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instagram friday….. and vacation stats

September 28th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

I sure hope you didn’t miss me.

Because, quite frankly, I didn’t miss Minnesota much at all, nor did I even think much about it, or the people, the impending Fall and it’s glorious colors or really, much of anything. Except my furbabies.

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I was surrounded by something so stunning, so gorgeous and so unbelievable that I spent quite a bit of time with my mouth open, gazing up at mountains, down river canyons, swiveling my head at God’s rich beauty, under a wide open Montana sky. I breathed in wildfire smoke from the next state, smoke that shrouded soaring mountain ranges and I didn’t even care. I watched cattle roaming prairies that were wider than I could have imagined. I laughed at Bighorn Sheep scampering down sheer rock cliffs, and secretly longed for the nimble ability they had, while wild Buffalo stared through our car windows, shaking shaggy heads and looking like they were just quietly imploring us to leave them be. Mankind can be so rude to wildlife. Humans would never tolerate God’s creatures standing around them, gawking, cameras waving, voices shouting at them. We’re a rude bunch.

I watched more than 3,000 miles slip away under our tires, over some incredibly beautiful highways, byways, two-lane roads, deep mountain canyons and enormous sweeping Interstates, as well as some of the most desolate land I’ve ever seen go by my window. {{Note: If you ever think of taking Highway 212 through Montana to go East, don’t. It’s scarily empty}}. I stepped in to more truck stop and public bathrooms than I could ever have counted {to their credit- many were very well kept up and clean. High five, folks!!} We spotted 46 out of 50 United States of America license plates {we did not see Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island and Louisiana}, glimpsed 5 Canadian Provinces {missed PEI, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia} and several European license plates. We gazed in awe at The Badlands, Devil’s Tower and Mount Rushmore National Monuments, trekked through an enormous and amazing underground cavern {Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park in Montana} and spent two days driving deliriously through the beauty that is Yellowstone National Park. We watched Old Faithful erupt and stood inside both the historic Old Faithful Inn and the classic Lake Yellowstone Hotel. Our car climbed to more than 8,000 feet at the Continental Divide. And I stood at the base of one of Yellowstone’s highest peaks at 10,930 feet and felt the awe of God’s creation. We hiked six miles over a beautiful mountain trail and ate lunch by a bracing and lovely, babbling mountain stream. We rafted down Class 3 rapids on the Gallatin River, through a stunning canyon that comes to me in my dreams. We ate wonderful meals courtesy of my so very gracious aunt and uncle, who’s beautiful home was such a perfect way to spend a vacation. We came home with a suitcase full of clean clothes and heads stuffed with memories to last a lifetime. Summer segued to Fall while we were away, and the leaves turned and dropped and our cats were very well taken care of by loving family. I brought home Montana micro brews. I brought home a peaceful heart and a head full of Big Sky Country. I missed nothing that happened around me. And that in itself was exhausting, but in the most incredible way, it filled me up to overflowing.

Just like I expected. And needed.

It was so, so good for my soul.

{{Are you on Instagram? Follow me to find all these photos, and more!! I’m kate_selner.}}

And STAY TUNED to this spot!
On Monday, something BIG is going to begin, and you will want to get in on the action!

instagram friday…. and a vacation

September 14th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Vacation. Isn’t that a perfect word?

We’re taking one, too. A long one, and long overdue. Our last family vacation was to the Grand Canyon in 2008, which was stunning and lovely and rather short, but it accomplished what it needed to do. This one we’re embarking on as of Sunday is EPIC.

We’re packing up our car and driving West- through South Dakota and Wyoming and ending up in Montana, where I have an Uncle and Aunt, where there is gorgeous, wide open sky and plenty to see and do and hike and explore. All three of us are going, all three of us can drive and manage the miles and enjoy the scenery and time together. There will be the flat, slow plains of South Dakota, a trek through the Badlands, then the twists and turns along the Needles Highway, Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills area. In Wyoming we’ll see Devil’s Tower, and in Montana, Yellowstone.  And more.

And what am I looking forward to the most? If I’m honest…. the sky. And the scenery. But the wide open spaces above me are what I crave the most, and what I am most eager to see.  In 2008, on that Grand Canyon jaunt, the sky over Nevada, Arizona and Colorado mesmerized me. It was utterly captivating, and I felt small and insignificant, yet at the same time, enormous and powerful that with a plane ride, a car and a fistful of desire, one could travel endless ribbons of highway, crossing miles of land and dirt to see the wonders of God’s creation. And while I realize that the sky over Minnesota is the same as that over any other state in the nation, the ones I’ve seen and the ones unexplored, still, it’s a sky that I’ve not seen from Montana. Or Wyoming. Nor, since 1986, from South Dakota. The miles will grind away under our tires and my heart will leap out the window and soar alongside as we drive, because that’s just what wide open sky and land does to me. And mountains, and natural wonders and prairie and desert and endless, endless sky.

But I’m really going to miss these guys.

See you in two weeks.

september, and broccoli salad

September 5th, 2012 | 3 Comments »

Well hi there! Did you notice, by chance, what occurred since the last time you came around?


A turn of the calendar page, a brand new backpack and pencils for some and Fall has unofficially arrived. There’s no back to school for us this year, strange as it feels, but the timing of our days can still be measured by the big yellow buses that roar past our house both morning and afternoon. I listen in as my friends drive their littlest and last baby to pre-school, bemoan their First graders, send a child off to the first day of high school and forlornly bid goodbye to the reckless and free hours of summertime. But when your only child is out of school, the days spill in to one another like raindrops in puddles, and it happens without notice or care. Today is just another day, and tomorrow will be the same. The luxury of a child out of school is that I can spend extra days at the lake after Labor Day, watching the fun of the last weekend of summertime give way to an eerie quiet as the lake empties, cabins close and cars haul off the boats. Night falls without the scent of woodsmoke, as no campfires dot the shore. And I’m breathless at the sight of the early morning thick fog that covers the water.

Fall is my most favorite of seasons, of transition and change and settling down for the cold weather ahead, but it often leaves me melancholy and introspective, and wishing for new challenges. In comes September, with a sun that drops lower in the sky and morning chill that begs a sweatshirt, leaves that drop and spin across the lawn, and I find life redeemed by blue jeans, big pots of bubbling soup, freedom from pedicures, tucking the skirts away and shaking out sweaters, long forgotten.

And I’m also redeemed by eating broccoli stems.

If you’ve always just chucked your broccoli stems in the compost pile without a second thought, I’m here to say ‘Stop!’ and instead, take a vegetable peeler to those stems and carefully remove that tough, fibrous outer layer because underneath is a heaven-sent tender stalk that’s perfect for a rustic and simple raw salad. Think broccoli slaw without the dried out, flavorless taste found in a bag. Add in some thin sliced peppers, or a touch of shaved fennel – apple! yes, apple!!- or really, any crunchy addition of your liking. Toss in sliced almonds. Chopped hazelnuts. Toasted crushed peanuts. This is not cut and dried at all. Shave some fresh parmesan, drizzle some good olive oil over it and zest a lemon in it’s general direction with a squeeze of golden, sunny juice. You be the judge. The creator. The instigator. Save your broccoli stems for redemption. You’ll be so glad you made this; the crunch in your mouth will mimic that underfoot as the leaves begin the inevitable trickle downwards.

Lately, I seem to be drawn in more and more to the simple means of cooking in my kitchen, born of a love that knows no limits to some well-received culinary advice via many, many different channels and respected voices. I’ve examined, with more depth and discernment, the manner to approaching my days, and my meals and found that the less I do, with more of what I utilize, the better I feel about what I am eating. And in return, I physically feel far better. In searching my refrigerator and cupboard for inspiration, I’m asking myself ‘What do I really want to eat? What does my body crave?’ and most importantly, ‘How will I feel after I eat {{fill in the blank}}?’ In paying attention to the physical need, I find I am satisfied with far less and hunger for simplicity.

And if I’m spending a few dollars on gorgeous, organic broccoli at the Farmers Market, still clinging to dirt and bearing long bright green stems, but only snapping off it’s flowery heads to consume, then I’m selling myself short of the work, effort and end brought by that farmer. Their effort deserves a bit more respect than that. You can chop and add the stems to a pilaf or stir fry too.