10 Questions About…

What does it take to walk a marathon for your birthday: FAQ by Ann Treacy
June 28, 2020, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis, St Paul

The quick answer is that it takes 11 hours and some great friends to walk a birthday marathon! Below are some of the details in a FAQ format:

I always feel like if you have a summer birthday, you should make the most of it. With social distancing, that meant getting creative. This was a way to see different people while keeping pretty social distant and outdoors.

Who do you want to thank?
Katie Lynch, Monica Nilsson and I walked a marathon on my birthday (June 26)!! I want to thank them so much for humoring my crazy idea. I want to thank my family (special nod to Chef Billy) for help with lunch and dinner! I want to thank Liz Draper with crew (Sarah York and AJ Srubas) and Little Man for playing at a couple of the stops. And I want to thank the friends who joined us along the way!

What’s the best part?
Having no responsibilities except putting one foot in front of the other – for 26 miles. Katie lists it as one of the top 5 days – ever!

Did you plan a route?
Yes. I used a tool called Plan A Route. (You can see the plan online.) It was pretty easy. I only planned for 25 miles because I knew we’d make up the difference running across the street to get water or running back three blocks to get a picture with the Mary Tyler Moore statue. Here are the highlights I planned:

  • 9:30am – start at my house
  • 10:45 – Minnehaha Falls
  • 11:30 – Dunn Bros at Lake Street
  • 1:30 – Sculpture Garden lunch
  • 3:00 – Stone Arch Bridge
  • 5:30 – The Monument
  • 6:30 – Turf Club
  • 8:15 – Midway Express Car Wash Cookout

Did you stick to your route?
No. I had a very urban wilderness plan where we stuck heavily to the River Road. (That’s Mississippi River for the non-local readers.) Then about 11am I freaked out that we were going to be late for lunch and then meeting Liz. So we took the most direct route from the River to the Sculpture Garden, which turned out to be Franklin Avenue.

Franklin Ave is pretty gritty. Monica, who has dedicated her life to the homelessness community, has worked in that area a lot. We walked past the homeless encampment of two years ago, The Wall of Forgotten Natives. Katie had two favorite moments – one was Monica giving us the history of the area for the miles we walked. Ask Katie about the history of Peace House, you’ll be impressed. Monica is a good storyteller! And every third person yelled hello to Monica by name.

Did you really go 26.2 mile?
Even with the detour, we walked into the car wash at 26.11 and then walked the extra four minutes until we got to 26.2! That was our marathon miracle. Monica, who is amazing at math, hit the wall before we did. So Katie and I had to trust our math – substellar plan. But it worked out perfectly!

What was the hardest mile?
I’m going 20-26 on that one. Monica hit the wall at 20. In part because she is the only one of us who has run a marathon – so she knew what was ahead. Also she got blisters. (Tip: can’t say enough about Glide for your feet. Not one blister here!) Katie and I hit the wall about mile 24.

Who joined you?
I was amazed that people joined us along the way. It made the walking so much easier. My dad started with us. He left at one end of the Ford Bridge and we met Mary Lindgren Carter on the other with her friend Tanya. Mary has been a friend since high school and we try to walk sometimes – although she’s an early bird and I’m a nigh owl. Mary and Tanya turned around at Lake Street and we met Denise Cumming who told us a very funny story about taking an online ornithology class at the U of M and unknowingly shouting the F word while unmuted. She dropped off as we got to her block and that left three of us until the Sculpture Garden, where my mom and dad, Kevin Somdahl-Sands and kid and Alyssia met us. We had a quick lunch, nice chat and a chance to sit down and a few pictures. Then the core three headed to downtown.

Kevin met us again downtown near the Mary Tyler Moore statue. We headed to the Stone Arch Bridge where Liz Draper and crew were playing for us. That was Katie’s other highlight. It had been so hot walking across the bridge then to get to the shade and awesome music was such a treat. And Ellie Sherwood met us. (Ellie did the amazing picture of me and Monica last year.) Then traced out steps over the bridge, walked by the place of a former homeless encampment that I thought was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. Then I think we walked our longest stretch alone until Su Reanny met us on Summit Ave. (Summit Ave for non-locals is polar opposite to Franklin.) Su is a Women’s March buddy – we saw her the next day too doing extraordinary work marshalling a protest at the Governor’s Mansion. Kevin met us again near the Turf Club.

Right at 8pm, we landed at the Car Wash. (My dad and brother own the car wash. Billy often has a start and end of summer car wash cookouts and was kind enough to do the same for my birthday.) And we had Chris Perricelli (Little Man) play a few songs. Chris did a car wash video and interview with me and Heather Baker earlier this year. So I’m trying to think of the new people who joined us – Kevin and his family, my family, including Aine, Heather, Kathi Eilers, Jake and Julie Mortenson. Then as a special treat Daniela Smith met us at the Dubliner after the cookout!

How was the weather?
Amazing!!! We (Katie, Monica, my dad and I) left my house in the drizzling rain. We were worried but hopeful. We decided against umbrellas, which was a good call. Frankly we had near perfect weather all day. A few misty showers in the morning and cloudy all afternoon. Not too hot for too long.

How do you get musicians to play at your marathon or party or picnic or whatever?
You call, ask and pay. Without trying, I’ve been saving money during the COVID shutdown because the “no live music rule” saves me going out the 6 nights a week I used to average. I was super happy to invest a little into musicians. Maybe small outdoor shows are a way to help musicians pay bills, keep in tune and for us to have fun again! And maybe that’s an idea worth spreading.

Did you train?
Yes and no. We didn’t do anything special. (Heck, Katie decided to join us on Thursday!) But all three of us are pretty avid walkers. I probably walk the most with 8-15 miles a day. (Depending how many Zoom calls I can do on the move.) But the other two are runners; I am mostly not a runner.

Would you do it again?

Happy Bloomsday – with pandemic time on my hands I have time for a retrospective by Ann Treacy
June 17, 2020, 4:03 am
Filed under: Bloomsday, Dublin

Happy Bloomsday! The day celebrates James Joyce’s way out there novel, Ulysses, which follows Leopold Bloom around Dublin on June 16, 1904. There are 18 chapters that parallel the episodes of Homer’s epic Odysseus. Rumor has it they are calling it Zoomsday this year. I thought I’d go through old note (and photos of Dublin) to see how many episodes I could remember.

Episodes 1-3 follow Steven Dedalus. It starts at the Sandycove Maratello Tower, near 40 foot. (I have a picture of us swimming at 40 foot; it’s freezing and there were jellyfish!) Mulligan is kind of a jerk. Dedalus leaves to teach a class. He gets into a discussion with the headmaster about Jews in Ireland. (Leopold is Jewish.) Dedalus claims that God is a shout in the street. Eventually Dedalus ends up on Sandymount Strand, a beach on the Dublin Bay. The episode is very stream of consciousness; we’ll see later that despite being a very nice area, Sandymount seems to inspire grittiness. (I’ve chosen a picture of a picnic actually between Sandycove and the Maratello Tower at Sea Point.)

Episode 4 – enter our hero Leopold Bloom. lived at 7 Eccles Ave. The door of that home is now at the James Joyce Museum. (And that’s our picture!) Leopold is cooking breakfast for his wife Molly, the singer. She’s having an affair with her manager Blazes Boylan and that’s driving Leopold crazy. He also wonders if it would be possible to walk across Dublin without passing a pub.

Episode 5 – Leopold is all about the women – getting a love letter from one (who isn’t his wife) and trying to sneak a peek at another wearing stockings. He seems a little lecherous. Leopold visit St George’s Church, which leads to some theological turmoil and alignment to sexual allusions that went over like a lead balloon in Catholic Ireland back in the day.

Episode 6 – Leopold joins several others on a way to Paddy Dingham’s funeral at Glasnevin – crossing the four Dublin rivers/canals in the processional. (I’ve included a picture of the girls at Glasnevin, where we totally saw a ghost.) Leopold remembers his son (Rudy) who died and his father, who committed decided.

Episode 7 – Bloom tries to place an ad; the format of the chapter is a series of newspaper headlines. The conversation is scattered. Funny it would nearly be like reading Tweets now.

Episode 8 – Lots happens but in the spirit of brevity, Leopold has a gorgonzola sandwich at Davy Byrne’s pub. He talks about his declining marriage. He talks about the goddesses in the National Gallery – about the anatomy they share with humans. (We usually go for the bog people at the Museum; I have a photo of the girls there.)

Episode 9 – Leopold visits the National Library. (One of my proudest moments was when I got a library card at the National Library as a student!) There’s a lot of talk about Shakespeare’s Hamlet and his wife’s fidelity. But mostly it’s a lot of blowhards – and in the end Leopold admitting that he doesn’t even believe his own theory.

Episode 10 – This chapter is a quick take on what’s happening with all of the minor characters in the novel. It’s presented like a description of an artwork. It’s very much a love letter to the city map of Dublin, including a brief stint in Phoenix Park. (I’m going to include a picture of the deer in Phoenix Park.)

Episode 11 – The singing chapter that takes place at the Ormond Hotel. Two barmaids are fighting. Blazes Boylan is in the same bar – on his way to meet up with Leopold’s wife. The language of the chapter is a musical, alliterative tongue twister.

Episode 12 – This is another pub scene. The Citizen is holding court and doesn’t like Leopold – he’s a Fenian and anti-Semite. There’s a language of North Dublin that I’ve always liked in the chapter and fighting. I have a strong memory of Joyce’s line about “Mendelssohn was a jew and Karl Marx and Mercandente and Spinoza.  And the Saviour was a jew and his father was a jew.  Your God.”

Dun Laoghaire

Episode 13 – We’re back at Sandymount with Dedalus and Leopold and Gerty MacDowell. Gerty is daydreaming of romance. Leopold is watching nearby. Gerty flashes him. He masturbates and fireworks go off in Dun Laoghaire. He finds out she has a disabled leg. Then he starts feel bad about his indiscretion and then decides it’s all in his head. (So many pictures to choose form here. Just kidding but we lived near Dun Laoghaire so I was able to find a few.)

Episode 14 – Leopold visits the maternity hospital in Merrion Square. And area we know well because that’s where we often caught the bus home. On a high level the episode is about the birth of the English language. With different sections being written in the prose of different authors. On the face of it the mother to be has been in labor for days. The guys go for a drink and talk about sex and birth and life.

Episode 15 – The longest chapter is written like a screenplay. It’s a trip into Dublin’s red light district, which Joyce calls night town. It’s phantasmagorical. Leopold and Dedalus visit the brothels. I remember someone turning into a pig. Dedalus remembers his dead mother. Dedalus is drunk and overpays for services. It’s very vivid. There’s a fight and a soldier and eventually the cops show up and the two heroes disappear into the night.

Episode 16 – Leopold and Dedalus go to the taxi rank. Dedalus is drunk. Leopold is not. They talk about everything. We don’t know what’s true and what’s imagination. Leopold is worried for Dedalus because his young and foolish with drink and money. It’s rings pretty true to the end of a good night in Dublin.

Episode 17 – Leopold brings Dedalus home. There is a literal pissing contest of sorts. Dedalus doesn’t stay. Leopold goes to bed with his wife, who has 309 questions for him.

Episode 18 – The Molly Bloom soliloquy. She is in bed. She is thinking of lovers – past and present. It’s back to the stream of consciousness. Talk moves from farting to periods to marriage proposals at Howth Head (I’ll include a picture from there – a place we loved to visit on the opposite side of Dublin Bay from where we lived.) I always love this chapter for the line – the sun shines for you senorita. But upon looking back I have mangled the line horribly, which seems fitting. Molly’s speech gets very sexual, showing that Joyce was very equal opportunity with literacy climaxes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about Ulysses. When I was doing the MA at University College Dublin, you sort of chose James Joyce or Samuel Beckett for the exams. And I leaned to Beckett, who was much more theater (and novels!) of the absurd. I think I have the COVID pandemic to thanks for the time and inclination to walk down literary memory lane.  I was struck at how much Leopold, now one of the most famous Dubliners, feels like an outsider. I think we all do.

Ann-demic: birthday walking marathon – June 26 by Ann Treacy
June 15, 2020, 1:22 am
Filed under: Minneapolis, St Paul

We’re going to walk a marathon. We have the route planned. You’re welcome to join in for all or part of the walk. Or we have some stopping points picked out. Or meet us at the end for the car wash cook out!

We’re roughly thinking 3 miles an hour. We’ll keep track of our progress on the day you can access our route – or aim for one of our landmark stops below.

9:30am – start at my house
10:45 – Minnehaha Falls (photo op)
11:30 – Dunn Bros at Lake Street (water/bathroom)
1:30 – Sculpture Garden lunch
3:00 – Stone Arch Bridge
5:30 – The Monument (Summit & River Road)
6:30 – Turf Club (photo op/drink?)
8:15 – Midway Express Car Wash Cookout
10:30 – Dubliner (we might get a Lyft there!)

Please let us know if you plan to meet up with us so we can keep an eye out and plan accordingly!! And if you have a stop between stops to suggest – please do!

The Christopher Columbus statue in front of the MN State Capitol comes down by Ann Treacy
June 10, 2020, 11:35 pm
Filed under: St Paul

Today I livestreamed as AIM of Twin Cities & AIM Patrol of MinneapolisNative Lives Matter, their followers and supporters pulled down a state of Christopher Columbus. I got there just as it happened. There were a few dozen – maybe 100 people there. I saw one police officer out in the open, apparently holding the form you can use to request the removal of an offensive statue.

I missed any introductory remarks. I got there when they were putting the rope around the statue. They invited the women to the front and then everyone pulled. It fell easily. (My guess is that some screws were loosened to help – or we are very lucky that statute hasn’t fallen on someone’s head earlier.) There were cheers.

I absolutely support removal of the atrociously offensive art in and out of the Capitol building. I was fortunate enough to join a tour with Jim Bear Jacobs talking about the art in the building and it’s horrifying. I come from a line of people who believe in tearing down statue’s (such as Nelson’s Column in Dublin).

I left soon after they pulled down the statute. The police were called and they were lined up – not in full riot gear but as an obvious presence. But that wasn’t the main reason. People were kicking the statue and then someone knelt on his neck. And I had to leave.

I support the removal. I support the work it will take to unlearn a biased history, to un-internalize stories from the patriarchy. I recognize that being loud means being heard and quiet voices have not been heard. I think these continued action of civic engagement and civil disobedience will keep up the pressure required to effect change that will improve lives.

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