The One Where We Pet the Fluffiest Chicken and Experienced Art

I go back and forth when it comes to blogging, but truth be told, when I was blogging I enjoyed that it gave me some motivation to take pictures of things and I like being able to go back and look at what we did. I wish I had more photos of my own childhood, so at the very least I can do something that my kids will be able to look back at one day if they’re curious.

So, better late than never, right? We finally went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art… well, the kids and I did. I’ve been meaning to and I figured it was a good opportunity to do something new with them and hopefully broaden their young minds.

First, we went to the Wild Rumpus, though. It’s another place I’ve had on my list to take the kids to and we were mostly not disappointed. We went on a Saturday, so I should have expected how busy it would be, but my complaint is mostly toward parents who were just inconsiderate of other people. The store is small, so too many people with strollers or huge bags and baby carriers gets crowded fast. The kids just wanted to look at books and had a hard time doing so.

The other draw is the shop animals, though. We saw a bird or two, a chinchilla, two cats, two rats and our favorite… the fluffiest chicken ever. We didn’t even notice this little guy at first and literally had no idea what it was until we started petting it and it clucked. We are absolutely getting silkies when we have our hobby farm.

The MIA wasn’t too crowded once we got away from the featured Egypt exhibit. There was so much to see and the kids were a little tired, so I knew they weren’t going to last long. So, I got us all turned around and lost wandering halls and rooms, while trying desperately to keep Phoebe from touching everything and setting off alarms. Ha!

To help give them some purpose as we explored, I told them they could each take some pictures of things they liked, and I attempted to get them to talk about the art a bit. Thankfully as we wandered into a more modern art area, there was a wonderful woman there with some activities geared toward children to help them better explore and examine the art. I am definitely using her tips the next time we go and it’s always fun to see just how different our kids are and the different ways in which they see and do things.

They may not have lasted long, but I feel much more prepared for next time and I also want to go back by myself or maybe with Josh as well for an afternoon date. I give you a variety of things the kids and I found interesting. I think that perhaps next time I will bring a better camera as well.

*Also, bear with me as I get used to WordPress’s updates… I need to get used to the changes*

Currently – January

January is already more than halfway over… but I’m not going to dwell on that. Plenty of time to get things done, feel accomplished and all of that good stuff and dip my toes back into blogging because it’s the only form of journaling/record keeping I was ever semi-consistent with and call me crazy, but I enjoy looking back.

Reading… Welcome to Night Vale

I’m thinking maybe one needs to have listened to the podcast first to actually make sense of it?

Watching (on TV)… Outlander, This Is Us

Playing… A handful of games… I never finish anything quickly… except books.

Inspired byMusic and dance

Needing/Wanting… At least one or two more hours in the day… or you know, the lottery would be nice since that would definitely afford me more time.

Listening to… Random Spotify playlists.  I’ve been jumping around a lot trying to find just what I’m in the mood for.  I will literally listen to instrumental/classicial, metal, pop, rap, etc. all in the same day.  So… that.

Drinking… More water and working on cutting back on caffeine.  I think I just got into a habit of drinking coffee because it’s warm and comforting, but I really need more water.

Eating… Healthier, or at least making more of an effort to.  With our schedules so busy, we definitely let ourselves fall into bad eating patterns and I’m making an effort to plan meals again and try and get our picky eaters to branch out more.  Working full time, longish commutes and after school activities really make it hard most nights, so time to set some new routines.

Planning… Summer vacation! 

Creating Lots of lists of all the things I need/want to do.

Practicing… Flexibility and graceful movement.  Though I feel like I must have been a dancer in another lifetime, what I see and feel in my head does not always translate to this body!  Ha!

Trying… To add more beneficial habits to my life while shedding the ones that don’t serve me.  It’s all too easy for me to curl up in a ball and read or watch tv, so I’m pushing myself harder to deal with the cold and warm up by being active with reading and a glass of wine as a reward.

Looking forward to… A date night with Josh. I scored some sweet free tickets to a hockey game and we’re going to go try a new to us place to eat and drink beforehand. 

Enjoying… A little extra freedom with my days/evenings to go to more pole classes but also try new things.  I’m pushing myself more than I used to and really stepping out of my comfort zone a lot.  My introverted nature balks sometimes, but that tiny extroverted piece of my soul has been reveling in all of the fun and adventures I didn’t allow her to have for so many years.  

Feeling… Slightly overwhelmed and anxious, yet also excited and hopeful.

2018 Reading Stats

Thanks to Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner for always hosting this!

Number Of Books You Read: 67
Number of Re-Reads: 
3
Genre You Read The Most From:
It was a pretty varied year

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 I don’t think I was really that letdown by any books I was truly excited about, so despite reading a few duds, they weren’t duds I was expecting to be great.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

 The Outsider by Stephen King

I wasn’t expecting one of my favorite characters to turn up in this one, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

 Saga, Saga, Saga. Haha!

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

 Best Series:  Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch

 Best Sequel: Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

 Best Ender: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Jesmyn Ward

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

 I don’t read many memoirs, but enjoyed My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir by Chris Offutt.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

 I read a handful of books that made me want to keep turning the page, but I’m going to go with true crime for this one.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Saga series (of course)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Benji Ovich from Beartown and Us Against You

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

 Beartown by Fredrik Backman

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.”  Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

 Shortest:  Saga Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan (146 pages)

 Longest:   Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (992 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

 Saga Volume 9

 That ending!!  I need to know what happens next.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

 Alana and Marko (Saga)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

 Dan Torrance and Abra Stone (Doctor Sleep)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

 A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

 I grew to love Manon even more in Kingdom of Ash

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

 Eesh… I feel like I’m just repeating myself with these.  Haha

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

 Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Britain

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Unmentionable : The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill  – I enjoyed the sarcasm and wit.  Sure, it may not offer a complete picture of the 19th century (I’m not an expert), but it was funny and a light read before moving onto more serious non-fiction regarding the era.

(Okay, I didn’t quite finish this one this year, but close and really the funniest one I read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

 Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (the ending)

 Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

 Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

  I can’t say that it was hidden, but I enjoyed Tips for Living by Renee Shafransky

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

 The Pisces by Melissa Broder

 Woman falls in love with a fish man…. Need I say more?

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I had to put aside the feeling I had that her main character would not actually have acted as she did.

 The Dinner by Herman Koch

It was frustrating for me.  I liked the premise, but ultimately it felt so unrealistic and I didn’t like any of the characters in the end. 

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

 I have such a massive stack… I have a feeling I’ll be playing Roulette to see who goes next.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

Circe by Madeline Miller

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon  – Fantasy, strong women and dragons?  I’m in! 

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

 Alas, I don’t think they’ll be out in 2019.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Find a way to incorporate my love of books with other things. Whether that be blogging again or doing a You-Tube channel, a podcast or something… Still pondering.

Currently… October

Reading… The Shining… only during the day, of course

Watching (on TV)… Stranger Things (again)

Playing… Spooooky games for Twitch and Vampyr when I can

Listening to… Moody mixes and songs to dance to

Drinking… Warm drinks and hard cider

Eating… Birthday cake

Planning… Parties, Vacations, Solo Getaways, you name it

Creating… A Demogorgon, obviously

Practicing… Pole and flexibility

Trying… To spread my wings and not fall

Looking forward to… next year

Enjoying… No humidity and fewer allergies!

Feeling… All the feelings.  I’m a roller coaster of emotions!!

Demogorgon teeth… just about 100 more to go. 

Minnesota Nice…

In the past 10 years that we’ve lived in Minnesota, I have struggled to make friends.  The majority are all through my husband and time and time again I’ve heard how hard it can be to make friends in this state when you’re an outsider.  It’s all true.  This little saying?  “Minnesotans will give you directions anywhere except their own house.”  It’s totally true, and disheartening. I learned semi-quickly that when a Minnesotan says, “We should get together!” or etc. they don’t always actually mean that. Quite often they’re just saying it…. Surprise! While I might have an easier time if I wasn’t a full-time working mom, I struggled when we originally moved here and then became distracted with other things. Then things settled down, the kids got older and once again I knew I needed to make my own friends that weren’t all inherited from my significant other.

However… judging from various articles, Reddit threads, you name it… it seems like it will not get easier anytime soon and that I should expect it to take years before I can expect to be welcomed into a pre-existing group.  Seriously?  Really?  Even though we got along great and have lots in common??   I’m beginning to think moving back west sooner rather than later is a more attractive idea.  I don’t think I can handle the extra added stress of basically trying to ace an interview every interaction in the hopes I’ll be accepted into a group. Of course friendships take time, I just didn’t realize it would take years to get out of the “acquaintance” category.  I’m probably better off trying to find other people who are not from here either. Or, I guess there is always the option of moving to a friendlier, more open city, which is definitely something I’ve been thinking of lately.  I used to be worried about the kids adjusting, but I’m sure they’d be okay and maybe an adventure in the next few years is just what we need.

All this to say… don’t be so hard on outsiders.  You know, some are pretty nice and worth getting to know. Who knows, you could even end up with a lifelong friend.

Not all Minnesotans are this way, of course. I have met Minnesotans who are not just friends with a small clique that they probably grew up with, or if they are still friends with that same group, they still manage to open their arms to someone new and allow them to leave the ranks of semi-acquaintance fairly quickly.  These people are rare and fantastic finds.