Meet Ranger – our OC cat

This is Ranger. Ranger is a licker, an obsessive compulsive licker. He will lick your skin to death as well as licking himself to death. He is the most gentle cat I’ve ever known and very friendly excepts when he sees other cats.

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I want to share with you his eating habit. Unlike any other cats, normal ones, he eats laying down, pick up his food with this paw and scoops it up and clam the bits between it’s toes and then shoves them down to his mouth.
He is the most self sufficient cat. He has a self feeder and we never have to feed him on a regular basis. As soon as the feeder is empty then we refill it. We placed his bed about one-to-two feet away from his feeder and often time I had to readjust his bed because it was touching the feeder. I didn’t think why this always happens where I kept readjusting, until I found out that he would lay down on his bed and eat at the same time, scooping food with his paw from the feeder on his bed.
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Do you know any other cats that eat like this? Raise your PAW!
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Urban Scavenger Hunt

When I came across a sale from Groupon of a scavenger hunt that will save us 65% off of its original cost, I said, why the hell not? Never done this types of things before. I dragged Jeff into this with nothing to expect. All it says was 4-6 miles of scavenging clues around downtown Minneapolis starting from Bootleggers. Bring your camera and a smart phone and using only your own two feet and a public transportation (no taxis, cars, bikes, bikeshares, rollerskates, camels or hoverboards! it says). Unfortunately my attempt to recruit others was nihil. Although there’s a prize for the best costume, Jeff is not the type to dress to impress.. There are 12 clues and you are to complete 11 of the 12 clues. Here’s our report of the end results.


The temperature was 98 degrees, with little humidity. Here we are waiting at Bootleggers for the announcement. We REALLY wished we could’ve had a couple of pints here. Yeah, don’t ask why…

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Here are the clues:


1. The Cities may be Minnesota nice, but just in case — there are more than a few crime fighters around. The Minneapolis P.D. has 800 officers alone, but anybody with a badge and a gun will do — snap a picture with them making the “Charlie’s Angels pose” to complete this clue.


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I spotted this cop and went running for it as soon as I sensed he was stopping. Another group came towards it as well. Both groups took turns taking pictures. Mr. Po-Po drove away as I have a feeling he’s not interested in taking anymore pictures of other scavengers.


2. Make some music with a street musician — take photo with anyone playing an instrument out there!

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The dude told us that we both had to be in the picture. He said he knows the because that’s the rule as he’s been doing this all day since the race started. I gave him a buck.


3. Seeing as that there’s a Twins game in just a few hours, it shouldn’t be hard to find a fan around. So let’s make it only slightly more difficult: find one with Mauer jersey (not shirt!) and have your team mime pitching while the fan’s swinging in the photo

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The dude knows what to do as soon as he saw us. Told him he may be all over the internet the next day. He was “Hell yeah, I told you dude” to his friend.


4. Find any target that has nothing to do with Target or Target Field… and take picture with it. Be creative!

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Here’s our “target” picture. It’s round and has a “target” middle. Snap! You’re it! I had in mind a dart in a bar somewhere but got distracted somehow.


5. Go to the exact halfway point of this railroad-turned-bike/pedestrian bridge (look up, do you power lines? You’ve gone too far!) and take a photo of your team with the downtown skyline behind — while jumping for the sky! Here’s the catch: you have to do it with another Challenge team.

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This is the Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Saint Anthony Falls. It’s a beautiful stroll overlooking downtown Minneapolis. We had to take numerous attempts of this shot because the other team has a camera phone and and kept failing to take pictures of us levitating. Thank goodness I didn’t rely on our camera phone.



6. How is it that an establishment founded in 1997 can sell more Jameson the last four years than any pub in Ireland? Take a photo with your team and mementos awarded for this (dubious?) honor. (If they are not enthused about the crowds Challengers, you can take the photo out front)

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In case you can’t see it, it’s The Local bar on 10th and Nicollette.


7. You can’t skip this clue: it’s unseasonably hot out today — so we’ll combine a clue with a mandatory 5 minute break which must occur after 2 pm at this Pelli designed public edifice. Take a picture of your team in front of any clock at arrival and departure — make sure they’re 5 minutes apart AND mimic the clock’s hands with yours! Use this break wisely to strategize the rest of your course and to READ the other clues closely and make sure you did them right! Also, please be respectful while indoors!

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Just to let you know Cesar Pelli designed the Wells Fargo Center (pictured), Gaviidae Common and the Public Library, all located in downtown Minneapolis.


8. A plaque can be found with the words that PRECEDE the lyrics “Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?” Mimic the pose of the art it’s attached to.

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That my friend is a bronze statue of Mary Tyler Moore from the Mary Tyler Moore’s show.The opening title sequence features many scenes filmed on location in Minneapolis in both summer and winter, as well as a few clips from the show’s studio scenes. The opening sequence scenes changed each season, but always ended with the same hat toss filmed at the intersection of 7th Street and Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. The hat toss was ranked by Entertainment Weekly as the second greatest moment in television.


9. So, you knew we’d put a “GMF” sign clue in here, right? Did you think we’d make you take a photo within three block of the sign AND make you a make a human pyramid with the sign visible AND make you convince at least one stranger to take part?

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“GMF” stands for Gold Medal Flour. Beginning 1880 and for 50 years thereafter Minneapolis was known world-wide as the “Flour Milling Capital of the World” and now known as Mill City.


10. Have your team stand on the rim of this fountain and get the entire of this pretty-well-known green copper roof in the background. No bonus for getting IN the fountain, but we’re not stopping you either…

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The Minneapolis City Hall, originally had a red terra cotta roof but it began leaking so a copper roof was installed. At 180,000 pounds it was said to be the largest in the country. The copper has since acquired its characteristic of green patina, due to mold and oxidation.


11. Minneapolis was incorporated in 1867, but plenty of folks were around even before that. In fact, there’s at least one building that was completed 10 years prior. Take a photo with any building older than the city itself.

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We thought the Mill City ruin was older than the city itself. Turns out we were a few years off. The Twin City Lines is one of the oldest


12. Do you think they misplaced the 5 foot tall baseball that goes with glove?

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This is located at the front of the new pride and joy of Minneapolis, the Target Center, where Joe Mauer and The Twins now play.


I am so glad we went and did this race. Not only we get to burn a ton of calories we also get learn a lot about Minneapolis, its landmarks and the history behind it. It makes me appreciate more about the city I live in. This site shows the final results of the 137 teams that checked-in, not including the ones that gave up. We placed 78th under Team Zebra, not too shabby. The Minneapolis Challenge benefits for Boys and Girls Club of The Twin Cities. So that makes us feel good to contribute to a good cause. Check out this site for dates and location of the next race in your town.

A couple of pointers for those of you first-timers:

1. Wear good shoes, you’ll be walking around a lot and maneuvering tourists and bums a lot.
2. Check the weather. Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Jeans are way too hot in a 98 degree weather but ideal for rainy days.
3. Come hydrated and bring a small water bottle in your small backpack. The less you carry, the better. The race provides water before you’re off for the search but you’re on your own during the search.
6. Bring a map, sit down for a few minutes and READ BETWEEN THE LINES. Jeff and I had to come back to two spots because we didn’t read its fine lines. Figure out the places you know for sure of its locations and head there right away. Don’t sit and idle trying to figure out locations of ALL items. Keep walking.



4. Bring somebody who’s a walking “Brittanica Encyclopedia”. If they don’t want to pay for the race, ask them if they could join you anyway and share the prize if you win. In my case, I would bring our cousin Matt L. Relying on Wikipedia or Google from your smartphone is nice but you run in to dead spot most of the time. This person can also serve as a picture taker or a “stranger” in the picture. Or if this is not feasibel, make an appointment with someone who will be staying home and in front of the computer. Text or call your questions to this person.

5. Bring your own pocket camera. Don’t rely on your camera phone.


We are looking forward to the next one, next year.



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This group won my vote for best costume.

Drenched!

There’s a small outdoor pool near Treyton’s grandma and grandpa house in New Hope that Treyton likes going to called Milton C. Honsey outdoor pool. I would love to throw a birthday party here for Treyton but unfortunately his birthday is in Nov. Click on one of the pictures to see more photos on Flickr.
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Cabin Fever

4th of July weekend was spent at the Backstrom’s cabin in Wisconsin.

My sisters — Ade and Putri — all came with their herd, except for Ria. Ade came with Jenson, her fiancee, and the kids, Jaden, Jekiya and Jeyda. Putri came with Cale, her boyfriend, and the kids, Twins — Zack and Ivory, their brother Jacob and their little sister, Zahara whom we called ZZ. Treyton was definitely in heaven as his “many cousins” as he calls them, were around for this fantastic weekend.

Here are a few of the hundreds of photos that I took using point-and-shoot CoolPix. Jenson let me hog it for the weekend as my Exilim point-and-shoot failed me. Thank goodness for Jenson!

More shots can be viewed on my Flickr account.
Contact me
if you are interested in doing a shoot.

Thanks for looking.

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Below is the slideshow of the rest of the photos.

The "J" Girls

Here are some snapshots of what I call them the “J” girls — produced by Mr. Jenson Newton — Jekiyah and Jeyda. What beatifuls girls these two are and quite photogenic.

Contact me if you are interested in doing a fun creative shoot.

[ Jekiyah ]

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[ Jeyda ]

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These photos were taken at the cabin during. To see more photos of the “J” girls in action, click here.

This is not one of the J girls, but I HEART this shot of Princess ZZ aka Zahara, my niece.

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The Net

Sunday was by the far the most enjoyable and pleasurable day after a couple of weeks of high humidity and high 90’s.

We decided to venture to French Park. It was quite a ways from our house but we love this park so much we didn’t mind the drive. We used to come here alot back when Jeff and I lived in a one bedroom small apartment around the area. The park is located along the north shore of Medicine Lake and offers a swimming beach along with trails for hiking, biking and walking as well as fishing pier. In the Winter time, they have this giant hill where you can go snow tubing. If you don’t know what snow tubing, Google it up. It is one of the ways, the Northeners, in the Midwest do for fun during the cold bitter months of Winter or simply ask me.

Our favorite — well, Treyton’s favorite — is the Net. Here’s the clip of what you can do on the Net. I don’t know if that’s the official name but that’s what we call it. It’s a massive jungle gym with ropes and ropes knoted together to resemble a net, where kids, adults too, I guess, can climb up and down and throw themselves on to the hammock-like ropes. A couple of run-throughs of these, I swear to God you burn at least 700+ calories. It was quite an exercise. As usual, Canon came with me and here are some of the snapshots it produces.

Contact Dhila for a fun photo shoot

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The Net - French Park

The Net - French Park

The Net - French Park

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Here’s a slideshow of the rest of the photos taken at French Park.

Noerenberg

Saturday was HOT and HUMID. Treyton spent the afternoon with grandma and grandpa left Jeff and I wondering what to do that day.

Our weekends are mostly crafted around this four-year old. So, trips to Fine Line Music to catch a local band is no longer a drop and go type of thing. So when we asked each other, what should we do? I spoke up and said, let’s go take photos. Jeff suggested Noerenberger which he had to say over and over again as I kept asking the name of the place over and over again.

The drive is about 25 minutes from our house which was not long at all as we ooohhhs and aaahhhs the “castles” built along the shore. This is where houses no less than three million dollars are standing tall. We passed a Marina filled with boats on the dock. We daydream everytime we passed by a house for sale.

The small memorial garden is located on the shore of Crystal Bay on Lake Minnetonka. Historically, Mr. Frederick Noerenberger, the founder of Grain Belt Brewery, built his estate on the shore of Lake Minnetonka. The flowers were crowded by bumblebees, Monarch butterflies and other kinds and dragonflies. There was a photo shoot held there for a wedding. There was gazebo overlooking the lake. In there held a wedding rehearsal.

After being baked in a hot sun standing in one place, on multiple spots, trying hard to catch one snaphot of good butterly pose, I made my way up the hill to the stairs. I was welcome with these astounding white pillars with no roof. There was engraving on the granite floor but I was too busy admiring the wood trellises filled with grapevines and matured deep purple grapes as I wonder if they do harvest them or not and what kind of red wine these types of grapes would produce if they do harvest them? Merlot? Carbernet Sauvignon? Pinot Noir?

Jeff kindly left me alone. He sat on the bench by the shore with his mobile smart phone surfing the web, facing the lake, enjoying the breeze as I took my time hopping from one flower to another. We both had a relaxing time and our stomach is growling. So off we go to Origami. Here are some of the photos I captured from the garden.

I hope you can see the slideshow below. If not, access my photostream Flickr by clicking here

Enjoy!

Songs I put on REPEAT mode

One edition of Real Simple magazine featured “Get Happy” and some psychologist elaborated on how repetition is one of the keys to unlock happines. The analogy was, ask a toddler; ever wonder why they want to ride the same Tea Cup ride twenty thousand times before they move on to the Flying Dumbo and there you go again in circles another twenty thousand times?

In addition, disappointed with KDWB and 96.3Now selections of overly played Gaga’s, and the the Bieber’s and the Perry’s, I resorted to Pandora. Oh, it was like, where have you been all of my life? It was like the first time I had Starbucks. My Massive Attack’s Playlist has been crafted to play most of my music genres within this category and very rarely I skip forward to avoid songs I do not care to listen to. Pandora helped me gain recollections of songs I used to play a lot. Orbital, Psykosonic, Fluke, Portishead, Olive, Sneaker Pimps, Radiohead and the list kept on going.

Back to Mr. Psychologist. I took his advice and dug out my old CDs from the basement. I started listening to the songs I love over and over and over again. Mr. Psychologist was right. I feel serenity, calm and peace, sending happy endorphines through my body. Cliche! When played during family ride, this displeases my husband and my 4 year old. “Why do you play the same song over?” which I replied “Who sits on the god damn driver seat?” and proceed with giving them “the look”. They usually shut up.

With that said, I want to share with you the list of songs that I have put on REPEAT on my Sansa Fuze that have brought me happiness. Each of these songs deliver some complexity yet simplicity at the same time which makes the song absolutely beautiful and have become my instant classic.

So, here they are, in no particular order.


The intro to this song is so fucking sexy.


Well, she’s ONLY the epitome of classic French music.

Who doesn’t know this song.

Thom Yorke may not the best looking guy but boy can he fucking sing!

Beautifully composed song with a disturbing lyrics.

Venetian Snares “Öngyilkos Vasárnap

(remix of Billie Holiday’s Gloomy Sunday) Sad but beautiful


Vocalist, Kellie Dayton

Vocalist: Chris Corner. I want to lick him up and down and lull me to sleep with his voice.
I’ve been playing this song for weeks now.

Treyton often sings this song out of the blue

I was a HUGE fan of the Cranberries.

This was our wedding song. Not the usual wedding song but it’s our song.

I HEART the “Blue” album in its entirety.

I HEART the “Bends” album in its entirety.

Yeah, the original was good too.


This song is fucking addicting

This song is so soothing. This and Casione Vs. Japan never fail to put Treyton to sleep.

This song hurt my ears the first time I heard it but I drew me closer and closer. It’s kind of weird.

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This song also lulls Treyton to bed in an instanter soothing song that puts Treyton to sleep.



















Do Dolphins Have Boobs?

I have a four-year old boy at home. Treyton, we call him. Sometimes, Punk, Babe, or Treyt. He says the darnest thing and I wished I had collected all of his sayings and quotes throughout the years. I posted most of his mumbles on Facebook and to date I still don’t know how to retrieve my old wall posts so I can blog about them. If anyone knows, do share! They are worth sharing and absolutely comical!

One of the most recent one involves boobs and dolphins. Here’s how the conversation went on one fine afternoon during lunch:
Me: “Here’s your chicken breast, babe”
Treyton: “MOM !I am eating chicken BOOBS”
Me: Chuckles “Well Treyton, chickens aren’t mammals, they don’t have boobs.”
Treyton: Spontaneouly “Well, Dolphins are mammals, do they have boobs?” chomping on chicken.
Me: Snorted water out of my nose as I burst out laughing. But then raised my left eyebrow as I asked myself “Do They?”


After Google-ing dolphin boobs which resulted in many sites refering to manboobs and other not so child friendly site, I decided to search for dolpin breastfeeding and chose this site from e-How.

The answer is…drum roll please…YES! A female dolphin has two nipples hidden inside of slits of her underbelly where the calf nuzzles its snout or rostrum into the slit and feels for the nipple with its tongue. You can read more about how the feeding routine goes here. Quite fascinating I must say.

I was gasping when presented with this fact. Did you know — this is especially for mothers out there by the way — that the calf nurses about four times per hour?

Can you imagine yourself as a mother nursing your baby every 15 minutes? You think about that….

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Laura invited all of us past co-workers for a dinner at her house. Katie brought Anna, Beth brought Chloe and Sherri brought Kaitlyn. Treyton came but did not want to have anything to do with the girls, so daddy picked him up to take him home while I stayed and snap these princesses. Boy, was I glad I had my camera with me. These girls are ADORABLE!

{ CHLOE }


{ CAITLYN }


{ANNA}