Thursday, May 07, 2015

Part Dos de MPS

I doubt any of the three people who read my blog still remember how I said I would tell about the dining part of the evening, but since I said I would and since I am mostly done grading (damn you, 2 stragglers!), and I am avoiding real life/cleaning my house, no time like the present for completing way past due writing assignments!

So....after getting to take our informal tour of the Guthrie, Hightouch and I hailed a cab to take us to a trendy little Farm to Table restaurant...The Bachelor Farmer. Apparently we were able to get a table because our reservation was for the exact moment it opened! So when we tried the (locked) door, a cute young man popped his head out and said we could wait at the "little bar" downstairs and gave us somewhat ambiguous directions.

There was a burly young man in a huge sweatshirt waiting near a fence who wanted to see our ID. "Sure," I said, laughing. He said, "You're going to want the purple door." What kind of direction is that? We approached the back of the building which looked more like an industrial facility than a cute little bar. There was only one door, so we opened it. At the end of a hallway there was, in fact, a purple door. We went in! Cute bar! Dimly lit with round booths. I want to say there was a jazzy burst of trumpet to let us know we had truly found the speak easy...but....

It was so dimly lit we had to use the candles to read the menu. I had a Presbyterian because, why not? It had whiskey. Say no more. Our drinks were lovely, with big square cocktail-hipster ice cubes. We told our waiter we had reservations up stairs so he settled the tab and then gave us some more vague directions, something like "you want the first door past the sign." Okay, we get it. Speak Easy. Secret. Vague. Yeah.

The Bachelor Farmer was just as charming as its name sounds. The wallpaper was blue and Nordic seeming, in a warm way. Hightouch made me laugh by reading to me from the menu: "Parsnips baked under a brick." I can't explain that one.
In any case, the highlight of the meal was the toast course, which involved toast, of course, and farmhouse cheese, onion-bacon jam, mushroom pate, and toasted seeds. Say what you will, but toasted seeds are the thing. Coming soon! Everything was delicious, but the toast course is what we will remember.

We decided that we always have fun when we travel because we are Aspirational Eaters. Pretty soon we are going to write a manifesto.

So that catches you up to about a month ago.

I'm exhausted.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Last Day of PoMo

I fell woefully behind on NaPoWriMo, but I had to write a poem today, for the last day. I was thinking a sonnet, but then this one turned...I don't know, political? Inspired by listening to the radio on the way home and having some theory thoughts about all the violence we're experiencing, and then hearing a man talk about the long history of race riots in the US.
In any case, here's my sonnet. It's pretty bad, I won't lie, but maybe I can fix it.

Sonnet for the End Times

every generation seems doomed to repeat the same problem

Today they riot in Chicago and New York and Baltimore.
Before that, Ferguson, and Brooklyn and L.A.
Since America has been a country we’ve been at war
with ourselves. Or let me be honest: they,
the whites, we have been at war with black men. Four score,
a hundred years, a century, more. In 1919, play-
ing at Lake Michigan, a young black boy crossed a line, bore
the weight of ensuing riots on his thin corpse. Today
this same black boy wears a hoodie, does not answer, Sir,
does not defer, physically, to the Law. They will say
he was armed, he attacked, that’s what Police are for.
They shoot; we riot; played by the game.

Tell me, Fire, who burns in the flame?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Minneapolis, MN

I do not know quite what to say about Minneapolis, except that, in my 48 hours here it has already been a city of extremes. Extremes of weather, extremes of energy levels, extremes of hunger and satiation, extremes of quality and quantity.

Yesterday, it snowed on me, and Hightouchmegastore as we were trying to find a restaurant despite Google maps. We did find it, but while we were walking there, we got snowed on. Sometimes it was hard pellets of water that felt more like angry BBs. Sometimes they were liked the triangles cut out of tissue paper snowflakes. But, in all these times, it was always cold, cold, cold. Honestly it was probably less than half-a-mile of cold & snow. But still. It is April. And we were on our way to have sangria! Which seems like it requires sunshine, etc.

But the bar, once we got there, was great. The sangria was great. A kind man who was just leaving gave us one seat. He was ridiculously handsome and he was carrying a kitchen store bag that had a cutting board in it. He was the gay friend in the Minneapolis sit-com version of my life.

At the bar, we had the delicious sangria, and chips and salsa and a delicious tamale. So delicious!

At the keynote address, first the mayor of Minneapolis came out and read us a poem. What mayor does that? Then she told us about how much she loves poetry and she told us to spend all our money in Minneapolis. (I'm doing my best!)
Then a writer who is, admittedly, not my favorite, gave a lovely keynote address. It was lovely, if a tad too long.
After that, the Utah friends came back to the hotel bar for some more snacks. This brings me to Sam.
Sam!
Sam is, without a doubt, our favorite person in Minneapolis, although today some other people gave him a run for his money.
Sam is our waiter in the hotel bar and restaurant. "Hotel bar and restaurant" conjures images of limp lettuce and watery martinis, but this bar is of the HNL. (Hole Nother Level). This hotel restaurant has the most delicious Brussells Sprouts salad in existence. Also, it turns out, they have a dessert which features pancakes and bananas that is crazy delicious.
But Sam is the distilled essence of Minnesota. He has the accent. He is stocky in that charmingly adorable Midwestern way. The way he says "Happy Hour" can only be pronounced in Minnesota. He is one of the reasons we want to eat all our meals in the hotel bar. The other reason is the Brussells Sprouts salad.
He was our waiter the first night, when, exhausted, we plopped in the hotel restaurant for dinner (after arriving around dinner time).  He was our waiter last night after the keynote. He said, "I'll be here all week," when we left last night.

Today when I got up, I was all cocky and happy. "At least it's not raining!" I exclaimed. Let me preface this by saying I did not sleep well on Tuesday night, I did not sleep well on Wednesday night...so, okay. But last night, I actually got some sleep! So this morning, I was all feeling good. So, yes, it was not raining. But when we emerged into the gray, Minneapolis morning, it was in fact snowing. So, okay, no biggie.
We had heard the legened of Caribou Coffee, so we walked there. A scattered riot of people stood near the espresso machine. Chaos! But we quickly figured out that they had ordered and were just waiting. Uh-oh....my coffee, when I got it, was strong and delicious, so I forgave CC for their understaffed chaotic whatever that was.

I went to a good panel on Experimental Writing.  And then a discussion about Creative Writing programs in Two Year Colleges. Got lost in the Bookfair. Wandered. Bought analog text items. Etc.

THEN, dear reader, I walked with HighTouch to the Center for Book Arts. Amazing! Delightful! Inspiring! Yet another opportunity to spend my money in Minneapolis! The kind cashier, quickly ingratiating herself onto my "Favorite People" list, told me that the round blue building was the Guthrie Theater and that we could walk out on their balcony (the Endless Bridge).
So we walked through Gold Medal (flour) Park while our friend Karin, who had gone on the tour of the old factory, told us about explosive flour! And flour that blocks the river!
Then we got directions for how to get to the Endless Bridge from the nice conceirge who told us that if we hadn't been, we should go to the 9th floor, and that "we were in for quite a treat."
The Endless Bridge reaches out from the building so that one can see the Mississippi River and all the other amazing things there (a railroad bridge that is now pedestrians only), the park, trails, etc.
On the 9th floor, the "treat" was yet a still more astounding view of the park and the river and the flour factory, etc.

What happened next is even more amazing & hilarious & Minneapolis-love inducing but it is So! Late! here in MSP that I will have to delay in telling you about the Speakeasy and the Farm to Table dining until tomorrow.

Adieu!


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Short Letters

I stole this idea from my favorite people, Hightouchmegastore and Nikwalk.


Letter 1

Dear Google Maps,
Because your name starts with "Google" I'm all "yes, I can trust this map in primary colors" and "yes, even when it takes me on a round about route, that's fine, okay, I can dig that." But today, TODAY, GM, you had us walking outside in the snowflakes made of little shredded tissues of ice, and we were wandering saying, Where is this restaurant which GM says is right here, on the very spot where we stand?
Well, it wasn't there, but instead about two blocks away. Two blocks in the wet snowy cold. But, LO!, when we got there, there was sangria! and chips! and salsa! and then, eventually, a tamale!
So even your fawning ineptitude could not take the shine off what was, indeed, a very Happy Hour.
Sincerely,
Unlost


Letter 2

Dear Minneapolis,
Seriously?
Coldly,
Should Have Worn My Coat

Letter 3

Dear Conference,
I know that when I was younger, say, in graduate school, that 8:30 seemed like a perfectly reasonable time for an event to start. But now, now that I am older and, yes, wiser, I want all the things to start one after the other so that they will be over sooner and so that I can go back to my room and put on my pajamas.
Okay?
Thanks.
Sincerely,
Sleepy

Monday, April 06, 2015

Zip Ode

I heard this awesome story on NPR this morning, and seeing as how I needed to write a poem today it struck me as the perfect assignment for a Monday!!

The upshot is that you write an ode to where you live based on your zip code.
So, here's mine!

Sugar House, where is the sugar beet factory
for which you are
named?


Razed, replaced now by restaurants. 

I like that a zero can be a blank line, and tried to explain the absence in the poem itself. Also, it's a short poem. I love short poems during poetry month! 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Being Behind

I think as a teacher and a writer and a parent one gets quite comfortable with being behind on things, such as housework and grading.
I am dismayed, however, that by Day 5 of Write a Poem a Day I was already behind! However I caught up.
The problem was, I was too ambitious with poem 3, so I got tripped up....but I chose to write short and easy poems for 4 & 5 and thus was able to go back and finish 3, trying to just finish it and not make it awesome.
I love the assignment part of NaPoWrMo. It's pretty fun and once in a (great) while I come up with something I like. But even without that, I learn something. (Like what a Golden Shovel is. I wrote one last year and it's the form that tripped me up on Day 3! Lesson learned! Don't be so ambitious on Day 3! Listen to William Stafford: Lower your standards!)
In any case, Easter is going quite well so far, because I prepped the lamb last night so all I had to do was pop it in the oven (popped!). Then cut up potatoes and make some herb salt (too easy!).
Then later I will make some salad which is pretty easy, though not as easy as EASY. In any case, pretty easy.
Also, Son is back in the fold and though we are back (less than 24 hours!!) to our disagreements about the computer, I also took Son swimming this morning, which makes my heart swell, just a little. I had a heart to heart with him, in the pool, about the fate that is his a la genetics: whatever sport he chooses he will be good at it. So just choose already! He is smart so, of course, he wants to debate with me about the value of teamwork and working the body, etc., versus the mind. I am willing to engage in such debates, but ultimately I will make him do some kind of physical activity.
Well, this catches me up on one thing: blogging!
If you want to read my poems and also Hightouch's poems, they are at our old and now New Again! blog, the Poem a Day. (see blog roll on the right).
Peace Out, Tulips!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Wanderlust

As a result of many conversations today (about Hawaii, about Ireland, about Scotland, etc.), I now am in the thick of Wanderlust. But LO it is still many weeks until the end of the semester and even more weeks until we go to Hawaii. Alas!

(I am about to punch the internet in the throat because I've been looking for a story I think I saw on line only I can't remember where. Oh! The agony!)

In any case, there is this guy who walks from his home, in England I believe, and he sleeps outside much of the time and he thinks we all should do that as well.
I'm pretty sure he wrote a book and if I knew who he was or what the book was, I would tell you. In any case, I think I will do something of this nature this summer, try to take Son camping close to home, or perhaps in our backyard?

I must go now, so no pieces of technology lose their lives.