Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And Me Without My Camera

Went for a walk after work with Jody today.  Decided to leave the camera home and take an umbrella instead.  The sky was looking like rain, and frankly, we spend so much time talking that I forget to take pictures.  Well, we saw a few things today that you're just going to have to imagine.  I'll try and describe them the best I can.  And, will try to get down there tomorrow with the camera and see if I get a second chance.  I'm all about second chances.

Didn't see much except vast quantities of dog poop on the sidewalks (what is up with that?) until just before the little beach.  There was a puddle in the grass near the shore, about a yard across, with six ducklings swimming around.  They were SO cute!   They were paddling about, or stopping to push their bills around in the water and grass.  They were SO cute!  Oh, I said that already.  But, they were SO cute!  

When we got to the little beach we noticed there wasn't much beach there.  The water is really high right now from all the rain.  No swimmers today, but there was a family strolling up and down at water's edge.   It was a pair of geese with their fluffy yellow goslings.   They were SO cute!  They were just like the human toddlers you see waddling along the shore with mom or dad close at hand.   The parents were watching everyone closely as they walked by, but weren't aggressive, even though they were pretty near the sidewalk.   Did I mention that the babies were SO cute!   I can't help myself.  Baby animals make me melt. 

Speaking of babies, Jody and her hubby were Up North, visiting their son over the weekend.  A neighbor called them at 7 a.m. one morning to let them know his mare had foaled.  They got to see that cute little baby when it was just a couple of hours old!  I would have loved that!  

We were almost done with our walk when Jody noticed a Great Blue Heron sitting on a downed tree that was out in the water.  It was beautiful.  Just stood there on that tree staring back at us.  

I do have some pictures though, courtesy of Jody.   These were used recently for her church's 100th anniversary celebration - fittingly the church is Lake Nokomis Lutheran.  

This was a dredge used at Lake Nokomis, before it was called that.  It was no more than 5 feet deep and was really a slew hole or swamp.  I have read that they found the sand that was used for the beaches under the muck and mud they dredged away.  In the beginning it was called Lake Amelia.

It must have been quite a spectacle to watch the making of a lake.

Just want to let the kids out there know that water parks are nothing new. 

Jody and I,  and some of the neighborhood gang down at the lake for a swim.  When was this Jody?  About 1969 or 1970? 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thank You!

This is a thank you to family and friends who are gone, but not forgotten, those who served in the military for us, and those who stayed at home, working, waiting, and trying to stay positive while waiting for word of their loved ones.   Bob and I spent a lot of time at Ft. Snelling today, and visited two other cemeteries as well, to pay our respects to departed family members.  We placed flags and flowers and said our thanks and said "miss you/love you" to one and all.
Where do I start?   I will start with my parents.   Dad spent his entire Service, after basic training, on Kodiak Island, Alaska, and then as an MP here at the end of the war  before being mustered out.   He was fortunate not to see battle, but he was still at war, in a foreign country (at that time), and he was there for the duration without leave.
This is my Dad:

And then, there's my Mom.  This is their wedding picture.  They met at the end of the war, when he was an MP. 

Their marriage didn't last, and Mom's at another cemetery, but that doesn't really matter today.

I miss them both so much, and think of them everyday.

Before my Dad, there was his dad, my Grandpa Herrian.  He was a Doughboy.  He spent time in France during WWI.  I don't have a picture of his marker, but, I have a picture of him in uniform.  He died when I was 3 or 4, and  I really don't remember him, but, he was my Grandpa, and he fought for us, and I love him.
Grandpa Herrian's the one on the left.

Then, there's Bob's Mom. 
She was at home with three young daughter's, one a newborn, while her husband was fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  We still have Alvin with us- he'll be 90 this summer.  Thank you Dad.  And, thank you Mom, we miss you so much!

Dorothy isn't the only member of her family at Ft. Snelling.  Her father, Bob's Grandpa Art, is there - another WWI Doughboy.  He was a lovely, witty man, and I was lucky to have known him.
Then there's Dorothy's Brother, Bob's Uncle Glenn 
And his wife Marion
And, Glenn and Marion's son Bill, Bob's Cousin. 
Father, Son, Daughter, Grandson.

Bob has another uncle here as well, his Dad's oldest brother, Emil, and his wife Bea.

Emil and Bea  lived on my block when I was growing up.  I went to school with their kids, actually graduated with their daughter Ardis.  Knew them long before I met Bob.  It's a small world!

Above are Uncle Kenny & Auntie Jeanette, my Dad's sister and brother-in-law.  We spent every Thanksgiving and every 4th of July with them when I was young.  Miss you both!

And this is my Mom's brother, my Uncle Boedy and my Auntie Stelle.  They were my Godparents.
Uncle Boedy also fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  Boedy & Stelle are at Resurrection Cemetery, where my Mom is.  He chose not to be at Ft. Snelling.  He didn't like to remember....

While we were still at Ft. Snelling we also visited the parents of My Two Linda's.

Linda One I grew up with.  We lived just a couple doors apart.  We have known each other all our lives.  Our parents were friends, our brothers are friends, her older sisters babysat me.  I got to go to the cabin with them frequently, and Kenny & Jeanette were a second set of parents to me.

Did any of you catch that there are two couples here named Kenny & Jeanette?

Linda Two was my Maid of Honor.  We met while working together at McDonald's, when I was still in high school.   Her parents are here, but she lives out West,  and her brother is out East, and they don't get to visit often, so Bob and I paid them a visit today.  Gerry and Phyllis were great people and I was blessed to have known them.
(Linda, that's a caterpillar on top of the stone - it looked happy there so I left it).

Last, but not least, we visited Bob's sister, Polly.  She was the the newborn daughter that Bob's Dad left behind, along with two toddler's.  We lost Polly way too soon and we miss here a great deal.  She was the favorite.  Favorite aunt, favorite sister. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

I went on a cemetery tour today.  I took my friend Jody, for her birthday.  She digs old cemeteries, and I can understand why.  A lot of you will know this cemetery.  It used to be called Layman's Cemetery, but now goes by the name of Minneapolis Pioneers & Soldiers Memorial Cemetery.   If that doesn't ring any bells, it's the cemetery on the corner of Cedar & Lake.  Yes, that's the one.  Remember taking the 19 bus downtown, riding down Cedar Avenue past that old, old cemetery?  Never saw a funeral happening there, never saw anyone visiting.  
This is the caretakers cottage.  It's the oldest standing block building in Mpls.  Yes, it's even older than the buildings at Ft. Snelling, because those have been rebuilt - this is original.  It's beautiful in it's simplicity.  The back area is where they stored the bodies from November until spring, when the ground thawed enough to dig again.  That's just the way it was here in Minnesota and other cold weather states.

The "oldness" of this cemetery boggles the mind.  To see the marker of someone born in 1793, and who served in the War of 1812, is pretty cool.   This man was an abolitionist.  This cemetery is pretty amazing as it was open to all, regardless of race or religion, though of course this being Minnesota, the majority of the people here appear to be Scandinavian.  Imagine that!

People weren't segregated here, except for the very poor who were in the "Potter's Field" area, which has very few markers.  There are also a couple of mass graves back here where the University of Minnesota Medical School had bodies buried that had been used for medical research back in the 19-teen's.

About half of the people buried here were children. 

These two markers were swallowed up by a tree.

 Civil War Vets.

Jody noticed this old mailbox inside the gate and asked about it.  Apparently it's the "dead letter box."   Hey, it's not my joke - that's what the tour director said.

After the tour, we went to lunch at the Longfellow Grille.  Great food and great conversation.  We caught up, talked about family and friends and what's been happening in our lives.  We also debated some of the great food issues of our generation - we agree on Jif over Skippy, Heinz instead of Hunts, and that Ambassador hotdogs are the best.  We do differ on plain vs. ripple chips, and Jody likes Lays but I'm an Old Dutch kind of girl.  But, we were able to put these differences aside, and we remain friends. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Busy, busy, busy.   My vegetables are planted, though not my annuals.   My iris are starting to bloom.  Looks like almost everything survived the winter, except the Hollyhock.

Saturday morning my Sister-In-Law and I were treated to pedicures by Princess Kitty as a Mother's Day gift.  Afterwards, we walked over to the Loring Kitchen for brunch on the patio.  What a great way to spend the morning.  It was too lovely out to be at home, so I called a friend and we met for the afternoon, sitting outside, taking and enjoying the lovely day.  Of course there was knitting and coffee in the mix.

On Mother's Day, Catman made breakfast for us, and then after the kitchen was cleaned up Princess Kitty showed up.  So, he made breakfast again for his Princess.  He cleaned up again while the Kitten and I walked around the lake.   There were plenty of people out already, picnics being set up, parents and kids wading at the beach,  bikers, joggers and walkers.  People just enjoying the morning.  
Princess Kitty needed a picture of the Unicorn, and I needed a picture of her.

There were several boats out with fisherpeople in them. 

The sailboats are starting to appear.

When we got home we headed for the backyard where we sat and talked, and visited with the neighbors.  
 Princess Kitty decided the garden gnome needed to be repainted. 
 She also painted a couple of bird houses for the neighbor.

Catman got my new basket from Catboy put on my bike, and adjusted my brakes.  My Kittens are already teasing me about the basket.  I keep hearing them humming music from the Wizard of Oz.  You all know the scene - the nasty neighbor woman (a.k.a. wicked witch)  riding her bike down the road with Toto in the wicker basket.   Humpffff..........I'll get you, My Pretties!

Catman grilled ribs for dinner and we called it a day.  
It was a lovely weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Just Like Riding A Bike.........

I am so going to pay for this tomorrow!  
I rode my bike around the lake today.  It's the first time I've been on a bike in 25 years!!!!!  Seriously. 
Isn't it cute?  Of course it's blue.  Is there any other color it could be?
This is my new, two year old bike.  I bought it two years ago, at the end of the season, but I was very, very afraid to ride it.  Some of you know, some of you don't, but I had gastric bypass surgery three and a half years ago.  I had lost most of my weight by the time I bought the bike, but I wasn't fit yet.  I didn't have much balance.  I really was scared to get on it, so I didn't. 

I took yoga that winter, and started doing more physically, and I got my balance back.  I could feel it.  But last summer the bike hung in the garage.  I asked a couple of times in the spring for Catman or Catboy to get it down for me, but it didn't happen.  We were all busy with whatever, and I quit asking,  because frankly,  I was still scared.  And then I started this blog in January,  and I upped my walking significantly, and have felt better than ever, but still, today I was just a little afraid to get on and ride off.

I'm not afraid of much, but there are things that scare the hell out of me, like looking silly!  Bike helmets look really silly.  I didn't want to look silly. I'm a wee bit vain.  I admit it.  It's who I am.   But, I bought a helmet, and I wore it.  What scares me more than looking silly is a head injury.  Catman had a slip and fall a little over a year ago and suffered a head injury.  It was pretty serious, but fortunately he recovered.  Some people don't. 

So even though I might look silly, and it definitely messes up my already crazy hair, I wore my helmet.  It's pink, and it has butterflies on it, and I don't care how silly I look.  Well, maybe I do care a little, but I'll get over it.

So, I got a little bit past the half way point and I was feeling it.  I stopped, took a couple of pictures and sat on the bench for a few minutes.  Then I rode on for awhile but had to stop and sit again.  I thought I was getting in pretty good shape with all my walking and yoga, but damn, this bike ride was not as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Just down to the lake, once around including the lagoon, and home.  Piece of cake, right?  Wrong.   But I finished without any more stops, other than for traffic lights, and made it home safe and sound.
I didn't get to ring my kick-ass bell, but I guess that's a good thing.  No close encounters with other bikers, and no wipe-outs.

The only thing I need yet is a nice basket.  Pink to match the helmet, or blue to go with the bike?  Yes, I'm a geek.  My kittens tell me that often.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

You Say Potato......... I say Crick

After a week or so of on and off rain, everywhere you look it's a glorious green.   I went down my Minnehaha Creek, where it used to flow into Lake Nokomis, while also flowing along through Minnehaha Golf Course and Lake Hiawatha, on it's way to Minnehaha Falls and the mighty Mississippi.   Geography lesson aside, it was absolutely stunning this morning. 
It's still very overcast today, and coolish, but the colors!  And the noise.  I wish I could do audio.  The sound of the water running, the trees rustling and the birds!   I thought about not going, because of the gloom, but I'm so glad I did.

I can't help but smile when I look at this.  You can see the water flowing, can you hear it?  Listen for the birds.  There were cardinals and robins signing, and sparrows chirping.  

I had such a hard time editing out pictures today.  I had almost 80 shots when I got home! 

You can see where the old dam used to be.  There's still a little bit of a rapids there.

I didn't say they were BIG rapids.  A babbling brook maybe?  They sound mightier than they look.

I do call the creek a crick every once in awhile.  I think a lot of us who grew up around here did.   When I use it's formal name I tend to say creek, but other times I'll say something like, "she lives over by the crick." 

With all the rain, new "lakes" have formed along Cedar Avenue on the lagoon side.

These Wood Ducks were enjoying the new pond.  There were geese and other ducks around it as well.

I don't think this little stream has a name - it's the outlet off of the lagoon that flows back toward the 5-8 Club, and Mother's Lake.    
It's sometimes hard to remember you're in the city, until you turn around and see the traffic.....

As I was walking to my car I saw this....
I laughed out loud.  It was so totally unexpected!   This tree definitely needs a name!