:::this is the way the world ends:::

Here We Go to the Lake: June 15-17

Our gathering at the lake is nearly upon us, and as promised, I am checking in ahead of time–hopefully to incite excitement and to offer some vital information.

I have confirmation from the Beckers and Gannons for attending. From some of J.E.’s recent postings, I assume the Johns(t)ons are unable to join us–understandably, but please know we still hold on to hope and would like you very much with us. We’ll be thinking of you, regardless. I haven’t heard from the Peters, but hope that means there might be the possibility of you both coming up. If all of you could confirm your attendance or declare your intended absence, that would be helpful. So I hope to hear from each of you on this post.

Now, for those planning to come…

Jen and I will plan to be down at the lake on Friday, June 15, probably by 10 am.
feel free to arrive whenever works for you. We are also able to be at the lake starting Thursday evening, if that works better for people.

Directions: The lake is Lake Francis, near the town of Elysian, midway between Faribault and Mankato, Minnesota. Off of Interstate 35, take Highway 60 west (the Faribault/Waterville exit, Exit 56) about twenty miles into Elysian. Go through the small town, staying on Highway 60, then take a right after the second sign indicating Camping, onto the dirt road marked 516. You will curve around and then take a right onto Woodduck, a sharp right that goes down a small hill. Aspengren lake home is the first house, directly at the bottom of the hill. It’s a large, cream-colored house, with an old red car parked in the driveway. Park in the driveway, and come on in! Phone number at the lake house: 507-267-4043

What to Bring: Swimsuit and towel, sun screen, sunglasses, etc. Bring any games, music, DVDs, etc. you want. There are lots of fun things for kids there, but bring what you need.

Division of Labor: Jen and I will handle the Friday evening dinner and brunch on Sunday, and we’ll bring some snacks for Saturday. Gannons, can you handle brunch on Saturday, and Beckers, can you handle Saturday dinner? There is a full kitchen with everything you would likely need, and there’s a grill. So just bring the food you need for the meal, and any additional snacks or specific preferences you want. If anyone wants to bring special drinks (wine, beer, pop, juice, etc.) please do so.

What to expect: There are four bedrooms in the house, so everyone will have a bed and space. There are two bathrooms, one upstairs and one down. Gannons, there is a bed for Eliot, and a crib for Claire. There is a washer and dryer, if you need laundry. There’s a nice yard, with a beach and some sand, a dock with a boat and jet ski. There’s a fire pit for the evening, but it does start to get buggy around this time, so bring appropriate bug spray or lotion. The little town of Elysian has an ice cream shop, gas stations, a bakery, some little restaurants/bars, and there are thirty miles of paved walking/running/biking trails right near the house. So feel free to bring your bikes, if you like.

I think this will be a great time. I’ll call to check in with each of you, and will be checking in here as well. Looking forward!


  1. Pete

    We will be travelling up with the Becker’s and are looking forward to the trip. See you all there. Many thanks for the offer to host all of us.

  2. Shotts

    Peters–That is terrific news! Great that you and Amanda will be coming up. That really means a lot, and I really appreciate that it means the extra efforts to drive all this way. Thank you. And thanks to the Beckers for driving up the Peters, and thanks to the Gannons for coming a fair distance yourselves from Wisconsin.

    How can we conspire to get the Johns(t)ons there…?

    Peters: Would you and Amanda be willing to be in charge of the Sunday breakfast or brunch? That would be great. Jen and I will clean up the kitchen afterward, so everyone can pack up and get on the road, if that’s what you need to do. Let me know if this works, Petes.

    And be in touch, the rest of you, about the weekend. Thanks!

  3. Ned

    Thanks again for the invite Jeff and Jen. Our summer has been much more stressful and busier than we expected and I can safely say I am now behind on my illustration project. However, we feel that we would benefit from this weekend off, and the kids will enjoy it too. We still plan on being there. I want to consult with Sara, but I think Saturday brunch should be fine for us.

    I also am saddened that the Johns(t)ons will not be there. I can guess at all of the personal responsibilities that J.E. and Liz face right now and don’t wish to contribute to any conflict of interest, but I certainly would be willing to contribute a little to an airfare if that is an issue. I don’t fully understand the situation as it stands, however.

  4. Shotts

    Thanks, Ned. Glad you and the family Gannon will be at the lake. We’re counting on it, and looking forward to it. Thanks for being willing to take the Saturday brunch.

    Thanks too for the generosity toward J.E. and Liz. I still hold onto some hope, but there’s no pressure but friendly pressure to any of this, of course…

  5. J.E.

    Thanks all.

    Liz and I got to St. Louis yesterday. Dad is doing well. The surgery will be on Thursday. I truly wish we could make to the lake house. Thanks for the “friendly pressure” — it is much appreciated. I don’t know when I’ll be back in Texas at this point. If all goes well Liz will fly back to Texas this weekend. I’ll drive back when the time is right.

    Wish we could be with you but it just impossible this time.

  6. Shotts

    J.E.–Glad you are in Saint Louis, and I’m glad your dad is doing well. Good luck to him and to you all tomorrow for the surgery, and I hope goes as well as can be. I’m glad you’re all together there.

    I know you’ll be in a hospital most of your stay in Saint Louis. If you need a place of respite, however, I do recommend the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis. A very nice garden. I used to spend a good amount of time there, especially in the Japanese gardens, watching the carp and their O-ing mouths. A peaceful place.

    We’ll all be thinking about you while at the lake.

  7. Shotts

    Beckers/Peters and Gannons–Can you tell me when you’re planning on arriving at the lake, so Jen and I know when to get down there? That would be great. Thanks!

  8. Ned

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing the Peters’ and Beckers will arrive around four at the lake house. I feel as though it would be nice to let the kids settle in a bit before that, with Aspenotts permission; which would mean we’d like to appear around 1:30/2:00ish. We are totally flexible though and can do whatever anyone prefers.
    Thanks for asking.

  9. Tobias

    Shotts and all, sorry I still haven’t been very active on the blog as of late. We’re planning on leaving sometime in the afternoon. I believe Steph has to go to the lab that morning, and we’ll meet up with the Peters and leave sometime in the afternoon. I don’t expect we’ll be there before suppertime, I’m guessing sometime about 8:00pm or so. I’ll try to get something concrete with Steph and the Peters in the next day or two. We’ll plan on cooking dinner Saturday evening. Again, my apologies on the absent comments…we’re really looking forward to this weekend.

  10. Shotts

    Ned, that should be just fine for you to arrive that Friday at 1:30/2:00 pm. Jen and I will plan to arrive by noon, if not a little earlier. It will be nice to have an afternoon with you and the family Gannon. We’ll plan on an afternoon snack of some kind, and then dinner with you and us. Then we’ll toast the newcomers as they arrive in the Peters’ new Prius.

    Toby, thanks for posting. No worries about not being on the blog–I imagine you have a lot going on. I hope everything is going well. Do let us know your estimated arrival, but I’ll assume sometime after dinner, around 8 pm. The lake house phone number is in the original post here, so call us from the road with updates. Thanks, Tob and Steph, for Saturday dinner.

  11. Shotts

    By the way, I’m assuming all of this means we disband sometime on Sunday. I hope that’s what everyone else is assuming. I figure we’d have Sunday brunch, and then those who need to can get on the road. But we can plan to stay most of the afternoon, whoever wants to…

    Thanks to you all for making the trip!

  12. Shotts

    Just a quick word: it’s been quite hot and fairly humid up here the last two days, and it looks to be a pretty hot weekend–high 80s and into the low 90s on Sunday. The lake house is air-conditioned, thankfully, and the lake is nice and cool. Bring some suntan lotion…

    I take it from Toby that the Beckers/Peters will arrive in time for dinner. Give us a call at the lake number (in the original post) and let us know how it’s going as you come up from Kansas.

    I’ll remember to bring our bocce set down with us.

  13. Shotts

    Bring it on up north!

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