Interesting Place to Visit Sometime

On the last day of our trip, we thought it would be best to get to the tour boat as soon as possible.  When we were planning our trip, we were disappointed to learn that we would not be able to go on Liberty Island or Ellis Island.  Both places were under repair due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully, we could do the next best thing which was to see the islands from a boat.

We took the subway and a bus to get to the pier.  It was nice to see other tourists travelling especially since they asked all the important questions.  When we heard the answers, we knew we were going in the right direction!

We picked up our tickets which were a part of our New York City Passes.  When we got on board, we grabbed one of the first seats inside the air-conditioned cabin.  A family from Iowa sat next to us.  As the cabin filled up, the rest of the observers went to sit on the upper deck.

Our tour guide, Max, was blessed with the gift of gab.

Aircraft Carrier Intrepid

Aircraft Carrier Intrepid

As we pulled away from the pier, Max told us about the Intrepid Museum on Pier 86.  I thought it would be an interesting place to visit sometime.  The Concorde Jet was right next door!  Max told us when we were passing over the exact spot where Captain Sullivan landed the airplane on the Hudson River which was quite an eerie feeling.

While we traveled to the Statue of Liberty, Max told us about how expensive the apartments are on Manhattan Island and that if a person wanted to dock their boat on the Hudson River it would cost $6,000 a day!  Yikes!

Max recommended taking in a show during our visit.  He suggested checking out which sells tickets 20-50% off regular price.  The ticket booth is located in Times Square.  Check it out in the morning to see a show that night.  Max warned that there would probably be a line.

Statue of Liberty

Finally getting to meet the Lady!


Ellis Island

After our tour and a short subway ride, we headed to Macy’s.  We walked a short distance and moved out-of-the-way all of the passersby.  While Susan looked at a map, I asked a lady standing next to us if she knew where Macy’s was.  She nodded at me with her big brown eyes, and her eyebrows seemed to go crooked all at once.  She slightly made a pointing gesture behind her.  We were standing right in front of the building!  One large section of Macy’s was being remodeled and was closed off.  That may be why it seemed really crowded or perhaps it was just that way because we were in NYC!  We shopped a little.  I bought a cute blue scarf for myself, and every time I wear it I will be reminded of the fun time I had!



We ate lunch at a little spot where the lady behind the counter said that they had the best Reuben sandwiches in NYC.  It was good, but I doubted that it was the best.

Harold's Square

We walked by Harold’s Square

After another short subway ride, we were back at the hotel.  Since the day was so warm and we were so thirsty, we went to McAleer’s Pub on Amsterdam, just a short walk away.  We bought cold beers and t-shirts from the bar.  Susan asked if they had any other shirts with less decoration.  The waitress said that A Perfect Pint in Times Square would have just what we were looking for.  That was perfect because later that night we would be going to the show Nice Work if You Can Get It.

Before we knew it, we were at A Perfect Pint.  We were glad to get the recommendation because we never would have found it on our own since it seemed to be tucked in a bunch of buildings and hidden by scaffolding.  The crowd seemed to be a place where locals hung out.  We ate appetizers and Susan bought a t-shirt.

Parking Cars

While walking to the theater, I noticed an amazing way to park cars!

We picked up the tickets that we ordered way in advance at will call and decided to check out a new place called Jekyll and Hyde Restaurant & Bar.  We walked by the place a couple of days ago, and it looked quite scary to me because I wasn’t in a Halloween sort of mind.

At first we were greeted by a wax waiter and a knight in shining armor.  Then we found the live hostess who lead us to the bar.  The waiters and waitresses were dressed in costumes.  After we ordered our drinks, we were fascinated by the little gimmicks that took place.  The faces on the portraits changed, and the stuffed bear that loomed over us told us a story, just to name a couple of things.  Susan said it was like a Chucky Cheese for adults!  Finding the bathrooms reminded me of a treasure hunt.  The entrance is a long hallway lined with books and you need to figure out where the doorknob is.  Luckily another woman walked ahead of me and helped me find the way!

I was so excited when we got to the Imperial Theater because our seats were in the third row.  I sort of felt like we were sitting on top of the orchestra!  Matthew Broderick played an obtuse sort of fellow who couldn’t tell what love was until it bit him in the face.  The show was quite funny, and I enjoyed the Gershwin music, the dancing and the how lighthearted it was.

The next day we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the Nice Matin Bistro which was located in our hotel.  After we checked out, the doorman found us a cab.  We met our cab driver who was from Cashmere.  He talked about how his family still lives there, but how much he loves New York.

As we were leaving the upper west side, Susan pointed to the direction of the restaurant where the gang from Seinfeld hung out.  I couldn’t believe that we were that close to the place.  Even though Susan often asked me if I wanted to see anything else in the area, she didn’t know that I was a huge fan of Seinfeld and that I’ve seen every episode multiple times.  If only I had been a little more familiar with the place!

Oh well.  I just thought to myself that exploring that part of town would be another interesting place to visit sometime!


Miserable Outburst

The fourth day of our trip started out as another protein bar and Starbucks coffee morning.  After we repeatedly chewed on bits of the cardboard-like bars and tried to swallow them down with gulps of coffee, we headed to the subway.  Even though we had been on the subway many times, I never recognized any of the faces like I do at home, and I missed that.  I was surprised that I was feeling a bit homesick already!  I pushed the feeling aside and reminded myself to call home later that night.  I had been sending many pictures to the kids via text, but I missed having talking conversations with their Dad.

Susan thought it would be fun to find The World’s Most Famous Subway Grate.  We walked around the midtown area searching for the grate where Marilyn Monroe stood while a subway passed underneath.  The swishing air made the white skirt of Marilyn’s dress fly up which caught a lot of attention back in 1954.  Since it was a Wednesday, many professionals hurriedly walked by us.  When we found the grate, there wasn’t even a sign to confirm our discovery.  That made us unsure if we were in the right place.  After I read about The World’s Most Famous Subway Grate, I think we were in the right place, but now it doesn’t seem very exciting because we didn’t know for sure.  Anyway, if you’re interested, click here for a movie location guide, which would be fun to have on a trip to NYC.

Next we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  The Cathedral is currently going through some renovations which will take a couple more years to complete.  A lot of unlit candles greeted us, and Susan and I each lit one.  Here are some of my favorite pictures, even though you can see the scaffolding in the first one.

The protein bar was starting to wear off.  We spotted another Le Pain Quotidien which are all over the place in Manhattan!  This is the scrumptious salad I had:


Our next stop was the Museum of Modern Art.  The Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol were quite the attraction as was The Starry Night.  Susan asked me to take a picture:


While we stood in front of the painting, the man behind me started singing Starry, Starry Night, by Don McLean, and it helped me remember some sad things about Vincent Van Gogh.  😦

Thankfully, this piece of artwork had me laughing out loud:


It’s so fun to be cultural!

After leaving MoMA, we found the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop by Rockefeller Plaza, and I bought a beautiful umbrella with a Tiffany “stained glass” fabric and some Monet coasters.  Plus, I remembered to use the coupon from my New York City Pass booklet.

Not only did we see Rockefeller Plaza, and




we found Gilly at the NBC Store.


Our next adventure was to go to the Top of the Rock(efeller Plaza). We waited about 20 minutes before we could get on the elevator.  I liked seeing Central Park from the Top of the Rock.  I couldn’t believe how many buildings were below us.  It’s incredible how Manhattan stretches out further and further.

When we got back to the Upper West Side, we decided to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  I thought I would try the scallops, and our waitress, Heather, said that was a great choice.  We told Heather that we were going to go see the Statue of Liberty on Friday, and she told us about a lot of fun spots down by the pier.  The scallops and the fresh vegetables were very tasty.  By the time we were finished with dinner, it really was a starry night.

After only being asleep for a couple of hours, my stomach woke me up because it felt a little sour, and that’s when I decided that scallops didn’t like me.  Thankfully Susan slept through the whole miserable outburst.  That miserable outburst made me feel even more homesick.

The next day turned out to be the most relaxing of our trip.  We hoped that I would be feeling good so we could go see The Jersey Boys the next night.

To be continued…

A Lucky Gal

When I first woke up on the third day of our trip to NYC, I couldn’t believe that later that night I would see Tom Hanks in The Lucky Guy.  I felt like a Lucky Gal!  Some of my favorite movies are Big and all of the Toy Stories.  There seems to be a sort of humbleness that shines through in Mr. Hanks’ performances.  I was happy that still held true after I saw him in the show.  But the day was young, and there were a lot of things we wanted to do before being in the same room (even if it was a theatre) with Tom Hanks.

Since rain was in the forecast, we planned to visit some museums right after a leisurely breakfast.  We grabbed our umbrellas and walked to Sarabeth’s, a bakery and restaurant, across the street and up a block on Amsterdam.  We sat in a booth in the back, and I ordered the garden omelet.  Susan ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes.  We both sipped our very delicious coffees with cream until our food came.  We decided our food was delightful and would keep us full for a long while.

Little sprinkles began to fall as we walked back to our hotel.  We packed up some necessities, left the hotel and walked over to the American Museum of Natural History where the movie Night at the Museum was basedMany other people thought it was a good day to visit the museum too.  The lines seemed long, yet moved fast.  We picked up our New York City Passes, which Susan ordered ahead of time on-line.  The pass that we chose was a booklet that contained six admission tickets to various attractions and was valid for nine consecutive days.  It cost a little over $100, which we thought was well worth it.  One of the advantages of having the pass is that you don’t have to wait in line to purchase your tickets.

Journey to the Stars was at the planetarium.  The film was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, and there were many well-behaved school groups in attendance.  I learned about those little balls of light and imagined them being born.  I was glad to learn that scientists believe that the sun will last many more millions of years.  Whew!

After that we walked around and saw a lot of stuffed animals, creepy crawlers and such.

After seeing the dinosaurs and being glad that we were never alive the same time they were, we decided to go across Central Park and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Now that the raindrops were really falling, we hailed a cab that took us over to Fifth Avenue.  We walked about half a block as the drops made noises on our umbrellas, and I suddenly felt like a New Yorker!

Since we had our passes, we went right in.  Susan studied the map and tried to figure out how to navigate to her favorite paintings.  When we were admiring the Rodin statues, we came across a beautiful painting of Joan of Arc, by Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848-1884).  Susan and I admired the artwork for many, many minutes.  We were fascinated by how Joan of Arc seemed so lifelike.  It was if she could pop off the canvas.  Her eyes seemed to tell a story.  Seeing the painting reminded me of the stories I heard as a child and how I admired her bravery.  You can see a photograph of the painting if you click here.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures at the Met until we got to the stained glass artwork and the angels:

We also saw the painting of George Washington Crossing the Delaware and the Egyptian Temple.  When we came to the gift shop, we realized that there was a coupon in our New York City Pass booklet.  We tried to decide if we wanted to buy anything and realized that it was almost 5:00.  I felt a little stressed and worried if we would make it to the show on time.

I was sad to leave the museum because I enjoyed it so much.  The traffic was heavy, big raindrops still fell, and we knew that at that time of day we wouldn’t be able to catch a cab.  We looked over at the commuters filing on the bus across the street and decided to ask some questions.  The people were so friendly and told us that the bus would drop us off right by our hotel.  We were thrilled that we learned another way to travel about NYC.  We used the same $30 pass that we used on the subway.

It was nice to have the doormen greet us.  Our hotel room looked so tidy, but we didn’t have time to stay.  We headed out the doors again, but this time we walked in the other direction to the subway.  When we got to our stop, and went up the steps, the crowds were much heavier in Times Square.  We passed by many shops.  We picked up our tickets at will call, and Susan led me over to Sardi’s.  We went to the upper floor, sat at the bar and ordered watermelon cosmopolitans and crackers and cheese.  People were standing in line in front of the Broadhurst Theatre.  A gentleman at the corner of the bar said, “I can’t believe the line.  I always wait up here until just before the show starts, and then go into the theatre.”  It sounded like a great idea to me as I munched on crackers and sipped my cosmo.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be sitting at Sardi’s doing just what I was doing at that moment.  A picture of Lucille Ball smiled at me from across the room.

The man told us about his grandson who was in a play at the adjoining theatre and how his family members took turns being the actor’s biggest fan and making sure he got home safely.  We chatted for quite some time and noticed that the line was getting shorter.  We got up to leave around the same time.

I thought theater goers would dress up, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable wearing my jeans since the majority of the audience did too.  Some dressed like one would expect going to a Broadway show.  We read our playbill and waited for the show to start.  The play was written by Nora Ephron who also wrote When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, just to name a couple of things she did during her very successful career

Tom Hanks played a newspaper columnist, Mike McAlary.  McAlary’s career blossoms when he becomes the reporter who the criminals tell their stories to about the police.  It was difficult for me to watch Mr. Hanks puff on cigarettes and say the F-word because I always think of him as Woody or Josh.  It was a different role, and he played the part well.  I admire how he likes to be different characters.  The audience saw his humbleness shine through when he graciously bowed at the end.  It seemed like he truly appreciated the audience being there.

We went to Juniors Restaurant after being in the same room with Tom Hanks.  I had a ham sandwich which looked like it could feed my entire family.  I didn’t think I was very hungry, but I ate it all!  We talked about what a great job the cast did, and how much we enjoyed the performance.

Junior's Restaurant

When we walked through Times Square on the way to the subway, it was 10 times more crowded than the most crowded Minnesota State Fair that I ever attended.  I couldn’t believe that it was around 11:00 at night because the lights were brighter than a lot of Minnesota days!  I could have worn my sunglasses and been fine.  The subways were less crowded than the streets, and I felt comforted by the music of the man playing the steel drum.  He did an awesome job every time I saw him that week!

We made it back to our hotel, and planned the next day.  Even though I felt like a very lucky gal to have seen The Lucky Guy, little did I know that it would not turn out to be my favorite show of the trip.

To be continued…

Starbucks Helped us Make it Through!

The streets were very quiet Memorial Day morning.  The neighborhood wasn’t busy like it was the day before.  As I left the hotel, I asked the doorman if he knew where Starbucks was, and he pointed the way.  It felt a little strange to be walking all by myself.  Sometimes I felt like I should be afraid because I was in the Big City.  Then I realized that I didn’t have a reason to be.  I took a right turn by the DSW Shoe Store and walked a couple blocks down Broadway.  When I entered Starbucks, I was the only customer, and it was nice to have the individual attention!  On my walk back, I saw a few moms pushing their little ones in strollers.  People were busy working and moving boxes from trucks to buildings.  Only a few cabs and cars traveled along the road.

When I got back to our room, Susan and I ate protein bars and washed it down with some coffee.  We didn’t have time to stop for a leisurely breakfast because we were heading down to the 9/11 Memorial.

The subway was only a block away.  By the time we got to the bench to finish our coffees, the traffic had picked up, and more people wandered about. The bench was by a big grate and we heard the trains pass underneath.  After we finished, we walked down the steps.  As we went down each step it got darker and colder.

?????????????????Artwork at a Different Subway Station

I followed Susan’s lead.  I watched her slide her subway pass through the slot and push the turnstile to get through the gate.  Just a few people were waiting.  I stood back, and when I heard the loud rumbling coming closer, I stood back a little farther just to be sure.  The train stopped, and the doors opened wide.  We found a spot to sit right away.  After the doors closed, we sped up faster and faster.  The train swayed from side to side.  Passengers unknowingly bobbed to the rhythm.  The rumblings from the inside of the train were not as loud as they sounded when it first started to approach.  When we made it to our destination, we only had to walk a few blocks to the Memorial.  The taller buildings cast longer shadows here.  Susan, who I referred to as “My Tour Guide,” had taken care of the required reservations, which had no charge.  We pulled out our passes and entered the gate.  We joined the zigzag line of people.  There was quite a wait because we were told a film was being produced for military personnel.

No buildings shaded us.  We soaked up the warm sun because we knew at home everyone was suffering through more rainstorms.  Susan struck up a conversation with the couple standing in line in front of us.  The lady was originally from Reykjavik, Iceland.  She and her husband were on vacation, but were ready to go back home to Sweden to their two children.  She commented how nice it was to see so many people at the 9/11 Memorial on Memorial Day.

When the line began to move, we were told that we would have to go through an airport-type security.  Thankfully we didn’t have to take off our shoes.  We passed through the security check, and went back outside.  The first thing I noticed was the sound of water running.  The very large pools stand where the Twin Towers used to be.  The names of the people who died there are carved into the beautiful stone.  I watched the water fall.  Where the sun shined, the water sparkled.  The water fell down the upper walls, fell down another level and disappeared.

We were not able to visit the museum because it is scheduled to open next spring.  You can see the museum in some of these pictures.  It’s a short, lopsided building.

Being there reminded me of the scenes we saw on TV and the stories that we read in the newspapers.  It reminded me how we felt about the lives of the people who were lost, and how we grieved for them and their families.  I thought about how frightened they must have been and how heroic the firefighters and policemen were.

We also saw St. Paul’s Chapel.  Even though the church is very close to where the Twin Towers stood, it didn’t get damaged.  This is where the fence was, where people left mementos of their lost loved ones and where the recovery workers slept on pews and received round the clock care.

The old tombstones in the back of the church have been there so long that the names and dates have worn away.  Inside the church a choir sang.

We walked around that area and saw more sights:  The New York Stock Exchange Building, the Wall Street Bull, and Battery Park.  We also walked halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge, even though parts of it were under repair.

We ate Panini’s and found our way back to the subway.  We stopped to see Grand Central Station, visited Annie Moore’s for a cold beverage and then went back to our hotel.

That night we went to Chinatown.  We briefly tried to find Wo Hop, a very good Chinese restaurant.  We didn’t stay in Chinatown very long because we felt claustrophobic.  Many people surrounded us and asked if we wanted to buy a Rolex and other such things.  Thankfully, Little Italy was only a few steps away.  We found Di Nico, one of Susan’s favorite restaurants, and relaxed while we ate dinner outside.

When our orders came, we realized that one of the ladies next to us ordered the same pasta as I did, which led us to start a conversation.  Kate and Maddy, a mother and daughter, were visiting from London.  Maddy shared how her parents told her that they were going to send her on a trip to Ireland with her Mom, but then surprised her with a trip to New York City instead.  They had plans to spend a lot of time shopping.  It was great to meet them, and I loved listening to their wonderful English accents.

Kate and Maddy told us how they waited in line for 90 minutes just the other day to eat at Wo Hop.  They said that it was very good, but it was a very small restaurant.  If Susan and I would have found it, we never would have met Kate and Maddy.

A Band Marching Down the Street in Little Italy!

The eventful day had us feeling quite tired, and we were glad that Starbucks helped us make it through!  The next day we had tickets to see Tom Hanks in The Lucky Guy, and we were really looking forward to that!

To be continued…

Fun Plan Turned into a Reality

Sometimes when we make plans to do some fun thing it doesn’t always work out for one reason or another, and we know to just let it go and move on.  But last August, when my friend Susan and I were at the Minnesota Twins game, somehow the subject of New York City came up.  The hotdogs and beers might have helped to start the conversation.  When Susan asked me what I would want to see there, I pretty much knew that the trip would become a reality.

The first place that came to mind was the Statue of Liberty.  Since the Statue of Liberty is like a heroine to me because of what she represents, of course, I wanted to meet her.  I also knew that I would be honored to be able to visit the 911 Memorial.  We saw those things and so much more.

We arrived on the Sunday before Memorial Day.  As we traveled from the airport to our hotel on the Upper West Side, we remained calm as our taxi driver swarmed about the traffic as if he was some sort of bumble bee dodging in between a winding garden of flowers. The van came close to scraping some barricades on the highway. Our cabbie, who is originally from Bangladesh, told us he has lived in New York City for over 20 years and how all his family lives close by. Since Susan, a seasoned traveler to the area, asked how he was going to get to our hotel, he delivered us there promptly without venturing off course.

The glass doors to the hotel were opened wide to greet us. Several doormen bustled about carrying customers’ luggage to and from the building. When we entered the Lucerne, I felt welcomed by the extravagantly decorated lobby. Comfy sofas and chairs were grouped in circles on each side of the room.  The elegant colors blended together and felt homey.  We weren’t able to get into our hotel room right away, so we checked in our luggage so that we could wander about the city. Seeing many other people stroll along was just what I expected. A yellow sea of cabs zoomed by while vacant cars sat parked on the street.  Every other group of walkers was accompanied by a dog. Most of the dogs were small, but occasionally a larger dog appeared. The dogs seemed to be happy as they walked along the cement sidewalks.

I thought that the subway station was crowded for a Sunday. We bought our $30 pass for the week, and walked to Le Pain Quotidien, a French bakery and restaurant on 72nd Avenue. We sat at a butcher block table close to the window. As we studied the menu, the sounds of dishes being ushered about echoed through the restaurant. People’s hushed conversations melded together. When I looked at the two women sitting next to us, I noticed a small dog inside a carrier that was sitting at its owner’s feet. If I hadn’t looked in that direction, I wouldn’t have even known the dog was there just minding his own business.

The waitress took our orders and soon she delivered this delightful creation which is a tartine:

After lunch, we only had to walk a couple blocks to Central Park. In the back of my mind I thought Central Park was a place where people got mugged because that’s all we ever heard about New York all the time we were growing up. I was surprised to see how beautiful the park is:

We walked for hours around the park discovering the statues and attractions.  We heard many different languages and wondered if they were visitors to the park too.  More dogs could be found and enjoyed the grass all around us.

When we got back to our hotel, I wondered how many miles we walked.  It wasn’t long before we were off exploring again.  We stopped at the Gin Mill, a very lively bar that was only a block away from our hotel.  Next we had delicious lasagna at Al Dente Restaurant.  By the time we arrived at Café Lalo for dessert, it was 10:30.  I couldn’t believe the atmosphere because where I come from everyone is in bed at 10:30.  The customers were wide awake and the conversations were lively.  We split the amaretto tiramisu, and it was divine!

The minute my head hit the pillow back at the hotel, I was off to sleep in the blink of an eye.  I wasn’t even worried about the next day when I would travel on the subway for the first time.  I was just glad this fun plan turned into a reality!

To be continued…

I Already Got My Deer

deer season open deerseasonopen.jpg photo
Photo Courtesy of Photo Bucket

Last night my husband and I saw a deer cross right in front of our path on our way home from dinner. I slowed down and traveled slow, thinking that another one would follow. Luckily, no more deer came dashing out and we made it home safely.

I try to stay off the rural highways during deer hunting season which is now taking place in Minnesota. The gunshots scare the deer and it seems like more deer get killed and end up dead on the highways from being spooked than from being hunted down. I already got my deer, and I don’t want to get another one.

The day I got my deer, my weapon was our car. My daughter and I were coming home from the school carnival. I was driving the speed limit of 40 mph down the dark familiar road to our home during the month of April, 1999. A deer dashed in front of our path. I knew that if there was one deer, there would be another. I looked in my rearview mirror, and the car behind us was very close. I knew if I slammed on the brakes or even slowed down a bit, we would get rear ended. Then, sure enough, the other deer that I had been expecting came running out in front of us, and I smacked into it, and she went flying over to the right side of the road.  We kept on going about a half mile when we got to a stop light.  The car that had been following us, pulled up in the right lane while we waited for the light to change.  I heard the passengers talking very excitedly, and they were looking at the front of our car. I thought, “If you wouldn’t have been riding my bumper, I could have slowed down and that deer would still be alive.”

I continued driving home, and when Laura and I got out of the car, we looked at the front end of our Buick Century. The only thing that was dented was the license plate.  I never had good aim, and thought we were really lucky.  I thanked the angels for watching out for us.

My daughter and I were pretty shook up. My husband called the police to let them know there was a dead deer on the side of the road. That night I didn’t sleep very well, and the next morning I drove by the spot, and my deer was still lying there. It looked like some critters had found her too.

One of our friends, a real deer hunter, mentioned that we should have called him right after it happened, and the deer would not have gone to waste. I didn’t even think about doing that at the time.  At least some little critters got fed.

There are a lot of deer and other wild animals running around our neighborhood even though we live in an urban area. I hope and pray I never run into a wild animal again. It’s no wonder deer like to live so close to people. Chances are it’s safer here for them, especially during deer hunting season. That is, if they don’t get hit by a car.

Trick or Treat Chorus

pumpkins pumpkins.jpg photo
Photo courtesy of

Doorbell keeps ringing,
Children are singing,
Trick or Treat chorus,
Sure not to bore us.

Costumes are scary,
Makes us feel wary,
Kids do not care much,
What looks upset us.

They like sweet candy,
Makes them feel dandy,
Getting the most sweets,
Is quite a fun feat.

Once they get back home,
To rest and not roam,
Plop down their treasure,
Count up and measure.

Daytimes pass quickly,
Children feel sickly,
If Mom denies some,
She is no more fun.

Kids get so busy,
Causes a tizzy,
Forgetting the fuss,
The rest is for us!

Going in Reverse

Thursdays are the days when the Farmer’s Market booths line Nicollet Mall between 5th and 9th Streets. It was shoulder-to-shoulder shopping that day during the lunch hour in downtown Minneapolis. Excited shoppers rush along carrying beautiful bundles of brightly colored flowers. Others look as if they are being weighed down by their many packages.  Most everyone seemed to be in a big hurry to find their favorite vegetable, fruit, or jar of honey.  The smell of nuts being roasted in cinnamon filled the air.

 Photo Courtesy of Minneapolis Farmer’s Market

Since my refrigerator was plumb full of fruit, but needed lettuce, I scanned the booths for that leafy vegetable. My friend thought that all the lettuce would be gone by the time we got there. We found Swiss chard and kale at the first booth we visited, but no lettuce. I never ate kale before, and I am pretty sure I never heard of it.  I held it up and found that it looked thick and course and as if it would involve a lot of chewing.  The saleslady said that kale is good to eat if you crunch up the leaves and make it like a Caesar salad. I still wasn’t sure about it, but the thing was that shoppers could buy three bunches of greens for $5.00. We got two bunches of kale and a bunch of Swiss chard and decided to split up our shares later. We wandered farther down and found tomatoes to share too.  After carrying around all these veggies, we found the fresh lettuce that I had been searching for. I bought some to add to the load, and worried if we could possibly eat all these greens.  After finding and tasting a sample of the cinnamon nuts, I realized the roasting always smells better than the tasting.  No nuts were purchased that day.

After we divided up the kale and Swiss chard, I found a recipe on-line for an Apple-Walnut Kale Salad which just so happens to call for Swiss chard! The ingredients sounded great, and since the whole family was going to be home that coming weekend, the next day I ventured out to get the rest of the ingredients.  On Saturday night, I put the salad together to go with our Saturday night meal. It quickly disappeared.  Everyone liked the blend of flavors and didn’t even complain about all the chewing! You can find the recipe here.

Apple-Walnut Kale Salad Recipe
Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

I enjoy visiting the Farmer’s Market and wish that I would more often. The merchants are so welcoming, and it’s nice to buy fresh, local produce. Kale led me to Apple-Walnut Kale Salad.  When I shop at the grocery store, I only buy something different after I find a new recipe. For once, I found the recipe after I bought the kale which is totally out of my routine.  Doing things in reverse can get a person out of a rut!  Plus, not one morsel of greenness was left to waste.

Crossing Things Off My Bucket List

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Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

I bet some people’s bucket lists are extravagant sorts of things that include travel to exotic places and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  Even though I never actually sat down and wrote out a list, I keep coming up with things that I would like to do that are not very extraordinary.  Yesterday, I got to cross another thing off my imaginary list.

We had our route all timed out.  Three of the four of us were waiting patiently for the fourth to arrive.   The three of us gazed out the glass doors of the tall building and looked across the street as the train sat there.

“Look, there it is.  It’s going to leave.  We’ve missed it,” said Sylvie.

“No, it’s going in the other direction,” I said hopefully.

The train chugged away from the stop, and we worried that we had missed our chance to go to our destination.

“A train just left,” we said to Cheryl, the final arrival.

“Well, let’s just go and see if another one is coming,” said Jill.

“Ya, it’s not even 12:05 yet.  I bet another one is going to be coming by soon,” I said.

We walked two-by-two to the train stop.  The warm and dry heat of the day enveloped me and chased off the chills of the air-conditioned building.  I watched my friends hold their To Go cards over the circle of the ticket machine, and it beeped giving them the okay to travel on the train.  I held my card over the circle too.  Now I was free to travel on the Hiawatha Line for the first time even though light rail has been in service since 2004.  Of course, I have been on trains such as these in other cities, but this was my first time traveling on the light rail in Minneapolis, my home town.  Funny how we sometimes end up exploring other places more than the places we live.

After a short wait, a train slowly approached us, stopped, opened its doors and we filed in one-by-one.  We all sat together two-by-two facing each other.  There were a few other people on the train mostly traveling by themselves.  They gazed out the windows with their earplugs in, and we chatted on about why other people get angry at passengers who talk on their cell phones.  Was it because they are so loud?  We were being loud, and no one seemed to be getting angry at us.  We decided that people get mad because they only get to hear one side of the conversation!

We went along and enjoyed the smooth ride of the train and commented about how different it is from riding a bus.  The train didn’t lurch forward or swerve back and forth.  There were no jerky moves.  We passed by another line of light rail that is being constructed and is heading towards St. Paul.  We wondered how many future travelers would use the train going between the Twin Cities, and I could see myself going on more rides like these.

“Wasn’t there another thing that you just crossed off your bucket list?” Jill asked me.

“Yes, jello shots,” I said.

“That’s right.”  Jill talked about how she ran across a recipe for jello shots that were red, white and blue and how she thought of me when she saw them.  Since none of us are from the generation that made jello shots popular, I sort of thought it was funny how I never ran across them before especially since many of my friends have.  A few months ago, the three out of the four of us went to Lyon’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis.  One of the drink specials is jello shots for $2.00.  That jello shot was okay, and I didn’t really see the fascination of it.  I just look at it as being one thing that got crossed off my imaginary bucket list.

We left the train at the 50th St. Minnehaha Station and walked a short way towards Cap’s Grille.  I knew the area quite well, having driven by many times on family visits to Minnehaha Falls or to visit relatives who used to live in the area.

Photo Courtesy of

Cap’s Grille is a no frills sort of restaurant.   Two chefs were at the grill close to where we walked in.  The Formica topped tables with steel legs looked like the table that used to be in my childhood home before we had the kitchen remodeled over 40 years ago.  The chairs were something right out of the past too, matched the tables and had familiar red cushions.

Photo Courtesy of

A waitress welcomed us, and instructed us to go have a seat in the only empty table in the corner.  We were surprised to see a giant Charlie Brown statue with his chef’s hat and smile standing in the opposite corner.  The silverware stood straight up in the plastic cup in the center of the table.  The floppy menus showed us all the treats to choose from.  I had already decided what I was going to order from the menu that I found online.

The waitress came with four waters, and asked if we would like anything else to drink.

“Is The Stacker huge?” I asked.  The Stacker is a sandwich that is piled high with slowly cooked pork and a tasty barbecue sauce.

“Yes, it’s a very large sandwich.  It’s the only item on the menu that doesn’t come with a side,” said the waitress.

While Sylvie ordered her salad, Jill and I whispered back and forth and decided to split The Stacker.  Jill and I also ordered a small salad.  The small iceberg lettuce with tomato salads and dressing arrived shortly after ordering and were sure to leave some room for our sandwich.

The buzz of conversations swirled around us.  It wasn’t like some restaurants where the sounds bounce off the walls and echo about making it difficult to hear.  Formica table tops and the same floor covering must act like sound absorbers.  We talked about the goings on in each other’s lives like friends do, and before we knew it the rest of the food arrived.  The sandwich that Jill and I split took up the entire dinner plate.  The top of a bun sat like a hat on the plentiful portion of pork, and the bottom of the bun was hidden underneath it all.

“There so much food here that we can split this and if you like we can take the rest home,” said Jill as she took the small portion she wanted and handed the rest to me.

“There’s enough here to feed a family of four,” I said.  I dug in and tasted the tender pulled pork and sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, and decided that it was well worth the trip.  We sat around waiting for the waitress to take our money, then realized that we needed to pay the cashier.  Jill and I left clutching small cartons of pulled pork.  Just a short walk and we were back to the tracks of the light rail.

Our trip to Cap’s Grille turned out to be a very special treat that was out of the ordinary.  What sorts of things do you have on your bucket list?

Talking ‘Bout My Generation

Bobby Sherman

My generation was pretty good at obsessing over boys. Not only did we have Bobby Sherman’s face to decorate our lunch boxes and posters, we also obsessed about all the guys from The Monkees. If you ask any lady who you know who is from my age group, who their favorite Monkee was, you will get many different answers. Each Monkee had their own cuteness about them, and the fans have a favorite for a different reason which does not include just being cute.


The Partridge Family was on TV back in my day, and a lot of my friends thought that David Cassidy was really cute.   We didn’t say “hot” back then.


Then there was Donny Osmond,

Little Joe Cartwright from Bonanza, also known as Michael Landon,

and the only reason I ever watched football:  Joe Namath.

Maybe I am out of the loop, but it seems like something is not right here.  Things change, and maybe it’s better for girls to not have cute guys to watch on fun TV shows.  I bet poster sales are way down now from when I was a teen.