Fun, Quick Weekend

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So last Tuesday, my Roomie and I went to La Boheme. This is the opera of operas or at least that is what I thought. Beyond Phantom of the Opera what other opera can most non-opera people list. La Boheme. I really didn’t know much about the story line. The little bit of research I did said it was a love story of a group Bohemian people. Regardless of lack of information I was very excited. We left home and started the forever long drive to the big city. We stopped at our favorite thrift store and Shopko, taking our time heading to our hotel. I found our hotel on Hotels.com and was very excited to stay there. If you have never been to downtown St. Paul, MN (or even if you have) I recommend staying at Hotel 340. This is the old St. Paul Athletic Club. It is an amazing building with a lot history. Being from an era long past it was like stepping into the past. The ceiling, many stories above the lobby, had hand crafted detail and there was a fireplace so large you could walk into it. Just gorgeous. The hardwood floor looked original and there was random cabinets with beautifully carved detail. Our room was a tad small but we didn’t spend much time in it so that was ok. As soon as we unpacked we wandered around the area by the hotel.

We had dinner reservations a Pazzaluna Urban Italian Restaurant. It was a grand restaurant and quite loud. We were looking forward to having some very yummy food and a glass or two of wine. Our appetizer of Tomato Basil Bruschetta was divine. The mozzarella puffs on top were like heaven in your mouth. Roomie had Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli that looked like a deep dish of goodness. The ricotta made the ravioli creamy and the spinach gave it the perfect zing. I had Three Meat Cannelloni that was almost too good to eat. But I did anyways. The meat was beautifully spiced. The white and red sauces, mixed together, complemented each other perfectly. The only complaint I had was there was too much cheese! I know I am going to hell just for saying that. You can never have too much cheese but it detracted from the meal. We complemented our meals with a glass of white wine. Over all fabulous.

From the restaurant it was just a few minutes’ walk to the Opera House. I was a little self-conscience walking around in an evening dress but soon we caught up with the Opera going crowd and fit right in. We were seated on the Balcony with a great view of the orchestra pit and nearly center stage. The story opens with 4 gentleman in a rundown apartment. They are very poor and in the dead of winter they all were freezing. The poet volunteers to burn one of his stories. “Quiet, my play is beginning…/…to the fire. I find it really sparkling!” The entire story is amusing with little lines like that. However, as a story it was somewhat light. Not a lot of depth. I will say these young men (and women) were fantastic. I imagine to sing opera in a foreign language and act at the same time takes a lot of talent. It was a wonderful experience.

The next day, on the way home, we stopped and shopped and spent way too much money. It was nice to have access to things we don’t in the Frozen North. We also found a new second hand book store that we spent way to much time browsing. This is a great way to spend the weekend. Now back to the grindstone. However, I leave in a week to Orlando and spend some time with my mom and sister. So much to do, so little time.

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T minus 24…23…22…

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It’s the day before we leave for the UK. I am starting to get nervous just thinking about the things that need to come together. It snowed today. Its suppose to snow tomorrow. I worry about other people on the road being as capable drivers as I feel I am. Now should I leave earlier to give myself a better chance to get to the airport. I already am scheduled to get there two hours before I need to be. These are the things that worry me. LOL. My internet went down yesterday. After a very frustrating call to tech support they say a person needs to come out. Well I am going to be gone so no you can’t come out. I have a wifi home security camera that would have allowed me to check on the kitties and the house but guess not. Maybe someone sabotaged my internet so they could rob me while I am gone. These are the things that worry me. I am ready to go tomorrow and I know everything will go fine. My mind is not as confident. Silly mind. Breathe. Calm. Happy.

Disappointment

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Ever had high expectations for something you knew nothing about? My roomie and I went to The Nutcracker by Russian Ballet. I expected it to be some great performance since the Russian Ballet is very well known. I am not saying that the show was bad just not what I expected. Here let me explain. We drove 6 hours in near freezing rain. It was a long boring drive only made better by listening to The Odyssey narrated by Ian Mckellen. It took me almost 30 minutes to stop hearing Gandalf tell a story. I have never been able to read all of The Odyssey so having it on disk made it very enjoyable. After driving for what seemed like forever, we checked into our hotel. It was a very nice hotel with a restaurant attached which is where we ate. It was very unique in the fact that we cooked our own steaks on a rock that was heated to molten lava temperature. A few drinks and some singed knuckles the road weary fell away. We got dressed up and the hotel provided transportation to the civic center. I am not sure if it was because the center was under construction but we were seated in what looked like a basketball court that had a stage at one end. The floor seating was padded folded chairs. There was no announcement before the show, no warning call, no real anything. The people in the row behind us were loud and annoying. In the first 10 minutes of the show one of their group had a coughing fit and removed themselves from the row. Well since that person didn’t come back in the next 10 minutes their friends had a loud whispering conversation about how worried they were for their friend. It was very distracting. Their friend showed up at intermission. I was annoyed and “thirsty” and went to the bar at intermission. It took 20 minutes for me to get my drink. The drink tenders were the slowest people in the world. So besides noisy neighbors, uncomfortable chairs, disappointing drinks, the show itself was very good. I knew nothing about the story of the Nutcracker and watching in ballet was very wonderful. The athletics of the players was phenomenal. There is a lot of talent there. After the show we walked back to the hotel stopping at a bar or two, then went  to bed in rather comfortable beds for a hotel bed, and the next day drove 4 hours to my dentist appointment. Finally, 5 hours after my appointment we made it home to happy kitties and warm blankets. All in all it was a disappointing trip but chalk it up to experience. Hopefully our next trip will be a lot better. T Minus 4 days!!!!!!

A weekend with a teenager

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Where does the time go? I swear I wrote a post just the other day.

I spent the last 4 days with a fifteen year old (going on 30) young lady; and I must say that it was eye opening. A little bit of background, she is my adopted sister. As in, I adopted this family when I was living in Washington (no the state) and was about 3000 miles from my family. Sometimes you just need someone to mother you or a sister to pick on. I have been close with this family for many years and I told my not-sister that I would fly her to Minnesota as a birthday present. We spent 4 days at the Mall of America, Valley Fair, Como Zoo, Lion King, etc. It was a lot of fun and very tiring. I feel like I haven’t slept in days but that is more due to my insomnia than anything else. It was interesting to study her motives and actions. I was raised in an intact home where we traveled as a family a lot. My father also who traveled for work often would bring home trifles for us. My not-sister, while she lives with her biological parents, has half siblings as well. They are hard working parents, however, though they are in the lower end of the income bracket. Not that means much but it does play a part of the economical psyche of family dynamics. I watched her pick out clothes that she felt was appropriate. Her choices in modesty was fine however, her thought on what was affordable was proof of a child given a large amount of money. While she earned some of it there was not much value placed on it. Easy come, easy go as they say. Also there was no thought for her family, who let this teenage fly by herself across halfthe country. Perhaps it is my training to think of the others in my life that leads me to purchase gifts for others. I saw something that was perfect for my roommate. So I purchased it for her. It seemed to me that there was no thought for my not-sister’s family. I didn’t say anything but it was curious to me. I talked to her mother about this and she said that it was probably because they never get anyone gifts when they travel; as little as they do. Mostly it is a financial issue, as in there isn’t enough to buy for themselves and others. In a teenager’s life Me is the most important. I also was interested to see her consideration for my feelings or desires. There was none. If she wanted to do something that is what we did. I did cater to her some but there was no tit for tat. There was no compromise or thought for my desires. I only mentioned a few but it would have been nice to do some things that interested me as well. I realize she is a little shy but we are family and she has never been shy before. I also understand my likes and dislikes are very more broad then most 15 yr. olds. Still it was wonderful to be pulled out of my controlled world and moved toward the desires of others. Perhaps, I have been alone in my little sheltered world too long. It is always interesting to see the different in children’s thought patterns.

Well now I have 7 days of work ahead of me. I feel a little under the weather. My roommate has been gone for the last week or so. Leaves me with three very attention deprived cats. The weather is humid and hot which makes the nights unbearable. I have a 6 week break before my next trip and I am looking forward to not going anywhere!

Have a most fantastic week!

P.S. Has anyone been to Morocco? I think that will be my next solo trip. Any suggestions?

Magical Weekend

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So after working over two weeks straight, (why do I do that to myself) I finally had a couple of days off. On my first day off, Friday, I took the time to do all the house cleaning that I have been putting off. Made food and spent the day slowly. Not rushing; not on the clock. It was lovely. Saturday, I worked another overtime shift. Work was busy and the time went by quick. That night I packed and prepped my kitties for being away overnight. Sunday morning we got up fairly early to start the drive to the big city. My roommate had worked until 2am and I volunteered to drive the 1st leg of the trip. It was raining and dull. I listened to the audiobook of 2001: A space odyssey. It was a wonderful diversion. After a short nap my roommate took over the wheel and we drove around one of the largest lakes in the state. My mother happened to call at that point and after telling her where we were she had an interesting local lore tidbit. My grandfather’s Uncles and Aunts died on that lake. I was a little awestruck and thanked her for such an interesting snippet.  Slowly we continued our drive that was only slightly delayed by construction. Our hotel boasts the largest water park in the area. However, there was no pool for guests unless you paid for the water park. Our room was lovely and large. After a few moments of relaxation we prepared for a night of fun. We had tickets to Disney’s the Lion King with off Broadway cast. I was super excited. Before the show, dinner was planned at an Indian place not far from the theater. The food was amazing; full of flavor and new tastes. We walked two blocks to the theater and took our seats just before the show started. And WOW. That’s all I can really say. The opening scene just like the movie was grand. All the animals of the plains coming to acknowledge the birth of the future king. The voices of the actors were beyond my expectations. The costumes just…. WOW. An elephant came down the aisle, one person in each leg. Giraffes were walking around on their stilt like legs. Zebras and antelope pranced over the stage in magical flight. It was amazing. The actors played their characters with grace and knowledge. It was the best show I have seen. Afterward we wondered over to a British inspired pub with a bowling green on the roof. We threw back a couple of pints and watched a band encourage drunken movement from the crowd. It was fabulous. A wonderful evening full of fine dresses, lovely food/drink, and magical moments. A perfect evening. The next day, Monday, a quick tour of the mall and a better stocked liquor store then at home, we made our way home, and back to the daily grind.