Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January Winding Down

Here we are at the tail end of January already.  Seems like the weeks just fly by!  We’re really into Winter now and experienced a “January thaw” a couple of times.  Our world outside has been white since – what? – November.   This morning it snowed for a couple of hours and now the winds have kicked in and powdery snow is blowing. 

Still, it is somewhat amazing to live where everything is white outside for … months. 

Questions I Get from Friends in Southern Climes

Are you staying warm?   You betcha, indoors and out.  Structures are built differently here, as is outerwear.  Furnace thermostat is set at 70, and we stay comfortable.  We have appropriate outerwear – parkas, boots and cleats for them when needed on the ice, and warm hats and gloves.

Are you snowed in?    Several friends I’ve talked with ask if we’re buried in snow, snowed in, and so forth.  Nope.  There’s way less than a foot on the ground, maybe 6 inches.  Maybe.  When it does snow up here, the flakes are so fine … think flour falling from the sky and lying on the ground.  Really light and powdery.  Takes a lot  of “flour” to build up to any accumulation of note.  It’s also often just too cold to snow up here.  Technically, that’s not true, but … well … it sort of is, too.   Let’s just say that when it’s –35 F out, you’re probably not going to get snow.

Aren’t you going crazy or getting depressed?   Nope.  Nada.  We did purchase an exercise bike, since Dave’s not cycling and I’m not walking – both outdoor activities.  We’re both very happy to be back Up North and sure glad we made the leap! 

Is this it?  Is this where you plan to stay?   Had another friend ask recently if this is “it,” where we plan to be.  Yep.  This is it.  Even if we did move from this specific spot, we’d still stay up here.  No plans – or urge – to relocate.  We have traveled quite a lot, both individually and together.  While I bet there will be road trips around the state and perhaps even out-of-state, I think it’s safe to say we’ve gotten the “hitch itch” out of our systems.  We certainly have no plans to travel back to Scotland.  We’re done flying.

We’ve talked about “escaping” to a cabin for a few days at some point.  Have a campfire again and a wee holiday.  That should be doable at some point in the not too distant future.  We sure won’t have to travel very far, as those types of accommodations are plentiful up here.

You were smart … One friend said we were smart to move “where no one wants to go.”  Yep.  I think so, too.

Sure do like our town and the life we have carved out for ourselves here.  Sometimes on our days off we just hang out at home – like this weekend – and watch the snow fall.  I’ll cook a bit, Dave’s been tinkering with his bikes, we may get in a game of chess later.  Other weekends we explore the town a bit, prowl a bookshop or two, or perhaps take a wee drive.  Of course, when it’s not Winter, we’re out cycling, walking, hanging on the patio, and out-and-about around town.  Or not.  Ha!

Icehouses on Lake Bemidji 01262018

Looking out at ice houses on Lake Bemidji

Snapped the above photo when out running errands last week.  There are usually a bunch of ice houses on the lake, and there was an ice fishing tournament coming up the next weekend.  What’s an ice house?  Check out this dealer’s web page.  Some of them are just about as nice as a regular travel trailer! 

Repotted plants 01242018

These two have been growing, so they got new “homes” last weekend.

I still read RV blogs, most of which I started following and/or reading years ago.  One I’ve tapped into recently is Travel with Kevin and Ruth.  They are currently serving as wagon masters for an RV caravan touring Mexico.  There are so many RVers who venture south of the border, some for short visits and others for seasons at a time – or permanently.  I applaud Kevin and Ruth not only for taking on the trip and responsibility, but for telling it like it is!  It certainly sounds like an adventure! 

Bemidji was named Best Town in Minnesota for 2017, by Minnesota Monthly.  Not don’t ya’ll all get the idea about moving here!

Well, that’s it for today.  I think I’ve rambled on enough.  I really should keep a notebook handy for the blog ideas that pop into my head at random times.  I’ll try to start doing that …

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe out there, okay?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A First for Me Today

It was a bit warmer today at around 5 F and sunny at times.  We ventured out to L&M Fleet Supply for new headgear for Dave.  He walks to and from work – just under 10 minutes – and could use some new gear truly designed for this climate.  I have taken him in the car when the weather’s been really nasty, but I think he enjoys the walk when it’s doable.

Dave new headgear 01022018

He’s starting to take on the appearance of The Invisible Man just a wee bit, eh?

Our first stop actually was the recycle station not far from home.  We had a couple of boxes to “donate.”  One was from a new ceramic heater.  We use a couple of those in different rooms to supplement the gas floor heat now and then.  The other was from …

Exercise bike 01022018

Half of our living room looks more like a bike shop/workout area.  Ha!  Good thing we aren’t wanting a dining table, as the bikes and this piece of equipment are where a table would be.  Unconventional, but it works for us.

Now that Winter has settled in for real, Dave obviously isn’t getting any bike time on the roads (or anywhere else, for that matter)  and I’m not getting my walking.  We initially talked about joining a gym for the winter months – him for the cycle/spinning equipment and me for walking equipment - but this makes much more sense and is less expensive than a membership.  At least we can keep the blood flowing and retain some sanity during these really cold months.  This way we don’t have to pile on coats and gloves, drive someplace, change into workout gear, use public equipment, pile on coats and gloves again … you get the idea.  Again, it’s waaaay less than a membership would have been for both of us.

After those two errands were done and dusted, we decided to drive down to the lake and take a look.  Ended up at one of the various parks in town, and ended up doing this …

Betty on Lake Bemidji 01022018

Me on Lake Bemidji

Dave on Lake Bemidji 01022018

Dave on the lake.  Note the truck cruising along in the background!

That was my first time to walk on a lake.  Now I can say I’ve done it.  Guess we’re adapting to and embracing living back #UpNorth.

Oh!  Yes, it’s been incredibly cold, even for up here.  Bemidji now has a hashtag - #brrrmidji.  Ha!

So our wee outing today was fun!  It’s so easy to just stay indoors and at home when it’s cold out but, you know what?  Life goes on up here and one just needs to get out and about when it’s safe to do so.  Errands still have to be run, and there’s some silly fun to be had around town and the area during Winter.

This sure as heck beats sweating and being miserable in warmer climes, and we’re happy and grateful that we’re back up in the #MinnesotaNorthwoods #UpNorth and #brrrmidji.

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe and warm out there, okay?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Boxing Day

Here we are on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.  Spent a good chunk of ours getting a jump for a dead car battery and then over to the Ford dealership for a new one. 

Hanging with the dealership doggie 12262017

Dealership doggie has the right idea, soaking up some rays.

This was the original battery, so it was just time for a replacement.  We have complementary road assistance with Ford, and it was prompt and courteous.  Opted for a slightly “bigger” battery than the factory-installed version.  So, our Wee Beastie is happy again.  It, and us, will be happier once we score a garage, but there have been no vacancies, so we remain 3rd on the waiting list.  Since our temperatures are consistently subzero now, the Ford tech recommended running the car about 30 minutes each day when we fall below zero.  I have been running the car for a while, but not every day, and even doing it 30 minutes/day probably wouldn’t have helped the old battery.  It was just time.

So we’re on day 3 of our 4 days off for the Christmas holiday.  Wow.  Christmas Eve I spent making goodies, and snacking was enjoyed instead of a proper meal.  So nice to have a larger kitchen and big oven again, although I did all this in the RV for about 7 years. 

Christmas was the major cooking day, turkey breast and the usual side dishes.  Didn’t do this at Thanksgiving, so made up for it this holiday. 

Christmas tree 12102017

Our tree turned out pretty well, and we’re enjoying feeling festive this year.

Snowshoes with boots 12202017

Figured out the bindings on the snowshoes, but haven’t had a chance to try ‘em out yet.

Visions of snowshoeing, taking walks and other outdoor activities over the holiday have not been made realities, as it’s just too darn cold.  Yes, too cold.  Warnings for dangerous/life-threatening wind chills and really low (even for MN at this time of year) temperatures have kept us inside for the most part.  It’s just 6:30 pm, and the outside temperature is –18F with a wind chill of –33F.  And it was warmer today than yesterday! 

Early morning 12212017

Early morning – December 21, 2017.  We’ve had snowfall just about every day, often for hours or even most of a day, but tiny flakes. None since the temps dropped into the deep freezer, though.  No big storms yet with significant accumulation, but we’ll see what January and February bring.

Oh!  On Christmas Day morning, we had sundogs!  I couldn’t get a decent angle for a photo, but you can read about sundogs here.  Pretty darn awesome.  Just a gift from Mother Nature for enduring the harsh Winter.

Roof workers 12132017

See the 2 specks on the roof peak?  Work has continued on the new cancer center down the street, even in the cold weather.  And snowfall.  And winds.  Gotta admire these guys!

It’s so nice to feel festive again for Christmas, this is the first time since 2013.  Last year really was a nonevent, with only having 1 day off and having lost our wee Maggie in October 2016.  I can’t even recall last Christmas.  We were still in Texas, so I imagine it was warm hot.  This year, however, we are in a much better place – geographically, financially and spiritually.  What a difference 12 months can make!

I do still miss our Maggs and having a doggie around, but did get out to the shelter to donate the dog sweaters.  That helped a bit, and they seemed glad to get the sweaters.  One of these days when I ever have spare time again, I’d like to volunteer my time. 

We sent out Christmas cards again for the first time in a few years and received some.  Certainly isn’t like “the old days” of receiving a lot of cards.  Everything and everyone seem to have transitioned to electronic greetings.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s nice, but there’s just something about Christmas cards.  I miss that.  Received some holiday phone calls, and those were very special.

My annual viewing of White Christmas took place on Christmas Eve; it’s just not Christmas without seeing that movie.  I’ve been watching it at this time of year since childhood.  Tonight It’s a Wonderful Life is on tap, and I’m looking forward to that.  It’s another holiday tradition in our home.

I don’t know that anyone really reads this blog these days.  It’s different now that we’re not full-time RVers.  Its purpose is more of an exercise in recording our life … I just don’t seem to have the creativity to even write … just write … at this point.  Probably because I’m too dang busy living life.  Working, my life with Dave, routine chores/housekeeping/cooking/errands … by the time I think of something to write about, I just don’t have the time or ambition to do so.  Too, it’s easier to toss out a simple post on Facebook vs. putting together a blog post.  I know I’m not the only one experiencing this, but I do miss those evenings of purely … writing.  Oh well. 

If you have made it this far, thank you so much for stopping by! 


Wherever you are and however you celebrate, I wish you the peace, magic and joy of the season.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Let the Holidays Begin!

All that snow I talked about in my last post disappeared with the mild temperatures we’ve had lately, but … forecast is for possible blizzard conditions tomorrow with 4-10” accumulation.  We’ll see what happens!

It’s almost 10 pm on Sunday night, so this will be a quick post.  Really this post is for Sue, as I promised to put up some photos of our Christmas decorations.  So … here ya go, girlfriend!

I confess to this being the earliest I have put up decorations, having them out and up about a week before Thanksgiving.  I know that’s early, but there was snow on the ground, it was cold, it’s our first holiday season in a sticks-n-bricks home again in about 8 years, and Dave and I both really like Christmas.

Christmas decorations box 11132017

Decorations box – items we used in the RV

Stocking from Scotland 11132017

The stocking Dave gave me Christmas 2005 in Scotland.  It became the doggies’ stocking after that.

In the RV, we had a small – about a foot high – tree that had fiber optic lights on it powered by a battery.  We wanted something a bit larger now that we have more room.  So we bought a 4-foot artificial tree, some ornaments, a topper and … icicles!

Tree icicles

I’d either forgotten how to do this or was the victim of poor packaging!

Christmas tree 11142017

The end result wasn’t bad, after all!  The “snow” at the bottom is the old-fashioned cotton kind, but has iridescent fibers in it, so it shimmers or “twinkles” a bit when the tree lights are on.  Pretty nifty, actually.

Window lights 11242017

That’s the little “RV” tree in the center.  That’s the front living room window.

Door wreath 11212017

Front door

Christmas office 11152017

My office

Last Wednesday, we drove down to the visitors center/park at the lake.  The town lighting ceremony was the weekend prior, but we didn’t attend.  That’s an evening of “lighting” downtown for the holidays, a parade, bonfire, and cider/hot cocoa at the visitors center.  Maybe next year! 

Lights at the lake 1

Trees in the park at the visitors center

Lights at the lake 2

Lights at the lake 3

Lights at the lake 4

It was really breezy that night, so the trees were swaying – interesting effect with the lights.

Snowshoes 11172017

Hey!  Look!  Now I just need some snow!  And figure out how to lace my boots to ‘em!

Car wash 12012017

Gotta get the car washed frequently up here with all the snow and salt.

Doggie sweaters 12012017

Bought some sweaters which will be donated to our local shelter.

Ciao for now!

Thanks for stopping by!  Ya’ll be safe out there, okay?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mother Nature Enters Reboot Mode

Front porch view 11042017

Our view from the porch until April.

So.  Here we are.  It’s early November and this is what our world looks like.  We’re anticipating that the view won’t change hardly at all until April. 

Mother Nature has entered reboot mode.

It gets so cold here that Mother Nature literally reboots herself.  It’s like the slate is wiped clean with the subzero cold and snow, ready to start over again with the arrival of Spring.   I dig that idea. 

This is one of the many reasons we decided to return to northern Minnesota.  No, we don’t ski or snowmobile.  We don’t ice skate or ice fish.  Dave doesn’t put knobby tires on the bikes and continue cycling. I may  take a shot at snowshoeing at some point, but that remains to be seen.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be housebound for months.  Dave has a short walk to work.  I can still walk when feasible, i.e., not blowing a gale (literally) and conditions outdoors are tolerable.  One still gets out and about with errands or whatever, but I do try to schedule my outings to days when it’s not actively storming.  The main reason for that is it’s just less messy with bringing in groceries and the like when it’s not actively snowing.

Not only does one still need to run these types of errands, but you really do need to get out  during Winter.  It would be too easy to sit indoors and become a total hermit.  Even if it’s just a stroll around the parking lot a few times, get out and acclimate, embrace the environment.

I’ve been known to fire up the outdoor grill during snowfall when we lived in Hibbing years ago.  Almost surreal, that.

Towns up here are equipped for harsh (yes, I used the term “harsh”  ) Winters.  Snowplows are of the “we ain’t kiddin’ around” variety, with plows on both the front and side.  

Betty in snow 02132014

When we were on-site security in New Jersey – February 2014.  That’s me clearing a path. What amazing times those were.  What adventures.  What memories!  We’ve done stuff, ya know?

A year ago, we were in Texas probably sweltering in the 80-degree November weather, occasionally commenting that we wondered if we’d ever see snow again.  Perhaps that’s when our idea of returning to Minnesota at some point began to emerge.

So here we are.  Momma Nature is in reboot mode.  We have it easy compared to the photo above.  Living in a 55+ community, management clears sidewalks and parking lot.  We don’t have to buy propane to fuel the furnace in our townhome.  Dave doesn’t have to get on the roof to clear snow.  Makes a difference!

Experienced my first Face Time chat a couple of days ago, connecting with a dear girlfriend from college days.  We visit via phone now then, but the addition of video to our “yap session” was such a joy!  We carried on like a couple of … college gals … and it was such fun!  Of course, visiting with her always does my soul good, but this was just about over the top fun.  We’ll be doing that more frequently in the future.

Life percolates along smoothly, and I am very grateful for that.  Seems like I have a lot to be grateful for these days. 

Better water the plants, then get geared up for another work day.  Yes, working from home is another thing I’m grateful for every  day.

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe out there, okay?