for, but I do think they turned out pretty cute. Of course, now I need to get the rest of my hair cut. I think the bangs make the rest of my hair look (and feel) heavy! I'm thinking something kinda short and complementary of the bangs.

Now I'm just debating as to whether I should try cutting it myself or going to a professional.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Book Review: My Dog Skip

I was inspired to read this book after watching the movie, My Dog Skip. The movie was a sad story about a boy and his dog. Willie was a lonely boys with no friends, so his Mom bought him a puppy for his 9th birthday, in the hopes that he would become his best friend. It worked, of course, and Willie and Skip became inseparable!

The book, however, tells quite a different story! The book, by the way, is a true story while the movie is merely based on the book.

In actuality, the Willie in the book, was quite a popular kid. True, Skip became his best friend, but certainly not his only friend.

Once you get past the completely different portrayal of Willie Morris, this book was actually quite good.

It primarily takes place in a small town in Mississippi during WWII. The description of the adventures that Willie and Skip embarked on is quite vivid. I really felt that I was a part of this quiet little town.

It also was very interesting to read about this particular period of time. A time before video games and the Internet. A time when boys and dogs were free to roam around town. A time when everyone knew everyone in town. It was a very reminiscent account of a time that I am so removed from and that I will never experience.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Working in the IDS Center

I've spent the past few weeks working on the 39th floor of the IDS Center in Minneapolis. Some of you may not know this, but IDS is the tallest building in Minneapolis. The view out of the conference center is spectacular! You can see for miles! You can see 394 and Lake Calhoun and lots of downtown buildings. Gorgeous!

Today there is a storm brewing. It's incredible to watch the storm slowly making its way into downtown. Less than 5 minutes ago, we could clearly see Lake Calhoun off in the distance. Now it is completely gone...lost in the rain...

The rain hasn't hit downtown yet, but it will very, very soon...

I've never watched a storm come in from up so high.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Torchlight 5K--July 18, 2007

This is one of my favorite races of all time! It is always the first Wednesday evening of the Minneapolis Aquatennial--the 10 Best Days of Summer--and kicks off the Torchlight Parade.

This is the third time I've run this race, and it has always been a different route. I really enjoyed the route this year.

It always starts at the Basilica in downtown Minneapolis. The first year, it ended on Boom Island; the second year, it ended at Loring Park; this year, it ended on Nicollet Island.

The race started off bit a rocky.
  • I hadn't been able to get a hold of Marla all day, and we were supposed to run this together.
  • Around 4:30 or so, the sky opened up and the rains came pouring down. The rain was much, much worse out in Eagan, so Jeff and I decided that he didn't need to come down and cheer me on. He would just pick me up at the train station when I was finished.
  • After loafing around the library until a little before 6, I changed into my running clothes. It was then that I realized how much I needed Jeff--to hold my purse and my bag. I certainly didn't want to run a 5K carrying all of that.
  • I remember that Jeff mentioned Dave was going to be running the race, so I gave him a call.
  • I finally got a hold of Marla! She had just arrived from Denver and was driving into downtown.
  • The rains started to fall once again!!
  • I registered, got my t-shirt, and finally met up with Dave, John, and Lindsay Christianson.
  • Yeah! I got to put all my stuff in their car.
  • We met up with Emily Kucera!!
  • Brian Hogan and Andy Howard (I think) joined our pre-race crowd.
  • Marla finally found the Basilica, parking, and joined our group! Yeah!
As we made our way to the starting line, I set my Garmin to run the 5K in 32:00. Marla and I paced together pretty well...we only missed my goal by 39 seconds!! Also the race turned out to be 3.2 miles (.1 miles longer than a 5K).
I had to stop a walk twice during the race--once during the water stop and once a little further on in the race.
My shins hurt a little during the race, but it was okay. Marla was concerned that I didn't push myself too much.
But you just can't help yourself but to run a little faster and harder during a race!
The race was exhilarating!
The post-race party was fun, too! There was a cheese scupture of Mt Rushmore. Cheez-It(R) was one of the sponsors. Plus, there was a lot of fun food. I had to convince Dave to walk through the food tent, but one he saw the free food, I think it was worth it to him.
I also won tickets for two to the Acme Comedy Club, so I'm excited for Jeff and I to go to a comedy show.

Valleyfair for Emillio's birthday

It is a tradition with my family for us to go to Valleyfair for my nephew's birthday. It used to be the entire family, but as the years have gone by, it has dwindled to only those who truly enjoy going on all the rides.

This year it was Treva, Emillio, AJ, Selena, and I who went. Dan and Jessica came out for a little while as well. It was so much fun! We went on all the scary rides!

The new ride this year was Renegade: Outlaw Coaster. It was phenomenal! It was exhilarating! We rode it twice. We went on a Saturday, so the lines were really long. Renegade was the only ride we were able to go on twice. :-(

While standing in line for Steel Venom, I played around with my camera phone. I discovered some really cool features. My favorite was the sketch feature.

Watch the slideshow below for a few shots from our day at Valleyfair--including some that I took as sketches.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

MN Running


It's good to be back in the land of the running. :-)

It's been awhile. Back in April, I posted a blog about my running plans for the summer. They fell by the wayside quickly.

Then came our decision to move back to MN, and running became even more of a challenge.

Now, that I'm back and things aren't quite so hectic, I can resume my running. I'm starting out slow--just 1 mile a day--but I hope to kick that up a notch soon.

My first race will be July 19th--the Lifetime Fitness Torchlight 5k. I LOVE this race and am so happy to be able to run it this year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Last Day...

Today was my last day at Hartmann & Forbes.

It was with mixed feelings that I said good-bye to those that I worked closely with for the past 3 months.

My first two months at H&F were a bit rocky, but when our receptionist left last month, and I got a few more responsibilites handed to me, I began to really enjoy my job. I felt a lot better about my job! Now the past week, I spent training others to take over all those responsibilites and more!

I learned a few things about myself while working at H&F:
1) I really dislike working in HR. This was at least my 3rd HR position, and I've never been satisfied working in this field.
2) I do not enjoy open-ended tasks.
3) I love maintaining systems, but am not so good at creating new ones.
4) I love working with Excel and learning new functions using that software.

I'm sure there are more things that I learned, but that's it for now.

H&F turned out to be a great learning experience for you. I'm grateful for the things I learned and the people I was able to work with.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Weepies

I first heard The Weepies while watching the movie Because I Say So. Their song World Spins Madly On was featured not only in the movie, but there is also a music video in the special features.

Jeff and I fell in love with their sound!

You can listen to a lot of their songs on their website... www.theweepies.com. One of my favorites is Nobody Knows Me At All. Their sound is very unique, and there is a lot of variety to their songs. Some are sad, some are happy, all are full of energy!

Check them out!!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Back to School??

I always swore that once I finished my B.S. I'd never be a student again.

Now 6+ years later, my husband is pursuing his undergraduate work, and I'm going to go back for more.

We're going to be living the "poor, suffering college student" lifestyle, and oddly, I'm really looking forward to it.

There is a lot to figure out financial aid-wise, but we're both very excited about this next adventure in our lives.

Now, we just need to apply...

Oh, I'm intending on getting a 2nd bachelor's degree. This time in French or Romance languages. I know it will be tough, but hopefully the 6 years of French I took in high school and early college will come back to me easily.

Monday, April 9, 2007

My new toy...

It's raining today. I know, I know...I live in Oregon!

Anyway...instead of taking a walk in the rain, I thought I'd blog a bit about my new toy.

To assist me in my running goals, I found a great deal on a Garmin Forerunner 101 on www.ebay.com. These normally run at least $100, and I got mine for $67 (including shipping). I was so excited. It was the first time I'd ever bid for something on eBay, so I was nervous, but I really LOVE my new toy.

The Forerunner 101 is a bit outdated as there are at least 4 newer versions, but it is more than sufficient for my needs.

Basically, what it does is link up with 3 (of the 24) satellites, and tells you how far you've run/walked and how fast you did it! You can set up training intervals. It even comes with a Virtual training partner. I haven't explored this option yet, but I'm pretty excited about it.

There are a lot more functions that I haven't explored yet, but all in due time...

Friday, April 6, 2007

A New Reputation...

I've got a new reputation at work!

At AFP, I was always known to never turn down food--chocolate, donuts, pizza...you name it. If it was offered, I ate it. I would even make special trips to HR, where I knew there was a jar of candy--usually chocolate--just waiting for consumption.

At H&F, I'm now known as the girl trying to be good. It's been kind of good for me. It makes the temptation for snagging a free donut so much easier to resist. :-)

I'm currently in Week 3 of the ChangeOne (R) diet--snacks. Snacking has always been my downfall, but I've been very good this week. Each day so far, I've only had my 2 (100-calorie) snacks.

If you don't know what ChangeOne is, check out this website: www.changeone.com. Basically it's a 12-week program that focuses not only on weight loss, but on making healthier choices. You start off tackling Breakfast, then lunch, then snacks, then dinner. I've never made it past Week 4, so I don't know exactly what the focus is of each of the following weeks. I know there is one on eating out, one on exercise, one on keeping off the weight (I think). I know that so far, I've really learned a lot about how much I should be eating.

I haven't lost any weight yet, but I think it will come in time. Hopefully by the end of the 12-week program...

Monday, April 2, 2007

The 2007 Running Season Is Quickly Approaching

I am getting excited to start a regular schedule of running. I've only been getting in 1-2 runs (if that) each week since February. Last week, I finally got in 3 runs. Yippee!! Soon I'll be able to very comfortably run 3 miles. I've been doing 2.26 miles--with a combination of both running and walking.

I'm still experiencing pain in my shins during my runs, but I'm hoping that as I get more consistent (and lose some weight), the hurt will subside.

I was hoping to run my first race of the season on Saturday, but there are too many conflicts. The biggest, of course, is that Tax Day is quickly approaching, and we still need to get ours done.

My first 5K of the season will hopefully be on April 21st...that is, if I can convince Jeff to come cheer me on in Salem--the armpit of Oregon.

I track all of my training runs (and even my walking) on CoolRunning.com. You can view my running log. Just click the link below.


To all the runners out there reading my blog...HAPPY RUNNING! Be safe and have fun. :-)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Day Two

I went to bed about three hours earlier last night than Sunday night. I still had some difficulty waking up this morning, but I had a lot more energy throughout the day. I still got a little bit tired, but I was pretty deep into one project that I didn't really notice it too much.

I did go on a short walk today. I have been eating my lunch and then going for a walk, but I think I'll try walking first tomorrow. That way, I'll be sure to get in 20 min. I think that my walk today was only 10 or 15 minutes.

In addition to my lunchtime jaunts, I've also started running again. I'm hoping to go out Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I've penciled in a few races I'd like to do this summer, so I need to get training.

Tomorrow, my computer will be all set up. I'm been using the former HR Coordinator's log-in and e-mail accounts. It will be nice to have my own. I still have access to all her files, so I can find everything that I need. They tell me she was very organized, but there is a lot of information in multiple files. One more project for me to tackle in my spare time. :-)

I had to commute on my own today. :-( It wasn't bad, but I really do enjoy the extra 90 minutes (45 minutes each way) a day with Jeff. Next term, we'll commute together 4 times each week; right now it's only twice a week.

Time to get ready for bed! Good-night. :-)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Day One

Whew! It will definitely take some time for my body to get used to my new work schedule...BUT it will be worth it.

My first day was great--besides being a little tiring. There are so many functions and processes and projects. I'm excited to be busy, and I know that I am going to learn so much in my new position.

To help my body adjust, I've decided I need to go to bed earlier, eat healthier and EXERCISE. I'm going to try to get in a 10-20 min walk each day during lunch. Today I went for about 10 min. It's all I could take because my shoes began tearing a little tiny hole in each of my ankles. Tomorrow, I need to remember to bring some good walking shoes.

If I learn nothing else (which is quite doubtful), at least I hope to develop some good personal habits.

I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Human Resources Coordinator/Office Support Manager

What's that you might ask?? It's my brand-spanking new job title.

Yesterday around 4:30 p.m. I accepted a position with Hartmann & Forbes. They are a high-end window coverings manufacturer and one of the top 500 fastest growing companies in the country.

Check out our website: www.hfshades.com

I am very excited about this new opportunity! I will be doing a lot of HR functions plus helping out in the office where needed. It is a very small company--about 50 employees only. 30 of which work on the production floor. I know this will be a challenging yet very rewarding position.

Most likely, I will begin work on Monday, March 5th. Wish me luck!! :-)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How Many of Me??

Clarinda Dodson

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Clarinda Wilson (This was surprising to me.)

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are 1,500 people in the U.S. with the first name Clarinda.
There are 50,995 people in the U.S. with the last name Dodson.
There are 1,016,894 people in the U.S. with the last name Wilson.

I honestly was surprised at how many Clarindas there were. I've never met another one (besides my Great-grandma) and most people I meet have never heard the name before.

Of course there is that small town in Iowa...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Book Review: Things Not Seen

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

If you're looking for an easy read with lots of twists, this is a great book to add to your list.

One of the classes that I've been helping out in when I sub at Duniway Middle School is a 7th grade Language Arts class. They are reading this title for class, and the teacher recommended it to me. She lent me one of her copies, and I read it all in just a few shorts days. I think I started reading it on Thursday and finished it on Saturday.

This story is quite unique. It's about a 15-year old boy who wakes up one morning and finds himself invisible. The rest of the book is about him and his family trying to make sense of all this--and trying to make it right. He certainly doesn't want to live out the rest of his life like this!! At first this might not seem like a very intriguing book, but Clements add enough surprise elements that it is really a joy to read.

**Side note: If your dreams at night have a tendency to incorporate things you've read or watched, I don't recommend reading this before bedtime. I did, and I had a tough time convincing myself that I had not woken up the next morning invisible. As I laid in bed struggling to come to grips with the fact that it was morning and time to get up, I had to keep looking at my arm to ensure myself that it was, in fact, still visible. :-)

Winter in Oregon

Winter in Oregon is unlike winter anywhere else (at least in my experiences).

Growing up in Minnesota (and living in Missouri and New York), I am used to cold weather, snow, and underneath the snow...dead grass.

Here the winter is the beginning of the rainy season, so the grass is a very vibrant green! It is so beautiful! Sometimes I just can't get over it, and I stare out the window at the rich colors of winter. The green grass is complemented by all the evergreen trees. It is truly a sight to see. I should really take some pictures.

Of course it does get cold here and it does snow as well.

I think it has snowed twice this winter so far. It is kind of funny, because it might snow over night and a little in the morning--possibly accumulating 1-inch (tops), and the schools will shut down. By the afternoon, almost all of the snow will have melted, and we'll be left with the brilliant grass peaking through. Gorgeous!!

This is usually accompanied by a cold spell where the temperatures might dip down to the teens--usually just the 20s.

All is all the cold and snow don't seem to last very long (knock on wood as I type, and hopefully as you read, this), which is perfect for me because I only like the cold and snow in small doses.

I have to admit...so far this winter has been quite enjoyable--with the brilliant colors (rainbows, grass, trees, etc) and relatively mild temperatures (remember I'm a MN girl).