Posts Tagged ‘summer’

I know summer is coming to an end when we pick up the girls from camp. They’re sad, eat the salami-and-cheese sandwiches I pack for them with a faraway look in their eyes. They’re tired, too, plain ol’ worn out. It’s as if today, this day that we pick them up from camp, all the weight of summer presses on them. Hot and sweaty, thunderheads building. There’s a heaviness about it for all of us.

I remember summer lasted forever when I was a kid. Seems like we never started school until after Labor Day, and here we are, not even halfway into August and the closet holds two bags full of school supplies. I remember Mom making at least a sort of fuss over back-to-school. I remember my school supplies stacked up next to my bed in a tidy pile where for days I could admire the candy-apple red pencil, an oversized one that barely fit your fingers, and a Big Chief tablet.

Mom bought us a few new dresses (or sewed them), a new pair of shoes, and those thin socks that folded at the ankle to show off girly lace. We didn’t get a lot, not even enough for a new outfit each day that first week back, but that was OK. By the second week we were back to all our old clothes anyway.

I went to the mall last Sunday afternoon after dropping off the girls at camp. I wanted to get Dee some black jeans with skinny legs, she’s been asking for them for weeks plus it was tax-free weekend, which seems to function as Pavlov’s bell, we all go out like Night-of-the-Living-Dead zombies to the stores even though the 7% savings barely makes it worth the trouble. But still. I went and ran into the mother of another camper. We laughed and said something like, It’s just plain easier to shop for our kids when we’re without ’em.

We don’t have the exact same rituals to end summer that I had as a kid, but we have some of them. Mine were the school supplies and the few new clothes, plus a sudden interest in cleanliness. Bathing and curling my hair, a new pajama gown, and going to bed when it was still light. Mom and Dad were rigid about school nights. It didn’t matter what Nature had to say; it was time to turn off the sun and get to bed.

I told Em that I wanted to show her how I organized and cleaned her room while she was gone, and when I suggested that we go take a little tour of the drawers and closet, she broke out crying, “Mom, I just want to sit down!” She’s been away two weeks, being back home must be both a relief and a major letdown. Thank goodness she doesn’t start school until Tuesday.

It’s been a humid summer. Jim was saying as we drove back from the mountains that he hasn’t seen clouds like these, so many and for so many days, since he was a kid. These are the summer days from our youth, thick air, a hot that makes you sweat inside even, swamp coolers don’t work well in humidity. But a coolness this morning. I’ve been using the quilt in addition to the sheet, and even when I went to Trader Joe’s this morning at nine, I wore a sweater.

It’s a transitional time, I said to someone recently that it felt like running into a glass door. I didn’t see it coming even though I knew it was out there somewhere, this end of lazy days, quiet mornings and staying up as late as you want.

I just had a strange thought. Once our kids are grown, will it seem like the fading of summer into fall is like any other change of season?


-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SUMMER

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Pink, a flower in Mom’s garden (if you know the name of this flower, please let me know), photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Fifteen minutes, What I like about summer…

Another fifteen minutes, What I don’t like about summer…

Or, a haiku on summer vacation.

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Rio Grande Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Rio Grande Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, outside of Taos, New Mexico, at a Writing Retreat with Natalie Goldberg almost one year ago to the day, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

cliffs rise, bodies howl
floating down the Rio Grande
swimming in July

  View From The Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Toward The Bridge, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

  Leaving The Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     From The Bridge, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

View From The Swimming Hole, Toward The Bridge, Leaving The Swimming Hole, From The Bridge, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Rio Grande is 1,885 miles long, the third longest river system in the United States. This is for all of our writing friends in Taos this week, diving into her river wildness — screaming, floating, swimming, wading — walking in the mist, getting wet.

          Dive In!, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.       Dive In!, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.       Dive In!, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, July 11th, 2008

-related to post, haiku (one-a-day) 

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Diamonds At Solstice, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Diamonds At Solstice, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

At Diamonds they say, “Come for the caffeine, stay for the camaraderie.” Diamonds Coffee Shoppe — Your Atomic Coffee Stop — is located in the Arts District of Northeast Minneapolis. It’s a great place to write. To Dawn and Lucy, it’s not just coffee, it’s a philosophy.

Three of us were there last Wednesday evening to write and do art. It was our weekly creative project meeting, part of our dedication to our practice. Our small group of four alternate between the studio in the Casket Arts Building and Diamonds a few blocks away.

Last week the Pop-A-Lock guys were there; 8 of them formed a circle in the hall next to us (across from the vault), and had their business meeting. As fate would have it, one of them had helped me change a flat tire a month ago over in Brooklyn Park. The world gets smaller every day.

Diamonds In Primary Colors, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Diamonds Coffee Shoppe
1618 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 789-5282

Mon through Thurs – 6 AM to 10 PM
Fridays 6 AM to 10 PM
Saturday 7 AM to 10 PM
Sunday 8 AM to 10PM


There were three things on my mind tonight. The first was an end of week meeting with my Gemini friend ybonesy. All went well; we are right on track. The second is Diamonds. I downloaded the photos I took last Wednesday. Maybe there will be a Fotoblog to follow. The third?

Summer Solstice. Liz and I are going to a Solstice celebration tomorrow night at a friend’s house. Fire and water. In Minneapolis, the longest day of the year passed a few hours ago at 5:59pm. When is Solstice in your part of the world?

Below are some links that might help. I was looking at archived photographs of the same date last year; the peonies were well on their way. This year the ants have opened only three blooms. Spring is late in coming. I welcome the light.

Time for Summer. Have a diamonds and light Solstice.


  • Times listed for Winter & Summer Solstices (and the Equinoxes) beginning in 1900:

Holoscenes – Textures of the Earth: Seasons From 1900 To 2099 (LINK)

In the Midwest, we have to subtract 6 hours from UT to get Central Standard time (and 5 for Daylight Saving time (LINK). See also Holoscenes – Textures of the Earth – Special Projects (LINK)

  • Here’s how to translate UT time to our time, wherever we are:

Earth & Sky: How Do I Translate Universal Time To My Time? (LINK)

  • Here’s a final link to different systems of time:

U.S. Navy – Systems of Time (LINK)

Diamonds At Dusk, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, June 20th, Summer Solstice 2008

-related to posts: 8 Minutes, Winter Solstice – Making Light Of The Dark, Solstice Fire In Winter, 15 Hours, 36 Minutes Of Light

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Foods On A Stick At The Minnesota State Fair 2006, YouTube Video by TKordonowy.

Whoa! After 8 hours at the Minnesota State Fair, Liz and I made it home at 10:30p.m. last night, not much worse for wear. Unless you count the fact that we could hardly walk and had giant food hangovers!

Here are our MN State Fair Stats for August 2007:

  • Money Spent: $102 (not counting the $41 we saved with Cub coupon book & ticket discount) [See WCCO Good Question with Ben Tracy: How Much Does The State Fair Make?]
  • Time Spent: 8 hours (just at the Fair, not including travel & walking time)
  • Photos Taken: 642 digital day & night shots (by the two of us)
  • Events Covered with $$$: admission tickets, Butterfly House, walking, walking, walking, digesting, all food & drink, people watching, shiny blue 100% cotton State Fair hoodie
  • Fair Booty: autographs from Don Shelby, Amelia Santaniello, and Frank Vascellaro from WCCO, 11 kinds of food (5 on-a-stick, favorite was Fried Fruit On-A-Stick), 7 kinds of drinks, Swine, Sheep, Cattle, Goat, Poultry Barns, J.V. Bailey House, Fine Arts Building, polka band and coffee cup hat at Farmers Union Coffee Shop, opera, Air America Talk Radio 950am, Al Franken for Senate booth, wonder and awe in the Butterfly House, joy and laughter all around

We ran out of time for the full tour of the J.V. Bailey House or our annual viewing of the Dairy Princesses carved from butter. And we missed A Prairie Home Companion at the Grand Stand and the escaped bull that ran amuck through the crowd. For more insight into our food hangovers, check out the YouTube video by TKordonowy, Foods On A Stick At The Minnesota State Fair 2006.

I know Minnesotans that go to the Fair at least 4 or 5 times in one week. Ralph Cornelius has attended the Minnesota State Fair for 80 years without missing one year. Ralph was even there as an infant in 1928. But I’ve got to say, for me, once every one or two years is enough. We had a great time this year. More photos to come. Enjoy the video!

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, September 1st, 2007

-related to post, MN State Fair On-A-Stick

another video link you might enjoy that includes video in its infancy, 80’s hair, and brief footage of the butter sculptures:  Minnesota Stories, Just Plain Big: MN State Fair 1988

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Minnesota State Fair Button 2007, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.

Minnesota State Fair Button 2007, quick snapshot after breakfast (notice the little piece of dirt on the middle right edge!), Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

It’s Minnesota State Fair time! And after over 150 years, it’s a Minnesota tradition. The Minnesota State Fair is the 2nd largest State Fair in the U.S., second only to Texas. However, while the Texas State Fair runs for 24 days and has a larger annual attendance, the Minnesota State Fair is only 12 days with a greater number of people attending each day.

One of the most significant dates in the Fair’s history was September 2nd, 1901 when then-vice president Teddy Roosevelt was visiting and first uttered the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Liz and I are heading to the Fair tomorrow afternoon. If it’s not raining, we’ll take the motorcycle and park in the lot set aside especially for us. Sweet! I don’t like crowds (attendance at the MN State Fair in 2006 was 1,689,579), so the highlight of the Fair for me is the food (what else?).

We are famous for our Fair food on-a-stick. Below is a complete list (from the Minnesota State Fair Press Kit, a great resource for everything Fair). Liz and I wrote down a few we want to try: espresso on-a-stick, hotdish on-a-stick, chocolate-covered nutroll on-a-stick, wild rice corndog on-a-stick, deep-fried fruit on-a-stick, and, let’s not forget, SPAM curds!

We’ve also got a friend working at the Fair this year (thanks for the buttons!). So we’ll be sure to stop by and visit her. And the Minnesota State Fair is a photographer’s paradise. There’s the fantastic people watching, the amazing art in the Fine Arts Building, the Milk Run, and the Princess Kay of the Milky Way Coronation organized by the Midwest Dairy Association.

Since 1953, the Princess Kay competition has recognized young women whose families are involved in Minnesota’s dairy industry (have I ever mentioned that Liz comes from a North Dakota dairy family?). Regional dairy princesses compete for the yearly title and the entire court have their likenesses carved out of butter during the Fair.

If you’ve never seen a butter sculpture, you are in for a treat! Hope to see you at the The Great Minnesota Get-Together. Or if you can’t attend, tell us about the Fairs in your part of the world!


  1. Alligator Sausage on-a-stick
  2. Bacon Wrapped Turkey Tenderloin on-a-stick
  3. Beef Kabobs on-a-stick
  4. Beer Battered Brats on-a-stick
  5. Bomb Pops on-a-stick
  6. Butterscotch Cake on-a-stick
  7. Candy Apples on-a-stick
  8. Candy Bars (deep fried) on-a-stick
  9. Caramel Apples on-a-stick
  10. Cheese on-a-stick
  11. Chicken on-a-stick
  12. Chocolate Chip Cookies on-a-stick
  13. Chocolate Covered Bananas on-a-stick
  14. Chocolate Covered Cheese Cake on-a-stick
  15. Chocolate Dipped Nut Roll on-a-stick
  16. Coffee (frozen) on-a-stick
  17. Corndogs on-a-stick
  18. Corned Beef and Cabbage on-a-stick
  19. Cotton Candy on-a-stick
  20. Dessert Dumplings on-a-stick
  21. Espresso (frozen) on-a-stick
  22. Fried Fruit on-a-stick
  23. Fried Jalapeño Pepper Cheese on-a-stick
  24. Fried Swiss Cheese on-a-stick
  25. Fudge puppies on-a-stick
  26. Hot Dish on-a-stick
  27. Hot Dogs on-a-stick
  28. Key Lime Pie Dipped in Chocolate (frozen) on-a-stick
  29. Kiddi Kabobs on-a-stick
  30. Macaroni & Cheese on-a-stick
  31. Marshmallows (Chocolate-dipped) on-a-stick
  32. Meatballs on-a-stick
  33. MinneKabobs on-a-stick
  34. Pickles on-a-stick
  35. Pickles (deep fried) on-a-stick
  36. Pickles (Kool-Aid) on-a-stick
  37. Pizza on-a-stick
  38. Poncho Dogs on-a-stick
  39. Pork Chops on-a-stick
  40. Pronto Pups on-a-stick
  41. Rueben Dog on-a-stick
  42. Salmon on-a-stick
  43. Sausage on-a-stick
  44. Scallops on-a-stick
  45. Scones on-a-stick
  46. Scotch Eggs on-a-stick
  47. Shrimp on-a-stick
  48. Sloppy Joes on-a-stick
  49. S’mores on-a-stick
  50. Spaghetti & Meatballs on-a-stick
  51. Spudsters on-a-stick
  52. Super Dog on-a-stick
  53. Taffy Pops on-a-stick
  54. Vegetable Kabobs on-a-stick
  55. Wild Rice Corndog on-a-stick
  56. Walleye on-a-stick

Total number of foods on-a-stick: 56


Apple fries (julienne apples crumb-coated and deep-fried)
@Coaster’s, located on the corner of Liggett Street and Carnes Avenue
Blackened steak wrap with steak, eggs, potatoes and cheese
@Ragin Cajun, located on the west wall in The Garden
BLP (bacon, lettuce, pico de gallo) quesadilla
@Tejas, located on the north wall in The Garden
Buffalo chips and cheese
@Delicious Potato Skins, located inside the south door of the Food Building
Butterscotch cake on-a-stick (a cream-filled cake dipped in butterscotch)
@Scotch Eggs, located east of the Horse Barn on Liggett Street
Cajun shrimp wrap with shrimp, eggs, potatoes and cheese
@Ragin Cajun, located on the west wall in The Garden
Calamari Fish and Chips
@two locations: inside the Food Building on the west side; west of Liggett Street on the northeast corner of the Horse Barn
Coca-Cola cheesecake dipped in chocolate on-a-stick
@Apple Lil’s, located in Heritage Square
Corned beef and cabbage on-a-stick
@O’Gara’s, located inside the east door of the Food Building
Fried fruit on-a-stick (pineapple, grapes, bananas, strawberries, apples, cherries, kiwi, honeydew and cantaloupe skewered, dipped in a sweet batter and deep fried)
@Fried Fruit, located in Carousel Park near the Grandstand Ramp
Jambalaya with eggs, potatoes and cheese
@Ragin Cajun, located on the west wall in The Garden
Knuckle sandwich (brined pork with sweet & zesty sauce and caramelized onions on a hoagie bun)
@Famous Dave’s, located north of Adventure Park on West Dan Patch Avenue
Kool-Aid pickles
@Famous Dave’s, located north of Adventure Park on West Dan Patch Avenue
Lingonberry turnovers
@Rainbow Ice Cream, three locations: east of Underwood Street and just south of Carnes Avenue under the Skyride; southwest corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Underwood Street; west of Underwood Street, between Wright Avenue and Dan Patch Avenue
Old fashioned ice cream sodas
@Bridgeman’s, located on the northwest corner of Judson Avenue and Liggett Street
Peanut butter hot dog
@Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, located on the corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street
Rocky road scones on-a-stick (scones with chocolate chips, caramel and marshmallow, rolled and baked)
@French Meadow, located inside the southeast door of the Food Building
S’mores on-a-stick
@Ultimate Confections, located inside the east door on the lower level of Grandstand
Soda fountain funnel cakes (topped with Coca-Cola, Cherry Coke, Sasparilla, whipped cream or custard)
@Apple Lil’s, located in Heritage Square
Sloppy joes on-a-stick
@Axel’s, located on the southeast corner outside the Food Building
SPAM burger, Hawaiian SPAM burger, SPAM curds
@SPAM Burgers located in Carousel Park under the Grandstand Ramp
Uffda brat (Norwegian brat wrapped in potato lefse)
@Sausage Sisters, located inside the east door of the Food Building

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 26, 2007

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        Zebra Mama and Baby in Africa, photo © 2007 by ybonesy, all rights reserved
        –Zebra Mama and Baby, photo © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

I’ve been feeling blue today. There’s the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, and I know my friends there are dealing with the whole spectrum of emotion. I wish I could just hug them.

Then this weekend we take the girls to yet another sleepaway camp. Dee and Em are thrilled, but Jim and I were saying it feels like we’ve spent the entire summer rushing from one camp to another. I miss having a normal routine.

Does it ever hit you that you’re not a child anymore? Like you wish you could crawl onto your Mom’s lap or grab your Dad’s big warm hand and bring it to your face, but your parents are frail or struggling with serious illness. It suddenly dawns on you that this is now and that was then, and you get a big lump in your throat (and gosh, here you are at work hoping no one walks by your cubicle because how do you explain your red nose and the tears in your eyes?).

Anyway, I took this photo on a trip to South Africa back in 2002, I think. I had an early phone camera. The photo’s not great but it’s one of my screensavers, and it made me smile today and feel a little bit less melancholy. Hopefully it will cheer you up, too, if you need cheering up at all.

TGIF. Have a good weekend.

posted in red Ravine, August 3, 2007

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