A walk in the Phillips neighborhood

I killed time between the defense and the big party by talking one of the walks in my walking tours book. This was of the Phillips Neighborhood.

I was staying in Ventura Village, but that’s the next neighborhood over. On my walk to the start of the walk, I snapped a picture of this church, where you can attend services in Norwegian!

When you have too much car for your garage…

Basically, Minneapolis is chock full of houses that leave me weak in the knees. Here is one.

All you need to know about Phillips.

Along with a close-up of the neighborhood boundaries.

Most of the walk was on Park Avenue, which has been redeveloped many times over the years. Thus, it was not unusual to see this lineup:

A grand building of apartment homes, built when that was a thing rich people lived in.

Right next to that, a 60s or 70s development.

And right next to that, a small office building.

Here were also huge mansions, like this one, which is now the American Swedish Institute, which I visited in 2015.

And this one:

And this one, which has moved on to a new life as a mosque. I did like that about Minneapolis. A lot of the grand houses have been converted to office space.

Very fancy looking office space, like this one, which houses the American Indian Services.

I liked the look of this stucco, and couldn’t decide if it was the pattern, or stucco suffering from neglect.

Look at this great church!

And these beautiful houses!

It wasn’t unusual to come across these views of fin de siecle houses with downtown towers looming in the background.

Look at the turret on this house!

It seems that bicycle theft is a problem here too.

Here’s an interesting corner. An older apartment building:

And across the street an apartment tower with its first four stories attempting to blend. This works for me.

And then this other corner with some new contstruction totally blending with a new tower looming in the background.

This is a pretty red house with a widow’s walk.

This might be my favorite picture from this walk. A nondescript low brick building next to a beautiful stone house, with a colorful Hannapin Healthcare buiding nearby and the prow of the football stadium poking up in the back.

I could have spent a solid week wandering through Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.

Waiting for Dr. Sterner

While Sara was doing Defense Part II with the members of her committee, friends and family wandered over to the building on campus with the performing arts hall, and waited at a coffee shop.

The building was gorgeous, and lovingly renovated.

It was a long wait (I think there was also some paperwork processing in there) and I had time to catch up with Sara’s family members, which was nice as I hadn’t seen them in a very long time.

Behold! Dr. Sara Sterner (alas, not the best photo of her)

Also pictured: Shawn (to the left) and Sara’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece.

Three of Sara’s professors had traveled to Minneapolis to be present for the defense, so photos were taken.

After photos, some catching up, and Sara’s stepmom Barbie snuck around for a different angle.

The Defense

Sara booked the biggest room available for her defense and it was full! She had a lot of friends and family visit. When I sat down, I introduced myself to the woman sitting next to me. She turned out to be a fellow PhD candidate. Her observation: “I go to these things all the time and usually there’s like four people watching.”

Sara’s adviser introduced Sara and the defense. He had a special message from Hogwarts and also pointed out that a royal baby waited to be born until Sara was ready to defend.

Sara explained the work she had done on a post-intentional phenomenological exploration of reading whitely. There were handouts.

At the end we got to ask questions.

Once the public defense was done Sara stayed behind for another hour of questions. After that, her committee voted though we weren’t there for that part.

Getting to the defense

My first full day in Minneapolis was also the day of Sara’s defense. I decided to use the Nice Ride bikes to get myself to campus.

On the same street where I was saying was this gorgeous apartment building.

My neighborhood had a lot of churches in it, including two across the street from one another.

About four blocks from my house were the bikes.

I checked one out and was on my way. Look at the great bike infrastructure they have! I rode bike lanes the entire way to campus.

This bridge took me over the freeway.

Here I have a great view of the Mighty Mississippi.

I got to campus quite easily using the Google Maps directions. From that point, I had a bit of trouble finding a docking station. The campus is large. I ended up docking at the Student Union because I knew where that was and vaguly in which direction it was located and then power-walked over to the defense.

Thank goodness I’d visited campus on previous trips.

Where am I staying in Minneapolis?

I booked a room in an AirB&B for my lodging. It was not far from the football stadium and very close to many transportation options.

The picture of the house on the website cleverly cropped out those crumbling steps, which were all I could see as I stood on the sidewalk. Had I made a mistake?

My room is the second floor window on the left.

But no! Indoors, it was lovely. Here’s the sitting room with a bit of the dining room.

The kitchen still had its butler’s pantry which included pull-out bins for flour and sugar.

The more modern kitchen.

Here’s my bedroom, which was quite large.

And included a big walk-in closet with a window to outside.

The view from my window.

There was a lot of original hardware that was just gorgeous. This is my bedroom door looking out into the stairwell.

Look at that vent!

My favorite feature of the house was the servant’s staircase. Here’s where the servants walk up.

And here’s is where the family walks up. You can see how you can close a door to shut off the kitchen area.

But the funny thing about the two staircases was, both staircases traveled to the same landing.

Here I am, packed for my first full day!

Minneapolis Day 1: Bike ride to Lake Nokomis

Sara K, whom you might know from her regular comments on this blog, is almost Dr. Sara K. She’s spent the last few years working toward a PhD, and I’m in Minneapolis to see her defense.

After navigating myself from the airport to my AirBnB, (thanks light rail!) I used the app on my phone to find a Nice Ride. Those would be the bike share bikes in the Twin Cities.

There was a bank of bikes not far from my place, and I rode about 25 minutes to Lake Nokomis, where I locked up my bike at another station. Easy as pie!

One thing I enjoyed about Lake Nokomis, was that they had seperate paths for walkers and bikes. The path in the foreground is for walkers; the one in the back is for bikes. Very smart, Minneapolis!

While it was full-on warm spring in Portland, it was still early spring in the North Star State. I would call what I experienced mid-to-late-March weather.

A variety of Sara’s relatives (and Sara herself, plus Shawn) arrived and we ate and chatted.

Shawn and Sara gave me a ride back to my place, which was also nice, as I was not wearing a mid-to-late March coat and I was a bit chilled when the sun was going down.

What a great start to my trip!

Anniversary dinner at Navarre

It’s our seventeenth anniversary and to celebrate, we had a delicious meal at Navarre. The restaurant was deserted, as it was a glorious warm spring day and everyone else was probably hiking or some other outdoorsy Portland thing.

Due to the full staff and the lack of other customers, our food came fast. While we ate dinner we traded off asking questions of our favorite memories. Examples: favorite vacation we’ve taken/ favorite wedding we’ve attended/ favorite thing about our house, etc. It turned out to be a pretty fun game.

We forgot to take a picture in the restaurant, so here we are by the car.

I float for the first time

Call me float-curious. Floating, the practice of paying money to lie in a dark in a tank of water with a bunch of Epsom salts was very intriguing to me.

Not enough to pay money, but I was interested.

Enter friend Kelly, who gets free floats as a part of her volunteer gig. She gifted me one, so I signed up.

Float On has a very cool waiting room. The walls are covered with this stretchy fabric that was mesmerizing. Plus, look at all those stretchy fabric things on the ceiling! And there was tea.

And look at this great mural in the bathroom!

Here’s my room. You are looking at the shower and the door to the tank.

From the other direction, the door to the hallway, a complementary robe (that I didn’t need to use) and on the right, the filtering system for the tank.

I was given an orientation, I showered, got into the tank and closed the door.

And then 90 minutes passed.

At first, I thought I needed to be inert in the water, but eventually I realized that I could move around if I wanted. After I started some slow movement of my limbs, I enjoyed floating more.

And yet.

I’m a person who regularly experiences insomnia, so I’m quite familiar with the feeling of being awake in a dark room, alone with my thoughts.

I also am a swimmer with a goodly amount of body fat, so floating is also a thing that happens to me on a regular basis.

When I started thinking of things I would rather spend money on than floating that would also relax me (massage, acupuncture, a nap—which is free) I concluded that floating was not for me.

And I’m so glad I got to figure that out for free.

If you are float curious, I recommend Float On. It was a great operation.

Messages on the bus ride home

I interpreted the very direct message on the power pole to be referring to suicide, of which there seems to be an unreasonable amount of going on right now. But today I can see that it can also refer to just getting to exist in this world. Our homeless population probably feels like we don’t think they get to live.

I loved thinking of the number of flyers and signs that had been posted to this pole over the years.

We watched a movie today. So did half the country.

The Baghdad Theater was a great place to watch this movie. A big theater with lots of audience reaction, makes an eagerly anticipated movie that much sweeter.

What did I think? I’ve got a review here.

Plus, this movie got me to thinking about just how many superhero movies the two of us had watched in the course of our relationship. And then I wrote a blog post which can be found here.