Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In Kentucky... Well, Indiana anyway...

My only cousin on my dad's side was finally getting married. We knew about the date for a little over a year. From time to time it would come up in conversation -- "We have Bethany's wedding to go to..." We were tentative... would it happen? It would be a shame to buy tickets and then have the wedding be canceled... I looked into trip insurance and weddings being canceled wasn't in a clause, so I waited to buy the tickets until the last moment. We were all going. All four of us, we would leave late Thursday, take one day off of work, spend two days there and fly back home on Sunday. While we were there we took Friday to sightsee before the groom's dinner. 

We stole my dad and off we went. Our first stop was the Louisville Slugger museum where we bought our tickets and then walked to Glassworks to watch glass blowing artists while we waited for our "tour time". There were no photos allowed on the bat tour, but they can make a baseball bat in less than 30 seconds. It was loud and we lost Andrew as he stayed behind to chat with the guy turning the bat on a lathe. 

Our next stop was the Evan Williams Bourbon experience. I AM NOT a bourbon drinker... when asked what it smelled like I said "Pine-Sol". We tasted it and I hardly let a drop soak into my tongue...yep that is what I imagined cleaning products to taste like, and then I made a face. I wanted to rake my tongue but it was interesting to learn about the history and the process. 

Off to our next adventure... Churchill downs. We had to learn the lingo and then figure out which horses to bet on. 

We won! Noah won! We had bet five dollars and # 7 to show. Meaning # 7 would have to come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. "American Pharoah" won Noah a whopping 50 cents. 

The next day we went off to see a cave. The boys had never been in a cave before. We had been in a mine up in Orr, but never in a cave. I've been to a few caves and I've always found them fascinating. Again, we stole my dad and off we went. You can read more about it here: http://www.marengocave.com

The tour was about 1/2 a mile. The tour was "dramatic" often going from pitch black to strategic lighting. At times it was hard to tell if the pools were other caverns below or miles deep. The mercury in the water makes the pools of water extra reflective. The pools were only two or three inches deep. 

When we got back in the car we marked a rock pile and a barn to come back to... Andrew got out to take a closer look...I told him to watch out for falling rocks... he said, "I didn't see any fallen rocks..." :) 
The wedding went off without a hitch. It was cold. The wedding was outside and the sun came out to warm us just enough that we didn't all need to shiver to death to keep warm. The cloudless sky made for dramatic photos and I could go on forever about the horrid photographer... Noah snapped this one :

I am happy Bethany is married. I hope she finds happiness with RJ and that their love continues to grow.  

I also hope that my aunt and uncle know that they haven't lost a daughter but gained a son. 

The trip home was fairly uneventful. Adam had issues with his ears on our last flight from Denver in May, so I gave him a Sudafed on the way there and there wasn't any problems. I had him take another one on the way back. At the airport we were bumped to first class but the boys sat a few rows ahead of us. I could see Noah and when he looked back I gave him the thumbs up sign and he gave me the thumbs down sign, so I sent Andrew to sit with Noah and Adam sat next to me. Adam had fallen asleep and woken up to intense pressure in his ears. We tried everything, drinking water, gently blowing with our noses pinched, and we even pulled up on the ear to straighten the ear canal, but he was fairly miserable until we landed.  

It was a quick trip, but we squeezed a lot of experiences in.  I am not sure what our next adventure will be or when, but we've kicked around going to DC, or Miami over spring break. But the kids don't want to go anywhere... They argued that viewing the Washington Monument from the computer was the same as in person with the added bonus that they could be at home, but we are arriving on the time in our lives when the children's activities: school and work, may make it more difficult to get away.  I am keenly aware of my time with them at home coming to an end. They need me less and less, and I suppose that is what is supposed to happen, but I just didn't think it would happen so soon. Wasn't it just yesterday that Noah was telling me to "put baby Adam down" or that he wanted to go downstairs to watch Jimmy Neutron on the "Big T.G. downstairs." I wish I could have figured out a way to keep them small. Sigh. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Is it too Early?

Is it too early to complain about the cold weather? I was up at 4:00am. Why so early? I was so cold I woke up... I was so cold that I could no longer sleep. I wore long pants and a shrug yesterday. I had a meeting and a long car ride and I wanted to be warm. I thought about grabbing a jacket, but thought that might be over kill -- I regretted that decision the minute I hit the steps but decided it the sun would warm things up yesterday.

The car ride was freezing and a I wrapped my hands in my shrug to keep warm. I was the odd girl out sitting in the back; I am sure I complained enough about other things that I kept my mouth shut about being cold. My toes were beginning to freeze.

It was a busy night and by the time we settled down it was time for Andrew to leave for the homecoming bonfire. At 7:30 I finally stepped out of my work clothes and into my warm clothes, sweat pants, wool socks, t-shirt, and hooded sweatshirt. I turned on the heat... since it was a whopping 66 degrees in the house, I upped it to 70. I crawled into a blanket on the couch and pulled my hood up. An hour later I was still freezing...

I got ready for bed, not taking off any clothes. I turned on my heated blanket to five, and crawled into bed pulling two summer blankets and one winter blanket around me. I just wanted to cry. I do not like being cold, but I am sure my tears just would have froze on my face. My nose was cold, and my hands were beginning to ache. Being cold hurts; honestly it hurts, but I don't think anyone believes me.

When the boys came home, I told them I was sorry -- that by morning I was sure they would have a popsicle for a mom. I slept and around 2:00am when I took off my socks, and I slept until the alarm sounded.

I heard Calgary got snow... so I am thankful we didn't, and I know it could have been worse, yet I know it is coming and I am really unsure if I am ready for the cold. Is my family ready for me to be crabby? Do I have to be crabby? Well, do I have to be cold?

The warm memories of Hawaii are fading, and I thought they would be strong enough to warm my spirit through the winter, but on this early September day -- I am not so sure I can make it to May.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Aha Moments

We decided on green for the garage. After standing back, I realized... this is the same color that the cabins at the resort were -- huh...

The fence will keep the puppies away from the mud for a while. Eventually I want some pavers in the dirt space. So far we can fit the extra stuff in the garage. We may need hooks when it comes time to store the patio furniture...

While Andrew was digging holes for the permanent placement of the fence, I was stalking these two beauties.

The first day of school was today. I am ready to be back. Back to a routine since when I am in left to my own devices I make poor choices -- "let's accomplish nothing today... oh yeah, that will be fun." Yet these first days back will be hard -- when at work I will feel like I need to be home, and when I am home I will feel like I need to be at work.

The boys are ready to go back to school too -- Adam keeps asking... so, I go to school tomorrow right? No, you have another week. Oh to wish your life away at 12 and 15.

I am feeling blessed to have the job that I do and to be surrounded by those I love.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hawaii Highlight # 4 From the Air

On the flight from San Francisco to Hawaii, neither of us had a window seat. As we approached, I caught a glimpse of the island out someone else's window. It is probably better that I couldn't see anything... all that water and a plane would have made me more nervous than I already am when flying.

Andrew wanted to go on a helicopter tour. I was reluctant, so I wasn't about to book it before we left. Instead, at Turtle Bay Andrew inquired our first day we were there. We actually couldn't get it scheduled until after we had checkout out the next day. I imagined it to feel like a carnival ride -- I was expecting g-forces. Nope, it wasn't any different than flying.

In this view, you can see Turtle bay on a peninsula. Turtle bay to the north and a public swimming beach to the south. We snorkeled at this beach on the first day, but didn't take any pictures. We surfed in north bay as well. Our room was on the turtle bay side.

The view of the mountains was spectacular! 
According to a Huffington Post Article, "The Haiku stairs on Oahu -- also known as the Stairway to Heaven -- is the one hike to rule them all. Amidst the lush Koolau mountain range, the 3,922 steps lead up to the stunning Puu Keahiakahoe summit. The stairway was originally wooden and was installed during World War II so the military could access a radio station antennae 2,000 feet up the mountain. In the 1950s, the stairs were replaced with steel steps that led to a newly established Coast Guard navigation station. The navigation station has been closed since the 1980s and the hike is also off-limits now; a security guard sits at its entrance for most of the day and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply -- which has jurisdiction over the hike -- requires that anyone who goes up it sign waivers and present a $1 million liability insurance policy."

This is Gilligan's Island -- where they taped some of the footage for the show. It was a favorite show of mine growing up. 

The Arizona Memorial from above

Sharks Cove from above. We snorkeled there -- that is where the underwater pictures of the turtle came from. See how it looks like a shark bite? Nah, me either....
Back safely on the ground! In the Magnum PI helicopter. It has been totally redone since. There was also a "doors" off ride. I don't know if I would have had the nerve to do that -- but I can see where the photography would be better without the glare from the glass. Here's a prime example of the glare. 
Hawaii is beautiful from every vantage point... on the ground, under the water, and in the air. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Cabinet Maker

For the last three years, Andrew buys about a 1000.00 worth of oak and builds things. I don't have too many more pieces of furniture on my list: headboard, end tables. He always consults me on the design, lest I might remind him "you should have done it this way instead". Now all of my glassware and grandmother's china can be in the same cabinet. If I was more organized, I would have room for more stuff like table cloths and napkins in the drawers.

All summer long Andrew and I have been talking about a garage. The two stall is full of wood working machines, wood, bikes, outdoor toys, lawn furniture, and in the winter it is crammed with cars. I explained to him that a larger garden shed that could hold the bikes might be a great way to gain space. I wanted a garden shed 12X10... instead we got a garage 14X20. Decisions had to be made about window placement and shingles... siding is next. I was really hoping we weren't going to do any big projects this year, and instead we could concentrate on finishing some of the smaller ones that aren't finished like replacing the kitchen windows or refinishing the wood stairs. Must be job security to keep them undone.

Andrew is dealing with a local building center, but they are slow to bid the job, so yesterday morning he went in and just got some of the materials himself.  Did they think we just wanted a bid to look at? No, we really mean to buy building materials!

Andrew had the boys help a little while I was in the house yesterday finishing up some of the things When I went out to see the progress and help with the bigger walls, I sighed. Honestly, who puts a door next to the corner of a building? Doesn't he see there is no room for trim around the door, or trim on the corner of the garage? So while the boys and I got the big wall nailed together, Andrew re-did the door placement. I also noticed some low hanging branches that were going to need to come down... why wouldn't one do this before the walls went up? Would that be easier? I think he has blinders on... get the garage up, and there seems to be some kind of urgency with his method.

The boys aren't good hammerers. Noah sighs a lot and I bet he really wants to swear sometimes. Right now it just looks like a box in the backyard. The roofing materials will be here this afternoon... but we have somewhere we need to be from this afternoon until late Sunday, so the roof will have to wait until Monday.

I agree, it will be a great space for extra things as long as it is organized. But wouldn't it be easier to get rid of the stuff instead of building a place for the stuff to go?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ruined... Forever.

I am blessed. I am thankful for being blessed. I am not complaining, but I want to share some simple truths about some of the "good" things in life.

After my first visit to Cold Stone, I completely understood the T-shirt that hung in the shop: "Friends don't let friends eat grocery store ice cream." Once you have had really good ice cream -- other's just don't seem to stand up.

After staying at the "Grand Hotel" in Minneapolis and sleeping without moving due to the pillow top mattress, we went out and bought a new mattress, and now no bed feels better than our own.

When Andrew returned home from Bemidji summer camp he exclaimed, "A shower I can stand up in!" Oh, when he's 6'4" I can see where that might be a problem.

After visiting Hawaii, taking photos of the flats isn't that exiting. Yet, Andrew handed me a perspective and said, "if someone from Hawaii were here, they might exclaim 'Look at that corn!'"

I told him that Hawaii may have "ruined" me. I guess I should have never gone...

A sunflower growing on the edge of the road -- Highway 2 near Fisher, MN

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hawaii Highlight # 3 Surfing

I told my parents I wasn't going to surf. I didn't think I was going to surf either; not until Andrew and I were standing in the surf shop looking at the cost for surfing lessons and times. Noon. Noon looked good with waves 3-5 feet. Andrew said, "we will see" and I said, "let's just do it."

There were six of us. Andrew and I were about 25+ years older than the kids. One of the gals said, "at least you are out here; my mom chickened out." I murmured, "smart mom." We got a dry lesson first. Everyone had to try it out -- it was like gym all over -- everyone watching you...

1. Paddle like mad
2. Arch
3. Knee and pivot
4. Stand but not really... more like squat.

Only it went more like :
1. Paddle like mad
2. Stand up
3. Fall in

It was difficult to get the knee up from the arched position to one leg up. There were three surf instructors in the water with us. Two helping us catch waves, and one acting like the anchor. On the first wave I was supposed to catch I didn't hear them say anything after "paddle, paddle." I went through the motions anyway and apparently the wave just petered out.

On the second try, I used my new information and made adjustments. I almost stood... but fell over.
On dry land I asked the instructor, what are the chances I will be eaten by a shark? He answered, none; it is too shallow for them in the cove. Yet he countered with, "out there by the horizon? About 50-60%." The instructors told us the danger of getting hurt was when we fell off the board -- fall as flat in the water as possible so as not to dive or pike to the coral below. Noted.

On my third try I got up! I was surfing! The kids had gotten up on their 1st or 2nd tries. Andrew was still struggling. After my success, he complained that he wasn't ever going to stand up. With some encouragement he was up on the next round. We even got up together before I was worried about Andrew too much and fell off.

There's proof of surfing around here somewhere. They had a photographer take pictures of my behind... it's on a disk, and for obvious reasons I am not to worried about not finding it. On the other hand, it is starting to bother me not knowing where it ended up.

I have a new respect for surfers. It takes a lot of energy to surf. On my fourth try I rode a wave as far as it would take me before jumping off, but that is a long paddle back to the anchor. The next time, my arm slipped and I gave up and rode the wave on my belly. After paddling back, I asked one of the instructors how much time we had left... a few more times. Okay, I put my best foot forward, but I didn't catch anymore waves -- I did ride a few of them on my knees... and then it was time to go in. After being in the water for about two hours, my legs didn't realize how much my body weighed so they gave up and sent me right into the lava at the shoreline. I scraped my left elbow and both of my knees. My pride was hurt more -- how many people saw that?!

Andrew didn't fair much better -- you know how those surfers sit on their boards? Well, my body doesn't bend that way, and Andrew's swimming shorts didn't either. Oh, well it wasn't that much different than the original Hawaiian's and their naked surfing. He wore my pink towel to the hotel store to buy a new pair of shorts.

Here we are just east of Waikiki Beach... No surfing, watching. We are almost below Diamond Head Crater; I could watch the surf and the surfers for hours.