Tag Archives: family

When Curiosity Leads to Adventure, You Get a Story You Want to Share: Alaska Love in Photos

Alaska, map, Wasilla, Denali, McKinley, wildlife, beautiful scenery, hunting, fishing, salmon, bear, moose, cabin, camera, Facebook, video, family, wolf

My sister Sammye out with the dogs, The Great One behind her

Alaska, map, Wasilla, Denali, McKinley, wildlife, beautiful scenery, hunting, fishing, salmon, bear, moose, cabin, camera, Facebook, video, family, wolf

Vince casts his line

Alaska is one of those places people are curious about. Whenever I mention that I used to live in the Great Land, they usually say, “I’ve always wanted to go there.” Or “Is it really that cold?” Or “Do you know Sarah Palin?” (Answers below.)

Even for some Alaskans, like my brother-in-law Vince, the curiosity doesn’t end. It turns into love. A native of Michigan, Vince has a passion for Alaska that has continued to grow over his 30-plus years there.

He and my sister Sammye love the outdoors — bow hunting, salmon fishing, river boating. Snowshoe softball playing. Racing up mountains and swimming across rivers.

They have a remote recreational cabin near majestic Denali National Park. They get there via riverboat in summer or snowmachine in winter.

Vince’s photos reveal not only a love for a special place, but also his willingness and delight to dive into photography and social media — so he can share his excitement. I’m always telling him how stunning the images are. (See his Facebook page for lots more.)

But what caught my eye most lately are these shots from a camera Vince attached to a tree to record what happens when he and Sammye aren’t around. He equipped it with a motion sensor and the camera takes pictures of various four-legged visitors strolling by the front door. There’s something about these. Intimate isn’t right, is it? Maybe they’re just cool because they’re a different view than what’s usually seen.

Or because it’s another display of Vince’s curiosity — and his need to tell these stories of Alaska.

I also admire the two beautiful shots at the top. They all make me wish I could visit the cabin and catch some more king salmon with my family. It’s been too long.

(Answers: You should visit, absolutely, because it really is a great place. Yes, Alaska can be very cold, of course — often but not always, in some places but not all. And, no, I don’t know Palin.)


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11 Ways to Keep Balance in Your Life

balance, maintaining balance in life, wellness, how to live a balanced life, einstein, quoteI’ve been thinking about balance lately, and it’s come up several times in conversations at work, at home and on social media.

I find that I’m happiest when I am able to manage several aspects of my life in a well-rounded way. But if I try to do everything all the time, it’s an unrealistic expectation and I end up struggling and frustrated.

So I’ve accepted a key realization about priorities and personal time management. I have seven life categories that are most important to me. They are necessary for one reason or another, bring me pleasure or support my values, etc. Of those seven (such as career, family, hobby, etc.) , I can realistically handle five of them at a time, over the period of, say, a week. Then, I have to make sure that I rotate them all in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, so that I don’t go too long without giving each plate a spin, so to speak.

For example: I like to eat right and exercise. But if work is really busy AND friends need my time AND I’m fighting a little flu bug… well, then it’s fine to skip the gym.

Or, since I’m also a big reader, if I go too long without starting a new book, I feel like I’m missing out on receiving the important nutrients that books give me — and I pick something up, even if it’s just for an hour.

I asked friends on Facebook for their thoughts on maintaining balance. Another friend, blogger Jessica Rossi, wrote about it in an excellent post. Here are 11 of their tips to keep balance in life. Send me yours and let’s keep the conversation going!

1. Alan: “For me, it starts with a very understanding and supportive spouse. She makes everything possible.”

2. Moe: “It’s all about doing some things with people. For example, if I didn’t have a gym partner that I have to meet right after work, I’d never leave work. Having a mini book club with friends or colleagues forces you to do your recreational reading during lunch, so that you’re also not working during the time and still reading a good piece of fiction to break up your day.”

3. Jenn: “It is about making sure to also take time for me. Because if we are not taken care of by us the we cannot have balance with others.”

4. Chris: “Balance sounds great on a self-help book cover but impossible to practice in my real life . My reality — only way to balance when life gives you inevitable extra weight is to take something off the scale or everything suffers . Life is defining priorities for me.”

5. Liz: “My husband says that sometimes the most romantic thing he can do for me is to take the child and leave the house. A few hours of alone time can right the scales pretty quickly. I have to schedule (as in put on the calendar weeks in advance) time with friends, dates with hubby, and time at the gym or it doesn’t happen.”

6. Diana: “By remembering that a job is a paycheck and a family is people. Spend your time with people.”

7. Charles: “League pinball on Tuesday nights. Drinks with my closest friend at an Irish bar on Saturday afternoons. Family and work fill the other time. Works for me.”

8. Russ: “Nothing is more important than family. It all flows from there…”

9. Trish: “Someone must be the flexible one in a relationship… to keep balanced life. He knows I’m watching out for him. Right now, it is too much work/not enough exercise, but family is good — even with the work travel.”

10: Elizabeth: “Try to say no more at work and yes more to family and friends.”

11. Jessica:It’s helpful to consistently re-evaluate how I’m spending my time. Simplify.”

Gay Parents: A Short and (Very) Sweet Story

Here’s a story that proves two points: 1) good stories can be short; 2) Facebook and other social media sites can be great ways to share them.

Doug Brooks, Rusty Wolf, Sophie, three kids, gay, gay dads, gay parents, gay family, families, mouths of babes, children of gay, well adjusted, atlanta, georgia

Doug Brooks, left, and Rusty Wolf with their children

Doug Brooks (left) and Rusty Wolf (right) of Atlanta have three young kids, including Sophie, who has a great way of stating things clearly and simply, in that genius way children have. Here’s a Facebook post from Doug the other day (shared here with his OK).

Me: “Sophie, I heard that girl, Isabella, at the pool asking why you had two Dads, but I didn’t hear your answer. What did you say?”

Sophie: “I said, ‘Because they’re gay.'”



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