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Intergenerational trip to Winnipeg – lots of art, walking and heat by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2018, 3:45 am
Filed under: Winnipeg

This week we took a trip to Winnipeg – Aine, Kate, me, Grandma and Grandpa. We went to check in on Lily and bring her home. And we went to check out University of Manitoba for Kate. (She is starting there this fall.)

It was great to see Lily and her apartment, which she took great care to clean for us!

Lily lives in the West End of Winnipeg – which has one of the largest collections of murals. I learned through the beauty of Google that the murals focus on heritage, local heroes, culture, community, commerce and cuisine. They do spruce up the area, which is pretty mixed. Lots of students and I’ve noticed community services and shelters in the area too.

I did a walk through St Boniface. I hadn’t been through that area before. In fact, I hadn’t actually crossed the bridge before. There is a gorgeous cathedral in the area with many very cool statutes and tombstones.

Otherwise there was a lot of walking and spying of lots of art in the city. We saw Indian City play at the Human Rights Museum for Summer Solstice and went to a Farmer’s Market. Otherwise it was a lot of getting to know Winnipeg.



Father’s Day Protest to keep families together – so hot and so uplifting by Ann Treacy
June 17, 2018, 11:39 pm
Filed under: St Paul

It was 98 degrees today. I only went to the protest because I committed to Tweeting for the Women’s March there. The cause was keeping families together – the Minnesota Immigrant Rights  Action Committee hosted it. It started at the offices of the Republican Party of Minnesota and the march went through Cedar Riverside to the top of Washington Ave. (For readers outside the Twin Cities that has the largest immigrant population in the area – especially from East Africa.)  I figured I’d be there 10 minutes, Tweet and leave. I figured there’d be a few dozen people.

Wrong on all accounts. There were loads of people there. And I marched for the duration because it felt good to be with people with compassion. People – some who seemed likely to be personally at risk for immigration issues – and many who just recognize that families need to be together, who realized that as a country we’re better with greater diversity. Better on all fronts – better problem solvers, better art, music and food, more innovative.

I walked for a while with a woman who was not American born but was adopted as a child to American parents. She said she felt some form of survivor guilt. So despite a disability (and again crazy heat) she marched. I met new candidates running for office. I saw one I knew – and I’m anxious now to hear her views on other issues. I met a woman with two daughters (maybe ages 6 and 8) who thought it was important to get kids going young. I told her it would pay off – that I have seen my daughters at rallies and protests with and without me now that they’re older and they started young too.

Walking down Cedar Ave, a woman from Wadajir grocery in lovely robes and head scarf handed out boxes of water and other drinks – thanking us for marching. Holding cars up at each street we passed, I saw a driver and passenger get out of their car to applaud the march. There was a ska band marching with us! So awesome!

Unfortunately I also saw a truck try honk and mock run down a marcher as he yelled get a job. (Wanted to tell him we took the Lord’s day off to protest idiots like him but I was too far away.) While buying a Diet Coke, I heard the manager of the convenience store say – no bathrooms for protestors, we’re closed to them. I suggested maybe he wasn’t as closed to protestors as he thought. And I did see organizers buy a lot of water from him later – so again closed only in his mind.

In the end, the kindness and compassion far surpassed the ill will – which I hope is an omen for the end of this movie!



Week of Graduations: Congrats to Aine (8th Grade) and Kate (High School) by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2018, 4:19 am
Filed under: St Paul

We have had a very eventful week – two graduations – Aine graduated from 8th grade – and Kate graduated from high school. It’s the end of an era in a few ways. I have had a kid in Nativity for 14 years. No more.

Mostly we’ve been happy with it. It’s probably too religious and definitely too conservative for me. BUT the same school – in walking distance from home – for 9 years for each kid. The school knows them and they had a big comfort level with the kids and the school. Also – they have the best principal ever – Kate Wollan. She knows every kid’s name – and really gets what makes each individual kid shine.

Aine’s graduation was very nice. She looked like a grown up kid – and not only because she was wearing my high heels. After the ceremony the kids had a party. It was bitter sweet. The hope is that Aine will go to Nova (she’s 4 on the waiting list!), which is an unusual choice for her class. So she’ll be moving on and making many new friends. I think the thing Aine may miss most from Nativity is the robotics team – although she plans to visit to help out next year.

The week topped off with Kate’s graduation at the Cathedral tonight. Actually we started this morning with Mass and brunch. It was very nice. And then ended with the ceremony at the Cathedral. It was beautiful. Kate looked great in her cap and gown. It was fun to see her with her friends, especially Lucia. (They were voted Best Best Friends in the yearbook!)

I am excited for Kate next year. She is going to the University of Manitoba (Lily goes to U of Winnipeg). I’m glad that they will be near each other and also glad they are not at the same school. I think it will be good for Kate to be in control of her own day to day destiny. I think it will bring her peace. I know she’s ready.

Memorable in her graduation was the speech by her favorite teacher Mr. Spika. (His picture is included below.) He teaches religion but as Kate says, it’s not really like religion. He has had diverse guest speakers come to talk to the kids about everything under the sun. Then he got the kids to give speeches about some of their most personal accomplishments and stories.

Recently someone gave me a very hard time about sending my kids to Catholic schools. I did it because I think the education is good and I like the sense of community. But in many ways, I diametrically oppose the Church’s view on many things but Mr. Spika’s speech reminded me that part of the education is helping kids learn that doing good is as important as doing well.

He started off with the big guns – literally. He praised the kids for their March For Our Lives march in support of gun reform. (You may recall Kate was a planner.) He spoke about several students and their firsthand experience with  gun violence on and off the school grounds. He spoke about the need to make the community (all communities) safer – so that women could run down Summit Ave at night, so that GLBT kids could walk where they want, so that we all understood that all lives matter – but in a spirit that recognized that really we need to know that Black Lives Matter. He reminded everyone that financial success was not the only or best success. And he told the kids that the voice in your head says “someone ought to do something about that” was really the Holy Spirit telling you it was your job. I might not use the term Holy Spirit – but I like the idea – and I feel like teachers like him have given them the tools to succeed in making the world better.

And I have to add that while I disagree most with the Church on issues related to women it is worth noting that the Top Ten Academic positions were all held by young women.

As a mom I never wished my kids would stay little forever. I am always excited at their steps forward. It’s so much fun to see what they take on, to seem them rock it, to see them happy. Today we all took two giant steps forward.



34 hour trip to Winnipeg – Lily’s digs, CKUW and the Jets by Ann Treacy
May 9, 2018, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Winnipeg

We had the quickest international visit ever this week – Grandpa and I brought Lily and her roommate back to the University of Winnipeg. (We are super thankful to have a grandpa that would drive so far so quickly!) First – the rumor of it being cold in Canada – wrong. It was 86 degrees, which was a pleasant surprise. Second – it was really fun to see how well Lily is doing in Winnipeg. I’m so proud of her!

We got to see her apartment. It’s definitely a place for students but a nice place. She has her own room and it’s big. And there’s a fire escape-type porch on the roof. She has two roommates right now – and a big fat cat. They’re done a nice job decorating the place, including some really awesome art by Lily. (I snuck a couple pictures of her art here – without permission!)

I got a fun tour of the U of Winnipeg radio station, where Lily has a regular radio show Friday afternoons (2-3:30). They have about 32,000 CDs/Albums/cassettes and add about 1,000 each year.  Turns out they don’t have a lot of younger students with shows so that made me especially proud of her show.

We had a nice dinner with grandpa and got to walk by a number of Lily’s regular haunts – her yoga place, her old job, her current job, favorite restaurants. At night Lily and I took a walk around town. Turns out there was a Jet’s hockey game. Wow! There were thousands of fans happily watching. Well, happily at the start, kind of sad at the end of the game.

The city had set up 6 (or so) giant TV screens set up around town in a spoke a wheel pattern near the hockey arena. And they hosted a “white out” – which means everyone dressed in white. Apparently it costs the city $60,000 – but it a great investment for local businesses. My favorite moment was the guy (post loss) who chucked everyone on the arm and say – we’ll get them next time. The game tied up the series. I think the final game is tomorrow night.



Austin Texas – a conference, walking, some music and an awesome pair of boots by Ann Treacy
May 9, 2018, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Texas

Last week I spent a fun time at a broadband conference in Austin, Texas. I went with a couple of my favorite colleagues – so that was fun. Our presentation was well received.

We spent the first day checking out Austin. We visited the Texas Capitol, the Driskill Hotel and street art around the city. For eating we had oysters (royal we there), brisket and shrimp and grits.

We also saw some fun music at C-Boys Heart and Soul, The Continental Club and The Elephant Room. I was particularly fond of Dale Watson at the Continental – but the highlight was seeing the guy on the horse outside the door of the C-Boys. To be clear – it is located on a city street.

Another big highlight – finding red cowboy boots at the local Good Will – unfortunately the second best purchase was a box band-aids after I wore the new (to me boots) without socks.



Road Trip – Santa Fe, Colorado Springs and North Platte by Ann Treacy
April 2, 2018, 3:08 am
Filed under: Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska

Today we traveled for 12 hours. We went from Santa Fe to North Platte (600 miles) and a few stops. The stops started in Santa Fe. We checked out Canyon Road – a haven for top art galleries. Of course it’s Easter and it was 7:30 in the morning so none of them were open – but the area is covered in statues and other works for art.

Then we had a quick visit to the Cross of the Martyrs at the top of the Fort Marcy Park. It is a monument dedicated to the Franciscans killed in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. It was sort of the perfect thing to do Easter morning. Also it gave us a glimpse of Santa Fe. It was fun to see how different the houses are. Apparently the style is called pueblo style – they are low-slung, earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, which consist of a mixture of sun-dried earth and straw.  They are a little reminiscent of Whoville.

Our next stop was Colorado Springs. We stopped to see the Garden of the Gods – huge rock formations at the base of Pike’s Peak. We stopped at the visitor center, which had a great view of the peak. We saw some animals, much like we might run into if we were hanging in the wild looking for animals and then we drove around to see some of the rock formation – like the balancing rock. It was pretty cool.

Finally we landed in North Platte, Nebraska. North Platte is a rail road town and home to a home of Buffalo Bill Cody. We won’t see much of the town – but we had a nice dinner and the hotel feels pretty new and serves cookies. So it’s a winner. Oh and the sunset was very pretty. Gorgeous at Arizona is the sunsets there happen so quickly. It was nice to be back in the land of the long-lasting sunset – even if it means snow and cold.



Road Trip – Sedona to New Mexico by Ann Treacy
April 1, 2018, 4:43 am
Filed under: Arizona, New Mexico

After a few super fun days in Phoenix, we’re making our way home. This is when we’re most thankful for everything digital because we put in some long hours – especially grandpa, the driver. But we’ve had some fun along with the long drive.

We started in Sedona and everyone was a little surprised that I insisted that we go to the Chapel on the Hill there – until we got there. It’s awesome. It’s tucked into the red rock mountains. It’s the perfect place to stop and check out the scenery. Also the crucifix in the chapel is amazing. And of course there’s some family lore related to the candles in the chapel – but you have to go there to hear the story.

We had a super quick stop in Rock Creek Overlook between Sedona and Flagstaff. It’s an incredible view of the Oak Creek Canyon.

We also made a stop in Winslow, Arizona – such a fine site to see.

We had dinner in Albuquerque. We saw the area near the community college but I’d be hard pressed to say that I know Albequerque. With the university and various labs it does seem like a haven of techno-smart people in the middle of the desert. It is a gorgeous drive and fun to see the mountains all around. Driving it feels like you’re on the top of a plateau – so while it’s flat it feels high. Maybe because my ears were popping the whole time!




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