Andrew and I felt like true jet-setters this past weekend as we flew down to Scottsdale, Arizona for a friend’s wedding at the Four Seasons Resort. Griffin stayed with Grandma Pam and Grandpa Jeff Friday night through Monday morning. While we knew it would be a fast trip, we were hoping it would feel like a mini-vacation. Boy, oh boy, did it ever!

As I’m sure you’re aware, I’m not historically a resort and spa kind of gal. I tend to camp my way across the country, and while I’ve been known to indulge in a massage or pedicure, I have always poo-pooed resorts. Especially ones out in the middle of the desert. But it looks like I’m going to have to revise my stance. I’m going to tell you a tiny little secret: it was fun to be pampered for a weekend. Orange infused water, chilled towels, frozen treats every hour while I sit by the pool under my umbrella for uninterrupted reading time? Don’t mind if I do! Giant king sized bed with luxury linens, sleeping in ’til eight? Twist my arm. The wedding was beautiful, the resort was fantastic, and it felt like we escaped for longer than the 36 hours we were gone. It was FUN!

Saguaro cacti really are amazing!
Andrew poses like a true tourist.
The Sonoran Desert close to sunset.
The love was hot, and so was the temperature!
Relaxing poolside. Even in the shade, you needed to wear sunscreen!
I think we look pretty darn relaxed!

Up North

With the busyness of moving this summer, we haven’t really had much time to kick back. The cabin was the remedy to our desire for a bit of a getaway! We managed to escape for a few days in the middle of the week before Andrew started his new job at SPA (and the move into our new apartment!). Since it was a bit on the cool side, we filled our days with picking the last of the blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, reading, napping, exploring the woods with Griffin, listening to the loons, and watching the lake. It was a perfect trip, and we weren’t even sad when we left this time knowing that we can zip up there any weekend we want! Ahhh…

(Click on any photo to link to the whole gallery)




First Leech!

Griffin had his first encounter with a leech this weekend at the Stocco cabin. He liked wading in the shallows which, as this photo attests, is not without peril. The sucker (ha ha) didn’t actually get a good bite, so Griffin’s little foot was unscathed. (And, once you get beyond the ick factor, leeches are pretty harmless.)

Griffn's first leech

More photos will follow in due course (most of which aren’t gross). Tomorrow we’re moving into the new apartment which doesn’t have internet yet, so there will be more of a delay than we’d like. We’re pretty excited to finally settle into the new place!

Midwest Sunsets

Until moving back here I had forgotten one of the very best things about the midwest: sunset. In fact, I will broaden that to include the sky at all times of day (and night). The sky is huge. I always used to think that the apparent bigness of the sky was due to the flatness of the terrain. I still think that is part of it, but I also think that the clouds are often at a much higher altitude and the layers provide a lot of vertical perspective. I often feel dwarfed by the sky in a way that I never felt in the Bay Area. In California, I was often stunned by the physical landscape — come around a bend on the road and catch a glimpse of the bay or of Mt. Tam or Mt. Diablo. Here, that is rare (for me anyway). The landscape is fairly consistent: mostly flat, mostly agricultural (which has its own beauty, but doesn’t usually cause one to gasp). The sky — as if to make up for the relatively sedate landscape — is totally out of control (or, “out of pocket,” as my former students might say). I frequently see clouds that make me gasp, and of course the weather itself is mercurial and violent.

Last night, driving back from Saint Peter to Courtland, I experienced one of the most awesome sunsets of my life. The western horizon had a strip of clear sky, brilliant red-gold with the sun already out of sight. The clouds above were fringed with crimson, and on its own this would have been a lovely scene. But then, marching toward us and fading into the blackness of the eastern horizon was the most tremendous roof of clouds. They were dark and angry, with bizarre whorls and striations, a different pattern in every direction. Flickers of lightning occasionally illuminated the gloomy landscape, but mostly it was dark and ominous — think Donnie Darko, or some cheesy meteorological thriller where sixteen tornadoes might descend from the sky at once. Behind us, the world was swallowed up in the stormy darkness and it seemed like we were fleeing into the gleaming west. Truly amazing.

Apartment Pictures

We visited our new apartment in Saint Paul yesterday to take some pictures and measure a few things.  The current tenants are unbelievably friendly and welcoming.  I’ve included a few images below, or click here to see to full gallery (a dozen photos that walk you through the place).  Note that the furniture and decor are not ours, but check out the floors, built-ins, and colors!

Looking from the dining room into the living room. The sun room is through the far arch and the door on the right leads to the porch.
Dining room. Far door leads to the kitchen and the door on the left leads to the bathroom and two bedrooms.
Bedroom (this will be Griffin's room -- remember that none of the furniture is ours, though now I really want to get a cool slide bed!)

See the full gallery for more!