summer blooms

I love gardening!  And I love photographing flowers too.  Here are some of my latest photos from my own garden and a few from other gardens.

First, my neighbor’s delphiniums.  One without his chickens and one with:

These are a friend’s bee balm which are not the more common red ones we see everywhere, including my own backyard. These are almost purple and I just love them. I was trying to capture a bee on the close-up and actually stood there for a bit waiting for it to move.  Finally I got impatient and I had to move.

From Gold Medal Park near work on one of my strolls that I take as a break, beautiful red day lilies:

Pink coneflowers:

One great thing about July in Minnesota is that ALL of the lilies are in bloom.  Here’s another version:

We decided to grow squash this year and here is one of those blooms:

And last but certainly not least is what might be my favorite summer bloom, queen of the prairie:

 

Do you have a favorite summer flower?

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Chicago – my home town

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to my aunt’s 95th birthday party to be held in her condo complex in Chicago, where I sort of came from.  Both of my parents and both of my siblings were all born in Chicago.  I happen to be the only one in my family who was not born in Chicago.  By the time my sister came along my parents needed a bigger home.  They decided on a new development in Carpentersville, west of Chicago, and that’s where I spent my first 9 years.

My father had three sisters, two of them and most of their extended families still live in the Chicago area.  I have been back many times and always have a great time there.  This time was no different and was filled with non-stop, mostly fun, activities.  We had the hiccup that was my bag getting lost.  It decided it wanted to see Detroit instead of Chicago but was returned to Chicago the following morning.  And since I flew a budget airline, you guessed it, I had to go get my bag.  No matter, we kept our spirits up for the most part even though it cut into our sight seeing time.  But, what do you do?  Get crabby and ruin everyone’s time? I think not! I was pretty disappointed since this was my first time flying with this airlines but it all worked out in the end.  I got my bag, was able to finally change my clothes and we headed downtown for our one day of sightseeing.  On the way we all decided we wanted to go up Willis Tower.  It was a gorgeous day so would be perfect for viewing from the 103rd floor.

But first, lunch:

Outside Willis Tower:

that's a long way up

that’s a long way up

As one might imagine, there was quite the line to ascend an elevator to the top of Willis Tower on a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon.  Here’s a “time lapse” set of photos of the wait that spanned just over an hour.  And yes, it was worth it.

There are things to keep you busy while you wait, several monitors with quizzes and factoids along the walls like this one:

Finally, we got to the top!  Rather, the 103rd floor.

My sister and I decided to sit out the skydeck.  A newer addition to the building, there are four glass boxes that jut off of the building where you can look down to see the street below.  This is a photo my daughter took of my nephew’s and her feet looking down at the street:

And one more of the three brave ones in the skydeck:

We spent that evening with the family of my other aunt and had a wonderful time catching up with all of them.  The next day was my other aunt’s party and believe it or not, I took no photos?  I was too busy chatting I suppose but I did copy some that my brother-in-law took.  Here are a couple of the birthday girl:

It was a very nice party and I hope that when I’m 95 I will look as good as my aunt!

We had a little time to kill before being dropped off at the airport so we decided to take a ride down Lake Shore Drive and end up in Millennium Park.  But first my brother took us on a little tour of a few places from his childhood (before they moved to Carpentersville).   One of those was the apartment building that my grandparents and parents live in when my parents were first married.  He pointed out our grandparents’ apartment which was easy to spot as it faced the street and then showed us the door that led up to where our parents lived.  I was amazed that he could remember where the apartment building was after so many years!  It was great to finally see that piece of history from long ago.

We decided there wasn’t enough time to park and walk through Millennium Park so we were content to just drive by.  I did get to see “the bean” just not up close and personal.  Perhaps next time.

I have just one more photo to share that I hope my blog friend sees.  I couldn’t help but think of Lady of the Cakes when I saw this shop in the airport:

It was a quick but fabulous weekend and I can’t wait to go back.  I love Chicago!  What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

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Summer gardening

Thought I’d share what’s going on in the garden right now.  First a couple of what I think is milkweed after they’re done blooming that I found on the walking path near the cabin.

The bee balm are about at their peak right now.

Check out my humongoloid rhubarb plant (time to harvest again!!) from the inside and from the outside.

Our veggie garden is coming along!  We’ve got tomatoes, cukes, beans, basil and a pepper plant(basil and pepper plants not visible).

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4th of July sunsets

We had another lovely weekend at the cabin and another fabulous sky of changing sunsets.  Here are a handful of my favorites.

We had the most amazing display of fireworks over the lake and we didn’t have to go anywhere.  At one point we were standing on the dock and there were dueling fireworks.  We didn’t know where to look!  Quite the problem to have don’t you think? :) I tried and tried to get a good photo of the fireworks.  Alas, my iphone camera is not the best for this type of shot. But I did choose one to share.

And the sky’s colors just kept on giving.  This one was taken about 45 minutes after the sun had set and you can kind of see some fireworks going off way across the lake.

And, oh heck, here’s a gratuitous photo of Fritz in the red chair totally unrelated to the 4th of July.  I just like this photo of him. Red looks good on him don’t you think?

 

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Homi – Restaurante Mexicano, St. Paul, MN

If you’re in St. Paul you must try Homi.  Real. Mexican. Food.  And, let me tell you, it’s fabulous!!  We’ve been going by this place for a while and finally decided to try it tonight.  We’re so glad we did, we are definitely going back.

It’s a tiny place and parking is problematic so Homi put a nice, big sign in his window: “parking in back”. And there was!  I forgot to take a photo of the front.  If you’re taking the green line you’ll go in the front door (not pictured).

Homi's back entrance

We sat down and started with their homemade guacamole.  Oh my goodness. Delish!!  He leaves the pit in the dish and I thought that was a nice touch.  It is made fresh, as is everything at Homi.  They have a sign explaining that there is a bit of a wait because everything is made from scratch.  It’s definitely worth the wait.

fresh guacamole

I had the chiles rellenos.  These might be the best chiles rellenos that I’ve ever had.  The sauce was to die for.  It came with rice and beans. We also got fresh and warm corn tortillas (rice, beans and tortillas not pictured).

Hubby had the tamales, equally delicious. I tasted it, yum!

tamales

They’re right on the green line and easy for downtown worker bees to have lunch.  They are also on this list of some other great places to eat in St. Paul, Lunch along the Green Line.

Their portions are large, so bring your appetite. Or bring home the rest and have it for lunch the next day.  Do try this great Mexican restaurant when you’re in St. Paul.  I’m sure you will leave happy.

 

Homi Restaurant
864 University Avenue
St. Paul, MN
651-222-0655
Homi Mexican on Urbanspoon

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Contrast

A couple of contrasts here.  First, the contrast of Eddie the large and Fritz the small:

He's so little!!!

He’s so little!!!

Next, the contrast of the older photo of Fritz as a kitten and what he looks like now:

To join the challenge and/or to view other great entries, click here.  I might be back later with another idea for this challenge :)

 

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35W Bridge Remembrance Garden and Memorial

August 1, 2007 is one of those days that I will never forget.  The day the interstate bridge collapsed.  We sat agape in front of the TV watching all the coverage of this tragic event for the next several weeks.  I used to go over that bridge on my way to the office about once a week as I was working from home then.  And I had crossed the bridge that very day.  I remember that the head of my department at work sent out an email the next morning to those of us that travelled the bridge to ensure that we were alright.  I was alright physically but I wasn’t okay emotionally for quite some time after that.  I was stunned that this could happen. I read everything I could find about the people that died, others that were injured and the kind-hearted people who stopped to help.  And I cried and cried off and on for weeks afterwards.

I had heard about the memorial that was being erected but never saw it until recently.  My office is just down the street from the memorial and I have been taking photos of it on my not-so-daily walks for some exercise and a bit of fresh air (though today’s air was a bit “soggy” with all the humidity, but I digress again!).  It’s a very moving memorial positioned atop the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River where so many vehicles and victims ended up that day nearly 7 years ago.  A granite wall with names of the survivors stands behind 13 pillars, one for each of the people that died.  On each pillar is a brief description of those that died, some are in their native language.  On one of my walks I began to read the pillars……and I had to stop after the fifth or I would have burst into tears.  I will have to go back to read the rest but perhaps only a few at a time.  It’s a very nice memorial.  I hope you’ll enjoy the scenic tour I’ve put together.

I happened upon this marker and until putting together this post I had no idea what the MPR Sound Point was.  I googled and discovered that MPR and the city of Minneapolis put together a tour of public art in Minneapolis.  Here is how the tour works, from the link to the story at MPR: “Signs posted at each artwork location direct viewers to call or text a phone number or scan a bar code with their smart phone and listen to the artist describe the artwork in detail.” 

MPR Sound Point with the Stone Arch bridge in the background

MPR Sound Point with the Stone Arch bridge in the background

Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge

Just today I took this photo to capture the wording on the granite wall.  I love how the pillars are reflected on the wall.

Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life.  Selfless efforts and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.

I took this photo today as well in Gold Medal Park just across the street from the memorial.  It seems only fitting to end with a flower in memory of the victims of the 35W bridge collapse.  May this never happen again.  Click here for more information about the bridge before and after its collapse.

 

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