Friday, July 31, 2020

Sisters' Night Out

Breanne started a sabbatical from work last Fall, and she has been doing all kinds of amazing things...
from living in Latin America learning Spanish (to add to the Chinese, Arabic, and Biblical Hebrew she already knows) to watching baby sea turtles hatch on the beach to cruising the Galapagos to mountain biking at the Grand Canyon to taking a wilderness survival course in California and SO much more!
Now she is on her way to Philadelphia, where she will be pursuing her MBA at Wharton,
but lucky for us, she decided to stop over in Memphis for a few weeks on her way out!

The Friday before she started her (online) pre-term business school classes, we decided we should have a night out to celebrate the end of her sabbatical. (She's doing the first few weeks of classes here in Memphis, so we weren't saying good-bye yet!)
Sam was so kind to encourage us to go while he took all the kids for the evening,
and we headed off to the Global Cafe at the Crosstown Concourse.
(You can read more about this fascinating restaurant here.)
Sam and I went here last Fall, and I instantly knew I wanted to come back with Breanne at some point!
The current chefs are from Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela, and there are menus from each country.

We pulled up to the Crosstown Concourse, and I suddenly realized I had taken my mask out of the car.
And masks are required at public, indoor spaces in Memphis!
Dismayed, I dug through my purse, hoping to find something I could use as a face covering, and there I found Benson's mask I had taken from him the day before when he wouldn't keep it on!
I loosened the straps and donned a toddler-sized mask covered in dinosaurs, and we were off.

As we stood waiting to order our food, someone walked up to the counter and picked up a stunning drink with a mango carved to look like a giant flower perched on the top!
I was sure it was alcoholic, and I don't drink...not to mention I'm pregnant!
But mangoes are one of my favorite foods, and I could not get over how beautiful it was.
So I decided to ask if they could make a virgin one for me.
I have always been afraid to order virgin drinks in the past, because I'm concerned they will forget and add alcohol, but the bar at the Global Cafe was in plain sight so I could watch him prepare the drink.
He assured me it was no problem, and he started preparing drinks.
Evidently a couple of other people had ordered the beautiful mango-ritas, because he was making three at once.
And as I watched carefully, I saw that he did the exact same thing to every glass. The bulk of the drink was poured from a non-labeled plastic container, so it was unclear whether it was alcoholic. When he called me up to get my drink, I hesitantly said, "I just want to verify...this is virgin, right?"
"Ohhh, I forgot!!" he exclaimed.
My fear had been realized!

He promptly gave the alcoholic one to another customer and made me a new one, this time clearly non-alcoholic.

I don't care for hot sauce and spices mixed with fruit, but the colors were so vibrant I went for it anyway. Taste-wise it's not something I would order again, but we made sure to take lots of pictures so I can learn to cut mangoes like this! It was so beautiful!

We both ordered Venezuelan food--delicious!

After we finished eating, we went inside the Crosstown Concourse to wander around.
It is such a treat for the eyes! It is one of my favorite places to visit in Memphis.
A former Sears Roebuck building, it sat empty for many years until it was transformed into this beautiful, eclectic space with restaurants, art galleries, short-term apartment housing, business offices, and more.

This origami display was incredible!!!

I love the way they incorporated the old with the modern. They have a lot of old Sears Roebuck equipment repurposed in different ways, like as flower planters. Breanne kept telling me to get in pictures. I wasn't feeling particularly photogenic with my pregnant belly, dino-mask, and humidified hair desperately in need of a haircut, but I complied.

It was such a fun night--thanks to the dinosaur mask for saving the day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Social Distancing Art Tour

Late one morning we braved the heat and headed out to see some of the interesting artwork in distancing style.
I had seen online that there was a street in Memphis where, several years ago, there was a festival in which artists gathered and painted over 80 murals on the sides of buildings!
I was really intrigued but, after looking up the street, realized it wasn't in the best location.
I've mostly overcome my qualms about Memphis' ranking as one of the top 5 most dangerous cities in the US, but I try to avoid certain areas all the same. I didn't think I'd feel comfortable walking around there, especially with all the kids.
So we decided to do a drive-by observation. Breanne was brave enough to hop out of the car and it's thanks to her that we have these pictures! The boys were totally fascinated by the artwork from inside the car (and bonus: we had A/C!).

I feel like these old, condemned buildings have so much potential to be turned into something amazing.
The intricate designs surrounding each panel were so intriguing to me!

This one of Rosa Parks was my favorite!

After looking at the murals, we headed over to the metal museum to walk around the sculpture garden.
It is perched right on the edge of the Mississippi River, and the gardens are so lovely!
They asked that we wear masks even though we were outside and there were almost no other people there, so we donned them and sweated our way around the gardens.
(I did take mine off briefly for a few pictures. The boys don't mind wearing their masks, but they had obnoxious ribbons that wouldn't stay up! I've since replaced the ribbons with elastic, which works much better.)

I had checked online, and the Mud Island riverwalk was open!
After the metal museum, we were so excited to go cool off in the to-scale model of the Mississippi--always a favorite place to visit with visitors.

Unfortunately, after paying for parking and walking a ways with the heat pouring off the asphalt, we arrived only to find that, while the riverwalk itself was open, the water was all turned off! Everything was bone-dry. I'm not sure how having a few inches of water flowing through the river area would spread COVID-19, but needless to say we had some pretty hot, exhausted, upset boys when we made that sad discovery.

They didn't stay sad for too long, though...
we headed home and stopped on the way for snowcones!
The boys were very intrigued by the super-weird animated movie that was playing.

I always love an excuse to go out and explore more of the place I live, and Breanne always provides us with that excuse!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Getting Wet

When your favorite indoor activities are closed/restricted and it's the middle of summer in Memphis,
what is there to do but find ways to get WET?
The first Monday Breanne was here, we had a water balloon fight for our family activity.
After the water balloons were used up, we filled the tote with water and the boys grabbed cups and things quickly morphed into an intense water fight.
When we were finished, we pulled out ice cream bars. It was a pretty ideal summer evening.
I spiked up Benson's wet hair and the combination of that and his chocolate goatee had me grinning from ear to ear.
Sam said he looked like some kind of millenial computer programmer with his trendy facial hair.

Another day we pulled out the sprinkler and the kids had a ball running and playing.
Things really got fun when Breanne got out her camping tarp and spread it out for them, making a homemade slip-n-slide!

These hot summers in Memphis seem endless at times (I think the fact that it doesn't cool down at night adds to that feeling), but whenever I review our summer events at the end of it all, I realize that they're pretty awesome in spite of the oppressive heat and humidity.
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