Meet your Cook County Neighbor: Nancy GiguereMay 06, 2023 05:38AM ● By Editor
A Boreal Community Media Exclusive - May 6, 2023
Boreal Community Media is proud to have Nancy as one of our freelance writers!
Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. How did you "land" in Cook County?
My son moved up to the North Shore after high school, and lived in Finland for most his 20s. He eventually moved to Grand Marais, married and had a family. My husband and I visited often, and decided to move up from St. Paul a couple of years ago to be close to him, our daughter-in-law and the grandchildren.
Did you always have a passion for writing? When did you become interested? Is there someone who stands out who inspired you to write? Can you share a bit about your career?
I’ve always been interested in language, perhaps because I spent my teenage years in Tucson, surrounded by Spanish speakers. In fact, in my first career, I taught both French — my roots are French Canadian — and Spanish. And I often volunteered to write — in English — publicity materials for events such as teacher's workshops and special presentations and found that I enjoyed it. Eventually I transitioned to working for a small communications company in St. Paul, and later went “on my own” as a freelance writer. As a freelancer, I wrote for a wide variety of clients including St. Paul Ramsey Hospital (now Regions), the U of M School of Nursing, various Star Tribune advertorial publications and the MN Department of Education. Along the way, I met and collaborated with many wonderful writers and editors.
What are some of the hobbies or activities that you have taken up since retirement?
In my late 50s, I started studying yoga, and just before I retired, I trained to become a teacher. By now, I’ve taught yoga for nearly a decade, and have evolved my own style. My specialty is working with older people — appropriately since I have personal experience with being older.
Then shortly after I retired, I got my first iPhone and became interested in photography. I took a class on iPhone photography with Eric Mueller, an award-winning Twin Cities photographer, at FilmNorth in St. Paul. That really inspired me, and I began to post a daily photo on Facebook, a project that I continued for about a year. I still post photos, but not so frequently. Since moving to Grand Marais, I’ve started working with a digital SLR camera. Cook County is a great place for aspiring photographers!
What is your favorite season in Cook County and why? More importantly, what are your thoughts on snow after this very, very, very long winter?
I love the bright colors of autumn, although winter is also a beautiful season— especially for photographers. This winter, though, was a tough one. For me, the problem was ice, rather than snow. I’m a walker, and like to get out, if only for a short walk, most days. My husband and I also like to hike, or go snowshoeing, on nice days. But this year was so icy that walking was almost impossible at times. After 40+ years of Minnesota winters, I’m convinced that this was the worst ever.
You are involved in teaching wellness programs at The Hub. Can you share a bit about that and why this is important to you? Any advice for someone who is thinking about attending these programs but may be a bit shy?
I teach chair yoga at the Hub on Wednesdays at 10:30. The class combines elements of yoga, Pilates and the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program. We focus on slow, mindful movement: in other words, awareness of what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and how we feel during and afterward. Research shows that moving in this way can strengthen the mind-body connection, lower stress and even help us think more clearly. The class open to everyone, but it’s especially useful for people with “movement challenges,” who may be uncomfortable in regular exercise classes or find them too difficult. To anyone who’s thinking about joining us, I say: It’s normal to feel shy and awkward the first time or two. But ultimately, you’ll feel better both mentally and physically.
Do you have a favorite "go-to" spot in the County to unwind, whether it be a restaurant or outdoor location?
I really enjoy lunch or dinner at the Angry Trout while sitting on the deck and looking out at the lake. When it comes to an outdoor location, I love to visit Hollow Rock — it’s different in every season and a great subject for a photographer.