|Carla at the locks on the Mississippi|
Brother Jim and his wife Carla flew in from Everett, Wash., for a weeklong visit with the Wisconsin arm of the clan. It was a really nice time. I'm beginning to think we're all just terribly wise not to visit one another except for once every couple of years. It keeps things fresh.
|Columbia at the Eagle Center|
|Natalie and Lake Toys carousel|
The idea of this day trip is drive north on the Wisconsin side of the river. Stops are Alma (the great bluff view of me), Nelson (with a great cheese shop). We cross over to Wabasha and the Eagle Center on the Minnesota side continuing south to Lake Toys, then Winona and home.
This time out, we had lunch at Slippery's (famed for being a location shoot for "Grumpy Old Men"), visited the eagles and stopped off at Lake Toys for fudge and ice cream cone purchases, as well as a ride on the carousel for Natalie.
|The Coulee Valley, I guess it's called|
Speaking of Patty, something amazing happened. A few weeks ago, Steve and Pam were sitting in the living room at my place and Patty came downstairs and meowed at Pam. From the landing, of course, but she did allow herself to be seen.
|After seven years, Patty starts socializing.|
On Monday, around noon, Steve came into town with Jim and Carla (Pam was at work at Western Technical College, as she is not yet retired). It was a gray day, drizzling/raining off and on in the afternoon, but we did get in a stroll through the International Gardens. and check out Riverside Park.
On Tuesday we drove back to Minnesota, about an hour east, to a small town called Lanesboro, which is something of an arts colony, as well as an Amish stronghold. Carla was interested in a tour they had, about 3 hours long, which showed you working Amish farms and gave you a chance to purchase their wares as you stopped at each farm.
|An Amish farmhouse|
Tuesday evening we went out to dinner at Piggy's, which was a very disappointing experience. This is a restaurant down in the arts district (across the street from the Pump House Art Center and catty-cornered from the community theater). I have had numerous lunches there, and the food was really good. This time, we went "upstairs" for fine dining and, after about an hour of waiting got lukewarm food and dismal service. The woman wasn't rude or abrupt, just terribly trained. I had steak and scallops, and the scallops were on the point of being bad.
Wednesday, Jim and Carla went to Pettipoint Island and some canoeing. I stayed at home and nursed my back, which had received a lurching in the tour bus much like I experienced on the train going cross country. It took several days (in both instances) to work out the sore muscles that resulted.
Wednesday evening, Steve and Pam and Amanda and Natalie joined us in the back yard for brats. Amanda did the cooking. I thought it was a fitting conclusion to Jim and Carla's Wisconsin experience.
I got an e-mail from the place in Paris that is renting us our apartment. Seems, because of some regulatory changes or something, the apartment I originally rented (and have already paid for) is unavailable. So they sent a list of similar properties for about the same price but none of them had two bedrooms or a bathtub.
I went online and picked out another property, only a few blocks from the original one, and replied via e-mail that this was the property I wanted and to apply my payments to this one.
I got a reply back from an actual person (Vesna), and I think things are back on track.
It's getting close to leaving time and I'm starting to get excited about this.
And since I didn't end this blog at the ten-year mark, I suppose I'll have to make a really long entry about Paris when I get back. (I don't want to lug the computer overseas and the rules on bringing them into the country are murky right now.)