Our swing through the midwest began in Michigan with the DGLO (Discraft Great Lakes Open), & we had the good fortune of being invited to camp on a private course at a farm. This year's crop? Sunflowers. (You bet your ass I squealed with joy.)
Opening our doors to this magical scene as our front porch was poetry. Breezes through the open door from the rows of bright faces of sunshine made doing dishes a thoroughly magical experience. Though the north woods mosquitos were prevalent, we had our bug net & were able to keep the door open.
I was calm & grounded sitting watching them sway, listening to the bees in the sunshine. There were at least three hives on the property! And if you know me, you know I love bees. (& they love me back.)
I love being able to camp at the course we are competing at, but sometimes it is nice to have total quiet & privacy. We are in the van in parking lots quite frequently and while most of the visitors are friendly & courteous, it can be a lot to deal with day after day. Giving ourselves a break from that every once in a while, keeps it from getting overwhelming.
James and I are true fans of delicious food. We do not follow a strict diet, and rather choose to eat fresh ingredients, & as local as we can manage. James is an omnivore, & I've been pescatarian for almost 4 years. I still eat eggs & seafood, but no meat. I also prefer to limit my dairy consumption to cheese and grass-fed butter. When James and I want to go on a date out to eat, we typically choose a seafood place with an oyster bar.
May I introduce you to my Grandpa Truman. He knows more about birds and vegetable gardening than almost anyone I know. He's lived the last few decades in Wisconsin, and I hadn't seen him in a couple of years. On our way through we managed to stop and sit down together for dinner, and I tell you- I will never forget his smile when we pulled in to the parking lot.
Next, we were in my beloved home state of Minnesota. This here ferocious feline is my lady Pooka! She is five years old (birthday in October) and currently living at my stepdad's place in Minneapolis. Her hobbies include complaining, being sharp, & melting me into a puddle.
My cousin (but basically my sister) Lydia is the best four leaf clover finder I know. I'm not too shabby, myself. My gift to James this holiday season was a custom resin poured mini with four leaf clovers I'd found during the 2020 tour season made by the talented Matt Sime at Treasures of the Forest. (You can find a photo on James' Instagram, or keep an eye out for it on coverage!)
This is the safest, most magical place in the entire world to me. It's my Uma's back yard in Minneapolis. She originally bough the house next door (tan on right) in the early 90's, fixed it up herself, then did the same thing with this one. Children, grandchildren, and great grandchild have eaten the raspberries fresh off the bush here. The air usually smells like hanging laundry, peonies, or wet autumn leaves. The Lombardi poplars (Uma is particular about these) leaves are always rustling in the breeze, and things just don't seem as bad as you first thought when you're standing here.
This video unlocked a horde of childhood flashbacks. I can't explain this toy in the slightest, and it brings me indescribable joy.
If you grew up in Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis, you know this whale. I grew up in the south side of Minneapolis, blocks from Lake Street where the protests occurred in May of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. I took a walk through part of my old neighborhood one year later & this is what it looked like.
I wrote a poem from my perspective about this last year & if you missed it, or would like a re-read you can find it here.
This place here holds a special place in my heart. The Como Park Conservatory. My Uma would bring my cousins and I here in late winter to "visit spring" as she called it. In June of 2002 it became a permanent part of my own timeline when my mom & stepdad got married in the Sunken Garden room. They presented me with a ring, too- a symbol of the three of us becoming a family. My cousin played Unchained Melody on a boom-box, the flowers in my mom's bouquet came from the grocery store (supplemented from her own garden), the ceremony was intimate & authentic, and we all went out for breakfast afterwards.
It's still one of my favorite places to visit, whether that's with my Uma, my soul sister and life partner Annalise, or my romantic partner in shenanigans James.
If I'm ever arrested for theft, it'll be because I lost all self-control and took a cutting of this vanilla, climbing a conservatory window next to a banana. I've been growing alongside it as long as I can remember.
This is the Sunken Garden where my parents got married. The horticulturists here change out the plantings every two or three months, and there are always lilies in the mirror black pool.
Fun fact: our friends Cale & Victoria Leiviska were also married here, before I knew them!
I celebrated my 27th solar return by spending time with some of my favorite humans lying along a river on a sunny day, eating my favorite cake (handmade by my love!), and ended it with a delicious feast.
Thank you to Shasta Criss for this perfect candid from the day. Thank you to James for taking the time to bake lemon cake with lavender cream cheese frosting & raspberries on top. Thank you to me for making it this far. Thank you to you, for reading this.
The 2022 tour season officially begins this upcoming week, & I can't wait to see what coming.
Thank you, again. I can't wait to share it with you, too.