Thursday, October 30, 2014

pumpkin carving day


We picked our pumpkins weeks ago and have already lost one to rot due to warm weather. Tonight we will try to carve all the remaining pumpkins. So jack-a-lanterns, roasted pumpkin seeds and good family fun!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

a real-life picker


One of my responsibilities at the co-op is to meet with potential large lenders in the hopes of having a successful capital campaign drive.  It has been great meeting with local business owners and getting a tour of their operations. Last week I went to Recovery Bike Shop. [If you follow the link you will see the two owners in red shirts on the right side of the photo.] Recovery has a great story about their beginnings and part of that story is that they opened shop in the vacant space of the co-op's building. Last year they moved into a much larger space and proceeded to fill all three of the floors.

Brent Fuqua is a real-life picker (you know, like the guys in American Pickers). He starts traveling in January to strengthen his contacts and to pick up large numbers of bikes that eventually fills the basement of their renovated building. By the spring all those thousands of bikes are picked through and repaired, or taken apart for the parts. By June every singe bike is sold. Wow. That's pretty amazing to me.

A fair number of these salvaged bikes are donated to local organizations working with kids and the remainder are loaded onto a ship sailing to parts of West Africa.

Another amazing thing that Brent does is bringing all those guys who have collections of bikes and bike parts together with institutions that give grants to museums and such. Brent has started his own bike museum that is on the top floor of their shop.

He says that it has taken him years to develop those relationships with many who are overly protective of their ancient bikes and overly suspicious of people in general, not to mention full of disdain for large institutions. Brent had developed those relationships and sweet-talked them into loaning out their bikes for temporary display in the Cycling Museum of Minnesota.

 I learned so much that day while I toured the building, not just about bike collections but also about the passion behind this work being done right here in my neighborhood.

I admit that I was reckless when I purchased my bike from REI. To my credit though, I did visit Recovery Bike a few times and was talked out of single-speed bike that I fell in love with. So I went ahead and got the comfort bike as a mother's day gift, but while it is a gorgeous bike and nice to ride, it just too large for me and doesn't suit my personality. Brent made me realize that I should love my bike and truly I want to love it as much as I love my Jeep. I plan to head back there sometime soon to see if they can custom build me a bike out of used parts! I think I want a yellow one.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a leaf of enormous size


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brats, cupcakes, and music

All days should be filled with good food.

Scrumptious desserts.

And beautiful live music.


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speech. done.


I had to do some public speaking for the annual meeting on Sunday. And I have to say that I am far more comfortable with all that lately. Sure I was nervous but I kept thinking about that awesome high I knew I would feel after it was all done. I did it. I got that high. And now I can relax.

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This weekend was the end of my busy, busy month. The end of the mercury retrograde. The end of insanity. Saturday was all about prep for the co-op's annual meeting held at my favorite park in the city. Aren't these little gourd centerpieces adorable? Not of my making yet totally photo worthy.

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date night at the 331

Realizing that we had to be in the city for the weekend, we made (sort of) spontaneous plans to get a sitter and head out for a date. Friday nights are becoming friday nights again - full of dinner, music and fun! We wanted to stay in the neighborhood so I suggested we head to the 331 and we totally lucked out with a great band - Machinery Hill.

The 331 is a grungy, dirty, gritty, stinky bar with a teeny tiny little stage that almost always has the best music. Just our kind of place.

I was happy to have my camera stashed in my purse so while the dinner and music was expected, the opportunity to take some dimly-lit band photos was totally the bonus.

This guy? Bill. He had a sax, a clarinet, a triangle, ukulele, an electric ukulele, an Irish flute, another flute. Let's see what else? There was so much that he pulled out it was hard to keep track of all the instruments.

Machinery Hill has been around for more 30 years. They played a huge variety of music, even kicking into a syncopated reggae beat for one song.

Our intentions were to be home by 10pm. Every hour past that I kept texting the sitter asking for another hour and she was graciously accommodating.

The perfect start to another great weekend!


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yoga in the park


Yoga in parks is all the rage these days. I like the free, preschool version the best!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

attitude of gratitude - rhythms and retrogrades


Daily rhythm - 365 photo project
Seasonal rhythm - geese stopping by near our property on their way south; roots and winter squash in our CSA boxes; apples

For all these things I am grateful. But I am definitely feeling the disruptions of a mercury retrograde. Today I am contemplating the gratitude I should feel about these disruptions because it is shaking up all my perspectives and causing me to reconsider my chosen paths. On the one hand, I am excited to start out on a new direction, on the other hand I wonder if I will just feel more committed to it all once mercury goes direct.

I'm not sure if I want to continue the 365 project in 2015. I do know for certain that I will miss the motivation to pull out my camera everyday. The project gives me a blogging schedule. Letting go of the project could change up a lot things.

I know that I don't want to continue with the CSA. I am profoundly grateful for all that exposure I've gotten to intimidating vegetables, fruits and cheeses. I feel like I've learned a lot about what I like and what I don't like so I may take this  knowledge in another way - more farmers markets, more produce and fruit from the co-op.

Last  year I gave a small speech at the co-op's annual meeting and the topic took on the imagery of migrating geese. I took so much confidence from the sound of the geese flying in our woodland region for a short layover at a nearby wetland. This year the sound of the geese causes anxiety as it reminds me that I have to give a much more important speech on Sunday's annual meeting.

And speaking of the Co-op, while stressing about the geese, I realized that 2015 could be my last year on the board of directors. It could be if that is the choice that I make. If I choose to run for another term, I am committed for another three years. I definitely don't like the sound of that. I've put so much of my life on hold and I am eager to get back to my plans, dreams and visions.

But, see? The retrograde direction of mercury could be the source of all my doubts. Another few more days until everything becomes clear again. Hopefully.

And speaking of hope, let's talk princesses. Pointed discussions about princesses can lead to lessons about leadership, civic responsibility, and compassion.  We have plans to visit the grandparents in Florida in February 2015. Granny and Masci are excited to take the little one to Disney World for which I am truly grateful as I have no desire to visit with all the princesses. I will however use this as an opportunity to get my child eating tons and tons of vegetables. Oh, you don't want to eat those turnips, well then no visit with the princesses? I employ manipulation and am not afraid to say it.

And speaking of food, I need to get better at making myself good lunches. All the lunch meetings have spoiled me, not mention all those added pounds. I was glad to find this: 20 satisfying, wholesome lunches.

I'm not sure where I found this link but it gave me some really interesting information about where I live.

I'm in love with this scarf. But would I ever wear it? Too bad I can't get it in time for Halloween.

Mom takes children's songs literally.

Last night, we did a dhantares puja in the kitchen. For the first time in my life, I made little diyas (candles made from small cotton balls soaked in ghee). Maybe I should say big diyas because for a while there, I thought the kitchen was going to catch on fire! We managed to keep it safely contained until they burned down, thank goodness. While I didn't manage to get my house cleaned, I did do a lot of laundry so I presume we will have a prosperous year full of clean clothes.

Happy Diwali!

[I started off this post feeling grouchy and now that I'm done, I feel so much better, feeling full of hope and gratitude and love!]

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more chopped wood

It is going to take quite a while to finish item #57 on my Lotus List, chopping a cord of wood. This is last attempt but I forgot to take a photo of the full amount before lighting the fire. I was feeling mighty proud considering it is oak which tends to be harder to split. But the load that I chopped only lasted about any hour or so. The experience made me realize how grateful I am that we don't have to depend on wood for heat throughout the entire winter. Can you imagine how much wood needs to be chopped? Of course, we'd probably be burning more efficiently with a wood stove, but still! That's a lot of wood (needed for winter, I mean, not what I chopped).


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the final days

We are swiftly approaching the final days of Autumn. Each days feels like the last. The last of the caterpillars, the last of the brightly colored leaves, the last of the warm sun. When yet another warm day comes along, I feel that urgency to get out and enjoy it. Then other times I think let's just get on with it.

And then comes a sick day where I have no choice but to stay inside and forget the world is still moving while I wrangle vomit and upset tummies.

So we might well have had our final warm days of the season out at our woodland retreat. I started the week hopeful to get a lot done but the little one came down with the stomach flu and instead of freaking out about all that I needed to do, I slowed down and decided that eventually things will get done. I say that as if I had a choice it the matter because you know, wrangling vomit severely limits my ability to do anything.


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layers upon layers


The warm sunny Autumn days always fool me into thinking that the warmth will stay past sundown. Which results in not packing adequate cold weather clothing for our weekends at the woodland retreat. So I resort to grabbing bits of this and that to layer up. Last Saturday when the temps dropped to near freezing I put on two cowls because the brown while close to my neck wasn't long enough and the blue alone would not keep me warm. I threw on several layers of clothes and built up the fire as big as I could with lots of oak. The good thing about spending chilly nights out in the woods is that my body acclimates to hardier levels. This is the best way to ease into the cold of winter.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

airstream in the fall


We off to our woodland retreat today. But today is gray and cold, not the bright colors of last weekend. Neighbors say that our area is not visible from the road in the height of summer. All that changes as the leaves fall. So many changes coming. The Autumn leaves keep falling and winter is lurking.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

getting lost in the corn maze is the whole point, right?

Right. And that's why they give you a "map" so that you don't think you can get lost too much but still have the thrill of getting lost. This corn maze was spread over 8 acres of corn and the owner said that if we ended up in each dead end we would walk over 2 1/2 miles.

It all started out pleasant enough. My little child of the corn was so impatient and insistent on walking through the corn maze. We had time to waste before our dinner plans and so we took off in the short little rows of corn.

I'd never noticed this sort of color in corn stalks before. She was picking up corn husks and hair declaring them for craft projects back home in the city. D led us to one or two dead ends and we laughed it off.

But then the corn rows started to get taller and voices of other families in the maze become more distant yet decidedly more frustrated as they encountered dead end after dead end. D insisted that we not cheat and asked me to hand over the map. I kept thinking "teams must now make their way through the maze in order to reach the final leg of this race." You know? From back in the days of the Amazing Race?

The Lotus Bud got tired and suddenly she didn't want to do this corn maze anymore. Not knowing how much further we had to go, neither one of us parents wanted to give into her demands of being carried the rest of the way. All the collected corn husk and corn hair got discarded in a grouchy huff.

Slowly but surely we made our way around the little pond. At this point I was desperately trying to keep landscape markers in sight just to feel assured that we were making progress. But the corn kept getting taller and the maze become frightful in a delightful way.

Not to mention more beautiful with every new row. The sun was making it's way down the sky.

  The temps got just slightly more chilly. The tall rows of corn kept the wind away from us.

The photo above and below is one taken from looking straight up. Yes, I'm short but my goodness, this corn was tall. The other families passed us by (with a little cheating) and we all felt relief when one or the other shouted back that they had found the exit.

And eventually so did we. For the record, she didn't climb on daddy's back until after we went through the exit.

How surprising it was to realize we had only been in the maze for about 40 minutes. We worked up a decent hunger for an early dinner.

We made a good team. And that afternoon we all won!


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Thursday, October 16, 2014

it's the great pumpkin!


Another glorious Autumn day when the temps rose into the 70s and the day's plan took us to the greatest pumpkin farm in the midwest!

Acres and acres of pumpkins.

Some big and plump.

Others small and petite.

Acres of weeds and bramble and orange harvest.

Acres of pumpkins with a corn maze nearby. A corn maze where we were splendidly lost but that's a story for another day.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

beautiful Autumn


We are so blessed this year! Autumn has been spectacular with all the bright colors and bright blue skies. The temps are mild and the sun is shining. I can't remember ever having such a beautiful season.

I couldn't choose one photo today because each one has a little something extra to offer.

I don't even feel that despair of trying to capture it all. It's not possible and fretting about it just draws attention away from all that is glorious about Autumn.

Each week I think I've had my peak experience and then along comes another one of these days.

The trees around the city have been taking their own sweet time to fill with color.

I am surrounded by the perfection of nature.

Minnesota deserves all this beauty. Of course winter is just around the corner and I believe reveling in this Autumn is the best preparation for the upcoming change.

Autumn at it's best!!!!!

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