I spent my 45th birthday at work.

My son brought me Fushi Yami sushi.
My coworkers provided Thai delicacies and a gift of sound dampening headphones.
My husband purchased a month of international ancestry.com and a dinner at Mediterrano.
My parents gave me a card and gift that I will use to purchase a goodie or two.
My mother-in-law gave me a card and gift that I will use to purchase clothing.
My sister-in-law and brother took me to 4th Fridays at the Starline in Harvard, Illinois.
Jumpshots.biz gave me a huge smile. (OK, maybe part of it was the complimentary wine.)
God gave me one heck of a great day!



You know that deep ache in you your heart that makes you stop breathing from the pain? Yeah, me, too. But that is ok. That is life: Life is precious and I choose to be happy and full of joy while I am here.
Compassion literally means to feel with, to suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet people tend to avoid it because it's uncomfortable. I choose to meet that uncomfortableness because the more you care, the stronger you will be.

We fallen human beings are capable such goodness and, at the same time, capable of pure evil. We must carry our daily struggles along in order that we become more forgiving, compassionate, loving, and above all joyful.

Our individual struggle changes us: either towards good or for bad. Towards construction or destruction. Towards lifting up others or tearing them down.
What do you choose to do today?
Yeah. I wrote this. No copy and pasting on this one.
Erin K. Nolan


Double Door County II

The second trip to Door County, in just as many weekends, was a getaway for our family: Paul, Jacob and I—along with our dog Gracie. It was a time to reacquaint ourselves with one another without extraneous thoughts in our minds. We had time to focus on us, how we feel, what we need for ourselves & for one another, and where we are going from this point forward.
It was a salve sent by the graciousness of God.
We were able to see the American Folklore Theatre's production of "Victory Farm." It is always a great treat to see such professionally written and executed musicals, but this one was especially touching. The characters were well developed and passionately portrayed.

I know it is a good storyline when I am left wanting more. Did he come back? Did they marry? What happened to him after the war? Did his heart soften after this experience. Just, really, so very wonderful. Plus, the one of the actors is Chad Luberger, owner of Plum Bottom Pottery where I am honored to show my woodblock prints.

The remainder of the trip was filled with Washington Island, beaches, sunsets, s'mores, parks, good food, swimming, and many laughs and surprises along the way. Here are some of the things we saw:

The rare and elusive wild Wheaten Sand Dog of the Door
History: A wild sand dog of the door was captured in 1872. Three men lost their lives during the outing. Gradually this killer dog was domesticated. Although the wild gene has never been fully flushed from the breed, the modern "floofy tail" is a direct descendent of its wild cousin.

Gracie's self-assigned job was to grab hold of the boogie-board handle and carry it to shore for us. Lake Michigan was so low that Grace could walk out a good 25 yards before having to actually swim!

 Blue Skies
The jaunty overlord of the Maritime Museum on Washington Island watched us closely from above.

Green Rocks
As always I am captivated and inspired by the naturally rough textures of Door County.

Golden Light
Starting two years ago, a new tradition: watching the sunset from the bluffs of Peninsula State Park.

Periwinkle Sunsets
Hearing the water gently lap against the shore as the sun sets is the perfect sound to calm the mind, relax the body and settle the spirit before sleeping.

Red Walls
Francis Hardy Gallery on Anderson Dock in Ephraim. There was a cute little muskrat playing in the warm waters by between the dock and the shore.

 White Rocks
The smooth, white stones of Schoolhouse beach on Washington Island make it difficult to walk, but they color the water a turquoise blue-green and looks more like the tropics than Wisconsin.

Lovely Yahts
The passengers looking like they were having fun!

Most importantly:
Together and Smiling!
Mission accomplished!

Double Door County I

With natural beauty like this,
how could I not be inspired?

I have been very blessed these last two weeks! I was able to go to Door County two weekends in a row. The first visit I traveled with my brother, sister-in-law, and mother. It was only overnight, but we filled every minute. "It is all about the journey." 

The pond with beautiful water lilies at The Flying Pig in Algoma was one of the highlights of the drive up to Bailey's Harbor. I had never been there before, but I found a fuzzy new friend. She allowed be to photograph her and she promised not to sting me.  She continued drinking nectar while I sipped my spiced warm chai.

The journey was made in order to attend the Plum Bottom Pottery Summer FEAST. We arrived too late to help plate the food or set up. For some reason, a five-hour trip takes at least eight by the time we stop here and there for food and photos. 

It was just lovely… as always. Savory Cajun delights such as jambalaya, etouffee, smoked salmon and bread pudding entertained our tastebuds; but the wonder of the evening was Chad Luberger's latest ceramics and Angela Lensch's new bead work inspired by her trip to India. I was able to talk with Davide Toffolon, a talented pen and ink artist who uses salt in his wonderfully detailed pieces. I found he was a passionate professional cheese maker! Who knew?

Chad is a member of the American Folklore Theatre and after their performance at Peninsula State Park, the troupe arrived one by one. I stood right next to "Doc" Heide, but couldn't bring myself to say, "Hi." I was too afraid my mouth wouldn't work and it would come out like a bad Saturday Night Live skit. So I just stood there feeling my face flush. I was definitely starstruck having seen him perform for 20-some years.

All good times comes to and end. We left just after midnight and I felt like Cinderella. Torches lit our way through the darkness as we followed the winding, painted path created by Dylan Lauger. We passed ceramic and cement sculptures in the flickering light. When the path ended billions of stars greeted our eyes. Each of us saw a shooting star before we drove back to the motel room at Journey's End.

 The next day we stopped at The Ridges Sanctuary where they were setting up for a Raptor Exhibit. There was the small, parrot-like kestrel (above), a snowy white barn owl, an intense red-tailed hawk, a turkey vulture who showed off by stretching out his wings and a rather cross screech owl who preferred to stay within his crate and hiss at people walking past. They were each wonderful in their own way and it was a rare treat to be able to photograph them up close and personal.

"It is all about the journey."


Feast your eyes on the new website!

Featured Artist at Plum Bottom Pottery in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, USA

Feast Your Eyes Upon PB's New Website and Celebrate!

Don't you love it when hard work and diligence come together to form something wonderful?  Chad at Plum Bottom Pottery Studio and Gallery has persevered and a fantastic new website is the result. He showcases his pottery, jewelry by Angela Lensch, and a gallery-featured artist—in this case, me!
"Residing on 20 acres in the heart of Wisconsin's Door Peninsula, Plum Bottom Pottery offers visitors a first look at the newest creations of resident porcelain artist Chad Luberger and jewelry artist Angela Lensch. Luberger specializes in one of a kind sculptural and functional porcelain pottery. Lensch weaves gold, silver and gemstones to create breathtaking wearable art pieces.

Luberger began Plum Bottom Pottery with the idea of creating and offering his one of a kind porcelain work from a single location. Plum Bottom Pottery soon expanded and welcomed resident jewelry artist, Angela Lensch into Plum Bottom Studios. It is here, where Lensch's background in sculpture, led her to create her signature woven jewelry designs.

This Door County art destination has continued to expand, offering contemporary art in a variety of mediums, including printmaking, painting and sculpture. Luberger and Lensch continue to make their work on-site and invite you to come to Plum Bottom to explore in person or online and experience art, finely crafted."
I'll be at the gallery for their annual summer art extravaganza entitled, "FEAST!" which will be held this Friday, July 13th, 2012 from 6–9pm at the gallery on Plum Bottom Road in Egg Harbor. We will not only be celebrating new work, the return of Angela from India, and a new website, it is the 5th Anniversary of Plum Bottom Studio and Gallery! Congratulations, Chad!

Bring your best Cajun appetite, quench your thirst and experience art, finely crafted. Please stop by. I'd love to see you and say, "hey" in person!