North Shore weekend

It was pretty snowy along the shores of Lake Superior last weekend.

Cold, too. Can you see that? It says something like -12.

But we braved it for a weekend away. I love going there in winter, when the tourists are long gone and we can drive far out of cell phone range to Mike’s parents’ cabin near Grand Marais, Minnesota.

This time we weren’t in a hurry. We stopped a lot. Discovered an incredibly good restaurant near Duluth called the New Scenic Cafe, where I had butternut squash stuffed ravioli in a divine cream sauce with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, pecans and a hard salty cheese shaved on top. No picture of that, unfortunately.

We also stopped at our usual scenic overlook, where the ice chunks crash up against the shore. (I heard people surf in this lake. Why??)

And at the Split Rock lighthouse, just before sunset.

We woke up with the sun, much earlier than we usually do on a weekend. This is what you call nature TV.

We snowshoe-ed, Mike taught me how to build a fire (the proper Eagle Scout way), and then cozied up with a few lanterns for the evening.

I can’t tell you how essential it is for me to truly get away sometimes. You need the perspective. When all you have is a wind-up radio playing WTIP, the greatest public radio station on earth, you soon forget all your woes. You laugh at the deadpan host saying how he’s wired from drinking too much coffee and read the local news briefs in the paper (“Woman fell through the ice at Devil’s Track River. She refused treatment.”) You wish you could stay, but miss hot showers too much.

So we did all there was to do. We played marathon rounds of Yahtzee. Then we played Scrabble. Mike beat me, of course.

And then, this.

(!!!)

I’d say it was a good weekend. About the best you could have.

Loving: John Mayer – Where the Light Is

You should buy this live album for the version of “In Your Atmosphere” alone.

Every time I try to convince myself I’m too old or too indie to like John Mayer I’m reminded that nobody is – he’s just that good.

Four years

“Either I’m really sleepy, or the bobblehead on this desk is spontaneously nodding at me.”

That’s how it all started.

Almost five years ago now I had taken Mike’s job when he moved to Pittsburg. A few months later when he returned in a different job, we talked every once in a while, but still hadn’t really connected.

Then one morning at work that message popped up in my inbox. I wasn’t expecting Mike to even be there, as he worked 4-midnight most days. But he was doing a special daytime shift across the room where I couldn’t see him. And for some reason, he decided to e-mail me. Boredom, I suspect. And curiosity.

I already felt an attraction, so this message was a step in the right direction for me.

“If it starts to talk, run…” I replied.

Four messages later, we had a date.

Four years later we’re still together. We’ve outlasted our previous relationship lengths, but that’s not really the point. Getting to this point was more difficult than I ever believed it would be. Full of challenges beyond our control, and some of our own doing. But it still feels good, and still feels right.

It doesn’t surprise me AT ALL that the night we were supposed to celebrate our anniversary by going to Iowa City for a concert, Iowa City was under feet of water and Iowa was in full-on disaster mode. I don’t think either one of us was in a celebrating mood at that point.

So we did what we have learned to do so well — roll with it. We decided on dinner at a new local restaurant instead. It was fabulous and we brought out our inner foodie geeks to examine each course. By the end of dinner, rain gave way to a rainbow framing the Capitol.

No one really writes love letters anymore, but I did save all the emails from our first week together. That’s probably the real reason I remember what day it was (the time stamps). Looking back it seems insane that by our second date we felt like a couple and by the second week we were dropping the L word. But I guess you feel what you feel when you feel it. Others have told me similar stories.

What we have now is much deeper, a respect we have for each other based on all we’ve been through together. When you find yourself running to the pharmacy because your partner has unexplainable hiccups or yanking gobs of their hair out of a clogged tub, you realize that the best part about being in love isn’t the giddiness, but knowing that someone would actually do that for you.

So, here’s to four years of adventures in love, and lots more to come.