Gratitude week 29

  1. Summer!!
  2. My birthday was this past week. Although the weather didn’t cooperate with my outdoor plans, I was able to go out to eat with my best friend Cindy. We went to a gluten-free restaurant. The food was amazing. They even had gluten and dairy free cheesecake. Plus it was open mic stand up comedy night. I’m thinking that would be a fun hobby. I’m planning on doing stand up in the near future.
  3. My daughter came home this past weekend. We started looking at places for her to live. It is starting to feel real that after 4 years she is moving back home. She also bought me a puzzle and mini vacuum cleaner for my birthday. It was everything I wanted but didn’t ask for.
  4. I spent a lot of good quality time with my daughter Angel and son Alex over the last few days. We went out to eat and did a painting class along with Paul and Angel’s boyfriend.
  5. I got a massage for my birthday week. Plus Paul gave me a gift card so I can go again.
  6. I am starting the training for the census job this week. It should be interesting!
  7. Paul and I took the church leadership sailing. It was very windy, but thankfully everything went well. We took them out without ‘taking them out’ which was a win.
  8. I am grateful for my daughter Angel whose birthday is tomorrow. I can’t wait until she moves back! It was nice to celebrate our birthdays together.
  9. I’m grateful to be busy since Estelle left. I miss her!
  10. Although I was supposed to be getting back from Europe this week and don’t have any vacations planned in the foreseeable future, I am grateful to have a sailboat we can get away on.

Gratitude week 28

  1. Summer! The weather has been perfect.
  2. For my days in the sun spending time on the sailboat.
  3. For a sense of humor. Our family went sailing on the 4th and I brought a whole stack of beach towels. One of the towels was of the British flag. So yes, I had a British flag towel flying off the back of our boat on Independence Day. Whoops!
  4. For the first pedicure of the year.
  5. For the baptism of my brother and niece today.
  6. For the start of my birthday week.
  7. I received my allergy testing results back. I can have eggs, blackberries, kiwi, rice, crab, and perch again! Yeah!! And my dairy allergy dropped from very high to low. There were a few things that didn’t change and a few new things were added like cranberries, but overall I am very happy with the results.
  8. For working hard and keeping busy yet still taking time to relax and read.
  9. Healing and growth.
  10. For having the strength to withstand difficult times.

Gratitude week 27

  1. Summer!! We’ve had a bit of a heat wave here in Wisconsin. It’s been in the 90’s for over a week. Typically we are lucky (if you like it hot like I do) to have one or two days a year that hot. I finally broke down and turned on the A/C.
  2. I have one less teenager in the house. I went from 4 teenagers this year down to one. Our exchange student from France, Estelle, went back home this last week. Now I am not grateful or happy about this, BUT Estelle and my daughter Arabella started out as best friends and left not even speaking to each other. It was difficult because Estelle wanted to do everything with me and Arabella wants nothing to do with me. So I am hoping for less stress now that she is gone.
  3. I am grateful to keep busy so I am not depressed about Estelle leaving. My birthday is next week and I have some fun things planned that I enjoy.
  4. My daughter came home this past weekend. Paul and I had a great time with our son Alex and our daughter Angel and her boyfriend Dan sailing and swimming.
  5. I feel grateful I am able to get away more now that the responsibility of having foreign exchange students is over.
  6. Paul taught me almost everything I needed to know about sailing over this weekend. This is wonderful because I need to know how to run the boat if something happens to him.
  7. After being gone the last four days I am grateful to be back home.
  8. I am grateful for my faithful followers and I can’t wait to share more of my story.
  9. I am grateful we didn’t run into any storms while we were out sailing. With the heat and humidity the weather has been volatile.
  10. I am grateful to have a supportive husband even if it means writing about him.

Gratitude week 21

  1.  Just like that it went from winter to summer in Wisconsin. My favorite season is finally here!! This week we finally got green leaves on our trees. We took the cover off our pool.
  2.  I trimmed down the list of people I’m following. I no longer follow people simply because they follow me like I used to. I’m following blogs I am interested in. The whole process was very glitchy so it is possible I may have accidentally unfollowed someone. I also axed some people that I genuinely liked because they haven’t blogged in several months or years. It felt good like I was cleaning. A big shout out to long time bloggers. I am grateful that you stuck it out.
  3.  Coronavirus be damned, I hugged and cried with a complete stranger. As I mentioned yesterday, over the weekend a historical building once owned by my family burned down. I cried with the new owner who felt horrible because their intent was to restore the building and preserve its history. Also, because of it, I was able to see and hug my mom which with her terror over the virus I questioned if it would happen again anytime soon. I am grateful that we don’t have to deal with the devastation of a fire. The destruction and loss was overwhelming. I can’t imagine what they will have to go through. I am also grateful that no one was injured or died as a result of the fire.
  4.  Paul got his first customer in his new business venture.
  5.  I am slowly starting to feel a little better. By no means close to 100%, but if I had to live this way the rest of my life I could.
  6.  On this Memorial Day, I am thankful for our wonderful veterans who sacrificed all.
  7.  I am grateful for the ability to survive traumatic experiences.
  8.  I am thankful for Paul. Even though things have been difficult lately, I know he has my back and I his.
  9.  Taking the winter quilt off the bed, turning off the heat, and opening the windows.
  10.  Estelle and I bought some orangish brown paint for the shed in the backyard. It is nice to have a project we can do together and something to remember her by once she goes home when I look at it.

Sail

In July, we had the opportunity to spend the weekend on our friends new sailboat. We haven’t been friends with Tim and Cara very long, but we have a lot in common with them. So I felt like it was time to give them names.

Tim and Cara were at our house the evening that my son wanted to siphon gas. Tim was the one that told me that my son would probably blow up if he smoked after siphoning gas. Maybe Tim was talking from a similar experience? Lol. He has some pretty crazy stories.

I hate to say this but I have very high expectations for friends. Maybe that explains why I have only a handful of close friends.

I basically have only two simple requirements for a really close friend. 1. They need to be intellectuals and be willing to share deep conversations (sometimes about spirituality). 2. They need to be wild, crazy, active, adventurous, and fun. Kind of like me. Do you see the problem here?? How many wild, crazy intellectuals do you know??

Tim and Cara are a lot like us. They have similar hobbies, personalities, and are in their 40’s like us. Cara was the person that wanted to follow my blog and I told her that I don’t share my personal experiences with friends. I am a terrible person, emotionally closed off and all. Maybe someday I will get over my trust issues. Again, you see the crap I write about..

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We sailed the bay of Lake Michigan off of Door County in Wisconsin.

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We sailed by bluffs.

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I got some pretty nice pictures with my phone.

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There was only one problem. It was a cold weekend in July with a chilly breeze that made for great sailing and cold swimming. They all laughed at my expression jumping in.

There was another problem too…kind of humorous, kind of not. My husband Paul is a friendly guy. He talked to the old guy on the dock about the fish he caught. What’s biting, what are they biting on…all that fisherman kind of talk.

Awhile later, a little girl walked by carrying a fishing pole with her parents behind her. Paul tried to strike up a similar conversation with the little girl about fishing. But her parents told her to keep on walking and not look at him.

I had to laugh. Next month Paul will be 50. I told him that he is now old enough to be considered a creepy old man. I told him that parents probably won’t be friendly if he talks to their kids again until he has tons of grandchildren in tow.

Anyway, we had a great time with our new friends and are looking forward to going on a sailing vacation with them to the British Virgin Islands this winter.

Day 3: Our journey to Washington Island

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We had another late start this morning. George was having electrical problems and issues with his inboard motor. Capt. Tom was able to solve his electrical issues, but fixing the motor would involve taking it out. That wasn’t going to happen, so George tried to sail as much as possible on this trip so he wouldn’t have to use his motor.

It wasn’t long after we left the marina that I got a message about a problem at work. After all, it was early Monday morning. I felt frustrated. I wanted to be able to get away!

But is that really what I wanted?

I hardly slept the night before due to worrying about my teenagers at home. I felt a lack of control being away.

It would take many hours to get back by sailboat. Once we got to Washington Island, it would take a long time to get home by car. You need to take a ferry to get to and from the island. If there is bad weather, sometimes the ferries don’t run.

It can be a difficult passage by boat through Death’s Door. It is the point where the waters of Lake Michigan and the bay collide. There are 3 marinas on the island. This trip we are going around Death’s Door and not through it.

Washington Island is very secluded which is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

On our way, we passed a schooner full of tourists.

Wisconsin is a truly strikingly beautiful home state. There is nowhere else I would rather spend my summers.

I was in paradise and found myself to be feeling completely miserable. Is this all there is for me?? Worry?? I couldn’t seem to let go of the worry about my kids or the stress of work. More than anything I really wanted to enjoy this time away.

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Near the end of our journey for the day, we stopped at Schoolhouse Beach. The water was 150 feet deep near this rock formation. Once we rounded the corner, we sailed into the cove to get to the beach. I’ve heard that there is only one other beach in the whole world that has the same geological rock formation, in Iceland.

We rafted up in 20 feet of water near the beach with 3 other sailboats. It was a hot day and it felt good to jump into the icy water. There wasn’t any sand on the beach, just smooth white rocks the size of the palm of my hand. The water was clear and it was amazing to see the rock bottom.

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I took a picture of the beach from the boat. I didn’t want to take my camera or my phone to shore on the dinghy. This picture does not do it justice.

Most of us jumped into the water from our sailboats. We had an incredibly hard time climbing the rocks to get to shore and kept falling into each other. It was easier to crawl or slide to a place to sit. Some of the rocks had paint splattered on them but I am not sure why. The rocks were comfortably warm against my skin.

We spent an hour at the beach until the rumble of distant thunder prodded us to get back on course.

19. If I could live anywhere…

Day 19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

It is that time of year again…the time of year when the old year is coming to an end like the falling of the leaves….and a new year with new opportunities is almost upon us..

It is at this time of year that I reflect…. What do I truly want?

If I could pick any place in the world that I wanted to live, it would be Tahiti. I have images in my mind of forever lounging in the sunshine on a sandy beach.

But, would that be what I truly want??

I have never lived in a warm climate. We get a total of 2 months out of the year that lounging in the sunshine on the beach is really possible. If we are really lucky, we get 3 months of warmth and beach weather.

Would I miss the change of the seasons? Would I get bored spending every single sunny day on the beach? Would I take it for granted?

Summer is my favorite season.

Would I miss cuddling in a warm blanket on a cool fall evening? Would I miss breathing in the crisp cool refreshing autumn air? Would I miss the beauty of the leaves changing color?

Would I miss waking on Christmas morning to fresh fallen snow? Would I miss the excitement of the first big snowfall? Would I miss seeing icicles glisten like crystals on barren trees?  There is something special about the roaring wind that whistles through the cracks in our very foundation that ushers in the winter snow….The appreciation of warmth inside when the house cracks from temperatures of 30 below.

Spring is my least favorite season..Every time there is a glimmer of hope, it seems like we are dragged back into the dark, desolate winter again. But would I miss the expectation of the arrival of summer if it is always summer? Would I get sick of something that I love because I have too much of it? Would it still be as special??

Although I would like to say that I want to live in forever summer, I don’t think that I really want to live anywhere but here…

Would I be happy away from friends and family to live in sunshine and warmth? Maybe for a few months out of the year, but not forever…

Maybe, just maybe, in the darkest loneliest days of winter I will pack my bags and live for a short time in forever summer…That sounds perfect to me!

Summer, don’t leave me too!

The Canadian geese are flying south. Just like that a light switch was turned off. Summer is ending.

I always have a hard time this time of year. It’s not that I don’t like the changing of the seasons. It’s just that I live for summer. I love the warm weather and sunshine.

Now all of my kids are back in school. I had to say good-bye to my oldest child for the first time when I sent her off to college. It wasn’t just like saying good-bye to a child, it was saying good-bye to a friend. Over the past few years, the active parenting ended and a friendship began. I hope it will be like that with all of my children.

Out of all of the people living on this Earth, my daughter Angel is the most like me. She looks just like me. She has my mannerisms. We have very similar personalities, viewpoints, morals, and taste. We are both firstborns. We relate on all levels. Sometimes I think that she is an unjaded version of me. She is what I could’ve been. People have asked before if she is my clone. It was hard to let go.

My son Alex takes after my side of the family in everything but looks. Because of this, I understand him. Arabella is completely alien to me. We have nothing in common. To be totally honest, this has been a struggle for me. Sometimes we clash instead of click. It just doesn’t seem fair!

The morning after dropping off Angel at college, my husband went away on a week long sailing trip with friends. He will be back home tonight. This has made things more stressful for me at home and at work.

At first, I was fine. It seems like it takes me a few days to process my emotions.

Monday the anxiety and worry hit me hard. It probably didn’t help that I checked my phone before going to bed and noticed that Alex was not at his friend’s house that he was staying overnight at. Apparently they got bored and decided to aimlessly drive around much to my disappointment since I was the one filling up the tank with gas.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I waited until Alex got back to his friend’s house on my phone. Then I still couldn’t sleep because I stirred up the demon of my relationship with my dad. I didn’t realize that it upset me as much as it did. Of course, it is probably not wise to stir up painful moments in my life when I am feeling so emotional about my daughter leaving. My anxiety was through the roof and it kept me from sleeping most of the night.

The next morning I felt exhausted and depressed. I had to man the office by myself all day. Work was very busy and I didn’t feel like doing it. When I feel that way, I want to give up everything. I want to quit running. I want to stop blogging. I want to curl up in a ball and totally shut down. I will never do that though, somehow my mind beats out my heart every time. I don’t let myself shut down or even relax.

I will never give up this blog without telling people I am leaving. I am one of the least impulsive people I know. I am cold and calculating. I am schedule and routine. I am all or nothing. I overthink and underfeel. Like it or not, that is how I am. Yet somehow I can still manage to be fun.

Change has always been difficult for me, even if it is for the better. I have accepted that my daughter left home. It has to be a good thing for me because it is good for her.

Now I just have to accept that summer is over. This weekend we are shutting down the cabin for the season. The water will soon be too cold to swim in. By next month, we will be taking the sailboat out of water. The first few flurries will start to fall. My long outdoor runs will have to take place indoors on a treadmill.

Summer, please don’t leave me too!!

But I can’t look at it that way!

I have to be happy that my daughter is starting the future of her dreams. I still have other kids at home to bond with. I am married to a wonderful, adventurous man.

I have to look forward to crisp autumn days. Cool evenings spent in my hot tub gazing at the stars. Bonfires with friends. Photographing the beauty of the trees changing color. Reading cold psychological thrillers wrapped in a warm blanket. And having plenty of time to write…

19th anniversary sail

   

Seconds tick into minutes. The gears of time grind onward clicking minutes into hours. Hours turn into days, then months, then years, then decades. Before I knew it, I spent half my life with the same person. Sometimes I want to stop the sand from flowing through the hourglass so fast, suspend time for awhile. I wish our days were as numerous as sand on the beach then I won’t have to grasp time so greedily before it slips away.

Paul and I left Friday morning to sail to our destination, a beautiful resort in Door County for our 19th anniversary. The winds were against us. But we didn’t have time to go any other days, we had to force it. Last minute I decided to pack my rain coat, even though we weren’t expecting rain. I took the above picture as we were leaving. A few minutes later, I exchanged my shorts for pants and put on my rain coat. We were sailing against the wind and 3 to 6 foot waves were smashing into the bow soaking me. We had to motor for 2 hours under these conditions. I barely kept down my breakfast. I guess that is what happens when nature conflicts with your schedule.
 

After several hours of fighting the waves, we finally were able to sail through smoother waters. We did sail awhile for fun, but it didn’t get us towards our destination. It is ironic how something seemingly small, like the wind or a slight change in direction, can set the whole trajectory off course. Marriage is a lot like that at times too. The funny thing is that we don’t really notice the little changes at the time. Only when we look back with a great amount of reflection can we try to chart where we went off course. 

 

We arrived safely at our destination and were very warmly greeted by the other sailors. We were even offered the use of a car if an emergency arose at home which I came close to taking them up on. Lol. I AM the worried mother of three teenagers after all! We toured a larger sailboat and were offered a sail the following morning. We politely declined to explore a new beach. 

The next morning we motored 45 minutes to a small beach that was remote to get to from land but rather crowded by water. We were planning on blowing up our dingy and having a picnic on shore followed by a swim. The spot where we anchored was rather weedy. Then we noticed that the beach was full and the water was empty. So we decided to ditch the whole dingy idea and head back to the resort pool. We were talking about the beach we explored with someone and how the people didn’t seem to care for the water. We were told that the water was 61 degrees! Bbbrrrrr!! I’m glad we decided to eat our lunch aboard and head back to the resort pool. I even went into the hot tub and sauna for awhile. 

That is summer in Wisconsin. 

To be continued….