It Might Be Bigger on the Inside

The school bus had been gutted, seats replaced by plywood that would make a table and then a bed platform and then a bathroom stall. My stepfather was always coming up with creative ways to use cheap things he’d acquired, a forerunner of the reuse and recycle crowd before it became trendy. The school bus into a camper was the most odd, and where we’d end up living for a time while he turned an old gas station into a house. Our first vacation in the bus was to a lake and… Read More

The Eye (or Camera) of the Beholder

A few weeks ago we visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum that had a night art installation by Bruce Munro – lots of light, a little weird music, and a great deal of walking. Throw in the S’more kits being sold around a fire and it was a lovely evening. We walked along dark pathways from sight to sight, under a clear, starry sky. Light pollution often obscures the sky in our neighborhood, so I took the opportunity to point out some constellations to my daughter. We had to keep finding dark areas… Read More

Stories from the Road: The Search for Narrative

After a vacation in Montana, I’ve returned home, a head full of unorganized thoughts and a vague sense that I’m on the right path again. For months, I’ve been languishing in a purgatory of writer impotence and flailing about for some sense of purpose. We took the Amtrak train from St. Paul to Glacier National Park, staying in a century-old lodge with few amenities and scant Wi-fi. We paid for a view and a convenient walk from the train station. Following our arrival, we spent our days hiking and horseback riding and… Read More

Stories from the Road: There’s Something About Larry…

After a two week road trip around the Great Lakes, I’m making a quiet re-entry into the blogging world – homeward bound in more ways than one. My family and I take different vacations together. I’m often up at the crack of dawn hitting the hotel fitness room or fumbling about in the dark making coffee or off on a walkabout. They sleep in unscheduled bliss. I love them and I love my mornings alone. In Mackinaw City, Michigan, I wandered down the street near our hotel on Lake Huron, finding a… Read More

“OMG I’m getting mugged NLMAO”: Moving Mindfully

This is the 3rd in a series of essays on the importance of self-defense and physical power. I am not an expert on self-defense, nor a physical fitness guru. I do not condone violence, but advocate taking whatever action or inaction is needed to survive potentially dangerous situations. Not every situation is defensible through physical force. Introductory Post:   A Blogger for Self-Defense Claiming Public Space: The Power of Posture Today’s post will be an exercise in the obvious for most people. Be aware of your surroundings and be able to move. This… Read More

You Were One of Them, Once

I try very hard to not use this blog as a vehicle for pointless ranting, but on occasion, I just have to get it out. Today I read that some airlines are now having child-free seating. I have high hopes for asshole-free seating, but the screening process may be too subjective. I’m fed up with people complaining about everything under the sun, but the vitriolic rants unleashed about children and parents alike are getting out of hand. I don’t have a natural affinity for kids. I’ll be honest. I’m fond of quiet… Read More

Tea with Miss Marple

When I was younger, I had big ideas about travel and the jet set life I would lead. My family never traveled much when I was a child, with the exception of my mother going back to England on occasion. My travel dreams started in books, where I could read about different places and times and people. When I joined the Army, I began to meet people from all walks of life and then I was stationed in Germany (West, at the time) for a couple of years, where I traveled to… Read More

How to Pack When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was Nellie Bly, Reporter by Nina Brown Baker. It told the true story of Elizabeth Cochrane, a pioneering female journalist who wrote under the pseudonym Nellie Bly. In 1889, she presented the idea to her editors to take a trip around the world, attempting to make Jules Vernes’ Around the World in Eighty Days a reality. She took with her a sturdy dress made especially for constant wear, a coat, some underwear, a bag of toiletries and required currency. 72 days… Read More