Saturday, June 24, 2017

“Summer Arrives on August 21”

That’s what my aunt used to say about Summer in Minnesota.  It was more like, “Summer arrives on August 21, at 2:15 in the afternoon.”  We may be looking at that this year and, you know what?  I’m okay with that!  It’s a tad after 11 AM and 56F outside with overcast skies.  Sure is looking like rain, which is in the forecast, so I may be taking Dave to work.  I’m okay with that, too!

Sherry, (In the Direction of Our Dreams) yes, I do play the frame drums.  Well, not so much now because I haven’t found a drum circle here yet or, rather, a drum circle hasn’t found me.  You know how that goes.  From about 2003-2005, I was a regular in a circle some of us gals started back in Brenham, TX.  Two or three of us took yoga together at the health food store, which was this lovely log building.  Yoga classes were held in a big room upstairs.  So, one of the gals asked me after class, “Would you be interested in getting a drum circle going?”  And we did!  New Moon circles became a ritual (pun absolutely intended!) for us ladies, and our group grew, as did my drum collection.

My Bear drum was custom designed and painted, and embodies my Spirit Animal Bear.  That’s my Spirit Drum, and I don’t lend it out at circles.  The others were available for folks to try out at our gatherings … but not Bear. I really didn’t know what it would look like until I received the drum.  I had spoken with the vendor about “my Bear” and he relayed those thoughts, impressions, and feelings to the artist.  The result was amazing.  And perfect.

Fast forward to 2008 or so, I’m remarried and we were living in the Austin area.  I took a freebie djembe class at Drumz in Austin and was hooked.  Or was it addicted? Teehee! Ended up with my own djembe, took classes with Sherry Gingras (owner of Drumz) and participated in area circles which she facilitated.  What a joyous hoot those were!  A church in my neighborhood graciously allowed me to hold circles at their facility; however, I left the area before getting that one really established.

How the heck this turned into a drumming post … I have no idea!  Ha!  That’s sort of the way both blogging and drumming seem to go.  They just happen  sometimes.

Going along with that theme, one of the “happenings” in town this summer will be a healing powwow at the medical center.  How convenient is that?  I can see the hospital from here.  I haven’t been to a powwow almost 10 years, and now I’ll be able to walk to one!

Well, it’s our “Wednesday,” and pretty soon we’ll both be heading to work.  I may take Dave today, as it’s already been raining a bit and looks like more on the way.  Then I’ll come back home, have some lunch and settle down here at my desk again for my workday.

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


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Groovy Weekend and Other Such Haps

We’ve been busy since I last posted.  Busy with our routine schedules, but we’ve also done some fun things.  This weekend was totally groovy.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to say that.

Storms 06212017

We’ve had storms this evening, and the weather sirens were cranked up a couple of times.

We traveled about 100 miles east to Hibbing, where we lived from 2005 until 2007, and where my uncle (in his 90s now) still resides.  We’ve been trying to get over there for several weeks on our days off, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating.  Yesterday was the day!  Once we reached Grand Rapids, we were in familiar territory and traveling back in time.  Dave once worked a few weeks at the paper mill in GR during his time as a pipefitter back then.  The paper mill is still in operation, as is the wee hotel where he stayed.  Crazy.  Grand Rapids to Hibbing was totally familiar, and we kept pointing out landmarks we remembered.

Road construction was evident in Hibbing, as it was all along the route from here to there.  Summertime is when road crews are able to make necessary repairs, so delays are just a fact of life up here.  Sadly, Hibbing is looking even more depressed and stagnant with the passage of these 10 years since we lived there.  Essentially dependent on the taconite mining industry which is pretty much nonexistent now, the town simply is not thriving.  More businesses have closed, including the Kentucky Fried Chicken that had been there forever.  (We learned that from my uncle.)  One of our fave restaurants is long gone, and they did a pretty good business.  Lowe’s opened in 2006, and that has been the last major player to enter the Hibbing scene.  There really is just nothing going on with the town … no attempts at revitalization, etc.  The current economy cannot sustain that, and there have been apparently no attempts to boost income with any sort of tourism and so forth.

That aside, we did cruise by the two residences where we lived.  One was a duplex, and it looked pretty sad … certainly the tenants and landlord are not keeping up the place as we did.  The other house we rented is now up for sale, and the yard looked pretty overgrown. Funny, we had both forgotten how we painted the cement front porch and steps; however, driving down the street to the house, that memory was suddenly a vivid recollection. 

We had an outstanding visit with my uncle.  He and I speak every week to 2 weeks on the phone, but I honestly never expected to see him again.  So very good to sit with him in his living room and talk, and to exchange hugs and kisses.

We made it home safe and sound that evening with carry-out pizza for our meal in the coziness of our own place here. 

Today … wow, today!  This week is the 2017 Air Race Classic – a cross-country race for women pilots from Maryland to New Mexico – and Bemidji Regional Airport is one of the checkpoints.  Awesome!  After speaking with the airport last week, I knew the majority of the racers were anticipated today.  Racers have the option of doing a flyby, landing for fuel, or stopping for the night.  (Racers have to be landed by sunset each day.)  I experienced an almost-buzz walking into the supermarket.  Sitting at the stoplight coming home from the market, I experienced a honest-to-goodness buzz.  Whoohoo!  Yes, I was the crazy lady sitting in my car whooping and laughing.  “Oh my gosh!!  That was such a rush! “  Once home, I was getting some things out of the car and another racer was approaching overhead.  My neighbor/friend was out, so I pointed to the plane and called her name.  She saw it.  We saw several more while visiting and, yes, we were the two silvered-hair “crazy ladies” waving.  I had to run to Walmart for a few things, and I noticed on my way out that she had indeed gotten out chairs and was set for more viewing.  I heard probably 5-6 planes buzz over Walmart while I was inside.

So I basically did my marketing and shopping walking around the stores grinning like a Cheshire cat.

I’ve been able to follow race progress with the interactive map, and even listen to pilot-control tower chatter, so it’s been a pretty fun couple of days. 

It is experiences such as this I had been missing until we moved here.  Experiences I had not had, really, since we were in New Jersey.  Moments that cause me to laugh outright with joy, to “whoop!” and that cause my soul to soar.  Sure do like living here.

Back to between last post and our weekend …

Lake view 06142017

We took a stroll around Diamond Point Park at Lake Bemidji after attending the library book sale.

Totem at BSU 06142017

Totem on the campus of Bemidji State University at Diamond Point Park.

Treasures 06142017

More treasures being unpacked and enjoying being out in the Light again.

Drums 06142017

My drums will go on a wall somewhere, just not sure yet (drums are bigger than this photo seems).

Djembe 06142017

Took my djembe for a wee spin on the porch.  It still sounds and feels great!

Rocks on shelf

Picked up this shelf for my stones at the antiques flea market recently.  Good find for $4.00.

Bookcase 06212017

Went to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store today to check out a cedar chest posted online.  (We’re still looking for an entryway bench of some sort for where we take off shoes.)  While it was in very good condition and was a quality piece at a very reasonable price, it just didn’t say, “Take me home.”  This wee bookcase, however, did whisper those words to me and, at $3.00, how could I resist?  A dusting, cleaning and some furniture polish and … perfect!

That pretty much catches up from last post until now.    Tomorrow we’re back to work.  The days and weeks seem to be moving along at a pretty good clip.  That’s fine, because we’ve scheduled a few days off in July for a “staycation” and some R&R.  Who needs to go somewhere else when there’s so much to explore in our new hometown and the surrounding area!

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





 



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Too Many Mosquitos for Photos

Pretty much had the day to play today so, while Dave was off on the bike, I took the Wee Beastie out for a bit of a run.

I headed out to Cass Lake, which is indeed a lake and a town.  Located in Cass County, MN, the town is within the boundaries of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. I stopped at the rest area just on the other side of Cass Lake (the town) that overlooks Cass Lake (the lake) and, although I could have gotten a couple of good photos from viewing points there, I didn’t.  Why?  Well, because as soon as I parked, the car was pretty much swarmed by mosquitos and what appeared to be smallish mayflies.  Yep, you get that out by the lakes in Spring/Summer here. 

Cass Lake (the lake) is rather picturesque, as seen from U.S. Hwy 2.

Today has been the first day we’ve had sunshine in … well … quite a few days, and the high was in the mid (?) 60s.  Nice!  This was the first time I’ve had Wee Beastie out on a highway, and I’m pleased with WB’s performance.  I even opened the solid cover of the sunroof and enjoyed the sunshine. 

Next time out, I think I’ll take that same route to Cass Lake, a bit more down Hwy 2 to Scenic Hwy 39 North, through Chippewa National Forest up to Blackduck (a town), and then head back home via US-71.  That should make a nice loop.

Still, I enjoyed my wee road trip and finally got to see what Wee Beastie will do performance-wise.

Once back in town, I stopped off at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see what they have.  Still looking for the odd bit of furniture, etc.  Never know what’s going to show up in a secondhand place and prowling through is always fun.  Didn’t come across anything, but at least I’ve been there.  I kept missing the days/hours they are open lately, and it was a fun stop.

With all the rain and the trees doing their annual “dusting dance,” Wee Beastie needed a bath. 

Car wash 05242017

Sort of patriotic with the red, white and blue

The truck was so big I always hand washed it, so I hadn’t been in a car wash in close to 10 years.  What a hoot! 

We opted not to attend the community fish fry, enjoying a chicken stir-fry here at home.  We can see the big tent set up for the event from our front porch and, in fact, had been commenting on that for a couple of days.  It finally dawned on me yesterday it is over by the Paul Bunyan Communications building (which we can see from here but I didn’t realize it until now) and that’s what it is!

Fish fry 05242017

If you really look, you can see cars parked along the road across from the big white tent.

Small town, yes?  That, along with the fact that we’re on this side of town and there’s really no obstructions to our views.

Tomorrow we’re back to work, so we’re just enjoying the last evening of our weekend.

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

“Friendship between two persons depends upon the patience of one.”  -  Native American proverb

 

 

 

Too Many Mosquitos for Photos

Pretty much had the day to play today so, while Dave was off on the bike, I took the Wee Beastie out for a bit of a run.

I headed out to Cass Lake, which is indeed a lake and a town.  Located in Cass County, MN, the town is within the boundaries of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. I stopped at the rest area just on the other side of Cass Lake (the town) that overlooks Cass Lake (the lake) and, although I could have gotten a couple of good photos from viewing points there, I didn’t.  Why?  Well, because as soon as I parked, the car was pretty much swarmed by mosquitos and what appeared to be smallish mayflies.  Yep, you get that out by the lakes in Spring/Summer here. 

Cass Lake (the lake) is rather picturesque, as seen from U.S. Hwy 2.

Today has been the first day we’ve had sunshine in … well … quite a few days, and the high was in the mid (?) 60s.  Nice!  This was the first time I’ve had Wee Beastie out on a highway, and I’m pleased with WB’s performance.  I even opened the solid cover of the sunroof and enjoyed the sunshine. 

Next time out, I think I’ll take that same route to Cass Lake, a bit more down Hwy 2 to Scenic Hwy 39 North, through Chippewa National Forest up to Blackduck (a town), and then head back home via US-71.  That should make a nice loop.

Still, I enjoyed my wee road trip and finally got to see what Wee Beastie will do performance-wise.

Once back in town, I stopped off at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see what they have.  Still looking for the odd bit of furniture, etc.  Never know what’s going to show up in a secondhand place and prowling through is always fun.  Didn’t come across anything, but at least I’ve been there.  I kept missing the days/hours they are open lately, and it was a fun stop.

With all the rain and the trees doing their annual “dusting dance,” Wee Beastie needed a bath. 

Car wash 05242017

Sort of patriotic with the red, white and blue

The truck was so big I always hand washed it, so I hadn’t been in a car wash in close to 10 years.  What a hoot! 

We opted not to attend the community fish fry, enjoying a chicken stir-fry here at home.  We can see the big tent set up for the event from our front porch and, in fact, had been commenting on that for a couple of days.  It finally dawned on me yesterday it is over by the Paul Bunyan Communications building (which we can see from here but I didn’t realize it until now) and that’s what it is!

Fish fry 05242017

If you really look, you can see cars parked along the road across from the big white tent.

Small town, yes?  That, along with the fact that we’re on this side of town and there’s really no obstructions to our views.

Tomorrow we’re back to work, so we’re just enjoying the day evening of our weekend.

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

“Friendship between two persons depends upon the patience of one.”  -  Native American proverb

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Officially Minnesotan

I can’t say that I have anything earth-shattering to share today.   We continue to give our new life a few tweaks here and there. 

I’m officially an Minnesota resident!  Woot-woot!  Last week I got myself down to the driver’s license exam office, took and passed my written exam.  That’s one more thing accomplished.  It was a bit nerve-wracking.  I mean, after all, I’ve been driving 40+ years, have driven coast-to-coast, north-to-south borders, in major cities like LA, Houston, Atlanta, etc., and towed our RV for 7 years with no mishaps.  Well, ya do what ya gotta do, so I just went and did it. 

Living room evening

The drapery hardware over the window on the left was not working properly, but one of the maintenance guys brought a replacement.  Now we can actually open and close the drapes on that window.  Yay!  Thank goodness for that. 

Lake by Sanford Center 05102017

We stopped by the South Shore area of Lake Bemidji last weekend while out toodling around.  Yes, it was pretty darn chilly and windy.  There’s a concession building of some sort behind us which you can’t see; I think it will be opening pretty soon, as the official start of the fishing season was this past Saturday.   This is down by the Sanford Center, which is our civic center here.   What you also can’t see in the photo is the bike station off to the left.  The station has an air pump and some of the stations have tool kits.  Cycling is huge here in Minnesota. 

Cycling the loop around Lake Bemidji is quite popular.  You can read about that here.

Some days we feel like we should pinch ourselves, that we’re really here.   At times during the dreaming/planning stages of this lifestyle change, we wondered if it were really going to be possible.  So far, we feel we made the right decision at the right time to make this jump.  I feel more that way about the car, the Wee Beastie,  (Ford Edge Sport) after having The Beast (Ford F-350) as part of our lives for so long.  The Beast sure was a great truck, but I am enjoying Wee Beastie.  Prowling around, exploring and parking are so much easier with WB, and it sure is a fun car to drive!

Our weekends now are relaxed.  There are no maintenance chores to be done, such as flushing the hot water heater, etc.  When the wind is howling, there are no slide toppers flapping accompanied by the concern that something might rip.  You get the idea. 

Seems like we have the time and energy to do a bit of exploring as above, to just chill out in our recliners watching a program on Netflix and to even doze a bit. 

Speaking of Netflix, we have been watching Shetland, and will wrap up the current series tonight.  It’s an excellent police drama, better than I expected.  Even if you’re not into the story, the scenery is worth taking a look at the program.

Lake 2 05172017

View of the lake today. How cool to be able to stop by the lake while out running an errand. Literally cool today again, in the 50s, misting rain and a bit breezy.  #smalltownlife #minnesotalife

Our communications company is a cooperative and next week is the annual meeting and Cooperative Celebration.  The fire department and a local grocery store are putting on a fish fry, and there will be entertainment for both young and old.  We’re contemplating attending, as we are members via having our internet service with the company.  Yeah, I know.  I can’t really believe it, either.  Us? At a community event?  We’ll see how things pan out, whether or not we go.

We’re still trying to get over to see my uncle, but either weather or colds (yeah, we’ve both got one) have been delaying that day trip.  It will be a nice run for the Wee Beastie and, who knows?  We might even sneak in a burger at the Thirsty Moose, which was a fave of ours when we lived in Hibbing.  Burger?  Pizza?  Decisions, decisions!  

Speaking of food, I want to make up some sausage kolaches and then it will be about time to put together the steak bridies for our dinner tonight.  The other nice thing about our life now is that it is cooler.  We’re running in the 50s-60s while Texas is heating up in the upper 80s-low 90s.  It’s cool enough here that cooking is actually a pleasure and, hence, I tend to think up more things to prepare – real meals again like when we were in Jersey.

My body really appreciates the cooler climate, and I feel much better. 

Ciao for now!

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

“Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own brining up and his sense of humor.” – Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman),Santee Sioux,1858-1939

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Month Ago …

A month ago, we were kickin’ back in a nice hotel in Fargo, ND for our last night on the road to our new home and town.  A month already!

Interesting how quickly one acclimates to not living in an RV.  There were a few times at first when taking a shower or at the kitchen sink, I’d have the fleeting thought, “Hmmm, maybe I better empty the tank.”  Crazy, eh? 

Transitioning from one lifestyle to another, any lifestyle, combined with making a life in a new town can leave one with a sense of displacement, if you will.  Thankfully, I’m not suffering from that feeling.  I do know there are friends in Texas I will never see again, and that tugs at my heart. 

I seem to have the ability to make wherever I am feel like home.  Perhaps it’s being exposed to the RV life beginning as a babe in arms.  Perhaps it’s having relocated several times during my adult years.  Heck, perhaps I’m good at “nesting.”  Perhaps wherever Dave and I am together, that’s home.

Tomorrow will be a month since our arrival, and it seems in some ways as if we’ve been here for years.  Doesn’t feel strange at all.  College Station was bewildering to me with so much traffic, so many businesses, endless buildings one after another … I hated going anywhere and, therefore, ventured out only when necessary.

I towed our rig all over the country and loved it, but going out in a bigger city … no thanks.

Here is completely different.  Landmarks are readily available.  Streets are laid out logically.  There’s not so much traffic that you can’t see around you.  You get the idea.

Back to nesting …

Living room 05062017

Front section of living room

The basics are in the living room, along with 3 bicycles that aren’t in the photo.  There’s some things still on the floor, awaiting acquisition of another bookcase/cabinet/whatever.  My hoop drums are in those bags; the drums will be hung on the walls, but just not sure where yet.  The bikes … well, the bikes will have to stay where they are until we get a garage.  We have the basics for now, and it’s rather cozy.  Area rug, perhaps a small sofa or loveseat at some point, some type of bookcase/cabinet, hanging pictures/whatever for that loooong wall the living room to the right in the photo … those things will come.

Walk 05040271

Walking road

Took my first walk a few days ago, along the road that we see from our porch.  That’s the hospital in the distance on the right, including the medivac chopper that just took off.  It has an excellent sidewalk; up and down 2.5 times and I’ve logged my 2 miles.  Not much traffic, and I walk right by the hospital in case I were to keel over for some reason. Ha!  Quite a few folks have the same idea, as this is a popular walking route.

Last Wednesday (our “Sunday”), we ventured forth to Mi Rancho, the (only) Mexican restaurant in town.  I hear you asking, “What?  You went to eat Mexican food in Minnesota??  I know, I know.  I, too, was skeptical.  Extremely skeptical.  They boast as serving “authentic” Mexican food.  Yeah, right.

All I can say is …

OH MY GOD.

This Texas gal had some of the best Mexican food she’s put a fork to!  Not exactly Tex-Mex, but leaning more towards the “authentic.”  I’ve had both, living throughout Texas, including El Paso, where I’ve enjoyed meals over the Juarez, albeit years ago.  I was totally surprised.  Cute d├ęcor, clean establishment, warm chips, excellent service, and food served on a “don’t touch it, it’s hot” plate at a decent price, especially when you have leftovers for a meal the next day.  We both gave it thumbs up, and we’ll go back.

Yeah, blew my mind, too.  Minnesota, of all places.  Northern Minnesota, at that.

We’re coming up on our weekend starting tomorrow with no concrete plans, although I do have a few errands to run sometime during our two days off.  The weather is looking good with highs in the mid to lower 60s, so I imagine Dave will get in some bike time.  We’re sure enjoying the relief of being out of the heat of Texas!

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

“It has come to me through the bushes that you are not yet all united; take time and become united.”  -  Big Bear

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

All Before Two in the Afternoon

If you know me, you know I’ve never been a morning person.  Well, only if I happen to wake up naturally.

My body seems to be happier here, and most mornings I feel pretty darn good.  Today was no exception, and I was out toodling around town well before noon.  I had a list of errands.  I was on a quest of sorts.

I’m still looking for a couple of things for our new place.  Okay, three things at the moment:  1) a bench – storage or not – for our entryway where we take off our shoes.  Right now one of our camp chairs has this duty, but we’d like to retire it to the porch and put something more fitting in its place.  2)  What I’m calling a shadowbox for my collection of healing rocks.  They were displayed this way on a wall in my Brenham home, and I’m waiting to take them out of their jewelry bag until I find just the right thing.  3)  A set of coasters.

So.  My errands accomplished in about 2 hours’ time were:  1) checked out the local meat market; 2) stopped by the liquor store for beer; 3) leisurely went through 2 resale shops downtown and then an antiques store I just happened upon; 4) Walmart; and 5) grocery store.

It’s grand to live in a place where there are places I actually want to check out and then to be able to get to them with ease and without directions and encounter minimal traffic.  Whereas I literally used to dread going even for groceries nearby in College Station, I look forward to getting out and exploring where we are now.

This is made even easier since we now have a much smaller vehicle.  There’s quite a big difference between parking the Edge and finding adequate parking for a 1-ton pickup!

I laughed at myself the other day as I was entering our community after running an errand.  My tunes were playing in the car ( not exactly quietly but the windows were rolled up), and I thought … “How funny to be listening to Lady Gaga as I arrive to my home in a senior community.”  Okay, I giggled at myself.  I don’t feel  like a senior citizen, but the birthdate on my driver’s license begs to differ.

No photos to share this time.  I’ve been up to my eyeballs with work, taking care of routine personal business and items related to our relocation.  We’re doing well, and enjoying the first day of our weekend this week.

Thanks for stopping by!

“We like our religion, and do not want another.”  -  Red Jacket (Sagoyewatha), Seneca, 1811

Monday, May 1, 2017

Blogland Seems Quieter …

When I started blogging about our adventures as full-time RVers, there were so many others out there.  Some were veterans and some were new to the life like us.  I was a pretty active contributor to “Blogland” for years, not only writing my own posts but following along with the lives of others doing the same.  One gets to feel you “know” others through reading their posts and mutual comments back and forth on each others’ sites. We even had the pleasure of meeting Phyllis and Leonard (My Own Highways in My Mind) while in New Jersey.  It does become a community of sorts, albeit mostly virtual.

The number of blogs I followed regularly has thinned out a bit, their voices becoming less frequent or altogether silent.  I know some have put down roots, either selling their RV as we did or using it for shorter journeys.  I have no idea what has happened to others; they simply stopped blogging.  I rarely posted from about 2014 until now; there really wasn’t anything to contribute with our being stationary in a park and with our life schedules.  

Anyhoo, my thoughts turn now and then to those who have drifted off into the mist of “Blogland.”

Sherry (In the Direction of Our Dreams), you asked about the garages here.

Detached garages

Some of the detached garages in our cul-de-sac

It’s not that we’re waiting for them to be built; we’re waiting for one to become vacant.  Most of the townhomes do not have a garage, but you can get one of these detached ones when they are available.  I mentioned in my last post, there was one when we put down our deposit (while still in Texas), but I didn’t anticipate downsizing our truck 2 days after our arrival.  Ha!  Silly me.  There are a few townhomes that have an attached garage, but the rent is quite a bit more and those naturally face into the parking lot.  We like our privacy, being on the back side of our 4-plex and overlooking the fields, etc.  Check back with me on that in January!

While we’re talking Minnesota, Winter, and living in both those …

Minnesota fire hydrant

 That stick is so the fire hydrant can be found in the snow.

Funny … we have relocated literally across this great nation of ours, leaving my native Texas where we had friends.  You might think I’d be “homesick” or feeling displaced a bit.  Not so at all.  This just feels like … home.  Home is not wood, mortar and bricks.  It’s … well … it’s wherever we choose to make our home.

A friend once remarked when visiting my hotel room during the solo trip I made years ago back to Texas from, interestingly, Minnesota – that I could be in a hotel room for 5 minutes and it looked like my home.  Yeah, I had a photo of me and Dave, etc.  Did the same thing during a hospital stay in New Jersey during 2012.  It was a scheduled stay, so I took my laptop, a fave blanket from a friend, and a couple of other things that give me comfort and strength.  The nurses said it looked like an apartment and not a hospital room.

It’s about having those wee things … that blanket from a friend, a special photo, or whatever … that bring a sense of grounding, peace, strength and comfort.

Well, I finished working a while ago and Dave is working late, so I’ve had this chance to visit with you a bit.  He’ll be heading home soon, so I’ll say ciao for now!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be safe out there!

“Together the two paths form a north-south road, the good Red Road.  This is your spiritual path, the one where you will be happiest.” – Medicine Hawk, Council Chief of the Shadowlight Medicine Clan

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Gentle Reminder from Mother Nature

 

Snow morning of 04262017

View out my office window this morning!

Mother Nature is giving us a wee reminder of what Winter will be like here in northern Minnesota, so we’ll have time to prepare before the cold and seriously snowy months roll around later this year. 

We are on the waiting list for a detached garage.  There was one available when we reserved our townhome, but we didn’t take it.  We still had the truck (which was too big for the garage), we weren’t sure of our expenses, and so on. Hindsight is a lovely, precise 20/20, eh?  Wishing now I had included it.  Not only for the car, but for the bikes and other “garage” stuff that we have stashed away inside here.  We’re 3rd on the waiting list and hoping we’ll have the car snug inside before Winter kicks in.

Our vehicle was always garaged when we lived in Hibbing, MN 10 years ago.  If we don’t get a garage, I’ll need to study up again on the best ways for de-icing the car doors, windows, etc.  We had to do this in New Jersey, so it will just be a matter of refreshing the memory … and skills.  Hopefully won’t have to do that, though.

Our front porch and door is exposed to the North.  And the North wind.  Ha!  This morning, even with the small amount of snowfall we were having, there was a wee drift in the corner by the storm door.

So I’m thinking, “What if we get a blizzard with a foot or more of snow?  We’ll have a huge drift right here at the door! Might be tricky getting out.  Better get a shovel or something so we can dig our way out if we can get the door open a bit.”  Even though they did come clear the sidewalks a bit this morning, we’ll still want a shovel to tidy up our porch and sidewalk in front of our unit.

Snow afternoon 04262017

Here we are around 4:30 PM today

Even though today’s event is unexpected and a bit of a nuisance so late in the year, Momma is presenting us with a mild drill so we can be thinking about these things and preparing for later when Old Man Winter settles in.

I need to start a “Get for Winter” list.  Seriously.

On the domestic front, Dave got his computer desk and chair in place yesterday.  Drapes for that room should be arriving tomorrow (had to order them; can’t find pinch pleat drapes anywhere in stores around here).  If they are okay, I’ll order the same kind for the living room.  One of the 2 recliners we purchased had ongoing issues, so that was taken away today with a replacement on tap to arrive next week.  The other chair is heavenly, but this one was just not right in several ways. 

We’ve spent a good part of today finding places for our treasures that go on the walls.

Workspace 04262017

Painting by my aunt Margaret, given to me by her years ago. It brings a sense of peace, comfort, and the joy of animal companionship.

Puma over entry 04262017

Cougar was gifted to me about 15 years ago by my Reiki mentor in Austin.  It has hung over every entryway since then, even in our RV.

Baby and Maggie 04262017

Baby was with us during our Hibbing, MN days and boarded with sled dogs while I spent Winter 2005-2006 with Dave in Scotland.  Maggie had her share of “snow days” in our New Jersey years.  Both our girls loved snow! (Sorry about the reflection on the photos.)

This storm started with an awesome sleet/ice storm last night shortly after we hit the blankies.  Such a sound on the windows!  It’s been snowing since we opened the blinds this morning and is still coming down.  The temperature today won’t get to the freezing mark, but will be warmer after that with sunshine for Friday.  Next week is looking good again with pleasant temps and a prolonged reappearance of Mr. Sun.

Hope your days are sunny and pleasant!

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

You Know You’re Back Up North …

Snowfall 04232017

  • You know you’re back up North when you’re wearing thermals in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when you hear the North wind howling outside in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when your weather forecast for the next few days has the chance of snow – accumulation of such – in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when you’re posting photos of snow on your blog!

No complaints about any of those things.  I’m sleeping very well.  My body is physically much happier here.  My soul is much happier here.  “Content” is the word that applies, I think. 

We’re on our “Saturday night” this evening, and we’re winding down a nice day.  Ran a few errands together this morning, including a trip to Home Depot.  I think it may well have been 2 years since we’ve done that together.  Nice. Then it was back home, where Dave put together his computer space and I spent time in the kitchen with the slow cooker going as part of our meal for tomorrow and the work week, and then made quesadillas for our dinner.  Again, nice.

I’ve been having fun finding more “treasures” that have been packed away for much too long while living in our RV.

Bear candle 04232017

Rock stash 04232017

Tomorrow we may just watch it snow and begin hanging things on the walls.  I’m digging having my “weird” stuff out in the Light again.  Not sure yet where my hoop drums will hang, but I’m looking forward to having them on display and truly in my presence again.  Who knows?  One of these days I might even find a drum circle around here.  There’s plenty of time for that.

It was our first full work week for both of us.  We seem to be settling in rather seamlessly, which is a relief.  Not that I had any concerns, really, but one never knows when one relocates to a new area.   You know what?  Today was our first “Saturday” that felt like what I think a “normal” weekend day should feel.  Wee shopping errands together, home projects, cooking, actually eating together, chilling out watching a Netflix program.  Relaxing.  Yeah, it had been a tough couple of years …

A cross-country relocation is a massive undertaking, and I’m not just talking about the trip.  There are so many things to see about like address changes, new driver’s licenses, finding out where things are in your new hometown, etc.  We located the recycle station last week and I picked up driver’s manuals so we can study for our tests. 

Oh!  Friends in Texas are selling their 2006 Nuwa Hitchhiker 5th wheel.  If you’re in the market for a nice, well-maintained RV, take a stroll over to their listing on RVTrader and check it out.   They are preparing to move back onto their sailboat, “Raven,” and take up life on the seas once again after a few years of living on land.  Sound interesting?  Follow their adventures at Raven’s Cruise Log.  I do!  Gosh, I’ve known Hilde and David for … forever.  Hilde and I not long ago were trying to recall how and when we met back in Texas.  Seems like each of us  was just “always there” for one another.   Good friends, good times, good memories.  Those, too, are treasures that belong in the Light.

Hard to believe it’s already 10:30.  Geez, where does the time go when one is blogging with groovy tunes in one’s ears? 

Hope you have many treasures basking in the Light …

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Good Excuse as Any

One of my major work systems is undergoing maintenance this evening, so I might as well blog.  Right?

To say that our days are full right now is a bit of an understatement.  We’re both back to work and have most of our weekly routine back, although interspersed with relocation-related activities.

Sherry, (In the Direction of Our Dreams), in response to your question about how the Edge would handle the snow, it is front-wheel drive (a must for up here) and has intuitive all-wheel drive.  Apparently it senses when the tires are slipping, and kicks into AWD automatically.  I’m told I won’t even notice, but I wonder about that.  Our truck had 4WD on the fly which I manually engaged when needed, and I could tell a difference in traction and the way it handled.  We’ll see later this year when the white stuff starts falling for real.  I still need to study the owner’s manual and spend some time in the “cockpit” learning all the in’s and out’s of our Beastlet.

Here’s snippets of life in a small northern Minnesota town so far:

  • Wednesday at a local grocery store is Seniors Day, with 5% off your bill.  Yes, I qualify, which I find both amusing and bemusing.  Tuesday is Double Stamp Day. Are you old enough to remember collecting Green Stamps in a book?  Well, they have their own version of that which you collect on paper cards.  Twenty stamps = $1 off groceries or gas, up to $10 at one purchase. 
  • The small mall is within walking distance.  No kidding. There are a lot of other amenities within walking distance.

Bear tapestry 04212017

I purchased this small tapestry at an outdoor market in 2005, when I lived in Hibbing, MN. Not sure where it will “live” here, so in the meantime, I hang it temporarily at night to keep it from becoming wrinkled. It’s nice having special items out for enjoyment instead of packed away.

  • Our townhome has drapery hardware already in place.  A traverse rod, mind you.  Are you old enough to remember drapery hooks?  These worked with pinch-pleat drapes, which you will be hard pressed (no pun intended, but there ya go) to find anywhere except by ordering online.  After hanging the first set as an “experiment,” I now understand why women of the 1940s and 1950s did not work outside the home.  It could take all freakin’ afternoon just to hang one window’s worth of drapes with hooks.  The result is better than I anticipated after watching a YouTube instruction video on doing this.  It’s doable, but I may order a different brand – and certainly different color – for the other rooms. No matter what type of curtain top treatment, the vast majority of curtains in stores here are foam-backed insulated.  You might ask, “Why is that?”  Well, it gets cold here in Winter, baby!

Curtains in office 04212017

Looking out my office window, with curtains

Deer next door 04202017

View from our front porch yesterday evening. There are 5 deer that seem to pass through about the same time on a daily basis.  I’ve also seen a fox out in the field.  Building in forefront is the Home Care and Hospice agency associated with the hospital, and the hospital is in the background. Told ya there were amenities within walking distance.

  • Speaking of walking, one sees frequent walkers here throughout the day.  Yes, people walking on purpose, for exercise and/or enjoyment.  I hope to join their ranks once things settle down a bit.
  • It is still pretty chilly here, and we’ve had some rainy days.  Today, however, it was in the low 60s and stunningly gorgeous outside.  Difficult to stay indoors and work, I tell ya.  Good thing I enjoy my work!

Workspace 04142017

Here’s my workspace. I. Am. In. Heaven.

Work buddies 04132017

Top shelf good vibes

  • I met our mailman the other day.  Wow.  We have a mailman.  We’ve even gotten mail!  You know, the paper kind you can touch.
  • I’ve cooked a few times and, with my first “major” cooking effort wondered at the fact that I had prepared the same meal in our RV.  “How did I do all this in such a smaller space?  Wow!”  Not to mention having hand-washed all the resulting dishes, pots, pans and utensils.

Aloe Vera in kitchen 04192017

Having no plants in the RV, I have reinstated my tradition of an Aloe Vera in the kitchen.

The evening is progressing, so I’d best wrap this up and publish.  I am once again very grateful that we were able to make this move.

Front porch evening 04082017

Front view from porch at evening

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Settling In

We departed the RV park in College Station, TX the afternoon of Tuesday, April 4, and arrived at our new digs in Bemidji, MN that Saturday afternoon.  Our departure was a bit later in the day, by the time we loaded the truck with our belongings from the rental travel trailer.  Besides that, we weren’t in a hurry.  We drove each day until we decided we’d best look for a hotel for the night.  We ended up staying in Ardmore, OK; Emporia, KS; Sloan, IA; and Fargo, ND. 

We were fortunate to have no issues on the road, although the wind was incredible every day. One day it was headwind, the next tailwind, and so on each day.  We were sure glad it wasn’t a crosswind!  We were able to find lodging every night with parking to accommodate our truck and U-Haul trailer within walking distance to restaurants.

The AmericInn in Fargo was our fave of the trip.  They boast of being “Rated the Best Hotel in North Dakota.” I have no arguments with that!  Flipping through the cable channels, we found the move Fargo.  Even though we’d seen it before, you know we just had to watch it being where we were!

AmericInn Fargo 04072017               Lobby of the AmericInn in Fargo. We enjoyed the lodge theme, which was found throughout the hotel.  Sitting by the fireplace for a while felt good!

After unloading and dropping off the U-Haul trailer Saturday afternoon, the process of unpacking and setting up our new home began.  All the boxes are gone now, and we’re awaiting delivery of some furniture tomorrow. 

Our home 04122017

We’re in a 55+ community, each building being a 4-plex of townhomes. Ours is a 2-bedroom unit.

The Monday after our arrival found us at the Ford dealership.  One of the truck batteries had gone bad and, while that was being addressed, we decided to look at cars while waiting.  We had plans to downsize in the near future, as we no longer needed our Beast – a Ford F-350 1-ton diesel – since we no longer had to tow an RV.  Well …

2014 Edge Sport new ride

Our “new to us” ride, a 2014 Ford Edge Sport with low miles

After about 5 hours at the dealership, we had negotiated an excellent trade-in value on our truck (everybody wanted the Beast) and a whopping deal on this Edge.  I had been doing research for a while on the Edge and a Honda CRV, with the Edge having … pardon the pun … an “edge” over the CRV.  The Beastie here has all sorts of electronic gizmos and systems, and I still need to get the owner’s manual out and spend time with it.  For now, I’ve got down the basics – syncs my phone, plays my Pandora, I know about the basic computer screens and systems, and can get us around.  It has heated seats and a sunroof.  I’ve never had a sunroof (and that feature wasn’t a factor in our decision), but it might be nice in the climate here.  Personally, a sunroof in Texas just doesn’t make sense.  Anyhoo, it’s fun to drive and handles well.  We certainly didn’t anticipate making a car deal on our 2nd full day here, but there it was, and we won’t have to do it in the future.  Cross off one item on the “to do” list!

Betty Paul and Babe 04102017

Requisite “touristy” photo with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

We both started back to work on Saturday, and are settling into a bit of a routine once again.  I don’t think either of us would trade the years we spent full-timing in our RV, but this is a welcome change. Everything here is nearby – a nice walk or short drive.

I step out on the porch in early mornings and smell pine trees. Eagle makes morning rounds, and gulls (yes, gulls because of Lake Bemidji), ravens, and Canada geese are seen and heard throughout the day. I saw a fox and a deer in the field nearby last night.

It’s such a relief to be in a small town and closer once again to Mother Nature.  My stress level has diminished greatly over the past week.

Evening view from office 04182017

Evening view from my home office

More later as we explore and settle into our new hometown!

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Locked and Loaded, or Loaded and Locked

We rented a climate-controlled storage unit at the facility right across the highway when we began moving our possessions out of our 5th-wheel home last month.  Today was the day to pick up the U-Haul trailer and empty the storage unit!

At storage facility 04032017

The trailer size is marked on it as 6x12, same as I had when I moved to Minnesota in 2005. 

MN move 2005

Loaded for June 2005 move to Minnesota, with help from friends Jim  (left) and David (right) in Brenham, TX.  I made that journey as the only human in the truck, as my traveling companions were 1 dog and 2 cats.  What an adventure!

I tell ya what, though, it sure feels and looks smaller. Perhaps it looks smaller because back then I drove a Tahoe and now it’s a Ford F-350 diesel beast.   If this is the same size I had before, I have no idea whatsoever how I (friends who loaded it, actually) got so much more stuff in it than we have in this one.  We have no furniture; previously, I had a queen bed set, loveseat, kitchen table and chairs, coffee table, papasan chair, a couple of bookcases, not to mention boxes, vacuum cleaner, bike … I tell ya!  This one seems more like 12’ from the end of the tongue to the back vs. 12’ of box.  Guess that’s okay, because I think we’ve got it packed nicely.

Almost empty 04032017

Almost empty

Empty 04032017

Empty!

Ready to roll at Aggieland RV Park 04032017

We have the site behind us to park overnight

Dave chillin after loading 04032017

Dave  chillin’ afterwards, well deservedly!

It took us about 1.5 hours to load the U-Haul.  Then it was time to chill out, rearrange a few things in the cab of the truck, I got a load of laundry done, dinner, and more chillin’ now.  Yay! 

We don’t anticipate an early start tomorrow, as we have to pack up and empty our “hotel room,” i.e., the rental travel trailer.  The mornings in hotels will be easier, as there will be less packing.   Too, I anticipate tomorrow being a slower day since we won’t pick up an interstate until after a while.  Although we know when we would like to arrive in our new hometown, we have no deadline, so we’ll just enjoy the trip!

For years, I haven’t considered a long trip starting in Texas to actually begin until I cross the state line!  Texas is big, ya’ll.  

Cheers to Matthew at U-Haul Moving & Storage at Texas Ave for fitting us out this afternoon and giving us a few extra courtesy days on the rental.  That location had great reviews, and I see why.

I continue to be grateful – very grateful – that things continue aligning nicely for us as we embark on a new chapter of our life together.   Well, I think that about wraps it up for tonight.  It’s almost 8:30, and it’s been a long day. 

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

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dream Becoming a Reality–Lifestyle Change Ahead!

In my last post 4 months ago, I talked about how we were dreaming of and planning a lifestyle change and moving back to Minnesota.  Well …

Packing for MN move 03162017

No furniture to move, but there are boxes, bikes, and misc. items.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of putting our RV up for sale, packing, and finalizing other arrangements. 

With our Montana 03212017

Last photo with our Montana, which served us well for 7 years.

On Tuesday, we sold our RV – our home for the past 7 years.  I confess my eyes seemed to leak a wee bit a couple of times on the day of the sale.  We had so many adventures and shared awesome moments during our time as full-time RVers.  Memories were made that we will cherish always. 

While we enjoyed those years as full-timers, there is a feeling of relief and excitement as we begin a new chapter in our life together.  Relief in the form of selling our RV while it was still in good shape; of being out from under the responsibility, expense, and physical effort of maintenance and upkeep; and, honestly, the full-time lifestyle.  The excitement is in beginning a new journey and returning to the North and Minnesota. 

It’s just time.  Time to move on.  Time for a change.  Time to simplify our life.

Due to Dave’s work schedule, we will be here for just under 2 weeks.  After researching available accommodations here, it made the most sense – cost, safety, convenience, comfort – for our needs to rent a travel trailer from a local dealer we have patronized during our time here. 

Rental RV interim housing 03212017

Our “hotel room” in the same site where we have been.

While it serves our purpose of interim housing quite nicely, it certainly makes us appreciate even more the quality RVs we owned over the years – popup, travel trailer, and then the 5th wheel we called home.  We have items with us for interim living (cooking, etc.) and for what we’ll need during our trip to Minnesota (both warm and cold weather clothes).  The rest of our possessions are in a climate-controlled storage unit at a nearby facility.

With the “hard” items ticked off our “to do” list, we have this time to rest up in our comfortable routine of work and living until we get the U-Haul trailer, load it up, and hit the road.  We’ll downsize our truck to a “normal” vehicle once we are settled up there, so The Beast gets one more road trip!

To say that the past few weeks have been busy would be a gross understatement.  It.  Has.  Been.  Freakin’.  Crazy.

I wrapped up the last details of the sale today by cancelling our full-timers insurance and the extended service policy on the 5th wheel.

We’ll be going to a 55+ “cottage” in Minnesota, opting to rent vs. purchase.  Neither of us want to own property again, at least not at the present.  If something breaks … call maintenance.  Snow shoveling?  Nope.  It’s done by property management.  Sweet.  Simplification.

We’re not there yet, but well on the path.  At times we wondered if this was indeed just a dream, if it was even attainable.  At the beginning of this process, the logistics seemed totally mind-melting.  At one point, I just gave it all up to Spirit and The Universe – if it is meant to be, then it will be.

We are so grateful that aspects of this lifestyle change have been aligning, and that it does truly seem to be a plan that is unfolding very nicely for us.

I’ll repeat that.  We are grateful.  Very much so.

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