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.

Gratitude week 87

  1. Summer! We had some loud thunderstorms go through last night. I love a good storm that doesn’t cause damage. That is one of the things I miss most once winter comes. It’s pretty rare to have thunder during a snow storm.
  2. Clean sheets.
  3. Supper with my best friend at a new to us Mexican restaurant that had the best mojitos.
  4. My daughter Angel got a promotion. Last night we went out to celebrate with pizzas and martinis at a place we’ve never been to before. The ambiance was amazing. It was one of those old building downtown so it had a lot of character. They also played the best music.
  5. I am really grateful that Arabella is going to have a psych eval next month. She hasn’t had one yet which I think is crazy. I’m hoping that with this knowledge we can get better treatment for her. Her medicine got yanked around this week so I hope things will go better.
  6. I’m grateful that for the first time in almost 20 years I no longer have kids in school. What a mess things have been with COVID. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore.
  7. Because school starts this next week, I have never been able to go on the annual sailing trip with the sailing club. This year will be the first year I can go. I probably won’t be posting for a couple of days but I will share some pictures with you when I get back.
  8. I’m grateful to live in a beautiful state. The winters are rough, but yet it’s beauty continues year round.
  9. The new memoirs I ordered came in the mail. I just started The Weight of Air which is a memoir about a young guy that’s addicted to heroin. It’s a very well written and moving story.
  10. Right now everyone in our house is healthy and I am grateful for that.

Sailing around Door County

The lighthouse entering Lake Michigan from Sturgeon Bay.

The abandoned lighthouse of Pilot Island.

The Washington Island ferries passing each other.

The Washington Island car ferry close up.

A sailboat race we saw on our way back home.

Just another beautiful day on the water.

Here are some of my favorite photos that I promised from our last sailing trip…

Gratitude week 85

  1. Summer! The last couple of days the weather has been perfect. If only we had this weather last week so we could cross Lake Michigan. But I’m not complaining. I’m going to hold on to these nice days as long as they last.
  2. Even though we weren’t able to cross the big lake, we were able to go to some nice places. The pictures turned out great and maybe just maybe I’ll share some later this week.
  3. Although Angel tested negative for COVID, both of my daughters lost their sense of taste and smell. But they are both feeling a lot better and so far no one else has gotten sick that I know of.
  4. Although I love to travel, it is nice to be back at home and sleeping in my own bed.
  5. It’s nice to have a week with nothing planned until the weekend. I decided to spend some time today in the pool and started a new book. I try to remind myself that we were still supposed to be on vacation when I feel like I am being lazy by taking it easy.
  6. I’m grateful to find out what I don’t want. Paul and I are thinking ahead to our 25th anniversary next year. I was thinking that it would be fun to sail somewhere beautiful for our summer anniversary. But after the frustration of not being able to do anything that we planned months in advance for this last trip I would rather do something else.
  7. I started reading My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a great piece of fiction. I wanted to read more memoirs like Educated which was phenomenal. I decided this fall I will start the second edition of my book. I want to read some good memoirs in the mental health genre in the meantime. I want to analyze them to see what makes them great (if they are). Really good books in that genre are hard to find. If anyone has suggestions for books especially dealing with family members with mental health struggles, please let me know.
  8. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m grateful to have a crazy life to write about.
  9. I’m grateful that I don’t have a gas leak in my house especially since after we left we had the rest of the household lose their sense of smell.
  10. After I couldn’t find any in the stores, I’m grateful that my husband was able to order goat macaroni and cheese online for me. No, it’s not made out of goats but it is dairy free and delicious.
  11. I’m grateful for my husband, who was a big part of the leadership for the Lake Michigan crossing cruise, for the difficult decisions he had to make in order to keep everyone safe. We had a total of 5 boats wanting to make the crossing. A majority of the sailors have never sailed across before including all five people on our boat. Some of the boats were small. The rest, besides our boat, had only one experienced sailor with either inexperienced crew, incapacitated crew, or passengers that were very nervous. In some ways I’m grateful we didn’t cross because I couldn’t relax with a sick child at home. I guess it wasn’t meant to be this year.
  12. I’m also very grateful for the people we tried to cross Lake Michigan with, especially those on our boat. Everyone was very kind and supportive after we received the news that our daughter has COVID. Some offered rides home. No one expressed anger or irritation that they could’ve been exposed through us or that we wanted to go home early. Everyone seemed to have the attitude that being sick or exposed was the new world we live in now. I’m grateful to be around a wonderful group of people with a similar hobby.
  13. I’m grateful that my best friend has a new grandbaby.

Vacation frustration

We came back early from our sailing trip. I’m finally starting to get over the frustration and disappointment of our latest adventure.

I guess it started before we even left. Little things. Arabella’s car had a driver’s side window that went off track and was stuck all the way down. That happened the night before we got 4 inches of rain and we found out about it after it had been raining for most of the day. We had a pool pump that kept flipping the breaker. Dan switched out the breaker. After that the pool pump worked but the boiler kept erroring out. My husband was concerned there could be a gas leak. So we called the heating/cooling guys out before we left. I threw on my clothes from the night before but I was scrambling because I wanted to wash them before we left. So after I thought I was done talking to them I put my robe back on and threw my clothes in the wash. I frantically threw enough clothes for a week in my suitcase as the heating guys told me there wasn’t a gas leak while I was standing around in my robe. Why didn’t they tell my husband this?

Meanwhile, he was on the phone with the group of sailors we were planning on crossing Lake Michigan with. We decided to delay the trip by one day due to weather. I was rushing as fast as I could only to halt in my tracks finding out the rest of the day I no longer had any plans. I felt angry and frustrated. But, hey, at least we didn’t have a gas leak.

The weather was balmy hot. It was unpredictable, volatile, and unsettling. We watched the news late that night and the news forecast called for a chance of severe weather all the next day. We didn’t know if we would even be able to make it to Sturgeon Bay, the meeting place for all the sailors before departing for the cruise the following day. We went to bed feeling anxious. We would have to try to leave early again the next morning but we had a lot to do before leaving. Meanwhile my daughter Arabella told me she went to the doctor because she had a UTI.

The next morning Angel wasn’t feeling good either, a head cold or tonsillitis possibly. We left as early as we could though and made it to Sturgeon Bay in our sailboat with an hour to spare before the severe weather hit. I was a nervous wreck. There were tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings all over the place. I was more worried about the kids at home than I was about being on a boat. Angel said the tornado sirens were going off and the skies were as dark as night during the day. To make matters worse, Arabella started throwing up and went to the ER thinking maybe she had a kidney infection. We also had a business emergency where an accident happened and a piece of equipment got broken.

But the plan still was to cross Lake Michigan the next morning between 5 and 6 AM. The trip across was going to take somewhere around 12 hours and we would be out of cell coverage a big portion of it. It was a horrible night but we were still dedicated to making the trip because Angel was taking care of things at home. Nothing seemed life threatening. The ER did a lot of tests that didn’t find anything wrong and that Arabella should just keep taking her antibiotics as prescribed. We couldn’t tap out easily because we had 3 passengers on our boat. Some of them had to take vacation days for this trip. Plus we were excited to go because none of us has crossed the big lake before.

I had a restless night’s sleep only to be awakened at 4:50 AM by a knock on our boat. There was a problem. The weather radio predicted 8ft waves the last portion of our trip. We decided not to cross that day and head up to Washington Island, then cross the following day. We sailed up Door County lake side and the waters were rough even close to shore.

When we got to the marina I received a call from my daughter saying that Arabella had to go back to the ER. She was really sick and throwing up. I was furious. Everyone was relaxing and having a few drinks so I decided to take a walk. I was angry with God. Why can’t we just get away for a few days and have respite from the stress? I was plotting how to get back home. Maybe I could hitch a ride with someone leaving the island on the car ferry. Then Paul and the rest of the crew could go on as planned without me. Later that evening the group got together for supper and planned the following day. It was there I got the text that Arabella tested positive for COVID. Again, I was angry. She finally got tested for COVID the third day she went in. They gave her an X-ray, CT scan, pelvic exam, STD tests, strep test, blood work, urine test BEFORE they thought to test her for COVID. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with those people??

So here my daughter is at home really sick with COVID even though she is 18 and fully vaccinated. They scheduled an antibody infusion for the next day. If that didn’t work she was going to have to be hospitalized. I was a wreck. We told the passengers on our boat and the people we were travelling with. Everyone was understanding even though there was a chance that through us they could be exposed. Some offered rides home if needed. The weather for the following day didn’t look great to cross the lake so everyone tapped out and we decided to start heading back towards home.

I slept horribly the whole night. I tossed and turned. I woke up cold and shivering. Was everyone cold that night? Or was I getting sick? Was that just a tickle in my throat? A sniffle in my nose? What if we had to sail rough waters sick? I had nightmares all night that I had COVID but awoke the next morning tired but feeling alright. We spent the next night in a marina. The following day we anchored out at an island. Although the shore was rocky and hard to walk on, we wanted to spend the night because it was simply beautiful. Maybe we could still save this trip after all. The infusion worked wonderfully and Arabella was feeling a lot better. Then we started worrying about going home and getting exposed since neither Paul nor I have had COVID yet.

We were looking forward to spending the night anchored out at the island but Paul said it was no good. It was going to be too windy so we headed back to our marina. Meanwhile, Paul and I were arguing. It was too stressful. I never wanted to go sailing again. I thought we were going to cross the big lake. I thought things would be good at home for a few days. I thought work would be okay without us. Boy was I wrong! I was so disappointed. I think we all were. Then when we were almost back to our home port we came across a smoking power boat. We thought they were on fire. We quickly grabbed whatever fire extinguisher we could find but I guess they were okay. One of their engines blew out. It was rather terrifying though to think we might have to do a water rescue. Or maybe the boat would blow up.

Then we came home to face COVID. I really hope this next week goes a lot better!

Gratitude week 84

  1. My daughter Angel has a wedding date picked out and will be getting married next October.
  2. The graduation party went really well. No one asked where my dad was. It was kind of funny because a couple people asked where my best friend was.
  3. I’m grateful to have had enough room inside our house for the party when the forecast said there wouldn’t be any rain for the party and it did nothing but rain once Arabella’s party started. By the time I woke up this morning we had 4 inches of rain.
  4. I’m grateful that my daughter graduated from high school.
  5. I’m grateful that all my kids are hard workers and have jobs.
  6. I’m grateful that both Angel and Arabella, who went on two separate trips to Chicago within the last week, made it back safely.
  7. Within the last week or so I was contacted by two of the Airbnb’s for our trip next month. One of them said they double booked the cabin we rented. They wanted us to move from a three bedroom to a two bedroom. I was really nice and explained that I wanted my mom and Arabella to have separate rooms when they asked. My mom is an insomniac morning person who likes complete dark and silence. My daughter is an extreme night owl that likes to sleep with noise and lights. They would not make the best roommates. Once I explained it to the lady, she told me not to worry about it. She would find different accommodations for the other people since she said the guy was really rude to her. So everything is still a go for our trip next month.
  8. In a couple days Paul and I are leaving on vacation. We our sailing our boat across Lake Michigan with three other people. It may take 10 to 12 hours to cross. There will be periods of time that we won’t see land or have cell coverage. I am a little nervous since we have never done this before. But it should be a great adventure. I’ll be sure to share some pictures.
  9. Paul and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary this past week. We spent the day touring Door County.
  10. I am grateful that I didn’t need to buy any decorations for the party because I was given decorations from two friends that already had graduation parties for their kids in June. I am happy that the graduation party is over. I probably spent at least 12 hours weeding, cleaning, and setting up for the party. I am almost done cleaning up and taking everything back down. Now that the party is over it’s one less thing to stress about.
  11. Summer!
  12. I’m grateful that I was able to gather with family and friends for my daughter’s graduation party.