Monday, March 10, 2008

a very long post from a very short trip

Eight hours on the road after a full day of work, then three days in the Twin Cities, then another long drive back ... we had a GREAT time on our crazy road trip. Here are some highlights ...

... us girls (Sarah H., Cat and me) woke up Friday morning to find the Coleman's kitchen covered with post-it notes telling us where to find cereal, silverware, and anything else we might need ... so that our sleepy little minds had little to no thinking to do :)

... MC Ferber (not to be confused with MC Hammer) guided us to the Mall of America where we parked on the Indiana level of the garage ;) It's hard to say whether we had more fun riding the roller coaster or running down the up escalator at the mall. We (mostly I) were (was) dismayed to find that PB Loco was closed, but I did get some fun gifts at Sox Appeal, which later prompted Bill R. to tell Anne B. that she was looking soxy. I also finally found the mandoline I have wanted for so long, which I used to make homemade potato chips last week. Only about half of them burned, the rest were tasty ;)

... we then joined up with Sarah C. at the end of her day working at the Mill City Museum. It's hard for me to explain to people how interesting this place is! The museum is about the history of the flour milling industry in Minneapolis. That sounds pretty dry but I love learning about labor and industry so I found it fascinating. Our visit included viewing the Minneapolis in 19 Minutes movie, which was pretty fun. Did you know that Minneapolis owes its existence to St. Anthony Falls?

... Friday night we had dinner at the Colemans' house with some folks from the campus area. We all prepared it together and had a ton of fun! Afterwards the guys (Justin, Peter, Michael B) went to hang out with some guys in Dinkytown while the girls hung out with Sarah, Rose, Janelle, Christine, Mary Clare, and Beth. We played Pop 5 and the South Bend girls tried not to fall asleep too ridiculously early, but it was hard ;)

... Saturday morning was the Minneapolis Institute of Art where one of the highlights for me was the flying baby Jesus picture. I don't go to art museums much and didn't realize how much I enjoy them ... after half an hour looking at art - slowly, taking my time with each painting, then trying to catch up with my group ;) - I felt a delightful kind of peace and contentment. I need to spend more time with art. The modern art was not as peaceful, but only because I had to think about it more. I don't always understand modern art, but I try hard to appreciate it. (Aside: one time, years ago, as I was beginning a watercolor for a high school art class, I brushed a stroke of red onto my paper and was struck by how beautiful it was. Red is beautiful. White is beautiful. The curve of the stroke was beautiful. Ever since then I have tried to appreciate modern and abstract art.)

... we ate lunch at the Global Market and enjoyed food from: Vietnam, Cuba, East Africa, Jamaica, and Trinidad. Since one of my favorite coworker-friends is from Trinidad, I was especially excited to try a Trini drink called sorrel, which I didn't particularly love, but Rose did so she finished it for me :)

... we took a quick trip to the Cathedral of St. Paul. The interior of the dome was encircled by Psalm 150 - it was in fancier language but here it is in the Message translation:

Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!

... we also did a mini-visit to the Como Conservatory which was lovely and warm and full of fresh flowers. But the name of it just called me back to days of studying at the CoMo (Coleman Morse) building at ND ... Peter and I shared fond memories of the comfy couches and free soda :)

... we went to a terrific Mass at St. Peter Claver church. It was lively and diverse and the sign of peace took a nice long time. Check out this article on the parish.

... and then we had dinner in Dinkytown. We ate with different sections - I was delighted to spend time with the Action section and get to hear more about what they are doing - I hear that another section was celebrating Dan Ficker's birthday - so we all had a great time. After dinner people hung out and chatted or played a game of bowls that was so loud that although it was being played on the third floor, you could hear it in the kitchen. Personally, my favorite thing about Dinkytown was that every time I turned around I saw another person that I met some time in Allendale :)

... Saturday morning was brunch with the Theis family where Mary Clare is in household. Oh my gosh, Jen Theis's pancakes are the best. I copied down her recipe. I also had a ball talking to her about household. But the highlight was definitely when one of the little Theis girls sang "the Little Mermaid song" to us ... unfortunately there is no way to convey that experience in a blog post. If only I had recorded it.

... Our last hurrah in Minnesota was the campus area meeting. The coordinator apologized that he hadn't planned anything special for the meeting - he was a wee bit distracted by the birth of his daughter Charis just a few days before - but it was really one of the highlights of the trip. The campus area was the most tight-knit, we-are-a-family, let's-really-live-life-together area I've ever seen and it sparked a discussion during our ride home about what the role of the area in PoP life should be. I was also delighted to see my friends the Wilsons who took care of me during my summer service project in Indianapolis and now live in MN with their gorgeous little daughter Claire. I also got to re-introduce Mike Wilson to Cat, whose household he lived in when she was very small. Fun times.

... and that's all for now. I promise to post photos later ... also in coming attractions is a post about our day trip to Chicago ... stay tuned!

Friday, March 7, 2008

sarah and sheila blog from Minnesota

So here I am again, blogging just so that nobody yells at me for not posting in so long. Today I have a special guest, Sarah Heintzelman. We're hanging out in the Colemans' house after a long day/night of driving yesterday.

Sarah, do you have anything you'd like to say to the world?

"The sun is out and it's beautiful."

That's true. It's chilly up here but the sunshine is gorgeous.

Our trip was uneventful - no speeding tickets or car accidents ;) I have a great photo I'll share with you later of Sarah kissing a fake bear at the rest stop ("my hunka hunka burnin' love," she says) and another of Michael drinking, or being attacked by, a can of soda. Our photo of Justin's headlights that he used for reading in the backseat of the van didn't come out quite as we would have liked - from the front seat where I was driving it looked like he had two blue eyes in his forehead - didn't quite get that effect.

Sarah, what else should I tell everyone?

Oh yeah, we watched "The Client" in the backseat in the early part of the trip. Sarah and Justin, in the front, just listened so periodically I would pretend to be helpful and tell them what was going on onscreen. "OK, so the guy killed himself now ..." "What guy?" "The guy in the car that the kids saw ... "What kids?"

Anyway, soon here we're off to the Mall of America (what a stereotypical thing to do! but it will be fun). In a couple days I'm sure I'll have a much more interesting post for you, full of our Minnesotan adventures, Until then, this is Sarah and Sheila, signing off!

"How's that, Sarah?"