Sunday, October 17, 2010

been a while

Whew! It's been a busy, busy autumn for me. Lots of great fun and adventures. Started right after Labor Day with a trip to Iowa to watch my nephew, Andrew, play football. He's a senior this year - #68 above. The Westerners won! We had a fabulous weekend of family time. I drove my parents, and we enjoyed a weekend full of sun, warm weather and good food.

Trip to a local apple orchard the following weekend. Sorta a crazy place. Super busy. Think I'll find a smaller orchard next year. Drove a bit further east to Stillwater and walked around the historic downtown with many others who couldn't resist the 80 degree September day. New paper store = I was in heaven!

I went to Portland for a long weekend with my friend Megan at the end of September. We attended the Don Miller Storyline conference in the Pearl District. I'm grateful Megan asked if I was interested in going. . . I read Don's Million Miles in a Thousand Years this past spring, and Don's ideas and stories have left a wonderful impression on me. He's incredibly insighful and thoughtful, and opportunity to hear from him in person was a blessing. Megan and I had a great time together (even with cruddy colds) and Portland didn't disappoint. Just look. . .

Sidewalks are lined with gorgeous trees. Everyone is out walking and smiling and enjoying outdoor spaces. The Pearl District was designed as a space to live, work and relax. Portlanders are friendly and laid-back. We were able to travel to and from our hotel to the airport on the light-rail for $5 round-trip. It's obvious Minneapolis and St. Paul's light-rail systems were designed after the system in Portland. And someday ours will go more places, too. Can't wait!

Portland Saturday (and Sunday) Market by the riverfront. Lots of art, clothing and food vendors.

This graffiti art caught my eye. I said that to Megan as I stopped to snap this photo, and a woman walking behind us stopped to ask my name and where I lived. I told her I'm a visitor, and she was pleased to hear I enjoyed seeing this on a building. She seemed to be a neighborhood organizer and I wasn't sure what she planned on doing with my comment, but she was amused I was taking a picture and calling this art.

Last weekend was Homecoming at my college alma mater, University of Minnesota, Morris. Had a blast attending festivities with these friends. The woman next to me in glasses, Amy, were in the same first college class, Writing I at 8am M-F fall quarter our first year. She met her husband, Shawn, at UMM and Shawn, Jen (standing behind me) and I were RAs together my junior year. Jen was our boss in the on-campus apartments. Oh boy, did we talk about the old days. All our crazy escapades. We were disappointed that Morris' best greasy spoon, Don's, no longer served fresh cut french fries and handmade beef patties for burgers. Really disappointed. And the coffee shop isn't open on Sunday mornings. Strange. But all in all, it was a great trip down memory lane for us. And the Cougars only lost by one touch-down. Improvement!

Campus is GORGEOUS, including this new Welcome Center, home to Admissions and my colleagues in UMM Development and Alumni Relations.

This has been the most beautiful autumn in Minnesota I can remember in terms of weather. Tons of blue sky sunny days and warmer than usual days. I was on my way back to the office from having lunch with Tammy on Thursday last week. Crossing the Washington Ave Bridge, I noticed this mirror. Gotta be alert all the time for photo ops!

Mom and I went to a prized local garden center on Saturday for pumpkins and mums and general fall atmosphere. A gentleman from New London, MN (western part of the state) talked to us for a while, saying he and his wife make it a point to visit this garden center a few times a year because it's so great. He was in disbelief when he moved back to MN from CA, thinking there wouldn't be places like this here. We left with pumpkins and mums, apples and apple donuts. Yum!

Next was breakfast at Black Sheep Coffee. What a treat! Quiche, muffins and the best coffee around. And a bluegrass band playing in the background. Perfection!

And so this is what I've been up to. Pretty much gone from home every-other weekend this fall. Next weekend I leave for six days in Savannah, GA. I've dreamed of going to Savannah for over five years. Can't wait for some Southern charm, history and food!


  1. Did you mean to say it cost $50 to take the light-rail round trip to the airport in Portland? Was that supposed to be $5?

  2. Whoops - yes, $5 RT. Good catch!