Monthly Archives: February 2012

Savor the Company

Caribou coffee

Coffee not only caffeinates us; it connects us. For me, it’s not a morning drink. Once in a while it serves me a mid-day jolt, but mostly it’s something to savor in the company of friends. An opportunity to pause, to power down your digital vices (after taking 50 snapshots), talk about the day, share ideas or news about the world around us, and plot the future. Family and friends influence who we are for the better (and hopefully not for worse!), so it’s important to surround yourself with people who challenge you to be your best and who are willing to share their time. What company do you keep?

From Wayzata in the morning to Grand Ave in St. Paul by afternoon and Savage by night, today was a day to be savored. A day spent in the company of friends.

February 20th, 2012|Food & Drink|Comments Off on Savor the Company

In the Middle

Bullseye & iPod

While the adults entertained themselves at a post-Valentine’s Day party, two-and-a-half year old Marin settled in with some iPod music and videos in the middle of it all.

February 20th, 2012|People|Comments Off on In the Middle



TGIT is not quite the same as in grad school, when no class Friday’s were the norm. Nonetheless, some coworkers and I celebrated with beer, wine, wontons (recipe below) and fun conversation at Joe’s Loring Kitchen.

Today was a reflection in habits, as this past Monday we began our Team Fitness Challenge in the office. I’m determined to re-establish my fitness routine, and I have 10 team members to hold me accountable. Some free advice: workouts are best done before happy hour. But hey, I still got in a 4.5 mile run!

Pat's Wontons

Wonderful Wontons 
1 lb. pork sausage
1 1/4 c. grated cheddar
1 1/4 c. grated jack
1 c. ranch dressing
small can black olives – chopped
1 tsp. ground red pepper
1 pkg wonton wrappers

Cook and drain sausage. Mix ingredients. Put wontons in a sprayed mini muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Fill the wontons with mixture and bake 8 minutes.

February 16th, 2012|Food & Drink, People|Comments Off on TGIT

Ceresota Flour

Ceresota Building

Today, I had lunch at the Ceresota Building with my manager from my first job out of college. In January 1909, Northwestern opened Elevator A (now known as Ceresota), possibly the largest grain elevator ever built of brick. It could hold one million bushels of grain. Northwestern, at its founding in 1891, was the city’s and the world’s second largest flour milling company after Pillsbury and what is today General Mills, a close third. While no longer the home of bread flour, it’s home to a restaurant with the best breadsticks ever, Eddington’s.

February 15th, 2012|Minneapolis|Comments Off on Ceresota Flour

Open Heart


The human heart functions with four valves, which both open and close. As I climbed the stairs in my building, the fire hose valve (of all things) jumped out at me. Amid the rush of Godiva sales, picking the perfect card or present, or enjoying a memorable meal, I was reminded that Valentine’s Day marks just one moment. One moment, one day to open up and express your feelings and celebrate your renewed appreciation for that special someone. Yet hopefully, your year is marked by many such moments.

If you’re single, the day is not meant to be a reminder of what may be missing in your life, but a reminder to keep an open mind. To lead with your truest self. To be discriminating about the qualities in relationships that matter most & how you spend your time. To lead with your gifts, which can be as unique as your fingerprints, in order to find a relationship of inspiration.

Above all, Valentine’s Day is a reminder to give your best self, to feed the relationships that matter most to you, and live life with an open heart.

February 14th, 2012|Photography|Comments Off on Open Heart

Colorful Kicks


This is my friend Josh. He has crazy colorful duds and a pep in his step. Josh works in fashion, color is his game and no one would expect anything less. Because this spring, Color Changes Everything. We were the last few to leave the office, and Josh offered to kick up his feet for a photo.


February 14th, 2012|People|Comments Off on Colorful Kicks

Church and Steeple

Church Steeple

There’s a peace I’ve come to know,
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
There’s an anchor for my soul,
I can say, “It is well.” 

My first year in Chicago involved an exhaustive, yearlong 50+ church search before finding my parish home. I was a member at Ascension in Oak Park for three years, where I joined as a cantor to make beautiful music with talented musicians, many of whom were connected to two local Catholic music publishers. I climbed a staircase to the pulpit to lead the psalms in a century-old church. I learned how to sing Gelineau, Taizé and other songs with rich tradition. And while that music is moving, it’s not always the music that moves me.

Last August, I was elated to return to Holy Name’s LifeTeen band I left in 2005 when I moved, and as luck would have it, they needed a piano player. From keys to drums, electric guitar & bass, and four vocals, my friends and I sing contemporary Catholic and Christian music. We groove with tight harmonies and glow with energy that gives me goosebumps and connects with the congregation in sung prayer. And the homilies are both meaningful and memorable.

And I hear the voice of many angels sing, 
“Worthy is the Lamb.” 
And I hear the cry of every longing heart, 
“Worthy is the Lamb.”

There’s an anchor for my soul,
I can say, “It is well.”

Because I am home.

February 14th, 2012|General, Minneapolis|2 Comments

Perfect Paella

Spanish Paella    365.42

My parents visited Minneapolis this weekend, and I’d been promising my uncle we’d make paella. So the timing was right for a paella party, and I had special Bomba rice and saffron I bought in Spain last year.

My Spanish host family would eat paella every Sunday in the summer of 2001. The recipe comes close to those family dinners, but is not nearly as effortless. I’ve only made this four times in 10 years, and the last time was during grad school in 2006 when I hosted dinner for 17 people. I’m pretty sure we ate from paper plates and drank wine from Solo cups because in grad school, no one’s judging. And my California friend opened her first box of Franzia (for sangria)–puncturing the wine pouch with a scissors an inch from the nozzle. But, that’s another story!

Buen provecho!

Paella de Marisco

▪  Shrimp
▪  Clams
▪  Mussels
▪  Calamari rings
▪  3-4 chicken breasts
▪  3 slices pork loin
▪  2 pkg Hormel pepperoni twin sticks
▪  Bundle of fresh parsley
▪  Small can tomato sauce
▪  1 medium sized onion
▪  Garlic clove
▪  Small jar of pimentos
▪  1/2 c. frozen peas
▪  Whole green olives (2 handfuls)
▪  Bomba rice (if you can find it)
▪  Saffron
▪ 1/4 of lemon per person
▪ 1 tsp. salt
▪ Garlic salt

Boil the shrimp and calamari in water in one pan.  Scrub the clams and mussels and boil in a separate pan. Dice the chicken into cubes and boil in water in large pan. Add a bundle of parsley tied with a string, the chopped onion, and a 2-3 teeth of garlic to the pan with chicken. Cut the pork into strips and cook in a small frying pan with a 1/2 can of tomato sauce. Cut the pepperoni into 1/4 inch slices and brown in a pan. Save the juice to add to the rice mixture later.

Add rice and water to a boiling pan (rule of thumb: 1/2 c. uncooked rice per person). For each cup of uncooked rice, add 2 cups of water from the leftover water from each of the chicken, shrimp and shellfish pans. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the saffron (5-6 threads) and add a few drops of water until it’s a dark reddish-yellow liquid. Stir it into the rice, and it will give the rice a yellow appearance. If you want a deeper yellow, add a few drops of yellow food coloring. (I won’t tell.)

After all the meat and rice are cooked, add it a roaster pan. Decoratively place the shellfish in the pan, and add the frozen peas, pimentos, and green olives. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees in the oven, until the dish is warmed. Spritz with water periodically to keep the dish from drying out.

After serving the dish, squeeze lemon juice on top of the paella. Season with garlic salt, if desired. Spanish food is generally not very spicy, but you may wish to spice it up according to your taste.

February 14th, 2012|Food & Drink|Comments Off on Perfect Paella

Tweety Bird Seed

Bird Seed

In the vampire hours on Friday night, I was dropping digital bird seed, hoping that other tweeters on Twitter would take to our sweet tweets on Twilight. A better question is why would I own bird seed, when I have neither a backyard nor a bird feeder. The answer: an I Spy bottle.

February 14th, 2012|General|Comments Off on Tweety Bird Seed

Quick Wit

NYC Subway   365.40

I was visiting with someone in our Manhattan office today. She acknowledged my noticeably absent New York accent, but proceeded by asking if I was a native New Yorker. [I cued a dumbfounded face.] “Ohh, yah?” I answered in Minnesotan. “You’re quick witted,” the sweet lady continued. “I like that…it’s like you’re one of us.”

I hope that’s a good thing. But since I mostly make fun of myself, we’re okay. I’m not offended.

February 13th, 2012|General|Comments Off on Quick Wit