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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Colorado Adventures!

We flew out to Colorado this week to visit my family. Because I worked both Christmas and New Year’s, there was really no good time to make the trip west… and of course now school is starting and work is ramping up. But we’ve had a WONDERFUL time. First, we had a great visit with my grandparents – a real holiday-style ham dinner! I don’t feel so bad about missing the Christmas and New Years’ feasts after enjoying some home-cooked green bean casserole.

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Please note the girls’ side ponytails!!! 

 

Then we took off to Glenwood Springs and the best ski resort ever, Ski Sunlight. “What is this Ski Sunlight?” you may ask. “I have heard of Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge… but Ski Sunlight?” You haven’t heard of it because it’s Colorado’s best kept secret (and, unfortunately, no one is paying me to say that!) The lower slopes are gradual and perfect for beginners, but there are also some great intermediate and expert slopes higher up. And at night, when you drag yourself home, you can head to Glenwood Springs hot springs for a soak in the medicinal waters. (Note: we never actually hit the hot spring this time…. but we did hit the hot tub!)

I decided to be adventurous. I have skiied for over 20 years of my life and I can get down the mountain without much trouble. So I decided to branch out, push myself:

 

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Yes, I learned how to snowboard!! In perfect powder conditions which were great for spending lots of time on my behind (fallboarding)! I actually found snowboarding pretty fun because it is so much about core and balance. The not so fun part: you can’t hike easily with a snowboard. The second day I did a pretty flat green run with my family and ended up hiking up hills 4 times because I either fell or ran out of speed (hikeboarding). 

Except for the first time, I also fell every single time I got off the lift. Every. Single. Time. Let me know if you have any tips!

But all that time spent sprawled in the snow was worth it for the feeling of drifting like a falling leaf down the hillside. No poles. No crossed skis. No baggage. Just me, my board, and the mountain. 

After two days in the hills, we had to head back to real life.  Chris, my brother and I headed to Golden for a day and met my grandmother at Ali Baba for lunch – delish! Then we visited some friends from medical school and their baby in the Stapleton area.

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Those babies grow up so fast!

Yesterday my mom brought me along to observe her work as a school nurse. She works at a school for kids with past attendance or disciplinary issues, and I was so impressed at how their school works to accommodate the kids and families. They are working hard to help people and making a difference at a critical time in these kids’ lives. 

Today we went to the Denver Art Museum and saw the Passport to Paris exhibit. It was great to see such a variety of styles and times – my new favorite is British artist Sisley. They had a great Pissaro section with paintings from each decade of his art and it was cool to see how his style evolved and mellowed, from sharp geometrical shapes and “wild-urban interface” pieces to more abstract nature scenes. They also had some cool juxtapositions – a scene of Montmartre when it was all country, and a couple scenes of the wild nightlife there a few decades later. While we were at DAM, we also admired some of Thomas Moran’s watercolors and chromolithographs from Yellowstone. We finished our time downtown with some wine and cheese across the street. 

Lest you think that all we do is travel fun places and eat, Chris also made Mario Batalli’s baked ziti last night and in the process discovered that the pipes around the garbage disposal were clogged. Dirty dishwater was pouring everywhere; buckets, towels, flashlights were produced. But nothing could faze the Bugoshes! My dad ran some diagnostics, my mom snaked the pipes and upon discovering that it was beyond our level of expertise, we turned to Music Man to help Anna practice for the school play.  The new Music Man (2003) is pretty good, I must say, especially since we live so close to Iowa.  And the plumber is on the case right now. 

So it’s not ALL fun and games… but we usually end up having fun anyway!