These are really nice houses

A passive house in Bethesda, Md.

A passive house in Bethesda, Md.

When friends ask what my husband Mike Knezovich does for a living, it can be hard to explain. I tell them he’s the Director of Communications for Passive House Institute U.S (PHIUS). But what is a passive house, and what does PHIUS do?

Lucky for me, a writer from the Boston Globe bought a passive house last spring, and a personal essay she wrote about what it’s like to live there was published in last Sunday’s Boston Globe Magazine. Maria Cramer‘s article does a great job of explaining Passive House standards in a way that is easy to understand, and as a bonus, Mike is quoted at the end!

The Passive House Cramer and her husband bought has walls that are 17 inches thick, “The better to trap the heat from the sun shining through our huge windows, she wrote.”  The house was built by Travis Anderson and Declan Keefe, who assured the homebuyers that their energy bills will be reduced to almost nothing. From the article:

The idea of heat staying trapped inside also made me realize that dead air would remain with it. As if reading my mind, Declan explained that a special vent system would filter out stale wire and draw in fresh wire. You’d just have to make sure you cleaned the filter every six months, he said. The place would run on electricity: Two small Mitsubishi devices, one on the first floor, the other on the second floor, would supply both heat and air conditioning. You’d use them about half as much as you would use a regular heater and air conditioner, Travis said. The sun would provide in the winter, they intoned. In the summer, keeping the windows open would bring in cool night air that we could trap in the morning by shutting the windows. The water would be heated by solar panels, backed up by an in-tank electric coil.

The article goes on to describe what its been like to live in the house so far. Cramer said that the long winter this year forced them to rely on the heat more than they’d planned to during their first month there. By April, though, the sun started shining directly into the kitchen, warming the concrete floor.
“On cool mornings, we no longer had to wear socks to stay warm.”

Their energy bills are a sixth of what they paid in their old place, and Cramer says she was pleasantly surprised to discover that in addition to keeping out the cold and humidity, the thick walls and triple-pane windows keep noise out, too. “At night, when our neighbors stay up late talking or when they set off firecrackers around July Fourth, we need only shut the windows.”

There are thousands of passive houses in Europe, but only about 120 certified and pre-certified structures in the United States. One unfortunate thing about the passive house name is that it implies the approach is only for single family homes. In fact, you can build anything, including skyscrapers, using passive building principles. Mike says that more an more multifamily buildings–apartments, row houses, etc.–are being submitted for certification. And it’s a natural for affordable housing developers, who are embracing it.

I’ll end this post with the best part of the Boston Globe Magazine article — a passage that includes Mike’s quote explaining why that is:

Still, that’s a big jump from 2012, when there were only about a dozen in the United States, according to Michael Knezovich, spokesman for the Passive House Institute US, which certifies the homes. (Not included in the count, Knezovich points out, are homes built to the passive standard but not certified, like the one featured here.) The increase, Knezovich says, is due to developers seeing value in formally validating homes as energy-efficient and home buyers becoming familiar with the passive home concept.“It’s very clear that more and more people are learning about it,” he says. “The early adopters were kind of tree-huggers. But [the houses] are very comfortable. They’re well built, and when people walk through one they say: ‘Oh, this isn’t a flaky thing. It’s not a sacrificial thing. You don’t have to wear a sweater all the time. It’s not just a do-gooder thing.’ These are really nice houses.”

If you want to immerse yourself in passive house, Mike’s organization (PHIUS) is putting on it’s 9th Annual North American Passive House Conference in the Bay Area September 10-14. You can learn more and register here.

Mondays with Mike: Turning 30

Today, this enterprise Beth and I entered into on July 28, 1984, turns 30. That is to say, it’s our 30th wedding anniversary.

Dancing on our wedding day. Roland Kwasny and the Continentals played. On this number, Beth's sister Bev sat in on the drums, our friend Keith Pickerel was crooning, and the lovely woman in red next to him is Ree Stone.

Dancing on our wedding day. Roland Kwasny and the Continentals played. On this number, Beth’s sister Bev sat in on the drums, our friend Keith Pickerel was crooning, and the lovely woman in red next to him is Ree Stone.

I’m not sure what to say about that. That’s partly because lately, as I gain in years, I’m having a hard time calibrating time spans. Some stuff that happened 20 years ago seems like it happened yesterday, and stuff that happened last year seems like it was 20 years ago.

Plus, Beth has this mind-warping exercise she runs through from time to time. It goes like this: We’ll hear a song, a familiar song, something like, oh, Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” And she’ll say, “You know that was 38 years ago.”

As if that’ s not enough to take in, she goes on.

“So, when you were 12, in 1969, that’s what it was like if your dad heard a song from 1931. “

Like I said, mind warping.

But back to marriage and anniversaries. I’d like to come on all sage-like about what makes for a lasting marriage. But, you know, I got nothing. For one, I think it’s perfectly fine to not be married, and it’s not for everyone. (I can tell you that Beth and I each at various times have thought single life would be just fine.)
And I don’t think of reaching 30 as an accomplishment per se, but I am proud of us.

I can think of a couple things that probably have helped. When Beth and I began our relationship, we were both at the point where we’d concluded, well, if we don’t meet our soul mates, that’s just fine. We entered with no agendas or plan or particular expectations. So our relationship was allowed to take its own organic path.

The other thing: we had to have a very serious talk before we thought about getting hitched. In the course of seeing each other, I learned a lot about how her Type 1 diabetes affected her daily routines—as we saw more of each other, they were affecting our routines.

But I didn’t know everything about Type 1. And Beth, to her immense credit and integrity, believed I needed to know before we thought about something long term. So one evening, after a dinner I cooked for us, she laid it out. She probably shouldn’t have kids. She could go blind. Her kidneys could go. And on and on.

She gave me time to think about it. And I did. And we talked about it and the rest is history, as they say.

Having that kind of communication and honesty gave us a model. And as I think back, the times our relationship was in peril were times we had forgotten how to be that honest. And when we got back to that honesty, things healed, and we went on.

Not having a boilerplate, and being able to level with one another about the most difficult things have allowed us to change individually, grow apart, and grow back together without breaking apart.

We certainly are not the same people we were on a beautiful, sun-drenched Saturday in July in 1984. But we are still together.

Here’s to us.

All hail the mighty landline

Thanks to good old fashioned wires, I can hear Floey loud and clear.

Thanks to good old fashioned wires, I can hear Floey loud and clear.

Anyone out there still have a land line? We do. We still use an answering machine, too. I came home from memoir class and pressed the button on that good ol’ answering machine the other day and was tickled to hear my eight-year-old great niece’s voice ringing out from a tiny speaker. I’ve written about little Floey here on the Safe & Sound blog many times before — AnnMarie Florence Czerwinski is the only offspring in our entire family to be blessed with my mom’s beautiful name. I call her Floey for short.

Anyways, Floey sounded excited on the answering machine, and she wanted me to call her back right away. “I have awesome news!” Beep! Another message. Floey again. “Oh, and when you call back, use this number.” I had to rewind the message a few times to get the number right, and hearing Floey’s voice over and over again, I couldn’t help but notice how loud and clear it sounded. A clue to the awesome news, I thought. maybe they got their landline back.

Like so many other friends and relatives, Floey’s family got rid of their landline years ago to save money. Mike and I talked about getting rid of ours, too, but Floey’s great-grandma Flo had a hard time understanding people who called from cell phones, and, to be honest, so do I. The quality of a conversation is sooooooo much better on a landline than a cell phone, and for obvious reasons, sound is very important to me. Others seem resigned to cell phone’s, but I’ve gotta wonder: if cell phones were the only thing humans could use to make calls, and word got out that some tech guru had come up with something called a landline, would the inventor make millions?

The last time Floey stayed overnight with me, she seemed pretty excited when I gave her permission to use our landline to call home, but after she picked up the reciever, she was dumbfounded. “Do I just push the buttons?”

Floey and her family just moved into a new house, and I figured their move might have triggered the decision to go back to a landline. Turns out there was more to it than that. After I returned Floey’s phone call, my niece Janet (Floey’s mom) called me back to say thanks. “It gave her a chance to practice on the house phone,” she said. . “with everyone using cell phones, it’s like little kids are not learning this anymore.”

Janet said her concern over her kids ability to use a regular phone started after she’d told Floey’s five-year-old brother Raymond one morning that she was going to the basement to do laundry. “About 5 minutes later, he was running through the house, screaming out windows, crying, ‘MOM! WHERE ARE YOU?’” She ran upstairs to comfort Ray, and the experience led her to go through some “what would you do?” scenarios with him. “I tried to show him how to use the cell,” she said. Raymond couldn’t figure out how to use it. “It was charged, but it had been sitting there a while so he had to wait for it to come alive, then plug in the password, then dial 911, and hit enter.”

Even when Janet helped him through the steps, Raymond couldn’t tell if the call went through, and whether it was actually dialing. They decided to invest in a landline again. That’s one reason I’d never thought of for keeping a landline, and now I wonder: do other grandparents and parents go out of their way to teach kids how to use landline phones?

Here's the clip with Floey's personal bests.

Here’s the clip with Floey’s personal bests.

I am one of the few people who will know Floey’s landline number, and when I told Floey how special that makes me feel, how excited I was about her awesome news, how cool it was that she has a landline like mine now, how nice it is to hear her voice so clearly on my phone, she sighed an exasperated sigh. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I heard her eyes rolling. Floey’s awesome news had absolutely nothing to do with the landline. “We had a swim meet, and I got three personal bests,” she exclaimed. “My picture is in the newspaper!” She proceeded to describe herself doing the backstroke in the photo, then she read the caption, and then she read the story. And, thanks to the new landline, I could hear just how proud she is. Loud and clear.


Mondays with Mike: Wayfaring Stranger

Here's where we had coffee most mornings. On this morning, the Atlantic was pretty angry after a storm.

Here’s where we had coffee most mornings. On this morning, the Atlantic was pretty angry after a storm.

In the spring of 1999, we lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As I type that, it still astounds me. And it revives the smell, the feeling on my skin after a dip in the ocean, the roaring sound of living on the oceanfront.

It was the product of a windfall and a decision to live for now instead of the stuff of financial services commercials about saving for retirement. And it was a good decision. Every morning I got to put our son Gus on his school bus, and every afternoon I was there to greet him when he returned. Beth and I would have our morning coffee sitting on the stairs that led from our deck to the beach. I still remember the rhythmic appearance and disappearance of dorsal fins beyond the surf as dolphins made their way along the shore. There’s a whole lot more about the magical Outer Banks, but that’s plenty for now.

His early work with Ornette Coleman was avant grade, but Quartet West was a different story altogether.

His early work with Ornette Coleman was avant garde, but Quartet West was a different story altogether.

Except to say, what we learned living at milepost 21.5 in Nags Head, North Carolina, was that as grateful as we were to be able to live there for a couple seasons, we weren’t full-time beach people.

And so, by the spring of 1999, after we had made the decision to move back to Illinois, we found ourselves driving north to a restaurant called Ocean Boulevard. Ocean Boulevard was (and probably still is) a foodie kind of place. You could eat at a lot of places that served the freshest damn tuna or flounder or whatever. But we loved Ocean Boulevard for it’s crazy good tuna/wasabi salad. And for a giant rosemary bush outside the entrance from which we could poach smells and sprigs. So we headed there one last time.

NPR via the University of North Carolina’s station had arrived at the beach just months before we were to leave. For Beth, that meant Terry Gross’ Fresh Air was back in her life. And mine. Because when Beth hears something on Fresh Air, I hear about it. Which helps us both keep up with music and the arts and whatever.

We took the Beach Road instead of the Bypass. The Bypass is a five-lane clusterf*$k that feels like an Interstate but is not restricted access. Chaos. So we took the two-laner, which rides close to the shore. Windows open. Sun roof open. The smell of fish and sand and salt and … enveloped us. Ticky tack beach joints. Terry Gross was on, and the interview was with Charlie Haden, the jazz bassist.

As we drove, I learned that Charlie Haden contracted polio as a child growing up in Missouri. Until then he had been singing—by accounts beautifully—with his musical family who performed together. When he lost his voice, he took up the bass. And became one of the greatest jazz bassists ever.

He broke new ground in jazz playing with Ornette Coleman, led his own group (Liberation Orchestra), and another (Quartet West) and collaborated with Pat Metheny among many others …. he was more than a bassist. He was an artist. And a thinker. And without having met him, I would judge him as a great guy.

But back to that evening in late spring of 1999. As we approached the restaurant, he and Gross talked about his then-new album called The Art of the Song. It included standards—but not necessarily the best known standards—that he produced. A resurrection of beautifully written songs. Shirley Horn was among the artists that performed on it.

We pulled into the parking lot, and our reservation time approached, but we just couldn’t pry ourselves out of the the car before the interview was over. We were parked, pointed west toward the sound side of the Outer Banks. The sky was painted in pastels as it often was at sunset.

The interview ended with a song that Hayden sang—sang despite his compromised vocal chords. The song was Wayfaring Stranger. It started with a flourish of strings and it was immediately riveting. And then Haden began to sing. “I am a poor, wayfaring stranger…”.

I can’t do it justice. I hope you’ll listen to it via this link to a tribute to Haden on the NPR/Fresh Air Web site. (Wayfaring Stranger comes on at around the 45:00 minute mark, but if you can, listen to the whole program.)

What I can tell you is that for me, it expresses how sorrow and loss and hardship live shoulder to shoulder with beauty and joy. He strived, imperfectly, or more imperfectly than if he’d not ever had polio, and ended up with something transcendent.

Beth and I both ended up in tears by the end of Wayfaring Stranger. And we walked in for what was, as always, a terrific meal. I don’t remember what I ate that night. I do remember Charlie Haden. And always will.

Should athletes with disabilities pay more to participate?

My friend Eliza Cooper is blind, and she’s been training to race in NYC Swim’s Brooklyn Bridge Swim across the East River tomorrow. Eliza is a strong swimmer – she’s

That's Eliza on the right with her guide Megan Leigh.

That’s Eliza on the right with her guide Megan Leigh.

completed six, count them, six, triathlons already. The distance from Manhattan to Brooklyn is less than a mile, but now that NYC Swim director Morty Berger has decided that athletes with disabilities have to pay an extra fee, she probably won’t participate.

Eliza is 28 years old, and I got to know her in Morristown, N.J. when I was training with my third Seeing Eye dog, Harper. We liked each other the minute we met, and when she got matched with Harper’s brother Harris, we knew it was fate, and that we’d stay in touch.

This guy look familiar? He’s Harper’s bro, Harris!

Eliza trains with Achilles International (they help athletes with disabilities prepare for races) and NY Info published an article this week after she and five other Achilles athletes were told they’d have to pay extra to participate tomorrow.

NYC Swim director Morty Berger said he added extra requirements for athletes with disabilities because of construction around the South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Due to the construction, this year all athletes will need to jump off a water taxi docked on the Manhattan side to start the race. They’ll have to climb onto what Berger calls an “uneven” exit at the Brooklyn Bridge Park to end the race, too. And so, Berger decided that Achilles would have to ensure that its swimmers are covered under Achilles’ policy if they want to participate, And Achilles must pay $700 for boats to trail swimmers with disabilities in case they need help. “I am the lifeguard and I have to make the calls as it relates to safety,” Berger said. “It’s like someone saying, ‘I want to go swimming when there’s lightning out,'”

Achilles rejected the additional demands. “I told them if it was unsafe for my athletes, it was unsafe for everyone else,” Achilles coach Kathleen Bateman said in the article. Eliza is quoted in the article, too, questioning whether any other minority group would feel okay about paying extra to participate in an event like this: “We do not need extra boats or extra help,” she told the reporter, and I believe her. A few years ago Eliza was featured in a piece Eleanor Goldberg wrote after competing in the New York City triathlon with Eliza and 11 other Achilles athletes. They swam 1 mile, biked 26 miles up and down hill terrain, and ran 6.2 miles in Central Park. Eliza managed to fix three flat tires during the event and never once considered giving up.

Eliza is training for her first half Ironman now, and based on her previous times, she stood a pretty good chance of winning an award at tomorrow’s Brooklyn Bridge Swim. From the article:

“It’s especially unfair when they don’t know how hard they’ve trained or how much of their heart and soul go into it,” she said. “We always find a way to do things, that’s how our team works… for someone to say no, it’s really disheartening.”

So what do you think? I understand the organizer’s concerns, but I’ve learned a lot from Eliza. Maybe swimming in a tidal estuary is too dangerous, but if the other swimmers are given the option to make that judgment for themselves, then the Achilles athletes should be given that choice, too. Agree? Disagree? Eager to hear what you blog readers think — leave a comment and let me know.

Getting your memoir off the ground

Lots of people have interesting life stories to tell. The hard part? Getting those stories down on paper so that others can read them.

As the writers in the memoir classes I lead for the City of Chicago and Lincoln Park Village master the art of writing about their lives, they find themselves with a new challenge: assembling finished stories into book form. Their questions about publishing inspired me to put together a new memoir workshop for The Northwestern summer Writers’ Conference this year on Northwestern University’s Chicago campus in Wieboldt Hall.

This year’s conference has a Writing Chicago theme, and it starts Thursday, July 31 and runs until August 2, 2014. My two-hour workshop, called Getting Your Memoir Off the Ground meets from 1:15 to 3:15 on Friday, August 1. I plan on giving a couple in-class exercises and discussing techniques to get past whatever it is that’s stopping writers from getting their work done, whether it be worries about writing as a victim, facing issues that come with writing about people we love, or figuring out strategies for organizing the raw material of our lives into book form. The overall emphasis will be on craft and on overcoming the barriers that keep us from writing and assembling our stories.

Each workshop at the Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference is limited to 18 participants, and organizers told me yesterday that workshops and panels are filling quickly. My friends and fellow published authors Miles Harvey and Audrey Petty are giving workshops at this year’s conference, too.

That’s Miles Harvey. (Photo by Matt Moyer.)

I met Miles long ago when both of us wrote for the Daily Illini at the University of Illinois. His first book The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime was a national and international bestseller. Another book, Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America, received a 2008 Editors’ Choice award from Booklist. Miles used to light up the dingy Daily Illini production room in the basement of Illini Hall, and to this day, being around him makes me smile. I was delighted when he accepted a position at DePaul University, it meant he’d be staying here in Chicago, and I knew he would serve as a terrific mentor to hundreds of writing students there. His generosity of spirit encourages many a writer, including me, to keep at it.

I was introduced to Audrey Petty in Urbana, too, and she and I took to each other the minute we met. Audrey is a Chicago native, and Mike and I have had the good fortune to meet and know her entire family. Her father, Joe Petty, is credited with getting the Chicago White Sox into the 2005 World Series. “MoJo” went with us to a playoff game against Boston, and he mesmerized everyone in the seats around us (and the team, too, of course) with his confidence and calm even as the White Sox fell behind. (They came back and won.)And that's Audrey, in a shot taken by her daughter Ella.

An oral history Audrey put together of stories from residents of Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes, Robert Taylor Homes, Stateway Gardens and Cabrini-Green (all publicly-funded buildings here in Chicago that no longer exist) called High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing was published to great acclaim last year by Voice of Witness, the nonprofit division of McSweeney’s Books. Audrey’s workshop for the Northwestern conference is called Object Lessons and meets on Thursday, July 31 from 1:15 to 3:15. Audrey will be using prompts and exercises to “unpack artifacts” from writers’ lives and show them ways keepsakes or forgotten treasures on shelves can unlock a story. Miles is leading a two-hour non-fiction workshop called Writing With Your Feet at 1:15 on Friday, August 1 to teach writers to “generate essays by moving through space and time.” He promises a literary treasure hunt, which he says will be led by Virginia Woolf – who can resist?!

Unfortunately, I will. Have to resist, I mean. I’d love to sit in on both of those workshops, but I lead a memoir class for Lincoln Park Village on Thursday when Audrey’s workshop meets, and the one Miles is leading meets the same day and time as mine.

I do plan to stop in at the conference at noon on Thursday to hear keynote speaker Chris Abani–he was born in Nigeria, he writes everything from plays to poems to essays, and I’m guessing he’ll be talking about his latest novel, The Secret History of Las Vegas, published by Penguin this year. I also hope to sit in on the class Kevin Davis is leading on Saturday afternoon, August 2. Kevin is a good friend of Miles, I know he’s a gifted teacher, and his workshop sounds perfect for the manuscript I’m working on now about all I’ve learned leading memoir-writing classes for senior citizens here in Chicago. I’ll say goodbye here and leave you with the description of Kevin’s two-hour workshop – look for me there!

Capturing Character in Non-Fiction Writing
What makes people interesting? How do you capture a person’s essence? In this course geared for non-fiction writers, author and journalist Kevin Davis discusses various techniques that will help writers create better personality profiles and make them come alive. We’ll cover interviewing, background research and the challenges – as well as opportunities – of writing profiles. Classroom exercises include interviewing and writing short pieces. Fiction writers may also find this course valuable.

Mondays with Mike: A Tale of Two Ballgames

Tuesday night Target Field in Minneapolis hosts the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. I’ll be watching, but my seat won’t be nearly as good as the one I had a few weeks ago. That’s when I was treated to VIP seats in the front row at Target Field. Say it like Bob Uecker did in that iconic Miller Lite commercial now, “The FRONT row.”

Beth’s written here before about her family’s Christmas tradition. Because there are so dang many of them, buying gifts is prohibitive. So everyone draws a name and has to make something. It can’t cost too much—there used to be a dollar limit but pretty much everybody knows what “too much” is. And it’s what you spend…not the value mind you.

Beth’s niece Caren, who lives in suburban Minneapolis with her husband and two kids, drew my name. And it so happens that Caren’s employer has Champions Club seats at Target Field. So last Christmas, Caren—knowing I’m a White Sox fan—presented me with a hand-knitted black-and-white scarf (Sox colors) accompanied by an invitation to pick a Twins-White Sox game and attend as her guest.

If it weren't for the next, we could have shaken hands with the on-deck hitter.

If it weren’t for the net, we could have shaken hands with the on-deck hitter.

Fast forward to June. Caren and her husband Mark and their kids pick us up at our hotel in Minneapolis. We drive to the park. Or I should say, under the park, where a valet takes our car. We enter and next thing we know we’re in this big restaurant where, well, you can eat anything you want. As much as you want. A carving station. A pasta bar. A charcuterie station. Free beer. Ice cream. Hot dogs. Free beer. Did I mention free beer? In keeping with local custom, I had a Grain Belt.

We walked out to our seats, which were sort of like these Lazy-Boy big boy seats. While Caren and her family stopped at around the fifth row, well, Beth and I headed down to row one. Right behind the plate. So if you were watching, you could see me on every pitch. It was hot, but I didn’t move for several innings. Because you don’t often get a seat where you can see the movement on pitches. At one point, Beth was guessing fastball vs. off-speed by the sound of the ball in the catcher’s mitt. And when Jose Abreu crushed a double to the right field fence, well, I’ll always remember that sound.

Beth and I did eventually take a lap around the full park on the concourse to see how the other half was living. Pretty well, from what I could tell. Really nice ballpark. And Minnesotans, well, they were a little more polite and a little less boisterous than fans here in Chicago on either side of town.

Fast forward again to a week ago Sunday. Our neighborhood friends Jim and Janet and we sprang for…$5.00 tickets in the Upper Deck of U.S. Cellular Field. (Also known as “The Cell” or just White Sox Park, as Beth calls it).

We usually take the Red Line L train—it’s only three stops away. But it was so beautiful that day that we rode our bikes (Beth and I have a tandem, lest you fear). Locked up our bikes, walked way way up (imagine where Bob Eucker actually sat in that Miller Lite commercial).

And somehow, it was no less grand. Great sightlines, good company, a bratwurst for Beth, Italian sausage for me. OK, we had to pay for our beer, but that seems only fair.

I love the Twin Cities.

I love the Twin Cities.

The chatter was great. A little kid behind us gamely screamed at the top of his lungs “Let’s go White Sox,” trying to get the crowd going. Given the far reaches of our perch, he was often screaming alone. But it didn’t stop him.

And the vendors. That’s what I realized I missed at the Champions Club in Minnesota. Rather than use vendors, the Champion Club sent someone down to take orders, and would return with food and drink or whatever in hand. Which was swell.

But a good vendor is part of the game for me. My all-time favorite vendor experience at The Cell was a guy peddling cotton candy, of all things. As he climbed and descended the stands, he would boom out in his best overwrought Charlton Heston voice, “For the love of God, buy some cotton candy!” Every park has its characters.

So next time I’m in Minneapolis—which I hope is soon, because the Twin Cities are a terrific place—you probably won’t see me on TV, I’ll be out with the vendors. And we’ll treat Caren and Co.


If you’re a fan–or even if not, I hope you’ll read this terrific, in-depth piece about the rich history of baseball and town teams throughout the state of Minnesota. I had no idea.

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