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Bear Necessities

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When my father was dying, I worked hard to get him into Our Lady of Peace Hospice, because I knew it would be the right final place for him to be. That's been the right choice for so many reasons, including the fact that they check in with you in the months after your loved one's death to see how you're doing. Today, Beatrix and I attending a teddy bear workshop, where we were able to make a bear from my dad's old shirts.

The whole experience was great. Kathy and Diane, the volunteer seamstresses that were assigned to us, were very sweet (and also fast!) They guided the work, but we were able to add our own touches, like writing a note on a  little wooden heart we enclosed inside the bear. We picked a few of my dad's favorite shirts, so we have greta memories of him wearing them.

Thanks to our speedy seamstresses, the workshop took about half the time scheduled, and gave us a really good chance to talk about my dad and why we were making the bear in his memory. It&#…

Sleep

When Beatrix was a baby she simply Would.Not.Sleep. We're not talking the run-of-the-mill waking up at night; I mean she would wake up 8-12 times a night. She was so tiny and grew so slowly that the doctors advised us that we really had to get up and feed her and not just let her cry it out, or it could be extremely dangerous for her. I remember nights when I dreaded going to bed, because I knew I would just be waking up soon again and didn't think I could bear it.

She did grow out of that by first grade or so....

Lately, I've not been sleeping. Not to that point, but since my dad was sick this summer I've been having a hard time sleeping through the night. I wake up consumed with worry and dread about things I've forgotten, the future of our country, client needs, my family, the cat's snoring.

I don't know how to start to sleep again, but I feel like I am losing brain cells at an extremely rapid pace.

Resolutions

I had all kinds of great resolution ideas for 2019.

For instance — use more spices! We have a great drawer full of delicious spices; it would be great to make more interesting meals with them. Patrick has a resolution to go back to some of our favorite recipes and look through cookbooks for new ones, and we both want to resolve to go back to having monthly dinner parties, so this was a great one.

I had also wanted to learn to make a couple of standard but excellent cocktails.

A couple years back we had a resolution to use gift cards, which was an excellent one. the problem is they have multiplied again, so that was another thing on my mind. That will avoid bad situations like having $150 in gift cards to Heydey that were lost when the place never re-opened....

Then there's my new motto: "Always take the selfie!" When going through pictures for my dad's memorial, I realized there were few pictures of him, mainly of other things. So I've been trying to memorialize …

Gains

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However, 2018 has had some good points as well, especially in stretching myself.

I went with Beatrix, two of her friends, and their moms up to a magical dogsledding weekend at Wintermoon Summersun, which reminded me of my love of the outdoors. It was absolutely magical.

We hiked 5 national parks in Utah over 5 days over spring break, visited friends in Denver, and drove home through Iowa in a blizzard.

We went to Iceland for a week, meeting amazing people and exploring the incredible geography.


Thanks to my friend Bethany, I created some subversive scrapbooking pages and made my first State Fair entry (no ribbon, but...)

I auditioned for, and was cast in, The Overachievers web series through Wonderlust Productions, which was an amazing experience. (I also got featured in a piece on Ramsey Hill, coming out in 2019).

My friend Sarah pitched some of my writing to the Minnesota Women's Press, who invited me to write a piece on the Summit house. I'm so proud and want to do more!

My…

End of 2018

As I look back, 2018 has been, above all, a year of unexpected loss.

I did not expect to take my dad's death as badly as I did. But the speed and intensity of it (less than 6 weeks from the diagnosis to his passing), and the suffering he went through, made it especially hard. I didn't expect to lose my friend Leah, but maybe that's because I chose to share her hope that it would all work out, and I don't know that that was the wrong choice.

But there were a lot of other, smaller losses scattered through the year. A loss of hope for our country, every single day. Loss of client relationships. Shifting friendships. My weird arm condition (Parsonage-Turner syndrome) returning. Things I meant to or wanted to get done (be more creative, read more books, exercise more, trips I wanted to take, spend more time with my family) that did not happen — my New Years Resolutions are a shambles.

Losing the things at my dad's, even though I have no use for them. Having to have his …

Grand on Grand

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Both the Pioneer Press (photo credit for the image above) and KARE-11 have recently had stories about the decline of Grand Avenue (I linked to the KARE-11 one because it's virtually identical and no paywall). And heck, I've seen it — yesterday we stopped in to Sixth Chamber, the Bibelot Shop, and Traditions (all closing soon). The Loft is gone (not that I ever went there), and there are still multiple empty storefronts, especially at Victoria Crossing. And there's a vigorous debate on Facebook about what to do about it.

Some say that this is the normal ebb and flow, but I've lived off of Grand for my whole life and I strongly think it's more than that. Others say it's parking, but honestly I don't think it's that either; I shop there multiple times a week and almost never have an issue with parking. I think, as one of my friends indicated, that it's the "perfect storm" of online shopping + changing retail and shopping habits + tightening …