City Living

Someone asked me whey I like living in the city. It’s an interesting questions. We don’t go out to fancy restaurants or bars or anything very often, so it’s not really about going out on the town or anything. I don’t necessarily think the suburbs are boring, since I like doing things at home anyway. But I grew up in the suburbs, and a wealthy one at that. My family is definitely not as wealthy as many people in the area where my parents live and where I grew up, but even though we weren’t poor, either, my parents wouldn’t/couldn’t buy us all the latest trends, either. I’m glad they didn’t, and even growing up I never really wanted them to, but still I felt a great pressure to conform, to have all the hip clothes, etc. My mom made a lot of my clothes, and mostly I liked having unique, rather than trendy, things, but I did get teased a lot for it. Of course I know a lot of that is just school in general – I know city kids experience just as much peer pressure, but in the city there at least would be more kids whose families are not wealthy, so that maybe there wouldn’t be AS much pressure, and there’d probably be more kids whose parents were a bit “eccentric” (like me…), so perhaps kids would feel more free to be themselves and put less emphasis on conformity. I’d much rather have my kids grow up in that kind of environment than the one I grew up in. Sure, I liked having a yard and being safe, but the neighborhood we live in in the city is pretty safe, if you use common sense (which I think a lot of kids today are not being taught but definitely should be), and our yard isn’t huge, but we do have one, and there are parks nearby for playing.

I feel more free to be myself in the city, where are there are so many different types of people that I can find people who share my interests, or if I don’t, that’s okay – I can still do the things I enjoy and no one will give it a second thought. For me, being in the city is more about being myself and about diversity than about having lots of glamourous places to go and things to do. When we go out, we sometimes do the normal things like go to movies, but sometimes we can also do quirky, unusual things. Some examples of things I have done in the past: Klingon Christmas Carol, play vintage video games at the Chatterbox Pub, the British Advertising Awards screening at the Walker art museum, juggling shows, Zombie Pub Crawl, Circus Juventas youth circus, poetry slams, screenings of Doctor Who or Twin Peaks at local bars or theaters, cartoon brunch at the Suburban World theater, and we can also find lots of different kinds of world cuisine to try. I like trying different things, and that’s much easier in the city.

Trying to Eat Right

Recently I’ve been trying to get back into tracking my eating habits to make sure that I get the proper nutrition, and don’t eat too much junk food. I’ve had a couple of streaks in the past when I was really good at this for a long time, but eventually got out of the habit of doing it.

The tool I use to track my eating is great, and I like it even more now because between the last time I used it and now, they have greatly modified the site to really help you track your nutrition, not just your calories, fat intake, etc. It is Calorie Count from About.com. And it’s free!

Last time around, I was also restricting calories because I was trying to lose a few pounds, and that was discouraging because I didn’t see results and I felt hungry all the time. This time around has been better so far, because I’m really focusing more on the nutrition aspect, which is a better motivator for me. The motivation to lose weight is really society’s goal for me, not my goal for myself. Good nutrition and general health is more important to me. Plus, aiming for my maintenance number of calories is easier than weight-loss number, and if I got a few calories over (which I’ve actually only done once so far this time), I’m not stressing about it.

Happy New Year!

It is an Irish tradition to clean the house on New Year’s Eve, in order to star the new year without all the dirt and clutter from last year. I’m trying to revive some Irish traditions in our household, and I’ve been doing this for the past few years. It’s a nice idea. I thoroughly clean the house, and at the same time try to reflect on the past year and let go of any grudges, hard feelings, etc. That part is harder than dusting and vacuuming, of course, but still, I think it’s a nice tradition.

This year for New Year’s Eve, after cleaning, we went to two events. The first was the annual party our friends have at their house. It is a family-friendly event, and we were one of only 2 couples there who didn’t have kids. Consequently, there were about 10 kids under the age of 5 running around– it was crazy but awesome. We also got to see our other friends’ new baby, Alanis – she’s just a few weeks old and soooo precious! It was funny to see my husband’s rough, tough friend (the baby’s uncle) holding her and cooing over her. He caught me looking and said, “You want one of these, don’t you?” Yeah, I do.

After that party, we proceeded to our second event. My husband got us tickets (2 for the price of 1!) to a fancy event at one of my favorite places in Minneapolis, International Market Square. By day, it’s a interior design showroom (or rather, a conglomeration of many showrooms), but on the weekends and evenings they sometimes hold special events there. I fell in love with the place in middle school, when the youth orchestra I was in used to play concerts there. Such a beautiful space. I have some lovely memories from there. It’s also nice because it’s near downtown, but not RIGHT downtown, and there is a (free) parking lot. That was good, because it was really cold and windy that night – I was glad we didn’t have to walk far from our parking spot. This is us, all dressed up: