Monthly Archives: September 2012

Minnesota Renaissance Festival 2012

One of my favorite things to do each year is go to The Minnesota Renaissance Festival when it rolls around.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much it absolutely delights me.  My sis always buys me the tickets for my birthday and then she and I and my daughter go to it.  We always have such a wonderful time, and this year was no exception.  It’s such a nice escape from reality.

Here’s the three of us posing for a photo for my mom before we headed out to carouse at the Renfest.  We gave my poor mom a terrible time because she was having difficulty operating my daughter’s camera, but it turns out that all the photos of the day turned out a bit off in the lighting and focus.  Not sure what the deal was.  But even though the quality of the photography was off, the quality of the fun time we had was not.  🙂

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I love my daughter’s new costume this year!  My dress was wrinkled.  Hey, I spent an hour and a half barrel rolling my hair, I didn’t have time to iron!

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Oops, where are the tickets?!  Oh, here they are!

Hey, I can’t help it that I forgot them, I have an awful lot going on in this “above average to superior” brain of mine lately.  😉  Further detailed explanation of that intelligence comment can be given a later time, but let me just say… I was told by “experts” after many grueling hours of testing that I am in the above average to superior range of intelligence.  Although my sis says I am no longer able to claim that after today.  Big deal, I forgot the tickets, it happens.  Well that would be fine if only the story stopped there.  When we drove all the way back to my apartment to pick up the tickets, I discovered that I had forgotten the keys to my apartment in my other purse back at my mom’s.  So we had to drive back to my mom’s to get my keys and then back to my apartment again to get the tickets.  Yeah, we did a bit of extra driving back and forth.  What?  It only delayed us by two hours.  Hey, everything happens for a reason right…?  And besides it only makes the day even more memorable.  😀

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One of the things I especially enjoy while walking around at the Renfest is seeing the various street performers.  It really sets the mood of it all.  This guy made beautiful sounds come out of this thing…

As did this guy…

And this one.  Omygosh how I LOVE the sound of bagpipes!

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And here’s one of my favorites ~ Twig the Fairy.  She’s so lovely and has sweetest most gentle spirit about her.  The children adore her, and so do I!

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I also love taking in the various shows on the stages set around the festival.
The Danger Committee is another favorite of mine.  Things on fire and knife throwing = always exciting.  We had far away seats this year so getting a good photo was challenging, but here is “Bald Guy” holding out a couple of cucumbers to be sliced.

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Lisa over at Lisa’s Rant told me to be sure to catch Moonie’s performance at the Renfest this year, we only happened to catch part of it, but he was very entertaining.

~

Speaking of catching, my daughter caught these two watching one of the shows.  I’m not sure what their attire has to do with the Renaissance, but they looked pretty cute.  The Renfest is a great place to let your freak flag fly ~ I certainly let mine fly free while I’m there!   😉

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A lot of people enjoy getting a giant turkey leg to chomp on while at the Renfest, but the food there isn’t really a main attraction for me.  However, these funnel cakes my daughter got were quite tasty.

See how much she enjoyed them…

Yes, I believe I’ve instilled great manners in my daughter by teaching her to suck off her fingers after she eats.  😉  She claims she only did this because she didn’t have any napkins, but I’m not buying it ~ I think she just didn’t want to let any of that powdered sugar go to waste.

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Yep, we had lots of fun this year and I’m so thankful for my wonderful big sister who takes me and my daughter to the Renfest each year!  She’s truly the best! ♥

~

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves, colors so bright

a feast for the eyes, such a wondrous sight.

Shades of crimson, rust, and amber

a brilliant kaleidoscope of nature’s splendor.

© Julie Rehnelt 2012

~

Adventures in Gardening Part 33 ~ Winding Down

Guess I’m just about finished with this year’s gardening adventures.  It was down right cold out this morning and I’m afraid the temps are soon going to dip down far enough to bring an end to the last remaining growing things in my tiny garden.  I love fall, but it is always sad to have to say goodbye to the growing season.

I really hope the cold weather holds off long enough for my bell peppers to finish turning yellow.  I’ve been waiting forever~

There are still tons of jalapenos growing out there too, although most of them are much smaller in size now.  ~

That’s about it for what is still growing out there as far a veggies go.  I also have some celery struggling along after being shaded all season by my zucchini and a bunch of tiny green tomatoes I don’t have much hope for.

My herbs are still thriving and I will be very sad to see them go.  I’m still looking into seeing if I can bring my lavender inside over the winter to keep it going, I love it so much!

The blooming things are also winding down.  In my Mmm Autumn post I mentioned that I was digging out my old camera to get reacquainted with because my daughter didn’t like me using hers so much, and I was hoping that it would take as nice of photos.  Well, I am pleased to report that I believe it does.  I was very happy with the way this next shot turned out while I was experimenting with it…

The Sedum I planted for my mom years ago is blooming and I caught a fuzzy little bumble bee enjoying this one.  🙂~

In fact, the bumble bees are very active right now ~ I was also able to catch this one sampling my mint blossoms.I’m not a huge fan of bees in general, but the fuzzy bumblers are kinda cute and it’s always a good sign to see them buzzing around my plants. 🙂

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I’m so grateful to have been able to have a garden this year after being without one for the past few years.  It was a completely new way of gardening for me ~ going from having acres of land out in the country to a tiny 4 x 8 raised box in the heart of the city, but even having only that small bit of growing space fed not only my body, but my soul as well…

~Gardening is my therapy~

Relocating, Remodeling, & Readjustments ~ My Bedroom Floor

Getting my bedroom floor ready was the last main thrust of hard labor needing to be done before we can actually start moving in.  The rest of the remodeling projects in my mom’s house will be done gradually after we’re moved in.

The first thing I tackled on my floor was a big black stain splatter.  What a horrendous ordeal, but I beat it!

Now you see it…Now you don’t!~

You know how sometimes in my various posts I mention my weak girlie hands?  Well, I’m not really joking about that.  I seriously hurt my hand scrubbing and scraping at that black stain and the area around it ~ to the point where my pinkie finger went tingly and numb for a couple of days.  😦  And that was only the beginning of the grueling work that went into cleaning up my floor.

Worth it in the end though because look at how nice it looks now…I must say compared to before, I am quite pleased with the results of all my toil.

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Couldn’t have done it without this guy…Magical scrubbie!  He might not look like much, and he’s quite used and abused, but this little bad boy tore up that crud on my floor like a champ!

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Couldn’t have done it without this girl either…Magical sis!  😉  Here she is in her tie dye with her magical saw cutting a 45 degree angle on one of the oak strips that I used to cover the gaps between the molding and the wood floor along the walls.  My mom and my daughter also lent a hand with my floor.  Needless to say we are all exhausted.

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There are still those deep cuts going across the floor in the doorway area in front of my closet, there was nothing I could do to fix them, but I’m just going to throw a rug down over them and call it good.

Also as I had mentioned in an earlier post, a large portion of the floor on the other side of the room has plywood not hardwood on it.  I went back and forth trying to think of a solution, but for now there really isn’t anything else I can do with it.  So I’m just leaving it as is after cleaning it up a bit, until we either have the existing hardwood refinished professionally and install new hardwood to that other area, or have carpeting put in on that side.  My bed will cover that entire area anyway, so rather than go to any further expense right now, I’ll just throw a rug over that too.

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After working on the floor, I still wasn’t done in there yet… I also washed my windows and put on a coat of fresh stain around all of the other the woodwork.  Nothing better than looking out of sparkly clean windows!  I love the old Sycamore tree that is right outside of them and the way the light flickers into the room through the leaves.  There are actually 3 windows that go across the front of my room, but I was not able to get them all into one shot.

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So, now we can finally start moving some of our things in!  It will be a month and a half long process with just my daughter and I moving it all, so if I thought I was exhausted after all of this work on my floor and everything else we’ve been working on in the house for the past few months, I’m sure I’ll be completely wasted a month and half from now.  If you never hear from me again, you’ll know why.  😉

In all… as exhausted as I am, and for as many various worries, concerns, thoughts and emotions I’ve had rolling around inside of me at the thought of moving back in with my mom, I am deeply grateful.  And I know there is a purpose and plan in all of this.

One night as I was driving back to my apartment after working on my floor at my mom’s and thinking about this next stage of my life, this song came on the radio.  I had never heard it before, but oh did it ever speak directly to my heart.  So encouraging!  “Settle down, it’ll all be clear…” 

“Just know you’re not alone cuz I’m gonna make this place your home”  ♥

~

Tapestries, Light Bulbs and the Stuff in Between

Have you ever heard the metaphor of how life is like a tapestry?  I’ve heard various ones over the years and some have been very moving and enlightening.  I like metaphors.  I like being able to take some common, ordinary, every day thing and liken it to a train of thought that turns it into something meaningful.  And I think sometimes using metaphors can help click something in our brains or flip a switch that give us an “ah ha!” moment.  I call them mini epiphanies.  My dad used to say “Light bulb!”  Like in a cartoon when someone gets an idea and a picture of a little light bulb shows above their head.  I love those light bulb moments!  Wish I was having one now…

I woke up way too early for my own good this morning and am only having my first sips of coffee.  There is a big day ahead of me as we have an out of town family wedding to attend this afternoon, but just as like a few mornings ago, I woke up with lots of things on my mind again.  I sure am glad my mind works, even as scrambled up as my thoughts can be sometimes.

But as I woke up thinking all of these thoughts about my life, for some reason I got the picture of a tapestry in my mind and a few things began formulating.  Then it was a path, then a road, then a deep ocean, all of these metaphors.  Sheesh, I haven’t even had my coffee yet, how am I supposed to contemplate these deep realizations and reiterate them into words that make any sense?

Maybe I can’t, but I guess I’m writing this in an attempt to try…

I like to be able to see the big picture of things.  I like to see how it’s broken down and how all the pieces fit together.  This makes it meaningful to me.  It helps me understand.  I like to understand.  But sometimes I don’t get to to understand, things don’t seem to make sense.  I don’t get to see the big picture.  I hate when that happens, but such is life ey?

What is nice is when in those moments, when I don’t get to see the big picture, that I can still grasp the concept of my life being woven together.  Like a tapestry.  A beautiful, rich, meaningful work of art.  Sometimes the threads being weaved together and stitched into the fabric of my life are vibrant and colorful, sometimes they’re bland or the darkest black.  But of course, it’s often because of that contrast between them makes them all come even more alive.  And as it slowly goes along, a picture begins to form and I’m able to make it out and have one of those light bulb moments.  I love when that happens!

But even when, like this morning, I’m not having one of those light bulb moments, I can still rest in the comfort that my life is being woven together like a tapestry, that everything that comes along, each colorful, bland, or blackened thread that is being weaved in, has meaning and a purpose in the grand scheme, making me into the person I am meant to be.  Not that I don’t have any control over any of it, because I do have choices to make along the way, but those too get stitched in with the rest, and whether good or bad, happy or sad, it becomes beautiful.  Because life is beautiful.  A beautiful, rich, meaningful work of art…

~

Stepping Outside of Myself

I woke up with so much on my mind this morning and feeling so completely overwhelmed by everything I have going on and everything I have to do.  I was laying there trying to sort it all out in my head and was just going around and around in endless circles.

I have always had a great ability to see the bright side of things and to have hope and peace of mind even through difficult times, but it’s a process.  And there are various stages along the way in that process that bring me to that place.

Sometimes the process takes a bit longer than other times.

And sometimes even when I’ve reached my little epiphany and come to that place, I still have to fight to keep it going or it slips through my grasp when the circumstances continue to overwhelm.

This morning it was a matter of stepping outside of myself.  To stop focusing on all the stuff I’m trying to balance, and just lay it all down.  Surrender.  (Breathe) Not giving up, but surrendering to the fact that I can’t do it all, I can’t figure it all out.  And I don’t have to.

I spent a few minutes praying about everything, and then let it all go.  Release. (Breathe) Afterward I sat and listened to some amazing praise and worship music for about 2 hours.  Talk about stepping outside of yourself…

Gradually, it all melted away.  All the worry, the fears, the frustrations.  Everything will be okay.  It really will.  Assurance.  (Breathe)  And with that I slowly began realizing again how truly grateful I am for my life.  And everything in it.  There’s nothing quite like a good dose of feeling grateful to snap you out of your stress and self pity.  Gosh, look at it…  Life.  It really is an amazing gift.  And no matter what I’ve got going on, I am still so very blessed and fortunate.  For real.

And now instead of looking inward and focusing on myself and all that I’ve got going on, I find that I’m looking outward, at the other precious people in my life and out there in the world.  And how I can be a source of love and light to them.

Stepping outside of myself…

~

Mmm Autumn…

Feeling the first hints of autumn in the air today!  Gosh I can’t wait for fall!  This morning when I woke up, the sun was shinning, the sky was a perfect shade of blue, and the air was clear and crisp.  All such lovely things to wake up to, and I swear it even made my coffee taste better.  😉

Autumn is my most favorite season.  I love everything about it!  I know it means that everything is dying, but it makes me feel so alive.  Every one of my senses goes into overdrive and is heightened.  I’m already craving caramel apples and hunting around my apartment for my pumpkin spice scented candles to start burning on the cool evenings ahead.  So cozy!  And I can hardly wait to start seeing some fall color.  Here in Minnesota, at the peak of the season, the autumn color can be spectacular!  Especially the further out you get from the city.  It’s my favorite time of the year to go for a drive ~ all of the trees blazing with colors of amber, copper, and crimson.  It’s a wonderful feast for the eyes!  I’m a little worried that we might be robbed of some of our fall color this year though because of an unusually early spring, drought, and the extreme heat we’ve had over the summer, but I hope not.

I also hope we don’t get a blizzard before Halloween even comes, as has been the case a time or two in my recent memory.  If there is any downside to fall, its the impending doom of winter being close at hand.  Not that I mind winter all that much, the snow is lovely, but the cold I can certainly do without.

Speaking of cold, it was pretty nippy out when I came home tonight, time to dig out my fleece sheets and down comforter.  Again… so cozy!  It would be a perfect evening for a bonfire tonight.  Love autumn bonfires!  I bought one of those little wrought iron patio type fire pits earlier this spring to use on my mom’s patio, and we’ve had a couple of fires in it, but now with fall coming I’m sure we’ll be getting much more use out of it.

This is from one time we toasted marshmallows in it.  🙂~

I’ve recently dug out my old camera to try and reacquaint myself with it.  I can’t wait to get out there and try and capture some of the beauty of fall.  I usually use my daughter’s camera, but I use it so much that she’s getting afraid I’ll wear it out.  Hopefully mine will take as nice of shots as hers does.

~

This is from last fall.  It’s one block down from my mom’s house.  I love how the trees sort of create a canopy over the street.  And look at the nice “dusting” of leaves on the street.  

Another shot of those same trees only with the camera pointing upward.  Ah so  pretty against the blue sky!~

Also from last year.  What a lovely combination of colors.  They look almost as pretty littering the grass as they do on the trees.~

This is from one of the apple orchards we visited last fall.  Going to the apple orchard every fall is a tradition I have done with my daughter ever since she was little.  Excited for this year!~

And speaking of my daughter and fall when she was little ~ this is one of my favorite photos of autumns past.  Of course, she was posing while I snapped this shot, but aside from that particular moment, there was repeated leaping into this big pile of leaves that was also going on that day.  Such precious memories.  ♥ So very grateful for those memories, and looking forward to creating more.

~

Mmm autumn…

Hi Moon!

Has anyone happened to notice how lovely the moon has been for the past few nights?  I find myself looking up at the sky quite often.  During both the day and night.  Something about the sky inspires and astounds me.  I mean, do you realize that when you look up at the sky, you are gazing into infinity?  There’s no end.  It’s forever, eternity.  Of course our limited eyesight can only see to a certain distance, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are still looking into something that is limitless.  And to think that when we look at the stars, the light we are seeing shining is actually from the past because they’re so far away that it takes all that time to reach us.  Imagine before there were telescopes what ancient people thought about the sky and space and it’s limits.  I used to have a telescope.  It was a puny thing and I couldn’t see much with it, but even just being that much closer to seeing what’s out there still absolutely delighted me.  When I was little, my dad had a telescope, and would bring us kids to an area here in the city that was darker than the rest, and we would look up at the stars and the moon at night.  I’m sure that’s where my love for the sky came from ~ my pops.  ♥  Oh, I just realized that as I typed it, and now I’m getting a bit emotional.  Gosh, I miss my dad.  *pausing*

I’ve mentioned before how much nature in general inspires me, but there is something about the sky, much like the ocean, that also helps me put things in perspective.  I think it’s the vastness, the realization of the enormity of our world and universe, and where I compare to all of that.  Some may think it makes one feel more insignificant, small, unimportant, in the grand scheme of things.  But not me, it makes me feel more special, more grateful, more appreciative of my precious life, my five senses, and my uniqueness as a piece of this amazing creation.  Where do I fit in?  Everywhere, in everything, all of it.  I could go on…

But I originally started writing this about the moon, so I must try and stay on topic.  These are just my first waking thoughts this morning, I haven’t even had my coffee yet haha!  😀

So, the moon…  Me and the moon, we’re “like this.”  No matter where I am or what I’m doing, whenever I am out at night it is the first thing I look for.  I love when the moon is out during the day sometimes.  It looks so lovely against a blue sky.  My family is well aware of my love for the moon, and as silly as it is, I even wave at it sometimes.  Oh that’s a little embarrassing to admit to the general public, I don’t normally do it when I’m with anyone other than a family member. What a goof I am.  Yes, I wave at the moon.  At least I don’t howl at it.  😉  And I also say “Hi moon!” out loud while I’m waving.  Ah geez, now I’m just sounding like a complete weirdo.  Anyway, moving right along…

I guess what it comes down to is a sense of connection.  I know it sounds corny to say stuff like “being one with nature,” but there’s something meaningful about having a sense of connection to the universe.  It makes me feel closer to God.  More intimate with Him.  And I feel His love radiating toward me, in me, through me, and from me, while enjoying the beauty of creation.  And when it comes to the moon, I feel like it’s a guiding light, watching over me.  I know it’s silly, but it is what it is.

My sis and I have this inside joke about the moon.  We have a lot of inside jokes about a lot of things.  But with the moon, we are always arguing (in a playful way) because I insist that I’m the moon’s favorite.  I am.  Lets just get that fact out there right now… I’m the moon’s favorite.  Okay?  Anyway, whenever there is a cool looking moon, whether it’s full or crescent, if we’re not together one of us will call or text, so in case the other hadn’t seen or noticed the moon we can go out and look at it.  So last night as I was leaving my mom’s, there was the moon “Hi moon!” *waves* and it was looking especially beautiful.  I was actually a bit distracted by it on the drive to my apartment.  I was going to call my sis and tell her the moon was following me (it always follows me ~ because I’m its favorite ;)), but I began to have a little poem forming in my mind, so when I got to my apartment I wrote my sis a poem and posted it on her facebook.  She’s up at her cabin, out of the bright lights of the city, so I knew it would look even more wonderful up there and wanted her to see it.  But there was something to get out of the way first… I’m the moon’s favorite!  Here’s what I wrote her.  Don’t judge me, I know it’s corny, but whatever…

~

My, what a lovely moon there is out tonight,

like a magical orb shining so bright.

I’m the moon’s favorite, it’s no good to contest,

you know that it’s true, the moon likes ME best!

We go everywhere together when I travel by night,

it watches over me always, to make sure I’m all right.

On evenings I find that my hearts feeling low,

I have only to look up at its comforting glow.

I love the moon and the moon loves me,

so don’t even try, my sister, to take it from me!

© Julie Rehnelt 2012

~

She went out to look at it and wrote me back saying “Ahhh… it’s smiling at me.  It tells me that you are its favorite tonight…”  Uh hem, I’m its favorite every night.

I would have tried to take a picture of the moon last night, but my camera would never do it justice.  So here’s a few pretty ones I found online.  Incidentally, while looking for these, I found out that it was a Blue Moon on August 31st, so no wonder I’ve been noticing how especially lovely the moon has been the past few evenings…

~

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Also going to share this video.  It’s not about the moon, but there’s a telescope in it.  😀  I love the lyrics, but also love, love love, them with the video.  Regardless of your personal beliefs or religious views, you have to admit that the idea of this ~ people looking through a telescope and seeing their dreams fulfilled is so inspiring.

Yep, these are the things the moon makes me feel.  Now to grab my coffee…

~

Adventures in Gardening Part 32 ~ Goodbye Zucchini & Cucumbers

I have been so busy working on the inside of my mom’s house that I’m afraid I’ve neglected a few things on the outside ~ my garden.

And specifically my zucchini.  Just look at the size of these babies!I had to place that yardstick in the photo with them just to try and show how freakishly humungous they are ~ 20 inches!  But you still can’t really tell.  And they weigh a ton.  Heck, I could club someone to death with these things.  Not that I would mind you, but you get the point.  😉

Well these massive mutants will be the last two of the season because I decided to clear all my zucchini plants out of my garden.  I have bags and bags of shredded zucchini in the freezer for later use, and have eaten my fill of them otherwise as well.  I am very pleased with the bountiful harvest of zucchini I’ve had, but it was time to say goodbye.

~

Once I got them all cleared out I was able to get a better look at some of the poor plants that had been crowded out by them for most of the growing season.

Look at this sad scraggly broccoli plant.It’s probably not going to produce anything, but it was still alive so I couldn’t bring myself to pull it out.  It wants to live!  😀

~

And look at my beensie little carrots.  The poor dears never got enough sun to fully develop properly.~

My poor celery will be so relieved to be out from under the shade of those giant zucchini leaves.  I hope they perk up a bit now.~

Also, with the zucchini out of the way it’s nice to be able to see (and smell) my rosemary again.  Mmm…~

Even despite the zucchini crowding it, my jalapeno plant is still growing happily and producing its spicy little gems.I found a few new recipes online and made some jalapeno cheddar parmesan cornbread muffins and a different sort of jalapeno poppers.  Both were quite tasty.  🙂

~

My bell pepper plant that was nearly destroyed by a storm a while back, still has one stalk that refuses to give up.  There is a nice big pepper on it that I’m anxiously waiting to have turn yellow.And new little ones are forming on it as well.I sure hope no more storms come along.

~

I’m excited to see that my onions are poking up out of the soil and are almost ready to harvest.~

And my champ of a strawberry plant still has tasty little berries consistently coming, but it’s producing much smaller fruits now.~

I also have small bunches of tiny tomatoes growing, but I don’t think they’ll amount to much.  I just do not know what is the deal with them, they have not met my expectations at all.  😦~

Of course it doesn’t help that the naughty thieving squirrel is still raiding my produce at will and leaving his half eaten evidence behind.

And just look what the absent minded little beast is doing to my mom’s lawn looking for his nuts.  There are tons of holes like this all over her yard…

Here’s one of your stupid nuts you idiot!Found this in one of my pots and I’m stealing it as payback to him for stealing all my stuff all summer.  Starve this winter you horrible little creature!  Muwhahaha!  😉

~

I also pulled out all of my cucumber vines.  They were looking mighty haggered and weren’t producing any new cukes, so I harvested the last of whatever cucumbers were still on the vines and said farewell to them as well.

My garden box looks sort of bare now…Especially compared to before, but it feels really good to have it all cleaned out, and I did enjoy a wonderful bounty of cucumbers and zucchinis while they lasted.  🙂

~

The various blooming things around my garden are at a bit of a quiet stage at the moment, even my begonias have lightened to a softer shade of pink.~

But there are a few things blooming outside at my apartment that other tenants planted earlier in the spring that are looking lovely, so I snapped a few photos of them this morning.

Blue morning glories against a glorious blue morning sky.  Ahh sooo pretty!

And a creamy white Zinnia nestled in among some pretty pink Snapdragons.

Oh I do so love blooming things!  ♥

~

It was really nice to spend time outside in my garden today.  Even though it was quite a bit of work, it was relaxing work ~ unlike the remodeling project going on inside.  😉

~Gardening is my therapy~