Tuesday, September 13, 2016

August:  Hot, wet. ‘Nuff said.

1 August 2016, Minneapolis MN USA
New sliding glass doors and window installed!!! The guys from Wellington arrived at 8 am and by 4:30 pm were done.  The screen slides in its track effortlessly.  There’s an extra security lock on the sliders.  The condo is sooo quiet when everything’s all closed up.  And they did a nice job of cleaning up after themselves.  I am doing my happy dance.  Painter comes next Monday, and I have appointments to order a new shade for the living room and new carpeting.  The ducks are aligning.  Hurray!

3 August
This morning I took friend Susan to her day surgery, then we went to the Galleria in Edina where we could eat at a favorite spot and Susan could exchange something.  Great lunch — incredible gazpacho.  Susan did her exchange at Fawbush … and we both bought something, of course.  I hate — and love — that store because no matter when I go there, virtually always with Susan, I see something that I love and I buy it.  And it’s rarely on sale.  I trust Susan’s taste, and she thought I looked smashing in the outfit, so …  I am going to wear this outfit to the August Birthday Dinner later in the month and will have a photo taken and you can decide for yourself.  I’ve made reservations at Capital Grille to celebrate the birthdays of Jen, Barbara and Tomery.  And I may take it to the EFHS Class of ’63 birthday bash in September.  It’s linen, a good transitional season fabric.

Dinner with Marilou and lunch with Diane on the calendar for this week.  Haven’t seen either of them in a while.  I’ll give Marilou her birthday present early and have something from 
Poland for Diane.

View from my deck

5 August
Early water ex, quick breakfast.  Then Amy arrived from Costco’s flooring vendor.  So many choices, so many alternatives to consider.  But I decided and ordered new carpeting for the living/dining/hallway areas.  The current carpet is 15+ years old and definitely seen better days.  I drove to Northfield to visit Lois, who turned 91 on Monday.  We went out to lunch and ran a few errands.  It was a gorgeous day for that, not as excruciatingly hot as it has been.  Instead of returning home, I drove to St. Paul to have dinner with friend Sabrina. We ate in the garden at WA Frost, a perennial favorite.  Been a while since we managed to connect.  Sabrina, Mark and their son Christopher have been camping a lot, and “the boys” are at camp now for a few days.  Shortly after they return, the whole family takes off for southern Africa.  So I’m glad I could at least connect with Sabrina before that.

6 August
Lots of great exercise today.  Did morning water ex, then nephew Craig and family (April and Alijah) arrived for our afternoon at Minnehaha Falls.  Michelle stopped by to say hello to them, then went up north for the weekend.  We picked up food at the Wedge deli. Amazingly Craig found a free parking place at the park and we had a wonderful afternoon exploring.  I haven’t really spent any time in the park for ages, just a brief stop when Iva and Marija were here in chilly, rainy April.  Alijah had fun wading and splashing in an area below the falls set up for that.  Of course, I forgot my phone and couldn’t take pix, but Craig got a few.

8 August
Today’s Strib (Minneapolis StarTribune) included a piece by Andy, one of my water ex instructors.  On vacation in Munich, he and his husband had been out to dinner during the 22 July shootings.  Here is an excerpt of what he wrote, something to keep in mind during these negative times:

… “Munich had gone into lockdown. All public transportation stopped: buses, subways, trams, taxis. It was night, and raining, and we were a long way from the hotel. (Imagine having had dinner in downtown Minneapolis and finding out that you had to get back to your hotel near the airport on foot — at night, in the rain and in a different language.) So we walked and walked, somewhat aimlessly, for what seemed like hours. Eventually, we stopped at a border guard station and asked for help. The guards tried to call us a taxi and contact our hotel: no luck. Finally, a guard took pity on us and generously brought us back to the hotel. He was a Syrian man working in Germany; he had no reason to help a Jewish/Catholic middle-aged gay American couple, but I am very glad he did. It sticks in my memory that he mentioned that his cellphone was filled with messages from his Syrian family worrying about his safety — striking to me because they were calling from one of the most war-torn countries on the planet….”

Wayne the painter came early and did the living room, dining room and hallway.  I love the colors, and he did a beautiful job although he left his shoulder mark on a wall near one of the vents he put back.  He’ll fix that when he returns to do the bathroom, after nephew John and brother-in-law Steve replace the vanity.

11 August
Mary and I went to see Disgraced at the Guthrie tonight.  I have to find some less serious, thought-provoking theater to see.  On the one hand, it is fantastic to consider the issues in a new format, see different perspectives, hear other voices, etc.  On the other, it doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep when the play is that intense.  To put it succinctly, the play was about the devastating fallout to all involved because of the well-meaning meddling of a privileged white woman, like we are.  

The New York Times has discovered Minneapolis is a nice place to visit.  They ran one of their “36 hours in …” pieces on my city.  Here it is in case you missed today’s edition.  Copy/paste into your browser and see for yourself:

12 August
Spent the day in Northfield with Lois, then Marianne and I walked up to the opening day of the annual Polish festival tonight.  Weather didn’t look promising so we took rain gear.  Good thing.  It poured while we noshed on Polish sausages and watched the dancing.  Great combo playing oldies dance music.  By the time we walked homeward, the sun was out of course.

Googling again.  Sometimes I google my birth name to see what I find.  This time I found this one — http://www.kanyrpharma.com  Hmm.  Maybe I should have some stock in this company.

19 August
Busy and fun week of meeting with friends and getting things done. John and Steve arrived early and did a great job replacing the vanity.  Then we went over to check out my sister’s bathtub.  We found there’s no access to the plumbing, a code requirement.  John said once that’s in place, he can fix the tub drain.  He couldn’t do it from the tub side.

This morning I had breakfast with Larry, a friend from my Peace Corps days, who was here for a final job interview.  Before taking him to the airport, we drove around to see some neighborhoods in case he gets the job and they move here.  That would be so cool.

22 August
No Wayne.  Called him twice yesterday before buying the paint, no answer.  Called this morning before going to breakfast with old St. Paul Companies’ friends, Jan and Rosie.  He’s been very reliable — got the referral from Marilyn and he did my sister’s condo.  Oh, well.

24 August
Jen and Chris came over to help me move furniture for the carpet layers, then we had dinner at Nicollet Diner.  I remember Janet had a BLT with avocado there so tried it.  Delicious.

26 August
New carpeting — hurray.  It’s a bit darker than I expected but looks lovely.  And I love the feel under my feet — incredibly soft.  And the two fellows who installed were great.  I was getting really nervous as Amy, the saleswoman, said they’d arrive closer to 8 am than 10; they arrived at 9:30.  Later I learned that someone was to be here at 8 to do the rip-out.  When they didn’t show, the installers did that and did the Kilz.  (I had had a bad cat odor from many years ago and had had Kilz used on the underlayment then.  Figured a re-application might be a good idea just in case.)  Slowly but surely getting things done.  And Wayne called. He had been hospitalized for a severely infected blister that he didn’t even  feel.  We’ll talk next week and settle on a new date.

27 August, Palmer House hotel, Chicago IL USA
A very, very long day.  Janet picked me up at 5 to drive to the airport for my just-before-7am flight to Chicago.  Easy flight, upgrade to first class is nice even if only for an hour.  Friend Aideen and son Mickey arrived from DC shortly after I landed, and we connected in baggage claim.  Then off to the L’s Blue Line and the Palmer House.  Aideen had gotten a good rate at this elegant old Chicago landmark — huge room with two beds and within walking distance of lots to do.  The walk from the L to the hotel was just a couple of blocks. 

I’ve always loved the Chicago L (shorthand for elevated which it originally was; later underground routes were added). When I was a kid and we visited Aunt Bobbie in Oak Park, we kids were sent alone on the L into the Loop for an afternoon’s entertainment!  The Blue Line is actually underground in the Loop.  Don’t know when the lines got color names; I don’t recall those from my college days when I took the L between Evanston and the Loop with some frequency.  I used to be able to recite from memory the train change announcement at the Evanston-Chicago border. College friend Barbara and I often did History of England class research at the Chicago Public Library, then went to Marshall Field’s Oak Room (?) for a treat.  

Back to this trip.  After breakfast near the hotel, we walked over to the Art Institute where I got a duplicate membership card and we entered for free.  Spent a few hours wandering around, saw the new exhibition on American art in the 1930s, interesting era.  Then we walked over to Millennium Park where Mickey enjoyed the cloud sculpture and longed to get wet in the fountain sculptures.  

Headdress fro Guinea

Illustrated Ethiopian Bible

Hat from Cameroon

Using Open Table, I found the Farmhouse up on Chicago Avenue.  We cabbed up but discovered an L stop across the street for the ride back.  The restaurant reminded me of some new one in Minneapolis — lots of good locally sourced food.  I had delicious lamb chops, Aideen a thick steak perfectly cooked.  We stopped at Baskin & Robbins where Mickey and I got ice cream cones for dessert.  

Mickey and the bean (or cloud)

Mickey at the fountain

28 August
Another long but fun day.  The Museum of Science and Industry is my favorite museum in the world.  I was about Mickey’s age the first time I went there, and while much has changed,  a lot is the same.  Mostly it’s become more interactive, even more kid friendly.  And I think more exhibits require a separate fee.  Mickey picked one that he and Aideen visited.  Friend Marija who trained in from the south suburbs and I wandered around the free exhibits.  Marija couldn’t stay for dinner due to the train schedule, but my cousin’s daughter Rachel joined us at Beacon Tavern which she’d recommended.  We cabbed there but walked back after another excellent meal.

Marija at Museum of Science
and Industry
29 August, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago
Took the Blue Line to breakfast with Rachel at a cute outdoor cafe, Lula’s.  I vacation-treated myself and had a bagel and lox, excellent.  Then we walked around that neighborhood a while before I got back on the L to the airport.  I was really early, but it was too hot and muggy to be outdoors too long, dragging my roller bag.  Great to see Rachel who’s interested in a family trip to Scotland which I’d also like to do again.

Sitting near my gate, the rain was so gentle that I didn’t notice it until a crack of thunder and lightning flashed so brightly that it seemed right next to me.  That was almost seven hours ago.  First my flight was diverted to Milwaukee.  After a second storm hit, it was cancelled.  In the meantime, Aideen and Mickey walked over and we had a short walk and visit.   Their flight was later than mine and they’d stayed in the city long enough to do a hop on/hop-off bus tour — and decide they definitely want to return.  Back at my gate, I stood in line with everyone else for rerouting.  So relieved that I got on to a flight tonight, not in the morning as posted.  We’ll board soon … and I’ve been upgraded again.  

Later, Minneapolis MN USA
Home at last.  Took the Light Rail, then a bus and got here at 10 pm.  I am pooped, but a good kind of pooped.  Had a fantastic weekend.  And I returned to a clean condo.  Marianne let Kelly and crew in for my monthly cleaning.  Tomorrow dinner with old friend Randy that I don’t get to see often, and volunteer work at People Serving People (addressing envelopes for their gala is becoming an annual thing).  Busy week and month ahead.

31 August
Breakfast with Sue and Nancy today, and we had a chance to catch up.  They had a relaxing time on Mayne Island, BC.  Nancy’s in a bit of a holding pattern re treatment until test results are available.  Nancy and Sue’s travel blog has morphed and updates what’s happening.  Sandcat33.blogspot.com  

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