Chillin’ and Mille Laxin’

I’ve been enjoying an week with Mom, so it’s been a bit slow around here. She drove up from Carbondale, Illinois and has been staying with me and the Hubby in Minneapolis. During the day while I’m at work she hangs out at the house and works on her computer or runs around the neighborhood. As soon as I get home we go out on the town. So far we’ve been pretty laid-back. It’s been all:

and

Lookin’ at flowers and chasing bees.

and

Look – y0u can see Mom’s face in the glass stem below the cherry! 

and

Legoland at the Mall of America

Tonight we’re planning on going star-gazing at  Dodge Nature Center in St. Paul. The Weather Channel currently has this evening looking clear (no clouds), so it should be a good night for it. This weekend we’re going to drive up to Mille Lacs, although we don’t have much in the way of plans for that. We’re going to drive up and around the lake, chat, take photos, eat food at a local Mom-and-Pop restaurant, maybe try to rent a boat for a half day, and pretty much do whatever comes our way. 

I’ll be getting back to being all social justicey and atheisty and snarky and growly next week. Right now I’m in the grips of a lovely, lazy Minnesota summer.

Cross-Country Connections: Classic

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Classic.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota: 

1977 Fiat seen on Route 99 between New Ulm and St. Peter, Minnesota.

From Erin in Bellingham, Washington: 

Chasing Dungeness Crab in Puget Sound, classic Pacific Northwest!

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

 The Great Wolf Lodge – a sure sign that the Wisconsin Dells is just around the corner! At one time this was the classic halfway point between Chicago and Minneapolis – the route between Mom and Daughter.

Morning at the Campsite

The snoring of my cabin mate, a strange bed and dawn light spilling through the windows…aaaaaaand I’M UP!

Early morning at the camp site. Can you believe that some people chose to sleep in tents instead of air-conditioned cabins? There’s no accounting for taste! (/teasing)

It smells so good out here. Last night we watched stray meteors streak across the night sky, and I was surrounded by the yellow-green winking of fireflies. I don’t see a lot of fireflies in Minneapolis; I wonder if it’s because they’re not there or because I haven’t looked for them in a while.

Coffee was just put out! Hooray! And somebody just set up the Eye Opener bar – bloody marys and screwdrivers. It may be a little early for…naaaaahhhh.

Today we’ll play horseshoes and other outdoorsy games, although if the heat gets bad we may retreat to the air-conditioning for a rousing game of Trivia Pursuit  or maybe Everybody Go Read Your Kindles Or Take A Nap And Don’t Talk To Me Because It’s Too Effing Hot.

The day is full of lazy potential. Or potential laziness. Something like that.

6 O’Clock BS: “Camping”

This weekend I’m camping! Lots of roughing it in the woods in an air-conditioned cabin, with my wi-fi, running water, electricity and meals prepared by someone else. Oh, and booze. Lots of booze.

Camping this summer has been my equivalent of “ice fishing”. Fishing my ass! Heated fishing huts, some beers, a few laughs; this is what most of my friends mean when they announce that they’re going “ice fishing up North this weekend”.

Woo, it’s hot (and going to get hotter according to the forecast) this weekend. Ice fishing actually sounds kind of fabulous right now.

Road to the campsite

God Has The Worst Plans

My speculation for what is currently going through George Zimmerman’s head: “Oh crap. So I freaked out and killed a defenseless kid, And they’re not falling for the “self-defense” thing. I can’t say I killed him because he was black…that’s not popular. Shitshitshit… WAIT! I GOT IT!”

“It’s God’s plan” is a non-answer, a non-explanation, a non-defense. It’s a refusal to answer questions. It’s a panicked, Hail Mary pass because George Zimmerman can’t explain his actions without admitting that he killed a teenager for no good reason.  And if that’s what he’s bringing to trial, my money is on a loooooooong jail sentence.

Atheists like to say that we can be good without gods. Here’s an(other) example of a believer being bad with gods. Belief in a god confers no automatic moral rectitude* on person. Belief in a god doesn’t make someone a good person, or mean that that their bad actions are forgiveable. Thanks for the reminder, George Zimmerman.

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*Is “moral rectitude” redundant?  By definition it is, but would the sentence make sense if I had said “Belief in a god confers no automatic rectitude?”

Cross-Country Connections: Country Road

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Country Road.

Cross-Country Connections is late this week because Mom, Erin and I were all…well…crossing the country! Last Friday Erin flew in from Seattle and I drove down from Minneapolis to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday in her home city of Carbondale, Illinois. We had planned to take a photo together on or by a country road, but then we all forgot about CCC until late on Sunday, by which time I had driven back home to Minneapolis. Mom and Erin did manage to take a photo together before Erin flew home on Monday.

Here’s this week’s Cross-Country Connection: Country Road:

From Mom and Erin near Carbondale, Illinois: 

Taking Erin to St Louis after best birthday ever. Gravel country road photographed somewhere between Carbondale, Illinois and Saint Louis, Missouri.

From me in Central Illinois:

The drive home. A major highway isn’t what I’d first think of for “Country Road”, but it is a road, and it’s definitely in the country.  I think we were in corn and farm country through most of our time in Illinois, with the exceptions of Springfield and Peoria.

Weekend Adventures – City Museum and a Birthday Party

This weekend was a whirlwind road trip. The Hubby and I took Friday off to drive down to Carbondale, Illinois for my Mom’s 60th birthday party. We had to pick up my sister, Erin, at the St. Louis airport at midnight along the way, so we worked it out so that the Hubby and I could spend a couple hours at the City Museum in St. Louis. The City Museum is one of my favorite places to play in the world. I always feel 10 years younger there. The museum is eccentric and whimsical; it consists of found art and lots of tunnels and man-made caves to explore and crawl around in, curving staircases to climb, and slides and ropes and even a ball pit!

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6 O’Clock BS – Seesaw

Today I was feeling down in the dumps for no particular reason, or at least no easily identifiable reason. After work I started to recognize the  down in the dumps danger zone: All I wanted to do was eat everything in my kitchen and watch an entire season of some stupid sitcom that I’m a little embarrassed to admit I like to watch (yeah – it’s gonna cost you alcohol to find out which one). At the time I was all like, “Hell yeah I could go for some cereal and ice cream and baby carrots and guacamole and a popsicle and some leftover pad thai. And those episodes are only – what – 22 minutes tops? I can be done with a whole season in 18 times 22 equals [rummage for calculator] 396 divided by 60 is … 6.6 hours. Hah! I’ll be in bed before midnight!”

But I talked myself down, mostly by guilting myself into walking the dog. Once I got outside, I decided we’d just keep walking to the end of the block. And then to the next intersection. And then I thought we’d head over to the park. I’m glad we went to the park, because I got to see a lot of people running around, shooting hoops, throwing frisbees, scrambling around the jungle gym, and having a lovely summer evening. And then there were these two grown-up kids laughing their asses off as they tried to get the seesaw going:

When I walked over and asked if I could take their picture they grinned and laughed and attempted to seesaw even harder than before. Their silly mood was infectious and I was pleased to notice that I was out of the down in the dumps danger zone.

I love taking photos. I am lucky to always have a camera with me, and I often find myself looking around wondering how a particular scene or moment would look framed in a shot. And sometimes, like today, I’ll get really lucky and find myself around people who are willing to let me share in their moment.

I shoot in all sorts of moods, but photography is a great way for me to get out of my head. Sometimes all it does is distract; the problems don’t always resolve themselves, and the moods don’t always abate by the time I put the camera down, but sometimes a distraction is all you need to get you over the hump, or out of the dumps.

Side note: I had to take my Nikon into Best Buy to get the lens replaced. A darling 5-year old knocked my camera off of the table during a wedding reception and it landed flat on the lens, and the UV filter shattered, and glass got in between the lens parts, and the lens parts are all wobbly… so yay for that 3-year accidental damage insurance! Until then I’ll be shooting with my smartphone. Because as awesome people have told me time and time again – the best camera to have is the camera you have on you.

6 O’Clock BS: Kitteh Film Festival

Oh yes. This is happening. The world-famous, dare I say hallowedWalker Art Center will be hosting an outdoor Internet Cat Video Film Festival this August 30th in Minneapolis. From the Walker Blog:

Walker Open Field welcomes cat lovers (and challenges haters – c’mon, you know who you are)* to openly release your cat-video-induced giggles and emotions that are otherwise muffled by computer screens and constrained by cubicles. […] Let’s transform this singular small screen viewing experience into a shared celebration with the larger-than-life projection of these silly clips out on the Open Field.

Also borrowed from the Walker Blog

What’s your favorite cat video – classic or new? Post the link below so we can share in the kitteh mania. Mine’s below. At almost seven minutes, it’s longer than any kitteh video should have a right to be, but An Engineer’s Guide to Cats is no ordinary cat video.

*They mean Crommunist.

Minnesota 2011 Annual Abortion Report

Last Tuesday several news sources reported some version of this headline:

Minnesota abortions at 37-year low

That particular headline came from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Every year since Abortion reporting has been in place since 1973 when Roe v. Wade made the procedure legal in the United States. States have their own unique reporting laws for abortions performed in each state, and in 1998 the Minnesota Legislature  updated their requirements and the types of questions that are asked of doctors and patients. In Minnesota it is required that all physicians liscensed and practicing in Minnesota who perform abortions, and all MN facilities in which abortions are performed to complete and submit a report for each procedure to the Minnesota Department of Health. All of that information is compliled into an annual report called the “Report to the Legislature: Induced Abortions in Minnesota”. Two Fridays ago, the 2011 annual report was released by the MDH.

The report is a fascinating read – in a dry “I’m reading 28 pages of statistics” kind of way – especially if you have an interest in who is getting what type of abortions, who is performing them, and even reasons why people say they are seeking abortions. This is a list of some of the information collected:

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