Got ‘im

I can’t tell you how happy I was  Friday morning when I found the grey intruder motionless under the sink. I so wished that I didn’t have to be at war with these adorable little creatures. But this side of heaven, that will have to be the case – I hope to make it up to them, if they are in heaven, too.

Usually where there is one, there are at least five. But, thankfully, it seems that this dude (or dudette) was enjoying the run of the house to him/herself. A second trap set Friday evening has remained unsprung and very full of peanut butter. Hopefully we are good for now!

Really? In Duluth?

I was having fun reading a book for upper elementary students on the great state of Minnesota. Having been born and raised here, and spending quite a bit of time studying the state’s history in 4th grade, I believe, most of it was familiar. But it was fun to see things through older eyes, and there were certain facets that were new to me.

I had known that the iron mining in Minnesota is important to the country, but I hadn’t realized that we have been the top iron mining state for the past 100 years. Though, this book was written almost 10 years ago, and the iron mining in the state has not been doing well for decades, so that may no longer be true.

There was one total surprise in the section on Duluth. The author talked about the “incredible engineering contraption called the Aerial Lift Bridge.” It is a fun bridge to watch. There are at least two such bridges in Minnesota. The other one that I know of is over the St. Croix river at Stillwater.

He then goes on to write: “[the lift bridge] has a large steel deck that lifts boats into a narrow canal that connects to Lake Superior.” Now that would be something to see – a 1,00 foot boat being lifted from the lake and placed into a narrow canal. I don’t think I could watch!

The bridge does not pick up boats but lifts to let boats pass under it. It is quite impressive to see huge ocean-going vessels slipping through the canal with what seems to be barely more than 20 feet to spare on either side. I would never be able pull it off. I tend to succumb to the “Fraiser-effect” – being pulled into stationary objects rather than being able to steer past them, especially when there are two stationary objects close together that must be passed between!

Slipping under the Aerial Lift Bridge

And watching the boats pass under the bridge, holding your breath as their antennae, seem to graze the deck is quite exciting. But I fear that people will be a bit disapppointed, should they be expecting the other.

Having done writing for a living b.k. (before kids), I sure understand how errors can occur, no matter how hard a team works on a piece of writing. I am guessing it was probably some silly typographical error, but sure does change what happens in Duluth!

Rambling Roads

My son and I went down to Chaska this morning for some mini-golf. It was a bit of a drive (40 minutes), but since he has class in Excelsior this afternoon (I am at the Excelsior library as I write, enjoying my forced free time!), which is 45 minutes from home, in the same general direction, the excursion worked.

The road leading from home to the course zips past a municipal airport, giving glimpses of far-off hills, with nothing in between them and the runways. Suddenly, the left-side of the earth drops away, and we are stunned. “Oh, look, Mom – my favorite place!” Dipping in graceful arches above the valley floor, and twisting thrillingly over meadering waterways with little flags celebrating their highest peaks, the Wild Thing, Highroller and Renegade greeted us like familiar friends. Valley Fair.

It really was quite a sight. I had always figured that the amusement park must be in a valley, due to its name, but I had never seen if from this side before. The valley was quite large, and really quite beautiful, though a bit marred, or enriched, depending upon whether you are me or my roller-coaster-obsessed son, by the park.

From mini golf to Excelsior, we ended up on a free rollercoaster. What a blast! The highway had obviously been a horsetrack from at least a century ago, with hairpin turns, no shoulders and rusty guard rails tilting into the abyss on either side. There was no need to go above the posted speed limits to get some good tummy tickles and side squashes. Well, I think I did take the 15 mph hairpin at about 18, but they weren’t kidding about needing to take the next curve at 35!

Since we had a little extra time, we drove the several mile stretch three times. Maybe this will become a new detour on the way home from class. It sure is cheaper than the fair, and seems to bring just as many smiles!