Multiple Trips so watch for the year change.

September 1, 2018

Arriving August 29, here's Kai saying HI, welcome back!
Morning at the dog park down by the Mississippi River. See Kai roaring around for several minutes stretching himself out to the full.

Then nap time for Kai while Cynthia and I...
...go to the Minnesota State Fair!

If you google Minnesota State Fair and go to images the first many pages will all be of crowds. This is one of them. There are so many roads in the fair and they all look like this.

For John McCain.
I read this on the internet: 'The Minnesota State Fair is a secularly sacred gathering for 2 million congregants'.

We missed the fried pickles due to being stuffed with other choices.
They have rides, and a midway, and a kidway, and barns full of animals of every sort, and displays of the agricultural glories of Minnesota, all these important for a State Fair but for the Minnesota State Fair it's mainly about the food, deep fried food.

I particularly wanted to go to the Fair because I wanted to know that in my life I had tried a deep fried twinkie.
Cynthia was feeling it for a sausage sandwich and there it was, Sausages by Cynthia. It was the best thing we ate all day. There's the very fine Minnesota Public Radio next to the sausages, and next to that a particularly large place with about 5 lines serving up Fresh French Fries.
Here's what we both had bites of, in order: poutine with cheese curds; andouille sausage sandwich; fresh lemonade; Pronto Pup; root beer float, and then...

...oh look oh goodie finally, we see it! Deep fried twinkies!!
Yes please.
Thank you! Was it good? Of course not. It's not about being good. No, it's about that such a thing can exist at all.

September 3

Cynthia's back door and sitting area. She's on the second floor with a lovely view of the tree tops.
Oh for heaven's sake look at that dog, enjoying his carrot snack.
Not On A Stick. I forgot to mention when I was talking about the food at the Minnesota State Fair that all those amazing fried foods come on a stick. Everything/Anything, on a stick!

It's not as magical as it sounds, deep fried butter for example or a slice of deep friend apple pie, because the coating is so thick not much would escape it.

Not here, here you can buy a beverage that isn't on a stick.
Check out Kai chatting up the strangers. See how he's leaning against the bending girl? It's amazing how he'll body slam anyone who looks at him, with his whole backside a-waggle.
Kai playing with the big boys.
It was busy at the river today and one minute, no Dalmatians, and the next minute, seven Dalmatians, although I see only six here.
September 5

Prairie Home Companion is gone from the Fitzgerald but its replacement, for me a decidedly less good show, is still here.
Ah sweet rain. That's the Saint Paul Cathedral ahead.
Mall of America.

"Mall of America® is more than a shopping mall near the Twin Cities. It’s over 520 shops full of tax-free shopping and 50 restaurants full of delicious food. It’s Nickelodeon Universe, SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, FlyOver America, Crayola Experience, and more – all under one roof."

There's a lot to do when in the midst of a big remodel.
This day we were going to be out all day and the workers were at the condo so Kai got to spend the day with his friends at the doggie daycare.
He's sooo tired.
September 6

This is my fourth dog park, a walk through the forest and it was lovely. Hi Kai!
We often pass by the White Castle corner lined with cars and each time I think the same thought, what is it with White Castle anyway?

So we decided to check it out. We got one regular hamburger, and I say hamburger with air quotes. We also got the crispy fired chicken sandwich, the fish sandwich, and the vegan slider.

They were all uneatable in varying degrees. Cynthia wouldn't even take a bite of the burger. I did take a bite and it was not worth a second bite but I didn't spit out the bite I had. Next came the chicken which didn't taste bad really, because it had no taste but it was crispy. The fish was indistinguishable from the chicken, although I had a second bite of the chicken but not a second bite of the fish.

We both thought the absolute worst, and we spit it into our napkins, was the gummy scary-flavored stick-to-your-teeth vegan slider. Don't get it. Don't get any of it. Don't go there actually.

Now I know!
In stark contrast Cynthia took me out for my birthday, to one of the hot trendy places in Saint Paul, called corner table, lower case. They offer a three course prix fixe menu so we got to try six of their very pretty and tasty dishes.

I will type them all out below for the fun of it. And yes, the entire menu was in lower case.
1-wild mushroom soup, crème fraiche, ramp oil, foraged things
2-white beet and hakurei turnip salad, herbed goat cheese, sunflower, chamomile, plum seed vin
3-pappardelle, gjetost cheese, roasted cauliflower, shallot, speck, sage
4-duck confit shepherd's pie
5-lamb loin, chickpea crepe, summer squash, herb pistou, feta
6-minnesota lake perch, french sorrel brodo, brown butter, almonds, fingerlings, seasonal capers

WOW, right?!
September 8

Cynthia was off to a meditation and I took Kai out for a little stroll. We rounded the corner and what the hay? Something is going on down there!
It's the Selby Jazz Fest with three blocks of food and crafts and public service booths.
I came back with Cynthia and we enjoyed the music and also a big delicious ear of roasted corn...
...and on the way home we passed some neighbors who were taking advantage of the crowds to offer homemade treats which we bought and happily ate back at the condo with a cup of tea.
September 11

Here are some pictures from the last few days. First, four very fun restaurants.

Louisiana Café.
Kyatchi Sushi.
La Cucaracha.
Golden Thyme. They're all worth a story which I may write later, especially this place that is two blocks away from the condo.
Some of the architectural highlights. It's still pretty much a construction zone but every day it gets better.
The kitchen is still raw space with only the lower cabinets, refrigerator, and stove in the room. It's going to be fabulous when it's done!
Me and the contractor Anthony who is a real sweetie and all the work he does himself is excellent. He spend a lot of his time though, redoing what his subs and employees haven't done up to his standard.
Multiple Trips so watch for the year change.

August 12, 2018

Start of a great day with Cynthia and Kai, the most adorable dog ever. First stop, coffee... and a puppychino. Kai knew all about the puppychino and he was so ready the second we turned in.
Then we went to this amazing dog park. They call it the dog beach actually. It's about ten minutes or so down this lovely shaded path that can get a little steep...
...oh look, and Kai is OFF... find friends and swim in the river. Kai doesn't actually swim yet but one of these days when he's chasing another dog or running for a toy he'll discover it by accident.
SO much fun.

Then we had a nice lunch on the patio of one of the many dog-friendly restaurants around Saint Paul.
Oh goodie, the sculpture garden welcomes dogs so we swung by for a stroll.

So many favorites.
This was new. They didn't stay long but moved on to posing in other spots around the garden.

Speaking of which we buzzed back to Cynthia's condo to let Kai have a nap while we went to see the Mister Rogers movie. Although I didn't watch much of the show since it overlapped with Sesame Street, a show I will still gladly watch, the movie did a good job of telling his story I think.

Of course I cried, it was a tear-jerker. He was so nice and now he's dead.
The white ruff doesn't usually stick out quite that far, I forgot to notice. He looks like this when his collar has gotten the longer hair.

Then we stopped at our favorite market, Kowalski's, and each made ourself a delicious salad to take back to our respective accommodation.

Thanks Cynth, it was So Fun.
August 13-14, 2018

The last two days Cynthia and I have spent some good time in late-afternoon visits to the dog park and then enjoying a nice dinner.

Not so many pictures but...
...I do have some cutie-pie videos. I have to learn how to edit out the long moments pointing at the ground and the sky while I fuss with turning the thing on and off, and how to get a still off the video.

Both skills easily done but not yet known by me.
Oh Kai.
Just a few pictures.
I have been surprisingly lax. It has also been h.o.t.
I want sunflowers and hollyhocks both requiring a lot of water so I need to stop longing for them and start longing for something I can actually grow.
Saint Paul people can grown anything it seems. Almost every house is surrounded by plants flowering and otherwise. I hope to get a few more examples because they are splendid.
August 15

Here are just a few more front yards to get a feeling for Saint Paul in the Golden Triangle, south of the 94-52-12, north of the 35E, and east of Ayd Mill Road...Lexington-Summit-Cathedral Hill.
The yards are dense and wild...
...and mostly filled with plants that grow without attention.

I'm up first thing in the morning and off to Austin to meet up with Windy and Darnelle and enjoy some downhome southern charm, y'all.
Multiple Trips so watch for the year change.

December 27, 2017

Kai says Welcome to Saint Paul Minnesota!
Cynthia picked me up at the airport and we went almost directly to Puppy Play Time at the vets where three puppies, Thomas, the biggest, Tommy, the smallest, and Kai spent 15 nonstop minutes sniffing each other and doing the rolly-polly.

Kai was up for more but the other two were so done.
The cutest dog ever?
Cynthia had gotten us tickets to see The Christmas Story at the legendary Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

First we ate dinner at an Asian-Fusion restaurant across the street from the theater and then scurried over in -10 wind chill. My boots are perfect as is the rest of my gear so far, so far being car to door and then door to door.

(internet pic)
A couple of views from the outdoor (YES!) viewing area of 'The Bridge to Nowhere' in the Guthrie.
Another one, reflecting in the Mississippi river.
December 28

Snow! And omg it is cold. This is the view from the entrance to the parking garage. Cynthia takes Kai out for a pee break every couple of hours, and otherwise we didn't go out until...
...we went to get Kieran to join us for dinner. These two pictures are about 4 inches and 18 months apart. I'm cutting my hair the second I get home!
We got to meet Kieran's snake Selene, named after the Greek goddess of the moon.
Kai and Kieran raced around the backyard for a long time...
...and Kai was never done...
...until finally the humans had to call a halt. Then we had dinner and it was lovely. It was dark btw - this is a flash shot from the patio.
December 29 and 30

This is the lobby of the hospital where Cynthia had her bunion surgery today. It all went so smoothly, in and out, no problem and she's been walking some too already.

I had a snack from the cafeteria with the dining tables across from the windows here serenaded by the lovely woman playing pop standards on the grand piano.
I had to park out here (I brought the car around to pick Cynthia up!) and it was snowing lightly the whole time.

I drove in the snow while it was snowing! Cynthia has one of those all-wheel-drive Subarus so popular in these parts and it drives like a dream.
A view from around the corner of the apartment.

What I wear when I go out and I'm perfectly warm until the wind kicks in to freeze my face: a cami, a tee, a long-sleeved shirt, a down vest, a jacket, a coat, thermal pants, pants over those pants, wool socks, fancy -25 degree-rated boots, scarf, hat, gloves.
Today the high was -5. Baby it's cold outside!

So we went to another puppy play time at a bigger place which was excellent good fun for Kai the dog.

I see I didn't note that this was inside at one of the places Cynthia went for puppy class. It wasn't That cold inside but no one bothered to unbundle.
So much personality.

I think this is the story of that mini-husky looking dog, from the internet. He was young and still very shy:

"The Alaskan Klee Kai is a relatively modern breed, which was only developed and standardized in the 1970’s, and not widely available to buy by private owners until the 1980’s. The Klee Kai’s ancestry includes elements of the Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, and to a lesser extent, the American Eskimo dog and Schipperke as well.

"While many people incorrectly refer to the Alaskan Klee Kai as Mini Huskies, or use the two terms interchangeably, it is important to note that they are not the same breed."
Let's PLAY!

Kai plays with all the dogs no matter their size. He gets up on his back legs and walks forward like a grizzly bear. I hope I can catch that one day.
Good night...Sweet dreams...
December 31

We went to another puppy play time this one out in the suburbs with a group Cynthia had trained with before. It was the biggest room yet with the most dogs and plenty of run-run-run.

Kai is what they call 'food motivated'.

When there are training treats around he wants those things So Bad. He would find any one of the humans dispensing treats and he'd do a big proud sit right in front of them and if a treat didn't come his way he'd lie down, and if he Still didn't get a treat he would look so confused... like... what's a guy got to do around here to get a treat!
Sometimes there would be treats for nothing!

We did chores for a few hours too. Cynthia has been doing amazingly well with her foot although after a while a rest is welcome.

Cynthia had reserved the theater in her building so we could watch Amadeus on a big screen with great sound for that fabulous score but technology was not cooperating. We've rebooked for Tuesday!
Yes! And a Happy New Year!!
January 1

Baby it's cold outside!

(internet pic)
We watched the Rose Parade streaming on amazon with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon and we both LOLed plenty. If you really like the parade however these guys will not suit you. Absolutely everything they said was tongue-in-cheek.

If you like it the regular way or if you didn't know what they were satirizing I wonder if it would be funny. The amazon reviews show 52% 5 stars and 40% 1 star, mighty polarizing it was.

(internet pic)
January 2

We decided to do some strolling on the skyways and it was awesome. You can get around in Minneapolis by skyway too, an especially nice option in the winter.
This is from the bridge right outside Cynthia's building and we have a view of that mural from her apartment.
There is a whole row of sculptures of this guy with various things on his head.
Across the first bridge and down one flight of escalators brings you to this art deco style lobby of the 1931 First National Bank building, not still a bank, but the building kept the name.

The sign is pointing to the Kellogg Apartment Entrance where Cynthia lives.
Now we've traveled through buildings and bridges, I've lost track, but the architectural details are so fun to come across.
Walking with Kai is an exercise in friendly. Not one person can pass without a grin and an awwww and 'is it ok, can I pet him?'. Kai then body slams against the legs of all who reach down happy to be noticed and gushed over.

We passed every possible enterprise as we wandered through the buildings. You could in fact live your life not going outside not that you'd want to, but you'd have the choice...if you didn't have a dog that is.
Another skyway and a lively parking garage.
Pee break... Mears Park, one of many parks with that Plaza Central feel, surrounded by city buildings with paths, benches, and features made for strolling. But not in January. In January you can look at it and think of Spring.
Back to the bridge leading into Cynthia's building with the mural in the distance.

It was -8 when I went outside this morning with Kai and I put on ALL my layers but this afternoon when we were outside it was 12...and it felt warm! I didn't have my gloves or my hat or my scarf or my coat and it was fine. Weird, right?
January 3

This is Mike from Lofty Dogs, the guy who takes dogs from this building out for pee breaks and out for big pack walks. Cynthia has been using him since she got Kai and now Mike is getting Kai ready to join the pack.

He's still full of puppy go-go but Mike is willing to give the pack a try on Thursday.
Here's one of Mike's groups.

(internet pic)
Cynthia treated me to a haircut with her haircut goddess. It was fun And I look cute!
This is what cars look like in the winter in Minnesota, an ever-present coating of salt on everything that hits the road. All of them all the time look like this except for maybe the first hour after a car wash.

If I'm going to buy a used car I hope I remember to check where it has lived in its prior life.
Nap time. Awwww.
Cynthia's apartment, a loft style unit with extra-high ceilings is on the ground floor and all the windows are also high, but the light is pretty good considering, even when it's so stormy out.

Today as I write this we've got blue skies!
We decided to take an early evening skyway stroll for some views and to get to a nice bookstore without going outside. That's the closest transit station. Cynthia's building is in the upper right.
This is the big 1st sign from the 1931 First National Bank building. You saw the gorgeous marble elevator lobby yesterday.
The Capitol building!

We had to go several bridges out of our way to get this view...worth it because I really wanted to see it.
Here's the bookstore...
...and another cool façade.
After dinner Kai had a play date with his best buddy Astro. Astro's owner is that young boy who is 10 years old and going into high school (in September? I'm not sure).

He is quite a kid for sure with full reign of the building like he should be the main character in a children's adventure book.
January 4-5

Kai got his Lofty Dogs pack walk today with 11 of his new best friends. He was a little squirrely at first and then settled right in.

This is from a video Lofty Dog Mike took. You can see the whole thing on his facebook page and you will awwww.

Another one.

First level obedience training. Kai (and Cynthia Of Course) did a couple of puppy classes already so this is not socializing, oh no, those dogs are learning, and they have homework.
Cynthia's office is in this refurbished historic complex.

"St. Paul’s Como Shops served as a major passenger-car repair facility on the Northern Pacific railroad between 1885 and the 1970s, providing employment to many St. Paul residents. The durability of the shops’ construction guaranteed their longevity, and in 1985 the facility was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places."
The Atrium Building...
...and the inside. Cynthia's office is on the second floor. I sat here and read for a bit (and dozed off!) while Cynthia checked in at work.
We took another skyway stroll this time to dinner at a restaurant on the street level of this building - Park Square Court (Previously known as: Noyes Brothers and Cutler Wholesale Druggists Building)

"What started out as a less-than-promising storefront on E. 3rd St. grew with the city of St. Paul to become the largest wholesale drug and medical supply company in the Northwest.

"...In 1889 Noyes Brothers & Cutler moved into their new (and final) building at 6th St. & Sibley St., where they would stay for the next thirty years. Designed by St. Paul architect J. Walter Stevens for $110,000, the five-story building has the Romanesque style which was popular at the time.

"...In 1971-73 the building was converted to retail shops, restaurants and offices and was renamed Park Square Court."

(google pic)
These are a couple of shots from the Park Square Court building.
It was quite interesting, and I didn't spend enough time to figure it all out, but there were so many outside walls that had been integrated into the refurbishments.
We had a vast selection of Happy Hour food here at Barrio. All of the treats were densely flavored and half of them were totally delicious.

This is one of the street level enterprises easily accessed by the skyway system. It was zero outside and we took a nice stroll to dinner!

Then we had churros with spicy Mexican chocolate for dipping. YUM!
January 6

Another excellent skyway walk brought us a half block from...
...Dreadlocks for Dingos, a place for doggie daycare, overnighters, and grooming service, and where they have puppy play time every Saturday.

The doggie place is in the foreground and at the end of the block is an apartment complex in a very cool looking building.
Kai loves puppy play time and he looooves treats. Somebody's getting a treat? Me too me too me too!

The owner of the big pit bull-ridgeback mix, the woman with the treats, is holding Kai back from doing his grizzly bear attach upon her dog's head.
We went home for some food and to drop off Kai, and then we went for a tour of the state capitol building.

Cynthia took these two pictures from out the car window as we were creeping along looking for a parking place so we wouldn't have to walk too far in 5 degrees and a Serious wind chill.

Look how quiet it is on a Saturday afternoon.

And from the back.

"Inspired by the Beaux-Arts architecture of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, architect Cass Gilbert was determined to design a building in the classical style, but with all the modern conveniences of the time. The stunning result is a towering white marble dome, fluted columns, graceful arches and commanding statuary.

"...Construction of the current Capitol began on May 6, 1896 and was led by architect Cass Gilbert, who would go on to design the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. After nine years and a cost of $4.5 million, the Renaissance Revival-style building opened to the public on Jan. 2, 1905."
One of the many large historic art pieces.
A view out a Capitol window to the beautiful 1912 Cathedral of Saint Paul.
Our guide was anxious and pleased to tell us this dome is the second largest 'unsupported marble dome' in the World, first is St Peter's at the Vatican and third is the Taj Mahal.
After the Capitol tour we went on to the Conservatory in Como Park. There's a hot and humid rainforest in there that we stood around in to get some moisture soaked into our skin.
And there's this...
...and this!
So sweet, and then we went on home where Cynthia cooked us a deeelicious salmon dinner.
January 7

We went to a Sunday Brunch at the Saint Paul Hotel. This is the more formal dining room.

"In 1856, John Summers invited travelers from all over the world into his home, which eventually became the Greenman House, a 60-room hotel erected in 1871 and destroyed by fire in 1878.

"By 1878, Mr. Summers and John Baugh, an Eastern hotelier, constructed a much larger and more modern hotel named The Windsor, known at the time to be one of the finest hotels in Saint Paul. The Windsor Hotel was operated successfully until 1880 when Baugh withdrew and sold his interest to Charles J. Monfort. Summers resigned in 1891 and Monfort acted as President and Manager until his death in 1904.

"For the next two years the hotel was utilized as an arcade and theater. As the city of Saint Paul continued to grow, the need for a new hotel became increasingly important. In 1908 Lucius P. Ordway, a prime mover in the new hotel project, secured ownership of the property with the intentions of constructing a new luxury hotel."
A new skyway view.
We took Kai to a dog park and he raced around like a greyhound...
...never backing down for a second no matter how large or noisy his running mate. I'm leaving tomorrow and it looks like I'm going to miss getting a shot of Kai doing his grizzly bear.
This dog was waaay fast and none of the other dogs played his game of chase the tennis ball.
We drove around for a while afterward catching sight of the Arch Bridge and looking for a sunset.

Cynthia took these pictures out the car window. Cool, yea.

January 8

Last day...bye Kai, you cutie you, sleeping off his walk with Lofty Dogs.
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