(I am fairly certain that my grandmother and I have very different definitions for “big” when it comes to candy bars. When she gets a box of Russell Stover chocolates – one of her favorites, she’s satisfied eating one piece a day. I, on the other hand, consider a box of chocolates a type of comparison shopping.)
She had been saving that chocolate bar for a “special occasion.” (I could see where one might consider a 100th birthday to be a special occasion.) As she said that though, she kind of chuckled, “Nearly 100, what was I waiting for?”
I would say that the universe is always sending us messages, some more obvious than others. It’s up to us to listen to them. In my grandmother’s case, she could have dwelled on the “missing” part of the chocolate bar, but instead she decided to focus on savoring the moment. Continue reading →
Just a week ago, we had yet another April snow storm in Minnesota. This was my first winter back in Minnesota in twenty some years. Walking home in that snow storm, I thought, “Yes, April, we all see you. Yes, very funny, you look just like March. Why don’t you go see where May is.”
I was beginning to think Minnesota wanted me to relive every winter I had missed. Then, April decided to give us the perfect day this weekend. Sunny and warm. Shorts-weather warm. As in, even non-Minnesotans would have worn shorts. (One of my brothers wears shorts all winter long. Most of us wait at least until it gets above freezing.) Continue reading →
I was returning to Chaco Culture National Historical Park to see the great houses that were built in the 800s (not a typo, they were built more than a thousand years ago). On my first visit, I wasn’t staying in the park, which left me with little time to see anything, because I had to get to my lodgings. I had to leave, because this park is remote.
Minnehaha Creek is pretty in the snow – even if it is April.
I was walking home late along the creek the other night, a clear night, when the urge to go camping hit me.
As I walked I was struck by the beauty and the stillness of the night. I currently live in a suburban neighborhood of the Twin Cities, which can be quiet, but walking along the creek that night was quiet like the quiet of a perfect night camping. It made me want to strap on my backpack and head up north (before the mosquitoes settle in).
I’m making this sound like I come from a family of woodsmen or that I can be left alone unsupervised in the wilderness. As a kid, the closest I came to camping was RV trips we’d take, but even then I think we drove the RV to hotels. Continue reading →
Unlike a lot of my fellow Minnesotans, I have been waiting for the snow to melt before getting back in the saddle. April, and the bike lanes are finally reappearing from under the snow. As a newcomer to commuting by bike, it took me a while to get used to bike lanes – mainly trusting drivers to stay out of them. Then when I moved back to Minnesota last fall, experimental bikes had been put in my neighborhood. Experimental.
Janebruary: the dreaded months of January and February, when winter’s grip seems eternal.
And to twist the knife, your friends and family who have kept to their resolutions will insist on pointing out how much longer the days already are. [Insert cuss of your choice.] Eating their salads, they will go on about how much more energy they have. [I just used a string of cuss words.] Continue reading →
We stared each other down, but I was losing. I tried to be casual, but my knees were shaking as I backed away.
Of course, if I had truly been casual, I would have turned my back on him and walked away. I, however, was not about to turn my back on him. Our history is a long one and I knew there was no trusting him.
His eyes were heavy with contempt as I backed away. I was giving up ground.
Cranksgiving has nothing to do with my mood yesterday morning, although I was a bit on the dark side of grumpy. No, Cranksgiving is a bike race that began among bike messengers to collect food and donations for local charities in time for Thanksgiving. The first Cranksgiving was held in New York City in 1999, organized by Antonio “Tone” Rodrigues.
Although Cranksgiving started among bike messengers, and unlike most other alleycat races, Cranksgiving now includes anyone who rides a bike and the race has spread to nearly 40 cities in North America. I have never been a bike messenger, but as a novice rider I am thankful to bike messengers for taking back the streets, for reminding us that the streets can be shared. Nor am I the least bit mechanical. Until yesterday I didn’t know a “crank” is what my pedals are attached to. Continue reading →
Before my train from Portland arrived in Minnesota last month, I had decided I was going to ride my bike over to my parents’ home, the same house where I grew up. While living in Minnesota, my goal has been to get around by foot or bus like I always have. Or more recently by bike.
I went twenty years without riding a bike. During my first return venture out on a bike, just a few years ago, I nearly jumped the curb and barely avoided running over a row of rental bikes, finally wobbling away to the sound of stifled snickers. Not quite two years ago I bought a bike – Stella!, and added biking to walking and busing as my primary modes of transportation.
Although my sisters have said they would happily drive me places if I needed a ride, I wanted to stay as true to my goal as possible. Plus, there’s a freedom to getting around on your own. With that goal in mind, I was going to check out the route to my parents’ house.