Archive for the ‘2010 – 01 – January’ Category

Week 5 – Polar Plunge

Posted: February 1, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

One of my earliest best friends in life was Richard Cypher (this is a fictional name I am using to hide the true identity of my friend because I am not sure if he wants me to talk about him on an online website).  For the first many, many years of my life, he was like a brother to me.  I spent more days and weeks than I could ever remember over at his house, playing night games with Richard, his brothers and sisters, and the other neighborhood kids.  Over time, I grew apart from him (as we all have from many childhood friends).  But the few times I have seen him since school, he still always manages to put a smile on my face and make me wish that I had kept in better contact with him throughout these past years.

Richard has Down Syndrome.  Growing up as a kid, I didn’t know what that meant.  All I knew was that Richard was one of my best friends.  He was one of the guys.  As I grew older and started to experience the world more and as I understood people with special needs more, I have to admit that I started to notice his disability.  And in middle school, when we cognitively started to have larger gaps between us, I did notice as well.  But I also didn’t care.  He was my friend and that is how I treated him.  I am so so so glad that I grew up with him in my life because he helped me realize that yes, people are different.  We learn differently, we all have different abilities and skills, different capacities to love and touch others.  But the biggest thing I learned from Richard isn’t that we are different.  I learned that just because you are different doesn’t mean you are less than others.  Different isn’t bad at all.  In fact, it is our differences that make the world go round, that make life unique and enjoyable.

I have Richard to thank for my current job.  I currently am a preschool teacher at a school where around 45% or so of the children have special needs of various kinds.  The love that Richard taught me to have for all individuals has allowed me to truly thrive and just down right love this job.

Needless to say, the special needs community means a lot to me.  So when I found out that I could do something insane and crazy, and at the same time raise money for the Minnesota Special Olympics, I jumped (literally) at the chance.  How did I do such a thing?  I did a Polar Bear Plunge.

For the past month I have been raising money and awareness for the Minnesota Special Olympics.  This culminated with me participating in a Polar Bear Plunge at White Bear Lake on Saturday, January 30th.  I had no idea this event was so popular.  At this one jump there were around 800 participants.  And in order to jump, each person needs to raise a minimum of $75.  So that is a MINIMUM of $60,000 from this one event.  And the Minnesota Special Olympics has thirteen jumps organized this Winter.  With the kind of dedication and craziness that we Minnesotans have for all things Winter, I can’t even conceive how much money these events will raise for such a wonderful organization.

I dedicated my jump to Richard.  Thank you, Richard, for helping me become the person that I am.

I also want to thank my brother, father, one of my other best friends, and one of my cousins for coming to the event with me and supporting me there.

Here are some pictures of me at the plunge.  Sadly, a mid-air picture of me wasn’t taken by my father or friend.  But there was a professional photographer there.  The pictures he took will be uploaded onto his website in the coming weeks.  And if he got a great picture of me, I will surely post it here for all to see.  Until then, enjoy these wonderful pictures.

Week 4 – Lifestyle

Posted: February 1, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

I wouldn’t say that my life is going in the wrong direction.  I wouldn’t say that I am out of shape.  I wouldn’t say that I am lost in the world, that I am misguided, that I have my priorities mixed up, or anything of the sort.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to improve my life and lifestyle.

That cliche saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” is sometimes just bullshit.  My life isn’t broken.  But parts of it, I feel, should be fixed.  For example, as I said, I am not out of shape. But that doesn’t mean I am in shape.  I can do something about that.  I can easily adjust parts of my life to work towards getting into shape.  My relationship with my fiance isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination.  But I can make it better.  I can be a better man for her.

My week 2 adventure of looking at my relationship with my fiance made me think about doing that with my life in general.  My life is drastically changing in front of my eyes.  Sometimes, I need to pull a Ferris Bueller and just look around, enjoy the things I have and love the fact that I am a very blessed human being.  But at times, I need to keep chugging along with it so I don’t get left behind in the dust.  I need to adapt and change so that I can continue to grow, so that I don’t become stagnant.  And if I start making the changes now, at the beginning of the year, the rest of these adventures will be more meaningful to me.

This week was another thoughtful one for me.  I put many, many hours into thinking about how I can change as a person to make not only my life, but those around me more fulfilling.  Not very exciting at the moment, but if I can stick with my plans, the excitement will grow in my everyday life.

Week 3 – Sushi

Posted: January 22, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

Most people who know me know that I used to live in Japan.  I will be honest, I never shut up about it.  Anytime I can mention it, I do.  And I am sure it gets annoying, as has been indicated by my fiance and several good friends, and for that I am sorry.  But that year spent there was amazing and really shaped who I have become as a person.  I loved my time spent there and hope to go back to Japan in the future (probably never to live there again, but hopefully for a long visit).  And of the best parts about Japan was the cuisine.  Especially sushi.

I have had a very difficult time finding a quality and cheap Japanese joint in Minneapolis.  There are apparently some great ones, but also expensive (which I can’t swing at the moment).  So I have probably complained about that a bunch and inquired many times for new places to eat.  So then I told myself, screw it, I will just make my own sushi!

This was a wonderful idea.  My good friends Tim and Jamison went with me to United Noodle, which is probably one of the best Asian markets in the area.  After a while browsing the rows and seeing many things I saw back in Japan, we finally got our goods and went home to make some Tuna Rolls and California Rolls.

Other friends Lexi and Whitney came over to join in on the fun too.  And even with all of the fun, it was a lot harder to make than I thought.  But it was also a great time.  Making food with friends is tons of fun, and we surely learned from our mistakes.  The first few rolls were WAY to thick (more burrito than sushi roll).  The last ones were more along the lines of typical sushi rolls.

Overall, a wonderful night spent with great friends, hilarious times, and some pretty good sushi.

Week 2 – My Marriage

Posted: January 15, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

First off, some people have thought that I have already failed in my 52 adventures things because it has been more than a week since my last post and such.  Not the case.  For my adventures, I give myself one week to do them.  But the week doesn’t start right after the other adventure was completed.  My weeks start on Fridays.  And the following adventure has been something I have been thinking about all week long.  And sure I could have posted on it at the beginning of the week, but I decided to wait to the end of the week to gather my thoughts on the matter.

I will be getting married this summer (August 7th, 2010) and I am fortunate enough that the person who will be overseeing my wedding is also one of my best friends.  I know he cares truly about the ceremony, about what is said, about how it is presented and received. So what does he do for me?  He gives me fucking homework.  BASTARD!  But in retrospect, the homework is VERY beneficial.

Trevor’s first task was for Becky (my fiance) and I to each, without the other person viewing it, write a list of what we feel true love is.  Then we write (again in secret) what we love about the other person.  And finally we will come together, discuss the lists, and talk about what we currently do and what we could do to make sure that our relationship will work.  And man, did I give this shit some thought.  And no, it isn’t exciting, but it was indeed an adventure.

I am about to start the great adventure: a family.  Becky and I are going to spend the rest of our lives together, we are going to have many kids (currently between three or six), I think around four dogs, two cats, and a guinea pig.  And I mean, it isn’t like I never thought of that before.  Becky and I have been engaged for over a year and I had intentions of proposing for around a year before that.  I knew this was coming.  But wow.  It is really going to happen.

Thinking, honestly, sitting down and putting hours and hours of thought into this, has really opened my eyes.  I can’t post my thoughts on the matter yet (since Becky and I are still in the independent stages of the writing process), and they are very personal thoughts, so I am not sure if I ever will. But man, love is a trip.  Pretty sweet, though.

Sorry that this post was boring.  But hey, if you know me, then you know that is a pretty accurate description of who I am.

All photos are from a New Year’s Eve party Becky and I were at two years ago (so far the only New Year’s Eve party we have ever attended together since she is always in Arizona or something around that time of the year).

Week 1 – The Jucy Lucy

Posted: January 3, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

I am not entirely sure how many of you are familiar with the term “Jucy Lucy.”   I honesty don’t know a single person outside of Minnesota who has ever heard of it.  So let me enlighten you.

The Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger.  Except, instead of the cheese being added to the top of the burger near the end of the grilling process so that it is nicely melted when finished, the burger is instead prepared with the cheese IN THE MIDDLE of the hamburger.  That’s right; cheese in the middle of your burger instead of on top of it.  Best. Idea. Ever.

This wonderful burger originated at Matt’s Bar in south Minneapolis.  Now, I have had two Jucy Lucy’s before in my time.  One was at a small bar in St. Paul, and the other I made myself.  While both were great, I have always wanted to try to original.  So what did I do?  I got a crew of people together and got ready for an adventure.

Now, as you can maybe see, this bar is small.  Very small.  But PACKED.  Every booth is full and there is a line that led outside waiting for a table.  Now, that may not seem surprising to some, a line that goes out the building, but this is Minnesota. The air temperature was -4 degrees fahrenheit. With wind chill, it felt like -12.  And yet people are waiting outside for the food.  That alone was a testament for how great it must be.

This burger is pretty famous in the Twin Cities area.  Another famous thing from this area is a wonderful rapper named Atmosphere.  Here is a signed EP of his on the wall.  If you can’t read what he wrote, it states” Atmosphere loves Jucy Lucy.”  That is a pretty hilarious quote if you are familiar with Atmosphere’s music and how often he uses a female named Lucy as an antagonist.  Just saying.

Now, at first glance, this seems like a simple hamburger.  But our waitress warned us: “Don’t eat it right away.  Let it cool down first.”  The reason being?  When the cheese is cooked on the inside, it doesn’t burn or anything like that.  But it does liquefy and get REALLY FUCKING HOT.

Let me tell you, I am in heaven right now.  This shit is AMAZING.  The burger is so juicy and moist.  It isn’t dry at all; you can feel it just melt and form together in your mouth.

Just look at the cheese dripping from that beast.  I have never had a cheeseburger so…so…just fucking awesome.  I am not sure if it was the best burger I have ever had (cause I love me some burgers, and I have had some damn good ones in my day).  But this is surely worth a visit if you are ever in Minneapolis.  The experience is awesome cause it is a small bar with a casual wait staff.  The food is outstanding and worth the wait.  And it is actually pretty well priced.  $5 for the burger.  Gotta love it.

I will admit, my first adventure for the year wasn’t the most thrilling.  But man oh man was it amazing.  And brought to my attention a place I will surely go back to time and time again.

Be easy, space cowboy.