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Stillwater getaway.

27 May

Last year, right around this time, I stayed at my first B&B in Grand Marais.  I went away to Stillwater this past Thursday thru Saturday for another B&B getaway.  Well, kinda.  Paige and I have joked with our Stillwater synod pal, Karen, for months that we would come to stay at her B&B, aka her house.  This past weekend we finally did.

Our accommodations were lovely at the B&B.  We were welcome to come and go as we pleased and were invited to sample the lovely cereal varieties available.  We were close enough to downtown to take a walking tour, including stops at the now closed theological bookstore, the daily grind for coffee, and the co-op for yummy sandwiches.  We ate dinner out on a patio overlooking the river with our hosts and devoured too much ice cream for our own good on a walk to Nelson’s.  Saturday morning was another coffee shop, relaxing by reading, and a late lunch on the screen porch before our departure.  It was all things lovely.

Eventually, the weekend had to end and we had to depart.  I didn’t even make it to the southern edge of the cities before Paige had to listen to me cry.  The weekend [well, Thursday thru Saturday] was so lovely that I didn’t want to go home.  Go home to Sunday sermon prep.  Go home where life isn’t like a B&B at all, where there are no patios to sit on, or friends to eat every meal with.  Go home and not have a long weekend like the rest of the world. [See screen shot of tweet above.] I think the tears are a symptom – I’m burned out.  I think I’m long ready for a vacation.  A full week off.  Luckily, that’s only two and a half weeks away.  Alaska, here I come.

The Stolen’s Museum.

15 May

I went home this past Sunday for one quick night after a full weekend of work and a busy Sunday morning.  I went home to join my family at Geep’s.  We gathered at Grandpa Sid’s house to clean it out.  It was not the ideal way to spend time together, going thru Grandpa’s cabinets and out buildings and packing up boxes.  Not ideal at all but we found some fun moments in the midst of it.

Grandpa Sid labeled everything.  Everything.  Need a broom?  Naturally, it’s hanging on a nail that above it in pencil is written BROOM on the wall.  A key?  It’s on a nail with the word KEY written and circled above it.  Wonder what that light switch turns on?  It’s probably labeled.

Need a hammer?  No need to label those by writing on the wall because they were located every five yards.  I bet we found thirty hammers.  Hammers everywhere.  Never more than a few steps from anywhere.  I talked to the Alaska brother, Ben, on the phone the day after and he asked how it went, not being able to be there himself since he was – you know – in the arctic.  We found a lot of hammers, I said.  I bet you did, he chuckled.  It really was no surprise.

What else did we find?  Admission prices to the Stolen’s Museum.  See, the garage/shed on my Grandpa’s property used to house, oh, 30-some restored gas pumps and old, classic tractors.  I actually invited one of my school classes there for a field trip one year in elementary school.  There were also vintage cream separators and classic metal gasoline and tobacco signs.  It was very nearly an actual museum.  According to the perfect printing in the cement on the floor of the museum – done by one father, John, who wrote in all pieces of wet cement – it was closed on Sundays.  And now it’s nearly empty.

I picked rhubarb from Grandpa’s patch and came home with a china set of Grandma’s.  [A pattern of china which, oddly enough, I drank coffee from on a home visit today.  I’d never seen the pattern before Sunday and now it seems to be stalking me.]  I think my Grandma would be happy to know that her Pyrex bowls will continue to live on in my kitchen, and that the mason jars from the cellar are finding new homes too.

It still is indeed sad to think that I may never again set foot on that property.  I’ve known it all my life.  I would walk down the waterway and across the creek to visit and steal fudgesicles from the freezer in the summer.  As us kids got older, we would ride our bikes around the block and Grandma and Grandpa’s was always our stop for water before we attempted to ride up the hill home again. It’s the porch on which I placed a May Day basket on many a May 1st, and the kitchen table at which I chatted with Grandpa over an open atlas.  And there was always a hammer available when you needed one.

Friday Favorites: Yellow

29 Mar

I sit here, drinking my coffee.  Not yet showered or ready for the noon Good Friday service of which I am a part.  I sit here, envious of my sister and cousins and aunt and uncle who are in Chicago for the day.  I wish I was there with them.  I sit here, ready for an empty tomb.  I’ll be heading home to WI after our two Easter services for the briefest of brief visits.  Sometimes being a grown-up isn’t that much fun at all.

I sit here, preparing myself to share with you the most favorite things I’ve come across this week.  With the full moon that popped in the night sky and the sun that has begun to shine once again, you’ll sense a theme.  Yellow, yellow, yellow.

Classic lemon tart.  This sounds beyond delicious and quite simple, actually.

Cap’n Crunch is yellow.  Ever thought about coating French toast with it?  Crunchy French toast with Cap’n Crunch coating.  I’m so serious.  Will someone please come sleepover at my house so we can try it?  Pleeease?  [I’m a closet Cap’n Crunch lover.  Growing up we had two kinds of cereal in our house: rice crispies and corn flakes.  But if I ever was over at someone’s house with Cap’n Crunch, oh boy.]

Maybe yellow will be the color of my kayak.  My friend, Sara, and I are officially registered for an overnight kayak trip in the Apostle Islands this summer.  We are so super excited!  Now I need to buy a sleeping bag … and rain gear … maybe a tent …

How cute is the DIY dog bed?  It would need to be a pretty large one for Mabel, the giant yellow lab, but it’s still a super cute idea.

Last but not least – it’s not overly yellow but it goes with the weekend.  Happy Easter, friends.

bye for now.

22 Dec
My Grandpa Sid [affectionately Geeps, Gpa, Popsicle and many other terms of endearment] died last night.  He had been on hospice for many months and just in the last week moved into an assisted living facility.  He was 91 and pretty awesome.
I’ll always remember as a child, together with a brother or cousin or something, Grandpa pushing us down an icy hill as we sat cross-legged in a metal bushel basket.  He’d give it a good twist before letting us go too.  I know – it doesn’t sound safe and it likely wasn’t, but, boy, it was fun for a little kid.  Such is farm life.
I remember him always walking to the bookshelf to get the atlas whenever I was at his house visiting. We’d have to look up my flight pattern to Africa or find out exactly where Dawson is or discuss the route I was taking to Alaska.  He liked that atlas.
I remember him always leaving after communion during church if the sermon was too long.  Preachers – take note.  He didn’t understand why church should take longer than an hour and breached the topic with me many times once I was ordained.
I’ll remember the way his laugh was practically silent when you got him laughing really hard.  It was usually the boy brothers and boy cousins who could get him going.  Oh, and the way he always responded when you asked him how he was.  Pretty good, *insert name of person asking*, pretty good with a gentle head nod.  It’s become a bit of a catch phrase in the family; I remember even getting a little Logan to say it on repeat.
Oh, Grandpa, with your pinstripe overalls and tight script handwriting.  He was a pretty great penpal too.  He sent me a birthday letter just a few weeks ago with the latest happenings.  His closing is pretty perfect too.  Bye for now.  Sounds about right, Gpa.  Bye for now.

ps. here is a post I wrote in August about the cuteness of Gpa.

a thankful november: new gnome.

27 Nov
There was a package on my doorstep today.  It came from Alaska and had a gnome inside.
See, my brother, Ben, went to the local library book basket auction.  [I guess it’s a thing.]  There was a gnome basket for auction; it’s the one he went home with and the one he then transferred to a box to send to me.  There are gardening tools, seeds, a book on container gardening [perfect for me!], and a new gnome.
I was digging through the box, pulling the items out one by one and excited about the contents.  Whoever put the basket together for auction is awesome and quite possibly my long lost twin.  I set the heavy gnome on the counter.  I shall call him Gandalf the Green.  He has a walking stick. 
I kept going thru the box contents and found one last book.  It’s then that I realized the error of my ways – my gnome collecting ways.  That one last book?  How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will).  Shit.  My gnomes are going to kill me.
My collection of gnomes?  People sending me new gnomes for my collection?  And those poor people in Dawson, surrounded by gnomes!  I suddenly was aware that I wasn’t simply gathering cute and innocent gnomes in my corner curio cabinet.  I’m freakin’ helping them achieve their evil endgame by bringing them together.  The dark one is gathering all armies to him.  It won’t be long now.  He will soon be ready to make his last war that will cover all the world in darkness.  [Just a little LOTR for you.  To make Gandalf the Green feel at home.]
Needless to say, this package from my brother may be more than simple thoughtfulness and fun.  This package will help me survive the inevitable garden gnome attacks. 
This package may save my life.  

sh*t Molly does.

26 Nov
Emma and I dreamed and planned this blog post as we went shopping with cousin Molly and hung out with cousin Molly.  She does wackiest things and doesn’t care one bit what people think.  Oh, to be like that.  She talks about burying food in the backyard in case of the zombie apocalypse and quotes Dumb and Dumber along with the freaky horror movie preview we saw at the theater.  Molly is frickin’ hilarious and this is the shit she does.  [Not pictured: the bbq potato chip face mask she created at jimmy john’s.]

playing the organ at grandma & grandpa’s in emma’s old prom dress.  naturally.

four inch heels for a thirteen year old?

black friday shopping is exhausting.

they sell this at target.  not kidding.

vacation.

22 Oct
I feel like I needed to come back to Austin to rest up.  From vacation.  It was a busy one.
Vacation got a late start.  Originally, I was going to drive home to Wisconsin on Saturday morning but then MasterChef excitement entered the equation.  I was going to go home Saturday night but then MasterChef excitement continued through Monday.  [which meant church at ROG went on Sunday morning as Mabel and I hid in the parsonage, pretending we weren’t there.]  It was late Monday night when I finally stepped foot at my mom’s on Aarback Road and it was for the last time.
Going home meant staying at this home [where my family has been since I was 16] for the last time.  My mom has sold the house and is in the process of building another.  The current home must be moved out of by mid-November.  The future home will not be done until mid-December.  My mom is moving into my grandparent’s for the month of limbo and that means I am homeless when I drive home for thanksgiving.  [There’s a couch out there somewhere with my name on it.]
It was super crazy and weird to stay for the last time in this house.  I’ve moved enough in my life to not be super attached to locations or houses, but this place was still home for the last 12 years.  Super weird.  But seeing the skeleton of the new house come together was exciting too.  And seeing my mom excited about it makes me excited.  All will be well.
So there was that.  And there was hurriedly finishing a baby quilt for Banana, Kim, as I went to her baby shower on Saturday before driving back to MN.  [I was in such a rush to finish it and wrap it for the shower that I forgot to take a picture of it!  It was chevron stripe-y in cream, brown, red, green, blue, and polka dots.  Super cute, if-I-don’t-say-so-myself.]  There was a movie night with Aunt Kari and cousin Molly.  We had family over one evening for dinner since my brothers from Appleton and Alaska were home too.  Alaska brother taught us a new card game – Sheepshead.  Super complicated and fun.  Visiting all sorts of family and friends and beginning to reread Harry Potter rounded out the all-too-fast week.
We didn’t see this.  Pitch Perfect was the movie of choice.

Look at this little man with huge eyes!  A banana baby.

Molly and I colored with cousins Logan and Kennedy.  We created a combination sheep and buddy.  [A compromise made because Lindsay can’t make sheep faces.]

Mabes.

Baby shower for Kim and Mike!  As indicated by glass in bottom left corner, there was much wine at said shower.

To Linsay. From Gpa.

3 Aug
I don’t want to be that person but I would just like to say that if my Grandpa Sid were to enter a cute grandpa contest – is there such a thing? – he would probably win.  Or at least medal.  For example –
He came to visit me in Austin with my Aunt Peggy at the end of June.  He met Marilyn in the office and after he left, she told me, “What a cute grandpa.  You tell him that.”  I told this story to Aunt Peggy and she reminded me of a story from years ago.  Grandpa had been in the hospital for many weeks with pneumonia and the day he was released, a nurse came to say goodbye.  She was off-duty.  And she brought her family.  To meet Geeps before he left because he is so cute.  He woos his nurses and not intentionally; he’s just that cute and smiley and soft-spoken.  I met his hospice nurse while I was home this past week; she left and said, “I just love coming to visit you, Sid.  You are so sweet.”  Bottom line: he’s cute.
Cuteness amplified is how he has always spelled my name wrong.  For as long as I remember, birthday cards, Christmas mail, and anything I received from Geeps that he has made [a spice rack lazy susan, a coat rack, a toolbox] has my name written as Linsay.  It’s cool.  The d is kinda silent when you say it.  He has phonetics on his side.  [Even if you disagree, don’t argue.  It’s cute.]
When I was home to see him this past week, I was instructed to pick out a birdhouse.  Grandpa is handy and always creating, whether something from scratch in the work space in his garage or refurbishing a gas pump.  In the last years, he has made numerous bird houses with all sorts of widgets and gadgets on them.  They’re really quite funky and awesome.  I chose one made from barn board, and one with things like a pocket watch, a toy tractor, and pocket knives attached to the sides.  I will treasure it.
Before I left with the birdhouse, I asked Geeps to write on the bottom of it.  His signature “To Linsay.  From Gpa Sid.” with the date in his scripted cursive writing.  He’s so dang cute.  Overalls and all.

cousin connor.

1 Aug
I went to my Wisconsin home.

And now I’ve come back.
I said goodbye to cousin Connor as he departs this coming weekend for a semester [or perhaps even a year] in Ghana.  Connor, my birthday cousin, loves chocolate cakepops.  In honor of his awesomeness, I made him a set of cakepops meant to resemble the flag of Ghana.  
I walk up the driveway with the pan of cakepops and show Connor.  Look, it’s the flag of Ghana!
Is it? asks Connor.
Seems he would have been happy with just a bunch of pops in a bag.
It will be so strange for him to be gone for so many months, or even potentially a year.  He’s my Thanksgiving bake-off buddy and the one with whom I share my December 8th birthday.  He’s pretty fun too.  We went to a movie together while I was home [along with two more cousins and a sister] and I just enjoy him.
He’s a pretty great kid.  He’s one who was freaked beyond belief that I was going to spend three weeks in Tanzania, only to follow me to Africa for three summers in Kenya.  He’s made some great connections in Kenya and has actually started an organization to help people in Africa.  Check it out and if you have any old cell phones to donate, let me know and I can get them to the right place.

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.

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