Thursday, June 30, 2011

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.

Thank you, Michael Jordan. My sentiments exactly. On our motorcycle trip to Canada last weekend, I had a lot of time on my hands, time I spent thinking and watching the gorgeous summer skies around me. The clouds were especially playful.

So, what you have to do is match the words to the cloud formation: poodle, prowling cat, seahorse and pyramids. It'll be fun, I promise!

For more fun skies, visit Skywatch Friday here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

OK, when I say flax, you say phlox

Have you noticed that all the difficult letters are stuck on the end of the alphabet? Is it a coincidence? Because of that mystery, I am taking the liberty of posting photos for ABC Wednesday's letter du jour, X with words that only have an x in them. Blue flax above, tiny & dear and lavender creeping phlox below along with the odd and engaging Prairie Smoke. Of course, these were both captured in my neighbors' yards, with the admonition 'Don't step on anything.'
In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. ~Charlie Brown


Monday, June 27, 2011


I give you red from northern Minnesota in anticipation of another snow filled winter [something I am loathe to think about.] These vehicles advertise for a company called Mattracks in Karlstad that manufactures rubber track conversion kits.

From the silly clever to the reds in the summer annuals on my deck. Above are the little, sliver-y blooms on a Nectarine Sage plant on the left, and below a cherry -red geranium decked out for the Fourth of July to come.

Have fun visiting Mary's meme for more reds.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the
vast and endless sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A cloudy day on White Bear Lake doesn't stand in the way of fishing. And the weather vane atop a gazebo roofed boathouse points to good sailing ahead. See more skies, some might actually be blue, here.
Tomorrow we head out on two wheels to Winnipeg to visit old and dear friends. Stay tuned as I'm sure to have some pics of South Dakotan and Canadian skies to share next week.
Happy summer weekend, all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

windows: the daydreamer's tools of the trade

examples of sublime windows in Chicago and D.C.
looking out the window at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

So they all went away from the little log house. The shutters were over the windows, so the little house could not see them go. It stayed there inside the log fence, behind the two big oak trees that in the summertime had made green roofs for Mary and Laura to play under.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

More W fun at ABC Wednesday here. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Skywatch Friday from the Land of Sky Blue Waters

Another photo of the highway running through the Chippewa [Ojibwa*] National Forest from a motorcycle trip a couple of weeks ago. This forest is unique because it has both a mix of northern hardwood forest between the western Minnesota prairies and northern boreal [coniferous] forest to the north and east toward Duluth and Lake Superior. And the sky is always huge here.

*The Ojibwa people call themselves Anishinabe in their own language, which means 'original person.'

Visit Skywatch Friday for more sky views.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'. . .my purse is empty. . .'

Being an inveterate people watcher, I can't stop myself from a) watching and b) photographing the watchees. These three were admiring Marc Chagall's paintings in Philadelphia this spring. I liked the progression of the smaller work and short lady to larger painting and taller women, with Erica listening and viewing. So, I present you V for viewing, viewers and viewee [me]. Visit ABC Wednesday for more vees.

My name is Marc, my emotional life is sensitive
and my purse is empty,
 but they say I have talent. 
Marc Chagall

Monday, June 13, 2011

From red to redder, tis the season of peonies. Ants are busy helping loosen the many petals in each bloom.
A sure sign of spring.
Maedchen mit Pfingstrosen [Girl With Peonies] by  Alexej Von Jawlensky, 1909
Von Jawlensky was part of the early 20th century  Blauer Reiter movement along with the father of Expressionism, Wasilly Kandinsky, August Macke, Lionel Feininger, Albert Bloch and my favorite, Franz Marc, among others.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

family resemblance

Two Canada geese, like father like son, noshing along the lake. Note the exact alignment of a piece of grass on the right side of each bill. That's what is known as natural precision. . .or goofiness interrupted. See more antics @ Misty Dawn's camera critters.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

that was the week that was

The skies in Minnesota this week ran in extremes. These are four examples of what I mean. Thats factoring in a record breaking 103 degrees on Tuesday and 69 degrees today just for variety. Look up here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

the big blue

ABC Wednesday's letter du jour is U -- for uncles. I've had many, one who played in the minor league with Joe DiMaggio, one who was a carpenter, another owned a photo shop, two were teachers but my favorite would have to be Uncle Willis, who raised me.
Once upon a time. . .

He had followed Blood and Guts  George Patton’s Third Army across Europe and helped clean out enemy concentration camps after the war, but I’ve always thought that Uncle Willis mustered the most courage to drive down our street that day in June, 1963. I saw something blue  protruding from the trunk of his car.
Uncle Willis, along with my grandmother, had raised me in a small Idaho town after my mother, his sister, had come home with a new baby in her arms. A separate act of courage, that, because my grandmother had detested the man my mother had to marry. Grandma threatened to disown her daughter if she did marry him. I was born eight months later into a cheerless two-room apartment that smelled of alcohol and abuse. Soon after my birth my mother left my dad, moving back home, a move that probably saved my life as well as hers. Grandma accepted her prodigal daughter back into her home, but my mother eventually moved back with my dad. She promised to come back for me soon.  Soon turned into five years, long enough for me to give my heart to the unlikely couple the elderly lady and her adult son.
   When I turned six, I was legally removed from Grandma’s home and sent to live in another town with my parents. My new life began in a 1950’s housing development and first grade at St. Anthony’s School.  My mother worked every day, leaving me with my father, who didn’t hold a job. He in turn would farm me out to relatives who could use some help with their ironing or babysitting after school, all sandwiched between physical abuse by my father.
I grew more sullen, lonely for my grandmother and frightened of my father’s belt.   A girls’ blue Schwinn bicycle invaded my daydreams and sprouting wings, flying over the housetops of my neighborhood filled my dreams at night.   I would have settled for a used bike and it didn’t have to be blue, although that was my favorite color.
           Grandma and Uncle Willis made bittersweet visits to my parents’ home in the ensuing years. They couldn’t have felt welcome there but they wouldn’t stay away.    Grandma died when I was in junior high school. I saw less and less of Uncle Willis as he dealt with his grief and moved on into his middle age. During his infrequent visits to our home I would catch him looking at me out of the corner of his eye, sometimes winking at me. He saw the face of a child he had called Noni who had grown up with violence. Many times I saw him shake his head, perhaps from feelings of helplessness and anger. Through those years I know he saw the light go out from my eyes as the abuse extracted its dues from my life. My memories kept me connected to him.
          I never asked Uncle Willis to buy me a bike.   I still dreamt of flying away from my situation but by 8th grade had given up leaving on a bicycle. What gave him the courage to buy the used blue bicycle he brought to me that day, facing my parents’ disapproval?  When had he made the decision? Did it cost him a lot of money? Did I adequately thank him as he lifted it from his trunk that day? Tying my transistor radio to the handlebars, after a few shaky tries, I took off down the dusty road in front of my house.  I remember looking back over my shoulder and waving to Uncle Willis.
                                                            I had sprouted wings.

Monday, June 6, 2011

sweet home Minnesota

We took our first long motorcycle ride of the season this weekend thanks to a break in the rain. Heading north by northwest as far as Detroit Lakes through the Chippewa Natl. Forest we rode for over 500 miles under bright blue skies and puffy clouds across newborn farmland. 
Many small farming communities dotted the map, with populations ranging from 50 to 500 residents. In the town of Wadena, in Wadena County, we drove past this deserted drive in theatre. All that remained was this sign for the Wadena Drive In,  the projection/snack building and weeds. 
 The sun was setting behind us and I could catch the rosy red reflections on the back of Dave's helmet. I took this on the move but you get the idea. Also, you can see more reds here @ Ruby Tuesday.