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Maple Plain; Looking Chipper; A Sushi Quest; A Naval Novelist; Car Quiz; Organic What?

We have safely returned from Normally Frozen Far, Far Northern Minnesnowta to much warmer temps in the Twin Cities (after all, it IS in the Far South of the Land of 10,000 Lakes and 100,000 Lake Streets). The Coach is happily moored in a very nice campground in Baker Preserve, Maple Plain, MN. We are surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, oddly enough, but the locals here apparently do not collect much of the sap of these maples, which is why Minnesota Maple Syrup is so rare and expensive.

We were very happy to accept an invitation to Terri and Pam’s lovely home for drinks and snackees. Terri is doing much better since being evicted… er, discharged… from the hospital. They warned us to bring an appetite, so I brought two of my own hearty versions and My Lovely Bride’s Light Appetite, and good thing, because Pam had laid on a feast of smoked salmon, multiple cheeses, olives, tapenade and little bread rounds, followed by a yummy chocolate dessert. Smoked salmon has always been one of my favorites, and their smoked Sockeye was the best I’ve ever had! (I diplomatically did NOT mention the Keta variety (dog salmon) that My Sweetheart had inadvertently procured a couple of weeks ago… after all, My Momma Didn’t Raise No Fool).

The evening was going swimmingly until Terri’s cat Gabby came out to say hi. Now, I must tell you, Dear Reader, that I get along perfectly with every species of animal, less sharks and hyenas (okay, and one particular evil equine devil, Clifford the Horse). I am the kind of person who stops along the highway to move turtles off the road. But did that give me any cachet with Gabby? Nay, it did not. The little beast came up and rubbed against my leg for a minute, lulling me into a sense of security. Then she sniffed closely, perhaps realizing then that I was one of those enemy creatures, A Dog Person. When I leaned down to scratch behind her ears, I got the Perfect Evil Hiss… okay, little Gabby, I know your Mom loves you, but now you are officially off my Christmas Card List! (Note: Gabby is actually a hairless Sphinx breed of cat; I did not choose a photo of a Sphinx because I had two concerns: (1) puncture wounds; and (2) a feline defamation suit).

Have I mentioned that My Lovely Bride is addicted to sushi? It’s been weeks since her last sushi fix (Montana, Alberta, Kansas and Missouri not being particularly well-known for raw seafood), so last night we went looking for the best sushi in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Suzanne looked up the reviews on Yelp, and found one only 30 minutes away. When we drove up, we found that the sushi bar had been displaced by a Mexican restaurant. (This was one of those N.G. moments…) Fortunately, Sushi Suzy went on a quest, asking several locals what they had done with the sushi bar. They must have recognized the frenzied light in her eyes, because one person said, “It moved across the street, ma’am, here I’ll take you there…” Good thing it wasn’t a weekend, because the sushi bar’s main draw was a long bar for folks downing shooters, like maybe mixes of sake and tequila. (Did I mention that the people are a bit strange here?) Anyway, we had some very good sushi, gyozaand a Kirin Ichiban beer, but it was much pricier than back home in our favorite Japanese restaurant in The Villages. At least Suzanne can last another week or two before she starts twitching and I have to look for another sushi bar…

We went for a w-a-l-k around t-o-w-n in Excelsior, and of course wound up on a dock on Lake Street by (what else?) one of the state’s thousands of lakes. This is one arm of Lake Minnetonka, which has seventeen arms, but because it’s so famous, and everyone wants to live on or near it, six cities claim it as their own. Needless to say, real estate here is rather pricey. Rudy and Gretchen were less than impressed; there were no rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs or prairie dogs here.

Car Quiz: Okay, here is an opportunity for some car nut to win a couple of packages of Twinkies (if they are back in production) or some other replacement goodies. Name the make and model of this sports car, and one person will be selected at random from the thousands of correct answers I receive (actually we don’t usually get over several hundred).

Today we were invited to lunch with novelist Bill Hammond and his son Churchill. Bill was Suzanne’s literary agent for several of her early books. He is now a very successful and award-winning author, published by the US Naval Institute Press. I have read all of his books, and heartily recommend them. See his series of four novels based on the US Navy in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 at When not writing novels, Bill is also a full-time freelance editor. We met at Sunsets in Wayzata, where Bill and Churchill live. We had a delightful time with Bill and Churchill, and look forward to seeing them again later this week during our stay in the Twin Cities.

Lastly, you may have noticed that I like interesting signs. I found the first in Wayzata in an obviously upscale part of town (I don’t think there is a downscale part of Wayzata). I won’t make any comment other than, “Isn’t that interesting?”

The second sign was in a small town out in the country, Long Lake (could it have been on Lake Street?). Anyway, I found it intriguing because in my small pea brain, I thought that all wood was organic, but obviously I am not well-informed… by the way, the shop was near the organic grocery, where you can buy organic foods for only two or three times what you would otherwise pay for non-organic foods… what a great deal!  


1 Comment

  • Jennifer
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 2:12 am

    That's not really a photo of her cat is it? All teeth and whiskers!

    Churchill's son is gorgeous. Look at those arms and
    what a great smile. Single? Most likely not….


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