Friday, July 31, 2015

Next Year...Medicare!

Summer has been a busy time here in our neck of the woods, running to and fro with the family.

Our outing last Tuesday with the girls was to Victor's 1959 Cafe where meals are prepared with a Cuban theme.  The decor is eclectic and everything is covered with graffiti.  The kids enjoyed adding their "mark" where ever they could find a spot faded enough to write over.

Then we went to the Mall of America to take in the CSI Experience.  You are assigned a case file and go from room to room looking at the scene, into the lab to examine evidence and trying to find out how the person died and if it was murder, who did it.  We all managed to find the culprit and had a great time in doing so.

Thursday Kiersten had plans to go swimming with a friend, so we took Emily to The Roasted Pear for lunch and then we watched Bones on Netflix while Left Brain mowed the lawn.  Yup, there may be a forensic scientist in the making here.

Today is my birthday, so I opted for a day of shopping for some new clothes since all I seem to have are ratty t-shirts and I really don't own anything dress casual for nicer events.

I'm celebrating 64 years young and with a blue moon as well. Seems fitting

While I was running around from store to store making purchases and singing "Happy Birthday to Me", Wells Fargo was calling Left Brain to report suspicious activity on our card.  I guess if it was at Walmart or buying gas it was questionable.

I sat in the car and had a nice chat with the lady from Wells Fargo and going over each purchase made in the last couple of hours and resolved the issue. 

Tomorrow brings the pickleball tournament and I've been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks now.  Wish me luck!

Long Live the Old Queen 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Quiet Times at the Campground

It was a quiet weekend at our campsite.  Left Brain went for a bike ride and I went to smack the pickleball around the court for a while on Saturday.

Later that evening the family came over for supper, cribbage and conversation.  I kept it simple and made the mashed potatoes the night before.  The crockpot cooked all day outside on the table while I went to play my games.  All I had to do was bake the biscuits and make my dessert before they arrived.

After coming home it was time for a little clean up and shower before they arrived.  It's always fun to see this crazy bunch and share family time with them.

They shared more of the stories from their recent mission trip to Haiti where they poured a cement floor for the new church.  

The tents to the left were their lodging, the large building is the new church and you can see the people on the hillside where they met to play and talk.

On Sunday Left Brain cleaned up from the previous night's gathering, doing all the dishes that were used for our feast, and then took off for his bike ride.

I hauled our dirty duds to the laundromat and later that afternoon met my pickleball buddy, Kathy, for a movie.  We chose to see Magic Mike II.  Boy were we surprised!

It was awkward to say the least as this verged on being pornographic and wasn't what we expected.  Maybe having to show our ID's to get in should have been a clue.  I'm 64 and she's 67, it really should have been a no brainer, but it was fun being asked.

When we came out I asked her if there was a plot that I missed somewhere in all the bump and grind we just watched.  This caused her to start to giggle uncontrollable, and that set me off.

As we chuckled in our respective bathroom stalls I'm sure many were confused as to why we were laughing, since the movie was not billed as a comedy.

We chatted for a bit after the movie and both set off for our homes.  

Left Brain and I had a nice supper and relaxed evening and another perfect weekend came to a close.

Long Live the Queen 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wouterina Sculpture Gardens

I had the opportunity to join some friends for a garden tour about an hour or so from our current home.  The tours are given on Wednesday and Saturdays.  You need at least five people to qualify for the tours at $10 each.  I would have gladly paid much more for the privilege.

With a greeter like this, you just know it's going to be special!
It was like nothing I'd ever seen before, with whimsical concrete sculptures sprinkled among the many gardens, ranging from sunny to shady.

The artist creates these by using a hollow base to make them easier to maneuver, but they are still very sturdy.

There were a variety of themes in the gardens, but all had a folk art feel to them.

the picnic area

the fish bench

There were lots of antiques utilized throughout as well, such as the windmill blades used for this fence.

This barn is the perfect backdrop for the garden.

Lots of rusty metal chairs as well as this charming table created from an old washtub, complete with its feet.
Here's a close up of the top of that table.  Note the spoons that were flattened and pressed into the table top.
We had a great time and there are too many photos to show them all, so I have added a link below if you want to experience more.

I realize that most of my photos here were of the structures and concrete sculpture art, but the plantings were glorious in their own right.

There were paths meandering from garden to garden, with things that begged your attention every way you turned.
There were several little sheds like this (that I guessing hold many of her supplies).
 Almost every entry had some kind of archway to walk through which added to the thrill of each garden.

Here is a link to my Facebook album if you want to see all the photos I took on the garden tour.

Long Live the Garden Queen

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An evening out with Left Brain

We don't have a lot of "date nights", since we generally eat out and do things during the day.  So, going into St Paul to have supper and see the Paula Poundstone performance was very special.

Our evening began by eating at Mickey's Diner, a place on my hit list for when in the cities.

Mickey’s Diner was designed to resemble the railroad dining cars of the period. It is unique in that it is one of the first diners to be built in the Art Deco style. Mickey’s Dining Car was manufactured in New Jersey and shipped by rail on a flat bed to its present location. 

Opening Day

Mickey's Diner has been featured on the Food Network series Unwrapped, Roker on the Road, Rachel Rays' Tasty Travels, and Alton Browns' Feasting on Asphalt. Mickey's has appeared in The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Easy Rider, Playboy and Elle magazines. Mickey's Dining Car has been replicated as a collectible by Department 56, The Danbury Mint and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Mighty Ducks I, II, III, Jingle All the Way and A Prairie Home Companion movies contain scenes that were shot on location at Mickey's.

 Mickey’s Diner was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and was one of the first diners to be a registered historic place. The designation helped preserve the diner during urban re-development with in the city of St. Paul.

Mickey’s Dining car has been operating 24 hours a day 365 days a year for nearly 70 years. Spanning three generations the diner has remained family owned and operated.

We both had the Mulligan stew and  it was overflowing with comfort food.  Yum

The Fitzgerald is an old theater with only one bathroom consisting of three stalls and up a flight of stairs.  There didn't appear to be any elevators that I could see.  But, it was lovely in an old fashioned way.  It made our dining choice all the more appropriate.

The lady next to me was one of the newly married gay couples and it was so interesting to talk to her.  She had gone to the same massage school I had and we may have been in some of the same classes.  Small world.

Seeing Paula Poundstone live was just as exciting as I had hoped.  She did let loose with some "f-bombs" occasionally, but overall it was pretty clean.

She interacts with the audience during much of her show and it's amazing how her mind works.  It was like watching a female version of Robin Williams with the lightning fast wit and snappy comebacks.

Her presentation was a non-stop laugh riot for two solid hours with no breaks or intermissions.  I think she would have continued for some time if allowed as she freely admits she cannot stop talking.  If you ever get a chance to see her, I'd highly recommend it.

It was a very successful date night, indeed.

Long Live the Happy Queen

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Kids are Back

We've been alone this week while the kids were off on a mission trip to Haiti.

We only had time to hear some of the stories and see some photos, but will spend more time with them on Sunday.

Today was a day of pickleball and tonight we are off to the Fitzgerald Theater to see Paula Poundstone.

She's one of my favorites on "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me" and I can't wait to see her in person.

But first we'll stop at Mickey's Diner for supper, another landmark place I've been wanting to visit.

Long Live the Queen of Happiness

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gracie does it again

Gracie was a barn cat before we adopted her, and apparently she misses her roaming days.  She's adjusted well to the smaller confines we live in and the tent and tunnel really help, but she's a sneaky one.

The first time was when she figured out how to unzip the tunnel and escaped into the woods, here at Ham Lake.  It was heart pounding that day until she sauntered back into the campsite.  She didn't look nearly as stressed out as we were. We now have a clip on the entry to prevent this from happening.

The second time was when we were leaving Ham Lake and she wiggled out of my arms and made a dash for the woods.  Again, that sick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that we'd never see her again.  But, she knew where she was the whole time and materialized out of the woods wet, muddy and full of burrs but with a smile on her face.

The third time was when she managed to unzip two of the tunnels in the long extended tunnel we'd created for them.  After her safe return we now clip each one of the zippers along the entire 40 feet of tunnel.

I just realized while writing this, that this phenomena seems to only happen at Ham Lake.  Good thing too, since she seems to know her way about in this location.

When I returned from pickleball Thursday night about 9:00 it was starting to get dark fast and was time to bring the cats in.  George went in first but there seemed to be one cat missing.  Oh no...this was the first time this had happened at night.

I found a spot where the zipper was separating near the tent.  My guess is she realized this (or created the problem) and worked it until it was large enough to squeeze through.  Thank goodness George did not choose to follow her, because he has no street smarts and isn't that bright.  Don't tell him I said that...he's pretty sensitive about this issue.

We proceeded to walk around the campsite calling her name and looking for any white fur that might be visible yet in the remaining daylight.

I knocked on the neighbor's door to ask if she saw a calico cat to let me know, figuring we'd be going to bed that night waiting for any sound of her return.  She said she had just seen her walking down the main road toward the office about 20 minutes ago.  So, off we headed in that direction.

It's really getting dark now, so I left the light on our patio and we headed to where she was last seen.  Left Brain finally suggested I return home in case she came back and he'd keep walking.

As soon as returned I spotted her on our patio rug.  I tried to act nonchalant and talked to her as I approached, but ready to do a flying tackle if she made a ran for it.  She let me scoop her up and assist her back into the house.

Now he's out there and I noticed his phone sitting by the side of his chair, so I couldn't call him to give him the good news.  So I jumped in the car and headed out looking for Left Brain.

You know how it is when you're really scared and then the danger is past you get a bit hysterical.  Oh come on now...I don't think it's just me!  Well, I found myself dissolving into uncontrolled giggling with the realization that the cat was safely at home and now I couldn't find my husband.

After a bit I spotted this dejected looking man walking along the road and pulled the car alongside.  He was so relieved when I told him she was safely in our RV once again.

We went home and gave her a stern talking to, with a lot of petting and kisses as we were thrilled she was safe.

Now they are on probation and I've shortened up the outdoor enclosure to just the tent and the two new tunnel pieces that I trust.

The remaining tunnel sections needed to be washed (it's all dirt in our campsite) and analyzed to see what can be fixed and what needs to be tossed. So, here they are hanging on the clothesline to dry.

The new set up keeps them on the patio mat, so they are cleaner and drier now...and we can keep a close eye on them.

Their chairs got a good cleaning and I'll probably make some new toppers for them so they can be cleaned more easily since I'm revamping their set up anyway.

This cat is going to be the death of us yet.  If Left Brain had any hair left, it probably would have fallen out after this last escapade.

Long Live the Queen (and current Warden) of Wayward Cats

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday

The birds are finally starting to come to my feeders, especially the ones on the back side of the RV.  I may need to move the feeder pole further away to attract those who are shy.

This was one of my first visitors.

Hmmm....what is this?

Oh!  It's grape jelly!  I love grape jelly1

Long Live the Bird Queen

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ham Lake Updates

There were a lot of improvements made during our absence from last year here at the Ham Lake Campground.

Most noticeably was the installation of a community firepit with benches and using the 150 year old silo roof from the family farm of the owner of the campground.  I thought that added a really nice touch.

The beach got a redo as well, with lots of sand added for the kids to play in and a new shelter so the parents could sit in the shade while they watched their little ones.

The small pond areas are choked with waterlilies, but these brave kayakers made their way through anyway.

The waterlilies are lovely.  We have mostly the white ones like these.

But there are some yellow ones as well.

The goats and emus continue to be a source of entertainment for the little kids who enjoy feeding them.

But the best part is our little spot in the shade.

Long Live the Queen of the Campground

Friday, July 10, 2015

Walker Art Center

It was once again time to take the grandkids for the day, so I did some research and came up with game plan.

Our first stop was to Psycho Suzie's Motorlodge for lunch.

This is all done in a tiki bar theme, with outdoor seating along the river.  It was very fun and the food was tasty.

Then it was off to the Walker Art Center.

  They are having a special event currently where you can play mini-golf on the artist designed course and then get a free ticket to the museum.  

The sculpture garden is outdoors and free as well.  So we had a lot of ground to cover.

There was an hour and a half wait for the mini golf, but we were able to use our tickets to access the center in advance of the play, so it worked out perfectly. This center has pop art, so it was a far cry from the last museum we visited.

Wouldn't this make the best jigsaw puzzle!

Being a dollmaker in my past, I couldn't resist this life sized doll.  I have to admit though, I did better hands.

Loved this archway in the gardens.
On our way back we meandered through the conservatory.

We still had a bit of a wait, so we took advantage of the comfy outdoor seating available.

Apparently we'd tired Emily out.  I threatened to Photoshop in some drool, but decided to be kind instead.

The course was very cute with fun obstacles to work around.

Afterwards the kids wanted to go to Izzy's for ice cream.  Hmmmm...another theme here.  We seem to always end with ice cream.

After dropping them off we were too tired to do the shopping and I almost skipped pickleball that night, but forced (smile) myself to to.  

Long Live the Queen