Baby, It’s Cold Outside
I feel extra out of sorts this holiday season. Thanksgiving came late. Hanukkah came early. And my car got smashed up. Saturday morning, as my son and I were leaving for the Santopticlaus holiday sale. A neighbor intervened when she barreled out of an icy alley and collided with the front of my car, on the driver’s side. Thankfully no one was hurt.
That was a bummer, of course, but it’s not all doom and gloom around here. We’ve got our holiday decorations up – including a real tree. Our household watched Elf together and we’re baking cookies this week. We might even have time to check out some Christmas tours at historic mansions in the area. I’ve done all my shopping already and mostly online (I try to purchase useful gifts for friends and family, if I buy anything at all) and I’m ready to start wrapping! We’ve also attended one lovely holiday party so far and a few more are penciled in. And we’ve been invited to a Winter Solstice event at our neighborhood masonic temple. I’ve always wondered what it’s like on the inside. Hopefully they’ll allow me to take a few photos.
Here’s to Safe and Happy Holidays for all!
Trick or treat, trick or treat, the bitter and the sweet
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. This Fall has been so very busy, and so very warm, that it sort of snuck up on me. Initially in the form of unexpected doppelganger strangeness. I was out last Saturday night, wrapping up a wedding shoot, when some friends dropped by the venue…dressed as my boyfriend and I. The fake me was spot on! Down to my tattoos. Well, not all of my tattoos, but close enough.
Last year my son declared he is too old for trick or treating, but he still enjoys Halloween. So Sunday we hosted our annual pumpkin carving party and the weather was gorgeous! We were able to hang out on and contain our messes to the front porch.
Tuesday night we drove out to Skateville in the suburbs to be part of a music video shoot for our friends’ band, Kitten Forever. We were asked to either wear Halloween costumes or brightly colored clothing. Somehow I managed to skate around the rink as a giant squid without injuring myself, though my tentacles were dangling dangerously close to my wheels. The one and only time I wiped out? It was on CARPET. On my way to the drinking fountain. I’d forgotten just how heavy those old-school roller skates are but I’ve still got it! Sort of.
And lastly, Halloween itself. Once again my co-workers at Clockwork went with a couple of main themes for Halloween costumes. I joined the Orange is the New Black group while ten others opted to dress up as…one of our other co-workers. We also had some clever standalone costumes in the mix.
Last Day of Summer, First Day of Fall
I grew up in a weird in-between place. Not really a city kid, though I had strong ties to the city. We lived in an outer ring suburb that is remote and nearly rural but not quite. I’ve spent my adult life living in more urban areas. Not any major metropolis, just Minneapolis or St. Paul. But I find myself needing breaks from city life now and again. That’s why I find farms and orchards so charming. And I’ve always enjoyed pizza. So of course I adore pizza farms! A to Z Produce has a pizza night/picnic on the farm in Stockholm, WI that has been our go-to for years now. But it is a long drive and only open on Tuesday nights. We tried another elsewhere in Wisconsin that we didn’t much care for. But the latest? MUCH closer to home. Maybe a half hour drive out to Long Lake, MN. Apparently pizza night at Two Pony Gardens has been cranking away the last few years in relative obscurity. Then they received some media coverage and the quiet pizza nights are a thing of the past. The crowd jumped from 20-30 patrons on a Saturday night to 150-180. We had a lovely time but I wish we could have experienced the smaller scale version. In an attempt to control the chaos Two Pony’s Pizza Night is RSVP only and the size is limited. Since the press exposed them they’ve been full up each week. Thankfully I RSVPd for our group of five two months ago. And I’m glad I did. The transition from freeway to highway to tree lined dirt road was soothing. We parked in a field and walked up to the pizza tent to place our orders. We’d arrived early but there is only one brick oven and were told the wait for our food would be an hour and a half. Carriage rides are offered to pass the time and I’d packed some snacks to tide us over. And there is a gorgeous dahlia garden. Sadly I didn’t make it over to until dusk, hence the darker photos. Two Pony only has just one more pizza night this season but I look forward to returning next summer.
Yesterday was the first day of Fall, and a gorgeous one at. And it was also the first wedding anniversary for a lovely couple I know. They asked to meet up at Como Park for a photo shoot with them and their adorable three month old son. Once we got away from the crowds (it was busier than I’d seen it in ages) we had fun with that. I hope to post a few of those photos soon.
Always the Sun
Until last week I hadn’t flown with my son in over four years. We’ve been taking vacations separately instead. It’s just the two of us – all the time – we do need to give each other a break now and again. The last several years I’ve been flying to Los Angeles without him, to visit friends. And he’s been flying solo to his grandparents’ place. A little nugget I just learned? These last few summers when he’s been flying unaccompanied, the flight attendants have been giving him a free upgrade to first class! It’s probably easier to keep an eye on him there. And I sure feel better about it. One highlight of last week’s trip was a Sunday drive up the PCH and a visit to Malibu. Though I couldn’t help snickering when I thought about the sheriff from The Big Lebowski.
Earlier in the trip we’d engaged in a lot of touristy activities at a break-neck pace, some of which weren’t photographed. Our morning at the Fairfax Farmers Market. A day of walking around LACMA (where my son isn’t considered a child but rather “Next Gen”). But I did get some good snaps in and around Griffith. We planned to get to the observatory right as it opened, at noon, but arrived super early. My son noticed the signs for the LA Zoo. I am not a great fan of zoos. I could have said no and found something else to do. But we had a good chunk of time on our hands and it was RIGHT THERE. So we went in. And my son, in true pre-teen form, was as difficult as possible when I pointed my camera in his direction. Even so I like the shots.
Battle(s) of the Bands
In some ways, winter in Minnesota can yield more inspiration than our warm weather months can. More time to sit still and allow plans to form. Not that I’ve been sitting still much. With this winter being so very mild I’ve been going out more, instead of falling into the cozy trap of couch and cats and comforters. But even with, and maybe because of, my active social life the ideas for my new photo series have been coming together nicely. I’ve been talking it through with friends and acquaintances and hope to start shooting in early Spring. I’m excited! In the mean time, here are some photos from a few lovely shows I’ve attended so far in 2012.
American Cream / Jabberjosh / The Deaf / Seawhores at Kitty Cat Klub
Cadette, Oaks, Crimes at Memory Lanes
Ice Rod Chatroulette, with Littlefoot and NV
Girls Night Out at the Amsterdam with Hot Rash, Cadette and The Pinsch
Perish at the Kitty Cat Klub, with Bloode Folke and Blood & Sun
The Deaf’s Saturday night residency at Grumpy’s
We’ve had an usually mild winter, for Minnesota. Especially compared to last winter’s epic snowfalls and brutal cold snaps. Right now the poor ice sculptures are melting in Rice Park. They had been championing St Paul’s annual Winter Carnival but it’s more like St Paul slush right now, with temps in the 40s. But the outdoor temperatures didn’t affect what was going inside the RiverCentre last Sunday! It was the St Paul Winter Carnival’s annual Saintly City Cat Club’s Cat Show. And this year I learned my favorite judge was once an opera singer.
Art Sled Rally
I keep missing the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, “an annual pond hockey event on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Though an amateur tournament, the competition draws hockey enthusiasts from all over North America, many of whom have pro and college hockey experience.” But we did make it over to the annual Art Sled Rally in Powderhorn Park last Saturday. There was just enough snow on the ground for the sleds to work with. Not that all of them even made it down the hill. Some just tipped right over upon launch. But aerodynamics aren’t the point. Creativity is king (or queen). My son was so inspired he already has a plan for his own sled for the 2013 rally.
Art Shanty Projects
Last but not least, the Art Shanty Projects returned to Plymouth! They are now only happening every other year on Medicine Lake. This year the project was even featured on National Public Radio. We made it out the first weekend (this coming weekend is the last).
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year
Since I last posted here I’ve moved house, for the first time in over twelve years. I was so preoccupied with packing and unpacking that the holidays snuck right up on me. But we do have a tree in our new home. Decorated even, with a few gifts under it. And now I’ve got some holiday deals up in my etsy store! Postcards, framed prints and unframed prints. Want to get 50% off your purchase? You have not one, not two, but three ways to do so:
- Leave a comment here and I will send you the coupon code.
- Like my Facebook page, leave a comment on the wall there and receive the coupon code that way.
- Follow me on twitter and mention my etsy store and I will send you the coupon code.
Hooray for social networking. Thanks friends!
In my previous post I mentioned holiday portrait mini sessions. That ship may have sailed but if you would still like to squeeze a session in before the holidays, or perhaps the week between Christmas and New Year’s, shoot me an email.
By the way, the below photos are outtakes from my session with The New Standards, for their holiday micro-site. Enjoy!
A Tale of Two Henrys
Fall is my favorite time of year. The changing of the leaves, the onset of sweater weather, and my most favorite of all holidays – Halloween! I love it all. And I was thrilled when asked to take outdoor portraits during this season for not one but two little boys named Henry. I photographed the first Henry on the day of his first birthday, in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.
The second Henry is double the age of the first. Not much of an age difference really, in the grand scheme of things – two years old versus one – but a huge difference in mobility! This Henry led us on a merry chase around Minnehaha Falls. Up and down stairs and across bridges and pointing out statues and throwing and kicking fallen leaves around.
My own son is just as enthusiastic about Fall and Halloween as I am. There are many spooktacular events coming up this weekend but we may go with an old-timey option, with the Old-Time Halloween at the Gibbs Farm Museum this Sunday, October 30, 2011 from noon – 4:00pm.
In the mid-1800s Europeans, especially Irish immigrants, brought their Halloween traditions to America. Trick-or-Treat at Jane Gibbs’ house; make popcorn balls in the Red Barn; find pennies in a haystack and enjoy a cup of cider!
Before you know it November will upon us and with it the holiday stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I plan to schedule a few days’ worth of mini sessions at locations around town, like Krueger’s Tree Farm and Pine Tree Apple Orchard. Stay tuned!
A September Wedding on Summit Avenue
Last year I took a walk around St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood with a lovely couple, shooting their engagement photos on an uber-hot August day. Fast forward a year and a month and they asked me back, to capture their big wedding day. The weather was much milder this go around but gloomy all morning with the threat of rain. Thankfully the clouds parted, clearing up just in time for the outdoor ceremony. And it was a lovely happening from start to finish.
The Great Minnesota Get Together, 2011
Life has been particularly hectic lately and I worried we might miss out on what has become an annual tradition – my son and I venturing out to the MN State Fair, just the two of us. Hoovering down our favorite food products while pausing now and again to go up in the Sky Ride and down the Big Slide and in and around the crop art and fine arts exhibits. Today was the very last day of the fair and somehow we managed to squeak in – with bonus free tickets, thanks to one friend, and free parking mere blocks away thanks to another. And then we just happened to bump into several other friends while out and about amongst the teeming masses. We had tentative plans to attend a BBQ afterward this evening but we’d had enough of both food and functions and opted to take it easy this Monday-night-that-feels-like-a-Sunday, the last night of summer break before school begins for the boy.