This is my happy place:


On summer afternoons and the particularly precious autumn afternoons like today, when you see the occasional tree like this:IMG_0194

(That is not a solar eclipse coming out you in the upper righthand corner. It is my finger.)

I go for a walk around “my” lake, and if the timing is right and the line isn’t too long, I’ll treat myself to a walleye or salmon taco and often a beer. This is my “happy meal”:


Sitting on my perch, the lake gleaming like crazy with the late afternoon sun, I feel grateful and peaceful. And believe me, I’m usually a roiling bundle of angst. This is a peace I experience nowhere else. Gazing across the lake, I see the reddish apartment building that I moved into on June 2, 2005. I’d decided to make a new life in the Cities. I thought I’d move to St. Paul. I knew it better. It was closer to Eau Claire, where John was still attending high school.

I looked at a slew of apartments near Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and while charming on the outside, with a great location, the bathrooms and kitchens often seemed dreary, with peeling paint, outdated fixtures. Not that I was looking for anything sleek and contemporary, but I wanted it cheery and bright and, OK I’ll be honest… I really wanted a dishwasher.

After looking at lots of apartments, fretting that there’d be nothing suitable in my price range, I happened upon an ad in Craigslist. A young woman named Alison was looking for someone to take over her lease of a one-bedroom on the west side of Lake Calhoun. When I walked in, I knew: This was it.