Saturday, March 25, 2017

Some interesting twists along life’s highway ...

2 February 2017, Groundhog Day, Minneapolis MN USA
And yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.  Six more weeks of winter.  Aren’t we lucky?

7 February
Been busy, lunches and dinners with friends, theater and such, and getting organized for Glenn’s arrival this morning.  I picked him up at the Hump (Hubert Humphrey Terminal) this morning.  An info fellow saw me waiting and directed me to the doors through which he’d exit security, so I waited there instead of baggage claim.  It is soooo great to have him here at last.  We had a quiet dinner here tonight because the next few days will be hectic.  Tomorrow he meets my family and closest friends, and Friday we leave for the California desert, where my brother and his wife are escaping winter.

Glenn pumps at Costco

8 February
Breakfast at the Original Pancake House this morning with my niece Michelle and nephew Christopher.  I picked it because Glenn had eaten at one in Pittsburgh and liked the menu, plus Chris and I meet there often.  Then Glenn and I drove around Lake Minnetonka under beautiful clear blue skies and single-digit temp.  Poor guy.  He’s definitely not used to this weather, but he’s enduring well.

Finally at the end of the afternoon, we met my extended family at Punch Bowl Social in the West End — Barbara; Christopher and Jennifer; Tomery; Craig, April and boys; Jan; Jodi, Gary and the girls — in phases as folks completed work and arrived.  They all loved Glenn already because they could see how happy I am; now they love him because they see what a wonderful, warm, smart, approachable guy he is.  And he held up well, even seemed to be enjoying himself.  After everyone left, we walked next door to Cooper for a quieter dinner alone.  Could not have asked for a better day.

9 February
Today with the temp at about 3F, I introduced Glenn to the Skyway system.  We walked to the nearby convention center, then walked all the way through the parking garages to the North Loop area at one end.  Back into the cold, we walked a few blocks to the newish Hewing Hotel for a break. We sat comfortably in the bar, Glenn sipping wine and I, hot tea (me) before we walked home via street and skyway.  The evening was homemade beef burgundy stew with garlic toast and packing for California.

10 February, LaQuinta CA
What a difference a day makes!  We landed to beautiful warm weather and a very crowded Palm Springs Airport.  Lots of snow birds!  After retrieving the rental car and setting up Glenn’s GPS, I called my brother to say we were stopping for an In-and-Out Burger (Glenn’s never had one), and we would arrive at PGA West in a couple of hours.  The burger was as good as I remembered, and the fries — perfect.   While we were there, a fellow went up to the order-taker and requested a chicken sandwich and learned that burgers (plain and cheese) are all In-and-Out sells.  

We stopped at Target for some meds for Glenn’s cold, and he discovered you pay for plastic bags here now.  After we settled in at Dan and Ann’s, we had a quiet evening enjoying the good company, food and weather. 

13 February
Great weekend in LaQ:  Love having my morning coffee outside each day.  Heaven, especially since Glenn’s there too.  We took a long walk around PGA West with Dan on Saturday.  No mountain sheep sightings.  Dan said they have been moving between Silver Rock and PGA West where we are.  A trip to the mountain visitors’ center included a hike along the entire trail.  Nothing had flowered yet but it was a nice bit of exercise.  We drove back down El Paseo and saw some bunnies. 

Dinner with Dan and Ann and their friends Randy and Helen at Trilogy.  Heaters made eating outside perfectly comfortable.  How I enjoy all this fresh air.  Later we sat by a fire outdoors at R&H’s, and Glenn heard grad school and travel stories.  Randy also talked so enthusiastically about a book on a serial killer who operated at the same time as the Chicago World’s Fair that Glenn borrowed it.  

Sunday Glenn and I took Delli, my Peace Corps friend Bill’s widow, to brunch at the date palm place in Indio.  Delli is so hurting and lost since Bill’s death.  I need to keep in touch with her.  She’s continuing her nursing studies and coping with her niece who’s becoming a typical teenager. 

Today we drove up to Temeculah to take Dan, Ann, Randy and Helen to lunch.  We took the slow route so Glenn could see the metal sculptures.  I photographed a road runner that his son-in-law might like.  Lunch at Callaway was as delicious as always.  We stopped at SouthCoast Winery where Dan and Randy picked up wine club selections.  Then we drove to San Diego where we’ll be two nights.

Later, San Diego CA
Having had a big lunch and long drive, we decided against supper in San Diego.  But we were still a little hungry.  I spied a Ralph’s Supermarket down the street from our hotel, and we walked down there, picked up a few single snacks and checked out with the help of two cheerful, chatty teenaged girls, one at the register and one bagging.  The bagger asked what brought us to San Diego, and with a straight face, I replied, “We’re on our honeymoon.”  I wish I’d had a camera to capture their faces — nothing short of total disbelief.  Then Glenn smiled and she said, “You’re joking, right?”  I said that yes, we were on vacation, and we all laughed.  And Glenn and I laughed for the rest of the evening.

14 February, Valentine’s Day
I wanted to see the famous San Diego Zoo but our trip to Balboa Park, where it’s located, offered other sights too.  After parking, we took a shuttle to the museum area and found much to see there instead.  We visited the Timken Museum of Art, then I saw a sign for a model train museum.  I LOVE model trains, still have my brother’s though I haven’t used it since my late son was a kid.  And Glenn’s son in law is also a model train person.  We schlepped to the model railroad museum for a look-see.  It’s the world’s largest so we easily spent the rest of the afternoon there.  Four huge set ups are planned, built and operated by four different clubs.  They’re all different rail gauges and depict railroad scenes in the Southwest.  A separate display features items that can be purchased — a fire station where a fireman slides down a pole, the garage door opens and the fire truck exits; a working McDonald’s drive up window; a drive in movie theater with a vintage cartoon playing on the screen.  And lots more.

Model Train Museum
In the evening, we took a taxi to/from the Italian restaurant in Old Town that I’d booked from Minneapolis through OpenTable, always a risk but this one was excellent.  Food, service, ambiance.  We sat outdoors, of course.  After dinner, we walked around Old Town before returning to our hotel.  My best Valentine’s Day ever!

15 February
Dan recommended the USS Midway and Randy recommended Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill, and before leaving San Diego, we experienced both.  We got to the Midway early and explored the adjacent park which has a huge statue copying the famous kiss at the end of World War II and a monument to Bob Hope who entertained troops around the world in war and peace. The Midway is an aircraft carrier that operated for 47 years, though the first Gulf War before becoming a Navy museum.  We used our two-hour parking limit to see as much of the ship as possible, and it was incredible.  Retired Navy personnel were stationed around the carrier to add details and “color” to the self-guided tour.

Tribute to Bob Hope at USS Midway park

First a photo, now a statue

We put the address of Blue Water into the GPS and thought we’d made a mistake.  The location is right up against the freeway on a one-way street.  Parallel parking was a challenge that I successfully met, and the long line at Blue Water was Glenn’s.  He got our food, while I snagged a table.  The food was as good as Randy said.  Glad we found it.

Later, LaQuinta
Dan and Ann’s neighbor invited us all to a cocktail party which we joined on return to LaQ.  Then packing and preparing for tomorrow’s departure.  

Those are real big horns, not statues

16 February, Minneapolis
A few months back, friend Marilou and I ordered tickets to hear a favorite author, Lee Child, as part of the Hennepin County Library’s PenPals series.  This week I got Glenn a ticket so he could join us today … and in the lobby, we ran into Lynn from water ex.  Glenn is handling all of this very well.

The talk was lovely — Lee Child’s a Brit which I don’t recall knowing, and Lee Child is a pen name, also a new fact.  He’s famous for the Jack Reacher novels, and in my mind Reacher is Tom Selleck in his prime — tall, rugged man of few words and studied actions.  Neither Marilou nor I can fathom how Tom Cruise came to play Reacher in the movies.  We wanted to ask that question but didn’t get a chance.  ugh!

The pen name came about back when Le Car was introduced by Renault.  It was a family joke to mispronounce “le” as lee and when his wife became pregnant, the expected baby became “le child,” and a pen name was born.

Glenn missed part of the talk due to an emergency at home — the ceiling fan on his porch was in pieces on the floor, per a neighbor.  His daughter Jen checked and no one had broken into the house.  She put the piece inside and arranged for an electrician to disconnect the hard-wired fan.  Lunch with Marilou at Punch Bowl was a hoot.  She, the non-cook, loved getting cooking tips from Glenn, the consummate cook.  Marilou likes pickled cauliflower and some other veggies, and Glenn told her how to make those herself easily (keep pickle water and add veggies).  

Tavern on Grand was the only restaurant request that Glenn made.  He’d seen a piece about its walleye on a Food Network program and wanted to try that out.  While we waited for Sabrina, Mark and their son, we ran into other friends of mine, Ted and Mary.   We all enjoyed walleye dinners.  Glenn said it easily met this expectations. 

20 February
Glenn flew back to PA this morning after a lovely weekend — dinner at Monello with Janet and Ed on Saturday, Sunday brunch with Susan at Tavern on Grand, and a long Skyway walk and drinks Sunday evening at Hewing Hotel with my sister.  The condo seems very empty.  Good thing I have lots of appointments.  I’m off to the dentist now.

28 February
When Glenn was here, I told him that I’d decided I’d move to Pittsburgh in the fall.  Needless to say, he’s a happy fellow and so am I.  Lots to do to prepare — like rent my condo and find a place there.  Life does take some wonderful twists.

Dreaming from Minnesota

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