Friday, July 30, 2010

And the answer is......Minneapolis

Well, that was a photo taken in Minneapolis near Loring Park.

Minneapolis is not known for its charm. Sorry. I wish it were so. It is not. Even the Walker, our premiere museum looks like an ice cube. You know what I mean? Minneapolis is not charming. The lakes are down home sweet. The people are awesome. Lucia's restaurant is as good as any at which I"ve ever eaten. Like, anywhere that I have been. But, "charming" is not a word one associates with Minneapolis - like those sweet little European places or even Charleston, SC or the "old" New Orleans.

So, I was so happy to find this scene near Loring Park last week when I was on my way to Citilights (my premiere lighting vendor!) Apparently, the businesses along this old alley got together and coughed up the cash to pave the alley in old brick. Good job! Of course, at one time, it WAS this old brick. But, that's where Minneapolis got it wrong. We destroyed most of whatever tethered us to a past. And now there is a lot of glassy architecture, which is anything but charming.

All I have to say is, I breathed deeply when I saw this. A sign. A sure sign.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happiness

What is happiness?

I have been asking this question since I left New York a month ago. Lee and I "came home" for the summer to Minneapolis. We are here together with the occasional older child moving into and out of the apartment. I was very sad to think about leaving New York (see blog post on June 7.) Part of that was the uncertainty that we would be back.
We still don't know.

We are getting very, very good at "not knowing."

But, what has been so lovely is this: I feel happy. I feel that I can be both happy and have it be true that I miss New York City and everything that means to me - the chaos, the subways, the markets, the art, the park, the people, our friends. I can still be happy here.

First, it is heaven to be living full time with Lee again. It has been a stretch. I guess last summer we lived together, but we had a full house. Now, we seem to have this wonderfully quiet time = every morning over cappuccino, on our almost daily walk around Lake Harriet, across the room during the day while he is reading about Heremeneutics for his dissertation and I am puzzling furniture together on a floor plan for someone.

It makes me happy to see him so engaged, not battered by the tempestuous seas at the Rudolf Steiner School. And I am happy to be with my clients and colleagues again. Dinner at Lucia's at least one night a week is a happy-making thing. (www.lucias.com - as good a food as any I had in New York.)

Then there are our friends: Mark and Caroline, Joe and Carrie, Bruce and Peggy, Lucy, Brenda, Mary, Chris and Annie, Jean and Mark, my brother, Kelly, and his partner, Tom. This is all happy-making.

Cooking with Isabelle is happy-making.

The summery weather is very happy-making. Sunny is happy-making.

So, whatever it is, I realize that I can be happy in spite of loss, of parting with things that I hold dear. I can (shockingly!) be in the moment. And that is what we have done - mostly without thinking about it. We are so positively engaged in our lives that we simply ARE happiness. This reminds me of the book "Flow" by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi."Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."

We are in the flow, in the groove. I'm not spending money on clothes because J Crew on Madison is not around the corner. (Okay, of course, I don't have my daily croissant from Eli's either!) But, the simple things matter - friends, work, love, family. Oh, and we really love our apartment here. We feel like living in 1200 sf is living in a mansion. :-)

Live is good.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God I'm Free at Last"

I just deactivated my Facebook account.

I feel free.

No more will I find a "friend request" over my first cup of cauppuccino, which leads to complete crabbiness at the beginning of my day. No more of that - oh, god, who is this person? No more...oh, god. I have heard of them, but I don't know what they look like. Do I have to be their friend? No more business communications by facebook where you cannot hit "reply" but actually have to log in to facebook to respond.

Free. I feel free.

Am I just an unfriendly person??? How do others feel?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Izzy's Home - The Kitchen is Alive




Izzy's home. She arrived a week ago tonight. For those of you who don't know about her heart condition (why does that sound like something a grandma has?) if you go back to the April posts, you'll see that, while in Madrid, she discovered she has atrial fibrillation and probably needs surgery. For now, she is on heart meds. I didn't worry so much when she was in Spain. I am soooo "out of sight, out of mind" it is sad. I am that way with Lee when I am in Minneapolis and he is in NY. But when I am with the people I love, I am an absolute meddler. So now that she is home, I worry more.

But...we'll see what happens. We go to a cardiologist later this month.

In the meantime, we are cooking together and it is so wonderful to have someone in the kitchen with me - is there anything better for those of us who love to cook? The other night, when we had Lee's son, Landon, his partner, Karen and their 2 year old, Miles, here for a long visit from Boulder, Izzy and I cooked dinner for everyone the night before they left. Boiled shrimp, mixed greens with avocado and walnuts - more mixed greens with micro greens and veggies, bruschetta, melon. And vino. And good conversation.

How much I love the shared, homemade meal!

Fun Fact to Know and Tell

Did you know that the Basque language is the ONLY language that is not traceable to another original language? Like, Latin or the Indo-Chinese languages. Crazy, huh? How is that possible?

Well, my brother, Kelly knew this. And you might expect that. He used to read encyclopedias when he was a child. And Isabelle knew this because she just returned from San Sebastion in Spain where they speak Basque and literally spit on the ground when she told people she lived in Madrid. Touchy. And I thought it was bad between the red and blue states here.

Anyway, I think it is a great little thing to bring up at a party if you are just bored out of your stockings and feel responsible for making some kind of conversation with someone who is a lead post.

All for now. Off to the salon where I will share this fun fact with my hairdresser, Tom.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cultural Indoctrination - a Twins Game


Lee at the bus stop. Bus came and we didn't get on. Duh.


Train Station Stop at the field. Before the train....


When the train arrives....


View of the field.


View from the Budweiser Deck. Yes, that's right. Budweiser deck. I was expecting Hooters waitresses.


Lee and me. Some nice, happy drunk lady seated next to us took this.


Fireworks after the game.


Two weeks of life on the prairie and we are getting into the groove. Even Lee, about whom I was a little worried, seems at peace. We are walking Lake Harriet almost daily to get in the 3.5 miles that the average New Yorker walks every day, which keeps them in really great shape. I am back seeing clients almost daily and reminded how much I love that part of my work. I'm selecting hardware and attending cabinet design meetings, shopping for lighting and antiques. Pinch me. I miss the shops in New York, but that is not where my clients live. I miss my clients when I am in New York. And our friends...well, what to say? Last night we dropped in on the Watsons and Carrie had a fresh apricot tart on the counter - with that beautiful hand-rolled crust that just folds over on itself - and is baked on a pie sheet. So divine. She has a new cookbook and we were the beneficiaries.

Other things to be happy about:

Lee is especially happy they have French's mustard in the restaurants - he never took a liking to the spicy brown mustard they eat on the East Coast. And he's such a mustard nut that I thought I might have to buy him a holster just to carry his French's around in New York.

We went to a Twins game in the new outdoor stadium - guests of Joe and Carrie Watson - and they were nice enough to include my 80-year old parents are are Twins maniacs. I really can't put in much time with sports, but this was so sweet - in an Americana kind of way. Clean, new, fresh, civilized, lots of kids and some older people. Plenty of Twins gear and beer and hot dogs that were just delicious. I wore something that looked like I should have been in the Hamptons, but that is so me - just always a little off when it comes to dressing for occasions about which I know NOTHING.

We heard that parking was a mess, so we tried to take a bus, but let the bus we needed go by without getting on. We were totally clueless. So we took a cab downtown and felt right at home - what a good idea! We had a ride home with Joe and Carrie. My parents took the light rail and their last stop was smack in front of Gate 6 where we needed to enter. The train was loaded with people. It couldn't have been slicker and it made me very happy to see Minneapolis at least nibbling on the idea of public transportation. It makes us much more cool. :-)

So, here are some shots from our night out in the city. We won the game near the end, and the fireworks that followed (although kind of duddy if you ask me - I like the big Cinderella's skirt kind of fireworks, not the popping light kind) were a sparkling ending to the night.