Tuesday, July 10, 2018

midsommer

We're barely into summer by the calendar but in the middle of summer by all other measures. The 4th of July is past, Christmas decorations are up at the craft stores, and the bugs are horrific. We used our screen tent last night and it was tolerable to sit outside and have a beer while we grilled peppers. We mocked the gnats and mosquitoes trying to gain access. Little bastards.

I love the landscape of this time of year: crops are green, rows are tidy, usually some haze off in the distance, clear blue skies, small farms dotting the horizon. We took Gus to Nicollet this morning for his monthly shave and a haircut and as I watched the miles go by, I thought how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.



We have forsaken the news for a while because there is only so much outrage you can stand to bear. We read snippets on twitter and the online WaPo, but the nightly gathering of the talking heads is getting a much earned vacation. We started watching Shetland, a wonderful British mystery drama that takes place in the Shetland Islands.


I snatched this photo from the Instagram account of @inspiredbyshetland. I hope that's enough of an attribution so I don't get nabbed by the copyright police. Such a wild and lovely place. Did you know they have winter hurricanes? It might be a place I'd like to visit, but it would require several airplanes, some of them quite small, and a ferry into the North Sea. I'd have to be sedated.

I spent 3 hours in the front yard yesterday. I was a sweaty, bug spray covered, hot mess by the time I finished. There is mor to do...not sure I can make myself do it today. So sad.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

we aren't the traveling kind of folks

I know some people wouldn't even consider a 130 mile trip to be travel, but we plan it for a week and we labor over the details. We're exhausted when we get home even though the biggest exertion was to go twenty miles (by car) to eat. Sigh.

Here's a good article about why it's ok to dislike travel.

We had a nice time and even stepped out of our usual routine by going downtown to sit on the patio of the local pub until near dark, chatting with the locals. I know. Not like we were bungee jumping or anything but you have to take your bows when you can.



I do love the landscape...cows, prairie, corn fields, wind towers.

I don't need opinions about how we should do this or that. I can find a poem about the pleasure of not traveling and I'd be happy to share it. Somebody has to stay home, you know, or we'd all be out running up and down the highways.

Tomorrow, I am attacking my outdoor jobs. I'm sure the garden plants are competing for space with the weeds and my front yard looks like Boo Radley's yard. I'm going to spray myself up with DEET and just do it.


Mom and Me

Thursday, July 05, 2018

a major cloud of ennui settled over us

en·nui
änˈwē/
noun
  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
    synonyms:boredomtedium, listlessness, lethargylassitudelanguorwearinessenervation

  2. Yup. That's it. It hit me Tuesday, but Regis drove the bus that day so he did not succumb until Tuesday night. Wednesday, we were in the throes all day. We can't remember a day when we did less...if there has been one. It had all the markers.
  • A nap in the chair immediately upon waking.
  • Consumption of leftovers, twice.
  • Lack of interest in any community goings on of which there were many.
  • Lack of focus and nothing accomplished.
  • Abundance of reading and Scrabble.
  • Minimal conversation.
In our defense, I would say that we both showered and got dressed. This would have been a 911 situation if we had been in our pajamas all day. I would have suspected a leakage of carbon monoxide.

Toward evening we had a burst of creativity and gumption enough to order this as a way to combat the mosquito hordes that have prevented almost any patio time this summer.

It's 10x10 so it will hold two lawn chairs and not much else. That's ok since my general malaise includes lack of interest in cooking for crowds, even the familial kind.

I have a busy day planned...some baby watching, some work at the Arts Center, some celebrating of the birthday of my sweet husband. Ta da! The cloud has lifted!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

what the hell

The weather. I saw on Facebook, a trusted source of legitimate news, that 10 weeks ago from July 1st we had almost three feet of snow on the ground. I didn't bother with any fact checking because...you know...fake news.

We had a long, gray winter and a snowy spring that lasted about 18 hours. I had a few wimpy daffodils that bloomed for a few hours before they were bludgeoned to death by 100 degree winds. Winds like you get on the Sahara Desert.

Since then, it's been too hot, windy, rainy, or buggy to care about anything outside. I do, under duress, spray myself down with a lethal does of DEET and do a few things outdoors but I can't say I enjoy it. It's a year of just surviving.

The river is rising, again, so who knows when all routes out of here will be closed unless you have a raft. The dog park is completely submerged and giant carp have been seen swimming over the fences. When the water goes down, imagine this: the stench of rotting carp, hellish mobs of mosquitoes, clouds of gnats that get through even L.L. Bean's finest mesh screen hat, and a nasty case of West Nile.

It makes me yearn for January.

Regis and I went to a comedy show last night. The weather forecast was for thunderstorms and high winds but the venue is right down the street and it's a one story brick building so I felt safe. Remember that scene from Twister where the cars are blown by a tornado through the screen of the outdoor theater? That could happen.

During one of the breaks, we talked about how we have been retreating to books and stories this summer, hiding from the world. We both have felt, during the day as we go about our business, the anxious calling of a book. The difference is that I read escape literature and Regis reads science fiction and dystopian literature. That might be worse than reality.

It was so hot yesterday that the smell of hot asphalt recalled memories of other hot summers in the past. I'm writing another post in my head about that. Funny how smells are so evocative of memories.

Well, onward my friends, into the heat and humidity and windblown rain. Have a pleasant day.




Sunday, June 24, 2018

sunday gardening



We have a small plot in the community garden this year. The garden had a rough start with snow until mid-April, high winds and 100 degrees in May, then weeks of torrential rain in June. Somehow we got most of it planted and we're doing a fair job of keeping down the weeds. Two or three small ones come on Sunday mornings to help with weeds and other chores, but I try not to make it torturous. I want them to remember it as fun. Today, Ella and Elliot counted the tomatoes and peppers that are developing. I'm not sure it's what a guy would call a bumper crop, but it's a crop.

In other news, Regis and I celebrated our 19th anniversary by going to Pet Expo to buy dog and cat food and cat litter, then stopping at Boulder Tap for lunch. We like their food a lot but I hate the televisions. When they ask where we would like to be seated, I always say away from the tvs. Haha. There is no such place.

My dinner plans for today included cooking on the grill. Doesn't look like that will happen as it is raining and thundering...again. Regis just told me the Rabbit Road is closed. Probably more roads to follow once the river gets so high. It's been the summer that wasn't. See paragraph #1 about our strange weather, then realize we have mosquitoes the size of small helicopters.

I think I need a short nap.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

paths and bridges


For a flatlander and a non-traveler, I've had an unusual fascination with paths and bridges. I suppose a guy could attach some meaning to that, but I'm not sure what it would be.

I've often thought if it had been up to me to blaze a trail into the new world, I'd still be sitting by the farm in the sod hut in Norway.

I had my third drawing lesson yesterday. My teacher calls herself my mentor which is probably accurate because our conversations are far reaching and as much about life as art. Michelle encourages, through her home and her person, an artistic view of the world.

I printed several path and bridges photos I've taken so I can practice drawing this morning. I've found that if I sketch something then set it aside for a few days, it looks different. I take photos of sketches, too.

I see many comparisons to writing in the process of creating art. I suppose that seems obvious to some but it was a surprise to me.

We've had a string of many, many gloomy days. This is not good when we should be storing up Vitamin D for the winter. Blech.

Off to sip coffee and sit in front of the window to draw. Ah, retirement.


Saturday, June 09, 2018

more thoughts on quitting stuff


For today, at least for this morning, I quit getting dressed or being mobile. I'm glad it rained this morning because it is more acceptable to be slothful on days when it pours and thunders.

I'm going to work at 3, so I will be dressed by then.

It's been very interesting to live each day through a lens of quitting. Some of the quits are good ones. I'm trying to quit worrying and I am trying to quit feeling responsible for everybody's everything.

I've explained it this way. All of this is valuable real estate...in my head and in my physical surroundings. Why do I let that stuff live here, in my head and in my physical surroundings...mostly rent free. It's a good perspective.

The other day, I told someone that I had quit holidays. She responded: How did you get by with that? Whoa. I could ask her: How did you get stuck with that?

And there is the tricky part. Much of those kinds of things are enjoyable. There was a time when I loved all my holiday bric-a-brac. I loved baking fourteen kinds of cookies and planning a menu that would feed the Russian army. So, I don't want to imply that I always disliked all of it. See?

Quitting things allows me to choose how gets space in my head.



I'm reading a book by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. Their message is how to live a life of joy amidst sadness and death and destruction. I'm only on the first chapter but there is much to ponder here. This week has been rough so it was a good recommendation from my friend, Jane.

I have a new volunteer gig. I'm a new docent for the walking sculpture tours in Mankato. You can check it out here as the site doesn't allow me to steal pictures. Imagine that.

Well, I'm off to clean up and get dressed. Enjoy this rainy day!