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Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Oregon and Minnesota

My first blog (without the aid of a nephew). I'm not one to talk about myself like some folks (i.e. nephew again) but I figure I'll start with where I live. I've lived in six states in my life: NC, SC, VA, TN, MN and now Oregon. My two favorite places (landwise) have to be TN and OR. I loved TN because it was so rustic and mountainous and I loved looking out and seeing mountains and coming home and feeling the mountains wrap themselves around me. After five years, I decided I needed a change and "nearly" moved to Oregon but my plans fell through and I ended up in MN with a friend and her cousins next door. It was a "shock" to my system to live in the "city" after so many years in the rustic country of TN and it took me a bit to adjust but I finally learned to like MN and the city. I always missed my mountains and yearned to return to NC or TN mountains or find another place with mountains. It took me seventeen years but I finally found some mountains again. And moved to OR as planned seventeen years before.

It wasn't easy to move. I had spent nearly the longest part of my life in one place and put down some serious roots with the people I met in MN. My friend, Paula, moved to WY and her cousins (or cuzzins as we call them) adopted me and made me part of their wonderful family.

It's hard to decide which is more important to you: the environment you live in, or the people who are home to you. It was a teary good-bye but I brought some friends along--all 4-legged but good friends. Unfortunately they were all elderly and within 2 years I lost them all. I used to think I couldn't survive without a four-legged friend in my life but I'm managing pretty well. I still wish I had a cat or dog from time to time but I do admit it is easier to travel and make plans with friends without the responsibility of pet care. Still...a part of me always yearns for a walking companion and that special bond I have enjoyed with both cats and dogs in the past. Time will tell.

MN and OR. I love the people in MN and miss them dearly but I have to admit that I enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of OR and of course the breathtaking mountains (yes, it does clear occasionally to see them!). A friend of mine recently moved to Sherwood, OR (I think it is one of those "best places to live in the US"). He has an awesome view from his home office (I'll show it here--imagine working with this view...ok, when it isn't raining).

I still haven't done a lot of exploring around OR. Elderly animals, lack of funds, and the latest gas prices but I hope to do more.

The weather is certainly different. MN is white and cold and beautiful if white and cold (yes, cold enough even for me!) in the winter. In the summer, it can be beautiful with all the sparkling lakes (which are white and cold in the winter) but it can also be hot and humid...and buggy. My biggest complaint in MN was the bugs. I could live with the winters (white and cold) but being eaten alive in the summer got to me after 17 years. Everything bites. Mosquitoes, flies, deer-flies, gnats...even lady-bugs! Oregon, surprisingly with all the rain-fall, isn't very buggy (yes, Paula, I remember you got bitten by mosquitoes when you visited!). You can sit out and enjoy the weather if it isn't too wet and warm at the same time. Believe it or not, it does stop raining here--mostly in the summer. I like a place that is cool when wet and dry when hot. It's the mixture of hot and wet that annoys me.

The first winter, I was most startled by the mildness of winter. People here might argue but they have never lived in MN. Twenties are cold here. Teens and single-digit temperatures rarely exist (except higher in the mountains). It was most startling to see a green winter. MN gets very barren in the winter. Everything goes dormant. I never realized how many shades of green can exist in a yard! Brilliant, deep, dark, chartreuse, almost neon green here. The greatest "shock" is year-round flowers. Even in the dead of winter when it would usually be the coldest and whitest in MN, it is green and alive and full of color here. I still thrill to seeing flowers in February.

My sister and mom came to visit once and help me plant flowers. Unfortunately the only natural skill I inherited (unlike my sister!) is a love and way with animals. Though I love plants and appreciate them, I have a black thumb when it comes to care and growing. The pansies we planted were beautiful that winter but didn't make it (and I have no talent in planting them yearly!) but the croci always come back and are a delight--usually with a little snow on their caps. I think because we had a colder than normal winter this year, they were slow to come up but they are up and colorful. Daffodils out in the yard are looking jaunty as well. And I saw other flowers today around town (shamefully no clue what they are other than pretty) that speak "spring". Both a pleasure and dread...because after spring comes summer but I am trying to be positive about that.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a hot-weather fan. I prefer my world to be in the 60s or lower but manage the 70s well enough. Once you start pushing into the 80s, I'm ready for hibernation! Unlike my sun-loving sister and nephew, I prefer winter and crisp mornings and comfortable days. In OR, it is usually dry along with the heat so it isn't as bad as MN with 90s and 100s with 100% humidity (helps those mosquitoes breed without the need of a marsh!). My saving grace is the farmer's market. I love going and seeing all the wonderful things this valley can produce from May until October. I adore berries--any variety--and the Portland area is berry-dise. Strawberries, raspberries (gold, black and red!), marionberries (my friend, Janice, laughs about this name but they came before the politician!), blackberries, loganberries, boysenberries, blueberries, huckleberries, mullberries and gooseberries. And that isn't mentioning the wild ones like salmonberries and thimbleberries. Oh, and tayberries and ... ok...enough. Most have varieties that follow one after the other all summer so you feel they last forever. Then, once the berries are gone, there are many varieties of apples and pears--it's a wonderful place to see fruits and vegetables in abundance. I survive summer enjoying the fruits of summer (yes, pun intended).

I could keep going but I guess this blog is a good toe-wetter and will introduce me to some degree. As much as I like to talk about me . Hope it wasn't too boring (and I spelled most words right or my nephew will never let me live it down since I have harassed him about grammar and spelling since he started

Linda, we are still looking forward to coming to visit you, we just need to mark our calendar for a long weekend. Hope you are doing well! XOXO
niki   Monday, March 3, 2008
Denny said I tested the "no blog is too long" theory and he's assured I can't write enough in one sitting to break the site. Time will tell. Looking forward to discovering Oregon with you. Love your "new" site. I like you having that control now.
GA Linda   Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Hey there, love your blog. Isn't this a hoot? I cannot believe it is going like gangbusters, Denny and Dave are overwhelmed. Sorry I have been so bad about chatting lately, love ya, Rose
gigi   Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I wouldn't expect anything less from Denny. Don't know Dave but I hear he is a robot--so he probably cares little for praise. Where is your blog? :) We'll catch up when time allows. Linda
LGrant   Tuesday, March 4, 2008
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