To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I meant to tell you...

is not what I'm going to blog about. I meant to tell you about the most fabulous weekend I had on Beaver Island, and how relaxing it was, and how it felt like we were there for a week when it was only a day and a half. However, I've been doing some hometown exploring that just blows my mind so I must share it. You see, my wonderful city of Grand Rapids is hosting a brand new event called ArtPrize. Within a 3 square mile radius of downtown, there are over 150 venues hosting 1259 pieces of art created by artists from around the world, each of which is competing for the top prize of $250,000. A little of what I've seen so far are a sculpture of Nessie undulating in the Grand River, a giant table and chairs on top of a bridge trestle, a family tree with ribbons hanging from it that visitors are encouraged to sign, a maze of bundled plastic recyclables that makes you think twice about ever buying anything plastic and a giant stuffed fabric man that's 2 (or 3) stories tall. That's just a smattering of the many sculptures I saw. There are paintings and chalk and ice sculptures and murals and spray painting on the park lawn! Sunday, one of the artists is launching 100,000 colored paper airplanes while the crowd plays instruments or hums or sings along to the same melody. What ArtPrize has done in this town is nothing short of amazing. You can't look in any direction downtown without seeing a piece from ArtPrize. And the people, the streets are alive with people who are viewing the art and talking to each other about it. Complete strangers are discussing what they see and helping each other with pictures. How cool is that?

I spent Tuesday evening at a reception for the opening of Nessie and I spent all of last evening touring just a few of the exhibits. I think I'm spending every day downtown because it only runs for 2 weeks and then all the mobile exhibits will be gone. Take a peak.....

The art is everywhere downtown and I've only just begun, barely begun, in fact. Two weeks is not going to be enough time for me to explore these amazing pieces. Wish you were here to share it with me. I'm sure I'll be posting more pictures as I take them. That's the least I can do since you can't walk with me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Right now.

I thank Nicola for getting me started on this. It's nice to be reminded to slow down and think once in a while.
Making: plans for my upcoming trip to Beaver Island
Drinking: good hot coffee with cream
Reading: directions for my new knitted hat, the one I will call my U.P. Blueberry Hat
Wanting: to live in the woods, on a river, surrounded by peace and beauty
Looking: for the words to describe how I'm feeling. I haven't found any that aptly describe it yet
Playing: a Sarah McLachlin C.D. and enjoying how it makes me feel
Wasting: time that could be spent with you
Sewing: a pretty little dress for Maris
Wishing: I were sitting in a cozy tea shop with Alex
Enjoying: the sudden fabulous turn my life has taken
Waiting: peacefully, patiently for my life to catch up to my dreams
Liking: the changes in the woods around me
Wondering: how I'm ever going to catch on camera the fabulous moonrise that's occuring in the morning sky
Loving: that I'm surrounded by people whom I adore and who adore me
Hoping: for clear and bright night skies this weekend
Marvelling: at the changes in me over the years
Needing: to get back to my list of three
Smelling: Indian food - again
Wearing: skirt, sandals, blouse -hanging on to summer
Following: my heart
Noticing: that a dove is sitting on the railing outside my window
Knowing: that life is grand
Thinking: that I should be working, but there's nothing to do but rest
Bookmarking: ideas for a handmade Christmas
Opening: my eyes to the future
Giggling: at the crazy antics of late
Feeling: that I truly live a charmed life

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Package

I have no idea how I raised my sons to be so thoughtful and caring when choosing gifts or planning surprises, but I could be rich if I could teach it or write a book about how I did it. Here's the latest package that arrived from Taiwan - for my birthday. Will you look at the goodies that have traveled literally halfway around the world just for me?
Not one, but two Cotton Friend books and two of his highly recommended teas. (We share a passion for tea.) The two of us looked all over Taiwan for Cotton Friend when I was there a year ago in October and finally found a copy at Carrefour. I'm touched that he sent me more because they are fabulous for gleaning ideas from. The cup in the upper left is the one he made at a pottery shop in Ying-Ge with the lovely Megan. See the book tucked under the envelope? You can bet it will be devoured quite quickly, probably in the next week or so. The card was written with a very personal and touching note to me so I'm not showing the inside, but he chose the card because he said it looked "like a birthday ensemble." It certainly does look like a party. One thing I can tell you about the card is there is a drawing on the inside that he did of himself and I sitting at a table drinking tea together. There's a steaming teapot, teacups and a package of cookies (assuming they are my favorite Taiwan biscuits) with two cookies broken in half sitting on the table and we're drinking tea on either side. So sweet - a mom and son moment. As moms, I don't think we ever tire of their drawings. I also like how he wrote Happy Birthday to me in Chinese and gave me the interpretation underneath. Really, it's just so cool - like making me a part of his adventures.
They say you can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother. If that's the case then some day he's going to make a woman very happy. I love you Taiwan Son and thank you for the birthday package.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lake Superior Redo

I'm sure I must have mentioned once or twice that I think of Grand Marais as my home away from home. Well, my 8 days on Lake Superior a week ago were clearly not enough since I turned right around and went back up there this past Friday to go paddling not 30 miles east of Grand Marais. Never mind that it's a 7 hour drive from where I live. It was my first time paddling a U.P. river and so worth the travel time. Right, and that cold rainy summer we've been having? Not so much in the U.P. The temperature was in the 70's every day. Perfect for paddling in the cold tea-colored waters of the Two Hearted River.
Mind you, there was only a tinge of color last week, but judging by the vibrant colors on the leaves and berries and the peculiar seed pods I found, it appears that Lady Autumn is wasting no time in leaving her mark.
Saturday evening my friends and I watched a beautiful sunset in the west from atop the dunes only to turn around and find a nearly full moon rising in the east. Come on! How perfect is that?
This giant rock was our put-in on Saturday for paddling the lower portion of the river and our take-out on Sunday when we explored the upper portions. That would be Brent executing a fine maneuver around the rock.
Oh, and lest I forget, 11 portages of which several included treks up and over and through the woods made for four tired, but smiling paddlers.
I am a conqueror of the Two Hearted! And if you ask me if I want to go again this weekend, my answer would be a resounding YES!
I simply can not get enough of this.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A few things we do in the U.P.

We dig through a shore full of rocks....

We look for treasures.

Sometimes it's an agate.

Sometimes we find cool things on the rocks.

Sometimes we find cool things in the rocks.

We rearrange the rocks.

We stack them into cairns. I called these the colors of my world.

We make things out of them.

Sometimes, well, quite often actually, we simply throw them back into the lake just because we can. And because we love the sound they make when hitting the water. Much time is spent throwing rocks back.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We're back.

I'm super busy getting caught up from being away and putting the details on an event that I'm the Chairperson of, but I wanted to quickly post a few pictures that perfectly sum up our week in Grand Marais. I'll post more this week, but I had to show you these. Fabulous......and look at the joy on Sir S's face!

And with that much fun, well, Sir K and Uncle Dude had to get in on the fun too.

Talk about jumping for joy!