FOTOFRIDAY: Portland’s Natural Popularity

Posted on: Friday, April 9th, 2021
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

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
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

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
Posted in: SoulTrain, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

  • 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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FOTOFRIDAY: Taking the Leap with 35mm

Posted on: Friday, February 12th, 2021
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  • My son captured this shot in a snap with a vintage film camera. 

One month ago, BreakAway featured a film photo by my daughter—and pondered the recent popularity of film for ‘kids’ who have grown up in a digital world.

I find it a bit perplexing, though also refreshing and creative. My son nabbed this timeless image on the shores of Lake Michigan. One shot! That’s all you got! No BURST mode was available. And the surfer was oblivious, so: No prep time, no posing, no retakes.

It’s a great picture, and serves to remind us that being spoiled by limitless shooting, decent cell phone photography, and instant editing/posting guarantees nothing. In fact, maybe it makes us shoot too much and see too little.

This photo is worth 1,000 “files.”

Hmmm… Maybe it’s time for me to dig out my old 35mm camera again?

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FOTOFRIDAY: Hurry Up and Wait!

Posted on: Friday, February 5th, 2021
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  • It’ll be a while, please take a chair…

My Grandma gets credit for “Hurry up and wait!” Seems she would say it, always cheerfully, whenever we had to hurry—or wait—for anything. That’s how the C-19 saga seems to be playing out of late; most folks are in a rush to get the vaccine, yet most everyone must wait.

As I continue my life as a cancer survivor, seems like the appointments never get a BreakAway. The care team is always in a hurry to see me again. The good news is now they can usually hurry me through the routines (though they still take hours).

And now I enjoy, not dread, the time with my terrific doctors.

But these chairs!?! This is what has become of one “waiting” room. Only a few souls sit in the remaining upright chairs, and we are far, far away from each other. Someday, normal will return and these rooms will again be packed with impatient patients, waiting, hurrying, hoping.

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: And in the end…

Posted on: Friday, January 22nd, 2021
Posted in: Rants & Roadkill, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

  • Shovel away the mess, notice a little light on the horizon.

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

            ~ The Beatles

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FOTOFRIDAY: Everything Old is NOW Again

Posted on: Friday, January 15th, 2021
Posted in: Rants & Roadkill, FOTOFRIDAY | One comment

  • My kids are taking FILM pics and listening to LPs. HELP!!! (Photo by EH)

Go figure. Over the years, I’ve gradually—and begrudgingly—purged my piles of 2,000++ albums, dozens of cameras, and enough toys and tools for using them to fill a large barge. They’ve been deemed as mostly worthless when I’ve tried to sell them off, never that that they cost me millions of mowings, shovelings, and waitering hours!

This is not a “new” thing, of course. But the fervor seems ramped up such that the “cool” factor of carrying an old Pentax SLR or spinning an LP is, well, almost alarming. Some of us are still trying to catch up with the dang Digital Revolution, for crying out loud! Why didn’t we just stick with all that stuff from the start!?!

This here oh-so filmy pic comes courtesy of my daughter, 17, who also is posting on an Instagram film site, along with millions of other film-to-digital-to-website images. Is it still “film” when you make the picture digital? Is it a “picture” if you’ve posted it online? There’s more to say about this, but I must ruminate first. Meantime, whatever your media, heed your kids, go to film school, and take more pics!

PS That’s me, on the right, with my son on the left. I had fun, but caught no fish…

PPS The ’87 imprint is a bizarre fluke-mark that an old camera of mine put on. I guess that’s cool too!



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FOTOFRIDAY: Deliverous

Posted on: Thursday, January 7th, 2021
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  • Deliver us from evil. Amen.

Yesterday was a dark, dark day for the USA. Apparently, co-existing with a deadly disease and a long list of other problems just isn’t enough. It appears that riots and violence at the nation’s capital are what some people think we need right here, right now. 

In the Caribbean, passions can also run often loud and occasionally shocking, though I’ve never seen anything like yesterday’s DC hysteria. Boats down there almost always have a whimsical name. And this one caught my camera a number of times as I ferried from one island to another with DELIVEROUS tracking alongside.

A small delivery boat, the name made perfect sense as it raced from place to place, unloading cargo before moving on. On this day when words don’t work and not much makes sense, “Deliver us from evil” will have to do. Amen.

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FOTOFRIDAY: The End of a Year-a

Posted on: Friday, January 1st, 2021
Posted in: Unplugging, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

  • Rough year, anyone? Even the snow knows… 

There will be volumes of verbiage written about this troublesome year. So for now, I’ll try to make no sense of it, and leave that to smarter Thought Leaders.

I must, however, note the challenge—nay, the absurdity!—of hosting a site that advocates career breaks, long-term travel, taking time off, unplugging, and such.

Why? Well, many (most?) of us experienced job insecurity or loss that made viable careers more valuable yet shaky than ever.  As for long-term travel, that became an ill-advised financial outlay that could make you sick and take you to a shut-down dystopia. Time off, while always welcome, this year was forced way more that most people wanted. And as for unplugging, forget it! I want my NTV!

Still, I found things to think and write about, even if it sometimes felt like filibustering. And frankly, there were unexpected gifts and pleasures too. My kids were home and together more than I ever would have expected. My house got C-19 but we got through it okay mostly. I spent more time outdoors and exercising than ever (never mind that it ended in knee surgery). And all that dead time forced some introspection and meaning-of-life pondering that, though often heavy, is important stuff.

I hope we can get back “normal” (whatever that is) in 2021, including struggling with finding balance and dreaming about BreakAways. Meantime, lay low, keep the faith and, don’t forget to SCREAM…


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FOTOFRIDAY: Washed Up!?!

Posted on: Friday, December 11th, 2020
Posted in: FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

  • Hey, how did that sculpture land on this pristine beach?

On New Year’s Day 2010, on the island of St John, USVI, I stumbled upon this beast, as today I stumbled upon the photo. The seas stay mellow on this side of the island—as you might surmise by surveying the shallow water and the surrounding reef islands.

So how did this mega-ton sculpture of cement end up on this quiet beach? How could such gentle waves move such a weighty thing? Where did it come from? When will it erode into the sea or be moved so nobody gets hurt? We’ll never know.

These kinds of mindless mysteries make travel so fascinating. And when on a BreakAway, one actually stops to ponder such questions. I hope to return to that beach someday, 10-plus years later, and find out if it’s still there.

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