Thursday, March 31, 2011
Today, my employer hosted The Brain Injury Association of Minnesota for a crane folding party. "Cranestorm–Wishes in Flight will launch immediately through the support of various groups like yours to help us fold and collect origami cranes. Our goal is to accumulate 100,000 cranes, one for every Minnesotan with brain injury. The cranes we receive will eventually become part of an ongoing art installation."
It was a great event and to watch so many of my colleagues helping each other learn the paper craft was inspiring. I lived in a small community with a large brain trauma center so I know all too well the challenges that people face with brain injury. I am glad to be part of an organization that supports causes such as this.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Ever since I stopped insisting that I don't like Asian food, a whole new world has opened up to me. My favorite discovery has been all of the great vegetables that are served at most Asian restaurants. Pretty much every day I have to fight off the urge to buy a $3.59 order of spicy green beans at Asian Max. Today, I succumbed, mostly because my packed lunch consisted of chick-pea cumin tofu dip and caraway crackers and kiwi. A bonus is that no matter how much I like these spicy green beans, I can't eat the whole thing in one sitting so they will make great leftovers or will be added to another dish. However, in the future I will be bringing my own to-go container. My bus commuter friends will thank me and I will avoid the spillage of delicious spicy sauce in my bag.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This is a mug from my all-time favorite coffee shop, The Mill, located in Lincoln, Nebraska. I first learned to love the taste of coffee at The Mill. Eric Bailey and Laurie Bridges got me hooked on granitas. It is an icy coffee drink with the perfect balance of coffee, cream and sugar but it wasn't too sugary a la Frappucino. Also, it was served in a pint glass. For some reason I am feeling particularly wistful for my college days today. There are so many great friends I'd like to reconnect with and places I'd like to revisit. Friends who don't live there anymore and places that have since closed. I'm still mourning the loss of Crane River, the first brewpub I knew and loved . *Sigh* When that time machine is invented, sign me up for a trip back to 1994.
Lincoln, Nebraska is a true midwestern college town and I am hoping to make the 7 hour drive this fall, when college football is in full effect and Scott can witness the magic/madness that is a Big Red Saturday.
Monday, March 28, 2011
I came home from work and crashed and burned. I have no idea why but I was completely wiped of energy. I was looking around the house for something to photograph and Scott suggested a walk around the neighborhood. I'm glad he did. Running into these kids playing at the Armatage playground made my day. I just love this age (in moderation and on my own terms). My energy shot back up and I think I can make it to the gym and stay awake until my actual bedtime!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
After the winter we've had in Minnesota, who can argue with this graffiti artist?
Saturday, March 26, 2011
It's official. Scott and I are registered for the 40th Portland Marathon to celebrate Scott's 40th birthday! Scott and I have been walking long distances together since we were dating. Early on in our relationship, we walked from Hopkins, MN to downtown Minneapolis and back (approx 15 miles) in the dead of winter. Since then, we've walked many miles together and are up for the challenge of training for and finishing our first marathon. I've had a marathon walking book for more than a year so I am excited to finally put it to use. Our biggest challenge will be avoiding our favorite cafes for beer breaks until AFTER our training is complete.
Friday, March 25, 2011
A comedy of errors almost ruined a date night planned with my co-worker and friend, Miranda and her boyfriend, Adam. First, during the planning of the start time of our pre-show dinner and I was operating under the assumption that Wits started at 7:00 PM because that is how I entered it into my calendar. Miranda suggested 6:00 PM for our dinner at Sawatdee which I thought was cutting it close but didn't want to come across as a stressball (which I am). We both said we'd try to arrive closer to 5:30 which was Miranda's way of politely appeasing me. Scott and I were merrily on our way to St. Paul from SW Minneapolis and planned on a leisurely start to our date night with a walk around downtown St. Paul. That was ruined at the Vandalia-Cretin exit on I-94 where I realized I forgot our tickets at home! So, we turned around and spent an extra 30 minutes in the car, all the while texting Miranda with updates. She and Adam were at Sawatdee and she offered to order for us so I agreed to an appetizer which I thought was all we'd have time to eat. She also told us that doors opened at 7:00 PM which I thought was strange because I distinctly remembered John Moe announcing a tweet-up happy hour in the lobby before the show. So, sorry Miranda but I thought you had your facts wrong.
Scott and I just had one snafu with finding parking and somehow walked the wrong direction to get to the restaurant, adding an extra block to get to our destination. It was at this point that I finally looked at the ticket and discovered the 8:00 PM start time. So, as per usual, I met Adam with my special brand of "I'm a little wound up borderline crazy" first impression.
We all laughed at my "series of 'f-ups'" as Scott so eloquently put it, and then moved on with our evening of laughs. It was fun to get to know Adam and be with Miranda outside of work. We all liked our meals at Sawatdee even though Scott's mouth was on fire from his level 5 dish.
We made our way to the Fitzgerald Theatre in just enough time to grab 4 seats together in the center balcony. It was a great view and I enjoyed having the sound board and event photographer in my purview because I'm a nerd like that. The show itself was so much fun. John Moe is brilliant for creating a series of shows that highlight some of the best creative talent working today. I love comedy so it was a bonus for the season's first guests be Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tomkins. I somehow convinced myself that Paul was going to surprise us by being in person since that is what John Moe did with Neil Gaiman last year. But, as Patton tweeted last night "Even on crutches, Grant-Lee Phillips is brilliant. Even over the phone and 1/2 a world away, @PFTompkins is hilarious. #twits" The music was fantastic. I'll admit I lost touch with Grant-Lee over the years but I listened to "Mighty Joe Moon" on repeat during college and revisit "Honey Don't Think" often. Grant-Lee played a cover of The Church's "Under The Milkyway Tonight" which inspired me to purchase his "Nighteeneightees" album this morning.
I can't wait to listen to the show again which is airing on The Current Sunday, April 10 at 9 p.m. and on MPR News Sunday, August 7 at 6 p.m. For my out of town friends, you can stream both!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Today was a fantastic day in so many ways. I started the day with an informational interview with two professionals on the Online User Experience team. They had so much great information for me and an offer to observe a usability test. The usability test fell through but I know I'll be able to go to a future session. I then checked my tweets and discovered MinneWebCon, a web conference happening in my backyard in two weeks. I've been searching for a reasonably priced professional development opportunity and proposed it to my boss. I received approval so I will be going on April 11! After work, I had a photo walk with some amazing friends. We met at the Minneapolis Central Library and then headed to Restaurant Max for drinks. On the bus ride home I caught up on blog reading which always gives me such great inspiration and ideas. So, you can say I know have information overload. Better start winding down or I won't sleep.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Minnesota, it may say Spring on your calendars but it is pure winter outside. Just when we were able to see all of the grass below where we sit at work, it is now covered in a white blanket of snow.
I was unbelievably crabby all day because of this. I know, I know, March is the snowiest month. Blah, blah, blah. I realize I choose to live here but COME ON.
I will be visiting all of my summer hiking photostream to remind myself that warm, sunny days are ahead. Oh and that I will be complaining about the humidity and heat in August.
I love Minnesota!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I prefer cold, rainy days when they are spent under the covers reading. I bribed myself to go to work by wearing jeans and a sweatshirt disguised to look like a jacket. Soon those bare tree limbs will be full of green leaves, thanks, in part to the rain we had today.
I attempted my first 365 photo project in 2011. I made it to Day 246.
The Nivens Family