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Memorial March for Paris in Minneapolis: Sad but important use of a gorgeous Sunday by Ann Treacy
November 16, 2015, 5:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I rarely write about our adventures in the Twin Cities and since the girls are older and we travel less frequently, I don’t write as often as I used to but if for no other reason than this post will help Aine remember, I thought I’d write up our day today at the memorial march for Paris. It started at  Alliance Française, folks marched to the Minneapolis Basilica (maybe a mile) and ended with a rally outside the church and finally a prayer service inside.

It’s not our first march. Our last one was a Black Lives Matter march near the State Fair. But this march was a little different. It was more somber than angry.

I’m terrible with numbers but there was a cathedral worth of people marching. We took up 5-6 city blocks. The march started with some instructions. And a police officer explained that they would be blocking the traffic for us, asked us to keep to the right – and sidewalk as much as possible. He wished us well.

It was 60 some degrees on November 15 in Minnesota. (Last year it was 14 degrees on November 15.) I’m sure that helped the numbers. People were friendly. I heard as much French as English. We heard a lot of “voulez?” as people offered us pins and signs. People carried flags and signs that read fraternité. It was a good language lesson day for Aine and a good reminder for both of us that at its best the US embraces other cultures.

We chatted with people. We walked to the church. We heard Representative Ellison speak about the importance of standing with our friends in France, help mourn the loss and to let terrorists know that would not win. “Vive la France!” he shouted and we echoed. Then the group sang the French national anthem and the group moved inside the church.

We went because we thought it was important to show support. We have been to Paris – for a very short trip and I spent my 18th birthday in Paris so that was a draw but really we were moved enough to want to be counted in the tally of people who actively stand up against terrorist attacks – albeit in a pretty easy way.

While we walked some passersby asked about Beirut and why didn’t we march for them. I thought it was a misplaced question. More than half of the people marching seemed to have a direct connection to France – so their weighted interest was clear. And many of the rest of us would march for Beirut given the opportunity. Some may have already done so. We have marched against wars in the past. I would turn the question back – if these people want us to march for civilian deaths in Beirut, invite us to the rally. Many of us would come. But commenting as you walk by isn’t very helpful. On Friday, hours after hearing of the events in Paris, Aine came into my room to tell me about all of the tragedies of the day – Paris, suicide bombers in Beirut, earthquake in Japan… It was overwhelming. We talked about it briefly. It’s part of what got me out the door to the march today

Now that being said, I recognize that there is a difference in how the Paris deaths are handled versus the deaths in Beirut. I think fewer people in the Twin Cities have visited Beirut so there is that missing piece but also I think the media is missing an opportunity to better introduce Americans to other nations – and not just nations in distress. By the time we hear about nations in distress I think we can sympathize with them but it’s hard to empathize. All we know about them is their tragedy. We need resources that help us be better global citizens by introducing us to neighbors around the world on a more regular basis – by that I mean more often but also showing us glimpse of their more regular lives.

We need that as a community – for my part it makes me want to help the girls travel more again.



MUSIC REVIEW | The Replacements at Midway Stadium: Sorry it took so long by Ann Treacy
September 18, 2014, 5:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

(Originally posted in TC Daily Planet and archived here)

The Replacements at Midway Stadium – that’s a classic combination!

The band came on stage in matching suits; they look weathered but good. They sounded great. The audience was also a little weathered and the audience wasn’t quite in tune but that didn’t stop everyone from singing every song. And to be fair to the audience, Westerberg doesn’t sing ‘em the same way every time. He pulled at our heart strings when we said, “Sorry it took us so long,” and brought us back to reality when added, “that’s a bold-faced lie.”

The started with “You’re My Favorite Thing” and they didn’t pause much over the next two hours. Not a lot of chit chat just a lot of fast guitars! About halfway into the show I got a little nervous that we were seeing the grand finale when they played “Maybelline.” It was hard rocking, old school and timeless –like fireworks. Luckily for us, they were just getting started. They played a few covers – “I Want You Back” the Jackson Five and Sham 69’s Borstal Breakout.

Every Minnesotan of a certain age has their favorite ‘Mats’ songs and I suspect how you felt about the show really depends on your favorite songs. If you were there for “Here Comes a Regular” or “Answering Machine,” you were out of luck. But in those two hours they were able to play a lot of songs. During the encore, Westerberg sang “Skyway”; it was a change of tempo that folks seemed to like. A special request of “Merry Go Round” went out to Mary (I assume Mary Lucia–Westerberg’s sister). They ended with “Unsatisfied,” which won me a bet with my brother. A strange note for another other band to leave on – but it made sense for them.

The Hold Steady also looked at home in the Midway Stadium–except lead singer Craig Finn welcomed Minneapolis! I decide not to take that personally because I once heard Finn say that as a kid St Paul scared him a little. Mayor Chris Coleman corrected the error when we came on stage to welcome everyone to St Paul and officially proclaim September 13 to be The Replacements Day.

It’s fun to watch Finn on stage–he’s the rock star lead singer and over-enthusiastic guy in the corner rolled into one. But like The Replacements, he’s such a good storyteller. “You’re Little Hoodrat Friend” was a crowd pleaser. There were a few people who fought their way up in front to see The Hold Steady and happily stepped back when they finished. I’d move up for both bands!



Midnight Train To Paris by Ann Treacy
June 22, 2011, 8:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Monday morning Michael took off for Australia. Then Patrick and Irish Grandma headed to Dublin. The girls and I went on a boondoggle walk. It took us to a part of Italy that really was all Italian. There was a food market where the girls got lollypops. Eventually we got tired and hot and headed up to the train station.

We had a nice lunch of parma ham and melon, pizza and carbonara. Tasty! After another, quicker boondoggle walk to hang out at the station for a long time. I have to say the kids were really good.

Eventually we got on the train and promptly sat in the wrong couchette, which meant as soon as the train started we had to walk through the train to the penultimate car to our couchette – so that seemed very exciting.

Our couchette is really two long seats facing each other with 2 bunks for sleeping above. There’s a big window on one side and a sliding door to the walkway on the other. In the couchette next to ours was an American family who apparently had something much posher in mind. But we liked it. Aine climbed up immediately; Kate soon followed. We all played on computers (or wrote blog posts) until we fell asleep and once we did fall asleep we each had our own bed.

We went right through the Swiss Alps, which was beautiful. I woke up the big girls to at least see it. I took some pictures – but know from experience that those sort of shots never do justice to the real thing.

Now we’re just sitting on the train – two asleep, two awake – waiting to get to Paris.



Gone to the lions by Ann Treacy
June 18, 2011, 4:53 pm
Filed under: Rome, Uncategorized

Thursday morning we  headed down to the Coliseum. The Coliseum was on everyone’s must-see list so we were excited. I was even a little afraid that we had built it up so much that we might be disappointed – we weren’t. In fact at dinner everyone noted it as a favorite. It really is big and imposing and kind of majestic.

In its day is sat 50,000 people. It was built in 72 AD. Who even knew there were 50,000 back then? Most of the floor is missing so it’s easy to see what the basement/lower level looked like – and there’s a great (modern) mural that illustrates what happened back in the day. The lions were kept in cages in the lower floor. The cages moved along a sort of conveyor belt to “the place” where the cages were pulled to the surface like an elevator car or stage trap door. On the field waiting would have been the Christians. Our guidebook calls the Coliseum the NASCAR of antiquity. Funny to think of it that way – but I suppose it is.

So we were able to check out the stadium from two floors. The views out of the stadium were as amazing as the views inside. The columns and pedestals give you a perspective of how large the place is. I tried to get a couple of pictures to help – but even in person the size is so overwhelming you kind of dismiss it.

On the way back we walked by Circus Maximus and the Palatine. The Circus Maximus was actually a larger stadium/sports area. It was built to seat 250,00 for chariots races and public games. Now it’s more like a giant field. The Palatine dates back to 753 BC. It’s where Romulus killed Remus and founded Rome. TO honor the spot later emperors built their palaces here. By walking around the area, we got an idea of how large the footprint of the area is – but it wasn’t until we took the double-decker bus tour in the afternoon that we got an idea of its size. (I’m going to add those pictures here in case that helps. Also – we saw several lizards in the Palatine. Lizards are always a highlight.)



Daisy Bridging by Ann Treacy
June 4, 2011, 11:11 pm
Filed under: St Paul, Uncategorized

Aine and the rest of her Daisy crew crossed the bridge to become Brownies. I have to give Aine credit. Not only had we now sewn on her petals, we couldn’t even find her Daisy bib. She didn’t mind she went anyways – and it turns out they hand you the new Brownie vest before you cross the bridge so most folks didn’t even notice. (Now I would feel better if I could remember where we put the Brownie vest.)



National Eagle Center in Wabasha by Ann Treacy
March 7, 2011, 12:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

The girls and Patrick are off this week for Spring Break so we’re taking a mini-vacation in Wabasha, Minnesota. There are two big draws in Wabasha. First Grumpy Old Men was supposedly filmed here. Turned out that not a lot was filmed here, but that was OK. (Part of Grumpy Old Men was filmed at the Half Tim Rec in St Paul, where I worked for years so I felt like I had that covered anyways.) The second and more important draw is the National Eagle Center.

Wabasha is less than two hours away from St Paul. On the way here, we drove through Wisconsin – and Pepin, the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had a nice lunch in Wabasha, we wanted to be quick because we knew the eagle feeding was happening in about 40 minutes.

The National Eagle Center was great! We met one of the founders through a connection Patrick had. She told us that. Wabasha has always been a place to see eagles – especially in March. The eagles hang out here because there’s a lot of open water because of nearby Lake Pepin – the lake pours into the Mississippi, the river gets wider – but it quickly narrows so the water trying to get into the narrowed river keeps open water on the wider part of the river. About 10 years ago they decided to build the center.

Five eagles reside at the center. Each has been injured in some way. Most were nurtured back to health by the Raptor Center but were not well enough to be released to the wild. Lily and Aine got pictures taken with Angela the Eagle. Then (because we knew the founder) we got a great picture with the whole family and the eagle with wings spread. So that was cool.

We got to watch them feed an eagle. That was gross but cool. The eagle got to choose between rabbit meat and rat. She went for rabbit meet. I think the rat would have been grosser to see. The rabbit looked like raw meat; the rat was recognizable as a rat. Lily and Patrick got to hold a falcon, wearing the falconer’s glove.

Last, but not least, there are telescopes and binoculars all around the place so that you can look up and down the river for the eagles. They said there were about 30 eagles around. Of course with my untrained eyes I saw more like a dozen, but it was still fun. What’s kind of amazing is that with the binoculars, you really could scan through the trees and see a lot.

I heard that Read’s Landing is another great place to see eagles. The plan is to stop there tomorrow on the way home.



Kayaking in the Atlantic by Ann Treacy
May 16, 2010, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Glengarriff, Uncategorized

I think the favorite vacation activity for the kids was kayaking. We were able to kayak right in back of the house. In a lot of ways the house where we stayed was like a high end cabin in Northern Minnesota. The backyard led into the Bay. The Bay was calm the whole time we were there. What was not like Minnesota was the tide and the seals. So we learned to sort of time our kayak trips because nothing is worse than dragging the kayak through a ton of beach and nothing is better than the seals coming at high tide.

Grandma kayaked one day and Aine went out a few times. So it really was a good activity for most of us.

The view from the kayak was amazing. We could see Glengarrif Harbor, we could see the mountains and we could see Garinish and other islands. In fact it felt like we should be able to kayak out to Garinish – but that seemed a little overly ambitious. When we were going fast at all it was fun to look up at the mountains because it felt as if the mountains were moving much faster than we were.

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