Thailand, Day 7


Today we left paradise and headed to the city of Ayutthaya. On the way we stopped by several street vendors. The first place was selling chickens and rats. They were out of snake.


Our tour guide purchased a rat and said that we could sample some for lunch after it was cooked some more. These rats were from the patty fields, but with the accent of the tour guide it sounded more like pedophile rats. I did not try this Thai delicacy, but Paul did. He said it tasted like beef. I wimped out after watching the documentary about rats not too long ago. But I assume there is a big difference between NYC sewer rats and Thai rice patty rats.


I did try the sticky rice made with beans. When I think of rice and beans, I typically think of Mexican food. This tasted like an extra sweet rice pudding.


We also sampled a burrito with what looked like my hair wrapped inside. It was almost too sweet.


We watched the vendors make the burritos and hair by hand. Our tour guide said that it was their version of cotton candy.

A few things happened today that are worth mentioning. First, our tour bus almost got hit by a semi. I wore my seat belt on the bus every time after that. The tour guide said that the country has a problem with the drug speed, especially with semi drivers. They take it so they can work long hours. When they get into accidents, they run off. Not too long after our close call, we saw an abandoned semi tipped over on the side of the road.

Also, when we went to the rat vendor, there were birds and a squirrel locked in cages. The squirrel was really agitated and wanted to get out. I thought that was peculiar. Was it next in line to be cooked? I mean, they eat rat. Why not squirrel? Our tour guide said that the Buddhist people will come and pay money to set the caged animals free. Then at night, the birds fly back into their cages only to be sold and set free again the next day.


The next stop on our trip was to the Summer Royal Palace. It was a breathtakingly beautiful place.


This is where the royalty stayed in ages past. In the middle left of the picture is an area where the royalty could see who was coming by looking through the slated windows, but no one could see in.

Centuries ago, no one was allowed to touch royalty. Then one summer day, the queen had a boating accident. The people watched her drown because if they touched royalty generations of their family would be killed. The king was so heartbroken that he abolished the law.


This lizard found his way inside by the other animals.

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I don’t have a lot of pictures by the Royal Palace. Today was the hottest day (over 100 degrees). I was not allowed into the palace with the shirt I was wearing. I had to buy another shirt to wear over my shirt. I already bought the pants I was wearing. First of all, all of the wild pants I bought were not worn by locals only tourists. I think it boldly proclaimed that I was an idiot that didn’t bother to pack pants or acceptable clothing.

To tell you the truth, I was getting very irritable at this point. I never wore so many clothes on such a hot day before. I felt overheated, sluggish, and weighed down by all of the crap I was carrying. Don’t let my smile fool you. I think I was suffering from WAT (What, another temple??) syndrome. At this point in the journey, I was starting to feel a little templed and palaced out.


In the evening we went to see the ruins of the former capital. It was beautiful at sunset.


Look at the back of my shirt. The back has a knitted material that you can see my skin through. Oops. At least I had something that matched the wild pants though.

If you look to my right, you can see the statues of the Buddhas with their heads cut off. The heads of the Buddhas were made of gold and were stolen when the city was raided.


We loved visiting the ruins, but for others it was their backyard.


Thailand, Day 6


We started off day 6 by hiking through Hellfire Pass.

This was the actual location that the POW’s from WWII and general laborers from Burma worked day and night to build a railroad through rocks and jungle. They were forced to work very long hours with very little sleep or supplies. If the men were too sick to work, they did not get fed at all in the attempt to get them back to work. Many men got sick with various serious ailments due to the harsh conditions. Many died of starvation.


The workers were treated poorly and punished severely if they didn’t work fast enough. One hundred thousand people lost their lives building the railroad. The fires lit at night made the workers think of hell, hence the name Hellfire Pass.


We took a train ride on a part of the Death Railroad that was still in use. We left the train and explored a cave that was set up as a medical aid station during the war. A shrine is set up there now. If you explore the cave past the shrine, there are a lot of bats in it.


We stopped at a waterfall. It was a slippery climb, but I didn’t see anyone fall.


In the afternoon, we visited the elephants. This was not included in the trip. It used to be included as an option, but the tour company got flooded with complaints saying that it wasn’t humane to ride an elephant. Unfortunately, the elephants survival depends on tourists dollars.

Many years ago the elephants were not treated humanely. They were given amphetamines to work long hours clearing brush and doing heavy lifting. After this was outlawed, the elephants could not be released into the wild. They would die. They created a sanctuary for these elephants and their families. Tourists can go to the sanctuary and pay to feed the elephants. Or they can ride the elephants, go on a river cruise, and swim with the elephants.

I was very nervous about riding an elephant at first. Look at them! They are huge. I was worried about falling off. The little seat on top of the elephant was held up by a couple of ropes that I was concerned wouldn’t hold our combined weight. Going up and down hills, I felt like I was falling. It was big time out of my comfort zone, but I decided to do it anyway.

After riding the elephant, we took a ride on a bamboo raft up the River Kwai. On the way back down, we jumped in the water and floated down the river. I couldn’t see or feel the bottom with my feet. When we got back, the elephants were waiting for us in the river. I had a hard time standing up as the current was fairly strong and the rocks under our feet were sharp. The elephants themselves are very gentle but whiskery with rough skin. They were only soft on the tip of their trunk.

I was a little nervous in the water too just from the sheer size of the elephants. Paul had an elephant fall in love with him. The elephant kept touching his bald head with her trunk. They gazed into each other’s eyes. Animals love him. The elephant seemed to sense my nervousness.

It certainly was a remarkable experience. I’m really happy I decided to go there.


There are a few elephants that live in the wild. Some people on our tour bus saw one as we were driving through the jungle.


We stopped on the way back to see some wild monkeys that were fed leftover food from the market.


We were not allowed to touch the monkeys. The tour guide had to close the doors on the bus so they wouldn’t get inside and raid our food. It was unbelievable seeing hundreds of monkeys out in the open so close that I could touch them.


We arrived back at the hotel in the evening and decided to eat outdoors at the romantic table. It was gorgeous outside. The average high temps were in the 90’s and it didn’t rain once the whole time we were in Thailand.


Nearby was a table with a large extended family. Two little girls from their table danced to American music that played through the speakers. Either we didn’t hear any music at all or it was remade American hits from a few years back made into elevator music sung by a mediocre female singer. She even sang a song by Nine Inch Nails elevator style. I wonder if they even understood the words. I don’t specifically recall hearing any Thai music on our whole trip. I thought that was rather odd.


Today was our favorite day of the trip.

Thailand, Day 5


The morning of day 5, we left Bangkok early and started making our way to Kanchanaburi.

We stopped on the way to visit a market set up next to the railroad tracks.


We were there when the train went through. What an awesome experience!


Our next stop was the floating market of Damnoen Saduak. Before I visited the floating market, I had a lot of misconceptions. The biggest one was that people were selling items from a boat and we would have to take a boat to be able to buy things. That was not true at all. The market was bigger than I expected, but totally accessible by foot.

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One of the things that Paul did at the market was pay to hold a snake. He said it felt cool and refreshing on this hot day. Paul bought himself a silk shirt for about $7 and I bought a pair of dragon pants and a couple more shirts. I bought some mango sticky rice for lunch.


Then we visited the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. We also stopped at the war museum and cemetery. I won’t go deep into the historical significance today. The bridge was rather long. We didn’t spend all our allotted time walking across the bridge and back, although the thought did cross our minds.


This isn’t a great picture, but I wanted to show you the tree with the ribbons around it. I mentioned a few days ago that the Buddhists believe in reincarnation. They also believe that loved ones can come back in the form of a tree. When a loved one comes back as a tree, they wrap ribbons around it and the tree cannot be cut down. They also have a little shrine set up which is not an uncommon sight outside of homes.


Here is the view from the bridge.


We arrived at our hotel by suppertime. It was very remote and downright beautiful. This was our view from the front of our hotel. Today was the first day I had the feeling that I was very far from home. This was my favorite hotel stay on the trip. I wished we could’ve stayed longer, but there really wasn’t anywhere to go or anything to do in walking distance. The employees of this hotel spoke very limited English. They wanted to charge us for ice to be brought to the room. It was hard to communicate.


The hotel swimming pool was breathtaking. We went swimming the first night we were there. I wish we had more time to spend there. The next day was going to be filled with sightseeing. We were told to wear mosquito repellent at all times, but surprisingly it was not very buggy.


That night Paul ordered fried fish. He got a fried fish alright. He said that it was excellent. I was craving Western food. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich with fries. The sandwich came out on white bread with the crust cut off. The ham was the cheap sandwich meat kind, the cheese was the cheap processed kind. Let’s just say that all of the American or Western food that I ate out East wasn’t all that good. I don’t know what I was expecting.

The service at the restaurants was unusual too. The servers seemed to have a hard time picking up our cues that we wanted another drink or that we were finished with our meal. We never had to wait for a table and never felt that we were rushed out of anywhere. I mentioned before that the servers also would not drop off menus and come back. They would stand at the table and wait until you ordered something unless you told them to come back.

All of the meals had a gratuity of 10% added to all of the bills. That made it easier converting dollars to bahts. However most Americans only tip 10% if they receive poor service, crappy food, or go to a buffet. For an excellent meal and service, most Americans happily tip between 15% to 20%.

We went back to our room exhausted from our long day and fell asleep to Thai boxing that came in poorly on the TV.

Thailand, Day 4


We started Day 4 with an optional tour of the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha. We took the tour bus through the crowded streets of Bangkok to get there. There were cars and trucks everywhere. Then there were people that weaved through the traffic on scooters. It was not uncommon to see multiple people, including children and babies, as passengers on the scooters. Only a few of the people wore helmets.

Like yesterday, the palace and temple contained intricately detailed ornate designs. My photos don’t do it justice.

Today I had to wear pants and a shirt with sleeves to gain entrance. To view the Buddha’s in the temples visited, we had to leave our shoes outside. We were not allowed to photograph the Emerald Buddha. Upon entrance to the Emerald Buddha, Paul and I both remarked having a strong unexpected emotional response that is hard to explain. It almost brought me to tears. We couldn’t imagine going there if we were actually Buddhists. The Emerald Buddha itself was very small and dressed in the winter wardrobe. The Buddha’s clothes change with the seasons. We were struck by its beauty.


Above is a picture of some of the sacrifices made to the Buddha.


The monks in Thailand don’t have to be monks for life. Our tour guide was a monk for 3 months (the shortest period of time allowed). Being a monk brings honor to their mother. Monks only eat twice a day, once at breakfast and lunch. People bring the monks food alms.

After the temple visit, we took a boat canal tour. The boat on the left was our boat.


Here is another picture of a boat on the river in downtown Bangkok.


We had to wait a few minutes for the canal locks to open. Once inside, the boat was tied up until the locks closed and we could begin our tour.


I took a few pictures of what the houses along the canal look like.


It is hard to imagine that people live here.


Although there aren’t any crocodiles and alligators, there are huge lizards.


The picture below is of the nicest house on the canal. If you look closely you can see that the windows are broken and the house has been left to ruin. The owners were robbed and murdered. No one wants to live there with the ghosts in the house. This is not the norm. Our tour guide said that the rich and poor usually live side by side in harmony as it is the Buddhist way.


Then after the tour, we met up with a friend of ours that lives in Bangkok. He married a Thai woman and promised her father upon marriage that they would come back if he became poor of health or reached 75 years of age. While in America, they adopted a little girl.

The first thing we did was go to a food market. There were rows and rows of food sitting out to be sold. The smell was nauseating and we didn’t buy anything. After that we went to a grocery store. The grocery store was smaller than the market. Most of the food wasn’t ready to pick up and put into the cart. Some of the food was in bulk or needed to be weighed.

After that, we picked up their daughter from her school. She attends an English speaking international private Catholic Buddhist school. I asked how that worked. He said that he thinks they like the idea of family with Mary and Jesus. The Buddha is always single.

Then we visited our friends house. They live in a house that was about the same size as their house back in the US. They are really close to their neighbors. We could hear when the TV was turned on next door. It was stifling hot in the house. But to them it was not hot enough to turn on the A/C.

After our friend’s wife returned from work, we walked 8 blocks to a restaurant. The restaurant was outdoors and ducks were hanging out front. We were able to choose what kind of duck meat we wanted and also the noodles in our soup. No one in the restaurant spoke English. The total cost of the meal was $10 for 5 people. We tried juice that was made from flowers and/or juice from fruit that we never heard of before.

Afterwards, our friend’s wife and daughter walked home and we were off to the entertainment district of Pat Pong. It is impossible to cross the street anywhere, so they have little walkways every so often that go over the street. We crossed the street and hopped into the back of a truck that had two rows in the back. Our friend stood on the platform in the back of the truck. We jumped off the truck 10 minutes later to catch the sky train. The sky train was tricky. I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to do it without someone that knew how.

After we got off of the sky train, we walked through a block of people selling items like sunglasses to reach the Pat Pong entertainment district. At Pat Pong there were 3 long rows of markets surrounded by a dozen of night clubs with pole dancers. Outside the clubs, there were greasy looking men holding cards that had a list of things the girls inside could do for money. I will leave it at that. It was pretty seedy.

Some of the pole dancers came out of the night clubs wearing hardly any clothes. Quite a few of them had braces. These girls looked really young. My guess would be that most were in their early teens. Where did they get the money for braces? Or did they get braces to look younger and make more money?

We walked through the rows of markets, but there was nothing I wanted to buy. Everything started looking the same. I was getting sick of shopping at the markets. There were a few infants and toddlers sleeping on tables at the market outside of night clubs. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see how these children and young girls lived. I try to keep an open mind when visiting other cultures, but there are some things that I just am not okay with.

We stopped by a quiet bar without dancers to have a few drinks and talk to our friend. Paul asked our friend what he thought the hardest part of living in Thailand was from the perspective of an outsider. Our friend replied that he had a hard time dealing with the isolation. He didn’t have anyone that he could talk to and relate with.

The waitresses at the bar were older than the pole dancing girls. We gave them a small tip for the drinks and they seemed surprised and thankful. On the way out of the entertainment district, we walked by a short plump man who was cracking a whip trying to entice us to see his girls.

We bid our friend farewell at the sky train. Thankfully there was a monitor on the train that had some English on it so we could find our way back by ourselves. Paul and I spoke freely about our adventures of the day on the train. No one understood a word we were saying. The people stared at us smiling. We exited the sky train and took the last ferry boat back to our hotel.

Today we got the whole Bangkok experience.

Tomorrow we leave for another city.



Thailand, Day 3


In the morning, we visited the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Po). I learned a lot about Buddhism on this trip. The Buddhists also have a beginning of time story not so different from ours as Christians. There is a struggle of good versus evil. They also have a holy book…monks…beautiful places of worship…the giving of donations…and the afterlife.

I didn’t realize this before, but there are many Buddha’s not just one. I also didn’t know that they believe in reincarnation. If you see a tree trunk with multi-colored ribbons wrapped around it, that means a friend or relative came back as a tree and it shouldn’t be cut down. I’ve seen that before and wondered what it meant.

At the temples, there are statues of demons to protect the people from evil. I saw a lot of these demons at entryways. I think it means that the demons can go no further inside.  Buddhists do not worship on Sundays like we do. They have holy days that revolve around full moons and even celebrate the Buddhist Lent.

This is my new understanding of Buddhism. I might not have all of my facts straight.

I felt completely and totally safe walking around the streets of Bangkok…Safer than I’ve ever felt in Chicago or NYC…Probably…well…because of karma. Even though the city was dirty and polluted, as most are, the people were amazing. Every single person I met was respectful of the community around them.

Now I did fear for my life on the streets that the motorists drove on (which is an entirely different story which I will address at a different time). It is only day 3.


I was impressed by how ornate the temples are. Look at all of the intricate detail. More demons..


This is a picture of us next to the Reclining Buddha which is over 150 feet long and about 40 feet high.


Here is a picture of some of the gifts given to the Reclining Buddha. (1,000 bahts are equivalent to about 30 US dollars).

That afternoon, Paul and I wanted to get a massage. Our tour guide arranged for us to get a massage in our room from two masseuses highly trained at the temple massage school at Wat Po. He told us it was proper to keep our clothes on. Paul and I each got a 2 hour massage for the total price of $40 per person including gratuity.

The massage itself was phenomenal and very interactive. At times they would sit on us and use their feet in the massage. We weren’t worried about the massage that we would be receiving because our tour guide set it up and the ladies were from the temple. We did hear a few cautionary tales about massage before we left home. It was not uncomfortable in any way. It was the best and longest massage we’ve ever received.

Later in the evening, we had a tour welcome dinner. We were told what was expected of us and were given a basic itinerary of what we would be doing.

I realized that I did not pack the right clothing. Most of the temple visits required pants. I did not pack any. Or we could wear a skirt or dress that came below the knees but nothing sleeveless. The only dress I packed was sleeveless. I only packed a couple of shirts with sleeves and the rest of the clothes I packed were shorts for the 90+ degree days.

That night we walked back to the night market to buy pants. Then I decided that I wanted to buy the red shawl after all. We wandered around the market for hours trying to find the shop with the red shawl. The market was huge. It was probably the size of 4 average Walmarts put together.

Just before the market closed we stopped in a shop inquiring about the red shawl and received the response that the red shawl sold after we left the night before. Instead I bought an emerald green cashmere shawl with green fur trim. It was the one that both Paul and I liked second best, a good compromise. We bought all of our souvenirs at the market that night as we were wandering around in circles.

Thailand, Day 2


We arrived in Bangkok around noon. We were greeted at the hotel with a glass of sweet juice in a flavor I never tasted before and a washcloth. We were tired from the long flight, but not overly so. We decided to walk around the hotel. This is the view of the river from the hotel. It was a beautiful view while eating breakfast outdoors in the morning.


Since we had a light schedule the first day, we decided to head down to the pool. I went down by myself at first clad in my swimming suit covered with a robe. I didn’t know how to get out of the hotel. The obvious exit to the pool had a sign that said fire exit on it. I was afraid that if I went out this way, I would set off all kinds of alarms because that is what would’ve happened in my country. I wandered around in my robe through the dining area and got a couple of  looks. I finally asked how to get out and the man pointed at the fire exit door directly in front of me.

We weren’t exactly sure how to use the outlets either as they didn’t look like ours at home. A few sparks flew that night. Here is what some of the outside wiring looked like.


The day we arrived was the coolest day that we had there. There weren’t any reclining chairs in the sun. It was windy and the pool wasn’t heated. I just dipped my feet in and ordered a drink. They really didn’t have any wine to select. The common beers were Chang, Leo, and Tiger. They all tasted like Bud Light. I’m spoiled by every flavored craft beer at home.


That evening we decided to check out the nearby night market. We decided to eat supper there. Paul bought some sandals, something we couldn’t find a good selection of this time of year at home. I fell in love with a red cashmere shawl, Paul liked the black one on me better. We bargained down to 2,000 bahts (which is approximately $70 at home). Just getting off the plane, 2,000 of any currency seemed like too much money so I walked away.


We couldn’t decide what to eat. We really weren’t interested in the above delicacies. We decided on a restaurant and were seated without a wait.

The server gave us our menus and stood by waiting for us to order. They don’t just drop off the menus and come back later. I ordered the salmon dish and it was excellent. It came out in 1/4 of the portion size that you would get in the US.

As we were eating, a cat roamed by our table. We saw several apparently owner less animals wandering around. We left after the meal, forgetting Paul’s old shoes in a bag by the table. The server chased us down quite a way from the restaurant to return Paul’s old shoes which was very kind.

We went to bed early that first night…exhausted.

Thailand, Day 1

Leaving…We left the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday. We arrived at the airport early for a flight that would take us to Chicago for our international flight.

Our flight to Chicago got cancelled. We got 5 inches of snow overnight, not a big deal. Chicago got the snow during the day. All small flights into Chicago were cancelled.

We were several hours from the airport and our flight was cancelled. What were we going to do?? Thankfully the answer arrived in less than a half an hour in the form of a coach bus. Good thing we got to the airport really early. Otherwise we might have missed the bus altogether. I was also thankful the Packers were not in the Super Bowl this year. We probably wouldn’t have been able to find a sober bus driver in the whole state!

I dressed for warm weather but the wind chills were below zero. I couldn’t wait for the 100 degree temperature change. I think I was going to enjoy Thailand’s cold season better than ours. It wasn’t until we were on the road for an hour that we finally got some heat on the bus. I didn’t bother wearing or packing a winter jacket or pants. Because, well…Thailand.

I was afraid that I forgot something. I must’ve checked my passport a million times. It was still there. What is it about leaving that tricks your mind into thinking that something important was forgotten??

We made it to the airport in Chicago with a few hours to spare. We spent 45 minutes in line just to go through security. Then a few minutes after midnight, we entered the biggest plane I’ve ever seen and were off on our adventure.

I fell into a medicated sleep for the first 5 hours. I awoke having to use the bathroom. But the guy next to me was asleep and barely spoke any English. I held it as long as I could. Then I tapped the man beside me on the shoulder. He still didn’t wake up. It was an awkward situation.

After that I couldn’t sleep. We were in the economy section. I couldn’t justify the extra couple thousands of dollars on comfort. My body was stiff, sore, and tired. I watched 3 movies…Mother!, It, and The Bad Mom’s Christmas. All except the last movie sucked. I’ve never sat still long enough in my life to watch 3 movies in a day.

After 16 hours on the plane, we finally landed in Taiwan for a short layover. The flight was smooth and I really didn’t feel afraid. I didn’t freak out. I might have gotten over my fear of flying!

Then back on the plane again for another 4 hours…

We arrived in Thailand late Tuesday morning.

I’m leaving

In about 24 hours I will be packing my bags and leaving this cold climate behind. I’ll be visiting a climate that is 100 degrees hotter than mine.

I will finish cleaning the house and doing loads of laundry. Soon I will create a packing list. I’m afraid of leaving something behind, something obvious like a camera or my passport. Don’t laugh, I’ve done things like that before. I packed a suitcase for my husband once and forgot underwear. The good news, my husband never asked me to pack his suitcase again. Last year my husband went on a sailing trip and forgot to pack any shirts.

We will be on an airplane for a total of almost 21 hours. 21 hours!!! The longest I’ve been on a plane is 6 hours and that freaked me out. We are heading to Thailand tomorrow and checking our first continent (outside of our own) off our bucket list.

What is it about traveling that makes everyone tell you about their horror story flights? Or bring up terrorists? Or plane crashes? The TV show Lost??

I’m not sure how I will handle the flight. I always have this irrational fear that I am going to start screaming on a plane. Kind of like the time I went on a roller coaster that was too much for me. I am afraid of being out of control.  I certainly won’t have any control over the plane. It makes me feel trapped.

Thankfully I have medication for that. I am going to start a stop watch on my phone after I take my medicine. A stop watch seems kind of creepy though. I don’t know any other way to keep track of time after skipping so many time zones. The last thing I want to do is OD on a plane. Yes, I suffer from chronic worry.

Since we are leaving Chicago right after midnight maybe I will sleep. But I sleep on planes like I sleep in the hospital. How can I sleep sitting straight up? Plus there is always noise…dinging from announcements, other people, hospital emergencies with a little turbulence thrown in..I always wondered why they hand out peanuts on planes. Don’t a lot of people have serious allergies to peanuts??

There is a 12 hour time change for us in Thailand. I am excited to finally see the world, it’s just the getting there that sucks! Sitting still and relaxing are not my things. Now if they had a treadmill on the plane…The more nervous I am, the more I want to move. I try not to let fear stop me. There is nothing like flying 21 hours one way to confront my fear of flying.

Paul and I are going to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We will be visiting with our old neighbors, and going on a tour. I promise to take lots of pictures and keep a journal. This will probably be the last time you hear from me for awhile. But I promise to tell you about it when we get back.

This will be the first time we are away from family and work for this long. We have family staying with the kids every night. The last time we went away things didn’t go very well. The dog tore up the linoleum in the bathroom. Alex got a rash and thought he had bedbugs (thankfully we didn’t). I expect the house to be trashed and a pile of work waiting for me when I get back.

But I think that having a break will be worth whatever we come back home to. I will try my hardest not to worry and to relax. It might be so nice that we won’t want to come back home..

The ice shove


As you may have guessed, running and writing are two of my favorite hobbies.


I also love photography and traveling. Unfortunately, I can’t do the last two hobbies as often as the first two. I could take pictures of everyday mundane life and selfies galore. But that bores me. So why wouldn’t it bore you??


I didn’t have to travel far to get a few pictures of the ice shove on the bay of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. Even local friends asked where I was off to this time…Alaska? Antarctica?? No, just my beautiful home state.

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You really should consider booking a visit. Summer is the best time. But as you can see, winter is beautiful here too. Today the wind chills are only in the single digits below zero. So it is warming up out there!


The ice shove is 20 feet high. This is the biggest ice shove I’ve seen in my lifetime. It took some really nasty weather conditions to make this. Thankfully the beauty that resulted lasted longer than the storm. Kind of like real life sometimes…

The first and last generation to listen??

The other day I watched a heartwarming video about kids that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. It started out with a cute little blip about surviving bike rides without helmets and drinking water out of hoses. Then it ended with a comment that went something like this…we were the last generation to listen to our parents and the first generation to listen to our children.


Everything before that last statement was obvious. Yes, we rode bikes without helmets and drank water out of a hose…but the last statement really made me think. Could it be true??

Remember growing up in the 70’s and 80’s (if you did)? Remember when kids sporting events had parent night? Think about it. Why would they do that? On those nights parents would attend their childrens games.

Today’s parents sometimes even go to practices! That never would’ve happened in the 70’s or 80’s.

My younger brothers rode their bikes 10 miles one way into town with a group of friends for Little League practices and games when they were in grade school (without helmets…gasp…). That was not an uncommon practice.

Are we an over involved generation of parents? It the pendulum swinging back the other way from having under involved parents?

Or is it just easier to be over involved? Our kids can text us with any little problem that they have during the school day. I can fix that for you. My son texted me this week that he had a flat tire. Do you need me to come help? I never bothered my parents during the school day unless I had to call home sick. If my car broke down, hopefully I had a flashlight with me or the stranger answered the door when I knocked. We had to solve most of our problems by ourselves. 

I can tell where my teens are by pushing a button on my phone. I can get instant notifications about their grades. I can peer directly into their social media world. I can’t think of another time in history when there has been such a big gap between generations.

It is hard to put restrictions on our children’s technology when they know more about it than we do.

But were we the last generation to listen to our parents? I honestly don’t think that has changed much. Teens today get such a bad rap. How would you like someone in your business all day long? I think most teens listen just fine.

Although I do think parents have less control over their kids. Parents are looked down upon for disciplining their children, yet are also looked down upon when their kids are acting up. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

I simply think that most kids are spoiled because we give give give way too much. We care too much. We fix things too much. We won’t let them work out their own problems because we know about them as they are happening and troubleshoot them with our kids.

Are we the first generation that listens to our children? Probably. My mother was raised to be seen and not heard. She tried to break that pattern with us. We did talk a lot, but I couldn’t imagine telling her half the stuff my kids tell me.

I have had very some very open and non-judgmental conversations with my older kids about some difficult topics such as sex, drugs, drinking…you name it. Guess what? Sometimes I don’t like what I hear. But I think it is important to keep the lines of communication open and offer them guidance.

I haven’t had as many conversations with my youngest yet. Although Arabella is 14, she hasn’t started dating or even tried drugs or drinking except for the small glass of champagne I gave her recently when we were celebrating something big.

It is never too early to talk. Last year Arabella had a friend that was very depressed after coming out of the closet with a few close friends. She is still afraid to tell her parents. I found out about it before her parents did because my daughter was worried about her friend and needed someone to talk to. Also, my daughter had another friend that tried to kill herself this week. These kids are only in their early teens.

Does talking to your kids prevent bad things from happening? Does it stop them from going down the wrong path? Does it prevent you from getting a phone call that you would never want to get? Probably not, but at least they know that I will always be here if they need to talk. It’s the best I can do to help them through it.