FOTOFRIDAY: I Miss Live Music!!!!!

Posted on: Friday, May 22nd, 2020
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One year ago, FotoFriday proudly declared that “Live Music Warms the Soul.” That suddenly seems so long ago; dare we say that everything has changed?

Just before that, in November 2018, BreakAway saluted the absolute power of live music. We noted the unprecedented popularity, the thrill of surrounding yourself with fellow fans, and the buzzy but palpable well-being boost as noted by several studies, with factoids including:

  • Attending a concert every 2 weeks may increase your life span by 9 years
  • Going to live music boosts your mood much more than yoga or walking the dog
  • Listening to music increases your dopamine level by 9%

Well, it’s no wonder some of us are feeling our dopamine down by an approximate 9.55%. And there’s no telling when, or how or where, we’ll thrust our fists in the air en masse while screaming memorized lyrics. Are you, too, experiencing lo-do delirium?

(By the way, I took this FOTO of the brilliant chamber-bluegress band, the Punch Brothers, from an prominent overhanging seat with an iPhone that was not silenced and made that phony shutter sound. Man, did I get serious Punchy stinkeye from that entranced, adoring crowd!)

I hate to be Billy Buzzkill, but here it is: I really miss live music. Oh sure, I’m digging the streaming concerts from the golden vaults of Phish, Radiohead, the Grateful Dead, and more. And I’m charmed by the live-streaming shows from Lowcut Connie, Bela Fleck, Willie Nelson’s gang, and so many earnest stars.

But the next-best thing to being there just makes me want to … be there.

Yes, there are bigger things to worry about—and I’m worrying about them too. But I pray for the day that we can resume the diversions and hobbies that help keep us sane, rockin’, and jamming with happy people and that quick dose of dopamine.

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Ain’t No COVID Here, Baby!

Posted on: Friday, May 15th, 2020
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When you cross from Minnesota to Iowa, the Coronavirus protocols change, just like the speed limits.

Back home, it’s scary to go out in public—because people will yell at you if you get too close (this HAS happened to me) or if you are not wearing a mask.

Here at Lake Okoboji, also sometimes called NeverNeverLand, things are, shall we say, more lax. Not everyone, not everywhere. But this quintessential and omnipresent boatload of youthful NeverNeverLanders carry nary a care in the world. You say Corona; they say make it a 12-pack!

Oh to be forever young, simple, and savoring endless summer!

But until I find that fountain—if you’ll excuse me—I’ll just use the sink and wash my hands.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Climbing the Walls

Posted on: Friday, May 8th, 2020
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Swedish culture may have a reputation of understatement and stoicism. But when it comes to shopping? They raise the bar. And climb the walls!

This shot happened on Stockholm’s famous shopping street, Drottningatten. Eye-catching? I’ll say! And ahead of their time—long before the Coronavirus had everyone was climbing the walls.

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: It Ain’t Fair!

Posted on: Friday, May 1st, 2020
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Welcome to the MN State Fair. There, I have taken some mighty fine pics, as can most anyone. The eye candy is endless, though food is even more so! 

Now, may I introduce your 2,126,551 closest friends—as in, socially close and not distant! That was last year’s (record) attendance. Oddly enough, most people might claim not to love crowds and lines. Yet millions pack the State Fair and bump into each other (literally) for 11 days at the end at the end of summer. Rain or swelter.

Once there, it’s a small world, and peculiar things happen. Like, unbeknownst to me, this woman front-left who is staring at me is wearing a pink Okoboji sweatshirt. I have that sweatshirt (in blue). I go to Okoboji, a lot. Have my whole life. And as I shot this throng, I had no idea she was there. Glaring at me through those Foster Grants. That 300mm telephoto lens is a monster to schlep around but always captures big surprises.

Of late, the rumor on the streets is that our beloved event will likely not happen this year due to The Virus. The lesson? Gosh, ditch the excuses, grab the camera, and get out and experience every BreakAway you can. Because, well, you just never know…

Keep the faith. 

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FOTOFRIDAY: We’ll Get Through This!

Posted on: Friday, April 17th, 2020
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The ice will melt. The kayak, like the people, will be able to move forward without fear of injury. A new season will arrive—that lets us run free and splash on each other. We may even open that Corona (beer) without making a bad joke!

Until then, assuming you are well, TRY to enjoy this unscheduled sabbatical. Stay safe. Stay sane.

Keep the faith.

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Posted on: Friday, April 10th, 2020
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Let’s face it, most of America endures bothersome winters of some sort, literally and metaphorically. So when spring arrives—which happens sporadically at best—everyone should drop everything (including their stupid dumb phones) and head to the great outdoors!

That Nasty Virus makes fresh air, open space, and nature even more alluring and vital. After all, we’re mostly locked-down inside inventing new hyper-definitions to for “stir crazy” and “testy.” In normal times, folks head out in swarms here in Minnesota when a heat wave of, say, 42F finally arrives. But lately, the traffic jams have abandoned the highways and hit the sidewalks! (Never mind that they all turn their heads and sprint 6’ away when they see me coming.)

Walk the dog. Walk the rake. Rake the yard. Rake the dog. Play catch with your kids. Invent new sports with your kids. Try social-distance bonfires, driveway happy hours, and pontoon rides (on vessels large enough to keep your space)—like when I took this “Super Moon Pink Moon” shot with the iPhone 11 this week.

A bit blurry, sure. But better than my (very few) crew-mates took with their devices. And why not…since reality is becoming one big blur? Better take pictures to remember these epic days, even while they run together like weird chalk art in the rain. Oh, and did I mention: Go OUTSIDE?

We’ll get through this.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Be brave & have fun

Posted on: Friday, April 3rd, 2020
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Photo by Elsa Horsted

My guess is everyone is sick tired of hearing and reading about the coronavirus. So just for today, let’s just try to: Be brave & have fun.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Life’s a Beach

Posted on: Friday, March 27th, 2020
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The pun works well today, too well.

Days before California got closed, residents and tourists alike were blithely enjoying the sweet spots—including the 840 miles of lovely coastline. Memories help us cling to hope, and gather the strength and patience to weather hard times like this crazy virus.

Here’s to better days ahead.

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FOTOFRIDAY: A Sign of Sick Times

Posted on: Friday, March 20th, 2020
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During spring break last week, my daughter and I managed a BreakAway of sorts (more on that soon), and were enjoying a stroll down Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade on Thursday. That’s just one week ago today as I sit back home writing. The Nasty Corona Virus was all the buzz, yet this was the first sign I saw of a business closing. Man, how the world can change in a mere 7 days.

Travel tends to bring some risk and angst. But this trip featured an endless barrage of disturbing news, rather like the waves at a California beach that just keep coming and coming—but stressful, not peaceful.

We got lucky. Our ambitious checklist of things to do all got done, even though many of them would not have been possible the following day. We visited three colleges that suspended tours the day after. We were also the last guests to enjoy the Getty Museum, a neighborhood bar, a French restaurant…

We’ve returned to a shut-down, locked-down world, including my daughter’s school and sports. A world we must stay away from people, stock up on food, and hoard toilet paper. A world where many are worrying about not only how to pay bills, but how to eat. The situation is dreadful, and getting worse.

But, Dude! How was Cali? Well, it was a lovely trip, miraculously. We even played Frisbee under the sun on a beautiful beach; that’s a deep-tissue soul-massage for us Minnesotans. Normally, any sane person would feel sad to see a vacation like this one end.

Yet this time, as I comb through photos and memories and worries, this traveler can only say: There’s no place like home.

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Posted on: Friday, March 13th, 2020
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Spring break this year inspired a California trip for my high-school daughter and me. We had several missions: Visit family and friends; sneak in some sun, sand, and surf; and see some potential higher-ed schools.

“Be prepared” is a motto of this travel-centric website. So we packed ample snacks, sunscreen (didn’t need it), umbrellas (very handy, unfortunately), and hand sanitizer. Nothing, however, could prepare us for a world-wide pandemic—and all the accompanying fear and loathing. It’s brought new meaning to “traveling heavy.”

Still, we gratefully accomplished most of our goals, including a fascinating info session and tour of Pitzer College, in Claremont, CA, a school founded in the 60s and where those ideals are alive and loud. Proof: The “Freedom Wall,” where students can write anything, anytime. It’s extraordinarily popular, even sorta famous.

I would call it a work of participatory art—and find it interesting that people are fascinated by it. Can we say the same about the gazillions of messages placed online through countless platforms? No.

Art beats noise any day. And that happens every day at Pitzer College.

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