Saturday, February 06, 2010

A month (mais ou menos) in Brazil should give me time to breath some life back into this blog. I'll probably even take some pictures here, as guest of James Alison and travel buddy of Aarti Kotak. For now, here's a shot of the São Paulo skyline that (while pretty -- thanks Flickr!) can't hold a candle to the view of this Megapolis I got while landing. It's like 50 Manhattans smooshed together -- and that's just the 'downtown' part.

Look closely to see how the square kilometers of highrise buildings just go on and on and on to the horizon. This is the largest city in the southern hemisphere and the 7th largest in the world.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

After we stuffed our bellies with a Thanksgiving family feast and walked part of it off around the neighborhood, Kent and Trisha and I visited Ingrid & Charlie at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  None of us were prepared for the Thanksgiving treat the renegade nurses there had prepared -- the twins cuddling together for the first time in their nine weeks out of the womb.  It was a moving sight and so natural that it filled the room with a peaceful contentedness that I struggle to put into words.  Kent noticed that the twins' heart-rates and breathing-rates settled into sync together, and we felt a tranquility and rightness ourselves.   Trisha said it best hours later: "it's like I'm still on an endorphin high."  We just stood there beaming and watched them sleep -- joined over time by more than a half dozen nurses who heard about the sight and had to witness it themselves ("These kids have been through the ringer and now just look at them," one said).  We all agreed we would happily have watched them sleep snuggled together like this all night.  

These two each have their own battles yet to fight (breathing, digesting, seeing and GROWING) but it was obvious to all gathered there to see it that this time together, cheek against cheek and occasionally hand in hand, was good for their whole blessed selves -- mind, body and soul.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My folks are getting ready to wrap up their careers as resident caretakers of the schmancy lofts in downtown Minneapolis.  When they do, they're moving down the street all of two blocks — from one side of the new überchic Guthrie Theatre to the other.  Here's a shot of them from today on the swanky balcony of their new condo, the Zenith, with the Guthrie's stylized-smokestack-marquee in the background.

Monday, November 24, 2008


TEN WEEKS between posts is nothing compared to ELEVEN WEEKS between posts.  Sorry folks.  

But in other news, look at my wee niece and nephew!  They are NINE WEEKS old and getting stronger every day.  You can read all about their adventures in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit here at their Caring Bridge website.  And of course you'll want to see more photos and videos of their adorability here at the very own blog.

Little Ingrid & Charlie are doing well today, we believe, because of all the good energy sent their way in the forms of prayers, positive thoughts, lit candles, unabashed love and unrestrained hugs from the likes of you.  THANK YOU.  Keep 'em coming.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Sometimes when TEN WEEKS go by between posts, a person leans on photographs to make up for lost time. But who have I been kidding, I've been leaning on photographs for a year or so.

So -- ahem, in keeping with my now-well-established photos trend, here's a link to a dozen I just put up on Casi Bastante, my unabashedly all-photos, all-the-time blog. (All 12 were taken on my little iPhone camera -- yeehaa!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Were myfriendMargaretPost still here, her practical side would gently point out that I should probably start packing for tomorrow's flight back to the States. But since she left 4 days ago (and is most certainly missed) you get these 4 photos from my weekend in Fujian Province instead.

Fuzhou is the capital of Fujian Province, a city of 6 million people on the coast about 400 miles south of Shanghai.

My gracious guide and generous host there was Xiaoshan, an English teacher who visited my hometown of Blue Earth for a year back in 1990. (That's her on the left, next to her policeman son and future daughter-in-law in a lovely park near their apartment.)

Xiaoshan's beloved dog is called (if I understand the translation right) Sweet Grandpa. Or maybe Grandpa Sweetness. He's 14 years old.

There will be plenty more photos in the near future (once, you know, I pack and fly across 12 time zones and all that) from my whirlwind trip to this region, but for now I'll leave you with this shot from today's lunch. Anybody who can name more than 5 of the 13 foods on my plate gets Major Bonus Points.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The good news is that the thoughtful folks at Yangshuo Mountain Retreat have a really affordable (if less than speedy) internet connection. The bad news is that the computer screen is drawing lots of late night insects. So this'll be quick: China is stunning. Ambivalence and ambiguity seem elemental here, but so does ambition.

Margaret and I didn't lack ambition either when we signed up for a decidedly out of the ordinary Great Wall of China experience: hiking for 4.5 hours through an unrestored part of the wall (starting in a forest on the 'enemy side') to an in-process-of-restoration section, and ending at the restored-and-touristy section. Here's a shot from the first part.

It was beastly hot, and humid beyond belief, but our guide said it was the first time in weeks that you could see this far. The view wasn't our only reward, however -- we ate at a full-fledged mom & pop restaurant in a traditional part of the city, where the Peking Duck was as authentic as it was delicious. As proof, here's all that was left of my once-heaping plate. (As you can see, the vinegar peanuts at 12 o'clock and the lotus root with hawthorn at 10 o'clock didn't fare as well.)

And finally, here's a photo from a park on the way to the Forbidden City, which totally belies the mad crowds and unrelenting traffic on the other side of the thick, ancient walls. (For the record, 'mad,' 'unrelenting' and 'thick' also describe the sweltering heat Beijing subjected us to -- God help the Olympic athletes who show up in a few weeks. They've already stopped non-essential construction, the bulk of commercial trucking, and many industries in the region to help clear the air of the city's famous pollution.)