Reflections From The Mayo Cruise

Last evening we noticed a convent looking building on the hill across from our hotel – what a lovely view. Tuscany in Minnesota.

We found out today it is a convent. Sisters of St. Francis. I wonder if there are tours – it’s a lovely building, and there seems to be a great deal of art.

The Mayo buildings – whether by design or by function – seem journey-like. Many waiting rooms feel like retro train stations, the exam rooms have the feeling of a nice-sized 40’s sleeper car, the atrium in the Mayo/Gonda building feels like the deck of a ship to me.

If life is a journey, today felt like a Mediterranean Cruise! I keep telling Gerry when I go to France everything will look like Minnesota to me. The first time I went to Belgium it looked so Ohio-esqe. We view new things through the eyes we have. Right now we have the unique opportunity to see only each other with the kids away and this time alone.

Before leaving today we set up a mini kitty apartment in the bathroom with food, litter box, cushions in the tub & toys because we had to lock little Gigi up.

The room needed to be thoroughly cleaned. It’s a smoke free room, but when we return home at the end of the day it smells as if there’s been a poker game going on, so evidently the last guests were secret smokers.

The hotel will move us if we want – we’ll see how the deep clean went today…

Gigi was NOT happy about the arrangement – not even with the little catnip filled sock I made for her. Poor, angry kittty. She would be terrifying if she weren’t so darned cute (and slightly demonic)

Our first appointment was pleasant, easy, very informative – we really enjoyed meeting the nurse – she put us at ease and explained the full procedure quite clearly.

Then we walked around, checking out the magnificent artwork – I kvelled at a Calder mobile, Fish.

I love Calder. Gigi loves fish.

There had been a Calder stabile in front of WTC 7 when I worked there and I had lunch near it as often as possible. When that building came down – empty – later in the day on 9/11 – I wept for the Calder on top of all the tears for the folks in WTC 1 & 2.

One of the pieces is of an ancient Roman mosaic – I love this, the lines and strength make me happy. It’s a nice perspective-esque for an early Roman piece – abstract. Who knew how much I like abstract stuff?

A more realistic sculpture is this bush/tree thing – it looks more brain-like in this image than it does in person – with a groovy shot from inside the sculpture.

Everyone here is so friendly, SO clean cut with little name plates that are a little too close to the LDS name plates. Hmmmm.

There are folks from all over the world here – so many examples of interesting and beautiful cultural dress – I think I counted 5 different types of woman-wrapping garment yesterday.

There’s a very large sculpture of a man with a fig leaf in an appropriate space, but NO revealing sculptures of women. The only realistic dimensional representations of women I’ve seen, actually, is a bas relief showing nuns in traditional habit – interesting…

A few Mennonites rode by on bikes as we walked home – just odd little touches all over the place – the sorts of things that make us feel that we’re in a very unique place.

We stopped by Kristen’s Knits on the way home this afternoon [a lovely shop, by the way, with very nice yarns – good selection – and INOX Express needles!!]

It was a relief to walk around the shop and just LOOK at yarn, not think, “How can I find a way to bring up this yarn in class so folks will give it a second look..?” – which is what I do quite often when I teach. However, I do have my eye on some King Tut Egyptian cotton – I may pick some up later..!

Kristen was so kind – she knew who I was (we stood in front of the shop for 20 minutes finishing up a call with Gerry’s aunt – not very conspicuous, huh? Well, I thought it would have been rude to walk in chatting on the cell phone) Kristen walked out to help us inside, loaded down as we were with bags and walker.

I saw some women from a distance who appeared to be wearing 14th century Dutch headresses – I have to find them tomorrow and see exactly WHAT they have on!

Speaking of Holland, we went to Pannekoeken for lunch – excellent salads, and the ubiquitous PANNE-kochen! carried out by singing waitresses. Gerry and joked about the singing – it would have been interesting to hear the waitresses sing it to the tune of Pennsylvania 6500 – “Pannah-coke-en six-five-oh-oh-OH!”

After lunch we met with Dr. Costas again. He’s here at the Mayo on a fellowship working in the Blood & Marrow transplant department and has become one of our favorite folks to chat with. He’s Brazilian, a very nice guy, and has an easy-going way of explaining complicated procedures so we can understand them.

He has a slight accent – it seems ridiculous to even mention it since I can’t imagine what kind of an accent I’d have if I tried to speak Portuguese – but at one point he told Gerry that by the time we went home at the end of this entire procedure he’d only be taking a ‘cupful’ of pills every day.

– A cup full? That sounds like a lot…
– No, a cup-pool.

A couple. Big difference. So that’s our goal. Brand spanking new stem cells and a couple of pills a day in 8 easy weeks.

Of course, continuing in our search for inappropriate music / magazines in the waiting rooms, we found a Rochester magazine lying around with this interesting ad for a local casino.

Gerry thought the subtext was NOT by accident.

At one point today we rode the elevator with a mom and her teenage daughter who’d just finished her stem cell transplant experience and was heading home – bald but healthier than she’d been and with a brighter outlook than the mom had expected.

It was easy to see that the mom was just barely holding it together – the emotions and gratitude showing in every part of her face.

As we parted, she said to me, “He’ll be okay, you’ll see!”

Which was a very nice thing for her to say. And an even better thing to hear. Just the connection with another Mom – another woman about my age – was a nice thing. So many of the women I chat with here are in their 70’s or older. I was supposed to go to a knitting group on Wednesday, but wasn’t able to make it. I’m REALLY looking forward to making it there next week – new friends are good.

Speaking of new friends, one stopped by this evening – how lucky are we to already be making friends? Linda had emailed me weeks ago with advice about a local boarding kennel, and stopped by to drop off the BEST molasses cookies I’ve ever had. Note to Gerry: Hide the cookies or you’ll have NONE of them!

Gerry and I (okay, I) talked nonstop to our poor guest this evening – I was a little overwhelming – and I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve just had a VISIT with a friend.

Most of my interactions have been teaching-related, bathroom reno-related or health related lately, and I’m ready to just chill with friends!

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