Sunday, March 31, 2013

the sunday currently (2)

reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. I wasn't a huge fan of Wild, Cheryl Strayed's memoir, but this... this is different. This is just raw, good writing.

writing a lot! That's what happens when you have two four day weekends in a row -- you get productive. 

listening to my "soundtracks" playlist on itunes. Most of my favorite music is from soundtracks. A few of my go-to albums -- Veronica Mars (the song in the background of this scene will forever be one of my favorites), Brokedown Palace, Godzilla (terrible movie, surprisingly good soundtrack. Puff Daddy, anyone??), Romeo and Juliet, Garden State, 500 Days of Summer, Crazy/Beautiful, Cruel Intentions. I also used to fall asleep to the Down to You soundtrack on my boombox. 

thinking about the movie Crazy/Beautiful, now that I wrote the above paragraph. I have an indelible memory of watching that movie with two best friends from high school. We were arguing over who the lead actor would most want to date. 

I pulled myself out of that race immediately. 

I think the lead actor was Hispanic, and as the debate about who he would like more escalated, my Indian friend threw out this zinger: "I should date him, I'm ETHNIC."

Not one to back down, my other friend, a pale redhead, retorted, "I'M ETHNIC. Just not in this country."

Touche. Also, Kirsten Dunst made some crazy awesome journals in that movie. 

smelling the new palm and fig reed diffuser hanging out in my living room. I'm giving up on candles for awhile, after a few too many abrupt u-turns to return home and make sure I blew out a candle. Ain't nobody got time for that.

wishing a) that Kevin Ware didn't injure himself and b)that it wasn't caught on camera. Poor kid -- if I think I'm traumatized...

(also wishing I hadn't just realized that I'm at a point where I can call NCAA basketball players "kids". Yikes.)

hoping I have a chance to blog from a coffeeshop on Tuesday, my final day off. I want to be just like Lauren.

wearing a sparkly cardigan from Loft that has a hole in the sleeve. Everything I buy from the Loft sale rack ends up ripping (and hence I end up using them as sleep clothes), but everything I buy full price from there is fine. Suspicious. I've got my eye on you, Loft.

loving what's on tap this week: The Macy's Flower Show, which is supposed to be amazing. The Twins home opener. A taco dinner with fresh beef from a friend's farm. Dinner at Travail. Drinks to celebrate a friend's engagement. And Aziz Ansari on Saturday night. 

wanting a new laptop. I might be needing one if I throw mine across the room like I'm dying to.  It takes me about an hour to write a simple blog post, edit one or two photos, and upload them to blogger -- simply because of the amount of time it takes for my computer to switch between programs. This task should take 20 minutes, tops. This is why I don't blog consistently.

feeling like an old lady. My chest muscle is still bothering me, and I tried to run for the first time in months and now my knee is throbbing. Pass me the Werthers and GET OFF MY LAWN.  

clicking medicine: a love story, my other blog geared toward medical spouses. I'm trying to get it back up and running. At the rate my computer is going, I'll have a new post by May. Also: this amazing craigslist ad and this article ranking all 27 seasons of The Real World was a guilty pleasure Saturday morning read that was totally worth it (my favorite season was Seattle!). And as always, the lovely Lauren. Share your sunday currentlies over at siddathornton. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

one year ago today

Almost exactly a year ago to the day, we landed in Minneapolis on the most gorgeous spring day you can imagine, picked up our rental Kia Soul, and met our realtor in front of a bright green co-op where I ate a vegan duck banh mi sandwich. (I don't really know why. I think I was inspired by the hippie-ness of the co-op.)

Then we proceeded to see about 13 houses, of which I hated about 11.

Including the one we bought.

But I appreciated the challenge of making this house that was so blah our own. And here we are a year later, and while it's still a work in progress, I think we've done a pretty solid job. 

(Real talk? The bed is unmade because Y was actually under the covers, sleeping off a night shift.) 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

the sunday currently

I'm linking up with Lauren today (finally!) for the Sunday Currently. Two things you should know about Lauren and I:

1. Neither of us had seen Dirty Dancing until we watched it together.... like, two years ago. I'm aware that this is absurd.

2. Fun fact: Lauren and Y did gymnastics together in high school. Yep, Y was a gymnast. Proof, from the walls of our living room:

 I love this photo of Y and my nephew

And, now for the currentlies:

reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. I've been trying to finish this book for a month. It's actually pretty interesting, but for me, reading non-fiction is like reading a foreign language: slow. I can read three fiction books to every non-fiction book, no matter how amazing the non-fiction. Case in point: Devil in the White City. Great book, thought I would never finish.  

writing in my head. I keep thinking of these great blog posts and articles in my head, and then forgetting about them by the time I make it to some paper. (Related: this article on writing in a notebook in the digital age)

listening to college basketball, and wondering if Muse anticipated the amount of airplay their latest single would get during March Madness. Also listening to Ike whine because some kids are playing catch with a tennis ball outside and THEY FORGOT TO INVITE HIM.

thinking about the amount of matzah ball soup I'm planning to consume tomorrow night. 

smelling the leftover turkey chili we're defrosting. Yep, it's still hardcore chili weather here. See the hoping entry below. 

wishing the place we tried to go to for breakfast this morning at 8 am, The Kenwood, had been open. I studied the menu last night and had picked out my perfect (albeit slightly odd) meal: a granola parfait, cheddar grits and a croissant. But unfortunately, we were dining too early -- they only sell pastries prior to 10 am. We're definitely not in the south anymore, where grits are acceptable -- maybe even mandatory -- at all hours. 

hoping some warmer weather decides to make its way up here. Y was working nights the last few weeks, and to distract myself from the creepy noises my house makes approximately ALL THE TIME, I kept the TV on. We got one station: CBS. This means a) that I was present for Selena Gomez's Bieber burn on Letterman and b) the news is on a lot, and the weathermen just love to talk about how a year ago, it was 75 degrees! We were wearing shorts! We were eating on patios! SHUT. UP. 

wearing the new hat Y's mom made for me. She's the best. You'll hear more about her and her handiwork later... if I can ever get anyone to help me out with a little winter accessories photoshoot. (Y has been fired. Any takers?)

loving my newest toy. Literally. I bought a toy. Well, a video game, if we're getting specific. Just Dance 4. It. Is. So. Fun. I'm just slightly worried I'm going to crash through to my basement in the middle of Call Me Maybe. 

wanting to be Mindy Kaling's best friend. Universe, get on that. 

needing to get started on my Passover baking -- chocolate souffle cupcakes and what we Jews like to call matzah crack. It's the only thing that can make matzah appealing. Well, besides kneidlach. And matzah brei. And maybe matzah pizza. And charoset. Did any of those words make sense to anyone else?

feeling better -- I pulled a muscle in my chest early this week. I blame chatarungas. Do you have any idea all the things you use your pectoral muscles for? Rolling over. Singing at the top of your lungs in the car to Demi Lovato. Sneezing (I sneezed the other day and screamed in pain. It was mildly embarrassing). Breathing. Et al. 

clicking coffitivity. For those times when you wish you were a freelancer working in a coffeeshop. 

(You guys, I just mentioned Selena Gomez, Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato in one blog post. I swear I'm almost 29.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The pros & cons of Minnesota winter, part 2

+ I have an excuse to wear neon accessories, and as we all know, neon is totally in right now. (These are called yak traks. They keep you from slipping on the ice when your 65 pound dog decides you aren't walking fast enough.)

+ Related: fighting gravity is an amazing ab workout. When you forget the aforementioned yak traks and have to save yourself from slipping every 15 seconds while walking, you might as well have done 100 crunches. 

- I've learned the origin of the phrase "old man winter". It refers to my face, after the dry, cold air shrivels up my skin and makes me look like an old man. This one's a toss up -- a pro because I learned something new; a con because MY FACE LOOKS LIKE AN OLD MAN.

+ Everyone has feathers stuck to them (from their puffy jackets). This is a pro simply because it amuses me.

- That moment when you're driving 60 on the highway and the car in front of you throws a snowball at you. SERIOUSLY. Snow that's been sitting on the car is whipped off and flung at the car behind them at a rate of 60 mph and you're just minding your own business, singing along to Ke$ha when WHAM, a giant snowball hits your windshield and causes you to scream and swerve and Ke$ha just keeps on singing like nothing happened. That's a really neat trick, winter.

+ Also driving related, my winter accessories have made me a nicer driver -- it's kind of difficult to make rude hand gestures while wearing mittens.  This is crucial, because Minnesota drivers are ... special.

+ I haven't seen a bug in months. If this long winter business means I never have to see a cockroach again, I'm down. 

I think you'll see the pros clearly outweigh the cons. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

going home, eating cockroaches. the usual.

The first time I left Minnesota was in July, about a month and a half after we moved here. It was hot, really hot, and Minnesotans' complaints about the humidity were contagious. I -- born and raised in the sticky swamps of Houston and Baton Rouge -- was tempted to agree that the summer was humid.

Then I stepped off the plane in Memphis in July, and remembered what humid actually feels like. 

Y and I thought we would have a similar experience last month, when we visited Louisiana for the first time since moving. We would be boarding the plane in 2 degree Minneapolis and stepping off the plane in 75 degree New Orleans. The thought of breathing 75 degree air made me giddy.

But when we emerged onto the jetway in New Orleans, it wasn't the temperature that struck me. There was something in the air that enveloped me; it was thick and heavy.


Sure, Minnesota claims to be purveyors of fried food, with their eight million kinds of fried food on a stick at the state fair. But that happens once a year. If you're going to claim something, own it --  the dirty south owns fried food year round and has the obesity rate to prove it and apparently makes fried chicken on the tarmac at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Just a few of the delicious things we ate while in Louisiana:

And some of the not so delicious.

Springtime in Louisiana is more than spring, it's crawfish season. For some reason, the entire state decides it would like nothing more than to gather around a table that smells like rotting fish, and peel apart a red cockroach with a shell and suck oily yellow meat out of it.

I've never been able to get over the rotting fish smell, so, I've never eaten a crawfish. I decided on this trip that I should try it. It was about as gross as that time I ate raw herring in Amsterdam. 


(By the way, once we made our way through the fried food smog, it was an amazingly beautiful day. While we waited for our ride, we sat down in a patch of grass as people looked at us strangely. I'm pretty sure before that day, the only thing that grass had been used for was smoking and discarding of cigarettes. )

you're probably thinking, wow. pictures of grass. how exciting. Let me tell you, when you haven't seen grass since LAST YEAR, it's exciting. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

weekend lessons v10

01. There's nothing cuter than when Ike sits down next to you, gazes up at you with his giant brown eyes... and farts. 

02. This is last weekend's lesson, but because I like you, I'll share anyway: it is possible to throw a baby shower for couples that doesn't make the guys want to gauge their eyes out. The secret: no games, serve beer (we chose craft beer with some kind of baby-related-ish name), pizza, and a mocktail for the mom-to-be), and leave the presents at the door. Proceed like any other party. Maybe play the N Sync Pandora station. 

03. March is apparently Minnesota's snowiest month. I learned this from the beer expert at the nicest liquor store ever... so it must be true. No, I don't want to talk about it. The snow, not the liquor store. We can definitely talk about the liquor store if you want. 

04. Meeting a lot of bloggers at the same time is sort of terrifying. As a side note, I don't think I had heard the words "bloglovin" or "google friend connect" out loud until this weekend. Try saying them out loud. It's weird, right? 

05. The following ingredients make an amazing cocktail: white pepper, lavender, chamomile infused vodka, ginger beer and lemon bitters. It's called the raven, and you should come visit me and we can order it at Birdhouse. 

06. RELATED: Moving somewhere with tons of restaurants sounded really amazing... until it became a full time job trying to keep up with all the places I want to eat. It's so intensive that I have to use an app. Life is hard.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

beer & consequences

One day last month, Y accusingly pointed out that I needed to post in my blog.

"Give me something to write about," I retorted.

He delivered, but I kind of wish he hadn't

See, Y's new hobby is brewing beer.

His other hobby is not taking out the trash... which is actually a hobby we share.

On this particular day, Y was brewing a new batch, resulting in discarded hops filling our trash can. 

We left the house soon after for dinner and drinks at Marvel Bar, which I'm pretty sure is the hipster capital of the world. I mean, only a bar catering to hipsters would have an unmarked, underground entrance and serve the most delicious, well thought out cocktails made with liquor you have to Google, and then offer just one, blissfully ironic food item: Cheetos. 

ANYWAY. Back to the story of how Y almost killed our dog. 

Yep, that's what this story is about. When we returned home from our night of craft cocktails and Cheetos and found garbage strewn around the kitchen, we didn't think twice. We always take out the trash when there's food in the bag, and Ike is surprisingly skilled at detecting the difference between food and not food. We assumed he just moved some paper towels around with his snout and buried a loaf of bread

But later that night, as I got into bed, Ike began panting uncontrollably. And, just like when you're not sure of the liquor you're about to order, when you're not sure what the f is wrong with your dog, you google that shit. Here are the things that can cause your dog to pant uncontrollably:

1. pain
2. cardiac arrest 

My smart and discerning readers will understand by now that Ike was poisoned by Y's hops. So at three in the morning, we sped to our nearest emergency vet, where 4 notable things happened:

1. The vet injected Ike with fluids that caused him to have a terrifying hunchback.

2. The vet told us Ike would be okay, and that it was probably the pitbull in him that saved him. Apparently, hops are insanely toxic to some breeds ("A greyhound will look at hops and die"), but pitbull isn't one of them.

3. The vet googled Y's name, found out that he was a resident, and proceeded to speak in Medicine-ese and ignore me the rest of the visit. 

4. The vet told us we had to take Ike's temp rectally every hour for the rest of the night, and I traded in my "THIS WAS YOUR FAULT card" and went to sleep.

And that's why you always leave a note take out the trash.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What to do when it's -20 degrees in Minneapolis

What is there to even do when it's so cold outside? (part 1)

I haven't experienced the soul crushing cabin fever that everyone warned me would hit come February. (Honestly, I feel more of a cabin fever in July in Louisiana, when I've been sitting next to an air conditioning vent for 2 months straight, watching my freckles and frizz multiply.) Despite it being really, really ridiculously cold, there is still so much to do -- inside and out.

Like eat soup.

The Midtown Global Market is in a diverse area of town, where supermercados and Halal markets checkerboard the streets, and an old Sears building sat empty (HOW CREEPY DOES THAT SOUND? Sears is creepy even when it's not vacant) from 1995 until 2005. Then, some genius turned it into a mixed use building with apartments, office space,and a DMV -- and added the indoor market as a place for recent immigrants to the neighborhood to start a business and live the American dream. 

The clincher was hiring a great designer. Now all of us boring, non-ethnic people who like a trendy space can feel good about ourselves for supporting local entrepreneurs. 

There's even a fresh produce market and live music.

And, randomly, a James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef's bakery. Not that I'm complaining.

 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.

After taking the tour de soup, we voted for our favorite: a chicken saffron soup from Safari Express (which is where you need to go if you've ever wanted to try a camel burger... which, don't lie, you totally have.)

They won. But then, I've always known I have good taste in soup. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

tea time confession

I have a confession. I expect the entire internet to hate me after this, but here goes:

I don't really like Downton Abbey. 

I mean, I thought it was funny when the Dowager Countess asked what a weekend was. But that's about it. Each episode -- and we're on season 3, so it's not like I haven't given it a chance -- I find myself wishing I was doing something else about halfway through. So I do. 

Sometimes I even clean. That's how not into it I am. 

Honestly, I don't know why I'm not a fan. I like British things as much as the next girl. Digestives! Pride and Prejudice! The graphic design of the London Underground! Love Actually!

And tea. 

We love tea in this house. Y is half British and grew up drinking PG Tips. Now, tea is kind of a ritual around here... so much so that we've basically devoted a corner to it.

(Y has had to move on to stronger doses of caffeine, so coffee gets a place of honor, too.)

But wait, you're thinking, Doesn't the idea of curling up in front of Downton Abbey with a cup of tea sound romantic? 

The answer is NO.

I would much rather sip this classy beverage while watching a ragtag gang of strangers murder zombies. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Snow day. The world's most original title.

Ike has the right idea. That is how you should spend a snow day.

Here's a life update: I still think snow is pretty awesome. Ike, however, is less amused. Don't get me wrong, he still loves to frolic in the stuff. But the past two fresh blankets of snow have buried his tennis balls to the point of no return. 

It's okay, buddy. Spring is coming. Right?

I worked from home on this week's snow day, and I think I was busier than I've ever been at work. At least I was able to look at my cozy couch, watch the snow fall through the window, and blare The XX Pandora station. I think that beats sitting in two hours of traffic, like I did the last time it snowed. (I'm still bitter.)

By the way. Can we discuss the fact that I have terrible trouble memorizing facts, can't remember what happened in a movie five minutes after it's over, and yet, every time I hear the phrase snow day I remember that in ninth grade, there was a movie called Snow Day and it featured this song by Hoku, which I now have stuck in my head. Brain, 1; DJ, 0.