Showing posts with label La Crescent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La Crescent. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Springtime and hopscotch trivia

Just a week ago some white patches now all gone
Alleluia, spring has arrived,  although our ground remains  hard. impenetrable while wet where thawing begins despite some  nights taking it back to freezing temperatures.  Our long winter of discontent  has vanished taking with it our complaints and the last patches of snirt, those dirty icy blots.  The warmth of the sunshine even accompanied by cool or cold air beckons us outdoors.  Nothing like  fresh air, blue skies and  sunshine to renew  ourselves and shake the winter away.  Sunday, I went on my first 2014 long outdoor walk, sans jacket, only my long sleeved shirt. 

  I had posted photos onto  Facebook of a local home where the owner adorns the barren branches of her shrubs with plastic Easter eggs. I admire her ambition which produces a  pleasant colorful sight in contrast to the unbudded brown branches of her shrubs.  And  then farther along the street stop to admire our wide open streets, little traffic in this small midwestern town this day, other folks are out walking their dogs and one young boy dribbles his basketball on his way to shoot hoops at the elementary school lot. 

Elm Street   La Crescent

The city is  in the process of removing many of the old ash trees around town, replacing with different varieties  to  avoid tragic infestations from the emerald ash borers, larvae of which may have frozen out over our severe winter.  Perhaps that was one good thing about a long hard freeze.  It worries us, we may have to remove two or three of our  stately older ash trees on our property.  We will have an arborist check them again soon, two years ago they were good and  so far we have avoided the bug  but experts tell us there is no escape.  Such a shame to lose those stately antique trees but we like other locals do not want to experience the misfortunes of this epidemic.  
Old nest high up in the tree

I noticed a left over nest clinging  high atop one of the trees along Elm Street and marvel that it had the tenacity to stay put all winter long, a testament to the bird or hawk that constructed it.  Soon green  leaves will adorn the limbs and shade the walkways below.

I spotted my first 2014  hopscotch along the way and could not resist jumping it.  There was no sign of the children who drew it, I assume girls because we were the ones to delight in this in my day.  Posted to Facebook it elicited comments of not having seen these since our own childhoods and how children today especially in California are most unlikely to know what hopscotch is.  I  became curious about it's origins now.  It was a taken for granted activity growing up in Pennsylvania where we chalked up our alleyway. although I do not remember having colored chalks such as are available today.

Hopscotch in La Crescent
  It is reassuring to live in a town  where children still play hopscotch and outside games.  This design looked a bit different than what I recalled drawing out as a child and I learned it is the "modern design"  figures, my style would be "vintage."  I read that an ancient  type of hopscotch may have been played in Roman times but the first recorded English speaking references to it are the late 17th century England called scotch-hop or scotch-hoppers.  It was described in Wikipedia as a game where young boys hopped over "scotches in the ground" which I think might mean scratches if it were on dirt.  This has tweaked my interest in  learning more about this old game which we often hopped along to rhymes.  

One last tidbit,yesterday we saw the neurosurgeon who scheduled Jerry's back surgery for April 16, a hemi- laminectomy and microdisectomy  which is minor in the grand scheme of surgeries and  expected to be a breeze, performed under anesthesia but at the outpatient surgical center.  The surgeon said Jerry is a prime candidate, physically fit or he was until this set back, healthy and not overweight and not a smoker.  So we anticipate positive outcome from this surgery which will involve a minor  one inch incision on his back which will be glued, no disc replacement, no metal rods, no muscle cutting and his full recovery should be swift, a month or less.  This is the best news in months and he is really anxious to hit the road in our motor home. The surgeon is a youthful new doctor coming  down form Mayo in Rochester, MN who explained everything so thoroughly that I had no questions at the end of the consultation.  Relief is imminent  for him now which he welcomes, has been a long siege these past  months.     

Friday, October 4, 2013

Not gone but busy

I continue in a catch up mode on blog land and cannot shake that rut, not for lack of writing material or observations, but for lethargy or the "later on"  when I get  around to it" goblins. It is October and the goblins must be emerging.    This week I  went to our local City Hall to renew my MN driver's license while out and about and dressed less than the casual helter skelter way I usually walk around town.  Today for this photo shoot  I even had applied a semblance of make up, and had combed my hair in the style for which it is cut, not the  free windblown model.  This was to be an easy process involving paying  $23 and getting my photo taken.  But here in this small town, there is one person who staff's the local motor vehicles  and when she, Janie goes to lunch, the office closes.  Well, I know that, so I  did not go there until after I had run other errands across the river, putting me at the door at 1:30PM.  Wrong again, Janie is at lunch between 1:00 and 2:00PM, just as has been for years, but who would guess that time.  Choosing not to drive home, only a mile+ away because I knew that I would become distracted and not return, I  went up to the library and chatted with my friend the local librarian who has been besieged of late by the gang of clowns that serve as councilpersons to this rag tag city government.  Small town politics is as annoying to me as the circus in our nation's capitol, and perhaps more so because the good old boys reign supreme in these parts of Mayberry, the clowns really do run the circus and the locals seem to thrive on electing one idiot after another.  Of course I cannot say much because I have absolutely declined to run, I cannot see myself in prison orange at this age and I know that if I had to see the jokers in action at meeting after meeting murder would be my agenda.  So it is we have a ship of fools.  

 It could be oh so much worse.  I could be in California where a trip to the Motor Vehicles on a good day would involve an appointment,  if one could be had, plus a very complicated long time amidst crowds, herded from window and clerk to clerk.  So I accept the reality  and settle in for a 30 minute wait for the lone person to return from lunch.  Not all that bad, except that I heard the "city" had hired another part time worker and wondered why that person could not be available to keep the office open.  There are many things most logical sane people wonder about government at all levels but sooner or later we merely mumble and grumble and get over it. 

Which now brings me to the 2:00PM time for the office to open, but I have visited too long and now I am in line behind another man ahead of me and true to the character of the area, he is in no hurry.  In fact, this might be the high lite of his social interaction so he and Janie visit incessantly while I stew.  Whether she knows him, likely so because she has worked there forever and knows all the locals, doesn't matter, they discuss the weather, his health, his shirt, and the chicken soup his mother used to make.  This man is in his 80's if he's a day and is there for the same thing as me, a process that could take five minutes  really stretching it, but oh no.  Not now. I suppose she has to entertain herself "chewing the fat" or have to do other work, whatever it might be.  I am doomed to wait and wait, another  twenty five minutes+ while they go thru trivial pursuit. Why did I not bring my smart phone or tablet then I could have checked my email.   Finally he is ready to go, and turns while she motions me through the doorway, with a brusque, "fill out this, this and this, 1-6 and don't sign it yet, write a check for $23.25 and I will take your photo."  Suddenly she becomes efficient, maybe it is nearing break time,  and while I am filling out the brief form she  quickly helps and dismisses another young guy.  But then, here we go again, it is another local  older man, with a question and a need for social interaction and conversation.  Trouble is I am standing at the counter putting the answers on the form into those little boxes, trying to somewhat concentrate and Janie and he are talking right along side me.  I have long been against racket, interference and people having side conversations into my ear, particularly when those conversations are not pertinent to me.  As I look up and sigh loudly, I ask an inane question about the form  which directs her attention back to me and he decides to leave, whatever he wanted over with.  Perhaps oneday I will be  older and bored too, but I hope if that happens I will be content to amuse myself or read, or blog, or browse the internet.  

So after my photo shoot and her collecting my check, one of the few checks I will write this year, but it is small town MN no accepting ATM's, check or cash only, I am done.  About 1 hour and 20 minutes after admittance to the gallery counter I can return to the car and home.  All in all, that's life in Mayberry where things could be worse, all the children are above average and annoyances are minor.  I think about Chicken Alaska where we stopped this August on our way to Fairbanks.  Chicken is really the wide spot in the Top of the World road,  140 miles from the Arctic, the population is three and there is only a line when the tour bus arrives. 

Garage shop at Chicken

Cafe stop at Chicken

Monday, July 29, 2013

Walking La Crescent and packing for north

From the hardware store looking down to Main Street
The other direction down the street
 Yesterday afternoon for my walk I trotted  the mile to the grocery store in our "downtown" to get an ingredient for dinner.  It was a great day for walking, coolish but sunny. I considered riding my bike but it was a bit windy, fine when it's at your back but tougher pedaling into the wind especially uphill.   As was expected for a Sunday afternoon La Crescent and streets were fairly deserted; I took my smart phone along and  snapped some pictures of our small quiet town which I jokingly refer to as  Mayberry, actually Barney Fife resides here, a story for another time.  I posted the photos to Facebook but decided to share here too, to update my blog presence.  
One of  three banks in this town, population 5000.
In the 1940's when Jerry was growing up here, this was
the elementary school. 

On my way back home with small bag in hand I stopped to photo our only traffic light at the highway intersection.  Actually not much traffic even on the highways, but here are some photos of that intersection:

Our recent  week of heat wave subsided and now we are enjoying  lovely MN cooler weather, so much so that I wore a sweater over a top yesterday to church.  But I love the cooler air, no complaints here and we feel this is a preview of we expect in August, 50 to 60 degrees. 

Only 11 days until we  depart "north to Alaska" for  which preparation has consumed hours of my thought, planning and staging for packing.  My wardrobe will be all casual, jeans, t's and layers. We were advised to pack a separate suitcase for the  cruise at the tour's end; that bag will be held  on the coaches that will transport us all over on land and delivered to our state room once we are on board our Celebrity Lines Millennium.  We have done cruises in the past and are not impressed now with posing for captain's night or dressing up, in finery galore.  Phooey, been there before, done that, and will opt for casual dining elsewhere on the ship.  We know we will have rainy weather too,  but we are  prepared for that courtesy of our tour company, John Hall's who sent us each our monogrammed, dandy long length (for us short people) wind breaker aka rain jackets. A couple weeks ago when the box arrived with our gear, tote  carry along bags, jackets, tags, luggage tags, itinerary, information, etc  it was like Christmas.    
Staging clothes onto the bed

Putting one guest bedroom to use or staging and packing, or for my wardrobe.  Jerry is quite confident he can get his jeans shirts socks and underwear into his suitcase in no time, and he likely will.  But I must ponder, a tiny bit of bling to go along with ultra casual...and then,  what if I need.. and do not have it......well  the short  answer is "punt" or another 4 letter word would be, "shop."
It's a challenge packing suitcases, limited to weight and all the sort of business travelers who do not drive their own motor homes deal with all the time.  However I am sure that I will meet the demands and after all since he has extra room in his suitcases, I can always use some of that.  I think if I had lived in  an earlier age I would have enjoyed steamer trunks filled to the brim accompanying me on voyages....that is if I were in the right elite traveling class.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walk with me

Red Knock out roses  adjacent to  salvia in the front rose garden
This time of year, I love to be outdoors and keeping up with our landscape & floral gardens give me ample opportunity.  I have been fighting some aches and an annoying flare up of that  right Achilles tendon, but when I say fighting, you know me, I will not take this sitting down.  So rather than Curves workouts, which I am about to give up because I cannot get in there at the time I'd  prefer and because it is so beautiful around here,  I have been walking in the mornings.  The high school is about 1/4 +mile from our home and there is a wonderful quarter mile track around the football field that makes it easy to monitor the distance, so on mornings when I don"t feel like venturing uptown and farther around the neighborhoods, I head to the track.  Sometimes I bike to the school and lap it on wheels and then head to the track.    Because I have had so little time to blog, I took some photos the other morning to show you where we live and so today, walk with me as I log another  mile and half before patrolling my landscape.  It really is beautiful here in our corner of the country. 

I love the AM shadows from all the trees. 
Down our driveway to Cedar toward south 14th
New neighbors  will be next door, Maders daughter.
Dianne and her hubby who are also Morrison's will
be the new residents.  This is good, they are about our age,
empty nesters but it will confuse the post office to have
Morrisons two in a row.

It doesn't take long to reach So. 14th.  There is our local Community
Center, aka Hockey rink and fields to the left

Turn right and we are on South 14th
We  cross to the sidewalks on South 14th and go along

Wild flowers anyone?  A sweet scent wafts up.

Approaching  our destination, the track

On the right is our local La Crescent High school, back side

Now we are closer and ready to cross the street

Right across the street and past the fence, the track awaits

Enter and begin the serious swifter walking  This is a gorgeous
rubber based track and I have it all to myself

Some hurdles left over this we go

Almost to the first curve, looking back toward So. 14th
 from whence we came

Second curve going down the back stretch looking toward stands

Lap 1 done,  to the right off track are more sport fields and hills

Lap two we can go faster now
We have warmed up

After four laps and we head back down south 14th

Along the way home, this grass caught my eye
The phone pole appears to have an eye on me

Yellow mallow with salvia has me singing Mellow Yellow
Such are the entertaining thoughts that can enter on a
pretty sunny quiet  morning.  It's a good and bad thing I don"t walk with
earphones or any attachment.  I can be content with my own thoughts

Approaching Cedar to the right, Hockey Rink to the left
Still quiet on the roads and all is well

Home again home know the rest.  Inside a K-cuppa will  be
good, hazlenut this morning I think

We still wave old Glory

Thursday, July 15, 2010

After the storm

Call me  strange but I have always loved a big howling storm; something about the thunder and lightning and sheets of  rain coming down so that you cannot see through; an experience that involves all the senses.  When I was a kid I always wanted to  be out in the rain but was always pulled back inside and cautioned to stay away from those windows.  Our home in PA had a big front porch so I liked to sit out there but if it lightninged Mom made me go inside.  I guess a howler is not so frightening from the inside of a secure home.

Well last night here we had a humdinger of a storm right on the  edge of tornadoes.  No I don't want or need to experience a tornado because sometimes I think I have  or am already living in the land of Oz like Dorothy when it blew her from Kansas. Where oh where are my ruby red slippers, I've already encountered flying monkeys.   But today the skies are bright blue and clear and all around town there are trucks pulling small trailers filled with limbs heading for the disposal where everything will be crunched into free mulch for those who want it.  Here is one man at it on Oak Street, taken through my SUV windshield.

We were very fortunate here as only limbs and leaves came down, like this one in the back yard, nothing very significant. We were protected and are thankful.   Oh one of my angels who normally sits on the back rail flew into the yard but this morning I picked her up, whole and ready to sit guard again, although she needs a good cleansing and a patch to her broken toenail;  come to think about it, the wind whipped right  past our back yard so she did her rightful duty if you can believe such  things.  Even our dinky plastic chairs stayed in place, odd because so many others had overturned things, broken, etc.  The oriole feeder was still in place and the black and orange are right back at eating jelly today. Just lots of clean up, not what we'd planned today but you know the old saying, we plan and God laughs. 

Just two blocks over, a friend was not so lucky as their front tree came down into their yard, still it could have been worse as it was in other parts of town. This  one did not hit their home nor their carport. 

 Right across the street their neighbors left tree limbs in the drive and went to work, it will wait.   

At the Shepardson's (Jerry's cousin & Kathleen,friend) another big old Oak will be gone; seems they keep getting hit by the storm. If I didn't know better I would say that someone in the Great Beyond is out to get them, because this is the  second storm where they have lost trees, limbs, major damage with close calls. 
On my way up town to capture some photos of Main Street and the clean up I swung into Milo and Kathleen's and that 'hood really got it.  Still fortunate though because it is in the back yard and hit no part of the house.   They will have to employ more  tree removal service again soon though.  Here's Kathleen among the limbs of a used to be grand oak.  
That street is going to have to be renamed from Oak Terraces.  All the 100 &  200 year old oak trees are being storm wreaked and coming down.  The birds will miss the trees and the residents will miss all the shade.  Fortunately even this approach to the front which got it in the previous storm had no damage to the home. But there is no entering their driveway now until the debris is cleared.   And two doors down from them   an old tree crashed onto part of the home and   destroyed the vehicle in the driveway. 
Below is the used to be grand old oak in their back yard that came  apart  in last night's storm. You saw part of the limbs where Kathleen was in their midst.

There were some kids out looking around this morning too and one little boy was so obliging to have his photo taken in the stump of this gorgeous hemlock that was uprooted on Main Street.  His friends were more shy but he was proud and full of giggles. 

All around town it's the same story today.  How can the sun shine so bright after so much darkness?  That's life exemplified.  All we can do is get back up the next day and start clearing out the debris.