Feeling Blessed Today

Maybe it’s silly to mention such a banal thing, or maybe my awareness of this gift has bloomed into gratitude. Either way, I wish to make note of the pleasant evening experience I just had.

For thirty minutes, I sat outside on a chaise playing solitaire on my iPad, while the sun slowly sank below the horizon. Often have I imagined enjoying this tiny place of tranquility, with a cup of coffee and a NYT crossword puzzle. One cricket serenaded me, close enough to read my mind and know exactly the one-note song I longed to hear.  Simultaneously, one mosquito buzzed around to dive bomb and nibble my skin with her 47 teeth.

Rarely do I sit outside. Why? The only explanation must be that I enjoy fair summer weather and am pest-averse. The heat and humidity caused by what feels like constant rain, were so oppressive (to me, anyway) that I have just preferred to stay inside the house.  In here, I have some level of environmental control.  However, the evening was beautiful, the patio an enchanting garden of seclusion, the breeze light and the sun waning.  There are purple cone flower mixed with a patch black-eyed Susans, overlooked by one tall sunflower– as if a teacher stood before her classroom. There are dragonflies and butterflies, Japanese beetles and myriad birds coming and going. Chipmunks skitter around and one wily squirrel, looking for tidbits dropped from the bird feeder. It’s a little “home-paradise”, which is available to me 24/7, just outside my back door. A meditation place.  I am so blessed to be here.

yellow daisy flowers in bloom
Photo by Brandon Montrone on Pexels.com


Thanks for a Great (aka “ordinary”) Day!

I recently read through an old journal and came to the conclusion that one really must take the requisite time to record the good days as well as the days that leave you feeling like you were whipped and sent to bed hungry while muttering, “Who needs a drink”?

It’s the elements of a good day that can be a little elusive to write about. It’s easy to spew the details of what got your goat, made you shake your fist or just plain pissed you off. Sometimes events can sour your waking hours and leave you with a bad taste in your mouth which then pours out your pen.

Today was one of those rare “Good Days” when everything works properly. Your “To-Do List” magically becomes a “Ta-Da! List”. There’s no traffic problems, no technical hurdles and your passwords actually work. No visits to the ER or funeral home. The whole family gets home safely without hitting a any wildlife and there are no flat tires with which to contend. The drains aren’t clogged, the roof’s not leaking, no appliances on the fritz. In other words, banging on all cylinders as soon as you start your engine. Now, I know that it shows a certain lack of intestinal fortitude to allow such inconveniences to ruin ones day. However, that list (plus several many other things) has all occurred to us in the last 6 months. The number of days in the last half a year that HASN’T had an unusual event could be counted on 2 hands. Do the math. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Yep. That’s a lot of curve balls coming over the plate, a lot of swinging and missing. A lot of “get up tomorrow and try again & pray for a normal day”.

Okay, somehow, I managed to turn a counting of blessings into a sad song.

Let’s start again…with the counting, that is.

Solutions aplenty:

  • Knocked off two stops from my route plan by finding all items at Menards AND… Got a lead on where to order a custom-cut steel sign for our driveway!
  • When asked for reassurance, I came up with some.
  • Attended a talk intended to help folks like me: “Parenting Your Parents”. 
  • Collected names of others with whom I can start a local support group
  • Expanded my cranial map of our new home territory
  • Enjoyed some wall art at St. Olaf College, as well as some crazy clouds
  • Watched a crowd-sourced documentary called “Dear Mr. Watterson” (He was the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, the most delightful comic strip of all time)

So there. I wish You an “ordinary day”!  (They are highly under-rated).  kb.xo


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.