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Archive for the ‘Everyday’ Category

The twelfth day of Christmas was January 5th.  Husby and I had guests over that evening and as luck would have it our tree still looked healthy and bright, and the decorations around the house were still spreading Christmas cheer, naturally.  Never take down the decorations before the twelfth day of Christmas.

On January 6th (the thirteenth day of Christmas?) Husby and I were basking in the last evening of Christmas tree glow when – bink! – half of the tree lights were suddenly unlit.  I was disappointed, of course, but so grateful they didn’t blink out while we had company the night before.

We unplugged the tree lights, because of course I’d go completely mad looking at a half-lit tree.  The ornaments and tinsel shimmered in the ordinary lamp light of the room, but the corner that held the tree still seemed so dark without the twinkly lights.

Today I undecorated the tree.  The tinsel was removed and the ornaments safely stored.  The lights, well, I found the offending string that caused half of the tree to go dark and cast them aside.  Then Husby took the tree out to the “back forty” to deal with in the summer.

Now, not only is the corner of the room dark, it’s empty.

I didn’t have the inclination to take down all of the Christmas decorations today, nor did Husby and I wish to move the furniture back to “real life” positions.  The Christmas decorations will be put away bit by bit throughout the week.  The furniture will return to its usual positions and the empty corner will be filled once again.

Then begins a bright new year.

I hope you all had a merry holiday season and that the new year brings health, happiness, and peace to you all.

 

 

 

 

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A Major Award

As you may or may not know, Charlotte and I played on the same high school tennis team in, well, I don’t want to tell you what year.  At the end of the season the team would have a banquet, complete with awards of athletic letters.

For a number of years now, without the watchful eye of our high school coach (who’s probably rolling in his grave with our shenanigans), Charlotte and I have met to play tennis on a weekly basis in the spring, summer and fall seasons.  When it becomes too cold or too dark to play anymore, we get together for the “tennis banquet.”

This banquet involves the two of us finding a wonderful restaurant to share a great meal, a couple of drinks, and much talk about our intersecting lives as sisters.  Oh yeah, and we briefly talk about tennis.

Each year one of us receives an award.  It’s kind of a revolving trophy.  This year I received a most esteemed award.  I’m humbled.

 

It’s a major award!

We play tennis in our little below-the-knee yoga pants.  It seems that every time Charlotte and I get together we plea to the other not to look at our legs, as they may not have been recently shaven.  “Don’t make fun of my legs,” we cry.  I guess my legs were least likely to be made fun of as I received The Lady Schick Award.

 

I forgive my opponent for having less than smooth legs every time we play because, well, we play mid-week and I have much more time to groom than she does as I’m retired from my day job and she is not.  However, even given my time to groom I’ve shown up on many occasions with stubble, and I’m amazed and honored to be presented with such a fabulous award.

What a wonderful trophy!  My legs thank you, Charlotte, as do I.  It was a great banquet, and I’m looking forward to another season of chasing balls with you.

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My 56th 1st

Toward the end of October in Minnesota it’s hard to tell what the weather will do.

Twin Cities, MN, October 31, 1991

We haven’t seen the likes of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 since, but once again I want everyone to know that I SHOWED UP TO WORK THAT DAY!  My diligence to my employer, the State of MN who did NOT announce a snow emergency that day, is to be applauded.  *Applaud here*

While I don’t expect this October 27th snowfall to turn out to be of blizzard proportions, it will be marked as the 56th first snowfall of my life.  It’s been snowing all day long, and the flakes keep getting bigger and bigger as the day wears on.  First snowfalls are always celebrated by me, if only in my heart.

One of our spirea shrubs, starting to droop with the heavy snow.

There’s so much to complain about with the coming of winter.  Shoveling snow, icy roads, ice dams in the gutters…but for all the trouble I love wintertime.  It’s second only to autumn which boasts its colors and shifted sunlight which makes everything outdoors look more beautiful, like candlelight accentuates a woman’s beauty.  OK, a man’s handsomeness too .

Winter marks hibernation, a regrouping of oneself.  Its cold and stark atmosphere appeals to me, especially when I can bask in front of a toasty fire while eating hot soups and stews.

Husby’s potted spruce trees in what used to be his vegetable patch during the spring and summer.

The snow we get today will probably melt before long; temperatures will rise to the 40s (F) in the very near future.  But that won’t negate the first snowfall, October 27th, 2017.  My 56th 1st.

A small lilac bush.

While the wind blows and the snow falls I’m cozy in my house with a candle burning.  The candle’s scent is Tall Grass, which I expect I won’t be smelling naturally for quite a few months.  Winter is creeping in, and my nesting instincts are aroused.

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Closing Time

October is a good month.  I was married in October.  The leaves turn in October.  Halloween is in October.  October is the best month of the year as far as I’m concerned.

There’s some work involved in October though.  Closing up the family cottage(s) in Wisconsin is a chore that has to be done, especially as those dwellings are not winter-friendly.  A friend of mine was recently surprised that the family cottage actually consisted of two properties with two structures.  Yes, my parents managed to buy an adjoining property from a neighbor quite a few years ago in order to accommodate our growing family.

Stats aside, my family and I spent a weekend closing up the cottages for the winter.  It was busy work and caused some bodies (mine mostly) to cry out in protest.  That only proves the bodies in question are extremely out of shape and should shape up.  Raking leaves is the biggest project in October.

The original cottage, built by Grandpa Mike in 1950.  Leaves ready to be picked up and hauled away.

Leave raking is the biggest closing-time activity.  Lots and lots of leaves.  At the end of it there were seven truck-loads of leaves dumped away from the properties.  Seven, squished loads of leaves.  But we love the trees and don’t complain too much about their shedding.

Here’s the second property, right next door to the previous. How happy am I and my entire family to own two properties on such a lovely lake?!

Yes, it takes more effort to maintain a second dwelling in addition to the primary.  But it’s totally worth it.  Good thing we have a big family to pitch in with the work!

It’s closing time at the family cottage.  We’ll not be back for a while, but after the hard work we spent tidying up the yards and winter-proofing the dwellings there were cozy times spent with those who make us a family.  Treasured times.

See that happy little man by the fire? That’s my dad.  His dad was the one who gave all of us the opportunity to enjoy pleasures of lakeside living.  Dad’s the one (along with Mom, of course) who kept the dream alive for the rest of his family.

So, with October coming to an end I pay tribute to the ancestors before me, for giving their family a peaceful respite from the trials and stressors of everyday life.  Summertime at the lake is something we all look forward to.

Autumn at the lake is a beautiful farewell.

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Ok, just one more post about the Minnesota State Fair.  Didn’t I say I’m usually in “fair mode” until at least a week after Labor Day, the day the fair ends?  Yes, yes I did.  Still in it, I guess.

Husby and I sat in on a free concert at the Ramberg Center (formerly known as the Ramberg Senior Center) at the fair to hear one of our all-time favorite bands, Jack Knife and the Sharps.  As we’ve been going to the fair for a hundred years we can’t shake the “senior” out of the Ramberg Center building name.  Interestingly, the gigs going on there are much to our liking.  Am I now a senior?  Has the Ramberg Center begun catering to other than seniors (aka people of my age)?  All I know is the room was lined with white, wooden rocking chairs and Husby and I sat in two of them instead of the other park bench style other seating, waiting to hear one rockin’ band.

Jack Knife and the Sharps. Too bad that guy’s big head is in the shot. I did the best I could.

This three-piece band is as good as ever.  Members have changed a bit over the years, but Ric Hollinger, lead, has been a constant for decades.  He’s a boss.

Then, all of a sudden between songs some guy comes walking up the center aisle shouting about how great the band is.  He looked so familiar.  And why wouldn’t he?  He’s a Hollywood star.  Chris Mulkey.  Don’t know him?  Check out the photo and you’ll probably recognize him.

Chris Mulkey. That guy you instantly recognize but can’t quite place him. He’s usually a bad guy in the movies.

So Chris comes walking up the aisle and the band invites him to play.  Come to find out Chris has (or had) a band himself.  He’s a great musician as well as a great actor and producer.  Oh what I wouldn’t do for so much talent.

Once we figured out who he was I had to take some pictures.   Chris was great and was backed up by The Sharps fabulously.

Close to the end of his song he said through the mic that his the guitar was silent, and it was.  Amplifier malfunction!  Chris kept singing as Ric tried to reconnect the amp to the guitar with no success.  The set thus ended.

 

Ric, gets up to the mic and says, “we have another amp in the truck.  You know what that rhymes with…”  The set was cut a little short, but was fabulous despite the technical difficulties.  Chris played the room and shook some hands in the audience and disappeared into the crowd outside the building.

Yay for the Ramberg (Senior) Center for booking Jack Knife and the Sharps.  The band is wonderful as ever, and having a special Hollywood guest star was an extra treat.

Did you see Chris Mulkey wandering around at the Minnesota State Fair this year?

Here’s a little taste of Jack Knife and the Sharps…

 

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Winter Is Coming

Don’t be too scared, winter isn’t here yet.  But as my Grandma Harriet always said, “after the State Fair comes Christmas.”   I’m usually in State Fair mode at least a week after Labor Day.

For me, Husby, and most of my family the State Fair is…

Ick.  That’s not me having big fun, but midway art is always a treat to view.

It’s not all fun and games at the fair though.  I saw some random woman trying to feed a grisly bear and getting her hand bitten off…

For the most part things aren’t this scary at the fair.  This year the weather was perfect except for a couple days of rain.  Two out of twelve isn’t bad at all.

This is Fairborne, the nephew of the official MN State Fair mascot, Fairchild. He struck a lovely pose for my camera!

 

The Mighty Midway flags waving proudly atop the Balloon Pop game on the midway.

 

Twilight at the fair.

This year’s fair was fabulous, as usual.  There were changes made here and there, but traditions stay strong throughout.  So long for now to the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  I’ll be back next year to reconnect with all of the education, excitement, people greeting (and watching), and of course the food.  Until next year…

Fly high.

 

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If you live in Minnesota you don’t need to be told we’re in the midst of the Minnesota State Fair.  At the Auntie B’s Wax World Headquarters the fair takes center stage.  Housework is brought to a halt, cooking is done infrequently, and my schedule revolves around the Great Minnesota Get-Together, twelve days of food on a stick, squealing children, history and tradition.

This year a giant came to visit.  It’s on the corner of Randall Avenue and Cooper Street.  It’s name is The Great Big Wheel, and it’s fabulous.

It’s one of the tallest traveling Ferris wheels in North America and Minnesota was fortunate to be one of its stops.  It’s over 150 feet tall and one of the smoothest Ferris wheels I’ve ever experienced on a fairgrounds.  No squeaks, no grinding.  The view from the cab is spectacular.

The whole three-hundred acres of the fairgrounds can be seen from the top of this giant.

I had the pleasure of boarding this giant with my parents.  My dad is working his 50th year at the fair this year and I couldn’t resist sharing the experience with him.

Not only can you see the entire fairgrounds from the top of the wheel, you can see the skylines of St. Paul and Minneapolis…at the same time!

At the right side horizon you can see part of the Minneapolis skyline.

The Ferris wheel not only gives a great view of the fairgrounds but also puts on a fabulous light show.  Even if you don’t like heights or don’t want to take a ride, at least stop by and see the lights.  They’re magical.

The Great Big Wheel isn’t a permanent fixture.  It’s a traveling Ferris wheel and seeks new places to amaze all over North America.  Catch it while you can.

The Minnesota State Fair is pulling out all the stops until Labor Day.  It’s worth the trip, even if you don’t live in Minnesota.

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