Sh*t Show, Indeed

I’m baaaack . . . .

I’ve been on a blog hiatus for a few months. Last New Year’s photo-a-day goal kept me posting regularly, but after returning from a 3-week trip in September, I lost the photo-mojo a bit, and the blog lapsed.  On the other hand, 9 months of daily photos isn’t exactly a failure, even though more than a few were the “Oh crap, I don’t have a photo yet and it’s getting dark!” variety.

I’m making a photo commitment again this year, but changing it so it’ll be easier to keep going and still be meaningful (to me).  This year, I’m posting a “Weekly 7” group of photos instead — from Sunday to Sunday.  Some weeks it might be one pic from each day, but most of the time they’ll be taken from a few days.  I AM going to do my best to avoid the “Oh crap, I don’t have 7 photos yet and it’s Sunday . . . and almost dark!” syndrome.

Now to explain the Sh*t Show title. We went with friends Judy and Craig to see Lizz Winstead’s New Year’s Eve show at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.  If you don’t know, Lizz is a comedian and writer whose resume includes co-founder and head writer of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America Radio. She’s been returning to her home town for a year-in-review show every December 31st for over a decade.

Lizz calls her show “The Greatest Sh*t Show on Earth”, referring mostly to the political subjects of the past year. This was our first one, but 2017 being what it was, I’m guessing it was her sh*tiest show so far. It was a good show, given that some of the usually-funny jokes and ironies of political comedy are hard to laugh at these days because it’s all so depressing and painful. But Lizz seems to be an optimist at heart, and this was a good way to end a sh*tty year and work up a little hope for the new one.

The next day, we began the new year in a happy way with a visit from the grandkids. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

So Happy 2018!  Hang on, folks. Let’s get this steaming pile on the road!

Here are my 7 pics for the past week.

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A packed house at the Cedar Cultural Center on a very cold night. (Technically, it was a few hours before the week —  and year — began, but I’m counting it anyway.)

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Otto seems pleased with the healthy choices he made to top his already-healthy Mickey Mouse pancake.

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Svea loves how well Buffalo plaid and polka dots go together.

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I-35W south of downtown Minneapolis will be under various phases of construction and destruction for about 4 years.  This winter’s project includes closed lanes and replacing the Franklin Avenue bridge.  Drive the city streets and stay off the highway.

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We put in an order for one of these!  They’re very small camping trailers, built in Dassel, Minnesota by Escapade Campers.  It’s a husband and wife company with a couple of employees.  They hand-make 3 of these a week, offering quite a few custom options.  It seems like a good way to travel with a camper, tow with a modest-sized vehicle, at a reasonable price.  Owners Jeff and Brianna are nice people with a good business model and and what seems to be an excellent product. More to come about this in about 6 weeks.

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This is my health club, which, until a few days ago, seemed like an OK place.  Then the management made an odd decision to stop showing news stations on any of the numerous TV screens in the exercise area.  Cable news is one of the things that gets me through the drudgery of indoor exercise — and I’m pissed off about it. They didn’t directly notify members of the change, instead choosing to let the innocent people working the check-in desk answer questions about a poorly thought-out decision.  The official reason for this travesty — which ironically, member found out from reports by the local NEWS channels and the NEWSpapers — was  a pile of mumbo jumbo BS about news-watching being an unhealthy thing to do.  One of the employees told me (when I complained) that there had been arguments — and even fights — breaking out in health clubs over news programs.  If that weren’t so stupid, it would be hilarious. All I know is, I’m not taking this lying down, and it makes me want to “argue” and “fight” with the management.  In the photo, you can see that there are at least a dozen TVs (more screens to the right) and one person watching all the Basketball, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, TLC, Animal Planet, and E! she can handle.  I think there’s a network called PablumTV, too — now very popular at all the Lifetime Fitness Clubs. It helps keep everyone calm and very healthy. But I will probably join a different club soon — one that treats their members like adults.

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What ? — a tiny camping trailer and a new Ford in the same week? I know — what an ostentatious display. (And I just thought of this — the Escape will be pulling the Escapade.  Hey Will Shortz — use THAT in one of your Sunday Puzzlers!

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Will summer return?

Week #34 of 2017 is in the books. We had some rain, some sun, and some cool weather.  It seems like summer took a break in mid-July and never returned. Here are my photos of the day for last week.

 

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(8/20/17) A brief sun shower while biking on East 36th St. at 46th Ave So in Minneapolis.

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(8/20/17) We bought several varieties of Kale at the Barton School plant sale fundraiser. This one, planted in a straw bale, is the smallest but most colorful.

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(8/21/17) In today’s installment of the “Missed our flight, have to sleep at the airport” game, our two world travelers share a quiet moment together.

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(8/22/17) While walking on the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis, I ran across what appeared to be a wedding party photo session in the Mill Ruins Park below.  

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(8/23/17) Prairie grasses catch the last rays of the evening in Glendalough State Park, Minnesota

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(8/24/17) With rain and more rain in the forecast, we aborted our camping trip to Glendalough State Park after one night and headed for home. Guess which rig is ours.

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(8/25/17) Late summer color in the backyard

Photos to take your mind off nuclear war and white supremacists

Here are my photos of the day from Week #32 of the year that Trump built. Don’t be fooled, we’re not immune to extremism here in the heartland, but it doesn’t hurt to take a little break from the daily news and go out and find some good things.

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(8/6/17) Rainy evening at Lake Nokomis

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(8/7/17) Reid Parkinson at the Nicollet Diner

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(8/8/17)  Barbara Shelton invited us over at dusk for a Mojito and some catching up.  Her backyard screened porch, now in its third summer, is charming . . . and it keeps the rain and bugs away.

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(8/9/17) Roger walks through wildflowers on his way from the tee to his drive (in the middle of the fairway, of course) on the 14th hole at Keller Golf Course in St. Paul. It’s amazing to think that Keller, a Ramsey County public course, was a regular stop on the pro tour for four decades, and even hosted the PGA Tournament twice — in 1932 and 1954! While today’s players disagree about some of the design changes made three years ago, no one disputes that this place is more beautiful than ever right now.

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(8/10/17) As a heretofore non-vegetable gardener, you can imagine how cool this seems. Right in our yard!  Things you can eat!

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(8/11/17)  Mark and Deb Frette joined us for some excellent Scandinavian appetizers at “Erik the Red Nordic BBQ and Barbarian Bar” in the old “Hubert’s” building across the street from the Vikings Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (Karen looked up from checking Facebook for a split second!)

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(8/12/17) A moment, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

Just a regular old summer week – but it never gets boring.

It was good week, with great weather (except for one weird day). I hung out at some lakes and a creek, went to a block party and a baseball game, drove up north for a wedding– pretty much what summer’s all about.

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(7/30/17) Airliner on final approach to MSP over Lake Harriet.

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(7/31/17) Two kayakers negotiate a fallen tree over Minnehaha Creek.

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(8/1/17) National Night Out block party on our street.

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(8/2/17) This kid waved at me as he floated down Minnehaha Creek. As he went under the bridge, I asked him how far they were floating.  “We go a long way”, he said, “maybe about 3 hours today”.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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(8/3/17) Today was a really strange day.  It was cold and cloudy all day — high temps in the mid-50s with on-and-off rain. So when I saw a smidgeon of blue sky in the distance at Lake Harriet, I grabbed it.

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(8/4/17)  I went to the Twins game with Lauren tonight.  When we were walking around, I saw her taking a picture of the big “shaking hands across the river” sign in center field and felt happy that she appreciates these retro things as much as I do. I was 8 during the Twins’ first season in 1961. This logo takes me back — and it’s cool that my kid loves it too. Now, if they’d play the Hamm’s Bear commercial on the big screen and have Herb Carneal, Ray Scott and Halsey Hall calling the game on the radio, I’d be all set.

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(8/5/17) A lovely outdoor wedding at Karen’s cousin’s farm near Brooks, in the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota.  Congratulations, Tyrell and Natalie Hamrum!

Last week is here already!

I posted 7 pics this morning. I have been behind in posting since April, and I thought time would never catch up with me, but here they are already — last week’s photos. I’ve caught my tail!

 

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(7/23/17) The “Southside Sprint” is a day-long series of bike races through our neighborhood.  It’s the second half of the Big Waters Classic, which begins with the “Rondo Rush” in St. Paul a day earlier. There are some very good bikers in these races, and it’s fun to watch them buzz around and around a 3/4-mile route near the 48th and Chicago Ave. area in south Minneapolis. At 2:30, there’s a kids “race”. My two intrepid grandchildren are seen above mentally preparing for the start.  Svea cranked around the course with the same game-face you see here, while Otto scooted his pedal-less glider bike while his dad ran along trying to keep up. Both kids enjoyed getting a medal at the end and were even more excited about the free water bottles.

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(7/24/17) Filling the ammo tank in preparation for soaking Gramps using the blue and red weapons in the foreground. 

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(7/25/17) Columbia Golf Course in N.E. Minneapolis

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(7/26/17) The Happy Hour group met at LUSH in N.E. Minneapolis this week.  Lori shows how she feels about Claire’s color choices, while Krista and Ron prefer to avert their eyes.

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(7/27/17) Life on the Mississippi

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(7/28/17) Roger is looking good as he hits his second shot on the 15th hole at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course.

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(7/29/17) Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

 

Photos from the less-distant past

Today I’m posting photos of the day from only a couple of weeks ago.  I’m almost caught up. This is progress.  As a procrastinator, being this close to on-time is scary territory. But since this project is the least important of all the things in my life that I’m behind on, the bigger picture is that I’m still in my “don’t worry, I’ll get it done” groove.

Here are my photos from Week #29 of this year.

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(7/16/17) We went with the kids and grandkids to see the St. Paul Saints play at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. I love this place. It’s nestled unobtrusively into a corner of the “Lowertown” area.  The dark color they chose and the open middle-tier design make it a low-key, airy, and elegant structure. You can stroll around the whole perimeter at the top of the lower deck level and linger to watch for a while just about anywhere, such as this spot in right field.

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(7/17/17) In the driveway

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(7/18/17) The only picture I took today — a plate of mussel shells and a bunny at the Italian Eatery near where we live. OK, so the bunny’s not Elvis or Jesus, but hey — it’s a piece of bread! Shaped like a bunny! (I.E. is a very good place to eat, by the way.)

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(7/19/17) We both like the light above our front door.

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(7/20/17) Guess who at guess where?

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(7/21/17) Not sure of these guys’ names, but they’re part of “Chase and Ovation”, a Prince tribute band that we saw at the Lowertown Blues and Funk Festival in St. Paul.

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(7/22/17) A man fishes on a dock at Lake Hiawatha, one of the smallest and least-known lakes within the city limits of Minneapolis. This lake is part of an ongoing controversy, because the western shore (in the distance) is actually a levee that keeps the lake at its current level and keeps the Hiawatha Golf Course (and part of the neighborhood) from being flooded. The city has to constantly pump bazillions of gallons of water into the lake to keep the golf course open.  They’re seriously considering stopping that, letting the lake flood the course and return to it’s natural level. That might seem like a reasonable plan that allows nature to take it’s course (what a great pun, huh?) but the golf course and nearby homes have been around since they dredged a swampy area in 1929, so there are very few living people who remember it being any other way. Minneapolis is very lucky to have the municipal golf courses we have, and I hope we don’t lose this one.

My fickle friend, the summer wind

Week #27 of my photo-a-day project takes us through that peak week of summer, when most of us take a time out, maybe cook some kind of animal on the grill, and find ourselves seeking shade and bodies of water.

It’s the time of year that makes me think of my favorite Frank Sinatra song. So sit back, open a window, close your eyes, feel the breeze, and have a listen.

 

“Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flyin’ by” . . .

And now, a photo from each day of the week.

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(7/2/17)  Minnehaha Parkway, Minneapolis

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(7/3/17) Roderick Cox conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in Independence Day Eve concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis. The weather was perfect and the orchestra sounded great.

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(7/4/17)  You thought I was going to have a picture of fireworks, right?  Nope, couldn’t stay up that late . . . but can you think of a more patriotic dessert?   —  RED strawberries, WHITE ice cream,  BLUE blueberries — that’s as American as apple pie!

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(7/5/17)  Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

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(7/6/17)  I saw this in someone’s front yard while I was running — a very nice twist on the “Little Free Library” phenomenon.  “Blessing Box: Grab a bag, take what you need.”

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(7/7/17) They don’t make ’em any cuter than this.

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(7/8/17) While on a bike ride by the Mississippi River (downtown St. Paul in the distance) we stopped and talked with this young man about fishing.  He told us he usually does pretty well here — once landing a 45-pound catfish!