Showing posts from February, 2021

Totally Tubular

We've made a concerted effort this winter to enjoy outdoor time (well, because what else are we going to do?) On Friday night, it was warm enough that we could sit out by our friends' big outdoor fireplace (wrapped in my mozy, of course!), sitting 6' away but drinking, eating brownies made from a recipe from the Back In the Day Bakery in Savannah, and talking, while seeing the sparks go up the chimney, reminiscent of the fireflies in their yard in the summer. Today was something none of us had ever done — snow tubing! And it was a blast (even if I am exhausted now). We had heard good things about the Three Rivers tubing run at Elm Creek, so we headed out to Maple Grove this morning as the snow was falling. It made for a beautiful park scene. We had reserved in advance (you have to), so check-in was super-easy, and before we knew it, we were on top of a hill with our 3 tubes lashed together and the staff member giving us a big push with his foot to set us off (by the next r

Cold World - Part 2 - In Which We Learn a Lot

You might remember my post from last month where I discussed going on a "Cold World" mural walking tour. Today was part 2 of that tour, where Candida Gonzalez and Missy Whiteman led us on a fascinating tour of the murals in the NACDI/Franklin Avenue area of South Minneapolis, on probably the most beautiful, warm, sunny day we have had all winter. Though the Franklin Avenue corridor is an area I pass through frequently, I'm usually doing just that, passing through. I see the glimpses of color outside my car window, but can't remember stopping to really look at the art. If pressed, I could probably have told you that many buildings in the area feature some decoration that suggests Ojibwe beadwork through their floral themes, but again, more of a fleeting glimpse. So today it was great to walk around and really spend time looking at the work. What I really appreciated, though, was the time spent talking about the "Why" of the work. There was a lot of discussio

Preservation In Action

Why preservation matters: Because... 1) The new construction house near me has already had more repair people by in the seven weeks that they have lived there than I have had here in the 28 years I have lived in my 1886 house. 2) (on a more optimistic note) In the fall, we cleaned out the garage and I agreed to release some of the furniture I had been hoarding. Sending this table into the wild was really hard. I had gotten it from my dad when I first moved into this house, and had used it as a plant table, covered by an old piano scarf that I had over-dyed purple. But the top of the table had lost layers of veneer and was in terrible shape, and we had no room for it anymore, and even though I got it from my dad and it had terribly sentimental memories and my heart was saying "But he'll never be able to give you a gift again!" I knew it was time to let it go. My friend Jennifer was looking for furniture for her new home, and I gave it to her. Little did I know how amazing

Ice Ice Baby

Apparently my life is defined a lot by ice lately. Last night, Beatrix and I made a nighttime visit to the illuminated #iceportal on Summit before it drips away. On a walk with friends at Crosby Farm yesterday (what a greta way to get outside, see friends, and get some exercise while talking about life and #pandemicproblems), I finally got to experience "Zara." (spoiler, it's not really an ice block, but it's cool anyway!) And yesterday morning, my friend René gave me a rose in ice, a very hopeful reminder that things are beautiful in their transience. When I got it: An hour or so later: This morning: I don't know why ice is so important to me right now. But I'm going with it!

Corona Cleaning - Declutter with Friends

Some projects, like your desk, obviously need to get cleaned more frequently than others and fall into kind of a disaster zone when you let it go too long (if you are a client, you may want to avert your eyes from the picture, and I PROMISE I can always find your stuff!) (also, the bottle is filled with fairy lights, not gin!) My online friend Lindsay suggested a zoom de-cluttering session with several of us today, and so I decided the desk could no longer be put off; it's been on top of my Trello list forever.  So I just got to spend 90 minutes on a zoom screen with friends, talking sharing some organizational ideas, creating files, and tackling the desk. It's a lot better now: Now I just need a similar impetus for the credenza behind the desk. But seriously, if you have a project like this you need to tackle, I highly recommend doing it on zoom with friends. I'll join you, if you want!

My Pandemic Hobbies

My friend Alexis has made a specialty of making witty, personable for sale posts on the Facebook neighborhood BST boards (enough so that other friends, who don't know her, were discussing last night how her posts had made their day). She posts things like: And then there was that time in quarantine where I thought that I should start batiking fabric to make rugs with. And then there was that one time in quarantine where I decided that I should learn ballet from YouTube... and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I like to shop for craft supplies but I don’t actually like to craft.... Help me clean out some of my crafting stuff so I can obsessively collect some other hobby that I won’t actually do! And lord knows, the last year has not been the productive bonanza I thought it would be at all. My craft pile still sits in the corner of the room, the basement remains uncleaned, and I as of yet I have not managed to perfect sourdough or whatever the cool kids are doing. I have managed

Brutus on Brewpubs - #GetMozy

 I had told Brutus that when it warmed up more, and when my Mozy came, we would go out to a taproom. What is a Mozy? It's a kind of wrap-around stadium blanket. It was a fleece lining, and a nylon outside (so it's windproof), several pockets, and a carabiner. One whole side is velcro, so it basically wraps around you while you are sitting so you stay nice and warm while hanging out by the fire at the taproom. It arrived this afternoon and I had a lot of fun unboxing (hey, when you order something that's kind of overpriced, the fun is in the unboxing). Here's Brutus saying "You said we could go to the taproom when you got your Mozy!" Winston says "Please don't got to the taproom! Stay here!" So we headed off to Lake Monster and enjoyed a lovely beer by the fire table. I am fully aware that "Brutus on Brewpubs" seems to feature Lake Monster fairly regularly lately, but hey, they have great covid protocols and it's fairly comfortable t

A Vibrant City Has Great Public Art

I've been on this soapbox for awhile, so many of you have heard it before.... Think of the last time you went out at night while visiting another city (yes, I know that's awhile back.) Whether it was New York, London, Paris, New Orleans — or even a smaller city like Savannah or Cambridge — if you were out at night I will bet you saw street artists. Maybe they were playing music, or doing some kind of street performance, or simply standing looking like a statue, I would bet you appreciated seeing them and they added to the sense of joy in just being out for you. That's something you remember, that added to the sense of being in a vibrant urban environment. I've brought this up several times to people connected with the city. Imagine (in the days we could go out), walking through lowertown and seeing street art. I usually got one of three responses: 1) "We do have music, there's a band in Mears Park every week" (yes, and I am saying this is a different sense

New Valentine's Day Traditions

So here we are. For most of us, Valentine's Day was the last "normal" holiday we remember before it all went down.  Though to be honest, we don't normally go out to celebrate in the 14th itself, since it's a guaranteed night for prices to increase and places to be busy. But we usually try to get out to do *something.* Last year we went down to Northfield for a mini day-trip and to see our awesome friend Sarah, and then went to the Walker After Hours the next night, before having a German circus artist come on Monday to stay with us for a few weeks. Today was a different kind of celebration.... We did some online yoga with Viv from Yoga and a Pint , who we miss seeing in person desperately (last year we did yoga with her this weekend in person and there was henna afterwards, and we got beer from Joe....) We opened our presents — a bag of vintage clothes and winter accessories for Beatrix, a "Books will save us" package with a puzzle and a miniature librar

Pandemic Projects - Bedroom

I think this pandemic might have gone on long enough now that this is the second post about re-doing our bedroom that I might have made. But I got a new rug for it off the neighborhood Buy Nothing group, and part of Patrick's Valentine's Day present was that I deep cleaned the room. I think it looks great. We got a new Sleep Number bed a few weeks back (after all, the old one was only 25 years old), and our "sleep scores" have been going way up.  I went to Trader Joe's to get some flowering bulbs for it as well, but they didn't have any. I also want to find a scratching post to keep Ms. Tiger Lily from going at the ottoman.  Still, it will be a cozy space to settle into for the long weekend!


I am told it was this cold on February 9, 2008, when she was born. Patrick and I could not tell you; we had not left the hospital for over 24 hours. All I know is that thirteen years ago I became a mom, and there seems no possible way she could be this old already. Happy birthday, Beatrix!

The 1099 Conundrum

Don't get me wrong. I've worked contract for a long time (at this point, when you hire me, you hire my company, who pays me.) And I am a strong advocate for the proper use of 1099 positions. But the pandemic is pointing out a lot of holes with that status (well, ok, the pandemic is calling into question pretty much all of our systems, but I digress.) Do you know why payroll tax deductions exist? They started in 1913, with the 16th amendment that created income tax (actually passed in 1909, we don't know what they were doing for four years). But the government soon realized that levying a tax and collecting it were two different things, and when FICA was added to help with social systems during he Depression, the government simply had to collect a higher percentage of taxes, faster. Thus, payroll tax deductions were established, to put companies in charge of withholding and paying taxes rather than individuals. And thus was born the differentiation between W-2 and 1099 worke

Pandemic Projects - Retro Version

Remember those first days of the lockdown, 11 months ago, when it was like we were all prepping for a storm? We were staying in, enjoying each other's company, catching up on some of the projects on never-ending "to-do" lists, went on long walks, and trying to suss how long this would be. I guess we still don't know how long.... This weekend we were supposed to be up in Brimson dogsledding  for Beatrix's 13th birthday, but the cold temperatures forced a rescheduling of that. So instead, we're basically going back to the early days of the pandemic and hunkering down. I started this morning with some zoom meetings, and posting Beatrix's cookie order page . We then cleaned the whole first floor of the house, including spending some time starting in on a deep-clean of our pots and pans with Barkeeper's Friend. We sorted through some old clothes and put them out for charity pick-up. Perhaps most monumentally, I went through a few months of Sunday New York t