Category Archives: 2011

callin’ baton rouge… i mean… nashville.

did i ever tell you about that time i went to nashville?

yeehaw. 🙂

back in the winter of 2010 a friend of mine mailed me two tickets to a garth brooks concert  because he was unable to attend.

now, that may not mean anything to you (because you’re crazy), but here’s the thing. garth brooks is a country legend. he doesn’t go on tour anymore, and when he did his tickets sold for hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for hundreds and hundreds of sold out shows. nowdays he sometimes performs out in las vegas, but it is always an acoustic show, not the flaired and full-banded awesomeness.

so… i had to go. and krista, my most spontaneous, country-loving, ass-kickin’ friend had to come with. the show was in nashville, tennessee. we were located in des moines, iowa. google maps told us it’d be 11.5 hours… fine. it’ll probably be closer to 10. we could make it there in a day.

we left des moines on saturday morning around 5am. the plan was we would alternate driving and sleeping (if needed), and then get ready to get our shitkickers and cowboy hats out for when we arrived in nashville.


(the happiest i’ll ever look at 5am)
(for the record- in honor of the trip to nashville,  i ran these photos through the instagram “nashville” filter. you’re welcome.) 

we finally got to nashville in the late afternoon. we got checked into our hotel, played around with our sleep number mattresses (i don’t think they worked, what a load), and then listened to some garth brooks while we got ready to check out the scene.

cheap barbecue dinners and live music pouring out of every bar… nashville is booming at night. krista and i weaved in and out bars full of country singers trying to make it until we finally landed at the honeyhole of downtown nashville. a karaoke bar.

karaoke? one of my favorite things ever. karaoke + cowboys + $2 tallboys of busch light? heaven.

the night was great. we posed with a bunch of elvis statues (a lot of them around the city), got hit on by a gay cowboy who claims he is straight (denial), and got a cd from “rising star” that we never listened to. we never got up and sang, but we sat back, drank our beers, and soaked in the atmosphere.


(this man is not famous. but he gave us his cd and asked to take a photo with us.  i wish i was lying.)

the next day we went out to do some more sight seeing and went to the country music hall of fame. we dressed the part (cowboy boots, western tops, cowboy hats) and strolled around the different floors. it was an incredible place, i don’t think you even need to like country music to appreciate all that was there. tributes to the late and great, interactive kiosks, artifacts, and photos everywhere you turned. and a bear.

raawwwr.

that night, before the concert, we went to the wildhorse saloon, which was supposed to be pretty famous and well-known. there was a musician playing (go figure) and we sat and drank and ate at the bar because there wasn’t any open seating.

i really liked the restaurant, it was cheesy in all the right ways. fake horses doing human things, stereotypical country interior… big ass margaritas. yeah, i think those were my favorite thing. krista and i ate, we drank (a lot… but we walked, so it’s okay), we played some shuffleboard. and i won. and i only say that because when you play shuffleboard against krista, you rarely ever win.

and then we went to see garth brooks.

and he didn’t disappoint. fog machines, flashing lights… he came up from under the stage, cowboy hat tipped over his eyes, singing “rodeo.”  he sang all of his hits, he took crowd requests, he told stories. trisha yearwood (his wife) also performed and sang the song that was my favorite country song growing up “she’s in love with the boy.” there was this annoyingly hilarious couple in front of us that made out and danced the whole time. it was wonderful (to laugh at) and repulsive at the same time.


(ugh, that couple. for real.)

i’ve been to a lot of concerts in my day. and this one was easily in the top 10, probably top 5.

if you haven’t heard garth brooks, i highly suggest you check him out. country music isn’t for everyone, but even many non-country loving friends agree that he’s pretty good musically. these are my top 10 favorite songs by him– although if you ask someone else they might have a different list entirely.

1) standing outside the fire
2) she’s every woman
3) every now and then
4) callin’ baton rouge
5) the dance
6) i’ve got friends in low places
7)  much too young (to feel this damn old)
8)  rodeo
9) to make you feel my love
10) wrapped up in you

what’s so south about south dakota?

i recently took a quiz online to see how many of the “100 places in the world you have to see” i had visited. i knew it would be rather low, but it was still rather shocking to get the results.

23. 23/100. it’s disappointing, really. so low for someone who claims she likes to travel, to go on adventures. for someone who has no children/responsibility to really tie her to a place… someone with a fancy car with low mileage, and friends with the same urge to get moving.

since obviously it costs money to travel (and also costs vacation days at work), i have decided that it would be best to knock off some more of the united states sites before trying to go abroad.

so…

here we come south dakota!

#59 on the list: Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, USA.

my parents used to go to south dakota all the time because they used to ride motorcycles. if you are a motorcycle enthusiast, you obviously know why and there’s really no need for an explanation. for the rest of us, let me explain: every year in south dakota there is the sturgis rally in the black hills. motorcyclists drive in from all over the usa to be a part of the shenanigans; everywhere you look you see leather jackets, chaps, and harley davidson’s.

to give a bit of perspective, the city of sturgis has around 6,500 people living there, but during the time of the rally the traffic gets up to at least 400,000. (and i will guess at least 100,000 of them have hulk hogan mustaches.)

i usually stayed with my grandparents when my mom and dad left, until i got old enough to persuade them to leave me home alone. now i will embark on my own journey to the more southern dakota.

according to google maps, it’s about 9.5 hours to get to keystone from mason city. so, realistically, that means it will be closer to 8-8.5 hours.

now, let’s put this plan into actual practice. is anyone interested in going/meeting up? (i’m looking at you, krista.) i’m game for stopping at other places along the way and making it a 4-5 day weekend (leave thurs night, come back monday morning). the name of the game is “cheap,” but the more people that go i’m sure the better deals i can find.

and if anyone from the area that has any suggestions of things to check out along our way to mount rushmore, please don’t hesitate to let me know. any small dives (i love me some dive bars), some quirky small towns? any places to avoid? good hotels? nice couches?

Merry Christmas

What a year. After dating Evan for awhile, we finally decided it’d be best to move in together. Unfortunately, that means I had to move out from with my one true love Sarah. Ah, such is life. Anyway…

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Wishing you the best this holiday season.

dreamy smirk

but really, what’s the point of having friends if you can’t make shit of them?
(photo taken from eightsevencentral.com, the best screen printers in the universe)

no need to russian-to-it.

i think i may have mentioned it a time or two (or eight or ten if you are around me often), but i am going to russia in february for work. this “will she, won’t she” game has finally come to an end, and i will be traveling out the last week of february/first week of march.

at first i asked my boss if she was punishing me (because i imagine winters in russia are even worse than winters in iowa), but the more and more i think about it, the more and more excited i become. i will be spending a week in st. petersburg- 4-5 days of video interviews, working on product positioning with product managers and technical service people, etc and then an additional 2 days checking out the city.

plus, it gives me an excuse to wear my awesome hat:

(my mom thinks these hats are super dorky so my sister-in-law and brother got her a similar one for christmas last year. i make her wear it around the house with me sometimes.)


and to make matters even more exciting, an old college friend of mine is thinking about meeting me there for the last portion of the trip. i love seeing people i haven’t seen in a long time, and this man is no exception.

ladies, meet ari. he’s single and ready to mingle: (and finnish. and adorable.)

i met ari my senior year at wartburg college (you-rah-rah-rah!). he was a freshman at the time and under normal circumstances i wouldn’t have even noticed him. for one, he’s blonde (and we all know how i feel about that). and for two, he was a freshman. when would i ever have a class with a freshman?

lucky for both of us, one of my roommates was on orientation staff and she brought him around a time or two. we quickly became friends- i mean, sure, he was blonde and young… but he was FINNISH. He was stylish. He was worldly.

…and his hair was beautiful. 🙂

one of my favorite things about ari is that he always laughs at my last name. my last name is lundberg. it’s swedish (just like me… haha… sort of.)  in most european languages, “berg” means “mountain.” i’m not too upset about that, it’s an easy translation, and i probably could’ve figured it out for myself. another [sad eyed] friend has told me that “lund” in swedish means “grove,” so apparently my roots trace back to the people living off the land between the grove and the mountain.

but in hindi, “lund” is a slang term for male anatomy– most specifically it translates to “dick.” so ari calls me Dickmountain, or DM for short. …he’s a real classy kind of guy. 🙂

after i graduated wartburg at semester i ended up seeing ari a few times [when i visited school for homecoming and also at my fake-prom party], but he soon returned to his homeland and we haven’t really seen each other since. i am STOKED that he is making some time to come and visit- especially in the cold of winter!

neither ari nor myself have every been to russia, however. seeing as i want to soak in as much as possible, i would appreciate any tips or ideas of places to see while i’m in st. petersburg. a small group of work colleagues (the fun ones) are also staying for some extra time, so hopefully someone will have an idea of what to do. don’t get me wrong, i love to travel and explore new things, but one fault of mine is that i’m too laid-back when it comes to itineraries. if i have a rough draft i will follow it, if i don’t, i will play it by ear…

…and my ear usually leads me to a bar. so help a sister out and give me some good ideas! 🙂

not gonna eat MY brains.

i am a huge fan of amc’s television drama the walking dead, mostly because it covers a subject that is near and dear to my heart. zombies.

over the years i have become more interested in zombies and the potential for a zombie apocalypse. admittedly, i was not the biggest zombie/zombie movie fan at the beginning acknowledgement of their possible existence, but the fact of the matter is… i’m a survivor. and wanting to be prepared as possible, i have ran over possible scenarios, weaponry, and survival kits to ensure i will be roaming this earth long after the last zombie has had its brain blown out.

to my slight reluctance, i am willing to share parts of my zombie survival plan with everyone. i am not sure how much i want to indulge (survival of the fittest, afterall), but these few things are key.

1. get yourself to a farm — sorry, city dwellers, but if a zombie apocalypse has started and you are still in an overpopulated city, you’re already fucked. unless you’ve successfully locked every other human out of the wal-mart you have just relocated into (you heartless jerk), you need safe harbor, you need wide open spaces to maneuver, and you potentially need cows.

2. cows and/or supplies — okay, not so much cows, but you do need a food source. a garden would be nice. cows/pigs/chickens/sheep/livestock in general are also nice. not only can you butcher the livestock for an endless supply of filot mignon or bacon (mmm, bacon), you can throw a chicken or young pig or sheep (let’s be realistic about a zombie attack… you probably can’t throw a cow) at a hoard of zombies to distract them from trying to rip you apart limb from limb and eat your innards.

also, by supplies i mean guns or weaponry. i hope you have already thought of this. i suggest weapons that keep you at a safe distance– guns are good, but they are loud and, well, deadly even to humans. arrows are good (get a cross bow, no one has time to learn old school arrow shooting), spears have potential. just beware of using close up weapons like a pick ax or knife. for one, you need to hit their brain (that’s the only way they die), and getting that close to their mouths could enable you to get bit before you deal the final blow. also, keep your mouth closed while killing– zombie splatter into open orifices can also cause infection.

3. good friends — i mean, not so good of friends that it is going to impair your judgement of whether or not you should shoot them if they become infected, but good friends are a must in survival. and by “good” i also mean good for you. you need people who are also survivalists and who can bring something to the table, whether it be hunters or doctors or just someone who is easy on the eyes (you might need to repopulate the earth, afterall). you also don’t want too big of a group– ten people at the most. any more than that and it can start going all ‘lord of the flies’ and people be power trippin’ all over the farm.

on a smiliar note, you also want to make sure you are not the weakest link in your group. if you’re the weakest, i’m not going to say you are going to die first… you should already know this. (you are going to die first.)

4. practice, practice, practice — i can’t stress this enough- it’s important to be prepared. and i’m not only talking about canned foods and gauze wrap (although, speaking of, you should have plenty of both). have you watched any zombie movies to find their strengths and weaknesses? do you know how fast can you shed a jacket if a zombie has a hold on it? can you reload a gun in the blink of an eye?

if you haven’t thought of any of the above (*cough* weakest link *cough*), i will give you a simple exercise to start with. i call it the “trip and recover.” practice falling to the ground and getting up as quickly as you can. because, let’s face it, if you fall… your “good” friends aren’t coming back for you. i was a sprinter in high school- i don’t necessarily need stamina… i just need to outrun the slowest person. and i’m not a bad enough person that i would shoot you in the knee cap to ensure that i will be quicker, but i’m not a good enough person to be taken down beside you.

so obviously this is not all the information that you need to survive a zombie attack, but they are the basics. maybe in a more advanced course we can discuss clean water sources, how to reenforce your farm, and other survival tactics.

i wish you all luck, and hope to see you in the new world.

how tacky

as much as i hate the cold and snow (and i do, trust me), there is one related thing that gets me in the mood for the christmas holiday season.

tacky christmas sweaters.

i don’t know how this phenomenon came up. i’d like to know if it is popular in other countries? is it popular over the whole united states or just in certain regions? regardless of spread or origin– tacky sweaters have become a staple of my christmas celebrations.

and it’s not just me looking for christmas sweaters. thrift stores can’t keep them in stock. even shopping malls will stock up on them during the winter months hoping someone will pay full price for a sweater with a reindeer sewn across the front. sorry, younkers, but $50 is a bit ridiculous. even if it is the most hideous sweater i’ve ever seen with light up christmas wreaths.

snowmen, santa claus, little elves… i can’t get enough.

lucky for me, my mom has kept one little number throughout the years. it’s a vest. a christmas vest… and it’s uber-petite, it’s short on me and i’m 5’3″. it’s a blue color, similar to regular jeans, and on each side it’s oh-so-tactfully decorated with santa and snowmen and other holiday cheer. my mom won’t admit she still likes it, she claims to have just saved it for me for all of my parties… but i found it in her closet the first time i wore it and would like to think she was just waiting for cold enough weather so she could wear it herself.

sure, there are other things that get me in the christmas spirit. as much as i do hate (piles and piles of) snow, the first snowfall of the year is breathtakingly beautiful. i’m still very much like a child in the sense that i try to catch snowflakes on my tongue and pretend to smoke when it’s really cold, making my breath look like the smoke. i will occassionally make a snow angel. i will drink hot chocolate and some milk nog (egg nog is too rich, how can people do that?). i will wrap christmas presents, admire people’s holiday decorations, and hang out and appreciate my family and friends.

and, if i’m lucky, i’ll be doing all of that in my tacky christmas sweater(vest).

a confession of the culinary sort

i am about to admit something, something i never thought i would say.

something that has haunted me for quite some time up here in mason city, done in the quiet hours where no one is around to witness or criticize.

i like to cook.

there, i said it. are you happy, mom?

somewhere along the line, cooking has stopped becoming a chore to me. i find myself looking through recipe books now and dog earring pages with things that i think sound good. i group my grocery list according to what food i want featured in my meals each night. i don’t mind shucking out $60 in groceries and whip up some meal that takes much longer to make than it does to consume.

what the hell is wrong with me?

granted, i don’t do anything extravagant or noteworthy (see my friend Erin’s blog Foodtopia if you’re looking for something like that), but i find myself in the kitchen every night making some meal for the boy and me. he will usually come home, make some exclamation about how the house smells good (then I give him a treat, it’s sort of like a pavlov’s dog experiment) and then we will sit down and eat and watch dexter. it’s become a nice little routine.

but recently, evan has come up with a new challenge for me. given that we spend around $100 every couple weeks on groceries, he is asking me to use up what we have in the cupboards/freezer/refrigerator before we go shopping for anything else. now, if anyone knows me they know i can’t back down from a challenge. especially if it involves making money or saving money (i’m easy, what can i say). so for the past few weeks, i’ve been documenting what i’ve had for supper (yeah, that’s right, we call it ‘supper’ ’round these parts)… here goes:

Monday 11/21: wasn’t that hungry and evan works late on mondays so i had chips and salsa with melted cheese. don’t judge me.
Tuesday 11/22: made these crescent chicken things- a recipe passed down from my mom and a lundberg family favorite. they are probably one of my favorite meals, but it involves all sorts of unhealthy things like cream cheese, bread, and salt (probably why i like it so much). also cooked up some broccoli.
Wedesday 11/23: met krista and jordan out for hy-chi (hy-vee chinese food). it was only okay… but it was also only $6 a piece for an all you can eat buffet.
Thursday 11/24: thanksgiving leftovers and pumpkin pie (the only pie i really enjoy, mostly because of the whipped cream)
Friday 11/25: some delicious seasoned chicken halves we got on discount from super target for 1.67. they had been sitting in our freezer for god knows how long. also stirred up some potatoes.
Saturday 11/26: hamburger helper meal from 2007. yeah, gotta get that out of the cupboard at some point. apple slices, cut to perfection (super thin and almost like chips).
Sunday 11/27: casey’s pizza. kind of cheating, but evan’s parents came up to help me paint my office so we had to feed them and i didn’t want them to suffer through our meal challenge.
Monday 11/28: leftover casey’s pizza. hey, i do alright for myself. (btw: if you ever want to win me over get me a casey’s pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni, and black olives. it’s my absolute favorite, and i don’t care what anyone says- casey’s pizza is the best pizza known to man)
Tuesday 11/29: used the rest of the ham leftover from thanksgiving to make ham fried rice. had to buy an onion, but i don’t really think that’s cheating…
Wednesday 11/29: okay, i admit it, i caved. while i was withdrawing money at target i bought two delicious and cheap spinach and herb encrusted beef pinwheels. for $5. total. BOOM.

in total, for the 1.5 weeks that i was actually at home, the total amount i spent on food was less than $30 (counting the pizza, my order of chinese food, the onion, and the pinwheels). i feel pretty good about that. and the fact we are clearing out this ridiculous amount of food we have stored up– our bomb shelter just isn’t quite big enough for it all– makes me feel like we’re accomplishing something.

i should also perhaps note that evan did end up caving and buying some groceries- he’s been sick the past few days so he stocked up on chicken noodle soup, an assortment of teas, pomegranates, and… pie. (i think the pie was more of a “feel good” sort of purchase.) 🙂

next week i’ll be in des moines and i’m pretty sure i will at least triple that amount of money while i’m in town. i have this problem i call FOMO (fear of missing out). i hate the idea of fun going on and me not being a part of it.

routine

sometimes i hate routine– i hate knowing that i have to be some place at some time and i’ll be doing the same thing as i did before… and i’ll be doing it again.

and yet sometimes, sometimes i find it strangely comforting. when i don’t have a routine, i find myself wondering what to do with myself. if there’s some task i should be accomplishing or some goal that needs to be set.

because here’s the thing about amanda lundberg. i am never satisfied with who i am. there are phases of contentment, but i always think i should be doing something to better myself. i want to learn languages. i want to get good at guitar. i want, i want, i want.

but i rarely ever do.

and then i complain.

so this is where routine steps into play. if i realize there are things about myself i want to change or get better at, i have to actually take steps in that direction or really, i just need to shut up. but one thing i am good at is making lists. so here goes another one:

1) I want to learn how to play guitar. i know how to play guitar in it’s simplest form. i know the four basic chords that make up a lot of songs- i could probably play along with any christian camp sing-a-long (yes, be impressed). but i can’t play a b chord. i can’t keep a strum pattern. i can’t play through a full song by myself.

so what am i going to do about it? well, i’ve started taking guitar lessons with an old college friend who lives in mason city. and after my second lesson i can now play through the song Skinny Love (Bon Ivers) without a problem. sure, it’s not in the original key he sings it in and i still stumble through some strumming issues… but i can play it. heck, i can even sing it *cough*when no one is around*cough*.

2) I want to learn another language. Fluently. none of this half-assing, “i kind of know spanish so this should be easy and when it’s not i’ll stop trying” shit. i just realized last week that my online rosetta stone has been renewing itself for months without me doing anything about it. i am going to try to dedicate at least an hour a day to learning a language. i’ve already started on italian, so maybe i will continue… but dutch is beginning to sound better and better to me. why? well, for one, i’ll be going to belgium next year for work and that is the main language that they speak. and for two… well… shut up, you don’t know me. 😉

3) I want to stop drinking pop. so really, i’m going to stop drinking pop. i’m usually pretty good about it, but when i’m hungover all i want is something sickeningly sweet or unhealthy. usually both. on that note, i should probably cut back on my alcohol intake as well…

okay, we’ll start by tackling those three things. (reducing alcohol intake is another battle for another day). and then we will self-improve other areas as we see fit.

a 2-Year toast

evan and i have “officially” been dating for two years. since we didn’t really have a set date we called each other boyfriend/girlfriend (wow, that sounds cheesy), we decided that thanksgiving was an appropriate day. 2 days before thanksgiving we had our first date. the night before thanksgiving he saved me from making a huge mistake at the bar (turkey trotting, never a good idea). and on the night of thanksgiving we met up again and went out for dinner and a movie. that weekend i went to visit him up in mason city, and the rest is kind of history from there.

i’m not saying things are perfect now or that things have ever been perfect. both evan and i have made a lot of mistakes in our lives, before and after being with each other. there have been times i wanted to throw in the towel because i know i deserved better and there have been times i know i have been crazy and irrational and treated him in ways i shouldn’t.

but really, there is no one i’d rather go through these imperfections with. i love that we don’t quite match up in interests (he’s very outdoorsy, i am a computer nerd), but match up in values. i love that our families get along so well. that we get to cuddle on the couch under a blanket and watch cheesy movies like christmas vacation. that we can make fun of each other and not take it personally. that he’s not the jealous type and still allows me to be me.

anyway, in honor of two years with mr. evan peterson, here are 10 of my favorite photos of us:

This is the first picture that Evan and I have documented. It was on Thanksgiving in 2009 and we had gone out to dinner and then to a movie. Unfortunately, there were no good movies in the theater at the time and we had to settle and see “Old Dogs.”  This was also before Evan told me he hated getting his photo taken, so I got some good ones where he couldn’t complain.

New Years, kicking off 2010. I just like this one because he looks so handsome.

This photo makes me laugh every time because I just feel it describes our relationship so perfectly. Evan is a biker and skate skier, but he has asthma problems sometimes. I didn’t realize our photo was being taken at this moment, but I feel this is probably what I said to him while he was recovering.

Taken at one of Evan’s favorite spots in the world, the Iowa State Fair. This photo was taken AFTER he told me he hates photos, so I love the big grin he gave me.

At Derek and Linsey’s wedding in 2010. Evan was a few hours late to the reception because we had argued on the phone whether or not he had to dress up. He had decided not to- left town, felt guilty, and went back home to iron some dress pants and throw on a tie. And he looks gorgeous.

The man and I in Seattle, in front of the first Starbucks. This was our first vacation together and Evan’s first time on a plane. My shirt says “Everyone Poops.” 

Halloween. I LOVE Halloween, I love making a fool of myself. Evan does not, nor does he like to go out and party, so I always choose simple costumes for him. This year we went as Wolverine and Storm (X-Men). I bought the claws and borrowed the leather jacket. My friend Krista styled his hair, please notice the fine details. We take our Wolverine’s very seriously. 

I love this. We were grooming ski trails one night a bit outside of our home. The night was so quite and calm and we saw nocturnal wild-life, and just cuddled on the ski groomer while defining the trails. We also look like we are entering Mortal Kombat with our facemasks. Evan can be Reptile, I call Scorpion. “GET OVER HERE!”

Ahh, Halloween again. This year we went as Dexter and a victim. I bought him the shirt that Dexter wears and everything else we took out of his closet. My costume was relatively cheap, but slightly complicated to make. But regardless, I wore my grey chucks. And I got fake blood on them, but that is a small price to pay for how fantastic these costumes turned out.

Our most recent photo, on Thanksgiving 2011, marking our two year anniversary. We didn’t do anything special just the two of us, but we had Thanksgiving with his family (a total of 45 people were in the house), and then halfway through the day we made our way to my grandparents’ house to see my family. We both love this time of year because it gives us a chance to hang out with our families, eat big meals, and just be thankful for all the good things in our lives (which are plentiful).

So that’s our last two years in a nutshell!  Here’s to two years, and to many, many more!