Gett’n Plaid


First Overnight Road Trip with my Fiancé Rick.

A local Lutheran church, decorated in buffalo plaid, provided hotdishes and Bundt cakes served to the polka music provided by an accordion player and singer. Songs included were from the “Grumpy Old Men” movies and other polkas including the “Mickey Mouse” polka.






A fundraiser at Slippery’s Bar served spaghetti to the costumed plungers who braved the icy Mississippi River waters.

Shopped at variety shops and found “Jeannie’s bottle” to paint. Visited the Eagle Center where they let you have a photo taken near a Bald Eagle.

Monday, I granny-sat my mom before celebrating her belated and my daughter’s 30th birthday.



Self-made; So Long

“Self-made, So Long!”
“So long!” to the log-home with the mountainous trees,
“So long!” to the snow-capped peaks with their charming, fresh breeze,
“So long!” while you think about whether (or not) I’m a part of your dreams,
While my thoughts of a life with you burst apart at the seams.

I need a true love unafraid to show the world how we feel,
While you organize your next adventurous deal.
I need a man willing to get down on his knees,
While you go off elsewhere doing whatever you please.
“So long!”

By Valerie J. Kolle
January 16, 2015


Autumn Flight

“Autumn Flight”

Valerie J. Kolle
October 17, 2014

Intertwined with feathery pine,
In a grey, bare-branched birch,
A pair of eagles perched.

Mirrored images silhouetted
Against a pale blue sky
Resembling a bilateral inkblot.

In an attempt to capture this unusual view,
I alerted the driver to brake,
And turn around in a “U.”

We crept up slowly,
Approaching them quietly,
Preparing my camera,
Then, rolling down the window,
Yet, the eagles dispersed to the driver’s hard-rock radio sound,
Disturbing their pose.

The camera’s memory only shows,
A sole, free-soaring eagle,
With his regal, white head, a jagged, hooked beak,
And his majestic wings widely spread,
Tilting, ever so slightly, in a fly-by greeting,
At a distance, like an ornament,
On the edge of a dark, green branch of pine.

Self-made; Serenity

Self-made; Serenity
The snow melted, the ice drifted away,
Soft ripples curled, and gently swayed,
Water flowing smoothly, yet curving along,
Slipping, etching the shoreline, like a lullaby song.
As he tackles his tasks in his current home,
Preparing for the day he will onwardly roam.
An antique tractor, fine-tuned like a clock,
A garage organized, hanging tools, fully stocked,
Walls and ceiling, insulated and sheet-rocked,
Finished, painted surfaces, with light shades of grey,
Busy, full, ambitious working days.
Contrasted with peaceful moonlit nights,
With warmth of crackling, wood-burning, fireplace light,
Cherishing his lady with embracing holds,
Preparations continue, faraway dreams, nearer unfold.
The river is symbolic of life’s bends and turns,
Life is a journey as time passes and burns.
Sometimes we ford too strongly against the flow,
If we relax, the river’s current knows,
The natural, instinctive, path to go.
Like a knight on a horse with a sword and a shield,
His story has chapters yet to be encountered and revealed.

Self-made; Spring Thaw

Self-made; Spring Thaw
April 10, 2014

As winter dragged on, frozen deep into the ground,
The man still beckoned to have his lady around.
Peaceful, quietness, and
sharing through a seemingly endless, wintery season with grace,
Only one graveled road lead up to his warm-hearthed place,
Through snow-sweeping blizzards, past an oil-train stalled on the tracks,
Deer crossings, and feeding of his myriad of pie-shaped country cats.
With warm coffee, he shared photos and maps of the progress on his land,
Including, the tall pine ridge facing a ravine where his log home will stand.
A semi-loaded with lumber, tools and a tractor,
Sisters visits with food, love and laughter,
Progress shown on a skillfully built shed,
Plans going onward and forwardly lead.
The majestic, mountainous region crowned with shadowy, shelters of pine, as they skywardly reign,
A heavenly view, contrasting the flatness etched with the wintery drifts in bleak, dust-ridden plains.
Teasing, the season thawed and slowly melted in places,
Till freezing rains, sleet, and snow interrupted and pelted our faces.
Eventually, the riverbank revealed a watery edge,
With a Canadian geese pair paddling and dipping under their heads.
They slid up and stepped onto the ice,
Fanning, drying their feathery wings once or twice.
The squirrels scurried around in the trees,
The wind-chimes tinkled slightly in the faint breeze.
As the fields await their spring furrows and seeding,
Another trip westward to the man will be greeting.

My mom’s cousin’s prairie farmland, her photo.


Self-Made Seasons

Self-Made Seasons
As spring evolved into summer’s heat,
We continued as friends to visit and meet.
He drew up his plans as the fields were imbedded with seed,
He left in mid-summer to Idaho, bringing tools, tractor, and all that he’d need.
He grated a road further along a culvert and ridge,
Towards his shack, while his sisters brought goodies for him and his buddy, thus emptying their fridge.
A hole in the mountain brought forth water tapped into a new well,
Hooking a shower to the shed, which, in the 90 degree heat, was mighty refreshing and swell.
As the crops grew in the fields, our visits resumed,
Until harvest, when the farmer’s combine and time was consumed.
A dry, summer turned into a rainy, wet autumn,
We had days go by with only mere glimpses of sun.
The wood-fire hearth with it’s dancing flames’ a-glowing,
With a call, I would join him as the leaves became blanketed with the winter’s long season of snowing.
For the friendship yet continues with the self-made man who’ll proclaim,
He “cannot be tied down,” yet, likes having this “gal” in his life, just the same.

Seaside Dreams

Seaside Dreams; Put to Sleep
Valerie J. Kolle

As the sun rose and peaked in the sky,
The seagulls glided along flying by.
The noise as the curling waves splashing along
Were like a crescendo of cymbals clashing in song.
The vagabond families pitched their tents in the sand,
Claiming their temporary pieces of land.
The sun arched across the sky during the long busy day,
The fishermen provided a lunch of frying fish filets.
The water crept inward from the depths of the sea,
The hermit crab scuttled finding peace and safety.
The couple rode horseback along the sands of the shore,
Till they reached their cottage a mile southeast or more.
After a day of running with soccer balls and kites,
Swimsuits and towels are hung up and drying for the night,
The children are snuggled up in warm, homemade quilts on a log,
While petting their puppy and their trustworthy dog.
With dried branches gathered into a circle of stones,
A bonfire warmed up the night and their bones.
Hotdogs were roasted, marshmallows were toasted…
And melted into s’mores which they shared,
With guitar-playing, singing of praises and prayer.
The wind had subsided as the trees gently swayed.
The critters of the woods are nestled away.
The shadowy silhouettes of the ships and boats,
Fade on the horizon as if on the air they’re afloat.
As the sun set on the waves crimson red,
The ocean, with such splendor, drifts back into it’s bed.

Seaside Dreams Arising
By Valerie J. Kolle

A distant foghorn moans through the predawn mist,
The waves shuffle sand-dollars with a sea-foam twist,
As the tides draw the sea outward with a hypnotic draw,
The sand remains etched, with driftwood, seaweed, shells, and a small lobster claw.
In tide-pools, the colorful sea anemones blossom like floral bouquets,
Starfish cling to the underside of the rocks, shielded from the spray,
Their shelter from danger in the oncoming day.
A hermit crab pops out of his newly, acquired possession,
Flaunting the glamourous shell in an awkward procession.
A curious puppy causes the crab to burrow under the sand,
Quickly, the pup runs towards a stick, as it lands.
Barefoot children waltzing with the waves as if in a dance,
A lovestruck couple walks by hand-in-hand, focused deep in romance.
“Fairy floss” clouds appear as the mist fades away,
Pink and blue “cotton candy” greet the sun-rays of a newly born day.
The ships, and the boats appear in a diamond-like glistening sea,
A refreshing, rejuvenating, marine-kissed, spring-like breeze,
Shakes, rattles and rolls the moorings on the docks and the branches in the trees.
As I inhale, and breathe, and take it all in, I think, “What a beautiful day to be free!”


Up North


Rainier, MN

Traveling North to International Falls near Voyageur National Park, there are countless inlets and peninsulas along Rainy River and Rainy Lake. The trees are tall pine and birch. It is one of the most picturesque sites for artists, fishermen (and fisherwomen), photographers, and nature lovers around.
Financially, the region has had to cut back, hopefully temporarily, on its millwork and paper production, so many people have been laid off. The remaining employment provides a lower pay rate.
The first evening we ate at “Almost Lindy’s Swill & Grill.” We had a crispy thin-crust pizza half seafood with Alfredo sauce and the other half, pulled pork with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, all topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. On the pulled pork pizza, locals top this dish with shredded carrot and cabbage coleslaw. Trying it this way was really a great change of pace tasty treat. Lots of unusual crunch and flavor!


We stopped by this little historic town in time to capture sunsets on two evenings.
We visited a 60-something couple who had an amazing collection of antique cookstoves, each of which had been restored into mint condition, and could be purchased for a worthy price. They also have an in-home quilting business with the latest, most advanced, creative printing and quilting technology. We spoke of our travels, experiences, and families.


At Cha Cha’s Resort and Restaurant on Rainy Lake, MN.
This resort is situated on a tip of a peninsula surrounded by Rainy Lake. This view is to the south. To the north, there is a view of a small island.


Rainier, MN



We did go explore a few antique and thrift stores looking for treasures.
I found a lidded basket for the back of my bike, a few tools, some linen fabric, a vase, and a 1960’s Barbie Prom Date game board.
Crossing into Canada on King’s Highway in Fort Frances, we went into a dollar store, and I bought my grandson a stuffed Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player on clearance.
I hope to return up to this region again “before the snow flies!”



Pelicans on Rainy River

Graceful creatures soar, then downwardly glide,
Connecting, with the water, they dig, skim, and slide,
Braking, with quick, sharp slices
Like hockey blades shaving the ices,
They float, with their wings tucked alongside their buoyant bodies,
Their beaks move in unison like line-dancers’ choreographies.

Enter, the fisherman’s catch of the day.
He tosses the sacrificial object as the hungry birds’ prey.
They paddle, and curiously and cautiously move toward it,
As if to measure, and judge it consumable,
Or, “Is it too large of a fit?”

Twice-times they pondered it, and paddled away,
Finally, the foursome pounced towards the prey,
With a determined, winged, splashing, chaotic, wet spray.

Somehow, the “winning” bird scooped up the fish with his beak,
Filling up, stretching his balloon-like pouch with a visibly, elongated treat.
Weighing him down, he hunched over just to stay on the river afloat,
A greedy and selfish, old man donning the appearance of a braggart-like gloat.
As he drifted away with his prize,
His ill-fated destiny one can only surmise,
That his appetite had ruled him more than the common-sense with his eyes.

The remaining threesome continued the actions of their choreographed dance,
Fleeing, flying from their friend’s dire circumstance.
For survivors learn perseverance, and undaunted resilience,
As the river reflects the setting sun’s brilliance.


My $5 Hat



Me and my bargain $5 hat at Oxbow Golf Course in Fargo, North Dakota, after recapturing it again from the wind while riding in a golf cart.

I first purchased this simple straw-hat from a Rip-curl outlet on an outing in Torquay, Australia.

This hat has been on quite a journey with me. I wore it on my walks through the streets of Geelong prior to a flight with my pen-pal, Liz, (Libby) and her husband, John, leaving Melbourne, going through Adelaide on the way to Darwin in the Northern Territory. It shaded my face in the Outback and along our walks throughout Darwin.
I carried the hat in my carry-on bag as we flew up to a third world island, Timor-Leste.
On my first walk, under the directions of John, I donned the hat. We were very close to the equator, especially in comparison to places I’ve lived, so the hat helped protect my skin. As we walked along the shoreline we turned towards one of the busiest three-way traffic intersections. Suddenly, a gust of wind captured my hat lifting out of my reach merging towards the chaotic traffic. Chasing after the hat, was way too dangerous! Traffic there was unregulated unlike ours, everyone crosses here at their own risk, facing UN and Timorese government and four wheel drive vehicles, overloaded pick-ups, buses, taxis, and small motorcycles maneuvered by young parents with their children and babies.
Right in a tiny triangle of unstirred dust in the middle of the intersection my $5 bargain hat came to rest, completely unscathed and oblivious to the traffic stirring crazily around it. John rescued my hat with a shake of his head, and all I could respond was, “Uff-tah!”
At that point, I purchased a dollar Timor-Leste lanyard and attached it to the hat.
Flying to Singapore and South Korea, I carried the hat in my carry-on again, continuing to my longest flight ever of 7,709 miles to Dallas, Tx. My hat looked like it belonged in Texas, yet I was determined to keep my companion. I returned home through Minneapolis, Little Canada, and finally Fargo, after a slight detour through Paul Bunyon country.
When I’m not wearing it, my hat rests proudly and peacefully in the rear window of my Impala.


In my “guest-room” in Geelong.