It has been nearly one year since I last blogged. I stopped. What I needed to say, I said to my inner circle of friends and family. That was enough for me.

I stopped blogging out of fear and a desire for isolation. I did not feel safe in my own blog, a place that should be a personal journal.

Last year, I witnessed my partner run for a regional election. During that process, I witnessed the effects of putting oneself out ‘there’, open to all forms of praise and criticism. It’s not an easy much less comfortable process to go through. I’d say it was outright abusive and damaging.

Karen visiting Eric to have her book signed.

Karen visiting Eric to have her book signed.

My partner is promoting a book, a personal collection of experiences. Yesterday he received a nasty letter from someone attacking his character, based on him representing a political party during his campaign run. It was outright mean, unwarranted and just disgusting. Damn thing pissed me off. His book isn’t about politics. It’s about the elderly and the positive effects of them being present in his life.

It brought back campaigning memories of people slamming their doors to him, or the meetings where he was slammed because he’s a homosexual man living an alternative lifestyle. Our relationship isn’t about how gay we are. It’s about the time we spend with each other, singing songs with the family, playing Bananagrams with our niece Champoo, traveling to new places, cooking meals—doing normal things normal people do.

Harry, widowed is traveling the world with his also-widowed brother-in-law.

Harry, widowed is traveling the world with his also-widowed brother-in-law.

In my short thirty-two years of life, I have met, befriended, worked with and dealt with people that fall in the toxic category. Racism for my color, racism in general conversations, judgement over my sexual orientation, ageism, the usual ‘did-I-hear-you-just-say-that’ comments. The few people like that, angry needing a reason to trash someone, are louder than the greater many who are nice human beings. And sometimes the age gap in my relationship has come up in some uncomfortable situations.

The nineteen year gap I have with my partner means he’s had nineteen years ahead of me to get his life in order, build confidence, do therapy, make a lot of mistakes, learn from them and then find some success. Give me some time to get my footing in this world. Every day I work towards that future. Not everyone in this world get’s their dues right after college OR doing things the right way.

Since last year, I’ve worked three jobs at the same time, some days I’ve had four hours of sleep. I had a stretch of two months where I had one day off to myself, and few twenty-plus straight days of work. I know it’s not a competition, so no need for pity. I did it to myself. I was trying to prove to myself that I was a hard worker, that I could be self-sufficient. A good portion of the year went by in a flash.

People clamoring to get the perfect shot.

People clamoring to get the perfect shot.

Working unnecessarily hard was a pointless affair. There were benefits in which I was able to tackle financial hurdles. However, the cost spending most of my time working, wore me out. I missed so much around me, communicated very little with the people that mattered in my life. It hurt me and those around me. I don’t know how my mother managed that work schedule for nineteen years of my life with four kids. She died at the age of 51.

I lacked a lot of emotional tools. I’ve been called sensitive before. I dislike that word too, sensitive. It’s usually people on the opposite spectrum of sensitive that say such things anyways. Don’t be so sensitive, Lance. Don’t take it so personally, Lance. Get over it, Lance. I’m certainly no perfect angel that never says the wrong thing. I’ve offended my own share of people.



I’m learning more about compassion. Looking inward, learning from the parts of life that made me so angry or the parts that left me feeling greatly regretful. Compassion goes a long ways, especially when someone is so different. I find that all of us can be horrible communicators with each other. I’ve watched that tragedy occur in my different working environments. Often times, people don’t understand other people.

Poplar in the woods around our home.

Poplar in the woods around our home.

Boundaries is something I found I’m horrible at setting. Boundaries, a.k.a. saying no. That important word, boundaries, will prepare me for the times I’m being sensitive and help me react in healthy ways to incoming situations or when I’m in miscommunication with someone. I am not doing this all on my own and have sought outside help, hoping to teach myself healthier tools. I’m in it for the long haul, attempting to undo years of learned behaviors.

Norman County Highway 1

Norman County Highway 1

I don’t know if I can get the answers I need. It’s the effort anyways and acknowledging that I’m real, person with validity that has some meaning being here on this earth for such a short time. My goal is, after all, finding happiness in myself and appreciating the world outside of my own.






Dinner for Pops


My brother John and his girlfriend Brittany hosted a meal for Dad this past April. I helped make Apple Crisp, because that’s my favorite dessert. Dad’s getting up there in age and I do wonder what kinda of role I’ll have to play. John and Brittany watch over him and dinners like this is a good way to care about a person.

Distance defined how I perceived my relationship with Dad. It’s great to see him smile around my brother and their son Milo. Small things have big effects, I assume. That day was a good reminder. Relationships shouldn’t be fixed points in time. Someday soon or now, I will need to be more active in his life instead of pretending he’s not part of it.










20140406_DSF1249It’s October and looking at these snowy images–ugh.


Walking with Friends

I recently took part in an Out of the Darkness community walk. It was filled with people who have been affected by suicide. The amount of support was humbling and reassuring. I ran into familiar faces, amazed to learn they had lost someone to suicide. The company of friends eased the pain of loss in an experience we shared.

The day was filmed with my trusty camera but I did manage to capture these few stills.




I lost a family member to suicide. Losing someone that way leaves so many questions that will never be answered.


20140929_THO9528I said goodbye to my friend Sarah a few days ago. Sarah’s an explorer, raised in Norway and rural Minnesota, her family in both countries. So off she goes back to Norway, pursuing the next chapter of her life. I’m thankful for the adventures we’ve had over the years and the cheesy ones yet to come. :)