Thursday, August 26, 2021

Take Me Out to the Ball Game - Twins vs Cincinnati Reds

We went to a baseball game on August 18th, Twins vs Cincinnati. I don’t know when the last time was that I went to a MLB game. I’ve been to lots of spring training games now, from being in Florida, but a regular game? I think it was years ago, here in Minneapolis one time when we were visiting, at their old domed stadium.

Their new stadium, Target Field, is nice. A little retro but not overly so. Big and airy. Lots of screens to catch replays and watch the score.

I won these tickets by doing a step contest in Shorewood in May. A bunch of little towns in Hennepin County did a competition to encourage people to get out and move. You recorded your steps every day for the month of May. Of course I was training for Grandma’s Marathon, so I had LOTS of steps! I ended up being the senior with the most steps in Shorewood. I won passes to the Aquatic Center, and I also won baseball tickets. Yay!

I had four tickets so we took Erik and Leo with us. This was Leo’s second ball game. Since they caught a foul ball at his first game we had to explain that that was not a normal experience! 

In Minnesota parking garages are called ramps. Don’t ask me. There are a bunch of ramps surrounding the stadium. You can exit the highway right into a ramp, and when the game is over, exit the ramp right back on to the highway. Very efficient!

Even with the parking close by it was still a lot of walking to get to our seats, especially for a 3 and a half year old. Leo was a trouper though. No whining, and he marched right along with us.

There are skyways leading to the stadium. This is nice cause you don’t have to cross any streets this way. The only thing was….covid, and the delta variant. Even though Minnesota’s numbers are still pretty good, it made me uneasy to be in an enclosed space with strangers. We had masks, but I didn’t put mine on in the skyway. I think we should have, but it feels a little weird when no one else (or very few people anyway) are wearing them.

We left the skyway and entered Target Plaza, right outside the stadium. It was a sunny, and hot, day, but once we entered the stadium the concourse was shady and breezy. Then I put on my mask, but the rest of our party did not. I have no idea if it was necessary or not, I was just trying to manage my anxiety!

We grabbed some hot dogs and drinks and headed to our seats. They were on the third base line, in foul ball territory. They were close to the ball field, and this would have been great, except it was HOT. We didn’t last long in those seats. Soon we moved back where we could sit in the shade and then we were fine.

The Twins aren’t doing that great this year but they’ve been on a hot streak lately. The first three innings were incredibly boring and moved very very slowly. Then things started to pick up and the teams started scoring. It was a fun game at that point. Runs, hits, in park doubles, a homer or two. 

Leo started getting squirrelly around the 5th inning. After all, it was his nap time! He tried to get comfy cuddling with Peepaw, but it was hot and noisy and there was too much going on. He wanted to leave, but the score was tied and we wanted to wait until the 7th inning stretch so that we could sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. After that we left.

He stayed awake in the car all the way home, but Erik texted us soon after we dropped them off to say that he had crashed hard. It was a big day.

We all had a good time at the ball park. And later we found out the Twins even won, in 11 innings. Whew!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Travail Pour la Deuxième Fois

I don’t know what made me think we had been to Travail more than once, but that was a mental hallucination I guess. We’ve been there once before, before Covid, when they were renovating their spot in Robbinsdale and were located in Uptown.

Driving to Robbinsdale wasn’t very appealing but then Lee said let’s take an Uber, and suddenly it became a great idea. We bought tickets for a Wednesday night and their du jour French dining experience on their rooftop, plus their wine pairings. Yeah it cost $$$$$ but let’s just consider this a continuation of the 40th anniversary celebration that never happened because of Covid.

Our Lyft driver to the restaurant was very chatty. It was fun talking to him, but he got so excited talking about surfing that he missed our exit off the highway! He felt bad and it didn’t really delay us much at all. It actually was a little funny,

Their restaurant in Robbinsdale is beautiful. The rooftop actually has a roof, but is open on one side. It was a blue clear sky nice evening, very airy, no worries about needing a mask. 

As we entered the restaurant they handed us a glass of...something. It was non alcoholic, light and refreshing.

The was a band, a very good one with a pregnant female singer, a bass player, and an outstanding guitarist. I was worried about the band making it difficult to hear, but the acoustics were great and we were fine, although sometimes I wasn't quite sure what the server was saying. That's too bad, because the fun of Travail is the stories and details concerning the food.

The band asked for requests. I requested Brandy Carlyle, Lee requested Elvis Costello, we both requested Prince. Their guitarist was great, he came over and talked to us a little at one point.

When we first sat down at our table there was a charcuterie board with various appetizers laid out in front of us. There was a glass of what looked like champagne too, but the server said it was a bubbly Blanc from Burgundy. We waited to eat our appetizers until we had been given an explanation of what they were. It actually took them a little while to get us started. I'm not sure what was going on, but I think they might have had some confusion about who was supposed to serve us. I don't know, but the wine steward came over to tell us about our bubbly and realized we hadn't been given the lowdown on the charcuterie board yet and then everything was straightened out and went smoothly after that.

The charcuterie platter had a beef and salmon tartare, a chicken rillette on a slice of brioche bread, a little liver mousse puff, and a tartine of lobster and prawn. The chicken was great and so was the tartare. I wasn't crazy about the liver mousse or the tartine and I'm usually crazy about liver. 

Next there was a little round of cantaloupe with honey, pepper and lemon on it. It was just a little delicious bite.

The third course was a ratatouille with summer squash, eggplant, pepper, tomato and oregano. It tasted yummy but it was hard to decide if it should be eaten with a fork or a spoon. There was a lot of tomato sauce involved which made it a little like a summer soup. 

Then there was a piece of norwegian salmon with leek, pickled raisin and craisins, and a calamari sauce. This was fabulous. the  salmon was crusty and delicious and the dried fruit made for a nice contrast. This was one of my favorite courses.

Next came a little vinegar sorbet, light and refreshing and delicious.

Next came duck a l'orange. To tell the truth I have no memory of this course! After all by this point we were on our 5th glass of wine!

Then came beef with creamed spinach and a mushroom vinaigrette. This was memorable. The spinach was wonderful and the mushrooms were excellent. The beef was a little tough however.

Then came a watermelon refresher. I remember this mostly because I didn't really like it at all. Its the one thing I just ate one bite of and then put aside. 

For dessert there was a strawberry rhubarb cream puff and a baba savarin which is basically a fancy donut. I loved them both of course!

Let's see what I can remember about the wine. With the ratatouille we had a 2017 Gritole. I remember that it was light and was from Corsica. With the salmon we had a Chardonnay from Oregon. Yes it had that buttery taste that I'm not crazy about, but it wasn't overwhelming and really was pretty good for a west coast Chardonnay. With the duck and the beef we had a 2007 wine from Bandol. I don't remember much about it, just being impressed by the 2007 date! And with the desserts we had a sauternes from Bordeaux, which I loved.

I got sorta drunk; but hopefully not totally stupid. The food was wonderful but maybe not quite as memorable as the first time we came. 

We really love Travail, we’ll come back again, sometime. Our Lyft driver on the way home was totally silent. What a difference!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

RV Camping with Leo

Yesterday (which according to Leo is any time in the past and in this case is actually July 28th since I wrote this last week) we loaded up the RV and drove to daycare to pick up Leo. He was VERY excited to be going on his first RV camping trip with Peepaw and Meemaw. We drove to Baker Park, only 20 minutes away.

We pulled into our parking spot and then realized that the site didn’t have running water. Huh. So we drove to the water fill up. Unfortunately we hardly ever fill up the water tanks, so once again we couldn’t remember how to do it. Finally someone else pulled up to fill their tanks and helpfully pointed out that Lee had the hose hooked up to the wrong outlet. Oops! 

Drove back to our campsite and checked the water. Nothing was coming up of the faucets! Why? After several minutes of frustration the water started coming out. Whew! Hopefully we will be able to remember how to do this the next time we need the water tanks!

It was very hot, so Leo and Lee put on their bathing suits and headed for the beach. I said I would catch up with them in a minute. I headed for the main beach, about a 10 minute walk away. When I got there they weren’t there. Uh-oh. Worried that I had somehow missed them and they had headed back to the campsite I hurried back. I had locked up; I sure didn’t want them sitting there waiting for me, locked out of the camper!

But when I got back they were nowhere to be seen. It was 6 pm, so I fixed the dog's dinner and then made the salad for ours. Still no boys! I was just getting ready to jump in the truck and go look for them when they came back. Turns out there was another beach just across from our campsite and that’s where they went. 

We had lasagna and salad for dinner. Leo didn’t eat much for dinner, but he often does not. Somehow he was hungry for a little ice cream however!

Pretty soon it was time for bed. We made the table into Leo’s bed. He was very very very excited, too excited to settle down and read some books with Peepaw. Finally I had to use my scary mommy voice a little and then he laid down and went to sleep.

We all were soon in bed. Everyone was tired. I read a little but turned off my light before long.

Lee set the coffee up the night before so I was able to get a cup when I woke up at 5:30. Everyone was up by 6, which is earlier than Leo usually gets up but no matter. Waffles for breakfast!

After breakfast we rode bikes to the playground. Leo rode his Strider. He’s really proficient on it now. By next year he’ll be ready for the larger Strider that has pedals and Kirby can have the little one.

It was a nice playground, all kinds of rope things to climb and hills made out of artificial turf to jump off. Slides, tunnels, a zip line, plenty of activities. Then we rode over to see the big beach. Leo wanted to go right in but we needed to get our bathing suits first. We left his Strider there, rode back with Leo on the Mac Ride. A Mac Ride is this very cool way to transport a kid on your bike. They have a seat right in front of your seat, plus their own handlebars and a place to put your feet. It all just screws securely on to any bike. By the time they're two any kid can ride on a Mac Ride. Lee jumped in the truck and went back to get the Strider. While we were changing into our bathing suits Leo suddenly got a funny look on his face. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Is this our home now?” His lower lip quivered. “I want my mommy,” he replied. So I gave him a hug and talked a little about what we were going to do for the rest of the day, and how he would see his mommy tomorrow after nap. The moment passed, but It left a little tug at my heart. 

We rode back to the beach with Leo on the Mac Ride. We played in the water, built sand castles, looked at the grasses growing along the shore. Then back to the RV. We sat outside under the awning and enjoyed relaxing until it was time to grill hotdogs for lunch.

At naptime we drew the curtain around our bed and put Leo in there with Elmo, the Westie blanket, and the ocean sounds white noise. I made the dogs have naptime too and put them underneath the table so they wouldn’t try to get in bed with Leo, or bark at any passing noise. It’s working perfectly (so far). Leo is a good napper, so hopefully he’ll sleep for 2 hrs or so.

During nap I went for a walk on the path around the campground. There were some great rain gardens on the path, full of native flowers. I wish our rain garden looked like that, but it’s far from it. It doesn’t drain well in the spring and kills most things I’ve tried to grow there, unless I put them around the edges. The edge is starting to look great, but now I've got to slowly build it up over time and maybe eventually it will drain properly. Or not.

After nap we went for another bike ride. We played on the beach a little. Sarah called and talked to Leo, but he didn’t understand that there wasn’t any video because Sarah was driving. He kept holding things up to the phone to show her, but of course she couldn’t see them.

We went back to the RV and sat outside. Then Lee started a fire. Leo helped and was pretty beside himself when he was allowed to throw a piece of wood on the fire. We watched the fire for awhile (or danced around it, depending) and then went inside to eat dinner and fall asleep.

In the morning Lee made banana pancakes and then did one more bike ride and went to the playground one more time. By the time we packed up the RV, drove home, unpacked the RV and ate lunch everyone was tired. Leo is taking a nap and I wouldn’t mind one too. Either that or a cup of coffee.


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