Monday, November 10, 2014

Big Month for Birthdays Including Mine!

3 October, Yom Kippur, a day of atonement, Minneapolis MN USA
Lots to think about today.

5 October
Went to see the film Gone Girl with my sister.  Well performed but a bit long in places, like the novel.  Very faithful to the novel, which I’d read but Barbara hadn’t, so she missed a subtle reference at the end.  Tomorrow MaryAnne and I will enjoy happy hour at our favorite nearby spot, Loring Kitchen.  Should be a good day for walking over and enjoying Loring Park in fall. 

My brother Dan and his wife Ann were at Lake Tahoe recently and saw a baby bald eagle.  What an experience. 

7 October 
I got season tickets to several theaters because (a) I love live theater; it’s the one thing I missed most (other than family and friends) when I lived overseas and (b) if I don’t get season tickets, too much just slips by.  Linda and I have season tickets to The Jungle Theater, one of the best small theaters around.  We’ve seen some incredible productions so far this season, and tonight’s The Mystery of Irma Vep maintained that standard.  The two men who played all the roles were hilarious, had seemingly boundless energy through all the costume changes and kept the secret well until the end.  And I won’t spoil it by revealing it here.

8 October
Hurray, it’s October and our new property manager has started to take over.  Elke, our president, and husband Mike hosted a reception so that owners and residents could me Dave and Tiffany, one of his staff members.  I am really looking forward to working with someone as organized, thoughtful and practical as Dave seems to be.  Our previous manager was a nightmare.

9 October
What a day!  Busy, busy and exciting too.  Saw friend Connie for a color/cut, and she adjusted my hair color.  All the swimming pool chlorine has been lightening the color quickly so my roots tend to be a brighter red than the rest after she does them.  Now my roots blend in better.  I love how she’s been cutting my hair lately — a tiny bit longer but it holds a style better.  Left there feeling great … but also nervous.  After lunch, I had arranged for my first “date” in a long time.  

Remember I wrote a few months ago that I reactivated my OurTime account, the online dating service for over 55s that friend Marilou and I ventured into about 18 months ago.  Well, I got the greatest response from one fellow and arranged to meet him for a walk around Loring Park.  Not only did he have a lovely smile in his photo but he asked good questions and made good comments. None of this “we’ll talk about that when we get together” stuff.  

I walked over to the Dunn Bros. coffee by nephew Chris’ old apartment, and there sat K.  (He’s a Buddhist and has legally changed his name; it’s so unusual that I’ll just call him K for now.)  We walked in the park and talked for almost 90 minutes.  Mostly about ideas, books, little about ourselves.  But in the end we agreed we want to get together again.  I told him I’d be in touch when I return from DC because my days are pretty hectic until then.  So, as we say in Poland, zobaczymy (we shill see).

Drove to Golden Valley for my afternoon of knitting with friend Jan, then we had dinner at a restaurant near her condo. 

Working on a sweater at Jan's
Ended the evening with a drive to the airport to pick up my niece Michelle … and a fender bender.  Backed out of guest parking in front of her building and didn’t see an SUV had pulled into the roadway behind me.  Argh!  Not a lot of damage to either car although ironically it looks like my little Focus did more damage to the big Toyota SUV than to itself.  Hmmm.

11 October
Continuing my month for theatre, I went to the Guthrie tonight with friend Marilyn.  We saw The Heidi Chronicles, hugely controversial but popular Broadway show in the ‘70s.  It’s about Baby Boomer women and while well acted and interesting, I had a hard time relating, as did Marilyn.  We’re not Baby Boomers; we’re War Babies, albeit just barely for me.  And while we had to deal with much that the women in the play did, we struggled long before they did.  But I’m glad I saw the play.
A trio of "Paper Bag Hats,"
that I've completed

12 October
A gorgeous day to sit outside under sunny skies, moderate temps and no chance of rain.  So we did as we watched the Vikings football team lose again.  Bonnie from water ex is a football fanatic with two season tickets and a husband who doesn’t like football!  So she takes friends.  While the new Viking stadium is under construction, they’re playing at the University of Minnesota’s stadium which I hadn’t seen yet.  Great place; 1000 times better than the old one!

14 October
Baby (my car) went in to have its bumper fixed.  This was one of the houses I walked past as I walked to the Y.  Used public transit the rest of the day.
Took the Light Rail to St. Paul and met an old friend Kathy K. for lunch.  Haven’t seen her in months; she lives in North St. Paul and surprised me by taking the bus into downtown St. Paul.  We had Greek food in a cafe in the stunningly refurbished Union Depot supports the Light Rail and Amtrak trains.  Kathy and I worked at United Hospitals at the same time in the mid ‘70s, along with our friend Nancy (who’s now back in her hometown, Washington, DC).  Our birthdays are September, October, December so we used to each celebrate together.  

15 October
Birthday month means the start of annual doctors’ appointments and that means Dr. Brown.  He’s been my GYN and in many ways, my primary care doc for years.  He’s ordered strep cultures for me as well as done my annual “female” check ups.  We always have a lively chat during my visits.  His kids are growing up fast, my latest travels.  Hard to relate to the perception that you can’t get more than five minutes from your doctor.

In the afternoon I picked up Janet’s granddaughter Zoe who made my condo sparkle in a couple of hours.  It really is nice to have someone keep me ahead of the cobwebs and dust mites.

Talked with K. briefly, and we agreed to get together when I’m back from DC.  And I’ve completed several of my knitting projects — hats for my friends’ grandchildren mostly.

16 October
Fun day.  First, mid-morning breakfast with Elle, Dave and Amberly in downtown St. Paul.  Elle is Kathy-in-Atlanta’s daughter, and I haven’t seen her in years nor met her husband and toddler daughter.  Lots of catching up to do.  They were in town from Oklahoma for Elle’s step-brother’s wedding.  
Amberly loved her Mickey Mouse pancakes

Then Westminster Town Hall Forum with Janet.  Bob Herbert, formerly of the NY Times, was the speaker, flogging his new book.  Interesting but nothing special.  Afternoon of filing and taking care of annual contributions.  Then off to Teatre Latte Da with Jan to see Master Class.  Sally Wingert did her usual outstanding job, but the rest of the performances were excellent too.  And the fellow who played the janitor was so spot on that I thought he really was the janitor.

22 October, Arlington VA
Pouring rain … a real gully washer.  So today I’m vegging out — reading, knitting, a bit of laundry, cooking, watching Inspector Morse on Netflix — in between taking nine-year-old Mickey to school, then picking him.  Also catching up with my writing here; I’ve been lazy.  

Flew to DC on Saturday to take care of Mickey while Aideen travels to Cambodia for work.  We’ve been busy.  Sunday Mickey had tennis lessons, and we did pizza night with our friends Alexis and Marcus who recently bought their first home.  Thank heavens for GPS on my phone.  Yesterday I had lunch with Nancy, giving her Kathy’s greetings.  

Nancy & I at lunch

23 October
Love DC cuz I get to visit friends that I don’t see too often, like David with whom I worked at Women for Women. He came out to South Sudan a couple of times.  He’s from Minnesota, and on his first trip we discovered another common bond — his dad worked at The St. Paul at the same time I did.  Anyway, I’m excited for David.  He has a job offer … in Paris.  David speaks French; he did Peace Corps in a Francophone country.  His wife will stay at her current job

25 October, my birthday!
Since it’s Saturday, I decided to take Mickey to a movie.  We walked over to Ballston shopping mall, got Cold Stone ice cream cones and went on to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a delightful comedy from a book that I enjoyed reading to my late son.  We stopped at the library to pick up some books, then had dinner at my favorite local cafe, Silver Diner.  We had a little “set to” when once again Mickey walked along with his head in a book, paying no attention to his surroundings.  This time he was walking atop a three-foot retaining wall with his nose in a library book.  No iPad for three days.

26 October
Liam lights candles; Mickey watches
October birthday celebration at Regina’s house in Alexandria.  Regina and I worked together at Booz, and I took care of her sons Liam and Roan when she had foot surgery in 2010, right in the middle of a huge blizzard.  Anyway … Liam and Roan also both have October birthdays, and my middle niece Dyana’s birthday is today.  Some friends of Regina’s, friends of the kids, tenants, plus Dyana, Mickey and me … lots of food, cake and fun.  Outstanding day.

27 October, Bethesda MD
Aideen returned from Cambodia today.  She had a good trip and was really tired from 24 hours of travel.  After we picked Mickey up at school, we went to dinner at a fantastic restaurant with New Zealand-inspired food, then to Inga’s.  I’ll stay here until I leave on Thursday.

Welcome to Casa Reene!  Inga is such a creative person.  She has been making a bunch of witches for Halloween, using one she made several years ago as a pattern.  And she's already started on unique Christmas decorations as gifts. 

28 October
Wow, did I get lost today when I went to meet my old TechnoServe boss Oren for lunch. 
Selfie with Oren
Oren works at USAID now, in the heart of the District.  Thankfully I took the Metro; not sure where or how I’d’ve found a place to park since a “make Washington, DC, a state”  rally blocked the front of the Ronald Reagan building complex where Oren’s office is.  Then I entered the wrong door, and we spent about 15 minutes on our cells before we finally ended up in the same place.  What did we do before mobile phones?  We both had excellent steak salads and shared a side of sweet potato fries.  The salads had a lemon-horseradish dressing that I want to try to duplicate at home.  It tasted awesome but had no garlic, and I have several friends who have garlic allergies.

30 October, Minneapolis MN, “home again, home again"
Inga gave me one of her witches before I flew home tonight.  The witch was too big for my suitcase, so I carried her with me.  While I ate a sandwich and waited for  my departure, she sat in a chair next to me.  Unfortunately all the plane’s seats were taken, so she had to ride in the overhead bin.  Now she’s on my door to greet everyone. 

31 October, Halloween
Halloween’s always been a special holiday for me.  As a kid, I got to have a Halloween party in lieu of a birthday party; my mother didn’t believe in “asking for presents.”  (She finally capitulated when I hit junior high, having attended many others’ birthday parties.)  In more recent years, because of all the crazies out there, Halloween has generally declined.  Fewer kids donning costumes to trick or treat.  But a few neighborhoods still decorate and kids still troll for treats … and one of those is where my nephew Craig and his family live.  So I spent this evening with them.  After dinner at a nearby restaurant, we went to their house where Jaiden, 9, and Alijah, 1, put on warm clothes under their costumes (a rabid Bronco’s fan in blue and orange, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle respectively).  Two of Jaiden’s friends (a zombie and a Scream) joined us and off we went.  I kept an eye on the older boys while Craig and Alijah helped Alijah. I was surprised at how decorated some of the houses were, lots more than pumpkins and witches.  After a couple of hours, we returned to Craig and Alijah’s with rosy cheeks and pillow cases full of candy.

Welcome to Casa Suzi

PS  I think I fixed the photo problem, fingers crossed.

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