Thankful: My parents are awesome!

Today was insane. Moving is awful. Well, awfully stressful. It’s even more so when your stuff is 1,500 miles away and you are trying to coordinate its move.

Luckily, I have been blessed with wonderful parents.

I had arranged for the movers to come on Wednesday. All of the paperwork was complete.  We were just waiting for a time to have my parents open up the storage unit so they could load up the truck.

I get a call this morning…the movers were on the their way…

WHAT?!? CRAP!

Frantically, I call my mom. She can’t go. She has an appointment, but luckily, my dad was free.  He raced over…to wait.

I gave him the phone number of the movers since they had acted like they would be there at any moment. It would be easier for him to just call directly than have me be a messenger, screwing up information because my stress level was going through the roof.

The movers had the wrong address.

They finally showed up after about 15 minutes when correct information was given. But, they didn’t have the stickers.

WHAT? Ugh.

My dad had to wait another 20 minutes with the truck half loaded for someone to deliver the stickers.  He’s great, isn’t he? It gets better…

Since there had been two screw ups, he made sure things were going to go right.  He made sure everything had a sticker. He made sure they had my correct address in the Twin Cities. He did the things I would have done had I been there.

Mostly, I was stressed out because my parents were being put out.  I know they are happy to help me, but I hate having them do something I am fully capable of doing.  They saved me stress, time away from work and an airfare.

Both of my parents had taken time out of their days over the past month or so just to make sure my stuff would get to me in a few weeks, whether it be packing up various items that seemed to free themselves of their boxes or just to open a door to let in a mover to assess my belongings or simply move them.

I definitely need to do something nice for them. The question is what? I’m sure I’ll find the answer somewhere on the internet.

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.

Minnesota State Fair: Stimulation overload

Nothing can really prepare you for the Minnesota State Fair if you’ve never been to it.

It’s not like just any state fair. There is crazy shit everywhere and I’m not even talking about the random people. There was so much to look at that I barely noticed the people. It might be the “Great Minnesota Get-Together,” but I was too busy being in awe of the stuff that I’d heard tales of over the past few months.

Seriously, I think I’ll just post a ton of photos, kind of like a vacation video:

MN State FairThe butter sculptures were fascinating, much like everything else at the fair. I thought there was just one, but as you can see from the above photo, there is a mini rotunda of them. In fact, you can watch one poor soul getting her image created while she sits for 8 hours in the 40 degree box.  Of course, that might not be too bad when it’s 95 degrees outside with a heat index of 105.

The Dairy Building had all things dairy and meat in it.  And yes, that’s a picture of me as a turkey.

There was a building dedicated to the pioneers of Minnesota, some of whom were my ancestors. They had a full bedroom and living room set up. It was a little eerie, but educational at the same time.

Speaking of education, we had to stop at the University of Minnesota building and ensconce ourselves in all things Golden Gopher.  If you didn’t want to buy a shirt, you could learn about rockets or medieval studies from the kids as well as checking out all of the trophies won by their various sports teams.

The Creative Arts building gave us a look into the baked goods of tomorrow. Well, they looked like they’d been baked yesterday and were well past their prime, but I was still in awe of all that cake and jam.

Oh, did I mention the mini-donuts? Yum!  The scent of deep fried dough hangs heavily around the fairgrounds, luring you in like a siren. Also, I had been hearing people talk about cronuts. Apparently, they are croissants cooked like donuts.  I found something similar at the State Fair:

state fair, food, fried, baked goodPersonally, I prefer cake donuts, specifically the old fashioned ones, so the hype is lost on me.

Minnesota State Fair, boozeWhat is not lost on me is the beer!  For $8 you get to taste four beers. I kept seeing people with these little boxes of cups and finally figured out they were drinking flights of beer. Somewhere I saw a sign that said “Land of 10,000 Beers” that sounds way more fun than lakes.

Seriously, the food stands were center stage for me.  I don’t know what Spam curds are and I wasn’t about to find out. The ball of brie dipped in wine batter, shoved on a stick and fried was pretty good. The weirdest stick food was the spaghetti & meatballs and ostrich.  Of course, there had to be a salted nut roll.  I mean they are made here in Saint Paul.

We did see some non-food stuff like the Lego Road Trip exhibit which was pretty much children let loose on Legos.  They had some interesting models like the guy who stepped in gum.

And Paul wanted to see the John Deere exhibit.  He tried to get in that big tractor, but luckily, it was locked.

I don’t remember where the American Gothic picture was taken, but I think it had to do with farmers or something.  Either way, the hole was too big and the image was out of scale, but it didn’t deter me from sticking my head in there.

A tradition is to go to Sweet Martha’s for a giant pail of mini chocolate chip cookies.  We went there last because they pile that sucker up pretty high with those tasty treats and we didn’t feel like carrying them around the fairgrounds.

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.

What?

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.

Minnesota State Fair: Preview

Courtesy of Minnesota State Fair

Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair runs from August 22nd to Labor Day (September 2nd) and since this will be my first real state fair, I’m trying to prepare for my visit.

Come on, California, you know our state fair is kind of sad. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the “Great Minnesota Get-together.” Apparently, about 34% of the state goes to this shindig. If that doesn’t blow your mind, you have no idea how many people that is (1.79 million).

Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

So, as I’m bracing for my crowd-phobia to kick into overdrive, I’m trying to figure out which events and attractions I want to check out in the one day I will be in attendance. Of course, I want to see the butter sculpture. I mean it’s a sculpture…in butter! But, what else?

I scroll through the Fun Finder and see this listed…Pet Surgery. That’s right you can watch a dog get neutered. WHAT THE HELL, MINNESOTA? I’m sorry. I know it’s probably educational on some level, but it skeeves me out. I don’t really need to see that.

I’m a little disappointed that the robot competition isn’t a fight to the death…for the robots of course.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 9.43.12 PM

And unless Al Franken is going to bust out some Stuart Smalley for us all, I’m really not interested in seeing him speak. I’m at a fair. I don’t need politics. I need some deep fried food and booze.

I will admit a little interest in the lumberjack show. I mean I am living in the state that claims Paul Bunyan as a native son…even if he is fictional. But, I definitely want to see the pie, jams, and other homemade goods competitions. I mean who wouldn’t be in awe of a wall of bread? And the “Land of 10,000 Beers?” Yes, please!

Did I mention that the official Rin Tin Tin will be at the state fair? He’s the 12th. Seriously, whose job is it to designate Rin Tin Tins?

Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

Speaking of food (bad transition), there’s a booth that just sells milk at the state fair. But hey, they have white and chocolate. Isn’t white milk just milk? Shouldn’t that be plain? I mean we are describing flavors here not colors.

Then of course, there are all the foods on a stick. The Food Finder let’s you sort by “on a stick” which is very convenient for silly people like me. I mean who wouldn’t want bacon, grilled pork chops, lamb chops, cheese, candy bars, fried fruit, and of course…a pickle? What’s in that photo? A fudge puppy. It’s a Belgian waffle on a stick dipped in chocolate and served with various toppings.

About the Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. Showcasing Minnesota’s finest agriculture, art and industry, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is always Twelve Days of Fun Ending Labor Day. The 2013 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 22-Labor Day, Sept. 2

That thing called duh.

Common sense isn’t common because it’s part of Darwinism. If survival of the fittest is the case, then common sense can’t be common. Only the strong survive. Unless insurance companies step in to protect the idiots who don’t have enough sense not to suck down some freon from a HVAC unit because they don’t want to pay out on ridiculous lawsuits…but I digress.

It really should be called something else, but because it’s pretty much engrained in my DNA, it’s difficult for me to understand that most people just don’t get what I get when I’m out in the world. They don’t see the simple steps they can take to ensure their safety or at least reduce their hassle level. And for me, that’s really what it’s all about, reducing the hassle level. Life is too short to be hassled by stupidity.

A great example of this is jaywalking. I have seen way too many people wandering through traffic. Seriously, one couple was almost hit by a bus. The couple barely blinked an eye at it. They just kept sauntering across Grand Avenue.

At almost every corner along my morning drive in downtown Minneapolis, I see at least one person impatiently jittering on the pavement when the red hand is upon them. They take a step or two off the sidewalk as though daring a driver to show some sort of weakness by slowing down because they don’t want the hassle of hitting a pedestrian. These are not distracted people. They are not texting. They are not talking on the phone. They might not really be awake, but they look annoyed.

People drive like that too. They don’t signal, but I can tell they want to change lanes because they hover around my car. Needless to say, I play dumb until they put on their damn blinker. Although there are times when I’m not really paying attention to the idiot in the next lane. I’m too busy focusing on the idiot in front of me. Hello, defensive driving.

Movie Review: Austenland

movie, swagAt BlogHer13, I was lucky enough to see a special screening of Austenland. Being a fan of Jane Austen, I was so excited to see this movie. First of all, the reason I enjoyed this movie was Jennifer Coolidge. She has some great ridiculous lines.

The movie is pretty much a chick flick, but you kind of know that going in.  The whole time I kept trying to find plot comparisons between the movie and an Austen novel.

Don’t go into this movie looking for something deep. Go into it looking for a light piece of entertainment.

Basically, it’s about a single woman in her 30s who is obsessed with all things Jane Austen. She’s not exactly thrilled with her life, so she spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, a resort in England that takes you back to the Regency period and all of its mannerisms. They even have actors who will romance you right up to the big ball on the last evening of the excursion.

It was a little slow to start, but if you can get past the cliches, it is a pretty good movie. It’s not a tear jerker. It’s not an action thriller. It’s a light, escape.