Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels–that is how we started our day. Cretin-Derham Hall Catholic School, which is big and prestigious. There were thousands of people lined up at 7:30 to get “routes” and stand in line for hours to get food that they would then drive around the metro area to deliver. A self-congratulatory experience. So American. Stand around and wait to drive as a do-gooder thing. Wonder about the religious connections of the organization and the event. At the very end of the process, after standing around for hours, just as they give you the boxes and bags of food that you are going to deliver, they also give you a little children’s book that is a Christian religious tract. So that part was dubious. But there were lots of suburban people there, and, got to hand it to them–it is hard for some such folks to even come into the city, much less to disadvantaged people’s homes.
Trying to get the dirt on the organization, but not happening with Google. Christian-based. It is what it is I guess. Googling “Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels” did turn up a Jewish meals on wheels. Maybe we should try that next year.
My weekend story centered around the early Christmas gathering of Dorothea’s family.They have been doing this since 1992, the Christmas after Dorothea’s father died. Lets see if I can account for all sixteen Christmases. The first was at the AmericInn in Cloquet. Four weere at the AmericInn in Cold Spring. Seven were at The Inn on Lake Superior. (Those were the best years.) And the last four have been at Camp Courage near Annandale. Always in mid- to late-November or early December. Since they’ve been meeting at Camp Courage, and I didn’t like sleeping there the first year, ever since I have driven up separately for the day on Saturday. That is what I did this year. I had Liam with me on the way up–he is reading the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini. He was also navigator, reading off right and left turns from the Yahoo! maps printout from the backseat.
I left at 4:00 because I don’t like driving in the dark.One thing that I was looking forward to was going to buy a cigar at Stogies on Grand. I have one every month or two–when the family is away. I was in kind or a hurry because I knew that Stella was waiting for me. Not long after I pulled out of my parking spot on Grand, heading west towards Lexington, I heard a loud, unmuffled car suddenly. I looked around, but then realized that it was my car that was load. And there was a scraping noise. Muffler. I crossed Lexington and pulled into an apartment building parking lot on the right. Upon inspection, sure enough–my exhaust pipe was hanging down in front. The car looked like it had a penis hanging down.
Okay, I thought. I will take my cigar and catch a 63 and go home. Wait. If I leave the car in this parking lot, it will get towed. Ah, there is a spot near by on the street. I can hobble over to it. But, just as I started to back out, a Pizza Hut delivery car pulled into my spot, so quickly that the guy got out and the front passenger-side tire was up over the curb. I backed out, drove to the entrance of the parking lot, and began to wait, figuring that the guy would be back shortly from delivering, put I then saw that I was across the street from a Pizza Hut. Oh well. He’ll probably be out again soon. As he was. I slowly and loudly pulled around and into the spot. Looked good–no indication from the street parking signs that I would get towed.
But I could find my cigar in the car. I looked here, I looked there, from this angle, that angle, from the driver’s side, the passenger’s side, from the front seat, form the backseat–no good, no cigar. I gave up. I started to walk away from the car. just then, a 63 bus going my way pulled up the nearby stop. I hesitated–I wanted cigar. I let the bus go, and started walking back to Stogies. Stella was really going to be crazy by the time I got home.
I duplicated my Stogies purchase. My glasses again fogged up when I walked into the humidor. And I headed over to the next bus stop and decided to just wait. I figured that the 63 must still be running every 30 minutes this early in the evening. It is unnerving though to wait for a bus when you have no idea when the next one will come.
While I was standing there–outside the Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, a guy came riding up slowly on a bike on the sidewalk. A young black guy. He said something to me, I thought, though I couldn’t make out what. I figured it was the preamble to a request for money or a cigarette. I said “What?” crossly–I wasn’t in a great mood. I could hear him mumbling “sonofabitch”-something or other as he rode on down out of sight. But then he came back. Now he was walking his bike. He started to curse at me–saying I was a racist honky and he could beat my ass. I had no doubt of that. What’d I say to him? he wanted to know. I said I hadn’t heard him from before and had said “what?” This didn’t seem to help. He kept at it. I turned away. He was really wound up. He eventually started to walk away, still spewing angry epithets.
So, that was unnerving. My bus came, I got on it, and went home.
I spent Sunday looking up and calling places that would tow and fix the car.
Ah, where to begin? Besides that about an hour ago, I was thinking that following the dog’s example and taking a nap seemed like a great idea? I will begin where I am then. Such is the disorder of blogging. I have to leave to walk over to Tires Plus on Snelling to pick up the Honda and pay them $ 350-plus.
$308–not as bad.
And, the family is back from the Hansmeyer Christmas gathering at Carmp Courage.
So, my idyll is gone.
I no longer have the urge to write. I just got done cleaning the upstairs bathroom with Liam. I explained to Dorothea how things went for me with the Honda last night–the exhaust pipe broke–and what I had to do today to get it fixed. That was an unpleasant experience. I have lost the thread, and am leaving.
Liam is reading Eragon. He says that it is more difficult than reading Harry Potter. He and I went to the Borders bookstore on University last night to buy it. I had gone online and ordered it from the library, but it was listed as a long wait, perhaps ten days, and he had finished yet another Harry Potter book, and he was itching for more. I felt it important to indulge his interest. We want to keep him reading.
Last evening Dorothea and I met at Madeline’s school for conferences. She seems to be doing quite well, too well–she has an A + in English, and a cute young teacher to boot. The roof of the school is being re-done, so the acrid smell of asphalt hung everywhere. That definitely doesn’t seem right.
Colleen and Mary were here last night. Always wonderful to see them. We had stew for dinner, which Dorothea had prepared. We had a full table of seven people, with Yuna. That was good and lively. They seemed quite taken with Stella, who obligingly layed about to be petted by them.
I spent my work day deconstructing a Java program. I only had the class. so I used a decompiler to see the source. I installed Netbeans on my PC. That was most of the day. I enjoy that sort of thing. I am always wondering if I will accomplish what I am after, if I am doing the right thing.
I got two calls from brothers–one from my brother, Mike, and another call from Dorothea’s brother Leonard. I suspect that my brother was drinking, and that hers wants to talk about Jesus. Jesus. This upcoming weekend is her family’s pre-Christmas Christmas gathering, and after that is Thanksgiving, for which we still don’t have plans.
I have been playing around with Google, trying their spreadsheet and now their document editor. So far, so good. And, if it works well enough, maybe I will do this and give up the blogging. Right now, I want to see how the revisions look. Was thinking of trying to get Wikipedia going on the livingdot site, but that seems like a no go. So far, so good. Looks like I get a clear view of how things are changing. So now, I can start to go through my Palm Pilot memos and old blog entries and start making revisions? Now I can start collecting thoughts into compositions?
So–we just got back from visiting Harry Norr, our neighbor when we lived in Little Falls. (We lived there from 1994 to 1998.) I would like to start adding tags to this now. How can I do that?
The thought of “how can I add tags?” led me off to the Google “Writely” Publish tab. I was successfully in getting Google Writely to publish this post to my blog. Hmm. Neato. Now I am seeing if I can edit the entry and have it re-post. Here goes.
Liam and I went rock climbing this morning at REI. It wasn’t as successful as the Saturday before, when Yuna and I went. For starters, he is just plain uncomfortable with heights. And, while Yuna and I got to climb on the easiest wall, Liam and I ended up on the next most challenging wall, a difficulty of 5.6 as opposed to 5.5. What that means, I don’t know. But when I asked the young woman who was belaying for us, she said that one difference was that the 5.6 wall was more vertical, as opposed to the 5.5 wall, which leans in a bit. Liam had a difficult time coming down, because he couldn’t get his feet planted, and then, another consideration–just because of the way the wall was shaped and where the rope was anchored, if you lose your footing, you swing out to the side and hang suspended in midair. The same happened to me. I also noted that the reaches between the holds were far apart, even for me.
We looked around for awhile at REI, then drove over to the Mall of America. I was interested in buying some juggling balls at the store Airtraffic. I bought a set of three that also included three scarves and an instructional CD.
As we were wandering around, we came upon a large gathering in the central rotunda. It was hundreds of adolescent girls squished into a serpentine line, screaming at the appearance of four young male actors from a television show called One Tree Hill. I think one of the young men actually said into the microphone something like “this will make my boss very happy.”
The backdrop for the stage was a four-story American flag hung vertically. I noticed that colors of the flag reflected on the slides of the escalators across the way. It was a great image. I wanted to take a photo of it. But that meant that I would have to return home to get a camera. I did that–I dropped off Liam and headed back to the mall with my camera. The traffic was horrible. All the cpots the the seven-story high parking ramps were filled. (This was about 1:00 pm on a Saturday.) It was a three-dimensional traffic jam in the parking ramps, with cars coming from ahead, behind, above, and below.
I did make it in, found my spot, and took my shots. The idea that something which is a neato image may not necessarily be converted by me to an interesting photo is haunting. But here it is.
20061109 I was all set to sit and write at Nina’s. Coffee–check; Naked Protein Juice Smoothie–consumed–check; Morning Glory Muffin–also consumed–check. Then, I open the keyboard, attach the Palm Pilot, and–it is stuck from the last time that I synced with the laptop. Time to take out the paperclip duct-taped to the inside of the keyboard’s case.
I looked back on Monday to the very first entries on the Palm Pilot. Five years ago was the first entry. For November, 2002, the day after that mid-term election, I noted that I asked people at the Y for reactions. Responses were universally somber. (Paul Wellstone, plane crash, the memorial service, “the speech,” Walter Mondale losing to Norm Coleman.) I dared, last Monday, not to think of the possibilities. I was afraid to write anything. Today, though–I say “let the hearings begin.”
Ce matin, j’ai pris Stella, le chien de famille, pour une promenade. Nous avons marché pendant une heure. Avant que je sois allé, J’ai recherché la traduction sur le babelfish d’altavista http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr pour la façon dire que “je prends le chien pour une promenade.” J’ai fait ceci ainsi je pourrais le dire français aux james. J’ai eu l’ennui prononcer les mots correctement. Il a corrigé mon pronounciation et aide me pour essayer et prononcer les mots correctement. Il exigeait très. Il est comme si il a trop bon d’un accent. Quand j’ai essayé de dire le même phraase à Yuna, elle était plus pardonnante.