Saturday, May 31, 2014

Do These Cause Ugly Belly Fat?

Carbs, schmarbs.  Threre's a lot of natural goodness in these here 'nanners.

Your nutritionist might thumbs-up the potassium, natural sugars, and other diet essentials.  She'd likely recommend a small-medium piece of fruit, keeping the carbs to under 40 g.

Everything in moderation.

Website ads, on the other hand, rail against 'nanners. Add to belly fat, or so the sell copy reads.

What is a healthy eater to believe?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Flowering, Fragrant Crab Apple Trees: Intoxiated in Plymouth.

Oh, how I wish the Poppy Blog included an aroma-rama option.  I'd love for you, dear reader, to enjoy the same sensation I experienced when I smelled crab apple trees in bloom today in Plymouth. They were fragrant, intoxicating, other-worldly.

A brisk breeze has pushed white petals over to the curb. A few more flowering days remain.  Apples may show up this season.  For now, tho, the air is filled with the most wondrous perfume.  So pleased I happened by.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Silly Selfie: J, Mom + Poppy w/Mouth Wide Open.

Mom was on her way to MSP today to drop Jason off for his flight.

Someone in the household insisted on a selfie for the scrapbook; Jason obliged.

The old man can't keep his trap shut.  Just look at those gold inlays.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Blackwater Cafe, Iced Mocha, Maple Plain, MN.

I had to leave a whopping big tip today to persuade this Blackwater barista to smile for the camera.  Wish I'd asked her name -- she was very funny, and served an awesome iced mocha drink.  The sun was out this afternoon, temps in the mid-70's, skies were a special deep blue, there was very litte breeze to annoy -- and all was right with the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Grandma B + Us at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

With Jason home, and acting as our spiritual compass, we hosted Grandma B at a special outing last weekend at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Poppina whipped up a tasty picnic lunch, and off we headed for this most enjoyable event.  Weather was gorgeously spring-like, through a little windy.  We found a perfect table overlooking Heron Pond. A new friend at the table adjacent to ours snapped the photo above, and  good times were had by all.

It should be noted that Grandma B is 98 years old, in remarkable shape mentally and physically, and always up for an adventure. We trek often to the Arboretum for renewal.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Mom Outshines the Rainbow at Niagara Falls, ca.1955.

This one brings tears to my eyes. It's been a long, long time since I saw Mother like this:  so sweet, young and beautiful. And how special the rainbow behind her:  Dad captured Niagara Falls on Kodachrome, and the slide was tucked away for 60+ years until brother Joe sent a pdf last week.  I can't stop staring. Lucky me to have the Mother and Father I did.  Wish you all could have known them.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Jason Plants Cherry Tree in Mom's Back Yard.

An adoring son was pressed into service by Mom today to plant a Cherry Tree here in MN.  The tree was a Mom's Day gift from adoring daughter Terrell.  Since old Poppy doesn't  have much of a green thumb we turned planting and nurturing  duties over to Jason, in whom we have utmost arboreal confidence.

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Abandoned" Pillsbury 'A' Mill to be Condos, Soon.

The Pillsbury A-Mill, situated along Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, held the title of largest flour mill in the world for 40 years.[2][3] Completed in 1881, it was owned by Pillsburyand operated two of the most powerful direct-drive waterwheels ever built, each generating 1,200 horsepower(895 kW). The mill still stands today on the east side of the Mississippi River, and is currently abandoned (Courtesy of Wikipedia).

Looks like "abandoned" Mill is in process of becoming "Condos for sale."  Work proceeds at torrid pace.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hold Your Horses: It's Not Quite May 15.

Luce Line Trail headed west out of Wayzata.

The limestone path (just out of sight on the right), serves riders and runners, and drains very efficiently. It's in daily use.

The bridle path, seen to the left, remains soggy and muddy and soft -- oh, my, what rain we've had this Spring.

Nary a noble steed in sight.  Plenty of bikers, walkers, joggers and baby-carriage pushers, however. I'll report in after seeing the first chestnut mare of the season.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Federal Reserve Public (Pubic?) Art.

Ouch! Anatomical pun. Couldn't resist. Pubic vs. Public. Ha!

The remarkable and contemplative sculpture is on display in the Garden Plaza of the Federal Reserve building in Minneapolis.  The figure is an athletic man, arm reaching to the sky, and his nakedness, very public.

Not sure the sculptor, or how the piece was selected: I'd better check the website, see what I can learn.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Garden Nymphs, Sylphs, Elves and Goofs.

One of the most clever outdoor artists we know was on display this past weekend in Long Lake.  Occasion was the annual welcome-to-Spring open house at Kelley + Kelley Nursery -- and what a day we had to celebrate.  Steve and Arla Kelley had invited a harpist to perform, lemonade flowed like, well … lemonade, and guests were ebullient and friendly and excited to be back in the garden.

Artist        displayed her garden decor to delighted customers.   Not exactly scare crows, nor tribal masks, nor totems, these one-of-a-kind sculptures are crafted from copper, recycled plastic bottles, wood, plaster, nails, and more damn materials than you can imagine.

Workmanship? Superb. Curb appeal? You betcha. Price? Around $250/piece, and well worth it!

Angry Mississippi White Caps from Stone Arch Bridge.

From this vantage point along the Stone Arch Bridge you can see just how angry and frothy  the Big River is this Spring.    White Caps everywhere, not a boat in sight, a few pedestrians and bikers enroute, sky gray, spitting rain, some kind of Spring wouldn't you say?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

At Janet Yellen's Federal Reserve.

I was riding my Giant foldy through the plaza at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve bank last week -- you, know, Chairman Janet Yellen's Fed.  Came across the remarkable piece of historical art you see in this photo. The bronze casting depicts the Mighty Mississippi and the Falls of St. Anthony.  A great waterfall indeed.

Around the circumference, and designated by totems and icons, the story of the area before white men arrived, the locks and dams built, and the City of Minneapolis constructed on both sides of the river.

All this before the Federal Reserve System was a gleam in anyone's eye.

PS - I asked a guard whom I met on my ride whether Ms. Yellen was "in residence." Not today, my new friend replied, "but of course the Chairman has been here,"  he remarked with pride in his voice.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Don't Confuse Polo with Afghan Buzkashi.

It could be easy to mistake Buzkashi for polo: players in both sports ride horses, and go like hell.

Buzkashi features dust and dirt and danger - just like polo does.

Unlike polo, however, a buzkashi match like the one above in Chapandaz, Kabul in 1970, includes no tailgating or sponsor tents.

What really sets these two macho sports apart is the equipment the players use.  In polo it's a mallet and a white ball.  In buzkashi, players ride around the field with the head of a dead goat under their arm. Points are scored by lobbing the head into the goal of the opposing team.

Curious to know more about this ancient sport?  Or Afghanistan and its tumultuous history?  Check the following websites:   Images of Afghanistan 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Original Trader Joe.

Check out my bro, Original Trader Joe. 

His hat is a classic straw, hand rolled on the finca no doubt.

The bougainvillea behind Joe?  A product of tender loving gardening at his Miami home.

Glasses?  In the style of his fave musician, the late and great John Denver.

'Stache and chin stubble?  Could probably use a trim.

And the shit-eating grin?  Only Joe knows for sure.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Wayzata Train Station - Model Railroading Lives Strong.

Thank you, Lake Minnetonka Garden Club!

Because of your passion, plus the vision of local fans and boosters, model railroading lives strong in Wayzata. 

Trains aren't running quite yet  -- give them a couple of weeks.  Ditto plants and flowers -- they're on the cusp of bloom.

Then there's the lettering on the scale model train station: missing a "W" thanks to the brutal winter just ended.  A bit of glue and a little white paint should put things right.

Visitors get giddy when the railroad is up and running.  Trains chug by each other, and past exquisite scale buildings and villages with remarkable precision.  For a few minutes on the weekend everyone becomes a kid again, who loves model trains.  Come see for yourself sometime what the excitement is all about.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Two over easy, Betty. How 'bout more Java, Carl.

Can't you imagine what used to go on in the Betty and Carl Cafe? Young love discovered. Assignations explored. Tired truckers refueling with pies and strong black coffee.  Political careers launched. Deals done …. and undone.  Who knows what else?

OK, Velo-sters.  Who wouldn't stop to took at this heroic sign?  Where was that cafe, and when, and what happened to it?   And how did Jim Barnard of Timelines Antiques in St. Paul come across the sign in the first place?

And how much is he asking?

Stop in the shop on Snelling Ave., or inquire at    And while I didn't ask about the sign I did buy an old Smith-Corona "Skywriter" from Mr. Barnard and plan to change ribbons and write a note to Carl + Betty, c/o the Cafe.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Schwinns, Whizzers, Cushmans: When ads ran on Brick Walls.

Don't you just love this old ad?  It's painted on a brick building in St. Paul.  How many years ago?  I'd guess 50-60, anyway.  I saw this today while driving north on Snelling Avenue, and had to stop and shoot.  You can almost make out the store name and brands of wheels they sold.  And the colors! Wow. The paint is strong and resilient and magically legible. Not too tough to imagine yourself as a kid again, longing for that Schwinn Black Panther in the window of this shop.  Or maybe it was a Whizzer? Cushman Eagle? How much fun was that era in our lives?  As long as the paint doesn't fade those memories will last forever.