Showing posts from 2018

In/During Her Absence

I had noticed a post for this show pop up in my feed, and then my friend Krista, whose taste in theatre I trust implicitly, suggested I see it. So, last night instead of sorting through papers or choosing photos for the memorial, we headed over to the Minnesota Trapeze Center to see it.

The Center is devised as a circus class space, not a theatre, and so there were just a few chairs set up in the (very hot, remember it was 90 degrees yesterday) room. This suited the intimate sense of the show well, though. The set was simple — two static traps, and then marley and a few mats on the floor; a few other pieces of apparatus including a cyr wheel and a silk that was also briefly used for projection.

The piece itself was a mix between aerial work that was evocative without being overly flashy, two ground-based dancers who added a sense of tragic-clown levity (not overtly funny, but adding humor), and a sort of in-between character who added a bit of magic (especially in a bubble moment wher…

Pushing the Boundaries

It's like the universe was trying to tell me something. First I read Present Over Perfect, and then I head a Ted talk, both on the same topic, how the first part of your life is all about building things up, and the second half is all about trimming them back.

This depressed me greatly. Not only do I not even want to be thinking about moving towards the end of my life, but I certainly don't want to be cutting back. I want to be trying new things, exploring places I have not gone yet, and pushing my own boundaries. I reject cutting back.

So, recently, I've been pushing myself to try new things.

My friend Bethany noticed that last year at the Fair, there were very few scrapbook entries, and the topics were reasonable vague ("Heritage," "Vacation," and "Special Occasion"). So she hosted several of us to get together for "Subversive Scrapbooking," the idea being that we would
"scrapbook up some State Fair entries that will make judge…

Wine, Women, and Song

Other people get a mani-pedi when they need self-care (which actually does not sound like a half-bad idea....)

Me? I headed to Alexis Bailly Vineyard to see Nan and Sam and to enjoy an incredible performance of Dr. Falstaff and the Working Wives of Lake County by Mixed Precipitation, and I'm very glad for both.

Mixed Precipitation performances are fun shows, but even more than that, they are events. This particular one is a mash-up of Nicolai's opera The Merry Wives of Windsor, plus Springsteen, and delicious farm-to-table food tidbits. It's an incredibly enjoyable afternoon, with fantastic performances — the whole cast was great, but particular standouts to me were Naomi Karstad and Anna Hashizume as the wives, and Joni Griffith as a particularly operatic ranger/barmaid (with a turn on the violin as well). The band also was exceptionally strong this year, with some pre-show tributes to the Queen of Soul.

I'm still thinking, though, about the well-researched political …

My Dad

I'm still reeling from losing my dad.

I didn't expect to quite so much. I was not a "daddy's girl." I have friends who have recently lost their fathers, women who were incredibly close to them, and my heart breaks in a thousand pieces for them.

My parents divorced when I was two. I saw my dad every Saturday, he always had Christmas Day because my family celebrated Christmas Eve, and went on trips with him (when he would go to conferences or the like) once or twice a year. Very occasionally I would stay over at his place.  That's not very much compared to divorced parents today, but actually pretty good for the 1970s. We still have a platform rocker around here somewhere that I can't get rid of because my mom told me that when I came home Saturday afternoons she would have to rock me for hours.

My dad was fiercely, stubbornly independent. He was so guarded, even with me. This has been made even more clear to me since he became ill and I stepped in to deal …

Our Lady of Peace

After a whirlwind summer of dealing with my dad's S4 lung cancer diagnosis in July, I secured him a bed at Our Lady of Peace Hospice this week.

I also set up a Caring Bridge site.

Honestly, there's not much more to say about it all. It sucks.

A Quiet Moment

Last night, at the Murphy election night party at Lake Monster, it had gotten late and Patrick and Beatrix decided they had better leave.

And they were leaving just as Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade were arriving. Patrick gave them hugs and told them to keep their chins up. And then Beatrix gave Erin Murphy a big hug — and Erin leaned over and looked her straight in the eye and said "I BELIEVE in you." And it was quiet for  minute at the edge of the parking lot and then the chants of "Erin, Erin!" started and they walked on to the event and Patrick and Beatrix went home and I stayed and cried.

Look, I'll rally and support Walz. He's not a bad guy. Compared to Johnson, he's basically a super-hero. But hear me out...

Last night, people once again said that it was fine to have a woman in the senate or as a representative. But when it came down to electing a woman as their actual leader, that they just couldn't do it. I heard so many people say that th…

NNO Photos

Every year, at National Night Out, we get our photo strip taken at the old-time photo booth. The other nigh the event was really winding down, but we still got it done.

In the first photo, Beatrix looks a lot like me. In the third, she looks much more like Patrick.

Love the mixing of our genes.


So while Patrick worked 2 shows, I loaded up Beatrix and went Fringe-ing. I was afraid we would not get a chance to go this year, but everything fell in place to go today, and it was perfect.

We started at the new-this-yer "Family Fringe," though I would argue that most Fringe shows are family-friendly. Our friends (we originally met them when they billeted with us several years ago for their first Fringe) The Fourth Wall were performing Fruit Flies Like a Banana . They are WONDERFUL. I'm probably biased, but read Matthew Everett's review. Then, if you see nothing else this Fringe, make a point to check them out at the FamilY fringe, and maybe hit CanCan Wonderland or Flanneljax afterwards. 5 stars, for sure.

The next show, Not Fair, My Lady, was produced by my friend Colleen and so I've enjoyed watching the development process of this strong, feminist, "trample the patriarchy" piece. Go see it, and then you will realize how incredibly ironic it was tha…

Grateful (Again)

People I am extraordinarily grateful for right now:

-  The several people who have sent me notes (by mail) saying they are thinking of me.
-  Our friends Kate and Baxter and Kiernan, who had Beatrix overnight so we could get some work done and rest (and some time to weed the garden this morning).
-  Our friends Linda and Kim, who made us delicious food and flowers and kept Beatrix entertained all day Friday and Saturday.
-  Our friend Marta, who made delicious tacos that taught Beatrix to love them (I need that recipe!)
-  Having a lot of fun auditioning for Leah and Alan yesterday.
-  My friend Kim (different Kim - apparently Kims are good people!), who is getting my dad's end-of-life legal affairs in order.
-  Katie and Stephanie who provided playdates for Beatrix that allowed us to get other things done.
-  Laura who took a big batch of leftover clothes from a clothing exchange to Goodwill.
-  People that join us at pool parties!

I can't tell you how much all these things h…

Wedding Unboxing

My beautiful, thoughtful, amazing sister-in-law is getting married in December to her rogue-ish handsome prince, and Beatrix and I are both in the wedding!

Last week, she sent us gorgeous wedding themed gift boxes.

Here's Beatrix unboxing:

Each one was carefully wrapped:

And personalized just for us:

Beatrix will be a "Glitter Girl" (we might not want to mention these plans to the venue's cleaning staff....)

Because my SIL is lovely, she took the time to thank each of us for being part of the wedding

A box full of glitter!

Beatrix wants to know if she can wear the tiara with her dress:

Our boxes together!

We are sooooooo excited to celebrate with Patrice and Rob!


In the middle of all the crazy, it's important to just sit back and enjoy for  minute, even when you can't plan for it.

This afternoon I read that Heirloom was closing...tonight. And we still had a $100 gift card that we had kept saving for the "perfect date night."

So after a long day, we grabbed a reservation and brought Beatrix out to experience.

It was not the perfect night. They were slammed, and it took forever. We got the last of a lot of things.

But the important things is that we got in one last time, and we had a lovely dinner together as a family. These are the things that mean a lot.

We'll miss you, Heirloom!

Full STEAM Ahead!

Ok, you are all used to me raving about my clients, and Circus Juventas in particular.

But do yourself a favor and see Steam, because:
-  It's the hardest-to-rig show that patrick has done, which means to you as an audience member that he tricks are amazing!
-  It's Beatrix's favorite show to date.
-  Not only are the tricks great, but it has great acting performances too!
-  Steampunk! The steps and costumes are also amazing!
-  You can see a Cirque du Soleil style show at a fraction of the price! (and there are a few tickets left for the next few weekends)
-  If you don't, you'll miss all my family's inside jokes for the rest of the year.

Seriously, you are going to love it!

When Constraint Makes Opportunity

My friend just posted a picture of "Date night at the best Patio in town (Sweeney's)," which led to an online discussion of that patio's merits.

I've lived across from Sweeney's for 25 years, and yes, I love that patio too.

But it wasn't always so great. It used to be basically a gravel expanse out the back door that led to a kind of ratty parking lot. No one really wanted to be out there, but hey, it was a patio, and it was Minnesota in the summer, so....

The neighbors banded together to complain. It was way too loud, it was open until close, people drinking spilled out onto the sidewalk and into neighbors' yards. Bones form chicken wings littered the gravel (until the neighborhood wildlife came to scoop them up). Yes, we all were aware that we had purchased homes by a bar (though technically this homes all predate the bar...). But we also had likewise expected Sweeney's to follow basic liquor licensing regulations, including crowd and noise cont…

A Girl with a Big Heart

Today was Beatrix's cardiologist visit. She was born with 2 small issues — a small (2mm) hole between chambers, and an open PDA, When she was 11 months old, part of this was solved by inserting a small coil, and the hole has closed, though she still has a small murmur. Today was her first visit in 5 years.

There was a scheduling snafu and she could not see her regular doctor, which was really upsetting because Dr. Dummer is leaving this month to move to California and this was our last visit with her. In the end, it was probably a good thing, because we got transferred to the care of Dr. Chu, who was also great. It's nice to have a new doctor that we know assigned to us with Dr. Dummer going, rather than just anyone that we would have gotten assigned to, and he even Facetimed her so we could say goodbye. The staff there is all fantastic.

The only remanning issue is that Beatrix still has a slightly enlarged aorta. As heart issues go, it's not a huge deal. She can participa…

Why a House is More then Structure

I've recently encountered a rather toxic person whose views on the built environment could not be more different than my own. Which got me thinking about our house on Summit. When we inherited it, we knew we wanted to use it to do good. And as I sit and think of what this house has been able to host, I'm pretty impressed:

-  A friend working in China, home for the summer.
-  The mother of a friend, who wanted to spend more time with her family. In fact, that has happened four separate times (with separate people).
-  My aunt and her friend, swimming almost daily.
-  Two different sets of circus artists moving here from abroad, and several that have just been here for workshops.
-  A short film based on Dessa's spoken word art.
-  A fashion photoshoot.
-  A short film.
-  Two weddings.
-  Several other families here attending weddings.
-  A friend's mother here for the birth of their child.
-  People coming for school reunions.
-  A missionary here for part of the summe…

Iceland in a Nutshell

1 July, 2018 Delta flight was 4 hours late due to mechanicals so we were wrecked. Supposed to be a 10pm departure but instead 2am, so we lost a ton of time and sleep (did get to see Lean on Pete starring Charlie Plummer on the plane though, so not all was lost).
Got car from Sixt, drove along the water road to AirBnB, which was located on a farm outside of Hella. Stopped at black sand beach (not THE one, but A One). The whole way we remarked on the beauty — the lava fields! The shoreline! The mountains! The steam coming from the grouns! The Icelandic horses!

Grabbed some snacks in Selfoss — Lion Bars! Hobnobs!Liked the big Kronan store there.
Found AirBnB — loved it. The cottage was pristine — so clean, so spacious, so well outfitted. Amazing to have this whole space to ourselves. Napped an hour, and made a quick dinner (we had brought food to save money). Beatrix got to see the horses and the lamb (and dog of course).

Around 8:00 we drove up to Guilfoss to see the falls and Geyser (…


Besides a bad back ache that's got me popping the advil like skittles, I'm feeling pretty mad-domestically-skilled right now.

Last night, I used foraged mulberries from Summit to make mulberry vodka and a mulberry shrub, both of which you can taste in about 4 weeks once they mature. I used nanny berries from the tree there to make a coffeecake, and cooked up several quarts of rhubarb simple-syrup (I really need my own rhubarb plant next year so I stop foraging firm everyone else's).

Today, in reading about Iceland, I realized that I really needed some better hiking pants that were more water-repellant — but I don't have the time or the cash to just run down to Patagonia. Patrick had a few pairs in the clothing exchange bag, however. So I grabbed a pair, pegged them along the inner seams, darted the waist, and took them up (they're still a leeetle long, but that's because I decided partway through that measuring was for chumps).

Not bad for a quick project, huh?

Diner en Blanc

Last year, at about this time, friends of mine posted about their backup meal under the Lowry bridge when "Dinner in White" was cancelled due to rain. "Dinner in White," I thought, "What's that?" And so began my fascination.

Here's the story of how the whole thing started, should you want to fall down the rabbit hole the way I did.

In the Twin Cities, it's simpler — join the Facebook group (I think I needed an invitation to do so, IIRC), plan for the night, wait for the announcement of the site, show up.

Patrick was a little bit of a hard sell on it. But when Beatrix was invited to a sleepover that night, and I would not stop talking about it, he went out and bought a white shirt from UpSix Vintage, and graciously agreed.

It was our first year so we kept it simple. Just us, a folding table, 2 chairs, and a bag with some good alfresco food, a tablecloth, china, flower arrangement, candles. The site was announced — the Stone Arch bridge! — and we …

Whose Voices are We Hearing?

Last night I went to a presentation of the results from a historic survey conducted in a nearby Saint Paul neighborhood. It was generally a good presentation, with a lot of historic photos and some good rationale for areas for further study within the community.

One thing that really hit me, though, was the study's focus on demographic data. In many cases, the presenter would out up a slide of a house, call it the "SwensonJohnsonAnderson House," (for the original owners, which is standard preservation practice), and give a fair amount of detail about the owners, culled from sources such as the census, the Dual City Blue Books, and other demographic data  — along the lines of "Mr. SwensonJohnsonAnderson was a clerk for the Northern Pacific Railroad, whose family had emigrated to America from Sweden at the turn of the century."

To some extent, I understand this impulse. I know that the SHPO and Saint Paul HPC offices have asked for similar information from me in …

The Past and Other People

This month, for her book club (four ten-year old girls who have had a book club since kindergarten, it's pretty awesome, Beatrix picked my friend Kelly's book Magic, Madness, and Mischief. She and I had discussed it, and she wanted to read it because she knew Kelly, she was excited the book was set in Saint Paul, and she thought it would be cool to have her book club meet Kelly and ask him about the book (the fact we met in the cat cafe in Menomonie probably helped a little too).

Patrick, Beatrix and I read it aloud, round-robin style, which we have not done before — but we all wanted to experience the book. And I have to admit there were several times when I was glad my chapter twas over, because I was getting really choked up.

The books is a pretty thinly-veiled story of Kelly's own youth, at begins just at the time I met him (yes, I've known him for that long). The characters, and experiences, and especially the emotions brought back extraordinarily real memories, a…