Thursday, September 30, 2010

convertible therapy

Sometimes, when life is full and I am feeling overwhelmed, I find the best thing I can do is run away.

Yesterday, that is what Mike and I did.

We justified it by reminding ourselves that we had yet to celebrate our 23rd anniversary, which occured a couple of weeks ago.

We reminded ourselves that we had to take advantage of a perfectly glorious September day.  Snow isn't far away, the busy holiday season will soon be upon us.

We realized the Miata has rarely left the driveway this summer, it needed to be exercised.

Charlie safely off to school, we drove away.  Sun on our shoulders, wind in our hair...

(The perfect day hit a small snag when our sweet friends called to let us know that they had found Claude outside, in our neighbor's yard.  WWHHAATT?????  So a quick detour to their home to pick him up and give him a good scolding was in order.  We are not quite sure when, or how he snuck out....THANKS TRACY!!!)

Okay, off again!  Sun on our shoulders, wind in our hair, the Miata running happily.

We wound our way down highway 61, marveling at the Mississippi.  I don't recall ever seeing it so high.  The sun sparkled on the fast flowing current like glass glitter.

First stop, Hastings.  So many antique shops!  Buttons everywhere!  An absolutely charming river town, with a wealth of old architecture.

Lunch was at the American Legion (a shop owner's recommendation).  A patio overlooking the river, great service, and really good food.  We would never have picked it without his tip.  ALWAYS ask the locals where to eat.

Off again, we headed  to Wisconsin.  We drove through Prescott, Maiden Rock, all of the usual suspects. 

We stopped in Stockholm for a coffee break, message collecting, (not me, I relished the break from my phone and computer) and 'stocking' up on beer and hard cider.  The Pie shop was CLOSED.  dang.

Leaving highway 35, we followed winding county roads past tidy farms, bright green roadsides, and crispy cornfields.  At one point we stopped on the dirt road, and just listened to the wind whispering through the corn fields.  Yes, we did.

Nelson was a stop for fresh cheese curds and bargain pumpkins from a yard.  Three big pumpkins, four smaller pumpkins, all for $10, tucked into the unattended metal money box.  Just another reason I love Wisconsin.

I kept pinching myself, sure I was dreaming.

We headed back to Minnesota at Wabasha, where they really celebrate fall. 

Every streetlight downtown was decorated with corn stalks, pumpkins, and fall flowers.  Pumpkins and mums were in abundance, from hotels to homes.  Outside City Hall, the giant pumpkins looked like they had fallen, and couldn't get up.  Those were some awfully big pumpkins.  I wonder what they do with them after the show is over....

Signs of autumn were everywhere- red tipping the maple trees, unfamiliar names on political signs in yards, combines working the fields, "pumpkins for sale" on handlettered signs.

The best thing I picked up was a visit I had with an antique shop owner.  He and his wife own one of my favorite little stops "OldStuff" on Highway 35.  He creates incredible rocking horses, and bird houses.  They sell out right away, and people collect them.  He could sell THOUSANDS of them.  He chooses not to. 

He creates one wooden rocking horse a year, calls the top ten people on the waiting list, and whoever shows up first gets to buy it.  They are meticulously crafted, and incredible.  One year he sold 95 bird houses, and could easily have sold more.  He now creates just 25 of two unique designs each year, and when they are gone, they're gone. I asked him why he does it that way, when there is clearly such demand for what he creates. 

He told me that he loves his life.  He and his wife operate the antique shop, interacting with customers.  He works in his wood shop, when he wants to.  And he gets to enjoy a peaceful life in the beautiful rural country of Wisconsin.  On his own terms.

My take away from this?  Slow down.  Enjoy the beauty of a fall day, and don't worry about how many things I have in my shop, or if my bathroom is spotlessly clean. I have way too many 'shoulds' in my life, and I need to find more room for the 'want tos'.

Make room in your life for what you enjoy most.  The to-do list will still be there tomorrow.


  1. And I bet you still "want to" have a piece of pie! Is there much worse than a closed sign on a bakery door? Wish I had been there with you...

  2. Reading this was therapy for my stressed out busy self. I'm going to try to take your advice and slow down. Glad you had a nice vacation from real life.

  3. I think Claude saw that mom and dad were headed out for an amazing adventure and thought he'd like to have one too! He was the perfect houseguest, promptly eating up Tara's food (the hard stuff)!

    The daycare kids were in heaven and would like Claude to come back. Next time, with your permission.!

    What an amazing day for hubby and you. Awesome.


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