Best Things of 2011

Another year, another Nuns Having Fun calendar, and another chance to look back and ask, “What was I thinking?”  Welcome to 2011: The Year That Was.

January: Best Month I Forgot About Entirely

Seriously, I had to turn to the new-fangled Facebook Timeline to help me remember January 2011.  And here’s what I found out:

1. I made these cookies with Manolo.

Cookies, Kind of

On the left, either me or Velma from Scooby Doo; on the right, Manolo with a tan or Medusa.

2. We also ate them.

3. I finished what wound up being the best book I read all year: The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas. I could tell you how well-written, informative, and crazy-interesting it is, but if you’re not already on board from the title, this might not be the book for you.

4. And I found out my name would be featured on “millions of cups” at Caribou Coffees everywhere. This would be the peak of my fame in 2011.

February: Best Second Month of the Year

Another one I don’t remember! Apparently: I went to a couple of concerts (favorite: Pete Yorn at First Ave), and I continued one of my favorite traditions of watching the Oscars with my bro.

In my defense there was a lot of snow on the ground last year. I didn’t get out that much.

March: Best Month To Start New Friendships

At some point in March, Lacy invited me out for brunch with one of her old friends who had just moved down the road from me.  Going against my usual winter attitude of “people are the worst,” I agreed to go.

That friend was the Ginger.

Also joining us that day was the Ginger’s roommate, another guy I vaguely knew years ago. And because I feel confident he will never read this, I don’t mind telling you he totally ignored my presence for the first half hour or so of our brunch and I wasn’t thinking we’d ever hang out again. Then I mentioned Battlestar Galactica. And now I can’t get rid of him.

****JOKE! THAT PART IS A JOKE.****

But really, our friendship formed because of BSG, found its footing in football, further developed over beer, and continues despite the amount of hell I give him.  He would probably like to make some jokes about getting rid of me, too, but is too nice to do so.

Easily the best brunch of my life.

April: Best Month to Get Older

I turned 26 by being sick on my couch and having a Die Hard marathon.  Later I convinced some coworkers to buy me an ice cream cake if I picked it up; this is what I chose to put on it.

Die Hard Cake

"Live Free or Die Hard" PG-13 version; the DQ employee had no idea who John McClane was. KIDS TODAY.

April was also when I saw Chuck Klosterman at the Fitzgerald, and went to my first of several Twins games of the year.  Spring is better than winter, you guys.

May: Best Month To Be Named Daughter of the Year

I took my mom to see Paul Simon at First Ave.

Paul Simon at First Ave

Therefore, I win.

And I took Lacy to see Donald Glover/Childish Gambino at The Varsity.

Donald Glover

Therefore, I need a new camera.

I also got a tan-line from a candy necklace while at the Lyn-Lake Festival. I regret nothing.

June: Best Month To Start A Blog

I started this blog in June for a class, but at first I tried to keep it homework-centric. Some adventures that happened in that time that haven’t yet been shared with the internet:

1. I took a tour of the Liberty Belle, a WWII bomber like the one my grandfather was in as a gunner.

Inside the Liberty Belle

How happy do I look to be holding that gun?

2. I rode a mechanical bull at Grand Old Day.

Rachel and the Bull

And you thought I looked happy with the gun.

3. I broke my bowling record (133 and it still stands! I’m not very good at bowling!).

4. And I officially became an Irish citizen (oh, have I mentioned that a time or two before?).

July – December: Best Things I’ve Already Written About So Just Read the Archives, Particularly Anything About Traveling With The Ginger, Visiting Virginia in July, Screaming at The New Kids On The Block, Being Thankful For Things, And Being Disappointed By The Vikings Live and In Person.

(We may be on memory lane here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take shortcuts.)

So that was 2011: New friendships, new adventures, and a new passion for volunteering. Things were constantly ridiculous. Some ideas were bad. Mistakes were made on a daily basis. But overall, I think I nailed it in one take.

Bring it, 2012.

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Best Things of the Month!

Actually it’s been over 2 months since my last “Best Things” post, but if I had more time to write these things I’d have less to write about, right?  So let’s just sum up October:

First there was the ZPC wherein I ruined the childhoods of many with my Zombie Princess pals, and then there was Halloween.  For that, I was Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for obvious reasons.

Two Charlies

The resemblance is uncanny.

A lot of girls use Halloween as an excuse to wear underwear in public; I just went a different way with it.  I bullied a buddy into going as Mac (aka I lent him a t-shirt and drew fake tattoos on his arms), and Manolo was a cat, so we did our best to reenact this video:

Overall I give Halloween (and October) a solid A.

NOVEMBER!

First there was vacation with the Ginger.

Then there was my dad’s first Vikings game.

empty dome

This is what the Dome looks like when you're 2.5 hours early.

They lost, of course. And cousin Adrian had to be taken out of the game with an ankle injury. Really not great, but it was awesome to be there with Pops anyway.  It’s also great that he’s quit smoking, and a non-smoking Pops is a snacking Pops. We had popcorn and Twizzlers for lunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

Next, actual Thanksgiving happened, and was lovely.

And finally: the Ginger’s birthday! Three costume changes were involved and we hopped all over Lowertown St. Paul: we started out swimming at the Holiday Inn, then a dinner at Kincaid’s (I am not that restaurant’s target audience, but even the vegetarian side dishes were beyond delicious), and then dancing/drinks at Barrio and the Bulldog.  It absolutely destroyed MY last birthday, which was spent sick on my couch with a Die Hard marathon.

Die Hard poster

If I hadn't been sick, it might have been a tie.

A lot of great things have already happened so far in December, but you’ll just have to wait until mid-February or whenever I update this again to find out about that.

“Liquor and nuns”

I may not eat turkey, but I still like Thanksgiving.  First of all, there are so many other things to eat!  And it’s practically National Napping Day, which is a cause I celebrate.  And finally, I’m thankful for so much.  Here are a few things in no particular order:

  • coffee and lefse for breakfast (okay, perhaps these are in an order: the order in which they are in front of my face right now, and order of deliciousness)
  • my brother for the sheer amount of inside jokes and movie quotes that make me laugh and make everyone else wonder what we’re talking about.  “Bread.”
  • my sister-in-law for working Thanksgiving so we can finally, maybe, all get together for Christmas
  • the friends and family who helped me raise $220 for the Walk to End Hunger yesterday!
  • my mom for walking with me, and then asking “how does my walking help end hunger, exactly?” That kind of blind support is love.
  • Muppets.
  • My mom’s official review of the new Muppet movie: “Jason Segel’s mother should be proud!”
  • The ladies who found out I was without Thanksgiving evening plans and said, “Rachel, you should come over! There will be liquor and nuns. We won’t have room for you at the big table but we can set up a kids’ table for you.”
  • Great friends and their excellent families who take in strays at the last minute.  And feed them too much. More mint cake please.
  • My dad for driving through terrible weather last weekend to attend his first-ever Vikings game with me.
  • The Minnesota Vikings for keeping me humble.
  • Naps.
  • Laughter.
  • Beer.
  • God.
  • I told you these are not in any order.
  • The fact that my iTunes just started playing Protozoa’s “Zoom Zoom Zoom” from “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.”  Why do I own that? And how could I forget I own that? Amazing.
  • The fact that I can afford to have iTunes, and coffee and lefse, and access to the internet and clean water and everything so much of the world is without.
  • Hands On Twin Cities for introducing me to some great local causes.
  • Feed My Starving Children – and all the friends and family I’ve made go with me recently
  • Not working in retail on Black Friday.
  • Terrible/amazing action movies, and friends who send emails like this: “Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris are in Expendables 2. Get the f*** in line.”
  • Ten years of friendship with Lacy.  “Weebles Wobble…”
  • Really, just all of my friends who let me be my ridiculous self and seem to like me for it.  I like you, too.
  • And this: “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
    and try to love the questions themselves…
    Don’t search for the answers,
    which could not be given to you now,
    because you would not be able to live them.
    And the point is, to live everything.
    Live the questions now.
    Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
    you will gradually, without even noticing it,
    live your way into the answer.”
    Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy everything to you all.

Choose your own adventure, bring your own ginger

Hello, neglected blog!  The last time I wrote in you it was about something important.  This is the opposite of that, but my mother has been asking for an update on the past month.  I can’t remember that far back, though, so here’s what happened last weekend, when Favorite Guy: Ginger Division and I went on a little adventure to the east coast.

Day 1: In which we are awake for 22 hours

The flight was at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, which meant nervous-flyer Rachel was awake at 4.  We got to the airport too late for my usual pre-flight Necessary Calming Beverage, and the Ginger decided to regale me mid-air with tales of bad flights he’s been on in the past.  Luckily this was the only point during our trip when I thought about destroying him.  We got off the plane and a few train rides later we parked it at our first destination: a margarita!

Brooklyneer bar sign

Sesame Street: Influencing my decisions for over 20 years.

Also, the margarita was in New York City.

During the course of the first day of the vacation, it went bar/food, five-minute nap, shopping, bar/food, shopping, walking the High Line, food, five-minute nap, bar/food.  We stayed with some friends in the Upper East Side and had a pretty excellent time; there wasn’t a lot of sight-seeing what with all the sitting and eating, but we did manage to see  a whole lot of the subway and stay awake for 22 solid hours.

supergrover

Some of the details of this evening are best kept between me and Super Grover.

Day 2: Crazy in Connecticut

We woke up, showered, brunched, and bused to Hartford to visit the wanderluster herself, Sabrina!  The Ginger has a thing for suburbs, so Sabrina took us by one of the oldest in the country before showing us a good time in West Hartford.  And really, it was a good time.  There are in fact things to do in Connecticut.  Who knew?

Day 3: Bean Town

Our planes, trains and automobiles adventure continued with a drive to Boston.  The three of us stopped at the Onyx Hotel (highly recommended, and not just for their animal-print bathrobes and faux-fur bedspreads) before hitting Quincy Market and the Harbor and catching a bit of the Freedom Trail.

Nice donkey

No, I don't know why there's a statue of a donkey on the Freedom Trail, but I do know it's important for every tourist to sit on it, preferably while a stranger stands just off-camera and says "nice ass."

A little bit of shopping and eating and we were on to the Haunted Boston tour!  This was a highlight of the trip for the two ghost-loving non-redheads among us.

Later, out to the Oldest Tavern In America (or so the sign says) – The Bell in Hand – for a bit of live music and dancing.  Sabrina and I each picked out our “boyfriends,” and it took all night for us to realize our boyfriends were actually each others’ boyfriends.  Yep; in a room full of burly Bruins fans, we gravitated towards the two waif-y hipsterish guys with excellent floppy hair.  I have been in the Twin Cities too long.

Day 4: Family, Fenway, and Farewell

A few of my Massachusetts family members met the gang and I for brunch at the Eastern Standard.  It was great, but too short for a once-in-a-decade visit.  They took us around the corner to a little place called Fenway for a photo op.

Fenway

Then it was goodbye family and Sabrina, hello Old Ironsides/excuse to make Anchorman references!

Old Ironsides

It really is an old, old wooden ship!

She’s 214 years old and she’s still afloat and still commissioned – it doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Next up: Tavern on the Water for a nice view of the city and a little interaction with some real Massachusetts folks, who told us Happy Hours are illegal in Massachusetts but that they had danced on the bar we were sitting at before.  I should note these were two 60-ish couples.  I liked them.

Last stop before taking off: Giacomo’s, or as The Ginger keeps calling it, “Giergamo’s? Guillermo’s? Gargamel’s?”  We waited in line for about forty minutes outside, during which time I realized I needed to find a bathroom (bear with me, this story goes somewhere).  So I went to a pharmacy across the street and asked the employee if there was a bathroom.

“Not here, but at the fire station down the street.”

Naturally I left, assumed I heard her wrong, and went a few doors down to another store.

“Try the fire station next door.”

Sure enough, there was an actual fire station next door.  Full of not-unattractive firemen.  Who I had to ask to lead me to the bathroom (“It’s right back theah, sweetheaaaaht”).  My only regret is that I did not buy a t-shirt to commemorate my time at this fine establishment.  Or, you know, one of those calendars.  You know the ones I mean.

Firemen Calendar
You knew what I meant but I wanted to put this here anyway.

Anyway, back to the restaurant!  Or actually the line out in front, where we met another awesome local couple (the guy talked about his twenty years of working for Phil Collins and building a stage for Steven Tyler at Fenway) who pointed out when a local hero walked past us: Zdeno Chara, captain of the Stanley Cup-winning Bruins and tallest dude in the NHL.  Yes, I googled all of that.  I had no idea who he was.

Zdeno Chara

Although if he had been dressed like this even I might have recognized him.

Dinner, Necessary Calming Beverage and flight: our whirlwind tour of the East was over.   Now I’m back and it’s taken me the better part of a week to get this blog post together.  My goal is to have my next vacation planned before I completely unpack from this one; at the rate I’m going that shouldn’t be too difficult.

Best Things of the Week!

Today started with a trip to the dentist and concluded with a visit to the eye doctor because apparently it’s Rachel Maintenance Day.  There’s just about nothing I hate more than going to the dentist, except possibly someone poking me in the eye while talking about my “unusually large optic nerves.”  So let’s bring on some Best Things, I need cheering up.

1. Back to the basics: Dinner, Movie, Shoes

My Favorite Guy: Ginger Division took me out for a date with the mall on Thursday.  We enjoyed 1/2 price bottle of wine night and then went shoe shopping, which is the preferred order of things.  Then we went to see Contagion.

Contagion Poster

A.K.A. that movie where Gwyneth dies horribly and immediately. Fun for the whole family!

We didn’t love it: me, because I’m not really a fan of end-of-times movies that are in any way realistic (throw a Terminator in the mix, though, and I’m there). Him, because it doesn’t really have an ending.

Part of the movie takes place in Minneapolis, which was jarring.  Not so much because having the end of the world start in my backyard is scary, but because it was Movie Minnesota, which is: suburban Illinois with a thin, even layer of snow on it.  I found this…distracting, and it made me glad more movies aren’t based in Minnesota.

After all, this is the only movie we need to represent us accurately:

2. RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL!

I went to my first ever Ren Fest on Saturday!  I rode an elephant in a circle; I went to a Guinness tasting (I enjoy my Irish roots very much); I posed for a courtly photograph and looked ridiculous; and I paid an old Irish man a dollar to play “Ashoken Farewell” on the violin.  That was probably the highlight for me, though it made me a little weepy.

You’d think riding an elephant would be the highlight, wouldn’t you?  No, later Manolo gave me a piggy back ride across the parking lot, and she moves a lot faster than elephants and I do not have concerns about whether or not she is treated humanely.  So that was the other highlight.

There was then an unfortunate run-in between a head (mine) and an elbow (not mine) that wasn’t fun, but didn’t leave any lasting damage.  If the elbow reads this blog, the elbow should understand that all is well.  And I think it might have been my fault, anyway.

3. Love is in the Arb

Yesterday, I went back to the Arboretum for an event called Collegeville Colors.  I visited with my old Arb pals and wound up taking a walk with two environmental education enthusiasts.  You would think I’d be able to identify trees after working at an Arboretum for a year, but I really can’t.  Correction: I can identify when something IS a tree.  But beyond that I’m kind of lost.

Well!  Three years and one personalized walking tour later, I can now almost definitely tell you if the leaf you are holding is from a Red Oak, a White Oak, or Other.

tree at arboretum

Nature is a beautiful and confusing thing to some of us.

Best Things of the Past 2 Weeks and 2 Days

Here’s what I’ve been up to in roughly the last 16 days, Ma!

1. Volunteering and forcing my family to volunteer, too

Along with some alumnae of my college, I painted a fence and house in North St. Paul with Hearts and Hammers last week.  It was pretty fun — I mean, I don’t want to come paint your house, or anything — but getting to know different people and wearing my sweatpants in public without fear of judgment is always a good thing.  Until the next day when I could barely move my legs or neck.  I really, really won’t be coming to paint your house.

The next day I (somehow) went to Feed My Starving Children again, to another special session for the Horn of Africa!  This time I brought my mother and sister-in-law for some girl bonding.  There are no photos of this girl-bonding because no one looks good in hairnets.  Except, of course, my gorgeous sister-in-law.  I look even more ridiculous standing next to her, so really: no pictures.

2. Brewery Tour-ery

As alluded to in this post, I somehow managed to schedule myself for two brewery tours on Saturday: the Summit Brewery (again) and Flat Earth Brewery.  Did I have a great time? Of course I had a great time.  Was it a ridiculous decision? Of course it was a ridiculous decision!  Is there any other kind?

3. SKOL VIKINGS. SIGH VIKINGS.

Well, Lacy and I went to the game.  That much is true.  And our seats were not really that bad — we could see every blown opportunity just perfectly!

Jared Allen

We could also see Jared Allen's butt perfectly, so that's something.

Actually, that’s not nice.  They played thirty minutes of great football!  And then whatever happens to them at halftime every week happened again, and it was like the second they came out of the locker room — with a 20-0 lead — everyone in the place felt it.  It was no longer a winning football game.

I still managed to have some fun.  Being there with Lacy, for instance, was great.

Rachel and Lacy at football

This picture was taken during the first half; notice the absence of tears.

The, shall we say, tight ends are always appreciated.  Seeing my name on the back of about half the people in the stadium is a weird kind of thrill, too.  Chris Kluwe’s ricochet-style tackle was about as cute as a tackle can be.  And Jared Allen showed up, even if some of the rest of the team (or coaching staff) didn’t.

My throat hurts from 3.5 hours of screaming; my soul hurts from a lifetime of caring.  I’m not a sports analyst (or a movie critic, clearly); I just love the Vikings a little too much.  I don’t know what’s going on with them right now, but I will continue to cheer them on, lose or lose worse, season after season, because that’s just the kind of idiot I am.

Who wants to go to the next game with me???

Best Things of the Week: Let Your Troubles Roll By Edition

1. “What about everything?”

So, I saw one of my favorite bands, Carbon Leaf, for the second time in my life on Wednesday.

I didn’t take any pictures because the last time I brought my camera out in public someone asked me if I got it at Savers, but here’s a picture of me and lead singer Barry from April 2010:

Rachel and Barry

I was so excited I couldn't speak to or near him. THAT awkward.

This time around I was so much cooler: Not only did I speak in front of Barry, I managed to say, rather loudly, “that’s, uh…that’s the lead singer!” while pointing at him on the street.  The other witness to the event suggested maybe I was embarrassing myself, but I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure Barry knows he’s the lead singer.

None of the live stuff on youtube does them justice, but here:

They are way fun live.  And they ended one song (actually, it might have been this one) with an Aerosmith riff, at which point my soul exploded.

2. Stepping on fruit for fun and profit

On Saturday, I ventured to Glacial Ridge Winery to enjoy a Grape Stomp with Lacy.  Lacy and I have a rule: we do NOT compete against one another.  However, as a team, we kind of rule.  I stomped, she strained, and we won fifty bucks!  We are winners, and the local media took notice.

Rachel and Lacy in the bucket

Admit it. This is adorkable.

I also participated in some belly dancing lessons, and Lacy and I were mistaken for high school seniors.  All in all, a winner of a day.

3. Just a little visit

There’s not a lot I can or want to say about September 11th that hasn’t been said before.  As we came to the ten year anniversary, I couldn’t stop thinking about the kids who will never live in a world where that didn’t happen.  I made a promise to myself to start volunteering with younger kids, and I’ve signed up for one opportunity so far (more on that in a few weeks, maybe).  That was the only thing I had planned, but on the day itself my mother invited me to hand out American flag dog tags to nursing home residents.

Every time I see a flag, I think about vets both young and old.  I think about my best friend’s younger brothers who went from fighting with us over TV and computer access in high school to fighting overseas in the Marines.  They get my prayers whether they want it or not.  And I also think about my two grandfathers, both of whom served in WWII, and both of whom have passed away.  So it just felt like a nice gift to visit with the many servicemen and women at the nursing home on such a day.  I mean a gift for me; they’re already pretty aware they’re excellent (especially the 80ish man who asked me out; sir, you are adorable).

Best Things of the…uh…

Oh.  Um.  Hi there, internet.  It’s been a while, huh?  Yeah, I guess we both got busy.  Me with my volunteering and nuns and friends and you with your…cats

Look, we can go back and forth all day about who forgot to write in her blog for two weeks, or we can just get to the point.  Which is, I’ve done some stuff that needs to be documented for posterity/my mother.  I can’t remember exactly when things happened and I’m too lazy to figure it out right now, so here are the highlights by category, in the order I think of them.

1. Movies

First, I got free advanced screening passes to Warrior.  Still not sure why I get these, but just in case someone out there thinks my opinion matters: I actually really enjoyed this movie.  Okay, it was a bit messy — far too many plot lines, and just seeing the preview once gives away too much, and the usual amount of sports movie cliches — but also: Tom Hardy’s ridiculous body.

Warrior Poster

Also I really enjoy sports movie cliches.

Second, I tried to get other people excited about going to a late-night showing of one of my favorite movies, Die Hard, but was thwarted by a total lack of interest.  Girls, right?  Instead, Manolo took me to fill in a gap in my Bill Murray knowledge: we watched What About Bob? at Minnehaha Falls for the final Minneapolis Music & Movies in the Park of the season. This was my favorite part:

Manolo was surprised I’d never seen this movie before, but frankly, I just watch Die Hard over and over.

2. Good Deeds

I’ve already expressed my love for Feed My Starving Children, which is a super easy volunteer activity and makes me feel helpful (the famine, however, is worsening).  Last week, Lacy and I found a completely different and even easier volunteer opportunity — handing out money at a Bingo game!  It could not have been easier or more fun, especially when one of my new friends told me, “we may be the soldiers but you ladies are really the bosses.”  He then tried to give me half his winnings, but I told him I was being paid in cookies.

You know how in TV shows like Alias, characters realize they’ve been raised specifically to be awesome at being, say, a spy? It’s like that with me.  Except that instead of spying, I was raised to be a goof for the amusement of the elderly.  Thanks, ma.  So I’ll be back to visit my new friends, and not just for the cookies.  I just cannot deny my calling anymore.

The second good deed was just today, and might explain why this post is slightly goofy: I donated blood to the Red Cross today!  I like to donate because I can, and quite a few of my friends are not able, and the need is constant (although I admit I was inspired to sign up this time after warnings of the east coast hurricane).  This was just my third visit, and my veins get slower each time — it took a solid seventeen minutes to donate 1 pint of blood today.

Seriously, the things I will do for a cookie.

3. Food and Beverage

But the cookies weren’t the least healthy thing I ate this week!  Oh no!  I went to the Minnesota State Fair last weekend.  If you can deep fry it and put it on a stick, I probably ate it.  Twice.  I’m thinking of you, Macaroni and Cheese on a Stick.  I’m always thinking of you.

State Fair

The view from the Sky Glider. Food was not allowed up there, so I got bored and took a picture.

Earlier in the weekend, I went on a tour of Summit Brewery in St. Paul.  I do enjoy a good beer — my favorite is “whatever’s dark on tap” — and one is usually enough to get me a little bit silly.  Good thing Summit gave me, er, three!

summit beer and me being giddy

Those aren’t all my…hands. Those are all my beers though.

I might try to volunteer there some day.  I’m always looking for a worthy cause!

4.  Football

I’m still thinking about it more than a little constantly; I’m even wearing a Vikings shirt in the picture above.  While it looks like a building season for the Vikings, I’m excited just to see how everything plays out.  I’m way more excited about Christian Ponder than Donavan McNabb, but maybe that’s because I’ve had my fill of, um, “veteran” quarterbacks.  Speaking of, don’t be surprised if I actually buy a number 4 jersey this year, because of this:

Kluwe will be taking number 4 along with his ice cream cone (and my heart).  Every negotiation I make in the future will include an ice cream demand.  I shall call it the Kluwe Clause.

Best Things of the Week: Packed summer weekend edition

1. Old friends, interesting decisions

On Monday, one of my oldest friends popped into the Cities for a surprise visit.  I hadn’t seen him in three years, putting him in the “long-lost” category, plus he was the victim of my first crush (he came to my fifth birthday party and gave me a My Little Pony, how could I resist?).  So when he and another friend showed up on my doorstep, good sense went out the window.  A bar was visited.

Gypsy dog

And that's all Gypsy has to say about that.

I also played a round of Star Trek Scene-It with the guys because I am a patient and understanding lady.

2. “When I was your age, television was called books.”

The Princess Bride is my favorite book in the world, and I’ve read it at least twenty times.  I once wrote a ten-page essay about the movie adaptation (for a class, not just for fun, but don’t tempt me).  So when I heard it would be playing for free at Lake Harriet, I planned to go.  Then when Vita.mn had a contest on Facebook calling for the best line from the movie, I went with my favorite (above) as delivered by the wonderful Peter Falk.  And surprise! I won a DVD and a poster. Obviously I already owned the DVD (my love for all things Princess Bride cannot be overstated), but it came in handy when the outdoor showing was rained out and my friends and I needed to finish the movie somewhere else.  And the poster (by Landland) is really cool and makes me feel far hipper than I actually am.

This is such a silly joke, but it makes me legit snort-laugh every time (and there went all my hipness):

3. I ain’t never had a friend like Manolo

There were so many awesome activities this past weekend, and Manolo was there with me for just about all of them, so here’s the condensed version of How We Roll:

– 1/2 movie in the park, 1/2 movie in an apartment (Friday)
–  Teaching Manolo About the Vikings lesson two: It’s more fun when we win!  And it’s even better when we’re with friends at a bar and later a dance party and scroll up for the dog-of-censorship again! (Saturday)
–  Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children – special session for the Horn of Africa (Sunday)
– Discovering we know all the words to “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin while in my let’s-pretend-it’s-soundproof car (Sunday)
–  Obon: Japanese lantern lighting festival at Como Park.  Manolo won a girly pink purse for betting on what I can only describe as chicken-fighting ninjas.  Way to step up your game, universe.  I truly did not see that one coming. (Sunday)
– Laughing obnoxiously (Every day)

Best Things of the Week: A Day Late Edition

I meant to write this yesterday, but a surprise visit from an old friend and an innate ability to procrastinate everything means it’s here today instead!

1. Wedding Bells

Remember when I went to a bachelorette party last week? Unsurprisingly, it meant I got to go to a wedding this week!  And because it’s my life, I got to go to it with a bunch of nuns!  Right after work on Friday, my coworkers and I dressed up and went to our friend and former coworker’s wedding.  The ceremony was lovely, the reception was a great party, and the cupcakes were delicious. Congratulations, friends!

2. Uptownin’ Around

On Saturday, I dropped in to the Pizza Luce Block Party in Uptown with my friend Manolo.

Luce Block  Party Image

 We stuck around for Communist Daughter, then realized we could hear the concert almost as well from Manolo’s porch, which is kind of a perfect way to spend an afternoon.  Things got even better in the evening when I convinced Manolo to watch the Vikings’ preseason opener.  I’m not going to say it was a good game, but I had a great time trying to teach Manolo about the football.

Vikings Vs Packers

Manolo, lesson one: Your roommate the Packers fan is wrong, and I am right.

Lesson two: Our current starting quarterback’s name is Donavan McNabb.  Not, as you guessed, “Don Juan Diablo.”

3. Irish Fest!

I went to my first ever Irish Fest in St. Paul on Sunday! I ate O’Brien Potatoes, drank a Guinness, accidentally bought a loaf of soda bread (I thought I was just buying one piece and yes, I am the kind of person who accidentally buys a loaf of bread), and got my name written in Gaelic.  It is, disappointingly, “Raicheal.” I managed not to tell too many complete strangers about my citizenship — but I let my redheaded Irish buddy, known as “Saibher” for the day, tell them for me.  I absolutely recommend bringing your own ginger wherever you go.

Patrick Renna

If you learn nothing else from me, learn that.