Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Visiting the Frozen Tundra
I haven't been posting, I'm not teaching (it is Mid Winter Break) and I am not gardening. I am on a much needed vacation visiting relatives in the Mid West. To save time and catch you up to speed I will give you the short list of what I have been doing:
1. Friday 2/13 flew into Midway Airport in Chicago. Schlepped me and my luggage aboard the #55 bus to my daughter's apartment. She was delighted to open the stinky French cheese I had brought. She fixed a delicious tartiflette for dinner. Frans chocolate caramels with smoked sea salt made for a perfect dessert. Went to sleep easily with a light snow falling in the lamplight outside her window.
2. Saturday 2/14 went shopping with the daughter in downtown Chicago. Bought a rice cooker/steamer Cuisinart cooking appliance for the daughter as well as shoes at Nordstrom. (What's wrong with this picture; I am the one who was supposed to get shoes!) Met with daughter's boyfriend in the pm and went to the Art Institute and saw a great exhibit of work by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munck. Once back at the apartment I grocery shopped and cooked dinner of basmati rice and chicken and in the new appliance. It's tricky; I think it will be useful once she gets the cooking times down. I had doubled the recipe and the cooking times were off; I ended up sauteing the chicken on the stove top.
3. Sunday 2/15 I cleaned the top of their refrigerator and rearranged a few dishes and appliances to make room for the rice cooker/steamer. Daughter,the boyfriend, a roommate, and myself all took the Metra downtown again to see the movie Coraline. It is wonderful! It is in 3-D which was a new experience for me. The animation is riveting and the story line is kind of spooky. A little girl living in a secluded creepy house somewhere near Ashland, Oregon with 2 parents who are too consumed with their garden writing careers to give her so much as five minutes of their time, discovers that she has a parallel mom and dad behind a secret door in the wall. The parents behind the wall try to woo Coraline away to their side with candy, circus shows and toys; every indulgence a child could possibly want. They want her to leave her real parents and stay with them but first she must agree to have buttons sewed in the place of her eyes, which she wisely refuses to do. Lots of danger and terror ensue as she tries to get back to her 'real parents'. Upon watching this movie I thought maybe nightmares such as this were the reason my own daughter refused to wear buttons on clothing as a child. After the movie we went to an Armenian Restaurant and had a delicious dinner. I had a combination plate. My favorite part was this huge lamb meatball in a yogurt mint sauce. When back at the apartment I finished reading Nine Parts of Desire and I left it behind for 'the daughter' to read. Then I finished 'the daughter's' taxes.
4. Monday 2/16 Walked 'the daughter' to campus and said our good byes, not tearfully, but wistfully; I wished I could've stayed longer. I made a necessary trip to the bursar's office to iron out a wrinkle in the bill. Then I took lots of aimless pictures of the old buildings covered in naked vines and church steeples cutting crisply into blue winter skies.
Once back at the apartment, I packed up, dragged my luggage to the Metra station, back to downtown again and once on Michigan and Van Buren, walked about 6 blocks to the Union Train Station. I think I had to ask more people how to find the Amtrak gate for Milwaukee than I have ever had to ask for directions to anything else. Boarded the train to Milwaukee
just in the nick of time. This was fun. The train is comfortable. I read my new book and ate the mozarella and tomatoe sandwich I had bought at the Corner Bakery. An hour and a half later I was hugging my sister Lynn in Milwaukee. We went shopping at the Boston Store and this time I shopped for me and bought two pair that were about equal in price to the one pair I had bought my daughter. Then we went to have coffee at Alterra, a coffee shop overlooking Lake Michigan. It is in a very cool building that was an old mill with a water wheel. Then we met our niece, Terra and her friend and we all went out to dinner at Wicked Ale brew pub. The hamburger I had was delicious with blue cheese and grilled mushrooms. Hugged the sister good bye (That was pretty incredible for her to drive from Madison to Milwaukee just to see me!) Niece Terra was then kind enough to chauffer me to Green Bay. We talked and talked about family, friends, relationships, jobs, and running and injuries. The one and a half hour drive went quickly. Then there I was sitting with my mom and dad at their kitchen table smiling and talking for an hour more. What a full day!
5. Tues. 2/17 Walked in the morning with my mom. Then we went to Laney Cheese and bought 4 yr. and 7 yr. old cheddar. Went to Fleet Farm with dad and looked at everything from bird seed to garden seed and plumbing and light fixtures. Second sister Lisa, her husband Tim, and nephew Tanner arrive, more hugs more talk. Tanner, mom and I play the dice game Left Right and Center and then the card game Uno. Mom is lucky to have a grandson that loves games as much as she does. 6:00 and the pork and beef roasts are done, my brother Jeff (Happy Birthday, Jeff!)arrives and we sit down to a delicious meal finished off with scham tortes and strawberries. Plenty more talk and a game of Rummy between mom and I follows. Now there is snow falling outside. It is so peaceful and pretty, hardly appears to be the storm that the weather report forecasted. But I guess strong winds could change all that. I know no one here is happy to see more snow, but I am secretly pleased. After all, it is still winter in the 'frozen tundra.'