Tuesday, October 14, 2014

No More Photos …

… of people in the blog.  Shortly after I arrived in Bethesda, Inga showed me that if she googles her full name and checks the “images” icon, she finds photos that I used of her in my blog … and the identification link is to the blog.  I don’t use last names to protect individual privacy, but that doesn’t seem to be working.  My apologies.  Until I figure out how to stop this, I won’t use any more people photos.  I’ll try to find more non-human subjects to help keep the blog readable. 

1 September 2014, Minneapolis MN, Labor Day in the USA
And another day when I am not going to the Minnesota State Fair, largest in the nation.  Been there, done that two or three times many years ago.  I just don’t like crowds well enough to go again.  But I’m happy that the fair gives so many of my friends such enjoyment and a chance to try yet another “fried food on a stick” creation.  Instead I slept in and took it easy, posted the blog, then served dinner at People Serving People and later helped my friend Margo celebrate having completed a very difficult personal task.  Not a bad way to spend the holiday.

2 September
Took my “baby” to Hagen Auto Body (no relation, no discount) to have her dings repainted.  Someone dinged my passenger door so badly that it left a slight dent and a long scratch that had started to rust.  Good opportunity to get that fixed pre-winter salting of the roads.  They did a fantastic job, it took less than a day and the cost was half the estimate!  I am definitely recommending them.

Realized when I posted the blog yesterday I hadn’t downloaded some photos from my phone.  So I will probably add those to today when I post.

Sunset in paradise.
Take at my friend Jean's cabin "up north" last month

3 September
At lunch today with my friend Janet and her granddaughter Zoe, Janet commented that she sometimes had trouble keeping days of the week straight.  I told her that my brother Dan had warned me about that hazard of retirement where in essence every day is Saturday.  And on top of that, as I said to Janet, we don’t go to church, so we don’t have that weekly touchstone.  Honestly, if it weren’t for six-days-a-week water ex with a different instruction each time I wouldn’t know what day it is.  

Zoe's sister Sydney was in Uganda for two weeks.  A professional photographer, she took some gorgeous photos.  And she had the chance to attend and photograph a wedding ceremony.

4 September
I am dumbfounded that Joan Rivers has died.  What a unique voice, literally and figuratively, she has been for so much of my adult life.  Outspoken, brash, sometimes off-putting, always honest.  Authentic.  Now I’ve lost two people who could always make me laugh … her and Robin Williams.  Though I found him a bit too manic sometimes, and was never a “Mork & Mindy” fan, he had the ability to tap so many different kinds of funny bones. And he was surprisingly good in dramatic roles too.  Someone posted a quote of attributed to him on the white board by the Y pool that says, “You’re only given one little spark of madness.  You have to use it.”  He surely did.

Chris dropped off Lily for a long weekend.  He and Jen are going to see my brother and sister-in-law at their desert place.  So I get to have Lily, who was originally my cat, for a few days.  The minute he opened the cat carrier, she slinked into my bedroom and hid under the bed.

5 September, my late son Peter’s birthday, my nephew/Godson Craig’s birthday and actor Michael Keaton’s birthday
Always a difficult day.  It’s hard to believe Peter would’ve been 42 today.  Of course he’s still 26 in my head and always will be.  And I miss him today and always will.  

Plans are for Craig and his family, my sister and I to have dinner and celebrate Craig’s birthday.  Several family members have a “bug,” so I’m on hold until this afternoon for a celebration-no celebration decision.  In the meantime, I’m off to Northfield to spend the day with Lois.  Peter was her first husband Walt’s last baptism.  During one of our recent visits, Lois gave me an old photo of her, Walt, Bob, Peter and me not long before Walt died. I treasure  it and those memories.

I heard on the radio today that it’s Michael Keaton’s birthday.  I don’t recall knowing that and wonder if Peter did.  Michael Keaton was one of his favorite actors.  Peter painted a huge portrait of the actor in a high school art class.  It used to hang in our living room in St. Louis Park but is one of several pieces that got lost over the years of moving to and fro.

7 September, Marilou’s birthday … and Spike’s too
Gorgeous day to celebrate MET’s birthday with brunch on the patio at Eat Street Social, her spot of choice as she loves their burgers.  And hers was perfect as was the panna cotta that she received for her ‘birthday dessert.’  I took a free day from my cleanse/detox and enjoyed fried egg BLT with cheddar cheese, consumed open faced on one slice of sour dough bread.  My dessert was a pretzel-bread pudding with some kind of gooey sauce and a vanilla cream dollop on top.  Well worth the calories!  And Marilou liked the artisan Bloody Mary mix that I gave her.

Happy birthday to my buddy, Spike, who lives with his parents Karen and Larry and big bro Jonah in the Boston area.  I was in London when Spike was born nine years ago and was the first “stranger” to meet him.  Two days earlier, on Peter’s birthday, Jonah and I spent a delightful afternoon at Regent’s Park Zoo.

8 September
I was very disappointed to read an article about which colleges/universities have the highest income diversity in today’s New York Times.  Because my alma mater does ”blind admissions” (applicants are admitted, then their financial situation is addressed), I had expected to find Northwestern in the upper ranks.  Not.  We were in the minuses, well below much of the Ivy League!  I’ll be interested to see if this issue is addressed in any of the newsletters/magazines that I receive from NU.

9 September
What a wonderful day.  No water ex.  The Y’s pool is closed this week for cleaning.  So I slept in guilt free.  Then relaxed over coffee and crosswords on the deck with Lily.  We both enjoyed the weather, a perfect fall day.  A few pre-travel household chores like changing and washing bed linens.  Then off to have breakfast with Anne, a friend from way back that I haven’t seen in a couple of years so lots of catching up to do.  Anne worked in management at the original Marriott out near the airport back when this corporate-owned inn was a client of the PR agency where I worked.  It was my first big account; Anne was our liaison.  Early ‘70s and we had a great time producing special events.  Even won a few national awards.  A former Northwest Airlines flight attendant, Anne now has a web site and blog dedicated to NWA and the old days of flying.  One of her friends is a 90-year-old male flight attendant who met all the job requirements and was still doing three Minneapolis-Tokyo flights a month.  His retirement made the local paper and Anne was quoted, along with mentions for her web site. 

In the afternoon a bit of ironing, then I picked up Janet & Ed’s granddaughter Zoe who’s going to give my condo a good cleaning and keep doing that on a monthly basis.  i’d so much rather pay her than a service.  While Zoe cleaned, I’d drove to Janet & Ed’s to touch base with their son Thom who is going to take me to the airport at some ungodly hour tomorrow.  My flight is at 6:55 am.

Dinner with my sister Barbara, nephew Christopher and his sweetie Jen at the new Nicollet Cafe that we’ve been waiting for such a long time to open.  Excellent burgers, fries, onion rings and malts for them … so-so caesar salad for me but the chicken was good perfectly.  Outstanding breakfast menu for a “free day” — or when I take Christopher for breakfast on a Friday morning or meet Sabrina and family.

Shortly I’m off to bed.  Just need to close the suitcase and unplug and pack the laptop.

10 September, Bethesda MD USA
Arrived safely and soundly in DC 15 minutes early.  Way to go, Sun Country!  I’ll be with Inga and the girls for three weeks.

11 September, one of those days when we all remember where we were when …
I was at my friend Jean’s in San Francisco, trying to decide if I’d get out of bed, when I heard the phone ring. It was Jean’s sister in Minneapolis, and she told us about the first airplane.  Like so many, we were glued to the television much of the day, then we went to services at her synagogue that evening.

12 September
My niece Dyana has moved to Bethesda for her new job.  She joined Frankie, Tosia and me for dinner tonight.  I baked salmon.  It was great to see her.  She did well in her double marathon in San Francisco and is already planning a re-run next year.  I promised to show her some good trails in this area as her apartment’s location is all sidewalks on busy streets.

13 September
Inga and her friend Mary left early Friday for Ohio and a gigantic antiques fair.  Before leaving, she mentioned a Polish picnic at Glen Echo Park.  The girls weren’t excited about going, but we agree to give it a try.  We went to brunch at the Irish Inn right next door to the park. As we go to the park, it started to pour and continued.  We visited the picnic for a bit, rode the park’s carousel, then went home soaked.

15 September
“Salad bar!”  That’s what my brother heard from a flock of mountain goats? sheep? as they toddled down the street in LaQuinta where he and Ann spend the occasional non-winter week as well as much of the winter.  Then the hungry critters proceeded to make lunch of the lawn.  Got some pix today.  

Lunch is served!

When Christopher and Jen visited two weeks, LaQuinta-Palm Springs area got 2.5 inches of rain in an hour.  That’s as much rain as the region usually gets in a YEAR.  Got those pix too.  I wondered if D&A’s house were more valuable now that it’s on a lake.

View from Dan & Ann's back window.

18 September, Scottish Independence Vote Day
Don’t know how I want the “Motherland” to vote.  Having lived in two countries which are newly independent (South Sudan and Kosovo), I can understand the desire.  Then there’s the issue of me getting a European passport, which is a handy thing to have when you travel as I do.  The UK says I can’t have a passport because I was born before 1980 and my birth wasn’t registered at a UK Embassy … I was hoping an independent Scotland would be a bit more open, like Ireland. But I’m also a traditionalist in many ways, so the idea of the UK including Scotland seems appropriate too.  Glad I don’t have to decide and vote. 

Spent the afternoon helping Inga clean out David’s closet — not clothing, just papers, papers and more papers and a bunch of CDs too.  Found a collection of stickers from David’s childhood along with some notes from our Peace Corps training that I had found during my own storage cleaning in 2010 and sent to him — his and Tim’s humorous intro to a morning training session, including “Top 18 Reasons Why We Want to Get Out of Poland TERAZ!”  I’m going to send that one on to Tim.

19 September
Well, a huge turnout in the Motherland and a relatively close pro-union vote:  55% for remaining in the UK, 45 % voting for independence … and almost 85% of eligible voters voting.  When was the last time we even saw 50+% in the US vote on anything?  In other news, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, better known by its location in Scotland, St. Andrew’s, voted yesterday to finally accept women as members.  That change will be implemented immediately while UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s promises to Scotland of more say in their governance will take some months, years.  Enough news for today.

20 September
So last night we’ve finished dinner at a local chain restaurant that has generally good food — Inga and Antonia, Adam, an artist friend of Inga’s, Kim, our Peace Corps friend, and I.  I’m wrested the check as I wanted to buy dinner as my ‘thank you’ to Inga for the bed and board.  We were waiting from someone to take the check and my credit card when Adam said to Kim that something was crawling on the wooden frame of the banquette behind me.  A cockroach.  He called over to two nearby wait staff and pointed it out.  I turned to look because I had thought Adam was joking.  But no, there it was, moving toward a split between the wood frame and padded back.  I tried unsuccessfully to trap it in my napkin, but the cloth was too thick to get sufficient purchase.  Finally the young man who’d served our wine at the start of the evening came over.  He apologized for the cockroach, said their exterminator would cover a “substantial portion” of our check, left and returned a few minutes later to announce that the entire dinner was on house.  Since I wanted to leave a tip, he ran a check for 3 cents … I added a $25 tip to cover our meal service.

27 September
Busy week. Last Sunday Inga and I went to Sugarloaf Mountain Park for some hiking with her friends Benja and husband Paweł and another couple and their children.  Perfect day for a hike, sunny, not too hot, not too cold, occasional breeze. Decent trails except for the rocks.  Afterwards we had a picnic at a nearby winery.  Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Four days of yoga and Pilates.  I have been exceedingly faithful to my exercise commitment.  But also catching up with old friends.  Had lunch with Stacey and breakfast with Dyana last week.  This week lunch with Peggy on Monday in Friendship Heights and Wednesday lunch with Regina at Passion Fin next to the yoga studio.  Frankie passed her driver’s test on Thursday — hurray.  She and Inga had quite a wait despite being early for the appointment.  Frankie passed despite a “mean” examiner who kept yelling at her.  When she was done, he told Inga she was a good driver.  I think the examiner was testing to see if she’d get rattled, and she didn’t.  Nice work, Frankie.

Tonight we went to McLean for dinner with Bogna, Jarek and their sons.  And I learned that Bogna’s got a food blog.  She was taking pictures of the all-vegetarian … and I must add, all-delicious … meal she’d prepared for us.  I can’t wait to get the recipes.  I’m going to try to add the link into this but if I don’t, it’s called My Pots and Frills and is on Blogspot, like mine.

29 September
Up early to take Inga to the hospital for her surgery.  Unfortunately the doctor wasn’t able to do what she’d planned, but otherwise she’s okay.  Inga’s been resting off and on all day.

Went to use the upstairs bathroom and found a visitor — a giant leaping cricket.  Took forever to capture.  It kept jumping just out of my reach until I finally got him in the sink.  It was kind of ironic because when Inga’s friend Mary and her daughter stopped over with cake last night, we were talking about bugs — stink bugs, of which there are too many, crickets and more.

30 September
Last day of the month and a Skype call for a condo board meeting.  Just a few more days in Bethesda, then home again.

Lily enjoyed the deck at my condo when she visited while Christopher & Jen were in LaQuinta.  I'm glad I'll get a chance to enjoy it when I'm back home.  In the meantime, the deck at Inga's is where I have my morning coffee and a fantastic substitute.

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