Monday, February 22, 2016

Mapping the Past

This book started as everything I love. Mingled old and new timelines, maps, the power of art, an old house (even a historic preservationist!), a cute dog, a love story, epistles, a mystery, a story based on history … it enthralled me for the first half or so of the book.

It then fell apart in a dramatic way when I suddenly stopped caring about all the characters. It was as if I did not even recognize these people that had become my friends in the story. Even the preservation part went inaccurately wrong.

I give the author major credit for rallying at this point and bringing it back around. By the end, I was glad I read it and liked the story. But it did take some effort to stay with it in the middle…


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

When Life Imitates/Is Art

Yesterday, Beatrix and I were lucky enough to attend a performance of The Story of Crow Boy at Heart of the Beast. I'm sorry to say HOBT has not been on my mind much lately (besides, of course, May Day). It's been far too long since I have been able to settle down in a seat in that wonderful theatre, with it's true theatre-paint smell and feel, with a real whiff of socialism thrown in. Beatrix chose seats in the front row, and it's been awhile since I have also sat so close as to feel part of a play.

It was a magical afternoon. The show is just a little old for Beatrix (recommended age 11+) — mainly because, well, let's just say we have not had a lot of family discussions about things like Hiroshima yet. But Beatrix has been raised on imagery, and especially on puppets (thank you, Open Eye!), and she really enjoyed the performances and the sense of magical storytelling. We left knowing we would have to find some of Taro Yashima's books. It left Beatrix with a lot of questions, and some answers she came up with on her own. And it left me with a renewed sense of how much I can rely on the beautiful imagery HOBT creates to make me think in different ways. Like I said, it's been far too long.

Highly recommended. Go see it.

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You'll remember that last week Patrick and I wet to see June by Savage Umbrella. I'm still thinking a lot about that show, and as I mentioned to several people last week, I want a lot of people I know to go see it because I want to discuss it with them!

Late last night, Patrick and I went to our friend M's birthday party, which she held at a yoga studio on the Lyn-Lake area. We were tired, and didn't really want to go out, but M means a lot to me, and I could not miss celebrating with her. It could not have been a more perfect night. M looked wonderful, people collaborated on great food and drink, there was incredible burlesque by Sassy von Straddles, and wonderful music and dancing and conversation — it really was All That.

And at one point during the evening, I looked around and realized this was a modern-day version of the community that the bar in June had created. Very different in 2016 than in the 1950s, but in some ways very much the same. And I was so, so proud of everyone in that room/group.

I can't separate the art I experience from the life I lead. And I would not have it any other way.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Very Weird Valentine's Day

(point of reference - Patrick and I celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday, so we could celebrate it as a family today)

It started with the car dealership. I'm trying to suss whether to put a few thousand into my car to fix it, or get a new one. And I got an email about an Audi event — so after dropping off Beatrix at Norwegian dance, I headed to the dealership. Where it was busy, but there was a full bar, because apparently drinking a glass of champagne before you test drive a car is a good idea. My dealership visit resulted in this tweet:
Have a sudden urge to feel invisible? Be a single woman heading into an Audi dealership on a busy afternoon.
Eventually (as in an hour later) they sent over the junior guy to talk to  a guy to talk to me — who guided me toward the Q3 because it was "cute." And to his credit, it was, and I like the car. But hey, no one even entered me in the prize drawing.

Then Scalia died. Enough said on the strangeness of that.

We had some heart-shaped pizza with Beatrix and headed out to see "June" at the Southern. I'm honestly mixed about the show; I liked the premise and the performances were fantastic. But some parts really didn't work for me — so you, Dear Reader, should see it and we can discuss it.

Then, we headed to the Tangiers, which is located in the old RSP space on 1st Ave N. It's next to the old Jeune Lune space, so as we walked past there and the wedding-of-the-night, it just did not seem right.

We walked into the restaurant. We had been there before for cocktails and apps, which was really fun and delicious, so we were looking forward to it. But last night the place was PACKED and crazy — a Chinese delegation in the front, a crazy singles-meet-and-greet in the back. Strange enough that as we stood there, wondering what on earth to do, another couple came over to say "Have you ever been here before? What the heck is going on? This is certainly not what we expected!" And THEN someone who Patrick had done Goruck with came over to say hi. Totally surreal.

So we left, and could not figure out where to go, and despaired that we were likely too old for basically all of Minneapolis (or so it seemed).

So we were heading home when we decided to grab a drink and something to eat at Public, in downtown Saint Paul, because they have a cozy lounge area. Where there was a band playing too, the kind of band that seemed as if they had just left their parents'  basements for the first time to play together. Seriously, the music was terrible. It was an incredibly surreal ending to a bizarre day.

So a few things learned:
-  I guess I am leaning toward fixing the car instead of buying a new one.
-  It's pretty much always worth it to see live theatre.
-  We really need a back-up list of restaurants and bars to go to.
-  My Craftapped membership is pretty cool (my beer was free at the Public. Here's a referral code, if you want to check it out for yourself: https://craftapped.com/?affiliates=117

ETA: And I forgot the part where we were driving back on 94 and the cop car came up behind ups and turned on his flashers, so we obediently pulled over behind another car on the side of the road trying to figure out what we had done — he came up to us laughing that we were so obedient because he had been turning on his flashers for the already stopped car!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

little felted dogs

In December, I bought a super-cute keeshond dog from a local kid who specializes in making them from pipe cleaners:


I fell in love with this book because the dogs are even cuter, and I wanted to learn to make felt dogs. Plus, my 8-year old daughter (who has done felting before) is extremely excited to make them with me.

The dogs in this book are SO adorable! I can hardly wait to make my own little pack of breeds!

The steps are pretty simple, and my first try was a success.

A few things I did not like as much about the book:
-      -   The print is small (take that with a grain of salt, I really need new glasses).
-       -  Each dog is only depicted in one pose (sitting dalmatian, standing pug, etc.). Maybe when I get more confident I can change the poses around.
-       -  Some of the dogs are more difficult to make than others, and there is no warning at the beginning which is which. Best to spend some time looking through each dog pattern first, so you know what you are getting into.


That said, I have long wanted to learn to felt things, and this will be a great chance to learn!


(Yes, I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review).