Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Announcing our FIRST Cash Mob St Paul MN event!! Help support a local business by spending at least $20 cash at this event. More details are on our Facebook page "Cash Mob St Paul MN" Join our community and come to our events as they fit your schedule.
Date: July (look on our page for exact date)
Time:  6pm
Location: TO BE ANNOUNCED a day or two before the event, please check back on the Facebook page for details. Somewhere in the East Metro area of the Twin Cities (Ramsey, Dakota, or Washington County).

The cash mob rules are simple.
1. Spend $20 cash (more or less but cash does speed up the check out process).
2. Chat with three people that you don’t know but please bring along a friend or two.
3. Enjoy yourself! We want this to be a fun experience for everyone.

Please RSVP with “Join” if you can make it, SHARE THIS INVITATION WITH OTHERS via Facebook, and invite your friends. If you can’t attend, you can temporarily join with a “Maybe” to invite your friends and then decline at a later date. Please decline before the event if you have to cancel. Join our Facebook community page at “Cash Mob St Paul MN” to receive notification of future events.

Optional: Wear something green to the event to indicate that you are a member of the Cash Mob…just an idea, not a requirement.

Thank you ever so much!

PS If you can’t join us for this event, please patronize the business another time and let them know that you heard about their business from Cash Mob St Paul MN.

© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, June 25, 2012


Support local business through a surprise-spending spree. We will focus on locally owned businesses in the Saint Paul and East Metropolitan area of the Twin Cities, Minnesota (Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington counties). Join our Facebook Community Page (Cash Mob St Paul MN) and spread the word by inviting your Facebook Friends to join our rabble of do-gooders.

Thank you to Cash Mob Minneapolis for inspiring this St Paul - East Metro version of a mob for good.

The goal is to periodically visit local small businesses with a surprise “Cash Mob.” A large group of people ventures into the shop together and spends money on what the business has to offer. We will patronize a variety of establishments including retail, restaurant, or whatever else fits our mission to support locally owned businesses (sorry, no chain stores or franchises qualify).

The cash mob rules are simple.
1. Spend $20 cash (more or less but cash does speed up the check out process)
2. Chat with three people that you don’t know but please bring along a friend or two
3. Enjoy yourself! We want this to be a fun experience for everyone

The date and time will be prescheduled so that you can reserve it on your calendar. Please forward the invitation, the more the merrier. We will periodically post a poll for YOU to help decide the next business to patronize and welcome suggestions. We will strive to host at least one event each month. The exact location will be announced a day or two beforehand. Of course, if weather interferes we will reschedule our mobbing. If you can’t attend that specific time/date, please visit the business on your own and identify yourself as a Cash Mob St Paul MN Member. Let’s have fun!

This is NOT a flash mob. We will be respectful to each other and the business owner. No mischief, mayhem, or damage is permitted. No spontaneous song and dance tunes. This community reserves the right to block access to people who act irresponsibly.

Thank you for your interest in this cash mob. Have a fabulous day!

© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Friday, June 22, 2012


Do caterpillars remember
Who they were
Five generations anon each spring
Fourteen legs crawling from leaf to leaf
Munching on milkweed with abandon
Poohing at random
Shedding their stripes yellow, black, white
Binding their bum to hang upside-down
Wiggle and jiggle into a chrysalis skin
Soft green coma
Bursting forth inflating tiny wings like a rescue raft at sea
Larger larger for aerodynamic lift
Dry to fly in the sky
Sip sweet nectar, mate, and die
Earthbound once again

Give me wings.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, June 18, 2012


 Most recent review was posted on May 21st.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Four worms

Disconcerting biography of Louis Zamperini’s prisoner of war experience. Map was nice but the preface was unnecessary. Disturbing details of the atrocities of war when the Geneva Convention is violated and the POWs struggle to survive. Not to be read if you are prone to nightmares. Epilogue was rather confusing but the research notes impressive.

The Water Children by Anne Berry Four worms

Poetic languid exploration of the characters. Discombobulating in sections where it isn’t clear who is being discussed but weaves together well. Strong storyline and sugary ending after so much pain.

The Invitation by Anne Cherian Three worms

Four college friends reunite for an emotional event. Good insight into the internal workings of the characters. Structure of story could have used some tweaking and the ending was rather abrupt. The email conclusion was clever.

Glass Asylum by JoAnn Bren Guernsey Two and half worms

Tale of a writer’s angst. Strong writing convoluted by perplexing plot. The short story examples were a rude interruption in the narrative. The teacher character was the most interesting and should have been the focus of the book.

The Healing by Jonathan Odell Two and half worms

Some nice passages and good description of the swamps. Author rather clueless when it came to the female “flowering.” It ain’t flowers that flow but the imagery of a river through time was notable.

Read or Write, just do it!

© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This bit highlights a few of the myriad talented artists that I viewed. I urge you to attend next year’s AAW or an art-crawl in your area. Many of the buildings and independent studios have events throughout the year. Prepare to be awed. Part I of this review was posted on June 11th.

Porcelain glazed plates, vases, and forms are coupled with the friendliest artist on the art crawl, Jeff Longtin at the California Building. He was gracious and informative regarding the process. Mr. Longtin can be reached at 612-824-5939. Artistic Indulgence wins high marks for their hospitality. They had an impressive array of treats to consume while viewing the music inspired artwork of Mike Menasco. Bright jazzy paintings and a fine art custom framing shop beautifully arranged despite just moving into the Thorp Building.

Giving a boost to others is helpful for the whole community. The Thorp Building hosted the Bethel University Senior Thesis Exhibition. Some of the emerging artists were quite impressive and I look forward to their future work. Altered Esthetics in the Qarma Building is a nonprofit gallery featuring revolving exhibits. I was pleasantly surprised by the artwork displayed.

Happy to have visited with a couple of last year’s winners, Alison Price and Nicole Fierce. They both are doing well in their new studio spaces and creating exciting pieces. I have written about them in this blog and you should visit their websites for information. Contact Alison Price at or 612-805-1886. Nicole Fierce can be contacted at or 651-271-2502. Please patronize all the artists listed.

Song Thao fabulously blends traditional Hmong story cloth (pan dau) images with abstraction. Large sweeping work. He is clearly talented and his hefty canvases reflect a variety of moods. Contact Mr. Thao at or 651-210-9715.

* Rabi Sanfo creates sculptures and wall hangings with strength. Multiple layers of design, metal and meaning.
* Larry Retzlaff mixes good humor with his media. Daring garish cartoon buildings and silly Styrofoam crayon heads are in his repertoire.
* Farida Hughes is dotty, polka-dots with a twist, that is. Her multihued dots dance on the canvas.
* Frank Wetzel creates stunning portraits and lovely landscapes. Beauty is beheld.
* Neal Perbix mixes wire, paint, and cut out sculpture for creative wall hangings.
* Marcia McEachron is a sculptor, painter, and wire twister extraordinaire. Her war horse painting looks like its about to charge into the room.
* Candice Simpson eases the eye with ephemeral nature paintings. Soft, sweet, and breezy.
* Martin Arend is a modern icon maker. His audacious, complicated images are the stuff of deep dreams or nightmares.
* Geri Retzlaff weaves fiber into artistic scarves and fabrics.
* Reynaldo Diaz has a sharp eye for design. Bright scenes move through his work.
* Nanci Yermakoff watercolors are meditative. Sit down, relax, and view the rising or setting sun over the lake.
* David Sollie blends ad-type with irreverent puns. Snappy absurdity brings a smile.
* Leslie A. Pilgrim doesn’t hesitate with her stunning pieces. Bold vision to brighten up any space and place.

Buy Art!
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, June 11, 2012


Art A Whirl sets my heart a twirling. I simply adore strolling amongst the studios and viewing the physical manifestation of the artist’s imagination. Inspiring to see a bit of their soul displayed and have the honor to speak with the creator. It was nice to peruse the guidebook in advance of the crawl. It gave me the opportunity to plan my route. It is physically impossible to visit each and every studio open during the largest art-crawl in the United States. I concentrated on the larger buildings that I did not view last year.

Attended the opening reception on Friday night at the Thorpe Building. Unfortunately, many of the venues weren’t available at the start time. Perhaps I should have ventured there later but the parking lot filled very quickly. The post-apocalyptic space engineered by The Friemily Collaborative was awesome. Their magical space was a delight but was quiet when I toured.  Motos vibrated the end of the building with throbbing tunes and way-cool motorcycles. Banner Creations folks were affable and it was interesting to touch their recycled plastic bottle products with zero waste.

Saturday I trekked to the California and Artbloc buildings. It is most disappointing when the studio door is closed. California building was the worst for lack of open as advertised. Sunday I went to Quarma and Northrup King. I spent about ten hours crawling around during the three days. I wanted to do more but the sciatic pain returned after walking on cement. It also irritated my heel spur despite wearing tennis shoes. In 2011, departed early after the tornado destroyed the nearby neighborhoods because I am a Red Cross volunteer. I assisted at the shelter off and on for six weeks. I wrote about it May 23rd, 2011. If you like jewelry, invite the folks from the nonprofit Jewelry For Hope to your party. They support a school in Haiti and can bring an impressive display of funky recycled material bead necklaces, earrings, and bracelets to sell. Contact Jan Jones at for details.

Attention AAW Organizers: plan for lost and bewildered patrons. Assume that they know nothing and need to be led by the hand. Consistent AAW signage both outside and inside the venues, building maps, and greeters needed at every location. There should be a sandwich board (St. Paul Art Crawl excels) or large lawn sign for each building and independent studio (LOLA does this well). The building should have large signs inside pointing to open studios (Thorp shines) and posted maps (Northrup King stands out). Architectural Building was on the map but I could not determine if any of the studios were really open.

Each building should have one main entryway with a nearby information booth. Other entryways should be marked with directions to the information booth and tour guides posted at main intersections of the building. I got lost in Thorp before finding the information booth because the signage had not been posted, yet. The Thorp’s Scavenger Hunt was clever but it was only explained at the info booth, which I found near the end of my visit. It would be helpful if the AAW website had a list of all the special events and activities from every venue. I would have liked to see performances, if I had known about them.

I enjoy chatting with friendly artists. I avoid the arrogant or irritable folks. Why do they even bother to open their doors if they really don’t want to interact with the public? It would be better to just not participate rather than dispel potential patrons with a bad attitude. Artbloc was the most difficult to locate, no building map, greeters, or interior signage. I got lost in the connected warren of buildings, and was dismayed that I could not find the open studios. I did happen upon the chocolates sale, yummy! Oddly, even though several food trucks prep their wares at the Artbloc site, none sold to patrons.

Apologize that this review is belated but I had to attend my uncle’s funeral. Plus, I like to mull a bit before I publish. To be continued with a list of favored creativity…

Enamored of Art.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


To slumber
Purrhaps to dream
Of toys and treats
Belly rubs
Open window – my favorite reality show
Oh, to be an adorable cat
Pampered beloved feline
Room & Board provided
Ears and chin scratched upon demand
Dreadful waste taken away by servant
Humans are trainable
If you purr and cuddle enough.

Poetic license extended.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, June 4, 2012


Consuming calories at a restaurant is a birthday tradition with my friends. We celebrated at Amore Victoria Ristorante located at 1601 West Lake Street in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. It was my first visit. The entryway was rather crowded and the tables extremely close together due to a renovation in the front room. We Minnesotans have a large personal bubble. I really don’t want to hear the sound of someone chewing their food at the next table. It was too close for comfort since we were seated at a table too small for our group. We had a reservation, there were empty tables nearby, and the host or waiter should have added another table on when they realized that six people were at a table for four.

We started with the Calamari Fritti, crispy calamari. The bands were soft and the legs crispy in a light batter. The sauce was unremarkable. Rosa de Pesto had a strong pesto flavor in a large portion. Grazies sweet Basil Sauce was a lighter pesto with delicate homemade noodles. Pollo con Penne e Shitake was salty. Needed more mushrooms and would have been better with bow-tie pasta. Lasagna was the best entrée. Excellent flavor and a good-sized serving.

My friend received a tiramisu for dessert. She really liked it. I didn’t try it because I am not a fan of coffee flavor. I did eat a piece of delicious chocolate cake. Soft texture and creamy mousse filling. Disappointed that the dessert menu did not include prices. The décor is a bit dark and there doesn’t seem to be a theme. Mood lighting made it difficult to read the menu.

Service with a smile. Waitron was friendly but he was very slow. Several of my friends only drank water and their glasses were not refilled. It would have been amenable to have a pitcher of water placed on the table. Bread was nice but it was served cold. The fresh Parmesan cheese was excellent with the bread but the olive oil was a rather bland brand. Overall, the prices were high for the portion size. Happy that there are windows in the kitchen. The staff needs to see the world and it improves their working environment.

Two and a half forks out of five, aka so-so.

Carpe Diem.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing