Category Archives: summer

Busy

Orion – you should make this your new profile picture!

Everywhere Orion and I went this week it was busy.  Maybe it was my timing, but busier than what I usually find all the same.

I took Orion to get his haircut and we waited a good 1/2 hour on a walk in appointment.  Now, I could have “checked in on-line”.   I could have gone earlier in the afternoon.  I could have gone during the week and not on a weekend.  Sometimes I do.  Often I don’t.  This week, things were busy.

We went to the movies, afternoon matinee.   I was hoping for Christopher Robin thinking we might be hitting the “naptime” show.  Things never bode well when ALL the accessibility spots are filled.  When that happens I’ll often say, “forget it.”   But I really wanted to be out and about with Orion.  (Dinner at the theater rather than cooking was also a bonus feature.)

I didn’t get into the movie I wanted.  All the accessible seats were filled.  In a matinee for Christopher Robin!  I guess nostalgia goes a long way.  There was another movie on my list screening at the same time.  We snagged the some of the last seats for Mama Mia 2.

Even after the credits were over the theater was still busy.

Because we stood in line for food and read the tickets wrong about which theater we were going to, we missed some of the previews.  Not only that, there were people in our seats!  An elderly couple, who needed accessible seating and were hoping to sit together.  Guys…..

It all worked out, kindly and peaceably.   Minnesota nice does occasionally help.  The movie was not as much fun as the first, but still a summer romp.  We went home and listened to ABBA for the rest of the evening.

Even the grocery store (co-op) was busy.  There it wasn’t so much the volume of customers in the store. It was more the staff desperately trying to restock from what looked like hoards of shoppers we’d just missed.  Still managed to find what I was looking for, pretty fresh vegetables!

Hoping Karina cooks up a lovely dinner for me with these!

I guess I just wanted to be a grasshopper this week and everyone else decided to be ants.  busy busy.

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Happy Blog-versary to me!

“show your work” The cook is taking the creamy yolk photo. Duck eggs, poached.

I got a notice from Word Press congratulating me on my blogging anniversary.  Go figure.  I can’t imagine going into this with any hope of writing for 7 years, this is my 338th post.  Funny how time flies when you’re having fun.

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To celebrate, I had coffee and scones with a friend rather than actually posting this.  Hoping when I do get around to it it’s still Monday.  Lol

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Eating well at Mom and Dads. The pesto with scallops leftovers was the perfect side dish for the lamb chops.  https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/summer-holidays/

I’ve been doing quite a bit of out and about in the last week.  Karina had me over for breakfast.  I spent the weekend with my parents.  Did some cooking and shopping with them.  The cooler weather has made a difference.   They get the new furnace/air conditioner in later this week.

This time I made the salmon on the stove. Not so far to carry it without dropping.

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It’s felt a little like fall in the air.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about Lammas.   I’ll refer you to past posts and take a little anniversary vacation.    Thanks for reading!

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Sacrificial King 2017

Ducks Geese and Corn 2016

Bad Example 2015

Corn Mother 2014

First Fruits 2013

Lammas 2012

Corn on the Cob 2011

 

Summer Holidays

Family fun

We spent all of the 4th of July week (and both weekends) up at my folks house.  It was quite the event.  Small resort towns around the Brainerd Area do big celebrations.  We didn’t watch any fireworks, but we could hear them.  Every evening!

Opa and Jager on there way off to Waldsee

Because we came up, Dad got to get several things checked off his “to do” list.  He went to a meeting, got his snow blower tuned up, and put new tires on the car.  He also had his buddy Orion along for 3 parades and a trip up to International Day at Concordia Language Villages

Orion attended Waldsee, the German village, with his Opa as his aid for 10 years starting 20 years ago.  It was fun for the two of them to return to their old stomping grounds.  There were even several people there who remembered them from years gone by.   The old Dean, Karl, noticed them across the way and stopped what he was doing so he and his wife could catch up with Jager and Opa.

Mom usually makes us pick up the pizza and bring it home, but the promise of air-conditioning got her moving.

I kept Mom occupied while the boys were out and about.  Ordinarily we’d be taking things easy at home, but the air conditioning died the day I arrived.  So we had our own “out and about” adventures.  We decided it was too hot to be home and went out for a drive and pizza.

We had a great “girls day” and a beautiful lunch

We collected my sister, Andrea, and ran errands in Brainerd.  (That really meant lunch at Prairie Bay and Mom sitting in the air conditioned car while one or the other of us ran into the store.)

We ate pretty well at home too.  When I’m there I do a lot of the cooking, or at least the meal planning.  When I can stand it, I’ll enlist Dad’s help.

Dad does a great job on the grill

 

 

That’s especially true for grilling.  I’m more than happy to let him set up the coals and carry things back and forth, at least most of the time.  We’re still in mourning about that beautifully cooked salmon.

But sometimes the carrying is a problem

 

 

Dad did have a chance to redeem himself.  At my request he made mussels and a fresh focaccia to go with them.  Even Orion thought they were really tasty!

The baker with his masterpiece

It was a great trip.  We had a great time.  It was also pretty physically demanding.  The drive took at least an hour longer than usual – in both directions.  The heat and humidity was draining, and it wasn’t always easy to breathe.  General household chores (which I do more of up there than at home) take their toll, as do extra transfers with Orion and massage work on Mom.

Orion thinks seafood is pretty good stuff

Now I’m glad to be home, laying on my back on an ice pack.

Sorry about not being able to get the photos aligned properly.

 

Sacrificial King

Crossing the Mississippi at the corner of MN,WI,and IA

In Frazer’s The Golden Bough there is some exploration of the notion of the sacred king.  There are a number of components to this idea.  One is in the Divine right of kings to rule, and subsequently that they are the representatives of the Divine on Earth.  Then there is the belief that the kings are connected to the land.  As the king succeeds the land thrives, as the king fails or falls ill the land is depleted.  In a system that holds these principles to be true, the logical outcome is to demand the sacrifice of the king to relieve a drought or natural disaster.  Frazer took that philosophy and connected it to the agricultural cycle of reaping and sowing – death and rebirth.

Prairie reclamation project at Wyalusing – Wisconsin State Park

I came back from spending a long weekend on the land to see my Facebook full of images of our Secretary of the Interior assessing National Parkland for its value to sell to industry for development.  Moving from visiting a Prairie reclamation project at the height of success to a clearly out of control consume and profit narrative was disheartening to say the least.

On the way home I noticed the corn was starting to come in from the fields.  The corn harvest is the mark for me of the Lammas celebration, John Barley Corn is dead, long live John Barley Corn.  This is the representation in Wicca of the sacred king mythology.  The grain God is sacrificed to feed the people.

Prairie Flowers

It’s been difficult to sort out the sacred from the political.  Police are shooting people, healthcare continues to be threatened in spite of an overwhelming majority who clearly want to have coverage, and our sacred lands are being sold out from under us – again and still.

I see spiritual representatives from around the world being dismissed by Big Oil at Standing Rock.  I see a spiritual leader in my hometown, trying to help a neighbor in distress, being shot by police.  I see places that I’ve stood in awe of nature being looked upon as a feast for mining, logging and manufacturing industries.

Included in the sacrificial king mythology is the Arthurian story of the Fisher King.  This is part of the grail quest.  The sacred chalice, that has magical qualities including the ability to heal, is apparently in the possession of the Fisher King.  The king has a grievous wound and is failing, as is his land.  Somehow he doesn’t have the wisdom, moral integrity, or desire/belief to use the grail.  Percival, who was raised by a single mother in the forest away from the society of men, sees the solution but fails (out of politeness?) to ask the question that will heal everything.

“LIfe will find a way”

We need to ask the questions.  We need to keep asking until we get answers that go beyond pats on the head and being told we can’t possibly understand.  Why can’t we get along?  Why does the notion of “equal rights” always seem to have an “except” clause?  When and how much is enough?  Who has the vision for our future?  Does that vision include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? For everyone?

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Happy Lammas!

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Previous blogs about the holiday season:

Lammas

Ducks, Geese, and Corn

Corn Mother

First Fruits

Corn on the Cob

 

Midsummer

Happy Litha! The feverfew is blooming under the new moon.

It’s been cold and rainy here.  Cold is relative.  Two months ago I thought 50 degree evenings were crazy warm.  It’s always seemed odd to me, a native Minnesotan, that Midsummer comes when it does.  Pretty much this marks the beginning of our genuinely hot season.

Karina’s birthday is at the beginning of June and we couldn’t plan her preferred pool party unless we delayed it or held it indoors.  Cool isn’t unusual.

Because of everyone’s crazy schedule we’re still delaying her birthday.  We managed to all get together this weekend.  Karina and I have a deal.  I take her out to a high-end dinner for her birthday and she does the same for me.

Happy birthday Karina! Huge deserts and the leftover bags.

This year she chose Pittsburgh Blue, a chain steakhouse.  It was surprisingly good.  The steaks were done to perfection and the seafood we had was also very tasty.

Gilda’s Club Friends and Family Day photo

Orion and I also stopped by Gilda’s Club for Friends and Family Day.  We’ve been doing this as an annual event, being sure to get our photos taken.  Looking at those pictures I note I have a jacket or sweater on in most of them.

We did silly one’s too

Orion brought his drum and we enjoyed a drumming workshop along with visiting. Hoof on the Roof, a folk band, joined us as we finished up drumming.  It was a treat to jam with them.

In spite of the cold things are starting to bloom in the garden.  I got behind so I still have a few things to plant.  I’ve been worried that I’ll lose everything when we start tearing things up to get the remodel going, but I’m afraid we are stalled again.  I really don’t want to wait for another year!  I miss having a fully functional kitchen.

tomatoes are starting to form in spite of the cool evenings

There are things I’ve been putting off (like a new microwave) in anticipation of getting this all taken care of.  It’s frustrating.

Fourth of July is coming up fast and furiously.  I’ll probably be off-line, so don’t worry if you don’t see a Monday blog next week.  I will try to remember to take some photos.

Hints of jalapeño as well

 

 

Maybe parades and fireworks will fill my page.  Maybe flowers and wildlife will inspire me.  Maybe I’ll remember to take pictures of the family.  Fingers are crossed for a fun filled, good weather, holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Midsummer Posts:

Midsummer

Storm

Midsummer – apparently I’m not very creative with titles at this time of year!

Charleston – I haven’t posted about Philandro Castile.  It’s too close to home, too horrible, and I’m not the one.  But I will say Black Lives Matter, because they should and it’s pretty clear that they don’t.  I will say it’s important to remember.

Catching Up

Another family photo at Gilda's A lot has changed in 3 years!

Another family photo at Gilda’s A lot has changed in 3 years!

With the long days and hot nights I’m not sleeping well.  I feel like I’m spending my time trying to catch-up with myself.  On the days when I’m busy I’m exhausted.  On the days when I do nothing I find myself dozing in my chair.

It may seem counter intuitive given my state of being, but I’ve been looking for a part-time job.  The latest news on the construction front is that the bank is worried about my income to debt ratio.  That’s a good thing I suppose, to keep me from drowning in debt.  On the other hand the work really needs to be done and I don’t have the money to do it.  I figure at the glacial rate this project is moving along I may be a couple of months into a new job – enough for it to count – before everything else (my outstanding debt for instance) is settled to the banks satisfaction.

Cardio drumming was fun enough to attract some of the kids

Cardio drumming was fun enough to attract some of the kids

It was Friends and Family weekend at Gilda’s club.  Orion and I went for our 3rd year in a row.  This year Orion has acquired a new drum and he was determined to bring it and play it.  We did cardio drumming.  That was kind of fun.  Drumming along to popular music on exercise balls in buckets.  Moving arms and legs.  Kind of like Taiko drumming for middle-aged women.

We also did the family drumming.  That’s a slightly more traditional drum jam.  Making connections to rhythms and a group apparently makes a difference in health and healing.  Who knew drumming could be so therapeutic?  Orion loved it.

Waiting for folks to arrive and the session to start.

Waiting for folks to arrive and the session to start.

We got to visit with friends, old and new.  We had a visit from a fairy (it was a hot day and she was taking a break from the fairy garden).  We had a lovely walk there and back.  And when we got home I was (again) exhausted.

Maybe I need to drink more water.

Visiting with a fairy

Visiting with a fairy

Midsummer

20160619_152554The summer solstice is called midsummer.  I’ve always wondered why.  To me this feels like the beginning of summer.   Here it’s come in like a rushing train.  I’ve barely turned off the heat (nights in the 50’s at the beginning of the month).  Now it’s in the 90’s with humidity.

This is the season of weeding.  My weeds are all out of control.  There are several beds I just didn’t get to and more I’ve not kept up with.  Seems my other “projects” are conspiring against me.  Or maybe the weather, it’s been rainy, hasn’t suited when I’ve had time.  Or maybe I’ve got the midsummer all I want to do is sit in a hammock and read blues.

20160619_143842The change in light (the summer solstice is the longest day of the year) and the changing temperatures have totally disrupted my sleep schedule.  Left to my own devices this time of year I’d be sleeping through the heat of the day and up all night.  Unfortunately I don’t live in that world.

This is the pause after the haying, after the planting, before the big harvests come in.  As I said earlier, weed season.  It’s also summer salad season.  I’ve made baked beans.  I’ve made potato salad.  I’ve got greens growing in a planter.  I’m anticipating tomatoes that taste like something.  I didn’t know if I’d be able to garden this year, but I’ve got a lot of pots around the house.  I just have to be diligent about watering.

20160619_132921 (1)Orion and I went with friends to see Shakespeare in the Park.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream seemed a fitting way to celebrate the season.  Perhaps it is the season to dream the dreams, summer love, vacation.  Or perhaps it is time to waken and make those dreams come true.

 

Midsummer

Storm

 

Memorial Day

(c) NorthstarMLS.com

(c) NorthstarMLS.com

Happy Memorial Day.  Enjoy the weather, the family, the picnic – whatever you have planned.  I’ll be gardening and taking a long leisurely bath.

Remember those who served with their lives.  Remember that many have sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy.  Remember the families of those who have served.  And in remembering, think about all of those whose service was dismissed, or uncredited.  There have always been women serving alongside the men, but because they were not “official” were not counted.  There have been blacks and Native Americans in service for this country whose “special units” were often placed in the most dangerous situations.  Japanese American families lost loved ones in the internment camps in the US during WWII.  There are many kinds of service, many kinds of sacrifice.  Let’s honor that in gratitude for what we do have.  Let’s remember.

 

The First Decoration Day

Breathe

Dad is home and doing well.  Thank you for all the support and good wishes.

The bees are liking the bee balm

The bees are liking the bee balm

I have allergies.  I’ve been doing allergy shots for 5 years or so.  Things are definitely better, but there are still a few weeks each year where I have to pull out all the stops.  This is one of those weeks.  Because of that, sitting in an air-conditioned hospital was not the most horrible thing for me to be doing.

I’ve missed some pretty dramatic thunderstorms these past weeks.  Either I’ve slept so hard I didn’t hear them or, like the night the tornado sirens went off, the worst has passed me by.  I’ve been grateful not to need to water the garden as I run out the door in the morning.

The lawn hasn’t been mowed, but the truth of the matter is that given the allergy conditions I probably wouldn’t be able to do it anyway.  I often quip that breathing is over-rated, but the truth is I’m kind of attached to it.

On a good day I can hit the top.  On a bad day…….

On a good day I can hit the top. On a bad day…….

I’ve been watching Dad work the spirometer post surgery.   He’s a champ.  So the other day I got out mine, “just to check”.  When your 79-year-old father whose just had open heart surgery literally blows harder it’s definitely time to hit the inhaler.  I had to work hard to get my numbers above the “you should really consider taking yourself to the emergency room” line.

Despite the allergies, being back to our “normal” routine feels like taking a deep breath.  The list of things I’ve “put off tending to” is long, but doable.  Orion and I went to the movies this weekend (so I could avoid making dinner as this theater comes with a menu.) which was fun for both of us.

Dinner and a movie.  We saw Pitch Perfect 2

Dinner and a movie. We saw Pitch Perfect 2

Now it’s Monday.  Rather than grumble I’ll be grateful for a new week to start.  I’ll be grateful for the summer weather and flowers that are pretty even through the window.  I’ll be grateful that my family is all where they belong and doing well. And I’ll remember to breathe.

Too Much

At the lake with my parents

At the lake with my parents

It’s easy to idealize the simple small town life most of us only know from books and old TV shows.  4th of July in Mayberry RFD, or with the Gilmore Girls isn’t really a fair expectation.  Still, this year visiting “up north” with my parents it seemed very much like that kind of holiday.

Karina and Minnie waiting for the parade.  Not entirely without internet access….

Karina and Minnie waiting for the parade. Not entirely without internet access….

My parents don’t have an internet connection, which limits the amount of media available.  We still have the smart phones, and Orion listens to his playlist on his computer, but it’s less appealing to be plugged in.  They’ve lived up here in these small towns for almost 20 years and so everywhere they go someone stops to say hi!  There are things to do and people to meet that also discourage electronic connection.

Piquot Lakes High School Marching Band.  The director is my sister's co-worker.

Piquot Lakes High School Marching Band. The director is my sister’s co-worker.

The complaints of the weekend have been, “The ice cream cone was too big.”  “The fish (fresh out of the fryer) is too hot.”  “There’s too much sunshine and fresh air.”  We found ourselves taking daily naps, not typical for me, just because the weather was so perfect.

A classic.  That's Elsa from Frozen being pulled behind a tractor.  Apparently if you stop by the store you can get an ice cream and shake her hand.

A classic. That’s Elsa from Frozen being pulled behind a tractor. Apparently if you stop by the store you can get an ice cream and shake her hand.

We did all the things, but it never felt like we packed too much into a day.  We went to one of the small town parades.  Homemade floats and the high school marching band had all the nostalgia of one of those TV shows.  We went to see fireworks in the “big city”, Brainerd.  They do a fabulous job and the location is set up so you feel like you are surrounded by the lights and they are right there in front of you.

In Northern Minnesota you WILL visit Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox.

In Northern Minnesota you WILL visit Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox.

We also took an afternoon to go down to the lake.  We all got into canoes – even Orion.  It’s been years since I’ve done that, but the muscle memory is still there.  Karina and I took Minnie out with us.  The dog was not sure about that and her roaming around in the canoe was a little unsettling but eventually we worked it out.  The lake was calm, the breeze was cool, another perfect day.

Dad showing off his affinity for local wildlife.  At least it wasn't the bear!

Dad showing off his affinity for local wildlife. At least it wasn’t the bear!

We went swimming in the lake.  Karina and my Dad caught the fish that came out of the fryer “too hot”.  The ice cream cones may have been too big, but that didn’t stop us from going back another day.  There is a haze up here from the Canadian wildfires.  It makes the sunset bloody and the moon rise red.  I may have taken more regular hits off my inhaler than I would have at home, but with the air moving even that wasn’t problematic.

Wished I had better than my phone.  The fireworks were truly spectacular!

Wished I had better than my phone. The fireworks were truly spectacular!

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It’s definitely time to be back home, back in the normal routine.  There can be too much of a good thing.  With a little distance and a little nostalgia of my own I’ll appreciate having this weekend vacation even more.

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