Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our State Fair is the Best State Fair...

We've taken Beatrix to the Fair every year since she was a baby, but this year we achieved a milestone I've always wanted to do — went to the Fair, came home, then went back at night! (my friend rachel still has the best idea: Fair --> Saints game --> back to Fair). And, we achieved all this despite the fact I had a monster cold that made me want to die.

We got there later than we wanted (see above note about the cold, plus a night of almost no sleep for everyone). Once there, we started right in on the required food — a malt from the dairy building, plus a Scotch egg for Patrick. We then met up with our friends Abby and Qui and their son Sam, to enjoy toddler adorableness petting the pigs, goats, and sheep. From there, we wandered up to the Kidway, where we met more friends — Geri, Brian, and Ravi, so Beatrix and Ravi could enjoy rides together. the carousel was a big hit (Beatrix loves them right now), but the bumper boats and safari train were also popular.

Then lots more wandering around, some hot dogs and cheese curds and strawberry lemonade, before heading home.


Tonight, when we went back, we watched a samba band at the International Marketplace (remember our youth, when it was the "Mexican Village"? And when did the "Space Needle" become the "Space Tower"?), then headed way up north to see the K9 show. we checked out the Passive House in the environment building (tip — also the nicest restrooms at the fair), the antique tractors, and Patrick's dream car, the new Fiat. We had some more food, including deep friend cookie dough, and looked around at the skyride and the lights, saw our friend Kristen's winning crop art, and headed home again.

Some observations:

- To Beatrix, the Park-and-Ride is almost as much fun as the Fair — she loves the bus and getting there.
- When asked about her favorite part of the Fair, though, she said "You would not let me go in the Wacky House and I wanted to!" Sigh.
- I'm kind of a Fair traditionalist on food. There are some things: mini donuts from the stand by the Grandstand, vanilla malt from the dairy building, that I have to have. Cheese curds are a nice extra, and the aforementioned cookie dough, a huge foodie blog hit around here, was delicious. But, maybe because I don't eat red meat, a lot of the "blablabla on a stick" leaves me uninterested. Patrick is a Sweet Martha's cookie fan, but I find them ridiculously expensive, and talked him out of them this year.
- I have incredible memories of going to the Fair with my mom, and staying all day. Now that I am older, I am excited to build some with Beatrix!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Travel Wish List

Beatrix is getting old enough to travel, and so it's been on my mind a lot lately. Thought better than having these things swirl around in my head was getting them in a list:

Places I especially want to take Beatrix:
Well, anywhere in the world, really, but top on the list are:
- Orlando and Disney World
- New Orleans, so she can see where she comes from
- London

Places I really want to see (likely includes Beatrix! and of course Patrick):
- Macchu Picchu
- Turkey, especially Istanbul
- Costa Rica
- back to Spain
- Australia

Sunday, August 21, 2011

House Facade - Before and After

It's been quite a summer for exterior work. Here is what our place looked like at the beginning of the summer:

And the porch:

Not bad altogether, but certainly not what they could be.

The paint journey started last September, with severe damage after a hail storm. We spent literally months getting bids and going around and around with the insurance. Finally our agent stepped in and helped. This is the final work done by Mike Faricy Painting (and he writes books, too!) — we could not be happier!

But what you'll really notice is the porch. When I bought the house, the porch had blocky siding on it. When stabilizing the structure several months later, it was like Christmas when we tore off the rotted wood and found all this great, hand-carved woodwork underneath! However, despite many half-assed efforts at porch rehab, it had never really been done right. Our handyman extraordinaire, Bob Fortner, has bugged us about it for years, and he was right — "Look, that porch ought to be the jewel of the home. And that's no jewel."

This summer we set him loose on it, and he was right. He spent hours perfecting it, and it looks incredible!

So, if you need projects done, we certainly know where to send you! In the meantime, come and visit our newly-redone place!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pool Parties

Most Friday nights this summer, we've had pool parties at the Summit House. They've been very casual; we usually start by grilling something up and providing some beer, and people add to it as they arrive. People come as the can, through the front door, the side gate, the back. People bring more food and drink, until by the end of the evening the dining room table is filled completely. Kids of all ages jump immediately in the pool; their parents follow or hop in the hot tub; conversations groups form. All kinds of people, from a vast cross-section of our lives, attend, meeting new people and generally having a nice relaxing night out. At the end of each we've been tired but truly happy.

The pool parties, in a way, are somewhat metaphorical to our life. We could not be happier.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perfect Birthday

In Mandarin Chinese, "four" is a homonym for "death." In the same way that hospitals here don't have 13th floors, ones there don't have 4th floors (or if they do, it's the maternity ward.)

Which is to say that 44 is pretty damn old.

Luckily, we celebrated enough to feel young. Earlier that day I got the worst mani/pedi of my life (Groupon fail), then Patrick and I got free lunch at Noodles and Company and did some shopping. But we really celebrated that evening.

We started out with drinks and sushi at Masu Sushi and Robata in NE Minneapolis. Great space, fresh and tasty sushi (we had rolls, always the best way to test out a new place), and the robata (little grilled things on skewers) were the prefect complement to the drinks and sushi. Plus they sent over free shots of sake!

We then headed to the speakeasy-like atmosphere of the Marvel Bar for cocktails before dinner. Loved it — very cozy, perfectly mixed drinks, the kind of feeling you used to get at the New French.

Then dinner upstairs at The Bachelor Farmer. Very fresh, we tried lots of small plates. Made me proud to be Norwegian!

Finally, a Fringe show — the show itself (some dance piece I have already forgotten the name of) was not all that great, but it was wonderful to be out. Much as I love my life now, i do miss the night when we could go out to hip places and shows, and it was lovely to recreate that, if only for an evening.


(Great rest of the weekend too — planted raspberries and mint, got yard work done at the Summit House, finally saw Nicole Curtis' Minnehaha place which is on the market and which you should buy, saw more Fringe shows, went to the wine bar with Krista...)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I and E

Though I'm tired and have a migraine, it's been a great week. As well as Krista living with us, we had a houseguest for three days, Patricks's friend Mike from/who is Rohdesign. We had a playdate and dinner at Blackbird on Monday, friends over on Tuesday, Patio Night last night, and a fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families tonight. All a great lead up to my birthday tomorrow.

It's been great for me, the Extrovert. Not so much for poor Patrick, the Introvert. Nevertheless, he has been great at keeping things going, which I know has been hard when he's exhausted by all the people. I'm a very lucky girl.