Blessings come in ridiculous packages

Sometimes you just have to take some time off. Today was one of those days.

Sunday, right in the middle of Super Bowl, my furnace went out. When you live in North Dakota losing the ability to heat your home is one of the hazards of winter, and is not to be taken lightly.

So, I contacted my plumbing and heating guys at Ralph’s, and they came to check it out the next morning. Turns out the heat exchanger was cracked, and that was the death knell for that furnace. Ralph’s hooked us up with a temporary heater, and today they put a new furnace in. We struggled with that furnace almost the whole time it’s been in the house, and I’m looking forward to more efficient heating, and smaller electric and gas bills. Blessings sometimes come in ridiculous packages.

I feel pretty lucky to own a very tiny home, because I only needed a small furnace, and it was half as expensive as I thought it might be. Because it was so reasonable, I think I’m going to replace the AC too. I might as well, as ours was put in 20 years ago along with the furnace. Anything I can replace now will help in the long run.

I’m always looking for ways to update my house. At some point I will want to move and all the updates will help the sale. Until then, I want to be happy and comfortable in my home.

I took half a day off in case I needed to be home for the installation, but the guys from Ralph’s are so efficient I have some free time. So I ran some errands, and stopped by Prairie Sky Breads for a coffee and a scone. Let me tell you, their scones are to die for, and their bread is amazing. Now that they have a brick and mortar building they are serving breakfast and lunch as well as all of their delicious breads.

Today is their opening day, in a really cool old building, at the corner of 1st St SE and Central Ave. The building has been lovingly redone, and many of the things that went into putting it together are up cycled.

I’m sitting in a little back room away from where there were kids playing up front. I see out the window that there is a building across the street that is being renovated, and I’m glad to see that another if Minot’s old buildings is being preserved.

Minot, ND has been blessed with a population of young entrepreneurs who just have a feel for what the city needs, and Prairie Sky Breads is one result of that. Check this place out, as there will be lots of activities taking place here going forward. If nothing else, it’s a great place to blog from!

Having consumed my coffee and scone (yum!), I’m off to finish my errands. This has been a lovely afternoon away from the office.

Here’s hoping you all have the opportunity to take some time away and just do something for you. Recharging your batteries is nice. When you can do that and buy a loaf of fresh jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread, it’s even better! Blessings all!

Be kind to the new person

Today’s PSA:

I went through the drive though at one of my favorite coffee shops today, and it took a long time to get through the line. When I got to the window, the lady saw that I was the wrong customer, and muttered, “they drove off”, then popped back in the window.

I could see inside that there people piled up inside, and I suspect she was working alone.

This poor gal had quite a time, but she got the job done eventually.

Who of us hasn’t been stuck in this position at one time or another? It really sucks being the new person, which is why we need to be patient.

You know what I mean… you’ve been there. Everyone has been the person at one time or another who is the new person on the job, and someone gives you some cursory training, then runs out the door and leaves you to the wolves.

Gee whiz, folks. Let’s be kind to our new people, shall we? It takes a little time, and a little patience, but we all have to go through it. Be nice.

PS… kindness matter even more than good coffee. Blessings all! ☕️

Today’s self care moment

I had extra time this morning, so I stopped at one of my favorite local shops, Minot Daily Bread, picked up a scone and a coffee, and took them to Scandinavian Heritage Park.

It’s so quiet here, even with the traffic from Broadway, and the pine trees smell so good. It feels great to sit here and sip my amazing blackberry lavender mocha, and just breathe. This is what self care looks like for me today.

This is a place I used to come to a lot, and I think I’m going to start coming here more often. It’s especially nice on cool mornings like this, and it’s big enough I could come walking here. What a lovely local resource. ❤️

What does self care look like for you today? Here’s hoping you all can take a few minutes for yourself to recharge. Life is too short not to. Blessings all!

What to do with extra time before work?

I got up early to pick up The Flirt and give him a ride home, because he needed to drop the motorcycle off to get repaired by 7am. Now that he’s dropped off back at home, I find myself with extra time before work, so I stopped by one of my favorite local coffee shops, Classic Rock Coffee to have a scone from Prairie Sky Breads, and a good hot, fluffy coffee. Hmmm… heaven.

Prairie Sky Breads makes the best scones. The one pictured here is the Blackberry Lime Scone. To say they are good is a bit of an understatement. The coffee (white chocolate mocha with coconut) is amazing, and Night Ranger is pumping out of the speakers in the ceiling. It’s a good start to this beautiful ND morning.

It begs the question, with extra time before work, shouldn’t I have been out on this beautiful morning going for a walk? Maybe I should be doing housework or pulling weeds out of my rock beds? I could be doing a million chores around the house.

Well, I’m showered and dressed for work, so none of those are an option.

Honestly, not feeling guilty in the least, and to Hell with all of the “shoulds”. Having a little bit of time before I have to get my day started with a good coffee and spending time blogging is a blessing. I’ve been so comfortable and had such good focus for the last 30 minutes, the time just slipped away. Guess it’s time to get up and go to work.

Wishing you all a good day, and here’s hoping you can all take advantage of little bits of time here and there and just be in the moment. Blessings all!

Coffee thwarted, a 1st world problem

Today I had just enough time to grab some coffee from one of my favorite local coffee shops, With Room Coffee. I’m trying to quit my coffee habit, but everything in moderation, right?

Just as I turned down 3rd St towards coffee paradise, the train warning lights lit up and the gates started on their way down.


So, quick turn down a different street toward work. I can get coffee at work, for free even, but it isn’t the same.

As I sit here feeling fussy about being coffee blocked, I need to remind myself that if this is the worst my days gets, I’m really ahead of the game.

Well, on with my day then.

Here’s hoping you all find the coffee, or other beverage, you need to get your day going. If not, keep in mind making do with something else isn’t so bad. Blessings all!

Sleeping in and The To Do List

Today I got to sleep in.

What a glorious and wonderful thing.

This whole last year has been full of working every weekend day, but that’s all changed now. I’ve changed my schedule so that I get one weekend day off. I had to take on extra hours during the week to do that, but life is full of little trade offs, and this one was worth it.

Not only did I get to sleep until my eyes felt like popping open all by themselves, but now I get to sit in a quiet house and catch up on my blogs. And,  I get to write a post with no interruptions or the boys reading over my shoulder. Now there’s a treat. It’s a little easier to write what I really feel if I don’t have to worry about them walking by and sneaking a peak and making comments.

Aw shoot…I guess I spoke too soon…Older Son just got up, but he’s offering to make coffee, so I guess that’s another one of those little trade offs. Hmm… Coffeeeeee!

This morning is going to be all about The To Do List. Since I’ve taken on extra hours at the Big Box Store, and have stumbled upon my new found amazing social life, my house has really hit the skids. Time to take action, and here’s the plan for today:

Kitchen – (medium bad shape) clean off all flat surfaces of all things accumulated, scrub floors. If time, scrub fridge doors, inside and house, reorganize cupboards and drawers.

Living room -(horrifyingly bad shape) Burn and start again. Nope, too expensive. Dust everything, scrub walls, scrub floors, vacuum rugs, sort bills and papers, reorganize entire room. Hm…maybe it would just be better to burn and start again?

Bathroom – (pretty good shape) Light weekly scrubbing needed only

Entry way – (Not too bad) Sweep and mop floor, reorganize shoes and jackets

My room – (Run away, run away!) Get rid of the last of the things I brought up from the basement during the flood. Sweep floor and vacuum rugs, change sheets, dust everything, organize shelves, organize closet.

Basement (Good grief, what happened to my clean basement?!) Totes need organizing, floors need sweeping, laundry needs catching up with (my poor washer will be smoking and begging for mercy by the end of the day), items need to be put away in my new workspace cupboards.

Outdoors (Uff-da…) Need to have Younger Son finish pulling in the garden, and weed-whack anything that’s over grown. Solar lights need to be put away for the year, and the shed needs to be organized.

I’ve just read over this list, and know that I have my work cut out for me, but so do Older Son and Younger Son -I’ll be keeping them busy today. I’m also aware of this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’m dying to send a text message to my new man friend. He needs a blog nick name….I’ll have to think on that. I’m seriously aware that we are only friends, but I’ve gotten rather attached to him. Could be that I need to reign that in a little bit…if he wants to be more than friends, I’ll let him let me know. Darned flirty man… makes me want things I shouldn’t want right now. For today, I need to pay attention to my house and spend some extra time with my kids.

I hope you all have much smaller To Do Lists, and a spectacularly restful Sunday.

Editors note: So what happens after I get this posted and get ready to start my day? My phone goes off…it’s The Flirt…texting just saying Good Morning. Life is good…

Pre-emptive coffee, and the day Santa died

This morning I made the coffee, and I did it purely out of self-defense.

Older Son has been making the coffee recently and his idea of coffee, at the tender age of almost 18, is to put so many grounds in the filter that they are almost leaking out by the time the water has finished running through. I don’t often drink coffee right away in the morning, but the one day that I was really needing a cup I made the mistake of not making it myself.  It was so strong, it fairly made me break out into a sweat, so I didn’t finish it…I took two sips and there was so much caffeine in that little bit of coffee that I was lit up like a Christmas tree for the whole morning. That might have not been so bad, except it was so bitter that I just couldn’t get it down.

When I made the coffee today, I made it a little strong for me so Older Son wouldn’t feel like he was drinking colored water. So far so good. he finds it palatable, so mission accomplished.

So here I sit, reading blogs and sipping my low-octane coffee. I’m seeing a lot of posts about Santa, and it reminds me of the Christmas that Younger Son was in the First Grade. Younger Son has a very pragmatic, black and white way of looking at the world, and it didn’t take him long to figure out that Santa isn’t real. As the boys stayed with my parents after school, he inquired with my Mother about this, and they had a discussion about the real St. Nick and the fact that he is not with us any more but we celebrate him in spirit. He seemed satisfied with this explanation and all was well.

That is, until the next day when he announced to the rest of his First Grade class that Santa was, in fact, dead. From what I understand, there was an argument, and several of the children cried. Needless to say,  the teacher was pretty put out with him when my Mom picked him up after school.

Apparently Younger Son didn’t understand that while you may learn the truth about something, you don’t get to burst other people’s bubbles. I have no doubt that some of these kids will have bitter memories of the Christmas of their First Grade year. I can just imagine some of the conversations that happened around supper tables that night.

So, now that I’ve finished my coffee, and my story, it’s off to work. Happy Thursday!

Paying it backwards at Starbucks

The other morning, I had some extra time so I stopped at Starbucks to pick up a Dark Cherry Mocha…hmm…yummy!

Unfortunately, they replaced my favorite coffee with Pumpkin Spice Latte. I definitely got the impression that the Coffee Gods had abandoned me. Well, what to do? Order the next best thing, a White Chocolate Mocha.

When I got up to the window, the lady told me that the person in the car ahead of me had paid for my coffee!! I love it when this happens. Not because I get a free coffee, because I don’t. If someone in the car ahead of me pays for my coffee, I always put my money toward the coffee in the car behind me. It’s like a great big chain of coffee-laden generosity that just keeps gaining momentum. Last year, while in the middle of one of these occurrences, the Starbucks Lady told me that I was car #20 that had participated that morning. I hoped it went all day long.

Paying it backward, if you’ll forgive the turn of phrase, is a good way to get yourself out of a crabby funk. One day I went there to pick up a coffee, and I was feeling so completely miserable I didn’t know what to do with myself. So, I pulled out a $20, paid  my coffee, the coffee in the car behind me, and gave the rest to the Starbucks Lady.  It didn’t necessarily make me feel better that I paid for someone else’s coffee, but it did make me feel better to think about the smile on the Starbucks Lady’s face, and about the surprise the car behind me was going to get. It also made me feel better to think that perhaps I started a chain of coffee-laden happiness that lasted for more than just a few cars. I doubt that it went on all day, but one can hope.

If you haven’t ever done this before, give it a try. You don’t have to wait until Christmas, though that is the most common time of year to experience it, and you don’t have to only do it at Starbucks. This should work in pretty much any drive through. Give it a try. I bet it will make your day.


The simplest things are the best

Hmmm…coffee. I stopped at Starbucks and grabbed myself a coffee and a sausage english muffin after dropping the kids off at school today. The muffin was great, the coffee went down smooth, and my get up and go has increased significantly. Nice way to start off another day.

While typing, I’m also doing laundry and washing dishes. If I suspend reality in my head, I can say I almost feel like I could be a little like Molly Weasley, only my wand doesn’t work quite so well as hers does. I would love to be able to set my house to cleaning itself while I get on to other more interesting matters. Thank goodness for machines that wash the clothes and the dishes for us!

So, being as I have another day off, I have several projects that I could do, but I’ll probably just end up deep cleaning my bedroom, as well as the living room. The kitchen floor could use a good mopping too. If I’m really good with my time, I’ll be able to squeak in making some relish from the peppers I harvested from the garden before I pick up Older Son from school at 3pm. Younger has a football game two hours away, so I’ll probably just take Older out for supper tonight.

Sitting here in the quiet, hearing nothing but the dishwasher and the traffic out front, I feel calm and comfortable. Not only that, but I’m feeling particularly blessed, for the following reasons:

~I’m feeling most especially blessed that I don’t hear the water heater banging any more, and that we had more hot water than we knew what to do with this morning. I’m so grateful I no longer have the worry about that thing malfunctioning and flooding my basement.

~Pretty soon the new windows will be put in, and my house will be nice and warm this winter.

~I got good reports from all of Younger Son’s teachers yesterday, with the exception of one, in whose class he’s getting a C. I don’t take this teacher’s report too seriously as she has been reported to be a menace by Older Son, and other children and parents who’ve dealt with her. If a C in this class is the worst that it gets, life is good.

~The weather has been cold and drippy, but it’s supposed to be back in the 70’s this weekend, so I can get some final landscaping done and get my garden put to bed for the winter.

~I have this day of peace and quiet to enjoy, no matter what I choose to do. Isn’t it amazing how the simplest things are the best?

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