Monday, June 25, 2012

Thomberg Summer of Fun 2012 - Rivers Edge Music Festival

The Thomberg Summer of Fun continues with the Rivers Edge Music Festival

A few months back everyone was hearing the buzz about Dave Mathews coming to town to play the new music festival at Harriet Island in St Paul. The festival would fill the hole left by the now defunct "Taste of Minnesota". We weren't "Taste" people. Neither was anyone else, which is why the event went bankrupt.

We jumped on the bandwagon early and purchased two day pass to "Rivers Edge". Although I was excited about seeing Dave outdoors, right here in MY TOWN, I was leary of this whole "festival" business. I am a mom who is now closer to 40 then 30. I am less cool by the minute!
  • Would it be too hot and too crowded?
  • Where would we park?
  • Would I have to wait forever for severely overprices food and drink?
  • Would I nearly pea my pants waiting for a porta potty?
  • Would I actually be able to see any of the performers? or would I have to just stand around for HOURS and be uncomfortable?
  • When it was time to go home, would the whole experience turn to total CRAP because it would take a billion years to exit the venue and downtown!
It seems event promoters Live Nation had all the same concerns I did. Everything about the planning and execution of this event was SPOT ON.
  • We received chipped wrist bands in the mail, replacing paper tickets. When we arrived, we simply scanned our own wrists at the bank of machines at any entrance.
  • Food and drink cost exactly what you would expect at any event. There were plenty of options.
  • The sheer  number of ATM machines, beverage tents, and porta potties reduced any wait time to just minutes. TOTALLY AWESOME!.
  • I didn't have to wait to drink. I didn't have to wait to pea when I did drink. Win/Win!
  • I was able to purchase a full bottle of wine for $30, and take it to my blanket on the lawn. I liked the people/space ratio.
  • As for parking, we drove downtown, paid $5 to park in a surface lot, walked a reasonable distance to a shuttle, and easy-peasy we arrived at the entrance gate.
  • When we headed home, we walked over the bridge and back to our car like many festival goers. The truth is, we never bothered to figure out where the shuttle bus loaded to return... and it was a pleasant jaunt hanging with the masses after a great time. We we arrived at our car are were cruising down I-94 heading west within minutes.
  • The weather was perfect. It was just lovely both days.
  • The staging had great/large/high tech screens, like any indoor concert. From where we choose to sit on our blanket, or stand when the bands were best,  I was happy with my view. Plus, Minnesotans are polite in crowds at this event.
  • I only felt "a little too sticky" for like 20 minutes on Sunday when we first arrived. It might have been because my shorts and cute top were 100% polyester. In my quest to put together that "not too dressy, not too schlumpy, just enough color, not over the top accessories, matching yet comfortable shoes you can stand and walk in, with an easy bag that matches but isn't too large or too small" outfit.... I knowing-ly picked something that wouldn't breathe, but fit every other criteria!
**MAYBE everything was perfectly executed by Live Nation, and that is why I had a great time....or MAYBE the numbers were not what they expected, which is why I had such a great time---Hmmmm. Not sure!!!!?????**

The first day we went with Mike. We arrived in St Paul around noon, had a burger and a few beers at Shamrocks, and it was off to Harriet Island. Tool was the headliner. I had no idea who they were, but Mike did and we all had a great time.

The second day, Mark and I were solo and ready to enjoy Dave Matthews. He was great as always.  The crown contained your usual twenty-something-hippy-wanna-be's who really need to wash their hair, a few retirees moving to the beat with ear plugs, a one-month old in a baby sling, a ca-billion social smokers, and a lot of people like myself, out for a good time with a professional job to return to Monday morning.
While Mark and I were whooping it up at the inaugural music festival of the summer, Marly and Dean were at the beach with Auntie Kelly and and enjoying time with Grandma Pauline!

Thanks to both of them for letting us have some "summer of fun" times ourselves!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Outside the house

Back when Mad Men premiered for the season, I set to work stenciling an accent wall in our basement family room. I was sponging away as we met Don Drapers new wife. The season finale aired two weeks back. I never quite put the finishing touches on the wall. I didn't post.... 

In the here and now, the yard has again become the focus of our attention.

Before our neighbor's  Mindy and Derek moved last winter, we purchased the rain barrel  below for a $40 steal. I am sure it is filled with water right now. We forget to use the water because we need to attach a very short hose to it properly fill any watering can. Despite our lack of dispersing the collected rain water, we like the look on the side of the house. I am sure we will remember to buy a short hose soon (or before it freezes this winter). We added the potted palm by the barrel this season (in addition to the usual inpatients we always plant. You can't see them behind the hostas).
In the back yard, we added seating near the swing set. Mark and I would park our behinds on the grass to relax while the Twinners played. We might be getting old. We prefer chairs (specifically ones that do not fold up into an over the shoulder bag for camping, the park, and parades). One day Mark came home with two budget-friendly, bright, fun and trendy, plastic Adirondack chairs.

Naturally we needed a table to rest my cheap white wine on ice  our refreshing beverages on. I found this engineered wood table for $6.99 at Saver's in Columbia Heights (a new favorite thrifting location). Two cans of Rustoleum Green Apple and a one can of Minwax poly and the table is PERFECT. Yes I am still addicted to spray paint. It is happiness in a can!

I added red petunias to a pot I found in the garage. Later Mark came along and spray painted the pottery to match our outdoor color themes. My spouse may have picked up the trigger-finger itch to spray paint (as demonstrated below).

Total investment of the chairs, table, petunias and supplies was around $55. This does NOT include the cost of the cheap white wine refreshing beverages. If you drive by our home from the street, the whole set up looks rather inviting and lovely. The chairs are also comfortable. Up close, they are exactly what you would expect for $16 each.

Above is the corner flower bed near the new "seating" area. The first year we lived on Riverview, I cut back the rose bushes and pulled a LOT of weeds. Then I pulled more weeds, and did more cutting. Last year we tried our hand adding some perennials to the to the pre-existing mix. Two falls in a row we have added 80 tulip bulbs. We toy with how to fertilize. To add to the stone perimeter, I steal a trunk full of medium size rocks when I go home to the farm (although I am not sure you call it stealing when farmers pay people to pick the rocks from the field and put them in piles out of the way).
Some of the perennials we planted have survived, some have not. We add more each season. Mark planted some marigolds and additional annuals too. I planted dahlia seeds. Master gardeners we are NOT. Heck, we are excited any time a perennial actually RETURNS!
Here is our big splurge last year - our willow tree. It is growing rapidly as expected.
We are trying to "spruce up" our aging/outdated/overgrown, ugly landscaping in front of our house (without the cost of hiring someone to pull the overgrown shrubbery, or a professional to design a plan, or more rock for ground cover). So, we picked up the pot above at Walmart for 15 bucks. It seemed HUGE in the store.

Surely this $15 Walmart Better Homes and Gardens brand terra cota-look acrylic pot in a pleasant shade of green would mask the ugly!!!??? It was perfect for solving our landscaping whoas...except for the color. I added two cans of $3.79 Krylon to the cart. Back at home, as I put our grocery purchases in the fridge, my hubby snatched up the spray paint and stole my favorite home improvement activity from me on a Sunday afternoon.

It turns out when thousands of dollars of professional landscaping is needed, masking the ugly is a tall order for a $15 planter (plus the haggard looking Walmart plants we bought to go inside).
Now we can snicker at our grandiose ideas for this NOT so huge pot. In person, it does detract from the ugly just maybe a tiny bit....


That's all for now folks.

Not Pictured (because surely I have bored you enough by the this traipse around our yard)
- The usual inpatients planted by the big evergreen near the road
- Our pots and planter by the front door bench
- Wild flowers, gladiolus and some raspberry bushes by the back garage
- A lovely hanging basket, palm plants and a big geranium around the patio

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thomberg Summer of Fun

One weekend of many - The Thomberg Summer of Fun
Strawberry picking on a Saturday morning.
Bauer Berry Farm in Champlin.
$20 worth of picking. You don't get charged for what you eat while picking!
Our yard sees a lot of action
Slip 'n Slide
Water guns too.
Lake time at Brett and Rachel's
Water skiing for the first time this season.
Dean did two go rounds so Papa could see when he arrived later in the afternoon.
Marly got brave after Dean's second turn. See the water ski master back by the dock. Brett is so good with the kids!
 The storm was moving in, the water got choppy and she wasn't up for long, but she did a fine job.

But.... There is always NEXT WEEKEND!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Family History Lesson

Have I ever mentioned I like to go to the cemetery? I do. I find the cemetery to be a calming, peaceful, heartfelt place of positive reflection and solitude.

June 1st was the 12th anniversary of my mom's death in a car crash. A week before the anniversary, my dad learned of his uncles 80-something birthday and cake being served in his honor at the BL nursing home where he lives. The birthday 'celebration' was to take place the day before the anniversary. Dad called to see if Brett and I would like to head out with him. I did, and Dean decided to join me.
My kids are no strangers to the cemetary. They have been there many, many times since birth.
Growing up (and beyond) my dad would often go to the cemetery Memorial Day weekend. Carol typically joined us. We would walk around the Hector Cemetery, visit many grave sites, and get a family history lesson. I remember the visit just days before my mom's death. It was cold and rainy. Carol came to our house and we rode together. My mom never came on the cemetery visit, as it was not her own family history.

Now Grandpa David Robert Melberg makes the same visit teaching our family history to Dean (and Marly).  We showed Dean Robert great grandpa Robert Melberg's grave. We visited Grandpa Marlys and covered the "s" for Marly's name. We moved on to great-great-great's and this and that and more.

We had a wonderful afternoon at the cemetery. Dad always places flowers on the alter at his church the Sunday before the anniversary of Mom's death. We bring the flowers out if we are able to make the visit.

p.s  - Dean also did well at the Nursing Home after the cemetery visit. I spent way too many Saturday or Sunday afternoons of my childhood to count visiting the same nursing home. It was a part of our lives visiting my Grandma and then my Grandpa (and others) on a weekly basis. My own children have never been to such a place before.)

p.p.s. - You may note this post is out of order, and occurred PRIOR to bike post.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Bikes

This weekend we did NOT check out the Edina Art Fair.
We did NOT attend the Flint Hills Music Festival.
We did NOT take the kids to Grand Ole Days in St Paul.

The kids and I DID have a play date with the deVries crew near Stillwater and the St. Croix River.
Mark spent some time out with friends.
Andrea lunched and shopped with a gal pal.
We all spent time in the yard (a weekend staple).
Mark and I each ended up stopping at Home Depot for something.
We all made a trip to the Coon Rapids Dam to see the high water rushing on the Mississippi.
We all went to church.
We all went to Toys R Us, Kmart and two Walmarts in search of bigger bikes for Marly and Dean.
16 inches
Training wheels removed.
Kick stands added (along with a basket for Marly and a bell for Dean).
was the how Marly and Dean spent the rest of Sunday afternoon and evening.


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