01 September 2014

Summer Draws to a Close

Today is Labor Day, which means summer must be almost over. I have already noticed that the days are getting shorter (BOO!) and I believe the local college students have all moved into their dorms. Before we officially declare it over, a brief recap of our final few weekends before fall sets in...

Last weekend, my uncle Jim was kind enough to invite us out on his 'toon for a cruise down the St. Croix River. The day started out cloudy but by the end it was sunny and warm and we enjoyed several relaxing hours out on the water:

Mom, relaxing in the bow.
The beginnings of the new river bridge. It's going to be immense.
The captain at his post.
The remains of an old railroad bridge.
Our trusty 'toon.
A mid-river island that we stopped to explore.
And then, all of a sudden, it was time for the Great Minnesota Get Together, aka The Fair. I've been twice now, once with EMSA (he humors me - he's not a huge Fair goer) and then a second time with my parents. My second visit has already been recapped excellently on GZMoohoo's site, but I wanted to at least share a photo of my Mighty Midway winnings:
Boris the Husky and my Ninja Banana.
That was Saturday and we have profited from the rest of the long weekend - some biking has gone on, we've had a chance to go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, and generally just relaxed a bit. 3 days off in a row is pretty fantastic for us non-retired folk. Another great thing about Labor Day weekend? It's an excellent time to buy a brand new car...
Desmond on the left, as-yet-to-be named new car on the right.
It's my very first brand new car, a 2014 Chevy Cruze. We've been looking at them for a while and there was a heck of a deal this weekend, so we jumped on it. Desmond will be returning to his original owner (Mr. Moohoo) and the new car is coming home with us. Yay! While we were at my parents' house we also had an opportunity to take a picture of the entire fleet:
Chad, Mom's Camry, Desmond, new car. It was fun getting them all lined up.
We like blue cars, can you tell? Chad is an anomaly, of course, just because it happened to be in stock the day my dad went to order his new car that year. None of us would ever choose green on purpose, that would be silly. We're pretty excited about the new car. I might go outside again now to look at it. Chad will be going up for sale, and I hope he finds a good home. He's been a good car all these years.

12 July 2014

Summer is in Full Swing

As evidenced by the fact that all sorts of biking has broken out, despite high water and epic flooding in parts of the Twin Cities. I am not one to stop for photos while I bike but if Nokomis is still stupidly flooded the next time I ride by, I just might have to... So what else have we been doing with our first summer as a married couple you might ask? Well, all sorts of fun things!

Not long after my last post, we departed for our honeymoon trip to Montreal & Quebec City. I uploaded the best of the photos to my Flickr page here: Honeymoon Album. We had a fantastic time in Canadia and I really enjoyed dusting off my French skills. Using them for email at work is not enough, I've discovered, particularly when dealing with the totally crazy French-Canadian accent. But I muddled through and everyone was super nice. I highly recommend repeating our exact itinerary to anyone. A great trip!

While we were on our honeymoon, the Twin Cities newest light rail line had it's official grand opening - Welcome to the Green Line! We were a bit bummed to miss all the 1st day celebrations but, fortunately, the train was still running when we got back. We took that first Saturday and had some excellent Green Line adventures:

A green line train, waiting and ready to go.
The platform at Victoria Street, our first stop.
Our first stop was Que Nha, our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in town.
We then took it to the end of the line, the newly restored St. Paul Union Depot.
Metro Transit's shiny new service facility, just past the SPUD.
Construction has begun next door on the new stadium for the St. Paul Saints.
Finally, we stopped at Tin Whiskers, a new brew-pub/taproom in downtown St. Paul.
In other news, you may have seen elsewhere on the intertubes, from members of my very own family, that my employer, The Toro Company, just celebrated the 100th anniversary of its' founding. It started off with a Centennial Celebration on the actual day, July 10th, 2014. The mayor of the City of Bloomington (where Toro HQ is located) and the Governor of our great state both came to speak. It was declared "Toro Day" across the whole state. We also had all sorts of equipment and historical items on display, in addition to our shiny new building, for all our guests to see:

Happy Birthday, Toro! 
This is a RT600 Trencher, one of Toro's newest pieces of equipment.
Hayter lawnmowers, built by our subsidiary in the UK.
Toro Commercial equipment.
A very early predecessor of the Workman vehicle above. I like the color. :-)
One of our first big hits for residential customers, the Snow Hound snowthrower.
More cake. This one was just destined to look pretty though.
Last night was the big celebration at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. We had something like 3000 people there between employees, retirees, customers, and vendors. It was a great party, in true Toro style. I feel very fortunate to have picked such a great place to work. In other news, my former employer has been sold to a French boat-building conglomerate. I made a good decision, I think.

The rest of this weekend will be spent immersed in sports - Le Tour and of course tomorrow is the final of the World Cup. I am rooting for Germany and looking forward to an exciting match. 

08 June 2014

Wedding Reception, Part Deux

I took Friday off of work and my parents, Andy and I headed down to scenic Cedar Rapids, IA for our second wedding reception. Andy's grandmother and most of his family live down there and, since she is not terribly mobile, it made sense to have a second party, increasing the likelihood that everyone could join us. We arrived on Friday afternoon in plenty of time to chat with our wedding planning coordinator person at the Cedar Rapids Marriott to finalize all the details. And meet her in person, since we'd only ever emailed prior to that moment.

Required tasks for the day complete, we headed to downtown Cedar Rapids for some dinner at the White Star Ale House, documented elsewhere by Gzmoohoo. The restaurant was excellent - take the waiter's recommendation and have the BBQ Pork Shanks. My god, so delicious. We took some time to walk around downtown a bit after we were done.

The Veteran's Memorial building, built in the 1920's.
The statue on the front steps.
The Linn County Courthouse, across a park/lawn from the veteran's building. Both are on an island in the middle of the Cedar River.
We woke Saturday morning to a whole day in front of us before the reception festivities began at 6:00pm. So, what is there to do in Cedar Rapids you might ask? Well, it just so happens that the Cedar Rapids Kernels are a Single-A affiliate of our very own Minnesota Twins. There wasn't a game scheduled for yesterday and it looked like rain but we thought maybe, if we were lucky, the pro shop would be open. So we drove on over to Veterans Memorial Stadium to try our luck.

Luck was on our side. Not only was the pro shop open (we all bought either a Tshirt or a hat), but they let us walk out into the concourse to explore the stadium:

This van is awesome on many levels.
Veterans Memorial.
Some lawn care going on at the field.
Twins territory.
My traveling companions.
It was wildly successful. Also, for those who might be curious, front row tickets behind home plate sell for $12. Who's up for a road trip later this summer to catch a game?

After some relaxing during the afternoon, we had a lovely reception with both sides of Andy's family. I felt extraordinarily welcomed and I am so glad to have met everyone who could make it. Here we are pictured with my mother and father in-law and all of her siblings and their spouses.

She has a lot of siblings, all of them super nice.
A great time was had by all and I can definitely say that I am very glad to be the newest member of their family. Now the countdown to the honeymoon begins!

01 June 2014

Extremely High Water at Minnehaha

I believe in my last post, I may have said something like "the water is positively gushing over the falls" in reference to Minnehaha. Well, since that time, we've gotten a lot more rain, including 2+ inches in the last 48 hours. Andy and I were curious to see what that meant for the creek and falls so we wandered over there this morning during a break in the storms:

Looking upstream from the falls, towards Hiawatha Ave.
Hiawatha and his Minnehaha
For reference, I'd urge you to check out Jimi's post here to see what the area around that statue usually looks like.

The falls from below.

We walked downstream a bit and came to this:

The water just past the deer-pen area bridge (Bridge #2)
Bridge #3, just downstream a bit towards the Mississippi
So needless to say, last week's adjective of "gushing" doesn't do today's observations justice. The water is extremely high and moving extremely fast. Beware of falling in. But it sure looks really cool. Stay dry, everyone.

22 May 2014

High Water at Minnehaha

Mr. MooHoo has been having a bit of user-error angst recently about his video of Minnehaha Falls. It's walking distance from our house and we took a stroll over that direction last night to take advantage of the (finally) glorious weather. It seemed an opportune moment to take some video. The water is positively gushing over the falls:

Next time it's down to a trickle, I'll take another video to compare. This is close to the fastest/highest I've ever seen the creek and falls. Very cool.