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Pictured, #NotPictured


The serene view from our cabin rental last week on Lake Superior.



The getting-out-of-town tango (endless lists/laundry/packing, bonus: freezer dying and food spoiling) includes heavy sighing on my part, and lots of tongue-biting on Husband’s part. Not to mention the which lights do we leave on and off two-step; I turn them off and he turns them on. Followed by  just one last waltz with the bathroom. Times three.


The nine hour drive. I begin to relax 45 minutes in, and Husband says the only way this morning could’ve been worse was if you were physically smacking me on the face and I laugh a mirth/ire laugh and insist he assume at least 40% of the getting-out-of-town family tango because not only does he not lead, he draaaags. Husband claims 5% maybe and we cruise along with increasing levity due to our gas station snacks and be-headphoned children.


At the 7.5 hour mark I see a worrisome look upon Husband’s face. On my beloved’s eyes appears the gaze of international lay-over with nowhere to lay except over a row of airport seats with unmovable armrests– aka a human on the brink of total systems breakdown while operating heavy machinery nearing 80 miles per hour. I turn up the top 40 IF YOUR LIPS ARE MOVIN’ YOUR LIPS ARE MOVIN’ because his lips weren’t moving nor were his pupils, and I clap and bounce to keep my partner irritated enough to stay the vehicle on the road, as only a wife/cattle-prod can do. We find a rest stop.


Elderly neighbors arriving at 11pm, so close and quiet, yet so present as if their dozen slow trips to unpack the Cutlass all take place on a gravel driveway inside my inner ear. Beds so small my entire calves dangled off the end; the antithesis of California Kings, we name them Minnesota Jesters–no Minnesota Midgets. Too many pillows, too many bodies, magnificent head all the way back open-mouth star-gazing.


Pictured: Finding out the view atop Pincushion Mountain overlooking Lake Superior is actually pretty worth it.



30 minutes of muddy trails, wet feet, and vocal misery. Both ways. All ways.

A horror show of blood and bugs in hair and on napes that sends me into full-family hood enforcement, and a google anxiety spiral deep into the night. (Black flies. The answer was black flies.)


Pictured: A visit to a Canadian amethyst mine in the pouring rain.



This is pretty much exactly as pictured.



The initial failed jaunt into Canada to see said mines three days prior, which resulted in a car search producing contraband nunchucks in son’s karate bag. Escaped possibility of imprisonment and $1000 fine due to FELONIOUS CONTRABAND CHUCKS by turning car around after two hours of border no man’s land. Not kidding. Totally humorless. Did not escape another night of anxiety in our Minnesota Midget.

Pictured: Rock-hopping on Artist’s Point




Less parental terror than years past of one brother pushing the other brother I SAID I WAS FIRST off a rock and into immediate hypothermia.

A guy in a windbreaker nestled in the rocks, painting an impressive oil rendition of this ship in a tiny wooden box.


Pictured: Us



Family dinners. Family donuts. Family walks to make more room for more donuts.

Whittling. S’mores. Smoked fish.

Stolen moments of affection. Generous helpings of whining.

Reading in the sun. Apples to apples.

Big adventures, long down times (thank you WiFi in Nana’s cabin, THANK YOU).

Throwing stones. Leaping boys. Words with Friends (with Nana and Grandson).

Nana and Papa Doug and Aunt Rachel and Rusty the Irrepressible Rusty Dog!


The work of love that pays dividends.


Happy first day of summer! Share a #NotPictured moment with me on Facebook! Why not?


20 comments… add one

  • Angela June 20, 2016, 7:20 pm

    I love this! I am going out of town with my mom and the kids this week, and I have a feeling we’ll have a lot of #Pictured/#NotPictured moments <3

  • Lisa Rosenberg June 20, 2016, 7:52 pm

    “Elderly neighbors arriving at 11pm, so close and quiet, yet so present as if their dozen slow trips to unpack the Cutlass all take place on a gravel driveway inside my inner ear. ”
    This made me LOL.

  • Stephanie Precourt June 20, 2016, 7:55 pm

    This is fantastic. I have so many things #notpictured lately and #notpictures are worth all the words.


  • Tarja June 20, 2016, 9:50 pm

    One of your best, Ann! Sounds like a great trip, whining and all.
    Contraband nunchucks. hehe.

  • Lisa Page Rosenberg June 20, 2016, 10:41 pm

    “Elderly neighbors arriving at 11pm, so close and quiet, yet so present as if their dozen slow trips to unpack the Cutlass all take place on a gravel driveway inside my inner ear.” The best.

  • Jana June 21, 2016, 4:54 am

    Brilliant! I love this so much, Ann!

  • Jen June 21, 2016, 6:27 am

    Ooh, I love this!!! And I have some great pictures I took this weekend that also include all kinds of unpictured things! BTW – Superior? We’re practically neighbors.

  • Andrea June 21, 2016, 7:40 am

    The optimistic romance of family trips is always one-upped by the screaming reality of family trips. Great post, loved it!

  • Alexandra Rosas June 21, 2016, 8:54 am

    Good content is good writing, but it all begins with the GOOD IDEA. #Pictured #NotPictured I love this so much more than “let’s be real.” Pictured not pictured: it doesn’t all have to be ugly behind the scenes, it can be laugh out loud funny — maybe a few months or tons of months later, but it’s all funny. I say this every time, Ann, but SO CLEVER. I will be posting #pictured #notpictured my fabulous drop off with the kids at summer school today: took a photo while auggie didn’t even turn around to bark at me “IT’S NOT SUMMER SCHOOL IT’S SUMMER ENRICHMENT.”

  • Patty Chang Anker June 21, 2016, 2:12 pm

    Love the glimpse into the real deal – family vacations are always more than the serene sunset shot! We’re getting ready for a 10 hr each way road trip with the kids (WHY? WHY? WHY?) – you may regret asking for my #notpictured #howmuchtimedoyouhave

  • Wendi June 21, 2016, 3:27 pm

    I thought we were all waiting to jump the border until AFTER Trump was elected.

  • Ann Imig June 21, 2016, 8:36 pm

    Thanks, Angela! And yes, guaranteed. Godspeed.

  • Ann Imig June 21, 2016, 8:37 pm

    You know exactly what I mean. And we will be them before we know it.

  • Ann Imig June 21, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Steph, your pictures are worth all the words and your words are worth all the pictures to me. Always.

  • Ann Imig June 21, 2016, 9:04 pm

    Wow! Thank you, Tarja. Someday contraband nun-chucks will seem funny to me again. Someday.

  • Julie Gardner June 22, 2016, 11:10 am

    Just. So. Good.

  • suburbancorrespondent June 23, 2016, 10:21 pm

    This was awesome! Although I would really prefer NOT to remember just how bad packing the car to leave for a trip always is…

    And, yes, black flies are of the devil. I experienced them once – NEVER AGAIN.

  • Jennifer Wolfe July 2, 2016, 6:54 pm

    Love this – I’m on a trip with my college aged daughter, and I cannot count the number of eye rolls and ‘really?” comments I’ve gotten when I’ve tried to take her photo…this is awesome.

  • Jill Robbins October 7, 2016, 8:52 am

    This is awesome! I’ve never heard of #pictured #notpictured before and it gives me a new way to look at things. Love the cabin pictures and stories. And donuts. I love donuts. A lot.

  • Ann Imig October 10, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Cool, Jill!! Oh do I love donuts.

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