July 31, 2014 § 2 Comments

A favorite spot in the Twin Cities — Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun.

It’s got fish tacos. Cold beer. Chips and guacamole. Stunning sunsets. Sailboats, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards. And ducks.

And to top it all off, I got to sit lakeside on Adirondack chairs with the dearest of friends and talk about what life has in store for each of us next.


July 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Grandpa would have been 101 today. Happy birthday, Grandpa, wherever you may be.



Salem Kirche

July 29, 2014 § 2 Comments

Oh, the history you uncover when out driving.

I was running an errand in Inver Grove Heights today and went off course to see what I could find. I eventually came upon this tiny church surrounded by a white metal fence and nestled on Schmidt Lake. Once known as the Salem Evangelical Church, it’s now called Old Salem Shrine and unofficially referred to as the “little white church.”

The church stands locked and shuttered. Regular services ended in 1910, and now it’s open only twice a year for a Christmas service in January and a founders’ service in June. I did a little research when I got home and discovered it was broken into and vandalized extensively last fall. A sad fate for a historical gathering spot maintained and loved by many descendants of the church’s founders.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press has an article about the vandalism and information about the church.

For more history on Old Salem Shrine and two photos of its beautiful interior, read a post written by one of the descendants at “Teachings from the Trail.”


Fences and Football

July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Driving home at dusk, I saw a large group of people playing soccer. Loved the colorful clothes and field and the happy faces. Access to the field was not easy, so I just took photos through the chain-link fence.

Rejection, Alleviated With Doughnuts

July 27, 2014 § 12 Comments

I revolve on a lazy Susan of rejection.

As a writer, photographer, freelance consultant, runner, single woman, and human being, I’ve learned that if I’m not being rejected in one area, there’s always another aspect of my life vulnerable to attack with a tap and flick of the revolving tray.

We humans face rejection on so many levels — not making the sports team, losing the spouse who wants to start his or her life anew either alone or with someone else, dealing with a teen who’s embarrassed to have you as a parent, being named to the chorus when you were hoping for the lead in the musical, not winning the free turkey in the local grocer’s Thanksgiving raffle.

Big or small, rejection is rampant, often feels personal, and always stings.



Lately my rejection turntable is stuck on writing. It’s easy to feel alone among all the nos and ignored requests for verification that maybe, just maybe, I might be a marginally decent writer. Among the short stories I’ve submitted to contests, journals, writing programs, and anthologies this spring and summer, none have yielded acceptance or love or confirmation that I show promise. Which is a hard nut to swallow.

There’s something about having your writing rejected that hurts physically. The heart races a bit, then the stomach drops when you learn all that gut-wrenching work was for naught. A bit like the break-up of a romantic relationship that you didn’t see coming. One’s writing is so personal, such a reflection of the heart and brain and senses. To dismiss that is to dismiss one’s genetic makeup, one’s essence.

...but no thanks

…but no thanks

Rejections in recent months have me questioning my pursuits and contemplating which of three paths I should consider:

  1. Keep writing, refining, and submitting in hopes that one of these days I’ll find the right match for my work.
  2. Hire someone to provide honest feedback and guidance on craft and marketing.
  3. Chuck it all and be content with a life working 9 to 5, using my blog as my sole creative outlet.

Writer Kate DiCamillo recently said she put off writing for 10 years, worried that if she discovered she wasn’t good at it, she would no longer have her lifelong dream to pursue. Her experience rings true for me (and many other writers, I suspect) — fear of doing the one thing you love because you’re afraid it won’t love you back.

The great thing about DiCamillo is her resilience. Once she did start writing, she was rejected hundreds of times, yet never stopped submitting her work nor let the spurns define her talent. This certainly gives me hope, knowing even the best are often overlooked, and that with perseverance and talent comes progress and publication.

So which direction to take, which path will get me where I want to go? “3” just isn’t an option for me. Although I feel like giving up, I’m also determined to prove to myself and others that I can do this. My goal isn’t wealth or worldwide fame. I simply want to call myself a writer and have others do the same. To be recognized for my work and have it resonate with strangers. To make people laugh, cry, and think differently.

Which leaves “1” and “2.” And more work ahead. And far more rejections, too.

I can weather it. I must in order to get to where I’m meant and need to be. For spinning your wheels isn’t all bad. Perhaps the perpetual motion of the lazy Susan will fling rejection to the moon and in its place will fall some small trinket of acceptance.

* * *

This weekend I ran plenty. Tomorrow I will run more. After today’s run and another week of rejections, I wanted a doughnut.

I stood in a long line and bought one. I bought several. The vanilla buttercream-filled changed my life. At least for the five minutes I spent eating it.


Not the Rose Parade

July 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

I haven’t been to the annual Art Car Parade since it was a block long in a marginal section of Uptown. Now in its 20th year, it has moved to a ritzier address — the Lyndale Park Rose Garden adjacent to Lake Harriet.

It was certainly an odd scene. Occupying the street next to the sophisticated rose garden were cars of every size, shape, model, and make festooned in a variety of materials, colors, patterns, and messages. So were the owners. Everyone appeared to enjoy the ridiculousness and frivolity of it all as they waited for the parade to begin.

I had to leave before the parade got underway, but I tried to capture the essence of the event and its surroundings as I shifted between the art car lineup and the gardens.

The Non-Velveteen Pig

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

My favorite dog toy doesn’t rock his world.

This perplexes me.

Small piglet in a big dog-toy sty

Small piglet in a big dog-toy sty

After all, it squeaks.

Wake up, Eddie. It squeaks!

Wake up, Eddie. It squeaks!

It comes in a rainbow of colors.

It's like a bag of Skittles

It’s like a bag of Skittles

It’s a pig with erratic snout stitching and a missing tail.

Why hasn’t it been ripped to shreds by now? I’m afraid it will remain unreal until it is loved.

But I have faith that eventually Eddie will come around to its greatness.

Finally showing the pig some love

Finally showing the pig some love

Where Am I?

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