Monday, June 29, 2015

Part one: FLYING BABY!

I have now discovered that I do indeed like to fly.  Now I had no particular fear that I would hate it, I only worried that I would be freaked out if I couldn't move my feet ie: will I be claustrophobic.  So, yeah, I enjoyed the whole experience.
At MSP! 

Nervous much?

Taking off

So we were booked on Spirit airlines- and while the reviews of this airline were somewhat mixed (one called it "Break your Spirit" airlines, which cracks me up even yet) but it was the cheapest price so that was that.  Now a few little things- both flights were delayed because poor old Spirit is apparently the uncool second cousin airline who gets bumped off the tarmac at times.  But they were delayed less than an hour, so that was all good.  Second, some of those people are hilarious!  The guy who did the announcing at the Minneapolis Airport was FUNNY,  MAN!! He had a cute little spiel that I enjoyed both times I heard it.  The people on the airplane gave their best shot at humor as well- one mentioned the six hour flight when the captain had just said it was an hour and 50 min.  Lol, and then she said for those of you who were paying attention, the flight is actually only 2 hours.  And then we did airplane yoga on the way back- I have good feelings about this airline in a nostalgic sort of way- my first time:  funny, what more could you ask for I guess.

Our pretty airplane in Denver
Crop Circles and not quite patterns

Speaking of airports, which I was  moment ago, I went through two of them.  And while the Denver airport was perfectly fine (and the gateway to an amazing 4 days of mountains) the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport is pretty darn awesome.  It was like a shopping mall inside the Minnesota airport, and it was bright and clean and very well organized.  Denver, while not hideous, is not particularly bright and was not nearly as appealing.  But whatever.  The cool thing about Denver is that we got sniffed by a drug dog and didn't have to have too much to do in the security line.  Anyway, other than sitting at the respective airports for a plenty long time, it was a fairly positive experience.

Fly through the clouds
Flying under a contrail

Rivers below

Those of you who know me well, know that this sort of thing rings my little ole bell.  I had SUCH a good time.  It was enjoyable getting to the airport, and walking through and seeing all this stuff.  I hadn't been in an airport since I was a young girl and we went to pick up my uncle John at O'Hare who knows when.  The 60's is my best guess.  I barely remember that.  Anywho, my enjoyment was enhanced by the fact that my travel partner, the Mad-English teacher loves doing stuff like this as much as I do.  We were like giddy children in the tram on the way to the actual terminals.  IN FACT, I have been accused of being like a little kid when I talk about this trip, an accusation I will not deny. I was so excited and nervous when I was sitting there waiting for the plane to taxi.  Yeah the whole thing from take off to watching the ground get farther away and chewing gum and having my ears pop..... was plain old awesome.  It was so nice to have a travel buddy who could tell me when things were normal and perfectly fine.  As you can imagine, I had my face plastered to the window almost the whole way, looking at the patchwork patterns down below, seeing the winding rivers, the little tiny towns dotting the landscape, the grid of roads and the circles made from the use of irrigators in farm country.  The visual experience was so rich and satisfying and hit all of the right notes for me.  I absolutely am craving to see other parts of the country for the air.  Ah yes.

More clouds

Almost to the Twin Cities at dusk

OH WOW and the freaking CLOUDS!!!!  The CLOUDS were spectacular.  You may know that I do like clouds and now I really HAVE seen them from all sides now.  On the way home we flew right THROUGH a cloud and on the way to Denver we flew under another jet's contrail.  That was AWESOME!!!  LOL, if you were with me now, you would see that I am grinning from ear to ear.  My eyes were probably as big as saucers- the clouds are probably the most memorable part of the whole thing.  

Who knew I could write a whole post about flying, eh??  I could seriously go on and on about this, but most of you have done this already, so y'all probably think I'm a nut case, but I don't care!  :)  It was one of my most memorable life experiences.  (Another will take place in a post to follow!) I kept thinking about how much this is stepping out of my actual comfort zone and was so satisfied to know that it was such a right thing to do.  It just makes doing things that scare you a little bit become something you actually begin to seek out.  So many things I could say about this, but I will defer for now.  So, here are a bunch of flying pictures- I really had to stop myself from shooting a hundred of them so I could actually watch and look and experience the view.  See the shapes and colors and mostly the fact that there was no real pattern- it was a somewhat organized random that I loved.  sigh.  It was just awesome.  

And one joy that I will never forget!

Ready to go!!  I'm so glad that I had such a helpful travel buddy too.

If you look close there is the tiny little shadow of the plane!

Recovery time

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I had a glorious time in Denver.  I loved flying, I took lots of pictures, I met up with a good friend and met a virtual friend, I climbed every mountain..... oh wait, maybe not.  But I climbed on a couple of them, and hit up a museum and generally had the best time.  We CRAMMED every minute full!!  I would not have it any other way!
I have not even opened my cameras yet.  I have a bunch of pictures in there that need some editing, but I do have my phone photos.  They are pretty good, so for this post those are the ones that will do for an overview.

The last couple days have been recovery days.  On Friday, we put in a full day of stuff, from hiking and doing stairs at Red Rocks (oh my goodness my legs were tired by then) to walking downtown Denver to walking and sitting at the airport. Our flight was delayed about 50 min. so we got into Minneapolis about 8:30 and home about 1.  Naturally falling asleep was an issue after all that, and I was up until after 2:30.  So, I was sort of a happy zombie all day on Saturday.

Clouds during the flight back, I think over South Dakota

I really was happy in spite of being sore and tired and groggy.  I was awash in the glow of a fantastic trip that had almost no down side to it, but I barely knew what to do with myself.  Of course the MA was very happy to see me and I made him sit down and look at all my FaceBook pictures.  Between mowing and fixing his mother's garage and attempting to get into the garden with all the rain, he wasn't home much apparently.  Well, I suppose he was working all week as well!  I did manage to get all my things put away, and some laundry done..... sheets changed, towels and table cloth all replaced.... dishes.....  all low stress chores.  I was incapable as a rule of even finishing a sentence.  
Red Rocks hiking trail
Sunday morning I slept in to almost 8!!  Hold the phone and tell Grandma to sit DOWN!  That doesn't happen very often.  I slept so hard my neck hurt from not moving more than twice during the night.  Today I feel much more rested and normal.  I realized ON VACATION that I forgot to do my requisitions (aka: ordering supplies and paint, lots of paint)  for work, so guess what I did yesterday!?!  Bleh.  And I got my elementary orders virtually done when I realized that I had used a 2013 catalogue!!!!!  AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.  Oh well, so I had to redo mostly the prices for the entire order, and actually had to change a few catalogue numbers.  Major suckage there.  So 5 hours later I was done with that.

Falls at Berthaud Pass 

So, today I am sort of a girl without a plan.  And that is just fine.  I will do a little cleaning upstairs for my company coming next week and I will do some weeding as well.  Beyond that I have photo editing to do.  And in light of the fantastic meal I had at Ali Baba, I want to make some tabuleh today, if I get the energy to drive to the store to get parsley.  
Panorama Point, near Reverend's Ridge

Enjoy these few photos and know that there are more to come.  I will also be sending one or two to Channel 9 if you are one of those folks who watch for my pictures on tv.  :)  That is such a weird thing to say, but its true.
Happy Hikers

Have a lovely Monday, be a joy giver and hopefully you will enjoy the photos here and those to come.  
Lookout Mountain

Panorama Point

Crop circles!  :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

What a gorgeous Tuesday!

So I got finished with all of my galavanting around on Monday, and had contacted the Mad-English teacher about a possible kayak excursion for Tuesday.  It had, after all, been 2 weeks since I had last gone- GASP!!

I have secured a dandy roof rack and kayak holder of late, and I knew that I could transport 2 on this set up. And so I did!

We opted to head on over to Butternut Lake for a change of scenery (or Buttermilk Lake as some of my map functions call it- hehehe) and a different experience.  It was a just GORGEOUS day yesterday.  Perfect for kayaking.  The temp when we got to the Chippewa boat-landing was probably 60 or so, and it was clear and beautiful.

Kayaking a lake is a different experience from the river, where of course there are currents to work with.  The lake has weird things that go on- I have no idea how one can drift into the wind, sideways, at times, but whatever.   It was a lot of fun at any rate.

We were out on the lake for over 3 hours- and paddled 7.4 miles!  One would think that I would have slept well last night, but that is a story for another post I guess.  We were so SO hungry when we got finished- not only did we spend at least on hour more  out there than at least I imagined, it is also some work hoisting those kayaks on top of my car.  That first trip with the new set up was a little nerve-wracking, but we got it!  The MA had helped me in the morning (I am too damn short to get that thing up on my Acadia myself- boo) and then I ended up following him into town.  The boat did slip a little on the way into town, but we decided that it wasn't going anywhere, but did set it back into place and battened it down a little better.  When Adam and I dealt with it later, it all went super smoothly.  WHEW!  Since we plan to go longer distances later this summer, this was a great practice!

We cruised  almost the entirety of the lake, which obviously is over 3.5 miles long.  We saw the eagle and the corresponding eagles' nest, lots of ducks and loons, tadpoles, and a lot of nice docks and pontoon boats!  Such a lovely place.

Today is looking cloudy and gloomy, so I am glad that I got the kayak bug out of my system for a few days.  Looking like it is supposed to be sunny later in the week, so I am seeing a solo trip or two in my future as well.

I need to accomplish a few things at home today, as I have a new fun adventure coming up next week.  A real adventure!  And I will tell you about that soon.

Until that time, have yourself a joyful day!!

Adventures and firsts

I will be experiencing some firsts here in the next day or so!  I am going to actually fly for the first time and also see mountains!  Mountains not through the window of a bus, or just felt as we slid up and down the seats (or one time the aisle) in the middle of the night.

It will also be the first time I have been west of Missouri, unless you count the middle of freaking no where North Dakota, which I try to blot out of my childhood collection of memories.  But that is a different story all together.

I am headed to Denver on an airplane and my friend and I have exactly 3 missions.  To hike in the Denver area.  To drive in the mountains.  To eat as much ethnic food that we can possibly fit in.  And I have one more mission and that is to see my friend Lori, who I miss with my heart and soul and I can't wait to see and hug and talk with and laugh and smile at.  :)  We do  not want to over plan this trip, since it isn't a long one.  But we want to have a list of alternatives and ideas.

This trip all started when I hesitantly admitted to the Mad-English teacher that I had never flown, this was probably 2 - 3 years ago.  Before I booked my trip to Italy last fall.  He said to me then that I should tell him when and he would meet me at the airport and we could fly somewhere- even like Florida- where we could arrive, walk around the area a little and then get back on a plane and fly back.  Now at the time that sounded fun, but obviously that didn't happen. So this idea has cropped up here and there, Seattle was discussed along with a few other places.  Denver was settled on because of the whole mountain thing, but I am getting ahead of myself.

When I booked my trip to Italy next summer, I knew that I really really needed to be on an airplane before I flew for 12 hours in one shot.  It just seemed like a good idea for me, personally.  Originally the plan was to stay just overnight and then it was stretched out a bit, because for heavens sakes, if you are going- you might as well stay a few days.

I am a little hesitant about admitting that I have never flown before at the age of 50 something, as someone in my past found the need to ridicule me for such a thing. And I think I was my 30's - I don't even remember who it was, but it sort of stayed with me.  I realize now that really that is no reason to feel bad, the trips I have gone on were by bus.  It isn't that I have never gone anywhere, I just never had a chance to go on a plane!  Whatever!  Wouldn't it be nice if all people were as encouraging as the folks in my life are right now??  I have had so many people tell me how I will love it, how it is like a big bus, that I won't have claustrophobia, and even sent me pix out the window from an airplane ride in progress.  I have amazing friends and relatives.

So I have thought through this whole thing, and I have decided I am not really afraid to fly.  I am a little nervous/anxious about it, just because it will be brand new.  I have had enough people talk to me about what will happen that I know I will be fine.  And I have an awesome buddy who will be there to talk to- undoubtedly without stopping for the entire 2 hour trip.  :)

So, mountains- I have been to New York twice and to Florida twice and each time I have barely seen the eastern range through the bus window at night or in the early morning when everything was fuzzy.  Or, I felt the bus rolling up and down as we headed south....  I have always been bummed out about that. So it will be mountains with a vengeance for us!  YAY!  And if you have been following along, you know that the Mad-English teacher and I are all about the hiking (or kayaking or biking or snowshoeing) so we will be in a good place.

I have had to have a sister consultation about this whole packing for an airplane thing- she is such a peach!  So I am all ready for the adventure, this evening before departing. I am a bit nervous people!! I am not worried about any of it other than I am just plain old anticipating a new experience.

So as you can imagine- pictures will be forthcoming.  Stay tuned!  :)

There will be some joy involved!  Have a fantastic week.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day 2015

Ah,  Father's Day.....  I always feel sort of bad on Father's Day.* All these people hugging their fathers and all the pictures just sort of bums me out.  I am not saying they shouldn't do it, but you know what I mean!

Dad and little Debi

And Father's Day didn't lure in the children either, so I don't get to enjoy them as a result of this day either, lol.  The elusive Mike did come over last night and stayed a nice long time.  It was great to listen to he and his dad talk.  You can do a lot of reconnaissance by staying quiet and listening.  So all is well and busy in his world.

Anywho, back to Father's Day, it has been long enough that I don't openly cry anymore about the lack of a person to celebrate, but it certainly does make me melancholy.  It still feels funny not to have a father around anymore.  And the MA's father has been gone even longer, so we are sort of afloat today.

Ok, positive spin for the day.  Being able to recognize that you are feeling bad because you no longer have a father is a sign that that father did a pretty good job of raising you.  While certainly not perfect, I truly believe most people do the best they can with what they have to work with at the time.  There was no doubt that our father loved us, though he did not show it very often.  He wasn't a huggy, touchy/feely person- unless you were a really little kid, then he was.  He loved babies and toddlers.  It was a hoot to watch him with the little ones.  When he was in a good frame of mind he would talk and talk and be very entertaining. I really do have fond memories growing up with him.  He was gone a lot, because he was a farmer, but he was a steady influence on life at home.  He did not go to the bars, he did not hurt us, he gave us the best life he could, though some of us had to do some fast talking to get our college education and get out of the immediate area!  (You are welcome, the rest of you in my family) And like I said, we knew we were loved.

Anyway, that is my Father's Day post, I really don't want to make myself all weepy, so I will leave this like this. I hope if your daddy is alive you get to go and see him or at least talk to him.  If not, then I hope you, like me, can have a few memories that make you smile through a tear or two.  If you have no relationship with your actual father, then I hope you can connect with that father figure in  your life today.  And if you ARE a father, I hope you get to hug your kids today.

Have a lovely day everyone!  May it give you lots of love and buckets of joy.

*Ah, rats, I reread this old post and now I am sort of crying....  oh well.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Vacation within the vacation

I had a really good start of the summer traveling around the state of WI and a little Minnesota and Illinois this past week.

I set this trip up sort of backwards- my cousin Karla knew that I frequently traveled south right after school is done, so she invited me to come to her daughter's graduation.  This is somewhat precipitated by the fact that her mother- my FAAAAAVorite auntie from my childhood- stopped by here in February while visiting a friend in nearby Phillips, WI.  Regardless, I was invited to this graduation and I realized it was a great opportunity to catch up with the relatives that I haven't seen in a very long time.  So, cut to my phone call with my sister and asking her if she maybe was interested in going as well!  Which allowed me the opportunity to just invite myself over to her house before that, so yeah, that I how I ended up with a vacation within a vacation.

In case you all didn't notice I was a little stressed during the last few weeks of school.  And this get away allowed me to divest myself of much of my upset.  Being with my sister does that to me, and getting out of the Northwoods into the more urban environment is the best way to start summer- except of course for our required post school visit to Bayfield.
Lego garden decorations/art at the Arbo

Peony walk was open

A Nevelson in the sculpture garden!!  YAY

It was the best 6 days.  Among the other things that we did, the three of us girls, Rose and Emily and I, all went to have a pedicure.  It was Emily's first one and that was pretty cool.  The spa we went to has huge windows where you can sit and look out at the woods. Rose and I then headed over for a walk/drive at the arboretum nearby.  It was such a nice afternoon.

There was Thursday then, when I did not have to get out of my pajamas until 11 am!!  That never happens and as I said on FaceBook AND Twitter- I won Thursday.  We were chatting on her screen porch (it was raining and it was awesome) and just relaxing.  YAY!  Throw in some lovely shopping and a meal or two out and about (INDIAN FOOD!) and it was just perfect.

Friday found us heading south to the oldest Mad-Son's  house to stay for the weekend.  We had a good drive and a nice time with them.  Of course, Ella was in fine form.  LOVE that kid, oh my gosh.

Ever entertaining

We are sleepy yet

SO!! The best BEST Gramma moment ever:  We got to their house in the mid afternoon, and Ella was at her last day of daycare.  Sarah needed to shop alone and do some things around her house.  So Jon picked the kid up when he was finished with work.  We were in the livingroom when they got home and she heard voices when they came in the garage entrance to the house.  She came around the corner, saw me and I said her name.  She LITERALLY threw her coat over her shoulder, raised her little arms in the air and RAN TO ME!!!!  I, for all intents and purposes, rarely wasn't holding her for the rest of the weekend.  I, by the way, also won Friday.  :)  Sarah and Jon are awesome hosts and we had a lovely time with them.
Selfie with aunt Ruth


My dad's siblings- Linda, David and Ruth with Cathy- David's wife off to the side!

Rose with Karla and Linda

Saturday, Rose and I drove down to the other side of Rockford for the graduation party.  When we arrived we saw in the middle of room a table full of aunties and an uncle and a few cousins we haven't seen in a long long time.  It was so nice to see them again, and we talked and talked until they all had to leave.  I have a few pictures, and I definitely regret not getting a table shot of them all.  One of my cousins, Kurt, I have not seen probably since he was in High School! He looks so much like my uncle Larry, it was amazing.  I got "Deborahed" by my aunt Cathy- as in she called me Deborah which NO one does anymore.  It was pretty funny.  I can not begin to express how wonderful it was to spend time with these ladies and my uncle David.  And to do a little reconnecting with my cousins- this is where FaceBook is awesome.  I feel like I know a couple of them because we have recently become FaceBook friends, and I had some working knowledge of their families.  Fun stuff.


Relaxing on that awesome screen porch

Sunday we drove (well, Rose drove as my arm was exhausted from all the driving I had done plus little miss who was my BFF for the weekend) back to the cities on Sunday, and I waited until Monday to leave.  I had a nice breakfast with a friend of mine at The People's Organic and had a really great curried tofu scramble.  SO GOOD! 

All sorts of yum

My Minne friend, Bonnie

Anyway, I needed that trip.  It was a perfect way to distance myself from school and truly relax.  My sister is the best!!!  I had such a nice time with her and Bill and Emily.

Family time is a sure way to get your daily dose of joy!