10 years ago: The Hermit and I had been married for three years, and we were living in a subdivision too close to the freeway 30 miles north of St. Paul. I was working the same job I am now, fisheries specialist for the MN DNR in a town 45 miles to the north, while The Hermit worked for a nonprofit conservation organization in the northern suburbs. I think 1995 was the first year that I raised a large garden with about thirty varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and I began canning tomatoes and salsa…sound familiar? We had bought the land we now live on two years before, and just finished the first part of the cabin, a 16 x 12 one room structure. We had one teenage stepson living with us full time, and a stepson and stepdaughter living with us part time. Being a twenty something instant stepmom to teenagers is as good a definition as any for “flying blind”. However, I still dreamed of having children of my own, and ten years ago I became pregnant for the first time. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at twelve weeks; it was a big deal then but now, with three beautiful children, I realize everything happens for a reason.
5 years ago: I was living, for the month, in a rented lake cabin near Park Rapids, MN, with 3 year old Calvin and 1 year old Starflower. We had spent the previous month living in my parents’ tiny RV; we were waiting and hoping and praying for things to work out so we would have a place to stay for the winter. The Hermit was here off and on as he finished up details at his job in another state. We had been there for a year after leaving our subdivision and old jobs, but for various reasons it just wasn’t the right thing. I happened to be offered a job with my old employer at this new location. It was the most unorganized, stressful, uncertain, hectic, unsettled, weirdest time of my life. I felt bad for putting my kids through all of that, and not being able to offer comfort and stability. We were over two hundred miles from home.
1 year ago: We were finally home, having landed back here at our cabin and land on Sand Creek two years earlier, and had just made the decision to stay here instead of moving across the country yet again to chase a job, more money, etc. After all, we had a foundation built for a new home and stacks of lumber and building supplies everywhere. And I loved it here. Moving again, however soon we planned on returning, would have torn me apart. We hastily built an addition on the cabin; two winters in a 16 by 12 cabin, with an 8 x 16 porch, with three young children, had been enough already. When the addition, a 12 x 16 room, was done, it felt like a mansion to me.
Yesterday: It was too hot and humid for October. I was achy and tired all day, and didn’t get a lot done at work. The Hermit is getting frustrated about working on the house; he can’t get anything done when it rains every other day. The trees changed colors almost overnight.
5 songs I know all of the words to: Easy one for me; I collect songs. Even when I don’t make a conscious attempt to learn a song, the words stick in my mind. This is not always a good thing; remember every Top 40 song from 1980-1985? I do. So I’ll just give you a list of some of my FAVORITE songs that I know all of the words to:
- “Spring Wind” by Greg Brown
- “Across The Great Divide” by Kate Wolf
- “Hello In There” by John Prine
- “Tecumseh Valley” by Townes Van Zandt
- “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan
5 favorite television shows:
- Northern Exposure. Hands down, the best TV drama ever.
- Cheers. Great characters, great writing.
- M*A*S*H. Ditto.
- The Red Green Show
- The Lawrence Welk Show. Honestly. I’m addicted to the reruns on PBS! It’s a nostalgia thing I guess.
5 things I’d never wear:
- High heels
- Anything just because it was the latest fashion
- A full “park ranger” style uniform. I cheered when they finally made it optional for my job class.
- A glitzy evening gown
5 places I’d run away to:
- I’m thinking of a beautiful stretch of beach at Manchester State Park, near Point Arena in northern California. There is no sound but the pounding of the surf, as I lie there with a cooler full of Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA.
- Rural Ireland. I like the idea of playing music and drinking a good stout in a local pub.
- Norway and Sweden. To discover some of my roots.
- The Boundary Waters Canoe Area in MN
- This isn’t exactly one place, but I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do a road trip to the homes of all the interesting people I’ve met blogging.
5 snacks I like:
- Fresh tortilla chips and salsa
- Homemade chocolate chip cookies
- Chicken flautas with guacamole
- Fresh cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce
- Does beer count?
5 things I would do with 100 million dollars
- Finish building our house and equip it with state of the art solar and/or wind power.
- Buy up as much land as I can around here to keep it out of the hands of loggers, ATV riders, and rich city bastards who think this is their playground. I would pay local people a living wage to manage the land in a sustainable manner and restore ecosystems.
- Start a nonprofit organization that teaches people country living skills and self sufficiency while preserving folk traditions and crafts and encouraging a sense of local community and independence from national/global systems.
- Oh yeah, the college fund for the kids.
- And I would quit my job so I could spend more time with my family, homeschooling the kids and not trying to cram all of my domestic chores into the weekends.
5 greatest joys
- Being with my husband and kids
- Playing music with good friends
- Listening to the sounds, or the silence, of the wilderness
- Making love with the love of my life
- Drinking a truly great beer. (I had to work that one in, of course)
5 greatest toys
- My flute
- My mandolin
- My guitar
- My octave mandolin (bouzouki)
- The CD player. Life without music would be an intolerable insult (Edward Abbey)