Sunday, March 20, 2016

“And when short February’s done …”

1 February 2016, Minneapolis MN USA
Welcome to Leap Month … nephew Christopher came over for dinner, and we laid out some plans for our Scotland trip in June.  He made reservations for him and Jen to fly to London and stay there two nights before taking train to Edinburgh.  I’ll fly from Warsaw and made my reservations plus two nights in an Edinburgh hotel.

This will be a month at home, enjoying the companionship of MN family and friends and planning future travel.  Don’t get too bored!

2 February, Groundhog Day
For the first time in years, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow.  Spring will arrive on time, sometime after the blizzard that arrived this afternoon.  I had lunch with friend Ted today, overcast day when we entered Olive Garden and six inches of snow when we left.  Took me 55 minutes to make my 20 minute drive home.  Hunkering in.  Did talk to my old boss Roland.  I had hoped to invite him to coffee but with all the snow, we decided to postpone.  He and Merle have moved into their new apartment, which is above the Lunds & Byerlys store in Northeast Minneapolis, a frequent stop of mine because it has off-street, indoor parking and sells Peet’s coffee.

3 February
Our driveway was plowed and so was Third Avenue South, but it just didn’t look like a good day to head out for water ex.  My paper had arrived, time for coffee and the paper.  

By late morning I decided to go ahead and attend the house party for Chelsea Clinton.  My concern that the snowfall might reduce attendance was unfounded.  The place was totally mobbed.  Didn’t see a soul I knew, but it was fun.  She is such a poised, bright, warm young woman, and very articulate: not an “um” or an “er” in her prepared remarks and direct answers to all of the questions.  I’m glad I went.

Chelsea autographs her book for woman next to me

5 February
Over lunch yesterday I finally caught up with Jan.  We had lunch at the restaurant at Macy’s Ridgedale and set a date for knitting; she’ll contact Marilyn.  Started the day with water ex and then stopped to see Janet; she and Ed had been in Key West for an economists’ meeting.  They had the same windy, rainy weather that Inga endured in Miami.

Today I finally got to Northfield to visit with Lois.  I took the freeway rather than Cedar Avenue in case the stretch south of Apple Valley was windy.  It’s flat, open farmland with few houses and nothing to stop blowing snow.  

Just before Chris and Jen arrived with Lily and Tomery texted that she was en route home, I had a text from nephew Craig.  My nephew Mark in Fargo is hospitalized and in an induced coma.  I sent a text message to Mark’s younger brother Jeff who replied there’s nothing to do but wait.

Took Tomery her “promotion” gift (she is now a senior regional something at LifeTime) — two funky bar stools that look like they’d fit her loft style.  She had seen the photo I sent from TurnStyle resale shop and thought she’d like them.  She can have the seats recovered (or her mom, who’s done some upholstery before, can do that).  Glad she liked them.

Lilly’s already hiding under the bed.  I’m keeping the TV room door closed so she can’t eat my computer cords.  She loves to gnaw on rubberized cords.  My vacuum cleaner cord has a swath of silver duct tape where she bit into it previously, and I’ve had to replace Mac cords due to her obsession.

7 February, 50th anniversary of Beatles’ arrival in USA
A day that my generation will remember well.  I have some great photos the women in my freshman dorm watching them on The Ed Sullivan Show.  

Last night I saw Jesus Christ, Superstar for the first time.  Kinda amazing that I’ve never seen it on stage or film, but I haven’t.  Friends Darryn and Kim’s son Chase is in the production, and it was very well done.  The theater was way out in Maplewood; I was delighted that Darryn offered to pick me up.  Kim and their daughter Ella took Chase directly to the theater.  The costumes and scenery were post apocalyptic; the dancing and voices were wonderful.  All in all, a perfect way to spend a wintry Saturday evening.

Since yesterday, Susan’s been having cable and TV issues so she cancelled lunch.  Instead my sister and I went to see Hail, Caesar!, the new Coen Brothers film.  Loved it.  I had seen so many of the films they parodied — from Esther Williams’ synchronized swimming extravaganzas to Gene Kelly dancing in New York, Paris, etc. to Spartacus.  

Lily’s come out of hiding long enough to slink to the front coat closet, paw the bi-fold open and nestle in for a bit.

Lily's new hideout

8 February, Chinese New Year, beginning of the Year of the Monkey
And a cold, windy wintry day it is.  

Last night I cancelled walking with Linda today because I could already hear the roar of the wind while reading in my living room.  High winds and single-digit temp were forecast for this morning. I stayed in bed a while, then showered (hot water worked!), dressed and met Pam for coffee.  Afterwards, I  walked to the IDS building and on errands midday instead.  By then, the wind had calmed quite a bit and I knew that could always duck into the skyway system for relief.  I’d’ve been out longer but I forgot to put my credit-card wallet in my purse and couldn’t get cash, buy stamps, you get the picture.  This is why I hate to switch purses!

In the evening I attended a fund-raiser for Mixed Blood Theater with Susan, who’s a board member and past president.  Chair reading of one act of a new play preceded by some great music and humor, all at Lush, a bar-nightclub in Northeast.  Great way to spend a cold evening.

9 February
MaryAnne and I saw The Big Short today.  Very well done on many fronts but also very upsetting, angering to learn so much more about how the housing crisis happened.  

13 February
I want extra points for walking (yes, walking) in sub-zero temp to have brunch this morning with my niece Michelle, who also walked.  We ate and caught up at the Hen House, a bustling cafe that’s about midway between her and Jon’s condo and mine.  I had planned to take the Skyway system but without any real wind and with lots of layers of apparel, the walk wasn’t too bad.  And I walked home via Barnes & Noble, a few blocks farther away.

Finally caught up with Sue and Nancy at brunch this week.  Mary also joined us, and we were glad to see how well Nancy’s doing after starting chemo.  (Mary, Sue and I worked together many moons ago.)  She looks great and strong and beautiful with her bald head.  

14 February, Happy Valentine’s Day
Lily’s happy. 

Christopher is home and picked her up today.  I miss her already.  Chris said the weather in LaQuinta was fantastic — all sunshine and hot (80s) every day.  I am psyched for my trip!

15 February
Nothing like an incredibly funny play to improve a cold and snowy day.  Marilyn and I went to Minnesota Jewish Theater Company’s production of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife last night and laughed our heads off.  Sally Wingert and Linda Kelsey were better than ever as two of the three leads.  Kelsey plays the mother of Wingert who is the allergist’s wife.  

Sent nephew Jeff in Fargo a text to get an update on his brother Mark.  Docs are still trying to awaken him and wean him from the ventilator.  

17 February
Good news from nephew Craig about Mark.  He’s out of the coma and being evaluated to determine what, if any, damage has occurred.  And my friend Dianna got good news during her most recent cancer follow up in Boston.  

And tonight I had another awesome theater experience.  Mary’s season tickets to the dance series at Northrop at the U of M include special productions.  Tonight was a screening of The Triplets of Belleville, an animated feature film done by a French group that won more than a dozen nominations and awards.  While the film plays, an orchestra plays the music and does sound effects … reminded me of watching a silent film.  The story is charming — about a grandmother’s love for and devotion to her grandson.  She buys him a dog to keep him company, then a bike.  She trains him for the Tour de France.  When he’s kidnapped, she rents a pedal boat (20 min. for 1 franc) to take chase (with the dog) across the sea to Belleville.  The drawings are wonderful caricatures. The triplets are a trio of aged, once-famous singers who house and help grandma and the dog rescue her grandson.  The chase scene is a classic: lots of wrecked cars and “dead” gangsters, and grandma, the cyclists and triplets riding off into the sunset.  The last scene is perfect — the pedal boat guy standing on shore looking at his watch and out to sea.

20 February
More excellent theater.  Marilou and I saw A Chorus Line, the third in my Broadway series tickets at The Ordway Theater in St. Paul.  I was in awe of the ability and stamina of the dancers.  And the story never gets old — the lives of people seeking their dreams.

Spent much of yesterday and today cooking for Sunday evening’s book club at my place.  The book we read takes place in New Orleans so I found some cajun recipes to try.  I didn’t go to see Lois because she had doctor appointments.  But she didn’t sound good so I called her daughter Sarah who followed up.  

22 February
Nice morning for walking Lake Harriet.  And a couple of times the lake cracked.  It sounds a little like a rifle shot as the warming ice shifts.  
Lake Harriet at 7 am

Off to the dentist this morning.  Started to feel a tender spot near where I had an abscess when I was a Peace Corps volunteer.  I remembered that past incident, lots of pain.  Talked to my dentist on Saturday and Sunday; Tylenol and salt water rinses were helped.  Yes, I have a small abscess from a dying tooth that anchors a bridge.  Penicillin for the infection, more salt water rinses and on Wednesday, root canal.  Oh, happy day.  At least my dentist can do the work (no referral to a specialist) and he won’t have to remove the crown … bridge and other anchoring crown.  Whew!

24 February
Started the day with getting my hair done and closed with the root canal.  In between, I did some laundry and picking up around the condo.  Now to put my feet up, enjoy my homemade vegetable soup and watch some mindless television.  

Connie did her usual wonderful job on my hair. Much shorter in back for easier care while I”m traveling.  And the dentist did a great job on the root canal, pain free once the novocaine took over. He cleaned out the dead root, pushed in some meds and covered temporarily.  I return after my trip to California for a permanent closure.  Now to my easy chair.

26 February
This isn’t a political blog but when my favorite retailer behaved very badly, I had to act.  I won’t shop there ever again.  Friend Ted sent an article that Land’s End, from which a huge percentage of my wardrobe was purchased, had pulled an interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem from its website after receiving complaints from anti-abortion activists.  Not a word in the interview about abortion.  Oh, and Land’s End will no longer support an NGO that’s dedicated to women’s equality and on whose board Steinem sits.  I am keeping the catalog which is probably a collector’s item now!

More fun theater last night as a bunch of us from water ex went to see Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe at a theater three blocks from me. Richard, a lap swimmer we meet in the hot tub many mornings, was among the House of Peers in the opera.  Cassandra arranged for tickets.  I hosted a light meal for those who could join me, then we walked to the theater.

Yesterday after lunch with Susan and Diane, Jan came over and agreed with everyone that the chair i bought online from Target is too low. (^**&*(#$%  I love the pattern, the seat size and colors are perfect … but it won’t be easy to get up from.  Sunday my sister will come over and help me schlep it to the downtown Target for return.  

Just got Hala’s email that Antonia has made her entrance.  No details on weight or length, but Hala’s pride as a new grandmother (babcia in Polish) shined through her voice.

28 February
I got tickets to Children’s Theater for yesterday for Craig’s step-son Jaiden and me.  He came in with Craig, April and Alijah for lunch and stayed over.  You may remember that a few years ago he asked me when he’d get to travel with me and I said anytime.  So we’re working our way up to a longer, overseas trip.  And he’s actually had his first plane ride last fall.

Weather was great yesterday.  We walked quite a bit, trudged through the convention center and took pix of the tiny houses for his grandmother, went to the Hilton for a Shirley Temple (Jaiden) and iced tea (me).  Today we decided to see the mummy exhibit at the Science Museum.  Somehow Iissed the forecast for today’s cold, windy and wet (rain AND snow) weather.  It was drizzling when we left so I gave Jaiden a Gore-Tex windbreaker of mine and wore my rain coat.  We took the light rail to St. Paul and were under-dressed.  But at least we had rain gear, and though it was still cold and windy, it was dry on the way home.  We caught the free bus to the convention center and ogled the tiny houses once again.  If I were 20 years younger …

Jaiden has picked London for his overseas trip.  We talked about him traveling with me to Poland summer of 2017, then we’d go on to London. 

 Jaiden during one of our traipses through the convention center.

29 February, Happy Leap Day
Years ago when I went to the Northwest Y for “Adult Fitness” at 6 am, the desk clerk was a woman named Jimmie, whose birthday was today.  I was in my late 30s … she was approaching her teens.

Sunshine is back but in Minnesota, that only means bright blue skies and that it’s very cold outside. Oh, and it’s still windy.  

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