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Johnny Marr

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HEY, it’s Johnny Marr’s birthday! Still a young man at 51, still totally rockin’.
Johnny Marr is my guitar hero and a total musical genius. It seems that some people are under the misapprehension that The Smiths could’ve done fine without him. That it was all Morrissey.  If someone ever says that to you, please slap or stab them.

A couple years ago I would’ve said he needs more recognition but he’s gotten that in spades lately.

Johnny Marr also shares a birthday with my sister Emily. Alan’s sister shares a birthday with Morrissey. Isn’t that WACKY? I think it’s wacky. Anybody else? No? Ok.

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I Meet You at the Cemetry Gates

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There’s this cemetery near our house and despite having lived here for 3 years I’ve never been inside — just once, when I biked through it. Minnesota is having pretty damn near perfect weather this fall so today I suggested we take the short walk over Saturday to meander through the gravestones. Y’know, because October.CRW_6499 CRW_6501 CRW_6502 CRW_6507 CRW_6514 CRW_6511 CRW_6510 CRW_6508 CRW_6522 CRW_6518 CRW_6515
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So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people all those lives
Where are they now?
With the loves and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived and then they died
Seems so unfair
And I want to cry

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W
e sauntered back home and sat in the yard a bit, and I began showing Alan how to use the camera (which, I have mentioned more than once on here, I’ve been meaning to do for some time). He has a ways to go. In the meantime I snapped some pics around the back yard.
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It’s been a miraculously golden fall. Pictures can hardly do it justice.

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Monday Wardrobe: Varsity Blues

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Breaking my blogging dry spell by talking about clothes. Namely, what the heck I’ve been wearing lately, and what I’m wearing today. Back in the summertime, right before the cabin, I got a t-shirt which embodied my casual minimalism. I wore it every single day that week. When I got home, I bought 6 more (I have 5 white and 2 black). For a curvy lady, a square t-shirt is *perfect* and it looks good with jeans and jean shorts. Every day I go home from work now and I put one on. In short: I love this t-shirt.
But I’m like, a working lady, and I can’t just wear the same t-shirt to work every day. I mean, I can do that. My job is so lax on dress code I literally could wear the same plain outfit every day. But I can’t so that. I won’t! I decided this week it was time to up my wardrobe game. I have plenty of good clothes, but when I’m faced with what I should wear every morning. It’s so tempting to just throw on a t-shirt and jeans and wear converse! But I’m still trying for a “promotion” here so I thought it was time I started dressing like it.
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This sweatshirt is from Target, and the shirt I got at a vintage store years and years ago and I’ve worn it maybe once before. I like the pullover because it’s got the mesh part on the shoulders and across the back, which dresses it up a bit.
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The polka dots on the shirt are blue, so I thought I’d wear my dark blue corduroys. I LOVE these pants. I never wear color, but when I found this last fall they became my instant everyday pant. They fell to the wayside over the summer though because you can’t wear cords in the summertime *allegedly*. The shoes are also Target. {Usually everything is from Target.}
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Overall this outfit seemed very preppy. And I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls a ton lately and it’s like, dude, I could totally wear this outfit to Yale.  The colors and preppiness seem fitting.

So you got your basic business casual outfit here, with a twist! I get it, this is exceedingly vain of me, but my original plan was to stage a scene at home that would capture this outfit, and that would’ve been too much.

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Amazon purchases. 10-2-14.

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I’ve been thinking a little bit lately about myself, as you do. And how I as a person am not so easily defined. I love design-y things and minimalism and music and decorating my house, but I also obsess over medieval history and swords and costume epics. Today’s amazon purchases I feel reflect the dichotomy in me. I bought this helmet because I’m going to make a Viking costume for halloween, and I bought Lena Dunham’s autobiography because I relate to her a ton and she’s an inspired young voice for third wave feminism. I find these two to be a bizarre yet charming juxtaposition, and I kind of look at myself, and think “Hey, you’re just your own gal, doing what you do to be you.”

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Take a hike

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I’m not really an “Outdoors Person.” I have always appreciated and stood in awe of nature.  Look, I even have a Pinterest board about it. But the simple fact is, I’m just more comfortable indoors. I’ve mentioned before, that in the summer, I really hate being outside unless it’s by a lake. I just prefer the cold. I’ve been lucky in my life to venture to a few stunning natural destinations though… Flathead National Forest in Montana (I went there with my church in the summer before my Junior year in High School. It’s a gorgeous place I hope to get back to someday) and the Lake Taupo region of New Zealand, where there is the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, and I spent 3 weeks the summer before my Senior year in High School. Both of these times in my life made a significant impact on me, and shaped me in my youth, and yet I’ve always claimed to hate hiking. I guess, more specifically, I hate group hiking, where I am being led, and sometimes it’s hot. Ugh.
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Anyway, back in the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, I had a long vacation from work. I had a new camera, and nothing to do, so I thought I might venture north to Jay Cooke State Park, which is only about 2 hours away from the city. It was a good, noble though, something to for sure get me out of my comfort zone, because I don’t travel alone hardly ever, and I don’t spend a lot of times in the outdoors. Well, that didn’t happen. Something about taking that leap just spooked me. Addtionally, I design the Outdoors Weekend section for the Star Tribune so I was feeling like a bit of a charlatan. The last several months have seen a shift in my interests though. I started following closely the work of Owen Perry who has a great, stylistic eye for outdoors photography. Then I went on my honeymoon  and felt a surge of confidence in my photo-taking abilities. I became fully consumed by the idea of nature photography. And last weekend’s journey to the Upper Peninsula just about sealed it. I knew I had to get outside more, and I wanted to go places, and see mountains and forests and rivers. All the time. And I wanted to be there with my camera.
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I got a chance this weekend because my section needed some photos, and I volunteered to take some of fall colors. It’s still early yet for color in the cities though, so I went North on Saturday, to Jay Cooke State Park, because I felt like I still owed the park a visit. It’s completely different than it would’ve been if I had gone during the Polar Vortex. Maybe I will go back this winter, too. Especially a place that’s so easy to get to.
Not only do I feel like I have a better eye for Photography than before, but I think my processing techniques get better and better with each session. I’d even compare these photos to the ones in this post.  It feels like I’m throwing those photos under the bus! I just had less of an idea of how I wanted those to look.CRW_5918 CRW_6007 CRW_6006 CRW_6005 CRW_6004 CRW_6003 CRW_6001 CRW_6000 CRW_5999 CRW_5994 CRW_5985 CRW_5984 CRW_5981 CRW_5978 CRW_5975 CRW_5973 CRW_5954 CRW_5951 CRW_5949 CRW_5946 CRW_5940 CRW_5939 CRW_5934 CRW_5933 CRW_5930


It actually turns out I’m a pretty adept hiker. I did take my sweet time on this particular walk, since I was taking so many photos. What should’ve been a 20 minute hike took the better part of 90 minutes, and even though I was sweaty, and wearing jeans, I still tramped off the path and got in the mud and laid on my back in the dirt. I really want to go back, when I’m not on an assignment, and I can camp. I’d like to spend all day with this place, instead of a quick 2 hours.
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This kind of feels like a coming of age blog post. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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I was famished afterwords because I hadn’t eaten in about 5 hours and I spent 2 hours hiking in sweltering heat in jeans. Sooooo… The first Chipotle in like, the top half of Minnesota opened in Duluth recently, and I had to go there. Truthfully, it was annoying, BUT Duluth is on a great big hill, and SHIT the views from up there are incredible. So, bonus photos.

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Crusin’ (in the U.P.) part II: Ancient Stones

Part I is here
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Ok so I’ve mentioned a few times that this trip — FOR SOME REASON — reminded me of, and subsequently made me really want to play Skyrim. I only play a couple video games to be honest, but Skyrim is one of them, and I LOVE IT. Gorgeous landscapes, mythical storyline, DRAGONS…? You get to be an ancient Nordic hero and I looove that. I gone and purchased the soundtrack while up there in the UP. Go and listen to this song from the soundtrack, called “Ancient Stones,” which is fitting, because our Lake Superior cruise on Monday was ALL ABOUT ROCKS. YES.  See? I brought it back around. I know how to structure a blog post.


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I wasn’t super paying attention, but let’s see if I got this right: The Upper Peninsula was, at one point, just a huge rock. And this was like, MILLIONS of years ago. Mainly, when most of the world was just a big rock. Then like, glaciers and stuff, BOOM, melted, creating a ton of lakes in the midwest region. Minnesota has such a low elevation we got the brunt of the water flow. Hence the state of ~10,000 lakes. Lake Superior carved out all these nice rocks, which are Limestone I believe, and then thousands of years of erosion and rust have givin them a very painterly look, so,  they call them The Pictured Rocks. My sister-in-law mentioned this was kind of a touristy thing, but I believe that sometimes a tourist trap is a tourist trap for good reason (just never go to Madam Tussauds ANYWHERE). Hilariously, we saw a lot of signs for the Pictured Rocks on our way up there, which advertised that they were featured in the Kid Rock video “Born Free.”  I was REALLY sold then.


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Our nephew, Petoskey, who is actually named after the state rock of Michigan, really liked hanging out with us during this trip, and especially during the cruise.CRW_5621
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Eventually I lost my window seat facing the rocks so I took a lot of pictures out in the back. Which was more fun anyway, so who cares.
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*~The Newlyweds~*
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Alan took a picture of me, after I set up the camera for him. I seriously need to teach him how to just use it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Too many pictures of waves? Make one of them black & white. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Why take pictures of a  FEW THINGS when different things are happening ALL THE TIME? This is why I always have the camera.
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Afterwards, little niece Athena came running to me (she and Gramma), because she found a big bear, and she wanted a picture of it.  Oh my god, even the 3 year old is ultra-aware that I am a camera fiend. Gahd.
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Isn’t this the CUTEST?

This was such a fantastic trip. If we could make it a yearly thing, I would be 100% down for it. Though it could never be exactly be the same. Remember what I was saying about nostalgia? I can never be satisfied. I’m too full of longing. Cue melancholy piano music from Skyrim.

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Crusin’ (in the U.P.) part I

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Monday was a big day. There was the wedding, and then a near 3 hour cruise the whole family took in the evening. As a result, I took almost 1000 photos that day. Over 5 GB. More than I took on my entire Honeymoon. By the end of the trip, I had become known to Alan’s family as the one with the camera. The nut who just can’t put it down. I’m mostly ok with it though. Who is going to take pictures of family vacations if NOBODY takes pictures? They’re worth something to me. I have tons of photos of me when I was a kid, and to me that says “My parents made a conscious effort to get out a camera and document this.” These days it’s smart phones, which, sure, they take fine pictures, but it doesn’t feel the same as taking a *real* photo. In my time developing a photography habit, I feel that the growth has been noticeable. I’ve learned about light, exposure, lenses, and it fills me with confidence that if I could learn these things on my own, then I can keep learning, and keep fostering those skills. So now all my family knows about this obsessive hobby and pokes fun at it, but I also like to hope they’re secretly grateful that someone is around, getting all this… Even if I do take it to the extreme.
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Did you know Lake Superior is the best lake? Now you know.
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I can’t  really emphasize the pleasure I got, running around on this boat, with a crisp, cool air wooshing past me, and the late summer sun on my face, while in a mostly pretty sparsely populated boat, just having free reign to take photos of everything.
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It’s hard to know where to stop on this one. I choose to stop here. Because I just really like those photo. I don’t know what is in my brain that makes me look at a landscape and think “This reminds me of that video game I like to play.” Alan said it was a tribute to the game developers and their skill in making a realistic universe. I worry that I am become less and less attached to reality, since I’m just thinking about displacing myself from the real world and wanting to insert myself into a digital one. Maybe it’s an innocent sense of escapism. Maybe it’s that I have a huge, constantly running imagination and I always want to picture myself adventuring in a pure, natural landscape, largely untouched by people.  Huh.

Being able to retreat to the woods, on the cusp of fall, staying in a surprisingly cushy, yet still modest hotel — with wifi, and TV, was exactly what I needed, and now know it’s exactly what I really want. Being able to wake up to a view of a quiet lake, surrounded by trees, with french press coffee in the morning, and then go on hikes in the afternoon with my husband, then do work on a little table at night while drinking beers, and starting over the next day. It’s the ideal. Minneapolis, you are great, but to have the immediacy of nature, and a few creature comforts, and not to be burdened by anything else in life, is not something you can totally offer.

I’ll post the second half of the cruise photos later on!