Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween x 2

Thanks to the party planning of the Brennan and Reid kids, we were able to enjoy Beggars' Night in Des Moines and Trick-or-Treat night in Minneapolis. Before the evening's festivities, we enjoyed a gorgeous 70 degree day in Des Moines.  I have to say, Des Moines is definitely a cooler place than when I was a small friend. We went to a fabulous French cafe for lunch, the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden downtown, and to a very hip shop called RAYGUN. Sadly, Shawn was not with us on this trip, but I scored him some cool t-shirts. Watch for him sporting one that says, "America: Only the Insured Survive" and "Clear Lake: The Hamptons of Mason City." I know that he can't wait to wear that one in Forest City where its humor will be thoroughly appreciated.

We carved pumpkins with the Brennans using their ample array of Pumpkin Wizard tools. The boys had also had another cousin carving party with Freddy, so we have sharpened these skills...what else can we carve before Halloween 2011?

Enjoy the photos of Lachen and Joe as Legolaf and Aksel and Lexi as hobbits, Frodo and Sam, respectively. Thank you Grandma Hemberger for turning out these Lord of the Rings costumes so quickly! I went to a surprise party for Jonathon. Vampires were sucking blood all night long. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Shawn's birthday is on Halloween, and once again, his day was trumped by pagan celebration and costuming. We'll celebrate you soon, Shawn!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Morning: Front Porch: Coffee=Evening:Back Yard: Surly

Saturday began bright and sunny. I eeked out an hour on the front porch in my poufy rocking chair with a cup of coffee and the newspaper online cradled in my lap. Glory!

Lachen and Aksel had an hour of hockey, and since their dad led the clinic, I felt perfectly fine leaving the ice rink, and walking across the street to school to organize my crazy mountain of mayhem, a.k.a. my desk in my classroom. I haven't had a desk at other schools, and it has a been a pain. However, my filing system of P.I.L.E.S. which I inherited from my father is now on full display for all students and administrators to see. Alas. Chink in my armor #27.

Literally traipsing across the street back to Parade Ice Arena, I had to peel off my trusty Adidas jacket. "Too hot!" (A rare utterance from the glacial ALR.) Lachen and Aksel's soccer team had a game soon after the hockey clinic, so we dashed home, changed gear, and we walked over to the soccer field while they ate sandwiches. Of course, both boys scored, and self-esteem soared. Lachen was asked to play in another game in the afternoon with older kids, and that too was a scoring event for him.

By now, it was 3:30, and still a glorious sunny day. Lachen could barely walk from fatigue, and Aksel's food crabbies were looming large. Even after a 2 hour respite at home, I conceded my hope that a art gallery opening for the evening's event was dead.

To ease my dissed self, I set myself up in the backyard Adirondack with a Surly beer, a new knitting project (because I know this warm weather isn't eternal), and the Prairie Home Companion. Musical guests: Storyhill.

 Don't think for a moment everyday is that blissful, but Saturday was. And now, Sunday is here, so I rose at 5:00 to grade papers. So many, many papers...It's grand to have two-day weekends after three years of 1/2 day weekends at St. Mark's.

Wishing you a moment in your favorite chair, with your favorite beverage, doing whatever brings you joy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quilt in an Art Show

One of my favorite quilt creations is being featured in a gallery at the Blake School. Click through the photo gallery to see the quilt.

Proper display really does showcase something that I would generally just curl up with on my couch. Now, the question is, will I feel guilty tucking it in around my toes after it has had its moment of glory in an art gallery?

Nope. Not a bit. Quilts are meant to be admired at lap level too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Monarch Festival, September 12 click for Home 

Lachen, Aksel, and I went to this festival on the shores of Lake Nokomis
yesterday. We biked over, joined in some dancing lessons taught by two
Native American dancers. The boys planted milkweed seeds, and we
learned about the monarch's migration from Minnesota to Mexico through
a game sort of like musical chairs. It was a short bike ride from our house,
and a beautiful way to start a busy day of soccer, hockey, and a perfect
late summer meal near Cedar Lake at one of Shawn's coach's house. It
was a picture perfect fall day.

Lest you think that's the only festival we attended this weekend, we also
went to the inaugural Kramczuk's Kielbasa Festival in Northeast
Minneapolis. The sheer quantity of festivals in this city is downright
dizzying. Of course, I loved that festival because the entrance fee
brought with it a commemorative stein. Lithuanian culture abounded
including a organ grinder and some women dressed up as enormous felt
Baltic Easter eggs.
click for Home 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lachen's New Blog

Lachen has started a blog, so if you'd like to know what's going on in his world, check out

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

Public service announcement #437: Practice what you'll say when you hear a racist, homophobic, sexist, or insensitive comment. You'll need to pull out that little spiel when you least expect it.

I watched this video at a faculty workshop today. It's about 3 minutes long, concise, and pragmatic. It'll make you chuckle. It's called "How to Tell People They Sound Racist."

Also, here's another video that is worth a look. I'm increasingly concerned about anti-immigrant sentiments towards Latino/as and Muslim people. It's entitled "The Green War on Immigrants."

I also just read Zeitoun which I would love to loan to anyone looking for a good read. It's by David Eggers about one man's journey during and after Hurricane Katrina. It starts as the fulfillment of the American Dream, then suddenly shifts. Read it! Shawn and I both read it in just a few days. Let me know, and I'll lend you my copy.

I can't stop thinking about Japanese internment camps lately. Is that where we're headed? Decimation of Native Americans was grounded in (twisted) Christian theology. Slavery was also frequently justified using Bible passages. So, are all Christians terrorists too?

The dumbing down of American consciousness is stupifying, but don't let your incredulous reactions immobilize you. Why isn't there more uproar about Islamophobia and anti-immigration racism? Why isn't there more of an uproar? Maddening.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I'm officially starting my new job at the Blake School tomorrow. However, I've been plugging away on several projects already. One of these projects is being the new adviser of the school newspaper. I went to a fabulous conference put on by the National Scholastic Press Association, and I learned how to post the paper. I'm going to link it here. I had nothing to do with this issue, but it will give you a sense of what I'll be working with this school year.Spectrum June 2010

I also just received a message from a woman who lived next door to me my first year at Gustavus. She also teaches at Blake, so it will be delightful to reconnect with her. I am seriously pinching myself because this gig seems too good to be true. I have a comically huge classroom, the curriculum is stellar, and the faculty are so positive, brilliant, and have such interesting life stories. I know it's going to be a mountain of work, but that's why someone is paying me. Cheers to tomorrow!