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)

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