The hiccups in the giddyup of selling my parent’s house have been surmounted, conquered, and all-around dealt with. In other words, the house has once again been sold, not yet closed on, but a contract has been signed. Goodness. The trip over the hill to deal with the aforementioned ‘problems’ had its ups and downs, disappointments, and obstacles. The upside was getting to see my dad’s memorial display of petrified wood at the Gem and Mineral Club in person, a lovely drive in Colorado National Monument, and bringing home a few tools and a car full of rocks for the garden. All is well that ends well.

I’m still dealing with a sore tendon in my foot following a hike a few weeks back, so i’ve taken to using crutches. Oh my goodness. I haven’t used crutches for more decades than I care to admit. This has reminded me to respect people who live with disabilities. My first few hours on the crutches were beyond frustrating. There were a few cuss words, a few tears, and an all-around lack of good manners. At any rate, I’ve been able to quit taking Ibuprofen, and that is the outcome I was hoping for short term. Long term I’m hoping that it heals miraculously fast and I can go on my upcoming vacation without dragging these crutches along.

In our exhaustion after the return from Grand Junction, we discovered a local Thai restaurant that delivers and has good food. That’s such a plus, especially when you live alone and walk with crutches. I’m really appreciating the fact that grocery stores deliver these days. Ironic how that harkens back to the good ol’ days when they used to deliver. Yes! Doctors made house calls, stores delivered, and neighbors brought over meals, or got your mail (thanks Carol) in times of need. IMG-0949

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A house in the neighborhood got teepeed. It’s rather beyond me why anyone would want to put that kind of effort into such a prank. We are weeks away from Halloween, when that sort of thing usually happens. At least it isn’t difficult or expensive to clean up. It is a wonder though, why? Like so many questions I ask, there will never be an answer – at least not a satisfactory one.

Snow is on the horizon. A freeze is forecasted, and so I took some last minute pictures of my fall flowers after I drained garden hoses. The mums and zinnias have been stellar and I am sad to see them go. A freeze also means there will soon be much more to cut down and put in the trash, as well as serious leaf raking. Two of my burning bushes have already turned the brilliant red that I love so much.

Emotions. We all have them. Our culture doesn’t encourage them, especially in men, but thankfully I see a slow changing of the guard. I see mental health counseling not having the stigma it used to have. I see people being encouraged to attend counseling rather than being told they would just be admitting they’re sick. I see the rise of trauma based therapy in schools – an understanding that when children act out at school, there is probably a root cause at home. I see us figuring out that talking about what bothers us, whether you call it venting or verbalizing doesn’t matter, talking helps. AND that means, here is the crux people, listening matters. Listening with an open mind. Listening without judgement. Listening to hear – not to respond. Listening to someone else when they have a problem, grief, a marital schism, whatever, listening is the greatest gift of parenting or friendship that you can give. Let’s teach listening.IMG-0948

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What a week!

What a busy week! and I survived! There was a birthday lunch, a flu shot, and one surprise birthday party. I spent a delightful and rewarding day in Akron at the Elementary School, pre-K through Fifth grade. I’ve never been in that school before. It is a wonderful facility, and the staff and students alike were wonderful to work with.

I also spent a day slicing lemons and limes for a benefit fundraiser. I’ve never done that before, and I’m not likely to ever do it again. I mowed the lawn for possibly the last time this season. The dead-heading in the flower beds has begun, but is far from finished. The paint cans from repainting the house and fence have been hauled to the basement, and half the outdoor furniture is hauled in or covered. Progress.

I have to make another trip to Grand Junction, which I’m not looking forward to, but I will have company and that makes it so much faster and tons more fun. With everything out of my parent’s house, I don’t think it will be the emotional roller coaster I experienced on my previous trips. That’s my hope, anyway.

We are enjoying some lovely autumn days. The mums have recently exploded with color. October seems late for them to finally reach their peak, and yet, nature usually knows far better than we do what the timeline is supposed to be. A very bushy tailed, industrious squirrel is hard at work in my backyard. If he finds someone else’s hidden acorn, he digs it up, cleans it (I suppose to get the other guy’s scent off), hops ten or twelve feet away and re-buries it. Most of his afternoon, however, has been spent carrying huge mouthfuls of grass up the tree to his nest. It must be insulation. Everyone winterizes in their own way. I’m stocking up on hot chocolate and good books.

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A Home

Fall is a busy, busy time. I’m looking at my calendar, trying to find a blank space to pencil in. There aren’t many until December. Good grief. I know there are going to be a lot of leaves to pick up, flowers to deadhead, outdoor furniture to cover or move in, etc. before December. Every time I have fifteen minutes, I think I better get outside.

I think we have entered a new weather zone (something similar to the twilight zone perhaps), when four feet of snow falls in one part of the country, while the opposite side experiences record heat.

The two estate sales for my parent’s and sister are over. I feel a whole lot of relief to have it done. Now we have to clean the house up and put it on the market. If I lived in Grand Junction, it would be a fun project to flip. Thank goodness I don’t. There is the fact that I would put way too much heart into it, and heart doesn’t sell. Plus, it would only make it harder to let go of. The house has good bones. It will make a great place for a new family, as it did for mine, and that will give me great joy.

I’m wearing rose colored glasses right now. The house was where we fought, and cried, and made mistakes. It was also where I learned to waltz standing on my dad’s feet, learned how to make Crunch Drop cookies, and watched men walk on the moon for the very first time. How many Christmas stockings hung in front of the fireplace? How many Thanksgiving turkeys carved in the dining room? How many games of ‘red rover come over’ on the big front lawn? The house has been empty for too long now. Those walls deserve to hear laughter again, to be a home.

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Roosevelt NP

Seven states, one National Park, and twenty four hundred miles later, I’m back home and glad to be here. I’m especially glad to be sleeping in my own bed again. The catch-up list is too long, but that is just a part and parcel of traveling.

The fall colors are well on their way in North and South Dakota, coming soon in southern Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado. The weather during my trip was beautiful, a little rain while I was in Minnesota, but for the majority of the time I was gone, it was gorgeous. I hear snow followed me in the northern regions, so my timing was good. Since my return, I mowed the lawn one last time, probably, and put out Halloween decorations. Fall has fallen.

I visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. What a beautiful park! It was not over-run by people (especially the north unit), a real plus in my book, with a great diversity of landscapes, wildlife, and history. It is the place where Teddy Roosevelt went to re-charge, and I totally understand why. Visiting this park was not part of my original plan, but circumstances changed, and so I too changed plans and ran with the notion of getting in a park I had yet to visit. I am sure glad I did.

So, I’m working on my to-do list of fall chores: flu shot, school program prep, patio furniture inside in a couple more weeks, dead-heading the flowers, unhooking and draining the hoses. What is on your list? What am I forgetting? I have one more trip over the hill to clean out my parent’s house after the estate sales. I’m taking the leaf blower. Other than that, it will be a matter of having the sprinklers blown out, and hauling stuff to charities and the remainder to the dump. I hope I have good weather for this trip too. buffalo.JPG

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Ends Well

I was driving down the Interstate with a semi in front of me and a semi to the right of him, a car to my right and another behind me, in other words, in heavy traffic. All the sudden I hear BANG, BANG! and then I start to see back debris flying everywhere. The next thing I see – and this is the part where everything went slow motion – is a big tire retread flying up in the air – straight towards me.

I remember thinking so many thoughts in such a short span of time. By its height, I reckoned it was going to hit the headlights. That’s okay, I told myself, lights can be changed out and it’s not dark out at the moment. If it happens to cover the windshield, hold the steering wheel steady and watch the vehicle to my right. Stay parallel to them. Really! I was telling myself these things in those few seconds. Then, much like when you straighten out a sheet by grabbing one side and whooshing it up in the air to have it come down all smooth, the tire settled down on the pavement in front of me like a long, thick black snake – and all four of my tires bumped over it. I held my breath for about five minutes waiting for my tires to blow – but they didn’t.

The semi never stopped, never slowed down, and when I finally passed him ten minutes later, he was rocking out to his headphones, probably totally unaware he was missing basically all of one tire. Maybe it doesn’t matter when you have seventeen more. I was breathing again by then, and very grateful that the tire tread had laid itself down the way it did.

Otherwise, I had a very uneventful first day on my trip to Minnesota. All’s well that ends well. nancysunset

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Rest in Peace

Oh my gosh, this month is screaming by. how? How? HOW?

On the drive to Minnesota, I saw many signs of autumn, subtle, but there they are. The sumac along the roads has turned red, a harbinger of what is coming for the trees above them. And if you look close, those trees have orange and yellow beginning to creep through the green. The fields of soybeans have turned yellow, brilliant in the sun, like fields of autumn Aspen leaves. The oak brush is turning too. Yes, fall is on the way.

My cousin took me out in his bass boat for a lovely sunset run across Lake Minnetonka on the evening I arrived. We went past Wayzata, the busy little town where my mother was born and raised. Though she lived there less than a third of her life, it was home to her until the day she died. Riding in the boat, seeing the gorgeous blue water in the waning light, white sails gleaming in the harbor, I understood why she loved it so, why it was always home. How she must have missed it!

As always, I love my time ‘up north’ with my cousins. I drove by my great-grandfather’s farm, all built up with houses now. Mom would have hated seeing that, but she didn’t have to. Her memories were intact. The barn, the orchard, the trail down to the lake where the cows walked each morning and evening, all remained the same as when she spent her childhood weekends and summers there.

Mom and Penny were laid to rest yesterday, alongside my grandparents and three of Mom’s brothers in her beloved Minnesota. Others Mom knew and loved are also interred in the tiny cemetery close to their home. It is a beautiful place, and best of all, you can see nearby Parkers Lake through the trees, a fitting place to rest in peace. MNSunset

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