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Showing posts from 2021

Pandemic Projects - Illegal Gardening

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Everyone loves scilla the time of year, but the minute you say anything about it on social media, someone posts within a few minutes that it is invasive and non-native and is the worst thing since buckthorn. Plus, the warnings about jumping worms are running hot and heavy on the neighborhood FB boards, threatening to overtake the privatization of trash hauling as Saint Paul's #2 problem. Those that are (rightfully) concerned about them are worried at how they spread and wash down into storm sewers, how their eggs are tiny and hard to see, and what they do to the soil (basically it becomes the consistency of coffee grounds and stripped of many nutrients). Their argument is that you should not plant share, should only buy from "approved" nurseries, and should be very careful about cleaning tools and not tracking dirt. Those that think that the concern is a little overhyped counter that they have been here since 2006 and are in many other places, that they are already here

People Are Not Always What They Seem - But They Are All People

A few years back, we were getting our Global Entry cards (remember travel?). Since Beatrix was about 9, she could not go on her own to her interview, so I went with her (which had a bonus of letting me get mine done at the same time.). The officer interviewing us was a perfectly nice, Latinx man who spent some time explaining the privilege inherent in a GE card. He told her that if she were to do something wrong, like steal or drive drunk or something (again, age 9, so hopefully not soon thereafter), that she would lose the card. She listened attentively, with her trademark big eyes. "But," he said, "I'm sure you would not do something you would get arrested for, right?" "No," she responded. Pause. "Unless it was something I really believe in." "And what kind of thing would that be?" he asked. "Like protesting. (pause). Like for Philando Castile." The officer took a beat. Then he pushed aside his papers and looked at her.

Corona Cleaning - Linen Closet

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I didn't want to clean the linen closet. But we have a Cat Who Pees, usually late at night as we are going to bed. And when she did that the other night, I had a hard time finding new sheets for the bed. Awhile back, Beatrix had reorganized the linen closet, much like realtors do by organizing books by spine color for decor (at least it was not spine in and pages out). So I cleared everything out, and re-arranged by sheet size, and got rid of sheets we were not using, and stripped and washed the linens. It was necessary, but not exactly fulfilling. So instead, I show you the after and before or prints in the back stairs — Saint Paul in the white frames, hung a couple of years back, and New Orleans prints from my dad's, that we got black frames for the other night in a  huge frame-buying frenzy at Michael's. After: Before: We also spent the afternoon at Beatrix's Norwegian dance rehearsal in Stillwater. Beforehand we got to go to my friend's shop in Marine on St. Cro

Brutus on Brewpubs - Return to Insight!

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All winter the Insight patio has been closed, so we've been doing growlers on Mondays (best deal in town, $10 for a growler! Though you need an Insight growler or a stainless.) But today it is 83 degrees! And I just reactivated Crafttapped! So we headed out for a drink and a growler! They were THRILLED to see Brutus. We had a side table, and so Brutus could not see people as well if he was not sitting on the table. We had the new Hop Drops (compared American to New England, the NE was very grapefruit-toned, yum!) Then a Hop Spin growler to go. Delicious. I'll meet you there anytime, especially 2 weeks after my 2nd jab tomorrow.

Pandemic Projects PLUS Corona Cleaning - Art!

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So this was supposed to be the weekend of art hanging (more on that below).  But yesterday was just too nice and so we worked outside. Today Beatrix and I started it by heading to a clothing exchange (Yay! Our first one in soooo long!), and then picking up some rhubarb to plant (after carefully cleaning the roots in case of jumping worms), so we got a little bit of a late start.  And then our first project was actually hanging  couple of pieces in the kitchen, which led to cleaning off a high shelf on the window that we were not using for the original intent of herbs at all (too high up and they would just die), so we replaced them with growlers, and by changing the batteries on the clock. So it was well into afternoon by the time we got to the real art hanging. But doesn't the kitchen look nice? Plus a couple of other small pieces hung on the walls there: We also hung a piece in the library that the Easter bunny brought Patrick (along with a beer caddy for bringing beer over to so

Pandemic Projects - Patio

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This is the earliest we have ever gotten our back yard cleaned up and ready for entertaining (though I am leaving the front yard undone right now because there are more woody stems and such that pollinators would be hibernating in). Usually we are either too early to too late, and we can't get cedar chips, or the plants we want, or something. The fact is that I am dying to see people, while simultaneously a little nervous about it. But I get my second shot on Tuesday, and I would like to have you over, in small gatherings of 1-5 people, outside. Let's spend some time outside and catch up for real for the first time in way too long! I can hardly wait to do some planting!

Brutus on Brewpubs - Lake Monster (no duh!) and Saint Paul Brewing

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Tonight we met our friends Debra and Paul at Lake Monster. They said they invited us because we had had so many posts about how covid-safe it was (happy to spread the word!) Brutus got excited the minute we pulled up. I was just happy to see someone I love spending time with. Brutus was happy to be out and is angling to be Lake Monster's mascot. He perked up as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. Afterwards, Patrick and I headed to Saint Paul Brewery for pizza and beer (avoiding some kind of protest on the way). It was lovely. If anything, from this pandemic, I have learned to love spending time outside.

Tiny Vacations - Northfield

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You can't get much more mini of a mini-vacation than going to where Patrick used to go to work everyday. Still, going anywhere *real* seems so far away, and so tonight we headed down to Northfield. I had managed to nab one of Loon Liquors three small private tents: We got there a little early so got to hit a few thrift stores. Then headed over to the distillery, where they greeted us with some lovely small shots (including an NA apple soda for Beatrix). We ordered some delicious drinks (yes, mine was called "Who is Lady Whistledown?"): Snuggled into our tent and had a picnic dinner. Tried a few more samples of various liquors (including a gin-off), talked to the owner for quite some time, ordered another round of drinks. Discussed the state of alcohol regulation in Minnesota (sigh), bought a bottle of gin and one of aquavit, and headed home to spend some time in the hot tub. I love Minnesota's small distilleries and taprooms (and wineries!) and will fight to the deat

It's A Sin

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Patrick and I just finished watching It's A Sin , which proved to be one of those shows that is so good that you feel far less guilty about paying for HBO. From the soundtrack (which I'm streaming right now), to the luscious casting, to the direction and cinematography ... I'm still thinking about every bit of it. Reminding myself of another time when so many were dying, but when no one seemed to care until it got so epidemic it could no longer be ignored (well, and until it was no longer just "the gays" who were dying). Remembering what it was like when it took six weeks to get test results. Immersing myself in London in the 1980s — so long ago and just yesterday. The show was so gentle with the subject and period, and yet so ultimately brutal. I was particularly struck by the story of Jill, the Wendy in her crowd of Lost Boys, who reminded me so much of so many I have known (well, let's face it, I knew someone like every one of the characters, and so many w

Pandemic Projects - When You Work Outside on a 70 Degree March Day

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We don't *always* work on various projects on our house. In fact, usually we are working on ones at one of the other houses — and luckily, there is plenty to go around! We have quite the to-do list of summer projects. Today Patrick worked at clearing brush at Hague so he can do some exterior work on a new mudroom there. We may or may not have been inspired to double down on the character of that renovation after walking through a new build this weekend that was...well, rather soul-less. If you want to follow the amazing work he's doing on Hague, follow Whoa to Wow. (in the meantime, bonfire anyone?) Meanwhile, I was over at Summit, cleaning out the hot tub to refill and boot back up. We're starting to think about what pool parties might be like this summer.... I have a whole wishlist for over there that increases space for people, such as new decking, a new patio, probably a new grill, and a smokeless fire pit. Not quite sure how to come up with the cash for all of it, but

Last Dogsled Run of the Year

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So our whole impetus for going up north was actually to go dogsledding at Wintermoon Summersun . Beatrix and I had gone up for a mother-daughter weekend a few years ago, and fallen in love with the whole world that Kathleen has built there. With covid, she has switched to dog day trips rather than weekends, and so we wanted to share it with Patrick. We had originally meant to go up a few weeks ago, but it was too cold, so we were really happy to get in for what turned out to be the last run of the season. (I think the dogs were happy too). Beatrix was happy to be riding with a team led by Finn. Last time we were there, he was a small puppy running around the cabin stealing Beatrix's mittens. Now he's a lead dog. Monk and Wing, as wheel dogs, think he showboats a little too much but like him anyway. It was Patrick's first time (other than a tiny run we had done at Birch's on the Lake right before the pandemic started last year), and I think he enjoyed it too! Plus he had

Blown Away

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 I've always been fascinated by glass — I think I got it from my mom. So one thing we really wanted to do in our mini-vacation to Duluth last week was to take a glass class at Lake Superior Art Glass . Beatrix had taken a glass camp her in the Twin Cities at Foci and loved it, but Patrick and I were newbies. Luckily, they make it very easy. And covid-safe; our class was just the three of us and the instructor (all masked, and at the front of the shop with a big open window. We had chosen a flower making class, and our instructor Pete was great about explaining all the steps to us and going through the process. Turns out the most important part is to remember to keep the pipe turning at all times. I think I have a way to go before I develop the smooth fluidity that Pete showed in moving between things, but Beatrix got it pretty easily. Patrick was pretty good as well. There are a few steps: 1. Creating the step with green glass, gathering the glass then heating it. 2. Making another