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Thanksgiving in Chicago by Ann Treacy
November 27, 2011, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Chicago

It seems like our time in Chicago was particularly quick this year. We headed out in our convoy on Wednesday. We stayed in Madison with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Billy Wednesday night. Then Thursday we headed to Chicago. We ate at our usual place – which we seem to find by looking for the place we think is our usual place but is not as easy to find. Then we had a great dinner with all of the fixings – including two turkeys (one baked, one deep fried) and a ham. Really I could give up everything except stuffing, ham and pumpkin pie. Luckily everybody seems to like different things.

The day after we went to a gym full of trampolines. It was very fun – but two days later I can still feel it. We were there for two hours and I’d say most of the grownups jumped for at least an hour. That’s a lot of bounce. That night the grownups headed to a really nice dinner at Al Dente. It’s a chef owned restaurant with a Mexican/Lain flair. Then the less mature of the grownups headed out. It was very fun but I totally lost my voice. To be fair, I has been skating around a cold all week. A day of being so unkind to my body just brought the cold into full force.

Saturday some of us went to the Children’s Museum. Aine and Bridie seemed to enjoy it. They rarely get to call the shots so that was fun. Then we just hung out. Played cards and ate Chinese Saturday night. Then we got up at the crack of dawn to drive home, which didn’t seem like such a good idea at the crack of dawn – but now that it’s 12:30 and we’re back in St Paul it seems like a great idea.

Lily’s first TEDx by Ann Treacy
November 25, 2011, 12:36 am
Filed under: St Paul

I love TEDx talks. Last week I dragged Lily to her first TEDx talk event at the Minnesota Science Museum. It was actually a Youth TEDx – the speakers seemed to focus their talks to reach younger attendees – although not too much and not too young. Here are my quick notes from the session

AnnMarie Thomas – How are Makers Made?

Thomas spoke about the importance of letting kids disassemble and build things to learn how to design. So much of the focus of education these days seems to be on theory or even moving hands on experience online – when really some kids (future makers) would benefit from a screwdriver and a little benign neglect. I wish Aine had Thomas as a teacher.

Greg Tehven – The Unleanring Curve

Tehven took a year off a successful career at age 25 to find himself. The idea was to take time to focus on today and yourself not just what you do – and that sometimes you learn (or unlearn) the most when you open yourself up to help from others. Kind of a funny presentation since I’d say lots of people in the room were parents – and so by definition we have to work towards the future of our kids. And the kids in the room, almost by definition are working on the future too. Maybe I just wasn’t ripe to hearing about chucking it all in to live for today – although I certainly was up for it when I was 25.

Solome Tibebu – How Anxiety Saved Me

It was very interesting to hear about how Tibebu and her issues with anxiety. I think it was a powerful example for some youth in the room because I think certain ages are more susceptible to being anxious about everyday life. It was interesting to hear how the message in your head (my hands don’t need to get washed again) can be overridden by the message in your body that wants to wash your hands continually. It sounds as if learning the physiological effects of anxiety was beneficial was helpful for the speaker – again a reminder for mentors and kids that just understanding how and why things happen can help take the edge off.

John Turnipseed – Fix the Damn Roof

Turnipseed was the most powerful speaker of the day. He spoke about just how a roof is an essential infrastructure for a house (or building) a father is an essential infrastructure for a family or kids. When your father is absent or as he put it, your father is the boogie man, the kid falls apart. He said he has 30 family members in jail for some degree or murder. He himself has been arrested for 10 adult felonies – but he had been turned around by strangers who showed faith in him. It started when he was young and in jail. Someone in jail was a bodybuilder. Turnipseed asked if he could teach him how to lift weights and the guys said he didn’t work with dummies. Come back when you have your GED. A month later Turnipseed had the GED. There were other mentors along the way – but eventually the right mentor helped Turnipseed turn his life around. His focus was on the power of a trusting stranger and getting the right message. He didn’t remark at the character of someone who grows up without a roof and yet is ever open to receiving a helping hand – but I think that’s important too.

A Wrinkle in Time by Ann Treacy
November 25, 2011, 12:34 am
Filed under: St Paul

Did you read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid? It’s the best book ever. And it’s really a lot more scifi than I normally like – or have ever liked. I don’t want to blow it for you if you haven’t read it – but the idea is that you can travel through time by folding time as you might fold a table cloth. So if you think of an ant crawling from one end of a table to another – you can picture creating an easy shortcut by folding the tablecloth so that the two ends meet.

Anyways, A Wrinkle in Time was showing at the Children’s Theatre and I saw that tickets were on sale so I got them. Aine and I liked the show – the others are all theater snobs. I was surprised they didn’t like it more. To start, it was all a lot more Dr Who than I remembered. (I am not a Dr Who fan; everyone else in the house is.) The special effects were a little seizure inducing – but I think you have to do something to signify moving through time.

The main character is pretty whiny. I think maybe that cut just a little too close to the bone for our middle schoolers.

Trick or Treat by Ann Treacy
November 25, 2011, 12:33 am
Filed under: St Paul

So it seems as if we trick or treated about a dozen times this ear. We trick or treated in Highland Village on Saturday, on Grand Ave on Sunday (both involved trick or treating to shops) and then the girls struck out on their own on Halloween.

Corn maze in the rain by Ann Treacy
November 25, 2011, 12:26 am
Filed under: Minnesota

Some of us *love* to go to corn mazes. Some of us don’t. Some of us rock with maps. Some of us don’t. All of us love a good corn pit.

So we headed to a corn maze despite the iffy weather. The good news is that we got to spent some time jumping in the corn pit. If you haven’t ever gone corn pit diving, you should. It’s super fun. It’s like a tiny massage for your feet – so long as you don’t run in your socks. Word to the wise – running in a corn pit will hurt later. Also an unexpected bonus of a corn pit is that you will find corn everywhere for days following your trip.

Sadly it started to drizzle when we headed to the corn maze. Some of us (Patrick, Lily, Kate to name names) wimped out almost immediately. The tough (me and Aine) held on – but eventually our map started to disintegrate in our hands so we had to give up. In case you haven’t been to a corn maze – the idea is to get answers from various marked posts in the maze. In this maze the answers were actually only questions related to baseball. So we weren’t really getting many of the answers anyways. And I think Grandpa was not sad that I quit calling to ask random questions about the Twins.

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Halloween in Hidden Falls by Ann Treacy
November 25, 2011, 12:23 am
Filed under: St Paul

Im in the car for a while so finally have some time to catch up on the blog starting with the super cool Halloween show we saw. It was in Hidden Falls (shores of the Mississippi in a park any Highland Park kid would know). A group called Barebones does a great outdoor show every year. Every year I swear were going to go. This year we did!

To start, the show is outdoors at night. Its a full performance, puppet, dancer, acrobat show and the audience moves with the show. An impressive feat considering the huge crowd they got. The show began in waiting room for the afterlife, which was run like an HR meeting. The premise is that a jet from Japan was scheduled to crash, but didnt. So room in the afterlife has opened for those of us in limbo. So the good news is that were headed for some place good; the other news is that were headed for a Buddhist afterlife.

Then the book of the dead is stolen and once that happens were stuck in limbo and no one on Earth can die. The visuals were great. Lots of good vs evil type stuff. People on stilts, acrobats hanging from trees, huge structures unfolding and live music. It was a chilly night but that was OK since we were sitting very close. It was a great show for families although with the trekking around in the park, I felt bad for folks with strollers.

Its definitely on my must-do list for next year!

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