Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions - ver. 2010

So I give myself a "B" for last year's resolution:

Anyway, my one resolution for 2009 is to enjoy living in our house a lot more (I suppose in preparation for the eventual move). That encompasses a lot of things, from enjoying the time spent playing in the living room with Beatrix, to getting small things fixed and big rooms finished, to keeping the house neater, to entertaining more at home.

We definitely made some progress on this front. We finished the den, and a beautiful patio outside, and planted lots of new things. We fixed some major appliances. We put in all new windows (a project that started in late 2008, but whatever). We spent a lot of time hanging out at home, and expanded our household — Miles moved back in, and we took in a stray cat. We did not finish the front room, or fix a lot of small things that bug me, or paint the house, or entertain as much as I think we would have liked to, or been as neat as we could have. Life (and lots of work) just got in the way.

So I'm going to extend that resolution for 2010 (and add some others):

1. Enjoy living in our home more (round 2). I think that will mean some big projects, like painting and a new roof. Plus the aforementioned finishing the front room, and a bevy of other projects. I'd like to enjoy our garden with Beatrix. I'd like to be neater (sigh), and I'd like to have people over more.

2. Be better about appreciating my friends. Keep up with birthdays (if only on FB). Email and call more regularly. Make time for coffee and get togethers. Be an ear when people need it. Do my best to advance my friends' goals and dreams. Have people over more often — wanna come over for cocktails some night after 8? We're always home.

3. Eat and drink better. I know that better eating is going to be on Patrick's list so I might as well be proactive. Cook more at home with better recipes. Have people over for dinner (see a theme here?) Eat local. Go to some of those restaurants I've been meaning to check out. Find a signature cocktail. Enjoy wine.

4. Look and feel better. I guess that goes hand in hand with #3 above, but also exercise more. Get that damn rec center membership and do the 200 sit-up challenge. Get my knee checked out (yikes - $$). Dress better. Find the perfect pair of black earrings. Take baths with that great new bath scrub I just made. Clean out my make-up. Keep up with my hair.

5. Bring more creativity into my life. This is the one resolution that will be kind of all-encompassing, so is kind of scarey. See shows. Do creative activities with Beatrix in particular. Be more creative in my approach to work, so that I am more innovative. Read more — don't be afraid of the Kindle! Write a lot more. Take creative chances. Maybe fail.

It's kind of an intimidating list. I'm hoping that by putting it out there I'll stay accountable.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hillary Clinton Gets It

From her speech Monday at Georgetown University regarding human rights in the 21st century —

"I remember some years ago seeing a play about women in Bosnia during the conflict there. It was so gripping. I still see the faces of those women who were pulled from their homes, separated from their husbands, often raped and left just as garbage on the side of the road. So I think that artists both individually and through their works can illustrate better than any speech I can give or any government policy we can promulgate that the spirit that lives within each of us, the right to think and dream and expand our boundaries, is not confined, no matter how hard they try, by any regime anywhere in the world. There is no way that you can deprive people from feeling those stirrings inside their soul. And artists can give voice to that. They can give shape and movement to it. And it is so important in places where people feel forgotten and marginalized and depressed and hopeless to have that glimmer that there is a better future, that there is a better way that they just have to hold onto."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The White Rabbit

Someone who is far more erudite than I, on one of my pet peeves:

http://chronicle.com/article/Sorry-Im-Late/49148/

Enough said, because I don't like to get rant-y.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shopping Secrets

My friend Kelly opened her new store, Play by Play Books today at 1771 Selby (between Snelling and Fairview). It's a fantastically funky shop, with a wide variety of theater books, unique gifts, and did I mention the free coffee and wireless? Start your holiday shopping, she has great stuff.

Or buy art! The incredibly talented Krista Kelly Walsh is having an art sale at her place this Sunday. I own several pieces from Krista, and they always make me smile.



Oh, and les Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Regional Variations" (are ticking me off!)

So this morning, after we got our wills and such notarized, we had a little time to kill before we had to leave for the airport. So we decided to head over to the Tyson's Corners Malls, which were right across the street. One of the malls is extremely high end, and we had window shopped there over coffee that morning, so we hit the other one, which is enormous and runs the gamut from Claire's to West Elm.

We walked through Macy's to get to the mall, who was having their big one-day sale. The racks were filled with cute things, including innumerable little floaty cardigans with ruffled edges, many of which I really liked. I noticed similar styles throughout the mall, including many separates that would go with said cardigans, but there's sales tax in Virginia on clothes, and we were in a hurry, and Beatrix can lose patience if we shop too long, so I didn't stop to try any on.

But I thought about them a lot, and after a delicious dinner (Thanks to a Twitter special, buy a drink and get your entree free) at Common Roots, we decided to head for Macy's at Mall of America and get me a new sweater.

We walked in and it was like a whole different world. Not a cute little cardigan to be found. No soft colors, no ribbon embellishment, no charming ruffles. Instead, rack after rack of frumpy, heavy knit, over-dyed, thick sweaters that looked like the grandma sweaters of the 1980s. Poorly made, garish, shapeless and style-less, every single one of them would have made Angelina Jolie look like a haus-frau.

We asked the clerks, but they said it was due to "regional differences," that every single Macy's carried different clothes (which sounds like a nightmare for the buyers to me, but I'll leave that to them). All I know is that I should have bought a sweater this morning.

Harumph.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vacation

We've been out in Washington, DC for a few days now, and it wasn't until a day or so into it that we realized how badly we needed a vacation. Just spending time together as a family, doing new and different things, has been incredibly fulfilling for all three of us (turns out that toddlers need vacations too!), despite obligations and various things that we've been doing. It's a lesson that we need to keep in mind.

We've also been amazed at how toddler-friendly everything and everyone has been. We'll save the "educational" things (museums, White House, monuments, etc.) until Beatrix is older, but other activities are right up her alley. We spent the morning at the National Zoo with some of my secret online friends, and had a wonderful time. We also spent almost two hours at the National Building Museum, which has a great kids play area. We spent a beautiful afternoon walking around historic Leesburg, and another in Tauxemont, which is a very interesting planned community just south of Alexandria.

Beatrix has even been good in restaurants, which, for those who know her, is no small feat! The trick seems to be to spend no more than 60-90 minutes there and to keep her entertained, but DC-area restaurants seem to be very child friendly. We had great pizza at 2 Amys, a lovely dinner last night with friends and their 14-month old at Busboys and Poets (it seemed way too cool for school when we walked in, but they were incredibly gracious with the kids), and just got back from a morning at Cosi, my favorite coffee chain ever.

So busy as it's been, which I suppose is pretty typical for our lives, it's also been incredibly rewarding to be here. If you've been putting off a vacation, I would highly recommend you to re-prioritize it — it's made a world of difference.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Neighborhood

We went to a potluck dinner tonight to say goodbye to our wonderful neighbors, who are moving after 13 years.

I love where we live.

Monday, October 19, 2009

ArtWombats

(with apologies to MPR's Art Hounds)...

These are things I am so excited about in the arts community right now...

Open Eye Figure Theatre opens Elijah's Wake this Friday. It's a beautiful "visual poem," with a haunting score by Anthony Gatto. We'll be there for opening night on Friday, come join us! (if you are feeling flush, their gala fundraiser is November 6...)

The House Can't Stand, by former Jeune Lune artistic directors Dominique Serrand and Steve Epp plays this weekend only at the Southern Theatre. I can hardly wait to see what these guys are doing with this.

The next Nautilus ROUGH CUTS is November 9 and 10. We've been selling out lately, so don't miss this!

The folks behind the St. Paul Art Crawl are beginning "First Friday" events in lowertown, starting November 6, from 6-9. Be in the know and catch this event while it's still young!

Speaking of getting in on a hip thing while it's new, my good friend Kelly is opening her dream, Play by Play Books in November. Not only does she have every theatre-related book you could want, but she stocks great artsy gifts, and her store space on Selby between Snelling and Fairview is as cozy as it gets. Christmas shopping, anyone?

Less new is Minnesota Playlist, but they are doing a re-launch this month. If you already love them, it's only going to get better. If you don't already go to the site, you should — it's like The Uptake, but for the arts!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Choo Choo!


Today, when I took a writing break, we took Beatrix to Java Train for lunch. She's been there many times with Clara and Alex (her daycare family), but never with us.

She sure knew what to do as soon as we got there! As we sat pondering the menu, she immediately ran into the caboose play area and up the stairs, peeking through the windows at us as she went. She brought us toys, played happily on the floor with the farm set, "read" a book, inspected the ice cream flavors, and met new friends Gavin and Maggie. After we ate, we went outside to play a little.

Truth be told, the food was a little meh, but we'll certainly be back just because it was SO NICE to be able to eat and know that she was ok and having a good time playing. Now if only they served wine...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Identity Crisis

So I'm feeling a little bad that this blog doesn't have a theme.

It's not house-based, telling you about all the cool decorating things we are doing (like anything via Apartment Therapy). It doesn't focus on our garden.

It's not crafty, detailing how I designed a funky wardrobe for Beatrix out of old sweaters and funky handbags.

It's not a "mommy blog." Not does it tell you much about other family, friends, pets, etc.

It's not foodie, finding great restaurants and dining experiences or detailing wonderful cooking. It doesn't catalog wine.

It doesn't track down bargains and share them.

It doesn't inform the art world. It's not literary. It doesn't generally review things.

It's not philosophically/aesthetically designed, like Patrick's blogs.

It's not particularly politically active.

It doesn't say much about historic preservation.

It kinds of flits around between all these topics, everything and nothing at the same time. Often it's not even especially well-written.

It could probably use a massive re-thinking/re-branding. And that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Free for YOU!!

Patrick is leading a "clean out our old stuff" charge, and so here are some things we are de-accessing. Let me know if there is anything you want:
- a whole bunch of plastic magazine holders
- a tall, open plywood bookshelf
- a low, grey nylon Ikea chair (think a cross between a director's chair and a gaming chair)
- 1/2 carton of kitty litter crystals
- a big bag of wildflower seed/mulch
- a medium sized dog kennel
- a couple of cat carriers
- a couple of plastic gas cans
- an infant swing
- a metal trimmed medicine chest
- a robins-egg blue lamp, in need of some repair, that I love and Patrick doesn't
- a couple of shiny brass, 90s style "chandeliers"
- 4 white and 1 green resin outdoor chairs in need of cleaning
- 3 folding plastic loungers
- a blue bin for holding things in your trunk (like grocery bags)

I'm sure we'll have more...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Farewell Polo



I already miss you so much.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And Little Lambs Eat Ivey

The Ivey Awards is the annual awards ceremony that recognizes the theatre community and amazing performances of the past year. The brainchild of the brilliant Scott Mayer, last night was its fifth year, and it's established itself as an important annual ritual.

Sure, there are the jokes about it being "theater prom." And every year that I go I feel older and somewhat out of the loop. And I feel bad about all the performances I did not see.

But the latter point gets to the heart of it. We live in such an amazing community, filled with incredible people creating truly transformative work. And the Ivey awards celebrates that, and reminds us of the community we live in, and honors these wonderful people and this great work. And damn it if it doesn't get to me every year, making me tear up about this strange and wonderful profession I have chosen — and it does it to pretty much everyone else in that audience as well, even if they don't think it will.

So thank you, Scott, for seeing and recognizing that and creating the Iveys. And thank you to all of you who I work with every day. You are all amazing, and you make the world so much better everyday.

And yes, Nautilus did get an award — well, more to the point, the Baldwin sisters did, for Sister Stories. That means that, for the four Ivey-eligible productions we've done, we've gotten two awards. Not top bad for a scrappy little company, eh?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Free!

It's been awhile since I have posted about my bargain mania, but last night had some big wins!

Nordstroms had a deal where you could trade in a bottle of (cheap, half-used, whatever) shampoo for a bottle of expensive, designer Fekkai shampoo. I bear an irrational love for high-end haircare products, so we headed over and got one bottle for me and one for Patrick's friend Lindsi.

Why Lindsi? Because she had one dinner for 8 at Chipotle, and our next stop was to head over and meet her and some of her friends and get treated to burritos as big as our heads! We had a great time, especially because "free" and "burrito" are two of my favorite words. Beatrix appears to have liked it as well:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scow Christening Dress

We took Beatrix on a photo walk last weekend, wearing my great-grandmother Mamie Scow's christening dress, because I really wanted some pictures of her in it.

A full set of the photos is on my Facebook page, but here's one for any of you who don't cross over.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lists

Ok, more to keep them in one place than anything else, here are my current wish lists:

Foodie Places I Desperately Want to Try or Go To:
King's Wine Bar
Northeast Social Club
Anchor Fish and Chips
Moto-I
The Strip Club
the new Saint Paul Barrio
to use my State Fair ticket stub for a free drink at The Sample Room
Blackbird (love it there) (but NOT Heidi's, see earlier rant)
Mango (ditto)
Getting my dearly beloved Bonecrusher (a JP fave), rumored to be at Tiger Sushi, even if I am not crazy about their sushi

And, unusually for me, I have a whole list of movies I want to see:
District 9
Julie & Julia
Harry Potter version whatever it was
The Time Traveller's Wife

Oh, and I want to pick raspberries and go the the Renaissance Festival and the Selby Jazz Festival (next Saturday) too. And get over to sit in the hot tub at least once this year. Sigh.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sprained Knee

So I appear to have sprained my knee on some loose pavement outside the Northern Warehouse yesterday.

At first I thought I had just skinned it badly, so I went on with my day. I suppose I should have realized I was in a lot of pain and just gone home and rested and iced it, but there you have it.

Now it's swollen and dramatically painful and made our 4.5 hours at the Fair today rather difficult.

Aaaragh! How long do things like this take to feel better?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More on Health Care

Last night was Patrick's turn to rant on health care. I guess tonight is mine.

You see, Steph's video got me thinking. Steph and her husband are very talented people, who would make the world a much better place if they were able to start their own businesses. But they can't, because they have pre-existing (relatively minor) conditions that would not allow them to get healthcare.

My mom would have turned 71 today. But she died in 2006 of colon cancer, cancer that might have been prevented if she had been able to get permission from her insurance to have a colonoscopy. But there was no history of cancer in our family, and no indication of any issues, so she had to wait until she was on Medicare. A colonoscopy was on her calendar — but she didn't end up going, because her Stage IV cancer was diagnosed in the ER a few weeks before.

My father-in-law is a freelance radio engineer who often housesits in the DC area. A few months ago he was walking the two dogs — who saw a squirrel — and in a freak accident he was pulled into traffic and both of his arms were broken. I don't want to even hazard a guess as to how much all of the MRIs, x-rays, other tests, and doctor visits cost. And he too is un-insured.

Yesterday my friend M found out she and her family were losing their insurance, as of today. And this morning her little boy woke up with croup.

And a few months ago, when we were testifying at the legislature for statewide coverage for Minnesota kids, a representative from Medica sat boldly in front of us and told our state representatives that insurance rates would skyrocket if children were taken out of the coverage equation, because "we make most of our cost/benefit ratios from covering children." Apparently not from MY child, as Medica was one of the insurance companies that denied her.

We now have high-deductible coverage, one plan through us, and another for Beatrix, a Minnesota-mandated plan that is required to cover anyone denied from other insurance, at the bargain rate of 120% of a standard premium and a $3,000 minimum deductible. The cost of these two plans together almost exactly equals the 2008-09 poverty threshold for a family of three.

I don't understand the arguments of those who are against healthcare reform. They seem to think that Patrick and I, and our friends and family above, must be doing something inherently *wrong* to not have reasonable coverage. We must be working the wrong jobs, or have ruined our health through dramatic debauchery so that we are uninsurable, or are irresponsible with our finances, or some other reason that has made us bring this calamity upon ourselves. When the answer is that, in a country where at least 10.4 million as self-employed (as of July 2009), where almost 50 million are uninsured (a staggering 11.7 million of which are children under 18, as of 2006, long before the current economic crisis), I really don't think the question is what am I doing wrong, but what is my country doing wrong, and how can we fix it.

And if that's all too cerebral for you, take another look at a picture of my daughter, and explain to me exactly how she can be denied healthcare. Go ahead.

Repost: The Face of Insurance Denial

Guest blog post/video by our friend Steph here. She is amazing and we are humbled.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shaping Up

I really need to get more exercise. Running from client to client, eating in the car on the way, and sitting in front of the computer all day is taking its toll.

So this week I started the 100 Push Ups project. We won't even discuss how dismal my "initial test" was, but I'm giving it a try.

In the meantime, I'm also trying to suss getting out and getting a little exercise every day. Tonight's pilates-esque class was foiled by the necessity of purchasing a new vacuum cleaner, but I did get a quick walk in. Walks are a great way to get out with Beatrix and maybe the dog, get a little bit of a work-out, and enjoy the end of the "summer" we've been having.

So, if you'd like to get out on a walk (likely with a lively toddler in tow), let me know!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Weekend

As those local to this blog know, summer in Minnesota has been a bit...un-summerlike this year. As in, not really very warm. This has made Patrick happy, but left me feeling cheated.

So I was happy to get this summer weekend off on the right foot with warm weather, and by mailing my summer mix cd to my cd group. Because I am old, it's heavy on the 80s, but I think it says "summer" exactly right:

Too Darn Hot Erasure
Things Can Only Get Better Howard Jones
I Love You Goodbye Thomas Dolby
Tainted Love Soft Cell
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) Eurythmics
I Would Die 4 U Prince
Only You Yaz
Life During Wartime Talking Heads
Doors Of Your Heart English Beat
China Girl David Bowie
Body Talk The Wallets
A Change Would Do You Good Sheryl Crow
La La Love You Pixies
Seasons Of The Hurricane Juliet Turner
Summer Dress Shawn Colvin
Ice Cream Sarah McLachlan
Summer's Cauldron XTC
Vaquinha Mansa Cesaria Evora
Hole In The Bucket Spearhead

Yesterday, we got to go to a delicious clambake that our friends Kate and Ryan (and daughter Sasha) threw. Great food, and fun to meet a lot of new people as well as see friends.

Today we threw a small pool party, which was incredibly enjoyable. My amazingly hostess-skilled friend Rebecca made great margaritas, and everyone enjoyed hanging out in the pool and being together.

So, uh, yeah, only the second half of August and finally feels summery. Where are the cicadas and my shortie pink-striked pjs with the kitty on them?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Arts Learning Exchange

A few weeks ago, I went to the first Arts Learning Exchange session sponsored by Arts Midwest. I meant to post on it earlier, but I've been thinking over it and distilling it a lot.

The speech was by the always amazing Ben Cameron, former head of TCG and now with the Doris Duke Foundation. Ben is a force to be reckoned with, and every time I hear him speak I am inspired to action and nearly brought to tears. He is eloquent, well-read, brilliant, and passionate. He is what I aspire to in arts leadership.

Ben began the speech with some really dire news about the future of the arts, complete with scarey statistics about audience erosion, worries about the inherent dis-functionality of the 501c3 model, and declines in giving that herald a true financial crisis that is likely to last for several more years. Even more frightening is the sense of a crisis of urgency and relevance that the arts and culture as a whole currently finds itself in. What values do we offer the community? How do we offer them? How can we better go about changing the world, and how do we ensure that we continue to exist in order to do so?

He then shifted to the challenges and opportunities available to us in a changing, new, socially-networked, media-full, participatory environment? From the value of the internet for co-creation, social engagement, and true connection to the art — to video and other media that is truly riveting (and this comes from me, who really hates watching video on the computer, to the very idea of the inherent discomfort of change and the loss of control we face when dealing with a digital, connected world — it was riveting and involving and validating and challenging and inspiring all at once.

The full text of the speech is here. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me. Now I just have to figure out what to DO about it!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Personal Heroes - Annie Lennox

Patrick found this great clip today:

http://therandompost.com/post/153203198/annie-lennox-backwards-forwards-an-earworm

Somehow Annie Lennox always turns up just when I need her, just how I need her. How on earth could she have known I spent last weekend looking through old college papers (and my thesis) on deconstruction?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More General Gastronomic Thoughts

This post brought to you by Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires, which I picked up at the Half Price Books tent sale today for $1 and am looking forward to reading!

I tried to try the McDonald's mocha on "Free Mocha Monday." It was, hands down, the worst liquid I had ever put in my mouth. The "hot" version was so barely lukewarm it felt like a bacteria petri dish, overly sweet and strangely sour at the same time, with a cloying aftertaste from my one sip. I should have known better.

Today Patrick and our houseguest Steve hit the Farmer's Market at the end of the day. I always get anxious about going at the end (what, they are going to run out of vegetables or something?) They got tons of veggies for $5 and two huge bouquets for $7. Now I think we need to go at the end of the day more often.

Watching Slumdog Millionaire last night made me realize it's been far too long since I have been to the lunch buffet at India House. Must be rectified soon.

I made an "easy" ice cream pie for a dinner party we'll be holding tonight. It was kind of a hassle, actually, and I think I would have preferred a nice, no-nonsense cake. But the dinner party will be great, thanks to the aforementioned veggies, some salmon, and such. Now we need to get a new set of dining room chairs — ours are on their very last legs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Restaurant Reviews



Well, I guess we know that Burger Jones got raves from our favorite tiny critic! Mom and dad were less impressed — it was pretty good, but the bill added up fast. They're obviously raking it in from our demographic — couples with kids who still want good food. Sigh.

On a totally different note, we went out for two meals on our anniversary! Lunch at the St. Paul Fuji-Ya, which was good, but not as good as the Minneapolis version and certainly not as good as Origami! (my loyalties run deep) I should have had Patrick's sushi lunch special. Then we went to Vincent for happy hour, which was everything I dreamed it would be and more. Excellent (and well priced) hors d'oeuvres, yummy champagne cocktails, a lovely and elegant atmosphere, and a French waiter. Who could ask for more?

We've had some more ordinary meals, too — a great lunch at Shish with Erika and Missy, late night happy hour at Kincaid's (I've missed that!), and some "gourmet convenience food" now that we have a Trader Joe's in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Senator Franken

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Me Again

Ok, so on my list of various resolutions is to be better at blog posts. You don't want to know the rest, they involve fish oil and new clothes and all kinds of things. Generally a "jumpstart Bethany's life" list.

Not that I need to massively improve anything. My husband is amazing, and I love him more each day. As I tweeted earlier today, I don't think there is anything in the world than my daughter sleeping with her but up in the air (Elaine agrees, for the record). I have 2 great houses, adorable pets, a beautiful but overgrown garden, a job and clients I am passionate about, and amazing friends.

And a good glass of wine (thanks, Leah!), which I am neglecting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Uh, Yeah

So it's been a month since I've posted. Your point being?

Mainly it's just been because I've been overwhelmed. Being sick for so long really took a lot out of me. Nautilus has been putting up a show (SISTER STORIES, with the tremendously talented Baldwin sisters, if you have not already seen it it's probably too late), and other work/client stuff has been extremely busy. I'm feeling overwhelmed and like I am failing pretty much everything in my life, including this blog.

So be patient, and I'll try to get back up to speed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sick and Silent

Sorry for the radio silence over here. I've been incredibly sick for over two weeks now, and it's wearing me down.

It started with a sore throat and losing my voice on Mother's Day, and generally feeling awful and dizzy and exhausted. It then ebbed and flowed for a few days, getting bad enough for me to cancel meetings and just stay in bed for 36 hours (and I can't remember the last time I did that!) Now the worst is gone, but I've got a terrible cough and still feel very dragged out.

No fever though, so no worries about piggy flu!

I've tried vitamin D and antibiotics. Patrick has been wonderful about it (he caught it, too, but bounced back more quickly) and trying to get me to take NyQuil when the nights are really bad, but the fact is that Duchess Beatrix does not grant sick days in her employ.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TPaw Just Made Me Buy a Bathing Suit

So I left the Uptake's excellent coverage of the Minnesota budget un-allotment debacle, and checked out what the PiPress had to say. That was uninspiring enough that I actually clicked on a banner ad for a cute swimsuit. Half an hour later I am set for summer pool time but completely confused as to what my governor is thinking. I suppose that puts me with the rest of the state, but in cuter swimwear.

Edited - They cancelled my order because they were out of my size. Now it's really the gov's fault!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Day

And today was the annual HOBT May Day parade. We brought Beatrix last year, but she was too young to get much. This year she LOVED it, watching everything very seriously and intently.

Again, I feel lucky to live somewhere that has such great and committed people making wonderful art.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ringtone

Alan Berks is brilliant.

The cast (and crew!) is amazing.

I feel very lucky to know people who make such great art.

More later. We went to the 331 Club afterwards and now I am beer-sleepy.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Because I FELT Like It

I am part of a felt food exchange with 5 other people, where we each make sets of felt food, then exchange them with each other, so that we each get a well-stocked, high-in-fiber kitchen for our child. I decided to make jam tarts, and in exchange will theoretically get pretzels, ravioli, s'mores, figs, and clams.

I finished my tarts yesterday, and I am pretty happy with how they turned out:


Now I just need to get going on setting up the kitchen for Beatrix...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Week o' Art

So there's a ton of (mostly Nautilus-related) art stuff in my life this week — come join me for it!

Tuesday, April 21 - Rough Cuts at 7:30pm
This month's Rough Cuts is an evening of new cabaret songs. Fantastic performers, and some pieces that will turn your idea of "cabaret" completely on its head. Plus, just $5, with free cookies and milk. At Augsburg College (22nd and Riverside), the Foss Center (music building) tv studio.

Wednesday, April 22 - SISTER STORIES house party from 5:30-7:30
It's been over a year since Jennifer Baldwin Peden and Christina Baldwin have been onstage together, and since then they have had babies, Jeune Lune has closed, and the world has changed greatly. Nautilus commissioned these four short pieces on sisterhood for Jen and Christina over the past few years, and we'll premiere the work this June, IF we can raise enough money by the end of April. Wanna come to a great house party, preview the piece, and make it happen with a donation? Ping me.

Friday, April 24 - Art Crawl from 7-9ish
On the first night of the Art Crawl, Nautilus always features free performances, plus great food and a place to sit down (bring your own wine, though). Stop by and see us! 2F of the Northern Warehouse (above the Black Dog, in lowertown)

Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 - Great photography!
Our friend Michael Armstrong will be in the Nautilus space Saturday from 1-8 and Sunday 12-5. His photos are amazing — check them out here and then go see them in person at the Crawl.

So how many of these are you going to come to? if I see you at all of them I'll take you out for a drink...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The (Not So Public) Library

Before:

After:

After years of planning, months of work, and lots of futzing, we finally have a library, located off of our dining room. This gives us a great place to hang out at night while Beatrix is asleep on the 3rd floor.

Highlights:
- "industrial chic" metal bookcases from the 2F hallway, with out books actually organized in them!
- art we've been meaning to hang for awhile
- a media center that streams everything from the Drobo to the iMac — last night we even sussed the "watch it now" feature from Netflix
- coffee table courtesy of our friend Kelly
- new comfy leather couch from Ikea

It's a great place for a glass of wine, come on over and hang out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods

This last weekend, my grandparent's old house was on the Renovator's Home Tour. This was the house that they owned from the time my mother was a teenager until I graduated from high school. I spent so much time there as I was growing up; I know every inch of that house. So it was with equal parts trepidation and curiosity that I wanted to see it.

The approach set the tone — very much the same, but very different. The style, and the shutters, the mailbox and the big hill were all the same, but much had changed — new stone steps, a brick walk, the big pine tree to the side gone and the white siding painted a soft gray. Inside had the same feeling — so much the same, but so different. The hall had the same light fixture and stairs, but the walls are now a deep, soft red (much like our new library, actually). The den had the same panelling and floors and cupboards I knew so well. The living room was closed off, but we peeked in — much the same. I tried to describe the layout and details to Patrick and Beatrix, but it was hard, because so many memories were washing over me. In some ways, I felt like I had never left the house.

The renovation that put it on the tour was the kitchen, and that was a complete remodel — they had redone it, and then converted the old back porch to a full room, with big windows and a gas fireplace. They had pictures up of the "before" and it was all still there, including the cabinets my grandmother had painstakingly rosemaled (I couldn't work up the courage to ask what had happened to them). The work that had been done was gorgeous, and I can't help but think my grandmother would have liked it, actually; it really fit into the style of the home, and made it very livable. My grandfather would have loved the bar sink area, and the hidden cabinet for storing the single-malt. The owners had some pieces of furniture and some framed samplers that I could have sworn were my grandparents' — did we leave some items behind?

Here is a pretty bad picture of it. It was much nicer in person.

I guess in the end I am pleased that the house is so much the same, and that it is being cared for by people who love the home as much as my family did. I've never really gone back to a place I've previously lived (unless dorm rooms count), and this was a good way to do so.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reasons I Love My Neighborhood - Nina's

Every Sunday, we love to get together with neighborhood friends at Nina's Coffee. Hanging out for an hour caffeinates us appropriately, allows us to see people and interact socially without unduly trying the patience of Duchess Beatrix, and catches us up with community news. Added points for watching Jeanne look for the Aldi ad! Thanks guys, for starting the day right!

Tonight we also get to have neighborhood friends over for dinner, so I had better go make a grocery list...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

[Redacted]

Ignore the cheer of the last post. It's wet and cold and about to snow. Yech!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March

March is normally, hands down, the most dismal month in Minnesota. The month where it should be spring (and seems to be everywhere else in the country), but here is still winter with lots of ice and really filthy snow.

My mom used to escape to Amelia Island in March. I have many happy memories of being there with her, and I think part of my intense wanderlust of the last week was wishing I was there walking along the beach, or visiting one of my many favorite restaurants and shops. It's a truly magical place.

Today, however, I'm happy to be in Minnesota. It was truly spring today (though who know if it will snow again any day now), with balmy weather and sun and people out enjoying themselves. I took Beatrix on a long walk in the stroller after dinner, and we had a great time looking at everything, and seeing the dogs, and window shopping on Grand (though most restaurants seemed pretty empty). The fresh air wore her out!

I still have wanderlust. But today, I'm awfully happy to be here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Think Global, Shop Local

Inspired by my friend Scotty's Facebook page list:

We're losing so many places due to the bad economy, and are at risk of losing so many more. Here are some of the dearly departed, along with some places that could really use your help. Give me comments to update the list!

Gone:
Sam's Wine Shop

Please support:
Solo Vino
The Wine Thief
Alexis Bailly Vineyard (Sam's wife's vineyard)


Gone:
Vera's
Betsy's Back Porch Coffee

Please support:
any local coffeeshop: Anodyne, Nina's, Golden Thyme are just a few


Gone:
Babalu
Cafe Havana
Cafe Indio

Please support:
Pepito's (may be gone soon!)
Barrio (though it's always crowded, it's yummy!)
Masa


Gone:
Jitters
Ground Zero

Please Support:
331 Club


Gone:
The Times

Please Support:
The Dakota


Gone:
Mill City Pizza

Please support:
Pizza Nea
Punch (plus tons of free deals if you follow them on Twitter)
Black Sheep Pizza
Pizza Luce


Gone:
Cliquot Club Cafe

Please Support:
The Birchwood


Gone:
Zander

Please Support:
The Cheeky Monkey

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baby Chef

So Patrick will tell you I've been dreaming about a play kitchen for Beatrix since before she was born. But now she's really growing and doing things — she loves to put coins in her piggy bank and shapes in her cookie jar, and I am starting to get really excited.

I am still trying to decide. We have one of the Little Tikes kitchens, which I actually acquired from the neighbors' trash, though it needs a lot of clean-up. It's also kind of plastic-y:


I love retro looking kitchens:


And I have really liked this one for awhile, but am intimidated by putting it together:


But I am also dreaming of filling this kitchen with yummy play food, and have joined a felt food exchange. Each person makes 6 items, and then you all trade with each other, so you get all kinds of different food. I am thinking of cookies, or tarts:




Any votes either way?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Design Sense

Because I have a lot of work still to do, but somehow decided I needed to spruce up my blog. Thanks, Aqua Poppy!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Delicious

What better way to spend Valentine's Day than with two fantastic meals?

For lunch yesterday we went to the Cheeky Monkey Deli, which opened Wednesday night on Selby in the old Zander space. Now, I miss Zander like nobody's business — it was our favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities. But the Cheeky Monkey may be a new fave, and it helps that they are nothing alike. The Monkey is very casual (and kid-friendly!), with great andwiches, baked goods, and wine and beer. It's also fairly cheap, with most dishes running $5-10. There are big leather chairs by the fireplace, and high-speed wireless. I think we'll be spending a lot of time there...

The dinner at Salut, also yummy, and Patrick got his favorite dinner of roast chicken with pommes frites. Very romantic, even with a baby. Their new Sunday night special is 3/4 pound of shrimp plus fries for $8.95, and we are tempted!

In between, we visited my aunt in the hospital. She had lung surgery, for what they thought was cancer but turns out to be some extremely strange allergy, and is recovering slowly. She's handling it really well, but could use some good thoughts.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Spring Awakening

Last Saturday, while Beatrix hung out at home with Lucy and Rayne, Patrick and I went to see Spring Awakening. We went student rush, courtesy of my Goucher ID, which was a sure-fire way to make us feel REALLY old, both standing in the highly exuberant line and at the performance in general. I've got a lot of faith that theater that energizes a youthful audience like that is a really hopeful sign for the future.

The rush line went smoothly, we got great seats on the main floor, and had time to go to the ultra-cool bar at the Chambers Hotel across the street for a quick drink. I've wanted to go to the Chambers forever, and going out for a drink and a show seemed like such a vestige of my long ago, slightly more hip, lifestyle. Not that I don't love what my life's become, but nice to go back and visit, know what I mean?

Anyway, the show itself was one of those shows that make me remember why I do what I do. The music, which I have listened to many times, was much more powerful in the context of the show, which was affirming. The performances were excellent. The rock musical mix walked the line of of Brechtian simplicity versus theater-as-spectacle, making few mis-steps.

It was one of the nicest evenings out I've had in a long time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Proud

I don't think I've ever taken the time (in my adult life at least) to sit and watch the inauguration. There's certainly never been one like this.

Though my daughter is napping through it, I am so insanely proud and happy that this moment is happening, and that this is the first president that she will remember.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's Going On

So these are the things currently taking up brain space in my world:
- preparing for Beatrix's heart surgery — day surgery, how crazy is that? — tomorrow
- refinancing the house (4.625%, down from 6.125%, worth it even with the fees)
- finishing off the last two rooms that desperately need it in the house (den and front bedroom)
- potentially buying a new refrigerator and dishwasher
- researching/finding/affording a new car seat for Beatrix before she outgrows the bucket
- some bad family health news
- calendar-year end taxes for Nautilus and all my clients
- starting a new bookkeeping gig that will be challenging but also fun
- a preservation trip to Mankato that needs some advance research
- generally keeping up with everything else — friends, family, house, work, etc.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Election Law

Here's what I don't understand...

If election law and vote counting is indeed as badly tainted as Coleman asserts, if the system as we have it can't be relied upon to discern the actual winning candidate...

Isn't it the SAME system under which he has won before, and then shouldn't we be re-examining those results as well?

(maybe he never really was legitimately St. Paul's mayor — we can only hope!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Barrio

Friday night we had a very generous babysitting offer from the amazing Beth/Lucy combo, and so got to go out to Barrio with our friends Eric and Christy. What a fantastic place — absolutely delicious, foodie-worthy Mexican food, and of course good tequila and tequila-related beverages such as margaritas. Also fantastic atmosphere and people-watching, though the hipster-quotient in Minnesota is a little mitigated by the extensive outerwear people need to wear in weather this cold. Makes me want to register with Yelp! or some other online review site so I can rave about what a great experience it was — though admittedly, that may well have been the company as much as or more so than the restaurant. An evening out we sorely needed.

In New Years' resolution-news, we hosted a wonderful white elephant party last night. I think everyone had a good time and a fun gift. Looking forward to more of that soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolved

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but this year I am going to try. Even though I fell asleep at 11 last night and was the New Year's Eve Loser. I was up with Beatrix a lot in the very early hours of 2009 — does that count?

Anyway, my one resolution for 2009 is to enjoy living in our house a lot more (I suppose in preparation for the eventual move). That encompasses a lot of things, from enjoying the time spent playing in the living room with Beatrix, to getting small things fixed and big rooms finished, to keeping the house neater, to entertaining more at home.

I hope it's a resolution I can keep.