Birthdays.Salmon.Fear

  
Prague is old and it is beautiful.  The streets are paved in stories as old as time and the buildings amaze you with their ability to withstand all that history has ravaged against it.  It is a town of repression and freedom and the beauty that is left when you allow your story to shine rather than try to make it something it is not.  It amazes all five of us from the moment our train crosses the border to the Czech Republic, the beauty is undeniable.  I have dreamt of coming to Prague but in my wildest imagination, I did not expect the beauty to roll through the hills and into the endless suburbs and farm lands, but it does.  It is not just the city center that shines, it is the surrounding towns and cities that all seem to be drowned in history that no one has dared to change.   
We stay in our first Airbnb in Prague.  The old building is charming but the endless stairs while carrying my, way too big, bag were not a good match-I am rescued by my husband but not before “the look” is cast my way.  That look says nothing but I hear it loud and clear; “why do you need such a big bag, I told you it would be too big, I told you. . .” blah blah blah, I hear you.  I would tell him he was right but I can’t muster the strength to concede (still tired from carrying my bag).  So, let’s move on.  The apartment is modern with beautiful views and we can’t wait to explore as the amazing roof lines call to us from our beautiful (but small) windows.  

  
We make our way out into the crowds.  The crowds are so thick on Charles Bridge and on the main tourist streets it is hard not to imagine what it must feel like for a salmon returning to spawn.  Yes, it is that crowded!  I, for one am confused, isn’t this the off season and mid week as we were warned?    Regardless, our first day in Prague is magical: it is beautiful, it is the boys birthdays and we stumble in to a fantastic bar that quickly presents the boys with a birthday “shots”(non-alcoholic of course). 

  

We finish the night at a place called “Lokal”, a can’t miss if you make it to Prague yourself.  Lokal is an inexpensive gourmet eatery with really cool beer!  Look, I know it looks like foam but it makes the beer sweet. . .I found love in a beer mug. 

  
We slept well but awoke to a change.  Do you know when fear strikes and you know you should remain calm but despite your best attempts you feel a growing sense of discomfort?  As you know from my previous post, I am not a fan of nerves, fear, anxiety. . .pretty much anything that lives in the file of “go away”.  Waking up on Tuesday morning, I was greeted by the news that terrorists had struck again in Europe.  With the news flooding in that more attacks were likely, even eminent, my file box of avoidance was unattainable and I was sitting with a load of discomfort (Insert deep breathing and mindfulness quickly).  Planning the trip, we were momentarily derailed by the Paris attacks but decided we would not let it stop us from our vacation of a lifetime.  Now we are in the mix, and fear is a strange and encompassing emotion.  Fear makes us irrational, it makes us look at friendly faces with suspicion, it makes everything look dark and scary and it makes us question our decisions.  Fear also can keep us alive and it is the delicate balance between irrational fear and rational fear that demands attention.  This next day in Prague is not carefree for me, it dampens the mood.  It is beautiful but it is marred by terror that is far away but not nearly far enough.  It makes me wonder why it is ok when it is far away. . .but that is a subject for a different day.  The kids don’t truly understand this far away fear and rejoice in the Easter celebrations, the history and the beauty. . .it doesn’t hurt that they are eating lots of regional yummies!  We explored for four days, with caution but we explored!  We saw the Prague Castle, we walked through every inch of the city and took trams to delicious restaurants.  We went in churches and saw the town hall clock, we climbed to the top of the hall to see the magnificent sites and we finally found the peeing gentleman statue (hmmm. . .). Prague is beautiful, crowded and a bit more touristy than I anticipated.  Even with my new edge of fear and nearly debilitating awareness, I loved this city.  

  

    
    
 After much debate and with a deep breath, we are heading to Munich in the morning via a train from Prague.  The boys and I have not been to Munich and I am excited to explore a bit of my husbands heritage.  I am hopeful that my fears will not completely ruin my trip and my boys. I am practicing deep breathing and a need to separate what is rational and smart vs. what is just fear that cripples me.  And with that, we are off!

    
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spreading our wings

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We road trip. We pack up and we control our own destiny. In the safety of our car, I know who is in charge and I know who thinks he is. The kids have their seats and they know what to expect regardless of the destination. It is the way our family has seen the world so far with the exception of a few trips to Mexico, Hawaii and one to Costa Rica. It’s not to say we haven’t wanted to spread our wings and explore but the timing has just never been right. Until now. . .

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Today we are flying half way across the world. The lack of control is ok with me but as I board the large 747, I can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed by the long flight ahead of us and question the people behind the controls. We are taking off in a snowstorm, not a strange or unsettling occurrence. But, after one blown APU and sudden complete darkness, one lecture from my husband on how the APU does not have anything to do with the planes safety in flight, three de-icings and two inspections by Lufthansa personnel, I can’t help but feel slightly unsettled. As we wait on the plane for four and a half hours, I pick up some extra baggage, namely nerves and dark thoughts. My nerves are not my best quality, in fact, they are something I stuff down into my dark archives and try not to access, especially in front of my kids. Thank goodness my kids were in the row in front of us or they would have seen me in full panic mid flight as we bumped and dropped through the air. At one point I was quite certain my friends and family would be packing up my belongings as I made my new home in Europe to avoid the flight home. A day later and a night of good sleep makes me stuff those nerves back in their rightful home, in my file of avoidance!
The delay did allow for camaraderie on the flight, everyone has their own stories; a man and his mother traveling back to India to collect the last of her belongings, a family traveling to see their son who has been studying abroad, a single woman making her way to Tel Aviv. Our story is simple, we just want to see the world with our kids before they are too old, too busy and/or too cool to hang with us.

We arrive at our first destination safe and sound despite the interesting  and , as Harry would say, odd start.  The kids have never been to Europe, I have never been to Germany and David has never been to Berlin so we are all experiencing something new upon arriving. A cold beer for us and banana juice for the boys (who knew there was banana juice?) coupled with a rich German meal makes for a perfect first night! The kids are quickly adaptable and sleep like logs for 10 straight hours before we head out to the Reichstag building. It is the perfect beginning, a city view with an audio tour explaining the lay of the Berlin land. We traveling around Berlin on foot for the first day trying to see as much as we can but we soon learn our feet will thank us if we use the trains and underground! We spend three short days understanding the history of Berlin; why the wall went up and why it finally came down, how Berlin was central in WWII, all the beauty on museum island and how those in Berlin live and eat! I have to hit on the eating part, here is our rundown: curry wurst, donor kabob, pickled herring, traditional German sauerbraten, Wienerschnitzel, liver, beef roumalaude, eiswein and fish kabobs!

It is hard to imagine our first leg of this trip is behind us as we board the train to Prague. Today, we celebrate Will and Shep. Will turns 14 and Shep turns 9 under the cloudy German sky. I could go on and on about how it feels to sit across from them on this train right now wondering where the time went and how I can capture each moment and lock it away for safe keeping as they continue to grow despite my protestations. I could reminisce about the days they were born and all the joy I felt at each milestone so far and how I continue to love them more each day ,but it would still never capture the intensity with which these memories live within me. I think this is just the story of being a mom and I love being a mom.

Travel shoes: shoes that support your journey with excitement, courage and wonder. Shoes that carry you through your journey of newness.

 

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breath through it. . .

sometimes our kids express it best. . .

if i was four, i would feel better right now.  i would have stomped my feet.  i would have yelled, from the roof tops. . .”it’s not fair!”  i might have pulled my brother’s hair, if he was close enough to grab.

but i’m not four, not even close.  i did shed a tear and i did admonish my husband for uttering the words “next time. . .”  yes, next time i will do it different.

but this time (sigh) i did it all wrong.

it was a bit past 11 o’clock as i tried to get comfortable on my rubber mattress surrounded by 10-year-old girls.  a sleeping bag in a quiet dark dorm room seemed the perfect spot to finish the blog i had been working on for weeks.  i settled in, opened my word press app and there it was. . .nothing.  no draft.  nothing.  hours of work, gone and i am not sure why.

i was struggling with that post anyway so maybe this was the universe’s way of clearing my mind and freeing me to start fresh.  i was ok.  maybe, even a bit inspired.

i wrote into the night.  i wrote about my time at Keystone Science Camp nestled in the Colorado Rockies. i wrote about 5th grade girls who made me laugh and made me ponder my own childhood in a way i hadn’t in years.  as my eyes began to fade i quickly saved my draft and fell into a slumber only to be had on a plastic mattress in an unlocked cabin while dreaming of the sorority massacre (remember this?  no?. . .yikes, it was scary).  well, anyway, don’t worry about that part.  the point is, i saved my draft.

i woke up early and followed the rules of check out for our girls.  i vacuumed, cleaned toilets and watched my son (from the other cabin), enjoy himself in uncensored silliness. i waited anxiously to upload my photos and finally publish my post.

when all was settled and the kids were on their hike, i sat in the cool air and edited my draft one last time.  my finger grazed the settings button and i quickly hit cancel. . .and then it was the moment of dread.  it was gone.  my work, my writing. . .gone.  i cried.  “why”, i asked?  is it somewhere in cyber space waiting for me to find it or is it gone?  i called my tech savvy husband only to be greeted by a man engrossed in work, boo hoo.

surrounded by 60 nine and ten-year olds, i had no choice but to put my ipad away and let it go.  maybe this is the key to happiness after all. . .to move on.

so, here is my attempt to move on, let go, scream through words and genuinely let cyber space encapsulate my time spent laughing with nine-year old girls about boys, girlfriends and all the drama in between.  did i say drama??  i meant. . .DRAMA.

there is plenty of life to write about and i just need to remember. . .when a post isn’t flowing and i feel stuck, let it go.  and, maybe the best lesson of all: i don’t need a dark room without family to inspire me to write.  as nike would say, just do it!

four-year old shoes:  shoes that fit just right and when they don’t they get thrown across the room with a fierce dedication to justice and righteousness.  shoes that tell it like it is and then forgive themselves, and others, again and again.

forty-year old shoes:  shoes that fit just right and when they don’t they are sold or given to someone who needs them, in an attempt to maintain what is right in the world. . .shoes that tell it like it is, with tact and humility, and then forgive themselves (and others) again and again.

the shoes in between:  shoes that remember its ok to stomp our feet sometimes and a tear that falls might just be the freedom to help us let go and move on.

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105 degrees and climbing

the temperature gauge keeps climbing as we make our way further south. it hits it’s stride as we cross the border into texas. . .101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106. . .up and up it crawls. it is a hot dry summer in texas and we are heading into the thick of it. as we pull into the drive at 9:30pm, it is a balmy 98 degrees. the kids pop out of their seats and bee line for the house and the cousins that arrived a day earlier. we live a mere 10 minutes from my sister and her three kids yet we drive across the country to meet in the heat of texas. . . in august?

in the morning we will be greeted by the heat but more importantly, we will be awoken to the beauty of the sun shining on the massive lake that will be void of any other, or very very few, boaters and jet skiers. we will have the gigantic lake to ourselves.

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it is 105 and if you stand still too long in the sun you can feel the weight of the heat pressing down on you. at 105 you want to be on vacation so nothing dictates your time or place. at 105, you want to be near water. . .

so why leave the beautiful colorado summer for the stifling texas heat? it may sound crazy but it’s a no-brainer, texas lakes are perfect for uncrowded relaxed summer fun.

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my oldest son told me i should write about the top 5 things to do in texas when it’s 105 (i think he just wants his tubing photo posted). so, here is our take on how to beat the texas heat:

1). swim. when you are tired, swim some more. swim anywhere there is water. jump off the boat like you did when you were a kid, play marco polo in the pool, you have the best excuse, it’s darn hot and the water is perfect!

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2). tube. whenever. the lake is screaming for you to jump in its bathtub temperature water and the lack of traffic makes you scream for faster….bigger air. it’s like you are at the dew tour (have you ever been to this extreme sports spectacular? you should, it’s a riot) only your on a tube and your the one doing the tricks!

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3). relax at a country club. texans do country clubs like nothing I have ever seen before; they are everywhere and they do it right! endless horizons of umbrellas, beautiful pools and free vodka cranberries delivered poolside? you almost forget how hot it is!

4). water balloon fights. toss them on the ground, toss them at your brothers or maybe just dump the balloons and soak each other with the hose. who cares what gets wet, it will dry faster than you can blink your eyes anyway!

5). stay inside. eat, drink, work on a puzzle, play a game. . .whatever sounds good in the cool of the air conditioning. when you are on vacation and the temperatures draw you inside together, take advantage!

6). i know i said top 5 but i have one more! explore! when you are waterlogged, it’s a fun break for everyone! here are a few of our favorites. . .

visit the wineries. they are air-conditioned, kid friendly and some of their wines might really surprise you. my new texas favorite is dry comal creek – their rose and french colombard “bone dry” both taste amazing on a hot texas day. there are many texas gems, don’t believe me? give them a go and let me know!

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how about a drive thru zoo? it’s true! it’s fun no matter how old you are and don’t worry the animals come to you whether you like it or not!

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and their off! the cloud cover on a saturday morning beckoned us to gillepse park in fredricksburg to watch the horses race. who knew a catalog of funny horse names, jockey’s in bright colors and a $2 bet could be so fun? “run endless summer run!”

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I was on the phone with my niece the other day after this last diversion from the heat….

me: we went to luckenbach texas today!
kate: where?
me: you know waylon and willie and the boys?
kate: no
me: i thought you said you like country music?
kate: i do!
me: hmmmmm 38-17=21 years…..ok, i’ll cut her a break this once.

Ok so maybe this wouldn’t be fun for just anyone but those of you who know the only two things in life that make it worth living. . .this is just the place for you!

surrounded and encased with old oak trees filled with crowing roosters is the small preserved town of luckenbach texas. with live music everyday and beer flowing freely, you can almost feel waylon and willie sitting next to you. what a blast-cowboy boots and cowboy hats, cheesy memorabilia. . .oh yes, it’s a must!

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when you are done exploring the water will be waiting patiently for your return. . .

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each time we head out on the water i realize that there is something magical about a lake. i remember it from my childhood and i have cherished finding that magic again with my kids. the cares of life seem to wash away with the sunrise. the laughter of brothers enjoying each others company seems to greet us at the waters edge and hold us tight through the heat of the day. we stay up way too late, eat way too much and indulge in memories that I hope will last a lifetime. . .or more realistically, hold them through our 13 hour drive back home tomorrow, i know it will hold me.

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lake feet: feet that scream for simplicity and calm. feet that greet you with serenity as you relax the lazy days away and even beg you to forget that your running shoes are in the closet. go ahead. . .kick em up!

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college smollege

i love the city. i love the hustle and bustle. i love to fall into bed. i love that the fast pace of everyday makes the moments of clarity stand still in my mind. . .

rushing out the door is a habit of mine. i never give myself enough time to get dressed, get the kids together and actually stroll leisurely out the door. it is inevitable that i will search for something that is right in front of me: my keys, my glasses, the kids shoes. i will run around in circles only to find them where they belong or in my pocket or maybe the shoes are even on their feet. . .

the point is, i rush around in my life so much, that i don’t always notice the simple things and the beauty that is right in front of me until i receive a jolt. i love those jolts. they make me stop, they might make me cry, and they make me remember that i love where i live and the people who live in my life.

yesterday i was jolted.

i was late (big surprise) as i rushed out the door to drop my kids at water ski camp and head up hwy 93. if you have never driven from golden to boulder on hwy 93, i highly recommend it. it is hard not to stare in amazement at the flatirons to your left and the farms sitting gently on the side of the road only 30 minutes or so from the city.

when my phone rang, i was reminded why i was driving this way. . .to meet my sister and my niece to take her senior portraits. when i took my senior portraits, i think i just went to a dark room in the gym and propped my head on my hands and smiled. today they actually take pretty pictures. . . but anyway, my sister led me down a back road and another and another. i felt like i was in a foreign land, or at least not 30 minutes from my house. i drove slowly and marveled at the beauty.

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we are always traveling to see the country but just making a wrong turn in your own small world can surprise you. it is always amazing to me that the smallest detour can lead to a new discovery.

and then i saw her. . . my oldest niece strolling along the side of a country road in knee-deep weeds by an old oak tree having her picture taken. she was beautiful and i was jolted.

i was jolted by her beauty but even more by who she has become right in front of me. i can’t say i have been completely oblivious, i have seen it coming, but looking at her standing there against the flatirons brought it home to me. . .she will be leaving my world. she will go out into her own world and become an adult without me standing there to watch.

i want her to stay close to home. i want her to come home on the weekends, visit me and sit up late into the night and tell me all about her new world. i don’t want to miss her getting older. it is selfish, i know. but, there is a lot of beauty in this place. didn’t i just say you turn a corner only to find a whole new experience? do you have to travel halfway across the country to find yourself?

i think the answer for her, much to my dismay, is yes. there might be beauty around every corner and it might just be enough for lots of people but maybe there is something to be said for being really on your own and finding your own “jolts”. there is something powerful about being dependent on yourself for everything and becoming your own person. she has a beautiful, strong, independent spirit; perfect for exploring without all of us breathing down her neck.

as i fell into bed last night i thought of my niece and remembered the first moment she became a part of my world. i remember so clearly flying across the country to take care of her every chance i got. but i also reflected on how it felt to make my own family at school, away from home. i remembered how lonely and scary it was at the beginning but how quickly i grew to love and depend on the family i chose for myself. these are still the people i call when my heart breaks and who i turn to for a good laugh and an even better time. these were the days i remember starting to become who i am today.

i guess it was a gift to leave my family and it will be her gift too. it was a gift because i was still home when i needed to be, but i was taking care of the person i would become. . .i need to embrace that for her too.

my niece is so worried about picking the “perfect” college. i am not convinced there is a perfect college for each of us. . .i am more convinced that it is what we are willing to make of the place we choose. it will never be perfect but it might just be perfect for who she is going to become.

and while i will cry when she leaves and miss her with a loss i can’t really explain, i will love to watch her go out into her own world and become an even more amazingly beautiful person. . .if that is even possible.

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college shoes: shoes that introduce you to yourself. shoes that carry you from adolescence to adulthood; sometimes they are clunky and hard to make your way in, sometimes they are flimsy and need extra support and love but most of the time they are strong, supportive shoes that carry you forward so fast you will wish they had brakes.

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wilted rose and tender sunshine

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i have started to count the days until school starts and not because i am looking forward to it but because i am trying to hold on to the days i have left in freedom with my children. . .

when summer started i wrote a blog about my mood (bad), my kids moods (crazy) and just how chaotic it all feels when summer first starts, i didn’t post it. today as i sat counting the days until the start of school, and wishing it was a bit longer, i stumbled upon the draft and couldn’t help but laugh. it’s amazing how a few weeks of uninterrupted, unscheduled chaos can begin to feel normal and comfortable. i am glad we all decided to blossom this summer and embrace the lazy days and summer heat.

mostly, this post serves as a reminder, to me, to prepare emotionally for summer relaxation, to prepare to accept the chaos that the lazy days of summer hold for us. i might be crazy, but when i accept the disorganization of summer i think i find more connection with my children. margaret j wheatley is one of my favorite authors and she writes all about organized chaos. she writes: “our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how necessary we are to each other”. as our separate kid/adult worlds collide at the start of summer, as we look for ways to fill our days, as we let go of the need to be organized and orderly. . .we find each other in a brand new way.

i am glad i saved this draft and stumbled upon it today, i really learned something. . .i will prepare next year so i can enjoy the start of summer as much as i am enjoying the middle.

so, here it is:

the past two days have been a roller coaster – and not in the way i like. i love real roller coasters; the twist and turns, feeling light headed before and after the ride, experiencing exhilaration from pure excitement and fear…yes, i love roller coasters. but in life, some feeling of stability gets me through each day. the feeling of predictability makes the chaos of children and life feel invited.

as the last day of school beckoned, i excitedly anticipated its arrival. i love summer. i loved summer as a kid because i grew up in california where summer meant days of ocean swept hair, nights of sandy showers and a few months of nothing but sunshine and freedom. i love summer now because it means swim team days, pool bound afternoons, evenings of wine, basketball, waterskiing and anything that can be done outside. i love watching my children in the sunshine and feeling no need to be anywhere any time soon.

oh. . .what is our (really i should own that it is my) problem? why the crabby, whiney, needy attitudes and to be completely honest. . .why the sudden urge for camp?

ok, ok, i know. . .no organization, no predictability. we are all crying out for someone to tell us where to be and when. deep breath. . .i have nowhere to be BUT: in the garden, organizing the kids t-shirt drawers, cleaning out the garage, doing laundry. . .when will i have time with the kids home ALL day? breath. . .i need to remember what i love about summer: no schedule, nowhere to be, nothing that needs my attention but my garden, my tennis game and my ever growing (soon to be annoyed by my presence) beautiful boys.

i tried today to be mellow, i tried to love the fancy free day. i failed. i failed miserably. i yelled. i felt unsettled. i made everyone feel chaotic. i even went to yoga to calm my mind, (oh. . .my head is hanging low) it didn’t work today.

i looked down at my shoes tonight. the shoes i wore today were my favorites: the most beautiful pair of sandals with a delicate rose on the top. my shoes did not match my mood, i was not beautiful and i was not delicate. it’s sad, but it is true.

tonight, i put my kids to bed and they hugged and kissed me with love and that mellow delicacy i was striving for in myself today. they smiled and whispered “i love you mom”. they do not see that i have failed, they see summer. they see a swim meet tomorrow and a pool day after that, they see that i gathered myself enough tonight to laugh with them at dinner, play a bit of basketball (i kicked their adorable little behinds, btw) and wrap my arms tightly around them before bed.

they are that delicate rose on top of my shoe: after a storm, a bit of tender sunshine and warmth makes them blossom all over again.

i think i will wear those shoes again tomorrow but tomorrow i will be better (ok, i am not making any promises).

beautiful rose shoes: shoes that shine in the sunshine but are allowed to wither under the pressure of heat, stress and a demand to be beautiful. a rose (just like a mom) is a delicate flower that needs attention, love and even a dose of rain and clouds from time to time. i will forgive my roses when they wilt. i will forgive my roses when they wilt. i will forgive my roses when they wilt. i too will forgive myself and i will replenish my wilted roses with a healthy dose of dedication to my body, mind and spirit. . .

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midwest allure

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my husband and i are having a debate as we drive across the vast plains of iowa…”what, technically, is the midwest?”. i say, no way does it include the plains of iowa and nebraska, he says it absolutely does. thank goodness for the iphone. we quickly discover the man from the midwest actually knows the midwest (damn). in my defense, when i think of the midwest i think of i love lucy in milwaukee or one of my best friends driving her car across a frozen lake in minnesota. but…it’s true, the midwest is technically defined from nebraska to ohio and all the way up to north dakota. huh? ok ok, fine go ahead and include the plains of nebraska in the technical definition of the midwest but for the sake of this entry; the midwest equals the frozen tundra of up nort (as my father in law used to say). . .

the midwest (as i define it) is a funny place. small town midwesterners love friday night fish fry, camouflage, brats, and of course beer, beer and more beer. they love fishing, hunting and my favorite. . .taxidermy. they still smoke in way too many places and it is true that as a whole, they need some nutritional counseling.

but, what really defines small town midwest people, is the attitude. they hang out on fishing boats and in bars asking about each others lives. everybody knows everybody. if they don’t know you, they will get to know you over a beer at places called hillside, sunrise and edgewater. they will care about where you came from and they will remember you too. they will most likely have lived in that small town all their lives or have travelled there for as long as they can remember and they will talk a lot about how it once was.

fourteen years ago i went “home” with my boyfriend to a small town straddling the border between wisconsin and the upper peninsula of michigan called land o’ lakes. nope, it’s not where they make the butter. i fell in love with my boyfriend on that trip. i already knew i liked him but seeing where he was from sealed the deal. the people…the place. there were probably one hundred shades of green out on that lake and only a few visible houses scattered the shoreline. sea planes docked nearby and the view from the cessna 180 his father flew me in was magnificent, the land was literally littered with lakes. the resorts on the shoreline were small cabins that had a dirty dancing 50’s feel. out on the lake you could only feel the presence of a few fisherman and the numerous bald eagles that call lac vieux desert home. it was serene, casual and breathtakingly beautiful, it still is.
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fourteen years later, every summer, we still make the trek (via road trip) to wisconsin, land o’ lakes and specifically lac vieux desert. So much has stayed the same and so much has changed. my husband and i have begun to fall into the trap of “how it used to be”. my father in law passed away last year and the sea plane sits lonely in the hanger, the willys (one of the original restored military jeeps) has been sold and my favorite drinking spot is now a condominium complex. i miss stealing away, while everyone else was doing the dishes, to dance to a waylon jennings song on the jukebox with the man who made the “nort” come alive.

but so much has also changed for the better. our car has become full over years; where there use to be two, now there are five and we have started to make our own memories with the kids. we hunker down in the log cabin and sleep to the singing of the loons. everyday we busy ourselves with fishing, shopping for fishing gear or making our way to the local hangouts to find out where the fish are hiding. we stay up late fishing rather than closing down the watering holes, we play games, and the boys are actually old enough to sleep in the loft. they don’t squeal when they catch a fish (like their mom) and they actually like seeing all the animals their great-grandfather killed on the walls of the local hangouts. we do as the locals do: we drink beer, catch up on the gossip, eat at vicky’s hot dog stand, drink shakes and eat cheese curds at the dairy maid, have breakfast at sunrise and of course…eat friday night fish fry. we relax as a family. someday our kids will tell their kids how great it once was based on their memories, i will love hearing that.

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enjoying himself after his northern catch

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5 = the number of fish he caught!

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taking in the view

so maybe the midwest isn’t such a funny place after all. neighbors grow old together and their children’s children come to the same place long after they are gone. the hunting, fishing, and taxidermy is just their way of life and my boys eat it up. the beer is pretty tasty on a cool wisconsin evening and camouflage does look good on some people??

the midwest just has an allure.

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