Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Keeping Winter Bright

Hello from the ridiculously white great north!

Yes, we got a lot of snow.  The report was 20-something inches, but the wind gusts dispersed that into drifts, so it wasn't an even layer of snow... in most places.

It was blown clean over here and over your head over there with an extended peak at the top making it clear which direction the wind came from... for hours.

I'm not going to bore you with my sob story of how long it took me to dig myself out (or the fact that I haven't even finished yet!) because Yoopers everywhere have their own story.  And many had it worse.

I want to talk about the snow being FUN!

Because, before the storm, I was dedicated to making the Copper Harbor tunnel luge right off my front porch.  Yup, that's right.  A tunnel luge.

It took a few random hours of digging when I could get outside according to Wee-man's schedule.  But the day before the storm was predicted to come, one friend watched Brady P while two of my girlfriends came by to help me dig until the bottom tunnel met the top tunnel.

Oh, glory and joy in my heart!!!  We did it!!!

Then we quickly tried to shape the rest of it to get a smooth ride from the top to the bottom -- a length of approximately 30 feet.

Haha.  The smooth ride never happened.

But we rode anyway with our limbs whipping around and voices squealing.  Here's a video of one of the pioneer rides!

Oh, man.  It was so fun.  We had about a dozen people try it out the first day.  And the next day, some of the town's school girls came and sledded for three hours!

I was elated.  That was exactly what I wanted to do -- create something fun to bring the community together over outdoor activities.  I mean, that's the mission of Copper Harbor Vitality!

We sledded for those couple days, but then it snowed and snowed and snowed as I mentioned above.

I did a few runs today to see how much work the luge needs.  The tunnel needs to be dug out a bit.  I'm not normally claustrophobic, but I started to feel that way as I wriggled myself out backwards at the bottom.

The only problem is that I can't find my scoop shovel!  I honestly think it's buried in the snow. 

How ironic.

Well, I'll get that baby up and running again, don't you worry.  If you want to come and check it out, please do!  Just bring a shovel.  Wink.

And now for a special offer!

All this snow is very, well, white.  And I'm a woman who loves bright colors.  Do you know what is full of bright colors?  My wildflower pictures!

A teaser of color!

Right now, I'm offering a great sale on all items on the Copper Harbor Vitality website of buy 2, get 1 free!  Woohoo!  Put a little color in your life, save some cash and support one of your favorite artists!

Sounds like a triple win to me!  

Just use the coupon code 3COLORS at the checkout.  And start shopping here!  The offer expires on St. Patrick's Day.

Thanks again for reading.  You are a rare breed -- a person who reads!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Animal Instincts

So there's this boy.

He's really sweet to me.  And although I've known him for a few years, it seems like the truer I am to myself, the more he appreciates me.  Sure we have our bouts, like any relationship, but it's clear that he loves me unconditionally.

The other day we were at Burger King (a funny place for a scene, if you ask me) and he was in the booth bench beside me.  He put down his cheeseburger, and with ketchup all over his hand, slipped his arm around my neck and fingers in my hair.  He looked me straight in the eyes, and with his breathy little voice, he said, "Hiiieee, Mom!"

What a little charmer.  PDA in Burger King.  

He stood there on the bench with his arm around my neck while I tried to eat my Whopper.  But, for some reason, eating didn't seem as important as just closing my eyes, snuggling right back with him and repeating, "I sure love you.  You are so sweet."

I didn't even care who was looking on because, as the saying goes, "You can't stop love."  And the fact that my four-year-old son finds it necessary to swoon over me at a burger joint while his nana finishes her fries across the table just fills my heart through the entire universe.

So I treasured it.

He has done that same sweet thing more and more often lately.  I lift him up into my arms after school and he just plants a sweet kiss right on my lips.  I don't even have to ask!

And to make me wonder if he is buttering me up for something, he put all three dozen animals away into their bucket without being asked before bed time last night.  What a great little helper!  I am so proud of the little man he is becoming.

Speaking of animals, though, listen to this.

Brady P. cycles through different obsessions.  For a while it was dance pop music, then EIEIO (for an hour straight, if I could stand it) and now it's animal sounds.

He watches one hour of computer a day, and I let him pick what he wants to watch because it's his special time.  Well, there's this collection of videos of animal sounds from all over the world.  I mean, there are animals I have never even heard of on here: coypu, capybura, tapir and oryx to name a few.

As each animal is introduced, a video clip plays while its name is displayed in fourteen different languages, and a lady says its name in a strong South African accent.  The video plays a couple signature sounds for each animal.

Braeden has watched hours of this because it's his new obsession.  

Well, one day, one of those videos came on after an EIEIO song (or forty) during music time.

Here's where my mind was blooooooooown away.  In the video that day, the lady did not say the names of the animals, and Braeden was not watching it -- just listening.

So we had these animal sounds playing raw and unnarrated through the speaker.  Braeden stopped playing with his other obsession, the flipping Ninja Turtle, and stared in deep contemplation.

He was listening intently to the animal sounds.  Just animal sounds with no music or narration.  

Do you know what he did?  He told me what animal was making the sound.  He listened briefly, and after a moment, said the word as best he could.  

Not always able to make out the exact word he is saying, I looked at the video that played up on the counter and saw the name of the animal making the sound.  I can't say he got them all exactly right, but he was differentiating animals with savant-like precision.

Do you know what sound a kangaroo makes?  How about a guinea pig?  Orangutan?  Moose?  Toucan?  Lynx?  Sloth?  Meerkat?  Anteater???

Brady P. knows.  And he can pick their sounds out of 100 other animals.  The boy just amazes me.

Not only does he like what he likes, but he excels at it.  Flabbergastingly so.  He has graduated beyond Old MacDonald's farm and can now give tours at the Disney Zoo.  Maybe we'll go there someday.

Here's a link to the Zoo Video we listened to that day that made me realize just how far he has come.

And for fun, here's a picture of Brady P. the first day I took him out to skate.  His skates were too big, but he glided from side to side pretty naturally -- if I held him up!

Taking a break

Trying to... get up? 

Haha.  Nobody can be a genius at everything!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Grab Bag

Hello!  Gosh, you're great.  You always come back for more.

I would imagine that at this point, you don't even know what to expect when you click on this blog.  It's not very predictable -- at least in my eyes.  

So today you're going to get a grab bag of fun.  That's right.  A random mix of musings: some deep, some light, but all of them are true.  Cuz, let's face it.  That's how I roll.

Okay, now close your eyes and pick one out.

Now look at it!  What did you get?

Prize #1: Ice Rink!
The boys at Grant Township flooded the basket ball court behind the school, so now it's an ice rink.  But not only is it a rink, they keep it shoveled off too!  Good golly gracious, we haven't had an ice rink up here for years!  And for the last couple days, the school kids got to go out to skate during recess.  When I showed up yesterday, I was enchanted.  All of the kids (except the two wee-est) were wearing skates on the ice while pushing small plastic chairs with those little metal disks on the bottoms -- learning how to skate!  That was a site, all right.  The two tallest girls could have used bigger chairs, so they weren't hunched, but I doubt they'll need chairs for very long.  And when they all came in from recess, their cheeks glowed and their spirits soared.  They want to skate everyday to infinity.  Now that Brady P. is getting it, I'm even more excited to go out there with him.  I used to want to be an Olympic figure skater (when I was 12), so I enjoy gliding and twirling myself.  Wait til I try it with a chair!

You picked a fun one!  Reach in again.

Prize #2: Stephen King
I am just a few pages away from finishing my first Stephen King book.  Yes.  My first.  And maybe only.  Can you guess which one I picked up after all his years of writing?  No, really.  Guess!  Okay, you're wrong.  You didn't even know this one existed (but please comment if I'm mistaken!).  It's called On Writing ~ A Memoir of the Craft. When I saw that cover staring at me one day at Grandpa's Barn, I was stunned.  "What?  Stephen King wrote a book about writing?  And it's non-fiction?  Holy buckets!  He is like one of the most popular writers I know!  I better get his insight."  So, yeah. I'm almost done with it, and let me tell you what.  He writes a lot like me.  Or, I should say: I write a lot like him.  Without even trying.  It's just a gift, man.  And that's what he says.  One of the most memorable quotes I took so far is this, "It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster's shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters."  I think that quote can apply to any craft or talent.  If you got it, you got it.  Now harness it and make some pearls!

Want to do another?  Come on.

Prize #3: Confession
I have a confession.  I think you're going to be disappointed in me, but I am going to tell you anyway because if you can't tell your shortcomings to an audience comprised of people who love you and people you don't even know, then you're afraid of something.  I left Copper Harbor on January 8th and got home on February 1st.  Today is the 13th.  Do you know what I have not seen up close in 36 days???  Oh, man... it's so hard to admit.  I have not seen the splashing water of Lake Superior.  I can feel my heart just yeeeaaaarrrrning in desire.  But when I drove the lake shore since I've been home, it has been frozen as far as the eye can see.  Now, I think it has broken up a bit out there, but the harbor is definitely solid.  Excuses!  Excuses!  I need to get out there!  I need to find an open spot of Superior sweetness and listen to the waves and dip my fingers in her glory and feel my heart sink fully back into my chest.  Don't get me wrong, it is difficult this time of year to get a taste of Her Majesty, but I am determined.  I'll chip through the ice if I have to.  Hopefully I won't fall in.

Okay, that one made you want another one, right?

Prize #4: Breathwork
As you may have noticed, in my last few posts I have alluded to the fact that my life took an unexpected and difficult turn lately.  I felt broken.  B.R.O.K.E.N.  Have you ever felt that way?  Do you feel better now?  I sure hope so.  Like I said a few posts ago, I had to do a lot of emotional purging, meditation and conscious focusing to get back on track.  But I have to also tell you about a breakthrough technique I found.  It's called breathwork.  And honestly, I don't know a lot about the origin, but my friend Rachel leads sessions online, so I took one a few weeks ago.  I expected to have a relaxing time breathing peacefully.  Not the case.  At all.  I started doing this breathing where you focus, not on deep breaths or holding it in, but on keeping a consistent cycle inhaling and exhaling.  I imagined my breath like a wheel turning from my abdomen to my heart.  I would do this the best I could until I bawled my eyes out -- several times.  Then I would breath in a cycle again until my arms shook wildly, my lips quivered and my feet felt numb.  Or I laughed hysterically.  Or my whole body tensed up to the point where you could have put my shoulders on the top of one chair and my calves on the top of another and I would have laid there like a quivering board.  Ho.  Ly.  Crap.  That was an experience of a lifetime.  But, do you know what?  I felt waaaaay better afterward.  I felt focused and positive.  I felt so alive and renewed.  And I have learned that when I feel fear or anxiety creeping in, I can just take some time to practice this breathing technique, and I will feel much better.  It has never felt as intense as it did since Rachel's guidance that day, but I think I may have shaken out some of the shadows.  I think this is really awesome.  If you want to look more into it, check out Rachel's website.  Thank you, Rachie!!!

Whew.  That one was rather expected.  Should we try one more?

Prize #5: Brady P.
Yeah, yeah, I know.  You wanted to hear about him the whole time.  That's because he's awesome.  He is a little parrot these days.  He will repeat what people say... even unsuspecting people!  Now, his every word is not yet understandable, but you can tell he's repeating what you said.  So watch your mouth, sonny!  He is also doing much better now that we are home.  He loves going to school.  Loves playing with his toys.  Loves sleeping in his own bed.  Loves bossing me around and telling me which song to play next.  Loves to hold hands and say "Thank you for this food" before we eat a meal.  Loves to test his knowledge.  Loves to play the matching game (still, but sometimes I beat him now!).  And just loves.  He is such a lover.  He is the epitome of love.  And I am so grateful for him in my life.  

Okay.  Five is a good number to stop at.  Wait.  What's that?  A bonus prize?  What is it???

Prize #6: Bubbles
I took this picture of Braeden just after he got his glasses.  It's hilarious -- especially if you have ever seen the Trailer Park Boys because he looks just like Bubbles.  I put this picture on facebook and it went wild.  But just in case you're not on facebook, you should have a glance (and a chuckle) as well.  Enjoy!

No caption does this justice

Well, thanks for playing the grab bag of randomness with me today!  I sure had a good time.

Just one more thing:  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! to my family and community of Copper Harbor.  Life is fulfilled in unique ways with that support. 

Take care of yourself now.  And go do something fun that you've been meaning to do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Itsy Bitsy Steps

Hi there.

Some days are fun.
Some days are hard.
Life can lift up.
Life can bombard.
One day at a time
is how we can win it
but sometimes it's hard to endure just one minute.
Look up at the sky.
Count our blessings each day.
To grow and survive
is the only way.

My heart goes out to you, friend.  Life is real.  Let's be real about it.  We can all survive together.  Just believe and do your part... I am doing mine.

Even the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.