Friday, August 10, 2018


Yay!  The first Sunday of our trip, we got to drive up to Greg's hometown, Bemidji.
It's a beautiful city and the drive there is beautiful, too.

We started out by taking some photos in front of the lake so
I could send them to my students.  Their behavior is often worse
when I'm gone, so I like to reassure them that I still exist and I'm planning to come back.

During the photo shoot, my brother appeared suddenly, and picked me up.
He raced down the hill and pretended he was going to throw me in the lake - eek!

Until I remembered that no one lives across the lake
and there was no one at the bottom of the hill, I was a wee bit concerned
that my undies were on display.  At least they were pretty!

Then we headed out.
There are lakes and ponds and marshes everywhere in Minnesota.
It's gorgeous.

We enjoyed the drive.

Once we arrived, we stopped to get a birthday card for Greg's Grandma, and then
we went straight to the park where the party was being held.

We discovered later that the part is named "Diamond Point Park" because
people used to search for diamonds on this little peninsula that pokes out into Lake Bemidji. 

There were huge trees everywhere.

The birch trees were peeling.

And the cute little building where our lunch was held was right next to the lake!

Greg's sister, Jenny, and his Mom decorated the party room
in pinks and purples, Grandma's favorite colors.

Nice job, ladies!

When we first arrived, there was a bit of chatting and catching up.
It had been a number of years since everyone was all together.

Greg's cousin Barb, and her Mom, Marj, took care of the food.
It was delicious and simple and fresh.
They are great at preparing things for a crowd!

Some other family members are gluten-free, too, so there were even
gluten-free buns!

I had a gluten-free bun (Schar, I believe), potato chips,
olives, blueberries, grapes, cucumber, watermelon, and carrots.
Later, I even had some gluten-free, dairy-free cake (it may have had eggs in it, 
but I decided to take the risk).

clockwise from left to right:
Greg's cousin's son, Brandon (a lovely young man!)
Greg's uncle's grandson
Greg's cousin McKenna
red-head at far left-hand side of table, Amanda, Greg's cousin
standing man, Greg's uncle Mark
right-hand side behind Greg: Greg's cousin Cameron

I assume Greg was focusing on getting us all in the photo, 
so he didn't have the extra brainpower to smile.
Here's a smiling one (perhaps I got up to do a weird little dance to make everyone smile?)

Here I am, chatting with Aunt Susie while Marj and Barb clean up.
I got up soon after this to help, but Susie's interesting life distracted me
and I didn't notice the work going on around me.  Whoops!
Notice my lack of shoes.  One of the many wonderful things about this indoor/outdoor venue was that shoes were optional!

Susie and Grandma had time to chat, too.

Greg's cousins Blair, Cameron, McKenna

Greg's sister, Grandma, Greg's Mom

We took some whole-family photos, too.

Greg played cards. 
Grandma won! 

I had a chance to hand-deliver the card we bought for Grandma.

This card made me laugh and laugh.

Ahahahah!  "BIRDS fail me!"  

Greg's sister wanted some photos of us.

Sometimes I do something weird in photos.

Of course, I couldn't stay away from the water!

The seaweed was soft and feathery.

I love the patterns and textures the water makes.

Greg and I walked around by the lakeshore.

This poor little guy was only half there!

Greg is very good at getting dragonflies to sit still for him.

I found this fallen tree, half in the water.

Of course, I had to climb on it!

I found many teensy little seashells.

I even found these little seed "cucumbers" on a tree!

At an appropriate time, we went downtown (near a different part of the lake)
to see Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox, and also to get dinner at Giovanni's.

Pretty much every photo we've ever taken with Paul and Babe has been hideous.
This year's aren't great, but they are at least post-able.

The sun was going right in our eyes,
and I have squeezed mine shut for safety. 

Bemidji is an art-appreciating city, and there are creative installations all over town.

Then we headed over to Giovanni's for some yummy pizza!
It's Greg's favorite pizza in the world.

There is something special about their gluten-free crust, I admit!

And the sauce is just the right mix of tangy and sweet.
Plus, they certainly pile on the toppings!!!

We approve!

After that, we drove back to my parents' cabin, enjoying the scenery all the way!

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