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.