Archive | July, 2013

A quilt for a baby girl.

30 Jul

This quilt went out the door and in the mail today.  It’s a quilt for a girl about to be born into a house filled with boys.  She will have four very proud and protective brothers to watch out for her!  Because she’s the first girl, I figured there was no route to go but pink all the way.  Pink, pink, pink.

I followed a pattern for this one and added appliqued circles to my list of techniques tried.  I’m pretty content with how it turned out.  I hope the soon-to-be-born baby girl banana enjoys its warmth and sprinkling of love from her Auntie Lindsay!




Bruises, burns, and brrrrrr.

29 Jul

A timeline of my thoughts regarding the overnight kayaking adventure I had –

Before the trip: Holy shit.  I’m nervous.  This could be scary.  Am I ready for this?

Going to bed in a tent while it’s raining on an island after paddling all day: This was a good experience but I don’t think I need to do it again.

Today:  It was great!  Maybe I’ll go for two nights next time.

Sara and I drove north of Bayfield to the outfitter where we would meet our guide and group.  It was freezing with high potential of rain.  Great kayaking weather for Lake Superior, right?  We were handed wetsuits and PFDs.  We met our guide and our group.  Our guide, Jose, was awesome-sauce.  The group was also awesome.  Sara and I had gone over worse case scenarios before we arrived – who the worst group members could be.  None of that was realized.  JP, a history teacher from Chicago, was crazy in a ditzy, fun way.  Ryan and Casey, a couple from Chicago, were fun and energetic.  Sue, a retired woman with lots of paddling experience, had traveling stories of trips to all seven continents and 49 states.  Great group with whom to spend the next 30 hours.

We talked about the Ws of paddling – wind, weather, water, etc.  We learned paddling strokes on land.  We learned what to do if our kayak tipped in the water, ie how to do a wet exit.  And then we had to practice wet exits.  In 50 degree temperatures.  In the cold, Lake Superior water.

Sara and I were in a tandem kayak.  When it was our turn, we leaned to the left and plunged under water. We hugged the boat, hit the bottom of the kayak to let our fellow kayakers know that we were okay [you know, except being in an overturned kayak in freezing water] and not unconscious.  We each pulled the “oh shit” loop on our skirts and slid out and to the surface.  That was the easy part.  Then we had to get back in; a process by which I ended up under water a second time after getting in the first time and gained a bruise the size of a dinner plate on my leg.  [I’m not exaggerating.  The bruise is the size of a small dinner plate.]

All of that behind us, we ate lunch on site and then packed our kayaks for the night.  Our destination was Oak Island and we made it there in under three hours of paddling.  The weather held out until our last 45 minutes or so.  As we fought waves and 10-15 MPH wind, it started to rain.  Awesome.  But we made it.  And it turned out those waves wouldn’t quite compare to what we would face the next day.

We set up camp, ditched the wetsuits, and walked the beach.  Jose began making dinner – grilled whitefish, rice, hot veggies, warmed bread, and warmed brie.  Brie warmed in tinfoil over the fire.  This is my kind of camping.  When the outfitter promised gourmet camping meals, they weren’t kidding.  We played a little apples to apples before the sun went down, ate s’mores, put all of our food and smellables in the bear box, peed in the woods*, and went to bed.   [*We peed in the woods even though there was an outhouse on the island.  We peed in the woods because Sara saw a mouse there.  I’ll take woods over mice.]

Coffee and breakfast burritos the next morning.  Taking down camp and packing up kayaks.  Then we waited.  To go back to the outfitter, we had to pass through a channel where there was no land protecting us from the wind.  And it was windy.  Jose had us hold off, hoping the wind would decrease.  We waited and I’m not sure the wind actually did slow down but we had to go.  Two to three foot swells and waves.  We faced them head on.  My mouth was dry the entire  trip across the channel.  That I don’t need to do again anytime soon – but we all made it.

After that, the rest of the paddle was a breeze.  We saw bald eagles [Jose loves birds so he would be mid-sentence and suddenly yell and point, “Bald eagle!”], shipwrecks, and the red cliffs characteristic of the Apostle Islands.  The sun graced us with its presence finally; long enough to burn the side of my neck and back of my hands.  It was also fun just to see how much all of us improved at handling our kayaks.  The first day when Jose had us gather together, we’d be running into each other and floating away.  But before we arrived back at the outfitter, Jose gathered us up to give us final instructions and we were awesome.

Would I do it again?  Probably.  Still love kayaking.  But I might be more apt for river and smaller lake paddling.  Those two to three foot waves are not my friends.

Goodbye, MISA.

26 Jul

It’s a dreary, dreary day in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior.  Rainy.  Cold.

Class on the island wrapped up at 3pm this afternoon.  I left with a stack of mixed media journal cards, wrapped up neatly and creatively in pockets, folders, and books I created to keep them in.  My former life as a lover of bookmaking came in handy and impressed my instructor.


[Above: The class work, belonging to each of us, spread out.  As I added mine last, the instructor told me, “I need you to spread out.  Literally and metaphorically.”  Ha.  Mine is at the bottom.]  We bid goodbye as a class.  My classmates and instructor were really great, all in such unique ways.  They were great learning companions for the week.  Susan, a dear calligrapher by trade, gave me a hug as she was leaving and said, “I haven’t said this for about twenty years, but I would go to church to hear you preach.”  Sweet compliment.  I think it’s a gift to be able to challenge people’s perception of what a pastor is and isn’t.

It was a great week.  MISA is such a fun place.  A great community of people, awesome staff, and the coffee is always on.  [And there are always chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar in each classroom.]  Classrooms were open all night and we were welcome to come and go as we pleased.  I would love to go back again for a class sometime in the future.

As of right now, I just got off the boat.  The cute, bearded captain got Sprocket and I safely back on the mainland.  Now I sit, rain jacket and all, at a coffee shop in Bayfield and wait.  I wait for friend, Sara, so we can begin phase two of continuing education: overnight kayaking.

We leave tomorrow morning and here’s hoping the weather improves.  Otherwise it is going to be a very chilly and wet couple of days.  Potentially miserable.  We go with a group; up to four new friends we will meet tomorrow.  I hope I packed enough warm clothes … I fear I was [now incorrectly] more concerned about sunscreen and sunglasses.

You’ll hear back from me after that adventure.  An adventure it will be.

the MISA life.

24 Jul

It’s Wednesday at MISA.  Three days of class behind me; only two to go.  What have I been up to since I last wrote?  Let me tell you –

Class is all about reflective writing/journaling and different art techniques, all the while talking about our inner critics and inner heroes.  We all have them – voices that live inside of us.  Talking about them is getting a little new age-y for me at times but it’s okay.  It’s okay to go beyond the comfort zone.  [Right?]  While talking about the inner critics and inner heroes, we’re creating 5×7 cards that speak to us in some way – hopefully that somehow reflect our inner heroes.  They so far include art techniques and collage or found poetry.  Soon they will also include journaling on one side.

Found poetry is so far my favorite.  I’m a poet by no means [and don’t like reading poems either], but this I can get behind.  The object of found poetry is to take pages from a book or catalog and begin by simply cutting our words or phrases that catch our eye.  Words or phrases that stick out to us.  Once you have a pile of words and phrases in front of you, a poem appears.  You move words, phrases, start over, and move another word.  Sure enough, a poem [in the loosest sense of the word] emerges.  You trust the process and it’s a little crazy.  A little uncomfortable.  But super therapeutic in a way.  And plus I love the way the text looks cut up and rearranged, especially when using phrases from different books and typefaces.  Here is one of my poems from the day, mounted on watercolor paper I colored with ink –


Deep, right?  [Nope.  Not at all.  It will pale in comparison to my artful classmates tomorrow during show and tell … but I’m not supposed to compare.  It’s the thief of joy.  My poems are what they need to be.]

In addition to class, I explored La Pointe [the solo town on the island] tonight with a couple classmates and have also taken the ferry back to Bayfield to explore.  That’s what I did last night by myself and it was lovely.  I love taking the ferry.  I explored a bookstore, a quilt shop, and then parked at a coffee shop to do my class homework before eating at an outdoor bar. It was only a couple hours on the mainland but super fun to explore.  Plus, on the return trip, the ferry was captained by the cute, young captain.  Bearded, lovely, married-according-to-the-ring-on-his-hand captain.  [All the lovely bearded captains are.  Am I right?]





Monday @ MISA.

22 Jul

Hello again from the island.


It was a picture-perfect day on many accounts.  Classes began today.  There are three going on at the school this week – a painting course [with the hot instructor who again today only buttoned his shirt halfway], a writing course, and the one I’m taking.  What am I taking?  Good question.

I told people who asked before I came that it is a writing class.  That’s half true.  It’s writing and it’s art.  It’s all about journaling and honesty and creativity and approaching our inner-critic.  [You know, that voice that tells you you’re not good enough or your work sucks or you’ll never be as good as so-and-so.  We all have them.  Mine seems to come out a lot around my ministry so this is the perfect continuing education class for me.]  I’m not sure how it all comes together yet but we will learn one new art technique and one new writing technique each day.  It should be interesting and hopefully helpful.

If anything else, it is simply grand being here in this location.  Our class [held in the barn pictured above] ended around 3 this afternoon; we had free time to do practically anything.  We could have done our homework but me?  I took to the road.

There are a stash of bikes that hang out at the school.  First come, first serve.  I took one with a low seat; it was a cruiser, ie just one speed.  It’s a cool looking bike and I felt retro-awesome riding it but the one-speed aspect may have made the ride a bit harder than it needed to be.  Nonetheless, I took off.  I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going to go.  I turned left into the bike lane.

About 4.5 miles later, I ended up at Big Bay State Park.  I biked some more and when the roads ran out, I walked the trails alongside my bike.  A deer to the side of the path startled me and biting flies attacked me.  The view was stunning, as one can only imagine.  Four and a half miles back to the art school and my butt was beat.  It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a bike – especially that far – and that seat was not super comfy the last couple miles.  That’s not saying it wasn’t worth it – it was.

I went into town for dinner and ended up at the same restaurant as my class instructor so we had dinner together.  [Plan A was to have my kindle as my date.  Conversation with an actual person was probably better.]  After that, I sat on a pier and watched the sun go down before returning to pajamas and last night’s Endeavour online.

Why can’t this be real everyday life?  *sigh*  Enjoying it while I can.

A Bavarian Blast.

21 Jul

I write from my private-room-shared-bath home for the next week at Madeline Island School of the Arts.  I haven’t been here long.  Since getting on the 6:30 ferry from Bayfield, I’ve unpacked and attended the wine and cheese party before coming back to my room to opt for comfy clothes and blogging.  My first impressions of the week to come?  This is not a place people my own age go. [One of the youngest people here.  Mostly retired folks.]  I share a bathroom with a woman named Bambi.  There are three classes going on this week; the instructor of the painting course is Spanish and attractive.  [Woman in my class says to me as he walks in, “I think we took the wrong class.  Our instructor didn’t walk in with a shirt half unbuttoned!”  … our instructor is also a woman.  Two older retired women I walked back to my room with said they were taking his class because he was cute.  Ha.]  Paul, a physics professor at Augsburg in Minneapolis is here while his wife takes a class; he offered to be my bike riding buddy.  And I’ve just been here for a couple hours!  I think there will be stories, folks.  Lots of stories.

Until more stories unfold, I must tell you about my day yesterday.  The Bavarian Blast in New Ulm.

New Ulm is about 1.5 hours from me.  I traveled there to meet my friend, James.  James is a friend from seminary, currently serving his first call in Pennsylvania.  He was in MN visiting his dad and en route to Iowa to visit his mom.  The Bavarian Blast in New Ulm seemed like the perfect place to reconnect.  Why not, eh?

What’s a Bavarian Blast?  Three stages of polka music.  Brats and strudel.  Beer.  Lots of guys with super white legs in lederhosen.  A viking.  A wiener dog race.  And – wait for it – people dressed as gnomes and morel mushrooms!  I kid you not.  It was an experience.  We ate lunch and enjoyed the polka music for awhile before leaving to explore more of New Ulm, including the downtown and the Herman the German statue.  [It’s a thing.]

Here’s what I walked away with: Friends are fun.  It was so great just to explore something new with a friend.  It was so great to laugh and catch up and hug.  I miss that – exploring random places and random events and having fun no matter the surrounding.  Le sigh.

Would I go to the Bavarian Blast again?  Eh.  It was $9 to get in.  $9 for three stages of polka music.  I could probably pass.  But make it an outing with a good friend and I probably wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. And the next time I would be sure to dance with a gnome.

Friday Favorites.

19 Jul

First, it’s Friday.  That is my favorite.  Tomorrow is Saturday [Bavarian Festival in New Ulm?  I think so.] and then it’s Sunday.  After worship on Sunday, I drive north.  To Bayfield.  Where I get on a car ferry that takes me to Madeline Island for my week long continuing education course at the Madeline Island School of the Arts.  I can barely contain myself.  It’s going to be a dream.

But, in the meantime –


I made homemade strawberry fruit roll-ups and they were super yummy.  A little time consuming but worth the effort.

I devoured Where’d You Go, Bernadette? this week.  I think this one review from the Washington Post sums the book up perfectly –

Warm, dark, sad, funny – and a little bit screwball … This is an inventive and very funny novel that gets bonus points for transcending form.

What book is up next?  Well, I loved watching this story unfold this week – the story of J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym being uncovered mysteriously with a now deleted twitter account.  The Cuckoo’s Calling might be calling to me.

I’m wrapping up one baby quilt and bought fabric this past week to move onto the next.  I’m thinking stripes. Simple.  Straight-line quilting a la this tutorial.  [Spoiler alert: The fabric has monkeys.  Monkeys. I might need to add an appliqued banana or two.]  And my scrappy gumdrop quilt continues to grow on the design wall.  There is no rhyme or reason to it – only that they are scraps from my scrap egg basket.  [Most people have scrap bins.  I keep mine in an egg basket.]


I’ve been enjoying Endeavour on PBS Masterpiece Mystery every Sunday night.  After being alerted to the joys to Downton Abbey, I’ve become more aware of the awesome programming Masterpiece offers.  Sunday night. 8-9:30pm.

I think that’s quite enough for one Friday.  Happy weekend-ing!

I had professional pastor photos taken.

16 Jul




Today was my favorite.

15 Jul

Do you want to know why?

First, it was a confirmation planning day all day with my favorite reverends – jD and Laura.  We drank coffee, wrote on big pieces of paper, and dreamed about what confirmation will look like at our churches this fall.  Big picture dreaming days with fun pastors are always my favorite.

Because I had friends coming to church, I had a reason to bake.  This chocolate-banana-zucchini bread got rave reviews.  It was pretty delicious.  Baking and sharing is my favorite.

After a favorite day at work, I drove to Owatonna because some of my favorite Dawson people moved there today.  My best-friend-forever, Carter, and his family are now only a 30 minute drive from me.  I see Legos in my future.

I came home to catch the last bit of The Bachelorette [where Brooks is my favorite].

Now I will iron some gumdrops and read a book before bed.  [I’d forgotten reading fiction was my favorite until recently.  After devouring a couple books in the last couple weeks, I’ve started in on Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  Delightful.]

Favorites, favorites everywhere.  Let’s hope this is a trend.

Life …
might …
be …
looking …

Let’s not jinx it.

Friday Favorites.

12 Jul

Hey.  It’s still Friday.  For another hour and a half.

In addition to beautiful weather, another day of day camp, and being randomly selected to earn $30 from the Nielson ratings people for filling out a TV diary for a week, these are my favorite finds of the week —

I’ve been quilting up a storm lately.  When the quilts-in-progress are complete, I want to make bags.  Maybe a messenger bag?  Or oilcloth pool tote with mesh pockets?  Or maybe I’ll just start another quilt.

I went strawberry picking again today, this time with jD, Lauren, and Elliot.  [Then we went out for lunch in Faribault.  It was delicious.  And fun.]  I might attempt strawberry cinnamon rolls or these strawberry lemonade scones.  Yum.

I told you awhile ago about homemade magic shell for ice cream.  I wasn’t lying.  Here it is, spelled out.  Two ingredients.  Endless deliciousness.

Looking for a delightful movie to redbox?  Warm Bodies.  Don’t make that face – it’s about zombies.  Zombies with heart.

Time for finding favorites this week was limited …  I think that’s all I have this week.  Happy weekend!

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