When everything all piles up together!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s because life has caught me up and carried me away with all that has happened. Today marks the day that some of it slows down.

This August some of my 2nd cousins were home for a celebration of life. Both of their parents died last year, but there weren’t funerals due to COVID. So, a whole bunch of family came home for this double celebration of life, and over a weekend my known family quadrupled! I got to meet cousins I didn’t know existed, and they are so awesome! It was quite an unexpected blessing.

The big news is that Older Son got married this week! He and his lovely wife (who will be henceforth known here as Bonus Kid), got married in a lovely handfasting ceremony in the park, followed by a very nice celebration supper and party at a local venue.

I’m so sorry happy for the two of them, and so grateful Older Son has someone so amazing to share his life with.

Along with the joy of the wedding came with the joy of having Younger Son home for two weeks. I just dropped him off at the airport, and I’m so sad. I can’t believe two weeks went by so quickly.

I look at this seat he just left empty, and I just feel like bawling. It’s not like he won’t be back. He’s shipping out to Japan in the spring and will be home to visit before he goes. Once he goes to Japan he will be gone for three years. I’m not sure how we’d ever afford to go there to visit, but that’s bridge I’ll cross when I get there.

Oh but wait, there’s more!

To top off all of the wedding festivities, I got a new job, and have been trying to transition into that one, and out of the old one. It’s been a trip trying to do that on top of Younger Son being home, and all of the wedding stuff. More about the new job later, because that is a whole story. And, I have a small part time job in my near future as well.

So, to sum up, I’m exhausted, sad, excited, and happy, all at once. Did I mention I’m exhausted?

Life has a way of piling things up together, so you just have to play whack-a-mole until everything gets accomplished. One step at a time.

Here’s hoping this post finds you all well and happy! Blessings all!

What is it with abandoned shoes?

Happy Friday! Goodness, was it ever a long week, but I made it!

Today, as I was getting in my car to go home after work, I see this at the door of the parking garage:

What the heck?!

I have seen a random shoe on the side of the road. That happens all the time, and I always wonder what happened to the other shoe.

I’m this case, it looks like someone got out of bed, walked to the parking garage in their slippers, and then took them off before they went in.

The funny thing is was raining to beat heck this morning. I wonder what the story of these slippers is, and if they will still be there Monday morning?

Whatever the case is with these slippers, I wish you all a relaxing weekend!

What is it with abandoned shoes?

Happy Friday! Goodness, was it ever a long week, but I made it!

Today, as I was getting in my car to go home after work, I see this at the door of the parking garage:

What the heck?!

I have seen a random shoe on the side of the road. That happens all the time, and I always wonder what happened to the other shoe.

I’m this case, it looks like someone got out of bed, walked to the parking garage in their slippers, and then took them off before they went in.

The funny thing is was raining to beat heck this morning. I wonder what the story of these slippers is, and if they will still be there Monday morning?

Whatever the case is with these slippers, I wish you all a relaxing weekend!

2021 4th of July Road Trip – Day 2

When I left off, we were just pulling out of East Grand Forks, MN. Coffee in hand, I was ready for another 5 1/2 hours on the road.

Surprisingly, it was no time at all before we pulled o er at a rest stop just outside of Bemidji, MN. We used the rest room, and had a nice chat with the care taker. It was a lovely spot by a lake. Which one? I’m thinking Cass Lake, but see if you can tease it out by looking at the map.

I love maps. It’s kind of like books for me in that I mostly use the digital version, but there’s nothing quite like opening a paper map and looking at all of the extra little marks that make paper maps special.

You can’t throw a rock without hitting a lake in Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 Lakes”

Soon we were back on the road, and had just a few hours left. We would meet our friends in Tower, where they were having a 4th of July parade.

This far north the industries are mining and logging. You see a lot of places with giant piles of the remainders from iron ore mining. Logging is harder to see, at least from the road.

The landscape here is so beautiful. We don’t have much in the way of forests in North Dakota, so this was quite site for me.

Pardon the pictures from buggy windows. It was impossible to keep them clean.

From Virginia, MN we went north toward Tower. It wasn’t too long before we got there. Parking was awful as it was reported there were thousands of people at this parade. Tower only has about 500 or so people so this was a huge parade for such a small town.

After the parade, we left our friends and got lunch and did a little shopping in Ely, MN, which was just 20 minutes away.

We at lunch at this cool restaurant called the Chocolate Moose. The food was so good, and big portions. I guarantee you will not leave hungry!

BLT and Tots
Fancy Fries… more like loaded fries!

After lunch and shopping we went to the cabin.

Oh. My. Goodness. 😳

I’ve never been inside a real forest before, and it absolutely blew my mind.

Looking up from the camp fire

This is a quasi-primitive camp in that bathroom facilities consist of an outhouse. That’s no big deal to me. I was raised using outhouses at a local river resort where my family had cabins for four generations. There were rules though. If we had to get up in the middle of the night to go out to the outhouse, you have to take a gun with you, just because of the wolves and bears. I just made sure that I went right before bed!

Wildlife issues would also be the reason the outhouse had a big window in the door. Apparently, there was a solid door at one time, but once someone was using it, but then couldn’t get back out. After shoving, and shoving on the door, the occupant learned the reason he couldn’t get out was because there was a moose standing next to it, so close the door wouldn’t open! After that, the door got changed out for one with a window in it. Not to worry, the door side is away from the cabin and campfire.

When we arrived, our host was waiting for us. After showing us around and chatting for awhile, we drove down to another cabin right on the lake where his wife and daughter were visiting.

I was chatting with our host about Lake Vermillion and it’s many islands, when his wife stepped up and asked if I wanted to go kayaking.

I looked right at The Flirt, because he knew it was something I’ve always wanted to try, and I realized he’s said as much to our hostess. This drives me nuts, because I would never ask for myself. I don’t want to out anyone out just because it’s something I would like to try at some point.

Because I was on vacation, and because she looked like she wanted to go anyway, I decided to accept her invitation, and boy am I glad I did!

I was worried that I would have trouble getting in and out of the kayak, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It’s very much like canoeing, which I did a lot of as a kid.

It wasn’t too long before the guys came along in the boat. Truthfully, The Flirt was a little worried that I would have a hard time with it given all of the back troubles I’ve been having lately. Oddly enough, my back didn’t hurt once, and my arms and shoulders never got tired.

He yelled from the boat and asked me if I could check kayaking off my bucket list, and I replied that it was now on my permanent to do list! So, now I am on the look out for a good used kayak. 😁

After paddling around for an hour or so, we came back in and went back to the camp. We had an awesome supper of grilled burgers, and then sat around the table chatting.

After supper, we got in the boat and drove around Lake Vermillion. We just drove around looking at cabins and watching for random fireworks. After a awhile it got dark, and the bugs got too bad to stay out, so we called it a night and went back to the cabin.

It wasn’t too long before we were going to bed, and when my head hit the pillow, I was out cold. That never happens. I always have such a hard time getting to sleep. It must have been all that good fresh air and exercise!

So ends Day 2!

Every little bit helps

Typically when a storm is projected to come through it splits and goes around us, or skirts around to the north or south.

Last night we finally got the rain we so badly needed.

The Flirt complained that we’d probably only get an inch, and that wouldn’t be enough. We did get about an inch and a quarter. While he’s right that we need more, it’s certainly better than not getting any.

It’s nice to walk outside today and not feel my skin dry up just for being outside for a few minutes. It’s nice to see the weeds in my front windows yard green up. It’s nice that the gardens got watered and I didn’t have to drag the hose around.

So what if we didn’t get all the moisture we need in one shot? If we did, there would be flooding, as happened to some of the streets in Estevan, just a few hours north of us in Canada.

Small blessings are good blessings, and I’m grateful. Here’s hoping you find all of the small blessing around you that are just waiting to be noticed! It takes practice, keep trying!

2021 4th of July Road Trip-Day 1

Because of COVID the Flirt and I haven’t been on a proper road trip for better than a year. That changes today. We are finally getting out of state and going away for the 4th of July weekend.

He has a buddy who called up and invited us to their cabin somewhere around Ely, MN. Now, the Flirt has been telling me about this cabin for the last ten years, but we’ve never been there. I’m super excited to visit this place, and it helps that I’ve met this buddy and his wife, and they are really nice.

From Minot, ND to Ely, MN is a little over an eight hour drive. Yesterday after work we put our luggage in the Flirt’s truck and headed out. We made it as far as East Grand Forks, MN and stayed for the night. Today we have a little over five hours on the road to go.

Grand Forks, ND (home of the University of North Dakota), is one of my favorite places because I went to school there (Go Sioux!) and my kids were both born at the Air Force Base there. However, we didn’t spend much time there other than to drive down University Ave. We crossed the Red River of the North, and stayed in East Grand Forks, right on Highway 2. All the better to get up and get right back up on the road early in the morning!

Today we got up early, stopped at a grocery store, gassed up, and got back in the road. The nice thing about the grocery store we stopped at is that it had a Caribou Coffee in it. I was so grateful to be able to have a good hot coffee to get my day started.


Of course we ended up in the middle of some road construction. It’s hasn’t been too bad so far, and hopefully this will be the end of it.

The interesting thing about Minnesota is the trees. We don’t have a whole lot of trees in North Dakota, unless you are close to water. Of course, that’s something else Minnesota has a lot of is lakes.

Just past Crookston, MN you can tell that we are still in the Red River Valley. It’s an extremely broad, flat valley. The joke is that the Red River Valley is so flat you can see your dog running away for two days. Now that we are just going through Erskine, MN you can see rolling plains again. What beautiful countryside! If you haven’t traveled in Minnesota, you should.

So begins the first day of Our 4th of July Road Trip!

A Trifecta of Doom

I’ve not been feeling well for quite some time, and I’m very sure it has a lot to do with my diet.

The last time I spoke with my doctor we kind of patched together that over my lifetime I’ve most likely been suffering from food sensitivities/allergies of some kind. Given how my skin and joints are feeling these days, I know that has to be the case.

I tried to talk to my boyfriend about it last night, but he poo-pooed the notion. He figures that if he can power through having a bad shoulder all the time, I should just ignore that my whole body hurts every single day.

It must be all in my head, hm?

No, it sure isn’t.

I told him last night that if we wasn’t going to eat healthier with me, then we were probably going to have to just buy food for separate diets. I never used to keep chips, cookies, or other snacks in the house before he moved in, but now that stuff is around all the time. And, he’s very kind to offer to share it with me. Argh…

I’ve gained weight, I hurt all the time, and I’m diabetic. It’s not a good place to be, and I have to get myself out of this rut.

Several years ago I went on an elimination diet and I lost 11 pounds in a month. I felt fabulous, physically. No pain in my joints, and my clothes fit better. I was a wreck emotionally, however. None of the food I was eating was providing me with the carb fix I seem to need.

I was raised on the concept that food makes everything feel better. My Grandmother and her sisters were very good cooks, and their philosophy about feeding people was more is better. If you were selective about what you ate, or didn’t take seconds, you were questioned if there was something wrong with you. I learned how to like a lot of foods just to keep the peace. Once in a while I make my Grandma’s brownies, just to have one. I pawn the rest off on others so I don’t eat the whole pan myself, because I sure will if I can’t get rid of them.

Fast forward to today, and I still can’t help but clean my plate. God forbid anything gets thrown away!

So, today I woke up early because my joints hurt, and I’ve just had enough. It’s not enough to try to bloom where I’m planted anymore. I need to take better care of myself.

Let’s use this happy guy as an example. Meet Ralph:

I’m not sure what kind of plant Ralph is, but the mother plant he came from was a good 18 inches tall, with lots of branches.

A former coworker of mine had this beautiful tree-like succulent, which looks like a combination of a succulent and a Lorax Tree, and she gifted me one of the babies before she left.

I struggled feeling like Ralph might not survive at my house, but I finally found the right spot and the right amount of water to give him. Now he is doing so well, and pretty soon I’m going to have to find him a bigger pot!

It wasn’t enough that Ralph had a place to live, and a nice pot, and water. I had to find the right combination to help him thrive.

I haven’t been thriving so well, and now it’s time to get serious about figuring out what I can do to help myself thrive, in spite of the road blocks put in front of me.

There are multiple parts to my inability to thrive. Diet is one, another is hormonal issues. At the ripe age of 52, I’m firmly seated on the struggle bus also known as peri menopause. You will hear more about that in future posts, because that’s the bus I’m on and there doesn’t seem to be any rush to the final destination. Ugh…

Depression and anxiety are another piece of the puzzle that I struggle with. I’ve struggled with it for the whole of my life, and there’s really no help for that but diet and exercise. I’ve been down the road of medication but the side effects were worse than the illness, so I’ve been drug free from those kinds of pharmaceuticals since 2008.

So, having identified the Trifecta of Doom, I need a plan to shine a light in that dark corner and get back on the road to better health.

Today, I will clean house, and mull over a plan to move forward and get off this struggle bus. I’m going to figure this out. Blessings all!

Get out of your comfort zone!

I had the great privilege of going out with my team from work last night. We met for drinks and appetizers, then went to a scheduled Paint and Sip party. What a lovely time with good people!

I learned something valuable last night, listening to the two people on either side of me grouse about how their paintings turned out.

People expect such perfection from themselves, even when doing something fun. It turned something that was supposed to be fun onto a disappointment for them. It’s really kind of sad.

Something else I learned is that I won’t ever make a living as an artist, but I had a good time checking something off my bucket list. I might even do it again, because it was a blast. Never mind that my painting wasn’t fabulous, because that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that every time I see that painting I will remember the great time I had with a lovely group of people. I hung it up on the wall behind me in my office at work. LOL… apologies to anyone who might have to see it when I’m on a video conference!

It is supposed to be trees. LOL! Maybe I should hang it upside down?

The moral of this story is to get out and do something out of your comfort zone, and have fun! Drop expectations and see where the adventure takes you. Blessings all!

It’s not too late to plant a garden on the High Plains

Today it was nice to wake up to the sounds of thunder and big drops of rain hitting the house.

It’s about time!

We are in such a state of drought here that the rain is absorbing into the ground pretty quickly. I’m so grateful, because we needed the moisture so badly.

Yesterday, I finally got around to planting the flowers I bought last weekend, and have been trying to find time to deal with. It’s been hard on them because it’s been so terribly hot and dry, but I managed to keep them alive.

These flowers look like they are on their last leg, but I promise you they will perk up nicely now that they are in some good dirt and will get watered consistently.

Now it’s time to talk about the next item on the list for my 2021 Summer Projectpalooza. Project #3 is to plant some vegetables. Specifically tomatoes and peppers.

Now that the shed is in, I can start putting a garden together. My yard is so small that it didn’t make any sense for me to try to put a garden in until the shed was in place.

As it is already June 6th, you might be asking yourself, why would I bother? It seems awful late in the year to plant a garden that will be productive before snowfall in North Dakota.

Not so. Most tomatoes and peppers will bear plenty of fruit if you plant by the middle of June. That is, so long as you keep the deer from eating them. Therein lies the real challenge! More to come on how that progresses.

Here’s wishing you a lovely Sunday, whether you are busy with work, family, or slurping coffee contemplating all of the gardening possibilities. Blessings all!

Summer Projects 1 & 2 -Almost done!

It’s been a full week full of home improvement, and having company. I took some time off to deal with Project #1 (getting a new shed), and Project #2, which is renovating my spare bedroom.

The shed is in, and The Flirt has been busy filling it up and organizing all the stuff that has to go back in it.

The spare room is almost done. The walls are painted, and the floor has been sanded down and clear coated. It looks so nice, and feels so fabulous under bare feet!

This old floor is full of imperfections, but it has so much personality. I had no idea just clear coating it would give it such a rich color. I’m so glad we didn’t stain it!

The floor extended from the room down the hallway, so we sanded the glue off of that too. I’m so happy with the result!

It’s hard to believe we got such a beautiful floor out of something that had been so damaged.

So, we went from this:

To this!

You might wonder why it looks like I am putting the bed back into the room before the wainscoting and trim molding is put on. Well, the short answer is that I am so completely done, I just need to get stuff out back in this room and get the rest of my house put back in order.

There’s sawdust everywhere, and my kitchen and living room are full of all the things that have to go back into that room.

Not only that, but my budget for these two projects is cooked. Time to regroup and save up some money for finishing up the room later. It will be functional enough until then.

Here’s wishing you all well in whatever projects you have going on. It feels so good to get these big projects done!

Blessings all!

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