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Girls' Night Out

I don’t go out with the girls often, but when I do it is always guaranteed to be a good time.
On Friday night, I and five other girlfriends went to “Away in the Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas,” at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. All of us girls know each other through our daughters’ Girl Scout Troop No. 852.

Ice making temps

What would winter be without days on the ice with blades on your feet? Well, it wouldn't seem like Minnesota. Chilly temperatures made for good ice making Thursday but a warming trend expected this weekend could threaten plans for skating just yet.

Free Peep(s) Show Caricature Demo/Workshop

Learn how to capture the visual essence of a person's face at Paul Bloom's caricature demo/workshop this Saturday from noon to 2 at the Q Gallery, Franklin Arts Center, 1001 Kingwood St #222, Brainerd. Free and open to the public.

Who are the players

My boys basketball season starts tonight with the Brainerd vs. Pequot Lakes game at Brainerd High School. It's an odd beginning to the season with three new coaches. It's going to be hard to get used to not seeing Lynn Peterson, Kurt Stumpf and Wade Haapajoki on their respective sidelines. I enjoyed working with all three coaches and felt the later two could have created something similar to what Peterson enjoyed for so many years in Staples.

"Charley's Aunt" at The Guthrie, review by Mary Aalgaard

My favorite part about watching "Charley's Aunt" at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis was hearing the giggles from the kids in the audience. This show is full of physical comedy, quirky characters, and funny lines. The costumes and set are colorful and bring you to another time and place.

Don't Shoot Christmas Lights at Night

The concept of photographing Christmas lights late at night never seems to produce the best results. Instead, head out just as the sun sets and use the twilight sky as your background. Shoot your wide angle photos with the sky until you lose your color in the background. Those twilight skies will give you a beautiful blue with the Christmas lights. This old trick comes from news photographers who shoot a number of Christmas decorations but really need that blue background to set off the colorful lights. Remember that lights look better on the image if they are overexposed.

Wrestling with success

I'm in the process of typing up the Brainerd Warriors wrestling team's season preview. I had a few questions rattle through my fingertips that might be fun for a little discussion among mat fans.

First: Who was the best wrestler you ever saw from the Brainerd lakes area and why?

Second: Who is the top wrestler from your high school? I have all the 100 match winners, but with more matches being wrestled now days, what gets lost are some of the older guys who didn't even wrestle 100 times in their career.

Traditional Toy Making Workshop

Making traditional toys will transport you to another time and place. Join Kent Scheer of Wadena, toy maker extraordinaire, in creating your own toys of another time. Come at on Saturday, December 3rd 10am for a discussion on traditional toys with an exhibit of some of Kent’s favorite traditional toys. Call the library at 218-829-5574, to register to make your own toy at 11:00am. Everyone is welcome to join the workshop. We ask that children are accompanied with an adult. This is a great workshop for grandparents and their grandchildren.

Book Review: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

The Family Fang
Book review
Laurel Hall

The Family Fang is a very difficult book to describe. Author Ann Patchett called it “genius.” While I agree with her, I think “gloriously quirky” is a more helpful way to characterize it. It’s a tragedy of sorts, but very often funny; it’s a story about growing up, but also about what it means to relate to your parents as a fellow adult.

Why Simple is Better

I had a great discussion with a student of mine last week about keeping photos simple but complete. If we shoot for our family, they will always appreciate those wide, sweeping photos that include everyone.
If you shoot for a readership that does not know your subjects, then another principle applies.
This principle is — always keep it simple, but tell the story — or as I like to say "crop until it hurts."