Saturday, May 31, 2014

ready to drift in the wind


This is so me right now. Poised and ready to scatter in any direction that the wind takes me. Let's see what the summer has to bring. Let's see what year 43 has to bring. I'm looking forward to the challenges as well as the celebrations of achievement.

Just one more day of year 42. Woot.

Have you heard? 40s are the new eff-you!

That's me - feeling strong, confident and solid within my own self. Let the challenges come like the waves of Lake Superior, crash if they want to because I am rock. I will not be pulled under. I will not be inundated nor overwhelmed. I welcome each wave as an experience that will shape me for the better. I like all that I am.

I feel a bit shy about my dramatic mood but I'm in a declarative state of mind.

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Last night officially began a new year for me. These are the last few days and hours of year 42. I love that my birthday comes right in the middle of the year (June 1) because I get to start a new year again and considering how tragic and heartbreaking the beginning of 2014 was I am glad to have the opportunity to begin anew.

Last night began a series of revelations and resolutions. I'm a glutton. In the City I have gathered a number of things that I don't really need. I have eaten a number things that have made me fat. I have spent too much money on things and food and stuff. I have a problem.

Let's talk for a minute about cutting boards. I have a cutting board for fruit and cheese, for meat, for veggies, for small citrus, for Niobe's crafts with dough, etc, etc, etc. Way too many cutting boards. All in regular use but all sitting lined up cluttering my kitchen counter.

Last night I asked my husband to cut me off. Easy to say now that I feel I have every little thing I couldn't possible imagine. It's shameful. I now have to start the de-clutter, the de-owning and the simplifying.

Oh well. At least I realized this before the situation was totally out of control. And I have resources to help me out, if only I'd use them.

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patio season


Indoor smoking was banned in Minnesota a few years back. The result was this wonderful proliferation of patios at nearly every eating and drinking establishment. This really should have been done years ago because Minnesotans like to take advantage of any and every opportunity to be outside when the weather is warm. We've gone straight to summer and I really shouldn't be complaining about it so today is all about finding our window fans and replacing the ceiling fan in our bedroom. Any sort of weather can be tolerable if you find ways to ease the discomfort. While our house is rather small, we have a few excellent ceiling fans and hopefully we can stick to that rather than locking ourselves into an a/c  house.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

fond memories of the cooler temps


I'm glad that I didn't complain about the cooler temperatures up North because right now Minneapolis feels unbearable. This the very reason why I decided to quit complaining about the cold in Minnesota. I found myself complaining all year round so now I limit the complaints to the summer where everything else is lovely but the heat.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

this girl and her dandelion


I stare at this photo too long and the waves start moving.

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flambeau waves


I am glad that I spent some time recording Spring, brief though it was. It seems now we are in the midst of summer with late summer heat and humidity. Argh. I feel too old for all these weather changes. I know that at the very least I'm not ready for a/c and I can't keep up with the sudden burst of green energy in the garden.

So Sunday was spent out on the river, easily ignoring the soaring air temperatures as the cool breezes on the river soothed me.

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seagull feather


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sugarloaf rocks


Doing photo project catch-up in-between trips and in-between seasons is weird. I have some many photos from our trip up North that I want to share but then there are new ones from the weekend out in the woods. I'll just pick some of my favorites and call it good.

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Friday, May 23, 2014



I'm fully immersed in the life I dreamed for myself; it is grand and glorious. Yet I'm already thinking about what is next, where the path will lead me. I don't feel restless, I just feel that if I give some thought to it now, I can open myself up for more opportunities and see the range of possibilities.

What do I do with this photo project? What new skills do I need to develop? What would I like to do? What do I want to feel? What seeds should I plant in the garden of my life? All good questions for myself.

I want to ask you, my friends, what sorts of questions drive you? What emotions to you follow when emerging on a new path?

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

daddy's jeep


Yes. You got that right. I take photos of our Jeeps like they are part of the family. I think of them as our metal steeds. They can be trusted to take us where we want to go.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

alone on the temperance river


Dave and I have been camping up north for as long as I can remember being with him. Each rustic road, each trail is riddled with memories of this trip or that, with these friends or those, often just the two of us. The national forest campground on the Temperance River still remains my favorite despite the fact that it has been over ten years since we've camped overnight. Every year that we go up north to visit, we stop at this deserted campground and confer with the river who has so very much to share with us. The bubbles and gurgles of the river rushing in the spring to the quiet yet forceful flow of autumn have drawn me back year after year even if for just the afternoon.

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clusters of cones and peeks of yellow


And so we ended our little vacation on the North Shore of Minnesota. While temperatures soared into the 80s down in the cities, we bundled up for cloudy 40s. The weather didn't stop us from having a good time, breathing the piney air of the forest and the damp from one of the largest inland lakes in the world.

I took a few photos but a wrote very little. It is funny to think how anxious I was in April to start my new journal yet I held off. Now that the new one is started I haven't resumed my usual nightly pages. While up north I barely wrote one page and most of that was quoted sentences. I think the reason I didn't feel compelled to write was that I wasn't constantly feeling like it all going to end, that somehow I needed to capture it all because it may not come around again. I was feeling full in the moments, from early in the morning to late at night. I was savoring the experience and letting life flow through me.

And there was no regret as I got my last glimpse of the lake. There was no pang of pain in my heart for leaving. I was facing what was in front of me with a sense of rejuvenation and a little bit of yearning to back in my regular routine.

The memories will cluster in my head blending together the rush of a springtime river with the vibrant smile of my daughter, the bright greens of the pine trees with the waves of the big lake - all peeking out like bits of sunshine in my brain.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

growing up on the trails


We've been coming up to the North Shore of Minnesota since she was in my belly and we have returned every year of her life, sometimes twice in one year. We have seen her grow in this place, we have been able to mark her development on these trails and stony beaches. These are the moments where I can clearly measure how much she's grown from being carried on our backs to riding in a stroller to caring her own backpack. This year she helped carry some of the food for our picnic at Sugar Loaf Cove beach.

We come here often enough to know the hikes that fit our lifestyle, some mildly strenuous, others with fantastic destinations. All shared year after year with our little family watching the littlest learn the path through the woods and along the shore of Lake Superior. There is still so much for us to do as her legs get longer and her interest deepens.

I feel honored that we can provide these experiences for her. I feel immense gratitude for the opportunity to share all this northwoods beauty. I feel the awe in her own discoveries.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

picture perfect day


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Saturday, May 17, 2014

love on the north shore

The evening was just one part of what made this an exceptional day.


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Friday, May 16, 2014

Bluefin Bay and Coho Cafe


We are here at Bluefin Bay and the resort is full. I feel like people have caught onto our secret place, a place that is so family friendly. Or else they have caught on to the affordability of staying at this fancy resort in the off-season. In any case the place is full and full of families which happens to suit the little one just fine.

I was feeling proud of myself for putting together a gear bag but ended up forgetting one of my most important gadgets - my card reader. So I'll have to use Dave's iPhone for my daily photos.

Oh well, not everything needs to be perfect. It will be interesting to see if I can limit myself with my own camera.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

just the three of us


These days I'm really getting a sense of our team and how the Lotus Bud fits into the scheme of things. I think I've finally reached that stage of mothering where my role in all of this makes sense. In other words, I'm enjoying being more than just the cook, house cleaner, taxi. I feel like I'm finally at that stage where I can see my daughter being one of my closest companions. It was the Big D that always filled this role for me and now she's in the mix and it is glorious and fun.

It's a good place to be.

My week has been relatively calm and yesterday I was stumped trying to figure out why. I had forgotten that I am done teaching and when I finally gave up the impending stress of that task, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

We are leaving for the belated Mother's Day trip. We are heading up North for a few days of hiking the Sawtooth mountains and combing the stony coves of Lake Superior. Back in April I was bummed that we couldn't get away for the holiday because of a board meeting but now I see the wisdom of choosing to go when all the month's worth of stress is done.

It's going be cold but that's OK because our condo has a fireplace and we'll wake up with a view of the lake and we'll explore our favorite spots and we'll hike by rushing rivers and, and, and....there's so much to do and so much to look forward to.

And we get to be just the three of us - companions, family, love.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014



When I was little my mother used to tell me to stay out of the rain because bugs would fall into my hair. I remember a story that my best friend told me about how her mother screamed when a spider crawled up her leg. We lived in a small town on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania. Not rural, but not urban either. We had a fantastic state park nearby and I did a camping outdoor program there one summer. I don't remember ever being bothered or scared of bugs while camping.

That's not to say that I am not phobic about bugs and that phobia (no doubt) comes from the adult female influences in my early life. I know that bugs here are nothing compared to the monstrous spiders I encountered while living a few years in the Himalaya Mountains. Yet I still am scared. That fear doesn't usually keep me from enjoying our woodland retreat. I pushed for this environment more so than my husband, a born and bred city guy. Expect when it comes to wood ticks and wasps.

So I face quite a dilemma when we take the Lotus Bud out into the woods. I have to quiet my fear and calm my usual reaction. I have to not freak out. And I'm getting better, I really am. 

Because she picks up on the slightest change in my voice and the most minimal tension in my body when I encounter a wood tick. Thank goodness she was napping when I hit a nest of wasps last summer with my broom which resulted in numerous stings.

She freaks out a little and I talk her down. She asks why there are bugs and I try to explain about how bugs live on this earth, that we coexist, that the flowers and trees need them to thrive. She's not entirely convinced. But I'm not certain that I need to convince her right now. I just need to keep her calm. And that I can do.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

trout lily


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Monday, May 12, 2014

you find some, you ramp some

I had one goal on Mother's Day weekend and that was to go foraging for ramps. While finding is relatively easy (once you know to look for them and where), it the acquisition of these ramps that I always struggle with each year and it is because of one reason and one reason only - wood ticks. But this year I only found two on me, three on the Lotus Bud and a few more on Dave with a total tick count of 10. That's my limit, the edge of tick season for me.

On the other hand, I found lots and lots of ramps!


I grabbed my camera, a bag for the ramps, my buck knife and my family. We headed out on a walk to the end of the road where it Ts off to the left and the right along the river. Ramps grown in abundance in the wooded area up above the river but they don't travel far. I haven't found any on our four acres but there are several gloriously emerald green patches nearby.

While the girl and her Daddy kicked the soccer ball, I looked up and spotted an eagle. An auspicious start to our walk, dontcha think?

And then I looked down and saw such wonderfully delightful wildflowers everywhere. They were in all sort of cool pastels - blue, purple, pink, white. Such a welcome surprise after such a long winter. I think I'm still in a little bit of shock that Spring is finally here.

Ramps are for me a true sign of Spring. These seemed a little on the small side but I'm sure that by next weekend, they will be much larger. After reaching my edge on the tick count, I know that we won't be back for a few more weeks.

While the family headed back, I lingered further into the woods until I could no longer hear their voices. I only meant to dig up a few more, but the flowers and fungi drew me further in. These are wild geraniums and like I mentioned, they come in all sorts of colors. The leaves are what should have tipped me off but I didn't put it together until after I came back to the city internet.

I thought these were ladyslippers but they are actually trout lilies. Such a shy little delicate flower.

And fungi blooming all over, they often remind of things found by the sea.

The voices were long gone before I decided to head back. I contemplated walking the steep slope down to the river but the threat of wood ticks had me heading back to the road. I've found a path though and I know that in June we will head down to the river with our fishing poles.

To say it was an exquisite day is not a exaggeration by any means. The weather was perfect, the woods bright with a glorious abundance of ramps and wildflowers, the river was sparkling blue.

This is the manifestation of my attitude of gratitude. In years past we have driven by these places, quickly jumping out to dig up some ramps. This year we walked and savored the experience.

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I get to be her mother!


Mother's Day has become more real to me now that I understand a little better the depths of having a daughter.

Now that I am out of the fog of early motherhood and seeing my daughter's personality develop.

Now that I have had some time to knit her a sweater.

Now that I have someone around with me to make photo walks so enjoyable.

Now that I have a little one to consider when planning meals.

Now that I have someone around to giggle with, to dream, to explore, to love.

This weekend it all seemed so worth it!

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Lotus List progress

#57 on my Lotus List is to chop a cord of wood. I realize this might be a stretch and it's a rather daunting task. I think what I actually wanted was to get into the habit of chopping wood. So I consider this progress.


D's got a new axe and I don't know if it was just the axe or my state of mind when I began chopping wood on Saturday. It also could have been that the wood was sufficiently dried out.

Whatever it was, I swear chopping this wood was like cutting through butter. I was one with the axe. I was letting the axe glide smoothly through the air, envisioning the split from the top down through the grain of the wood. And before I knew it I had a fairly decent pile.

With the difficulties I had keeping the fire going, I doubt that the wood was all that dry. I impressed myself and I was pleased with the smaller pieces that served as bright, crackling kindling.

Underneath the wood that I split, I found this purple fungi and it seemed like a little visual treat.

Progress! I don't know if I have the time to chop a whole cord of wood in one attempt, so I thought I would record these smaller bits and hope that it all adds up, eventually.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

attitude of gratitude - this moment

peace after the storm


{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

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three girls and a snack

You might remember these three as the snow-melt girls. And while the winter coats and hats may be gone, the abundant color remains.

If you put three head-strong girls together don't be surprised if it takes us all a couple of hours before harmony arrives. Yet eventually they sort out their differences and realize the usual pecking order does not apply. Throw in some snacks and a frozen sing-a-long and we have all the ingredients for a fabulous day at the zoo!

And eventually I too realize I will not get what I want - a nice photo of the three of them with their shining faces. So I settle for what I can get and what I got was good.


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Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Face that lights my face,
you spin intelligence into these particles
I am. Your wind shivers my tree.  -- Rumi

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trees are poems

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Kahlil Gibran

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

well hello there

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