I'm sitting in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. When given the choice between going to the Mall of America or sitting around the airport, I chose the airport. I am my father's daughter. Chicago/O'Hare is apparently closed for a couple of hours and I'm feeling bad for the folks on the Chicago flight ahead of me. God only knows when they'll get out of here. As for me, I have a connection in Denver so I'm hoping the Chicago weather won't delay me.
Otherwise, it's been another good day. Stef and I left her house around 9:00 to go to a coffee shop called Nina's Coffee Cafe in St Paul. It sits atop Garrison Keillor's new book store. We thought we'd give it a try. It turned out to be a great little place to grab a quick breakfast and tea. There were lot's of people sitting around reading and working on laptops. We both liked the atmosphere a lot but decided we would be too distracted to read in such a place. I could tap away on my computer but really concentrate on a book? I could never do it.
After breakfast, we headed downstairs to Common Good Books. We browsed a bit and I'm happy to report that the place actually made me feel pretty well read. Thank you Mr. Keillor! I felt as though I'd read a lot of the books on those shelves. Yea! Later we were walking back to the car and found ourselves in the Blair Arcade. What a great place. I'd love to show you some pix but I didn't take any and I can't find anything online. You'll just have to trust me that it's a pretty cool place. It looked to be a well restored building with loads of nooks and crannies. The architecture was impressive. The place is full of alternative medicine, health clinics and so on.
We then headed for downtown Minneapolis. I'd never been and I wanted to check it out. We made our way through the Sky Way (it's like a human Habitrail to keep folks out of the cold). We stopped by the old Marshall Fields. It's, sadly, now a Macy's. It reminds me of Macy's Herald Square but better maintained. I'm sorry I missed seeing Marshall Fields. I did however get the mandatory photo of myself standing next to the Mary Tyler Moore statue, tossing my hat in the air. I swear the main reason I brought a hat on this trip was to toss it in the air next to Mare.
Next we stopped at a great little restaurant called Hell's Kitchen for lunch. It pokes fun at the whole idea of hell. There are Ralph Steadman prints and The Far Side hell-themed cartoons hanging on the walls (God, do I miss The Far Side.) . Stef had been raving about their chicken sandwich and she was right. It was great. We both got the sandwich with fruit but when I heard they served hom-made ketchup < href="http://www.muddypawscheesecake.com/">Muddy Paws Cheesecake" and it offers 180 varieties of cheesecake, now that's what I call a claim to fame! I chose the Chocolate Decadence and it was amazing. Probably the best cheesecake I've ever had.
Next we drove around the city a bit. Stef asked "Are you sure you don't want to go to Mall of America?". I guess that's where most people like to go when they hit Minneapolis. I reassured her that I didn't really need to see another Claire's but that I wouldn't driving around it to see how obscenely big it is. We tried to drive around but the place is like a black hole, it keeps sucking you into it's parking structures. After much resistance we got sucked in . I decided to make the best of it it. I thought it would be a good idea to go to the roof to get a picture of it in all it's gluttonous glory. We eventually made it to the roof but I couldn't really get a decent pic for you. I can, however, tell you it's damn cold up there. It was about 32 degrees and very windy. Yikes!
Did I mention the weather around here? Turns out both highway 90 and 14 got about 7 inches of snow after we left. We literally outran the snow. I still can't believe our luck with the weather this week. We left and came back just in time. These parts won't be seeing weather like that until May or June. We were incredibly lucky.
Speaking of "These parts" did I mention that the local news in South Dakota is called "Kota Territory News"? Has anyone told them they are part of the Union? Who's going to break it to them? Seriously, why do they call themselves the Kota Terretory? Does anyone know? When I was in London earlier in the year, I thought it was hilarious that some people called the United States "The Colonies". "Kota Territory" smacks of the same kind of denial. Too funny...
Well, I'm gonna wrap this up now. I'm going to see if my flight is still at this gate...
Now I'm home in my favorite chair. I'm afraid to look back at what I've written, especially last night. I was deliriously tired when I posted that one. Hope it made sense. I'll have to look back and see what I said. It should be intersteing.
It's good to be home but I'm so glad I made the trip. At one point Stef commented that if a few years ago, someone had told her we'd be driving through South Dakota on vacation together she never would have believed them. But there we were tearing up the highways. This trip taught me a lot. Mostly that I want to see more of the US. In fact, I've decided I need to see every state in the country. It might take ma a while but I want to give it a shot. (Anyone up for a road trip this Spring?)
It was a unique week to be driving through middle America. I can't be certain but I think I got a taste of the America my parents grew up in. One full of decent people who really care about each other. As my family and friends know, I'm no fan of Bush and his administration. I think they have done a disservice to this country by hijacking Jesus and making good Christians believe they only way to prove you're a God fearing patriot is to vote Republican. Well, I think Christ would have a thing or two to say about that. I've always said Jesus seems to me to be an excellent example of a world-class liberal. The people we met along the way seem to get that. If the election results are any indication than it's safe to say that American voters agree. I don't like the idea of any extremists running the show no matter which "side" they're on. I happen to love the whole checks and balances idea. As for Bush, we heard talk today of Impeachment on the radio. Do I think he should be Impeached? I think the Republicans wasted enough tax payer money dragging our last President through the mud. I'm not sure anyone has the stomach or cash to persue an impeachment but I do know the new House and Senate will have a few pointed questions for ol' W. He must be sweating bullets and it's about time.
In the end, I believe most Americans are hard working, honest, funny, people just trying to make the world a better place for their kids. I'm so relieved to know that those same people have stood up and rejected the extremists in our country.
My "Favorite Republican" has been lurking around this blog. To him I say: Don't get too excited. I'm more of a liberal than ever. I continue to have an open mind and try to see as many sides to a story as possible. Sorry to disappoint, but I don't see myself casting a Republican vote for a very long time. In the mean time, I'll enjoy watching the GOP slink away for a while to lick it's wounds and, for once, I'll thank Karl Rove for making it all possible.