Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Well, I said I'd tell more about the Pili Pili experience, but since I wrote that Esther and I have gone on a nine day vacation in the northwoods of Minnesota, including four days backpacking on the Border Route Trail (BRT), which goes through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

We'd planned to spend a week on the trail going 75 miles, but stopped after four days and got off on a side trail because Esther had really bad, really big, really infected blisters on her heels. We spent our remaining time up north eating good food at fine restaurants in Grand Marais, hiking (Esther in non-abrasive sandals) to Eagle Mountain (elev. 2,301 feet), the highest point in Minnesota, driving to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to a sauna spa and, on the way home, stopping in Finlayson/Sandstone to visit Esther's grandmother, aunt and uncle and cousins.

Quite a full, enjoyable vacation that seemed to go by so fast, and yet when we got back we felt like we'd been gone a month instead of nine days.

Right here right now this very freaking moment I am at the Rockford Public Library. I still haven't got Internet back on at home and yesterday phoned in a cancellation of my Netzero. I'll either go with a local ISP or nothing at all.

Kind of tired today. I didn't sleep well last night. Too hot. Too humid. I'm too restless. Plus, I'm under the influence of Benadryl, which has the twin effect of making me drowsy and jittery at the same time. Well, jittery only in response to outside stimuli. So here in the the library that's not a real problem.

The school district has only called me into work about half the days school's in session and I'm available. I will apply for sub work in the Harlem and Hononegah Districts, and if that doesn't work out I'll actually have to look for a day job. It would do me good, maybe, to find work that is challenging once more. Speaking of, my writing life is starting to pick up. I've actually been working on fiction again. The key is to stick to it, set goals and then achieve them. Hardy har Hallmark sentiments.

Today has been difficult getting anything started. I woke at 7 a.m. and had coffee with Esther before she went to work. Then I watched a DVD of the Princess Bride. I'd seen it once before, but it's a cult classic and worth another view. Then I went over to my parent's to have Dad follow me in his truck to my cousin Jerry's garage, where I'm getting a 50,000 mile tune up and new brake pads for the car. Someday I'll actually clean the darn thing. The "wash me" message I wrote in the dash is filled to obscurity.

Yesterday I was busy from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. teaching special ed. at Lincoln Middle School and then mowing a couple lawns in Cherry Valley. We got rain last weekend and grass is starting to grow. Good thing because the mowing will help pay for the days I don't sub, and also help pay off the $600+ credit card purchases we made on vacation. It's going to be a difficult challenge to save up enough money for our big Pacific Crest Trail adventure next year, but we should be able to do it. Money is nothing. Just a means to an end.

It's almost 2 p.m. and I haven't mowed any of the lawns I set out to do. I've got three I'd like to do, and only one I've made an actual appointment to do. I could be lazy and do just one, but where would I get beer money for tonight's wingo wacky Wednesday at LT's?

Cool moment of yesterday???? Dozing in the evening in our apartment alone (Esther'd gone to her parents to pick up mail) with a half full pint glass of Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout on the coffee table and the Cubs on the radio. Nothing like the contentment of blessed fatigue brought on by hard labor and beer.

Someday soon I will transcribe my journal from our recent vacation up north. Until then, or in lieu of, here are some highlights:

-- spending more than five minutes watching a woodpecker with a swath of yellow on top of its head work the side of a tree as we descended Eagle Mountain.

-- sitting in rocky shade on an overlook of Rose Lake after stumbling through a very overgrown, very blowdown-ridden Border Route Trail to get there.

-- catching a Muskie in the Swamp River and immediately skinning it and roasting the filets on a stick over an open fire.

That's all for now. My time on the computer here is running out...

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