wandering sails


Julie Steiskal 1978-2008

Julie will be remembered for her passion for photography and love for those around her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.


posted by julie @ 11:31 PM 10 comments


why i don't like ikea.

1. it is impossible to buy a frame or a frame with a mat for an 8x10. they insist on cutting their mats to 8 1/4 x 10 3/4. this does not work with any type of print one would have. sure, i could get a 10x13 and then lop off half of it, but then the integrity of the original composition is messed up. (although, i'll be the first to say that an 8x10 is a crime of a crop to my original image, but that's entirely beside the point. the point here is to say why ikea is dumb.)

2. they've stopped offering bags. now, i'm all for going green. i only use paper bags at the grocery store if i need one for the recycling. but to give no warning? and to only offer a bag the size of toronto? poor. very poor.

3. their carts are crap. they're all swingy and free to move, but so much so that by the time i'm done shopping, my entire right side hurts from trying to turn tight around corners and down aisles lined with glass.

4. i don't like that i have to go through the showroom first. i don't care about the showroom. i know what i want and i want to go get it. i don't like having to go up to the showroom and then back down the level i both started on and want to be on. it's stupid.

5. their elevators only open to one side. so when their escalator is out, and i have my cart full of unbagged vases and candle holders, i have to wait for the elevator, maneuver around the deep cracks in the sidewalk so the weird escalator wheels don't get stuck in them, walk back into the building and then out to the main parking area. ridiculous.

and as i put my cartload of those vases, candle holders and frames into the cub foods paperless bags from my trunk, i cursed ikea. i cursed it like it ought to be cursed.

posted by julie @ 8:08 AM 1 comments


heatless bliss.

i like to think of myself as a flow with it kind of person. an adapter. a roll with the punches girl. sure there are times when i'll have none of it, but in general, i think it's easier to adjust than anything else.

take heat, for example. i don't always turn it on. at home, i usually wait until it's almost painfully cold before i'll crank up the furnace in the fall. partly because i know it's going to smell like a furnace that hasn't run all summer. and that's something a girl likes to put off as long as possible, you know?

and in my car. well. the heat knob usually collects dust. even though i live in minnesota and i drive over 40 minutes to work everyday, it's pretty rare that i bother to turn the heat on. i mean, seriously. i've already bundled up to get myself from building to car without catching cold and as you all know, it's awfully hard to unbundle and rebundle while you're sitting in the drivers seat. i've tried. it's not a skill i have. besides, i really don't like stuffy cars. and often, when the heat is on, it's forgotten about until the air is beyond stuffy and you're tempted to roll the window down for relief. i do not like the stuffy car heat.

so i don't usually turn it on. where i run into problems is when i cart other people around. i'm so used to not having it on, that i forget i should when others are in the car. some passengers, like dawn, wait a bit before asking, 'are you going to turn the heat on?' and i always blubber through an apology and have a good laugh with them. dawn knows me fairly well, so this works.

but then, there are passengers like scott, who are super nice and polite and haven't known me for long. scott and i are helping to plan a gathering for photographers this spring and we met one night to scout out some locations. we drove all over tarnation, got out and walked around a few places and every once in a while, scott would say something like, 'wow, my hands are cold.' and i would think, 'weird, scott's so sensitive to the cold.'

only on the drive home from that meeting did i realize that i had never turned the heat on.

posted by julie @ 1:07 PM 4 comments


the excuse.

i should preface with this: i like my life.

but here's what's sad about my life.

this morning, my arkansas bathroom experience came to mind. and i thought, man, things like that don't happen to me anymore. that's why it's so hard to blog.

but i was wrong. i think things like that do still happen to me. i think the difference is that i react to them differently. i have to. my time is strained. which, on some level, is a good thing. my business is doing well, but not well enough to be able to give up the steady paycheck. which means, at times, that i'm working two full time jobs. and somewhere between them, i'm trying to find time to mow the yard, do the laundry and visit the grandparents. it's hard. but that's where i am right now. i'm in a phase that i forget to write about the funny. i still chuckle to myself and say 'are you KIDDING me?' a lot, but then it leaves. my brain is too tired some days to retain experiences longer than a car ride.

and that's my true block.

as i'm trying to better organize my time, which i think is part of the problem, i really do want to make an effort to write. so bear with me. i'm coming back. slowly. but i'm coming.

posted by julie @ 9:37 AM 2 comments

ha 2.

it would seem i know myself better than i thought i knew myself. and i didn't know it.

posted by julie @ 8:17 AM 0 comments



there's a little voice in my head that just said that to me.


because i resolved, just now, to start blogging again.

for now, i'll leave you with two things. one, the thing that got me out of the routine in the first place... my website.

two, this photo i took on my way into work today. i like it. just thought i'd share it.

posted by julie @ 3:31 PM 3 comments


the not-so-finer things.

i write this, hopefully after the fact, but at least in the midst of what i've dubbed homeowner hell. i know things could be worse. i know that others have had it worse. but this is my worst.

this past friday night, after noting 'light for refrigerator' on my shopping list, i cozied up under the covers and thought about how i was looking forward to a weekend off. a weekend with no orders to process. a weekend with nowhere to drive. a weekend with no responsibilities other than picking up after myself. my house was moderately clean and what wasn't could wait until this week. i had enough food in the house to get me through the weekend and a new movie to entertain my brain. i needed this weekend. after four months working two full time jobs and trying to stay sane while keeping the lawn mowed, the dishes washed and the walk shoveled, i needed this break.

saturday morning, i lazily woke up. i stretched. i tucked my blankets up under my chin. an unusually cold morning, i was glad to be spending more time in my quilted cocoon. after a bit, i picked up a book from beside my bed and started to read. near bliss.

half an hour later, i rolled out of bed and strolled to the bathroom. grabbing a sweatshirt on the way, i started brushing my teeth.

the few minutes one spends brushing her teeth is a fantastic time for thinking. because none is required to complete the task at hand. so i thought. i thought, huh. it's awfully chilly in here. maybe i should turn the heat up a bit. so i did. then i realized that the vents had already been blowing. so, with a dreadful heart, i put my hand in front of a vent. cold. and another. also cold.

assuming my pilot light went out, i pulled up the door and traisped downstairs. my furnace, which I'm not familiar with, clearly states that i cannot manually light my pilot light. not having any idea what all the jargon meant on the outside panel in regards to troubleshooting, i called my dad. mostly because i didn't really want to deal with it. so he came, struggled with it, and eventually got it running again.

i continued my weekend. got a few things done. sat in a chair for a while. watched a movie.

sunday evening, i walked past the vent in the office and felt a large draft. you know, the kind that comes from a furnace strenuously trying to warm up a room when it has nothing but cold air to blow? that kind.

after i 'oh, crapped' a bit, i went downstairs. i took off the front panel. i read the indicator light and the corresponding issue. same as yesterday. i did all the things we'd done the day before to no avail. i called my dad. he walked me through some stuff. i called 8 heating & furnace repair companies, 7 with emergency numbers, none with actual live people. i asked my dad, 'does this qualify as an emergency?' since i'm not one to yell fire unless there really is one, and he responded, 'when it's below freezing and your furnace doesn't work, that's an emergency.' i left a message on the voicemail of the business with the most creative name and waited. i bundled up and kept working. tom called back, i gave him the history, he asked if i'd done this or this, i said yes, he said, try this. so i open up the panel he tells me to open, i reach my flashlight into the space to see what he said i might see and i see the carcus of the vilest creatures i know. in the span of a millisecond, the hand whips back out, the panel gets shut and i go back upstairs. i'm sorry i'm such a girl i tell tom. i can't do mice. i don't think he really knew what to say. i don't think he believed that i wasn't doing anything else until the thing disappeared. he just doesn't understand. i can't. i called my parents' house and surprised myself a bit with the welling up of some tears and waited for my dad. my father, my knight, comes and takes over. removes the alien and calls tom. after almost two hours, my dad tries something tom doesn't think will work and it does. problem solved.

it's late, i go to bed and pray it doesn't break again. it doesn't.

but last night, i got home from work, opened the fridge to get out a stick of butter and wondered, 'why is this butter so soft?'

i waved my hand around inside. warm. i opened the freezer. waved my hand around inside, even after seeing that things seemed to be unfrozen. not so cold like a freezer should be. i checked to see if it was plugged in. i hefted the basement door up and checked the breaker box. sure enough, one switch was off. weird. so i flipped it and heard the whir of the fridge. are you kidding me? i checked inside the fridge... huh. my light worked. wait. has my fridge been slowly warming up since friday when the light first went out?

with a huge sigh and a longing look toward the comfort of the livingroom, i pulled out a pan. and then another. and another. and all night long, i cooked meat. i threw alot out. i salvaged what i could. i disinfected everything that stuck around. like the refrigerator. and when i was all done and the cooked meat refrozen or packed away for lunches, i washed up and crawled into bed.

so now i sit, wondering why on earth a switch, only accessible by pulling up an area of my floor and hidden by the door of a breaker panel, just shuts off. when none other does. and i sit, tenuously hopeful that tonight, when i go home, i can actually sit in my chair and sew. and not have to worry that something else is broken.

and for a silver lining, tonight, when i open my refrigerator to pull out something for dinner, i'll be able to see what i'm grabbing. and it'll be coming from a really clean place. which is always a good thing.

posted by julie @ 12:54 PM 3 comments


the fine things.

there is a little old lady that i pass every day on my way to work. she's always out walking in her reflective orange and yellow vest. i think that's funny. because it makes her look a little like a road construction worker. since it's gotten colder, i figured she'd wait until later in the day when it's warmer to walk, but every day, she's still out there walking in the near dark. and she's added a coat and mittens and a scarf, tied old swedish style.

she's adorable.

someday, i really hope i get to live a life that lets me wake up in the morning, bundle up, tie a scarf around my head instead of my neck and go out walking.

posted by julie @ 9:47 AM 2 comments


little things.

today, i was chased down by the cutest little witch i think i'll ever see.

with her sweet little smile, she handed me a bag of peanut m&m's from her plastic pumpkin. how great is that?

and the best thing?

i made it through the entire bag without ever encountering a brown one.

posted by julie @ 9:00 AM 1 comments



if you broke your foot and i said you were crippled, would you be offended?

posted by julie @ 8:31 AM 4 comments

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