A Chinese Football Fan

I used to be a Minnesota Vikings fan, which is to say that I used to actually care whether or not they won games. That changed in 2001 when, after being undefeated for the entire season, they were beaten by the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game, 41, to 0!

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I was living in China at the time, so wasn’t able to actually watch the game; but when I heard what the score was I made a vow that henceforth I would never again care whether the Vikings won or lost. There is just no point.

A friend on Facebook tipped me off to a great post written by blogger Chris Gehry about the heartache of being a Vikings fan, titled How to Survive Being a Vikings Fan. He writes about the despondancy of his young son at Minnesota’s loss to Seattle on Sunday:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen another human being so disconsolate.

After about ten minutes of sobbing, I gathered Isaiah into my biggest, most fatherly bear hug. After his chest stopped heaving quite so violently, I held him by the shoulders, looked him level in the eyes, and said, “Son, now you are a Vikings fan.”

Those are almost the exact words I said to a Chinese college student who was watching the game with me on Sunday. He’s been in the US for almost 3 years and has become quite the football fan. His loyalties are a bit divided, though, since his host family last year were hardcore Packers fans.

In this game, however, his heart was decidedly with Minnesota. As the game progressed and it looked like things were going Minnesota’s way, I put on my Debby Downer hat and tried to prepare him for what I believed would be an inevitable loss, most likely in the waning moments of the game. He would have none of it, especially when Minnesota was up 9-0.

“Don’t get your hopes up,” I said. “The Vikings will most likely blow it. This is who they are. This is what they do. Trust me. I have been watching them for 40 years.” He would have none of it.

And when the kicker missed a 27-yard field goal with just 22 seconds left to lose the game, I turned to him and said, “Now you know what its like to be a Vikings fan.”

After a few minutes of sadness and disbelief, he pulled himself together, changed the channel, and began cheering for the Packers!

Image credit: Business Insider

North Shore Thanksgiving

For the fifth year in a row, I spent the Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends at the wonderful Lutsen Resort, on the North Shore of Lake Superior. If you have not had the opportunity to explore this gorgeous wilderness area in the heart of the country, put it on your bucket list. Here are a few photos from the weekend to whet your appetite:

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Nothing like a Lake Superior sunset.

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The sunset reflected in the windows of Lutsen Resort.

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Saturday was a gorgeous day to hike the Oberg Loop section of the Superior Hiking Trail.

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The beach at Lutsen Resort.

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There’s nothing like a lakeside bonfire under the moonlight!

And yes, this resort is the site of my niece’s famous wedding in a blizzard.

Related Posts:

Friday Photos: Fall Colors in Minnesota

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Over the River…

“This is Insane!”

Lake Superior Sunrise

Friday Photos: Fall Colors in Minnesota

Last week my sister and I drove some friends visiting from England up to Lutsen, a ski resort on the North Shore of Lake Superior. We had heard the fall colors were peaking up there, so even though there were no hotel vacancies in the areas, and the RT drive would be close to 500 miles, we decided to turn it into a very long day trip. As you can see from these photos, it was worth the drive.

Lutsen mountain

Lutsen mountain

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Kan Hongye (See Red Leaves)

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Friday Photo: Dog Sledding

A couple of weeks ago I went up to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a writing retreat. I stayed at the gorgeous Naniboujou Lodge, just north of Grand Marais. No phones; no TV; no Internet — a perfect place to get some writing done.

When I needed a break one afternoon I jumped in Big Red and headed for a drive along some of the back roads in the area.

Where else are you going to see fun signs like this?

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I love Minnesota!

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Mid-Autumn Beauty in Minnesota

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Smoke in My Eyes. In Minnesota!

When I lived in Beijing, we often had a weather forecast that was just one word: Smoke! It was usually in the fall, when the peasants in the surrounding provinces of Shandong and Hebei were burning the fields after harvest. The city would be shrouded in smoke, with off-the-charts bad air quality until it rained or the winds shifted to the north.

On Monday it was Minnesota’s turn. Smoke from wildfires burning in northern Saskatchewan descended on our fair state, making the air quality in Minneapolis worse than in Beijing.

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Talk about embarrassing!

 

Image #1: MyFoxTwinCities

Image #2: twitter.com/David Cooper, via MyFoxTwinCities

 

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Keeping Watch

You may have seen this amazing photo making the rounds this Memorial Day weekend. It was taken at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, here in the Twin Cities, the same cemetery where my father was laid to rest.

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Our local newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune told the story of this photo in an article published on Saturday:

Amateur photographer Frank Glick was on his way to work when he drove through Fort Snelling National Cemetery early one morning. He spotted a bald eagle through the mist, perched on a gravestone, and snapped shots with his aging but ever-present camera.

Nice shot, he thought.

An acquaintance saw the photo and suggested that he see if the deceased soldier had any living relatives who might want it. Indeed, Maurice Ruch’s widow was alive and well and delighted to receive a copy of the eagle watching over her beloved husband.

You can read the entire article here.

Remembering with much gratitude those who have fallen to keep us free.

Image credit: Frank Glick, via StarTribune

 

Eye of an Eagle

I have a new favorite day trip out of the Twin Cities — the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN. Here’s how they describe themselves:

The National Eagle Center is a world-class interpretive center located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Wabasha, MN. We are home to five rescued eagles, four bald eagles and one golden eagle. During a visit to the National Eagle Center, you can experience these magnificent creatures up close.

The Upper Mississippi River Valley is home to hundreds of bald eagles. Many choose to build their nests in the tall trees along the river valley. Hundreds more bald eagles arrive here in the winter months, as the Mississippi River remains open around Wabasha year round.

The Center houses a small museum chock full of information about eagles. In addition they are the custodians of 5 rescued bald eagles (“Eagle Ambassadors”), which can be viewed “up close and personal.” Here are a few of my photos:

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national eagle center

national eagle center

You can read about each of the eagles here. They are magnificent!

So if you haven’t been there already, get thee to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha! It’s just 2 hours from the Twin Cities.