Showing posts from September, 2017

Two Concerts, Two Nights

You may notice that I rarely write about concerts here. Plays are part of our regular life, and visual art, but not as much music. I was raised with very little music, in fact, which is why I've found it so important for Beatrix to have it (and a shout out to my aunt Jan, who started that early). Last night, as part of a team event for my incredible client Literacy Matters , we had a group dinner wand then went to see Carbon Leaf at the Fine Line. You may not know the name, but you know at least one of their songs "Life a life less ordinary, live a life extraordinary...." We met the band before hand and they gave a special shout out to Literacy Matters fro the stage. It was a fun concert, and nice to be out, in a club, which is not something we ordinarily do; I think our last concert together was Sia, also at the Fine Line, about a decade ago... --- Tonight, though, topped it, when we went to see Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Band play at Orchestra H

Things are Swinging

It's been crazy around here getting things done for the last couple of days. In the words of one piece of art (by Chank!) that we framed and hung last night, we are both: Perhaps the BEST part though is that yesterday Patrick got the swingset set up for Beatrix. We've had it about a year, but had never had time for it before. Circus girl that she is, the trapeze is her favorite part and she has already spent quite a bit of time on it.

Due North

I have spent the last three days doing historic survey in Ely. You might think about taking my Minnesota card away if I admit I had never been TO Ely before, only THROUGH it. But I think the town is used to that. For its entire life it has been the last stop, the jumping-off place for going into the wilderness, for paddling off into the Boundary Waters, the Quetico, or points farther north. But the last few days I've been studying the built environment — surveying the downtown, doing historic research, meeting with the HPC in City Hall. I've walked up and down the streets, had delicious coffee and muffins for breakfast, and ate at one of the best restaurants I've been to recently (hail Insula !). We stayed in a house in town across from the school that was like a trip back to 1972. What you may not know about me, unless you've known me for a long time, is that during my teens I used to spend a month at a time on Widji canoe trips. Every winter I would go up a c

It's the Little Things

Ok, so for all the bigger projects we do around the houses, it may be the small ones that I am (perhaps disproportionally) most excited about right now! At Summit, most of the outlets have been converted to 3-prong, but as anyone who has ever tried to plug a crockpot in our dining room knows, not all of them have! The dining room was the only one that was entirely 2-prong, but the living room, den, and 3 of 4 bedrooms had 2-prong outlets mixed with 3-prong ones, and it always seems that the 2-prong was where you really needed a 3-prong (for example, at my favorite chair at the front window). So on Sunday, my friend Anna came over, made sure the circuits could handle the load, and converted them all to 3-prongs! Bonus — we made a start on actually labelling the circuits of the circuit box. Since we had to go to the hardware store to get the outlets, we also picked up 27 cabinet closers for the kitchen. For a high-end, Kitchens by Krengel kitchen, the cabinets have been kind of

The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook

Anyone can tell you we love our Instant Pot. Even Patrick, who tends to not rave in these things, wrote a piece about it once here . So I had super-high hopes for this cookbook and some new recipes. If you have a brand new Instant Pot, it might be a good choice for you — some of the recipes are super simple, like hard-boiled eggs or rice (in fact, pretty much the same recipes that come with the Instant Pot) It also goes into a fair amount of detail on technique, such as quick-please versus natural pressure release. If, like us, however, you have conquered the basics and are looking for some new ideas, there's not a lot here. I got a few new ideas, but nothing that I felt like I needed to make right away. Most are riffs on things we are currently making, so I may try them to have a new approach. Eventual verdict — it's a fine book, especially for beginners, but not life-changing. (as usual, this book received free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my

Why "Dancing on the Edge" Is Such an Important Show

I fell in love with Lisa Channer watching her perform. Well, Patrick and I both did (get your mind out of the gutter). We saw her work in progress during a Skewed Visions'  3-Play, and were amazed. A couple weeks later we talked to her for hours at a party and I swear int was a Minnesota version of a 1920s Paris salon, where we discussed life and art and felt exactly like we were in Gertrude Stein's living room, except we were on a deck on Maplewood. So we thought she was awesome, and based on that Patrick joined the Theatre Novi Most board, and I help out as I can, and it's been a great relationship. I've really enjoyed everything I have seen there; the performances have been top rate, great direction, and it's been like being part of a lovely, somewhat crazy, Russian family (pass the vodka, please!) And then Beatrix got cast as one of the "Isadorables" .... (one of Isadora Duncan's Russian dance students) in a 5-minute their word premiere of

Weed Whackers

I love gardening. I love being outside but getting something done, I love how it makes my home look, I love nurturing plants. I love trading plants with others, dividing my plants, cutting flowers and bringing them inside. But this summer, I gave up on it early on, consciously resisting putting anything yard-related on my to-do list. With 2+ places to keep up with (though the tenant at Winter Street generally does great with it), and with 2+ weeks in DC for circus in July plus 4 weeks of Patrick rigging here, it was just going to be too much. Something had to give, and so it was the yards. And it's been fine. People have enjoyed being here for pool parties and the like, and though it has not looked gorgeous, everyone has been too busy to complain. Yesterday, though, awe went at Summit with a fury. We weeded out all the beds, including the parking area. We took out some dead bushes. We mulched the front bed by the brick wall. And (confession time), I even mowed the lawn for th

Donut Challenge

While the rest of the world is eating mini-donuts at the State Fair (ok, we did that too), I decided to do my own donut taste test challenge, by comparing some local donut shops. This actually all came about when Beatrix came to a client with me one day, so we decided to hit Bogart's on the way. We both decided that my glazed donut was the best choice, but did not take a picture, sadly enough. Next we tried Mojo Monkey , which I was rooting for because it was one of the original "craft donut" shops, and it's in Saint Paul so it's convenient. Usually it's crowded like crazy, but we slid in easily on a Saturday morning and used our Chinook Book coupon to get 3 free donuts. I have to say, though, my simple glazed did not hold up to Bogart's. It had a weird lemon taste to it — not bad, but weird, and was not as puffy and light as Bogart's. My final point of comparison was the glazed donut from Glam Doll (the new NE Minneapolis location, because I w