Sunday, October 23, 2016


 Last week, in celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary, Todd and I traveled to New York.  He had a day or two of work in the northern part of the state, and then we traveled to our happy place to see some Broadway shows.  We had not really discussed, but sort of decided in our own minds, (at least I had) that we were not going to bust our butts to try to see the hottest show in town, "Hamilton."  Tickets are currently selling well into 2017, so we knew the odds were against us: 

Our oldest daughter turned us on to the soundtrack sometime back, and it is amazing.  This new musical tells the story of our founding fathers and the establishment of the United States as an independent nation, from the perspectives of some very ambitious, and very flawed, public figures, namely Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  The style of song and dance is hip-hop.  I just... I don't know... Well, just google it for an explanation, I guess, or watch the PBS special (which will tell you more about the history than about the musical, but it's something.) 

So, we started talking to people on the street and texting friends who've seen the show, and it just seemed like a very real possibility, and at least a must-try.  We arrived in the evening, way past our chances for Wednesday, so we picked up discount tickets to another show for that night.  Thursday morning, I was letting Todd sleep, when he rolled over and looked at me and said, "What are you doing here?! I figured you'd be in the ticket line! Don't you remember how this works?!" He high-tailed it over to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th Street, and I followed after a necessary Starbucks stop.  The box office opened at 10:00, and workers confirmed what they confirm every day: no tickets.  So, then, fans have the option to wait in the cancellation line.  If, for any reason, tickets for that day's show are returned to the box office-- from journalists, celebrities, unclaimed lottery winners, etc.-- box office workers offer those tickets for resale at face value whenever they come in.  We had been told to expect approximately 20 tickets per day would become available, possibly with additional standing-room-only spots that could come back from cast comp tickets.  We were fifth in line; the first woman had arrived at 7 a.m., after getting in with a standing-room-only ticket the evening before-- she wanted to see it again!

Todd and I stayed all day, sometimes together, and sometimes taking turns.  We made friends.  On one side, there were two women from Utah who were hanging out while their husbands attended a real estate conference.  They'd never really heard of "Hamilton" but quickly learned it was all the rage and decided to try their luck.  On the other side were two older women, friends who had driven from Boston for a few days of show-seeing, but this was their mission.  We waited all day, becoming more anxious, until it was less than 30 minutes till curtain.  The security guards let in all the ticketed theatergoers, and then began calling in buyers from the cancellation line, one at a time.  Each could purchase up to two tickets.  They called in four people.  I was next, but we were sent away.

We pouted.  I admit it.  After nine hours and the loss of the opportunity to buy other show tickets at rush or discounted prices, we were licking our wounds.  We did go see another show.  It was not "Hamilton."  The next morning, I made sure I was the first in line.  There were no guarantees we would get tickets, but, if we didn't, no one else would, either.  The security guards and street sweepers gave me grief: "Are you sure you're first?" I was.

After I'd been sitting approximately 30 minutes, wishing for coffee but not wanting to risk it, (and knowing Todd would later bring it,) the others started lining up.  Immediately behind me was Erika, a graduated student from Los Angeles who had come to New York to celebrate her birthday, and mainly see "Hamilton."  Behind her was Zara, a recent divorcee who had upended her life in a move from London to Greenwich Village.  It would be another interesting day.  People stopped to ask what we were doing.  They asked how long we'd been sitting there.  They asked how long we'd be willing to sit, how much we'd be willing to pay.  They were curious and kind.  Everyone wished us luck.

Again, it was getting close to show time, and the security guards on duty were warning, "It's tight.  It's really tight tonight."  Todd was constantly refreshing the StubHub app on his phone.  It was our last night in New York, and so it was our last "Hamilton" opportunity for some time.  We couldn't even get tickets to the touring show in Chicago-- I checked.  He was determined we were going in, even if we had to pay inflated prices from scalpers.  I encouraged patience.  Finally, the guard at the door announced, "First in the cancellation line-- IN!"  We were in.

It was 15 minutes before the curtain, so there were no options and there was no time to spare.  Plus, I really, really had to pee.  The ticket agent pointed to the two open seats on his map and Todd slid his credit card under the window.  The seats were in the center of the seventh row, the best seats in the house.  We were stunned and thrilled and excited to get word to all who had been rooting for us (right after I made my way to the bathroom, which is no small feat ever in a Broadway theater.) 

 The show was all that others hyped it to be and more.  It was hard to know where to look and who to watch.  It was hard to breathe sometimes.  It was hard to not sing along all the time.  It was really hard to not be mad at the people who brought squirming kids or who came back late from intermission.  Then, all of a sudden, it was over.

 People thought we were nuts, and I suppose we are.  Yet, it was a really wonderful experience.  The show, yes, was incredible, but Todd and I also enjoyed our time together, just being near one another, talking to each other, and sharing our stories with others as we heard their stories.  It was worth it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

20 Years

The trial period is over. The warranty has run out. We are no longer novices, but far from experts.

Today, Todd and I celebrate 20 years of marriage. I have many thoughts and much I could write, but it has been a long day, topped by a huge dinner. We are tired. There are metaphors here...

For now, I will leave you with snapshots of our day and explain later. I love him.

If someone had told me on our wedding night that one of the highlights of our 20th anniversary would be discussing the delicious cups of coffee we shared in various cities throughout the day... well... then, that person would have been psychic.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Send a Prayer or Two

It's become one of those weeks in Krinkeland that does not go according to the calendar. It's a busy time of year, anyway (though I would love for someone to tell me the non-busy time of year;) Todd has had work trips planned at the last minute and then canceled at the last second; the kids have had practices and meets and fundraisers and more; plus, we've been watching the weather to try to complete some of those get-the-lake-stuff-ready-for-winter projects. Yet, plans go out the window whenever someone needs help. Family and friends will always come first.

Please take a moment to pray for these:
*for Todd's cousin Beth, hospitalized in intensive care with sepsis (
*for Lora, hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis
*for Staci with renewed concerns related to cancer treatment
*for G's sudden illness
*for Libby's ongoing cough and congestion
*for Gua, as she slows down and becomes more melancholy
*for all who have lost babies, honored especially this month
*for Amanda's YDisciple group and Elisabeth's faith formation class
*for the success of programs at Folwell School
*prayers of thanksgiving for J's clear test results

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


"Mom, I already have THREE things planned for Fall Break:
*sleepover with Courtney
*sleepover at Grandma R's
*don't worry-- I already have a sleepover planned at Grandma and Grandpa P's for New Year's Eve
*apple orchard
*sleepover with Lyla
*pumpkin patch
*and we should really go to Jump City."

"Really, Madeline? I think over Fall Break we should practice counting."

Monday, October 10, 2016


Todd travels so frequently for work these days-- typically, at least one trip a week-- so, we really try to maximize his limited time here at home. Today, in between juggling calls and emails from his job, there were also home projects, lake work, and parent-teacher conferences. (We didn't even make it to the swim meet, so, thank heaven for grandparents.) Talking with teachers re-inspired Dad to get on the homework help. 

He has been working with Amanda on both physical science and algebra. Lots of math there. Todd really is a good teacher. He is so patient and explains things so thoroughly. The kids get frustrated with him, though, I think finding him a little too patient and thorough.

I was cleaning up in the kitchen as I overhead one of Todd's "aha" moments. He explained aloud all the steps to the equation and then said, "Now, we just need more paper..." to which Amanda replied, "Well, good news-- it is a notebook!" The algebra she does not get from me; the sarcasm she does.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Incredible Elias is Five!

Today is my nephew Elias's fifth birthday.  This kid is quite a character!  You know, as with each of my own children, there is an honest attempt to know them, to understand their likes and dislikes, to connect with them on some level, and to give gifts that I believe they will enjoy.  This year, in particular, I was excited that Eli's birthday falls in October, because he has been a big fan of playing dress-up.  Mostly, he is Batman, but I figured I would see if he was interested in branching out to other superheroes.

He is.

Time for "Ragtime"

In the middle of this busy weekend, Todd and I had a date night with my brother and SIL to see "Ragtime" at Theater Latte Da in northeast Minneapolis (  It was a lovely evening.  The show was getting rave reviews and, having had some very positive (dare I say mind-blowing?) experiences, as well as some mind-numbing ones, with this company, we were excitedly anticipating this show... mostly because none of us had ever seen it or knew anything about it.  In the end, I found the reviews to be spot-on, and I am writing about the experience because I do not want to forget it.

"Ragtime" is based on a book written in 1975, and the Broadway premiere of the show was in 2008, but the story takes place around the turn of the last century in a much newer America.  What's fascinating is the issues of race relations and how much the dynamics have-- have NOT-- changed.  The characters, their backgrounds, their opinions, their actions, and the plot and resulting climax could have come from today's headlines.

I was most struck by a scene toward the end of the first act in which an upper-class, white man (Father) returns to his comfortable home and family from an extended exploration and hunting expedition to find that his wife (Mother) has months-earlier, in his absence, made an executive decision to take in a young, black woman and her infant child.  All these months, they, along with the baby's father, have been getting on as a family.  The man is appalled, and his wife responds:

"There was suffering and now there is penitence.  It's very grand and I'm sorry for you that you don't see it.  I did not expect you to come home a different man, but I had hoped to find you a kinder one."

Those lines will stay with me.  They are a perfect example of the humanity of musical theater.  Some people say "life imitates art," but I would argue art reflects the realities of our own lives.  We must do more than exist.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rocking On

Last spring, Todd and I, along with four other couples who are all friends, donated to the fundraising auction at our kids' school a rock-and-roll and experience.

As much a gift to ourselves as to the winning bidders, we reserved a suite at Xcel Energy Center for the Tesla/REO Speedwagon/Def Leppard concert. And last night was the night of the rockin' party. We had a great time, though I found I was never more thankful for ear plugs, and, today, I was keenly aware why it is I never stay up past 10 p.m.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Haunted Wolf House

Madeline and cousin Elias were playing for the longest time this afternoon in the driveway at Grandma's and Grandpa's house. Every time one if us looked out the window, he was flat on his back on the asphalt and she was drawing around him with sidewalk chalk. Finally, I went outside and Eli told me there was a surprise. Of course, I had to see it, of course, they had to explain it, and, of course, I was not disappointed:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Crispy Love

Madeline burst through the front door after school, ravenous, as always. "Hi, Mom! I'm home! What can I have for a snack?" Before I could answer, she spied it. "Mom, what is that on the counter? Did you make apple crisp?!" I said I did, and it was available for eating, not to be saved or given away. Maddy already had a spoon in hand, and scooped herself a large serving. Soon, she was on to a second. "I know you made this because you had apples to use up-- and love. You put a lotta love in this apple crisp, Mom."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Big Girl is winding down for the night and just came and gave me a big hug, which doesn't happen as often with the 14-year-old and really doesn't happen following those tough discussions about academics where she tells me, "Mom, I don't know what to say-- you terrify me!" So, anyway, I squeezed back, really squeezed all the love into that hug and said, "I love you, my princess." She replied, "No, Mom, I am a queen." I told her she couldn't be a queen because I was already queen of this kingdom. She said, "Well, you can be the Queen of Krinkeland; I'll be the Queen of La La Land."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Our First Homecoming

Yes, the title of this post is "Our" because it feels as though we all in Krinkeland have been dragged into and through the Homecoming Week excitement!  Amanda and Elisabeth each had dress-up days all last week at school.  They attended the Friday night football game, where our team was trounced.  Saturday night was the much-anticipated Homecoming Dance, a semi-formal event and Amanda's first school dance.  I have so much I could write... so much I witnessed as it turned out concessions for the event are a fundraiser for the school theater program and, with Amanda's casting in the fall play, I am officially a Drama Mama... so much I am still processing...

For now, I can just say:
*I have a beautiful daughter of whom I am proud;
*she has a healthy self-esteem and respect for herself;
*she has nice friends;
*I'm glad it's over.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Delsym on Demand

Just a little poll here: Am I the world's worst mother if I am in a heightened state of irritation over my kid's cough? Kids go back to school. Kids lick doorknobs. Kids get sick. And now, there's a COUGH. A constant, raspy, ever-present, repetitious, ANNOYING cough.

I know it's not her fault she's sick. (Well, if she did lick doorknobs, we have to talk...)  I know she doesn't want the cough, isn't doing anything to encourage or extend the cough. But the cough is distracting and exhausting. If she coughs in class or at swim practice half as much as she coughs in the car or in bed, her teachers and coaches must be beside themselves. I am not sleeping. I am not focused on the housework. I am not able to form coherent sentences. When she's not coughing, she is audibly rolling around cough drops so they clink against her teeth and she is playing with cough drop wrappers.

Imagine being the one who actually has the cough?!

I am pushing cough syrup for the first time in her existence. I, myself, need something stronger.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Blessings Bunch

It was a long day, packed with blessings.

It was a quick, solo visit, in advance of her 101st birthday this weekend. I hadn't told her I was coming, so she was surprised. We enjoy one another. I wish I lived closer so I could see her more regularly, and I believe she wishes for that, too.

While I was away, Elisabeth auditioned for Chamber Choir at her school. She is now trying to figure out how to juggle that rehearsal with swimming meets. Meanwhile at the high school, the cast list went up for the fall play and Amanda's name was on it. She is thrilled-- didn't expect to be cast because she is a new freshman and so many students were at tryouts. We are so proud!

Our family capped the day with an evening out-- kind of a belated birthday outing for Dad. After grabbing supper, we saw the world premiere of "Elephant and Piggie are in a Play." The woman who this past summer directed the musical they were in is playing Piggie. Great fun for all!