Saturday, September 21, 2013

Extra-Ordinary


Last night, thanks to my aunt and uncle who took Beatrix to Children's Theatre and then kept her for her FIRST sleepover with cousins Sunni and Soren, we got a well-timed date night!

Dinner was kind of unremarkable, actually, a quick bite at Tacos, Nachos and Beer thanks to a Groupon. Not exactly fine dining.

Later that night, we ended the evening very differently, with dessert and cocktails at The Strip Club. A delicious "candy bar dessert,"strong cocktails, and one of the best service experiences I have had in a long time.

In between, we saw an incredible show, Ordinary Days at Nautilus Music-Theater. Now, I worked at Nautilus for five years, and their opera/new music-theater mission is dear to my heart. Their new space (downstairs from the old space) is really lovely, and adds a jewel-box like theatre space to Lowertown. But the show - WOW!

Ordinary Days is written by Adam Gwon, a young wunderkind in music-theater. It's 90 straight minutes of catchy music, of building emotion, and of very personal moments. It features four of the strongest music-theater performers I know, two of which are rarely seen onstage anymore (since they direct their own companies). And the casting is SO right and the performances SO strong that, as Patrick said somewhere in the middle of the cocktail, he was astounded it was not written FOR these people. The music director/pianist gives one of her strongest performances I've seen her do, and the set is large yet intimate. Ben Krywosz hits it out of the park putting this piece together.

See it. I can't recommend it highly enough. And if you go to the 2pm matinee tomorrow (Sun 9/22) and say I sent you, you can get in 2 for the price of 1. But it's worth full price in any case.

I see a lot of good theatre — but in this case, just don't miss it!

(sleeping in this morning was great too!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kitchen Therapy

It's been a hard several weeks with a lot of issues going on. But I knew it had been even harder than I realized when I found myself with a need to be in the kitchen tonight. Creating things usually gets me out of a funk, and cooking/baking/preserving is the ultimate in that for me — I can escape to my own world of thought while doings something beneficial for my family.

So, as the time was measured by the passage of shows on MPR, I settled in. I started by pickling (for the first time ever), converting beautiful lemon cucumbers my friend Maggie gave me into 6 jars of golden pickles.



As that boiled down, and then soaked in the water bath, I mixed up brownies to use as a base for trifle for a dinner party tomorrow night. Since the oven was already warm and the freezer overly full, I defrosted some bananas and made banana bread (we always toss our bananas in the freezer when they inadvertently become overripe, for this very reason).

By the time Patrick got home from taking out recycling at Summit, the kitchen was full of sweet and spicy smells and the washer was humming with laundry. He brought me some mint, so I cooked that down into a simple syrup to freeze in ice cube trays, so fall and winter mojitos can remind me of the warmth of summer.

And, two and a half hours later, I'm finally in a new mindspace and can actually get some work done.

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Day

First day of kindergarten!



Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

So, in trying to be more creative, I've been exploring with more classes. recently, thanks to a Living Social deal, I purchased a Wine and Canvas session....

I picked the session I did because it featured a painting called "Starry Night Over Saint Paul," which reminded me of the night Patrick and I spent at the Covington Inn for our anniversary last year. I found out after I booked that it was the opening weekend for their new space (before now, each night was set up in a restaurant, which I would imagine could get kind of tricky). The space they have now, in St. Anthony, is well set up and has a nice bar and food selection:

So you get there, and they set you up with all the stuff. Nothing as intimidating as a blank canvas, right?

The crowd was mixed. Predominantly female, though a few couples on dates which looked like fun. A few people on their own like me, but mostly small groups of friends. The trio across from me was a group of nurses on a girls night out.

We spent quite some time painting in the background of the canvas, and outlining the skyline, then setting the base. Then we took kind of a long break (more wine!).

Up to this point, I was feeling pretty confident. It was looking like it was supposed to, and we had plenty of time.

The instructor was very chipper, and in the beginning, easy to follow. She did have a habit, though, of forgetting to tell us to do something, and then we had to add it in in the fly, along the lines of "Oh, I forgot you to put THAT building in? Well, ok, just dry off your brush and paint in an orange box here, it's ok if it mixes with the blue."

Then we took a long-ish break, which I think was mainly to let the paint dry. When we got back to it, it got a lot harder. There was a lot of detail to get in, and the instructor moved pretty fast, likely to get it all done in the allotted time. The room is kind of big, and it wash't always easy to see what she was doing; plus, I think it's a little too easy if you are an artist to be like "Ok, put some little dabs of yellow in here, ok, move on to some little dabs of white like this, ok, now use a larger brush for several long lines, of black, ok, now mix yellow and white and shade in here..."

I wasn't the only one confused, and time seemed to race at the end! Plus, it's hard when you are all painting the same thing — you look around the room and are like "Oh, wait, I really like THAT one, why can't mine look that good?" Plus it's kind of disheartening to get pretty far and then feel like you blew it in one section.

In the end, I'm kind of mixed. I was not very happy with the way mine turned out, but Patrick likes it, and I made it for him. If you kind of squint it looks better:

Ultimately, I'm glad I did it, and it did feel really good to create something. I'm not exactly a big threat to Van Gogh though!