Shopping in the USA…An unfamiliar experience… Driving a car…Is it akin to riding a bicycle?

I was standing under a vine trellis when Tom took this photo.

It is almost incomprehensible that we’ve been in Minnesota for 10 of our 42-night stay. The time couldn’t be passing more quickly. Each day brings us to another level of discovery with our grandchildren through conversations, playing, and spending precious time together.

Of course, we also love spending time with our grown children and their significant others after being away for so long. Now that we’ve spent time with the immediate family with much more to come, we’ll have an opportunity to visit with more of our friends.

In the process, we’ve spent time with some of Tom’s dozens of family members, all of whom are warm, friendly, and delightful to be with. Tomorrow, we’re picking up Tom’s sister at the airport. Betty, “Sister Beth,” to be exact, is a nun who lives in Milwaukee and is flying to Minneapolis for a week.

Buildings on the grounds of the Butchart’s Gardens.

We’ll spend time with Sister Beth and another sister Patty (where Betty will stay during her one-week visit). Shortly before we pick up Betty, we’ll head to a market to buy chickens, veggies, and salad to share dinner with Sister Beth and Patty at Patty’s home.

I prepared most of today’s post last night while flipping through channels on the TV in our hotel room after a hectic day. In the morning, Tom’s son TJ, his partner Sarah and grandson Jayden came for breakfast at our hotel, Country Inn & Suites.

As we entered the Japanese gardens.

After a fun time chatting in the breakfast room, we all headed to one of the two swimming pools where Jayden and TJ played ball in the pool while the three of us cheered them on while watching. Later in the day, they left to attend a graduation party while Tom and I headed back to our hotel room.

After these past days in a flurry of activity, I felt a little antsy. But, I knew the remainder of the day required I head out to the local shopping center, Ridgedale Mall, for a little much overdue shopping. It was time to replace my old, worn bras, the three of which made it through three years of world travel. I couldn’t eke out one more wearing and washing.

Plants and structures in the Japanese gardens.
Before I could shop, I had to face the reality that I needed to drive myself. Tom offered to drive me the short distance since I’d yet to drive the Ford Explorer SUV since we rented it ten days ago.
I haven’t driven a car since we were in Kauai, Hawaii, 27 months ago. Over these past two years in the South Pacific, I’d never once driven a rental car with the steering wheel on the opposite side of that which we were familiar in the US and on top of it, driving on the opposite side of the road. I’m not a good enough driver to tackle both of these scenarios.
A brass dragon in the Japanese garden.

Oddly, as adventurous as I may be at times, I hesitated to drive again. But, the mall was calling me, and I turned down Tom’s sweet offer to guide me. Kissing him goodbye, I headed out the door, shopping bag in hand (I don’t own a handbag), ready to reacquaint myself with driving a vehicle.

By the time I exited the hotel’s parking lot, I was comfortable behind the wheel of the new, bright-red SUV. It’s akin to riding a bike. Don’t forget. Plus, it helped that I knew my way around, having no difficulty finding my way to the mall.

We weren’t able to identify these large red berries.

As I entered the vast mall, I caught my breath in my throat.OMG, I was on sensory overload. The abundance, the prices, the selections left me in a state of sheer wonder. In these past 55 months, nothing we’ve seen can compare to my shock of seeing the stores, the displays, and the confusing options.

I walked out of the mall a few hours later after purchasing my three bras at Victoria’s Secret and ten shirts for Tom in Macy’s, including five fine-quality tee shirts on sale from $34.50 to $11.99 each and; five Bass short sleeve solid color Explorer shirts (no wrinkles) made specifically for the traveling outdoorsman, regularly priced at $68.50, on sale for $19.99 each.  

Yellow flowers line this small creek.

Tom doesn’t necessarily get excited about clothing, but he expressed a touch of enthusiasm over finally having some new solid color shirts. He doesn’t like plaids, patterns, flowers, prints, or stripes. These were impossible to find in Australia, especially if they were “wash and wear.”

Finally, I headed back to our hotel where we had leftovers from dinner at Greg’s on Saturday night, heating it in the microwave in our suite. It’s handy having the small fridge and microwave which allows us to avoid eating in restaurants every night.

Decorative lawn ornament.

With both of us wanting salad to accompany the re-heated main dish, we headed next door to Grizzly’s, ordering two dinner salads with two sides of sour cream from which I made our usual dressing. We don’t have a salad bowl or utensils to toss a salad with our sauce. Buying the salads from the restaurant made it easy to throw the dressing in each of the two disposable containers.

We walked under this tree limb structure to gain further access to more gardens.

Early this morning, we’re picking up grandson Miles to spend the day with us. It looks like Miles and I will see “Captain Underpants” at 2:20 pm while  TJ picks Tom up at the hotel to join him in his Monday night horseshoe games. 

After the movie with Miles, we’ll return to his home, and shortly later, I’ll take Maisie to her Girl Scouts meeting at 6:00 pm, after which we’ll all find our way to the various soccer fields for the three kids for their practice and games. Whew! Busy. Fun.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, June 5, 2016:

Last June, in Sumbersari Bali, we made good use of our cabana, as shown here in the afternoon sun. For more details, please click here.