Monthly Archives: September 2009

Photo 17

Holing up in the new-ish Des Moines Central Library this morning, a blocky, snaking structure in a thoroughly refurbished stretch of downtown (posh restuarants, sculpture garden, Starbucks) not far from my high school. Gazing through the library’s copper mesh facade, it is scarcely recognizable as my hometown.

Work has been relentless lately—like slaying a hydra while playing Whack-A-Mole; beat that!—so I’m relieved to have a catch-up day free of meetings, childcare or homely diversions. Later tonight, my uncle’s throwing himself a 60th birthday bash. Might need to squeeze in a nap; partying with Des Moines children of the 50s takes more stamina than you might expect, especially if someone brings cards.

Bonus Internet extras:
Steakhouse or Gay Bar?
Cheese or Font?
Cilantro OR ELSE.

I’m starting to like our new airline overlords. Somebody at Delta decided to show the new HBO dramatization of the Maysles Brothers’ cult classic “Grey Gardens,” the kookiest in-flight programming ever. Between quicky assignments (“Why reusable bottles?” Um, do I really need to tell you?), I keep glancing up and seeing Drew Barrymore bawling in a fluorescent hijab or a half-naked, elderly Jessica Lange stabbing at ice cream in a gallon tub.

Spoiler alert: I’m flying out to surprise my dad on his 60th birthday. And also, it turns out, to drive my sister to college in Ellensburg (the dream of all entering Freshmen: extra family crowded in your dormroom asking where you want yr spare hangers).

Jetting back just in time to spend the waning hours of Johanna’s birthday with her. Five days later, we zip down to Des Moines for Dad’s twin brother’s 60th party.

Yeah, I know. It seems even more ridiculous when you’re doing it.


Jo turns three this weekend. Though I’ll be celebrating from a remote location, she’ll be lunching with her best buds at the farmer’s market then riding the LRT downtown to see The Red balloon at the library. She’d be the first to tell you: it’s a big girl party.

The littlest big girl on the first day of dance class:


> For a second consecutive Labor Day, we retreated to the untroubled waters of Aitkin County’s tiny Lone Lake. Highlights include spirited inter-generational gaming (Boggle, Trivial Pursuit), Brainerd’s best doughnuts, getting lost on the county’s rutted back roads, and jumping around frantically to keep a wet kite aloft in a thrilling/appalling display of futility (I laughed so much—I resolve to do more stuff that’s doomed to fail).

> Friends and non-motorized transportation advocates Jess and Matt get married in Powderhorn Park on Saturday. Sarah’s organizing the bachelorette party, setting up chairs for the ceremony and otherwise delivering awesome support to the bride. For my small part, I spent a while corralling dance tunes for the reception. Samples: Wilson Pickett – Land of 1000 Dances; Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love; Charles Wright – Express Yourself; MGMT – Electric Feel; Of Montreal – Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games.

> Thanks to Marc and Evelyn in DC for making the trip to Minneapolis (probably felt like a run to the cornerstore after Croatia). We did it up in two days: The MN State Fair (you can bet I didn’t plan to be part of the all-time attendance record, but there we were); canoeing and a picnic on the Chain of Lakes (cut a little short on account of wind); and hours of backyard antics with Johanna, who’s been emulating Evelyn’s yoga poses ever since.

> I visited a local design and advertising blog yesterday only to find that the author (who I don’t know personally) was shot by masked thugs in his backyard—on Sunday freaking morning—one of two hold ups in the immediate vicinity. It’s irrational to personalize crime news, but I admit to a measure of shock and discomfort about this event. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

> I came home from our West Coast foray with dense pages of notes, scribbled during the many moments of absurdity, consternation and tedium that characterized the trip. I was going to share, but suddenly l’ve decided to spare us both the pain (for tonight at least).