Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Adventures in Missouri

Hello from the Ozarks! I got out of Chicago just in time to miss Chiberia 2.0. And while the temperatures here in Thomas Hollow are what the natives call "cold," it's still at least 20 degrees warmer here than up north. And there's no snow. Or ice. Plus, it was in the mid-50s Sunday -- gorgeous hiking weather.

It's a completely different landscape than my Chicago photowalks.
The Lonely Oak 
Field of Dreams
The country here is beautiful. I lived here for almost 10 years before I moved to Chicago. While I had the horses to ride, train and show, the remote location wasn't really an issue. But when I'd sold all but one horse and he died unexpectedly, leaving me horse-less for the first time in more than 30 years...it just didn't feel like "home" anymore. It's a lovely place to visit, and I have family here and some very dear friends who I miss terribly when I'm gone.

You can't beat the sunrises -- "obstructed" only by the trees...
Morning Walk
Or the sunset views:
Evening Shine
So far on this visit, I've been able to watch the bald eagles, learned the art of knife throwing, sampled some homemade beer, saw my dog kill a possum (yes, that happened), wandered around the Wal-Mart SuperCenter (it had to be done) and checked my mom out of the hospital. There will be plenty more adventures in the next few days. I'm hoping most of them will be positive ones, including bringing my uncle home.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A little more than a week left in January! Is it spring yet? Around here, I'm:

Hunkering down for another blast of winter. Single-digit temperatures, snowdrifts and negative wind chills are here again.

Watching season 1 of House of Cards. What took me so long to tune in?

Enjoying some new workouts at the gym and starting to see/feel results. Signed up for a few more 5ks in the next couple months.

Working on printing a collection of my favorite Instagram photos.

Eating candied ginger and trying a recipe to make a batch of homemade candied ginger. I wrote a series of articles about ginger for GoGardenGo and the craving hit. Good thing I don't write about chocolate.

Heading out on another Instagram photo walk this weekend, this time in Chicago's Chinatown!

Dreaming about where I want to travel this year. I wouldn't mind returning to Portland or somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. But a warm, sandy beach sounds fantastic right now.

Disappointed the Bluetooth keyboard I just bought isn't compatible with the Nexus 7 tablet. Looking for solutions, but pretty sure I have to wait for Google to come up with an Android update.

Reading The House Girl by Tara Conklin and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Have A Dream....

A remarkable man whose time was cut short. Martin Luther King Jr. had a way with words, and this is one of my favorite quotes:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trust Your Power

I'm cheating on the Minnesota Vikings Sunday and cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. If you've been following the road to the Super Bowl coverage at all, you've probably heard the name Derrick Coleman and know he's a fullback for the team -- and he's deaf. Or if you're not a football fan (I forget those people exist until my roommate's eyes glaze over when I start spouting stats or names), you know him from the Duracell commercial that's making the rounds on Facebook.

I love the positive media attention Coleman's getting, and how inspiring his story is for anyone who watches it, especially deaf kids. He's worked hard to get to where he is, refusing to let his hearing impairment define or defeat him. I know exactly how he feels, as I've fought similar battles most of my life.

I can't count how many times I've been told, "You can't do that." Then did it. Been made fun of? Oh, yes. Stared at? Still happens. Misunderstood, passed over, left out, isolated...the list could go on, but I learned early on that if you want to survive and thrive, you have to rise above, let go, push harder, keep your chin up and find ways to make it work. Yes, kind of like Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll's "No whining, no complaining, no excuses" mantra. And when you get that chance -- run with it like Coleman has.  

Coleman's Duracell commercial is one minute of life, laid raw. In case you're not one of the more than six million people who've viewed the ad or want to see it again, here it is:

I'd like shake the hand of whoever came up with the concept and had the guts to pitch it. This commercial tells every deaf kid out there who was "picked on and picked last," left out and left behind by their hearing peers: it gets better. Maybe not NFL-career better, but better enough that someday you'll look back and smile and know all the struggles are worth it. Obstacles are made to be overcome. They make you stronger, and they make that victory all that much sweeter.

I'm hoping for a sweet victory for the Seahawks -- and I'm definitely going to be watching for #40 on the field.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Call it Chiberia, the polar vortex or whatever the new hashtag of the day will be, it's COLD. I refrained from the overdone temperature screenshots that were everywhere, but today's low was -18 with a wind chill in the -40s. Like I said, cold.

But cold is still beautiful. Instagram was full of breathtaking photos of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River in downtown Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune has a new feature this year, a live blog with photos from its Instagram feed. It's a neat way to see what's going on around Chicago -- through the eyes of readers. I was excited to have two of my photos featured there last week.
Meadow Lake -- The Morton Arboretum

The path not taken -- The Morton Arboretum
Both photos were taken at one of my favorite places, The Morton Arboretum. I braved the cold and went snowshoeing -- it was a great way to spend an afternoon. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Little Word 2014

Hello, 2014! I'm ready to make this a brilliant, positive year. Emphasis on the positive. 

I'm not one for resolutions. We're all a work in progress -- there's always something to work on and improve. Ali Edward's One Little Word project is really a yearlong journey where you choose one word you want to incorporate into your everyday life. Call it a mantra, a touchstone, a theme song -- but call it yours. 

For 2013, I chose the word "open." And you know what? It worked for me. I opened myself up to new things, experiences, and people. I made a conscious effort throughout the year to stay open. I made a ton of new friends, tried a few things that were outside of my comfort zone, took a solo trip for my 40th birthday, and accomplished plenty of other personal touchstones. 

My word for 2014? 


To me, this has several connotations: a positive outlook, positive self-talk, surrounding myself with positive people and positive words. As the year goes on, I'll share some of the journey on the blog. It isn't always easy. Nothing really worth having ever is.