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The Exchange of Energy

Another wild week with pre-travel jitters and bad news. I’ve made an attempt to block out a lot of the bad mojo going around, and only take in what makes me happy. But it’s tough. And I am a chronically anxious worrier. My current concern? I’m supposed to fly out today, first to Reykjavik then on to Dublin. Unfortunately the first leg of my journey has been delayed and I may not have enough time to catch my connecting flight. If I don’t make it my entire Sunday in Dublin will be thrown into disarray. I will miss afternoon tea! And now is the perfect time to explain: What is afternoon tea? No pinkies up. There are a lot of delightful tea services around Dublin. Including this vintage tea tour on a bus. But that seems like a depressing solo activity. Instead I reserved a spot for tea at the castle hotel where I’m spending two nights. I will have just traveled for a very long time and it makes sense to enjoy tea where I am about to check in. Hopefully it works out.

Five Good Things:

Speaking of cooking, we are coming to the end of Minnesota’s growing season, and my Community Supported Agriculture program. I’ll be away when my last box is delivered at work so I’m having my teammates share it. I feel like I did all right using it up over the summer. Last weekend I cooked and baked SO much, using ingredients from the farm. Felt great.

colorful vegetables

Goodnight Nobody

Life has been quite the grind lately. A lingering illness. Long days at work. A few challenging parenting moments. When I do dip a toe into the cesspool of current events I find myself flinching (I believe women) then distracting myself with less upsetting material. Five Good Things / Distractions from this week:

  • LeVar Burton. Love that man. And listening to the love fest with him on The Nod was just the thing. Warm fuzzies and hopefulness. And season three of LeVar Burton Reads is fantastic. Interesting that he selects a lot of short stories with disappointing, stupid and selfish male characters. Through this season I learned about author Rebecca Roanhorse and I’m currently devouring her book Trail of Lightning.
  • The return of Veronica Mars. I am stoked. And season three of The Good Place will be starting up again too. Thank you Kristen Bell.
  • I’m a few months late to the party but I found myself getting sucked into the Wolverine: The Long Night podcast. I lay in bed, in my dark room, binge listening to episodes wanting to know what was going to happen next. Gripping stuff.
  • Also late to the party on the band Khruangbin. Thoroughly enjoying them this morning. Thankfully I haven’t missed the boat on their live show. They are performing in Minneapolis in November.
  • Last night I watched the XTC: This Is Pop documentary. It flipped all my nostalgia switches.

In local news…the Franklin Hiawatha Encampment has been on my mind a lot. What it is:

This is a gathering of homeless Minneapolis residents, primarily of Native American descent. Some have jobs while some are unemployed. All lack access to shelter or affordable housing due to lack of shelter beds, lack of affordable housing, lack of a job, and other reasons.

A positive step today:

Minneapolis City Council approves site to relocate homeless camp. Relocation speed a concern with winter approaching.

I do worry about how long this may take, realistically, and how cold it will be before these folks have housing. This site has great info about how to help. Tonight there is a Benefit show for the Franklin Hiawatha Encampment. Cash donations are welcome.

In other local news, the Arab Film Fest kicks off tonight! Though I’m still ticked off. For the first time in 13 years, Arab Film Festival filmmakers and actors denied entrance to the U.S. The panels and discussions with the film makers are one of the highlights of the film fest but these artists won’t be able to participate.

Arab Film Fest

Viewer Discretion Advised

In the last couple of weeks a cruddy bug swept through my office. I was one of the last to be felled by it and seem to be dealing with it for the longest. Friday I rallied long enough for a night out, for the highly entertaining Dan Soder at Acme Comedy. Then off to the Hex after to see friends’ bands. But yesterday I was back to feeling like hot garbage. Didn’t get out of my pajamas all day. Hoping to get to Open Streets Nicollet / Ramen Kazama Rama today.

Lounging around the house has meant too much time spent on the internet. Well, even more than usual. But here are Five Good Things gleaned in recent days:

The countdown has begun. It is officially Fall and I go on vacation in less than two weeks. And I’m still a little anxious about driving in Italy but I think I’ve got the basics down.

Big yawn

Stay In Your Lane

Turns out I need an International Driving Permit in Italy. Thankfully the paperwork was simple and I just needed to drop by a nearby AAA branch office. Now to figure out how to actually drive in Italy, so I’m prepared when I pick up my rental. Eep.

Trip planning is in full swing. Sure, it’s been a process for months now. And all the most critical details are taken care of. But I’m working through the secondary bits now. Downloading local apps to my phone. Prioritizing which restaurants to check out. Figuring out what there is to do in Dublin on a Monday. I had hoped to check out this Trauma exhibit but the timing doesn’t quite work out. Perhaps that’s for the best. Instead I’m debating whether to take a day trip to somewhere like the Hill of Tara or to stay in Dublin proper. My time is limited so I may just stay in town. I am planning to check out the 360 view from the bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse, and get lots of good long walks in.

While I have the privilege to travel - with my American passport and my Anglo-sounding name (from my father’s adoptive parents) - I often feel twinges of guilt. Especially when I learned about this: Several artists blocked from attending Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. This is so very frustrating and unfair. But please, do join us at the Film Fest, especially to celebrate the artists who are unable to join us.

International Driving Permit

Experience Magnifier

We had a ridiculous heatwave over the weekend, with record highs on my son’s birthday. Followed by brutal thunderstorms. And now I’m capping things off with a crappy end-of-summer cold, providing my very own personal temperature fluctuations.

So how about Five Good Things for this bed/couch-ridden Tuesday?

Random sick day thoughts. I was remembering Cagney & Lacey. When I was a kid I thought those actresses must be SO old. Turns out Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless were only 35 and 38 respectively when the show premiered. Shared this information with a friend who replied with “I thought they were Old Grownups and now I’m much older than they were then and I feel like a large kid.” Yep.

fist pumping

Always in the Dark

Generally I pride myself on being in the loop, but this week a few tidbits took me by surprise. I’ll just roll some of them into Five Good Things for Friday:

  • Low’s new album, Double Negative, was released today. I knew all about that. But I missed this morsel about a private in-store performance this evening at Electric Fetus. Thankfully a friend gave me the heads up and I will be attending. Bonus: a lovely interview with Alan about life and boxing.
  • In our brave new world I don’t want to get sucked into “amusing ourselves to death” mode - as easy as that is to do - but I can no longer put myself in the path of the daily news either. It’s too much. Drinking from a fire hose. I take in dribs and drabs. Thankfully we have Reply All to catch us up on the highlights. I’d entirely missed the Alex Jones Dramageddon and just wow. That was one fantastic podcast episode.
  • I’m a huge Philip Pullman fan but had didn’t hear about the remake of His Dark Materials until this week. And I found out in a funny way. The film didn’t get it quite right (the books were better, of course). I’m more hopeful about this new series. And HBO has enough faith in it to give them a second season before the first one has even aired.
  • Apparently this lady’s video went viral, of her covering Missy Elliott. Didn’t see that but I did catch this bit of her on Ellen recently. I was impressed by Mary’s composure when Missy Elliott joined her on stage. I would’ve melted into a fangirl mess.
  • This one is way after the fact but this time I am up on the news about it: Archaeologists just found the oldest drawing. It’s a 70,000-year-old hashtag. Neat.

Busy weekend ahead! City Pages has a decent roundup. Dog meet-ups, rummage sales, festivals on Eat Street and the West Bank: 60 free things to do this weekend. Since it’s my son’s birthday tomorrow I’ll let him pick and choose which ones to prioritize but I do know the Twin Cities Veg Fest is at the top of the list.

Retribution Gospel Choir

Tend and Befriend

Usually I wake up before my alarm but not yesterday. The buzzing woke me from an epic dream. I was staying with a friend at some townhome community outside of the near future Toronto area. Only they were all dome homes, built with repurposed materials. Hundreds of dome homes. A dome home utopia. With Tolkien-esque waterfalls and mountains as a backdrop. I was so disappointed when I woke up and I wasn’t in one of these dome homes. The dream was partially work related (our company has a Toronto office) and travel inspired, as my impending trip is on my mind. Hit up my social network for Dublin and Rome area suggestions. Now at the top of my list? Visiting Phil Lynott’s favorite bar, Bruxelles, before and/or after I take a selfie with his statue, of course. And in Rome I hadn’t heard of the Pigneto neighborhood but apparently there’s plenty of cool stuff happening there.

Five good things for Tuesday:

  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever did not disappoint. Fun Friday night at the Turf Club.
  • Saturday we had breakfast with good friends but then wound sticking around home all day. I hung out in the backyard reading trade paperbacks of Paper Girls comic. I eagerly await the final installment but then it’s all over.
  • Sunday I binge listened to episodes of Terrible, Thanks for Asking while cooking and walking around Lake Nokomis (no baby squirrels chased me this time). Not sure why I’d fallen behind but there were some fantastic episodes I had missed. Especially the one that had me laughing and crying, with Maeve Higgins in Happy(ish) Holidays II. And holy shit the holidays are going to be here again before long. Not ready.
  • Yesterday I had an excellent lunch walk listening to a podcast about the history of the Cha Cha Slide. Had a big dumb grin on my face the entire time.
  • Today’s lunch walk / podcast break was pretty perfect as I listened to Hidden Brain’s Our Better Nature: How The Great Outdoors Can Improve Your Life while gazing up at trees.

This weekend is a doozy. My son turns 19. Which brings to mind the Patton Oswalt bit about birthdays (which I have mentioned here before). But we will be wasting cake and paper to celebrate. Because I love my man-ling. We’ll be celebrating him, and celebrating compassion at the annual Twin Cities Veg Fest. This time it’s moved to Harriet Island. And the Herbivorous Butcher will be selling VEGAN CHEESE CURDS.

Vanessa

Making Hay When the Sun Shines

Short work weeks often feel like an eternity and this one was no exception. I am spent. I had to chuckle when I came across this “No Spoons Left - Only Knives” cross-stitch. That was me all week long. Last weekend I had my hair braided at RenFest and have been so busy and exhausted that I’ve just left the braids in. I’m afraid to see what a hot mess my hair will be when I finally undo that talented woman’s handiwork. Happy to be home now but already glued to the couch and too tired to cook. My son made himself dinner and managed to set off the spooky talking smoke alarms. Again. Perhaps he doesn’t need to cook his veggie burgers on high until they turn into little briquettes.

Five good things for Friday:

Attempting to rally now so I can feed myself, then hang out with friends tonight. I’ve been spending too much time alone this summer when that sort of behavior is generally more for the dark winter times. Working on balancing self-care and social activities.

sun dappled fronds

The Odd Uneven Time

It’s already the day after Labor Day. School is back in session and there are only a couple of weeks to squeeze in summer fun before the Fall Equinox. This has been one of our most un-fun summers ever, and that was after a particularly brutal winter. We’ve got some catching up to do in the fun department. So last Saturday - on a holiday weekend - my son and I went to the DMV. Oh wait, fun. That wasn’t it. Last week I did spend a paranormal evening with Alice Cooper. I’d never seen him before but he’s still amazing. And changed outfits between each song.

Sunday we made it to the RenFest and lucked out with perfect weather but not very heavy crowds. Labor Day we had a delightful housewarming party at our new place. While prepping for that I managed to drop my phone and crack its screen. Less delightful. The eerie thing? The last time I cracked a phone screen was on another Labor Day, in 2013. What the hecking heck?

With summer winding down there isn’t much time to cram in summery activities, but I have five at the top of my list:

  • The Landscape Arboretum is a favorite spot anyhow but now they’ve got origami sculptures. We haven’t seen yet. Must see.
  • Getting to the drive-in! We haven’t been to Vali-Hi for a few years now. The bonus with going at the end of the season? The sun sets earlier. Yes, I’ve turned into a morning person.
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever from Australia is the ultimate summer fun band. They’re playing the Turf Club Friday night.
  • Open Streets. We haven’t gotten to any yet this year but there are a few left.
  • Cruising around one of the nearby lakes in a Deuce Coupe or the Surrey from Wheel Fun Rentals. Have always intended to do this with the kiddo but have never gotten around to it. Now is the time.

Speaking of bittersweet endings, this one is a little more permanent than the changing of seasons. Earlier tonight my son and I watched the series finale for our beloved Adventure Time. We started enjoying that together when my son was just ten or eleven and he’s grown up right along with the characters from the show. One special spring we even got to attend Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con and sit in on a panel with Finn’s voice actor, Jeremy Shada, who is only two years older than my kid. And every year we hang an Adventure Time wall calendar in our kitchen. We’ve done that at four houses now. Wild that we’ve moved so much since 2011, especially since we were in the same house the first 12 years of his life.

Stormy Weather
King of RenFest

Stirring Up the Bees

I’ve made peace (mostly) with my life as an unpartnered single parent. Obviously there are times when it is rough, without a reliable co-parent or safety net. All kinds of feelings were felt at our house recently, just before the kid left town to visit his grandparents. On a Friday I’d gotten home from a rough work week only to be met with an exceptionally grumpy teen. Much of what was going on with him had little to do with me. I knew that. Rationally I know I’m the person he feels safe unloading on but it still feels lousy. I’ve been his number one cheerleader his entire life so it feels unfair to be the one he growls at and dumps on. Nor was I pleased to find his purple hair dye had gotten all over multiple surfaces around the house, including my bath towel. We were off to a better start the next morning. Until I took a look at his passport. The kid was flying out to the West Coast to spend time with his paternal grandparents. They had planned to visit Vancouver again. Well, his passport expired last month. Usually I’m a stickler for details. But I was miserably ill May, June and July and focused on our sudden and all encompassing house move so that little detail slipped through the cracks. Thankfully they’ve still had a pleasant visit. He flies home tomorrow night. Hopefully with lower levels of teen angst. He starts his new school program next week.

Five Good Things:

  • I’m not the only one struggling with motherhood. Listened to this podcast episode How to be a bad mom and finally watched the first Bad Mom movie (which I take issue with but still, I was in guilty pleasure mode).
  • Just yesterday the weather shifted to give us our first hint of Fall. I took advantage of that to trek out to Pizza Farm with friends for an utterly perfect evening. And I’m looking forward to trying out our new firepit in our backyard before long.
  • A good friend - with longer arms than mine - came over last weekend with her power drill and put up curtain rods and blackout curtains in my bedroom. Made a HUGE difference. Before I felt like someone was shining giant spotlights into my bedroom at sunrise. I also hung more of my art around the new place so it’s really feeling like home now.
  • Took myself to see Spike Lee’s new joint, BlacKkKlansman. Thoroughly enjoyed it though I understand this hot take on it by Boots Riley.
  • So want to fly out to DC next month for an evening with Roman Mars and Bill Barbot:
    Punk rock was never just about having a mohawk and wearing a Clash button. It was a movement that redefined the design world. At its heart and at its best, it became a model for equality, inclusion, and authenticity in the face of fascism, corporatism, and economic injustice. At the dawn of Reagan’s America and at the vanguard of this fight, DC punk’s fans, followers, and artists created a unique space in DC whose impact ultimately spanned continents and decades.

    But that is my son’s birthday weekend, and the Twin Cities Veg Fest. And I’ll be taking a break in Ireland and Italy in less than two months.

“Wine
Finest Pizza Farm Companions