Saturday, March 1, 2014

Week in review

During the workweek (Monday through Friday), between meetings and meet-ups with friends, I usually have plans on two or three evenings. This week's calendar was fuller than usual, and though I didn't plan it intentionally that way, the timing was good. I love my nights at home, and with the temperatures still low, low, low, my homebody tendency is more pronounced than usual this time of year. This week's plan was heavy on new activities and new places: just the ticket.

Monday night was a trip to the movies with Sara. We drove to a suburb to catch a screening of "That Awkward Moment" before it left theaters, primarily because we've been fans of Zac Efron since "High School Musical 2." (True story.) What did we find? $5.50 tickets and an empty theater.

Making plans to catch a weeknight movie was very fun, and I need to do that more often.

Next: thanks to my brother's suggestion, I attended my first Policy and a Pint, a monthly event hosted by The Current, the Twin Cities' member-sponsored radio station. This month's conversation was about the state of education in Minnesota - a set of issues about which I'm passionate - and the discussion, in front of a big audience at the Varsity Theater, was thoughtful and thought-provoking. I learned a lot from the panel's community members, and by the end of the evening, my head was full of more questions and ideas. I will be marking my calendar for future Policy and a Pint events.

Bonus: getting to spend time with my brother and sister in a neat venue.

Also, Josh is coaching baseball now, so most weeknights he's with the team at practice, but he had a new adventure of his own this week: he went to Costco for the first time and came home with a gigantic bag full of grapefruits for me!!

Later in the week: Ladies Night Out on Grand Avenue! Grand Avenue is a St. Paul street lined with shops and restaurants, and the avenue's business association organized a night with sales, specials, samples and that kind of thing. I met three friends at a salon for blowouts and makeup, and then we headed to dinner, with stops in between for a wine tasting and picking up a free spice at Penzey's. Leisurely strolling Grand Avenue is so nice in the warmer months, and this was a great reminder that it's still fun even when the weather is cold. (The strolling was just less leisurely.)

And today I went with Sara to see the American Swedish Institute's amazing Papercut! exhibit. It featured the work of a Danish artist named Karen Bit Vejle, as well as several other artists. The exhibit's link will give you a good sense of what papercutting looks like (its technical name is psaligraphy), but basically, it's the art of drawing with scissors (tiny scissors). Papercutting has a long tradition in Scandinavian countries, particularly in Denmark, and Hans Christian Andersen was well-known for his psaligraphy work.

I've loved the aesthetic of papercutting for a long time, before I actually knew the name for the art, and it was incredible to see the pieces up close and in person. The intricacy of the tiny details was stunning.

one example of Karen Bit Vejle's psaligraphy
I could not recommend this exhibit more highly. It was also our first visit to the American Swedish Institute, which is in Minneapolis and links a historic mansion to a modern gallery. The papercutting exhibit is in both areas, and the mansion also houses a more permanent exhibit on Swedish history and culture. It's a beautiful space.

This week's new experiences were a good antidote to our subzero days.

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