This mural, made by Supakitch and Koralie, is bananas. Absolutely stunning. Their hands are so sure. It is absolutely mind boggling how one would conceive of such a thing, let alone execute it. God, I wish I could do something, anything, with my hands.
Photo by Kathy Quirk-Syverstsen
My bubbly little Christmas angel, my wise and funny girl: HAPPY BIRTHDAY. It’s a funny thing to wish someone else a happy birthday, when really, that day, her birth day, has brought me nothing but happiness. In other words, to say Happy Birthday, is more than a wish . . . it’s a fact. Supergirl is nine now and as good of a friend as I could ever ask for. When I went to Lunch Lady Rocker Chick’s birthday party in Madison this fall, some of my friends overheard me talking on the phone with Supergirl from the hotel room. They couldn’t believe I was talking to my kid. Their surprise took me by surprise. She was telling me how the block party was a total bust, how no one showed up, how there was one lonely kid riding his bike back and forth, she laughed and I laughed and it was a moment I wouldn’t have noticed if someone else hadn’t pointed it out. I don’t know what it is about her, but she’s easy to talk to. She’s interested and interesting. And she doesn’t change a thing about herself, whether she’s talking to an adult, a kid, a baby, a dog. She’s just Supergirl, pure and unfiltered, and it has become one of those things I take for granted but that I love so much about her. She is just so . . . true.
Supergirl, of the quirky eye, the big heart and the ever doodling pen. You crack me up, you lift me up, you make the world I live in a much better place. Happy Birthday, sweetness. I. Love. You.
I love Christmas Eve. Growing up, that’s the day we would throw the house out of the window. That’s a Spanish idiom basically meaning, have a party, do it up, frolic and fest. Tirar la casa por la ventana. Sounds better in Spanish. Something about the anticipation makes eves a little more compelling than days, in my book. We hosted a brunch with some very old friends in the morning, which was such a lovely mellow start to the day. After putting away the last folding chair and coffee mug, the day just kind of unfolded in its own rhythm. Here in the little apple, it happens to be warm enough to sit on the front stoop with a beer. Late afternoon we took a walk to one of our favorite perches in the city. Someday I’ll tell you about how much I love a good perch. The watertower in Tangletown is a medium walk from our house and never fails to elicit sighs from on high. At this time of year you can see downtown through the trees, but it’s that heady feeling of elevation, of seeing a blanket of tree tops, that gets me every time. And those stoic, handsome soldiers, protecting our pure waters. We just love it. Happy eve, everyone!
Here we go. One of the busiest weeks of the year. Christmas concerts and school parties, wrapping and cooking, constantly running out for one last thing. Here’s to a little quiet in the midst of it all. I can’t think of anyone more appropriate for this Music Monday than Joni Mitchell, who sings like an angel. Not a Christmas song, per se. Not a happy song, per se. But a song that slows you down, wrings your heart and makes you want to hold your dearest loves close and tight.
Someday I will miss the dried crusty play-doh stuck in my garlic press. Someday I will miss the dried crusty play-doh stuck in my garlic press. Someday I will miss . . .
Oh, my. It has been a great while since I’ve felt this swept away by a film, by a book. Saint James, Supergirl and I had all read it prior to settling into our seats, so we were absolutely brimming with anticipation of what was to come. The book, a clever combination of drawings and writing, is fabulous. It has all the elements of a gripping story: a loss, a puzzle, a quest, a love. It is a perfect story, presented with tenderness and a generous allowance for sadness. The movie, by Martin Scorsese, not only does this book justice, I’d argue it tucks it onto a pair of wings and makes it soar. Twinkly 1930’s Paris, with these characters is exactly where you want to escape to this time of year for a couple hours, so do it. With kids or without, having read the book or not, this movie is magic. Go see it. Alors, vite!
My editor at Simple Good and Tasty asked all of the writers to submit what their fave local or homemade holiday gifts would be. It’s a good list. I sent my contribution on a day when I was feeling a little Zack Galifiniakis, which, is not a rarity for me, I’m afraid. In any event, if you’d like some ideas for some yummies and pretties you can pick up around town, go check it out.
I’ve got a thing for knives. I love and require a good, sharp knife in order to be happy in the kitchen. I often travel with a knife if I’m going to a rented cabin or home. Supergirl got mad at me once because she found a paring knife in her backpack – I had brought it along to cut an apple at a soccer game and forgot about it. Ya, I know. Not good. In addition to knives, I like things that are handmade, I like writers, I like people who talk about their art, I like the communities that spring up out of unlikely common interests, I like people who lead an examined life and all of that is wrapped up in this very cool short film about Brooklyn knife-maker, Joel Bukiewicz, of Cut Brooklyn. You need a few minutes to watch this, but it’s very inspiring and makes me feel hopeful.
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.
On Friday night there was a collision – the girl in me who wants to fly around in the dark and hear loud live music, feeling it in every cell in her body, ran up against the mother and wife that I am on the outside and in the present. Mostly, these two pieces of me can co-exist peacefully. Mostly, I find that one actually helps the other. After I get to see something that moves me, that opens my mind and my heart, I think I’m actually a better mother. The next morning, my kids come down to breakfast and I’m usually playing whatever it is I heard the night before, all bright and happy, savoring that shimmer left behind, and they ask questions and they listen to the music and I tell them everything. Perhaps I am rationalizing, but my kids’ take-away might be this: art is one of life’s priorities and live music lifts up everyone in the room, the performers and every last person in the audience. I swear, First Avenue is like OZ to them. When they finally get to go, it’s going to be epic. But, as I’ve said before, this town is so chocked full of good music that Dash and I have to turn a blind eye to many many things we would like to see. And even with that kind of triage, there can still come a night when you look at the ticket, sigh and decide that staying in is the right thing to do.
I fell for Doomtree a couple summers ago when they played at the Lake Harriet Bandshell during the Music and Movies Series. We went with our neighbors on a beautiful August night and while the girls stood in line for free t-shirts that were being silkscreened on the spot, our boys stood on the benches and watched, rapt. How cute are they?It was a joyous rapping free-for-all and our guys were drinking it up. (I bet that’s what spawned their careers as Lil’ Ziggy, G-Dog and TNT.)
Doomtree is a Minneapolis collective of seven musicians who each go out and do their own thing, while coming “home” to collaborate with the each other in all sorts of different combinations and constellations. It’s so cool. They’re so cool – super talented, hard working, smart, honest. Dessa, beautiful, bad-ass Dessa, is the only woman. And I didn’t go to see their Blow-Out on Friday night – my sad little ticket is sitting on my bureau. I’m a little bitter, of course, but I snuggled on the couch with my monkeys and watched TV. And that kind of night, as we know, possesses its own kind of magic. But I’m still bitter – Nanook calls it FOMO (fear of missing out). I’ve got IKIMO (I know I missed out). Watch this for a little idea of how they work. So good.
I really try not to air our dirty laundry on this blog, but I must ask: whattup with Doctor Dash setting the Christmas lights timer for midnight? Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful he put the lights on the bushes and I’m grateful that he set them on a timer so we don’t have to tramp out there to plug them in every night. But midnight? MIDNIGHT? What are we, eighty? Last week Mister Lady Crow Call pulled around in front to drop us off after the British Advertising Awards (which, oh, were just so good this year!) and our house was all dark and sullen and depressing and sheepish. What a missed opportunity for a bit of picturesque holiday cheer, for a bit of razzle dazzle. Is it too much to ask for a just a little bit of razzle dazzle at the end of the night? I mean, doesn’t he read this blog? Wasn’t I just talking about how much I love Christmas lights? Do we not owe it to our neighbors and all passersby to be festive? I noted my objection right then and there and every day thereafter until he finally caved and moved the timer to – get this: one o’clock! Hooo boy! We are living LARGE people. It’s like Neverland Ranch over here. I’m back to my pestering, because I, unlike he, have faith that my fellow Minneapolitans do not always retire before one a.m. I, unlike he, believe that you all deserve a little late night razzle dazzle. So I’m working on three a.m. If I had my druthers, it would be four, but we all make little compromises.
OK, so maybe I was being a titch dramatic. It’s like riding a bike, hey! Shreddy and I had a gorgeous day. I have officially taken winter by it’s cold little balls. ROOOAAAR!. Now begins the time when I begin to shadily blow off all housely, wifely, motherly duties and blame it on snowboarding.
You guys. I am TOTALLY freaking out. Later this morning I’m meeting Shreddy Betty at Buck Hill and I am DYYYING right now. My hands are shaking, my knees are quaking, I am completely petrified, and yet I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it. Will I remember how to board or break my neck on my first run? Oh, Sweet Baby Jesus. I knew I’d be like this after a whole springsummerfall off. Hell, I’d even get squirrely after not boarding for a couple days. Shit shit shit. Wish me luck. Poor Shreddy. Little does she know the state of affairs heading her way this morning. SHIT.SHIT.SHIT. There is a lightly falling snow. That can only be a good omen. Right? RIGHT?????
I love this band, although I don’t think you’d really call it a band. More of a French dude. And you all know I happen to have a thing for French dudes – French Canadian dudes, anyway. This song is Midnight City off the new album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. It’s the perfect music for tiny dancing, the season for which is fast approaching, so get ready. The night before Thanksgiving, I went to Transmission with my dancing girls and, in a brilliant move, DJ Jake busted this song out. Heaven. The top of my head popped off and out blew reams and reams of confetti. Really. Ask anyone. It blends seamlessly with 80’s new wave, which is probably why I like it so very much.