I spent four and a half days in the wonderful Twin Cities. Drank some beer, crashed on some couches, ate some delicious food, saw some friends... all in all, a successful trip. Some highlights:
1. Saw a woman reading the newspaper while driving on Interstate 94 east of St Paul. Hooray for safety. She WAS reading The Onion, which means she at least has good taste in fake news, but for the love of Zeus, don't go jeopardizing MY life for your satirical periodicals.
2. Got to hear the U.S. Secretary of Education speak. She said the phrase "beach trash." She also had funny square glasses. I realize that it's not like a requirement for the job, but it weirds me out that she was never a teacher. I guess she was a substitute teacher for a while.
3. Found a wedding dress. Whee!
4. (Re)Discovered that radio sucks. The three-plus hour drive home, after I lost the NPR news station out of the Twin Cities, was just a constant one person scan-button-hitting party. I don't think I stuck with a single station for longer than two songs, and I even resorted to listening to country. COUNTRY, for the love of Thor.
5. Visited the "Sears Building," as it is locally known. No, not THAT Sears building... wrong city. Basically, it's a big ol' building on Lake Street at Chicago Ave that has been empty for YEARS. Apparently, someone has finally gotten his/her shit together and done something with it. Apartments on the upper levels and a cool market on the ground floor. Check it out.
6. (Re)Discovered my dislike for driving. Especially in downtown St Paul. Minneapolis may be the bigger, scarier of the Twins, but the blocks are... you know... square and stuff, so navigating is a little more intuitive. St Paul is ridiculous. Seriously. Someone was smoking a little too much of the good stuff when they planned that mess. Or maybe that's the problem... there was no plan.
Holy crap, when they say that Labs are genetically predisposed to retrieving things in the water, they're not kidding. I thought it would be a "with a little training, they learn quite well how to fetch things in the water" thing. Nope. There was no training involved. His introduction to the water involved him accidentally stepping off the end of the dock into the water (the water's high, so it was about three inches below the end of the dock), panicking for a half a second, then swimming merrily around in a circle while we tried to figure out how to get him out of the water, as all exits were blocked by boats.
Then we went to a more accessible place. He deeply appreciated the boat ride... dog after my own heart. We went to a steep sloping "beach" too inconvenient for most swimmers. The amount of fun that dog had was obscene and is probably illegal in Mississippi. He couldn't stop himself. He would be laying there in the dirt, looking ready to drop dead where he lay of exhaustion, but if we picked up his catch toy (to wash the half-inch-deep layer of dirt off of it), he'd jump to attention and hop in circles, ready for another round.