Wisconsin, Chapter 4: McKenzie to Leinie’s, Rewey, and Governor Dodge

After a weekend without internet service, here are some moments that made me blissfully happy…

1. Spending quality time with Colleen, especially the morning we left McKenzie – down by the lake on a foggy morning, listening to the loons and watching one land in the lake right in front of us to reunite with his family. And then the eagle flew over.

2. Smudging and praying for myself, my friends, thanking the creator for allowing me to be in this world at this place and time.

3. The hospitality and friendship that Susan and Doyle showed us at the Jumpin’ Jupiter General Store in Dodgeville, WI. Those are some seriously good people, and I’m grateful they exist in the world!!!

4. Watching my kids explore waterfalls and boulder fields…

5. Stopping in at Ali’s and finding her making her own waterski chair! 🙂

6. Sharing a picnic with Pat and Amy and the kids at Governor Dodge.

7. Driving with Colleen and listening to Raye Zaragoza.

8. Dave and Dawn’s hospitality.

9. Apple Pie.

10. Shopping at Cave of the Mounds.

11. Looking through old pictures that Dawn set aside for me.

12. The gentle (and not so gentle) reminders that I live an incredibly blessed, fortunate, and happy life with my friends and family in Colorado and beyond.

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Lower McKenzie, Thursday edition…

1. Waking up to the loons…

2. Waking up to the teenagers, alive after an adventure.

3. Making cards.

4. The Whistle Punk with family. ❤

5. Quiet time by the lake. Throwing logs for the dogs.

Wisconsin, Chapter 3: Chetek to Lower McKenzie

Man, oh man. Have you ever been in a tent in a severe thunderstorm in the middle of the night??? It’s one of the most exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying things ever!

1. Lightning, thunder, rain. WOW.

2. As we were leaving Ali’s place, I asked Jack if he needed to pee. Without putting his book down (he was reading a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book we’d just bought at Goodwill), and without lifting his eyes from the page, he peed on the nearest tree.

3. Gotta admit, taking a shower was pretty nice…

4. Every kiddo getting the chance to drive Dave’s boat on our failed fishing expedition.

5. Co-parenting with Colleen. We make an awesome team!

6. Family time with Dave and Colleen.

 

Chetek, Tuesday edition 

1. Puppy play time in the lake. Both Toby and Indy are in puppy heaven!!

2. Cuddles with my boat buddy, Simon. 

3. Watching and listening to Jack laugh his head of as he tuned around the lake!!

4. The lake pub tour, good beer with good friends, and Ali winning the jackpot! 

5. Pizza for dinner.  

Bonus: the quiet times. 

Oh yeah, and WI midday snack time!! And watching Colleen learn to waterski!! It was a great day all around!! 

Chetek, Monday edition 

1. I slept so incredibly well!!!

2. Cheese curds from Gilligan’s. YUM. 

3. Being out on the lake and seeing so many birds!!!

4. Colleen, giving the paddle board a try! 

5. Being with my kids and friends in such a beautiful setting. 

Wisconsin, Chapter 2: Chetek

I love that my Facebook memories are a collection of Wisconsin and Minnesota pics from the last five years. At various times today in the past, I’ve been at Temperance, Lower McKenzie, Chetek, and Birchwood. Today, we’re leaving Birchwood for Chetek…

1. Playing Farkel with the fam. 

2. Beaver jokes with Colleen and Ali. 

3. Drinking wine around the fire during a light rain. 

4. The sunset, the dock, the lake. 

5. Hot tubbing with Colleen. 

Wisconsin Days…

Yesterday was a long ass day, but not in a bad way. I got up at 4:30 am and hung out with Lynne and Jeremy (who hadn’t gone to bed yet), and the day unfolded to include boating, swimming, a brief first aid incident, and dinner with family. It’s wet, muggy, muddy, foggy, and raining. And everything smells green and brown.

1. Morning walk on the dock. The fog, the morning darkness, the frogs croaking on the lake. This exists even when I’m not here.

2. The deer that I startled as I took a stroll up the road. We shared a moment of understanding of the two of us in this world, and he reminded me to take a deep breath and think about what’s really important to me in this universe. Thank you, deer.

3. Clearing the air. Knowing where I stand and what I believe.

4. Boating. John Denver. Eagles. Swimming with my cousins.

5. The rope swing (also, watching Jack jump off Jeremy’s truck and swing so so high).

 

Arriving in Wisconsin

Driving east, through Nebraska, then Iowa, then Minnesota and Wisconsin was a little like driving back into my childhood. I was listening to a country station playing hits from the 90s, and they all reminded me of my teenage years spent with Mike, Steve, and Jackie. I pined a little bit for that time, but am so incredibly grateful for the life I live today.

1. My kids and dogs are so unbelievably good in the car!

2. The clouds, the hills, the green.

3. The Amish sign.

4. My first hug with Lynne! LOVE HER!

5. First cousins’ weekend shenanigans.

So, it’s been 20 days since I last posted… (Expanded Edition)

Sorry about that! Believe me, I’ve been having some seriously awesome days, and plenty of happy moments. Let’s recap, and get back on schedule!

Simon’s birthday and Matt’s family reunion.
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Visiting with Steph, Matt, Tessa and Charlotte in SLC. Specifically, Father’s Day dinner, the museum, the pool, giant Jenga, and the book store.

 

 

Pine Ridge. Everything about Pine Ridge. The ghost town of White Clay. Dave. The group. Waylon and his family. Reuben. Clearing Waylon’s foundation. Swinging Big Bertha with Hayden. Ivis’s inipi. Driving back from the first inipi behind Dave, the dust rising like the smoky waters of Minnesota. Learning about Ivis. Visiting Wounded Knee. Autumn laughing and “Dr. Pepper Man.” Playing cards. Revealing our projections on others. Terry Spoonhunter. Thurman’s inipi: drums, singing, swaying, praying, laying, love. The ghost road. Waking up to Reuben’s flute. Galloping on Irene!! Waylon, Jr’s birthday party. The Black Hills. Singing in the car. Riding home with Jade.

 

Chicago with Colleen. Matt’s birthday. Pizza and hot dogs and lake tours. Reading On the Rez. And fireflies.

Playing cards and stacking rocks with Jacob.

Going to TOTM with Jacob, Emily, and Rory. Meeting my parents and the kids and Steve, Kelly, and Ray there. Meeting new friends. Having a fire. Sleeping in the new tent. Talking to Mike on the phone. Hiking. And the Great Salt Incident of 2017.

Donuts and piano playing with Jacob, even though he didn’t help me wash my car!

Dinner with Mom, Dad, Mary, Charlie, Joe and the fam, and laughing about Joe’s prostitutes.

The kids ridiculous outfits as we started our trek to Wisconsin today. Simon traveled in his underwear and robe, with a plane pillow around his neck and eye blockers for sleep. Jack wore his Blues Brothers hat and sunglasses. It was an easy drive.

 

Off to Wisconsin tomorrow!!! Stay tuned for more adventures!!

 

What’s the name of our hotel, again?

I have to ask Jack, because sometimes words don’t make sense to me. So he reminds me like this: “Mom. It’s like VD. Say it. VD.” Which I do. “Good,” he says, “our hotel’s name is Vdara. Like VD.”

Perfect. I doubt I’ll forget that. Also “Vdara” is a made-up word.

1. Swimming with the boys.

2. Making connections between the book I’m reading and people I’ve met in “real life.”

3. Quiet time in our air-conditioned room.

4. The High Roller was pretty neat.

5. Last night in Vegas, baby. 🙂

 

Simon, sitting on the floor of the High Roller, looking down on our shadow… 
At the apex: 545 feet up. 
More than once, the boys have been called “The Blues Brothers” by complete strangers… 
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I wonder why… 
Completely worn out, at a pizzeria, watching tennis and waiting for dinner. 
“Santa” in the bathtub.