I learned three things about tango this week while volunteering at Legion Arts’ Alejandro Ziegler Quartet and speaking to an earnest young dancer named Liam.

  1. “If you can walk, you can tango,” Liam said. “You just have to get used to walking with someone in your face, leaning into you.”
  2. Tango is about taking your time, as evidenced by the fact the band showed up 50 minutes late, then decided to make it a full hour taking a leisurely pre-show smoke break. Argentinian agendas definitely don’t match with Iowa itineraries. Point corroborated by the slow sweep of feet on the floor and the almost imperceptible way one female dancer slid her foot up the thigh of her partner.
  3. Tango is about sex. Or maybe just pure sensuality. Hands on tense backs, twisting hips and that signature lean involving a lot of complicated intertwining. Watching, it was hard to tell what aspects of the dance were carefully choreographed and what simply felt and manifested.

At the after-show buffet table, I also learned how to identify dulce de leche in its pure form, and that you don’t eat it like a dip on tortilla chips, despite its resemblance to bean dip and proximity to said chips.


I’ve never tried karaoke, but if I did, it would have to be in the Japanese-style karaoke bar in downtown Iowa City, in one of the reserve-a-month-in-advance 2-person song lounges. Two occupants, singing directly to each other. For maximum awkwardness. There will be “Lost in Translation” wigs.

I polled several people about the perfect karaoke song. One was a vocal major, so I thought I’d get some great, insightful answer from him. He said, “Don’t do Adele.” Another said you can’t go wrong with Talking Heads “This Must Be the Place,” especially because you can distract onlookers with David Byrne shoulder dancing.

Instead of that, I’ve been practicing this super sassy Rilo Kiley song in the car on drives to St. Louis — on repeat 13 times in a row — and I’m thisclose to getting Jenny Lewis’ sexy sullen woman persona down.

I know, I know, Karaoke 101: Sing songs people know. But in solo car karaoke, there are no rules.


Back from some much-needed Missouri time:  brews (Civil Life’s American Brown ale and Kaldi’s Guatemala San Pedro La Laguna coffee); an (unintentional) 8-mile hike featuring expansive views of the Missouri River Valley, ghost stories and romantic advice; then shopping, sister time and a sushi documentary.

Pictures @ Weldon Spring Conservation Area — Lewis Trail, mixed with some Clark Trail, mixed with a whole lot of asking people, “How far are the bluffs?” and “Where are we?”

31 skies.

C and I are working on a lil artistic endeavor beyond the usual watercolor and interpretive dance Saturday nights. Every day for the month of October, we each take out our phones at some point during the day to snap a picture of the sky.

This was inspired by my Mom, who sent a picture a couple months ago that I had to share with him — just the word “Sky.” and the bluest rectangle of space suburban St. Louis had to offer. It was funny. And pretty. And we started sky-ing each other regularly after that.

And then it turned into this art project. About halfway into it now, and here are some favorites from my album:

Oct. 2

Oct. 5

Oct. 10

Oct. 14

Squash ‘n things.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tahini Salad. Yes. Delicious.

I am not a cook and this is not a food blog.

When I make myself dinner, there are just two requirements: speed and cheese. This usually means some whole wheat pasta drizzled with olive oil and coated in Parmesan, or, less classy, generic powdered mac ‘n cheese — which, I confess, I love (at this point, that’s no secret on here). It’s my guiltiest guilty food pleasure.

But, it’s fall food season and there was half a butternut squash in my fridge this evening, left over from another random incident of chef-ery last week (goat cheese + squash pasta). So, I made this, a recipe I discovered by Googling ingredients I knew were laying around my kitchen cupboards in various states of expiration, like a can of garbanzo beans, tahini and garlic from baba ganoush night and tasty whole-wheat pita.

The recipe that popped up, Warm Squash and Chickpea Tahini Salad, just happens to be from one of my favorite food blogs, Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette (highly recommend her memoir, A Homemade Life). We modified her modifications to make it even more convenient, nixing the red onion and cilantro (because I didn’t have them and go to Hy-Vee too much as it is), overloading on garlic because garlic is a very tasty treat, sprinkling just a few red pepper flakes — for the surprise factor more than any additional flavor; could’ve either done without or added more for a kick — and glugging on the olive oil with zeal and abandon.

It was perfect, with a triangle of pita on the side of each bowl for sandwich making or impromptu panzanella. And, leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow.

Seriously. Fall might just make a chef out of me yet. Or I might simply start adding butternut squash and tahini to boxed mac ‘n cheese. There are no wrong answers here.


Turns out perfect hiking weather is drizzly and 64 degrees — just cold and muggy enough for mist to rise off the creek even at 5 in the afternoon, to wade in bone-chilling cold water and recover feeling in your middle toe by dancing to Prince in an open meadow. @ Eden Valley Nature Center:


Did I mention I love fall? I saw a squash the size of a chubby 4-year-old at Hy-Vee today for $4.99 and got this baby-cutie version for 50 cents. Second consecutive weekend of Oktoberfesting and leaf-walking and dog-stalking was a great success. Also successful? The lederhosen and beard on the man in the background of the last picture here. He definitely had the legs for those tight velvet short-pants.