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Showing posts from December, 2018

Gains

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However, 2018 has had some good points as well, especially in stretching myself.

I went with Beatrix, two of her friends, and their moms up to a magical dogsledding weekend at Wintermoon Summersun, which reminded me of my love of the outdoors. It was absolutely magical.

We hiked 5 national parks in Utah over 5 days over spring break, visited friends in Denver, and drove home through Iowa in a blizzard.

We went to Iceland for a week, meeting amazing people and exploring the incredible geography.


Thanks to my friend Bethany, I created some subversive scrapbooking pages and made my first State Fair entry (no ribbon, but...)

I auditioned for, and was cast in, The Overachievers web series through Wonderlust Productions, which was an amazing experience. (I also got featured in a piece on Ramsey Hill, coming out in 2019).

My friend Sarah pitched some of my writing to the Minnesota Women's Press, who invited me to write a piece on the Summit house. I'm so proud and want to do more!

My…

End of 2018

As I look back, 2018 has been, above all, a year of unexpected loss.

I did not expect to take my dad's death as badly as I did. But the speed and intensity of it (less than 6 weeks from the diagnosis to his passing), and the suffering he went through, made it especially hard. I didn't expect to lose my friend Leah, but maybe that's because I chose to share her hope that it would all work out, and I don't know that that was the wrong choice.

But there were a lot of other, smaller losses scattered through the year. A loss of hope for our country, every single day. Loss of client relationships. Shifting friendships. My weird arm condition (Parsonage-Turner syndrome) returning. Things I meant to or wanted to get done (be more creative, read more books, exercise more, trips I wanted to take, spend more time with my family) that did not happen — my New Years Resolutions are a shambles.

Losing the things at my dad's, even though I have no use for them. Having to have his …

Grand on Grand

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Both the Pioneer Press (photo credit for the image above) and KARE-11 have recently had stories about the decline of Grand Avenue (I linked to the KARE-11 one because it's virtually identical and no paywall). And heck, I've seen it — yesterday we stopped in to Sixth Chamber, the Bibelot Shop, and Traditions (all closing soon). The Loft is gone (not that I ever went there), and there are still multiple empty storefronts, especially at Victoria Crossing. And there's a vigorous debate on Facebook about what to do about it.

Some say that this is the normal ebb and flow, but I've lived off of Grand for my whole life and I strongly think it's more than that. Others say it's parking, but honestly I don't think it's that either; I shop there multiple times a week and almost never have an issue with parking. I think, as one of my friends indicated, that it's the "perfect storm" of online shopping + changing retail and shopping habits + tightening …

Christmas Traditions

My mom was All About Christmas, which is why it's still so painful that she died on Christmas Day. Though she steadfastly refused to decorate before Thanksgiving, the day after it all went up — the live tree downstairs with the hodgepodge of sentimental ornaments, the small tree in my room with "my" ornaments, and the upstairs tree with its blue and teal ornaments, all carefully hand-sequined by my mom. Other decorations hung and placed everywhere.

We get a big tree, I manage a few other decorations, and last year hung 40 glass ornaments from fishing line from the hallway ceiling. I did not manage to repeat that this year.

My mom made over 20 different kinds of holiday cookies, 4 kinds of bread, and very traditional appetizers and wicked punch for her annual open house, which was a legendary event.

I make a few kinds of cookies and rely on cookie exchanges for a full tray.

My mom took us out on limousine rides with champagne and hand-dipped chocolate truffles to see the …

Small Business Christmas

"Everyone always says they want retail in developments," remarked a friend of mine after a community meeting the other day, "but I wonder if they know how hard it is?"

A few Christmases ago we started to make a concerted effort to buy at small stores for gifts. Maybe it meant a smaller gift, but almost always a more meaningful one (we make many of our gifts, too, but let's face it, there's only so much time....)

This year, that's been somewhat challenging. My favorite store, Vibrant, closed in September. The store that I've counted on for my whole life, the Bibelot Shop, is closing (though I've stopped by the sale. Another favorite, Sixth Chamber Books, is no longer purchasing books (uh-oh), and Traditions is closing its Grand Avenue store (not that I am likely to buy anyone a couch, but...)

But the good thing is that this year seems to have a bumper crop of pop-up markets, where we've been able to buy directly from the source. We've bee…

Also NOLA

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Never go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras if you want to have a true New Orleans experience. Half the places are closed and you can't get across the parade route to eat at Commander's Palace. Go to New Orleans to wholly commit yourself to Mardi Gras and that experience. If you are really lucky you might get beignets, but you might have to miss a parade to do so, or convince your friend Derek to walk down and get some for you.

Same goes for weddings.

That said, we did have some New Orleans time this trip. We had beignets, twice (at Cafe de Monde because anyone who thinks you should have them anywhere else is wrong). We had lunch at Commander's Palace. We walked around the Garden District and shopped for books. We looked at every tourist trinket at the French Market, with Beatrix's souvenir money burning a hole in her pocket, twice. Patrick met friends for a mufeletta and a sazerac (or two). We got a snowball at Hansen's. We spent a lovely afternoon at sitting outside …

NOLA Wedding

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This past weekend we were lucky enough to be included in my sister-in-law's fairytale wedding in New Orleans. Patrice is my husband's MUCH younger sister (by 20 years), and I adore her. When she asked me to be in the wedding last year, of course I accepted, though I had a lot of worries about being the Oldest Bridesmaid Ever.

Beatrix, when asked to be the Glitter Girl for the wedding, had no reservations at all and jumped right in!

Rob, Patrice's groom, is one of the hardest-working actors in show biz (don't believe me? check out his IMDB page), and before that was in the music business for a number of years. He's older than Patrice, but somehow they work perfectly together, and as I've gotten to know him over the past several years (including when he stayed with us last year to attend the Super Bowl), I've come to really like him.

So what does a big, film and music star-studded, very Jewish, New Orleans wedding consist of? It has it all, including:
-  pre…