Showing posts from March, 2019

Weekend Away (Here)

Though Beatrix gets lots of long weekends from school (this one was for conferences, in which she did very well, thank you), we are always bad at planning getaways during them. There always seems to be some obligation we have here (usually my work, sigh) that keeps us from being able to go. But this weekend, even here, we were able to do a few "bucket list" items! The "corpse flower" at the U of M greenhouse started blooming on Thursday. It only blooms every 3-10 years (we were told the one here is on the frequent end of that cycle), but I had never made it over to see it. Patrick is very smell-sensitive, but we watched some live cam feed of it and psyched himself up, so after meetings on Friday afternoon we headed over. The flower itself had bloomed for less time than expected, so it was somewhat deflated, even in less than 24 hours. But that was good news for Patrick, because the smell (which really was like rotting meat) was contained. It really was

Cindy Gallea and the Iditarod

Last year, Beatrix and I went on a mother-daughter dogsledding trip that was nothing short of life-changing ( here's the blog post on it ). There, we met incredible musher and nurse-practioner  Cindy Gallea , who at that point had run the Iditarod 14 times. So this year, when she made the choice to run her fifteenth — and last — Iditarod, Beatrix and I became avid followers of the race. And honestly, it's quite a decision. Cindy is 67. She works full-time. She maintains 53 dogs (or at least that's how many she had last year), and training them is another full-time job. The Iditarod is not a cheap, or an easy-to-achieve hobby. And as I said before, this was her fifteenth run. She's amazing. I had known about the Iditarod, but not followed it actively before, and it is fascinating! Both he winner and the "Red Lantern" (final one into Nome) awards went to Bethel, Alaska natives, another place I have a deep respect for because it's where my amazing doctor

(Another) Snow Day

Yesterday was supposed to be another big snow day. Classes and events were preemptively cancelled, with the first big blast likely coming around noon. I went out to brunch with a group of girlfriends, then came home and waited. I had a big list of things to do: sledding! snowball fights! baking! movies! cocktails! family games! Beatrix's SPA essay! reading! cleaning! And so we waited. It got grayer and grayer, but no snow. Beatrix cloistered herself in the library and got her essay done, in one draft. No snow, but then it started to rain. Patrick changed course and headed to the hardware store to get pet-safe salt (Winston has had it up to here with ice this winter....) Finally, we decided to tackle the front bookcase. I've been frustrated lately, knowing I've had a ton of books I want to read and not knowing where they were. I've bought duplicate copies of things, because I have not been able to find them. It's incredibly frustrating. Plus, of all the thing

Night of the Penguin

I rarely talk about my previous marriage. Honestly, we're both better off. For people whose values were very similar at the beginning, something changed, and I don't know what. The year we got divorced, I left my job of 12 years, my mom was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, my cat got diabetes, and I was diagnosed with a major health issue. To some extent, the divorce seemed the least of it. Still, we had spent ten years married (and 6 years living together before) building a life together, and the hardest part was letting go of dreams of the future. And as much as things are just things, dividing some of those was hard too. I still miss Dancing Rabbit Blow Horn every time we put up the Christmas tree. And I've often missed the penguin ice bucket we had, reminiscent of many years of the Night of the Penguin benefit balls, and "walk like a penguin" during icy winters. I've recently become involved with a great group called Little Hopes on Facebook, a group

There's a Place for Fun in Your Life

Winter has beaten us down. We're badly in need of a vacation. Pictures of friends having fun at Mardi Gras are depressing me and spring break seems a lifetime away. So today (yet another day Beatrix had off school), we decided to go the Mall of America. Despite living 10 minutes from the largest mall in the country, we rarely go there (or any other malls, really....) But someone on a neighborhood board had given me a set of free ride wristbands, so we thought what the heck.... And as staycations go, it was a pretty good one. Despite neither Patrick nor Beatrix being much for rides, we went on several (including one where you shoot ghosts that Beatrix wanted to go on twice). We spent forever in tween heaven stores like 5 Below and Claire's. We smelled every candle at Bath and Body Works. We introduced Beatrix to the joys of Lush. We people-watched. We went on our last visit to the soon-to-be-closing American Girl store. And we had big, delicious milkshakes (the one that Pa