September 2nd, 2007

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Busy day, mostly out of the house, yesterday.

We open with going to a synagogue in Anaheim, because a friend is going to have an aliyah in honor of her 77th birthday. She gets through it without collapsing, and we share the Oneg Shabbat with the couple. This synagogue was the one where two of my cousins did their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, though it's very different now than it was some decades back.

Following that, forestcats tried to find the home of one of her friends from the cat show days. She thinks we found the home, but her friend has moved. I spent the driving time catching up with the Uncle/Aunt combo whose kids were the ones mentioned above.

Heading back towards home, she veered off into Placentia, where we stopped by Jeff & Maureen's house; the place is topsy-turvy as Jeff is still doing the flooring. We sat and chatted 'til Jeff returned from a Home Depot run, and then, as long as we were there anyway, we pitched in. One room more was nearly finished, when we left to go get some dinner at Souplantation with the whole Cavin clan.

Home, I had to reboot the DVR; we caught up on a few shows, and then sat down and ran through two episodes of The Sopranos; we've only got one more episode to watch to finish up season three. Still pretty good stuff. I can't recall if I mentioned that earlier this week, we watched a couple of episodes of Joan of Arcadia via Netflix. forestcats used to watch it, and I rarely saw an episode, so we put it on the Netflix queue just to get an idea of it. I liked Wonderfalls better, honestly, at least the first few shows, but this isn't bad stuff.
Dead Dog Cat

memories of Dad

He would spend much of his relaxation time lying on the couch in the den, watching sports on TV.

I never did really get it when he'd watch baseball. That sport never sparked me.

Things were so bad that once we went to a Dodger game, and to me, nothing was happening. I was bored out of my mind. Suddenly, a ball was hit by the other team at the first baseman, and he knocked it down, but couldn't tag the other guy out. Suddenly the crowd went wild, as the umpire ruled it an error rather than a base hit. I was confused...I mean, why should an LA crowd cheer that their guy got an error, and the other team was on base. I asked my Dad, and he said, "Didn't you realize that Bill Singer is pitching a no-hitter?" Well, no, I hadn't been. That meant that the crowd was happy that this base hit had been ruled an error, instead, and indeed, Singer did finish the game with a no-hitter. But my Dad never noticed that I was clueless until that point.

Still, I guess in the annals of baseball fandom, sitting through a no-hitter is a big deal.

Big deal.
Dead Dog Cat

Minnesota trip

Now, I've got the time, and somewhat the energy, to write a bit about the trip that forestcats and I took to the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The reasons for travelling included the impending wedding of my mother's elder sister's eldest son's daughter, the opportunity to let my mother bask in the happy glow of familial love, and the opportunity to actually travel around in my Mom's old stomping grounds from her elementary school days. Secondarily, we would see a few of the sites of the big city there.

The California contingent of the family included forestcats, me, my sister the artist, my mother, and my mother's younger brother's son. This group flew in on three separate flights; the cousin actually worked, a bit, on the first two days, as long as he was going to be in town there, anyway.

We arrived on Thursday, and met Mom & sister at the airport. Both flights were late, but ours arrived about fifteen minutes earlier than Mom's. Sis was supposed to turn on her cell phone on arrival, but rather than doing it when the flight landed, she waited until they'd picked up their baggage, thereby freaking us out. We rented a large vehicle, loaded up everything, and drove to the hotel.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn only two blocks from the site of the wedding, not far from the State Capitol, in St. Paul. The Minnesotans were all freaked out by the bridge failure of I-35W, but the traffic, bad as it might have been, was nothing compared to the Ventura Freeway on an average day.

We had dinner in the Irish pub on the ground floor of the hotel with the whole gang. forestcats ran out of steam, but my sis and the cousin went out to see the Walker Art Museum that evening, since it was open until 9PM, and free.

Next morning we tooled out to the cemetary where many of the relatives on Mom's side of the family are interred. I'd been there before, 26 years ago, for the burial of my grandmother. A rich relative had paid for a dozen plots there, and several generations of family are present. Total of thirteen, to be exact, and we found them all.

Following that, the cousin went back off to work, and we went to find Mom's old house. We did, and it's in great condition, and we found the lilac bushes that have to be about a century old, that my grandmother loved. forestcats got lots of photos, so that was very cool. We then walked a block down through an alleyway, just like Mom used to do, to see her elementary school. It's very much like it was, back in the forties, but the odd thing was that it was wide open; school was still out, but there was a lot of electrical work going on. The entryway had a greetings poster in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali. Curious.

We wandered more that day, including in our tour Mom's high school, which has been rebuilt; Mom's favorite post-school diner, which was still there, and which still makes very nice food. We tried, and failed, to find her synagogue, but we did find the old homes of other members of her family.

Then back to the hotel to change before we went to the Rehearsal Dinner.

It was held in a park that couldn't have been eight miles from the hotel, but the couple were worried that we'd be stuck in traffic. We ignored their concerns; the highway speed was about 45MPH. I'd call that "not bad". We got there in no time.

The Dinner was held in a open-sided structure at the park with several grills and bathrooms. It turns out that the groom brews beer as a hobby. This saddens me, as I couldn't taste the various concoctions. I understand that they were pretty good. (While we were out on our perambulations, we found a shop that was devoted to the brewing art for hobbyists; it turns out that he works there part-time. Oh, and while there, I picked up books on making cider and mead, among other topics)

We got a chance there to meet members of the bride's family who we hadn't seen in some time. The friends of Bride & Groom, though, looked like they'd been emptied out of the frats and sororities of the MidWest.

This is getting long; I'll do other days on other posts.
Dead Dog Cat

Minnesota trip weekend

Saturday and Sunday in my mind now are something of a blur.

The wedding was Saturday night; it was held at the Minnesota History Center, in a long vaulted hall with a picture window at the end, overlooking the Minnesota State Capitol. The food was pretty good; there was no wedding cake, but instead, wedding cheesecake. The bride was gorgeous, of course. Ask forestcats if you want to see the photos she took.

As I ponder, I also recall that Saturday was when we met up with some of the younger cousins who live in the suburbs; we were supposed to meet at some sort of museum, but since there was something like Taste of Chicago happening there, we couldn't get close, so we all met at Greta's apartment, and then drove to a lakeside restaurant and had delicious fish tacos and other fishy dishes. Nice. There's some photos of the various cousins and whatnot by the lake in amongst forestcats work.

Later that day, forestcats and I hopped down to Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's Book Store; half of it is devoted to SF, and half to mystery. Their inventory in each section is enormous; we went twice, and I came away with nearly two dozen books, almost all of which were titles that are either out of print, or not typically carried by your standard chain bookstore. forestcats purchased another ten books or so, as well as a t-shirt from the place. Cool.

Sunday was a bit of a hash; the wedded couple invited us to their house to enjoy brunch, along with their multitudes of out of town friends in for the wedding. We went, and schmoozed for a short time, but left quickly, because we had family obligations. We then went to visit Jack & Rhoda, and their kids, at their place in Edina, a suburb. Nice place, and Jack, a former ER physician, wanted to show off his artwork, including a pottery studio/kiln setup in his house. We had a really good time there, finishing up with a whole family singalong; I was on bongo, and voice; Sis was on a guitar, as was one of the younger cousins, while another was on keyboard. Very nice.

Sunday afternoon, after dropping my Mom and sis off for a rest at the hotel, forestcats and I wandered some more around her old neighborhood, as well as looking at the old mansions in a ritzier part of town. We even wandered into an estate sale. Coolest thing was when she discovered a Penzey's Spice Shop; we arrived minutes before they closed, and we grabbed several items missing from our larder, as well as a couple things just to try.

Sunday night was another cousins get-together, mostly Mom's generation or older. We had a great time exchanging stories; I even had tales to tell them that dovetailed into the old family discussions we were having. Food was "eh!", but the company was great. Mom had a great day, altogether, and it was wonderful watching her enjoy it all.
Dead Dog Cat

Minnesota trip Monday

Monday was our flight back day, but our flights were all fairly late in the day, and we couldn't just hang at the hotel.

While I was waiting for my Mom & sis to get ready to go, I stepped out of the hotel, and walked three doors down. There was an Italian deli/restaurant there. See, some years ago, I had the pleasure of tasting an Italian hard candy as a postprandial item from an Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. It was called Sperlari Anise; it had an anise taste, which is vaguely like licorice. I really liked it, and I used to buy it in bulk from the restaurant. Well, I can't find it locally anymore, so I thought I'd just take a moment and see if they carried it. They did, and I bought out two-thirds of their stock, and ran it upstairs to ferret away in our luggage.

When the group was ready, we checked out, and loaded up the vehicle. forestcats and I decided to take Mom over to the mansions that we'd seen the previous day, just to see how she'd like it. She loved it, and had a good time looking things over.

For lunch, we'd found an Afghan restaurant that advertised vegetarian dishes; this for my sis, who is a pesca-ova-lactoherbivore. We thought the food was pretty good, but it was a bit too spicy for Mom's taste.

A little more wandering around a boutique shopping district, and then we dropped off Mom and sis at the airport; we made one more trip to Uncle Hugo's and then back to the airport for our own flight.

I liked it.