Catching Up

Today’s post comes to us from BiR.

It’s been a rich couple of months here on the Trail, esp. with the return of some lapsed or very occasional babooners – Krista, mig (for madeline island girl, if memory serves), Crow Girl (where did that “handle” come from?), Occasional Caroline recently, and Lisa of Mpls. popped in Tuesday… did I miss anyone?

There have been a lot of changes here in the past few years, and there are no doubt major life events that we have missed in each other’s lives. There has also been much sadness following the deaths of two of our tribe – Edith, aka ljb/little jailbird in 2019, and our Minnesota Storyteller Steve this past Thanksgiving.

It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a catch-up day, where we tell the bare bones of what’s happened to/for us in the past few years. We could have a gossip/catch-up day – tell us if you’ve moved, changed jobs, where the kids are now..

For instance, Husband and I moved from Robbinsdale to Winona in 2016. By calling myself Barbara in Rivertown I was able to keep my BiR acronym… I’ll reveal more in comments below.

What’s up with you?

102 thoughts on “Catching Up”

  1. Before we get started this morning, I think I need to make a public service announcement. Be sure not to disclose anything very specific that could help scammers guess any passwords.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Blood pressure is waaaaay down. 134/72
    The Birds have finally started eating bananas.
    Binging on Law and Order.
    Won a religious victory in Civilization 6 using the Norwegians to spread Wessewism.
    2nd Anniversary of first covid shot coming in March. Not a single cold or flu!

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Happy birthday to Crow Girl. Stay warm on this brutally cold day, and may your kitty come through the vet visit with flying colors. ❤ Don't forget to celebrate as you see fit. You've no doubt earned it. ❤

    Liked by 5 people

      1. My insight today or “doh” moment was when I realized that at the bottom of the screen it shows you what letters you’ve already chosen and what status they are

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I got it on the 5th try and during my second episode of trying. After I tried adieu and struck out I was so frustrated I just did something else for awhile.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Today I started ovary, but I find that unless my first choice is really lucky, like Bir’s, and contains the first letter in the right spot, it doesn’t really matter. Using the rest of the information you have on hand, you can guess most of them in three, four of five guesses. The most difficult ones, I find, are the ones that uses the same letter in two or more places.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. Husband retired from his State job in 2014, worked for the MHA Nation for 6 years, now works again part time for the State as a psychologist. We are grandparents for 3 years, daughter moved to Washington State and has an MSW degree from USC (she loved the rowing team!!!!), my agency moved to a new building, and our beloved torticat, Millie, succomed to cancer.

    Liked by 7 people

        1. BTW, there is a terrific book called “The Boys in the Boat” which we listened on the drive out here about the University of Washington rowing team which medaled in the 1936 Olympics.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. Today I testify in front of a ND legislature committee for the regulatory board on which I serve. No sarcasm allowed from me (at least not until I get home this evening).

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Wife retired 12/31/15. I just completed my third novel since then. Also one short story in a crime-mystery anthology. Won a few local golf tournaments (for old farts). Regular trips Up North to GM, Castle Danger (going to CD again in a few weeks–Grand Superior Lodge).

    Averaged one BWCAW solo trip per year and have survived them all. Skipped 2020 due to COVID but got in two last year. Even got wife up to BW for a weekend in Oct. 2019! One lake, no portages, her terms. Cool, lots of wind, we didn’t paddle much.

    Trips to AZ to visit Dad. Rented several travel trailers for long trips to “exotic” places: Canadian Rockies, Utah, New Mexico, Palm Springs, AZ, CO, MN.

    Turned 65 last year and got on the Medicare train. Decided to start collecting Social Security soon because the “magic calculator” said this is how we can reasonably expect to collect the most benefit over time provided we both live exactly as long as the assumptions the calculator makes. But hey, life’s a crapshoot anyway.

    XC ski and skate a lot in most winters here in Owatonna. Skated a few times recently–ice not great. Skied on a golf course a few times. Made my own tracks day one, then went over the snow-drifted tracks on day two. More like snowshoeing with realllllly long skinny snowshoes.

    Lots of bookstore signings, book festivals, zoom panels, and other author marketing things. But I’ve bored you enough. Such is the life of an internationally-known, “award-winning” *Heavy sarcasm* author.

    Stayed pretty healthy and out of the healthcare system for the most part. One of my life goals, 🙂

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I did not know that there was a calculator ti give you your life expectency.

      My three closest female progenitors all died at the same age. I’ve told the s&h to mark his calendar.

      He did not find that especially funny.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. You can go to the SS website and fill in your details regarding retirement age, etc., and they run a calculation that tells you how much SS money you (and your spouse) can expect for the next 20 or so years. Not perfect of course, but it allows you to “play the odds” a little bit more intelligently than just blindly guessing or thinking, “I’ll take the money now rather than later because who knows?”


        Liked by 2 people

  7. Winona is (mostly) where we lived in early 80s, when son Joel was eight months – four yrs. old. We continue to heal from his passing at age 26, and there are a few folks here who remember him from that era.

    We moved my mom down here a nmonth after we landed, to a “continuum of care” place, where at first she thrived and improved, but then declined. After 3 months of not being able to get in person visits due to Covid, she passed away in June of 2020. We had a memorial for he in Iowa a year later, just two weeks before:

    Husband had his stroke 7 months ago. Not completely debilitating, but definitely life-changing. He is still gradually recovering his speech, has aphasia, but can drive again (there is a card explaining all this that is kept in the car, in case he should ever get stopped…)

    Our move here was in part to be close to Husband’s friend W, who is now in the same nursing home my mom was in. We’ve moved him three times, from house to subsidized apartment to asst. living apartment, and now the room on 2nd Floor, Extended Healthcare wing.

    We got involved with Winona’s Unitarian Fellowship the first year we were back here – Garrison K. would have a field day. And this is still true, though somewhat limited (no choir) due to Covid. When we can sing together again, there are also two singing groups to which we belong.

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Not a lot has changed for me. Not sure how far back we are going.

    S&H graduated college this spring, spending over 1/3 of his career under some sort of COVID restrictions that cost him a few running seasons, but he still did quite well. He still gets after it almost every day and plans to enter some races this spring as there are some times he’d still like to achieve. He is gainfully employed and has his own place in St Paul for the moment but has plans to move to the East Coast eventually.

    My mother died a couple of years ago and that is still an odd thought.

    I still dream of moving to the Island, getting inches closer day by day. I’ve used COVID restrictions as sort of a virtual training for living somewhere less accessible. Attitude is everything.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I am in a Facebook group there and get texts with the ferry schedule, so I’m getting an idea of what it will be like, lots of things that had not occurred to me, but when I hear them, I think, “well of course!”

        Liked by 5 people

      1. I do (well, almost)

        and every so often some real estate outfit sends me postcard offering to take it off my hands

        one of them even used the phrase “the burden of land ownership”

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of hours and my usual trop is that nothing ever changes in my life. Still living in Minneapolis, still working in the travel industry at my same company, although I was furloughed for nine months and then half time for another eight months. Currently YA, my young adult daughter, is still living at home having just gotten her MBA in May and landed her first full-time job at the end of that month. Currently living with one dog and one cat. Lost both a cat and a dog in the last three years. My mom is still going strong, at the age of 89. One big change is that I’ve come to love working from home and don’t ever want to go back to the office.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Retired from MPR’s WSCD/WSCN/WIRR/WIRN Duluth station in November 2014. Continue to have horses, goats, chickens, cats, and dogs. Rehomed an English Mastiff who died a couple years later. Recently rehomed a Great Pyrenees yearling who has recently adopted a feral Siamese kitten. Recent intense involvement with the Carlton County Historical Society as we were without director or with nonfunctioning directors. Finally things have settled down and we have a sane, competent energetic director. Continue as president of Cloquet’s Sons of Norway Lodge. Have taken riding lessons again…on and off depending on the cold. Had a hip replaced in 2017, otherwise health has been maintained…turned 80 with a small gathering last Saturday. Enjoy retirement and the freedom to stay home…feel ten years younger than my age. Thanks for asking, Barb.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. And there, baboons, you have the baboon I was alluding to when I informed Steve that he wasn’t in the occasional baboon troupe. I didn’t want to reveal Cynthia’s age at the time. Jim, no longer active here, but still attending Blevins, is even older.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. I moved from Waterville to Northfield in May 2016. I’m grateful to be back in Northfield every day. I left the MN DNR in 2012 and returned to my nursing job, working with severely disabled adults in their home setting, a job which I loved. I retired in 2018 but returned on an intermittent, on-call basis in 2019, still working with adults with multiple disabilities. I still love that kind of work but I will probably retire completely before this time next year.

    My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in spring of 2018 and we found an assisted living place for her in Minnetonka that summer. She wandered though, and was found outside in her night gown, in January, so I insisted that she be moved closer to me and she transitioned to memory care at that time. She fell in August 2020 and was hospitalized for nine days. I thought we were going to lose her during that time but she hung on until Thanksgiving and passed away then. It’s still an odd, kind of scary, feeling. Unmoored.

    I don’t play in a folk group anymore and I’m no longer on the Rock Bend Folk Festival committee. It was too far to drive every week and I thought it was time to let some younger people have a chance to guide that wonderful FREE festival if it is to go on for another 30 years.

    I like to read and have lots of books in my own “library” that need to be opened. I also love crocheting and going for walks with Pippin, who is 12 years old now. I enjoy going up to the Big Lake and walking on the shoreline or hiking or finding silence. I’m considering moving up there but sometimes that seems like a fantasy.

    I’m glad to be back here. It’s nice to see/read from all of you again. Thank you for welcoming me back.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. It is so nice to have you. I enjoyed our weekend at Steve’s cabin years ago. When I am back in town, maybe we can have another real time social time.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. That entire weekend was pretty fun, including the walk, the beach, and the dead mouse on the cabin floor that my little dog was planning to swallow.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yes, it was a really memorable weekend. I lost those photos we had. They disappeared with a laptop that died with years of photos in it. So it lives in my memory now.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    This is fun to hear about big and little things of Baboon life. Some of my notable things, becoming a Master Gardener and remodeling our kitchen, are things I wrote about here and they have not changed. I enjoy both of these immensely. The Master Gardener events and commitments are what I plan to do after I retire entire in about 18 months. I especially want to focus on pollinator gardens and bee friendly landscapes. I think I am now ready to move on from my career. It surprised me that I wanted to work so long.

    I will need a hip replacement. Yesterday I made the appointment with the orthopedist in Bloomington for April. It is painful enough that it will need to be addressed soon. My son got married during the pandemic in October of 2020. It was a joyous occasion, but very small. He and DIL transmitted the ceremony via the internet so family members could participate. It was a gorgeous Autumn day full of golden leaves that matched the bride’s golden dress. He and DIL seem very happy. HIs business is thriving, as well.

    My mother’s senior years are going the way of Barb’s mother. At age 93 she is failing rapidly, which causes the family to wish this would end soon. The other day she refused her ice cream and did not get out of bed all day, which caused shock waves through out the family and her facility. There is conflict in the family as her life comes to an end, and this is so painful to me. My sister seems to be coming apart from too much trauma, responsibility, and son who is not a blessing to her.

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Thanks for the birthday wishes, PJ! I am living in South Minneapolis with my best friend and our collective cats. I left library work and have a job at an insurance company, working with the legal department on complex problems for the death claims area (was in DT Mpls, now working from home). I think I already mentioned my sudden hearing loss from last year. We are at the U right now waiting to find out the results of the scan, so I can’t update the troop about that. I can’t think of anything else atm. Thanks to everyone for the updates on their lives, it’s great to catch up!

    Liked by 7 people

  14. Hey Kids-

    Not much news here… at least not that I can remember. It all blurs together in just day after day.
    Kelly started working from home in April of 2020 and now we share the office which is pretty nice. It was fortunate we had made arrangements to get faster internet, which happen on 4/4/2020 so that was very serendipitous.
    All of daughters programming shut down in March of 2020… she’s loving being home, but lately, maybe is getting a bit stir-crazy. Add that to her being 26 going on 14 and she’s a teenager with attitude. Makes it rough on mom and dad some days. She’s stubborn and opinionated and thinks she has to have the last word. She’s just like her father.

    My mom is 95, moved from independent living to assisted living last fall. She’d had a minor stroke and just couldn’t manage. She adjusted fairly well, then about 2 months ago, had another minor stroke in her occipital region and lost her vision. And that’s been really hard for her. I’m lucky to have siblings in the area that help out.

    And I’ll be having rotator cuff surgery on 2/9. Nothing traumatic happened, just overworked it for too many years.
    I’m trying to come up with some good phrases related to “…one armed farmer” or “…one armed lighting designer” or “…one arm tied behind my back”. I won’t exactly be ‘busy’ for a few months. Other than standing around and pointing a lot.

    Liked by 7 people

  15. Thanks for the birthday wishes, PJ! I am living in South Minneapolis with my best friend and our collective cats. I left library work and have a job at an insurance company, working with the legal department on complex problems for the death claims area (was in DT Mpls, now working from home). I think I already mentioned my sudden hearing loss from last year. We are at the U right now waiting to find out the results of the scan, so I can’t update the troop about that. I can’t think of anything else atm. Thanks to everyone for the updates on their lives, it’s so nice to catch up!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh, as for the Crow Girl handle, I started having a special relationship with crows while I was in grad school in Chicago—I’d see numbers of crows whenever I was on my way home for the weekend, none when I was on my way back. After I graduated I got a pair of wings tattooed across my shoulders. Charles deLint has a couple of characters called the Crow Girls, so I borrowed the name from that!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Oh, as for the Crow Girl handle, I started having a special relationship with crows while I was in grad school in Chicago—I’d see numbers of crows whenever I was on my way home for the weekend, none when I was on my way back. After I graduated I got a pair of wings tattooed across my shoulders. Charles deLint has a couple of characters called the Crow Girls, so I borrowed the name from that!

    It is really hard to get a comment through from my phone…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Does anyone remember Alanna? There was someone named Alanna. I have a recipe for 5 minute microwaved chocolate cake in a coffee mug that was from her. We used to exchange lots of recipes on the blog. Alanna has disappeared.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I have done more lurking than commenting over the years so I will fill in the blanks. Some of this I have already commented on. After 34 years of hospital nursing (pediatric/NICU) at the University/Fairview, I retired in April of 2009. Prior to that I had been doing some choir accompanying at a middle school in MPS. After retirement, that blossomed into a full time, mostly volunteer, career – at MPS, a private children’s choir, and some freelance work for music teacher friends. The COVID crisis shut all of that down for over a year. I no longer have a regular school gig (my choice), but have been doing some freelance work. The children’s choir is also back in session.

    I am a voracious reader, mostly historical fiction and mysteries along with some non-fiction. The lockdown re-ignited my enjoyment of jigsaw puzzles along with crosswords.
    Travel is my other passion. Two international trips scheduled for 2020 and rescheduled for 2021 were each canceled twice. Both are rescheduled for this year (UAE/Oman in March and Antarctic cruise in late November) and so far are still a go.

    Too much sitting around and stress eating left me in lousy shape by the end of 2020. I motivated myself into better eating habits and more exercise with the result that I am nearly back to the weight listed on my driver’s license. I feel so much better and have more energy. Yay!
    The only major healthcare issue was a fractured hip in 2016 caused by a fall while playing pickle ball plus undiagnosed osteoporosis. That has completely healed with only three small scars to show for it. I do have diagnosed hearing loss but so far have avoided hearing aids – though that is probably coming this year.

    I am not very athletic but do enjoy non-competitive golf, hiking, and kayaking. I am a rabid MN Lynx and Gopher Women’s BB fan – season ticket holder for both.
    That’s it.

    Liked by 7 people

  20. Retired 2016 and volunteer work has not restarted at ANW hospital. Spouse now in memory care so trying to get used to living alone except for feline rescue cat (who is a great comfort). Spouse and I live on separate floors in the same building downtown near the river. Want to walk more but knee and hip are issues. Probably will need knee replacement this spring which will impair ability to lead garden planting at our apt. (we have 2 deck based and 1 courtyard garden with raised beds). Healthy except for joint problems- injured dominant wrist and thumb gardening late fall which adversely affects ability to play piano.
    Enjoy baboon adventures and shared memories.

    Liked by 8 people

  21. Wow. Well, let’s see… I got laid off from my job of 20 years. So, 2 years back, I was able to spend late spring and summer not going to a job I didn’t enjoy. It was truly amazing. The first time in about 30 years I didn’t feel like I -had- to put everyone ahead of me. I was exercising 4 times a week, I was available for my partner-in-crime when her job got her stressed out, I was available to help my folks when they needed something. For the first time in almost 30 years, I wasn’t angry or frustrated every single day.

    Then, I landed a new job in the same industry. Only now, my boss is a micromanager, who expects me to be psychic (know exactly what he wants and how he wants it done), and be available 24/7. The past year and a half has been absolutely dreadful from a day job perspective.

    My wife is practically begging me to quit, walk away, and give an actual concerted shot to doing some of the artistic things that I enjoy and have been modestly successful at when throwing time and effort at them. I hate to burden her with all of the bills while I try to shift my life, so I’ve been resistant to doing so. But I’m feeling like I’m about ready to dive in. It was hard enough coming back to an industry I never liked…it’s even worse with considerable added pressures.

    What I look forward to every week is volunteering at KFAI. Before Dale (and why he isn’t a canonized saint, I’ll never know) left, he encouraged me to do some kind of regular show for them. It never quite worked out. But just after he retired, I was encouraged to give it another go. The Content Committee all said that they hated what I pitched but, since it was the closest to the show I’d be replacing, they went with me (strangest ‘interview’ ever!). So, every Friday night from 8-10pm, I host/engineer/produce The UltraSonic Gin & Tonic. My focus is electronic-based music. I start out with ‘chillout,’ progress to jazzy lounge/nu-jazz/e-bossa, and finish with more upbeat electro-swing, electronica, electronic dance music, etc. I always play a comedy spot at 9pm, either something from Bob & Ray or The Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre (Dr. Science, Ian Shoales, etc.). I LOVE planning and doing my show.

    I also volunteer for the KFAI Cart Crew. ‘Carts’ are the bumper spots you hear DJ’s play. I started volunteering to do voiceovers for them and it’s progressed into writing most of the KFAI spots, and helping with directing/producing them. If you’ve heard a (hopefully) comedic ‘cart’ on KFAI over the past 2 years, odds are that I wrote it. I LOVE writing and recording carts with Cart Crew. I can only hope that some of what we do reaches the standard that Dale & Jim Ed used to set regularly.

    My folks moved down here from Duluth for better medical care and to be closer to me, so I can give them a hand. My sister got divorced and moved down here because she didn’t want to be the only one left up there and her goofy hubby just wouldn’t move here, despite the fact that he drives down here 4-5 times a week. All of my Duluth ‘roots’ got ripped out in the course of about 2 weeks.

    I still get the occasional commercial voiceover or acting gig as a side hustle.

    What else would you like to know?

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I don’t usually give unsolicited advice so I won’t here but I will say that I completely understand your feeling about your job. I, of course actually like my job, but after being furloughed for so long and then working only half time for several more months, I realize I don’t like work.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. When I was a kid, I was very bored with my schoolwork. So, I just didn’t do it. I got called for a Parent/Teacher conference and my teacher told my folks, “He needs a challenge.” They parroted that back to my for my entire life, “Well, you need a challenge.” The missing qualification is, “He needs a challenge that he’ll find interesting/fulfilling/engaging/etc.”

        Liked by 5 people

  22. I had three cats when this blog started, but I am down to zero. Lost one in 2018,one in 2020, and one in 2021. It was very strange, after Sammy died last spring, to come home and have no one there to greet me.

    I am still doing gardening work in the summertime, on a self-employed basis. Left the flower shop when the shutdown order took effect, and my volunteer gigs went away at the same time. I found I liked having nothing on the calendar.

    A year ago I found a work-from-home job for a well-known tax preparation company, and that lasted till the end of May. Went back to the flower shop for a few months after getting vaccinated, and now I’m going back to the tax work. My last day at the flower shop was in early November.

    I have gone back to the volunteer tax work, one shift per week, remotely. The Fix-It clinics have been on hiatus for a couple of years.

    No hip or knee replacements on the horizon for me….yet.

    Proudest accomplishment: I have a 6-day success streak going on Wordle.

    Liked by 5 people

        1. The committee chair stumbled several times trying to pronounce the word “psychologist,”. I suggested he should get tested for aphasia, and he asked me when I could see him.

          Liked by 3 people

  23. my life is roll with the punches theme but it always has been kind of
    was shutting down my warehouse and going into air b&b biz with my amazon partner and the pandemic killed both the air b&b thing and the partnership.she quits if it isn’t right and after 5 or 6 redos it should have dawned on me but no
    so i’m on a solo mission to choose 3 or 4 of my start up things to get going with and also to clear out all the mini storage units i have filled with inventory from my warehouse
    i have too much drive time going on doing delivery stuff
    uber eats
    grub hub and instacart currently and i am trying to figure out how to divvy up the allotted time and launch other stuff
    i got into this when youngest daughter who is in chicago at depaul was coming back for christmas break 2020 and could not go back to her mall of america job if she wanted to see my new grandson born dec 1 2020 (denver took his first steps january 12 2022 on my watch last wednesday , he and his brother ari age 3 3/4 april 29 are my wednesdays
    monday nights are guitar nights
    tuesday nights are movie night with my mom age 93 and starting to have trouble following the movie plots so i’m picking easy to watch stuff that is straightforward and that helps
    don’t look up
    spider-man are the last 3
    i applied for a bus driving gig and am thankful i didn’t get it (10 year old driving issues

    prostate cancer was successful
    heart surgery they got right the second time we think
    cats and dogs are old
    down to two fish tanks
    empty nesting with the son in the basement will modify this summer to new joint
    that’s enough for now
    i try to stick my head in but it’s often end of the day or after the day is gone by but i hope to be around more and earlier going forward
    but my band wants to do a 50 year reunion and i am dragging my feet on that important thing in my life too

    chris i’ll take the 2nd life coach spot right behind bir

    Liked by 4 people

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