11–20 of 213 entries in the category: Travel

Beaches and Bunny Boomerangs

August 12th

Southern California

Southern California

Southern California

Southern California

Southern California

 

Kindness is a bunny boomerang — send a bit out in the world, and watch it come back in droves. A good friend is spending some time in Europe with her family. She offered months ago to let me stay in their home, near the southern California coast, while they were away. As such, I spent the weekend with my sweetheart and a couple little ones playing in the sand, soaking up foggy mornings and bright, windy afternoons. Watching the lifeguards run through the shallows. Shooing away pesky birds from our pile of chips and crackers, crumbling in the salty air.

Southern California

We cooked. We played countless hands of Apples to Apples. We ate carne asada burritos and marveled at how everything tastes better when eaten outside. We slept with the windows open, dreaming for far too many hours, lounging as the sun came up. We watched Rio 2 and giggled at the dancing birds. We spent a few days doing nothing other than loving each other and our surroundings. It was wonderful!
Southern California

We could have done some of this from a hotel, but the comfort of a home made the trip luxurious. A kindness I won’t soon forget.

~K

Posted in
CAOK, Travel
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Red Rocks

January 27th

January 2014

January 2014

January 2014

January 2014

January 2014

January 2014

January 2014

 

January 2014

January 2014

January 2014

 

A view from a quick road trip to Sedona this weekend. Oh, Arizona. You are so beautiful this time of year!

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Photography, Travel
Comments (4)

Whirly Birds

December 19th

If you have ever driven across southern California, you’ve likely seen these behemoths in the distance. There is something about the sheer size of these wind turbines, against the stark, desolate desert, that makes them seem like soldiers in a massive piece of public art.

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Also, can we briefly talk about how annoying it is to have people follow your exact steps to take photos behind you? This dude — a stranger — followed me around while I was out wandering around, staying just a few yards behind me and literally standing in my footprints to take the same shots.

Visit with the Walsh Family

Creativity, Mystery Dude, is not found via imitation.

~K

Posted in
Photography, Travel
Comments (8)

Escape

December 18th

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

Visit with the Walsh Family

 

A few photos from a walk through a southern California neighborhood, including a lending library found in a front yard.

December 2013

~K

Posted in
Community, Photography, Travel
Comments (1)

The Magic of Travel

September 4th

Missoula, MT

Ever visit a place and have it remind you of something you value, but have neglected? Like blowing dust off an old, rare book — travel often reminds me of places within that have been hidden by the cobwebs of life.

Wrapped in self doubt, laziness — bright and shiny distractions.

Spending time in Missoula with Finny and Digs reminded me of why these dusty books are worth unpacking, revisiting, cleaning off. There is a way of life I observed that is beautiful in its simplicity. Digs’ family eats out of the garden. They raise chickens for eggs. This is a life of happy, barefoot children, scruffy dogs, a pantry full of Ball jars in shimmering jewel tones, a local museum full of great art, a downtown full of local shops supported even at the higher costs, and cars that are dirty and will remain dirty because, really, why bother?

Finny spends her days in California in a greenhouse or at home in the garden, talking to her bees, the dog and the kumquat tree. Her arms are strong, her shoulders brown. She’s never looked happier.

Missoula, MT

I am struggling trying to figure out how to incorporate this way of life in my new reality — city living and a full time desk job. (I job I love, but nonetheless, not not one I can do from home while watering the basil and waiting for the bread to rise.) We will make this place a homestead yet. With no land to garden, we’ll have a couple terraces of pots full of herbs and peppers and tomatoes. We’ll juice the local winter harvest of citrus and send boxes of the whole fruit to loved ones far away — including to that happy family in Missoula. I’ll grow bushes of basil in the temperate fall and winter, freezing pesto in ice cube trays for year-round dinner parties.

And I will continue to walk Nelson through our new neighborhood, eyeing properties with irrigation and big backyards perfect for bean poles, fruit trees, forests of tomatoes, a poultry run, and porch for a swing and cobalt blue pots full of ruby red geraniums.

This simple life is in my heart. I am so thankful for travel for reminding me.

~K

 

 

Posted in
Journal, Travel
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Ocean

September 3rd

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

There was once a boy named Ocean who was frightened by bears and refused to go to the local swimming spot in the river by himself. One time, he’d ridden his bike down the dirt path, past the lone bench, over the first tiny creek and to the bigger creek only to see a menacing mama bear. This kept him from going swimming alone again.

He’d bring his siblings, but they were too young and most lived with his dad and “his new wife.” (These little ones had interesting names too, like Phoenix, and Coral and Star and Nova.) His parents, he explained, were once members of the Rainbow people. They’d landed in Montana, but he’d since spent little time here. He’d lived with grandparents in Minnesota, and an uncle in the woods.

He liked living with his uncle best. He taught him how to shoot a gun. If Ocean had a gun now, he wouldn’t be scared of going to the swimming hole alone. But Ocean’s mama found out about the uncle and the gun and went to the woods to collect her eldest son. There would be no more “crazy uncle” time.

So, Ocean hung around the path to the watering hole, waiting for someone he thought he could trust to accompany him. If there were other people, the bears would likely stay away. That’s how we found Ocean on that warm August day. Flip flops and toes covered in dust, a towel around his skinny neck and a loneliness in his eyes.

Were we going swimming, and if so, could he please join us?

Of course he could. While I tried to sip wine and read a magazine, and Finny happily floated along in the icy water ignoring the whole scene gleefully, Ocean told me his story. He was nervous about going into the 7th grade the following week. He hadn’t spent much time in this neighborhood, even though he loved living with his mom and being back in Montana. He missed his dad a lot too. His dad now lives in Kentucky.

And so, we kept him entertained, challenging him to build cairns for us. We dared him to build one with 10, then 12 and finally 15. By the time he was done, a good hour had passed. The freckles on the tops of his shoulders were dark and his smile was wide. He’d succeeded in finding company, he so needed.

Missoula, MT

Dear 7th graders of Missoula — be nice to Ocean. He is a good kid who deserves a break. There are mama bears lurking in the shadows watching over him.

~K

 

Posted in
Community, Travel
Comments (7)

Often, All That Remains

September 2nd

Missoula, MT

On our recent trip to Montana, we toured the Missoula Art Museum. Jane Waggoner Deschner’s exhibit, called, “Often, All That Remains,” was the rare experience that left me weak in the knees — powerful, transformative art.

Quietly, we walked the small room, examining “found” photos Deschner embroidered with famous quotes. Sometimes the quotes were ironic, others funny. Some made me want to cry.

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Her exhibit takes two forms of art I love — photography and embroidery — and throws them together in a provocative way. I could have spent all my museum time with just this show.

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Deschner writes, “The idea for stitching into photographs came from remembering the sewing cards from my childhood. I discovered only a few other artists (mostly European) who embroider into photos, so I have developed my technique through trail and error. What I have come to love are the connections I create with needle and thread, typography and design, and generations of unknown people, both ordinary and famous.”

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Deschner is from Billings, MT. If you get a chance to see her work, do so!

 

Posted in
Journal, Travel
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Missoula

August 27th

Missoula, MT

Finny and I met this weekend for our annual adventure. This year, we returned Montana (after a previous visit to see Jellystone four years ago.) Missoula is on the western edge of the state, home to a university, mountains, rivers, a rather prolific farmers’ market, a dozen great restaurants, some of the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten, a museum that left my head spinning (more on that one later) and a great local book store — Fact or Fiction.

Missoula, MT

What to say about this annual girls’ trip that hasn’t already been said? Finny made it. We could have visited Yuma and had a great time. We have one of those friendships that reaffirms my views on the world.

{Do you ever get a bit shaky in that department? Wondering if everything from your politics to your ways of dressing are just a little nutty and off course? Well, time with Jess seems to always come just at the right moment, reminding me that if I am some sort of weird freak — no need to panic. I am in good company.}

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT

And Missoula, oh, sweet Missoula, is also full of such “freaks.” Folks with Chaco tan lines, dirty Subarus, big, scruffy rescue mutts and gardens brimming with everything they can possibly grow and preserve before winter’s frosty return. It’s a liberal, all-loving enclave nestled in a valley with icy cold rivers perfect for an afternoon of swimming, gossiping and laughing.

Missoula, MT

A few photos for now, with many more planned for later in the week. Thank you again, Finnberg — for a sweet friendship that seems to only be getting better after more than 15 years. And thank you to Nici, for the brief time we were able to spend together. “Digs” is as fun and down to earth as Finny has always said. Plus, she has two adorable daughters who make you want to swing until you can touch the sun, scream until your lungs burst and chase chickens until your legs give out.

{Also, one daughter is named Rhubarb, Ruby for short. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE.}

Missoula, MT

~K

Posted in
Celebrate!, Happy Hippie, Travel
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Chicago!

May 11th

The next stop on the drive across ‘Merica was the outskirts of Chicago, where I stayed with a childhood friend and her husband. Kacey and Mike were married three years ago; they are both teachers and have moved into a beautiful new home since I last visited. Another childhood friend, Jen, came for dinner with her husband and two children. I had not yet met her youngest — Sam, and immediately fell in love:

Visit to Chicago

Yes, those are really his cheeks. No, he is not part-chipmunk.

His older sister isn’t too shabby either:

Visit to Chicago

I’ve mentioned this roughly 100 times, but it is worth saying again: one of the best parts of this phase of life is watching my childhood girlfriends become mothers. They are just so, so good at it. And their little creatures are so fun to love!

The seven of us once talked about all building houses in a cul-de-sac so we could sit outside on our porches drinking wine together, while our kids played. While that adolescent fantasy is unlikely to come to pass, we do make an effort. Auntie Kacey and Uncle Mike love these two almost as much as their parents do.

Visit to Chicago

Today, I dream of us together on vacation, where the kids swim in the ocean, adults bbq on the beach and our friendships continue on in the next generation. Sappy, but the truth. There is little that makes me happier than hearing from petites, and knowing they are doing well.

~K

 

Posted in
Travel
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Nebraska

May 10th

Kearny, NE

While planning the drive to New Jersey, some friends mentioned I could stay with their family in Kearney, Nebraska. It would be a six hour drive from Golden — far enough on the first day, with a heavy spring snow still falling. When I arrived at Nancy and Dan’s home, I was greeted with a warm hug, tails wagging on the porch and an adorable granddaughter running circles around Nelson.

She had just lost her very first tooth. Would I like to see it? And had I ever met the Tooth Fairy?

Kearny, NE

Nancy and Dan have a 100-plus-year-old white farmhouse — with horses in a nearby pasture and an odd collection of cactus planted between the dog houses and a trampoline for the many grandkids. Spring had been so wet, there was no corn yet planted. Otherwise, Kearney would have been a scene reminiscent of “Field of Dreams.” They were quick to welcome me to their kitchen table, where we sat for several hours, speaking of our families and interests in gardening. Nancy showed me one of her many scrapbooks, and talked about that cactus garden — one she’s created over the years as she can find the rare plants in middle America. Dan talked about his work around town, including at their church. As night fell, they served pot roast, roasted potatoes and carrots and homemade bread and that was as white and sweet as it was decadent. Their six-year-old granddaughter had her own song as she watched the bread come out of the oven to the table:

“Bread, bread, bread. More, more more!” She hummed this repeatedly through the meal, sneaking Nelson the dark tan crust as she could.

These were my kind of people.

Kearny, NE

Nancy laughed while showing me my room with vintage quilts at the foot of a comfy bed and shaggy green carpet underfoot.

“You know this house used to be one of disrepute,” she whispered. “Way before we bought it, of course.” She raised one eyebrow. We’d just spent two hours talking about families and our love of God. Now that she had me alone, I was delighted to discover this nuance in Nancy’s personality.

“Like a brothel?” I asked, scanning the walls, innocently decorated with family photos and aging school projects.

“Exactly.”

“Oh, wow.” I wondered where the conversation was going, when it took a very unexpected turn.

“And the rumor is, someone was killed in this room!” She said it with a big smile and genuine enthusiasm. I gulped.

I was thinking, “Uh, Nancy? You should probably tell visitors that after the leave. Not before they climb in.”

Instead I said, “Uh, well thanks for the hospitality!” Crickets chirped nearby.

She must have heard the unease in my voice.

“Oh, honey. You’ll be fine. We’ve never seen the ghost! Good night!”

And with that, she was out the door. Nelson, none the wiser, did his characteristic three turns at the foot of the bed before soon snoring like a lumberjack. I pulled back the quilts, settled in and listened as the house creaked. I heard the old wooden stairs leading up to that bedroom shift several times in the night.

Must have been the Tooth Fairy.

Kearny, NE

Before I left the next morning, Nancy had cut an ear off of her prized Galapagos cactus to take to New Jersey as a housewarming gift, and had filled a small bag with her handmade stamped cards, which I had admired after dinner. They even called to make sure we got in okay the next night in Chicago.

Families like these that fill me with hope. Their kindness for a stranger and her mutt was extraordinary.Thank you Nancy and Dan — you exceeded all stereotypical expectations for the caring and warmth of a Midwestern family!
Bread, bread, bread. More More More!

~K

 

 

 

 

Posted in
Travel
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