Re-uniting with Old "Roommates"
Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
41Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
What I did
Kristen & Kaia
The Sights and Sounds of Saint Paul
Travel and timing are not precise on this Odyssy of ours....friends Cathy Hartnett and Jon Monto were staying in New Jersey, (and speaking of timing!) they were bracing for Hurricane Sandy to make landfall. I did not get any direct updates from them afterwards but recieved a message a couple of days later that they were en route, home to Minnesota to vote and host an E
election night soiree.
We also missed seeing and staying with friends Elizabeth Russell Kamman & husband Jim Kamman due to family circulstances that clearly took precedence and while we didn't SEE each other we did have a opportunity to catch up on all the years we've missed. One of the first times I met Elizabeth (through Cathy Hartnett), we were coordinating a Fundraiser on the "Back Lot" at Disney (Studios) in conjunction with the opening of the movie "Rocketeer" (1991?) and the same week, an outrageous event at "The Improv" in West Hollywood with crazy comics like Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and a couple of "new comers" named Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel... I'm back to questioning my memory but I'm pretty sure my sister Connie was there because she was living in Marina del Ray at the time and my one of my dear, fun, funny college roommates, Elinor Bardach... We tried to reach Sharon Fischlowitz too, who lives in St Paul but she was on her HONEYMOON!
I called my cousin (of course!) Eric Creighton on Thursday. He was leaving for Sweden and Italy on Friday to visit his son Jack and help extend his Visa. Jack is studying abroad for a semester and living with family/friends in Sweden. We surprised Eric with our news of the Odyssey trip but he didn't miss a beat because before we had a chance to invite ourselves, Eric said they have a guest suite in their home downstairs and plenty of room. His wife Kristen (whom we’ve adored since the very first moment we met) would be home with their daughter Kaia all week.
I think I have already lamented (bitched) about my frustration with technology of late and in that vein, I am STILL having trouble "sync-ing" my contacts. So in the mean time, while I was seeking out her cell number (thanks Con) Kristen (Koski Creighton aka “KK”) called US to make sure we knew we were welcome and said “please, please, please, come stay with us.”
Eric & Kristen moved from Minnesota to the Washington DC Area in 1994 and they lived with us at our Ashley Drive house for a few weeks. Mallery & Travis were two, Billy had “finished” our basement there and Care-Doe, our Nanny, was living with us then too. Many of the friends and family we have seen already on this trip remembered being at that house at one time (party) or another.... Eric and Kristen were GREAT ROOMMATES and we had some silly and memorable times with Mallery & Travis during their "Terrific Twos." (I do mean that!)
At the time, Eric was starting a new job on “The Hill” and together Erric & Kristen were on what would be the beginning of a life-long adventure together! Great couple... great family.
Sidebar: Eric’s dad, Rick, lived with us (my parents Tom, Bill, Mare, Jim, Carol & Con) in Minneapolis for a few years when he was in High School (1962-63?) and was like a brother to me. (He taught me how to tie my shoes.) So the “Old Roommates” title on this post has several correlations. .
So back to the Odyssey… Shoot… Eric, we'll miss you & Jack but still want to see Kristen & Kaia. “Gar” got us there easily it was yet another gorgeous, bright sunny day. Arriving from a brief trip from Hopkins (less than an hour?) after a quick stop at LA Fitness… We got there at lunchtime, welcomed with GREAT COFFEE and Kristen's genuine warmth that matched the day.
We took the tour. Our suite was great - our very own movie theatre outside our bedroom door with comfy sofas, footstools (one of my latest favorite things) and throws.
Their home is huge and comfortable. A wine cooler, great wine and other wonderful "accoutrement" including a very cool rapid wine aerator... and our introduction to the SodaStream... I love “fuzzy water” (club soda) and this was a "killer” machine with assorted flavorings… lemon, mandarin, raspberry, etc. (I’m hoping you won’t let my enthusiasm give you the notion we might live under a rock, waaaaaay up there in Montana!) BUT, I am easily impressed these days by practical things that make life simpler and even more enjoyable.
Having lived outside of Seattle after the Washington DC stint, KK was a self-professed Starbucks snob so any time we were out and about, our kindred spirits would will the car to any Starbucks en route. (Vente-Breve-Latte-two shots-no flavor.)
While consulting my trusty atlas, I saw River Falls was close and asked how far we were… The last Gypsy Tour/Artful Odyssey post told you all about that day trip so suffice it to say we made it to River Falls.
We got to go “Trick or Treating” with Kaia and the neighborhood kids. Ki was Little Red Riding Hood
We had strong internet service for the first time in 10 days… and time to try to catch up on lost days of communication. (Hmmmm….in theory...)
KK's career has been in education, and garnered real joy and fulfillment (as well as some heartache I believe) from her work in Art Therapy with some VERY special needs children. Eric’s current position as Chief Operating Officer for “Infinite Campus” allows Kristen the luxury of volunteering at Kaia’s school and managing a Boutique business at select private, invitation-only “Home Shows”.
We invited cousin Todd St. Martin and his girls (2 of his 3, Leanne & Katelyn were able to come, and Mark Mastro and Mary joined us for dinner on Thursday night. (An extra thanks for coming girls… We know you probably gave up a couple of fun friend-things to be there with us and we are glad to have the chance to see you.) Maria ultimatley wasn’t able to make it either and I wish we’d been able to see her but it’ll have to be the next Odyssey! ;o)
Kristen received an e-video of Eric and son Jack in Italy litterally with the Pope in Vatican Square. We had recently posted some pix and stories of our events at his house and we saw a FaceBook post from him that said. “I’m sitting in Rome and somehow I’m feeling unlucky…”
OK so wrapping this up… we were supposed to go to Burnsville, Minnesota to stay with friends and those plans changed so they were stuck with us one more night. We went to Pizza Luce (fantastic!) in St Paul and drive-by's of St Thomas, Saint Kate’s, Gustavus Adolphus College University of Minnesota and “Downtown.”
We said our good-bye’s on Friday morning, called Chicago cousins (Waller, Hanrahan, Ullrich) and gave them enough time to lock their doors if they wanted to… but instead we were welcomed to a slice of heaven on earth just outside of Chicago..