Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last Adventure of 2016

If you were to look in on me right now, it would be a sorry sight.  Here it is -  not too long after 4am on a Saturday as I begin this paragraph, plus it is our Christmas break and the Mad-Art Teacher is sitting on the couch unable to breathe through her nose.  And not sleeping....This is not cool.  I didn't get to sleep until at least midnight.   I am pretty sure that the germy little fingers of a grandchild (not sure which grandchild, actually) introduced me to this virus, and the main reason  I think THAT is that the MA got the same thing at pretty much the same time.  Oh well- that is what happens in the winter....  when you have lots of visitors who stick their little fingers all over your face.  No regrets.
Who me??  
Seriously needs to up his selfie game- lol 

I said to the MA  earlier this week that I HAD to find someone to go with me up to Bayfield, as I was really missing it and I needed an adventure.  Low and behold, the next day he casually mentions that if I hadn't found someone to go that he would!  Wait, WHAT?  This is the last work day of the year, and the man who NEVER misses a day of work, much less the second to the last day of the year (where clients call in a panic to find out what they can do to avoid paying all the taxes) and he wants to spend the day with me in Bayfield!  Huh. I was hoping that the apocalypse wasn't happening whilst we were traveling because it was that sort of an event.  Hehe  So I told him what the schedule would be and what we were doing and in what order and he was good with that.  The only issues HE actually had is that while he was driving I would be chatting away (shocking, I know) and would forget that he didn't know exactly where he was going.  He has, of course, been to Bayfield and the area before, but it has been a while and he had never been over to Meyers Beach....  but that was fine.  I just reminded myself frequently to give specific directions.  Apparently when the kids were little and we had gone to my Grandma and Grandpas in Minnesota we had come home that way, but I have no real memory of that- I was undoubtedly occupied with said rascals in the back seat.

So, I ignored the fact that I had things brewing in my head and instead- armed with zicam and a positive attitude- we left in the am to head up to Washburn.  Along the way we admired the new bridges that were installed on Hwy 13, rebuilt in less than 6 months mind you, where they had been washed out by the storm in the early summer.  There was very little sign of the power of mother nature there, except we did see where the train tracks were never fixed- rails are hanging there unsupported.  I guess the the train isn't running beyond Park Falls now- who knew?!
Vegetarian frittata with roasted rosemary potatoes mmmmmm

 I was STARVING when we arrived at Coco's for a lovely breakfast of frittata and potatoes.  I knew that it would be totally worth the wait and it was! Being there in the winter is so nice, you have choice of seating and no chance your favorite breads have been all bought up!

Look what was not at all in it's usual spot!  Docked for the winter
Bayfield was next up, and while that is always beautiful, the ice in town was a problem.  Last Monday there was a massive wind storm and it is obvious everywhere that the lake and its spray had coated the surfaces of the road and, well, every other surface as well, with ice.  Made for some hazardous walking, but we got to the docks and over to the marina area and then to Big Water Coffee!  Our next stop was going to be for a walk down on Meyer's Beach, but that was not to be.  As I mentioned- ice. And it was all over the stairs that lead to the beach, and neither of us were willing to break bones just to get down there.  sigh.  It is a nice drive over though, and there was very little traffic.  I had some alternative places to go- including for me to shoot an abandoned house by the Bayfield golf course and then stop by Friendly Valley Beach.  I knew that beach is level with the road and that we could get there without too much effort.
This was way way treacherous- I was clinging to the railing as I stepped to the top to see what that stairs were like.  Not good

Only in your dreams....

I spent a lot of time reminiscing- my sentences frequently started with: That is where Adam and I** .... or Laurie and Adam and I always .......  It was entertaining (for me at least) to think of all my Bayfield adventures and that was courtesy of memories that popped up while guiding a new person through a Bayfielding adventure.  We also stopped at the Chequamegon food co-op (no ice there!  haha) and then had a light late lunch at the Black Cat Cafe in Ashland.  We got home before it got dark, so I was able to unload all my stuff- I always take and accumulate a lot of stuff when I am in the far north- and feed the horse before dark.
** Adam- I sort want to go see Point Detour again- but not in the ice- just sayin'  ;)

We found an iceberg!  
So the Lake was just glorious- even though it was quite grey and overcast.  There was some shelf ice built up on the beach, and that ice was covered with sand.  There were other areas with worn and weathered icicles hanging from brush and a shells of ice over the rocks.  The Chequamegon Bay was fairly quiet, and was partially frozen down by Ashland,  and the South Shore- as per usual- was more active.  But, that is normal- gah, it kills me still that I couldn't get down to that lake by Cornucopia.  PLUS, while I wasn't rushed by my companion,  I could not take all the time I wanted to shoot as the wind was so cold.  So my pictures are fine, but I am NEVER satisfied.
Friendly beach and ye old Gitchee Gummee tree stump

But that keeps me trying new things and wanting new lenses (hehe) and giving me new things to do in the year to come.  2016 did not suck you guys.  It is what it is, the good and the bad- and it is all in your attitude- and in your quest for a little joy in your life.  Happy New Year's Eve to you all and be safe and happy tonight and all through the coming New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016- it was good for me! Was it good for you??

I have seen SO many posts lately about 2016 being bad- I guess if one is an aging celeb or singer- you could be hoping that it ends soon without taking you down with it. But personally, it has not been as bothersome as other years have been- and I have done some more truly spectacular things.  (Yes it is always about me- you should all know this by now)

I saw that Debbie Reynolds was rushed to the  hospital with a possible stroke- as of this moment she is still alive****....  this is a bit more alarming as I was named- at least in part- for Debbie Reynolds.  Now, it isn't like I have her posters hanging all over my bedroom or something, but I definitely enjoyed her acting in movies and on TV.  Especially as Grace's mother on Will and Grace.  Possibly because of the fact that I (and hundreds of other Debbies, Debs, Debis, Deborahs, Debras) am her namesake??  I have never really examined this fact before- so I am letting this roll around in my mind a bit.  It mystifies me that my father wanted to name me that- 1. I never took him/them for a movie star fan type 2. I am also not sure how much input he actually had in my naming actually, but the vibe I got  is that he had a big say in the matter and 3. why in the world, when there is the pretty and concise name Debra - I ended up with Deborah....  and he used to enjoy calling me Debor-ah ha..... um- what? Or maybe I have that backwards.....  One of them wanted it the short way and one the long, and since my father (as told by my mother, so you never know what spin was put on it: we all spin things the way we please) was a bit domineering at times, I am sure he got his way.  AND just fyi- my brother Ed was named for-----drum roll please.......  (maybe you guessed it!) Eddie Fischer.  Yeah, this is quite a large- well- how about that- moment. Or perhaps you just closed your browser and went on with life....  hehe

So, really this has been a pretty good year.  I had an addition to the grandchildren list - little miss Ava- and the horse indeed lived to see another year!  I was going to say I didn't break anything, but scratch that from the list....  Fortunately nothing serious.  The fall weather was GORGEOUS and of course there were the travels!  I found 2 regular kayaking buddies- one of whom I am married to. Huh, who knew.   I got new camera equipment (YESSSS) and a new editing program and that has been quite gratifying.  I am so thrilled with my pictures this year.

I was happy to spend time with many of my friends, and made new ones as well.  AND through the event of a somewhat large numbered class reunion this past summer, I have reconnected with some of my classmates who I have not talked to in SO many years!  It is really a satisfying experience!  I have also found a childhood friend and was fortunate enough to have supper with her one night, and we will definitely do that again.  While there have been some sad and scary things that have happened, in my particular life those have been fairly minimal and I am definitely grateful for that.

I am so sorry if this year sucked for you, but I for one won't be basing the success of the year based on the number of singers and other celebs have died....It is too bad about folks like David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, but that is definitely life.  I am glad that you are reading this, that you are actually still here in this world.  If you are reading what the Mad-Art teacher has to say, we are most likely in some way connected or special - and that is everything to me.  So while I do think we ought to protect Betty White at all costs (lol) there is a lot more to a year than the casualty list.  

When did this one become 14??

I hope you can look back at your 2016 and find something to smile about~ there has to be things- many things- that have given you joy.

****  well hell, poor Debbie Reynolds died after all...  One should never have to bury a child.  :(

Friday, December 23, 2016

A little photo distraction and a Merry Christmas!

As I implied in my previous ramblings, I owed you all a photo post!  Well, I am spinning it that way, so bear with me!  Here are a small selection of photos from the last 6 weeks. As I type this, my eyes are getting heavy- so I may have to abandon ship and go to bed.  We shall see.

I got out for a few outdoor shots, but between the stupid toe thing and school and having a lot of company and busy weekends, I haven't been nearly as active in my photography as I would like.  

Ella and I went on a field trip to pick up the roping for Gramma Debi's deck- and got to see the sheep!  And one massive dog!

Frost on the blueberry cage

It was a beautiful fall, so much warm weather- I was glad to get out in it. I have been exploring my Lightroom presets on a few of these pictures. It is fun to get different effects.  

It was a long warm fall

And several super sunsets!

This day was magical- I love the soft reflections

Long shadows of winter

Where does this path lead?

We haven't seen the lovely Lola her for a while.  She looked particularly fetching in the warm boring light, right?

Today was a pretty great day.  I was able to straighten up the house, get the last couple gifts wrapped and ordered.  I got to go to lunch, and all the while listened to some Pandora Christmas music...  except for the 45 min where the crazy tv turned black and quit working....  But after a little consultation- I managed to push the appropriate button and get the goofy thing reset and working...  I don't like to experiment with this sort of thing.

Only a couple days and the Mad-oldest son and his family are coming, then Monday we are having our Christmas.... this will be good!  Can't wait to get us all together in one place.  :)

So if I don't get another post on here- Merry Christmas to all my friends and family!  Wish I could give you all a glass of Christmas cheer and a hug.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I can't lose my sparkle

It has been a while since I posted here- I think about it a lot, and so you know--- here I am.  But I have begun many posts in my mind, and a post or two right on this computer- but I never actually write.  I close the browser, close the laptop and do something else.

First good snow and beginning of the ice

When I write this it is sort of like journaling and sometimes stuff comes pouring out that really wasn't intentional, and yet there it was....  I really like writing here, I love posting my pictures- it is something that makes me feel great and I have had enough people tell me how much they enjoy the various aspects of this blog, that I continue. Not that I actually HAVE to have external validation, but it is enjoyable.

So, recently it has come to my attention- not about my blog, but other online parts of life- that there are people who have no other life to live and intrude.  And I have heard about these things indirectly and so I have been feeling like I had to edit my thoughts on paper er online.  Now, this is interesting, as it is my fucking blog and I can write what I want, but because I live in a supposed civilized society- somehow I feel responsible for not pissing everyone I know off.
COLD evening in December

So this gives me anxiety, which is not good for me- at all.  Anxiety- in its milder form- has been with me my entire life.  Of course we all get anxious at times, that is part of life, but I definitely have some periods that I am pretty much paralyzed when I have down time.  I function fine within my work, but when I get home I am done.  If my mind latches onto something that is upsetting, or if I feel I have unknowingly wronged someone (story of my life) or similarly they have been unfair to me, I can barely function.  It is a problem. Fortunately I can shake myself off of it if I make sure I get to the gym or outside.... but this is not always the case.  I know I don't have a serious case, but still.... and Christmas doesn't make it any easier.  But I will say, I have worked through a lot of my Christmas related litany of unrealistic expectations and at least that is much easier to deal with.

You may find it hard to believe I feel this way, but you just don't always know what goes on in the inside of someone, not matter how joyful they appear to be.

As mentioned above, exercise is a saving grace for me, and if I can't get out and do some heavy duty cardio, my mental health does suffer a bit.  So one of the things that I have not written about since I last said hello- along with some STUPID cold weather, Thanksgiving, Ella visiting, kiddo sitting for the mad middle son, Christmas shopping and decorating and my other random carryings on- is something that has sort of stopped me from doing that good for me exercise.  If you ask certain people in my life- lets say younger people who are possibly in the same room as me during the morning, you may find out a supposed story about a large heavy mirror come crashing down on my toe- a toe that I am positive got smashed into an electron cloud of owie...   But we all know that nothing is done to injured/busted big toes, so aside from icing and a few ibuprofen, I did not bother to go get it X-rayed.  I just don't find the inside of the clinic all that enticing... and NO ONE wants to fill out that workmans comp report... oy.  so yeah, I can sort of weight-lift and I can walk a couple miles.... and I have found I can sit and ride the exercise bike at the gym, if I can beg someone to come and talk to me while I am doing it.

I just looked at my last few blog posts and see a similar anxious note to them, and that makes me sort of sad.  So while I refuse to adjust my musings for the pleasure of others, I also know that I need to deal with this all and move on.  So many parts of my life have hit a wonderful rhythm, and very satisfying relationships help keep me even and grounded.   I have come to understand a lot of things about myself in the last few years that really make life so much easier- so I have just a bit more work to do. A few more things to understand.
I had walked down to the boat landing in November- before  hunting season...  on this lovely day.  When I got home, I hopped in my car and brought the DSLR down and took these.  So glad I did

I do have a lot more to tell you and some more photos to share.  And I have to get rocking and rolling on that, as Christmas is coming and I have company coming,  and hopefully some Bayfielding!  Because I am missing that- big time.  Not to mention the dal at Coco's - mmmmm and the falafel.

So shake off all the crap if you can and find your joy!  And remember to live in the moment and enjoy the people who are the most important to you.  Everyone else can just wait.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Warm thoughts....

We knew it would happen.  We knew that winter would find us..... yet we were all so happy about this  warm weather.  And then BAM.  You guys it is cold out there.  Holy crap cold- the high being lower than the lows last week cold.  But since the "we" I am referring to are the people of the north, we will adjust pretty quickly- as soon as we grudgingly drag our winter coats out of the back of the closet and move them to a more prominent location.  Oh well.  And at some point there could be gloves involved but let's not get over excited yet.


That being said, I barely left the house all weekend.  I went to the grocery store- twice- but that is about it.  I did go to the gym yesterday, for a while, but my silly foot is still a bit sore so like a logical human being, I am going to let it heal another day or two.

Ancient ruins in the old part of Roma
So what happened to my foot you might ask?  Well, I am just going to say that a heavy thin object dropped straight down on it, and I have a very interesting coloration on my big toe and the top of my foot right now.  Stuff happens.  The nice thing is that I am now wise enough to let it heal and not think- I am going to ignore this and press on and exhaust myself!!  Foot be damned!!  nope. Not this time.  I'll give it a few days and then get back at it.  My toe still is not thrilled to be curled up or to be used to push off or hold my balance well.  So, wait I will.

I love how the restaurants in Italy have people out on the street enticing you to come in. 
That is the nice thing about being done with the craziness of dieting, over-exercising and crap like that.  You can listen to your actual body and do the right thing for it.  And "strangely" it allows you to live your life like you want and need!  So I will need to go for a somewhat extended walk soon, I am thinking Wednesday will be a good day, and a little weightlifting as well.  I need to stay strong for my adventures!
Ostia Antica

Any who,  I have been doing a little photo editing whilst cleaning out my Lightroom program.  I am attempting to stay on top of things and not let pictures that I absolutely will never use, print, publish or in anyway need, build up in my Lightroom catalog.  I am being drawn in again to my Italy pictures.  Next time I go there, and there WILL be a next time, I will be taking more time to see things more slowly.  And be able to take pictures more carefully. We packed a lot of living into that trip, but I need to be able to have more time in just a few places.  Venice, Florence and a few more places in the north are high on my priority list.

I was enraptured by all the different sorts of marble- this blew me away
I definitely want to see more of the US and NEED to visit England and Germany as well, so I have a lot of things in the queue for the next several summers.  So if I seem crabby when people try to schedule my time off, that is definitely why.  I have tentative plans for next summer that involve a new ocean for me and a new coast.  :)

IONIC COLUMN TOP!!!!!! This one **may** have been caressed 
I look at the pictures and think about how excited I was for that trip.  The build-up was spectacular and I hope I didn't drive my friends crazy.  The trip itself was SO good, the weather was amazing, albeit super warm.  Then the dreamy high of coming home and trying to describe the feeling and color and tastes and smells was sublime.  I wonder if I will ever have THAT much anticipation again. Will I ever feel so deeply the excitement of flying so far, being immersed in a country where you do not know the language, finding a culture that is so different and yet seems very comfortable and easy. I hope so. I know that every time I do something new- I get a thrill that is the best feeling imaginable.  I know I stare in awe and wonder, I cry if I am moved, touch everything that I am allowed to,  I eat all the interesting food that I can (I still can't eat a frozen pizza- just no) and revel in the new.  If I ever become nonchalant I will know I need to push out of my comfort zone, yet again.

Starting and ending this post with Wisconsin beauty

Because I find when I am out of my safe and easy comfort zone, that is when I often find the most joy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Loss of words

I have had a massive writers block lately, for a variety of reasons.  Some of the biggest reasons are the political and social happenings that are in the news right now.  I can't even with them.  And here is the thing- I have been reticent to say anything about what is going on because I didn't want to get slammed from either side of the aisle.  I have VERY good friends who hang out on the right and the left side of this political scene and I just don't want to get into it with any one.  (I do discuss politics with one person, but that is literally it) If you know me well at all, you know that it gives me anxiety.  I am not sure why but it does, and I know when I am consistently anxious bad things happen to my health.  So, I choose not to participate.  As you can imagine, with all the stupidity going on right now, you can't help but think about it and participate to at least a small degree.  Ugh.

So here is the thing- I have allowed the opinions of others to dictate some of the ways I have been feeling and what I have been doing.  Of course that is not out of the ordinary seeing we are a social animal.  But I have been paralyzed by thoughts that have run through my mind over and over and over about certain people and situations.  I've been caught in a real mental trap, and this morning I woke up and decided I can't let these things rule me anymore.

I've sort of had a perfect storm of family, friend, and public issues pop up and I've had to medicate myself to sleep.  I worry I am doing the right thing, will it "look" right to people I care about, am I doing enough for some of them, and generally stressing out about everything and everyone.  While I will not stop worrying completely about a lot of this, because if you know me- then you KNOW that won't happen, I will go on about my business as I see fit.  And if you think I am referring to you specifically- don't assume.  You are most likely wrong.

There are circles I participate in where I am quite vocal about not letting the opinion of others influence what you do or don't do.  Much of that has to do with body image and what you do or don't eat and such things like that. Deciding that how you look is your business, and not that of others- especially driven by media based ideas of worthy.  And if you imagine that someone is "judging" you, you need to do what is right for you, not for them.  So life decided to serve my own words up on a silver platter for me this morning when that aha moment crystalized.

So today I am going to be working on my joy again.  It has to happen- I can't continue being on edge and on alert and feeling unsafe.  So, off I go- I hope you have found your joy today too.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BEST day

I have been known to set myself up for disappointment at times.  I expect things to be perfect and every one happy and I will get great gifts and people will be loving the ones I gave them- yes I am talking to you Christmas!  I generally prefer Thanksgiving because I definitely can cook, and that is really all any one really wants is a yummy meal and pie for heavens sakes.  Pie.  For. Days.  I actually have the remains of a pie in my frig- apple/cranberry and that is a definite yes sort of a pie!

Morning light + fog + a few bright leaves+ a deer= typical wisconsin
So here I am at 4:46 on a day when I really could be sleeping in, but no.  No my brain has been doing stupid things when it comes to sleeping and it was awake.  I even did a little weightlifting and then walked 6 plus miles yesterday, did yard work and everything.....  one would think one would sleep well.  But one would be wrong.  My mind was twitchy last night and I am not sure why.

From the downtown LaCrosse area just off the Mississippi
Anyway, I am getting off track and I am actually writing this about the last day of Daylight Savings Time.  We all know everyone is going to complain about it and trying to get their sleep schedule back and all, especially in April (raises hand)  (is it April??) when we lose that hour.  But boy this is a nice day.  It doesn't hurt that the unnaturally warm weather will let me do what I want outside.

I know I am sort of on an island about this, but I really really love the way the day sort of drags on.  It is Sunday and the weekend and we all are needing a little tiny bit longer weekend.  I know I do!

The river walk in Lacrosse is so beautiful
This year is intense- my days at school go so fast and everyone needs everything now.  Everyone is impatient.  It seems rare for me to be able to sit back or lean on a table and chit chat with the kids....  and this week I have a thing that I have to do with a few of my student's artwork and it must be done by basically Thursday night.  Color me annoyed, lets just put it that way.

But things come up that are interesting and unexpected and that keeps me thinking and challenged and that is perfect.

So I am going to go sip my coffee and read a book and enjoy a little extra time doing not a whole lot of anything....  And here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

I was quite taken with the beautiful bridge that goes over the Mississippi 

Enjoy your Sunday!  I like to treat this day like a snowy- purely (well, mostly) for things I want to do.  And that will be a joy....