At the University of Minnesota they name new buildings after important people. Nils Hasselmo signed my degree as president of the U. Now there is a Nils Hasselmo Hall where you can apply for the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program, in case you were wondering.
My name can still be found on the U of M campus too, but not on the outside of a new building. It's actually in the windowless basement of an old one. In a student directory. Apparently they took out a pay phone in 1992 but never removed the phone books hanging nearby. How my kids and I found that treasure is another story, but they both said it was their favorite part of our day.
I think it may have been my favorite part too. Why? I'm not sure. I like that my kids got a kick out of old phone books. (When was the last time you used a pay phone or a phone book?) And I also like that my name can still be found on campus 18 years after I graduated. It's kind of like having a building named after you, right? Well, almost the same.
Monday, July 23
Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but I discovered a new waterfall in Saint Paul yesterday. I've been within 500 feet of these falls myriad times in my life and didn't know it. That fact is probably really rich with metaphor, but I won't go into that right now. They're called Shadow Falls and I swear "they" are trying to keep them a secret. There is probably more than one route to the falls, but we started at the World War I Memorial at Summit Avenue and Mississippi River Boulevard, then followed a path northward along the ravine that hides the falls. The hills are steep, but the trail is pretty easy (we did it in sandals). Hidden Falls are a little further up river, if you want to complete the St. Paul waterfall circuit.
Tuesday, July 24
It might be a little contrived, but Centennial Lakes Park in Edina charms me anyway. Here you will find a human-made pond surrounded by a walking trail, mini-golf, croquet courts, and an amphitheater. You will find free events every Tuesday and Thursday at noon at the Hughes Pavilion. Today is the Woodland Puppet Show. There's also a concert Sunday-Wednesday at 7 pm and a movie at sunset on Thursdays. If you go, pack a picnic and bring some extra bread to feed the fish that patrol the nearby waters. They aren't Asian Carp, but they're pretty aggressive once they notice your bakery goods.
Wednesday, July 25
The Open Eye Figure Theater is hitting the road again this year. They will bring their puppets to your place on the "Driveway Tour 2012!" and all you have to do is ask. Well, there's probably a little more to it, but they've visited over 500 neighborhoods in the last 9 years so it can't be too tough. If you'd rather just go somewhere to see them, you can head to the Northeast Library today at 10:30 am for their presentation of The Amazing Cow Boat.
Thursday, July 26
Mears Park in downtown St. Paul boasts "a covered bandshell and a beautiful stream running diagonally through the park." That sounds good. And under that covered bandshell on Thursday evenings you will find some of the hottest local music acts around. Now that sounds better! Some of the acts you can catch at Music in Mears this year are the Honeydogs, Communist Daughter, and Flamin Oh's. Tonight the bill is headlined by New Standards. The music plays from 6 to 9 pm, and then the big screen lights up when the sun goes down. This evening you'll see What About Bob? It's all free, and that's the best part.
Friday, July 27
As Adam Scott demonstrated last weekend, golf is a mind game as much as anything else. Kids seem more immune to the mental pressure than us adults, however, so maybe it's a good time to introduce them to a game they can play their whole lives. The US Kids Golf Foundation has set up nine family courses in Minnesota, three of which are right here in the Twin Cities. A family course has tees placed for beginners that shorten the course, making it more fun for everybody. Come to think of it, that might be a good option for me too. If you're not ready to hit the course yet, your local country club probably has a set of kid's clubs to use at their driving range.
Saturday, July 28
You have another chance to see the Open Eye Figure Theater at the Flow Northside Arts Crawl today. The Crawl happens from 2 to 8 pm and will feature the World's Longest Soul Train Line, a mobile stage powered by pedals, bakery tours, and the Smack Shack food truck. The Minnesota Lynx will also be on hand giving lessons on how to win . . . or maybe just to sign stuff. Bring your smart phone for a then-and-now trip on the West Broadway Walking Tour. Then kick back and go with the Flow.
Sunday, July 29
There's one more "I Can" experience that Minnesota's State Parks are offering up this summer: I Can Paddle! Today you can take a canoe out on the lake at William O'Brien State Park. You will have to drive an hour to get to William O'Brien, but that's about all you'll have to do. The Park provides everything you need to give canoeing a try. They do want you to let them know you're coming, so give them a call at 866-857-2757 before you stop on by.
Have a great time!