Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So, yesterday I was supposed to have a dentist appointment at 10, but Pam Carlson called the day before and proposed a day trip to Ely. You may remember Pam as the other half of my fundamentalist pastor/wife halloween costume:

So, to Ely we went! Ely is here:

As you can see, it's pretty far north and on the west side of the Boundary Waters Camping Area (BWCA). Our first stop was Steiger Mukluks. Mukluks are winter boots made usually with leather that originated with Native North Americans. Here's the store:

Pam picked out these mukluks and then proceeded to talk about how excited she was with her purchase for the rest of the trip.

After that we headed to the local brewery and ate some lunch while enjoying a wild rice beer and an IPA. Very tasty! The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing the stores of Ely. I bought a few flannel shirts and resisted buying a lot more at all of the outfitters. We headed home, and I spent the night with Luke, Chelsey, Jared, and Eric watching the Vikings actually win and bowling. You may remember that I went to Ecuador with Jared and Eric. Here's a picture to jog your memory.

And Luke and Chelsey (whose wedding I officiated this summer):

Today I'm celebrating family Christmas! I'm very excited about that. But before that, I'm heading to an eye appointment. Happy New Year's! I may even get a some contacts.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Well, Christmas in Duluth as been great with more still to come. Jessica and Isaac (sister and brother-in-law) don't get in until Wednesday night, so Christmas isn't officially being celebrated in the Bjorlin family until Thursday. Christmas Eve was spent eating dinner at my grandma's. I ended up going to both a Vineyard service and ELCA service for the Christmas Eve services. With no offense intended, contemporary services, especially on the major Church holidays, need to get back to the basics. I think that there is no reason to do anything but carols or classic Christmas hymns during a Christmas Eve service.

Christmas day was spent at my sister and brother-in-law's, Anna and Peter, out in the boondocks. We ate brunch, opened a couple presents (saving the rest for when Jess and Isaac get here), and played some games (I also took a nice nap). I got subscriptions to The Economist and The New Yorker, two pairs of smart wool socks, and a CD from Concordia-Moorhead's Christmas concert. I'm excited about all of them. Oh, we also watched The Newsies (I know, not exactly a holiday classic, but I wasn't complaining).

The rest of my time here has been spent reading and doing some writing for church. I have read:
1. The Short Reign of Pippin IV - Steinbeck
2. Once There Was a War - Steinbeck (I'm working through Steinbeck)
3. The Courage to Teach - Parker Palmer. Even though this was required for a J-term class, it was really a great read (no surprise with Palmer).

I've also been trying to put together a sermon for this next Sunday. The text is John 1 ("In the beginning was the Word"...and so on), and I thought it would come together easily. I think it's harder working on a sermon that deals with such a familiar text. Today it finally came together, and I'm going to be writing on John as an example of the Christian's need for paradox and mystery in their faith going off of the idea that the Matthew/Luke version of the Christmas story are prose while John is poetry, Matthew/Luke emphasizes Jesus' humanity and John his divinity, etc.

Also, since I have Minnesotacare (public aid health care), I only get coverage in Minnesota. So, this vacation I have had or will have a doctor's appointment, a CPAP appointment (sleep apnea stuff), dentist's appointment, and an eye appointment to buy some contacts and possibly some new glasses. I feel like I just got to Oz and they're shining my metal facade, combing out my mane, or re-stuffing my straw. Okay, going to hang out with some high school/CBC friends. Later.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Hello everyone. In lieu of sending out a head shot of me sitting at a piano for a Christmas card, I decided to make my long-overdue return to blogging.

I'm currently sitting in Hermantown on Christmas Eve at Luke and Chelsey Harju's house enjoying some rest and relaxation. My first night in Duluth seemed fitting as we got about ten inches of snow and school was cancelled. Ahh...just how I remember it! It's hard to think what to write when my last post was in the summer.

This semester went well. I finished the first chapter of my thesis on the relationship between worship and ethics, finished my internship credits, finished up my second Advent at church, only have two more classes (beside the thesis) next semester, and will be going through the call process with the Evangelical Covenant Church starting in January. What now? I know!

Top ten favorite Christmas songs:
1. O Holy Night- Most versions, although Josh Groban's is getting a little old. Mariah's, on the other hand, ages like a fine wine.
2. Cradle in Bethlehem- This song, both by Sarah Groves and Neal & Leandra has been one of my favorite new finds.
3. Trumpet Child - How had I not heard this Over the Rhine gem before?
4. In the Bleak Midwinter- "Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor the earth sustain; heaven and earth shall pass away when he comes to reign." Doesn't get much better than that. I like JT's version almost the best.
5. Salvation Is Created- Aaron turned me on to this Chesnakov (sp?) song. Ironically it was his last religious song he was able to write before the Soviet Union took over and forbid it. Commies ruin everything!
6. Star Carol - Simon and Garfunkel put out a great version of this that always gets me.
7. The Birthday of a King - Always loved it, especially Judy Garland's version.
8. O Come All Ye Faithful - obvs.
9. Once in Royal David's City - especially when sopranos from the North Park choir sing the descant on the last verse; I'm a sucker for descants.
10. All I Want for Christmas Is You - classic.
11. (tie) Happy Xmas (War is Over) and Wonderful Christmas Time - John and Paul getting their Christmas on.

Some songs that have rubbed me the wrong way this Christmas season:
1. Dominick the Donkey - I don't even understand this song.
2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - This will screw a kid up. This is even worse when the Jackson 5 sings it and Michael talks about telling his dad. I always think, "Don' tell Joe! What if Santa wasn't him? He'll go crazy! I've seen Jackson 5: An American Dream - he doesn't handle anger well.
3. Baby It's Cold Outside - No means no, dude. Don't accept any drinks (not even half a drink) from that guy. This song reminds me of Kathy Bates in Misery.
4. Away in a Manger - I dislike the tune but love the alternate tune...not to mention the gnostic tendencies of "no crying he makes."
5. Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer- Now that's the Christmas spirit! Grandma getting run over!

Okay, I'm going to eat lunch with my brother. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trip to Grand Rapids

So, this weekend I took a long overdue trip to Grand Rapids. Andrew and I went up Sunday after church and stayed until late last night with Aune at her mom's condo. Here's how the trip went.Sunday, Andrew picked me up from church at about 1:15, and we got on Lake Shore Drive and headed South (then East, then North). To my great pleasure, Andrew was in the middle of listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, so much of the ride was spent enjoying the dulcet tones of Jim Dale.

We arrived at the Carlson complex at 6 p.m. EST and first went on a tour of Grand Rapids. We saw downtown, Wealthy St (I mean, their rich people have no shame), the many, many churches in the area (which seemed to alternate between some type of reformed church or a megachurch of some kind), First Covenant, and also the scenic beauty of some of their parks. I was also reminded of the more conservative nature of Western Michigan when I saw a billboard with this message (this isn't the exact billboard, but it is the exact wording):

I know it's true for me. You don't know how many times someone goes into cardiac arrest at the hospital, and I think to myself, "If only one of us had a pistol, we might be able to save this person!"

So, after going on the tour, we ordered pizza from a place named Jet's and went back to the condo and ate. It was a good time had by all, and Trix (Aune's mom) entertained us by showing us her old Swedish/Dutch books and records. At about 10 we headed out to Founders, Grand Rapids local brewery.

We had a couple tasty brews, watched a very inebriated man painfully hit on a group of girls, and then watched as they got into a screaming match that somehow climaxed with the man smashing his fist into his own passenger side window of his truck. It was a pretty eventful night.

The next morning we woke up late and headed for the pool. We spent the majority of the afternoon sipping on margaritas and sunning ourselves poolside with intermittent swims. At about 4:30 we headed to a mansion that had been turned into a restaurant/bar and had some pizza. That night we headed back to the Carlson complex and I took a nap while the others went for a walk. When I got back, Aune had grabbed her great uncle's old tenor sax, so Andrew and I played a bit. I haven't played in quite a while, so that was pretty great.

Around 11 we decided to go. The drive home was smooth, again entranced by HP5. I arrived home at 1:20 a.m. making today a little touch-and-go. To use hospital lingo, I'm kind of feeling Alert Oriented x 2.

Softball game tonight...hopefully. ResCov made the playoffs, so now it's all about seeding. Okay, I'm out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Well, I'm pretty excited by the fact that I have tickets to two great shows in the month of August. First on August 7th at Lincoln Hall I will be seeing one of my favorite current bands Blitzen Trapper after they play at Lalapalooza that afternoon. Here they are performing their most popular song "Furr" on Conan:

August 12th, I will be attending a showing of Once at Lincoln Hall that will be followed up by an interview with Swell Season by Jim Deragatis and Greg Kot (of Sound Opinions fame) followed up by a Swell Season concert! Here they are doing the song (Falling Slowly):

So, it's always nice to have something to look forward to. Also, I'm taking a short trip to Grand Rapids, MI Sunday-Monday to visit Aune Carlson. I feel like in some ways taking a trip to GR is a necessary step at this point in my life. I think it's kind of a context pilgrimage as I see the city where so many of my friends (Aune, Andy/Jim Meyer, Megan V. Hanson, the Petersons, the Tournells, Al Hollemans, I can't think of any more of the top of my head and I'm sure I'm missing some obvious ones) grew up. I'm looking forward to it.

I swear that construction on our road starts at about 5:30 in the morning. Nothing is quite as relaxing as getting ready in the morning while a steamroller and jackhammer are working seemingly on your front porch (on your frontal lobe).

I just had my first true code blue (the rest were people passing out after giving blood) today. It was definitely an interesting/eye-opening experience. There were a lot of people in that small room and then me standing outside looking stupid. Good thing it is one of my spiritual gifts (looking stupid that is).

I really need to paint my apartment. No more excuses. I should start looking at colors soon. Okay, I should go.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I've had some long days at work before, but I swear this one is moving at half-time. I feel like I've spent 24 hours at the hospital... 1.5 hours left. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. My parents have been in town this past week, which is always simultaneously fun and exhausting. They got in on Friday night. On Saturday I worked on church stuff and then Matt and Elsa came over and had tacos with the folks. After that, I walked over to Margie's to celebrate two of my favorite people's birthday (purposefully vague to show that I was celebrating with Amy but also celebrating Jenny in spirit):

On Sunday after Church, my parents and I headed to Marquette, my home from the age of 2-5. Here's the house we lived in during that time.

While there, we stayed at Marge and Barry's, two of our best family friends. It was a good time down memory lane. We got home Monday/Tuesday morning at 12:30 leaving me a good 6 1/2 hours of sleep. This might have been the case had my mom not gotten up without her glasses on, looked at the clock, saw 8:05 instead of 6:05, and came and woke me up because I was late. That's a good way to start your work week.

Tuesday night we headed to Ravinia with Tom Kennington (former pastor at DGT) and Cindy Beier (former worship leader at DGT). We saw Peter and Paul (of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame) and their tribute to Mary. I have to admit that the first half was kind of lame. However, after intermission about three songs in they did a "This Little Light of Mine/Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Set on Freedom/Down by the Riverside" medley. That was definitely the highlight of the show and the turning point. From there they did "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?", "If I Had a Hammer," "Blowing in the Wind" and "This Land Is Your Land." It was wonderful. Again we arrived home late and, again, I was exhausted at work.

Last night we went to "Million Dollar Quartet." It's the story of the day Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Louis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash all met up at Sun Records and recorded some songs. While some of the dialogue was stilted/forced, the music was pretty great. It was also the perfect show to bring my dad to. So, if nothing else I get good child points. Here's a picture of the actual day they met

...and a picture of the show.

So, now I'm finishing my last day at the hospital for the week and dreaming about sleeping in tomorrow. Softball game tonight! Hope it doesn't get rained out!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Have you ever had the experience where you are about to go to bed and decide you need a drink? So, you go to the faucet and pour a glass too large, but you decide that you won't drink it all. However, when you start drinking, the water is just so good that you keep drinking and drinking, and as you are doing it you know this is going to cost you a middle of the night bathroom run but you just are really into instant gratification at the moment? Well, that happened to me the other night, and I still think it was worth it in the end.

If hell was a Chicago neighborhood, I'm pretty sure mine would be Wrigleyville. I had to drive through it yesterday, and it just grosses me out. How can something in the shadow of the great Wrigley Field be so trashy?

There's a Loudon Wainwright III concert this Thursday in Evanston, and I'm debating whether I should go or not. I mean, I know that I shouldn't spend $28 on a concert, but I also don't know how many opportunities I will have to see him around here. I think I'll do it. I rarely regret spending money on a concert. The best is when you buy the tickets far enough in advance that by the time the concert comes, you feel like you're going for free! Here's him playing a great song:

I don't think I'll ever live in a place south of Chicago. If it too hot for me here, how will I ever make it in places that are actually in the South? I'd much rather take frigid winters if it means comfortable summers.

I'm about to start a tutoring session, so I gotta go.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Well, I realize in my absence that I never even acknowledged that my sister Anna got married! She married a guy named Peter Graves. He's a good guy, and we are very happy for the two of them. Here are some pictures. First, the cute couple up at Enger Park:

Next we have a picture of the entire family at the wedding:

Then there is this lovely picture of the siblings sans Isaac at the rehearsal dinner:

And finally here is a picture of my sister and me at the wedding. My left arm looks so awkward Seriously, is that a prosthetic?:

So that was the wedding in a nutshell. It's always great to be in Duluth as well.

Yesterday I decided that if I was not going to run (calling it "running" instead of "jogging" for Alli) outside because of the heat, then I had to go to North Park's gym and run in the air conditioning. So, that's what I did. Now I can't find my stupid North Park ID to get back in. Alas, losing and forgetting things is the story of my existence or at least a major theme within the story. However, I think I know where I may have left it, so that's what I'll be doing after work today.

Tonight I'm going to see Joe Schupbach star in "The Apple" at Neo-Fururists. It better be good, or I'm going to ask for my money back like my grandma did when she took my sister and I (children at the time) to Who Framed Roger Rabbit and made us walk out when Jessica Rabbit sauntered onto the screen. Good times.

I think after school I'm going take the position as chaplain at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...either that or take a parish in the Shire. That seems reasonable, doesn't it? Okay, that's all for now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nothing makes me more apathetic about jogging than the humidity being at 1000% with a temperature over 85 degrees. I guess apathetic isn't the right word because that makes it sound as if I could go either way. Nothing deters me more than the humidity. However, I have decided to start bringing jogging clothes to work and go to North Park's gym if it is too hot outside (too hot being entirely subjective).

Now, I know this doesn't make sense, but when I'm with one other person and they need to go to the bathroom, it almost offends me that they walk in the bathroom and lock the door. Do you think I'm going to wait ten seconds until you're peeing and then come barging in? It's something I don't understand.

Sorry I have gone so long in between blogs. I have started my chaplaincy at Evanston Hospital, which is taking more energy than I thought it would. It's funny how fast you turn into an elderly person when you have to get up for the 8:30-5 job. Seriously, at 9 p.m. I'm thinking about how I can carefully extricate myself from any social situation and get to bed as soon as possible. It's sad really. Chaplaincy has been good so far. You become a much better listener through this process (probably a less selfish person altogether).

Today I'm buying Ravinia tickets to go see Peter and Paul's tribute to Mary. They're looking a little older these days (as opposed to when I used to go to their concerts in the 60s? What am I talking about?):
I think I will also go to the CSO playing some Mahler's Adagio from Symphony no. 10, Barber's Adagio for Strings, and Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor, which I am really looking forward to. Concerto in E Minor is one of my favorite classical pieces of all time. NorthShore employees get in free that night, so why not go?

I think the worst sound in the world is when a guitar amplifier falls. It sounds like what I imagine hell to sound like (lots of weird, crashing reverb). Well, I don't have much more to say; I wanted to get back on the blogging bandwagon. Later.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Best of Xanga 2005

So, here are some of the highlights from xanga 2005. They include highlights of my life, my changing worldviews, and things that I think are funny.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Top Ten Reasons Why Peter Dombrowski is going to hell:
10. Yesterday, he said he hated Aslan, who as we know, represents Jesus Christ.

9. He is Catholic, and as the lady at my church told him, he needs to be redeemed from the Catholic Church (a lady at my church actually told him the story of her father who was redeemed from the Catholic Church, so there is hope).

8. He does the Catholic guilt trip whenever he "invites" people to Holy Family.

7. He often leaves CollegeLife early.

6. He really didn't have appendicitis, it was just an excuse to be able to sleep on the bottom bunk and get sympathy.

5. He turns serious reflections on his time as a college student into comedy hour.

4. seriously lusts after older latina women (Martita-Honduras, Josefina-La Posada)

3. Didn't do anything when a lit candle was seen within an anonymous person's apartment (as you know, he is an RA)

2. When he is having a bad day, instead of turning to Jesus, he turns to Stevie Nicks.

1. We are now stuck with only a VCR and a TV, he is the only one that has's a list of some of those titles: Rockadoodle, Pebble and a Penguin, an American Tale, Fivel Goes West, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc...if that doesn't eternally condemn you...I don't know what does

(all a joke)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'll be honest, I finished the Harry Potter book at 4 in the morning on Saturday/Sunday...If that makes me a huge nerd so be it. Wow, talk about dark and depressing. Anyways, I'm at work now, trying to decide what I should do this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How can you concentrate on anything when you have a Paul McCartney concert in T-7 hours and 34 minutes?? Also, recommendations for CTA to the United Center...Blue line to medical center stop or bus?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I can now die a happy man...The Paul McCartney concert, amazing. Here's some of the songs he sang:
Hey Jude, Let it Be, Yesterday (on the original guitar that he played on the Ed Sullivan show), Live and Let Die, Maybe I'm Amazed, For No One, Fixing A Hole (the last three he played by himself on the piano), I Will, Blackbird (These he played alone on the guitar), Helter Skelter, Please Please Me, Penny Lane, Jet, Band on the Run, Let me Roll it, I'll Get You, I've Got a Feeling, etc. He did two encores, sang over thirty songs, and opened with Magical Mystery Tour, does it get any better than that? No, it doesn't, to answer my rhetorical question.

Downsides of the concert-$35 t-shirts, his corporate sponsor was Lexus (my gag reflex skipped a beat at seeing that), but the positives far outweighed the negatives

Highlights-For No One, and Hey Jude would have to be my two favorites. His band was amazing as well. The fact that he only did three songs from his new album was good too. Anytime those songs would come on, it was as if everyone got up to go to the bathroom so that they could get back in time for a Beatles song.

Currently in Duluth, leaving for Chicago Monday morning...Good times driving alone through Wisconsin...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why I paid $10.88 to do laundry:

1. First, I had to get twenty dollars out of the ATM, giving me a 2 dollar surcharge, because I had absolutely no money.

2. Next I had to break the 20 at the Viking Cafe buying a drink that was priced at $3.88, which ended up being made wrong, and thus tasted gross, so i threw it away, just to make change for laundry.

3. Next I took the dollar to the change machine, which proceeded to eat the dollar and give no quarters in return, with the no service light mocking me in all its fluorescent nastiness.

4. next, I had to break the five by buying a lemonade, price approximately $1.50 to also get change and some ones

5. Then, I went to Magnusen to get my original dollar that had been eaten back and also to get change for $2 to put in the washer and dryer.

6. Finally, I did laundry...having to dry both my loads twice at .50 a pop...So lets add it up

$2 surcharge on ATM+$3.88 on drink i didn't drink+$1.50 on lemonade+$1.50 for two loads in the washer+$2.00 for two loads done twice in the dryers= $10.88 for clean clothes

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Here goes a big stream of consciousness. I don't get how anyone can believe everything that one political party stands for, and this has been a cognitive process for me. I thought of myself as pretty conservative, but any time I see a hummer or a huge house, it almost makes me nauseous. Why do people need huge monstrosities like that? I don't get it. I think Jesus meant what he said about the love of money being the root of all evil.

However, I also don't get Hollywood liberals who are always talking about social justice but live in huge mansions and fly private jets. For instance, Bono doesn't pay taxes on CD royalties (or some other part of his income) in Ireland. Also, why should I have to pay so much money to go see him in concert to hear him talk about social justice? It seems he should be telling people to spend their money on more worthwhile things than a concert.

So what is the alternative? A third party? We all know that the aliens that took over Bob Dole and Bill Clinton's bodies during the 1996 elections on the simpson's were right when they said, "Go ahead throw your vote away," in response to someone threatening to vote for a third party.

Ahh...boring Saturdays.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Random thoughts while running:

1. Why do people have big dogs in the city? Is there really a need for a husky in Chicago?

2. Why don't people pick up their dog's sh%#t when it's all over the path?

3. How come the majority of people in Legion Park are over 65?

4. Why do I run when its freezing outside?

5. Why do I run period?

6. If I fall and broke some bones, would it be better to: a) alert someone and have them call an ambulance b) run to Swedish c) jog back home and drive

7. Why can't 93.9 play good Christmas music, i.e. more sacred music instead of Gloria Estefan's Let it Snow?

8. What should I do when I get the mid-jog head/back itch and I have my hat and gloves on?

9. Finally, a math equation to sum up jogging today

10. midnight Burger King run + morning jog = dry heaves

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ahhh...this is when I'm proud to be from Duluth...this picture, for those of you who are wondering, is Duluth's esteemed mayor after he downed upwards of 7 drinks in an hour and decided that it was a good time to start driving towards Chicago...the guardrail that he struck in Wisconsin had other ideas apparently. You make us proud Herb!

In other news, its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yesterday at KidCare, my brother and me were in the gym playing a game similar to trench. Before we would start, we would say things like, "Whoever is wearing blue...go!" After a few games my brother yelled, "Whoever is wearing brown...go!" An African-American kid named Xavier began running, obviously not wearing brown. As he ran, he yelled proudly, "I am brown." Made my life.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Softball Opener, Chaplaincy, and Srengthsfinder

Well, softball season has started. Yesterday we had our first game against the Ravenswood Damens (the defending champions), and we were shown why they are the defending champions (12-2 was the final score). The good news is we were missing a lot of people and not playing our best softball. And I think you are officially old when you are sore the day after playing slow pitch softball. I got up today and could feel it in my hips, and, as we all know, my hips don't lie.

In other news, I will be starting chaplaincy training Friday at Evanston. This is both exciting and a bit nerve-racking, although I am surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I think because I have to do it there's no real choice and therefore no nervousness if that makes any sense (both the idea and that sentence with no punctuation). My biggest concern is having enough business clothes to wear each day. I guess if worse comes to worst you just switch out ties on the ole' suit.

For those of you who don't know, Thursday there will be a hymn sing at the seminary at 8:30. You should all come. Who doesn't love a good hymn sing (I mean, I know a lot of people don't, but they should!).

For my birthday, my brother bought me Strengthsfinder 2.o, which is a type of personality test. For those of you who know what it means, my top characteristics were:
1. context (mainly, a desire to put ministry and life into historical context)
2. input (likes to receive input of information)
3. empathy
4. adaptability
5. achiever

I don't know how much weight I give this (I'm still more of an enneagram fan...maybe because I'm the crown jewel as a 9), but it was still interesting to take it. And, as guessed, my brother and I are almost complete opposites on this (as well as any other measurable or imesurable scale).

Well, I'm going to go play tennis with Matt and then watch the Blackhawks game. It should be a good time!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Trip to Duluth

I think I will make the move over to blogspot from now on. Xanga, while having been great for many a year has proven itself ineffective in the last year or so (I know, some of you are saying, "Last year? I think you meant last decade."). The latest thing to put me over the edge was spending a considerable amount of time on a post about my trip to Duluth only to have it deleted at the end because of some unknown snafu. So, I will now tell you about my trip to Duluth/Hermantown again.

The highlights included:
1. First and foremost, Luke and Chelsey's wedding. It was wonderful and a great privilege to be able to officiate. I thought it went very well, although half of the compliments had to do with the brevity of the service When you perform a service and give a homily, I don't think the best compliment you can receive is, "Great job keeping it short," but whatever. Here's a picture or two from it. First, Luke and Chels:

And here's a grainy one of Luke and me waiting at the beginning of the service:

So, that was definitely the highlight. Also, they had Chinese food at the reception! Brilliant!

2. Traipsing around Duluth with Elise and Pam. It was Elise's first time in Northern Minnesota, so we hit up Canal Park and my favorite restaurant, the Brewhouse, twice. The second time there was a Bob Dylan cover band playing. What could be more Minnesotan than listening to Dylan in a restaurant on the shores of Lake Superior that brews its own beers and serves wild rice burgers? Here's a picture of the restaurant:

3. Subbing. While Not always a great thing to get called at 6:15 when you didn't plan on it, subbing proved to be a great way to keep busy and make some money. I was all over the board in the Hermantown School District subbing for 2nd grade, 4th and 5th grade (reading and math specialist), 8th grade science, 10th grade P.E. and health, and all-school librarian (including a kindergarten computer class).

4. Being with at least a portion of the family. Stephen was back from Uganda, my grandma, sister, and soon to be brother-in-law are both in Duluth, and my mom came in as well. It was nice just to hang out with them.

5. Going to my sister and brother-in-law's new house. It's a beautiful three-car garage with a two bedroom apartment on top that will give them room to build on when they have a family. It makes you feel very accomplished as a single 26 year-old still in school when you come back to the house your sister and brother-in-law have built.

5. Playing cribbage with my grandma. I think I played more cribbage in Duluth than I had in the last ten years combined. What was really fun was when Elise and Pam came over to play, and my Grandma proceeded to talk trash throughout the game.

6. The weather. You could not have asked for better Duluth weather than that which I was the beneficiary of while I was home. While it may have been a little warm and humid for my taste up over the hill, the lake did it's job down in Duluth.

7. Finishing Lord of the Rings. Okay, I actually finished this the night I got back to Chicago, but I'm counting it as a Duluth experience. While this is my 5th time through the series (I think), I still love reading through it.

So, that's how I spent my time in Duluth. Now on to a Chicago summer filled with Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), church, and many fun outings and adventures undoubtedly.