Time marches on …
Busy is no excuse, but busy is what I’ve been. Hence, no blog posted for March or April. So here I go … and hope my memory is accurate!
March 7, Mount Pleasant PA
The month started with my sister Barbara, nephew Christopher and I flying off to Pittsburgh for a weekend of Penguins hockey. We planned this trip way back in early September and at the time, I invited Glenn to join us. One of my bold attempts to get to know him again.
Glenn picked us up at PIT and before we deposited Barbara and Chris at the William Penn Hotel, we all went to Primante’s in the Strip District for a late lunch/early dinner. Primante’s is famous for its Pittsburgher, a huge beef patty with the works including fries between the buns. It’s a hangover from the days when workers didn’t have much time for lunch and wanted a hearty, easy to eat meal.
Friday morning I finally met Glenn’s younger daughter Jennifer and her two-year-old Emma. Both that Jennifer and Chris’ Jennifer are called Jen, so not sure how I’ll differentiate. Hmm. Friday night we saw the Pens’ win, always fun. Chris had asked if we could visit “the township,” the area of Alleghany County where my siblings, Glenn and I grew up. Glenn accommodated the request with a wonderful tour of sights, including the old homestead which is looking a bit worse for the wear. Oh, and someone erected a wooden fence around the back yard! No more sledding back there … and I’ll bet no more sledding down Everglade Drive, our street, with or without a lookout at the crossroads.
Sunday was another winning day for the Pens and for Chris. Glenn had gotten his cousin’s box for the hockey game, and it includes three tickets. We took his Uncle Victor with us and after the first period, I traded seats with Chris so he could watch from the box … and answer all of Uncle Victor’s Costco questions. Chris participated in an annual Pens’ charity fundraiser, paying for the chance to pick one of 200 memorabilia-filled duffles, including a limited number with a player’s jersey inside. My keen-eyed nephew picked one with a LeTang shirt!
Today Glenn, our friend Suzie and I will head to Elizabeth PA for lunch with high school classmates, then on to Squirrel Hill to look at apartment buildings. It’s fun that the class gets together whenever we can.
Glenn and I watched his older granddaughter, Sara, almost 5, today. We picked her up and took her to breakfast, then back to his place. She’s a delight but insisted that I participate in her activities. And I was pooped already, not having slept well (too much on my mind). We played “library” for a while. We had posted the Peter Rabbit books around the living room for library visitors to see. I was the intern, relegated to Sara’s bedroom where I could check email. She has quite an imagination. She “read” one of the books to me, spinning an imaginative story that bore to resemblance to the written words.
Tomorrow we’re looking at apartments with two leasing agents, then going to the funeral of our family doctor/Glenn’s mom’s cousin. Dr. Bill was 100. His sons Bruce (our classmate) and Robert and Bruce’s significant other Donna have already held a service in Ohio where Dr. Bill had been living and arranged another in Greenock where he started out.
This morning we attended Dr. Bill’s funeral at the Lutheran Church in Greenock. Robert gave a beautiful eulogy to the man we all remember so well. Two female ministers conducted the service, and as one commented, that was especially fitting since Dr. Bill’s life had been managed by women — his two wives and his office manager. Everyone laughed in recognition. It was freezing cold and very windy, so the burial was short and not graveside.
Later we drove to the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh for a walking tour of the neighborhood. Glenn’s older daughter Michelle discovered ‘Burgh Bits & Bites, and she and her husband have toured two neighborhoods. We picked a different one. Our group of 12 gathered at a Greek deli where we met our leader, an elementary school teacher (ideal skills for this job!). At the deli we tasted yoghurt with honey, feta cheese and other delicacies. Then on to a series of local restaurants and a cupcake shop where we tasted their wares. We also visited an art gallery that focuses on local artists. By the end of the tour, we definitely didn’t need dinner. Check them out: http://www.burghfoodtour.com
16 March, Minneapolis MN
Back home. Yesterday Sara and I went to the nail shop. She had a manicure with a shamrock on each nail, and I had a pedicure. Nice way to spend a snowy day.
Tonight I went to a Northwestern alumni reception that promised food that I never saw. Had a glass of wine so I’m glad I took the bus. Had a nice visit with one other "older" alum, Sally, that I haven't seen in some time.
This morning I went to see Lydia, my nurse practitioner, about my increasing sciatic pain in my left leg. Tried everything from aspirin to Tylenol. The pain got so bad in PA that I called the clinic, then went to the emergency room at their direction. No blood clots or anything, thankfully. Lydia ordered an MRI so we can see how bad my back is. In the meantime, I find sleeping on the opposite side helps.
Now I’m off to St. Pat’s Day dinner with Sabrina, Mark and Christopher in St. Paul.
Several months back Randy, an old friend from the now defunct Brunch Bunch, invited me to the Minnesota Opera. Last year we heard the opera made of Stephen King’s The Shining. This year it was Dinner at Eight. We agreed it was good but had no memorable tunes we’d be humming. The opera program did have a memorable description of one of the actors: “(the actor) was praised in the Minneapolis Star Tribune for his ‘large, ingratiating baritone’” in another production. Randy and I agreed that “ingratiating” didn’t sound like a compliment and could not imagine why the actor chose the quote. Ah, well.
Dinner at the Commodore beforehand was fun. That place reminded both Randy and me of our late friend John who would’ve loved the art deco, 1920s feel of the place, as well as the craft cocktails. We were celebrating Randy’s retirement from teaching music to junior high kids (h e was my niece Tomery’s saxophone teacher). Randy’s got the travel bug even worse now that he’s retired and takes off soon for Down Under and later for Europe. Yay, Randy.
Friend/neighbor Maryanne and I decided to catch “Real Housewives of Edina, Part II,” having enjoyed the original last year. Funny and well worth an afternoon, but not going to see Part III if there is one. Nice dinner afterwards at Zelo, a favorite among my crowd; we’re all glad it’s open again. So many places along Nicollet Mall are closing because the renovations have made a mess of the place. The Local has a huge sign across the upper front that announces it’s open and they’re playing loudish music into the street.
|Breakfast with nephew Craig and his beautiful family,|
Jaiden, April an Alijah
Well, I survived my first MRI on Thursday. I had no idea what to expect and was afraid I’d get claustrophobic, so I took a pill to relax me. I think it kicked in when I got home afterwards. But I could see beyond my feet to the outside, so (like my mom in PA’s tunnel) that made it easier to be confined.
Overall it’s been a busy week of lunches, including friend Cathy that I haven’t seen in at least a year, and today my niece Michelle. Michelle made us a reservation at Young Joni, a new restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis that has gotten rave reviews. And we’d do the same. We shared small plates that were well flavored, interesting and just the right size.
Tonight Michelle and I recorded a Podcast with Brett Robert Gebbie who hosts “Inspect Your Elders.” My friend Susan had done one with him and recommended me. Michelle and I had had a conversation about “life purposes,” and that was the theme of the Podcast. It’s on iTunes — Check it out, episode 19.” https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inspect-your-elders/id1056231530?mt=2
Lydia called and said I need another MRI, with contrast, because they found “something” undefinable on my kidney. I am trying not to panic; my mother had a malignant tumor in one of her kidneys. After her kidney was removed, Mom needed no more treatment but … Lydia also scheduled me for Monday with the physical medicine doctor to work on my sciatica.
MRI with contrast over and done. Now to wait ….
I really like the physical medicine (rehab), and not just because she went into my record and read the MRI results to me (nothing to worry about). She was thorough, thoughtful and easy to talk with. We agreed I’d do a round of Prednisone for the sciatica and see a physical therapist for some exercises I can do. Setting up much more is pointless since I’ll be gone. I see her again after I’m back from PA.
Tomorrow lunch with two St. Paul Companies friends Jan and Sue. Jan and I go to Gay Men’s Chorus on Friday, and I’m taking my sister to West Side Story at the Ordway on Saturday. In between, some conference calls related to the changes at the Center in Sandomierz — Halina is retiring, and I just learned so is Halinka. What a hole in institutional memory that will leave.
|Coffee on the deck one day ...|
|An a couple of days later ... argh!|
Had a great time with Alijah today. He spent the afternoon with me while his dad/my nephew Craig went to a work meeting. I took his car seat so we could go to Costco, where he was perfectly behaved. He ate all of the lunch I fixed, and we played car for a while. Practice for Thursday when Glenn and I will take care of his younger granddaughter Emma, 2.5 years old, for much of the day. I leave Wednesday for two weeks in PA.
13 April, Mount Pleasant PA
I have a new name. We were in Glenn’s living room, Emma was playing, Glenn was on the computer and I needed a bathroom break. Emma noticed that I was gone and said something to Glenn, which he didn’t catch. Then she repeated, “Where’s Gramma?” I am happy to accept the the moniker.
Emma exhausted herself mid-afternoon and curled up on the floor for a nap. We woke her two hours later so she’d be ready for bedtime later.
Lots of shopping and prep for Easter dinner at Glenn’s on Saturday. He hosts the family on Saturday as the daughters go to their husbands’ families on Easter.
16 April, Easter Sunday
Whew! A very hectic weekend, but good times too. Glenn’s brisket was fantastic, along with the rest of the meal her prepared. The granddaughters got so many gifts it was like Christmas. Glenn’s younger daughter Jen put together a Barbie Dream House for niece Sara, quite a feat as was getting in home in the car, I’m sure.
Today we were with older daughter Michelle’s husband’s family. Reminded me of holidays at 714 when I was a kid — people and tables everywhere, enough food to feed an army and lots of good cheer. It was thoughtful of Michelle’s mother-in-law Mindy to include us. Mindy does an Easter egg hunt for her granddaughters — dozens of plastic eggs filled with trinkets were hidden in plain sight all over the huge back yard.
19 April, State College PA
Glenn has a meeting at Penn State tomorrow; something related to his membership on the board of the Ag Extension Service in his county. So we drove up tonight after taking our friend Suzie out to celebrate her birthday. The restaurant she picked was in Johnstown, where Glenn and I took Sara to a movie a few weeks ago. You may remember Johnstown for its famous flood. The restaurant was at the top of the hillside above the city and next to the incline that brings folks up the hill from below. Not only was the view spectacular, the food was also very good — just too much.
21 April, Alexandria VA
While Glenn was at his meeting yesterday, I played tourist in State College and nearby Boalsburg. Had lunch in a colonial tavern/inn, did some souvenir shopping, enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air.
We’re staying with Glenn’s cousin Donald and had dinner in Old Town Alexandria with Donald and his girlfriend Kristin. Tomorrow it’s dinner with my friend Inga and her new beau, Craig.
OMG — Inga has a contract to sell the house! It wasn’t back on the market, but someone who’d seen it earlier decided to make a bid, then accepted Inga’s counter. Hurray!
PS I like Inga's beau Craig.
23 April, Mount Pleasant PA
A bit of trial by fire for Glenn before we left DC area. Madhouse of conversation during brunch with two of my friends Aideen and Regina and their sons Mickey and Roan. Glenn managed very well.
25 April, Minneapolis MN
“Home again, home again, jiggetty jig” — or home for a while longer. I’ve settled on an apartment in Squirrel Hill — one bedroom, not far off Murray Avenue which is the commercial street, easy access to the Parkway and roads to Glenn’s (only an hour away and no security lines!). I will learn to love walking up steps, I will learn to love walking up steps, I will ….
|Spring is finally springing in Minneapolis|