Nov 23 2013

From the mouths of ragamuffins . . .

mgasLast night Devil Baby had a choir concert that required “church attire.” In this house that means whatever frock and leggings combo emerges from a frantic search through the closet twenty minutes before we need to leave. Rarely, aside from a family wedding, is a dress actually bought for a specific occasion. To do so would not only be outrageously organized and completely out of character, it would be an utter waste of money. My girls don’t do dresses unless they are under duress, so why wouldn’t I simply play my cards that a hasty search through the various hand-me-downs might yield something passable. And then, when they look perfectly cute on stage, I pat myself on the back just a little bit for having pulled it off.

So if this is the state of the dress, you can imagine the state of the shoe. Good thing I actually like the tomboy style of a dress paired with sneaks because we have a lot of that going on over here.

When we picked up Devil Baby’s friend to be dropped off at the concert, she swanned out of her house in a party dress, a knee length white faux fur and sequin-encrusted ballerina flats that sparkled when she skipped down the cold steps. She was a vision. She looked like a million seven-year-old bucks and quite some contrast to my girl in her beat-up black Chuck Taylors.

I told her she looked like a movie star and she thanked me sweetly.

And without missing a beat, I hear Devil Baby deadpan from the back seat in a weirdo quasi-southern accent: Ah was gonna shine mah shoes, but ah ran outta time.

Fuck, that girl is funny.

Sep 19 2012


YouTube Preview ImageI’m a sucker for a good documentary and this one looks great. Musings, meditations and analysis of the most basic thing we all want: happiness.

The question of what makes you happy is a good one to ask and answer for yourself. The question itself kind of makes me happy because it’s a reminder that yes, we have some control over this. And frankly, half the battle is simply reminding yourself to look and then knowing where to look. It’s all around us – begging to be noticed so it can work its magic on our souls.

It’s the Jewish New Year and it’s also the new school year, so in celebration of new beginnings, here are some of mine in no particular order:

1. Loud music

2. Dancing

3. Feeding my family

4. Watching my dog romp with another dog

5. Soccer goals

6. My book club

7. A great pair of boots or jeans

8. Knowing that my siblings are finding their loves

9. When cousins get to hang out

10. Doctor Dash making pizza in a frilly apron

11. Two for one bloody marys and the ladies that go with them

12. The change of seasons

13. Children singing

14. Yoga

15. Tiny dancing

16. Cool graffiti/street art

17. Salty cured meats

18. When Saint James roams for hours on his bike with his buddies . .  and then comes home, winded and happy.

video via Cup of Jo

Feb 22 2012



Second day in a row she’s wearing these to school. Does this qualify as a thing yet? Maybe after three days.

She’s been asking for glasses forever. Mama’s been ignoring the request for exactly that long. So Devil Baby took matters into her own hands and converted a pair of 3-D glasses from the movie we saw on Saturday.

Nicely done, DB. They suit you.

Feb 16 2012

Poor Peevish

MontiPoor, poor peevish, I feel like I’ve been neglecting you in favor of writing about soup and more insultingly, your sexier, flashier cousin Spectacular Bitch.

It’s going to take me a little while to figure out this writing gig. Traditionally, I have not been a big computer person. I never got sucked into the hours of surfing the web that gripped so many of us in the early nineties and never let go. At work, I’d call my mom or a friend or page through a fashion magazine if I needed a break. I never turned on the computer at night unless I needed to check the movie times. I was blissfully free and I didn’t even know it.

How times have changed. I’m juggling just a few different writing projects, but I find myself on-line, or at least on-laptop for WAY more time than I’m used to. And it doesn’t feel good in my body. I feel cloudy, groggy and all around nasty. I don’t like sitting still. I don’t like staring at a screen. I don’t like feeling gross.

I suppose I should have thought about this before I started writing. But here’s the thing. I love to write. I love this little community of readers. And peevish mama is very, very special to me.

With your patient and willing ear, you helped me create a habit of writing things down. This is a place where I can stash my thoughts and the shiny pebbles that I happened to find scattered around in my real or virtual life. It’s a place where I can work through the highs and lows of parenting a young family and of being this very strange age that looks like adulthood but feels like adolescence.

I’ve hit rough patches and lean patches and cuckoo-in-my head patches with peevish mama before, and I was able to write myself through. Maybe I can do it one more time.

So hang with me while I figure myself out. Yet again.

Feb 12 2012

Psssst . . .

coachellaspectacularbitchesCat’s out of the bag!

Dec 14 2011

What is the impulse

that causes people to see a mitten lying on the ground and pick it up and hook it on a branch? It’s such a small and hopeful gesture. Up here it won’t get trammeled and sullied. Up here it might be seen. Up here it might find its rightful owner. Whatever the impulse (and this impulse is alive and well around our muddy little city), it makes me feel a little happy, a little sad – sappy. Yes. That’s exactly it. I love that people do this, I really do, and yet the image of a baby bootie swaying in the chilly air pinches my heart a little too.Plate-3-Cat-034_Caps-original-collage

Aug 11 2011

Art Camp


Thanks to art camp this week, I won’t be able to pick Devil Baby out of a crowd at the State Fair. Wow. Is that ever a look. Girlfriend is feeling it, though. Sheesh.

May 19 2011

Girls Run the World

If you happened to have watched American Idol last night, you would have seen the premier of Beyonce’s newest video. Possibly, probably, you were completely entranced. Like me. I love Beyonce – she can kind of do no wrong in my book. This song sounds very M.I.A.esque and definitely gets you wanting to put on your fringe sandals and stomp your feet in the sand. And I covet the gold chainmail dress. Oh, and the cropped black fur vest. And the jewelry. I may need a tip-o-the-finger ring soon.

The video follows in the fine tradition of “rumble” songs – like Beat It, West Side Story and Love is a Battle Field. Seriously, wait for the part when Pat Benatar takes on the pimp and shakes her skinny bosom at him like an aggressive hen. It’s awesome. I love nothing more than a choreographed dance/fight scene. I think they are hilarious and a fine alternative to taking up arms, wouldn’t you say?

This has the makings of a girl anthem. Yes, das wat I said.

I’ve decided I’m going to pull up to Supergirl’s next soccer game against one of the giant blond suburban teams and blare this song out the back of the minivan (I may also plug a fan into my cigarette lighter to get the wildly blowing hair effect and lead the girls in a pre-game war dance). I was telling my family all of this this morning while I tried out some of the moves in the kitchen and Saint James just put his head in his hands and croaked MOM, how many times have you watched this?

Only once or twice. I swear.

YouTube Preview Image

Apr 23 2011

Crazy Hair Day

santiI never particularly thought I’d say this, but damn! my boy looks handsome in a mohawk! He reminds me of a British soccer hooligan, and I guess I have a thing for British soccer hooligans. Actually, any hooligans will do. We sprayed it hot pink and off to school he went for crazy hair day looking pretty rad, if you ask me. If my family tuned into this blog on a regular basis, you might hear eeking and gasping all the way from Florida right about now. My sister is getting married on Saturday and no, da hawk will not be in attendance. Saint James will be wearing searsucker and a hot pink bowtie (per his request), because he’s a bit of a dandy this one. Go figure. As unassuming as he is, he sure doesn’t mind being looked at. So we’re off to the airport now, freshly spiked and pinked, ready to freak out the grandmothers, get a little sun, meet our new bebe girl niece, kick it up with our families and hijack the DJ next Saturday night for some fresh dancin’. I’m one happy mama right about now. Catch you all on the flip side!

Feb 12 2011

Photos of the Moment

11potm-ruffian-custom2Photo by Samantha Casolari NYTimes

Not that it’s in any way relevant to my life, but I always get a little excited when I know New York Fashion Week is happening. To know that all that fabulousness is percolating in one place, that people are stressing over fashion, that wearable art is being paraded down runways, well, it’s exciting to me. These NY Times Photos of the Moment are a cool way to dip your toe into the fray. The photography is as compelling as the clothes, if not more so. Check them out if you’re in the mood for a little cool, a little beauty, a little fantasy. We can always dream, right?

Nov 19 2010

Shop Local in the 612: Baubles, Balls and Beauty

vintageThe holidays are fast approaching, and like it or not, we’re going to be dropping some cash in an effort to buy that elusive perfect gift for the peeps in our lives. I’ve been meaning to revisit the 3/50 Project (remember? spend $50 bucks a month in 3 local stores) for AGES, and now is a perfect time to think about supporting our local businesses. Chances are, if we step into that little antique store or flower shop around the corner, we’re going to find something a lot more interesting than we ever would at Target. Instead of clogged parking, jostling carts and long lines, we’ll get to browse, chat, connect, possibly learn something new and feel our roots in this city spread out and down. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if we want small, independent, local businesses to thrive, we have to support them. They are the reason we love our neighborhoods the way we do, so shop up, my beauties!

This weekend is a good time to start! The 50th and Xerxes 8th Annual Holiday Shop and Stroll is being held this Saturday November 20 from 10-6 and Sunday November 21 from 12-5. Everything will be 20% off and trust me, from what I saw today, the stores are chocked full and dressed to the nines for the holidays. I highly recommend a look-see.dress

hatSpecifically, don’t miss The Vintage Studio. I’ve been meaning to send you all over there for quite a while. In fact, if you’ve seen me in my super sexy seventies silver chain belt, then I probably already have. If you drive up and down 50th a zillion times a day like I do, then you might have seen the sweet little shop tucked in the old Shop in the City space. It’s definitely worth popping in, even if vintage isn’t your thing. Owner, Karen Kinney-McMullan, has a beautifully edited and displayed collection of clothes, jewelry, barware, belts and other pretty baubles. You feel like you’ve stepped into Diane von Fustenberg’s boudoire circa 1968. Chic and sexy – it’s the perfect place to pick up a smart little clutch or a new choker for all those holiday parties. Her stuff is cool, affordable (it really, truly is) and most importantly, unique. Why order a bracelet from J. Crew (don’t get me wrong, their jewelry is super cute) when you can get the real thing right in your neighborhood? Who wouldn’t rather have a cocktail ring with a story? Plush supper clubs, smoky speakeasies, grand dinner parties, epic love affairs . . . If a brooch could talk.

The Vintage Studio is located at 3016 W. 50th Street, Minneapolis, MN

360Right across the street is an old fave of mine, Gallery 360. I have always been able to find unique and beautiful things in this store and it is an absolute treasure trove of gifts – anything from paintings to pot holders to ceramics to rockin’ leather cuffs. It’s almost impossible to describe the breadth and variety of beautiful handcrafted pieces, except to say it’s sort of magical. Owner, Merry Beck, has a knack for bringing together and celebrating largely local artists and artisans who create things that are sometimes quirky, sometimes edgy, always beautiful. I don’t think there is one person in my family who hasn’t gotten something from Gallery 360.

Gallery 360 is located at 3011 West 50th Street, Minneapolis, MN

planetsoccerJust like no one should be buying a clutch from a big box store, no one should be buying soccer cleats from one either. We’ve been going to Planet Soccer on Lyndale for a couple years now and every time we walk out of there, I’m so glad we chose to go north on Lyndale instead of south. Saint James likes a little flair on his feet and found a pair of lavender and orange cleats that are just the coolest. His indoor soccer shoes are a relatively conservative black, but they’ve got hot pink soles and laces. And if your mini soccer player wants a real Barcelona or AFA jersey, this is the place. Again, balls, cleats, jerseys, socks, shin guards – it’s all stuff we’d be buying anyway, so why not throw our dollars in the direction of this cool little store? Dick’s Sporting Goods doesn’t need me. Sports Mart doesn’t need me. But Planet Soccer? I think they kind of do. So why not?

Planet Soccer is located at 2716 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

image_cAnd if any of you are going through farmers market withdrawal like I am, get ye to Tangletown Gardens post haste. Aside from being a breath of fresh air and one of the prettiest of our neighborhood garden stores, they have a farm where they grow all sorts of heirloom veggies all summer long. Admittedly, I was so wrapped up in our various farmers markets this summer that I had sort of forgotten about this and their CSA, but last Sunday I stopped in to browse and walked out with four different kinds of potatoes and a dozen eggs. It just might be time for a bodacious frittata. And you know what else? I am hooked on fresh local eggs. Hooked, I tell you! I’ll never go back, not as long as I can help it. Who knew yolks could be orange? Gorgeous. Even as winter approaches, especially as winter approaches, Tangletown Gardens is a pretty little escape with the kids – follow it up with some custard or hot cocoa at Liberty next door and you’ve got your Saturday afternoon.

Tangletown Gardens is located at 5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

Sep 16 2010

Ama – proof positive we should never be bored.

1 Ama Bluff-gazingNot when there are things like this in the world to learn about. I never knew about Ama, or women of the sea. A 2000 year old tradition in coastal Japan, these beautiful hardy women would dive up to 25 meters with no equipment in search of seaweed, abalone, snails and other shellfish.

4.0 Ama Divers Sea GazingThey had to maintain a certain amount of body fat to survive the frigid waters and would huddle together around bonfires to warm up between dives, eat and gossip. It was treacherous work, but Ama could make more money in a short 20 day season than a man could in a whole year. Plus, they got to hang out with their lady friends all day long. Ama were a hot commodity and sought after for marriage. They continued to dive deep into old age.

Iwase Last AmaWhen goggles were invented at the turn of the century, Ama were early adopters, but mostly continued to dive only in shorts and cloths wrapped around their hair. There weren’t really any men around and diving in their skivvies afforded them more freedom and actually kept them warmer. Remember, they didn’t have lycra back then.

4 Sandy FrontsI’m struck by how strong and happy these women look. How free. Especially at a time when women the world over were still fighting to be heard (and are still). These gorgeous photos are the work of Iwase Yoshiyuki, who wrote of his beautiful subjects: “They carried the joys and sorrows of those living with the sea . . . I immersed myself in their world.”


Iwase084STUH. NING.

Sep 8 2010

Oh, sweet Devil Baby

I buy her a pair of gray skinny jeans, just like mine, just because. Because I’m missing her, yes, actually missing her, these first long days of school. Because of the two, this is the one who will be my shopping buddy, who will bring me my sizes, who will give me her honest opinion when she’s 10, 15, 22 and 40.

As I slip her new jeans up her suddenly, impossibly long legs, she puts her hands on her hips, her weight on one foot, the other toe pointing out, knocks her head to the side and and asks: Mama, are people who wear jeans, jeaniuses?

If only, DB. If only.

Feb 12 2010

Cruel world just keeps on spinning.

In the last twenty or so hours:

I find my thoughts hovering around my friend, Circus Lady, who is grieving for her dad. I made her soup. What else can I do?

I hear of Alexander McQueen’s death. A fashion designer I have only admired from afar, way out of my reach in every way, but he was only 40.

I spend the darkest hours of the night awake, reading by the light of my phone. The last time I checked the time it was nearly four o’clock a.m.

My youngest daughter pushes me to the brink, no, beyond the brink on the way to school. I yell and say things I regret. I am left feeling like a rung out dishrag, ashamed at myself for my rage and lack of self control.

My cleaning lady tells me she’s pregnant. She is one day older than me and is giddy and scared as any woman pushing forty would be at such unexpected news. It’s all right there, written on her face. I notice we are both standing with our hands clasped in front of our hearts. A gesture of joy? Surprise? Supplication?

I try and fail to find a red fez for Supergirl and I am disproportionately sad about it.

I am too tired for this day.

Jun 27 2009

More 3/50 Project – Buy local, local, local!

Since I became aware of the 350 Project, two local gems, which I have blogged about, have shuttered their storefronts. I am choosing to avoid the paranoid suspicion that I am a jinx, although I have proven myself to be a jinx in at least one boy girl matchmaking attempt gone terribly, terribly awry – but that is a story for another time.

Leuhmann, the tiny, quirky store at 50th and Bryant filled with antiques, shells, fossils, skulls, feathers, branches, vintage taxidermied creatures and all sorts of other intriguing natural curiosities has sadly closed.

Even more personally devastating to me, despite my blustery threats of becoming a vegetarian, is the loss of Galoony’s, home of Minneapolis’ most toothsome steak and cheese sub. I have been satisfying my cravings for these spicy, meaty babies at Galoony’s since 1995 when I first moved to Minneapolis and to my great joy, had most recently turned Supergirl on to the satisfying wonders of what she called “the meat sandwich.” I will never forget the moment I found out I would be losing my beloved steak and cheese spot – I was eating breakfast in the dining room when I read about it in the Southwest Pages and my shriek to the high heavens brought my family running from all corners of the house. Supergirl felt my pain and joined me in my sorry incantation: Nooooooo, noooooo, say it ain’t soooooo. ohhhhh. Galoooooony’s. ohhhhh nooooooo.

So the point of all this drama? This is for real, people. These are tough times and if we don’t make a deliberate effort to support our local businesses, they flounder and they fail. The last thing any of us wants, is to live in a land where big box national chains choke out the people who are creative enough, enterprising enough, brave enough, crazy enough to throw their hats into the ring of commerce and make a go of starting a small business.

Connectedness, conversation, depth of knowledge, passion, craftsmanship, authenticity, uniqueness, diversity – these are all things you find in your corner shop, whether it be a boutique, hardware store or butcher. Sad will be the day when the only person taking my cash is wearing a red shirt and asking if I want to save ten percent by opening a Target card. So with that, here are three more of mine. Please send me three of yours, even if, especially if, you live somewhere else. We all love a hot tip!

purplestrawberriesKingfield Farmers Market. I love all farmers markets, but I was particularly smitten by this one because it’s the one I most often forget about. Open on Sundays from nine to one thirty at 43rd and Nicollet Ave., it’s teeny tiny but it has one or two of everything your heart desires: almonds, tomato plants, fresh eggs, cheese, fancy jerky, homemade cookies, tacos, organic meats, fresh squeezed fruit juice, and a cornucopia of fresh organic local fruits and veggies. There are always musicians and artisans for the kids to ogle and all in all, it’s a quick and easy little jaunt whether you want to bang it out in under an hour or while away the morning, noshing on yummies and chit chatting with people. 

phpthumbphp2                                                       Photo by David J. Turner.

Ladyslipper Boutique. Do yourself a favor and slip into Ladyslipper at 4940 France Ave. S. in Edina. Owned by the Bluebird Boutique ladies (Sasha Martin and Allison Mowery) plus my super stylish pool friend Amanda Rose, it feels like you’ve slipped into the tip of a genie’s lamp, were said genie an accessories maven with an eye for pieces that bellydance between edgy and lady-like, chunky and dainty, modern and vintage. Guilted mirrors, chandeliers, zebra rugs, and plushy rose ottomans, it feels decadent and lovely, yet casual and lively. I was not surprised to find that I loved everything, and I mean everything in the store from the killer boots, to the tremendous bags to the one of a kind jewelry. (Doctor Dash: take note, lover!) These girls have managed to pull together an exquisitely edited collection of goodies at a range price points (some startlingly reasonable). I went in looking for a statement necklace for my brother’s wedding and after a bit of oohing and aahing, chatting, and fondling of merchandize, Amanda pointed out some necklaces made by a local sistah named Tracy Bennett under the name Scout (which I love). Each necklace is unique, made of vintage necklaces, bracelets and brooches, strung together in a way that I can only describe as quirky genius. The necklaces are asymnetrical, chunky, and modern, but derive a drapey, sweetness from the vintage pieces of which they’re made. The one I finally chose has two pretty brooches anchoring a riot of silver and gold chains and simply makes me happy. If you are a girlie girl with a bit of an attitude, duck into Ladyslipper and take a little browse. You’ll find your three wishes in a heartbeat!

Rice Paper. Tucked into leafy Linden Hills, this quiet little spot never fails to hit the spot. With a simple menu of fresh and lively Vietnamese/Thai fusion cuisine, it’s the perfect place for vegetarians or those who want major flavor, without having to roll themselves out the door. While the dishes are light and healthy, your taste buds will be shaking their booties from all the cilantro, lime, chili, and coconut love. The peanut sauce that comes with the spring rolls is to die for and they sell it to go, should you ever want to bathe in it, which, I can assure you, you will.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...