- A nice day sailing with my mom, Arabella, and her boyfriend.
- I docked the boat into the slip by myself for the first time.
- Lexi and I went thrifting and I had some really good finds. Two murder mystery games, two books, some clothes, and a variety of records from Billy Idol to organ music by Bach.
- I may have the opportunity to check another state off my bucket list this fall so I’m starting to plan and think about it.
- Fresh picked strawberries.
- Going out to eat and visiting with my friend Jen.
- Summer! This is my favorite time of year!!
- 1200 followers.
- Independence Day! I love freedom and fireworks!
- For two nights of seeing fireworks on the lake and a night of fireworks with friends.
- I’m grateful all my kids came up north a couple of days. They all got along really well and had a lot of fun. It wasn’t quite the case with the extended family, but I’ll save that story for another day.
Gratitude week 127
- I was able to visit with Angel and Dan after not seeing them for a couple weeks.
- Opening the cabin up north for the season.
- Last minute my brother Luke came up north with his daughters. It was the first time I saw them this year. We played games, went for a hike, and sat by the campfire. It was too cold to swim yet.
- One thing that has taken some adjustment, my husband is gone a lot with our seasonal business. I do most of my work out of the house. That being said, I find myself alone a lot for the first time since all the kids moved out. The first night I spent at the cabin by myself. It was different. I was feeling this melancholy nostalgia. I missed my husband, the kids when they were younger, and my dog who went there with us year after year until this year since his passing. I started to feel sorry for myself. Then the next day, my brother came up with his kids and dog. The next door neighbors had kids and a dog. Kids were fighting, the dogs were always trying to get away, not to mention the noise and commotion. It was in that moment I became grateful for the stage of life I’m in. I don’t think I have the energy anymore to be chasing after kids and dogs that get away. I didn’t have to be responsible for anyone and I kind of like it.
- I’m grateful for the time to discover what I like to do. I really like going thrifting and to rummage sales. I did both this past week but no huge finds.
- Angel and Dan checked out some local city wide rummage sales and asked if there was anything I was looking for they could find, and they did! I have been looking for a motorcycle helmet for Alex’s girlfriend. He only has one and he has been taking his off to give to his girlfriend when she rides with him. Angel found a pink motorcycle helmet for Lexi, her favorite color. Her birthday is next month and I have the perfect gift. Win, win, win.
- My mom and autistic brother Matt went up north this weekend too. Matt is more on the severe end of the autism spectrum and is not very socially aware. Two things happened this weekend that are worth mentioning. Matt asked me if Paul was coming up north too. He didn’t ask about my kids. This tells me he somehow knows Paul and I are linked together but that the kids are grown up. I was impressed by his awareness when most of the time he is oblivious to relationships.
- The other thing that happened is this…We were sitting around a campfire. My mom asked my 12 year old niece Gracie to move out of grandma’s chair so she could sit there. A few minutes later my brother Matt wanted the chair, so my mom moved out of the chair to an empty chair so Matt could sit there. I called my mom out on it. My mom said she is just a really good mom to Matt. She always gives him special treatment which I am not keen of. Later, Matt wanted my chair and moved all my stuff off of it while I was tending to the fire. I told him I was sitting there and it was rude of him to take my chair when I got up to do work especially when other chairs were available. But he did it anyway and I was pissed. My mom did nothing. A few minutes later Matt came over and apologized to me. I was floored. I never in a million years thought he was going to do that. I actually thought he was coming over to me to steal the other chair I was sitting on.
- Matt has been involved in a day program for the last several years for autistic children and adults. It’s made a big difference in his life. I know they have been working with him a lot on social skills and how to interact with people. Matt noticed I was up north alone. But the big thing was he noticed I was irritated at him for his behavior and he apologized. My parents didn’t teach him that. My mom always wanted us to give him special treatment like she does without giving him the opportunity to learn what appropriate behavior is. I’m grateful for this program and that even though he is in his 40’s, he is learning how to interact with others in a way that is also healthy for him.
- I’m grateful for warm spring days and cool nights. No need for the heat or the A/C.
Gratitude week 113
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I found a bridesmaid dress for my daughter’s wedding.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- February is almost over. Spring is on the way.
Gratitude week 89
- The last few days of summer.
- Making it home from a run outside two minutes before it started hailing.
- I finished three books this week. One about introverts, a biography of a madam, and the memoir Girl, Interrupted. I just started another memoir today.
- Lighting a candle in the memory of the 20th year anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe so much time has passed. It’s strange to think the my kids have no memory of 9/11 or weren’t even born yet. It was a year later that I remember taking a pregnancy test (positive with Arabella) on 9/11 just as the fire trucks passed our house with American flags waving from the back. It was a horrifying time, but we banded together in a true patriotism I haven’t seen since. I’m grateful for the heroes of 9/11. It was a somber experience to go to NYC and visit the 9/11 memorial. I will never forget.
- My son after being single for a couple of years started dating a new girlfriend this summer. We are planning on having them over for supper this week so we can get to know her better. Who knows, some day she might be my future DIL.
- I spent the last couple of days up north with my mom closing the cottage for the season. We went for some walks and took the kayaks out on the lake. The weather was nice.
- Since I have been uninvited to the family reunion, my daughter took the opportunity of us having a free weekend to schedule wedding dress shopping. It’s something to be excited about.
- I’m starting to get excited for our trip to Maine in a week and a half.
- I’m thankful for my geriatric pets. My dog just turned 14 and my cat is 15. My dog is chill now. No more barking. I can’t remember the last time he barked. My cat is happy to cuddle up by me. He doesn’t bring mice in the house anymore and hasn’t for awhile. This week I surprised him by buying him a catnip toy mouse. It looks so real that a couple of times I jumped when I saw it.
- Oh my gosh, I saw my son went out grocery shopping on a Saturday night. I didn’t even see any liquor. Maybe it’s a good sign that he is growing up? I’ll take it as that.
Gratitude week 75
- I found my favorite pair of sunglasses that I thought I lost.
- Summer!!! So last weekend we had a couple of days with highs around 50. This weekend the temps are in the 90’s. I am totally embracing summer so much so that I typically drive with the windows down. Also we are so cheap that we are planning on going the whole summer without A/C. The past couple days have been a test of that. I am totally happy that my husband is on the same page as I am as far as embracing the heat goes although it is a little on the side of crazy.
- I was able to spend a couple days up north as we opened up the cabin for the season.
- I am learning to live with the uncomfortableness of letting go. There is a certain freedom to be found in it after having to be responsible for others for so long.
- I just finished another self help book. After spending the last couple months reading that genre, I’m going to read a novel that I found in one of those little free book boxes up north.
- We are taking Paul out to eat tonight to celebrate him being on TV.
- We also started thinking of new business strategies and ideas to help us move forward with our business.
- Paul and I went to a session together with my therapist this past week that was really helpful and eye opening.
- Kayaking around the lake on a hot day and jumping into the cool refreshing water at the sand bar.
- We had a nice Memorial Day with Paul’s step-dad Darryl and his new fiancé. My mom and all the kids were around too. It was nice to have a cook out and play some games. It seems like that doesn’t happen often enough. It didn’t happen at all last summer. It’s nice to see life getting back to somewhat normal.
The real up north
This past weekend we traveled to the farthest northern point of Wisconsin.
If you aren’t familiar with our state, we are located in the northern mid-west of the United States. We are surrounded by bodies of water on each border of our state, except our southern border which has Illinois. To the west, we have the Mississippi River. To the north, Lake Superior. To the east, Lake Michigan. With so many lakes, it is a wonderful place for fishing, sailing, and water sports of any kind. The diehards even go fishing on the lake’s ice on the coldest days of winter.
Most of our population lives near our biggest cities of Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay. It takes approximately 8 hours to drive from the southern most point to the northern and 5 hours from the farthest west to the east. A lot of our lakes are practically deserted…peaceful, serene, and quiet.
Wisconsinners are very hardy folk by nature. We have to be to survive our winters. We are known for the Green Bay Packers, the Great Lakes, brats, and beer. Unfortunately, we are also known for being one of the drunkest states hosting some of the drunkest cities in the nation, if not world. Drinking is a huge part of our culture.
The far northern portion of our state has a lot of wildlife not related to drinking. I captured a picture of Paul fishing. But in doing so, I may have gotten a little too close to an otter den. I was chased down in the water by hissing otters. I can’t say that ever happened to me before. We also saw deer that were too numerous to count. This part of our state tends to get the largest snowfalls and coolest temperatures.
I love taking pictures of our state’s beauty. The northernmost part of our state is rugged and wild with the lowest population.
On the way home, we stopped for brunch at what was rumored the best restaurant in the county. It was almost a 2 hour wait, so we decided to skip brunch and headed towards home. It took us over an hour to find another restaurant. Was it the only restaurant in the county?? Gas stations and restaurants are scarce. But even rarer is good cell reception. You might be in trouble if you run out of gas on a snowy winter night without cell reception. Even the highway traffic is minimal. I think we saw more deer than cars.
But I would have to say, even though I’ve been to many beautiful places, that Wisconsin is still on the top of the list. I wanted to share that beauty with you.
Up north adventures
We left Wednesday afternoon to take the winding roads through the north woods of Wisconsin to get to our friends cabin. This was our first time at Tom and Lisa’s cabin. The last couple miles of our journey was on dirt roads.
When we arrived at their cabin, I felt like we stepped back in time. It was quiet and peaceful in their cabin in the woods on the lake. Their biggest form of entertainment upstairs was a record player. We listened to Kenny Rogers and Huey Lewis, the records I listened to as a kid. It’s amazing how I haven’t heard some of those songs for 30 years and can still sing them by heart. I picked out a few records, but to be honest I almost forgot how the record player worked.
We spent the first evening kayaking around the lake. We sat around the campfire and spent the evenings playing darts and board games. We spent half of the next day at the beach we had to ourselves. It was a hot day and storms blew through in the evening. We had to rescue the kids from the beach in the evening as the storms were coming in. The thunder echoed off the lake magnificently.
I was surprised at how at peace I was there. I certainly shouldn’t have been. Yesterday Tom and Lisa’s friend came up with his kids. Out of all of us, we had 7 kids between the ages of 10 and 15.
I had a hard time sleeping at night. There wasn’t any A/C. The mattress was little and old. It caved in towards the center. I ended up rolling downhill into Paul all night, tossing turning and elbowing him. Four of the kids slept in the room above ours. It sounded like a marching band was practicing above our heads. At 2 AM, I told them to shut up. Nicely, of course, since they weren’t my kids.
I awoke at 6 AM after a restless night of sleep to the ringing of the phone. Our employee called in saying that her mom was in the ICU and couldn’t make it to work today. My mood darkened considerably. I decided to stick with our plan anyway, but modify it a bit.
Lisa and I were planning on going for a 9 mile run and then hiking to a waterfall. Instead, we hopped on the back of their 4 wheeler to hike. Can you believe that I was never on a 4 wheeler before? It was fun.
We hiked the muddy path to the waterfall. There wasn’t another person in sight, which was great because I had to pee. We had to hike around fallen trees. It felt like an obstacle course more than anything. We made it there and I thought I would share a few pictures.
Afterwards, our husbands dropped us off on the road and we ran 6 miles back to the cabin. It was a tough run. I’m not sure if it was because of working out 3 hours two days before, the endless supply of liquor, a week of barely any sleep, that it was hot out, or because we had to cut our vacation short to go back in to work to cover for an absent employee. Good thing we didn’t see any bears! I could never outrun Lisa.
Regardless, we had fun on our mini vacation. Maybe tonight I will get some sleep??
Then tomorrow we are off bright and early for a sailboat cruise, then ending the day with a sailboat race. Another adventure awaits!
It was an interesting weekend on the lake. We headed up north Friday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon, my brother Mark and his wife Carla arrived. They decided to go to rummage sales. I asked to go with as it is always a fun thing to do being cheapskates and all. I was expecting being gone an hour or so. We ended up trudging back 4 hours later. Apparently Mark was kicking himself for not buying a junky accordion for $5 last 4th of July. The people did not have a rummage sale this year, but Mark was tempted to knock on their door to ask about the accordion.
I asked Mark to stop at the store on the way back. I brought everything along to make a banana daiquiri except the rum. As I was looking for the rum, there were some young folks stocking their cart full of liquor. They looked like they were 16. They happened to be right next to me in the checkout line. The cashier wanted to card the group of 5 young people until her manager told her that she only needed to card the one buying.
I pushed the door open on the way out and let it slip shut behind me as one of the young girls came out fast behind me. She muttered ‘bitch’ as she was leaving. At first I thought she was talking to me because I failed to hold the door open for her. I was about to turn around and have a conversation with her about her choice of words when I decided she was upset about the cashier and not me. I walked away not wanting to confront someone that was possibly underage. For a moment I pictured myself confronting the girl and ending the evening incarcerated. Sometimes anxiety works to my favor…just walk away.
The rest of the evening Mark and Carla fought. They didn’t seem very happy to be married.
Then my husband Paul’s stepdad Darryl showed up unexpectedly. Paul’s mother passed away in February. A couple weeks after her passing, Darryl discovered the internet. He has become obsessed with women that he could meet online. It is all he has been talking about. It really makes us uncomfortable.
Darryl was having a conversation via text with a hot younger lady the whole evening. She is younger than me. They were talking for several days and Darryl called her his new girlfriend.
The next morning she said her wallet was stolen and she was starving. She started asking Darryl for money. Darryl had to break up with his new girlfriend and seemed heartbroken. All this happened while Mark and Carla fought.
It’s sad that most people I know are just not happy…not happy being single, not happy being in a relationship. What is the purpose of that??
I told Paul that if he starts searching for my replacement a few weeks after my demise, I would come back from the dead and haunt him with a vengeance.
Every year my family goes up north together for the 4th of July weekend. It is almost like a family reunion. This year my brother Luke couldn’t come with his family. His dog was very sick and needed to spend the night at the vet. But that allowed my parents to come up with my brother Matt. Matt is still hearing voices and is obsessed with hurting Luke’s daughter.
Matt was acting strange.. He giggled like a maniac and became obsessed with the noise of the children next door. It was all very concerning and I had thoughts that I might have to protect those children if Matt freaked out. I remained vigilant, but nothing happened.
I spent three mornings swimming across the lake. It went pretty well. Paul kayaked or boated attentively by me. Every time I took a breath, I saw him there. Except for one time. I had a feeling something was off and I was right. There was a loon in the water 10 feet in front of me and I was heading straight for it. Swimming up north across the lake is terrifying because I can’t see what is in front of me, kind of like life is sometimes when things are uncertain. I probably would never swim again if I rubbed up against the loon.
Paul and I also took the 12 ft sailboat out. The wind picked up and the lake was quiet. Once we got quite a ways out, the wind died and everyone came back out on the lake. We were hit by the boaters waves and had to paddle to get anywhere. Then Paul dropped the paddle and had to jump in. Some of the boaters came by and asked if we needed help causing more waves. Time to sell that sailboat I think.
To tell you the truth, I was bummed out a bit up north this year. My oldest daughter Angel decided to go to St. Louis for the 4th to be with her new boyfriend. My son Alex didn’t want to come up either. I told him he had to come for one day. He showed up late Monday afternoon. He spent the night and left the next morning.
I expected that Alex would spend the day with us swimming and kayaking, but he wanted to go cliff diving with his friends. After he left, I cried a few tears. I felt so upset that he left. I wanted him to be there, but he didn’t want that. I felt hurt to let go of two kids at the same time.
I sat around feeling sorry for myself. We were just about ready to leave when we heard someone call our names from the lake. Our friends Cori and Randy were on a pontoon boat with friends. They kidnapped Paul, my youngest daughter, and I. It was so much fun that I forgot about my sadness for awhile.
That was my weekend.. Sorry it is so long.. I wanted to tell you this before I forgot.
We are leaving soon to go back up north to visit Lisa and Tom…another adventure awaits!
Working (out) on vacation
Today I fell off of my bike.
When I bought my new clip on bike shoes a few months back, I was warned that this would happen..
Oh no, no, no…not me!
It happened while I was stopping for a stop sign at a busy intersection. I unclipped my left foot and fell on my right side. I didn’t get seriously injured, just my pride. I caught the fall with my hip/right butt cheek and my hand. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. But it have a little bruise on my butt and a bruised and swollen hand. I am so sore..
It hurts to use my mouse and type. Falling off the bike is better than getting hit by a car though..
Thankfully, I am taking next week off of work for a vacation. I will be partaking in the mass exodus of Wisconsinites (or Wisconsinners, if you prefer) up north.
So if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days it’s probably because I don’t have internet not that I got hit by a car..
This will be the first vacation I plan on working out. I have 3 days of swimming across the lake planned. People envy my determination. I envy those who relax wondering why I didn’t choose that as my hobby. Honestly though, it is very hard working out when others are having fun. But signing up for a half iron is very motivating.
But don’t worry, I will swim across the lake early in the morning before the drunks come out thicker than the mosquitoes.
Truth be told, I am planning on having some fun. I love the 4th of July weekend. The rich people on the lake have a fireworks contest every night to see who has the biggest and best. A free firework show on the lake without having to find a parking spot, a place to sit, crowds, and having to drive home. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
Plus we will visit with family around the campfire, play games, and pig out.
Paul is going to sail around the lake with us on his 12 ft Puffer sailboat. We will do some fishing and kayaking.
Then we are coming home for a few days and heading up north to Tom and Lisa’s new cabin. It seems like every time we got together with them that it winds up being like the movie The Hangover. (They were the other couple on the accidental overnight sail with us). They are very adventurous which tends to fuel the flames of our adventurousness. The next thing I know I am waking up on the roof in some strange town or something like that..
So, I will be swimming across the lake and working out over my time off. But I also have a lot of other fun things planned so don’t feel too sorry for me.
Up north photography
Here are a few of my favorite up north photos of the season. Although it looks rather remote, it really isn’t. Just a few spots that I like to take pictures of.
The lake is the habitat of a lot of wildlife. This eagle has a nest nearby our cabin. It likes to eat the northern, bass, bluegills, and crappies that live in the lake. We also see cranes, geese, loons, and lot of other birds. The most plentiful wild life are the people that make the lake their home on warm summer weekends.
Early mornings on the lake are very quiet. The evenings, not so much…
This past weekend we took out the dock. It was a sad day. We won’t be back until May.