Sunday, March 30, 2008

Minnesota Trip

I just got back from an awesome trip to see my friend Jeff in the Twin Cities. What a great way to end my spring break!

I left on Thursday morning. It was just spitting a little rain, nothing major. Then, right outside of Ottumwa... thunder! lightening! sleet! I've never seen anything like it. The sleet was about two inches deep on the road, and traffic was going along at about 30 mph. It royally sucked. This happened at least two more times before I even got to Des Moines. Of course, no road crews had been out. When I got north of Des Moines, it turned into a whiteout. The roads, thank goodness, were much better, but, you couldn't see a darned thing! Ironically, when I crossed the boarder into Minnesota, things were fine. This is weird, because it's usually the other way around.

I drove right to Jeff's school. He's the media specialist at Kaposia Educational Center (why it's not just called Kaposia Elementary, I don't really understand... I have to remember to ask Jeff about that one). Look at the cool display he made for the wall of one of his computer labs out of black takeout containers!I got to see him in action with two first grade classes, and he even let me help. They were discussing authors whose last names start with T, so here's me reading a Mark Teague book to the second group. It was really fun seeing his school and meeting his colleagues. So many people seemed to know me. I thought, "Wow! Jeff must talk about me a lot or something." Actually, it turns out that Jeff has a picture of me on his screen saver. Is it an adorable, flattering picture of me? NO! He chooses my Abigail VonSchtarr picture from Musical of Musicals, the Musical! It's from THIS that people recognize me!!! So embarrassing!!

That night we had the best pizza at Italian Pie Shoppe, and then we went to Trader Joe's. Why can't all of America have Trader Joe's? Hmmmm???? It's one of the best places ever, and I just don't get how it can be so cheap! My new favorite thing from there is the Thai Lime Chili Cashews. WOW!

Jeff took a personal day Friday, and did we cover some ground! We took the Light Rail downtown. It's so fun and so much easier than driving there and messing with traffic and parking.

We practically ran to this great restaurant called Hell's Kitchen so we wouldn't miss breakfast. I tried the Lemon Ricotta pancakes... mmm!!! But, I was intrigued by and completely fell in love with the Wild Rice Porridge with dried cranberries and dried blueberries in it. I wish I could have that every morning! The decor in the restaurant was interesting... all red and black with a whole wall of Far Side comics about Hell. Here's me avoiding raven poop.Jeff posed as well, forced of course. We have to make each other do these crazy things with pics. It's just our thing, I guess.After breakfast/lunch (we ate enough for 5 meals, at least), we went to Macy's where we shopped and enjoyed the flower show going on right in the store. Here's Jeff with a chicken. He collects chicken stuff, so of course, he needed his picture by this one! :)

We walked around downtown, exploring and shopping. In front of the well-known Murray's Steakhouse, we staged Jeff eating the big steak on the front of the building... hee hee.

We ended our downtown excursion by touring the new Guthrie. Wow, wow, wow!!! This place is amazing. I can't imagine going there to see shows. The outside has all these HUGE pictures of famous playwrights. From the outside of the building, you can walk under the Bridge to Nowhere (or something like that). When you're in the theatre, you have no idea that nothing is underneath you. The pointed end of the above picture is where you can go outside and look out over the river. This view below shows the Stone Arch Bridge behind Jeff. I didn't take a picture of it, but if you look off in the opposite direction from the Stone Arch Bridge, you can see where the I35 bridge collapsed into the water.Inside the Guthrie are all sorts of windows looking out, focusing on various points of the city. This wide window has a reflective surface that gave us some great photo opportunities.To get back down to street level, you have to go down this REALLY LONG escalator. It made my stomach feel a little weird and my legs a little wobbly to look down... that's how long and high it is. It didn't do wonders for my wobbly legs turning around for this photo either! ;)
After the Guthrie, we rode the Light Rail back to the Mall of America. We shopped for a couple of hours there, and by that time, I was tired of walking! The funniest thing happened in Coldwater Creek. Jeff was holding stuff up, saying I should try it on or it would look good on me, etc. This lady looked over at us. She said she couldn't even get her husband into the store at all. She asked how I did it. I told her she just needed to get a gay friend. She asked how. I said, "Well, I recommend the theatre. It's not going to get me a husband, but it's great for gay friends!" Just then, I held up a shirt to show Jeff and he emphatically said, "NO." I looked at the woman and said, "See? He's even honest!" She asked Jeff how much he charged! :) Maybe that should be his second job! When I saw her later in the dressing room, she asked, "Where's your friend?" I told her that he didn't actually come in the dressing room with me! Funny!

That night, we grabbed supper at Red Robin (they had Galaga, so Duane, Jeff's wonderful significant other, and I HAD to play!) and had awesome gelato at this cute little place... I don't remember the name. Mmm! They had a ton of different flavors!

On Saturday, Jeff and I got up and went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I loved it so much. I loved the celadon glazed Asian pottery (reminded me of the Newbery Award winning book A Single Shard), the replica of the Japanese tea house, the artistic Judaica artifact exhibit, and the Egyptian tomb door, just to name a few. Here's Jeff at lunch.Looking across the way from our table, we saw this sculpture called Sunburst, or something like that. Instead, I renamed it Tena's Hair. It's kind of strawberry blonde, don't you think?After lunch, we met Duane for a movie in Edina. NOTE: WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT SEE SUPERHERO MOVIE! I SERIOUSLY THINK IT IS THE WORST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Having to watch 10 minutes of Marion Ross farting is not how I enjoy spending my time at the movies. Life for "Mrs. C" certainly has deteriorated since Happy Days!

After the movie, luckily, things picked up because we walked over to the Galleria and went through the new two story Crate & Barrel. And, we ate at Big Bowl!
We went back to Jeff's for a bit because then it was time for karaoke. I know it may shock you all to read this, but not only do I hate karaoke with the fire of a thousand suns, I really suck at it. It's something about how loud it is... I just end up screaming through every song. It's really not attractive. Jeff, unfortunately, had no idea of my loathing of karaoke when he set this all up. He and I made it through "I Got You Babe" and "You're the One that I Want." For me, "got through" is the best thing I have to say about it. Luckily, I got to meet some more of Jeff's Minnesota friends, and they were fun and really nice. So, things balanced out. Here's a picture of Jeff & me and Jeff & Duane before the humiliating karaoke.

I got up and left on Sunday morning. The weekend was over way too fast, but it was so much fun. For Jeff's take on events of this weekend, see his blog at Now back to real life, I guess. Boo hoo. Actually, I'm not bummed because we started Godspell rehearsals last night. I think it's going to be so much fun!!


  1. Did we have fun OR WHAT?! Thanks for coming up, and let's do that again soon!!! xoxo J.

  2. That whole post just made me hungry. I went to a Big Bowl in Chicago once and I WANT ONE IN THE QUAD-CITES! Hear that, Big Bowl people?


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