Showing posts from 2018

Olympic Gold

I'm sitting on one end of the couch, with Patrick on the other end. Between us, Winston is enthusiastically chewing his giant rawhide. It's the final set of women's Olympic skaters on the computer screen. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are restrained in their commentary and letting us watch.

Watching the Olympics brings me back to years of watching the Olympics with my mom. Sitting on the lumpy couch, with the tv on the green corner desk. There were no green boxes to tell you about scores then, and a double axel was a big deal. Right after the Olympics, the big full-page ad in he paper would come out for the skating tour, and one year we even went. But it was incredibly magical, and I can remember what seems like every moment of those Olympics.

Tonight after circus we let Beatrix stay up almost an hour latter watch through the first Russian skater. I wanted her to feel that magic too. If she can't watch the skating with her grandmother, I want her to at least have that …

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

So a strange thing has happened to me lately — I've basically lost all interest in buying new clothes.

I still like acquiring clothes as much as ever, maybe more, and honesty, my wardrobe could probably use a little uplift, especially by this point of the winter. But getting new clothes, as in going to the mall or even a boutique shop — it's just not happening.

Instead, I've been getting my clothes off of Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade boards, or clothing exchanges. Gosh, I love me a clothing exchange. Put me in a room with a bunch of awesome women and a whole bunch of clothes, and I am in heaven. Seriously, one of my favorite things ever.

I've got a lot of work to do on the clothes I have; I used to be really good on keeping them up and mending them well, and I've slipped on that recently (maybe I need  little mending night in front of the Olympics or something). I'm especially interested in doing some up-cycling of clothes I have. I think that would be a really fun …

Small Business Monday

It was  along weekend of hitting the small businesses we love...

Starting with Glam Doll for our usual Saturday morning donuts while Beatrix was in class (well, really starting with friends hitting an art and antique sale in a newly restored Prairie-style home in River Falls the night before). After that, Patrick picked up a great tee-shirt at b. resale shop right next to it — pretty awesome, huh?

Then the monthly Sixth Chamber Game Night at Grand Shanghai on Saturday night. Truth be told, the food at Grand Shanghai is just okay, but the game nights are super-fun and it's great to go with friends. I have a passionate love for Sixth Chamber right now.

Yesterday, Beatrix and I went out to deliver girl scout cookies, and stopped at the last day of Urban Moon for the last day before they closed. We picked up a few things at a big discount, but I would rather have NOT saved money and had them stay open. Occasional stores must be a hard kind of business to operate, but I love shopping a…

Why I am Not Moving to Paris...Yet...

Whenever we travel, Patrick knows I'll always stop in the windows of the real estate agents, admiring the photos and imagining living there. "I LOVE this neighborhood! This one's not so much..."

So of course, when David Lebovitz, whose The Sweet Life in Paris I had loved, wrote l'appart about his search for and renovation of a Paris apartment, I was there. I could live vicariously through his experiences — I would be like LIVING there! And I was kind of right!

It's a great story of "am American in Paris." A little bit of a love story, and definitely a love letter to Paris. A paean to architecture, some frustration with inspections and bureaucracy, and some self-detracting humor. It's like having a conversation with a friend in a Paris street cafe while being secretly jealous of his fabulous life.

Plus as always a great love of food, with most chapters ending in some truly delicious sounding recipes — so even if I can't live in Paris, I can e…

Resist ... by Donating

First of all, let me be clear:

Charitable donations to non-profit organizations are still 100% tax-deductible under the new tax code that was passed in late December 2017.*

(The difference is that the standard deduction was increased, so that — for many people — it may no longer be worth it to itemize these deductions, including charitable contributions. So, while your gift is still tax-deductible, that plus any other still-allowed deductions may total less than the new standard deduction, so it might not affect your taxes.)

For many of us, honestly, this will make little-to-no difference in our giving patterns. We give when asked (for instance, by a friend who asks us to support their cause), or because of expectation (church collection plate), when we support an organization or issue because it aligns with our core values (many of my clients), or when an situation really hits us and we feel compelled to do something (like donations to flood-related causes last spring). The fact that, …


There's a reason I'll never be a writer. My pieces are always slapdash, tucked in between things when I have two minutes to throw something on paper, never edited, generally sloppy. For a real writer's take on my daughter being ten, read what Patrick wrote.

But what I can say, in my imperfect and rushed-as-usal way, is that it's hard to believe it's been a full decade since that exhausting, dementor-cold morning at Abbott Northwestern. With Vanessa with us and a north situation that was far-from ideal but somehow perfect. Since everything in our lives changed forever.

Bold North

There's nothing like Minnesota in the summertime.

But this winter we've been having a lot of fun too (and I credit a lot of it to finally having good winter wear, like snow pants).

A couple of weeks ago, we headed to the Art Shanties. I had wanted to go for years, but never made it — often the mid-winter thaws had ended their run early. But this year they were easy to get to (on Lake Harriet), and the weather was perfect. On the sunny Saturday that we headed over, we were delighted to find out that it was also the Kite Festival.

We spent hours on the ice, with Beatrix determined to explore every shanty. I think my favorite might actually have been the Notary Shanty, or maybe the tiny theatre, or possibly the Wish Factory...

Then last weekend we hit the Ice Maze at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It was awesome, though tiny...

Tonight, we went to the Winter Carnival ice sculptures and the Ice Palace. Saint Paul was hopping! It was "Cinco de Mayo Night" and there wa…

Super Bowl 52

I've never been in a  city that hosted the Super Bowl before, and I have to say it's quite a trip. I haven't even braved the epicenter of it all in downtown Minneapolis, but there's a celebratory feeling everywhere.

Other than my brother-in-law Rob, who's staying with us, I have not seen any celebrities — though we did invite JT to our Girl Scout cookies party last night, and several of my friends have — apparently, I don't hang out at Meritage enough. My circus performed at Taste of the NFL last night and did amazingly, but I was not there. Really, the closest we've come to much of the real hype is picking up Eagles donuts yesterday at the donut shop we hang out at on Saturdays.

I've also read a lot of conflicting articles about the effect on community. Seth Godin, who I greatly respect, points out that cities pay a tremendous price for hosting. Fast Company had a fantastic article on Minnesota's branding of the event that is very on point.

All in …

Snow Day

Saint Paul Public Schools are closed for a snow day today, following the 12+ inches of snow we got yesterday. We all played in the back yard this morning, and Beatrix has spent all afternoon at her friend's house playing outside. It' a gloriously sunny, snowy, lovely day and it is perfect here. It follows the blizzard yesterday, where the blizzard made it seem like we were in a snowglobe. With candles and a fire going inside, it was the ultimate in hygge.

It was not that idyllic in other places, though. Randolph Heights was easy — Patrick picked up Beatrix from school with only a few problems; busses were all gone within an hour after dismissal, and only a handful of parents were left for parent pickup.

However, at about 7:40 I was texted by a friend and co-RHS parent. She had just learned that there were a bunch of kids (30+) left at both the upper and lower schools of nearby Linwood-Monroe, still waiting for busses. The principal was there with them, and staff were being ama…

Building Community

Beatrix started her theater classes this morning at Children's Theatre Company, and was happy to have several of her friends from last session in class again (Patrick and I were happy to get back to getting work done at Glam Doll Donuts during class).

But then, this afternoon, while Patrick was speaking to a group in Columbia Heights about minimalism, Beatrix and I hit some community events and did errands. We stopped at the School Choice Fair, to support the Randolph Heights teachers at the booth and talk to some prospective families (ok, well, I did. Beatrix collected pencils and other swag).

Then we stopped by the Macalester-Groveland Community Council's Frost Fest. I guess I had never realized how extensive the Groveland skating rink is, and Beatrix decorated an awesome puck:

Tonight, we met Beatrix's friends Dia and Meara for Game Night at Grand Shanghai, hosted by Sixth Chamber Used Books. It was a ton of fun, playing a game our friends had chosen called Dixit.

We th…

Lagom ar bast

With all the fuss about hygge and other kinds of Scandinavian coziness, I decided it was time to take a look at Live Lagom (subtitle Balanced Living the Swedish Way) — and reading it while on a Northwoods retreat with a bunch of wonderful ladies seemed like perfect timing. That said, keep in mind that 1) I'm Norwegian, not Swedish, and 2) if you think about it, there's nothing in "moderation" about this weekend, including the amount of snacks, drinks, and hilarity going on (it IS pretty cozy, though, perhaps I should have stuck with hygge.)

All that said, I liked the book more than I thought I would. It clearly defined the idea of "lagom," which is basically the idea of balance or "just enough." It then looks at:

-  Lagom at work, which seems hard unless everyone is doing it; did you know the average number of work hours a year for a Swede is 1,600 hours? (in the US, FT work is defined as 2,080 hours, though to be fair that includes vacation time …

Growing Up

So over the weekend, Beatrix, Patrick, and I did "Yoga and  Pint" at Lake Monster, which was totally awesome and comes highly recommended (we'll meet you there sometime!) When Beatrix and I went out afterwards she was commenting about how much she likes the song "Wavin' Flag" which was part of the playlist, especially the line "When I get older, I will be stronger, they'll call me freedom, just like a wavin' flag." And that's pretty much where she is right now in her life.

Last night we saw Lady Bird as part of the FilmNorth Spirit Awards screenings (another thing you should join me for). I'm incredibly proud of myself that I saw a movie about a sometimes rough relationship between a mother and a daughter without bursting into tears. It's a great movie, but one that's really got me thinking about mother/daughter relationships and how fraught they become during the teen years. I'm sometimes amazed my mom and I made it t…

Mayor Melvin

It's Inauguration week here in Saint Paul, and it's been a great week to welcome our 46th mayor — and our first mayor of color — my long-term (if not close) friend, Melvin Carter!

As my friend Katie noted last night "Saint Paul has not had an inauguration in so long that I love that we've just taken the chance to make up what we want it to be." And she was right — it was a whirlwind week of coffee shop meet and greets, painting  community mural, a swearing-in at Central High School, and an inaugural ball at Union Depot last night (where Melvin's grandfather served as a Red Cap porter yard ago). Apparently, a solemn and quiet swearing-in (like Minneapolis just had) is much more the norm. But I have to say I loved the energy and involvement of tis series of events.

When I stopped in to Coffee Bene for a meet and greet yesterday, the place was packed, and Melvin was talking, and listening, to a lot of people.

And last night, I guess we were lucky to even get in…

2017 In Slips of Paper

What the slips of paper in our "good things from 2017" jar said:

Beatrix braces off
Beatrix' fiber arts scholarship
Hyacinths blooming
Glass birds from Vibrant
CJ volunteer party
Getting a Hatchimal
Dropping things off for the KidsPark sale
Harry Potter Year 2
Patio night
3 Cirque shows (O, Love, and Mystere)
Bethany's craft area cleanup
Brunch with Amy and Jaye/playdate with Scarlett
Built swingset for Beatrix
Stillwater day
Women's retreat
Tenant restaurant
Installed new under cabinet light in kitchen
The Oscars
Dinner party at Kate and Baxter's
Hidden Figures
Elderberry cocktail at Revival with Heidi and Denise
GTYS concert with Dylan in it and out afterwards
The Grand Canyon
Using the real silver Bethany got me for Christmas
Felipe and Juliana's wedding
Amelia Island beach
Lobster rolls eaten with silver
Dancing on the Edge
Dining room remodel
Tiger Lily
Bottle Rocket with Jenn and Erica
A bathing suit that fits
Organizing patrick's electronics ac…

Delicata and the Capitol

We started out 2018 right by going to brunch at Delicata. I love me some Matty O'Reilly restaurants, and Delicata and Arc Value Village had done a great promotion called #ThrifTABLE, where brunch was served on dishes from the thrift shop and the newly minted basement rec room had games and decor from them as well. Their social media efforts were truly on par, with even an Instagram contest.

We got to brunch at 11 (they started at 10), and you could tell they were not quite ready for the rush; they were out of cinnamon rolls, strata, and baked french toast, which left relatively little for the non-meat-eaters to eat. Also, after a late night, we did not opt for the $8 bottomless mimosa. That all said, brunch was nice enough, and it was a great way to start the year. We'll definitely be back!

That afternoon, we decided to head over to the State Capitol, for one of their free tours (because let's face it, we had not done too many educational events over the break!) I had not …

Resolved - 2018

Wow, was last year really so bad I did not even have any New Year's resolutions? That's really unlike me, but if I did have them, I undoubtedly failed, since I can't find them or remember anything about them.

So, as I lie in bed with a lot of cats after a couple of New Year's parties last year, I only have one resolution for 2018:

To set up systems so that everything in my life runs smoother and better. That will of course lead to all sorts of magical extra time to do things and much less stress, right?

Happy New Year to you all!