I think I’ve shared versions of all of these photos already this week, but I played around a bit in Picnik and created these special versions as a little bonus.
Edited to emphasize the details on the mountains.
The view from Lombard Street (you can almost make out Coit Tower on the right above the trees, under the wire).
The basketball from yesterday
The cross-processing seemed most appropriate for Fisherman's Wharf, especially with the circus-like entertainment at this end (there was a magic show going on, and that's a working carousel in the background).
I know not everyone likes the overly processed pictures, but sometimes it’s fun to play around a bit. Now I really am done sharing pictures from our trip.
Some very random, but fun, pictures from San Francisco.
Prince Charming liked the hot dog sign. I like that the espresso sign is more prominent.
Seen in Chinatown... just driving down the street. Perhaps it was some kind of official procession, like a wedding or something, but there was no indication of such. The driver seemed quite happy to see us snagging this picture.
See that cute red car? There were similar ones (the one I saw was a convertible) that were self-driven audio tours of the area. The car was speaking to them about the street and giving them directions. It was pretty cool!
[Here's a link to the tour car that I saw]
This caught Prince Charming's eye on his way down the hill from Lombard Street.
My zoomed-in shot of the Oakland Bridge.
Next time, I’ll remember to take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning, since one would likely be facing west to take it. We were at the wharf around dinnertime, so the sun was setting, and so there are no good pictures of that bridge. But the Oakland one is to the east of the wharf, and pictures turned out pretty good. So many things to think about!
That just about wraps up photos from our trip!
Today’s pictures are a bit more random than yesterday’s….
The vine-covered trellis I mentioned yesterday.
Friendly "wildlife" at the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park.
Also in the Botanical Gardens.
I thought I’d spend the rest of the week sharing some of my favorite pictures from our trip. Today’s are all from the time I spent at Santa Clara University. Enjoy!
Lovely flower, no?
For context, here's the flowers from the previous photo. They're huge!
Statue of Santa Clara in the middle of the garden (in-between the two arbors).
I sat outside the de Saisset museum to photograph the mission and some flowers. Imagine my surprise when this hummingbird decided to pay me a visit. He wasn't more than an arm's length away!
The trellis was full of these flowers. The background tree trunks are actually the base of the vines that made up the overhead trellis, I believe. They were all woven together, and had obviously been there a long time. It was beautiful.
According to my sources (), Santa Clara was having some beautiful weather last Sunday and Monday while he was there. However, rain was predicted to arrive just about when I would get there. It did rain a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not really much to complain about (though AfroGirl did make an appearance on Wednesday in Mountain View).
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, which is connected to the Santa Clara Convention Center and the awesomely-named Techmart building. We had a 7th floor room with a balcony. The balcony meant our room was smaller than most (the space for the balcony being carved out of the room), but the view was wonderful. We took daily photos from the balcony just to keep track of how beautiful it was. Here’s the record for you:
That's rain on Wednesday, then clearing up but cool on Thursday, and absolutely gorgeous on Friday and Saturday when we went to San Francisco.
We could not have gotten better weather, really. I heard it rained back home while we were gone. That’s OK – our lawn needed it (and now it needs to be mowed).
Just a few more pictures for you today (but many more the rest of this week).
The best picture of the mountains I got. I kept staring at them and thinking they looked like those paintings - it was awesome and a bit unreal.
Closeup of the mountains for you. Snow-free mountains, unlike most of what we flew over to get here.
[Warning: long post, with lots of pictures. Enjoy!]
Well, I can’t say that I’m sorry for not having posted last week. I thought I might. It was a possibility in my mind that I would be bored, trying to entertain myself while was in training, and I could occupy myself blogging. Obviously, that did not happen. I even brought with me three crafty projects, afraid that I would run out of things to do (along with a very large book). I didn’t even finish one of them. I did make it about halfway through my book, but most of that was reading at night before going to sleep.
I was so paranoid about missing my airport shuttle that I got up 15 minutes early (3:45 am). This ended up being a good thing, as my shuttle was 15 minutes early. I was all ready to go, however, and made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Really, I spent over an hour and a half at the airport before my flight boarded. Because of the time difference, I arrived at the hotel in California (after a bus and then the light rail from the airport) around noon. I didn’t do much of anything, seeing as how I was a bit tired. Took a short nap, watched some cable (so glad we don’t pay for that), and did some embroidery.
I didn't adequately capture the mountains in the distance for you. Sorry.
When got back to the room after his training session, we took the light rail to nearby Mountain View for dinner. It was such a cute little town that I decided to go back the next day.
I slept in on Wednesday (OK, let’s get this straight: I slept in every single day until at least 9, or 11 Minnesota time, and it was fabulous), and made it over to Mountain View late morning. It was, unfortunately, cloudy, and supposed to rain. I went to the Red Rock Cafe for a decaf mocha, because it was supposedly the best place to go. I was unimpressed (burnt tasting coffee does not entice me). When I was done browsing the first book store (there were 3), it started to sprinkle, and then rain. I couldn’t seem to figure out where to eat lunch, but did take shelter briefly in the new age bookstore. I eventually found some gellato (half caramel chocolate crunch, half chocolate hazelnut, aka Nutella). I should note that while the vast majority of stores on Castro Street are restaurants, nearly all are sit-down, fancy-like places, which is not what I wanted. In the third bookstore, the one that sold used books, I finally found the last book of the Pern series that I have been looking for. I paid a whopping $2 for it, which is all I spent this entire trip (food and transportation not included).
I had hoped to take some pictures, but the weather wasn’t cooperating and I just didn’t feel like it. After some more walking around, I realized that there was no way I could spend another 4 hours in Mountain View ( was going to meet me there when he finished for the day), so I went back to the hotel. I thought about using the hotel gym, but was tired from all the walking, so I did nothing instead. It was wonderful. We went back to Mountain View for dinner, stopping by a laundromat first so could do some laundry (he had difficulty packing a week’s worth of clothes in a carry-on).
Thursday, I pulled out my trip map (of all the things in and around Santa Clara and San Francisco that I wanted to do) and set out on my own adventure. I bussed to Santa Clara University, where I enjoyed the beautiful scenery. I went to the de Saisset museum on campus (free), looked at the outside of the mission (was unsure if I could go in or not), wandered through the gardens and paths, and then walked some more around the outside of the campus.
The (5th) Santa Clara Mission.
Garden outside the de Saisset museum, dedicated to Santa Clara (statue in the middle).
My tired feet carried me to the Starbucks across the street from the bus station, and the wonderful staff there made me a decaf mocha Frappuccino, the first I have had in far too long (I was unaware until recently that decaf Frappuccinos could be made). It was wonderful, and came with me on the bus as I continued my journey.
What? You'd take a picture too if it had been that long since you'd had your favorite drink.
From there, I went to Santana Row, an outdoor shopping mall also in Santa Clara.
Unfortunately, the unique stores were all very upscale (too upscale to enjoy more than window shopping), so mostly I walked around enjoying the weather and very slowly shopping in the stores we have back home (Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, etc) – something no one ever wants to do with me. Seriously, I browsed that slowly. Eventually, I bussed back to the hotel. We decided to skip the train to Mountain View and found a place closer by.
Prince Charming's classic Philly cheesesteak on the left, garlic fries in the middle, and my mushroom cheesesteak on the right.
Did you need a closeup of those garlic fries? They were serious.
Originally, I was going to go to San Francisco by myself on Friday, but it turned out that the training was almost over. So, instead of spending 7 hours in SF by myself and then getting back for dinner, I lounged around all morning, and then we took the Caltrain together to SF (and still spent around 7 hours there). The Friday plan was to go to Golden Gate Park, where I had a few things marked (none of which we did), then walk up to the Cliff House restaurant, and then catch a bus back to the Caltrain. We did make it to Golden Gate Park, but basically just walked around, looking at stuff. The park was very relaxing, and the weather was beautiful.
We stopped at the Japanese Tea Garden, which was under construction. (The construction was behind me - this is a small portion of the garden that wasn't.)
Amphitheater near the Japanese Tea Garden.
We walked through the botanical gardens.
Strange plants in California.
And then we walked a really, really, really long way to the end of the park until we reached the coast.
My favorite Prince Charming shot of the trip. That's a wind surfer's kite there in the background.
Ah, the Pacific Ocean.
It was super windy, and since we had no idea what kind of restaurant Cliff House was (and we were fighting lots of wind and sand thrown at us), we found somewhere else to eat dinner (and took the bus to get there).
I don't know how we would have gotten around without our iPhones. I know I did it 11 years ago, but seriously? This is how we found out where to eat, which streets to turn on, etc. Invaluable for tourism!
The food was great, but the service was very slow (though it seemed on purpose, as if that was part of the experience). We were aiming for the 8:40 Caltrain (so as to not miss the last light rail out of Mountain View), so when the bus dropped us off for our transfer, we did the math and figured out that the 47 would drop us off at the Caltrain at 8:41, and perhaps we could make it there faster on foot (there was a 15 minute wait for the bus). We walked/ran the two miles to the Caltrain, and missed it by 7 minutes. Less than fun, and I really don’t recommend walking to the Caltrain at night through that neighborhood. If you do, put on your “don’t mess with me” face. Seriously.
The 9:40 was apparently the party train. It was filled with drunk or otherwise inebriated Santa Clara college students (who really did their university a disservice with their behavior). A few got kicked off for smoking pot in the bathroom (really, if I can figure out that it’s pot, you’re going to get caught – I am totally not good at that). The last light rail waited for the Caltrain, which was nice, since it was 5 minutes late, so we didn’t have to take a taxi home.
We noted this on Saturday morning's Caltrain ride. The bike cars have outlets so you can use your laptop!
Saturday was our last full day in California, and we decided to take it easy (relatively speaking). We didn’t get up super early to go to SF. We slept in. Late. Very late. We transferred our belongings to the other hotel (one closer to the airport), and then took the Caltrain in. We didn’t arrive until 3, and wanted to get the 7:15 Caltrain back out, so we modified our plans a bit again. We did manage to do almost everything on the list; the only thing we skipped was the Cartoon Art Museum, which at $7 would have been a lot of fun, but we just didn’t have the time for it. We bussed to downtown, found the Apple store, and then had lunch (yes, at 3:30) at my favorite SF restaurant, Boudin. I had my favorite sandwich of all time, the Turkey and Havarti, which is still on the menu, unchanged, 11 years after I first had it (who knows how long it’s been there – it’s good! had the other half of mine and agreed).
From there we walked to the Transamerica Pyramid.
Then up to Chinatown,
where the buildings are quite unique,
and the Trolley goes right through - seeing it was going to have to do, because we didn't have time to take a ride.
Then across to see Lombard Street (Prince Charming walked all the way up to see it and take this picture, but my feet were killing me, so I waited several blocks down the hill, since I'd seen it before).
Then we made our way through North Beach to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.
The ultimate in touristy places.
Due to time constraints and my inability to figure out what we should have for dinner, we ended up taking the bus back to the Caltrain and grabbing Panera before getting on the 7:15 as planned. The ride was significantly quieter, thankfully. We got back with plenty of time to eat our dinner and soak in the hot tub for a bit (soothing sore muscles and feet).
Sunday morning, our flight didn’t leave until 11, so we got to sleep in and didn’t have to rush the morning. The hotel shuttled us to the airport for free, and our flights back were relatively unremarkable (except for the nausea-inducing heat and turbulence on the first flight). The Twin Cities’ own light rail and bus system got us back to our house, unharmed, by 7:30 pm. Our two kitties screamed for attention, we had some dinner, and that was that. There is still plenty of laundry to be done, more kitty affection to dole out, and vacuuming (see, we’re gone for a week and the same amount of mess is on the floor – those cats need to learn to vacuum, because it’s certainly not our mess), but that’s life.
I’ll share some more photos in the coming days – I’m still working on processing them all.
Tired feet recap: Wednesday I walked at least 3.5 miles, not including all the wandering around inside of stores. Thursday I walked 2 miles around Santa Clara University’s campus and 3 miles at Santana Row (shopping center), and then we walked 2 miles to get dinner (and back again). Friday, and I walked 5 miles in Golden Gate Park and speed walked / ran 2 miles to the Caltrain station (though we still missed the train). Saturday, we walked 4 miles in San Francisco, from downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf / Pier 39, with a bunch of stops in-between. That brings my total for 4 days up to 23.5, but let’s just call it 24. That’s the bare minimum I walked, and doesn’t count getting to and from the bus/light rail, going to dinner, etc.
In the interest of full disclosure, most of the San Francisco pictures were taken by . Also, it should be noted that I have done very little editing on these photos – mostly cropping, not color correction. It really was that beautiful there. On the ocean pictures, the ones where the sky is bright blue is more accurate – looking directly out on the ocean seemed to change the color of the sky, making it duller, but it didn’t look like that in person.
I do so love the mountains. I would spend the whole flight staring at them if it didn’t hurt my neck to do so. I think I could wax poetically for several paragraphs, but typing on my iPhone is not so much fun (plus, I can’t publish until we land). Nonetheless, there is at least another half hour, if not twice that, to split my viewing pleasures between the Rockies and “Pirates of the Caribbean” (2). The joys of traveling in the 21st century!
Continuing on with our visit at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, this time focusing on the sculpture aspect….
(It should be noted that and I both took pictures, so credit for some of these goes to him.)
There was random sculpture inside the Arid Garden, including an armadillo
and this piece, entitled "5 Meercats" (I wonder why?).
Inside the tropical section, there were these awesome planters (maybe a dozen total? there were so many, and they were all different):
This is the first sculpture you see when you get outside.
If you click to view the bigger image, you can see that he/she has a big frowny face. Quite cute, actually.
Then, there were children playing.
As with all sculpture parks, there was sculpture randomly throughout the place. Often, I wished there was a better explanation of the piece or its inspiration or meaning, or even a better title (some were titled “Number 4″ which is just not helpful).
There was a pretty awesome piece on the Great Lakes ( worked very hard to get a picture with the entirety of the lakes in it):
You can see the dark spots where it's deeper, and there was actually water in the whole thing, and kids could play with the boats floating in the water. Very cool.
And, off to one side, there was a water wall, where I tried to take a picture of water. I think I did a pretty good job.
There was also this pretty neat compass / sundial.
It was very accurate, too. I stood right on the “October” spot and my shadow pointed to the right time.
Probably my favorite sculpture was this one of a Grandpa telling a story to his granddaughter. I tried to capture it and I'm not sure I did, but the original artist did an excellent job of depicting the moment.
There was also a pair of "friendly dragons"
and just beyond that, there was a small labyrinth.
How about a giant frog?
Don't believe me that it was big? How's this for context?
Of course, this pales in comparison to the giant horse, but the pictures for that aren’t uploaded yet, so you’ll just have wait. But trust me, it’s amazing.
Up next? Probably flowers. Also, I have an interesting piece I’m titling “colorstudy” that I hope to have finished by the weekend (just need all the pictures uploaded first).
Really, it is. See, we have almost 200 photos from our trip to Grand Rapids sitting on the server at home. I keep forgetting to upload them to Flickr, so they just sit there, and I don’t talk about our trip on this blog. It’s not right, I know. So last night I finally remembered to upload a few. I started with the first 14 because the Flickr uploader often craps out and no one really knows why, but between work and home it can sometimes take all day to upload 25 pictures. So I started the upload and went to bed. This morning, there are a whole 5 new pictures in my Flickr photostream. So, that’s all I can share with you today. My apologies.
We took the Lake Express Ferry out of Milwaukee (a five and a half hour drive, which is definitely better than the 9+ hour drive it would take to go straight there) to Muskegon, and then drove another 45 minutes to our hotel in Grand Rapids.
Yes, this is what it looks like on the boat. Thrilling, no? How about another one:
We didn’t stay at the same hotel as the rest of my family mainly because I was too lazy to look it up, they didn’t get a very good deal, and we were using Travelocity (stayed for cheaper than the rest of them did, that’s for sure, and it was still a pretty nice hotel, though we didn’t take advantage of most of the amenities, having forgotten our swimsuits and tennis shoes). Friday was pretty much a bust then, since we didn’t make it to our hotel until nearly 7:30 and still needed dinner. We had an awesome dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse – if you’re ever near one, definitely go. To. Die. For.
Saturday morning we decided to go to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. This is where the majority of our pictures are from (not from the wedding, strangely). I only have 3 to share with you today, all from the Arid Garden (aka Arizona). We took them for ‘s dad, so he could have a bit of Arizona float across his computer screen to make him smile. (When I lived in Arizona, we were up in the mountains and so the desert life doesn’t really remind me of that time, but the FIL is more familiar with Phoenix, where the cactus reigns supreme.)
Well, that’s it for now. I’m refraining from ranting about class last night. I’ll save it for the class evaluation (yes, this one’s getting a negative eval in two weeks). Happy Thursday to you all!
OK, how totally awesome is this – we already have two showings of our house scheduled for this weekend!!! I am thrilled, tickled pink, and… anything else you can come up with to describe how excited one might be about such a development.
Plus, I just got the green light from a fashion-conscious young co-worker for the new pair of pants that I bought. I was afraid they might be too soccer-mom-minivan-summertime, but she said they’re OK.
Oh, and I’m having ice cream for lunch. Frozen yogurt, actually, with granola. It’s almost healthy. Shut up, I don’t care.
We had a great weekend in Pensacola / Mobile, but we’re glad to be back. I’ll have to update later, as all the pictures are on ‘s camera, and I have a limited amount of time here at work, etc. So just a quick update from me today.
Everything with all our travel arrangements worked out wonderfully, and we were quite pleased with Travelocity. No lost luggage, no flight delays, no lost reservations, no extra charges, etc. We got into Pensacola before noon on Friday, so we did some shopping before checking in to our hotel. Saturday we also spent in Pensacola, before driving into Alabama for the wedding. Sunday we drove back into Alabama for brunch with ‘s family (parents of the bride) and then did some sight-seeing in Mobile. We were pretty tired and went to bed early, which was good because we had a 6:15 flight Monday morning. We were back in the Twin Cities at 2 (we had a 3-hour layover in Dallas-Fort Worth), unpacked by 4, etc. The cats survived, and the house was only slightly messy. went to go workout while I enjoyed sorting through the 250 wedding pictures that had arrived in the mail from Shutterfly while we were gone. After dinner, he fell asleep, while I cleaned and did some work on the computer. I organized my paper but didn’t get it done (I ended up writing it this morning at work in less than an hour).
We went to bed early and this morning didn’t seem that bad. It’s a long week for me, however, so we’ll see how it goes. This afternoon is my last Tuesday class, yay! Assuming that the paper I just wrote isn’t total crap, then I most likely got an A in the class. We’ll see about Geography, though. After this afternoon’s class is over, I have to spend the rest of my time studying for my Geography final exam. I haven’t started yet. There’s a study session tomorrow night during class, however. I’d like to get a basic overview of the studying done before that, in case I have questions. Wednesday is also a meeting day, so I’m only in the office from 2:30-5. Thursday or Friday might have to be a sick day. We’ll see. Yesterday I was feeling like I was starting to come down with something (honest!) – my throat was scratchy, and I’ve been slightly congested for about a month. But today I feel much better, so maybe it was just the strange weather and traveling and so forth.
This weekend we have two parties on Saturday – one for ‘s first birthday, and one for ‘s birthday / Christmas get-together. Her present is sooooo not finished yet, and I’m not sure if it will be by the party. It’s not looking good right now. I was pleased to have found all of ‘s birthday and Christmas gifts while we were down South. Some very cute clothes from the Baby Gap Outlet, and some classic books from Books-A-Million (a chain down there). Plus had already bought a green sleeper with a reindeer on it for us to give him, and I had bought a stuffed reindeer toy. So all I need to do is find an ornament and it’s done! Of course, there’s everyone else to shop for still…
Back to work!
Here’s the pumpkin I carved last week for Halloween.
I was aiming for a cute wink and a grin, but I think I just got grumpy. Oh well.
But, on to more exciting things – pictures of my weekend in Illinois!
Friday night we drove into Illinois and met up with some of my friends from college for dinner. We had a wide range of people, from two newlywed couples, to a couple who’s been married for four years, to a couple who’s been married for eight and has two kids and another on the way! We had a great time and some great food too.
Me being a dork
Me, Amy, Kate, and Danyel
Saturday we went to a family wedding. I won’t actually bore you with all the pictures, but here are a few (so you can see how very different it was from our wedding).
Bride and Groom
Me, cousin Kristen, and Mom
Eric and me
And Sunday, we met a friend of mine from high school (as far back as 7th grade, actually) for coffee, and then had brunch at my aunt and uncle’s house. On the way out of Illinois, we stopped at 7-Eleven for Slurpees.
Wish they had those here.
We actually did grocery shopping on the way home and had the car unpacked by 6pm, which was nice. It felt much later, though. It was a busy weekend, but overall I was very happy with our plans and how things worked out. I was quite surprised that everyone was actually free to get together, and it was good to see them. Most of my friends that we saw I hadn’t seen in at least three or four years, and none of them had met .
I also got a lot of work done on the baby blanket that I’m knitting for ‘s baby (who was born on our wedding day). There’s still a lot to be done though, and I’m not sure if it’s going to be finished by Christmas, which would be a vaguely reasonable time to get it to her. Oh well. I remembered the other day that the reason I stopped working on it was because my tendinitis flared up right before the wedding which stopped my knitting altogether. I’m back and trying to work speedily to make progress though.
Not much planned for this week – homework and house cleaning and so forth.
Home sweet home... it's amazing how inspiring a sunny day in the middle of fall can be!
Obligatory Starbucks run. But this almost never happens - Starbucks in the cup holder in my car!
That's because I went to Starbucks in Eagan (at the Transit Center, which I didn't fully utilize), instead of the one downtown in Macy's. Because I didn't go to work (well, I drove by and stopped outside while a co-worker brought down some boxes and loaded up my car, but that hardly counts).
The view of downtown from New Main on Metro State's campus. We had just gotten done staring into that sun for an hour while a presentation was made and a fairly interesting panel discussion was had. But on the bright side (ha!), as someone was introducing the award recipient, a bald eagle flew by the huge wall of windows that we were all staring at. That was cool.
A view of Metro State's campus from New Main.
And here’s where the mystery begins…. Let me explain how this will work. Below are 40 (yes, 40) thumbnails of pictures I took after class on Tuesday. Clicking on each one will bring you to the large version of the picture. When you think you know where I was, note the # of the picture you’re on and include it in the comments with your guess (for example, the picture below is entitled “mystery1.jpg” so you’d say “I think you were at the Mall of America, and I only needed 1 picture!”). Understood? I’ll include my regular witty comments as we go, and for those of you who don’t feel like playing, there will be clues along the way (links you can click on to get more information, which you can also click on once you’ve made your guess officially in the comments). Now, no cheating! Let it be known that I get a report daily of what links are clicked on and how many times, so I’ll know. And don’t go Googling for the answer either.
Yes, some of the pictures look very similar. So sue me. I didn't fully capture what I wanted to in this one, but I did have to stand atop a stone fence and was nearly blown off (it was very windy on Tuesday) and into the ravine. So I stopped trying to get a better picture.
The sky was so amazingly blue - perhaps it seemed that way simply because for the two weeks prior, it had rained almost every day. But Tuesday, couldn't have asked for better weather.
Hmm. This is a huge clue. Of course, I don't expect anyone to guess it from this. I lived in St Paul proper for 5 years (the longest of anyone I know) and didn't even know this place existed until Tuesday.
My camera is very good at taking sunbeam pictures. I like it.
A slightly different view of that waterway.
I think this one might be my next desktop wallpaper.
Doesn't this look like Wisconsin? Or northern Illinois? Did I mention that I used the Google Maps Pedometer and from where I parked my car I walked in a loop and didn't go further than half a mile.
Not exactly the type of picture you expect to be able to take in an urban area. I love Minnesota.
This is my other nominee for desktop wallpaper. I'm undecided.
This one didn't fully capture the river like I wanted to. You can't really tell, because this only shows the one big curve, but really the river snakes along, back and forth, for quite a ways.
Is that... yes, it is, the skyline! Is that giving you any hints?
I was trying to be artistic. I don't think I got there, but I like this shot nonetheless. It'll probably show up on my desktop as wallpaper in the winter. It'd probably make a very nice framed art pieced, were I so motivated.
Yes, the skyline gets a little fuzzy, since I tried to use the zoom on my camera and it's not the world's greatest camera. But you get the idea. A great place to go if you have a high-megapixel camera and want a shot of downtown.
The sun kept going behind clouds and then coming back out, so this one I took because it was sunny.
Another zoom picture, and I didn't quite capture what I wanted to, but oh well.
Now this might give it away if you're familiar with local artwork or recent additions to the scene. I didn't take a picture of the very controversial piece, however.
Why yes, that is me in the shadow.
College brochure, anyone?
Of course, there were swings, and of course, they had to be photographed. No, I didn't play on them. It was starting to get late and I was cold. I don't think you can tell from the picture, but there was another playground below to the left, with more swings.
Well? What do you think? I have several sites to link to that give the history of the area, etc, which I’ll post in the comments in a few days.
I took some pictures last night. Originally, I went out to take a picture of the tree limb that had fallen in Monday night’s storm. I am sorry to say that it did not turn out as artistic as I’d like. But I think that’s because I’m not actually a very good photographer. I’m OK with that. We all have limitations. It means I appreciate those who can take good pictures all the more.
But then I took more pictures. They’re after the jump.
I found lots of things to take pictures of that I will miss when I move. In all fairness, I also found a few things that I won’t miss.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. While moving to a townhouse in the suburbs isn’t exactly my ideal way for the fairytale to end, I do live in the real world, and it is the best decision for us to make. And I’m on board with that. And in the big picture, I choose living with over my other options, regardless of what that means. That doesn’t mean I can’t miss some things about my current living situation.
My front door. Yes, it's horribly huge and heavy and a pain in the butt. But at least in this picture, it's pretty. (You can't see the peeling paint and the rest of the entry which is sorely in need of cleaning or a power wash or... an exorcism.)
I do love my "Bath" hooks. I'm keeping it, but it's going into storage. There's really no appropriate place for this at Prince Charming's. Maybe it'll fit in better in our next home.
This has got to be one of the worst pictures I've taken of my fireplace. And sure, it has its problems. Like the fact that it doesn't work. But it's still quite pretty and I have enjoyed the luxury of its beauty in my bedroom for the past year-plus. You just don't see fireplaces like this in modern homes.
Prince Charming and I actually discussed this over the weekend. I have lived with this makeup shelf since A and I lived over by the fairgrounds, so I'm kinda set in my routine about it. But I think it's time for it to go. It has always lived in a hidden-away area of my bedroom except for that year A and I lived in that 3rd floor apartment, so it hasn't mattered that the whole world could see my "stuff." So now I'm trying to figure out what to do at the new place, where to put my stuff, how it's all going to work. Not really a big deal, but worth photographing one last time.
And now we get to my porch.
This has really been the part of my current living arrangement I like the most,
even though it doesn't get used 8 months of the year,
and I've barely had time to be in my hammock this summer with all the wedding and moving stuff.
Still, it is a nice little haven when I have the chance, and I will miss it.
This is, I think, the first flower Prince Charming ever gave me.
It's not making the move, however. It's a bit too fragile, and in the end, not worth it. I do, however, have a box with all the petals from the roses he gave me for our first Valentine's Day.
Ah, my shutters. I bought these back when I lived in Michigan. They haven't actually been on display in my current house, at least not in the last year or so. Like some other things, they're not really going away, just into storage. And hopefully I will find the perfect location for them in a future home. (I'm under strict orders not to give them away, which is fine because they were a great find when I bought them and they're hard to get sometimes. They have character. They speak to me.)
And then there’s the things I won’t miss. A few I don’t have pictures of, like my landlords, or walking through the kitchen in just a towel (wtf?) or the myriad of issues related to the poor care of our house since it has been a rental for way too long. But there are a few that I do have pictures of.
This is the gate I had to install on my bedroom door to keep the dog out of my bedroom.
Why would a dog in my bedroom be a problem? Besides the fact that she sometimes forgets that Matea is not actually a toy for her amusement, she has this bad habit of eating ALL of Matea’s food, which annoys me to no end. Like “I could seriously hurt that dog” annoyance. So with this $10 gate from Target, I fixed the problem. But I will be glad to no longer have to step over it every time I enter or exit my room. I’m sure Prince Charming or anyone who comes to visit me will be too.
This is the neighborhood cat (who is clearly tagged and lives right next door) who is allowed to wander aimlessly. The problem with this?
She's not fixed, and occasionally, as nature demands, goes into heat. Outside my bedroom window.
Last night I saw her while I was out taking pictures and had to go back and check my room to make sure she wasn’t . They look nearly identical, except that does not have a bright blue collar or tag. She has a pretty bell. And a grey (I think) tear-away collar. This cat was quite skittish and afraid of me. Probably because whenever I see her on my property, I chase after her with loud stomping footsteps. I think she got the point.
Oh, did you want the pictures I originally set out to take? Here they are…
As of about an hour ago, I have officially lived in Minnesota for 5 years. (I tend to have these grand, life-changing moments happen on memorable dates, but that’s another post.) December 1, 2001 I woke up at ‘s house in Illinois after having spent the day before loading my UHaul up and driving it from Detroit to his house (with his help, of course), my car in tow. We hopped back on the road and drove to Eden Prairie, arrived at the church-that-remains-nameless, met a youth group full of kids that helped unload stuff into my office, then into my temporary housing, and finally into my storage unit. Then we called , went out to eat at Chevy’s (because, having only lived in Minnesota for 2 hours, the best I could do was find the Eden Prairie mall), and started the slow process of assimilating myself to a new life. The next day was Sunday, whereupon I woke up and went to my new church for the first time, was warmly greeted by all, and ate a lot of Twinkies, among other things. I was also gifted a feather boa (in honor of our then-governor Jesse Ventura), a book “How To Speak Minnesotan” and a Twins baseball cap. The baseball cap is the only thing I have left, since the others were either given back (boa) or away to Goodwill because they reminded me of that church.
It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve seen anyone from that church – during the bus strike of 2004, I saw the church secretary at a concert, and I have actually healed from what they put me through (it helped that both pastors moved out of state). I don’t regret the decision to move here or to take the job, because that’s the way life goes. It got me to Minnesota, including paying my moving expenses, and, despite the cold weather that presently looms, I like living here. My life is here now. It has long since felt like home, and Michigan only felt that way for the brief time after I acclimated myself but before the sh*t hit the fan.