Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels in the Red Lands: South Dakota and Beyond

Smokey Rose knew right away how to get comfy in our
Black Hills home.
Smokey Rose and I are now living in our home in the Black Hills. We no longer have a place in Salt lake, just this little condo of ours. We arrived here around July 1 and spent most of July "moving in." Of course this place was fully furnished and all, but I brought with a carload and a pickup truck load of boxes of things that had to be integrated with everything that was already here. A lot of it was clothes, books and craft supplies. There were also some kitchen things, a bit of artwork and some misc things plus stuff like food, cleaning supplies, other consumables such as office supplies. We are mostly done except for the boxes with papers in them. That can wait to be sorted through until a rainy or snowy day comes along.
Sock Monkey had not seen the rec center until this summer.

Now we are concentrating on how we will live here. I mean by that how we will use our time, what we will do, how our days will go. We have a bit of a routine already. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I do water exercises at the local rec center with my lady friends from last year. I was welcomed back heartily and now don't want to miss a day. Smokey Rose usually sleeps on the bed during this time, as best I know.
While Smokey Rose snoozes at home,
Sock Monkey is quite the gad about.
He enjoys a good coffeehouse like Lotus Up.

Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings I go to knit with people. Tuesdays I join the long standing knitting group at the local library. Thursdays I am trying to get a group started in the mornings at the local coffee shop, Lotus Up. The coffee shop welcomes us; the owner says she wants her place to be a community center not just a shop. So far two other people have showed up. And there are several others who have also stopped at my table to say hi and maybe even chat a bit. A couple of people whom I met there have recognized me in other places in town.

I am now a volunteer at the local opera house. I have done 2 performances. It's ushering like at Sundance. I can handle it. A lot of local VIPs attend the things at the opera house so gradually, gradually I'm finding out bits and pieces about who is who around here.

I'm helping out a friend by going back to work doing internet teaching. She is in charge of the nursing program at a small Catholic college in the midwest, and had a sudden need for a teacher during the summer session. Everything was set up so I did not have to do any planning. It's going pretty well. I do like the students, of course. I might consider doing this kind of thing again, but I find I am annoyed at how I have to spend most Mondays doing this work when maybe I would like to do other things. And sometimes the work doesn't get done until Thursdays.

At home I have started to do some baking and cooking again. I knit and read and write letters and postcards. I'm all set up to practice ink and watercolor painting. And when I'm just plain tired, now I have cable TV.
Valentine really plays up its heart connection

And I have made one overnight trip. I kept going to see the same dentist in Valentine Nebraska the whole time I lived in Utah. I went once a year in the summer, and my annual appointment was in early July this year.

Besides the fact that I really like my dentists there, I kept this up this whole time because I also really like Valentine a lot. It is one of the two "big towns" we used from the Rosebud reservation. (The other being Winner, South Dakota). Valentine is about an hour's drive from Rosebud. It's s tiny town but it serves a huge area as the commercial hub, so it really "punches above its weight" as far as retail and services are concerned. I went there as much as once a week for groceries or movies or outdoor activities or services or just to have dinner out.

Here is the link to my Valentine album. While we (Sock Monkey & I...Smokey Rose preferred to stay home even though she was alone) were there this time we ate at one of the best local restaurants ... The Peppermill where we had steak, of course, this being cow country after all. Of course it was delicious. We had dessert at the local Frosty drive-in ... a strawberry sundae.
Sock Monkey swoons over simple comfort food.

We drove through the wildlife refuge where at times you are driving right past bison or longhorn cattle (you don't get out of your car here if you know what's good for you!), but none of them were out that evening. You can get out of the car at one place and take a short hike down to a sweet small waterfall, Fort Falls. I've done that many times in the past. It's very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Check out all the stuff to do on the second Valentine link .... here if you missed it  I have been to them all and say, go if you can.
The coffee and tea section at Plains Trading Company.
There's always something good hear.

But my very favorite place in the town is a store, The Plains Trading Company. This is a tiny bookstore that is so much more. First of all it was my lifeline for books back before Amazon and even after. They specialize in books by and about local and regional things, events, people and life. Their Native American inventory can't be beat.

But they are also what I would call the hub for the good life in the region. They have gourmet coffees and teas. For the past few years they have had every wine that is made in Nebraska. There is local honey and jams and other food products as they Dwayne and Darlene can find them. They have a great lotions and potions section, and were on one the earliest retailers for Burt's Bees products back when it was a small company from Maine. They have an excellent children's and young adults book section, and a section full of high quality toys. There is a back room packed full of things for teachers and a section with high quality gifts and crafts made by local artisans.

I can, did and still will spend a fair chunk of change at Plains Trading. Dwayne talks about retiring. I understand that. Darlene, on the other hand, says maybe not yet. I hope selfishly that Darlene continues to win that little family disagreement for some time to come.

Sock Monkey found his heart in Valentine too.
We'll be back next summer!
(btw, I was there the day they first painted these hearts
up and down the sidewalks on Main Street)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels "Home" to Chicago

So many interesting buildings in Chicago!
You tell me what we have here. I don't know.
My last two short trips before I left Utah were to big cities, Chicago and Denver. I went to both for kind of business reasons, but did my best to enjoy each. I didn't succeed in doing everything that I had in mind, but both trips had real highlights.

Chicago was first, in order to attend the annual meeting of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, my professional tribe for my lifetime. I became a lifetime member this year even because they put in a special category for us retired folks. Several people have asked why do I want to keep going to work related things now that I'm retired? Well, midwifery is, for me anyway, am identity or a calling, not just work that I did. I'll probably never practice midwifery again, but I am a midwife until the day I die.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels in the Red Lands: Le Tour d'Idaho

Idaho is a good place to visit!
Idaho is an underrated state, I think. I mean what does anybody know about it besides famous potatoes and white supremacists, if you're old enough? It's shaped funnily what with that real skinny part at the top which seems like all it does is to separate Montana from Washington for no apparent reason. I imagine that if you drive it through the pan handle from Montana to Washington, Idaho must be a big yawn. Or a tiny blink. "Oh, did we just go through another state? I guess we did. Oh well."

But Idaho is right on top of Utah, and people from Utah go there from time to time, not just when they are driving through to Oregon or Washington. Fly fisher people know it as a kind of paradise. It has more natural hot springs than any other state (who knew?).

And they say that Boise is "the new Asheville".... or that Boise is a trendy place to live now that all the other places are "filled up" and maybe even "spoiled." Like Prescott Arizona, Boise shows up regularly now on lists of good places to live for a variety of reasons.

So a visit to Boise and therefore surrounding areas in Idaho has been on my list for some time now. Time was getting short in Utah for me, and I just decided to do it NOW. I told my knitting friends of my plans. Two originally signed on to go with, but one cancelled, so it ended up being my friend J and I taking this trip. J drove her car which was fine with me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels to a Blue Land

This time we did not see any orange groves.
California! Yes! I love California!

It began years ago when my friend at Red Butte Garden who used to  live in southern California told me about The Huntington Gardens and Museums. L. lyrically described the gardens and insisted that I must go there and see for myself. I was convinced; the only question was when.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels to Meet Some of Her Tribe at The March For Science

The president was in residence on Earth Day.
He tweeted something about loving our wonderful rivers and things like that,
and went to Walter Reed to present a Purple Heart to someone.
BTW, the garden is protected. It's under the care of the
National Park Service.
As soon as I heard it was going to happen, I knew I wanted to go. A March FOR Science on Earth Day in Washington DC. I did not make arrangements to go to the Women's March the day after the inauguration. I would have liked that, so I felt the need to do something similar at some other time. Bingo! Let's go to DC in April. I got a plane ticket and a hotel immediately.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels in the Red Lands - A Tiny Vacation to Dinosaur Land

Got myself some fine new luggage mostly from Target,
pretty and just the right sizes,
so Sock Monkey & I can start to hit the road together.
I'm ready to get out of town again. This was the first of several upcoming short trips to a number of places. This time it was a driving trip in my little green car with my friend Jan Mi. We went east up into the Uintah Mountains to the small city of Vernal. We left on Saturday and returned on Sunday. The reason for the trip now was to attend the annual spring concert of the Uintah Basin Orchestra and Chorus. Two members of the Z family, who are friends of ours, were playing and singing.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Blue Lady Travels in the Red Lands: A Short Trip to Kansas City

Sorry, but I did not actually see any real fountains on this trip
Randy, my former TIAA advisor, told me, that in his experience, new retirees do a fair amount of traveling at first, and then kind of get tired of it and settle in someplace for the long haul. So be it. Right now I'm just barely into the "early travel phase."   I have quite a few trips planned in the next months. And lots of ideas for where to go after these already arranged excursions. I'll write about them as they happen.