Mother Nature Enters Reboot Mode

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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.  

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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.

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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?




“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?

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

 

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?

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!

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The trailer size is marked on it as 6×12, 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.

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Almost empty

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Empty!

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We have the site behind us to park overnight

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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?

 

 

 

 

Sentimental Journey

Today was indeed a sentimental journey for me, as I ventured out to see Texas Raiders, the B-17 my dad helped restore decades ago when it was based at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, TX.   I had already seen her in the morning; knowing her ETA at Easterwood Airport here in College Station, I stepped outside and – lo and behold – there she was, approaching from the southeast, turning and making her approach to the airport.

Have you ever seen and heard a B-17 in flight?  If you haven’t, you have truly missed out.  There is nothing like it.

“There she is!”

Okay, so there wasn’t anyone around to hear me, but I still said it.

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Texas Raiders at Astin Aviation/Easterwood Airport, College Station.  Isn’t she just something?  Those folks are being briefed for their flight.

I had not been in her presence since 1997, when I dispersed my dad’s cremains from her overhead hatch in flight.

Seeing her again, my heart was full.  My eyes were leaky.  It was . . . moving.  I had expected to feel emotional, but I was a bit taken by surprise by the strength of those feelings.

I touched her, giving her a “hug” in those touches and saying “thank you.”

In those touches, was a connection to Dad, to a time gone by, to all that is good, right and honorable with our country.

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TR Nose Art

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Front gunner position

I stayed for a while, as her passengers boarded for their flight, heard her engines roar to life once again,  watched her take to the air in all her majesty and saw her back on the ground safe and sound. 

Not too many photos, as I was more into experiencing the moment. 

It was spiritual.  It was awesome.  It was noisy.  It was joyous. 

It was . . . a very meaningful experience for yours truly.

I went to see Her.  I went for Dad.  I went for me.

Mission accomplished.