Thursday, July 31, 2008

My life

After living a year in my car! Seeing the sunset and rise at the shop and wishing I could have slept some more. And then venturing to my apartment only to realize that I forgot to put the left overs in the fridge. Trying to air the place out and knowing that I have only 12 hours before I make the 100 mile journey back to the south east part of the state. I figured enough is enough! After having a chat with Charlie, I took a 15 minute drive to look at a tiny, dinky apartment. It was so cute, I just knew I had to have it. I made some phone calls to get people's opinions of me moving down here. I drove to my apartment and looked around: "I can throw that", "I need to keep that". When I finally decided that all the "I needs" would fit in this tiny cozy place and friends said they would come down to visit, my mind was made up! As of today, I have two apartments rented, the keys were handed to me this afternoon!

I first moved to Howard Lake, because one girl said I just had to work for AME in their group homes and another said that her sister was moving out and needed a roommate. I had the opportunity to work for AME and then the other sister decided to move to the cities as well. I went upstairs to a one bedroom. When I called the land lady to see if there was an apartment available, when leaving Heather and Shawn's, her answer was, "if you can wait a couple weeks you can move back home." When I entered the apartment for the first time, I knew I was home once again! Now when I called to say that I once again am leaving, she replied with, "but Jen, you can't move away from home again!"

Where will I end up from here? Back to the Range or back to Howard Lake? Or will I be able to make another place feel like home again? I have no answers, am only looking forward to what lies ahead. With the money that I can save in rent and gas and not going to the motel once a week and in being able to cook my own food instead of eating at resteraunts, I can use that money for schooling. Now that I don't have to live in the car, my scrapbooks and crafts await me. To be able to kick back and read a book one evening without dreading all the road construction that I will face in the morning is another highlight. Maybe, once I settle in, I can actually visit all of you. I can make it to Farmington to visit, I can make it to Elk River. Possibly fly down to Phoenix for a long weekend? Christmas in Alaska? Oh, yeah, maybe I should wait and see if Charlie will let me have time off, but. . . Once again I can dream! Welcome to Wanamingo whenever you are wanting to take a drive!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mr. Bear

Sorry i didn't get any pictures to go with my story, but...

I was in the BWCA this past weekend with a couple of friends. We'd put our food up, hanging from a tree while we went out for a daytime excursion - there weren't any trees that were perfect, so we made do by hanging the food pack from one tree and then pulling it away from the trunk by connecting a rope to another tree, so the pack hung between the two.

I was leading our way back, in my kayak, with my two pals in a canoe some distance behind me. Sometime while we were out, Bear had pulled hard on the one rope to break it off the pack and had been having himself a tasty meal. While we yelled and thumped our paddles against our boats and blew our whistles, the bear lay down for a little nap - he couldn't sleep with all the racket, so he ate some more. Eventually, he came down to the water to take a bath and i paddled up behind him and threw sticks and he sauntered up and away from camp. I parked the kayak, had my friends watch my back, and went to investigate. He was about 20 feet back in the woods and watched me quietly as i took the pack down and tossed it to the canoe. Then i took my kayak paddle to urge him further away and he'd sauntered off.

We investigated the damage and figured he must have been an adolescent. He didn't touch the spinach, or papaya, or coffee, or soup. He'd devoured the sweets, a couple boxes of crackers, tons of trail mix, and made a mess of things while he was doing it.

We found a better tree for the pack - one we'd thought wasn't workable previously since the branch was so high, but after nearly 100 attempts at throwing my shoe over the branch with a rope attached to it, we eventually got it hung. I moved my tent closer to their's. We stacked throwable rocks in front of each of our tents. I took off the rain cover so i could see better out of mine - they did too - but don't have the windows i do on my tent. And we settled down to sleep, with our flashlights nearby, after first eating like it was maybe the last time we'd see food.

Mr. Bear came back. Lorrie woke me when she heard something. There he was starting to climb our new bear tree. We yelled and whistled and flashed our flashlights. Our tents were just 10 feet away from the bear tree. And he sauntered off, first walking directly in front of both our tents. We investigated the area to encourage him to keep moving, told him we'd reclaimed our camp and he wasn't wanted. And then while trying to decide if we dared to sleep again or not, we decided to pile stacks of twigs around the bear tree so we'd hear him if he came back. He didn't. And we did get a bit of sleep.

We'd been sort of un-nerved tho and left in the morning. When we got home we found out that Lorrie's mom had died very unexpectedly of a heart attack at about the same time the bear visited our camp the night before. So we decided to not report him afterall. Maybe he was just a messenger. Either way, he got a message to us where cell phones couldn't reach.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Phoenix Sweatshirt Pic for Grandma!

This would be Day #1 in sweatshirt.
This would be Day #4 in same sweatshirt. I think it was laundered somewhere in between.
I didn't think of getting a picture of me OUTSIDE in a sweatshirt ... it really did happen! :)
Sorry, I don't have any recent pictures of Blayde. He is doing much better. He told me he did 50 situps the other day. I should probably call that healed. If it was me ... might call that nuts!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Welcome Visitors

I came home last Sunday evening from Phoenix. Home from hanging out with Blayde in the hospital. Visiting with Frans & Jenny & girls. Seeing friends. Shopping at Target. Wearing a sweatshirt. (Yup. I really did.) Then there is the other piece. I came home from heat, traffic, people everywhere.

I sat on the screened porch.

And watched these beautiful creatures in the front yard.

I'm really hoping they stick around so we can watch them grow.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ivan and Missi's New Home

We drove to 500 Main Street in Farmington and we found some busy people! Ivan, Missi,
her mom and sister were busy tearing down and hauling into the garage. It is a large home and they have quite a job ahead of them. But interesting. They are putting the slats into a pile in
the garage. Perhaps reuse some where needed or burn some in their beautiful fireplace. It is a
3 car garage. They have a huge maple tree in their yard. Some branches have to be removed.
Isä helped for awhile throwing slats through an open window. That made too much dust for me
so I found something right up my alley, cleaning a flower bed though I didn't get all that far. dk

Abigail Rose

For the moment, I will live by the theme, "Better late than never." Thank you Heather for posting a more recent picture of Abigail. Here are a couple from when she entered the world. Wayne and I were in Washington when she arrived on June 14th, but were able to meet her the day she came home. We are happy they live nearby so we can see her often. While my mind and reality are not yet in sync around the "gramma" title, she is mighty adorable and a blessing to have!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Homeowners

Hey all: Just wanted to post real quick that Missi and I closed on our house yesterday. Anyone who wants to see it the way it was when we bought it had better hurry because demolition has already started. Address is 500 Main St. Farmington MN 55024. Take care all. #9

Sunday, July 13, 2008

11:12 p.m. Saturday evening at the Marjanens

I think we are a bit indecisive around here. We moved in and took out the wood stove. Hoisted it down with the excavator and were going to put it in the cabin. Then we decided not to hook it up out there. The excavator was back again this week, so the stove got hoisted back up to the front porch. Now, after I spent the evening in Anchorage shopping with my kids and the Finns (Jari decided to stay home) ... the stove is back to it's original place and my living room is REALLY small now. Jari decided he'd like to try it out tonite. It really isn't cold out there ... but maybe we can roast some marshmallows or something!

I don't know Anchorage very well. For all intents and purposes ... I probably don't know it at all! Freeway was closed going in to town tonite and I still managed to find Old Navy! Brock had wanted to drive tonite and was really glad he wasn't behind the wheel in Anchorage ... the city is incredibly fond of one way streets. Go around enough times and you can actually pass the Army/Navy store 3 times in a few minutes. Now I think I could actually find the store on my own when I need to! So ... the guys made a haul on $9.99 jeans at Old Navy, found some AK things at the mall ... and then had their first taste of Subway this evening. Quite a successful evening. We managed some good pictures on the way home. I tried to take the Old Glenn Highway on the way home. Forgot to cross the Knik River Bridge and wondered where the road took us. We decided to turn around when the pavement ended. We're home safe and sound after Brock nearly fell asleep driving and I nearly took out a guard rail. Everyone's blood pressure should be properly elevated!

Tomorrow we are going to play in Talkeetna and probably won't be home until nice and late. Jari heads to the North Slope on Monday for a week and I go back to the regular Monday through Friday thing that I enjoy so much. Kids will sleep 'til noon every day. Piano teacher will be pleased as punch that the piano is no longer perched in the same place. Brock flies out Friday evening to spend a few days in MN before confirmation starts in MI and we forgot to pick up a tie this evening. Wonder how many trips I'll make to WalMart this week to finish picking up all the little things we forgot before he leaves.

Am sure there is something going on next weekend as well. If not ... guess we could support Exxon/Mobil/Chevron/Texaco (maybe my PFD as well) and take our guests to visit Whittier, see a glacier and maybe find a bear or two.

I'm back to the "can't finish a book situation" again. I've renewed this one once already and I got the Book Is Late and Fines Are Accruing Notice in the mail today. Maybe I can read in the car tomorrow?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hint for the picture quiz

Being as most of you probably won't be going back to see that I commented on there, I thought I would update it closer to the top.

Hint for the person playing the keyboard. Her son's Christmas request was "socks and underwear for Christmas".

I'd also like to take a little quiz here so we can learn about each other's houses. What is the theme and color of your kitchen or what are you planning on having it in the case of Ivan and Missi? Mine - dark green with FISH. How about the rest of you?


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lisa Abercrombie's wedding


peppers and tomatoes

perennial garden

Potatoes with sweet potatoes in the back

The pesty squirrel found a way to get into our window feeder, up the screen and over!

The Abercrombie family

the bride Lisa, brother Todd and his 2 children, Mary Ellen, Mark the brother who did all the flowers for inside the church and for the reception, and dad, Willie Graydon Abercrombie, aka Gray

One of the reception tents taken in the morning before the wedding

At the wedding of Lisa Abercrombie and Leslie Byler

Antique get away car

Sign at the gate to the reception

coming up the driveway

the bride and groom with her parents

(parents rode in an airconditioned car)

picture of the living room in home where we stayed

Our hosts, Jim and Jeanna Worst, and their son

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Heather's 4th of July celebrations

Happy 4th of JulyOn the 3rd we went to Eveleth for fireworks...

Gary and Tristan joined us...
On the 4th ~ I brought Tristan to the parade in Eveleth. He and his friend Cody were dancing wildly in the street!!! Laughing and having a good time....
Then Shawn and I headed to Cokato for services. There were A LOT of people...

Here's how you find your family... text them to see where they are....
In all that crowd, I was able to find this little darling... Miss Abigail Rose!
Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Warning: This is a sales pitch

Warning: This is a sales pitch. If you are weak in the receiving end of the persuasion department, and are not looking for a trip to Alaska, do not continue viewing and reading this blog entry. If you are the least bit interested in a vacation .... come on up and we'll take you to this fabulous place that it is about half an hour away from our home. It is absolutely heavenly.

Lilacs. Picture taken out of my 2nd story dining room window. They are blooming!!

This is the spot where we dropped kids off in the winter time to sled down the mountain. A whole different view this time of year!
Hiking up to the top of the mountain.

Tia waits for Mom. I had a whopping headache ... a bit too much elevation change in a short period of time. Probably a bit dehydrated as well from all my coffee drinkin'.

View of the lower lake. It still had some ice on it.

We have 3 Finnish teens here with us for 5 weeks. Mika, Riku and Sami hiking. I've never been to Ireland ... hope to someday go. This so much seems like what it would must look like there.

God's beautiful creation.

The upper lake after hiking to the top.

Jari showing Mika how to get down the mountain the quick way!

Are we acclimated? Tanks ....

and flip flops. So maybe the flip flops weren't such a good idea. Was a bit rocky in places, but the moss was foot delicious on the way down. Tia and I came down most of the way barefoot. Where else can you walk down a mountain side barefoot and have it feel awesome on your feet?!

A beaver dam we spied. I wish I had some way to show you how big it really was. We saw another even larger one and wondered how many years it took those buggers to build it!

On the way out of Hatcher Pass Recreation area is a river (don't know what it's called) full of snow runoff. Winter time photos here would be awesome. We never stopped there during the winter. Will have to next season.

Tia did some water testing and found it to be a bit chilly!
Our 4th of July was spent at an evening bbq and bonfire at Jay & Joanne Laulainens. Then we headed to fireworks ... which don't start until 11:30 pm for a very good reason. They were better than expected. It probably helped that the clouds rolled right on in and made things a bit darker ... the temp was a wonderful 68 degrees ... and it even rained a bit. We were back and forth between being in the car and out of the car ... forgot the umbrellas. The Finns were wondering why we were going and what we were going to see. In Finland they shoot them off on New Years. I said "here too", but we went just to experience it ... and had fun!
Tomorrow we are going to Whittier and to a glacier that you can touch. Don't know how long Jari will have weekends home to run with us and I'm not sure how much running I'll be doing when he's gone .... may as well enjoy it while we can!
P.S. Mom ... the road isn't that bad up the mountain. No steep drop offs anywhere. You'd survive it just fine!