Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thursday, July 28, 2011

95th Birthday Party

Chris and I hosted my grandfather's 95th birthday party on July 17. We had a great turn out: my dad and all four of his siblings were able to attend, as well as quite a few of my cousins. The weather was hot and extremely humid - that morning all our windows fogged up due to the difference between the outside air versus our air-conditioned house. Everyone crammed inside, even though we didn't have enough seating. Poor Chris had the job of manning the grill, while my hardest task was cutting up the rock-hard Dairy Queen sheet cake. We moved to Boston right after my grandfather's 90th birthday party, and it was wonderful to be back again to celebrate with him five years later.

Time for cake
My grandfather and Carol
My grandfather and his children
Everyone together
After the party at our house, my brother invited a few people over to celebrate Varsana's 13th birthday, which was on the 16th. Lucky girl got a set of Beats headphones from her dad. I can't believe she's already a teenager.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Happenings

We've had lots of stuff going on lately. Today (Tuesday) is Chris' first big day of the Bar Exam. Since finishing his Barbri prep. course, Chris has been locking himself away every day studying. The exam takes two days: today is essays, and tomorrow is multiple choice. Results are not available until October, but it will be a relief for Chris to have the exams behind him. He says it feels like he hasn't been doing anything all day - just studying and then a run to de-stress.

We did finish a bit of landscaping in the backyard. We put in brick borders around the existing plants by the garage and gates and filled the beds with bark chips. We also put in a stepping stone walkway, planted a few annuals in the beds and replaced the stringy peonies in the front planter boxes from the previous owners. Chris also built a work table for the garage, and we painted it white. It's so pretty that I don't want to put it in the garage. For the last update, while we were running back from Lake Harriet on Sunday, we ran past a free bird bath by the side of a huge house - Chris drove back and picked up after we got home. It looks a bit like Toad from the Frog and Toad children's stories.

On the work front, I took a trip to Sydney last week - it was very quick. By the time I adjusted to the fifteen hour time difference in Sydney, I had to fly home. Now I'm lying awake at night trying to adjust back. I didn't do much sightseeing. The weather was horrible, almost non-stop downpour, and I was working at a hospital outside the city most of the time, anyway. The sun briefly broke through the clouds on Wednesday, and I had time to take a quick walk through the Botanical Gardens and past the Opera House. I finally met one of the research nurses I've been working with for the past two years - she's about my age and has a similar temperament, which made the two days at the hospital feel less like work. When the plane touched down in Minneapolis on the return trip, I half expected to walk out into the Boston Logan airport, but the the nearly half hour I waited for Delta to unload my luggage gave me time to re-set myself.

View from my hotel room

Walking through the Botanical Gardens
View from the Opera House into the Harbor

Opera House

Looking back towards the city

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Celebration & The Creek

Chris missed his graduation from law school in order for us to close on our house. In lieu of a celebration in Boston, when Chris' parents and grandparents drove up from Indiana for a long weekend, we went out to eat at Salut in Edina. It was fun to have such a large group from both sides of our family together. We even ended up getting comped a seafood platter after the restaurant lost our reservation.

Chris and I have otherwise been having a great summer, catching up with family and friends and exploring our new neighborhood. The big accomplishments over the Fourth of July holiday were landscaping in the backyard and conquering Minnehaha Creek (done by Chris). The creek runs past the end of our street, and on Sunday, Chris and three friends rented canoes, drove to creek's origin, Lake Minnetonka, and floated/paddled/portaged/tipped their canoes down the creek for several hours. Chris didn't actually tip his canoe or lose anything, but among his three friends, a canoe was tipped three times, and two pairs of sunglasses, car keys and sandals were lost, not to mention a cell phone getting soaked. Below is a "before" picture - I wish I would have taken one afterwards when they emerged from the end of the street sunburned, scraped and vowing to do this every month.
On Monday morning, we took Greta down to the creek. She's not all that excited about swimming, but after ten minutes, she mustered enough courage to swim around by herself. If you catch the creek about twenty minutes upstream, you can take a relaxing inner tube ride to where it curves past our street (or go further). We haven't done it yet, but we've seen quite a few families float down the creek.