Last Week In Review

Last week was the first week since I put myself on requiescence from my career of over twenty years, so I mostly tried not to overdo it, but instead take it somewhat easy.

After a weekend of perhaps too much beer and too many hours of XCOM 2, I felt the need to get some exercise. Monday morning began with a 9 mile walk which proved I have a lot of work to do before I am ready for this summer’s hiking trip to Glacier and Waterton.

Arah and I did some cooking on Tuesday and I walked around the neighborhood, adding to Little Libraries some of the childhood books recently brought up from Rochester.

Wednesday was busy: Ed drove up from Northfield. We parked downtown at the Depot and took the Green Line into Minneapolis, exiting at the Hennepin Avenue station.

Ed hadn’t yet been to the Marvel Bar, so I had to share its peculiar entrance and ambiance. For whatever reason we were guided toward New Orleans beverages: Ed had a Sazerac and I had my first Creole, which was an interesting variation on the Vieux Carré. The bartender attempted to explain to me an ingredient in the Creole that was only recently available in North America via Colorado, but I confess I have forgotten the details of her mixology lesson.

Larry found us, despite the nondescript entrance, and we proceeded to Lucé for a slice apiece. Ed and I used to frequent this Warehouse District location shortly after it opened, so it was a bit surreal to revisit it some 23 years later: damn it, that’s half our lives ago!

We then arrived at the main event: Pure Bathing Culture and Lucius at First Avenue. While I had purchased and enjoyed the music from these bands ahead of time, both performances exceeded my expectations, and the surprise addition of Gaelynn Lea made it very special.

One of my goals for this time off from work is remembering what I like to do when I’m not working, so going back to some old haunts like Lucé and First Ave with cronies like Ed and Larry really helped.

By Saturday I was feeling like was starting to calcify again, so I plotted another 9-ish mile walk, this time following the Lilydale trail. I did spy a Bald Eagles’ nest, and saw one of the birds perching and another in flight.

Bald Eagles' nest between Mississippi River and Pickerel Lake.

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On Sunday I completed a years-overdue repair of the laundry chute door, too heavy for its 90 year old fasteners: the top hinge was pulling out of the stripped-out holes in the door frame. After much swearing, piloting (too narrow), repiloting (too short), burnt wood smoke from the drill, I was able reattach the hinge above with new fasteners. Hopefully it’ll hold for a few years.

Beep Beep Boop

I see that both WordPress and FourSquare both use silly text that sounds like R2D2 when you are waiting for content to load. I like it better than a progress bar or a spinner, but maybe only because it’s novel, but that’s wearing off as I see it more.

Meanwhile, brewing continues. Upgraded to 5 gallons, which has been interesting. I have started measuring original and final gravity, and my measurements relatively closely match expected outcomes.

One point of room for improvement and refinement: temperature. I still let the beer get too warm. That’s fine right now in the summertime, when I’m brewing saison style, but I need to better control the temperature.

The garden has been a disappointment. The vegetable garden became overgrown, and only the radishes produced food. We have a couple of tomato plants on the back porch that are starting to bear fruit, and we’ve harvested a few raspberries, but without petroleum-fueled food distribution, we certainly would starve. Then again, it’s not like I’ve spent that much time in the garden.

The rain garden is healthier than normal, perhaps because of a few sessions of aggressive weeding, so the neighborhood pollinators can thank me, even if we’ve precious little flowering plants of our own beyond wildflowers.

And then there are the hops: brutally attacked by squirrels, they are stunted. The Centennials are barely a foot tall, but the Willamettes have at least reached the top of the clothes line.

We’ll call this a “building year” for gardening, and invest in raised beds with chicken wire next year.