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Road Trip to Naperville, Springfield and St Louis: Betsy’s Senior Dance by Ann Treacy
May 7, 2023, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Illinois, Missouri, Uncategorized

Dad and I have a tour of the Midwest going this week. We start in Naperville to see a friend of his. (OK, only dad stopped in to see his favorite high school teacher Jack Lane.) I walked around the Naperville Century Walk, a downtown riverwalk peppered with artworks. I’ll share a few pictures. The highlight was the big statue of Dick Tracy; well-place because the creator of the comic book hero is from Naperville.

We also checked out the Morton Arboretum. We have been there before. Sadly, the summer sculptures were not out yet. But we did get to see some gorgeous flowers. Even better, we got to smell them! I’ve always said the best thing about coming from Minnesota is that anywhere you go has better weather and that is doubly true this year. It was warm and spring had sprung and I could almost be tempted to move this year.

I had a work meeting in Bloomington (at the Illinois Soybean Association). Quick nod to best refurbishing of a former Gold’s Gym and nicest hospitality. I heard heartwarming stories of rural counties on the path to getting better broadband. But I’ll save those notes for my work report.


After the meeting we set out to St Louis, but not without a stop to see historical sites in Springfield. We checked out Lincoln’s family home – by that I mean with Mary Todd and their kids. Here we were given a fantastic free map that pointed out just about anything and everything you might want to see in the areas related to Lincoln.

Based on new info from the new map, we also checked out Lincoln’s Tomb. It was cook. It is a big tomb, where he and his immediate family are buried. Apparently, someone tried to snatch his body in 1876, resulting in a bunch of new laws, an onsite groundskeeper and his body moving 10 feet below ground. There’s a bronze casting of Lincoln’s face. Apparently, it’s lucky to run his nose. (I’ll report back if good luck comes my way!) Fun to see the impact of a nose rub on the statue.

St Louis

We spent a couple days in St Louis and the whole family joined. We’re all here to see my niece, Betsy, do her senior dance at St Louis University. She has completed four years of her six-year program in Physical Therapy. But with the fourth-year completion, comes the end to her Dance Minor. So we all came to watch her. You can see why below; this is the dance she choregraphed. We’ll never forget the touching note that Grandma left on Emily’s dance poster – thinking it was Betsy’s. But it was very funny.

We also got to see a few of the sites, such as Forest Park, You can see the video Katie and I made in honor of the Kentucky Derby.

We checked out some nightlife and ate a ton!

… last minute addition: Dad and I stopped in Cedar Lake, Iowa. Dad was a huge Buddy Holly fan back in the day, and remembers the day the music died. Originally we weren’t going to go this way but fates intervened and once you’re getting on 35 near Mason City, you might as well stop by the sites!

Road Trip Day Four: Spokane to Seattle to Olympia by Ann Treacy
September 22, 2022, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, Washington

The last stretch was a rough one. It’s gorgeous in Washington but the traffic is much great and the road goes straight up. I’m not sure my ears will ever un-pop. I think we caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier on our drive. It was pretty amazing and about as close as we’re going to get on this trip.

We stopped in Seattle for a few hours. We dropped Aine off to see a friend at Washington University. Dad and I went to the Discovery Park on the Sound. They gave us a special permit to drive right down to the water. It was so lovely and calm after the week of driving that we’ve had.

Then we picked up Aine and saw a few quick sights of Seattle, mostly around the fish market. We had a lovely dinner in Tacoma and headed to Olympia to sleep. And now it’s Thursday and it’s move in day!!

Road trip Day 3: Good weather, murals, church, Native art and psychedelic immersion by Ann Treacy
January 7, 2022, 4:07 am
Filed under: New Mexico, Uncategorized

We spent the night in Tucumcari; they celebrate their piece of Route 66. We stayed at a cute retro motel, Roadrunner Lodge. Loved the kitsch and proximity to the action. Sort of missed a mini fridge. Also checked out the murals and retro signs around town. Many depict local folks or celebrate Rte 66, buffalo or the 1960s. Only sadness was the weather; it was zero degrees with wind-chill. But we’re tough.

We drove to Santa Fe and did a few super fun things. First, the Loretto Chapel with its double helix staircase. It’s very impressive. Story goes, the Loretto Chapel Nuns said a novena to St Joseph, patron of carpenters to build a staircase so that the girls could get to the balcony for the choir. (Before the nuns took over the church only men and boys were in the choir and they used a ladder. Anyway, a carpenter showed up and did the work without getting paid all 33 steps.

We popped into the New Mexico Museum of Art. (Thank you Walker Art membership with reciprocity with other galleries!) The art was great – mostly Native. I will post more pictures that explanations – because I’m gearing up to go out! But here are some faves:

  • Santo Nino Faithtime – Baby Jesus with a mask on the smartphone by Arthur Lopez
  • Temptations of St Anthony – religion never looked like so much fun by Luis Tapia
  • Yellow Horse Dancer – full size and magical buy Armond Lara
  • Zeus and Ganymede – reminds me of Kent Monkman, with shorter hair and less subtle by Delmas Howe
  • La Pachuca – reminds me of Cindy Sherman, love the sassy personality by Judith Baca

We walked around and saw lots of things. Enjoyed good temperatures for the first time this trip and then made our way to Meow Wolf, which was standout awesome. It’s an interactive art experience, leaning toward almost fun house experientially. It reminded us of Sleep No More in NYC but less scary and less nudity. The premise is that the house full of people slowly became crazy or possessed and I love that it’s in the same town where the atomic bomb was built. There are a million (well hundreds) of twists and turns with the “house” that lead into a Dr. Suess meets MC Escher meets Alice in Wonderland. We crawled into a fireplace and into a refrigerator to find new worlds. In the new worlds, we found ourselves being coopted to join a group of four other visitors to turn a couch into a merry-go-round. At times it was awesome, at times a little nauseating but always awesome.

And now we’re getting out day done and dolling up for some nightlife in Albuquerque!

Austin TX Day Two: Sad history, swimming hole, peacocks and music by Ann Treacy
June 20, 2021, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We (mostly I) got a little Austin history today. First – and quickest – The University of Austin Tower, from a distance. This is the location of a deadly mass shooting in 1966 when Charles Whitman (after killing mother and wife the night before) took to the top of the tower and opened fire. He killed 15 people and injured 31. It was the most deadly mass shooting for 18 years. Second – Juneteenth, the celebration and anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It began in Galveston but I recently learned that June 19 1865 reflects the date that federal troops enforced the emancipation in Texas. Unfortunately the actual Emancipation happened in 1862. That’s a three year difference?!

Anyway – I happened to walk by “the” view of the tower today. Yesterday Kate and I stopped by the Austin Capitol and read about the history of the emancipation; they recognize that it wasn’t timely but didn’t specify. Today I headed to a Juneteenth celebration. It was festive and full. I had no idea what to expect. In fact I was late to the party and expected nothing. It was nice to see police playing a role (handing out candy) in the parade. Strange to see these days coming from the Twin Cities.

Then I met up with the girls at Barton Springs Pool. It’s a strange mix of pool/river/cold spring. Luckily I walked there and realized that only part of the river is the pool, which means you have to pay and (more importantly) wait in line to visit. So once the girls got there we walked down river and they took a dip. They seemed to have a great time. I did dip a toe.

After the swim, we went to Barton Springs Picnic, a food truck park. We were hot and hungry and crabby when we got there. We all decided before we left that none of us was even one little bit sad with our choices. SO good. Then we stopped by the Umlauf Sculpture Garden on the way home. (Pro Tip: not all sculpture gardens are free.)

Then at night, some of use went to the Mayfield Park, which was so much fun. They have peacocks wandering about. And we saw one in full plumage!! I can only imagine what Kate will paint after that.


We went to a Juneteenth celebration in in a park (near some bars) and saw a really fantastic singer, Dionysus. He was sitting in a battered chair, sometimes reading the lyrics off his phone and still had an amazing stage presence. Finally at night I talked the older girls into meeting me at C-Boy’s Heart and Soul where we saw Kimmie Vaugh and they talked me into going to what they called “Bourbon St of Austin” to see a Johnny Depp lookalike band. A good time was had by all!!

Getty Museum Challenge – Ann does Warhol and Aine does Lichtenstein by Ann Treacy
April 12, 2020, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I finally talked Aine into the Getty Museum Challenge, which is a sign that this quarantine has already gone on too long. The challenge is to react a famous work of art from home.

I did Any Warhol’s Self-Portrait in Drag. Aine did Roy Lichtenstein’s M-Maybe.

Chicago midweek special – Andy Warhol, Guilty Feminist and so much food by Ann Treacy
January 12, 2020, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Uncategorized

Mom and I took a quick trip to Chicago to see Katie and family of course – but also to see the Andy Warhol exhibit before it closes and to check out the Guilty Feminist podcast. Mostly this is a picture post – but there are a few things I should point out:

  • The small plates at Libertad (in Skokie) aren’t really small. But they are delicious.
  • Warhol was always cool. Will always be cool.
  • I need an idea of replication as social commentary like Warhol had. And maybe some artistic skill – but I feel like an idea might be enough.
  • Sometimes I think the Art Institute of Chicago is designed like a grocery store to encourage you to walk down aisles you might not otherwise walk down.
  • They pick the toughest docents/guards to work the modern wing of the Art Institute because that’s where you could have the most fun taking awesome pictures if you weren’t scared of the guards.
  • The Palmer House is always in fashion. (In fact the day I got home I heard The Moth story that took place at the Palmer House -on the 18th floor where we were!!)
  • The Goat and the Girl has amazing food. The waiters are very good and will organize your orders in the way you should be fed. (Like a wine dinner but with food so you don’t have the heavy Cab of food on round one.)
  • The Guilty Feminist is at least as fun to see live. We learned about the importance of reporters and the free press and diversity in reporting. I will include the link to the live show once it’s available.
  • A walk to Millennium Park for a picture with The Bean is always worth it.
  • Flying is no fun.

The hotel & food!

Guilty Feminist & Millennium Park

Work week in New York – but you can always find time for fun with friends by Ann Treacy
June 14, 2019, 7:00 pm
Filed under: New York, Uncategorized

This week I was lucky enough to be part of a contingency of 10 Minnesotans who headed off to the ICF Summit to talk about broadband and economic development and how smart communities are making their lives better. (You can read all about that on my work blog.)

On our first day we saw everything. We walked about 15 miles mostly around Midtown Manhattan. We started with a quick jaunt to Grand Central Station and then I headed to NY Public Library to get online. (Ironically the library had better access than our conference about broadband.)

There was a Stonewall exhibit at the library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. For younger readers, Stonewall was a series of riots that began June 28, 1969 when members of the GLBTQIA crowd rioted against a police raid. It is debatably the start of expanding equal rights to people regardless of sexual orientation or preference. Sadly we’re still fighting that fight; in the last month I have seen modern renditions of some of these posters…

After lunch some of us felt the pull of the city was maybe a little stronger than the conference. (Just for the afternoon!) We walked everywhere…

Then there was the Champagne reception at the Finnish Consulate. (Yup, that was work.)

We took advantage of Museum Mile festival with free access to the Met, Cooper Hewitt (Smithsonian) and the Jewish Museum.


We ended the day with a fancy cocktail at the Plaza.

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.

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