Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Maybe now you'll see more updates!

Since we can now update the blog via email, we might just start putting up more content.

Stay tuned!

- Karl

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Valentine Weekend in Savannah

Left Thursday 2/15 late afternoon and went to Savannah, Georgia for a long Valentine's weekend.

After a long layover in Atlanta, we finally arrived at the airport at about 12:15. A couple phone calls and a cab ride later, we got to the River Street Inn around 1:00 am and promptly turned in for a well-deserved night's sleep.

Friday morning, we rose and headed to The Lady and Sons, Paula Deen's restaurant in the heart of the Savannah Historic District. No, we weren't going for breakfast, but rather to make reservations for lunch. We selected a 12:45 lunch time (it was already almost 10:00 am) and headed off to get breakfast at the Express Bakery and Cafe. I had the Cinnamon Bun with Honey Glaze (not to be missed!!), and Signe had a bacon and egg croissant.

After breakfast, we strolled around the City Market area, and checked out most of the shops, picking up a few souvenirs.

At 12:30, we got back to the restaurant at our appointed time for lunch. We both opted for the buffet, which included a salad bar, selection of fried and baked chicken, fried fish, a huge selection of sides, and dessert. The food was good, but nothing I would go out of my way for again. Dessert included some fantastic banana pudding and peach cobbler. Since those were just not enough, we also opted for a slice of Key Lime Pie. The pie was absolutely wonderful, which was generally attributed to the almond slivers in the crust. The worst part of lunch was our seating - just inside the door, where we were greeted with a cool breeze every time the door was open, which was quite often.

After lunch, we decided that we had not had enough sleep to make up for the late arrival, and headed back to the hotel for a nap. On the way, we stopped to take a couple pictures of City Hall, and I almost got run over whilst standing the the middle of the street while the light turned green. We also stopped by the Visitors Center on Bay Street and picked up a couple more brochures for the local attractions.

Later Friday afternoon, we walked up and down River Street, a huge shopping and dining center. Many of the structures (and most of the streets in the area) were built with ballast stones brought in the holds of ships used to take cotton out of the harbor. Most of the buildings on the street were also cotton warehouses at one time or another. We bought a few more souvenirs, and then stopped at Spanky's restaurant for dinner.

Saturday morning, we headed down to Huey's for breakfast. The view of the river was great, and the food was very good, especially the beignets they served.

After breakfast, the hotel called Old Savannah Tours and we were picked up and taken to the Savannah Visitors Center, where we started a bus tour of the Historic District. The tour allowed us to hop on and off as much as we wished. We rode the entire circuit the first time around, about 90 minutes. Back at the visitors center, we took a break and went to the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, which is still in its formative stages, and a lot of restoration is underway, both on the rolling stock and the buildings in the complex.

Back aboard the bus, we rode into town and got off the bus at Madison Square. We walked over to Monterey Square, which took us by Mercer House, which was the scene of the (alleged) murder in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". We also went to "The Book" store, which specialized in souvenirs and memorabilia related to the book, the movie, and the South in general.

We took the bus back to the east end of Bay Street, and took the stairs (narrow, steep stairs!) down to River Street to see the Waving Girl statue and catch a look at the open air market. Some more shopping and walking brought us to Kevin Barry's Pub for a late lunch.

We went back to the hotel to grab a glass of wine during cocktail hour, and ran into two couples; one from Orlando, and one from Charlotte, who were in town together. We had a rather interesting discussion about growing up in the South and one's inability to stop calling older people "Sir" or "Ma'am" or Mister or Mrs. So-and-so, even when they were your co-workers or neighbors.

We looked over the menu for Tubby's, one of the hotel restaurants (the other one being Huey's). We called down for reservations, and they didn't take any. Not a problem, since they had a bar. :) We wandered down from our room, and were told it would be a 20 minute wait. On cue, we got our table, and it (again) happened to be near a door, bringing in a draft every time someone walked through the doorway. I suppose that this is not usually a problem in a town where the average temperature is usually higher.

We ordered an appetizer (bread with garlic and cheese spread), I ordered crab legs, and Signe ordered a steak. The appetizer came, and we were immediately disappointed. The bread was still frozen inside. I sent it back, and asked that it be taken off the bill. The manager apparently was not in the mood to satisfy, as he had new bread baked, and brought the appetizer out again, literally just steps ahead of the main course.

Fortunately, the rest of the meal was better.

After dinner, we wandered River Street some more, in search of the "perfect" souvenirs we had seen earlier that day, or on Friday. Note to self: If it's perfect, buy it right there and save yourself the trouble of trying to find it again. The winds were much calmer Saturday than they were on Friday, and it made it much better to be out in the evening. We made it back to our room, did a little pre-packing, watched the ships on the river, and turned in for the night.

Sunday morning brought clear skies, cool temps, and a slightly depressing mood, as reality set in, and it was time to go home... but not before going back to Huey's for another order of those fantastic Beignets for each of us!

After breakfast, a little more walking on River Street. We had been told that most shops didn't open until 9 or 10 in the morning, but a few places were open earlier than that (or so it seemed).

We checked out of the hotel, caught our cab to the airport, and made it back home without too much drama. It was quite bracing to come out of Mitchell Field into the single-digit cold, but we were back home...

Savannah, we'll be back!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We have a date!

May 10, 2008... only 577 days!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Engaged!! - or - Our trip to NYC... : )

Well, it happened.

Karl asked, Signe answered (yes, of course!), and now we're engaged.

No, we don't have a date yet. (edit: yes we do! 5/10/2008)

Sure, we'll tell you a little about the weekend...

Friday, September 29:
We left Milwaukee for New York via Midwest Airlines... got to LaGuardia about 1pm. Caught a cab to the apartment, 51st St. at 7th Ave (near Times Square and Rockefeller Center). Dropped our bags off and walked down to Times Square to catch a subway to Chelsea. Walked to Chelsea Market, a really neat food market housed in the old Nabisco plant. Food Network has their studios and offices there. We stopped at Fat Witch for some brownies and checked out the stores.

After the Market, we headed over to Chelsea Piers to grab a bite at the brew pub. The burgers were great, and the weather was awesome, with the sun bright and high over the Hudson River. We walked the piers after dinner, took some pictures, and waited for the cruise to start.

We boarded the Manhattan, one of the boats run by Classic Harbor Lines. It's a new boat, but was built to look like a 20's vintage luxury yacht . We were one of 3 couples that boarded the boat for the Sunset Cruise, which took us from Chelsea Piers down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty, and up the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge, and back to the Piers. The trip was about an hour and a half. The sun was setting as we departed, and it got dark fairly quickly. The city lights came up, and the stage was set for a romantic cruise. We figure it was somewhere near the bridge that Karl "popped the question". Signe was caught quite by surprise, but thankfully she was able to gather herself together long enough to answer. We enjoyed the rest of the cruise, and Signe made some phone calls to let some friends and family know what had happened.

Once we had landed, we caught a cab back to Rockefeller Center, where we spent some time wandering the Channel Gardens, the Rink (no ice yet...!), and some of 5th Avenue. We stopped in at Top of the Rock and picked up our tickets for Saturday night. On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at Heartland Brewery and had a snack and a drink. It had been a long day, and we were ready for a good nights' sleep.

Saturday, September 30
We got up Saturday morning, and headed over to Europa Cafe for breakfast. Not the greatest, but sufficient. From there, we headed back to the subway to catch the train to Grand Central to do some touring there and catch another train to Canal Street on the way to South Street Seaport. Did some shopping, had some lunch, and took a few daytime pics of the Brooklyn Bridge. From there, we caught a cab to Battery Park to check into tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There were no tickets available to get into the statue (they sell out well in advance), so we bought ferry tickets with the anticipation of going out Sunday morning.

Because of all the subway station construction in the area, we wound up walking up Broadway to City Hall to catch a train. Along the way, we stopped to see the bull at Wall Street, and Signe found herself a Prada purse from one of the street vendors. We made our way up to the World Trade Center, and spent some time walking the area. We spent time at Saint Paul's Chapel, and looked at the exhibits detailing the role the church played after 9/11/01.

We were both pretty beat by that point (about 2:30pm), and we decided to head to the apartment to take a load off and get a quick nap. Around 6:00, we decided it would be a good idea to find some dinner. We walked up 7th Avenue, and it started to drizzle a little. We ducked into a Christmas shop at Signe's suggestion, and picked up an ornament for the tree to commemorate the weekend. We wound up back near the apartment at Ted's Montana Grill, and had a nice steak dinner. We headed to Serendipity for dessert, but with a 90 minute wait at 8:30, we decided our time could be better spent elsewhere. On the way to catch a cab back to midtown, we stopped at Dylan's Candy Bar, and picked up some gifts for Gil and Freya. We went back to Top of the Rock and took an elevator to the observation deck. This was a really great experience, as there is no fence but a large sheet of glass between you and the city. We got back to the apartment around 11:30, and turned in to get ready for Sunday.

Sunday, October 1
Sunday morning, we woke to grey skies and rain. While we were expecting this, it was not what we were looking forward to, since we were going on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We went to Ellen's Stardust Diner for breakfast, and were entertained by the singing waitstaff.

From Ellen's we caught a cab back to Battery Park to catch the ferry. Since we didn't have tickets for the Statue, we decided to save the time and stay on the boat to Ellis Island. We spent a couple hours there looking at the displays and the building that's currently open. While there, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. The rest of the day was beautiful.

We headed back to Battery Park, and caught the subway back to Times Square. We had lunch at Dave and Buster's, and made our way across the street to pick up some souvenirs. We dropped the gifts off at the apartment, and caught another subway to 5th Avenue and 59th Street to do some window shopping. We stopped at the World of Disney store and picked up some things for us and the kids. A couple more stops at the street vendors and we were back at the apartment. We walked down to Times Square for dinner, and ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The food was good, and the waitstaff was very friendly. We stopped at the Hershey's store in search of some chocolate covered pretzels, but were unsuccessful. Back to the apartment to pack for the trip to the airport in the morning, and off to bed.

Monday, October 2
We were up at 4:00am to catch a cab to the airport for our 6:45 flight back to Milwaukee. A 2 hour flight/nap and a short car ride, and we were back at home... a little tired, but well worth it. We had a great time, and are looking forward to our next trip to "The City".

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Summer Recap

Well, it's certainly been a crazy summer. Since Fall is upon us, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the last few months and catch everyone up.


Memorial Day - the traditional start of Summer. We took Gil and Freya (Karl's kids) to Kohler-Andrae State Park near Sheboygan. It was in the mid-90's in West Bend, and the mid-70's at the lake, so the cool breeze was a welcome relief. Gil and Freya practiced their excavating skills, and we got a chance to get into the lake (knee-deep, anyway).


Freya 'graduated' from Middle School in early June, and has started her Freshman year at High School. It was an unusual start, however, as she severely sprained her ankle the Friday before while roller skating. Crutches, an elevator key, and extra time between classes is not what any of us expected.

Karl participated in the Elmbrook Youth Hockey Association annual Golf Fundraiser with Al Williamson, Tony Stemberger, and Jake Heisler
. Though the day started off warm and sunny, things deteriorated in a hurry, and they finished in a cool, steady drizzle.

Karl and Freya visted the Comics exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and spent some time enjoying the lakefront, flying Freya's new kite.

Karl was in Martinsburg, WV for work, and took in a Suns game, where the played the West Virginia Power, a Brewers A-league affiliate. As we're all accustomed to, the night did not end with a Brewers win.

The annual Quad/Graphics Picnic was held on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and Karl, Signe, Gil, and Freya were all there, along with Karl's brother Daniel.

Karl's uncle Roy had his birthday party, and we got to see him in his 'birthday suit' one more time.

Signe's sister Shelly called us on the 19th to invite us to a private party at Miller Park and attend a Brewers game that evening. What Karl failed to realize til we had accepted the invitation was that it was the night of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Free Hockey or Free Beer - what a dilemma! Beer won out, and thanks to Chef Alex, Karl was kept abreast of the score via text messaging. The game was fun, the Brewers won, and everyone had a great time.

Signe's dad Pete, Karl, and Gil went to the Craftsman Truck Series race at the Milwaukee Mile. It was a cool evening for late June, and we were caught a little short on warm clothing. That didn't stop us from having fun, though!

Karl and Signe went to the horsepull in Deerfield on the 24th, and the competition and weather were awesome. That morning, we were in Madison for the Farmers' Market, along with some of our friends.


July was a big month for a few reasons. The weekend of the 4th brought the usual festivities, and we wandered down to the lakefront on the evening of the 3rd to take in the fireworks - a good show, but a little disjointed with the stoppages to reload and the display atop the USBank building. The next day, we ventured to Janesville to see Cullen play in the Little League All-Star game.

The next weekend was a big one for Signe, as she participated in (and finished!) her first Danskin Women's Triathlon. All the hard work training paid off, as the weather was VERY hot and took its toll.

Signe's Brownie troop held its promotion ceremony on the 10th at Ted and Bonnie's house. The girls were presented with their awards, and we all had dinner.

The 11th was Karl's 40th birthday, and he and Signe celebrated in style, heading to Bastille Days for an afternoon of culture (if Alligator-on-a-stick is culture, we must be in Milwaukee), Mo's Cucina for dinner and the Residence Inn downtown for a stay. Thanks to the folks at the Westown Association and their volunteer appreciation night for the people who help out at River Rhythms, where we won the gift certificates for the dinner and room! When Karl attended the event, he had no idea how much of a volunteer he was going to become.

The 29th brought Paul and Shelly, Cullen, Alec, Connor, and Signe's mom and dad to town for another Brewers game. Rather than tailgate in the 90+ degree weather, we opted for a pool party with Ted, Bonnie, and Kimberly, along with Kimberly's friend Eli. We headed over to Miller Park just before game time, and sweltered with 40,000 other people as the Brewers staged a fantastic come-from-behind win.


July finished off busy, and the start of August was the same, and Karl was busy moving all his worldly goods from West Bend to Milwaukee. Once that was done, it was time to unpack... 5 weeks and 2 parking tickets later, the garage is organized enough to park a car!

The first Saturday of August (the 5th) was Jimmy Buffett's concert at Wrigley Field in Chicago. No, we weren't there in person, but we were there in spirit. Ted and Bonnie hosted a party at their house, and we listened to the concert via Cliff's satellite radio. Since the pool was a balmy 90 degrees, it was the best seat in the house!

The 12th brought Kevin's (Karl's friend and fellow referee) bachelor party. The folks at Riverwalk Boat Tours did a fantastic job of getting us from Lakefront Brewery to the Milwaukee Ale House and back via the Rock Bottom Brewery.

On the 13th, Signe and Karl took Freya and her friend Claire to Great America. The girls had a good time, even if Freya didn't ride all the coasters! The weather was perfect, and we really enjoyed it.

The weekend of the 18th - 20th was Family Camping weekend (see post below)...


Labor Day weekend was fairly quiet, though we did manage to get to Maxwell Street Days in Cedarburg.

A busy summer, for sure! Now it's time for hockey season...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Long Family Reunion... or 'my weekend as an NFR'

We spent the past weekend at Silver Springs Campground in Rio at the Annual Long Family (Signe's mom's side) Reunion. We arrived Friday afternoon and were there until Sunday around 1. My designated official status for the weekend was 'NFR', which means 'not related'. Trevor's girlfriend Tia was the only other NFR in the group, so we were pretty well outnumbered.

Friday late afternoon brought rain, and the rest of the evening was damp. The tent took on a little water, but the double-height air mattress kept us above the moisture.

Dinner Friday was chicken with bacon, cheese and bbq sauce... quite yummy. We retired to the fire pit and spent the evening sitting around the fire and chatting until bedtime.

Saturday morning came early, and the weather was very strange. The sun and clouds couldn't decide who was in charge, and the temperature was all over the board. Eventually, things settled down to a perfect day.

Saturday was the beanbag tournament. Karl was paired with Alec. Sig was paired with Connor. Sig's dad Pete and his partner, cousin Max took the championship, beating Trevor and Tommy in the second game of a double-elimination match. The tournament started at around 10:30 and didn't finish until almost 3:30.

Lunch was served after the tournament, and it was quite a large spread. By the time everyone was done eating and cleaning up, it was early evening, and we broke up for some lounge time. Most everyone was at the pool at one point or another, and the soaker balls provided an opportunity for some spirited competition (note to Connor: my mouth is still sore, and I will get even).

Saturday night saw most of the group head to the common area for the dance, and some of us "old folks" stayed at the camp for another fire and some s'mores.

The rest of the group came back around 11:30 and we gradually retired to our sleeping quarters. Saturday night was quite chilly, and we were happy that we brought an extra blanket "just in case".

Sunday morning brought bright sunshine, and we got up, had breakfast and broke camp. Once the goodbyes were over and the car was packed, we headed to the pool for one last swim. The trip home was uneventful, with a stop at the Mineshaft in Hartford for a late lunch/early dinner.