The Life Unwired with Ben Combee (unwiredben) wrote,
The Life Unwired with Ben Combee

Weekend in Minnesota

I spent Friday and Saturday in Minnesota, attending a reunion picnic with my mom's side of the family. I connected through Dallas Friday morning, and landed at MSP in the mid-afternoon. Friday night was spent with my mom, one of my aunts, and a cousin who's a cab driver in St. Paul. He said that Garrison Keillor (of Prairie Home Companion fame) was one of his regulars and he told how he out-thought some thugs that wanted to use his cab for a drive-by shooting by speeding towards a police station to get the cab pulled over by the police.

Saturday was a trip across state lines to a lake in western Wisconsin, just across from the St. Croix river. The picnic was at a lake house where all my my mom's brothers and sisters would go during the summer. The place had been renovated and expanded, and was a really nice two level house, with a small dock and a few boats. I saw a whole bunch of people I'd not seen in years, but I had a bit of a headache, so I spent a lot of time inside reading a book rather than socializing. That evening I went to Minneapolis with another cousin and her boyfriend; originally we were going to see a movie, but we got to the theater late, so we just went and caught a late dinner at Pizza Luce, a really cool vegetarian-friendly place. I had the vegan muffaletta, a sandwich with spicy mock duck, soy ricotta, olives, peppers, and barbecue sauce; it's highly recommended!

Sunday morning was an early flight out, but I got caught in the American Airlines system outage. My flight was delayed by 90 minutes getting out of MSP, and on landing at Dallas-Fort Worth, I found they'd added two hours to all the takeoff times to accommodate connections. So, my planned lunch at Hao Hao was out; the airport Chili's was in. I'd just read "Fast Food Nation" (more later), and I kept wondering exactly how my veggie pattie had been processed while eating a much too greasy meal. The plane did take off at the adjusted time, and I landed back in Austin just in time to make my other afternoon appointment, my third screening of "Coffee and Cigarettes".

Memorable moments:

  • Mom making the 1,050-mile drive from North Georgia to St. Paul in eighteen hours of continuous driving

  • Having one of my aunts yell out "I smell like poop" and drive off without knowing the context of the comment

  • Riding in a pontoon boat looking at the houses on the lake, trying to decide which ones were empty and could be taken over

  • Getting caught in a storm and seeing cars park on the side of the road to get cover from the hailstones

  • Mom and I getting lost in Eagan when she was trying to drop me off on Friday night

  • Demonstrating my Treo 600 to six different people

  • Having my cousin call 911 from a cell phone to report drug dealers on the corner near her house

  • Learning about the history of sacred mountains in Arizona from a Ph.D candidate

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