Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

The cyclical frenzy that is my life


Do you ever have moments when you think, “God I’ve been on this planet for a long time!” When it all seems to swirl in a cyclical frenzy of spring flower pots to enduring sweaty-sticky summers…carrying that forty pounds you needed to shed thirty years ago? Around and around it goes. Autumn rolls in and once again it’s time to get windows covered with plastic, prep for holidays, try to avoid slipping on ice and having fuel bills drain the wallet. Christmas moves off the calendar page and you think you finally have a chance to ease through winter, relax and do something restful and creative.  Then out of the blue a tooth starts aching, the gallbladder flares up because you enjoyed some rich deviled eggs with mayo for a change, your blood pressure pills aren’t working like they should. Then the doc tells you your heart beats too slow….and you may need a pacemaker! “What the bloody heck? My ticker has always been a few beats off, like the rest of me, why all of a sudden is all this odd stuff happening?” I ask. I’ve been succeeding in eating healthier. I eat steamed collard greens on a weekly basis and I get more exercise, plus let’s note I cut way back on my intake of spirits! I now suspect in doing all of the aforementioned, I have shortened my once long fuse and can’t tolerate as much anymore! Well, it is what it is and it all makes me dizzy trying to stay ahead of it. Years ago my Uncle Jim, his Brazilian wife Maria, me and my dog Fairbanks were staying at his island on Rainy Lake and he shared some priceless wisdom, “It’s quality of life, not quantity!” Then he fixed my dog a fat, juicy pork chop for dinner. Things come up, sometimes it’s a pork chop, sometimes a can of Spam. I try to humor myself with a phrase my son used to say, “Don’t worry, it’ll buff.” Translated, this means things will work out.

Speaking of buffing….our house has been on the real estate market for a week! I’ve been scrubbing and buffing floors and freshening the trim work with new white paint. Bill has his list of honey do’s and with his relaxed southern pace is getting verbally prodded more than he prefers. I have decided it’s time to move from Ely and things need to be dealt with in northern time! I’ve raised my son and lived in this house since Halloween 2001, that’s sixteen years, and the house is paid for. I’m fifty-eight and have never lived in one town so long in my adult life. I am feeling restless. Bill and I want a new space, so we are heading west, not cowboy-ride-into-the-sunset west, we’ll just be going over to north Embarrass, Tower or Soudan. Closer to my job and other developing opportunities.

So as we buff and fluff and stuff cardboard boxes, I’m determined I will hold all my particles and pieces together, pacemaker free, with gallbladder intact and make us a new home. Relocating is a great opportunity to purge the load, too! A jumbo garage sale with my friend from Embarrass is on the horizon for May 20. I have a festive white event tent we will put up in the front yard and I plan to sell off some of my scarves, jewelry, shoes, clothes and more. Yes, it’s going to be a three-ring circus at 706 E. James to be sure. Let’s not leave out the big holiday snowman that lost his carrot nose. He will be in someone else’s yard next year, or the landfill. I have Mrs. Sigurd Olson’s hat box and pin I may feature at the sale. Someone will want the half-mask I shipped back from Venice in 2015…on the “passport from hell” trip you may recall that I took with Bill, my son and his girlfriend Ashley.

It is essential for me to joke about life’s situations and I find humor is my great coping mechanism. It allows me to hang on while I recharge and await new discoveries. A very recent discovery that has humored me are the results from the DNA kits Bill and I ordered online. They arrived in fancy boxes with vials and swabs to use and send back to the lab in Israel. It took about six weeks for the results. I discovered I am nearly half Finnish, then Eastern European, Scandinavian, British/Irish and ready for this….. two-percent Eskimo/Inuit!  I told a friend, the Finn crossed the upper regions and met an Inuit halfway! She is witty and remarked, “Those parkas are so alluring!” Bill’s ethnic mix is over-half British/Irish, then Eastern European, two-percent Sardinian and one-percent Melanesian! He was told his entire life that he was part Cherokee or Blackfoot, so this was a surprise.

Surprising indeed! Oh but it takes an awful lot of pairing and marrying to move through all those generations to finally leave me with a watered down lineage of just two-percent Eskimo/Inuit. Still, I’ve got it. I joked that I was always suspicious because of my straight jet black hair! In reality it is red and excessivly thick and curly. OK, lets stop the fun and games for a bit. Time to head to bed and finish tomorrow.

Here I am Tuesday evening, sitting in my car at lovely Bennett Park in Hibbing finishing up this week’s column. I had some things to do in town and decided to picnic and write. So you recall our house is for sale? It’s been listed for one week and one day and this afternoon we accepted an offer. The buyers wanted to move in on June 9 and I thought, “No way, we’ll need until July 9 to get our act together or I personally will need that pacemaker we have been discussing.” We are looking at houses and it’s stressful because I’m not easy. I don’t want close neighbors, or a dogsled team within three miles. It should have trees in the yard and no steep stairs to deal with. Running water is a must, so is a working sewer system and a reliable heat source. Bill has his own ideas. He’d have us in the woods living in a tent while we renovate some old crooked shack strictly because the property is lovely and we can use equity to pay off some unwanted bills. Oh, ish....but I do understand that, I just don’t know if I can pull it off again. When I was twenty I lived in old school buses and sod roof cabins, but I have not done it in a while and now there are charger plates and fine linens. Maybe it would be exciting, even romantic, to pare down to one plate and a tin cup again. So I am being pushed to the wall on this one. I’m sitting here studying the Bennett Park pavilion and can confess it looks more durable than some of the old shacks I’ve seen in the real estate listings this week. Our earliest Finnish ancestors built many of these out of sheer necessity and I respect their efforts but cycles of northern Minnesota seasons have depleted them. I’m not sure where we will end up or if there will be room for charger plates.

“Breathe deep,” is what I am telling myself, it’ll buff…We will find a house and I am more durable than doctors, deviled eggs and seasons can possibly know. There are many more calendar cycles in my future, more sticky summers ahead to endure, windows to plastic and those thirty pounds to lose. I don’t follow the standard rules, not me, my heart can beat whatever speed it is accustomed to beating. My gallbladder has a right to an occasional flare…especially after a big Easter dinner. I am durable, a deviled egg will not bring me down, because “I AM woman, I AM Eskimo.” This is my truth. I’m at the cusp of a new adventure! Always ready to laugh aloud as I leap.

I welcome your words. I am


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