Earthquakes: Still better than crappy weather

RealWeather-NonChronI was born and raised in California. I’ve lived through my fair share of earthquakes both large and small…mostly small. Still, after living in the Midwest for almost a year and a half, I prefer to take my chances with an earthquake rather than a blizzard or thunderstorm. Why? Because in the scheme of things big, disruptive earthquakes are a rarity.

Note: Earthquakes DO NOT HAVE SEASONS

Sure this list of earthquakes on the Sacramento Bee’s website looks frighteningly long, but most of those quakes no one even remembers. A 3.0 quake is not historic. It’s a tiny earth fart. An earthquake off the coast is almost like it didn’t happen.

Dumb lists aside, a decent size quake only happens once every 25 to 50 years or so in an area that causes fatalities or even a decent amount of damage. By damage I don’t mean bottles knocked to the ground off shelves, I mean structural integrity of roads and bridges compromised.

In fact, with the advent of stricter building codes, advances in engineering methods, and better preparedness, an earthquake under 6.0 is really not a big deal.

Most of the preparedness is common sense. Don’t hang anything over your bed. Don’t hang anything over where you might be sitting or laying down. Have fresh batteries in your home in case the power goes out. Make sure bookcases are either secured to the wall or if they fall over aren’t going to smash you. Some people will even install baby locks on upper cabinets not because they have little ones, but because they know the doors will stay closed when the shaking starts. I’ve even seen special shelf liner that is supposed to help keep glassware from being knocked over.

Growing up, any time there was a minor earthquake, the local media would remind everyone what to do in case a big one hit. I used to think it was dumb to constantly remind everyone how to be safe whenever a 3.0 shook some random town in the middle of the coastal range, but after reading my Facebook feed this morning after the Napa quake, I now understand why they do it.

Many people move to California and don’t know what to do in the event of an earthquake. They didn’t grow up with the knowledge pounded into their brains like I did. I take this knowledge for granted, but I’m glad that I know it. Why? Because of this knowledge, earthquakes don’t scare me as much as having to drive on icy roads with a bunch of idiots. That happens every freaking year for months at a time!

Five tips for attending a blogging conference: #BlogHer14

Blog conference tips: #BlogHer14It’s summer blog conference time! One of the bigger conferences bloggers attend is BlogHer.  This year it’s in San Jose, California. Ah, the Silicon Valley, such an amazing place. If you are going to BlogHer for the first time, I’ve got some tips to help you ease through your nervousness.  While most of my blog conference tips are centered around my experiences at BlogHer, they can be applied to just about any blogging conference.

Blog conference tips #1: Be friendly.

Honestly, most of the gals there are welcoming and friendly. Just say hi and start chatting. You have an opening line. You all have a blog. Ask them what they write about…that always breaks the ice because bloggers love talking about their blogs. Other things to talk about: Where they are from? Have they been to BlogHer before? Have they been to California before? How long have they been blogging? What sessions/parties are they going to attend?

See? I’ve given you tons of things to talk about with people you haven’t even met yet! Where can you use this blog conference tip? The meals are a great place to break the ice. Seating is usually at tables with 10 chairs, so sit down next to someone and say hello. Continue reading

Exhaustion Chronicles: Moving sucks

I’m pretty sure moving is akin to having a baby. The process of the physical labor necessary is awful, but once it’s finally over, you feel it was worth it. OK maybe not. But, I do love my new apartment. I feel like a grown up with a grown up place. I want friends and family to come over and hang out, visit for a while. I want visitors to feel comfortable and cozy.

What’s that all about??

Right now, all I want to do is sit on the couch and not move for about a week, but I also want to put stuff away because MY stuff from California could be here any day. Yes, I am panicking a little.

At least I don’t have to carry it down three flights of stairs.

If anything, I’m trying to do the box shuffle. You know, when you don’t know where to put stuff or want to get something to organize your crap (finally), but want that damn box out of your way. You basically shove it against a wall, in a closet or on another box (or two).

Speaking of organizing and decorating, I’ve decided that Feng Shui is going to be my decorating paradigm. Mostly because it tells me what to put where and also, I want good chi in our home.

Also, I cannot thank enough the people who helped us move. Seriously, I wish for wonderful things to happen to them. If I could grant them a wish or three, I would. Their help was invaluable to me and Paul. And it was hot, damn hot. And humid.

Next time we move, we are paying people to do it.

Relationship Firsts: An anniversary

KeychainFor the first time in my life, I am celebrating a dating anniversary. No, this isn’t one of those, “We’ve been together for a month, so let’s Facebook it to death, schmoopie” things. One year ago on August 31st, I met the man of my dreams. I can still remember seeing him come down the escalator at the airport. I think that’s the moment I fell in love.

For those who have read my blog, you know that Paul and I met through Twitter. For those too lazy to click through the links, we chatted for a year before he jumped on a plane and flew half way across the country to visit a woman he’d only known digitally.

Sometimes in life you have to take what seems like a huge risk.  Love and logic don’t always go together. In fact, I’m pretty sure they live in different worlds.

The last year of my life has seen many, many changes, not just the time zone in which I live.  I’ve actually been in an adult relationship for a year! YAY! Miracles do happen!

If you are feeling down about your dating life, I have this one piece of advice: Have hope. I truly believe there is someone out there for everyone.

Like I’ve said before, I cannot tell you anything else because most relationship advice is bunk.  People show up in your life when you are looking for them. I was looking for a boyfriend and finally found Paul. There’s nothing wrong with you. You don’t need a coach. People hook up (or get married) all the time who have had no training and fewer IQ points.  It’s probably just a timing issue.

I know I got lucky with Paul.  He’s a real live grown up like me. As you can see from the Valentine’s Day post, he’s also a “romance ninja!” I am thankful for him every day.

I still can’t believe I’m living with him in Minnesota. It’s amazing. I’m in love with this awesome guy and get to hang out with him every day! And he loves me and has just as much fun with me.

We’re still in that “honeymoon” phase. I hate that saying. It makes me think that this wonderful feeling of being in love will just disappear.  I think it will just deepen.

I hope, a year from now, I’m still randomly kissing his cheek because I feel like it. I hope, a year from now, we are still laughing at silly inside jokes about cat breakfast and paleo dog food. I hope, a year from now, we are looking for Peanuts Statues around the Twin Cities. I hope, a year from now, we are still holding hands while sitting on the couch.

The streets of confusion: Midwest style

Screen shot of my commute?

Google Maps screenshot

The Girl with Moxie just reminded me about something in the Midwest that confuses me…your street names. More specifically here in the Twin Cities, the 35 freeways.

For those of you unfamiliar, there are two 35 freeways: I-35 E and I-35W. Now, my brain says that these are east and west, respectively. Not much of a problem until you realize that these suckers run NORTH AND SOUTH.

So, here I am already confused because there are no mountains in the west nor ocean in the east to help me with my bearings. Now we’ve got I-35 E north and I-35E south.


Am I heading east or south?

How did I end up in Iowa?

Then we have the 94s. There’s I-94, which I hate because it’s always freaking crowded. Then there’s something called 494 and 694. I don’t think I’ve ever been on these two freeways since they tend to bound the Twin Cities on their northerly and southerly ends. I’m not sure which is which…yet. That’s what Google was made for anyway. These are less confusing than their E/W brethren. I’m used to adding a number onto a main interstate to create a small one that connects it to others. In the Bay Area there was I-80, where it ended, but there was also I-280, I-680, I-580, and I-380. The funny thing about I-380 is that it pretty much just connects I-280 and Highway 101. It’s barely a mile long.

One good thing about the Twin Cities, there’s the Mississippi River. I know when I’m east of it, I’m in Saint Paul. When I’m west of it, I’m in Minneapolis. Other than that, I need to learn more landmarks to better know where the hell I am and where I need to go.

Wine Review: Holman Ranch

Courtesy of Holman Ranch

Sometimes, I wish I still lived in California. It’s just because of the wine and going wine tasting at the wineries. It’s an experience I miss. The good thing about living in Minnesota is that wine can be shipped right to my door. So, when Holman Ranch offered to send me samples of their wine, I jumped at the chance.

wine, winery, bottlesThe good people at this Carmel Valley winery sent me six bottles.  I was expecting one, so thank you very much! They included three Pinot Noirs, a Chardonnay, a Pinot Gris, and a Sauvignon Blanc. No, I haven’t drank (drunk?) all of them yet, but I have tasted five of them.

Let me just say that while I’m not a big fan of Pinot Noir, I enjoyed all of them.  In fact, the two pinots I have tasted are some of the better wines I’ve had the pleasure to drink. They were smooth and rich. It’s difficult for me to describe why I enjoy a glass of wine. It’s sort of like being in love. You just know it when it happens and it’s great.

If you are hesitant about Chardonnays because they are usually too buttery for you, there is one from Holman Ranch is unoaked, or naked or virgin, which cuts down on the butteriness. There is some chemistry reason for this that has to do with lactose or lactic acid or something, but when I was being taught about that I was drinking wine, so there you go.

Again, I really wish I was back in California because Holman Ranch has an interesting event coming up. On September 26th they will be celebrating their 85th Annual Fiesta de los Amigos.  It’s the Ranch’s Birthday Celebration which will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.  From a press release:

The Fiesta de los Amigos – a part of Holman Ranch’s history! The popular Fiesta de los Amigos which began in 1928, the Ranch’s birthday celebration, was an annual highlight, often attracting more than 2,000 guests. In the 1960’s – 1980’s the Ranch was known for its rodeos and horse shows, daily trail rides, barbecues, and fiestas filled the calendar.

This year, the celebration will be filled with flavorful food truck delights, Holman Ranch estate wines to sip, lively entertainment to enjoy and more! Capture the moment of the Fiesta in our own photo booth or head to the game tent and enjoy games for the entire family.

The event will cost $50 per person or wine club members get 2 free guests and all additional wine club member attendees will cost $35 per person. If the event is not sold out, you can purchase a space to attend at the door for $60.00 per person. Five dollars from each paid attendee will be donated to the Alzheimer Association. RSVP is required. RSVP by September 20th to (831) 659-2640. Upon confirmation by Holman Ranch of your RSVP, you will be provided a gate pass to Holman Ranch.

You’ll excuse me while I finish my glass of 2011 Pinot Noir Heather’s Hill.

Why did you move to Minnesota?

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

Pretty much everyone who is from Minnesota asks me that question when they realize I’m not a local, but also from California. While it might seem like an innocuous question, the manner in which it is delivered is always the same…shock and confusion.  It’s as if this state is some sort of sci-fi prison planet to those who have been born and raised here.

You people know you can leave if you want? All you have to do is go.

Regardless, it’s kind of awesome here in the Twin Cities.  Why wouldn’t someone want to live here?  There’s tons of stuff to do. Sporting events, concerts, festivals…not to mention the shopping and restaurants. Heck, I haven’t even had a chance to really check out any museums. Plus, the unemployment rate is REALLY low…I think it was around 4%. Good economy spells good times.

Sure the weather kind of sucks. But, it kind of sucks all over the country. Plus, sucky weather is really a matter of perspective. While I think the best weather in the U.S. is found in San Francisco, many people would disagree and cringe at the idea of a foggy, cool summer.

Of course, I have yet to live though an entire Minnesota winter, but I do know this about summer…the heat sucks big time regardless of humidity. If the temp rises above 85, I’m annoyed and probably sweating for no good reason.

I sort of like cold weather. It’s easier to warm up than it is to cool down.

The answer I always tell people is that I fell in love. While this is true (and very sweet), I might start telling people random stuff:

“I was feeling orange so I moved to the Midwest.”

“A leprechaun told me to leave California forever. Minnesota seemed like a place safe from fairytale creatures.”

“Why? Did someone ask you about the Sea Monkeys?”

“I heard about this magical place in the Twin Cities where chocolate and wine springs forth from the ground like a Fountain of Youth for all to enjoy.”

“I forgot to turn left at Albuquerque.”

Seriously, Minnesota, is it really that bad here?  I contend that it is not…in fact, I believe it might even be awesome.