Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Adventures and Misadventures

I will remember this Thanksgiving as the one in which many things broke! I noticed my car was driving funny, and noticed while it was parked on Tuesday before Thanksgiving that it looked like a tire was getting very flat. What to do? On Wednesday morning I got up at 6 AM and was at my service center at 7 AM. It turned out that that two tires had bead leaks and basically needed also to be replaced. I got them both temporarily fixed and came home to work and try to get ready for Thanksgiving. I decided to put together a salad, composed of cranberries and pineapple with some gelatin to hold it all together. It never made to the refrigerator; instead it went crashing down on the floor.
As can be seen, I had quite a mess. And the book on the floor? It is a library book, rather damaged, and that cost me $27.00 yesterday.

I cleaned up the floor the best I could and used some wet Swifters to clean up the floor more. Then I wandered out into a snow storm to pick up my older daughter and then deliver clean laundry back to my other daughter's family. I was glad to get home and glad to have tires in better shape for driving on such roads.

I came home and got out the scrub bucket and cleaned up the floor more. Cleaning up this mess is rather like cleaning up Easter grass. It ends up everywhere. I still keep seeing drops of this mess on places like cupboards. Since I had made a half recipe of the salad, I did it again. Also put together a strata for breakfast the next morning. Well, that didn't work either.

Up early on Thanksgiving morning to make pies and other preparations for a Thanksgiving meal. Thankfully the weather was much better than forecast.

I took the strata out of the refrigerator and noticed the eggs had leaked out of the pan into the salad. So that salad went into the garbage, too.

We had a nice breakfast and then started cooking the turkey. Pictures, too. No matter what we did we never got every one in the picture at the same time. This one shows my grandchildren and older daughter with me. My younger daughter got squeezed out of the image.

We enjoyed the Macy's parade on TV. This is Nilima enjoying the Sponge Bob balloon, her current TV interest.
On Friday I took my older daughter to meet the rest of the family to go shopping. I came home for a bit and then took off for the Black Friday service at my church. I got distracted by the low sunlight coming in a garage window and took the turn too short and scraped up a fender on my car on a post. And of course, this was on the side that had never before been hit. (The driver side has been hit by other people two times; this is the first bang-o I've put into the car.)

Elena had a great shopping trip, home with a new winter coat, which she definitely needed.

We settled down on Saturday to watch the Minnesota-Iowa football game, and it didn't turn out right. I may live in Minnesota, but I'm a University of Iowa graduate. Why did Minnesota have to pick this game to be the first one this season to win at home?

Somewhere along here the dishwasher began to misbehave. The sound totally changed, and I was having problems getting the water to drain out. Today we finally verified that the pump is not working. Sometime in the next two days this is supposed to be repaired. So we had a lovely family day, but oh, how many things decided to break!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thinking about Values

This morning before sunrise I was out and about to a breakfast meeting event called Immigration Matters. This was sponsored by ECHO, a service here in the Minnesota to provide Emergency and Community Health Outreach to our immigrant and refugee populations. No other place in the United States has such a service. One immigrant said, "We didn't know what winter flu was anymore than we knew winter tires are." We really thought about the vitality of the new people in our state and how Minnesota is  better place because of the new Americans we have.

This event was hosted by the Wilder Foundation, a foundation that works in social service areas such as mental health treatment, residential homes for emotionally disturbed children, and other usually unmet needs in communities. As the sun lighted the outdoor courtyard I could see the words on the wall of the nearby parking ramp.

A man sitting beside me, himself an immigrant, spoke with me after the formal program and said one of the best things of Minnesota is that this is place where people care about relationships, not just statistics. I was quite surprised at this observation and grateful that he shared it with me.

I found this beautiful scene outdoors as I left to return home.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Snow Emergency

Oh, I was wrong. There is a snow emergency and I'm watching cars getting tickets and being towed out. To get the car back costs about $200! I don't think people expected a snow emergency with want we have. However, it is a very wet snow and getting it off the streets is a good idea, for soon it will freeze in the ruts. Thus plowing now means we don't have to drive on it until March.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Winter Arrives

Summer has ended in Minnesota. This morning I awoke to seeing snow out the window. The snow is one of those very wet and messy kind. It was nice to be able to stay at home all day and watch it out the window.
I tried to convince myself it would be good to get outside and walk for a bit. Walking was slow, it was hard to pull one's foot out of the snow for each step.
So on Wednesday I went for a walk quite comfortably in my shirt sleeves and on Saturday by the same area I find this!

Oh well, let's celebrate the first 12 days of November! Winter was inevitable.
And update: The first snow plow was out on the nearby street at 10 PM this evening. If one has to live in snow, Minnesota is the best place, and Saint Paul is even better. A snow fall is cleared in 24 hours from the start of the snow emergency. This snow fall didn't generate that, and emergency is perhaps an over-rated word. It means in this case a time when parking is restricted on streets until they are plowed. The news media will announce a snow emergency.  And as I write I see plows clearing the nearby 4 lane road that is pictured in the first photo above. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Summer in November

is quite an adventure.

Yesterday, November 10, I went out for a walk at lunch time in my shirt sleeves. Quite amazing for November. The dandelions must find it amazing too.

This week work in being done on the river bank. There is a very damaged cement layer over the river bank that is being pulled off and replaced with natural limestone. It is real fun to walk out the door and see all this.

I took the above photo about 4 PM when the fall light helps to create the most amazing reflections in the water.
Meanwhile traffic continues on the river. While the engine boat pushes the barges, it is still called a tow. There are two tows down at the Lower Landing waiting for their loads. (I live at what used to be the Upper Landing.). Lower Landing is about 1 mile down river.

This will all come to an end probably this weekend when the snow showers arrive, but it surely is fun while it lasts!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beautiful Adventures

We are having a lovely start to November, apparently due to the lack of snow in Canada, so the air flowing south is warmer than usual. I took a walk about 4 PM yesterday along the river and got some lovely views.

I was entranced by the different colors one could see on the river surface.

And looking east what a great reflective scene.

This is the Wabasha Bridge. Much of the summer flags fly from the posts on the bridge, but they've been put away now for the winter. But what a view yesterday!! Beyond the bridge one can see the span for the Robert Street Bridge.

The mirror image of the river boats is a lovely view too.

The days are going too quickly. I have so much work to do and the week just whizzes by and the list is still long. Well, the only thing I can think is that working hard for the next six weeks makes everything after that a down hill run, and makes the next academic year easier, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wise Words -- We Can Survive New Coke

Everyone has a lot to say about the election results. One of the best things I read on Facebook today was to keep working for social, racial, and economic justice. And I like this from Bob Collins in his blog on Minnesota Public Radio's web site:

"What am I supposed to think? " my youngest (adult) son said to me in an e-mail today, after watching and listening to all the post-election rantings.
"It means that somewhere between everything you hear, is real life," I responded. "No matter what people tell you to think, keep working hard, do the best you can, do what you think is right, and everything else will take care of itself. If this country can survive new Coke, it can survive whatever good or bad anyone can throw at it."

Grandparenting Adventures

Here is my granddaughter after her first high school dance. I picked her up so her mom could stay home with my other granddaughter who is only 18 months old.
I also bought the dress  -- one of those adventures that only women can really understand. The dress started at $148, more than either her mom or I would pay. Then I got a 25% coupon for the store and I said we'd look again. We got there and the dress was marked $99.99. I said try it on so we know for sure. We decided to get it and and it rang up at $52.00!! When we were out of the store, I asked for the receipt. Turns out it was on a 30% mark-down and then another 25% off.