Sunday, December 30, 2012

Property Brothers Adventure

Yesterday I clicked off several things on my to-do list, and only about 8 PM in the evening did I remember I had intended to go to the Mall of America to see the Property Brothers. Pulled out the schedule and found I had one more chance.

I left home around noon. Last evening I had checked all the Sunday bus schedules rather thinking about going via bus and train. Should have, for I drove around the parking ramp about the same amount of time it had taken me to drive to the Mall.

Went to the HGTV area and inquired. Found I needed to get a wrist band to be admitted for the Property Brothers segment.

 Did a bit of shopping and then stopped for a coffee. At the same time I was in the coffee line, an HGTV staff person appeared. He was busy telling the coffee staff that people were in line for wrist bands at 10:30 ! The crowd was even more than they had expected after the experience yesterday.

Got in line and waited.

The afternoon event began with the light show.

The brothers appeared and talked for about 45 minutes and then took some Twitter questions as well as spoken questions from the audience. It was quite interesting, and I didn't find standing up all the time too troublesome.

People were standing too all around the rotunda.

Then we all had the chance to have a photo.

The guys are obviously at least a foot taller than me!

In line behind me was a father with a boy about 7 years old. The young boy couldn't see the stage during the presentation; he was so very quiet. His father said he first starting watching Property Brothers, but now his son watches more than he does.

Fun afternoon, like going to see a rock star!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Beautiful Night in the Neighood

To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, it's a beautiful night in the neighborhood. My older daughter and I drove around a bit last night about bit to see the nearby lights and take some photos to share with you.

By the way on December 24, the number of readers for this blog crossed 24,000 and new country for readers -- Venezuela -- popped up, too.

Very close is the Forepaugh House, now operated as a restaurant.

Close by is the hospice operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor. I see the hospice building up on the bluff from my apartment. The nativity scene below is by the home for the Sisters.

Next I spotted a lovely wreath on a building for a tattoo parlor!

I have been admiring the lights along West Seventh Street. The fence is lined with blue lights on one side while the trees on the other side have red lights.

We headed for Rice Parks and I drove around the blocks several time before being able to find a parking place for a few minutes. The musical Elf was finishing its run at the Ordway Center.

Here is the large tree in Rice Park. This is a donated tree -- coming from a yard where it must be removed for some reason.

The surrounding trees are in white lights.

These trees will remain lighted until the end of Winter Carnival in late January.

The Lawson Building features a candle.

On the way home we came by the District Heating office - I always like this view in the winter.

Hope you enjoyed a view of my neighborhood!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December Afternoon Walk

About 2:45 PM I set off on just a little walk to see what the level of the river is these days. I had read a report that the recent blizzard that roared across the country just south of the Twin Cities had added some very necessary moisture to our environment. We have had some moisture too since Thanksgiving, so I was curious.

The exhaust from the district heating plant was rising straight up, meaning there was really no wind. That was good, for while the temperature was 19 ( -7 C), it felt much colder. Last time for awhile that I will venture out without a hat!

Found what I'll again call a snow figure along the fence.

This one has a carrot -- a very frozen carrot -- for a nose.

The Wabasha Bridge was throwing interesting reflections into the river.

 Oh and the river -- Looking at a place where I often estimate the level, I think the river is up about 10 inches from the very lowest point this fall. That leaves it still 2-3 feet below low normal.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Making Christmas Tradition

Here I am decorating Christmas cookies with my 3.5 year old granddaughter.

These are designs that only a 3 year old would love!

But perhaps more important will be a memory of making them!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Out to Mall of America

I have an important social event coming up in January -- one that landed unexpectedly on my schedule after I made lots of other plans. I need a pair of shoes to wear for this event, so decided today to head to Nordstrom's at the Mall of America. It obviously is the Christmas shopping season. Prior experience plus stories recently about people driving around the parking ramp for 30 minutes before finding a space gave me the idea to take the bus and then the train to the Mall.

Found that HGTV has arrived at the Mall.

The space was very quiet today -- no designers doing day presentations. Picked up the schedule and will try to get back the weekend after Christmas to see the Property Brothers!
Huge trees have been installed in the central rotunda. There are three light shows a day, too, but my timing was wrong for everything.

I had to look twice at this wreath.

 It's made from paint brushes!

Continued on through Nickelodeon Universe, the amusement park in the center of the mall.

This are is decorated with very modern decorations.

The Mall decorations this year are very understated. Just large Christmas balls.

Good afternoon and oh, where did I end up shoe shopping -- at the Flip Flop store! Don't need Jimmy Choo shoes that cost $442, even for a social event!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Christmas Tradition

A major holiday is celebrated in many different ways among cultures and within cultures. My church has one lovely Christmas tradition. About 10 days before Christmas there is a musical Saturday night.

The church is decorated only with fresh green trees.

The first 30 minutes of the evening involve singing Christmas carols. The facilitator makes it so much fun. He asks for choices by persons "who used to be red heads" or "who are under 10" or "who are sitting in the cheap seats." Perhaps those readers in other countries may not understand "cheap seats." That means those sitting in the very back. In a paid theater those tickets would be the least expensive, but I'm certain with that explanation everyone understands and knows how this fits with theater in their countries. Obviously, we don't charge admission for this.

The next 30 minutes is a concert by the various choirs of the church. And always the music is magnificent.

The final 30 minutes -- which frankly takes longer than 30 minutes -- is food.
There were tables covered with Christmas goodies.

One is free to put together whatever combination desired -- caroling and food, concert and food, or all three!

I volunteered for clean-up committee and became queen of the dishwasher.

When leaving I found this:

Someone had made what I'm calling snow creatures and sat them up on a railing. These aren't part of the Christmas tradition -- we certainly can't plan on having such wet snow every year-- nor do I wish for such wet snow. We did end up with a mess!

Comments about Christmas traditions would be welcome. It's fun to learn how celebrations happen in other places.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Card World

I had a morning meeting and then stopped at Target for some shopping. By the time I was coming home the sun had popped out. Yet the world was so beautiful from yesterday's snowfall -- no wind to blow the snow off the trees and not enough sun yet to melt the snow. So I decided to take a bit of side trip through nearby Irvine Park.

The views within the park were definitely stereotypical Christmas card views.

The cloud-like structure behind the tree is actually steam coming out of the District Heating plant. The temperature at this time was about 12 degrees ( -11 C).

The idea of Christmas cards is further re-enforced by the Victorian style houses that surround this charming little park.

But the lamp post clinches the idea of a Christmas card.

 By the way when I was coming home from Polish class tonight the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees (something like -16 C). Brr!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like .....

Winter! A snowstorm blew in last evening and the snow has been coming down all day. I went to 9 AM church and was really glad to get home. By the time I returned there was probably about 4 inches of snow and that made coming down all the hills a bit breath -taking, particularly when a pedestrian decided to walk out in front of me, walking against the light.

I took a walk about 3:30 PM to see how the world now looked. The snow was still coming down and the sky was cloudy; thus the photos are not very bright. 
Here's how the fence looks along the ramp entrance to my building.

I enjoyed seeing how the trees looked with this wet snow.

No one will soaking up the sun on these benches for awhile.

Someone had made a snowman.

And I really liked this fence design.

These stairs show how deep is the snow.

 The snow has capped the fire hydrant. The red stakes outline the sidewalk so the person clearing the walk knows where it is.

Someone had tried to decorate this tree. The Christmas balls look a bit strange because of how the snow is clinging to them.

And here's a scene right out of a Dickens' Christmas story.

So now the big dig-out begins!

Walking Minneapolis Skyways

Yesterday I set off just at sunrise for a restaurant where I had breakfast. Then I hopped a bus to the 46th Street Station of the light rail and went to downtown Minneapolis. There I took a bus to 9th Street and started to find the YMCA.  It wasn't where it used to be. I asked about three people before one told me it can't be found anymore at street level and so then I finally found a way to get into the skyway and started towards where I thought it should be. But while on street level I got a nice photo of a street sculpture.

As can be seen we had a skiff of snow yesterday.

Finally got into the skyway, found the YMCA, got my route map and then took off.

But some readers may be asking what is a skyway.

Here is a view of one as it crosses a street. One can get all over the downtown area of Minneapolis -- and also St. Paul -- without going outside. This obviously is an advantage in the winter months!

Here is a view of one from the inside.

This skyway is empty because it was early on a Saturday morning when businesses are closed, as well as many of the fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses such as dry cleaners.

The route took us over to Target Field and its associated parking garage. On the way back the sun popped out a bit, and I got this photo of Target Field.

 I looked down and noticed that the snow had made a very interesting pattern with the light rail tracks.

We headed through the skyways to Target Center (see a pattern here!) and then into the retail area between Neiman Marcus and Sak's Fifth Avenue Outlet.

The stained glass in the ceiling makes this a very attractive space, and holiday decorations are just icing on the cake. I stopped in this area for a bit and had a cup of coffee.

Then the route took off east and then quite a bit north through the skyway system to the Churchill condo buildings. Then the route backtracked towards the Convention Center. Somewhere in here I took a wrong turn and never found the "wood paneled skyway." I took an exit outside and walked a couple blocks and then entered another building and got back on the skyway. A walk through the Convention Center skyways produced a chance to get a nice picture of the Minneapolis skyline (complete with a window reflection, sorry).

We needed to get to the Hyatt Hotel and look over the balcony and count how many steps separated the main floor from the lounge area to prove we had really walked this far.

Then backtracked towards the start/finish point.

While in the skyway for the International Center I couldn't resist one of those "mirror" photographs.

I passed through the atrium of the IDS building. It always feels like a summer day here.

When I got the start/finish point, the woman at the desk asked for my start number. I thought she simply wanted to check me off on the list. Instead she said, "You won a door prize."

Much to my delight I received a Christmas ornament from Uzbekistan.

This more than made up for the initial frustration I had in finding the YMCA and the start desk.

Took the train back to the 46th Station and then grabbed a bus back to where I had parked my car. A good time walking in the Minneapolis skyways.