Wine for Charity

Last Thursday Evanston had two ‘block parties’. One was the official ‘Kits, ‘Cats and Kids Block Party for which the town is painted purple.

Purplefuntain

The Northwestern University and Evanston Township High School Marching Bands performed in call-and-answer style prior to a pep rally for the NU and ETHS football games to be played that weekend (the Wildcats and Wildkits).

ETHSBand

NorthwesternMarchingBand

The Block Party is sponsored by the City of Evanston, Northwestern University, Downtown Evanston, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, Evanston Township High School, and Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

Chalk

After the band finished, I moved on to Vinic Wine which was hosting a charity wine walk along Chicago Avenue and Dempster Street.

VinicWine

26 local businesses poured tastings of French wines or offered munchies.

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We received 8 tickets for $15 to sample these goodies, of which proceeds benefited No Boundaries & The Evanston Art Center.

WineWalkMap

I admired Kier of H(om)e’s new decor.

KierHomeBloom

I had stopped in earlier when the boutique had just opened, and the doors add so much warmth.

KierHomeBoutique

This boutique is so inspiring and I will have to add one of their gorgeous purses to my Christmas wish list.

KierHomeSpace

The new Cooked and Homestead Meats & Deli were pretty crowded and I heard their tastings were delicious.

CookedMeat

Dragonfly was also filled to the brim.

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Antiques and second-hand stores abound.

AntiquesDempster

Paramour Bungalow is an inspiration in decor and gift-giving.

ParamourBungalow

It was a great way to visit stores I don’t usually set foot in, and see the new Hewn parklet.

Hewnparklet

I perused the No Boundaries art exhibit next door.

NoBoundaries

At No Boundaries, people with and without disabilities learn and build skills in a real workplace setting.

DempsterSouth

Located in a new tech site in a thriving Evanston business district, it’s the perfect place for transitioning teens and adults with disabilities to learn workplace and community skills including communicating, self-organizing, and self-advocating.

NoBoundariesArtShow

Window-looking was fun too.

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As I made my way back to Chicago Avenue I bumped into a friend and we wandered the streets together.

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I don’t frequent Lollie but it has lovely children’s gifts.

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The Frame Warehouse has another art exhibit up.

FrameWarehouseArtShow

Hand Me Downs is another children’s goods store with a fun fire truck my brother would have enjoyed 35 years ago.

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Four Finches is a lovely detour off Dempster.

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It has an adventurous entrance.

FourfinchesEntry

They have more than Four Finches in a cage, and their floral shop is filled with delicious gifts and scents.

FourFinches

SqueezeBox is always fun to peruse.

SqueezeBoxBooks
Wine was flowing freely at each stop. Soapie’s closed the event down.

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They had an awesome bottle opener I want to track down.

AwesomeBottleopener

We had so much fun that we missed the champagne at Christopher Duquet.

Duquet

It looks like there are more neighborhood adventures to come.

UpNext

I love this town.

Establishing a fitness routine

In May I joined Hip Circle Studio to develop more of a fitness routine.

HipCircleMagnet

Because winter was so long and my social life had me attending numerous potlucks and barbecues my summer clothes remained snugger than last year and I knew I wasn’t naturally walking and stairmastering  the winter padding off like I had in past years.

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I started with CardioBelly, which promptly got me recruited for the Custer Street Fair flashmob. After a 6-year hiatus from bellydancing, the moves are still a bit rusty, but they do come back with practice.

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For a bit more toning I added Moxie Boxing to my routine, which is a fun class of kicking and throwing punches while holding small weights in your hands. No gloves required.

dumbells

Right after my birthday I was talked into sampling Kettlebell AMPD, but that workout is still a bit intense so I am going to give that another whirl after my body has adjusted more to the other muscle moves I put it through. This one session did happen to be picture day, so I am a poster-child for the time being.

KettlebellPosterChildphoto copyright Hip Circle Studio

We get stickers after each class and thus far I have attended two fun fitness parties that serve as a reward for filling a card with 5 stickers. Each party features a local business and offers a fun activity.

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When the studio went on summer break I dug up my jump rope and purchased a matching pair of shoes (and pants that didn’t shimmy down) to motivate me to jump by the lake.

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Initially I stumbled through 5 minutes, but after a month of thrice-weekly intervals I am up to 8 minutes of jumping with occasional zen moments of no tripping for a minute or 2.

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I hope to keep it up as the weather cools down (possibly in the laundry room, which won’t be near as scenic).

LakeRope

To warm up I do some of the floor exercises at home that we do in class as well, and on rainy non-class days the Bikini-ready Fast DVD comes out, which I can complete much easier now.

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When I picked that up years ago I tended to shut it off at 15 minutes from exhaustion. The home workouts are only 20-30 minutes, but still make me feel better than if I just rolled out of bed without any movement.

BikiniReadyFastDvd

My arms feel more toned and I know I have more stamina to walk. I haven’t dug out the scales from my closet because I still believe in Alexandra Jaye’s notion, but I will be monitoring the skinny pants waistline on a monthly basis.

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This coming month is all about nutrition, monitoring the ratio of my veggie intake vs. carbohydrate intake, which I know needs to be reversed. Even if I don’t go back to the ‘skinny’ size again, I know being healthy and fit makes me feel better about me, and gives me more energy to enjoy the rest of my life.

morninglake

You can peruse Hip Circle Studio’s schedule at www.HipCircleStudio.com. Zumba is fun too, and every class is filled with lovely women, empowering words, and fantastic playlists. Who doesn’t like to break a sweat to “I’m Sexy and I know it”?

bathsalts

Torching

“Creating beauty
is one of the highest
and most healing purposes we can pursue.”
~ Trenton Tully in True Balance by Sonia Choquette

Monarchfinished

When I took Shawna Moore’s workshop I learned how to use a butane torch, and loved it. After some research I purchased the Iwatani Cooking Torch, but then never got around to buying the canisters, until earlier this year.

Torching

At that time I also ordered the MSA Safety Works 817662 Paint and Pesticide Respirator Emily Rutledge recommended during a FUSEDChicago discussion.

TorchButaneRespirator

The respirator is surprisingly lightweight. Adjusting the filters was a challenge initially, but in spite of their lopsided position it was easy to work with the mask on.

lopsidedrespirator

Hearing myself breathe made me feel like Darth Vader, but over time I got used to it, and even forgot that I couldn’t just take a sip of water without taking off the mask.

properrespirator

The pigmented beeswax gives off emissions that aren’t healthy to breathe on a regular basis (especially the toxic jeweltones I love most), and with the weather turning cooler the ventilation of fresh air will become more of a challenge, so it is good to protect one’s lungs for time-consuming projects.

encausticpalette

I practiced with an old piece from my UTEE days that needed an update.

Monarchstart

It took me a little while to sort through the gun’s functions, but once I read the directions properly I got the big torch to work.

MonarchCollage

I still toggle back and forth with the smaller one and a heat gun as I get the hang of its fire power.

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This is a lovely video explaining the difference between what heat sources do to the wax.

I worked on a damselfly diptych.

JewelwingCollage

The palette quickly became darker as I needed to cover up some errors.

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Layering and incorporating meaning is always fun.

JewelwingLayer1

Not burning the paper was another learning curve.

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The Ebony Jewelwing photos are from my Utica retreat.

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I am still not sure of the proportions of the photos, so it may get a re-do later this month.

JewelwingsDecisions

Another diptych helped me practice some more.

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Meanwhile, 2 of my desktop minis were sent off to a new home, so I will be working on more small works later this month.

MonarchDragonflyMinis

“I want to share my work and
give as many people as possible the experience
of living with a piece of art,
even if that piece of art is a print and not necessarily an original.
… I would hope
that when somebody looks at my work they smile,
they feel a good energy and they get excited.”

~ Romero Britto in Art Calendar November 2009

Butterflies & Blooms visit

About two years ago The Chicago Botanic Garden implemented Butterflies & Blooms on its grounds.

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From late May to Labor Day, the garden has a tent that houses numerous exotic butterflies for the public’s viewing pleasure.

tent

It is a great way to get up close with these magical creatures.

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Morphos were abundant this year, and their fluttering always makes me catch my breath.

flying

morphos

They hardly open their wings when at rest, but in this enclosure, we were fortunate.

MorphoPair

The leafy butterflies offer lessons on camouflage.

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A Luna Moth drew gasps from many viewers.

lunamoth

Longwings abound.

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Emerging butterflies can be viewed through a window.

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Atlas Moths were featured early in the season.

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So many jewels in the sky.

Greenglimmer

Pops of color everywhere.

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It is a lovely respite from daily life.

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The reactions when they alight on visitors are lovely.

SkirtChaser

Some provide lessons on the circle of life.

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I love strolling and circling and waiting for them to settle.

BrownButterfly

Butterflies always give me a sense of awe and peace.

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The tent is gone until next year, but you can still view butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

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From the Fire Pit: Glimmers opening

Lauren and Rory Coyne do a lot together, and so it is with exhibits. On the heels of Lauren’s Wolf Peach Opening Friday night, Rory Coyne opened his solo show at Galerie Fledermaus on Saturday.

GlimmerOpening

Rory’s inspiration for the show comes from the fire pit or hearth as a gathering place.

GlimmerWindow

“It’s not just the fire itself, but what it provides: a place to gather with family and friends and the perfect situation to talk and dream. Stories are born here, histories told, and heritage handed down masked in allegories, myths, and grandiose creatures,” said Rory.

GlimmerShowWall

From the Fire Pit: Glimmers features oil paintings by Rory that morph gorgeous human beings into furry creatures, creating mythical characters that could spin stories of their own. Detailed photos of the paintings can be found here.

RoryCharacters

“The light of the blazing fire
combined with the dark, gloomy shadows by the hearth
to transmit sharp contrasts,
shaping the expectations of listeners and inspiring the tellers.”
~ Maria Tatar, Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore
and Mythology at Harvard University

RoryCoyneGlimmerOpening

Rory said he is “discovering my characters and revealing them one by one stripped from any surrounding in order to focus on just them. They will grow and mature, and take part in many sagas. Some already have, some have just come to be, and many have yet to come to life. They are the sparks that start the fire, a glimmer of what’s to come.”

RoryCoyneDrawings

Galerie Fledermaus specializes in Symbolist works from Germany, Austria, France and Italy 1880-1920, and contemporary figurative artists.

GalerieFledermausBeauties

It is a joy to peruse the Klimts and other wonderful art works.

KlimtGalerieFledermaus

I want to learn more about Koloman Moser.

KolomanMoser

In addition to paintings and prints, Galerie Fledermaus also offers vessels, and other art deco pieces. This box is a treasure even without anything inside of it.

TreasureBox

Rory may host another event before his show closes on September 28. So swing by 2136 W North Avenue in Chicago soon.

JerryFledermaus

In October, Jason McPhillips will reveal his latest works in his Ghosts series, from October 3 through November 2.

Filament_JEMcPhillips

There were some fabulous outfits at the show.

MatDapperness

Rory’s trademark, an axe, was incorporated in his ensemble.

RoryGlimmerFashion

Lauren is always stunning.

LaurenGlimmer

My reflection snuck into some photos accidentally.

Spiegelverkehrt

Go peruse the gems at Galerie Fledermaus. I’ll see you there October 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.

GalerieFlederMausLogo

Streets Alive Evanston

We had a big block party on Sunday. Main Street between Dodge and Hinman were transformed into a pedestrian mall from 1 to 6 p.m.

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The roads were blocked to motor vehicles and an impromptu bike path established.

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The blocks were lined with booths providing information about various Evanston organizations. Along the way, various musicians, street artists and dancers gave performances.

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Children could play various games and get in touch with their artistic side. Open Studio Project offered painting a skyline made from boxes.

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Streets Alive! began as an initiative of Walk ‘n’ Roll, one of the project teams that emerged from the Evanston150 visioning process. The mission of Walk ‘n’ Roll is to make Evanston safer and more enjoyable for walking and cycling.

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After a successful pilot project on Dempster Street in 2013, Streets Alive! was adopted by Citizen’s Greener Evanston, resulting in this year’s Main Street event. A list of all participating organizations is hereHip Circle Studio held belly dance demonstrations.

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Later the troupe performed and then offered a demonstration in which each member of the circle could add their own move to a round-robin impromptu choreography.

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A Klezmer duo greeted us as we made our way to Piccolo Theatre.

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We took in the matinee of SMASH, which is a wonderful show worthy of attending.

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Unfortunately the event came to an end just after we finished laughing, so we imbibed in some lovely food from S-Paragon.

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It was quiet and peaceful without cars around.

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I look forward to next year’s event and getting to know another street in Evanston.

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Wolf Peach show opening

Friday marked the opening of Lauren Levato Coyne’s Wolf Peach show at Packer Schopf Gallery, which shows through October 18.

WolfPeachobserver

Lauren’s second solo exhibition with Packer Schopf focuses on the ideas of poisoning and her continued thoughts on death via her largest and most elaborate drawings to date.

WoflPeachExhibit

She has been thinking a lot about poisons and their impact on the physical and mental health of generations.  Wolf Peach’s subject matter has its root in the impact of death from diabetes, cancers, and prolonged exposure to poison.

LevatCoyneTJamesOpening

Her drawings reference man made poisons such as Agent Orange, processed sugar, and alcohol, as well as nature’s toxins like nightshade, venom, and Monarch butterflies. She also alludes to false poisons, such as the once firm belief that tomatoes were a fatal fruit.

LaurenWolfPeachShow

Per her press release: “Levato Coyne’s drawings are paralinguistic symbolist portraits and still lives. Their linguistic structuring is divorced from linguistic content; meaning is indicated, but encrypted. Each drawing begins with an interior narrative rooted in personal history: a family ejected from the American South that took with them many of the curious beliefs and habits of the Appalachian Mountain Kingdom.”

BlisteringAgentRelquaryExVoto

“The animals and colors in Levato Coyne’s drawings are therefore influenced by the storytelling and imagery of fairytales and wives-tales, as well as medical and zoological antiquity, and farming.” Appropriate for this insect-lover, a fly landed on one of her drawings.

FlyonDrawing

You can view detailed images of Lauren’s drawings here.

ViewingDrawings

Two other artists opened solo shows the same night, Teresa James whose cyanotype/drawings deal with religion and faith in Not All Angels Have Wings.

NotAllAngelsHaveWings

A specialist in intaglio printmaking, Teresa James integrates drawing, photography, computer-generated imagery, and 19th-century photographic processes. Not All Angels Have Wings represents the culmination of her experiments, into large-scale cyanotypes.

TeresaJames

James’ works are inspired by Catholic iconography, the Italian Renaissance, Mexican Surrealism, and American folk art. “James’s friends and their pets are revealed as agents in the eternal battle of good and evil, their heroic spirits armored or winged.”

ArmorOfGod

“Behind these works lie other invisible struggles: the artist’s painstaking labor to balance the generative forces of nature, man, and machine, and the soul’s resolve to manifest optimism and grace in the face of life’s trials. At their core, these are portraits of faith, bathed in a celestial blue.”

PackerShopfEntrance

Ellen Greene’s painted gloves and mixed media pieces of “You’ll never be my bride: ballad of the sweetheart murder” explore murder ballads through images inspired by vintage tattoo and folk Americana icons painted onto delicate vintage leather gloves. Per Greene, “Murder ballads are an American (Appalachian) folk song sub genre that has their roots traced back hundreds of years ago to Ireland and England. They describe murder and betrayal often between two lovers played against a simple melody.”

EllenGreeneGloves

Sung by a third person or from the voice of the murderer–often in a waltzing 3/4 time–many of these ballads are based on true crimes stories with historical documentation. The love interest is lured to a dark place–woods or a body of water–where she begs for her life and the life of her unborn child.

WaxedDressGreene

The gallery will host a reception in conjunction with EXPO Chicago on Friday, September 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. In October the gallery will host a Death Panel featuring all three artists, who serendipitously all wound up making work relating to death.

LevatCoyneTJamesOpening

Of course Lauren was dressed to the nines.

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As was her husband, whose show opening followed hers on Saturday evening.

RoryDetails1

Platt-A-Palooza recap

This Labor Day weekend was a glorious one, and I am so grateful for that.

Sunshine

The skies looked ominous Saturday morning as I packed up my pieces for Platt-A-Palooza.

Ominousskies

I had been staging the 16-foot area in my home-across 2 rooms.

StagingPlatt

The weather channel predicted thunderstorms for the entire duration of the craft fair.

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However, show organizer Chrissie insisted that she always had good weather on her event days, and her energy held true.

PlattaPaloozaArrival

A few wind gusts blew the storm clouds away, and before long we had a steady stream of shoppers.

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It was the longest display area ever for me.

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I think I filled the space up nicely.

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There were lots of fun crafts to peruse, ranging from garden decor to jewelry to household items.

BoothF

TeaPartGardenStake

The nursery is full of fun finds as well.

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I like the garden decor.

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igelchen

If I had a backyard I would make a fairy garden for sure.

PLattFairygardens

PlattFairieTrain

Live music was playing.

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Margarita slushies and hot dogs were served.

Margaritaslushy

I had a great time getting to know my crafty neighbors.

tents

Spam the Pig paid a visit in the evening.

SpamthePig

Numerous creative people sold their wares.

SueSueSueBooth

Boothview

A few customers mixed and matched pendants and earrings for their take-home pleasure.

MaravigliaSOLD

A desktop mini fluttered off to a new home as well.

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I look forward to next year’s event.

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Meanwhile stay tuned for announcements about Fall and Holiday trunk shows and pop-ups.

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I will be loading the newbies to Etsy in mid-September, unless dibs are called on Facebook.

musicalpiecesdibs

Have a great weekend!

pinkorchid

Girly Time

On Sunday a few of us girlfriends had a gathering where no boys were allowed, and it was a lovely time of chatting, nibbling and toasting each other to the good things in our lives.

LadyCircle

We capped the evening with a candle-lit Fairy and Goddess Card reading, which seemed to hold good messages for everyone.

GoddessFairycards

It was a great way to end the past month, which has been full of rescheduling, anticipation, surprises, and personal growth.

Hikingcritters

Earlier in the month two friends and I had a mini-roadtrip to a nature preserve, with ice cream for starters and a sing-along in the car.

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It was nice to center in nature, chat about life and observe lovely critters.

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We then climbed 125 steps at Swallow Cliff.

125Steps

Over the Labor Day weekend I imbibed in the remaining chocolate mousse from my party and some novels.

MousseFinish

I hung out by the lake a lot to get some perspective on the ebbs and flows of life.

LakeGazing

One day four ladybugs alighted on me (a yellow one wouldn’t pose), granting wishes and reminding me of Mother Mary’s watchful eye.

Ladybugs

“Ladybug also cautions not to try too hard or go to fast
to fulfill our dreams.

Let things flow at their natural pace.
In the due course of time, our wishes will all come true.”
~ Lin’s Domain

It is a good message as I write this 500th blog post. Who knew where my journey would take me when I tentatively wrote my first entry?

brightsky

This weekend I will be rooting for my friends’ successful exhibits and their wishes to come true. Lauren Levato Coyne’s Wolf Peach solo exhibit opens on Friday at 6 p.m. at Packer Schopf Gallery along with openings of Ellen Greene and Teresa James.

WolfPeachShowLevatoCoyne

On Saturday evening her husband Rory Coyne will showcase From the Fire Pit: Glimmers at Galerie Fledermaus.

GlimmersShowRoryCoyne

See you there!

Neighborhood strolls

It’s picture day today on the blog.

giantflower

I’ve enjoyed taking strolls around my neighborhood in the gorgeous weather we’ve had.

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Sunshine draws me out a lot.

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It feels luxurious to take a half hour to sit by the lake and reflect.

Geese

The flora and fauna of the world can teach us so much.

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Perspective is important when life is full and busy and rich.

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