Wednesday, June 20, 2018

10 Presque Isle Secrets Only Locals Know

Photos Credit: @BruceNelson Photography

I recently wrote a blog for my friends Elizabeth + Becca with the awesome Northerly CollectivePlanning a visit, or live here and want to find new ways to appreciate your surroundings, peoples, and communities - check out their site!  

Northerly Collective was "born from a passion to share our northern lifestyle, from adventuring through the tall pines to lingering conversations over a mug of coffee; a passion that makes us come alive. Our mission is use our love of the Northwoods to create a community of northern folks and reconnect with the soul of northern Wisconsin." Beautiful, right?! And so is the information they share... check out this incredible journal featuring much of the heart + soul of the Northwoods:

A collection of adventures, stories, favorite things + local happenings in northern Wisconsin. Pour yourself a glass of wine and experience the Northwoods through our eyes.

My piece was about hometown Presque Isle - the smallest northern Wisconsin community on the map. Small doesn't mean insignificant, but it does mean finding a few of the secrets alongside an open, creative, and fluid approach to vacation planning and memory-making. Dive in and embrace the midwestern island vibe... you'll be happy you did.

Friday, February 2, 2018

25 Days, 25 Songs

I've been compiling this since a little after the new year... a fun morning activity to get my day started and to remind me to listen to music.

Song, Day 1: A song that I love but rarely listen to "Jackson" by Lucinda Williams. I love this whole album; it reminds me of a wonderful year spent in New York state teaching outdoors in the Catskill Mountains. I used to be able to play a couple of songs from this album on my guitar:)

Song, Day 2: A song that makes me hopeful "Rise Up" by Imagine Dragons. I'm on the ID train, uplifting and positive people, messages, and music.

Song, Day 3: A song that reminds me of my parents "Toes" or anything sung by Billy Bridger. Corny, but talented. My parents love catching his shows on their trips to Marco Island and the whole family enjoys him now too. My dad danced with him when he was Frenchy singing "Beauty School Dropout". He sang "Toes" & dedicated it to Greta a couple years ago. Fun, sweet, memorable.

Song, Day 4: A song that calms me down "Verdi Cries" by Ten Thousand Maniacs. This is a live version with Natalie Merchant.... It's probably my most frequently played song nearing the end of yoga class, her voice permeates the room. 

Song, Day 5: A song that is often stuck in my head "Spirits" by The Strumbellas. This is one of my favorite songs to sing. It's kind of sad, but wistful and hopeful too.  

Song, Day 6: A song that reminds me of my son Cooper "Hall of Fame" by The Script. Reminds me of a rough weekend -- Cooper was struggling with not feeling good enough, and it was heartbreaking. This song blasting out our car windows helped.

Song, Day 7: A song that reminds me of my daughter Greta "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel (IZ) Kamakawiwo'ole. When Greta's our music muse, this song always finds its way onto the playlist. By now, we all know every word and nuance.  

Song, Day 8: A song that reminds me of the past summer "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison. This song disappeared from my life for 20 years. I was reminded of it this summer, downloaded it, and saw an awesome musician sing it live. It's easy to lose yourself in this song.

Song, Day 9: A song that reminds me of my first love "D'yer Maker" by Led Zeppelin. Fun song, my boyfriend in high school coached me on this one and (kind of) made me comfortable enough to sing out loud. Back in the day when our dates were driving around all night...

Song, Day 10: A song that reminds me of my most recent ex-boyfriend "Toxicity" by System of a Down. When you've been married for 12+ years, this one takes you back a bit... to New York when I had a friend named Nick. A martial arts, survivoralist, mountain guy that was an awesome teacher and writer. I don't remember where we were when this song came on, but I remember him doing the head-banging, air guitar guy thing.

Song, Day 11: A song by my favorite band "El Scorcho" by Weezer. Weezer's always there, unsure and not always great, but they love music. And I appreciate River's story...

Song, Day 12: A song on the soundtrack of my favorite movie "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. Love everything about this movie and song. This clip makes me happy cry every time I watch it.

Song, Day 13: A song that reminds me of a former friend "Red Red Wine" by UB40. I don't think of my high school best friend as a "former" friend (despite the miles and years)... Back then, my friend's older sister would give us rides in this crazy car -- think it was a 2-door 1970s Lincoln convertible with bench seating (could easily seat 8). I was sometimes scared of her older sister (she was a tough, athletic type but funny), but more often I was in awe of her and that car. This song -- playing on her old-time radio with the top down.

Song, Day 14: A song that reminds me of my hubs "Yellow" by Coldplay. This was our wedding song - the best wedding song ever IMO - sung by our friend Ed and his awesome throw-together band "The Occasionals." Cal and I are lucky to have found each other. Also of note, RHCP songs:)

Song, Day 15: A song I love singing along to "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister. At the farm, my brothers and I used to scream out this song, and now my kids and I sing it often. A close second is Eye of the Tiger (we spend a lot of time driving living where we do; there's a special bond that builds alongside music).

Song, Day 16: A song that has made me cry 'The Air That I Breathe" by The Hollies. Many of us cry during a yoga class at some point... this was one of the songs that really got me.

Song, Day 17: A song that makes me want to dance "Low" by Flo Rida. You can bop along in the car to this, or you can really have fun with it at the bar after a few drinks...

Song, Day 18: A song from my childhood "The Whole World In His Hands." My dad used to sing this song with my brothers and I on our rides home. I don't remember this being a song about God, but about my dad. We'd hold our hands out and do the motions, and I remember feeling and knowing that my dad would take care of us.

Song, Day 19: The first song alphabetically on my iTunes "A Walk" by Tycho. Instrumental song, good choice for yoga or maybe for a long run -- will have to try it. My favorite long run song is another instrumental "Cliffs of Dover" by Eric Johnson (Thanks Dee!).

Song, Day 20: The last song alphabetically on my iTunes "The Zephyr Song" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Love that this song can be about so many different things... or you can just happily tune in to the voice and music.

Song, Day 21: My most played song right now "Round Here Buzz" by Eric Church. Homebodies unite. This song is a close tie with "The Truth" by Jason Aldean and "Colder Weather" by Zac Brown Band... in a country mood as of late.

Song, Day 22: My first karaoke song "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick. This was not pretty... my brain was working a little slow and the lyrics felt so fast. Pretty sure no one was paying attention though.

Song, Day 23: A song I can't stand to listen to "Boom Boom Pow" by The Black-eyed Peas. Not a fan, at all...

Song, Day 24: My most memorable song from middle school "Heaven" by Bryan Adams. Oh "The Tracks" (Monticello people remember). I danced with some cute, older guy from Mahomet to this song. He held me pretty darn close. Sheltered me = palpably nervous but so excited. 

Song, Day 25: A song I could listen to all day without getting tired of it "Come Back" by Pearl Jam. I adore this song: the lyrics, his voice(!), the instrumental solo, the emotion.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Why She Inspires Me

My daughter is a kind soul. A dreamer. A feeler. A do-er. An improver. And a hockey player. She plays with a team of 16 boys, ages 9 & 10, mostly third and fourth graders. It's a positive team sport for all, yet I have to believe her take-aways are a bit enhanced. The first time we went to practice, she couldn't get out of the car. This was a new team and she was the only girl. Thankfully she knew a handful of the kids. Terrified, she took it one step at a time. Get out. Walk to the building. Go in the locker room. Get dressed. Put on skates. Go towards the ice. Step on the ice. And from there... it was golden:-) She did it with her head held high, her mind whirling with fear, nerves and excitement.

Fast forward to this past weekend, our Squirts played a less experienced team which meant a lot of opportunities. A few of our better players could have scored most times, but what they did instead was to help many of the other players score. It was sweet of the kids and fun to watch. Two of these boys, in particular, really wanted Greta to get a goal. She had a few good shots, but often when she would catch a pass, she'd pass it to someone else for the goal. A little lack of confidence, yes, but also a lack of selfishness. She ended the day with five assists, three in one game. Her teammate informed her that three assists earned her the title "playmaker" -- a word we're pretty sure she'll never forget. Of course I wanted her to get a goal, too... until I talked to her after the game and realized how truly happy she was with things just as they played out. The girl never stopped talking the 2+ hour ride home, jumping from topic to topic, effortlessly taking me to cloud nine with her. What I heard was my strong but gentle lil' girl conquering one of her greatest 9-year old fears: to play on an all-boys hockey team... and still finding a way to grow and stay true to her kind, unselfish and excitable self.