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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?




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Vacation Days 1 and 2

Dave tagged on 3 vacation days to our usual Tues/Weds, so we’ve officially been on holiday starting yesterday.  Yay for us!  Although we were off almost 3 weeks when we moved here from Texas in April, that was a relocation, and it was work.  Now that we’ve been in our usual routines for a bit, a relaxing real holiday was in order.

Dave had a nice bike ride yesterday morning and I hit Hobby Lobby, which was having a 50% sale on just about all decorative items.  Plus, I had a 40% coupon.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for a couple of things for blank walls, one in the bathroom and one over the kitchen sink.

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A bit of Gecko whimsy and good vibes for the bathroom

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And some Celtic good vibes for meals in the kitchen, which is often the heart of one’s home.

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One of Dave’s projects is putting place 3 new bookcases, the first of which is on the right. We’ll end up with 4 units on the really long living room wall, and the grouping will be staggered a bit in height.  The shelves are a mess in the photo, in transition.  Hope to have the other 3 complete by the end of our holiday.

Although we said “No cooking, we’re on vacation,” we had pasta here at home last night, followed by chess on the front porch.  Well, it’s our only porch.  It was remarkably chilly in the evening, especially considering we’re used to sweltering Texas evenings in mid July.

This morning saw Dave out on the bike again, while I took my time doing a few things around here (houseplant therapy, hanging the item over the kitchen sink, changing bed linens).  Once he was home, showered and changed, we headed out to Lake Bemidji State Park, which is about 7 miles from our home.

Dave cycles through here all the time on the Paul Bunyan State Trail, but had never explored the park proper. 

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Dave, the intrepid explorer

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There are walking trails all around the lake.

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Access to the lake from one of the several boat launch areas.

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This is where the boats come from that use the access above.

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Part of the Paul Bunyan State Trail, a section of the Rails to Trails network.

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Don’t have your own bike? No problem! You can rent one at the park.

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Another view from our walk.

(The above photos were taken with my “good” camera, a Canon Rebel DSL which I haven’t used in … well, probably since New Jersey days.  Was fun putting it back into service.)

We did have a nice walk about the park, not all of it, but a decent bit.  Went through some of the campground sections with tents and trailers; even saw a Montana 5th wheel.  It’s pretty tight confines, and I really would not want to put a big rig in one of the back-in sites.

Earlier in the week, I made a list of things we wanted to do while off and places to consider for meals.  Noticed C.K. Dudley’s was right on our way to the state park, so we stopped there on our way back, choosing to dine on the deck outside. 

Lunch at CK Dudleys 07162017

Didn’t notice until I downloaded the photo, but it looks like the “Exit Only” sign is a wee drink decoration in Dave’s glass!

We both chose the BBQ Brisket wrap, me with chips and Dave with fries.  Oh my!  It was very good and too much for us for one meal, so we each brought half home.  Service was very good and friendly, meal was yummy, and it was so nice to enjoy sitting outside.  We will definitely return.

Chilling out a bit back home now, with possibly more home improvement projects still for today (or not, after all, it’s vacation) and a chess session later.  There’s supposed to be a decent chance for auroras tonight, but not sure we’ll be up that late.

Tomorrow’s forecast looks a bit dodgy with a hefty chance of rain and thunderstorms.  That’s okay, because our itinerary (loose as it may be) is to drive into downtown, park, and explore on foot.  Downtown Bemidji is … well, pretty darn cool.  There is a sculpture walk, all sorts of wee shops and various cafes and pubs.  We have been downtown on errands with specific purpose, each time saying, “We should come back sometime and just explore.”  Well, I think tomorrow may be the day!  Even if it is raining a bit, we can duck in and out of shops.

Our holiday may not sound exciting and it surely is low-key and inexpensive, but it suits us just fine and we’re enjoying ourselves!

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



Life is Totally Different These Days …

… and I have to say I’m enjoying it!

Apple pie

First apple pie in quite some time

When we were in New Jersey, I did honest-to-goodness cooking.  Well, we left there 3 years ago and I don’t think I’ve made an apple pie since then.  So!  It was about time!  Dave enjoyed having this as dessert with his work dinners.

This is the first time we’ve both had July 4th off work since our Jersey days, too.  Dave had a nice bike ride and I did the marketing in the morning.  In the afternoon, we went to check out the Bemidji Water Carnival held on the shores of Lake Bemidji here in town.  Neither of us had been to a carnival in … well, as the Scottish saying goes … “donkey’s years.”  That’s a long time, folks.

Water Carnival 2

Water Carnival 1 Water Carnival 3 07042017

Water Carnival 4

Fun to watch from the ground

Water Carnival Zipper ride

Another one fun to watch.  The center piece rotated, giving each of the  cages quite a ride.  The screams at the carnival were coming from this ride.

No, we didn’t go on any rides and didn’t give any money to the games hawkers.  We went just to stroll around and enjoy the sights and sounds.  Free event, free parking, a chance to get out and about and relive some childhood memories.  The weather was perfect – Summer has arrived in Minnesota, but it’s rather pleasant – parking was easy and there weren’t tons of people around.  The fireworks display on Lake Bemidji was the final event of the carnival last night, so I bet there were quite a few more folks around for that.  We certainly heard the fireworks quite well from our porch and could see the display reflected in the hospital windows.  Cool. 

Thing is, we’re actually able to get out and do fun things once again!  It’s so nice to have our days off truly be that … days off.  There’s no RV maintenance to deal with, amenities are so close and hassle-free that I can get errands run quickly and without stress, laundry can be done any time, etc.  Oh … and the weather is now a positive contributing factor versus a negative influence.  Yes, summertime is here, but it is not so hot that outdoor activities are unthinkable.  Our lives are no longer controlled by what has to be done within certain times.  We’ve reduced our stress level – physical, emotional and spiritual – enormously with our change of lifestyle and moving to a more tolerable climate.

I know, I know.  I can hear you saying, “Yeah, but what about Winter?”  Well, Winter is Winter.  We know what to expect.  Still, check with me in February.  At least we won’t have to shovel our sidewalk.

Long and short is that our quality of life is much better now. 

So that was Day 1 of our weekend this week.  Dave is off cycling, I’m venturing forth to my first hair appointment since we arrived (and you know that can be either a grand experience or a traumatic one with a new stylist) and then there may be a midafternoon meal at the Mexican restaurant.

Guess I’d best toddle off for now.  How was your Fourth of July?

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

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.

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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

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 …

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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.

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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 décor, 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

 

 

 

 

You Know You’re Back Up North …

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  • 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.

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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 …

What do you think of the new format here?  I found myself struggling a bit to read this the other evening in the old theme colors.  I prefer a darker background color for photographs, but I’m finding this easier on the eyes to read.  We’ll see …

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?

Kept the Balls in the Air Another Week

In my previous post, I visited with you about juggling Life and its activities.  I’m happy to report I kept those balls in the air another week, with my second Sunday evening yoga session.  As the routine I had chosen was only 30 minutes, I followed that up with a 30-minute guided meditation.  I’m thinking about extending the yoga portion out to 45 minutes or an hour; seems like 30 minutes left me wanting more.  I’m still modifying the routine, so it’s all a work in progress.

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Outdoor time continued this week, sometimes mornings, sometimes evenings.

Not only did Maggie and I have what I call our “outdoor therapy time” but she got a clip and some extended massage/silly talk time one evening.  This was the result . . .

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Silly leg in the air after all that lovin’.

Of course, yesterday was Mother’s Day and my thoughts went to Mom, who has been gone since 2007.  Here’s one of my fave photos of her . . .

Mom Christmas 1950s

Christmastime photo taken by my Dad, probably in the 1950s.

Since we are off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Mondays are our Fridays.  Yay!  Lots of folks dread Monday, as it harkens the beginning of the work week.  We, however, look forward to Monday!  No great plans for this “weekend,” just the usual errands, cycling for Dave and hanging out for both of us.

After quite a bit of fine tuning, I believe I have found the right height and screen tilt for my laptop on my wee desk.  Did I mention I was hunting for a pair of prescription computer glasses I had from my medical transcription days?  Well, I think I have found them!  I have regular reading glasses for when I wear contacts, but they were totally ineffective for computer work.  After a grand “scavenger hunt,” I found a pair of glasses tucked away in a drawer.  I’m thinking they are prescription, as they are doing the trick so far.  What a relief.  The ergonomic chair purchased a while back, laptop position, mid-range computer glasses and increasing the magnification of my screen has lessened the eye strain, shoulder tension and general uncomfortable feeling I was having after putting in the hours of working on the laptop.  So far, so good for now.

It has been pretty darn blustery here today, although warm with no rain.  The heat has not been horrible . . . yet.  I have a routine I go through for “cool running” here in the rig after Dave goes to work.  I’ve been staying comfortable in shorts with both A/C units set at 76 and a floor fan going here in the living room.  I do turn them both units down before Dave gets home from work, so it’s really cool in here for him and in prep for sleeping.

“Cool running?”  Yes, that’s closing certain shades and curtains at different times of the day depending on the slant of Mr. Sun.  It’s not cooking during the peak heat time (4:30 to 7 PM) and not having the TV on.  The television puts out a fair amount of heat, actually.  Heck, I’m busy working or doing something else like house chores that I don’t need – or want – television.  What about with meals?  Nope.  I’ve been reading, as was my habit years ago.  (Right now it’s Bel-Air Dead by Stuart Woods.  I always enjoy the Stone Barrington novels.)

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Enjoying cooking while it’s not 2000F outside.  Tuna biscuit casserole, a longstanding “comfort food” dish, for my meals this week

That inevitable time in Texas is approaching when the A/C units will be getting a thorough workout, so I’m trying to give them a break as long as possible.  I’m thankful we have not had really hot days yet and that, with the exception of one or two occasions, nights have been pleasantly cool for sleeping.

It is coming, though.  I dread it beyond description, but will soldier through and remember that it will come to an end.

You know what?  This blog post has come to an end.  Let the weekend commence!

Thanks for stopping by!