Friday, November 29, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The love of my family.
Happy day of togetherness yesterday.  We spent the day at Grandma and Grandpa's and were treated to a delicious spread, although the kids were completely satisfied with the turkey and mashed taters.  They really have this feast mastered.
A home.  A place to feel safe, taken care of and inspired.
Nature.  It is in the wildness of the world where I always feel so big and, yet, so small.
Kids who are grateful.  Thoughtful and kind too.
Sun and stars and seasons.  Morning and night.  The gift of each new day, the holiness of every night, and the reminders of each season.
Generous friends who lend ears and hands and hearts.
Ideas and innovation.  The way we are always evolving as individuals and as a community.
Vitality and health.
Inspiration to live and do good and be good.
Now.  Today.  The desire to be present.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.

W.J. Cameron

Share your gratitude with all you touch today.  Don't count your blessings...cherish them.  And don't think twice about a second serving of mashed potatoes and stuffing drenched in gravy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Right On Cue

I've started this post half a dozen times.  I'm not sure exactly what I want to say.  I woke feeling happy and grateful today right on cue.  Cute Little Red was patiently waiting for his breakfast.  I took him some nuts, seeds and fruit, and he had his own feast.  He preferred the pear.  Gobbled every slice up.  Then I made the girls pancakes and bacon, and sang along to carol after carol.  Miss Bit had an impromptu sleepover last night.  I'm in a yes mood.  An up yo.  I sang as I cleaned up breakfast and made meatballs stuffed with fresh mozz for dinner tonight. They are beauts.  A crowd pleaser too when placed between a garlicky toasted hoagie.  Jess is coming over after work. There will be wine.  Dinner.  Games too perhaps.  Maybe a tear or two. The holidays are hard for her too, but that's her story to tell.

As the morning wears on, I'm feeling a tad sad and a bit nostalgic.  My Mom loved Thanksgiving.  It was her favorite holiday so I always find myself missing her more painfully right about now.  Right on cue.  She would have been at the market when it opened first thing this morning, and be busy in her kitchen right about now. She despised shopping and crowds and having to wait.  Patience was not one of her virtues, but she had many others that more than made up for the one lacking.  She'd come over tonight too.  Probably just for a little cheer because she'd be up at the crack of dawn stuffing that bird Thanksgiving morning.  Her table would have been set on Sunday.

It's been six years since we celebrated Thanksgiving at her table.  I cannot wrap my mind around that.  Right on cue time marches on and yet so much of my heart is filled with the past.  Longing, and not just for my Mom, but for other loved ones lost or not present for one reason or another.  Therein lies the sadness.  The down yo.

So as December is fast approaching, I'm reminded that the joy of the holidays is shared with the sadness.  In many ways both large and small it is the most wonderful, magical time of the year.  At times though, the traditions, memories, merriment make me melancholy and blue.  There is no other time of year that I find myself so often smiling through my tears.  Today is simply one of them.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today I'd Be Grateful For 30 More Days Of November

This morning as I sat surveying my yard and sipping my coffee, I tried desperately to focus on these first peaceful morning moments.  There is no other time of day when my cup feels this full.  I'm not meditating...I am practicing being solely in the moment.  I'm not praying...I am paying reverence and feeling grounded, shored up and lifted at once.  It's difficult to keep my mind from going where it wants to go: to all the coulds and shoulds of the day ahead.  During this five minute span, fifteen if I'm lucky, I seek to notice things and honor the day.  Then I often end up here because I want to capture these feelings of contentment and gratitude.  I want to share them.  Celebrate them.

This morning I looked up to see at least a half dozen squirrels.   They were still sleepy in the now barren branches of a tree and tucked in tail over body.  It warmed my heart to realize that their tails are really built in blankets.  It wasn't snowing, but every so often a random flake would waft onto the now white ground.  The yard is covered in snow.  The snow is covered in tracks.  It's a virtual legend for the critters who call our yard home.

There are ski tracks too.  T. Bone decided to hang up his snowboard and give skiing a try this year.  Last night he put on his gear and tried  it out in our hill-less yard.  I would say he's a tad eager.  And determined. Ah, but he's waited so long to hit the slopes again.  This is the earliest we've had snow in years so I'm hopeful for a long and stellar ski season.

He came home from his guitar lesson last night and started strumming away.  I recognized Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bell Rock.  It sounded great, but out of place.  I don't know what it is with my internal clock and the calendar this year.  They are not in sync.

It's snowing now.  So fine are the flakes they are deceiving to the naked eye. Yet I can see it's almost winter. I'm listening to carols. Vince Guaraldi's Skating is sounding through the house.  The holidays are here I can hear. Thanksgiving is this week and then the countdown to Christmas commences.  I know it, but I don't feel it.


Monday, November 25, 2013

two day pass

we were a family of three this weekend.
coach headed to deer camp with his father, brother and nephews.
ted was invited too, but he had a party to attend Saturday.
the theme was candy...need i say more.
i think it was probably for the best.
i don’t see him handling the lack of running water for his nightly shower well.
or the sound of many men snoring in a small space.
they probably wouldn’t have enjoyed listening to him sniffle either.
the boys got a cold, and he's rather gender typical when afflicted.
we had our usual pizza night friday, after which t. bone took his before bed shower and passed out with the help of nyquil.
after swim practice and morning workouts, we three met grandma to see catching fire and eat popcorn for lunch.
i was lukewarm on the film choice, but i left with the intention to get my hands on a copy of mocking jay.
i don’t think i can wait for the movie release to find out what happens.
we took ted to his bat mitzvah party and came home to play wii.
miss bit was practicing archery inspired by katniss herself.
i opted for a dance off that left me sweaty and sitting in front of the fan.
the only song i received more stars for than my 9 year old was a barry white classic.
it figures.
after church, the better part of our sunday was devoted to football, hanging out and holiday decorating.
it felt strange and too soon, but then we woke to snow this morning and it felt more right.
hopefully it melts soon so coach can light up our outside too.
coach came home and headed straight for the shower, the kids played football in the yard and i started miss bit's choice dinner: pork chops, applesauce and rice.
my brother and sil stopped in for a little end of weekend before dinner cheer.
they declined a last minute dinner invitation.
i blame the rice a roni.
at the end of the weekend, we were all looking forward to a short week, lots of time together and a day to be extra thankful for all of our blessings.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The sirens that sent us to the basement Sunday morning did not announce any tornadoes.  Not here anyhow. My heart is heavy for our neighbors to the south who were not so lucky.

Finally starting to feel some Christmas spirit.  I heard a holiday commercial jingle the other day and was forced out of denial.  It is mid November and the holidays are fast approaching.  I have been resisting not in a bah humbug way, but more of a I don't want it to come and be over way.  I'm an anticipation junkie.

Christmas music...the first step.

I spent most of Sunday in bed. It was stormy and we were all tired from weekend sleepovers and late night parties so it was a perfect day to cozy in with my cats, books and glut of recorded shows.  I was guilt ridden, but happily so.  I rose only to go to my in laws and then cozy into their couch for football and then family dinner.

Miss Bit didn't even call home from her Saturday night sleepover.  She had a blast and didn't think to miss us, but I think she was glad that she decided to bring Allie and Ellie after all.  She and her BFF, coincidentally, have stuffed animals named after one another.  I think that's sweet.

SNL.  I think it's finally got its groove back.

Allowing myself a couple hours to watch a movie one morning this week.  It was an entertaining diversion and I was extra inspired to be productive the rest of the day.

Clean closets.  I did the first sweep.  There will be at least one more.

Gooey grilled cheese sandwiches with regular American cheese on good sourdough bread.

T. Bone's choir concert this week.  They really rocked it.  I got chills during a few of the lines they sang from Home.  They also sang Dust in the Wind and Joy to the World.  I doubt they know who Dylan or Three Dog Night are, but the audience of parents and grandparents was certainly nostalgic.  When he came home inspired, he got right on his guitar to practice.

The Big Chill.  I've got to see that again.

Coach is enjoying a guy's weekend in the north woods.

Miss Bit is completely engrossed in The Hunger Games right now.  She started reading a classmate's copy at school last week.  I relented and picked it up from the library for her.  I haven't read it, but Coach has and thought it was ok.  Plus she's seen the movie.  But still I worry.  Now she wants a bow and arrow for Christmas.

I woke up to snow flurries this morning.  It made me feel happy.

I am going to decorate my dining room tree tomorrow.  It's the one on which I display all my Mom's ornaments so it's a little emotional for me.  I have a chat with her while I trim away, and I'm in need of a mother daughter heart to heart.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dear Teddy and Lily,

• Speak smartly. Never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary or the impressive power     of good grammar.

• Don’t swear: it makes you sound uneducated and bitter. There are many more intelligent, descriptive, expressive words than the 4 letter variety.  Please use them.

• No put downs. We rise by lifting others.

• Be kind. We are all just walking each other home. (Ram Dass)

• Have fun. Explore. Create. Taking time to live life and have rich experiences will only inspire your work.

• Be nice to yourself. Value your mind, body and spirit. The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You teach people how to treat you.

• Be nice to others. The world is a small town.

• Ask questions. Don’t believe everything you hear (especially on the Internet).

• Keep an open mind. Don’t believe everything you think.

• Listen. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

• Think you can like the Little Engine That Could. Optimism is the very foundation of courage.

• Don’t gossip. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss    people. (Eleanor Roosevelt) Be great.

• Read every day. Everything. Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.  Books expand our horizons and our minds.

• Be open to new experiences, places, people, foods, ideas. It is when we step outside of our comfort zones that we grow.

• Remember you have choices. One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away from relationships, tasks, trials, dreams or goals, or try harder.

• Choose carefully. You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with, and what you do every day matters much more than what you do every once in awhile.

• Disagree, disapprove, dislike, but do not hate. Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet. (Maya  Angelou)

• Forgive yourself. Forgive others. We all make mistakes. Carrying a grudge holds you back...down.

• Don’t worry. Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

• Find the good or interesting in everyone you encounter. Everyone you will ever meet knows something  you don’t. (Bill  Nye)  Let them be a lesson or a blessing.

• Be thoughtful and have a warm heart. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)

• Steer clear of envy. Comparison is the thief of joy. (Theodore Roosevelt) Jealousy is an ugly sin.

• Be realistic. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

• Be a voice not an echo. Be a leader not a lemming. Blaze your own trails.  Stand up for yourself and others.  Be uniquely you.

• Walk away and say no from time to time. You don’t have to attend every argument or party you’re invited to, or share all you know or think.

• Make your own fun. Only boring people are bored.

• Be.Here.Now. Live all the moments of your life. The present is our greatest gift.

Your Mom who must be reminded daily to live by these very rules.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2 day pass

the weekend was full.
i am saying full in an effort to not say busy.
busy is an ugly word with stinky airs in my book.
busy sounds like an arduous chore.
full sounds like a beautiful choice.
it was so full that i am just now finding a moment to write about it.
i almost skipped it because come tuesday morning i am thinking about the next weekend not the last.
but is was good and full and so here i am.
i am here because i want to remember how we enjoyed dinner at a different table each night.
friday was shabbat dinner with friends.
saturday we celebrated a belated birthday with family.
sunday we shared an early thanksgiving feast with more family.
so we certainly felt grateful for good food and blessed by the company we kept all weekend long.
that is the perfect november state of mind: thankful...
full of thanks.

Monday, November 18, 2013

On My Mind Monday

Tonight as we passed a store called Three Wishes, she mused,
That'd be nice.  Hmmmm?  I'd wish to fly, to have my own horse and for peace on earth. I'd want my horse to live forever and the peace to last forever. 
I realized that my wish list is a lot longer and much less possible.  Hmmmm.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The garlic pizza at Via and Coach for choosing it as his birthday dinner spot.

He liked all his birthday presents lots!

Pot pie with root vegetables.  The kids thought the turnips and parsnips were potatoes.  Coach didn't.

Finally putting my Door County cherries to use.  Coach reminded me that he prefers cherry cheesecake on his birthday.  I will never, ever again buy a single can of cherry pie filing!

The kids spent time making such beautiful, special cards.  I was touched and they weren't even for me.

The used book store.  Miss Bit and I brought in 2 bags of old books and left with some new to us books.

Lots of exercise this week.

Our first snow.  It was just a dusting, but it was pretty to watch the snowflakes dance and twirl outside my office window Monday.

A dinner date with friends tonight.  We've been trying to coordinate this all fall.

Miss Bit has her first official slumber party tomorrow and she's really excited.

She had her first swim meet yesterday too!  She swam in four events, got two firsts, a third and a fourth, and had so much fun!

The joy that comes from their joy.

Performing little acts of kindness.

Rich hot cocoa topped with enormous marshmallows.


Green tea and oatmeal for breakfast.

Inspiration in the most unexpected places and things.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Calling in Sick

It is only 9:00.  I already made and then unmade my bed today.  I did so to tuck in a sniffling, slightly feverish Miss Bit.  She's staying home sick for the first time in I can remember today.  After a dose of meds, she came down for a little breakfast  : a piece of cold pizza leftover from last night's birthday celebration.  Coach turned 46 yesterday.  In the sweet card she made her daddy she wrote,  "You look 20 really!"  And that reminds me...the other morning we were watching two deer in the yard from the breakfast table.  One was a girl and one was a boy.  The doe was grazing and giving the buck the stink eye in between bites while he ogled her the entire time. Miss Bit commented on their interaction, which prompted me to suggest the buck wanted to play.  To that naivete she said, "Mom, I'm pretty sure he wants to mate."  Fortunately the white bus had to leave for school before our yard became the Discovery channel.

So at times 9 seems so young and vulnerable, and at other times it seems old and wise.  The one thing that is a constant with this girl is the absolute sweetness of her soul.  What a gift it is to know and love her.  And to be her nurse too.  I'm calling in sick from errands and other to dos today to stay right here and take care of her.  There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

Monday, November 11, 2013

2 day pass

this weekend was...
a festive friday night.
happy hours to jettison us into the weekend.
a lazy saturday morning.
challah for camel's eyes, and hgtv, blogs and books.
a come what may kind of day.
boys leave in their best for a bar mitvah.
to the trails with my girl where the wind grows colder as we log miles.
warming up over bowls of chicken pastina topped with buttery crackers (me) or pasta heaped with parmesan (her).
for her, always pasta.
and truckloads of parmesan...the good stuff.
shopping the afternoon away for a birthday present and nothing in particular.
except an antique key that she needed to be white and metal and hers straight away.
we found it and for $1.
at our final stop
in a random bin.
3 to choose from.
made me look like the rockin' mama i am.
kfc for dinner.
putting your fried chicken desires out on the www is a powerful thing.
sadly, it was not as scrumptious as my childhood taste buds remember.
at least i won't need to challenge my arteries for another 25 years.
a quiet night.
in a freshly clean house -
thanks to miss bit who was my awesome after dinner assistant.
she thought cleaning toilet bowls was fun.
you should see her bathroom sink.
a hot, long shower.
dreamy lavender soap and creamy lavender lotion.
soothing, sleep inducing.
early to bed.
early to rise.
a sunday of homesteading.
sunday school cancelled.
t. bone home and alone for the first time all weekend.
leaves and laundry,  and lizard cages and grocery lists.
chores...yes, but with gratitude and purpose and satisfaction.
taking good care and with great love.
family dinner...the star of every sunday.
not necessarily because of what we cook, but because of what it signifies:
togetherness, fellowship, communion.
comfort and celebration too.
just like the weekends we look forward to every week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Secret Languages

I'm up early this Sunday morning, and I have the house just the way I like it at the start of the day : to myself and quiet.  Yesterday Miss Bit and I hit our favorite trails.  I was feeling cranky, and I knew that time with her out in nature would lift my spirits.  We dressed for the wind we could hear howling outside our windows, but it was a southwestern wind : warm and without a bite.  It didn't feel like deep fall, but it sure looked like almost winter.  Naked birches, bare oaks and uncovered maples lined the paths looking so exposed and fragile next to their thick needled pine neighbors.  We held onto our hats when the wind whipped and roared through the forest.  I closed my eyes and listened to each gale build and then crest over the trees and I pictured a typhoon.  That is what it must sound like I decided.  I said more than one prayer for the people in the Philippines. The barren trunks creaked and moaned as they swayed back and forth and forth and back.  It felt like we were eavesdropping on ancient, private conversations spoken in languages we will never decipher like whale song or dolphin speak.  A lone towering trunk acquiesced and ended up on the forest floor.  I understood immediately why they are called widow makers.  It was loud and close enough to scare Miss Bit so she took off running and snagged her toe on a century old root that snaked across the path.  She went flying and landed in such a way as to get the wind knocked out of her and scare her even more. After we huddled together for a few minutes on the edge of the ravine, I asked her if she felt better.  "I just feel so bad for that tree," my Miss Tender Heart confessed. While consoling her, I caught a glimpse of a doe and a buck cavorting on the other side of the ravine.  It is the rut so that could explain it, but it also makes me wonder what we miss by always moving, going, seeking...what we miss by not stopping and being still from time to time. We  are always on the quest...hunting, tracking, searching.  What if we just wait and see what comes to us, or notice what is already here?

She climbed the tower for an above the canopy view at my request and then we headed down to the beach at hers.  While she built a cairn and searched for heart-shaped stones, I looped a quick trail just to keep moving.  The irony of the fact that I walked straight into the path of a young buck was not lost on me as I hurried along my route going going going.  We were few feet apart..  How many?  I'm not certain.  I'm horrible with distance.  I came to an abrupt halt when I saw him.  The kind that messes with the laws of motion so I was all limbs- akimbo- for a moment.  A moment in which he moved not away, but toward me.  He eyed me long enough for me to feel a little entranced is his molten stare.  I felt humbled by our silent conversation. And then he simply turned and sauntered off not the least bit spooked  When I met Miss Bit on the beach, she was just excited that she found a stone for my collection.  It may be one of my favorite hearts too.  We walked down to the trampoline trees so she could bounce for a few minutes.  We talked about the marvel of it all. The way the trunks grow horizontally out of the bluff, the way the changing tide leaves shelves in the sand, the way we have witnessed this place change from season to season, the way the trails are different, but always beautiful, the way being here makes us feel connected...connected to each other and everything.  The way that when we are here we share our own secret language.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Grateful Friday

Today I give Thanks for...

Finishing Half Broke Horses, so now I am committed to The Telling Room, and only the Telling Room.  I hope to finish it this week.

A new pair of my favorite ever gloves.


A night of Wizard.  It's a fun card game that is best with a group.  I love games, but I've never been a card shark.  This game has me hooked.

Finding Bodi.  My Dad admitted after the ordeal that he would have stayed until he found him.  I feared and also understood that because I believe in dog as man's best friend.  Cat too.

The family cave.  The four of us camped out in one room last weekend.  It was cozy and comfortable.

A regular plain vanilla week.  Schedule changes screw me up.

New Bogs for Miss Bit and Zappos for free shipping.  We ordered and returned numerous pairs before getting the right fit.  Who would have thought my 9 year old would need a women's size 8!

80's radio stations especially on grey days while traversing country roads.

A stock of apples fresh from the Door County orchard we visited, but they are going fast.

Finally watching Eat Pray Love even if it did take me all day.  I'm still thinking about this line: Americans know entertainment not pleasure.   I liked the book better than the movie, and I only kinda liked the book, but I was in the mood for a chic flick.  I thought Julia Roberts was fabulous though.

T. Bone has three friends over right now.  They ate a bag of chips and a batch of cookies.  I'm about to put pizzas in the oven.  I have a new found understanding of growing boys.

Handwritten notes from two friends and two family members this week.  The art of the handwritten letter is not lost on me.  I appreciate it.

Little flakes started to fly after Coach and I finished our walk yesterday.  It was the perfect night for casseroles (baked spaghetti for them and tuna noodle for me), which just happened to be hot and ready when we got home.

Miss Bit and I snuggled in to watch Bee Season this week.  It was a tad bit deep, or obscure, but she found the meaning.  I was impressed, yet not surprised.

Coach has a birthday coming up next week.  Time to celebrate!

I'm feeling unsettled this week, but in a good way.  Like I'm asking the important questions and listening for the answers and then taking them to heart.  That's how change happens.  Change is hard and also cathartic.



Thursday, November 7, 2013


  • I didn't make my bed this morning. I didn't open the blinds either. It was as dark as a cave at night when I left for work this sunny morning. I left the room in such a state for the comfort of my cats. They love curling up in the uunmade bed. It's their favorite right up there with teaspoons of tuna. I figured that just because I couldn't stay in bed all day didn't mean they had to up and attem too. And I really really wanted to stay in bed all day.
  • The other rainy night I tucked myself into a corner of the public library to read while Miss Bit belted out Aladdin melodies next door. I was so comfy folded into the chair listening to the pitter patter outside that I fell asleep for 10 or 30 minutes. I hope I didn't snore. Or drool.
  • I am boycotting Facebook. I still have my account, but I'm staying away because it has had a negative affect on me.
  • I have been trying to get through Sense and Sensibility since late summer. First I started reading the Austen classic, and then I started listening to the audio version, but I soon discovered that I cannot do so when I walk. It's become my commute entertainment. My commute is like 8 to 12 minutes 3 days a week, and therein lies the problem.
  • I would really love to be friends with Jane Austen
  • Yesterday I carved the 3 leftover pumpkins on our porch. My sole intent was to get each and every seed for roasting. I succeeded. Then I proceeded to burn them in the oven.
  • Technological changes have preempted me from getting my photos publishable without help from my IT guy. This has been a major source of discontent and disconnect for me.
  • Despite all the fancy pants pizzas we ordered last weekend (The Fungi, The Green and Gold, The Pesto...), Thursdays pub pizza was the tastiest.
  • I'm glad my friend Rose is moving back to town. I'm glad my friend Rose is moving back to town with joy in her heart. She left for California with an achin' in her heart. Apparently, joy trumps the ache.
  • I am going through serious Wizard withdrawal. I may have to host a card night this weekend to get my fix.
  • I get teary eyed when T. Bone plays his guitar.
  • I love trips...near, far, here, there, everywhere...but I am so happy to be looking forward to a quiet couple days at home this weekend.
  • We watched The Ring II last weekend. I can't really explain why after seeing the first one the weekend prior. It was two hours of my life I'll never get back.
  • I am craving KFC chicken.
  • The boys, Peanut in particular, haven't let me out of their sight since we've been home. At first it was sweet, but now it is a tad irksome.
  • I have scary intuition. 
  • I'm already so excited for St. Nick to come and I don't even get a stocking anymore.
  • I kinda love the song Royals.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For The Record

I have been shying away from this space lately.  It's not because I am at a loss for words. Never. I always have something to say.  At times, I just wonder who I am speaking to when I hit publish.  Last week my friend called to ask me if the quote I published about being wounded was directed at another friend or possibly at her.  I was a little surprised.  I forget at times that I have readers.  The truth is the words just spoke to me when I read them the night before.  I fell asleep thinking about that line and it was still with me when I woke the next day.  The words resonated with me about no one in particular, although the more I mulled it over, I have to confess they are fitting for any one of us.  All of us.

I try not to be passive aggressive when I share here.  It's not my nature, nor my intent.  I don't think it's personally healthy or fair to the people I know and love in my real life even if they make me crazy at times.  I don't think it's right to use my blog as a platform to air my grievances and then act as judge or jury.  Do I go cryptic sometimes as I wallow?  Yes, I am far from perfect, but I try to keep my interpersonal issues off line.

That means that this blog has become a family scrapbook of sorts.  A running account I cherish.  A labor of love for and about my family...our life together.  Mostly the good, but that is our reality right now: blessed, full of grace, but still with growing pains and struggles.

So I guess I'll keep writing in my personal journals...yes, plural, and showing up here too when I am called to share something I want my kids to be able to read about one day....something I want to preserve  After four years of chronicling here, I cannot quite fathom abandoning our story now.  There's still much to tell.

I'll never forget the night I started My Musings four plus years ago.  It was a bit of a whim.  Yet I am still blogging years later.  Blogging on the same computer despite the fact that I have a new one.  I haven't changed the format, gotten fancy, monetized, or networked.  It hasn't changed and it's not going to, and I'm good with that. I hope you are too...whoever you are.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Travelougue

Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.

C.S. Lewis

I am grateful to have spent the weekend in one of my favorites places with some of my most loved people, and also for the 'patches of Godlight' that I was able to revel in. Reentry into real life is both harsh and hurried, but I am holding onto the cozy memories made, the holy places visited, and the warm embraces shared.  Trips like this sustain me when life feels rote or mundane, and also when it feels arduous or aloof.

There is something so energizing about packing up the car with the essentials: wool sweaters, fuzzy mittens and hats, trail mix and a cache of movies and books and games, and then heading north where you may or may not get cell service.  I've been taking Door County vacations since I was a child so traveling to the peninsula is the equivalent of putting on my favorite pair of worn in jeans.  To say I have a strong affinity for the row of quaint towns is a drastic understatement.  This place is my second skin.  Over the long weekend, Coach and I tallied up at least two dozen visits in the time we have been together so it's definitely tradition.

We've had this same time next year November soiree the past few years with my family, and I'm rather fond off the timing because it's technically "off season."  Off season means that there is solitude during walks in the woods. It means you are past peak, but I don't think Mother Nature could have given us a much more beautiful display of changing leaves in season, and then we would have had to share the view with so many other revelers.  It also means that many shops and restaurants will be closed, but we've been coming long enough to not only appreciate, but also anticipate the dedicated diehards who remain open. It also means that the wind off the Bay or the Lake (depending on where you stand) will chill you to your bones, but that very shiver reminds me that I am alive...feeling....experiencing.  

We were spontaneous and lucky to get an early start Thursday noon.  We drove up in torrential rains and thick fog, which seemed apropos given it was Halloween.  The weather actually cooperated and set the scene for our haunted trolley tour that evening. It made visiting spirited cemeteries, light houses and homes all the more eerie especially for our already weary Bit.  But we were looking over our shoulders and at the foot of our beds for little Hughie all weekend long.  We were a little water logged and a lot hungry after our spooky ride so we stopped at The Bayside Tavern for a bite to eat.  The pizza was just as spicy good as my taste buds remembered.  So good that the four of us polished off the whole pie, and rumor has it that one in the party had a side of chicken tenders too.  Those chicken tenders are tradition in their own right.

We woke early enough the next morning well rested for a full day.  A full day of exploring and hiking and shopping and lunching and swimming before the rest of our family arrived just before dinner.  We ventured up to Ellison Bay to hike a new trail.  We were glad we did the minute we turned onto the tree canopied road.  It was brilliantly yellow and quietly remote with stunning views of the Bay.  The way the cliffs jettisoned over the shore made me feel a tad woozy and worried.  It made my kids laugh to see me paralyzed by the craggy sometimes vertical paths.  It was a group effort to get me to certain vistas for views, but I think I can say I confronted my fear of heights even if I didn't succeed in conquering it.

We stopped for lunch at Al Johnson's. There were no goats on the roof that chilly Friday.  I always love their Limpa bread sandwiches, but I decided to order a Swedish meatball sandwich instead.  When in Rome...or when in Sweden.  I must confess that it was a major disappointment and if I ever return, I will not feel the need to authenticate my experience.  The Swedish meatballs I like are, apparently, not very Swedish. Getting a great shot of Miss Bit in a viking hat and drinking ice cold coke out of pewter mugs made up for my menu misstep.

The fam trickled in for a quick happy hour and then we high tailed it out for a authentic Door County fish boil at my Dad's request.  It was a good request too because the whitefish was so fresh and tasty even if a little bony. (Pin bones are a #@$%@*!)  Nothing some clarified butter and homemade tarter sauce could not remedy. The cherry pie ala mode was truly icing on the cake. Sadly we missed the big boiling show, but this weekend was about going with the flow...being flexible, and I think we all did a noble job of that   Most of us have been to fish boils before so we already knew that the most important part is what ends up on the plate. We stayed up a little late talking and playing poker.  I had flashbacks of being a kid. I remembered moments just like those we were presently making, only now I was the adult and here with my children.  Generations.   Passing batons.   Reminiscing.  Reconnecting.  Rejoicing.

Saturday I woke up to the smell of coffee just the way my brother likes strong it just about puts hair on my chest.  I like it that way too when on vacation.  It was a gloriously slow start to a long day.  We were all together, but doing our own things: watching a movie, playing guitar, reading, getting a breathe of fresh air. Vacation mornings are special in that we are all together in our separate pursuits.  The main event for the day was a hike along leafy shore lined trails.  It was shaping up to be bliss until Bodi decided to be a trailblazer. We spent an hour combing the paths calling for him more and more desperately.  Little did we know he was having the hike of his life with the resident dog guide, Gunner. Then once we found Bodi, we lost my Dad, and it's all the makings for a good comedy of errors, which we rehashed over a greasy lunch on Kangaroo Lake.  It may or may not have been 4:00.  And the only thing most of us had eaten all day was a corner of cider donut and a handful or two of trail mix.  We came home and succumbed to long hot showers, naps or swims before gearing up for a night of Wizard and Wild Tomato.  We played more cards and ate pizza until we started nodding off.  I went to bed thankful for an extra hour of sleep and every single person snoozing under the same roof.

We skipped our beloved White Gull Inn breakfast and ate cold pizza for Sunday breakfast with more strong coffee or apple cider.  Then we went in three different directions: to the stables, the links or the shops and I dare say everyone was amply entertained. Once Bit heard that horseback riding was an option, she was steadfast with her desire.  She met Picasso and now she wants a horse.  I'm not sure if Grandpa remembers, but he promised to clear some of his land, buy her one and board it.  We met up for a late afternoon snack at an Egg Harbor brew pub before all going our separate ways...home.

The weekend went fast...too fast.  They always do, but I have a little comfort in knowing that we will be here same time next year, if not before.