Sunday, July 17, 2011

More to meeting another blogger

Julie and I met up on Saturday afternoon!!! It was fun and definitely a little adventure. She lives about 2.5 hours from Minneapolis in Northern Minnesota, a wonderful mix of lake country with mixed forest. It was just a magnificent day, getting to know someone in "real” time and learning about her neck of the woods to boot. First we strolled through her acreage: the near forty, the middle forty and the back forty (of her 120 acres!!). For me it was a biologist/naturalists’ heaven of plants and small invertebrates. Her acreage is no longer farmed and is now a beautiful mix of open prairies and meadows amidst rolling hills with hardwood and coniferous trees. Every corner we turned we were greeted with the sound of the woods and open fields, including the quaking aspens that stir and quake with harmony as the breeze moves their leaves. I don’t think Julie has ever conveyed what a beautiful slice of this planet she lives on in her own blog. Take my word for it, it is lovely. Just lovely. There were hairstreak, fritillary, monarch and cooper butterflies flying all around, with at least a dozen different types of damsel and dragonflies, soaring, too. Of course there were plenty of other insects and birds, but it is the diversity of butterfliies and dragonflies that captured my attention the most.

Our state is one of the best-kept secrets in our country. We have majestic prairies, small, but ragged mountains, and fabulous hardwoods and coniferous forests. You also know about our lakes, right? Well, Julie has a small puddle (beautiful small spring fed lake on her property) and right down the road, not even a mile way is another beautiful lake where you can motorboat. The area where she lives is known as lake country throughout our state. I can see why.
So, you get it, the natural world around Aitkin, Minnesota is fabulous. But the best part, was strolling along with Julie. Having quiet conversation and getting to know each other. Julie is gracious, kind, and compassionate which make for easy and free flowing conversation as we walked and talked. After our stroll we had lunch together. I had brought along some of my favorite salad fixings including a couple of different salad greens, some beans, beets, shredded carrots and a favorite raspberry vinaigrette, plus some Joseph’s pitas and fruit.

As promised Julie took me out to her small lake to paddle. Truth be told, I have always been afraid of canoeing, because I felt that if I ever tipped over, I would never be able to get back in, you know the obesity actor. I wanted in the worst way to get past this fear and Julie was there to show me the way. Julie is a great and gentle teacher, instructing me to keep my back straight and not wiggle from the waist up. We stayed upright just fine. After a circle around the lake and a few back and froths, she asked “are you ready” and then capsized us. It was at that moment in the cool water that I had to face my fear and risk humiliation by getting back into the canoe on my own accord. Boy, was that hard. Julie coached me. Michael, her son, used his long arms to keep the canoe from flipping over as I tried to get in, and after about what seemed like 20 tries I finally made it in. I know I could not have done it without them. I know, too, that I need to work on my upper arm strength. But, the best past is that I left that lake feeling like I had FINALLY done something that I had put off for so long because of my girth and low fitness level. Now, that my girth is decreasing and my strength is increasing, and a good new friend at my side, I tried something I never thought I would do: paddling and getting back in a canoe. I am guessing there will be many more paddle days in my future.
We finished the afternoon touring around the countryside in her car, including Serpent Lake in Crosby, Minnesota. There are actually several lakes here that were created when the old Cuyuna Iron Range open mine pits stopped operation. According to the Cuyuna Lakes website once the pumping stopped, the excavated mine sites turned from scarred earth to a new wonderland reclaimed by nature. We finished our day by meeting one of Julie’s friends for dinner at a local restaurant, who, although not a blogger, has lost 50 pounds. Together the three of us had lost a total of 140 pounds! Pretty cool to be amongst big losers like the two of them! As I drove home, my mind was swirling with ruminations.

If you are reading this post today you are more than likely a weight loss blogger like me. Each of us have our own reasons why we chose blogging as a way to document our getting healthier journeys. Each of us has also discovered that the weight loss blogging community is supportive and encouraging and for many of us, myself included, help us keep accountable and moving forward. We are all moving forward in varied ways. Many of you like me (and Julie!) are simply eating less and moving more. We are learning that there are no magic or easy steps to weight loss and getting fit. It is hard work. It takes commitment, determination and at times sheer grit. But, we are not alone because we are members of this blogging community. We talk about and process our day-to-day efforts and struggles, our triumphs, and our frustrations regarding our own personal journey to get fit every time we post.

For so many years my own obesity and lack of fitness was something that I never talked about with anyone. No one. Of course everyone knew what I did not: I was overweight and obese. It was a major turn for me when I came out with this blog and started to really tackle my obesity and all the other life style and emotional habits that got me here in the first place. As much as blogging has been a great support network, the downside to it is that it is virtual. Real people post on their blogs, but our relationships are virtual. For me there is now one blogger whom I have an emerging real time friendship that began with one of the most personal journeys I have ever undertaken. There is a trust and honesty already present that will serve as roots for a friendship to grow in ways I do not know. My own life will be richer and expanded because of it. That I am certain.
So, my weight loss blogger friends, do you ever think about meeting another blogger?

Have a strong start to your week and TTFN,


  1. Ah, you know I do. You are on my list:) I feel the same about this being a great support network. But some people feel like friends, despite only meeting them online. Glad you had a such a great meeting. My own was equally wonderful. If you'd have suggested this to me when I started blogging I'd have thought you were crazy.

  2. lovely post, Michele. Yes, our state is beautiful and a well-kept secret. I'm envious of both you and Julie--my fellow Minnesota blogger friends.

  3. I loved the enthusiasm in Julie's post and in yours. Yes, meeting a blogger in person is lots of fun.

  4. Sund like you 2 had fantastic time.I would love to meet a fellow blogger in person one day.

  5. What a lovely post. Sounds like the two of you got on famously!! (and judging from the photos, you really do live in a beautiful part of the world!) Have a great day Michele!!!

  6. Beautiful!! You are both beautiful and what a great weekend adventure you have had, overcoming fears, meeting a new friend! I hope someday I get to meet you two, as well - I just love your philsophies on your journey. :) Janelle

  7. Michele, great post. I'm home alone on vacation and have a chance to catch up with everybody. (Rest is still on vacation, but I have to go back to work tomorrow). Glad you had a good connection. Sounds like it was rewarding to both of you.

  8. Mmmm Well I guess I stumbled into here by "mistake" following the "wildflower" interest linke and am glad I did. Your Paris pictures were just great and jogged some great memories on my part. Been there twice, once bring high school students and once with my spouse for her retirement from teaching outing. Nice to meet another Minnesota blogger and I must say you are holding up very well considering what the lightening did. Perserverance is definitely a good trait and you seem to have it in good measure. Thanks again for sharing.

  9. Love the pics and so glad you had a great time. Michelle, you look so YOUNG in that pic at the end! :)

  10. So my dear new friend, thank you for writing such a sweet post. I did have a great time and I really can't wait for the next time. One day when life gets some sort of normal here I will come to you and we'll see just what you have in your neck of the woods.
    Take care Michele. Blessing!!

  11. I LOVE that Julie tipped you out into the water and made you climb back in!! You did it!

    [That's the very first thing we did with our kids when we purchased a pair of kayaks. Paddled out to the middle of the lake, dumped them over and made them climb back in. There's no way to 'tell' them how; it's a skill best developed on the spot!]

    You are doing an amazing job finding your strong, healthy self. I am so happy for you, and very proud of you!

  12. I do think about it...I'd love to meet bloggie friends and I feel that somehow, somewhere I will do....if I want it enough and I do!

  13. Sounds like you have a blast! I met Margene from Believing it's half the battle. We had lunch one day and then ran 2 5k's together. I met her friends and family and we had a great time together. She has since moved to Utah. I will miss her!

    Glad you overcame your fear! You are amazing!

    Keep focused!