Showing posts from 2007

May Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot...

Happy New Year, everyone, and may 2008 bring you all your heart desires... Busy weekend spent seeking the perfect duvet cover (yes, really). Also went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Walker, which was incredible. If you, loyal reader, are in the Minneapolis area, don't miss it — it runs through January 20. Because we are members (through today), we got to skip the long line, which my big-bellied, swollen-ankled body appreciated. Over Christmas, we also saw Once (very wonderful, go see it!) and Superbad (ok, not in the same league as Once , but very funny!)

Boxing Day

Made it through Christmas and the first anniversary of my mother's death, and it's nice to know it will never be "the first Christmas" again. We hosted Christmas Eve here for the first time with Maxim and Miles, my aunt and uncle, cousin Pete and his fiance Kari, my dad, and our friend Kelly. Patrick and I made great lefse, plus turkey, meatballs, etc., and I think everyone had a good time. We even got to have luminaria! Yesterday, after stockings and clean-up (and after Geronimo ate ALL EIGHT greenies in his stocking!) we went to the cemetery, then to Chris and Katharine's for chili and a movie, effectively avoiding the rest of the holiday. Beatrix did her best to distract me with her new trick of burrowing under the top of my right rib. So we made it, and now back to real life...

Hot Priests

So last night we were at our friend Judy's for a little holiday get-together. The "Young Adults" (aged 18-39) group from the Cathedral were caroling, and it was a great way to usher in the holiday weekend. They weren't exactly good, but they were enthusiastic! The priest who was the choir leader was very vivacious — enough so that it reminded Judy to bring out the 2008 "Hot Priests" calendar she had picked up in Rome. Here's the link , should you want to check it out for yourself.

Happy Holidays!


The Return of the Holiday Party

For several years, my good friends Elaine and David have hosted a wonderful holiday party. It started when we were all in our 20s, I think, when it was especially novel to get very dressed up and have an actual, multiple-item dinner party. For the past several (at least 3) years they have not been able to have it, but it returned last night in full force. Excellent food, great conversation — still one of the best parties of the year (even if I got tired and had to leave around 11). Nice to know Elaine and David still have it.

Hair Today

So, a few weeks ago I got sucked into looking at the henna at Lush. Henna is an all-natural hair color that should be great for pregnant women who are feeling a little blah, right? So I got some "easy to use" henna creme at the co-op. Which promptly turned my hair completely mousy brown, with a little bit of a green tinge. That, combined with a ton of issues I won't even start to go into right now, made me cry for days.So yesterday I went to the Aveda Advanced Training Institute in Uptown. Got beautiful highlights (in all-natural, plant based Aveda colors, so no baby-harming issues there) and a swingy new haircut. There are no remnants of the henna, which I have now determined is the anti-christ. Patrick took me to dinner at Cafe Maude to celebrate. I feel SO much better!

Holiday Nesting

I was talking with our doula on the phone last night while making holiday gifts (can't say what I was making, you might be getting one!) and she said "Oh, you're nesting!" I hadn't thought of that, I thought I was just trying to save money. But I guess I am (on both counts). It's almost impossible for me to describe why it is so important for me that I really work to reclaim Christmas this tear, given my mother's death on Christmas Day last year. But it seems absolutely crucial to try to get it back — or I am afraid I never will. This time was always so important to her. I feel similarly about the nursery and getting the house ready — that it needs to be a welcoming space for our daughter to come into. Thus the importance of crib sets, etc. to me. Why are the nice ones so expensive? No matter how important this is, I can't justify $500 for a few yards of cloth. I hope everything works out to get the carpet installed on the 3F this weekend.

So Tired

Why is it still so dark in the morning? Isn't standard time supposed to fix that?

Arizona Pictures

I would crash Blogger for the whole world if I spent time upoading all the pics now. Suffice it to say we had an incredible time, Sue and Bill's place is beautiful, and it was truly wonderful. See for yourself here:

Things I Cannot Even Begin to Tell You

- How lovely it is here. - How much I love my husband. - How I suddenly became uber-pregnany, overnight. - How happy I am for the wonderful friends I have. - How much I need to be working on this grant, yet am procrastinating.

Scottsdale, Arizona

We are at Patrick's client's, in one of the most beautiful homes I have honestly ever been in. We have our own *casita* guest house, and I am looking out over the sunset. The house is warm, livable, welcoming — so very much like Sue herself. I foolishly did not bring my camera cable, but will post a set of photos to my flickr account when I erturn so you can see what I mean. It brings to mind the idea of the best. In the past few days, we have been talking a lot about being the best people/citizens/mmbers of society/parents/etc. that we can be. There are a lot of aspects to that, but the conversation started when I met with the fund manager with the Minneapolis Foundation, where we have our small family foundation. How do we ensure that we are avid, careful yet generous, responsible, donors who do the best with our money? Right now the fund is not fully set, so I think we will just do some low-key charitable giving this year-end. It's a hard place to be in, because


The #1 sign that I am pregnant (well, besides the belly, food cravings, and stroller obsessions), is the fact that I am nesting like there is no tomorrow. I have baked no fewer than four cakes this week, and am beginning to eye the freezer so I can stock with food for easy post-baby thawing. This afternoon I decided my credit card was my friend and ordered 800 square feet of carpet for the 3rd floor. And, while I was painting the basement wall this afternoon (and then touched up the living room, then the dining room), I realized that there really is Nothing I Would Rather do right now than house projects (well, and perhaps read, and snuggle with Patrick). But you get the idea. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a pile of mending over there...

More Room Pics

Also wanted to show this picture of the reading/nursing nook we set up next to the bed. The chair and ottoman are on loan from our friend Erin, who is in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the year. The shelf we purchased yesterday at Ikea. My friend Brandon brought me the scarf on the wall from China, and I got the rug free at a seminar tonight. Very cozy!

Home Improvements

So, after a year of meaning to do so, I have finally finished the curtains for our 3rd floor bedroom / office area! The process of dealing with them has really been quite complex. You see, my sewing machine and I have been in a battle of wills for years. The machine was my mother's. She received it in the mid 1970s, from a lawyer she was dating, who thought that it was all she really needed to make her a domestic goddess/proper little lady. She was intimidated by the machine (or perhaps the attitude), and I remember the few projects she took on to be full of angst, frustration, and language perhaps not suited for a small child to witness. Before long, the machine was relegated to a corner, and she returned to crafts more her forte — sequined napkins and Christmas ornaments, knit mice slippers, and the like. The machine, confident that it had prevailed, grew more assured of its powers. I learned to sew in a theater costume shop, where attitude (of the machine, OR the actors) was

Because I Sometimes Forget How Important Friends Are

Our lives have been jam-packed with both administrivia and pathos lately, and it's really taken us away from one of the most important things in our life — true connections with friends. Last night we got to hang out with a a great dinner party of diverse people (including the couple that introduced us), eating sushi and playing Apples to Apples and laughing like we have not had a chance to in quite some time. Tonight our friend Kelly came over for dinner, and then we brought dessert over to Carrie and Jason's and just hung out — it was so nice to connect. Tomorrow, more of the same at Maisie's 1st birthday party! No matter how overwhelmed we can get, these connections are keystones in our lives, and it feels nice to dedicate some attention to them.

Dark Days

I am not trying to be a slacker poster. I've just been going through a rough patch right now, and I was discussing with a friend at lunch yesterday, it doesn't matter how honest you are trying to be, it's hard to put those thoughts and feelings up in cyber-land without feeling really vulnerable. And frankly, I am tired of listening to myself whine. I am sure some is hormonal, and fear of the unknown in this whole pregnancy thing, and being overwhelmed with life in general. I think that entering November, and the holiday season, is likely a large part of it. My sense of loss in not having my mother here right now is thick and pea-soup foggy, it's hard and metallic, it's a dull pain that just won't go away. I feel it in things I can't share with her, in trying to register for baby items and seeing mother-daughter pairs excitedly buying things, in having my doctor evaluate me for premature birth risk factors and just not knowing the answers about what my

Sleepy Time

We all seem to be tired in the morning, especially now that it's so dark. It's a major battle of wills to get my youngest stepson up and to school. Patrick is trying to get into work early, but it's hard. And I am trying to sleep in as much as I can, since everyone tells me to "do it now because you won't ever get to in the future." (thanks, I know that, but don't want to think about it). A plethora of morning meetings disallows much sleeping in, though; today I had to meet the sprinkler guy at the Summit house at 7:00. Luckily, Beatrix likes to sleep late (keep that up, honey!), and Geronimo is the funniest — he is Just Not A Morning Dog.

Make new friends...

We spent the weekend in Chicago for the wedding of our friend Joann, who worked with Patrick at Carleton. As an added bonus, Patrick's mom has been eager to see her grandchildren, so we dropped Miles off in Iowa City on the way, and he seemed to have a great time. It was nice for us to catch up with family, and we even got to go to a great baby store called Bliss for the Baby; we loved everything there! We stayed with one of my "imaginary online friends" on Naperville. We had never met in real life before, yet we had a fantastic time hanging out with my (new) friend, her husband, and her lovely daughter. We ate great food (Cafe 126 in Iowa City and Orange in Chicago, plus Heaven on Seven in Naperville and some amazing place that served ice cream with cake batter on top!, and we got Dunkin' Donuts — "it's worth the trip"). The wedding was lovely, and between the wedding and the reception we wandered through Marshall Field's (decidedly NOT Macy&

Farewell, Roy Wonderpug

We just said our final goodbye to Roy, the best pug ever. Although he was unable to move or have bodily control or anything, he was still loved and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.


Because I promised you all a picture, long long ago.

(A Somewhat Unreasonable) List of Immediate Wants

- I want Patrick's house to sell — tonight. - I want Geronimo (who just ate 4 sticks of butter) to stop puking it up. - I want to not have to put Roy to sleep, and to have him feel better and be able to walk and enjoy life. - I want the fence at the Summit house to be fixed — correctly. - I want to find a crib set I like. - I want to go out and buy some really great maternity clothes and get my nails done. - I want to just go out and buy the pack n' play and stroller and changing table I like, rather than worrying about the money. - I want a glass of really good wine. - Or a margarita. - I want a housecleaner. - I want some shea butter rub for my belly and some nice shower gel. - I want a really good book and some uninterrupted time to read it. - I want a really good mix cd.

So Which Is It?

One of my several jobs is doing write-ups for high-end realtors, and today I walked through a very lovely home. It was extremely elegantly designed, and just dripping with money and taste. The rooms were large and proportional and with beautiful furniture, there were lots of hardback books in the family room and great cookbooks in the kitchen, they had a very nice wine collection, their child had the best of everything. It was certainly liveable, but all on the highest end of the scale. It soon became clear from walking through the home that the reason that they were only there for a few months of the year was that he worked for President Bush, which brought me to the thought of "How do Republicans have that much money?" It was the kind of place where I was glad I showed up in the Audi and not the old Impreza. Our home on Summit is similarly elegant and gracious and has a lot of the scale and high-end kind of things I appreciated in this home. Our house on Ashland not

Building Our Future from Our Past

All this week, the National Trust conference has been in town, and I have been in any number of sessions ranging from "A Preservation Toolkit for Working Class Neighborhoods" to "Owner/Master Tenant Tax Credits" to "Building Arts Communities in Historic Buildings." The sessions have generally been very good, although it is amazing how draining sitting in 6-8 hours a day of them can be! I also was on the host committee for a kick-ass (if I do say so myself) GLBT reception at the Raspberry Island Boathouse (thanks, Will!), our neighborhood hosted a well-received candlelight house tour for which I did the brochure copy, there was a lovely Goucher reception, and at the Diversity Reunion we won a pair of tickets to the fancy-schmancy closing party for tomorrow night. I got to catch up with old friends and make some good new connections and have learned a lot. I really need to be more proactive in preservation activities. I am hoping that this will give me


(with apologies to Studs Terkel) Ther is a ray of hope today in that UAW and GM resolved the strike issue so quickly. Quite a contrast to the U of M, where AFSME workers were on strike for about 2 weeks and had to give in to The Man. On Monday night, the Twin Cities theatre community celebrated with the 3rd annual Ivey Awards. Scott Mayer came up with the idea a few years ago to simply celebrate local theatre. The awards are not pre-determined — shows are seen by 100 volunteer evaluators who rate them, and then awards are given to those who rise to the top in any kind of production. This year, awards ranged to things like sound design for a small local theatre, choreography for "High School Musical" at CTC, and of course actors and productions. A set designer got the emerging artist award, and Sheila Livingston, a long-time fixture at the Guthrie in education and one of the most generous and dedicated women you will ever meet, got the Lifetime Achievement award. It

New Dog, New Tricks

We got a new dog, for any number of reasons. We had been thinking of it, then put it off with the baby. But then this guy came up on Craig's List, and it just seemed right. He is very smart, well trained, and a lot of fun; when we took him on a walk yesterday we were commenting on his true zest for life. He thinks the sun rises and sets with Patrick (a little hero-worship never hurt anyone). I think he is cheering up Roy, and the cats hate him but will adjust. The only downside is his name — Geronimo — but as I said, he is smart and well-trained, and doesn't really respond to anything else (though we've tried things like Jumanji and Lemonjello). Umm, well, pics when I suss how to do it...

Thinking of E,

Today I am thinking of my friend E., who left today for a year in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the Center for Victims of Torture. I know she is both excited and scared, and I am really proud of her for doing something concrete to make the world a better place.

So Sick

Bad head cold and no pregnancy-approved drugs. Not as sick as Patrick though.


For as long as I can remember, I've kept a list of the books I have read, plays I have seen, and movies I have seen. I am finally entering the digital age with this and set up a GoodReads page. I have not played with it too much, but I think I will like it. If you are already on, or interested in joining, link me up as a friend! My profile is at: and I think you can just add me as a friend like this: Now, if on-line baby registries were as easy — we can't find ANYTHING we like that incorporates online and offline purchases and gives people flexibility!

Thinking of K.

Ok, "blog faithful" — it worked last time for my friend B. Can you please hold some heart/thought space this weekend for my friend K? She lost a child late last year soon after he was born, a wonderful, beautiful baby boy. She is a fantastic mother, wife, person, and friend — and she is also fairly newly pregnant and in a little bit of limbo where HCG levels and ultrasounds are inconclusive. So for the past several days, and for the next few, all she can do is wait for tests. I think I can conclusively say that no one deserves to go through this less than she does. So let's all put our heads together and convince the universe to give K and her husband a break!

The List of Nos

Pregnancy is full of things you can't do. Everyone knows the usual ones, like no making yourself blotto on shots of Jagermeister. No sushi. But it wasn't until I got pregnant that I realized how many more there were — no deli meat, no sleeping on your back, no household cleaners, no ibuprofen... We are facing kind of a dilemma in preparing the nursery. Patrick severely exacerbated his back issues last night carrying out the plaster pieces of debris from the wall repair (which, you guessed it, I am not supposed to do because of the weight and the potential asbestos used to bind the horsehair into the plaster). The poor guy is almost dead, and I feel SO bad. There is no way he is going to be able to (or I am going to let him) sand the woodwork, which needs to happen so we can paint it and encapsulate the lead paint — and yes, sanding leaded paint is a pretty severe no if you are pregnant. So I am not sure what to do next. The whole thing is so frustrating. We should hav


Last night I got to go to Kincaid's fort late night happy hour and have one of their virgin pomegranate mojitos. I first had one at lunch with my friend Julie a few weeks back and was hooked! They taste incredible — just like the real (sigh) thing — and it was so nice to sit in a nice restaurant bar, watching the lights across the park, and have a lovely drink.

Labor Day Labors

We really had a productive weekend. Achievements included: - Finally getting Patrick's house ready to sell. We finished work on it, finished staging, had someone from Craigslist take down trees in exchange for the firewood, took stuff to compost, posted free furniture on Craigslist, and put together a brochure. Asking price $204,900. Open house next Sunday 9/9 from 1-3 (we are pre-listing it to family and friends before using a realtor). Brochure at: More pics at: - Getting great shade plants on sale at the farmer's market and filling out the back bed. Also got new arborvitae and holly from Home Depot to replace the ones that died, and transplanted rhubarb from Patrick's. Although the back faucet does not work, we strung hoses back, which enabled us to water well. - Ripping out the crappy linoleum in the nursery. It looks so much bette

We're Famous

Earlier this summer, on a whim, I wrote an essay and entered the Metro Magazine "Ultimate Twin Cities Tour" contest. We ended up winning!


I suck at change. (although you wouldn't know it lately) I have owned my trusty little white Subaru Impreza hatchback for 10 years and 110,000 miles. Now I just sold it and watched it drive away. It's the right and "grown up" choice to make, but it's still hard.


I had my amnio yesterday. Patrick and I have no real genetic concerns, but the mere fact that I am 40 means a whole bunch of risk factors (as Patrick likes to remind me as I chafe against the list of things my doctor tells me not to do). So we met with a genetic counselor, and then underwent the procedure. The first part was an extensive ultrasound, which I am sure they do to relax you before the rest of it. The ultrasounds pictures were incredible detailed -- we got to see the brain, the heart, the spine, ribs, arms, fingers, feet, eyes and face! Stubborn baby kept its legs crossed, though, so hard to for sure tell the sex. Everything measured fine, and I relaxed a little when I saw the nuchal fold (a key measurement for Downs) was in the normal range. Then there is the part where, without any anesthetic, they stick a needle in your abdomen and into the fetal sac and pull out a few tablespoons of amniotic fluid. Needless to say, it's really not fun, though it does not last

Taming the Urban Wilderness - or "Thank God for Friends!"

We rolled easily into this weekend last night with dinner last night with my best friends Jennifer and Elaine, and their respective partners Ken and David, plus Jennifer and Ken's adorable children. The food was so good — and we ate so much — and it was so fun just to hang out! We left at the end of the evening with baby hand-me-down loans as well: 2 carseats, a pregnancy pillow, and maternity clothes (just in time, too!) All that was a pleasant prelude to today, when we finally attached the back yard at Patrick's house. When I walked around back this morning and realized how much the recent rain had made the weeds grow, I almost started to cry. It's a large yard, with a big hill, and it was a complete jungle. I exaggerate not. Weeds that seemed like trees, over 10' tall and with thick, woody stems. Big brambly overgrown raspberry bushes (that have never born fruit). Thistly spiky things of all sorts. Long, winding vines. It seemed absolutely insurmountable.

People #1

So this week I am thinking about all the people I am grateful for. Of course #1 is my husband, who is truly incredible. I'm sure there will be more on him later. But today in particular I am glad for my college room-mate, Molly. Molly lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two wonderful sons, and I don't see her enough. Her mother died unexpectedly a couple of years back, and she is a will and trust lawyer, and with that range of experience she has been an invaluable support for me in the past eight months. She always knows exactly what to do, whether it is practical advice or just knowing the right thing to say. And she was delighted to learn I was pregnant, and sent a big box of baby books! With the settlement for the estate coming up, I am dealing with a lot of administrative headaches, and that brings a lot of emotional upheaval with it, and I don't think I could solve it all without Molly.

Thinking of B.

Today my friend B. had a double mastectomy. Just a few days ago, in a routine exam, they discovered she had breast cancer that had spread throughout her ducts. She caught it in good time, thanks to the mammogram (no soreness or lumps or anything), but it's still a scarey and sobering situation. Too much cancer. So please, think of B. tonight and wish her well. And get a mammogram!

The Highly Productive Weekend

Although it rained all weekend (unusual for this summer), we really got a lot done on Patrick's house (laid carpet, finished laying tile, refinished the floor, did some staging, deep cleaned, completely cleaned out the basement, waxed the basement floors, installed the doorbell, staged a the living room and bathroom, etc.). The only things left to do are ones we can't really do in the rain — move over some large furniture and deal with the back yard. Unfortunately, the yard is so bad that napalm is the only treatment that immediately comes to mind, but even with that minor hurdle, I think we'll have it on the market by the end of the month. Know anyone who wants to buy a house? We also spent some very good friend time. My friend Kelly is my birthday twin, and his celebration was delayed a week until last night. He and his professor wife Laura live in Menomonie, and always throw great, talk-y, cozy parties. With so much going on, we haven't made it to one of their


The past few days I have found myself with an irresistable urge to do things around the house, especially in the garden as the heat has broken somewhat. I have put in two low cobblestone border/walls and some tile steppingstones, made little brick surrounds for the boxwood, taken out a dead pine tree, and trimmed/weeded/taken to compost eight bags of plant matter. Some friends gave me a forsythia for my birthday, which may have inspired the whole thing, and it just feels nice to be getting some long-put-off projects done. I may have found someone to install some flooring for us as well in the nursery and front bedroom, and I have some promising paint samples up on the wall. I'm also making semi-reasonable process on a grant, and taking care of some nagging little things, like renewing my driver's license and getting new copies of my divorce decree from two years ago that my re-fi company lost (hint — don't use Title Extra.) And my friend Julie took me out to lunch at

Trying to be Tech-Savvy

Much of the time, I leave the tech things to my husband. He's the computer guy — in fact, that's how we met, when my old laptop died dramaticlaly and my ex-husband had the only back-up and would not return my calls, so I had to pay $2,500 to Drivesavers get my data back and then beg a friend to restore it. The friend then proceeded to ask Patrick to do the re-install, and things took off from there. Romantic, huh? The Drivesavers folks love that story! But in any case, I've been getting better and better at things, even just in the last week. I've started this blog. I learned how to make "pretty" links in my online community (no small task, I tell you!) I have set up plans for optimizing our central server for music and photos (plus we have a back-up drive of a 1-terrabyte drive I won at MacWorld a couple of years ago, and Patrick has set up an amazing auto-back-up system). Some of this was foiled somewhat when we went ot the Apple Store tonight to ge

You Say It's Your Birthday...

40 years old today. Yikes!

"Killing" Time

So I spent much of this morning being annoyed with stupid people and situations: the refinancing agency who lost an important document of mine over a year ago and has still not solved it, health insurance companies (enough said), people who throw trash on my street, you get it, the list seemed endless today. The problem is that, for me at least, all that annoyance just ends up eating away at me — and then I don't get the things I want to get done accomplished — and then I am even more annoyed at ME. There has got to be a better way to let all of it just roll off me and move on. Because if I am going to waste time, I would much rather do so by petting the cats, or reading a book, or even surfing the internet. Then again, my husband had a dream the other night that he had a big truck and ran down people that got in his way, then calmly loaded them in the back of the truck, no fuss, no muss, no gore. That might be a solution too. I'll let you know if I get a truck for my bi

Into the Tempest

"We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again, And by that destiny to perform an act Whereof what's past is prologue, what to come In yours and my discharge." - Antonio from THE TEMPEST, Act II, Scene 1 I've been meaning to enter this mystery-world of the blog for some time, but somehow in the past few days it has seemed an absolute imperative — enough so that I am eschewing the well-written, perfect introduction I had dreamed of and just steeling myself to get the first few words up "on the internets." Because it all gets easier after that, right? The push came from two things — the first being a need to chronicle where I am right now. I am a few days shy of my 40th birthday, just over 12 weeks pregnant, living in a home I love with the most amazing husband one could ask for and two incredible stepsons (plus the pets), and with a complicated yet magical life filled with a bevy of jobs, three houses, wonderful friends and a lot else in the mix