Friday, September 07, 2007

Sentimental Parents Tour Twin Cities

With children and a camera in tow, happy parents Natalie and Geoff were seen touring the Twin Cities. They stopped at every corner and tree that ever held a place in their brief yet eventful year of living in the great, white north. The children are reported to have been either bored, indifferent or slightly amused by their parents' cataloging of all things memorable and significant, however unmemorable or insignificant.

Sample monlogues:

"William this is the first house you ever lived in," spoken tearfully and with much import.
Picture a tired, run-down duplex on a noisy, congested street. Many cars are parked where William once sat in his bouncy chair, while his grandpa roasted brats. William, being no more than 10 months old when we moved, is unmoved.

"William this where we used to push you in your stroller around the lake, and you saw swallows and red-winged blackbirds," the mother said pointing to the gates of the nature center, which is closed for the night. Well, it really is a great nature center, but of course no one can appreciate it from the back seat of a rented mini van.

Minnehaha Falls

And going way back in time: "William this where we walked when I was 4 months pregnant with you and I ate pop-corn, a corn-dog and corn on the cob, at the same time!" Does this hold any significance? Where next?

We drove by the resale shop in South Minneapolis, where I bought my first ever preggo outfit. "William, William look! That's where I first got maternity clothes to wear. See it?" Geoff circled the block so everyone could get a second look.

First co-op.
First flower shop, hardware store and coffee shop.
First gardening center... oh, they're closed.
Ah, first toy store!

We pointed out every flower box, playground, museum, house we almost bought, statue, fire hydrant, ATM and river crossing that we ever thought might have had an influence or important role in forging our son into the handsome, caring, kind and intelligent young man that he is today.

Here's a new first: All of us together at Minnehaha Falls

Next time we are in Minneapolis we will add a stop at the bunny statue to our list of must see places and things to do.
No children were (permanently) harmed in the Twin Cities Memory Lane Tour.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And I Love Minneapolis Too

Our history with Minneapolis goes back to late winter of 1990; that's when we were first there, visiting family and thinking of starting a family of our own. We came back to the Twin Cities later that summer, on our way to Wisconsin, and we were totally smitten. We saw greenbelts, bike paths, lakes, rivers, trees, nature and art, and the opportunity to be near another branch of our family tree. It seemed ideal, which is why we jumped at the chance to move there in the fall. What a sudden decision, what a huge change, what a dramatic move! We made Minnesota our home for 13 months... even through the historic snowstorm of '91! Our first son was born there. He was strolled around lakes on frozen paths. He waited out 2 tornadoes. He attended Lake Harriet Church, rode boats on the Mississippi, and even danced the polka at Nye's Polonaise. It was a good start. It was an interesting experience and we like going back and visiting memorable places.

The trouble is, when we go back to our favorite spots my mind gets mooshy and my heart flutters. I start to look for open houses and wonder how bad were those winters really? Oh dear. Then I close my eyes and try to visualize grey everything, subfreezing carseats, lutefisk, and other culture shocks. That helps, but there are so many temptations, and I think there are at least 20 reasons to love Minneapolis in just one neighborhood. Linden Hills. Lake Harriet. Upton Avenue S. Great Harvest Bakery. The Linden Hills Co-op and Linden Hills Natural Home. We love Creative Kidstuff... one of those toy stores that inspires playtime in anyone.

And be still my heart: Wild Rumpus!

"What's the Rumpus?"
The Rumpus is a book store, a gateway to the place where creativity and commerce meet, and where a lot of imaginations have run wild. It's where the wild things are, so let the wild rumpus begin!

Wild Rumpus is my ideal stop for amusement and to suppose that someday I might find all of my favorite things together in my own home or shop, or in my barn, on a houseboat, in my treehouse...

Look for places to curl up and get familiar with a new book.

Expect to be surprised by the little purple door and all the curious corners and nooks that reveal special secrets and delightful sights, like birds, frogs, rats, cats, and look out!

Please, be very careful where you step.

She's a new employee at the Rumpus, and she gets around. You have no idea how emotional this makes me.

There is a little cabin in the middle of the store, where the lights are dim and inside are the rats and lots of scary books. All over the cabin are the letters and art work of visitors to Wild Rumpus... the store is full of evidence that it is a treasured part of a wonderful community.

I met Tomie De Paola the last time we were there. I can see why authors and illustrators would like to go to Wild Rumpus. It would be a delight to see your work and passion displayed and honored in such a cheerful and loving place.

Yes, I can make wishes and daydream all day. I suppose if you have allergies you have to settle for Barnes and Noble, and I am sorry if that's the case. As for me, I will be where the wild things are, running with chickens, curled up with a good book, eating onion rye bread, sipping carrot-apple-ginger-lime juice from the Co-op. Sigh. Deep, deep sigh.

Then, after exploring, isn't it a blessing to be invited home with old friends? Yes, it is. Siah and Marie and Lily had us over for a really delicious dinner, and we played in their garden and plucked blossoms from the basil, sampled tomatoes and cucumbers. I am so glad we can travel and reconnect with people and places... sometimes it feels like no time has passed at all, so easy and natural is the laughter and familiarity.

Of course time is passing, which is why Lily is so much taller and ready to conquer high school, and shopping!

Marie and Siah's home is as warm and welcoming as they are... oh, there goes my mooshy mind and fluttery heart!

More to Love About Oregon

In the interest having time to get a whole lotta of other things accomplished, today's post is a photo collection of a few favorite Oregon moments and sights.
Many pictures; few words.

I love weirdness, like muscleman finger puppets from the gumball machine.

I love quilt shops and the beautiful examples they share. Quilted farm scene? Extra love!

I love that drivers in Oregon stop for pedestrians; ducks too.

I love that the blackberries were growing among this pine tree's branches and that it looked as though the tree were dressed for Christmas.
I am a sucker for those cute forest animal scenes in Christmas cards... little mice and bunnies sipping tea, hanging stockings, singing carols!

I love these three boys. They are a lot of fun everyday and maybe even extra wonderful on road trips.

I love sunlit daisy girls.

I love grandpas and grandsons, and exchanging new skills.

I love puppies. Free puppies. Cute curly haired, drowsy eyed, black, plump puppies. How did I ever get away?

I love slugs. Oh, come on!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to Oregon...

Oh my swirling head! First we were in Oregon and camping and exploring all points between here and there, then we came home to sad, sad news and our week became about comforting friends as best we could. And then snap! we were in Wisconsin and absorbing love and sunlight and zucchini bread!

Geoff did his magic and made my computer cooperate, so that finally I can download pictures. Downloading pictures, for me, is as essential as deep breathing, or pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and I have been lost without my latest photographs... but now there is the dilemma: Do I clean house, share Oregon memories, stay current and share our Wisconsin vacation, or get really on top of things and write about Alex and Max heading back to school? It sort of messes with my sensibilities to mix them all up, which is really hysterically ironic, since the real mix-up is the way the house looks right now. Why doesn't it mess my sensibilities to have the results of Maria's 2 hour paper cutting lesson all over the carpet? Grin.

Well, let's go back to Oregon. I should look at the calendar and remind myself when we were there etc... nah... Let's see... our first full day there was grandmother Eunice's 85th birthday and in her honor we went to the farmer's market in search of local tastees and to enjoy the sights of Coos Bay.

Uncle Dan, Grampa Ronnie, Great-Grandma, Aunt Becky, Max, Alex and William. Maria is holding my leg and my Mom is getting some delicious cranberry-hazelnut bread for breakfast.

My mother makes jewelry and I really, really wish she had a blog and a little Etsy shop, so everyone could see lots of examples of her silver, gold and bead work. She sells in Oregon galleries and shops. She's probably busy enough without having to keep up a blog. She calls her business "BogBeads" in deference to the many cranberry bogs in their neck of the woods. I think of her beads when ever I see fresh berries, like these blackberries from her yard. Beautiful jewelry can be as enticing and tempting as sweet berries!

Delia works at home. Oh my goodness what a wonderland her work area is! Imagine drawers, baskets, boxes and table tops overflowing with beads, gem stones, pearls, tools, wire, threads... and outside her window is the forest; green and serene.

Maria was very mature and respectful and somehow managed to restrain herself. She spilled only one bag of very teeny-tiny beads, and then she was very pleased to help scoop each one up. No harm. No foul. Grin.

I have seen my Mom enjoy many aspects of jewelry making and her latest interest is in making rings, either of gold or silver. Here she is making a gold twisted ring with a plump freshwater pearl.

I need to ask my Mom for the name of this shop. It's an art gallery in Coos Bay, right there with the farmer's market, so if you find yourself in Coos Bay, you can go see her rings, earrings, necklaces and lots of other beautiful artwork, like paintings, textiles, and instruments. After you shop, ask a local to point out "Foodies." It's the smallest food stand ever and it serves only 3 items, all of which are scrumptious.

I took hundreds of photographs in Oregon and the whole trip there and back was wonderful. It will take me a long time to go through all of my pictures and I may never get around to completely summarizing all the things we did and saw. I was with family; that's the main point, the highlight, the inspiration for wanting to go back again soon.

Monday, September 03, 2007

All of The Fans Are Sold

... air conditioning units too.
It's so hot I cannot unpack.
It's so hot Geoff read his entire new book sitting in front of our hugemongous fan.
No one downloaded vacation photos, or shopped for back to school pencils and lunch bags.
We haven't checked the mail.
We can't even pet our cats, that we missed terribly... because it's so dang hot.
We need 5 more fans, a swimming pool, a big bowl of salad, iced drinks, and three more months to get ready for the first day of school.
If I think about how particularly wonderful our trip was, the company and sights, the drive around Lake Harriet, watching the football game at the high school, seeing Sophie play her Saxophone, all those cool rivers, green hills, shaded streets and the 50 degree temperature in the Cave of The Mounds... if I think about all of that, then I will feel even muggier and uggier about this heat. I have only these four mosquito bites on my ankle to remind me that our vacation wasn't absolutely perfect.

If your home is hotter than 88 degrees, if you have no pool or ac... if it's so hot you can't even post a proper summary of a wonderful vacation, then I send you my sympathy and concern.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Central Time?

Or California time, or just bedtime?

We are home. We are tired. We had a whole lotta fun.

... whoa... I am tired. How does that happen?

Tomorrow I will start to play catch-up.