When I was growing up, Saturday was Chore Day. I didn’t appreciate how little this day differed from my mother’s other days. She probably thought of it as Reinforcements Day. Today, I still equate Saturday with household chores and, although the impulse thankfully is getting easier to fight, the idea of a “perfect” Saturday seems so indulgent. Yet once committed to being the boss of my life, it can be done.
8 a.m. First, coffee. The beans are robust at Rustica (3220 W. Lake St., Mpls.) but more to the point, their tart yet creamy Apricot Soleil is like biting into a sunrise. Onward. At this point, I may panic a bit, fearing making an unwise choice and marring potential perfection. Some planning is required.
9 a.m. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will have checked estate sale listings (http://classifieds.startribune.com/default/garage-sales/search) for ones with table linens or strange garden ornaments or other ephemera. The trick is not to commit the day to this, but to see if serendipity is with me for an hour or so.
10 a.m. A deadline-free Saturday leads me to a favorite pursuit of seeking out art, preferably by nonprofessionals like me. (Or, in the spirit of full disclosure: students like me.) That’s why I check the calendars of exhibits in civic art centers, which often are more aspirational and encouraging than astonishing and intimidating. Some favorites are the Hopkins Center for the Arts (1111 Mainstreet), the Bloomington Center for the Arts, (1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd.), the Minnetonka Center for the Arts (2240 N. Shore Dr., Wayzata) and the White Bear Center for the Arts (4971 Long Av., White Bear Lake).
1 p.m. With January never far from mind, I’ll opt for a picnic. Clancey’s Meat & Fish (4307 Upton Av. S., Mpls.) is a treasure, with house-smoked meats and fish and unexpected items like house-made pheasant pâté or fiddlehead ferns. If I need bread, and I will, Honey & Rye Bakehouse (4501 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park) has perfect baguettes and addictive coconut macaroons that must be borderline legal. Hilltops are made for picnics and there are several decent heights-with-vistas nearby: Wolfe Park in St. Louis Park behind the Excelsior & Grand apartments, tiny Browndale Park (4905 Morningside Rd., St. Louis Park) or even the grassy tiers above the band shell at Centennial Lakes in Edina.
3 p.m. With the afternoon dwindling, I’ll visit Art Materials (2728 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.), asking their advice and taking my sweet time pondering hues of blue and whether I need a new brush, or three.
5 p.m. At this point, I’m ready to fuss in my own kitchen. Seeking a big red wine, I’ll swing by Jennings Liquor (4631 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park). It’s not tony, but the business first opened a few doors down in 1946, and I like stick-to-it-iveness. Then I’ll stop at Linden Hills Co-op (3815 Sunnyside Av., Mpls.), letting combos of produce and protein audition in my brain.
8 p.m. After dinner, we might walk over to Lake Harriet and watch the last sailboats waft back to their moorings, eavesdropping on conversations that carry so well over water — then provide the same entertainment to folks lingering on their porches as we walk back home.