A spontaneous trip to Washington D.C.

I didn’t plan on crossing Washington D.C. off my bucket list but when the opportunity struck I jumped into the car. The conversation came up at the sushi bar. We met a guy from Alabama. Now before this gets a little weird, we didn’t just meet a stranger in a bar and get into his car. My husband talked to this man several times on the phone before because he was starting up a business like ours and wanted some advice. I remember one conversation quite well even though it occurred back in 2020.

We were in New Orleans when Paul was on the phone with the man from Alabama. We were thinking of visiting while we were in the area but he was out of town. I remember the conversation because some guy came up to us when Paul was on the phone with him wanting us to buy drugs. Another street over there was a pedestrian on a bike almost struck by a car fighting it out in the street exchanging a lot of f words. What must this guy think of us if he heard any of the background conversation?

This was the first time we met our friend from Alabama in person. I laughed when I told him the story of the background conversations. He offered us a tour of D.C. a few days later after dropping off his wife at the airport. He said he lived there for several years and knew his way around. I told him about my bucket list and instantly took him up on the offer. He was pretty quirky himself and said he also had all 50 states on his bucket list. He said his goal was to see all 50 states by age 50 which he did. He also said he had a goal of running a marathon, 26 miles by 26 years which he also did. I really like lists and think he had some amazing ideas by coordinating his lists to his age.

The next day at the conference we didn’t talk to our new friend much. I was a little worried the trip into DC was just bar talk. But it wasn’t. There were certain things I was expecting upon visiting the capitol of our great country and some things I was not.

We saw the Lincoln, Jefferson, and WWII Memorials. The memorials were absolutely stunning and I felt which I can only describe as wonder and patriotism upon seeing them and the words written upon the walls. The architecture was beautifully breathtaking. It was a perfect autumn day, sunny and warm to walk around. I’m not a huge history buff, but it was interesting to think about what our country and its people were like in the early years.

I was hoping to get a little closer to The White House but only saw it from the distance. There were a lot of people at the memorials. I didn’t stay long inside the Lincoln Memorial. I was feeling a little claustrophobic in the crowd. There was a steady stream of noise with planes flying over and tourists. I enjoyed my time in DC and think everyone should experience going there at least once. If we had more time it would’ve been nice to visit the museum.

Other than that, frankly I was not impressed with our capitol city. Maybe I’m just not a city girl. DC was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. We spent a lot of time sitting in traffic. Parking was limited and we had to pay for it everywhere we went. The airport was busy hustle bustle. There was A LOT of garbage on the side of the highway. I’ve never seen more litter anywhere else. My first impression of DC was that it’s an old, dirty, rundown large city. I saw the homeless. I heard a lot of sirens. There seemed to be some nice parts where the memorials and monuments are, but other than that I would never want to live there. How can you take pride in a capitol city that seems so filthy? But that’s just my opinion as an outsider looking in. And I didn’t even mention politics.

Anyway, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to check Washington D.C. off my bucket list. Here are some of the pictures I took.

The Washington Monument with a view of The White House.
The World War II Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial viewed from the WWII Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial

Adventures in sailing

We spent last week sailing Door County on a cruise with a couple of other sailboats. Door County is located on the thumb of Wisconsin and is a very popular tourist destination. We ended our trip right before Labor Day weekend because on a holiday weekend slips are harder to come by with multiple boats. But the week before they are generally plentiful.

The cruise started off a little rough. Paul and I decided to go to the boat early because the forecast was showing hot and humid weather conditions. We thought we could get everything ready and then hit the pool before everyone else showed up. It didn’t quite turn out as planned. When we got there a pop up storm came through and it was cool and rainy. The other couple that was planning to sail with us weren’t sure they were going to go with because she was feeling sick and wanted to get tested for COVID.

The following day we sailed through the wind and the waves reaching our destination just before another round of storms hit. I was in a foul mood as well. Along with getting whipped around on the boat, I was suffering through cramps and arthritis pain. Not a good mix. To add to that, my body does not tolerate beer, burgers, and pizza well. You know, pretty much all the fun vacation foods and drinks. So, I had to deal with indigestion and acid re-flux as well. I topped all that off with my usual insomnia.

By the third day, the other couple joined us. Our friend did not have COVID. Instead she was put on antibiotics for an infection but overall was feeling a lot better. From there we sailed to Sister Bay under strong winds and high waves. It was not a very comfortable sail. We decided to stay in Sister Bay for a couple days and visit some of the shops.

For breakfast one morning, we ate at Al Johnsons the place with the goats on the roof. It is a Swedish restaurant with an adjoining gift shop which we visited as we waited to get a table. According to my DNA results, I am a large percent Swedish. I traced my genealogy back as far as I could go on all sides without finding an ancestor from Sweden. So I ascertained I have Viking blood which explains so much as far as my temperament goes.

When we walked by later, there were people on the roof with the goats. None of us have ever seen people on the roof before. I sent the photo to several people and regretted sending it to my son who thought it was pretty cool. I pictured Alex and his friends trying to get up on the roof some time. Alex’s girlfriend commented asking what would happen if they fell. I said if the people fell off they were pretty screwed with broken legs and necks. If the goats fell off, then goat curry. Honestly, though, Al Johnsons is not like Red Lobster. They don’t have goat on the menu.

The wind and waves were pretty strong most of our trip. At Sister Bay waves crashed over the breakwater. I tried to take videos of people getting doused but every time I brought out my camera it tamed the wicked seas. We sailed to another harbor but that was pretty much uneventful. Then we took advantage of the one day with no wind or waves at all to motor back to our home port before the onset of more strong winds, waves, and storms.

The most enjoyable part of the trip back was having multiple monarch butterflies follow our boat. It’s hard to understand how such a small insect can fly so far from shore. Even though the trip started off rough, it ended on a good note. It’s hard to believe just like that summer is pretty much over. All the things we had planned came into fruition. I’m happy we were able to do so many fun adventures, but I’m sad to see summer slip away.

Gratitude week 139

  1. I’m doing my gratitude list a little early this week as we are leaving today for the annual week long sailing cruise. I’ll be sure to share some pictures and stories when we get back.
  2. I’m grateful to be able to go on the sailing cruise because previous to the last year I was unable to go because I had kids starting school. I didn’t want to miss that.
  3. I’m grateful my kids are done with school and I am done with that stress.
  4. Summer, the weather pattern the last couple weeks and for our trip is pretty close to perfect.
  5. I’m grateful to be called up to the clerk at the DMV before I was able to even finish the paperwork. That never happens..
  6. I’m grateful to be able to spend the next week with my husband on a sailing adventure and talking with people since we go as a group with our sailing club. That’s one thing I missed about our trip to Yellowstone, we were pretty isolated from other people. I didn’t think I would want to talk and meet new people, but I did.
  7. My daughter Arabella is feeling better after COVID and an ear infection. For a few days I was having a hard time getting in touch with her and I imagined her laying in her apartment dead…so, yeah, one less thing to worry about.
  8. I’m grateful my friend Jen is celebrating another birthday today as she struggles with cancer.
  9. I’m grateful for a husband that works hard to make sure our bills are paid.
  10. I’m grateful for music that makes me feel better when I am sad.

Gratitude week 136

  1. Summer!
  2. I checked Montana off my bucket list. Nine states left to go and I’m planning on crossing off another state in a couple months.
  3. My new phone takes amazing pictures which I am hoping to share with you this week.
  4. I love to travel but nothing beats sleeping at home in my own bed.
  5. Visiting Yellowstone.
  6. Getting caught up on my long to do list after getting back home.
  7. Uneventful flights.
  8. Being married to a wonderful guy for 25 years.
  9. Having a husband who is as adventurous as I am and likes to travel.
  10. The house was still standing when we got back home.

Gratitude week 135

1. I checked Idaho off my bucket list. We are driving through it right now. No worries though, I’m not driving.

2. The technology to be able to write a blog post while being a passenger in a car.

3. I had a dentist appointment this past week and all is well.

4. My 16 year old cat had his vet appointment this week and it went as good as it could go. His thyroid disorder is currently stable.

5. The boiler went out on the pool and hot tub for most of the summer. The part finally came in to fix it. Also a pump went out that was replaced as well.

6. So far our anniversary trip is a wonderful getaway.

7. Even though we had to fly over storms and were expecting turbulence, the flights weren’t that bad.

8. My anxiety hasn’t been bad as I tend to worry a lot when I leave home.

9. I got my nails done for the trip. Sometimes it’s nice to pamper myself.

10. I’m excited for the second half of our trip at Yellowstone and the adventures it will bring.

Gratitude week 113

  1. Once again the weather forecasters were wrong. Instead of getting a foot of snow, we got an inch of ice with a couple inches of snow over it. The ski trails were closed. So instead of Lisa coming here, I went up north to her house. We were able to go skiing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There was a beautiful cross country skiing trail around a lake that wasn’t too hilly. It was perfect.
  2. I’m grateful that I was able to make the trip to Lisa’s. A couple years back I don’t know if I would be able to do it because I had so much anxiety driving a couple hours.
  3. I had a really nice weekend with Lisa. Besides skiing, we went snowmobiling, sat in the hot tub, made Tik Toks, watched a scary movie, and did our nails. I haven’t been snowmobiling since I was a teenager. It was a lot of fun. I never made a Tik Tok before either. It’s nice to have a close friend who is adventurous and athletic. Back in the day we used to run marathons together.
  4. While we were out snowmobiling, we hiked through the snow to a waterfall and saw an otter run across the snow. I also saw deer running across the lake by Lisa’s house. Winter is a beautiful time to get out and see nature. Sometimes I forget how nice the different seasons can be.
  5. I’m grateful that Lisa and I were able to spend some girl time together. She is a lot of fun and a little bit crazy. She is my friend who has had a lot of trauma in her life and it is nice to be with someone who gets it and is also fun to hang around. We did a lot of talking. It felt like a mini vacation.
  6. I’m grateful to be able to hang out with our elderly friends again. We had a great time visiting Harv and Kate and going to a community theater show with them.
  7. I found a bridesmaid dress for my daughter’s wedding.
  8. The motor ended up going out on our industrial dehumidifier for our pool. We were able to get that fixed this past week. Thankfully they were able to find a part since the dehumidifier is 30 years old and they don’t make that model anymore.
  9. Just a couple more days before Paul and I head to the waterpark with our kids and their significant others. I am getting excited for that. I’m grateful everyone was able to take off of work to go.
  10. This summer Paul and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I have been researching a trip to Yellowstone. Travelling and doing new things inspires me. I am getting excited to start thinking about trips and planning again.
  11. Angel told me that Arabella is stopping by to visit and see her new house. I’m glad my daughters are getting along and hanging out together without me.
  12. February is almost over. Spring is on the way.

Gratitude week 103

  1. After being stressed about the family Christmas party last weekend, I’m grateful for a massage and trip to the therapist on Monday.
  2. Getting a Type O Negative album for my record player as a Christmas gift from my mom based on my daughter Angel’s suggestion.
  3. Angel and Dan put an offer in on a house that was accepted. Although I am going to be sad my daughter is leaving it is time since they will be getting married in a couple months.
  4. My husband’s work Christmas party went well. The wife of the guy he works for is super funny. Everything always sucks. We asked how they like their new house and wouldn’t you know the lighting sucks. The weather sucks, the food sucks, everything just really sucks. She is very blunt about everything sucking and for some reason she is just so much fun.
  5. Arabella and Will made it safely to Kansas to visit Will’s family. On the way they spent the night in a tent in Iowa during a tornado warning. Crazy! And you wonder why I worry?? Camping in December in bad weather! Oh my gosh!
  6. I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant with my friend Jen. It was her turn to pay.
  7. Friends are the family we choose. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my four closest friends over this past week and upcoming week. That rarely happens anymore. It makes me feel better about not being included at the extended family Christmas party.
  8. We had a great time visiting with Tom and Lisa last night. We had great food, drinks, and fun laughing and playing games. Alex and Angel hung out with us as well.
  9. Tonight Paul and I are going out to eat with Rhett and Sue to talk about our upcoming trip to Puerto Rico. I can’t believe our trip is less than a month away now.
  10. We had another health scare with our 14 year old dog. He hasn’t been wanting to eat much if at all in the mornings. He also fell down the stairs not too long ago and has been limping around again. So we had another vet visit this week and he was put on another 3 medications. The vet said he also has congestive heart failure. So I’m grateful we still have some time left with our old pup. I really wasn’t sure if he was going to be coming back home with us.
  11. Clean sheets.
  12. Alex shared some of his new music with me.
  13. Friday night we ordered pizza and it went to our neighbor’s house in error. We were able to meet some neighbors. They brought us cookies a couple years back when we moved in but I never found out who gave us the cookies because Paul and I weren’t home.
  14. I absolutely love our Christmas trees and lights. I wish I could leave everything up all year, but then how special would that be.

Fortune cookie wisdom #28

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

Wow! Is it just me or does this seem rather sinister?

I understand how enthusiasm can spread like a wildfire. When I first started running races I was on fire for running. I was the person that posted race pictures all over social media. I had all the annoying stickers on my car to announce to the world I was a runner. I had the Half Iron, 13.1, 26.2, and the 50k. People I didn’t even know knew I ran and would strike up conversations with me about running. They saw me on the neighborhood roads. In fact when we moved people said they missed seeing me run. I was well known at the gym as well.

My enthusiasm for running was more contagious than COVID. People I didn’t know well would come up to me for advice or tell me they started running because I made it seem like so much fun. It was adventurous. I went for runs in other states. I spent the night before a marathon in a tent when we got 2 inches of rain. I ran in some challenging courses. I did races on cool stormy days, in extreme heat, in freezing cold conditions, and when conditions were ideal. There was nothing I stepped down from. I got some really cool medals and shirts. It was one of the best times of my life.

My enthusiasm for running sparked enthusiasm in other people. I didn’t have to go up to people I didn’t know well and tell them they should run. I didn’t have to explain the health benefits. I didn’t have to tell them how important it was to exercise. They saw me have fun and they wanted to have fun too.

Now I am a week away from what I think will be my last race. I remember how much fun I had. I think there is a lot of wisdom to be gained from this fortune. What you are passionate about will draw in other people. There is nothing I hate more than having people try to pressure, manipulate, and convince me to do something I am not sure I want to do. I hate the hard sell. But if you are passionate about something I am curious and want to know more.

But I’m sorry I still think this fortune cookie sounds a bit horror movie scary. I’m not sure if I like the thought of people coming for miles to watch me burn.

Fortune cookie wisdom #21

“You will conquer obstacles to achieve success.”

It’s been over two years since I shared my little nuggets of fortune cookie wisdom with you. I feel life has finally settled down enough to give you a little of the light and fluffy that I promised months ago and didn’t deliver on.

I’ve always had a fascination with fortune cookies, not necessarily because I believe every word is true, but because they are interesting. It seems like my husband always gets the over the top wonderful ones, so if I ever share one of those, it’s probably his. For example, the last time my husband and I got fortune cookies I got an unmemorable recyclable fortune. My husband cracked open his cookie and inside were 3 fortunes (three!!!) telling him how wonderful he is. True story.

When I was a teenager I got a fortune cookie without a fortune. What did that mean? That I didn’t have a future? Yet here I am. I think it is extremely rare to not receive a fortune and not in a lucky way. Just like it is rare to receive 3 fortunes in one cookie. Paul is so lucky. After all, he does have me.

But back to the cookie, it does seem like success is sweeter if you have to overcome a lot to achieve it. Would you rather be given something or have to work hard to achieve success? It just doesn’t seem to mean much if life is too easy. It would be boring without something to strive for.

The words conquer, obstacles, and achieve mean a lot to me. For the longest time, I found this in running. I started with a 10k and ended with a 50k. I achieved a lot of medals. I still run and have shared the love of running with my daughter Angel. We are going to run a 5 mile race along with my husband later this month. It almost means more now watching Angel reach her goals.

Time changes people. I don’t want piles of medals anymore. I want to write a bestseller. I want to run a successful business. I want to grow as a person. I want a stronger marriage. I want to travel the world. There are a lot of obstacles in the way of achieving success in these areas. But I still want to try…

You can’t get to the top of the mountain without starting to climb. I have conquered obstacles to achieve success and I don’t want to stop now even if I have to start all over.

Our visit to Acadia and Bar Harbor

From Kennebunk, we made our way to Bar Harbor. On the way, we stopped in Bangor for lunch and to snap a couple of pictures outside of Stephen King’s house.

A fitting house for the King of Horror.

We stayed at another Airbnb a couple miles from Acadia National Park for 3 nights. On the morning of our first full day my mom, Paul, and I checked out Acadia. First of all, the park is huge. It took us a long time just to figure out where to go to get a park sticker. Our navigation didn’t work well on our phones. The park was packed, there wasn’t a space available in the main lot or the overflow lot to purchase a park pass.

We thought the park wouldn’t be as busy as it was in the end of September after the school year started. The parking was awful. There really wasn’t anywhere to park along the trails or scenic turnoffs. We did try to stop at one place and our monster SUV hung out a little. We were told to move by a park ranger so we didn’t even get any photos. Thankfully there was one place we were able to stop that was really scenic where multiple cars parked on the side of the road. At that point we were starting to get frustrated by the traffic and parking situation. We probably wouldn’t have wanted to go back if it wasn’t for this view.

The free park map was also really difficult to read if you are not familiar with the area. It did list hiking trails but nothing about the trails in general such as length or difficulty. If you are going to visit specifically to hike I would do a lot of research in advance. We were winging it a bit because we were going with my mom and daughter who don’t have the stamina of Paul and I.

The second day we decided to go to Bar Island. It’s a pretty cool experience because you can walk across the land in low tide to the island. In high tide the path to the island is totally covered with water. I would say it was a moderate hike as it was mountainous. You had to walk uphill on the way there and downhill on the way back on the island. There wasn’t a lot of flat surface on the island itself which was a little more challenging for my mom. The path to the island was rocky.

The view from the top of Bar Island.
Low tide.

We spent the afternoon visiting shops and buying gifts in Bar Harbor. Then we ate lobster on our last evening in Maine.