Sunday, May 13, 2007

On the St. Croix Pottery Trail

Every spring there is a tour of pottery studios north of the Twin Cities and, even though I'm trying not to spend money right now (paying off the last trip and saving for the next, you know), we decide we need to at least go up and say hello to Richard Vincent and his out-of-state guests Winthrop and Sandra Byers. Besides, I'd asked Winthrop to try to throw some SMALL plates for me (he likes to do large pieces) to fill out my dinner set, so I should at least go up and see what he has.

AND it is a lovely day to be out and about.

After our stop at Richard's we head over to Sunrise to make another stop. Not far from Will Swanson's studio, I spy a great barn.

Later, at Connee Mayeron's I find a perfect barn door.

Even if I can't afford many pots, I can enjoy looking at them and at the scenery all around!

Friday, May 11, 2007

To Go to Boston -- or Not?

I have two cousins in Sweden who are my age and who I sort of think of as long-distance sisters - except I seldom actually see them or communicate with them, language and distance being dual barriers of significant proportions.

Anyway, almost two weeks ago I came into work early on a Monday morning and found a note from one of these cousins saying, in essence: I'll be in Boston on May 12 & 13 - I know Boston is a long way from Minnesota and this is short notice, but I'd love to see you.

A quick check showed me that there were flights from Mpls to Boston available that weekend for $184. Wow. At that price, it wouldn't be at all outrageous to fly out to Boston for the weekend so I could meet her. . . but did I mention I got this email at work? Yeah, I did, and we have a pretty sturdy firewall. Sturdy enough to prevent me from accessing most of the secondary sites posting these budget fares.

By the time I got home the discount fares had all disappeared.

So I've been watching fares between here and Boston as they've gone up over the intervening dozen days or so. Last night the absolute cheapest fare was $470 - not at all outrageous for a last minute flight, but about what it costs to fly to Scandinavia during the off-season. Besides, it is a bad weekend to be gone. I've been on the road all week, I have a ton of things to do to finish a major work project before leaving for a vacation in the Pacific Northwest in a few weeks, I have tons to do around the house (including planting the perennials that arrived while I was in Fargo or Grand Forks or somewhere in between), Lane wants to work this weekend (the legislature is meeting), AND it is stunningly beautiful in my yard right now and it seems a crime to leave when it is so very lovely right here. NOT going to Boston seems like a non-brainer.

Except, of course, this morning the fabulous AirfareWatchdog came out with newly reduced cheap fares to Boston for this weekend (tomorrow). I could fly out there for only a little over $200.

It is SO tempting. . . .

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fargo From My Hotel Room

It must be a quiet week in Fargo, as I was given an upper floor corner room at the Radisson. At the government rate, this is probably the best hotel deal in the entire upper mid-west.

It certainly provides a perfect vantage point for watching the trains run through town.

I've been in Fargo-Moorhead a couple of times since I've graduated from college, but I haven't spent any time there recently.

I kept hearing it had changed, but can't say I really believed it.

Last night we wandered up and down Broadway and - aside from the fact that you can't find anything decent to eat after 9:00 p.m. - it was a good place to be. There are an unexpectedly large number of galleries and fun shops and even a bar with live music outdoors. I even started wondering why I had been so eager to leave all those years ago.

Of course, it helped that it was a gorgeous warm spring night. A good night to be outside anywhere.

This morning the view from my window portrayed another perfect summery day. A day I was eager to get out and spend exploring a bit more of Fargo before my meeting.

Until I actually walked outside and discovered that the wind was howling on the other side of my window.

Oh yeah, there were some reasons to leave here. The weather being one of them.

Still, the transformation that has occurred is quite amazing and I am eager to come back with my husband and spend some time examining the merchandise in those galleries and shops, eating dinner at HoDo (before nine p.m., of course), walking along the river, and admiring the art in the fabulous-looking Plains Art Museum.

Let's see, when did they say I need to come up here again for another meeting?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Evening in East Grand Forks

It is a beautiful evening, but the streets of Grand Forks are empty.

Tim wants to run an errand at Cabela's and I have no plans for the evening, so we set off across the Red River into East Grand Forks as the late day sun makes the both cities glow warmly.

Across the river things are a little busier, with a regular trickle of people moving between the parking lot and Cabela's.

I leave Tim there and wander off. A block away the streets are deserted. I give the quiet streets a quick look-over in search of the beautiful, odd, and amusing.

I find a bit of each before we cross the bridge back to the North Dakota side of the river.

On the Road

I have a meeting in Grand Forks tomorrow and on the way up we make a stop for gas.

My colleague has been driving and I have been chatting and aimlessly watching the scenery pass by. This is a drive I have made scores of times over the years, but not often in recent years and now I've lost track of how the landscape relates to the small cities named on the highway signs.

Still, I think I know this area, so I am surprised when I realize there is a Paul Bunyon-worthy piece of survey equipment standing over a picnic table across the road from the gas station where we fill the car. What's that all about?

Behind it lies a more traditional scene.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Apple Blossoms in Como Park

About this time every spring the fruit trees planted in Como Park (mostly crab apples, I would guess) burst into exuberant blossom - an event I too often miss.

This year I decided we should take a brief mini-vacation there (the park is less than five miles from our house) to check out the blossoms.

It was definitely worth the trip!

(even the pines are blooming!)

It's hard to believe I miss this some years.