Archive | outdoors. RSS feed for this section

A perfect fall day.

15 Oct

Not today.  Today is rainy and gloomy.  I shut my alarm off unknowingly in my slumber and went back to sleep this morning because it was so gray.  [Then I showered and served lutefisk at the Lutheran church in Blooming Prairie for a couple hours.  Uffda.]

But Sunday – Sunday was the perfect fall day.  There was a little chill to the morning but the sun came out to play later and stayed around for most of the day.  It was a fall festival afternoon at Red Oak Grove.  Farmer Tom pulled a crowd of us on hayracks to the woods where we had a bonfire and a nature scavenger hunt.  Fun.

The fun continued at Farmer John’s down the road.  Paige, jD, Lauren and Elliot came over and we went in search of the perfect appa.  [That’s Elliot-speak for pumpkin.]  We explored the fields, the silo slide, and then came back to the parsonage for chili and pumpkin dessert.  The perfect fall day all around.

1379251_10153332520770442_439273275_n

Lauren captured this photo and I just think it’s the best. Of his own accord, Elliot grabbed both of our hands and we started walking together. For cute times a million.

photo 1 photo 2

Visiting neighbors.

2 Oct

Week and a half blog hiatus?  Check.

I’m back.  With a story.

The day was Monday.  I was in Austin at the library checking out baby name books [Concerned?  Don’t be.  They were for naming my baby confirmation tonight.] and running a couple errands.  I got home with just about 45 minutes left of daylight and Mabel & I needed to go for a walk pronto.

I ran upstairs, changed my clothes, and came downstairs to a knock at the front door.  I answered the door to find my neighbor there.  He’s in upper elementary school and he learned how to ride a bike this summer.  He rode his bike over as his older sister often does too.

L: Hi Alex!  How are you?
A: Hi.  Good.
L: What’s up?
A: Well, Rachel [the older sister] is at dance right now … so … I thought I would come over and visit.

How cute is that?  He thought he would come over for a visit!  I love it.  And so I ended up going for a walk with Mabel and a neighbor on a bike.  We did the cemetery loop, all the while Alex telling me about the types of vines that were on the trees.  Grape vines, wood vines, and one with red leaves he wasn’t quite sure about.  I learned a lot about vines that night.

On a related note, tonight one of the confirmation students was late joining the group.  Sorry, she said.  I was outside talking to Rachel.  She rode her bike here to visit you but I told here you were busy.

I love it.  I love visitors.

Today was not my favorite. But then –

3 Sep

Today was eh.  Office work and some work that I kinda feel shouldn’t be within the realm of pastoral duties.  Work like climbing into a parked semi trailer to take photos of auction items.  [Did I miss that on my job description?]  And this weird work – there’s lots of it.  With the school year beginning [wait.  summer is over?  how did that happen?], church work doubles as it is.  Rally Sunday, confirmation kick-off retreat, annual meeting [ours in in September.  it’s best not to even ask.], schedules, plans, pull-out-my-hair.

So today in the office was not my favorite.  I told Marilyn and Bob-the-treasurer that I was going to cry.  But then –

For confirmation this year, instead of one big informational meeting that half the families can’t make anyways, I’m visiting with each family one-on-one.  Tonight I headed just down the road a mile and a half to visit with my ninja friend, Elly, and her family.  Coming to confirmation this year will also be her younger sister.  They’re just a super warm family and even though I promised them that my visit would only be 15 minutes, I was there for an hour.  We talked about confirmation and then the kids went away while their parents and I talked about all things vintage.  Pyrex, Nancy Drew classics, mason jars.  For a living, they go to auctions, snap up stuff, and then sell it on etsy and ebay.  They showed me their goods and talked about their business.  Super interesting!

They also told me a neighborhood secret.  About three-quarters of a mile from the church is a road.  A secret road.  Okay.  It’s not secret at all but I always just assumed it was private property and only used by farm equipment.  Turns out this access road is fair game.  It’s gravel and dirt but so much more relaxing than walking Mabel on the road.  We found our new walking route and explored it tonight.

On our way back from the [not] secret road, all of a sudden, one of the neighbor kids is sprinting towards me.  He was running just to, you know, chat.  And show me his new wallet.  The neighbor family had been gone for two weeks on a road trip and things were really kinda lonely without them around.  It was weird to walk past their house and not see them outside playing, or see lights on in their house.  So Alex ran to say hi and tell me that the favorite part of his trip was seeing the beach where The Goonies was filmed.  Then his older sister, Rachel, rode her bike down to join us.  Soon the younger brother was there, along with the mom and the dog, and we stood in their driveway for a good 45 minutes catching up on summer.

Now I’m home.  I ate farm-fresh eggs for dinner [thanks to administrative assistant and chicken farmer extraordinaire, Marilyn] and the day will end on a high note by watching Netflix and basting hexagons.  Today was not my favorite … but then it turned out to be quite okay.

I'll be adding to this pile - the weekend's productivity.

I’ll be adding to this pile – the weekend’s productivity.

Where’d you go, Lindsay?

12 Aug

You haven’t posted since last Wednesday, Lindsay.  No Friday Favorites.  No other posts.  Where have you been?

Honestly?

Honestly.

I’ve been hand sewing hexagons and watching The West Wing.

True story.

I checked out a book on English paper piecing hexagons last week from the library.  Hexagons have been on my sewing to-learn list for a while now and I finally decided to tackle them.  One of the best things?  It’s hand sewing so I can do it while watching television.  About that …

I needed a new series to watch on Netflix.  I chose The West Wing.  I chose right.  I’m hooked.  In the past week, I’ve had a hard time distinguishing what political stories are actually facing the country in real life, and which are fictional.

So that’s where I’ve been.  Sewing hexagons and watching meetings in the White House while really liking Danny the press guy.  That’s probably where I’ll be all week too.

[It’s not the only place I’ve been.  I went to the Cities for college friend time on Friday.  I cleaned my bedroom – a room in my house that’s been a disaster all summer.  It’s lovely now.  I ran errands on Saturday morning, timing it deliberately so I could mail a package when the cute, young guy works the post office counter.  Mabel and I went for many meandering walks in this beautiful weather.  I finished another baby quilt.  But the one place I haven’t been?  On my computer.]

IMG_2605

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.

Monday @ MISA.

22 Jul

Hello again from the island.

photo-108

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.

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 –

photo-95

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

* Friends reference.

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.

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.]

snowshoein’.

14 Mar

The sun was shining.  It felt warm[ish] outside.  I could have sat in the library and wrote the rest of my sermon but I could also do that tomorrow when the weather is icky and gross.  So today, after my noon -2 pm meeting, I chose sunshine.

The Hormel Nature Center in Austin rents snowshoes and cross country skis to use on their trails.  Luck would have it that on Thursday afternoons beginning at 3pm they are free.  I strapped on a pair of snowshoes and spent a couple hours on the trails, meeting some deer and snowman friends along the way.

%d bloggers like this: