Weekend Coffee Share 6/10/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting at my local coffee shop once again.  Because summer is finally here, I’d be sipping an iced vanilla latte on the back deck, basking in the morning sun.  What would you be having?

It is so good to be back with you all again!  I just returned from a vacation out west and, while hiking in the mountains was a great adventure, I missed these weekly chats.  What have you all been up to?

It’s crazy that summer is finally here!  Spring is slow to come here in Minnesota, but summer appears in the blink of an eye.  One day, you’re wearing light sweaters complaining about too much rain and, the next, it’s eighty degrees.

With the sunny weather and kids being out of school, the library is busy this time of year.  Our annual Summer Reading Program is up and running.  We had a kids musician come for our opening program this week, which was really fun.  Next week, I’m launching Lego Club, summer preschool story time, and having the local princess candidates in to read to the kids.  I’ve been in post-vacation catch-up mode all week, running around like a crazy person, but it’s good to be back. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 5/20/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be bundled up in sweaters with our mugs clutched closely to our chests.  It’s been rainy and cold this week–good for reading and sleeping, bad for all the farmers who have work to be done.  I had picked out a colorful spring outfit to wear to work this morning, but the moment I stepped out of bed my body was like, “NOPE.”  So it’s back to cozy sweaters.

I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me.

This afternoon, I’ll be getting coffee with a dear friend who recently returned from three months in England.  She stayed at the same ministry, L’Abri, that I did a year ago.  I’m excited to hear about her experience and gush about how much we miss it. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 4/15/17

If we were having coffee, you would find me curled up in a cozy sweatshirt staring absentmindedly out the window.  The weather is dreary and wet–perfect for staying indoors.  (Of course… this picture is a wishful fantasy.  In reality, I got up before dawn to go to work.)

I’ve been away from the coffee share for a while again… it’s been a busy month!  Thankfully, things will be setting down a bit soon.

It’s Easter this weekend and I do not feel at all prepared.  Because it’s so late, the holiday really snuck up on me this year.  I feel bad, because Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year, and I haven’t been paying attention.  My brothers are home for the weekend and my parents are getting home from their road trip at some point.  We all plan on going to church together tomorrow… but that’s the extent of our celebrations.  Continue reading

Southern Spring & Dear Friends

There is something about a road trip that gets my heart racing.  When I’m having a bad day, thinking about an open highway is the perfect escape.  Growing up, my parents loaded my brothers and I in our minivan and drove us around the country–from Maine to Alabama to national parks out west.

It’s been about a year since I’ve properly traveled.  Last April, I did a month-long trek across Europe on my own.  Upon returning, my bank account was dangerously empty and I’ve been focusing on my librarian career ever since.

Still, it was high time for a road trip.

This past weekend, I took a few days off and made the trek with a friend from Minnesota to Nashville, Tennessee.  Round-trip, we drove 1,500 miles and spent about 24 hours in the car.  Our only mishap was a speeding ticket in Iowa.

The further south we went, the world came alive.  It was as if we pressed fast-forward on Spring.  Grass and flowers emerged, the temperature dropped, and leaves sprouted from trees.  By the time we arrived in Nashville, we had stripped down to t-shirts and shorts for a few days of summery warmth. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: 3/26/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be at the Caribou Coffee by Target on the edge of the Minneapolis suburbs–you know the one?  You’d take a seat opposite me and I’d scramble to make room for you.  You see, my laptop and lunch are taking up the whole table.  I’d offer to share my cucumbers and carrots while messily trying to keep my chicken caesar wrap from falling to bits.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined in the coffee share.  How have you been lately?  I’ve missed you.  I’ve been suffering from writer’s block and even the thought of drafting a casual post was was enough to send me scrambling away from my computer.  But I’m back! Continue reading

Gondolas & North Shore Connections

The North Shore of Minnesota is a feast for the spirit.  When I look out on the thick pine forests, rugged cliffs, and never ending water, all is well within me.  In a way, the beauty reminds me of who I am.

When I published my post “Thoughts From a Cold Boulder” last month, I thought that was my last time I’d get to see the place that is so dear to me.  Thankfully, I have a mom with connections.  She’s a lobbyist by trade and she represents several communities around the state.  Her job is to use the legislative process to get money to help benefit the well being of her clients.  Often times, this involves boosting tourism.

One of Mom’s biggest clients is Lutsen Mountains, the largest ski hill in the state.  Because of her connections, we were able to take a free two-day ski trip during my Spring Break last March.  Which was AWESOME.

Over the past year, Lutsen has put a lot of money into installing a new gondola.  This investment will (hopefully) bring in more people.  As the largest business in the county, this benefits the entire community.

Yesterday morning, there was a big opening ceremony for the event.  Mom decided to attend and, like the little mooch that I am, I tagged along.

We arrived Thursday night.  Mom was invited to dinner with the owners and the local senator (who is also the Senate Minority Leader and the third most powerful politician in the state).  I ate separately and enjoyed a relaxing evening watching Sleepless in Seattle in our room while she rubbed shoulders with the powerful, influential people of Cook County.

My original goal for tagging along was to go skiing.  I mean, what’s the point of going to the largest ski hill in Minnesota without hitting the slopes?  Sadly, due to an unnaturally warm December, most of Lutsen’s runs were closed.  They were making snow like crazy to be fully open by the weekend… but not in time for us.  No skiing for me.  😦

When the time for the ceremony came yesterday morning, Mom and I made our way to the shiny new gondola platform.  We were stopped and informed that it didn’t open for the general public for half an hour.  Mom quirked her head and goes, “Did Charles and Tom go up already?  We’re with them?”  That’s my mom–name dropping like a pro.

The ride from the platform to top of Moose Mountain was stunning.  They’ve been hard at work making snow and the trees were all coated in a thick layer of white.  The gondola cars have wide windows and we could see for miles and miles.  We were riding through the sky above the winter wonderland all the Christmas songs talk about.

The ceremony itself went very well.  Speeches were made, the ribbon was cut, and everyone moved inside to the chalet for coffee and cookies.  I met Lutsen’s owner and his wife invited us to come up and ski with them.  (Too bad I’m leaving the country in a few weeks…)  I met the important senator.  His wife, Laura, was VERY sweet and spent a long time talking with me.  I also met many of my mom’s Grand Marais work contacts–various business owners and such.

I’ve been attending these kind of events–press releases, grand openings, legislative hearings, etc.–since I was a kid.  I’ve learned to be a fly on the wall, following two steps behind Mom while she talks and makes connections.  I speak if spoken to, but usually stay pretty quiet.

After everything was done, we rode the gondola back down the mountain and headed to Grand Marais for lunch.  We had soup at the town’s coffee shop, then stopped by the home of one of Mom’s friends.  He’s the director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce and his wife is from England!  We stayed for a long time.  The adults talked while I made friends with one of their huskies–a retired sled dog from Scotland.

It was a long four-hours home, but the drive along Lake Superior was beautiful as always.  We went to Gooseberry Falls State Park to see if the waterfalls were still running (they were!) and made a stop in Duluth for coffee.

I love the North Shore.  When I visit, I’m reminded of who I am.  It’s almost like coming home.  From a young age, the beauty has put roots in my heart and become part of me.  I’m thankful to have had so many opportunities to visit throughout my life.  I don’t know when I’ll be back, which makes me really sad.  But no matter where I go, no matter how much life changes, it’s always there waiting to remind me of where I’m from.