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Sunday, November 28, 2010

What I am thankful for part 1

This Thanksgiving week really reminded me how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life. On Tuesday I got to spend some time with my friend Rachel, who lives on the east coast now but is still one of my very closest friends... she is one of those people where we always seem to be able to pick up right where we left off even if we haven't seen each other for months.

Wednesday, Ben arrived after stopping off in Chicago to see his new baby niece, and we went to dinner at Town Talk and then to see Harry Potter!!! (I'd already seen it... midnight show actually... but it was so great to see it with Ben, huge Potter nerds that we are). I got to spend time with my family, went to a 2 hour yoga workshop, baked a LOT, saw Alex and Katie, two other good friends who were in town for the holiday weekend, had a wonderful potluck at Amanda's, and finished decorating my (very small) Christmas tree!

This weekend just made me think about how lucky I am to know such amazing people - people who love sharing delicious food, laughing so hard we cry, and just knowing that we are all there for each other whether we've known each other for 20 years, 10 years or just a year or a few months. Here is just a small smattering of the people I am so grateful to have in my life:

And obviously:

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...

Last week I got to see one of Cloud Cult, play at First Ave! I've been excited about this show for months - Cloud Cult is one of my absolute favorite bands, they are offbeat and talented, and their music is meaningful and thought-provoking and they're just all-around awesome. I went with a few friends from grad school - Lia, Judd, Keith, Adam, and Ellie - and and we met up with some of Judd's other friends there as well.
We were all hungry so we grabbed dinner and a beer at O'Donovan's after class and by the time we got to the show it was pretty packed and we ended up standing upstairs...this was our initial view:

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.
Judd: Seriously?
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.

video

... 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!!! :

video

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

So misleading...

Could you get mad at this face??No? Never in a million years could you be upset with this adorable fuzzy kitty face?

WRONG.
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

Let it Snow!!!

On Saturday I slept in until 9am and when I got up and looked outside I saw....
THIS!!!: The first snowfall of the year!!!...which OK, maybe wasn't so magical when I had to scrape 6 inches of wet slush off my car so I could drive to Trader Joe's, but still exciting. To celebrate the arrival of winter, I cuddled up in a blanket, whipped up a little of this:
...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

Still not a Kantian

A couple of weeks ago in pricing class, we had a lengthy discussion about pricing ethics. My professor posed the following situation: you're driving along and you see a yard sale, given by a farmer who is selling everything he owns to feed his family. Among the sale items, you see a painting that is priced at $15.00... but when you look at it you know it's really valuable (a Picasso or a Monet or something along those lines). So... the ethical conundrum is, do you pay the asking price of $15, or do you pay the real value?

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?"
"Literature."

She opened a couple of pages and leafed through them for a maximum of 2 seconds. "I dunno," she shrugged. "Five bucks?"
DONE.

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!
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