Tuesday, May 10, 2016

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Do you remember that childhood book about the two mice? One visits the other-I can't remember which, to see a whole different way of life. The visit is fun, but they are happy to be back home where they belong. I'm not sure what kind of mouse I am. Where I live is fine for now, fine for the life I have. DH works five minutes from our house, and while I have 45+minute commute, I have easy access to all things urban, suburban, and rural within an hours drive radius. I like that my community still has a distinctive look and feel, and was not created by urban sprawl and shopping centers anchored by big box stores. Yet, if I choose to, we can easily access those, or I can stop on my way home. Our daughter get's the benefit of attending one of the top high schools, public or private in the state, and we are surrounded by family to jump in on a pinch if we have a car pooling urgency, or heaven forbid, a real emergency with her. 

There's little tidbits of both the city and the rural life with a a couple revitalized arts centers, one for visual and tactile and one for performing arts, that given time will rival in quality some posh city venues. We can hit a dozen apple orchards and small publically open pick your own farms within a twenty minute drive, plus once produce starts coming, enjoy a twice weekly farmers market and plenty of roadside stands. We have swimming and boating opportunities in the summer, and skiing and tubing in the winter. Life is pretty good here. As many of us do growing up, I never expected to be living where I grew up with my kids attending the same schools as I attended. 

I thought I would have moved to a hip urban oasis, where everyone walked to do their Saturday morning errands in eclectic neighborhoods with mixed generations. Stopping along a route greeting neighbors and shop owners like in You've Got Mail, attending urban art show openings, and getting there by public transit or a hailing a cab. I imagined a 4th floor walk up in an old brownstone building, with the outer walls inside the apartment still the brick. Alternatively, I imagined getting big open spread of land, with a big house, a swimming pond on site, complete with a tree and rope swing. While one of us would have to go into a proper job, the other would be tending the garden, hens, and keeping the house ready for weekend guests that would join us in our home get away. Theoretically, either of these living scenarios could still play out in life once DD#2 graduates, but more likely in part time doses. For now, I enjoy reading blogs from both sides of the spectrum. Here are a few of my regular reads. 

City Blog's

Margot and Barbara Elizabeth is jump starting her life again with two children, but writes about her goal of getting a new apartment of her own and continuing to make travel to some of the best cities in Europe part of her goals. She is just a down to earth writer, who I glimpse pieces of myself in her writing. 

The London Minimalists Michele and her partner are expelling all non-essential items from their life, and for Michele, including cash this year as she attempts, other than housing and home groceries, to spend nothing for an entire year. She also writes for the Guardian, but I find her and partners posts about managing to live in the most wonderful city (in my humble opinion) although one of the most expensive cities, is motivating me to  make my partial year retirement there more than a pipe dream. 

The Ali Diaries  In my backyard, Minneapolis blogger Ali, of my children's generation, gives me a glimpse inside the urban lifestyle I imagine my kids are living. I read about interesting places and events and glimpse pop culture through the eyes of a twenty something, with familiar places I have been to or know about. I wish there was an Ali's Diaries for a city dwelling 50 year old.  

Country Blog's
Two Men and a Farm   These are the two guys you want to befriend if you are looking to be invited to a country retreat. 1st and 2nd man are making a farmstead into a second weekend home, while recently having downsized from a Houston house to an apartment.  Be prepared to dive in, as they have projects aplenty keeping them busy. Actually, I get a taste of both city and country when I read their blog. Great guys-love them!

Doing It For Ourselves in Wales   Dawn and her partner are living off the grid, developing a self sustaining lifestyle complete with gardens and livestock. Dawn is handy inside and outside the house, at crafts and sews while attending to their homestead. She is  a good writer, and tells her story with interesting facts and insight into the highs and lows , like caring for but still losing a sickly animal. Fortunately, her alpaca Janine is doing well after her weekend scare.

You Can Call Me Sue  Fun, fun, and more fun is the only way to describe Sue and her country life in New Zealand.  With her plethora of dogs, cats, and chickens roaming her grounds, plus her day trips to the ocean, Sue makes non urban living a party all the time. She might not be entirely country, but she has chickens and a big beautiful backyard space, so I'm lumping her blog here. 

Pop around these sites if you to want some insight of a different kind of lifestyle than your own. I always say reading my favorite blogs is like taking a day trip with a friend. Please comment or e-mail me at samandcoffee65@gmail.com with your own favorite blogs or to tell me a bit about your own.

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