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march 2006

New Pictures

July 20, 2007 4:19 PM

I posted an album of my favorite images from the 4th of July up at Nick's cabin. It was really nice to get the camera out again. The Designer is out of town this weekend and outside of scheduling some golf, I think I might get out with the camera and try to be a little creative.

Album link on the left, but for those who are lazy...

2007 4th of July

Vacation Double-Down

July 13, 2007 1:18 AM

The picture above was taken the last time I spent the Fourth of July with my buddy Nick, up at his cabin just North of Alexandria, MN several years ago. We almost killed ourselves repeatedly with a lovely combination of beer and fireworks. Luckily, we both lived, and it was one of the best 4ths ever.

This year, Nick and I decided to have a 4th repeat. This time around I had some extra ammunition though...I towed the boat with me.

I had to wait out some storms on my way up and rolled into his place around 10:30 Tuesday night. Nick, already "working" on vacation was absolutely sloshed, having pounded a ton of beer while still waiting for me to show up before eating. Ever so smart though (even trashed) the coals of the grill were red hot right when I rolled up, and it took about three minutes from the time I hit the door until the time I had a beer in my hand and a burger on the grill.

Ah. Vacation.

So we did what guys on vacation do. We drank a shitload of beer, played golf, went fishing, had a bonfire every night, and sat around relaxing. The only "statistic" worth mentioning is the following: 2 guys. 4 days. 7 cases of beer. Yeah, we drank a lot. It was actually hot enough to sweat most of it out, and we did eventually resign ourselves to purchasing a ton of bottled water as well, but we definitely had our fill of booze.

The only downside of the trip was Saturday. A tree had fallen down for no apparent reason on a power line, and after the power company came out at 3:00 in the morning, Nick and I spent most of Saturday afternoon timbering up the tree and burning it. Not something that is overwhelmingly fun to do on the hottest day of the year. When I went to sleep that night around 2:00 am, the thermometer outside still read 92 degrees. Yeah, hot.

But as if that wasn't enough, it was only the first half of what would become one of the greatest weeks ever.

Sunday morning after cleaning up after ourselves and buttoning his cabin up, Nick headed back South for the Twin Cities, while I made my way East across rural Minnesota on narrow county roads bound for a resort just North of Lake Mille Lacs. There, The Designer's family was renting a cabin for the week (which they've done for the past 18 years) and celebrating The Designer's birthday.

It took me a whopping 3 1/2 hours to go just over 120 miles, but 30 minutes of that was a poorly judged trip into Target in Brainerd. It required me to go back south down Highway 371 (the main artery road to the Brainerd Lakes Area) about a 1/2 mile. Nothing like solid vacation traffic stopped on a highway.

I showed up in the afternoon shortly before 2:00 and announced my presence with a cooler full of beer. I found The Designer, who beat me there by about four hours, asleep on a pontoon boat taking in a vacation nap. A "Hi Bob" from a family friend quickly awoke her. About 30 minutes later, her and I were making our way across the lake in my boat taking in the day.

I spent three days there, including The Designer's birthday. I originally had no plans to be there, but was a last-minute invite by her mother. I had "schemed" to get her birthday gifts FedEx'ed up to the resort, but thought giving it to her myself would be better. I managed to chase half her gift down at a St. Paul sorting facility, while the other had to be delivered.

Sunday night her and I took the boat out for a sunset cruise, and I had her open her gift as it was one of the few moments alone we managed. She was very touched by the thoughtfulness of it, and the way it was packaged for an "experience" via FedEx.

The next day was her birthday, and included just about everything she wanted to do the entire summer, crammed into one day. Her dad and I took her out tubing, and she's still whining about being sore from it. While we were out on the lake, the other half of her birthday gift arrived, and she walked in the cabin to find a dozen of the largest red roses awaiting her. Several other family members showed up later in the day, and we all had a wonderful barbeque/happy hour. After that, she climbed into an inflatable raft and floated around out on the lake. I even managed to get one of her young cousins to kayak some beer out to her. That night we concluded the day with a sunset cruise and a wonderful bottle of wine she got when she was in Sonoma earlier this spring.

Not one minute of that day went by without a smile on her face.

Mine either.

The rest of the vacation was equally great, involving cards, stories, and flat-out fun.

I came home Wednesday, had lunch with my sister, dinner with my parents, and then caught back up with The Designer for a night cap. It concluded a wonderful eight days spent with Nick, The Designer and her family.

They say you can mark a vacation by how hard it is to come home. Well, going to work this morning took every ounce of energy I had to actually drag myself into the office. I already miss the relaxation and fun of the last week, but I know more fun awaits.

My birthday is a mere 33 days away, and we already have our plans for it. The Designer and I will be taking another weekend getaway to a place that's one of her favorites, and mine as well.

In the meantime, I'm absolutely positive each day between will be a blast in it's own right.

I could easily go on about the past week for several pages, including one of the most amazing things anybody has ever said or done for me, but some of it I have to keep to myself, including coming face to face with a full-fledged Wahoo Moment.

Anyhoo, I hope y'all had an amazing week too. If not, keep looking forward to the next one!

The Hoodbury Invitational

July 3, 2007 6:02 PM

Years ago a friend of mine was making fun of the city I used to live in. Woodbury, on the East side of the Twin Cities, is one of the most affluent cities in the nation. It's your typical upper-class suburb with the entire city cut up into housing subdivisions with awful names like "Hidden Lakes" and things like that.

In a nod to the movie Boyz in the Hood, the phrase that was coined was "It's all good in the Hoodbury!"

So I named a golf tournament after it.

Last weekend was the 4th annual Hoodbury Invitational. On the last Saturday in June, I invite a bunch of my friends out for a scramble/best shot golf tournament. The winner each year receives a pass-down jacket (ala The Masters) and we all go out and drink up a storm afterwards. I even came up with a few unique rules:

1) Beer Holes
All par-3s are played as beer holes. There are four par-3s at Eagle Valley. The player whose tee shot ends closest to the pin on the green will be purchased a beer by the player whose tee shot is farthest from the pin, regardless of position. The player receiving the beer must cannonball said beer as soon as possible after completing the hole. If no players end up on the green, the beer is "pushed" to the next hole and will require the winner to cannonball two beers (or more if pushed across more holes.) As a cruel example of how this works, in year one of the Hoodbury, three of us hit shots close to the pin but just off the green. Nick then hit his ball on the green, but ended at least twice as far as any of the shots off the green. He was the closest to the pin on the green, but also the farthest away. As such, he had to buy his own beer and cannonball it. Standard hole-in-one etiquette still applies and should a player drain one, he is required to purchase beer for all participants in his group. They are not required to cannonball, however the player who drained the shot is.

2) Max Shots Per Hole
In order to make the scramble a bit more competitive, on any given hole, any single player in the group can only use TWO shots. As an example, if I were to hit a great tee shot and a really good approach and my team chose to use both shots, the team could not use my putt. So think carefully about what shots you use. Sometimes taking a putt a few feet further away or a slightly shorter drive is actually the better play.

3) The Jacket
After the round, the winning team will select their most valuable player. This person will be given the Hoodbury Invitational jacket. This person will hold the jacket for a year until the next Hoodbury Invitational. Quast held the jacket year one, Melissa year two, and Andrew is the current jacket holder.

This year's tourney was an absolute blast. We had three teams of three and at the turn we were all within one stroke of each other. My team managed to hold up pretty strong on the back while the others fell apart a little bit. For the first time since the inception of this tourney, I actually managed to hold the jacket for 2007. My team came out on top, two strokes ahead of second, and six strokes ahead of third.

Andrew modified the beer hole rule slightly by adding that the beer is the buyer's choice, which I agreed with, and then paid for. Instead of an easy-swilling light beer as I did "The Stinger" (the name we gave having to chug more than one due to a previous push) I had to slam a Heineken and a LaBatt's Blue.

So that was last Saturday. Sunday The Designer and I spent the entire day on the boat, grilled out for dinner, then took a walk around Lake Calhoun at sunset.

Rough life. ;-)

This weekend for the 4th I'm headed up North with Nick to Alexandria where we partied it up a few years ago. I'll be up there into the weekend, then will head over to Aitkin to spend The Designer's birthday with her and her family the next week at a resort.

Shit, it's 4:00...I gotta go get the boat and hit the highway!

OK, happy 4th everyone!


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