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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

I Love Family

When my folks made the decision to move "North!  To . . . (Minnesota)" back in the late 1960s (finding barely enough employment to finally justify it in 1973), they were also making the unconscious decision to move away from family.  Both sides of the family resided in the suburbs and small towns around Chicago, and, while my dad had always been a solitary kinda guy, Mom was used to having lots of cousins and aunts and uncles around, oftentimes 24/7 when she was growing up.
Dad, Grandma (his mom), and my mom, circa 1966.

As a result of the move to a somewhat remote area of northeastern Minnesota (and me being an only child), I rarely saw The Family.  There would be occasional trips back to Illinois, but I could count the number of those on one hand.  My maternal grandparents came up twice every year, once in the spring and once in the fall, but the most frequent visitor on the paternal side was my cousin K, just 18 months younger than I.

I'm sure that Grandma or K's parents accompanied her on each trip, but I remember her being with me, solo, a lot.  

Uncle M teaching K how to drive on a visit to us.

By that time, too, that side of the family was migrating to California by way of New Mexico and now, the few that remain (only six, sadly enough, if I don't count spouses), are all in sunny CA.

Now, add in the fact that the paternal side of my family is NOT very good at reproducing (?!), and you come up with the fact that K and I (both an "only child") are the very last of the family name.  And, being female . . . and us both having married & taken our husbands' names . . . that branch of the S name ends with us.  

So, my point?  Yes, I do actually have one.  The point is that K and I have always been close . . . despite the miles between and the infrequent visits.  We're the closest thing we'll ever have to biological sisters.  And, I'm pretty sure we both treasure that.

Anywayyyyyy (yes, Chicken Mama, get ON with it!), I am REALLY enjoying the family visit!  K and her husband and their daughter (who, at 5 and "three-quarters", may just decide to stay here and not return to California) and our one other female cousin, C, arrived last Friday, and we've all been go-go-going since.

I met them on Friday at their rental cabins and helped them get settled . . . then we headed to Mom & Dad's to visit and have dinner.

On Saturday, I stayed home to keep some sort of sickness at bay, but they spent a great day w/ Mom & Dad.

On Sunday, following brunch at the lodge where Tom & I had our wedding reception (which was, actually, the last time they'd all been up here although Tom and I had been down to them for K & B's wedding), my folks headed back home to get some things done while the rest of us drove here to Swamp River Ridge and then headed out onto the river for some fishing.

L-R:  Mom, Cousin C, Cousin K & her daughter, me, Dad

 Top:  Cousin K helps her daughter pull in a Northern.
Bottom, L does just fine on her own, too!

The new header picture is of Cousin C (in the bow) and Cousin B (K's hubby) in the stern.

My beautiful little "niece".

Yesterday, promising we would return earlier than the night before - Mama Pea, waiting a delicious dinner for us, had NOT been happy that we arrived home shortly before 9:00 PM! - Dad took us to an inland lake on a quest for perch & trout.

It was H-O-T, but another wonderful day was had by all.  We must have caught about 40 perch . . . but they were all teeny little fingerlings.  We only kept 2 perch & 1 pretty rainbow (trout) that B (K's hubby) caught.

And, with that, I'll leave you with a couple pictures from yesterday.

(Cousin C "took the day off" with Mom until we all met up for dinner & fish stories last night.)


  1. All those lakes and fishing - makes me want to move north(er)! What a joy to see and hear about a close family.

  2. How wonderful! Thanks for sharing all those photos! I can't wait to see what kind of entertainment you can drum up this winter LOL.... snowshoeing with one of those cocktail helmets with the straw? :)
    Jealous of the little one and her northern, they continue to elude us!

  3. Beautiful family!! Enjoy your time with them!

  4. Great and you got to relax and enjoy being with all the family. Just what you needed. I bet you feel refreshed. Pictures were great.


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