FOTOFRIDAY

FOTOFRIDAY: Weird Weather Upsets Travel Plans

Posted on: Friday, July 30th, 2021
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Mini Donuts Smothered in Orange

That’s the sun about to set, although the full moon this month looked much the same. Dusty orange. In MN, especially when the wind is out of the north, we are the unlucky recipients of dangerous smoke from wildfires Up North and in Canada.

While the suns and moons may look magical, the truth is simply alarming. Today (7-29-91), in fact, MN hit the worst AQI reading on record: 422. Anything over 150 is considered unhealthy for all people, not just those with conditions.

These freaky weather events are disrupting travel, too. In my world, one friend just cancelled a CA visit because the fires are too near the destination. People Up North in the Boundary Waters are being evacuated. Heck, the radio just told us to avoid grilling, minimize driving, and stay indoors if at all possible. Not only is travel hitting speed bumps, so is going outside for ‘some fresh air!’

Well, we all knew that when “things opened up” that it might be fake news. The pandemic is making a most unpopular comeback. The fires and heat look downright dystopian. The good news, of course, is that global warming (er, climate change) is a hoax. And Covid-19? Just another conspiracy, right?

Enjoy the getaways, crowds, and orange sundowns. While we still can.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Hark! Live Music is Back!

Posted on: Friday, July 9th, 2021
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Mick Sterling and 12 musicians perform an outstanding Springsteen tribute show at Crooners, an innovative MN super-club. 

I know. The proper photo would show off euphoric music-head crowds of fans, not the band. But when the proprietor offered me a ringside table, and I had brought my Nikon, my focus turned to the stage.

Oddly enough, this shot came from iPhone—since the setting sun only beamed through the tent opening like that for a few seconds. My Nikon’s monster lens makes for fun closeups and such, but the iPhones hold their own, are QUICK, and know that photography is LIGHT.

Venues are booking—and filling. Artists are giddy and ready to strut their stuff, regardless of genre. Live music once again calls as an ultimate, quickie-Breakaway. And while COVID may have silenced the joyful noise, the sudden boom in shows provides proof that the most inspirational pleasures in life (to paraphrase Buddy Holly) are real…

Won’t fade away…

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FOTOFRIDAY: Full Moon, The Cosmic BreakAway

Posted on: Friday, June 25th, 2021
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In this whirling, churlish world, the full moon remains one peaceful event the whole planet adores.  

The full moon showed her lovely face last (Thursday) night—startlingly radiant in gold and hinting of many nicknames. To Native Americans, June’s ‘strawberry’ moon told them it was time to pick those earthly treats. Today’s paper says the same thing.

These days, we also dub the June orb the Supermoon, since she rides a low, close arc along the sky and ergo glows extra golden and bright. Regardless of where you live, how you vote, or what team you root for, the full moon erases worldly worries and inspires a reverent awe.

No wonder full moon gatherings erupt here, there, and everywhere. During COVID quarantine roundabout, one winter full-moon night brought ~55 neighbors outside for an early sundown, a blazing bonfire, and then a slow moonrise that had the otherwise repressed group cheering, toasting, and—best of all—believing in something bigger than us and…more heavenly.

The parties of late have been, well, much more boisterous and buzzy. Summer has arrived. The cruel plague is retreating. And it’s again safe to hug your pals, hunker down, and howl in rapture and hope. If the Gods stick with us, and we stay stubbornly patient, that’s exactly what can happen when we…

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Vaxxed and Unmasked, Turtles Bask

Posted on: Friday, May 21st, 2021
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The turtles have had a rough run, but are slowly becoming optimistic.

Like this “Friday” post may be, the turtles were late. A long, dreary spring did little to inspire them to escape their hibernation. And although nobody really likes wearing masks, the turtles proclaimed the practice to be particularly problematic.

So they were palpably relieved when the mask mandate ended, their vaccinations were complete, and the sun finally came out.

Even turtles need BreakAways. And like to take some time to relax in the sun—in the actual company of others. They look elated, don’t they, in that turtle way? Some are even necking and humping.

At least for now, the future looks warm and sunny. Hope you, too, are taking time to rest & relax and hang out with your besties.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Gorgeous Norway, 1994

Posted on: Friday, May 14th, 2021
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Beauty abounds in faraway Norway. You can also find this shot spinning on the homepage carousel!

When I stumbled on a pile of precious photo prints yesterday, my son kindly ran some scans with his new scanner toy, procured at a garage sale. The truth is I have thousands of photos in boxes, wondering if they’ll ever see the light of screen.

This shot was from just another bucolic landscape in rural Norway. I texted my new scan to a California friend who shares my Norwegian heritage and adoration. He replied back, “Do you ever wonder if all those old Norwegians should have stayed over there?”

Oh yes, I do. But when they came to America, they were leaving a land of poverty, hunger, and overly large families (because they expected child deaths and needed helpers) living in cold, tiny cottages.

It’s no longer like that, not at all. In fact, Norway is one of the richest countries in the world—with governmental assets (from oil) in the low trillion$. They can support a sky-high standard of living for all on a modest draw alone—yet they also work hard and are keenly innovative.

Savviest of all: Unlike most countries, the oil money goes to THE PEOPLE. Not the Koch brothers, not BP, not some crown prince.

The wealth (and taxes and things) does make Norway a jarringly expensive country to visit. As the Danes joke when taking a BreakAway to Norway, “Don’t forget your cucumber.” Indeed, the many outdoorsy Euro-tourists who flock to Norway in the summer pack their camper with ample provisions—much to the dismay of tourism businesses.

The oil will run out someday, sooner than later. Yet their financial plan looks sound enough to keep them comfortable into perpetuity. I loved my visit there—which included time with long, lost relatives. Now that travel is resuming, I can put kjaerlig Norge atop my bucket list again.

Can I make it happen? Can I justify the expense? Will you welcome me again, beautiful homeland? One never knows for sure. So for now, I shall daydream with old photos and…

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Will Our Slumbering Cities Rise and Shine?

Posted on: Friday, April 30th, 2021
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That’s me, at One World Trade Center, a place that stirs both emotions and humility. 

I’ve been talking with friends in big cities lately. The ‘state’ of the city varies depending on the state it’s in. But many, like NYC (pictured here) are still seemingly deserted. Tourism businesses have closed or are barely hanging on. The few people in the streets still sport masks.

Do we miss city chaos? Do we long for crowded subways and traffic jams? Are Times Square and Disneyland atop our bucket lists when (if?) ‘things’ return to normal? And will those soaring skyscrapers (like that monolith in the pic) fill with thousands of workers again?

These are the questions of our times. From my vantage, I hope so. But when travel becomes an easy option for those of us craving a stimulating BreakAway, I’m more excited about Tuscan towns, playful beaches, and undiscovered master chefs. Meantime, we dream on…

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FOTOFRIDAY: Wish You Were Here, Prince

Posted on: Friday, April 23rd, 2021
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Our local superstar took ownership of our hearts…and the color purple.

Price died 5 years ago, and fans still ache from his unexpected passing—another day the music died. A local radio station pumped his jams from Song 1 to his final release; my personal tribute was to pick up a purple orchid to prompt memories and provide beauty.

I am not alone. IMHO, Prince was (without question) THE consummate musician creator, and performer—probably the best ever. (And I was fortunate to see him many, many times.) Paisley Park allowed some guests yesterday and, as usual, still-grieving fans from all over the world showed up for a mere few moments of presence.

Sometimes I wish that life was never ending.

~ Prince

Music remains the ultimate BreakAway. Listening takes you somewhere else, relieves whatever’s ailing you, and opens your ears and brain to new impressions and possibilities. People in the KNOW say there are at least 8,000 finished, unreleased songs in The Vault. Yet another reason to…

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Portland’s Natural Popularity

Posted on: Friday, April 9th, 2021
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It’s easy to see why Portland’s population has been popping.

Life takes me to Portland next week, as my daughter resumes her search for a college, a chore much compromised by the complications of COVID-19. Thanks to a lifelong friend there, I visit now and then. The city has its share of problems (like homelessness). But also boasts cool things to do and abundant natural beauty.

Seems like it always rains when I’m there, with rare sun sightings and persistent moistness and wind. So, though I live in frozen Minnesota, Portland’s appeal plays hide-and-seek. This time, though, the forecasts predict 60s and sunny. My camera and I look forward to some more comfortable sight-seeing.

Check this out: Portland’s population has grown from ~544,000 in 2000 to ~645,000 in 2020. No wonder some longtime locals all but wear KEEP OUT t-shirts when wandering around waterfalls.

Travel remains arduous, but it’s good to get away again, and to see people stepping out.

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: A Short Sunshine BreakAway

Posted on: Friday, March 19th, 2021
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For cold, cooped-up Northerners, nothing soothes like sun, sand, & surf…

I recently joined my daughter, a gaggle of her friends, and their families for a jaunt to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera beaches—a spring break tradition of sorts around here for grads-to-be who can swing it.

The timing and added COVID logistics and risks struck me, a reasonably seasoned traveler, as a bad decision. But I was outvoted (there was no vote). So I looked back on my life—travel and otherwise—and noted a pattern of possibly bad decisions. Yet I turned out alright. Right?

So why stop now? Why stay home? What’s the worst that can happen? (Don’t ask). I went, of course, and soaked up the miracle cures carried by tropical breezes and left longing for more.

More warmth, more travel, more care-free living, more time with actual people. MORE on all that and our little getaway soon…

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Winter’s Cruel Beauty

Posted on: Friday, February 19th, 2021
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  • Pop-up ice art, as sculpted by Mother Winter

Every morning, a storm window greets me with these amazing artworks of frost. The patterns look uncannily similar day to day—so long as the temp and conditions are about the same.

Then, as the day warms up and (if we should be so lucky) the sun shines into the window, the whole thing melts away, dripping down like rain. Later, as the sun fades and the temps drop, the design slowly re-appears. By the next morning, the whole window has become a fairy painting again.

MN had a 2-week nasty cold snap that is finally fading. Meanwhile, much of the country is suffering through dangerous cold, no power, and undrinkable water. Nature can be cruel. But even then, nature will also find ways to create beauty.

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