Tag Archives: Minneapolis

The Latest: Kick-Off to a Chaotic Season

Wendy and I knew that we were entering into a fall and winter 2019-2020 that was going to be jam packed with events and travel. We didn’t plan it that way. It just sort of evolved. So, we’re embracing it.

We considered last weekend the kick-off of the chaos. Long ago we’d planned a Twin Cities getaway. It just so happened that the Twins and Vikings had home games on the same weekend. Wendy and I got a hotel in between Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium.

Friday night was unseasonably hot and humid as we trekked about a mile to Target Field. We had seats right behind home plate and found ourselves surrounded by professional baseball scouts with their stopwatches and clipboards. We had a fun evening watching the Twins beat the Royals.

Saturday was a day of simply being together. We walked about a mile to have a wonderful breakfast at Eggsy, then trekked back to the hotel where we hung out and watched the Iowa State football game. We dressed to the nines in the late afternoon and took an Uber to the Red Cow for dinner. There was a gorgeous, cool breeze and we walked back to the hotel, stopping at Finnegan’s Brewery for a pint.

Sunday morning we headed to the “mother ship,” U.S. Bank Stadium, and really enjoyed watching the Vikings beat the Raiders. It was a really fun getaway to launch a busy season.

Earlier this year we’d heard about an occasional event at one of Des Moines’ breweries, the Foundry, called “Hymns at the Hall.” We put it on our calendar to attend the next one, which was this past Thursday. We joined our friends, Kev and Beck, and ordered some food truck pizza for dinner as we waited for the festivities to begin. We didn’t realize that one of the organizers of the event is a good friend of Taylor and Clayton’s, and we ran into some of the kids’ peeps which was a lot of fun. A very festive evening of singing great hymns and enjoying some great craft brews.

Last night was our community theatre’s annual Awards Night. Last year Wendy was inducted to Union Street Players Walk of Fame. This year it was my turn. We were surrounded by our friends and I was given a wonderful, honoring introduction by Doug DeWolf. It was a really fun evening with our theatre community. Lots of laughter and reliving memories. I was both humbled and honored. We retired to the Vander Well Pub afterwards for some enjoyable conversation.

Top Five Things I Love About the Twin Cities

I’m headed to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul today. I’ve been going to the Twin Cities for many years and have had many clients there over the years. Wendy and I try to make a habit of spending at least one or two weekends a year enjoying all that the area has to offer.

Here are the Top Five things I love about the Twin Cities:

  1. Cool summers. Yes, the winter can be brutal, but the other three seasons of the year are absolutely spectacular. I love that when it’s sweltering back home I can feel crisp, cool air in the Minnesota mornings.
  2. Vikings! As a life-long Vikings fan I love going to see my favorite Purple People Eaters play. And, even when I’m not going to a game I get Vikings chatter on the local sports stations.
  3. The Guthrie Theater. The best regional theater in the midwest with three amazing stages, world-class productions, and a facility that truly lets you experience what an evening of theatre should be.
  4. The Minneapolis Children’s Theatre. Trust me, it’s not just for children. I have never attended a play at MCT that didn’t leave me inspired, entertained, impressed, and wanting more.
  5. Al’s Breakfast. (pictured) The hole-in-the-wall diner in Dinky town has been a family favorite for many years. It can’t adequately be described. It just has to be experienced.

Purple Pilgrimage

Earlier this week I had a couple of days that required my presence with a client in the Twin Cities. Wendy and I seized the opportunity to mix a little pleasure with a business trip and make our annual pilgrimage to the Metrodome to watch our beloved Vikings playing the San Francisco 49ers.

We left on Saturday morning and drove up to the Mall of America. Wendy and I have been doing this massive purge of our closets and drawers this fall. Clothes that we haven’t worn in years along with clothes that no longer fit us are being given away. We both had a short list of things we needed to replace, so we did a little shopping on Saturday afternoon. That night we dined at the flagship of perhaps our favorite restaurant of all time: Buca Di Beppo’s in downtown Minneapolis.

Sunday was beautiful as we walked from our hotel to the Metrodome. Wendy reminded me that since we’ve been making our (somewhat) annual pilgrimage to watch our beloved “purple people eaters” she had never seen them lose. I explained that she should prepare for that streak to end. The 49ers, who many hold to be the most talented team in the NFL this year, held the edge over our rebuilding Vikes in almost every aspect of the game.

The Metrodome is loud when you pack tens of thousands of screaming football fans inside. It’s raucous. It’s a blast. You quickly build camaraderie with your fellow fans sitting around you. You’re in this together. You’re family. Everyday on the street it’s easy to feel beleaguered and besieged by annoying cheeseheads, but on Sunday afternoon inside the Metrodome you are surrounded by brothers-in-arms. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Wendy made the observation that while we love the game of baseball, the truth of the matter is that the crowd at a baseball game has very little impact on an average game. The crowd cheers after something momentous happens. There is generally no swell of crowd noise until the bottom of the 9th, if at all. In football, the crowd can actually make a difference. When it’s 3rd and long for the opponent and the Metrodome crowd starts to scream, the crowd knows that they are making it almost impossible for the opposing team to hear plays getting called in from the sideline. It’s equally impossible for the opposing quarterback to successfully call an audible. It’s easy for the opponent to make mistakes amidst the deafening din. The average fan can be an active participant in the outcome of the game, and that’s kind of a fun feeling.

The game Sunday was perhaps the most fun we’ve ever had a Vikings game. The Vikings played their hearts out and pulled the upset. We and our fellow fans had a ball cheering the team on. Wendy’s streak is still in tact.

It was kind of a crazy summer for the two of us, and we’ve been really looking forward to a little time for the two of us to relax and enjoy some R&R. Our purple pilgrimage was just what the doctor ordered.


Date Weekend in the Twin Cities

The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis
Image via Wikipedia

This past week I had to make a run to Minneapolis for meetings with a client, so Wendy and I decided to make it a date weekend to get away and have some time for just the two of us.

On Friday night we headed to the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre for a production of A Wrinkle in Time. The children’s book by Madeline L’Engle was (and still is) a favorite of Wendy’s. I was unfamiliar with the story, but later understood Wendy’s curiosity about how they would stage it. I found it to be a fascinating science fiction plot with a touching human message. I told Wendy afterwards that it reminded me of the original Star Trek: the cutting edge science of the day woven into an engaging story that explored social issues and, ultimately, human nature. As always, MCT did a masterful job and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Saturday morning took us on a jaunt through IKEA to purchase some replacement glassware. Of course, you can’t visit the store without wandering and dreaming for a while. We ended up in downtown for a matinee performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Guthrie Theatre [pictured]. Wendy and I were in Pella Shakespeare Company’s production of the show a few years ago, and it’s one of our favorites. It was fun to see it staged so differently, and so well.

I must admit that the weekend was nearly ruined – or at least severely damaged – when it was discovered that my on-line reservation for the hotel downtown was not completed. Wendy and I both remember me making the reservation, but I must not have completed it correctly and discovered that I never received a confirmation. So, let’s just say that there was no room at the inn we regularly stay at, love, and were expecting to enjoy [strike one]. In true male “fix-it” mode I quickly got on-line and made reservations at another hotel a mile away…without consulting Wendy [strike two]. After the show I immediately started driving us to our “new” hotel, once again,…without consulting Wendy [strike three – end of the inning].

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for me at that point. Yet, I’m happy to report that, in the end, the “new” hotel far exceeded our expectations [hit]. We found a wonderful little restaurant just a few blocks away and walked in the unseasonably warm evening weather to enjoy a romantic dinner [hit]. The following morning’s walk to the Metrodome for the Minnesota Vikings game was a lot longer than we anticipated (1.1 miles to be exact), but the warm weather was beautiful and the walk did us both good [walk]. We then had the pleasure of watching our beloved Vikings win their first game of the season from some excellent seats in the 9th row [GRAND SLAM!].

So, despite striking out in the late innings, I was overjoyed to have pulled out the victory with a walk-off (1.1 mile walk-off, mind you) homer in the bottom of the 9th. Which reminds me, in case you might not have picked up on it, Wendy and I also watched the baseball playoffs all weekend 😉

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