June 9

Welcome to Saint Paul Minnesota! Oh my, Kieran got BIG!
In the morning we're off for a road trip to Madison WI. None of us have been to Madison so oh goodie!
June 10

We took it easy for a few hours in the morning while Cynthia went to a meeting at work and them we hit the road for Madison WI stopping along the way for an A&W Root Beer with that Frosty Mug Taste.

Cynthia got us an amazing house with all totally original craftsman features throughout. Pictures will be forthcoming.

I wanted to see the capitol, the college, and the historic downtown. Here's the capitol. Tick.
It's very cool inside and looking far up to the tip of the dome we find...

"A major point of interest in the Capitol rotunda is a beautiful ceiling decoration done by the distinguished artist, Edwin Howland-Blashfield. This masterpiece entitled "Resources of Wisconsin" shows a female figure as "Wisconsin". She is located centrally in the painting, enthroned upon clouds and wrapped up in the American flag."
In 2002 Wisconsin completed a full restoration of the building to its opening 1917 glory.

"Construction of the present capitol, the third in Madison, began in late 1906 and was completed in 1917 at a cost of $7.25 million. The architect was George B. Post & Sons from New York."
All the doors were open so sure, why not, we toured ourselves through the Senate chambers.
Thanks Mike!

June 11

We had another swing by the capitol building because I was regretting not having taken a picture of the official...

There was a badger in every corner and I wanted his picture.
The capitol building is at one end of State Street, THE street, and the campus is at the other end. Walking between the two is lovely. The street is pedestrianized and entertainments, shops, and restaurants are the order of the day and even the occasional bookstore.
The campus is lovely with classic buildings and a fine art museum, the Chazen Museum of Art, and it's free. (Picasso)
There's a giant one of these in Seattle and another one in Las Vegas too. (Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen)
The Terrace which everyone who's ever been to Madison knows.

Wiki re the University of Wisconsin at Madison: "...it was the first public university established in Wisconsin and remains the oldest and largest public university in the state. It became a land-grant institution in 1866. The 933-acre main campus includes four National Historic Landmarks."
Iconic I think, for The Terrace.
Then we went to another art museum along State Street, also free, The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. (Sam Gilliam's Irish Spring)
Aww, we're cute.

From the glass stairs at MMOCA.
A scene from the house where we are staying...
...and more. Check out that woodwork.
Cleaning up after our yummy dinner. It's very cool that we had this handsome, comfortable, and exceptionally clean house for our weekend adventure. Cynthia and Mike had packed up food so that we ate out one lunch and one dinner, plenty, and Cynthia cooked for the rest of the meals. It was so lovely!


We were driving back from Madison WI to Saint Paul MN today with one more cool stop outside Madison - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Tripadvisor's #1 ranked thing to do in Madison, and it was wonderful.
It was rich with foliage and dense with flowering trees. There were sculptures and fountains and quiet benches nestled throughout.
And a one-of-a-kind Thai Pavilion (or as they say the only one of its kind in North America).
Hi cuties.

We were skipping along the path doing the movie step on the yellow brick road. It was hysterical. Mike has a video so that's how I know how hysterical it was.

No luck catching the bird but you get the idea.
It has been great and busy busy with fun. We saw eight of the top eleven attractions in Madison and paid not one cent in admissions. It was an Admission Free weekend.
June 13-15

These days are all mixed up! And all as sweet as that little bunny who lives in the back yard with his sweet little bunny family who chow away most of the day.
The boys out in the garage building platforms for the new washer-dryer.
The home for the washer-dryer is upon the very old and very uneven floor of the basement. Check it out - the legs will make the platform even. And check it out, I went nuts for the work that went into this thing including framing the plywood and mitering the corners!
Yum! at Khyber Pass, and Yum the rest of the nights too for the dinner Cynthia cooked.
I have done quite a bit of sitting right here in the last couple of days. It's been raining, beautiful, fragrant, life-giving rain that I might never see again back home.

This is a slightly distorted pano but I wanted to express the feel of being surrounded by the sweeping glass.
Mike and Cynthia also enjoying the gorgeous new screened-in glassed-in all-weather porch of their own design.

That red thing on the table is a tape measure that I carry everywhere with me. Oh, how high is your bed off the ground? Oh, how long are those open shelves that hold all your dishes? Oh, how far is your sink from your stove? Oh, how deep is that cabinet. Endlessly.
Yeah, more.

I've been watching a season of Endeavour and online shopping, trying to make decisions about the house. I think I've been making progress!
Cynthia and I do this in the morning before she goes to work. Jillian's really not as bad as she looks and we enjoy the workout. I'm not going to stress myself too much though because, you know, No Injuries! It's right up there with No Falling!
June 16

Kieran was mowing his lawn this morning and the next door neighbor called out 'wanna mow my lawn for 10 bucks?' Oh of course!
Cynthia and I went to Lowes to talk about me me all about me and my projects. It was sweet of her to take the time.

Then we went for a...

While we were luxuriating at the massage place Mike and Kieran made a yummy tandoori dinner.
After dinner and a quick clean-up we had a buzz down to Free Thursday at the Walker.

I try not to miss the Walker any time I'm here because it's fantastic and they have a top-flight sculpture garden once seen never forgotten. Surprise! the sculpture garden is closed for renovation.
Oh well, we had an excellent time anyway.
We were debating as to whether that pile of boxes was or was not an art project. My opinion? Of course it's an art project. Yes-no-yes-no. Then Cynthia said hey wait, it has a plaque on the wall!

It's a piece by Mungo Thomson called People from 2011. We also got a kick talking about this pile of construction rubble with a framed photo of Marilyn Monroe. It's called Marilyn with Wall by Rachael Harrison.
This is a traveling show called Ordinary Pictures and it was all interesting and thought provoking although not always likeable. I took pictures of only the things I really liked.
Sound effects. Wrestling Cats was our favorite.

Our cool and colorful Kieran!

The Minneapolis skyline with the sculpture garden under refurbishment.
June 17

The new washer-dryer got delivered this morning and all was ready including the platforms that Mike and Kieran had made a couple of days before, all painted and leveled off.

Too bad I don't have a full-on before picture because it was very very different.

There was still the plumbing, a big job, that Mike finished off this evening.
We went out for a tootle around Saint Paul. We wanted to visit the capitol but sorry no, closed for renovations.
That's Saint Paul's Cathedral in the distance.
We went inside...
...and, for a dollar each, lit candles.
June 18

The Lake! Yesterday we picked up some wetsuits in case the water was cold (it was not!) and an inflatable kayak. They had a canoe at the house Cynthia rented so here we are getting the canoe down to the lake and...
...inflating the kayak...
...for some serious water fun!

Yum YUM on the dinner. BBQ salmon. Oh Yes.
An after dinner visit to the dock. It doesn't get dark until 9pm so we had plenty of time.
Gotta feed the ducks.
And have a nice last paddle...
...off into the sunset.
Good night! Tomorrow Mike is getting Kieran up early and the two of them will be off to pick up The Speedboat!

Mike's mom Phyllis and her husband Ken will be here too in the morning and I'm excited to see them.
June 19

Early in the morning Mike and Kieran took Mike's company truck out to the hinterlands to pick up a rented speedboat. Good times ahead!
Phillis and Ken arrived around the same time as Mike and Kieran got back with the boat. Nice one Phyllis!

We had to drive around to the other side of the lake for the public launch site. Ken stayed at the house and enjoyed the lakeside views because of his back. He had a good time too!
And we're in! Yay Mike!!
First off, let's go tubing!
Here's Kieran signaling for faster-faster and Mike thinking 'maybe we're going fast enough?'

Ok, let's stand up then.
Mike can totally do this water skiing thing...
...since he was much younger.
Cynthia was driving, her first time, and she handled that boat like a pro.

Here's Cynthia giving it a go. It's HARD!
Time to get back...
...and 'we' got out meaning Mike and Kieran got us out as if we'd done it 100 times before.
Grandma and her grandson, loving on each other, best buds for forever.
Ken showing me all about his weather program. It's a good one, and out here on the edge of the prairie weather is a dramatic and constantly changing big deal.
While Cynthia and Mike were doing the dinner Phyllis, Kieran, and I went out for a quick paddle.

Then we ate like the kings and queens we are after which it was time for...
...followed by my very special birthday dessert. YAY!
Kieran doing a great job expressing some historical figures from his own mind.
I went out later to look for stars but that big ol' moon wasn't going to let it happen.
HomeUSA the Middle • Minnesota • '16 Jun: Saint Paul, MN, and points Beyond

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