Thursday, August 29, 2013


I've never seen such a large spiderweb.  This hangs between the two citronella torches off our side patio.  It's so big that I imagine it's worthy of Indiana Jones.  It certainly doesn't make me think of Charlotte.  It's so big and creepy yet I hate to tear it down.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Call for entry - I did it!

My participation with MPC's F-Stop group has been on and off.  I have a love/hate relationship with this photo group.  I like the content of the meetings, but have a difficult time interacting with many of the participants.  I always yearn to submit photos to their competitions.  This time I did it!  These are my submissions for the competition entitled Work and Play.

a (lake) superior gathering

working hard at play

urban tranquility
Who knows?  This could be an insider thing, but I'm jumping into to it nonetheless.  It feels good to be taking this step.  And the fact that I did demonstrates to me how far I've come this year in terms of confidence and self-esteem.  Wish me luck!
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the crow is cawing

At this time last year I was bemoaning the lack of opportunities in my life.  This year I am reeling with the many opportunities that have come my way.  I am in the midst of salary negotiation and background check for a possible (very) short term teaching job at the University.  I've been back and forth cawing at myself about this.  I want to pursue all the options in my life to see where they will lead, but heading back to the University is not a path I want to take.  I finally decided to give it a go because it only takes up about three weekends in my life this Fall semester and it comes with an enormous paycheck.

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MOA fun

In an attempt to escape the heat, I took my daughter to the MOA for a some sealife fun.  The heat had fried my brain so I wasn't thinking clearly when I made the decision to take her to the world's largest mall.  The mother/child duo that we met there called me brave.  I just went into it with ignorance to all the possible mishaps.  All in all, it went well.  thank goodness.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

full moon

Twice now this summer we have been given a spectacular show on our way to the trailer.  Earlier this season we were just behind a storm and ended up driving east on a road with a full rainbow.  Last Thursday we had sight of the glorious full moon, big and red as it was rising.  Eventually we stopped so that I could take some photos, which of course didn't turn out how I had expected but I'm pleased nonetheless.  I couldn't pass this one up and so it appears here in lieu of today's photo.

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time stood still

I spent the weekend wanting to record each moment, each smile, each and everything that we did.  Truth is we didn't do much and truth is if I was going around writing about each experience and taking photos of each activity, I would have missed the slow seconds of relaxation.

We were in the woods, not out on the boat or in town at the farmers market.  We were hanging out doing a whole lot of nothing.  Nothing that led up into the tent, onto the deck, in and out of the trailer.  A whole lot of nothing that led us to paint and chalk and music and books.  At one point in the afternoon I felt like we were the only people in the area and that felt so very right.

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I found this little guy hanging when I went outside to wash some dishes.  I know that he is a toad thanks to the good folks at the Como Zoo.  Toads are bumpy and "warty."  They travel far from ponds, unlike frogs who are mainly only found in or near water.

Last week when we arrived late one night to the trailer, one of these guys jumped onto D's arm as he was opening the door.  I'm so glad it happened to me and not him!

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

a tree falls in the woods

One of the goals on Friday was to take down three old poplars from the the tent site on the north side of our woodland property.  It was prep for practice camping with the little one in a place that feels safe and like home.

The poplar tree fell in the opposite direction from which it was intended.  There were heart thumping moments of panic, then a few hours of struggle to unloose it from the nearby birch.  The birch we speak for and hope to save.  We attached rope to the jeep, a futile attempt to pull the poplar loose, but the rope snapped with a sickening twang.  The chainsaw bent and that sent D to the hardware store for a new, more powerful one.

In the end he saved the birch and now the poplar will be chopped for the woodpile.

A good resolution to the day's drama.  Later we talked about all that we both learned from the experience and he expressed a desire to teach this to our daughter.  I love that about him.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

I had a meeting downtown early in the morning.  When I haven't been downtown Minneapolis for awhile and when I do finally go, I always feel like I'm in the Mary Tyler Moore show.  I swear if I'd been wearing a hat, I would have tossed into the air.

I felt so light and content.  I'm gonna to make it after all!

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This is a book I've wanted to read ever since I heard about it.  I was on two different waiting lists at the library: one for my kindle, the other for the hard copy.  The hard copy came first.  I was surprised to realize that I read faster when I have an actual book in my hand.  Maybe it's that my eyes get tired quicker with my Kindle.

I was so excited to read this book that I started it late Tuesday night and even stayed up later than usual.  My reading brought on an emotion that was anything but excitement.  Cheryl Strayed is from Minnesota, and all her references to Minneapolis, the University, and her home locale near Duluth had me feeling like I was reading about my own life.  It starts in a fairly brutal way with the death of her mother and continues into her desperate stray into the destruction of her young life.  Although my mother is still alive and well and living in Florida, the other parts of Strayed's struggle hit close to my heart, granted not to that extreme, but nonetheless I had felt many of those emotions she deftly articulated.  It brought me down, way down to the point where I was sad for most of Wednesday.  But I pushed through to the thoroughly engrossing tail of walking the Pacific Crest Trail.

My life list includes walking the entirety of the Superior Hiking Trail, so I devour these sorts of books like a much needed drink of water on an extremely hot day.  I can't put it down now that I'm walking alongside Strayed on the PCT.  I grew up near the Appalachian Mountains in western Pennsylvania, but I can't see myself ever walking that trail.  I don't imagine ever going out to California either.  It's all northwoods Minnesota for me.

I'm bumping up the hike along the SHT in the life list queue.  I hope to attempt portions of the trail next spring and summer.  I have a friend who has agreed to do it with me.  And I have hiking boots that are at this moment perfectly broken in.  I'm thinking that walking them to the end of their boot lives would be best done on the Superior Hiking Trail.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

an unexpected birthday

I met a friend to talk books and discovered it was her birthday.  I wore a dress that I hadn't worn since my own birthday, I felt like somehow I knew it was hers.

This photo isn't what it should be but I like it.  I like that it records those last few minutes where I shared a birthday drink under the rising full moon.

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one last push for summer


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Sunday, August 18, 2013

outdoor living

We bought this hand-made patio set from our neighbor.  Joe is an organic farmer in the warmer seasons and a wood worker in the cooler months.  

This was a very wise purchase for us.  It has changed how we live out here in the woods.  We listen to the music and paint, we eat breakfast and plan out our day.  The furniture invites us to relax, linger and take our time.

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fire and rock

It's Friday night and we are in the woods of Wisconsin, there is no wind and the moon is about a quarter of the way up the sky.  I'm stoking the fire, placing logs, poking around, circling the fire stones.  Coyotes are cackling in the distance, sometimes they sound human.  He is strumming the guitar, picking every once and a while, then silence, deafening, a moment later leaves get crushed underfoot and my heart beats faster.  Hopelessly I shine the heavy stainless steel torch on thin tree trunks and low brush.  It's impossible to penetrate and I look and feel ridiculous.  My city ears are too twitchy, my head spins around at each new sound.  The coyotes have moved to the northwest.  It was probably a toad hopping through the brush, making a lot of noise for such a small critter.

I feel such gratitude for these experiences.   

There is always a point in the evening when I notice the face in the rock.  After that, I can't stop looking at him....

The fire reveals many moods in the face.  On this night, D wonders how it is that the rock got placed like that.  Where did it come from?  How long has it been there?


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Friday, August 16, 2013


The petals are so large that the sun shines right through them and lights them perfectly for a photo.

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petal and pedal power

These days I'm so amazed by how much she's grown!

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so inviting

We've seen some honeybees this summer.  Perhaps it was one of these beauties that drew them in.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013


(225)  This photo is fitting for what I'm thinking about today and I think that's what led me to take this photo and to choose this photo from a set of otherwise spectacular day of photos at the zoo today.

I've been back and forth about blogging. I had an anonymous blog for many years somewhere else that focused on more adult content (sounds scandalous, doesn't it, but it really isn't).  I ended that when I got knocked up.  I started a group blog a couple of years ago with a bunch of Mamas, but decided to shut that down at the very beginning of summer in hopes of focusing on writing here.  But now I'm rethinking that, too.
I am not planning on shutting down this site because I do use it as a photographic record for the little Lotus Bud, for my own photography goals, for some journaling.   However, I have come to some better understanding about what it means to me.  Maybe I knew it all along.

I think many people i know look to blogging as a way to share with a large number of people the writing they do, the projects, the recipes, the fun.  And these people I'm thinking about are very successful, some more than others, but all are people I admire and read on a daily basis or would read on a daily basis if they blogged that much.

I think a lot of people begin blogging in the hopes of emulating that success.  I was one of those and also one of those that cannot find the energy to do the work that produces that sort of readership.  I fretted about this for too long and now that's over.

The conclusions I've drawn this summer is that I no longer want to feel the self-imposed pressure to do certain things on my blog, which honestly I stopped doing a while ago.  Now i will quietly continue to do my photography, the Iron Craft projects when I get the time, and some random bursts of words when the mood strikes me.

Heh.  Not really anything new around these interwebs.  Just a realization I had this summer as I've been working on my insides and finding who I am in this 4th decade of my life.

Time for a new tattoo.

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gratuitous sexual information

From a webpage about breeding grape vines..."Like many other organisms, grapes reproduce sexually. In other words, each seedling is a unique combination of the genes from a female and the genes from a male. Pollen from a male fertilizes the female ovary, and a seed develops. Depending on the individual vine, flowers might be female, male, or hermaphroditic (also known as "perfect", which means that each flower contains both male and female structures).

We are in the midst of breeding season here in Minneapolis, specifically around our house.  Grape vines do not need the help of wind or bees to grow succulent, juicy fruit.  But it attracts bees, many bees, many hundreds of bees to my house.

I am not a fan of bees, not ever, but especially not since being swarmed by hornets last summer.   I know that technically that's not a bee, but it buzzes just the same.  Actually, no that's not right either, hornets do not buzz like the bee. Nonetheless they all strike fear in me.

Imagine my surprise to read that the bee medicine animal totem symbolizes "achieving the impossible."  Now I'm rethinking the bee.  While I do feel like we are in the midst of this golden era of our lives here in midwestlotusvilleminneapolis, I also believe we are achieving the impossible - a happiness and a sense of contentment that seemed nearly impossible just a few short years ago.

So, yeah, grapes to bees to the impossible.  That's how my mind wanders.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

her first flower arrangement

We were in town at the farmer's market, then we took the boat to the car wash, and finally we went into the grocery store.  I felt like both my hubby and child were behaving badly and so when we returned to the trailer in the woods, I decided to have my own sort of time-out.  A time-out that gave me some peace and quiet, and a few minutes with my book.  Those two went out and picked me flowers as an apology.  Wasn't that sweet?  It worked to turn my mood around!

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unexpected selfie

I found myself without a photo at about 11:00 at night.  What started as a moment of panic turned to a great surprise.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

just another pretty face

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the vines are taking over our house!

We have decided to pull them all down, but I'm sure they will be back stronger next year.

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the obligatory cloud photo

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National Night Out

We had an ice cream social along with 25lbs. worth of snacks from Eastside Food Co-op (melons are heavy!).  It was a great evening, but cut short by a severe storm.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

one more

so much hair!  I'm so glad that comes from the father's side of the family.

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notes from the weekend, part two

What a great weekend it has been.  We were lazy yet quite productive.  We cleaned the boat, then went for a late afternoon cruise on the river.  With my toes digging into the silty sand, I washed my hair and it was refreshing.  The little Lotus Bud freaked about putting her feet in the water. 

Later with an early evening fire, D and Lotus Bud were singing together a song that they had practiced for weeks, "what do you want from me?".  With their arms outstretched and dramatic, it was like they were filming a music video. All of it, especially the singing was amazing!

I've got to figure out how to get her excited about the things that I am interested in like wading or swimming in the river.

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notes from the weekend

It is windless summer evening, comfortable cool and I am toasted by the fire.

I threw in a big, gnarly, stumpy, dense piece of wood.  It was left from last weekend's fire but it was still hard and hard to light.  Later when I poked at the fire, I knocked the stumpy piece into a pile of coals.  Very satisfying, that.  Here is a photo of the flame that arose out of that satisfaction.

When I recorded my moment of gratitude into my journal, I realized it was that exact moment when I was writing, straddling the bench next to the fire.  All was quiet except the distant throaty banter of ducks, the scrape of wood being chopped, the crackle of the fire.  All very blissful.  I was feeling awash with happiness and gratitude.  Sappy,  yes.  But nonetheless, true.

This big guy decided to join us and we found him right on the outside of our window.  As I went to take a photo, he flopped down on to the deck.  Warty, bumpy.  I loved looking at him, but didn't want to touch, which I'm sure he appreciated, thank you very much.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

fruit on a friday

Yesterday we got our fruit csa and I swear this season has been the best so far.  It seems like each and every piece of fruit has amazing flavor.

My dilemma right now is that we are headed out of town for our woodland trailer retreat and i just don't know what to do with these babies.  They need to ripen and right now they are in the perfect spot for it.  No matter what care I take the fruit always gets a little bruised in transport.  I'm tempted to leave them behind because we also have full bags of cherries and grapes, plenty to eat for the weekend.  But then there is no one around to turn these peaches, to feel up the nectarines, to sink teeth into the apricots at the very perfect moment of ripeness.

I know, not really a big deal in the bigger scheme of things, but I just want to figure out how to enjoy these as best we can.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

journaling in the evening

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