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

Jul 22 2012

Summer Snaps – Part 1

Summer. It goes so fast that the only thing I can possibly do to catch it, is to try to be still when there’s time, motivate to do new things when there’s time, run from one thing to the next when there isn’t time, and take a few pictures along the way.  Last year, when I did a Summer Snaps post, I realized that our summer was indeed chocked full of moments, good moments – we were just careening through with nary a second to dwell. So here it is. A second of dwelling.

We kicked off summer with Devil Baby’s birthday. Sweet six.


Later in June we watched the Euro 2012 Championship on the rooftop at Brit’s Pub. España v. Italia, lots of heat, humidity, wild gesticulations and cheering. I’ll say this: it is good to spend time with soccer people. Never have I been more content to sweat under a patio umbrella with a Crispin Cider on ice. Saint James and Dash were in hog heaven.santiscarfloumiasecuredownload-1

The kids swimming with Foxy Brown at the hidden beach on Lake Harriet is pure joy to watch. The doodle can swim. Wish we knew more places to take her where we didn’t have to be so clandestine. Anyone?

foxyswimI love the Fourth of July because it involves swimming, barbecues, beer and fireworks. This year it fell smack dab in the middle of a brutal (by my standards) heat wave, but we managed to squeeze in all the elements anyway. Nothing like a steamy night with kids and friends, watching magic light up the sky.fireworksAfter too many days of slogging through air as thick and warm as cotton candy, the heat wave broke and this mama felt ready to conquer the world. Dash was on nights, so I took the kids for a hike at Dodge Nature Center, where we had the place to ourselves, save the quietly grazing barn animals. By some stroke of luck, everyone was happy to explore, take the more tangled looking paths and generally feel our way around the pretty grounds. We had never been there before and were lulled and welcomed by the humming insects, the whispering grasses and the cool dappled woods. Not every adventure works out, so when one does, I know to say a little prayer of thanks and put it in my pocket as a small triumph.


deerAfter the nature center we were famished, so we stopped at Mandarin Kitchen for dim sum – another first with all the kids. We sat down and were immediately enswirled in the cacophony of the restaurant. The flurry of cart drive-bys was so quick and confusing, that we just kept saying yes, yes, yes to anything that looked good, and within minutes our table was covered in mysterious delicious crispy things. A moment of stunned silence was followed by a fit of giggles as we surveyed the feast ahead of us. The kids were so game to try it all, it made me happy. We are definitely going back with Doctor Dash.


Jun 20 2012

Better Late than Never: Happy Fathers Day

dashandsantiDoctor Dash doesn’t ask for much. Especially when it comes to this blog. To him, this is my deal. I know he reads it and likes it, as only the patriarch of this little family would. I know he couldn’t care less when I neglect it. But once, just once, he said – I wish you had done a post about our L.A. trip. Boy, so do I.

peace montiIf this thing I do here, this writing for nothing, this writing to no one, has ANY point at all, it’s as a spot to stash our memories and family minutiae. If some of you like to visit and if you happen to find something that makes you laugh or look at your day a little differently or feel anything at all, then wow, that’s huge for me and definitely a cool and worthy byproduct. But even after all these years, I still don’t (or can’t) believe that to be true, and so when I write at all, I write for me, for us.

So here it is. A slightly belated Fathers Day post. Because even if I’ve said everything I have to say about Fathers Day, this Fathers Day was its own new day and worth noting and loving. Just like Dash. And Dash doesn’t ask for much.

shadowsOn Sunday we drove to a suburb with a carload of kids, ours and other people’s, for a soccer tournament. For me, there is no better sound than a bunch of boys singing along to the radio. I play along, I turn it up, I sneak glances in the rear view mirror and shimmy in my seat because this top 40 music grows on you like a FUNGUS. Doctor Dash has more high-brow musical tastes than I do, but he’s not immune to the fungus.

If you had told me ten years ago that he’d be helming the wheel of a dirty beat-up minivan, pumpin’ Nicki Minaj with a bunch of crooning soccer boys and two little girls giggling and turning around in their seats, I would have laughed. And yet, he has stepped into this role rather elegantly and with a lot of humor – it fits him like a glove. The game turned out to be a heartbreaker. And it rained, hard, for the hour that we huddled on the sidelines clutching a 2:1 lead to our chests only to have it yanked into a tie in the last second. Oh. Sports.

louWhen we got home, everyone scattered to their own corner of the house to wait out the rain and chill. Late afternoon the sun came out and we dusted ourselves off and decided to take Foxy Brown for a walk. We meandered around the lake, stopping to watch a family of wood ducks, eventually ending up at the Rose Garden and Peace Garden. We hadn’t planned on it, but I would need more than one hand to count the Mothers Days and Fathers Days we’ve spent there.

pinkSometimes no plans are the best plans and by some stroke of grace, the mood throughout every member of this moody little family was relaxed, goofy and very much about being together. Simple, easy, lovely.


Happy Fathers Day to Doctor Dash, my dad and my father-in-law, my brother, Golden, and all the daddy-os I know who try every day to make their families feel safe and secure, and don’t get to bitch about it like the moms, and only get a proper thank you in a quiet park on a breezy Sunday evening.

May 11 2012

Foxy Brown Done Got Shorn

shornfoxAre we terrible dog parents? Let me rephrase that. We ARE terrible dog parents. Not only did we accidentally make Foxy obese for, like, two weeks, now our wild yeti looks like an exquisite rat. Poor little thing.

The beauty of a doodle, as everyone knows, is that they don’t shed. And without the shedding, there goes the motivation and (we thought) the necessity of brushing them. Every once in a while we would brush out the top of her head to give her an 80’s metal hair band coif in order to amuse ourselves, but serious brushing? Nah.

If she were a Muppet, she’d be Ralph the Dog’s uncouth country cousin – the one with the wild curls and the lopey run, who picks her teeth with a straw and snorts when she laughs. We like her rough around the edges – as far from those frou frou poodles as we can get her. And she obliged by growing thick, unruly, gorgeous curls that made her look three times her actual size and housed twigs, burrs, leaves and, on occasion, legos.

But it was time for a summer cut and her gentle trim turned into a full blown shearing because of the gnarled mats that had grown on her ears, behind her neck and on her bum. I knew it was bad because her stylist called to warn me that she needed to take her really short to get the mats out. She also warned me that Foxy was super sensitive and that I should try to act completely natural when I picked her up. Just pretend she looks the same as ever, she said.

I should win an Oscar for my performance because OHMYGOD!!!!! FOXY!!!!! What a shock. Turns out, she’s this tiny little dog with a tiny little head. Here we thought we had a BIG dog. She is so wee and so exposed. And I must say, this sheepish embarrassed Foxy who is slinking around as if she’s naked (because she is) touches my heart in ways the giant yeti Foxy had yet to do. Her tiny frame skittering under the coffee table as if to hide is enough to make me weep. She presses against my legs for warmth, to make sure I still love her, and I suspect, so that I won’t be able to get a good look at her.

I feel like we’re seeing the true inside Foxy – her dear, vulnerable little self – not because we wanted to and not because she wanted us to, but because she was shorn, because of the mats, because we didn’t brush her, because we’re terrible dog parents.

Apr 16 2012

Music Monday: Foxy on the Run

This week’s selection is dedicated to my girl Foxy Brown, who has learned to walk her muddy paws back and forth on a towel when I stand at the back door and say FEET!!!

DJ Jake Rudh busts this song out every now and again at Transmission and I always get a chuckle. My favorite part comes at 59 seconds. Oh, and also at the beginning when the announcers says “metamorphosis.” Such fun. YouTube Preview Image

Mar 15 2012

Happy Birthday Foxy Brown (and a little pie action)

foxyLast night at dinner Saint James gasped, slapped his forehead and blurted out: Shoot! I forgot I was going to run to Kowalskis to buy a pie! He was so chagrined that we pressed  him about why he was so hot for pie and it turns out it was National Pie Day. To tell the truth, I’m surprised this got past me on Twitter and then, I too was sorry there was no pie. I think I actually snapped my fingers and hissed DAMN!

But how’s this for a silver lining? First of all, my kid likes pie. There was a time in his life when he would wrinkle his nose at all that mushy mush fruit in the middle. Secondly, and more importantly, I have passed on the yen to celebrate even the most obscure and tenuous things. My increasingly moody, tween boy had hatched a plan to surprise his family with pie and for that I am grateful. And a little proud. Usually that’s my job, but it’s a job I’m more than happy to share.

Which is why tonight we are celebrating Foxy Brown’s first birthday and a belated National Pie Day with a beautiful apple pie. Shhh. Don’t tell!

And Happy Birthday to our beautiful furry girl. It’s hard to remember life before her – my shadow, my pal, my sweet, sweet pooch.

We ♥ Foxy!

POST SCRIPT!!! It’s the morning after, and Doctor Dash came home from work and informed me that, by the way, it was National Pi Day, not National Pie Day. Oh, did we have a laugh. No WONDER I didn’t know about it! And no WONDER Saint James was rattling off enough of the trailing pi numbers (or whatever they’re called) to make your head spin. I thought that was the tangent. I guess I had my eye on the pie.

Aug 31 2011

And then there were none.

montikOh wait! That’s not true. Thank god for Foxy Brown. My Devil Baby went to kindergarten today and as you can see, sister was ready. She was more than ready. It was hard to boohoo this because she was just so very excited. Plus I happen to think kindergarten is pure magic, so what’s not to like about your baby finally being able to put on a cute jumper and her new kicks and walk through the front door of school, ready to play and learn and make new friends? The world cracks open like a juicy melon for kindergartners.

And I really was believing my own hype. My lady buddies, Crackerjack and Nanook, reached out to see what I needed/wanted on my first day as a mother of all grade-school children a.k.a. a freebird. My response: hip hop and lunchy, please. In my email I also said that I was so excited for Devil Baby, I wasn’t going to be feeling like a freak-a-deak. Well.

I set aside extra time to help Devil Baby get dressed and braided her hair. We took tons of pictures and did a quick stop by Red Vogue’s house so she could see her all dressed up. By the time we got to school, Devil Baby was ready to fly. We took one last picture with her teacher (who I requested because she’s wonderful, totally old-school, loved and ‘got’ Supergirl and is just the kind of tough but loving lady who should be escorting children into their school lives) and as I hugged Devil Baby one last time, I could feel her little body straining to get away. You see, there was this whole bright sunny classroom! FULL of kids! FULL of intriguing objects and toys! She really had to go.

So I put on my sunglasses and walked out the door, turning around for one last look. I was fine. I forwent the back to school coffee because I was dressed for hip hop and I didn’t feel like meeting any bright and shiny young mothers with toddlers hanging around their hips. Done.

I got in my car and I drove away. I was fine.


And then at the corner of Upton and 50th, it hit me like a wave. Slowly, slowly, the feeling washed over me.

All of my little people, my children – in school. Me – alone.

The wave. It pressed on my chest, so heavy, I gasped. And the next exhalation, a wail. And I cried all the way home. The silly tears of the woman with the shortest memory in history. Was I not JUST bitching about how ready I was for my children to be in school? Weren’t they JUST driving me bananas, like two days ago?

Waiting for me at the back gate was the wriggly, panting Foxy Brown. Wagging with her whole body, squirming so hard to get closer, she kept sliding through my legs as I tried to walk. Thank god for Foxy Brown. Did I do this on purpose? Because this was a really well-timed pet, people. My savior and side-kick and I went for a brisk walk and then it was time for hip hop, which, as Crackerjack would say – makes me happy in my heart. And then lunch with my girls, a little wine and a lot of laughs and a couple hours later I’m feeling almost normal. Better than normal.


Jul 29 2011


buck_poster2On Wednesday night Doctor Dash and I got a sitter and went on a bike date. We rarely go to movies anymore, especially in the summer, but I had a bee in my bonnet about seeing Buck and so we did. I love documentaries and I love horses, so it was kind of a no brainer for me, but you don’t have to be a horse person to love this movie. Buck Brannaman has a heartrending backstory (which I won’t share here because you’re going to go see this movie) but manages to turn himself into a good man with an uncanny ability to see into the hearts of others. His easy, even, deft touch with horses becomes a metaphor for how we should deal with not only animals, but spouses, children, strangers. Buck comes from a place of kindness and non-judgement and that is the key: to teach, to heal, to love – you have to have an open heart. The movie is beautifully filmed and edited – just a joy to watch. And it ends with this Pearl Jam song that never fails to chills up my spine: Just Breathe.

YouTube Preview Image

Jul 17 2011

Night gift.

Tonight. It is hot and I am irritable. I tell Saint James to take Foxy for a walk and he replies that he isn’t wearing shorts. I grab the leash. I’ll do it myself. Barely to the corner, I hear a small cry. Mom! I turn and my son is running towards me in the giant t-shirt he wears as a night shirt, shorts hastily pulled on, feet bare. He grabs my arm and leans against me. His wet hair feels cool on my shoulder. It’s an awkward way to walk, but it’s so humid, we aren’t going anywhere fast. We decide to walk to the lake and back. He spots a couple of owls in a tree.

Bard owls.

Barn owls?

Bard owls.

Barn owls?

No. Bard owls.

Sometimes I really can’t hear my son. Especially when he’s speaking in his hushed nature voice. We stop and watch. Owls are cool – large, mysterious, knowing, and, as of last night, my new favorite bird. They blink down at us, seeming to understand why a woman and her boy would have stopped in the near dark to stare up at them. We stay and watch way longer than most people would. Minutes go by. One owl flaps to another branch.

A short exhalation, sounding like oh! and Saint James thrusts the leash at my chest. He runs under the tree his hands extending toward the inky branches. Owl feather, he breathes. And I see it. Floating down through the thick air. I watch from the sidewalk. It seems to take forever – a small object settling to the bottom of the sea. Until finally, Saint James captures it in his palm. A gift.

He turns and looks at me. A giant smile. A gift.

Jul 8 2011

Summer snaps

If nothing else, this blog is testament to the contradictions and vagaries of my life. It’s amusing to me that a mere couple weeks ago, I was fretting about how it just didn’t feel like summer. Now I have my head so far up summer’s ass, I can’t even see straight. Or maybe my head is up my kids’ asses, or my minivan’s ass. Or maybe Edina Country Club’s ass. Or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-touch Sunblock’s ass. Whichever ass it is, and pardon the vulgar metaphor, I was under the impression that this summer was streaking by and I was helplessly watching from the sidelines. Same blur as a couple weeks ago, different reasons.

And then I located the little cord that allows me to upload pictures from my camera to my computer and as I scrolled through I was surprised to see not just a blur, but actual moments. Many moments. Lovely stoppages in time where I was actually paying attention, at least long enough to stop and take a picture. So maybe my issue is not so much that I’m missing this breakneck season, but rather that I’m forgetting it the second it passes me by.

So some snaps, as proof to myself that we are enjoying our summer and that sometimes I do manage to take a break from turning my kids into super-athletes and simply . . .  live.

Summer started out, as it has the past three years, with Supergirl’s summer streaks at Hair Police. This year she went for fiery red and electric blue. I love this pic of little sis watching big. streaksStumbled-upon forts are pure enchantment – they can be there one day and gone the next. I love the juxtaposition of human tampering in a natural setting, but to the sweetest end. Our Minnehaha Creek sprouts forts like mushrooms.

montifortIn early June we went to the end-of-the-year student art show at Off the Wall Studio. It was amazing and I could include TWENTY pictures of all the cool things I saw. There is no doubt that there are some talented kids at this place, but what I like best of all is that it feels like a clubhouse. The kids get to be creative and free and it just seems to create a tangible sense of place. This has been a great joy for my Supergirl and something tells me she’ll be going to this club for a very long time.Lou's art showAfter the Pride Parade, Saint James and G-Dog relaxed in our furniture-less living room. For whatever reason, Saint James had changed into his pj’s on the bottom but left everything intact on top – from the superfly pink shades to the stickers on his t-shirt. I have learned not to ask questions.santigriffI went to Michigan with the girls for my sweet little God Baby’s baptism in late June. Daughter of my brother Golden and his wife Delicious Apple, Manzanita is seriously the cutest little butterball on earth. I love the freaky stuffed dog in the background – it actually has puppies that come out of a pocket on the belly and suckle. All of my kids have tried to bring it back from Michigan at different points, but I prefer it living there, sneaking into pictures.
emoFoxy Brown taking a snooze on the chaise in the backyard. She is getting enviable natural summer sun highlights around her snout. Sweet pooch. snoozefoxLast weekend we were invited to a true blue Mexican Quinceanera party and I was still reeling two days later with all that we got to see and experience. It is absolutely touching and incredible how a girl’s 15th birthday is celebrated in Mexican culture. An unforgettable night for all of us.santimariachis

Man, it feels good to be part of a team.louswim

I took this picture in a quiet moment when Devil Baby was sitting on top of the picnic table eating cereal. I love the fish tatoo and the sassy side pony – her new go-to hairstyle.monticereal

Jun 1 2011

Foxy time.

dogSo, we’ve been on the Foxy Brown channel pretty much 24/7 here in our house. Every morning, I jolt out of bed, remembering the poor girl hasn’t peed all night. I have to withstand a half hour or so of her wild puppy energy, nipping at my ankles, pouncing on my slippers, until Supergirl wakes up and feeds her and takes her outside again. She can barely fit a tennis ball in her mouth, which doesn’t matter because she doesn’t seem to have the instinct for fetching. She’s always looking to be in physical contact with us. When I’m cooking, she’ll lie on my feet and when I move she gets up and lies on my feet again. I find myself stretching and reaching so as not to disturb her sweet little slumber. She’s still little enough to carry around like a baby and man, will I ever rue the day she gets too big to pick up.

I find myself outside with her at times I never used to be outside. Six a.m. when everything is dewey and fresh, I see a whole other breed of people out and about: early morning joggers, ladies doing boot camps in the park, dog people who are not in their pajama bottoms spilling coffee as they walk (note to self: get it together, because people talk to people on the other leash-end of a cute puppy). At night, after dark, I walk with senses awakened. The dark trees whisper and rustle down at the creek, the scent of the cherry blossoms seems to form transparent pink clouds, the houses look inviting and lived in, with glowing windows that signal the winding down of another day.

Doctor Dash has set the DVR to record The Dog Whisperer and I see him channeling Cesar Millan’s white toothed, Jedi mind tricks. Yesterday he was purportedly weeding in the garden, but every time I looked out the window he was using his say-everything-with-a-firm-touch touch on Foxy to keep her from chewing the rebounder net.  It cracks me up and reminds me of when Saint James was a baby. We were off-kilter, unsure of ourselves, learning how to do everything. We laughed a lot – probably due to a combination of nerves, the joy of discovery and our own ineptitude. Maybe we’ve been getting a little too savvy, too blasé – like, we’ve got this parenting thing down, mo fos. Tantrums, sleeping, potty training, swimming, reading, manners, moods – BRING IT!

Foxy has got us scrambling again – running to see what she’s up to in the next room before she pees or chews on something. She’s got us potty training again – waiting for poos with baited breath and cheering those little turds like they’re solid gold. She’s got us preening again, like proud peacock parents, we take her around, we show her off, we smile when people gush. She’s got us guessing again – Is she still hungry? Are we giving her enough food? Why does she keep going back to see what’s in her bowl? What did the pediatrician, I mean, vet say, again? Is her nose too wet? Too dry? Is that a tick? Can she see with all that hair in her eyes? What if she goes blind like those fancy chickens?

Time has slowed down. Foxy has forced us to slow down. We pay attention to half hour increments now for potty training. We have to remember to bring things for her when we take her to a soccer game (bags, water, leash, chew toy). We hang around our house more, sitting on the floor in the kitchen or in the backyard watching her romp in the grass and wreak havoc in the garden. It’s hard to blame her for using the tulips as her own personal screen to bust through because, well, for a pup, that’s quite an entrance. And she is Foxy Brown, after all.

It’s nice to go back. It ’s fun to remember what it’s like to welcome a new little being into our lives, to see one another anew, each of us suddenly shifted to a somewhat different position, cast in a slightly new light.

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