Saturday, October 24, 2015


When I was young, Grand Avenue was a shopping street, but not the boutique destination it is today. On the corner near us there was an Isreali deli, a drugstore, a dry cleaner, a couple of places I can't remember, and a little plant and gift store called Evergreen, run by a hippie guy who looked a lot like the dad in my Sunshine Family set. I loved stopping in to that store on my way home from school, and especially admired the large staghorn fern that hung on the wall.

Years later, we were at Biltmore, and the thing I had to have from the gift store was a potted staghorn fern. But for the past couple of years it has stagnated in a pot, because I had no idea how to mount it and hang it. It kind of rots in a pot, getting a weird fungus on it and generally looking dismal and unhappy.

Today, though, I decided something had to be done about it. I look up instructions online, found a piece of wood in the garage, ran to Frattalone's to get a hook to hang it, and with some trial and error, mounted it.

It looks pretty good right now, let's hope it is healthier and happier hanging on the wall!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


When I was in elementary school at SPA, our high school squash team played at the Commodore in their original squash courts. I still remember distinctly the 1978 natural gas explosion that closed it down for years and caused injuries to my much older classmates, eliminating our squash program.

When I first moved back to Saint Paul in the early 1990s, the building had been converted into condos, which were selling for ridiculously low prices (but then, so was my house). The Commodore bar itself was a private event space, where the interior bar held its old panache (even if the light bulbs were perpetually burned out and the cocktails basically limited to well drinks). The large dining rooms had lovely old photos but a mossy green carpet and furniture that looked to have been retired after hard use from over at the University Club. Still, over the years, I enjoyed my fair share of events there.

This week, the Commodore opens anew in its old Jazz Age glory. We went tonight, during the soft opening, and met up with friends in that same bar. And I have to say, I am totally impressed.

There's a new lobby bar in what was formerly kind of a wasted space. The dining rooms are soft and elegant, and the menu looks fantastic. The central bar holds all of its former charm, but some new furniture and an extremely tempting cocktail menu. Service was extremely friendly if a bit rocky (remember, it's still a soft opening).

John Rupp is to be congratulated on a lovely new/old space that is a true boon to the neighborhood. We came back and told our roommate that he needs to bring a lovely lady there for an impressive date. And we'll be back, often. I already have dreams of making it my neighborhood bar, something that's been sadly lacking in my life since Zander closed.

Meet me for a drink?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Things You Do For Fun

This fall, I signed up for the adult circus class at Circus Juventas. When I was talking to Dan, the founder, about possibly taking it it, I said I thought it would be helpful for me to know how some of the acts are physically done, rather than just watching them. To which he said "Yes, but you shouldn't do it for that. You should do it because it's fun."

And he was 110%, totally, right. Every Monday night it's hard to get myself out of the house and over to the tent, but I leave an hour later with a sense of sheer exhilaration. That circus class is one of the hardest things I have done in my life. I come home every week in total pain and amazed at my lack of strength and stamina. I have an incredible new appreciation for the things those circus kids can pull off. And most of all, for an hour of the week, I have had a total blast.

I honestly can't remember the last time I did something simply because it was fun. I'm very driven, and so things usually have to have a point — such as understanding circus better. Or taking yoga or pilates because it's good for you. Or the other classes I take because I should learn those things. I have fun volunteering, but that's certainly a duty. I thoroughly enjoy almost every show I attend, but I generally make the choice to attend because I should; I love reading, but my list tends to be "should" books (and an occasional Cape Cod beach read). Our travel always has at least one business aspect. I enjoy working on the house, but that's for sure a "should." And let's not even discuss parenting, the hardest and most rewarding work I have ever taken on.

And there's nothing wrong with all my "shoulds." They make me a better person; they give a focus to my life; I like measuring what I have achieved. After all, I signed up for this circus class at first because it was a should — but it's turned into something very different. And now, just now, I may be open to the fact that there is a lot more fun in things than I knew — and I am looking so very forward to discovering that.


What things are the most fun for you? And are they pure, unbridled "fun," or do they have some "shoulds" in there too?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Most Beautiful October Sunday Ever

Today is the most beautiful October day I can ever remember. Warm (in the 80s!), sunny, bright, it was this golden moment of why we live here. Well played!

This that know me know that pretty much nothing makes me happier than clothing exchanges, and today I experienced two! I hosted one with a group of online friends, and then accepted a last-minute invitation to attend another one. I had a great time at both, hung out with some lovely women, and scored some lovely new finds.

Then I came home and, against my better judgement, kon-mari'd my tee shirt drawer. I'm still a skeptic, but damn, it does look better.

Plus I found more clothes for more clothing exchanges, so if you know of any soon…


Other activities included the dog park, being able to research for a big project while sitting outside in the sun, and making tuna salad with celery from the garden for dinner (likely the last tuna salad of the summer).

There were two retreats I had wanted to go to this weekend, and we are coming up on MEA weekend and I am sad we are not going out of town. But, for now, I am super-happy with a clean house, new clothes, and a warm night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Plant Pictures

Beatrix came home from school today and said "We drew plants in science today and I am really good at it. Can I do some from our garden?"

And then she came up with these. I'm in awe.