Tuesday, September 02, 2014

favorite things about fall

  1. Joe Pye weed, pictured above. Dusty mauve flowers on lanky stems, often visited by butterflies, it's a sign the end of summer is near.
  2. Sunflowers as tall as the porch roof.
  3. The county fair. The sheep and goats. Cheese curds. The dairy place with real strawberry ice cream...with real strawberries. 
  4. Geese. Every time we go for a walk now, they are winging their way to or back from a big pond somewhere. Probably Swan Lake. 
  5. Food. Even sweet corn is a harbinger of autumn. Tomatoes...we're going to make the tomato tart at least one more time. Peppers. Plan to stuff, grill and freeze them. Nothing tastes better in January than grilled peppers in an omelet. End of summer food.
  6. Sounds. No more tractor pulls and baseball games. The sound of Friday night football on the hill.
  7. Shorter days. Waking at 3 am, I have almost four hours of dark before the sun is fully up. By September, I am still awake when it gets dark.
  8. Food. Meatloaf and baked potatoes. Soup. Pot roast with root vegetables. Baked squash. Fresh bread with crisp crust you can hear crackle as it cools.
  9. Birds. Finches, turning dirty yellow, flit around the bird feeder. Cardinals, the young pair have taken up residence and sent the old folks somewhere else. Hummingbirds stocking up before they fly to warmer spots for the winter.
  10. Friends. Some go back to school. Some leave for the winter.
  11. Hot tub. Maybe a couple nights under the stars.
  12. Family. Two grandsons starting school. A granddaughter going to a new school. Parties move indoors. Goodbye pontoon! Goodbye swimming pool!

Monday, September 01, 2014

labor day 2014

We had a fine Labor Day party at Tom and Betty's with, as usual, lots of food, family, friends, and laughs. We were in the pool for a while, then the hot tub. The rain held off until we were done.

Tom and Betty's backyard is so pretty...it looks tropical.

Today feels like the first official day of autumn. Regis wore his Hawaiian shirt yesterday because he said the rule is no white shoes or Hawaiian shirts after Labor Day. Maybe he's right.

I know I'm ready for the next season. I find it harder and harder to wear summer clothes, I'm starting to ignore my garden, and I have developed a hankering for meatloaf. All signs of fall. I can't wait to get my boots and sweaters out.

I have a busy week coming up so I might not do anything today. I might stay in my pajamas until noon. I might bake bread. I might take a nap. Ah, the possibilities.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

good food to stoke the soul

I see I started this, then forgot. What a surprise. It's from A Pioneer Woman Cooks. I'm going to make it again tomorrow since we have such a bountiful harvest of tomatoes and  it's so good. I'm not going to smush the crusts together only to spend twenty minutes rolling them out. I think I'll use a tart pan and something else...not sure what. Maybe a round pizza pan.

Well, that is all I have to say about that this morning.

something told the wild geese

I had to tease my school teaching friends about my activities this week. They are sitting in a warm auditorium, listening to the motivational speaker of the year and I am sitting in my hammock chair, feeling groovy. My big accomplishments for the week so far are also pictured; coffee drinking on the porch, reading, tending the little library, and watching the geese fly over the meadows and fields.

Yesterday morning, when we walked you could smell autumn in the air. And then we saw the beautiful geese.

I have had two blissful nights of sleep. Pathetic when you have to brag about sleeping, I know.
Something Told the Wild Geese by Rachel Field
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,-'Snow.'
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,-'Frost.'
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

on the sunny side of the street

I really loathe August. I hate it almost as much as March. Both are gray and damp and weird temperatures so you never know how to dress. I have tried, and mostly been successful, at learning to tolerate March. I decided to think of it as preparation for spring...a blanket of fog getting us ready for the new season. I have not been so successful with August. I grit my teeth and wait for fall to arrive.

It's been a grand summer. We've taken lots of walks around the hospital, seen some beautiful clouds, spent a day on the radio as program directors, and done a ton of sitting around staring out the porch windows at the sunflowers.


I try to live a rich full life. Some days that means getting things done, some days it means a long nap and a book. I have been reading a lot of mystery novels again this summer. Don't know where that interest came from again but I have been whipping through them...on my sleepless nights.

Woodrow and I like to wake up about 4 am and go out onto the porch to listen to the crickets. This morning, he jumped about five feet into the air to bat at something on the screen. I laughed out loud.

I had a creepy cancer scare about a week ago to which I did not react in the most rational way. If I had called Judy at the cancer center, or asked more questions of Sue Ellen, all would most likely have gone more smoothly. I will know better next time...maybe.

Here I am lying in the grass under a big shade tree right on Riverfront in Mankato. I was waiting for an appointment and it was such a nice day. I wondered if I was cause for concern...if people thought I had taken leave of my sense. If they thought that, they were right on target.

For some odd reason, it tickles Regis and me to take pictures of transits we see around the area. If we are together, one of us mutters, "transit" and if we are not together, we will often text a photo of the transit with the comment, "transit". Inexplicable.

I gave myself a deadline of 1 pm to finish this and then get up to do the dishes. Here I go, into the day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

all roads lead to somewhere

It has been a grand couple of weeks. The weather has been fabulous even though Regis would like more heat and humid, those of us who have not come from tropical climates, love this. Cool nights, warmish days. Perfect summer weather. I can smell fall in the air!

Yesterday, I took a trip down the Old Fort Road, across Nicollet County to Fairfax in Renville County. It goes through Klossner and St. George, both tiny and very rural towns. Klossner is a little dumpy but St. George looks like Lake Woebegone....every house freshly painted and it looks like they have decided to all mow their grass on Mondays. Every house has a Virgin Mary in the front yard and a pick-up in the driveway. I drove past two old cemeteries, one in St. George and one out in the middle of the corn fields.

I love rural cemeteries...so much history, so many stories I will never know. The little grotto at the St. George cemetery was so sweet: screen door left unlocked, little benches in front of several statues, candles. Lovely. There was no way I could capture the grandeur of the landscape with my camera phone so I picked these details to remind me of how pleasant this drive is.

Here is one strange thing about my trip into southwest Minnesota. I finished reading, over the weekend, a book by John Sanford called Mad River.

John Sanford's books take place in Minnesota. This one in southwestern Minnesota. Three young people go on a rampage of murder and mayhem in Marshall, Redwood Falls, and other rural small towns and on the deserted highways that wind between the corn fields. Oh, brother. That's exactly where I was headed. Then on an empty stretch of rural highway between Klossner and St. George, I am passed by two Nicollet County sheriff vehicles traveling at high speeds. Remember, I am the person who was afraid to go in a swimming pool after seeing the movie Jaws. All is well, though. I made it home without incident.

I slept blissfully last night. I was in bed for 7 hours and asleep soundly for 6.5. I know this because my Jawbone UP 24 will track my sleep. I can look at a chart and see how much light sleep and sound sleep I had. It also tracks my steps. Regis thinks I cheat by running in little circles behind him when we go for walks.

This week, I have had lunch with Vickie, gone for a long walk with Deb on Sunday and Regis the following few days, I have a haircut appointment today, a breakfast date with Betty on Friday, and coffee with Betsy on Thursday afternoon. Elliot is coming to spend the night on Friday and we're having a pizza party for the little kids on Saturday.

My LiveStrong class ends Monday with a graduation party at Bill's lake cabin. I'll be sorry to see it end, but also glad to have my two mornings a week back for a while. On the calendar, for now, August looks like a quiet month. There is the Nicollet County fair and I have my oncology check-up and a trip to Mom's next week. Other than those things, it looks like a quiet month leading into fall.

Maybe not all my friends were able to see me on Dancing with the Stars with Donnie Osmond. Boy, did we cut a rug. Hahaha!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

I have not fallen off the planet

It's been a while since I've written. I think my last post, or close to the last, was the one where I had been sleeping about three hours a night and was goofy. The gray faced men were marching around my bed chanting all my unreasonable fears. I am better now.

So many wonderful things have happened in the past couple weeks. Here is a pictorial run-down.

Art class and Billy and Ron on the patio at Lone Star

Flowers downtown Mankato

Livestrong pals after the 5K. My inspiration.

High fives all around!

Dance walking across the finish line, of course.

More music on the patio. Kit Kildahl and Steve Vanderhaar.

Regis and Gus on the 5K

Ella on the pontoon

Emily and Ella

Klobassa's eat on the dock

Alex and Elliot at Madison Lake

Lots of good chow!

Pontoon parade!

A rose from Nancy and a beautiful sunrise at TRAM

$15,000 dollar bike. No shit. And the guy didn't have a lock for it. Met a guy who is 90 and has ridden in the TRAM for years. He rode 70 miles the day I saw him. Wow.

TRAM riders just waking up.

Helena and Katie had the best coffee and scones.

So, there you have it. A few of the events from the past week or so. Lots of sweet moments and more to come. I am feeling better, stronger, and more optimistic than I have in a long time. Tomorrow is alumni day at Livestrong. Next week is graduation day and it will be very hard to say goodbye to these folks. They have found a special place in my heart.

Karen, I know it's my turn to write a long email. I hope you are doing well. I have my oncology check-up in August but I will be in touch before that. I seem to be needing lots of sleep lately.

We have had our first heat advisory of the summer. I think this is getting to be a bit like blizzard warnings. I went out in my flannel nightgown to move the sprinklers and didn't even work up a sweat. Haha!

All those little ideas I gleaned from Pinterest for the party...not many of those worked out. I would say most didn't work out. I procrastinated until the very end so I'm lucky I pulled a meal together.

Onward and upward. Life is good. Very good.