Monday, June 29, 2009

The Slechta Visit (minus THREE, plus ONE!)

Sunday afternoon, Scott, Trish, Emily, (MINUS Margaret, Claire, and Price), and Olivia H. (the plus ONE!), stopped by on their way to a college visit at St. Cloud State.

It was SO great to see them all again! I had a chance to chat (briefly) with Trish at play practice in Fairfield last week, and got to see Scott (WAY briefly!) as he was directing the final rehearsals, but hadn't seen Emily for a couple of years, and hadn't seen Olivia since she was FIVE, and attending my preschool storytimes at the library!

They stopped by the "new" apartment to chat with Duane and me for awhile (the FIRST Iowans (non-family) to see the place, by the way...what's UP with that??!!), and we had a quick drink, then headed to Italian Pie Shoppe for dinner.

After a GREAT TIME there, and a TON of laughs, we came back to the house to have rhubarb black raspberry cake, and chat some more. They had to get on down the road to St. Cloud, but we made plans to meet at the Mall of America the next day (today) for a little shopping.

Here's Scott at Legoland...

Goofing off at Old Navy...

At the Spongebob Squarepants statue at Nickelodeon Universe...

After spending the day at the mall...looking for new glasses for Scott, and finding stuff for Emily to wear for senior pictures (how can she be having senior pictures taken??!! Last time I saw her, she was 11!!!!????), we headed over to IKEA to find a futon set for Margaret...

I didn't realize that they were all IKEA virgins...holy toledo!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a couple of hours (and a couple of blisters from my SO not broken in new shoes), they loaded their purchases into the van (it all JUST fit...since they found a futon set AND a kitchen "island" while browsing), and headed down the road.

SO nice to see them after several years of not much contact...more GREAT friends that I can just "pick up" with where we left off...and a REALLY fun 26 hours (give or take a huge chunk in the middle, or so!).

Hope YOU have reconnected with someone special from YOUR past recently!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fairfield Visit!

So...I woke up last Monday in Manhattan...flew back to Minneapolis...spent 45 minutes repacking...then drove 5 1/2 hours to Fairfield, and went to bed there....what a day!!!!

I have to say that flying for three hours, and then spending another 5 1/2 in a car is NOT my idea of the perfect day, but, LUCKILY, I made it to Fairfield before dark, and the last 30 minutes of the drive was AMAZING! The colors down there at dusk are SO MUCH MORE intense, and bright, and orange-y yellow. It was some of the most amazing color I've EVER seen. We just don't get that much "depth" in a Minnesota sunset...WOW!

I came to Fairfield, because my friend Dianne was in town. She and I went to high school together (she was in the grade behind me), and we have continued to stay close. She was here to help her mother celebrate her birthday, so I decided I was LONG past due for a trip down.

It was a LOVELY visit! It started with me getting to town and heading DIRECTLY to the Sondheim Center to watch part of the rehearsal for "Children of Eden", a musical that Scott is directing for FACT. I only saw the second act, but it looks like a fun show. The costuming was COOL, and the music seemed fun!

After rehearsal, Tena, Andrew (her BOYFRIEND!), and I went to Torino's for a pizza. I forgot how difficult it is to find a place to get a late bite to eat here! We tried to go to George's, but they had already closed, so Torino's was about all that was open.
It was all good though...the pizza was tasty, and it was a nice chance to catch up. I hadn't seen Tena since October, when I came down to sing at Mandie and Shawn's wedding, and we are HORRIBLE at keeping in we had a lot to catch up on! I also hadn't seen "the couple" yet, so it was DEFINITELY a long overdue chat!

After dinner, Tena and I headed back to her place to continue to "catch up", and drink was NICE!

Tuesday, I got up and met Dianne at Revelations for coffee. I LOVE Revelations, and I LOVE Dianne, so it was WAY fun! We chatted at the cafe for a couple of hours, then walked around the square.

They are having a "mannequin" art thing around the square, so we took pictures with some of the exhibits, shopped a bit, and then headed to Chautauqua Park to walk "the loop". It was a GREAT chance to catch up, and get reacquainted!

one of the "faces" on the exterior of the old library

another face on the exterior!

why DO I do this with any landmark that has a "pointy part"??!!

the playground at Chautauqua. We had MANY cast parties/picnics here in the past!!

We decided to shoot some senior (SENIOR!) pictures at one of the shelter houses at the park. MANY photo sessions have been done at this particular spot!!!

the road around the perimeter of the park. I've logged MANY miles
on this particular stretch of pavement!!!!

After spending time with Dianne, I headed out to Denyce and Eric's for lunch. I hadn't seen them for a couple of years, so there was EVEN MORE catching up over salads (picked fresh from their garden, and bread...Eric's specialty (check out his website at We finished the meal with peach/apple pie on the dock next to the pond, and a tour of the new addition they are putting on the existing house. When it's finished, the kitchen will include a wood fire oven (hello pizzas!), and there will be a screened in porch off the kitchen with a view of the woods behind the's going to be WAY COOL!!!!!

After lunch, I headed back to Tena's for awhile. We went downtown for coffee and a bite (her, not me...I was STUFFED by that point). We made a trip to Hy-Vee (because I LOVE that place!), and then she went to spend time with Andrew, and I came back to the house to "regroup"!

Dianne and I got together for dinner after Tena left for rehearsal. I had the skirt steak over rice pilaf at "Top of the Rock" was very good. After that, we stopped at Everybody's to look around, drove around town for awhile, then Di went back to the hotel, and I came back to Tenas. The evening ended with more catching up (Tena and me), and more wine (Tena and me!).

the men's dome on the MUM campus

Wednesday, Dianne and I met at 9:00, and headed to Eldon to see the "American Gothic" house. Neither of us had ever been there (even though it's ONLY 25 miles away!), and it was really cool! They have a nice little visitors center, and you can dress up and have your picture taken in front of the house.

it's a lot smaller than we thought it would be!!!

Next to the Mona Lisa, the American Gothic painting is one of the most
parodied paintings ever (according to a sign in the visitor's center!)

OF COURSE we had to "mix it up" at the photo op!!!

the farm fields near the house were GORGEOUS!!!

There was a paved "walking path" next to the house, so we followed that for awhile, but didn't get very far, as it was CRAZY humid, and we are wusses...a little bit of heat and humidity goes a LONG way!!!!!

After Eldon, we went into Ottumwa and had lunch at Fiesta Cantina. LOVE that place (even though Duane's motto for them is "they put the CAN in "cantina"...). FAVORITE haunt from my days of growing up and living in Fairfield, so we thought it was AWESOME!

Fiesta Cantina was followed by a trip to Target, and Goodwill, and then my FIRST EVER pedicure! I have to say that I was a little "freaked out" by getting one (and my TOES hurt right now from all of the filing and cuticle cutting and scraping), but it turned out to be a fairly nice experience. My feet look GOOD! I had to buy a pair of "flip-flops" at the Payless next door to show them off! I texted Tena to say that we HAD to make "pedis" part of the "coming down to Fairfield" experience from now on!

After Ottumwa, I dropped Di off at the hotel, and came back to Tena's to recover from the adventure. We hung out for awhile, then met Andrew (the BOYFRIEND!) at George's for dinner.

She then went to rehearsal, he went to a voice lesson, and I came back to the house to "hang out". All of my "playmates" were busy, and I didn't want to FIND people to hang with, so spent the evening on the computer, and watching t.v. Very relaxing!

Thursday, I got up, packed, loaded the car, and then headed to Sunny Brook Assisted Living to see my dear friend Edna. I have a TOTAL aversion to "care facilities", and this one is no exception. It's beautiful, and well run, and a really, really nice place, but it's still a nursing home.

Dear Edna has been here for a couple of years, and it's starting to take it's toll on her. She's more frail, and more forgetful, and just isn't thriving. What exactly do you say to someone who is just waiting to die (as she said about FIVE times while I was there)??!!

That old "Edna spark" still came through a couple of times, and we had a WONDERFUL chat. Luckily, there's a lady who came to the home recently, and brought a couple of cats with her, which the home let her keep. They roam the halls, and Edna has "adopted" one of them. It came into the room a couple of times while I was there, and, when I left, it was curled up next to Edna on the sofa, sleeping.

I find myself a little angry...Edna did SO MUCH for SO MANY people in Fairfield, and not many of them seem very interested in going to visit. I DO understand the aversion to nursing homes, but, COME ON PEOPLE....GET YOUR BUTTS OUT THERE, AND SEE THE POOR WOMAN...!!!!!!! was a bittersweet visit...most "bitter" when I noticed a pile of bedding, and a few sweaters on her bed...she said she put them there so that when someone came to take her out of there, she'd be ready...

After Sunny Brook, I met Tena at Revelations for one last pizza (I LOVE their pizza!), and then hit the road for Tingley, to visit mom and dad.

I MISS Fairfield, and my many friends there, but I DO NOT think I could live there now. It's just not my home anymore. I will continue to go, and enjoy seeing people, and catching up, and sightseeing, and remembering, (and maybe SOMEDAY getting married at the courthouse!!!!!!!), but I will also always be glad to get back to the cities, and all that is my life here.

Hope YOU made some connections with your past recently, and that YOU are enjoying travels, and reminiscenses, and fun too!!!!