Life is a Rollercoaster

Tomorrow is both Father's Day and Natalie's birthday, making it nine years to the day since I became a dad. That's a long time! The crazier thing is that nine years from now she will be turning eighteen and might be packing up to leave for college in the fall.

So we're about halfway done with this one. Besides that she'll be ten next year (double digits!), a teenager in four, able to drive a car in seven. And Paisley's only four and a half years behind. I can't help but think of their childhoods as just rushing by while I do my best to hold on.

Speaking of which--segue!--we're going to Valleyfair tomorrow to celebrate. Jenna and the kids have season passes so they can entertain themselves while I'm working summer weekends. I actually have the day off after working, technically, 18 days in a row. Time to see if I can still hang with the rollercoaster crowd or if I'm ready to retire to the Ferris wheel.

Greenspring Media 3 Year Retrospective

I've been working full-time (and then some) managing events for Greenspring Media for over three years. Yet somehow I've only mentioned the company by name once, when I was hired. Seems like time for a recap!

My time here has actually come full circle this year. There was an opening for me because the previous event manager had left after 17 years. The first Greenspring event I managed was the Minnesota Monthly GrillFest in 2014. And now, just before the 2017 GrillFest, my manager Sara quit after 11 years with the company.

So this year's GrillFest--my fourth--was my first event as the senior-ranking event person at Greenspring Media. Plus, we introduced three new events in 2016 in addition to our five major recurring shows and they're all coming back, so this year is looking pretty busy. #eventlife

Eat All The Things

I reviewed my 2015 Food Wishlist and realized there are favorite foods on it that I still haven't eaten over the past two years! I did consume:
  1. Affogato (Some place in Door County, WI) 
  2. Cronut (Angel Food Bakery) 
  3. Takoyaki (Zen Box) 
  4. Fish & Chips (a few times, still haven't been to Anchor tho) 
  5. Morels (the forest, plus some Chanterelles too!) 
  6. Genever (got a bottle at home) 
  7. Caipirinha (Fogo de Chão) 
They were all delicious but half my list remains untasted. To live my best life I need to find a way to eat/drink crepes, udon, okonomiyaki, korokke, and Absinthe. A good Japanese restaurant could knock out at least three of the five. Itadakimasu!

The Limits of Thrift

After all these years, I still love thrift shopping for clothes. In the past it was a cheap way to experiment with new looks and learn what I liked. These days it's rare that I find something to meet my stringent guidelines but those holy grail moments make the hunt worthwhile.

Sadly, though, some things are nigh impossible to find secondhand. For those basic pieces I've started investing in real actual new clothes, sometimes at full retail prices (quelle horreur!) but usually discounted. One example is my world-beating socks, since almost all clothing is better secondhand but I won't do unpackaged underwear or foot coverings. I even walked into Brooks Brothers and purchased new dress shirts, a move that would have been unthinkable to Past Andy. Then again my whole relationship with clothes has changed immeasurably, and all for the better.

Shoes are another black swan. Although I've been lucky enough to find a few pairs at massive markdowns, a new Allen Edmonds shoe is a long-term investment. And that's the beauty part: with a curated closet half-full of only clothes that I wear frequently, those new pieces eventually acquire the patina that marks them as beloved friends.

Body Movin'

I have been practicing Yoga regularly at home for the past three months, which might be the longest I've stuck with it consistently. The main benefit this time has been overall body awareness. I'm more in tune with my breath and my posture and have learned things about my physical body that somehow I hadn't figured out yet in 36 years.

For example, I know what shape my feet are now. I realized that although my right foot is longer, it's also narrower. It doesn't fit snugly in the heel, which means there's more friction, which means my foot hurts after wearing grown-up shoes for a few hours. I've had this problem for years but never understood the symptoms until recently... and now I have a solution!

Darn Tough socks changed my life. Not only do my feet not hurt at the end of a long day but they don't even stink. I feel like this is another epiphany I'm having later than most professional adults but now that I'm on the wool socks tip I don't want to wear anything else. Plus they're made in the USA and guaranteed for life. What's not to love?

2016 Annual Report

I didn't post much this year so there's more ground to cover here than usual!

A fish and bird died but we adopted a cat, so overall we came out ahead on pets.

Natalie is a reading machine! Faves this year: Bone, Smile, Calvin & Hobbes, and Garfield.

Our shows were bad for sales of Angleworm Embroidery products, but great for everyone else.

Maybe it's my age but I've started eating slightly better--no more instant ramen for me.

We did our usual craft stuff and added several new events at my day job--busy year for events!

I had an okay season for morels, ate my first wild chanterelles and found my first amanita.

I dove deep into Stardew Valley and became a Pokémon Go master.

Hand Modeling
My photogenic fingers appeared in a Minnesota Monthly feature. It's becoming a trend!

I stopped podcasting myself and picked up yoga again. I might be done with embroidery too.

The moon of my life.

My sun and stars.

Lake Home 
No more :(

I officially become a Sunday School teacher for third graders, and a confirmation class mentor.

Got a 3DS with Pokemon Sun for Christmas; new favorite daddy-daughter activity.

In February I took a break from consumerism again and it felt real good.

Watched her first movie theater feature: Moana! Soundtrack is on constant rotation.

RIP podcasting, 2014-2016

We finally insulated a janky corner of our house and tore out a deck. Jenna painted.

I recorded a podcast with Josh and Elly on Professional Humans. We talked about crafts and stuff.

Tidying Up
Keeping only the objects that spark joy has been life-changing magic in our home.

Unmotivated to put up many blog posts

Full disclosure, "U" was the last letter I filled in. Started drafting last year, posted February 21.

We took a few trips in the pop-up camper, including a week in Door County, WI.

I figured out how to buy and wear clothes. Thrift shopping can't be beat.

X, Y, Z done, goodnight everybody!

We'll see

Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn't have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow his field. 

One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, "Oh, what a horrible thing to happen." The farmer said simply, "We'll see." He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift. 

Everyone's reaction now was, "What a lucky man." And the farmer said, "We'll see." 

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, "What a poor fellow!"

The farmer smiled and said, "We'll see."

Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, "What a fortunate man." 

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Later in the year, the farmer's young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, "What a shame for the poor boy."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.

Everyone said, "What a fortunate young man."

The farmer smiled again - and said "We'll see."