Time for the annual Valentine’s Day post, guys. I got the dudes some balloons, as usual (and they are old enough, or at least my Peter, where I wonder how long balloons are gonna be cool…) and small boxes of candy. I meant to get doughnuts for breakfast as usual, but apparently everyone else in our ‘hood had the same idea because the grocery down the street was for real completely sold out of all doughnuts of every type (even the Hostess pre-packaged stuff!), so I improvised and got a cookie cake. Honestly, it was a way better decision. I might just do this from now on, doughnuts be damned.
The only bummer is that I gave up snacking and sugar (SUGAR!) for Lent so that meant no delicious Valentines treats for me this year, because of a St. Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday combo. DAMMIT. You best believe that on April 1 I will be making up for lost time starting with a giant cookie cake all to myself, oh yes.
Aaaaanyway. The kids were over-sugared, sent off to their respective schools (and Linus had Ash Wednesday Mass immediately after the sugar bomb, HAAAAA) and then Scott and I ran off to have a Date Day. Bye, suckers!
First up was a coffee fix and some breakfast to soothe the never-get-a-nice-quiet-date-anymore soul, and hey Mint Mark 100% did the Thing. Cozy and warm on a cold day, full of plants and vintage-y 70s vibes (MY SOUL) and good breakfast sandwiches and even better coffee. We just kinda hung out and recharged (and talked about how cool this place probably is in the evenings, too bad we are too old to appreciate that sort of thing).
(Let’s just get out of the way now that I was totally a good Catholic and stuck to the fasting but accidentally ate meat once. Maybe twice. Sorry dad!)
Also let’s discuss their Space Invader floors because I am just not cool enough to not scream over this. Loudly. More than once as if poor Scott didn’t hear me the first time.
After breakfast we headed off downtown, to check out the Chazen early before all the kids woke up and headed that way.
ANYWAY. The Chazen. I have not gotten here before now, and I’m kinda embarrassed by that because it is fantastic. And by that, I mean really fantastic for an art museum period, let alone one of those lonely, dusty ones found on a college campus. What a lovely treat, you guys! If you are in the area and have not hit it up yet (and yes, I might be the only one who hasn’t, I know…) please do. What a gem.
I took a bunch of pictures of paintings/art that I found to be kind of hilarious and I was like, OH YES I WILL HAVE THE BEST CAPTIONS FOR THESE, but then I never came up with anything because I am a dummy and not really good at that. So: have at it yourself, my friends.
(I will say, the one below really spoke to me on the reality of wanting 30 seconds of peace while using the bathroom but of course your children do not honor that level of privacy, but I am sure your own caption would articulate that much better than me.)
This was from a painting of the Russian Fall of Novgorod but I don’t think photos do the original work justice: it was just massive and vibrant and the white with the dark figures and then this woman in red was just so striking.
Is it just me or does the dude below kinda look like doofus Trump?
The stoned bunny 😉
Some selfie action, kinda.
The Warhol. They also had some other low-key good stuff, some Lichtensteins and some early (or late? kinda out of character) Dali work.
They probably had other important stuff but I’m not the most cultured when it comes to traditional art so likely it all went over my head.
Sorry. ENJOY YOUR WARHOL.
I was more concerned with the light in the place, anyway.
A word on the piece below? It’s by John Steuart Curry, he who did a lot of the murals in the Kansas capitol, including the iconic John Brown. This particular work (below) was used for years by the Lawrence Birkenstock store in all of their print/television advertisements, so walking into a random gallery room and being slapped in the face with the sight of it kinda made me nostalgic and sad. I miss Lawrence, you guys. Like forever and ever.
ANYWAY. I’m a big girl and got over it.
And there you go, that’s the Chazen.
We finished up there and kinda just decided to walk down State Street and enjoy the sights.
And we did some shopping too and I got some new pins and some stationery because I need to write some letters and all in all it was a really, really good day.
I wish I saw that cat card inside because it’s all kinds of perfect.
We wanted to hit up the Madison Contemporary Art Museum, but it wasn’t quite open yet (like by an HOUR) so we did what any Wisconsinite would do: we stopped at a pub and had a beer to wait it out.
And then, after a bit over an hour (because I am not a beer chugger), we hit up the MMoCA.
Mostly we just wanted to check out the exhibit by Jaume Plensa. At first I recognized him from Nomade in Des Moines, and after reading up on him realized he did that super cool fountain sculpture in Millenium Park in Chicago, so it was a no brainer to check it out.
After that we checked out the BIG exhibit…
Selfie #2 of the day…
We finished up there and kinda wandered to find lunch.
We landed on Casetta Kitchen. This place knows its sandwiches. Eggplant parm + chicken parm were the specials, and we had some wine, and it was very date-y.
We still had a few hours before kid pick up times, so we had a beer at an old classic college joint on our way to pick up the kids, and somehow that felt very appropriate.
So, yeah. That was our 2018 Valentines Day.
The funny thing is that we had a pre-planned Date Night the Saturday afterwards, except we booked it weeks before that and didn’t realize until a few days later that, huh, it’s now another date for us and HUZZAH ALL THE DATES FOR US.
This was a sponsored thing through Linus’ preschool, held after the Saturday children’s Mass, so we had 2.5 hours to get it right. We started off with some nice cocktails at the Robin Room. The Robin Room is this cocktail-heavy bar that is very 1930s Hemingway and I love it a million times over. I’ve been a few times with girlfriends, and it’s very much a Jazzhaus-meets-Bourgeois Pig kinda vibe so needless to say: I feel very much at home here. They make serious, classic Tiki cocktails so we ordered a Mai Tai and a nice heavy gin thing for me, and talked for about an hour before heading out back into the cold to find some dinner.
(Sorry in advance, I forgot my nice camera, so you are going to be treated by some pretty awful phone pictures.)
We went to Camp Trippalindee for dinner; it’s so awesomely kitschy 1960s (the name came from the film Back to School, which was partially filmed here). Also some delicious basic bar fare: burgers, but made with meat from the fancy butchers in town, and fresh sides from veggies also from local farms. Which elevates all of it to a nice, date night kinda level.
Also apparently Scott planned ahead so his attire matched the decor here. Expert Date Level.
After dinner we hung out on the balcony. I am sure in the summer it is lovely, but in February I must be honest, we mostly spent our time 50/50 enjoying the view and trying to not slide off the balcony due to all the ice.
(Side note: At this point I was drinking their “Bug Juice”, which was a coconutty, fruity, adult-ified version of Capri Sun. No complaints.)
(Side note two: they sell these “s’mores” packages for cheap and you basically grab some roasting sticks and wooly blankets and make some s’mores. This little family did that. I regret not doing that. NEXT TIME.)
So we finished our drinks, bid adieu to the balcony and the view of all the kids playing Flip Cup in their dorm room windows, and headed out to pick up the kiddos from St. James.
(The Pope is always watching.)
That’s it, friends! I haven’t done much with the camera lately, but will have more for you soon, trust. Enjoy the final days of February, and know that spring is just around the corner (THANK BABY JESUS).