Thank you to my folks for sending us to New York City to celebrate my birthday!
There is a place in Times Square where you can forget that you’re in Times Square.
Times Square is out of control.
The buildings are adorned with towering, skyscraper-tall screens flashing advertisements. The sidewalks and plazas are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people. Know that you can’t get anywhere quickly.
Even though I was a tourist, I could not wait to get away from the tourists. There is no rhyme or reason to the way people walk down the sidewalks. Hugging the right does not exist. Groups of tourists move through Times Square in big, slow blobs that take-up the entire sidewalk width and abruptly stop.
The air smells like a million different things: Trash. Urine. Bodies. Car exhaust. Cigarettes. Cinnamon roasted candied nuts, falafel, and griddled meats and onions.
Thank you to my folks for generously sending us to NYC for my birthday!
Our trip to New York City ended in a high-speed car chase.
The taxi driver wove around cars at every intersection, accelerating suddenly from 5 mph to 50. Things got funkier on the freeway. For he was engaged in a high-speed chase with himself.
Wanderlust is real. It’s the constant longing to take a road trip. The moment you get back from one, you’re itching for the next. The desire constantly nags and all-consumes. If you can relate, you probably have wanderlust too.
This weekend, I took a miniature road trip to Mankato, Minnesota located about 1.5 hours southwest of the Twin Cities. This was not just a road trip, this was a literary quest.
Fargo is cool.
Everyone who’s been to Fargo already knows this. Everyone else doesn’t always believe me.
When I think of Fargo-Moorhead, I think of hanging out on our friends’ big front porches and drinking wine. I think of tromping down main street in a snow storm, popping in and out of bars ordering pickled eggs and Chuck Norris shots.
I think of the troll lounge at the Sons of Norway building, cheese plates with slices of cheeses fanned out as opulently as a peacock’s tail feathers at Mezzaluna (half-price at happy hour!), and knoephla soup. I think of overflowing molcajete and ridiculously cheap beer at Mango’s and buttermilk pie at Josie’s.
I think of blowing up Peking ducks with air compressors in M State culinary school and the madness that was German Sausage Chowder day in the Sanford hospital cafeteria.
I was a reluctant Harry Potter fan.
Growing-up, magic was mostly forbidden. Bible magic was OK. Disney magic and Chronicles of Narnia magic was OK, too. But Bed Knobs and Broomsticks magic and Roald Dahl Witches magic was not. Maybe because magic was so forbidden, I have always been obsessed with magic.
Fast forward to the summer after my senior year of high school. Before college freshman orientation, we were all assigned to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the fifth book in J.K. Rowling’s series. I had never read a Harry Potter book and I thought it was the stupidest assignment in the world.
I dutifully bought the book. It was as heavy as a brick and 870 pages long. With a resentful heart, I opened the book and started my summer reading assignment.