Where I’ve Been, The North Woods

Grand Marais, Minnesota, Lake Superior, July 3, 2013, photo Karin Blaski

Grand Marais, Minnesota, Lake Superior, July 2, 2013, photo Karin Blaski

Last week my family and I spent time at our little cabin off the Gunflint Trail between Grand Marais, Minnesota and the Canadian border. The cabin’s been in my husband’s family for three generations. BTW, only one and half of those generations has it had a bathroom and not an outhouse. So, I’m very glad to be on the receiving end of the indoor plumbing. Built in the 1940s, to describe the place in one, carefully chosen word? RUSTIC.

We did have a marvelous time. Well, the kids and I did. I was put in charge of the entertainment committee. We visited the little arts & crafts stores in Grand Marais, skipped stones in Lake Superior, walked on the pier, ate pie. My two daughters fished for the first time which was a hoot with their matching pink fishing rods. I had the privilege of putting the worms on their hooks, taking the hook out of the one fish we caught, and releasing him back to his fishy friends.

Grand Marais Harbor, Minnesota, July 2, 2013, Photo by Karin Blaski

Grand Marais Harbor, Minnesota, July 2, 2013, Photo by Karin Blaski

The hubby, mostly worked. Six hours to get the water running: pumped from the river, up the hill, and through the cabin’s pipes. A shout out to the magic of mechanical engineering. Two hours to demolish a rotten back deck that you could stick your thumb through. Eight hours to build another one. Yes you can strap lumber to the top of a mini van.

Demolished deck rubble piled in borrowed trailer, July 2, 2013, photo by Karin Blaski

Demolished deck rubble piled in borrowed trailer, July 2, 2013, photo by Karin Blaski

He did take time off to celebrate the 4th of July. We watched the Grand Marais Independence Day Parade at 8 PM. All twelve minutes of it. Followed by the fireworks display at 10 PM. Twenty-five minutes. Twice as long!

While in Minnesota I made many, many new friends eager to get to know me better. They’d press against the screens as soon as they saw me coming. A couple snuck into the shower and into the bedroom every night. Truly, they couldn’t get enough of me. And they left me with many, many take home presents to remember them by. A gift on my thumb. One gift on my eyebrow. They were camera shy, so I had to borrow this picture from an expert so you could get a good look. I’m sure she’s a cousin of my friends in Minnesota. Do you recognize her?

Ma Squito

Ma Squito

Mosquito Bug photo © Xunbin Pan

Friendship, it’s a powerful thing


Umm, yeah. Your eyes do not deceive you. It’s a picture of a pair of slugs hanging out on a leaf . . . inside a pickle jar that my daughter made into a terrarium.

They were captured separately, but they must have discovered they have a lot in common because they are now inseparable. There are other slugs in the jar, but these two, they just seem to click. My daughter says they’ve made a “love connection.”

I haven’t observed any slug lovin’ (not sure I’d recognize gastropod mollusk mating if I saw it), but they sure do like to spend time together. If one climbs up the side of the jar, the other soon joins him (her, it). When one chows on one side of a leaf, the other can be seen chowing on the other side.

Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing these poor slugs. I like to write about friendship, especially when it’s found in unusual places or between unusual participants. I like to read about friendship too. One of my absolute favorite books I read this year was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater which shows the intense friendship between a boy and his man-eating horse (I know there’s more to the book, but that’s my favorite part). So maybe I’m projecting what I want to see.

What do you think?

img_2859blog.JPGPhotos 10/2/12 Karin Blaski


Is the Assassin Bug Real?

Some folks who have read the manuscript of my novel (my beta testers and writer’s group) have asked if the assassin bug described is real. The answer is yes… and no. The assassin bug, and its horrific digestion practice, is very real; however, its size in today’s world is a lot smaller than those in Secrets of Hopelight. Just imagine this ugly SOB (son of a bug) four feet long instead of his 1/2 inch self…dreamstime_8189455.jpgphoto © Hock Ping Guek