Most people probably wouldn’t consider the anniversary of a cancer diagnosis to be a celebratory matter, but I personally celebrate the other 364, so I figure what the hell. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it’s hard to think of the significance of December 1st each time the day rolls around....especially this year. And for a couple of reasons.

Last week I had the chance to visit with a girl friend from high school who was very close to me when I was diagnosed. To be honest, since my "recovery" eight years ago, I haven't talked about my sickest, darkest times with...well...anyone. So, as we chatted about the details of my diagnosis and the weeks that followed, I heard, for the first time, what many of the people around me were feeling, thinking, and talking about when I was sick.

I certainly knew how severe my situation was and how dark it got, but I didn't know if anyone else knew of its severity. I never knew what it looked like from the outside...mainly because I’d not asked. After I initially started feeling better, none of us ever really looked back.

“You were so sick…none of us knew what to do. I remember one day you were so weak you couldn’t even stand up.”

I had totally forgotten about that. It was true – there were many instances when I was so weak, and in so much pain, I couldn’t get out of bed. On multiple occasions I was too weak to stand in the shower, so I’d sit, cross-legged and just stare at the wall. Provoked by our conversation, I started getting flashbacks.

These newly recovered memories brought back a flood of emotions and sparked a sense of curiosity. “Did you think I was going to die?” I asked, genuinely intrigued, and slightly nervous to hear the answer. “We weren’t sure…but it is something we thought and talked about…you were just so sick, and we didn’t know what to think...”

That’ll put things into perspective pretty quick.

I think hearing that was scarier than living through it at the time. It makes it so real again. I knew that my family and I were aware of the gravity of the situation, but I’d never really heard about how it looked from the outside. To hear that your 16-year-old girlfriends thought they might have to watch their good friend die, is though to hear.

With that said, I know some people didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation, and that’s okay too. The people who were close to me knew, and that’s what matters. They could see and feel the pain I was in.

The memory of the emotions I felt when I was sick have slowly faded over time. While telling my story for different charities, and support causes, etc., I’ve mentioned the pain and the hurt I felt, but in sharing it so many times over the past eight years, the severity of it has lost much of it’s realness. During the conversation with my good friend last week, the memory of those emotions came back to me in an all too real way. I could remember the pain so clearly again and feel the desperation in my heart.

I look back at all the things I’ve done over the past year, not to mention, the past eight years, and it’s incredibly humbling to think of how close I was to not having those opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, I had accomplished plenty and had lived a wonderful life by the time I was 16, but it would have been a shame to get cut off that soon. I had, and still have, more work to do.

As I shared in previous posts, one year ago my cancerous cell counts, which had been controlled at a VERY low level for 7 years, began to creep up and grow at an alarming rate. My doctors assumed the cancer had become resistant to the medication I was on, which is typical within 2-10 years, and I’d have to make a change in medication. Unfortunately, the two other realistic treatment options I have are even newer than Gleevec, still relatively experimental, and are very dangerous. One has an alarmingly high risk of heart attack, and the other an alarmingly high risk of stroke. Both not good.

I’m worried,” my doctor said to me last November, “you’re an athlete. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage these risks.” I was told I was going to need to change my lifestyle; wakeboarding would have had to stop and my physical activity would have to have been dramatically decreased. Less strenuous activities were all I would be able to do. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed.

On Gleevec, I deal with a number of side effects every day: fatigue, bone pain, nausea, swelling, sun sensitivity, etc. I’ve always said this is a small price to pay to live. And it is. But everything is relative, so eventually you still manage to take things for granted. When threatened with not being able to live the way you want to live, not being able to do the things you love, and also have the constant thought of heart attack and stroke in the back of your mind (not to mention the actual risk), among a plethora of other side affects, you realize that you’d do anything for puffy eyes and swollen legs. I can live with fatigue, nausea, and bone pain. Just leave my heart alone.

For the following months I saw multiple specialists and spoke with dozens of people in search of different opinions. It was essentially the lesser of two evils that would be the drug of choice. In addition to the actual risk itself, it’s quality of life that’s hardest to deal with. Not being able to do the activities I love would have been hard, not to mention having the thought of heart attack and stroke weighing constantly on my mind – it’s just not a pleasant way to live.

I made a decision to switch oncologists and convinced him to let me stay on Gleevec for just a little while longer. I needed to buy some time to clear my head. And I wanted to know for absolutely sure that the Gleevec was no longer working. For the first time in my life, I felt a little desperate. At that time, I made a decision to eliminate all negative energy from my life and focus on myself. Really focus on myself. In fact, my 2014 New Year’s resolution was to be more selfish. It sounds worse than it is, but I really needed to make my mental and physical health a priority. (This goes without saying: I planned to be more selfish but, of course, without hurting others or negatively affecting anyone else in any way.)

Standing in the Nashville airport on July 1st, just before boarding a plane bound for Minnesota for the Fourth of July, I got a call from my oncologist. The tone in his voice said it all. “Not sure how you did it,” he said. “Your counts turned around. Looks like you’re staying on Gleevec for at least a little while longer.” The drug was working again.

I was so emotional and ecstatic that I could hardly tell my family. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to keep to myself. I’d received such an outpouring of support from family, friends, and my community six months earlier when the cancer had returned, I felt it would be selfish to make a huge announcement and draw any more attention or energy from anyone who had already given me so much. I felt selfish making a big deal out of it again

Though the Gleevec is "doing it's job" for now, my cancer counts are still not as low as they could be on the new drugs and not as low as the doctors would like. However, we feel that, so long as the counts are controlled, living with this level of Leukemia is a safer option for someone of my age and activity level, than risking the life threatening heart risks the other two drugs pose. Back to kickin' the can down the road!

Looks like you guys are stuck with me for a while.

I work very hard and play very hard. I love pushing limits, and sometimes I push them a little too hard on either (or both) end of the spectrum. I’m the first to admit that I need to be put in my place every once in a while, and this year I really needed it. December 1st is a wonderful reminder every year that I am not invincible…pretty darn close, but not invincible. 

This year's Cancerversary celebration didn’t include balloons or streamers, cake or champagne. I had bigger fish to fry like: negotiate real estate deals, get my oil changed, and do laundry. But I still dedicated my day, as I do every day, to celebrating family, friends, doctors, and the people who cared about me and continue to offer their support.

Yeah, being diagnosed with and living with Leukemia may not necessarily merit celebration for some, but I’ve got it pretty darn good, and let’s be honest, when’s the last time I passed up an opportunity to celebrate? So, if you'd like, please take a moment this weekend, or any day, to celebrate with me. The celebration is just as much for you as it is for me.

Stay kool,

Nash Lake Day

Last month I had a conveniently planned "extended layover" on my way from Orlando to Minnesota and got to hang with my boys, Chase Rice and Co., in Nashville.  Despite being slammed with nightly shows all over the country this summer, Chase and his crew were able to take a day (more like half day) off to come hang and shred on Percy Priest Lake just outside of Nashville.  TNT Watersports sent out a brand new Axis A22 for us to play on complete with our own personal chauffeur/professional stoke man, Harvey, who hauled us around for the day.  We got in some riding and surfing but mainly just enjoyed a classic summer lake day.

If you haven't heard Chase' name yet, you will soon.  His single "Ready, Set, Roll" just went gold and is well on it's way to platinum.  I can't say I'm surprised, though.  Since the first time I met Chase and his tour manager, John Lessard, it was clear that they're passionate, dedicated, and some of the hardest working people in the biz.  It's pretty rad, and unfortunately quite rare, to meet people who can work even harder than they play...and these guys can play!  They deserve every bit of their recent recognition, and I'm looking forward to sitting back and watching them blow up the music industry.  Check out the vid below with footage from our lake day and Chase' single "Do It Like This" from his new album "Ignite the Night" which drops August 19th!

Talk soon,

"From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee..."

I can’t believe it.  I truly cannot believe it!  The universe allowed me to survive another full year to enjoy yet another Fourth of July in Spicer, Minnesota.  Life is good, and here is how it all went down:

The Second.  After a short pit stop in Nashville to visit some good friends (a whole ‘nother story/video coming), I continued my journey north to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  Upon arrival in Minneapolis, I spent a moment with my mother downtown and then hitched a ride 100 miles west to Spicer in the jump seat of my high school buddy, Luke's, 1994 Toyota Tacoma.  About half way to Spicer, we ran into some construction and were stopped for 10 minutes or so.  After a minute or two, Luke looked around and got out of the car, grabbed something on the roof of the truck, and chuckled – as if the keg in the bed of the truck wasn’t incriminating enough, we'd driven a solid 50+ miles of Minnesota interstate with the tap on the roof.  I can’t think of a more fitting way to start the Fourth festivities.  Upon entering Kandiyohi county, we paid a visit to the side of County Road 8 to fertilize the dandelions, then gave a friendly two finger wave to the single car we saw on CR8 before getting to Spicer.  The boys dropped me off at the house I grew up in, known as the "Score's Sandbar", around midnight, and I headed off to sleep with stars and stripes dancing in my head. 
Ridin' out!

The Third.  After some much needed sleep, I woke up and greeted my old man (who was already sleeping when I arrived the night before).  Next, I found my favorite coffee mug, dirty in the dishwasher, poured in some Joe and headed to the deck.  A glass calm lake, birds singing, sun shining, and coffee down the hatch’.  My heart laughed – “this will never get old!”.   Next priority was a bike ride around the lake.  This could possibly be my favorite activity in life.  Twelve miles of pure bliss, nature sightings, endless waves to familiar faces, and UB40 blaring out of my cell phone – welp, Lex is in town.  Before I peddled off, Tiff had called  to let me know she and Steve were on their way from Minneapolis.  When I arrived back from my ride and they weren't at the house yet - I ditched my bike and jogged straight for the liquor store, which I assumed would be their first stop.  A mile down the road, liquor store in site, I saw Tiff and Steve’s faces through the windshield of the truck driving towards me, laughing, “How did you know where we were?!” “Just a hunch”, I said as I hopped in the bed of the truck and cruised with them home. 

Just after high noon, my dad, his girlfriend, Sharon, Tiff, Steve and I headed out to the "front yard" (actually the back yard, but Dick insists the lakeside be called front yard).  With the same mixed-tape that has been in the CD player since I was 9 years old cranking out from the Sandbar speakers, we cracked open a few cold ones.  The first gulp of Leinenkugels had yet to make it down the hatch before a pontoon full of people pulled ashore.  Once word reaches town the Score clan is in Spicer, it's not long before people start flooding into the Sandbar.  Naturally, my dad felt it necessary to host a quick “communion", so we cheers’d with a shot of Mogen David wine and made a toast to Louis Zamperini, WWII Veteran, American hero, and author of the book “Unbroken”, who had passed away the night before (a most highly recommended read). 

As evening approached, we cleaned up and cruised down Lake Avenue to the Seventeenth (OMG) annual 3rd of July party hosted by patriotic and Honorable Cathy and Ed Anderson at their “cabin” on the north side of the lake.  Open bar and live music provided by Cruise Control – most excellent!  You know you’re at a small town party when you're drinking with both your childhood dentist and the doctor who delivered you – nice work, fellas, look at me now! (kidding) After the party, we headed back to the Sandbar, grabbed walking beers, and headed off on foot to the street dance just a half mile down the lake road in the opposite direction.  Flags a flyin’, beer a pourin’, and music pumpin’.  All 1,180 Spicer citizens and hundreds of other Green Lake enthusiasts united, just as they've done year after year, for a party in the street.  We danced, we drank, we laughed, old friends, new friends - the whole nine.  After I’d had my fill, I walked home with my childhood best friend and neighbor, Chad, who parted ways with me once we reached his driveway, and  I continued on my own to Tiki Town, better known as Home.

It's true, ya know.
American Babes at Anderson's Party

Post jog cruise!

Dancin' in the street!
The Fourth.  GOOOD MORNINGG!!  Hungover or not, everyone in the Score household, including numerous random crashers who annually find their way back to our house, wake up buzzed on the Fourth of July.  I quickly ran down and peaked in the fridge; the red, white, and blue jello shots were looking extra jiggly, and coffee was quickly replaced by Bloody Mary’s and mimosas.  As thousands of people lined the street and filled the chairs they had set up the day before, the Score tribe and crew that had gathered between 9 and 10am made their way to the end of the driveway just as the sound of sirens and drum lines came into range.  Uncle Sam, Chairs Gone Wild, and Corn were just some of the many memorable floats in this years parade.  The Mayor came down in a convertible, and like every year before this one, my fathers stars and stripes speedo made a full appearance.  It’s so fun – every year it is the same crew at our house for the Parade, most of whom I don’t see the other 364 days of the year, and some of whom I still don’t even know by name, but year after year they show face, and it is as though it was meant to be. 

Following the parade and consumption of silly amounts of tootsie rolls, we made our way to the “front yard” for the opening ceremonies.  Tiff and I prepared the 12’ x 8’ American flag I purchased when I was 18 and has since become a tradition to hang from our balcony during the week of the Fourth.  As we prepped, the 30-40 people running around the Sandbar and in our yard began to accumulate in front of the balcony.  Gradually and quietly, the singing of the Star Spangled Banner emerged and grew in strength until it was a full fledged concert.  Arm hairs  straight as needles.  After we paid our respects, we jumped in our respective water vessels and headed to “Emerald Bay”, one of two hangout areas on the lake where we met dozens of other boats for some lake fun: splashing, celebrating, cannon balls, etc. 

As evening came near, we headed back to the Sandbar where we lost a few early departers to “dehydration”.  Those of us remaining walked down to, of all places, the town’s Mexican restaurant, El Conquistador (which happens to be my old church building).  Ping pong and a brief and inappropriate puppet show were a couple of the many tequila induced activities... Nightfall was upon us and people began to gather in the town square for the annual fireworks show.  We all headed outside and split up to watch the fireworks with our respective loved ones.  As the lone wolf, I was about to begin my walk home by myself when I bumped into two high school buddies, Ian and Matt.  Next thing I knew, we were in the best seats in the house, sitting on the roof of the town’s local businesses on the main street, sipping whiskey, and watching 'bombs bursting in air'.  A fairytale ending?  No.  Just the best ending to the best day with the best people.  I walked home alone and hit the hay.  Thank you, George Washington and friends.

Breakfast is served

Patriotic cat nap

It's a family affair.
El patriotic puppet show
Best seat in the house (city)!
The Fifth.  Another morning with coffee by lake - same mug, same place.  Sunny skies and butterflies.  Don’t mind if I do zip around the lake on my bike...trying to keep up with my old man who, not hesitant to remind me,  had already ran five miles earlier that morning.  He rode on a mountain bike in flip flops and I rode a road bike.  What a shit head!  After some yard work, we headed back over to Emerald Bay and again floated around and visited with happy lake goers still celebrating America's birthday.  Later, Tiff, Steve, and I walked to Zorbaz, the bar on the lake and sat on the lakeside deck with hundreds of friends who enjoyed live music and a few Blue Blobbin's, the unofficial official margarita of Minnesota complete with mini bobber.  Next up was O’Neil's Pub, who also had a live band.  For the last time of the weekend, the town came together for laughs and we danced until our shoes fell off.  Around midnight I made the call, and it was time for me to go.  Walking home solo (again), I YouTube'd Neil Young's “Rockin’ in the Free World” on my phone and couldn’t help but get emotionally sentimental.  Keep on rockin', Spicer, and God Bless the free world.
Steve and DO are Blue Bobbin'!
The Sixth. Sunday came and the whole family fished, kayaked, and rolled in the grass. Everyone in Minnesota and their right mind was on the lake, swimming, tubing, skiing, etc. Late afternoon I decided to take my father’s brand new jetski out to pull Tiff and Steve skiing, a hilarious time until I ran over the rope and sucked it up into the impeller. We swam the jetski in a quarter mile to shore, which just so happened to be in front of my high school classmate, Ellary’s house. Luckily, her parents were home and were kind enough to let us use their boat lift, tools….and beer. After spending an hour under the jet ski, and being told by the neighbor that I should consider a job as an auto mechanic, the rope was free and I was able to put the jet ski back together. As a matter of fact, I think it runs better now than it did prior to my mishap! (haha!) The long, shameful, and hilarious ride back, three-up on the jetski to the Sandbar house was classic. 

Us "kiddos" swam some more while my father filleted up the sunfish we had caught earlier in the day off the end of the dock on worm. We were wrapping up the weekend in true Minnesota fashion with a good 'ol fish fry by the lake, and I can’t think of a better way to do it. Just before the sun started to set, I couldn’t help but take one last lap around the lake on my bike. This time it wasn’t for exercise. This time it was for me. As I left the driveway, I told Tiff and Steve to meet me at the Dairy Queen 40 minutes later, and sure enough, as I rode up to the town's only fast food restaurant, there they came from the opposite direction on their bikes. We sat at the Spicer beach and ate ice cream, then rode off into the sunset. 
Yoga by the legs. We have mannequin legs as yard ornaments.

Yoga by the lake.
As much fun and shenanigans we Scores like to have over the Fourth of July, we are the first to remember and the last to forget the true purpose of the Holiday. We couldn’t be more thankful for freedom, those who have fought in its defense, and the opportunities that being an American offers us. Being a citizen of the USA is a privilege and comes with a high level of responsibility. While we are free to celebrate as we please, we must maintain respect and responsibility for our country we love so much.

“May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!” – Daniel Webster

Thank you.
No, thank you!

Now go forth, skol, and prosper!



Last Monday I was told by my oncologist that my cancer counts doubled, again, since my visit three months prior.

Wednesday I got concussed wakeboarding.

Thursday I drove to Tampa to see an alternative oncologist to get a second opinion who suggested a completely different treatment path than my regular oncologist.
My head hurts.

Friday and Saturday I felt really unwell.

Sunday I spent 9 hours in the ER (with Tiff by my side) with difficulties breathing because of fluid retention in my chest.


Since the last time I wrote, I took a trip to Nashville, raised $34,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, went on a surf trip to Bali, signed a big real estate deal, traveled for wakeboarding, worked a ton, rode a lot, made new friends, lost a couple friends, finished my surfboard, went to Cali, rolled in the grass, bought a truck, and did a lot of thinking.

There have been numerous moments throughout the past three months, high and low, when I NEEDED to write and felt compelled to do so but never took the time to sit down and do it. I guess I was too busy living. There are so many stories, feelings, thoughts, and insight I want to share, and now that I’m taking the time to let it all out, I have nothing to say. Sometimes there’s so much to say, you end up saying nothing at all.

It’s been a rollercoaster, to say the least, but the highs are even higher when you’ve experience the lows.  Over the next few weeks I am going to share my experiences with you in detailed fashion, but first I’ve got some business to take care of: There is just something about Spicer on the Fourth of July, and as long as 07/04 is on the calendar and there’s blood pumping through this American heart, I will be in Spicer, Minnesota for Independence Day.  I am sorry for the pump fake, but I assure you there’s plenty of material to come, entertaining or not.  In the meantime, say thank you to a serviceman, buckle up, and keep your arms, hands, and feet inside the vehicle at all times. This ride is far from over.

Skol on, skollercoaster…skol on.

Help me, Tom Selleck.

In honor of my trip to the oncologist today I'm posting the piece my buddy Brett put together from the bone marrow biopsy I had back in November, as well as some behind the scenes GoPro footy.  While reviewing the footage I learned a valuable lesson: when you're on Ativan and you think you look like Tom Selleck in Magnum PI, you actually look more like Nick Nolte after a few too many gin and tonics....just something to keep in mind.  Anyhow, for more details head down to my previous post "The Lowdown", and stay tuned for a health update very soon....wish me luck!

Alexa, Part. 1 from Photographic Initiative on Vimeo.

"Vote" For Me!

2014 has been a wild one so far, spending the first month bed-ridden from various sickness and the following month surfing, fishing, working, wakeboarding, filming, spending time at the beach, in the FL Keys, and in Barbados.  Now it's time to get down to business.  I am SO proud and excited to be nominated for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's 2014 Woman of the Year!  Ironically, this opportunity comes at a time when my health is not exactly stable, but it reminds me more than ever how important organizations like the LLS are for supporting patients and funding research.  My journey would have been very different without their help! (watch the vid!)

The Man/Woman of the Year campaign kicked off on February 19th, so we have 8 weeks left to raise some serious $$$$.  The competition is steep with 8 solid candidates.  Each dollar raised equals one "vote", and the candidate with the highest total is named Man or Woman of the Year and the Grand Finale Gala on May 1st at the Waldorf Astoria.  It's going to take a lot of hard work and cooperation, but together I think we can win this one and do some damage in the fight against cancer!  There are numerous ways to help including: cash donation, corporate sponsorship, donation of silent auction items, purchasing tables/tickets for the Grand Finale, etc.  Please visit my personal campaign page to donate and for more info on ways to contribute! Feel free to shoot me an email with questions/suggestions at alexascore@gmail.com. Oh yeah....and I want to WIN.  Just like my battle with cancer, there is no way I can do this alone! TEAM SCORE.

My Personal Campaign Page

Man/Woman of the Year Website

Your support means so much. Thank you!


ALEXA SCORE LLS from gordy cottrell on Vimeo.

Humble Pie

A few days into the new year I started feeling really run down....sore throat, body aches, fatigue, etc. I was getting ample rest and taking care of myself, but sometimes there's just no amount of Airborne that can stop you from getting sick, especially when you have a compromised immune system. I started running a 102+ degree fever and it lasted for seven days. Aside from when I was battling cancer in 2006, I've never been sick for more than a couple of days. While bedridden and thinking about the countless activities I was missing out on, I also managed to acquire a raging sinus infection, putting me out for another solid week. Midway through my sickness, just after I broke my fever and my blood stopped boiling, I went to OWC hoping to get a good ride in, as I hadn't been able to wakeboard for over a week. I was certain I'd be able to ride despite being sick. (As a do'er, and someone who goes weeks without turning the TV on, not being able to be active was killing me and my spirits. Adding to my anxiety, I had planned to spend the month of January filming and gathering footage for a couple of wakeboard edits I wanted to put out sometime in February - those plans have changed.) I did a handful of laps and had to stop. It was possibly the worst ride I've ever had. I couldn't do anything. Just holding the rope was difficult. I was stunned, humbled, and, honestly, really embarrassed. Frustrated and being as stubborn as I am, I tried to ride through it but finally knew I had to stop. My body was tired and just too weak. Having cancer and being on treatment, it's a little harder for me to fight off bugs and my body requires extra rest. I ended up sitting on shore and just watching. It was a beautiful day, after all. I cried a little too.

There are times when I feel like I'm invincible and could battle my way through any challenge I'm faced with, but oftentimes what's even harder than battling through something is knowing when to call it and let the problem heal - you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. Coming hot off of such a great, fun-filled trip back home (see previous post), getting this sick hit me really hard... But it's checks and balances that keep life in balance, so sometimes you've just got to sit back and eat humble pie. Who says you can't have your pie and eat it too?


There 'snow place like home

There really isn't. And there is certainly no better medicine than spending time with family and friends.  I had a chance to head back to my small hometown, Spicer, MN, for about 10 days over the holidays and had an absolute blast - just what the doctor ordered!  As always, it was endless activities and so many good laughs.  It's amazing how a place so cold can make you feel so warm and fuzzy inside. 


My favorite place on earth. Upon arriving on the evening of Friday the 20th, after dabbling into the 8 homemade duck jerky flavors our father had waiting for us, Tiff and I made our way to the local watering hole, O'Neils (by means of a truck on the lake, obviously) where we were met by a number of familiar faces and Dick Score's "legendary" framed beer can collection.  It's always entertaining to wait at the shoreline for a truck to pick you up and bring you to the bar via ice in the same spot where you wait for a pontoon to pick you up and bring you to the bar in July.  Anyway, many Busch Lights (on tap) and good times had by all.  Over the next few days we were able to do a lot of our favorite winter activity, ice fishing, thanks to Jared and Katie Swenson and Andrew Cors.  "Ice fishing" is a broad term for: playing cards, grilling, watching TV, drinking beer, and peeing on the ice.  We ended up catching two whoppers along with a number of smaller eaters.  Green lake is a walleye enthusiast's paradise, but don't go telling everyone you know.
View of the lake from home in Spicer...
Spicer is nicer.
ice chariot

Home is where your friends are!
"Dick Dynasty"

Apparently this beer can collection was in the rafters of our garage my entire life. It's actually really freaking cool. Every can is different and dates back to the early 1900's. I am my father's daughter.
Catchin' some rays
Grilling on the ice, hula skirts optional
Beautiful Lake Day!

Catfish Hunter!
We had just snapped a line on a huge fish minutes before catching this guy. As we were pulling him up I knew he was the same fish we had just missed. Sure enough there was an extra hook in his mouth.


We spent Christmas Eve at my mother's downtown Minneapolis which was so cozy! The city always does a great job filling their streets with Christmas cheer and holiday spirit. On Christmas day, Tiff, my father, and I hopped in the Chevy and headed east despite blizzard conditions. We were off to our relatives farm in what they consider a town called Boscobel, but I prefer to call it BFE, Wisconsin. On the way we spotted at least 50 bald eagles in the Mississippi River Valley, won some beer money on scratch off lotto tickets, and saw some deadly human sized icicles formed on the side of the river bluffs.  My father's sister and her husband have a beautiful 400 acre farm on the rolling hills of SouthWestern Wisco. We snow shoed, made lefse (a Norwegian "delicacy"), ate cheese, and managed to find the Castle Rock Inn, a local hunter's drinking establishment offering cold beers and "fresh dinner rolls, thawed daily!" God bless the Midwest.
Oke Dokie cheddar pop - a gourmet MN Christmas dinner appetizer. It's a tradition.
Downtown Minneapolis - A Winter Wonderland!
4-wheel drive is not a frivolous add-on in the Midwest
California may have happy cows, but Wisconsin has happy farmers...look closely.
Either the beginning of a horror film, or an innocent brewski at the Castle Rock Inn

You buy cheese in Wisconsin by the 10's of pounds. The Wisconsin cheese thing is way more ridiculous than anyone even makes it out to be.
Over the stream and through the woods...
True outdoorsmen. The apples do not fall far.

Bender Ender

After Wisco, we were able to make it back to Spicer on Friday night for one last day of fishing and shenanigans on Saturday. The plan was to head back to Minneapolis on Sunday to rest before our sunrise flight back to FL Monday morning.  I was on my last wind Saturday night in Spicer, giving it all I had on the dance floor when we got the call - we were being recruited as epic fan's for both the last Vikings game to ever be played at the Metrodome on Sunday afternoon and the Wild hockey game Sunday evening.  Our teams needed us.  So, as loyal fanatics and legendary skol'ers, we stepped up and accepted our roles as "#1 fans" (proof is in the foam).  We managed to squeeze in 20 more hours of epic Minnesotanness in the waning hours of our trip.  Foam fingers, horns, and all things Skol were in play, and we had an absolute blast cheering on our Purple People Eaters at the dome one last time. We could have stopped skoling at that point, but instead, we skoled on and kept the dream alive all the way into the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul for the Wild game.  As always, the view from the blue line was super and we were able to grab dinner and drinks with a couple of the players after the game.  Huge thanks to Jay Ettinger for providing tickets to both events and for just going with the skol.  According to legend, during the few hours of shut eye we got before our 5am flight on Monday, I could be heard skoling in my sleep.  (In all seriousness, Tiff witnessed me saying "skol" in my sleep that night...) 
Last game in the Inflatable Toilet AKA The Metrodome!
Skol Vikings

Skol Wild

The End. For Now.

Alas, Monday morning came, and like a midwinter night's dream, the trip was over.  Once again, Minnesota and its citizens came through and refused to disappoint.  As I stepped off of the plane in Orlando in my fur coat, sweating profusely, and looking like a lunatic, I looked down into my purse to see a single horn from my Vikings helmet that snuck it's way in for the journey back south...  Minnesota always finds a way to come with me wherever I go.

When life gives you horns, skol.


(Note: video and a health update coming soon!)