This was what stood out most to me about Paisley Park; Prince and Applebee's don't exist in the same universe, do they?Read More
In a polar vortex, your urine looks like this:
Just kidding. That's a jar of homemade bubbles. Because in a polar vortex, bubbles look like this:
During the first polar vortex (we're currently in Polar Vortex 2: Back in the Habit) I declared that we needed to go somewhere warm and green. The Como Zoo in St. Paul hosts a winter concert series called Music Under Glass, and it's the perfect escape from winter: warm and humid (the good kind of humid. Not Louisiana humid.) and full of life. We walked through the gardens and listened to acoustic covers of pop songs.
And then we ran as fast as we could to the car because it felt like -40 degrees.
The restaurant we chose for dinner, The Mill NE, didn't exactly have the cozy vibe warranted for such extreme temperatures, but it was delicious nonetheless. I loved my butternut squash bisque and cocktail made with pear cider, vodka, and dandelion bitters which, by the way, are an actual thing.
The roads were empty. The concert was empty. The restaurant was empty. And I was kind of proud of us for not letting the weather win.
So one snowy day (which probably wasn't actually -20 degrees because I don't think it can snow when it's that cold), I saw on Twitter that the Global Market was holding a Global Soup Cookoff featuring a soup from each stand at the market. I was obviously in.
Our house was pretty affordable, and there's one really good reason for that:
As the planes take off over my backyard, I can easily tell you which airline it is. Y, being some kind of transportation savant, could tell you whether it's a 747, 737, or CR80 by the number of windows or something.
I don't hate the planes.
I mean, there's a part of me that hates being on a plane. That's the part of me that refuses to watch a TV show featuring a plane crash (so I guess I'm okay with This is 40 for ruininng the ending of of Lost for me).
That's also the part of me that once bought a book to read on a plane, then tweeted the author to make sure there were no plane crashes in the book. She said no. THEN THERE WAS AN ENTIRE CHAPTER ABOUT WATCHING 911 UNFOLD FROM MANHATTAN.
I don't hate the planes. Because a bigger part of me loves what happens before and after air travel. The anticipation. The packing (I may be the only person on earth that loves to pack). The airport (I know I'm the only human on earth that loves airports). Arriving in a completely different state, country, continent. Having an excuse to buy a new book and eat overpriced fast food.
The planes constantly flying over my neighborhood remind me that I'm literally minutes from an adventure.
(We also got free updated insulation and triple paned windows out of the deal, so that doesn't suck.)
See the title of the post? What is there to do in Minneapolis? I was asked that question several times before we moved, and it always sounded more like this:
What is there to do in Minneapolis?
I was asked this mainly by people who lived in the mid size cities in Louisiana in which I had lived. Places where we found ways to have fun, but that certainly weren't considered hot spots of activity. I found it an odd question to ask -- although I didn't know a lot about Minneapolis, I knew there was a major airport and a baseball team; common knowledge that seemed like hallmarks of a place where there would be Things To Do.
I know these people read my blog from time to time, and it occurred to me recently that the blog might still leave them scratching their heads about what, exactly, there is to do here besides, well, blog.
Surprisingly, there are things to do in a city that has 4 professional sports teams and the biggest theater scene outside of New York City, has 2 major art museums and is constantly getting mentioned in magazines for its music scene, travel appeal and up and coming restaurants.
I'm not getting defensive (I don't think you're allowed to be defensive of a place you've only lived for seven months), our move just really clued me in to some Louisianians' ignorance of any state outside of the Louisiana-Texas-Mississippi (and maybe New York or California) spectrum.
FOR EXAMPLE: A conversation I had with someone at work in Shreveport:
Him: Where are you moving?
Him: Ohhh, the Twin Cities! Too bad Payton Manning just left.
Him: He's a football player.
Me: THANKS. I am aware of the Mannings. What does he have to do with Minneapolis?
Him: He doesn't play for the Colts anymore.
Me: The Colts are in Indianapolis.
Him: I know, I thought you were moving to Minnesota.
Me: I AM moving to Minnesota.
Him: Minneapolis and Indianapolis. The Twin Cities! Why don't you understand?
Me: Why don't YOU understand?!?!
As part of my attempt to tell you more about what there is to do here, I'm going to share my 2013 Minneapolis resolutions with you.
1. Take a stand up paddle board class -- my excuse last summer was that they were all too early. Now I'm used to waking up on a resident's schedule, so... bring it on!
2. Picnic at the lake
3. Go to a music festival. Last year I missed The Lumineers, Feist, The Avett Brothers, Fitz and the Tantrums, etc, etc. NOT THIS YEAR.
4. Progressive bike dinner -- meaning biking to different restaurants for drinks, appetizers, entrees, and dessert
5. See a play -- I just so happen to have tickets to see Book of Mormon next month!
6. Go to all 4 professional sporting events -- Twins Baseball, Vikings Football, Wild Hockey, and TImberwolves Basketball
7. Bike the chain of lakes -- we did this last year, but now that it's negative 3 zillion degrees outside, I'm not sure why we didn't do it every weekend.
8. Eat farm pizza -- I heard about this interesting experience on the radio. Drive out to a farm in rural Wisconsin, order pizza made with ingredients found within spitting distance, wait an hour and explore the farm, bring your own silverware, eat on a picnic blanket. I'm intrigued.
9. Cross country ski
10. Go apple picking
11. Kayak on the mississippi (even though this slightly terrifies me, what with the waterfalls...)
12. Get lost in a museum -- The Walker Art Center (modern art), The Minneapolis Institute of Art, the American Swedish Institute, The Minnesota Science Museum are just a few to choose from.
13. Go on a brewery tour. There are at least 3... not including our guest room, where Y is letting his home brew ferment.
14. Eat on a rooftop patio.
15. Bike to [one of] the farmers markets.
16. Visit the headwaters of the Mississippi & more. One of my friends at work, A, suggested we do this, since I've seen the other end of the Mississippi. I told her it was the most romantic thing anyone's ever invited me to do, akin to Mandy Moore's boyfriend in A Walk to Remember taking her to the state line so she could stand in two places at once. Then we sang along to Mandy Moore in my office. A made an entire separate list of things I need to do this summer, which I don't have in front of me, but is encompassed in #16.
Am I missing anything, Minnesota-savvy friends??
Other FAQs coming soon: what is there to do when it's negative degrees outside; what do you wear when it's negative degrees outside; what does it feel like when your hair freezes; are you sorry you moved to this frozen tundra (spoiler alert: NO.)
A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of real fall, meant to show you what's going on behind the scenes as your favorite bloggers frolic through apple orchards and make out with their pumpkin spice lattes.
Today, along those lines, I want to show you Pinterest in real life.
Ever since some genius crafter discovered that - gasp - dry erase markers work on glass, Pinterest has been full of pinners posting their dry erase frame creations.
I decided to jump on the bandwagon, putting a frame in our bathroom (on those shelves that I fought so hard for).
Brushing our teeth is usually the last thing each of us does in the morning before work, so it would be perfect for the love notes we were dying to leave each other as we parted ways.
Or helpful reminders-
Not that I would ever have the foresight to package up leftovers for Y's lunch. But that's the thing about Pinterest - it's supposed to make you perfect.
But, readers, my husband is not John Petersik*. So instead of love notes, this is what I got:
*John Petersik: co-blogger of Young House Love who seems to be open to any and all DIY projects and doesn't incorporate voyeuristic whales into home decor.
Edited to add: I actually met John and Sherry, the couple behind Young House Love last night at West Elm for their book signing.
I'll share more later -- they are as friendly and real as their blog suggests -- but I thought this little story was relevant. You see, this exact project (sort of) happens to be in the YHL book. I showed John and Sherry Y's whale, which they, of course, loved (how could you not?! Look at that face!).
And then, because I was at the back of the line and I think everyone in the store was a little delirious, John wrote this in my book:
My copy of this book is going to be worth millions one day.
Being married to a resident can be kind of humbling.
Like when you realize that no matter how much you have to do at work, no matter how annoyed your boss is, when something happens to your house there is no argument: you don't have lives to save. You are the one staying home with the repairman.
This has its perks. Like... hanging out at home with the dog.
It also has its downfalls. Like, staring at an unfinished bedroom that would look a million times better if a) there was a picture ledge on the wall*, and b) there was no underwear on the floor.
But mainly it has its perks. My favorite: getting the real story from the repairmen.
Recently, while sitting at home entertaining the people who were installing our radon mitigation system, I got the inside scoop on why our basement has so much radon. I made sure to share with Y.
By the way, this is what our bedroom looked like when we looked at the house:
*I screw up every time I try to put something in our walls. Otherwise, I would have hung the shelf myself.
I can't wait to go home and de-stress with a glass of wine and a bubble bath
And, as the popular children's story goes, if you tell new homeowners they need new tile, they're going to want a new shower head. And when you give them the shower head, they're probably going to want a new bath tub.
As Y said after he was forced to take a bath before the shower head was fully installed, Am I supposed to wash my hair in the same water I wash my asshole?
Minneapolis is the whitest place you'll ever live.
That's what everyone told us, at least. Some said it disdainfully, as if we would never know diversity again. Some said it jealously, like our neighbor in Shreveport. She was upset about the new black family on our street, and said -- are you ready for this? --
"I wish I could move to Minnesota. Things are getting a little...dark here."
(We're glad we don't live by her anymore. The racist neighbor, not the black one.)
Let's put it this way: At Y's hospital in Shreveport, if his patient spoke a different language, he had to call a special number. From there he had two options for translators: Spanish or Mandarin.
Lately I've been feeling kind of lazy. I partially blame the book I've been reading.
Writing a memoir about hiking 1100 miles is just cruel. I'm talking to you, Cheryl Strayed. You start telling me about your journey, about your boots! the stars! how amazing it feels to bathe after walking for miles and miles! and I'm ready to buy out REI and embark on my own physically challenging expedition to find myself. But you've sucked me in to your tale, and now I'm stuck on my couch for the next 4 days, not moving, shoving snacks into my face, desperate to see how it ends.
- I'd get mistaken for a weird celebrity (celebrities I've been told I look like: Cameron Diaz, Suri Cruise, Blair Underwood. Let's recap: Cameron Diaz looks nothing like me, Suri Cruise is four, Blair Underwood is a black man.)
- I would trip in some hilariously slapstick manner
- One of us would say or do something ridiculous.
Sidenote: the last time I went hiking was in Central Arkansas during Carol Convention. We made a Justin Bieber music video in the woods. Is it possible that I'm too ADD to hike?
FYI: We "hiked" from Harriet Island to Lilydale Regional Park, through Lilydale, and back. The Lilydale trail winds uphill on what used to be a brick factory, so there are old bricks scattered throughout and a brick oven hiding in the woods. The uphill switchbacks are a pretty good workout and end in a nice view that was probably amazing two weeks ago, before the leaves fell.
Having lived in Louisiana for most of my life and loving the idea of fall, I never truly knew what a real fall was like. For the past few years, I've been relying on bloggers in cooler climates to show me.
Now that I live in a "cooler climate" myself (have you heard? It's cold here!), I know the truth. There's blog fall, which is pumpkin-scented and crisp and lovely and all of those other words bloggers like to throw around.
But then there's real fall. The greater blog population doesn't tell you about real fall.
So I will.
I've been thinking about donuts a lot lately.
About how dangerous it is that these amazing donuts exist less than 10 blocks from our house.
"You'll miss it down here, " they* said, "the people up north aren't as nice as in the south."
(*They being the same people that felt compelled to remind me that it gets cold up north.)
I disagree. And to prove my point, here's a story:
This is the face of a murderer:
Well, an attempted murderer. Last weekend, Ike half-killed a mouse. He plucked it out of the bushes, carried it across the yard, dropped it, and stared at it. Because I
have a terrible habit of personifying my dog can communicate with Ike, I know that he was innocently wondering why isn't it playing with me?
At this point, the mouse was pretty much dead. In fact, I thought it died. So I went to a yoga class, and decided I would deal with it later.
Sidebar - my shavasana was completely ruined. All I could picture was that poor mouse.
When I got back, I ran immediately to where to mouse had died. It was gone! It had lived! It was a miracle!
And then I realized it had managed to crawl a few feet away and dig itself a hole in which, I'm assuming, it could die peacefully. It was pathetically sad. Also, the mouse was still alive, gasping for breath.
I knew I had to put it out of its misery, but I couldn't do it. Luckily, my neighbor was outside.
"Excuse me," I called over my fence, "Ike half-killed a mouse. I don't know what to do."
My neighbor wrinkled her nose. "I hate mice. Bash its head in."
"I can't," I admitted meekly. "I can't do it."
Before I could make sense of what was happening, she was in my backyard with a shovel and the mouse was dead.
I will not hesitate to give this woman a cup of sugar should she need it.
A similar thing happened in Shreveport. A few differences:
1) it was a squirrel,
2) I maintain to this day that Ike found it already half-dead and did not participate in the killing, and
3) our neighbor let Y borrow a gun to finish the job.
My point: Minnesotans are just as nice as Louisianians, but with fewer weapons.
When Y started residency, I committed to a few things: keeping the house clean so he wouldn't feel stressed the precious moments he was at home (failed), having dinner waiting for him after a long day (failed), and carrying around leeches in my purse (succeeded!).
After he realized that hanging out with Ike and me wasn't relaxing enough -- I beg to differ, the soothing high-pitched tones of WHOSTHECUTESTPUPPYINTHEWORLD are quite relaxing -- Y decided he needed a hobby. He picked fishing. Ike and I were not invited.
When a resident decides on a Sunday evening that he wants to go fishing on his next day off (in this case, a Wednesday), he has to plan carefully. On Tuesday, he had a 1 hour window of opportunity when he got off work before every other business closed for the day. In that sliver of time, he bought a fishing pole and whatever other accessories fishing requires -- except for bait.
That was when he turned to me with resident eyes (which are similar to puppy dog eyes except that I don't have to pick gunk out of them).
"Will you pick up bait tomorrow on your lunch break?"
Sure, I said. This is how I imagined the errand would go: I would buy a can of worms (what other container was I supposed to assume worms come in?), throw it in my car and head back to work.
It was more difficult than that.
There happens to be a bait store not far from my work. When I told the cashier where Y would be fishing, he nodded knowingly. "You need leeches."
Just the word leeches made me want to vomit, but I managed to keep it together and accept the two most disgusting plastic tupperware containers to ever exist. As I walked out, I was reminded to keep the containers refrigerated or their contents would "turn to mush".
I gagged silently.
So much for forgetting about the bait in my car. I started hatching a plan to secretly store leeches in my work refrigerator. Luckily, the cashier at the bait store had put my disgusting purchase in a white paper bag that looked a lot like a lunch.
(Speaking of lunch, I needed to pick mine up. Which involved leaving my car in the hot sun for several minutes. Terrified of leech mush, I reluctantly put the white bag of disgust in my purse while I ran into the grocery store, sneaking a peek every few seconds, and gagging as I felt everything slosh around in my purse. I'm positive I looked like a shoplifter with morning sickness.)
When I got back to work, my heart was pounding as I prepared to act on my top secret mission. I didn't know if leeches smelled. If they could escape from their tupperware. If they made noise. I had only been working at my job for a few weeks, and I didn't feel comfortable enough to ask the forward question Can I store leeches in the refrigerator?
I stuffed my little pets into the back of the fridge, behind a 2 year old jar of peanut butter, and proceeded to check on them every 15 minutes. On check-in number, oh I don't know, 12 I noticed that the bottom of my white bag was soaked through.
THE LEECHES HAVE OPENED THE TUPPERWARE, I instantly thought. I peeked into the bag and, for the first time, actually looked at the leeches (which were still safe in their plastic container).
And that was how I found myself, on my 15th day of work, sitting on the communal kitchen floor, gagging and wondering what my life was coming to.
PS. Y has been fishing for several weeks, and the only thing he's caught is this old fishing pole.
PPS. I went fishing once, for an hour, and caught 20 fish.
Y's vacation is over.
I will benefit from not having to listen to Y rap/sing anymore. Approximately 2 seconds after we moved to South Minneapolis, Y discovered that "South Minneapolis" and "West Philadelphia" have the same number of syllables. Cue the constant, Minneapolis-themed renditions of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song. Even Ike is over it.
Below, some pictures of our "vacation" adventures: