Tuesday, October 17, 2017

INDIANA !!

Zak and his little friends in MN
With great sadness and yet great excitement,  we drove across the Minnesota state line, late at night on September 26, heading for our new home in Goshen, Indiana.   Although I lived in four different cities in Minnesota over my 48 year residency there, it was the state that I truly embraced as 'home'.  And 'home' it will always be.    The past 29 of those years were in Moorhead, and the goodbyes there were difficult - for many reasons.  What comforts me is that so many of my Moorhead friends are planning to come and visit me in Goshen.   Two already have!   And I am just one long day's drive away from the Twin Cities, where so many of my friends make their home.   I will definitely be going back to visit.

At home in Goshen, Indiana
It WAS a big rig!! 
I still can't quite get my head wrapped around the reality that I pulled this huge, long distance move off - pretty much by myself.   Moving is not for the faint of heart, and the financial hemorrhage, though slowing down, hasn't stopped yet.   There is always 'one more thing' that I need for our new house or one more unexpected expense.   Still, all things considered, it went well.    Material Damage was limited to one broken piece of glass, a chipped piece of Delft and a crushed lamp shade.   Personal damage included two broken toes (it would really help if I would just wear shoes!) and a flare up of carpal tunnel syndrome which is already signficantly improved.   Three months of lifting heavy boxes, painting walls and long, long hours of packing takes a toll.   After two and a half weeks, I have the two main levels of the house unpacked and settled.    The basement needs to be painted before I can unpack down there, and right now the weather is too nice to spend time in a basement!   So that will wait.   I am enjoying time working in the yard, organizing the garage and shed and raking leaves out to the curb where the city picks them up!   (In MN we had to bag them; blahhhh!!)    I've met our neighbors, we're getting to know the town and we love it here.   As much as I miss Minnesota, I have never, in my life, had such a strong sense that I am 'where I need to be'.   I was led here; of that, I have no doubt.

But wait!   This is CORGI TALES!   What about Scarlett and Zak?   How are they doing? 

Welcome!
It's been an adjustment for all of us, and Scarlett has had the hardest time with it.   Her kennel was the very first thing I unpacked and I put 'their room' (which is one side of the walk-in pantry) together right away.   She has found refuge there, amidst the chaos of boxes and nails being pounded into the walls and things banging around.    Now that two floors are settled, she is doing much better.   She kept her distance as I was unpacking.

Feeling at Home
Zak, by contrast, was my constant shadow.   He has dealt with his little corgi anxiety by being a friend that 'sticketh closer than a brother'.   If I go upstairs, he is bounding up right behind me.   He snuggles up beside me whenever possible and is never far away.   He is learning to love our new, large yard.   I am hating the fact that his lead gets tangled in the shrubs almost every time he goes out, and am trying to find a way around that.   Overall, Zak is doing very well.    Both dogs have their favorite places in the house to rest.   Zak has taken a liking to one of the guest rooms (the one with the new, plush carpet, of course) and I can usually find him there, if he's not right next to me.

Tim with Scarlett and Zak at Au Train Beach
The week after we moved, we went to the cabin for a long weekend with Tim.    That was a ton of fun for all of us.    And during the month of October, we're doing something really special.   "31 parks in 31 days" I've been calling it.    I will write more about that in my next post. 
Upper Peninsula - October Color


Kayaking our favorite place  - the Au Train River


It was nice to go from THIS ....

To THIS ... finally

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Much Needed Break

A sweet treat at a frozen yogurt
 shop and Zak and Scarlett,
as usual, steal the show.
I have been working at a frenetic pace at home, preparing for the 'big move' to Indiana which is now less than a month away. 
A stop at Canal Park in Duluth.   I'll miss
this place so much and hope to get back there
once in a while.
Sorting, packing, holding a garage sale, taking care of endless details such as getting new flooring installed, lining up utilities, and listing my current home led to 16-20 hour work days with just a couple of short breaks to walk the dogs and grab a few hours of sleep.    I didn't dare get away until I had the basement fully sorted and packed and I finished that up last week.   The night before we left for the cabin at Au Train, I had a last minute showing which meant leaving the lawnmower in the middle of the back yard and taking the dogs to the park on short notice.   Ninety minutes later, I returned home, thinking the realtor must have forgotten to notify me that she was done, but lo and behold, they were still there!    I figured that was a good sign - and it was.  I got the call on Saturday morning as I was driving across the upper peninsula of Michigan that I had an offer. It was a good one for several reasons, and an hour and a half later, I pulled into a McDonalds parking lot, and signed the documents electronically.   It was a great way to start my week of vacation.





Curiosity

We've been having a very relaxing week here. kayaking on the Au Train River and swimming with the dogs.   Tim plays with the Falling Rock Jammers at the Falling Rock Cafe on Monday and Wednesday evenings and that's always a lot of fun too. Tomorrow we'll head up to his property at Grand Marais, MI in hopes of finding some raspberries.   They are pretty sparse this year  - almost non-existent, to be honest -so I don't expect to find enough to make jam but hopefully we'll be able to pick enough to put on ice cream when we get back.

On Sunday we'll return home to MN for the last  time,  and I'll have just three weeks to finish packing things up there before the big move. 
After some initial panic, Scarlett and
Zak settled in to the kayaks and did
very well. 
Kayaking on the Au Train River


Sunset at Au Train

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A New Home

The best word to describe my life right now is 'fluid'.  In my last post I mentioned a big camping trip to the West Coast.    I was all packed and we were set to leave on Friday, July 7.   I'd been watching the very fast moving housing market in northern Indiana for three weeks, when on Wednesday, July 5th, I happened to see a house 'for sale by owner' that looked like the house of my dreams at a price I could afford.  What to do?    It was a tough call, but I made the decision to scratch the vacation and fly out to Indiana last week where I saw the house, made an offer which was accepted - all in the space of 36 hours!   I am excited, and nervous at the same time.   It's a beautiful home in a newer development, but old enough to have wonderful trees and sidewalks and parks nearby.  My brother went with me and it was so helpful to have another set of eyes (not to mention another brain) asking questions and helping me think things through.    It wasn't until I saw two other homes in a similar price range, that I knew that this was too good an opportunity to pass by.    One of the things that this house has, that Scarlett and Zak are going to LOVE, is a patio door that they will be able to look out of and see the back yard!    We are moving from a house on the busiest street in town to the second to the last house on a dead end street in a quiet neighborhood!   That, alone, will be quite a change!
A new home for a fresh start

I am now back in Minnesota where I have worked hard this week to get my house staged and start the long process of packing.    Since I have plenty of time (closing isn't until the end of September and my house here isn't even being listed for another week or so), it is kind of fun because I have time to sort and downsize my 'stuff'.   There will be a gigantic garage sale in a couple weeks.     My biggest challenge is pacing myself, since I tend to be a 'full steam ahead' kind of person.    My brothers and close friends are afraid I'll be all packed by Labor Day and then sit around for a month with nothing to do!   So I'm intentionally building in some breaks - getting together with friends,  day trips to the lake, and this week, taking in the Fargo Street Fair this week for the last time.  As usual, Scarlett and Zak got plenty of attention and drank it up.   Zak is good for anyone's self esteem and the lady pictured here, new to our community, said "Zak made my day" after he snuggled up to her for 30 minutes.

While I'm busy sorting, packing and carrying boxes, Scarlett and Zak are living the good life.    They enjoy having me home all day,  Scarlett spends a lot of time on the hardwood floor of the guest room (it's cooler there) and Zak is outdoors almost all day (sometimes up to twelve hours.)   He just loves to watch the traffic and the people walking by.   Lately we've had a black cat stalking the neighborhood.    That crazy cat LOVES to taunt Zak and Scarlett.   It hides in the shrubs next door, waits for Scarlett and/or Zak to come out, sticks its head out and once they notice it and start barking madly, it arches its back and hisses, which sends Scarlett and Zak into an absolute frenzy!   Crazy cat. And a black one too!  Zak doesn't mind the heat, and will often nap on the hot pavement of the driveway.   I make sure I bring him cool water every hour or two.  But now and then, I make him come inside for a while.   His favorite place to nap IN the house, is just under the bed where it is cool and dark.




Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Season of Change

This week I resigned my job of 29 years and am beginning the transition to move closer to family in Michigan.   I decided to take one more big camping trip to the Western US.  Scarlett. Zak and I are leaving July 7 for Bozeman, the Sawtooth Mts of Idaho (my favorite place in the continental US), the San Francisco Bay area, Sequoia National Park, Crater Lake,  Priest Lake,  Idaho and Glacier National Park!   We'll be gone three weeks; mostly tenting, but spending a few days with friends in California too.    I've taken some big trips with the dogs before but never one this long.   Am I crazy?   Stay tuned for the answer.


We'll be home about a week and then leave for the North Shore of Lake Superior, drive the loop all the way around the lake and spend about ten days at the cabin at Au Train.    By the time I get home, summer will be winding down and I will start seriously looking for a new place to live and work.    It will become my retirement home in a few years, so I'm more focused on finding the right house than the right job.   I love my home here so much that it will be hard to let it go.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Splooting

Yesterday on Good Morning America they shared a clip of a corgi puppy running across the floor and sliding into a perfect sploot. Corgi puppies are SO stinkin' cute, and that clip brought back memories of when Zak was a puppy.    Living on a busy street, I would take him outside regularly and on more than one occasion, a perfect stranger drove by, turned onto the frontage road and stopped to admire him.   One time I caught a cab driver, between calls, sitting in front of my house watching Scarlett and Zak play in the yard.   

Urban Dictionary defines 'sploot' as "The position a corgi takes, lying flat on its belly with his/her legs spread out." Of my four corgis, only Dee Dee did a classic sploot. Before I knew the word, I called it her 'flying squirrel' pose.

Scarlett lies with her back legs off to one side - sort of a modified sploot.    Tim's dog, Elvis, often took this same position. 

Zaccheaus does an inverted sploot!   His legs are tucked underneath him, facing forward.   This boy LOVES to be outdoors and will spend the entire day resting in the grass or watching the cars go by if I let him.




Princess usually took this position - one back leg straight out and the other was often tucked underneath her.  I suspect this was her position in the womb because it was natural to her. 




And THIS is a PERFECT sploot.   Doesn't get any better than this.   Dee Dee had broad hips so the sploot was even wider.  This picture brings back memories!   I adore Scarlett and Zak and they have brought me great joy, but I still miss my girls.    Just like children, no two corgis are alike.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

Life is full of uncertainties and one never knows if this day may be their last.   In honor of the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom and in memory of loved ones who  have gone before us and in gratitude for the days spent upon this earth.   Happy Memorial Day.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring - and the Blowing of the Coat

It is finally Spring in the Northern Plains.   Although the calendar identifies the first day of spring as Vernal Equinox, we don't start to see many real signs of the changing season until well into April.    And, although our snow was gone early this year (avoiding a flood!), the second half of April was cold and extremely windy.   So it wasn't particularly pleasant.   The few nice days that we did have, however, fell on the weekends.

So .... what are my favorite signs of spring.    Here are a few:

  • Being able to sleep with the windows open - and better yet, having them open during the day.
  • Replacing the flannel sheets with my cotton percale sheets.
  • Wearing my capris and flip flops (of which I have a ridiculously abundant supply). 
  • Putting out my windmill and wooden tulips. 
  • Tulips!!   (Real ones!)   After years of the rabbits chewing my tulips right down to the stalk, I finally bought some liquid fence.   Putrid stuff (don't spray it on a windy day!) but it really works.   My tulips are really nice this year. 




  • Budding trees.    
  • Seeing the grass turn green, aerating my lawn and mowing for the first time.   ("First time" is significant here, as I am tired of mowing by about the middle of June!) 
  • Spring Cleanup Week .... which means my garage is decluttered and cleaned up.   
  • Curbing and Garage Sales.  OK;  I admit I do not get into either of these activities but I have so many friends that do that I have to include it on my list. 
  • Putting air in my bike tires and going for my first long bike ride.   ("Long" is a relative term.   For me, it means 15-20 miles .... not 40-50!) 
Zak and his new 'best friend' Pauline 

  • And last, but not least, the BLOWING OF THE COAT.  This is not the normal, year-round shedding that most breeds do, but the seasonal shedding that dogs with a heavy, dense, undercoat do.   That downy fur is incredibly soft and wonderful for burying your face in when you cry or for just warming up your lap on a chilly winter day.    The downside is that it changes at least twice - and up to three times a year.    When I got my first corgi, I invested in a high-end vacuum cleaner.    Now I have two - one upstairs and one down.   For anyone who's interested, my favorite brands are Riccar (the Radiance is wonderful) and Miele, a German brand that has expensive parts but some wonderful features including a great swivel mechanism, and is especially good for hardwood and tile floors.    With my first two corgis I had a heavy shedder (Dee Dee) and a not-as-heavy shedder (Princess).  I have the same again. Zak's coat is a bit more coarse and he sheds plenty but nothing like Scarlett!   Oh my goodness ... that girl sheds!!   Spring is definitely the worst time of year, as the undercoat is completely shed in preparation for the warmer days of summer.    I brush every day right now and use several different brushes to get the maximum benefit.   


Zak and his pile (20 minutes worth)

    1. The Zoom Groom (by Kong) is a rubber bristled brush that removes loose dirt, stimulates new hair growth, and gives the coat a nice shine.    My dogs love this one the most as it feels like a massage.   
    2. If you have a heavy shedder, the Furminator is a 'must have'.   You thought you were brushing your dog before??   Spend 5 minutes brushing with one of these and you'll have a pile of hair that's a foot high and a foot wide.  The teeth are heavy steel and it almost feels a bit like a razor, but Scarlett really doesn't mind this one unless I'm working in sensitive areas along her tush or legs.   I would not use this brush on her tummy.  It really is an amazing tool and you DEFINITELY want to be working outside with the wind blowing the tumbleweeds of hair away from you!  If you have an overabundance of rabbits in your neighborhood, you might want to consider furminating at a local park, as the rabbits LOVE the soft, downy fur for building their nests under your deck.  (Nests= more plant-eating nuisance rabbits.) 
    3. My personal favorite (and my go-to brush most days) is the natural boar bristle brush (palm style with wooden base and hand strap.)    This one works almost as well as the Furminator and both Scarlett and Zak love it.  The hair quickly accumulates in the teeth but is easily removed.    It gets a lot of the downy undercoat, but also the loose, longer top coat.    
    4. The two-sided stainless steel shedding blade removes loose hair but the teeth aren't long enough to pull a lot of the undercoat.    I use this as my clean-up brush, or for a quick brushing when we travel and I want to control the hair in the back seat. 
      Scarlett and HER pile  -  about 15 minutes worth of brushing!
 There are many other great brushing tools on the market but these are the four that we use.