Sunday, September 27, 2009

Potato chips

Had a sorta lazy start to today (Sunday). Made some coffee, then L turned off the water and began the work to replace some kind of filter on the water pump (which provides the water supply for the house). I started on breakfast -- not a REAL challenge, since it was mostly recycling leftovers: large pieces of prime rib, from the meal we had at the Elks Lodge on Friday evening, slicing up and then sauteeing some leftover new potatoes as well as part of a baked potato, and finally scrambling up the two eggs left in the fridge. Not too tough. I cannot seem to do a straight-up fried egg, even tho' I do like mine over easy. Gotta work on that, I guess.

He took a break to eat breakfast then returned to the pump challenge.

Eventually, we took turns showering and got ready to go to a local bar to catch the last half of the Vikings game (they won -- and Brett Favre IS worth it... so far). Visited with some of his friends there, then went to a local pizza place for a way-too-large pizza (yes, Virginia -- we ARE bringing home leftovers).

Next stop was the grocery store. I am constantly reminded that I am NOT in Texas anymore, and this was one of those reminders. For I spotted this product, which I am wondering about: is it offered anywhere else but in Minnesota?

Ketchup-flavored potato chips, folks. Yes, you read that correctly. And catsup/ketchup is the Minnesota equivalent of salsa, I do believe. This version was an Old Dutch product, I think.

I am getting somewhat used to hearing some words or phrases that I have not heard (very frequently) for YEARS: pop (instead of soda or soft drink); spendy (instead of expensive); and that famous one: ISH. Kinda/sorta means disgusting, but in a lesser show of revulsion. I don't mean to laugh -- but that particular one amuses me, and I don't know why.

Well, gotta run. We will leave the shop soon and continue on our way home. See ya down the country roads...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Under Constructon / Destruction

Oh. My. God. So much, SO-O-O-O much I have forgotten about this neck-of-the-woods. Such as... as soon as the ground thaws around the region (which, thankfully, I did NOT witness in person), they immediately start ripping up many, many highways and streets, in a vain attempt to repair and keep ahead of the next winter's destruction of said roadways.

Now, I know, I really DO, that the greater Houston area was constantly bombarded with similar road repairs. But because of its size, it did not necessarily impact ME with every bit of it. So why does it seem, in this much-smaller metro area, that we are constantly travelling over or being stopped by this rebuilding? In fairness, I must say that my entire first year of living and working in Houston, I had the inglorious route of travelling I-10 (aka the Katy Fwy) to and from work. The first six months or so, it was totally rebuilt in the eastbound direction, followed by (of course) the westbound route, when the first part was completed.

I am amused at how much press (television and print, both) is given to crimes that would never, NEVER have been mentioned in Houston. Houston is NOT a low-crime area, folks, and I never thought it was. And after a three-month stint on a grand jury panel for Harris County back in the late 80's or early 90's, I was more certain of that fact than ever. A grand jury's job is just to assess whether there is enough evidence to bring charges against a potential defendant. But the county attorneys have to funnel these cases through the grand jury process. Most of the cases are pretty much cut-and-dried. And we heard about 70 a day -- yes, you read that right. Seventy cases were trotted out, read to us, and mostly they were rubber-stamped by we grand jurors. Meaning the defendant was charged. Like I said, big city, lots of crimes. Several million folks living in the greater-metro area. And to put this into further prospective: each day, TWO grand jury panels served - and each panel served TWO days a week. So, fourteen panels a week, each hearing about the same number of cases. Mind-boggling, eh? To balance out how crime is handle here: I saw a minimum of THREE squad cars in a parking lot -- apparently all officers were involved in what (from my car, at least) appeared to be an apprehension of several young gals who may have tried shoplifting. On the grass near a strip shopping center, was spread out the contents of several bags and/or handbags. I mean, I am happy with this approach to crime, but puzzled by what seems (at times) to be overkill. Perhaps I have been away too long (or maybe not long enough?). Just a comment -- not a criticism. Citizens expect that around here -- and just the opposite in the metro Houston area, where we had to adjust to way too FEW officers for the large population.

Well... gotta run. Have many tasks that need to get done and I am procrastinating. Sigh...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Scattered thoughts

So... ummm... just bits and pieces and none of it very special or noteworthy.

Finally connected with my sis on Monday on the phone, re: Mom's birthday. Mom had a request for where she wanted to "celebrate". So that's where we went on Tuesday, when Mom marked her 82nd birthday. Yup -- we went to the local watering hole in my li'l old "hometown". (An aside -- I only spent 9 years in this town, from ages 9 to 18, and graduated high school there. Made some good friends there, had some good times, and then moved to the Twin Cities -- aka the Cities, aka Minneapolis/St. Paul and lived there until age 36. From there, it was the greater Houston area for my homes and employment.) But, as they say, I digress...

The local bar used to be a "muni", which meant that it was run by the city/village and the revenues went to said government. That meant both off-sale (entire bottles or cans sold, to be consumed off-premises) and on-sale (consumed by the drink, on the premises). I have no idea when, but this was eventually sold to a private party and has since been run as a bar which also serves bar (aka snack-style) food. The frozen kinds of food that can be cooked either (1) in a deep-fryer or (2) in a pizza oven -- in other words, health food as the drinking population knows it. Free popcorn, specials on some beers, etc. And this is where Mom wanted to go. I think her curiousity was piqued by the fact that sis (and more recently, me, too) has mentioned being in there, and Mom has not been in the place since its rebirth. And it just happened that a fellow who used to work with Mom (she was working well into her late 70's) was in there, so she chatted with him a bit. I think she had a good time, although it is not always easy to tell. She's never been a very emotional person, for the most part.

Wednesday is L's golf day - he sees about 5 or 6 friends from high school, and they golf a 9-hole course during warmer months. Then they go to the local pizza establishment (has several locations in Duluth, but is locally owned and operated) that so many love up here -- Sammy's Pizza. Sis's guy also golfs in a Wednesday group, so she and I made plans to do something together this past Wednesday. And I waited and waited for her to call... and apparently we had our wires crossed, for she waited and waited for ME to call her. And when I DID call her - on Thursday - we discovered that each of us had "heard" the other one saying, "I'll call you tomorrow." Senior moments... And we both thought it was odd, not receiving the expected phone call!

Thursday morning, L took his on-the-bike test (borrowed a friend's very large, very weighty Harley) -- and passed. Which now leaves us in good shape for Florida, where a friend of his will sell us his 1990 Honda Goldwing. More on this later. L had not expected to pass, actually, since this BIG bike weighs about 900 pounds and that makes it very unwieldy when trying to weave around the smallish cones that are part of this test. But... we were both glad that he DID pass.

I had my hair color touched-up on Thursday. Now most women will agree that this is of primary importance, when you relocate -- GOTTA find someone who can/will do your haircolor -- and do it WELL -- and also the cutting and styling. So important, in fact, that I have always found a hairstylist first, then eventually doctors and dentists. True story with me, whenever I have moved into a new area. The new stylist has lots of years of experience and I was very pleased with her, both professionally and personality-wise.

And now it is Friday. We are in the shop a bit later -- L is working on putting his videos on YouTube -- how-to ones that promote the products he makes -- and I am obviously posting on the blog. Had some wonderful (for northern MN) weather the past few days -- upper 70's and maybe the 80's and sunny blue skies.

I am still hearing the loons in the early morning and late in the evenings. I will miss their calls when we go to Florida, and maybe they will migrate before we leave later in October, anyhow. I saw a hummingbird at the feeder last week - I think he/she is the only one around now -- but have not noticed that li'l feathered flier this week. Either this bird has flown, or it is being shy now.

L and I are getting more used to each other -- we had some testy moments over these 11-plus weeks, and I do attribute that to a speeded-up "relationship" setup. Went from Skype-ing to living together, and I had doubts at times, which are easing. I think about women, back in the 1800's, who may have been married to a man who was a near-stranger, and cannot imagine what that was like for them. Probably moved away from their family (and thus no support from their mother or other family femmes) and maybe into a hardscrabble type of life. And I am fortunate to have moved TO an area where my mother and sister (as well as some cousins) live. So... I am happier and more at-ease with my guy and my life and... just happier, that's all.

Ready to enjoy the weekend! 'Bye for now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Autumn leaves

Song titled Autumn Leaves (from the 1940's - 1950's): "The falling leaves drift by my window, the autumn leaves of red and gold." "And soon I'll hear old winters song." Or lyrics to that effect.

Boy, autumn starts EARLY in this neck of the woods. Already, in the heavily wooded area in which L's house sits, or along the similarly wooded areas we drive along - touches of color (pretty oranges and some reds) are appearing in a few branches. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love the changing leaves. But it is WAY. TOO. EARLY. for all of that shit, for me. It has been (by accounts of the locals) a very cool (I call it COLD) summer. So I rarely have had occasion to wear capris or shorts or sandals. My tan faded weeks ago, and it had "taken" so easily, when I was still in Houston. I have only been on my bicycle twice since I got here (part of that is the unpacking which takes forever - and part is the fact that I spend too much time at the shop).

The hummingbirds which frequent our nectar feeder, appear to have left -- and that might mean that they have only moved on to a neighbor's more-frequently refilled feeder. I don't know much about the migration of the birds around here (yet). I was so used to birds that stayed year-round in the Houston area, such as mockingbirds or doves. Don't get me wrong - we also had migrating birds in that part of Texas. I'm just sorta surprised that birds move out so early in the season, and that the leaves are beginning to turn this early, too.

Finally FINALLY got the news about the cost of repairing the outboard motor which conked out and set us adrift in the pontoon towards the end of July. Five hundred smackeroos. Ouch. However, a new outboard would run into several thousands of dollars - something we are not prepared to cough up at this point. Gotta have the motor in order to move the pontoon next door to the neighbor who so nicely allows L to launch and eventually pick up the pontoon using his easily-accessible shore. L's place has a steep drop and is NOT pontoon-launching friendly.

We are still trying to connect with the real world from L's place. Yesterday we got DirecTV installed. Now we can watch some REAL tv, instead of what is only available on local stations.

Next on the checklist is trying to get internet connection - L is currently using something from his cellphone service - some kind of mobile broadband that snaps into his laptop. He saw a sign posted by a new provider - high in one of the trees, down the dirt road which eventually meanders to L's driveway - and L talked with them. It will be nice, IF their signal can be used back-and-forth between L's home and an antenna across the lake from his place. They will notify us if this is possible. Please, everyone... cross your fingers that this IS going to happen. That mobile broadband crap is the pits - s-l-o-o-o-w and then it cuts out on a whim. Trust me - we used this back when we were Skype-ing. It sucks.

My dining room table is set up in his house now, and also a desk that we can (1)work on and (2) stash computer-related stuff (software, etc) on, too.

*** WOW -- I entered this a while back and just gettin' around to posting it now. Had hoped to have photos downloaded to go with this, but that will have to wait! Yes, I am alive and well (a judgement call, I am aware!), just busy. I will try to post the next update much sooner!