Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Post Turkey Update

So I promised more upon our return from California for Turkey Day. I'd love to say that there is all sorts of groundbreaking news for us at the moment. We had a great holiday and have enjoyed getting to see our family again here in Oregon. However, we're in a holding pattern on a number of other "big picture" fronts. Things in the next day or two are either going to start moving at a lightning pace or completely come apart. Of course, for a control freak like me this is nirvana :-)

More news to come in a few days!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gobble, Gobble!

To the North American contingent we wanted to take the time to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

We have plenty to give thanks to this year. Our health (and the health of our family), having the experience that comes with a trip of a lifetime (and using it), spending the season with our loved ones and hoping that come the holidays, we'll actually be someplace somewhat settled. We hope that every one of you remember to give thanks and remember the positive things going on in your everyday lives.

For the international contingent, we want to give a special thanks for having all of you as our friends. The trip wouldn't have been anywhere near the same experience without the friendship that you provide. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Off to California to visit Becca's relatives for the feasting day proper. More upon our return.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Visual Bookends...

These should show how we've faired after 15 months on the road. Really, travel is good for you!

Before the trip:

After the trip:

These pictures were taken at the start and end points of our RTW trip. So, let's see... about a total of 45 lbs lost between the two of us, a maintenance free haircut for Brian, two new day bags and one new red shirt for Becca. Oh and the memories to last a lifetime.

We'll be visiting this very point again tomorrow as we fly out to Oregon for the Turkey Day festivities. In the meantime, we've evidently hit the price point on our house because we are having showings left and right. All you blog readers think good, selling thoughts for the house!

More from the left coast. Who knows, maybe Becca will even write an entry or two.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A new look...

Blogger is in the process of moving everyone over to their new functionality, Blogger Beta. New tools, new bells and whistles and a supposedly more technophobe friendly format (not a problem for me, but the tools ARE easier to use). As a result, over the past few days I've been hard at work moving the blog over.


What you see before you is the new us!

A bit more streamlined, a tad more precise and ready for the holiday season. An added bonus of the new format is that you can search for an entry by label. Yep, yours truly has gone back and labeled all of our old posts. So if you just want to read my writing (and who wouldn't?), check out Asia adventures or maybe read just a bit more about the leggy Estonians, you can do just that by scrolling down to the Where to Go? section of the links.

Feedback is always appreciated. Hopefully the new design will continue to be user friendly while making our lives a lot easier.

(Update: Becca and I decided we didn't like the new look so we went to another format. Hope y'all like brown!)


PS I forgot! New pictures are up spanning our initial visit to CA to tailgating at the Vikings/Packers debacle last weekend.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hey dere!

(spam, spam, spam, spam...)

Our friends Wade and Chelle are party hosts extraordinaire. Everything from their Super Bowl festivities to their Iron Chef parties to just small get togethers are always extravagant and quite a bit of fun. They put a ton of work into them and really go all out to make it a great experience. (And they throw a mean wedding shower, as Becca can attest to.) As a result, when they sent us an invite to their "Minnesota Nice" party, we were on the case.

The theme of the party was simple enough: everyone was meant to dress as Minnesotans and bring either a dessert or crock pot (casserole)-related dish. First the food: I briefly contemplated bringing my crock pot Jambalaya but then remembered that might be a wee bit spicy for the sensitive Minnesota palate. Then it came to me: the Davis family speciality. Mayonnaise cake. A Davis family recipe for generations, it's not nearly as disgusting as it sounds. In fact it's quite moist and tasty though not easy on the waistline.

In fact I was quite confident I would be leading the caloric intake race until we arrived and saw Wade's creation. Velveeta Fudge.

(good and good for you!)

Seven pounds of materials (including 1 pound of velveeta cheese and 4 pounds of powdered sugar), 12,000 calories and one broken wooden spoon all put into a 9x13 pan. Ugh. Even the most adventurous of us took a VERY small sliver. The rest went to the tech guys at Wade's company (fulfilling the truism that tech people will eat anything if it's free).

The crock pot creations were a little more standard; tater tot hot dish, wild rice soup, spam casserole, etc. In fact, here is crock pot row in all it's caloric glory.

(I think I saw something green somewhere. No, wait that was the beer talking.)

Overall though a good quality of food. One side effect of the food though was the party was a lot lower key than usual. As people tried everything everyone slipped into a serious food coma and sat around on couches. At least people didn't start talking about the church bingo or god forbid the Vikings.

From the sartorial perspective, there was just a lot of plaid and hockey jerseys.

(Brian and Alex represnting the new and old of Minnesota hockey)

However, special props need to go out to Wade Anderson and his wife Sara. They did it up in style. Why use words when pictures will do just fine?

(Where's the lutefisk casserole, Ole?)

And yes, Wade A had waders on and wore them all evening.

So there you go, a little slice of Minnesota from me to you, the loyal reader.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Integrating Life on the Road into Home Life

During the home stretch of our trip, Becca and I both talked about how we felt we were making fundamental changes in who we were as people by having done this trip. To step off the career treadmill is no easy task but we were proud that by doing so, we were able to take time, gain a little better perspective as to what was important to us in life and how we wanted to live it going forward.

Part of this were little things we did during the trip that made us feel better physically; eating better (and less), spending more time outdoors and using our feet (as well as public transport) as most of our transportation. For every part physical though there was an equal part mental. Our lives before we left revolved around work and the stresses inherent in not having the time to improve ourselves, our relationship or the world around us. For us this trip enabled us to lower our stress levels, regain control of our time, wipe the proverbial slate clean and have the chance to discuss how we wanted to change our work situations, daily life and any number of other factors that go into leading an improved life.

So two plus months upon our return, the question is an obvious one: is it working?

It’s a difficult question to answer; in some ways we’ve been very successful. We’re eating better, cooking a lot more, doing our best to exercise frequently, etc. As a result, we still feel good physically, even if the rapidly advancing Minnesota winter has made our daily walks become a lot less frequent. We’ve also done our best to continue to have fun and do different things. We’ve told each other that before we leave the Twin Cities, we need to go do all the touristy things that we’d do if we were visiting it on the trip. So far the list hasn’t gotten much of a workout but the thought is there.

Therein lies the trap for the two of us. Because so many things are up in the air right now, what with the stress of the house (not) selling, the impending hold put on the Oregon job search and the quasi-limbo our lives has been put in as a result we are having a difficult time making sure we take time for ourselves. Instead we just fret a lot, use our days inefficiently and don’t do a good job of compartmentalizing the various things going on in our lives. We’re getting better as we settle into the idea that we’ll be in Minnesota for a while but the fact that we at least realize the issue at hand (and what needs to be done to improve it) is a significant improvement from before the trip. A small victory I suppose.

So for now we’re doing our best to integrate the lessons learned living on the road into our home life. (For instance, now that she's working full time again, Becca is making a point to take a break during each day and go for at least a 30 minute walk over lunch.) It’s a struggle but we feel like we're making inroads. We know that the real challenge will be once we have our real jobs; it will be then that the decisions we’ve made about our lives going forward will get a real workout. I’m confident that we’ll be able to tackle whatever is ahead and help make our life on the road part of our life at home.


[ed note: the picture integrates road life into home life too. We're walking around Lake of the Isles (in the cold) in Minneapolis wearing the stocking caps we bought in New Zealand (Becca - the silver fern is a NZ symbol and also a symbol for the All-Blacks, the famous NZ national rugby team) and Denmark (Brian - it's a team hat from the Brondby football club located in the Copenhagen suburb our Danish family lives in)]

Monday, November 06, 2006

This says it all...

Your 2006 Harvest Moon Champs.

We came, steeled ourselves with plenty of Braums and tasty beer and took no prisoners. For us older guys this was particularly satisfying as back in the old days as college students, we'd come to this tournament and lose all of our games (badly). So to finally win this tournament, outscoring the opposition 85-36 and knocking out the crowd favorites along the way, was particularly satisfying. Oh and our costume (Steve Prefontaine) actually went over quite well, even if there were more than a fair share of wispy mustaches.

On a more personal note, for essentially not having played in two years, I actually held my own on the field and kept my injury list down to a possible broken toe suffered while trying to navigate my way around a dark hotel room. That aside, this group of guys always reminds me how much I enjoy playing ultimate; something that hasn't always been the case.

The only downer was the two cases of beer we had to leave behind; as people had flights to catch and the tourney had run long, we weren't able to properly celebrate our win though our vanquished opponents were able to properly drown their sorrows. Guess we'll just have to celebrate twice as much next year...


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What happens in Fayetteville, stays in Fayetteville...

As most of the people the read the blog know, both Becca and I are recovering ultimate frisbee addicts. In fact, it's how we met. Both of us have been "retired" from the club scene since 2003. Becca has pretty much moved on though she can occasionally be talked into a throw in the park. For me though I occasionally still get the urge to get out, play and let me competitive streak run amok.

For six of the past seven years, my college reunion team has made the trip to scenic Fayetteville, Arkansas to play in the Harvest Moon tournament. I've been to each of them and it's a very good time. The different generations of players get a chance to mix, we have a good time on the field (having finished everywhere from middle of the table to runner-up) and off the field... well no one has been arrested yet, which is a plus. Becca, with no desire to hear about any of the various hijinks that ensue, has sent me off every year with the following:

"Have fun. See you Sunday night."

I might have a few safe for work pictures next week. Or, given the one part of our costume people have agreed upon is mustaches, maybe not. Either way this soon-to-be crippled writer should have something for your amusement on Monday.