All posts in friends

these apples, those apples, all the apples

This is called Apple Day at the Farmhouse.
It’s a real thing.
Read more…

VOLUNTEER | a poem

Not a poem by me, no, I do not write poetry. This was written for me by a dear friend (and a real poet). It is so meaningful to me at this particular point in my life. For many reasons. I just had to share it with you.
And when Kelin was visiting last week, we took a walk around the neighborhood and high-fived the plants. /love/
            for lgm
            by Kelin Loe
What I want out of a vine is a safe place for insects. 
What I want out of a leaf is a high five.
I saw an ant carrying the still body of a smaller ant across my counter. 
What I want out of a flower is a cutlass. 
My friend has a house in Tuscan. 
She gave me a cactus when I picked her up from the airport.
My friend has a house in Fort Lauderdale. 
She has a plant in her yard with leaves so big we sat beneath one.
My friend has a house in Minneapolis. 
We reached through the cabinet doors for wine glasses.
My friend has a house in Cleveland. 
We stretched out on the new carpet while her dog huffed around us.
Bugs die so much that they must be used to it. 
It is my house, and I am not used to it. 
I do not want my friends to move. 
When the plants get their magic right, I will sleep through the night.

Prairie Home Summer

The last two summers have been full of weddings and travel — California, Georgia, Texas, even Hawaii. All the trips made for some great vacations and reunions with friends.

But this, this is the summer of staying close to home. No far-off weddings, no big fancy vacations. Just a lot of camping, gardening and exploring the awesomeness that is summer in Minnesota. So I’ve declared it to be the Prairie Home Summer. Hey Garrison Keillor, if you’re reading this … thanks. I like your show a lot.

To start it off, we had an epic five-year reunion with my college graduating class at St. Olaf. The two-day extravaganza included karaoke at Froggy’s, just like the old days, as well as dinner in the Caf, a reunion with my fellow a cappella group founders from Agnes, a brilliant lecture from a beloved prof, and a slideshow of embarrassing photos that someone pulled from Facebook (a reminder of exactly what we haven’t taken down since we posted them 8 or 9 years ago…)

June looked like a road trip to Rice Lake, Wisconsin for a colleague’s wedding, with a fun cheese shop stop on the way back …

… another road trip to the same part of Wisconsin for a cabin weekend on Spooner Lake with college buddies …

… and a four-day camping and canoeing expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), one of the most remote and beautiful wilderness parks left in the country.

No biggie. Just one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the entire world.

Up next!

1. The obvious … as many farmers market trips and lake walks as possible.
2. At least one pizza farm visit (Stockholm or Northfield … choices this year, yo!)
3. Canning, jamming and pie-ing from the garden.
4. A visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove, MN, where you can see the place where they made their sod house on the banks of Plum Creek (ever since I read about it a few weeks ago, I’ve been certifiably obsessed).
5. Significant landscaping and garden improvements (underway).
6. Reading in the hammock and the rocking chair, and not just a few times. A lot.
7. My first trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, for a friend’s wedding.
8. Mini-golf at the Walker Sculpture Garden.
9. At least two golf outings and two waterskiing days.
10. Biking around the Chain of Lakes — Harriet, Calhoun and Isles (I’ve only biked two at a time, not all three at once).
11. Check out a few more local Mpls breweries and new restaurants.
12. Lots and lots of DQ Blizzards (have I mentioned there’s a DQ three blocks from my house?)
13. The Minnesota State Fair! There are 46 new foods this year … yes, really.
14. Camping in Detroit Lakes, MN (for a friend’s wedding … yes, really.)
15. My first trip to the Wisconsin Dells (for another friend’s birthday).
16. A family reunion out at Lake Minnetonka, including waterskiing, speedboating, dock-sitting, fishing and a dinner cruise from Al & Alma’s.
17. My first-ever concert at the famed First Avenue concert club in Mpls.

My parents are coming for a nice long visit this month, so they’ll be helping me check a few items off this list 🙂 And I’m taking about half of July off from work, which will be love-ly.

What’s on your summer to-do list? And who’s coming to MN to help me with mine?


Story of a Thursday evening:

1. I bought a new lawnmower (!) and tonight while I was mowing the backyard, I found this:

If you’re too lazy to click on the link (even though it’s worth it…), I’ll tell you: a den of baby rabbits, in the middle of the lawn. And yes I mowed right over the spot just moments earlier.

They’re adorable. Don’t even have their eyes open yet. I probably ensured their demise by getting my human smell all over the rabbit fur that was covering them up. We shall see. I don’t love having rabbits in my garden, but I do have a serious soft spot for rabbits (ask my mom what happened to the rabbit I had as a kid, and ask BFF Alissa why she calls me “little rabbit.”) So for now this is fun, but it could turn traumatic soon.

Oh, and here are the older siblings of these little guys, spotted a few weeks back:

2. Watching the Spurs-Miami game — Go Spurs Go! — on my TV. But not in the basement. Upstairs! Never got around to blogging about this change because it wasn’t really intentional. I just brought the TV up to the living room back in January so that me and some girlfriends could watch Downton Abbey on Sunday nights, and I never took it back down. I kind of like having it in the corner of the living room, at least for now. I might do something different with it down the road, like hanging it on the wall or putting in a different entertainment center. And I don’t have cable, so it’s not like I use it very often (I still watch 95% of my shows on my iPad or Mac via Hulu, Netflix of Xfinity Player).

3. And then, I got this awesome picture from fellow-blogger-BFF Kelli and her new bird, Tiko:

And it made me happy to trade stories about bunnies and birds and watch the Spurs game “together” via text message (we grew up in San Antonio together).
4. I have new next-door neighbors, and we totally do the whole “yelling thru screen windows” thing, so I made a racket about the baby rabbits and they came over to take a peek. Gotta love fun neighbors.
And at the end of a really hard day and a really long week, I’m feeling less far away from loved ones. Thank you bunnies & lawnmowers & instagram & iPhones.
*bonus life points if you know what coniglietti means and your name is not Alissa or Bethany.


2012: all the things!

All those things I mentioned in the last post? Haven’t done them yet. Whoops! BUT I have been spending lots of great time traveling (for work, for fun, and of course, for weddings). More to come about house updates soon, though, since that’s one of my resolutions this year.

I spent New Year’s weekend hanging out in my childhood neighborhood, and I was feeling nostalgic so here are a few of my favorite away-from-the-house moments from the last twelve months. 

Minneapolis ~ Dec. 30, 2011 ~ Kelin & Mike

Des Moines ~ June 9, 2012 ~ Caitlin & Alex

Minneapolis ~ July 14, 2012 ~ Sarah & Steve

Davis, CA ~ July 28, 2012 ~ Bethany & Adam

New Braunfels, TX ~ Aug. 25, 2012 ~ Kelli & Kyle

Honolulu ~ Sept. 9, 2012 ~ Christina & Andrew

Northfield, MN ~ Sept. 15, 2012 ~ Lauren & Jamison

Wimberly, TX ~ Dec. 29, 2012 ~ Courtney & Cullen


You’ve met Danica before, here on the blog. Usually in the context of crafts and projects, at which she is a creative genius. She is a full-time photographer, which I admire (and envy, just a little bit). I love her style, her eye for visual storytelling, and her kind soul. We’re bartering skills from our day jobs to help each other out, so she came over last week to snap a few shots of me around the house (I needed a new headshot for something coming up this spring). But I especially adore this one from the kitchen:

More of her lovely work here, on her blog.

Thanks, Danica 🙂

*GPOYS = gratuitous picture of you Saturday (GPOYW = gratuitous picture of you Wednesday, a popular Tumblr phenomenon that I do not normally participate in, being that this is not a Tumblr blog… 😉 )

I swim in it as a sea

“And there’s a hand, my trusty friend
And give us hand of thine
And we’ll take a right good-will draught
for auld lang syne.”

That’s one of the verses of Auld Lang Syne you never seem to hear on New Year’s Eve. Beautiful, isn’t it? My friends Kelin and Mike got married on Friday, and we spent the last three days of 2011 celebrating (and singing all the verses of Auld Lang Syne with full brass and bridal chorus … so fun.) So much celebrating that I stayed in my pj’s on the couch all day today, drinking tea from the adorable cups my brother got me for Christmas, which was a delightful way to start the new year 🙂
Last night, a friend of Kelin and Mike’s read this from Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric”:

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

That is my wish for you in 2012. Swim in the delight of friends as in a sea. And to the friends reading this, let that be our 2012 and beyond. Love you all. Come over for dinner soon 😉

house crashing: boston (part 1)

A few weekends ago, I ran away to Boston for some long-overdue R&R with dear friends Bethany, Alissa and Megan.

We’ve known each other for ages (I moved to their town in elementary school, and they’ve known each other much longer). Alissa and Bethany and I spent three months wandering around Europe about five years ago, and I still miss them every day.

The lucky three get to live together in a cute house in Boston, chock-full of personality and charming details. Here are a few of my favorite bits and pieces.

PS: The game pictured above, Bang!, is amazing. I haven’t had so much fun playing a game in ages. Don’t pick it up if you don’t like lots of rules, though 🙂

summer travels, lonely house

These days when someone asks me “how is the house,” the answer is usually “I haven’t seen it in a while.” Not to mention working on house or garden projects. Since mid-May, I’ve:

  • been to 10 weddings
  • changed jobs (yeah, I probably forgot to mention that)
  • traveled (for work or for weddings) to Omaha, Northern California, Atlanta, New York City (twice), North Carolina and Washington D.C.

Truth: Fun for me but not so fun for keeping up with this place.

October is turning out to be just as hectic as the summer was, but I’m finding more efficient ways to keep up with the cleaning and lawn care on the days in between trips. It’s a challenge, but I do like having this place to come home to … so I think I’ll keep it 🙂

In honor of a truly amazing summer, and to give you a glimpse of my life outside the house, here are some of my favorite moments from the last four months:

The stunning sunset at the wedding of this amazing lady and her fantastic husband
A rare photo-op with 12 of the 17 cousins at Rachel and Mark’s wedding in Omaha (the first of three cousin weddings this summer!)
Grade-school girlfriends at Carolyn’s wedding in Half Moon Bay, California
One of many Lake Minnetonka days with my family
Reminiscing with Kelli about our childhood days in Texas on one of my two trips to New York City, where she now lives (and blogs!)
College roommates! Nancy was the first of the Plum House girls to tie the knot
Catching up with more college friends in Washington D.C. in September
Dancing with Stephen, my like-a-brother friend that I’ve known since 5th grade, at his wedding in Napa Valley in May
Nate, Care, Sugi, me and Newman at, you guessed it, another wedding
Johnny and Maria’s wedding in Minneapolis (more cousins!)
Twins win! One of the best comebacks in baseball history.
Celebrating mom’s 20th anniversary with PartyLite at their National Conference in Minneapolis in July, alongside two of her best friends (amazing women, all of them)
Getting my Michael Cuddyer home run ball signed (I caught it during a game two summers ago) — definitely a top highlight 🙂
A weekend at Newman’s lake cabin in Wisconsin
An Agnes a Cappella reunion at Kelin’s bridal shower
And, the most surreal moment: standing next to Alison, my best friend since we were born, during her beautiful wedding in Atlanta.
My southern roots are showing a little bit more than usual, eh? Did I mention there were hats?
Yes. An amazing, blessed summer.
It’s okay if I hibernate in the house all winter, though, right?
PS — I’m back home for a few weeks before a jaunt to Boston … and tomorrow I’ll have photos from a major house upgrade. One where I didn’t have to lift a finger. Hooray 🙂