“That wasn’t science. That was fun!”

While their teachers met downtown St. Paul for Education MN, our kids and their cousins spent the day across the street at the Science Museum of Minnesota, learning about tornadoes, deer vertebrae, wind speeds, how to create a mummy–and topped it off at the newly remodeled Cosetta’s!

The Science Museum is a great place to bring a group of kids of various ages–and with different interests. Everyone get a bit of what they’re craving, such as:

Making music on the musical steps (Caroline, Matt, cousin Allison)
Doin’ the news! (Cara, Justin, Matty)

Throughout the exhibits, it was obvious the kids were using things they’ve learned elsewhere (absolute location, air density, light speed, waves frequencies). Made me secretly smile to see them having so much fun (and learning, but don’t tip ’em off).

How to use a teleprompter 101
Checking out the bears in Ely via live cam.
Hanging out with some friends in the interactive area.
Swapping at the Trading Post. Cara brought various deer parts that Rev hauled out of the woods. A rock hound, she happily traded the whitetail vertebrae for some cool shells, fossils and of course rocks.
The real TiV from the Omnifilm, Tornado Alley, is on display. Everyone really loved the movie–it’s a great blend of science and adventure, even for those wary of storms.
How to make a mummy. We lost Allie at “First, remove the brains.”

Scientists get hungry

We made the short walk to Cosetta’s to see their newly renovated space and check out the results of their imported-from-Italy pastry maker. One word: Mmmmmmm.

Rooftop seating on historic West 7th.
Holy Canolli!


Sweetly decadent way to wrap up a sweet day full of fun (and learning).

Ladycation! Wine + Women in Wisconsin

Why would a Vikings fan go to Wisconsin? For the comfort, laughter, peace, wisdom + love of 4 women, taking time from their careers, families +  laundry piles for a Ladycation! Oh, and for wine. Lots of wine.

Willow, baby sista Kristina, Shannon, moi, Ann.

My amazing sis Kris coordinated our Ladycation and hosted us at her and her husband and little son’s cozy home. She even hand-made wine glass charms, a CD of great music and had T-shirts for each of us!

The drive over was G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. Note: Most of these photos were taken at 74 mph. Every inch of the stretch was awash in beautiful autumn colors as only MN and WI can design.

We visited two area wineries, River Bend Vineyard and Autumn Harvest Winery.

We had a lovely dinner at Mona Lisa’s on Water Street, then Ann’s by-request pineapple upside down cake drink at a cozy bar. She needed it to douse the flames of her spicy pasta dish (apparently 6 = hotter than hades in Eau Claire). All amidst the UW – Eau Claire Homecoming revelers. Only got propositioned a few times. But it was early.

…and this was just one part of the countertop…

After a wonderful evening of swapping tales and experiences, we turned in to snooze.

Good, good morning

Sunday started with coffee and baked goodies, then a long walk on woodsy trails. Someone got us a little lost (the person who, ahem, lives near the trails), but the road less taken is always full of more rewards, eh?

The sound of crunching through freshly fallen leaves warms my soul and energizes my spirit.
Well, Happy Sunday to You, too.
Bowie, Kristina, Ann (who apparently did recover from her spicy dinner).

**Ding, ding** Bonus: We arrived back in time to see Kristina’s other boys, hubby Eric and little Howie. They’d had their own boycation!

Homeward bound

During the drive home, I savored the CD songs and was re-fueled by the comfort, laughter, peace, wisdom and love of these four amazing women. Just like me, trying to contribute to the world. They’re inspiring examples and I’m so glad they let me tag along.

A couple more 74 mph images:

As my CD ended, the Vikes game began, so I switched on the radio. Just as I was crossing the mighty St Croix River to Minnesota, my Vikings were running back the opening kickoff for a record 105-yard touchdown to start the game. Go big or go home, eh?

And home is always the sweetest place of all.

“I can’t listen to that M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A chant one. more. time.”

That’s our Matt, born and raised a staunch UND Fighting Sioux fan. Groomed to despise the Gopher hockey team. So even though his Sioux football squad does not play the Gophers, it was torture to listen to the U of M chant while at a Gopher football game on a perfect autumn afternoon. And, the Gophers scored early and often, so Matty’s ears were blazing.

TCF Bank Stadium, aka “The Bank” and “The Gopher Hole” is a beautiful venue, shimmied in on the West Bank near Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena. Gorgeous views of the River, vibrant Stadium Village and other U of M landmarks. It’s on the former Memorial Stadium site, so there’s a nice rich sense of history. It’s a horseshoe design, and can accommodate future expansion (when the maroon and gold starts winning more, more often to justify it…).

Smile, Sioux fan.

Ironically (or not), the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux agreed to donate $10 million to the stadium, the U matched parts of that and created an endowment for scholarships to go to Native American and low-income U of M students. A respectful plaza commemorates the “history, presence and cultural contributions of all 11 tribes in Minnesota.” Interesting. Our state’s history with Native Americans is complicated and definitely not proud. All Minnesota counties are represented on the stadium exterior, including ours:

Our seats were comfy, especially when we added some Sioux padding.

It was a great game on a day perfectly designed for football.

QB MarQueis Gray romped.

It was a great way to spend part of a Saturday. On our way out of the stadium, we spotted Mariucci Arena. “How long until hockey season?” Matt asked. Not long, buddy. And hopefully we won’t hear that annoying chant much at all this winter.