Archive for April, 2008

Minneapolis Trip

On Thursday, April 24, we made our first trip with both Squids, to Minneapolis. We didn’t leave the house until about 5, I kept second-guessing what I had packed. Fun how that works. If it were just me and S, we could wash our clothes if they got ucky, and deal with a smaller bag. But with the Squids, you never know who is going to get poopy or wet through their clothes, or throw up, or what have you. And this weather!! 70 degrees when we left. Snowed the second day we were there. Got warm. Now it is blizzarding here. What the hell.

On the drive over, it went from windy to spitting rain to full on sheets of rain where I could barely see to drive. On a side road, during the rain sheeting, we saw three emergency vehicles. It was so hard to see because of the rain, we’re not even sure what kind of emergency. It was craziness.

We followed the directions to get to the hotel that we got from the hotel website. They were wrong. When we finally figured out where the hotel was, we were irritated. And had to park in the far end of a ghettolicious parking lot with no streetlights where you got the feeling someone was going to jump out at you momentarily and demand something. I carried the luggage up to the room and S went up with the Squids while I parked in the eerie gloom of deepest darkest Roseville parking lot. I armed the alarm, just ’cause. I rarely do. Two minutes after I got to the hotel room after wondering if I’d be mugged on the way there or not, a car alarm went off. Looking out the window, I could see that it was approximately where our car was. At this point, I was pissed off. I grabbed my keys and stormed back to the car. I think I must have been insane but whatever. I got to our car, it was a car two away from us, which shut off shortly after I got there. I think someone hit the panic button, in their hotel room, and managed to shut it off from the same place. I am amazed the signal reached that far.

I managed to get back to the room without getting jumped and then E proceeded to fuss and yell until 4:30 am. Yep, we got pretty much no sleep. Add to this S’s horrible allergies making him cough and sneeze all night. K slept like a log though, good on her.

Cousin Karen and their adorable daughter Sam came to whisk us off to breakfast at The Good Earth in the morning, she tried to call, but the clip was broken off the phone cable and therefore our phone was not plugged in. It was possible to hold the cable in place manually to make a call. Nice. We had some delicious organicalicious breakfasty food and I thought I lost my purse but then realized I left it back at the hotel. Then we went to David and Karen’s to hang out. En route, Karen realized our headlight was out. Thus begins the Headlight Saga.

Karen and I went to Target to get a replacement bulb. Their auto products book only included the Subaru Outback back to 2004, ours is a 2003. But I went with the light it recommended anyway. Got a bunch of other stuff, including pseudoephedrine for my poor sneezy hubby. Got back to the parking lot at their apartment. I opened ‘er up and realized the headlight was wrong. Went back to Target with S and the Squids to exchange. Got what I thought was the correct bulb, S remembered that the placement of the headlights is nonintuitive and therefore I had pulled out the high beam instead of the low beam light. So that was correct, but the original was not burned out. Target didn’t have the proper light, when I pulled it out and went back in. Home Depot does not even carry Automotive parts (just a gajillion kinds of car wax and shammies, how useful of them). We went back to the Caribou Coffee place where I had gotten a cup when I was at Target with Karen, they gave me a free refill because I had been there just 20 minutes previously (awesome!) and gave me directions to an auto parts place. O’Reilly auto parts had the light I needed, and an employee with an incredible sense of humor and a way about him that immediately put me at ease, even though I was kinda stressed. Someone ahead of me checked out with something that cost $7.56, he said “That will be seven hundred fifty-six pennies, please!”. He found the part, gave some good advice, and I went into the parking lot and inserted the bulb and closed up the headlight assembly. Then we headed back to David and Karen’s.

Scott and the Squidlets hung out with David when he got home after work, and Karen and I went out to get dinner and groceries for breakfast the following morning. We went to Surdyk’s for beer and wine, Whole Foods for snacks and breakfast food, and Chipotle for dinner.

By the time we got back to the hotel, the parking lot was full (it was only 10:30PM.) and we had to park at a Mexican Restaurant across the street. When we got back in the room, I almost tripped in the hole in the floor covered with carpet (seriously), and the toilet clog, which had been fixed while we were out, reappeared after one use of the potty. (was not us who clogged it. Might have been a toupee in there). The sink clog was fixed but there was still no strainer in the sink, so I had to keep the Squids away so as to not lose them or a toothbrush down that deep dank hole. The couple in the room above us once again used the hotel stay as an excuse to have intimate relations, loudly, at about 1am. (this happened the night previously also). K decided this was a “monster” above her and was not too keen on sleep. E only stayed up til about 2:30AM.

In the morning, we got up early (8) and I started getting stuff together to schlep to the mexican restaurant parking lot so that we wouldn’t have so much to drag out when it was closer to check-out time. When I got outside, it was snowing! Hard. I couldn’t believe it. Blowing icy blasts and snowing. At the end of April. So not fair.

We got everything packed up, and I brought the car up to the loading area so S could get the Squids in there without freezing their little hineys off. While I was checking out at the front desk, another resident at the hotel came up and said her car had been hit in the parking lot. Her husband was disabled and they had to park waaaay back in the lot like we did the night before, and someone hit their car. And they were there for a nephew’s funeral and it just seemed like an awful lot of extra stuff she didn’t need to deal with. I gave her a hug before I left.

We had an amazing breakfast at David and Karen’s, cooked by Karen and with Coffee a la David. I got a call from my sister telling me that dad wasn’t feeling well, but as the weekend wore on he was doing better. I still worried about him though. Karen and S, the Squidlets, and I went off to Ikea after breakfast, with the plan to go to the Children’s Museum later in the afternoon. S, the Squidlets, and I went to the Children’s Museum and Karen, Sam, and David hung out at home for a bit. K enjoyed the Sesame Street exhibit and the Earthworks exhibit, as well as HabiTot. E enjoyed HabiTot immensely. Then we went back to David and Karen’s and got everything packed up to go to the Hotel Grand Rios in Brooklyn Park, MN.

It was like a Labyrinth, all that was lacking was David Bowie and Muppets. We brought some stuff and the kids up to the rooms, and I had S take the Squidlets along with D,K, and S to the indoor play area while I brought the rest of our stuff up and moved the car. S was still miserable with allergies, so I asked at the front desk if there was a pharmacy or something nearby. Target, three blocks away. Along with Chipotle! So I went to Target, got the stuff, had a chocolate mint mocha latte from Starbucks (yeah, I know. So sue me), and got Fajita Burritos from Chipotle for dinner. I got back to the hotel and packed pretty much everything else we needed out of the car into two big huge bags and packhorsed it up to the room. Except I turned the wrong way in the massive Labyrinth and wound up wandering the halls for 20+ minutes trying to find the room. Gah. Got my exercise. And almost had a coronary.

We hung out and chatted til it was late, and in the morning we tried the pool. Neither of the older kids was into it. So we all showered and checked out and picked up Chipotle for lunch (see a theme here?) After lunch and hanging out for a while at David and Karen’s, we went to brunch at Keys cafe in downtown Mpls with friends of mine from Ravelry, the awesome knitting/crocheting site I belong to. CrochetCompulsiv Dawn and her daughter, TeaJoyGreye Joy and her Will, and Bubbo Heather and her David were there with bells on. We had a fantastic brunch and I was really sad when it was time to go.

Then we drove home, with only a couple stops, and K wet through her diapers twice, which was not a lot of fun. It was a great trip, I wish S had felt better but it is what it is. I am glad we went.

[Points of interest to mention:]

parking lot at super 8

emmie up til 4:30am

headlight burnout

room phone not plugged in

Good Earth brunch with Karen


Mexican Restaurant parking lot

snowstorm Sat. AM

breakfast @ KPs

Ikea w/Karen

Children’s Museum

drive to Grand Rios

Mucinex/Chipotle/Starbucks run

Sunday morning chipotle @ KPs

Brunch at Keys Cafe MPLS

Drive home

K wet thru diaper 2x


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Happy Earth Day!

IMG_1426So the Squidlets and I celebrated Earth Day by going to the Birding Festival at the Boston School Forest. It was sort of a tricky caper, as S was in a meeting and I had to wrangle both slippery Squidlets as we went on a birding hike with local Birding expert Kent Hall. On the hike, we saw a blue jay, flicker, hairy woodpecker, pair of cowbirds (poo!), cardinals, robins, hermit thrush, and a few we weren’t quite able to identify due to shyness or distance. K also saw MANY piles of deer droppings, which fascinated and thrilled her to no end. I am so proud. K drew some scribbles on a piece of paper and E attempted to eat some crayons. Neither endeavor was particularly successful, but it was fun nonetheless. After munching on a couple of snacks, we went downstairs and K built two birdfeeders, one for Black Oil Sunflower seeds and one for suet! She used a hammer with great enthusiasm, and did quite well with it.

It was rainy and cold this morning, but by the time the event started at 4, it was a gorgeous, sunny day and the bark trails had dried out enough as not to be soggy, but weren’t so dry as to be dusty. It was perfect! I hurt in all the right ways, from exercise and fresh air and getting out with my girls.

We were one of the first 25 families to arrive (the first, actually. How often does THAT happen in my life?! Not too damn often. It helped that I knew it was going to be an extra big pain to wrangle the kids – like herding cats – and started getting them ready two hours ahead of IMG_1429time), so we received one of the awesome gift bags. It’s a great canvas tote with the Boston School Forest logo on it, an excellent book on Wisconsin birds by Stan Tekiela, an equally fantastic book called Teaching Kids to Love the Earth by Marina Lachecki, Joseph Pasineau, Ann Linnea, and Paul Treuer, a mini size compact fluorescent bulb which will fit one of our lamps PERFECTLY, a white pine sapling for Arbor Day, and various brochures and pamphlets on Earth Day appropriate subjects. I was pretty much floored by how cool the contents of the bag (and indeed the bag itself) were. I also bought T-shirts for myself and K, the reason I found out about this event inIMG_1437 the first place is because I saw one of the event organizers at Cafe Veranda (formerly Stonecrop Organics) wearing a BSF shirt and asked her about it, about a month ago. On the back, it said “May the Forest be With You”, and was a lovely loden green long sleeved shirt. I looked for one today, but they’re gone, along with the hooded sweatshirts, which seem to have all gone to volunteers and employees. I did get two shirts, they are a sort of tan color, and mine says “May the Forest be With You” on the back and K’s says “Grow UP!” on the back. Awesome awesome. I am excited to have gotten out there again, I IMG_1431snowshoed for the first time there in 5th grade and loved it, and attended many an environmentalist program there throughout my public education here. I think I might wind up volunteering there and also at CWES, another place I attended many environmentalist programs in my youth and beyond. (Oddly enough, I can’t seem to find a link for the Izaak Walton Conservation Camp I attended in Kettle Moraine, WI, for several wonderful years. That’s another cause I’d happily volunteer for. )

In all, a really lovely day. And as a bonus, we got Raspberry/Vanilla Dole Whip twists on the way home! Woohoo!


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A precautionary tale.

For the record, if you wash a pot which had spaghetti sauce in it in the dishwasher without pre-rinsing the tomatoey stuff off, it will dye the plastic insides of your dishwasher a pinky orange. Kind of like Tang.

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ArtsWalk 2008

IMG_1264 So the pieces of my art I installed for ArtsWalk 2008 were up and viewed by all the spectators, even though it was cold and spitting rain. We walked up and down Main Street looking at art and listening to wonderful music, including drummers and Sloppy Joe, who featured my friend Matthew Watkins, visiting from the UK. He will be playing his Saz in a recording session with local musicians and I look forward to hearing the result!

I enjoyed seeing folks I hadn’t seen in a while and checking out the art of my peers in the area. I also spent a while hanging out by my own stuff, talking to people who wandered by.


Mrs. Schoenecker and Mrs. Telfer came by together, Mrs. S was my 4th grade math teacher and I had her husband for Statistics in college, and Mrs. Telfer was my grade school librarian and one of the people who molded my love of books as a child. It was as if some of my heroes had come out to tell me I’d chosen the right path, and it felt lovely to be able to talk to them and reconnect. It was a long and narrow space, and I still don’t feel I used it to the best effect I could have, but I did manage to stick three items in. One comment which I heard more than once was that people found it hard to believe that the same artist sculpted the bronze AND the knitting, as though the organic soft sculpture did not belong in the same portfolio as the hard, heavy bronze. Me, I tend to disagree. But I am biased. Good thing I didn’t have the glass version of Angel up, that really would have unwrapped their tamales! Ha ha.IMG_1349

We saw Jen, Doug and Holden, who were actually shopping at the pet supplies store whose gracious owner allowed myself and the other artist (Deb Wolf, who was in the Art program at the university at the same time I was, waaaaaaay back before the Squidlets were even a glimmer) window space. S went inside with K and E to chat with Jen and Doug and let K chase after Holden. They graciously allowed K to help pick out doggie chews, and K and Holden pretended to play football with some of the dogball toys. There was a large, throw-covered chair near the checkout counter where Holden and K sat and held court for a little while, they were pretty darned adorable together.

IMG_1343 K and Holden are about 3.5 months apart, this is what kids at the opposite ends of the size spectrum look like together – bookends! She’s very gentle with him, though, which is good. It will be interesting to see if E follows the same size path as she grows. K definitely takes after her gentle giant of a dad.

I darted out from the car where S, K and E crashed at the end of the walk, and went to talk to Matthew for a little bit before heading home. As I walked back to the car, I saw Doctor Gifford, my CIS professor (who is also degreed in English) with whom I enjoyed talking about Lewis Carroll, the Pre-Raphaelites, and William Morris much more than anything computer related. I developed a bad habit of interjecting bits of odd poetry or Jabberwocky into the code I wrote for him, which at least had the side effect of making the programming more interesting.

In all, a wonderful evening, and a great experience to boost my ego a little and help me realize where I can go with Art in this community. I will be taking down the installation this afternoon, it was a short one, but enjoyable.

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She’s a Dancing Fool and I love her for it.


Originally uploaded by tazja_lovecraft

Definition: Fearless.


(The doggie is part St. Bernard and is named Dozer, appropriately enough.)

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Cats: An Owner’s Manual.

Totally ganked from Haldechick, who totally ganked it from Data Angel

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Someone out there likes me.

Don’t ask me to translate, but a friend in Iceland posted this on her blog:


Austan við sól og sunnan við mána

miðvikudagur, apríl 09, 2008


Þetta er taska – sú sem prjónaði hana heitir Elizabeth þið getið lesið um hana og tilurð töskunnar hér og hér er upphaflegi hönnuðurinn og fleiri töskur í svipuðum dúr.

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