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Northfield prohibits riding bicycles (skateboards and rollerblades) on downtown sidewalks. This ordinance makes sense on Division Street – a busy, pedestrian street with pretty narrow sidewalks populated with street furniture, sidewalk dining, signs, trees, and trash/recycling containers and the people using … Continue reading →
WOW… can you believe?? It’s not just me, it’s not just denial of Intervention of No CapX 2020. See 20162-118122-01_Denial2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention.
This is the most recent Order in the Xcel Energy Rate Case:
Here are their Intervention Petitions:
To see the full Rate Case docket, go to the PUC’s Search Documents page, and search for Docket 15-826.
And the Order… Dig this, parroting Xcel’s objections:
And this, even worse, as if the interests of the “Clean Energy Organizations” who bought into, stumped for, and sat quietly during the legislative hearings about Xcel Energy‘s e21 Initiative are the same as the interests of SunShare and Institute for Local Self-Reliance – ILSR:
This is SO offensive. There is no consideration that the perspectives are different, only statements that the issues, the concerns, are the same.
The late, great Myer Shark, rate case Intervenor extraordinaire, would spin in his grave at the limitations of participation in this rate case.Myer Shark, Lawyer Who Fought Utility, Is Dead at 94 In the Matter of the Complaint by Myer Shark, et al …
Did you know you can tour dams?!?! As a kid, we toured Ft. Peck, while visiting Hell Creek campground, the name oh-so-apt. And Hoover dam, which I remember better, this was SO long ago… And knowing how I love utility infrastructure, I’m trying to arrange tours. We shall see! And SUCCESS!!!! We get to tour Fort Peck Dam! Is this cool or what?!?!?
Grief drove me to spend a couple hours tonight combing our digital photos for the best shots of Sabine, our wonderful grandma cat. I was surprised by how few there were, but the photos we do have are nicely representative of her beauty and calm. “Beaner” was quite a cat, even leaving aside the fact that she lived 21 wonderful years (nearly half my life!).
Sabine was a stray, adopted by Shannon and me with her “brother” Snowshoe (also a stray but not her actual littermate) from a shelter in Chicago. When Shannon and I – newly married – adopted the two cats, we were making a real home for ourselves. In the contract with signed with the shelter, we promised to always keep them both indoors and to never declaw them. We were silly kids, but we kept both of those promises! “Schoobie” died of cancer when he was only five, which felt until tonight like an impossibly painful event. “Beaner” lived another 16 years! I asked her, at the vet’s tonight, to make sure she told Schoobie that we missed him and that we did a good job with her.
The defining aspect of Beanie’s life was being the object of the girls’ inexhaustible love. She sought out their love, and paid them back richly. Genevieve, especially, enjoyed a special bond with Sabine, whom she called by a million names, including “Benobi.” How many hours did Sabine spend with Julia and Genevieve on the sofa, snuggling into a blanket or draped over their laps?
She was a surpassingly gentle cat. I can’t remember her ever being truly angry, except when I trimmed her claws. And even then, she relaxed when Vivi would help me by cooing to her and stroking her back. She loved peace and quiet and sunbeams. Like most cats, but more so.
In the last couple years, as life with not-little kids calmed down, Sabine made a point each morning to come over to where I was eating breakfast and paw at my leg, reminding me that she wanted some of the milk from my cereal. I’m sorry that I wasn’t always patient with her begging, but I always gave her my leftover milk, which she happily slurped up. She often then waited at the door to the garage to go and inspect the situation there – but not if it was too cold. She liked to lick the spokes on the girls’ bicycles, bizarrely. Back inside, especially in these last few years of her life, she would find a sunny spot in the living room and make herself comfortable as I was leaving for work.
Even more than those weekday mornings, Sabine and I enjoyed each other’s company every evening, after the rest of the household went to bed. She and I had a little routine. When I came downstairs after saying goodnight to the girls around 8:30, she’d expect me to top off her food bowl. Then she’d sit with me or maybe sleep behind the TV in her “nest.” If I had a snack, she’d come over to check it out, dipping her paw in my water glass, licking salty chips if I looked away, and enjoying the last shreds of cheese from my nachos. Around 10, she’d come back for her bedtime snack, which I’d give her in the utility room, where she’d sleep overnight. If I fell asleep on the sofa or simply forgot, she’d politely come over from wherever she was and tap me on the knee or chin with a reminder. God how I’ll miss all of our evenings together, but god how I’ll treasure the memory of them.
Hot off the press:
For more info, go to www.alanmuller.com.
A smear of lavender paint
adorns our front porch
as the concrete weathers.
In our garage, on a high shelf,
the little wren house you painted
one summer’s day
with a neighbor’s child, rests.
Glyphs of exuberance—
streaks and zigzags
orange, raspberry, lemon, mint—
designs flying from the heart.
For years, these four walls
hung sturdily and intact
in your ginkgo tree
at the back of our garden.
When days were lengthening,
wrens descended, then defended
their chosen home from
crows, cats, and us.
Ever busy, those wrens—
tucking treasures in,
raising their young in a cloud
of scolding song.
One early spring, (the year
you began high school?)
the little house burst
open, spilling part of that old nest
onto the wet ground: showing
browned weeds, leaf spines,
tiny feathers, hair and strings,
scraps of dim paper,
and a shiny surprise
of plastic Easter grass
winking neon green and purple
in bright sunlight.
Too warped and rusted
to repair, your little house
had shattered like the eggs
it once sheltered,
its healthy young now
flown. This spring, daughter,
as you ready yourself
to fly into the blue arc
of your own new life,
we shall bring out the old
wren house, to preside,
protected, on a porch table—
a beacon, maybe.
A homing signal,
just in case, should you
ever need one.
Many thanks to everyone who took time read the hastily done work each of the past thirty mornings! Your presence and comments were cheering and kept me on course. Sometime in May, I think I will do a “post-game analysis” of this poetic exercise, and I might post the highlights. Meanwhile, I wish you a season ahead filled with beauty of every kind, visible and invisible.
Until Some Other Day!
To have my own work mere inches from such literary luminaries and personal heroes as Pablo Neruda and Mary Oliver was a delight I shall not soon forget.
Next week, I will be the featured reader on Thursday, May 5, at Content Bookstore’s monthly poetry series. I hope you will be able to come. The reading starts at 7:00 p.m., but if you are early there are plenty of enticing books to browse and comfortable places to sit. After my reading, there will be an open mike period when you are welcome to read one of your own poems, and I will be signing copies of my book.
Also, tomorrow (April 30) is Independent Bookstore Day, and Content is celebrating in style. They have a whole day of special events planned for readers of all ages. Why not plan to stop by and share in the fun? It’s on my calendar!
Can happiness by grasped by mind alone?
Here is a photo of me at age three,
Knee-deep in drifts of tulips, a cast stone
Thrown by joy into a vast floral sea,
Waves of tulips bending to let me in.
I am swimming there, before memory
Imprints or judgment alters direction,
So young I am content simply to be.
Sunbonnet askew, bare arms plunged in bloom,
The camera sees me gaze, dazed by glee;
No fine gradations of particular doom,
No thought beyond a present ecstasy.
Old photo, you’re incomplete, like the mind’s light,
So sharply focused in only black and white.
It’s out, the report from U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs about CapX 2020, headlining it as a “Model for addressing climate change.“
Oh, please, this is all about coal, and you know it. This is all about enabling marketing of electricity. In fact, Xcel’s Tim Carlsbad testified most honestly that CapX 2020 was not for wind! That’s because electrical energy isn’t ID’d by generation source, as Jimbo Alders also testified, and under FERC, discrimination in generation sources is not allowed, transmission must serve whatever is there. And the report early on, p. 4, notes:
Both North and South Dakota have strong wind resources and North Dakota also has low-BTU lignite
coal resources that it wants to continue to use. New high-voltage transmission lines are needed to
support the Dakotas’ ability to export electricity to neighboring states.
See also: ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits
Anyway, here it is, and it’s much like Phyllis Reha’s puff piece promoting CapX 2020 years ago while she was on the Public Utilities Commission, that this is the model other states should use:
So put on your waders and reading glasses and have at it.
Here’s the word on the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell – Chapter 97 – Revisor of Statutes that gave Xcel and Co. just what they wanted, transmission as a revenue stream:
And note how opposition is addressed, countered by an organization that received how much to promote transmission. This is SO condescending:
… and opposition discounted because it’s so technical, what with load flow studies, energy consumption trends, how could we possibly understand? We couldn’t possibly understand… nevermind that the decreased demand we warned of, and which demonstrated lack of need, was the reality that we were entering in 2008.
And remember Steve Rakow’s chart of demand, entered at the very end of the Certificate of Need hearing when demand was at issue??? In addition to NO identification of axis values, the trend he promoted, and which was adopted by the ALJ and Commission, has NOT happened, and instead Xcel is adjusting to the “new normal” and whining that the grid is only 55% utilized in its e21 and rate case filings. Here’s Steve Rakow’s chart:
Reality peak demand trajectory was lower than Rakow’s “slow growth” line, in fact, it’s the opposite from 2007 to present. Suffice it to say:
A Theory of Naming
“…and from the shore
They viewed the vast, immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as the sea—dark, wasteful, wild…”
(John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book VII)
Dreaming, I was called
Man-the-Pumps! and then
The world deemed me Titanica,
riding the surface,
before I understood this,
I answered to Small Meadow
(Budded Tree, Cat-Mint, Field Lily).
Now I perceive my real name—
of licorice and tar.
Tomorrow I sink deeper,
This poem was sparked by an exercise in Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s book, poemcrazy (Three Rivers Press, New York, 1996). The exercise–a little wayside on the way to what I thought would be the real poem for today–combines one of the possible etymologies of my own first name (“Less Lea” or “Small Meadow”); a recent viewing of James Cameron’s film, “Titanic”, with Julia; and fascination with the recently discovered phenomena of those engines of generation in the deepest regions of the world’s oceans.
“Dark Oceans on Icy Worlds”
After days of clouds and spring rain,
sun pours through the dining room windows,
fills the translucent bowls of creamy porcelain
teacups—empty and clean–rimmed with gold,
stacked askew on their tray like whirling orbits.
In the garden, one daffodil, a double-bloom
of peach and white, shakes its complicated folds
in as many directions as the wind
dictates, its whorls of petals predetermined,
like the swirling of galaxies, in patterns
noted by Fibonaci. (We count more easily,
apparently, because he also authored Liber Abaci
and championed numerals then called Hindu-Arabic
or modus Indorum.) Inspired by early travels,
this mathematical Leonardo used what he’d seen
in his youth to make his father’s mercantile
woes ease, and meanwhile re-energized
medieval thought about the Golden Mean.
Now, seeing a headline from my husband’s magazine,
Sky & Telescope, I wonder what it means
that I can travel simultaneously,
leaping past what numbers delineate,
(but respectfully, mindfully)
into speculative realms of astrobiology;
and thoughts of moon jellies at Monterey;
and of the wonder, in their tiny mock-sea,
of golden jellyfish who follow the sun daily
across their Palauan lake, like aquatic
sunflowers, turning away
from what is cold, or merely shadowy.
The Value of Pennies
used to hide them
instead of Easter eggs,
rare steel War coins. We had to find
Personally, I am partial to pennies. When I see one, I pick it up. I love the hues of copper, polished red or patinated green.
Yesterday, to create this number twenty-six, I used pennies on hand. This morning, I remembered how my father, an amateur coin collector,and my mother would hide one hundred of his steel pennies around the house on Easter Sunday. My brother, sister, and I would seek them on window ledges, behind doors, under furniture. We had to count our finds–accounting for each hidden coin–and return them to Dad, who would exchange them for standard issue coins (heavier and shinier, but paradoxically less valuable).
My dad, born in 1938, became interested in coins when he was a boy with a paper route and collected money for subscriptions. He remembered these valuable but ugly WW II pennies minted when all available copper was needed to manufacture ammunition and wiring. Compared to standard pennies, these ‘steelies’ were too light, too rough and easily corroded–often with a tacky white coating forming–and too dull. They were also magnetic. It always amazed me that these coins, inferior in beauty and function, were so much more valuable due to rarity and historical imprint. But what did I know?
That memory morphed into this cinquain.
The East Cannon River Trail is the only issue on the Northfield City Council’s special meeting agenda (although there are multiple actions to be taken) tomorrow, Tuesday, April 26 2016 (here’s the packet). While there are multiple pieces in the … Continue reading →
Accessorizing for the Beach
In February, I dream of beaches.
In frozen, landlocked Minnesota
I dream of sand, tides, and warm sea breezes.
I wake, down coffee, don a blue parka,
drive to a shopping place where I can hear
the sounds of water running, echoing.
Here beige floor tiles approximate sand.
All the merchants have anticipated
my dream of beaches, our collective dream.
Mannequins would shiver if they could. Nude,
mostly, and headless, or clad in motley
triangles of scanty muslin or net,
they are amply equipped with accessories—
purses as large as apartments, wedges
of footwear angled sharply as ski runs.
They hold dark glasses and umbrella hats,
stand ready to protect their endangered,
essential, but currently vanished heads.
In February, when I began thinking about participating in National Poetry Writing Month, I decided to try to begin each post with a photograph of the number corresponding to the day. And I decided I would try to find examples of numerals out in the world.It was harder than I expected to find numbers–especially in differing fonts. There is much more variety in terms of script in the world at large than there is for numbers, I found.
When Julia needed to get a few things at the Mall of America, I found a several in the Mall itself and in the parking garages. (My favorite is #9–the enormous “9” on the back of a man’s jersey–taken that same day.) Today’s mercantile signage was the first image I took. Along the way I learned that house numbers, license plates, and highway signs have rather little by way of variation, but with a little blunt cropping they were serviceable. By the end of March, I had secured photographs of numbers from “1” to “30”–with a single exception: “26”.
Perhaps if I lived in a larger city equipped with elevators rising to twenty-sixth floors or streets or avenues running to higher numbers, I might have spotted something during the past three months of watching and hoping. The number I need for tomorrow’s post seems rarer than a unicorn in my world!
Have you sighted one? If so, and it is possible to snap a digital photo and emailing it to me by midnight, I would love that. Otherwise, I will create something out of found household objects!
Meanwhile, speaking of found objects, here are some images from a 2011 trip to the Georgia coast.
Driving Through Rain
The sweeping arm
of the rear-view wiper
slices through rain
like a metronome.
one brief shape
of singing water.
open an instant,
allows a glimpse
of the recent past.
I travel through
Celebrating William Shakespeare
on the Four-Hundredth Anniversary of His Death
Four centuries gone, but still we fill our lungs,
vying to offer praises just to you.
You enrich our minds and silver our tongues
and help our souls enlarge a little, too.
As English speakers in a brave new world
of cyber snares and near-constant streaming,
we raise pixilated banners, all unfurled,
in homage to you, who sets us dreaming,
bequeaths us gems like “All the world’s a stage”
from the golden casket of the First Folio;
allows immortals to leap off the page.
(Recall those capers cut by grim Malvolio?)
Today, we’re all your inheritors still,
receiving from you, sweet William, what you will.
Today, April 23, is the day I (like most people) celebrate as Shakespeare’s birthday, and it is also the day of record for his death in 1616. After seeing Hamlet at the Guthrie (with Randall Duk Kim in the leading role) and then two classes at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with Professor Standish Henning, I had fallen in love with Shakespeare’s sonnets and his plays and knew it was a lifelong passion.
A Small Song for the Vast Mother
(Earth Day, 2016)
Fresh blows the wind on the mountain slopes.
Fresh the green lace on the maple boughs.
Sweet the scent of the waking soil.
Sweet the sound of the glassy rain.
Deep the roots of the growing prairie.
Deep the fires in the ancient seas.
Here, we are cradled in moonlight and starlight.
Here, we rise with the traveling sun.
Now, we turn, with wisdom and insight.
Now, we see what must be done.
Happy Earth Day!
Two quick Prince stories.
I think the first time I really liked a song of his was when I started hearing “Raspberry Beret” on the radio while traveling by bus to a Catholic youth camp in Wisconsin in 1985. Prince was big by then, and I knew some of the classics off “Purple Rain” and earlier albums, but “Raspberry Beret” stood out. “If it was warm/she would be wear much more” seemed so *dirty* to twelve-year-old me. And to this day I sing “In through the out door out door” whenever I see a door marked for exit only. Wait, was that line dirty too?
Second story: On New Year’s Eve 1998, Shannon and I went to a party thrown by my grad school friend Michael and his then-girlfriend Julie. It was probably the first time I’d ever had whiskey – knowing Michael, probably Maker’s Mark. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
At midnight, I was still tipsy when Julie put Prince’s “1999” on the stereo, because can there be a more perfect moment than NYE 1998 to sing along to “I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine”? No, there cannot. Listening to the song, my buzzing mind went back to that bus trip in 1985. Two loops of my life tied together with Prince.
I’ve still never seen *Purple Rain*, though.