Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Kimchi

(It's also apparently Hmong New Year.)

This morning, I headed over to the Asian market on University Avenue to pick up some "fun with fermentation" ingredients. I don't know why we don't shop there all the time; the food is so fresh and so much fun!

So then, while Beatrix had her BFF Alma over for a playdate, Patrick and I put up some yummy faux-kimchi (still fermented, but tastes a lot less like eating sea monkeys). Isn't it pretty?

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday...at the Museum

Though "doorbuster" prices are appealing, it's generally stuff we don't need or want (well, we could use a new fridge, but...). And the idea of shopping in crowds, and waiting in the cold in long lines (especially starting last night) — well, basically, forget it!

So we decided to do a different Black Friday activity — we went to the museum! Rather than hang around watching cartoons and drinking coffee all morning, as we often do on a day off (don't judge!), we got up and got going right away a little before 7:00. Beatrix was intrigued: "Are we going to the Bakken Museum to see the electricity? The History Museum to see the mine and the Indians and the house?"

No, we were heading to the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, which had their own Black Friday special. We arrived, got free tickets to the "Audacious Eye" Japanese collection exhibition, and headed on in.

We stoppen in the lobby to grab some free Dogwood coffee (mmmmm!) and Rustica cookies (good, but my new dream is to sneak in and futz with their timers so they stop overbaking things!), and so Patrick could check out the Northern Grade pop-up. We then went through the exhibition, which was pretty fascinating. Beatrix was especially perceptive about it, picking up on some of the warrior features of the especially fierce statues, learning about the Buddha, picking up on some of the Chinese influences on some of the scrolls, and especially admiring a modern bamboo mobile.

We then enjoyed the shop, where she picked out a postcard of the jade mountain (my personal favorite piece), and stopped to look at the picture of Cinderella's carriage at CTC on the way out.

Altogether, a much better way to spend Black Friday than any other alternative! We may not have spey/saved a lot of money, but we had some great family time together in a beautiful place.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Daughter Love


I love my husband incredibly, more now in our wonderful life together than even during that smitten phase when we first met. I love my family (well, what's left of it). I love my friends fiercely. I love my pets (well, most of them).

But I am struck every day with the way I love my daughter, almost to distraction.

I love how sweet she is, how she tries to do nice things for us when she thinks of them. I love her questions. I love her phonetic spelling (she's thankful for "trce" — think about it, yes, "turkey"). I love the way she dances, a natural ballerina. I love the way she is always doing projects. I love the way she puts her hands on her hips and says "humph." I love her long legs, and tiny waist, and curly hair, and richly-lashed blue eyes. I love her art and her music. I love the way she pouts just like my mom. I love it when she tries and appreciates new food. I love her babbling on to tell us things, and her questions about how things work. I love her little snore when she is finally asleep. I love the way stories are real to her. I love how much she tries to be just like me (and is). My first thoughts upon waking up are of her (well, because she often wakes me up), and even when we try to go out on date nights, we'll talk about how amazing she is.

There are a lot of parts of parenthood I never expected. But top among them, amazing me every day, is this crazy, wonderful, heart-swelling love.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Styled by Pinterest

One of the other things I did this weekend was spend some time on some creative craft projects. I absolutely love hunkering down and making things, and do it far too rarely — so it was nice to indulge.

On Saturday, Beatrix and I went to a workshop at Wet Paint that Krista had told us about. The workshop was about using shrink film to make things — basically, adult shrinky-dinks. Beatrix wanted us to make matching pairs of earrings, in purple and yellow; I could wear mine now and she could save hers until she gets her ears pierced. I was pretty dubious, but I think they turned out well (all art direction by Beatrix Rhone):


Then, on Sunday, while Beatrix had a playdate over, I kept half an eye on them and devoted the other half to painting a pair of jeans. It was an idea I had seen on Pinterest, but they used stencils — I could not find one I liked, so I eventually used a rubber stamp.

They are far preppier than I usually wear, but I think they are actually pretty cute, and I am kind of digging the Americana look.


I did one more successful project, but I can't tell you about it because you might be getting it for Christmas...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two Date Nights

This weekend, and amazing thing happened. Due to a congruence of events, Patrick and I were able to have two date nights in a row, something that I don't think had happened since before I got pregnant (and rarely, since we had the boys, even then). The best part was that we were able to attend some wonderful things, bearing witness to the incredible amount of creativity present in the Twin Cities!

Friday night, Beatrix went to Cinderella at Children's Theatre Company with my aunt and uncle, and my cousins children. They loved it and thought it was very magical (I'm trying to get Beatrix to do a guest blogger review). Meanwhile, we had a lovely dinner at Zelo, drinks at the Monte Carlo, and then went to see For Sale by The Moving Company. You know that I have a deep, enduring love for MoCo's work, and that everything I have seen there has been wonderful. But this piece was so truly hilarious that my teeth actually hurt from laughing. For all the years I worked at Jeune Lune, everyone always told me they wished the company would bring back Yang Zen Froggs (which they actually did eventually bring back). If you want something evocative of that kind of humor, but in a slightly different vein, you have one more weekend to see For Sale. Don't miss it.

(We had dessert at Cafe Lurcat afterwards. Enough said on that.)

Last night, we went to the Minnesota premiere of a film co-directed and produced by our friend Jeremy Wilker and Matt Stenerson, Death to Prom, which was part of the wonderful Sound Unseen film festival. It's a locally produced, indie comedy — as Jeremy said in his remarks, "The Hobbit spent more money in their coffee budget than we did on this whole film. By many times."

That said, it's a wonderful flick. It's sweet and engaging and full of first-time energy. For a lot of the performers, it's their first film, and that does show a little. But the direction is loving, the cinematography beautiful, and there are so many enjoyable, engaging parts (spoiler alert:  the day-long shoot was my favorite.) Sadly, there are no confirmed additional showings of the film until it's released for home viewing in February — but I'll let you know if that changes, because it's a must-see.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit I had never before been to a film festival. But this was a pretty great way to start. And so wonderful to see so many people there that I see far too little of!

The weekend left me thinking again about the wonderful range of creativity that is here in the Twin Cities. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by incredible artists — performers, directors, filmmakers, visual artists. I am so happy to be bringing up my daughter in a place where she can be part of that. I'm so lucky to have my career be supporting these people.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Give to the Max

Tomorrow is Give to the Max Day, the crazy annual day where charities each pitch you to give to them that day, where people go online and give to their favorite places, where they encourage people to do the same, where everyone ends up in a lovely frenzy of philanthropy.

Sure, complain what you will, say the fees are too much or you get asked by too many places that day, or what have you. Give to the Max Day is fun! It's a really easy way to go online and give and maybe learn about some new organizations that are doing amazing work that you did not even know about.

Need some places to start? Try any of my clients, all doing great work:

(in no particular order)

IFP Minnesota
Caux Round Table
Bedlam Theatre
KidsPark
Cathedral Hill Montessori
Macalester-Groveland Community Council
Nimbus
Rosy Simas Danse
Black Dirt Theater
MotionPoems
Mental Health Association of Minnesota
Skewed Visons
Waseca County Historical Society
Circus Juventas

ETA: oh, the link would help you, huh? http://givemn.razoo.com

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Domesticated Weekend

I need to remember that, when I am feeling my most overwhelmed with work, the best thing for me to do is take a big step back and turn my mind to my home for the weekend. Inevitably, I feel much more grounded, productive, and ready to tackle work issues after 24-48 hours of domestic distraction.

(Plus, I wrote down all the projects that simply need to be done in the near future at the Ashland house the other day — and there were 26 of them. Yikes!)

This weekend was perfect for a domestic re-grounding, though. Yesterday, in between tea parties and other fun with Beatrix and her friend Flora, I roasted a pumpkin, made kettle corn pumpkin seeds, and baked bran muffins.

Today, Patrick and I tackled the pantry, which we do every few years when the total chaos of it gets to us. I never remember to take "before" pictures, but here's an "after":


Now, after Beatrix and I ran a bunch of errands, she and Patrick are at the park while I have just raked the back yard and have soup bubbling away on the stove.

I also got to toss in some other fun things that were quasi-home related — my friend's birthday party at her under-construction home, a couple of episodes of Rehab Addict, shopping at an adorable store called Piccadilly Prairie with Patrick while Beatrix was at Norwegian class...

See? Domestic perfection.

(now, back to work...)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Highlights of the Week

It occurs to me that sometimes I write too much about my struggles. So, even though I am STILL sick and overwhelmed, I thought I would record some of the wonderful parts of the week:

-  The pink-purple roses Beatrix and Patrick got me yesterday (and they got an advent calendar — yeah!)

-  An inspiring, exciting breakfast with Jun-Li on Monday that blew me away reminding me how insightful she is about community art, and how she lives those values.

-  An extremely successful Incredibly Fun Party for IFP Minnesota last night, where I got to spend time with wonderful people all night long.

-  Going to Poppy with Krista and Beatrix tonight, where Beatrix dressed as a princess, we ran into the Schlossahab crew, and Jennifer gave me the remainder of her gift card so I could get a most excellent dress. Plus, free earrings!

-  Getting to connect with Chuck over lunch today, after far far too long.

-  A wonderful night out with Leah, which reminded me why she is such a strong and beautiful woman who is so dear to me.

-  Time with my fantastic husband, including My Week with Marilyn tonight, which is a beautiful love letter of a movie.

Truth be told, I live a pretty charmed life. But in a week that started out down, these moments in particular reminded me how much I have even more.