Amazing Weekend

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I did have a couple of late submissions for RWPE. Here are a couple of bonus FRAMING pictures.



Julie Johnson


Michael Vest

I had an amazing weekend. I would just like to share a few of the highlights. In no particular order, besides chronological:

  • I ate supper on Friday night at Jeff’s Pizza with Teresa and Jesse. I love their pepperoni rolls.
  • I got to watch Jesus Christ Superstar at Stephens with Mom, Jesse and Teresa. It was an awesome production, with the exception of the geriatric Ted Neeley, who has continued to suck it up into his 60s. I firmly believe that the only acceptable definition of Hell is “separation from God”. But if I were to believe in a personal punishment vision of Hell, it might be that I get up to what I think is Heaven because Jesus is there. But then he opens his mouth and sounds like Ted Neeley. I would have to pump my fist and scream, “You win this round vengeful God! You win this round!” Sorry Shannon, but that is the way it is.
  • I got to chauffeur Jim out of the Cyclone State for only the 2nd time since 1987. It was the first time he has left the state for an “extended” period of time since 1987 when he took Nate to see a St. Louis Cardinals game. I think he might have enjoyed it as he is considering leaving the state again this Summer to see the Twins play the Braves on June 12 & 13.
  • I got to see Bethany’s new house. It is pretty sweet. They have managed to put down a new wood floor, new tile in the kitchen and new carpet in the rest of the house. Her new fridge is the coolest fridge I’ve ever seen. They painted all the rooms and they got the paint for free because they bought it on Christmas Eve and the Sherwin Williams employee just gave it to them as a Christmas Present because they were the only customers he had that day.
  • I got to try my first (and won’t be the last) Jucy Lucy. Yes, there is no “i” in Jucy. There are two restaurants that lay claim to having invented the Twin City curiosity. We went to Matt’s Bar based on the recommendation of Becca’s boyfriend Gelli. He insisted that they have the superior Jucy Lucy. A Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts. The end result is a hamburger with a molten core of cheese. The sandwich is both incredibly tasty and slightly dangerous. You have to be careful with the first bite because if you bite into it too aggressively you are rewarded with an explosion of boiling cheese. This cheese explosion is both tasty and painful. A rare combination. The two restaurants that claim to have invented the burger are only a few blocks apart. Matt’s Bar does not use the “i” in juicy. The 5-8 Club does use the “i”. They both have used this spelling in their marketing. Matt’s Bar boasts “if it’s spelled correctly, you’re at the wrong place.” The 5-8 club boasts “if it’s spelled right, it’s done right”. In a future trip to Minnesota, I will give the 5-8 Club a try. I might also venture into St. Paul to try the Cajun Lucy served at the Groveland Tap.
  • Stopped at a quaint little store called Tom’s Popcorn Shop. I picked up 4 types of popcorn. A chocolate popcorn that ended up being terrible. Jill compared it to Cocoa Puffs and that was a very accurate assessment. A double caramel and mixed nuts variety ended up being very tasty. A caramel and peanuts variety was tasty. The banana popcorn I am munching on right now isn’t too bad.
  • I got to see the bank where Bethany works and pick up two new pairs of shoes at a nearby Burlington Coat Factory. My injured foot is already starting to feel better since I switched shoes.
  • I made Sara’s dream come true by wandering around IKEA with Bethany and Jim. Okay, mostly with Bethany. I think Jim was ready to go 5 minutes after stepping in the door. I didn’t get to see all of IKEA, but I did get to see a group of girls acting out the scene from (500) Days of Summer (have I told you lately how much I love that movie!) that is set in IKEA. That warmed my heart a bit. I also fell in love with their collection of butcher block tables and I have decided to get rid of my kitchen table and replace it with a small butcher block table. To create both some space and so I have a food prep area if I ever decide to cook. Or the more likely scenario, for the next time somebody comes over and cooks for me.
  • I got to see Jill’s apartment. It was disgustingly clean. Meaning if I spent now until my birthday party cleaning my house it still wouldn’t be half as clean as Jill’s apartment. But it is a well-known fact that the Gorshes are cleaners. Anybody that ever worked a closing shift at the Boone outpost of the Evil Clown Empire with Derrick can tell you stories about the cleanliness of the grill area when he was done. They can also tell you other stories, but I’m concentrating on how much that guy liked to clean for now. I got to meet her cat. I don’t think it is a major surprise that her can’t didn’t like me, but the theory is that this was just laying the groundwork. The next time I visit, the cat will think I’m swell. It is similar to my theory that the next time Jupiter gets together with Jackson and Bailey they will get along swell because of the groundwork I did on Dog Playdate when I was borrowing Jupiter for Sara’s trip to Florida. I also got to ride in Indy for the first time since I got to drive her several months back. We ate at this sweet restaurant called Jade 88 Chinese Cuisine. We were the only people in the restaurant. Literally. My favorite aspects of this restaurant were that they called crab rangoons – cream cheese powder puffs, they had a chair sitting in the women’s bathroom stall (Jill reported this fact, I did not go into the women’s bathroom) and they had the largest collection of cleaning supplies I’ve ever seen sitting on top of the toilet in the men’s room. That isn’t to say the food wasn’t good, because it was great, but to know me is to know what type of weird things tickle my fancy. After the meal, Jill returned my copy of the 2 Disc Special Edition of A Clockwork Orange that she had borrowed a few weeks back. My Stanley Kubrick boxed set is complete once again! I was also able to loan her The Departed and give her the final piece of Halloween candy. A piece of candy that almost ended up in Willy’s stomach.
  • I had lunch with Jim, Becca and Nate at one of Becca’s favorite restaurants Quang. It is a Vietnamese restaurant that reminds me of one of Sara’s favorite restaurants, A Dong. (Yes, immature people, that is really the name of the restaurant. Stop giggling. I know who you are.) While we waited for a table, Becca and I checked out an Asian grocery store across the street. Now just going to a normal grocery store is kind of an adventure for me. (If you don’t believe me, ask Jay) But going to this grocery store was a special kind of adventure for me. I actually didn’t take my camera out of my backpack on the whole trip. Even though I thought about doing my FRAMING picture for RWPE up there, but in the end I admittedly just kind of phoned that project in. However, at the bottom of this list, you might just find a few low quality images I captured with my phone in this market. The food at Quang lived up to Becca’s hype. We had some kind of fried yam things called Banh Tom Chien. They called crab rangoons cream cheese wontons. Tasty, but not as cute as cream cheese powder puffs.
  • After Quang, I allowed Becca to drive my car (without a small amount of consternation on my part) to give us a tour of Uptown Minneapolis. I really liked Uptown. We got to drive by Gelli’s parents’ restaurant “It’s All Greek to Me…” (a place I will no doubt try in the future) and hear Becca’s sermonizing on how much she doesn’t like hipsters. Nate liked to point out that Becca is a borderline hipster, but she doesn’t see the similarities. Even though she does want to drive a Prius, she is not a hipster she insists. Mostly because she doesn’t ride a bike. But perhaps the most exciting part of the Uptown tour was driving by the Uptown Theater. Although I had missed it, they clearly proclaimed on their marquee that they had a midnight showing of A Clockwork Orange. Jill is going to look into this phenomenon and hopefully a midnight showing of A Clockwork Orange is in our future.
  • After the Uptown tour we stopped at a grocery store so Nate could buy the ingredients for gumbo. On the surface that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but in fact it is like watching Van Gogh buy paintbrushes or Eric Clapton buy a guitar.
  • Becca made a Coastal Seafood Salad that included shrimp, squid and roughie. It was incredible. Nate made gumbo (no need to point out how phenomenal the gumbo was) and we settled down to watch the Super Bowl. I would have to say that my favorite Super Bowl commercial this year was the monster.com commercial with the beaver playing the violin. Like Jen, I’m partial to beavers. The team I was rooting for also won. That was a surprising bonus. Nate also tried to convince me that Metallica had redeemed themselves with their most recent album. I’ve never been much of a Metallica fan, but at some point I will be giving their new album a listen in order to make my own assessment.
  • I pulled into my driveway at 1:30 in the morning. It had been a successful weekend on many levels.

Here are a few low quality pictures from my phone:



Mmmm… Pork brains. But you can’t prepare that without edible beef blood!


Fresh clams!


Lobster. I wanted a picture of the crabs, but the water in their tank wasn’t clear enough to get a good picture.


Of course I also wanted to share today’s love letter from The Writer’s Almanac:

Franz Kafka wrote stories about human beings transformed into vermin; unsettling legal battles over unspecified crimes; and a father who sentences his son to death by drowning. Kafka is often thought of as neurotic, and rarely as romantic, but he wrote a great many love letters — many of the anguished, helpless variety — to a Berlin woman to whom he was engaged for five years. Their relationship was carried out almost entirely by letters.

In the autumn of 1912, he wrote to Felice Bauer about how much she had become inseparable from his composition process, and also how anticipation of her writing kept him awake at night. He wrote:

“Lately I have found to my amazement how intimately you have now become associated with my writing, although until recently I believe that the only time I did not think about you at all was while I was writing.

In one short paragraph I had written, there were, among others, the following references to you and your letters: someone was give a bar of chocolate. There was talk of small diversions someone had during working hours. Then there was a telephone call. And finally somebody urged someone to go to bed, and threatened to take him straight to his room if he did not obey, which was certainly prompted by the recollection of your mother’s annoyance when you stayed so late at the office. — Such passages are especially dear to me; in them I take hold of you, without your feeling it, and therefore without your having to resist.

… [It takes] every imaginable effort to get to sleep — i.e., to achieve the impossible, for one cannot sleep and at the same time be thinking about one’s work and trying to solve with certainty the one question that certainly is insoluble, namely, whether there will be a letter from you the next day, and at what time. The night consists of two parts: one wakeful, the other sleepless, and if I were to tell you about it at length and you were prepared to listen, I should never finish.

Eleven days later, Kafka wrote to her:
“Fraulein Felice!
I am now going to ask you a favour which sounds quite crazy, and which I should regard as such, were I the one to receive the letter. It is also the very greatest test that even the kindest person could be put to. Well this is it:
Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday — for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them.
For instance, I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you.
I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough. But for this very reason I don’t want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life; and that’s why I don’t want to know that you are fond of me. If I did, how could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?”

And a week after that, he wrote to her:

“Dearest, what have I done that makes you torment me so? No letter again today, neither by the first mail nor the second. You do make me suffer! While one written word from you could make me happy! … If I am to go on living at all, I cannot go on vainly waiting for news of you, as I have done these last few interminable days …

I think the thing I’ve liked about these letters is their common theme of thinking constantly about the woman they love and how that gets in the way of their work.

5 thoughts on “Amazing Weekend”

  1. It sounds like a “Jucy Lucy” is way better than a Runza – Jesse can tell you how very wrong all of Omaha is in thinking that those things are good. He can also tell you how to find the “O” (Street).

    You have also made me incredibly hungry. I love Vietnamese food!

  2. I love Julie’s unique take on frame!

    My dad made burgers like that on the grill when I was little. He called them his sooper-dooper burgers. Wow, I haven’t thought of those in years! He made many varieties (always “improving”), but my favorite was when he would mix a little bbq seasoning into the ground beef, colby-jack in the middle, and a thin slice of cheddar melted on the top. Served with bbq sauce instead of ketchup, it was fantastic!

  3. Angie,

    I will certainly ask Jesse about the Runza. We are going to Omaha on Friday, so it could be a good topic of conversation for the open road.

    I think Quang is better than Le’s. It was certainly more exotic.

    Dawn,

    I was just telling Jesse how I would use cheddar in my version of the Jucy Lucy. I would also serve it with barbecue sauce. I would also throw bacon into the mix somehow.

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