Clothes are literally leaping into my suitcase.

Ok, that title is a lie.  But my clothing and I are in a fight right now.  They ALL want to come with me to Europe.  But they cannot.  I am packing in a carry-on sized suitcase (which will be checked), a backpack, and a small messenger bag.

I said, “Some of you will come with me, and some of you will stay home.  But I love each one of you.”

They said, “If you leave one shirt behind, you leave us all behind.  We stick together!”

So as you can see, we are at a bit of a stand-still (much like the MN gov. when it comes to settling a budget).

Solution 1: Hire a butler, circa 1910, to haul our steamer trunks across the continent of Europe for us.  Then we can pack as much as we want, not worry about carrying it up and down the streets of Austria, and everyone wins.

Solution 2: The Spreadsheet. My sister and I have an extensive google doc for our trip, with tabs for each city, an expense sheet, a daily itinerary, joint packing list, and personal packing lists.  On my personal packing pages, I have one where am listing out each day’s forecast, activities, and potential outfit, including shirts, pants, cardigan, and accessories.  I laid out all the options of clothing on my bed, then began trying on varying combinations, strategically considering mixing, matching, and switching up accessories.  I think I have come up with a plan of what to wear each day.  I then have another where I actually list out all the items I need to pack, sorted into categories and in the column either for carry-on backpack or tiny suitcase.  Yes, I realize this is a bit over the top.  But it works.  And I may have used the word “ruffle” to describe 2/3 of the clothes I packed.  So that is something to get excited for.

Other packing strategies: 

We are firm believers in rolling our clothes.  This goes back to the days of rolling clothes and putting them in gallon sized ziplock bags for the Boundary Waters.

Putting all my cords together in a pouch/bag/thing.  That way when I need to plug in an electronic device, I will have that jumbled mess together instead of spread out everywhere.

New idea: packing cubes.  My sister discovered them when we were looking for a wedding registry on the REI website.  The reviews say things like, “Did angels in heaven bring these to me?  Because they are amazing.”  Or that is not actually a review I read, but it IS the review I’m hoping to write after this trip.  The reviews did talk about how it helped people stay organized when packing, especially when they are traveling to multiple locations, because everything doesn’t get strewn everywhere each time you open your suitcase.  I’m excited to give it a shot.

All these little organizational wonders...

into one neatly packed little suitcase!

Shoes: Shoes are always my biggest conundrum when it comes to trips.  I want stylish feet, but I also know from experience that practicality is the most important.  There is a particular brand that I try and avoid.  They have suckered me in on numerous times abroad.  Their shoe looks like a cute yet supportive option for your feet.  And every time, my feet look like I’ve walked through a field of scissors at the end of the day.  So this year I stayed strong and went a different route.  I really am a flip-flop or cute ballet flat kind of girl, so it pains me to leave those less-than-practical shoes at home.  How do you find a balance between clunky tennis shoes everywhere you go, and your feet not falling off after a day of walking?

This year I am going with

  • New Balance light weight tennis shoes.  They are cute, yet good walking shoes.  They’ve proven their worth in Canada and Argentina.
  • Toms.  They feel like a cloud is giving my foot a hug, yet they are also comfortable to walk some sort of distance in.  They are cute with jeans, capris or skirts.  I give full credit for this suggestion to my roommate.
  • These new sandals.  The brand is Priva and they are I think related to Clarks.  They go around my ankle so my feet won’t fall of the sides, yet they have an awesome sole.  And best of all, they do not rub anywhere on my foot to potentially give me giant blisters of hurt.  As you may have read in the previous post, my sandals never arrived.  I contacted the company, and they refunded my money.  Instead I’m bringing my black teva sandal/flip flops that can fake their way to being dressy enough for our type of outings.  And have also proven their walking worth on previous trips.

I will give you a full shoe report upon my return, but I feel good about my decisions.  I have a sandal for going out in the evenings or walking small distances, a shoe that will be good for a day out and about, and a shoe that prides itself on how far it will carry me for those days that are full of walking.

The Nook.  I love to read, and it is a great way to pass the time on planes, trains, and automobiles.  It is always such a challenge when I’m packing for trips to bring the right amount of books.  I am also a fast reader.  I don’t want to run out of material, but I also don’t want to overpack because books are heavy and take up space.  I am delighted to have a nook to bring on this trip.  All my reading materials in one tiny package. 

I have a lot of genres stored up, so whichever way the wind blows me, a book will be waiting.  The latest Sophie Kinsella book, the sisterhood of the traveling pants girls grown up in: Sisterhood Everlasting, The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, Hunger Games, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Room – everyone is talking about it, some Harlan Coban, Kristin Hannah, Karen Kingsbury, John Grisham, and some classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Little Women.

And then I have my giant camera and memory cards that will hold the millions of pictures I am bound to take.  Get excited!

Goal: don’t forget the passport and those darn rail passes.  Either of those things could trigger an epic failure to our trip.  Good thing I’m so responsible??

Well, Happy Trails to me!  I’ll see you on the other side of the ocean!

Shipping woes

I have purchased a few items online of late.  And while most of them are success stories, I do have two complaints I would like to lodge.

Complaint 1: When we bought the rail passes for the Central Europe Triangle (not to be confused with the Bermuda triangle), it said NUMEROUS times, “you will be required to sign for these” and even strongly suggested having them delivered to your place of employment to ensure you will be able to sign for them.  I thought, “Wow!  Thanks for telling me all this at the beginning of the purchasing process and not after I’ve already confirmed my order.  Good job!”  So on the day they were meant to be delivered, I stayed at home all day, even as my cousins we waiting for me for pedicures, and had Molly and Andy come have coffee at my house instead of meeting in a centrally located Caribou.  Then, just when it seemed the tickets would never come, they came, but the delivery man opened the door, set the tickets inside, and ran for the hills.  He didn’t even ring the doorbell!  Definitely didn’t get a signature.  I missed out on family bonding for that??

Complaint 2: I ordered some shoes that would be cute yet great for walking.  Ideal for vacay.  They didn’t carry the color I wanted in stores in my neighborhood, so to the internets I went.  I ordered them many weeks ago.  They were shipping 2 weeks ago.  I thought, “where are my shoes?” and I went online to check their tracking status, and word on the street is they were delivered on Saturday at 12:30.  What.  The.  Heck.  I still ask, “Where are my shoes?”

Thank you for letting me voice my concerns.

And now, as a thank you gift, please watch this.  My co-worker sent me the link to it, and it was delightfully funny. (although be warned if you have children in the room, there is the tiniest amount of bleeped out language at the very end.)

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

Kari came over to bake with me!  Sometimes I decide what to bake based solely on how adorable the finished product has the potential to be.  Although, I do require that the cupcake at least have the potential to be tasty too.

Our goal: 

Turn this 

Into THIS 

Did we succeed?  Considering that is a pic of our finished product, I would probably say yes.

These adorable cupcakes were pretty much exactly as I expected.  I mean, I knew they’d be at worst, decently tasty, and at best, light and delicious.  As Kari and I discussed, Annie wouldn’t steer us wrong.

They were a great summer cupcake.  Chocolate, yum, but also light and airy.  There is coca-cola in the batter, and while they don’t taste overwhelmingly coke-y, the carbonated beverage and whipped cream frosting causes a light and delicious chocolate, cherry, coke, cupcake medley in your mouth.  As you can expect when Kari and I bake together, there are hidden edible treats inside.  Normally I am not a huge fan of the maraschino cherry, but hiding inside this cupcake, it works.  

If you want to make this tasty treat, click here for the recipe, and then read further for a few words of caution.

First cautionary advice: sometimes grocery shopping can be a bit tricky.  I like to shop at Target, but sometimes they don’t carry things I need.  I’ve run into this situation just a handful of times, once for black eyed peas, once for something I can’t remember, but it was very necessary at the time, and most recently, I couldn’t locate buttermilk.  I thought I was being a foolish shopper, but my wise roommate checked all the same places I did, to no avail.  

Second cautionary advice: you should not lock your keys in your car.  Otherwise when it is time to go home, it will be difficult at best.  You might think, “I will save time because when I’m ready to go, my keys will already be in my car.”  But I can almost guarantee that this will not work out the way you think it will.  

Third cautionary advice: When you are putting the coca-cola glaze on the cupcake before whipping up some frosting, don’t go crazy.  You see that cupcake in the bottom left?  That is the ideal you should strive for.  You see all the other ones dripping glaze everywhere?  That is what happens when you don’t try.  So go ahead and actually try.  Or just walk away and have your more skilled friend do the glazing while you do things like take more cupcakes out of the oven.  

Fourth cautionary advice: mini cupcakes are fun.  I think I actually like this recipe better as a mini.  The internets told me that you will probably bake your mini cupcake for 5-7 minutes less than your regulation sized cupcake.  This proved to be true for me as well.  Lesson learned: believe everything you read on the internet.  

You are ready.  That is all the wisdom I’d like to impart to you today.  Go eat a cupcake, and think of me 🙂 

Family Weddings: the best weddings

I do love a good wedding, and I must admit I’m a little sad that I’m already on wedding 4 out of the 5 weddings I am attending this summer.  (that being said, if you are looking for a plus one, I am your girl.  Weddings are the best!)

waiting for his bride

This past weekend, my cousin Steve married Kaia.  We’ve known Kaia for many moons now, and are thrilled to see them wed. 

Part of the reason I love family weddings, other than being excited for the bride and groom, is that all the family from all over the states comes into town and we are all briefly reunited.  I love that.  My family is spread out over lots of states, and we don’t get to see each other nearly as often as we should.  And now that cousins have adorable little children, it is even more exciting. 

Steve and Kaia’s wedding was, in a word: them.  Kaia is a talented graphic designer, and her wedding, from her dress and hair, to her centerpieces, to her programs, to the bridesmaids’ rings, reflected her style.  It was the kind of wedding you’d see in a magazine. 

They had an incredible band playing during the ceremony.  Kaia walked down the aisle to instrumental Fix You by Coldplay (amazing) and they exited the ceremony at the end to Home by Edward Sharpe (love that song). 

I loved this song from the slideshow: Andrew Peterson, Dancing in the Minefields.  Yes, I just purchased it on itunes.

And I love this photo…

The sanctuary was filled with candles.  It was gorgeous.  Steve’s niece was the flower girl and she was adorable in her tutu sitting in a little red wagon. 

The reception was at the Landmark Center.  I had never been there, but always had hoped to attend a reception there so I could see the inside of it.  It is a stunning building, just as I suspected. 

Congratulations, Steve and Kaia!  Your wedding was beautiful!  I am so happy for you both, and am looking forward to some cousins’ dinners in our future and the next round of telephone pictionary 🙂 

I heart modes of transportation

Why do I love modes of transportation so much?  I do not know.  I realize that it is not what the cool kids like, and its not like I enjoy learning about cars or how engines work or anything.  Gross.

I just like to ride in fun things?  I do like vintagey things, and there is something nostalgic about an old fashioned trolley ride, or a horse drawn carriage ride.  There is something beautiful about a train ride through the mountains. I love randomness, and that is most def what a pirate ship ride across a lake in Japan is.

You have probably been wondering for a while what my top ten modes of transportation adventures are.  Well folks, the wait is over.  Get excited, because I know I am – it is time to re-live some of my favorite life experiences.

Number Ten: Swan Paddleboats.  I saw these from the side of the pirate ship.  I immediately wanted to go in one.  But alas, did not get to.  Thus it is only number ten on the list. I did ride in other paddleboats in Argentina.  This was on me and Amber’s “Independent day”.  There may have been a bit of a language barrier confusion about things like which boat to take, how to actually use it, etc, but we lived by our boys’ motto, “never give up! never surrender”and just like the Twins, and we had a successful outing, complete with, “This is a lot more work than I remember” and a brief snack break to refuel.  

Number Nine: Float plane.  Normally my stomach is a champion.  Seriously – it can handle anything, and motion sickness is not an issue for me.  Until I got on the float plane in Whistler, Canada.  I blame it on the weird air pressure inside the cabin.  I was SO excited for our plane ride, and instead spent the entire time trying not to die.  I’m glad to say I did it, but please stop me if I ever try to board one again…  

Number Eight:Subway.  While the funness of this mode of transportation dwindled after the novelty in NYC and leaving behind the “mind the gap” of London, I still wish we had a great subway system here.  The light rail is a step in the right direction, but every major city I’ve been in, the subway system has been the way to go!  In Japan, figuring out how to buy the tickets was half the battle, and in Argentina we were a little confused by the marketing techniques down there… “why did that stranger just put this weird little stuffed animal keychain in my hand?”  But overall?  awesome.

we quickly became pro ticket purchasers. It is probably because we are so fluent in Japanese…

Number Seven: Ski lift.  This is primarily because a thirteen year old proposed to me on a chair lift last summer.  Yes, skiing – the way to find true love.  And no – I don’t know how to ski.  Apparently I just ride the lifts up to the tops of mountains.

Number Six: Pirate Ships.  Mostly this is so that you can say, “oh yeah, that reminds me of the time I was sailing on a pirate ship in Japan.”  Because who doesn’t want to be able to say that??  

oh, just another day’s work for me and Pirate Steve

Number Five: Trains.  What’s not to love about them?  They are comfy, fast, and get you where you want to go with no effort on your part.  And, BONUS: if you play your cards right, and I would suggest you do, there will probably also be giggly Japanese students in their awesome uniforms.  Great people watching.  Or perhaps a train engineer that makes a special trip back to give you the heads up on all the great photo opps headed your way!

Number Four: Ropeway Gondola.  Riding high above the ground in a small glassed in box.  Beautiful.  We went on one that stretched from peak to peak of two mountains in Whistler.  Breathtaking.  We also went on one in Hakone, outside of Tokyo, on our day o’ transportation fun, and it brought us to some hot sulfur springs where we ate black eggs.  Also phenomenal.  

Number Three: Horseback riding. Love this so much.  One of those aptitude tests you take in high school told me that I should be a farmer or operate heavy machinery for my profession.  I took their advice.  Kindergarten is just like both of those things??  Or not at all.  Anyways, if I’d been a farmer, perhaps I would ride horses.  That would be fun.  One of my favorite past times.  In Argentina, my horse wanted to lead the pack for our ride at the Estancia.  Unfortunately, I speak no Spanish, so it was a bit tricky to know which way for me and my horse to lead the pack.  Thus, we sadly had to fall back to second place.

Tiny bicycles are different from horses.

Number Two: Horse drawn carriage.  This would be number one, if I had ever actually experienced it.  But I imagine it to be amazing, and will be your friend forever if you took me on a horse drawn carriage ride.  Amber and I do also have an awkward pick up line story about a horse drawn carriage.  I can’t remember if it was just the two of us out or if there was a third friend, but for the sake of the story, let’s pretend it was just the two of us.  Guys come up, point to themselves, to us, and to the carriage, and say sleazily, “hmm… two of us, two of you, a horse drawn carriage” – yeah, that is not my dream carriage ride.  Sorry boys.

Number One: The trolley.  My love of the trolley, and perhaps my love of modes of transportation began when my sister took me to San Fran for a college graduation trip (and the first of our sister vacations).  My only dream for the trip was to ride a trolley.  Due to an unfortunate pick-pocketing event, this dream did not come true.  My principal did take me on a trolley ride for my birthday in Dallas on a work trip.  I even got to wear the driver’s hat!  And I wanted to ride in this cute little trolley in Uruguay.  It was a highlight.   What is your favorite mode of transportation?  Or most random?  Or least favorite?  Or recommendation? 🙂

Just call me the Dog Whisperer; or Luisa.

Part Eins: Just call me the Dog Whisperer.

The past two days I have taken on a new hobby: visiting puppies while their owners are gainfully employed.  I’m not a creeper.  No, I was invited by these puppies.  Bear gave me a key to the city (or to his house) to encourage our blossoming friendship.  Apparently he forgot to tell his owners he invited me over, because they used the interior trick lock to try and keep me away.  Bear was sad and confused.  As was I.   Fortunately, I had a few tricks up my sleeve (you might refer to it as a cell phone) and I was able to eventually get ahold of the correct personnel for guidance in alternate entry.  We had a delightful time together, running around the backyard, going for a walk (with no puking this time!) and eating toys.  The jury is still out whether he is eating his toy goose or my mom’s dog Maddie.  They are scarily similar in size and color.  Or it is for sure a goose.  The jury is not hung.  During the inside portion of our playdate, he would get a toy, lay in my lap while playing with it, and then get a new one to bring over.  Yes, we have come a long way from the final picture of this post.  Well, I heard that my other puppy niece, Lucy, was getting jealous, so I paid her a visit this afternoon.  She was delighted to see me, and we chatted for a few minutes on my way back into town from my shopping spree at the outlet mall. from my important work of trip preparation. While I was breaking into my sister’s, using a key stolen from my brother because my key was confiscated a while back and never replaced, I also left behind a special present for her.  Which brings me to

Part zwei: Just call me Luisa (with an A).

To help my sister and I get into the traveling spirit, I created for us the soundtrack to our vacation.  Let’s be honest, it is a ridiculous compilation of music.  I won’t pretend all the songs are quality (although I can’t wait till Rachel listens to track number five).   But I will stand by all the songs being appropriate for the daily activities of our European adventures.

I sent my sister an email with this as our playlist description, and told her to guess what each song was.  She only got two of them. Perhaps you can do better?

1.Overture to the Trip
2.  Taking off
3. Hats off to German Class
4. Arriving in Salzburg
5. Seeing Mozart’s childhood home
6. Mozart grew up so fast
7. Sound of music tour
8. Marionette show
9. Salt Mines
10. We are abroad
11. Heading out for the night in Vienna
12. Where all the singles go
13. A day at the palace
14. Biking along the Danube
15. Alice in Wonderland
16. Swan Lake
17. Don’t say it’s over
18. We must head home
19. Saying goodbye to vacation

I informed her that I envision us listening to each day’s song before we set out each morning.  You know, to help us get into the spirit of things.  In case being surrounded by mountains and red roofs and cobblestone isn’t enough.

I also requested that we refer to one another by our German class names: Luisa and Renata (am I spelling that right?)  In 8th grade, I wanted to pick the name Liesl (I’m guessing you can figure out the origin of that dream) but I wasn’t allowed to because it wasn’t on the list.  So I went with Luisa.  A champion of a runner-up name.  Except Frau made me spell it with e at the end.  I think it is prettier with an a, so this is me, taking a stand 10 years later, and officially changing the spelling of my German name.

Back to my brilliant idea to help us recall all our language skills: Rachel of course acquiesced, under the stipulation that we can only use our German names while we are in German speaking countries.  So I guess only in Czech Rep will they know our true identities. Unless of course anyone knows any good Czech names. Brilliant.

Girls’ Night Ingredients


Girls’ Night: when girls get together to eat girly food, talk about boys, and watch girly movies.

Girls’ Night: awesomeness.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I watched Sleepless in Seattle together.  Besides being a stellar movie in and of itself, it inspired us to watch An Affair to Remember.  JaNahn says it is one of her favorites and she felt sad for us that we had not seen it.  We tried to watch it at her house, but she remembered too late that she owns it on VHS and has no VCR.  I said, “Don’t even worry.  My roommate and I still live in 1989 and have a VCR that we use on a regular basis.”

So I rallied the troops, planned the menu, and girls’ night commenced.

Not without a few bloopers though of course.

There was the scheduling conflicts, the  “unnamed friend tries to steal the furniture” fiasco

the “oh no, this is a zucchini, not a cucumber” conundrum, and the, “Laura throws a burning match and could have burned down the whole townhouse” near disaster.  (Tiffany, I promise to never light another match again.  Or to at least review basic fire safety protocol first).

But when I saw that people were actually sitting the tea room, (the recently reclaimed from storing all our stuff and brought back to its former glory room) I knew it would be a magical evening. Girls’ night can come in lots of shapes and sizes. Here are some of the shapes and sizes essential to our evening last night.

We ate pesto chicken pasta with asparagus, artichokes, red pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Delicious?  Yes.  Amber brought fixings for a tasty summer salad, and J made some fancy puff balls of Brazilian bread and cheese goodness.  Even though as a general rule I don’t ask for lemon in my water, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to fancify my pitcher of water with lemonness.  I don’t regret it one bit.    and then we had strawberry white chocolate streusel bars for dessert.  Delish and a half.

p.s.  did you note my pretty new dishes?  I mean, you probably didn’t know what my old ones looked like, but I’ve been dreaming of these for years.  And you know me – I’m all about making dreams come true – especially when it involves paying just a tiny fraction of the actual cost.

For our movie enjoyment, with some effort, we tracked down An Affair to Remember on instant netflix (because after all the promises of VCR glory, the VHS was left at home) and I made frozen hot chocolate. I wasn’t really sure what the frozen hot chocolate experience would be like, but knew that we had to try it.  and boy are we glad we did!  

As it turns out, after all the feasting and friendshipping, some people have to work even in the summer (crazy – what is that about??) and so we did not see the movie through to the end.  But I love my friends, and I loved our night together.  

Save the Squirrels!

Tonight as I went for a walk in my neighborhood, I was overwhelmed by all the nature in suburbia.  First, there was a squirrel on the forest floor, then there was the butterfly by the flowers, the turtle crossing the driveway, the puppy on a leash, and another squirrel crossing the road down yonder.  Instead of enjoying this trek into the wilds of the neighborhood, I just kept reliving the harrowing experience of little kitty turned squirrel-murderer.  I am not as concerned about the turtle – it probably can snap.  The butterfly can just flit away, and the puppy, well it would for sure win against the cat.

But that squirrel?  Those innocent squirrels?  When I saw the first one, I just wanted to shout, “Run away, little buddy!  Run as fast as you can!”  When I saw the second one, actually IN the street, so similar to the scene of the crime of last week, I just wanted to invite the poor little squirrel home with me, to safety.

And then I wondered, “does the squirrel even know the danger it is in?  Someone needs to tell it!”  Then I pictured myself picketing the streets with signs, “Save the squirrels” and “Cats are not your friend!”  so that they will know.  But then I got to wondering, can squirrels even read?

So now I have decided that one of my summer hobbies will be holding summer school, literacy focused classes, at the local parks around the cities, teaching squirrels to read, so I can make signs to inform them of the eminent danger they are in from orange cats.

A winning idea, for sure.



Today’s post: brought to you by Awkward Seating

Today’s post: brought to you by Awkward Seating and other things that made this weekend interesting. 

I am glad that I have fun friends, otherwise this weekend might not have received a rating much higher than mediocre.  But I since I do have fun friends, I would rate it around, “quite enjoyable” which a chance to reach, “I liked it so much!” if things go well tomorrow.

Tonight we went to the Twin’s game.  And when we got there we discovered that we were not in fact all sitting together.  What?  Our tickets were all purchased as a group.  Yet there we were, eight of us, spread across 4 different rows and 2 sections.  At least we were sitting two by two.  Now I understand why Noah’s animals all came in a pair.  It sure would have been lonely otherwise!  And at least J and I were sitting the furthest back, so we could choose to either watch the game or watch our friends.  We wised up by the 5th inning and ditched our assigned seats and went and sat together.  (what was magical about the fifth inning?  nothing, we just couldn’t be bothered to get up prior to that).  Before you judge, you have to factor in the fact that it was dreary and rainy.  Who wants to dry off a new seat?  Not us, that is for sure.

Yep – you got it though – another day of crappy weather, another day I am attending Twins baseball.  While I do like baseball, sitting in a drizzle isn’t my most fav.  In other baseball related news, Amber tells me that it is not weird that some kid down in front had a jersey with the name Baby Jesus stitched on the back.  Apparently people call Joe Mauer by this nickname?  What??  I must say, while I am a fan of Joe, and I am definitely a fan of Jesus, I am not a fan of this supposed nickname.

Other things that made this weekend decent include breakfast at the Good Day Cafe: love it there so much!  And I had a fun dinner with my mom, the Rachels, and our dear friend Mary.  Love that all the boys are gone fishing!  This was followed by the first somewhat failed, somewhat fun event: my first movie in the park of the season!  We went to see the Sandlot – classic, right?  But just before they could reclaim the ball that had fallen prey to the beast, the parks and rec folk decided the storm was rolling in quickly, and they pulled the plug on the event.  Bummer.  But wise: the first drops of an intense rainstorm fell as we were pulling away.

Tomorrow has grand promises of a lovely morning with church, brunch with friends, and well… I will wait to see what the weather does before I get our hopes up with promises of further excitement.

It should’ve been a good idea…


Today when readying myself for an afternoon at the ballpark, I thought to myself, “I can’t be bothered to carry my big bag. I will just bring this little wristlet from mom and then store my stuff in Rachel’s big purse.”  This could have been a genius idea, except guess who had the same “great” idea…

In other baseball news, Nishi is back for his Target Field debut. At first I thought about how happy he must be to be back with his teammates. Then I took one look at the line-up and thought of all the new friends Nishioka must be making today.

And my final thought before returning my attention to the game: if you want me to buy your food, don’t put it three inches from my face, wave it around and say, “eat me.”  You will not get my dollars. At most, all you will get is an awkward/uncomfortable laugh before I look away