Friday, December 13, 2013

Early Christmas

You might not have been able to tell this, actually, just from reading the blog, so I'll say it: things with me have been crazy lately. It's finally slowing down enough that I can start blogging about it. Several weeks ago, Marigold asked me if she and Bluebell could come visit the weekend of December 6. (Marigold was my college roommate. Bluebell and her roommate always lived near us. I routinely describe all three of these girls as my roomies, because that was practically true.) Marigold and Bluebell both live in Michigan, though not near one another. The thought that they would be interested in driving all the way to Minnesota to see me, especially with winter just beginning to get underway, was a huge surprise. Of course, I said yes! Preparing for their visit was a little crazy: doing the cleaning, the Christmas shopping, and trying to keep the rest of my life on track was a bit of a challenge. But, when they arrived, it felt like Christmas was really here. 

Naturally, the one "must" on our weekend to-do list was to make a trip to St. Olaf, where we all went to school together. The college has made some pretty significant changes since we were students there. Science and math used to be taught in a dungeon-esque building, and now they've moved into spacious, beautiful new areas. And, the dungeon has been remodeled in a transformation fit for reality TV into this beautiful place for foreign language classes! We really had a grand time just wandering around. 

We also visited the chapel. Some of the people in our group of friends used to go to chapel services here (which are held 6 days a week) all the time. Plus, the chapel was a really nice respite. The weekend Bluebell and Marigold chose to come to Minnesota happened to be the weekend St. Olaf was hosting its Christmas Festival. It's an enormous deal, and most alumni would be thrilled to have the chance to attend the festival, or even to be on campus while its going on. I'm definitely not one of them. I've been to Christmas Fest - once or twice. I know that the performers have worked hard and have spared no expense to prepare a glorious musical performance. I don't really love choral music in general, so most of their skill is lost on me. It's always exceptionally warm in the room where the concert is performed, and I find the mania about the whole thing totally overwhelming. Campus was crazed while we were there, so it was awesome to have a few moments respite in the chapel, where we could look at the trees with no one else around. I do have to say, though, that one plus to our trip during Christmas Fest was that the bookstore had extended hours. The place was jammed, but we got some neat stuff. I'll be finding some of what I picked out under the Christmas tree, so maybe I'll be able to show it off after I unwrap it!!

After we'd had our fill of campus and the crowds, we headed for downtown Northfield. For as long as I can remember, Division Street in downtown has been a place for all kinds of interesting shops. While most of the shops that were there when we were students have either gone under or changed names, different neat little places have sprung up in their stead. I picked up this piece of art at a place that seemed to be a "local art gallery slash bead shop." A weird combo, but one that's just about perfect for me, right? As the shops began to close around 5 or 5:30, we realized we were cold, tired and hungry and headed off to our favorite pizzeria in town. It was bustling, and a little bit chaotic. But, the food was yummy and we were happy to drive home to Minneapolis before we got too tired. 

My weekend with Marigold and Bluebell is a little bit of a blur now. I know we had a lot of fun, I know we ate plenty of pizza, watched some old episodes of "Who's Wedding Is It Anyway?" while heckling, and got caught up since it had been a while since we'd seen each other. Good food, bad TV and great company? Sounds like an early Christmas to me! 

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