Ireland or Bust

We went to Dublin!

When your coworker finds super cheap tickets to Dublin…..talking about $304 per person round trip….you can’t really say no to going abroad. Momma Mishappenings, my sister, The Engineer, and I all loaded up and flew over for a quick 4 day adventure in Dublin and the surrounding country side.

We arrived in the city around 8am on Thursday, basically 20 hours after we boarded our first flight out of Minneapolis. After a very brief…..frankly too brief….power nap at our Airbnb, we ventured out into the city. Our house was down in Dublin 8, a quiet district a bit south of the downtown area and several of the popular destinations. It was sometimes nice to be a bit away from the hustle and bustle, but if you’re going to Dublin mostly to party and enjoy the bar area, I would stay closer to the River Liffy.

I didn’t get a ton of photos taken the first day, I was mostly too tired to think to take any pictures. We did visit St. Patricks Cathedral as well as the original fortress of the city, Dublin Castle. The original castle was almost entirely destroyed in a fire, but they do have an interesting exhibit which allows you to see the ancient foundations. It was an odd fact to learn, but St. Patricks Cathedral was actually build outside of the walls that protected the medieval city of Dublin. There was a cathedral built inside of the city walls, but because of the supposed historical significance of a bubble spring well that St. Patrick might have used for baptisms, the second cathedral was built outside of the safety the walls could provide.

Seems like a very risky thing to do when the threat of invasions and war is lurking every time people sailed up to your shores, but I guess they didn’t pick where St. Patrick chose to perform his baptisms. Also, they built the cathedral on top of some marshy river land. It means that there is not a crypt below the church, and also the walls of the church have shifted and bowed as the soft, wet ground moves beneath it. Another strange choice the way I see it, but the church has stood for hundreds of years so what do I know about it.

The next morning we were well rested and headed off to tour the Guinness Brewery. It’s self guided and ends with beer and food, so you’re free to spend a few hours soaking up as much or as little information as you would like. The gravity bar at the top was very crowded and overly warm when we got up there….it was a surprisingly sunny day….but there are plenty of other places to explore and sip your pint in. Also, do yourself a favor and get a bag of the spicy chips….so spicy and savory! I need to find a reliable supplier of those chips in my life!

The Guinness tastes different in Dublin. They say it tastes different everywhere in the world, but the best obviously can only be had in Dublin. I will drink a Guinness anytime anywhere, but The Engineer and Momma Mishappenings aren’t huge fans of the Guinness we can get here in the States. Even they liked the Guinness fresh from the source! It’s smoother, a bit easier to drink, and doesn’t have the bitterness people typically comment about. If you’ve only had Guinness at bars in the USA it can be hard to imagine spending a whole night powering down pints of the black stuff….I mean I’ve done it….but it’s defiantly a commitment. In Dublin, it’s so smooth and easy to drink it’s like drinking any basic lager here.

We saw an Irish rainbow on the way to lunch and our visit to the other medieval cathedral in town! We stopped in a small chip shop near the cathedral and had a nice alfresco lunch of fish and chips in the cathedral yard. Note to your American taste buds…when they ask if you want salt and vinegar on your fish and chips, maybe request extra salt! Also, as you widdle down the huge filet and the mass of chips that come wrapped in newspaper….hold on to the paper. One brisk wind gust might send the whole thing flying off your lap as you consume the deliciousness!

Christ Church Cathedral was built inside of the original city walls, and is just down the street from Dublin Castle. Speaking of streets, Dublin streets are a bit confusing as they don’t form blocks at all. You often have to walk out of the way of where you want to go because nothing connects! Apparently they follow the original streets and paths of the medieval city, but I can’t imagine how people drive and live in them now.

The crypt of Christ Church is open to visitors, although it was under renovation during our visit so it was a little crowded. Also, their restroom was out of commission which lead us to run across the street and break into the fancy hotel bathroom! Much like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the walls of Christ Church have a slight visible bend to them. This was caused in part by the collapse of one side of the cathedral in 1562. Much of the cathedral was destroyed in the collapse, but they do have one small area of original tile flooring that was saved. That isn’t what is pictured, the original tiles are very worn and weathered, and had almost no color left. Replica tiles now align the floor of both historic cathedrals.

Both cathedrals were preserved and renovated with the donation of millions of dollars earned from alcohol! The Guinness family and and another prominent whiskey distiller in the area took the restorations of the cathedrals into their own hands in the 1800’s. It’s a shame to know that such gorgeous historical places could have been allowed to fall into such disrepair over the years, but I think that is just the way of history. Often times things teeter on the edge of disappearing forever before people realize their importance.

Fish and chips kinda view.
Notice the slight sway in the walls?!

Jameson is one of The Engineer’s favorite, so I took him on an early Valentine’s Day date night to a special tasting at the distillery while Momma MisHappenings and my sister hit up the shopping on Grafton Street.

A Tale of Four Whiskeys

We met for dinner at a pub I found through Instagram called the Hairy Lemon. It was small, crowded, and loud….but in a good way. The downstairs was just seating for dinner, but upstairs was just standing crowds of people drinking pints and having a Friday night at a pub. I had coddle, which is a traditional veggie and sausage stew. Momma had bangers and mash….hold the mash add extra roasted veggies. My Sis had fish and chips…..for the second time that day….but it was her birthday so that’s allowed!! The Engineer had shepherd’s pie which he informed me was better mine. :/

Saturday we headed back to Jameson Distillery to take the “official” tour as a family. Nothing like a bit of morning whiskey drinking to bring a family together! After some whiskey sampling and sipping we headed for lunch. Along the way we stopped in an area that started out a Georgian mansions, and eventually transitioned into tenement housing until almost 1980. It’s sometimes easy to forget that most of Ireland’s history has been tumultuous. We also like to think of European countries as these old, well established countries. Ireland is relatively new, having only gained their independence in the 1920’s.

While we were looking at the large, brick homes that became tenements, The Engineer and I had a nice chat with a local man. He thought a car near us that was booted belonged to us and we stopped on the side of the road to bust it off for us. He showed us his busting tools, and told us all about his previous car troubles and gave us a citizens view of the Irish economy…..it wasn’t a good view to be honest. He’d let the cops take his previous car because he owed taxes on it, but he had only paid 300 Euro to begin with for the car. It was also alarming to find out that parking can cost nearly 3 Euro an hour….no wonder cars and parking were such a hot issue for him. It was an entertaining chat for sure!

Lunch was at Nando’s, a chain chicken restaurant, and if you’re ever near one I would definitely recommend it! I mostly wanted to go because I watch some trashy, English reality TV shows, and they are always talking about going to Nando’s. Also, I think there is some lingering debates about whether or not its acceptable to take a date to Nando’s….I vote yes! Get your girl some spicy chicken and some sweet potato fries!

Image result for nandos

Seriously….go grab yourself a cheeky Nando’s!

Image result for cheeky nandos

After lunch we wandered down to Trinity College to see the library and the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a spectacular ancient book containing the 4 gospel books of the bible. It’s hard to describe if you aren’t there to see it in person. The fact that it is preserved in the condition it is even after being stolen and lost in the bogs for years is amazing. The long library….it’s amazing! It’s the way you imagine all college libraries should be. It’s volumes and volumes of books and knowledge lined up all neat and tidy and just waiting for you to dig in an discover something. It looks like it should just be a movie set, but this is an actual working library….on an actual college campus! If it doesn’t look like the library at your college, don’t feel bad…..mine looked nothing like it either! Maybe only the ancient libraries of Europe are allowed to look this good.

Sunday morning we boarded a tour bus and headed out into the countryside. We met farmers, sheep, and walked through the ruins of a church that stopped being used in 1214! It had gone through it’s life all before 1214!! That just amazes me. I love being American, but there is just something so impressive about the history that surrounds you in Europe that nothing in America will ever match. It’s the deep, robust, slow cooked kind of history you just can’t find over here in the New World!

First stop was to see a farmer named Rich and his herding dog Bruce. We learned a bit about the traditional way he and his family have been raising sheep in the mountains for generations.

There were even a few early lambs for cuddling!

After a visit will the lambs and an impressive herding demo from Bruce, we were off to the ancient monastic site and lakes of Glendalough. I’m not sure if Glendalough is technically a town anymore, but at one time it was a thriving center of religion nestled in a valley abutting the Wicklow mountains. Our guide pointed out several churches around the area, I think she said there were 6 or 7 in the immediate area. All are in ruins, although the largest one, the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, is mostly intact except for it’s roof. It was built in the 10th century and abandoned in 1214 because of the Norman invasion. Instead of being sprinkled around the countryside, religious leaders of the time were called back to the safety of Dublin….remember the wall around the city?!

There are two lakes near the monastic site, the Upper and Lower lake. To be honest, the Lower lake isn’t much to write home about. Actually it took me a while to even realize we were walking past the Lower lake. The Upper lake was amazing though, and totally worth the cold, windy hike. A word to the wise about traveling to Ireland. Even though the temperature might be projected to be in the mid to upper 40’s, you’ll need to pack like it’s a Midwest winter. I packed jackets and my raincoat, the things I would wear when it’s 50ish degrees here at home. While I was there I ended up buying mittens, an additional sweatshirt, and a scarf. Granted, I would have bought those things anyway, but it certainly helped with the temperature and wind.

Our last stop on the bus tour was Kilkenny. We had a cozy pub lunch next to a crackling fire, watched a rugby game with some locals, and saw the historic Smithwick’s brewery. Turns out we know nothing about rugby…even when trying to google the rules, but no one in the pub really seemed to notice or mind. Kilkenny is also home to a massive castle and it’s expansive ground. Thousands of acres belong to Kilkenny castle and the surrounding grounds. The castle itself looks almost modern from the outside, and served as a private residence for most of it’s existence. The carriage house and grounds across the street from the main castle have been converted into cute little shops and a restaurant. It was an impressive end to a day spent winding around small country roads watching sheep graze on hills in the distance.

Monday morning we said a very early morning goodbye to our lovely little Airbnb and took our final double decker bus ride back to the airport. For being a short trip, I feel like we really got in some activities. Granted, there are dozens of additional things to see and do in Dublin, but you can’t do everything and I feel like we got a good sampling of the city and surrounding countryside.

Since we’ve gotten home everyone has been asking if it was a good trip. I think it was, and I’m glad we went but I’m not sure I would return specifically to Dublin. It gave me a bit of the same impression I had when we went to New Orleans. I enjoyed it while I was there, but the reality of French Quarter doesn’t really live up to what you imagine it will be like. Dublin felt a bit the same to me. It was nice, we saw some lovely things, and had great experiences, but I had a much different idea of the city before I went. In my mind it had always seemed more quaint….less like the bustling metropolis that it is in real life.

If I go to Ireland again, which I wouldn’t turn down a few years in the future, I would like to adventure over to the other side of the island to see the cliffs and the small surrounding villages. Try something a little less city and a bit more country!

Outdoor Adventure

A couple weeks ago Lil B bought herself a pop up camper, so of course we all had to go test it out! I snagged what appeared to be the only open campsite in the Black Hills for the weekend, and The Engineer and I, his sister and brother in law, and Lil B and her girls all met up to have some fun in the sun and a few days without cellphone service!

36869998_10155653731548097_3180075274372907008_n.jpg

Lucky for The Engineer and I it didn’t rain, though for awhile on Saturday night it did look a bit dark and stormy.  We were just in a tent……a small tent once you put all our stuff……and Scout a Roo and her things…..into the tent.  The tent came from the premier retailer of outdoor equipment…..Menards :/

I wasn’t sure it would actually keep us dry if it needed to. I’m not sure that I’d want to be in that tent for anything other than a warm, sunshiney weekend….but for the $20 The Engineer spent on it it got the job done. Scout spent more time in the tent than anyone.  Having only briefly recovered from a 4th of July filled with death booms courtesy of our neighbors, the crackle of a nice campfire was more than her delicate nerves could take.  She spent the first night wedged between the tent wall and the air mattress, nose pointed as far from the fire as she could get.

My purchase for the trip was a percolator, and I was maybe more excited about it than a normal person should get! Come to find out, Lil Bs camper had several percolators stowed away inside, but better to have too much coffee than not enough! Actually, Lil Bs camper came with all sorts of forgotten camping accessories: roasting sticks, veggie roasting baskets…..it seemed like anything anyone had forgotten Lil B could scrounge up in her camper!  The cost of everything that was left inside the kitchen of her camper maybe totals more than she paid for the camper….it’s in great shape for it’s age and a bottomless supply of all things outdoor adventure related.  She found a great little buy!

Saturday morning we just made coffee on a camp stove……it wasn’t really my ideal camping experience, but it was fast and the girls desperately wanted to walk down to the lake. We all spent the day drinking and relaxing in the shade on the shore.  Well, the girls swam, and I did take my newly purchased giant unicorn float for a lap around the lake, but mostly we hung out and enjoyed the breeze. Our campsite, while it did have plenty of shape, did have a severe lack of breeze. Even Scout got in the camping spirit with several unforced dips into the lake. She doesn’t like to swim, but did spend some time walking around in chest deep water investigating things, so I was pretty proud! I became less proud when she discovered that campfires create lovely, crunchy, charcoal cube snackies and proceeded to hoover them up at an alarming pace.  Plus side it got her over her fear of campfires and she spent all of Saturday night out by the fire with us.  Down side…..she pooped…..a lot. :/

 

 

1576A3E5-B5BB-4966-95BA-DA8CD07538E9

Floating away from life’s bullshit on my mystical unicorn Misty!

I actually started a fire to make dinner that night, even though everyone said, “Just use the camp stoves, it’ll be so much easier.” No! We hauled The Engineer’s Grandma’s cast iron pan all the way out there, and God created cast iron so that mankind could cook directly over a smokey fire in nature!  So I made deer nachos over a campfire and they were amazeballs!  I think I’m just more down to rough it than maybe The Engineer is.  I’m willing to work a bit harder for some extra smokey flavoring!

Sunday morning I was the first one up, and I was determined to use my percolator over a fire……so I did!

5DBA94E0-819F-4BB8-86A6-23DCB59B4485.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then……I made bacon….and it was fantastic!  I think coffee tastes better slow brewed over a fire, but I will admit it does take some time. Having only used a percolator once, I spent several minutes in a panic and readjusting the pot over the fire being quite sure we had just experienced beginners luck the day before.  Suddenly…..percolation…..coffee was within my gasp! And, I only burnt one pan of bacon before I figured out the proper fire to pan placement!!

937D99F4-F0B9-42DA-BAFB-75AAFF5A0BCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished up our camping adventure with a trip to Lewie’s for beer and a burger for lunch, and I almost killed The Enginner making him hike up to Seth Bullock’s gravesite…..plus side he made his activity goal for the day in his new Apple Watch! I’m just trying to be helpful like that!  All in all it was pretty successful for our first camping trip!  The tent survived, Scout concurred some fears, no one got food poisoning, the camper didn’t roll spontaneously down the hill, and there were no major injuries!

 

SaveSave

Operation Thunder Chicken: Feel the Thunder

The Engineer and I had the opportunity to hunt a gorgeous, heavily wooded piece of private farm land last weekend that belongs to family friends.  We had never been to the property before, so we went Saturday afternoon to get a feel for the lay of the land.  It was miserably hot out, the ticks were swarming, and we heard not a single cluck, gobble, or yelp.

We were feeling rather defeated about the whole situation when on the way out we spotted a turkey across a dried up creek bed.  Too far away to take a shot, especially with my backpack on and an awkward bag of decoys falling all over the place.  The difference between public land, heavily hunted turkeys and mostly left to themselves private land turkeys became very clear when instead of sounding alarms and sprinting off…..this turkey just sorta wandered into a thicker wooded area all while continuing to pick for snacks along the way.

A hot and sweaty trudge up a hillside lead us back to the farmhouse on the property.  Just as I crested the top, I turned South to look out over the view of the valley and the Missouri River in the distance.  My picturesque view was jolted back to reality when 3 turkeys went flying out of a cedar tree probably 50 yards away.  The birds were clearly in the area, we just needed a better plan and some luck!

I’m not a morning person, and 4:30 comes real early.  Small consolation is that it’s no longer freezing outside, so you can actually sit around comfortably, even when it’s dark outside.  We drove out to the farm and wandered down to the place we had seen the turkeys the afternoon before.  Mostly unbeknownst to us, we set up right in the middle of the turkeys roosting lair!  Do you know what it’s like to listen to a far off group of roosted birds gobble in the distance, and then to hear  deafeningly loud gobbles that can only mean you’re almost directly below the flock?!?!  It’s amazing!  It will send chills of excitement all down your spine, and you will finally understand why they call it “Spring Thunder”!  Imagine the video below, but with more gobbles and much closer…..up in a tree and slightly to your left about 40 yards away!

Ugh, I so wish The Engineer and I were the kind of people who filmed our hunts.  But we aren’t, and mostly we are still trying to learn how to hunt turkeys.  I just wish I even had some audio to share about how amazing the gobbling was the other morning.  Alright….back to the turkeys.

Loud flapping sounds  and rapid clucks soon signaled the descent of the birds from their nighttime roosts.  The Engineer was sitting to my left, and had a clear view of the flock as they regrouped near the top of a small hill.  I looked out the blind to my right in time to see a single bird fly down about 40 yards away from the blind.  We called and waited as two hens from the left and the single bird from the right joined up together straight out from the blind about 30 yards.  I have sat in the blind with an arrow nocked every time we’ve been out, but I’ve never had a reason to clip my release onto my string, but these birds were finally giving me a reason!  The lone bird ended up being a jake, or young male bird, and he would have been legal to shoot.  The problem was, he was so small…..even smaller than the two hens, that by the time we could 100% tell he was a jake…..I didn’t have a clear shot.

At the time we didn’t worry too much about not taking a shot at the jake……there were 4 large, puffed up tom turkeys on the crest of the hill, and we were determined to move them towards us!  No reason to shoot a young, small bird when there are bigger and better options on the hill!  We were sure that our calling and our decoys would bring the big guys down the hill.  After all, we could hear them drumming, which research has told me is a good sign.  It’s breeding time after all, and no self respecting tom is gonna let his ladies get stolen by another bird.

We didn’t budget the toms down the hill, but we did aggravate the lead hen.  Slowly, a group of at least half a dozen hens pecked and walked past the blind out at about 30 yards.  Taking up the rear end of the train was the lead hen….I think.  In any case, she was the only bird to acknowledge our decoys, and she was none to pleased about it.  She trotted on over to our hen decoy and proceeded to get all up in her face, and annoyed with our decoys general presence.  If it was fall and hens were in season…..she would have been an awesome hen to take.  8 yard easy, straight on shot.  However fall it is not.  Honestly I could have taken several hens that morning, but hens aren’t what we were after…..especially with the promise of big toms!

Now after sitting down and going over everything that happened that morning it occurs to me that the turkeys around here maybe haven’t started breeding yet.  If they had, I just can’t fathom that all those toms would have just let all those ladies walk away from them.  It had all seemed to promising.  My research had told me that it was almost always fine if you attracted the hens towards you, as the toms were almost certain to follow……not these South Dakota toms I guess!  It might have eventually come together for us, but a distant, yet all together too close for turkey comfort, shotgun blast sent the toms running up and over the hill crest away from us.  The private farm land abuts a large area of public hunting land, so I’m hoping that our morning was at least ruined by someone else’s success! The hens had already disappeared up into the thicker timber, and it would have been worthless to chase them anyway.

We sat in the blind and called, hearing gobbles off from behind the hill, but the birds never did reappear into our view.  Knowing the the shotgun had probably ruined the hope of the birds moving back out into the open for several hours, we decided to leave the blind and do a bit of walking.  We could always hear gobbles, but for every yard we closed, the toms moved away at least a yard.  In the end, we packed up our gear and headed back to town with nothing more than a few large turkey feathers and a story of our first real encounter with a flock.  I won’t soon forget the feeling of listening to birds all around me and feeling potential and hope like I’ve never felt while sitting in the blind.  It was worth all the icky ticks to watch the level of sass displayed by that hen while she was investigating our decoy.  It seems like every time The Engineer and I head out to the fields, we get a little bit closer to filling my tag.  However, the end of the season is looming, so I’m hoping all the pieces fall together for us soon!

Adventures in the Good Life

The Engineer and I just got home last night from another weekend down in Nebraska.  Mostly we went to see his family and so I could get some practice in shooting my broad head tipped arrows.  It’s easy to find places to practice shooting in town, but broad head practice is essential….however hard to do when you live in town.  Enter…..The Engineer’s Dad’s house and land outta town.  Plus, there were plenty of pumpkins for target practice.

Anyway, Saturday was cold and rainy, so we filled the day with shopping!!!!  It doesn’t do much for practicing “being comfortable being uncomfortable” while hunting, but when fun shopping is so close it’s hard to want to stand out in the blowing rain shooting pumpkins.   The Engineer had never been to Trader Joe’s before, so I decided he needed to experience it all, and I needed to refill on some snackies!

Remember that one time I went to Trader Joe’s and accidentally bought the unsalted peanut butter filled pretzels and they were sorta sad?!  Well, I fixed that, actually paid attention to what I was doing, and got 2 bags of the blue, salted pretzels!  We had to get 2 bags this time because The Engineer really likes peanut butter, and it was the only snack that he actually admitted that he wanted from the store.  It took him a couple minutes to warm up to the whole excitement that is Trader Joe’s…….he felt out of place amongst the hipsters and health mommas.

00691-peanut-butter-filled-pretzels

SO, SO, GOOD!

I snagged a bag of trail mix, and I’m having severe regrets about not grabbing a couple more bags.  It must be their fall seasonal variety.  Actually, most of the store aisles were slightly over run with pumpkin spice-esk things.  Soups, sauces, pasta, spice mix, beer, pop tarts…..if you want it pumpkin spice flavored Trader Joe’s currently has it.  Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin spice just fine, but I don’t necessarily need it to overrun everything in my life.  I did make an exception for Harvest Spice.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s apparently just candied pecans and cashews…..so basically…..deliciousness.  The trail mix is rounded out with almonds, dried apples, and candied ginger chunks.  The bag is basically gone after we munched on it during our running around Omaha and on the drive home.  I probably won’t make it back to Trader Joe’s before fall is over, so fingers crossed Harvest Spice sticks around into early winter!

harvest-spice-trek-mix-300x238

The Engineer really perked up when we got to the frozen section.  I had actually never seriously shopped the frozen section because I had always just been to a Trader Joe’s on vacation, but this time we came prepared!  We hauled down a cooler, mostly so we could bring back another haul of elk meat.  Couple that with the fact that instead of a hotel, we stay with him parents, and it meant that I could shop the frozen section for the first time ever!

Our frozen food finds are the orange chicken and steak and ale pies.  Orange chicken is one of The Engineer’s favorite Chinese entrees, so we snagged two bags.  He decided he wants to pair the bags with fried rice from Hy-Vee…or so I thought.  When he texted earlier and said he’d pick up rice on the way home I assumed he’d arrive with takeout boxes of rice.  Instead, he brought home a bag of rice and we had to quick whip up some fried rice….which we apparently did wrong.  It tasted alright, but got a little overcooked because we didn’t fry cold rice…….Google tells me that makes it better.  I had only had Trader Joe’s orange chicken once before, and I wasn’t a huge fan.  We whipped some up tonight with our rice and it still wasn’t my favorite.  I liked it more than I remembered, but I wouldn’t rank it as my all time favorite Chinese food.  It will probably get some jazzing up, but I think it will become a staple purchase item whenever we wind up at Trader Joe’s.

66563-mandarin-orange-chicken

A decent meal in a pinch, and something worth having in the freezer for lazy nights.

The steak and ale pies I decided to try.  They just looked so warm and wintery, and the box weighs about a ton so I’m assuming each pie is very well stuffed.  Also, my mild to moderate obsession with The Great British Baking Show, Marry Berry, and Paul Hollywood has me convinced that savory pies are a thing I need in my life.  They are always making these great King Henry VIII sized meat pie towers of delicious….I need that in my life.  I don’t even bake and I feel suddenly compelled to turn my kitchen into a prep center for some sort of great hall feast al la history books and Harry Potter!

the-great-british-baking-show

If you don’t watch this show, you need to!  Ready……Set…..BAKE!!!!

So……we shall start with frozen Trader Joe’s and move upward from there.  Frankly, I’m not even sure I like meat pies, and it’s much easier to find that out at this stage than halfway through feast prep!  Plus, they seem like they would go excellent with some mashed potatoes….and I’m currently rocking a slight surplus of potatoes.

maxresdefault

I didn’t even notice until now, but each pie is about half a pound!  Should make for a very nice, quick, winter dinner!

The last of my fall/winter snackies is a jug of apple cider.  Some nights it’s just nice to come home and mull up some cider, maybe throw in some rum, and curl up with a good book and a blanket.  I’m hopeful that this won’t be too sweet, I like my cider a bit on the tangy side, so we will try it out and see how it goes.  Worse comes to worse, just add more rum I guess!

DSC02084

I rounded out the Trader Joe’s haul with a jar of my favorite salsa, the english toffee bars, and a few RX Bars.  All in all, a very successful shopping trip, and I think I converted The Engineer to the glories held within Trader Joe’s.

After Trader Joe’s, we scampered over to Cabela’s to scope out some turkey hunting supplies.  We did find a couple calls in the bargain cave, and I picked up a small multi-tool for my bow case.  I’m pretty sure I just annoyed him all the way back to Fremont trying to learn how to use my mouth call.  I’m not sure I sound very turkey-esk, but dying duck is a sound I’m pretty sure I have down.  There’s a couple weeks left of practice time, so maybe I’ll get my gobbling skills up to par.

9bb9ee3bbc2f96738ef9fe095fb53302--deer-hunting-humor-funny-hunting

T minus 16 days till the season opens and 25 days until I hit the fields!!! 

 

The Results are in and……

I DREW A TURKEY TAG!

I guess that means that The Engineer and I will be spending a weekend down in Bon Homme county hunting for a big fall tom!

Turkey_hunting_blooper_Archery_mistake1.gif

This is what I’m hoping to have not happen.  The Engineer and I spent a couple hours at one of the outdoor ranges yesterday working on making sure my bow is sighted in as accurately as possible for a few different distances and several different shooting positions.  Based on the poundage of my bow, I don’t feel comfortable making an ethic shot past 40 yards, but hopefully we can pull them in closer than that.  I’ll have a few more weeks of practice before the season opens, but I have some decisions to make until then…..namely choosing broad heads.

The Engineer is prepping for my big hunting adventure mostly by tent shopping.  We had discussed trying to camp out for the weekend we go hunting.  Momma’s house is in the adjacent county if things go really badly, but the running plan is to “rough it”.  To assist with that plan, he bought a tent!  To clarify, he bought a tent from Menards that was on sale for $20, because for $20 how could you not buy a 5 person tent?!  I’m cautiously supportive, however his new investment didn’t come with any rain protection.  Fall in SoDak can be a fickle bitch, so I guess we will just have to wait and see.  He assures me that tarps can be had if rain arrives….I’m maybe a bit less than convinced.

Speaking of hunting, The Engineer and I had a Halloween party to attend last night, and we channeled our inner hunters….

IMG_9020-1

IMG_9018-2

Don’t mind my invisible upper lip….it’s there I promise, it’s just small. :/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bitch Faced Bestie and The Hubby in Law threw a themed diaper keg for their coming new little addition.  She loves Halloween, so of course the diaper keg was an early Halloween party!  The Engineer isn’t much for costumes and dressing up, so he got to wear some of his normal hunting clothes and I got to try out my makeup skills.  I feel like I did pretty well considering I never even did a practice run of this.  The antlers were a bit of a challenge, but luckily that’s why I have my engineer!

On a final note, a couple weeks ago I ordered myself some flowers!  My favorite place to get flowers, other than the farmer’s market downtown, is Bouqs.com!  They ship everything in bud form so your flowers will last and last.  The selection they offer changes seasonally, and they have quickly become the MisHappenings family standard place to order flowers from.  They were having a free upgrade sale and I have a couple gift cards on the website so I decided to treat myself to some fun fall flowers!

FullSizeRender

Sunflowers!!!!!  And a baby MisHappenings with my Daddy! 

Like I said, the varieties of flowers available change all the time, and I’ve never been disappointed with the bouquets I’ve chosen.  If you are in the market for flowers, especially if like me you have an abundance of vases already squirreled in cabinets, you should definitely scope them out!

Choose Your Own Series of Unfortunate Events

Several events recently have forced me to wonder how much say we actually have in our own lives.  I know that everyone always says, “You’re in charge of what happens to you!” and “Your future is always in your own hands!”……but is it really?!  Lately, it feels like lots of things get decided for me, and I just have to react to them.  That isn’t to mean I don’t have a choice, it just seems like the choices we’re given in life are usually slightly unfavorable.

For example…..health insurance……any way you slice it, it’s expensive and frankly not that great.  Either you have to pay a million dollars a month in premiums, or pay a million dollar fine if you choose not to carry coverage.  Technically, you have a choice, but the options aren’t great.  It can be even worse if your insurance dictates what doctors you can and can’t see.  That’s what happened in my state because the two large hospitals are in charge of the insurance.  They decided they couldn’t find a “favorable” choice with each other, so they decided to pass the crappiness on to the general population.  But!!!  A big wig at one of the hospitals was interviewed by a news channel and was quick to remind us that we have several amazing choices!

  • We can switch doctors so that we can pay in-network amounts……
  • We can pay out of network prices to keep our physicians who used to be covered under the insurance plans……..OR and the “option we obviously don’t prefer”
  • We can try and find insurance through someone else

I get that these are technically all options, and that I do have a choice….but someone needs to explain to me how any of these are good options for me, because I’m just not seeing it.  I was so excited this year to not have to tinker with my insurance, but that’s all gone down the drain now!

img_7314

When you feel like you’re finally starting to get a handle on life.  You can hold your head up, you’re styling, and your ducks are finally in a row….

img_7315

….and suddenly things go drastically downhill, you no longer have any idea what’s happening to you, and your ducks start wandering around in confused circles of crazy.

These are baby pictures of me…..illustrating that some of us get on the struggle bus sooner than others, but I think once you’re there you can’t get off.  It’s a bit like the Hotel California that way I suppose, “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave!”  I made it 12.5 weeks before I got on the bus, still riding strong today!

Another example……my HOA dues…..  If the board doesn’t receive a unanimous YES vote to changing the by-laws, dues will have to skyrocket.  It’s a bit involved so I won’t bore you with the details, but my ability to comfortably afford to continue living in my house now rests in the hands of the 142 other votes the board needs for approval.  What election in the history of ever has had 100% voter turnout…..and then that 100% turnout all voting the same way?!?!  The odds don’t feel like they are running much in my favor.  Again thought, I suppose I have options……sell my house and move, or drastically adjust the way I live my life.

Why are all the options we are given as adults crappy?!?

Although, to be fair, little kids have there share of crappy options too…..we as a adults just have a hard time rationalizing then as shitty.

Case in point, last night we had a large, extended family pizza party.  My cousin’s little toddler of a son was slightly annoyed cuz he had been too busy to nap…..option 1.  He was given the chance to nap, but why nap and miss out on things when you can stay up and maybe just be a lil bit annoyed.

At some point previously he had bitten his cheek which was only being aggravated by the pizza sauce, you know that feeling…..it’s unpleasant at best!  When given the option of ice cream instead of pizza, he got quite upset because he didn’t want the ice cream….he wanted pizza.  Now, as an adult….pizza or ice cream (frankly both) would be equally acceptable dinner time options.  The tiny nugget however, didn’t realize that ice cream was a perfectly acceptable dinner time selection and instead insisted on trying to suffer through pizza.  He had options, he just didn’t view any of them as great and had to suffer through what in his little mind was the better choice…..even if that meant extreme mouth owies with every bite.

Maybe when you boil it down and get right down to the nitty gritty, life is just a choose your own adventure book, only that the adventure usually is a series of unfortunate events.  Sure the events change and morph as we get older, and your unfortunate event might be someone else’s dream…I get all that.  But, unfortunate events are in the eye of the beholder, so I guess we will all just keep having to making choices, flipping ahead to the assigned page, and fingers crossed that we don’t regret our decisions.

Chapter 14 : Naked Burrito Dude

Now that I’m a single twenty something again, I can return to writing about all my dating adventures.  Apparently……this is something that’s frowned upon in relationships.  I’m not sure why, because my past relationships are what shaped me into who am I and brought me to this point in my life.  But, I suppose on the other hand I can understand how being confronted with your person’s past all the time could be awkward.  When you get to be this age, we all know everyone has dated someone else before……we just collectively don’t acknowledge this fact and pretend it’s not a thing that’s happened.  It’s just one of the unwritten laws of being a single twenty something.

 

For this particular chapter, we are going way back on the dating scale.  Back many moons ago when I was merely a middle aged twenty something in search of a quality drunk weekend with friends.  Ok, so I’m still generally in favor of a good old fashioned drinking weekend…..but the point is I was younger and life generally seemed better!

I mean, would you just look at us?!?  Babies!  Infants!  

Blissfully still unaware of how much being an adult can suck.  I had strings of pink tinsel in my hair!!!  So, there I was all done up with a fresh hair cut, dye job, and tinsel……in a silver mini dress….wearing spanx and two bras (to shove the girls way up there fake boob style)…….and 5 inch silver heels.  I’m going to be honest when I saw that plenty of guys talked to me that night, but all of them were short and not really all that great.  I was also the subject of a fight between a married couple at one point because he was sure my boobs were fake, and she was sure they were real.  I’m not sure what happened to them, or how the fight ended….it was sorta weird and I mostly just exited their area.  Things were going along as they do most party nights at a bar, and then up walked Burrito Dude.

I remember taking off my heels and standing in the sawdust at the Saloon 10 to verify the fact that Burrito Dude was taller than me.  I tend to put people through this check before I invest any sorta energy into them…..does that make me shallow?!  It probably does, but to be fair I don’t think it’s changing anytime soon.

I was fairly drunk that night and I don’t remember a ton of details, but I do know that in trying to dance with me, he unzipped my wristlet and sent my poor little slider phone flying across the dance floor where it landed and broke apart.  The phone and I survived the night….barely, and the night ended with Bitch Faced Bestie yelling at Lil B about being a lady because she was sitting on the sawdust covered floor trying to find us a ride home.  We did get a safe ride home, but we still haven’t let her live down “the sawdust event”.

Next day, in the middle of hangover lounging with the BFB, Burrito Dude sent a text asking if I wanted to go to dinner.  I didn’t really want to, as the hangover was becoming pretty real, but I did eventually agree to go with him.  He ate steak tips and I sipped a Diet Coke….I’m sure I was a great date….although I think I probably did munch a couple of his fries.  He went home, I passed out to sleep off the weekend, and drove home the next day not really thinking much of it honestly.

A few weeks come and go and Burrito Dude decides that he wants to come see me.  He does, but I don’t even know what we really did.  I do recall that before he left town we went to Ihop and I had cheesecake pancakes.  I think it must say something about my priorities in life that I remember that I had cheesecake pancakes, but I can’t honestly tell you what he and I even did other than that.

is

They have chunks of cheesecake in them…..who wouldn’t want these!?!?!

I did end up making a trip back out to the hills Valentine’s Day weekend.  Now, don’t get any ultra mushy, romantic ideas.  I mean I did see him, but mostly I went because The Girls and I had planned to go to a fancy masquerade party.  I don’t think we went…..I think we instead ended up drinking downtown again, as we usually do.  He was in town with his parents for some fundraiser activity, and he ended up driving me and my car back to his house in Rapid City.  I’m pretty sure I passed out in the passenger seat.  (Don’t judge me…I was younger and partied harder back in the day!)

Once again, I don’t think we did anything all that exciting, but at some point he decided we needed food and we went to Qdoba.  Just as I was getting all ready to show my chicken burrito who was boss, he chirped in with the fun fact that if I had gotten a naked burrito bowl I would have saved myself 300 calories.  In response to my dismay at why he would even know that sort of information he replied,

It’s just more calories to work off at the gym.

That was really the beginning of the end for us!  I also ended up making him taco casserole…..which is amazing, and he said it would be better if it had less cheese and sour cream…….(cue cricket noise of shock)…….

The actual end was when he basically kicked me out of his house later that weekend so that he could go skiing.  Nothing says, “I’m into you” like waking a girl up and kicking her out of your house so you can go hit the slopes.  I went to Philly Ted’s, picked up my traditional order of cajun chicken sandwiches to bring home, hit the road, and basically never looked back!

Shortly after me, he met a girl that he still is currently dating.  Actually, I saw them the other weekend when I was out in the hills for the concert weekend with the besties.  I was pretty sure that he didn’t know who I was, but BFB was pretty sure that he did.  Who knows really, but it wouldn’t have worked out anyway.  The only things I remember about hanging out with him was what I ate….and probably he was secretly judging me the entire time.  

……Plus, he’s a cat person….and I’m sure you’ve all figured out by now that I am not a cat person.