Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To Market, To Market

One of the things that I tend to take for granted about working in downtown St. Paul is the farmer's market.  St. Paul has a large farmer's market open on the weekends, but during the summer they have a small market open Tuesday and Thursdays during the lunch hour.  It's my absolute favorite.  They line Seventh Place with vendors selling anything from raspberries to sweet corn to onions and flowers.  I love watching the evolution of the growing season.  In the spring you can get some snap peas, raspberries and radishes.  Then you start seeing rhubarb and herbs and a few green onions and leeks.  The height of the season you get a huge variety of vegetables and then it winds down with apples and squash and pumpkins. 

While the market is currently in the wind down phase, I was still able to get some goods yesterday.  Tons of small red onions, roma tomatoes, green beans and yukon gold potatoes all for $9.  The onions will last us at least a week (Mike loves his onions), the tomatoes will be good for 3 batches of salsa, the green beans will make for 2 dinners and the potatoes should be available for at least 4 dinners.  I know it's dorky, but I love being able to support local farmers, I love eating vegetables that are straight from the ground and I love the fact that it's so much cheaper than in the grocery store. 

In Minnesota, it's tough to be able to eat healthy fruits and vegetables all year round.  Not much grows here in February, so everything you can get is shipped in and probably sprayed with a billion chemicals.  Plus, I get so sick of the winter fruits.  There's only so many oranges and grapefruits and pears that I can eat before I get bitter.  I can feel winter coming in the air and the farmer's market is one of those things that I will really miss when the snow starts flying.  For now, I'm going to relish in my vegetables and think of spring.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Under the Banner of Heaven

I know I have told this story before, but it bears repeating here.  I was once stopped by door-to-door Mormons and it was a terrifying experience.  I was walking my dad's dog Ramsey on a cool spring afternoon.  It had just started raining and I was about 4 blocks from my house.  I was turning from a busy road onto a more private residential street when 3 young women on bikes started racing towards me.  I just thought they were biking so quickly so that they could get out of the rain, but they were actually ambushing me.  So, there I was in the rain, walking a dog and suddenly surrounded by 3 women asking me questions about my faith.  They literally blocked my path on the sidewalk and surrounded us.  It was unnerving and they did not let me go very easily.  They asked me what religion I was and I responded "Roman Catholic" and they asked me why I believed in Catholocism.  Not exactly the conversation that I want to have in the rain ladies.  Also, one thing that most people should know is that you should never box in a person on a walk with their dog.  Dogs don't take to that kindly.

Anyhow, Under the Banner of Heaven is an extremely intriguing book.  I knew nothing of the history of Mormons and this gave a good understanding of who they are and where they came from.  It also tells the story of modern day Mormons and how there are really two factions, the Church of Latter Day Saints and the fundamentalist Mormons.  Krakauer actually starts the book with a horrific murder committed by fundamentalist Mormons who were acting in the name of God.  Which is something that I've never understood.  How do we get from religion to murder?

Another topic that the book discusses quite a bit is the Mormon belief of polygamy.  The Church of Latter Day Saints officially denounces polygamy, however, fundamentalist Mormons still practice it and are apparently very out in the open with their multiple wivery in small town Utah.  I don't like to criticize people for their religion, but polygamy is a terrible thing.  Like so terrible that I can't even believe it still happens in modern day society.  The problem with multiple wives is that it's a sign of male dominance over women and, as the book shows, often results in women being sexually assaulted and thinking that it ain't nothing.  Women truly believe they are the property of their husbands.  As in "She's not my wife, she's my property."  Gross.

The book is very informative and I especially enjoyed learning more about the beginnings of Mormonism and how quickly the religion became mainstream.  If you don't know the story of Mormonism and it's founder Joseph Smith, you really should read this book (or at the very least google that shit) because it's pretty unbelievable. 

I would say 4/5 or 8/10 stars. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Do This, Don't Do That

I'm starting a new thing here on the blog.  I've seen some really weird signs lately, so let's talk about them.  Here's the first one:

I received this brochure in the mail.  It made me laugh...and cringe.  This really screams "Rich People Problems", doesn't it?  Because, obviously, everyone has a maid.  So, the question isn't whether you are happy with the cleanliness of your home, it's whether you are happy with your maid.  And the only thing worse than being mad at your maid is being pissed at your butler.

Okay, I'll let you in on a secret.  I am my own maid (and to be fair, Mike does his share of cleaning the house).  I know, it's pretty shocking.  If I don't scrub the toilets, they don't get scrubbed.  There are some days that I really want to fire myself.  Like today, I noticed a lot of dust on the blinds (cleaning the blinds is the worst) and thought hot damn I need to fire my maid.  But, I can't bring myself to fire myself.

So, I threw the weird brochure in the trash.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but I've been sick.  AND I FEEL SOOOOOOOO SICK.  I hate being such a baby, but I do not take the sniffles well.  So, I took a couple of days off of work because my boss is on vacation and I thought laying on my couch would make me feel infinitely better.  But, it did not!  I just felt lazy and stressed and depressed.

I watched a lot of TV.  The Food Channel cracks me up.  Have y'all ever watched the show $10 Dollar Dinners?  What the eff is going on with that show?  First, the lady host talks about her rice cooker in every episode.  I've seen the show only 3-4 times, but in every show she's made rice, dressed it up by adding onions, and mentioned that she loves her rice cooker and got it for $5 at a drugstore.  First, why are you talking about this in every episode?  Also, why would you buy a rice cooker at a drugstore?  Finally, I would have to disagree with her on buying cheap appliances.  I will give a good rule of thumb, an appliance should cost more than $20.  Cheap appliances are cheap for a reason.

But at least the $10 Dollar Dinners lady pretends to cook.  Unlike Sandra Lee, who totally enjoys doing as little cooking as possible.  Her show makes me cringe worse than Paula Deen's voice.  Yesterday she was making fish tacos and had come up with a decoration for your platter.  She suggested taking Post-It notes in various colors, shredding the ends with a scissor so it looked like fringe and then sticking it to the platter.  It looked like crizzap.  Plus, the taco recipe was to fry tilapia chunks, warm up tortillas, put cabbage on the tortillas, put the fish on the tacos and put a sour cream mix on top.  Folks, come to my kitchen every week and I will show you a better taco recipe than this.  Then she was making tamales, but didn't want to spend the money on the cornhusks, so was just wrapping up beans and corn mixture into parchment paper.  Bobby Flay would probably die if he saw that.  

I also had the privilege of watching most of the first season of Gossip Girl.  Oh Lord, was that show great.  The tragedy of Gossip Girl is that it had really bad timing.  For example, they didn't introduce Vanessa at the right time which killed her whole character.  Vanessa was introduced in the 6th or 7th episode, right after Dan and Serena got together.  She was a buzzkill and had nothing compelling to offer except being a thorn in Dan and Serena's relationship.  They should have introduced her in episode 1 or in Season 2.  

Anyways, I feel better and am hoping to get back on track the next few days.  Does anyone know a fool proof way of keeping colds away?  I have one month until the wedding and need to stay a healthy bee until then.   

Friday, September 14, 2012

Almost Famous

The other day, my dear, sweet Michael was anonymously featured in an opinion column in the St. Paul newspaper.  Here's the link:

Mike and I have similar views on bicyclists.  Anyhow, at the end of the column there's a funny story about a golfer (that would be Mike) calling the newspaper writer a !@#$%^& idiot because he was riding his scooter around town.  Oh Lord, we laughed when we read this.

This is not, however, the first time that Mike has insulted a local St. Paul celebrity.  One time, he called Garrison Keillor a douchebag right to his face.

I love him. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wild Horses

I have been feeling a bit like a wild and out of control stallion lately.  Except it's not nearly as fun as the horses make it seem.  I knew that there would come a time in the wedding planning process where I felt like everything was just running wild.  I didn't expect to come at the same time when work was a hot mess.  Such is life.

So, with work being constant and wedding stuff being busy (I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, it's definitely a fun busy), there are several things that I have allowed to slip through the cracks.  The weirdest part is that I don't care.  I'm in a very go with the flow mood and I am not a good time gal, that's for damn sure.

First, I don't think I've made the bed in weeks.  Which isn't that huge of a deal, except that sleeping in an unmade bed normally bothers me.  A few weeks ago, Kirby had a moment and destroyed our comforter.  I picked up all of the stuffing, but wasn't able to sew the holes back together for a couple of weeks.  At that point, I figured why bother making the bed?  And now that the comforter is fixed I'm still feeling like I just don't care.  For the record, Kirby felt great shame at what he did.  See...
The second thing that I've been letting slip is cooking dinners.  Mike and I had been really good about making dinner every night of the week.  The last couple of weeks, however, I have had zero motivation to make anything.  I love cooking, but right now it seems like such a chore. 

I also have totally let the garden go to the dogs.  I haven't watered in a week or so, I haven't gone out to weed in a month.  Our grass is so brown and crunchy that I'm sure our neighbors are wondering what is wrong with us.  I love having a garden, but since the wedding stuff amped up I couldn't justify spending so much time on it.  I also have to say that I never realized how fast the weed situation could get out of control.  Until next year weeds.

Argh.  Normally this stuff would drive me nuts.  But, right now I'm too busy in other areas of  my life to care all that much.  I've decided that I need to set some "After Wedding Goals" to get myself back into the swing of real life.  Starting on October 28 I will:

  • Make the bed again.
  • Vacuum at least once a week.
  • Cook one new recipe once a week.
  • Spend extra cuddle time with Kirby, who has taken being ignored like a champ.
  • Spend more time with my family.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Acts of Douchebaggery

This is a RAD that has been stewing up my rage for years.  Local Minnesotans will know what I'm talking about when I say metered freeway ramps.  For those not local to the 'Sota, I will explain.  Some idiot decided a long time ago that during rush hour traffic the freeway entrance ramps should be metered by traffic lights so that only one car would be allowed onto the freeway from an entrance ramp every 10 seconds.  Or sometimes it's every 5 seconds.  And sometimes it's every 2 seconds.  I guess it's a real technical sort of science. 

These metered ramps have ENRAGED me for so long and for so many reasons.  Here's what pisses me off the most.  First, you cannot tell me that this actually makes a quantifiable difference in traffic.  No matter how you meter the traffic, the same amount of cars are going to need to use the freeway, and while I understand the theory, I just don't believe that it actually makes any difference in the flow of traffic.  Except that it just slows down how fast the back-ups can happen.

Secondly, the timing of the lights seems so arbitrary to me.  Sometimes I have been in totally backed up traffic where the entrance ramp is packed with cars and the green lights are blinking on and off every other second, but no cars can go through because the traffic is so bad.  Other times I have been stuck at an entrance ramp's red light for a good 10 seconds even though there is literally no traffic on the freeway.  I never know if you can go through the red light or not, but if there's 5 cars waiting on the entrance ramp and no cars on the freeway, is it really necessary to wait almost a minute for all of those cars to enter the freeway? 

Thirdly, people are such assholes about the whole thing.  If everyone would just get in the lineup and wait their turn, I wouldn't be so mad, but then you get people who just blow through the red lights or who aren't paying attention and don't go when the light turns green and my road rage goes from mild to severe in one second. 

Finally, why in the world does Minnesota need this much traffic control.  Folks in the TC area, we do not have bad traffic.  I've been in LA on the 405 at 2:00 in the that's bad traffic!  I just don't think that we need metered entrance ramps for the 2-3 hours a day that the freeways get backed up.

What I'd really like to do is strangle the person who came up with this crazy idea in the first place.  But, since I can't do that, I'll just passive aggressively RAD him.  Yes, sir (I'm assuming it was a man), you are a douche.

P.S.  Does anyone remember when Jesse Ventura was our governor and he thought that the lights were stupid so he ordered that they all be turned off?  Those were glorious days when our governor could go on the Dave Letterman show and talk about how all those drunk Irish in St. Paul designed the street grids. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

O Canada!

I'm not talking about the Canadian national anthem, but the movie that is played in the Canada pavilion at Epcot Center.  Because what could be more interesting than a movie about Canada?  Am I right? 

Okay, I'm totally joking.  Canada is actually such a fun country and filled with so much beauty.  Vancouver and Montreal are the only two cities that I've been too, which is a tragedy.  Montreal was actually one of my favorite trips.  It's like going to France without having to cross the ocean.  They had really fun shopping and people watching, awesome food and no one spoke English.  I think it was actually more difficult to speak English in Montreal than it is in Paris.  I was shocked in Montreal when I walked into a huge department store and had to go to three different cashiers to find one that could speak English.  I actually speak limited French, but they couldn't understand my pronunciation and none of them spoke a word of English. 

I'm digressing here.  What I really wanted to talk about is Disney's O Canada! film.  My mom used to drag me to this film when I was younger and even now as an adult it's not my favorite.  The film's scenery is beautiful, but it's in one of those 360 degree theatres, so you have to stand with your neck craned to watch it.  I hate that.  They really should make those theatres for short people, or give short people little booster stands so that you don't strain your neck so much. 

The film isn't my favorite, but what I've really grown to love is the Canada pavilion's grounds.  They have these gorgeous flower gardens that you can walk through.  Look!
They really keep the gardens looking tip top, so if you have a few spare moments, it's worth strolling through.  There aren't a lot of calm moments on the Disneyworld grounds, but the paths through these flower gardens are often overlooked and you can find a moment of serenity within them.

The film is kind of a downer, but the grounds are gorgeous, so I'm giving this one a 5/10 or 2/5 stars.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ode of Balls

A couple of weeks ago, we threw a bachelorette party for my dear friend Grace.  It was off the hook.  Probably the best bachelorette party in the world.  The theme was balls.  Seriously, balls.

We started off at a restaurant called The Devil's Advocate in downtown Minneapolis.  This was the perfect setting because all they serve is balls.
Here is the bachelorette with an appetizer of buffalo balls.  They were amazing!  And courtesy of our friend Angie, who couldn't be at the Bachelorette Ball, but still was kind of enough to give the gift of balls.
When you ordered, you chose how many balls you wanted, what kind of meat you wanted your balls to be made of, what type of sauce your balls should be covered in and a side dish.

I got a sampler of balls because I wanted to try all the balls that they had.  I really enjoyed the balls because they fit right into my mouth and were a little bit spicy.  
After dinner, we went to Bryant Lake Bowl to throw some balls down the bowling lane.  We also played games that had to do with balls.

Can you guess how many candy balls are stuffed into this Ball canning jar?

There were also gifts of all ball shapes and sizes.  People got very creative.

And because we didn't want any girls to go home without a handful of balls, I put together these ball sacks for favors.
Balls made for a hysterical bachelorette party.  There's a lot that you can do with the ball theme and it keeps it a little more tongue-in-cheek than the penis straw.  Happy Bachelorette Ball Grace!