Thursday, December 30, 2010
Yes you read the post title correctly. It is raining. In December in Minnesota. Not just drizzling or misting, this is serious rain and it is not messing around. I guess maybe we should all be thankful that it isn't more snow, piling on top of the 85 billion feet of snow already on the ground but come on. And to make matters worse, the rain and warmish weather are melting the snow and leaving giant puddles-slash-lakes all over the street, sidewalks and pretty much everywhere and turning Minneapolis into a giant, grey sludgy mess.
Well played, Minnesota weather. Well played indeed. You may have won this one but I am leaving the country in two days and will not return until you've decided to be more reasonable.
I also wonder if the gross weather is creating gross people. Following the mean people run-ins that ticked me off so much a couple of weeks ago, Ben had ANOTHER mean person encounter just a couple of days ago! He was parking his car outside my apartment and acidentally love-tapped the person behind him... which obvioulsy isn't awesome, but it's something everyone has probably done at least a couple of times. As luck would have it the car's owner saw this happen and came at Ben, yelling "What is wrong with you??" and asking if he was drunk or high. Ben being the extremely polite person that he is, apologized profusely and asked if the gentleman (note: I am using this term quite loosely) would like his number and insurance information in case there was any damage. This offer was not so politely declined. So basically, dude just wanted to yell at somebody, regardless of whether there was an actual problem.
This just confuses me so much. But you already know that, I don't need to rant about it again. I would just encourage everyone to remember that when someone yells at you or tries to make you feel bad about yourself, it's much more about them than it is about you. The other night in class, Ali mentioned that meanness and irritability are hidden deep in our hips and glutes, so maybe our neighborly friend just needs to hang out in supine pigeon for a while. Mean guy - if you are reading this, I highly encourage you to do some hip openers. Please.
Anywhoo, moving on - Piccolo. I kept driving past it on Bryant and wanting to try it but never found the occasion to go. Then one day, Ben and I were watching an entire afternoon marathon of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and there was Piccolo, featured in the "Midwest" episode! When we saw that they served crazy things like pig's feet and used delicious seasonal ingredients, we knew we had to check it out.
As far as what we ate - we ordered a beet terrine, frog legs with mushrooms, crispy pig tail with swiss chard, and eggs topped with pickled pigs feet, truffle butter and parmesean. I may have ordered that last course just so I can say I've eaten pickled pigs feet ;). We finished up with a cranberry-gingerbread cake, a pot of french-press coffee and a cheese plate which was SO GOOD. We spent over 2 hours there and every second was a fantastic experience. Another interesting and cool thing - no salt at the table. As a former upscale restaurant employee, Ben was really impressed and intrigued by this. One thing I would say is that Piccolo is really not veg-friendly...they like them some meats. But, since neither of us are vegetarian we pretty much didn't care :) Needless to say, we will be going back.
This thing cracked me up.
Everything looks so good!
Eagerly awating the frog legs course... (which was delicious BTW)
My man be so handsome :)
Crispy Pig Tail! And yes...that whole thing is the tail. Yum
After watching Food Inc, I've been really trying to be more conscious of where my food comes from, and to focus on using local and seasonal ingredients as the base of all my meals. I KNOW, Food Inc is probably a totally biased documentary blah blah blah etc. But I think there is something really inspiring happening in our generation that is driving the success of restaurants like Piccolo, Heartland, Lucia's and French Meadow to name just a few - an appreciation for the process of creating food rather than just scarfing it down and worrying whether we are getting enough for our money. This attitude is definitely cropping up in the blogosphere as well - in food/healthy living blogs like Kath Eats Real Food and The Daily Dish (two of my favorites) as well as cooking blogs like 101 Cookbooks and Smitten Kitchen (also favorites). Overall, I think that despite the McDonaldsification of America, good things are starting to happen. Hopefully what is going on at Piccolo isn't just a fad, but part of a movement towards a new way of looking at food.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Explaination: in college, a few friends and I started reading childrens books during the week to de-stress. It started out with just a few of us taking turns reading from one of our favorite childhood books whenever we felt like it, and eventually grew into a weekly event (usually involving hot cocoa). No matter how stressed out we were, we always made time for reading night - it was our little oasis of relaxation in the middle of stressful classes, finals and projects. During our four years at St. Olaf, we made it through Wind in the Willows, Dealing with Dragons and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, to name a few.
During the 2008 holidays Ben decided to bring reading night back, and invited a bunch of the old gang (in town for the holidays) over for some wine, cookies and A Christmas Carol...and we've kept up the tradition every year since. I played hostess last night, which was so much fun. I love having people over and it was great to see everyone: Lindsey, who is now a photography grad student in Iowa City; Tyler W., who works in arts management in San Francisco; Chris, on a breif break from teaching high-schoolers in Paraguay; Mark and Tessie, now high school teachers in Eden Prarie and Edina; Biz, who has an amzing job at MPR; and Tyler N., a lawyer working for a district judge.
For munchies, we had sliced pears and kale salad, Cowgirl Creamery cheese (provided by Tyler W.), Christmas cookies from Lindsey's mom, and for the main course, pizza from Pizza Luce! (Pizza Athena, and Sausage and Mushroom). While we ate, laughed and caught up with one another, we sipped Bell's Double Cream Stout, Crispin cider, and a red wine provided by Ben.
Reading came from a lovely hodgepodge of sources - Casey at the Bat, Shel Silverstien's Where the Sidewalk Ends, Morris's Disappearing Bag, and Mark's favorite: Rumi Out of Context. This basically consisted of Mark picking up my book of Rumi poems from the coffee table and reading random excerpts out of context (i.e. "The Apple, 'Orange, why the frown?'").
Can I just say how happy it makes me that even though we're all off doing impressive adult-like things, we still find the time to get together for a little laughter, a lot of silliness, and of course, a good childrens book. :)
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I always love being at my parents house...they live in the woods right on a lake, and it makes me feel like I'm at a cabin. I made coffee and after everyone had stumbled out into the kitchen in their pajamas, we started on the Gorder family Christmas tradition of pancakes and present opening.
After we'd finished opening gifts and washed a few dishes, we drove up to my parents house for spritz cookies! My dad is doing amazingly well with his new hip - zooming around without even a walker! So impressive. Also impressive was how quickly Ben picked up the subtle nuances of the Spritz cookie press. That thing can be awfully tempermental and he was very good at it.
Dinner at The Lexington is a family tradition - mostly because it's one of the only places that's actually open on the 24th. I love eating there because they always make it look so Christmasy... and it's close enough to church so I can get there and back in time to rehearse for the second service, which is usually more of a concert than a service (this year we sang Vivaldi's Gloria)FINALLY after the second service (which was waaay too long... too much sermonizing...) we made it home by about 12:45, took some pictures in front of the tree which quickly deteriorated into goofiness, and then went to sleep.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Pincha, however, had me stumped. Handstand against the wall - not a problem. Headstand or tripod headstand anywhere - not a problem. But every time I tried to kick up into forearm stand, fear of falling kicked in, my shoulders collapsed and my head usually ended up bumping unceremoniously into the ground, resulting in an awkward flailing headstand sort of situation, which is obviously not what I was going for. I should probably mention that the alignment for f0rearm stand is much, much harder than headstand or handstand. It takes a lot of concentration to keep melting your heart and plugging your shoulders in, because the position of your arms makes them want to round forward. If you are instead focusing on being scared of falling, you're pretty much screwed.
Anyways, last weekend my dad had hip replacement surgery. He's been putting off doing this pretty much forever, despite the fact that he has had painful osteoarthritis for about 12 years and his surgeon did not understand how he was continuing to function. Yes - he continued trucking around, going to work, going to the gym (low-impact activities like biking and weight lifting only), and generally living life despite immense pain and inch-long bone spurs, mostly because, I think, he was afraid, he recognized the inherent risk that comes with any major surgery - you might not make it out the other side.
My dad is an extremely stubborn guy (obviously), and would say he was just waiting for the right time, but really there is no "right time" to have your leg essentially taken off and put back on again - the technology will always be a little better next year. This summer, he finally decided to go for it - I think it was a combination of wanting to be able to walk me down the aisle without pain, wanting to jog with my sister during her final college track season, and just being ready. I hung out with him the night before he went to the hospital and watched a couple of episodes of 30 Rock and The Office. The morning of the surgery, he texted me and my sister to tell us he loved us - and I realized that, as morbid as this sounds, he had made peace with the possibility that he might not be around tomorrow. I know, hip replacements are pretty routine and the risk is extremely low, but in order to make himself OK with going through with it, my dad had to first overcome his fear of the worst possible outcome, which is pretty amazing.
A couple days later I went to visit him in the hospital, where he was already back to his old self by making his PT into a contest and concentrating on beating all of the other recovering patients on the "feet walked" chart in the hall. Welcome to my family. Every other sentence he said was "I can't believe I did it. I can't believe it's over." Part of the practice of yoga is letting go of attachment, including your attachment to your body and the phyiscal world, and making peace with death. My dad had become a yogi without ever practicing a single asana.
When I got home, I decided that if my dad could overcome that much, I could certainly learn to not be afraid of banging my head on the ground in Pincha, so I rolled out my yoga mat next to the wall. "Hey there mat," I said. "My head might bang into you but I think that is OK." I placed my forearms on the ground in modified down dog, walked my feet in, willed my shoulders to stay in place, told myself I didn't care if I fell, lifted one leg and kicked up. A second later, my feet landed against the wall, and my head did not land on the ground! I stayed there for a few seconds, testing my balance, then brought my feet back to the ground, rolled up my mat and put it away, and made some cookies for my dad.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Snowmageddon Day 2: Saturday
Subplot: My dad had hip replacement surgery on Friday morning, and I'd planned on going to visit him on Saturday but after hearing horror stories from Amanda and Lia of not being able to drive more than 10 feet from where they were parked, I decided to stay home with some soup and my pricing final.
Snowmageddon day 3: Sunday = digging day
After we dug out my car, we stopped briefly by the hospital to see my dad, then went over to St. Paul to dig out my sister, who repaid us in freshly baked cookies!
And then, back to Abbott where we supervised my dad on his evening walk and then grabbed some dinner and watched the original Miracle on 34th Street. And that is the tale of my weekend of snow. In a related story, it took me 2 hours to make the 10 minute drive to school on Monday (I drove instead of taking the bus because traffic was so bad I had no idea when the bus would actually get there).
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did! Happy (belated) Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
They say that I'm a lunatic they say that I am full of it, I say that it's worth dreaming just for the dream of it...
However, some of Judd's friends had gotten there before us and grabbed a spot right at the front. He tried to weave through the crowd to join them, eventually gave up and came back upstairs. Something resembling the following conversation then occurred (keep in mind, I was a few beers in at this point):
Me: What?? You're back???
Judd: Yeah, It's hard to move down there, I couldn't get to them.
Me: Nope that's ridiculous. I'll help you.
Me: YES WE ARE DOING THIS. Let's go.
The following are videos of our successful journey from the balcony to the ground level, to directly in front of the stage. We learned that it's much easier to maneuver if the tiniest person who can fit through small openings (me) goes first, followed by the larger person (Judd), forming a sort of human wedge. It's called "the wedge technique." I may patent it.
... we weren't moving during this video, because I felt like such a heartwarming song is just the wrong time to be shoving people....
Anyways... this is where we ended up!!! :
VICTORY! We found Judd's friends and enjoyed the rest of the show about 10 feet from Craig Minowa. Amazing.
I'd never seen them live before and I was super impressed. In their recordings, Cloud Cult uses strings, brass, keyboards, all sorts of random and crazy percussion instruments and I couldn't help wondering how they would pull it off live....well...it was the shit. They're almost a music collective more than just a band - everyone apparently plays like 3 instruments and they switch off during songs to get the right sound at the right moment, and they were very in-sync with each other and their sound was tight and polished, and full of energy. One of the best shows I've been to in a while.
Afterwards, we might have gone out for more drinks. I might have drunk-dialed my sister just because Anne Frank and Helen Keller came up in a conversation (long story) but I made it home safely (thanks Adam!) and it was a great night. Now... Holiday weekend!!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Yes it is nice to have a furry friend who follows you everywhere and is in desperate need of your constant attention. However, before you enter into such a relationship KEEP IN MIND: this friend is also capable of:
- tracking kitty litter EVERYWHERE
- puking all over your floor
- drinking your beer
- staring at you while you sleep
- preventing you from sleeping by sitting on top of you and kneading you forcefully with her paws while simultaneously drooling in your ear, then acting like a kitty boomerang when you shove her to the end of the bed in an attempt to stop this behavior
- purring and looking at you confusedly as if trying to understand why this makes you upset
You have been warned.
Monday, November 15, 2010
...which I have to say one of my favorite teas. Most teas that claim to be "candy cane" really just taste like regular peppermint tea...but this one actually tastes like candy cane! It's really delicous, another Trader Joe's victory. I also made a baked apple as a mid-afternoon snack, topped with honey, cinnamon and almond butter. On Saturday night I braved the drive to St. Paul to make dinner, have some drinks and watch a movie with friends.
As far as Yoga, I've been mixing up my studios the last couple of weeks. Last week I took a class from Lynn at One Yoga, where we focused on twisting poses to help the digestive system and gaining stability in half-moon and revolved half-moon... revolved half moon is probably one of my biggest yoga nemises, and Lynn said she would focus on it all month so I'll definitely have to go back to that class.
On Thursday I went to a class with Ali at The Om Collective, a new studio that just opened on Lyndale, taking the place where Balance Fitness used to be. The studio is beautiful and the class was amazing - we did a series of hip-openers and postures to work the hamstrings and open the heart/shoulders, all leading up to this madness at the end:
To my complete and total shock I could actually kind of do it! At least, I could do the modified version where your back knee is on the ground with your foot at a 90-degree angle behind. My gimpy hips might actually be starting to behave like normal joints but they still need plenty of babying and coddling before I can do anything resembling prasarita padottanasana or any kind of seated straddle.
Off to a meeting for school projects... have a wonderful Tuesday and enjoy the snow!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Kantian pricing, my professor explained, would demand that you do the right thing and pay the full value. When people in my class started to argue, he just laid on the guilt ("His children are starving! His goats are starving!!" etc). Soon we moved on to Rawles, which was even more awesome. I loved this discussion because philosophy and ethics rarely come up in my classes, at least not directly. Mostly we seem to take it for granted that people will do the right thing.
Anyways, the point of all this is, last weekend I encountered a Kantian pricing conundrum! I was visiting my fiancee at school and we went to one of our favorite places in town, a coffee shop-slash- used bookstore. I think I've previously documented my obsession with books, so no need to explain why I love this place. As I was perusing the Literature section, I came across an old hardcover volume of a book by one of my favorite childrens book authors. It was a 1905, first edition with plated illustrations, in great shape except for the binding which is a little bit falling apart.
I really wanted this book...like REALLY wanted it. The victorian style illustrations and adventureous verses pretty much epitmomized for me what childhood should be like... I started having daydreams of reading them to my kids from this awesome-looking volume, and passing it down to them to read to their kids etc. Only one problem - there was no price marked. I assumed it would probably cost more than a grad student with no income should be paying for one book, but I figured I wouldn't hurt to ask so I took it up to the front desk.
I handed it to the hipster-looking college student manning the cash register/coffee bar, and explained that I'd found this book without a price, and wondered how much it cost.
"Hmm..." she kind of half glanced at the book. "What section was it in?"
She opened a couple of pages and leafed through them for a maximum of 2 seconds. "I dunno," she shrugged. "Five bucks?"
I immediately thought about the farmer and his painting - had I just done something horribly immoral? Well... the store obviously wasn't aware of the true value of that book, so they weren't any less happy with the sale... and I was enormously happy getting something I really wanted for far less than it should have cost me, so I figure overall happiness was increased. And at that point offering them more money would have just looked weird.
Needless to say, I spent the whole walk back to Ben's apartment telling him about Kantian pricing and the ethical dilemma of the farmer. Poor Ben. I'm almost as sorry for this as I was for subjecting him to my Managerial Accounting spazzes last spring.
In other news, Maggie is coming to visit this week! Maggie is my parents cat... I think she's awesome, but the last time she was here she hid under my bed for two straight days (unintentionally useful for dusting under there haha). Wish me luck!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
1) The tea did not cure my illness. I was sick for at least a week, and I actually stayed home from school for a day... I can't remember the last time I felt sick enough to stay home from either work or school but I think it might have been when I had food poisoning.
2) Ben was here! Last weekend he came to visit and we watched a lot of movies, had people over for a dinner party and watched the Twins lose to the Yankees...Ok so that last part sucked but the rest of the weekend was great.
3) I went to a 3 hour (!!) workshop on backbends this weekend with Noah Maze, and learned a ton. Full Wheel finally feels like it's supposed to (I think?) :). So yay!
4) I registered for the Net Impact conference! It's over halloween weekend, so I'll miss fun Halloween parties but I'm still really glad I am going. If you aren't familiar with Net Impact, they're an organization that focuses on corporate social responsibility and sustainability...I can't wait.
5) In an odd coincidence, it turns out that Ben will be at another conference 15 minutes from my conference...and no, we did not plan it that way. Total coincidence.
OK that's all... I have to get up early tomorrow to make scone dough so I should get some sleep.