Goodness! I know EACH AND EVERY ONE of you have been waiting on baited breath for me to update, so here I go. Hopefully my absence hasn’t raised your expectations.
I’ve been on a self-imposed website vacation. It just happened, without warning. It all started when…
Yeah, one of those stories. Anyways…
It started with a family trip to Minnesota. I brought my laptop and camera, fully expecting to give you the most intimate details of my journey. Then I started having fun and that went out the window. At least you got photos.
The mosquitoes were bad. But I came out with just one bite, right above my right ankle. Minneapolis/St. Paul might just be my future home. It’s only about half a million people in size, but it’s so much denser than most cities. The downtown is bustling and loud, just as it should be. The state capital and St. Paul’s cathedral were also both very beautiful.
^ My dad, in a Hard Rock Cafe. I had a Caesar salad (surprised?!)
^ St. Paul’s Cathedral, modeled somewhat after St. Peter’s in Rome. I had to use a really wide angle lens, hence the crazy distortion.
^ Jesse Ventura. And me. Notice “The Thinker” being used as a handrail.
Also in the metro area were the Mall of America and IKEA. The mall was just that: a mall. Just imagine two normal large malls joined with a small indoor amusement park. I expected more specialty stores, instead of the same drudge I can get right in my own city. Parking, in the parking garages, was just great.
IKEA… oh yes. I’ve been receiving their catalogues for a while, despite the closest one being way up in Minnesota. Dallas will be getting one very soon, but that’s just not good enough. The store is right across the street from the Mall of America, opening just a week before we arrived. For a weekday afternoon, the place was insane. It was a constant flood of people entering the doors, winding their way through the several floors of showcases. Somehow, the power was partially off most of the time we were there. That’s a bit of a problem, since almost every showcase was DARK. It also was getting a bit stuffy in places. That didn’t stop me from buying some nice picture frames, some speaker stands, and a neat messenger bag. I will return!
^ Big and blue.
^ Shopping for mirrors. Or not.
^ Too many people!
My birthday was pretty good, too. Thank you’s for everyone who messaged/called during the day. The only thing of note for my B-Day was going to a casino. Mystic Lake casino is allegedly the largest casino in the Midwest, owned by Native Americans. The place actually made me quite depressed, seeing the 70% elderly gamblers barely able to walk, but very able to give dirty looks to those less serious (me.) That’s where our social security money goes. Every cent.
^ The sound of money. Mine.
My dad wasn’t really thrilled either, so I cut my losses and piled into the Gerik van with my brother Nick and dad. We had no clue what we were doing, so we drove around aimlessly. Somehow, after grabbing some lunch, we settled on going to these Japanese Gardens on a community college campus. They were closed for maintenance, but we were let in anyways.
Traffic the entire trip = not great. Like most of the US, everyone drives.
^ You can probably see us. Maybe. HONK!!!
Otherwise, the trip was just plenty of extended family. It really wasn’t that bad, although I have had my fill for a while.
^ In this frame, we were trying to see who could “palm” a basketball. I could.