Friday, January 28, 2011


I don't know how I forgot about Como Conservatory as a way to cheat winter. It really is the perfect tropical antidote to winter for the price of a two dollar at will donation. It is warm, humid and verdant. The minute I started photographing the flowers I was overwhelmed by how much I had missed doing that. And then there is the koi pond. Delightful for the children and endlessly fascinating for this photographer. In fact it was a double koi pond day since we ate dinner at Mai Village. I still wonder about the fate of the koi in that pond that gobbled up Charlie's pacifier that dropped from his mouth when we dined there about a year ago.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Marriage

I don’t have a single photograph of our wedding day on January 26, 2009. I forgot my camera when we left for the Ramsey County Courthouse. The temperature was below zero and Charlie was sick, throwing up on me at least three times that day. It was appropriate because we didn’t want our wedding to be a big deal. We chose a Monday in January and wore clothes that were already in our closet. The only thing nearing significant about the day was that it happened to be Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox, which is my sign and a good solid down to earth one at that.

If I had one word of advice about marriage I would say to marry someone you can do hard things with. There are many people in the world with whom you will enjoy spending time, but for running the great machine that is a family, pounding out the miles of everyday life, and dealing with the times when things go really wrong you need someone you can trust implicitly to stick with you with an unwavering steadfastness and shared commitment. If we had written our own wedding vows, Josh and I would have promised each other a life of squalor and misery and pledged to always fight back to back. I know that when I fall apart, he’s got it covered, and I also know that I will dig down deeper into my well of resources to make sure I’m doing my part for him. Because of this, I believe, we laugh more frequently, savor the deliciousness of simple joys, and want to be home more than any place else. Because we are focused on giving everything that we are to each other, we get more out of our relationship than anything else.

Happy anniversary to my husband, my best friend, and the only person in the world who never sucks.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Yes, it really was -15 degrees today. I kept my promise to myself and went out anyway. The adventure today was a trip to the camera store to get a flash to increase the quality of my indoor photos. While there, I also bought myself a very happy-making macro lens that I will practice with during these indoorsy months so I'm ready to get up close and personal with the wildflowers when they return in the spring. Taking pictures this week got me out of the severe January funk I was in, and if I am going to take pictures of something besides snow, I needed to make some enhancements to my equipment.

Wow! Look at how beautiful things are around my house since I fed my inner artist (who, I have to admit, is a bastard of Picasso-esque proportions).
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Desperate for Color

It's not the cold. It's not even the snow in terms of sheer volume and hassle. It's the gray and white of every day like being trapped in an old movie with a really poor plot. Help! Someone please invent technicolor soon!
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Monday, January 17, 2011


One danger of January is spending too much time in internal spaces. Too much time in my house means to much time in my head. Frankly, the amount of time I spend outside taking pictures and walking around is inversely proportional to how neurotic I am. I got sick of my inner monologue this long weekend and decided that:
a) 20 degrees counts as warm in January in Minnesota
b) Gray and foggy counts as good light for photographs
c) St. Paul is still a cool city even when it's cold.
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Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Survive January

Let's face it. This is the tough one out of the winter months. In December, you get distracted by the holidays. February is a short month so it seems to be over in a blink of an eye. It may still be snowing in March, but the bitter cold is gone, besides you can order your garden seeds and maybe even start a few inside. Nope. It's January that is rough. It's so rough, that we chose to get married in January on a Monday (perhaps the roughest of weekdays, although Tuesday is a close contender) because it could only get better from there.

Here are a few of my January survival strategies, some new this year, some tried and true:
  • Redecorate the living space: We now have new couch slipcovers, a new rug, a new dining room table and will soon have new dining room chairs and a new light fixture. If you have to be inside this much, at least it can be pretty.
  • Force some bulbs indoors: How can you be blue when you see those tender spring green stalks? My amaryllis is slowly poking its way upward soon to add a bright flash of valentine red into the house. Grow inside until you can grow outside.
  • Get outside everyday if you can. Check in on your favorite nature sites to see what's going on even if you mostly look from inside your car.
  • Wear a down vest under a down coat. It may not look particularly elegant, but it feels like you are still tucked warmly in your bed.
  • Listen to music that evokes fond memories of previous winters. Try to find some new songs to love for use in future years. If all else fails, break out that favorite mix from July and remember what the sun felt like on all that exposed skin.