September Swan Songs
We’re on borrowed time people. This is for real. Summer is OVER. There were a few more bursts and blasts of summer-like weather but nope. It is Fall. Today the region is being drenched in a cold rain that may morph into a rain-snow mixture all too soon. Frankie Teardrop’s song End of Summertime Blues is appropriate. Don’t get me wrong, I adore autumn. But last Winter was beyond brutal and I have no desire to endure that again (fingers crossed for a milder one). It feels like Spring and Summer 2014 flew by in the blink of an eye. But I know it was action-packed. Our household moved from St. Paul to Minneapolis. We traveled quite a lot together, and a bit individually. We attended area arts and music events. There was some camping. Just one Pizza Farm visit. My son started HIGH SCHOOL. We ran out of time and missed out on the Renaissance Festival, but I see that as a once every five years thing. And now it’s a race to the finish line, trying to pack in some other activities before the snow flies. I’d still like to get to the Fawn Doe Rosa wildlife park. On the way there is Franconia Sculpture Park. And there’s a corn pit and pumpkin patch at Country Sun Farm. We had season passes for ValleyFair but barely used them. The Halloween themed Valley Scare is running for several weeks yet though. A return to the Landscape Arboretum would be lovely, particularly for the apple tastings. But time is limited. Winter is coming.
Thankfully there are plenty of happy memories from the warmer, lusher times.
Seattle, with my son
We rented a lovely AirBnB house in the Ballard neighborhood, hung out with my friend Kim and her family, and my son’s Aunt and newborn daughter.
Square Lake Film & Music Festival, Stillwater, MN
Total Fest 2014
Random Out and About in MN
Go ahead, jump.
Making the commitment to get married is no small thing. But many friends have made the leap this year. It’s already been a fun summer of wedding celebrations, with more to come. One lovely couple eloped over the winter (smack dab in the middle of the polar arctic vortex) and saved the celebration for the most perfect summer day ever, at our favorite lake. Another couple picked what should have been a lovely June day but turned out to have the craziest weather ever. Torrential downpours, wall clouds, high winds. But we had just enough of a break to shoot some fun portraits on the front steps of a mansion before the chaos kicked in again.
Other friends wanted to keep it casual. A beach party with their nearest and dearest. And the bride shotgunning Hamm’s beer in the lake. No big deal. It was an all around beautiful day and a good time.
Another Breed of Cat
As demonstrated by the extreme popularity of the Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival, cats rule the internet. And my own household. I am a cat person. It comes as no surprise to those who know me that I attend the Saintly City Cat Show every year, in conjunction with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. But next year I’m thinking we should attend both days of the event instead of just the one. Part of the appeal is in the judging and not just the cats. There are some colorful characters in charge of this thing! And I just noticed that the judges listed on the schedule for the Saturday were different than the Sunday.
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!