Sunday, July 31, 2011

A day at the zoo

Yesterday, Tessa, Lily and I went to Duluth to escape the heat. Usually, Duluth MN has temps in the 70's and maybe as high as the 80's in July and since neither Tessa or I enjoy hot and humid weather, we decided to go North to cool off.

Wow! Have things changed in Duluth since I lived there in the 1970's and 80's! Yesterday it was hotter and more humid there than at home! But we went to the zoo and had a picnic and finished up at Brighton Beach with our feet in the cool, cool waters of Lake Superior.

As it happens, my husband helped build the zoo and Spirit Mountain ski area as well, back in the late 1970's. He was in graduate school at UMD and for two summers, he supervised crews of teenagers working in a summer youth program. His crews did brushing along the trails and other manual labor jobs at both sites. It was a good program--the underprivileged kids earned some sorely needed money and got some job experience, Don had a good paying summer job to support our growing family, and the city and the public got two beautiful recreational areas.

This is me sitting on the bridge over the creek which flows through the zoo grounds. I've always loved Duluth for the natural areas within the city and the many rivers and streams that flow down the hillside to the lake. Just about anywhere in the city, you're within walking distance of wilderness, which I love.

I lived in Duluth for 12 years and I loved (almost) every minute of it. Even in the long, long winters, I learned to embrace ice hockey, sledding, skating and skiing and the cold months flew by. No doubt about it, I'm a woman of the North.

Right now, I'm ready for Autumn to arrive! But first, I have raspberry jam to make today.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

Check out Mrs. P's blog here,, if you want to post about your favorite thing on this last Friday in July or to read about other folks' FTFs. Today, in the sauna we call the Midwest of the USA, we're having temps near 90 with humidity around 50% and this is my FTF:

'Nuff said, I'm joining Lily and Don!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to work

I returned to work today after having carpal tunnel surgery on my right wrist on the 25th. For 3 days I lounged around the house, high on Vicodin, and unable to do anything because my hand is wrapped in a gi-normous bandage! Certainly no rotary cutting even if I was off the Vicodin. Very boring to say the least, but I was able to sit and watch my husband working in the garden with no expectation that I join him. One of life's simple joys!

I kicked the Vicodin and went to work with only a little Tylenol and was amazingly pain free. After the surgery, the nurse said there was a Rx for 20 of the little pills and I asked her to change it to 10 since I knew from past experience that I wouldn't need 20. This morning I counted what was left in the bottle--5. I'll save them for later when I have the left hand done.

Anyway, tonight, I find myself absolutely wiped out. I have a fairly sedentary job so there's no good reason I should be so tired, but I am. Lily is at the house for the weekend and she and I went in the pool for awhile (my huge bandaged hand encased in a stifling plastic bag!) and Don fixed the entire meal for us. That's a rarity and I wish he'd cook more often since he does such a good job of it, but he pretends he doesn't know how. Yeah, right.

While I was sitting at home, I spent some time watching politics. What a mess in Washington! I usually watch MSNBC since I'm quite progressive in my politics but tonight I turned on Fox News and got the other side of the story. Talk about absolutely opposite viewpoints! How are they ever going to come to a compromise? It's one thing to get elected and it's another thing altogether to govern, and this congress is sorely lacking in the ability to govern. And all of us in the US will pay the price in the end, as usual. Well, I have faith that it will be taken care of at the last hour so lets wait and see.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Fresh Start

I've decided to begin blogging again. After I found My Quilt Blog (MQB) several years ago, I started my first blog and I loved the virtual friendships and camaraderie I found there. Unfortunately, MQB had to dissolve and many of us moved over to I've tried to keep in touch with my friends from MQB but it's not the same. I find myself making fewer and fewer entries at the same time as I found a group of quilters in my neighborhood. These people now serve as my quilting consultants in the same way as the MQB group did.

That said, I still want to be a blogger and I've decided to begin afresh with a diary of my life, not just the quilting part of it. I, as we all are, am a multidimensional person with numerous talents, interests, and abilities, as well as numerous failings and faults. Human, I guess, is the word for it. I'll be using this blog space as an account of my life and the issues that are important to me. I'm writing this primarily for myself and my family but if you want to follow along, please do so. If you find this not to you liking, that's okay, I understand if you "unfollow" me.

This summer has seen very little quilting in my household. I am now "semi-retired" and only work 2 days a week. My husband is newly and fully retired, and we both are determined to keep up with our gardening chores for once. We live on 2 acres of land surrounded by corn fields all around with beautiful hills in the background. Gardening 2 acres requires many hours of work, and so far, we're doing it! (Knock on wood.)

Today, I decided to go through my gardens and take some pix of the daylilies which are blooming now. I'm not a great day lily fan, but somehow I happened to have all these lilies blooming this year. Some of them I bought and others were gifts from my friends, and I have no idea which are which. I just know I planted them several years ago and they are blooming beautifully this summer for the first time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

I'm having a very laid back Fourth of July day here in the midwest. I started off by sleeping in until 8:30--trying to recover form that canoe trip yesterday, I think :o) Will be doing some gardening if I ever get out of my jammies, and I want to make it to Hancock Fabrics to get a pattern and fabric for a sundress for Lily. Later, we'll fire up the grill and have steaks for supper--just Don and me.

No matter how you're celebrating the holiday, take a look at Sunday's post at Vrooman's Quilts here:

At the bottom she enters a quote of Erma Bombeck (which I'm not able to cut and paste for some reason). I loved reading Erma back in the day and I miss her down-to-earth commonsense wisdom--and humor. She always nailed it, with a laugh, right?

Happy Birthday, USA!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Paddling the Hay River

I went on a canoe trip today on the Hay River near my house. Tessa, Lily and I put the canoe in at the bridge about 1/2 mile away and expected to paddle downstream for a couple of hours to the second bridge where we left her car. We had a gorgeous morning for the trip--temps in the 70's, clear sky, gentle breeze. And the scenery was out of this world! Of course, no camera with us but I took these pix from the bridge where we started. We could smell the scent of the pines in the air along with other clean outdoorsy fragrances. The paddling was so easy, all I had to do was simply guide the canoe around the gentle curves. We saw wildlife! Boy, did we! Over the course of the trip, we spotted 2 otter and 1 beaver, several ducks and 2 that acted like they were wounded to lure us away from their ducklings, 4 sightings of bald eagles (twice they flew right over our heads!), 4 fawns and 5 adult white tail deer. There were lots of birds in the trees making all sorts of noise calling to each other, and we were surrounded by the most beautiful black-winged and blue bodied damselflies. A totally beautiful start to our trip. We paddled along until we came to the first bridge and we all agreed that we should have left the car at that bridge, but we didn't so, we journeyed onward to the second bridge.

That's when the nightmare began. The breeze died down and was replaced by hot sun. Deer flies descended on us in droves and replaced the gentle little damselflies. The deer flies seemed to be attracted to the combined scents of bug spray and sun block. Tessa and Lily had it worse than me since I'd neglected to put on the sunblock. If you don't know about deer flies, they like to live in the shade and they bite! Hard! And they can draw blood! Fortunately, they move slowly and are easy to slap and kill, (sorry, PETA) but not when you're paddling a canoe! Then we began to come across giant trees fallen over the river, blocking our way. We had to crouch down and go under, or do some pretty fancy paddling to go around them, and in one case, Tessa and I had to get out and push the canoe under the tree trunk with Lily in it, lying flat on her stomach. And we discovered that the bottom of the river was either about 6 feet of mucky goop that sucked at our sandals and generally hampered everything, OR in the really shallow places, it was all rocks and we grounded ourselves more than once and had to get out and pull the canoe off the gravel bars. It seemed that this river wanted to really make our lives hell and it became more curvy and twisty as we went on and that meant that I was constantly steering and trying to keep to the deepest channel, and that was very hard work!

All we could think about was getting to the second bridge where the car was. And when would we get there???? I kept telling myself that each stroke of the paddle meant we were closer to the end, and FINALLY, we saw the second bridge! Yea!!!! We pulled up to the bank and Tessa stepped out--into even deeper muck! She managed to make her way up the very steep bank and there was the car! On the other side of the river than where we were! What to do? I crossed my fingers and hoped the water was shallow enough and I started pulling the canoe, with Lily in it, across to the other side and we made it, with me only getting wet to my thighs, thank goodness.

Now, all three of us are tired and sore, and I have a very red sunburned nose, but we are happy we went on this adventure to see some of Mother Nature that we have only glimpsed as we cross the bridges in the car. The trip that was supposed to be a couple of hours--turned out to be 4 1/2 hours!

Would I do it again? You bet! But only to the first bridge. ;) And with a camera.