the ‘shock’ of the neighborhood…

I tell you, there’s nothing like checking your WP account, and your views have shot up to an average of 323 an hour… so you think, I’ve been Freshly Pressed! But wait a minute, last time that happened, they told me, and I knew about it first thing in the morning. So, I went looking for a notice about it, and didn’t find anything. Started searching the Stats and found that my “lullaby the baby to old broadway” post had received 1,500 views. Or so I thought. Further looking finally told me that I had received that many “views” because of… Burl Ives.

Yes, you heard that right. The singer who is probably best known (among my generation) for playing the Snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know, the one that sang “Silver and Gold”, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, and he was also the narrator for the stop-motion animated TV special. I put a picture of Sam the Snowman in that blog post, and that one got picked up on Yahoo, and eventually, 2,500 people had to look at it. But did one of them even go further than the picture? Not as far as I can tell, as I had no extra comments, “likes”, or follows, as a result. And that wasn’t even the main mention in the whole blog post? Can you just spell out chagrin and disappointment? I still haven’t figured out why the sudden interest, as it isn’t his birthday, nor the anniversary of his death. Also, he died about seventeen years ago, I think… so I have no idea what set that off.

Sorry, I had to let off some steam. That was not the original point of my post, but I hope you’ll forgive me. I just finished my second official day as a Minnesota nanny, I’m feeling a little more in control of things, and I’m not too tired at the moment. But if I want to blog, I have to do it NOW, because bedtime comes early when you have to get up at 5:45am.

You’ve heard plenty about the difference in words and pronunciation between Americans and Australians. Well, I’ve already dived headfirst into this subject, here in the state of Minnesota. For the last month or more, I was in talks with a family in Shakopee. During that entire time, our phone conversations never mentioned the name of the town, because we both knew it. When I talked to a friend of mine from MN, we spoke on Facebook or by text. So, yesterday, for the very first time, I discovered that I was pronouncing Shakopee incorrectly.

Actually, I thought my lady boss was teasing me, when she stopped me, mid-conversation. She needed to tell me that Shakopee is not pronounced “Shuh-KOH-pee”. The correct way to say it is “SHOCK-uh-pee”. For all my knowledge of American Indian names and places, because you’ll find them all over the place in the U.S., that one had never even occurred to me. Of course, I didn’t know it was an American Indian name, either. I think it’s an even more surprising pronunciation than “moe-kuh” and “mock-uh” ever were. By the way, I’m still having trouble pronouncing mocha and scone like the rest of America does, since I’ve been home. Australia had an effect on me.

Another adjustment to living in the Minneapolis area is that there’s shopping everywhere! Don’t laugh, I’m not suggesting that it’s torture or anything. But even when I was living in SC, there weren’t numerous Kohl’s, Pier 1’s, and Targets within an hour’s drive. I went for a drive today, to locate the Walmart and see what else is there. If I hadn’t missed my turn, I’d have been buying my chicken and broccoli within a few minutes. Instead, I got to get onto several highways, before I could manage to turn around.

That’s a disadvantage to a newbie in this area, not being able to turn around and come back, immediately, when you miss your turn. Thankfully, I have a fairly good sense of direction and a decent memory, so I can usually remember how to backtrack. Before anyone asks, I have not been to the Mall of America yet. If you really think I’m going to drive there for an hour and then come back, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’ll save it for a Saturday when I’ve actually got some energy to spare. Just for walking! I know the place is huge!

I’ve already heard that we’re within an exit or two of Valleyfair, an amusement park that’s sister (or maybe brother) to Cedar Point, in Ohio. Maybe that will be an inducement to getting my brothers or cousins to come visit me, because when we used to visit our cousins in Michigan, we almost always went there. Roller-coasters and water rides, anyone? Come to see me!

While I was wandering around the Pier 1, before heading to Walmart, as always, I sighed over some of the awesome odds and ends. I don’t want a house completely decorated in items from there, but I sure wouldn’t mind having some accent marks, here and there, including their furniture. No, I’m not a huge fan of their fancy metal wall decorations or candle stands (mostly). But those soft throw blankets and pillows that Dani confiscates whenever she visits me, those come from there. And I’m not a pillow person. They have to be comfortable enough to lean on, not decorated so that they’re painful to the touch.

I also noticed several sets of fireplace irons (or whatever you call them), and for a moment, I was surprised that Pier 1 had them. And then I thought, oh yeah, we don’t need them in South Carolina. Of course they’d have some decorative ones up here. You know, I’ve been told it isn’t called “Minne-snow-ta” for nothing.

Walmart was slightly bewildering, as the food section is all out of order, compared to both PA and SC, and I was debating whether it was bigger, or if the aisles are just larger. If so, why? It’s not like they need to plow the aisles of the grocery store, right? And after Pennsylvania, where you have to get beer or malt coolers from a liquor store, I expected MN to be the same. But no, that changes from state to state, not just because you’re in the north. There were definitely alcoholic beverages in this store. And in case you’re wondering, no, I don’t like beer, but I do like some malt coolers.

Yesterday, we went to the local park, which has quite a plethora of slides and lots of fun attachments to the whole setup. You know, steering wheels on corners, down on the ground, so the kids never run out of options to play with. My buddy, Egan, and I had it to ourselves, so we went over the whole thing. The upper levels of slides even have small slides to connect each section. So, E goes up them, no problem. Me, they’re big enough for an adult, but not big enough to crawl up on your knees. I ended up going up on my back, using my arms to pull and my legs to brace myself. But it was mostly my arms. That’s a workout that I wasn’t expecting. I’ll have to tell you more about it, later, when I get some pictures, too.

I know, I know, you’re really wishing I had some more interesting pictures to show you, but I haven’t taken any pics of the area yet. The flowers will have to hold you over for now. My camera has barely left my room (first time, five minutes ago), though I’m sure I’ll start remembering it more often, eventually. When people are involved, it takes a little while for me to warm up to taking pictures. If you doubt me, think about the fact that I take the most pictures of people at conferences that I go to, year in and year out. And obviously, I had a year to take pictures of my girls in AUS. Speaking of which, I read my girls so many Mr. Men books that I associate them with my time there, so here’s a pic of my Aussie wombat and some new Mr. Men buckets that I found at Target. I also got some Mr. Men stickers, but I haven’t decided what to do with them yet.

I feel like this whole post has been a bit of a jumble, but I’m sure I’ll get the wrinkles out soon. Don’t forget, I’ve only been here for… almost three whole days. For some reason, it feels like longer, but I think that’s just because I’m adding the days of travel. But it’s barely been even a week since I left home!

And just so you know I’m settling in, here’s how my dresser looks right now. I picked up some frames when I was at Kohl’s, finally, in order to be able to see the pictures of my darling Bubby. Now, don’t get up in arms for my other girls. I have pictures of them, I just haven’t had them printed since I got back. My last batch of prints got cut up for the collage. Next up, getting copies made of an assortment of my Australia pictures, for my other bulletin board. I need to display some pictures of all my girls, their family, and my Aussie friends. It’ll make them all seem a little closer… especially when I miss them so much.

6 thoughts on “the ‘shock’ of the neighborhood…

  1. Beer and Liquor sales vary from state to state. Here in PA (pronounced, “PEE-ay” for those that care), you purchase beer at a 6-pack store – but you may only purchase two six packs in one transaction. If you wish to purchase more than two six packs, you must purchase a case/multiple cases/keg(s) from a beer distributor. Where I live, most of the beer distributors are “drive-up service,” with a person that comes to your car window, takes your order, and then carries/places the beer in your car. If you wish to purchase wine or liquors, you must visit a state store, or the vinyard.

    I don’t know the ins/outs as to why there is a separation of 6-pack shops, beer distributors, and state stores in PA, but I’m fairly sure that it has to do with tax revenue and someone controlling something to screw someone else. There is even a rumor about laws/fines for transportation of alcohol across the state line (either in or out), but that’s never been something I’ve worried about.

    Things are changing, though; our Wegman’s recently wrangled the proper permitting to open a 6-pack shop in their grocery store, just off of their prepared foods area. (Sales are restricted to no more than 12 bottles at a time, and I think that you can purchase single bottles, too, instead of entire 6-paks.) I haven’t really checked it out – my husband is a case-buying kind of guy – but it was a landmark example in our area; the next big grocery store opening (a Weis, in a different town) also has on-premises beer sales. But for me, I like visiting NY and VA and DE, where I can shop for a bottle of wine to go with my cheese and dinner ingredients, right in the same store. I’m inspired a little more that way, plus it saves gas. 🙂

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