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Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota

You Know You’re a Minnesotan When

November 7, 2017
You know you're a Minnesotan when

As a lifelong Minnesotan (except for those years I lived in Washington, Wisconsin, Texas and Colorado) I am always amazed at how different we are from the rest of the country. Okay, we probably aren’t that different, we just have different regional tastes and traditions. Still, as Minnesota has made it’s way into the vernacular thanks most to movies like Grumpy Old Men, Fargo and The Mighty Ducks, there are some things about us that people from other states just don’t understand.

You know you’re a Minnesotan when:

  1. Pop
  2. No matter what the temperature is outside, you don’t turn the heat on until November 1st.
  3. You know how to pronounce Wayzata, Shakopee, Edina, Owatonna, Faribault, Mahtomedi.
  4. It’s just easier to say you’re from Minneapolis than explain that St. Paul isn’t some little Podunk town.
  5. You’ve given up telling people that Fargo is not in Minnesota.
  6. 2 feet of snow is needed to close the schools.
  7. You prefer Caribou over Starbucks.
  8. Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
  9. The Polar Plunge means cutting a hole in the ice on a lake and jumping in, not just walking into an unfrozen lake in the winter.
  10. Juicy Lucy
  11. You know that Minnesota Nice is just a nice way of saying we’re passive/aggressive.
  12. You hope that summer falls on a weekend this year.
  13. You’ve had Lutefisk and even know some old guy who likes it.
  14. You’ve been to and eaten booya.
  15. The Weather Channel (or WCCO) is always on because blizzards, wind chill factor and tornadoes.
  16. Your urge to pee before putting on a winter coat is hardwired in, even if you don’t have to go.
  17. Winter boots are functional.
  18. You don’t fire up the snow blower unless there’s at least a foot of snow. The shovel is sufficient.
  19. The Zipper Merge is the scourge of at least two generations of drivers.
  20. Iowa = I Owe the World an Apology or something Prince screamed during his songs.
  21. You have a Prince story.
  22. You have a Joe Mauer story.
  23. You have a Garrison Keillor story.
  24. Target Runs originated here.
  25. While everyone else is excited about fall because of Pumpkin Spice everything you’re super excited that Lefse will be abundant in every grocery store.
  26. The friends you made in kindergarten are the friends you have now.
  27. Everyone has a cabin, and usually it’s Up North.
  28. You know how many lakes there really are.
  29. Ending sentences in prepositions is perfectly acceptable – “Where are you at?”
  30. The Vikings suck, but dammit they’re your team.
Events Minnesota People

LANDMARKS TO TURN PURPLE IN HONOR OF PRINCE

April 17, 2017
Paisley Park logo

MINNEAPOLIS LANDMARKS TO TURN PURPLE

IN HONOR OF PRINCE AND

PAISLEY PARK’S CELEBRATION 2017 EVENT

 

Paisley Park Encourages Cities, Landmarks and Fans

Around the World to Join in the Purple Tribute

 

Chanhassen, Minn. (April 17, 2017) – As the world marks the first anniversary of Prince’s passing, Minneapolis landmarks will join Paisley Park in celebrating the life and legacy of Prince by turning purple on Thursday, April 20 and/or Friday, April 21.  Starting on Thursday, April 20, Paisley Park will welcome fans from around the world to Celebration 2017 to enjoy four days of live music, panel discussions and special presentations highlighting Prince’s tremendous talent, influence and importance as a composer, musician, producer, live performer and filmmaker.  

Buildings and landmarks scheduled to turn purple include the I-35W Bridge, Hennepin County Lowry Avenue Bridge, U.S. Bank Stadium,IDS Center, and Target Field.  Paisley Park encourages cities and landmarks around the world to join in this purple tribute by lighting buildings, bridges, and landmarks purple on April 20 and April 21!  Fans are also encouraged to wear purple on April 21 and upload pictures to social media using #PaisleyPark.

Tickets to Celebration 2017 are nearly sold out, with limited general admission still available. Fans interested in attending are encouraged to visit OfficialPaisleyPark.com now to secure remaining tickets while the supply lasts. Attendees to Celebration 2017 can access special promotional rates at hotels surrounding Chanhassen. Full details and promotion codes are available at OfficialPaisleyPark.com.  

The Prince4Ever Tribute Fence, built in the interior grounds of Paisley Park along the grass adjacent to the north parking lot, now displays archived fan-donated memorial messages and artifacts originally attached to the exterior perimeter fence in the weeks following Prince’s passing last year. Visitors who have purchased tickets to Celebration 2017 and scheduled tours throughout April will also have the opportunity to view the Prince4Ever fence and add personal tribute messages as part of their overall Paisley Park tour experience. 

​​​

ABOUT PRINCE

Prince sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven GRAMMY® Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award® for the film “Purple Rain,” all of which are displayed at Paisley Park. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year of his eligibility. Prince was born in Minneapolis and resided in the Minneapolis area throughout his life

ABOUT PAISLEY PARK

Paisley Park, Prince’s private estate and production compound in Chanhassen offers fans of the late music icon the unprecedented opportunity to tour the legendary, 65,000-square-foot complex that served as the center of Prince’s creative universe.  Operated by P Park Management, guided tours take visitors throughout the extensive main floor of Paisley Park, including recording and mixing studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits, exhibit spaces that chronicle films such as Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, Prince’s private NPG Music Club, and a massive soundstage and concert hall where Prince rehearsed for concert tours and held exclusive, private events and performances.  The tour also features thousands of artifacts from Prince’s personal archives, including iconic concert wardrobe, awards, musical instruments and concert memorabilia.  

 

Paisley Park is located at 7801 Audubon Road, Chanhassen, Minnesota, approximately 30 minutes outside of Minneapolis. For more information about Paisley Park, visit OfficialPaisleyPark.com.

Paisley Park online:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/OfficialPaisleyPark

Instagram – www.instagram.com/officialpaisleypark

Twitter – http://twitter.com/paisleypark

#Celebration2017 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do How Did We Survive? Minnesota Things I Really Like Writing

A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

January 28, 2017
A little song a little dance a little seltzer down your pants

This past week Mary Tyler Moore passed away. The first thing that popped into my head, upon learning of her passing, was “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”. That was the phrase from the eulogy of Chuckles the Clown that got Mary giggling during his funeral. If you’ve never seen it, you can see the scene here, it’s hilarious even without the context.

A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

I grew up watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Maude, Rhoda, Carol Burnett and all those other fantastic shows of the 70s. I was young, 9 or 10 but I knew instinctively that the writing on all of these shows was phenomenal. It never occurred to me that I could write for a sitcom, but I learned a lot about timing and telling a joke from these shows.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a show my whole family watched together. Do families even do that anymore? With so many ways to consume television I think the experience has been lost.

When I was a kid the TV was commonly referred to as the Boob Tube. Parents, teachers, scholars, doctors, etc… all believed it was rotting the minds of our children. And it probably was. I know I spent a fair amount of time watching TV. From After School Specials, Saturday morning cartoons, and finally the Saturday night lineup on CBS, I probably clocked in a good 25 to 30 hours a week. I’d have logged more if we had another TV. 

Mary as a trail blazing woman didn’t impact me much. Most of the shows back then had strong female characters who didn’t take any bullshit. They were smart and self sufficient and didn’t expect anyone to take care of them. For me, that’s just the way women were. 

I was more impacted by Mary as a Minnesotan and made the trek to the IDS Center when I was about 14. A couple of friends and I took the bus to Minneapolis to hang out and ride the infamous escalator. Yeah, at 14 we just got on a bus to visit another city – unaccompanied by an adult. Do kids do that today?

Because my mother was pretty much confined to the living room couch, or what we eventually called “The Judy Room”, most of my family memories took place in front of the TV. The characters on these shows were family. 

Mary, Mr Grant, Ted, Murray, Rhoda, Bob, Carol, Maude, Archie, Edith, George and Weezie – all of them had an impact on my upbringing, but it was sitting around with my family, sharing the experience of these shows, that will stay with me forever and fondly.

So thank you Mary, and everyone else, for being part of my family.

A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants!

 

Food Minnesota Minnesota Nice Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

January 10, 2017
Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

This recipe, Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto, is a variation of the Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish. Like all great flukes it happened because I didn’t read the recipe carefully and ended up with way too much liquid so I had to find a way to make it less soggy. I had a bag of Alessi Risotto with Mushrooms so I quickly cooked it up and added it to the mixture. 

You’ll notice I said mixture. Oops. Another mistake. I mixed all of the ingredients instead of layering them. 

Even though I am an authentic Minnesotan, I did not grow up on Tater Tot Hot Dish. I did date a guy whose mom made it (and he raved about) but that was as close to it as I got until I made it last year.

OMG it is delicious! And it’s perfect for cold weather. I have not tried it in the InstantPot because I just don’t think the Tater Tots would do well in it. They really need to get crisped up in the oven.

You can see the original recipe here.

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 lb ground beef, browned

2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 can vegetables (I used corn and peas because I didn’t have two cans of either one of them)

1 packaged prepared Alessi risotto with mushrooms, or any packaged rice with mushrooms

While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.

In a mixing bowl combine soup, ground beef, drained vegetables and risotto. Mix well. Place mixture in baking dish or casserole.

Arrange tater tots on top of mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.

That’s it! This is a great hot dish for a winter day when you have to go out and shovel snow. Goes well with any boxed white wine.

Advice Minnesota People Things that piss me off Winter

How to Drive in Snow

January 9, 2017
How to drive in snow

Now more than ever it’s important to learn how to drive in snow. This past weekend a good chunk of the nation received several inches, if not feet, of snow. In fact, 49 of 5o states have been affected by this massive storm. Not every state is covered in snow, but there are many places that don’t normally see snow who are now forced to navigate it. As a Minnesotan, and a blogger, I am happy to share with you my tips for how to drive in snow.

How to Drive in Snow

Go Slow – Whether it’s an inch or a foot of the white stuff it doesn’t matter – traffic is going to grind to a halt. You aren’t going to get there fast so embrace the snow and go slowly. Driving in snow isn’t that difficult, it’s the ice underneath it that makes it so challenging and dangerous. Take your time and give the car in front of you plenty of space. 

Stay Back – I’ll say it again, the ice under the snow is the issue. Give the car in front of you plenty of space. If they slam on the brakes and you’re riding their ass guess who’s going to be at fault? You are. You could also be dead or cause their death. Don’t risk it. Stay back and stay alive. Same goes for staying back behind snow plows. 

Brush off your Vehicle – This should go without saying, but people just don’t seem to get this. Don’t just brush off your windshield, brush off the roof of your vehicle as well. There’s nothing more terrifying than driving behind a car or SUV when all of the sudden a sheet of snow and ice flies off the roof of their car and lands on yours. Be courteous and brush off your whole vehicle.

Parking – Don’t block the sidewalk! This should be obvious, if you park in front of the sidewalk you force those who use the sidewalk to walk on the grass or the snow covered grass. My neighbor has lived in Minnesota her whole life and yet she always parks in front of my sidewalk. I don’t get it, but it’s one of those things that infuriates people so don’t do it. Park between the sidewalks that lead to the street. 

Emergency Kit – Be sure to keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include a blanket, matches, flares, some extra clothing, hand warmers, granola bars, and a flashlight with fresh batteries. Make sure you have plenty of gas and windshield washer fluid. 

Pedestrians – If you’re walking in snowy conditions please don’t dash out into traffic to cross the street. Yes, this is a thing. In my area pedestrians like to prove that they have the right of way by running out into traffic causing drivers to slam on the brakes if they see them. Sadly, they don’t always see pedestrians soon enough and hit them. Even when they do see the pedestrians, it can be really difficult to stop due to ice and snow on the road – and the fact that most vehicles weigh a lot more than pedestrians. Yes, you have the right of way, but that doesn’t matter that much when you’re dead.

Blogging Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like Winter

Ice Castles in Stillwater

January 6, 2017
Ice Castles in Stillwater

One of the greatest thing about being a Minnesota Blogger is that I get invited to some pretty cool events. Last night I was lucky enough to attend a preview of Ice Castles in Stillwater, MN. It was a beautifully clear night out because it was -1°F, the windchill was -24°F. Trust me when I say it was cold. It might not be on your list of things to do in Minnesota – to visit a giant ice sculpture when it’s that cold, but that’s what I did.  

And you should too. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Ice Castles in Stillwater

The Ice Castles in Stillwater are made with a combination of hand placed icicles and running water. The people who build these magical ice structures place around 15,000 icicles by hand as they grow the ice around them using running water.

I believe this is the first year Ice Castles has been in Stillwater, MN. It’s been at the Mall of America in Bloomington before and Eden Prairie before this. Stillwater is a great place for Ice Castles. Not only is there ample free parking, but it’s such a picturesque town, something special like Ice Castles fits right in.

Controversy

You’d think something as lovely and beautiful as these ice sculptures wouldn’t have any controversy around them but you’d be wrong. Evidently there are some people who are upset that the ice structures are named Ice Castles, they argue they should be called Ice Stalagmites and Stalactites because of the way they are created. That may be so, but it’s silly to get worked up over something so petty. 

However, Ice Castles are not to be confused with the ice castles created for the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Those structure are build out of blocks of ice, not grown using running water. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

They’re Beautiful

It doesn’t really matter how Ice Castles was formed, they’re beautiful. I toured the structure at night so the various ice walls and fountains were lit up in a stunning display of blue, red, orange, and green. I would have loved to have stayed longer to really get a good look at the way the ice was formed, it was really cool. It was also really cold and difficult to stay for too long. 

Things to Know

The floor of the Ice Castle is chopped ice/snow. This is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Walking in the inches deep ice/snow was slightly challenging in big old lunky boots. Pets are not allowed. It is cold inside the structure, it might even be colder than outside – you know, because you’re inside a ice. There might be some science about it one way or the other but at -24°F windchill, it really doesn’t matter. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Dress Warm

I wore fleece tights under jeans and my legs still felt as if they had frozen. I wore boots rated to -30° and my feet were just fine. Tennies or any other kind of shoe is not going to be comfortable or easy to navigate through the ice/snow floor. Wear warm boots that have some grip to them. Mittens, hat, ear muffs and a scarf or ski mask to cover your face is completely appropriate. 

Tickets

Buy your tickets online, you’ll save a ton of cash. Click here to purchase tickets. And click here to learn more about the ice structures and how they’re made.

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Make a Day of it

Stillwater is a lovely town. If you plan on visiting Ice Castles make a day of it and have yourself an adventure. There are whimsical shops to visit and some great restaurants all within walking distance of Ice Castles. 

Blogging Events Minnesota Minnesota Nice People

Movies You’ll Want To See: 20th Century Women

January 4, 2017
Movies You'll Want To See: 20th Century Women

File this under Movies You’ll Want To See: 20th Century Women. As a Minnesota blogger and influencer (yeah, I cringed just a little when I typed that last word) I get advance screening tickets to some pretty great movies including Moana, that last Star Wars movie and now 20th Century Women.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this movie before I got the invite and I was hesitant pass on the info because the title doesn’t really do much for me. It doesn’t give me enough info about the movie which makes me suspect it’s trying to hide something.

That’s silly on my part because it has Annette Bening in it. 20th Century Women also has Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup in it. Also, it takes place in 1979 which is when my story, Minnesota Nice, begins. 

As a single mom to a son, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to relate to this story. The few minutes I saw of the trailer made it clear this is one of those movies that gets under your skin and stays with you for a while. I’m looking forward to seeing it next week.

If you’re in the Twin Cities and would like to attend an advance screening of 20TH CENTURY WOMEN  starring Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig & Elle Fanning  on Thursday, January 12 at 7pm at Landmark Lagoon, then download a FREE pair of passes by clicking on the link below (while supplies last). Please be advised that this screening is overbooked to ensure a full house. Seating is first come, first served, so arrive early to guarantee a seat!

Link to download passes: http://www.gofobo.com/qbVrn81486

Minnesota Winter

Things to do this January in Minnesota

January 3, 2017
January in Minnesota

If you like the cold, then you probably love these things to do this January in Minnesota. It’s cold, like really cold. Like so cold people who have never lived here really don’t understand how cold it can get. Currently it is 10° F. That’s cold, but it’s going to get even colder.

Thursday it’s forecasted to be -5°F, and being a Minnesota Blogger, I’m scheduled to be outside getting a sneak peak of Ice Castles in Stillwater. Don’t get me wrong, it is a spectacular thing to see with all those stalagmites, or maybe it’s stalactites, of ice inside caves of ice. Whichever it is, it’s a lot of ice. 

cute pit bull dog wrapped in blankets

Anyway, if you like the cold, there’s plenty to do in January in Minnesota. January is the month we hardy folk thumb our nose at Winter and instead of curling up on the couch with a good book and some cocoa, head outside to prove, once again, that we are no wusses.

There is all kinds of merriment, debauchery (as much as a Minnesotan can debauche) and excitement as it becomes time for the St. Paul Winter Carnival once again. But yeah, it’s cold. For those who are determined and can layer properly, there is the great treasure hunt put on by the Pioneer Press. Buy a button, get a subscription to the paper and try your hand at figuring out the clues (Hint: It’s usually in Como Park). 

Looking for other fun winter things to do in the Twin Cities? Then check out all of these great activities.

Things to do this January in Minnesota

Polar Dash
When: January 1st, 2017
Where: Harriet Island Pavilion
St. Paul, MN

Both the 10K and the Half Marathon are chip-timed races on a USATF-certified course that takes runners along the Mississippi River.  See Course Information here.  All runners get their Polar Dash fleece as well as a finisher’s medal.  Click here to see the Great Gear! Once you complete this race we’ll have Hot Chocolate waiting for you at the finish line!

Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light
When: Now through January 8th, 2017
Where: American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light at the American Swedish Institute is an exhibition on display November 12, 2016–January 8, 2017 that annually showcases Nordic and other holiday traditions through decorated rooms in the historic Turnblad Mansion. The rooms are designed by groups from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway to reflect their own distinctive customs. This year, as part of Celebrations of Light, the ASI has partnered with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas for a space to honor Hanukkah.

Gridiron Glory
When: Now through January 15th, 2017
Where: Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN

Celebrate America’s gridiron history with this major traveling exhibit produced by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. See over 200 rare pro football artifacts, photos and more. Thrill to the dynasties, the pioneers and the champions through state-of-the-art audio/visual.

Bruce Munro: Winter Light
When: Now through April 9th, 2017
Where: MN Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will glow after dark this winter when it hosts the stunning evening exhibition Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum from Nov.12 through April 9, 2017.

Munro’s work has been displayed internationally, from the Guggenheim Museum in New York to Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, UK. He will unveil three new works at the Arboretum exhibition, which is his 12th in the U.S. and the most Northern U.S. show, which is currently being installed on the Arboretum grounds.

St. Paul Winter Carnival
When: January 26th – February5th, 2017
Where: Various locations in St. Paul

Join us for the 131st Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the “Coolest Celebration on Earth™” since 1886! It continues to bring family-friendly events and community pride to Saint Paul and the Twin Cities metro area. The Saint Paul Heritage and Festival Foundation manages and produces the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Ice Castles Stillwater
When: January
Where: Lowell Park
201 Water Street N.
Stillwater, MN

Imagine a magical collision of the Apostle Island ice caves, frozen waterfalls, and glaciers — formed into towering organic archways, tunnels, and more!

Crashed Ice St. Paul
When: February 3rd – 5th, 2017
Where: Cathedral of St. Paul
239 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, MN

For the past three freezing-cold winters, Saint Paul has hosted the ice cross downhill competition, with a huge crowd of more than 100,000 people converging under the gaze of the imposing Cathedral of Saint Paul to witness the high-speed action that features skaters competing in four-man heats in a race to the bottom of a long ice track full of obstacles. The sport appeals to what Americans like most in sports – a physically challenging, rough, tough sport coupled with high-speed action and agility. Americans have done surprisingly well as neophytes in their first few years in the 15-year-old sport, despite having far less experience than established nations like Canada, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

The Great Northern
When: January 26th – February 5th, 2017
Where: Various Twin Cities Locations

Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s premier winter events have joined forces to celebrate the best of the season together. The Great Northern is here to showcase The North at its wintry best.

Includes the St. Paul Winter Carnival, Pond Hockey Championships and Loppet Ski Festival.

US Pond Hockey Championships
When: January 26th – 29th, 2017
Where: Lake Nokomis
Minneapolis, MN

The 12th annual Labatt Blue U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (USPHC) will once again bring hockey the way nature intended it to Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis, MN, January 26-29. The event brings thousands of players and fans together for an incredible weekend of fun and fierce competition.

Blogging Books Dumb Shit I Do Events Food Kids Minnesota Minnesota Nice People Pets politics Recipes Reviews Things I Really Like Things that piss me off Writing

Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

December 31, 2016
Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

For your reading pleasure I’ve put together my sometimes annual Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup. Every other media outlet does a roundup so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do one too!

I’m actually surprised I wrote enough this year for a roundup. In fact, I actually wrote and published 60 posts this year, which is my third time high since I started blogging in 2007. It’s twice as much as I wrote last year.

There were basically 4 categories this year, the election, my mother, recipes, and Prince, and an outlier about Dini the cat. It’s a long post, and most didn’t bother to read it, but it’s one that harkens back to my early days of blogging, when I just told a story and enjoyed the journey.

No One Ever Said There Would Be This Much Cat Vomit

Blog Posts about the Election

I really didn’t think he’d win, and I might watch too much Walking Dead.

How to Survive the Trumpacolypse

How to Prepare for the Post Election Apocalypse

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!

Blog Posts about my Relationship with My Mother

My relationship with my mother is difficult at best, but it isn’t unique. I also posted a story from my book, Minnesota Nice. 

Life Isn’t Fair

I Made my Mother Cry… Again

Do You Know your ACE Score?

Recipes

I cook a lot this year, mostly because I got an Instant Pot – the most awesome thing ever!

Shrimp Alfredo in 7 Minutes

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Hot Dish Instant Pot Recipe

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish Recipe – Seriously, if you try a new dish in 2017, make it the MN Tater Tot Hotdish, you won’t be sorry. 

Best and Worst in Books and Movies and Blogs

I saw and reviewed several movies this year, they aren’t worth sharing here except for one exceptionally horrible movie I really hoped would be awesome. It wasn’t.

Independence Day Resurgence Review

Life Changing Books

Bloggers who Blog

Prince and Jacob

2016 was a year of loss, but these two are still difficult for me to reckon with. 

Summer in Minnesota 2016: We Lost Prince and Found Jacob

On the Passing of Prince, from a Minnesotan

Events Minnesota Things I Really Like Winter

Family Friendly Things to do in the Twin Cities this December

December 5, 2016
Family friendly things to do in the Twin Cities this December

If you’re looking for family friendly things to do in the Twin Cities this December look no further than all these great events taking place this month. There’s really something for the whole family to enjoy this December. Head on down to the Landmark Center in Downtown St. Paul and get your skate on at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate arena. If you’d rather take a less physical approach to the season then put on some warm clothes and head out to the Holidazzle taking place now through December 23rd.

It’s a busy month with family and friends, parties and commitments, and let’s not forget shopping, just be sure to take some time to enjoy all that this wonderful season has to offer.

Family Friendly Things to do in the Twin Cities this December

Holidazzle
When: Now through December 23rd
Where: Loring Park
Minneapolis, MN

As downtown Minneapolis’ premier holiday celebration, Holidazzle has delighted residents, visitors and downtown employees for years. Now, in 2016, this tradition is bringing family-friendly programming to Loring Park completely free.

Rice Park Powered by Xcel Energy
When: Now through December 23rd
Where: Rice Park
St. Paul, MN

Make downtown Saint Paul your family holiday destination and enjoy the beauty of Rice Park as it sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights! The festive tree will be up through January 1, 2017. The other lights will stay up and illuminate the park through the end of the Winter Carnival.

Wells Fargo WinterSkate
When: Now through February 5th
Where: Landmark Cetner
St. Paul, MN

Skaters are invited to experience the unique urban setting of downtown Saint Paul. Located in the heart of the city, Wells Fargo WinterSkate creates a fun, winter experience for visitors of all ages. The historic Landmark Center creates a beautiful backdrop for the outdoor rink, showcasing Saint Paul’s charming European architecture and old-world ambiance.

Christmas at FlyOver America
When: Now through January 2nd
Where: Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
60 E. Broadway
Bloomington, MN

FlyOver America will transform into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Guests will have fun helping Santa search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across America and onto the North Pole.

St. Paul European Christmas Market
When: December 1st – 4th, December 8th – 11th, 2016
Where: Union Depot
240 E. Kellogg Blvd
St. Paul, MN

The European Christmas Market in St. Paul is based on the traditional, charming, and festive open air Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season. Shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), and taste European inspired food and delicacies during the first two weekends in December.

Black Nativity
When: December 1st – 23rd, 2016
Where: Penumbra Theatre
270 N. Kent St.
St. Paul, MN

This is a timeless holiday tradition treasured across the Twin Cities! Today, kids who grew up with Black Nativity are returning with their own families. Under the direction of Lou Bellamy and the musical direction of Sanford Moore, our homegrown Christmas show returns featuring exceptional lead vocalists, the outstanding Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir, and the stirring choreography of Uri Sands of TU Dance. Join us for an experience full of joy, community, and spirit.

Summit Avenue Artisan Festival
When: December 3rd, 3026
Where: St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
900 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN

Join St. Paul’s United Church of Christ as we celebrate the season with our community. We are a proud Saint Paul Grand Meander event! Shop handcrafted jewelry, pottery, food items and more from our 30 local artisans. Take a photo with St. Nicholas! Enjoy a cup of Fair Trade coffee or tea and specialty Christmas items at our bake sale!

Grand Meander
When: December 3rd, 2016
Where: Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN

Grand Meander is a St. Paul tradition that captures the charm of historic Grand Avenue and the cozy communal spirit of the holidays! Pick out your Christmas tree, have breakfast with Santa, hear carolers meander from store to store, and hop on a classic trolley and ride the 20-block length of Grand Avenue.

Minnesota Zoo Santa Saturdays
When: December 3rd, 10th, 17th
Where: Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN

December is a great time to visit the Minnesota Zoo. If you’re looking for that perfect holiday photo, bring your family and camera to the Zoo on Saturday, December 3, 10, and 17 and meet Santa. He’ll be available for photos from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
When: December 9th – 11th, 2016
Where: Northrup at the University of Minnesota
84 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN

Cirque Dreams lights up the 2016 holiday season with its critically acclaimed holiday stage extravaganza, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a new cirque show, Broadway musical, and family Christmas spectacular all in one! Hailed by The New York Daily News as a “delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleighload & so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil!”

Winter Solstice Celebration
When: December 18th, 2016
Where: Lake Hiawatha Recreation Center
2701 East 44th St.
Minneapolis, MN

Let’s welcome the return of light! Nourish your heart’s longing for renewal by tapping into the seed of potential that begins every year. This contemplative, participatory and embodied evening enters the fertile embrace of darkness as the starting point for new life. Individually and collectively it is an opportunity to shed what diminishes us. The community experience of music, meditation, and movement helps us tap into a deeper experience of connection. We gather on the solstice to remember our interconnection and access a wellspring of life that is ultimately joyful and liberating.

Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum
When: Now through December 31st, 2016
Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN

Winter Light At The Arboretum, the first large-scale light installation at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, will illuminate the winter landscape after dark.  This ticketed exhibit makes its Minnesota premiere with a series of five outdoor and two indoor installations that have inspiration and connection to Munro’s visits to the Arboretum, his imagination and life experience.

Gingerbread Wonderland at Norway House
When: Now through January 8th, 2017
Where: Norway House
913 East Franklin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

The holiday tradition of gingerbread houses, called pepperkake in Norway, has crossed the sea to Norway House. Create a special piece to display – a local Twin Cities landmark or inspired structure – or just come to admire, as dozens of creations are on exhibit for this multi-generational, magically festive event. Invite family and friends to join you in baking an exhibit piece, or spark a friendly competition for bragging rights. A winning entry will be selected by professional bakers, and a “People’s Choice” award will honor the structure most admired by attendees. Gingerbread Wonderland also includes special displays from renowned local bakers.

Night Trains
When: Now through February 25th, 2017
Where: Twin City Model Railroad Museum
668 Transfer Road, Suite 8
St. Paul, MN

Night Trains Season comes to museum layouts in a magical way, the lights are turned down, the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of vintage passenger trains. The make believe town of Matlin is buried in a blizzard, and throughout the Museum the layouts are adorned with miniature Christmas lights and decorations.

#NaBloPoMo Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like

The Murder Mystery Company: Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

November 22, 2016
Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

I was recently invited to a production of The Murder Mystery Company Totally 80s Totally Murder to review . The show took place at a Stillwater Knights of Columbus and people came from as far as Hastings, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Crystal and Hopkins. If you’re not from around the Twin Cities, that’s quite a hike for a Minnesotan to make on a Saturday in November. The place was packed, since the show had been sold out. I went with Leigh, my partner in most crimes, and even though she was on time I was late. Sadly, we skipped the offer of getting our picture taken when we walked in. It was my fault, I turned down the offer, and I really regret that I did. It would have been a lot of fun to have a picture of Leigh and myself dressed up in our best 80s outfits.

Let me back up a bit. The show we saw was Totally 80s Totally Murder. In a nutshell the show was about some of our favorite 80s icons. The audience was encouraged to dress in their best 80s fashion and OMG that was fun.

For me it was easy, I came of age in the 80s. I wore every fad fashion that came along during that glorious time. From headbands, crimped hair, bangles, bandanas tied around my ankle, to pink and purple make up, and especially Big Hair, I did it all. I lived in a ripped sweatshirt turned inside out and let’s not forget about the leg warmers and shoulder pads. I had it all. And because I like to hang on to things I will never wear again I still had most of it.

Leigh on the other hand, was born in the 80s so she had to fake it for the most part. She looked more like Madonna than Madonna ever did in the 80s. And she managed to crimp her hair without a hair crimper!

Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

As I said, we got there a little late. The tickets clearly state to arrive 20 minutes before the show starts, we got there about 10 minutes after the show started. I suspect we missed some directions. We were immediately seated with an incredibly enthusiastic table of women ranging in age from 28 to 60. Everyone was super excited, pumped up and dressed in their best 80s outfits.

I have to say, getting ready for this event was more fun than I have had in ages. I can’t remember the last time I wore so much makeup, and it was awesome!

If you follow me on Facebook, you can see all of my tweets with pictures as I was getting ready.

We were seated as a couple of the actors were talking to each other in the front of the room, they were arguing about something though I am not sure what it was. Coming into it a little late it was still possible to catch up. There were a few main characters – Poison – a rocker and our host who has an unnecessary almost cockney accent, Pat Minotaur – a rocker who only wants to rock and roll all night (and who has an amazing voice), Cindy – you know the kind, she just wants to have fun, Johnny – the victim and Detective P Nes. In addition to these main characters, participants from the audience played along too.

At our table the participant was Trish Hughes, a super model from the 80s who also happened to be the love interest of some of the 80s. Of course it was the 80s and everyone was sleeping with everyone else. Sadly the person who was chosen to play the super model quit about 10 minutes in which sort of confused the members of the audience who were supposed to ask her questions for clues to solve the mystery.

I’ve never been to one of these murder mystery dinner theaters before but those at my table had and they all said it was done a little differently here. That there was much more audience involvement at this version.

We were given a book with some basic info about the character at our table, she did not know if she was the murderer. Neither did the other participants. We were also given a wad of fake money with some questions written on them. The idea that we were supposed to go from table to table asking questions of the other participants (who did not know if they were the murdered) and actors. It was a bit confusing and most people didn’t bother asking questions. Instead they talked about how crazy everyone looked in their great get ups. Oh, and they went to the bar for drinks.

I forgot to mention, this was all happening over a three course meal, which was surprisingly good for a Knights of Columbus.

Each table was to submit their best educated guess about who murdered Johnny and why. Our table came in dead last, which was pretty hilarious. Our guess? In the kitchen with the rope by Ms Scarlet.

I’m not usually one for participating in anything, but this was a lot of fun. It was something completely different to do on a Saturday night and it was a great way to meet a ton of new people. People who all have a great sense of humor in their mullets, spandex and hair spray.

Even if participatory dinner theater isn’t your thing, you really should give this a try, it was such a fun experience and so much better than going to the movies or hanging out at the neighborhood bar.