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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Finally Feels Like Fall

We'd been having such unseasonably warm fall temperatures, but I think we're into "the real deal" now, finally. We're having nights in the low 30s and days in the 50s. Perrrrrfect. Last night was our coolest in a while - we had a hard frost that zapped the last of the sunflowers - and we haven't even hit 32 degrees yet this morning.

The other night, when the winds were high, I was getting the house closed down for the night when I heard a loud WHACK! outside.
The dogs sent up the alarm, and we went outside to investigate. My immediate reaction was, "Oh, no - not [a tree] on one of the cars!" But, whew, it was one of the standing dead birch, and it slammed down on the front slate walkway. No damage was done, and it even missed all of the little conifers, etc. that we planted this summer. And, double bonus, the tree broke into many pieces when it landed - eliminating much chainsaw work! Yesterday, I loaded all the (movable) pieces into a wheelbarrow and took them up to the Central Boiler, and the tree heated the house last night! Free heat with no work required - gotta like that! And, Tom says that his weekend project is going to be cutting down all the standing dead that we marked last week. Progress, progress!

Speaking of fall and Tom . . . he saw two bull moose with a single cow this morning on his way to work! They were both medium-sized bulls, so no huge racks yet. The racks were very dark . . . meaning that they've already shed their velvet, but the blood-stained horns have not yet been bleached out by the sun and fresh air. All three were very frosty, too, he said, in the chill morning air. Ah, life in the woods. :) What did YOU see on your morning commute?

When we were in Duluth last weekend, we stopped at Menard's - they're having a door sale - to pick up three interior doors for the garage/workshop. They'll go from the workshop to the battery room, from the workshop to the (stairs to the) pub, and from the workshop into the (rest of the) garage. Once we have those installed, Tom's shop will be on its way to full enclosure. Of course, now the joke is that Tom's shop has the nice, professionally-made doors while the house "only" has hand-made doors! ;) But, I tell ya, my handmade doors sure have a lot more love in them than the perfect, factory-made ones! Although, we are splurging on one professional door for the house: the French doors that lead from the livingroom into the sunroom. Those would have been too hard for Tom to make. I can't forget to get those ordered before the sale ends on the 15th!

With the busyness surrounding Ernie's illness and eventual passing - and us being gone - we hadn't been doing a good job of keeping the bird feeders filled. But, now they're filled again and the birds are back, and both Tom and I have been struck by how much we missed them - missed watching their activity! A home in the woods without wild birds is really lacking something fundamental.

And finally, Canada: not what it once was. Tom has a (politically-inspired) T-shirt with a big Canadian flag on it that reads 'Canada: Looking better every day'. Well, try this on for size. I had to go up on Wednesday to get the dogs into the groomers' and do my usual errands up there. When I stopped to have my money exchanged, it was the FIRST time I've EVER gotten LESS MONEY after the exchange. For the first time since 1976, the Canadian dollar is worth more than the American dollar. Bunk, I say! Even the women who do the grooming said that "it just doesn't feel right" . . . even after I said that they should be thrilled about it. Then, another kick in the pants on the way home: in Canada, they charge two different kinds of tax (GST and PST) in comparison to our single tax. What that results in is an additional 14 percent on everything you buy! Ouch! But, Americans were always allowed a reimbursement of one of those (I forget which). When we came back from Canada, we would stop at their customs office to "get [the receipts] stamped". Then, we had a year to accrue them and send them in for our refund. A good deal, no? Well, when we stopped to "get stamped" Wednesday night, we found out the program had been discontinued. WHAT? No financial break on the money exchange AND shafted on the taxes? Aaaagh!

On the up side, Tom drove up after work to meet me for dinner at our favorite sushi place, and I was in SEVENTH HEAVEN! I had been dreaming about that meal for MANY weeks! The first sip of hot sake gave me that "aaaahhhh" for which I'd been longing. Then, that first bite of Philadelphia roll sent me into true bliss. I think I could eat sushi every single day of my life. But then, of course, it wouldn't be special and would probably lose its charm. We splurged SO gratuitously that we split a final (fourth - shhhhh!) roll for dessert. M-m-GOOD!

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