1. Happy National Dog Day! Yup - apparently August 26th is National Dog Day. This morning, the hund and I enjoyed a nice long walk on a trail near Clear Lake. Trond unknowingly picked up a little green hitchhiker. Later in the afternoon we were all in the boat on the water together. Not too shabby of a way to celebrate National Dog Day.

    We love you, Dog!


  2. hob nob with hodgson

    Today was a new adventure in a place I had never been with a person I have admired for years but barely know.  Today I was out in Rosemont at the convention center participating in a version of Comic Con called Wizard World.  Now, this is a realm that I am not all that familiar.  The only tidbits I know are mostly because I am married to a man who reads these types of things (books, comics, blogs), watches this type of TV and plays these types of games.  My husband has gone to the big Comic Con in San Diego before.  In fact, last year when he was at Comic Con, I was here in Chicago at my Phish shows. 

    We all have our own things…

    But I digress.  I came home from one of my many trips last month and Tim told me our long time comedy hero and kind of new - dare I say, friend? - pal, Joel Hodgson had sent Tim a message via the ol’ Twitter that he was hoping to get a hold of me.

    Me.  Rebecca Hanson.

    What tha…?  Joel gave Tim his phone number and asked that I call him.

    Me.  Rebecca Hanson.

    What tha…?

    Now - it is not like Joel and I had never met before.  Tim, our friends Ross and Nikki, and I met Joel, Trace and TV’s Frank last fall while they were in town for a panel about MST3K.  You can refresh your memory about us meeting them right here, friends, in case you do not remember this historic event in our family.  Tim and Joel follow each other on Twitter.  Joel made a point to wish Tim and I a Merry Christmas, which was such a sweet present for us.  Neither of us really expected to hear too much out of him. 

    Until last month.  When he asked Tim to have me call him. 

    Me.  Rebecca Hanson.

    What tha…?

    I was nervous but I called him.  Yes - I called Joel Hodgson.  He gave me his phone number.  I totally called it.  He was in need of some assistance on the final day of Wizard World while he was in Chicago and for some reason, thought spending a day in a booth at a convention with me would be a pleasant way to spend a day in a booth at a convention. 

    THE HONOR WOULD BE ALL MINE!!!!  I tried to calmly say to him over the phone.  I don’t know how cool I was.  I like to think I was totes cool but… who knows.

    We planned to meet up for drinks on Thursday, August 21st, in the evening so he could see Tim, too, and we could meet his friend, Julie, who would be helping him on Friday and Saturday. 

    We totally met up for drinks and totally had a great time.  It turns out that Julie is a completely amazing woman who lives in Sioux Falls, SD, and long story short - we found out that she and I know mutual people and she is doing some work on the movie I was in last summer.  All four of us: Joel, Julie, Tim and I exchanged stories of our Midwestern upbringing, the biz that is show, food, Chicago tales - you name it.  It was a lovely time.  Tim and I left the bar trying to be cool but totally geeking out that WE JUST HUNG OUT WITH JOEL HODGSON! 

    Us.  Tim and Rebecca.

    What tha…?

    So - today, I woke up.  I was kind of nervous.   I thankfully had my trusty Diet Coke with my very best friend’s name on it so that was a great way to start the day! :

    (Erica, by the way, was totally rocking it out at a Triathalon today so… you know, she’s amazing!)

    I met up with Joel and put my Guest Wristband on for me.  What a gent!

    He, of course, said something hilarious while putting my wristband on me but I was fairly nervous at this point so I do not remember his hilarious eloquence.  He taught me the spiel and kinda told me what I would be doing today and we headed over to the convention center.

    We ate breakfast in the artist green room and I saw a few people I actually recognized (like, ‘stars’ I have watched on TV for years) so I felt a little less like a hack being there.  We then rocked it out to Joel’s booth.  It was cool because everywhere we went we had a type of bodyguard/escort type of person who lead the way and made sure people didn’t swarm Joel. 

    So we spent the morning behind this table.  I greeted everyone who came over and helped them decide what they’d like and then Joel would sign something for them or take a picture with them.  He always asked people their names, shook their hand, chatted with them for a good while, made everyone laugh and thanked them for seeing him.  We laughed a lot and met a lot of sweet people. 

    Joel had a Q&A this afternoon.  Just him.  He killed it.  It was so great.  I learned a lot more about MST3K.  He was also just so damn funny.  He had all 300 (or so) of us laughing and laughing. 

    After the Q&A we went back to Joel’s booth and met more lovely folks.  Thankfully, Joel was enjoying the bits I was doing, too, and laughing at some of my dumb stuff.  You know I was laughing at his brilliant stuff.  Tom Servo, however, was rather quiet all day…

    You know I kind of teared up when he pulled pieces of Tom Servo out of his suitcase and started assembling him this morning.  You know I did.  And knowing that Joel not only created Tom Servo (and the entire MST3K Universe) but is honestly one of the kindest people I have ever met makes the whole thing all the sweeter.  Once again, had you told College Rebecca that one day she would not only meet Joel but have him like her and ask her to spend a day with him, she would not have even believed it to even be possible.

    Current Rebecca can hardly believe it happened either. 

    But she is so happy and thankful it did!  Mange takk, Joel!  For everything! 


  3. two girls are ONE

    Last month I spent ten glorious days in Texas with my sister, my brother-in-law, my mom, my step-dad and MY TWIN NIECES!!!  I posted a few pictures of some of our adventures while I was down there.  Upon my return from my Texas Trip, I had a few more adventures and some teaching obligations and life stuff and a cold (that is still here one week after getting it.  Get outta here, cold!) but today I have some moments to share some of our fun memories with you. 

    The biggest reason I spent time in Texas when I did in July was because Elin Akins and Liv Josefin were turning ONE! YEAR! OLD!!!  I just had to be with them for their first birthday.  There was no way I was missing out on that.  Last July, due to their early surprise arrival, I did not get to meet them until they were a week old… even though it was an incredible week, it felt like the longest danged week of my life!  Time stopped.  Texas felt too far away from Chicago.  I just wanted to get my hands on those two sweet girls and hug them and rock them and adore them.  And… help my sister out, I guess… but mostly bond with my brand new nieces!  This year, since we knew their birthday was the 15th, I was able to schedule my trip accordingly.  My goodness did we have fun! These girls are movers and groovers, sillies and sweeties, gorgeous and goofy, aware and amazing. 

    They love shapes and colors.  Right from the start of their days on earth, this was evident.  They have always been fascinated with the different colored triangles my sister has up on their nursery walls.  They are pros at filling up boxes, bowls, drawers, anything that can contain something - with blocks, other toys, books.  You name it.  They love to fill it!

    This is one of their favorite projects in the house.  A four sided toy, different activities on each side AND another bead maze on top.  Look at these ruffle-bottom beauties playing together.

    It was not all that long ago that we had to hold them up to play with the top part of the toy but now that they are so grown up, they pull themselves up and play play play on their own!  They can even walk while pushing the toy all over the parquet floor!

    Elin is a sweet girl, who loves to give to kisses and hugs to her ‘babies’; this little bunny here or the stuffed sheep in the front room.  She is very affectionate.  She gives good hugs to her mommy, daddy, grandma and tante!  An Elin Hug is pretty much the greatest.  She is good at sharing, too.  Pointing things out is one of her specialties.  She also likes to keep track of everybody, so if we are in a room together and someone leaves, she has to go see where that person is going.  She’ll keep tabs on you!  That is what one does when one is the Big Sister!  (even if only by a minute…)  It’s our job! 

    Liv is a snuggler.  She will cozy up to you and your heart melts.  She likes to rest her cheek on my mouth and I kinda move my jaw and buzz and she smiles and enjoys the vibrations on the side of her head.  It is too sweet.  She likes to do things on her own terms.  Katie told me that Liv is now standing on her own and she does not care for anyone’s assistance, thankyouverymuch.  She will just pop up on her own.  She loves to be with her sister.  Liv is also a giggle box.  She has the sweetest, brightest laugh that brings sunshine to the room.

    Both girls have tummies.  They are both fascinated by said tummies and will stop whatever activity to check and make sure their tummy is still indeed with them. 

    My sister and I could take pictures of them all day long.  Sometimes we do but Katie and I also made a ton of fun decorations for the girls’ first birthday party, we took them to IKEA where they ate their first lunch out of the house, we took them to Target and the park and on walks (when it wasn’t 100 degrees outside) and when it was that hot, we’d just go on little rides or big trips into Austin and to the park.  On the weekend, the whole family went to the pool!

    Mamba took a day off of work on their birthday so all of us girls could be together to celebrate this first incredible year of Liv and Elin on Earth.

    Katie wanted the girls to do something special so we went to a local park to attempt swinging.  We quickly found out the girls prefer to be held whilst swinging.  Katie and I were more than happy to swing that way.

    This is one of my favorite memories. 

    One the girls actual birthday, Katie let them have their first taste of dessert.  A banana cream pie type of dessert - naturally, she did not fill it with sugar, she made the healthiest, low sugar version of a pie with organic graham cracker crust - she gave each girl their own little pie.  We put the girls in their high chairs, wearing only diapers and a bib, sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to them and gave them their dessert.  No spoons.  Just fun filled pie…

    As you can see, initially, they couldn’t really believe their eyes.  We blew the candles out after singing, took them out and let the girls have at it.

    Turns out, banana cream pie is not only delicious but fun to play with!!!

    This is the aftermath of a superb First Birthday Dessert!

    I could go on and on about my stellar nieces.  But I should probably wind it down.  Needless to say, these girls are incredible and it is so fun to see all that they are doing and learning and singing and laughing at.  They both laugh a lot and that is by far the best sound on earth.  They are very loved.  They have a wonderful dad (whom I unfortunately didn’t get the best shot of with the girls - they move a lot so here is a blurry one) who loves them very much.  He works long, hard hours during the week so Katie is able to stay home with them.  Elin and Liv light up like sweet little Christmas trees when their Daddy comes home from a long day at work!

    And they have an extraordinary mom.  Katie is yet again flourishing at another one of life’s stages.  She is like an incredible machine who never wears out or down, she is always smiling, caring for, planning and doting on these sweet babies.

    She is their beautiful world. 

    It is pretty danged incredible that this is what July 2013 looked like:

    And here we are in July 2014:

    Our two girls are ONE!  YAY! YAY!! YAY!!!

  4. Happy Friday from a girl + her hund. We are both very happy that it is finally here!

  5. The hund will take a good tummy rub any way, any how and any where he can get it.

    The husbo will happily oblige.

    Also - we clearly need more refrigerator magnets on our refrigerator…

  6. Sometimes, the best medicine for a summer cold isn’t zinc or Vitamin C or acetaminophen. Sometimes, the best medicine is just your sweet puppy resting his head on your lap… Mange Takk, hund!

  7. Today was a sunny Monday in Chicago, which was great because yesterday, Sunday, was hazy. Hazy in that the Air and Water Show was cancelled due to poor visibility. Hazy in that the head cold I caught on Friday filled my skull with grossness and pain all freakin’ weekend.

    So, the sun was welcome outside today.  It cleared up the skies and while my head is by no means cleared up today to match it, it is a little better than yesterday.

    The sun also made this incredibly cool shadow underneath the Brown Line this afternoon. I just had to take a shot of it.

  8. For the past two weeks I have spent my mornings teaching improv to a class of fourteen 13 & 14-year-olds. These students are pretty much the full gamut of this particular age, too - save the ‘horn dog’ aspect - of this lovely, horrible, awkward, transformative, terrible, disgusting, painful, hilarious age. 

    I grabbed a Diet Coke from the cold section of the convenient store fridge on my way to our early morning meeting. It actually had my name on it! (Way to go, Coca-Cola!!!) These are the states of being I went through this morning after the meeting but before the children (or The Future, as I like to lovingly refer to them) entered my classroom.

    So, takk, Diet Coke for reminding me of exactly who I am: Rebecca.  And for reminding me What It Takes to teach improv to teenagers in the Morning Time: Diet Coke.  And What I Am Made Of: Diet Coke

    It ain’t pretty, but we are getting through it!

  9. Pancreatitis is fun for the whole family, even when it is only one member of said family who has it…

  10. As July is coming to end, I am extremely thankful to have been able to spend time with my Mom, my Dad, my Sister and my two Nieces all within a few days of each other. Because we live in three different states, this very rarely happens but when it does, it’s all the more precious to me. In this aspect, July has been very much what I have needed. I just really like and love these five extraordinary people. I’m very thankful that not only are we related, we really like and ‘get’ each other, too. I’m a grateful gal for this gift.

    Mange Takk, Lord, for puttin’ us all together!