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Pockets of Light

Work weeks can be especially tough after amazing weekends. But at least I’m getting paid. My heart goes out to all of our furloughed Federal employees who are continuing to work without pay, and unable to strike. Why Federal Workers Still Have to Show Up Even If They’re Not Being Paid:

The law prohibits public employees from striking, forcing them into what one union leader called “involuntary servitude” during the government shutdown.

It is all awful and shameful that our elected alleged leaders can’t manage the basics of government. But I need a mental break. So here we go with Five Things That Bring Me Joy:

This week one of our favorite colleagues from our Canadian office came to visit. After work we took her out for happy hour at Zen Box Izakaya, dessert at Izzy’s Ice Cream and comedy at Acme. Even in this weather we know how to show visitors a good time (which she is well accustomed to anyhow, as a Canadian).

Zen Box Izakaya with our visiting Canadian colleague
Izzy's ice cream with our visiting Canadian colleague
Acme Comedy Club with our visiting Canadian colleague

Red Five Standing By

The first weekend of 2019 has been pretty freaking fantastic. Friday we discovered a newish Mexican bakery walking distance from home. They make loads of delicious vegan options. Danger, Will Robinson! Friday night I baked a simple loaf of no knead bread and transformed it into French toast Saturday morning. Then spent all Saturday at the salon with my incredibly patient pal Zena. I wanted to stop seeing red, in my hair. It’s an arduous process. Or multiple processes as it were. She went about the hard work of transforming me into a silver fox. After a long day at the salon I needed a meal. Timing worked out to grab a bite and catch up with another chum at iPho. Lastly it was off to the marvelous Moon Palace for a perfect three band bill.

This morning my son requested muffins. Opted to try a new recipe and was pleasantly surprised. Vegan baked goods can be tricky but this batch turned out quite well. This afternoon three generations of Morrows went to see a movie, as we often do together, but today was special. Because the movie was accompanied by a live orchestra! Way back on May the 4th I bought the tickets to see Star Wars: A New Hope at Orchestra Hall. There’s nothing quite like a live orchestra. Gave me goosebumps. And my Dad and son enjoyed it just as much I did.

If every weekend could be like this one 2019 could shape up to be one of the best years ever. Realistically not all weekends will be this full of magic but I do have quite a lot to look forward to and be grateful for in the coming year.

Silver Fox style
Star Wars at Orchestra Hall
My Dad and my son / Star Wars at Orchestra Hall
My son with two Shadow Stormtroopers

Shelter In Place

It was a long, lovely and mostly relaxing holiday break. But today marked my first day back in the office since December 21st. Not gonna lie, it was a rough start. Ridiculously cold temps outside, I’ve been sleepy all day and I got to my desk to find my favorite mug had been sitting half full of coffee - with cream - in it for almost two weeks. Grossss.

Not a “Five Good Things” but more of a Five Items of Note:

Our annual Conspiracy of Strange Girls group art show is coming up, Saturday January 19th! Now I just need to execute the ideas I have in my head and have all my work ready in time. No pressure. And speaking of art, here’s a Complete Guide to 2019 Artist Grants & Opportunities.

New Year's Day 2019 with friends
NYD Rum Cake
Alina with prism light on her eyebrow
My buddies

Be Seeing You

Dazed and confused on this, the final day of 2018. It’s how I close out most years really. The state of the world at large is too much so I’m sticking to my personal life for this review.

The ups and downs of 2018

  • At the beginning of the year took Continuing Ed classes at the U of M, paying out of pocket and using vacation time. But it was worth it. These Agile Certificate classes reminded me how much I enjoy learning and academia.
  • Took Parker to Colorado for his Spring Break and stayed at a cute airbnb. We ate at loads of vegan restaurants in Denver and took a road trip to soak in hot springs in the mountains.
  • Participated in a few more Strange Girls art fair/sale type events. The events themselves are great, but I’ve come to the conclusion they are not for me. Too much work and stress for far too little reward. I barely broke even. But now I know. Never again.
  • Parker graduated from high school in June and I threw a fun party for him at Minnehaha Park.
  • In July we were forced to move unexpectedly (thanks to black mold and a shitty property management company) but we wound up renting from friends who live on the other side of the duplex and that has been lovely. We finally leveled up on landlords.
  • Parker started a transition program this school year, for young adults with autism, and it has been great.
  • In October I took an incredible solo trip to Ireland and Italy. Lonely at times but worth it.
  • Also lonely - took myself to see David Byrne, Janelle Monae and Alice Cooper. All were among the most expensive shows I’ve been to but equally amazing performances. Likewise with the live podcast tapings I’ve attended on my own this year.
  • Somehow lost both pairs of my prescription sunglasses. Gutted. Hoping at least one pair makes a miraculous reappearance in 2019.
  • I don’t do Black Friday shopping, in person, but online I scored an amazing airfare deal for my son and I to fly to Amsterdam, for his upcoming Spring Break, and I helped him renew his passport. His first adult one. He will now have bright blue hair in his passport photo for the next decade.
  • My Dad - who was adopted as an infant - sprung on me that he thinks he found his biological mother. Via a recent obituary. He’d like me to track down her surviving children. No pressure or anything.
  • MCTC’s Community Ed program offered me a part-time teaching position. I start in a few weeks.

Goals for 2019

  • Remind myself I don’t have to be exceptional. Being okay is okay.
  • Working to quit it already with the negative self-talk and self-deprecating remarks. Hannah Gadsby and her Nanette Netflix special have been an inspiration.
  • As an extroverted introvert I’d like to make more of an effort to spend time with other people. These days I have so many acquaintances but too few inner circle friends I see regularly.
  • Self-care. Continue my weekly therapy sessions. They’ve been helpful for establishing better boundaries. Still untangling feelings versus thoughts. Hoping to figure that shit out.
  • Help my son get and keep a part-time job. He’s becoming more and more independent and learning big life lessons but at his age he doesn’t want to learn them from me. If we can get him taking direction from and interacting with more neutral third party adults he’ll grow even more.

This Final Five Good Things is a mixed bag

Feeling cautiously optimistic about 2019. We have some very concrete things to look forward to. Tickets with my family unit (my son and my father) to see Star Wars: A New Hope with a live orchestra. The previously mentioned part-time teaching gig and the upcoming trip to Amsterdam. And all the unknowns that are bound to pop up along the way. We’ll take them as they come. Happy New Year!

My two favorite humans (my son and my Dad)
Cotton Candy

Because It’s in the Music

Last week there was more grim news for our local art scene, which prompted me to post/rant/decry/cry over at my photo blog The Soap Factory, Late-Stage Capitalism and a Sheriff’s Sale. Such a bummer. Not sure how that will all shake out but I am not super hopeful.

How about Five Good Music-related Things?

Friday there will be a Winter Solstice celebration at the American Swedish Institute, with glögg and live reindeer and more. I’d also like to get out to the Landscape Arboretum to see their Winter Lights.

Andrew Broder playing music

Progress Not Perfection

While raising my son I’ve tried to emphasize experiences over materialism. Thankfully he’s on board. And even before he was born I was a fan of Buy Nothing Day to to replace Black Friday. I feel a sense of relief when I see these ideas gaining traction. Like this:

The no-pressure holiday gift you won’t even have to wrap. Here’s a holiday gift idea: Take someone you love to an art museum.

Five More Good Things:

As much as I rail against consumerism, I’m not totally opposed to gifts and gift giving. Something appeals to me about a Secret Santa situation. This Friday at work I’ll participate in our annual Yankee Swap, which is always a fun time. And this year I’ve signed up for my first ever Reddit Gift Exchange. Reminds me of the good old days on a music message board that was active for over a decade. A good portion of our members were local so we could arrange for elaborate Secret Santa drop-offs. I often got the short end of the stick, having someone draw my name who never followed through. But I enjoyed the gifting part. The same thing could happen again with Reddit but the giftee I was matched with is someone I understand. We have so much in common that assembling their gift package has been easy peasy.

festive outfit

Place is Space Imbued With Meaning

Much of my life has been spent struggling with notions of place and home. And I’m still figuring it out. As a kid I knew something was off with my dysfunctional family. As a teenager I tried to create my own safe place which led to a lot of flailing and failing. At least they were life lessons I learned from. Everything shifted, yet again, with motherhood. I have been determined to extend a bubble of comfort and love around my son at all times. As he has gotten older I’ve attempted to balance that bubble with his need for independence, especially as someone who faces the unique challenges of autism. I’m proud he’s a decent, empathetic human. And a competent cook who does his own laundry, tackles other household chores and gets around via public transit. But he can’t/won’t learn everything from me. He’s at an age where some lessons are better delivered by neutral non-parental units. Just this week he went on a community field trip with his school program, to do comparison shopping at three area grocery stores. That ties into his consumer economics course next semester. I’m thrilled he has access to these resources (and wish they were available to more young people). It’s the holiday season which always makes me wistful. And our home is a cozy cheery nest, like it is every year, but it’s hard to say how many more years we’ll be living together like this as he is a young adult. Whatever happens I’ll continue to treasure our time together.

Five Good Things:

Another busy Saturday ahead of us but for now there’s a large cat draped over my shins, the Netflix fireplace on the TV, and our adorable Christmas tree nearby. If I take my glasses off and squint at it the lights have the best bokeh.


High Spiritual Pressure

Earlier in the Fall I told my son Netflix had made a live action movie adaptation of Bleach. He had never watched the original anime series (which is based on the manga) and declared he would check it out before watching the movie. He proceeded to watch every single episode. From all 26 seasons. The episodes are short but still, doing the math on that makes me hurt.

How about Five Good Things for this Wednesday?

This coming weekend we plan to take care of the kiddo’s passport renewal. A co-worker casually mentioned something about his hair color - concern about it needing to be a “natural” color for the passport photo - so I did a quick search. And turned up a page with a disturbing feature image. It’s weird out there, folks.

The weekend after next I’ll be selling photo magnets, cards, photo puzzles, framed and loose prints at the Strange Girls Winter’s Night Market. Saturday, December 15th from 4-9pm at Artspace Jackson Flats in NE Minneapolis. Come by and say hi!

Haircut time

Shortness of Breath

Resting over the long holiday break wasn’t enough. I was getting back into the swing of things last when I was knocked on my ass by illness. And it’s lingering. Energy and focus are in such short supply it’s taken me nearly a week to write this brief post. But I’m trying to keep my chin up. So let’s have Five Good Things:

  • My son’s state ID finally arrived in the mail so we can renew his passport for our upcoming trip. First I’m taking him for a haircut and a beard trim before snapping his passport photo. That’s an image he’s going to have to live with for a full decade. And in it he will have blue hair. I wasn’t sure what we should select for hair color on the passport form so I went with other.
  • Mesmerizing art from the other Nick Cave.
  • Well this is a heck of a thing: Pearl Jam announces $10.8 million to combat homelessness.
  • Not quite a good thing, but I’m relieved I’m not the only one irritated by this trend: “How Restaurants Got So Loud: Fashionable minimalism replaced plush opulence. That’s a recipe for commotion.”
  • Better restaurant sonic emissions: “Annoyed by Restaurant Playlists, a Master Musician Made His Own -
    How Ryuichi Sakamoto assembled the soundtrack for Kajitsu, in Murray Hill, and what it says about the sounds we hear (or should) while we eat.”

Bonus, to be filed under shrug: Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Is Coming To Netflix. That could go horribly wrong, Ghost in the Shell style. And yesterday I learned about juniper lattes and snickerdoodle flavored hummus. These things are making me feel some type of way. Also yesterday we had our first substantial snowstorm of the season. Before it hit I got us out of the house in the morning for donuts, and to pick out a tree. Glam Doll was a ghost town and we were the only tree shoppers at the lot. Back home we moved the BBQ grill and a few other outdoor items into the garage. Sadly a couple of ceramic planters were already frozen to the ground. Oops. But our tree is up and trimmed, the boy agreed to watch a movie with me, I baked some delicious bread and I’ve been reading the latest in the Invisible Library series. A decent weekend, despite the constant need for cold meds.

frozen edges

Colliding With the Holidaze

This long holiday weekend was good for my well-being. Having very few family members? Well, that makes the holidays more and also less complicated. Lonely, sure. But right now? It’s Sunday night and I see posts from friends who are very slowly making their way home from out of state family gatherings. While I’m relaxing at home, waiting for Doctor Who to start. I’ve mostly stuck around the house. Got more sleep than usual. Did some reading. Starting doing 100 squats a day. Loads of cooking and creating. Lots of thinking. More podcast listening. Happened upon this older episode of The Moth, with a story from Flash Rosenberg about her father reminded me of my own.

He taught me somehow to be aware of how to look in unusual places to find out what I know.

My introverted father has a rich inner life. For years he’s been documenting his vivid and sometimes lucid dreams for me, which I appreciate. Reading them in his teeny tiny handwriting makes me feel more connected to him. I started transcribing them a while back but need to get on top of that.

Five more good things:

Bright and early Saturday morning we did what everyone enjoys most. Hung out at the DMV! Apparently there’s a huge backlog for renewals of state ID for the under 21 crowd. My kiddo went in for a simple address change September 1st. But they’ve only worked their way through August 13th. So I ponied up $20 to “fast track” his ID, so that we can renew his passport for our upcoming trip.

Dad's Dreams