Happy Earth Day! Here’s to hoping you take some time today to set aside your phones and laptops and appreciate our beautiful outdoors. And, when you have to get back to your devices, check out my favorite procrastination links from around the web this week…Read More
See the pic above? That’s the first day of Alt Summit, the once-a-year blog conference I attended in Palm Springs earlier this month. It looks arduous, doesn’t it? All those palm trees and the very conspicuous sunshine. One writer in attendance, the brilliant Meg Conley, joked:
“My husband keeps saying that Alt Summit is what I seem to think all of his business retreats are like. But really his are him hunkered down in a corner eating a Big Mac while working in an airport and Alt is, you know… meditation cabanas and flower arrangements and dinners with women who wanna make your dreams come true.”
After waking up on Monday morning to a winter wonderland of snow, it’s hard to believe that spring is upon us. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all that spring and summer have in store for us at the farm. In the meantime, check out my favorite links from around the web this week…Read More
A couple weeks ago, I attended Alt Summit, a blog conference held in Palm Springs, California. Last night, I wrote an excellent recap of our week in the desert, with highlights from speakers and links to some of the very inspiring people I met. Then, at 1:30 a.m., when I went to hit ‘publish’, the unthinkable happened. My computer died.
So this is a snippet blog post, a transcribed conversation that occurred around the pool at the hipster enclave known as the Ace Hotel.
Brooke: I think that guy over there in the pool is that famous actor.
Mithra: What famous actor.
Brooke: The hot one who bared his butt in that movie I love. The guy with great hair.
Mithra, standing up to look at all the men in the pool, some who are definitely hot but whose buttocks cannot be seen : Is he the guy floating on the pink raft?
Brooke: No… I don’t see him now.
Mithra: Was he in that male stripper movie? The one with that guy from 21 Jump Street?
Brooke: No, but he was in another movie with that same guy.
Mithra, pointing: Is that him in the shallow end? Playing catch with that kid?
Brooke: He’s sitting in the lounge chair now. He’s got a baseball cap on. C’mon you guys. He’s pretty famous for that bare ass scene.
Random Young Blogger, eavesdropping: Do you mean Mark Ruffalo?
Brooke, high-fiving Random Young Blogger: Yes!
Mithra: Mark Ruffalo is from Wisconsin. Why didn’t you just say the famous actor who’s from Wisconsin?
Random Young Blogger: I love his whiskers.
Mithra, scrutinizing the alleged Mark Ruffalo: I don’t think that’s Mark Ruffalo. He’s too short.
Brooke: I’m really good at spotting celebrities, Mithra.
Mithra, googling: IMDB says Mark Ruffalo is 5’8”. That guy is not 5’8”.
Brooke: Well he’s our age. Maybe his spine has compressed.
Paige: Maybe his publicist lied.
Petra: Mark Ruffalo?! Where? I love him!
Paige: Now he’s walking over to the ping pong table! Is that his son with him?
Tina: You Americans! You’re so ridiculous the way you fetishize your celebrities.
Paige, googling: He lives in New York and this week is spring break for all the eastern prep schools. I bet that’s why they’re here.
Mithra: I don’t get the trucker hat.
Petra: Might be he’s losing his hair. Poor guy.
Brooke: He’s got a nice swing. He was really good in that one movie.
Mithra: Which movie? The one where he plays a train conductor or something with what’s her name Patricia Clarkson?
Paige: I can’t believe he’s not hiding from all these bloggers.
Brooke: I can’t believe I don’t remember the name of the bare ass movie.
Random Young Blogger, eavesdropping: Was it The Kids Are Alright?
Brooke, high-fiving the Random Young Blogger: Yes! ! I love that movie!
I’ll be back next week with a new computer and a substantive breakdown of Alt Summit 2019. xoxo
Spring has sprung and I am so excited to share the news of my new adventure in farm living at Monches Farm. My family and I do not yet know what the farm will become, but we are looking forward to the fun and hard work that awaits us. I will of course share our adventures along the way on the blog. In the meantime, check out my favorite links from around the web this week…Read More
Shortly after moving to Wisconsin over twenty years ago, my husband and I took a Saturday drive with our friend Stacey out to a very special farm and garden center called Monches Farm. We climbed out of the car and fell instantly in love with the overwhelming beauty of the place: deep rolling furrows of field-grown perennials, stone and timber outbuildings, a big red barn with antiques and gifts, pergolas and statuary, a glass house with teetering stacks of pottery, a vast inventory of day lilies, and dozens of exotic chickens freely pecking hither and non.
Last week, Scott and Matt, the owners of Monches Farm (photo above), announced that after nearly forty years in business, they are retiring. I’d like to take this moment to announce that we have purchased their property.
Gary and I pinch ourselves every time we think about the farm. We are in awe of what Scott and Matt have built. The irony is not lost on us — that what we love about Monches is ending. It is very sad for all their devoted customers and employees. Monches Farm is such a magical place. But that magic doesn’t happen magically. These two men have spent their lives working the land in all seasons. They’re ready to devote more energy to their other farm. They’re eager for change, for a new beginning.
Thus, an ending.
I hope all of my Wisconsin readers (and you Illinoisans too!) will make the trip to Monches Farm this spring. As of April 2, the shop and gardens are open every day. Perennials will be discounted. The shop will feature decorative accessories for all four seasons. And there is a guest book which you can sign. Please let Scott and Matt know know what Monches means to you.
If you are here at The Bubble Joy for the first time and are unfamiliar with me, I assure you that my family and I will cherish this special place. We will be good stewards of the land. We do not yet know what our plans are. We have four sons and a daughter-in-law who all have ideas. One of our sons is currently working on a farm in Mineral Point. My husband spent a lot of time on a farm when he was young and he looks forward to unceasing physical work. As for me, I dream of hosting writing retreats and pop-up shops for artists. Certainly, I will be typing away in the upstairs bedroom in the little farmhouse, relaying to you readers vivid tales of innocence lost. I imagine it’ll be funny. Or it could be really dark, if someone loses a limb. Either way, the chickens will lay eggs, the sun will set behind the Oconomowoc River, and the ancient apple tree out front will bloom in May.
Join us on this journey, won’t you? Read “We Bought a Farm! Part One” here. If you have ideas for us, would you consider leaving a comment? If you have well wishes for Matt and Scott, feel free to share them. (Please understand that I will swiftly smote with my delete key any comment that is unkind.)
Our new friends, Scott Sieckman and Matt Kastel photographed at their other idyllic farm, Ramhorn Farm by Boutique Photography.
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I’m off to Alt Summit, a blog conference in Palm Springs, this week. I’ll be back on the blog in a couple of weeks to share some tidbits and tales from the conference. In the meantime, check out my favorite procrastination links from around the web…Read More
I have a friend who always asks me, "Did you get the Halloween invite from blah blah blah?" or "Are you going to blah blah blah's 40th birthday party?" The first few times it happened and I responded that no, actually, I did not get that invite, she was always shocked. Which made it so much worse. "Huh!" she would say, like this was a puzzle. Like maybe I’d been on the original invite list but somehow something changed.
After this happened a number of times, my friend learned to be more discrete. Now she simply asks, "Did you get an invite in the mail yesterday?" This question is much less specific but not necessarily less stressful.Read More
My husband is an ethics officer of a large Fortune 500 company. He regularly conducts investigations of ethical misconduct, and while he isn’t shocked by the college admissions scandal, he finds it fascinating.
Most of my husband’s cases involve smart people doing stupid things for a little extra edge or a little extra money. They risk their career, their personal relationships, their reputation for a few thousand bucks, or a roll in the hay with a subordinate. Why?Read More
I took a little time away in Florida this past week. Nothing beats a little sunshine and warm weather! If you need a break this week, check out my favorite links from around the web…Read More
Spring is around the corner, but I honestly haven’t minded this winter one bit. I believe April can be much uglier than winter! If you need a little break this week as the snow melts, check out my favorite links from around the web…Read More
When I was six, I ran away from home. I packed my favorite doll, Betsy, into my red vinyl purse and hit the road.
Soon after the screen door slammed behind me, I encountered a problem I hadn’t anticipated. My parents forbade me crossing the street alone. What to do?
I asked Betsy. Maybe now is the time to mention that Betsy was a “Flatsy,” one of those popular dolls of the 1960s with the disconcerting combination of luscious, shiny, three-dimensional hair attached to a flattened head and body. Betsy looked like she’d been run over by a steam roller. She did not encourage me to cross the street.Read More
As the cold air settles in once again and icicles hang from our roofs, I’ve been checking in on the chickens at our farm and dreaming of spring. We have much to learn about tending to chickens, gardening, and farm life, but I am looking forward to the adventures ahead of us. If you need a little break from this bitter cold spell, check out my favorite procrastination links from around the web…Read More
Today’s post features the home belonging to my friend Amy Afsari. Amy hired me to help her with art and accessories, including a gallery wall. Before we get to the nitty-gritty on that, let’s talk about Amy’s style, which is very different from mine. She embraces exuberant color and wildly fun patterns and then tames them with English-style tables and chinoiserie. It’s an irresistible juxtaposition, especially here in Wisconsin where the piles of snow at the airport don’t melt until July. I walk into Amy’s sunshiny family room and can practically smell freshly cut grass, that’s how verdant the room feels.Read More
I have twice now written this weekly note to readers accompanied by a coyote howling outside. Or a fox. I’ve concluded that he wants to tell you something. I wonder what? If I hear him again this week, I am going outside to investigate. To see if it’s my brother, pranking me.
If you feel like howling at the moon, do it. If you prefer to stay inside, check out this week’s procrastination links:Read More
We’ve gotten another wallop of snow in Wisconsin, and it’s a winter wonderland outside. So hard to believe spring is only a month away! If you need a little break from playing in the snow, check out my favorite links from around the web this week…Read More
I finished the book and because I was sad that there were no pages, I read the acknowledgments. There, in the fourth paragraph, a name: the boy who broke my heart in my youth, who sent me crying to my pillow countless nights, whose love I couldn’t hold. This boy who made me realize that life before him was all Barbies on the floor, that love was real but not forever, and when it ended, it hurt. I could see him in a Powderhorn Mountaineering ski vest and painter’s pants. Broad-shouldered, golden-haired, laughing with crinkly eyes. That boy. He had grown up to become an anatomy professor in Eugene, Oregon, and there was his name, in the back of this heartbreaking book.
When young, we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall.
I am out of town this week, but I am looking forward to the next blog post on a book you’ll definitely want to read. Keep sharing those book and website recs with me! In the meantime, check out my favorite links from around the web this week…Read More
Have you ever attended an estate sale? Recently, my assistant, Alicia, joined me for her first ever estate sale. Expect the unexpected is what I told her. And never let the outside of a house lead you to make presumptions about the inside of a house. You can’t judge a book by its cover.Read More
How did you spend your days during our recent snowstorm and cold snap? The long days at home had me thinking about all of the ways we filled time when we were children just playing games, conducting experiments, and doing arts and crafts. Is this what kids still do on snow days? If you’re looking to fill a little time this week, check out my favorite links from around the web…Read More