Lollapalooza Love

Lolla Balloon 2010
You may have noticed a slight gap in my posting – and by slight I mean kind of gaping. My tardiness is warranted, I promise.  We’ve been on the road, Thursday through Monday – busy dancing and gallivanting around Grant Park in Chicago for Lollapalooza. But I don’t just say that as a casual fan – 2013 marked the SIXTH year for us.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I look forward to this all year. There really is no use in describing it, because it just ends up sounding like the corny, clichéd rants of a dreamy teen.  It’s definitely not for everybody – sweltering, nature-takes-all kind of weather, tons of people, tons of young people who think you are just an aging lady (am I projecting?), plenty of pushing and shoving, and slightly over-priced beer.  But oh, the music. There is nothing in the world that beats live music.  If you’ve never had a sing-a-long with 40,000 of your closest friends, or even a dance party with 15,000, then you’re missing out on one of life’s truly magical experiences.  And that’s all I’ll say about that.  Here’s a look back at a few photos I dug up from over the years – there are tons more, but there’s only so many crowd shots and stage pictures you can show people.  If you weren’t there, it really just looks like it was crowded, and you had bad seats. Continue reading

Houseboat Adventure (Part 5)

Houseboat Sunset Boat
Does an annual vacation still count as adventure? I think so, especially if it involves nature – both human and earthly. I say human nature because of the social-experimentation feel this trip sometimes takes on. Cue movie trailer voice-over: “What happens when you isolate 14 people in floating living quarters for a weekend excursion? Houseboat. 2013.” As this is our fifth year of the adventure, we have had a few long-term participants, and add/subtracted as the years have gone by. It’s always interesting to see what the dynamic is going to be. As a bona-fide introvert, it is a special challenge for me to be around that many people for that long. The nice part is that we have really cute cabins to retreat to. (The boat is in fact 6 bedroom, 1.5 bath, with full kitchen. Hot tub, double water slide, wet bar, central air. It’s a little crazy, really.) This year I finally realized that I was free to participate or not participate in any of the socializing I felt like – which met for a good balance. Why this took five years I’m not sure, probably something about getting older. Continue reading

Girls Weekend, Lake Michigan Cottage, Take Two

Girls Weekend 2013 View
Girls weekend, second annual edition, was a success.  So much in fact, that I didn’t do nearly the exploring on the property as last year.  Full disclosure:  Instead, I sat in the hot tub overlooking Lake Michigan, and then shot air rifles (in a lady-like cardigan, of course).
Girls Weekend 2013 5

On Saturday morning I got up early and went for a run – I love when I can get out of the house before anyone and really greet the day.  (In hindsight, I may start bringing my camera jogging a la “Yes Man.”)  The weather was the right amount of pensive, cloudy, and balmy.  All the colors were slightly muted, and everything in the woods was still.  I cam around a bend in the road and the lake just opened up – gray, crashing, windy, desolate – just like I love it.  There are bathing suit beach days and then there are sweatpants with shoes and socks beach days – this was a pants day.  I only saw four cars while I was out, and they seemed to contain people out enjoying the morning just as I was.  So I did I did do some exploring, in a sense.

Girls Weekend 2013 1
Later in the morning I proposed a beach walk to the gang, and a few adventurous souls bundled up and made the trek.  We were handsomely rewarded, as the beach and surround area was incredibly fun.  We came across a lake with a creek that ran into Lake Michigan.  We walked under the very bridge I had run across that morning.  I found a few treasures, including an old bottle that I filled up with sand.  Maybe I’ll put it with my crane from last year – my girls weekend souvenir.

Girls Weekend 2013 2Girls Weekend 2013 3Girls Weekend 2013 Fireplace and ChairsGirls Weekend 2013 7


Art Festival

2013 EL Art 3
I love a good art festival.  Heck, I even love a sub-par art festival, the untrained eye doesn’t exactly know the difference.  I enjoy putting on something fun, walking around in the weather, people watching, and maybe even taking home something I can’t live without.  And there is always good carny food at art festivals.  Looking at the different art forms that culminate at a festval is inspiring.  There is always the “I could that” opinion of some booths, but DO you?  That’s the thing, these people are honing their craft, making the effort to travel to shows, sit in sometimes unruly weather, and really put themselves out there.  I love it.

Every year my town has a pretty substantial art festival.  (What is the difference between a festival and a fair, really?)  The weather was glorious enough that we rode our bikes downtown, put them in the bike valet, and strolled around the grounds.  This year I didn’t find any treasures I absolutely couldn’t live without, but did have a pretty killer mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone.

This art festival trip marked probably my very first foray into the “I’m taking my camera everywhere with me” mentality, and thus, I didn’t actually get many pictures.  I’ll definitely get over the awkward feeling of taking out my camera in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, but this was what I could manage for the day.

2013 EL Art 1
2013 EL Art 2

Up North

Glen Haven View 2
While I sometimes lament the fact that my parents live so far away, I should also be thankful that really they’re only a three-hour drive, and are living in (arguably) the most beautiful part of the state.  And, I can go visit them whenever I want.  For instance, just the other weekend, as a combination Mother’s Day / Dad’s Birthday celebration, I made a visit.  Even though the ostensibly spring weather was absolutely horrible, we made the best of it and went for a hike.  A mere 30-minute drive from their house is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  

Glen Haven View 1
Glen Haven School House
These pictures are from a wonderfully eery abandoned town called Glen Haven.  (Perhaps I’ll provide a fascinating and lengthy history lesson on that later.)  Now occupied by the National Lakeshore, Glen Haven has an amazing beach, a scattering of little old wooden buildings, and a trailhead or two.

DH Day Mom and Dogs
And of course I had to get a picture of my mom holding onto the dogs – Emma and Ruby, theirs and mine.  (Please note the extensive garb my mother is wearing – yeah, that’s a winter ski coat, hat, and corduroys – in MAY!)  Ah well, the dreary weather made for exceptionally moody pictures.  When it’s 100 and humid I’ll look back on these and smirk.

Why is this enrichment, you ask?  I firmly believe anytime you can get off dead center and do a little exploring you are doing yourself a favor.  You never know what you’re going to find outside the walls of your own space, especially if you keep your eyes open to it.  So, while I have been to this general area before, I’d never walked on this trail, or been at the beach when the weather was quite so finicky.  Standing alone on the sand as the cool wind pushes you around gives you a feeling of odd tranquility, and to me, that’s enrichment.