March 14, 2012 Comments Off on zombie legos
Aaaaand this is what the boy did with one round of pick-a-bricks from the Lego store. The one with the green face is a zombie (obviously). The two anti-zombie dudes have, respectively, an axe and a buzz saw. The big box? It springs open. “That was as close as they had to dynamite. But wouldn’t that be awesome if you could buy Lego dynamite?”
I swear I have not been letting him watch Walking Dead. But if that scenario ever plays out, I want the boy on my side.
With a buzz saw.
November 23, 2011 Comments Off on legos
A fine holiday week in progress with the kiddos, the parents, and Uncle C. It usually takes a day or so for O and C to gravitate to our old Lego blocks, after which the parents’ living room is awash in schemes of increasing complexity. I blame Legos entirely for my choice of career, but it doesn’t seem to be doing them any lasting damage.
Both kids build with Legos at home, but those are new-school Legos. The ones I had were a generation simpler–none of this Bionicle stuff, just rectangles, wheels, and the occasional tree. The kids love these, maybe because there aren’t any expectations raised by the packaging, or because you have to stretch you imagination pretty far to figure out what it is you’re building. That’s O’s apartment complex there to the left.
And that is C’s version of a happy meal. Ketchup, fries, and a hamburger, from left to right. Personally I can’t ever recall using Legos to make food, but there you have it. I spent a fair amount of time on the floor with them yesterday building airplanes, which was what I tended to build as a kid when I wasn’t building cities. Maybe that was good parent time, but it’s always more fun than I’ll admit.
February 6, 2011 Comments Off on weekend in minne
We’d planned a big weekend in Minneapolis last weekend, but the flu scotched that pretty quick. I could hear K in the back of my mind, arms crossed, saying “you overplanned, tried to do too much, forgot that kids get sick.” Yep. Learned the lesson.
So this weekend I said that if everyone was healthy, if the weather was good, if asteroids didn’t fall on the upper midwest, we would do everything we could to get up to the Twin Cities so they could spend their Lego gift certificates. The Cities are three hours away–exactly, so it’s an easy morning drive if there are no problems. And there seemed to be problems, because as late as Friday night the weather guys were saying snow throughout the weekend. So I told them we might try a quick hit, get up, get surgical, get home before things got weird.
Only something weird happened. The logistics gods smiled upon us, and Saturday morning NOAA Weather Radio gave us the all clear–a bit of snow on Sunday, maybe? But otherwise pretty good. So I asked the kids if they wanted to spend the night, and maybe do something Saturday evening–and I had something in mind. They said sure, and I got online and in twenty minutes had an instant weekend planned, reserved, and ticketed. We piled right into the car and headed north, wasting no time and heading right to Mall of America, where we grabbed lunch and did a couple of laps, trying to find the Lego store. We got there, and the kids spent the better part of an hour browsing, trying stuff out, and eventually loading up on plastic bricks. C bought a whole series of impenetrably complex robots and games, while O opted for the simple tub of bricks approach–both acceptable tactics. Once their Lego lust had been well sated, we made a few other stops–Old Navy (jeans), Williams Sonoma (meat tenderizer, scale, egg rings), and Nike (running shirt)–by which time it was late afternoon. “Let’s hit the hotel,” I told them. “We have a big evening ahead of us.”
“WHAT?” they asked. “What are we doing tonight? Is there a sporting event?” C really asked that.
“Yes,” I told them. “We’re going to see curling.” They didn’t buy it.
Actually I had two surprises for them. As we were driving to the hotel, we went past Target Arena, and there were giant billboards congratulating Kevin Love, the Timberwolves forward who’d just been named an NBA All-Star. “Look at that,” I said. “Wouldn’t it be cool to go see an NBA game someday?” They agreed. “What about tonight?” I asked.
“NICE!!!!” said C. They high-fived in the back seat. “Seriously, Dad, we’re going to a Timberwolves game?” Absolutely, big girl. Got the tickets right here. Second set I’ve bought in a week. (I didn’t tell them that).
The second surprise was that my online travel service bumped me up to their premiere status last month, meaning a whole world of nice travel discounts. Instead of our usual Best Western accommodations, I’d found a good deal at the Westin. Four stars, baby. That’s O there, checking out the stylin’ surroundings. As usual, the kids got the beds, I got the floor and the spreads, but they were n-i-c-e spreads…
We Yelped some local restaurants, and O picked the Rock Bottom Brewery for dinner. Which, it turns out, every sports fan and theater-goer in the Twin Cities picked for dinner, too, so we ended up eating at the bar–which was a new experience for them both, but worked out tolerably well, despite a few strange looks. The arena was just a few blocks away, so we walked over and had plenty of time to find our seats, find a couple of souvenirs (left), and start noshing. O is wearing her new Kevin Love jersey, and is his latest and perhaps biggest fan.
The game itself was pretty good–the Nuggets started kicking the Timberwolves around early and the outcome wasn’t really ever in doubt. But we saw some amazing dunks–mostly by Carmelo Anthony, but K. Love (as O now refers to him) got one in, too. When she had run out to get some more fries. We have to go to another game, now. The nom total was pretty impressive–two tubs of fries, two cotton candies, sodas, all of this after they plowed through kids entrees for dinner.
We got back to the hotel at about 10:00, and were all in bed and more or less asleep by 10:30, with visions of slam dunks–or rather handsome California-born T-Wolves forwards–running through our minds. We got up this morning and had our traditional breakfast in the lobby–but in this case the lobby was a bit swisher than our usual motel breakfasts. The hotel restaurant, Bank, is the hottest table in Minneapolis right now, and it was the best part of a conference talk I gave there a few months ago. So it was definitely on my agenda for breakfast, and the kids enjoyed the swanky surroundings and the endless buffet. O dug through two full plates of eggs and hash browns, C opted for the fruit plate. Both kids remembered to put their napkins in their laps, and to top it off a former student met us for coffee, full of tales of working in Switzerland and an impending marriage to an Italian. A great morning, capped by a dip in the pool and an 11:00 departure south.
We’d thought about hitting the Spam Museum in Austin on the way, but the snow made a modest appearance and we booked home instead, where we reheated some mac’n’cheese, and I threw in a chunk of the five minute artisanal dough that I made Friday. It was awesome, but it was also the ugliest loaf I’ve ever made, so not worth a photo. Really, really, not worth a photo.
All in all a great weekend. The timing couldn’t have been any better, and the only thing that we didn’t get was a T-Wolves win. But we’ll be back, I’d guess, to see O’s new favorite athlete on the planet. That’s him on the electronic billboard in the background, above the crowds of bar-going youth. Or, perhaps, hockey or women’s basketball–they were advertising Lynx tickets and O was thrilled to discover that there’s a professional women’s league, much less a team so close.