Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Candy Day!


Benjamin changed his mind a dozen times and ended up Darth Vader.


Amanda was Elle Woods from the movie "Legally Blonde." She and her cohorts went door-to-door collecting for the food shelf.


Madeline was Pizza Dave. The local Domino's owner was sweet enough to outfit her!


Elisabeth dressed up for fun handing out the candy as The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Girl.


And Jones was the cutest lion!

Love to all! What a fun night!


Friday, October 28, 2016

The Tie to Grandparents' Day

Today was Grandparents' Day at the kids' school. It's always an exciting day, with the students performing their first music concert of the year to lots of adoring onlookers. My kids love the opportunity to be out of uniform, though there was some discussion this year about the meaning of "dress your best." This is what we settled on, though, immediately after this photo was taken, we jumped in the car and spend to the store, because Benjamin was unsuccessful in attempting to cram his size two feet into his size 13 loafers. The best part of Ben's outfit is the elephant-printed necktie. No, it is not a political statement in this charged season... well, maybe it is, but our boy wouldn't know that... it is a memorial. That tie belonged to Grandpa Rosendahl, and Benjamin chose it to remember him by. Grandpa is always with us, and we sure hope he loved Grandparents' Day!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Knees Have It

When Elisabeth had a doctor's checkup before school began, she told the doctor her legs often hurt. Libby also said she was concerned about her gait, that she thought she looked funny when she ran and she wished she could run faster. The doctor, who is also a runner, asked a battery of questions and examined my daughter thoroughly. Then, she turned to address both of us and said, "I know you are complaining of calf and ankle pain, but I believe the real issue is with your knees, and your pain and gait issues are actually because you are compensating for what's going on with your knees. It looks and sounds like--" I cut in: "Osgood-Schlatter." I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it. It's quite common and something that definitely impacted me as I was growing. (I still dislike my knees.) I felt like a dope. But now we know... and now Libby knows that this is something she can totally handle, and she does not need to be concerned about further injury.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osgood-schlatter-disease/basics/definition/con-20021911

When Todd and I returned from New York, the four kids each hit us with a laundry list of ailments from which they had been suffering in our absence-- sore throats, tummy aches, sleeplessness, blah, blah, blah. I dismissed most of them and prayed they hadn't been that annoying for Grandma, but Amanda kept on about how much her knee hurt. This was also a complaint I had heard off-and-on for months. So, to the blessed doctor we went. Questions... examination... diagnosis: Patellofemoral Syndrome. The good news is there are exercises Amanda can do daily to strengthen her quadriceps muscles and improve her condition. Easy, done, right after I asked Amanda, "So, are you actually going to do the exercises and get better?" And she said, "Yes, Mom! Why are you looking at me like that?!"

Patellofemoral Syndrome
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00680

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tour Guide


So, an acquaintance just asked me for tips for her upcoming trip to New York, which is hilarious, since I am the worst traveler and would make an even worse tour guide. Plus, she said they do not intend to see a Broadway show. That was when I blacked out. When I came to, I realized I have actually made four pilgrimages in six years to the Great White Way! Here's my two cents:

TRANSPORTATION
We took Uber and/or a cab from JFK airport to Manhattan and back again. Either method is about $60 one way, and other car services, Lyft, etc. are comparable. You can also try Ubershare, which is cheaper, where you share a ride with someone else. A trip from the airport to Times Square will take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on time of day. There are shuttle buses that go to and from all three airports, and tickets are about half that price, but you need to allow a LOT more time and prepare to make a lot of stops. We have also taken the Subway from Newark to Manhattan. It is OK, just crowded and slow, and hard to maneuver with luggage. Getting from place to place, we mostly walk or cab. The subway runs everywhere, and is of course much cheaper, but it is not like the Metro in D.C. or even BART in San Francisco. It is dirty, smelly and really confusing. Find someone to give you a tutorial, if you dare!

SIGHTSEEING
The 9/11 memorial and museum is a must-see. We meant to go again last week, but then Hamilton intervened. I understand you can now go up in the tower. Doing a walking tour around that entire area of the financial district is really cool. When you are down that way, you are not far from the landing to go to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. (You could do these things in one day.) I don't know how the ferry works seasonally, but that is also a very cool place to visit. The ferry ride across the channel can be quite rocky-- I am a Dramamine fan. All these places have timed tickets/tours, so you want to plan and purchase ahead of time, or you could end up standing around for a long time.

There are so many museums-- Museum of Math, Museum of Sex, etc.-- my favorite is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I could spend days there. What an opportunity to see some of the most famous works of art in all of world history! There's no entrance fee, just a donation, and they will search your bags, no water bottles. We have just wandered on our own, but you want to use a map to find the Monet gallery, the Van Goghs, and all those other famous works. The Met borders Central Park, so it's a good time to wander over there, too, just to say you've been there! I would not walk through the park at night. There is a small, free museum about the history of Broadway, right on Time Square... good place to take a break, with public bathrooms, if needed.

The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, and such sights are also so cool... kind of have to hit the ones you can, but this is an hour or two at each place, if you time it right. The top of the Empire State Building at night is amazing! I'd skip the Radio City Music Hall tour-- it's kind of boring-- but, if the holiday show is already playing when you go, I have heard it is fantastic! Places like Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Station, etc. are just big, filthy and crowded.

We have also done one of those double-decker bus tours (Grey Line, I think.) These are great if you want to hit a bunch of sights just to say you saw them. You can buy more than one day at a time, and it becomes a pretty cost-effective way to travel. This is a good thing to do on a Monday because most museums are closed and most theaters are dark on Mondays.

It's fun just to walk around different areas and see how they feel. There's fancy housing on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, adjacent to Central Park. The flower district is beautiful to walk through early in the morning. The flatiron district is super cool for trendy shops and great eating-- Gramercy Tavern, Craft, ABC Kitchen. There are also food trucks and an awesome Italian market called Eataly. It is a chain, so maybe not so special if you know it... but I could spend all day there. There are stations for appetizers, pizza, sandwiches, seafood, drinks, along with all kinds of speciality food shopping. I am (obviously) not a fashion shopper, but when you go to St. Patrick's Cathedral you will be very much in the area of Fifth Avenue and all the high-end stuff.

SAFETY
I have honestly never felt unsafe in the city. We stick around Times Square, the flower district, the flat iron district, and walk most everywhere. I wouldn't walk alone at night. Keep your bag close and in front of you. I love hoodies with zippered pockets. Everything moves quickly. Just use common sense.

MORE FOOD
Todd and I are really not into big meals out, unless it's a special occasion. Tavern on the Green is the standard, New York place to go. We hit super-casual, meals on the run, and are mostly around Times Square: Bareburger, Shake Shack (which is now at MOA, so not uniquely New York), Junior's for cheesecake and/or breakfast, Sardi's, Bella Vita Pizzeria on West 43rd St. If the weather is nice, there is a cool, rooftop bar near the Empire State Building called The Monarch.

THEATER
If you do decide to take in a show, you can just wait until the day of to purchase tickets. The best information, and usually the best prices, come from going to each theater's box office. You can also visit the red tkts booth on Times Square, and there's a tkts app that lists the shows with discount tickets each day. It's fun to wait in line and talk with other theatergoers about their recommendations. I just found out about another app called Today Tix where you can find out about same-day ticket availability and discounts, and purchase directly through the app. It is very easy to use.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hamilton

 Last week, in celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary, Todd and I traveled to New York.  He had a day or two of work in the northern part of the state, and then we traveled to our happy place to see some Broadway shows.  We had not really discussed, but sort of decided in our own minds, (at least I had) that we were not going to bust our butts to try to see the hottest show in town, "Hamilton."  Tickets are currently selling well into 2017, so we knew the odds were against us: http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/. 

Our oldest daughter turned us on to the soundtrack sometime back, and it is amazing.  This new musical tells the story of our founding fathers and the establishment of the United States as an independent nation, from the perspectives of some very ambitious, and very flawed, public figures, namely Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  The style of song and dance is hip-hop.  I just... I don't know... Well, just google it for an explanation, I guess, or watch the PBS special (which will tell you more about the history than about the musical, but it's something.) 

So, we started talking to people on the street and texting friends who've seen the show, and it just seemed like a very real possibility, and at least a must-try.  We arrived in the evening, way past our chances for Wednesday, so we picked up discount tickets to another show for that night.  Thursday morning, I was letting Todd sleep, when he rolled over and looked at me and said, "What are you doing here?! I figured you'd be in the ticket line! Don't you remember how this works?!" He high-tailed it over to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th Street, and I followed after a necessary Starbucks stop.  The box office opened at 10:00, and workers confirmed what they confirm every day: no tickets.  So, then, fans have the option to wait in the cancellation line.  If, for any reason, tickets for that day's show are returned to the box office-- from journalists, celebrities, unclaimed lottery winners, etc.-- box office workers offer those tickets for resale at face value whenever they come in.  We had been told to expect approximately 20 tickets per day would become available, possibly with additional standing-room-only spots that could come back from cast comp tickets.  We were fifth in line; the first woman had arrived at 7 a.m., after getting in with a standing-room-only ticket the evening before-- she wanted to see it again!

Todd and I stayed all day, sometimes together, and sometimes taking turns.  We made friends.  On one side, there were two women from Utah who were hanging out while their husbands attended a real estate conference.  They'd never really heard of "Hamilton" but quickly learned it was all the rage and decided to try their luck.  On the other side were two older women, friends who had driven from Boston for a few days of show-seeing, but this was their mission.  We waited all day, becoming more anxious, until it was less than 30 minutes till curtain.  The security guards let in all the ticketed theatergoers, and then began calling in buyers from the cancellation line, one at a time.  Each could purchase up to two tickets.  They called in four people.  I was next, but we were sent away.

We pouted.  I admit it.  After nine hours and the loss of the opportunity to buy other show tickets at rush or discounted prices, we were licking our wounds.  We did go see another show.  It was not "Hamilton."  The next morning, I made sure I was the first in line.  There were no guarantees we would get tickets, but, if we didn't, no one else would, either.  The security guards and street sweepers gave me grief: "Are you sure you're first?" I was.


After I'd been sitting approximately 30 minutes, wishing for coffee but not wanting to risk it, (and knowing Todd would later bring it,) the others started lining up.  Immediately behind me was Erika, a graduated student from Los Angeles who had come to New York to celebrate her birthday, and mainly see "Hamilton."  Behind her was Zara, a recent divorcee who had upended her life in a move from London to Greenwich Village.  It would be another interesting day.  People stopped to ask what we were doing.  They asked how long we'd been sitting there.  They asked how long we'd be willing to sit, how much we'd be willing to pay.  They were curious and kind.  Everyone wished us luck.


Again, it was getting close to show time, and the security guards on duty were warning, "It's tight.  It's really tight tonight."  Todd was constantly refreshing the StubHub app on his phone.  It was our last night in New York, and so it was our last "Hamilton" opportunity for some time.  We couldn't even get tickets to the touring show in Chicago-- I checked.  He was determined we were going in, even if we had to pay inflated prices from scalpers.  I encouraged patience.  Finally, the guard at the door announced, "First in the cancellation line-- IN!"  We were in.


It was 15 minutes before the curtain, so there were no options and there was no time to spare.  Plus, I really, really had to pee.  The ticket agent pointed to the two open seats on his map and Todd slid his credit card under the window.  The seats were in the center of the seventh row, the best seats in the house.  We were stunned and thrilled and excited to get word to all who had been rooting for us (right after I made my way to the bathroom, which is no small feat ever in a Broadway theater.) 


 The show was all that others hyped it to be and more.  It was hard to know where to look and who to watch.  It was hard to breathe sometimes.  It was hard to not sing along all the time.  It was really hard to not be mad at the people who brought squirming kids or who came back late from intermission.  Then, all of a sudden, it was over.



 People thought we were nuts, and I suppose we are.  Yet, it was a really wonderful experience.  The show, yes, was incredible, but Todd and I also enjoyed our time together, just being near one another, talking to each other, and sharing our stories with others as we heard their stories.  It was worth it.




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

20 Years


The trial period is over. The warranty has run out. We are no longer novices, but far from experts.

Today, Todd and I celebrate 20 years of marriage. I have many thoughts and much I could write, but it has been a long day, topped by a huge dinner. We are tired. There are metaphors here...

For now, I will leave you with snapshots of our day and explain later. I love him.






If someone had told me on our wedding night that one of the highlights of our 20th anniversary would be discussing the delicious cups of coffee we shared in various cities throughout the day... well... then, that person would have been psychic.




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Send a Prayer or Two


It's become one of those weeks in Krinkeland that does not go according to the calendar. It's a busy time of year, anyway (though I would love for someone to tell me the non-busy time of year;) Todd has had work trips planned at the last minute and then canceled at the last second; the kids have had practices and meets and fundraisers and more; plus, we've been watching the weather to try to complete some of those get-the-lake-stuff-ready-for-winter projects. Yet, plans go out the window whenever someone needs help. Family and friends will always come first.

Please take a moment to pray for these:
*for Todd's cousin Beth, hospitalized in intensive care with sepsis (www.caringbridge.org/visit/bethkrinkekelly)
*for Lora, hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis
*for Staci with renewed concerns related to cancer treatment
*for G's sudden illness
*for Libby's ongoing cough and congestion
*for Gua, as she slows down and becomes more melancholy
*for all who have lost babies, honored especially this month
*for Amanda's YDisciple group and Elisabeth's faith formation class
*for the success of programs at Folwell School
*prayers of thanksgiving for J's clear test results

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Plans

"Mom, I already have THREE things planned for Fall Break:
*sleepover with Courtney
*sleepover at Grandma R's
*don't worry-- I already have a sleepover planned at Grandma and Grandpa P's for New Year's Eve
*apple orchard
*sleepover with Lyla
*pumpkin patch
*and we should really go to Jump City."

"Really, Madeline? I think over Fall Break we should practice counting."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Homework

Todd travels so frequently for work these days-- typically, at least one trip a week-- so, we really try to maximize his limited time here at home. Today, in between juggling calls and emails from his job, there were also home projects, lake work, and parent-teacher conferences. (We didn't even make it to the swim meet, so, thank heaven for grandparents.) Talking with teachers re-inspired Dad to get on the homework help. 

He has been working with Amanda on both physical science and algebra. Lots of math there. Todd really is a good teacher. He is so patient and explains things so thoroughly. The kids get frustrated with him, though, I think finding him a little too patient and thorough.

I was cleaning up in the kitchen as I overhead one of Todd's "aha" moments. He explained aloud all the steps to the equation and then said, "Now, we just need more paper..." to which Amanda replied, "Well, good news-- it is a notebook!" The algebra she does not get from me; the sarcasm she does.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Incredible Elias is Five!

Today is my nephew Elias's fifth birthday.  This kid is quite a character!  You know, as with each of my own children, there is an honest attempt to know them, to understand their likes and dislikes, to connect with them on some level, and to give gifts that I believe they will enjoy.  This year, in particular, I was excited that Eli's birthday falls in October, because he has been a big fan of playing dress-up.  Mostly, he is Batman, but I figured I would see if he was interested in branching out to other superheroes.

He is.

Time for "Ragtime"

In the middle of this busy weekend, Todd and I had a date night with my brother and SIL to see "Ragtime" at Theater Latte Da in northeast Minneapolis (http://www.theaterlatteda.com/ragtime/).  It was a lovely evening.  The show was getting rave reviews and, having had some very positive (dare I say mind-blowing?) experiences, as well as some mind-numbing ones, with this company, we were excitedly anticipating this show... mostly because none of us had ever seen it or knew anything about it.  In the end, I found the reviews to be spot-on, and I am writing about the experience because I do not want to forget it.

"Ragtime" is based on a book written in 1975, and the Broadway premiere of the show was in 2008, but the story takes place around the turn of the last century in a much newer America.  What's fascinating is the issues of race relations and how much the dynamics have-- have NOT-- changed.  The characters, their backgrounds, their opinions, their actions, and the plot and resulting climax could have come from today's headlines.

I was most struck by a scene toward the end of the first act in which an upper-class, white man (Father) returns to his comfortable home and family from an extended exploration and hunting expedition to find that his wife (Mother) has months-earlier, in his absence, made an executive decision to take in a young, black woman and her infant child.  All these months, they, along with the baby's father, have been getting on as a family.  The man is appalled, and his wife responds:

"There was suffering and now there is penitence.  It's very grand and I'm sorry for you that you don't see it.  I did not expect you to come home a different man, but I had hoped to find you a kinder one."

Those lines will stay with me.  They are a perfect example of the humanity of musical theater.  Some people say "life imitates art," but I would argue art reflects the realities of our own lives.  We must do more than exist.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rocking On


Last spring, Todd and I, along with four other couples who are all friends, donated to the fundraising auction at our kids' school a rock-and-roll and experience.

As much a gift to ourselves as to the winning bidders, we reserved a suite at Xcel Energy Center for the Tesla/REO Speedwagon/Def Leppard concert. And last night was the night of the rockin' party. We had a great time, though I found I was never more thankful for ear plugs, and, today, I was keenly aware why it is I never stay up past 10 p.m.





Sunday, October 2, 2016

Haunted Wolf House

Madeline and cousin Elias were playing for the longest time this afternoon in the driveway at Grandma's and Grandpa's house. Every time one if us looked out the window, he was flat on his back on the asphalt and she was drawing around him with sidewalk chalk. Finally, I went outside and Eli told me there was a surprise. Of course, I had to see it, of course, they had to explain it, and, of course, I was not disappointed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWpUcSIyyT4