Category Archives: Landscape

Basilica Block Party, Saturday July 13, Minneapolis {part one}

Saturday morning, we got up and got to be lazy and just sat around and watch TV for a while. We left in our car, and drove to Uptown for breakfast. We ate the Uptown Café.  Love that place…such a mix of people.  I had a caramel roll…first time I have had one of their rolls.  OMG, delicious.  After breakfast we drove back to the hotel and got our bikes.  We biked downtown.  We went to Loring Park and also my favorite alley for photos.

Loring Park

my favorite alley

We biked back over to the Basilica grounds to scout out the stage location and how to best get to it for the Saturday night show.  Bruce specifically was looking for a curb or something I could stand on so I could see a bit better.  We found a great spot close to the front, off to the side a bit and I would be able to see pretty well. I even decided it was worth bring my big camera because we were going to be in a great position to get some cool shots.

Basilica Block Party, Saturday {part two}

Kerri and David had purchased VIP tickets for Saturday night, so we were on our own.  We got to the grounds a little after 5:00.  We went directly to the spot we had picked out to stand.  We were in a great spot, and I could see the first performer, Kate Earl quite well.

I texted my friend Jill to tell her how much it reminded of me when we all went to see Eddie Money in 1983 or 84.  At that show we were all right in front of the stage. But I do believe we got there mighty early to get those places to stand!

When Kate Earl’s set was done, we started visiting with the other folks standing around us.  We were standing on a cement platform, about 5 to 6 inches high.  There was a fire hydrant in the middle and another pole near it to protect it from cars hitting the hydrant.  There were probably a dozen or so people on the “block”.  Believe it or not, some who were even shorter than me!

It turned out that the VIP tickets Kerri and David had were not for the stage that Matchbox 20 was playing, so they were going to get some free food and drinks and then make their way up to where we were. We were saving spots for them to stand by us. Kerri and I were texting throughout all of this.  I was begging her to bring Bruce and me some food and something to drink.  At this point, it would have been unlikely that if we had left our “block” we would not have gotten back up there.  People were constantly streaming in.

One of the guys Bruce was talking to mentioned having recently been to see Bruce Springsteen.  My ears perked up when I heard that…HA, a fellow Springsteen lover.  I of course wanted to talk to him and swap stories.  I thought he looked a few years younger than us.  We talked about all the places we had seen Bruce S. play. I talked about my trip to NYC when I was 19, with a guy I had just met.  We stayed with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins at their home on Long Island.  The concert was outside at the Meadowlands.  It turned out that the show we had tickets for was postponed, and we ended up staying much longer than we had anticipated.  He told me of all the shows he had gone to, etc.  I was thinking possibly we would come up with a show that we had both been to or somewhere we may have crossed paths.  I then asked him when he saw Bruce for the first time.  He replied that the first time he saw Springsteen was 1999.  HOLY CRAP, my obsession was already over by then!!  First time I saw him was 1983!  So, no….we were never at the same show.  And I obviously didn’t come close to guessing his age correctly!

kate earl and goo goo dolls

kate earl and goo goo dolls

Next up was the Goo Goo Dolls performance.  There now was a lot more people there.  It was a great show.  We could see quite well and everyone was having a good time and being respectful and polite.

Towards the end of their show, it was getting more and more crowded.  We were all really defending our little cement island in the parking lot.  Many people were trying to join us on our block, and I was still trying to save 2 spots for Kerri and David.  When the Goo Goo Dolls were done, the people trying to get in front of us were getting much younger and a hell of a lot ruder! Many people would say they were just walking thru to get up closer.  That was fine.  Some of them tried to stay, but we were tapping them on the arm and telling them to keep going.  The spots were saved.  I texted Kerri and told them it was getting harder and harder to save their spots and they had to get up to us as soon as possible.  Being that we were so close to the stage, we had no idea how crowded it had gotten behind us.  Kerri and David were trying to get up to us…but it was so crowded they couldn’t get there.  They decided to just hang in the back.  They eventually left and went to the other stage where their VIP tickets worked. So we never did see them.  I found one of the short gals who we had made move when she was standing on our block and told her she could join us.

Matchbox 20

matchbox 20 2

After Matchbox 20 started it got even worse…dozens of people were trying to get ahead of us and we were constantly telling them to go back.  There was NO WHERE to go that was in front of us.  It was jam packed with people.  Bruce could see this pretty well, because he too was about 6 inches taller than his normal 6’3!  The crowd was getting insane.  Many times, the person trying to get through would say, well all my friends are up there, I have to get up there.  We believed them and would let them through.  When the 6’5 guy who looked like he played football tried to get past Bruce he said “where do you think you are going to go? There is no room up there.” We stood our ground and would not let him through.  Many other “kids” were trying the same thing, and after a while, I got to be quite the bitch (who me?). One kid I said “no, you are not getting past us.”  I don’t think I said it quite like that…I know I used the f-bomb.  He then asked me “what are you the boss of the concert?”  I said “Punk, get the EFF out of my face.”  Who even says something like that after you are out of elementary school?  He likely just went around and found another way up closer.  As it turns out, they all must have, because before we knew it, there was a pack of a dozen or so kids 6 feet in front of us.  And yes, that included the 6’5 guy.  It was so incredibly jammed with people; it was “skin to skin” contact with the people all around us.  The area in front of the stage and way past where we were standing was PACKED with people and all politeness had VANISHED…and that definitely included me.  I think I am a very tolerant person.  But one thing I can’t tolerate is blatant rudeness….and these people had it by the boat load!  This continued to happen until more than half the show was done.  Most of them didn’t get onto our cement island and we just stood our ground and told people NO. {OK, it wasn’t just NO…it was much more colorful than that.}  I think was the mouthiest one on the “block.” There was a family of 3 next to me, and they had been there all along.  The daughter would look at me when someone was trying to get in front of her.  I would tap them on the shoulder and tell them that she had been standing here for hours and they needed to find another spot.  I could not even guess how many times something like this occurred. It seemed to be almost non-stop.

Back to the kids in front of us…6’5 guy was right in Bruce’s line of sight, so he could no longer see. Then they started putting the girls on their shoulders…OMG, no one could see. Other people on the “block” who had been quiet up until now got pretty upset.  One guy, who appeared to be quite timid was yelling at them “get down, I didn’t pay to see you.” He then threw something at the girl closest to him, but it missed.  He then pulled her long flowing blonde locks and she wouldn’t even turn around.  The guy did later turn around with her still on his shoulders and she was dancing around looking at the crowd, singing along with the band, etc.  She would not get down.  To add insult to injury – she was so stinkin’ cute and looked great atop his shoulders dancing around…made me even madder! {I didn’t say I wasn’t petty!}

The corker was when 2 women (one in her 20s and the other mid 30s) barged their way on to our block.  I tapped the 30 year old and told her that they could not stand her.  30 was fine with that and was trying to leave.  20……….SHE WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE. 30 was practically begging 20 to follow her, kept  yelling to her “come on it isn’t worth it.” But this girl was not budging. She was standing right in front of the girl and her parents.  The girl kept looking at me with a “please do something” look.   The somewhat polite requests for her to get the hell out of our space were going unnoticed.  She planted herself right in front of that family (mostly in front of the girl, but they were all under 5’5 so none of them could see as a result of her standing directly in front of them).  I finally had enough and stood right next to her asking her “who the EFF do you think you are?  What makes you think that you can walk up here and stand in front of people who have been here for hours?”  She replied “it is an outdoor concert; I can stand wherever I want.”  I became even more vocal and my level of pissed-off-ness was nearly bubbling over. I continued to yell at her to MOOOOVE.  She then did a version of “talk to the hand” to me, but she was opening and closing her hand mimicking me talking yelling. I lost it at that point and grabbed her wrist, Bruce instantly grabbed my arm and 30 was BEGGING her to come with her.  Still would not move.  The dad of the family of 3 finally had it.  He got past her and stood right in front of her.  He was shorter, so I think she could still probably see, but she wasn’t moving…instead she yelled at him “oh does that make you feel better standing right in front of me?”  At that point, I think 30 grabbed her and pulled her away. I think we all cheered!

Needless to say…the pictures I got sucked!



Matchbox 20 played an iTunes festival in London and Bruce watches it all the time on you tube.  At one point I asked Bruce if this show reminded him a lot of the iTunes show….he said it was pretty much identical!!   I would go to the block party again, but not to the big headliner…I remember now why I don’t go to many concerts anymore!

Looking back, I think I maybe have been suffering from “short woman syndrome” all my life and that extra 6 inch cement platform I was standing on made me feel so tall and my inner badass came out in full force! At one point I was wishing Kerri could get up by us, because she is short but has been a badass all along!  Then it became clear that if she had made her way up by us….Asia Security would have been dragging us out! She was getting pissed off on Friday night at Matt Nathanson because 1/2 the people were watching the show through their phone either video taping or photographing it.  If that 20 year old girl had done “talk to the hand” thing to Kerri, she would have broken that hand! Love you Kerri! 🙂

On Sunday morning, on our drive back to St. Joe, we were flipping through radio stations…we left it on Jack FM “playing what we want.”  A Loverboy song came on…followed by Police’s ROXANNE…I started having flashbacks of my friends and me going to all kinds of concerts when we were in high school.  This included a Loverboy and .38 Special outdoor concert.  I am sure I was never as rude as those kids at Matchbox 20….but I think some of my friends may have been!  PAYBACK!!


Brilliant Autumn Weekend

Saturday, Bruce and I drove down to the cities and biked around the lakes.  It was gorgeous out; 80 degrees about midday.  The sky was a bit funky though – it seemed as though there was this hazy in the air.  I don’t know if it is from a fire out west, or if because it is so dry here, and the windy wasn’t blowing – but, whatever, it was strange, and I think the photos show that in the color tones.

Saturday evening, we drove out towards Cold Spring – Bruce drives along the country roads until I shriek “STOP” just like my momma!

Sunday we went to Quarry Park.  There the color was definetly off, because it is so dry.  Normally, the forest floor would all be green still – with a lot of red from sumac.  This year the colors seem more yellow than in previous years.  The drought of the past few months was very evident.


See the flickr gallery here:

Sapling Structure at St. John’s, Collegeville

COLLEGEVILLE — Like something out of a child’s dream, environmental artist Patrick Dougherty’s playful roadside creation defies convention.

The cluster of wooden “chapelets” envisioned by the 67-year-old from Chapel Hill, N.C., was completed Friday afternoon with the help of several local volunteers and students.

“We used sticks by the ton,” Dougherty said at Friday’s outdoor reception, which featured refreshments and live music for the crowd that had gathered to celebrate its completion.

Stella Maris Chapel was the inspiration for his outdoor sculpture, which took three weeks to finish with materials harvested from St. John’s Arboretum.

“We had great weather. And we had an abundance of saplings, which made it easy,” Dougherty said. “Everything went just so perfectly that it was impossible to believe.”

Believing in the impossible, however, was what it took to create “Lean on Me,” his life-size artwork that visitors can explore and walk through at St. John’s University.

“Things that are a little off-kilter are more interesting than things that stand up. These things lean on each other and create a kind of a dependency,” Dougherty said. “They look friendly.”

Students from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and St. John’s Preparatory School also had a hand in erecting the structure.

“We invited Patrick to come to Central Minnesota to create one of his pieces because he is such a collaborative artist. He doesn’t work alone,” said Brother David Paul Lange, an associate professor of art at CSB/SJU and one of the coordinators of the project.

“Because the nature of our two colleges is so collaborative — so much of what we do here is so collaborative — he and his kind of work seem to fit so perfectly with us, in addition to our focus on sustainability and the environmental studies program here.”

Rachel Melis, an associate professor of art at CSB/SJU and a project coordinator, saw Dougherty’s art on display at other colleges and helped bring him to  Minnesota.

“There are other artists who do use natural materials, but this is natural materials with such a high level of craft and an invitation to human beings to imagine themselves as part of nature … what we can do when we live harmoniously with nature,” Melis said.

The project began Sept. 3 and more than 300 volunteers were involved in the construction, which took place during eight-hour work days, according to Lange.

“I love nature and I love the arboretum, so I thought it was a really cool opportunity to get involved,” said Tess Foster, a junior at St. Ben’s. “One thing that I found really surprising was how malleable the wood was. It was really easy to weave in and out.”

Children at the reception ran in and out of Dougherty’s creation, playing hide-and-seek with the slivers of sunlight that filtered through the rooftops and “windows.”

“With all the buildings leaning on each other, I think it really speaks about this whole community in this area,” Foster said. “It’s just breathtaking to me.”

“Lean on Me” will be on display along the main road  in Collegeville for two years.

“Using only what came from the land right here at St. John’s, Patrick shows us that wonder is all around us,” said Richard Ice, dean of academic affairs at CSB/SJU.

Dougherty said, “Saplings are imaginative objects. And my job as a sculptor is to capture people’s imagination and to build things that make people come running.”


Our Friday Field Trip – Adopt a Hen

Friday, I took a half-day off work.  We had an appointment at 1:00 with Matthew Willenbring, to adopt a hen.  We were going on a field trip!!

The girls were already throwing around names they thought would be good for a hen!  We explained that the adoption process was a little different, in that the hen is  going to stay at the farm with all her sisters; but we can visit any time we want.

We got out to the farm, and Matthew was right there to greet us.  He brought us around took a look around at all the chickens roaming around behind the little white fence.  Matthew has 300+ hens, and they are pasture-raised…so they eat grass, insects, plus a very nutritious blend of
ingredients that Matthew grids up for them. Most of those ingredients too, are grown right there on the farm.

He had three hens separated in a smaller fenced in area.  Those 3 were available for adoption today.  Matthew kneeled down and picked up one of the  hens. We all got to pet the hen – who knew it would be like the softest kitty fur?  The girls each got in the fenced in area and started checking out the feathered girls.

Matthew shared so much information with us about the hens.  Do you know what the comb and waddle are for?  It acts as a radiator to draw the heat away from them, and keep them cool.  Did you know that chicken’s have tongues?  Yep, it looks like a little triangle inside their mouth.  Their eyelids go from the bottom up, opposite of ours.  They each have over 8,000 feathers!  He is so knowledgeable about the species, And so kind and patient, he was fantastic with the kids!  Did you know that the shell of the egg isn’t formed until the last day.  I could only
hope to recall a small portion of the info he told us about cholesterol, LDL and HDL, it was like speaking with a scientist.  Bottom line – these eggs are actually REALLY good for you!

For the price of the adoption ($36) Matthew gives you a punch card for 12 dozen eggs, to pick up whenever you want, and however often you would like.  You can pick up a dozen farm fresh eggs and visit you hen! Did you know that eggs will last for 5 weeks in the refrigerator?  They should be stored point-side down.  There is an air-pocket on the rounder end of the egg, keeping that side up helps in keeping them fresh.

Lydia and Rachel each named their hen.  Lydia’s is Lexis Jeanne and Rachel named her’s Hailey Lynn.  Matthew took a photo of each of the girls with their hen.  And soon they will get  an adoption certificate in the mail.

We decided to take home 2 dozen eggs, so we went in the farm house for the next stop on this fabulous adventure.  The girls needed to help Matthew candle and sort the eggs he had gathered this morning. They got to see each egg go over the spot where the light illuminated
the shell and you could then see if there were any cracks or imperfections in the shell.  Then the eggs get sorted into size by their weight; the girls then put them in the cartons.  They just marveled at the stacks and stacks of empty egg cartons he had!

Next stop, milking cows! There again, we learned the process of how the cows get milked, what temperature the milk comes out at, and just a bunch of other cool things.  He makes it all so interesting, the girls were having a great time!  My favorite fact: the cows go out to
pasture two times a day.  When they return to the barn, they always go back to the same exact stanchion, EVERY. TIME.  There is no fighting about who gets to park where; each one has its own spot and always returns to it.  Looking into the bulk tank of fresh milk, waiting for the milkman to come and pick it up and transport it to the next step in the milk-making process, WOW, that was neat.  The look on Rachel’s face says it all!


On to giving the baby calves water.  These little things are sooo cute!  They really latch on to the bottle.  It was funny because the calf that my dad was giving water to must have been taking her old sweet time, because we moved on without him!  We got to see calves (twins actually, which is rare and very difficult for the mama) that were two days old.

I mentioned to Matthew that the girls were not sure they wanted to have chicken for dinner tonight.  He so beautifully explained the cycle of life;  Before leaving to go home for happy hour, we had to go say goodbye to our newly adopted kin.During our visit to the farm, each one of the girls told me how much fun they were having.  Last night, after a wonderful, fun filled day, when I was tucking in the girls and kissing them goodnight, they each thanked me for taking them there and for getting them each their own hen!  They really had a wonderful time; I would highly recommend going out to adopt a hen, and meet Matthew.

Every hen needs a home…adopt a hen!

Farm Address – 25113 Co Rd 50 ~Cold Spring MN 56320 ~250.1624



SIDE NOTE:  I made  French toast with the eggs this morning, the yolks are nearly orange!  Like little sun shines.  I am anxious to try them scrambled!

Tonto Natural Bridge ~ near Payson, Arizona

On Sunday, my mom’s birthday, we drove to Tonto Natural Bridge.  It is about 125 miles from Phoenix.  It was chilly up there, but so beautiful.  It is kind of an outdoor cave.  The water running over the rocks, mixing with the more than 130 minerals in the variety of rocks creates these gorgeous “growing” rock formations.  The variety of rocks was amazing.   The rock, vegetation, etc changed so much along the drive up. We would pass an area with thousands of saguaro cacti; and a little while later – no saguaro, but green (and changing color) trees.  The park was gorgeous.  We walked to a lot of different areas; and i of course, took lots of photos.

Mom and Dad walking.

Autumn Road Trip

This weekend Bruce and I went on a drive to see the fall colors.  The colors are certainly not peak – far from it, but we did manage to find some beautiful spots!  To view the animoto slide show click here