Saturday, January 19, 2019

Passport Anxiety

Does anyone else get mildly anxious after they've sent their previous passport in and have to wait for their new and old one to come again.
This is my 3rd passport and for whatever reason my new arrived and my old took another 9 agonizing days.  My daughters new and old arrived same day.
I love my old passports.  They tell a 10 year story of travel.  Those stamps are my favorite souvenir of a trip.

My first passport holds my first time to Europe when I was 17, it was stamped in Hungary, Austria and Germany.  I arrived in Hungary in June of 1995 while the Bosnian Serbian War was still going on.  We were unloaded on the tarmac, placed in a bus with armed guards.  I was 17 and had never been out of the country (with the exception of Canada), and just entered one that was rather close to a war torn country.  As well as being in a country that had only received it's independence from the Soviet Union 4 years prior.
This same passport would also go on to represent my time with United Airlines.  This one held a work visa for both France and China, as well as entries into Germany, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.
My second passport is very much a representation of a time as a single mom traveling with my children.  The stamps in this one gave me courage, and a true sense of independence.  I have 3 stamps to Iceland, once with both my kids and the other 2 with just my son, multiple stamps to Costa Rica, a country I unexpectedly fell in love with and made me want to learn Spanish.  There's the UK, my son and I arrived in London the day after a terrorist attack, and experienced the unwavering love and unity.  We happened to be in front of Theresa Mays residence as she left to Parliament to deliver article 50, the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
All these memories are stored in that little booklet I waited anxiously to be returned.

Saturday, January 5, 2019


I love my house, and I LOVE being home enjoying it.
I got up early while it was still dark, with zero plans other than to take my dog for a some point.  Sitting down with coffee and trying to get my spring trip all dialed in.  I had a brief moment where my thoughts drifted to using this day to put away Christmas decorations.  Then I reminded myself, its the weekend.  I don't have to be productive in all ways. I also love my decorations and now that the holidays are over, I get to enjoy them. Sitting and enjoying my coffee, geeking out on travel plans, that is what I would do today. No plans, just the moment.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Books, and More Books

2018 I returned to one of my greatest loves, reading.  Once I started there was no stopping me!

I've been trying to keep track of them on Pinterest in hopes I could rememeber to share them with other book lovers. I also finally converted to a kindle and that has been a game changer, as much as I love the smell and feel of books my kindle goes everywhere with me.  Plus I discovered through prime I get a free book a month!

Here's a few of this years favorites (I will say I got really caught up in WWII historical fictions and couldn't get enough).
These three were my favorites:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
Nightingale by Kristen Hannah (this is a MUST read, one of these most beautiful stories I have ever read).  I am currently on the wait list for The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah so we will see if that makes the 2019 list.

Other well worth mentionables:
The Orphans Tale by Pam Jenoff
Love and Ruin by Paula Mclain (if you read the Paris Wife this is about Hemingway 3rd wife)
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Woman in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

In all I think I finished close to 20 books this year.  I have always been an avid reader, then social media was created, or more so I finally joined. I got sidetracked with life (and social media), and just forget how much joy reading brings me.   However with work being so busy, instead of catching up on social media I hop in bed between 8-9 (the joys of having older kids, I get to go to bed early again) and read! The pure joy of reading is back!

I am almost done with The Boat People by Sharon Bala and Born Survivors by Wendy Holden  (because everyone reads two books at once right?!?!)  I would add both on the worth reading list!

New Years

I love the beginning of each New Year.  It's the time to take a moment and reflect on what was.  My heart is always filled with gratitude, for the good people in my life, mine and my families health, the experiences we have shared, and the ability to have been present.

2018 brought mostly all good and I am so grateful for that.  The year started with my son starting his junior year at WSU, my daughter getting her license (ok that was scary).  My son made the Presidents honor roll at WSU! We got the jeep set up and set out on a 4 state road trip camping in some of the most beautiful places on earth. I worked a lot this past summer, running the logistics of summer camps for symphony, chamber music, theater, film and acting camps, while throwing in two major concerts in there. It was madness at times but got to work with some of my favorite people ever.  Lo and I took the jeep and escaped the smoke and camped at Deception Pass (how I had not been there before is beyond me).  The jeep brought on this new sense of freedom and independence to travel in a new way (planes and hotels had always been my preferred method), with my dog! Lo and I returned to NYC for our 5th time together in September, and possibly one of the most fun times I have had there.  We navigated the subway like champs, toured Columbia and NYU (oh to be that young again).  I introduced her to Canal street shopping, somehow back in my 20's being lured into a warehouse to buy Kate Spade knockoffs seemed like a good idea. At 40 with my daughter, we chickened out, much to my husband at homes relief.  Opted instead for shopping through SOHO.  She talked me into doing the stand by line for Jimmy Fallon and sure enough we got into the taping of his show in Central Park!  Broadway binged like always.  We are addicts that only buy from TKTS and see as much as we can.  Randomly met Nikki Reed.
Came back and Lo started her junior year of high school and then her freshman year of college (doing running start), and back to dancing.  Rick and I celebrated my birthday with a fabulous 5 days in Bend, hiking, and eating our way through, again with our dog!
The common theme is experiences.  For me this sums up my years.  I still have the couches I bought used off of a friend 8 years ago, the bar stools from the previous owner of this house, the dining table found from a friend selling it on FB and the coffee table from my sister. Quite honestly with the exception of a roof over our heads and reliable transportation the material things in life are not me, nor have they ever been or do I pretend for them to be.  My life is about the people I share it with, the love that comes from and is given to those around me.  I don't love the term "blessed" because I've seen it shared so randomly for things throughout social media.  So lets just go with my heart is content.  I am happy, I am grateful.  I honor every bit of my past as I welcome in a new year.  Cheers to you all!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Part 2. Tetons and the Bitterroots Mountains

Part 2.
We made the final stop in Yellowstone and watched old Faithful, with about several hundred people.
Then rolled out and into the Grand Tetons National Park.  We didn't have reservations (again because it wasn't quite peak season) but drove into Colter Bay Campgroud and got a spot. Traveling with the jeep is great because we use tent spots, and in this park those were the really great spots. *I have heard Jenny Lake is phenomenal, however I was worried we weren't early enough for a spot there and didn't want to miss our chance at Colter Bay.
From the campsites it's a short walk (5 minutes) to the lake with impressive views of the Grand Tetons.  We packed a beverage, sat and enjoyed.  The only thing that would've made it better was our paddle boards.  We spent 2 nights here, because we hiked in the Tetons the next day.  Honestly I could've spent several days in the national park exploring.  It was not as busy as Yellowstone, there are so many hikes easily accessible at varying degrees of distance and difficulty.  Alas we were on a road trip and needed to keep going.  A place that had been on a longtime bucket list was Jackson Hole, WY. so out of the national park we went and right into Jackson.  We stayed at the White Bufffalo Club, it was great.  Had a beer and dinner at the Snake River Brewing, also good.  The town itself is easy to see on foot, beautiful and packed with great restaurants. I was glad to stay a night there, but next time would camp in the park and drive in.

We were undecided on our route from here.  We debated heading towards Stanley and camping in the Sawtooth Mountains, however the appeal of the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon, MT lead us to the Bitterroots.
The drive between Jackson and Dillon was beautiful.  We settled on camping at Lake Como. We both agreed coming back next year and exploring the Bitterroots is in order. I instantly fell in love with this area.

I know this was my husbands birthday trip, but I feel like he gave me such a gift on this trip.  Seeing the country in a way I have never seen before.  I can't wait for more!

* one note, while I love to disconnect I had my 21 and 16 year old kids staying at my house.  I have AT&T and rarely had cell service on this trip. Not knowing where we were going I tried to pop into places that had WiFi and message my kids ahead of time our plan, and check in with them.  This definitely made me nervous at times!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Almost a Half Century Road Trip

In June my husband and I embarked on a 10 day road trip. My husband was turning 50 in July and his perfect way to celebrate was a road trip.  Being a gal that absolutely loves flying and often gets motion sick in the car, my initial response was less than excited.  However, as it got closer to leaving we had a few planned stops that I really wanted to see, like Bozeman MT and Jackson WY.  We planned hotels in these places, and the rest if the trip would be unscheduled and go where the jeep took us!
For the road trip we downloaded several audible books.  As an avid reader with little time to read this was downright amazing!

Because my husband is a true gentleman, and even though this was his birthday trip he wanted to ensure I was comfortable and had a good time.  We decided the first day we wouldn't drive more than 6 hours.  We camped the first night along the St. Joe river  (thanks to our nephew for that tip).  Truly beautiful, it did rain but the drive along the St Joe was absolutely breathtaking.

Next few nights, after a quick stop in Missoula we spent falling in love with Bozeman.  Rick's family is from Bozeman and his great-great grandfather started Bozeman Brewing before prohibition.  His family also owned the Lehrkind Mansion so we walked all over visiting all the sights.
I would highly recommend the hotel we stayed at call The Lark. The staff was the friendliest I have ever encounter, location is walking distance to everything in town, and the newly remodeled rooms were great!

Then onto Yellowstone, we entered through the North.  Camped in Yellowstone at Canyon Campground.  Here's the thing about Yellowstone, it's worth seeing, just also not lingering there long.  We were there the first week of June, technically before the busy time....if there is such a thing.  I didn't love the campground.  It was OK for proximity to get up and get a head start on the day and sights which was essential (early am's and evening were less crowded), but you felt like they crammed as many people as possible into the campground.  We had a good laugh as the temps while we were there dropped to 25 degrees.  That evening we ate cheese and smoked salmon on a plate in the jeep while watching a movie on the Ipad, because it was too cold to be outside.  Sleeping in the jeep was fine, I packed appropriately to stay warm, just couldn't hang out outside comfortably!

 This was our inside the jeep date night!  Thank goodness for pre-downloading Netflix movies!
These are some of the highlights.  Like I said it is worth seeing.  I took a ton of photos, but I don't believe any can truly to do the beauty justice.  We also saw bison and a grizzly cub, would love to be there at a time to see the wolves.

Part 2...The Tetons, Jackson and the Bitterroots will be the next post!

Monday, September 24, 2018

The World Keeps Spinning

May...that was the last time I sat down to blog, crazy! 

I am still learning the ropes of my new job, and found that the summers are crazy.  Between summer camps, chamber concerts and music in the meadow, I worked about 60 hours a week.  I took Tuesdays off and entirely unconnected by hitting the mountains with Lo and Doug.  I've been told that all we did put on this summer at work was really great, but truth be told I was just trying to keep my head above water and survive I didn't actually "see" what we were doing!
Not all was lost on work this summer, Rick and I started the summer with a 10 road trip with the jeep, camping on the St. Joe river in Idaho, traveling through Missoula, then staying a couple nights in Bozeman, onto camping in Yellowstone, then the Grand Tetons, Jackson, WY and ending the trip camping in the Bitterroots, an area I hope to return to soon.  My plan is to blog here soon about the trip.  We had such an amazing time, it was the first big trip with the jeep since having the ursa minor (pop up top) added to it.  Maybe I'll blog about that as well, but we are in love with it.

Lo is in her junior year of HS but is doing running start so she didn't start back to school until today.  She and I escaped last week to NYC, where we toured Columbia University, and NYU.  Saw Waitress and Come From Away (this one easily is now in my top 5 musicals).  Went to ground zero on 9/11 shopped Canal Street (this was a first for Lo), visited the MOMA, saw the live taping of the Jimmy Fallon show and just absorbed all the city life we could in 5 full days.  That city always fills something in me, that I am unaware I need.   As we left I was a little sad, like perhaps I was leaving a piece of my heart behind.  However, I realized my heart is not so much divided between the mountains and open space of home and the energy, diversity and culture of NYC as it is just perfectly balanced. 

 People life truly is amazing, and so very very good.  Next month I will be 41, I am so honored to be aging, and getting to live this amazing life.  So much in life hasn't made sense, but all of it has made me a stronger, more patient person.  A better version of myself that I didn't know existed.

Cheers, and I hope to be back blogging soon.  With at least pictures of the recent adventures!