Creative Nonfiction

My master's degree in historic preservation is from Goucher College, and during our sessions, there was another group that met near us — the creative nonfiction masters program. Since then, I've always had a hard time defining "creative nonfiction," but have always said "I know it when I see it." And this week I came across an excellent example.

Yesterday, an Apartment Therapy piece popped up on my Facebook feed called "Why I Regret Buying an Old Home."  Since naturally that is NOT my mindset, I clicked over, and of course I could not have disagreed with the article more. I don't often post in the comments, but here I did:

I love our old house that I purchased, in poor shape as a HUD home 25 years ago. I love being a caretaker to a house build by a land-speculating hardware widow in 1886, a house that we will pass on to our daughter. I love that I moved into a neighborhood full of "urban pioneers" who moved onto vacant, boarded homes …

Some More Thoughts On Our Trip

The absolute best times of our "Avoiding Thanksgiving" Chicago trip were the times we spent with friends. Seeing Michelle and Steve (and Eva) on the first night was unbelievably fantastic. Connecting with my cousin Frank and his wife Sandy on the way out of town was equally great, and we could have sat there talking all night.

Our family's idea of "quality time" is generally time spent at museums or performances, exploring together. This trip was no different. I guess our love language is art.

I'm relay starting to like getting a fancy coffee pick-me-up in the afternoons. This could be dangerous.

Spot Hero was easy to use and saved us a ton on parking costs.

Going to big stores seemed like a different world, and though it was interesting to see that world, I'm far more comfortable in small, individual places.

I am still dreaming of the beer at Moody Tongue.

Beatrix is dreaming of redoing her dollhouse, Colleen More fairy-castle style, and I am highly i…

Avoiding Thanksgiving

I have a really hard time with Thanksgiving; it's always been a slightly awkward holiday in my family, and it's when, years back, that it was clear my mom would not make it. So we like to try to get away over the weekend when we can (past trips have included London, New Orleans, and Vegas). This year, for some reason, it felt especially like we needed to get away, and so we decided to replicate a trip, twelve years ago, when we went to Chicago to stay at the Palmer House and escape the first Thanksgiving after my mom died — and we were off to Beatrix's first Chicago trip!

On the way, though, we had the bonus of stopping to see our friends Michelle and Steve in Madison (who we also had not seen in forever). Let's just say that hilarity ensued, and it was one of the most fun nights I've had in forever!

The next day, after a stiff cup of coffee, we drove on the couple of hours to Chicago, starting out at the Driehaus Museum, in all its Gilded Age glory. It was beautif…

Shelter Empty

I'm sooooo divided about this.

Minneapolis Animal Control had a "clear the shelter" event yesterday where they waived all adoption fees and all animals were adopted.

Now the pessimistic part of me knows that animals given away for free are at a miuch higher risk for being mistreated, used as bait dogs in dogflghting, and other horrible things.

Yet I am also told that this animal control division does a very good job of vetting potential owners. And it obviously worked to clear the shelter, making room for more animals in need and getting some animals into good, loving homes.

Saint Paul just changed to having a fine-free library, which has been extraordinarily successful. While I'm not equating accidentally dropping a book into a bathtub with animal mistreatment in terms of consequences, it does make me wonder about how many people are unable to use public services because the fees charged are just not possible for people who might otherwise make excellent use of them…


Beatrix does not need us anymore.

Or, more to the point, she had sleepovers both Friday and Saturday nights, allowing us to have two consecutive date nights. It's been about 15 years since that has happened (in fact, we realized when we were out on Friday night that it was our 15-year dating anniversary...)

We started at The Mudd Room, a charming little speakeasy located under Lucky's 13 in Mendota Heights. Now if you know Lucky's, you know it's kind a a family-friendly zoo on the weekends, and when we pulled up it was in full swing, with a line out the door and no parking to be found. But somehow, when you enter the Mudd Room through the side, it's a whole different world — quiet, sophisticated, and charming. The room was almost empty, though it filled up quickly!

We stayed perhaps longer than we should have, enjoying a delicious flatbread and lobster guac, as well as a few cocktails. It was lovely, and we could not imagine better!

That is, until we got to Volstead…

Salary Ranges on Job Postings - Why It's Important

I know. You've become used to this blog being a fun little thing about cocktails and activities. I rarely post about work-related issues, mainly because I'm usually just head down, doin' the work. But this one is really important to me.
For the love of all things holy, when you post a job description, please include a salary range!
I’m so committed to this that I’ve recently made the professional decision that I’ll no longer share job descriptions that don’t have a salary range in them. 
I’ve been in this business long enough to remember when wages were the third rail that was never touched, and so it took some re-aligning on my part, but I’m glad I did. In the beginning, it flew against everything I thought I knew. Wouldn’t you want the ultimate amount of flexibility for the job, to bring in someone with promise at a lower level and let them grow with the position? Or to be able to draw someone at a higher level, who was interested in your organization? What if you found the…

Sweet as Cherry Pie

Beatrix was off of school yesterday, so she spent the afternoon with my aunt.

She introduced my aunt to her favorite places, all of which were new to Jan — lunch at Cafe Astoria, a stop by J. Crew (we don't know why that's her favorite!), and Anthropologie (I think much of this interest stems form wandering down Grand Avenue with her friend Frances the other day....)

They then baked cherry pie with cherries off our sour cherry tree at Summit that Jan had picked and frozen.

Who says days off school are not educational?