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Archive for May, 2009

It’s Friday. It’s also the Friday before the three-day-long Memorial Day weekend. Fun ensues.

Tonight, endless options include taking in Alison Scott at Redstone in Minnetonka.  She’s also playing a gig at The Dakota jazz club in Minneapolis on Saturday night, which is a great venue but likely sold out by now.

Saturday entails road-tripping to Albert Lea, Minn., for a meetup of several high school friends – most of whom I’ve not seen since my 10-year reunion circa 1993. Funny how nothing really changes in the first 10 years post high school. But my, how things have changed in the last 16 years. This small group should be a load of fun.

Sunday/Monday options include movies (Terminator Salvation and The Girlfriend Experience are both on my list); mountain bike rides at Lebanon Hills, where even the intermediate singletrack leaves me bruised; and relaxation. I’m thinking some nicely grilled salmon and Leinenkugels new Classic Amber may be just the ticket to top off the long weekend.

Summer is here people. Enjoy and Happy Memorial Day.

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My 18-year-old daughter, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High School, graduates on June 7. In a few weeks, wings will spread and she’ll transition from a child student to an adult preparing for the start of her college experience. Wow. Where did THAT time go?

Several years ago, in her Freshman year, she spoke to a few hundred parents and students at the ninth grade honors banquet. Without a note card, without a stutter, she shared words of friendship and responsibility – words beyond her young years. Words that pushed my heart into my throat and caused my eyes to glaze over in prideful tears.

On June 7 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, she’ll once again speak to the masses. This time several thousand will listen, including the entire graduating class of 600-plus students. Her peers and friends. Her face will be on the jumbo-tron and her words will be transmitted via loudspeakers once used to announce Kevin Garnett as he took the court in a Timberwolves uniform. (Interestingly, “KG” has been one of several nicknames for my daughter through the years.)

I’ve read a draft of her planned remarks – the speech she wrote to be selected as one of two students to share thoughts and parting “best wishes” to her fellow graduates at the commencement exercise.  Without giving it all away, she’ll impart advice that an average 18-year-old isn’t likely to have thought about when setting out on a new path in life.

The phrase “e tan e epi tas” means return with it or on it. It’s a reference to Spartans leaving for battle and the sentiment the warriors’ wives shared with them when they donned their shields in preparation for a march into battle. In a nutshell, “Give it your all and make us proud.”

Before she even steps foot on the stage and utters one syllable, I’ll be proud and my heart will once again be in my throat. Seems some of what we’ve shared with her these past 18 years landed and stuck.

Stay tuned. I plan to post her short speech here next month – maybe I’ll even post the video recording.

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I’ve never been a regular at any bar, restaurant or other such establishment. Why go back to the same place for the same food on the same plate over and over again?

But last Saturday we chowed at La Chaya Bistro on Nicollet Ave., and people, let me just riff for a minute. After my first dining experience at La Chaya, I’m ready to become a regular.

The staff at La Chaya, first and foremost, know how to get it done. From hostess to wait staff to chef/co-owner Juan Juarez Garcia and his team in the kitchen – friendliness runs rampant. The place is immaculate and beautiful – both inside and out. The service was spot on. And the chef truly knows more than his way around a kitchen preparing menu items with flavors from both the Mediterranean and Mexico.

Within a minute of taking our seats we were presented with bread and a garlic butter that was lick-the-knife good. For our 90 minutes dining experience at La Chaya, we shared a calamari/shrimp appetizer with a spicey red salsa; a panilla cheese, avocado and tomato salad; and, for an entree, pepper-crusted halibut with zuccini, and crusted mashed potatoes. The plates were beautiful and each one had incredible flavor – perhaps because La Chaya uses a lot of organically produced foods in its dishes.

Here’s a great little secret in Minneapolis – and the owners are doing things right. They’ve won me over and I want to become a regular – a fixture of sorts – at La Chaya. Put my name on a table, Juan. See you all at 7 sharp.

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I Love Birthday Cake

Actually, I love the frosting on cake. But since it’s my 44th birthday today, I especially love birthday cake.

cake

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The Reps dove in the grave not with one toe, but head first.  Christopher Buckley says the party is dead in this blog post (click here).

Buckley also shares this fantastic joke:

Question: How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Three. One to mix the martinis, one to change the light bulb, and one to reminisce about how good the old one was.

Let it be known I like martinis and I don’t care if a Republican mixes them for me – as long as they’re dirty and come complete with three olives.

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Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder star in this set-in-LA movie about greed, sex, rock and roll and “the industry.” The screenplay, by Brett Ellis, highlights the continuum of those on the pinnacle of success with those in the far corners of darkness and anonymity.

I want to see this movie!

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