NYC – St. Patricks

Leave it to locals (thanks Laurie) for finding new views of common landmarks. Here is St. Patricks from a new angle.



















There were some events underway but we were able to take in the beautiful interior.

NYC – The Highline

On Sunday we had brunch at Pastis – another runaway success from Keith McNally. It was like eating in a French bistro while in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. Quite tasty.

After that we walked the High Line. The High Line is a 1-mile linear park built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway.

Here some pictures from that adventure.






































NYC – Central Park

We stayed in a friends apartment on Central Park West. The location was ideal. We loved it. It was a short walk to Lincoln Center, and provided great access to Central Park. We had fun touring the park but only cracked the surface.

Here is a shot of Sheep’s Meadow. It was quite a meat/meet market.








Here a couple of images from a street show on the Mall. I don’t know that any of these folks really knew that there was about to be a flyover.
















































People enjoyed walking through the Park, strolling over the Bow bridge.








Others going for a boat ride on the lake. What a beautiful park in a cool city.

New York City – Lincoln Center

For our 22nd Anniversary Mary and I visited NYC. In September 2010 we saw a commercial for a play that was receiving rave reviews in London’s West End called War Horse. We added the play to our must see list. This spring, we were able to score two tickets to War Horse at Lincoln Center. Mary snared front row balcony seats.

Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center is a wonderful venue and a WarHorse did it justice. Here is a good clip.


Recap: The play starts in Devon at the outbreak of WWI, Joey, young Albert Narracott’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. Joey serves in the British and German armies, and gets caught up in enemy fire. Death, disease and fate take him on an extraordinary odyssey. But Albert cannot forget Joey, and, still not old enough to enlist in the army, he embarks on a dangerous mission to find and bring him back to Devon.
It was the most moving production I have ever witnessed. Ever. If you get a chance to see it, you won’t be disappointed.

wpid-IMG_0771-Version-2-250x250-2012-05-1-14-09.jpgThe Lincoln Center environs are beautiful.



The Park

I had a blast wandering around Blue Mounds. I saw where we (the cousins) played softball forty years ago. It was fun to remember the views and vistas that Fred saw when he was creating his stories of Siouxland. Here are some of the views I experienced from my wanderings. I have many more at this location.

The Event

We all attended a banquet at the Blue Mound Banquet center and then the “Authors of Siouxland” program. The formal event was at the Palace Theater.

It featured authors Freya Manfred, Thomas Pope, John Rezmerski, Joe Paddock, Nancy Paddock, Jim Heynen, Scott King, with Fred Manfred Jr. as the host.










Here are some shots during the event including a shot during a reading of a part of a draft screenplay of Lord Grizzly.

The Reunion

It was a great weekend in Luverne MN. We (more about that in a minute) ventured to Luverne to join the celebration of the 100th anniversary of my Uncle’s birthday. Frederick Feikema Manfred was my Dad’s oldest brother. There were six brothers. An entertaining recapt of their childhood can be found in the Green Earth (ISBN: 0-517-529858).

This weekend had been months in the making. I am not just referring to all of the work that Freya Manfred, Fred Manfred and Ben Vander Kooi did to make the formal event happen. I am also talking about the reunion.

The “We”

12 out of 15 of the cousins (nieces and nephews of Frederick) all ventured to Luverne for the weekend. We came from MN, CA, AZ and WI. It was reminiscent of the reunion at Blue Mounds of the brothers (and families) and Grandpa Frank in the early 1970s. It wasn’t just the cousins; we had three aunts (Willie, Ellen and Marlene), 7 spouses and little Josie.

We started the weekend with a “tour” of Luverne hosted by Fred Manfred Jr. We visited many of the local spots, City Hall made of stones from the Blue Mound Quarry.

wpid-IMG_0221-Version-22-600x400-2012-04-24-14-40.jpgWe stopped at Roundwind (Fred Sr. last house),

wpid-IMG_0228-Version-2-600x400-2012-04-24-14-40.jpgwatched Ann, Jeri and Abby mugging for each of their cameras.

wpid-Photo-0-Version-21-600x364-2012-04-24-14-40.jpgand Blue Mound Interpretive Center (Fred Sr’s. prior home that is now a part of the state park).

wpid-IMG_0245-Version-2-600x400-2012-04-24-14-40.jpgIt was fun visiting the old house and reminiscing. We even found an old blueprint and remembered where the old rooms were.

wpid-AQ2B1417-Version-2-600x400-2012-04-24-14-40.jpgAfter that, our horde descended on the local Pizza Ranch.

wpid-AQ2B1415-Version-2-600x400-2012-04-24-14-40.jpgJeri with Willie, Ellen and Marlene in front.


Dawn taking a snapshot of Freya and John.

A great time was had by all.

On Saturday and Sunday we had additional time to tour the park, and attend the celebration. More about this in my next two posts.

Feeding time for the Red-tailed Hawk

Spring is arriving early in Lake Elmo. The critters (rodents) emerged from their winter hideouts and that seems to have attracted their predators sooner than normal.

This is half of our local nesting pair. They were both on this branch, but by the time I returned with the camera, only one remained.

They are quite successful hunters as you can see. He also seemed to want to brag about it. I am sure that if he could beat his chest, he would.

He seemed quite worried that someone else was going to ask him to share. He checked to his left;

And then to his right;

And finally decided that it was safe to eat the rest. Chipmunk tartare. Mmmmm.

February Escape (Part II)

This time we were able to venture off the property and do some touring.

We took a day trip (8AM to 6PM) to Chichen Itza. This is the Temple of Kukulkan, usually called El Castillo. One used to be able to walk to the top but now it is closed. Perhaps a tourist had too many cervezas and fell.

This is the first of two shots of the Temple of Warriors.

Here you can see part of the “Group of a Thousand Columns” which used to support an elaborate roof system.

At Chichen Itza I saw more Iguanas than near the coast. They were sassy and,

bold too.

On the way back we stopped in Ticimul for lunch. We had fresh hand-made tortillas

And were treated to a little song and dance.

Heading back we stopped in the nearby Town of Puerto Morelos. While we’d visited Playa del Carmen earlier in the week, I liked this much smaller town better. It was quite quaint.

Besides, it also has the Leaning Tower of Puerto Morelos.

February Escape (Part I)

We were able to escape to Mexico recently. It was a awesome 11 days of doing very little. At least doing very little that required effort. We went back to our favorite spot El Dorado Casitas.

Here are two views from our balcony. This one is looking down at the swim-up casitas and;

this one looks across at the other casitas on the second level.

Finally this look is facing east and gave us views of the Caribbean and;

nice sunrises.

From our vantage point we saw a number of feathered friends like this Yellow Warbler.

Some were visiting from the SW area of the US like this Hooded Oriole and

some were indigenous like this Great-Tailed Grackle.

We also had three Crocs, Roberto, Maria and Raquel. I think that these two shots are of Roberto.

Say “Cheese.”