Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Night of Theatre

Last night (after a brief stop at a Crashed Ice party), we picked up out sitter and had a great night out of theatre events!

First, we used our Artshare memberships for the first time at the Southern Theatre to see Rehearsing Failure at Theatre Novi Most. Novi Most is relatively new in town (within the last few years), and had been on my radar, but I had not made it there to see anything yet. Then, over the summer, we saw Artistic Director Lisa Channer perform in a Skewed Visions piece, "3-Play," and we loved it. This began a new friendship with Lisa, and Patrick joined their board this fall.

The piece literally turns the Southern around; you are sitting in a small set of seats on the side of the stage (and opening night was sold out!) The show itself was fantastic — well written, a design that was especially strong on lighting and video, and some of the strongest performances I have seen in years. The entire cast — Pearce Bunting, Billy Mullaney, Annie Enneking, and Sara Richardson — was great, but I could not have been more struck by Barbra Berlovitz's spare and absolutely spot-on performance.

The owning moment of that show will stay with me forever. As Patrick and I discussed, I have issues with the ending, but all in all, I can't say "GO SEE IT" strongly enough. I'll go again and see it with you — I mean it. Plus it's only 65 minutes, so we can grab a drink at Sanctuary afterwards.

(They also have a HatchFund campaign going to pay the artists, and if you donate today, 1/25, your gift will double!!)


After that, we headed over to Bedlam, to see Annie Enneking — who had just ripped up the stage with the Novi Most show — perform on another stage with her band Annie and the Bang Bang! Man, that woman is incredible! The event was the Minnesota Playlist party, and it was a great night of dancing, seeing people I love and respect and admire, drinking good beer, and hanging out. This is an incredible artistic community, and I could not be more proud to be part of it.

(and hey, we need to get out and get a sitter more often!!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Love Is Strange

One of my favorite things about working at IFP Minnesota is learning about film. I'm really an idiot in this area; I know very little about film production, and I don't seem to have that encyclopedic knowledge that everyone else seems to have about most movies ever made. But this isn't from a lack of interest, but rather a lack of experience.

For the third year in a row, IFP is screening the Independent Spirit Awards with the Walker Art Center. The awards, which are basically the independent film version of the Oscars, are shown in New York, LA, and here, thanks to Andrew making them a priority 2 years ago. I feel incredibly lucky to get a chance to see them, and they are FREE to IFP members! (and staff members, of course). Plus we get to vote on the winners, like an Academy member.

The part I love best is seeing things I likely would not normally see. Case in point — tonight's showing of "LOve Is Strange," with writer and director Ira Sachs in attendance for a pre-show reception and a Q&A afterwards. The film is absolutely lovely, with an amazing cast, and a plot that is part slice of life and part incredibly provocative. And I never, in a million years, would have likely seen it without this little nudge.

There's more information on the screenings here. There are no tickets for sale; the only way to get in is to be an IFP member (or Walker film club member, but the IFP membership gives you free master classes and other discounts and all kinds of great stuff and is cheaper!) And then you can join me to see another fantastic movie!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Charlotte's Web at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Beatrix is in a book club with her good friends Meara, Brogan, and Flannery. Each girl takes a turn choosing a book and hosting — they talk about the book, often have a little quiz about it, maybe do an activity related to it, and then talk and play. (really just like every adult book club, but with less wine).

This month, though, we got a special chance to have Flannery's family friend, David — who is an MIA docent — take us on a special tour. Apparently, the Institute does adult book clubs, where they read a book and then tour the art. David wanted to pilot a kids version, based on "Charlotte's Web."

We met under the Chihuly sculpture, which Beatrix thought looked a lot like an egg sac:

The girls walking up the stairs with David:

The first thing David showed us was a newish pop-art sculpture of a dog. He started with this because, at the beginning of the book, Wilbur is very small and the world seems very large to him.

We then saw a picture of a spider — but not just any picture. The Chinese artist painted this and several other pictures with his fingers, rather than the traditional brushes. He grew one fingernail to a point so he could do thin lines.

We then looked at a Chinese study which had been imported in whole, including its garden. We used this moment to discuss the power of words, such as what Charlotte wrote in her web.

Charlotte was a true friend to Wilbur, and the girls are good friends to each other. This is an Osage friendship blanket:

Here's Flannery displaying a Van Gogh that she is particularly fond of:

Our last stop was at a Picasso sculpture of a baboon, depicting motherhood. It's made of found parts, with clay added and cast in bronze.

But everyone's favorite was the dollhouse, brought over from the Burbank Livingston Griggs House:

It was a great trip to the Institute, and we look forward to going back!

Oh, and also, to celebrate their 100th anniversary, the MIA is making all memberships FREE right now! for more information.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I'm serious about my traditions. So, even though you begin to see Facebook posts about people putting away their holiday decorations, and discarded Christmas trees start lining the curbs waiting for some mysterious tree fairy soon after, we ALWAYS leave ours up at least until January 6. It's bad luck not to.

But there's something else I enjoy about stretching Christmas out, even though it's a hard time of the year for me. It seems like the "Christmas season" begins ever earlier in the fall — and that as we get into Advent, the days get ever-busier. The thing that I like most about celebrating through Twelfth Night is that breather it gives you to still be able to enjoy the holidays, but in a less frenzied manner. There are still leftover cookies and bright lights on the tree, there is maybe a little extra time to get together with friends, and it just makes the holidays seem a little warmer and brighter.

(plus it gives you time to deliver the gifts…)

Last night, as Beatrix set the table with silver placement and gold napkins in honor of the Wise Men, and as she made up a grace to say thanking them for bringing gifts of "gold, herbs, and rice to the baby Jesus," I felt especially thankful that we let Christmas linger.

An epiphany, if you will.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Resolutions

Resolution #1 – Use
We have SO much. Our pantry is full of half-eaten food, the desk full of gift cards, the bathroom closet full of lotion and product. This year, I resolve to use all of that stuff, before buying new (as much as possible).

Resolution #2 – Re-Use
I have been active on several neighborhood Buy/Sell/Trade boards, even co-founding one for my community. In 2015, I will sell 100 items on those boards (and hopefully not buy 100!)

Resolution #3 – Create
I’m never so happy as when I am making things, even if it is just simple crafts. In 2015, I will do more of that, though I am resisting setting quotas or measurable for it.

Resolution #4 – Frame
Frame our art and hang it — it’s not doing any good sitting in a pile. Print photos and frame them.

Resolution #5 – Enjoy Minnesota
I’m always talking about how much I love living here. In 2015, I will enjoy Minnesota more — some Minnesota travel (maybe ice caves, or even just the cabin), attending various summer festivals (goal of 15), museums and other places.

Resolution #6 – Date
For the third year in a row, I’ll go on a monthly date night with my husband. Best resolution ever.

Resolution #7 – Revive Space
When evaluating how I could serve my clients better, I realized that my workspace(s) need some real help. My home office in particular is messy and cluttered, and I think it saps my work energy to face it. I will make this space (and my on-client sites) better and more productive to work in.

Resolution #8 – Preserve

Do something I consider significant in the historic preservation field. Still determining what that is.

ETA: My husband's resolutions are equally awesome:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My 2014 Resolutions - How I Did

Resolution #1
To do at least one project in each home that restores the home's sense of spirit.


At our main home, we redid the ceilings, which looks great. For a bonus, we re-did the guest room — added some curtains, some new pillows, and generally made it more comfortable. Come visit! (we also got some smaller projects finished and a good start on others. Go us!)

At Summit, I repainted the back room cobalt blue, made a cozy mud room out of an ineffective closet, and (mostly) did over the bar area). I still need a light and new flooring, but it looks much better!

Slow and steady process at Winter, including walls done.

Resolution #2
At least one date night a month.


This is my favorite resolution ever. We have been true to it, and will repeat next year. Work events (even if they are fun) don’t count, though we did go to one totally non-work show (Book of Mormon) in September. Generally we just go somewhere really good to eat (this month was The Rabbit Hole), or a couple of taprooms, or something.

Resolution #3
An evening with friends (dinner here, out to dinner, whatever) at least once a month.


This was Patrick’s resolution, but it was by necessity joint. Still, I did not buy in as hard as I could have, and I regret that (he’s right, and it was sweet of him to admit it; I am generally the logistics one that does planning of these kind of events). Still, we made it, if you count pool parties, which I totally do since we had those weekly!

Resolution #4
Go on an awesome family vacation.


Total win! Our trip to Costa Rica was all that and more. We planned for it, we had a great experience in four very different areas, and we still talk about it all the time. It had a huge effect on our family life.

I love our more spontaneous/shorter trips; we went to Madeline Island for a week this summer, which was great, and had a most excellent road trip to New Orleans over Thanksgiving. But that Costa Rica trip will always stand out as one of the most incredible experiences of my life. When I was young, my mom and I went to Hawaii several times, and I liken it to that.

Resolution #5
Embrace curiosity through learning.

Success (mainly)

I had specific tasks for this:
Fund 4 Kickstarter campaigns (I'm trying to suss how it works)
I did this, and learned I really did NOT like Kickstarter, and it does not work for the arts half as well as it does for technology. But I went to a fantastic Seed & Spark presentation (crowdfunding for film projects) in December, and I am really excited about that.

Watch 10 TED talks (Love the idea of TED and other similar events, hate watching videos online)
I put these off until the other night. Patrick and I watched them together, and had a great time. Looking forward to doing that together more in the future.

Complete online accounting course
Umm, you have to carry something over, right?

I had hoped to take some other classes, and got approved for the scholarship pool at the Loft, but just have not gotten there yet.

Resolution #6
Provide outstanding services to my consulting clients.

Mixed, but generally Success.

What I learned about this is that I really shone in some moments. At least once a week I have totally fist-bumped myself on something that I totally got right. Plus, I have picked up some really interesting new gigs. At the same time, I have still felt scrambled and not on top of things in many cases. It’s paradoxical — every time I do well at something, then I end up stretching further, and then not feeling as good! I still think I could do better, but may need some more concrete steps.

I had a bunch of mini-goals too:
Success – finding a violin teacher for Beatrix, beating my Goodreads challenge.
Mixed – more blog posts (I am so erratic on these), do more crafts (but I have gone to several sewing nights, mad a kick-ass mermaid tail for Beatrix, and LOVE making things when I get the chance), and exercise (though I am now taking yoga).

Nope – cemetery plot.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Patrick on Resolutions

On Saturday, while Beatrix went to see "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" at CTC with my aunt, Patrick and I went out to various taprooms (Bang and Urban Growler, for the record). Our big topic of discussion was New Year's Resolutions (you can see it's a big topic for us around this time of year).

Here are his thoughts on how to handle it when you BOTH make important resolutions: