"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't Let the Door Hit You, Etcetera

Well, dear readers, TBL's amazing run of luck has continued with the announcement on Wednesday that her job is being "eliminated" at the end of November.

You may have seen The Company on the news that evening; the story started "Massive layoffs today at a Bloomington mortgage company..." Yes, indeedy, the job TBL has had for the last eleven years was part of that sad tale.

Therefore, TBL will be taking some time away from the blog to sob quietly in a corner, with occasional breaks to gnaw on the couch cushions and/or construct tinfoil hats. After that, the job hunting. Needless to say, blogging will probably be rather more spotty than usual for the foreseeable future. Either that, or you will be hearing from TBL much more than you'd prefer. Hard to say, really.

Read More

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ask And Ye Shall...

Mere days after wishing for, in essence, a coffeehouse with beer, TBL unwittingly wandered into just such a place!

Common Roots Cafe, on the northwest corner of 26th & Lyndale, has soups, salads, sandwiches, bagels, pastries, other breakfasty things, coffee drinks and...beer and wine! Oh, but it gets better, dear readers.

They use local ingredients, compost their food waste (there's a special bin for customers to tip their own uneaten portions into), and serve Peace Coffee, which is a line of fair trade organic coffees from a company based right here in Minneapolis. The tap beers were all local brews when I was there--two from the new Surly Brewery in Brooklyn Center, an organic ale from Flat Earth in St. Paul, and do-gooder beer Finnegan's from St. Paul mega-brewer Summit. All the wines listed on their online menu are regional and/or fair trade. The lighting is good and the furnishings simple. Alas, no couches. And last but not least, the menu is vegetarian-friendly.

Helpful reader Douglas suggests, in the comments to the original post, Arcadia Cafe on Franklin and Nicollet as another place where one can get a drink or two without having to navigate the bar scene. TBL has not been there yet.

Read More

Thursday, October 11, 2007


We have the flu. I don't know if this particular strain has an official name, but if it does, it must be something like "Martian Death Flu". You may have had it yourself. The main symptom is that you wish you had another setting on your electric blanket, up past "HIGH", that said "ELECTROCUTION". Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth, because (a) your teeth hurt, and (b) you lack the strength. Midway through the brushing process, you'd have to lie down in front of the sink to rest for a couple of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites that would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is how the police would find you.
You know the kind of flu I'm talking about.
-- Dave Barry, "Molecular Homicide"
It's going around. That first early-October bout of flu, which hits before the shot can take hold, if not before the shot has even been administered. And this year, it's a bad one. TBL knows. TBL has got it. TBL would very much like to curl up and die, but having taken Tuesday off work to nip this thing in the bud (and that worked ever so well...) she must stagger onward until the weekend.

If you've got/had it, you already know that this is a keep-you-up-all-night flu. If you haven't had it yet, be warned. Of course, when battling the Martian Death Flu, sleep is your best weapon. And because TBL cares about you, dear readers, she is going to share with you her secret homemade sleepin' potions, which she has found to be nearly as effective as codeine without the need for any pesky prescriptions, and also tastier than over-the-counter medicines.

(do not, TBL repeats, do not mix these with anything you're not supposed to take with alcohol)

Get into your pyjamas first. You are ill and exhausted, and therefore will not be awake long enough after you take these to change clothes.

O'Nyquil (hot)

In a standard sized coffee mug, put 2-3 tablespoons honey (more if your throat is sore and/or you have a sweet tooth), a smidgen of cardamom, a generous squirt of lemon juice (optional), and a dash of cinnamon. Or, have a cinnamon stick on hand to stir the final product with.

Fill 3/4 full with boiling water, stir until honey is dissolved. Add one jigger (1.5 oz) Irish whiskey (Scotch fans could use that, TBL supposes. That would be MacNyquil.). Stir again. Drink while hot. Collapse into bed.

Drowsy Monk (cold)

Add 2 oz Benedictine to 6 oz orange juice. Stir. Ignore funny color. Drink. Sleep.

It should go without saying that you need to stay well-hydrated whilst ill, and more so if using alcohol to induce sleep! TBL does not recommend any alcohol consumption whilst sick if you can sleep without it, but if you can't it's definitely the lesser of two evils.

Read More

Saturday, October 06, 2007

They Should Serve Beer at Dunn Bros.

The fridge here at Casa Liberales normally contains a small supply of beer, usually an ale of some description. Bell's Oberon and Finnegan's Irish Amber are the current favorites. But you know, sometimes a girl just wants a nice stout. Or perhaps a porter. A lambic, even, on very rare occasions. Rather than laying in a whole six-pack, parts of which might still be cluttering up the beer drawer (What, it's supposed to be for produce? Who knew?) six months later, I usually just stroll on down to the local bar.

Let me tell you, going to a bar alone is strange. Especially on a Friday or Saturday when it's really crowded. I know people do it, but what I don't get is how they can just sit there at the bar without anything to do.

It's likely a side effect of growing up an only child in a house full of books smack in the middle of 50-odd partially tamed acres ideal for playing knights-and-dragons or wizards-and-invading-hordes in, but I require constant intellectual stimulation. I am more than capable of providing said stimulation for myself, but I can't just sit somewhere. I have to be reading or writing or watching (good) TV. Or engaged in conversation, of course.

Then again, I'm not one of these hail-fellow-well-met sorts who can wander into the local watering hole and befriend half the bar in a quarter of an hour or less. Actually, with the exception of those very rare people with whom I feel instantly comfortable, I can barely string together a coherent sentence when talking to strangers. And "people watching" in a bar is only interesting for the first five minutes.

So when I go to the bar on my own, I take a book. Boy, do I get some funny looks. Especially on the weekends. Also, reading by the light of that dinky little candle on the table? Not easy. Once, someone actually stopped by my table and asked, "Why don't you go to a coffeeshop and read?"

I said, "I didn't want coffee. I wanted a beer." And I went back to reading.

But you know, if someone opened a bar with a coffeehouse feel (lights up, free wi-fi, pastries available, etc.) I would LOVE that. The quiet and sense of space and maybe a few puffy couches, now with beer!

I would miss out on the drunken proclamations of the trendy young things at the next table, but you can't have it all.

Read More

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Not Our Best Day

See this cat? This cat hates me.

This cat hates me because, in the course of an hour and a half, I:

  • woke her from her nap (also known as "daylight")
  • stuffed her into a small crate
  • carried her from her home out into the big scary world
  • took her WAY too close (approximately 20 feet) to traffic
  • handed her over to strangers who:
    • stuck a thermometer somewhere she did not find amusing
    • drew her blood...twice
    • held her over a sterile basin and squeezed
  • stuffed her back into the crate
  • took her back out into the big scary world
  • woke her up from her restorative post-trauma nap to squirt antibiotics down her throat
And though I attempted to explain that I, too, had had something of a traumatic afternoon, she failed to see how loss of large amounts of "money" (whatever that is) and witnessing smoke coming off one's "debit card" (ditto) is in any way comparable to the indignities she suffered.

On the other hand, I'll get paid again long before she stops having Clavamox squirted down her throat twice daily...

Read More

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Coming Soon

TBL was going to do a postmortem of the Twins season here tonight, but she is instead dealing with a sick cat. The highs and lows (oh, so many lows) of the 2007 Twins season will, never fear, be picked apart in due course. There may also (bonus material!) be some sobbing about vet bills and being tired of eating ramen.

Read More