Tag Archives: adventure

The Wilson’s Tackle Mpls [Sort of]

10 Aug

Ya know when my favorite time is to eat a banana in its life cycle? When they are so ripe that they’re starting to get those brownish spots or they bruise easy. Mmmmm. Ya know what I can’t stand about bananas? When you peel back the banana peel and expose the tips of each peel…you can see the little pores where the fibers were attached to the stem. EWWW. I despise pores. Bleh.

Anyways, now that I have successfully gained your attention without having to address my long blogging absence, I thought I’d share a few moments from my wonderful family’s visit to Minneapolis several weeks ago. My siblings are headed back to school tomorrow so I thought it fitting to savor a few of their summer memories as they head back to school. Most of these shots were from a bike ride one evening during their visit. I jumped through hoops and ladders to keep ’em busy while they were here…okay, not really. But you try keeping a 15-year-old and 12-year-old occupied in a city when they’ve grown up in the ‘burbs/sticks all their lives! Anyways, Minneapolis just started this Nice Ride Minnesota project earlier this summer so my family’s visit was the perfect opportunity to test it out. It was actually a blast and made touring the city so much easier!

How many Wilson’s does it take to operate a Nice Ride kiosk? Mmmm, 1, 2….

The best place to take visitors in Minneapolis is definitely the Mississippi River. You get a great view of the city skyline from the Stone Arch Bridge, there are incredible condos in the old mill buildings along the riverfront, the Guthrie is there, and so are the Mill City Museum and the ruins from the old mills. So we focused our evening ride along the riverfront and stopped to take some family photos. (It’s important to note that it may be nearly impossible to get a decent photo of a family of five when two siblings that know EVERYTHING in the world are involved in the equation–and if those same siblings still have braces and avoid smiling at all costs. Whew.)

Nick and I turned the camera over to my sister to get a shot of us together. Evidently my dad thought it would be humorous to ride his sweet green bike back and forth behind us while ringing the provided bell, sending my sister into hysterical bits of laughter. The only decent image follows. And I swear we didn’t plan on matching. Though the man at the gas station that night, who was also wearing navy and khaki, thought it was important to call us out on our fashion faux pas.

She looks more like mom and I everyday…muahahahaha!

My mommy and daddy. I love them. =) (My father looks very mischievous here. Not shocking.)

Ah, yes. My brother. He’s 15. He. Knows. Everything. So ya know, if you need all the answers to the worlds mysteries, call up my little bro…I’m sure he’ll have some wonderful intellectual insights. (Better yet, ask him the question in Spanish. I’d love to know how he responds.)

I have good genes. I think. At least I better age as gracefully as my mom has–seriously.

(If you did a double-take and thought that was me, I understand. I do the same thing when I look in the mirror sometimes!) A final shot to end the night. This quiet photo frame explains a brief moment in the typical nuances of my family life. –Dad sits and quietly contemplates. Everyone else follows suit with less intense contemplations and remains quiet for as long as they can tolerate. Then when mom can no longer keep everyone wrangled quietly, chaos breaks and the moment has passed.– The older I get, the more I appreciate these quiet moments. And the chaos. =)

Our Most Recent Visitor – DTM

10 Jul

So Nick and I were hoping to have lots of visitors this summer but have realized everyone is just as broke as we are. Bummer. You saw a few shots from Nick’s parent’s visit (Ron and Kathy), and I thought everyone that knows DTM (Dan the Man) might enjoy a few shots of his recent visit to good ol’ Minnesota! We were really lucky to convince Danny that the 6 1/2 hour drive was worth it and we hope that after his visit, he thought so too. =)

This post was originally going to be called, “DTM, North Chicago’s Most Eligible Bachelor,” but I refrained from this idea for fear of embarrassing Danny too much. Never fear Danny, the world’s still getting an introduction to the DTM we’re lucky to know and love!

Nick and I both know Danny through school. The College of Architecture and Planning produces a tight-knit group of students. Sometimes we forget people exist outside of the CAP building, and I know people choose to ignore our existence when the lights are still on at 3am everyday. Nick and Danny started the first-year program together in the Spring of 2006 so they know each other pretty well. And in the last couple of years since Nick and I have been dating, Danny and a bunch of our other friends keep Nick busy on Friday nights while I’m working at Dill; though they don’t always keep him out of trouble…

Danny’s a recent graduate from BSU’s Landscape Architecture program and is now a resident of the Waukegan area, north of Chicago. He grew up in northern Indiana, LaGrange to be exact, and is a huge momma’s boy. (Danny, did you want people to know that…? =) ) His first post-graduate job is at Scott Byron & Company and I think he’s enjoying his new position. He gave us his business cards as soon as he walked in the door, so I’d say he’s pretty proud.

His drive up here last Friday ended up taking about 7 1/2 hours. We’re lucky that he didn’t turn around after sitting in all that Illinois traffic. I played good hostess and poured him a CC and coke upon his arrival. We thought that’d put him to sleep…instead, he kept us up waaaaay past our bedtime talking. I felt like I was 16 all over again, at a sleepover with my best girl friends. I forgave them by morning and decided I’d make pancakes. (By the way, I can successfully make pancakes. No worries.)

Saturday, in the ridiculous hot and humid weather we were being treated to, we headed to Fort Snelling State Parking for grilling, biking, and some unplanned lake swimming. The menu: burgers, brats, corn-on-the-cob, chips, fruit, brownies. I relaxed and kept as still as possible so as to prevent sweat from forming on every square inch of my body and let the boys do the grilling. If you notice on the grill, that was A LOT of food for three people to think they could consume.

DTM felt at home swimming in the lake. Nick and I, not so much. I think Danny might have been able to tell by the look on my face. I dunno. Maybe having a heated, chlorinated, crystal-clear, in-ground pool in my backyard at home has made me spoiled, but I don’t do lake water very well. And Nick’s used to Michigan lakes, which are unbelievably clear. Check out pictures of Torch Lake. It looks like the flippin’ Caribbean! But we sucked it up and cooled off. Thank goodness for water because I’m telling you, it was H-O-T on Saturday!!!

Saturday night, if we hadn’t had enough torture in the heat, we decided to get the bikes out and give Danny a tour of the city. Minneapolis is the second friendliest bike city in the country. Second to, Portland? Nick knows all this random trivia…I listen, most of the time. So we have our lane to bike in downtown and we follow the rules of the road. (Fellow classmates, remember Critical Mass from KK’s class? We’re going to try to hit up a Critical Mass ride while we’re here…I’ll get some photos.) If you’re ever driving through downtown Minneapolis and you’re getting ready to make a right turn, please, please, please check and make sure there are no bikers going straight next to you!!! Like, seriously. Bicyclists are people too! Anyways, while we were checking out the city from the Mississippi, Danny asked, “Did you guys know this city was going to be this awesome before you moved up here?” Um, sort of. When when we were here with good ol’ Professor, er, Dr. Stephen Kendall in the fall, he didn’t know enough about the city to show us what we’ve discovered since our arrival. I’m more impressed with Minneapolis every week. =)

This next shot is the Guthrie Theater designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, who won architecture’s biggest award, the Pritzker Prize, in 2008. In my opinion, it’s one of the architectural gems in Minneapolis. If you don’t have any design training, there’s a good chance you might think otherwise; but hey, we’re used to that way of thought. The Guthrie was Nouvel’s first piece in the United States and it’s pretty wonderful. It has three stages; its signature thrust stage, a proscenium stage, and a black box studio. If you ever visit Minneapolis, it’s a must see!

Okay, this last shot is just to show you how b-e-a-utiful Target Field is at night. Actually, the firm Nick’s working for this summer, HGA, designed the entire plaza space. It’s incredible. So this is where we ended our night, just a few blocks from our apartment at Target Field. Then we locked up the bikes at home and headed just down the street to Kieran’s Pub for a late dinner. Did I ever mention how much I love spinach and artichoke dip? Well, I do! Anyways, stay tuned for the post about our Taste of MN concert on Sunday, July 4th! Ginblossoms, NEEDTOBREATHE, Augustana, and Counting Crows. =)

P.S. Danny, thanks for coming to visit! We hope you had a good time because we enjoyed trying to keep you entertained! =)

The Cheese Burn Incident

7 Jul

It’s official; I’m an inconsistent blogger. Even worse, I’m also a terrible klutz. My fellow Dill Street-ers can attest to this fact. I’ve been known to break a bottle every now and then, or trip, or run into things and get sweet bruises. Though I distinctly make an effort to calmly place shot glasses in the sink so as not to break them. (Uhem, some are known to DROP them in the sink, which ultimately leads to some breakage and a few unhappy bartenders…) And recently Nick’s been saying, “No wonder everyone at work thinks you’re such a klutz!” I dunno…I think everyone at work makes fun of me because I’m a klutz AND an air head. Whatever. At least I can own up to these traits! =)

I thought those of you that are bored at work today, or simply get a kick out of my idiotic moments, might enjoy this awesome moment I had last night. Nick and I were making dinner. He loves making chicken breasts with Italian dressing, crouton breading and mozzarella cheese. Mmmm. So while he was working on that, I was cleaning lettuce and making us salads. He needed to wash his raw chicken-covered hands right as I was getting ready to sprinkle shredded cheese on our salads. “Will you put that chicken in the oven for me?” “Sure,” I said. So I sat the shredded cheese down so I could put the chicken in the oven. So here’s what happened…

Notice the distinct circular burn on the shredded cheese package that I proceeded to throw immediately after smelling the burning plastic.

So what happened, you ask? We don’t have a microwave this summer and we have very minimal counter space in this tiny kitchenette. I mean, what you see in the first photo, that’s it. The electric stove often becomes extra counter space while we’re cooking, washing dishes, etc. Nick melted a little butter on the stove for the breaded chicken. I didn’t notice which burner he had used; hence the hot burner that singed my cheese package. At least I have good reflexes and got that baby off of there quick! I tried to salvage some of the cheese for our salads–terrible idea. My whole salad tasted like burnt cheese. Nick’s chicken was great! =) And we made instant mashed potatoes to make up for my salad failure. Needless to say, I will never be a world-class cook. And I’ll always be a klutz. It’s inevitable.

I figured my avid followers have probably been dying for a post to read (riiiight), so I hope at least a few people got a good laugh out of this. I’ve been working on editing photos from my July 4th weekend. I’ve got two new posts in the works, I’ve just got to get better at this ‘editing rapidly’ thing. Seriously, photographers deserve some serious kudos for their rapid editing and turn-around for their clients. I’m sure it just takes a lot of practice and streamlining, er, something like that.

Fun fact of the day: Did you know that “Klutz” is a Yiddish word? It’s only been a slang term for “a clumsy person” since the 1960s. Huh. Interesting…

Take me out to the Ball Game!

29 Jun

I’ve Been Challenged

23 Jun

My friend Erin (aka, Carp), issued a challenge to me yesterday on Twitter: @arwilson87 here’s the plan – I’m posting a new photo everyday & I want to see yours too – make it happen. http://ebcarp.wordpress.com/

So Erin Carpenter, I am accepting your challenge.

Here’s a shot of good ol’ Stage Apartments. I love our 350 sq ft apartment. =)

As a side note, Nick’s email was hacked into today. So if you received an email saying he is stuck in London with his family, disregard. I think he finally has control of the account back so that’s a success story. Today’s lesson: Change your passwords, and change them often!

This Gal’s a Beginner

22 Jun

I came to some conclusions in the photography world this week. RAW shooting = Scary. Imaging Editing = Love

Meanwhile, Nick’s parents, Ron and Kathy Respecki, are visiting with us this week in Minneapolis. We’re having a blast! Saturday we wore them out by giving them a giant walking tour of the area of the city where we’re living. For Father’s Day on Sunday, we checked out a local arts festival; the Stone Arch Arts Festival. After, we headed to Minnehaha Park for some serious grilling and relaxation! The camera went everywhere with us this weekend. Here are just a few shots from our adventures!

This little guy was adorable! Standing in line with his daddy for some ice cream!

Okay, so the little boy isn’t in focus in this one. I still loved the photo and his giant smile. I’m still learning, right?

What’s with men and cars, anyway? Old time cars were featured at the festival too. Men were drooling.

Nothing beats charcoal grilling! Ron and Kathy are leaving this baby with us for the rest of the summer! Yay! Now Nick can grill to his heart’s content.

Everyone’s gotta have one. Here’s MY Grill Master. =)

Our steak. Mmmm.

And the day wouldn’t have been complete without a stop to see the waterfall. Here’s Minnehaha Falls.

Okay. So try not to judge those shots too critically. I’m far from a pro at this point, but I’m having lots of fun and learning more every day! Hopefully there will be more to come this week. I’m vowing to blog more often!

Right now, I’m packing up so I can pick up Nick and we can head to Mall of America to meet his parents for the evening. Kathy’s on a shopping frenzy today! I can’t wait to find out what Ron’s been doing to kill time while she shops! =)

The Kind of Sky We’re Hoping to Avoid This Weekend

17 Jun

This is the kind of sky we’ve been battling the last couple of weekends. Don’t get me wrong; it makes for some great photos, but I really enjoy sunshine! I have high hopes for this weekend!

I also told Nick this kind of looks like some of his most recent renderings, with the high contrasted sky and everything. Fun!

We’re Hoping to Avoid This Weekend

Play[ing] & Learn[ing]

8 Jun

So if you know me, I tell detailed stories. Like, really detailed stories. I apologize. The good news here is that, if you get bored with details, you can skip to the next paragraph! As a very wise professor once told me, read the first line of each paragraph if you find yourself falling asleep. Pick back up reading everything when you can find a point of interest again. But, um, I prefer you not fall asleep at the computer. Unless you own a (tough) Mac, drool usually isn’t good for your motherboard…

Nick and I’s weekend started off with Nick having a brief flu bug. Lame. Then heightened to a Saturday morning rain. More lame. But as a wonderfully supportive boyfriend, Nick agreed to go see Sex and the City 2 during our rainy afternoon! I mean, who doesn’t love a cheap matinĂ©e with popcorn during a rainy afternoon?!? Well, evidently cheap matinĂ©es on rainy afternoons only apply to bored teens/20-somethings in the ‘burbs. At a 3:45 pm movie in a city movie theater, Nick and I were two of eight people in the movie. That’ s it. Eight. The theater was dead. They only have 16 theaters and when we got popcorn, they only had 2 people working concessions. Crazy. I may do a study on city-ites and movie culture. There are also no video rental locations in the city limits either. Or Redbox. Hence our new Netflix account.

6:45 pm exit from the theater. Hello sunshine! Evening walk with the camera in tow. Lots of photo snapping. Lots of learning.

Sunday. Our month of June is dedicated to a new church every Sunday. So far, so good! This week, we tried out Substance Church. Loved it! I would definitely be willing to go back. Sunday afternoon. Lunch and a visit to Como Zoo between Minneapolis and St. Paul. It’s a free zoo and conservatory. FREE. We should have known better. It was an absolute madhouse. Not to mention it was opening weekend for their new Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit. It took us probably 45 minutes to find a parking spot. Unbelievable. And then half way through the afternoon it began raining on and off. I believe we spent 20 minutes under a tree for protection just people watching. Did I mention I didn’t bring the umbrella because Nick said I wouldn’t need it? I mean, who would have thought Minnesota weather is just as temperamental as Indiana weather?!? Pshhh!

Overall, the weekend was an incredibly fun adventure and a definite success at enjoying the area we’re in for the summer! So “Playing and Learning,” the title. Last time, I mentioned that I’m working on my passion for photography a lot this summer. So while Nick and I were out enjoying the city, the camera was in tow. Now while he and I know a little about photography, we’ve been doing some serious learning, via books and mostly websites and blogs. And, most importantly, playing with the camera. Because what’s the point in owning an entry-level DSLR if you don’t know how to use it? I’m fed up with using it as a “glorified” point-in-shoot! I want to get the most out of its features. And so begins the summer of learning.

First shot: waaaaay over exposed. Learning from it? Yes! Working on exposure (playing with aperture and shutter speed mostly) is frustr–er, fun. Well it was fun, I suppose. I just have a lot to learn.

Next goal: depth-of-field. Learning from it? Yes. Fighting with the bf? Yes. Insert intense verbal argument about aperture and F-stops between me and Nick. (Sidenote: The downside of owning a phone with internet access is that you evidently feel the need to prove your point in an argument by using your best friend, Google. This does not amuse those around you and will result in an angry boyfriend stomping off. Be advised in making such technological advances in your daily lives.) Needless to say, we hashed it out and turns out, we were both “right.”(And I put the phone away reeeal fast when the stomping off occurred.)

We had a great time on Saturday evening and Sunday pointing out great opportunities for a good shot and working with exposure and what not. It’s fun to have someone around who’s interested in what you’re passionate about! What’s great about Nick is that he’s so creative. And because he’s so creative, he’s got a great eye for all things artistic. I’m really excited because he knows that I’m completely capable of this passion I’m pursuing. I feel like this is something I can actually be good at! And Nick’s encouragement is the perfect motivation for pursuing this passion.

Can you “play” and learn at the same time? (My teacher friends would probably jump in here with a, “Hell no, that’s what recess is for!”) Can you have your cake and eat it to? Eh, no one knows.

What I learned most this weekend during our adventure was this: Having someone support you in your endeavors makes a world of a difference. When someone backs you 100%, you feel like you can do anything in the world!