Monday, July 25, 2011

The Penultimate Day

"Penultimate" is one of my favorite words. We tend to use the more common phrase "next to last" here in the midwest, but "penultimate" conveys so much more I think. There's a sense of the impending end. Today is the penultimate day before travel. Tomorrow, I shall do a final load of laundry ("can you say baby?"), pack the last minute items (such as toiletries, et. al.), and get my hair done (that will have to be a whole different blog post). And then bright and early Wednesday, Jack and I will be on our way to see a dear, dear friend in Portland.

I love to travel and I have never been to Oregon. I can't wait to see it! Oh, and there's this little gathering I'll be attending as well: Sock Summit 2011. And while I won't be participating in the sheep-to-sock contest, I am thrilled to be in a building full of people with a passion for knitting that far out-knits my own. And that's saying something! In fact, the city of Portland has declared this Sock Knitting Week. Seriously - I think I'm in love.

So the blog will likely be dark for a while as I experience sock-love and everlasting-friendship (and perhaps a jet-lagged baby). But at least you'll know where I am & what I'm up to. If I get the chance, I'll try to post some pictures of the Summit while I'm there. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


The worst part about vacation is the coming home. It's like the Sunday Blues multiplied by the days you were gone, plus the number of miles it took you to get home. It's compounded if you're driving. I call it the Home-Agian-Doldrums. I usually try to stem the tide by making sure we have clean laundry before we leave, and that things are not packed pell-mell into suitcases so that when we get home, the unpacking is as stress-free as possible. If we're driving, NPR helps, and having lots of snacks is always good too.

As you might suspect, my plan was thwarted in the largest of ways.

My darling baby has been fighting a rash for several days. The ride home was fractious, and although my oldest was helpful, the wee one just couldn't stay happy for long. This made listening to NPR rather near impossible, and much yoga breathing was necessary to keep my head from shooting straight off my body. And, perhaps to comfort himself, my eldest ate all the Chex Mix! Now that was just downright dirty. As were the grapes I packed, dirty I mean. Inedibly dirty.

Finally, upon arriving home, we were able to see a doctor - without breaking the bank. (Try finding a pediatrician in rural northern Michigan who's in your plan, or an Urgent Care for that matter.) And thankfully, it's nothing serious, just a bout of contact dermatitis, which means something we used on his skin, or our skin, or in the laundry made him breakout. He is now feeling (and sleeping) much better with the hydrocortisone cream the good doctor prescribed.

Unfortunately, this means I have to rewash everything. Not just the baby's items, which took 2 loads alone. No, we have to rewash all of OUR things as well. I am just now digging out of the 4 loads of laundry it took to rid our household of the mystery chemical.

We are home, and the garden still needs attention, there are random baby items that still need to be put away, the mail needs to be attended to, and the bedrooms have been ransacked by a series of back-to-back sleepovers for the big kid. But the kitchen is clean and the laundry is done and I even canned my kid some sweet pickles today. Perhaps the winds are picking up.

Monday, July 04, 2011

My Sacred Place

I love it up here at the lake, Up North.

I especially love an early morning with the fog coming off the lake, cool enough to need a sweatshirt with your coffee on the deck. This place is my church. Here is where I feel the presence of God and nature so strongly I can believe I am a part of it. In fact, Up North is really more like Due North, a purposeful direction, pulling me in the way I am meant to go. Up here I become more of myself. I feel more creative, more of an environmentalist, more active, more holistic. I believe more in myself when I am here.

This place is reliable. The sun always comes up with stunning beauty. The sleeping is always good. And the majesty of nature's sculpture is everywhere: the lakes, the dunes, the vast forests, the wildlife. Syncing up to that - it restores me in a way nothing else can.

I wonder if it will be the same when we live up here. Will it still hold that same pull, the same mystery? Will the everydayness lessen that feeling? I hope not. Because I love who I am here, and who my family is here too. I hope that never fades away.