Morning Meanderings… Not The Same


Good morning.

I woke up this morning at our cabin on the North Shore.

It is weird to be in Minnesota now… I have not been in Minnesota on this date for 5 years….

This is the time of my annual trip with Justin to Florida.  We went three years in a row, 2012, 2013, 2014….  last year, I went with my friend Amy to Arizona during these dates… and this year…

this year….

I felt I needed to do this alone.

So here I am.  At the cabin….  drenched in his memory… signs of him everywhere…. a note on the refrigerator, his entries in the guest books… the memories… the ginger ale bottle…   and this – makes me cry but I want to share this with you… and for me as well.


It was August 2014 and Wine and Words had just ended and Justin and I were taking our annual weekend trip here to the cabin as we did after every Wine and Words.  We stopped in Duluth at Grandma’s Restaurant to have lunch.  We were sitting up at the bar, myself exhausted from the planning of W & W as I always am afterwards, and looking forward to a fun two days with my son.

The bartender walked by us carrying a little bottle of Scwheppes Ginger Ale to deliver to a customer sitting down from us.  Justin stopped talking, stared at the bottle of Ginger Ale and said, “Oh my God…. delicious!”

I have no idea why – perhaps the over tired version of me, perhaps the atmosphere, honestly it may have been the Bloody Mary we each had with lunch… but I thought that was the funniest thing ever.  I started laughing so hard I cried.  Justin just stared at me and started laughing too.  I could not stop – I could not catch my breath and I just repeated what he had said, “Oh my God, delicious.” and we would both burst into laughter again.

Justin of course, had to have one… and that little bottle has sat in the window sill of the cabin kitchen since that day.  We kept it as a memory… and you do know I love memories…..

This morning.  I picked up the bottle… I unscrew the top and breathed in the faint scent of Ginger Ale….

remembering the laughter….

remembering the weekend….

trying to breathe it directly into my heart forever….

It is a hard day.

I brought my bike in the event it is warm enough for me to bike today.  I feel as though I need to do something to honor this date, this crazy date that is filled with sunny memories of Harry Potter world,  bonding with my son year after year, Justin’s tattoo on November 2nd 2014 to commemorate our trip… mine now that matches his….


I am thankful.  Every day.  I know I know I know I was lucky to have him as long as I did….

I knew these days would be hard.., I knew I had to get away and grieve.. and do what a broken mom does as she tries so desperately hard to put together the broken pieces and make some sort of mosaic version of who I was and who I am supposed to be.


Nov. 2, 2012 – Harry Potter World Florida


Nov, 2 – 2013- Harry Potter World Florida


Nov 2, 2014 Florida – Harry Potter World


Nov. 2 2015
Nov. 2 2015 – Arizona


Nov. 2, 2016: North Shore Minnesota
Nov. 2, 2016: North Shore Minnesota


Still here.  Still moving forward one step at a time.  celebrating us, remembering us….  ALWAYS.


Morning Meanderings… The End Of The Week Again….


Good morning!  2nd (3rd?) cup of coffee this morning.  I woke up with the best intentions to head out the door and hit the gym and ….


woke up a little later than I planned with about 30 minutes to get to the gym class.  I started out strong, put the workout clothes on, my new super cute tennis shoes, and with 20 minutes to go I was ready to walk out the door and then…

looked at my work list by my laptop….

  1.  work on the website I am building for a company
  2. complete new camp application
  3. Upload camp board application
  4. Update camp website
  5. work on the 2 grants I need to complete
  6. haul used books from the library to the new sorting area

What is it about that “to do” list that suddenly zaps you like kryptonite?


Sometimes…. we have to pick and choose.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE having a to do list.  It makes me feel very productive.  And yes, I am sitting here typing this in my gym wear…. but I have a treadmill downstairs… and after I finish this post, and tackle that Camp application…. I am going to turn on some LOUD 80’s music…. and run for a bit.  I will still have time to start the website update, and be at that the library in time to help and then home in the afternoon to continue wherever I leave off.

It’s a crazy mix…. but I make it work.  Not always in the order I intended…. but it does get done.  😀

And tomorrow….

I am going to try if possible to hit Octoberfest…..  kicking off my Festival A Month goal…..  and that is a story for another day.

What am I listening to during this crazed business?


Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for – a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on – in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

This one I am listening to on my phone as I do things around the house.



In Emma Donoghue’s latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle – a girl said to have survived without food for months – soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge best seller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels – a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

This one I am listening to in my car….

Both audio’s are very good and they are working for me in this season of constantly doing something.  Or maybe….it’s not a season.  Maybe…. it is a life style.  I am not really sure but whatever it is – it is working for me.

Happy Friday all!





Saturday Snapshot…. Weekend Cooking… A Little Investing In Me.


Hey all.  I meant to get this posted earlier but well… you know…  life and laundry and working on projects and OH where does the time go?  😉  I think (I think…) I mentioned here somewhere in my ramblings that I am in a season of investing in me.  I am trying to move forward with healthy habits….more activity in my life than the last year+, good friendships, good activities, and healthy eating.  I think I am making progress and thought I would give you a recap of this “Investing In Me”here for Saturday Snapshot along with a tasty recipe for Weekend Cooking.

Yes…. this post is a combo platter.


Yes.  That is this week.

Monday I participated in the first Game Night at one of my favorite venues, Prairie Bay

Tuesday was book club…. Classic night.... a little Fitzgerald set in the 20’s

Wednesday I got a hair cut bought new tennis shoes and headed to the gym and the elliptical

Thursday I went to the Prairie Bay 2nd Thursday community night

Friday I hit the gym and the Group Power class


And now for that recipe….  this is something I picked up from one of the Librarian’s and ooh this is so good.



Ok… here is something TASTY!

You need:
4-6 ears of corn
1/2 onion chopped
cherry tomatoes – yellow and red – cut in half
2 TBSP lemon juice
red pepper flakes
fresh basil
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

With sharp knife remove the corn kernels from the shucked corn. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add corn and onion to the skillet – shake and stir the pan for 3-5 minutes until browned. Gently add the chopped tomatoes and heat an additional 2-3 minutes until hot. Place in bowl and season with the pepper flakes and lemon juice and sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Season to taste.

**To mix it up – add an egg to the mix while cooking, or chicken or shrimp to make it more of a meal. Delicious!


That’s my week.  Hope yours was eventful in positive ways.  🙂  Tomorrow… I hope to share with you about a little event coming up I like to call… Books, Burgers, and Brews.  Stay tuned.  😉

Morning Meanderings…. Now THAT is Classic. ;) A Bookies Event


Three days in a row…. could it be?  😉

It feels as though I have just finished a marathon of back to back events… all good stuff.  The Friends Books Sale was a big chunk of time the last few weeks with the volunteer line ups, setting the sale, and working it.  Then on Monday the First Game Night at Prairie Bay was SO AWESOME, I was so tired going.. but so glad I went!  That brings us to last night, book club at my house….



Whose idea was THAT?  😉

Yes yes… I apparently agreed a month ago that book club would be at my house.  I really don’t know what I was thinking as my house has been a tad bit neglected in recent days due to all the activity in my life.  It all worked out for the best though – put on a little audio and put the house back in order yesterday so we could review our Classic for the year:  The Beautiful and The Dammed by F Scott Fitzgerald.  Now I am not going to review the book part yet as I have not finished it myself (See my crazy life above)… however I will share with you the Bookies meet up.

First.. I think you all know I like to dress the occasion.  Classics can be a lot of fun for this and a chance to dress the 20’s era….

well then….


We had a great time with the food as well… I do love setting the food to go with the era or the book setting.  In this case, I Googled the 20’s to see what I could learn about food and who knew?  Chicken Pot Pie was a 20’s hot item… as well as deviled eggs could be found at most social gatherings.



and the Bookies added to the tasty goodies as well…


And this was not all… I missed a picture of the delicious chicken that was served as well.

As always.. good food, good conversation… a lot of fun.  I do really enjoy days that go from tennis shoes… to party sandals.




Morning Meanderings… DO Try This In Your Home Town


Good morning.  Two days of posting?  WOW!  Must be the coffee.  😉

In reality… I think it is me trying to reach beyond the grief.  I made a decision in mid August that I needed a season of investing in me…. good positive healthy habits.  I have been biking – A LOT.  I have been getting out more, eating right and all in all… feeling a weight of darkness lift off of me.  I know the grief will always be there, that underlying sadness I feel like a constant lump in my throat…. however by DOING and BEING I am trying to live the life I am supposed to live – almost for both of us….

How is that going?

Well… I have biked over 400 miles in the past 6 weeks.  I have stretched myself to go back to the gym to Group Power.  I have thrown myself into good community projects and working with good community people that keeps my mind active and while it is still hard to be out “there” I am doing it.


I feel….


Last night, I went to the first of a new 2nd Mondays thing at one of my favorite venues in the area, Prairie Bay.  I love how they do community and Friends of the Library will be partnering with them as well next week (more on that awesome stuff) later.  Last night was the Game night.

Here is how it works.

From 6 – 9 pm you show up on 2nd Mondays to play a board game.  The game will be announced on their website and you do not have to know how to play before going.  Last nights game was Catan.  I did not know how to play.


This was so much fun!  Not only did I learn a new game, I hung out with friends and met new people too.  If you live int he area, I recommend you check out all the good that Prairie Bay is doing in our community.  They have excellent ideas of bringing people together.


Laughter… although painful at times…. is also an investment in me.

Ok… challenge is out there?  How will you invest in YOU today?


Define Appropriate.


I am still here.

It seems like my days fly away before I even know what is happening.  It’s been a busy summer of bike riding, events, bookish stuff, and spending time with friends.  Good things. Things I need to do.  Things I want to do.

The bench.

Those of you who know me know I spend a  good deal of time working with our local library.  You also may know about the bench outside the library in memory of my son.  Can I say my heart runs over with love for all who had a part in this happening?

That bench.

Every time I pull in to the library parking lot I see it.  Sometimes there are things left on it… notes, flowers, a rock that says trust… What seems to take my breath away – is seeing people sitting on it.  Justin’s bench sits between two others.  To me… it feels as though it is used more and that makes me so happy and sad at the same time.  Does that make sense?  Happy because he would love this whole idea of a bench… and  that quote, and people enjoying it…..  Sad because… well hell…. why does there have to be a bench in the first place?

A few weeks back I walked out of the library and saw a man sitting on the bench.  I had this sudden urge to go over and hug him.  Of course then I think… how appropriate is that?  Scare this poor man sitting on a bench unknowingly being observed by the mother of the boy who the bench is dedicated to?  And define appropriate.  I honestly am not sure I know what it means anymore… my filter for where to draw the line is pretty much gone.  I live it true – I live it real.  So what if I scare someone on the bench?

But of course…. I don’t approach him.  I just take myself teary eyed to my car and drive away.

Then today….

I am leaving the library and I see a boy in his 20’s sitting on the bench.  My pace slows.  I look at him and he sees me and smiles.  That urge… that urge to go over and talk to him about who Justin was simmers right there… right at the edge of moving me that direction but instead…. I smile back..  My eyes fill…. I walk away.

Define appropriate…




Today… working on a contract. Mowing the lawn.  Riding my bike.  Hopefully writing a review and breaking that seal on this site where I start to write and gush about books again.  I do miss it.  I do miss you.

WHAT are you reading?


Morning Meanderings…. Making It Through


Good morning all!

Look at that – I disappeared again.  DOH!  For good reason this time I think – I was swamped with Wine and Words 2016 stuff and pretty much everything went to the wayside the last couple of months including, reading, and audio.  *sob*

I am however over the biggest event of the year and while there is still detail work to do – deposits, thank you’s, certificates, etc…  Ahhhhh….

So a quick recap.  Wine and Words was wonderful.  Pictures will be posted on our website soon.  Allen Eskens was fantastic.  Helen Ross Klein a delight.  Brian Freeman always a win. Joshilyn Jackson cracked everyone up.  Laura Childs shared her early on writing storing.  Lorna Landvik.. what would I do without her?

And then in true me style, I stayed over night at Grand View Lodge with our authors, hurried home, tossed Wine and Words out of the can and camping stuff in and drove 3 1/2 hours to go to my cabin and hang out friends for a long weekend.  We just came back yesterday evening.


One of our Wine and Words pics…


Biking at the cabin….


A little book store stop in Ely…. I have plans for this book.  Stay tuned 😀

SO lots to catch up on today so I am off and running.  Have a super day…. by golly I hope to write a review this afternoon.