Wednesday, April 13, 2016

March roars in like a lion …

1 March 2016, Minneapolis MN
… I can only hope that it’ll go out like the proverbial lamb. 

Dusting of snow on cars this morning as I drove to water ex.  Temp down to mid teens.  Not complaining; just stating the facts.  Everyone says we can’t complain because we had such a long, mild, lovely autumn for a change.  But I am soooo glad to be leaving for LaQuinta CA tomorrow.  My brother says it’s been high 80s, low 90s.  

2 March, LaQuinta CA
Arrived at Palm Springs Airport after a swing through O’Hare.  I’m using my American Airlines ticket from last year when I was supposed to travel here with my sister, who was on AA miles.  I booked almost 90 minutes’ layover in O’Hare in case the gates were at a distance.  Not.  I left one gate from where I had landed … and a food court with Chicago ‘dogs was just across the way.  The perfect dinner.  Dan met me at the Palm Springs Airport, and at their house, Ann had the nicest array of nibbles ready for supper, including some lovely cheeses, and of course, wine. 

3 March
After 30 minutes of exercising and swimming laps in a very cold, shallow swimming pool but under the bluest skies and warmest temps, I returned to the house for coffee on the patio:  my idea of paradise.  Think I’ll make this my new morning routine.  Dan just returned from his hour-plus fast walk with his grad school friend Randy.  Randy and his wife Helen bought a place at the other end of Dan’s street a year or so ago.  I’ve heard so much about them over the years but we’ve never met.  Nice to finally have the chance to get to know them.

Morning coffee on the patio = paradise

8 March, International Women’s Day
Have had such a great week with Dan and Ann.  We don’t get to see each other often enough.  I’m glad I made this trip alone. 

The weather’s been glorious.  I’ve been sitting outside with my morning coffee every day.  What a treat after weeks of frigid Minnesota.  Did water ex a couple of times in the very cold swimming pool near the house.  Then Helen invited me to her water ex class — an hour of exercise in a warm pool.  Went twice.  Thank you, Helen.  Helen’s written a memoir about friends she’s made as she and Randy have moved around the US and the world.  She said Dan is prominent in both the grad school and LaQ sections.  Will order from Amazon.

Randy and Dan are buying the house next to Dan’s as an investment and will use it as a rental once they’ve closed.  It’s in like-new condition, nicely furnished, just needs a few odds and ends to be ready.  
Dan's morning routine
Dan and I went to the LaQuinta Art Festival one hot afternoon.  An amazing collection of art of all kinds displayed on the grounds of the art center.  My college friend Marcia who's an artist has exhibited there.

Fun stuff at LaQuinta Art Festival
Ann and Helen joined us a few days later for a trip to the Palm Desert flea market … definitely not what most would think of as a “flea market.”  Yes, a vast outdoor market, but lots more artisan stalls with jewelry, apparel, hats, plants, outdoor decorations than typical flea market stalls.  Dan bought a safari-style hat for better protection from the sun when he’s golfing.  Both he and Ann have had skin cancers removed recently, so they are very careful about sun exposure.  I bought another long cotton summer dress, similar to one I bought at this market a few years ago. Very comfy for hot days and for trans-Atlantic air flights.  Ann found a gorgeous handmade necklace to match a blouse she has.  I got it as a birthday gift from my sister Barbara and me.  Her birthday’s later in the month.
Ann's necklace 

I managed to break even on our day at a casino.  I do love video poker.  Good thing we don’t have any really-close casinos back home; they are all way out of the city … although they do have free buses picking up clients. …

On the way to Callaway for dinner, we stopped at a metal sculpture’s display.  Dan and Ann had found him at his original location and taken our nephew Christopher and Jen there last year.  The artist does everything out of found metals and has a whole field full of dinosaurs, assorted animals, bandoleros, cacti, fountains … and the best of all, a Wells Fargo wagon out of the old west.  Ann bought one of his cacti after they first found him.

Rain in LaQuinta

Desert blooms

One day we “bad weather” — we got a few sprinkles of rain on the patio. Mostly it was very overcast, windy and cooler.  Dan, Ann and I went to the see desert blooms along the Randall Henderson Trail.  Dan and I only walked about half a mile and saw an abundance of beautiful, colorful desert flowers, some on cacti, others on green-leaved plants. 

10 March, Bodega Bay CA
Rain, rain and more rain.  I know California needs rain but on my vacation …  It was already drizzling last night when Jean picked me up at the San Francisco Airport, and it was pouring most of our drive up here.  We’re staying with friends of Jean’s who will arrive tomorrow.

Jean and I went for a walk during what was supposed to be a two-hour break from the rain.  We got just far enough away that it was just as easy to keep going than to return when the deluge restarted.  I was drenched to my skin.

14 March, San Francisco CA
Sunshine at last!  It’s been a rainy week.  On Saturday we returned from Bodega Bay in the morning, then met Jean’s daughter Lisa for coffee and shopping at an outlet mall, nice way to spend another rainy afternoon.  Didn’t get to see my cousin Annie.  She returned from a celebratory birthday cruise with friends, then went off to Southern California for work.  

I helped Jean with some clean up at her late brother’s condo; it’s just a block from hers.  What a mess.  Her nephew went through his dad’s papers and what he didn’t want, he threw into a pile that was literally 3 by 5 feet. Not sure who left coffee and food on the kitchen counter; I’m surprised mice hadn’t invaded.  We washed some of the towels that can be taken to a shelter; more of those to do.  

Spent much of today visiting Marie in Alameda.  Marie’s son Dean and my late son Peter went to school together, and Marie was part of our Acapulco group.  Jean and I drove over to take Marie to lunch, a late celebration of her 80th birthday.  Afterwards  we took a leisurely walk around the park near Marie’s, then drove over to a new winery for a sample.  Marie had sent me two bottles of wine from there for my birthday.  I bought a bottle to bring back to my sister.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be sunny and warm again.  Kate, Jean’s friend whose house we stayed at in Bodega Bay, is coming over for a walk and lunch.  It feels good to be outdoors again without rain!

16 March, Minneapolis MN
Home again, home again.  It may be cold but it’s home.  I have switched back to the fleece sheets for the duration.

19 March
Brunch with Peace Corps friends Sabrina and Mark and their son Mark.  They are planning a trip to southern Africa this summer. 

22 March, First coffee on the deck
On Sunday, Christopher and Jen came for dinner, and we talked about our June trip to Scotland.  Chris’ passport only took two weeks.  Jen’s hasn’t arrived yet.  After water ex, I had started to bring up the deck chairs, then got sidetracked into other things, including fixing dinner.  So Chris helped me bring up the tables and storage boxes with pillows etc.

Today, after I got back from water ex and coffee with the gang, I looked out at the sunny sky over my now-furnished deck and put on a fresh pot of coffee.  After gathering up a couple of fleece throws (one to keep my tush warm on the mesh chair seat, one for my legs) and my book, I poured a mug of hot coffee and enjoyed that and my book on the deck for half an hour.  Heaven!

Unfortunately when I came inside the weather report was on, forecasting 3 to 6 inches of snow on Wednesday-Thursday and perhaps hitting Minneapolis but perhaps not.  

Excellent theater is one of the things I most like about living in the Twin Cities.  From Broadway road shows at the Ordway to established regional theaters like the Guthrie and Children’s Theater to smaller mission-driven venues like Mixed Blood and Minnesota Jewish Theater, you can always count on thought-provoking, well acted, professionally presented dramas and comedies, whether old or new.  Tonight friend Linda and I saw Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona presented by an all-female cast at Jungle Theater, our first production of the new season and new artistic director.  And what an outstanding production it was.  It took about 15 minutes to get used to the Elizabethan language, but from thence it was beautifully done — acting, costumes, setting.  I’m so glad we keep getting season tickets.

23 March
I enjoyed a delightful lunch at a new restaurant with an old friend I haven’t seen in a while.  Anne was my internal liaison many years ago when she was executive assistant to the general manager at the local Marriott (we only had one then) and I was acting account executive for Minda PR.  We bonded over the many special events, promotions and publicity opportunities that mostly we conceived and she helped convince hotel staff to help execute.  She started her professional career as a Northwest Airlines flight attendant and has written a wonderful memoir about those early days in flight.  And she’s spearheading a local Northwest museum. One of the catching ups Anne and I did was over the recent death of our Marriott GM, which led to reminiscences about those early days of my PR career.  I brought her a few NWA souvenirs for the museum or its next memorabilia sale.

By the time I drove home, the predicted snow was falling steadily,  It started as I left water ex, not sticking too much at first and later resting more permanently on my deck furniture.  A good day to stay in and read … and I can’t believe that’s just what I did.  I stretched out on the living room love seat (head on one arm, feel on the other) and read ALL afternoon.  I lost track of time and finally got up to fix some supper at 8 pm.

24 March
A few snow-covered cars and partially snowy grass — remnants of winter’s last gasp (or so we’re told and hope). Friend/neighbor Maryanne and I are off to the Macy’s Spring Flower Show (a remnant of the old original Dayton’s department store that’s now a Macy’s).

A Northwoods setting at the flower show
                   Red hydrangeas at flower show

27 March, Easter Sunday
Been a busy week … mostly catching up with friends over dinners, lunches, coffee, and getting back into the routine of water exercise.  None today; Y’s closed.  

Family brunch at Heyday Cafe was lots of fun and good food too, although the service was slow.  They definitely weren’t prepared for the holiday traffic.

29 March
Friend Marilyn went shopping with me today to find a chair for my bedroom, something high enough to comfortably get out of after putting on my shoes and socks.  The one I ordered from Target sat too low so I returned it.  I’d seen some at Pier 1 and decided to try there again.  Voila!  Found one.  Right size, nice travel-oriented pattern and perfect price. 

30 March
Maryanne and I saw the most interesting documentary at the movies today.  “City of Gold” is about the food critic at the LA Times, a most unusual fellow who finds great, interesting food in the most out-of-the-way places.  He said he visits a place as much as a dozen times before reviewing it.  Gold doesn’t use disguises to be anonymous; he uses others to make reservations or shows up at the last minute to surprise chefs.  We weren’t sure what to expect and both ended up enjoying the film.  

Friend Hala in Poland is definitely a proud gramma.  She has sent lots of photos of Tosia, her first grandchild.

31 March

Busy day — estate planning seminar and lunch at Schwab, knitting with Marilyn and Jan, dinner with niece Michelle.  Sunny but cold.  Guess that’s a “lamb-ish” as we’ll get.  Ah, Minnesota.

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