Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

The Veil Is Thin

Image
Over a romantic lunch at Bruegger's today before meeting with our financial planner, I remarked to Patrick that this is always a tough time of the year for me. I'm not sure what I think of an afterlife, but it does feel that the veil between worlds is very thin this time of year (and the mornings very dark).

It perks up for Halloween night, however. Beatrix gets SO excited about it. For the past several years, we have always trick-or-treated with a group of her school friends. This year, or wonderful friends Heather and Justin (and Holly and Marie) hosted a spaghetti dinner in their garage, so everyone could eat and then head out. We stopped quickly at the governor's first, though — he was handing out a huge variety of MN foods, including sea salt caramel Nut Goodies which are The Bomb. We also got a chance to tell him what a good job he is doing:


All twelve of the kids gathered before we headed out:


We hit "Halloween Street" before it got too busy, and then seve…

Small Domesticities

Image
I slept in a little this morning after perhaps too much butter beer at a Harry Potter party last night. So when I woke up and saw a post on FB about how to clean a front loading washer, I decided it was my penance.

Here's the site, for full info: The Chic Site - How to Clean Your Front-Loading Washer. The short of it is that I cleaned the entire gasket area really well with vinegar and a toothbrush — and, well, yuk. There's also a little drain that was filled with scum — who knew? Ok, so probably the rest of you do this weekly or something, I'm not exactly a domestic goddess.

I'm also not the greatest visually, but I made a noble attempt at cleaning out the dead planet from the garage window boxes and filling them with some red dogwood twigs I was given and some old dried hydrangea. I don't think it's half bad. This is something I never would have attempted a year ago, but I credit my friend Susi for encouraging me to take some chances with floral design.


Yeste…

School Start Times

It started in a well-intentioned way a couple of years back. A number of studies show that teens are not getting enough sleep; they need between 8-10 hours a night (so the studies I read average it at 9 hours), and are averaging somewhere between 7-9 hours. We all know what it's like to be tired — you pay less attention, you are not as "sharp," you don't succeed as well. Recommendations from these studies included suggestions such as managing homework so kids are not up late, taking away technology devices so they are not texting/gaming/etc. so late (the glowing screens also are shown to be a sleep impairment), to insisting they go to bed at a reasonable time, to ... school start times.

Some vocal parents in Saint Paul have taken the latter as a way to solve some of the severe attention and test score issues Saint Paul high schools are facing, and have lobbied hard to change the start times for high school (currently generally at 7:30) to 8:30 or 9:30.

SPPS looked in…

If You Don't Go to Other People's Funerals...

Image
A long, long time, ago, I spent my junior year abroad at a magic program called the British and European Studies Group in London. This small program consisted of students from a number of American liberal arts colleges, mainly with a theatre, English, and/or history been, and brought them over to work with British tutors. It was in that year that a lot of magic happened, for me and for almost everyone else enrolled. I learned I was smart, I was capable, and that I could do anything I put my mind to. Or, as my friend David put it:
I walked away from London with a writing career, darts and a wife. Earlier this month, one of my amazing friends from that year, O'Bryan Broecker Worley, passed away due to a sudden blood clot.

It had been 28 years since I had seen her (or most other people from that program, with a few exceptions), but I wanted so much to go to the funeral. I wanted to see my amazing friend Fran, who I have kept up with and most recently saw here just a few weeks ago. I w…

All The World's a Stage

Image
Somehow, despite my love of Shakespeare, I had not yet read any of the Hogarth Shakespeare project books. However, it's safe to say that there is no author whose work I love more comprehensively than Margaret Atwood. It gives me great pain to know that I will never be able to read her Future Library book, because I know there will always be one things she has written out there that I will not get a chance to consume.

So the newly-released Hag-Seed delighted me to no end. It's the story of The Tempest, as performed in a correctional facility, in an educational program directed by somewhat of a has-been director. And it's such an embarrassment of riches:
-  not just a Shakespeare story, but perhaps my favorite
-  plenty of theatre in-jokes
-  a little bit of Canadian political humor (from the pre-JT days)
-  a prison bent, a la the ever-amazing Ten Thousand Things theatre company
-  as mentioned before, fantastic writing by Atwood; she is perhaps at her best under this kind …

Lessons From Hamilton

Image
Anyone who knows me knows that I am (still) obsessed with Hamilton. And, that above all, I love to read. So, Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life, by Jeff Wilser, would seem to be a no-brainer "like" for me — and for the most part, that's correct.

Wilmer gives more than a nod to Lin-Manuel Miranda's genius, and also plaudits to Ron Chernow's Hamilton — though the fact that Wilser calls it "without a doubt the second-most pro-Hamilton book in history" (after Alexander Hamilton's own papers) is dubious. I give that honor to Chernow, or to Miranda's Hamil-tome.

That said, I enjoyed the conceit of this book. It's divided into short essays in theme-based sections (Romance, Office Politics, Leadership, etc.). The essays bring up some fun facts, and some general ideas, and are written in a light, friendly tone. The writing itself is a little offhand to me, and could stand with a bit more gravitas, but I'm also not one who thinks that you shou…

Library Closed

Image
The other day I posted on a neighborhood page:
Our Little Free Library has been totally pillaged lately - as in, someone comes every day and totally cleans it out to take it to Half Price Books or something. I think we're going to close it down for awhile, which bums me out. And I do mean "totally pillaged." I love it when the books fly off our shelves —it means that people are reading — but this was about the 12th time in the past couple of months that someone had completely cleared it from stem to stern. I'm a voracious reader, when everything from an ABC board book to old-school westerns to Faulker's As I Lay Dying all go in one fell swoop, I know that something is up.

After I posted, I noticed that a LOT of people were posting in neighborhood pages about this. Especially in my neighborhood, it seems like one person is coming along and emptying everyone out.

Our friend and neighbor Julio noticed my Facebook post; he's a reporter for the Pioneer Press and hi…

White Orchid

Image
Yesterday was all about cleaning out the garage. We listed some furniture for sale, have a big free pile outside, and got everything else well-organized. We'r not quite ready for winter, but it's better.

As part of that, I brought in a table and chairs I had purchased off a neighborhood BST board awhile back. Today, my friend Jennifer brought me a white orchid.

I love the way this all looks in our front window, and the tone it sets for the room!


More Camp CoCo

List posts are for the lazy, or for those who are just not going to get around to writing a full post but want to hang on to a few thoughts:

-  Very smooth, first batch Two Gingers by a campfire, passed between people. "Just one goat!"
-  Sitting on a moss-covered rock overlooking a beautiful lake and discussing your "Why?"
-  G&Ts in a dining hall with a view that Tattersall would envy.
-  Loving Nora, and thinking Dessa is The Bomb.
-  Thinking about things differently after talking to Robert Stephens (even, or maybe especially, the Instant Pot).
-  Climbing up a mountain in the dark, so that we could watch an amazing sunrise over Lake Superior.
-  Conversations — waves of conversations.
-  My husband hitting it out of the park with his keynote.
-  Stars.
-  Content. Inspired. Curious. Grateful.

Camp Coco - String Art

Image
It always bites you in the butt.

Friday morning, right before we left for Camp CoCo, I tweeted:
I'll never be a lifestyle blogger. The current trend for string art and wall weavings confuses me and makes me think it's 1971. Then we got up to camp, and I found out the community-building craft project was...string art.

And I think I rocked it, if I do say so myself.

That's just one example of how Camp CoCo changed my viewpoints and maybe even my life. More to come — but now I'm off to two meetings. That never changes.

A Proper Drink

Image
My visit to Lawless over the weekend inspired me to pick up A Proper Drink, which had been sitting on my nightstand for a bit, once I realized that it was a meatier book than interest-style cocktail recipes (though there are some of those, too, and I am considering revisiting the book by drinking my way through it).

I'm glad I picked it back up. The chapters are tasting-glass size, just enough to give you a little sense of the movers-and-shakers who revitalized the craft cocktail movement (who knew that a TGI Fridays in London had such an influence?) Simonson is an engaging writer, and the stories are interesting, especially if you already hold an interest in cocktails and popular history. My only quibble — and this is an issue with the "mixology movement" as a whole — is that relatively few women have a place in the narrative. That's the cold, hard truth, but it's unfortunate.


(as usual, book provided free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an unbiased revie…

Ghebres

More foodie posts!

Tonight after school Beatrix had Rec Check, piano, then Brownies. That meant that she ate mac and cheese in the car between events, but that Patrick and I could go out for dinner while she was earning a plein air painting badge, so we purposely chose a place she would not want to go.

I had heard about Ghebres Ethiopian restaurant on a neighborhood Facebook page, so we wanted to check it out. It's on Snelling right across from Fasika, which I have also never been to. When we got there the place was almost empty, so we were seated quickly and courteously.

The menu is small, but has the essentials, Patrick chose a curry cabbage, and I got a curry potato and carrot. They were served together on a round of injera, with a small side of lentils and of spicy greens.

The cabbage was amazing, as were the lentils. The greens were a little spicy for me, but a nice contrast. The potatoes were not the smaller pieces I am used to, but more of a wedge, and perhaps as a result, …

Night Out - Stewart's and Lawless

Yesterday was Randolph Heights' Fall Festival (hundreds of people over a few hours, indoor history exhibit, carnival games, the BunnyClogs, all kinds of fun!). I worked my *ss off for 5 hours, but then Beatrix had a friend's birthday party that night, so I could take Patrick out for his birthday.

We had dinner at Stewart's, which is the new incarnation of Cafe 128. I have to admit I was never the biggest fan of Cafe 128; I always found the prices high for basically eating in a basement rec room. The re-design makes it feel far nicer (though without losing the retro glam, in fact improving on it), but the new menu is a big improvement. It's kind of all mixed together — apps, main courses, and sides — which encourages you to try different thing together. Price points are reasonable, and it feels far more authentic than the old place. Patrick had the Lake Woebegon Shore Lunch (basically walleye with potatoes fried in bacon), which was well-flavored and hey enjoyed (though…