History 101, Summer 2017

Summer vacation is over, but it sure was fun. This past week was spent with my youngest sons visiting some of the historical places important in our countries independence.  Along the way, we took in several museums and walk around a few prestigious college campuses.

New Haven Connecticut

Points of Interest: Yale University, Yale Art Gallery, Felice Varini Perspectives  Mural Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and Yale Center for British Art.

Providence, Rhode Island

Points of Interest: First Baptist Church of America, Rhode Island School of Design, RISD Museum, Brown University, State House, and numerous historical buildings.

Boston, Massachusetts

Points of Interest: Freedom Trail, Harvard, MIT, Mass General Museum of Medical History and Innovation, and fireworks from the Esplanade.


New York City

Points of Interest: Storm viewed from our hotel Rooftop Patio, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, including the Modern Native Fashion exhibit.




It’s all Greek to Me

I have a very good friend who is originally from Greece.  A few years ago, we took a trip together and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sites and tasting the foods.

Today is her birthday – Happy Birthday Venetia!!

In honor of her birthday, I decided to make some Greek cuisine for dinner.

Our menu included (serves 3):img_1922

Kolokithopitta (Zucchini Pie)
1 zucchini, unpeeled and shredded
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
1 tsp parsley chopped
1/2 tsp dill weed, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup feta cheese, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 sheets filo pastry, cut in fourths
2 T butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Over low heat, saute the zucchini, onions and garlic in the oil until browned, stirring occasionally. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the filo and butter.  Butter a 5×7 pan. On the bottom, place 8 pieces of filo dough, each sheet brushed with butter.  Spoon the zucchini mixture over the filo.  Cover with 8 more pieces of filo, each brushed with butter.  Brush the top with butter.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Cool slightly and cut into six pieces.

Salata (Greek Salad)
20 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup feta cheese, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all vegetables.  Serve with feta sprinkled on top. Most Greek salads have olives on top.  But, since I don’t like olives, I don’t have any in my refrigerator.

Psimeno Arni Pilafi (Baked Lamb Pilaf)
8 ounces lamb stew meat
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
1 cup brown rice
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine tomato paste, oregano, garlic and oil.  Coat the chicken pieces with the mixture and place in a baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Add rice and broth.  Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Road Trip, Summer 2016

As a pediatric dentist, summer is always very busy.  But, it’s still nice to have some time away from the office. This year, my time off came in the form of a road trip to NYC.  My third son, Ben, will be attending Pratt Institute this fall to study Architecture.  So, we loaded up his college stuff and hit the road.

Day One: Minneapolis to Milwaukee
Beautiful sunset over a Wisonsin farm.

Our first stop was a visit to see my mother-in-law in Milwaukee.  After working until noon, we finished loading and headed out. Unfortunately, I had a horrible migraine that even Rizatriptan could not stop. Thankfully, my son could drive.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan.
Photo courtesy of my son, Dan.
Day Two: Milwaukee to Niagara
An early morning wake up was in order to take the 6am ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon. Very relaxing start to our day (nap included) prior to driving across Michigan and part of Ontario.
The view from our hotel window.
Day Three: Niagara Falls
The Falls are always amazing to see and are a good reminder of God’s immense power.
If you visit Niagara, I would recommend dinner at Kasbah Mediterranean Qsine restaurant. Starting at 3pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they offer a prix fixe option for $21 Canadian ($16.15 USD) per person.  The meal included an appetizer plate, soup or salad options, four entrees and desert.  Great food, great value!
Brooklyn Brownstone
Day Four: Niagara to Brooklyn
We set out in the morning to drive across the state of New York. Along the way we made a stop in Corning to have lunch with my sister-in-law, niece and her husband.
When we arrived in Brooklyn at 8pm, the outdoor temperature was 95 degrees. My son’s room, on the fourth floor of one of the historic Brooklyn brownstones, was even hotter!  After numerous trips up and down the stairs, we finally had everything unloaded. I was happy to head to an air conditioned hotel.  My son, however, spent his first night in Brooklyn in his really hot apartment.
Day Five: Brooklyn, Manhattan, NY
Morning shopping at Ikea, Target and a grocery store.
Lunch at Luigi’s.
Dinner at Juice Press.
Evening Harbor Lights Cruise.

Statue of Liberty
Manhattan Skyline
Pratt Institute entrance.
Photo was taken during our visit in April.
Jacket was definitely not needed this time.

Day Six:

Brooklyn to Pittsburg

With orientation starting in a few days and classes starting in a week, Ben, has some time to check out the city and get settled in to his apartment. Kinda makes his mom want to be young again so that she can have the same experience!

But, my youngest son, Dan, and I had a long drive back to Minnesota. So, time to say good bye and head west.

To break up the drive, we planned a few stops along the way.

Liberty Bell

Our first stop was in Philadelphia for a self guided Constitution Walking Tour. Dan has been fascinated by history since he was really young. So, this was an enjoyable stop.

Constitution Hall
Chocolate Overload!

The drive through central Pennsylvania was beautiful. I especially liked the old split stone farm houses that I saw along the way.

For our second stop, I was debating between Lancaster, PA or Hershey, PA. I thought my son would prefer Hershey, so that was where we headed.
Bad decision – way too commercial and far too many people!  I should have investigated this decision a bit more.

Day Seven: Pittsburgh to Chicago

Eight hours of driving and toll road, after toll road. I think this trip cost over $200 in tolls.  I wish I had known that the E-ZPass – probably would have saved a lot of $.

The Ledge

Rain storms off and on throughout the day, from showers to heavy downpours.  We finally made it to Chicago.

Not wanting to do too much, we settled on a ride up to the SkyDeck of the Willis Building. The Ledge is a glass balcony that extends four feet outside of the building on the 103rd floor.  That’s 1353 feet above the ground.  When you look down, you see the city below!

Day Eight: Chicago to Minneapolis

Our day started with a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. Some of the exhibits we saw:
Coal Mine – history and technology of mining
U-505 Submarine – a German submarine that was captured during WWII
The Great Train Story – a massive model train display that includes Chicago and Seattle
Numbers in Nature – Mirror Maze – this was really fun!
Transportation Gallery – a flight simulator ride with Dan as the pilot and me as the gunner.  I only hit three targets.  But, it’s a bit hard aiming when you are flying upside down.  Dan will need a bit more practice before he joins that Air Force.

After a late afternoon stop in Madison for ice cream with my son, Sam, we arrived home at 10 pm. Happy to sleep in my own bed again.

2650 miles driven,
$223.10 in tolls paid,
Nine states and one Canadian province visited,
A few tense moments driving in unknown areas,
One son settled,
History experienced, and
Lots of photos and fun memories.

Highlights from San Francisco

Having taken a few days off work – I headed to San Francisco to see my oldest son. After arriving, I spent the first day walking around the Mission District. I enjoyed viewing the many wall murals along my walk.

Women’s Building

And the other sights of the Mission…

Some of the highlights were actually getting the the higher places in San Francisco.
Bernal Heights… 

Twin Peaks….

My son, Tim.
We also visited Napa and Sonoma.  Being a non-drinker (I know that is not normal for visitors the the Valley), Tim and I went to see the scenery and art.  We stumbled upon the di Rosa Art and Nature Preserve and arrived just before a docent-led tour was beginning. We learned a lot about Rene di Rosa’s art collection, the various artists in the collection, and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.