Planes, Trains, and Mother Nature

April 15, 2014 § 3 Comments

I spent a chunk of my afternoon supporting capitalism at the Mall of America, but afterward succumbed to the call of the wild with a visit to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge — a considerably more expansive and less expensive (i.e., free) venue, courtesy of Mother Nature.



Although the natural spring colors are dull and muted, the hills are certainly alive with the sound of bird calls and woodland creatures running through dried leaves. After hours of people-watching at one Minnesota landmark, I gladly switched gears to observe a busy, yet more restful, enclave hidden from the nearby international airport, hotels, rush-hour traffic, light rail transit, and ever-expanding shopping mecca.

Arctic Tennis (and Nightstand 2014: Week Sixteen)

April 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

I dressed for my tennis lesson this evening like I was going out for a winter run rather than a spring scrimmage. But, alas, I arrived only to discover the lesson was postponed for a second week in a row. Admittedly, I was happy to have the extra hour to do something else, but I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to say that I played tennis withstanding a below-freezing windchill.

Eskimos would kill to play tennis in weather like this

* * *

I’m still reading my book picks from “Nightstand” weeks 14 and 15, so I’m only adding a few articles to the mix this go-around, including a seven-part investigative series in the Tampa Bay Times that won the Pulitzer today:


April 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

The temperature wasn’t much above freezing all day, but spring was everywhere. New grass is sprouting, small buds on bushes are starting to appear, and I barely contained a squeal of joy when I came across some young yellow crocus in the neighborhood.

Yellow was also prevalent in Northern Clay Center‘s newest exhibit, “Mythology Meets Archetype,” featuring work from Australian, British, and U.S. ceramic artists. I popped in 20 minutes before closing – ample time to get an art fix and browse through the show as well as the center’s beautiful and whimsical pottery for sale. Always a worthwhile stop when in Minneapolis’s Seward neighborhood.


April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Wing Young Huie captivated the crowd gathered tonight at his Third Place Gallery for the opening reception of his latest project, “Still Life.” He seems equally at home behind the lens as he does in front of it, effortlessly sharing stories about the images he photographed for the exhibition: A tombstone bearing a rare Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. Blue-eyed Hmong dolls. A random mass of crosses in Natchez, Mississippi.

Huie is known for his portrait and street photography, but this exhibition highlights nearly 30 years of languished work. Relying on the artistic eye of his gallery curator, Stephanie Rogers, the pair took a deeper dive into his collection and selected an eclectic array of still-life photos. Although the theme lacks humans, it is nonetheless resplendent in power and emotion.

The Third Place Gallery is located at 3730 Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis, and Huie’s salons, while focusing on photography and art, frequently culminate in karaoke and a game of ping-pong in the basement.

Inside out -- The Third Place

Inside out — The Third Place


April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Utility poles

March Madness: A High Note

April 10, 2014 § 2 Comments

Remember my little stunt last month? March Madness, my month-long scheme to shake up life with a new or scary daily challenge, lost steam halfway into the project. Instead I’ve spent the last few weeks wrapping up a long-term work contract that required more hours and energy than I anticipated, and as a result, my own personal “Fear Factor” stumbled.

Midway through I mentioned that I would be happy if I accomplished 15-20 items from my list rather than the intended 31, and I was able to meet that secondary goal. I finished the month on a high note writing a short story the last weekend of March and reading it publicly a day later.

From the list I compiled, I managed to accomplish 15 challenges:

  1. Stopped eating desserts/sweets for one month — I extended it from 31 to 50 days
  2. Wrote a short story and read it in public — thank goodness for friendly crowds
  3. Wrote a poem — terrible, but written
  4. Conversed with five strangers in one day — I talked all night with people I’d never met before at a gallery opening and at dinner afterward
  5. Went to a psychic — oh, the things I learned, half of which were interesting and the other half nonsense
  6. Ate vegan for a day — super easy
  7. Gave blood without passing out — frankly, a nightmare
  8. Made a comment at a public event — the topic was Wes Anderson, so, you know, easy
  9. Visited a random place on the map within a one- to two-hour drive from my home — the best way to spend a Sunday
  10. Learned to do a headstand — but it took several tries
  11. Bought a camera — and classes start soon
  12. Took tennis lessons — signed up and lessons start soon
  13. Submitted a piece of writing to a contest — and hope to continue the momentum
  14. Journaled every day  more like a few days, but that counts
  15. Ran a route I’ve never taken before — did this at least twice

I’m looking forward to a summer full of challenges. The thought of sitting down and putting together a plan to create and focus is awakening me from winter hibernation.

Dumpster Art

April 10, 2014 § 2 Comments

I’m fascinated by dumpster exteriors. Weird, I know. But I like the abstractness of the color and form and random rust spots.

Dumpster art


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