Thursday, June 30, 2005

Back from the Wilderness

Arrived home last night after a great trip in the Boundary Waters. I love going out there and doing just a few simple things: paddling in the canoe, exploring the campsite, and pondering the beauty all around. I went out and bought a new book (The Egyptologist) to bring with me and then I only read about 10 pages the whole trip.

Even on the car trip up I mostly gazed out the window and watched the greenery and roadside attractions. Saw the 35-foot redwood Voyageur statue in Pine City on the banks of the Snake River. We also drove right past a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed gas station in Cloquet, built in 1956. Stopped at Piragis (an outfitter store) in Ely where Mike bought a new hatchet and we had lunch at the Chocolate Moose.

Our first campsite was on a lake that allowed small motorboats, and we saw a lot of canoe ferry boats go by that shuttle people and their canoes to some remote spot, and then you'd see them coming out, too, people sitting in a little motorboat with a canoe on a rack over their heads. That didn't seem very fun. It feels really good to have paddled all the way under your own power to your destination. When I come home from these trips I have a tendency to think bigger--like hey, I did that, I really did that. I picked up a 42-lb. pack and walked a half a mile with that on my back. I rule! Now what else can I do that I've been assuming I can't?

We didn't see a whole lot of wildlife this trip, but what we lacked in diversity was made up for in quantity: we saw oodles of loons. I took about 15 pictures of just loons, and none of them came out very well! Oh well, better luck next time. I am always surprised at how big these birds are. One of them looked like it was wagging its tail at us but it was actually his foot--their feet are way far back on their bodies, which makes them great divers. We also saw several bald eagles. Or as M. says, balding eagles. And a mama duck with about a dozen babies riding on her back. Fer cute!

I learned to steer the canoe this trip, finally. We had a nice calm day for it with not much wind and so I tried it out. It was a lot of fun even when I was screwing it up, and much comfier to sit in the back of the canoe, I found out! It would be easier for me if I didn't have that brain cloud about keeping track of which is my left and which is my right (I think I musta been short that neuron when I was born), but I did all right for a beginner. John thought I should have had a "student driver" sign on the canoe. Haha.

One of the things I enjoyed most on this trip was all the swimming we got to do. It was really warm the first couple days and one day we went swimming three times. I'm not much of a lake swimmer at home (slimy water, ew) but this water is so clear and gorgeous, you don't want to get out.

My legs are covered in mosquito bites. I look like I have chicken pox, but I don't care, it was worth it. Maybe by next year I can find those insect repellent sox D. gave me for Xmas...

view across the lake from one of our campsites Posted by Hello

the piece d' resistance: stone oven, wood-fired pizza Posted by Hello

lumberjack/BWCA guide/gourmet chef M. Posted by Hello

typically gorgeous sunset Posted by Hello

Me in the canoe on Day 2 Posted by Hello

Our happy group on the last day of the trip Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Crouching Marmot Bars

These are very similar to the Monkey Cereal Bars I made earlier (not my recipe), I just changed some of the ingredients and proportions. And the name. So here's my version:


1 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 c. flaked coconut
1/4 c. butter
1 10 oz. bag of marshmallows
2 1/2 c. Kix cereal
2 1/2 c. Cocoa Puffs cereal
2 c. crushed dried banana chips


1. Heat oven to 350 f. spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. On ungreased cookie sheet with sides, bake walnuts at 350 f for 5 minutes.
2. Remove cookie sheet from oven. Stir coconut into walnuts. Return to oven; bake another 6 minutes or so, stirring twice during baking, until coconut is light golden brown. Set aside to cool.
3. In 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows. Stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in cereal, banana chips, toasted walnuts and coconut until evenly coated; pour into sprayed pan. Spray large piece of wax paper with cooking spray, then apply side with spray to mixture to flatten out into pan. Cool 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

*note: To easily crush banana chips, place in large ziploc bag and use rolling pin to roll over chips several times.

Countdown to Vacation in X-1

We leave for the Boundary Waters and four days of camping and canoeing in less than 24 hours, hooray! I am really looking forward to this vacation. And I'm very excited about bringing the good camera, that is, the digital camera, instead of those cheap waterproof disposables that take grainy, crappy pictures. I've been wanting to bring our good camera for a while now, and today I finally went to REI and bought a really nice waterproof case for it. $45 for peace of mind and some great pictures. The camera stays in the bag and you take pictures through it, so the waterproof bag never need be opened. We tested it out already and it works great if you aren't using the flash, which I doubt I'll need much being outdoors all the time. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love to take pictures, so I'll really have fun up there with my good camera.

Cocoa Puffs is going to her doggie hotel in a couple of hours, and she'll be there while we're gone. Wah! I know she will be okay there, I'm not worried about that, they take good care of her and she plays well with the other doggies, I will just miss her. Maybe next year we can take her with us up there. That would be fun. I just picked up the latest issue of Bark magazine and there's a great article about taking your dog in the canoe. If you love dogs and you haven't seen this magazine, run right out and get a copy, it's really fun. Not like Dog Fancy or some of that other crap, this is more literary and silly. And it has outrageous ads for dog stuff.

The Crouching Marmot Bar: a variation on the Monkey Cereal Bars from an earlier post (a Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipe) that I made up. I wanted more bananas and coconut and less Cocoa Puffs. They are very yummy. Posted by Hello

Johnny swimming with Cocoa in the lake (well, okay, he's standing in the lake, not swimming) Posted by Hello

Cocoa wearing her life jacket at the lake in Eau Claire. She is having a good time! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Warning: Crabby Post Ahead

And so it begins. The fireworks in the street. Illegal, I might point out. Noisy! I hate them! The 4th of July is my most unfavorite holiday, not for what it represents but for all the idiot behavior it encourages. Explosives + people drinking too much. And it scares my dog, which really chafes my hide.

I'm also crabby because I've had a headache for 4 days now. It gets better and worse but won't go away. It's my period. It's the weather. It's the aliens... Who knows why but it persists. The other day someone who knows me well asked me how I was and I said that I had a headache and he said "Headaches are not allowed." I really wanted to slap him. Like I can just turn it off. If only. I guess he thought he was being funny? I don't know. People with migraines have a very low tolerance of being mocked. I just want to point that out. It's not funny. So shut up. And get me a fresh ice pack.

We leave for the BWCA on Sunday. Thank God. I want quiet and nature. I need it. Northern Lights would be nice, too.

Friday, June 17, 2005

ATC (Artist Trading Card) I made last night. I call it Inspected by Green no. 5. It's very random, I know. See more of my ATCs at the link on the sidebar that asks if you wanna see more of my art... Posted by Hello

Socks I recently finished knitting for myself. Now I just have to wait four months until it's cold enough to wear wool again! Posted by Hello

APC (altered postcard) I sent in a swap for the Yahoo Alterations group. The girl is part of the original postcard, and so is the green leafy bit. The text I wrote in reads: Mr. Bunny searched high and low throughout the neighborhood, but to no avail. Alas! It seemed the little girl was hopelessly lost among the dense foliage. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Playground (with ball field in foreground) at a school/park near our house. It's a happy thing, a colorful playground. When there are no kids around, sometimes Cocoa and I go in it and walk over the little bridges and stuff. Last time she decided we should go down a slide. There's also a zip line on this playground, something they didn't have when I was a kid (back in ye olden days) and I wish they did!! I probably would have played on it all the time. It's a sort of Indiana Jones/swashbuckling/Tarzan kind of ride you just can't resist. I barely have enough arm strength to hold onto it now! Posted by Hello

Cocoa Puffs chewing some long grass in our yard. Our little sheep.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Trash or Treasure

So I'm sitting here at my desk and I have a view out the window of the street below and part of an alley across the way. A guy goes by on his bicycle, carrying a backpack and a couple empty hefty bags. He circles back and goes down the alley. He stops at someone's trash cans and recycle bins and starts looking through the stuff. At first I'm mad, thinking he's stealing the recycling. I think about going outside and yelling at him "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" in my best authoritative block leader voice. Then I see he's actually looking through the trash. Hmmm. Well, that's different. I decide not to go yell at him, which is good because I don't like yelling at people. He isn't making a mess, he's just looking at the big stuff that's piled up next to the trash can. He takes a couple things (a toaster? a mop?) and puts them in his hefty bag. And moves on. He's a gleaner.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

close-up of kitty/lion. he's hunkering down now because he sees me coming with a hyper doggie. don't worry, kitty, my dog won't chase you unless you're a squirrel or a bunny. Posted by Hello

Good Lawn Art #2: this kitty is pretending he's just as big and fierce as one of the lawn lions. Posted by Hello

J. at the finish line of the MS150!! He made it the whole way and was hardly even tired at the end. Amazing! Posted by Hello

Good Lawn Art #1: dancing painted metal figures. My shot is blurry but that just makes them look more like they're dancing. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

close-up of The Mitten Tree Posted by Hello

The Mitten Tree: in the woods at the dog park, someone dropped a mitten during the winter. Someone else must have seen it and hung it on this tree to find. Sadly, no one claimed it, but it has found new life, nonetheless. New shoots are actually growing through the mitten now, so it is part of the tree. Thus, The Mitten Tree. Posted by Hello

Tiny little mushrooms at Minnehaha Park. Makes me think of children's stories about small creatures like Stuart Little and The Littles, like this would make a nice umbrella for them. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 03, 2005


Is there such a thing as a resonant frequency of the human body? At the Basilica of St. Mary where we go to Mass, there is someone in the choir who I call my "spiritual Elvis" because whenever I hear him sing, it's a spiritual experience. His voice just knocks me out, it's so gorgeous. Whenever he is the cantor for Mass, I am so psyched. I'm not getting all New Agey and touchy-feely, I just wonder about if there's something physically or chemically happening to me when I hear him singing. No matter how I'm feeling before I hear him, after he sings I feel like the world is new again and full of promise. It just amazes me. Is it really that wacky to think of that feeling as the product of a resonant frequency? All physical objects have a resonant frequency. So think of me as the system upon which the force of his voice acts, and the amplitude of something in me just skyrockets when he sings. It's not that I get all hyperactive, it's more of a feeling of richness, fullness--which is another meaning for resonance. It's soothing and exciting at the same time. I like it.

I bet most people can relate to this, although maybe they haven't thought about it as much as I am thinking about it. There's a voice on the radio you just love to hear, you could listen to it read the phone book, it doesn't matter. You just love to sit and listen to it. Maybe you swoon over it, if it's saying something meaningful, because that just enriches the quality of your experience. But really, on a primal level, it doesn't matter what the words are, you are experiencing the sound, the quality of the world changing as it's filled with that voice...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

it even has Wheaties nutrition facts on the back! Posted by Hello

J. in his General Mills team bike jersey for the MS150 ride coming up June 11th. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

#5 of things to do at doggie park: run up to top of hill and be queen of it. Posted by Hello