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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

Box and Whisker

Are we there yet? My emotions are a sloppy mix of anticipation and impatience when it comes to our impending move. MAKE IT GO FASTER. Only we’re still not ready due to unplanned un-fun with my boyfriend’s projects at work. Last night we met at IKEA, late, to finally buy the wardrobes and shelves we were supposed to acquire weeks ago (so they’d already be assembled, pre-move). After an hour and a half of shuffling through the store I felt my life force draining with each step yet we ran out of time to actually purchase anything. We need to return tomorrow. But I have a theory, that every visit to IKEA depletes precious health points. And I haven’t located any healing magic in the store. At least I haven’t had a boss fight yet.

My top five aggregator list for today is a mixed bag. Equal parts fun and frustration! Just like my daily life.

  • The lineup for Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 in Austin, TX has been announced. And includes King Diamond! And Judas Priest. And Chelsea Wolfe. And Guided By Voices. And Gorilla Biscuits. And Dum Dum Girls. And Julianna Barwick. I totally want to go but don’t have an unlimited travel budget.
  • In the not so fun fun fun, net neutrality is still in jeopardy. We all know the Internet is vital to innovation, economic growth and free expression in America. Here’s a good write up about why having an internet “slow” lane is a terrible idea. Sign a petition to let the FCC know how you feel. Sign a petition to let the President know how you feel. I signed both.
  • Also discouraging, Executive Editor Jill Abramson’s dismissal from the New York Times. Woman at the Top of the Masthead: The media called her “brusque” and “polarizing.” But to young women at the New York Times, Jill Abramson was everything.
  • This is a list I can get behind. Eight Great Books About Comic Books
  • Even with all the chaos in our lives right now we’ve managed to keep up with Game of Thrones. And, even better, Gay of Thrones! Starring hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness, who is just fabulous. And Margaret Cho guest stars in this week’s recap!

    Best of all are the names he gives to each character, which are uncannily dead on, often offensive, and ridiculously funny. There is Jamie Lannister as “Brother D” (short for Brother Daddy), Shae as “Capital City Celine,” and Ygritte as “that beautiful ginger bitch from Downton Abbey.”

In the moving TOO FAST department, I just mailed in my son’s course registration forms for 9th grade. That’s HIGH SCHOOL, like, for real. Happening in September. As he ages and matures our unique challenges change. I had his summer all planned out but those plans have been upended. Thankfully we’ve got some wonderful grandparents and friends who have happily stepped up to ensure he’ll have an amazing summer and I can carry on without worrying. Too much.

The Fabulous Mads

Dwelling in Possibility

Often I cook for comfort. To keep myself physically and mentally occupied while stressed. Yesterday it was a crock pot full of vegetarian chili and a batch of black bean brownies (I also walked down to the grocery store and back). I probably need to get a little more Zen instead. Maybe meditate. Dip my toe into the flow of the universe as others are celebrating this Vesak Day (Buddha’s Birthday). But who am I kidding? My brain is all about the distractions and illusory conflicts of the material world. And I will always have more recipes to test out.

Five good things for Thursday:

  • Love this: Iranian women discard their hijabs for ’stealthy freedom’ Facebook page
  • The premiere has been announced for the My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Jesus and Mary Chain documentary Beautiful Noise. Watch the trailer here.
  • This fan made live action Akira trailer is something else. And features the adorable Osric Chau (the prophet Kevin Tran from Supernatural).
  • The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was bumpy at times but the finale was spectacular. Thank you Joss Whedon. I’ve also gotten into his little brother Zack’s show, Rubicon. Sad that AMC canceled it after just one season.
  • Some helpful suggestions. Particularly for those of us with flexible work schedules. How To Do Work: 8 strategies to follow when you need to get your shit together and actually accomplish something. Lately I’ve been working from home more than at the office but I manage to keep myself on task by planning out my days. I used to rely on 37 Signal’s BackPack (launched in 2005 “so people could keep life’s loose ends together in one place online”) list but it’s been retired. I switched over to Google Keep to keep track of my loose ends. Well, some of them at any rate

One of my favorite Minneapolis events every year - musical or otherwise - is Heliotrope. Last year the festival had to be put on hold and its absence left a hole in my heart. Happenings like this are inspiring and restorative. Thankfully it’s returning this year. And on a more convenient weekend (for me, personally - it was often held Memorial Day weekend but that’s when we’re moving this year). Heliotrope X will be held June 5th through June 7th and at a new venue - Intermedia Arts in Uptown. The line-up has been announced and it’s chock full of favorites. Really looking forward to this.

May Day Parade 2014

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

As a household we’ve hit a rough patch. Mostly unrelated factors at play, combining to make daily life much harder than it should be. Friday was the 25th anniversary of my brother Tom’s death. Instead of moping all day I focused on my happy memories of him. And celebrated his life by taking my son to the Chatterbox Pub to play the old school Nintendo games my brother enjoyed so much. That day I also picked up my new eyeglasses. Which had to be re-made after the initial prescription made me ill. And they still are not right. My son is in the midst of some teen angst (I’m taking him to a new therapist soon). Yesterday I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the phone with Delta attempting to procure his “unaccompanied minor” plane ticket to visit his grandparents. While my boyfriend put in 14 hours at work yesterday. And on his way home he received a speeding ticket. And we are nowhere near ready for our big move, which is less than two weeks away. It really has been death by a thousand cuts lately. We just have to get to the other side of the Fire Swamp and avoid the Pit of Despair.

Five random things for this gloomy Tuesday:

It hasn’t been all sad trombone style lately. We’ve had some fun times interspersed with the stress. Sunday was both Mother’s Day and my partner’s birthday. In the morning we tried out Corner Table’s new brunch offerings (tasty) in their new space, just a few blocks up Nicollet from the old one. Napped in the afternoon. Stopped by a South Minneapolis backyard to see The Dark Globe Memorial Big Band performing inside a geodesic dome. Then enjoyed a delicious dinner at a new Japanese restaurant called Kyatchi, that focuses on sustainable foods (right up my alley). We are looking forward to residing in our new SW Minneapolis home, so close to lots of friends, restaurants and natural wonders. Oh, and a Lakewinds Co-op is opening near our new place too.

setting up for The Dark Globe Memorial Big Band in the dome

Under the Volcano

I feel like I’ve been lucky, for the most part. Single parenting isn’t easy. Especially with a special needs child. But despite hitting puberty my teen is generally on the easygoing and happy-go-lucky end of the spectrum. Of course I will always worry about him. Worry about his vulnerability and how trusting he is. I am concerned about his inability to communicate nuance to me in complicated situations. Because life gets complicated. Right now something is bothering him and I’m not sure I’ll ever know what it is. That bothers me. And it’s even more complicated than that. Naturally.

Five temporary distractions:

The last two nights should have spent in the backyard, having a fire, but I was playing catch up on photo editing and big life stuff. And here comes the rain again. Now I have the Eurythmics song stuck in my head. And you probably do too, if you’re reading this. But it’s a damned fine earworm as far as earworms go.

Goblin, Performing Suspiria