Main | October 2004

September 20, 2004

Car Culture

Before we moved to Minneapolis, we heard a lot about how family-oriented Minnesota is. I can't say that I expected anything different; my own impressions of Minnesota growing up in a neighboring state was that it was a happy and healthy place to be born and raised. I even know a grad student who moved here specifically to raise her family. She thinks that people are nicer, stuff costs less, and there's less traffic. I think it all depends on your perspective. As I've been seeing it lately, I think Minnesota is a really car-oriented place.

Let me begin by saying that there's the rules of the road, the state-approved rules that you need to know to pass a driver's test. Then, there's what actually happens--the rules you need to know to avoid an accident. They include:

1. Go at least 15 mph above the posted speed limit.

2. Slow down, or preferably come to a complete stop at the on-ramp, in order to merge.

3. Always go around someone trying to turn left.

4. Passing is allowed on city streets.

5. Bicycles should avoid the bike lane whenever possible and ride on the street (if there's a bike lane).

6. Bicycles should ride on the sidewalk when the signs say "No Bicycles"

7. It's okay not to stop for pedestrians.

In reference to this last one, last week, I stopped to let a woman cross the street in a crosswalk near the St. Paul campus. She was on the other side of the street, so she had to wait for the traffic on her side to also stop. No one did! In the meantime, the traffic behind me started passing me (in the on-coming, of course!). I thought about giving up, but by that time, there's no way I could've safely continued on...I just had to wait for someone to stop on the other side of the road. Today, a similar thing almost happened. A woman was waiting with her baby carriage to cross the street in south Minneapolis. I decided to stop for her and was almost rear-ended by the guy behind me who was following too close. After he almost hit me, he started to go around me (again, in the on-coming), but he realized that I had stopped for a pedestrian and changed his mind.

I definitely wish I could just ride the bus, but public transportation around here isn't what it should be....don't even get me started!

Posted by chri1010 at 8:19 PM | Comments (599)

September 15, 2004

Windy Day

Today was a very windy day. It wasn't just windy, but humid, thanks to the rain we've been getting off and on the last few days. The last two nights, we've had quite a bit of lightning and thunder. I really like it, and find myself sleeping a little bit better. No more lightning tonight, it appears.

This afternoon, I was driving out to Washburn High School, where I'm teaching one of my courses this fall, and the wind was really gusting. I was driving along the parkway and I actually worried a bit that trees were going to fall in the roadway! Something did hit the car, but it was relatively small. Just big enough to scare me but not to leave a scratch.

I was reading Xu's Babblog and she has a beautiful entry about walking through a flock of birds the other day. I wish my adventure was more like walking through a flock of birds than driving through a storm. But, on the other hand, she also has an entry about really just enjoying life's journey. This is definitely a motto I try to live by, but with as busy as I feel like I am these days, it also feels a bit challenging to just give in to the journey. Sometimes I feel a little too sidetracked by the destination. Maybe that's why driving in the storm feels too stressful sometimes.

Posted by chri1010 at 10:31 PM | Comments (907)

September 14, 2004

Settling in to the Chaos

I think I'm quickly realizing that life here in Minneapolis is just always going to be pretty hectic and crazy for me. Nothing like managing the life of a three-year old and keeping up with my grad student schedule that's coordinated with my spouse's. Yikes!

So, today, I was walking in the extremely humid weather--there was a storm last night, and clouds today--and I was thinking about how fall is really here, and the leaves are falling and swirling around on the sidewalk. I should feel settled in to the fall routine, but I don't yet. Give me a couple more weeks. Then, I'll really be able to say if I should have registered for the online stats class.

Posted by chri1010 at 3:33 PM | Comments (1384)

September 8, 2004

The State Fair

We went to the State Fair on Labor Day. We have decided to go to the State Fair every Labor Day while we're here in MN. It seems many of our friends go out of town, and we're just trying to get settled for school to start. The fair's about as ambitious as we can be, all things considered.

I noticed this year that the Mall of America is really patterned after the state fair. There's rides and games and shopping. But there's also fried cheese curds, Dippin' Dots, caramel apples, french fries, funnel cake and elephant ears, and deep fried oreos. About the only thing you can get at the state fair that you can't get at the mall is a deep fried candy bar on a stick (oh, and the fresh scent of the horse barn).

We happened to have the misfortune of arriving at about the same time as Dick Cheney, so our bus was delayed for several minutes while the motorcade made its way to the fair. That wasn't a lot of fun waiting, but all of the people on the bus sort of rallied around the ridiculousness of us waiting there so that Cheney could go to the fair. I'm sure it's how he really wanted to be spending Labor Day.

Posted by chri1010 at 9:49 AM | Comments (295)

Welcome Back Blues

I haven't been writing much since I've been in Minneapolis. I think I've been spending all of my blog time adjusting--to being a family again (which is fun, but work nonetheless), to being in the Twin Cities, and to gearing up for school. I wasn't ready for it to start yesterday, but start it did nonetheless. I'll try to get back into a routine of blogging because I really enjoy it.

Posted by chri1010 at 9:41 AM | Comments (371)

September 2, 2004

Far From Winter

Well, it's most certainly not winter today. It's somewhere in the nineties, and humid. Windy. I was walking across the Washington Bridge today and I looked out into the brightness and the skyline of Minneapolis. That's something you can't do in Portland--look across at anything because everything's above or below. But, anyway, it's hot and humid, and I'm not much enjoying that. I'll probably long for it when it's 20 below.

Here's the first entry to kick off the new blog, even if this entry is a bit whiney. I'll try to work on that.

Posted by chri1010 at 4:09 PM | Comments (446)