Showing posts from September, 2020

Corona Cleaning - the Summit House

 I've not done a "Corona Cleaning" or "Pandemic Projects" post in awhile. With the start of the school year, multiple deadlines, and work ramping up (how on earth did I have 7 zoom meetings and 3 calls today?) there's not been a ton of time for any fulfilling projects. I did make a new tray for the cat food, does that count? But the past few days we've spent hours cleaning the Summit house, after having been there all summer, and not having deep cleaned in...awhile... The kitchen ceiling is patched but not completely fixed, but we were able to wipe everything down. Cleaned up the laundry area; amazing how much that was weighing on me. Beatrix cleaned her room and the guest rooms and left cute notes. We wiped under things and vacuumed every crevice of the upholstered furniture and vacuumed and then damp-wiped the rugs and cleaned enough lint out of the dryer to make ourselves a new dog. We cleaned out the pantry and the refrigerator and years of things fr

A Lot of Goodbyes

 My world lost a lot of good people this weekend: - Aldo Moroni,  who taught me not to be afraid of clay. Everyy time I went to see an exhibit of his or we hung out I was a richer person for it. I especially remember Patrick, Beatrix, my dad and myself making towers in his studio together one Saturday morning. They still sit on my mantle. He was always thankful that we would lend him the truck when needed and kept on saying we should come pick out a tower in trade; I wish we had. - Michal Daniel, a true magician with the camera, who caught every theater in town on film. He moved to Prague about 5 years ago, and now I am doubly sad he did not make it back for the Theatre de la Jeune Lune show at FilmNorth , which featured so many of his amazing images. But the one that hurts the most is losing Kevin O'Brien. I didn't know Kevin when I first moved into the neighborhood. His late sister, Marianne, was ... umm ... well, a force ... and Kevin preferred to stay out of the limelight.

Join the Krewe

Krewe opened this summer, to a great deal of fanfare including a fantastic article in the New York Times.   But it also opened just a few days after George Floyd's murder, during the middle of a pandemic (and did not have outdoor seating until recently). One huge benefit to this summer was that we have gotten to go up to the cabin several times, and Saint Joseph is right on the way, but we've not been able to stop due to lack of outdoor seating, and take-out not being the right choice, and dogs, and reservations, and it being too far to just go for dinner and come back that night. It's been there, just out of reach. This weekend we went up to the cabin to see the colors and as kind of an early-birthday celebration for Patrick, so I pushed hard to try again. And despite all the anxiety-producing hassles — parking with a car full of stuff and 3 dogs, trying to get a walk-in reservation, etc. — the helpful host staff somehow made it happen, and we soon found ourselves sitting

Brutus on Brewpubs - St. Paul Brewing

My metrics show me that the "Brutus on Brewpubs" posts are my least read. But I enjoy writing them anyway, so you're forced to sit through another one...this time on St. Paul Brewing. St. Paul Brewing was originally Flat Earth Brewing, who I was supportive of because the beer was decent and they donated to a lot of arts groups. Five or six years ago they relocated to the old Hamm Brewing site, and 11 Wells (another place we like) opened across the complex. We had spent several lovely afternoons and evenings there in the Before Times. They were one of the first to close with covid, but they have re-opened, and could not be lovelier! They have  fantastic new patio area, very funky and reminiscent of places like the Loring (but with 100% less perverts!). The beer remains great, and they have now added pizzas that look great (Sensing a pizza theme here lately? Though we did not get to try them.) There are tons of little seating rooms for groups of all sizes, great plants (in

Marc Heu and Moonflower

Except for one perfect pastry at a night market last year (when it was still a pop-up), I had not made it to Marc Heu yet. I always got going too late, or the line was too wrong, or I had not ordered ahead and they were only doing curbside, or whatever. Let's just say I am so glad to have finally broken that curse and made it there this last weekend! Basically, the croissants were perfection — which is a lot for me to say, because I am strongly addicted to Bread and Chocolate. We tried a plain chocolate , a chocolate pistachio, and a chocolate almond croissant — all large, and flavorful, and flaky, and fantastic (I should have found a word that means "big" that started with an "F" there...). With the Times and dark coffee, it made for a perfect Sunday morning. The pastry case looked equally enchanting, maybe even better than when I used to work at Napoleon's. It strongly reminded me of our favorite patisserie in Paris: It's take-out only, which is just

We Have To Do Better

Without meaning to be unintentionally vague, I’m doing so.   I had an experience over the weekend where I was able to talk about some past inappropriate things that had happened to me, and to many other girls/women — things that at that point in time had been commonplace, frequent, accepted.   And as I spoke, others joined me, relating the same things. And then still others, who had been there at the time, simply listened and made space for the conversation to happen. And then said that they had not known about this, and that they were sorry — and angry, and saddened, and disillusioned — that it had happened. It hit them hard. For quite some time, we had a really impactful discussion about power, and roles, and gender, and that period in time, and having a voice. And also what needs to change in the future.    Today, I (and many, many others) were hit hard by the news that Marianne Coombs, one of the best, award-winning investigative journalists I know, had abruptly left MPR after 23 y

Filling Your Bucket

At Beatrix's elementary school, there was a lot of attention paid to "filling your bucket" — saying nice things to people to "fill their bucket" and feeling good when your work was complimented. I think we could all use some of that right now. So here, in no particular order, are the things that filled my bucket this weekend: - Friday night zoom HH with the usual suspects I swear that's what's gotten me through the pandemic so far. - Making good on my new pandemic goal of upping my baking skills by making a delicious batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and getting the Dorie Greenspan book on baking that my friend Andrea recommended. - Picking up some other great things from the BST board, including dog treats. I am very popular with the pets right now. - Seeing people use my Free Clothing rack (come on by, you should use it too!). Dropping off clothes and books and other items for friends. - The fact that Beatrix got to spend socially distanced time

Things That Make Me Feel Warm and Cozy

 - The new hibiscus plants I got off the BST that brighten up our yard. I'm hoping to overwinter them inside but right now they are in the yard. - Books! I just dropped off a ton of Beatrix's outgrown books to a Capitol Hill School effort to provide a parent-led "bookmobile" that drops off books for kids while they can't come to school. - The bright new rug I got (also off the BST) for my office area (and look how clean it is!). - Baking. I've vowed to up my game in baking this winter. I enjoy it, and I am serviceable, but I want to get really good. What are your favorite recipes? - Clothing exchanges. I REALLY miss clothing exchanges, so I've set up a free rack outside our place. Stop by and take something to brighten up your wardrobe, or drop something off! - Drinks, combined with unionization. Who wants to meet me at Lawless, Stillheart, or Fair State Co-op soon? They have all unionized in the last week, with ownership voluntarily collaborating with the

Brutus on Brewpubs - Prye's

Brutus over his usual standards, but was jonesing for something new. So when we messaged  Prye's  to see if they allowed dogs, and they responded quickly with " Yes! Brutus is allowed on the patio, just not inside. We look forward to seeing the friendly pup!" we knew we had a new place to check out. The minute we pulled up we knew we would enjoy the friendly, River Road feel of it. There was plenty of seating, with a choice between sunny and shady (and even a few people on picnic blankets in the grass). Tables for sure have the 6-foot distance (and even a little more); though maybe not as spread out as at some other places, we felt like we had plenty of space while still maintaining a social vibe. Once we were seated, they treated Brutus like a king, and brought him his own bowl of water. He approved. Patrick and I both had the Mass Haze-teria, which was just about perfect. However, our neighbor at the next table had the State Fair Blueberry Cobbler Ale, and I am s

Labor Day Saturday

"I hope you blog about this" said my friend Sarah, when I ran into her this weekend. "I probably will," I responded. It was the kind of day that would heave been pretty incredible before the pandemic — but on this particular Labor Day weekend, was perfect. It actually started last night, when we had a small group of friends over for socially distanced swimming and BYOB in the back yard. These are all people we have known since Beatrix was in kindergarten at Randolph Heights, fantastic people we often "gather" with (usually via Zoom) on Friday nights. I feel soooo lucky to have them in our lives! Then today began with a neighbor who had a mini-donut machine, and who was making mini-donuts in her garage and giving them out free (that's where I ran into Sarah). They were perfection. They had all kinds of sugar toppings — traditional cinnamon sugar (Beatrix), lemon basil (me), or the winner of the day, a mix of oreo and espresso (Patrick). Delicious!

Bucket List Revision

So, up to earlier this year, my bucket list was a whole bunch of travel. Macchu Piccu, Australia, African safari, etc. A few other things, but mostly travel. So ... that has changed ... So this summer, it's been more like: -  Go through the State Fair Food Parade. Which was both kind of fun and incredibly sad at the same time. For sure not a substitute for the Fair at all. We did not get tickets at first, but my FOMO overtook me and I won a ticket and so we went and were able to have Sweet Martha's cookies and mini donuts so all was good. -  "Test drive" a DeSoto. Ok, I didn't really get to drive it, though I bet I could have convinced him to let me. Turns out that Jerry, who owns Vintage Village in Osakis, has a small herd of vintage cars as well. Who knew? That guy keeps on surprising. -  Try zip lining. The last time I had an opportunity to try we were in Costa Rica and Beatrix was 5 and weighed about 30 pounds, so that was not happening. Beatri

LFL Tour

We love Little Free Libraries. In fact, Patrick built me one for our anniversary a few years back, and we keep it happily stocked. But that does not keep us from visiting other ones. Usually, during the summer shows at Circus Juventas, Beatrix and I go out on to least one LFL tour while Patrick is rigging at night. It's a nice way for us to get out of the house and do something fun, and we find that by the end of the summer, most libraries need some restocking. This year, though, there were no shows, so Patrick went out with the two of us on our way to the "regular" library the other night. We spent a lovely hour of so wandering around Merriam Park, reusing and refilling LFLs. One thing that we noticed is that the stock was much better than usual. People must be reading (and passing on) more. At each library, though, we spend some time neatening and organizing the books; they seem to get messy so quickly! We also noticed one Little Free Pantry. I think these are e

Oakland Cemetery

If yesterday was about my dad, today was about my mom. It would have been her 82nd birthday, so this afternoon Beatrix and I went to walk around Oakland Cemetery , where she is buried. Oakland is fascinating. It was dedicated in 1853, as a non-denominational cemetery meant to address Saint Paul's lack of graveyards. The first president was Henry Sibley, and it was designed by famous landscape designer Horace Cleveland. There are sections for Civil War and Spanish War veterans, and for firemen. Ethnic areas include Hmong, Chinese, Russian, Romanian, and German (especially on the area that had formerly been the German Lutheran Zion cemetery). One thing I love dearly about it is that there will be an old plot from the 1800s, with a family name like "Ordway" chock-a-block next to a shiny new Hmong headstone. We also saw deer running through: We wandered around for quite some time and finally found the graves of the Chapin family who built our house: Beatrix was