and he’s ok

yesterday was the party to celebrate the people who were there for my family while charlie was in a coma as well as to celebrate charlie being alive. we had scoped out a park in lake city early this spring and locked it in with two shelters, and good thing we did because when i drove in at 10 a.m., it started to rain and continued to do so for the next three hours. 

but it was a good party, a great time, and there were people there who were the right ones to be there. the rain cleared up, the sun came out, and the weather was, for once, not humid and gross. the evening was great, and after we cleaned out the shelters, i took off for home at 10 p.m. (i had too much stuff to do to break camp and drive to st charles before heading up to st. cloud in one day.)

it was pretty dark when i turned south out of the park and through lake city. the lake was on my left, and the waning gibbous moon was low on the horizon, climbing into the sky. the night was clear and calm, and the almost-full moon reflected off the lake, creating a shimmery column of water light across the lake toward me as i drove out of town, past the marina, past the overlook.

when i was small, maybe six years old, my aunts kathleen and colettie took me to a bed and breakfast in lake city. i don’t remember much about the b&b besides being uncomfortable with the strangers at breakfast, but i do remember taking a walk after dark to the overlook, where i climbed the steps and leaned over the rock wall to look at the moon reflecting a shimmery column of light across lake pepin.

charlie was always my aunt colettie’s favorite. i kept my eyes on the moon-colored lake last night for as long as i could, smiling and thinking of how well the party turned out, my aunt C, and letting this chapter of the story wane away into a shimmery sheath of light.

in which college perceptions are challenged

i could make the case that i was one of those high school students. one of those elitists. not going to college was never a question. going to a two-year community college? not on the table. i didn’t know where i wanted to go; i did college visits at a couple state universities, considered out of state colleges, and finally settled on a  small, private, liberal arts college. 

yes, i was one of those.

tuition and room and board my first year was $18k/year. when i left, it was $22k. now? $46k. unfathomable. 

but still, the idea of going to a four-year college and getting that well-rounded, liberal arts college for post-secondary education was always the goal that everyone should reach for. then i entered the workforce, and job after job that i had required a minimum of a two-year degree. when was this liberal arts education going to come in handy? i began to slowly come to the realization that i could have saved myself a lot of money and just gotten a two-year degree. 

then i started working at a two-year college. and i got a little older and little less pretentious (i hope, anyway). two-year schools are great in ways that are twofold.

  1. transferring after getting general education credits out of the way is a great way to save money. two years are just as rigorous as four-year colleges, and the credits are easy to transfer when done correctly. classes are generally smaller than state schools, and since fewer people go to two years, there is more attention given. 
  2. different styles of learning is pretty well embraced at tech colleges. not exactly a bookish person? get a welding degree, or any other trade degree that depends on hands-on learning. know you want to get into healthcare but not sure what? get your lpn for now and maybe go back after some time in the field. two years of the kind of learning that you like, and then step into a really well-paying job (seriously, more than i make. and i have stupid master’s degree.)

the point could be argued that if a person does her or his general education AAS in two years then gets a two-year trade AS, wouldn’t that be equivalent of a four-year degree? 

if i were going back to school now, there’s no way i would be able to afford the college i went to. the two-year college is looking pretty good.

house list

houseblog is overwhelming!

anyway, here are things i know i want to do right away:

faucets – bathroom and kitchen
replace the cabinet hardware
replace the light fixtures in the kitchen?
put in a ceiling fan in master bedroom
replace light fixture in guest room (i have one at home i’m bringing)
replace ceiling fan in dining area?
take out the 90s-era family desk!

now, not sure how much of that i’ll be able to do, but goodness i need to get rid of that electric coil stove ASAP.


i love watching the olympics. even with the controversy in sochi, i watched. now with the controversy in rio, i watch. not because i don’t think that what those countries are doing are ok; i watch because i want to support the athletes and the coming together of all the countries. 

i love the opening ceremonies, when we get to see each country’s best athletes come together. despite the animosity among leaders and bombs pointed at each other, we agree to meet for a little friendly athletic competition.

[but let’s diverge here a moment and talk about how much NBC SUUUU-UUUCKS. i don’t have cable. i live in a hole. my closest nbc outlet is 25 miles away and has horrible broadcasting for some reason. i can’t get the over-the-air station in my house except when my antenna is sitting on top of a frog’s head facing northwest on the full moon of the third month after a solar eclipse. so why hasn’t NBC gotten on the OLYMPICS ARE COMMUNITY bandwagon and let everyone in the US watch the olympics livestreamed over the interwebs without needing to sign in with a cable subscription??  SO RIDICULOUS.]

current life list update

oh, hello. long time no see. life in list form:

  1. current house is good to go and has a closing date of sept. 8. the only thing the buyer wanted fixed was the window latch in the bedroom, which i totally forgot about but knew needed to be fixed. i went to the andersen window website and bought a replacement latch for $20, and it’s now good as new. not so good that i’m going to not move, but good enough for the new guy. i’ve been trying to pack, but my ambition has been pretty nil lately. sept. 8 will close in quickly, so i’d better get some ambition pretty quick.
  2. future house (!!!) has just had the inspection contingency taken off; the only thing we wanted fixed was the screen door out to the patio (it’s all scratched up due to their dog). other than that, it’ll be good to go. i’m excited to live on that property and in that log cabin feel living room with the fireplace. (yes! fireplace!) so, that means i have to find more ambition to pack because i need to move all my stuff over there. ugh. ambition, why you gotta be so elusive. 
  3. my garden is so sad looking. i have tomatoes up the wazoo, and the cucumbers are sort of trying to grow something, i think. my gourds are going nuts, and that’s only because i just let them go. otherwise, it’s pretty weedy and gross and i’m sad it got to this point. i’m guessing i’ll be able to make one batch of pickles and some tomato sauce. maybe there will be one pumpkin for halloween, and i hope there will be some pie pumpkins. we’ll see what happens i guess. booo. BUT. there’s always next year, when i will till up a chunk of my yard and make a giant veggie garden. it’ll be staring me in my face so there’ll be no way to ignore it.
  4. charlie’s party is in two weeks!! 😮 time flies! next week he and i will have to go to the meat market and pick up the pork for the party, and i’m hoping liz and jane can still make it the friday before to help cook food. better start thinking about a menu, i guess!
  5. OLYMPICS. i love the olympics. bob costas. gymnastics. community. all those good-feels. 

offer accepted!

after a dual-offer scenario (*eyeroll*), nate and i got the house we wanted in avon in the country. next up is the inspection and appraisal, which may or may not go well. we’ll see what happens. 

anyway, we have a closing date set for sept. 9, which is the day after our house in st. charles closes**. that means that hopefully we can just rent a uhaul once! woohoo! 

of course, after we heard about the two offers thing, i jumped to the immediate conclusion that we weren’t going to get this house, and so nate and i started looking at other houses in the area. we found a farmhouse and couple outbuildings on almost 9 acres just south of where i’m staying now that would have been fine had this one not gone through. 

the house was 100 years old though, and even though it’s recently been remodeled, you do have to wonder how efficient it would be. i asked my dad* after purchasing my last house about age in homes, and he said given his druthers, he’d almost always choose the newer home as being more efficient, even after remodels. 

so i have that going for me.

* he knows construction!

**the contingency is off that house, which is a relief. i thought that guy was going to back out. although he does get my wall-mounted speakers, which is super annoying. grrr.


yesterday jane came with me to look at a couple houses. two of them had two completely different feelings to them. one of the houses was secluded and wooded. it could’ve been like i was up north at a cabin. the second house was on a lake, and not quite so secluded. but the lot was large, and the lake was there. it was like being in the new london lake country. both appealed to me. both were great. i can’t decide what i like better!

my realtor asked what my deal was with lakes – why would i want to live on a lake? she knew i grew up on a farm(ish), so what’s with the lake? i looked at jane, and said “well, we graduated from new london-spicer…”

“oh! say no more.” 

tonight i’m looking at another lake home. property taxes are killer. *sigh*

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sometimes you just have to take a step back and shake your head at the world. 

there have been so many negative events in the news lately, from the recent shootings to people being forced out of twitter due to online bullying. the gut-wrenching death of philando castile hit too close to home, and every day i refrain from posting something political due to the “is this it? would this be the tweet/FB post that gets attention in the wrong way?” thoughts. 

it’s overwhelming sometimes, even if it doesn’t affect day-to-day actions or the time-numbing routines the average person has fallen into. it pulls me down, thinking about the conflicts, the senseless deaths, the amount of hate that fills the world.

but then, something happens that brings a lift of a smile to your face. and just when you think all hope is lost, something happens on such a large scale – unsurmountable and never-before seen – that it brings a lift to your heart, to hope in humanity. 

right in the middled of all this negativity that’s been going on, pokemon released its mobile app. it exploded. there are more visitors to city memorials and parks in the past two weeks than probably the past two years. people are coming together to fight friendly virtual battles over gyms, find a rare pokemon, or spinning a pokestop for more pokeballs. 


people who don’t know each other are waving at each other in the park. strangers asking if you’re there for pokemon, and what team are you? and let’s see if we can do something about this gym, working together and getting better and better at it. my husband, the most anti-social person i know, is laughing with and helping strangers figure out how to play the game, yelling his team name out the car window as we’re driving toward a pokestop, and spending time in places he wouldn’t otherwise.

instead of conversations revolving around shootings or the latest political debacle or what’s it’s gonna take to move the canada, i’m having conversations about what pokemon i’ve got, how many eggs i’m incubating, and marveling at all the people who’ve gathered around a local lake on a non-event evening.

maybe, if everyone were playing pokemon GO: finding the historical monuments, parks, schools, libraries, and lakes; coming together in a shared interest of team yellow vs. team red; or luring pokemon to find one to post sentry to a gym; maybe, just maybe, we would be too busy and community-involved to start wars, pull out a gun, or decide bullying was a productive pasttime. 



the deal

i was going to write about pokemonning tonight, but instead i guess i’m writing about selling a house, because that’s what i’ve been trying to do all day long. 

we had a showing this afternoon and shortly after got an offer on our house. it was so low it was borderline insulting. our house is not overpriced by any means, and the offer would have made us bring about $15k to the table. no thanks.

so we’ve been going back and forth all afternoon and evening. at this point, it’s to the point where we are hoping for some wiggle room in the offer – enough so that if the closing date changes, we don’t have to bring money to the table. sigh. 

here’s what frustrates me about realtors: they don’t advise you that much. i ask what we should do, and she answers, well, what do you feel like doing? and i know it’s just not her; it’s happened with different realtors. i kind of want to ask, what am i paying you for? i know ultimately it’s my decision, but i’d like some expert advice, and that’s why i got a realtor. 

sigh again. so now, fingers crossed, i hope i hear back in the morning that this is a done deal. the closing date would be sept. 2 – which is only SEVEN WEEKS AWAY. omg. that just – it’s so close. so. we’re gonna cross the fingers and toes and give st. joseph a jingle that this pulls through.  

not that i know what we’re gonna do after this, but at least it’d be a push in the right direction!

lighten up

with a backpacking trip impending (as in, probably next year), i have been thinking about what to pack and what not to pack. obviously, a lighter pack is a better pack when you’re carrying it on your back while hiking up and down hills for 10 miles a day.

one thing i keep coming back to: my camera. i would LOVE to bring my camera and a couple lenses. unfortunately, my camera and two lenses i would bring weigh a TON in the packing world. like, we’re talking ounces when you’re speaking with an appalachian trail through-hiker. every ounce counts.

but part of me is thinking, i can’t NOT bring my camera. it just doesn’t make sense to not bring it. my phone camera wouldn’t do anything real justice, and i just can’t justify buying a specific, lighter, not-quite-as-functional camera for a trip. 

so what do i not bring? do i get a kindle so i can leave a couple paperbacks at home? make sure all my clothes are ultra light? buy a new, lighter nalgene? or do i say, this time, no camera? me without a camera on a trip like this is probably like me without a limb. do i just suck it up and carry the extra two pounds? i think i do.