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Ladies, point your toes. It's not that hard.
Last night I did my first little practice judging for Dance Team. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. I had been worried that I wouldn't know what I was doing, but I was right on track with everyone else. And most of the dances were so much fun. There were a few where I had to keep reminding myself to write things down, because it was so entertaining - I was just watching.

Saturday is the next big test. 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM of sitting in the stands watching for 80 different criteria and listening to blaring music - I can't wait!

And holy cow JV teams are doing double pirouettes now? I would totally not even make the cut these days.
Fixing my hip
I went to the chiropractor for the first time yesterday. Wearing heels, sitting at a desk, crossing my legs, holding the phone wrong, and running have taken a toll on my back and thrown my hip out of alignment.

I was hoping they could fix it in one shot, but unfortunately, I have to go back for two more "pop & crack" sessions. The doctor instructed me to ice my hip last night, which is pretty much the last thing I want to do in my cold house.

But the worst part is she told me I couldn't run until it was healed! Ugh!
Last night at Bennet's on W. 7th
Just a shot of the scene last night at the bar, watching the hockey game, drinking Hamm's and eating bar fries with friends and the most-awesomest boy ever.

Speaking of Christmas
I think it would be way fun to take pictures with this camera:

Diana+ camera from Urban Outfitters, $50.
Getting ready for waiting
Advent starts on Sunday (Kari should we use the old Advent blog or start a new one for 2007?) and so I'm feeling ready to do some Christmas preparation.

I don't want to go all out on the decorations at our house and don't really want to buy a tree. And I can't decide if I'm going to put out the blue (as in DFL Blue Christmas came early November 2006) table top tree at home or at work or at all.

But these homemade paper ornaments (featured on Design*Sponge) hung from our dining room chandelier I think would be fun to make and not look overly Christmas-kitschy.

That and I think I nice poinsettia plant for the china hutch would make it feel more festive in our house.
Night we light parade. Or Holidazzle in the Sticks.
A lot of horses, semi-trucks and trailers covered in Christmas lights. And it started to snow just enough to make everything sparkle. I love Bemidji.

After the parade, Erica and I caught up with Alecia at 209 (no ex-boyfriends in sight:).
Catching Up
This is how cool the internet is: Tuesday night Mom and I caught up with the CRI girls at T.Juan's. We had a hilarious time talking about BJs, how to talk your way out of a DUI and how to save the world. AND Jeanne is so cool. She reads my blog and looked at my Amazon wishlist and brought me her copy of State of Denial!

Thanksgiving Day, I dressed up in a cute cordory skirt and tights and whipped up som Martha Stewart Cheese Popovers that ended up more like Smooshed-downs. But my homemade cranberry sauce was wonderful. Anton's girlfriend's family came over and I avoided making small talk by playing Barbies and with her five year-old little sister.

Saturday was Green cheese in Tenstrike instead of the usual Guthrie. I spent the night talking to Angi (who is pregnant!) and eating homemade blueberry-rhubarb cobbler. It was cold enough so I could wear my snow boots with my jeans scrunched up and my big fluffy parka and not care that I look like a hick.

Sunday we made the trek up to the Albrecht's in Mizpah for more giving of thanks.

Grandma Lorraine served us her usually feast with everything homemade right down the to already-buttered buns. Mmmm.

And the blind date boy. He is wonderful. Here is a dorky picture of us and a less than great one of him performing at a coffee shop last Saturday.

Hanging with my grandpa.
Me: embroidering. He: snoring in his chair while we watched the easy listening music channel. Later, we watched celebrity Jeopardy and made fun of Paul Schaeffer. I picked up two novels, multiple recipes, a cook book and a box full of farm hewned lard. A well spent afternoon.
Days like this are what makes me love my job.

Photo from Forum Communications

The boss is here. It's a zoo. Everybody wants to talk to him. Tempers are flaring. Policy is getting hashed out. People are holding press conferences. I'm shuffling his schedule and squeezing people in. The phone is ringing. The IMs with my coworkers are wizzing. I'm making witty conversation with waiting senators and lobbyists. And I look totally cute too.

It's almost as good as being in session.

Andrew and I went out for happy hour at Wasabi in Minneapolis last night. We throughly enjoyed the beer, sake and sushi deals.

Mmm, sushi.

Granada, Nicaragua

granada, nicaragua, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

My friend Jake is spending a few years of his life making the world better. Specifically Guatemala with the Peace Corps. He helps people with their chickens and fertilizer-making worms. He talks all about it on his blog: Don Jacobo.

He's been there almost two years and took a much needed vacation to Nicaragua recently. This is one of his photos and I just loved it so I thought I'd share. He's the one on the left.


From random inspiration

Veteran's Day 001, originally uploaded by juliemaealbrecht.

Jess and I on our mini-double date on Friday. We're in the bathroom while we force our dates to make uncomfortable conversation.

If I wasn't already doing daily readings for Disciple,
I would totally get and read this book, Disturbing Complacency, for Advent. Or maybe this one, Beginnings and Endings, by Maggie Dawn.

And not just because Jonny Baker is either.
And. Um,
Best. Blind. Date. Ever.

Just saying.
Veteran's Day
A day off is more fun when all your friends have one too. Apparently, Veteran's are not celebrated, except by state and federal government employees (minus colleges and universities).

So, no mail, but all my friends have to go to work.
Forgotten Mix

I'm all alone in the office today, so I brought in a couple CDs from the car, including a mix I haven't listened to for like ever. It brought me right back to the place where I was when I made it: in a crappy relationship and really happy to be back in Minnesota with country music.
  1. Keith Urban - You'll Think of Me
  2. Sia - Breathe Me
  3. Sting - Desert Rose
  4. Mary J. Blige - No More Drama
  5. Mary J. Blige - I'm Going Down
  6. Etta James - I'm Loving You More Everyday
  7. Etta James - I Just Wanna Make Love to You
  8. Joan Osborne - These Arms of Mine
  9. Joan Osborne - Let's Just Get Naked
  10. Joan Osborne - Dracula Moon
  11. Keith Urban - Jeans On
  12. Joan Osborne - St. Theresa
  13. Keith Urban - It's a Love Thing
  14. Keith Urban - Where the Blacktop Ends
  15. Keith Urban - Days Go By
  16. Keith Urban - Make Memories With You
  17. Reba MacEntire - Does He Love Me
  18. Tanya Tucker - Delta Dawn
These arms of mine, they are wanting, wanting to hold you.
And if you would let them hold you, oh, how grateful I will be. Come on baby, just be my man, just be my lover. I need me somebody, somebody to treat me right. I need your loving arms to hold me tight.

I am not oppressed.

We've been talking about the crappy parts of the bible. The parts I like to pretend aren't there. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Where God is angry and vengeful and there is lots of violence and male domination and blood sacrifices. Yuck. It's also mostly hella boring. Except when you get a little description about how to wring a pigeon's neck. WTF? That's more revolting than boring, but it gets boring when it is repeated three more times slightly modified.

When I read this stuff, I have to remember these were a primitive, violent people who were attempting to bring order to their lives. These are campfire stories that were told and remembered and embellished for 400 years before they were formally written down. And then they were translated about three times. And it's nearly impossible to translate Hebrew. Often in the footnotes of my bible it says "Hebrew meaning uncertain".

God has Moses lead the Jews out of Egypt and slavery in Exodus. The book we are following asks us questions like: How are you oppressed? What do you need to get free of?

I am not oppressed.
Am I oppressed by my affluence?
Do I need to get free of my affluence?

I was thinking, that using public transit is kind of something I should be doing to honor God. Giving up my convenience and violent pace for the good (less pollution, less congestion) of others. Just a thought. Maybe something to do during Advent, Lent, the New Year?

I embroidered my love into it.

1. Towel, 2. Dill pickles, 3. Beigli 4. Potato dumplings, 5. Etsy Card 6. Rosary

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I finished Grandma Albrecht's Christmas present yesterday. I took images from the internet, printed and traced them on my towel. It has all the wonderful things about Grandma's kitchen: the amazing coffeecake, potato dumplings and pickle's she makes, her devotion to God and her hospitality (at all times but especially) during deer season. In retrospect, I would have put all the different images on separate towels, at first I had thought they'd be too small.

A few years ago she embroidered a whole seven day set of towels for me (that I use everyday), so I hope she likes this too.

I called her last Friday to get her recipe for bread and had just a lovely chat. I got all the gossip about who, out of my million cousins, is having a baby now. I love my Grandma.
I don't have enough for a proper update. So here are some unrelated things all together.
Andrew and I met for dinner at Pad Thai last night. They have simply amazing food. I highly recommend the Green Curry Pasta with Scallops (I can't wait until lunch when I can eat my leftovers. Aren't you glad you don't have to be here when I reheat it?). Then we walked across the street for coffee before home to watch Grey's.

My social calendar this week has threatened to keep me away from the gym. Happy Hour Monday and Wednesday, dinner with Andrew on Thursday, date on Friday. But I've persevered, even running after two beers on Wednesday (not something I recommend).

I have a date tonight. Thanks to Laura. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laura.
I found great stuff at the Salvation Army on Friday night, mostly due to Jessica's shopping skills. Skirts, sweaters, dresses, vintage slips, a coat and a suit - and when I got them home they all fit!

I love that Target Headquarters are in Minneapolis, cause we get all of their samples. With the handwritten ID cards included, manufacturer, etc. It's exciting to think that this was the garment that they based their sales decision on.

I went to an estate sale after church on Sunday, mostly because they had the best signs I've seen in a long while. Simple white tag board and a fat black marker - and their handwriting was caligra-phic.

I was not disappointed. The lady whose stuff they were selling, seems to not have bought anything after 1972. There were all kinds of mid-century furniture and lovely crystal. AND piles of embroideries and linens. Beautiful work with lovely colors and few stains. I grabbed up a pile of them and brought them home to the wash. The best item I found was a green tablecloth with a magnolia print that looks wonderful in our dining room. It covers up the less than spectacular table.

And I almost bought two small crystal table lamps that were in my favorite style. But they were more than I wanted to pay and I really don't need them. The places I would put them, already have more than adequate lighting. But they were really tempting.
Psalm 149
God adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches
Did you know it said that in the bible? Me either. It was in our Litany of Praise at church on Sunday.

It was All Saints Sunday yesterday and my minister likes this holiday just as much as I do. He described that to him Halloween and All Saints Day are a mini Lent and Easter in two days (without the annoying people who only come to church once a year). The dark and the light. Halloween - a day when we talk about what scares us and All Saints Day where we remember those who brought good and light into our world.

On All Saints Day we are sanctified, made holy, made a saint.

And we did that thing so we can remember who we are and what we are doing. We sang it responsively, from memory and without our noses in books.

Chane, grand jete, tour jete, arabesque, fouette...
Saturday I spent 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM at Cretin Durham Hall for a training on Dance Team Judges. I stopped at my favorite coffee shop and was very happy to be able to walk to the location (I got in after trying to get in to 3 different doors and walking all the way around the building).

Whoa. This is going to be way more difficult than I had expected. You have to be looking for like 40 different criteria while you write notes without looking at your paper. And wow, dance teams do way more difficult stuff than when I was in high school (7 fouette turns into a triple pirouette?). I don't even know what a lot of it is called. I need lots of practice.

I must commend the ladies who put on the training. It was on time, well organized, informative and the food was great! I was worried it would be some ditsy girls who didn't know how to speak in front of an audience. But, we had judges who earn their pay as teachers giving us instruction - who better?
We have them.

A week ago, I was sure something was chewing on the oven. That has stopped, but this weekend it got worse.

I think there are two. And they f'ing come up into the living room through the heating vents. On the dot every night at 10:00 PM. When did they get so bold?

Ack! I put out traps, but they never catch them. Ug, ug, ug. Go outside mice. You don't get to live in my house. And don't even think about procreating.
Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria Horner is going to be on the Martha Stewart Show on November 15th! She is an amazing fabric designer whose blog I read. (Warning craft geek-out) She's also a great embroiderer and is in the flickr embroider pool with me. She's writing a book on sewing and I can't wait until it comes out.

She's a fabric/embroidery celebrity in the online craft world. I feel like she is so accessible, she brings her readers along for the ride while she writes her book, designs her fabric and lives her life.
My obscure concert date, Erica, and I went out to see Sia last night at the Varsity in Minneapolis. The theater is right across the street from Jessica's apartment, so we invited her to join us for dinner and drinks at the Library prior to the show. It was a good spot to sit, eat and to keep track of when the line got to the door. And we got $3 parking - score!

Sia was just lovely and a surprisingly happy person. I was expecting someone very sad and mysterious based on her music, but she was really happy-go-lucky. She sang mostly new songs, which was okay (I always want bands to play old songs that I know all the words for). And Breathe Me live was, oh, so amazing. It makes me want to get her live album "Lady Crossiant" and I'm definitely going to get her new album "Some People Have Real Problems" when it comes out. Which apparently you can already download.

I thought she was Swedish, but she sounded British. Hmm.

I always see Bemidji people every where I go. Here I am with Lane and Erica.

The Theater.

The venue was really chill and the crowd was cool. It was so nice to not be hanging out with a bunch of 18 year olds.

They had all kinds of mums everywhere. So pretty.

The Lobby.

Concert Posters

Varsity, why did you not turn your sign light on, so I could have a lovely picture? Are you trying to save energy?

She had a little kid motif going on (see the rainbow drawing behind her) that I wasn't too crazy about. I rather like being a grown-up myself, but maybe I'm too serious.

I have a few more photos of the concert in my flickr set.
Martha Blog
Martha Stewart just now started blogging, and I can't help but read it everyday. She posts her personal pictures and what she has been up to. Really fascinating to see how she does things in real life (with a cook and a less glamorous dining room that the pictures in Living).

And she has a really big crystal chandelier:

Oh, Happy All Saints Day

I much prefer All Saints Day to All Hallows Eve. A day to remember those who have passed. Here's a little meditation from the Book of Uncommon Prayer.

Psalm 4
God, we chase after stupid things.
We fill our lives with worthless possessions
Because we don't know what's really important.
God, as we lay quietly in our beds searching our souls
Let us remember that we owe you - and not the other way around.
There are blessings all around us, Lord.
You give us all that we need.
We can lie down and sleep soundly.
We have no worries.
You will always be there to protect us.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of love,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors.
I bind to myself today
The power of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The density of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to teach me,
God's eye to watch over me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to give me speech,
God's hand to guide me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to shelter me,
God's host to secure me,
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in ever ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of Christ
I believe the Trinity in the unity of the creator of the universe.

Young House Love
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Love Forever
2000 Dollar Budget Wedding
a $10,000 wedding
Style Me Pretty
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