Gritty Grandma


He was lying under a tree, licking up the shade.

Hello again, Fox, I said.

And hello to you too, said Fox, looking up and not bounding away.

You're not running away? I said.

Well, I've heard of your conversation about us.  News
travels even among foxes, as you might know or not know.  

What conversation do you mean?

Some lady said to you, "the hunt is good for the fox." 
And you said, "Which fox?"

Yes, I remember.  She as huffed.

So you're okay in my book.

Your book! That was in my book, that's the difference
between us.

Yes, I agree.  You fuss over life with your clever
words, mulling and chewing on its meaning, while
we just live it.


Could anyone figure it out, to a finality?  So
why spend so much time trying.  You fuss, we live.

And he stood, slowly, for he was old now, and
ambled away.

~Mary Oliver~


Grams arrived home from Hawaii yesterday.  As my mom pointed out, who goes to Alaska and Hawaii in a year? Well, she does. When I called to say hello she was very ill.  It appears she caught a nasty case of bronchitis three days into the trip.  It was no surprise as she suffers from respiratory issues on a regular basis.  She went to the doctor when she returned home, fearing it was pneumonia and had to have a breathing treatment to increase her oxygen levels.  She was prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics and sent to home for bed rest.

I worry about her health.  Hearing her tell me she walked through the airports carrying her luggage because there wasn't a wheelchair available, and saying she just had to "suck it up" because she needed to make it home made me frustrated.  She has always had this attitude.  I wonder to myself if she pushed herself to far and I worry. Perhaps she should have stayed home.

And then she scolded me.  I wouldn't let her ride the zip line in Alaska and since I wasn't babysitting her in Hawaii she went for it...and had the time of her life.  She was a fox.  She signed no to every medical condition on the waiver and shimmied her way to the platform.  She was the guinea pig for the 60 year olds that weren't sure they could do it.  She laughed herself into a coughing fit just telling me about it.

And then I scolded myself.  How foolish am I?  She is 81 years old, relatively healthy, lives alone, and volunteers on a weekly basis.  Would I not rather she go to Hawaii and ride the zip line with the risk of getting pneumonia than see her sitting at home alone?  There is a life lesson here.

Maybe she is a coyote and not a fox, but either way, I can only hope for half as much gumption as she has when I see 81.  Risk = Reward


Just a reminder, the giveaway for the fantastic {eye} wonder workshop is still open until Friday.

Aunt Jenny's Quilt

I was very blessed at Christmas and I received many wonderful gifts, but I have to say that my favorite, by far, was the family quilt my mother gave me.  It brought me to tears.  I don't know why I'm so sentimental when it comes to family heirlooms, but I view them as prized possessions.  I suppose there is a sense of belonging nestled in them.

Aunt Jenny is the sister of my my maternal great-grandmother's father.  To make it easier it's Gram's aunt.  She had no children of her own, but many of Gram's sisters and brothers have items of Aunt Jenny's.  We don't know much about her or her brothers and sisters other than my great grandfather so mom and I have decided to travel back to Nebraska this summer and do a little genealogy research.  I am really looking forward to recording the history before it's lost.  

The other special part of the gift is that it suits me perfectly.  The quilt, although it is is full of stitch detail, is plain in design.  Almost as if this quilt was meant to land in my home.  No flowers.  No frills.  Just like me.

I am on a mission to display this quilt in a unique way.  It is stained and tattered in some areas and I don't dare clean it.  How can I display it without using a traditional quilt rack?  A rack doesn't suit my design style.  What do you think?

Gratitude Party || Day 2

I'm participating in Michelle's gratitude party this week.  Will you join us?


I am incredibly thankful for my family.  They are supportive, caring, and love me just as I am.  These are a few of my favorite shots I captured this year of a few of them.  I see joy in all of them.  Joy to genuinely be family.  

brother || sister
captain dad
grams' sister & husband || grams
cousin || grams
nephew || sister
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

What Joy Looks Like

My baby sister is five years younger than I am.  For the most part she has been my shadow.  Growing up I hated her tagging along until my sixth grade teacher talked to me about what a great role model I could be.  My attitude changed after that conversation and I didn't mind her around so much.  Today she is my best friend.

One thing for sure that was always different between us was her love for hair.  I, ever the tomboy, hated having to manage my out of control hair.  Short, long, and a number of perms later, I still dislike doing anything with my hair.  Sarah, on the other hand, has always strived to have perfectly coiffed hair.  Her babysitter would fix her hair almost everyday and then spray it with a can of aqua net.  Soon her passion for doing other people's hair ignited.  Anyone that was a willing victim could have their hair curled, or crimped.  She was FIVE.

Jump twenty years ahead and she still loves hair.  She has made it her life's work.  After cosmetology school she worked on commission, then moved on to working for herself in booth rental, and now... she has manifested her dream and opened the doors to her very own salon.

I am so incredibly proud of her.  The process hasn't been easy:  Finding a location, dealing with a mess left from a previous tenant, a month delay in opening, and dealing with all the woes construction can bring.  The time is finally here. 

I have to showcase her and the salon in this space not because hair is my thing, but because following your heart is.  I feel like I've felt all the pain and joy that has come out of this project over the last year.  I'm overcome with bliss that it happened for her.  This is what joy looks like.

Here are a few shots of her space.  It's fairly minimalist with clean lines which actually makes you feel beautiful when you sit in the chair because you can truly see yourself.

Thank you for letting me share my excitment with you.  You can check out Sarah's facebook page here.  And if you're a stylist living in Lincoln and need a place to work, she has spots available.  *wink*

Road Trip || Alaska

"I can't believe she is your grandmother."  That is all I heard the entire trip.  She is not your typical 80 year old woman.  I had to keep up with her.  She's feisty, and so when she said she wanted to take a cruise to Alaska I told her I would go with her.  When she finally realized I was serious, we booked it.  

I've never been on a cruise, and that was fastest and easiest way to see Alaska.  If I had to do it over again I wouldn't get on a boat, but I loved sharing this experience with her. 

We flew into Seattle to get on board.  We were lucky enough to have lots of sunshine in Seattle and I was hoping that was a good indication of the days ahead.  Of course they were having record highs, but I loved it. While in port, just beyond the shipping yards, you could see Mt. Rainier in the distance. 

Then we sailed for two days.  I didn't think the boat was ever going to stop rocking.  It didn't make me sick, but it left me feeling out of control of my body.  You know when you've had a few drinks and all of a sudden you can't quite control your dexterity?  It felt like that but without the buzz.  I'd be walking and then all of sudden take a side step when the boat shifted.  

When we finally passed through Canadian waters, our first stop was in Tracy Arm.  This was my first experience with icebergs.  Plenty of Titanic jokes heard under breath, but I did have a slight freak out moment.  They really are larger under the water than they appear on top.  I did not want to put our new life boat skills into practice.

Tracy Arm is a long channel and the Captain navigated this large boat around the icebergs like a ping pong ball and we were successfully able to see the Sawyer glacier.  

As we motored along I started to understand why Alaska has so few inhabitants.  The wilderness is vast and expansive and there seems to be no way to go but up. 

Upon closer inspection of the glacier, the most beautiful shade of blue I have ever seen was glowing. Glacier blue has a whole new meaning, but no matter how many photos I took, I couldn't seem to get the color to translate.  It looked as if someone dropped a bunch of cotton candy right in between the mountains.  It appeared fluffy and light when in reality it's jagged, and solid.

After leaving Tracy Arm we headed to Juneau, the state capital.  This was my favorite destination, although I didn't know it would become so then.  The Seattle weather was not an indication of our trip.  The two days at sea were spent in heavy fog, but we were lucky it lifted slightly when we drifted into Juneau.     

The city reminds me a lot San Fransisco.  There is only so much space to build here though and so the landscape is tight.  Straight up behind the buildings were wooded mountains beaming towards the sky.  Water falls were gushing down into ravines and clouds lingered low. 

When you got passed the tourist trinket shops, the truly local businesses were charming and friendly.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to explore the streets long because we had a couple of excursions planned.

First stop was river rafting on the Mendenhall.  This lake and river are glacier melt and the temp is around 35 degrees.  We donned our rain gear and life jackets and sat in the front of the boat.

We got up close to an iceberg that drifted off the Mendenhall glacier.  We were able to break off a piece for closer inspection.  It's full of sediments.  I knew it would be, I just like to see science applied to life.

While on the river the clouds came in close and it started to rain, but since we had waterproof gear on it didn't really matter.  We shot the rapids, and since we were sitting in the front of the raft we got hit with all the water.  We stayed dry but we didn't stay warm. 

While out on the river we saw salmon swimming upstream for the spawning process, bald eagles in trees and on the shore.  Even though we were cold, we were able to see a lot of life we wouldn't have seen on the street.  

After we shot the Mendenhall we got on a boat to see a few whales.  It's one of the best times of year for viewing whales in Alaska because they are busy eating in order to get ready to migrate back to Tijuana.

We did spot several humpback whales.  They don't always travel in groups, but when they are feeding they will team up to maximize the feeding process.  Plumes of water were everywhere in sight. 

This little guy put on a show for us and breached a few times. 

We were also very lucky to see Orcas.  Even the locals were excited about this.  This is a rare sight around here and I'm happy we got to see three of them together. 

Of course no experience to Alaska can go without a bear sighting.  They are so prevalent.  After leaving Juneau we traveled on to Sitka which is on an island and then to Ketchikan.  While in Sitka I learned that on this very small island there are 1.4 bears per mile.  Your chances of running into one is high.  Since I have a thing with bears it was only natural that I spotted one. 

But alas, it was in captivity and not in the wild.  We viewed a bear sanctuary for orphaned cubs.  This guy is just a baby.  I'm afraid he will be huge when he is an adult and I really wouldn't want to run into him in nature. 

There was so much to see and I'm afraid I'm going to have a plan another trip.  Traveling around the state is tricky though because there are not a lot of roads.  Most travel is done through boats and small planes.

We made one last stop after leaving Alaska and that was to Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.  We were having issues with one of our propellers so we arrived in town really late and didn't have time to see much.  We opted for a pedi-cab ride to give us a little history around the city.  It was a beautiful city and I know I'll be spending time there in the future.

Our trip was beautiful and an event I will never forget.  I'm a big advocate of traveling, but I have a new perspective on getting out there and spending time with those you love.  I have the best grandmother, even at 80!

To see more photos from the trip you can jump over to my flickr page.