Thursday was a stay-at-home day.
I blogged. I caught up with some online bill paying. I caught up with my sister, Elizabeth. I bought groceries. I made Betsy and Karen dinner.
It was a perfect day to do all this... a gray, drizzly day.
I had planned on taking a bicycle ride along some local trails, but the weather did not cooperate.
I also finally made Saturday plans with a former colleague's 20-something-year-old son via text messages. Brian is working as a farmhand in Montgomery, Minnesota.
The dinner I made did not get served until after 8 p.m.
Both Betsy and Karen had had long days at work.
Our meal consisted of red meat, fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts, and sweet peppers followed by a triple creme brie with honey and slices of baguette bread.
We had a lively discussion despite the late dinner hour... the full moon?
While my friends retired around 11 p.m., I loaded the dishwasher and looked through a photo album.
It contained images from Betsy and Karen's ceremony in 2005.
Later, I retired; it was closer to midnight.
It stormed most of the evening.
When I awoke on Friday morning, Betsy and Karen were already up.
Because Betsy did not have to report to work until later, we discussed possibilities.
She suggested I visit St. Paul via the Metro (the green line), so she dropped me off at the Warehouse/Hennepin Avenue stop -- right across from the Bob Dylan mural.
Taking the Metro is a must do as it offers a more realistic view of St. Paul.
The abandoned Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) monstrosity.
The neighborhood pockets of wealth disparity.
The vastness of the University of Minnesota.
The iconic Weisman Art Museum.
The downtown district.
Plus, the Mississippi River.
I took the Metro to the last St. Paul stop: Union Station.
And... despite the gray skies...
I adventured through the downtown area.
Images of the Mississippi River, the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Veteran's Memorial Park, the Capitol Building, and the cityscape captured my attention.
However, construction and renovation was happening everywhere.
The noise, the equipment, the barricades, and the orange signs detracted from the experience.
In addition, St. Paul was not as alive as Minneapolis.
Not as many people.
Not as much action.
A previous acquaintance (I met in Hannibal, Missouri) was right: it had the grit and feel of a working class city.
Everyone was working!
I walked from Kellogg to 7th to Grand -- UP Ramsey -- to Summit.
The parade of mansions along Summit Avenue would make any interior designer salivate.
Later, I unexpectedly bumped into James J. Hill's former estate.
I stayed on Summit which then changed into John Ireland Boulevard to see the Veteran's Memorial Park and the Capitol Building.
The Capitol was in the midst of renovations; it had huge plastic drapery hanging over it... not exactly photo-friendly.
When my stomach growled, I headed back on the Metro and returned to the much denser (and more familiar) Minneapolis. Plus, I was meeting Betsy back in the Warehouse District within a couple hours.
Goodbye, St. Paul.
Next time, I'll plan a weekend visit when less residents are working.
Until we meet again, my friend.