What's in a name?

I’ve been crashing through Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals. Crashing because it is good, and I'm loving it, and because I’m thrilled to have finally discovered Durrell’s voice as an adult, but also--possibly--because it is nine days overdue and I'm feeling like a felon. I wonder if I’m the only president of a... Continue Reading →

Errors of time, and grateful corrections

Has anyone noticed? It’s December. December 2nd, if we want to get all technical. This fact is revelatory because I have somehow managed to skip completely over December 1st. In my spanky new journal—The Gratitude Sidekick Journal, if you must know—I have been putting the wrong dates on each entry for days. This morning I... Continue Reading →

Birds ‘n Bears

The birds have been frequenting our back deck, promenading back and forth along the railings and peering at me from the handles of the grill nearest the patio doors. They’ve been hanging out around the spent stalks of the hostas in front, parading up and down, stopping with each ascent to gaze in through the... Continue Reading →

Pieces of Home

The other night, Wednesday I believe, we were out at Picnic Flow enjoying the waves on the basalt and the dancing moon in the ‘tide’pools. The Flow is this amazing tilt of lavarock, just shoving out into Lake Superior, and a favorite place of ours at Gooseberry Falls. We're especially drawn out there at night,... Continue Reading →

An Early Homecoming

A gorgeous jaunt on the North Shore, if a bit short. First, a photo essay: That pretty well sums it up. Except I didn't manage to take any pictures whilst vehemently scrubbing my face Thursday night, when the wind and the cold conspired against my headlight and it exploded to drip battery acid on my... Continue Reading →

Gooseberry. Here. Now.

We’re headed to the North Shore tomorrow. To our beloved Gooseberry. Life’s thrown some sucker punches our way this year, and the enthusiasm is tempered, but still, deep down, it is there: the primordial pull towards the mighty Gitchi Gummi. I’ve got a plethora of reasons that this trip will inevitably be bittersweet, but also... Continue Reading →

Visitors, welcome and not

We had ten male cardinals at the feeder yesterday. Six females hanging out in the wings. We don't usually get that many. Not at once. Beautiful! The blue jays were missing yesterday, too, like we were part of some neighborhood bird exchange program. Hmm... We did get another foot (and then some) of snow this... Continue Reading →

Focus

First sun of 2019. Well, there we are. One year up in flames, and another just kindling on the hearth. I've been thinking about my word for the year. For my first year or so it was Empathy, which never really gets old, at least not when you're me. But still, in the spirit of one... Continue Reading →

An old friend new

I love Annie Dillard. Non-Fiction, anyway. I can't speak to her fiction. But her NF is brilliant.It's interesting to me how I can forget things so easily. I was in the middle of An American Childhood when it had to go back to the library many months ago, and I never did get it back. Plum... Continue Reading →

To be the chaplain

Accidental Saints found its way into my library hold shelf a while back. I didn't review it. Not because it wasn't good. Just because I didn't. I can do that sometimes... read a book and not even have the decency to write about it. Apologies. I loved it. Nadia Bolz-Weber is a foul-mouth overly-tatted rough-and-tumble... Continue Reading →

Gooseberry Strikes Again

That three-week jaunt out to the West Coast took a pretty hefty bite out of the old PTO bank this year. We managed to salvage a Boundary Waters out of the remaining shreds, but the annual pilgrimage to the North Shore was left with an empty purse. It is, however, completely unacceptable that a year... Continue Reading →

Sunshine, even on a dreary day…

There are sunflowers out my window. Not because I am a sunflower farmer, but simply because I planted hostas beneath my birdfeeder. You see, the resident chickens really like to scratch there under that feeder in the spring, for no matter how many birds we have, even of the ground-feeding junco variety, the intended beneficiaries... Continue Reading →

Comfort and Grapefruit

There are airbeds everywhere. I'm in the throws of packing for a particularly ambitious three-week camping trip out West, a whirlwind tour of National Parks and wayward children. It is May. The camping gear emerges slowly from its slumber, and with each unearthing, there is fear and trepidation. For you never know what you'll find...... Continue Reading →

Book Review: All the Crooked Saints

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater My rating: 5 of 5 stars Can I give it six stars? Eight? I need more stars. A few weeks ago I was driving across the Colorado desert with my 18yo and she suddenly drops into a reminiscent haze in the midst of the red rocks and tumbleweed.... Continue Reading →

Near miss

I have just been buzzed by a pileated woodpecker. When I say buzzed, what I mean, specifically, is that I felt the push of his enormous wings. Lingering on the flash of memory burned into the back of my brain, I can count the barbs on his feathers. In more concrete terms, that sixteen-inch beast... Continue Reading →

Is it time?

Dare I even ask? The birds have already made their predictions, and have made the journeys that accompany them, and I hope for their sakes that it is indeed. For almost a month we've had strangers at the feeders. Dozens of redwing blackbirds blackening the trees outside my window, trying their hands at sunflower seeds. European... Continue Reading →

A Christmas Visitor

Last summer we had this crazed cardinal. He appeared one day on the back deck, chipping like a wild man. Incessantly. For weeks. Every day he would return, and every day he would march up and down the railing boards, from one end of the deck to the other, pacing, chip, chip, chipping at us... Continue Reading →

Chagrin

Work the brain before working the mouth. I've taught my kids this from the beginning, with varying degrees of success on the familial foot-in-mouth-count chart. Because the things that can come out of a mouth that has not tethered itself firmly to the brain can be embarrassing at best, and often hurtful to those you... Continue Reading →

Snapshots

I missed it. I feel like Annie Dillard missing the very moment of the happening of spring, despite her diligence. Only I've missed the very moment of the happening of fall. I knew it would happen. That whole abandoning ship at peak thing ensured I'd be derailed. And I was. For months, I've been taking... Continue Reading →

Cake and having it all

The seasons are turning fast now. The blue is growing deeper and the colors are falling off the landscape. We often miss the peak of the beauty, enjoying the magic of Lake Superior at the very time of year that the show back home is at it's finest. Circumstances and all that. Circumstances this year,... Continue Reading →

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