Lights On

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

So tonight was the night to enter the crawl space and drag out all the holiday stuff. We spent the evening putting up the tree. Yes, I have an artificial tree. I’ve never had a real one due to allergies in my family and never liked the idea of dead needles in the floor. I held off with the decorations for now. They will wait for another night. I did, however, get the string of lights on. Like most people with any street smarts I ran them out in the floor first and checked them. Only two needed to be replaced. I thought that was pretty good. It spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out where I stashed the extra bulbs. I still haven’t found them but was able to come up with a small replacement pack of three bulbs.

Most evenings the house is lit up with a string of LED bulbs above the fireplace mantel, a few LED tea lights in a lantern, and now we’ve added the tree. Who needs lamps and ceiling lights when you have all that?!

That’s enough for tonight. I’ll save the rest of the fun for another night.

Winter Lazyland

So the cold is rolling in again. The last week has been balmy…40 to at time over 50 degrees. Tomorrow the forecasted high is 16 I think. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like winter. However, I don’t particularly like cold. I don’t snowmobile. I don’t ski. I have and I could but I choose not to. I don’t really ice fish. Again, I have and I could but that’s a weekend thing for me. It’s a weeknight.

I have a fire going in the fireplace. It will probably be a regular thing this week and likely for the rest of the winter. It’s cozy. Who wants to go outside in this weather? Well, that only lasts so long. I get bored. I can get stir crazy. I need activity. So tonight I started running up and down the stairs. I didn’t do it long. Just long enough to get the heart rate up and feel the burn in the thighs. I might have to make it part of my winter routine. Closest thing to a gym to me for 25 miles.

Change Is Hard

We had a plan to move for about three years. We have now lived here for five months. Yet I have not started working on establishing new health care providers. We changed banks before the move but that was easy. They had branches in both towns. Doctors and dentists are a little tougher. Plus we really only need them 1-2 times per year. I haven’t been motivated to do anything about it. So we kept our exiting providers. It also gives us an excuse to go back home once in a while. Today was one of those days for me.

The cool part is we are just beyond small business Saturday. I had a list of all my favorite places to stop at today. I was back home a few weeks ago and did the same thing. We are stocked up. I stopped at Schmidt’s Meat Market twice today. Once on the way down (I brought a cooler) and once on the way back (made it before close). I stopped at Friesen’s Bakery and picked up some bacon cheddar buns and some yummy Spokato soup. I also had lunch with a friend today at Olives Restaurant – one of the best independent, family-owned in the area.

The weather was fantastic for the drive down. I am hoping for some mild weather spurts this winter so I can make another visit.

A Word of Thanks

Each year that passes feels busier than the one before even when the majority of activities are completely different. This year is no exception. I’m not traveling 2-3 days a week as a baseball mom or volunteering at every school activity but still, the time went too fast. This year gives me much to be thankful for – our new home, a new dining table (as of Tuesday) from which we served our families today, a stable career full of growth opportunities, a loving spouse, another year of good health and an expanded extended family.

The past few weeks as the temperature has started to dip we are enjoying the heat from our fireplace and easing up on the electric bill.

As the first official year we have hosted both sides of our family we had lots to be excited about and as a result I made about twice as much food as necessary. Yeah for leftovers!

I am looking forward to many more meals at the dining room table and more time visiting with friends and family by the fireplace.

It’s Warm Inside

I love Autumn. It’s my favorite time of year. I struggle with winter. Granted, I live in Minnesota so that’s part of life but that doesn’t mean I like it much. It’s bearable. On the up- side we have a beautiful fireplace that cost us some blood, sweat and tears and it is now cold enough to enjoy it. We had a few days here that really belonged in January – they somehow ended up in November.

It’s hard not to love that smell – a roaring fire made of dried hardwood. That smell carries many memories for me. Lots of reflection. I grew up in a home with a wood burning fireplace. Not only does it warm the room it also warms the heart.

This will be an enjoyable feature for many years to come. Bring it on Mother Nature. We’re ready.

The Hunt is Over

I took firearms safety when I was 12 years old and have been coming to north central Minnesota to hunt well over 20 years.

It was so weird this year to not travel. I literally pulled out the tub of orange clothes the night before the opener. No packing the car. No planning to take off work or school early. I got a deer on day 1 so that changed up some plans. I had intended on taking off a few hours early later in the week but instead of hunting was cooking and butchering. By the time Thursday rolled around we were 7 of 10 with three full days to go. We were all filled out by 8:30 am Saturday morning. It was the best year we have ever had hunting. The most my dad could ever remember getting on any given year was six deer. The meat will be share across six families. It was a good feeling.

As the seasons change we are remembering again why we made the move. I love the serenity and the scenery. The camaraderie is always nice. We truly appreciate time with our friends when they make the trip up the visit. The annual Saturday pizza gathering at the neighbors was A LOT shorter drive this year!

Lifetime Learner

This past week I volunteered as a course facilitator for those preparing for their professional certification exam. I was also there a few weeks ago for another class. I chose the topics of HR Strategic Planning and Organization Development and Effectiveness. As a lifetime learner I am very passionate about strategic planning and change management and you can’t have one without the other. 

When I spend time thinking about these topics I feel very proud of all I’ve done in my career up to this point. To make the content relatable and easier to remember, you tie it to stories. We had some really good discussions in the two sessions I facilitated. These are my peers albeit at various stages in their career. It is exciting to think about the impact our profession has in business and all the opportunities that still lie ahead for us. 

In my current employment I have education benefits. Thus, of course I’m thinking about “what else” I could take on…a new credential. Any additional expertise I can gain raises my value and gives me more knowledge to share. I haven’t found any adjunct teaching gigs since I moved but I’m hoping that is something I will have the opportunity to do again someday. For now I will continue to raise my level of knowledge and look for opportunities to share my skills with colleagues and industry peers.