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Friday, August 27, 2004

Kick This

I totally did not get nailed in the head with the kickball.

But I did kick it foul twice which apparently counts as a strikeout and the consequence of such a crime is karaoke. Much to the dismay of the Sports Page's patrons.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


  • Just thinking of La Belle Vie still makes my mouth water.

  • Ryan and I watched the Twins destroy the Indians on Friday the 20th and met up with Hyser and Jill at where else, but the Refuge. Naturally we ordered Pizza Luce on our way home. I swear they pipe the aroma into the streets and we're weak. Resistance is futile. The delivery driver passed us on Main St. He recognized us and gave us a ride home. He recognized us. Enough said.

  • Saturday, we went to Dune's new Pro Shop at the Medina Entertainment Center. If you have any bowling equipment needs, Dune's your man. Not only are his prices extremely competitive, he will go the extra mile to make sure he gets you rolling the ideal ball and will drill it right the first time. He watched me bowl 2 balls last year and gave me 2 tips. I worked on it for 3 games and I started hitting a lot more strikes. Anyway, Heather got a heavier, more aggressive ball and Ryan bought his first ever bowling ball. Hyser's response? "Berger, you're just going to suck him in aren't you?!" Yes, my main mission in life is to spread the bowling addiction. Someone's got to keep Bowler's Anonymous in business! We hung out at Heather & Mike's for awhile - watched the Olympics as Claudia entertained us.

  • Kevin Farmer grilled us up some roasted corn, brats and polish sausages before The Draft. He's quite the Master Griller. Also, Ryan couldn't get enough of the Von Hanson's beef jerkey and beef sticks. This was a low-calorie meal.

  • The Draft. It's your chance to prove that the NFL players play for you, and only you, on any given Sunday. Your role as the Monday Morning Quarterback has never been more coveted. If you fail, you will fall victim to the heckles and laughter of your rivals. But if you succeed, you will raise your 13th beer and drink to the soldiers you've chosen to represent you in this 16 week war of pride. It's what I live for. Well, not really, but it was true on Saturday. In proper Geek-Style, I arrived with my laptop in tow. This was an auction-style draft and I was nervous. Stay below your $200 salary cap, but don't leave money on the table. Go after who you want, but don't overpay. Look for great values, but don't forget even steals take up a roster spot. Nominate someone you think others will overpay for to drain their cap early on, but don't get caught doing this in later rounds - you'll get stuck with him. My strategy was to observe at first. Bid up to my figured values, but not overpay. Get to know the other managers, find their weaknesses and go in for the kill. I was a little too conservative - I left $19 on the table which means I could have had Moss or Holmes even, but I have a solid team.
    (A. Brooks, J. Plummer, D. McAllister, C. Dillon, R. Johnson, T. Jones, K. Jones, D. Mason, K. Robinson, R. Smith, B. Lloyd, J. Shockey, D. Graham, J. Elam, J. Brown). They should be fairly consistent and I think I'm a few good pick-ups from a playoff bound team. Too bad I didn't think about the Brooks/McAllister combination more carefully, but you can't win them all! I'm an instant auction fan - I would recommend it to anyone. That is, if you're man enough.

  • Post-draft, we headed downtown. Hyser met us at the Refuge and we danced until the lights came on. As if we could resist Pizza Luce.

  • Ryan and I headed up to Fletcher's early on Sunday and ran a few set/spike drills. It was just Josh, Katie, Ryan and I and we dominated the match. Won all 3 games and stopped at Champps for dinner on the way home. We watched the Olympics until we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer.

  • As part of our anniversary present, I took Ryan to the Vikings Intra-Squad Scrimmage on Tuesday. It was at the National Sports Center in Blaine. There was a great turnout and the teriyaki turkey on a stick was actually worth $5! We had a few beers, took a few pictures and tried to get a player, any player's, signature. I was surprised nobody was eager to interact with the fans - after all, this would be the final hoorah for many who will be cut this week. Against all odds, Lesnar won't be one of them. Maybe it's not too much of a surprise. After all, his jersey is already for pre-order. After the game, we had pizza at Tasty Pizza in Blaine. It was just like I remembered it. Some call it cardboard - I call it heaven in a box! Afterwards we revisited where it all began... we had a beer at BeBops. Oh the memories :) Are we driving around in circles?

  • Hyser and I had Arroz con Pollo at Acapulco before heading up to Bentley's last night. Mexican Stir-fry rocks. Ryan met up with us and we hung out with Wendy, Emily, Dan and the gang. It was fun. Hyser and I laughed because we went out to meet up with everyone since she hasn't seen them in ages and well, I don't get up there on as many Wednesdays in the summer, but ended up talking to each other most of the night anyway.

  • Tonight is our first kickball game. I'm just hoping not to get smacked in the head with the big red ball.

  • Ryan has a couple of fantasy football drafts himself this weekend and Saturday Hyser, Pam, Ryan & I are going to Float-rite Park for the Projekt Revolution Tour. Because it's been awhile since the last time we mud-wrestled.

    Love and Placekickers,

  • Tuesday, August 17, 2004

    Standing Ovation

    La Belle Vie left nothing to be desired. What an amazing evening!

    We got to Stillwater in no time. We arrived early, were greeted with warmth and served with enthusiasm and class.

    Their menu consists of very unique dishes - we had such a hard time deciding! Our server encouraged us to take our time and brought the best bread I've ever tasted to enjoy with our wine.

    We decided to start with Bruchetta which was refreshingly different. Grilled sourdough topped with a generous layer of tomato, garlic, green onion, basil and capers. Boring is no word to describe the palate of flavors in all of their dishes.

    We chose Beef Carpaccio for our first course. It was absolutely amazing. It was stuffed with steak tartare and served with a delicate white truffle sauce, wild mushrooms and wax bean accents. The mixture of flavors was nothing short of exhilarating.

    I'll count our second course as the 2nd basket of bread for which our hunger was insatiable. 3 words - New French Bakery. Mmm-mm.

    Ryan had the Beef Tenderloin with warm potato salad. The texture and fullness of the flavor was unbelievable. I chose the halibut served over sweet corn with a lobster, mushroom salad. The sweetness of the corn with the tender flavor of the fish was like nothing else I've ever known. We were in heaven!

    We left feeling completely satisfied and anxious for our next visit. Sadly, the Stillwater location will be closing this year and re-opening downtown Minneapolis. You might think I'd be happy since it will be within a mile from my place, but the aspect we enjoyed the most was the quaintness and personal attention. I don't see how that won't be sacrificed by moving to the city. I'm sure the menu will continue to be impressive and no doubt your mouth will leave happy, but there's something to be said about the overall dining experience. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm so afraid it will blend into every other upscale restaurant in Minneapolis. My suggestion? Make your reservation and enjoy an afternoon in Stillwater soon. It's a beautiful town, romantic and playful and your stomach will thank you!

    After dinner, we walked up and down Main Street stopping in where we were inclined for a drink. We half-watched the Packers lose when we weren't lost in each other's smiles.

    I'm the luckiest girl in the entire world.


    Monday, August 16, 2004


    We were putting up runs like nobody's business on Friday. Pro Service didn't stand a chance. Final score was 23-1.

    Also, I escaped without injury. I didn't even have to slide, dive or execute any double-twist, double-tuck, and front-layout combinations.

    I grilled on Saturday - whipped up a mesquite barbecue pork tenderloin, potatoes, onions and mushrooms and roasted corn. I'm still getting to know my grill - seems that for indirect heat, you do have to put coals on both sides and cook in the middle - piling the heat up on one side with the meat on the other cooks far too slowly. So this was another meal in courses - fresh mozzerella garlic bread, followed by corn and finally the main course. Meanwhile, the Vikings were beating the Cardinals in our pre-season debut. It's rumored that Denny Green shed a tear as he left the dome.

    At about 10pm, Ryan, Kevin, Noah, Steve and Chris walked to Nye's, then to Champps where we met Nate and Chara/Charlie/Char... I feel awful because "Char" and I spend much of the night talking incessantly and I really really like her - even gave her my e-mail address so we can keep in touch and yet it seems I may have mis-heard her name since I thought it was "Char" and Ryan heard "Chara" or "Charlie" with a soft "ch". Anyway, we had a lot of fun and hopefully the Minneapolis newbies enjoyed the scene. We all piled into Nate's Liberty and had another beer at Hyser's & my place. Naturally ABC made it into the mix and proved everyone knows the words to "Iesha".

    Sunday, Ryan and I enjoyed the best turkey sandwiches ever and watched the US get tromped on by Puerto Rico. It's no longer the Dream Team folks. The volleyball action was much better and geared us up for Fletchers. We headed up an hour early and ran some drills. Seemed to help us a lot - Ryan and I had a rhythm all 3 games. We won all 3 and stuck around for some just-for-fun play. I'm working on my setting. The goal for next year is to have my back-set down. Maybe even the upside-down-backwards-between-the-legs set.

    Today is Ryan and my 1 year anniversary. It's hard to believe it's already been 365 days! I've felt lucky every single day since we met and can't imagine being anywhere else or anywhere safer. We're celebrating at La Belle Vie in Stillwater. Instead of the rain they predicted last week, it should be very pleasant - sunny and 70's. Perfect for a nice post-dinner walk. I can hardly wait!

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    Football Fiender

    For seriously contemplating tailgating on Saturday.

    For a pre-season game.

    It feels wrong to be excited about football already. I hate to wish the summer away, but... 27 days until kick-off!

    Broken Traditions

    Tonight will bring the final 2 softball games of the season.

    In the face of tradition, I'm totally NOT going to injure myself in the last inning.

    Even though our 2nd game is against Pro Service. And they're not nice.

    I should probably wear body armor and a football helmet. Especially since it's Friday the 13th.

    Thursday, August 12, 2004


  • 7 days ago: Celebrated the MMSS project completion at Sweeney's Saloon & Grille in St. Paul. Couldn't have asked for a better group to celebrate with. Too bad the service was horrific.

  • 6 days ago: Spent time with Emily and Luke - met Lily (who makes my urge to get my own puppy nearly uncontrollable), burned stuff and made s'mores. Also, see laughter and 3am.

  • 5 days ago: Saw Grandma in Princeton. The nursing home is very nice. She's doing OK, but I'm scared for her and hurt for Grandpa. Please pray for them. Grandpa, Shari, Rob, Mom and I had dinner at The Frontier. Their coleslaw was just like KFC.

  • 4 days ago: Ryan and I took in a Twins game. The A's held them in the 9th and they ended up going into 18 innings! Unfortunately, they lost. We played 3 volleyball games at Fletchers and hurried home to grill up some spiced burgers and cheddarwursts. Mmm-mm, sausage.

  • 3 days ago: I finally made it back to the healthclub. Amazing how 2 weeks of missed workouts can make you feel like a sissy.

  • 2 days ago: Hyser and I enjoyed some girl time at Chevy's. Because they have margaritas and the thinest, tastiest chips within 4 miles. Also, we had a coupon. Sadly, we had to order the chocolate ooey-gooey-chewy sundae in order to use the coupon. Who would have thought that a rich warm brownie topped with ice cream and real whipping cream could end up netting you $5? (and probably 5 pounds!)

  • 1 day ago: I made it to the healthclub again - impressed since it tends to be hard for me to get back on the wagon once I fall off. Especially since this workout literally kicks my ass. 24 squats+12 lunges on each leg+24 alternating step lunges+12 squat jumps in 90 seconds. Times 2. My trainer hates me.

  • Today: I had lunch with Ken and Connie. Ken's recovering from his knee surgery well. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed way too much Chinese food at the Fortune House in Roseville.

  • Tomorrow: In between meetings I'm going to sneak off to have lunch with Emily. I'm exchanging my drapes and my old PC for her company. And who says you can't buy love???

  • In 4 days: 365 days ago this day, the St. Paul Saints played the Joliet Jackhammers. The Saints might have lost 8-3 but something else was won. Hyser, Mandy & Scot were witnesses. Here ends all cheesiness.

    Hope you're all doing well!

  • Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Emily & Luke's Puppy

    Meet Lily.

    She's a pisces who loves long walks in the park and enjoys playing fetch and chewing shoes, preferrably new ones. She's playful, sweet and not afraid of anything. [More Pictures]

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Berger's Burger

    Hyser sent this to me:

    The story goes that it's from Denny's Beer Barrel Pub and contains:

    • 6 lbs of hamburger

    • 1 lg onion

    • 2 whole tomatoes

    • 1/2 head of lettuce

    • 1 1/4 lb cheese

    • 1 plate sized bun

    • 1/2 cup ketchup

    • 1/2 cup mustard

    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

    • 1/2 cup relish

    • 1 cup banana peppers

    • and 6 dill pickle spear quarters to top it off

    Apparently you have 3 hours to eat this monstrosity and you win a year's supply of Pepto Bismol. (Just kidding about the last part).

    Also, it looks like it's true.

    We both misspelled "burger" berger. That's right, I'm larger than life and bound to cause heartburn.

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Busy BBQ-er

    For over-doing? I know, I know. I say I'm too busy and then I go all out crazy on an impromptu BBQ...

    But it was fun and I really enjoyed getting all of our friends together. Besides, seeing everyone savor the meal I'd prepared made everything worth it.

    Even the 3 hours I spent on the chicken salad :)

    Adventures in BBQ'ing

    It's funny how things start small... as in Hyser mentions Big Head Todd plays somewhere in Minneapolis on July 31st. This was early in the month so we decided we'd eventually stumble upon the details and make our way to see them.

    Then Jason Berg is sent to Spain for 3 weeks - his return date is 7/30. I told him about Big Head Todd and he said he'd like to check it out. I figured I could grill up something before we all headed downtown.

    Which led to inviting Kevin Farmer up from Dubuque. And somehow my "famous" ribs came up which led to an all out BBQ.

    I don't mean to bore you, but I have to document this so that next time I decide to have a little BBQ, I will either enlist an army of help or think brats.

    I've been craving chicken salad so that was a no-brainer. Also, I HAD to make a double batch so that there would be leftovers. Maybe next time I'll consider that it takes 3 hours to make a double batch since I don't have a bowl as big as the state of Texas in which to mix it in. Also, I'm a perfectionist so this means I find a way to make several smaller batches and then mix bits of each together so that they're consistent in taste and texture.

    I recently got a knock-off recipe for KFC coleslaw so I gave that a shot. Forget about the fact that you have to chop a whole head of cabbage into pieces the size of RICE.

    I worked an extremely early shift on Friday so I could rub the ribs down, make the spinach dip, chip dip and coleslaw. Ryan and I played 2 softball games, came home to clean up and met Kevin at Blondies in the BP. After the bar, we made a double-batch of Special K bars.

    Saturday morning, I made the beer bread, started the grill smoking, put on the ribs, cut up the bars, chopped the veggies, de-silked the corn and started setting everything up for the guests. Ryan ran to the liquor store for beer and cub for the last minute items.

    Chad and Wendy were the first to arrive, then Kevin, Berg and Jeff. The ribs were supposed to be done at 4 but I must not have had the heat high enough so I threw on more coals and kept them smoking. It's probably a good thing that they took longer - otherwise I'd have all of the appetizers leftover too!

    The ribs still had a couple of hours left at 7pm so I started on the corn. I slathered on the special butter, wrapped them up and grilled them. We joked about this being a 6 course meal and the corn kept everyone happy for another couple of hours.

    9pm comes around and the ribs are obviously done by now but they're not falling off the bone like they usually are. There's about an hour standing between us at this point. We decide to give them 30 more minutes and go back to the spinach dip and beer.

    The ribs were gone within 5 minutes. I'm not kidding. They may not have been the usual falling-off-the-bone tender but they were the best tasting ribs I've ever made!

    Everyone helped clean up and we (Hyser, Ryan, Farmer, Berg, Jeff, Steve and crap, I forgot his name) headed to The Drink.

    We had a couple of drinks, then left the stand-still-smelly-drunk crowd for the Refuge. This would be where I became smelly drunk. But that's besides the point.

    I'd like to say I escaped Saturday night injury free, but I can't tell a lie. I am so glad everyone was able to make it though and that they enjoyed the food and company. That's what it's all about! My only regret is not taking any pictures. Of the food, not the aftermath :)

    Until the Vikings' first home game... oh how I can't wait! I so have my rib game on!

    How could I forget the irony of the fact that Big Head Todd was playing at Ribfest at the exact moment that our ribs came off the grill. And though the band was the instigator for the BBQ, we neither saw, heard nor walked by the festival at any point of the night.

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