Showing posts from June, 2012

The Art of Friendship

Last summer I spent some time in Forest City, Iowa doing some research for a travel story I hoped to write. In the process I discovered that the owner of the local B&B, The Elderberry Inn, is a distant cousin of mine. Through my new-found friendship with Carolyn, the B&B owner/distant cousin, I found out that she and five other women gather twice a month to paint on porcelain and have been doing so for 30 some years.
"There might be a story there," Carolyn said.
And she was right.
At first I thought I simply had a story about six women who painted together, six women who were keeping the nearly lost art of porcelain painting alive. But upon meeting the ladies - Janice, Marian, Florence, Carolyn, Delores and Marj - I knew there was something extra special about this group of painters. In fact, this group of ladies was so full of life and laughter, kindness and fun that I decided that I had to make another trip to Forest City to do more research for the story
I didn…

Mountain Biking 101

Wednesday evening (June 13th) Ryan and I had the fun of joining fellow Cannon Valley Velo Club member, Griff Wigley (aka Mountain Bike Geezer) to learn a little about mountain biking.

My mountain biking experience is almost nonexistent - I rode some trails last fall with Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles when I test rode a Salsa Mukluk. To say that I had fun is an understatement! Since then I've hit some gravel and dirt paths on my hybrid with my daughter, Rose, but I haven't had a chance to actually ride any mountain bike trails since my outing on the Mukluk. My opportunities have been limited, for one, but the other problem has been my lack of a mountain bike. 
But then Griff arranged for a beginner's mountain bike for CVVC members and friends at Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trails at Harmon Park in Inver Grove Heights - I decided that I HAD to go. So I called up my younger brother, Joel, who has an old Specialized HardRock to see if I could use it for the beginner's ride. Jo…

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Yesterday my son, Ryan, had a birthday. Ryan's been on this planet, a part of my world, for ten years now. And my life is so much better because he is here. With his kindness, intuition and frequent reminders to unplug and relax, Ryan reminds that life is good. That time spent with family and friends is far more important than time spent checking Facebook on my iPhone. That life is about people, positive connections, reading books and talking about dreams way more than it's about things.
I fail at unplugging, at living in the moment, on a daily basis. I get stressed easily. I try to check email during dinner. I am easily distracted and discouraged. But I'm making progress. And a lot of my progress in this department is because of a little guy who is not so little anymore - My son. Ryan.

One one hand he's a boy so grown up that he takes my phone out of my hands and covers me up with a quilt and tells me to take a nap. And on the other hand he's still little enough tha…