XO-LP // Laura Palmer


Love Letters to a New Year.

Between Old Navy and Target there are 3 Bears.

Dear 30,

This week I felt like a hibernating bear who'd been awoken a bit too early. Groggy, grouchy, groany. You know, like a bear.

The first full week back at the office kicked off with the polar vortex-- a cold unlike I'd ever felt before. (I will admit, I thought it felt like winter, but in a super intense way. "Weather wimps" might be a real thing, Today Show, but damn it was cold.)

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Despite my bear-ness, I have been determined to be positive and organized and all those other resolutions we all have on January 10th. So with the cold inhabiting my bones, I slogged through the days, high-fiving celebs and listening to The Cuckoo's Calling. We made our way to Saturday, still longing for Vegas adventures and warmer temps. After spending the day learning-- a lot-- with my expert teachers and friends, I picked up HBF and we set out to visit some Des Moines spots we'd never seen before.

(Thanks for being that kind of city, Des Moines. The kind of little, big city where there's still so much I haven't yet seen, even nearly 9 years later.)

We first made a quick stop at Cafe Fuzion, which sits on the near Eastside of the city adjacent to two other Asian Restaurants. We devoured a plate of eggs rolls, possibly the best crab rangoon I've eaten and some tasty spring rolls. From there we headed west, sampling all four beers 515 Brewing Company had to offer - the Hefelime was a surprisingly delicious brew and HBF, a pretty picky IPA drinker, was quite fond of the D.A.R.T Dodger (clever title, eh?). 

I'm going to assuming I know what you are thinking here: these 30 somethings are really tame. Saturday nights aren't what they used to be. Back in my younger days, you know 2009, we'd close down the Mile regularly. I had never had Fong's before 1:30am. I danced a lot outside of my kitchen and spent most Sundays, as a result of Saturdays, in bed watching Stomp The Yard, The Sweetest Thing, and the X-Men Trilogy, nursing a Glaceau Smart Water (that I would later accidentally spill on my computer) and wishing for donut deliveries. Back in my younger days Saturdays were wild. 

But just when you think we're old, tame, couch dwellers, we wander into the Academy of Wildlife Education ($5 admission for adults, and you have to sign a waiver, which is a little unnerving. Have you ever had to sign a waiver at a zoo? No. You probably haven't.) The space, which used to be a library or a Foot Locker, is papered with camo prints and houses porcupines and at least three different types of fox. Large cages line the walls and itty bitty footprint stickers dotted the floor. 

Mountain Lions are huge, FYI, with paws the size of a salad plate. We saw what I assume was a sleep walking wolf staggering over twigs, yoga stretching and yawning, sharp teeth exposed. Then we saw a bear fight. (Which obviously made me sing this ridiculous song with modified lyrics.) Bear fights look a lot like high school heavy weight wrestling. We watched the beasts bat each other's ears and lock paws and scurry around the cage, in a mall. That's right. In a mall. 


So it wasn't a party time Saturday, I know. We were full on deep dish pizza and in bed by 11pm.
But maybe being home and hibernating after witnessing bear fights at the mall is the new wild weekend adventure...



Laura PalmerKH, Iowa1 Comment