Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Break

We've been trying to get every bit of fun into Beatrix's summer break that we can. Which has been really nothing short of disastrous for the actual work we are trying to fit in, but oh well...

Yesterday, she and I went to Fort Snelling in the morning, which was a great time. We saw the morning "parade" (hint: not exactly Mardi Gras), explored the various shops and quarters, learned about Dred Scott, played some kids' games, and had a great time. Did you know that soldiers in the fort in the 1820s ate bear stew and drank whiskey? Beatrix believes "They should have drunk less whiskey and more water. Water is better for you."

Today we spent about 6 hours at the Fair with Grandpa Kenny, and then after some naps went back for a few more hours tonight. I would call it a roaring success — we saw everything from the animals and endless trips to the Miracle of Birth Center to the Midway at night ("That lady just ate fire! For real!") to the kids' farm, to the Mr. Bubble booth, to the Kidway (Beatrix's first Big Girl ride in the haunted pirate house) to the Union Pavilion to the DNR pond to butterheads to Heritage Square and the International Marketplace .... well, you get the picture. Beatrix has developed a great love for seeing live music, so we spent a lot of time at the various stages. No surprise, I have determined I am a great traditionalist when it comes to food: mini donuts by the Grandstand (I tried others today and they were not as good), malts from the Dairy building, lemonade by the haunted house, cheese curds by Ye Old Mill. It was a 2-malt day, so I call that a win.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All the Colors

Beatrix has her summer vacation from school this week, so we've been trying to do some special things. We went up to the cabin over the weekend, and today we explored Caponi Art Park for the first time, which was fantastic.

I am most amused, however, by the projects she comes up with. Today while on a work phone call, I narrowly rescued her from microwaving a tupperware container full of wax paper and broken crayons — she wanted to do "an experiment, like in school."

Instead, I talked her into dividing them by color and making crayon blocks. I had been warned that they would not work well, but they actually worked great, and she used them afterwards to draw some "very famous art." She's thrilled with them, and I'm pretty happy as well.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lowry and Fringe

I spent the last day of being 44 in very pleasant pursuits.

This morning, we had birthday breakfast with my dad at The Lowry. I had wanted to go since they opened last year, and was not disappointed. The food was good, but it was the attention to detail that made it such a nice experience — the menu for Beatrix at her place with crayons tucked into it and a bowl of goldfish crackers, the stool in the bathroom so she could reach the sink, the fact that the owner walked around to check in on everyone. Well, really the best part was the company!

After having read a blog post from earlier this month, my dad got Beatrix a bug collection kit, so we had to go home and look for bugs. I'm fully expecting the beetles we caught in the roses to be free-roaming around the house by morning, because the door to the cage is not so secure. Plus I have to leave the light on because apparently beetles are afraid of the dark.

Tonight we went to see Mu Daiko at the Fringe, a great show that we all loved. Many of the pieces they played had been written by Mu founding Artistic Director Rick Shiomi, which I had not realized. It brought me back to sitting upstairs at Mixed Blood in a rehearsal room literally half a lifetime ago in a conversation with a panel on Asian-American theatre, where I first met Rick. A very good meditation as to where I am now.

Off to meditate some more and sit in the hot tub with a cocktail.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gah, Birthday

My birthday is coming up Sunday. And normally I love birthdays, but this one is weighing heavily on me.

I'm turning 45 (there I go, spreading personal information all over the internets), and that seems like a hard milestone of an age. When I turned 40 somehow it was not so bad — I was still kind of numb over losing my mom, but I was pregnant, and it was an exciting time. This seems just...harder.

I am thinking a lot about projects in various houses, and making places. I'm thinking a lot about legacy, and what I leave behind. I am thinking a lot about philanthropy, and what I want to be doing and giving back. And I don't quite know how to measure those.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summit Update

It’s been a summer where we have treated the house on Summit like a summer cabin — there for the weekend, spending the rest of the week at the Ashland house. The goal was to get to know the Summit house a little better in our terms, to make it lived in and sense how we feel about it. Though we’ve not yet come to any conclusions, we have been getting more comfortable with it.

It’s also been a lot of work to keep up and do projects at the two houses though, plus rehab the new one. Today we had meant to go out and do some things — Paws on Grand, the Dollar House, art fairs — but ended up instead spending the day doing yard work with the fantastic help of Baillie, the teenage daughter of old friends. Baillie is a phenomenal worker, and remarkably can get things done while Beatrix prattles at her a mile a minute and shows her things, including the grasshopper she collected which is now sitting in a jar by her bed. At the end of the day we had cleaned out the two incredibly overgrown front rose beds, plus done a lot of smaller projects and cleaned up. We celebrated by heading out to the SEIU Member Day at the Zoo.

Though we have not come to any conclusions about the Summit place yet, I am very happy so far with all the good we’ve been able to do with it. Several of our friends have been able to live there at transient points of their lives. We’ve hosted fundraisers. We’ve redone the bathroom and been on a tv show. It’s been on the SARPA garden tour. We’ve been able to share it with hundreds via the Friday Night Pool Parties (have you been yet? you should come). I had wanted to feature some friends’ art there this summer at weekly or monthly art shows, but just haven’t been able to face the logistics.

We’ve spent every Saturday cleaning through things, and have been able to pass on many of those items as well. It’s hard to do, but nice to know some of the items that we just don’t have room for in our lives can move on.