Catching up, and A Plea

Wow. So I totally left ya’ hangin’ there. With the COVID.

Sincere apologies.

We are still alive. Not to worry.

Test #2 was still negativo, and not a one of us got sick. Three cheers for masking and distancing and wiping down All The Things! Even if we weren’t doing it perfectly, we survived hours with the contagion brother without contracting death.

As an important aside, the contagion brother has recovered as well. As has his spawn. All is well.

Whew. Now that THAT’S out of the way…

Once the tests in question came back, the hustle to pack up for the annual Gooseberry trip began. I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten ready for camping quite that quick.

Now, you might be saying to yourselves, “Why, KJ? Why did you pack in one day when you could have been all ready to go long before?”

And I would say to you, kind reader, that there is only so much my heart can take, and packing for a camping trip I’m not sure ima be able to go on because COVID is just more than I can do. Let’s not even talk about unpacking without ever leaving home when someone comes up with a positive test. Woulda’ been the enda’ me.

So we waited until zero hour and the green light from Mayo, and I packed in a flurry, like I was a tornado of camping gear just flying around until it miraculously landed itself in the correct bin and filed itself neatly in the family truckster.


The trip was great, thanks for asking. By graces unknown we were joined throughout the week by 4 of the 7 kiddos, and 2 of the 2 grandboys. The only complaint I will lodge against adulthood at this point is that I should be done adapting to new and challenging circumstances by now, and let me just say that I needed three full drafts to figure out the menu for the week, with the numbers waxing and waning and the various food allergies migrating through like locusts. Next year there will be a spreadsheet.

Beyond the complications of feeding the 5,000, we had a great week. Dang cold nights, but that’s nuthin’ new, and overall gorgeous, if a bit chilly, weather.

I wasn’t really going to write about our trip, but here we are, and the bus has hit it’s own ‘Self-Driving Mode Enabled’ button.

I’ll keep it quick though, because I actually did start with an agenda, if you can believe that…

We started as the Triple-Threat Ottingers, just a trio on the cold Gitchi Gummi, the Last Kid Standing and her very old parents:

Then the Gunflint Kid joined us and took us on some adventures, retracing a few of her many summer discoveries:

Sleeping arrangements shifted as the Last Kid Standing jumped ship from our tent and joined the Gunflint Kid in hers. Also, as the hubs and I retired yet ANOTHER airbed to the dumpster. Don’t worry, we travel with backups.

The man deflating the offending bed before its burial ceremony

Also, that pic of the waterfalls. I think that was Pigeon Falls. I’d check but we’re on a schedule here. Anyway, across the river, there were real live Canadians. They were there with their children, who were waving wildly at us. I imagine the conversation over there sounding something like:

Little Girl: Mummy, what are those?
Mummy: Those, dear, are Americans. We never want to approach one of those in the wild. They’re only safe here, behind this river and 2 sets of bars and fences. We must always respect the stupidity and ferocity of the Americans and stay out of their territory.
Little Girl (shivering): Ew. Can I have my mask now?

Anyway, only speculation. I couldn’t hear them over the roar of the falls.

Soon the grandboys and their mama arrived:

The grandboys are natural rockhounds. Unfortunately, the eldest also enjoys throwing his wooden rosary into the lake, blessing the waters of Superior. Repeatedly. Luckily for him, the Gunflint Kid has no fear, nor nerves in her feet, and waded out to her waist from the 40Β° air into the 50Β° water several times. The stick was a late arrival to the rescue party.

And finally, the Kid-in-the-middle-of-a-move-to-Milwaukee broke away from her cute new studio near Lake Michigan to join us on Lake Superior:

Further adventures ensued.

Overall, a great trip.

NOW, on to the real reason I sat down at the laptop today. Man, you guys never let me get a word in edgewise…

Alrighty folks, prepare yourselves for my shameless plea for help…

You might have noticed the new chunk of real-estate on my sidebar…

Well, I’ve been working on a project lately, folks. A big project that’s dear to my heart. That Gunflint Kid up there? That’s my Emily. And my Emily needs a little help.

Em is 18 now, all growed up, and she’s living up on the edge of our beloved Boundary Waters (just up the Gunflint from our beloved North Shore). She’s starting out her adult life in our favorite places on earth.

Emily has had a TON of concussions. Five years ago she ran into the wall of the pool on a full-speed backstroke. If you were around the Nexus back then, you read about it in real time. Her life has never really been the same since that day, and the concussions, along with all the misery they bring, have just kept coming. You read about some of that, too. This summer, Em learned about a promising concussion clinic out in Utah, and she is super-excited to get there and see how much better she can feel with some cutting-edge therapies. Of course, this treatment comes at a hefty cost.

Emily is not one to share about her struggles, and Emily is even more so not one to ask for help, especially monetary help. But I did get her to agree to let us ask for her.

I’ve been working for a while on a GoFundMe campaign for her, in an attempt to defray some of the expenses that she’s about to incur, and possibly help her to avoid medical debt at only 18. We’ve had an overwhelming response thus far, but I’m trying to keep the ball rolling.

My shameless plea is twofold:

  1. You guessed it. If you find yourself in a position that you might be able to throw a few dollars in the general direction of my kiddo, that would be an amazing gift. (Please, if you do, I want to know it’s you. A comment here, or a message through my contact form would help me to put names with blog-faces. Or you could toss the link to your blog in the comments of the GoFundMe.) The whole story is on the GFM page, with several ways to contribute:
  2. Donor or no, you can still help! Please, please SHARE. My social network is small, and I’m actively soliciting all the help I can find to get the word out. Please share on your blog. Please share with your Facebook friends. Please share on Insta, and Twitter, and Pinterest, and all the other places I don’t even know about. Please talk to your millionaire uncle who just can’t figure out how to spend down his estate, and put in a good word for my Emily. If you can share Em’s story with as many as possible, I’d be so grateful. The link is the same:

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Please click and read.

Please share.

Please give.

Please help this amazing kid get her life back, and remember what it is like to live without constant headaches and complications.

I’ll leave you with that.

If you need me, I’ll be thrashing around on FB, trying to drum up support on a platform that’s like a foreign land to me. FB-Land. If you see me out there, throw me a rope, or at least some chocolate,

18 thoughts on “Catching up, and A Plea

Add yours

  1. I know just how you feel, I am also “done adapting to new and challenging circumstances,” i.e., being the main planner or cook for a group that is always changing in size and components, tastes and preferences and abilities. Last Christmas when various ones were with me over two weeks, I told my daughters that they must organize everyone to do all the planning and cooking of meals. I shopped beforehand, using their list.

    It’s perfectly wonderful that you have continued to have your sustaining family times. Thank you for sharing the fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post. Speaking as a Canadian, you have it about right! I wish I had a millionaire uncle, or, better yet, a million of my own, to send some Emilys way. Even with the exchange rate. My dismal substitute will be a share of this post next week, when I can figure out how to do it! Glad you’re all C19 safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha!!! It was pretty funny, watching y’all waving over there, knowing that you probably feel like you’re at the zoo watching the apes tear eachother apart. Wild. And hey, the shares are just as good as a donation! Thank you so much!!!

      FYI, I tried to include a cool widget, but short of a business plan, WP doesn’t allow embeds. So the link is all you need or can use. You could steal the image off of my post if you like!

      thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post of a beautiful trip and fab pics.

    I shall surely help Emily in any which way I can. The highest I can do is pray for her and send her healing- I am a light healer. I shall send some money too – with Indian rupee exchange rate it is tough though !

    All the best for you and your beautiful family my friend. God be with you all πŸ’–πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Ashok, this is amazing! Thank you! Your monetary donation is so beautiful and generous, and your love and prayers are even more wonderful! We are grateful for people like you in the world. Thank you!!! πŸ’—πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just back from a quiet cabin on the lakeshore at Lutsen. Beautiful as always, covid-safe accommodations, and incredible hiking. And warm, 20s and low 30s. Can’t wait to get back in the spring.

    Liked by 1 person

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