This Bodum Travel Press

So gerg bought a Bodum travel press for me for the holiday season...I know the travel presses have been around for awhile (we've always had the standard french press for coffee), but I won't mask how thrilled I am about this little travel press just because I've discovered it late. Better than never!!

Bodum Travel Press!!

I've been using it for tea more than coffee, I admit.

gerg scooped up some mango green tea from Clicquot Club Cafe, which I've been sipping for a week or so...I toss a tablespoon of loose tea or coffee grounds in the cup, add the hot water, and have instant fresh pressed tea or coffee.

It holds 12 oz, and the double walled action provides fairly adequate insulation - the stainless varietal surely keeps it hotter longer (that's not a huge concern for me). The neato drinking lid has a cool flippy thingy that prevent spills. It fits in the cupholder in my car and it's dishwasher safe.

Great gift!

These Boots Were Made for...EVERYTHING!

I bought these boots by Report that I absolutely ADORE.

I've been rokking them for more than a year now, and they ain't going anywhere, my friends.

I'm rokking them in this photo where I'm giving it my all in order to hail a taxi outside the Gay 90s at bartime. The cabbie loved us; he got out of his car and gave us hugs when we arrived.

As I was polishing them last night to prepare for our week-long trip to Wisconsin, I realized, yet again, how much I love these boots, and thought about all the places they've been!

They've travelled with me routinely for the past year, even when I had to wear them to the airport cuz they wouldn't fit in my bag. I simply couldn't travel without them. Once, some dude at the airport said, "Not the best shoes for the airport," as I was lacing them up after security. I snapped, "I wouldn't travel without them."

They got worn out this summer, and I was blue. One of the heels had worn down. I took them to George's Skate and Shoe Repair to have the heel replaced. The cobbler lamented, "the heel won't look identical to the other heel." Said I, "I don't care, as long as it's close. I have to have these boots."

Two days later I go back to pick up my boots. I'm not kidding you when I say they looked better than when I bought them new!! The folks at George's were brilliant enough to shave down the other heel to the same height as the worn down heel, and then built up both heels with identical materials. They lacquered and polished them until they sparkled, heel to toe. The suede was treated to remove all the salt and other crap from bars, zoos, trains, planes, etc. - all for a VERY reasonable price. I was so shocked by the price, I gave the tattoo guy who worked on my boots a $10 tip. And then he said something I will never forget, "These are great boots!"

George's Shoe and Skate Repair
672 1/2 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105
(651) 227-8258

Playboy knows more than Private Parts

photo grabbed from here.

Big ups to First Ave for being named one of Playboys' 10 Best Rock Clubs in America!

Thus sayeth Playboy:
"This former Greyhound bus depot has endured numerous name changes, shifts in ownership and even a bankruptcy since holding its first concert in 1970. But its permanent place on the historic register of American rock clubs has never been in doubt. This place is a temple to Minneapolis rock, and not just because the spacious, circular room and stellar views make good shows seem transcendent. It's been a testing ground and steady supporter since the '80s, when locals like the Replacements, Hüsker Dü and Prince became national stars. Twenty years later, the club hasn't atrophied. The Entry Stage is just that for today's younger, inexperienced bands. And many current Minnesota acts -- like the Hold Steady, Tapes 'n Tapes and the rappers on powerhouse label Rhymesayers -- rose through the ranks via some well-received shows at First Ave."

My first show at First Ave was shortly after I moved here. I saw Built to Spill. I walked around the venue before the show started and thought of Purple Rain. I had heard "First Ave" so frequently, that the place had a kind of mythic reputation for me. Things I really love about First Ave (aside from the killer acts): giant bottles of beer, intimacy, hanging out in front with the smokers, the neato stars painted on the building.

My Material Belongs in Reader's Digest

According to this, Reetsyburger's Refuge requires that its readers obtain about 8 years of schooling in order to comprehend it. My fog index number (8) is equivalent to Reader's Digests', and slightly less than most common novels'. They use algorithms to determine this crap. Sweet!

Other facts:
Tragically, about 9.28% of my blog has 3 or more syllables.

Reetsyburger's Refuge is a good read, apparently. Authors are encouraged to aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70 for the Flesch Reading Ease readability test. Reetsyburger's Refuge comes in at 74.86.

Overall, I'd like to improve. Government coverup documents come in at around 30 on the Fog Index. That's totally where I want to head with this blog! Coverups!

Anywho, algorithms are cool, but the word always reminds me of the one and only final exam I had to retake in highschool.

This is the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) test equation.
Ouch! My noggin!

Imogen Heap and the Holidaze...AND a lil surprise for Reetsy!!

It's not everyday that I get to shamelessly self promote. HA! As if! xoxox - from me to me.

On Friday, Dec. 15, my blog was named Minnesota Blog of the Day by CityPages. Thanks CityPages! BOO YEAH!

Click here to view the announcement.


So that was a perfect way to start Friday!! The best way to end it was checking into the Graves 601 with my boo for a complimentary visit thanks to a raffle I won at Iron Fork!

We checked in to the hotel, and couldn't have been more impressed with the accomodations and we loved our view. We stayed in a gorgeous king corner suite on the 12th floor. Quiet, private, sophisticated...this place had all the charm of Fred Rogers with the modernity of, well, a modern hotel. Thanks to a great staff who treated us like royalty. Thanks also to that front desk girl who commented on my crucial pink hat from Suzy. The getaway was divine! So was the breakfast in bed -mmmmmm Mango creme fraiche! Didn't bother to eat in the restaurant. I heard a rumor that chef Seth Bixby's last day at Cosmos (the restaurant at the Graves) was Dec. 14, so I didn't know who in the world would be cooking on the 15th.

We didn't stay long after we checked in because we had to head to the Imogen Heap show at First Ave.

So we literally had to walk across the street to get to the Imogen Heap show, which was amazing. She wore a black corset with a bouncy pink skirt, reminiscent of a square dancing skirt in terms of its flouncy-ness. Kid Beyond beat-boxed with her, and I was really impressed - he accompanied her, just as a drummer would. Her piano appeared to be made of plexiglass and stuffed with big flowers and sparkly lights. 3 laterns shaped like corsets hung from her keyboard rig. She wore feathers in her hair. The music was out of sight. I laughed, I sobbed like a 2-year-old, I danced, I stood absolutely still. It was an experience. Thank you, gerg, for the tickets. Great birthday gift!! Highlights: "Hide and Seek" played on the keytar, a french horn soloist, losing gerg and finding him again with big smiles.

For more images from the Graves and the Imogen Heap show, click here.

Listen and watch her perform my favorite song, "Hide and Seek" by clicking here. She makes the sound with a KEYTAR!


Saturday night was very very at Mike and Sarah's for their annual holiday bash. First, we headed to the Town Talk with paula and john for some din din. I had the chopped salad with cured, smoked salmon. DELIGHTFUL! gerg ordered the risotto again. It's THAT good. It's prepared with a vegetable stock, squash, and pumpkin seed oil, and it tastes like heaven would taste this time of year. Thanks to paula and John for watching kota-dog while we kicked it downtown on Friday night!

After dinner, we headed to the party.

We brought banana bread that I whipped up. Secret ingredients: coconut, chopped peanuts, and chopped butterscotch chips. It was great to sip Tom and Jerry's and laugh a lot. Highlights: viewing Dre's episode of the Family Feud (she's the one in green), gerg learning how to roll his "Rs", and singing showtunes .

For more photos of the Holiday party at Mike and Sarah's place, click here.

Looking forward to David's bday party at Punk Rock bowling at Memory Lanes, wrapping holiday gifts - silver and gold!!, and a holiday party and Jana's house on Thursday. Also, we've got a new Greek restaurant on 27th Ave S in our neighborhood that we're excited to nibble on.

Imogen tonight!

I remember the first time I heard Imogen Heap. It was a snowy morning in South Minneapolis. I was cuddled up in my boo's bed while he was getting ready for work; I flew up from Appleton to spend the weekend with him. I heard the song, "Hide and Seek" on the morning show on The Current. I was, and still am, SO enamoured with The Current. Listen to it, like, all the time. My poor Ipod misses me!

Anywho, gerg and I are going to First Ave tonight to see Imogen! He gave me the tix for my birthday way back in October, and I've been counting the days! I stored the tix safely in a Bailey's tin in the closet. Then we're off for a secret little getaway (check in next week for a review of the getaway)!!

This is me contemplating the show after having received the tix on my birthday.

So, we're off tonight to see the show and I know when I hear her sing "crop circles in the carpet" I'm gonna faint.

Also looking forward to Sarah and Mike's holiday bash accompanied by Tom and Jerry's, writing out holiday cards with my boo, and Punk Rock Bowling on Monday night to honor David's 30th year on earth!

Blind Folks Hunting

My boo sent me these links.

Texas wants it to happen.

It's already happening in Minnesota!

Brent seems like a cool guy, the kind of guy who just wants to continue doing something he's done his whole life.

But I just can't seem to reconcile the topic in my head.

Conversation with myself:

Me: "Okay, the visually impaired folks are accompanied by hunter with sight. See, reetsy? That makes it ok!"

Myself: "Dude, if you can't see what you're shooting at, you probably shouldn't shoot."

Me: "Someone who CAN see is helping you out."

Myself: "What if the blind hunter shoots the sighted hunter?"

Me: "Dude, blind hunter would be totally screwed."

Myself: "I'm gonna eat an apple and think about it some more."

Believe in Something that cannot be Proven? You're not the only one.

Jim Walsh shared the following bit with CityPage's readers today. asked a bunch of scientists: "What do you believe is true even though you can't prove it?""target="new"

Some of my favorite answers:

James O'Donnell: "Everything...all the things I 'know' are only propositions that I have not yet falsified."

TOR NØRRETRANDERS: "I believe in belief—or rather: I have faith in having faith. Yet, I am an atheist (or a "bright" as some would have it). How can that be?"

David Buss: "I've studied mate poachers, obsessed stalkers, sexual predators, and spouse murderers. But throughout this exploration of the dark dimensions of human mating, I've remained unwavering in my belief in true love."

Do you believe in something that cannot be proven? Please share!

Vern's trip to MPLS and the Great Holidazzle Parade

Monday-Friday was projects galore! The house is looking better everyday! gerg and I are both stoked with how much progress we've made. Thanks gerg and dad!! I'm sure Home Depot was very happy to be of service to you all week. A measuring cup that mysteriously disappeared revealed itself on Monday night under the dresser! Either we have ghosts, or dad left it there, cuz gerg and I have no idea how it got there.

Also, I'm sure my dad still hasn't removed all the paint from his hands!

Dad and gerg got a ton of stuff done on the house, but we made sure to take the opportunity to take both of our dads out to the Glockenspiel Restaurant in St Paul. It's a great dads-meeting-each-other-for-the-first-time restaurant. Plus, gerg's dad got to check out his new saw. My pops even got to check out the Town Talk Diner while he was in town. I sampled gerg's risotto from the Town Talk and I almost fainted in ecstacy. Try Town Talk's risotto. I mean it!! Also, on Friday night the piano arrived! Jon and I have been playing quite a few tunes. I think it will like living with us for awhile.

We had a nice visit from Bobbi, Brad and Lotus on Wednesday. Ate some clam chowder and nibbled on cookies with coffee and Bailey's. Played with Lotus. Such a cutie!! Check out my crockpot blog for the clam chowder recipe!

Saturday was a great Minneapolis day. Thanks to Ma Nature for sending us 40 degree weather! We headed to the Woodcraft store in Bloomington. What especially appealed to me about this store was the unique variety of tools and products for woodoworkers. It's definitely a specialty store. I fondled a Dozuki "Z" saw while gerg selected a portable stand for his table saw and my dad searched for a hold fast for his saw horse. We watched through a window as some adults sprayed themselves in sawdust attempting to carve wooden bowls.

Woodcraft (for the woodworker in you)
9125 Lyndale Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55420
Phone: (952) 884-3634

Drove back with hungry tummies so we stopped at the Midtown Global Market. Dad and gerg grabbed a gordiata and burrito from A la Salsa and I had a hoagie (portobello, artichoke hearts and gouda cheese) from Jakeeno's Trattoria. Also, I enjoyed my customary green tea flavored bubble tea from Pham's Deli. We bought some coffee beans from the Produce Exchange that are a departure from our regular Peace Coffee beans (they've garnered a significant amount of press for "bike delivering" their beans across town).

The Midtown Global Market is an indoor, olafactortorious ADVENTURE!
Lake St and Chicago Ave
(612) 872-4041
(free parking)

After our lunch trip, we hopped on the lightrail and headed to the Mall of America to check out the Largest Gingerbread House in the World.

It was pretty f-ing big! Highlights - dad and I posing with elves, dad and gerg posing as faeries, the walls made of Hershey bars and Pearson's Nut Rolls. Lowlights - people ripping bits off the house for later and the very short indoor tour of the house (I would have like to see more on how the thing was constructed. Was that caulk or frosting?!?) The Mall of America was a great place to visit for 45 minutes. Then, we grabbed coffees and ran out of there as fast as we could cuz we were getting run down by strollers. We stopped for a bit to check out the Apostolic Bible Institute Choir in the Rotunda. I liked the loudness and a capella vocal stylings. It was festive.

Hopped back on the lightrail and headed down to the Nicollet stop for the
Holidazzle Parade.

BOY OH BOY!! I underestimated the dazzle and fun of this parade. We exited the train and made a beeline for the nearest parking ramp. We jumped the elevator to the 7th floor and watched the whole event without obstruction! The streets were flooded with people! Highlights - the lightbulb brigade, the University Alumni band in lighted uniforms, and SANTA, of course! Lowlights - NONE! The whole area was swarming after the parade, so we made our way to the nearest establishment to wait for a less crowded train to take us home. We found $1 cocktails from 7pm-8pm. Perfect!

Headed back home to play some euchre with Jon on Saturday night. Jon and dad kicked our butts. Lesson learned.

Check out photos from dad's week in Minneapolis, the arrival of the piano, the Hollidazzle parade, and the World's Largest Gingerbread House.

Let's Talk about Home Improvement, Sauerkraut, and Cookies!

Sunday night after returning from our trip out east, gerg finished installing the new GE garbage disposal. I'm lovin it! Thanks gerg! It even eats chicken bones! FOR REAL!

Seems like our project list keeps getting longer and longer! The good news is that my dad is in Minneapolis this week to lend a hand to home improvement for the Flanaganartins! Thanks dad and gerg! Thanks also goes out to cBass, who picked dad up in Madison and brought him to MPLS. Saved us 8 hours in the car on Sunday.

Last Tuesday, paula and I played bingo in White Bear Lake at Bentley's Pub and Grille. It was a fund raiser for her ski team. I won $27! It was fun driving out to the burbs to play bingo, and not at all what I imagined. I thought of bingo as something that's played in town halls with lots of square folk sitting quietly at long folding tables with crappy florescent lighting. Not the case! Bentley's had 80s music playing, and most of the crowd was having fun and chatting, even giving the guy calling the numbers some grief. We sat at cocktail tables and even had a cocktail waitress serve us 2-4-1s. They have food too. It was a rousing good time for a good cause, which is Paula's water skiing team. She loves it!

Bentley's Grille and Pub
1460 County Road E E
Saint Paul MN 55110-5230
(651) 484-4300

Wednesday, gerg and I made it our goal to not spend any money. After work, we finally set up my treadmill! Woo hoo! Haven't had a chance to use it yet, but that will change starting next week! (It's stored in the room where my dad is staying). Then, we headed to Barnes and Noble to sift through books and magazines. I read some books about paint matching and Vondervort's Curb Appeal and gerg pored over an issue of Make magazine. We both love Make magazine, but it costs $15 per issue! Ouch! I also took a look at some piano music because we have a new piano arriving at our house this weekend!! My favorite song books are the Reader's Digest song book collections. I've got one, but am looking to find a few more around town, especially the Best Loved Treasury.

So this weekend we were determined to sell some stuff to make room for the piano cBass is temporarily donating to our living room. We posted some items on craigslist, and within hours, we received offers on a couple of items. We sold 4 items for a profit of about $350! Not bad! We took pics and posted stuff on Friday, people stopped by throughout the weekend to pick the stuff up. SO EASY!

Still, we managed to get out of the house on Friday night for some cocktails at Psycho Suzi's with Dan and Rachelle. We sampled the Suzi Quattro (spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic and mozzarella with
white-wine sauce), creatively named after the 70's rokker, aka Leather Tuscadero. The crust was thin, not super thin, and crunchy. I liked it a lot. Not leathery, like its namesake.

On Saturday, we set up our fiberoptic Christmas Tree and drank boozey hot chocolate.
It was fun to turn off all the lights and take a peek at the tree from the front, I mean, AREAWAY. This will be our first Christmas under the same roof. It was fun to set up our first tree together.

Caught the terrible Packer game at the Herkimer on Sunday. What a disappointment, Green Bay!! Still, I got to see my favorite, Donny Driver, make a few decent plays, and I ate some nachos, served with a tangy pico de gallo. All together, among 7 people, our table consumed just about two plates of nachos, two burgers, two brats, two pretzels, and a fried egg sandwich, plus a bunch of drinks. We like this place, really. Although, the brat lovers complain that there's no sauerkraut. Bring on the kraut, Herkimer!! We must have local kraut makers, but if not, Frank's will do! And what about some brown mustard for the brats too? Can't the pretzels share their delicious mustard with the brats?? PLEASE? "That stuff is actually really good," said one mustard aficionado.

Sunday afternoon was a lot of fun at paula and john's house, making cookies and sipping cocktails. I made white chocolate covered pretzels and some bark with peanuts, pretzel pieces, and red and green sprinkles. But the other girls totally went over the top! Peanut butter balls, kiss cookies, cut outs, macaroons, and a bunch of other awesome treats. Sampled a peanut butter ball this evening and it was better than Reese's FOR REAL.

This week I'm looking forward to supper with both of our dads (they haven't met yet), the new piano, and a visit to the Mall Of America for a look at the World's Largest Gingerbread House!