Clothesline Hide-And-Seek

The sheets smelled so fresh on the clothesline, blowing in the wind. My sister and I had to hurry to take them down before the rain drops started to fall. The air smelled like rain, and the dark clouds were moving swiftly across the desert sky. I was almost five years old, but tall. So if I stretched, I could reach the lower parts of the clothesline, where the laundry pulled it down.
“Nicole, we should play hide-and-seek in here!” The sheets strewn along five lines made for a fluid maze — one that was whimsical and forgiving. She giggled at me and slipped away through a flowery flat sheet. From within the billowing sheets that enveloped me, I couldn’t see her. Anyone outside the clothesline could have spotted us — our feet gave us away. But our only clues inside were any detection of movement that may not have been attributable to wind. And the sound of breathing that couldn’t be helped, especially as it became heavier during our game. We chased each other around, smiles on our faces that were hidden until we emerged, with raindrops pelting our heads, sliding from our hair. I lunged at Nicole, tackling her to the ground, and grass staining her pink shorts.


My cousin in Finland has a fabulous blog — be sure to check it out! Food, family, and travel, and wonderful lifestyle pieces.


Ponyride started in an abandoned building but today the building and initiative is teeming with life. It is located in a previously abandoned building in Corktown, Detroit. On one exterior wall, volunteer graffiti artists have decorated it with color. The main entrance right off the street is rather unassuming but the stories within are everything but, and so I thought to share some of the efforts that are taking place. I think it brings a new perspective to constrast with the story told in the media. There is no denying that Detroit has had a hard time. There are telltale signs everywhere. But I think success is really measured in their resilience. I think Ponyride is one such success story that I hope investors notice. It is creating new fortunes out of misfortune.

ponyride graffitiPonyride is the brainchild of Phil Cooley, Kate Bordine and my sister Kaija E. Wuollet. It…

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June 16, 2012 in Europe

June 16, 2012 in Europe:
Early risers today, we were! We got up at 5 AM to catch a train to Salzburg. It was a slick process because we had bought our tickets the day before, and found our track. No stress, just grabbed breakfast and coffee to go. Imani and I got to sit down while we waited for our train. I overheard a conversation between two people about traveling and open-mindedness, and their interconnectedness. This morning, we noticed that the last of the partygoers were heading home. One woman, with her dress up so her underwear were showing, stumbled up to the train and limply raised her hand to the door as if commanding it to open. We sat across the aisle from four younger (maybe early 20s) women, who were still in party mode, but trailing off by this point. During our ride, I have been catching up on my journal and looking out the window. We saw the Alps for the first time! Glorious!

Earth Life

Pulsing earth, teeming with life — from the blackness of the oceans to the heights of an encircling atmosphere

Glistening seas rolling with tides — filling and rising massively from the planet’s deepest valleys

Lush forests that harbor a web — rich with creatures of every song, color, and dance

Auntie Ruthe Taught Me Elegance


“Just believe,” I implored my Auntie Ruthe. We were religious people – mostly of Finnish descent. Growing up Laestadian Lutheran in Phoenix, Arizona was my culture of origin. Church was our world, and our families all belonged to ‘the church.’ Church life meant not only attending regularly, but also abiding by social codes that were instructed to us in both Finnish and English. I knew no different, and our faith discouraged questioning, or ‘doubting’ its teachings. So when my Auntie Ruthe ‘gave up her faith,’ I was sad. I wanted her to belong to the community with the rest of us, not be an outsider. It wasn’t her disability that made her an outsider in my mind; it was her opting out of the church. So it meant a lot to me, as her admiring niece, to know that she was one of us.

But she was one of us. She never wasn’t. And when she rejoined the church eventually, it didn’t validate her as a person. Her membership was not needed to grant her some status of belonging to the community, or our hearts. She was, and always be, with us always. We love you, Auntie Ruthe!

My remaining images of my beloved Auntie Ruthe are the way her face looked when she smiled at me, her elegant, arthritic hands that wove and stitched wonderful jewelry, her graceful poise as she sat in church, her gentle presence that radiated peace toward all, and the way she never complained about anything, so I always saw her as more than her struggles – but as a beautiful, smiling, loving transcendent spirit.

I still have a piece of jewelry that she made me. It is an owl macramé, kept in my jewelry box. It has escorted me on every move and been in my belongings through every part of my life since it was gifted to me. It is in the good company of the lovely letters I opened joyfully right from the mailbox, written on good stationary with artistic handwriting. Besides this photo and hymn book covers, they are the only tangible things left. But there are many more keepsakes that make up a collage of many splendid colors in my soul. My Auntie Ruthe loved me so much that she made life seem magical.

When she was at the end of her journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis, her kidneys shut down. I saw her for the last time in her hospital bed in Michigan. Unconscious and still, but exuding the same grace, she slipped away from us in physical form. I knew it was in vain when I talked about what we would do when she recovered. Maybe we would sing together or laugh about life. Go out for lunch or explore a museum. Amuse ourselves waiting for paratransit to finally show up for us. Sit by a duck pond. Anything as long as we were together. I kissed her forehead and soaked in the feeling of being with her. And without saying goodbye, I exited the room.

The little girl who met you when very small is a child anew when I think of you…..I shall not wish to bid you farewell, when you are so near me forever – in every song, smile, and bit of human elegance….

nature wins

The wind howled
She screamed at the trees
But there was no competing with nature
And the skies above
They were too vast
For they were endless and turbulent
Wide and expansive
No shrieking could command them to heed a word
Any requests would be quickly insignificant, if ever significant
But that was how nature was
Powerful, overruling, and not a good listener.