More adventures from last weekend

The weather was delightful last weekend, and we got out to check out one of the park trails in town.
It runs from the Capital area to one of the newer housing developments
As you can see, we really don't have that much snow on the ground. We did get some last week, but it's melted again. So far this is not the barren winter wasteland that everyone's been warning us about!
Obligatory Canada Geese shot, only this time I got them in flight!
I think this place will be pretty cool once spring arrives. I'm looking forward to seeing the prairie wildflowers that people keep telling me about.
Here's the view from the last hill. There's a small bridge over the pond and the path is paved. It's a really nice trail and I'm looking forward to dusting off my bike and trying it out on some of the flat stretches.
Another shot of the hills. This park is up in the river bluffs.

The library

We successfully obtained library cards! The card application required the name and address of a local who didn't live in our apartment, so I put down my office address and phone number. I thought this was a strange requirement and was especially awkward for us since we're new in town. Has anyone else run into this in other parts of the country?

I kind of love how the library uses barcodes and the more retro due date card taped to the inside of each book. The next time I'm there I should check the copies of 'Twilight' to see how many times they've been checked out. Or not. It might be depressing.


This was supposed to be Bird Week

There was a front page article in The Capital Journal earlier this week about a Bald Eagle presentation today. We made plans to go, and headed out this morning for the hotel/conference center. There were no Bald Eagles, but I did get cupcakes from what is probably the only fancy bakery in town.

Pretend that this is a picture of our majestic national bird.

Had we read the paper yesterday, we would have noticed the article about how the group bringing the Bald Eagles from Minnesota was snowed in, so the presentation was cancelled. Instead, we went anyway expecting birds of prey and ended up experiencing the area's home show which consisted mainly of RVs, competing Girl Scout cookie tables, a dancing penguin, and representatives from every pyramid-scheme home-sales business in the tri-county area. At least I got cupcakes.


Prairie Chickens!

They do exist! Well, this pair is hanging out with Fish & Wildlife Services, but I did find out where I can go to see them for real. Everyone was a little bit confused about why I was so excited to see a taxidermied pair of birds.


Doing our part to improve the Google map of Pierre

Getting a driver's license is a process. Here's how to make it happen in Pierre:

Step 1: Locate two pieces of mail with your new address, the appropriate identifying documents, and your checkbook.
Step 2: Look up the address for the DMV. Note that it is only open 2 days out of the week.
Step 3: Drive to the alleged location of said DMV. Do at least 2 u-turns and loop the block before you find it. Here is a handy map in case you need to find it too:
DMV location is circled. Arrows indicate single-lane alleys that usually go through the parking area of another business that you can use to access the parking area.

Step 4: Park. If you're lucky enough to find a spot.
Step 5: Enter. Fill out the application form. Wait 45 minutes. There are only 2 clerks, but I must say, they were the friendliest DMV clerks I've ever encountered.
Step 6: To pass the time, people watch. While we were waiting for our turn, there was a guy at the counter getting his new SD license. He decided that this would be a great time to change his signature, and by 'change his signature' I mean he drew a lizard/dragon thing on the signature pad and thought that would be good. It wasn't. Hilarity ensued.
Step 7: Your number is called! Approach the counter and when the clerk sees that you too are getting a new license from out of state, assure her that you are not going to draw a dragon on the signature pad.
Step 8: Your husband is being helped by Clerk #2, who comments on how interesting it is that there's another person from PA getting a new license. Casually mention that he is, indeed, your husband, so it's not too surprising.
Step 9: Congratulations! You now have a SD license with an appropriate signature!


Close up of the Missouri River

Yesterday, Josh and I took advantage of the sunny, warm weather to see the Missouri River from Steamboat Park and La Framboise Island Park.
I think this is looking south from the crossing to La Framboise Island.

There's a really nice boardwalk set up and there were actually quite a few people out fishing from it. I don't know what type of fish they were hoping to catch.

Looking north at the bridge that connects Pierre and Fort Pierre. You can also see how low the water is.  We were standing at the top of the boat launch and you're not going to get anything bigger than a canoe in the water right now.

Naked trees on the island. The island is probably the largest area of forest in Pierre and it'll be really nice to see once the trees leaf out.

This is a rogue colony of Canada Geese. There are factions that break off from the capitol lake and cavort around town. Sometimes this group invades the parking lot of my office building.

The Capitol Building.


Pictures from around town

Josh with one of the many creepily life-sized bronze statues that lurk on street corners in town. I'm slowly collecting picture of all of them. They'll get their own post eventually.

Historic Pierre Street. This is where the awesome bagel place is located. We're practically regulars.

The local humane society is right on Pierre Street. The window display is adorable (it's full of cats lounging about waiting to be adopted).

I just loved the one window with 'Lawyers' painted on it.

Looking down Pierre Street. There's not a lot of traffic.

The only movie theater. 3 screens and they still use real projectors. None of that fancy-schmancy digital crap.

Awesome stained glass on the old hotel.

Valentine's Day misspellings

On my way home for lunch last week, I noticed the following sign in the window of the local florist shop. Josh was nice enough to go out and take a picture of it for posterity.

Seriously, 'Bokay.'

I had to think a minute when I first read it to figure out that they meant 'bouquet.'

I wish I was making this up.

Girl Scout cookies!

Today, Josh and I checked out the local thrift store. There is no Goodwill in town, instead we have Value Village. The VV is right around the corner and it has a lot of stuff for super cheap. I know where to go if a shelf gives out and breaks all of our drinking glasses. I bought a dish to go under my Peace Lily that lives at work. Normally, I avoid house plants but this one was a gift from the department. Since I work for Plant Science, I feel like there's a lot of pressure to keep it alive.

Anyway, I left PA before the adorable neighborhood Girl Scout came to take my cookie order. I've gotten my cookie fix from the same kid for at least the past 3 years, and we got to SD well after the local troops made their rounds. It's a good thing we relocated. Last year, Josh answered the door in his bathrobe when the Girl Scout arrived with the cookies. Her mom was not impressed. It was kind of my fault since I was out of town and forgot to warn him that the cookies were coming.

The local troop was set up at the thrift shop and we bought 3 boxes on our way out - the obligatory Thin Mints, Lemonades, and Peanut-butter Patties. We avoided the mango creations, because it's hard enough finding a ripe mango outside of the tropics, let alone a good one in cookie form.


Living room - after

Here's the before:

And here's what it looks like now:

As you can see, Katamari still has a place of honor, and if you look really closely at the bookshelf you'll see that my Harry Potter books take up the better portion of one shelf.

Devo is very happy to have is catnip toys back and two whole sofas to sleep on.

We left our old entertainment center in PA since it was large, heavy, on wheels, and designed for a tube-style TV. Amazingly, the small bookshelf from Josh's office was the perfect size for our current TV and accessories. I used some of my antique dynamite crate collection to hold the DVDs and video games.

I figure we'll get the rest of the apartment unpacked and presentable just in time to move into a house. Actually, I would totally be OK with that since it would mean that we would no longer be living next door to Tar Lung. Seriously kids, don't smoke. Ever.

And on that pleasant note, here's Devo enjoying his nip a little too much!


Driving in Pierre

Rumor has it that I'm a very laid back driver. I blame this on my father, who taught me how to drive. He is definitely one of those people that enjoys the journey (in his case, a leisurely drive) as much as, or more than the destination.

In Pierre, I am the Masshole.

In the past month, I've witnessed some of the slowest right-hand turns known to man. People brake for the geese. Pedestrians here would be pancakes in the city. The post office is close to a busy intersection and the only parking is on the street. People routinely park, look at the cars making the left, put out their hand in the universal 'stop' motion, and cross right through traffic. Granted, by traffic I mean two cars, but still those shenanigans would get you at least maimed somewhere else.

While it can be somewhat frustrating, the slow pace does have its bonuses. I can make left hand turns across traffic that I wouldn't even dream of trying back in PA or New England. The streets are really wide, so street parking is not terrifying. My commute to work is all of 5 minutes, and that's if I hit every light red. Generally, my top speed in town is barely 25 mph, but to compensate the highways are 75.

And on a completely unrelated note, here's a picture of Cleo being adorable in PA:



Josh was in charge of the majority of the moving logistics. He got the quotes, picked a company, bought boxes and packing supplies, did most of the packing, and spent a week in PA finishing the packing, supervising the movers, and then drove out to South Dakota with his car and Devo. He is the best.

The moving company was pretty awesome and our driver was amazing. They made it out here in what seemed like record time, and I came home from work one Thursday to find our furniture and all of our boxes approximately where we wanted them.

Before our stuff arrived, I was essentially camping in the apartment. I slept on an air mattress, used an empty box for a table, and sat on the floor since the bag chairs did not make the cut for the first trip out. We did pack the important things, like the PS2 so I could play Katamari while Josh was in PA and I was sans internet.

Also note the Harry Potter paperbacks. Those made the cut because I needed something to read.

Consider all of this the 'before' shots. I'll have some 'after' pictures of the living room soon. Almost everything is where we want it and Josh is no longer stuck between the sofa and a box wall.


More geese than people

Pierre is mostly populated by Canada Geese. Lots of geese.

Capitol Lake, which as the name suggests is right by the capitol, never ices over as it is fed by a warm artesian spring. Quite a few Canada Geese discovered that spending the winter in Pierre was far preferable to making the trek farther south. This is what the lake looks like:

They're not just in the lake. They also hang out on the lawn around the capitol.

In addition to the geese, there are some mallards and a few American Coots.

The coot is the plump grey one in the middle with the lobed feet. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab, America Coots aren't supposed to overwinter here, but I think there must be a few that discovered the warm lake and decided to stay.

There are so many geese on the lake that it's incredibly loud. When they take off or come in for a landing you can hear them flapping their wings. I would definitely avoid this park if you're terrified of birds.

As we were leaving (and dodging an inordinate amount of goose poo), we passed a family who just arrived to feed the geese.

Yeah, those guys don't look like they need any help getting through the winter.