Archive for the ‘minnesota’ Category

After an early-morning spin through the mall with Shane’s mom, and a hearty breakfast with the rest of the family, Shane and I said our good-byes, hopped back in the car, cranked up the heater, and headed to Minneapolis for a quick city-fix before our flight back to Seattle on Saturday.

After checking into our lovely room at Graves 601, we made our way to the Walker Art Center – a museum designed by Herzog and de Meuron and filled with all kinds of contemporary art.  Much of the art was a bit too…’conceptually abstract’ for my taste (a continuous video loop of a tongue rolling marbles around inside of a mouth, for example), but the current exhibit on Yves Klein is crazy, crazy good.  I first became familiar with his work at the Pompidou in Paris and fell in love with his cobalt blue paintings and his innovative use of the human body as a paintbrush.  But this exhibit also contained several of his fire paintings, which were new to me and absolutely beautiful.

The museum itself was also a work of art, with its unique materiality and bold, cube-like forms.  Not my most favorite H&dM building of all-time, but still an interesting place to experience.

Post-museum, we spent some time strolling through the shopping district near our hotel.  We noticed that a crowd had begun to line both sides of the street outside of Macy’s, and decided to hang around for a bit when we heard that the big Christmas parade would be coming through downtown in just a couple of minutes.  As we stood there, shivering and cringing from the cold, we began to question whether the parade would be worth losing feeling in all of our limbs.  After the first rinky-dink float rolled past, we decided it wasn’t.  We took refuge from the cold in a nearby store – I don’t think I have ever seen Shane so willingly agree to shoe shopping.   Once we’d thawed out, we made our way back to the hotel (via an impressive series of inter-connected sky-walks, since it turns out you can traverse a good portion of downtown without ever having to go outside – Score!), and wined and dined ourselves at Cosmos, the super-chic restaurant inside our hotel.  With our bellies full of duck breast, crab cakes, and pork belly, we headed downstairs to the bar at Bradstreet Crafthouse for a couple of late-night cocktails.  We were given a cozy little table in the corner and enjoyed the chance to catch up with each other – we reflected on our time spent with Shane’s family, talked about the people and places we looked forward to seeing back in Seattle, and enjoyed the chance to be in our own little Kelly and Shane ‘bubble’ for awhile, where nothing mattered other than each other.

We had just a couple of hours to enjoy the city the next morning, and I had a grand ambitions of a photographic tour of Minneapolis, but instead decided it would be nicer (read: warmer) to linger over our breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, and then sit for awhile in a nearby coffee shop and sip hot tea.  Nothin’ wrong with that…

And so, our short-but-sweet 24 hours in Minneapolis came to an end.  I feel like I got just a taste of the city’s offerings and we look forward to getting back there sometime soon (but hopefully in the summer…).

Apparently time flies when you’re dozing on the couch – hard to believe that our few days with Shane’s family are nearly over.  Tomorrow we head down to Minneapolis for a night out on the town, and Saturday we return to Seattle.  We’ve had a perfectly relaxing week, catching up with family, catching up on our sleep, catching up on our caloric intake…  Shane logged some serious Lego-building hours with his nieces and nephew, I made progress in my quest through Harry Potter, and we saw plenty of lovely, freshly-fallen, puffy white SNOW.  Such a treat…  Our stay in Alexandria, in photos:

We celebrated Thanksgiving day with food and gifts and a little Thanksgiving play (complete with cat-masks), written and directed by Shane’s fabulously creative little niece.  It was a good day, the perfect culmination of a week that went by far too quickly.  Shane and I have much to be thankful for in the generosity, love, and hospitality of his family.  Shane’s dad remarked tonight how nice it was to see me feel at home here, and I really do – this cozy little house in rural Minnesota has become my home away from home.

And with that, I must sign off – my mother-in-law and I have a 5 a.m. shopping date in the morning, so I better get some shut-eye.  God’s blessings to you and yours.

Indeed, we are sitting at the airport as I type, waiting to board our plane to cold, snowy, cold (did I already say that?) Minnesota for a week with Shane’s family. This trip has become an annual tradition for us, and I’ve come to look forward it more and more each year. I love being in a house full of family, watching Shane play Legos with his nieces and nephew while the smell of roasted turkey wafts in from the kitchen. I love taking a ride down memory lane with Shane, as he takes me past all the places he used to get into trouble as a kid (yes, my gentle, law-abiding husband used to be the king of car crashes, stolen road signs, and toilet papered front yards). I love getting up pre-dawn with with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to hit the Door-Buster sales the day after Thanksgiving. And I especially love waking up to the sight of a freshly fallen blanket of snow, knowing that if I so please, I don’t have to do anything that day other than curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Cheers to time with family, to relaxation, and to my new fuzzy, warm hat. It’s going to be a very, very good week.

Yesterday was full of reminders that I truly have so much to be thankful for.  The sound of laughter coming from our nieces and nephew, the smell of fresh-baked apple pie, the coziness of a warm home, the beauty of sunlight sparkling on a lake, the joy of being surrounded by people that I have come to love as my very own family…  It was a good day, spent lounging around the house together, eating to the point of stuffed-ness, playing games, and laughing till our cheeks hurt.  Shane and I pulled ourselves out of our post-dinner food comas to take a drive and enjoy the sunshine, returning just in time to re-stuff ourselves with dessert.  Perfection.

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May we all count and share our blessings throughout the year to come.

I was thrilled to look out the window yesterday morning and see that the ground had been covered with a fluffy blanket of white snow overnight.  I grabbed my camera and rushed outside to snap a few pictures and take in the pristine-ness of it all.  There are few things more beautiful than snow topped branches.

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The rest of the day was lovely and low-key.  We spent the rest of the morning drinking coffee with Shane’s sister, picking up the last few things for the big Thanksgiving meal, and revisiting some of Shane’s favorite neighborhood spots.  This little park was the perfect place to snap a few more pictures of our white little wonderland.  I was sad to see that the snow was already disappearing (I suppose beauty really is fleeting), but I managed to get a couple of shots before I needed to hop back in the car and thaw my fingers in front of the heater.

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Shane and I had some time to kill last night before meeting up with a few of his friends for drinks, so we decided on a whim to check out the town’s bowling alley.  I was skeptical about how much fun it would be for just the two of us to bowl together, but after my third strike, I was having a blast, grinning ear to ear.  Yes, I came from behind and managed to crush Shane in our first game.

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I was not so lucky in game 2, and Shane will probably give me a hard time for not posting those scores here, but I never claimed to be a fair and balanced reporter…

We ended the evening with a few of Shane’s old high school buddies at the local wine bar/ale house.  It was fun to listen to them reminisce – I obviously didn’t know Shane in high school, so I am always eager to gather more of the bits and pieces of memories from this time in his life.

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Well, I’m off to prepare my first ever Thanksgiving apple pie – happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  God bless.

Yes, it’s been quiet here in blog-land lately…  My absence has been due to a general state of busy-ness, but with things that aren’t interesting enough to warrant a post.  Shane and I left Seattle for Minnesota yesterday and are enjoying a few days to relax and catch up with Shane’s family.  I slept in until 9:30 today, watched a couple of my favorite cooking shows, played Legos with my nieces and nephew, ate steak and potatoes…  It was a good day.  It’s not terribly cold here, but the landscape is definitely wintry, with bare-limbed trees and gray, misty mornings.  It’s nice to be cozied up indoors, savoring the blessings of family and a warm home.  Much to be thankful for.

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It feels good to be back in Seattle, but I am more and more coming to appreciate the small-town charms and natural beauty of rural Minnesota.  There are so many things that set it apart from city living.  For example, you don’t see signs like this at the sporting goods store in downtown Seattle:

Seriously, though, small-town living does have its charm.  It was strange to go to the mall with Shane’s mom and sister and see them run into at least 10 people that they knew.  It’s very rare that Shane and I run into people we know downtown, and never do we run into anyone that we’ve known for the last 20 years.  Traffic seems non-existent, people are friendly, and there is something very sustainable about filling your freezer with the fruits of your hunting and fishing expeditions (although I don’t think I’ll ever be much of a hunter, I can appreciate this form of “living off the land”).  And the scenery is beautiful.  The golden fields of corn and wheat are lovely in their sparseness, and it seems you can’t drive more than a mile without coming across a lake.  I loved hopping in the car with Shane and going for destination-less drives, just enjoying the countryside.

I’d say my heart still belongs to the city, but this is a perfect place to get away, relax, and enjoy time with family.