A la francaise

Today concludes my staycation. I’ve been off from work for ten days. I didn’t do much but create space. I’ve been reading voraciosly on this lately. It worked wonders. I’ve always been focused on what’s next. The last week was different.

I left B in daycare and stole the days for myself. I decluttered the house. I made a few nice meals. I went on dates with girlfriends for coffee, breakfast, lunch. Friday, Erin and I took Brynn and Isa to the zoo with Erin’s cousins. Later we ate a lovely late night meal at 112 Eatery. (Buttery sea scallops, fresh cucumber orange salad, done to perfection short ribs, and silky chocolate torte. Al fresco, to boot.) 😉

Another thing the week allowed me was to reconnect with what’s important to me outside of work. My Jerry Maguire moment. I’ve been very focused on proving myself up to now. But suddenly job, child, city, are in place. I’m not searching to climb the ladder or make a change. The grass doesn’t truly feel greener elsewhere. For this reason the break felt like a breakthrough. I spent lazy days letting float to the surface buried memories like trips abroad, trysts, and what’s made me happy over the years. (When “responsibilities” haven’t overpowered my life.) And I’ve discovered that reminiscing about my trip to Paris, eating lunch at Barbette’s, and reading Bringing up Bebe have me on a kick a la francaise.

So, what is next? I don’t know yet but I feel I’ve got a fresh start. And I’m enjoying rethinking the seemingly inevitable options. With fresh eyes I see the next phase of my life as a blank canvas. This year, thirty five has felt oddly symmetrical. Like a crest.

But for today, I’m back to work tomorrow luckily to something I love. Thanks for reading along, and for indulging my whims and caprices.




These are from Brynn’s first trip to Tofte. We took her there last fall for her first time. This was at the picnic shelter at Tofte Park.

That weekend on Saturday, we visited friends with a new baby in Grand Marais. For dinner, we cozied up at the Legion for all-you-can-eat spaghetti buffet. The next morning: breakfast at Blue Water. It was fall; October. November gales were in the air. It was blustery but mild enough for outdoor living for the weekend. We camped on Honeymoon Hill at the Grand Marais Municipal Campground. It’s the same place we go on-and-off to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Now we’ve been married ten years.

Justin worked in Tofte  at Bluefin Bay for four years in the late 2000s. We lived there for two on Tofte Homestead Road. (The other two years, commuted from a combination of Two Harbors, Pike Lake, Duluth.) The Bluefin community and Cook County neighborhood were our home. It was amazing having nothing but lake, rock and woods as your surroundings. It was so easy to hear yourself think. But it was hard, too. I struggled feeling lonely and depressed. But the surroundings were exquisite and so was the way of life. I had many interesting jobs and got to know great people. I waited tables at Papa Charlie’s, served coffee at Moondance in Lutsen, and even worked in sales for the Cook County Herald for two weeks (with their signature logo, those snuggly little bears). Finally, landed at Grand Portage National Monument where I made great friends and got to experience a singular connection to Grand Portage. During that time Hat Point was my home each week; it was staff housing. There was the breeding bird survey, stream restoration, GPS mapping, Fort Charlotte, Pigeon Falls. The ferry to Isle Royale was a daily sight. (I learned to knit.)

This time of year I get so homesick for that area. Recently, we had a blessing for Brynn near Burlington Bay Beach (aka Agate Bay) in Two Harbors. It was so nice to be up there again. I’ve always wanted to write about our time on the shore.