Archive for the ‘Photography’ 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.

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.

 

Happy Birthday, America!

Fireworks Show

Ah, Fourth of July weekend, the magical time of summer.  The kids are running around trying to squeeze all of their technology into their bags before leaving town.  I’m cooking and baking like a madman to get ready for a four day weekend.  Dad’s polishing up his golf clubs.  And the dog is just trying to maintain his composure through all the ruckus.

FW 2

 

 

Now, I’m not going to lecture you about what the holiday should really mean or what you should include in your celebrations.  To me that is a kind of personal thing.  Yes, it’s the celebration of our country, her birthday if you will.  But I think it’s about a lot more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FW 3

 

During this time I like to think about my past Fourths.  I remember back to summers at my grandma’s in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the U.P. (or “Da Yoop” if you’re local).  We’d pile into the car or box of a truck to go watch the fireworks show.  We ran in crazy trajectories around the yard with sparklers or watched snakes curling on the sidewalk, leaving an unfortunate black stain on the concrete when they finally sputtered to a stop.  We ate hot dogs and chips, and if we were good, ice cream cones at night.  It was simple.  It was fun.

 

 

FW 4

Life seems more complicated these days.  I don’t think people take enough time away from electronics to just be in the moment.  I’m afraid life’s passing my children by sometimes, unbeknownst to them.  So this year my only request for how you celebrate is to be present.  Whatever you’re doing, whomever you’re with, focus on being there.  Eat some ice cream.  Light a sparkler.  And don’t forget to ooh and ahh over the fireworks, they really can be impressive.

Happy Independence Day!

An Appeal to Dog Owners

Fritz on the rug

It was a rather traumatic week in our household. Tuesday we were up at my Mother’s house in Superior, Wisconsin. That afternoon I took our Miniature Schnauzer, Fritz, out for a walk. It was a bit brisk, but a nice enough day nonetheless. All of a sudden a roughly hundred pound Husky began barking and growling in between houses as we passed. Fritz was silent. I saw a woman trying to restrain her, but the dog was going crazy, standing on her hind legs fighting to get away. And then she did.

Fritz Tanning

If you’ve ever seen the Coen brothers’ movie The Big Lebowski, you’re familiar with The Dude, Jeff Bridges’ character. We often refer to Fritz as “The Dude”. He’s very laid back on our walks, never barking at other dogs no matter how much of a ruckus they’re making. So when this enraged dog sprung over the snow bank at us, The Dude stopped and prepared for the usual game of you-sniff-me-then-I’ll-sniff-you. But that wasn’t what she had in mind.

Fritz and Cookie

Nana, which I quickly found out was the dog’s name, went off, grabbing Fritz by the neck and throwing him down. The woman kept yelling at me, “Pull her off, she’s gonna kill him!” But I wasn’t about to stick my limbs in front of the wild dog who looked like she knew what she was doing. It seemed to go on forever until I was able to yank the leash and pull him away. Nana ran off down the street.

  Cookie Snuggling Fritz

I picked up Fritz and checked him over. Other than the bleeding front leg he seemed okay. We headed toward Mom’s house. Our walk, so rudely interrupted, had turned into a nightmare.

Fritz Close Up

Fritz has always been a loving and social dog to people and other animals. To watch this brutal attack was a horrific experience that I hope to never see again. So I have a request not just to Nana’s owners, but to all dog owners: Don’t buy more dog than you can handle. If you don’t have the space for a dog or the upper body strength required to hold the leash, it’s probably not the breed for you. And for everyone’s sake, train and socialize your dogs. The Dude abides.

Fritz Boating

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.