New business appeared this week on Main Street in a nearby town, a lovely little city of parks and trails right on the beautiful St Croix river.
You better believe the citizens are buzzing and the e-mails are flying. I might even attend their city council meeting next week. It promises to be more entertaining than Law & Order: SVU and NCIS: Los Angeles, my usual Monday night entertainments.
Even worse than the name of the business is what they sell: high-powered armaments and related gear. If you go to the website, you will find this in their "About us" page:
"...We support law enforcement, military, and sporting causes - we personally and as a business contribute to organizations like americansnipers.org, wounded warrior foundation, as well as local causes, and plan to expand that as we grow our business..."
The view from the tiny deck of our cabin. That's Lake Superior, if you cannot tell.
The fire pit.
Why am I showing you a photo of the fire pit in the front yard of the cabin? Because it was the scene of Smokey's latest near-death experience.
One morning he took the dogs out for their beginning-of-the-day pee. Since the benches of the picnic table were damp from dew, he sat on the seat of his walker, which, in addition to a nice padded seat, is on wheels.
Can you see how the ground slopes to the left toward The Lake? Yes, the walker started to roll downhill.
Because he had a dog leash on each wrist, his hands were not as free as they might have been. And, although the walker has brakes, the wheels were damp from the dew and the brakes just slipped. He rolled backward, the wheels hit the cast iron edge of the fire pit, and he tipped backwards at precisely the right angle to strike the back of his head on the downhill edge.
Did he suffer a concussion? Did he fracture his skull? Did his sever his spinal column? Any of those were possible.
He did not even get a lump on his head. And he said that after the initial impact it did not even hurt.
I find it hard to imagine those last two, but I felt for a lump and there was none.
We love that you share your woods with us. Your presence reminds of Nature in all her glories. But really, messing with the trash at noon? That's the kind of behavior that gives bears a bad name.
Please confine your antics to the dark hours.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
Your friend, The Kat™
Dear Seiko Watch Repair Service,
We are happy that you have agreed to rejuvenate Smokey's 40+ year-old Seiko diver's watch so that Younger Son can wear it. Perhaps this is the beginning of a family heirloom tradition. We hope so.
But just FYI, $104 + $12 /=/ $122. Please adjust your invoice.
Yours truly, Mrs. Smokey
Dear United Airlines,
It may have been over 30 years ago, but I am still annoyed that you would not let me retrieve my trenchcoat from the overhead compartment when I realized immediately after deplaning that I had left it behind. I was no more than 10 feet from the jetway exit when I became aware of my oversight, but no, your flight attendant would neither let me go back on the plane to get my coat nor would she get it herself.
This is what happens when the cleaning lady puts a bag of trash in the can 2 days before the garbage truck comes. I left home @9:45 am the next day; this is what I found when I came home @ 2pm. The bears are getting bolder -- they usually only mess with the trash overnight.
Caution: this is what happens when you get dressed without turning on the light so as not to wake your spouse.
In the words of the immortal Red Green, "Safety first!"
And this is Smokey dismantling my vintage-1994 Gateway computer in order to recycle the recyclable bits. Farewell, old friend; you were my first Windows box.
After I spent Friday and Saturday in Ashland, I came home for a day and a half, then Smokey and I headed to a cabin on the North Shore for a few days. We had a couple packing accidents: Smokey's CPAP machine, in its own little black nylon suitcase, made it from upstairs to the front stoop but not from there into the car; my knitting, in its custom-designed box (more on that another time), never made it from the dining room table downstairs and into the car.
Unlike a diabetic forgetting his insulin, it is not life-threatening for him to forego the CPAP machine for a few days. On the other hand, knitting is essential to life itself, but I had my trusty Emergency Knitting bag with the brioche cowl inside. Tragically, I finished that before we had even reached Duluth. Happily, there is a lovely yarn store in Duluth that was happy to sell me some yarn for a new project.
EQUALS ANOTHER PAIR OF DOUBLE-STRANDED SOCKS.
The yarns are (variegated) Three Irish Girls Adorn sock and (dark red) Cascade Heritage. Both yarns are delightful to knit. The TOGirls color is Cooler By The Lake, which is a local phrase. The older part of Duluth is near the lake, the newer part is "on top of the hill." While it may be hot on the hill, it is always cooler by the lake.
The socks will ensure that my feet are never in that [cooler] condition.
Note: I do not intend to kick said bucket on Labor Day, so I may need to finish some of these things in September.
Ten Things On My Summer Bucket List.
Finish clearing the stuff off the tables outside my office.
Relocate one of the tables elsewhere in the house, where I will set up my 1970s vintage but new-to-me knitting machines.
Learn to use said machines.
Finish stenciling the house number (actually, in the country we use fire numbers as the house numbers) on our mailbox. Younger Son started this when he was in his stencil-everything-in-sight phase back in the early 00s, and I have intended to finish it every summer since. Maybe this will be the year.
Knit on the deck. Lots.
Finish one of the sooper seekrit Christmas projects I have started.
Go for many, many pontoon boat rides.
Visit Elder Son in Sioux Falls at least once.
Add plants to my garden; specifically, lilies of the valley (they spread, which is what I want), Virginia bluebells, columbines, other shade plants.
Have teenage helper create a nice edging on said garden.
(I have enough material (and photographs) for at least a dozen posts on various topics. Why have I not written them? Must remedy. Here goes...)
Last weekend I attended the annual meeting for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. Some others and I are in the process of starting a local chapter, and two others and I thought we could learn a lot by hanging with some established chapters for a couple days.
If you are not familiar with the economic history of northern MN and WI, here is a brief (and probably only vaguely accurate) summary. The heyday of Minnesota's and Upper Michigan's Iron Ranges was during WWII, when the government was building ships and armaments as fast as the miners could dig the ore and the steel mills could refine it and Rosie The Riveter could build them. The boom continued into the 1950s as the booming post-war economy allowed Americans to buy a new car every year or three. The ore had to be shipped from northern Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the steel mills of Gary. Add to this the plentiful wheat harvest of the northern plains also being shipped by train to Lake Superior where it was loaded onto boats bound for Europe and Russia, and, thus, Duluth and Superior were booming ports.
But (as much as the Koch brothers certain WI politicians would like us to forget) any mineral is an exhaustible resource. The rich mineral deposits were soon depleted, the industry turned to taconite -- which requires far more ore to be refined in order to get the same amount of iron and is therefore more expensive to produce -- and the mines slowed w-a-y down. The ports slowed down, too.
Duluth, MN has rebranded itself as a tourist destination and appears, to me at least, to be much more prosperous than when my family drove through it on our way to vacation on the North Shore of Lake Superior in the 1950s. Superior, across the river in WI, not so much. There are vast empty areas that used to be home to business that served the shipping industry. The city has a slightly abandoned air to it even though there are refurbished buildings here and there.
Ashland, WI, on the south shore of The Lake, has suffered some of the same economic woes, but has managed to do better. Although there are more vacant areas than one sees in a more prosperous city, it has the air of one whose residents are still proud. There are murals everywhere in the downtown area.
I arrived in Ashland about an hour before LWV things were going to start so I hung out at the library for awhile. Fun stuff there, too.
Then it was time for the introductory dinner meeting. Imagine ~80 smart, articulate, and energetic woman in a room. Fabulous, and not something that happens very often where I live.
Anyway, I DID learn a lot to bring back to my fellow LWVers. And I found that Ashland is beautiful place worth visiting again.