Summer Days (and Nights)

So a couple weeks ago Chris and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. Five years! It has been the best five years of my life although full of various trials tribulations (medical school, nursing school, residency, etcetera). We had decided that our trip to Paris was our anniversary present… but my sweet husband still got me flowers and chocolates!

Moreover, he surprised me with dinner at Johnny Mango’s. Johnny is a catering genius who has events at his strip-mall headquarters twice a month with amazing menus. In this case we were treated to not one, not two, but THREE meals – pork, chicken, and beef a la Hawaiian! I was as stuffed as a banana leaf by the end of the night. In addition one of our good friends was singing with the band Take Two that night, providing the perfect accompaniment to a good meal.

A few days after that, our friends had a pig roast ( and I got to join them for pulled pork. Delish!

After that I headed on to a coworker’s bachelorette party.  It was a fantastic experience; after eating tasty treats at one lady’s house we boarded a giant party bus (complete with a pole!) and drove the rainy backroads to Chatfield, Stewartville, and Grand Meadow checking out the local bar scene. You’d be surprised what some of those places have downstairs! There was drinking, dancing, and a wild scavenger hunt. I had a blast but I shouldn’t post any of my pictures 😮

So the next big holiday was the 4th of July, often known as Independence Day. But at the Concordia Language camps, where my sister is currently immersed in French, it’s INTERNATIONAL day. I drove up there listening to The Fault in Our Stars as read to me by my electronic Kindle voice. I often avoid “sad books” and popular books… but I was very favorably impressed. It does not overly romanticize cancer and the damage it does to people and family. It’s a very real and clever book and the characters actually have a vocabulary. 

But I digress. I drove north of Bemidji and found myself in the land of camps and lake houses. I parked and boarded a bus that took us to Waldsee, the German village. After a bit of wandering I located my sister at a sing-off. We spent the remaining 4 hours walking the dusty paths, chatting about camp life,  talking via satellite phone to certain family members that are hiking the John Muir trail in California, and eating a random variety of foods. She had an entire bag of sour worms, a chocolate croissant, a hot dog, berries and cream, an extra half-cup of cream, and shaved ice. A picture of us with sour worms:

Then I drove back while listening to Wilkie Collin’s Woman in White. Would you believe it, The Fault in Our Stars only took 5-6 hours for the kindle to read, but only about 20% of Wilkie Collins was finished in the same interval. He wrote a lot! I love his style, though; surprisingly playful, witty, and modern considering the era he wrote in. Of course if it were a modern novel he would have fallen for Miss Halstead instead of her (rather insipid) sister!

I drove a lot that day but did not develop any blood clots although I may have gained a few pounds from fast food and Hot Tamales. The scenery was beautiful – wood, lakes, wildlife. I saw a skunk and baby crossing the road, a deer swimming in the lake, and more deer watching curiously as I drove by their clearing. And then at night – fireworks. Every farm and township was having a display so from the time I got dark I drove by beautiful, unforgettable displays.

A few days later, Chris went to play volleyball, and I thought he looked especially patriotic:

And on that note… hope you all are having a blessed summer!

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