iN-beTweeN


busy…in the best way ever!

A lot has happened since my last update in December….so here goes.

One of my projects I forgot to post from last fall, was Emma’s pillowcases.  At 2 3/4 years, I knew she’d been growing out of her crib soon, into a ‘big girl’ bed & that meant she finally gets a pillow.  I wanted to be ready (& lets face it, there’s not much to do at home, particularly in a Covid year), so I bought the fabric & began to sew.  I got them all done pretty quickly & sent the first one off in November.  

Here’s November & December:

This is January (you all know I”m trying to learn to make balloon animals, right?) & March.

Emma’s birthday is in February…so she gets two that month!  One to celebrate her special day & the other for Valentines Day!

April (Easter) & May

June & July

August & September

and the last one she’ll get is October.

My pillow case project was fun to make for the girls & Claire still enjoys changing out her pillowcases each month.

On a Wednesday night in early January, Sara's long time Nanny decided it was best for her to take a leave of absence when they made the decision to stop virtual school & put Claire in face to face kindergarten.  I got a call from Sara on Thursday morning to see if I could come down & help out until another Nanny was hired & the long time Nanny was ready to come back.  

I SAID YES! …in a heartbeat, without a doubt, you betcha! & on & on.  My heart was filled with happy for the opportunity to see the girls & get to spend time with them.  I had a Covid test right away then went into overdrive to pack, rearrange a loan closing with our bank, & most importantly, get my projects done to take to the girls.  I’m a planner & tend to get most things done way way way early.  Only a few times has it caused a problem & I’m just more calm when stuff gets done & marked off the list.  I was super happy this time I had all the fabric & other ingredients I needed for my pre-trip projects. Then I went into crazy mode to get ready & leave on Sunday morning for the 20 hour drive to Orlando.

I’d been checking out the Princess In Black series of books from the library & reading them over FaceTime to the girls for a couple of months. I decided for their Valentines Day gift, I’d make them the costume & get them the books. So, fast & furiously, I went into costume-making mode.  Always a challenge when I don’t know if it will fit or not, since I don’t get to see them that often.  But, I made them & was pretty happy with the end result.  

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As, it turns out, so were they!  Emma dressed in hers multiple times a day when I was down there & we read at least a couple of the books everyday too.

I also made hot cocoa bombs for the first time to take with me.  They turned out OK…think the only way I’d do this again, is if they were here with me to join in the fun!

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Then I spent the next 7 weeks with a full heart, lots of hugs, nightly walks, tons & tons of reading, crafting, gaming…all that great stuff Grandma’s get to do when they spend time with their grandkids.

Then, it was time to come home & I’d happily missed most of winter.  Very happily.  My pattern for my yearly cycle has been the following:  

January--March:  Planning travel for spring & summer, getting all my gear ready, maps out…super excited!

April--August or September & sometimes October—travel, hike, photograph, repeat, repeat, repeat!  Love these adventures!

November--December--I make stuff & I make lists & I shop on Amazon—a lot.  Fall is the time I craft…make stuff mostly for the little girls, but if I’m going to create…it’s in the fall.  It’s also the time of my favorite holiday—Halloween.  So, it’s not unusual to find my house sometimes in disarray in the late fall & early November, with fabric strewn all over; glue guns out; pencil & paper designing stuff & me up late at night or early getting it done.  

I also get my Christmas ready early.  Remember…most years I’m not with my family & they live on both coasts, which includes long & frustrating shipping times, if I choose to go through the USPS….which mostly I don’t.   This is the reason, I’m on Amazon a lot.  They can get stuff delivered quickly & efficiently.  Love them or hate them, they are my go to store.  So, Christmas gets done & delivered early…I’m not the type of personality that is happy when stuff gets done late.

When I arrived back home the beginning of March, I had a few things to catch up on.  Danny’s is great at keeping our quiet little house clean, but I’m kind of a nut about cleaning, organizing & minimizing.  And he’s a 100% great guy…but he doesn’t dust (only one of his very, very few faults.) So, I spent the first couple of weeks, making the house all clean & sparkly again, making up with my cat, catching up on some reading, seeing a couple of friends for lunch & finally, after months, getting my haircut by my fantastic sister-in-law….boy that felt great!  I also schedule all my annual medical & dental appointments in mid March, so I had a week of eye check ups & new glasses, teeth cleaning, lab work & a visit with my Physician.  Super happy & grateful to report…all is good.  I’m not-very-anxiously waiting on a colonoscopy that is happening at the end of this month…but just want it over with & a good report…then I’m done!

But, the trip planning has begun!  New Mexico is still in big time locked down, although they are #1 in vaccinations…way to go NM!  I’m still not in the group to qualify for a vaccine & Kansas ranks like 49th in distributing vaccines (another reason the state sucks), but I hope to have mine before I hit the road; but if I don’t I’m going anyway & maybe I can get one along the way.  So, this year, I’ve decided to trip back to my most beloved Utah (central to south part)!!!!  

The southern part of Utah is home to wide open spaces, tons of camping, several National Parks & so much red desert beauty!  I’m so stoked! So, I didn’t totally ‘unpack’ when I got back from Florida.  My bed is still in Camper, but otherwise it’s been detailed & thoroughly cleaned & devoid of all sprinkles & crumbs from when the little girls & I spent so many hours in Camper reading & happily munching on cookies.  My red room—or living room—has lots of camping stuff stacked on the table, in a chair or two & a tiny bit on the floor.  I can’t wait to load it all back where it belongs before I hit the road in mid-April.

Before that trip however, Danny & I will fly to Orlando to see the girls…he for a few days & me for a week.  Then I’ll come home, pack up Camper & leave for my spring road trip.

I’ve also added or replaced a few new things for this year.  Here’s the latest added gear & a couple of sort of un-necessary things:

A shower.  I had debated about this purchase all throughout fall.  Last summer, with everything lockdown & closed up, I had three showers in 80 days.  I wanted something small, portable & easy (my motto).  We have a $5 solar shower, but I don’t find it that easy.  First off, you have to lay it out in the sun all day, which requires both sunshine & one spot to leave it at—not always easy if I’m moving from place to place.  Then you load it up with heavy water, & lift it above your head & attach it to your luggage rack (easy for Danny; not so much for me).  Then you take your chances on how warm the water is.  I didn’t use it at all…not once (Danny used it several times though).  So, this new shower had been on my radar all fall & I decided it would become part of my gear.  I can heat up water, add it in, hang this on a tree or on my luggage rack.  It has a great flow…I think it will be an awesome addition…although I still won’t pass up an opportunity to shower at a nice rec center if they ever open up.

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I was hoping I could use my collapsible sink, but I think it’s going to be too flat…the water will disburse & the new shower needs something more concave.  I also need to replace my ‘pee bucket’…an ongoing search that’s turning out to be a real pain…so I ordered the bucket in the photo below.  It’s too big for the pee bucket though.  I was thinking I’d send it back, but when I realized my collapsible sink wouldn’t work for the shower, I thought this bucket would work great.  So, I kept it.  I found a mesh bag that both the shower & bucket would fit in & all of it slides nicely in my personal-kit bag.  Looking forward to a little bit cleaner summer than last year.

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I also bought this tiny emergency blanket to keep in either my day pack or backpack.  I’ve never had one of these before & it’s filed under “things I buy that I hope to never use”…just like all the insurance we buy, tools for car emergencies, etc.  I hope I can look back on this purchase when I’m old & say…”wow, I really wasted my money on that!” (…but in the meantime…)

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I’ve had my same poop digger for years & years.  This has been on my ‘wish list’ for about the last 5.  And I really am hoping to go backpacking & in my ‘old age’ want to lighten my load as much as possible.  So, add in my new little red trowel.

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I thought I wanted a couple more packing cubes…I love packing cubes!  Note:  I’m kind of a crazy shopper…want to see & touch stuff before I keep it….and I’M SUPER PICKY (because I know whatever I purchase, I seem to keep it for so many friggin years!)  So, I first ordered an off-brand of packing cubes…nope…those got sent back the next day.  Then I found my Eagle Creek old cubes on sale…they got ordered.  But, before they were shipped, I cancelled. Then I went down the rabbit hole of researching waterproof bags…this would give me a little bit different alternative way to pack in addition to my packing cubes.  While I couldn’t afford the best (Sea to Summit or Osprey brands), these colorful, different size bags, I think, will work.  They aren’t waterproof, but water resistant….anyway, I’m giving them a shot.

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Two other small purchases are a GSI coffee mug (that I can take on the trail with me then carabiner to my pack) & a new brand of roll on sunscreen recommended by my professional traveler friend, Sherry Ott of Ottsworld.

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My biggest, both in research, money & sort of freak out monitor…was a new camera.  I’ve carried a big DSLR for years…the same one.  It’s old, it’s heavy, but rather beloved.  For the past couple of years, I rebelled against carrying it on hikes that I’ve hiked before & already have about 100 or more photographs of & just used my phone.  So, I began each hike with…”do I take the big camera or not?”.  Then I decided to upgrade my phone & take advantage of the great new camera.  

But, after much painful thinking & decision making, I bought this point & shoot.  Known for it’s awesome macro capabilities, it’s tough exterior that repels drops, falls, water submersion, dust, etc.,  I bit the bullet I made the purchase.  I was concerned because most of my photography is scenic…not macro.  I am going on a huge trip in August that might see my stuff getting wet, so I know that factored in my decision too.  Now that I’d made the hard decision (hard for me anyway), I need to start learning how to use it.  It comes with many bells & whistles & I wanted the time to learn some of it before I took it on a trip.

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Last but very very least…I added a couple of ‘decorative’ touches to Camper.  I always feel ‘wasteful’ & like it’s adding ‘too much’.  I love space-both in my home & in Camper--…open space, empty space & uncluttered.  But, I also love color & twinkle lights….so here’s what I added.  I’d been trying for months & months to think of something I could add to the ceiling of Camper.  I spend a lot of time staring ‘up’ when I’m laying in bed…I thought of a hundred different ideas…but no way to affix any of it to my headliner without possibly messing it up.  One thing I bought didn’t work at all…so now I’m stuck with it trying to figure out a purpose for it (it’s non-returnable).  Then, that means I’m done; I’ve quit spending time on a dead-end project, money & time…I just need to leave it plain.  But, within all that process, I bought these fun lights!  While they currently have no specific place…they are tucked in Camper & will come out to light her up some wonderful night just when & where I need them to!

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One company I love, is a Florida company called “Natural Life”.  The ‘Live Happy” flags that have flown in Camper since her beginning are from there, as well as the lights shown & mentioned above.  While in Florida with the little girls, I found these cute flowers hangers.  Two are in my bedroom at home, but one is currently filling this ugly ‘space’ near my bed & holding my travel ‘disco ball’.  Sounds crazy, but I’ve had the disco ball going inside Camper before with the little girls when we had a pajama party one night.  I’m sure I’ll love the colorful strobing lights…especially maybe during high winds or an especially crazy thunderstorm; but I know everytime I plug the disco ball in & blast the music, I will smile remembering the three of us dancing inside camper during that pajama party one night.  Those memories mean so much!

The other addition is called a mini Kalimba or a thumb piano.  I’m not much of a music maker, although music is a huge part of my life…can’t imagine a day without it.  But, I have friends on the road that play banjo or guitar or harmonica, etc.  I wanted something tiny, portable & simple.  I actually had buyers remorse when this arrived & decided to send it back.  Amazon, said…’no, we’ll refund, but just keep it.”.  I thought it was a sign.  A silly sign, but I made space for it in Camper & have learned Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while I was in Florida & am learning Happy Birthday (because how fun would it be to play that for another camper on their special day?)  But, mostly now, I remember Emma…little three year old Emma, picking it up, using her thumbs to make the tiny tinkle noises & singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’…& I don’t care how silly it is, my smile is huge & the memory fills my heart!

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Remember the pouf (footstool) I made for my bedroom last December?  Well, it was one of the first projects I re-visited when I got home.  Arriving back from Florida at 8:30am in the morning & walking into my bedroom, its big ugliness jumped out at me.  I didnt love it when I finished it last December, but I thought its functionality would win me over.  But, the morning, I got back I knew it had to go.  I loved all the little squares Id made & embroidered though, so my design mind went into its crazy mode.  A few days later, Id cut the lovely little squares off & deconstructed the pouf.  I ended up making a garland from all the little squares & it hangs near the ceiling above my bed.  I like it much better & so far, haven’t missed the pouf at all.

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I think that’s it for now.  I’ve been researching new backpacks (mine is 25 years old), new tents (mine got shredded in wind storms last year), a new sleep pad, a new backpacking quilt & a new water filter.  All in hopes of bringing backpacking back into my life.  But that’s all big money…& probably not in the cards for this year.  I will need to use what I have.

But, I’m excited to start my spring trip planning, packing, dreaming,  then finally going & making it happen.  

One last dream…that Covid get’s kicked to the curb & we all have our normal lives back with a new appreciation of what it means to spend time together, to smile at each other with more than just our eyes, to hug, to talk to strangers…to embrace life without a deadly virus.  I want that dream for all of us!

Safe travels to all of you & keep me posted on where you’re going & your adventures!

pandemic fall & winter...

What a strange & weird year 2020 has been.  Covid-19 is still wreaking havoc with the world & 1/2 the country is still at war over the election results.  2020 will definitely be a year to go down in history.

The good news is that a vaccine is being distributed beginning yesterday; Sara was one of the first to get the shot.  320 thousand people have died in the US from this horrible virus & it continues to infect thousands everyday.  

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Danny came down with mild symptoms—loosing his sense of taste & smell—the night before Thanksgiving.  He tested positive on the Friday after the holiday & began his quarantine.  I also had to quarantine, but mine was a little longer, since, technically, I kept getting exposed until he wasn’t considered contagious any longer.  I have never been home for 20 days before; rarely leaving & not seeing any friends.  The only time I left, was a run to the library, grocery store & liquor store—all which did drop off’s in the back of my 4Runner.  I walked twice on trails where I knew I’d encounter no one. Other than that, I was home &  symptom free.  My test came back negative…which seems crazy that I didn’t catch the virus from Danny, but since it’s pretty random how it affects each person, I’m grateful I didn’t get it.

Speaking of Danny, one good thing happened this fall.  On a day off for an out-patient medical procedure, he found & bought a truck!  A 2010 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 with a shell.  He’s excited to do his own build out for camping with me next summer.  So, he will retire his 1996 Tacoma with nearly 394K miles & literally, breaking in 1/2.  

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Fall is the time I generally do projects around here…craft & other wise.  I didn’t have too many on the list, since I got most of them done during lock down last spring.  But, there were a few & now all of those are done.

Ugly Pillow Project…
I had ordered one of the cheap special promotions off an Instagram ad for a personalized pillow cover.  The photo looked like it was printed on plain canvas.  My intent was to use this pillow in Camper when I traveled.  But, once I received the pillow, I didn’t like the fabric.  It’s a shiny woven fabric & looks cheap (it was cheap…what was I thinking?)  The company is supposedly out of Utah, but I’m doubtful where this is really made.  So, I named it the Ugly Pillow Project.  Right away I knew this pillow was too big & impractical to put in Camper.  I’m not one to own throw pillows…up until last year the only ones I had, came with the sofa’s I own.  But, I did buy one when I went to Texas last year, then I made my Crested Butte pillow (heres the finished product) during lockdown. 

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To the Ugly Pillow, I added felt fringe I made & made felt appliqués, now I really like it Awesome Pillow!  But three throw pillows are enoughno more pillows!

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However…during lockdown last spring, I ordered a new quilt for Danny’s bedroom.  When that was done, I no longer needed the European sized pillows for his now-obsolete shams.  I wasn’t sure what to do with these practically new pillows…they were taking up space with no purpose…not something I like.  So, I came up with idea to cover them in a soft flannel fabric…one each for Claire & Emma to use as floor pillows or whatever, the next time they come to visit.  So, that’s what I did.  Thank goodness, I’d already bought the fabric before quarantine & had the felt (my felt pile never diminishes, no matter how much I use!) to make fringe for the edge.  Now we just need to little sweeties to come for a visit! (Oh, we need that sooooo bad!)

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I also have managed to put fairy lights everywhere (well almost) throughout the house!  I added some to the fireplace & we both love it!  I love the way the glow from the lights seems to make the darkness of cold winter nights, warmer & peaceful.

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The last project came about when I tried to store the rest of my felt away.  I decided to use what I had (couldn’t go anywhere to pick out anything new anyway) & make a pouf (footstool) for my bedroom.  I didn’t have the colors I really wanted, but it turned out OK & it’s functional.  I wanted it for the rocking chair in my bedroom so I can sit & read at night (I also added fairy lights & a pom garland to the ceiling in my bedroom).

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Then it was time to get ready for the holidays.  It’s been my tradition, ever since the kids moved away, to get an early start.  All that shipping needs to take place.  And, this year, I made the choice to buy most everything from Amazon…somehow they get the gifts there on time or early…something the USPS has been struggling to do (at least with my stuff) for the past few years.  You can pay for Priority…but it doesn’t do any good & there’s no recourse.  Just an ‘Oh well” & this year they can blame everything on Covid.  So, I was pretty much done before my quarantine.  I ended up only mailing three manilla envelopes & one box through the post office.  It took 9 days for the box to arrive in Orlando…but it finally did.  One envelope to California after 12 days; the others just arrived today (lost track of the number of days; it’s been so long). 

We didn’t figure we’d get to spend Christmas with Sara’s family in Florida, since we were there last year, but we’d hope to go down for Claires 6th birthday in early January.  They have made other plans, so now we’re hoping for Emma’s 3rd birthday in February. We’re missing those sweethearts so much!

We  don’t put up too many decorations or a tree when none of the kids are coming home, so it’s all minimal this year.  I did make a twig tree to put up in the window & made a little “Claire & Emma” shrine with their photo ornaments & hand print ornaments (made those when were down in Orlando in October).  So our Christmas will be slightly boring & lonely without any family.  I am cooking a small special dinner in which I’m hopeful that Danny may have some of his taste & smell back by then…if not, I’ll enjoy it.  And, as always, we'll have some great beer!

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Of course, I’ve done a ton of reading this year too.  Probably more reading than ever before.  I track my books on a site called Goodreads, & as of this post, my total for this year is 108  new books & I’m still reading.  What would I do without books?

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So, 2020 will be ending soon & no one is sorry to see it go.  I’m so grateful that this crazy virus has not affected our family or any friends in any catastrophic way…because it has done that to so many.  It’s a horrible, random virus.  And, we all have hopes the vaccine will make it a thing of the past…never to see it again.

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There were goals I didn’t complete this year as far as travel goes…most all international travel was stopped.  I fell short of camping 100 days in my 4Runner….but fortunate to have spent a glorious 91 days sleeping in my little home-away-from-home.

I ended last years blog with an article titled “2019…A Year of Uncertainty”.  Wow…I had no idea what was coming…it was like a tornado, hurricane & earthquake all in the same year…a shit-storm with Covid-19.  The whole world has suffered this year.

Danny’s mother passed away last May, in her own home & with two of her children next to her.  One of them was Danny & I know it was one of the hardest things he’s ever experienced…to let her go.

I’ve still not gotten too comfortable with Uncertainty….even though Covid-19 has given the whole world ample time to try this year.  But there’s hope…there’s always hope.  And mine is for the world to heal from this virus, for our country to heal from this election, & all of our friends & family have a fantastic 2021!


20 days home & I’m packing again….yipee!

It’s always a little strange driving down my road after I’ve been gone on a long trip…this summer’s was 81 days.  I’ve lived down this gravel road in the country for most all of my adult life…since I was 21 (way tooooo long to stay in one spot!).  So, it’s definitely weird to pull onto this super familiar road & have it feel….foreign.  Then coming into the house, is always the same.  Danny’s usually at work, so it’s just the cats.  They stare at me, surprised I’m not dead because I’ve been gone so long.  Then I blankly look at all the mundane (I know this is a first world thought & I’m fortunate to have all these things that make life easier) things like the lawnmower, the dishwasher, the vacuum, the kitchen full of pots & pans, the bed…all of which you would think I’d have missed living outside all summer…I didn't.  The only thing I longingly embraced, was the shower.  There were too few of them in this Covid year.  The other surprising thing I noticed, was that I had forgotten all the Pandemic projects I’d completed while in lockdown.  When I drove in the driveway, I noticed bright red adirondack chairs in the front yard; the directional signs on the pole; the new cushions & welcome mat on the porch…& it went on & on even as I went into the house.  On my long boring drive back to Kansas, I told myself I’d clean out & get rid of bunch of stuff when I got back.  But I realized as soon as I walked in the door (& would continue to realize it as I went into my closets), that I’d gotten rid of & cleaned out stuff during the lockdown; there’s not really a lot more to remove!

But I soon began the chore (yes I love to pack, but unpacking is more of a pain…& you don’t get to go on an adventure when you’re done) of unpacking, cleaning gear, & cleaning out Camper.  One cat was immediately glad I was home; the other took a day or so to allow me to pet her!

I had missed the evenings when Danny & I share a beer & sit around talking.  His job is crazy busy & particularly awful this year, so we dont have that opportunity as much as we used to, even when I am home.  We used to go out to dinner frequently or to a brewery or two, but Covid has nixed those opportunities also.

But, then we got the good newswe get to go see Emma & Claire!!!  We will be driving downnot flying, not stopping to eat out or stay in a hotel on the way down.  Whatever we can do to make it safe to see our grand girls, Sara & Kevin.  It will have been almost 8 months since we last hugged them!  And, we have missed them so much every single day!  We went into travel mode as fast as possible, Danny getting a week in September off work, & me making his flight plans back.  As, of this writing, I’m hoping to stay a bit longer with the girls.  The rest of the plan hasn’t been made yet…guess I’ll just wing it!

Claire was super excited too.  She’s come up with all kinds of fun things for us to do & I’ve added to that list as well.  One of her ideas was a request to make her a “Rainbow Girl” costume.  This isn’t a character from a movie or show, Claire just made it up & gave me some guidelines.  Then she asked if Emma could have a Firework Girl Costume--two days after thinking how on earth I could make that, I visited with Claire & she revised it to “Sparkle Girl”….that I could do!

In between getting everything ready for Florida, I have seen a couple of friends for lunch, but have avoided any & all big crowds.  When we have eaten out, it’s almost always been outside with tables spaced at least 6’ apart.  We are doing everything we can to stay Covid-free to make this trip happen & to arrive healthy & welcomed.  I have been back on my bike & hitting the river trail frequently, always alone, hoping to try to stay in shape & get my mind & body back outside.

Here’s a glimpse at the costumes…I hope they fit because I know those girls have grown a lot in eight months!

Emma’s I sort of cheated on.  I’d forgotten my good friend Kathi, who owns a dance studio, gave me this extra costume she had left over last year.  The girls haven’t been up to the house in so long, I didn’t remember it was in my closet until Claire asked me to bring down two costumes they play dress up with when they do come here.  Then I saw it…& I thought it was perfect for Sparkle Girl & hoped that it might fit this sweet 2.5 year old.  I ordered some sequined slap bracelets for her wrist & ankles & made her a wand.

Then I found a book to add to the fun!

Claire had requested some clips for her hair (the 5 pieces of netting on the top of the hanger) & something for her boots (the two blue rainbow clips sitting on the neck of the costume) besides the costume.  Otherwise, the creativity door was wide open.

And Claire needed a matching book too (I love this series of books!)

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So, the dining room table is filled with all kinds of goodies & fun filled things ready to pack in Camper…new pjs, Crested Butte t-shirts, my ballon animal kit (requested by Claire…I’m so not very good at this yet), shrinky dinks, beads, ingredients to make salt dough ornaments, Hocus Pocus rolls & more.

I’m also baking lots of cookies & caramels --most will be shipped to California to Pete, Leia & Luke—but we’ll keep a few in the car for our trip down, then I’ll bake some tiny ones for the girls & Sara (Kevin’s not a sweet eater).

Last week in Crested Butte it snowed about 10”-12”…hearing that makes me know I can’t be out there camping—even with a nice day here & there, the nights are getting colder, the days are shorter, the hunters will soon arrive, the smoke this year has been bad, & soon those snows will be bigger & more frequent. Fall is usually the only month I really like to be here…crisp mornings with a cup of coffee on the porch, sunny days but not hot, cool evenings without as many bugs…maybe even a fire or two in the fire pit.  Not sure where I’ll be in October this year though. Neither Danny or I are looking forward to winter.  

We’re 5 days & counting until we can hug those precious girls…we’re both over the moon excited!

day 82…lockdown is over...

and I’m outta here.  

(So much has happened in the past 41 days.  But it will wait to be written about another day.)

my town…day 41 of lockdown

It’s no secret I don’t love living where I do.  I envy people who can drive a short distance or better yet walk out their door to some wonderful, beautiful & plentiful hiking.  But what I do have, is a fun, quirky, open-minded, diverse town…Lawrence KS.  I actually live in the country; about 12 miles east of Lawrence, but call it my town since that’s where I go to shop, eat, play & its where most of my friends live.

The University of Kansas is a beautiful college that sits on top of a hill & the campus is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen.  Usually, this time of year, 28,000+ students are bustling about & theres so much activity, studying & parties going on.  But, now, it’s dead quiet.  Eerily so.

Wescoe beach…a big hang out spot…empty


And, the library closed….

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so sad.

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Danny & my favorite place to eat downtown...

sidewalks are usually filled with people...

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it’s a ghost town now.

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the message...

messages all over town….

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and, yes my town is quirky & weird but it’s the best town in this state

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Everything is sad, lonely, scary, anti-social & seems like this lockdown will never end.


pandemic projects…day 40 of lockdown

No where to go & lots & lots of time on my hands.  UGH!  I haven’t been home this time a year for a long long time. I’ve been walking several times a week as the weather permits & it’s good for my brain & maybe my body but you wouldn’t know it by the large numbers on the scale!  I’ve also been reading & listening to some audio books, but decided I needed some projects.  

Some of these projects I already had on my radar, but planned to do them in the fall when I'm home from traveling…well, the virus killed those plans.  So, here’s what I did during my Covid-19 lockdown:

Project #1:  Felt Garland.  I wanted some string lights around my front window like I have at Christmas.  I don’t have any window coverings on this big window & don’t want any.  This is my morning seat of preference as I drink coffee & look out to the front pond. But, I didn’t want an ugly green string showing either.  I’d seen this on Pinterest & liked it.  I have a crazy huge quantity of felt, so I chose my darker colors & cut out it seemed like a million 1 1/2” by 3” pieces & stitched them together in 4’ lengths using embroidery floss.  It took me most of 1 1/2 days to get it done, but I  love it!  The evening photograph definitely wins the award for worst photo ever…but you get the idea.

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Project #2:  Masks.  This is one I hope I never have to do again, not because I minded making them, I just hope there’s never the need for them again.  The pattern was easy enough, but I didn’t have any elastic & had to make do with what fabric I had (most of it toddler-design).  So I made 4 ties for each mask, each with a pocket for some kind of filter if you want it. This first masks I made were for Sara, Kevin, Claire, Emma & the Nanny. Then I made some for me & Danny.

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Last, I sent some off to Luke, Peter & Leia along with dozens of cookies! 

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Not really a project, but a time sucker for sure:  Danny & I successfully completed a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle…actually it was 999 pieces…the last piece is AWOL.  And, we had some help from Sammy (she probably stole the missing piece just to play with us!)

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Project #3: Directional signs.  So, I have this pole next to  my driveway.  It serves no purpose (it used to have a basket ball goal attached) except to keep a long & ongoing argument going between me & Danny.  I want it gone.  He does not.  He wins.  Everytime.  I had this pole painted with weird & colorful designs for a long time, but it wore off & was looking uglier than just the normal ugly pole.  So, I made these signs pointing to the places I love the most.  It’s colorful. It gives the stupid pole a purpose.  It’s also a constant reminder of exactly how far away I am from those special places. But, it greets me whenever I drive into our driveway & still makes me smile.  PS:  Don’t even get me started on why it’s nice to have an ugly propane tank next your driveway either. (We actually had an old forsythia bush blooming in between the two eyesores, but it got ugly too.  So, Danny obliterated trimmed it.  We’ll probably be dead or hopefully moved! by the time it blooms again.)

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Project #4:  Springrolls.  One of the full time travel couples I know, have ceased their travels, at least for now, just like the rest of us.  Instead, they are making cooking videos & sharing recipes for those things they cook while on the road.  These looked so good when they were eating them.  It’s been in the back, the far recesses of my mind, to try & make these ever since I watched the video.  But, in the forefront of my mind, is the fact that I don’t like to cook.  I’ve been going back & forth & finally, decided I’d try them.  It was a mess!  So much cabbage & not a big enough pot to cook it all in.  Nothing was hard about it…chop, chop, chop, chop!  Once I got two done, I fried them (yes, I know it’s bad for your body…so is starting happy hour at noon, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic!  There are so many other rules to follow…) & they were yummy.  Then I proceeded to roll up the other 50 & placed them in plastic bags to freeze.  My next test to see if these were going to work (a little late now if not) was to thaw then fry a couple & see if they were just as good as fresh.  So, the next morning for breakfast, I thawed two for an hour, then fried them.  It was a success!!!  I changed the recipe just a bit for my own taste preferences, in case I get the crazy idea to ever make these again.  Of course, it will take awhile to eat all the 48 I have in my freezer.  PS:  I have no idea how the travel couple makes these in their little T@B trailer or where the heck they freeze them!

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Project #5:  Flat people.  I’m missing my grand girls so much!  I have no idea when the next time will be that I get to see them.  A friend gave me an idea the other day to make a Flat Grandpa & Flat Gkitaken from the old Flat Stanley.  The idea is send them to Claire & Emma & they would take us on adventures with themmaybe take a few photos or at least give us something else to talk about whenever we get to FaceTime.  I loved the idea & quickly made two paper dollswere not that cute, but its sent with so much love.  I hope the girls have fun with the idea!

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When I told another friend about it, she flipped the idea & had a poster of her nephew made & decided to take him around everywhere.  I stole that idea quickly, although I wouldn’t do the poster, but my own home made Flat Claire & Flat Emma.  So, I’m now taking them around with me, taking photos of them in trees, at the park, on a picnic, etc. so by the time they get Flat us in the mail, I can show them how much fun I’ve had with them. PS:  If this lockdown goes on for a lot longer,  I’ll probably be having conversations with these two Flats!

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Project #6: Fairy furniture.  Around Easter, Claire called me to show me her new fairy garden she was making in her back yard.  Her Dad suggested I "hook her up” with some fairy stuff.  I know I could go on Amazon (but not into a Hobby Lobby or Michaels—closed due to the Pandemic) & buy some really cute, durable, easy, expensive resin things for her garden.  BUT…that’s not how I do things like this.  I’m sort of cheap (we’re currently in the mode of no paycheck) but mostly it’s because….I think fairies like natural things. You read that right…I actually can think like a fairy!  (I hear you laughing but youre not surprised, right?)  Like sticks & moss & acorns (with a few exceptions).  So, I gathered some stuff from outside & a few things from a quick-masked run to Walmart & began to make a huge, gigantic mess 

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that led to burnt fingers (from the hot glue gun), sticky fingers (from the spray I used to weatherize the painted parts) but creativity on the good side & lots of time used up!  As I write this, it’s all packaged in a box & ready to ship.  I hope these sort of fragile pieces make it to Claire’s house still stuck together, if not I’ll call it a kit (each piece is individually bagged) & ask one of her parents to help her put it back together. (Theres a flower garden, two toadstool gardens, a swing, a set of table & chairs, a bed & nightstand, some stepping stones & a bell)

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And, I sent lights for night time fairy fun!  (love those twinkle lights!)

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Project #7:  Pillow.  I love the “state” pillows that are embroidered with tiny pictures of things & places throughout the state.  If I was rich, I do the not-minimalist thing & but two or three of them, but at $196 each, I’m not owning any.  A long time ago, I tried to copy this idea, only instead of a states name, I embroidered ‘friendship’ across the top & made it for a good friend of mine.  We’d traveled a lot together, gone to lunch a lot, & spent a bunch of time doing things together.  Those experiences are what I embroidered as little pictures on her pillow.  It makes me smile everytime I see it at her house.  

This project was a definite October one.  I had already purchased the fabric though & now am grateful I had the foresight to do that.  The other thing required is tons & tons of embroidery floss.  And one of the reasons, I embraced this long project was that I would be using floss from when Sara was about 12 & made friendship bracelets all the time.  She had so much floss!  All wrapped around little cardboard squares & filed neatly in a plastic box.  I have used this floss ever since she quit making those bracelets, & just like my felt, it never seems to decrease in quantity.  (I wish my bank account were the same way.)  

There are a couple of problems though with this project: 1.  You should be able to embroider well; & 2. Each little picture as well as any wording & lettering have to be designed & penciled onto the fabric, so you should be able to draw well.  I am not good at either.  But what I do have going for me is that I am not a perfectionist.  I know what I like & have my own standard for what is good enough (& it’s not a super high standard most of the time.)  So, I have been slowly but steadily, in between all the other projects, books & walking, working on my Crested Butte pillow.  

The wonderful thing about this project, is that while I’m doing the work, I’m not seeing the funny & odd drawings I’m attempting to replicate in thread, but I’m seeing the river, the campsite, the mountains, the animals, the flowers & the trails that I love so much & have spent so much time on.  It’s been the best kind of therapy so far.  

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And, I’m not sure when I’m going to get it finished.  So far, I’ve ‘killed’ a marmot I tried to embroider (interesting fact;  it takes the same amount of time to rip out something as it does to put it there) & as of this writing, I’ve ‘plucked’ the two Columbines (I bet you can’t guess that’s what they are) off the pillow too.  It might take me forever to finish the pillow if I keep ripping out what I’ve already done!

That’s the end of the projects for now.  I hope we get ‘unlocked’ soon, although I’m not sure if thats a good idea either.  For now, I’m just home (Danny is at his mom’s house)-- me, the cats & Flat Emma & Flat Claire!

Hugs to everyone…virtual ones, since the real ones aren’t allowed.  

a world shut down…

On January 15, 2020 the first known case of a virus called the Corona Virus or Covid-19 was found in Washington state.  This virus, that began in China, quickly spread all over the world, silently infecting hundreds of thousands & killing thousands.  The world & life as we knew it, came to a screeching & scary halt.  Lockdowns began all over the world, country by country.  The US was late in getting on the right course, but we began to shut down too.  The first state was California, then county by county, then more entire states. My county lockdown began on March 24th, however a week before that it was recommended that people stay home. Today is day #39. 

Thousands of workers went home to work.  All universities & schools were closed for the rest of the year.  Only essential businesses could stay open…grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, etc.  Most all businesses, including restaurants & bars, shut their doors.  Hospitals were trying to prepare for the onslaught of patients, finding they were dangerously short of gloves & masks to protect themselves.  Peter is able to work from home; Luke is out of work; Sara is working the front lines...testing & facing Covid patients & hoping she does not bring it home to her family; Danny is still working his long hours & having contact with 20 or so new people everyday….not good.  They both get home from work, strip, & shower before having any contact with family.  Danny has been concerned about possibly spreading it to his mother, who was living at our house & it’s a particular deadly virus to the elderly & compromised…which she is both.

And, most all travel has been cancelled.  The National Parks have closed; public lands to camp on is closed in many states & airline travel is down to a bare minimum. Of course, our trip to see the grand daughters & my two month Southwest road trip were all cancelled too. 

This virus doesn’t care if you’re famous, rich, poor, young, old, smart or stupid…it attacks randomly & viciously.

People are stuck at home & spending a lot of time on social media.  It’s both good & bad…there’s funny stuff (believe it or not)…about all the spare time we have now…

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…about what happens when you’re quarantined….

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…about the rules of keeping safe...

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…about stores running out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer & so many random things in short supply…

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….about not traveling…

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…Easter came & went with no restaurants open & no mass egg hunts...

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We now have some protestors in a few cities ‘demanding’ their lives back...

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But, there is so much sadness.  So many people have died quickly from this virus.  Some hospitals are so overpowered by Covid-19 patients & medical staff is still short on supplies, thousands are out of work, the economy is struggling, the stock market has plunged, weddings & funerals are cancelled or limited to just a few people, the nursing homes are in their own lockdowns…not letting families in to visit their loved ones…& the list of heartbreaking repercussions goes on & on….

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My favorite thing to pass the time, especially when I feel like crying or just down & bored, is a Facebook group a friend invited me to.  It’s called “View from my window”.  People from all over the world are now stuck inside their homes, as never before, & they take a simple photo of their view.  There are many gorgeous magnificent scenic shots & some that are not so pretty but it’s still someone’s home, now their safe place.  But the comments are always uplifting, encouraging people to hang in there, that we’re all in this together & we will get through it…together.  It’s been so wonderful to see views from all over & hear from so many people from so many places….all of us struggling but wanting to do what’s right to save the lives of family & strangers.

We had planned a 90th birthday party for Dannys Momthere were 75 people invited & all our kids & grandkids were flying home to celebrate.  They were the first to say ‘no’…worried about being contagious to their beloved grandmother.  Soon after, the family decided to cancel the party for friends.  We ended up having 8 people here…all three of her children, one spouse, 2 grandkids & me.  The highlight of the party was a Zoom meeting where all the family joined in conversation via my laptop.  Not like being there in person, but we are so grateful for the technology to connect us over miles & in dark times.

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It’s been interesting to see that during this shut down, the environment has gotten better.  Animals venturing into the National Parks because they are empty of people; pollution down in places like LA, India & China.  I hope we can learn a lesson for our planet through all of this….may be we are a virus to our planet.

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Some good things are happening ONLINE during this crisis:  Musicians, famous & not so, are giving free concerts from their homes; museums & tourist destinations are giving free virtual tours; late night talk show comedians are having their wives tape their shows & having their kids involved; there are all kinds of free classes available through universities, art centers, etc.  A whole lot of people are trying to make the best of this bizarre & scary situation.

As time went by, the opinion flip flopped on wearing masks…at first we were told it wasn’t a good idea & those who needed them were having difficulty obtaining masks.  Then someone shared a pattern to make a home made mask….they said it would be better than nothing.  And at once, people drug out their sewing machines & made masks by the thousands.  Companies that are currently closed down but were able to make masks, began to do so.  

Sara asked if I’d make some for her family & I did.  When she sent me this photo, her text was “both adorable & heartbreaking”.  I know…I had tears in my eyes the whole time I was making these tiny masks for Claire & Emma & trying not to worry about Sara or any of her family, being exposed & catching the virus.

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At the time of this writing, Covid-19 has infected more than 2.7 million & killed at least 197,000 people world wide.  More than 51,000 have died in the US. (A note on numbers, data & experts:  You can find about whatever you want to out there.  Everyone seems to be an expert, no one wants to listen to the real experts & even they struggle to understand this new killer & everyone has their own opinion about everything to do with this virus.  It has been a political war within our country…people are scared, some are broke, many are sick, many are lonely & tempers are at an all time high & blame is going round & round with no end in sight.)  There is so much anger between people right now, but there is also kindness & goodness & wonderful surprise if you’re heart is open. 

But, for most people, life goes on & most of us are still in our homes most of the time. We are encouraged to get outside to exercise but using “social distance”…staying at least 6'-10’  away from anyone you don’t live with.  So, I am walking 4-7 miles at a time,  about 4 or 5 times a week.  

There is talk about opening the world back up.  Some ideas are methodical & some are not.  Some people want to stay in lockdown, some want to get out there now & whoever gets sick, just gets sick & who dies, dies.  

It’s a strange & scary world right now.  Stay safe, sane & healthy.

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new gear!

Last year & now it seems again this year, I have added several items to my pack list for traveling…specifically camping.  While I try not to be a constant shopper--upgrading to the latest, greatest & lightest, some things need replaced, sometimes you get an awesome gift & some items just work well & are worth duplicating.  So, here’s the new ‘stuff’ I’ll be trying this year.

the gift….Sara chose this birthday gift that’s been on my Amazon wish list (unbeknown to her) for a few years.  It’s two different types of water filters.  With the bottle, the insert & lid fit on any Nalgene bottle, of which I have several.  I’ll be able to dunk the bottle in a stream or river, shake it up, then drink it…pure water on the go!

With the Lifestraw, I can lean over the river or stream & just suck it out.  This is a great light weight option to carry in my day pack, in case I run out of water as I hike…which I have done before.  Thank you Sara….I’m excited to try these out!

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replacing the old…Danny & I have had the same set of pots of pans since we started backpacking 25 years ago.  Last summer at camp, when I scrambled some eggs, the teflon coating came off making a gray unappetizing & probably super-bad-for-you-breakfast.  

This year, I bought a new set of GSI pots & pan.  I like the way they simply nest inside of each of other & the container doubles as a sink. It also stores a little round cutting board & the lids have ’strainer’ holes for convenience.  The pans are triple teflon coated, but I was most picky about the handle.  I have a small flip-type handle on a tiny stainless steel pot I use on my solo travels, which has popped up more than once making a mess.  So, I wanted a gripper handle that locked on to the pot.  Many campers don’t want to use anything teflon & just go with pure stainless steel.  But, I wanted the ease of cleaning up the mess while out in the wilderness & without using much water.  Generally, I’ll only use these pots when Danny is with me when I tend to cook a bit more—both in time & quantity.  But, I sometimes use the frypan when I’m soloing.  So, while I’m not that excited about cooking in camp, I’ll be glad to not be eating the teflon with breakfast. We figure this set will last us for the rest of our camping days…two sets in a lifetime isn’t a bad investment.

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I also bought a pair of rain pants.  The only other pair I've ever owned was a Columbia heavy rubber-type pair (that worked great), but they are also 25 years old.  I never use them anymore. I know I’ll need one for my rafting trip in 2021, but I’m not one to put things off & if I’m going to buy a pair, I might as well use them this year too.  You can tell, since I only rarely buy new things, I’m super picky about the quality, fit & design.  I wanted rain pants with a flat front & some sort of minimal zippered pocket.  I’ve been watching & stalking this North Face pair & they went on sale on Zappos.  I ordered 4 pair…2 different sizes & 2 different lengths, so I ended up with the perfect pants.  I can’t say I’m anxious to hike in the rain, but I’m glad I’ll be prepared when the skies open up. PS:  Rain pants are also great to slip on when you need to go to the laundry mat & wash everything!!!!

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the new…  A couple of years ago, I purchased an overpriced & overly bright (all the colors I don’t love) tankini & short swim shorts to take on a cruise but I didn’t love it once in the water.  I’ve never liked the look or the design, but it didn’t seem like there was a lot of choice in the midwest in winter.   This year, I bought a rash guard from Carve designs.  I’ve never worn one before; they always seem too tight & restrictive & not flattering.  But, I liked the design of this one with the pull-type gathers on the side & the colors…I’m not a turquoise, pink & purple gal.  It’s loose enough to be active in, but tight enough to swim in (I think…haven’t been in the water with it yet).  I also bought a pair of long swim trunks.  I’m more than ready to cover these old thighs & the papery-spotted arms.  I want everything to be comfortable & active.  

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Last year when I was in Texas, in the record heat, I was worried about camping for a week & being inundated with mosquitoes.  At one of the humungous Bucky’s I visited, they sold these Thermacell mosquitos zappers.  I sort of panicked & bought one.  While I learned all about the Texas fire ants, the mosquitos stayed away, & I never even opened this.  But, I intend to take it to camp this year.  Mosquitos are in every state & drive me crazy.  I’d be just as happy if I never had to open it; never encountering another mosquito in my life….that just having it in the box & wasting my money was enough to keep those annoying insects away.  And while I’m a big optimist (I buy lottery tickets every week), I have my doubts, but I now also have my zapper.

the duplicate….I loved my Altra Lone Peaks so much from last year, I bought another pair for this year.  This is actually the Lone Peak 4.5…they changed the laces for the better, but the overall shoe is the same & is just great.  The first time I wore them was on a 8.5 mile walk—on concrete, on gravel, & on dirt…no break in time.  The color is sooooo bright I told Danny if I’m wearing them & fall off the trail, they’ll find me because of my shoes. (I’ve been wearing them on my mountain bike trail to dull them up a bit with trail dirt!)

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the other duplicate I bought was this awesome technical hoody from LL Bean.  It’s a copy cat of Patagonia’s R1.  Last year I bought both & compared them before deciding I liked the fit of the LL Bean one better.  Then after wearing it day after day & loving it last year, when it went on sale this year, I bought a second one.  And, it's in my favorite color!  Between my 2 pair of Columbia shorts, my 2 Duluth Trading travel pants & these two hoodies, I’m set for days.

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I’m still working on a travel plan for my spring road trip to the Southwest.  

In the meantime, Danny & I are planning a 90th birthday party for his mother, who is back from her 3 months of traveling & living with us.  The best part of the party is that all my kids & Claire & Emma are coming home for a long weekend.  So, I’m in party planning mode, menu & food prep mode with a few ideas of fun things to do & play with the girls in the short time they’re here.  I’m soooo excited to have them all together!

Then I’ll be packing up Camper with all my favorite things & ready to hit the road!

2019…a year of Uncertainty

I’m not one to spend a lot of time looking backwards, but this year seemed to scream out for it.  The word that jumped out when reflecting back on the past 365 days was Uncertainty. I learned at an early age how uncertain life can be…in a second, life as you know it can be changed forever.  I think that’s why I’m so adamant about doing things now; knowing tomorrow might not always come easy or at all. My travels all contain a big level of Uncertainty; from where I’ll go each day to where I sleep at night.  So, you would think this feeling would sit comfortable with me; I’d have an ease with it.  This year has proven for sure, that I don’t.  

I’d love to think of myself as super laid back, go-with-the-flow type of woman, but those close to me will shout that I’m anything but that.  I strive to be that, but the older I get, those traits seem harder to achieve.  Danny gently reminded me this year that I’m the type of person who wants the answers now & needs a plan.  True.  I am organized & an Organizer; a list maker; a Do-er; I get a lot of shit done.  I always challenge myself to be the most efficient I can be…from my route while running errands, to my once a month cooking chore & even through a grocery store—my shopping list laid out as the store is.  I get the mundane done as fast as possible & love to chill out afterwards.  It works for me…until I have to cross paths with others who are opposite.  

My mother-in-law’s health has taken many turns this year.  A fall, a return of her cancer, lots of chemo treatments, two trips to the ER & a long stay in the hospital.  Uncertainty.  She’s not been on her own for almost a year.  I made a difficult decision to go ahead with all my planned travels.  My decision was between me & Danny; I’m pretty sure no one else in the family understood or approved.  It’s only what Danny thinks that I care about, & I knew in my heart he’d have preferred me to stay home & take care of his Mother, but I went anywaywas it the right decision? Uncertainty.  I knew this would make it hard on him; he’d never had to deal very much with the Physicians, hospitals, meds, FMLA & all that comes with the medical roller coaster; I always did it.  But, I was hopeful if I left, his retired sister & brother would step up to help out.  That they would all spend needed time with their mother.  I was more than ready to step aside as her medical care-giver  (I had done this for the past five years) & I know she would prefer to spend all that time with her own children.  And, they all did.  The three shared in her care, her appointments, trips back & forth to her home at the lake. 

I worried for Danny leaving so much on his plate while he is still working long hours at what must be the worst job ever.  My home, whether I was there or not, was in a constant state of motion…the brother, the sister & her husband, & a couple of grandchildren coming to stay in & out when necessary.  It all takes a toll on relationships too. But, I held to my decision.  I was constantly checking my “guilt to boundaries” meter.  Uncertainty.  

His family has a fierce & loyal love for their Mother.  She is a very blessed woman.  They are all that I am not…easy going, quiet, slow, take life as it comes….they don’t seem to mind Uncertainty.  I know it’s better to be out of the loop these days…better for me & better for them.  They get tired of my speed, my need to know & my impatience with indecision.

Friends say how much of an adventurous spirit I have.  But I have even begun to question if that’s true or not.  On a recent road trip home from Florida, Danny & I drove through the Land Between the Lakes NRA.  We took off down a narrow, dirt/gravel/mud road to try to see the lake.  I was nervous from the beginning; he was just having fun.  We were about an hour from dark & no one else around & still had to drive 7 more hours to get back home that night.  The road was very muddy.  Some of the places were better than my driveway, so why was I so nervous?  I could see his disappointment in me.  I know it was the Uncertainty of what was ahead of me.  That anticipatory fear my friend Talie says is a waste of time.  As we turned down the last road, I was super uncomfortable.  It was the muddiest of all & I was sitting by a guy with no-fear.  A tree down in one spot, he got out & waved me around the obstacle & through the deep mud.  We drove through shallow streams. As sunset was only minutes away, I questioned the water-filled hole covering the road in front of me. He rolled his eyes at me but I drove through water that was as deep as my running boards. Uncertainty.  I was so mad at myself to have been such a chicken, but had I been alone, I would have turned around without question a long time ago. Where was my adventurous spirit?  Uncertainty. PS:  We never even got to see the lake from this road.

When you think you’ve gotten old enough to know who you are & are comfortable, even happy with who you are, Uncertainty roars it’s mighty self.  On the road.  In my home. Looking into my heart.  Uncertainty.  I’m pretty sure there’s some big lessons in this past year.  Maybe growing older is all about Uncertainty: living & embracing it, but more so being comfortable swimming in it daily.  

But, it’s interesting when you try to change some of your core being.  For years, I tried to “not talk so much” & that didn’t work.  I’ve tried to “not be a worrier” & always trying to “not be a person that sheds tears easily”.  You ask yourself is it me or the people you surround yourself with that make you feel like you're built so wrong or do I need to make a big change from within? Uncertainty.  Can I make that change? Uncertainty.  There’s a quote I love:  “You will always be too much of something for someone.  Be yourself anyway”.  I guess there’s a balance in making changes inside yourself & not losing yourself in the process.  Uncertainty.

So, in 2020 I will grow & make changes that make me a better woman; not necessarily make me like someone else.  I am still setting boundaries.  I am still examining my heart.  I am learning to look for the positive side of Uncertainty.

a million words

I was done with projects, ready for the holidays & going crazy.  I had been on the library’s website & went nuts ordering a ton of books…quite a few using the Inter Library Loan system.  So, here’s a thing about me….once I go pick up a book, I really feel obligated to read it (unless I start it & don’t like it…then it goes back unread). So many people have worked to get me that book…especially the ILL books, that it seems wasteful to me to just turn it back in…unread.

But, the clock was ticking & the stack of books was growing.  I started on a reading adventure like I’d never done before.  

I read 19 books in 20 days.

Pretty much that’s all I did.  I sort of became obsessed to get them all read before we left for Florida.  And I did.

The War on Normal People by Andrew Yang
Breaking Into the Current:  Boatwomen of the Grand Canyon by Louise Teal
A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber
Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brockton
The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Deserts, Sea, Stone & Sky by Ellen Meloy
Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon & Ford by Clint Hill
The Exploration of the Colorado River & It’s Canyons by John Wesley Powell
The Sharp End of Life: A Mothers Story by Diedre Wolownick
Death of Riley by Rhys Bowen
Grand Obsession: Harve Butchart & the Exploration of Grand Canyon by Elias Butler
A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Rayburn
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Theres This River…Grand Canyon Boatman Stories by Christa Sadler
Grand Canyon Women: Lives Shaped by Landscape by Betty Leavengood
A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber
Between Two Worlds: Lessons From the Other Side by Tyler Henry
A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny



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