Gratitude week 152

  1. Thanksgiving; a time to count blessings.
  2. A visit to my massage therapist.
  3. Dan needing to get gas and missing a fatal car accident.
  4. Black Friday deals.
  5. Volunteering with my daughter sorting kids clothing.
  6. Devilled eggs and pumpkin pie.
  7. Clean sheets.
  8. Getting a good deal and planning a trip to the Caribbean this winter. We are going to an island in South America so I will be able to cross the continent of South America off my bucket list.
  9. I found an affordable futon couch to decorate my office with and will still be able to use my office as a bedroom if needed.
  10. I found the perfect Christmas trees this year. I got a traditional tree and found the white colored tree I was looking for. This is my second favorite time of year. This year Angel, Alex, and Lexi joined Paul and I picking out the trees and decorating. We finished the evening by watching my favorite Christmas movie, the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

This uncertainty, part 4

Usually I have my whole life planned out. Well, maybe not that extreme but you get the point. I thought I would be one of the few marathon runners that would run into their 70’s. That didn’t happen. Sometimes I still dream of running. I hate exercising now. I told the doctor all I really wanted to be able to do is run again. She chuckled at this and told me if I did she would be replacing both my knees in the next two years. It’s been a whole year since I ran and this year my husband and daughter will be doing the last race I did without me. I am happy for them and don’t want them not to do it because I can’t. I just never expected my life to be this way.

I thought I would be checking Europe off my bucket list in the summer of 2020. You all know what happened with those plans. Who would have guessed? When I plan things I pretty much plan on it happening. But I also learned life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

Usually by this time I have next year all planned out as far as travel goes. This year I have no idea what I want to do. Right now I’ve set aside several dates on the calendar for going on a trip. That’s about it. My husband and I are thinking of trying last minute deals with these dates. My only rule is that I want to go somewhere I haven’t already been. The problem with this plan is that we aren’t spontaneous people. Even if we have absolutely nothing going on, we both plan our days. We are by nature extreme planners. We like our structure and lists. On Mondays and Thursdays I wash towels. We are going to try this but we might not like it.

Typically I would get some input from my husband about where he wants to go and I would plan everything. Checking off all 50 states and all continents is huge on my bucket list, but my husband does not have these constraints. These are higher priority trips for me. Now my husband is getting involved in finding the deals. Since at heart he is a finance guy, he spent hours creating a financial calculator down to the penny to analyze which is the best deal. I could care less about that but I am concerned I will find something and it will be gone before he can decide what the better deal is. Then who is in charge of the planning. It has always been me and it’s something I really enjoy. I have a systematic way of doing things. Hopefully this is not going to create conflict. Now I think all this spontaneity might not work. Part of the fun is doing all the research and planning the details.

There is also some uncertainty about the next step in our business. There is uncertainty regarding the economy. In my mind there is still some uncertainty around COVID. This year we had to cancel a trip because of it. If anything I am getting better living with uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m not one of those we’ll see how everything pans out kind of person.

The bug

Most nights after we were done with the conference for the evening, we would go back to our room and doze off to Halloween specials or old movie series. This particular night, the Jaws series was on. I never watched the series as a kid because I was pretty young when it came out. Paul remembers going to the movie theater to watch Jaws with his mom as a kid. He said it was pretty scary. It’s amazing how time changes perspective and what was once scary is not scary anymore at all.

It was after midnight and I had just fallen asleep when Paul woke up freaking out because he felt a bug on his leg. He tore apart the bed looking for the bug thinking our hotel room had a bedbug infestation. I admit, we both are fearful of bedbugs when traveling. I saw a beetle flying around the room earlier so I still half asleep was not convinced of a problem.

Paul found the bug and tried to identify what it was. He decided to download a bug identifier app. They advertised that the first bug was free. He took a picture of the bug and the app said it was a bedbug. This amped up Paul’s anxiety and he was ready to pack up all our belongings and see if we could get another room. I told him it didn’t look like a bedbug and that I thought I saw the same kind of bug at home. He decided maybe he didn’t get a good enough picture, so he took another photo on the bug identifier app.

This time the bug identifier app said it would cost $3.99 per month for a minimum of 12 months. No way! What a scam. Because I saw a similar bug at home, I was able to find out what kind of bug it was on my phone. It was not a bedbug. Crisis diverted.

I told the story to a new friend I met at the conference after she told me a similar story. She said next time all I needed to do was download the google app and take a picture of whatever I wanted to identify. I had no idea I could do that. After she showed me how it worked, I downloaded the app. When we were at the state park in Delaware I saw an interesting small cactus type plant. Cactus in Delaware? I took a picture of it with my google app and it said the plant was an Eastern Prickly Pear.

Something good came out of the bug experience and for now we managed to once again evade a bedbug invasion.

Delaware

Delaware is my 42nd state I’ve crossed off my bucket list and we had two full days to spend there. I’m a small town girl and wanted to visit somewhere off the beaten path. So I choose a small bed and breakfast in the town of Milton. Not a lot different from rural Wisconsin. The first evening we walked from the B&B to an Irish pub for supper. I have to say I was very happy with the food and service everywhere we went in Delaware.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Traffic. I will never complain about traffic at home again after visiting out East. Oh my gosh! We must have sat forever at a yield sign before merging onto a busy highway. The lady in the car behind us was gesturing at us emphatically. I guess we were supposed to just go and hopefully someone would let us merge. Thankfully our rental car had Florida plates. Traffic was terrible. The other thing I was not impressed with was the live music I heard.

The bed and breakfast was a charming place built in I believe it was 1810 and a governor once lived there. The house is on a historical registry. I’ve never stayed in a B&B that was so old and as always kept a lookout for ghosts. But the innkeepers said the flickering lights had more to do with a hot water heater than anything else.

Our first day, Paul and I decided to hit up Bally’s Casino in Dover. I hate to admit it, but we had a great time losing our money. The casino was large and opulent with many choices. I liked that it was non-smoking although they did offer a separate room for the smoking section. We ate lunch at the casino and again the food was great. They had specialty drinks. I ordered a root beer float mixed drink which could be really dangerous.

That evening we walked to the Dogfish Head Brewery. We were hoping to get a tour but we arrived just after the last tour of the day left. I got a beer flight. We sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather. There were a lot of families playing outdoor games and people with dogs. I bought a t-shirt and a pint glass to remind me of our trip.

Our last full day we heard it was snowing at home and decided to soak up some sun at the beach. We decided to go to Cape Henlopen State Park. The water temperature was supposed to be the warmest at the cape at a balmy 69 degrees which was pretty close to the air temperature. At the point was where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. At first we walked along the bay. We had the beach to ourselves but the water was very cold. We decided to walk to lunch at Big Oyster Brewery from there which ended up being a long walk. Afterwards we took an Uber back to the cape.

At the cape, we got on our swimming suits and headed to the beach. We ended up walking around the whole cape which was rather massive. People were not swimming and sunbathing there as I imagined. Instead, people were driving on the beach with Jeeps that had a cart on the front full of fishing poles standing straight up. We saw them let air out of their tires to drive on the beach, then fill them up again once they left. No one was walking or frolicking in the water. It was way too cold for that. They were fishing. This plan of mine was an epic fail.

It was really windy and cool on the beach. People had little tents set up to block the wind. They were wearing pants, sweaters, and/or jackets. Meanwhile we were the crazy Midwesterners in swimming suits laying on beach towels getting pelted with sand. It was really quite miserable. We didn’t end up staying that long. It was a long walk back with no bathrooms in sight. It was not what I had in mind. I think we would have been fine if we stayed at the Delaware Bay beach, but we didn’t know. It was the middle of October and I guess I was expecting it not to be. I think we seriously need a beach vacation.

That evening when we got back we went out for seafood. If we couldn’t be in the ocean, we could at least enjoy eating things that did live in the ocean. We enjoyed our little weekend getaway in Delaware. Here are some of the photos I took at the beach.

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

Here and there

We left home for a week to go to a conference. We had three free days, one which we spent in Washington D.C. and the other two in Delaware checking them both off my bucket list.

We left Sunday morning in hopes of making it to our destination in time for the opening ceremony. Everything went smoothly for our first flight, not so much for our second. Paul was the one who alerted me of the first problem. It looked like someone puked right outside of the plane as we were boarding. Everyone else seemed oblivious to it. Most rolled their carry on luggage right through it. I’m hoping maybe someone just spilled food, but that’s not what it looked like.

We got on the plane and sat for the longest time. The latching mechanism for the door was not working so mechanics were called aboard with no success. Eventually we had to deplane and wait for another plane. It took so long I think perhaps they had to build another plane. The second plane didn’t take off right away either. By the time we reached our destination, we were two and a half hours late.

Next we had to wait to take a shuttle bus to the car rental area. The driver was a kind older man. The bus was rather full but he found a spot for my luggage and a seat for me to sit in. I wanted to give the man a tip but I only had larger currency. Once the doors opened, Paul raced to the rental car area. By the time I caught up to him it was too late to give the guy a tip. I was hoping to catch him on the way back.

Once we got the rental car, we still had another 30 minutes to our hotel. It was dark outside by then and we drove quite a ways before we noticed we were driving without our headlights on. We weren’t going to make it to the opening ceremony. We were going to miss the whole thing. When we got to the hotel, there was a skeleton crew of conference goers left at the bar area. A handful were planning on getting drinks and sushi nearby. We decided to go with because we didn’t eat supper yet. We got there right before the kitchen closed.

The bus driver I was hoping to catch on the way back wasn’t there. This time there was a bus driver who stood outside the front door of the bus. The bus was full, filled to overflowing. The driver just stood there. He did not help people put luggage on the racks or even say anything. At this point, we got to the airport really early so we should have just waited for the next bus. The luggage rack was full so I just stood there holding my luggage with one hand and tried to grab onto something with my other hand. Even though there wasn’t any room, people still entered the bus.

I stood next to a seat with two elderly people in it. In the seat behind them there was a family, a man younger than me with a son of about 11. Across from them was the mom who sat on the outside seat and wouldn’t move over to let someone else sit with her. At this time I was getting irritated. Not just because I was carrying a purse, backpack, and suitcase while trying to maintain my balance on a crowded bus. I was irritated the woman did not offer to move over. I was upset that I saw several senior citizens standing while the pre-teen sat without offering a seat to an elder.

Once the bus stopped, the family wanted to get off at the first stop. The woman complained I was in her way. It’s not as if I wanted to stand in the aisle. There was nowhere else for me to go. They were complaining about me out loud to each other. I was starting to get really angry about it. They couldn’t leave fast enough but I was a little shaken by the experience. The elderly lady in the seat in front of them must have noticed because she turned to me and smiled complimenting me on my shirt diffusing some of my irritation.

The family was rude in my book, but I placed a lot of blame on the bus driver. He was not going to be getting a tip from me. He probably didn’t get a lot of tips. The rest of the trip home was relatively uneventful. The first flight we ended up getting seats in the last row and the second flight we sat very close to the front. When we left it was warm. We were coming home to the cold rain. It takes courage sometimes to come home to a place of cold when we know the days ahead will be dark ones. My flipflops no longer keeping my feet warm. Yet it is comforting because it is home to me.

Gratitude week 146

  1. As much as I love to travel, it’s always nice to be back home.
  2. I’m grateful we got everything ready for winter before we left because it showed up while we were gone.
  3. I’m grateful to sleep in my own bed with clean sheets, an electric blanket, and a quilt on.
  4. I checked the state of Delaware off my bucket list.
  5. We made an unexpected trip into Washington D.C. so I checked that off my bucket list as well.
  6. Today I bought some light yellow paint to start turning Arabella’s old bedroom into my office. I’m excited to get started on some of my winter projects.
  7. I’m grateful for a quiet week and weekend ahead.
  8. I’m grateful for the warmish weather while we were travelling out East.

Gratitude week 145

  1. It was a rather quiet week to rest, reflect, and recuperate from the wedding.
  2. I was finally able to find some undergarments to fit Arabella good enough.
  3. Paul and I were able to get a lot done to get ready for winter. We sailed our boat to its winter home, covered the pool, shut down the cabin, and will be getting the yard ready for winter. It always feels good to get these tasks done.
  4. The trees have reached their peak in colors.
  5. We are getting ready to fly out east tomorrow for a business trip. I will be checking another state off my bucket list. Not to worry if you don’t hear from me much this upcoming week.
  6. We had a plumber come out this week to fix a couple problems we were having.
  7. I found the key to our bedroom door so we can lock it when we are gone. It’s not a huge deal, but last time we were gone Arabella slept in our bed and used our shower. We just don’t want anyone in our room.
  8. Dan and Angel got a duplicate gift of a big mixer for their wedding which they gave to me.
  9. We made plans to go to a yurt with our friends this winter. We will have to snowshoe 4.5 miles to get to a remote location without running water or electricity. Sounds like an adventure.
  10. My brother Luke and his family are planning on coming over for the weekend next month as my niece has a swim meet in the area. I’m glad I will finally be able to watch one of her meets. I had a good conversation with my brother.

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 140

  1. Summer, although I feel fall starting to slip in.
  2. A nice sailing getaway.
  3. A quiet and relaxing Labor Day weekend.
  4. Sleeping in my own bed with clean sheets.
  5. Angel came over for a visit and took down the balloon arch from her party. I absolutely hate the sound of popping balloons and there were still over 50 in the house some filled with confetti. I swear her future mother-in-law must hate me. Ha ha, never again will I have that many balloons in my house.
  6. My daughter’s wedding is less than a month away.
  7. My best friend and her family had a safe, fun, and relaxing trip to Europe to visit their foreign exchange student. It was their first trip abroad and I’m happy for them that it went well.
  8. A friend gave us enough firewood from the trees he took down to last us all winter. With natural gas prices skyrocketing, I’m grateful for free firewood to help keep our house warm.
  9. The house is clean and most of the laundry is done.
  10. My husband is making his homemade pizza tonight.