I’m in a shirt and underwear and telling the boys to get out of the picture (have we been friends long enough to talk like this?).  They are nearly as excited as I am, except for the part where I threw off my dress, pulled my bun out and sat down at the computer for a half hour of pure narcissism.  This is what happens when I’ve been dreading dragging four kids into the glasses shop to find new frames all summer, knowing that doing so will result in under-my-breath swears and sweat in my bra.  So when my brother in law (you know who you are) showed up at the lake with some fancy new specks, I was ready to listen.  And what I heard was this: Warby Parker. Hop on their website, pick out five frames, they’ll next day air them to you, you try them out for five days, then send them back with your choice and 95 bucks later, you’ll have a pair of chic new specks headed your way.  And the best part, ok the best part is the coming to your house so you don’t have to drag four kids to the store and get a sweaty bra part, but another sweet part is that they donate a pair to someone in need for every pair they sell.  So when I ripped the box out of the UPS guy’s hands and ran inside it was only seconds before I thought to share the choices with you, being that we are friends and all and that you might need new glasses someday.  Actually what I said was, I’m going to let my readers choose my new glasses.  To which Grant said, do you have any readers?  To which I said, oh for the love, you know what I mean.  Now brush my hair so I look good.
So, will you weigh in?

 The Begley
 The Fillmore
 The Huxley
 The Finn
The Zagg

This is me being real.  Loving Warby Parker.  I mean, seriously, what’s not to love?



I’m still here, I promise.  Only it’s been like a billion degrees for the last seven hundred days and the very last thing I’ve wanted to do after dragging my sweaty body home from the beach or the pool or wherever we’d gone that day to try to survive was to log on and try to be witty.  Hot and witty don’t go together.  Now, cold and witty?  That’s a marriage made in heaven.  But thanks to Al Gore, cold is not in the forecast, darn him.
I did write this morning in a quick break from holding a feverish Lucy on my lap and catching Peter’s pukas in the pukas bowl.  And what came out was very real and a little dark (as many real things are) and I’m not ready to share it today because today belongs to other things.  But I’ve been bombarded with women who are struggling and know my story and have come calling asking for hope and prayers and more hope.  And it’s led to my heart being full.  And since this is all about being real, I was this morning, and I still am, only I’ll save that heavy post for another day in favor of something lighter.  But I’ll post that one soon, I promise.
So we have been here, having fun despite record highs that refused to come down.  We’ve been:
~ordering me new frames from this place.  you can try five at a time and they’re only $95.
~addicted to watching this.
~rediscovering that I love tennis.  who knew?
~eating this and this.  lots of both.  remind me to grow jalepenos next year.
~mastering the blob at a friends cottage.
~eating popsicles like they’re going out of style.  even though they’re not.
~drooling over everything here.  I mean, seriously, it’s too much.
~reading, no devouring, In the Garden of Beasts and Kisses for Katie (which has totally wrecked me) and The Penderwicks with the kids while they do crafts or lay on the floor moaning and asking if I’ll please turn the air on for the love.
~downloading apps for the olympics so the girls can watch equestrian events that I refuse to wake them up at 4:30 am for.
~burning through hundreds of feet of paracord as we’ve made these.
~wathing tessies hair turn green from all the chlorine she’s been in.
~vacuuming up paracord shrapnel.
~finishing sentences with dear friends.
~counting down the days (0!!) until our Aunt Veti and Uncle Ole-Kristian step off their plane in into our arms. which will launch two weeks of non-stop action with my family.  can.  not.  wait.
This is me being real.  Loving summer.  Ready to sit on the beach with my sisters.  All my sisters.


It started as a jest.  Me, totally depleted from a non-stop week, wondering aloud whatever I would cook for dinner and them, jonesing for a new adventure to top a morning spent dumpster diving for go-cart parts, offering up frog legs.  Me laughing and telling them to go on.  Them, thinking I was serious, heading off to the creek to deliver, armed to the teeth with pellet guns and ambition.  Me, watching them come back, green bucket brimming with something, gorge rising as understanding dawned.  Me, trying to explain this to Lucy from the safety of the deck:

Look Lu, I wonder what they’re all looking at?  Must be something pretty interesting in that bucket.  No, you should stay here by mama they’ll get bored soon enough and hop away.  Oh, never mind, they’ve all been shot to hell in the interest of letting boys be boys and now I’m going to have to cook the darn things.  
What follows was dinner.  Remind me never to invite you over.

My pride is only a little salvaged to tell you that it is, in fact, frog season.  From Memorial Day to November.  And that while they ate their frog legs, I ate fresh homemade guacamole with rice chips and plotted how much bleach it’ll take me to want to cook in my kitchen ever again.  And that I spoke to the other mother (luckily already a dear friend) and told her one woodpecker and twenty two frog legs is enough, that they can cook in her dutch oven next time.  And, yes, I did try one.  Had to with three proud boys looking on and expecting me to swallow past the vomit in my throat.  
Mind over matter.  Mind over matter.
Later while calling the boys in from the tree where they are building a hunting blind, I looked down and saw a legless frog carcass bloating in the grass next to my bare foot and instantly became frozen as I envisioned ten more just like it, dotting my yard like a mine field in Afghanistan.  After shrieking to them to get down here right now and get this thing and any others outta my yard and then meet me at the outside shower to be scoured clean, I mustered up what little dignity I had left and declared myself to be punched out for the night.
This is me being real.  And vowing to become a vegetarian since a vegetarian would never be expected to try a frog leg.  And that would be worth giving up bacon for.


If you’re really lucky, you get to spend every Fourth of July on a little island in the U.P.  You drive six hours to get there, but the longest part of the trip will be the twenty five minutes it takes to drive from the ferry on the north end to the cottage on the south end.  That will seem like forever, especially if you are 10, 8, 6 and 3.  But it’ll be totally worth it because at the end of the long two track driveway, grass in the middle, will be your grandpa and your new grandma Nancy waiting for you.  They’ll be sitting on their John Deere Gator because no one walks anywhere on Sugar Island.  They’ll be smiling and your little cottage will be clean and waiting for you and you’ll feel like you are home.  You’ll instantly head for the water and you won’t come out except to eat and sleep for the next nine days.  There will be two boys who get up on skis for the very first time, two who master going out of the wake and a dad who’ll prove he’s still got it.
There will be girly things like channeling your inner Farrah Fawcett by wearing your swimsuit backwards and letting Aunt Cyndy french braid your hair so you feel pretty, which of course you are.  You will try to pick out a makeup cell phone as your souvenir, but your mom will tell you it’s made in China and will turn your skin warty.  You’ll promise you won’t eat it, but she won’t budge.  You’ll settle for new floaties, but you won’t like them.
There will be birthdays celebrated with strawberry cupcakes your cousin helps you make and a gluten free chocolate cake that rocks your mom’s world.  There will be a My First Little House book in pink wrapping and a Barbie that can swim with you and your very own bug catcher.
There will be lots of Sea-Dooing that will leave everyone’s hair looking like this: but your aunt will tell you that you’re still cute, so it’ll be ok.
 You will want to tube with your new grandmother, but will worry that she can’t handle it.
 You’ll soon find out she can.  And more.
On Independence Day, you’ll pack up a dish to pass and head on your four wheeler or your bike or your tractor or your whatever and head to the parade start.  The parade will end at the Sugar Cottage where you’ll have the “sweetest fourth in the north” celebration with hundreds of your closest islanders.  Grandpa will put on a big show with legal fireworks shot over the lake while sleepy children stare in wonder and the Canadian neighbors are silent.
Stewie will man your family float, slobbering all over the decorations.  You’ll forgive him because he’s just so darn pitiful with his short little legs and droopy eyes. Plus you’ll soon realize that as long as he’s on the float, he isn’t drooling on your feet.  That’s a plus.
There will be a mystery trip (there always is) that starts at the indian cemetery for grave rubbings and picks up speed when you pull up at the pier.  You’ll discover that you’re jumping off, then swimming across the channel to your very own Canadian island (don’t tell immigration).  You worry for a sec, but then you’ll remember that Buddy the WonderDog will not let you falter.  He’s just that kind of dog.
 See?  This is where you’ll swim.  You start on that black pier and end up on the island.  You’ll name it Roxaboxen after the book.  You’ll want to live there.  You like maple leaves and syrup enough to be citizens will be your argument.
When you are cold from your big swim, you can lay on the warm rocks and dream that you own this place, this slice of heaven.  You’ll find eggs and bones and lots of scat.  There is always scat on deserted islands, it’s a rule or something. 
 There will be an old axe head found by Grant and a protein picnic spread on the rocks before sliding into the water and letting your Uncle Al pull you back across the channel by hanging onto a ski rope attached to the Sea Doo.  You do have an Uncle Al, don’t you?  You’ll need one for this mystery trip.
There will be fishing with your best Uncle Bruce (you’ll need one of those too) that will net you a seventeen inch Walleye.  But only if you’re really lucky and only if you have chocolate eyes.
 Yeah, you fit the bill.
You too.  I’d like to eat you.
If you go to Sugar Island, that 48 square miles of wonderland that smells like bacon grease and campfire, go when we do so we can show you around.  We’re there every fourth of July.  We wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world.

This is me being real.  And hoping you’ll join us there sometime.  But only if you bring your own accommodations-ours are blissfully maxed out.


I forgot to tell you that we’ve flown the coop and are Up North spending time with family and eating crap-so sorry friends.  I’ll be home soon with scads of pictures, a sunburn across my shoulders and stories to tell about the U.P.  Until then, please enjoy purusing the links on the side bar to see what other who are far more clever and less forgetful than me are up to.  Much love from the land nutrition forgot.  We’ll talk soon.