Showing posts from 2019


Double posting because there's now a Dunkin' (Donuts) in my hood!

To be far there's been one up on Rice Street for a couple of years, but it's been too long a haul to get there.

I think this one is ... overwhelmed (it just open last Wednesday or Thursday). The cases looked like the Zombie Donut Apocalypse had hit, and there were a good 20+ twitchy people waiting for their coffee orders.

But we got the donuts we wanted, and Beatrix got her pumpkin coffee something, and we are all thrilled.

Welcome, Dunkin!

PS: I still prefer a local coffeeshop any day for coffee and the donuts at Bogart's are better. But it's nice to have a DD, and makes me feel like my college days are not so far away (even though they are).

Good Day, Even Better Night

Yesterday I was lucky enough to host large clothing exchanges for two very different online groups I am part of. While I LOVE clothing exchanges (they are basically how I buy all my clothes now) for their thrift and ingenuity, what I really love is having face time IRL with the people I know online. They are wonderful and supportive people. It made the snow showers much more tolerable!

In between swaps, Patrick and I ran out and grabbed a drink at Waldmann Brewing with our friends Peg and Troy (and their daughter Natalie, who is Beatrix's friend). We all have Crafttapped, so it was a great way to get together and have a free beer!

Patrick and I tried out Monkey Palace, a new restaurant on Snelling that bills itself as a "Tandoori Restaurant and Alehouse" that is in soft open this week. Their beer list was a little slim for an "alehouse," but they also had a great looking cocktail list. We tried several of their bar snacks: veggie samosa, chicken wings, curried …


I can't say much about Cabal by Walking Shadow Theatre Company, because it would ruin the experience for you. Besides, I learned from talking to a friend this weekend that *perhaps* I am more into immersive theatre than the average bear.

But I can say that if you are interested in a very different dramatic experience — one that's part puzzle room and part live theatre, where the audience is limited to 10 people and it's important that you work all together — then you should check out Cabal. It's currently on an open-ended run, but like all magic, it could disappear quickly.

Tradition, Tradition, New

We started today with our favorite "fall is here" tradition — a brunch event watching the Twin Cities Marathon. My friend Judy owned a house on Summit one mile form the finish line, and always held a Marathon party. One of my earliest memories from living in my neighborhood was attending and watching Paul Wellstone hand out cups of water to the runners. They would stop, amazed that their senator was handing out water, and he would wave them on saying "Go! Go! You're so close to the end!"

When Judy passed on her son David and his wife Amber took over the house and the party. Those two do that home's traction so proud. The Marathon party is a great chance to get together with friends, to be outside on a beautiful day, and to get teary watching amazing runners do their best. I'm pretty sure Patrick married me because of the Marathon parties.

After  quick stop at my friend Bethany's clothing exchange, we headed out to the open house at Warner Nature Cen…

My Posts - and Other People

Patrick's friend Colin (who I did not even know had seen my blog!) wrote an interesting piece inspired by it about identity, self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which is exactly why I started this blog, to be able to have discussions online about topics in a larger way that social media can often allow (well, and to provide my dad with updates and kid pictures, but that purpose is defunct).

I'm pleased and honored. I found Colin's post very reflective and thought-provoking.

Still, I would challenge him (and you, dear reader) to take it even one step farther.

Colin writes about how identity leads to self-esteem and then hopefully to self-compassion, in a kind of individual hero's/heroine's (what's the they version?) journey. And in many ways he's very right:

This final aspect is interesting as it relates to one's authenticity and being "your true self" - this is what really interests me and is what links back to personal identity. Our identities are…

Holding Hope

Lest you think I am a curmudgeon who holds new-ish restaurants to impossibly high standards, let me discuss our list to Hope Breakfast Bar, which just opened last week, for Patrick's birthday tonight (they serve breakfast all day). Hope just opened last week, and their cocktail menu debuted tonight.

Hope is located in former Saint Paul Fire Station #5, the city's oldest fire station that the neighborhood worked HARD to keep, despite every developer in town saying it could not be done. it's charming and bright and lively; all the staff seems happy to be there, and they have already developed some regulars.

It's a slightly Southern-inspired breakfast menu, a little meat-heavy, but still plenty that I could eat. Patrick had the shrimp and grits, which he loved and felt they lived up to NOLA standards. Beatrix had the waffle, with a whole berry in custard cream topping (served on the side, so you can mix it up how you like. I went with the theory of measuring a place by th…

Puttin' on the Fitz

The place at the corner of Western and Selby has been a lot of things in its life. A drugstore, part of the College of Visual Arts, and in the past few years 3 restaurants in quick succession — The Salt Cellar (steakhouse), Fitzgerald's (basic pub food), and now The Fitz (pizza). The space itself has changed a little in each incarnation, but has generally remained an open, friendly place (though a few too many tv screens for my taste — and partway through our meal the lights dimmed and the music for louder, while the tvs did not get softer).

Tonight, our friends CJ and Lauren were in town, so we suggested the Fitz as a dinner spot so we could show off our neighborhood a little. If we were to do it again...maybe not....

We had a reservation and were seated quickly, though I thought it was strange that they put as a high-top when they had several regular tables open. The waitress got us our drinks; though they have quite a good beer list and a lovely cocktail list, I was embarrassed…

Swede Hollow Ghost Sonata

(I'm slow on talking about this one and there are only two more performances, next Saturday and Sunday. The show is a collaboration between Sod House Theater and Black Label Movement. It's free, though donations are encouraged. So RUN, don't walk, and get tickets now:

The minute Nathan Keepers and Sarah Agnew came out as two comic park guides (oh wait, Nathan was the "Assistant Tour Guide"), I knew we were in good hands.

But when they had us close our eyes, and then open them to find this magical cast of characters standing on the stones in front of us (all brilliantly costumed by Rhiannon Fiskradatz, I'll add), I knew it was going to be much more than that.

And then we as a group followed their echoing voices through a tunnel into the park, to a play that starts with a declaration of love on a chuppah-like bench. That then meanders into the forest to scenes that are different each time (pro-tip — wh…


There's so much good art to see right now!

Last night I went to the opening night of the first production of a brand new theatre company, New Dawn Theatre — and it did not disappoint! Regina Taylor's CROWNS was the perfect show to kick off this company with a bang!

Everything works together perfectly. The performance is held in a corner church on Summit Avenue, now used as a performance center. It was great to see the people streaming in (and stream they did, there's no nearby parking, so they came from all over!) When we got in, we were thrilled to see Robin Hickman with her Celebration of Soulful Dolls, all in amazing hats!

When Austene Van, the founder of New Dawn, gave her curtain speech, though, I got chills, especially when she thanked all of us for being there and being part of live theater, especially this company which is SO needed in the Twin Cities theater ecosystem right now.

And then, when the show started, when the perfectly curated projection began and young…

L'homme Cirque

Did you drive down Montreal Avenue tonight and see a whole bunch of people looking up in the air? And then slow down to see a man walking a tightrope at the treeline, one-hundred-and-fifty feet along Highland Park? Well, then you saw part of David Dimitri's one-man circus show tonight, but not even the most amazing part.

When we at Circus Juventas discussed bringing the show here, I knew it would be a good way to celebrate our 25th anniversary. L'homme Cirque has an amazing reputation, among circus people who are not easily impressed. It's been wonderful, the past couple of days, to watch our crew put up the tent for the show, the old-fashioned way, driving big stakes into the ground.

For 60 minutes before then, Dimitri had everyone in the audience laughing so hard their faces hurt, in awe of his prowess, and half in love with his horse. His artistry is beautiful but also hilarious, tying masterful acrobatics with side-splitting clowning. I don't think I've spent…

Losing Me (Finding Me?)

For my whole life, until last year, I was a daughter. I'm sure many/most of you can relate. You're someone's child — until you are not, and suddenly, that's an enormous change to get used to.

Today, we spent much of the day finishing cleaning out my dad's house. It's been a lot of (hard) work. But I also don't want to end. Because sometime, very soon, we'll have to put that house on the market. My dad has owned that house since soon after my parents' divorce, almost 50 years, and letting that go will be losing another part of me.

Beatrix has started at SPA. She loves it. I love it for her. Yet losing that part of me the is a SPPS parent is unexpectedly difficult. I've fought, so much and for so many year, for SPPS. Today I even rotated off the Facebook admin duties for Randolph Heights. I'm having a really hard time with losing that part of my identity.

There have been a lot of preservation fails in Saint Paul lately — we're losing build…

State Fair List

The Stunt Dog show — a tradition.

Also starting the day with a S'Mores beer.

Checking out the new North End.

Seeing Beatrix's award-winning art in the education building, and my scrapbook pages on the bottom of the case at Creative Arts.

The art show (sigh, missed the preview this year).

Sweet Martha's #1.



A lovely hazy IPA (no pic) and the glass demo at Foci (they really rock). Patrick gives 2 thumbs up to the Nashville hot chicken sandwich.

Animal barns.

Meeting friends and casting our bean for Warren, along with A LOT of other people ("any Democrat" is two to the right).

Dairy building malts and watching the mini cars from the grassy knoll.

Fried tacos from Tacocat and the hort building.

Seeing Jane at the Newspaper Museum.

Giggles (with half the over served patrons at the Fair, sigh). Uff Da Ale made with lefse. Another round of Sweet Martha's to make up for one of the drunks at Giggles bumping into Patrick and dousing Beatrix…

An Irish Love Letter

May you get a chance to go to Ireland some day. It's one of the most beautiful, friendly countries on earth.
But if you do go, I especially hope you get a chance to go with friends like ours. People who put lots of thought into making you comfortable and have Lion bars waiting for you and who pick up Hobnobs at every opportunity.
Who take you to delicious dinners and somehow get a reservation and the posh place when the barbecue runs out of food you can eat.
Who take days to plan the perfect experiences for you. And who take you on expeditions — to the Cushendun Caves, Glengariff, Watertop Farms — where every experience is more fun than the last.
Who put up with your obsession with seeing Game of Thrones sites though you have never seen the show.

Who laugh with you as you go down tiny roads.

Who introduce you to their friends, who take you as you are just because you are friends of Siobhan's and are friendly and lovely to you and who you already miss terribly even though you b…


I had every intention of doing a daily blog post, but that has crashed and burned. Something about taking the first full day off I have had in forever to just have fun and enjoy the experience scuttered all kinds of things.

So until later, here are my husband's blog posts and a good picture:

Return to Horse Camp

In 2017,  I wrote a post about what was likely my daughter's last trip to horse camp. I'm delighted to say I was wrong.

Though she and her friends had kind of aged out of horse camp, this year Elk River added a "Horsing Around with Mom" camp for older girls, and so we went back, along with her friends Meara, Flannery, Dia, Matilda, and their moms. The girls are just a few weeks away from all going to different middle schools (except Dia and Beatrix, who will be together at SPA), so it felt especially poignant.

We had a blast! We were put in a lovely, brand new cabin — Pinto — which felt like glamping, with AC, showers, bathrooms, etc. (we had stayed at Pinto before, but it's old iteration was a totally different direction across camp and was quite rustic, even though adorable; I think that version of Pinto, though, has gone to the proverbial glue factory). There was a great screen porch for hanging out at night. We were just a short distance from the new horse ba…

So It's SPA...

For all of those who worry about what elementary school to send your child to, because middle school scares you, I can assure you that Beatrix had an embarrassment of riches. She was accepted into 3 very different schools — Capitol Hill (SPPS), School of Northern Lights (charter), and Saint Paul Academy (private). SPA is my alma mater, but more than that, we really wanted her to go there because she seemed to fit there, but we just could not make the money work despite some very generous financial aid.

We chose Capitol Hill and were super excited to send her there, which is nearby and a great school and where she knows a few people.

And then, 3 days ago, it all turned upside-down.

While we were relaxing after the summer circus shows up at the cabin, the amazing admissions person at SPA reached out and asked if we could reconsider if they made they money work. The incoming class was full, but she kept on thinking about Beatrix, and our family, and what a fit we would be. So we sent of…

Twin Day

As I have aged, I've met several people who share my birthday (shoutout to Donna, Scot, March, Harry, Crash, and Andy). But when you are younger, the idea that someone is born on "your" day is a new one, and when I met my "twin" Kelly when we were both in our early teens (or were we even younger?), having a birthday twin was a true novelty.

We've spent our lives telling unsuspecting people we were twins, actually. "Yeah, she's older, by about 6 hours. It was a long labor. Our mom even changed states." Or the always popular "Identical, of course. Why do you ask?"

But here's also the thing. It also means I've known Kelly for a long time, and to some extent, that "twin-ness" is not a lie. I've known him since he was a kind of gawky, nerdy kid who took way too many risks because he was simultaneously incredibly confident and fairly insecure. I've seen him excel at many, many things he loves (ok, and fail miserab…

Baking as a Love Language

When I was a kid I used to get home from school, do my homework, and then bake something for my mom and me. My bible was an old blue Pillsbury cookbook (it's long lost its cover and I can't seem to find a replica online) that was filled with all kinds of recipes. It taught me how to bake cakes from scratch, how to make substitutions, and how to know instinctively what something should look and taste like (because there were no photos, and let's admit it, this was the late 1970s-early 80s and my palate was definitely at "expanding.") Because there were only two of us, though, we ate cookies or cake for days.

Fats forward. The past month my husband has been rigging a circus show every night. He comes home exhausted and snacky and wired up. So, since getting Dessert Cooking for Two, I've taken to surprising him with treats — double chocolate cookies, the "very best" chocolate chip cookies, caramel crumb bars, pear and coconut crisp — and all have both…

See Live Performance

This time of year, I end up seeing Lots and Lots and Lots of circus. Beatrix and I have already seen TWISTED several times (and Patrick has rigged every show), and we show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. There are performances all next weekend with a few tickets left — you should see it too! It's a rollicking mash-up of fairy tales with some of the most intricate act pairings I've seen CJ do, and some incredible performances. You'll love it!

For something completely different tonight, after the show at CJ went up, I went to see Full Circle's performance of GLASS and LADY M running as part of the Fringe tonight. I love seeing shows at Dreamland Arts because it's such a cozy, lovely venue so close to my house. And I love everything I have seen at Full Circle. This piece, though, blew me away. The scripts were compelling, the direction outstanding, and the performances incredible. It's left me with a ton to think about. Because of our schedule right now it …

Tree Pose

Today I was given a 10' serviceberry tree that a friend of a friend had removed from their (beautiful) yard. I'm worried about our nanny berry, which is not doing well this year after the evil neighbors cut off some branches extending over their yard. And the same neighbors have a camera pointing at our pool, which I have long wanted to block.

Luckily, I just had to drive a few blocks — slowly — with a 10' tree sticking out of my car. I then managed to get it planted, even though I truly suck at digging holes. Hopefully with some water and love it will settle in nicely. I love having  a job where, even though I was assembling board books at midnight last night, I can take an hour out in the middle fo the day to plant a tree.

I still want to do some major rethinking of the garden space at Summit. Something just does not work for me. I want more space for gathering, and twinkly lights, and more flowers. But I'm crap at garden design.

But maybe it starts with a tree.

Someone New to Listen To

“I bet you wanted to be older when you were 11 too!” stormed Beatrix yesterday about something or other. And she’s right, of course. When I was her age, all the theatre people and artists I admired were much older, and doing really cool creative things, and I could not wait for that to happen for me.
Fast forward….
This afternoon, a bunch of neighborhood leaders and charter school stakeholders had yet another disagreement about a historic Hausler church that will be lost as a result of that school’s expansion. Meanwhile, I sat in an old AME church that had at the last minute made room for the final Songs of Hope concert (which otherwise performs in Boyd Park, but was rained out) and saw kids from all over the world, who had come to live together for 6 weeks and make music and friendships, sing their hearts out.
This weekend, while adults on a Facebook complain bellyached about a bike lane being closed for a few days, the Circus Juventas kids flew on flying brooms, swung from the Russ…

People's House

For me as a preservationist, it's been a hard week. The impending demolition of Saint Andrew's Church, and of a house on my block that does to 1884, has hit me hard and has me doing a lot of thinking.

So it was a nice contrast to that to tour the Governor's Mansion on Friday. I've lived in Minnesota my whole life and have never been inside (though I have brought Beatrix for Halloween every year, and we have a great picture of Beatrix with Governor Dayton and Bingo when he was a puppy). So when we had a chance to tour the other day, we jumped at it (Beatrix loved it too, which shows you how geeky-historical minded we are).

I'm not going to go into the whole history of the mansion, which was donated by the Dodge family so that the state would have a residence for the First Family. Instead, I would direct you to the 1006 Society website, and ensure that you know that the work on the house is paid for by this non-profit, not by taxpayer funds.

One of the things that I …

Open House

All three of us love the Minnesota History Center. Before he died, my dad used to get us a membership to it every year for Christmas, so we've been there (and to their other sites) many times. I'll never forget the time in kindergarten that Beatrix stopped at the Minnesota kiosk and was able to wow the person working there by listing off the Minnesota state bird, tree, flower, rock, and even the state muffin.

But since she was tiny, Beatrix's favorite exhibit has been "Open House." It's the story of a house on the East Side of Saint Paul (it's a real house, still there), originally built by the Schumacher family after they emigrated here from Germany (with a stop in Henderson, Minnesota on the way). It then became a duplex, and for some time that was the "Little Italy" neighborhood of Saint Paul and it had a strong Italian presence as you walk through the reconstructed kitchen.

You then move through the bedroom (with a bed that always breaks!) an…

Ode to 633 Ashland

Since I bought my house in 1993, the Hill family in this house has been our neighbors. First John and Marie and their sons, then just Marie and her younger son Eddie, and now Marie has passed (at 100!) and Eddie has moved out. The house was sold to one of those wholesale acquisition companies, who turned it around for a huge asking price (190K), and I suspect it will soon be torn down and replaced with some Pottery Barn McMansion horror.

The house is 1884 and is the earliest on the street. Ours was build in 1886, and several of the other ones on the street were moved in when the fields and playground for Webster School were put in down the street.

I know a lot of people look at this and are horrified, but I really wish we could have bought it and saved it.