Catio!

We have completed Phase One of the front porch catio!

Our original intention was to make the full front porch a catio, but inserting the fencing in the existing pergola proved challenging, plus I’m not confident in the longevity of the pergola and it will be easier to make a frame to fit in between the sides of the house should the pergola need to come down in the future.

This provides a space for the cats to hang out, plus a space for a person to hang out. I also like that when people come to the front door I can talk to them through these two doors. While people appearing on the doorstep is rare, it does happen and has always worried me a little. With no screen door, anyone could push their way into the house if they wanted and I’m often home alone in the evenings.

I don’t think that would actually happen, but by answering the door from the porch, that worry is gone.

In even more exciting news: I can now open the French Doors in the front and the bedroom doors (where we already have a catio) and I can get a delicious cross breeze running through the house. I’m going to love that this summer.

Next up:

  • Phase Two: shelves for the cats to sit on
  • Phase Three: cat door

One More Walk

After the deluge of yesterday afternoon, look what I woke up to:

There was also a “wintry mix” forecast, which I experienced when I took one more walk before checking out of my room. Wintry mix! In May!

I had a bit of time to kill before my flight so I took one last walk of Minnesota neighborhoods.

I found this sculpture when getting to the start of the walk. Note the black framing in pictures is due to my camera’s lens not retracting all the way. I bump it open when I notice, but there are times I don’t notice.

New building going up here.

A grand vista of the art museum.

And a picture of the newer wing.

There were so many good apartment buildings in Minneapolis! I love the arches on this one, and clearly so do the current owners, given the name.

Behind the art museum is a college.

Another of those houses that make me weak in the knees.

I love all three of the signs on this sign. What happened on the 1989 Arbor Day???

In Portland it sometimes it seems that every single block hosts a houseless person. But this was one of the only sign of homelessness I spied in the Twin Cities. I saw people who looked like they were down on their luck, but they didn’t look like they were also living in a tent on the sidewalk or an old RV.

Informational sign telling us of a huge lovely house that is no more.

Look at this little gem!

And across the street this great church!

Some beautiful stone.

And a sort of mini castle.

I loved seeing a few different stages of development here. The three on the left, probably all built around the same time. Then the two on the right, also probably built around the same time. Were they built before or after the freeway was put in? For the first set, definitely before, for the second set, maybe after?

From the looks of that dirt pile, there is a big freeway project happening.

Gorgeous little mansion down the street from my lodgings.

Statue and center that are directly across the street from that lovely little mansion.

Walk over, I packed up. I left the book of neighborhood walks at the house, but first I added notes pointing out the three walks within walking distance of the address.

And then I took the Green Line all the way to downtown St. Paul. On the way there I looked out the window on one side of the car.

On the way back, I looked out of the opposite window.

I learned that I have some St. Paul exploring to do. Its downtown has a great number of beautiful buildings. Also, I saw the MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) headquarters!

After that, it was back to the airport for a flight home.

What a lovely trip!

Post-graduation Photos

There was a torrential rain falling, so we took photos inside. Here, Sara’s cousin takes a picture of Shawn & Sara

Kathy and Al take pictures.

More pictures with Sara’s dad, stepmom, and sister.

Sisters.

Shawn’s mom and dad.

Sara’s aunt and cousin

Sara’s aunt and uncle

Pictures taken, we headed out in the rain.

The next few hours weren’t great for me. I got lost on campus (because I never would ask anyone for directions) and sopping wet, and I was cold and eventually I found my way to the delightful meet-up area where we were scheduled to have dinner.

I bought some hot tea, read, went from sopping to damp, and bought some Pho when everyone else showed up. That warmed me up from the inside. Thus the day ended on a good note.

Dr. Sara K. Sterner’s Graduation

The defense finished, we moved to the graduation ceremony, which took place on the very next day.

Shawn holds Sara’s robes.

The graduation took place in the hockey arena and was for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). This was all the future teachers, who sat on the house right side, and then a bunch of psychology-type (ish) majors. All the majors are listed here. The Human Development people sat on the the house left side and took much longer to seat themselves. Teachers know how to form an orderly line.

Looks like this graduate has a job waiting.

The nice thing about the hockey arena is that there was a big screen where the happenings were projected. That made this ceremony slightly more intimate.

After a long wait, we got to see Lee, Sara’s writing partner, hooded.

And then Dr. Sara Sterner herself.

Here’s the program:

You can see it has many pages. Look how many people also received PhDs at the same time as Sara. And this is just in the College of Education and Human Development!

There she is, on the next page.

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.