Monday, November 16, 2015

coming soon:  the big 70

1  October 2015, Minneapolis MN
Very busy day made busier by a potential hurricane off the East Coast.  My sister’s flight to NYC was an hour later than originally scheduled.  After dropping her at the Lindberg Terminal, I hied it out to the southern region of Bloomington for lunch with friend Ted.  He’s doing well enough to no longer qualify for in-home physical therapy, which is good progress; he’s going to arrange outpatient PT.  Just as we were ready to leave for lunch, another friend of his arrived.  So of course we visited for a while (and my growly tummy stayed pretty quiet).  We ate at Sawatdee, a great local Thai restaurant chain.  I hit the freeway toward St. Paul just in time for rush hour.  Called Judi B. to tell her I’d be late at her place.  She’d invited several friends for an early dinner to meet her friend from Latvia who was visiting.  Lots of good conversation along with the food.  By the time I got home, I was pooped … so this ends here.

2 October
Spent the day in Northfield with 90-year-old friend Lois.  She took a fall getting out of bed about a month ago, and her leg still bothers her.  It’s hard for her to walk any distance.  We had a delightful lunch in the King’s Room at St. Olaf College where I met David Anderson, the current college president (Lois’ late husband Sidney had that role for many years).  I remember Lois telling the story of David’s first day at St. Olaf when he met his two roommates, David Anderson and David Anderson.  Only in Minnesota … or maybe Norway.

5 October
It’s awfully dark at 6:30 am these days.  That’s the downside of walking around Lake Harriet at such an early hour.  The upside is getting to some gorgeous sunrises.  I hope the photo I took this morning comes out so I can include it here.

6 October
I’m a huge consumer of mysteries, police procedurals, suspense novels and films from many lands. I bought the entire “The Girl Who …” series in English in Poland long before it was available in the US.  So I am curious to read the newest by the author who’s taken over from the late Stieg Larsson; that book’s on m wish list.  Today I saw in the NYTimes that my favorite Swedish author has died, Henning Mankell, the “dean of Scandinavian noir.”  I’ve read many of his books, and I’ve watched the entire Kurt Wallander series twice,  in the original Swedish with subtitles and the Kenneth Branagh version from England, thank you, Netflix.  Whenever I get to Sweden, Ystad, a small city on the Baltic Sea where many of his stories take place, will be my first stop.

7 October
So, I’m walking downtown to the Minneapolis Club for a 7:30 am fund-raising breakfast (oh, the things we do for your friends).  It’s a perfect fall day for a walk and, I hope also, for sitting in the queue of semis, flat beds and vans waiting to get into the convention center.  They are around the block.  As I approach the Holiday Inn Express, I see one of those big “land yacht” buses with a name that looks vaguely familiar.  When I get closer, I looked for something more identifying … and there it is — Gillespie, Illinois 62033.  The bus company is from the small town in Illinois where my mom grew up and my cousin still lives.  Small world.  

Following in the foot steps of my friends Lois and Cathy R., I entered the Minneapolis Club by the front door, something that was a “no no” back when I moved here and for some years after.  Those two women, walking from their respective downtown offices, saw no need to detour to the back of that bastion of male commercial dominance and entered by its front portal.

Today would have been my late brother in law Jim’s birthday.  I haven’t seen much of Jim in the years since his oldest brother and I divorced, but he was still family.  In my mind he was always that cheerful boy who was in our wedding.  Joan, his widow, has lost a brother, son and husband in the last year.   I don’t know her well but I do know something about how she’s feeling and I want to help her if I can.  We talked for some time on Monday night.  And today I talked to our sister in law Elyse, wife of the only surviving Hagen boy, Steve.  She says he’s doing pretty well, under the circumstances and keeping busy.  Steve’s a lot like my dad (and they were great pals, those two Steves). Doing something is the best tonic.  And he’ll have more to do later this month when Elyse has her shoulder surgery.

8 October
I took a sick day today.  Dinner last night with Marilou was a great time, as usual.  Our conversation was sometimes serious, often times not but always enjoyable.  And dinner at one of our favorite places, Red Lobster, was delicious … and disappointing.  The company that made their to-die-for, best-anywhere Key lime pie went out of business.  We shared a delightful piece of chocolate cake, but it wasn’t the Key lime pie we both craved.  Garçon Jean, as our waiter referred to himself, was most apologetic but unable to produce said pie.

Something I ate yesterday didn’t agree with my gastro-intestinal system, and I’ll leave it at that for fear of TMI.  My stomach didn’t feel 100 percent when I awoke in time for water ex.  Instead of getting up, I rolled over and stayed in bed.  Didn’t get into real clothes until almost noon, and have been eating chicken soup and rice crackers all day.  Also doing some laundry and catching up with another HBO series that I’d been meaning to try … and now love:  The Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency.  It’s based on Alexander McCall Smith’s books; I’ve read all of them to date.  And it takes me back to my years of living in Africa — the beautiful African people (from the incredibly industrious micro-entrepreneurs to the con artists), the colorful women’s dresses, the dusty roads and concrete block houses, the businesses with improbable names like The Go Go Handsome Mens Bar, the unbearably hot sun and deep darkness of no streetlights.

Arrrrrrgh!  I got so involved in watching television that I totally forgot my Polish class tonight until my sister called.  That really %^&*(^($%@) me off.  Tomorrow I’ll call to tell them I am still interested.

10 October
Travels today have all been within Minnesota but nonetheless exciting.

I left at 9 am for Jan’s granddaughter Maddie’s 10 am Bat Mitzvah in St. Paul because I wasn’t sure where the interstate was closed for road work.  Ended up taking Lake Street … and hitting all the lights on green.  That never happens.  Arriving at 9:25, I was the second guest.  Maddie’s sister Gracie had to open the locked door for me.  Oh, walking to the synagogue’s entrance, I spotted a woman rolling toward me on the sidewalk using a knee caddy and wearing a copy of Das Boot.  She looked like a woman on a mission … and I know how she felt.  I stepped out of her way.

The Bat Mitzvah was lovely.  Maddie used the story of Cain and Abel to talk about over-reacting, very fitting in today’s world.  Luncheon afterwards including homemade cookies, bars and cakes made by not only her grandmother but the mothers of others in her class.

Before leaving for St. Paul, I hadn’t checked email at all.  So after changing into jeans and a tee-shirt, I fired up Mac and found an email from friends Sue and Nancy with the obit of my former boss at The St. Paul Companies.  And the visitation and service started in 75 minutes.  I’d learned that the section of I-94 that’s closed is between St. Paul and Woodbury, just where I needed to go.  A quick call to friend Rosie, who lives there but was up north near Brainerd, got me an alternative route.  Back in my Bat Mitzvah outfit and off I went, arriving in record time again.  Saw only three old TSPC friends as well as Kent’s widow.  I’m glad I made the trek.

Finished the evening having dinner with my sister and nephew at Eastside, a just-opened restaurant downtown.  The starters (a flatbread pizza and brussels sprouts) were terrific.  Barbara and Christopher had chicken sandwiches on pretzel rolls that they both raved about.  My mixed grains salad was tasty though I’d’ve liked a touch of onion.  Having OD’d on sweets at the luncheon I didn’t indulge, but again, the hazelnut tart got top marks from both Barbara and Christopher.

While waited for our starters, we talked about the weekend of my birthday party when our brother and his wife and friend Alfreda will all be coming to town.  We made dinner reservations for Brasserie Zentral, the Austro-Hungarian restaurant where we had the fantastic lamb.

11 October
I picked the hottest day of the autumn (83F/28C at 3 pm!!!) to do the clothing change over and clean out unused items for TurnStyle (sale) or Salvation Army (donation).  Lots for both.  Of course, I’ll spend all winter wondering where thus-and-such went.  My actions were spurred on by Tomery and Barbara who came over and moved all of Tomery’s remaining clothes, shoes, coats, hockey equipment and mystery boxes to her new condo.  Now friend and neighbor Maryanne and I can schedule a storage cleaning day.  Hurray.

My friend Mayna sent this clip about words and phrases that we wouldn’t know were rooted in racism, like “hip, hip, hooray” which comes from the Nazis.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that.  Open the link and click on the video to get the scoop on that and five more common phrases.  The author provide some interesting facts in a very presentable manner.  I’m going to look for more of her videos.

Mayna and I emailed about the “peanut gallery” which now usually refers to disruptive or unwanted behavior.  Originally the term referred to the balcony where African Americans were confined in theaters and movie houses back in the ‘20s.  As kids in the ‘50s, both Mayna and I watched Howdy Doody on which Buffalo Bob often referred to the peanut gallery where kids were sitting; it was ironically devoid of black faces.

Marilyn and I often chide Jan about an HR comp project that she has undertaken as a freelancer because it’s a mass of Excel spreadsheets composed of information dragged from myriad reluctant sources.  When Jan took on the update, we told her she wasn’t allowed to kvetch about it; we wouldn’t listen any more.  Well, I’ve been helping a friend in Poland with an awards application.  She gathered info from her always-busy colleagues in three other countries and added her own, sent everything to me and I drafted the document for her.  While it has definitely been fun to be “composing” again, it hasn’t been easy … and I’ve avoided kvetching to Jan and Marilyn.  Today I emailed off the final, final document.  Whew.

12 October
What a remarkable start to the day — Linda and I saw four eagles during out morning walk!  One made a noise as it soared high overhead on the east side of Lake Harriet, then another joined it and they rode the thermals together.  As we stood and watched this spine-tingling sight, a third and then a fourth joined the pair.  Our very own Blue Angels.

Eagle soaring over Lake Harriet

14 October
The Minnesota Lynx just won their third national basketball championship in five years!!!   Not a single men’s professional team in this city has come close. They took the championship all the way to five games and won at home, just what the fans asked for.  The scene that I saw on television reminded me of the Minnesota Twins’ World Series win 20 years ago.

Theater sign on Hennepin Avenue

The Lynx not only play incredible basketball, they are a class act all around.  They provide the kind of role modeling you can’t find in men’s sports.  They don’t abuse animals, children, other adults, each other.  They speak complete thoughts in sentences with subjects and predicates rather than duhs and ums.  

Inside Target Center

I heard that Prince was giving them a private concert at Paisley Park later tonight.

16 October, Minnesota Lynx Day as proclaimed by Governor Mark Dayton
Maryanne and I dressed for the cold and braced against the wind to watch the Lynx parade and attend the rally in Target Center afterwards.  What an event!  

19 October
Up before dawn and dressed for moderate cold.  Time to walk around Lake Harriet with Linda and Desi before the day gets off.  Lots of little things to do before the birthday bash and out-of-town folks arrive.  Today I’ll go to Litin Paper and get plates, napkins etc.  Stu the cat moves over early Thursday, Dan and Ann arriving Thursday sometime, Alfreda Friday night.  

Yesterday Barbara, Chris and I looked at the party room where he lives, and it’ll be great venue for the party — it’s like one huge, well decorated living room-dining room with small kitchen. Last night Marilyn, her daughter Laura and I went to Minnesota Jewish Theater to see The 27th Man.  Thought provoking and well acted as always.  It’s about Stalin’s round up and killing of Yiddish writers in the early ‘50s but also the nature of who is a writer.  If a writer has never been published, is she/he still a writer?  Virtually all of what I’ve written, save this blog, has been published under someone else’s name …  or remains in draft on this laptop.  Wonder if blogs count as publishing in today’s world?  

Later … Another great day of lake walking.  Not only a pink sunrise, but we saw an eagle, a loon and a drone.  Yes, you read that last one correctly.  We actually saw a drone and later met the man and woman responsible for it.  They said it was taking photographs of the bandshell area for a video.  We surmised that would be in support of a coming request by the park board for more money.  

Drone over Lake Harriet

22 October
Stu (Barbara’s cat) arrived this morning, and Brother and wife, Dan and Ann, and Precious, their cat, arrived tonight and my friend Alfreda arrives tomorrow night.  Neither cat plays well with others, so I’m babysitting Stu while Dan, Ann and Precious stay with Barbara.  Stu was a happy boy today as I wasn’t feeling well and skipped water ex and Polish lesson.  He got a lot of lap sitting and petting time, both of which he loves.

I met Alfreda when we were both working in Macedonia, and we’ve stayed in touch since.  A few years ago when she was in Senegal and I at a board meeting in Poland, we connected in Paris and had a great time traveling in France for 10 days.  Alfreda went from Senegal to South Sudan.  Now she is back in DC and heads out to Africa later in the fall.  In the meantime, since her condo is rented, she’s in a residential hotel.

23 October, the date my parents wanted me to arrive
And of course, being me, I didn’t.  They were born on 23 July (Mom) and 23 August (Pop) and wanted me (first child, supposed to be a boy) on 23 August even though the doctor predicted 24th and I finally made my entrance the night of 25th.

Andrew’s shallow-water water ex was muchly welcome this morning after a day of laziness.  Spent the rest of the day running errands in the rain, then went to dinner with Dan, Ann, Barbara and Tomery before picking Alfreda up at airport.  

24 October, the final day of my 60s
Lovely day so I took Alfreda on a short tour of the Minneapolis area with a few errands and lunch included.  At Land’s End, I learned my jacket is a petite, just has longer-than-I-need sleeves and that I look “good” in orange.  I threw on an orange sweater to ensure the jacket was generous enough.  The sales woman and Alfreda immediately exclaimed at how good I looked in orange, as did the check out fellow.  So, I now have an orange sweater.  And I kept the aubergine boiled wool jacket.  

We checked out the party space again, then had lunch at Doolittle’s and a quick “hello” with Jan F.  Alfreda and I stayed with her son Matt in southern France when we were there.  Back home, we vegged out for a while, then met Barbara, Dan and Ann for dinner at Brasserie Zentral.  Disappointed that they had no lamb (out of season, per the waiter), but Dan found an excellent Swiss white wine.  Yes, that’s right Swiss wine.  Dan and Ann lived in Switzerland for five or six years and had found some great wines.  But because Switzerland doesn’t produce a lot, it’s not often available on the export market.  I’m glad we found this one as it was very good.

25 October, Happy Birthday to me and to Amy
Amy is a Peace Corps friend with whom I not only share a birthday but also a college sorority.  I am, however, 20 years older.

As for me, I had THE most fabulous birthday ever.  I’m so glad I let my sister talk me into it.  Great to see Mary and Stan who now live in Michigan and happened to be in town.  Now I’m pooped.  So to bed and more, with photos, another day.

Brunch Bunchers: Nonam Margaret Mary,
Doug & Larry (that's the top of Mary Haller's head)

Nephew Craig, back left; brother Dan;
Chris' Jen; sister Barbara; nephew Chris, back right
Dan with his wife Ann and Chris' Jen
26 October
Since everyone in my family had July and August birthdays, and my brother was born on Fourth of July and my sister on Davey Crockett’s birthday, I used to feel a bit “left out.  But not now. I see in this morning’s “faces”  column in the Strib that my Peace Corps friend Amy and I share a birthday with Katie Perry, who was 31 yesterday.  I learned that she sings “Roar,” the song the Lynx played at the pep rally and a song that I recognized and like.  Now I know the artist’s name.  Two other famous folks, from my generation also turned 70 yesterday:  author Pat Conroy and actress Jaclyn Smith.

Opened today with breakfast with Janet and Ed, Marie who flew in from San Francisco for the party and was leaving this afternoon, and Dan and Ann who like our mom, will depart at about 4 am tomorrow for Reno.  It was such a treat to have all of them here for the party.

Friend and neighbor Maryanne and I cleaned our storage units.  I got rid of an old bike of niece Dyana’s and a very rusty metal shelf.  My trunk is full of paint cans and such that need to go to the hazardous waste dump. Now I have room to store the deck furniture.  

Dinner at Black Sheep Pizza with Barbara, Dan and Ann.  Somewhere along the way I lost my car keys.  Have started the hunt in the house, garage, outside but no luck so far. Argh!!!!

27 October
Key karma works!  Karen, one of the Swimmin’ Women (new name for our water ex group), lost her keys at my party.  Actually they dropped from her pocket outside another SW’s house; Bonnie was carpool driver for the party.  Bonnie’s husband found Karen’s keys in the leaves near where she arrived for her ride.  She sent me an email about this, and just as I was going to read it, my buzzer rang.  Someone had found MY keys.  I apparently dropped them near the trash cans, and the kids next door found them.  Well, worth the $20 reward.

31 October, Happy Halloween
After helping at the Hennepin County Lbrary’s Family Heritage Day event, I drove up to Andover to spend Halloween with Craig, April and the boys.  Pumpkin carving and “halloweening” as we called “trick or treat” when I was a kid are always great fun, as you can see.
Romanian Genealogy Society rep

Nephew Craig makes a face ....
on his pumpkin
Jaiden concentrates

Thursday, October 8, 2015

30 days hath September …

1 September 2015, Minneapolis MN USA
Well, I seem to have started this month as I ended the last, battling computers.  After a lovely catch-up lunch with Peace Corps friend Tom, he dropped me on Hennepin Avenue and I walked over to Government Center to renew my driver’s license.  Because it was stiflingly hot and humid, I opted for the skyway system, which is mostly air conditioned, even though it would be a longer walk.  At GC, I took two escalators down and walked over to the Service Center … only to find they couldn’t renew my license because the state’s computers were down.  Ah, well.  There’s always snail mail … or another location on another day.

2 September
I swear to God, Andrew worked us twice as hard at water ex “boot camp” this morning because it’s our last class for a while.  The pool closes for maintenance tomorrow and doesn’t reopen until the 14th.  We were discussing what to do re exercise during that time, and Andrew suggested something on land.  We all gave him a big boooo.  But we did look at some options that wouldn’t tax our fins too much.

4 September
Labor Weekend is underway.  Did a conference call with Violane in Belgrade.  She will be moving to Tajikistan in the near future.  Now, I will definitely try to visit her there!  Seriously, I will.  I have another friend who I think is still there; I haven’t heard from Barbara D. in a while.  We had worked together in Belgrade and had met in Warsaw when I was going to a board meeting and her international agency was meeting there.  I sent an email to connect them.

Unsure how the roads would be traffic- and construction-wise today, I was going to beg off my fairly regular trip to Northfield to see Lois.  But she sounded a bit down when I called and I’m glad I changed my mind.  Her son is having major surgery near his vocal chords in a couple of weeks.  He has a very unusual cancer that can only be treated surgically, and his previous surgeries weren’t in such delicate spots.  We had lunch at The James Gang coffee shop, ran errands and generally enjoyed gabbing.  

5 September, my late son Peter’s 43rd birthday and nephew/Godson Craig’s 37th
‘Nuff said for now.

6 September
Wow!  Had a fantastic time celebrating Craig’s birthday with him and his family.  I got them a night at the Hyatt so we could see some city sights.  After they arrived Saturday afternoon, we drove down the street to the Minneapolis Institute of Art where Van Gogh’s Irises is on display as part of the museum’s 100th anniversary year.  It is an awesome work.  We visited lots of other exhibits too, rather quickly as Alijah, age 2, led the way, on a run.

We checked them into the hotel, went for a snack and some coffee at a nearby Caribou, then returned to the hotel for a swim.  April and I watched while Craig and the boys splashed and jumped and generally enjoyed the water.

METACON, a huge convention of comic book, anime, gaming and such devotees, was also at the hotel, making elevating up and down a lengthy business.  And travel to and fro within the hotel veeeeery interesting.  Almost every conventioneer was dressed as his/her favorite character. Alijah and Jaiden, 10, had a ball people watching, as did we adults.

Alijah is always in high gear and keeping him seated at a dinner table is definitely a challenge.  When I asked Craig what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he picked steak.  Since downtown steak spots are very adult-centric, dinner in the hotel dining room seemed the best bet.  And it was.  The hostess gave us a huge circular banquette away from the mass of diners, Craig got his steak, April and I enjoyed “spaghetti” zucchini and squash, and we all dug into Craig’s birthday dessert — a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie pie with ice cream.  Afterwards, they walked me part way home.

This morning we met at 11, after they’d checked out of the hotel and packed the car, and we planned the day. They dropped me at Apple in Uptown; my phone had died the night before and I was unable to make it work.  They went southward for a meeting and to check out a shop April likes.  We met again at 2 for lunch at my neighborhood Black Sheep pizza, where Alijah ran off all of our calories, then we went over to the Walker Sculpture Garden, where he could run in the grass.  Jaiden and I had hoped to get in a game of mini-golf on the artist-designed course.  Unfortunately the wait time was more than an hour.  We wandered all over the sculpture garden before they dropped me at home and drove back to Andover.
Spoonbridge & Cherry & Boys

At Apple, my plan was to get my phone fixed.  That took about 20 seconds.  The Genius Bar scheduler did a “hard re-boot,” something I’d never heard of, and it restarted, very slowly but we were back in working order.  While I was there, I figured I’d just check out iPads.  Ever since I tried friend Ed’s iPad with a real keyboard, I’ve been seriously considering one in hopes of traveling even lighter than my MacAir.  But I need a new phone more, or so I thought.  As I handed over my credit card, I remembered my friend Jean’s cousin who, back when Jean and I were in grad school, went to his Cadillac dealer to replace a stolen hood ornament (are you old enough to remember those?) — and drove out in a new Caddie.  I bought the bigger, older iPad Air and a keyboard-cover from a very helpful human being, not a salesperson and not a computer voice, a real person who helped me make sense of the various pricing, storage, generations, etc. 

Now I am putting up my feet and reading before I call it a night.  It’s been a perfect weekend.

7 September, Labor Day and friend Marilou’s birthday
We’re celebrating Marilou’s birthday tomorrow with a late lunch at Ciao Bella.

Friend and neighbor Maryanne and I had open days today, so agreed to food-movie-walk or some combination.  We ended up with a walk to St. Anthony Main to see A Walk in the Woods, then busing back to dinner at my place.  I had some wild-caught salmon in the freezer that I combined with corn on the cob, homemade apple sauce and a salad.  Salted caramel ice cream for dessert.  Not bad for a non-cook.

Since the weather had cooled a little, the walk was pleasant and doable even after my walk around Lake Harriet in the morning.  The movie was a hoot.  At some points we were in tears from laughing so hard.  

8 September
Craig and April are always very thoughtful.  I got the cutest text today, a “thank you” video from Jaiden and Alijah.  If I am able, I’ll include it here for you to see.

I miss water ex!  It’s been such an anchor to my days.  Went to Gentle Yoga at Blaisdell this morning.  Marjie from water ex also there.  Mary K., an instructor I really like, was supposed to teach (one reason I went) but had to give up the class.  The temp leader was actually quite good — full of humor and lots of options for various poses.  May have to keep attending even after water ex returns.

Had a lovely, relaxing lunch with Marilou to celebrate her birthday.  She loved the book I gave her; the author was the chief copyeditor for The New Yorker magazine.  We shared a salad and two small plates and were too stuffed to eat her birthday dessert.  We did each take a bite though, and it was everything the waitress promised — this perfect lemon dessert rivals the key lime pie from Red Lobster for best non-chocolate dessert.

9 September
Still cool weather and a bit of rain again.  Glad I got over to Lake Harriet to walk before it started.  Actually, I was getting ready to sit on my deck and do the crossword when I noticed the rain.  Argh!  No deck time today.

Dinner with Tomery at Black Sheep.  Always glad to have time to talk with her and learn what’s going on in her world.  She finally was able to meet with her assistants about their schedules and change them to provide better coverage all week and allow T to not work every weekend!

Got home from dinner — raining so I was glad for the ride from Tomery — and when I checked email, friend Bob had forwarded a message from Slobodanka, a friend/colleague from my project in Macedonia.  Check it out.  The #1 company was one we spent a lot of time and money on, and I’m always glad to see them continuing to do well.

10 September
Definitely fall in the air.  I love it!

Susan’s eye surgery yesterday went well although at the moment she cannot see much more than shapes and she’s still in some paid.  I cannot imagine what that’t like, and some day I will have to have cataract surgery and be in that position.  i visited Susan while Zoe cleaned this afternoon.  Zoe confirmed that she and her beau are leaving Minneapolis at the end of the month, first for Iowa (where his parents are) and later Oregon (where they want to start a new life).  It’s a wonderful adventure for Zoe and I’m happy for her, but I will miss her.  

After dropping off Zoe, I stopped at Antiquified, my friend and former client Julie's "new" shop in Northeast Minneapolis.  Julie's been in this wonderful space for months, but between the foot and my travels, this was my first trip.  It a much better space than "the Alamo" was (that's what we called the building across from the old Northeast Enterprise Facilitation office because the facade looked like the Alamo).  Anyway, Julie has done a wonderful job of displaying my childhood!

Another trip to Apple cuz my iPad keyboard isn’t working.  The Genius tested everything and determined I had a defective keyboard, so exchanged that for a new one that works perfectly.  I’ve been mostly reading in the Kindle app, but when I’m traveling, I’ll need to do emails.  Glad the keyboard works and my fingers find it comfortable.

11 September, 14th anniversary of four monumentally tragic airplane crashes
Lots of remembrances of September 11, 2011, on TV, in the papers etc.  I still get chills when I think about it.  When I’m in PA for my high school class’ collective 70th birthday party, I’ll participate in a fundraising walk for the newly opened Flight 93 National Memorial.  That’s the plane that was diverted by passengers and crashed in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania instead of the White House, the flight’s destination.  I’m proud to call friend someone who’s been actively involved in the realization of the memorial, our class president Lance.  If I did this correctly, you can see some of the beautiful photos taken by a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer at the memorial’s opening (and see Lance in photo #11).

12 September
After a hectic day of running errands all over the Cities, I relaxed at an outstanding performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni last night with Maryanne and two water ex pals, Lynn and Marjie.  We weren’t sure what to expect from a Twin Cities Fringe Opera production other than a chance to see Andrew, our water ex instructor, in the chorus.  But what we experienced was incredible — beautiful voices, modern costuming, minimalist set and the best translations I’ve ever read — concise, pointed, profane and often quite funny.  For example, after Don Giovanni convinces his reluctant manservant to pretend to be him and woo Elvira, he watches from the bushes and comments, “By God, I think the bastard’s enjoying himself.”  Wolfie Mozart would’ve approved.

14 September
Busy day.  Ran some errands in the morning, then headed to lunch with friend Ted whom I haven’t seen in months.  Never realized how far out in Bloomington he and Mary live until I Google mapped it.  We usually meet somewhere in South Minneapolis for breakfast or lunch.  Anyway, considering all he’s been through health-wise, he looked pretty good.  He’s still using a walker but can drive, so next week we may go out to lunch.  Oh, and he and Mary have a second grandson.  Sam now has a baby brother named Oscar.  I love that all the old fashioned names are returning.

At rush hour, of course, I headed to Golden Valley to visit with Marilyn a while.  She was away at a quilters’ retreat last week.  The route I drove was circuitous since I had to avoid the one highway that I should’ve used; Highway 100 is one lane in some places.  But I made it in under an hour!  (Highway 100 was my mom’s landmark when she’d come to visit.  She said she always knew if she could get there, she could find her way to wherever I was living at the time.)

Back home, I pulled the dark clothes out of the washing machine and hung them to dry.  In addition to two pairs of black socks, a fifth black sock was in the mix — a sock I don’t ever recall seeing before and it definitely isn’t mine.  Do-do do-do, do-do do-do (that’s the Twilight Zone theme, in case you don’t recognize it).  Tomery moved to Barbara’s five months ago, but I wonder if it’s hers?

15 September
Water ex is back!  Hurray!

Spent a very fruitful hour with a Genius at the Southdale Apple store; she’s renewed my faith in that store’s employees to be helpful and civil.  My laptop, phone and iPad are now all coordinated, and I actually understand them all better.  Afterwards, I baked 49 gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for friend Jan’s granddaughter Maddie’s bat mitzvah next month.  Jan said she’d freeze them for me.  

16 September
Well attended reception for pioneering feminist Arvonne Fraser’s 90th birthday preceded by informative panel on what remains to be done.  Janet and Ed, Jan and I went together, and saw many others, Sally, Susan S.,Friends of Central Library folks.  

17 September, aboard USAir flight from Charlotte NC to Boston MA
Whew!  I made it.  

Because I’m using a USAir credit, I have to fly to Boston via Charlotte NC.  Janet was once again kind enough to take me to the airport … at 3:30 am!  I had my boarding passes and checked my suitcase quickly, then had to traverse almost to the total other end of the airport to find the end of the Security line.  No TSA/Pre open at 4 am, and only one Security entrance.  The line moved fairly quickly, thankfully, and we boarded just fine, then sat for almost an hour because a rain storm landed upon us.  I wasn’t sure I’d make the connection since I had barely more than an hour between flights.  I was totally prepared to have to wait for the next CLT-BOS flight and totally delighted to find my new gate just a few doors down from where I landed.  A very fast walk and I made it.  Now for some coffee and one of the flax muffins I got last night at Kowalski’s.  The gluten-free carrot muffins are amazingly tasty and not terribly calorie laden.  And my iPad with keyboard is working as planned — perfectly!

18 September, Braintree MA
Things have gone well so far.  Yesterday my suitcase and I both arrived at Logan Airport, I found the bus to Braintree easily, Dianna’s step-mother Patty found me at the Logan Express depot in Braintree.  For the rest of the day, Dianna and I talked and talked and talked.

Today we went to Brigham & Women’s Hospital via her dad’s SUV since she couldn’t get approval for an ambulance in time.  Disappointing for me, less than ideal comfort-wise for Dianna but better than trying to sit in a car.  At the first appointment we were able to get her a gurney which she rode the rest of the day.  Test results known so far are pretty good; MRI will tell more.  Now we’re home enjoying Patty’s leftover chicken parmigiana and spaghetti.

19 September, Newton MA
Dianna and I spent a quiet day talking and for a while, visiting with Patty’s sister Jean who dropped by.  Patty and Dianna’s dad Charlie went on a board ride with some of Patty’s large family.  They were such gracious hosts.  Patty took me to the T station for my next adventure — a trip into Boston on the T — and a shuttle bus because of some construction on the line.

Met Peace Corps friend Larry at the appointed T station, then we joined  his family (Karen, Jonah, Spike) and Karen’s mom for a walk through the Rose Kennedy Garden and dinner at Scollay Square.  Now to bed …

22 September, Minneapolis MN
Home again, and off and running.  Only here a few days but much to do.  Back to water ex.  Maryla’s sent more files for her Marriott award entry (did I tell you that I am helping her with that?).

Perfect weekend in Boston — gorgeous weather so we were outside at every opportunity.  On Sunday we watched Jonah’s baseball game.  He is quite an accomplished base stealer as well as a good batter.  I tagged along to the synagogue for lunch and a parents’ intro to an art-and-Judaism program that Spike will participate in.  Part of the tour included an in-depth explanation of the architecture and construction of the temple, which was quite fascinating.  Watched the Patriots game while we noshed on Thai food — Larry had DVR’d the game, and all afternoon Karen reminded everyone to avoid hearing the final score.  It was an exciting game; Pats won.  Monday morning I basked in the sunshine on their patio until it was time to leave for the airport. 

23 September
So, this morning I get an email that Groupon has a $5 sale — lots of items deeply discounted to $5.  Among them a football team branded reusable tote bag.  And right on the opening page, there’s a Steelers’s bag — perfect Christmas gift for my sister.  (We don’t really buy each other gifts any more, but I try to find some small meaningful item for her.)  Log in, drag down the team list and Pittsburgh Steelers is gray, not black, and I can’t select it.  I keep telling you, Steeler fans are loyal.  The Steelers’ tote is already sold out!

Drove out to Bloomington for lunch with Ted.  He can drive since his car’s an automatic.  So we ventured to a favorite spot, The Olive Garden.  He did their two-fer and now has dinner for tomorrow night when Mary’s at her book club.

Gnawed on wings at Runyon’s with Tomery and heard more about her new condo.  She really downsized her storage before moving furniture etc. and bought a new bedroom set.  She wants to paint some of the walls/rooms before she moves in to live; she’s still at her mom’s.  

25 September, Somerset PA
Wonderful friend Janet again arose early to take me to the airport, this time for my slightly saner 7:15 am flight to Pittsburgh.  However, my transport karma remains bad — flight left late, rental car computer was down, couldn’t find location of car in airport garage and Pennsylvania is “enjoying” the same season as Minnesota — Road Repair.  Finally got to Somerset and Suzie and Lance’s house, where I’m staying for two nights — now off to lunch with them.

26 September
What a fantastic day!  Some 41 classmates and spouses came to our collective 70th birthday party at Seven Springs Resort, actually found the Chestnut Room (not in the main building; down one flight, right, right, left, right).  Several folks who haven’t attended any class events since the 20th reunion decided to return.  Buffet lunch was plentiful though the potato salad (one of my favorites) had too many uncooked potatoes.  Sang “happy birthday” and enjoyed a delicious cake made by the resort baker.  Jim D. brought a good camera and took lots of photos that we’ll post.  Lots of catching up, story telling, reminiscing.  Many of us adjourned to the bar and kept on until early evening.  We decided we’ll do this every year, and Pinky volunteered the barn at her sister’s place near Donegal.  Already counting the days!  

A few of the photos ... let's see if I remember everyone!

Don M., Bucky M. & I 
Noreen, Jane's husband Jim & Jane, Daryl and
Lance, in front and behind, Tom's wife, Tom B.
and Suzie, co-organizer
Sitting, Judy & Gene's wife;
standing, unidentified spouse, Glenn, Gene, Suzie,
Carole (partly hidden), Alana and I
27 September
Perfect fall weather today in my favorite mountains in the world.  After I packed up and said thank you and goodbye to Suzie and Lance, I drove to the hotel where I’m staying tonight, the Inn at MountainView.  Apparently the original MountainView Hotel that I remember was torn down.  Because it was so old, it was too expensive to operate or renovate, but it’s still on the hilltop.  En route, I did a very fast stop in Linn Run State Park, my spiritual home and where my cremains (and what’s left of Peter’s) will go eventually.  Got to the hotel about 30 minutes before high school classmate Glenn arrived.  

Glenn drove the backroads of our mountains while I just sat back, relaxed and delighted in the day.  We stopped at two wineries to savor the good weather and taste new wines.  We went to dinner at Johanna and Gary’s farm.  Gary was an extension advisor from Penn State University assigned to Sandomierz inn 2004 when I was there; Johanna and their three then-preschoolers joined him.  Glenn knows them through his 4-H involvement.  They all discovered they knew me through my blog.  Needless to say, the kids are all grown up.  Two were able to join us for dinner, Danielle and Jason; Alyssa was away.  I didn’t say, “My, how they’ve grown,” though I did allow as it’s been a loooong time since I last saw them.  Gary and Johanna still work for Penn State, and she’s still raising sheep.  It was great to see them, and will definitely visit again when I’m in PA.  And I pitched a deer hunting trip to MN since he’s an active deer hunter and says out deer are much bigger than those in PA. 

I haven’t checked email for a couple of days, so downloaded more than 100, deleted about 75 percent of those and found a message from Barbara D.  She’s in DC, awaiting a new assignment, but is happy to help Violane as V prepares for a move to Tajikistan.

28 September, Pittsburgh International Airport
Here I am, hours early.  But it’s pouring rain, road repair season is in high gear, and it’s more than an hour between my mountaintop hotel and this airport in the best weather.  Now the car’s returned, my suitcase checked, and I’ve navigated through security and located my gage.  Lots of time to wander and sit, read and eat … but not shop.  PIT is known for its policy that stores and restaurants of any kind cannot charge more at the airport than they do at outlets in the city.  So the central area where the concourses originate is one big shopping mall.  I’m told that some passengers plan longer layovers just to shop here.  If you need a gift with the kid or whomever, it sure beats getting ripped off elsewhere!

29 September, Minneapolis MN
Fall has fell.  Got so chilly in the middle of the night that I awoke and switched to a flannel nightgown.  After water ex, I stripped the bed and in addition to putting on clean sheets, I replaced the summer comforter for the winter one.  I added my long summer tee-shirt nightgown into the wash too; I’m sticking with flannel.

30 September
Looks who’s watching my door again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What month is this?

The last month of my mass mailing of my blog.  Thanks to all who have signed on as followers. The blog should be delivered automatically when I post.  

If becoming a follower doesn't work for you, please send me an email expressing your interest and I’ll add you to my mailing list.  

Summer in the city, Minneapolis style

2 August, Minneapolis MN USA — Lois’ 90th Birthday
My dear friend Lois who lives in a Northfield retirement community, had an open house today to mark her 90th birthday.  Lois is my oldest — age-wise and in terms of tenure — friend in Minnesota.  I’m helping her with a memoir, and later in the month we’ll put everything to date on her new computer that has voice recognition and playback capabilities.
Lois greets old friend Jim, former columnist
at the former Minneapolis Tribune

Anyway, it was a gorgeous day for a drive to Northfield.  And I had a chance to meet many of Lois’ family members and friends that are part of the memoir.  Her oldest grandson David and her great-granddaughter Makenzie were there.  David and his grandmother Jean came all of the way Springfield IL; Makenzie and her parents live not so far away in Faribault. And I had a chance to see her daughter Sarah and son Mark and their spouses.

Finished the day with book club.  We all sat outside and enjoyed the fresh air and food while we discussed Americanah, a novel about a Nigerian woman who emigrates to the US, then returns home to Nigeria.  I was stricken by the cultural similarities with Uganda.

3 August
Finally caught up with friend Judy K. who travels as much as I do.  We did a happy hour supper at Vincent’s, a favorite on Nicollet Mall.  As we were eating, along came Sally, the friend with whom I stayed in Greece.  So we had a short visit with her.  Busy week ahead.

7 August
Polish Festival on Mississippi River
An amazing number of frustrations can be salved by a good grilled Polish sausage complete with sauerkraut, onions and mustard.  So after a very hectic week, friend and neighbor Maryanne and I went to the annual Polish festival on the Mississippi River and indulged.  Pure, unadulterated heaven and calories, preservatives, and fats be damned.  It was perfect despite all the waiting in line. 

8 August
The Hagens gathered at niece Michelle and her husband Jon’s cabin north of the Cities for a day of fun and sun, food and water.  Jon made some of the halibut they’d caught in Alaska — fabulous.  Alijah, 2, caught his first fish, and Evie, 7, caught one before either of her brothers, Sam and John.  I got to meet my newest great-niece, Ruby, 4 months.  Swimming, water skiing, touring the lake by boat and just enjoying the view and good company made for a wonderful outing.
Evie & her fish

These cousins like having their photo taken
as much as their dads' did: Sam, John holding
Ruby, Alijah, Evie

Before we left for the lake, Alijah mowed the lawn

Tomorrow Barbara, Tomery and I are taking Chris’ sweetie Jen to 112 Eatery for her birthday, which was Friday.  We haven’t been to that restaurant for ages, and it was one that we went to regularly.  Just too many good restaurants in Minneapolis now!

9 August
The City of Minneapolis made a haul tonight.  After dropping Barbara, Tomery and Jen in front of 112 Eatery, I went around the blocks and parked on First Avenue, right behind an SUV, and neither of us … nor all the cars who later lined the street behind me … paid any attention to the parking sign.  First Avenue has a crazy parking-bike lane situation. Its bike lane is next to the curb, and cars have to park outside that.  We all parked over the bike lane to the tune of $32 each.  Lesson learned.

13 August, Side Lake, between Hibbing and Chisholm MN
Janet and I took the scenic route on our annual trip to our friend Jean’s cabin … but we were following the GPS.  Then coming back we knew the way but missed a turn and ended up on Miller Hill in Duluth, just a tad out of the way.  But in between, we had a fantastic relaxing time with Jean and her San Francisco friend Kat who joined us.  Missed Lisa who was there early in Jean’s stay, but we got to see her son Mark and grandson Matthew who were leaving for home in Virginia (state of) shortly after our arrival.  Haven’t seen them in ages.  Matt is going to culinary school in Richmond in the fall. 

Looking for lunch
We had our annual dinner outing to Gramma’s Restaurant for walleye, Minnesota’s (and our) favorite fish, and that place does it proud.  Finally got to Bimbo’s where Jean and Kat shared a crustless pizza, interesting answer to gluten-free.  I was hungry for onion rings and cole slaw, so that was my lunch. And Janet had the Bimbo burger.  All tasty if a bit heavy on the fried side.  We took lots of nice walks, early to avoid the very hot temps, and saw the deer family that noshes on Jean’s greenery when she’s not there.  Oh, and lots of just lying around. Ah, paradise!
Four "ladies" at  Bimbo's: Janet, Jean, me, Kat
14 August, Minneapolis MN
Kasmirski, my orthopedist, said I’m in good shape. If my shoulder bothers me a lot, I can have a cortisone shot.  I’m waiting as it comes and goes, and I hate taking meds unless absolutely needed.  He liked that I’m doing water ex and said to continue — it’s the best thing for my sciatica. 

15 August
Old friend Randy and I went to see “Pirates of Penzance” at the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul tonight.  It’s part of my season tickets for the Ordway’s Broadway series.  I’m taking a different person to each production, and since I haven’t seen Randy in ages, I invited him.  We both agreed the production was fantastic fun, just what the doctor ordered to lighten one’s spirits.   Tomorrow I’m seeing “Hairspray—The Musical” with friend Marilou and a friend of hers from her choral group.  That should be fun too.

17 August, my sister Barbara’s birthday
I won’t divulge her age, but Barbara’s way younger than I am.  And I just returned from celebrating with her over a lovely and very delicious dinner at Murray’s, one of Minneapolis’ oldest restaurants and the best for steak and service.  She loves her steak barely beyond moo’ing, and they’ll grill steak rare as only Barbara (and my friend Marilou) like it.  My potato-chip crusted walleye was excellent too.  Drizzling as I walked to and fro but the exercise felt good.

This morning Linda wasn’t able to walk Lake Harriet with me, so I decided on a new view — Lake Calhoun.  I used to run it daily but haven’t even walked it in years since most of my friends are Lake Harriet devotees.  Overcast skies and a nice breeze made for a brisk walk, something that’s often hard when I’m on my own.  Listened to music on my iPhone which helped.

18 August
Rainy day, all day.  After water ex and breakfast-and-gab with the group, I dug in at home and did lots of chores that I can no longer put off.  Feeling satisfied.

19 August
Easy day … water ex, lunch with Susan and Diane, movie with Randy.  Andrew worked us hard as ever in boot camp this morning.  The food at the reopened Tea House restaurant in Plymouth was excellent.  Diane and I opted for the buffet, and while I don’t usually like Asian buffets (food gets yukky too fast), we were early, everything was freshly made and wonderful.  Saw Straight Outta Compton with Randy.  Powerful film about something I knew little about — I’m not into music like my sister and I was going through a divorce during much of that time period.  But Barbara’s comment was right on — if the film makers hadn’t visibly indicated the dates, you’d’ve thought it was about current times.  Important messages in the film for everyone.

20 August
Thanks to my Peace Corps friend Tom R. for this link to an article in Smithsonian magazine about castle ruins in Poland.  The lead ruin is my absolute most favorite castle in the country, Krzysztopór, which I learned about from reading Michener’s Poland and have visited about a dozen times at least.

21 August
Ok, after a couple of much-needed rainy days, we are back to sunshine, heat and humidity.  Just in time for my next foray “up North to the lake.”  Aideen and Mickey arrive tomorrow from DC and off we’ll go to Janet and Ed’s cabin for a long weekend.  How hot it is in the city when we return will determine what we do — air conditioned museums vs MN Zoo, Lake Harriet etc.

The lovely day did make driving to Northfield for lunch with Lois easier although I was hit by a few drizzles of rain around Lakeville.  Even had to use the windshield wipers!  But sunshine prevailed as Lois and I went out to lunch and run errands.  En route home, I stopped at a raspberry farm and bought three pints of exceptionally fresh raspberries.  Tonight I’m off to dinner with Jan and Marilyn, then I’ll make raspberry crisp for the cabin.

22 August, Crooked Lake near Brainerd, MN
Aideen and Mickey arrived right on time, and since I’d gotten all my household chores done (dishwasher cycle done, dryer finished, garbage out, mail in) and had filled the tank at Costco, we went straight to Northeast Minneapolis.  I sent them over to Kramarczuk’s to get lunch while I first went to Surdyk’s to buy wine.  Aideen finished her Polish sausage, Mickey and I wrapped the remaining halves of our humungous sandwiches, and off we went.  The day was overcast and coolish, good for driving but not boding well for lake time.  Storms predicted, including tornado watches.  But we’ve had rain and wind but none of the whirly kind.  Aideen remembered that we had a similar day here last year.  Maybe tomorrow will be better … 

Peter the cat enjoyed the view
of the bird feeders

25 August
The sun is out, the air is warmer though not exactly warm, and we will return to Minneapolis in a couple of hours.  Ah, the joys of Minnesota weather.  Sunday and Monday felt more like early November than late August.  But we had a good time.

Janet’s here helping with her grandson James, 11, while his parents work each day.  Their daughter moved to Grand Forks to attend the University of North Dakota, alma mater to many a Hagen.  James has been a Godsend.  Even though the Internet was out until this morning, James has enough electronic games and such that aren’t wifi reliant to keep him and Mickey entertained.  They played various games when they weren’t wrestling or reorganizing the Rubic’s Cube.  Unfortunately James has decided not to return to the Cities with us.

Sunday my nephew John, his wife Heather and daughter Ruby came over for Sunday supper.  I made BBQ chicken in the oven, fresh corn on the cob and a huge “garbage” salad (an old friend’s description of my all-you-can-find-in-the-refrigerator salads).  Heather brought Monster Cookies, her specialty, my favorite and inhaled by everyone with a dish of vanilla ice cream.  Lovely way to spend a dreary day in the woods.

Mickey helps Heather with Ruby
Monday Mickey and I went to the YMCA in Brainerd while Aideen tried to get online at a nearby coffee shop.  Although a bit befuddled by the rigamarole of locker room and pool entry, Mickey seemed to enjoy the water slide as well as eventually playing with a girl about his age, the only other person in the pool for some time.  All the day camp kids arrived and filled the pool shortly before we left.  We met Aideen for lunch and learned that the security on her work laptop would not allow her to use the open wifi of the cafe.  But she found a lovely nearby gift shop in which to bide her time.  

That's Ruby and I 
Evening found most of us reading while the kids continued with their games.  I had started several books but opted to spend most of my time with friend Judi’s memoir published on Amazon for Kindle.  It includes two pieces with me.  I’m famous!  When I started reading, I told her I was taking notes for my lawsuit.

Today, of course, the sun is shining.  And the Internet is working.  Despite going online at the coffee shop yesterday and downloading 137 messages, most of them quickly deletable without reading, I received almost 50 this morning.  One was forwarded by Janet from her husband Ed.  Find out why salad is overrated —

Additionally, friend Bob who was in Scotland this summer with his son and family sent this link about Scottish road trips, some even to places I’ve already been.  Places to consider for the Cousins’ Second Tour next summer.

We’ll leave after lunch as I have a condo board meeting at 6:30 and don’t want to hit the Cities at rush hour.  Tomorrow we’ll go to the Lego exhibit at the Arboretum in Chaska and on Thursday the Science Museum in St. Paul.  

28 August
What a day!  Mickey had said he’d like to visit Mall of America.  Not my favorite place by far, but I figured we could do that en route to the airport since their flight was mid afternoon.  A few hours would be manageable, especially when I got my favorite parking lot (the outdoor surface lot by Nordstrom’s).  Anyway …

It was such great fun watching Mickey who had a ball — he braved the zip line, then the Sponge Bob roller coaster that twisted upside down and around several times, then because he loved that one, did it again.  I think it was a good ending to his visit.

Our day at the Arboretum and lunch in Excelsior had THE best weather for being outdoors.  The Lego exhibition was incredible — check out my pix.  On Thursday, I dropped Mickey and Aideen at the Science Museum in St. Paul, then came home to do a few chores before taking the Light Rail back.  We LRT’d back to Minneapolis for dinner at Zelo and a walk home.  In the evening we played Crazy 8 and I won!  Three times.  And Aideen won twice.  Wednesday night Mickey had won every hand, so we were crowing.

Aideen & Mickey check the map of Lego sculptures

The Arboretum's Lego deer family

Mickey and Lego pansy

30,000+ Lego make one peacock

Mickey and other kids check out Lego tortoise

Hummingbird & flower

29 August
A day of household chores and grocery shopping.  My back is killing me.  I am exhausted … Netflix here I come.

31 August
Today would’ve been my 47th wedding anniversary.  Wow! Hard to imagine.  The wedding was the Saturday after the infamous Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Remember the Chicago Seven?  You're showing your age!

I started today as I ended last night — one the phone with American Airlines/USAir trying to use my credit for a trip to Boston next month.  Last night I talked to Taran and Amanda, beginning at 5 this morning (cuz I couldn’t sleep), I called and talked to Monica, then Brett, then Susan.  I now have confirmed reservations and seat assignments … but still haven’t seen my credit card charge for the $225 change fee.  The ticket credit covered the cost of the new ticket.  A word to all — if you ever get an airline credit for a cancelled flight, be sure to have a ticket number.  Thank heavens the Reward Center through which I made the original booking had that.

Then it was off for my Monday walk around Lake Harriet with Linda and her puppy Desi.  Hadn’t seen them in three weeks so lots to talk about.  A few household chores, emails and such, then off to the post office and the clinic for my mammogram.  They have a new 180 degree camera now … but they still squish my boobs.

This afternoon I prepped for dinner, then Judi picked me up and off we went to a movie, Mistress America.  It was at the Uptown, an old theatre that’s been beautifully renovated with comfy leather seats.  The film was a hoot, just what I needed.  

I rarely have trouble falling back to sleep.  When I awoke at 3:45 today and couldn’t fall back to sleep, I knew I’d overloaded myself this week. Even though I knew my late son Peter’s birthday will be Saturday, I didn’t really focus on that and what it means to me.  So, I will make myself slow down so that I can enjoy Saturday with my Godson Craig, who shares that birthday, and his family.  

One big reason to smile -- my beautiful newest
great-niece Ruby and her beautiful smile