Around the Rap.

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Things I’m into: Hearts on old houses and female-fronted indie pop.

Representing the upper Midwest (woo!), Baraboo, Wis.-born PHOX played CSPS last fall, and I fell hard for the band’s bombast mixed with adorable singer Monica Martin’s on-stage anxiety. Working on merch before the show, we pulled a bottle of whiskey out of their T-shirt box. The drink showed up again and again in Martin’s hand throughout the show, when she wasn’t picking up a surprise trombone to join the rest of the seven-piece band’s horn section.

This was PHOX’s second time in CR (Martin apologized late in the evening for wearing the same outfit both times). I’d like to keep them all to myself in Legion Arts tiny theater, but I bet they’re destined for big things.

Down the road, Lion Bridge Brewing Company is taking shape in Czech Village just across the Lion Bridge from NewBo and just next to the Cedar Valley bike trail.

Zip through downtown and past the Quaker Oats compound to something great – though we’re not sure just what yet – taking shape at my CR happy place, Cedar Lake: Friends of Cedar Lake.

I feel lucky to have lived in this city during years of such big changes and improvements. The new downtown library, NewBo rebuild, restaurant boom and greater bike traffic awareness complement the already awesome stuff going down here, like Indian Creek Nature Center, Palisades Park, Kernels games and the massive summer farmers market.

Another goal for 2014 is to get out in it as much as possible, hopefully on the back of an upgraded bike.

Negatives.

The Upper Midwest has been grappling with a devil of a windchill for about three weeks now, culminating (I hope) in tomorrow’s real forecasted high of -8 degrees. The governor of Minnesota called off every school in the state with projections for northern settlements’ temperatures to hit -80. Living the dream.

Sorry for your snow and cold this week, East Coast.

Yesterday morning warmed up to a positively balmy 30 degrees, so we chowed down a few pastries at Donutland and headed to Morgan Creek. The open prairie turns into a cross-country ski course/husky paradise in winter. Temps were already dropping by noon and now they’re back at below-zero windchills.

This seems to bring out full-moon caliber craziness, too. An older woman approached me at the grocery store last week to ask about my infinity scarf. She crotchets, she says, and has seen this style all over the place and wants to try it. I give her the scarf, she counts the rows, returns it and thanks me.

“I crocheted for Sonny and Cher, you know,” she says as she starts to walk away. “Well, for Cher. Big full sleeves on a mini-dress.”

I’m choosing to believe her.

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Chris is still biking, by the way. Made a grocery run this morning on his Surly Pugsley to get last-minute beer-making supplies for today’s first attempted batch. IPA is the new stocking-up-for-disaster bread and milk.

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