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Column: A pretty good staycation

I have decided staycations are one of the best options out there when it comes to taking time off from work. Granted, I really enjoy going to northern Minnesota, or heading to another state for sun or time with extended family. But trips like that mean planning, packing, spending and usually lots of driving.

Anyway, I took myself a little staycation last week. I couldn't have planned it better. Unless, of course, I'd taken it this week. Had I known I'd get a full week of sun instead of a half week I might have rescheduled.

It's funny how quickly nine days goes by when you really don't have to do anything or be anywhere. All of a sudden, you have time to do pretty much nothing. Or you have time to do whatever it is you would rather be doing when you're doing what you usually have to do.

And you have time to think really deep, complicated thoughts.

I think the thing I wanted to accomplish the most during my time off was simply to be outside. After being cooped up for months on end, I really wanted to get outside and clean up my gardens. I wanted to go for walks with my little dog. I wanted to sit around a bonfire with The Beau.

The first few days were awesome. I left work on a sunny afternoon April 26. I came down for the park and pond cleanup day -- brought the dog down, too, so she could walk Farmington's trails with me for a bit -- and made a quick stop over at the Farmington Greenhouse before I headed back home.

It was warm, it was sunny. The ground was still a little damp because three days earlier there had been snow on it, but it was perfect for digging out my garden.

And I set to work for the next four days. I increased the size of my garden from an 8x12 plot to a 10x16. I created a cute little map in different colors to mark off what veggies were going where in the garden.

I even took a chance with planting some lettuce, kale, carrot and pea seeds on Tuesday. And then the weather changed again.

But I was on a staycation, so it didn't matter. For one thing, while Farmington got seven or eight inches of snow last Thursday, we didn't see a flake on the ground in St. Paul until Friday morning, and that was gone by noon.

In the meantime, I took advantage of indoor indulgences, like sleeping for a full 12 hours one night, going out to coffee with a college friend one morning, and going out to dinner with high school friends one night, and The Beau another night.

We capped off this past weekend with our families. We hung out with my brother and his family Saturday night, but stayed over at my parents' house and had breakfast with them Sunday. From there, we went to The Beau's sister's house for a barbecue with her family and their mother.

And when we got home Sunday, I changed clothes and went back outside to my new, bigger vegetable garden. I planted kohlrabi, radishes, onions and garlic. Just about the time I was dusting myself off, somewhere around dusk, I realized my staycation had come to an end.

The look on my face when I came inside must have been grumpy, because The Beau asked if I was mad at him for some reason.

"No," I said. "Not at all. I just realized my vacation is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow."

In all honesty, I was in pretty good spirits all day Monday. I guess my week away got me good and rested up and ready to tackle the next busy weeks ahead. It's amazing what a little fresh air can do for a person.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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