Monthly Archives: January 2023


Lempi and Poika

This morning it is -6 degrees outside, but I’m cozy in my hyggekrog.  As much as I love interacting with people, I am enjoying the solitude of my cozy, quiet house.  I know this winter will go by fast, because I am transitioning to a new town, and developing a new daily routine.  One of the biggest changes for me has been enjoying my sauna!  My neighborhood is Finntown, though most people refer to it as “downtown”.  While house shopping, I noticed that many of the homes had saunas, and that became a priority for me.  Another selling point of this house was NO BASEMENT!  Reading through the abstract for the house, I see that Finns have lived here before me, and that makes me happy.  Most of the fixtures in the house are original, so I know that Elsie and her husband Viljo Laakso stood at the same sink, ate in the same kitchen, walked up and down the same stairs as I do now.  The plumbing in the sauna looks old and beautiful.  Today is my 31st day in this house, and I have had 29 saunas in that time.  Almost all of my boxes are unpacked.  I’ve moved furniture around a bit to find how it will best work for me here.  Bringing my furniture and art into this house made it immediately feel like home.  The cats feel it, too.  Within a day or two, they were settled in.  They love the view from my bedroom window.  Today is a perfect day to bask in the sunshine flooding in, enjoy my coffee and some good food, light a candle given to me by a friend, and think about how happy I am to be here.


Today I went back to the town I used to live in.  I spent more than half of my life there. As I drove past my old house today, I glanced at it.  That was all.  Just a glance.  I was no longer connected.  I didn’t feel a thing.  I didn’t care.  I just wanted to come home to Virginia.  I remembered my way around, and I saw people I used to know.  I had lunch with Lisa.  That was nice.  I forgot to take a picture.

I had gone back for my annual physical.  My doctor suggested I eat a Mediterranean diet.  He told me to eat a lot of olive oil.

I took a sauna when I got home.  Half way through, I went outside and rolled in the snow.  It was shocking.  Painful.  Exhilarating.  I’ll try that again. 

Afterwards, I made dinner.  A salmon steak rubbed with garlic.  Tomato, parsley, onion, fresh mozzarella, garlic stuffed olives.  Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, an Italian roll.  It made me wonder why I didn’t make something like that sooner. It was a good day.  I tried new things.  I think I learned a lot.


The earth existed for a long time before humans arrived, and it will continue long after we are gone. Earth doesn’t need us. It doesn’t need us to observe it, to interpret it, and it certainly doesn’t need us to modify it.  I think the planet will sigh in relief when we are gone. Having said that, we didn’t come into to universe. We came out of it, like a wave rises out of the ocean.  We are part of it.  We are one stitch, one loop of thread in the fabric of the cosmos.

It kind of takes the pressure off to realize that we’re not necessary. We will leave our scars on the planet, but the jungles will grow up to obliterate our developments.  Maybe the ice caps will form again. Maybe this will become an ocean planet whose former continents are submerged. Maybe something huge will collide with this place,  vaporizing it and starting over again.  We tend to think of that as destruction, but it’s actually more like creation!  It’s not sad if there’s no one to feel the sadness. It’s just the way things unfold in a dynamic universe.

We can’t destroy it. We can only destroy ourselves. 


When I moved into this house 16 days ago, I was a mess.  I’d had stress and anxiety for a solid year.  My left knee had given out, making walking, and particularly going up and down stairs difficult and painful. My back was sore. I was overthinking everything. 

Moving is one of the most difficult things to do, especially in winter, during a snowstorm and freezing cold. 

My fingers and heels were dry and cracked.

While packing up the house, I had a crew waterproofing the basement. 

I bought a house with no basement. That was a definite selling point for me. It has a sauna, which I have used 14 of the last 16 evenings. I’ve been moisturizing my skin, drinking lots of water and trying to eat better. My hands and feet, my back and knee are better. 

I have a few more boxes to unpack, but I’ve taken this month to move in before starting my new job. 

I miss my friends in my former town, but I’m really enjoying being here!  

I can find my way around, and lots of things are within walking distance. 

There are still unknowns, but that’s what makes this an adventure!


Over the past year, I feel like I’ve been falling apart.  A year ago, my basement started flooding.  I paid $25,000 to waterproof it, and I didn’t even get to see the end result.  I went through the stress of selling my house and moving out while the basement work was being done.  I heard somewhere that when a caterpillar is in the cocoon, at some point it turns to liquid.  Talk about falling apart.  Tonight marks two weeks in my new house.  I’m rebuilding, but that swirling liquid I’ve become brings experiences from my past to the surface.  I was sick for a couple of days here, and the one day I spent in bed, dozing on and off throughout an entire day, my mom visited me in dreams, and I had a long conversation with her.  In my waking moments, I had to figure out where I was, and remember that my mom was no longer living.  Everything is oozing around me, and I feel like I’ve been on vacation.  The fact is that everything has changed.  I won’t return to my home of 30 years.  This is my home now, and I’m healing.  I’m recouperating.  One of those layers of liquid is when I used to move around…. In my 20’s…  I used to leave a place and go someplace else, never putting down roots.  I had deep roots by the time I left my old house.  I said many times that I wouldn’t leave there until they carried my dead body out.  I didn’t realize that there were still adventures awaiting me.  Life holds surprises.  My plans and expectations slip through my fingers, and after anguishing over many decisions, I find myself here in a new town, a new house, facing new adventures.  I find myself blinking in the sunlight, and I might not even realize I’m drying my big beautiful new wings in the sun.


Some of you may have noticed that I moved from Grand Marais to Virginia, MN.

I bought a cute little house with commercial zoning with the thought of opening a gallery some day.

The past year has been difficult for me, and the time was right for me to make a change.

I feel like I am on vacation, but this is home now. 

My cats and I are settling in. Every day I unpack more boxes, and run more errands.

I will always love Grand Marais. I was in my former house for 30 years, and I thought I would be there for the rest of my life. In some ways, this move seems like it happened all of a sudden, but I know it’s been coming for a while.