Thursday, June 30, 2016


Remember Life Lists? They were such the rage 6-7 years ago. My own list helped me see that life in the forties could be fun and after just giving birth, I had so much left to do. It was invigorating and life-affirming. I've held on to my life list. It used to be called the Lotus List and now I call it My Lotus Experience. I don't know why I've changed the name but I do know that every once in a while I go in and revise it.

I've started a new phase in my life. I've left my co-cop work. It is a bit tough to go from Board President to Stay-At-Home-Mom but I'm making the best of it and thorough enjoying the summer with my kid (especially this week while she's in science camp).

So a new phase and a return to my list.


Minneapolis is this incredibly beautiful city. I don't live any where near this part of the city but I have easy access to it and my friend has a sailboat buoyed in Lake Calhoun. It was a perfect evening for sailing,

And I learned how to tie a knot! Two items of my list with great memories to keep near me when being a SAHM becomes too crazy!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Urban Forage Winery

Take a look at this tasting menu closely. The ingredients for all liquids have been foraged or hand-picked. It was an amazing selection. The camembert came with a service berry on top which had been picked in the space between the owner's home and the tap room.

I was impressed with everything at Urban Forage Winery! All the DYI ingenuity. One brewing tank can supply over 600 bottles of cider or wine. All family members are involved in the picking, making, producing and bottling. The kids get 5 cents a bottle.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

after the storm

Having arrived at the airstream retreat late the night before meant we got to begin our weekend day at the farmers market. I'm still marveling at the warm welcome at all the stalls, at the sound of my daughter's laughter as she runs around with her little Mennonite friends (Dorcas and Levy), the multitude of garlic scape ringlets that made their way into my bag, the plantain salve and subsequent discussion about proper identification within nature's pharmacy, the most interesting conversations about pesto recipes, and Mennonite history, the locally raised shrimp, the bakery and the blue eggs and the lilies that somehow made their way to our little patch of wooded land. One farmer asked why we don't move out here, another gave me a hug to celebrate reuniting after a Midwest/north winter, while yet another made plans for a visit out to her farm. I peace and comfort; I felt...nurtured and fed; I and respect.

Later when the humidity leaked and the temps soared out of everyone's comfort zone, we took showers. Which is a totally unique experience for me. Clean and tingly from the cold water drawn from deep within the earth below me. 

We came back from town and prepared for the storm. It was a good one. It was steady with rumbling thunder, only the occasional startling crack, but rolling steadily nonetheless. The lightening was constant and the rain ebbed and flowed through the ocean sound of the trees.

Afterwards though. Afterwards was spectacular and nearly indescribably and devastating and magical and electrifying.

The rain stopped. The lightening continued lighting up the sky. The fireflies came out. We walked to the road and that is when life as I know it ended. I can't be dramatic enough in my words.

The clouds were thick and there was only one star that shined through. It wasn't a star at all but a planet. Jupiter pierced the thick cloud cover. The fireflies flew high over my head and streaked down like shooting stars. One or three or five of them shine bright as if to imitate Jupiter. The I noticed it. The fireflies synced their flash to the lightening. Short short, long wavering, short burst went the lightening and a dozen fireflies copied the rhythm. They were on the trees. They were on the ground. The fireflies were rising and shining, imitating stars and lightening alike. My world shattered and reformed as part of of this magical show. This June glory of summer storms and summer light and summer life. 

And I was part of it. My breathe left my body and joined everything else around.

It was devastating in that life as I knew it was shattered from its reality. For many moments everything around me was electric and light. Full of life and mating and vibrant like nothing I've ever known before except for those moments while giving birth where I felt electricity shooting through my legs and my breath came in ragged spurts like a flopping fish on the shore. Raw is the only way to describe it. Nature and life in its rawest form.

And I got to be a part of it. I got to see it. And for that I am changed. Forever.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

fireflies, fairies, and bears

3:30 in the morning I wake with a full bladder to the sound of quiet crunching. I'm alert immediately when I wake. What could it be? Racoon I think.

I remember the airstream door is open. Nothing but a screen between me and the woodlands. 

The floodlights reveal a mid-sized bear sprawled on the deck, just six feet from where I'm standing.

Oh my.

She was laying on her belly, her sharp teeth puncturing a small plastic bottle. She seems to take up the whole side of the deck, stretched out in all her furry, pudgy glory.

She looks up at me when I turned on the light. She jumps onto her paws as I calmly say hey, hey bear.

By the time Dave comes out of the back bedroom, the bear has fled into the woods, the only sounds I hear are the strain of her muscles and her footfalls. There seems to be no disturbance in the brush as she flees.

After all the bear excitement D and I finally settle back in bed. It is dark again and quiet. My eyes fly open to another disturbance in the night. Only this time it is a firefly trapped in the trailer. I watch it float around and light up. And then I call for D, sleeping as he is in back of the trailer, I call for him to capture the firefly. He chuckles at me amused that I can take on a bear but not a little bug. That's when I realize I should wake the little one. Because this is no ordinary bug. This here "bug" is lighting up the room, floating around like it is illuminating evidence of fairies. The little Lotus Bud is suitable impressed having never seen fairies or fireflies. She decides that it is a fairy or the very least, the friend of a fairy. I'm not going to argue any of that!

I feel raw and exposed in the night as the storm approaches. The leaves are alive. Their song is deafening. Lighting flashes in the distance. As sharp as the raw emotions in my heart.

This is a surreal weekend coming as it did just a day after returning from Florida where I spent a week with my dying mother. I have just returned from a place that is nurturing the end of her life.

And here I am in the woods where life is everywhere. It is an intense beginning of life experience. Baby sapsuckers in the tree above, growing spotted fawns roaming the woods, fresh ripe berries, multitudes of caterpillars, fireflies glittering in the bush. It is just as intense as the heartbreak of my mothering crying out her fears.

The leaves are whipped around, back and forth, ceaselessly. The thunder rumbles. The lightening sparks me body, the flashing spikes my adrenaline.

But too far away. It is a storm tease. We will not get the storm I crave tonight.

And that's OK.  I've gotten enough to sustain me for a while.

I want big cleansing storms.

A storm did pass through early in the morning and it was all that hoped I it would be. The trailer of course was dry, the aluminum siding repelling the rain and the falling branches. I felt sheltered and safe. I always love to hear the sounds of rain pelting the trailer as I lay all warm and cozy witnessing nature's fury. 

In the morning a big hawk flies right over my head. In its talons is a ground squirrel. The squirrel looks like it is going for a ride just like the animals and birds in one of Niobe's animated movies. But this squirrel is no doubt destined for a nest full of little hawk babies. Death that nurtures life. 

An ending and beginning all in one. As magical as fairies. As real as a bear in the woods.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Among the Daisies and Dragonflies

Daisies scattered all over the land and dragonflies zipping every which way above the tall grass. Everything was perfectly in place and ready for our total immersion in the woods.

There was so much hidden amongst the daisies. There was a huge patch of wild strawberries!

The wild ones were tiny little things but packed full of flavor. A handful held to my nose smelled like a super concentrate of strawberry scents. The flavors were all sweet intensity. What an amazing surprise!

The blackberries are on their way. 

And then we found this little gal.

Right there on the middle of the wild strawberry patch.

She was gorgeous! And while I have no idea whatsoever if turtles eat strawberries there probably was no coincidence that was where she hanging out.

There were also some amazing fungi. I texted someone a photo and she claimed this is chicken of the woods. But on Instagram someone commented that it could oyster mushrooms although I've never seen oysters so big. I didn't have my identification book with me and in any case I am still many years from having sufficient information to forage for mushrooms. I can look, search, and dream all I want but  no eating allowed yet.

These little ladies were everywhere. How cool is it that my own little lady saw one and proclaimed it was doing its "j-hang" thing and that the next day it would cocoon. I just wanted to know if I could do dishes nearby without disrupting the "j-hang." I got the green light. Kindergarten is so awesome, much better than when I was in school!

Look mom, she says, here all all the eggs.

She officially finished kindergarten last Friday. I can't believe it is already over! It was an awesome year. Now she is reading, writing, caring for caterpillars. Oh the list of things she can do is endless. And brings me an endless amount of joy!

She and I spent some time counting to ten in all the languages we knew (there were at least 6 but in a couple of those counting was all we knew). Then we sang songs in some of those languages. At her school she learns English, Spanish and Arabic. Pretty amazing, huh?

The local farmers market started up again and we spent loads of time talking with them about all the happenings since the winter. The little Lotus Bud resumed her friendship with the little Mennonite girl. They picked right up from where they left off last fall. But now they are both reading and writing. But not before they clasp each other's hands and run through all the stalls and vehicles. They both are so sweet. 

I'm posting this from Florida. The Lotus Bus and I came down here on Monday to spend time with granny. It has been hot and humid. But granny is doing much better than I'd been led to believe. And Bud has been able to hang with her cousins. She is now the little sleepover princess! It is going to be hard to get her to leave.

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