Monthly Archives: May 2011

THERE’S A SWEET SPOT in Afton State Parkatop a bluff overlooking the St. Croix River, surrounded by blooming prairie, under a lone spreading oak—where we took up residence over Memorial Day weekend. Despite dismal weather predictions, we hiked, climbed, ID’ed plants, hid & sought, played gin-rummy and cribbage, ate ourselves stupid and generally kicked it loose and free. Miraculously, no one got wet.

Credit is due to an amazing blue tarp, loaned to us by neighbors and fashioned into a deluxe canopy by Lucas, an engineering masterwork of found wood, rope and bungie. I was moved to make a drawing of it, which Johanna Crayola’ed with a quickness before I could protest.

Sorry about the fugly likenesses, beautiful people. I only had eyes for our tarp.

>> Zombies – Tell Her No
>> Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

THANK YOU AAROW RUBBER STAMP for hosting our latest Make Sh!t moment: true rubber stamps made via an archaic process involving goggles, big mittens and Master Vulcanizer Craig Phillips shouting “Hot rubber!” seemingly at random. We mined images from Johanna’s drawings, zoological illustrations, and private icon stashes. Talking about making concrete lawn ornaments next, which could be our best or worst idea yet. Can’t wait to find out.

Chuck “Charlie Cool” Klima of Guttenberg, Iowa—ex-oil and gas maintenance man, champion rifleman, fisherman, stained glass enthusiast and also my grandfather—celebrates his 90th birthday this weekend. I’ll be DJing for a crowd to include our small family and probably the rest of the town.

On route to the party, this monstrous Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich will be mine.


NOTIONS I CLING TO IN SPITE OF THE EVIDENCE: That bureaucratic policies are rational and will be fairly applied (no Kindergarten can make room for my amazing kid? Lousy luck, I guess). That problems tend to solve themselves (not the case with dental work and plumbing, turns out). And that things eventually get back to normal.

I use this one as an excuse for short-sightedness as I wait for the return of some phantom equilibrium. But from when? 2002? There are no summer breaks, no going home to get yourself right; this wave is forever cresting. Devise and execute all at once. And savor fleeting forms of normal.

St. Paul’s University Avenue is completely destroyed as a new LRT line connects the downtowns. Getting psyched about urban planning this big requires extreme imagination.

Our friend Paula McCartney is exhibiting her latest photographs at the MIA, of ice, snow, and things that look like ice and snow.

This poor palomino needs to be put down (at Racho Allegre in Des Moines).

The natty MC of our Easter morning egg hunt.

Before the big kids left the little girls in a cloud of dust and pastel shells.

Hidden, found and rehidden.

Sudden hometown reunion (under a bridge, with beer, classic DsM). Steve Davis of Portland, left, happened to be in town doing something fairly awesome: a roadtrip with his dad to Harper’s Ferry, WV, following the path of the abolitionist John Brown before his historic flame out that sparked the Civil War (his passion for the guy is contagious, and I’m now slogging through a 600-page bio). Bryan Guise of Des Moines, right, is one of the world’s most prolific sculptors of bobbleheads. His empire has fallen on hard times, but it was gratifying to to see him back in circulation and talking about new creative ventures (and some parallel realities I couldn’t quite grasp).

Johanna explores walk-through art at the Walker’s “Spectacular of Vernacular.

The really excellent Domestic House Cats at the Triple Rock, a harmony duet that’s part Everly Brothers, part AM schmaltz pop.

At the hidden-in-plain-sight Coldwater Springs for Mother’s Day, an abandoned mining operation and sacred Native place. Sarah’s leading an environmental art project with high schoolers here this week.

We came for the nature, but stayed for the art.

What you miss when you don’t read the local paper.

>> Domestic House Cats – Bikini Gurl
>> Sun City Girls – Esoterica Of Abyssynia