Frankie Plays Fetch!

Think your cat is amazing? Well ours is better, because Frankie (well it wouldn’t be Anya, would it?) plays fetch!

I also think I could get him to complete an obstacle course, though that would take some work on my part to create one. But hey, it’d be a good way to keep the blog going while I try to find the time to write some creative like I promised (I’m working on it…gradually). Everyone loves cat videos, right? Look, I’ve even created a new category…just in case this becomes a thing.

Alex

P.s. Big news coming up soon. Big news!

Say Hello to Frankie! (and Anya too!)

So we have a new addition to our family! His name is Frankie and he is a beautiful little kitten! Where did he come from? Well, there is quite a story attached to Frankie, which I will discuss very soon. Until then, enjoy the pictures!

Hi buddy!
He loves to watch us from up there!
Anya isn’t too impressed that she has to share attention now.
We still love you kitten. Even if you are a pain in the butt.
He’s skittish but getting better.
“Frankie Baby” – Vanna, constantly.
Oh kitten…
Little Frankie is very timid, especially around Anya.
Sorry about the board games…anyone for Family Fued?
Best picture ever! So dramatic.
Oh Frankie.
“Should I run away?”
What, a cat that doesn’t attack our hands? This is..unusual.
Aw don’t be scared, little Frankie!
Well, he likes feathers.

Extended Weekend = Best Birthday Present

Howdy folks,

Happy Presidents’ Day! I love Presidents’ Day, largely because it means I don’t have to work today. A deserved break, especially after Friday’s stressful experience of working through my lunch.  How horrible is that? Not only was it the last day of the week, you know, a day when you’re supposed to ease yourself into the weekend relaxation mode, it was my birthday! Yet I had to work really hard, like it was my job or something! That’s just not right at all, is it? Pft. And, unfortunately, I think tomorrow is going to be even more hectic…

…But hey, let’s focus on the happier times; namely the events of both this weekend and last weekend. Starting with…

Ice Fishing

Good news: one of us won at the Ice Fishing Extravaganza. Bad news, it wasn’t me and it wasn’t because of our fishing skills.

As well as the fishing competition, prizes were given out for a variety of other things, like great displays found on the ice. Becky didn’t just have a prize-winning display, she also had grand prize-winning display! People came by to compliment her, take pictures of us and it, and the prize hosts interviewed her on the ice, as did the radio correspondent for the country station sponsoring the event.

Pretty cool, right? This was also the reason why this post took me a week to finish, as I wanted the official photos first and they weren’t on the internet last Sunday. Why didn’t I have my own? Well I forgot my camera and there was no way I was using my phone in those temperatures (the touch screen doesn’t recognize gloves and I wasn’t risking my fingers). Besides, the official photographer had a picture of me holding the big cheque so it was worth postponing the blog for that snap alone.

Well it would be…if I had the stupid picture. Despite my best (okay, not quite half-assed) efforts, I still can’t find the pictures online. I don’t know what is taking them so long, but I’ve looked on several of the sponsor websites and found nothing. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, or maybe they are really bad at keeping up with current events (I think 40:60 in their favour; going on the country radio website was like travelling back to the early 2000s). Whatever the reason, I have no pictures for you. Fingers crossed I can update this soon. Until then, just imagine me standing in front of a cardboard cutout (which is Tyler Lautner from Twilight dressed in army fatigues) holding one end of a big cheque. Sorry guys.

Sadly, me holding a fake cheque in a picture you can’t see is where the excitement largely ends. Here’s a breakdown of my time on the ice.

8am-12pm

Got on the ice early yet the bay already pretty populated (not sure of the turn out, but after the event was delayed a month questions were raised over the attendance; in the end, I don’t think it suffered too much). We picked our spot, got everything prepared, and waited for the gun to be fired. Nothing much to report there.

As part of the display, however, Becky had a radio playing in order to boost her chances of winning something extra. Unfortunately her radio and the massive speaker were both tuned to the country station. This would have been bad enough, but they were also out of sync, adding to my misery. Boy, it was rough. I wouldn’t care normally – country doesn’t make me angry like it does for the poor sods who’ve had to deal with it for their whole life – but the songs played that day were utter garbage, especially lyrically. I’m not expecting brilliance but…come on. The example below wasn’t the worst I heard last Saturday, but they are the lyrics from the only song I can remember as being terrible.

Saw Star Wars at least eight times
Had the Pac-Man pattern memorized
And I’ve seen the stuff they put inside
Stretch Armstrong (yeah)
I was Roger Staubach in my backyard
Had a shoebox full of baseball cards
And a couple of Evil Knievel scars
On my right arm
I was a kid when Elvis died
And my momma cried

It was nineteen seventy somethin’
And the world that I grew up in
Farrah Fawcett hairdo days
Bell bottoms and eight track tapes
Lookin’ back now I can see me
Oh man, did I look cheesy
But I wouldn’t trade those days for nothin’
Oh it was nineteen seventy-somethin’

I hated every minute of it.

12pm – 1pm

Hour one of three went pretty quickly. Within seconds I saw my first person run by with a fish, which was considerably quicker than the first guy I saw last time, who carried their fish to the weigh station after a couple hours. Rather incredible timing to be honest, given that he’d somehow dropped a line, got a bite, reeled the fish in and bagged it in the time it took me to just lower my line. Probably went in sooner than noon, but whatever.

After that, the people with fish kept running by. After 5 minutes I’d spotted a couple more: at least double that in the next five…plus all the ones I missed. By half 12 there was at least 100 people in the queue behind me. Again, I saw only one person last time I was here in the full three hours…this was definitely a promising sign. Maybe even I would catch something!

1pm-2pm

Nope. Something nipped at my bait but at the same time I was sidetracked by Becky, who was losing her fishing rod to something in the water. She shouted something to me and I thought she was telling me to stop as I’d managed to hook her line. When I realized this wasn’t the case, my bite was done. And so went my involvement in the competition.

Becky did gather a crowd ten minutes later as she tried to reel in something huge…but when it then turned out to be a fish who’d drawn her line and someone else’s together, the bystanders wandered off. So much for that.

2pm-3pm

The rest of the event went without incident. The prize people went by, and Becky had her interviews and pictures. Otherwise, not a single bite or moment of excitement. My bait was super active though. Moving around the entire time, as if it was being chased. But it wasn’t. And that was about it.

4pm-

No snow on the roads meant pulling the sled up the hill and across to the car was horribly difficult. There’s no relevance to this…I just wanted to mention it.
Conclusion

So, better than last time I went, but that’s not exactly saying much once you consider how freezing and miserable 2014’s event was. Maybe 2017 will be better?

Hmm.

The most special day in February…my birthday!

Friday was definitely the hardest day of last week, mainly because of the work issues I mentioned before. After that we went to St. Cloud for an Indian meal at an Indian restaurant called Kohinoor. Ultimately this experience was fine, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t disappointing. I don’t really want to go into it, but essentially I wanted more and expected more. I miss the Indian food I used to eat in the UK!

Despite this longing, it was still a good evening. We went to the mall afterwards, where we wandered around, tried on some clothes, bought some board games (a topic for another day) and then shared a cinnamon roll. What else can I say? Birthdays are just another day for me now, only special because I receive gifts (which are gratefullly accepted, no complaints there) and can escape chores (good old ‘birthday weekend’ excuse). And to be honest, that’s enough for me.

As for yesterday, well that was spent with family. Nothing special. Between you and I, Vanna’s birthday in March is a more important day, and I’d rather do something for that than this corporate falsity of a holiday. Hopefully everything will come together in time…but I’m saying no more about that. Who knows who is reading?

Anyway, that’s the latest from our lives. Nothing much more expected in February, just work, work, and more work.

Speak to you next time!

Alex

I’m Going To Win A Truck! (Well, Probably Not, But I Can Hope)

Howdy folks,

I hope 2016 is treating you nicely so far. The first month of the new year has been somewhat difficult for me, though February is certainly looking better at the moment. I haven’t really contributed to my resolutions BUT I have started reading/editing my book at work, which is something, right? Maybe if I pretend the new year started February 1st, I won’t feel so bad. Hmm.

So why the negativity for 2016? Uh, I should clarify that mostly everything has been good. Work has been fine, Vanna and I are doing well, and there is some exciting times coming up, such as the Ice Fishing Extravaganza tomorrow (Saturday), and my Birthday/Valentine’s Day the following week. Quite a lot to look forward to, so that’s nice.

Additionally, not that long ago, we were in Madison, Wisconsin to visit our friend Ashley for her birthday. Have to admit, Madison really showed Brainerd up. Not only was it a picturesque place, there was a lot of things to do there. Definitely an interesting city (I can’t say much more, mainly because we didn’t have the time to do a detailed tour). We really couldn’t get over how lively it was! So many people out walking, skating, shopping…not used to that level of activity here (even in the summer, Brainerd only looks that busy at the big events). It was a good weekend. The one big downside was the 14 hour round trip which really ate into our time there. Vanna and I agreed that we would have to go again in the summer for a longer stay, so to actually explore what Madison has to offer. Here’s a picture of us in front of the Capitol building. Maybe next time we’ll take more than just the one photo!

Woo, blocking the road!
But amongst all this good, there has been some bad, mainly health related issues. Nothing horrific, but I was miserable for a week with a serious-ish stomach illness. Three days off work was the result, and my Martin Luther King extended weekend was ruined as I spent most of it writhing in pain. Then, when I finally felt better, Vanna became sick with a similar problem. THEN my laptop decided to stop working to really annoy me. Fortunately we are all better now, but it wasn’t exactly how I wanted to start the new year. Boo!

Other than that, I guess I don’t really have any complaints; maybe this would have been more pertinent had I posted this blog sooner. I mainly brought it up to introduce the real topic of this post, which is…

Uh. Well, forget that because it isn’t ready. I thought it was – had it planned for over a month now – but I feel like there is more to be done before I share. So I’m going to end this here, and come back later to publish the true content of this intended post. Sorry about that. I’ll explain why it took so long once it’s ready, I promise. It’ll make sense. I’m not being lazy, honest!

Right. Wish me luck at the ice fishing! I’ll talk about that experience, maybe with pictures (of me and the truck I won, perhaps?), sometime next week if I have the time. As for the other thing, hopefully that will follow shortly after.

Speak to you guys later,

Alex

A Short New Years Eve Post

Howdy folks,

Well I hope you all had a good Christmas break! It didn’t last long enough for my liking, but thankfully I have another three day break starting tonight. It offers much needed respite, or at least much wanted respite, and it should be a great time as I mostly plan to do absolutely nothing. Football, Xbox, lounging in my chair…oh yeah, I’m excited to do nothing, especially after the busyness of Christmas.

So what did I get up to last week? Largely what I said before; Friday and Saturday in cities, Sunday at home and with family in Brainerd. My favorite part was probably Thursday night though, eating curry and watching The Great Escape with the wife. We also opened our gifts from my folks, which was a good combination of  chocolate, British sweets, and some personal items. There was also a few other cool things we didn’t expect to get, like a personalized calendar and a Skye jigsaw that I might complete someday. It’s only 100 pieces…I’m sure I can manage that, right?

From the Vanna side, we got more food-related gifts and a cool knife which I’m looking to use at any occasion, whether it is necessary or not. The ‘big’ presents, aka my games, were bought in advance so no surprise there, though I have enjoyed playing Rise of the Tomb Raider during my Fallout 4 hiatus (it was getting too much for me, I could sense that I was losing enjoyment for it…should be good to play again after a few weeks though).

What else is going on? Well we still hope to see Daddy’s Home at some point, but that might not happen until midweek. Tonight Sharissa is coming over for New Year celebrations, and Friday we’re having dinner at Becky’s with her family. As for the rest of the weekend? Well, I think I’ve already covered that. And for the New Year? Um, I suppose I do have a few resolutions:

1) Be healthy. Couldn’t hurt to exercise and lose some weight.
2) Spend more time with Vanna. Now that she works less, we can do more things together.
3) Write every day. I need to finish my book already!

I think that’ll do. I’m not sure how far they will go – according to my work calendar, 17th is the give up day for resolutions – but I’ll do my best to be consistent, especially with 2 and 3.  They are both very important to me, and things I want to do. Eating healthy…that’s just a bonus.

Another bonus would be keeping up more regular appearances with the blog. I’ll try that too. For now though, I’m off to celebrate.  Have a happy New Year, guys. See you again in 2016!

Alex

A Short Christmas Post

Hello all,

This is just a quick message to wish you all a merry Christmas! I’m excited, mainly because I leave early Thursday afternoon. This working lark certainly lowers your standards for good things, especially when it comes to free time. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.

Anyway, we do have some plans for this weekend, though they have been somewhat tempered by an illness in the family. Here’s a breakdown of our activities.

Thursday – Finish work at 3pm. Go home, have an Xmas curry (the best kind of curry!) and watch The Great Escape with the wife (Vanna’s first ever watch…I don’t think her enthusiasm is quite as high as mine!). We will also open what presents we do have (we bought for ourselves this year; Vanna got her Kindle, I bought 3 games that so far have remain untouched thanks to Fallout 4, and probably will stay that way for a while) and pack our bags for…

Friday/Saturday – Going down to visit Vanna’s grandparents and uncle Ben for Christmas day. Not entirely sure what our plans are once we’re there, but I’m looking forward to seeing family.  There is also Saturday football to watch before we head back home, so that’s something.

Sunday  – Might be a family dinner, not sure. Otherwise I’ll Skype my dad in the morning and hopefully see Daddy’s Home at the cinema. Then it’ll be Xbox time until evening when the Christmas festivities end and I return to the zone of responsibility (ie, make my lunch for work, wash my clothes, go to bed early).

*sigh*

Well, that’s about it for me. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, see the people you love, get the gifts you want etc. I should be back again prior to 2016 with another update on our life events. I do want to write something more extensive (so many things to talk about, so little time!), but for now these -500 posts will have to suffice (heck, writing that much is difficult; I’m so unfamiliar with my laptop now, typing takes a real effort) until I have a more productive system in place. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I’m off. Speak to you later!

Alex

P.S. No Christmas picture this year, I’ll make sure to get one sorted for 2016, however.

An expression of my love for gaming and writing

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