Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Which: the librarian gives Fatty Kitty a heads up

Dear Fatty Kitty,

I hope you are well in Montana. I hear it is in the 90s; not good for kitties. Just wait until you get to Minneapolis, where it gets in the 90s and then it is humid. (Sometimes I hear people in Montana complain about humidity - they don't know humid.) I expect to do a lot of brushing on you. Even I have too much hair here.

Yes, you are coming to visit here for a few months, while I hang with Mom and Dad. If you're nice, Mom will give you a ride on her walker...but you have to be as nice as Alice. They're used to nice kitties here.

Sincerely, Your librarian.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In Which: the librarian goes on a walk with a high school buddy

What kind of a person returns a poetry book to you after 30 years? An old friend, that's who.

A couple of years ago I received an email from Lisa Dean, with whom I graduated from Southwest High School in 1974. She wanted to know my address, because she had a book to return to me. I knew the book exactly: by Canadian poet Mariam Waddington. I didn't remember the title, just that it had a poem called "The Eight-Sided Barn." I had never forgotten the book, and Lisa hadn't either. She sent it back in an envelope that I had sent her over 20 years before, with a picture I'd drawn of Montana with a star for Whitefish, so she'd know where I was.

We got together this morning, where Sheridan Ave. hits Lake Harriet, and took a walk around the lake. The shorelines of the lakes in Minneapolis are all public property. You can still have a big house "on the lake" (across the street), but the bike paths and walking paths, beaches and shorelines are public. Having grown up with that resource, it irks me that Whitefish Lake is ringed with private homes. It's a huge mistake and a disservice to the community to develop lakefront that way.

It was so reaffirming to catch up with Lisa. She told me about graduating from St. Catharine's this spring with her daughter: here's a picture of four generations of Dean women. We plan to walk again Saturday, this time with her granddaughter. Here's to good, old friendships!

Hey, speaking of toasts, I'm planning on making this recipe from today's Taste section in the StarTribune. I'll let you know how it goes!
posted by the librarian

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Which: it is Too Hot

And since it is too hot, I will post a cold picture of a giant snowman.

Nancy and Christy posed by it in order to show how giant it really was. Whoever was living on this corner of 51st and Queen Ave. South last January gets the credit for this amazing example of snowman creation.

There. I feel better already.
posted by the librarian

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In Which: we recall the weirdness that is Minnesota....

The headline today on the front page of the Minneapolis StarTribune:


This headline refers, of course, to mosquitos. For the full story of these Minnesota monsters, click here.
posted by the librarian

In Which: it's a wonderful day in the neighborhood

Where I'm at right now
(says the librarian, since Fatty Kitty is lording over his domain in Whitefish - his servant emailed saying he enjoyed writhing on the sidewalk the other day - "yoga" he calls it)
is in the Linden Hills neighborhood in Minneapolis.

44th and Abbott Ave South to be exact. As you look up Abbott Avenue, you see trees. In my childhood they were giant elms that formed a canopy across the entire street. Dutch Elm disease took its toll and the city planted a variety of trees to take the elms' places.
The Linden Hills library hasn't changed much on the outside since I used to go there and get my Beverly Cleary books. It's on the National Register of Historic Places, so they've restored it rather than tearing it down.

The roof is made of slate slabs in various colors and is my favorite part of the building - besides the spiral staircase inside that only librarians could use. Imagine my surprise to find out that patrons can now go up the magic stairs. Ooooo, I just had to do it. I found a comfy reading room up there, and my brother-in-law was reading the newspaper! Who knew?

In my day, the neighborhood was partially defined by St. Thomas Catholic Church and school - that's one reason every block was crawling with kids. We had five, and had neighbors with six, six, ten, and four children, respectively. The tiny families on the block only had two or three kids, and they were always shyer and less rambunctious children by dint of never having to fight over the mashed potatoes, I guess.

Back then, this violin shop was a corner store called Branson's with a tiny soda fountain.

And this bakery located two short blocks away was Langer's grocery store where I used to buy candy bars for a nickel. It was conveniently located on the way to and from school, but closed early, unlike the corner store.

And the school, Audubon Elementary (Go Orioles!) is back in business after being closed for a decade or two - but it's now known as the "lower campus" of Lake Harriet Community School,

Younger children went in doors to the left - the "new" part of the school in the sixties. In third grade, you went to the old building on the right. I wonder if the halls still smell the same? There was a carnival every year put on the by the PTA with a house of horror (aka Mrs. Pascoe's first grade classroom), a fishing booth, and a cakewalk. I won a cake at the cakewalk. My big brother Jon offered to take it home for me and the cake was never seen again...unless you count the crumbs around his mouth.
posted by the librarian

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In Which: We Discover Our Fashion Heritage.

Or should I say we admit our fashion heritage? Nancy took a picture of Dad in all his sartorial splendor:

We admire both our Dad and our Mom for their adherence to wearing whatever pleases them. What pleases Dad is to mix plaids, belt his trousers firmly around his upper waist (what's an upper waist? I don't know, but he has one), and high white socks.
When the heels wear out on the socks, he recycles them by cutting off the feet and up one side until he has a handy washcloth-sized rag.
We are never without a rag in this household. It could be a holdover from when all us kids were messy brats, but probably is related to the fact that Mom and Dad are fervent recyclers. For those of you wanting to emulate Mr. Drew, note that it works best on all-cotton socks. Happy rag-making!
posted by the librarian

Monday, June 16, 2008

In Which: we arrive at the farm

Something we have noticed about North Dakota: they like to decorate with faux palm trees. I regret not being able to snap the neon ones we saw around a car dealership, but we did find these outside an establishment known for faux items:

We arrived at Clifford early in the afternoon, and headed down the lane:

Fatty Kitty would love it here. It could be a shrine to the Cat. Here's the screen porch, with a reflection of the yard:

Jim calls this "Yard Art":
Nancy wanted to see the limb that the crabapple lost in the storm a few nights ago:

And Christy took advantage of the bumper rhubarb crop to make a crisp.

Along with the key lime pie that Jim made, we are doing jusssst fine.

Abbiethekitty says HI to Fatty Kitty - she hung around on my lap today.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In Which: Fatty Kitty is dethroned.

The blog has been wrested from Fatty Kitty and is going on the road with the librarian. Of course, he was a little peeved, but that can't be helped.

He must take care of his domain, and I must visit my parents, in the home of my youth - Minneapolis.

The trip started with the drive to Missoula to pick up my daughter, Christy. This morning we arose and paid homage to the corporate gods with a quick jaunt to the big red ball - only because it has a coffee bar - ahhhh -
and a wall of sunglasses. For the record, we have lost sunglasses, a contact (lost last night and miraculously found this morning), a debit card (found in pocket) and we're not done yet. So Christy got new sunglasses.

OK, then we went to Albertson's and got bags of food. Can't go on a road trip without bags of food!

We made it past Butte (we called Stef Johnson but she was in Portland). Note the price of gas...
and cruised through the business loop at Miles City - a pleasant looking town. If I had been with the sailor I might have stopped...but, alas, he is on the ship.
So we are now in Bismarck, North Dakota in a small, odd-smelling room of a large motel chain watching the Celtics and Lakers. We made it farther than I thought we would. Tomorrow should be a few quick hours to a small North Dakota town - the home of Jim Erickson and Nancy Drew. Yep, we're going to Nancy Drew's house! Exclusive pics tomorrow only on this librarian's site!