Thursday, January 31, 2013

what is there to do in Minneapolis?

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?
Me: Minneapolis
Him: Ohhh, the Twin Cities! Too bad Payton Manning just left.
Me: Huh?
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?!?!

I digress.

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.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

weekend lessons v9

01. This is apparently what I will do on a Friday night when Y is at work:

a. Have a photo shoot with the dog 
b. Follow the entire cast of Pitch Perfect on Instagram
c. Clean the house while singing along to the entire Rent soundtrack.

It's not so bad.

02. Vanilla ice cream + olive oil + fleur de sel is a surprisingly delicious combination. This lesson courtesy of Pizzeria Lola

03. There is a blog (and forthcoming book) about how to be an adult. I need this.

04. Excellent ways to pass the time when waiting for a table: play The Movie Game (at least, that's what we call it) and write haikus about the other people in the restaurant.

05. Ike loves it when I delay his walk by taking pictures of my hair.

06. Hibernating 101: cheese.

07. When it's cold and snowy, and you read on twitter that there is a soup cookoff, YOU GO TO THAT SOUP COOKOFF.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Things that are awkward

1. I'm not big on talking on the phone. I never have been, not even when I had a Sabrina the Teenage Witch phone, where Salem the Cat alerted me that the phone was going to ring before it actually happened. (I was not fooled; I knew Salem's voice was just replacing the first ring.)

Lately it's gotten to the point where the only person I speak to on the phone is Y. We tend to say I love you at the end of a conversation -- no matter how mundane --  and it's become a habit.

Which I guess is sweet, but now every time I talk on the phone to someone else, I'm terrified that I'll say I love you at the end of the phone call. On work-related phone calls, I could be talking about an article I need to write, or a message I need to relay, but all I can hear is my inner voice chanting don't say I love you, don't say I love you, don't say I love you. 

2. While taking a group exercise class recently, the teacher yelled, NOW SPEED SKATE! Everyone broke into some kind of synchronized movement that looked vaguely familiar from the last Winter Olympics, but that I can only imagine you are taught shortly after learning to walk in Minnesota. I did jumping jacks.

Don't worry, though, I'm learning. (sidenote: I need a better photographer to follow me around Minneapolis. Y just isn't cutting it anymore.)

3. The other night, I got out of bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. When I got back in bed, Y rolled over, said something unintelligible (probably about some patient's vital signs), but then -- very clearly -- called me Kim.

My first, half asleep thought was that I hoped he was having a dream that he was Kanye West. Then I fell asleep.

The next day I remembered what had happened, and the following conversation ensued. I think all of you children of the 90s will agree that Y's attempt to explain himself was just weak:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

deep thoughts about Enrique Iglesias

high school

The other day Enrique Iglesias's "Run" came on the radio, and I may have started to cry.

I didn't intend for it to happen. It's just that one second it was 2013; I was a 28 year old driving home from work in Minneapolis.

And then the song started and it was 2002, I was a seventeen year old driving home from school in Baton Rouge with my best friend and the weight of a thousand crushes and insecurities.

Old times, as my father used to say. If you're not careful, they'll gut you like a fish.
--Amor Towles, The Rules of Civility

I don't really miss high school. I look back on it fondly, but I don't know that I'd want to go back (and if I did it would only be to apply more sunscreen, resist popping all of those zits, make some better fashion choices, and invent the flatiron). I don't know know why hearing that old song made me so nostalgic all of the sudden.

Maybe it was being thrust into the past against my will. I'm happy here in the present, thank you very much Mr. Iglesias.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

weekend lessons v8

01. Y is very picky about his ketchup. I had the nerve to buy Trader Joe's ketchup, and received this message on the refrigerator:

02. It is possible for your mouth to be so cold that you can't speak properly. Related: standing outside for the US Pond Hockey Championships might not be worth losing the ability to speak. There are only few things that make losing the ability to speak worthwhile, like transforming from a mermaid to a girl because gosh darnit you're ready to know what the people know.

02a. Hearing songs from The Little Mermaid at a piano bar on a Wednesday night will ensure that you have The Little Mermaid on the brain until at LEAST Sunday. 

03. Walking across a frozen lake in the windiest weather of life is a great bonding experience. I recommend it for couples, friends, and your next corporate retreat.

04. The League  is just as funny as everyone says it is. If you like characters you're not quite sure you respect, and profanity. Which I absolutely do.

05. If you try one thing that's floating around Pinterest right now, it should be this:

06. I should not be allowed to read books about dogs. 3 pages in to The Art of Racing in the Rain and I was already crying. 20 pages in and I've vowed to leave the TV on every day so Ike won't be lonely. Today I left him with The Avett Brothers Pandora station. Ike loves him some Americana.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

mardi gras blues

Dear friends from home,

Your countless photos of king cake might seem harmless, but they're making me sad. So even though today is not Fat Tuesday -- just another regular-old-BMI Tuesday -- I present you with an ode to Louisiana (which also happens to be an ode to my new favorite font, Nevis).

Monday, January 14, 2013

true life: yoga

This is the true story of someone who may or may not be me. 

Every day I unroll my yoga mat, arrange my block, my towel and my water, and I thank the yoga god -- I believe her name is Lulu -- that I'm allowed to practice yoga.

Because I have a secret. I belong to a fancy yoga studio, where the classes consist of shirtless men with six packs and ponytails, and tattooed women with designer yoga pants. Every day I slip in and pretend I'm just like them.

But my yoga pants aren't "wunder unders" or "astro pants". They're a rare style, called The TJ Maxx Seven Dollar Crop. They come complete with two holes in the thigh.

Whenever I see another pair of eyes meet mine in the mirror, I know what they're thinking. Why doesn't her tank top have the same logo everyone else's has? She doesn't belong here. SECURITY!! 

I'll tell you why my tank top doesn't have a logo, yogi mcjudgey eyes. When I read on the internet that Costco was selling no-name brand workout tops for $12 that were supposedly lululemon overstock, I immediately called my sister, a proud Costco member, and made her buy some. Can I get back to my vriksasana now?

It's hard living with my secret. But I get by, one sun salutation at a time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

books: my two cents

I'm watching the Golden Globes right now, so my Books of 2012 recap is bound to get a little awards-showy. Sadly, the internet hasn't created a Mel Gibson's Face During Jodie Foster's Speech gif, otherwise I would have pasted that here. Can someone get on that?

I don't know that you could really compare the two books that I read about presidents and their assassinations. 11/22/63 is a Stephen King epic time travel novel; The Destiny of the Republic is a non-fiction account of President Garfield's life and the life of his assassin. Oh, and Alexander Graham Bell.  I was a fan of both!

Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles

 I have a notebook where I write quotes that I love from books that I'm reading. I never really understood why I did this, and then I read an interview with David Sedaris in the New York Times, where he put it into words better than I ever could:

"whenever I read a passage that moves me, I transcribe it in my diaryhoping my fingers might learn what excellence feels like."

4 entire pages of my little notebook are filled with gems from Rules of Civility, a Gatsby-esque 1920s New York City story. I heard the author speak recently - he's a principal at an investment firm who has always wanted to write a book... so he did. And I loved it.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

I read this book in January and haven't stopped thinking about it or recommending it to anyone who asks. Do yourself a favor and don't read anything about Louis Zamperini -- Olympic hopeful, WWII hero and the subject of Unbroken -- before you read this. It will just add to the suspense.

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

As someone living in a new city, this book (which we read for book club back in Shreveport) is always in the back of my head. Rachel Bertsche, living across the country from all of her best friends, takes on the challenge of finding a new best friend by going on one "friend-date" per week. What she learns and encounters along the way, while not life-altering or anything, has definitely made me braver when it comes to making friends. 

The Tiger's Wife had a chance to save the day. I was on my way to Boston, my Nook loaded up with books. Once we reached our cruising altitude, I turned on my Nook... and it was "locked". I still don't know what that means, but I couldn't access any of my books. I was beyond angry. 

With nothing to distract me from my hatred of flying except for my irrational anger, I whined to Y until we landed at our layover and I headed straight for the bookstore. Buying a new book is a treat for me, as I usually either borrow from the library or download e-books from the library. So I chose carefully, and came out with The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obrecht, which I had seen nothing but high praise for. 

But I just didn't get it. It didn't do anything for me. And basically my trip to Boston was ruined. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Kline

I was prepared to not be into this book, since it was about virtual reality and video games, which aren't exactly my thing. HOWEVER, I was wrong. 

Other notable positives:

The Innocents, Francesca Segal
This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper
Maine, Courtney Sullivan
Divergent, Veronica Roth
Spoiled, THE FUG GIRLS, if only for the Chanandler Bong reference.

Other notable negatives:

Night Road, Kristin Hannah (I cried though an entire plane ride to Amsterdam and hated every minute of it)
If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, Kelly Cutrone (sorry Natalie!)

Big fat mehs:
State of Wonder, Anne Patchett
The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante
Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Sunday, January 6, 2013

weekend lessons v7

01. Seasons are exciting.

02. The biggest difference I've noticed since moving involves gym locker rooms.

I'm kind of a gym commitment-phobe; when I was in Shreveport I tried six different gyms. Here, I've already worked out at just as many. Pretty sure this makes me an expert on the subject of locker room behavior.

And this is what I've noticed: people in Minneapolis are completely comfortable walking around completely naked. In Louisiana, I never saw a naked person in a locker room. I'm not offended by it, and it doesn't bother me, I'm just intrigued by how different it is.

Let me clarify. I wasn't bothered by it, until yesterday when a woman bent over and her bare butt touched my jacket, which was patiently waiting in a cubby for me retrieve it.

As it was 20 degrees outside, not using my jacket during the 3 block walk to my car wasn't an option.

03. Mulled wine is my new favorite thing.

04. Always trust blogger book reviews. I'm on page 50 of The Language of Flowers, which I found out about through Write Meg, and I can't wait to read more. It's so pretty.

05. I've been listening to, and enjoying, Ed Sheeran's A-Team on the radio for the past 6 months. On Friday I saw a picture of him for the first time. HE'S LIKE, EIGHT.

06. In other radio related news, I heard Prince on the radio three times on Friday. Just another day in Minneapolis.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stuff White Dogs Like

Ike enjoys snuggling. 

With us:

Without us:

With things that smell like us:

With anything we've ever touched:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

won't you be my neighbor?

I'm not sure why I've been waiting to tell you this story - it happened months ago. Back when it was warm enough to run outside, around a lake that's now frozen.

I've always lived in neighborhoods with lots of kids, which often makes for interesting stories. You may recall the time I saved a rogue baby

This story is different.

So, I'm running, minding my own business, listening to Girl Talk. On a corner up ahead, I see a little boy on a bike with training wheels.

He looks like he wants to tell me something, so I pull out my ear bud. 

"The police are looking for you!" he screams, all cute and little and unaware of the volume of his voice.

I pull my "camp counselor" voice out from the vault. It's high pitched and sing-songy. "Oh yeah? What did I do?"

"You were too sexy!"

Let me reiterate that this little Romeo was using TRAINING WHEELS.

I put my camp counselor voice away. "Um, excuse me?"

He replies, verbatim: "I can come to your house?"

What would you have done at this point, bloglandia? Would you have demanded to speak to his mother? Lectured him on the inappropriateness of everything that had just transpired?

I was way too weirded out for any of that nonsense. I just ran. As I ran away he shouted, "WHY NOT?!!?"

At least the kid wasn't glued to a screen of some sort....right?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the pros & cons of winter

+ I wear tights basically every day, therefore I feel justified buying new tights every other day. I even have the same tights as Sasha Obama. Nothing makes me feel more validated than having the same tights as a VIT (very important tween).

+ I keep a pack of bottled water in my car; I always have ice cold water in my car. Sometimes I even just have bottled ice in my car.

- All of the scarves and giant coats I've got going on are seriously messing with my peripheral vision. The hats covering my ears are messing with my sense of hearing. I'm down to three senses, and my fingers have gone numb enough times that I'm considering removing "touch" as well. 

- Putting on and taking off all of said scarves and giant coats results in at least one lost earring every wardrobe change.

-It's dark all the time, and people wear ski masks even when they aren't robbing banks. Add that to not being able to see over my shoulder or hear anything (see above) and that leads to me being paranoid on a daily basis.

-Speaking of paranoia: my jacket hanging on the back of my office door looks like a person hiding there. It fools me EVERY time. Well played, evil jacket.

Do you see it? Please tell me it's not just me.

- I have had no less than 3 nightmares about my white dog getting loose and getting lost in the snow camouflage.

+ Walking out of a gym, covered in sweat, into a 3 degree day is just plain INVIGORATING.

+ The only person I've ever seen shovel snow in my life is the creepy neighbor turned hero from Home Alone. THUS, every time I see someone shoveling snow, I think of Home Alone.

- Winter in a blue state: these f-ing liberal hippies assume I want my groceries in paper bags, which always manage to touch snow, get wet, and disintegrate.... leaving me with a pile of groceries in the snow.

- I can handle the constant static electricity shocks. What I can't handle is the pitiful face Ike makes when he gets shocked every two minutes. 

Snow looks like this:

- Snow looks like this: