Mac is back!

I hope you all enjoyed Evan's first contribution to The Tales of E & C (see below). I know I sure did and am looking forward to many more entries to come!

I just thought I'd take a minute to update you all on the incredible adventures of my dear friend -- my Mac. You see, a couple of weeks ago, right about the time when I was beginning to edit Evan's variety show movie (which will be posted soon!), my hard drive died! Well, the Mac Geniuses will tell you it was corrupted, but to me my poor Mac was dead. I never realized before how much I value my time spent with this machine. It is not just my outlet to email and for social connections -- it is the hub of almost all of my favorite creative projects! I do have a notebook I carry with me to record spontaneous thoughts, I like to read, love cooking up new meals, and I could always decide to finish that wedding scrapbook I started two years ago.... it's not like I don't have other creative things to do. But my Mac is my neat and tidy "brain" wherein I bring it all together - wherein lies all my projects and ideas from the past few years.

You can imagine the panic I should have felt the moment I realized my mac was no more.

But I didn't panic. I didn't fret. I didn't even raise my pulse. For you see, when you have a geekster father like I do who instills in you the importance of regular Time Machine backups and sets you up with this "safety net", you have absolutely nothing to fear. My Mac was dead, he was dead as a doornail (catch the literary reference?!). But one new (and expensive) hard drive later, and I was able to perform my very own "brain transplant". It looked something like this:
... And voila! Everything from my old hard drive, including my files, photos, movies, emails - you name it - even my personal settings, were back on my computer as if nothing happened. If you have a Mac and aren't currently utilizing the Time Machine feature, I highly recommend you go get yourself an external hard drive (definitely worth the price) and set up your own "safety net".

After a couple weeks of R & R My Mac is back in the game! And so am I.

P.S. I appropriately tagged this photo "geekster". I realize it isn't normal to take photos of your computer screen as it performs "brain surgery". I just couldn't help myself. Quite the monumental moment for my Mac!

Outdoor baseball...It's more than just a game

For the first twenty-odd something years of my life, I spent a lot of time on the baseball field. I truly loved the game of baseball; getting time to spend some time outside on warm summer nights was simply icing on the cake. Unfortunately, during my last couple years of playing, I often spent more time on a bench than I did in the field. I stuck with it during those years but it gave me a chance to think about the cool experiences and relationships I've built while playing baseball. How far could you spit a sunflower seed? How many times did it take me until I was able to hit a ball over the pine trees? How far could we push the limit with the umpire or the opposing team before somebody got into trouble? And then, while coaching in recent years, How can I best teach these youngsters how to play the game?

The other day Carolyn and I made the drive downtown to check out the Minneapolis public library (a pretty fine structure in and of itself), and possibly make the 5 block walk to Target Field, the new home of the Minnesota Twins. I convinced Carolyn that Target Field should get looked at first, since it would be dark later on and we wouldn't be able to see the plaza and peek through the gates. To our astonishment the field was wide open to the public!! (We later realized it was for season ticket holders only... whoops). Carolyn and I strolled on in and soaked up the lively environment. So this was what baseball is dogs stands, ice cream shops, people watching, and glorious sunshine! We spent about an hour at the ballpark, but we could have easily spent another enjoying the environment that is known to be "outdoor baseball."

No, there wasn't a game going on... No, there weren't vendors shouting "malt cups, get yer malt cups," and no, there wasn't a full house of screaming Minnesotans cheering their most dearest Twins on. Outdoor baseball is here, not only for baseball enthusiasts such as myself, but also for those who simply love being outside surrounded by people that do. As we sat in a couple of random seats that probably have never been sat in, it got me thinking about the countless hours that spectators spend watching the game. How many mothers are out there remembering those summer nights watching their sons play, or maybe future players dreaming of making a catch like Denard Span (insert Kirby Puckett or Torii Hunter if necessary) just made? Maybe there are former players, reminiscing about playing in the Old Met, Metrodome, or just down the street? How many people are there for the social aspects of the game, using it as a chance to catch up on gossip, crosswords, or even knitting? America's game has always been there for us, allowing us - players and spectators alike- to enjoy baseball for so many reasons. And Minnesota... our game just got a whole lot better, so ... LET'S PLAY BALL!!

What is Success?

I am in the process of editing a little video from Evan's Variety Show at Lakeville North High School this past weekend, but since I am having some issues with my video-editing software and am unable to post the rather hilarious video at this time (which includes a boy-band dance and men's cheerleading!) I will leave you with something else -- equally as inspirational ; )

Earlier this year my mom gave me a magnet with a great quote on it. I love having it on my fridge to read and remember every day. When you hear about what others are "accomplishing" with their lives, especially in alumni updates and magazines, it is hard to feel that you are "doing" enough with your life. This quote reminds me that although those other accomplishments are important and striving to reach your goals has its value, these are the little things that really aren't that little; these are the things that really matter:

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of

children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false

friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better,

whether by a healthy child, a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!

Have a wonderful, "successful" day -- and check back for some boy-band dancing soon!

Cooking Secret from the Pierson Kitchen

You know how the Supermarket pulls out all the stops for their Saturday afternoon or Sunday post-church rush? Energy drinks, cookies, and exotic fruit samples wait for hungry shoppers at the end of every aisle, hoping to fill their bellies while loosening their grips on their wallets. We usually pride ourselves on not being a member of that group. We like to enjoy the wide empty aisles of Target on a Friday night where you can meander at your own pace without distraction or bumping into crying children, and pick up your feet and ride your cart down the ice cream aisle if you so please (hehe). Who needs samples to enjoy shopping, right?

Well, sometimes those Sunday one o'clock samples really do pay off.

The other weekend we were grumbling along in Lunds (well okay, we never really grumble in Lunds, it's our favorite store, but we were disappointed in ourselves for shopping during the crazy hour) going down our list of Lunds staples (mostly produce), when something distracted me from the butt-end of the pineapple I was attempting to select.

What's this? They're sampling salmon today? Only at Lunds do you receive such a glorious consolation prize for shopping during nutty hour.

So I headed right over to the salmon booth and sure enough, it filled my belly and loosened my grip on my wallet. The real product on display was a lemon oil that can be used as a marinade on chicken and salmon, or in pasta dishes and stir fries. Honestly, this is the easiest way to create wonderfully tasty dishes. Such a light lemon flavor, but strong enough you don't need anything else - except maybe some parmesan cheese for the pasta (and the lady sampling the salmon used some dill-type seasoning called 'Fish Fry'). So far we have only used it in stir fries and pasta, but I am excited to bring out the grill this spring and continue the inspiration. We purchased our bottle on sale for about $11, so it isn't the cheapest thing in the world, but you don't need much at a time (and only at the end of cooking) so it will last for a while. I'm not sure where you can find this product besides Lunds or Byerlys (upscale MN grocery stores, like Wegman's in NJ) but I'm sure there are similar products.

My favorite creation thus far is probably the photo below. First stir fry a ton of veggies (asparagus, snow peas, broccoli, green pepper, onion, whatever!), with chicken. Only add the oil at the end as a finishing oil, and not much! Try a teaspoon or tablespoon and taste. We served ours over angel hair pasta with parmesan, feta cheese, and peanuts (Evan likes having the peanuts included with the stir fry veggies so they get crispy and warm).

Go buy a bottle and have fun!

Spring Thaw?

Contrary to what the image in my new March header may lead you to believe, winter in Minnesota appears to be on its way out of town. At least it has felt that way for the past couple of weeks as we've had glorious sunny days in the mid 40s (okay, not every day, but at least a few!) and the snow has begun its retreat that brings on puddles and muddy shoes. I was actually surprised I never felt fed up with winter this year, perhaps due to all of our outdoor play and skiing adventures? But that doesn't mean I am not rejoicing as spring begins to creep back into our world. You would think that after 26 years I could remember the patterns of the changing seasons, but every year, without fail, I realize I have forgotten that spring and warmth really do come - we do not live in an eternal winter (although sometimes I wonder what life as a Narnian would be like, haha). I obviously know in my mind that spring arrives, and summer too, but it's that immediate, everyday part of my mind that forgets -- that you don't always have to bundle up to battle old man winter, wonder if your car will start as it grumbles and coughs at your "wake-up" attempt, and sleep with socks on to avoid the curled-toe morning walk to the bathroom. And I could go on, as could you. Here are some hopeful signs of spring on its way:

- the ice in our driveway, front steps, and roof has melted.

- the icicles, which grew to great lengths at the beginning of the thaw, have fallen like daggers and shattered on the ground (see photos below). The first day one fell we were inside the house and the noise was so sudden and loud I called to Evan thinking he had fallen!

- the squirrels are ravishing and stealing from the bird feeder! I like the squirrels most of the year and get a kick watching them, but the first time I saw a squirrel hanging upside down from our little bird feeder it was so offensive and wrong I ran out there and took the feeder down! We have since tried many tricks in getting food past the squirrels, but alas, nothing has worked. We tried a different feeder that we thought could fool the squirrels, and we even tried one of those shields that goes above the feeder with the purpose of deflecting the squirrels and sending them to the ground (muahahah). There are two squirrels who frequent our feeder. One I consider a normal squirrel who cannot get by this protective shield. The other is Super Squirrel for nothing stops him; he sidesteps this shield like he was born to invade feeders, and makes a point of sending some food down to the earth-bound squirrel below. They work as a team, these two. And by mid-day, the contents of our feeder are stashed away in their little squirrel nests. Although I like to pretend the unruly and hungry squirrels are a sign of the end of a long winter and spring on the horizon, I wouldn't be surprised if they continued this routine throughout the summer. Those little buggers.

- Our little mounds of dirt around the house are no longer snow covered and will be sprouting with little tulips any day... ok, well not any day just yet. But it will be exciting to see a bit of color in our yard whenever they do peak up from the soil.

- Evan is done coaching basketball! Wahoo! Now spring can really begin. He has a blast coaching the freshman girls, but it is nice to see him before 6 or 7pm (when he leaves the house at 6am or earlier!) and not having to cook dinner by myself -- or at all ; )

As the days continue to grow longer we will see more and more signs of spring on its ways. Here are a few photos of our amazing icicle artwork we had "displayed" in our backyard for a few weeks:

More icicles -- Winter chimes (similar fall photo!) -- Bunny or squirrel tracks?

Our beautiful bird feeder before the squirrels took interest (Xmas gift from the Piersons) and a cardinal and friend enjoying a snack!
Winter at 6032. Let's hope this is a fond farewell for the season!

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