Monday, November 30, 2009
The long Thanksgiving weekend to begin the holiday season was fairly uneventful. Thanksgiving Day consisted of a traditional meal, but that was the only "traditional" thing about it. Somehow, I managed to miss the entire Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and only watched two plays of football.
Part of the reason for this was simply being unaware on my part, another reason was a rather futile attempt to find an open supermarket during the day. While back home in New York, most supermarkets are open until at least two p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, that is not the case here in the Twin Cities. Both Kowalski's and Cub Foods were closed, much to my chagrin.
On the plus side, it turns out that the item I was searching for turned out not to be needed.
Friday turned out to be a sunny, but chilly day, with the one of the two highlights being a trip to the dog park for Victor, Roxie, and their new friend Sidda, who holds her own with the two much larger dogs very well. The second highlight was a walk a few blocks down Nicollet Avenue to my favorite local watering hole/dive the Driftwood Char Bar. That establishment recently started having live music on weekends, and Friday's selection was a local Reggae/Soukous band who played several sets of original reggae and soukous (West African Pop).
I'm becoming a lightweight... one bottle of Sam Adams, and three pints of Summit was all I had... I won't be able to keep up with those of you back in Buffalo when I get the chance to come back for a visit.
Saturday fell into the recent pattern of me getting very little that needed to get done at my apartment done... in fact, I think I may have actually managed to do less than nothing as I didn't get around to vacuuming my apartment until today. Saturday evening consisted of a brief trek into St. Paul with Tara (we're sort of like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets, with most of the negative commentary coming from me of course) and ended up poking around a centerpiece of St. Paul's Mexican community El Burrito Mercado. It's a full-service Mexican grocery, and also has a restaurant of sorts inside. We ended up having dinner there, and it was only the second truly authentic Mexican meal I've had since my arrival in the Twin Cities. The first was over a year ago, I ate lunch one afternoon at a small place a couple of blocks away from my previous residence in the shitty neighborhood from hell, and never took the opportunity to go back. I should have, but I didn't.
I also realized that I do not know St. Paul as well as I'd like to. I plan on learning more about the what and where of St. Paul as we progress through the holidays. It's a unique situation, having two decent-sized cities right in top of each other to explore.
That's it for today... Misplaced is not feeing very creative this afternoon.
See you tomorrow.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
So it's Wednesday, November 25, 2009.
The day before Thanksgiving.
Surprisingly, I don't have a whole hell of a lot to say today. Tomorrow I will be having dinner with Tara... We're both solo for the holiday this year. Conveniently, we get along fairly well and just live a couple of blocks from one another, so it was a no-brainer once we discovered that we were both solo. At this moment, there is a fresh turkey brining in my refrigerator, Ms. Tara is making a pie or two, (Aunt Hattie's Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie... I never met her Aunt Hattie, but I'm guessing I would have liked her if her taste in pies is any indication) and I will take over her kitchen tomorrow to make my crowd-favorite cornbread stuffing. If you've never had my stuffing, you have NO IDEA what you're missing... It was my grandmother's recipe, and I was the only one in my family she gave it to before she passed on from this plane of existence.
People have died, thrones have been lost, and countries have gone to war in an attempt to get her recipe, and I am the only living human who knows it...
KNEEL BEFORE ME FOOLISH MORTALS! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Misplaced can be megalomaniacal where stuffing is concerned.
Since I am involved in Thanksgiving pre-game on my end, (yes, I am drinking a concoction of cranberry/pomegranate juice, vodka, tequila, and a splash of triple sec this very moment) I'm cutting today's entry very short.
I will however leave you with a couple of scenes from one of the best Holiday Specials ever produced: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. This is the clip featuring Snoopy's battle with the lawn chair, and of course has the late, great Vince Guaraldi's "Little Birdie" in the background.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone, and remember my brothers in arms in Afghanistan and Iraq on this holiday.
I'll try to do another short entry tomorrow. If not, I'll see you Friday.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I received a request from a reader of my old, now defunct blog to reprint the following.
Since we're heading into the holidays, I agreed that it might not be a bad idea to get this one back out there, especially since I have a much larger readership here, and it may save some of you from unnecessary grief during the holidays.
Ladies, at the risk of sounding like a patronizing prick, you need to pay close attention to this one... especially if you've never read it before.
Guys, you need to read this too, and pass it on to the woman in your life, but do so without being a patronizing prick.
ONE FOR THE LADIES
Many women do this one thing.
And it must leave them feeling awful…
I bet you do it too.
I’m talking about women who hide their true feelings from a man and fear sharing their desire for a closer relationship and for love.
Ever felt this way?
It’s happens when you won’t communicate directly with a man about your feelings because you think you’ll "scare him away".
Unfortunately, you’re right… it could scare him away.
The way you talk to a man about a relationship turns out to be THE BIGGEST MISTAKE ANY WOMAN CAN MAKE WITH A MAN.
I’ll come back to this giant mistake in just a quick second…
First, I’d like to talk about what I’ve seen in the dating world as a guy and share a story with you.
I’ve had women communicate their feelings with me in all sorts of different ways from joy to anger to frustration, and I know what each one does to a man.
(and in a larger context, what communicating this way does to any person in general - man or woman)
There’s a pattern to the dating experiences that I’d like to share.
The story goes something like this...
(let’s pretend I’m the man in this story and you’re the woman)
You and I meet. We both like each other. (lucky me!)
Feelings develop for us both on several levels. (physically, emotionally, socially)
You try to be "patient" and not express too many feelings and what you want to play it cool.
We have a great "connection", but we never talk about what we want in our future around dating, a relationship or marriage.
Time goes by and things are great for us.
Eventually, you begin to see that you’re not getting what you want from me in the relationship.
You want more, but you’re scared of talking to me about it because you don’t know where I’m at.
You’re scared because I’ve talked to you about all the bad experiences I’ve had with women in the past.
And sometimes I even make negative remarks about women and their emotions.
You don’t want to ruin the good things we have going and rock the boat, but in the back of your mind you know that you’ll want to deal with the negative emotions that are slowly but surely building in your mind.
Then as I start to see us growing closer, I begin to discuss my past issues to let you know how to proceed.
So you don’t say anything to me directly to communicate what’s going on for you and your feelings.
And of course, being a normal guy, I don’t ask. (Duh, I’m a man!)
You become frustrated and confused that I’m not acting how I used to act.
Things begin to change with the way I treat you.
I don’t pay as much attention to you anymore.
I don’t surprise you or bring you flowers anymore.
I’m tired everyday after work and just want to watch tv when I get home.
I call you less frequently.
I don’t initiate sex as much anymore.
If I have any female friends, you even consider that I could be seeing someone else.
And after a few months - I’ve become distant.
So what happens next?
You decide you’re not happy with where things are and it’s time to have a talk about where we’re at.
But you’re SCARED of expressing your feelings about what you want, so you let things build up inside you until you begin to let your frustrations with me show.
And to wrap the story up…
You make THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE WITH A MAN…
You start a conversation about the relationship and then you get upset and lose your cool with me in some way. (yelling, tears, physical violence)
All your desires, fears, frustrations and dreams that you’ve been holding inside away from me all pour out in one big emotional explosion…
This "Big Mistake" can take the form of arguing and yelling, but not exclusively.
Sometimes it’s just extreme intensity, perhaps tears.
It might include:
1. Complaining about the current state of the relationship.
2. Showing your frustrations about what you feel is missing.
3. Becoming upset that he doesn’t feel how you’d like him to feel.
4. Bringing up past issues, arguments or disappointments.
5. Implying he’s not really needed (letting him know you have other male friends who will do things for you DANGER ladies!!! This one will backfire on you almost every time!!!)
But it always creates a lot of emotional tension and "drama". Especially in the guys mind.
This is THE LAST THING you want to do with a man if you want to get some positive result with him.
That tension that’s created stays with him, and he NEVER forgets it.
In his mind, he now thinks of you as "hysterical" and full of issues. His mind defines you by what he saw in your behavior, and it scares him.
Yep, I know it’s not fair, but it’s the man’s weird and twisted reality…
I’ve heard hundreds, maybe thousands, of men talk about this exact perception of a woman and how they fear being with a woman who they think will make this giant mistake.
Yeah, I know… it’s inmature, selfish and not fair of the man, but it’s the reality of the situation that lots of women end up in with men.
So how do you avoid this….? I’ll tell you how in THREE EASY STEPS.
Step 1) You Need To Understand What’s Going On Inside The Mind Of Your Man…
Let me tell it to you straight, as a man…
Women secretly believe that their connection with a man will "naturally" turn into something deeper without any communication taking place.
Kind of like it’s the unspoken truth about what’s going on.
Honestly… this isn’t how it works for us men.
If you’re "assuming" you have a relationship, and that he feels like you do, you’re wrong.
Men don’t assume that a connection, being together, spending quality time and all the rest means they’re in a committed relationship.
Some men do, but not most.
For a man to know he’s in a committed relationship, and understand the things YOU want in that relationship, YOU have to communicate with him in CLEAR AND DIRECT terms.
Yeah, that’s right… You have to put yourself out there and be vulnerable.
But I hear lots of women think that other women are just lucky to have found such a great guy.
And while there are some men who are more equipped and ready for a healthy situation with a woman, it’s NOT luck that women in great relationships have found a way to communicate with their guy.
That’s right, they’ve taken time to find the right information and to learn to integrate a certain way of communicating into their thinking and behavior.
It’s not easy, but there’s help.
Step 2) You Need To Understand What Causes You To Make "The Big Mistake"
EVERYONE wants to have THEIR needs met first. It’s basic human nature.
But being able to delay your gratification is an AMAZING thing to develop in your life. (in every part of your life!)
Most people (men and women) want to talk, talk, talk about what THEY think and what THEY want.
The root of this problem basically boils down to needs that are unmet.
So making "The Big Mistake" is really all about being driven by your unmet needs and desires and solely focusing on what YOU want the relationship to be, without honestly and critically considering the man’s perspective, his emotional state, his communication skills and where he’s coming from at the same time.
When you do this with a man, you are subconsciously telling him that you’re more interested in your feelings and what YOU want than you are in his feelings and what he wants.
And men can read and pick up on women who do this instantly.
I see a form of this "Big Mistake" communication all the time in business by the way.
Some business professionals are the worst at this self-absorbed "need" oriented communication.
Like when someone calls me who wants to get something from me or sell me something and they’re not very experienced or polished at it.
The first thing I pick up on is their selfish agenda… and it instantly puts me on the defensive.
But if they’ve done their "homework" on me and what I’m looking for, and not what THEY WANT from me, when they talk it changes the whole situation the second they show me they’ve thought about what I want.
It’s very simple but extremely powerful.
So let’s take this concept directly back to communicating with men.
It might sound cliche’, but you’ve got to learn to listen and understand where’s he’s at and where’s he’s coming from.
This cliche’ is a around for a reason.
Patience, empathy and understanding are the first steps towards creating the relationship you dream about.
But you’ve got to be careful to not become the woman who gives him EVERYTHING and gets walked on.
Use your common sense and intuition to safeguard yourself - I know that your female perceptive abilities aren’t used nearly enough, so put these strong tools to good use.
Step 3) How To Avoid Making The Big Mistake
Let me give you a vital piece of information when dealing with men…
Men are CLUELESS when it comes to identifying the things that are "obvious" to women in dating and relationships.
I would know. It’s taken me twenty years to begin to understand these things for myself - and I spend a LOT of time thinking about it.
So we know men are AWFUL at initiating and participating in conversations about deep emotions and relationships.
Sorry to break the bad news, but it’s almost always up to you to make this communication happen.
It’s important to remember to approach the entire conversation from the perspective of talking about what you want AND what he wants.
If you can make a guy feel like you put his feelings and needs a priority in this conversation, and always consider what he wants, I promise he will LOVE YOU for it!
There’s no rule that says you can’t consider another persons opinions and feelings first in order to get what you want.
In fact, a key goal in negotiating is to let the other person talk first.
When you get to listen first, you ALWAYS have the advantage. You know exactly what the other person wants… and knowledge is influence and power.
I’m not saying you need to take on hard-core negotiating here with a man, but some of the same rules and principles about people and psychology apply.
When you talk to a man from a positive place of listening first, he will be 10,000 times more receptive to what you have to say and what you want once you bring it up than if you approach him from a place of feeling hurt, communicate need and projecting fear and anxiety.
Try this instead.
Ask a positive question or give a positive statement such as, "Honey, I was thinking today that I was happy to be with you."
It might sound submissive, corny or difficult to say to someone you’re having a tough time with, but think about it…
If you’re going through all the trouble to worry so much about the future with this person, this is already what you’re thinking.
See you tomorrow.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Today's photo is from my "Minneapolis Mill" series, taken last winter.
There wasn't really much wandering this past weekend.
Friday was fairly uneventful. It consisted mostly of catching up on some reading, as over the past couple of months Misplaced has somehow gotten into the bad habit of picking up a book, reading a few chapters, getting distracted, not going back to it, and doing the exact same thing a few days later - but with a different book. As it stands, there are now several books scattered around my living room, all started, none finished. One of them is Stephen King's "Lisey's Story" which I have actually tried to start reading five times, going back to before I relocated to Minnesota.
I may give that one another go over the next few days, but I'm puzzled by my reaction to it, as I usually bomb through Mr. King's work in just a few days... even the lengthy ones! I read the uncut version of "The Stand" in just three days - all one thousand, one hundred and sixty-eight pages of it, and read all seven volumes of "The Dark Tower" (three thousand, seven hundred and twelve pages) in about twenty days, over the course of two months. For some reason, "Lisey's Story" starts out very slow, and I don't know why...
Anyway... I was talking about the past weekend.
Friday night I got to check out a restaurant a few blocks away that Tara suggested, Gigi's Cafe, located at 36th Street and Bryant Avenue, right on the edge of Uptown. It reminded me of Amy's Place in Buffalo (Which STILL doesn't have a website), as it's menu was not completely vegetarian, but VERY vegetarian-friendly. It seemed to be staffed by the same mixture of lesbian and hippie girls working the front of the house, and the lone male employee I caught a glimpse of looked like the same hipster/poser type of guy that you'd find manning the kitchen there. One difference I noticed was the fact that the staff at Gigi's made an obvious effort to keep the restaurant clean and presentable, where at Amy's Place, I recall seeing the same muddy footprint on the floor for nearly a month the winter before I moved. The other (and much more obvious difference) I saw was the fact that Gigi's is licensed to serve wine and beer, and has a decent selection of both. The closest you'd get to anything like that at Amy's Place would be the occasional whiff of high-quality ganja on a few of the patrons, and sometimes the staff, depending on what day of the week it was and whether or not the owner was present. Patrons at Gigi's are expected to pick up after themselves, and when finished eating, carry their own silverware, plates and glasses to a bus pan conveniently located at the far end of each of the two dining rooms. The only thing missing was a sign that read: Bus Your Own Damn Table Hippie.
Since the menu was heavy on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, Misplaced of course opted to horrify the few granola types present and order the carnivore-friendly Angus Burger, with "french fries" that were really potato wedges. Tara, being one of those who shuns red meat (yeah, I know) went for the more animal and eco-friendly Portobello Mushroom sandwich. Not wanting to be a complete jerk, I had an Arnie Palmer to drink, which was constructed from house-brewed black tea, and house-made lemonade. (The Arnie Palmer is found in a few places in Buffalo, but always in a can, never made on-site... it seems to be VERY popular here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota... I plan on mixing it liberally with vodka next summer and making it my number one evening libation.)
Saturday turned into yet ANOTHER unseasonably warm weekend day here in the Twin Cities, and true to recent form, I got absolutely nothing of importance done in my apartment. Instead, the now requisite trip to the MAC Dog Park took up a portion of the afternoon, the difference in this weekend's trip there being that Victor and Roxie went with Tara's high-speed dog Sidda this time. (Sidda, it turns out is named after the character Siddalee 'Sidda' Walker from "Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood"... chick book, chick flick, chick dog... *gag*) On the plus side, the three dogs got along fairly well with each other. Roxie was pleased to have a dog to run with (or after, as Sidda is light years faster that either of my two brutes, and Roxie is pretty fast herself.), Victor didn't even really try to run with them, which is a good thing, as it would have been embarrassing for him to even try.
Poor Victor. He's a big, slow, oaf. If you pay attention, you can actually feel the ground shake as he comes lumbering past.
Saturday ended with attending a basketball tournament for a girl's youth league consisting of several local traveling teams. One of the students at the school Tara works at is apparently going to be the next Sheryl Swoopes. She's ten years old, and nearly as tall as I am! It was rather interesting to watch the game... the team she plays for is called the Lady Monarchs, and is all African-American girls with the exception of the student at Tara's school, who is from Liberia. (It's in Africa for the geographically challenged... click the link and learn.) The team they played against was from the predominantly white suburb of Eagan. It was explained to me that the Lady Monarchs have been uninvited from tournaments because they are simply too good. In fact, they are a fifth-grade team that regularly plays against and beats teams of seventh and eighth-grade players. The animosity towards the Lady Monarchs was evident to me during the game as I counted nearly forty fouls committed against them that were ignored by the two officials... both of whom were white, and didn't hesitate to call fouls against the Lady Monarchs... who I must add played a very clean game all things considered. The team from Eagan would have made my friend Mark Adair proud, as their use of elbows and forearms were right out of the Mark Adair school of playground ball. I was mildly appalled at how dirty the Eagan team played, but I kept my mouth shut, since I was a guest.
It didn't matter though, the Lady Monarchs easily handled Eagan, and won by seventeen points.
(On a side note, during a break in the action I noticed that the Lady Monarchs coach was wearing a Buffalo Bills jacket! I approached him right after the game of course, and asked him if he was from my neck of the woods. It turns out that he was not, but was a lifelong Bills fan, even though he was born and raised here in Viking Country... At least I'm not the only one here taking shit over the Bills horrendous record this year.)
Sunday turned out to be yet another unseasonably warm day, and my bagel routine was followed by a short trek down Nicollet Avenue to the one-Sunday-only Thanksgiving edition of the Kingfield Farmer's Market, which was held indoors in a large space donated by neighborhood photography studio rau + barber. It's actually too bad that it was indoors... it was such a nice day that it could have been held in it's regular parking lot just a few doors away. The Sunday trek ended with a stop at the Anodyne Coffee House, where I discovered that they did indeed have the Sunday New York Times available to read, and had the added bonus of being able to sit outside next to a table occupied by two men from NYC who own a property in the neighborhood. A pleasant conversation was had with them, and though they were both pretty butch types, all questions about their relationship were quickly answered when they mentioned that one of them was a personal trainer, and they had a summer place on Fire Island.
The rest of of my Sunday consisted of doing some laundry, watching Peter Gabriel's "Growing Up Live" concert on DVD, and a home-cooked, healthy meal consisting of a salad, basmati rice, and salmon purchased from a gentleman who is a Bering Sea fisherman, but is married to a woman from the Twin Cities suburbs. When I asked him how in the world did an Alaskan Fisherman end up in the Twin Cities, he replied "Never marry a girl from Edina and take her to Alaska."
See you tomorrow.