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Monday, August 25, 2008


My husband and I found a delightful block of quicksand this weekend along the Mississippi River in St. Paul Park. We were paddling south from Lions Levee Park along the side channel and then wandered into a pristine little cove. In the far back corner amongst the kingfishers and bald eagles was the quicksand. I marked the place on the map below.

Here's how it looks undisturbed:

Then we jumped in!

Quicksand it fun!

I heard from some friends at the National Park Service that this backwater was under a proposal for development = turn it into condos and a marina. That would suck.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Childhood Stories #1: Time Machines

A bunch of childhood memories are creeping into my consciousness of late. They are mostly about school, my horse, crazy imagination outdoor games, and when my mom was sick. It seems like the stories want to get out, so I'm going to write 'em here.

Story #1: Time Machines

There were two time machines near my house.

The crab apple tree in the front yard was the more straight forward of the two. My elder sister discovered that when you climbed high into the tree and sat on a select branch, buttons would rise out of the knotty bark. The magic branch was thick and shot out the of trunk at roughly a 60 degree angle, it kinda hurt your butt to sit on it and you didn't want to stay too there long. I was too small to climb the tree on my own, so my dad nailed some boards into the trunk for me to use as stairs. The tree bark felt rough and strong, a little cold, and really REAL when I climbed. We used the buttons to program how far back in time we wanted to go; they made loud juicy beeping noises.

After programed, the tree would shake violently sending all those nearby into a violent spin and eventually knocking us down with dizziness. When the clouds and tree branches stopped spinning we had arrived in another time. Then we would wonder around looking at everything with new eyes, marveling at how much THE SAME everything looked. This game just faded away until we were in "normal" time again and we moved on to some other amusement.

The other time machine was more of a dimension shifter. I discovered this one myself - it was mine. There was a windbreak in the neighbor's yard made of a row of thick luscious pine trees. When I squeezed between the trees, there was a moment when I was totally engulfed in the surprisingly soft needles. In that second, I slipped into another dimension. When I emerged on the other side I was in a world lurking with fantasy danger: dragons, dinosaurs, sorcerers, tiny gnomes, and other adventurers. In this world I ran a store (in the sandbox). My most valuable commodities were ultra-soft sand collected from driveway ant mounds and cottonwood tree seeds. It wasn't uncommon for me to mix up magic potions, mostly for protection from dragons. I had to leave this dimension by going back through the pine trees again. My mother must have wondered why I ran away before returning home after she called me for dinner.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Strippers and Airplanes

Two awesome blogs:

Flight Level 390
Stories from a commercial airline pilot. Lots of talk of fuel load, weather, and elevation told through narrative. Intriguing even to those who know nothing about aviation.

Grace Undressed
Stories from a (now former) stripper. This blogger was featured on BoingBoing a few months ago and kinda freaked out about it. But I'm glad she was, because she is an incredible writer.

Friday, August 01, 2008


You'd think that when your time is all your own it would be like the happy montage scenes in movies when people fall in love, or go on vacations; doing one really fun exciting thing after another.

Now that I don't have a "real" job I have the potential to do live that paradise; but instead I end up staying at home surfing the web or watching the TV.

WHY?! I want to be out doing fun things!

I know part of it is some perverse work ethic telling me I should be using my time productively finishing my consulting website or taking care of household chores. But when I think about getting up to do those things I feel weighed down by a thick slimy goo of apathy. And being a midwesterner of German heritage I am cursed with the perverted moral that fun must be earned by work - so if I don't work, I don't play = stuck in shitty no-action land.

So far, for the most part, I've been able to wiggle myself out of the energy-sucking-slime and get something productive/fun done everyday but I need to figure out how to escape this melancholy nickelodeon madhouse.