Sunday, April 4, 2010

Weekends at the Lake

With 20 years of dreams on lake Jefferson coming to an end, we were already talking about buying a lake lot in beautiful Northern Minnesota.
Getting rained out at Scott’s annual Mille lace lake windsurfing race , we thought it would be a good time to do some exploring of Northern Minnesota lake lots. Already half way up north and having recently received some advertising for Lake lots offered for sale we thought why not. We had nothing else to do while we were waiting for the rain to quit.
What we were not ready for, was how much money they cost and how big a demand there was for them. We also did not have any intention of buying one that day. We still had our other lake lot and no extra cash.
When we arrived at the lots for sale we saw lots of real-estate signs and people along the road. We stopped to look around and ran into a real-estate sales person. We asked about the lots and he said they had just gone on the market and most of them were already sold.
He then told us about a lot that was sold, but just went back on the market yesterday when the buyer could not get money arranged. We went to look at it and absolutely fell in love with it “Just got to have it” The real-estate person returned to his original customer, but he had given Scott and I his phone number to call him if we were interested.
After a couple of hours of exploring the remaining lots as well as the newly returned lot we decided we should try to buy the returned lot. We called the cell phone number on the card we received, and got a hold of the real-estate man. We made plans to meet him in an hour at a restaurant a few miles down the road.
He told us the seller would do a contract for deed for the purchase. Now that was great with us as it would give us time to figure out how we were going to pay for it! Because at that moment we did not have a clue how we were going to do that.
“WE BOUGHT IT “ off we go to the liquor store for a bottle of wine to celebrate then back to our new lot. We were very excited about our new found dream!

One of the reasons we just had to have it was it is such a great area! Walking and biking tracks along with the Paul Bunyan State Forest were just outside our door.
This new dream lot was a about a 4 hour drive one way, from where we lived and where our our jobs were. It was already September in Minnesota which means that the weather can get bad anytime, so we were sad leaving because it would be awhile before we would see our new dream lot again.
Since life had other plans for us that we did not know about at the time, it tuned out to be a lot longer than we thought.

Life Interferes with dreams
October of that year a mere month after we bought our new lot we were offered an enticing work assignment in Europe that we accepted. We put everything we had up for sale except our new found dream lot.
When our other lake place sold right away we paid our new lot off with the money we got from the sale . Funny how things just fall into place sometimes in life. We put our new lake dream on the hold, and went off to explore Europe. See our Europe adventures for more on that.

Four year Later 2001 Part II
Returning to Minnesota after three years of working in Europe, and one in Colorado our next assignment was in Minneapolis. We were not that excited about returning to Minnesota, but we were excited about getting back to our lake dreams. It did not take us long to get “Up North” to our lot. Even thought it was a six hour drive round trip from Minneapolis.
Our first goal was to try and clean up just enough brush, and dead trees so we could start enjoying weekends there in the summer.

It was memorial day weekend and we had just bought a new Sunnybrook travel trailer. I called her my little home. It was a bit ugly getting the trailer into the spot where we wanted it, or to look like the picture in the middle. We just loved our little setup.

Now we have a place to call home at the lake again


Scott had a lot of tools and we were paying for a shed in town to store some of our stuff, so the next goal was to build a shed at the lake. Weekend after weekend we drove the six hour round-trip drive to the lake to build our shed. Now we had a place to live, and a place to store our “STUFF” again.
You cannot have a lake lot without a boat, that’s what Scott says anyway. This time we are thinking about retiring here part time so we wanted a boat that was easy to take care of. Scott thinks we might want to fish more than ski in the years ahead, so we bought a good all around family boat. OMG we have a family boat! Who would have thought!
Now if we are going to have a boat we will certainly have to have a garage to store it in! Off we go on another dream to build a garage. Scott was doing all the work himself with only a weeks vacation for the shell. Then weekend, after weekend, all summer we drove the six hour round-trip drive to the lake to finish our garage and get it done before winter. I also would like to thank Scott’s, Mother and Father for helping and especially the food they brought. Now we have a nice garage!
Now we need to easily get down the hill to the lake. Maybe their will be time to enjoy the lake in the years ahead. Scott set out to build steps   “Scott what a builder you are”
So far all this time we have been carrying water, and cleaning up by the lake. We thought it was time to get a well in. We found a great well driller and it made life in our little house so much easier “running water can you imagine that"

Now its 2008. Its been 7 years getting us to where we are at. I spared you “the dirty bad and the ugly details” that took up about three years.
We do not get much company at the lake up north. Summers are so short in Minnesota and its too far for most people to drive. Scott’s mother and father always try to come once a year and we always have good time with them. Here we are having happy hour on the end of our dock. DSCN0018

Now don't go away this dream is still alive.

Read - update on Crow Wing 11

Summers at the Lake

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring In Minnesota

With spring in the air and the long dark nights and cold days as a Minnesotan are almost over my thoughts turn to the lake. For the last 30 something years spring means.going to  “The Lake”  to Scott and I.
Lake Jefferson
Crow wing 11
In the very early years of our marriage while we lived in the land of 10,000 lakes, our dream was to own a lake place.  We had a great passion and love for the outdoors, we had an old boat and loved to play on the water, but hauling the boat somewhere every weekend tuned into too much work, it seemed like it was time to look for a place on the lake to go to every weekend. 
After spending many weekend searching for one close to home that we could afford, we found a lake lot. Our big dream was coming true. Even thought it was very small, and very close to all of our neighbors,
It  was the the beginning of many year of weekends of fun with Family and friends at the lake
But finding it was only the beginning. Then there was all of the work of clearing and cleaning it and making a sandy beach to have those happy hours and lake adventures on.
Since Scott already was a great water skier I knew I had to learn the sport. Weekend after weekend, Scott dragged me around the lake until that exciting day that I finally got out of the water on my skies.  Now I was a water skier. I could now play out there with the big guys, well not quite, but I made it look good anyway.
We started out with a tent and not to long after that there was the camper dream.  Over time we had a lake lot, an old boat, and our very own camper.
But dreams don’t stop,  one day we saw this beautiful shiny red boat we just had to have. 

The first day we got the new boat I drove it and as it skipped across the lake I thought Whoa!  What a girl I was turning into.
Then one day we got a call that the shed we stored the shiny new boat in over the winter burned down along with our boat.  Off we go in search of another dream boat. This time the boat was the dream boat of all skiers  a “Master Craft”  barefoot ski boat.  

It was not as eye catching as our shiny red boat, but it was a “quality plus” boat with much more power and speed.  All of our skier friends loved it.

With a new boat again it was back to updating our camper. We got a bigger brand new camper.

Then we got a well and septic in and had running water in our camper.
By then we had add a lot more water sports toys, windsurfing boards, tubing, and of course we still dreamed.

In One one of those dreams we thought it would be exciting and challenging to build a small cabin. We set out on our final dream for our lake lot to build a house. With Scott being the guy to plan and build it all, and me as his helper we accomplished this difficult task and ended up with a beautiful little lake house.
A couple of year after this we got offered an a assignment to work in Europe. With this 20 year lake dream coming to a close we found another lake lot in northern Minnesota “just in case we had more dreams”.  We sold our little lake lot and all of her stuff.
"But not her memories or her dreams"  
Spend your life wisely!          
Read Up Date  - Weekend at the Lake

Sunday, December 13, 2009

“2009 an Emotional year”

 For seven years we have been working the downsizing plan. 

 “Stuff of Life

“Pictures of Life”  and  “Scott  Downsizing
Now in the first few years of downsizing it was very liberating. I do not miss, or cannot remember most of the stuff that used to sit around, or that we had stored in boxes.
In 2008 we took it a few steps forward and sold our condo on beautiful Centennial lake park in Edina Minnesota.  

Our condo was one of a kind, and cannot be replaced here in Edina. It also was very nicely furnished.  

He  rented a condo in downtown Edina it is very comfortable, but not our home. We moved our furniture  and what was was left of our stuff with us. It did not seem  that there was that  much stuff at first, but we still carried boxes for hours.

Now I already knew before I move again, a lot more stuff will have to go.  Me being the organizer I am, started
soon after I moved into our rented condo.
I got 4 boxes.
one for things to sell,
one for things to donate,
one for things to garbage,
one for things to keep just in case I ever need them again: One rule here, this must be the smaller box of stuff.

One year later in 09 all the stuff in the boxes is gone sold, donated, garbage, and the just in case box got moved up north to our” garden house” and yes it is small.
Now that was the easy part. Then I started with the furniture, even though I do not know when I will  leave here. I am a downsizing  junkie now.
Most of my nice stuff I sold to coworkers just by word of mouth, for a very low price. For a few weeks.. I watched my beautiful furniture go out the door piece, by piece. In a few weeks there was only enough left for Scott and I to sleep on, eat at, and sit on, since we have very little family and no other visitors to speak of..
“A choice of our by the way”  we did not need much.
Most of what we have now will go to garbage, and  what is left of the good stuff is spoken for by family members. I still have some downsizing to do clothes, shoes  ect! 
We still have a piece of land on a lake in Northern Minnesota with our little garden house on it that we plan to keep for awhile yet. 
We   have our coach that we plan to live and travel in when we leave this chapter of our life.
Our Jeep that we hope to keep for a long time.

Now the big question, and the reason for writing this post in the first place is how do I feel?
Since I grew up in Ireland with no unnecessary stuff, you would think this would be easy. I have since become very American and I have worked hard for my stuff. I have come to believe that stuff makes a home stuff is growing, stuff is who I am. So how do I live without all my stuff.
I love this little piece of advice I got for a wise old man, have you ever seen a U-Haul behind a hearse going to the graveyard.
Another piece of wisdom I read a day or two ago.  it is called  “Five Remembrances”   that some Buddhist Monks  chant each day: I will lose my youth, my health, my loved ones, everything I hold dear and, finally, life itself  by the very nature of being human.
  Those remembrances told me I need to let go of  the past, to make room for the future.
A great little video I found.

I have to retrain myself to live with  my needs and try to control my wants. I am feeling like a walking dead woman.  The only days that are good days, is when I am downsizing because that also gives me a  feeling  of growing … just in a different direction.
Scott and I have worked hard, played hard, have had nice cars, boats, houses, and motorcycles, and have  good jobs. 
Now we are getting ready to get rid of them all to smell the roses.
As we bring 2009 to a close and ring in our new year. We hope to  dance to a different tune. We look forward to all the beautiful tomorrow! We have yet to share in.
new day sign - Copy

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

“My Husband My Friend”

Scott, happy Anniversary, 32  years.  Where has the time gone. For all those years we have worked together, laughed together, cried together loved together. We have had many dream together, and even a few swear words.  Many people have said we were very different from one another.

“ They were reading the cover, not the book.”

One time I was asked why I married a man who never smiled.

I have always seen that big smile in your heart for me.


  We have discovered that love  means a whole lot more, than we know when we first got married. We have weathered change,acquired more patience, and learned to laugh when life doesn't turn out exactly as we planned.

Sharing everything that comes our way has given us something that most people never knew… and on our anniversary, I am looking forward to all the beautiful tomorrows we have yet to share. I love you.

“My Husband My Friend”


Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Great!! Stump Man

Before Scott and I bought Crow Wing 11 lake lot it was an overgrown woods. We are its first real people family, and that is very special to us. Along with the woods, came many years of dead trees, stacks of dead brush, and lots and lots of Poison Ivy. Scott can tell you some horrific stories about Poison Ivy. Making the land useful required a mission to take down all the dead trees, clean up, and burn all the dead brush. So Scott bought a chain saw and became a lumber jack.


I know this might sound like I’m bragging, OK I am bragging. You could not believe what he could do with that little saw. Scott must have removed 30 trees that were over 60 feet tall with a little chain saw and a rope.
Cutting up the downed trees

I took care of carrying all the brush to the fire and keeping the fire burning and safe. That was a job I loved!


We tried to get started early in spring before the leaves came on the trees because that made it easier to carry the brush.
Spring Tree Cutting
After the trees were down and all the the clean up was done. Scott would start removing the stumps. He used everything you could think of to get them out of the ground ropes, jacks, our jeep, shovels, boards, axes or whatever worked. After a few foul words they always seemed to come out much easier.

This stump was a big victory. It took many foul word’s to get it out. Often after a difficult stump, a victory dance was performed on the defeated stump carcass.

Weekend after weekend, me and  My Great!! Stump Man went up to our lake lot and spent most of our time taking down dead trees.

On the particularly difficult trees like this one where there is a danger of the tree falling on a house or other important things the stump dance is always preformed. I was lucky to catch this primitive ritual on film!

With all that dry dead wood it was easy to have great bonfires. I took so much pride! in them.

Morning Coffee By the bonfire
Happy Hours by the bonfire
After many summer of tree cutting, brush burning, stump pulling, and grass planting and a few foul words.We have a beautiful front, side, and back yard.
I would like to give this story and all its great!! memories to “My Great!! Stump Man”


We have more dead trees every year to cut down, and we plan many more summers at the lake with many more bonfires to enjoy.
“Live your Best Life”

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