Carrie Allen – Carnivals, Cars and Chili

We are inherently social beings.  Our lives are shaped by our ability to cooperate and coexist with those around us. The power of community is our greatest saving grace in the face of meaninglessness and destruction. I have no words for the horrific events that took place in Las Vegas this week. My heart aches for the victims and their families.  With this post, I want to focus on communities and events that bring us together. For society to renew, individuals must constantly focus on self-renewal.

Self-renewal requires you to cultivate your capacity for renewal by doing new and different things. We can too easily become complacent with our lives and settle into a rigid structure of sameness.

As we mature we progressively narrow the scope and variety of our lives. Of all the interests we might pursue, we settle on a few. Of all the people with whom we might associate, we select a small number. We become caught in a web of fixed relationships. We develop set ways of doing things.

Doing new things shakes us out of our apathy. This is why when you travel you regain an attentiveness that heightens every experience. Use your weekends to explore and engage and try new things…even if you feel like staying home.  Push yourself.  It’s worth it. In the warmer months seek out things like carnivals, antique car shows and, yes, chili cook offs.

This summer my kids pushed me to go to the En Ka Street Fair in Winchester, MA.  I was at first resistant but I am so glad we went. There was something thrilling in being one amongst the crowd, everyone just relaxing and having fun.

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Traveling carnivals are fun to explore and are a good example of temporal experiences set up to bring people together.  The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 was the catalyst for traveling carnivals, rides, food (maybe not fried dough back then…), games of chance, thrills and more.

Every May in Sandpoint, ID there is a Lost in 50’s Car Show and Street Party.  This past May was their 32nd annual event, which is impressive in and of itself.  Krister, my love, attended and took these luscious photos. The downtown streets were lined with beautiful vintage cars, musical acts, street dances and more.

People bring their antique cars from far and wide, even Canada, to participate.  You can feel the sense of pride in sharing their restorations, which sparks many conversations.

In June, stretched out across City Beach in Sandpoint, ID with a back drop of blue skies, big mountains and boats on Lake Pend Oreille, cooks from across the region set up their tents and chili with the hope of taking home the top prizes for their recipes and a chance to compete for the World Chili Cookoff in Nevada. (Who knew there was such a thing?) The community comes together for tasty chili while enjoying the camaraderie and competition.

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I have a robust commitment to hope.  Happiness is not something we find.  It’s something we make. We need each other. Friendship and love dissolve misunderstanding, force fresh perspectives, alter judgements and break down barriers.  Explore, try new things, connect with people. Be open to loving and being loved.  Magic is something you make.

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love. Read more about her inspiration here. 

Krister Allen – Fortnight Idaho

‘Remember my friend, one kind word can warm three winter months … ‘ I am not entirely certain who to assign credit for this (C. Bronte, R. Hunter, S. Freud and even B. Dylan comes to mind) … sage and prudent advice, this however stands.

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I fondly recall my grandmother once describing winter as the most misunderstood season … I never really pondered the ‘W’s’ (why, what, where, when) of this statement until now – my own interpretations, selected by my love, illustrate the profound ‘winter’ beauty of North Idaho’s – Selkirk Range.

A proper winter is as brilliant as it is austere – in the higher latitudes, where the days are severely shortened, one covets an occasion revealing beaming rays of sunshine, serving to shatter the loneliness of the ‘sheltering’ long winter nights.

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A proper winter is silent … listen carefully – unadorned silence can be beautiful.  Savor the gift of long stretches of solemn quiet as the accompanying winds pressure recognition of proven adequacy (or, inadequacy for that matter) … forcing reflection and gently encouraging correction.

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A proper winter transforms the heinous trepidations of collective materialism – rough textures become smooth, abrasive debris reappear as ‘artful’ snow fashioned ‘pretty’, while the unfinished tasks of Fall become forgotten and return a sweet clarity to the landscape.

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A proper winter makes the green lichens and Alpine Firs … opulent and greener.

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A proper winter forgives the forthcoming and seemingly endless sprinkling rains – making the prosperities of the Spring rebirth even more scented and respectably pleasant.

A proper winter has me yearning and desirous for the past, present and future warmth of my true love – to you Q!

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Krister Allen lives (for now) in Sandpoint, Idaho. He is an architect, avid sailor and skier…oh and happens to be my true love.

Carrie Allen – My own private snowy Idaho

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As the snow continues to fall over Boston, covering us in its soft, white blanket, I cannot help but also think of snow-covered Idaho.  Last year, after 28 years, I found my first love again living in Idaho.  Prior to this, I had no concept of the natural beauty of the state.

img_1647According to this site, Idaho is the 17th most beautiful state in the United States. Now that I have my own private relationship with Idaho, I am continually stunned with every visit as the Gem State shows me its many jewels.

Northern Idaho’s sheer beauty can be startling and take your breath away.  Snow-capped mountains, gorgeous lakes, quiet walks in the woods with towering trees all around and more.  Enjoy the tranquility of these caught moments. I sure did.

And a few poems by Robert Frost of course…

Desert Places

Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it – it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is, that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less –
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
WIth no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars – on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

Robert Frost

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Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Robert Frost

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love. Read more about her inspiration here. 

Krister Allen – Fortnight Idaho

toppost1Momentary visual stimulation from the State of 208 – Serious, Quirky, simply Pretty and just plain ‘Challenged’ …

Take a moment to look around – ignore your conditioned, often too accustomed, literal interpretations, skew the perspective and simonize your neurotransmitters.

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I will post them as I see them … apologies in advance if the biweekly synchronicity is not exact – yes, I had to be ‘that guy’ …

This past week was very precious to me … caringly, Sunrise – Sunset has been cheerfully and thematically decorating the soundscape of my mind:

Swiftly flow the days                                              Swiftly flow the years
Seedlings turn overnight to flowers                     One season following another
Blossoming even as we gaze                                Laden with gladness and tears
                                                                                                                                                        Harnick / Bock                 

… so with passion in the skies – I covet the familiarities of my past – to you Q!

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Krister Allen lives (for now) in Sandpoint, Idaho. He is an architect, avid sailor and skier…oh and happens to be my true love.

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