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?

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“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?

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?


 

Too Many Mosquitos for Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Car wash 05242017

Sort of patriotic with the red, white and blue

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

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

Fish fry 05242017

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Officially Minnesotan

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

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

Living room evening

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

Lake by Sanford Center 05102017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lake 2 05172017

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

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

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

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

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

Ciao for now!

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

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

A Month Ago …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to nesting …

Living room 05062017

Front section of living room

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

Walk 05040271

Walking road

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

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

All I can say is …

OH MY GOD.

This Texas gal had some of the best Mexican food she’s put a fork to!  Not exactly Tex-Mex, but leaning more towards the “authentic.”  I’ve had both, living throughout Texas, including El Paso, where I’ve enjoyed meals over the Juarez, albeit years ago.  I was totally surprised.  Cute 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

 

 

 

 

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