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.


Another Month Flew By!

Office view 10142017

Evening view from my office

October is just about on its way out the door and the number of daylight hours are dwindling.  Before you know it, Christmas will be rolling in!  So will the snow!

With that in mind, I took our car in for a coolant flush and replacement with “the good stuff” for subzero temperatures.  In visiting with them about prep and maintenance of our Edge during the really cold weather, one of the techs at the dealership told me about a solar-powered trickle charger for the battery.  Newer cars don’t come equipped with block heaters, and the general thought is that the newer models don’t really need them.  Since it looks like we won’t have a garage any time soon, I’ll pick up one of the solar chargers.  Turns out my uncle in Hibbing used one, so that convinced me!

Dave has been taking advantage of the surprisingly mild weather lately to rack up the bike miles.  He doesn’t have to be at work until 2 PM, which allows time for shorter rides during the work week.  Days off see him getting in 40+ miles lately.  I’m tickled he’s enjoying the cycling up here.

A bit after 2 PM now, and it’s so gloomy out that the parking lot lights next door are on.  It’s in the mid 60’s, which is probably the last of the mild days we’ve been having lately.  Not that it’s going to plummet drastically starting tomorrow, but we’ll be getting more seasonable weather.  Cooler weather.

Lake 1 10182017

Went out to the lake last Wednesday while out running errands.  Looks gloomy that day, too, doesn’t it?

LAke 2 10182017

Looking back towards Bemidji State University.

Lake 3 10182017

Geese and gulls hanging out.  That building on the left is the old Carnegie Library.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there’s a project in the works to restore it.

Visitors center 10182017

Inside the visitors center down at the lake.

Downtown arch 10182017

Entrance to downtown Bemidji from the lake park.  That arch is a new addition this summer.

We have a new addition to our home …

Fireplace dark

Electric fireplace heater!

Our RV had a built-in fireplace/electric heater.  We used it a lot, especially those years in New Jersey.  It helped keep the rig warm, reduced the use of the propane furnace and, well, it just looked nice.  We enjoyed the ambiance of the simulated flames.  Although we have gas in-floor central heat here, the living room is a larger area with no carpeting.  This will help keep that area a bit cozier, reduce the use of the furnace (right, who am I kidding when it’s –30 F out?) or at least help us keep the furnace thermostat turned down a bit.  And, again, it gives a cozy feeling to the space.  Tested it on some chilly days.  It has a thermostat and timer, so running it for an hour 2 or 3 times during the day kept the living room cozy, indeed!

Halloween falls on our days off this year, so we may just have a scary movie marathon!  We haven’t been off on that holiday in years.

Speaking of being off from work, we will have 4 days off at Christmas this year!  Woot!  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the 2 days following.  That hasn’t happened since 2013, while in Jersey.  I’m really, really looking forward to Christmas and decorating our new home.  We have some decorations we used in the RV, but this year we are talking about getting a slightly larger tree – going from 1 foot to about 4 feet.  Ha!  Although I’ve never gone overboard decorating my homes, we’ll probably add a few things here and there to supplement what decorations we already have from our full-timing days.  There’s a good chance we’ll have a white Christmas, too!  Yay!  We both love Christmas.  It’s such a magical time.  It’ll be nice to have a few days to relax and enjoy it.

Well, it is a work day, so I’d best wrap this up and earn some money!  Still enjoying my telecommuting job as an administrative assistant, and grateful for that opportunity. 

Until next time …

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


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 2×4, 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!

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

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


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?

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?