Related: 40x40 List
Date completed: Sunday, August 30, 2015
I've never been a huge sports fan but basketball has always been my favorite sport to watch -- the rules are easy to understand, it's fast-paced, and you can actually see the players since they aren't wearing helmets and pads. I haven't watched a game since high school, so I've been looking forward to attending my first Minnesota Lynx game since creating my 40x40 list. This was also my first time attending an event at Target Center so maybe I should get extra points for this one?
It turns out that I chose wisely by selecting of the August 29 game against the Phoenix Mercury. The two teams are in the top two spots of the Western Conference and it was likely to be a close game. In fact it was so close that I thought the Lynx may lose but they ended up winning 71-61! Unfortunately U of M alum, Lindsay Whalen was injured injured in the second quarter and didn't return for the second half. But several other players stepped up and brought the team to victory. Liz and I both agree that Maya Moore is the best name and we are now both fascinated with 6'9" Mercury player, Brittney Griner because of the media attention she attracts. We're both bummed we didn't witness her slam dunk at this game.
Related: 40x40 List
Dates completed: Saturday, August 15
Minnesota Garlic Festival
While searching for a small town festival on the Explore Minnesota website (thanks for the tip, Sara!), I was delighted to find the 10th Annual Minnesota Garlic Festival. I've wanted to attend a garlic festival since working at Grinnell College's Career Development Office as they had a cool Gilroy Garlic Festival poster in the bathroom. I love it when I realize how random things have made an impression on me!
Held at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, the festival had everything I was hoping for and more: good food, dancing, a parade, and crowds of people sweating out all the garlic they ate in 90° heat and humidity.
With a population 13,871, I consider Hutchinson a small town though it is more than twice the size of my hometown, Sheldon, Iowa. Hutch, as the locals call it, has a cute downtown and a couple of lakes that looked inviting on such a hot day.
Garlic in its many forms
We planned our arrival to the festival around noon so we could enjoy lunch at The Great Scape Cafe. This year's menu was prepared by many of my favorite Twin Cities restaurants. Scott and I shared the roasted garlic (Common Roots Cafe), salami sandwich (Red Table), and vegetarian pizza slice (Red Wagon Pizza). Scott washed all that garlicky goodness down with a Minnesota craft beer out of a commemorative 10th Anniversary festival beer glass which is now hanging out with the hundreds of other beer event glassware in our home.
Fifteen different Garlic Growers were selling their fresh crop and frankly I had now idea how to decide who to support with a purchase. I choose Hillside Prairie Gardens mostly because of their garlic display but I must have also sensed that they were the only grower from South Dakota. I guess always want to make my mom and dad proud by supporting their state!
While visiting the vendors, we bought Smude's Sunflower Oil (garlic and pepper infused), a package of Cool Jerk beef jerky, and tasted many samples thanks to the generosity of the local companies.
Before leaving the Commercial Building, we both indulged in the garlic ice cream.
The Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade
The highlight of the event for me was the parade which started at 1:37 p.m. They actually had me at the start time (and the title). Led by the Minneapolis Police Pipe Band, the parade had one float, dancers and musicians from The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, characters from Narren of New Ulm, and my personal favorite - The Brass Messengers.
Perhaps next year I'll try to win one of the prizes for a peculiar act or costume in the categories of "Most Peculiar", "Most Pragmatic", or "Best Promenader."
I would also try my luck at the Medallion Hunt and seek out the "Holy Clove" because as the program states "Clove Hunters: The few, the proud, the stinky!".
As if you can't tell from this recap, I will return to the Minnesota Garlic Festival and hope to one day make it to some other garlic festivals (worldwide!).
I also think that going to a festival every season would be a fun way to usher in all the flavors and smells associated with each. This fall, I am going to try to make it to Smaczne Jablka (otherwise known as Apple Day) in Winona.
Related: 40x40 List
Dates completed: Wednesday, March 4; Friday, March 6; and Saturday, August 15
Until around age 14, I swam almost everyday. Whether it was with my cousins at Lake Madison, South Dakota; competing on the Sheldon, Iowa swim team; or hanging out at friends' pools, I loved being in the water.
A lot of forces likely came between me and my love of swimming but the timing of my disinterest in being in a swimsuit indicates that body image issues most definitely played a significant role. That makes me incredibly sad for my past self. Because part of my goal for this 40x40 was to stretch myself and to spend time out of my comfort zone, go swimming made the cut. I also want to return to the water for fun and exercise. After all, I live in Minnesota and am surrounded by it!
In March 2015, Scott and I spent a week in Puerto Rico. It was our first vacation in the Caribbean and it was wonderful. I hadn't swam in the ocean (or sea) since a childhood vacation to Delaware. The mix of waves/undertow, sand, and salt put me into a dreamlike state and casts a spell making me forget all of the creatures sharing the water with me. I'll admit it - I have a slight fear of getting bit, stung, or generally touched by another living thing in the water. This is why I have a hard time taking advantage of the 10 billion Minnesota lakes. That said, it's clearly not a paralyzing fear since I was able to go on a couple of swims while in Puerto Rico - once in Rincón and once in Luquillo. Read all about our Puerto Rican adventure.
Scott and I walked by the Webber Natural Swimming Pool several times during its construction. Billed as the first public natural swimming pool in the United States, uses plants and natural microbes to purify the water. I knew that even though I'd technically met my 40x40 goal while in Puerto Rico that I'd want to check out this pool when it opened.
We chose a great day for our first visit - it was 91° and the humidity level of a Florida swamp. The water was the perfect temperature for a relaxing float. Scott didn't join me for a swim so the 15 minutes I spent by myself swimming or wading around each of the pools was enough time.
Some things to know before you go:
There was a short line when we arrived and when we left. I guess the length of the line can vary but be prepared for a bit of wait.
Admission into the pool doesn't cost anything but you have to get a wristband - white if you're swimming and yellow if you're not. Upon leaving, the pool staff cut off your wristband.
No traditional changing rooms
I made a rookie mistake and thought that changing at the swimming pool would be no big deal. I guess it isn't if you like changing in a bathroom stall with a toilet flushing constantly. Next time I'll go with my swim suit already on and plan on leaving with it on.
Shower before swimming
I am pretty sure you're supposed to do this anywhere you swim but it's mandatory to use the showers on the pool deck before entering the pool. There are two buttons - the top for your head/body and the bottom for your feet.
The next swimming related adventure I want to try is Aqua Zumba! Because..."just add water and shake" is exactly what I need more of in my life.
Related: 40x40 List
Date completed: Friday, August 14, 2015
Yet another activity in Minneapolis that I tend to take for granted: free entertainment in our beautiful parks. The Minneapolis Park Board along with many sponsors provide our community with free music and movies at six different park locations. In fact, music in the parks has been a part of Minneapolis summers since 1892.
Considering I live 2.5 miles from one of the venues--Lake Harriet Bandshell--I should be attending as many of these as possible. And yet, I don't. In fact I don't think I have ever seen a movie in a park.
Perhaps one of the reasons I don't go to any of the events (despite my best intentions) is because there are just so many. I don't add any to my calendar and then I forget about them. 40x40 list to the rescue! So, about a month ago I added the August 14 event to my calendar to be sure I attended at least one. Apparently publishing a to-do list for all to see and giving myself a deadline is enough to spur me into action.
DJ Jake Rudh, E.L.n.O and The Muppet Movie (1979)