Sunday, November 30, 2014

So thankful

We encountered a major accident right outside of Omaha and that made me so thankful for this guy:


I am having some technical difficulties using this phone for posting which I'm sure was obvious with the last post. But we'll be home soon where hopefully I will sort it all out.

I am always happy to see this road sign:


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Saturday, November 29, 2014

startling thoughts

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First off - Goodbye colorful Colorado!
Second - Hello, Nebraska. It's good to be here because that means we are nine hours away from home. I do believe the sign of a good vacation is the need to be back home.
My final thoughts for tonight -
I am surprised by the mobility and versatility of camera phones. To be frank, I am shocked by the quality of photos that are on Dave's new phone like this one taken at the rim of the Jailhouse Rock natural cistern:


The other evening we found ourselves on the Island in the Sky in the Canyonlands National Park after a long day on a jeep trail near the White Rim - at the magic hour. There were so many photographers with their gear and their girlfriend assistants, walking around looking important with fancy tripods in their hands and cigarettes dangling from their mouths. Was this my clan? I just wanted to stop them and urge them to set up immediately because actual sunset was going to be too late to get that killer shot. It is in that hour before sunset that the magical golden light appears. Or so I believe.
One guy did stop to talk to Dave. After seeing the red mud on our jeep, he asked if we had been "down there," the area that everyone was trying to shoot. We had indeed been down there and in that moment I realized we would never be down there on the magical hour because at our skill level it would be too dangerous to be caught out in the dark on a jeep trail. So regardless of the light I will capture whatever images I can get while "down there":


I'm not saying that my photos are any better than others, only that perfect, magical lighting is not necessary to capture the image or the memory or whatever.

So through all this and this being only a fraction of the thoughts in my head I've learned that I want a little point and shoot camera. And that taking photos isn't about all the gear but rather what you see and what you want to capture for years to come. It's a simple truth and something me and you know but there is different levels of understanding of that truth that I suspect I will continue to explore for many, many years. And hopefully that will make me more humble than smug. 





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Friday, November 28, 2014

The last few hours in Moab


We always do a long hike on our last day because of the two days of driving that is between Moab and home. The hike was a teeny bit challenging and longer than we thought. Also we got some bad advise about the last bit of the loop that goes to Jeep arch. We were told to go to the left that ended up being really steep (but apparently offers a view of the arch sooner than the other route). So we turned around before we saw the arch and I think we were super close. That's OK because the entire route was beautiful. 

It was a great trip and a wonderful vacation. Some members of this family drove me nuts, probably about as much as I annoyed them. But it was good to spend so much time together in this last year before the little one starts school.

It was a great trip and despite the advise we got earlier, the day ended up with some really good advise that I would like to share with you'all.


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gooseneck Thanksgiving

I am thankful for so much in my life. I have the coolest family. A family who is willing to go here for an adventure. To a gooseneck on the Colorado riding along a rough and tumble road.


I am thankful for this vehicle that gets us there safely.


Which also takes us up this road.


For the twenty minutes that took us to get all the way up the switchbacks and out of the canyon.


It was quite the Thanksgiving Jeep trail. It was a grand adventure and for that I feel immense gratitude.

But the best thing of all? I am so thankful the most adventuresome members of my family did not climb on top of this.


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Colorado River lunch spot


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After lunch we tried to hike to Morning Glory arch but the little one got tired legs about a half mile away. So we scrapped our plans and made our way to Onion Creek which we splashed through 19 times. That's the great thing about Moab - if plans go awry, just look around past the canyon to find another adventure. 






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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Through the Looking Glass Arch


The best of our adventures are the spontaneous ones. Two arches today. The deep cistern at Jailhouse Rock. Some Jeep trails. Plus a great little hike at the Needles Overlook. All in one big loop. We finished out the day with blues and ribs at the Blue Pig. 


I think we've found our vacation rhythm and I learned that the little one likes to climb to heights that make my legs shake and makes my heart beat fast. (!!)






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Moab morning


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Right after the blizzard


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Right when we got into the hot springs pool in glenwood springs, a mini blizzard hit. We stood our ground and waited it out. In. The. Pool. Shielding the little one as best we could.

Once it had passed, of course, I had to take a photo to show that Minnesotans were't going to be scared of a little cold and snow.




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Light at the end of the tunnel



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Saturday, November 22, 2014

On the road

I said I wanted a day where i could just sit and knit. And I got it in the jeep on the road to Nebraska.


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Friday, November 21, 2014

New approach



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Dave got a new phone so I get his old phone and I thought I would try a new approach to this 365 photo project. I was stopped by this train while rushing to finish errands. Instead of being annoyed I went ahead and clicked a photo. 

A couple of years ago I spotted a film shoot along these very same tracks. Just at the curve there was a dancer, a cellist, and a filmmaker. I intensely regretted not having my camera. And now I have joined the legions of people who will always have a serviceable camera in tow. 

Yah me for joining the 21st century!





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Thursday, November 20, 2014

all I've got is this shovel


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The 365 photo project is getting tedious. I just want to be done with it but I will stick to it through to the end. I suppose I should be thankful that I didn't need to use the shovel today.







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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

breezy day


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The temperatures rose to over twenty degrees today and that actually felt good to me because I didn't fall into instant shiver when I stepped out the back door. It felt downright balmy. But then the wind picked up and that breeze brings on the shiver.

I was just reading earlier that Minnesotans are experts on weather. I agree with that point. I watch the weather carefully in the days before a long roadtrip. A couple years ago a winter storm was forecast just days before our trip to Utah. And it reached blizzard proportions in Iowa. So we swiftly changed our plans to go through S. Dakota and completely avoided all the mess. Had we gone through Iowa we would have been trapped in our Jeep and in need of rescue by the national gaurd. So, yah, we take the weather seriously up here.

Nothing like that is expected for this year's travel days, thank goodness. I use weather as an excuse to take a break from all that needs to get done before we go.





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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude - the cold weather edition


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We are in lock-down right now. The high temps today are in the teens. Suddenly it is winter. Yet this weekend the temps will go into the 30s and possibly, 40s. All that warmth will melt the snow and more importantly, rid the roads of ice. But we will be on our way to Utah so we'll miss the mini warm-up. We will miss the warmest week of the month. I do hope it's warm and sunny in Moab to make up for missing all this.

And so, right now, it is the busy week of getting all work work done in order to get on the road. It's also about getting all the packing done for our trip. I really would like to minimize the amount of gear we take along. Reading this [Choosing Better Work over More Tools] helped me get into the right frame of mind.

Add into this crazy mix the need to get our 2014 photo album done (Xmas presents for the grandparents). I have an enormous amount of photos this year. Every year I think I will do this on a monthly basis yet every November I find myself scrambling to get it done and meet the coupon deadline and at the last minute, pull in all the cell phone photos that Dave took. Anyway, Snapfish has a great deal right now - 60% off photo books. [I wish I got some kick-back from linking but I don't!]

We always take our holiday photo in Moab. It is hard to think of something that would top the awesome photos from the last few years. I turned to the internet last night and found this: 6 Fun Poses for the Holiday Photos. The only one really appealing to me is the family holding a banner. But that would mean I have to put "making a banner" into this week's to-do list. I always think that sending of New Year's cards instead of Christmas cards will buy me more time but that extra relaxed time never materializes.

Let's see. What else? Oh, road trip! I've seen a lot of rest stops because of all of our roadtrips. Here is a beautiful collection of rest area photos.

A cute little joke about Minnesota via pinterest.

8 ways a simple notebook can change your life. I try to journal on a nightly basis but when I get busy I let this habit go, then I get depressed because all those thoughts are jumping around my head creating monkey-havoc. So then I remember that I need to journal and magically everything seems bearable again. Why do I always forget about this mental salve?

OK, so now that mercury has gone direct, as predicted I am back on the path that I have chosen. I will remain in my role on the co-op's board but I'm feeling more confident and finding ways to compartmentalize the energy I put towards this work. That has freed up time to think of my more creative projects. So I've been musing on the creative process. I love that the internet connects me with people all over the world but funny enough, it also connects me to people who live within 10 miles of my home. If you haven't seen the STILL blog, I suggest you get to that asap.

This bedtime calculator has helped me a lot! Now I just have to convince Dave to set his alarm clock differently so that we are not listing to that snooze alarm going off for an hour.

And finally, I can't stop without my usual Frozen link. This one is Idina Menzel, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots doing the song with classroom instruments. And I love it! There was one morning where I played it constantly and then later that day, I pouted when my daughter didn't love it as much as I did. But she likes it now! And I think she's getting a better understanding of how musicians/actors/singers do the voices behind animated movies.

Why is that when I am crazy busy I always make time to do a long post? Because I want to and I enjoy it and I hope you do too!






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Monday, November 17, 2014

garden witnesses


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These lovely, hardy little echinacea/cone flowers will bear witness through the entire cold season. Long ago they let loose their pretty pink petals but kept their prickly center.





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Sunday, November 16, 2014

a snowy night dinner splurge


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Snow crab! The ridiculousness of taking so many photos while this crab sat on our dining room table went over the top when I finally heard my daughter whining about eating. She loves eating crab. Maybe because years ago I told her she could possible grow a mermaid tail if she ate crab and shrimp. She gets that it's a joke because each time she jumps up from her chair and shows us her bum, asking if a mermaid tail is growing.

Snow crab is one of those things that is not available to us from a local source. Duh! But I love it, the little one loves and hubby does too. I knew a woman that went to all the major stores looking for fresh crab and reported in a rather haughty manner that none was available in the Midwest. Flash frozen crab wouldn't cut it for her family. Since then I've been thinking about how fortunate we are just to have a source for crab, even if it is frozen crab. Which seems like the perfect meal on a snowy night.







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Saturday, November 15, 2014

curly leeks


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Look what I found. The curly, warped innards of a leek. I just recently learned the proper way to clean leeks. Slice it in half to rinse out any residual dirt. If I hadn't done that I would never have seen these curls.

Lately I've been feeling chubby and when my pants fit a bit too tight I turn to soup. Lots and lots of potato leek soup.





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Friday, November 14, 2014

lone flower


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Can you tell I'm already desperately searching for color?





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Thursday, November 13, 2014

squirrel prints


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The snow is here and it's staying, although I did hear rumors of highs in the 50s sometime soon, but not in the next 10 days. So who would believe that?






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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

as the world turns


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The season has definitely changed and I'm trying - really I am - to embrace it. It had to come, of course it was always coming. I say to others if only we could have had time to adjust, a steady decline in the temps, but instead we had a gloriously warm Autumn. I can't be sad about that.

Residual hurricane winds and arctic temps both came together to create an early winter so it is possible - fingers crossed - that we could warm up a bit when this particular weather combination leaves the region. In the meantime I have photos from Autumn that I have yet to share, I have wool on my knitting needles, I have a garage full of firewood and I have soup on the stove. I have the resources to heat my home, sweaters for the whole family and the luxury of choosing how I spend my time outside. All good things and all things for which I feel gratitude.








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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

he gets it done


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Our first snow storm hit. This one may last through the entire season. There was no solace in the possibility that the snow would come, then melt in a day or two. Because of the cold temps after the storm, this one is sticking around.

Those of you that live in snowy climates know about all that work that needs to be done before the first storm. This year the Big D did it all. The yard looked so nice with the patio and lawn swept of all the Autumn leaves, the little one's toys stored away for the winter. Now it's all covered in snow. I did manage to get a bunch of food into the fridge but he's the one that did all the outdoor work.And he's looking slim and trim from it. I've got to do something about this for myself. Chubby is not the way to begin the winter season.

[photo taken at the Minneapolis Photo Center where they had a little area set up for a photo shoot. My friends and I took over that spot and I discovered the lighting was fantastic for candid photos of everyone.]










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Monday, November 10, 2014

fart jokes all afternoon






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Morris Park Players staged a performance of Shrek the Musical at the local high school. I took the little one. It was a very funny afternoon. Having the little one in my life takes me places I hadn't gone right here in our neighborhood. No matter what I do, I can't escape the fart jokes.








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Sunday, November 9, 2014

F-Stop exhibit 2014


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Friday night was the opening reception for the F-Stop photo exhibit and one of my photos was there. I was surprised by the placement, right next to Obama. The theme was the American Way. I titled my entry "American Girl."


Last night while D and I were looking through the exhibit book, he mentioned that she's standing on the road at our WI property claiming ownership, or better yet, let's say claiming stewardship. I realized the title of this photo should have been "this land in my land."








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Saturday, November 8, 2014

everything I need is right around me


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One of my frustration lately has been that I can't find the necessary time to carry out my own projects. After I got done bemoaning this fact, I realized that I needed some stuff to simmer for a little while so in fact, the delay is likely a necessary delay. I am trying to flesh out a novel, a book project that I started in the summer of 2013. I had grand ideas and even grander notions of having to travel a bit south to find my setting. This last weekend in a "smack my hand on my forehead" moment I realized that my setting is already around me, right there in front of my eyes.


I always knew that one of the sites in my book was going to be Wisconsin and there it is, the beautiful rolling hills of northern rural Wisconsin.


I had this idea that in order to consider the details of the small farmer/dairy industry I needed to be near Madison when in fact, the setting I need must be more rural than that.


It needs to more desolate for the young gopi who finds herself a little plot of land to tend to her two dairy cows. A place desolate enough that there are no distractions from her desire to develop her skills in cheese-making. A place desolate enough that when a Hindu god appears in the form of a city-slicker, there is the actual plausibility of him being in need of help. A place desolate enough that ancient Ojibwa spirits still roam freely.

Everything I need is right here in these hills. And the best thing is that I already know this area really well. It feels like a breakthrough moment for me, the sort of idea light that turns on in a moment of crisis. And so now I am feeling grateful for the opportunity to let things simmer while I tend to other responsibilities in my life.










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Friday, November 7, 2014

the november sky


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One thing I love about november, when the leaves are finally down, is the expansive view of the sky. Clear enough to see the cloud front moving in. Clear enough to see the stars at night. It makes me feel like I am reconnecting with old friends, those stars which were always there are now twinkling to greet me.








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Thursday, November 6, 2014

capturing the motion of the wind


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I just love this photo. And the girl, too!







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the last little bits of green


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

showcasing the paint job

 

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A few weeks ago I painted these little tables we have sitting near our firepit. I wasn't quite satisfied with the results so I sanded them down again and re-stained. Now the tables are much better. And I am pleased. They have the perfect amount of green in this landscape that has gone all brown.






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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

fairydust


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I called it fairydust. Or maybe it's what fairies use to fill their mattresses. In any case, I believe that Tink would approve of the association.


She gave me the stink eye and said in such a serious tone: "no, moog, it's milkweed."


I swear! Such language. Where does she get these notions? Since when did she start using such grown-up words?








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taking lessons from a tree


I feel all raw and vulnerable, the emotions peeling from me and leaving me gouged. I want to be more like this tree. How does it exude such a powerful sense of hardiness? How does it maintain it's beauty and purpose through all the phases of it's life? I don't know. Today I don't know anything. But I am willing to learn.


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November


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Taking a peek at this July photo and I immediately see the vast difference in the seasons.  I love the prickly, spiderweb-y look of these stems. I've been watching them all year.


That's it, folks. Our spectacular Midwest Autumn is swiftly coming to an end. I am grateful for the warmth of the first November weekend but I know it will not last much longer. I think I'm ready. Weekends out in the woods make me feel hardy and the first thing that needs to be done for the season change is some serious acclimation to the dropping temps. That and the search for all of our warm woolens and layers of fleece.






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the sweet, the scary and the blue


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It was a lovely Halloween. Lotus Bud's friend came over for trick-or-treating and the parents got to hang out together for a little while after, until the sugar crash hit.


At first I was a bit frustrated with all this catch-up I'm doing for this photo project but then I realized it is time well spent as I reflect on the great memories that were made that night.


The sweetest, dearest little unicorn in town.


The scary was a bit too much so the make-up had to come off. Have you noticed how scary things are these days in the Halloween shops? So he opted for face paint that ended up being much scarier than a mask.


And the blue. What am I? My costume is a woman with hair. You see, I'm losing my hair. Actually I've lost most of my hair so Halloween is the one day in the year that I have hair! I can't even begin to tell you how great I felt that day. I think I might try this look for my next board meeting.











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