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As Mellow As Moonlight

What a wonderful weekend. Friday night we had dinner at Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub before leaving the car there. It was a quick walk from the restaurant to the light rail where we zipped downtown for the Made Here launch in The Parklot. Then we took the light rail back, grabbed the car and saw our friends’ band, Rabbit Holes, play at The Hex. Saturday was lazy. We kinda-sorta got a few things done around the house and enjoyed take out from Hot Indian Foods for dinner. Then it was off to a backyard hangout under the supermoon with friends (including a favorite friend who just signed a lease and is returning to Minneapolis after five years working in the South). Sunday we biked from our place to the Kingfield Farmer’s Market, which was lovely. But holy wow am I out of shape! I was already sore by Sunday evening when we went to a fantastic wedding party at the beach.

Five good or interesting things for this Tuesday:

  • Yesterday I didn’t leave the house. I remained in pajamas all day, working from home, bundled up in layers with slippers on. It was actually kind of nice. I’d prefer record breaking cold in the summer vs. record breaking heat: “128 year record cold Monday?”
  • And in our Russian sister city of Novosibirsk, Swimsuits for snow boots: Freak summer snow & hail hit Siberia, Urals
  • And another report from that neighborhood, The North Pole Could Soon Drift Over to Siberia: Earth’s magnetic field seems to be weakening and potentially migrating
  • Our household is 100% full of Scott Pilgrim fans. Which is why I pre-ordered author Bryan O’Malley’s new book, Seconds. And was pleasantly surprised when it showed up today. Yay me! Except now I want to go straight home to read it instead of stopping by the Y for a work out, like I should.
  • With my son traveling with his grandparents I haven’t been needing to get groceries nearly as often. But I’ve added a few items to the list after reading th eFood-Mood Connection: How You Eat Can Amp Up Or Tamp Down Stress. Some are already staples in our household but I don’t know that I’ve combined them. Yesterday I made scrambled eggs with kale and pumpkin seeds. I’d probably feel less anxious if I would cut out that second cup of coffee…

My son has spent much of the past few weeks in the wilderness, with unreliable cell phone service. He has been posting some updates to Facebook, thankfully. But yesterday I received my first text from him in well over a week and I BURST INTO TEARS. Sad mama. His text was just letting me know his phone was working and he was asking how our cats are doing. I think the cats are fine but I’m kind of a wreck. Looking forward to seeing him in Seattle next week, for sure.

Zena & Grace

We Are Made of Star Stuff

Yesterday there was a bit of excitement at an area zoo when three gorillas took a brief jaunt through unsecured door. Naturally someone set up a ComoZooGorilla twitter account with the best tweet being: “Who’s down for a midnight screening of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?’ I should be able to get out of here by 10:30 tonight.”

Five good things for Friday:

  • This weekend the silent classic Nosferatu is being shown at The Trylon, with live music by Fate’s Palette. Buy tickets here.
  • For his 158th birthday, Nikola Tesla got a day named in his honor and a new science museum with $1 million in funding from billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
  • There’s a trailer now for the new Terry Gilliam movie, The Zero Theorem, featuring many of my favorite actors. Like Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis.
  • I adore Rejected Princesses: “A series of illustrations of women whose stories wouldn’t make the cut for animated movies, illustrated in a contemporary animation style.” An interview with the man behind the project here.
  • Oh tumblr. There when you need it (but often when you don’t want it too). Fox News started it with the single lady voters / Getting to Know the ‘Beyoncé Voter’. And this was one brilliant response.

The weather has been all over the place today - downpours and sunny skies in equal measure - but I’m hoping things will clear up for the weekend. We already deeply appreciate grilled pineapple but I’ll have to give grilling other fruits a shot too.

Drew, lighting up with a sparkler

Adult Mediocrity and Fatuousness

We had a decent 4th of July holiday weekend, though I’ve been having a hard time feeling terribly patriotic. The headlines hurt. Supreme Court Broadens Hobby Lobby Ruling to All Forms of Birth Control. Grrrr. So much for Justice Alito’s “narrow” opinion. One of my all time favorite people, George Takei, blasted the High Court’s ruling and called for a boycott of Hobby Lobby. Hell yeah. And Democrats are trying to fast-track a bill to override the Hobby Lobby decision but I don’t know how far that will actually go. There’s at least one rich white American guy who gets it: The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats. And Nick Hanauer wrote that before the unfortunate SCOTUS rulings. I like this guy.

Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

The income gap is widening at an alarming pace. And this reality is being reflected in our dystopian, end-of-the-world fiction. Books and films and tv series. In the last week I’ve seen Snowpiercer (TILDA SWINTON!) and the first few episodes of Dominion (Anthony Stewart Head!) and have read plenty of books like The Last Policeman series and The Maze Runner.

Sometimes I leave too many danged tabs open. But then I find five or more good things:

Another busy weekend ahead. Seeing the Budos Band tonight. My old friend Joan Vorderbruggen is coordinating Hennepin Theatre Trust’s new art-in-storefronts project, MADE HERE, launching tomorrow. A beach wedding party. Dengue Fever (the band) at The Cedar. And it’s now less than two weeks until I see my son again. A little over the halfway mark. Man, this is excruciating.

Zena, with mini bottles in her bra

There She Goes, My Beautiful World

Hello emotions! What a whirlwind. So it’s finally sweet sweet summer. And it’s far too easy to let things slide after such a brutal winter. Now that it’s lush and green and warm I am even more easily distracted. By going for walks or sitting outside on patios. We’re lucky our new place is on higher ground but just last night we had dinner on Sandcastle’s new terrace on Lake Nokomis, and got another look at how flooded the paths are around the shoreline. Last week President Obama was in town for two days, to meet with a working mother, and he gave one talk near the swollen Minnehaha Falls and another along Lake Harriet. This was just days after my amazing boss had been in D.C., serving on the panel of the first White House Working Families Summit. All the best things were said and great sentiments expressed and I was actually feeling hopeful for a minute. And then. Today’s Supreme Court Ruling. My spirits are sinking fast. I’ve tried to explain to my male partner just how disheartening and discouraging it is to systematically be shown/told that one’s gender, which makes up 50% of the world’s population, is somehow inferior. That women’s agency and autonomy aren’t important after all (never mind, oh, SCIENCE). I’d already been feeling that sting. Lately I’ve been taking a good hard look at the fiction I consume. Particularly in film. How many movies even pass the Bechdel Test? Such a low bar and yet Hollywood has trouble clearing it, time and time again. But back to today’s news. We must find a way to ensure widespread access to effective contraceptives. Health care should not be tied to employment. White male right wingers in this country think that corporations are people, and fetuses are people, but women? Meh. Like another woman noted on twitter, it feels like we’re living in a Margaret Atwood novel.

In other personal news, one week ago today my son left with his grandparents. RVing from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest - for A MONTH. He’s been texting and updating his Facebook wall sporadically so I generally know what he’s up to. But wow. A month apart. The longest yet. I might be a bit of a wreck by the end of this. While he’s away Minnesota needs to dry out. Last week a mudslide shut down part of West River Parkway. A couple of weeks ago we drove out to my boyfriend’s family farm and saw so many sad flooded fields. A state of emergency was declared in 35 counties. And the parks and playgrounds in downtown St. Paul, near our old house, were completely submerged as the Mississippi crested. The seventh highest crest in 100 years. Gulp. On a related note, “the 2014 Minnesota Biennial reinstates the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s long tradition of surveying contemporary artistic practice through an open call process.” The final cut is being exhibited now, in downtown St. Paul near all the flooding. And it includes:

a piece that uses craft but also an element of audience participation is an installation by Sarita Zaleha. A comment on global warming, the piece includes a blanket equipped with sensors that turn on heat when you move the blanket to get inside. The installation also includes needlepoint works that spell out the names of hurricanes, commenting on the effects global warming has had on society.

Struggling to find five good things for this Monday. Maybe five interesting things?

I’m a long-time atheist but recently I had the closest thing possible to a religious experience. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds returned to the State Theatre and were even more amazing than last time (in 2002). After that I saw two of my favorite local bands - comprised of my friends - in a sweaty basement on a Friday night and that was somehow even more life affirming. Oh yeah, and my Dad turned 70 last week on our shared birthday. I was able to go out to lunch with him and his wife, which was lovely. And to get out to Pizza Farm with fantastic friends the night before. I really have been slacking with the updates here. Oops.

Pizza Kitten!

Mist and Vapor

Minnesota is underwater world this week. We live just blocks from the Minnehaha Creek now, which is currently flooding nearby neighborhoods. Thankfully our new place is on higher ground but others are not so lucky. Years ago I lived behind The Wedge Co-op. When I was about eight months pregnant (with my almost 15 year old) I bought a house. One night I packed up my car with precious irreplaceable items like photo albums, and went to bed. I’d planned to drive over to my new house the next day to unload. Mother Nature had other plans. I walked outside in the morning to find the neighborhood had flooded and my car was full of water up to the dashboard, damaging all of the belongings within. That’s what you get when you live on low land that was once Lake Blaisdell. Which I wasn’t aware of at the time. And now other folks are experiencing similar head/heart aches.

Five important but not-so-fun items of note:

Another busy weekend ahead. The kiddo’s grandparents roll into town in their RV before long. And the Extreme Noise Records 20th anniversary celebrations continue. And I’m taking my boyfriend to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (his first time, only my 2nd in that configuration). And I’d like to squeeze some wedding photo editing time in, along with more unpacking. Perhaps I’ll stop sleeping altogether.

Father's Day 2014

The Strange Situation Procedure

Last week there was one absolutely gorgeous summer day. Blue skies with puffy white clouds, hot but with low humidity. And on that day I was able to take my son to the beach, and to Sandcastle for afternoon snacks. Saturday the weather wasn’t so lovely. It was all rain and scary skies with wall clouds but that didn’t stop the magic. I had the honor of photographing the wedding of two absolutely lovely friends. I did, however, skip the rain-filled Northern Spark Festival afterward. First time I’ve missed it! Sad trombone. Sunday was Father’s Day/our annual shared birthday celebration. He will be 70 next week, on our shared birthday, when I turn a different and not terribly significant age. This week we’ve got lots of prep to do before my son begins summering with his other grandparents. We’re going to be apart an entire month! The longest ever. But I will be flying to Seattle at the end of it to meet him and hang out for a few days before flying us home. That will be fun.

Five good things for this Monday:

The fine folks at Thrillist have rounded up every single outdoor movie in the Twin Cities (122!) and created this 2014 outdoor movie master calendar, organized by date. Unfortunately it’s raining again now and likely to be raining for the rest of the week. I was hoping to get to at least one of these with my son before he leaves town. But since we moved into our new place/school ended he rarely wants to leave at all. Teenagers.

HIJACK dancers

The Modern Servants of Fate

School’s out! For summer. And forever. Well, only in that my son won’t be returning to the St. Paul school district. I received a nice message from his case manager yesterday, about how much he had enjoyed my son’s enthusiasm and wit over the past school year. That was nice. But my son and I did not enjoy the ridiculously early start time, the 10:15am lunch or the distance from our previous home. Now we live about a mile from the high school he’ll be attending (HIGH?! school). And they have a much later start with reasonable lunch times. But. Here’s the thing I did not know. School now starts in Minneapolis well before Labor Day. I wish I’d realized sooner. This wound up being a $252 mistake when I had to call to change my son’s flight home from a trip with his grandparents. His original flight had him coming home two days after the first day of school. Oops.

Five items of note for this fine Tuesday:

This coming weekend I have my first wedding shoot of the year. On the same day as a million and one other things. Like the opening of the Green Line light rail from St. Paul to Minneapolis. And the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. And the Northern Spark overnight art fest. But I will focus on the wedding and if I happen to have any energy left over afterward, so be it. Weddings can be stressful, even if it’s the most amazingly laid back couple ever. There are so many other factors that come into play. Like acts of nature. This is blowing my mind: “An Oregon Couple Rushed Through Their Wedding Because Of A Wildfire And The Photos Are Breathtaking” While the end results are amazing I really hope we don’t have anything like that to contend with on Saturday.


An Exaggerated Sense of Responsibility

Well it’s June. We’ve now spent our first full week in our new home, without having any belongings in our old place. Last Saturday was the big push to get everything out by 12:30pm. It was a crazy stressful cluster but it’s over now. And hopefully I’ll be getting the bulk of my damage deposit back soon. Unpacking isn’t progressing as quickly as I would like. Adding another human and their belongings to the mix really multiplies the degree of difficulty. I can see the shape of things to come, where everything will go and how it will flow, but I can’t quite get us there yet. At least I have the kitchen fully unpacked and organized. And that is wonderful. I’m glad Monday is my son’s last day of school and we will no longer have to get up at 5:30am. Ever again. I particularly won’t miss the daily drives to and from our old place, to catch the school bus. Looking forward to staying put in Minneapolis with the occasional visit to our former city. It has been a little bittersweet though. Like when I turned in my paperwork to cancel my membership at Mississippi Market Co-op. I’d first become a member when I was pregnant with my son, fifteen years ago. Wild.

Five more bittersweet things:

Heliotrope is in full swing again, with X, celebrating ten years of championing interesting and exciting underground music. It is my favorite annual event. Three days of bliss. Sadly I got hit with a migraine for the first night and had to stay home to hunker down in a dark, quiet room. I made it to night two last night and here are my photos. Unfortunately I’m still on the brink with this stupid headache business. Hoping to rally for the third and final night but my poor skull may not be able to take it.

affectionate bandmates

Detatched From Reality

Minnesotans are funny creatures. The winter was ridiculously long and hard. I understand that as much as anyone. But now that the weather has turned all suddenly summer people are really coming ALIVE. Everything is happening, everywhere. Outdoor block parties at big venues, farmers’ markets, street fairs, all the music & movie series in parks. And fashion DON’Ts offending innocent eyeballs everywhere. I took a break from unpacking on Memorial Day to drive my sun out to ValleyFair. It was crowded with (mostly) pale Minnesotan flesh as far as the eye could see. I don’t consider myself prudish but somewhere along the way I became significantly more practical. I saw teenagers and adults alike wearing items that just don’t seem safe at an amusement park. Had to bite my tongue to keep from saying “you’re going to twist your ankle in those sandals! That dangling belly button jewelry is going to get caught on one of the rides! Those extreme short shorts allow far too much of your flesh to come in contact with the seats that others will be sweating on!” But I guess we’ll need to get desensitized to that, as we’ve got unlimited Gold passes for the 2014 season. And I took a long shower to decontaminate as soon as we got home.

Five interesting music-related things:

There’s light at the end of the tunnel finally. Tomorrow we turn over the keys for our old apartment. But it is down to the wire. I took the day off from work to further purge stuff from the old place and haul two car loads of it to the new one. My boyfriend has been too busy with work to help, which sucks, but he did hire a company to clean the danged place up for us. They are doing our dirty work there right now. I was embarrassed to leave them with our filthy fridge but that’s what they get paid for, I guess.

day 252, they're here!

There’s Always A Mountain

Well, the move could have gone more smoothly. But I guess it could have been worse. Somehow. We were ill-prepared and short-handed on Saturday (but oh so appreciative of the friends who did turn up to help - thank you thank you jeebus). We didn’t get our bed re-assembled until well after midnight. And we returned the truck late on Sunday not because we were sleeping in. Oh no, we got up bright and early so we could grab one more big load - mostly filthy garage and backyard items - with just the two of us. Then moved the cats, which went about as smoothly as one might imagine. Memorial Day we moved smaller loads of stuff with our two cars. But the bulk of our belongings have now been schlepped from Point A to Point B. We have until Saturday morning to grab the stragglers. Some clothes, some dishes, some toys, most of my artwork. Gulp. At least I will be in near proximity to the old place twice a day as I drive my son over to get on and off of his regular school bus. I can keep chipping away at it until there’s nothing left. Or whatever is left can get moved straight down to the dumpsters.

Five good things that are slightly old news (from last week) that I’ve been too busy to post:

This coming weekend I *should* focus on getting our new home in order but there’s just so much going on! Like a cover band show with friends’ bands doing Siouxsie & the Banshees and Dolly Parton. And I’ve been asked to photograph the Minnesota Arm Wrestling League for Ladies SUMMER SLAM. How could I say no to that? And a good friend is coming up from the South for just a few short days. But it’s for a job interview and if all goes well he will be returning more permanently, which would be swell. After things calm down a bit I predict we’ll have a pretty kickass summer ahead.

Georgia wants some food