Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Beginning of History!


Welcome to Downs by the Bay!

Under this particular post, you will find all the posts in reverse chronological order since this blog started in 2017.

Now it's history, baby!

To view the new posts as they arrive each Wednesday, please click HERE to read them in their new location at the Copper Harbor Vitality website.

Thanks for being a part of the journey with us so far.

We've got more to come!

Chucking the big ones since 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

We're Moving!


Gosh, there's so much going on that something new happens right after I write to you!

This next move was not planned. It sprung up, but I think you will adjust and realize it's a great idea.

We're moving!

Okay...Downs By the Bay is moving. Ha!

Not far, just to the Copper Harbor Vitality site. 


I've been putting links to all my new ventures at the bottom of this blog each time, so why not just go there first? It turns out, there is a spot for it already.


The new view!

Here's where you'll land when you go to the CHV blog. See the part I circled? That's where you can access all the new Downs by the Bay posts. Right next to the adventure posts! 


Then, the rest of these posts will still be on this platform, but you'll see a link to the new spot. These posts will be an archive. 

Think of all the history you've been part of!

Besides getting everything streamlined, the pictures on the CHV site show up at a higher resolution. 

Starts next week, baby!

Other than that, it's a beautiful, calm sunny day. The last one for a while because it sounds like our St. Patty's Day storm is on its way. Right on time!

I think we'll make it through.

Her Majesty 3/14/23

This is what the harbor looked like just before the ice rolled in again. There's even a little splash for you! 

I sat there for quite a while and meditated on the splendor of being a part of this world.


And here is proof that a storm is coming. Today's sunrise.

Sailors take warning!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Sun Dogs

Happy Wednesday!

It's pretty glorious out there! Frosty and cold, but the sun sparkles on it all. And the lake is undulating all the pack ice that set in the bay. I'm not going out there today!

This past weekend was the Copper Dog 150. It spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning in Copper Harbor. Now, Brady loves animals, but he is afraid when dogs bark.

Can you imagine all the yipping we just had here?

I think he's desensitized for a bit.

We sat on a snow perch and watched some of the racers take off. It was pretty fun! He was into it, so it was fun. Ha!

On our perch - Photo by the legendary Steve Brimm

Boy, there were a lot of people in town. It was a little nuts with parking. I thought "How the heck does this town do it in summer time?" 

Then I remembered that most of the snowbanks turn into parking spots. Just like that!

We also went out for a little... adventure. I pulled him in his blue sled while wearing snowshoes (both per his request). It was the only way I could convince him. 

He is not a fan of winter, but when the sun is out, I try.

We went past the community garden.

He was outside, so I let him be lazy

Then we went down a path that must have been a snowmobile reroute. I couldn't tell, but it was heavily tracked. Then we swerved to where I thought the ski trail was. 

I love this view of the Nose of Brockway.

"Ski" path to the nose

But we did not make it too far down that path. I won't pretend that breaking trail on snowshoes while pulling an eight-year-old in a sled is a walk in the park. I sweated.

A lot.

But he didn't want to go too far, so we turned around and cruised through some more panked areas and went to see the horses. 

He loves the horses. It's his happy place. I have to drag him away from them each time. But I'm glad he enjoys it. They are peaceful to visit.

He is an animal man to the core.

So, I didn't think I'd have anything new and exciting to share this time, but I do. I just can't stop!

Link time!

I just uploaded a new video for Snack Break Sessions. I take you to "The Gap." But this time I also supplemented more content and photos on my adventure blog!


I got the CHV adventure blog going again! Check it out and make sure you are caught up.

And here is the link to the podcast. I added a new one to the feed yesterday. This one dispels the common myth that we are all stuck in the Harbor in the winter. It's titled "Gregg Patrick: A Plow Master!" A very knowledgable guest, by the way. I hope you like it.

I still have two more exciting things to tell you, but not all at once. Oh, man. This is just so great!

I hope you have a lovely day!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

New Video Series!

Hey there!

Today I drove (almost) to Wisconsin and back today, so this will be short. Brady P got to spend a few days with the Rogers family, so that was good for everyone!

It sure is nice to see him again. He always has something new to share after we have a little time apart. And on our drive home, he lost his wiggle tooth! Ha!

But guess what.

I already told you two exciting things: the workings of my next book and the new podcast.

Well, I have two more Copper Harbor-related treasures to share!

You get one today...

Snack Break Sessions!

Guess where I am!

I started Snack Break Sessions as quick one-take videos for YouTube. During my snack break on an adventure, I tell you where I am, what method I'm venturing out on, what the weather is like, how the conditions are, what I ate, etc.

Click here to see the first episode. Spoiler Alert: It's at the top of Stairway to Heaven!

I like that spot.

That's all the excitement for now. Enjoy this little slice of da Harbor!


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Photo Tricks


It's snowing!

I think Winter heard me talking smack because we just got a snowstorm and another one is on the way. Haha! 

I had to get my snowblower out of hibernation!

It feels nice. It's only February.

It's February 22nd! Shout out to my mom! Mary Wais is 70 years old today! Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for all you do.

She is quite the woman.

Okay back to business.

On Friday the Copper Harbor school took a field trip to Mont Ripley ski hill. I went there last year with the kids and had B try snowboarding for the first time. 

I had so much fun with him last year that I bought him a snowboard setup: board, boots and bindings in hopes that we would get out, and I could teach him.

Mind you, this is the first thing I have really pushed on him that he did not already express interest in. Because, really, if he doesn't want to do something, he's not going to. That's why I nurture his interests instead.

But snowboarding is one of my interests. That's why I moved up here 17 years ago. To snowboard at Mount Bohemia!

To think that I might have a little shredder was really exciting to me. 

I was stoked to have him try his new gear on Friday. It was even a beautiful sunny day (cuz it was still Inter). Well, I made the mistake of parking us by the T-Bar lift. 

Why was that a mistake?

Because it mesmerizes him.

Like the waves on Lake Superior.

He can sit there and watch it all day. All day! I am not exaggerating! I got him on his board two or three times to slide down the beginner area with me. And he was doing really well!

But I think he was tired and preferred to be entertained.

The T-Bar did the trick. The rest of the time, he watched people go up, and to his credit, he was a charmer. He waved to them as they went by, and some of them loved that he was there. It was pretty cute.

Plus, he did his body spasm each time the bar passed under the lift pole, so I knew he was engaged. He watched it sitting up. He watched it laying down. He watched it while doing little spin moves in the snow.

That was great, but I was bored.

So I went up the T-Bar a couple times, so he could wave as I went by. Then I rode down to him from a little farther up. I hoped it would inspire him to ride, and it did once, but then he was over it.

Here is something I think is funny.

I snapped this picture of him. He was just doing his favorite activity, so I captured it.

T-Bar squatter

Then, when I couldn't take it anymore, I passed the baton to his teacher, and she watched him for a bit while I took some real runs with this super hunky ski patrol guy (aka, my sweet Esa). Ha!

His teacher took this picture of him.

Photo credit Miss Jill

Way to go, Miss Jill! She is so good at making him get a move on and making memories. 

I love that picture. It gives me hope.

And that shot makes it look like he was king of the hill that day. If I would have posted that on social media with no caption, people would think I had a little shredder.

But it would have been a trick. Ha!

Because I have a little T-Bar watcher.

And that's okay.

Because at least he's comfortable being himself.

Speaking of... guess who's the star of yesterday's podcast episode? 

Brady P! 

If you have me in your podcast app, it's in the queue. If you don't have an app, click here to find the audio file at the bottom. "Brady P. & Mama: On a Mission" is the title.

I might recommend you have a tissue handy. It's a real tearjerker. I cried twice while recording it! 

But hey, that's life.

And I am grateful to life it.

Take care, and be good to yourself!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023



I'm going to be straight with you.

It really hasn't been Winter here.

It's been more like Inter.

No "W" earned.

The temps and conditions linger between Winter and Spring. Sometimes Winter gives it a try, but then Spring takes over and starts to melt the snow white progress.

I have lived here for 17 years, and I have never seen an Inter like this. It's just... odd.

Now you know.

We do have enough snow to do wintery things, though. If you find the right spots. Lake Fanny Hooe, Medora and Manganese are frozen over and covered in snow. 

But... it rained yesterday. Oy!

It has been pleasant overall. I mean, the sunny days are nothing short of majestic! And I'm so grateful to see the waves on Her Majesty pretty much every single day since... last Spring.

It's different, but that's okay. Every time we have an expectation, it's grounds for disappointment. 

I try not to have expectations. Standards and goals, yes, but to put expectations on other things and people (like the weather or your kid) is really not fair to them. 

We can't control everything.

Just being honest. That's really all I can be. It sure makes life easier!

Here's a pic from our latest sunny day on the beach. B actually found rocks to throw! He was thrilled.

I mean, it is that kind of Inter.

My little Sun Beam

Okay, and now I have one more piece of exciting news for you. If you listened to my intro podcast episode, you already had a hint. But now...

... are you ready???

I am halfway through writing my next book!!!


I just can't help myself! Yesterday I wrote almost 3,000 words by creating two chapters. I'm writing chapter 21 right now.

My heart just swells when I get time to write. This book is pouring out of me, and my fingers need to keep up!

What's it about?

Great question!

Well, it's my first full-length work of fiction, and I can't believe I didn't start writing fiction sooner. The characters I created are just wonderful and full of surprises -- even to me!

This book is about the human condition. Everybody has struggles, and I created ten main characters (I know, ten is a lot, but I am keeping them accounted for.) who are working through their feelings as life progresses.

Most of the story takes place in a community garden where the characters meet as plot owners and often feel compelled to bare their soul to each other... sometimes accidentally.

This book seems so real. And funny. And sad. And sweet. And... all the things you would hope for! Plus, it's conveying many of the messages I feel are critical for people to understand in order to (you know it) help make the world a better place and reconnect humanity.

At this rate, it will be done before the end of the year. Keep your fingers crossed for me that nothing gets in the way of this writing train.

Chooo chooo!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

So Much Excitement!!!


I have so many exciting things to tell you, but I can't say them all at once, so here is the latest.

This blog just reached 100,000 all time views! Wow! Thanks for always coming back to this free blog! I am honored at the feedback I get. That's why I keep doing it!

If you would like to support this blog, you can scroll down to the  blue tip cup right here and tip $5.00. It's easy, and it tells me that what I'm doing is worth everyone's time. 

If you choose to support, thank you so much!

The ice on the harbor has been in and out. In during the really cold times, then out with the wind, then back again then out again with the... warmer temps.

I was in Houghton today, and 40 degrees F with sun and no wind felt like summer! No jacket needed! Ha!

Here is a picture from last night's moonrise over Bete Gris from my friend the Pedalpixie. She was listening to my podcast while she watched it.

Bete Gris Moonrise

Then this morning, after I got little man to school, I hoofed it over to the west end of Lake Fanny Hooe for some sunrise action because... the sun is rising just after 8am now! It's wonderful to see some color in the sky!

Fanny Hooe sunrise

And when I turned around, there was that moon again. My dear friend Dr. Vye told me we're in the Snow Moon phase. She is so good at keeping me up to date on the moon. It's always a pleasure when we can actually see it!

Morning Snow Moon

Okay, so I won't tell you everything this time, but just one more. 

I had a GREAT interview with the Virtual Yooper for my first real podcast episode. If you don't have an app to load the podcasts on, you can visit my CHV site, scroll to the bottom and click on all the episodes as they air! 

The first and third Tuesday of each month, baby! 

We are still working on the feed, so thanks for your patience, if that's your jam. It's an integral part, I know!

It's been a long day and I need to make supper for a cute little boy, so I'll see you next week! Xoxoxo!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Morning Gem

Do you remember what it was like getting up early for school when you were a kid?

It was tortuously early and often still dark. Kind of a cruel trick, if you ask me. But here we go again.

Brady P does not like to get up for school. He wants to lay in his bed until breakfast is ready. It takes a great amount of coaxing to make him pee in the potty and get dressed. 

The most common words I hear on school mornings are: "No!" "Go away!" and "Just one more minute!" 


Luckily, he is a big fan of walking/running to school, so he will at least get out the door when we're ready.

Every victory counts.

On the weekends, it's a different story.

No alarms for either one of us. Another victory!

He wakes up with the light of day, gets out of bed, closes his door, closes the bathroom door and jumps into bed with me.

On those mornings, he is an absolute gem. So much that I had to write about it.

"Good morning!" he chirps as he climbs over me and rolls into his spot.

"Mummy! I had a dream last night!"

"Oh! What was your dream?" I ask.

Then he tells me his dream. It usually involves playing animals with his Grammy Linda and cousin Lauren, but he adds variations.

Then he asks, "What's your dream?"

You know, I dreamt, but I usually either can't remember or don't think it's appropriate to share. I'm just honest with him about that. He is disappointed, but he gets over it quickly.

Haha. Even when I remember my dreams, he is never too interested.

But there we are. Lying face to face. His adorable little cheeks are rosy and his smile is so bright.

He kisses my lips.

"I love you, Mum."

"Aww, I love you too, Dovie."

"I love you sooooooo much forever and ever."

"Oh, Honey, you are the sweetest!"

"You are the sweetest!" he says.

Then we snuggle closer and stare into each other's eyes. My heart fills with love, magic and gratitude. 

Wide eyes staring

I thank him everyday for coming into my life. I know he is the best gift I could have received in this lifetime, and being his mother is my greatest honor.

It can be difficult at times, but I wouldn't trade it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Tortoise and the Mom

Hey there!

Want to come on a journey with us?

It's only three blocks long, but sometimes it takes 20 minutes to complete. 

Twenty minutes? How can it take that long?

Because Brady P is with us.

He is not a slow walker. He can and likes to run.

But he is sooooo curious and in the moment.

Imagine walking east from the one room schoolhouse in the winter time. Not on the trail which is quiet and scenic, but on the road.

We come out of the school driveway and turn right. For approximately half our journey, we walk past the parking lot of the Mariner North.

In the winter, this parking lot is often full of snowmobiles. If they are parked, he likes to count them. (We have counted over 30 before!) If they just started up, he needs to wait until they take off. All of them in the group.

People to watch

When they are cruising down the road from the gas station (another three blocks further west), he needs to stop and watch them all file past. 

From way down the road. Ugh!

Sometimes they pull in to the Mariner. Sometimes they go past and turn off on the trail.

Sometimes he waves. They often wave back.

We have to wait until they all either go past or park. If I start to walk before he sees their destination, I hear, "Mummy, wait! There's one more!"

Sometimes he spends more time standing and waiting than actually moving toward home. 

Which is my goal.

I have to take deep breaths to keep my patience.

But the fun doesn't end there.

Brady is also a celebrity in this town, so most times, when any of his friends drive by, they stop and chat or slow down and wave. He will chat and then run off waving good-bye. Or he'll wave then stick out his tush and give it a slap.

Can you see how this would take some time? I have learned to never schedule anything near after school time, or I'll fret the whole walk home that we'll be late. 

I don't like to fret.

And he is not one to hurry up.

I have also accepted the fact that he absolutely loves to do all those things I just mentioned. While getting home might be my goal, his mission is to watch each person go by no matter what mode they are using.

I can honestly say that it took me a few school winters to accept this, and I finally have the patience to let him enjoy himself. That's what he is here to do.

And as he does that, other people benefit too.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Learning for Yourself

Happy Wednesday!

Were you one of those kids (or adults) who always had to find out why you weren't supposed to do the things your parents or teachers told you not to do?

I was.

And so is Brady.

Every time we get out lately, he wants to go down to the shore to watch the lake. He watches every wave as it crashes. He is quite a meditative soul... watching until he gets a chill.

He's a wave watcher!

Usually we do it together.

Shore duo

Thanks to our sweet Esa for the cool pics!

On a sunny day, he saw some rocks at the edge of the shore line. "I want to go throw rocks down there," he told me.

"Uhh, Braeds. Those rocks are covered in a layer of ice, and they are all stuck together in a giant clump. You're not going to be able to throw them." I mothered.

"Yes, I want to throw them," he persevered.

I tried to convince him otherwise, but, deep in my heart, I knew he needed to see for himself.

The trek down was all ice, so we held hands and found our way to the shore. The wind was blocked behind us, and the sun sparkled on the rocks.

Shore jewels!

While basking in the glory of the moment, I heard him making whiny sounds. "Mama, help me!"

"What's up, Brady?"

"Help me get the rock!"

I slid down next to him and tapped on the rocks with my mitten. Even my boot!

He saw that none of them budged.

"See?" I told him. "All the rocks are covered in ice and frozen together. It's winter, Dove."

"It's winter," he repeated.

He sat for a bit longer and tried a few more rocks to no avail. Then I saw him shift.

"Are you ready to go back up?" I asked.

"Yes, let's go up."

We got up safely and went for a little walk around town.

I didn't need to reiterate my point, but I think he understood the condition of the shore after that.

Sometimes we just need to try it for ourselves... and hope that somebody patient and understanding is there for us.

Soooo, I hope that you are patient and understanding!

My big surprise is not ready yet. Hopefully by the weekend.

But I'm going to tell you what it is, and how you can find it.

Are you ready?

I'm starting a podcast! Woohoo!

If you don't know about podcasts, they are audio (or video) files that let basically anyone upload content about whatever they want to talk about and stream it directly to their listeners' devices.

If you already have an app for podcasts, you just might love this one!

It's called A Fresh Air Inspired Life and showcases Copper Harbor from the inside. As a blog reader, you are the first to hear about this in a public notice. Congrats!

The episodes are scheduled to air the first and third Tuesday of each month starting in February.

I will have unique and local guests, adventures and thoughts on why it's important to be a nice human. (Brady P. enforces the last one. Wink.)

Here's the link to the Copper Harbor Vitality site, and when the page is ready (hopefully this weekend!) I will make it live and you can click the first green "podcast" line or click on "Podcast" in the menu bar to listen to the intro episode!

I hope you love it as much as I've enjoyed creating it! 

I'm working one-on-one with the Virtual Yooper to set it up from files and codes, so you can hear independently run episodes created just for YOU!

Thanks, Virtual Yooper!!!

Alright, you beautiful soul. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023



We figured it out. Brady had influenza A. For two weeks! 

It was pretty rough for him. I even had to get him on antibiotics because he was spiking temps at 103 nine days after he had his first fever.

I won't stand for that.

Now he is back to his quirky, energetic self, and I am grateful.


I was scared for a bit.

Thanks for the good vibes!

Ummm, don't tell anybody I told you this, but this winter has been weird. No freezing on the harbor from what I can tell. We had a couple wild blizzards, but not much for snow in between. 

My snowblower and I are not complaining. I am not one to complain because it's useless. Ha!

I just wanted to give you an honest report in case you were wondering. It's been either ice or slush between these blizzards. It's hard to believe it's January, but if you are looking for nice, quiet town to visit, come on up!

Cuz look at this sunshine!

Snow angel in the sunshine

Okay, we only got two days of sunshine, but we soaked them up for as long as little man would stay outside. We went for walks and watched the waves. It was fun to see people come out of the woodwork for a drive or a walk in the sun.

"Beautiful day," they would say.

B and I called it "Glorious!" I love how he says that word with me. Such a joyful lad.

I think and hope I will be able to unveil one of my surprises for you next week. Everything looks pretty aligned for it to launch. I think you will be excited! I get so excited that I shake!

Stay tuned for that.

In the mean time, be good to yourself. You deserve it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Accepting Prayers


Just a note to say that my sole purpose lately is to make sure B gets better during his current sickness.

Waiting room duo

We wore our red masks yesterday in the clinic lab waiting room. We will see the Dr. tomorrow.

Maybe just send him a prayer of healing.


Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Always Learning


I hope you survived the latest storm. I don't think any state in the continental 48 was exempt from that. 

Da harbor was pretty much shut down, I heard. I wasn't even there to witness the winds and drifts building out of control. That's a weird, slightly helpless yet relieved feeling. 

I went to my parents' house where I got to meet my new niece, Ruby! She was born to my brother and his awesome wife. Ruby is 5 months old and so precious! I love those guys.

Brady was jealous I held her for a few naps though...

It was puzzling.

Here is something for you to ponder.

B can read at the third grade level. He can name more animal species than almost every adult I know. He likes his space picked up and organized.

He understands that every human is worth asking their name along with a hug or handshake. He is amazingly compassionate and helpful if someone gets hurt or is sad.

But what he can't yet do is recognize his own emotions very well.

When he is having a hard time, he either shuts down or acts out for attention (if that's what he was seeking) in a negative way. 

After dealing with his new, slightly aggressive behavior at my parents' house, we began to realize what was going on. I gave a little talk to everyone with him in the room.

Once we were all on the same page, his behavior changed. He would sit on our laps and snuggle with us for attention instead of throwing things.

Cuz the latter just ain't safe!

B has a great team throughout his family and school, and we are all trying to work through this. It's important to get it right because he is honing and navigating those emotional neural pathways.

It's interesting because he is a genius in some aspects, but a toddler in others.

We all learn a lot and practice patience.

Back to the family story, he was such a stinker that we told him Santa wasn't going to come. But Santa didn't get the memo in time, and he came anyway.

The big guy found us!

Thanks, Santa!

I hope you are in good spirits and ready for a new year!

But if you're not, please realize you shouldn't have to wait for a new year to make a change in your life -- if you need one.

You can do it any day you wake up. Or any minute you feel you've had enough.

Believe in yourself today, baby!