Thursday, August 16, 2007

Peru Earthquake

You know, when you hear about an earthquake like the one that just struck in Peru, it seems like a pretty absurd thing to make such a big deal about our bridge falling down in Minneapolis. The bridge seemed like a shock for us here at the time, but now looks a bit trivial in comparison.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My First Plate

I just made my first fused-glass plate today. I can't believe it -- a success on my first try. That so rarely happens. Here it is, with some other projects I'm working on.

The photos are all prettied up because I sent them with an application to a super trendy craft fair in Minneapolis this evening. I hope I get accepted! At the bottom there are images of designs for the next sets of dishware that I plan to make.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Marco and I were walking home from my studio this evening and saw a HUGE rainbow over the city!

We live up a hill at the edge of downtown St. Paul and we were just starting to walk up the hill. We stood on the grassy lawn below the cathedral and from there we saw the full vista of the downtown - skyscrapers with a gigantic perfect full arc of a rainbow over them. The rainbow was absolutely immense! It dwarfed the skyscrapers and the whole downtown. You could see the whole rainbow from end to end, and you could see every color from red to violet, rich and intense. Oh I love moments like this!

Now at 11pm storms are on their way. The rain just started, the trees are starting to whip around as I speak. Lauren was just here visiting and trying some Italian limoncello with us but he ran out before the storm hit. Pretty smart it looks like, especially if he came by motorcycle. Oooh the lights even just flickered for a moment.

I love storms! I love summer!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I think I'm turning Japanese

As of about one week ago, Marco and I now sleep on a traditional Japanese futon (called a shikibuton) laid on tatami mats. I sleep like a rock! Aaahhhhhh pure bliss! No more crappy boxspring ever again!

Let's celebrate with a sign of the day. It's been months since I've remembered to put one of these up. Here it is! Coming from China, it's the sign of the day:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Marco's home tomorrow

I can't wait until Marco's back!

He's been gone all week -- first in Rome, then in Latvia. He was there for work. It feels like it's been such a long week! Many things have happened, for both of us. I bet he has interesting stories.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Minnesotans are fascinated by collapsed bridges

I keep trying to see this bridge with my own eyes, but it's blocked off in every direction.

There has to be three miles of perimeter surrounding the bridge that fell down in Minneapolis, on both sides of the Mississippi. Yet the police have managed to block off every view possible (which is easy, because there's a lot of trees). It is technically a crime scene, so nobody is allowed in.

Yesterday I went by the University of Minnesota before I ran some errands, and as I walked along the heavily forrested riverbank (blocked with yellow police tape), I suddenly caught a small glimps of IT, the famous bridge. It did look surreal. A bridge looks WAY larger when it's on the ground, I can now state.

I saw the steep slope of the west side of the bridge, veering down at about 50 degrees. The eerie thing is that all the cars are still sitting there like they're about to drive off when the light turns green. It looks sort of like regular stopped traffic, except they would be driving in a straight into the deepest bowels of the earth.

Today I went to a gallery opening (and ran into Anton, and ultimately my good friend Emily, who I drove home). The gallery happened to be in the same building where Emily works, which is right next to where the bridge collapsed. I went up on a little hill near the river there and tried, again, to see the bridge. All I saw was the two ends at their weird angles, far in the distance. Couldn't even see the cars from here. All day long for the past three days, people keep calling all the radio stations telling their stories - they had planned to take 35W, but at the last moment they had to stop for gas, or they took a different road, and were spared disaster. I think a thousand people think they were just the recipients of a miracle.

This bridge thing is a weird transformational moment in Minnesota. I've just realized now that we (Minnesotans) have always thought of our state as a place that far from crisis, perhaps even immune from crisis. Bad things happen in other places, never here. We think of ourselves as organized, thoughtful people - people who never have these kinds of problems. Tragedies are for New York, San Francisco, Florida - but never Minnesota (except tornadoes and floods, and we are used to that). Even though this bridge collapse is hardly a September 11th, or even a Katrina, it seems to have such a profound and strange effect here. But surprisingly, I think we're fascinated by it. Not many people died, in the end, so it has become curiously engaging, mysterious, unfathomable and utterly absorbing.

When I went to try to see the brige, both times, there were MANY other people trying to see it too. It was a true pilgrimage, people from all walks of society and all ages flowing past like a steady river current on foot and on bikes. There was a quiet air of fascination and reverence, as one is in the presence of immense forces at work. The atmosphere wasn't solomn or sad, nor was it a circus. It felt truly Minnesotan - which is to say it was a quiet, reserved expression of total awe. People looked and whispered to each other and lifted their kids up to see. They called on their cellphones describing it to people who couldn't come see for themselves. Nobody can see the bridge yet everybody feels compelled to see it with their own eyes.

Emily gave me the secret tip tonight, you can see it from the old ruins below the Mill City Museum. Maybe I'll go there tomorrow.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This Bridge Thing Blows Me Away

Wow, I watched more interviews this morning (on Google video) with people who survived the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis. So intense! Today it was on the radio here all day, nonstop. Probably the tv too, but I don't have one.

Yesterday I didn't realize really how chaotic this event was. I can't believe how many people are fine and uninjured. Amazing, considering the magnitude of the disaster. And I'm actually moved too by the stories of people who dove in the river and saved other people, or pulled them off the bridge. Usually I don't think I'm very sentimental, but some of those people were really heroic. It actually made me teary-eyed. Sometimes people are great.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go over there to see it with my own eyes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse!

Wow, a big Minneapolis freeway bridge just collapsed into the Mississippi river! I was in my studio in St. Paul at the time, so I'm fine. My parents are ok too. Since most of my friends and family live on the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities, there's not much chance they would be involved. Except my Mom said that she and John just crossed that bridge four times this past weekend! Anyway it's a surprise. Minnesota is usually the kind of place where nothing dramatic ever happens (except weather events, and we're used to that.)

-- This video is pretty fascinating, because it shows the rush of people arriving on the neighboring bridge to see what was happening, and it shows how enormous and unimaginable the shock of this sight must have been.

Kyoto Protocol in the US

Sometimes when I was living in France, it drove me crazy how European newspapers (not only French ones) really demonized Americans. They showed a small number of jerks (like the current administration) and created a blanket statement that ALL americans were like that. I always cringed when I read that. Towards 2005 or so I was SO sensitive about this issue. I wanted to tell people "no! no! not everyone is like that! So many people are better than that!" but I felt like someone playing a flute in a tornado -- completely unheard.

So now, listen to this. Remember the Kyoto Protocol? "Americans" were blasted for either being so stupid or so greedy that they refused to change their driving habits and industrial regulations.

Here's the real story (from NPR yesterday ) -- even though the Bush administration refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, over 600 US cities DID adopt Kyoto regulations. 600 US cities! That represents millions of Americans! Millions of Americans and Europeans actually agree on global warming. We never hear this in newspapers. They disproportionatley favor stories about some freaky church in Texas that believes that God commands us to use fossil fuels. Great.

Myy sole wish is that Europeans would see the diversity that exists in the US. There are SO MANY different kinds of opinions and lifestyles here. There are millions of decent, intelligent, sincere people who are just like the great people I knew in France and elsewhere in the world