City Walks

The trip I’ve been waiting and waiting for fiiiiinally came.
I made it to New York to visit Katie!

Ample Hills with Katie

The big reason for my trip was to spend time with her and the two guys she lives with, but when in NYC, you’ve gotta see what you can. And walking-while-talking is my ideal way to spend time. So we put a lot of miles on our legs!

I had just a few items must-do list: Art, Yoga and Central Park.

Once I got there, though, I realized I needed to add one more: Brooklyn. Mostly because it’s Spot Collins’ territory, but also it just sounds like there’s been a lot popping up there this decade.


I like this


I like this way more!


We tried to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but we took a wrong turn and ended up on the Manhattan Bridge. It was beautiful and we had much more space to walk, though the trains were…very loud.


So we’d started in Prospect Park, and Katie headed back home for baby-duty once we crossed the bridge, but I kept on a-wandering. I found Washington Square Park and imagined Jess was reading on one of the benches.


I made my way up Broadway, stopping for a gyro along the way, and after Times Square was too crowded to pass through, I took a slight detour which took me past some other recognizable things


While on the phone with Joe, I found Central Park! Check.


I walked the entire length on my way up to Harlem, seeing a lovely sunset on my way


We had wonderful evenings in and wonderful breakfasts every morning. I loved getting to spend time with this sweetie! I never managed to catch one, but I swear he’s so smiley!


I’d been hearing some controversy about “The Vessel” in Hudson Yards, and it turns out it’s on one end of the High Line, and the Whitney is on another. What better walk?!


I was a bit hungry, so we stopped in to a super fancy mall to find something suitable. This Snark Park caught our attention along the way


High Line! (An old elevated train track that was turned into a wonderful park and walking path)


The Whitney Museum of American Art had some treasures for me. Including some Ellsworth Kelly, which I always love getting to see in person


A rooftop lunch while reading my book


Perfect weather, beautiful view


Outdoor exhibitions!


This massive tapestry of television static just tickled me


After a roam around Chelsea, I realized I wasn’t far from the iconic Flatiron Building. So why not go take a look?!


Then I took a train up to see the Frick. They, however, did not accept our reciprocal museum membership so I went a few blocks away to the Met Breuer instead


And along with that admission came admission to the big Met, so I took a peak at a few of the wings


Oceania is impressive


I just liked this


Eleonora Carrington!


And some things just grab you. This painting is like 6 feet high


Central Park again!


I hit all of the things on my list and had a wonderful trip all around. Thank you, Katie!

It’s always great to come home after a trip, too. Getting off the bus from the airport, I noticed how fresh and fragrant it smelled! I love Minnesota springtime.

This weekend we had beautiful weather, so Joe took us to Afton State Park for a hike


That’s the St Croix river, which we walked along


Rocks to clamber upon


It got a wee bit long for Henry, but Daddy’s helpful in that regard




When we got back home, Mom and Dad were waiting for us. The next day, we took them on their very own hike, just within our neighborhood. There was a surprise wading pool along the way. I didn’t realize they were open yet


Then we found Minnehaha Creek. There were some canoers who were having to get suuuper low in their canoes to make it under bridges in this high water


Joe and his dad did that a few years ago, so he tells us the story and mimics what it feels like to do that


It was interesting to watch them try to get through


Dad, always ready to help, assisted a kayaker in getting out of the water so she could go around on land instead


Walkin’ along Minnehaha Creek, havin’ a happy holiday


‘Cept some parts were a little underwater


Not here, though!


Back at the ranch, the boys had so many things to keep Grandma and Grandpa busy


But it was very serious.


No one had any fun or anything.


We all kept our composure




Here we go again!

Iiiit’s tulip time!


I know you Iowans already have had your tulips come and go. But mine are just now fully open, and they look so beautiful!


And check out the apple tree. We’s gonna have sooooooo many apples


And the lilacs are getting there. Their incredible smell is faint, but I know in a couple days they’ll be fully blooming and will be filling all of the vases I can find in my house


Baby plants are making their way along, too


Even indoors we’re celebrating the spring. I got beautiful cards and flowers for Mother’s Day, as well as some delicious coffee and absinthe.


This one, too!


The boys all picked me out this beautiful cake frosted to mimic a robin’s egg


Haaaaappy Mother’s Day toooo meeeeeee


Even my neighbor got into the spirit of the day. She hides treasures for the boys at what we call the “secret stump,” and this time she included a special mother’s day card and chocolate for me.


On Friday, we had dinner at the Tap Society and got to eat outside. I could not stop laughing when Henry was putting ketchup on his burger, because that sucker was so darn big!


And then I realized my big kid was holding a little teeny bottle of mustard. Love the inversion there


Of course, Henry ultimately needed both


Hi Joe!


I walked in to preschool yesterday to pick up Henry and saw this sign. Look at the note in blue. LAST DAY OF PRESCHOOL! Five years I’ve been walking the boys to and from this glorious place. I can’t believe that’s coming to an end.


Judson has truly been a wonderful part of our lives


We’ll just have to keep meeting up with friends at MLK Park through the summer. Henry’s always been a big swinger, but lately he’s really gotten good at pumping. He’s very proud. I was a little late on snapping this pic.


We’ve also been able to draw more chalk cities and finally hang the laundry outside. It takes a day or so to dry on the rack inside, but 10 minutes in the sun, and BOOM! It’s warm and dry. I think the theme of my life is this: The Sun is Magic.


Have a fantastic day



I’ve been thinking about endurance lately. And failure.

Some problems you can address with a small amount of time and a gung-ho effort. You know what to do, you’ve just got to do it. I think that’s why I like painting rooms so much. As long as you’re smearing paint on the wall, you can’t really mess up too badly. You work your butt off for a bit and BOOM! You’ve got a whole new backdrop.

Unfortunately,  we all discover repeatedly (daily? hourly?) things that don’t work like that. You’ve got to chip away, and chip away, and chip away. And you don’t necessarily even know if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. One of those that has come up for me started out with some drips in my shower. It has always dripped infrequently, but lately the dripping had sped up. Not a pressing problem, yet after years of hearing that little drip, I was just ready to make it stop. I watched a bunch of videos online, read a bunch of articles, headed to Ace Hardware and confidently bought all the things I could possibly need. It’s funny to look back on now, because I didn’t actually need any of those things for this particular project. Some will be handy later, but most just went right back to Ace.

The first big hurdle was getting off the handles. I tried all of the normal ways of getting them off, but nothing seemed to work. Some online forums suggested that I just wasn’t using enough force. So I used more. They were talking about something different. I broke stuff.


Luckily nothing bad, it just made future parts of the process harder for me, personally, but what I broke needed to be replaced fully anyway. And honestly, I probably wasn’t going to get to the point of understanding that if I hadn’t made that first mistake. At that point, it was a matter of just doing something or throwing in the towel. I did something.

Charlie’s always struggled with struggling. He’s used to either being able to figure things out ahead of time or having stuff neatly explained to him. So when he doesn’t automatically know the answer to something, he looks like a deer in the headlights. One thing that has helped with that lately is circuitry. I think the best thing about it is that I don’t know anything about it. So he’s got to work through it on his own. He either tries some things out (may or may not work) or doesn’t accomplish anything at all. He tries.


Green light!


Henry’s a pro at endurance and failure. It’s how he operates all the time. I love this series of moments of him trying to figure out blowing bubbles (with some old, crappy bubble solution, I might add. I was struggling with it myself).


Charlie was constantly lunging at the almost-bubbles!


He got one!


Mr Bubble Man


Another thing he’s been learning is good teeth brushing. He’s always brushed and brushed and brushed. In fact, there was a time when I was using our “tooth timer” because he was going on too long. So I didn’t worry much about the quality of the brushing. Figured quantity was fine. Also, he’s been going to the dentist for 3 years, and all has always been well. But it turns out those molars were not quite getting the love they needed, since brushing the front teeth is way more fun. So we had to meet the “Tooth Tickler” at the dentist last week. That was a first for me as a parent, so I was sad about it. But Henry just embraced the new experience, and went in bravely (though slowly) all by himself.

He had fun telling the tale later, especially to Charlie, who just might be a little jealous 😉 Here he is right after. He chose to stay and play in the waiting room for another half hour after he was done, just because he was having a good time.


Two weekends ago was the May Day Parade/Festival. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, but is sadly no longer able to happen financially. So I hope the people who organize that do some serious enduring this year so that it can continue in the future!

While it’s still around, though, we truly love it.

This huge puppet lady was soooooooo amazing and intricate. She also, moments before I took this was walking straight at us, but I missed the moment. Gah!


At Powderhorn Park, everyone gathering for the food, music and performances


Grandma and Grandpa met us there after the parade


May Day dancers from across the lake


Bird boats waiting to sail




Those Novaks! Always taking the path less traveled


We found where they parked the floats!


Aw…poor house fell apart. Maybe it will end up in Oz


Boats are sailing! Paddling against a stiff wind, for sure


But they make it


And I did, too, gosh darnit! It took weeks of off and on work. Learning and trying and thinking and figuring. And buying the correct parts, which may just have been the biggest challenge.


But look! Not only does it not drip, it actually gives a full shower, with nothing dribbling out of the faucet below. No fiddling or wiggling of handles necessary.


Woohoo! It feels so good. And the most important thing is that I learned a lot. Including the fact that neither of the shut-off valves to our house work, which is real bad. So if not for this little project, we’d never have known that until something went wrong and then we’d be hosed.

Luckily, we’re going to get a new water heater, so when Chad the Plumber comes, he’ll do it all at the same time. Won’t that be a fun day?!