FOTOFRIDAY: Staycationeering

Posted on: Friday, June 19th, 2020
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  • My daughter quietly making art in a moment of staycation calm

It’s funny. Most people spend most of their lives answering “How are you?” with the impressive reply, “I’m so busy!” In normal times, we therefore likely long for a long BreakAway, a relaxing vacation, or even a therapeutic staycation. That word’s gotten super-hot lately, yet now many folks are screaming, “I’m so stir-crazy!”

Well, here’s your staycation opportunity, friends—a topic that deserves a closer look in a forthcoming posts—and certainly in my own muddled world. Have you made your wish-list? Clean closets? Plant shrubs? Read The Gifts of Imperfection? Zoom your faraway rellies?

My daughter often surprises me with her staycation instincts and gift of spontaneously launching projects that make something out of nothing. Like this watercolor of a recent picture. Who know she could even paint so well? Drawing (and sailing!) the Hjørdis isn’t easy! (I know; I took sailing classes on her!)

Oh sure, this photo is a mere memory snapshot; I didn’t want to interrupt a moment of peace, of inspiration. But it reminds us to use some spare moments during this gift of (messy) time to seek some calm, creativity, and beauty.

We need it, right? Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: The Silence of the Loons

Posted on: Friday, June 12th, 2020
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Recently, friends took me out on a pontoon ride to share the secret location of the oh-so hidden loon nest. Lake Owasso, like most Minnesota lakes, gets one beloved loon pair per year. Loons are fiercely territorial, remarkably fearless, and absolutely mesmerizing to watch.

In the Real World, problems keep becoming more explosive. Sad. And Surreal. So seriously: I recommend loons. Or whatever miracle of nature may be in your path that takes your anxieties away, fills you with reverence, and inspires a moment of peace.

Loons can be loud. But my response is silence. And for a fleeting moment—when the loon allows—that quietude and awe is the best therapy I could ask for.

I shot this photo alone at dusk, via kayak and a long zoom lens. The loon was aware of my intrusion, but somehow trusted my intentions. And my desire to coexist with respect and silence.

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: It will be good again.

Posted on: Friday, June 5th, 2020
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Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Stop, Escape, Eat Ice Cream

Posted on: Friday, May 29th, 2020
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Today, in my metropolis, massive protests with violence and destruction are raging in response to a police killing. 

Today, throughout the world, populations are suffering and dying from a dangerous and relentless virus.

Some years ago, and occasionally throughout life with any luck and mercy, such disasters are nowhere in view. Rather, in this case, a dapper lady walked into my path and enjoyed an ice cream cone alone. We were in Stockholm, and she took her treat mid-morning. Why not?

Scenes like these, and the timeless memories they inspire, are why we travel. Here’s hoping these tense times move on, the global pandemic fades away, and we can get back to traveling to wherever we find sweet moments like these.

Keep the faith.

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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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