Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Autumn Is Coming. But Wait …

Autumn here in northern Minnesota is definitely making its presence known.  Well, except for today and tomorrow with highs in the upper 80s.  Even at that, it has been a stunningly gorgeous day out.  One evening a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a touch of Autumn in the air.  You know … that feeling that’s hard to describe.  Is it a change in humidity?  A slightly different scent to the air?  Not sure.  All I know is that it is a feeling, and it was there.  Sure enough, since then our weather has definitely been trending towards Autumn.  Except today and tomorrow but, even so, the warm temps have a different feel to them.  Mr. Sun comes to us from a slightly different angle these days, too.  Ran the A/C for a wee while at one point this afternoon, but other than that … we rarely have anything going having to do with temperature control in the house.

Windows open a lot of days lately.  How wonderful is that?

Winter boots in store 09012017

This year’s first spotting of winter-rated gear in Walmart last week.  Yes, those boots are rated for –25F.  Winter’s coming!

Scored my parka since last post, too.  I knew what I wanted – a Columbia parka like the one I had years ago when we lived in Hibbing.  Wasn’t sure I could find one locally and was prepared to order it from Columbia if I couldn’t find one here.  At the very least, I hoped I could find similar Columbia jackets to try on in order to get a feel for sizing. 

We have an L&M Fleet Supply here, so a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d go check them out.  Hadn’t been in one before but … yay!  It’s like Tractor Supply!  Woot!  We really, really enjoyed Tractor Supply up in New Jersey and picked up some quality clothing there, including winter wear.  Although L&M had not officially put out winter gear yet, I noticed a rack of Columbia men’s jackets.  Again, thought I could at least get an idea of sizing. Looking through the rack … wow!  There was the jacket.  Okay, so it’s a man’s jacket, but that’s fine.  It’s the same thing.  Best thing yet?  It was on sale at a price that would be less than if I ordered straight from Columbia.  Tried it on.  Checked it out thoroughly – took out the inner jacket and put it back in (it’s a 3-in-1 – waterproof outer with a removable fleece inner jacket, removable hood, etc.), tried all the zippers and pockets.  That puppy came home with me.  Score!

We also had a bit of celebration recently with the newest member of the Barnes clan making his appearance!  Weighing in at a bit over 8 pounds, Lachlan Joseph came into the world over in London, the first child of my youngest stepson and his wife, and my third step-grandson.  He’s sure a cutie, and we’re looking forward to our first Skype video chat with the new family tomorrow.

Isn’t technology cool?

I kept vigil from afar the past couple of weeks for friends and family first in Texas – specifically the Houston area- during Harvey and then again during Irma’s visit to Florida.   Everyone came through safely, although with some property damage from flooding in Houston. 

Say what you will about Facebook, but it does serve a purpose during times such as Harvey.  I was able to look up a post with rescue extraction phone numbers at 3 AM while on the phone with relatives in Houston in need of leaving their home due to flooding.  They were having no success with 911, but were able to reach someone at one of the Coast Guard numbers and were able to safely leave their home.  So yeah, Facebook and social media has its flaws, but … it can also provide a valuable service.

Cookie jars downtown 08232017

Cookie jars in the window of Raphaels Bakery Café in downtown Bemidji

Can’t say I have anything terribly exciting to report.  Life has been going on to the hum of our usual routine.  We look forward to our “weekends” and are grateful those two days can actually be spent relaxing.

Last Wednesday I spent just about the entire day in the kitchen cooking up Dave’s meals for the coming work week and … I made a cake!

Cake kit 09062017

Spotted this kit at the store and thought I’d give it a whirl.

Dave and I don’t eat a whole lot in general, and a regular-sized cake would just go to waste between the two of us.  This seemed like just the size, so thought I’d try it out.

Cake 09062017

It turned out pretty darn well!  Yes, I still have a plastic cake container(?) – not sure what the correct term is.  It’s not exactly a stand, but it has the cover and is definitely designed for a cake.  Hadn’t used it since the Montana RV rally in Lancaster, PA back in 2012.

Autumn outdoor decorations 09062017

My outdoor Autumn decorations.

I think that about wraps up this post.  My days are full and I rarely have quiet time to simply write.  Oh well.  One of these days …

Until then, Life is Guid, indeed!  We continue to be grateful every day for being up here in the Minnesota Northwoods!

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




Sunday, August 20, 2017

In A Groove

We seem to have a nice groove going on here.  Our work week is Thursday through Monday.  Although we miss most of the festivities around town and the area on Saturdays and Sundays (and believe me, there are a lot of festivities!), we do enjoy the uniqueness of being off on weekdays.  I suppose quite a few people would consider our life uneventful but, ya know what?  We’ve experienced eventful during our years as full-time RVers.  Besides that, neither of us has to be entertained by external stimulus.  Age creeping in?  No, don’t think so.  I’ve always found enjoyment in simply “be-ing.” 

Now that’s not to say we don’t get out and about or are just cocoons in our comfy recliners.

Park 3 08092017

We found exercise equipment at a local park on one of our walks together recently.

Park 2 08092017

I thought this was pretty neat.  It’s a rope climbing … cube?

My work is keeping me busy, which is almost an understatement these days.  My job is morphing and expanding yet once again, but I’m absolutely okay with that.  My boss scheduled a virtual happy hour recently, and we four gals had a good video visit via Skype.  Much needed for all of us after a crazy week, and it was nice to put faces and voices with the other two gals I work with.  We communicate and collaborate during working hours via Skype messaging and email, which is wonderful and productive, but it was fun to hang out “in person” with video chat.

Virtual happy hour … what a great idea!  I’m looking forward to more of those.  I think we’re gonna need ‘em.  Ha!  I’m so grateful for my telecommuting job and my colleagues.  We rock!

Plants 08022017

We get morning sun through our front living room window, so the plants catch some rays.

Porch flowers 08092017

Speaking of plants, I got a couple of shepherd’s hooks and hanging baskets

You see quite a few shepherd’s hooks with hanging baskets in our community, since actually planting something in the flowerbeds is taboo.  You can place things in the flowerbeds, just can’t dig in ‘em. Quite a few cottages have really nice and cute patios set up.  We haven’t done much because we don’t have a garage yet and, therefore, no place to store things when Mr. Winter arrives. 

Hanging basket 08092017

Dave commented a few times about how nice other residents’ hanging baskets were, so … I scored these on sale at Home Depot!  Hopefully we’ll have a garage by next Summer and can spruce up our patio a bit more.  At least we have some color out there now, and flowering plants are always nifty.

Last week a Healing Powwow was held at the hospital, which is right down the street.  I could see the marquee tent set up and, when I saw the colors being taken in and started hearing drums, I bugged out of work and walked down.

I hadn’t been to a powwow in around 10 years.  This was a small one, but oh so very awesome.  The “real deal,” not something contrived for tourists.  After the Grand Entrance, dance was opened to anyone/everyone there, not just the registered dancers.  Well …

I could hear my mentor Lyn whispering in my ear about embracing Life, joy, the moment and who I am spiritually.  I think I also felt her give me solid yet loving nudge.  The spiritual 2x4, if you will.  So …

I danced. 

Just a few minutes.  But in those few minutes, my heart was full and I experienced such joy.  Amazing.  It was one of “those” moments.  I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

I was away from my office for less than an hour.  How terrific is that?

You can see a short video of the Grand Entrance and read about the powwow here.


Rainbow half 08042017

We have seen several rainbows, including doubles like this one, during our time here so far.  We could actually see both ends of this one …

Rainbow other half 08042017

I need to learn how to take a panoramic photo with my phone.  Here’s the other end.

Sunset 08122017

Sunset from our patio.

So today is Sunday and my day for housecleaning.  That’s working out to be a good schedule.  Once a week means no chore is really difficult because I’m doing it weekly, and it doesn’t take that long.  That also sets us up for a nice, fresh home on our days off and I have those days relatively chore-free.  Even though I get groceries and do laundry over those 2 days, it still leaves plenty of time to chill out and enjoy quality time together.

Running errands is pleasant and stress-free here.  Doesn’t take much time, either, in a small town.  I’m also giddy at the fact that I don’t have to perform Twister moves to clean the bathroom like I did in the RV!

This “weekend” we’re planning another trip to the secondhand bookstore downtown to restock Dave and perhaps a wee road trip to the town of Blackduck.  There’s a scenic drive on that route and our Wee Beastie (the car) could use a good outing. 

Yes, Life is Guid!

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Living Near a Lake

We’re finding that living in a town with a lake such as our Lake Bemidji is quite pleasant.  This weekend will be the Dragon Boat Festival, festivities starting tomorrow and culminating with the main race on Saturday.  There will be entertainment, vendors and the like … you know, a festival!

It being our “Saturday,” we went down to the shore to check out what was happening so far.

Practice dragon boats 08012017

The boats will be decorated for the actual race.

Dragon boat team coming in 08012017

Team coming in from practice run.

Rain coming Lake Bemidji 08012017

Rain tonight and tomorrow is in the forecast.  Looks like it, doesn’t it?

Dock at lake 08012017

Hey! I got one of those “dock” photos of my own!

Me at lake with Shaynowishkung  08012017

Yours truly with Shaynowishkung, “Chief Bemidji.”

Flowers on path at lake 08012017

Along one of the walking paths.

Today’s weather has been stunning.  So much so that, after Dave returned from his morning bike ride and I had a walk, we returned to C.K. Dudley’s for a midafternoon lunch on their patio. 

Can’t beat this.

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of Sanford AirMed, so I walked down to the open house at the hospital.  Tours were being given of the air ambulance.  Since it was so close and they fly (low) over the house on their landing approach at the hospital, I had to go check it out.  Well, I also just dig flying things.

Sanford AirMed open house 07312017

I’ve flown in choppers before, but thankfully not an air ambulance.

So far, it’s another nice weekend here in northern Minnesota.  We’re planning on a stay-at-home day due to the weather forecast, but I have cooking to do and a few projects around here.  We don’t get bored, even if it’s kicking back in our recliners to watch a movie … or two.  Nothing wrong with that on a day off!

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





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Another Week Flew By

And so another week has flown by here in northern Minnesota.  Is that we’re of an age where time does indeed seem to move faster, is it our work schedule with Thursday being our “Monday” and Monday our “Friday,” or is it that Life is flowing along at a fairly smooth and pleasant pace?

Perhaps a combination, or all, of the above!

With Thursday being the start of our work week, everyone else’s weekend is almost upon us.  Sunday is my housecleaning day, with the start of that after Dave goes to work.  By evening, I’m “done and dusted,” literally, and settle down at my desk for a few hours’ work.  When everyone else in the working world is bemoaning the fact that it’s Monday, we’re doing our happy dance that it’s our “Friday” and our weekend is about to commence.  Yay us!

Whatever it is, I’ll take it. 

Remember the celebration of the new Cancer Center in my previous post?  There was a giveaway drawing one could enter, which I did.  Didn’t give it a second thought.  Heck, I never win anything.  Of course, I typically don’t enter contests and don’t play the lottery.  Yesterday morning I received a phone call telling me I had won!  Well, alrighty!  Swung by the Sanford Health offices while out running errands and came away with this puppy:

Rolling cooler 07242017

Rolling cooler with retractable handle

Pretty spiffy, eh?  We currently don’t have a small cooler, so this is great when we decide to pack a lunch for a day outing.  It may also come in handy for grocery shopping if I need to make several stops.  Cheers to Sanford Health!

Here’s some synchronicity for you.  The building I thought I should go to for the prize pickup was the “wrong” one.  I ended up in the Center for Optimum Health, School of Integrative Medicine; again, this is at the end of the street where I walk, across from the hospital.  Turns out the proprietress, Jeanne is – among other things – a Reiki person!  We had a lovely visit and agreed my ending up there was certainly no “accident.” All sorts of groovy happenings take place there … Tai Chi, yoga, Reiki, massage of various kinds, and Reflexology are among the offerings.

With rain in the forecast and having done grocery shopping yesterday morning, this is a stay-at-home day for yours truly.  Accomplished this just a while ago …

Living room with drums 07252017

Drums are finally up and into the Light again!

First time my drums have been hung since 2010, as it just wasn’t practical to do so while living in the RV.  During that time, they were snug and protected in their respective bags and cases.  They have been with me since 2002/2003, have taken part in countless drum circles over the years, and have served as teaching aides in my Reiki classes.  It does my heart and soul good to see them on a daily basis once again.  Makes our cottage feel even more like home.  Yep, there’s my Bear, the artwork created after I explained what I would like to see on the drum, and my relationship with Bear.  Dear Bear.  Guardian, Protector, Giver of Strength, and Provider of Comfort and Peace.

I hear you saying, “Bear? Really?”  Yeah, Bear.  Turns out I didn’t consciously realize Bear’s role/presence in my life until about 2002.  He’d always been there, I just had not realized it … or Bear hadn’t chosen to reveal his constant presence until then.

Bear Dad

Standing 2”, this fella has been with me throughout my life since the day my Dad got him for me on a trip to Yellowstone.  That’s 50+ years at this point.

Once again, as with many things spiritual, this is an influence of my Dad.  More of how Bear has been a presence in my life over the years, but the wee Bear above has been with me since that day in Yellowstone when I was a kid.  He went to college with me and has survived all the moves to different homes and my life in general since that day long ago.  Okay, he’s missing his right ear now, but still stands strong.  Posed for the photo above, his normal habitat is on the shelf of my desk.

Dave is back from his bike ride around Lake Bemidji and other parts, and the laundry is just about done, so before long it will be time for dinner and whatever else we get into this evening.

Ciao for now!

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










Wednesday, July 19, 2017

5 Days and 5 Years

“Peace to all within these walls.” 

Cancer center sign 07182017

I’ve mentioned before that the hospital is right down the street from us.  More buildings related to healthcare are scattered about this area; the home health/hospice offices are right next door.  Well, not right next door; there’s a good-sized grassy area and ditch (both nicely manicured) separating our properties.  Anyway, the hospital is within walking distance and is on my walking route, so I pass by it all the time.

Cancer center celebration marquee 07182017

Marquee last night, all ready for today’s event.

Tonight is the celebration for the new Cancer Center being built; we can see the construction from here.  There’s a picnic, program and beam signing, the latter being the reason I wanted to attend.  So, I strolled down the street a bit ago, chatted with a few people and then signed the beam with the phrase at the top of this post.

Cancer center celebration 1 07192017

We all want a cure for every cancer.  We don’t want anyone to hear the words, “I’m sorry, but you have cancer.”  We don’t want anyone to have to endure the path of being diagnosed with cancer at any point in their life.  We want everyone with such a diagnosis to come out the other side hearing the words, “No evidence of disease.” Every. Year. Thereafter.

Sometimes, though, all one can hope to attain is peace.  Peace when struggling to come to terms with one’s diagnosis.  Peace when undergoing treatment.  Peace when resuming life after treatment.  Peace at end of life.

Hence, the phrase I chose.

Cancer center celebration 2 07192017

Today is the fifth “cancerversary” of hearing my second cancer diagnosis.  The synchronicity could not be ignored.  I felt a need need to sign the beam, my inscription being instilled with energy of hope, strength and … peace.

Cancer center celebration 3 07192017

This Cancer Center is going to be great!  All services – oncologists, chemo center, radiation therapy and so forth - will be under one roof instead of being spread about the neighborhood.  A boutique for cancer patients will also be part of the new Center.  Kudos to Sanford Health!

Five Days

We are in the late afternoon of Day 5 of our vacation-at-home holiday.  It sure is/has been a great one, and we’re not done yet!  For the sixth day in a row, Dave was out on the bike this morning after watching a bit of the Tour de France.  I did a few things around here while he was gone, and then we treated ourselves to a late lunch at Mi Rancho, the amazing Mexican restaurant here in town.

A bit after our return, I went down to the Cancer Center celebration, as above.  My sole purpose in going, really, was to sign the beam.  Mission accomplished, I returned home shortly after that.  I’m about to wrap up this blog post, and I suspect there will be a chess session on the porch in a wee while.

We have really, really enjoyed our holiday.  We haven’t spent a bunch of money, there was no travel to a destination, we did a few things but weren’t rushing around with a schedule, and it was all done in the comfort of sleeping in our own home every night.  Such a deal!

There were a few home improvement things done – a few “nesting” activities – and we’re just about set for Winter when it appears in what will seem like a short few weeks.  Yes, I know it’s July, but this is Minnesota!  Ha!  We’ll need to add some winter outerwear geared for this climate, but house-wise, we’re settled in, looking and feeling cozy.

I totally like our cottage/townhome – not just the floorplan and location, but the way it’s shaping up, the way we’re making it “our own.”

Life is, indeed, guid!

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