Taking a Twirl at Art A Whirl

May 18th, Sunday, was the last day of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association Art A Whirl.  I had meant to spend the day working on chapbooks and job applications, but an offer of a ride to and from the Northrup King Building made me change my plans.  It was off to see art, collect those lovely artist postcards and do a little photographing if the mood caught me.

The Northrup King building is vast and stuffed full of art studios of all kinds, and in the studios are artists of all kinds and their friends and colleagues.  There were four floors of vivid color, swarming people and much music.  After a few hours my senses were swirling and my mind was spinning with images and ideas.  It was a seven- course meal of art and media and I found it necessary to cleanse the palate with a little fresh air, outside, sunshine, breeze and a vista.

I took out my camera as soon as I was outside…

northrup king bldg

Northrup King Building 1500 Jackson Street NE

loading dock lunch truck

loading dock lunch truck

A quick refreshment, crackers and granola bar from the stash in my purse and it was time to wander.

I was heading to the Solar Arts Building, where among other things there was a Poetry Fort set up in one of the studios.

First step, cross the tracks.  Cross right in front of a train. A long train, a very long train of many, many liquid freight containers.  Containing?  Anyone care to guess?  Heading south and east?  I tried not to snarl.

first train heading south and east

first train heading south and east

I climbed on top of a pile of parking lot rubble and watched.

I want a picture of the Northrup King Building from the backside.

traveling message

traveling message

Message received.  Interpretation?

This is a really, really long train…

second train heading north and west

second train heading north and west

Another train, heading in the opposite direction, a long, long line of containers… The commercial economy right there in front of me…a moving barricade to creativity?

 

crossing the tracks after a long wait for trains to pass

crossing the tracks after a long wait for trains to pass

So impatient to get there after waiting so long.

backside of Northrup King Building

backside of Northrup King Building

The picture I wanted. And on to the Solar Arts Building and more art and more music and more people hungry for art.

A partial, nowhere complete list of my favorite eye-catching artists.

Julia Colman Timm, Fresh Mud Pottery

Meg Erke, collage and mixed media

Cynthia Kath, paintings

Nanci Yernakoff, water colors

Sheryl Tuorila, mosaics

Edward Holmberg, paintings

Leslie A. Pilgrim, painting and collage

Brian VanVoorst, abstracts that mesmerized…

Melissa f. Kaelin, painting and silhouettes that made my heart ache.

I spent my food budget for the week, along with a little more on cards and an elegant little ceramic tray too lovely to hold my spent tea bags.

That is the thing about art and art shows, art museums, galleries, no matter what and when and where, I always feel like twirling around and around and around.

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It hasn’t even started yet!

The Heart of The Beast 40th May Day Parade, Minneapolis MN.

My first.

An Essay in Pictures.

11:40 a.m. parade route, south of Lake Street

11:40 a.m. parade route, south of Lake Street

11:50 a.m. Parade Route south of Lake street

11:50 a.m. Parade Route south of Lake street

Biker warm up ride

Biker warm up ride

pre parade presents for the children

pre parade presents for the children

parade people

everyone dressed for a parade

Is this how it begins?

Is this how it begins?

Mad Max I presume?

Mad Max I presume?

inventive and bewildering

inventive and bewildering

and fun!

and fun!

very mad max

the food truck

 

Still waiting for the parade…I think

 

Oatmeal: An Ode

April 29th in St. Paul MN.

So it is a sleety sloppy day outside. The sky is gray and shedding flakes. The wind swirls around the sky’s detritus and all looks soggy and damp.

It is a good day for oatmeal.  Yes, another gloppy gray substance; once despised and left uneaten, now favorite breakfast food, warm and soft.

oatmeal in a bowl on a soggy April morning.

oatmeal in a bowl on a soggy April morning.

This is not your ordinary oatmeal.

Oatmeal by its very consistency requires additives.  There are those among us who add things to oatmeal to make it more palatable. Raisins, ewwwww!  Sliced almonds or pecan pieces. Brown sugar and milk. Berries, dried fruit, yogurt or gravel (a.k.a. Grape Nuts).

For me, the perfection in oatmeal concoctions has none of these.  Inspired by a “the cupboards are bare” foray, I made up this tasty treat for myself. Just thinking about making this oatmeal makes me happier, the day look brighter,  the world a more pleasant and positive place.  Consuming it is giving myself a present I never expected to get.

Good grief! It’s oatmeal.

Ah, but it is oatmeal with character and charm. It has flavor and fun.

oatmeal under scrutiny

oatmeal under scrutiny

Look closely and you will find bits of grain from a sprinkling of left over granola.  Look a little more closely and there are the golden brown swirls of peanut butter (creamy, natural, not entirely incorporated to add surprise and delight to each spoonful) mixed in. That sheen on the pasty lumps of stomped oats, why that is maple syrup. Yes, sap of trees, sweet and sticky, when warmed with the residual heat of hot mush gets slick and glossy.

Sweet subsistence. Flavor-able flare. Edible artistry.

What other additions could elevate this sturdy breakfast food?

Cheese and bacon crumbles?  Salsa and spinach? Does oatmeal have a savory side?

O oatmeal. Sturdy staple, and morning star.

The forecast says precipitation all week.

So this easter thing

I was raised Catholic.  So Easter was a big thing. Somewhere tangled in with the candy bearing bunnies and crowns of thorns and resurrections there was always one hard-boiled egg. Family tradition, that sadistic attempt at togetherness, held each of us had to eat the hard-boiled egg lying in the pastel plastic grass in our easter basket before heading off to mass as a family.

Invariably, before the egg was completely peeled, I would be gagging.  Seldom did more than the smallest of bite of egg make it into my mouth before immediate expulsion. While my brothers in their neat black dress pants, white shirts, and ties,  my little sister in her frilly pink dress and straw hat (with the elastic chin band), and my parents in their spring best, walked across the street to the parish church, I would be watching out the kitchen window until they all disappeared into the church.  Then I would go and brush my teeth to bleeding to get rid of that offal egg taste.

That is right, the great family tradition of an egg eaten on Easter morning meant I never actually made it to church on Easter Sunday.  As I got older the benefits of this became more apparent and more welcome. Sadly, as we kids aged, the Easter baskets and the hard-boiled Easter eggs disappeared along with the family march to church and the Easter dresses and hats.

The family grasp on tradition was pretty much gone by the time I was eleven.

I don’t much care for holidays. Too much anticipation, expectation and tradition. Not to mention family and relatives with grudges, gripes and grumblings.  No, holidays spent alone are more tranquil, relaxed, dramaless.

So today, being Easter, I set out this morning for Minnehaha Creek Park. Alone, with a book, a peanut butter sandwich and my camera. I walked along the creek, saw skunk cabbage ( I think), puppies playing in the water, people strolling, children playing, families picnicking and all sorts of warm spring weather activities.  Minnehaha Falls was pretty full, and flanked by large columns of snow, the birds and squirrels were busy, the paths were muddy and soft, the moss was starting to turn to bright green and the sky was very spring blue.

I wandered, I read, I ate my sandwich, I smiled at people, I poked around under rocks and trees, and I left the park early afternoon as it began to really fill up with the holiday crowds out to celebrate resurrection and redemption.

All the people on the bus sat alone in the seats. They looked straight ahead and didn’t say anything. They didn’t seem to know it was Easter. It didn’t seem to matter.

Minnehaha Falls April 20, 2014

Minnehaha Falls April 20, 2014

the gatherings begin

the gatherings begin

April 4, 2014 on the street where I live

I didn’t pack my boots. They are still at the farm. Too bad, I could use them this morning.

Third morning in St. Paul. It snowed last night, and it is still snowing as I write this. Snowing and windy from what I can see out my window.

I don’t understand the compulsion. When I was a child, every snow storm that came through drove my mother to want to go out in it. When I was old enough to drive, I was the one who got to drive her around. As soon as the snow plow came through, or if the snow was not over the wheel wells of the car, before the plow came through, we would get in the car and drive somewhere, on some imperative errand that couldn’t wait.

This morning, once it was light out, I felt the same compulsion, get out, walk around, find some reason to be out there, in the snow and the watch the bother taking place. Snow shovelers and snow blowers and snow plowers and little girls waiting for the school bus and dog walkers and car warmers and me walking through it with no boots and my camera.

Really, what better way to experience this April snow.

Out the back door

Out the back door

 

down the alley

down the alley

around the block

around the block

down the street

down the street

 

its slippery out there

its slippery out there

 

Not over yet

The snow plow came up to the end of our driveway, stopping just feet away from the downed tree limb. The plow has cleared the slush, about two inches, from the road, but the water has still filled the ditches and is up over the road.  It will be great fun driving once we get the tree out of the way.

It might take some time to do that, since it continues to snow, the tree branches are still ice-covered and there remains the threat that more branches and limbs may come down. The white pines look pretty droopy and the branches on the old maples around the house are sagging as well. Snow on top of ice; all we need is a little wind and the yard will look even worse than it does now.

The old maple at the top of the yard isn’t going to survive. The logging chain and cable have snapped and if the snow doesn’t take out the other two limbs, the next windstorm probably will.

We walked out to the mailbox earlier. I posted pictures from our walk on the photograph page. I hear the chainsaw which means Dennis is out trying to clear away some of the smaller branches. that’s my call to head out and start clearing away the pieces.

Confirmed, one limb down

When I went to bed last night the ice/rain storm was in full storm mode. The wind was flinging rain against the windows (east side of the house), the ground was covered in a thick layer of slush, and in the yard light I could see the tree limbs were encased in ice. I fully expected to lose electricity; some where along our “grid” there would be a tree down before morning. I didn’t sleep well, waking up on a regular basis to make sure the night light in the hall was still glowing.

I’d like to think when the tree went down it made a huge groaning sound followed by a house shaking thump. There was no big sound or shake. I did hear what I thought was the county plow coming down the driveway, that steady roar of engine (without the annoying beep, beep, beep) and then nothing but the rain on the window.

Turns out that plow sound was the tree falling.  One of the three main limbs fell last night, in what I imagine to be a gentle graceful bow to the weather and age. It had to be a dignified and well planned fall across the driveway. It missed the apple tree, it missed the other maple tree, it missed the wild plums. It fell right at the turn of the driveway.

The yard is a mess of downed limbs and twigs and ice encrusted bushes. The bird feeders are, or could be if the sun was shining, little crystal palaces. The gargoyle on the front steps is glossy, as if he had been dipped in resin. The birds are still flying, there was a bright red cardinal on the ground below the bird feeder first thing this morning.

It is raining again, and ice is dripping from the trees. My coffee is nearly finished and I know we will have to go out and begin clearing the tree from the driveway. Two of the original three limbs are still standing, and the log chain holding them together continues to do its job.  The tree holds on; diminished but not gone.

limb down, not tears on the window, just rain

Big Bog

 

View from the board walk

On the way back from North Dakota we took a side trip to BIG BOG STATE RECREATIONAL AREA. Big Bog is located north of Black Duck on the eastern side of Upper Red Lake.  The feature attraction (for us) is the mile long board walk into the peat bog along the lake.  Yes, you can walk out into the bog, for a mile, and along the way see the different stages of the bog development, learn the history of the bog, including attempts to drain it, farm it, settle it, and the various and assorted vegetation and animal life now and in the past.  It is fascinating, and well worth the trip.  I have been thinking of this bog walk since we returned home and finally ! took  the time this morning to get some pictures developed.

My first view of pitcher plants. After I knew what to look for I saw them everywhere.

There is something very intriguing about these carnivorous plants.  Colors and sizes and patterns I had never seen before.

And they bloom!

Then I saw the sundews, growing next or near the pitcher plants but so small at first they didn’t appear to be any different from the moss growing in the bog.

tiny things, no larger than the tip of my little finger

The day we were at the bog was cloudy and cool.  On the board walk we watched the storm come in, then stood in the rain while the thunder and lightning went by, then the sun came out and we continued to photograph.

It rolled in very quickly and we were soaked before we got our rain coats on.

While we dried out we took more pictures.

pitcher plants and sundews

and in the depressions in the moss, lichens are growing.

 

Sandrock Cliffs, Upper St. Croix River

August 2, 2010.

On our way home from a weekend in Duluth.  A hot steamy Monday morning and the ride was getting tiresome.  So we stopped, at Sandrock Cliffs on the St. Croix River.  The trail head was a tiny little parking lot in the middle of a white pine and birch forest just north of Wisconsin highway 70.

Did I mention it was hot, steamy, still.  We were greeted in the parking lot by a hungry swarm of mosquitoes and an abandoned pair of red sneakers.  The trail to the river was well marked, leading up over a small hill and then down to the cliffs and the water.  At this point the St. Croix was wading deep.  A pair of canoists found that out as they kept getting stuck on the sandbars.  The river is also only about 20 yards wide.

We weren’t about to walk too far, it being hot and steamy.  So we walked back to the car, taking the lower trail through the woods.  And what a woods it was!  It was a woods of the most wonderful variety of fungi.  Not that we could identify any of them, but we did spend a couple hours photographing them.

Despite humidity that caused camera lenses to fog and condensation to form and air so thick the mosquitoes couldn’t fly we photographed until we were both sticky drippy and stinky.

AC in the truck cooled us off and we were off to the County Park at Atlas for lunch.