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!