Woe is Moi

CN: Injury/medical

I can haz sprained/strained ainkle? Yes, can haz.

The Hubby and I have been having a lot of fun in the spring weather – walking, bicycling, flying kites and hiking. Yesterday we went to Minnehaha Dog Park and managed to get a little way in before I fell. It was a scary fall. I lost my footing stepping down a small hill – my right foot slide down out in front of me and my ass landed squarely on my heel and back of the left ankle, as if I was in a kneeling meditation (plantar flexion?). There was an audible pop and I thought I had finally lost my record of no broken bones ever. I yelled “That was a bad one! That was a bad one! That was a bad one!” and laid there in a daze while the Hubby checked for broken bones. After a few minutes I was able to flex my ankle without much pain, no grinding sensations and there was no immediate swelling or darkening of the skin. We hobbled back out a half mile to the car. The muscles did swell up later in the day, in spite of much resting, ice, compression, elevation and Advil. We ended up grabbing some crutches from Walgreens because hopping around on one foot got really old, really fast and I was entertaining the idea that I would go to work today. [Read more…]

Local Lefty Liberal Progressive Hippie Things

I have two reading recommendations and one restaurant review for you from the land of spoon and cherry.

Robin Marty – Joining the Other Side

Robin Marty is an independent journalist, well-known for her articles on reproductive justice. She is based in Minnesota, the author of Crow After Roe, and she has recently published an article on Contributoria called Joining the Other Side. The article is about the week she spent in Washington D.C. this January observing the annual March for Life…ugh…celebration. She speaks about watching die-ins, clinic protests, panels and sharing drinks with anti-abortion activists like Jill Stanek and Troy Newman at after parties.  [Read more…]

Home in Minneapolis

I had an unexpected emotional reaction yesterday. I had just left a meeting with a friend in what I’m calling “my old neighborhood” – the part of south Minneapolis called Lyndale. I was driving up 35W North to get around the city and over to 394, which would take me to my current apartment in Saint Louis Park. I got to a stretch of the highway where the tall buildings of downtown Minneapolis are laid out in front of you: The IDS building, Foshay Tower, Wells Fargo, Campbell Mithun, Capella Tower, and the newer Grant Park apartments. My first thought was – as it often is – it’s such a small downtown. I grew up playing in Chicago and I’ve stood before the magnificent sprawl of New York City, and after those Minneapolis is a wee thing. But then a nearly overwhelming rush of love and admiration flowed through me and I realized that this city is my home.

[Read more…]

Winter Storm Seneca Blows Through

Last night I participated on panel about Women In Secularism for Campus Atheists Humanists and Skeptics at the University of Minnesota. My fellow panelists were Stephanie Zvan, Niki Massey – who did a guest post for Biodork a few months ago – and Chelsea Du Fresne. It was awesome – there were a lot of thoughtful questions from the (mostly male) audience. We had a chance to talk about microaggressions, how to build and support diversity in organizations, and how to recognize when you might be dealing with an MRA.

The snow had started to fall at about 1pm yesterday afternoon. The snowflakes were big and fluffy and full of water – perfect snowman snow! When we left the panel at about 10pm, we had acquired several inches of snow. But this is Minnesota and the plows were on high alert; many of the major roads had been cleared at least once.

[Read more…]

The Hubby’s 40th

Last Friday we celebrated the Hubby’s 40th birthday. He decided that his ideal celebration would be dinner and a movie with friends, which over a few conversations evolved into renting a movie theater, showing one of his favorite movies of all time, and sharing dinner with ALL THE FRIENDS!

We decided to make the Hubby’s 40th birthday party kind of a big deal.

[Read more…]

Cold, Dark and Slippery

Yeesh! It’s been snowing all day today; a light but steady fall of pretty white powder came down during the work day. I left at 7pm so I missed the rush hour traffic, but even my kick-ass snow tires were put to the test on the drive home. I saw one accident on 35W North near Diamond Lake Road in south Minneapolis. Another car – which had been abandoned by the time I saw it – was at an unlikely angle high up a hill on 212 in Eden Prairie. TwinCitiesTraffic.com is showing FOURTEEN accidents in since 7:42pm (within the past thirty minutes).

Stay safe, all.

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I was outside taking photos of the snow when I heard two horns bellow and squealing tires at this intersection. Cold. Dark. Slippery!

DSC_0080 (683x1024)Fresh snow in the city.

A Fire in the Neighborhood

I came back from work to my house in South Minneapolis this evening around 5:30pm. As I came within a few blocks of my apartment I saw lights and yellow tape and a cop detouring traffic. *heart thump* I ended up parking at the opposite end of the block and asked a nearby fireman if it was safe to go to my house. I got the all clear – it wasn’t my apartment complex.


Walking up the empty, cordoned-off block towards my house. A traffic helicopter is in the sky.

According to ABC local news an explosion likely caused the commotion that was taking place across the street – one street and house away from us. No one was home during the explosion and fire, but one dog died [she writes as she takes a pause to pet the nearby cat perhaps a little too hard]. The news station interviewed one of the tenants, and he said that he lost thousands in musical instruments, artwork, electronics and action figures. A lot of that is irreplaceable, but I do hope the tenants of the four-plex all have renter’s insurance to help lessen the blow.

A few photos from the scene:

Cop Car

A police car and several fire trucks at the scene behind yellow barricade tape.

Fire and Safety Crews

Fire, safety and public works crews evaluate the scene.


On-lookers watch the scene from behind yellow barricade tape.

Traffic Helicopter

A news helicopter for KARE 11 hovers overhead.

Fire Trucks

Two fire trucks at the scene.

Firemen and FirewomenFire fighters standing in the street, waiting.


One fireman glances up while loading his truck with equipment.

Gay Marriage TONIGHT!

Okay…technically tomorrow. But in less than four hours and before I go to bed tonight, so tonight.

A little before midnight I’m going down to City Hall with friends to take in the smiles and tears and wedding couture and to celebrate the history in the making that will be the first several dozen gay marriages in Minneapolis.


Two women and two men cake toppers under a rainbow

There are marriage ceremonies happening all over Minnesota, including St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth and even at the Mall of America!

Other friends are heading down to the Minnesotans United Married At Midnight party at Wilde Roast Cafe

I’m so excited. And it feels surreal. It’s just…it’s HERE! After all of the controversy, the legal and political fights, the heart-wrenching personal stories, the injustices…People are GETTING MARRIED.


Click on the image below to be taken to the Star Tribune article on tonight’s marriages. R.T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis, says a few words, and you can hear from Cathy ten Broeke. She and her SOON-TO-BE WIFE!!! will be among the first to be married at Minneapolis City Hall.

1st marriage

The Weekend of Unbelievable Fun: The Second Coming

Hey…guess what’s coming up fast? It’s The Weekend of Unbelievable Fun: The Second Coming!


Image is an advertisement showing the Mr. Paul Aints logo with information about the baseball game and conference (detailed in text below), and a photo of the Minneapolis Skyline.

This will be the second year that I attend. Last year’s baseball game was a blast, and the conference had inspiring speakers presenting novel and timely information about atheism and the secular movement.

This year the Mr. Paul Aints will take the field again on Friday August 9th to play the Sioux City Explorers at Midway Stadium in Saint Paul. The party starts at 5pm with tailgating in the parking lot and the game begins at 7pm. The meetup description for the event promises between-inning atheist-themed antics (hmmm…devil worshiping in the infield and baby tastings, perhaps?), and there will be an auction of Mr. Paul Aints jerseys with proceeds to go to a local charity.

The next day – Saturday – Minnesota Atheists and American Atheists will hold their second consecutive Twin Cities-based regional conference. The conference takes place at the Ramada Plaza in NE Minneapolis, and the lineup is exciting (I’ve taken out the breaks in the list below – for the full schedule, visit mnatheists.org):

9:15-10:15 Hector Avalos: “How Archaeology Killed Biblical History”
10:30-12:00pm Breakout Sessions & Workshops
1:45-2:45 Greta Christina: “Coming Out: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other Do It, And Why?”
2:45-3:45 Amanda Knief: “Ten Legal Issues Atheists Need to Know”
4:00-5:30 Annie Laurie Gaylor: “The Religious War on Women”
7:30-9:00 All-Star Panel Discussion: Atheism and Religion: Confrontation or Accommodation – Annie Laurie Gaylor, Hector Avalos, Greta Christina, Amanda Knief, PZ Myers, and Kelli Clement. Moderated by Stephanie Zvan (Author of Almost Diamonds blog on Freethought Blogs).

The conference organizers did a good job of packing in a wide variety of topics in a few short hours – one day conferences are hard! I’m especially excited by the 10:30-noon workshops, which are being led by local atheists. Topics include science, family and raising kids in atheist households, treatment of (nonhuman) animals, mental health, addiction, and shame. For descriptions of the panels press the big red button on the frontpage of the Minnesota Atheists website.

If you’re interested in joining us, the information for signing up for the baseball game and/or the conference can be found at the MN Atheists website. The cost for the game starts at $10 and the conference starts at $30 (if you’re 25 years old or younger AND a student, you can buy a discounted conference ticket for $10). These are early bird prices, and early bird sign up ends on July 31st – in just three days! After that prices for the conference goes up to $40 (student admission stays $10).

And if there is any doubt that you’re going to have a good – and occasionally goofy – time, check out these lyrics that Paul Heffron and Jerry Rauser wrote for the Mr. Paul Aints game:

To the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game

(Verse 1)
Let’s all go to the Aints game.
Let’s all show who we are.
The big red A says a lot about us.
We’re here for fun, so please don’t make a fuss.
So we’ll root for the Mister Paul Aints team.
For they accept us by name.
So it’s hip, hip, hip, hip hooray
At the Aints ball game.

(Verse 2)
Let’s have fun at the Aints game,
Tail-gate party supreme.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks for all.
Under our banner we’ll all have a ball.
We will root, root, root for the pigs’ race.
In Pig’s Eye town there’s no shame.
For it’s one, two, pick up the pace
At the Aints Ball Game!

Twin Cities Pride 2013

This weekend was Twin Cities Pride – our annual LGBTQA celebration – and there was a big gay party going on in Minneapolis! There were bar nights, a run, an art show, a boat cruise, concerts and more, but my favorite events were “Pride in the Park” and the Pride Parade.

On Friday night, vendors, artists and LGBTQA groups of all stripes descended upon Loring Park to set up their booths. Over the course of the weekend they would peddle wares, entertain, and spread information. I walked through on Saturday morning, picked up literature and stopped by booths to say hi to friends at Minnesota Atheists, Outfront, ROR Taxes and others, signed some petitions, and watched a few performances on different stages. I bought two theater-type papier-mâché masks from an artist, ate some tacos from one of the food trucks, and went on my annual Pride in the Park condom hunt – collecting condoms and safer-sex kits from the various groups handing them out. This year wasn’t as fruitful as some – only eight condoms and two dental dams. Ah well. Sometimes the catch is slow.

On Sunday morning over 130 groups marched down 12 blocks of Hennepin Avenue in the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. The atmosphere was extra-charged with excitement this year, what with Minnesota legalizing gay marriage last month (it goes into effect August 1st!) and the overturning of DOMA. Many of the parade floats were wedding-themed and almost every group had signs and banners celebrating the recent victories.

Pride celebrations have been going on in Minneapolis since 1972, and the events are held in June to honor the Stonewall Riots, which took place on June 28th, 1969. Recent estimates of yearly attendance have been around 400,000 people, which means that little ol’ fly-over country Minnesota hosts one of the larger pride festivals in the United States.

Pride weekend means a lot to me; it’s a celebration of people being themselves, a celebration of recognizing and accepting our diversity. Even today – even in a year when our state and the federal governments have finally, grudingly said “Okay, we guess you lot should be treated as equals” – that kind of bravery is breathtaking. It takes a special kind of courage to find out and admit to ourselves who we are, who we love, where we feel comfortable, and what turns our crank. To get to that point of self-discovery, and then to share that with the world – wow. That makes me all feelsome.

There are a lot of people who aren’t free to celebrate publicly. Not everyone can openly take part in Pride weekend; the reasons for participating or sitting out of the public Pride events are vastly different. Our society still has prejudices against gay men and lesbian women, and against same-sex relationships and families. We are still pathetically lacking when it comes to accepting and respecting bisexual and trans* people, those who participate in one or more of the many flavors of non-monogamous relationships, and unconventional sexualities and fetishes. There are still judgments passed and real-world consequences for being different: Arrest, loss of jobs or opportunities to advance in a career, loss of family, loss of children, loss of friends, shaming, outing, embarrassment, exclusion, harassment, violence – these are still concerns for some people who dare to speak up and say “I’m different.”

My hat is off to everyone who came downtown to celebrate pride, as well as to those who joined in spirit (aside from those not able to take the risk of being outed, not everyone handles screaming, bustling crowds well!).

Happy Pride to all.

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Bartenders at Insert Coins in downtown Minneapolis show off their Pride special – rainbow shots (As an aside – blech! So. Much. SUGAR!!!)

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Hoola hooping in front of the Rainbow Stage on the north end of Loring Park.
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Arriving early to the park on Saturday meant that I had first dibs at the coffee tent in the Outfront Minnesota booth.

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Me with a “queen-sized” rainbow slushie. Behind me is a very nice gentleman from the gay naturist group, Naked Minnesota. In their “party naked” barrels, they’re some of the most photographed people in the park!

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After the parade was over we started our trek back from Loring Park to the beginning of the parade route where we had dropped the bike. The street was littered with garbage and discarded decorations, but the clean-up effort was amazing. As we walked east we ran into a small army of city employees picking up recycling and leaf-blowing the garbage from the sidewalks into the street. Next two huge trucks first swept the streets and then washed them. After they were done you couldn’t tell that there had been a parade!