Weekend with Mic

A couple times a year, my firefighting brother Mic and I have some sibling hang-out time. As you might expect, we talk about fires, discuss Nomex and EMS courses, make grand plans for the future, talk about spiritual journeys, try out local brew pubs…

and go to art museums!

OK, maybe you didn’t see that coming, but there is nothing more fun than some irreverent artsploration with my brother.

But let me back up. Mic got in on Friday and we headed to the grocery store to get some tasty food. Mic thought a baked brie would be perfect, so we got all the ingredients. He was shocked and appalled when we didn’t have any rolling pin, but he made do.

That brie was soooo good! We accompanied it with some samples of Mic’s own homebrews and a fantastic game of Citadels.

On Saturday we had brunch at Pannekoeken, one of my very favorite local breakfast joints. Of course I had a pannekoeken, a delicious egg pancake, with bananas and rum sauce. Then Mic and I headed up to the Cities to get our culture on.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is impressive – an enormous emporium of fantastic art. We pored over the American and European… sadly, there was less Moran and Bierstadt than Mic and I like, but there were many thought-provoking pieces. This painting, for example, shows that it has always been impossible to do your daughter’s hair without an iPad.

Yes, I think that girl is totally watching something on her iPad while her maid does her hair! Just proving the iPad is not a new invention! (The piece is by an unknown Dutch artist in the late 17th century and is titled Lady at her Toilet).

Then we saw this Springtime of Life picture by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot:

“That’s a Minnesota spring,” I told Mic. She doesn’t look too chipper, does she?

Thankfully she was balanced out by some Sisley and Pissaro.  And then in the Modern section there was this fantastic piece:

This painting is Dear Diary – Never Since We Left Prague by Leonora Carrington (1955). Spooky white-haired pale figures around a table with weird items and floating creatures in the foreground… I would totally read a novel based on this painting! Heck, I would write it if I had any idea what was going on!

In the middle of our “artsing” we got nibbly and had to grab a snack at the cafe. They had a very nice $4 bread-and-butter option… we didn’t want to try anything heavier because we were planning to go out for dinner. In fact I had texted my high school friend Jesslyn, who lives in the Cities, to see what she recommended.

As we left the museum and headed to my car, who should we run into but Jesslyn! She was pulling out of her driveway and recognized me… she hasn’t seen me in the flesh since high school… what are the odds?!

After a brief catch-up session, Mic and I headed to Darbur for some tasty Indian food and then decided to try some local brewpubs. Within walking distance we found The Herkimer and tried a couple flights of their beer so we could cover all the bases. I like light, clear beers but my fav was actually their Derry cream beer brewed with nitrogen (which makes it taste kinda flat but not unpleasant). The bartender gave us the name of his pal at Northbound which was pretty much on our way home (or so we justified it to ourselves). Northbound was packed and after tasting their wheat beer I could understand why – it was just what I like. Plus, Mic is doing home-brewing and has all kinds of brilliant insights into beer and “beer culture” which could be its own post.

The next day, Chris and I played handbells, and Mic headed back to Omaha. Here is a pic of the three of us looking respectable at church.

And today is St. Patrick’s Day and it was one of those very busy days off in which I got relatively little done. But… I did wear green. Éirinn go Brách! (Ireland forever!)

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White Christmas

The week before Christmas we went to the joint handbell-choir Christmas party. What a blast! The music director’s house was full of musicians, delicious food, and good wine. Then someone brought out the crazy hats…

Ariel and Nicole got run over by a reindeer

Christmas Eve brought snow, but we battled our way through it to the 11:00 service. The prelude music started at 10:30 and included a couple of fantastic handbell pieces and a solo by my dear husband. There were a couple stumbles but after all we weren’t there just to play or listen to beautiful music… We were there to remember the ultimate gift, Christ humbling himself to come to earth and be a human in order to pay our debt. We tolled in Christmas Day, put the bells up, and dragged ourselves home to bed in the wee hours – but for all the right reasons!

I remember my mom taking me to a midnight service at a Lutheran church when we lived in Texas (we were Bible church people so it was a change of pace). There was something thrilling about the tradition and ritual and of course staying up late. It seemed so special, so sacred, going out into the cold, dark night, just as Jesus brought his light into the cold, dark world. I’m glad the handbells play at the late service.

On Christmas morning, Chris made us a tasty breakfast and we Facetimed with my family while we opened our wonderful, thoughtful presents from family and friends. Then I got the best present from my job… the afternoon off!!! We spent it walking the dogs, clearing the driveway with our new electric snowblower, and making mac ‘n cheese to share with our friends the Hills. We had a feast with our friends… chicken, stuffing, mac ‘n cheese, salad, and apple pie for dessert. Sooo good! We also played one of our Christmas presents, the fantastic game Citadels.

So here’s the picture of us looking nice and Christmas-y, but you can’t really see the dog. He’s black so he blends right in. Here is the picture with flash:

Doesn’t the dog look like a robot?!!!

Anyway, we had a very merry Christmas… even though family were far away, we were able to celebrate with them through technology and the power of UPS. I hope the rest of you had a very merry Christmas!