real fall versus blog fall

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.

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

southern hospitality; minnesota nice

"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.

the target lady teaches a valuable lesson

"What is this?" asks the cashier, holding the strange fruit gingerly, as if it might eat her.

"A kiwi," I reply, wondering how a person gets through 20+ years of life never seeing a kiwi.

She looks at me angrily. Not only am I stumping her with a strange produce item, she now has to find said produce item on her list and match it to a number. I am making the woman working as a Target cashier do actual work and I am going to get a death glare.

The above describes a typical encounter at a Target in Shreveport, Louisiana. The below describes a typical encounter at a Target in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"Paper or plastic?" The cashier's smile is so wide I worry her face might split in half. Her pigtails bob up and down as she begins to scan items.

"Paper is fine, thank you," the man replies.

"Okie dokie smokie!" she yells, so loudly I can hear her from four aisles over where I am having a conversation about why some people don't like cilantro with my own cashier. (Sidenote: MY CASHIER KNOWS WHAT CILANTRO IS! What is this magical place?)

The man four aisles over laughs politely. "I say okie dokie smokie too sometimes," he admits. The cashier stops what she is doing. She pumps her fist in the air.

"Okie dokie smokies unite! We should start a club!" She leaves one hand lingering in the air so her customer can give her a high five. Which he does.


Before I moved to the midwest, I appreciated Kristen Wiig's Target Lady sketch abstractly. I thought I got the joke -- I've watched every single one multiple times and cried silent tears of laughter -- but I'm now realizing that I didn't get the joke. Target ladies are a real thing.  Contrary to popular Southern belief, retail employees are not required to shoot laser beams of hatred out of their eyes.

Life is a little different here, and even though these differences manifest themselves randomly and seemingly insignificantly, you can tell.

It's nice to live somewhere different for a little while.

PS. something to give a little PERRRP to my floor length western dress. 

Fun with packing, part 2

We recently made a pretty big decision in our moving process. Instead of paying a few thousand dollars for movers or renting a truck, we decided to get rid of all of our stuff and move with little to nothing. Which means that for five hours last Saturday, our driveway was an Ikea outlet, as well as a place to get very highly sought after movie memorabilia. 

And let me tell you, it feels amazing to be rid of all the stuff we accumulated. It makes me want to never buy anything again and live without anything, in an empty wooden box like Pete Campbell.

Except when I remember that our new house is 5 minutes away from an Ikea. And a Crate and Barrel. And, um, the Mall of America where I can purchase ANYTHING in the history of things. There's an entire store devoted to PEEPS, for heavens sake. 

And then I get excited to shop for more stuff. It's a vicious cycle.

But back to our garage sale. 

We kept the important stuff, like wedding presents, favorite books, sentimental photos, and canine companions.

I'm not quite sure what he's doing with his teeth, but it kills me. It just might be my new favorite Ike face.

come on down to Minnesota

When I found out that we were moving, I decided to treat this news -- like I do all things in life -- as if it were  part of The Price is Right. 

Which obviously means that I just won the Minnesota Showcase Showdown! And Y has agreed that we can purchase all of these things! That's a lie!

poster:  Minneapolis neighborhood poster by Ork
blanket: Pendleton
shoes: Minnetonka mocassins
lotion: J.R. Watkins apothecary (which I didn't know was a Minnesota company until I came face to face with a wall full of it at the Mall of America)
dvds: don't think I don't have a whole blog post planned entitled "we're going to make it after all", with the main focus being a picture of me throwing my hat in the air. 
earmuffs: I decided I should buy some kind of ear protection, since people seem to think it's cold in Minnesota for some reason.
bike: in case you weren't aware, Minneapolis recently surpassed Portland as the #1 biking city in the United States. 
Twins shirt: Yes, I'm almost 28. Yes, I still sometimes wear Pink clothing. I also like to pretend my life is a cheesy old game show, and I think that's way weirder. 

I'll miss you... Louisiana

In one of my grad school classes, a fellow student from St. Lucia told us that the only access her family had to clean water was a 20 minute walk away from her house.

"Well, I feel lazy," I said out loud, half joking, half trying to prove a point. "I complain when I'm brushing my teeth, my electric toothbrush runs out of batteries, and I have to walk to the other room to get the spare." I expected other classmates to nod in agreement and share their own Lazy American stories.  But everyone just stared at me. An awkward turtle would have been appropriate. Or, even better, a giant firstworldproblems hashtag, projected on the wall over my head. 

I'm generally not a lazy person, but I will admit to end of the night toothbrush laziness. I'll also admit to having complained, on several occasions, about this impending problem: After we move, when I have to select my state from a dropdown menu, there will be choices. I won't just be able to select "L" and hit enter. I'll have to scroll down through five states after typing "M". 

And to think I've taken this for granted all these years. Residents of Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Utah -- as well as those of you who live in the first state alphabetically under each letter -- take a few moments the next time you're selecting your state from a dropdown menu and appreciate the ease. 

When you're done, I'll probably still be scrolling through Maryland. 

I'll miss you... archive:

life for dummies

It took a few hours for the post-Match Day margarita to wear off, and when it did the initial excitement of moving to Minnesota wore off right with it. Suddenly, we were moving across the country but it was Friday at 8 pm and there was no realtor or leasing agent or mortgage broker or bank or moving company available to help us move forward. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? Well, frustrating for Y, the grown up of our relationship. My self-appointed Match Day duty was the somewhat less important stuff: to start making a list of restaurants to try, and sign up for Groupon, LivingSocial and all of the other eight billion daily deals in our new city. The internet doesn't just work 9 to 5, THANK GOD.

But honestly, I didn't realize how much I would have to do so quickly -- and how much I'd need to learn to move across the country. What is the Frozen Four? How do you grow things in a climate where lakes are sometimes SOLID? What is it that I'm supposed  to be saying when I say "y'all"? How do you buy a house?

It's been pretty crazy over here. But I still plan to take you guys along for the ride - I just needed a quick break to drink my margarita, take some pictures in Barnes and Noble, and buy a house. Mission accomplished. See you in April?