Monday, April 23, 2007

Catching up...

We've been very bad bloggers of late. Our apologies to regular readers of the Menagerie. Lest we continue to fall behind, then feel bad about the falling behind, and feel overwhelmed that we're so behind that we can't possibly catch up, I've decided to put up a few, short, slapdash paragraphs on what we've been up to for the past month or two.

First, most all of you probably have heard the sad news that Raz died on March 15th. She had been sick (to varying degrees) off and on for more than 6 months and was not a young dog, but her death was a shock. A couple of weeks after her death, as most of you also probably know, Daniela's sister died after a long illness. That was also very tough.

And any of our readers know that we're in the middle of a long process of renovating our house. This process is rapidly approaching its end, thank goodness. In fact, it will more or less be over by this weekend (with a few minor exceptions), just in time for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. Believe it or not, thanks to our designer/builder, we are actually on the tour (I think we're #54, if you want to look us up online or in reality).

In and amongst all this chaos, we have managed to do some things. Way back at the beginning of March, we went to Arizona for a few days. We flew into Tucson, then went to stay at Daniela's sister's house near Sonoita. We did some touring around, visiting the ranch where Daniela grew up, shopping in various artist-colony-type towns, and even making a quick trip across the border to Nogales, Mexico.

(a forest of amazing saguaro cactuses, along with some prickly pears)

(a saguaro in all its massive beauty. Fun fact: it takes 75 years for a saguaro to grow a side arm!)

(The Cienega, the ranch where Daniela grew up, now a preserve. I found it very difficult to capture the austere beauty of the landscape-- the mountains seem much closer in person, for one thing...)

(This is the restaurant we ate at in Mexico; it's called La Roca, and it's built into the side of a cliff)

Then later in March was Eric's mini high school reunion. A group of my friends have kept in touch all these years and periodically have get-togethers. This time we met up in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a weekend. There was some poker (neither of us won), some walking around Colonial Williamsburg, a trip to President's Park, one of the more bizarre tourist attractions in America, and even a go-kart race (I won). The trip was made even more fun by the fact that one of my friends picked us up in St. Paul in his airplane and flew us to his home in Chicago. We were planning to then fly to Virginia, but the weather didn't cooperate. Still, we enjoyed the St. Paul-Chicago round trip very much.

(Jeff and us with our plane. We were planning to fly with Wendy, Jeff's lovely wife, to Virginia-- would have been quite a squeeze in this little plane!)

(we got some nice views of St. Paul from the air, though we're just taking off at this point)

(the giant heads at President's Park. Yes, it is as weird as it looks. And yes, there is also one of these parks in South Dakota)

In the spirit of March Madness, we went to first- and second-round games of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, held at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. We got to watch Iowa State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Depaul, among others.

(during the Iowa St.-Georgia game we were entertained by 2 excellent cheering squads, complete with huge flags...)

At the very end of March, Eric went off to Georgia for his annual fantasy baseball draft. I've done this for several years now-- it's held at a college friend's house in Macon, GA, and involves extreme baseball nerdiness, drinking beer (especially Sweetwater, the best beer in Georgia), and catching up with old friends.

I went straight from Georgia to Washington, DC, where Daniela and I met up to partake of what's become a Bell-Foster tradition: Opening Day for the Nationals. The weather this year was gorgeous, and we made some time for cherry blossom viewing as well. We also met up with some friends who live in Washington-- Sarah & Bob, James & Daryle, and Denise & Andres.

(The last Opening Day at RFK Stadium in Washington. Next year we'll be in the beautiful new ballpark! Notice the "Curly W" mowed into the outfield grass.... there was also a flyover by some military jets-- very loud and exciting. President Bush was apparently too afraid of booing to show up.)

(cherry blossoms near the Tidal Basin)

The day after the Nationals' opener, I went to my first Twins game (I have a mini season ticket plan which gets me to 20 home games). Daniela was baseballed-out, so I took my brother-in-law Roberto. In contrast with the lovely spring weather in Washington, it was snowing here during the game. Good thing the Twins have a domed stadium (for now). Also unlike the Nationals, the home team actually won.

In and amongst these travels, we've spent some time with our adorable nephew Jack, who's growing up fast. We took him and Roberto to the Children's Museum here in St. Paul, and Jack had a blast!


At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cutest little guy!!! Is that youDad's hairline?

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was my commenty. Mamita


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