The long silence isn’t solely due to my being in Minnesota – I just didn’t have anything to say about anything in particular, and I don’t have time to write angsty navel-gazing blog posts: there are too many books I haven’t read yet!
In any case, Minnesota was great. J and flew out, arriving in Fargo, ND, actually, before meeting up with sister E and her husband M, who had taken a different set of flights to get to the adorably-named Hector “International” Airport. (Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny airport!) I am not sure that Canada actually counts as international, either.
My impression of North Dakota – at least that tiny bit of it near Fargo – is that it’s flat and incredibly boring, kind of like Indiana.
And then we drove into the lakes area of Minnesota.
If it were not for the WINTER IS COMING part of living in Minnesota, I would find that area of MN a perfectly agreeable landscape to live in – it’s beautiful, full of rolling green hills and a lake around every curve of the road. We saw bald eagles, loons (yay!) and even had a chickadee somehow get into the lakeside cottage we were staying at – a possession of M’s family, and he hauled us three up to see it. J spotted what he’s sure was the hindquarters of a cougar during one of our drives back from dinner out! We did a spot of watersports, mostly failing spectacularly to water ski or wake board while E and M (M particularly) made us look like the rank first-timers we were. Then we mostly took the boat out and floated around the middle of the lake in various inflatable rafts like lazy bums, it was a great time.
We availed ourselves of the local public library’s used book sale while we were there, and they had a “buy a whole bag of used books for cheap” bargain, so the four of us filled up a recycled plastic grocery bag with books. I think I managed to snag just about every A.E. Van Vogt paperback they had and stuff it in there, though unfortunately there didn’t seem to be a copy of The World of Null-A which I wanted (though they had the sequel) or Slan. Oh well. Time to go to the used book store here at home, I still have credit with them!
As a bit of an experiment, I essentially treated the trip as a “no food restrictions” time to see what would happen, since I’m trying to tweak my diet to see what makes my intestines stop hating me. Result: eating lots of yummy things, including junk food, didn’t make my digestive tract mutiny until the last day after I ate something I already kinda-sorta had my finger on as a trigger, but did result in my gaining a horrific amount of weight in 10 days. Ugh. Definitely don’t have the youthful metabolism for that anymore, and I was even going pretty light on the alcohol all week! Props to J, who’s signed up to keep me company on the draconian diet I’m going to have to go on to drop the weight. Salad for every meal, go me. (-_-;) Thankfully, even though we have another beach trip coming right up, it’s with J’s side of the family, and the family matriarch is a health nut, so I think we’ll have an easier time eating healthier. I just have to figure out which of my easy “vacation” recipes will be the least fattening! J’s plan is to grill lots of meat, so at least there will be plenty of Paleo-friendly food. I’ll just have to resist the temptation to make pancakes – we’ll already be far too close to a Duck Donuts shop!
Oh, and the Chinese Dragon restaurant opposite the movie theater in the Detroit Lakes mall? YUM. Their sesame chicken was delicious. All of us loved our food. Why can’t any of the Chinese restaurants around here make sesame chicken like that? I guess it’s good that they don’t, because that is definitely not diet-friendly food!
*Must play Puerto Rico first. Not a game very friendly to first-time players, since a familiarity with the cards is critical to game strategy; we made a house rule that everyone plays to 14 instead of 12 cards. We want to try playing it as a team game sometime, with players collaborating with each other. I think that’d be a good way to teach people to play it for the first time.