Black squirrel

(no subject)

Lots of little joys:

     An early winter surprise while working from home on Friday--graupel! Tiny white pellets like mini snowballs, which I quite enjoy because of the way they can roll and even bounce. Of course it melted quickly, but it was fun to watch it fall!

     Saturday's blessing was having the first Saturday in what is probably months in which I didn't go anywhere. I needed that.

     Really blessed to pull into my church's parking lot Sunday and find a black squirrel scampering around where I usually park. I just happened to have my camera with me, so I even got photos! What a gift!

     My coworker friend who was diagnosed with Covid (and later got pneumonia) was back at work Monday! So happy to get to see her, and also happy that now it's been two weeks, I don't have to wear a mask in the office constantly. That made me even more grateful for every day I worked from home.

     Tuesday is the monthly publish, which falls on my plate this month. I usually drive in since I don't know how late I'll be staying...however, the potential first winter storm of the season is due, perhaps a record-setting early one, too. So I'm very grateful that since my teammate is in the office for training, he said I could just work from home Tuesday. Fantastic!
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Autumn

(no subject)

Recent blessings and joys:

     Got out Sunday morning before church for a walk through my favorite nearby neighborhood. I wanted to visit lots of cul-de-sacs that I don't drive in, so my 'short' walk ended up being over five miles. The colors were delightful and it was an enjoyable morning. While I initially fell madly in love with one house when I first discovered the area in the summer of 2019, I think I'm up to about 15 'favorites' now!

     I took Monday off work to play catch-up for being gone most of Saturday. The morning brought shopping and chores, but in the afternoon I got out to visit some friends with gifts. Blessed that my memory was good enough to actually find the home of my coworker friend who was diagnosed with Covid, so I could leave a bag of sweets on her door. And since I was in an area of St Paul I don't generally get near, perfect excuse to swing by the Johnson's next with a gift for them too. We had a great time talking for an hour or so, and then I was sent off with raspberries, plums, trail mix, and cookies! I intentionally took a long, meandering route home through various scenic areas, and glad I did, since the wind these past days is ripping down the leaves fast.

     Tuesday was back to work, but brought a treat in the evening: my monthly get-together with the Towners. I got to see the finished results of the big renovation project that forced them to live in their basement the past few weeks. Then we had a great meal at a Mexican restaurant a friend of theirs recommended.

     My second spiritual healing session went very well Wednesday afternoon, even if I still haven't reached breakthrough yet.
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    pleased pleased
Autumn

(no subject)

Recent blessings:

     Thanks in no small part to plenty of effort on my wonderful mother's end with Verizon, my new flip phone is finally on the network and working--and in good time too! Because right afterward, my manager set up a new call group from her personal phone she wanted to test (for emergency scenarios), my new landlord was texting about furnace maintenance, and I needed a phone to coordinate meeting with Cindy. Good to be off 3G before it goes kaput as well.

     My manager did a second virtual meeting for all her teams, with a chance to recognize fellow associates. I put one in, without the slightest expectation that somebody else would recognize me...and that would lead to a $20 gift card! What a delightful surprise!

     Yesterday was special. Because after so many events being cancelled in 2020, I was still able to go down to Red Wing for the Fall Festival of the Arts, like I do most years. Kudos to them for determination and creative thinking. They had a lot fewer artists, but placed in three different outdoor locations, with limited numbers allowed at a time, lots of work to set up rope barriers and have maps and decals and volunteers and the whole deal. I've been to their art festival when it's 45 damp, frigid, and drizzling, and when it's near 80s and torrid. This year they were blessed with not only perfect autumn weather, but amazing autumn color as well. Most years when I drive down, it's too early yet for peak color, but this year was near peak and just stunning all over the bluffs and hills around the Mississippi.

     As usual, my trip to Red Wing for the art festival also included going to the Pepin Heights Apple Orchard store near Lake City, further south. And it included a hike on Barn Bluff that overlooks Red Wing, but with a twist. Because this year, Cindy and I met at the Pepin Heights store, then I led her along a beautiful back-country route I've never taken before, with the added treat of no traffic when the highway was mobbed. I hiked with her all over Barn Bluff, which she had never been on before, and we both had a great time.

     Can't forget the goodies, either: a beautiful green soup cup from the art festival, amazing banana bread from a food truck I hope to see again, my traditional cheese popcorn from another food truck, and the treat of Honeycrisp apples, my favorite Pepin Heights apple cider, and apple fritter bread from the Pepin Heights store. Yum, yum, yum!
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    full full
Munching Marmot

(no subject)

Sundry joys:

     Blessed to see rainbows two days back-to-back! Wednesday evening, driving to church under very strange weather--the radar showed scattered storms like polka-dots across a good part of the state. I noticed sun breaking through in the west while I drove through a downpour, so I looked east. The rain was so heavy I could barely see the rainbow past all that falling water, but it was there! Then the next morning while riding the bus to work, I happened to look up out of the eBook I was reading and was shocked to see a huge morning rainbow, when it was hardly even sprinkling. What a treat!

     The apple cider I bought at the apple orchard on Monday is just delicious. And their Honeycrisp apples are so good I remembered why I'm completely spoiled by best-in-the-world local-grown Minnesota apple cultivars!

     Now that it's past the equinox and the dark half of the year is upon us, that brought the opportunity to take out my Starfire spheres. I've had the first one almost four years now and I hope to enjoy them for many years to come.

     Blessed by an open door! I recently discovered my library system provides a free Lynda account, which is a huge blessing. Because while my employer also provides a free LinkedIn Learning account, I can only access it via my work laptop when I'm at work, so it's not suitable for personal learning. But Lynda through the library is perfect, because I can go back and refresh on all the WordPress training I took two years ago, download the training materials, do it on my own time, and learn the new stuff since Gutenberg/block editor came out after my 2018 training. This means I can finally move ahead with the writer/illustrator website I've been wanting to set up. And thanks to my wonderful brother being self-employed, I can do it far more affordably than it would have been for me back in 2018. What a huge blessing!
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    excited excited
Blink

(no subject)

Recent blessings:

     After waiting for around two months, I was delighted to finally get off the waiting list and have an appointment date for my next spiritual healing session.

     I'm tremendously grateful for my wonderful manager, who brought my big prayer request to the prayer group she leads, and has given me follow-up more than once.

     Thanks to taking Monday off and squeezing my food shopping in during my lunch break on Friday, I could dedicate Friday evening and nearly the entire day Saturday to watching 'The Return' livestream from the Washington mall, and I was really blessed.

     Since I had Monday off, I got together with Joe and Cindy for a bike ride on the new five mile loop by Stillwater, that crosses the beautiful St Croix River at two locations, which means we cross into Wisconsin also. Never done a bike ride across state borders before...or one in which we were so rained on. But that just means we all want to do it again on a day with better weather!

     Really blessed by a parable I drove through on Monday, after experiencing a parable walk in the NWR on September 13th that repeated a theme in MOA on the 12th, and then a parable drive with a similar theme on the 26th. They all had to do with needing to find my way without a map, trying to find signs to get on the right path or find my destination, and were plainly related to my big prayer request. But Monday's was the most vivid and the most encouraging. All these closed places, having to follow signs with no map (again), and being led to a new place that was better than any of the spots I was trying to get to! What an encouragement during this time of vast uncertainty!
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Happy

(no subject)

Wishing my amazing mother a happy birthday in this crazy year!

     I wish I could be there with you today as you celebrate, but I'm glad you get to enjoy God's birthday gift of cleaner air and cooler temperatures. =) Have a wonderful birthday, and may you realize and enjoy God's many blessings in the year ahead, no matter how wacky it becomes. I love you!
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    bouncy bouncy
Autumn

(no subject)

Recent bright spots:

     Literal brights spots abound--thanks to the very cool nights near the beginning of the month, with early frost in places, many sumacs and some other trees have started changing color. Makes for a pleasant change from recent warm autumns where color doesn't start until October.

     On Saturday I took Joe for a bike ride on some paths fairly close to where I live that were new to him. They don't make a nice loop or a long ride yet, but we did get up to 17 miles total. Beautiful weather and a great time. Can't forget the baby snapping turtle I found in the NWR and moved off the path. Wish I'd thought to get a photo of it!

     Then after the bike ride Joe, Mary, and I had lunch at Cracker Barrel--first time for all of us since the start of COVID, and though we had to wait a while to get in, we had a great time.

     On Sunday I went to the later church service again so I could take a walk and enjoy the morning in a nearby neighborhood. It was great, except for said neighborhood being too close to a noisy interstate.

     A surprise treat--since my teammate is in the office doing training this week, he offered for me to do work from home on Tuesday, which is usually one of my days in the office. So instead of three days in the office, it's two, nice!
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Flock

(no subject)

Recent joys:

     Got together with the Towners Tuesday evening and also saw some friends of theirs I hadn't seen in a while, who helped me move last year, so that was great too. It was a nice evening.

     Thanks to my gift card, I got lunch and dinner out of a Freshii order on Thursday--just added some veggies and fake meatballs to make it provide two meals. I could get used to this way too fast!

     After two failed attempts to coordinate with Cindy for a walk, Friday afternoon we finally succeeded, since I had taken off work early for an appointment. It was gloomy and threatening rain, but that just meant the regional park was not busy. We walked for over two and a half hours, and I had the fun of introducing her to spotted touch-me-nots (the seed pods 'explode' when touched). It was great to get to catch up since we hadn't seen each other since late July.

     On Sunday morning I got out for a walk again and I had plenty of time since I registered for the later church service. It stayed foggier later than I expected, and I spent a few hours hiking the entire loop around the north side of the river, which I had never managed before since I always ran out of time in the past. Enjoyed seeing swans, beautiful foggy scenery, and meadows full of flowers.
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Blink

(no subject)

Labor Day weekend blessings:

     Another Minnesota smorgasbord for Labor Day weekend weather--Saturday was amazing, Sunday was warm, windy, and sticky, while Monday started cool and then turned into a rain-out. So I'm grateful I got out for short walks twice.

     Saturday morning I explored the cul-de-sacs in a nearby neighborhood. Lots of lovely houses tucked away, but the one that really tickled me was the blue one that reminded me of a real-life dollhouse.

     On my way back from the Farmer's Market, which I drove to right after my walk, I was thrilled to spot a black squirrel. Fortunately I was on a small street, so I could stop and take photos out the window without disrupting traffic too much!

     Monday morning I took a walk at part of the nearest regional park I've never been to before, because it's primarily designed for horseback riders and campers. The weather was cool and delightful and I really enjoyed the walk.

     And Monday is also very special because I finally reached the end of my long project of editing and rewriting the five Geren novels. I started it, according to my journal, on July 27, 2014; so it took me a little over six years and one month. I'm looking forward to getting to bed on time again after these last grueling weeks in particular, and having time to read as well!
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Exhausted

(no subject)

Yay for September!

     After a hot, sticky week, some more 'average' weather moved in over the weekend, and it really felt great. I got out for a walk Sunday before church, over 5 miles through some nearby neighborhoods. Delighted to spot a few hummingbirds and at least one bluebird.

     Really surprised to find a $25 coupon from eBay yesterday. They're celebrating 25 years and I've had an account for 22 so I guess the 'old timers' get a gift. What a treat! I'm glad I actually found it before it expires, since sometimes I don't check the website very often.

     Free lunches at work did not end August 31!

     Getting through my huge fourth Geren novel in a week with my final review was impossible, but 10 days? I managed that and finished Tuesday night. Now just one left!
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