fishing and cupcakes

On a whim (and two aligning days off), Scott and I decided to check out our neighborhood lake to see what kind of fishing it had. Standing Bear Lake was a discovery a few months back that we have enjoyed walking the trails several times as well as an ill-fated, rainy picnic. Scott gathered together his fishing gear then we drove to Walmart to get a fishing license. I requested “just one more stop” for me – I had some books waiting for me at the library.

We pulled up to the lake, with lots of fishermen already casting lines into the wet unknown. I set up my chairs and my “geeky, nerdy books” (as Scott referred to them), while Scott tried to find a good place to sink his lure. After seeing how shallow the waters were, Scott walked over and asked another fishermen (up on the dock) what kind of stuff he caught here. “Bass, crappie, and….” he pulled a trout out of the water as he and Scott stood and talked. But the man asked Scott if we had been around by the dam yet. We weren’t sure what he was referring to, but we packed up our stuff (since some rowers were beginning to take over our shallow coast) and we drove around looking for another entrance.

Wow. When we found another entrance we realized we had only been seeing a small portion of the lake! We had no idea a whole 3/4ths of the lake was still to be discovered!!

So we searched for an opening and settled in again. By this time, it was midday and the worst time for fishing. Plus we were completely unprepared (thinking we were going to do some shallow fishing, not realizing we needed more bait and more equipment.)

After awhile – and no fish – Scott was ready to call it quits. But we left with a big anticipation of the next time we would fish there at sunrise – Scott dreaming of fish, me dreaming of sunrise picture possibilities!

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There might have been someone fishing next to us.
And he might have had his shirt off.

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On our way home we stopped at a new cupcake bakery. The decorations were adorable, inside and outside the store. Lots of fun details. They just opened this year and I wish them a great deal of success.

Our order ($10+) deterred us from too many return visits and as always, nothing stacks up to McLain’s Bakery in KC in my book!!

Cute place, though.

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“It’s time for an adventure!”

That phrase is probably one of my favorite things Scott says. He gets it in his system and won’t rest until we have done our thing: Go. See. Do.

I got off work on Monday afternoon around 4pm and he was ready to GO! “It’s too nice of a day to be at home. It’s time for an adventure!”

I grabbed my camera, our phones, and off we went.

Our day included:

* A stop at a lemonade stand not far from our house. The lemonade was freshly made, REAL lemonade (which we threw out, once we got out of her view…blech!) She was also selling shells for .50, so we bought two of those too – to document our Adventure. When I asked where she got them, she said it was from a trip her family took to the Ozarks. Missouri shells! Can’t go wrong there.

* We heard about a lavender farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, so we headed there next. It was a big disappointment. The lavender was growing on a small patch of land (I didn’t even take a picture of it!)

* Then it was to the Dairy Den for a chocolate malt (Scott’s favorite) and a twist cone for me. We met a family in line in front of us that were traveling from Washington state. She came to town to surprise her niece at her baby shower. They were really pleasant people to talk to as we hung out on the Dairy Den rail. Ice cream brings people together, don’t you think? There was a couple on a date, however, that weren’t as interested in our conversation…

* We then drove to Lincoln Highway, the first coast to coast highway across the United States, which turns 100 years old this year. It is designated a Scenic Highway in Iowa. The views across Iowa were beautiful. Farmland is to be appreciated, no matter your current location or preference. It is the heart of so much of our lives.

* We stumbled upon a rest stop that included some historic buildings: a schoolhouse, a cabin and a mercantile store. It also showed the brick used for the coast to coast Lincoln Highway. It is hard to imagine all the brick that was used. I took a picture of an old water conduit that reminded me of an accordian-style, play tunnel my sister and I used to play with in our home’s basement (concrete floors). As adults we have laughed at how painful it was, crawling over the metal rings with our knees, grinding into the metal and concrete. I’m pretty sure we both have permanent damage to our knees because of it!

* The next thing to pop up was the Museum of Religious Arts. Unfortunately it was closed, but we will go back eventually. I’m curious to know what it includes.

* A nice surprise to me was the Nazarene church we passed along the highway.

* We stopped to take pictures of a motel sign that may or may not be a working motel…it was hard to tell!

* A herd of cattle that were less than thrilled that I was wandering around, shooting something toward their young calves. One mama, in particular, was quite vocal in her protection and dislike for me.

* Our only goal for the Adventure was to find farm fresh eggs. We figured if we drove far enough out in the country, we would eventually see a sign. About 2 hours into our drive, we screamed with excitement: “There it is!!!” We followed the circuitous route until we found the spot. While they gathered the eggs, Scott talked with the boy of the house. He was precocious and a great conversationalist. Scott asked him if he was glad it had stopped raining and he replied, “Ohhhh! Last night was teh-wa-ble!!” All I noticed was the fact that he was running around his front yard in his white socks. Brought back some FRUSTRATING memories!

* After leaving their house, we wandered further down that back road and found Hitchcock Nature Center. HOLY COW!! What a find! Beautiful trails to walk, campgrounds, RV grounds, a beautiful lodge with telescopes and bird information. As I walked around taking pictures, I found THE mother of all scenic look-out towers. I climbed to the top to take pictures, in spite of the fact that the sun was beaming so strong it was hard to see anything and a terrible time to take pictures. Scott, however, decided to stay firmly grounded. We are really excited about going back to this observatory, especially with Joyce, who will fill in all the extra details about the trees and birds. Waaaaaaaay off in the distance, you could also see downtown Omaha. As we left, we ran into two dogs and their owner. I stopped and talked with her a few minutes as she ran a faucet of waters for her dogs to enjoy. She lives nearby and walks the Hitchcock trails often. She warmly welcomed me to Omaha. As we parted she yelled over her shoulder, “I hope to see you again soon.” I love all of our encounters along the way as we Adventured on.

* On our way home, we stopped in Crescent, Iowa and ate at Henry’s Diner (‘Nothin’ finer). It has a local reputation for its fried chicken. We opted for a tenderloin and a hamburger. I always expect diners to grill their hamburger buns, and I wasn’t disappointed. The food was deliciously horrible for us! We took the majority of it home as leftovers – including Scott’s nasty (my opinion!) chicken gizzards.

What a beautiful Adventure. A fun day of driving and discussing every imaginable conversation topic. There are so many reasons that Scott is a gift to me. Perhaps, most of all, his love for Adventuring and enjoying every single minute of life.

Go.
See.
Do.

We did.

We loved.
We exhaled out stress.
We breathed in life.

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I have no idea where I’m going…

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I am loving the evolution process of this wall. It continues to grow and shift and change, but it has been an interesting exercise in patience and mood development. I’m not sure what the criteria is for something to be ‘wall worthy’, only that I know it when I see it.
It will continue to evolve organically. It is certainly not a one-stop DIY project…and I think that’s what I love best.

Other than that, I have no idea where I’m going with this. But I’m really enjoying the process.

good messy…

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“Sometimes there was a storm in her brain…” That’s one of my favorite quotes. It’s usually exactly how I create. I have an idea then I can’t quit until I’ve worked on it until exhaustion. There is certainly a storm and hurricane in thoughts and actions. Then once it gets good and going, I have to take a few steps back from it and let it simmer. I talk a lot about things being ‘on probation’…I have to live with it for awhile before knowing if there’s something more I need to add to it, take away from it, or if it’s truly finished.

In the meantime, there’s a mess to be worked around. But I consider that a very happy mess!

What is your creating process?

This week…

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I have seen beautiful sunrises and breath-taking sunsets.

I have been hugged by family.

I have laughed deeply with friends.

I have been spoiled by my husband

and encouraged by co-workers.

I have designed

and instructed

and dreamed.

I have met God’s blessing at every turn.

This week, I have been anointed by the beauty of the ordinary and flown in the company of angels…

free = almost free

Not long ago Scott came through the front door and said, “There’s a rod-iron headboard out by the dumpster.” We couldn’t believe it. He grabbed it and put it in our garage. A month of rainy, busy Sundays later and we finally were able to finish spray-painting it (originally a cream color) and put it up yesterday.

It was a nice thing to open my eyes to this morning.

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I love home/nesting projects!

Learning from Railroad Jargon

My husband, Scott, is a train conductor for Union Pacific Railroad. In any town or state that has a UP railyard, this sign is found all around the tracks.

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Know Your Red Zone.

In other words, know where the hazardous parts around the train are. Know where your blindspots are that might include pedestrians or other railroad workers.

I think that is one of the greatest attributes of growing older. I am more well acquainted with my strengths, but equally important, I know my weaknesses. For instance, I know that I tend to open up to just a few close friends, instead of a wide variety of friends. There is usually a wild, outspoken friend, a quiet, introspective friend, a creative, inspirational friend…parts of my own personality that I am drawn to in them.

I am absolutely certain (after trial and error), that I do not have to watch Meryl Streep decide which child she will give to the concentration camp and certain death. I do not have to know how Patricia Cornwell solved a particularly gruesome crime. And ‘It’s a Beautiful Life’? Uh, yeah…not if I watch that. But it’s an Academy Award winner, right?? Fabulous. But I can’t process it well. Watching particularly sad or ‘heady’ movies, sticks with me for days. I’m moody and unexplainably sad. Studying history is one thing. Watching a dramatization of it…something entirely different for me.

I know that if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m irritable the next day. I know that I have a tendency to want to go to bed early, but if I stay up a little longer, I will sleep better through the night.

I know that fake garlic kills me, but cooking with a garlic clove is totally awesome.

I know that I love salsa, but hate the feel of a raw tomato in my mouth.

I know that when I am feeling restless, it probably means I need a short day trip out of town somewhere. And after that little drive, I am a completely different person.

I know that I obsess. And by obsess, I mean ob.s.e.s.s. I get excited about something and I want to do it immediately and learn everything there is about it. I then can get really burned out so I should step away occasionally and let my brain settle down from its creative storm. But I also now know, that momentary interests in things that might not last a lifetime, is okay. It’s okay to enjoy something for awhile and then move on. It’s not inconsistency or flightiness. It’s simply who I am: not enough lifetimes to do and experience everything I want to see and live. I’ve learned to give myself a break about that.

I know there are toxic people with which I don’t need to associate closely. Some, even at all.

I know there are times I can run with vast energy, and other times that I am slow and methodical. Both states should be recognized and used appropriately. Just go with it.

As a person gets older, they begin to know their red zone. They recognize the whos and whats and wheres. They begin to embrace how their particular hard-wiring functions best.

Know Your Red Zone.

Troubles and weaknesses can’t always be avoided (nor should they be.) But knowing that you’re in a red zone puts you on full alert to recognize the typical pitfalls, allowing you to plan ahead for them before you’re in the middle of them and confused. Each time that we do, we strengthen our confidence in what we know. And what we don’t know. Building blocks of a functioning train – and a well-rounded human being!