It’s all part of the plan

So, what’s new with you? In my case, a little recreation!

Golf and kayaking = Attitude Adjustment. Note to Self: More of that please!

Lately, the recycling bin has been filling with boxes at an alarming pace. New things. Let’s call them “moving expenses”. Technically true, with a bit of leeway. Lawn and Garden tools: A rolling stool caddy, parts to repair the lawn tractor. Coping tools: Two air conditioners, two floor fans AND two ceiling fans, plus one large de-humidifer. It’s damn hot and humid here in the Northland – where it is supposed to be COOL. Global warming seems to be here already. Thought we’d have more time to get ready. Retirement tools: Golf bag cart, golf shoes. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, which means I’ll need time to work on my game between now and…whenever that retirement date arrives. Gotta have a respectable swing, right?

Today we were nudged out of our comfort zone, which is Sunday breakfast at The Tavern in Northfield. It closed last week due to significant smoke and water damage from a fire in the restaurant on the floor above. That meant we had to forage elsewhere. The Armory offered us a French menu in honor of Bastille Day. The outdoor ambiance was great, the food was good, if not filling. The best part of this find was meeting some potential new friends! Charles & Diana. No excuses to forget those names! We talked history, music, and small town living. It was very enjoyable. The upside? I don’t feel quite so isolated anymore.

The moral to the story: It takes time and an open heart (let’s not forget guts) to re-settle in a new place, especially when it’s nothing like your old place. This has been my latest lesson. It’s something we have in common with immigrants. And really, aren’t MOST of us the product of immigrants? Shouldn’t the latest ones be allowed the same welcome and opportunity that was accorded OUR forebears?

Exclusion is NOT what America is all about. “Welcome! Come in! Make yourself at home. Tell us a story about yourself and where you come from. Teach us something we don’t know”. That’s the America of which I am a citizen. Let us NOT become a nation who’s forgotten basic hospitality.

Sometimes “new” is better, and sometimes it’s just “new”

Word of the Day: teeter-totter

teeter | ˈtēdər | verb \\ move or balance unsteadily; sway back and forth: (often teeter between) be unable to decide between different courses; waver: PHRASES teeter on the brink (or edge) be very close to a difficult or dangerous situation:

ORIGIN mid 19th century: variant of dialect titter, from Old Norse titra shake, shiver.

totter | ˈtädər |be insecure or about to fail

ORIGIN Middle English: from Middle Dutch touteren to swing (the original sense in English).

Today was my favorite kind of day: skies were clear blue & sunny, which turned the leaves from merely yellow to bright, illuminated gold, there were Simpson clouds way up high, and the breeze made those gold leaves rustle and sprinkle down to the ground in leaf bursts. A comfortable temperature of 69° made it a perfect day to chop down the gardens, water for maybe the last time and gather up a few flower pots and things I’ll want to take along for the new yard.  Also hung the skeleton at the front door in a nod to Halloween.  Most of the good decorations are already waiting in the storage locker. Again this year, we are otherwise engaged for our favorite holiday and won’t be able to participate fully. So I guess the Halloween candy is fair game!

Today is Thursday.  We move in less than 3 weeks. Tomorrow is a wedding for friends. Fridays are the new norm for weddings: more economical, easier to book venues, leaves the weekend open for guests and affords a longer honeymoon for the bride & groom. It’s our last scheduled social event this year.  The day after, which is Saturday, we commence the dismantling process.

Now for the word of the day: Teeter-totter. My feelings about this big life change are up/down/up/down.  It would be a lie to say I am 100% gung-ho about moving.  I have some trepidation about it, which is natural I suppose.  I see our Minnetonka home with new eyes. All the improvements we’ve made, the color palette carefully selected over years. Dayna and I did a walk-thru at the Kenyon house yesterday. She commented that there’s not much light inside. There’s an overhang above the front picture windows and also over a section of the patio. This prevents direct light, but the surface area of the windows are bigger, so I hope that equates to more overall light inside. That was a gripe I had about this house, and hoped to overcome in our next house. I need a lot of light in the winter months.   We decided where to place furniture pieces in each room.  I was curious to see if the two dining room tables and chairs were still there, allowing me to sell our current 7 piece dining room set. It’s time to figure out what will get loaded on the truck and what will be sent to live with other people.  One thing that won’t survive the cut is the armoire (office in a box) that we bought last summer and struggled to get into the house. The thing is a monster to move. Ideally, our buyer will want to buy all the pieces so we can leave them here and not have to deal with them.

On paper, the dimensions of the new house are bigger than this house, but somehow, in reality, it seems smaller. This is a good though because it is our chance to whittle down to the essentials and leave the clutter behind. Question is: will I be merciless enough in my weeding process? I’m counting on my packer friends to help me with that.

While I am looking for to the seclusion, and the relief from traffic and big-box stores, I am a wee bit nervous about shedding my city-girl facade to become a country-girl. Will the small town lifers accept me? Will I find meaningful work?  (Ha. That is such a city-girl thing to say.)

It’s all part of the remaking process. You can’t know in advance how the new version will stack up to the old. Just have to make the changes and then get used to them.

Sometimes “new” is better, and sometimes it’s just “new”.

Let’s make a deal!

Door Number 2 please! Negotiations were finalized this morning, all signatures in place.  At least, I think so. Our realtor is calling it the final final.  Let’s hope that is literal and not figurative. It seems like a good deal for everyone and just in the nick of time. Housing prices have peaked and are beginning to slip. Interest rates are rising and will continue to rise. All of which adds up to a nice straddle for us. We’ll slide out of the metro just before things get “interesting”. As an added bonus, we’ll be rid of a lot of extra baggage that we unwillingly inherited over the last 5-7 years. Living with less clutter is so liberating.

So now, we can finally take full breaths and begin to accept that we ARE, in fact, moving!

Let the packing begin.  We have 3 weeks to get ready for the moving van.  One day to make arrangements. Pack one room per day. One trip to Goodwill per week. Little by little….it will all get done!   Kenyon, get ready…the Bessers are coming!


More pins & MORE needles

Today was supposed to be moving day. That sale fell through. This sale is supposed to close on October 30th, which is 18 (EIGHTEEN) days from today. That’s cutting it close.


The seven days of October 5 – 12, 2018 has taken about a month to elapse. It’s the Einstein theory of relativity coupled with inescapable waiting.

Even though I’ve kept myself occupied, Blanche has been working overtime the last 2 days. Every 30 seconds or so she whispers (or screams) in my head, “Tell me!  Are we moving or Not?” “What the hell is taking so long?!?” “Call me NOW realtor man!”  “Answers.  We need answers!!” Then, it echoes off my skull causing a din that overcomes my calm.  So annoying. Probably more annoying for the people around me because some of those questions then tumble out of my mouth smack dab in the middle of other conversations or inappropriate moments.  I am pacing.  My feet tap the floor.  I’ve chewed up my fingers. If my hair were long enough to get hold of, I’d be bald somewhere on my head. Other personally odd symptoms of anxiety: dry eyes, yarn store runs every other day this week, snapping at my Mom on the phone yesterday, wearing a wool stocking hat in the house, insomnia followed by sleeping late, eating a gluten-y powdered sugar donut, which then caused me gut issues and twitchiness.

It’s Nicole’s Dad. I just know it. He has put up some kind of resistance.  Fucker. I already dislike him, even though I’ve never met him. He probably wants us to remove the roof entirely, and start over from scratch. Why, oh why is this taking so damn long??!!!  I CANNOT STAND IT.  Meantime, this inner dialog is interlaced with plans for the new house. “Oh look! There are compact dishwashers which can effectively be used with a septic system for $400”. “Definitely going to paint the front door” ”

Yes, I know it’s not life-or-death.  To be fair to myself, I have remained calm throughout the last 65 days. I’ve been of good humor. My head and heart were absolutely sure that we are moving for good reason to Kenyon. Hear what I said? “We ARE moving…” I have been so sure.  Until Wednesday of this week.  Now, each tick of the wall clock reminds me that WE JUST DON’T EVEN KNOW. It’s no longer in our hands. All our work and prep and debt incurred might not yield…..


My hands are so shaky, I can’t even paint my nails.  On the upside, the sun is finally out after three weeks. Huzzah! Also, I have used some of this idle waiting period to read. A lot. Plus Audible. How I love it. The good fortune of hearing the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert on this particular week, with that particular message about creativity and perseverance has somewhat dulled my nervous tension. I know from times past that I could be much, MUCH more agitated than I currently am. There remains a nugget of peace somewhere within me; a wee small voice barely perceptible saying to me, “It’s all going to work out. Don’t worry.  It doesn’t help or change a thing”.  I will try very hard to focus my attention on that voice, despite Blanche’s continuous barrage of negative bullshit.

And then, my Mom called again.  Second time today, and counting.                                     Yes, I can be insensitive. This is one of those times. Is it fair? Probably not. I’ll apologize to her later.


The cat’s away…

How does the mouse play….? NO TV!

  1. Trying to process muddled feelings about the death of another neighbor
  2. Read a book:  “Ghost Country” by Sara Paretsky
  3. Listen to a podcast about introverts
  4. Continue exploring ways to generate work-at-home income
  5. Talk to realtor about house sale

Number 1 is tough. When someone dies, feelings & memories bubble around randomly inside your skull until they pop. There’s no order to the process. It’s very chaotic. He was our very own neighborhood 6’5″ Santa.  He and his wife moved into their house May 1960. That’s my entire life plus 10 months. The man was 82 years old in July and he went two-stepping last weekend with his daughter, same as he did every weekend. She said he’d walk into a room as a stranger and leave with new friends. He was that kind of guy. We attended his 80th birthday party 2 summers ago and it was packed with multiple generations of people from far and wide. His long-time musician friends took turns playing music, there was lots of great food and non-stop laughter. He collected cars. Just ordinary used Detroit autos of all makes and models. No collectible “barn finds” like you sometimes read about. I suspect that a few of them he bought with a sentimental connection in mind, more than any investment value. He could be seen tinkering with a battery in one of them, trying to coax it out for a spin, as he held himself upright with a walker. Once in a while he’d drive past our house real slow in the Firebird and gun the engine, issuing a challenge to the Hub to come out and play. On our walks to the park we’d always stop by if he was outside so he could give our dog Leroy a good scratch and he’d make us laugh while I tended his flower pot. His absence will be keenly felt when we walk to the park now. That makes 2 neighbors lost this week. Autumn claims the weak ones. While I wouldn’t call him “weak”, age had taken this strong man down a few notches. He never let that stop him from enjoying life, and he practically died with his boots on. That’s a fitting end to a life well spent.

Good bye Ardell. We miss you already. Thanks for the memories. Hope you’re hoofin’ in heaven!   ~kb.xo


Kavanaugh for SCOTUS?

close up court courthouse hammer
Photo by Pixabay on

They’ve gone round and round and not made any real progress. Tomorrow, the Judicial Committee votes on whether or not to confirm him.

Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony had the smell of CYA all over it. He had a lot of bullet points. Yet he refused to answer a direct Yes/No question. As “Exhibit A” he referred to his calendar/diary from high school to confirm that his day to day activities kept him “so busy” that he couldn’t have been at the party described in the accusation leveled against him by Dr. Ford.  He sniveled while telling about the “loss of his good name”, the embarrassment to him and his family and his lifelong friendships with women, his pattern of choosing female law clerks, of coaching women teams. He repeatedly mentioned that 65 women put their names on a letter stating that “He’s not that kind of guy”…But none of that convinces me that years ago he wasn’t that kind of guy. The kind of teenager capable of getting sexually aggressive while drinking heavily. Every female has experienced a guy like that. I can tell you from my own experience: it is traumatizing, even if he doesn’t get everything he wants. It still leaves you feeling that you have no control over your own body. That you can be invaded and violated and that you have to accept it. Furthermore, just because he didn’t do it to any of the women who signed a letter on his behalf NOW, doesn’t mean he never did it to anyone, ever.

Unfortunately, I missed the live feed of Dr. Ford’s testimony.  I will find it online so I can hear what she had to say.

At the end of the hearing today, it’s still “She Said”/”He Said”.  She is 100% sure that he is the person who assaulted her at age 15.  He refutes it 100%, and “bears her no ill will”.

[It came up during the hearing that a former roommate stated that Brett drank excessively, sometimes to the point of blackout. How convenient. “I don’t remember, so it didn’t happen”] He denied ever being blackout drunk and tried to mirror the question back on Amy Klobuchar. “Did YOU ever drink until you blacked out?”  (That’s what bullies do – they deflect.)

To my ears, he is using as a shield his solid Catholic upbringing, his role-model parents, an active sports life and his hard work to be excepted to Yale Law School to prove that he just didn’t have the time to go around assaulting girls. He also sounds incredulous that his past is coming back to haunt him just at the entrance to nirvana and the Good Life Forever.

Here’s what abuse victims know: Predators are very skilled chameleons, at deflection, at distortion.

If he becomes the next Supreme Court Judge, let us hope that it will make him a more compassionate judge. To understand intimately what it’s like to be under the hot lights and disbelieved. Doubtful. He’ll more likely just feel more emboldened because he got away with it. The newest member of the club.

His installment on the bench would send a clear message to the women of the United States: You Don’t Matter.  Unfortunately, that’s been the sub-text of our culture for as long as our society has been in existence.  Now more than ever with the Philanderer in Chief at the helm.

Ideally, Kavanaugh will not be the next SCOTUS. This country can, and should, choose better. The Republicans who are in total control of this decision had best consider wisely the ramifications of this vote and the raw rage it will ignite. Remember boys: without the women, you wouldn’t exist.  You Need Us. Treat Us appropriately.