Good-Bye Little Buddy

spark plug wire, damagedEven though I’d fixed the spark plug wire on Bruno and it seemed to be running better, it’s not. Yesterday, I was left with one more inexpensive fix to try.

I got in my car this morning with the intention to drive it another 40 miles around town, to reach the magic goal of pushing 100 miles worth of gas through my injectors to prove or remove a fuel clog. Continue reading Good-Bye Little Buddy

On The Move Again

Immense CottonwoodMy deadline for leaving St. Paul was a little squishier than usual. It moved from the middle of May, out to late June, and then back a couple short hops to finally rest on June 9. I’d decided to allow my schedule to be dictated by my list of things I’d wanted done, rather than forcing those things to conform to a set time. Even though the time-line kept changing, it turned out to be a far less stressful thing than trying to manage the other way around. Continue reading On The Move Again

Catheryn-stein’s Mattress

Back to van life, with just a few adjustments. The most exciting being a change in my snoozing situation.

For these last six months, I’ve had the good fortune to sleep on a most comfy bed I inherited from a friend. Upon it I’ve enjoyed a sweet night’s sleep and some lovely naps. It’s one of those ‘just right’ things. The problem: the mattress width is 38 inches and the van bed space is 26. Continue reading Catheryn-stein’s Mattress

Spring Walking

On a walk the other day, I came across a four square board painted on the patio of an apartment building. I haven’t played the game since grade school. It reminded me of the time I painted a four square board in the basement of my grandmother’s house.Four square board.

While it seemed reasonable to my grandmother that I draw it in chalk, it seemed more reasonable to me that I paint it with something less smear-able, like some leftover house paint I found on a shelf. These elements seemed so reasonable to each of us that neither of us felt the need to cover this detail. A lesson for both of us, I guess. There were a lot of lessons learned between the two of us that summer.

As I write this post, the sweet smell of apple blossom and lilac drift through my open window, punctuated by the occasional green of the neighbors’ clipped grass. A squirming parade of day care kids are walking to the park down the street.

Summer in Minnesota is so vibrant, and not just in the botanical sense. From the first warming of the weather, people emerge and unfold with verve. There are so many good reasons to be outside, both with and without social engagement.

After this intense, interior winter I’m flinging myself outdoors as often as possible. We’ve been waking up gardens and clearing old stems & leaves from flower beds. It’s so tempting to start putting plants in the ground but in the upper mid-west I’ve learned to wait until after Mother’s day. There’s still about a week of winds and rain that could be cold enough to chill most plant starts, or keep soil from warming sufficiently to germinate seeds.

Of course there are those hardy sorts; cruciferous veggies, dandelions, rhubarb, and tulips. Like folks who put on shorts and run around barefoot in April, they relish those first crisply, chilly-warm days of spring. Rhubarb, in fact, needs a cold spring to break its frosty winter fast. Every now and then I meet a northerner living in the south who misses their beloved tart and astringent treat, unaware that this robust monster didn’t just grow everywhere.

Dandelions, though, I think, grow everywhere. Weeds, to those who believe their lawns need to be boring, green carpets. Dandelions in blossom petals.This plant is edible in so many ways from root to greens to florets. It can also be bitter, so the key to an enjoyable harvest is timing. Like the roots; they aren’t starchy and can get bitter as they use their sugars to grow but a good frost can sweeten them back up. So, if you’re foraging dandelions and run into an unsatisfactory result, don’t give up, Read Up.

I think dandelions wouldn’t be a bane to so many if they were a regular part of our diet.

Art Crawl Coolness

Last weekend, I worked at the St. Paul Art Crawl in Lowertown. This is my second vendor event as a tarot reader and my first as an artist.

When I got home yesterday, after helping tear down the shop, I was so spent that I just heaved everything into the middle of the living room floor and left it. art stuffAs I write, I am surrounded by the tools and materials I’d brought in anticipation of my vending experience. Continue reading Art Crawl Coolness

Prep for the Prep for Launch

I have this road atlas of North America, an actual paper map book. A gift from my friend Kelly Q. It’s as much a ritual piece as it is a tool, a magic book of choose-your-own adventures.

Kelly's Road AtlasI adore paper maps. It’s a thing, straight from childhood. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car on family trips, where I’d keep track of our progress on a map by watching milestones and landmarks. I would envision our car as a little dot moving along the wandering lines. It pleased me to no end when that imaginary dot on the map coincided with actual progress. (Hm, and now I have digital applications that provide this entertainment with little calculation on my part.)

Yesterday, I laid out Kelly’s road atlas upon my desk and settled in with a nice cup of tea to read it.

I’ll be heading to back to New York state, embarking somewhere mid-May to early June. The destination is firm but I have so many beautiful options on how I’ll get there. Friends and family to visit, art farms to find, and odd little spots to stand in and look out from. Activities and resources will determine the how and the when, so launch day is a little squishy this time around. I’ve got a couple of open ended tasks and some events I’d like to be a part of.

It’s difficult to wait on exciting things. While I like to start my preparations with enough time to take care of unexpected events, I avoid starting too soon. I get fidgety in those quiet moments between planning and realization but I think I’m getting the hang of finding the right balance between living in the now and planning for the later.

A quiet moment with the map book has me calculating distances and backtracking between destinations to determine travel times. This gives me an idea of expenses to prepare for, figuring what I can literally afford to do on my way, and a vague idea of time required to do it. That’s it, that’s all I need to do today.

Just a little toe in the water to settle my ‘what if’s and germinate the seeds of my summer adventure.