edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

A Whimsical Tour of Art-A-Whirl May 28, 2012

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 10:52 pm
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O: Outings

Sampling of Silly Milly Art

Sampling of Silly Milly Art

Northeast Minneapolis’ Art-A-Whirl was buzzing with activity and attitude last weekend. It was their 17th annual event featuring the community’s artists and their work, hosted by NEMAA (Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association). I can imagine how much work prepping for this entails, but I’m also guessing most artists are happy not to have to pack up their wares and set up at the weekend’s hottest local art show, as they do most summer weekends. The format – viewing the artists and their work in studio – allows people to ask questions about process and get a glimpse into their creative environment.

 

My 8-yr-old daughter Ava and I arrived around 1:00. It was sunny and steamy. We started on the Westside of Northeast and picked up our art show passport at the Keg House Arts Building. Nicky Torkzadeh Works’ bright, fluid paintings caught my daughter’s eye immediately. I talked with an artist from Trade Winds, a jeweler with an edge for hobo chic. Then we wandered into Clay Squared to Infinity.

 

Clay Squared Artist McDill works on "Oz"

Clay Squared Artist McDill works on “Oz”

Clay Squared’s logo with a exponential “2” and rocket ship blasting off implied they were in the business of having fun with clay. The shop showcases so many unique patterns and potential combinations from address numbering to switchplates, it was hard not to imagine design possibilities. As we discovered the workspace areas in the store, we came upon artist and co-owner, Layl McDill. She had appeared on CBS local TV earlier that morning – see the video that shows the millefiore technique where the clay design formation goes from large to small when stretched.

 

Ava and I saw it first-hand and asked a lot of questions. It was truly impressive to see the tiny pieces that comprised the completed piece, some of which measured three feet squared with wires, puzzle pieces and creative expression attached. While we watched, she worked on the cowardly lion and tin man from the Wizard of Oz. The results were whimsical with fine detail based on familiar children’s stories, often with a twist. We observed for a while and bought three magnets (3 for $15) to give as birthday gifts to Ava’s friends. We took Layl’s card. She does birthday parties and age 10 is the perfect age for clay exploration.

 

McDill Magnets + Erte Lemonade

McDill Magnets + Erte Lemonade

We left the Keg House and headed a few blocks east on 13th Street where we discovered Who Made Who, a design studio and screen print emporium. Any studio with an AC/DC reference and an owl logo was certain to draw me in. We flipped through some prints and moved on when the little shop became crowded. Just to the next store though — Fried Bologna Vintage. Again, the name got us. Ava found board games and other trinkets of intrigue. I told her to save her money. It also got me thinking I could dig up something similar stowed away in storage boxes at home.

 

We checked our NEMAA directory and hit up a furniture store on the corner next to Chow Girls Killer Catering and kept on in search of food and music. A series of houses with golden yellow-painted porches and indie rock singers later, we strolled into Erte for a lemonade and a quick check on time. It was already 3:00 and we were due home by 4:00. We split a pulled pork sandwich for $8 as we people-watched, voting on most artistic expression. The woman with the black shag knee-high boots and hot pink shorts pulling a pink plastic wagon with a 2-yr-old on her hip got our vote.

 

It was time to call it a Whirl. There was no time for my typical stops to the California Building or Northrup King. I’m sure we missed a lot of art and demos. Some young sidewalk artists – like age 7 or so – were selling goods of interest to Ava. She bought a $1 shiny silver and blue pen designed by them. We then came upon a salon and toyed with getting hair extensions because my husband and son were getting buzzcuts we did not yet approve of. Not happening today, however, now we know where to go if we change our minds.

 

On the short walk to our car, we noticed Nice Ride bikes being hauled in by the trailer-full. A group of a dozen bikers asked me to take their photo. I obliged. It was an easy-going, family-friendly day in the neighborhood. As we left the event, we saw the Pedal Pub in action – a pub powered by its patrons’ pedaling. It made our Northeast outing complete. We’ll be back next year for easy access to artists and we’ll be sure to plan more time for less of a whirlwind tour.

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A Mother of a Day May 12, 2012

O: Outings

On the Legitimate Mill Ruins Park Path

On the Legitimate Mill Ruins Park Path

Mother’s Day is over-rated. Sorry Hallmark, that’s just the way I feel. Too many Mother’s Day’s with expectations set too high. A few years ago I started making my own favorite spinach quiche the Saturday prior so my loved ones had nothing to do but throw it in the oven. As good as that tasted, it still felt empty. My kids this year, now 6 and 8, have  been busy working on homemade cards and gifts this week at school. I am more rested and more realistic about the day. So much so that I get a jump on it – I’m taking this Saturday as the day. Anything splendid that happens on Sunday is a complete bonus.

 

Summit: Mill Ruins Park

Summit: Mill Ruins Park

As it turns out, this Mother’s Day Eve is one to replicate – minus the four loads of  laundry I did from 7-10a.m. It began at 10:05, when I enlisted my kids to join me in a stress-free, relaxing day.  We arrived at Mill City Farmer’s Market around 10:45a.m. I actually did not mind milling about for a parking spot for 15 minutes – a lesson in patience for the kids. Once parked, they circumvented the Mill Ruins Park circular hill walk-way with a straight-up route and rolled down a few times before I made my way up to the top on the legitimate path.

 

Hunger was beginning to set in. We were in search of abelskievers, but landed on Italian coffee (for me) and Gluten-free pound cake for the kids. A live band played in the background. A bride had her photo taken against a dramatic red backdrop near SeaChange, a restaurant at the Guthrie. People found sunshine and a place to take in their Chef Shack snack on the steps leading down to the river.

Pied Piper Incapable of Entrancing Followers

Pied Piper Incapable of Entrancing Followers

 

Kudos to the Guthrie. There is no stuffiness or pretense. Any joe public can meander in and move about the building. We entered and started with the gift shop. Both kids decided how to spend all or a portion of the $20 they brought that day. Calvin bought a $5 recorder/flute. Ava opted to spend  nothing, although I purchased a birthday gift for her friend whose party she’d attend later that day. We took the elevator to the fifth floor and walked out on the Endless Bridge. Calvin happily played his new toy. Others agreed when I suggested to him that he tone it down. Ava sought out places beyond the Stone Arch that she wanted to explore. Not today, I told her.

This Could Really "Rock the Garden" at Our House

This Could Really “Rock the Garden” at Our House

 

We  took the four-floor escalator down then hopped in our car to our next destination: Wise Acre Eatery. I had a hunch it might be a bit of a wait. I set the kids’ expectations accordingly. Sure enough, it was 30 minutes. Tangletown Gardens, just next door, was the perfect distraction. I had done drive-bys, but had never stopped in. The shop, bursting with creativity and pushing the full garden ambiance, featured plants and flowers among decorative and practical garden display vignettes. We wound through walkways and stumbled into the greenhouse, which Calvin thought to be fascinating. Cactuses and arid climate arrangements in rock gardens caught his eye. Ava was more fixated on the birds and other garden sculpture displays.

 

Absolute Black Cherry Soda Craze

Absolute Black Cherry Soda Craze

It effectively staved off the hunger and got me thinking about gardening, which, since the summer of 2010, had been hard to do. Beep beep. Almost 12:30 and time to grab our patio table at Wise Acre. The vibe at the acres is so mellow. I could stay here for hours. We nearly do. There is no kids’ menu. They split the Back to Bed Baked French Toast which comes with yogurt, granola and berries and I go for the fried egg, cheddar and ham on a brioche with ground mustard over a side of greens. The kids are full of carbonation after their $3 black cherry sodas. Calvin has a $2 bill and a one weighted down under his glass for another in anticipation. That never comes to fruition, but Ava brings her empty bottle home as a souvenier.

 

The service is good, but nonchalant. Harley riders come and go. Fire Station #27 across the street sees some action. Avid gardeners wheel their plantings for the season away from Tangletown. It’s time to call it. We’re pushing a 3-hour outing, which doubles our optimal outing time from just two years ago when they were 4 and 6.

 

I have always sought out from others and thought about recommending comprehensive, realistic suggestions for an outing with kids. This route – from Mill Ruins Park to Mill City Farmer’s Market to The Guthrie to Wise Acre Eatery and Tangletown Gardens – kept the kids questioning and me exploring. I would highly recommend the venture to all Mom’s out there – Mother’s Weekend, or not.

 

Board with Togetherness May 1, 2012

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 10:02 pm
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A: Activities

Game on!

Game on!

My mother was a baker and reader by trade. My father a fisherman and hunter. If I wanted to play a game, I relied on my aunts, my mother’s sisters. They came ’round on special occassions and summer time. Which meant the times where I could legitimately accuse Colonel Mustard of hanging his victim in the study without inside knowledge (due to playing dual hands), were few and far between.

 

I knew some odd and some standard pop culture games from Flinch and Farkle on the odd side, to Sorry!, Easy Money, Life and Monopoly on the pop culture side. Cribbage and chess escaped me until my husband taught my cribbage and my 6-yr-old son, Calvin, chess. Cards beyond Go Fish!, forget it.

 

On a recent trip home to visit my parents, the closet of games beckoned my little ones – now 6 and 8 – and their eager gaming minds. If Mom is going to limit Angry Birds on the iTouch, we’ll have to resort to board games. I could hear the wheels turning. Clue, Trival Pursuit, Connect4 were all contenders. In the end, Monopoly won out.

 

Sir, Your Pacific Avenue Luxury Home is Ready!

Sir, Your Pacific Avenue Luxury Home is Ready!

Ironic that my kids even convinced my parents to play. I had never witnessed Monopoly with so many tokens in play. The hat, shoe, horse, car and dog moved from property to property buying them up or paying to stay. My kids – my son in particular – was hooked. We brought the game home with us. Mom could track down another one at some upcoming garage sale to ensure the game would await them on their next visit.

 

Calvin took to Monopoly like an obession. Waiting and biding his time until the next challenger arrived. Over the course of a week, he played games lasting from 1 hour to 2.5 hours with four different grown-ups – Dad, Mom, Grandma Susie and Aunt Rose. He was devastated to call the game early due to bedtime. He did not yet have his monopoly on the coveted blue properties.

 

He beat me. My strategy has always been to buy everything I land on and mortgage it to the hilt later if necessary. His was to focus on only two or three property groups and develop them to the max with hotels. He’s showing super Kindergartner finance and real estate skills. After three misfortunate lands by me on St. James Place totalling nearly $3,000, he told me he’d give me a break. I didn’t have to pay. I told him I meant to follow the rules. I went bankrupt.

 

Other nights when he met more worthier opponents, he was desperate – on the verge of a breakdown. Making side deals to save his life. When he did lose, there were tears and frustration. Such determination. Such lessons in life – to try so hard and care so much, but still have to lose despite all of your best efforts. Gracious in winning and gracious in losing.

 

It’s tempting to bring him a bowl of ice cream after a loss and sooth it over with a there-there. I just try to agree, Yes, it sucks. If you want to be sad, fine. You can cry with me or on your own. But we’ll play again tomorrow. It led me to compare board games with electronic games. You can probably guess where I lean on this one. Consider the length of time invested – 5-10 minutes per electronic game vs. 2.5 hours for board game. The teaching that can happen, not to mention, viewing how your child thinks. I concluded that for family togetherness, learning to be a gracious winner and loser and helping kids build their critical and strategic thinking ability, board games have a monopoly in this house.

 

What are your favorites – board or electronic?

 

 
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