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Another Morning

From where I lie, I can hear scampering nearby. Paws pounding against the floor. Bodies coming up against walls and furniture. I take note of the time; 5:24am. I readjust myself – moving pillows and limbs – with the hopes that the sound will no longer reach me in this new submerged starfish like position. Either that works or the chaos slows to a quiet crawl, but my closed eyes take me to another land where I am walking through a market in Spain chatting up the various vendors and trying to fill my enormous Santa Sack sized tote bag in a style most reminiscent of Super Market Sweep. Life is good.

From where I lie, I can hear a deep, throaty growl. I can hear it approaching. I brace myself for what I know is coming. Within seconds a weight lands squarely on my middle, using it as children use trampolines to launch themselves high up into the clouds. And just as the weight landed, it is again gone. I can hear the growl receding. I groan. I curse. I curse the culprit. I roll over. I plead to go back to that market in Spain because I am hungry and I can smell the ocean from the produce stall at the end, though the longer I yearn, the more faint the smells. I take note of the time; 7:32am. Today that is close enough to 8:00am. I give in to the mayhem, swing my legs over the side of the bed and immediately my girls emerge from the depths of my bed and weave their way around my ankles. “Oh! How lovely. You’re up.” their meows say.

I slip my feet into my slippers and grope for my glasses. Jackpot. I slip them on and the world suddenly comes alive. I hoist myself up, am painfully reminded of the 12,362 steps I walked at work less than 12 hours before and I shuffle myself forward. Tarra leads the charge with Digi hot on her tail. Tarra suddenly looks back over her shoulder, does a spin move as if she’s a barrel racer going backwards and meows to communicate her needs. We are currently next to her breakfast bowl and it is my turn to fetch as she often does with her beloved shrimp toy. I scoop to retrieve both bowls and this propels us all forward. Into the dining room we advance, taking a sharp left towards the kitchen pausing at the pole wrapped in sisal. Tarra scratches, Digi pauses and I take the meow free moment to tend to my still half closed eyes. Before much progress can be made, the troop is already out of sight meowing from the next room. I join them and the dance around my ankles resumes.

The fridge opens. The cats climb in. The cats are asked to get out. The cats abide. Soon, the meat is in the bowl, the water and salmon oil have been added and everything is mixed together to resemble just that; soggy meat with drops of salmon oil dispersed throughout.

The crowd goes wild.
The feast begins.
And now, this kitty mama has quiet.



back burner

I have this urge to start every long overdue post with ’Are you there god? It’s me Margaret!’  … but then I don’t. Because I’m not writing a letter to God. Nor is my name Margaret. Nor am I writing about needing to increase my bust size. Though I will say that most of Margaret’s favorites (“I like long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain and things that are pink.”) I can relate to; Almost every day I regret my insanely impulsive hair cut (in which I chopped 8”), I made a wickedly amazing tuna salad pasta recently, last Sunday I had a rain day off work and it was THE best day and things that are pink are ok sometimes.

But I digress.

I have not been here. I have left the bajillion avid followers hand full of fans of Chocolate Moose Images yearning for more for months upon months. I have withheld loads of cute animal photos, travel stories, antics about The Girls and gobs and gobs of selfies.


Can I be totally honest right now? Because I got burnt out. Things got way too daunting with years upon years of photos and stories. When I would feel inspired to write – to really write and share my stories and my secrets and my dreams and my loves and my fears and my failures and my tales and my adventures – I would throw myself into it. For hours. And hours. Then when it was all put together, I would hit the magical ‘publish’ button and boom. With a grand sweeping gesture, it was there! For the world to see and read and love or hate. And within minutes, my meticulously crafted post of puns and prose, of animals and selfies, of Minnesota and abroad, was old news. The handful of people who were going to read it read it and moved on. “Lovely!” “Thanks for sharing!” “So fun!” Were comments I would get regularly.

And please, please, please don’t get me wrong, i LOOOOOOOVE to hear when people read the posts!! The comments are what have kept me going.

BUT after a few years of going at my own speed on here (i.e.; not dedicating my life and work to multiple posts a day or even several a week), I started to feel like my time might be better spent elsewhere. Hence the silence for a while.

I think my big-ol-Birthday was what sparked this whole thing … as 2016, another birthday and a new decade of life approached, I wanted to start fresh. One of the best things a woman slightly older than myself shared was that at some point in her 29th year she decided she was just done with her 20s and ready to see what her 30s had in store. I loved that. I soon started to feel the same way. My 20s were full of all kinds of things – the biggest highs and lowest lows I never imagined possible. But my 30s are here and waiting for me to do awesome things. In order to start fresh with this decade I wanted to step back from what I had come to know as my dreams, goals and ambitions since I was 20, or even 10. I wanted to begin again and take a far more simplistic approach.

I thought about a boat load of actives and if they made me smile, I wrote them in the ‘good’ column. If I was indifferent, they went in the ‘meh’ column and if my stomach lurched in an undesirable “I just ate way too much cheese” sort of way, it went in the ‘pass’ column. And since then I’ve found a slightly new direction and I’ve been day dreaming of new adventures in so many different walks of life. Does 30 year old jess want to keep moving? To sit still? To blend the two together? I think the blend is more her speed these days. So now to figure out what that looks like …

I’ve been reading a lot and trying to keep my interactions with social media and technology at a minimum (well… i am having a hard time kicking this silly cat game I’m decently obsessed with. Neko Atsume. What is it about? Not much. There are cats. And a yard. And I put food for the cats in my yard. And toys. And places for them to sleep. Then they show up. Or they don’t … That is it. Oh and there are cats with punny names like Mr. Meowgi and Saint Purtrick. If you want to see me cry laugh, we should discuss the names some time. It’s fun for the whole family!) Reading though; this reading that I’ve been doing has really put the bug in my ear that I might be happy exploring travel writing and picture taking in a different way. It remains to be seen what that is, but it’s at least a slightly new avenue (or should we call it a little footpath I found down the hill from the old path?)

So what will be on here moving forward? Well, while I’m on this roll of honesty, I might as well keep going… I have no idea what I’ll be publishing. I know that I do like this place – it’s been a home for thoughts and photos for 8 years now! It’s a nice spot to share what I’m up to, where I’m at, what I find exciting. But I am finally coming to the sad realization that my heart is just not in updating this blog like it deserves. For now, the best stuff will probably be on Instagram. So follow me there. Heart stuff. Comment. It all feels real nice 😃 @chocomooseimages

Thanks for the support personally and professionally!! This is not a goodbye, it’s just an acknowledgement it might be a while an even longer while between exciting updates.

Ciao! Besos!

feeling excited for…


… excited for what?

Oh I don’t know! And honestly, I don’t even care today 🙂 I’m just in a good mood! Lately so much has been going on (shocker, I’m sure…) Work was insane leading up to the holidays, I started to (really!) get the travel itch again and simultaneously I’ve been nesting like crazy in my new apartment that has a fireplace, space for me to spread out my crafts and no one to hold me accountable with my pile of dirty dishes or scraps of fabric all over the place.

This morning I finally got back in touch with someone from high school with LOADS of suggestions and ideas for what she and a friend can do while in New Zealand. Pulling up maps, googling names of restaurants and going through old photos made me nostalgic not just for New Zealand at large, but for the simple day to day life. I love that making a trip into town to pick my own produce, finishing up a long day of work, sharing beers with the crew and checking out library books are the things that jump out. For me, that’s the mark of a good adventure!



It was delightfully wintery today – crisp, windy, sunny and snowy – so I went for a walk in the woods but now that I’m home and eating chili with a fire in the fireplace, I’m again reminiscing about my little life there. So, voila. A handful of photos and thoughts of the not-as-flashy version of New Zealand.

[the brewery I worked at]

[that time i shoveled compost to pay my rent]

[mastering my driving on the opposite side of the road]

[the rascals i called co-workers for 8 months and friends for much longer]

[baby chicks!]

[ok this one is kinda epic…… sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 ]

I love those times when remembering what I’ve done, the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve lived can put me in such a happy and excited mood. Not only because of the obvious and tangible, but because of the anticipation of the unknown, the undecided, the undreamt. Because of the endless possibilities in life.

And on that note, I think I’m going to go day dream more … And look at more travel guides. And try to make more progress on a new car to buy so I can start working on the plans for my next adventure 🙂 Stay tuned!

Cheers everyone! Happy 2016! As always, make it a good one. I can tell it’s going to be another fabulous year.

i LOVE sunshine :: minneapolis pet and travel photographer


Full disclosure … I wrote this post a week ago on one of the most beautiful early November nights I can remember. And then I got distracted by life and didn’t hit publish.

I decided it seems maybe even more appropriate that when the weather turns icky, we remember how much we love the sunshine 🙂

I am so distracted right now. I had grand plans to arrive early to work, sit outside on the patio and sort through loads of food photos from the last 5 years to help complete a super exciting project I have in the works. But as I’m sitting outside in the sunshine, I’m remembering that editing photos while trying to see through my reflection is challenging and beyond that, sorting through the minute differences between option A and option B is virtually impossible. I’m going to end up with ALL the photos with eyes shut tight and out of focus snacks. So instead, I am reflecting on how much I love the sunshine. I am not willing to go inside and continue working on that project, so I am going to sit here and start a new one.

A blog post on the sun!

Ha. It sounds like a science project. Discussing a variety of things including how you should not look directly into it. Which I just did and now am blinking starry blobs away from my computer screen.


But instead, the point of this post is two fold; to declare that my love for sunshine is limitless …

It’s also another reminder that I am my mother’s daughter, a woman who loved sunshine more than anyone else I know.  And an excuse to post this photo …

Yep, that’s us. Loving the sun, that tiny pool and oh yeah, the cat swimming suit I’m wearing. Swoon!

Honestly, there isn’t that much more to say about the sun. It’s bright, it’s hot. It dries things out and warms things up. It glows and after long enough, I glow too. So instead of me blabbing on and on about who knows what, I’m just going to post some of my favorite photos that make me feel all warm and fuzzy on cold, wet nights.

(ps you can click on the little images to make them bigger and cruise through the whole gallery)


it’s pretty icky out side in this great Northern state … on days like today I’m really happy I held out for an apartment with a fireplace. And so are the girls.