Showing posts from July, 2017

Belle (Hell's Belles)

About 5 years ago our friend Krista was living with us for a short time (too short, in my opinion). We were away, and she had to be gone for a bit, so she had her friend Lee take care of the pets. And Lee discovered a love for cats. So Lee adopted a cat (Pumpkin), but when she went to get Pumpkin, her kitten daughter had not been adopted, so Lee got a twofer (this likely should have been an indication). Lee took them home, but those 2 cats in a tiny studio apartment were too much. The kitten (about 5 months old really) needed a home. So we took Belle, who was Pumpkin Junior then, but princess-obsessed Beatrix renamed her. And it was soon evident that Belle had a lot of ... spark. I remember one of the first nights we had her, where she was literally bouncing off the walls, and Patrick quipped "You know, they make prozac for cats..." Belle settled in but didn't really. She stole Barbie shoes like a klepto Imelda Marcos. She skittered around the house. She occasion

Summit Dining Room

I've talked a lot about changes in the dining room at Ashland, but that also meant some changes at Summit, too, including switching some furniture between places. I never remember to take before pictures, so you'll have to believe me that the arrangement of the Summit dining room had not changed my entire life. Big table in the middle, buffet in the nook on the west wall, enormous china cabinet on the south wall. Eventually a small cabinet in the corner. The chairs were redone one year (after the Christmas after Patrick got the chair with the nail in it, and said "Ow!" and everyone at the table said "Oh, you got *that* chair?") What got to me most, however, was the wallpaper border dating straight from 1982. So this morning we switched around some furniture. The big china cabinet went to Ashland, and the little one came here. The new buffet that matched the table we had just purchased went in at Ashland, and the teak one came over here. Then Patrick we

Hope For the Future

if you're like me, you've been feeling a little down right now. In a toxic political climate, the hits keep coming. People get shot. So much of what we've fought for is struck down faster than anyone would have thought possible. It's incredibly disheartening. So tonight, Beatrix and I thought the best way to combat that was to go see Songs of Hope  perform in the neighborhood. Songs of Hope has been led by out friends Jeanne and Tom since 1991. I don't know of anything like it; it brings together kids aged 10 and up from all over the world to come to Minnesota, live together for six weeks, and sing and perform together. And by "the world" I mean all over — this year there are kids from Turkey, Guatemala, France, Poland, Israel, China, Vietnam, Italy, Columbia, Jamaica (and I am sure I am missing some). The kids sing traditional American songs (heavy on the peace and justice scale because Jeanne and Tom are hippies, songs from their countries that they


So we're working on a huge dining room re-do. New wallpaper, paint, furniture — stay tuned for the big reveal! We've also been selling off a lot of the old furniture. Yesterday, when folks picked up Beatrix's old art desk, I was faced with exactly how bad the floor was. Patrick and I had attended a set of floor refinishing classes through Preservation Alliance of MN last spring, and one thing we had learned as part of that was that floor refinishing was beyond us. But I had a can of a non-sanding floor refinisher by Varathane that I had picked up on sale at Frattalone's a while back. More to the point, I had a real will to do it. A bad bout with my Parsonage-Turner syndrome had stopped me from working on a project with Beatrix at girl scouts on Saturday night, and I was tired of (and angry about) my arm getting in the way of things that were important to me. So, despite Patrick's reasonable worries that taking the time to deal with the floor would hold thing

They Call It Elk River, Elk River, Elk River, Elk...

For the past three years, Beatrix and I have attending "Horsing Around with Mom" at Girl Scouts Camp Elk River. "Horse camp" might be too strong a term for what is basically for one long weekend day (plus the night before and breakfast after) in which you have one hour of riding and one of grooming. But it's been a fun tradition at a time when I am all too aware that soon she likely won't want to go away to camp with me. The first year we were together with the majority of Beatrix's Girl Scout troop in pretty luxe air-conditioned but larger dorms. It rained on campfire night so we had it inside; it was the end of summer so everyone was in a groove. Last year, a group of 8 of us (4 girls 4 moms) had our own private cabin about a 15-minute walk from the rest of the camp, near the horses. This year, we had even more rustic screen cabins and were 2 pairs to a cabin. There's a lot to do besides horses — low ropes, swimming, canoeing (which we did no

DC Circus List Post

Circus things we did this week: -  Rigged and saw ALL Wonderland performances (blown away) -  Saw the amazing Circus Juventus kids in various aerial and wall tramp and juggling demos, plus at the Circus School -  Saw a portion of one cool East Indian dance performance -  Ate several gelatos -  Watched some flying trapeze demos (but no wire, sadly enough) -  Saw THREE Bindlestiff Family Cirkus performances, each different than the last (love them!) -  Indulged in some of the special, addictive circus lemonade -  Shopped the Marketplace -  Saw Universal Circus -  Saw the sailor Family Circus -  Popped into a discussion  about "Why are Clowns Scarey?" -  People-watched on the Mall -  Talked to TONS of people about why Circus Juventus is so amazing Non- Circus things we did this week: -  Shopped and ate in Alexandria (mmm, crepes at La Fontaine!) -  Lovely dinners with Molly and Bernard and family -  Alexandria ghost tour -  Cancelled fireworks at the Air Forc

DC Dreaming

With the exception of the cities that I have lived in, Washington DC is the place I have visited most often. I first came her in elementary school (can't remember if a convention with my dad or the 6th grade Spring Trip was the first time), and my graduate school education was in nearby Towson since then I must have been a dozen times. I have close friends here from elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school. Both of my college room-mates live here (in fact, I am typing this from one of their couches). I've attended conferences here, I've celebrated here, nursed a broken heart here, explored here, and now been part of an enormous circus festival here. I know the city well. I've spent hours on my own exploring. I've enjoyed the food, the museums, the bookstores, the architecture. I've spent hours taking with friends here — and this trip has been no exception. What has been different this time is sharing it with a fantastic, curious 9-year