Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Romeo's Big Adventure

Oh, holy crap are we glad to have our little boy home!! Missing for three days, ended up in Burnsville - 40 miles away. He's napping now ... posting this for folks not on Facebook (ha)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Two Things I Found in my Garden Today

This is a Golden (or Yellow) Garden Spider. I've never seen such a thing in Minnesota. She looks like some crazy tropical arachnid, not something you'd see setting up house in the land of bland food and cornfields. The coolest thing about this spider is the zig-zag web pattern to the left. It's called a stabilimentum and it has deep purpose, as you might expect from Mommy Nature. Go read about it.

This is my very own Golden Girl. She's moving to NYC a week from tomorrow and will be living in a cute (albeit tiny) apartment with two other friends in Brooklyn. Her roommate found a baby cockroach on the kitchen counter today. I'm wondering if we shouldn't just pack that other golden girl in her suitcase to do battle with the cockroaches. She looks like she could handle them.

Good luck Hannah! We love you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fun With Wind and Rain

80 year-old spruce hits the garage roof. Fun with chain saw begins. The top of it would have made an excellent Christmas tree. No damage.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wendy in Rotterdam

You might have to Copy/Paste this because I'm terrible at making it easier ....

The Collision

Well, after colliding with Bob, the motorcycle is in need of repair. When a dirt bike hits a 1987 T-Bird square in the license plate at 35 MPH, there will be damage. Bob was spared ... he flew up about ten feet in the air above my car like a rag doll and landed in the weeds. He walked away (I think his testicles hurt a little bit later the next day). We survived, I felt terrible, he felt badly ... my license plate will be difficult to reconnect. But, who cares? Bob is alive and we get to gamble with time for another month or so ...

I'm so glad that I didn't kill my best-man. I'm so glad that Bob is made out of Nerf.

Whoooooooo!!!!! No hurt, no real pain, no doctors involved ...

More details would be better for this story, of course, but ... let's just chalk this up to a "We're lucky" kind of story and leave it at that, huh?

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Here's Hannah the Yogi demonstrating a "College to Real World Transition Position". Yes, I know, it looks sorta lonely and sad here, but it's the space in between one place and another. She's graduated! That's cause for celebration and we did our best to pull some of that off at the Tornado Lounge the night of May 17th, but not before surviving the commencement ceremony (Q:is there anyone in the world who can pull off an inspirational commencement speech?), cramming down lunch at Hawk's on State Street and then all seven of us moving her out of the Mifflin Street studio apartment in three hours.

But look...she's earned a bona fide bachelor's degree, something neither her dad nor I can brag about for ourselves. Instead, we just get to be proud of her! The work she's produced over the last four years @ UW Madison is impressive, to say the least.

Meanwhile, motherhood is all about storage spaces, from the womb to the basement, where Hannah's possessions are piled in boxes and bags for, uh...awhile. She'll complete an internship @ Knock, Inc. in Minneapolis over the summer. In the fall, she moves to NYC and I have a hunch she's going to give the world of advertising a kick in the pants.

CONGRATULATIONS HANNAH! We love you and are already blissfully blinded by your bright future!

Monday, May 12, 2008

How Spring Cleaning Begins

It's been raining a lot. The grass is long and dandelions are populating the yard. The hosta, tulips, herbs and perennials are pushing up and out through the yet un-raked blankets of mulch in the garden. Jack has at least two entire coats of fur on his dogbody. Expectation is in the air!

The corners are filled with dust, animal hair and cobwebs, there are stacks of mail, New Yorkers, newspapers and books, cords and empty boxes, forgotten CDRs with no titles, vacuum cleaner parts, tools, boots, crust and stains on tables, abandoned art projects.
I can tell something big is about to happen!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

In Response to Hannah's Challenge

First of all, I have to say, Hannah, that you got the "nursing with Daddy" story wrong. I was on a session or out for groceries (or out getting hammered with friends) and you started crying and would not stop. Nonplussed and unable to console you, your father, out of desperation, lifted his shirt and did what any creative, well-meaning father might try when he was fresh out of options. I basically walked in on the event, breasts bursting with milk. I was like..."What's going on here?" So, it was not in a car and no one else was present... do you really think your father would pull a stunt like that with an audience? But he's not afraid to tell the truth either. He was a little bit defensive when I screwed up my face at him and started laughing uncontrollably.

OK. Onto the Random Six Challenge

1. If I run out of cigarettes, I've been known to dig through ash trays at home for long butts. I know... this is sad and wrong.

2. I eat weird combinations of food, especially for breakfast, like... recently I had some leftover ring sausage & kraut, an egg (over easy) all covered with rooster sauce with a brownie and grapefruit juice, and not necessarily in that order. Oh, I think there was an Emergen-C and a few bites of hummos on a carrot in there somewhere.

3. When I was a kid, I used to give myself injections. Um-hmm. I had acquired syringes and needles from the doctor's office where my aunt worked, which she simply gave me, along with scalpels, tongue depressors, a stethoscope and myriad other implements, since I wanted to be a surgeon when I grew up. In my basement laboratory, I filled a boiled syringe with distilled water, held it upright and plunged until some water squirted out the needle after tapping to loosen bubbles and would then jam it into my leg. Why, you ask?

Multiple choice answers:
a) my friends wouldn't let me do it to them
b) i was sick of pretending on my surgically mangled and dismembered dolls
c) i liked how it felt
d) it was the 60's version of "cutting"
e) all of the above

4. At a certain young age, I chose to not cry. I willed myself against it. I didn't want "them" to win, whomever "they" were but "they" were always watching. As an adult, I cry a lot in the car listening to music... and sometimes, singing a cappella. Somewhere "they" are now winning.

5. I had always wanted a dog as a kid and my parents were unrelenting in their resistance. It was the only item I would put on my Christmas list every year, like this:
1) puppy
2) puppy
3) puppy ... and so on to the end of the page.

So, instead, I had a string. I dragged this string around everywhere. It had all kinds of animals on the end of it starting with puppies and ending with lions. I tied it to my bed at night. Its name, no matter which animal was attached, was Ralph. Eventually, I was allowed to keep a tiny turtle I found at our lake cabin. I named him Ralph Chaney Lewis. He died on my birthday. My older brother felt so sad about it, he bought me a turtle that same day but its shell had been painted blue (they did that back then) and I think they breathe through their shells. He died the same week. I gave up on turtles.

6. Recently my friend Rita turned me onto the online game "Snood" when I spent a weekend at her house. I thought it was a sort of way-too-easy game but then I couldn't stop playing it. I have wasted entire days playing this game and if I'm on long phone calls, I play it in order to concentrate on the conversation. These are the confessions of a hopeless multi-tasker.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Satiated Singer

Here I am having a moment with the Neumann microphone that willfully endured my wine and whiskey breath for ten days with incredible love and forgiveness. All credit given to the U67.

The Lonely Engineer

After ten long, brilliant days and nights spent in Pachyderm Studio, what remains on the last night is one lonely engineer who's wife did her best but finally collapsed on the control room sofa while he pulled rough mixes until the sun rose to send to the UK the following day for mixing by Tchad Blake. The recording with TBP + me is finished and relegated to the annuls of music history as of April 22, 2008.

Some of you who were with me in March in NYC may recognize the only entity who saw Brent through to the end. I call her the Goddess of Music and Patience.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break

There are so many things to love about New York City, like this amazing men's store window display in Brooklyn.

All over the city are "cut by number" barber shops.

The graffiti is as plentiful as sunglasses choices.

I had to go to the city for final rehearsals with The Bad Plus before we record at Pachyderm in April. Kitty was on spring break, so I asked her to come along and we stayed six days since we were gifted free digs in the East Village from friends. We had a blast! Traveling with Kitty is always fun, easy and full of adventure. Here she is having a chance encounter with Will Farrell.

We both got to see friends, hear music, eat great food, go to MOMA and walk and walk and walk and walk.

There's so much more to tell, but I'm not tellin...

We'll be back there soon enough, since Hannah will be moving there in the fall. Can't wait to catch a subway to Queens.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Playing Catch-up.. again

We've been gone again for many months. Sorry. Or maybe I shouldn't apologize because it's not like any of you are waiting on the edge of your seat for another S&N post. In any case, here are our latest adventures.

Brent and I took our second tour in the U.P (the upper peninsula of Michigan). I had brought him up here a couple weeks ago, knowing he would fall in love with it after having been here with Kitty in August. The first thing we did, after scarfing down a couple pasties (a meat and potato pie the Cornish immigrants brought to this area many years ago) at Joe's Pasty shop, was to browse through Dan's Antiques. I'd spied a 1950's kitchen table when Kitty and I were here and was hoping no one had purchased it since. It was there and I gleefully bought it promising the proprietors we'd come back to get it as soon as possible. It was time to retrieve it and Miss Vickie generously loaned us her van. The next time any of you commune on our porch, you'll appreciate leaning on this table. It's a beauty... AND... it was cheap! My favorite combination.

Anyway, we found a cute little place upon arriving in Ironwood tonight called Quinn's Motel, for $32.80 (including tax) in the city of Ironwood. The proprietor, Leila, was all too happy to make sure we were happy. She wants our business the next time we come up. "Come up"—that's what it's called 'round heah when you arrive. We had dinner at Don & GG's—killer ribs and NY strip specials (we got one of each) and moved on to a bar called Spider's in Hurley WI,bordering Ironwood MI to the southwest.

We played pool, which I pulled off in a predictably mediocre fashion while Brent, as usual, kicked my ass and held forth at the jukebox as well lining up songs like The Wait, Back in Black and Won't Get Fooled Again. Then we returned to our stinky little motel room and were thrilled to stumble across Wilco on Austin City Limits—I mean, we came in on the first song—and got to hear the entire new recording Sky Blue Sky on stage. If you don't have it, go get it right now. You won't be disappointed. And, this godforsaken little hovel of a motel had Wi-Fi. I mean... c'mon... is this our home away from home or what? The only issue is that they get the largest snowfalls of any city in America. It's all that wind effects shit off the lake. So, getting there might be easy in the winter, but getting home might be impossible. Who needs to go home if you don't have to work on Monday especially when the room is less than what gas costs to drive up there? I ponder if I could live in a trailer and work at the pasty shop for the rest of my life. We are all about being downwardly mobile—we're half way there already.

Back to Cannon Falls and hum drum life as we know it, but then, brilliantly...

...Brent endeavors to take up the role of Sushi Chef. Classy! I'll be encouraging this obsession for years to come.

Finally, a shout out to Max Reed, Guy's dad, who flew into the clouds after 84 years navigating the planet in his own unique and clever way. The send-off was great—I have to say—plenty of stories, great photographs to peruse, the full regalia at Fort Snelling (color guard, taps,a six-gun salute) ending with a comfy gathering at his niece's Tootie's house. These events are always a confusing mix of sadness and joy but I think we all agreed that he lived and died well. I would hope that those I leave behind one day will say the same for me.

Max had repeatedly asked to be buried in a pine box. Those are difficult to procure these days, but his family managed to make it happen.

We'll miss you, Max. Rest well.... or go get into some good trouble wherever it is we go after all this earthtime.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Been A Long Time Gone (or What a Weird Summer)

Hey everyone. Hey. Hi. We've been... uh... surviving the summer of 2007.

Somehow we made it. Moving has been a central theme; Hannah moving home from her time abroad, Kitty moving into the slumlord apartment and quickly out to grandma's basement, Hannah moving from Cannon Falls to Angie & Harry's house in Minneapolis, who, by the way, will be celebrating their nuptials on October 6th. More recently, Brent and I moved Hannah in two separate trips back to Madison where she now resides in a cute little efficiency for her senior year at UW (pix are forthcoming). This weekend we'll move Kitty into her apartment near the UofM campus but not before she and I took a three day excursion to the U.P. In the midst of all this activity, Buggy, Vickie and the Fales kids moved into our house where they will reside for the next year or so until their new house is built over the winter on a lovely double lot they bought for a good price on auction in the city of Cannon Falls. House of Fales was accomplished mid-July after renovations were completed on the top floor creating a living room & family bedroom. Buggy & Vickie most often sleep on the third floor in Hannah's old room where their luxurious, unbendable bed, not making the final corner, was deposited. If we have company, they are ousted to the top of the house and are damn gracious about it, I must say. Things are going well in this communal living experiment. We've all been running here, there and everywhere since, rarely in the house at the same time for the last month and a half. We hope they still love us in the dead of winter when the house gets smaller and the cold weather keeps us locked inside staring at each other. We anticipate long conversations into the night after the kids go to bed at the dining room table. We're planning to change the world -- or at least our part of it. We'll let you know how it all plays out.

On a darker note, we had to put Rocky down on August 11th after a year of random, aggressive incidents he was responsible for with other animals. The culminating event occurred on August 10th when Rocky went after our neighbor's one year old puppy in the morning on a walk. Fortunately, PJ was not injured, even though he was plenty shook up. The next 24 hours were brutal for Brent and I, but we loved him up the best we could, cried our faces off and are now left to struggle with our roles as judge, jury and executioner. We're finding peace with it all. Mostly, we are glad that after 13 long, lovely years, he went off to that mysterious prairie in the universal mist where there is no pain, squirrels and rabbits run slower and no one ever says, "Go lie down". He was a good, good dog -- a peacemaker and gentleman. We will miss him forever.

So, a summer which brought drought, a major interstate bridge collapse followed by torrential rains and disastrous floods to Minnesota, is almost over. We've had more than our fair share of trouble since spring. But, here we are, rolling with the punches like true Midwesterners. I'm ready for fall. It can't come soon enough.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

WELCOME Baby Rowan Vann Andre!

Woo-Hoo! Lynn (McMahon) and Scott (Andre) delivered their adorable little dude onto the planet at 11PM, July 2, 2007. We got to see him the next day. He's a tiny guy -- 6 lbs, 7oz -- but he has a set of lungs on him and he's doing a good job teaching Scott how to cry.
Everyone is happy, healthy and hungry.

Congratulations!!! Big love to all of you!

Tangentially, we've really been having trouble with that naming thing ourselves! We changed kitty's name back to Irene after going through myriad other possibilities since changing it to Emmy Lew. Plus, she's turned into a terrorist since we got her spayed and this marked personality change makes me even less able to name her. Of course, she doesn't care what her name is -- she's going to do what she wants anyway. That's what happens to all babies eventually.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

OK... we changed her name to Emmy Lew

It's all good. Irene just wasn't rolling off the tongue. Here, she helped make the McAndre baby pillow. Do you all know that Lynn & Scott are due in July? Well... now you do. We can't wait to meet the little man. And yes... it's a dude.

Paradoxically, Emmy is in a vetrinary cage tonight slated for spaying in the AM. We're doing our duty -- but hope she will emerge, both unreproducable and without too much resulting trauma. Brent said that when he put her in the car and started down the driveway to the vet, she freaked with vertigo briefly and then, made the cool kitty choice, collapsing in his lap for the rest of the ride. She rocks, of course.

So... say goodbye to Emmy Lew's uterus. Can we have a moment with that? OK. It's over.

Meanwhile, B-Rent, Buggy, John Duncan and GR Anderson are on the river --- as the thunder rolls and the rain falls. This storm was supposed to blow over. All we can do now is imagine their Man Camp plight. I've been drinking coffee and making lists while they get wet -- a bad combo for sleep. Still, I'm off to bed hoping The Sandman will tip me over. I have to work tomorrow.

Hope everyone is dreaming.