a little more of a minnesotan

My family has never lived outside of Minnesota. I’m a true product of the great wide north and proud of it. I grew up skiing, ice skating, sledding, making snow creations, and taking part in other various winter weather activities that make up a great Minnesota childhood. There was one piece of winter fun I never got to experience, however. This was of course the wonderful world of ice fishing.

Given the chance to more fully embody the spirit of Minnesota, my fiance and I braved subzero temperatures with my uncle Scott to catch a few.

I learned it doesn’t matter how cold it is as long as you’re appropriately outfitted. Scott dressed us head to toe in his and Nancy’s cold weather hunting gear. Even at 13 below I was toasty warm. It also didn’t hurt to look so stylish.

ice-fishing-007.jpg After stopping at a bait shop on Lake Waconia, we drove out onto the ice (yes, ONTO the ice; there it is sitting on the lake). Apparently good etiquette while driving on ice is to keep your seatbelts off. Jeremy loved getting to remind me to unbuckle for a change.

Scott showed us how to drill fishing holes in the ice and Jeremy tried making his own. As soon as the drill hit the water, it would overflow onto the ice. This was REALLY fun to watch. After drilling the holes, we scooped the remaining icy slush out of them to make space for dropping our bait.

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Next, we set up the house around the holes and fished! Scott had a sweet sonar machine so we could see where the fish were swimming in relation to our bait. All together we caught twelve fish, none of which we kept to eat for dinner. Jer got the last catch of the day and we headed over to Scott and Nanooks for some home cooked Mexican food.

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All in all, it was a great evening. Jeremy and I learned a lot about a unique sport and had a great time with my uncle. It feels great to be livin’ the dream in Minnesota this winter.

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now i’m a believer

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I’ve always felt a strong dislike for coffee. As a youngster, I often wondered why on earth adults found it pleasant to drink the stuff. It seemed to me one “acquired taste” no one should ever try to acquire. When I came to college, all this changed. Frequently cold and mildly sleep deprived, I’ve spent the past three years of my life trying to force my taste buds to enjoy (or at least tolerate) this helpful drink. Most of my attempts have consisted of masking the bitter taste by filling nifty travel mugs with concoctions of coffee flavors that sound good mixed with copious amounts of highly flavored creamers. Unfortunately, six ounces of creamer per cup has never sat well in my stomach and feeling warm from the hot drink was rarely worth making myself sick for the rest of the day. Sometimes I would try sticking to Chai with Espresso in it, but the Espresso tasted too much like coffee, so I eventually nearly gave up all together my pursuit of the convenience and inexpensiveness of coffee.

About two months ago, everything changed. My beautiful, smart, trendy, coffee-loving apartment mate introduced me to the French Press. She made me some coffee from it, and I instantly wholeheartedly and genuinely loved coffee for the first time in my life. I didn’t think smooth, rich coffee full of flavor was possible without the bitterness. I thought bitterness was the flavor of coffee. I have now become an avid French pressed coffee evangelist. I use about one tenth of the creamer I used to, and I can even handle drinking coffee that isn’t pressed, simply because I know how great that flavor is when you really get down to it.

Now that I’ve found I love coffee (or at least am on the road to loving coffee), my goal is to do so in moderation. I am simply thankful for the chance to finally enjoy this drink and be on my way to becoming a well-rounded adult.