Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

A Cold and Misty Start to October

Frosty Path

It was such a great morning; I couldn’t resist hopping on my bike and snapping a few pictures.

Birdhouse

It was cold, but definitely worth it!

Mist on Calm Waters

These pictures were shot in Watertown, MN at Riverpointe Park.

My Favorite Tree

One of my favorite trees in the park!

Shallow Crow River

Shallow waters on the South Crow River.

Trees on the Path

Natural carnage. Could be old, could be tornado!

Purple Holdouts

No one told them it’s fall!

Misty Dock

The little fishing dock.

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Write On

Winter SunriseI hate to jinx things, but I’ve been feeling pretty good lately.  Not just physically; mentally I feel like I’m really on my game right now.  Know what I mean?

I recently finished a seven-part series on bullying.  Some articles have already been published, and they’re being shared on social media.  It’s definitely nicer to have people applaud your work instead of ripping it to shreds.  I hope all of the pieces get such good feedback.

It’s very possible that my improved outlook has something to do with our mild winter and the fact that the days are getting noticeably longer.  It makes me smile inside and out when I see the sun coming up over the trees beyond the field.  The snow has been sparse and much more manageable than usual, for which I am very thankful.

Maybe it’s the fact that spring is right around the corner.  I’ve been exercising a little, cooking and baking more, and things are finally feeling settled in our new home.  It’s amazing what removing boxes will do for your outlook.

A Twitter notification informed me that I had been added to a “Writers to Watch” list.  Good for the ego, a little humbling, and then some small doubts creep in.  But that’s okay.  Doubt, and sometimes complete darkness, is what leads to good stories.

Back in my office I make notes. (One of them should remind me to buy stock in 3M; my Post-It habit is borderline obsessive.)  The story ideas seem to be coming fast and furious.  I find my real concern is a lack of time to get everything done that I’d like to complete.  This is a good problem to have.

So I’ll keep plugging away on my 2015 Goals list, smiling as I cross off each item.  I’ll enjoy the bountiful assortment of ideas I’m getting from my early spring fever.  And, most importantly, I’ll write on.

The Best Vacation in Minnesota

cozy tent

Nestled deep into the trees on the Minnesota/Canada border, this is where we spent our vacation last week.  After you’ve been in the hotel business for a few decades, this is the place to go to get away from it all.  No phones, no technology, and only the people you want to bring with you.  Yep, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is just about heaven.

Corissa Fishing

We spend most of our days (and some nights) fishing for walleye. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much good luck catching as we do up there.  At one point in the canoe with the Hub and the Caboose, we caught four fish in less than two minutes.  It was crazy and we loved it.  There is nothing better than fresh fish right out of the lake and into the pan.  My mouth is watering just remembering it!

Tea and GrishamI take a day or two the week before to cook and freeze our other meals.  This helps to keep the jugs of ice and cases of frozen water bottles cold.  It also makes it easier to cook up there, and I’m all about relaxing, not cooking, when I’m on vacation.  Since I’m the first one up, I even get quiet time with my vanilla chai tea and a little Grisham.  I realize we’re roughing it, but a girl needs a little pampering.

The ClotheslineThe campsite we were at this year was great for swimming.  This worked out splendidly since it was very hot and we needed to cool off at least once a day.  We string the clothesline up between trees and dry our suits and towels.  The kids did a lot of diving but the Hub and I did a lot more lazing in the water.  Circle of life, I guess.

HammockAnd if the slow pace takes its toll, you just hop in the hammock and watch the clouds go by.  Or watch your eyelids, it really is a great place to nap.

Basswood SunsetIt might seem like a lot of work, but when you see sunsets like this every night after supper, it makes it all worth it.  The BWCAW…over a million acres of paradise.

 

Well Played, Mother Nature

Lily of the Valley

This week started out good; the weather was mild, all of our snow had melted, and spring was in the air. Then came Wednesday, and a foot and a half of snow. Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel beast. We no longer could see the tulips stretching above ground seeking sun. Instead we saw piles and piles of snow. Sigh.

tulip bulbs

It came down so fast and so furious, but in a very bizarre fashion. The northern parts of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and up where we are got buried. The south metro only got rain. What the…?! Yes, a cruel spring prank indeed. Well played, Mother Nature, well played.

Shoveling

Thankfully I planted my grape tomatoes in small, movable pots where they can get plenty of sun inside. And thankfully we’ll see normal weather this week. Whatever that means in Minnesota.

Tomato Plants

Mental Spring Cleaning

 

Crossroads

Since we’ve moved to a new town, I find myself frequently at crossroads.  The latest is a stumbling block on a book I’m writing.  It’s about a friend of mine and her life and times with a famous husband.  You would think the words would fly onto the page, so many stories of their great and exciting life.  But instead I stare.  The blank pages taunt me.  Pencils are sharpened for notes, except no notes need to be written down.  I am stumped.

Plot Options

But then this week I had the opportunity to have lunch with that friend and the rest of our manuscript club.  It was a late Christmas party—Christmas in March, the necessity of rescheduling due to Minnesota winters.  It was so great to see the group and talk.  I gave my friend the first few pages of the book to look over.  I was a little nervous whether or not she’d like the direction things were taking.  She did.  In fact, she called me later that night to chat further.

Eagle

Then I got an email from another member.  She was so supportive and encouraging.  It was exactly what I needed.  After reading the email, I strapped on my sneaks and hit the pavement.  Running outside is always a great way to shake out the cobwebs in my brain and poke my muse into action.  It was a little brisk into the wind at first, but then I hit my stride.  I felt like I could run forever.

Now, I realize this may sound corny, but when I saw a big eagle fly overhead it was as if a switch had been turned on.  The words, this story, it had been in me all the time.  Over the winter, moving to a new city, I had suppressed my muse.  More likely gagged her with duct tape.  I had convinced myself that I was having trouble writing because I wasn’t in my old spot, hadn’t found a new niche in which I could write.  But that was not true.  I just needed to shake out the dust and (literally) hit the ground running.

 BWCA Web

Tripping Toward Springtime

 

Beers on the Deck, Canal Park

Well here we are, getting dumped on again by another major winter storm.  I guess we shouldn’t complain; after all, we live in Minnesota.  But this time of year I usually find myself beginning to think about springtime.  It was moderately warm, I went for a few runs outside, and then the heavens opened with freezing rain and snow.  Sigh.  So, to lift my spirits, I am sharing a few of my favorite warmer-weather spots. Enjoy!

Lake Superior

The first picture was sitting on the deck at a restaurant in Duluth’s Canal Park.  I love to watch the waves of Lake Superior, and the fury they can unleash.  Here’s a mild sample of that in this picture.

John Lake Edward

This one was taken at one of my all time prized locations with my late father in law.  A great place with a great man.  This was at the family cabin on Lake Edward in central Minnesota’s Brainerd Lakes area.  The beautiful sunsets make for very picturesque evening pontoon rides.

Hawaiian Lagoon

A few years back the Hub and I were lucky enough to take a work trip to Hawaii.  This was the view from our balcony.    Not a bad place to have your morning coffee, huh?  We actually got to swim and frolic in this lagoon.  Yes, it was amazing.

Bridge over Jungle Water!

Two years ago we took a trip with some friends to Puerto Rico.  I never thought much about traveling there before that trip, but I sure am glad we went.  Our resort was in a nature preserve and we got to watch lizards and turtles from our balcony.  That was very cool!  And one day we hiked up El Yunque Rain Forest. If you ever get there, I highly recommend this experience and Old San Juan.  Seriously, you won’t be sorry!

Patio Swing

This last one is a bit tongue-in-cheek.  It is a picture of my swing.  Obviously I like to kick back, remove my shoes and socks, and get comfy.  It is one of my favorite places in the world to write.  Or read.  Or nap.  Or just watch the world pass by overhead.  I just hope I can visit here again.  Soon.

Waiting for Winter

 

Ben Wyoming

When you live in a state that has winter for almost half of the year, it’s not hard to understand why we produce a lot of winter athletes.  In fact, Minnesota has the second highest number of athletes at the Sochi Olympics, beaten only by California.  Which seems a bit odd, but that’s another story all together I guess.  When you have this many months of snow and cold, the way I see it, you have two choices; embrace it, or become that whining complainer no one wants to be around.

Breezy in the Rough

In our family I’d say we opt to embrace winter and all it has to offer.  Whether it’s participating in activities or just watching, I can honestly say I prefer to do it in colder weather.  Yes, I am a true northern girl.  In fact, our kids are literally giddy when the snow finally stays on the ground and they are sad to see it melt.  I’m not that hard-core, I do enjoy springtime.  But that can be my little secret.  It’s just the heat of summer that kills me.

Training

And living in Minnesota, AKA The State of Hockey, it’s not hard to see why we produce so many hockey players.  We play it year-round as soon as we can stand on skates.  Even people from other states travel here to play.  Yeah, I guess that makes us kind of a big deal.  So it’s no wonder that we’ll be waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to watch the United States play Russia.  This is what we’ve been waiting for.  We’re making a party out of it.  And if the puck drops at O’Dark Hundred, well, so be it, we’ll still be watching.  I guess that just means there’ll be more daylight for other outdoor winter activities.

Ben and Corissa