New Adventure!

My daughter, Carly (18) and I have begun a new, exciting hobby. It's called geocaching! Heard of it? In short, people all over the world hide/seek little "treasures" by GPS coordinates. Check out the site here to learn all about it: Geocaching.
I was amazed to find that there are literally oodles in my area, some as close as 0.3 miles away from my house and others in areas I have been to numerous times. There are way over 200 caches in a 30 mile radius from my home location.

For Mother's Day, my 3 daughters and I went on a all-afternoon geocaching excursion up the North Shore (of Lake Superior). While my two younger daughters enjoyed the rocky beach at Kitchi Gammi Park, Carly and I went traipsing through the wooded areas to find a couple caches - and also found another pair of geocachers who were quite nice, hope to run into them again. This may just be a social outlet for me, as friendless locally as I am (Duluth noob).

We drove up a ways and parked on the side of Scenic 61 to get at some "difficult terrain" caches, where I felt I had to prove to my sweet spawn that I can STILL contend with mega-steep grades and intensely rocky shorelines. She acts as if I might break, keel over, or probably more worrisome - faint and she'll have to haul my not-light body up back to civilization. Ha! I was a Marine! I was exploring deep woods when I was old enough to walk, dammit. I'm no spring chicken, but I still know my way around a couple of dense brambles and slippy inclines. Needless to say - she was impressed and now is more interested in geocaching with her not-so-brittle mum.

To sweeten the deal for the non-exploring other girls (one not interested in woods but along for the ride and some possible photographic captures, and the other just happy to be out and about, but not ready for major hiking) I took them to DQ in Two Harbors, where we went and found another cache in the gazebo by the tug, Edna G. I didn't have any ice cream, but I'm on this new healthy eating/exercise kick and okay with that - ice cream isn't one of my temptations anyhow. (Did you know DQ does not sell frozen yogurt? I didn't, but I didn't care much either. I was FULL on family quality time! Yes, that's not only possible, but is sweeter and doesn't go straight to your hips.

To keep this from getting overly lengthy - we had a blast! Seven caches under my belt in one afternoon, quality time with my wonderful girls and, yes, dinner at Duluth Grill.

If you'd like to hear more about my geocaching (fledgling) experiences, let me know! I'd be happy to oblige in some posts.


Beaver's First Day of School

Guest Blogger:
Story and illustrations
by Maggie MacFarlane
5 yrs old, Preschool

Turtle's New Friends

Guest Blogger:
Story and illustrations
by Maggie MacFarlane
5 yrs old, Preschool


How We Roll

We don't roll, unless walking can count as a roll. Semantics.
My husband left after 2 weeks home for another job in Nevada, much to the chagrin of Maggie. I'm okay with it, but he rolled out of here with our vehicle. 
For 5-8 weeks. 

It's not too terrible, just inconvenient. On the bright side, all this walking may help me look more like the Venus de Milo (re-armed) again, rather than the Venus of Willendorf, which is where I seem to be heading ...


Groomer for Hire

On Sunday, Kiko was put on the patio table and held in various humiliating positions by two unwilling children while I sheared off his winter coat. It took two hours, lots of complaining in various languages (Canine, Teen, Determined Owner/Unprofessional Groomer) - but mission accomplished. 
And now? He's sitting  outside shivering and lookin' Good. 



After six months, half of those working - half of those waiting on work, my husband is returning from Hawaii tonight. We're both a little anxious. Anxious about resuming dual parenting, packing an often long-distance relationship into a sardine can-sized house again, work prospects, family dynamics and a long list of other greater and lesser worries.

Our only child together, Maggie, is a Daddy's girl. She worships him and his sun rises and sets over her little face. I'm all for it, as a father-deprived Daddy's girl myself, I love watching them together. The way her starfish hand disappears in his powerful and calloused grip, the way his eyes soften when she buries her face in his shoulder, his overwhelmed chuckle when she's talking a mile-a-minute about her newest interests, the way he tries to be tough to get her to listen and all she has to do is crack a grin and say something silly for him to lose the toughguy act in milliseconds and switch to gentle cajoling. I live vicariously through these moments. I become the sentimental observer of their galaxy of shared moments.

It will also be a much-needed relief to have her jump from her temporary housing in my hind-pocket back into his - I don't mind being second favorite. I have 3 other loving children who orbit me like the moons of Pluto, even in their often irreverent and oh-so-cool teen years. Tonight, though, my emotions will be bittersweet, watching Daddy and Maggie's reunion.


One Cheerio at a Time

That's what I had for breakfast this morning, celebrating my monthish mark of starting one good new habit. Cheerios and a banana with milk.

I am eating breakfast these days.

It's been about 20 years of my general avoidance of anything other than coffee and cigarettes before noon. I have been a one or two meal-a-day person and it's wreaking havoc with my body & mind.

Y'know, now that I'm older.

If I have to be older, it would be nice if accompanying it would be the words "and wiser". 
So, I'm trying to take better care of myself... one Cheerio at a time.



I'm a little busy.
Should be up and writing in no time!

Orginal artwork by me,
"Thoughts" India Ink on cold press, 2009.


I digress...

¡Híjole! I have too much going on of unImportance. There's a bunch of things to do, that don't need doing and a bunch of things to do that I'm avoiding doing. Avoidance issues can be avoided in this post as well, but suffice it to say I should be getting things done like cleaning, cooking, kid stuff, bills, sundry work and even perhaps showering - instead here I am.

What's taking up my precious time? Well, besides this blog - nothing Big.

I have been reading books - not literary works of art, but good books nonetheless. I only state this because I used to be a voracious reader, but not so much anymore... Specifically, I've been reading Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe mysteries. Finishing a book with my kids around takes a long time, so it's kind of a miracle that I've read two and have two more sitting waiting in about 5 days. (Before that it was 3 Vonnegut books.) Normally, when I pick up a book, my 5 yr old screams "No READING!" My 18 yr old actually whined when I picked up a book the other day, too. As in, "Pay attention to ME, not that dumb BOOK!" Basically, I'm supposed to be available to all my children, all the time. Mother's Duty. Lately, I just glare at 'em and continue reading.

Then there are my audiobooks, which I can only listen to in my bed before sleeping - otherwise I can't concentrate on the story. (Although when you fall asleep to an 8 hr long installment of a book, chances are you'll wake up with your mp3 player dead, your neck perilously wrapped in headphone cords, and no idea where you left off in the book.) I just finished listening to The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard, which is not the type of book I have ever been interested in, but this one grabbed my interest, and kept it, for some reason. Perhaps I'd like to take a journey myself. Hmmm. I have just gotten The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. (Yes, I'm a member at Audible.com - and I LOVE it.) But I've also been completely flummoxed over the difficulty of both picking a good book AND a good narrator, after having been "ruined" by Neil Gaiman's reading of his own The Graveyard Book, which - along with Shaun Dooley's narration of only 3 of Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe audiobooks - makes everyone else sound wheedly and pedestrian. Something about that British accent (Yorkshire?) that I can't get enough of...

Add fridayflash - which takes up a lot of thinking time, not much writing time, but the pressure to try and meet my own goals concerning this weekly "hobby" is pretty high for me. I have been pretty spotty on my participation but am still not shelving it yet! Yay for good hobbies.

To add to that, I just found one of my favorite old games in it's new, spiffy 20 yr anniversary edition - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Adventure Game. **insert long break here while I went on a 2+ hour shopping adventure and dropped off a kid, just so you don't think all I do is avoid things** It's a text game where you try to figure your way out of certain pickles along the lines of HHGG by the late, great Douglas Adams. Long ago, along with banana throwing giant apes on skyscrapers, it was my favorite computer game. My cousins had Atari growing up but our mom never allowed one in the house, so when I got my own place and first computer - I played games!
   Before I had any or uncribbed children, I played video/computer games infrequently with friends or my first husband (such as the two just mentioned). When my kids were still in their single-digits, we got an N64 and had family fun doing multiplayer of James Bond or Perfect Dark, in which we would all kill each other with lots of malice and yelling about fairness. I slaughtered my children repetitively with no guilt - often more than a little glee. Don't feel bad for them - they thought nothing of putting a game bullet in my skull any time they could. It was ... family therapy. heh
  I've played all sorts of games and do pretty good with even the more involved ones (Medal of Honor), but none are as fun to me as those simple, early ones. Well, maybe Zelda is...

So, that's what I've been up to - reading, listening, playing, writing, thinking - in between the few other things that eventually I can't avoid. Such as cleaning up for impending company and making potato soup with leeks, hot Italian sausage & bacon. Oh, and maybe a coupla loaves of banana bread. I should get busy.. but, maybe I can fit in a few minutes of playing with Ford Prefect. (No, not the car.)


#fridayflash Another Tuesday

Zorba the Greek wouldn’t survive this job long. He would spit, tighten his belt and walk out – grabbing Shelly from her cubicle by the doors on the way out. Shelly would go, too. Her pale fingers would clutch Zorba’s broad and calloused hand, and he would practically drag her to the elevator. Encircling his arm around her ample waist, he’d shake his fist at the gaping herd of cubicled daydreamers and bellow, “We go outside where God can see us better!”

Steven wished he was more like Alexis Zorba.

Alexis Zorba had passion. Shelly probably liked passionate men.

Steven carefully put his glasses back on and repositioned the headset. While the Monday night movie continued its mocking mental replay, he pushed the button and waited for connection. Steven's eyes drifted unconsciously to the beige cubicle wall that harbored Shelly as he spoke. “Hello, this is Alex in Tech Support – may I have your telephone number, area code first, please?”


Slife Three

Slife = slice of life:
A weekly bit showing our daily world,
shared with online friends to get to know one another better.

That is my morning view. Kidlet on the couch watching her two shows, munching on cereal while I drink coffee and go through my internet stuff. Although, for two days now, I've also been munching on cereal (trying to start a new good habit). Go Me!

Above is Kiko, our miniature schnauzer, mentioned in a previous post as being a neurotic pooper. But he's so much more than that, e.g. he's been outstanding in his role as miniature snowball collector and yard decorator. He also enjoys playing (although it seems more like fighting with gnashing teeth and non-stop growling) with his half-brother, Otto, at my brother's house when we get together to play Mexican Train.

Mexican Train is a game using a set of dominos going up to double 12s or, as pictured above, double 15s. Basically, you get a number of dominos, build a train with what you are dealt, then go on to play off everyone else's train or the "Mexican" trains until someone runs out of dominos. Players with dominos left, tally them up and lowest score after a number of rounds wins.
Generally we play it at my brother's house (where this photo was taken), but I used to play with my cronies from back home, which was where we hashed out all the specifics of our rules as compared to what you can find online. There are lots of tricky little situations that we just go with "house rules" on and some bits that are specific to OUR version of the game. If you ever find yourself playing the game and hear someone refer to an uncovered double as a "booger", they learned it from a friend or relative of one of my original group.
My husband's mother raved about the game and bought me a set, but never quite got around to telling us the rules. So, my friends and I figured it out and became addicted. It has snowballed to countless other homes and people, all thanks to one little lady who spends 6 months of the year in Baja California and the rest of the year toodling around the states with her husband in an RV. They avoid things like snow, but spoil us rotten when they visit.

This is the little snowman my middle and youngest daughters made today, because the youngest wanted to play and I encouraged the middlest to help her. I was worn out due to chipping ice and clearing sidewalks down to the concrete for the New postman, who refuses to walk on anything that may even remotely resemble snow and even expects me to shovel areas where there is no city sidewalk. I think he may hail from another climate. The trouble with breaking in a new postman is that you cannot break in a new postman. They break YOU in to fit THEIR varying habits.

See that blue hair on Kate (left)? We (re)did that yesterday. I bleached two lower sections of her hair, and colored one Kelly's Blue and the other Cherry Pop. She has gorgeous hair and admittedly, I wasn't too keen on letting her "wreck" it with chemicals - but after letting my son have a 14 in. mohawk it was hard to say no. Both my elder girls have colored streaks in their long hair, my only condition was that it be in the back and under a layer of their uncolored hair. It looks pretty cool, especially in a ponytail.

I apologize for the delay in getting this slice of my life posted and would like to offer you, who might have been waiting, this lovely sunset. We cool?


#fridayflash Queen of the Universe

No human suspected that the Queen of the Universe not only walked among them, but smoked Camel cigarettes and had a thing for swarthy men. Most humans weren’t aware that there was any such entity.

Most humans weren’t even aware of much beyond their own minds. That made things easy.

Well, not easy – it wasn’t easy to be born, or eat brussels sprouts, or to pass calculus in high school.

It wasn’t easy to see all sides and still pick one or two for the sake of propriety, or watch that promotion go to the sycophant, Boyle, when it should have been hers.

It wasn’t easy to have children, knowing they contained no integral part of her and would be unable to escape their human form and its transformations.

It wasn’t easy to get the right amount of cream and sugar in her coffee when using an unfamiliar cup.

It wasn’t easy to endure the suffering, the fear, the hatred and bitterness that swirled around her, nor was it easy to dismiss the love, compassion, empathy and hope that washed up, frothy and light, against the shores of her being.

It wasn’t easy to live as a human, but it was easy to hide amongst them.

It was also easy to make good on her self-made promise to not interfere in any grand way, any Queenly way. She had merged into the stream of human life to become. Now that she was being, it was slightly exhilarating. There was only a moment before this body died, in probably another 40 years, and the Queen of the Universe would return to herself with no regrets. The humans would continue into their future, as curious and crazy as ever. She didn’t know or really care what became of them, but this moment would be stored within her – which was an honor, whether they knew it or not.

She only cheated in one area, and then only occasionally. When she found herself outside and the conditions were right – she would whisper with her true voice to the wind. She would flatter it with attention and praise; caress it with her knowledge on the beauty of its ever-changing flow. In return the wind would play with her, cool her brow, weave itself through her hair and tease the soles of her feet. She enjoyed the wind more than anything else.

She knew that the humans wouldn’t appreciate that the wind gave her more enjoyment than any individual, idea or emotion. She was the Queen of the Universe, and while all lifeforms were interesting and memorable, her greatest memory of this planet would not be the charming smile of the butcher, or the discordant singing of a child in the bathtub, or the voluminous works of writers past and present.

She would miss the wind.


Effect Affection or Affectation?

Last night, while I watched television, the local news meteorologist broke in between programs with a glimpse of the news that would be showing later. He assured us that the heavy snow we were experiencing was not a part of the surrounding area's snowstorm warnings, but rather "lake-effect snow" and invited us back at 10pm to learn more. Admittedly, I did not tune back in to learn more. Why?

Before moving to Duluth, I lived 3 hours south in the gently rolling hills and rivers area of Wisconsin. When it snowed there, it was just snow. No Eau Claire meteorologist ever felt the need to keep us abreast of why our snow was different, just that it fell and we might want to take care when driving. On occasion, I would talk to my brother, who has lived in the Twin Ports area of Duluth, MN and Superior, WI for over 20 years now. Through him, I was familiar with the term "lake-effect" and knew that the weather was different due to his living in close proximity to Lake Superior. What I didn't know, was that there is a large population of people affected by lake-effect. People who's affection for lake-effect has become an affectation.

Talk to a native Duluthian about some weather oddity and you get a blasé, "It's the lake-effect." Ask a non-native but long-time inhabitant and you get a rather pretentious, "Of course, it's the lake-effect." It doesn't matter who you talk to or how you try to dodge the weather banter, the comment is inevitable.

Having lived here now for almost 2 years and experienced the lake-effect weather myself, I would like to point out that it is, indeed, just regular weather. All the emphasis put on where it comes from, how it got here and how unique it might be, is just so much extraneous information. Whether or not the snow falls from a storm front or because of some kind of meteorological phenomenon involving induction, synoptic large-scale forcing and fetch - it IS snow. Last night we received some accumulation of lake-effect snow, which Duluthians didn't want to be confused with the accumulated regular snow that fell in other areas. We have stars on our snow, and they have none upon thars.

I have also come to realize that you cannot be facetious with Duluthians about the lake-effect weather. They don't like it. When shooting the breeze with a neighbor about our impending date with the shovels and snow-blowers, he mentioned the those words (yes, "lake-effect" in case you are unclear) and I responded with a twinkle in my eye "Do I need to buy a special shovel for it then?" Apparently my twinkle froze somewhere between my eye and his comprehension, because the conversation was abruptly over. He has lived in Duluth for around 60 years, and has most assuredly his humor concerning lake-effect has atrophied beyond repair. Or, it wasn't that funny, but I'm going with the former as I had quite a chuckle over it.

In the numerous times I've tried some light humor or straight-up sarcasm about lake-effect weather, I have been shut down. Either they chuckle dismissively and proceed to tell me just how Real and Important this phenomenon is to all concerned or they just dismiss me.

My dog is a neurotic pooper. He'll spend 10 minutes, frantically making sprints from one section of yard to another, only to then ricochet between 2 or 3 points only feet apart looking for Just The Right Spot on which to unburden himself. I asked my brother if he thought this was strange behavior. Happily, 20 years is not enough to completely make my central-Wisconsin born and raised brother go native. He responded that it is lake-effect defecation, and common to Duluth dogs.


#fridayflash Glass Door

He waited inside the glass door, looking out at the woman taking pictures of his truck. He spent much of his current life waiting behind doors, or stopped behind a convenient SUV, while people discussed his truck with looks of disdain and wonderment. Patience was a virtue, he told himself. He knew if he came out and headed towards it, she would hurry away. She’d probably feel bad or embarrassed at getting caught, so he wanted to avoid that. He certainly wanted to avoid any confrontation or discussion. That happened sometimes, too. Do-gooders, nosey-parkers and assholes liked to talk to him or at him. Regular folks just avoided him. Regular folks were okay, but would only talk to him if they didn’t know. It was kind of a catch-22, but it didn’t matter.

The woman finished taking photos and looked around the parking lot. She had a slightly worried look on her face. He wondered if she was worried about getting caught or about him. Her face turned towards him once but she didn’t see him. That was normal, too. He was forgettable; he blended into brick walls and glass doors. He blended into whatever was there. The only time he was visible was when he was near the truck. Life was funny that way. You could wear the camouflage uniform, put bushes in your helmet and paint your face the color of dark forests – the enemy saw you anyhow. You wore a ridiculous thrift-store conglomeration of ill-fitting seconds, walked in a shuffling gait, probably could use some human contact – and you became invisible to friendlies.

She walked to her own vehicle, fussing with her camera. He watched as she maneuvered through the lot and drove away. He stepped out into the dissipated light of the cloudy day and shuffled towards his truck. His leg was giving him pain today, which was nothing new either. After coming home wounded from Vietnam, pain was his only companion. The only one he could trust, anyhow.

He clambered into the driver’s seat and shoved his store bag into the tumbling avalanche of junk that threatened to engulf him from three directions. An empty, flattened box of HoHos slid down and landed between his legs. The HoHos box wasn’t even his. He had found the box on the ground just like all the other junk that almost completely filled the cab of his little truck. Staring at the colorful box, he wondered again why he did this. His eyes closed.

It took up the empty spaces. The junk filled the emptiness where people – a wife, a friend, a grown child – should be sitting. Instead, his wounds scarred over externally with detritus. He packed himself into his own spaces like a sardine. It felt better that way. Open spaces unnerved him, but filling them with the cast-offs of living people made him feel protected and safe. Soldiers with ragged limbs, blown off jaws and those desperate eyes couldn’t fit between the crumbled McDonald's bags, snack wrappers, plastic food containers and free flyers that wedged his world as tight as he could make it.

His left hand moved over his eyes, while the right grasped the HoHos box. Sighing at himself, he crammed the box into the pile on the dashboard then started the truck. He’d be home soon and could sit in his chair amidst a towering canyon of junk. Be safe, but alone – the two thoughts chased perpetual circles in his mind as he drove out of the lot.


Slife Two

Slife = slice of life:
A weekly bit showing our daily world,
shared with online friends to get to know one another better.

Started off the day taking Carly & Maggie to our favorite restaurant. It wasn't as busy as usual (lunch crowd and earlier breakfast crowd normally has a bit of a wait) but we didn't get there until around 10am. To understand our appreciation of this restaurant, an example of their awesomeness: Maggie's fruit plate came with blood orange, pineapple, kiwi and banana.
No lame melon filler that normally comes with kids' sides. 
We love Duluth Grill.

The obligatory stop at the damn grocery store, where we were all too full to have fun shopping and just wanted to get out of there. Bleah. Excitement factor was nil.

Later, at the stripmall where we stopped to do some little errands, we parked near this vehicle.

There was a small space wedged out for the driver amidst all the junk & mail that comletely filled this truck's cab. Carly & I discussed whether or not the person gets ticketed frequently, what their house might look like if this is their vehicle, etc. We'd never seen anything like it. I'm still mystified and intrigued by it.

My day, until 2pm, was spent at some barely functional level of agony regarding my lower back. I picked up some Ibuprofen, got out the heating pad, had half a cup of Slopehugger coffee from Stop'n'Jo, and sacked out on my bed for an hour listening to 'This American Life' podcast. 
I FINALLY feel better!


Investigating Beargrease

Photos from the start of Beargrease 2010 (sled dog marathon) that we went to today.
The marathon starts in Duluth and is a 380-mile endurance race to almost the Canadian border and back, through the Sawtooth Mountains along Lake Superior's North Shore.

(The man above is/was racing against his son.
Good article on the mushers here. )

These dogs were raring to go - and loud!

Ready, set ...

(I snuck into VIP area for this. shhhh)

It's late, I'm tired .. and I'm not Vonnegut.

I am:
Kurt Vonnegut
For years, this unique creator of absurd and haunting tales denied that he had anything to do with science fiction.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Oh, HOW I WISH. These tests only succeed in reminding me how I'm so NOT whomever they tell me I am. Then again, it does make me go all smuggy when I get someone I admire greatly.


#fridayflash "All-night Diner"

'All-night Diner'
3.5in  x  2.5in
India Ink on 140lb cold press
CJ Hodges-MacFarlane

Circle of Friends

I was given this award by Simon aka Skycycler (@skycycler on Twitter), which is an honor considering his exceptional writing ability, whimsical imagination and easy camaraderie with his peers. I'd like to give this award right back to him in spades.
While having missed many months of flash fiction - therefore many opportunities at getting to know many writers better - these people (and their offerings) stand out in my mind:

Shannon Esposito (@soesposito)
for her stories, especially: Birth of an Idol

Peter Etherington (@petherin)
for his stories, especially: The Distance Between Things

Jennifer Jones (@jentropy)
SnohoStories for the stories, photos and serenity found at her blog.

Stefanie Howerton (@SteferstheGreat)
52 Weeks of Wordage for her infectious exuberance and writing.



180 artists, 389 albums, 5215 songs ... and counting.
Most albums per artist goes to Tom Waits with 11, followed by Pink Floyd with 10, Modest Mouse with 9 and Led Zeppelin with 8. Lately, my most played would be Tom Waits and Radiohead. A month or so ago it was Calexico and The Raconteurs.

It amazes me that almost my entire collection (some CDs I never bothered to put on although I have room to double my albums) can fit onto one little bit of electronic gadget no bigger than a small spiral notepad. I don't even consider myself a music lover. But it's so much nicer having it all in one spot that I can take with me, play on the stereo in the car or at home, my headphones at night, etc. I'm still mystified by and thankful for mp3 players.

My music tastes vary greatly, from Primus to Woody Guthrie and Neil Diamond to Gogol Bordello - and it used to be easier to list what I didn't like rather than what I do. But, music genres have gotten so overlapping and strange in the past decade that I can't even really say what I prefer anymore. My teens and I argue over genres all the time - what is punk to them is not punk to me, they call heavy metal "screamo" which, I'll agree, is apt - but we don't agree on bands. It is nice that we share music though. I never bought "kids' music" when they were little, they grew up singing Soundgarden, Presidents of the USA, Harry Belafonte or whatever else I was listening to at the time. "Spoonman" by Soundgarden is a cherished family sing-along song.

Growing up, I had an 8 track player with two tapes - Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Beatles On Abbey Road, which I listened to every night for about 6 years while falling asleep in junior high and high school. I had other albums and tapes, but those were my nightly preferences. I tend to be like that with my music tastes. I'll find an artist and listen them (not quite exclusively) for months on end - then either switch to something else or stop listening altogether for awhile.

I'm like that with all of my interests it seems. Wonder if there's a name for sort of behavior... Is it normal?


slife one

Slife = slice of life: 
A weekly bit showing our daily world,
shared with online friends to get to know one another better.

Had a bit of fun before clearing off the truck.
Carly (18) called me a dork when I came inside, but was laughing.
Maggie (5) thought it was funny and explained where the nose, mouth and ears were located.

The hallway to preschool class causes a bit of vertigo for me,
or perhaps it is having a child just starting
another long trek through 13 more years of school.


still falling ...

I love fresh, sticky snow.
Meanwhile, my husband is in Hawaii,
missing out.

Or is it the other way around?

It's awfully pretty both places.



I woke up this morning in a great mood.
Coffee, good kids, easy-going plans for the day. 

It was dismal outside. I don't mean it was raining, which it was. I don't mean it was dirty, which it was. I mean it was dismal - the kind of day that tries to suck the joy right out of you. The grey clouds hung low, so low that the tops of tall trees were hazy. The top of the high, hilly spine that is the headpiece to Duluth's bed by Lake Superior wasn't even visible. It was drizzling, then raining, then nothing, then sleeting, then ... The snow was a foul mix of sand, dirt, exhaust, trash and who knows what else. Between the drippy, sloppy sounds, the chilled humidity, and the greasy blurs of grey/brown - every sense was regaled with DISMAL.

But, I wasn't depressed, despondent or even a little blue.

I noted the dismal day and kept right on laughing, cracking jokes and smiling at anyone who looked my way. Flashing my teeth, spreading a little joy and dancing through the puddled parking lots - I kept the dismal at bay. I was going to take a picture of the dismal day, to try to capture just how horribly dreary and ugly it was... and then I noticed how bright my jeans looked against the nasty concrete sidewalk in front of the hardware store.

Friends located east of me on the globe were talking about what a beautiful, glorious sunny day their world was having. I think mine was just as beautiful and glorious. Why?

I have no idea.
But it felt good.


#fridayflash "Verklempt"

He dropped it.

His eyes widened into chasms of uncertainty as time slowed. He flailed in mental stop-motion, ineffectually grasping to regain hold of it.

Dust motes sparkled, twinkling a slow waltz in front of his eyes. His mind buzzed with the electric hum of a thousand devastating consequences. Potential - shattering into the dull smithereens of decayed dreams. 

His breath, captive in his expanded lungs, prickled and itched to escape. The pressure pulsed ominously on his pores, while the folds of his brain began unraveling. What would happen?

The cat in the closed box winked.


“It’s okay, honey. We can reschedule for another night if you have to work,” she sighed.

“You still love me?” he said, in a quick rush of liberated air.

“Of course I do! It’s just dinner, we can celebrate in other ways when you get home,” her voice warm again after her pause had slowed time. “I’ll see you later, big guy.” She hung up.


He stared at the picture of his new wife, her heart his most prized possession.

Redemption reanimated his body and he touched the velvet box on his desk. Inside, the platinum cat pendant with diamond eyes lay curled in satin, awaiting its new home close to her heart.