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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.

The weekend told in two stories.

2 Jun

Story 1: I was kidnapped on Friday.  KIDNAPPED.  Willingly, mind you, but kidnapped!  Kidnapped for Lauren-jD-Elliot-Paige-and-Lindsay’s day of fun!*  My dear friends knew it had been a rough week for me and so they had pity on me.  Lovely, fun pity.   I jumped in a car and wasn’t told where we were going.  Where did we go?  To Waseca for lunch on a patio [my favorite!], coffee at a coffee shop [my favorite!], and antiquing [my favorite!].  It was indeed a great day of fun.

Story 2: It was finally nice enough to work outside this weekend.  I planted pots, spread mulch, and weeded.  I also raked leaves from around the house.  I was in the back, raking near the back stoop when suddenly THERE WAS A CHICKEN.  A chicken!  A chicken scurrying towards the woods from under the back stoop!  [Quite honestly, I was startled and had a few choice words.]  I checked timidly to see if the chicken was with friends; she was not.  I kept raking and found the chicken had left me a gift –


Is it hipster to have backyard chickens and not even know it?

* Friends reference.

A Muffin story.

30 May

I ate a muffin today.

Judy, the friend of my administrative assistant, stopped by.  And, like every other time she stops by, she brought us goodies for coffee time.  A banana chocolate muffin today.

Already not a huge fan of banana things except bananas themselves, I sat down at Marilyn’s desk to help her with some computer work and started to eat my muffin.  I was a couple bites in and Marilyn asked how it was.

I replied with some pretty non-committal language.  I mean, it was a good muffin.  It was fine.  It was banana so it would never rank super high on my list.

It’s made with mayo, Marilyn responded.

I stopped chewing.  What? I asked, my mouth still full of mayo muffin.

Mayo.  It makes it super moist.

I don’t care if it makes it moist.  Sour cream and yogurt would also make it moist.  Why not use those?  You don’t put mayo in a muffin!  I don’t care for mayo.  I never have cared for mayo.  And while mayo may belong in that potato salad at the potluck, mayo is not a breakfast food.  Mayo should not be in my muffin.

Now sure, being honest with you, truth is, I couldn’t taste the mayo, but it still took me a while to swallow that bite.  But just the thought of mayo in a muffin …




[This all kinda reminds me of the muffin video my sister and cousin, Sam, can quote the whole length of.  Check it out – it’s funny.]

It snowed.

3 May

Like hella snowed in Austin on Thursday.  The sky opened up and dropped deep, heavy snow.  This is the kind of snow that kills people while shoveling, yelled the guy who came to plow me out from across the yard.  I couldn’t hear him really well so I think I responded to that with a laugh until I processed that what he said actually hadn’t been funny at all.  It was also the kind of snow that took down tree branches all over the place.  My poor arborvitae were bending like crazy.  Cancellations and delays were the reality of Thursday morning.  The morning I was to leave for a retreat in northern Wisconsin, mind you.  Luckily, by the time I got plowed out and ready to go, the roads were but wet.  Happy May 2nd, people.  [Along with that comes a happy birthday, Dad.  I wish you were still here so we could buy you new socks to celebrate.]

Friday Favorites.

1 Mar

[Friday Favorites.]  I don’t have much for favorites this week.  Instead of being online or finding cools things on pinterest, I’ve been writing sermons and preparing for funerals.  Hopefully, I’ll be back in full force next Friday.  For now, just two things –

First, I went on a search for instrumental music to use during our Wednesday night Lenten service.  Just by happy happenstance, I clicked on this album because of it’s beautiful cover.  In a Time Lapse.  I’m in love.  I ended up buying the whole album and have listened to it a lot in the last couple days.  It’s great for writing sermons.


Second, I just caught up on Jon Stewart during my breakfast this morning.  This segment on maple syrup in Canada struck me as one of the most funny things I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s great.

Okay.  Just kidding.  One more thing – in my sorrow and self-pity and sleepiness after such a crazy week – I bought this.  I just love colorful things in my kitchen and I think it will come in handy.  I’m already anticipating its glorious arrival early next week.

such a nut.

24 Apr
I’ve known for a long time that I care too much about what others think of me.  I fear being judged by others.  What I’m realizing recently is how frequently those thoughts dominate my being.  I certainly do care how my closest friends and family see me, for people who know me best help me be truly myself by being dear, honest people.  [And that’s not judging.  That’s knowing.]  But when I consistently care how perfect strangers are perceiving me, I think it borders on unhealthy.
Here’s an example.  I mowed my lawn on Monday night, and I did it successfully.  [Lindsay:1 Mower:1]  But it wasn’t done until Monday so on Sunday, when it looked like a South American jungle of grass and dandelions, I spent most of my morning wondering what the congregation was thinking.  Did they think I was lazy for not mowing it?  Did they say to themselves, why in the world isn’t the parsonage lawn mowed?  Maybe they did.  Maybe they didn’t.  [Truth is the lawn mower was being serviced all of last week – hence the jungle.]  But then, as I mowed it on Monday night, too many more judgmental thoughts came to mind.  I wondered if the people driving past thought, my, she’s driving that lawn mower slow.  Or maybe they thought, why in the world is she doing it like that?  Did any of the cars driving past seriously think any of that?  Probably not. And so what if they did?
I realized how often I think about others’ perceptions of me when I was driving somewhere new.  I don’t even remember where I was going but I recall making a wrong turn.  I knew I had to turn back but there was a car behind me.  I distinctly remember thinking to myself, I’ll just drive another block before I turn around.  That way the person behind me won’t know I’m slightly lost.  Why in the world should I ever care what the car behind me thought?  I didn’t know the person and never would.  But for some deranged reason, thoughts like that plague me all the time.  I’m nutty and I want to not be.
Then put me in a position as a public leader in a church and my what-do-they-think-of-me? goes crazy.  I want everyone to like me.  I don’t want anyone to think that I’m dumb or lazy.  I want them to know that I’m doing my job as best as I know how.  This fear of other people judging me – in addition to my need for processing time and introversion – likely leads to me saying next to nothing in new group settings.  [But then they just judge me for being quiet so really it’s a no win.]  I feel judged.  A lot.  And, really, honestly, I’m probably not.  I’m paranoid.
New goal: To not let my perceptions of other peoples’ fictitious judgments ruin my day or infiltrate my thoughts.  To know myself that I’m doing the best I can and have that be enough because I am enough.
[You’re judging me right now, aren’t you?]

Molly the crazy.

26 Nov
What do you need to know about Molly?  She’s my cousin.  She’s in sixth grade.  She’s crazy.
Emma, Molly, and I braved the stores on Friday after the crowds had mostly dispersed.  I always like to see what dvds are on sale [since I have no satellite or cable, I justify the cost of buying tv on dvd] and this year I needed bath towels.  It was time to retire the purple ones I still have from when I started college nine and a half years ago.  But all in all, nothing too crazy.
Except Molly.
We walked into Target and Molly, holding a flyer in her hand, began screeching, “It’s here!  It’s here!” a la the Target jumpsuit commercial lady.  People stared and laughed.  She did sit-ups on the red ball too.
We stopped briefly at Best Buy and as we were leaving saw a vending machine for the largest gumballs EVER.  Molly wanted one and Emma gave her the seventy five cents she needed.  She gnawed on that thing for a good hour.

Whenever the three of us are bumming around stores, our usual lunch stop is Jimmy John’s.  Molly hopped in a booth as I ordered, Emma joined her, and then I told Molly I’d fill her soda.  She wanted Dr.Pepper.  I went for Diet Coke.  Somewhere between the fountain and the booth, I forgot which was which.  I handed one to Molly and told her to take a drink to see if it was right.  Uh huh, she nodded.  Five minutes later, I get around to taking my first drink from my cup … of Dr.Pepper.  Molly, Molly, Molly.  Spitting of soda on Emma ensued.  Chunks of slim #1 flew about.  Shenanigans, I tell you.  
Later, we stopped at the good old Piggly Wiggly for a few groceries.  Molly happily took the kiddie cart and wheeled it around the store like a mad woman.  Watch your heels, people.  [Doesn’t her face resemble an angry bird?]

To summarize, Molly is crazy.

And I love her for it.

[AAA] What happens when –

11 Aug
You drive in the lower forty-eight states with a license plate from the state of Alaska:
An older man walking with a cane in the parking lot at the Target in Alexandria literally flags you down.  I’m driving past him [after stopping for bread and pb&j for the trip] and he starts waving.  First I think that maybe he’s confusing me for someone he actually knows or maybe he’s just overly friendly.  I casually wave back and keep driving and he keeps waving.  Nearly frantically.  I stop, roll down the window and turn down Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audio book that has occupied my attention since St.Paul.   [Turns out audio books are the bee’s knees!]  Where about in Alaska do I live, he asks.  He’s been there three times, the first in 1949.  He has family in Dawson City.  Don’t try and get a hotel there.  All the oil people have the rooms and they get helicoptered out everyday.  Have a good trip.  Okay.  Thanks.
A man in a small green Honda passes me on the interstate, somewhere before I hit North Dakota.  He passes me in the left lane and then I move over behind him to go around whoever was in front of me.  All of a sudden, his hands start going crazy.  Like he takes both hands off the wheel to hold up eight fingers for me to see.  [I’m assuming for me to see.]  He keep doing it over and over, once in a while taking the hand that hand three fingers down to put it back on the wheel.  But what the heck?  Eight?  I thought maybe it was how cute he thought I was on a scale of one to ten but in my sweat pants and scrubby hair?  Probably not.  Is it some sort of Alaska code?  He seemed pretty excited and took a fair amount of effort to hold up his hands … but I certainly did not understand.  Eight?
An older suburban is riding my bumper – two younger-than-I boys.  I move back to the right lane when I can so they can go around me.  Frankly, they scare me a bit, driving so fast.  They drive past me and while doing so, the guy in the passenger seat quite literally hangs out the window and stares at me as they drive past.  As in, puts his head out the window and stares back at me and the car as they continue down the road.  
My friend, Jenni, commented on a previous blog post about the Alaska plates how excited some kids must be to see me drive past.  Think of the games of license plate bingo I can help complete.  I only hope so.  In addition to the creepy/weird mentioned earlier, I hope I’m helping some kids out.  I’ll take that over the creepy/weird.

a gift.

26 Jul
I was showered upon with hugs, prayers, cards, love, and gifts at my ordination.  [yeah, yeah, yeah, lindsay.  you’ve mentioned this before.]  It’s true.  I want to share one of these gifts with you.  It’s one that came wrapped like this:
The same way in which I wrapped Lori’s ordination gift from Grace last year with old, old bulletin covers that still hang out in the copy room.  They’ve come in handy!  [I still remember carrying the ugly, tacky box into Lori’s church and putting it on the floor by all the other gifts.  The preaching pastor for the ordination, one Pastor Mary, was standing nearby and she sincerely complimented me on the wrapping.  “Oh.  Oh!  That’s so nice.  Wonderful.”  Really, Pastor Mary?]
Inside of this box I unwrapped while sitting on the grass outside, surrounded by the Grace folks and others intrigued by such folly [I probably attracted over by reading the card aloud with such emphasis and emotion.], were many things.  Many things.  Not pictured are the gifts from the 50th anniversary of Grace that happened this past June.  A cookbook, notecards, and an ornament.  Super cool.  Then there were these things –
A bat catcher.  Something every church/pastor needs.  [What will I do when I don’t have a Batman to catch the bats at Red Oak Grove?!]

A “cooky” pastry press.  Lynn showed me how to use it.  It’s for ladyfingers, eclairs and more.

A purple gingham apron, a piece of really strange red and green fabric, a purse/pocketbook thing [for church keys, I guess], and a new sewing book.
And, naturally, new cardigans.  Three to be precise.  A light pink, fleece gray, and a knit pink.  They’re only slightly sketchy and likely need to be washed.  [Courtesy of the thrift store in Dawson and excellent thrifting done by the staff.]
Good job, Grace.  Good job.

be honest –

14 Jul
Am I creepy?
Sometimes I wonder.
I understand I can be quirky and a bit strange.  For people who don’t know me, that may translate to creepy.  I sincerely hope not, but I wonder.
It’s coincidental and ironic that right about a year ago, I wrote a facebook message to someone I barely knew and asked him if he wanted to be my friend.  And it worked out.  Friends we became.  We played games and ate dinner and watched movies together.  We had fun together.  [At least I thought we did.  We’re not quite friends anymore so decipher what you will.  It makes me sad.  I miss him.  But that’s another story for another day.  Or never.  I probably scared him with my creepiness.]
It’s coincidental and ironic because I did it again.  I wrote an email last night to someone I have only briefly met once and, essentially, asked him to be my friend.  I really, really hope I didn’t creep him out.  I just casually mentioned that I know what it’s like to be a new pastor in a small town [yep.] and if he ever wanted to play Scrabble or talk to someone who wasn’t a member of his congregation [it’s sometimes nice.] that he should let me know.  It was both me offering to be a friend to him and me really hoping he will be my friend.  I could really use a friend who wants to play a board game on a random night or talk about church stuff.  Or go see the last Harry Potter movie.  [I’m Harry Potter friend-less.]   It would be swell.
But good news – if I did creep him out, all he needs to do is not respond and I don’t think we’ll ever really see each other again.  No harm, no regrets, and I tried.  [Unless he approaches my grandma at church and tells her what a creepy granddaughter she has.  But I don’t think he’d do that.  Or unless he comes to my ordination as a local clergy person.  He might do that.]
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