Saturday, August 30, 2008

MN State Fair -Some down home midwest fun!

The Minnesota State Fair is over on Monday, so we had to take a little trip up there to see the sights. Megan and Joe had never been before, however, I have now gone all 3 years I have lived here, so was certainly excited to go back! The big thing with the MN State Fair is everything being "on a stick". They have pickles on a stick, spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, deep fried candy bars and Twinkies on a stick, pigs in a blanket on a stick, ice cream on a stick ... I could go on and on....

I did manage however, to not eat ANYTHING on a stick. I had some ice cream, in a dish from the Dairy Barn, where the milk is fresh daily, and a Gyro, which was extra delicious, however, I made them myself a few nights ago, and I would bet that mine were much tastier!

Here are some pictures to document the event. Enjoy, and check out the fair next year, or tomorrow if you are in town!

Joe, standing next to some lawn art that best represents him .... a giraffe.
Only some of the people who were at the State Fair with us yesterday afternoon ..... Good thing the people here are "Minnesota Nice" or else it could have gotten out of control!For 50 cents, you can try your skills at milking a goat. We thought it was a genius idea on the farmers part. The goats need to be milked anyway, and this way, they are getting free labor, and being paid to DO NOTHING! While us city folks get to feel cool by milking a goat. Well farmers, we've got you figured out!
Cows showing some love.
This picture is for Kathy (Sr. Katherine, in the convent with the Nashville Dominicans.) We are waving hello to her with a super fuzzy and soft looking cow at the fair.

This is a pig - with his head, and his bottom, stuck in his food and water dish. Poor pig. Joe, myself, Mikey and Megan resting our little feet before conquering more turf at the fair. Again, another picture for Kathy, she always got on me for putting too much garlic on EVERYTHING, I thought it only appropriate to take some pictures at the garlic store, holding garlic. I love garlic, it's probably one of my favorite foods. Watch out world, here I come!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Renaissance Festival 2008

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival was this weekend, and I had never been before, but had always been interested in going, so a man I work with, who is one of the performers at the festival, gave me 4 tickets, and Megan, Jacqui, Joe and I took ourselves out to Shakopee, MN for the afternoon to enjoy .... something we were not sure about.

This was the entrance to the festival - Like a mini-Disneyland, in Medieval times

This man was a sword fighter - he greeted us as we entered into Make Believe Land. We had taken two pictures before this one, and then he decided he needed to make a better face, so I did too. I am pleased with the results.
Jim is in the center. He provided us with the tickets to Make Believe Land. We had a great time and were lucky to find him. His job is basically to escort people all around the festival, so he is never in one place for very long!These very large puppets also greeted us as we walked into the festival.

Perhaps one of my very favorite things to see at the festival - men, women, and children, walking around gnawing on very large turkey thighs. I could not help but take pictures of Joe as he participated in the activity. And in the picture here, it looks smaller than it actually was! CRAZY
After shot of the turkey leg...
Two small children with balloon bunny ears learning how to sword fight . . . one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

Check out the cool Renaissance buildings behind us!Old fashion Renaissance dancingA fire breathing, tight-rope walking, juggling, comedian. Weird, but very cool.

Going to the festival was like traveling back in time - people called us "My Lord, and My Lady" - they were wearing period clothing, speaking differently - etc. Quite the experience. We took in a lot of shows while we were there, most of them were very funny. My favorite was Zilch the Tory Steller, he tells a whole story and switched the 1st letter of all the words around, Tory Steller is an example - it is really Story Teller . . . . get it? He told the story or Parunnzel, or "Rapunzel" for those of your who don't speak Zilchs' language ;-) It was very funny, hard to follow in the beginning, but then your brain adapts to the language. A lot of the comedy acts were pretty inappropriate though, we left a few of them. All in all, it was enjoyable, but one time at the festival was enough to last me a life time I think.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Butterfly fun at Como Zoo

Today was great. The Como Zoo is having a butterfly exhibit until the 7th of September, and Joe and I decided to take advantage of it this afternoon before going to Vigil Mass at the Cathedral. It was lovely. There are some beautiful pictures of the butterflies that stayed still long enough to let me take their picture. The people working there said there were over 40 species of them, I don't think we saw them all.

We were sitting down at a bench, hoping one might land on us.

There were fruit trays all around where many of them were found having a snack. This one spread its wings so I could see all the lovely colors.
These black white and blue ones were very photogenic. They didn't shy away from my camera, and usually stayed still.
A pretty little orange one on a little red flower. Delightful.
Here is another blue black and white one - I forget what they were called.

This one opened all the way for a great shot.
A zebra butterfly, I think.
This was the sky a few nights ago before a big storm.
If you are in Minnesota, near St. Paul, go check out the Como Zoo Butterfly exhibit - - - the best part about the whole thing - it is FREE! I love free things!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tuesdays = Free outdoor concerts at the MN History Center!

Tuesday nights in St. Paul leave me at the Minnesota State History Center where each week is a free outdoor concert - each week is a different kind of music. Two weeks ago was Irish music, and last week was Swing! We bring a little picnic, and enjoy the music, and all of the people. What I enjoyed most this week, was being able to be there with my co-leader from NET (Joe Mailhot) and his fiance, soon to be wife (August 23rd), and also, looking around seeing TONS of people I know. Living in a city you didn't grow up in can seem --- challenging - you have to get to know new people, find out about the town, seek out some kind of community, etc. Yet, though I have only lived here about 3 years, I was surprised, and comforted to go out to a public event, downtown, and see at least 5 families I know, and many friends.

A highlight of the night was Hal W. Hal is an 81 year old man who never forgets his dancing shoes! He is pictured below in the blue shirt and black pants - dancing with all the ladies. I am certain people go swing dancing (Thursday nights at the Tapestry) just to dance with Hal! He was amazing! As i was watching him dance the night away (yes, I was watching, not dancing) I thought about all of the times my Grandma June tells me about how she would "dance every night!" as she wonders why I don't. I tell her things just are not the same with dancing these days. We don't have the big bands, the dance halls, the young G.I.'s hanging around waiting to dance with a nice young lady ......

Anyway, I became so happy thinking about my grandma in her youth, dancing every night, and Hal was able to show me a piece of what that might look like - I had to go talk to him! That is when I learned his name (Hal), how old he is (81), how long he has been dancing (since 1942), and that he goes swing dancing AT LEAST every Thursday (at The Tapestry). He asked me to dance right then, but saw I was wearing flip flops, and said there is no way I could dance well in them. Maybe next time Hal, maybe next time.

Check out the pictures, and enjoy!

Joe (my co-leader from NET who lives in Maine but is out here taking masters classes at St. Thomas for the summer) and his fiance (soon to be wife - Aug 23rd) Schara, in front of the BEAUTIFUL St. Paul Cathedral - - - - it is amazing! I can't believe I live in a city where I can see, and go to a cathedral daily if I want!

Hal (in the blue shirt and black pants) dancing the night away - notice his little finger point as he gets ready to spin around!

Hal dancing with a nice young lady - but not me :-( because of my flip flops

Lots of dancers !

Hal again, dancing!

And there it is!

Home Team 2005-2006- 3 members represented (Megan, Anna, Joe), 1 honorary member (Schara)

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