Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Dear 27,
So much to report today that this post may explode. Either that or my 6 faithful readers (yep. the number has increased) will get bored mid-post because they are on LP+blogger overload.
So here's a list:

1- At family dinner Sunday I completed list item #2 with the camera. So I didn't exactly load the film right, and I annoyed the dinner guests with my snapping, but it was fun and the results are strange and awesome. And I have negatives. Which is a positive. (I need to finally hook up the scanner...better pics of the pics to come.)

2- Added another new spot in Des Moines to my list yesterday. Thanks for to the reformed cheerleader Laura (+ 3 other names) for meeting me for a long overdue lunch at the delicious Bagni di Lucca.

3- Drew up another Macguyver recipe. Prepare to be underwhelmed. (and to not see it until I finish it.)

4- So much travel in the next two weeks my head is spinning. Here's some music for the road.

5- Another DSM adventure tonight. Should make for a fun recap tomorrow.

Any of you have suggestions for a new playlist tool?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I don't dance like you guys.

Dear 27,
What a weekend. My first dinner at Proof that proofed (ha) to be even better, if you can imagine, than their luncheon fare. A visit from half the family.
Another Jane original quote that had us all laughing. Fauxgria courtesy of these guys. Dancing to Faculty Lounge at Ingersoll Live.
Dinner at the incredible Baru 66 for the close of restaurant week.
A living room remodel. The start of #2 on the big list.


Friday, August 27, 2010

It's the Freakin' Weekend Baby.

Dear 27,
I simply cannot believe it's August 27th.
Summer went by in the blink of an eye and suddenly it's Fall. The weather, the smell, the late rise of the sun in the morning (I've actually been up to the know this is true nearly everyday this week).
It feels like football, and Iowa City, and porch card games.
Looking forward to what's to come in September. I've hatched many an adventure for the 30 day month... stay tuned. I would fully expect my excitement to match this face from Christmas, 1987.
Thank you R.Kelly for your rap brilliance (I, too, don't see nothin' wrong), and Poladroid for causing sleep deprivation because your "make-your-pics-into-polaroids" tool is so much damn fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Over the Moon.

Dear 27,
In an effort to knock out #4 I've been doing a little research.
Ugo Rondinone (Swiss mixed media artist) and his 3 works first greet you at the entrance to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. While Ugo tried his hand at many ways of art creation, here in Des Moines we admire 3 of his sculptural works right off Grand Avenue. The two goofy heads are part of a series of twelve called "Moonrise" created by Ugo honoring/mimicking/channeling/representing fully the 12 phases/faces of the moon/months of the year.
Ugo crafted these moon faces (about 9-10 feet tall I'd say. Taller than 1.5 of me. That's for sure) first out of clay, then cast them in aluminum. You can see from this photo the smooshy (yes. technical art term) hand marks left from the sculpted clay. In an effort to follow the rules set forth by Jeff Fleming, I resisted the urge to touch the finger marks on the big moon faces.
From what I read, Ugo was pretty into the moon (as well as themes of fantasy and desire.) The two sculptures featured here in Des Moines are called: "MOONRISE.east.january" and "MOONRISE.east.august."
The other Ugo Rondinone (I'm still working on pronouncing his name. I've got the Ugo down, but the surname needs some practice) stands next to the moon faces, stark white against the neighboring green trees. "air gets into everything even nothing" is another sculpture of aluminum, cast from a 2,000 year old olive tree near Naples, Italy, which I learned in the hometown of Ugo's parents. It's truly lovely, but a little be eerie. The idea that a 2,000 year old tree, with such deep rooted (pun intended) history elsewhere is now placed as an enamel coated rootless, leafless object among the trees here in Des Moines is troubling and profound.

(Art critics say things like "profound" when describing art. I'd also say it's a juxtaposition between the tree's beginning and aged life in Italy and it's cold, ashen existence among the living in Iowa. Or something like that. Where's Sinclair when you need him, right Jen?)

Looks like I'm well on my way to giving a pretty serious tour.
Thank you Art major. I knew you'd come in handy (that and google skills.)

Still hoping to see a few new spots in Des Moines before August ends...any gems I'm missing out on?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School.

Dear 27,
It's the first day of classes here on campus.
The air is clouded with anticipation, there's the appropriate amount of dew on the grass, the rush of a new year and the smell of new pencils and books and papers. (I love that part.) And this year, most of the bitty freshman were born after 1992. Weird.
After a weekend of wild and crazy bacheloretteness (Thanks Annie!), as well as the outfit shown below that was praised by a man wearing a sequin/beaded vest much like what a modern day Aladdin would wear, I'm beat.

Playlist.com and I have officially broken up. I'm looking for a new musical boyfriend, but until then, a list:
1- "We Rule the School" Belle and Sebastian
2- "Boy From School" Grizzly Bear (a Hot Chip cover)
3- "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" Simon and Garfunkel
4- "Back to School" Of Montreal (Royal Trux cover)
5- "New Kid in School" The Donnas
6- "San Dimas High School Football Rules" The Ataris

Happy Monday friends.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Caprese, Baby.

Dear 27,
For MacGuyver Volume 2 I give you what should be a lunch.
Yes. I am totally proud of that picture. And the fact that my counter looks clean. (I may or may not have channeled a Top Chef scene to remind me to wipe the plate so it looks lovely.)

Might have a couple BONUS meals to add this week. 
And check out the list for updates on what I'm crossin' off. Looking to watch my next "classic" movie this week. I will be accepting recommendations. Go.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You've been waiting for a cool year since the 4th grade.

Dear 27,
On a whim my pal Jenni and I hopped in the Focus (with my first McDonald's cheeseburger in nearly 5 years) and headed east to Iowa City for a night of "divorce rock" and adventure.

The Mill is one awesome venue. Can't believe after four years of milling about (ha) Iowa City I never managed to catch a live show there. (In fact I believe the only time I was at the Mill was for a Telefund pre-bar-crawl pizza party and Kath snuck beers in her back-pack purse.) 

We arrived just in time to hear
Rosi Golan finish up her set. My dear friend was right-- "she was amazing." (Thanks for letting me borrow some of your words.) Her voice was fluid...as Jenni said, every word she sang was "soul soaked." She looked so calm on stage and her voice flowed with the same grace and ease.

And then she came back out for a song with William Fitzsimmons (during his set) that is equally amazing. I caught a bit of that on film:

(If you want to listen to the whole track-- buy Rosi's album or check it out here.)

Then William Fitzsimmons came out.  Just he, a few guitars, and another guitar player (Joe. He tried to get Joe dates several times in his set. After witnessing Joe’s guitar skills I’m sure it worked.)  He has shaved off all his hair but kept his beard, so he looked like a total freak show.  

He opened his set and spoke to the crowd “How’s everyone doing tonight?” The question was met with cheers and he quipped “Well your night’s about to get a lot worse,” referencing his album
“The Sparrow and The Crow.”
It was an intimate set of painful songs about Mr. Fitzsimmon's divorce and his guitar sang along with him (I was not expecting that to be so impressive.) He spoke in a low deep voice which stood in such strong contrast to his music—which sounded like he was simply breathing the lyrics. A definite highlight of the night was hearing Mr. Fitzsimmons cover Iron and Wine. (And yes. I agree with him. His beard is f-in cooler.)
 Just a really, really cool guy.

After the show and snacks, we explored the ped mall, ran into 2 people I knew and sat at the bar at
Bo James while Jenni enjoyed a Big Beer on "Country Night" and responsible-Laura enjoyed the scenery. (Seriously. Cute boys are sprouting up like polo-shirted weeds in Iowa City. I bet Kate has about 23 boyfriends already.)

Thanks for joining me on-a-whim-Wednesday Jenni! You're the best.
And Shane-- I told you I would.

My girl Monday.

Dear 27,
All girly jams sung about boys.
**Well Playlist.com and I are having some relationship issues. I tried 4-18 times to get this playlist to show up in time for Monday...but it didn't work. So I drew it. Google the songs to experience audial delight.  (ps- I googled audial. Real word.) Happy belated Musical Monday.***

(One to get you started. Plus the video is neat.)

Here's to a week of focus. Or something like that.

**and another update. This week has been far from focused.***

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Match Point.

Dear 27,
Another LIVE show last night that did not disappoint. (If you're keeping track on the list, this makes #8 out of the 17 shows I'm hoping to see!) TENNIS was as charming as they were talented. The married-duo from Denver has received lots of press lately from music blogs and satellite radio.
Imagine breathy girly Beach Boys songs, or just listen to this:

After 2 for 1 beers at Dos Rios with THE Brianne and friends, it was a super night in Des Moines.
An adventure is brewing for this evening...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fairly certain.

Dear 27,
The first two visits to the Iowa State Fair (there's one volunteer shift left) could be classified as both a Kent-a-thon and an Eat-a-thon. My ankles were sweaty, I saw four great mullets and ate too much. Perfect.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MacGuyver Style Sunday Vol. 1

Dear 27,
As part of the big list I've pledged to make (and document) 27 dinners, most of which will be in my favorite cooking/documenting mode-- MacGuyver Style. A couple weeks ago I mentioned my trek to the Farmer's Market with T-O-M (hi Tom!) where we met Lois the cheese lady. Lois owns Reicherts Dairy Air right here in Iowa and makes the most delish goat cheese.
(I did make the mistake of calling "the girls" the "cows" when T-O-M so kindly introduced me to Lois herself. Not the greatest of first impressions.)  

Despite my big mix up, Lois shared a bit about the assortment of cheeses she sells at the Farmer's Market, including the exclusive Robiola that can only be found through Lois or in Italy.  At her stand Lois offers visitors samples of all the varieties she has that day and when we arrived, her stock was nearly sold out! I went to the Market specifically for the Basil Feta and walked away with one of the last blocks of this amazing cheese.

With Lois' feta in hand- I crafted up my first of 27 dinners...let's hope I cook more than that this year, but it's a start.

Here's vol. 1 of MacGuyver Style Sunday:

(ps- Happy birthday.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Iowa Tradition, like it or not.

Dear 27,
Years ago I wrote about my fair love. Which has wained over the years, big time, but most of what I said is true. In honor of the first day of this beloved Iowa tradition, let me quote myself (because that's not narcissistic at all):

"As the Iowa State Fair rolled into town last Thursday; the excitement was literally palpable, and so was the heat. As I think about my minor obsession with all things fair, let me pause here for a small Laura explanation: For the few of you who read this and know me...you may be thinking, "Laura and the state fair?"
This is a question I have pondered for three years my friends.

I love the smell of crisp cotton shirts floating on dark wooden hangers, soft wool trousers sashaying seductively on the rack, and leather handbags regally draped across entire department store walls. The melodious hum of the escalator soothes my aching soles and soul. The sweet high of bargin hunting, the thrill of the dressing room victory (in with eight, out with at least two purchases) and shoes truly make my mouth water.

After describing my refined taste, you may be surprised to learn that I desperately crave the glow of the midway as the tilt-a-whirl screetches round it's axis. I love the way your ankles sweat as you walk in and out of the rows of people without shirts, sporting sculpted mullets and portrait tatoos. I gauk at the vivid primary colors of the sky ride and it's riders as it traverses overhead from one fair end to the next, shoes, bags and tank tops hanging out of the steel basket. I savor the taste of grease on my lips after eating a corn dog, cheese curds and deep fried oreos. I come home with bags full of propagandic magnets for hospitals, political candidates, and lawn care businesses, posters for every Iowa college sport and smearing spin-arts. I climb gleefully up the stairs of a tractor with a wheel diameter taller than me, get my photo snapped seated in the driver's chair and quickly move to do so in the combine. I have, unconsciously, become a fair lover.

Don't get me wrong...I still complain about the heat, mock those wearing fanny packs too large to be called one and despise the smell of the sheep barn. I obviously prefer the Gap to the 4-H building, but I love the Iowa State Fair."

Today marks another awesome day, an anniversary of sorts in a parking garage that made Des Moines come alive and me remember how to live. Gooooo August. And thank you friend.

ps- Check out the NEW blog space: http://xo-lp.com/blog (you'll like it.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Phoenix is pure poetry.

Dear 27,
Tonight was the big PHOENIX show at People's. In order to lure my friends Brianne and Karen and Joe from their plans to hit a bar in Ankeny, I submitted this poem of my evening plan.

The notes and pictures are a bonus that were added after my night of awesome.

Phoenix Poetry Part Two
tonight's French band hits the stage
At a much smaller venue,
I have a couple drinks to attend to.

As fellow concert goers
And dare I say friends,
I thought an offer to join I'd extend.

In honor of Phoenix
And AZ's new and pretty ridiculous new law
I plan to start the evening with tequila and a straw.

Why not have tacos before
Seeing a band rock the house-a,
Because indie is better with a side o salsa.

We went to El Patio for the first Phoenix phest stop. Brianne and Joe rode their bikes which needed to be noted here because it impressed me. We sat outside on El Patio's secret garden patio, sweating and recounting our Tuesdays (family dinner style) and celebrating Phoenix (both the hot city of AZ and the band. Because who doesn't love tacos?)

Because they are Franks,
Not German or Anglo,
After a taco there should be a drink at Django.

We made it to Django, but just barely in time for a French Beer at the "all French no attitude" restaurant. Here we ran into a bunch of friends and concert goers (a couple of which received my poetic masterpiece) and cheers-ed once again to the band hailing from France. And then we ran off to dance.

Let's convene around 6:00
To share laughs over a glass,
Then finish with Phoenix and dance off my ass.

So while my ass is still intact-- Phoenix rocked. Big time.

It's okay to be impressed by my poem.
And here's some bonus music for this week-- my own week of rock.


Monday, August 9, 2010

One hot show.

Dear 27,
When I say hot show, I mean it. I mean it was pretty hot in there and that the music itself was h-o-t. I sweated off all the additional freckles I picked up at the pool on Saturday. It was hot. Hotter than the sauna at the Eagle's Ozark house. Hotter than the leather seats of the Focus mid-July. Hotter than Justin Bieber's memoir will be. Hotter than...well I think you get what I mean.
After bumping into many soaked Raygun tshirt clad dudes, holding handfuls of ice on the back of my neck and a few tall boys, the Val Air (there was no air to be clear) was surely rockin to the BLACK KEYS.
After a couple bummer shows this summer it was fun to see a band play with such energy and be fully committed to their music. The Black Keys are a duo, only two guys on stage (sweating with the rest of us), but the sound was big, really big.
Des Moines is bringing some top notch acts. Phoenix tomorrow night. Tennis next week. Looking forward to an August that sings.

And now for the pick six. To be played loudly. And with feeling.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Travelin' North.

Dear 27,
It's about time I felt the sting of an ill-placed sunburn. The splotches of red, or spots were sunscreen was applied in a sloppy distracted way, across my left shin are a sure sign it's summer.
I ventured North (I sang this in my head...or a little out loud...while typing this post) to Ames today (Hello Mr. and Mrs. Cardoza) to catch up with the newly married duo by the pool. I exponentially increased my freckle count, appeared to be wearing a saggy adult diaper (that's a story for an offline conversation), got up to speed on married life from the Mrs. and soaked up an all around great day.
Post-pool we explored downtown LAmes. (I can't help it. Old college habit. Your cupcakes were good but my city is better. Go Hawks.)
Vanilla and Strawberry Kiwi cupcakes from Yummy's in Downtown Ames.
After a rough day of pool chairing and sunscreen applying I certainly enjoyed both getting my pic taken and the strawberry kiwi cupcake. Yummy's was stocked with lil cakes, a 1950's teal refrigerator filled with bottled sodas, and a darling owner decked in 50's wear.
We made a quick stop at Olde Main Brewery for a seasonal Lemontyme Ale. (It was a bit sweeter version of my favorite summertime beer- Summer Shandy) I'd had Olde Main brews at 80/35 and even picked up some at Dahl's...but never had I been to the actual spot. Very cool.

After putting together a few birthday candle cuffs for the very special Stacie and Becca, hitting the happy birthday festivities and wishing for a second Yummy cupcake...Off to aloe.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Dear 27,
May 23, 2006 I turned 23 on the 23rd. I love birthdays and golden birthdays are an absolute cause for celebration.

(I'm not ashamed to admit my love for my day of birth. How many days a year are there were you can sing songs about "crying if you want to" or wear your "birthday suit" or throw a completely selfish party and have no one judge you out loud? On the 23rd birthday on the 23rd of May I urged birthday celebrators to wear gold. Ends up I was the only one who decided that was a good idea. And we went to Miss Kittys. That, unlike my obsession with birthdays and candles and birthday cakes and crowns and balloons, is embarrassing.)

The gift of an African Violet to the girl with the least green thumb (that's me) was given...and 4 years later it's still living. Granted it hasn't bloomed in nearly 2 full years, it's almost died about 34 times, it's fuzzy little leaves have fallen off in a yellowy brown mess, but this week, out of no where, a bud.
And now. A full blown bloom.

(I've taken a macbook snapshot of this bitty plant everyday since spotting the small plum pod that I'd hoped would flower. I'm now that girl.)

Because I'm a nerd, I believe in weird signs and good things and that "it'll be ok." So that little purple flower sparks a grin every time I see it while not washing dishes or not cleaning the counters. I'm considering it an omen. A good type omen. One that brings good tidings. Or something like that.

And cheechako. That was today's word of the day. Look it up. And say it out loud a few times. (I bet Sarah Palin says it. While hunting moose.)


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A listen to summer/experience it update

Dear 27,
I did the Farmers Market (more to come on that). Celebrated a birthday in a pair of shorts. And that's pretty much it.
(But a sunny dress was worn. That helps.)
No swimming or maiden voyage to Gray's Lake.
But there's still a few days left in August. (Please live up to your adjective style, not 8th month of the year definition.)
au·gust (รด-gst)
1. Inspiring awe or admiration; majestic: the august presence of the monarch. See Synonyms at grand.
2. Venerable for reasons of age or high rank.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I wish it were a pirate flag.

Dear 27,
I need to make more time to draw. Monday morning meetings are not the right place to practice drawing skulls. People noticed. Don't doodle weird goth art in non-profit organization meetings. It's hard to explain. (Yes. Megan has asked me to draw a skull. And the crossbones. And a bow.) If someone scanned my google search history they'd think I'd have dreams of being Johnny Depp or a Pirate.

But I have two commissions. I do in fact feel like a "real" artist when I speak of Commissions. Especially when written with a capital C.
Hello KS.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Dear 27,
And you didn't know how much you'd love them.

See you Sunday Mr. Black Keys.