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Showing posts from 2013

Getting Organized - Memoir Collection

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Bit by bit, I'm getting my new office organized. It's a slow process but I'm making progress. Tonight I got my memoir collection on the shelves organized by author. I know I have more books floating around the house to fit in here and I still have space for them. That is good.
I'm thinking I will put my writing books on the bottom shelf of my bookshelf. I expect the bookshelf will be full very soon. 
Also in progress is bookshelf organization in the rest of the house. Our fiction, science fiction and non-fiction, poetry and drama collections are going on shelves in the upstairs hallway. The aviation and religion books are going on shelves downstairs.
There are books on other shelves in the house, too, that feel like they need their own space: horse books, Border Terrier books, James Herriot books, Harry Potter books, the Guardians of Ga'hoole collection, Laura Ingalls Wilder books, favorite books from my childhood, picture books, children's books and more!  In o…

Smile yourself Happy

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There's a saying I've heard, I don't know where it originated, it's something like "you can't buy happiness...but you can buy chocolate and that's pretty close!"

I like that saying. And I like chocolate. And I've been feeling the need for some happiness lately. So today I walked into one of my favorite shops in Northfield, The Measuring Cup. It's a kitchen store full of fun gadgets and kitchen essentials like pots and pans. They also carry BT McElrath chocolates like my favorite Salty Dog and another I like, Super Red. And, I discovered today, The Measuring Cup carries the cutest little appetizer tongs with little "hands" to grab whatever little treat you are serving.

I saw those little tongs and smiled. And, well, I bought two of them because they are just so cute and very useful, too!

Buying the chocolate and the tongs didn't exactly buy me happiness. But the thought of eating my chocolate and just looking at the cute little to…

A New Space

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We've been doing a lot around our house lately. We replaced a terribly worn out carpet in our living room. We had our friend, Michael, do some painting for us upstairs because, well, if we had to do it all the painting would not get done in a timely manner (case in point, the upstairs hallway Michael painted for us in a day was a project that I intended to start, oh, seven years ago and never got around to). With all the painting, we've been sorting and cleaning and donating things that we no longer use. It's a good feeling to get things out of here - but it's also kind of disruptive and unsettling.

We've reorganized three rooms and our upstairs hallway in the last month. Well, I can't say that we're totally reorganized quite yet, but we're getting there!

Rose's room was first. Her once pink and purple walls with floral border are now a lovely turquoise. She moved out her little girl looking things and now has a room that looks like a high school st…

First Tracks

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We got a couple of inches of snow in the night. And while I'm certainly not ready for snow with things like coats and gloves and snow boots for the kids, I managed to forget how unprepared I am for the season when I saw the sun shining on the snow this morning. Sunshine on fresh snow makes for an absolutely beautiful morning!

And, even though I had to get going and start my work day, the beautiful snowy morning kept begging me to grab my fatbike, Bear, and go for a ride.

So I did.

It was a short ride, less than a mile. And I was quickly reminded of how much work it is to pedal through fresh snow. I feel totally out of shape and I'm tired now (and running behind schedule). But, boy, it sure was worth it to get out and make the first fatbike snow tracks of the season.



Another 30 Days - on my own this time

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The last three years, the month of September has brought a bonus round of 30 Days of Biking to all who want to participate and ride their bikes every day.

This year, I didn't hear anything about the bonus round in the days leading up to September so I messaged 30 Days co-founder, Patrick, to ask him if it was happening this year. He replied saying there was no official September round this year but I was welcome to do it on my own.

So I did.

I got out on my bike every day except for two - I was sick in bed one day and totally forgot the other. But, other than those two days, I was out riding. I took part in a couple of organized rides with my family, the Jesse James Bike Tour and the Saint Paul Classic. Other than those rides, I mostly rode my fatbike around the neighborhood

I usually keep track of my rides and make big milage goals for 30 Days of Biking. I didn't do that this time around. In fact, I hardly tracked my rides at all.

Instead of thinking about distances and cal…

Thought you should know...

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Owen will be a little embarrassed that I am writing this blog entry about him. But, well, he's taking a nap and won't know I am doing this until it's too late to stop me so here I go...

I just thought you should know that Owen rode the Jesse James Bike Tour's century ride today. That's 100 miles of bicycling in a whole lotta heat. Owen's been wanting to do a century ride for a long time now. He's been talking about ever since we started riding about four years ago. But, honestly, I think he's been wanting to do this for years longer. Maybe even decades. Owen last rode a century ride about 4 decades ago (he probably doesn't want me to tell you that) when he was in his late teens. I believe he did five century rides back then.

We've talked about doing a century together but I knew that a century wasn't in the cards for me this year. So, we decided I would take the kids on the 10 mile Jesse James Bike Tour route today and Owen would find some p…

A View from Above

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This morning we flew our Piper Pacer to a fly-in breakfast in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. We like attending these fly-in events but haven't been to many in the last few years. Breakfasts are typically on a Saturday or Sunday morning and our weekends have gotten busier and busier as the kids have gotten older. But flying to Shell Lake is an annual tradition for us - and this morning the weather was absolutely perfect - so off we went.

This morning, much of the ground below us was covered in fog making for some magical views of the world below.




My Brother and I Bought a 1947 Dodge

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My younger brother, Joel, and I bought a 1947 Dodge Club Coupe on August 17, 2013.
What? Why?Huh? I didn't know you liked cars, Myrna!

I can't exactly answer articulate WHY we bought the Dodge. But it has a lot to do with family. This old Dodge has been in the family for 64 years, since it was almost new. Our Great Uncle Elmer bought the Dodge in 1949. Our Grandpa Howard bought the Dodge from Uncle Elmer when the car was about 10 years old. Not long after our Grandpa passed away, our Uncle Marvin got the Dodge. Marvin owned it for about 19 years. The time came where he wanted to sell it.  And, well, Joel and I just couldn’t bear to see the car leave the family. And I think we both envisioned cruising around town together in an old Dodge and maybe going to some car shows together. 
In addition to the family connection, yes, I actually do like cars. I'm not exactly a car lover, I guess, but I like them for sure and do enjoy mechanical things (I'm a pilot, after all). Rest…

642 Things to Write About

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There are days that don't go according to plan. Days that get awkwardly goofed up. Today has been one of those days. Until just moments ago when Rose, my daughter, came up to my office and told me that there was a package that arrived in the mail for me. She made a comment that it was addressed to "Myrna Mibus, Writer & Pilot."

That's just plain strange, I thought. I wonder what kind of thing I got in the mail? And who would send a package to "Myrna Mibus, Writer & Pilot"?

I found the package on the kitchen table. It was about the size of a book. I opened it and inside I found a package wrapped in blue paper with a golden ribbon around it and a small card attached. I opened the card before the package. And I cried. I do that sometimes.

Here is what the little card said:

I saw this book and thought of you (even though I doubt you have any shortage of ideas to write about). :) Thought you might enjoy it anyway ... From: Cassi
I unwrapped the paper to find…

Vacation State Picture of the Day - July 18, 2013

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My family recently returned home from a huge vacation to Saratoga Springs, NY with a quick visit to New York City adding in. Our plan was to fly our little Pacer to Saratoga Springs for our 11th Short Wing Piper Club convention. I wrote about the start of our trip in a recent post, The Airplane Notebook. In that post I mentioned we had taken off for NY in our Pacer but were waiting out the weather in Rushford, MN.

Guess what? The weather never got better so we flew the Pacer back home and decided to drive to New York. It took us 22 hours to drive to Saratoga Springs - that's a whole lot of driving! After the convention we drove to Yonkers, NY where we left our car with Short Wing friends, Andy and Gloria, then took the train to NYC. We spent a day and a half in NYC then it was train back to car and car back to home. We drove the return trip without stopping to sleep at a hotel. I don't think we'll do that again though, I will admit, it was nice to get back home earlier tha…

Lago del Bosco - parte due

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Yesterday I went on a one day road trip to Hackensack, MN, with my daughter, Rose, my mom, Char, and my son, Ryan.  Why so much driving in one day? Because we dropped off Rose at Lago del Bosco - Concordia Language Villages Italian Language Camp - where she will spend two weeks immersed in Italian language and cultural activities.

Rose attended Italian camp for one week last summer and had a great experience. Last year was Rose's first ever summer camp experience - and I was a bit worried about her. I wrote about my worries and Rose's experience in my blog last year (Concordia Language Villages even posted the blog on the Lago del Bosco Village Pages!) You can read that blog if you click HERE:


This year, dropping Rose off at camp was a much less worrisome experience because she had such a great time last year and we knew what to expect. Things that were overwhelming last year were much easier to deal with. We knew where to park and unload Rose's gear. We understood the pro…

The Airplane Notebook

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With our trip to the Short Wing Piper Club convention in Saratoga Springs, New York right on the horizon, I realized it was past time for me to write down hotel reservation information and the like. I set off in search of a nice little notebook to write things in and discovered what I call The Airplane Notebook. It's a smallish, spiral bound, blue notebook with lined pages. The cover has a cut out with a little silver airplane in the window. I picked it up in about 2005 to use as a travel journal for our SWPC trip to Vancouver, Washington.


I haven't taken The Airplane Notebook on every trip to the SWPC Convention but it has gone with us to most of them. It's also traveled with us on other trips, too, like a flying trip to Custer, South Dakota one October, as well as a trip I took via commercial airline back to Washington State to write about Stewart Systems, a environmentally friendly airplane paint system.

The Airplane Notebook turned out to be more of a place to jot note…

Vacation State Picture of the day - 6/25/13

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We're gearing up to go on our annual vacation to the Short Wing Piper Club convention. There's always a lot to do before heading out of town and this year we're feeling a little more behind than usual.    The Pacer's annual just got signed off tonight. Owen and I both have to get current in the plane before we head out on our big trip with the family to Saratoga Springs, NY. We have to pack, of course. We have to deliver Rocket the dog to the kennel, George Lucas the Guinea Pig to my parents' house and Zelda the Leopard Gecko to the reptile sitter. Owen's been busy with work and I have been, too. So we're all kind of running around doing our best to get ready to go and feeling more than a bit frazzled.

Well, that's all the more reason to look for some Vacation State of Mind moments in our days!



I snapped this shot of Ryan a couple of days ago because I realized that I was in a perfect Vacation State right at home.

Here are the perfect little snippets of…

The Big Hill

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I went out and bought a gravel bike a week and a half ago - a really cool Salsa Vaya 2 - and now I have it in my head that I can do a 50 or even a 100 mile gravel race/ride. Seems reasonable, I tell myself. All I have to do is get out and ride gravel, tackle lots and lots of gravel hills and build up my endurance and milage bit by bit.
So today I planned to go on a gravel ride of some length, maybe 10 miles. Turned out that lawn mowing,  helping my 11 year old son drive the lawn tractor, gardening, and sending my almost 14 year old daughter off on a week-long youth mission trip filled up most of my day. By 8:30 I realized it was a short ride or no ride so I decided to go. I didn't even change out of my gardening clothes. I just put on my helmet, gloves and bicycling shoes, grabbed a water bottle and headed out on Zippy (that's my Vaya's name) for a short spin.
I thought I would just go down the flattish gravel by my house and call it a day but I decided I would ride what I…

Funnest Bike Ride Ever!

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Last night I went on a super fun bike ride. I think it's safe to say it was my best bike ride ever. And by best bike ride I don't mean that I went a ton of miles, set a speed record or did anything that would be considered extraordinary among "good" bicyclists. By best I mean I laughed and smiled more than any other bike ride I've been on. By best I mean funnest. And I know funnest is not a real word but I don't really care because "funnest bike ride ever" seems to be the best way to sum up my ride last night.

What did I do on this funnest bike ride ever? Well Owen and I loaded up our fat bikes (Owen's Mukluk  2 and my Beargrease named Bear) and drove on down to Milltown Cycles in Faribault and joined in on a Tuesday Night Ride. Milltown has these rides on most Tuesdays. Sometimes they ride gravel. Sometimes roads. Sometimes they ride mountain and fat bikes in River Bend Nature Center (awesome place). Last night was a River Bend night. And boy …

Even a Slow Start is a Start

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Way back in January I set a biking milage goal for the year - 1,407 miles. Why the odd number? Well, my friend from high school, Kate, wanted to keep bicycling this year so decided to set a goal for herself to bike enough miles to equal riding from her current home town of Poulsbo, Washington to our childhood home town of Richfield, Minnesota. I saw her post her goal on Facebook and made a comment. Kate encouraged me to do the same challenge - except I would "bike" from Richfield to Poulsbo so we could virtually meet somewhere about half way.
Well the year has gotten off to a slow start for me. I rode my fat bike through the winter but fat bike miles are slow to add up, especially fat bike miles on the icy snow! I got in a good number of miles during April for 30 Days of Biking. And then it snowed. And rained. And rained. And rained. And I really didn't get out on my bike much. So here I am almost to mid-June with only 241 miles logged and am virtually just over the Minne…

Vacation State - Look Up

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It's been three months since I wrote about my Vacation State of Mind project - a project in which I decided I would pretend I was on vacation for at least a moment each day and look at the things around me as though I'm a visitor instead of a person anxious to go somewhere else.

I meant to post pictures and updates of my Vacation State project several times but, well, I haven't. But I am posting something now!

Here's something that has put me in a Vacation State of Mind many, many times since I started my project - I can always get a Vacation State moment when I Look Up.

Let me explain...
I spent a January Term in England back in 1996 and one of the things I remember most about that trip was something a tour guide said. I was on a group tour of Oxford. As we were walking around Oxford our tour guide said that one thing we should remember to do as we walked through Oxford is to look up. When you look up, he said, you see all sorts of great things in the architecture of…

Signs of Spring

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We've had such wet weather lately that I haven't been out on the bike much. Last Sunday was gloomy again so I decided I was going to ride my Beargrease in the rain because my need to move exceeded my desire to stay dry. I had a few changes to make to my bike before the ride (Switching out a stem, putting ergo handle grips on and adding a front fender). That all took some time and by the time I was done the rain had stopped. Bonus!

Bear and I headed out on tar to a short, somewhat hilly gravel loop near home. With my lack of serious riding I am out of shape so was glad I had my iPhone along as it have me a perfect excuse to stop and take pictures (and rest) along the way.

I had a great ride, albeit short with a few stops. But really, isn't the ride more about stopping and enjoying the scenery than going fast sometimes? Actually, I think going slow is under appreciated when it comes to biking. When it comes to life. So slow I went. And often I stopped to take pictures to rem…

On Not Checking Email

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In late April my family and I headed to Florida to attend a wedding and to get some time away from the  long, long, winter we were having in Minnesota. We all needed a break from school, work and weather. And I was told by my family that I needed to take a break from checking email, especially my work email.

I gather most people can step away from their computers during vacation. But the thought of not checking email for not just a day but five days just boggled my mind. It didn't seem possible. It didn't seem like a smart thing to do because, you know, someone might NEED to reach me. Someone might have a problem that only I could solve. Something on the website I maintain might break. Something might go wrong...

But my husband, Owen, reminded me that people go on vacation all the time and don't check email. That it's actually okay, even healthy, to step away from work once in awhile. And, Owen gently mentioned, I had been in such a stressed out state over work that it…

Moving Forward

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Wowza! This round of 30 Days of Biking has been a tough one. Here in Minnesota we've had crazy weather instead of a normal spring. A half hour ago when I was sneaking in a ride for Day 17 it was raining. Right now it's sleeting. I've heard another 6 inches or so of snow is on the way.

I'm wondering how people are fairing who are doing 30 Days of Biking for their very first time. I'm guessing some people are frustrated with the weather, not to mention frustrated with the challenge of riding every single day for 30 days, and maybe want to quit.

I've been there. Oh believe me, I've been there. This round of 30 Days of Biking is my 7th. I've been doing this challenge since the very first one in April of 2010. I'm no athlete or super biker. I'm a middle-aged mom of two. Finding time and energy to ride my bike every day for 30 Days of Biking is a struggle. It feels impossible sometimes. And this round, with the crazy weather we've been having, has…

Read and Write. Write and Read.

Last Saturday morning I met Joy Riggs and Christine Lienke, two of my best writing friends, and headed out for a mini road trip to Zumbrota, Minnesota.

Why drive to Zumbrota, a city of just over 3,000 tucked between the farm fields of southeastern Minnesota? Well, it's a great little town with nice shops and a great arts community. I love small towns and Zumbrota is well worth a visit. But our main draw for the day was a talk on writing - Writing from The Middle of Nowhere given by Michael Perry.

I first learned of Michael Perry when I read his book Population 485. I think that was back in 2003 or so. I've since kept an eye on him and have heard him speak on writing and read from his books a couple of times. He's down to earth and funny. He's smart yet not the kind of person who tries to make you feel less than when he talks to you. He, with his plaid shirts and jeans and humble manner, reminds me of my relatives, the hard-working farmers on both sides of my family. I …

Vacation State of Mind

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I love to travel.  I love the adventure of going somewhere new, of finding fun little places for a cup of tea or perfect pastry. I enjoy meeting new people and exploring areas that are off the beaten path. Traveling gives me a chance to see the world and how other people live and come back home with a fresh perspective.

I'm hardly lacking when it comes to travel adventures. I get the chance to go on a big trip to our Short Wing Piper Club convention each year (like our trip to Utah last summer) and have gone many, many other places and have been on amazing adventures. But the silly thing is I have this tendency to compare myself with people who get to travel more than I do. And when I compare I start thinking that I don't get to go anywhere. And that's a total lie.

I've realized a few things lately:

I've gone more places and seen more things than most peopleI am so lucky and truly blessed to have had so many great opportunities to travel!I have a great wanderlust an…

Tea Kettle Cleaning

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I’m at a writing retreat with two of my writing friends, Joy and Chris. Soon after settled in our retreat space, the lovely Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, Chris and Joy got right to work on their projects. If we had a retreat leader (we don’t, this is a self-led retreat), the leader would say that Chris and Joy are ideal retreat goers - hardworking, industrious, focused. If said teacher handed out grades Chris and Joy would get an A. Anderson Center picture compliments of The Anderson Center, www.andersoncenter.org
I, on the other hand, would only get a B. But the B wouldn’t be for my writing. It would be for Tea Kettle Cleaning.
Because this is what happened to me when I settled into my room to write last night. I looked over three essays I started a while back and concluded that they are not worth editing or even looking at ever again. But then I realized that I haven’t written anything other than blog entries and content for a website project in about six months, so it made s…

Find a Door

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My fat bike rides as of late have been slow and frustrating. For awhile we didn't have much snow at all. Then we had some rain and ice, followed by some good snow. But with the ice underneath the new snow was slippery making for one really big wipe out and several rides where my big fat tires just slipped around.

My last two rides have gone kind of like this: push bike through snow, get on, pedal, slip around, tip over, get up, push, get on, pedal, slip around, maybe not tip over this time, pedal, tip, get on, pedal, slip, pedal, tip...and so on.

I was getting kind of scared of getting hurt and really, really frustrated because I wasn't having much fun with my fat bike. On top of that, I'd gotten to the point where I just figured I'm a bad rider. But I was also thinking that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't terrible and I was dealing with some less than ideal snow conditions.

So I figured I'd better talk to Ben, my local bike shop owner guy from Milltown Cycles, jus…

Slow ride

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We have about six inches of fresh snow on the ground at last! Trouble is, it's very slippery to ride in. I got out yesterday with the intent of riding through the new fluffy stuff and quickly realized that wasn't going to work well so I got out on the road instead and rode in tire tracks.

Today I decided to get out on my snowshoes and create a fat bike track in my back yard. I tromped around the yard a few times to pack things down a bit then grabbed Bear and tried out my new track.

Uh, it didn't work very well. I spent a lot of time jumping off my bike and pushing my way around the back yard. What biking I managed to do was slow biking to say the least. I worked my way around my back yard track and checked Map My Ride on my iPhone to see how far I'd gone. What? Only .19 miles? Geez. I kept at it until I logged a half mile. That half mile was probably the toughest half mile I've ever spent on a bike.

I'm assuming my slow speed and difficulty getting around are …

Snow Fort!

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The kids have the day off from school. At our very late breakfast we brainstormed on what to do on their day off. Go to the mall, watch movies and play Minecraft were high on the list. And while we considered each idea we did something far better - we went outside and played in the snow.

Early stages of snow fort building. Even Rocket is helping out. The kids decided to build a snow fort. We found three plastic storage boxes to use as snow block forms and the kids headed outside with great plans for their fort. Owen is working from home today so he and I headed out for a quick fat bike ride in the slushy snow. By the time we got back the kids had a good start on their fort. Then I joined in and helped Ryan with snow block production while Rose kept working on building. We worked outside for almost two hours before heading in for a late lunch.

The snow fort is getting bigger! Getting outside in the fresh air and snow has been a great cure to the stir crazies and a great way to get creativ…

Fresh Snow - Ice Below

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We had a nice dusting of beautiful snow last night and at a balmy 10 degrees F this morning (compared to the 1degree we had last night) I couldn't wait to get out and ride my Salsa Beargrease, Bear.

I took Rocket, my dog, with me for just over a 2 mile ride/run. He loves it when I take him out biking. We've figured out how to work together so he runs far enough away to stay out of my way and he's responsive enough that he comes when I whistle when he gets too far. The only frustration is I have to take off my glove in order to give him a treat when he comes when called. Oh well, I want to give him positive reinforcement so it's worth having my hand get cold for a few seconds.
The fresh snow was so nice to bike on today. We had just a dusting of light fluffy stuff. And guess what? There's ice hiding underneath some of that white fluffy stuff! I discovered there were slippery patches within moments of setting out on my ride so I should have been more careful. But the…