5 Days and 5 Years

“Peace to all within these walls.”

Cancer center sign 07182017

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

Cancer center celebration marquee 07182017

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

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

Cancer center celebration 1 07192017

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

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

Hence, the phrase I chose.

Cancer center celebration 2 07192017

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

Cancer center celebration 3 07192017

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

Five Days

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

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

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

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

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

Life is good!

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?

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 much 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?


 

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?

 

 

 

 

Whirlwind Days with Good Things Happening!

Yesterday I had a 3-hour training session via phone and Go To Meeting on the transcription platform I will be using in my medical transcription (MT) job. It was good training, but – wow – was my head reeling afterwards! Meant to provide a walk-through of the process, it was certainly not expected for me to remember everything. Everything that was covered in the session is provided in the 29 attachments I received the night before. Manuals on company guidelines, specs for each hospital account, platform and computer setup manuals, etc. Again I say wow!

Taking today off (to gather what wits remain in my head, run a couple errands, get my workstation and “stuff” organized, do some cooking and chill a bit), I’ll enter the mentoring process tomorrow and get to work! Yoinks!

Good things happening? Yes, indeed!

Dave had submitted applications to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart and some other places. This was all done online, which seems to be the trend these days. Monday he received a call from Walmart to schedule an interview the following morning (yesterday). We drove out to that store Monday evening in order to locate it, as it was a different one from where we had shopped last week.

The next morning, in dense fog, he left for his appointment. When he arrived home, he announced that he was offered a full-time position! We talked about it a bit (no real discussion needed), then he called back and accepted the job.

Go, Dave! You rock, sweetheart!

Woot! I am sooo proud of him!

  • This is his first application/employment process he has done on his own in the 10 years he has been in the States. Yes, he did work as a pipefitter in MN back in 2006-2007, but that was through the union local and pretty much a done deal from the get. (That’s not to dim the fact that Dave was an accomplished pipefitter, having entered that profession as an apprentice in his youth back in Scotland. He worked for the Royal Navy aboard nuclear submarines, carriers, and the like. The safety of naval personnel aboard those vessels was literally in his hands. Shoddy work could result in the loss of lives. Yep, he was good.)  The union was a brotherhood. Other than that, we have secured employment and worked together on a team basis. His landing a full-time job would be an accomplishment at any age but, especially at age 63, it is awesome!
  • He laughed, saying he used to work aboard nuclear submarines and now he will be working at Walmart. You know what, though? At our age and with our life priorities, we’re not building careers; the nature of our work is not pivotal in our lives. Our focus is on our life together and enjoying that life. Having a sustainable income that keeps us from dipping into our savings on a monthly basis until pensions become a reality in a few years is all we need.
  • Our work hours will mesh nicely, as he will be working 2 until 11 PM and I will be working 3 until 10 PM once I’m out of the mentoring phase.

I think we’re doing pretty darn well. In two-and-a-half weeks, we have both landed jobs with income that should meet our needs. Next up is moving to the better RV park, which could happen at any time; however, not likely until at least later this month or possibly into December. Still lots to do . . . settle in with our jobs, review health insurance options for 2016 and get us enrolled, schedule doctor visits, get my scan, wash/wax the rig once we have moved (impossible here, as we’re basically in a mud pit), etc.

We’re off to a good start, though, and are very grateful for the good things being manifested in our life.

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

Yesssss!

I am thrilled to be able to share with you that I have accepted a part-time (for now) position as a remote Medical Editor/Medical Transcriptionist! The company I will be working with has a good reputation among MTs. I am awaiting scheduling for training on the transcription platform and then will be under mentoring for a while as I learn the platform, the specifications of my assigned accounts and the dictators on those accounts. Even with prior MT experience, this is the process that takes place.

It was weird/scary thinking about doing MT work again. After refreshing my transcription skills through an online acute care (hospital dictation, which I did before), I felt fairly confident; however, applying for employment and going through that process was a bit nerve-wracking. After all, I haven’t interviewed for a “real” job in 8 years. Narrow that down to a technical/professional position and it has been 9 years. Yoinks!

I always enjoyed MT work. It is fascinating, one learns something almost every day and there is a dark/silly sense of humor that one entertains working in the medical field. I’ve missed that.

You should have seen how excited and hyper I was the other evening after receiving the offer earlier in the day! Dave rode the wave with me in such a supportive and joyous fashion. He’s a good guy.

The profession of medical transcription has changed since I was last working in the field.  Back then, one listened to the dictation voice file and typed the document (known now as “straight typing”), sculpting it into a medico-legal document – correct not only in medical terminology, but in grammar, punctuation, etc. Typing, typing, typing.

Voice recognition – where the voice dictation is interpreted by a software program into a document – was pretty much in its infancy regarding widespread use when I worked in the field 8 years ago. Now, however, VR (or SR for “speech recognition”) has infiltrated to the point where the “medical transcriptionist” has become the “medical editor.” This is exactly that – editing the VR-produced document to match the voice dictation file.

This “old dog” will be learning some new tricks!

So, this week so far has been brimming with activity. A second interview, pre-employment testing, today the tech support guy tweaking my computer (installing the platform, etc.), paperwork, emails, phone calls . . . whew.

The result is one goal realized – land an MT job. Yay!

I continue to work my virtual assistant job, which is also part-time. I am learning new programs and very much enjoy working with my boss.  My vision has been to have 2 revenue streams with 2 part-time gigs, and that is what is coming to pass. We’ll see how that goes. It will be a while before things settle down and I get in a groove; both schedules are flexible to a point, so I see that it may be a really nice thing.

There have been moments of, “My brain hurts.” Bwahahaha!

This is a different type of thinking. With security work, the thinking was more physical (?) or action-oriented. “A strange car just entered the gates and headed towards the back. Better check it out.”  I could expect a phone call from the alarm company when an alarm would activate; we would then need to enter the building and check it out. Those are just some examples of the thought processes involved. Action-oriented. My thought processes are now of a more technical nature, i.e., learning software, reading/understanding written procedures . . . more of an intellectual process, if you will.

Yep, my brain hurts.

I am actually enjoying all this. Yes, in a perverse way, eh?

The focus so far – because it is happening so rapidly – has been on my securing MT work. We have yet to put the same time and energy into finding something for Dave. We are hopeful just the right part-time or full-time gig will come along for him. We know it will. In the meantime, he is enjoying the heck out of cycling here. He deserves that, as he took the brunt of the work load in South Carolina and did not sleep well at all there. In fact, he got very little sleep and was exhausted pretty much from October 2014 until now.  Yes, he is sleeping well now, thank goodness. All 3 of us are!

Hey, it’s early days yet. We haven’t even been here 2 weeks! I think we’re doing pretty darn good to be accomplishing so much in so little time.

We are managing to have some “together time” during the days/evenings, and that is important. I whipped up one of our favorite meals of chicken noodle casserole this afternoon, so we had a nice dinner with leftovers for tomorrow. Yay again!

Morning Maggie 10282015

Maggie is doing well and enjoys looking out the windows

I was working up until almost 10 PM and needed some decompression/fun time, so here I am blogging. It’s a hair past 11 PM now. I’m winding down and so is this post.

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

It Must Be a Totally Awesome Door . . .

First, I’ll take a minute to answer Susan’s question in the comments from my last post. An RV park in Bryan, TX will be our initial, and perhaps long-term, landing spot. I would really like to be closer to Brenham, but there is only 1 park there, and the most recent reviews on it were less than stellar.

Brenham really could use a decent RV park. I believe there would be enough business from overnighters, sightseers to the area and snowbirds to keep a good park ticking over. Anyone out there interested? Let us know if you want to put one in; we’ll run it for you! (In my dreams . . .)

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I have believed for many years that when one door in Life closes, another opens. Actually, I have known this to be true from personal Life experiences. I also know that everything happens for a reason in our lives. These are two concepts I pass along to my Reiki students.

One could easily say these two beliefs are being tested these days. I was notified today that my virtual assistant job is ending due to the project coordinator leaving the company. 

That was just a wee bit of a bolt out of the blue.

So . . . our security work ends October 1, my VA (virtual assistant) job of 2 years is gone (at least for the moment; I’m sure I will be contacted should they have projects in the future) and we’re being forced back to Texas so we can continue to have health insurance coverage.

Must be one heck of a door that’s gonna open, eh?

I had decided not to begin the job search for medical transcription employment until we land in Texas with the reasoning that I want to be available to begin work immediately upon receipt of an offer and to arrange for cable Internet service if needed. I think what I may do is follow the same path for the VA work, too. We have only a bit over a week before we depart this location and then 12 days of travel. I think I’ll take this time to rest, recharge my spiritual and creative batteries and enjoy our trip back to the Lone Star State.

Well, I actually do have an interview for another VA gig tomorrow, a possible opportunity that arose a few weeks ago. We’ll see how that goes. If it’s a match, I will, of course, jump on it.

These two job endings could be seen as setbacks and/or negative happenings and I could be very discouraged.

I am, however, hopeful.

“Really?”

Well, yeah, really, when I get in touch once again with my core beliefs.

I can see – envision – our new direction. I can see me doing medical transcription again, making a decent living and our having a laid-back and pleasant life, perhaps with Dave eventually doing some work for our site/pay somewhere. Yes, an enjoyable life, even in Texas.  (gasp)

I did it before, and my original plan (when contemplating going full-time as a solo back in 2003/2004) was to take my job as an MT on the road. At that time, I was a home-based MT living in Brenham. Sure, I put in a lot of hours at the keyboard, but I paid my bills and had enough left over to attend yoga classes once a week, have an occasional lunch out, keep my hair cut regularly, etc.  My critters never went hungry and neither did I. I also did more than just sit at the keyboard. Much, much more – cycled, camped now and then, did volunteer work, walked, took care of my yard and home, attended drum circles, taught Reiki on weekends, hung out with friends . . . you get the picture.

Why not have all that again? Well, not specifically those things perhaps (although I sure would dig hooking up with a groovy drum circle and I do miss teaching Reiki), but a well-rounded life with a profession I enjoy.

Indeed!

So, no, “Oh man, why is this happening?” but instead, “Wow. This is a whole new beginning!”

I can’t wait to see the reason for all this.

It’s going to be freakin’ awesome!

Thanks for stopping by!