Perspective

Destination: Key West, FL

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Destination: Key West, Florida
Purpose: Connect time with husband, relax, and as a business owner- a smidge of working/ board meeting remotely

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While we were there, we checked out Hemingway’s house and his 6-toed prophylactic cats. Pictured are both his pool and the “last red cent” he threw down when he returned home from cavorting with his future wife in Europe. His current (at the time) wife was none too pleased about his travel and put in a pool while he was gone. He accused her of spending his “last red cent” installing this beautiful in-ground pool. It wasn’t a smooth marriage…

The Arts and Culture Museum and Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum were both excellent stops. The Shipwreck Museum left a lot to be desired. The viewing tower was damaged by Hurricane Irma and closed. I’ll consider our entrance fee to that one a donation towards rebuilding after the hurricane.

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Truly, there are fantastic fruity both non-alcoholic and spirited drinks all over Key West. Did you know they don’t put pickles in their Bloody Mary’s down there? Maybe that’s just a Midwest USA thing….

Food was expensive. The Inn we stayed at on Duval had a continental breakfast, so we appreciated the simple breakfast most mornings. We ate well while we were on the island. It was March Madness basketball and our team was in the Elite 8, so we ate and watched at Jack Flatts two nights.

One morning, we took in a French bakery. Another afternoon, the French restaurant “La Petit Paris” had delectable sandwiches. We visited the Hog’s Breath for appetizers. After a warm day on the water, we enjoyed dinner at the “Old Town Mexican Café.” Our final evening meal was at the Blue Macaw with live music.

Traveling the island. Bring comfortable walking shoes or sandals! We walked EVERYWHERE with two exceptions: 1) the airport to Duval Street, and 2) Uber to the harbor and airport. The taxi drivers were absolutely crazy drivers. Uber drivers seem to be a bit more careful with their vehicles… and the pedestrians walking along the roads.

I found a good book, “The Pink Suit,” on a shelf at our Inn. There was also a nice hammock by the pool. Fantastic combination! The iguana wasn’t by our place. He was down by the docks on a bush. Silly creature wasn’t the least bit concerned about us. That speaks to the full-to-the-brim population on the Key.

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This is Ryan. He was on our fishing expedition. I was just getting ready to stick my finger in the mouth of a fish to take out the hook and throw him back. That’s what we do with fish in the Midwest. Apparently, reef fish have hidden teeth… and I would have had a new finger ornament until we got back to shore. It would have looked lovely with my curly, wind blown boat hair, and sun-encouraged freckles.

Ryan was excellent. I highly recommend our outfitter “Gulfstream Fishing.” It was $65/ person plus the license for 6 hours. The boat held multiple parties. Food and drink were available on the boat. Everyone was friendly and helpful!

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We only had 5 days for the entire trip including the travel portion, but we made it worthwhile. Neither of us are big partiers, so there wasn’t any table dancing. (haha) Naps, drinks, food, sightseeing, a day on the water with fishing, and reading. We had the conversations that connect us as a married couple, not just business partners. We hit the topics that needed to be covered outside the walls of our office. Flirting with each other and laughing is so refreshing!

Parenting · Perspective

Seat 21A Key West to Atlanta

Delta Seat 21A Key West to Atlanta- you. Yes you. This morning we all boarded a flight from Key West to Atlanta at approximately 11:30am.

I know leaving somewhere that the air is warm and soft, drinks and merriment flow freely, and the potpourri of languages is like music- it’s difficult.

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But not so difficult you had to be passive aggressively rude to the young mom traveling with her 3 & 2 yr old girls. I heard you two rows back when the obviously tired 2yr old fussed.

“I can’t believe we have to listen to this shit on our way home.” That’s exactly what you said to the woman on your right, never looking back at your intended target. That woman must be used to your selfish choices. She calmly put a pink and white earbud in your ear.

I saw the young mom glance up at you as she tried to calm her little. She stayed calm and remained full of grace.

That young mom worked her tail off all the way to Atlanta keeping those girls quiet and happy. My husband and I peeked and smiled at them. I handed her phone back up when it hit the floor. Another passenger talked calmly and reassuringly to the 3yr old when the mom had to take the toddler to the bathroom.

It seems that everyone in the two rows around the young mom was happy to help. Everyone but you.

As we landed in Atlanta, we talked with her and the 3yr old. My daughter likes Barbies just like she does. She’s always losing the shoes too.

My husband offered to carry her carry-on bag. The tired 2 year old had finally cashed it in as we taxied to our gate. She now had to maneuver a sleeping toddler, her three year old, bag and a double stroller to make her connection to Michigan- which was currently boarding in another terminal.

Seat 21A. Would it have been so difficult to be supportive? Or at the very least ignore the noise?

I believe most people are good and kind. I hope that the patience and smiles of the rest of us outweighed you, Seat 21A. I pity you for your sour outlook. I pray for you that you are so smothered in other people’s graciousness that your selfish heart is cracked. Hopefully, the next time you have a chance to show grace and patience, you will.

This one is for you Delta Seat 21A.

 

Creativity · Perspective

Three Things

If you follow my musings, you know we’ve been fully engulfed in influenza A, influenza B, and a touch of stomach flu during January. It’s like January was a germ-filled, Christmas-gathering hangover fog.

I’m welcoming February from my couch as I continue the long slow recovery, but I’d like to be a bit more playful with my post today.

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Three Things

Three things I like:

1) hot vanilla tea
2) peonies
3) hugs

Three things I can live without:

1) crickets
2) sunburns
3) instant gratification

Three places I’ve traveled:

1) Hawaii- Oahu & Kuaui
2) Saskatoon, SK, Canada- I have relatives there! It was a family road trip when I was a kid.
3) Sanibel Island, FL

Three places I want to visit:

1) Maine
2) South America
3) Georgia or Alabama- I’ve never been to that part of the South.

Three things I always buy as cheaply as possible- on sale or generic:

1) paper napkins
2) mustard
3) hand soap refills

Three things I splurge on and apparently feel like I have to justify to the world:

1) skin care- R+F, because I was tired of being a 30-something with acne
2) hair care- Monat Volume System, I can’t use the others “systems” because it makes my hair fall out. Most OTC shampoos make my psoriasis flare.
3) hot dogs. It’s just a mental thing. It’s all mechanically separated…

Three games I’ve played the past month:

1) Guess Who
2) War
3) Pie Face

Three things I like to read:

1) Articles that explain things I don’t know – i.e. Cryptocurrency, Easter Island stone heads, making diamonds from radioactive materials…
2) the Bible every morning. Lots to learn, ponder, and reflect on in between those covers.
3) Books – I know that is broad, but I have a WIDE array of interests. Historical fiction, Historical Non-fiction, “Better Yourself” type books, some fantasy but can’t get too out there- NO ZOMBIES or creepy stuff.

Three people worth quoting:

1) C. S. Lewis
2) Maya Angelou
3) Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Perspective · Uncategorized

Travel Anxiety

Travel anxiety.

Ok I said it. I have travel anxiety.

I always have. I was the kid on the bus quietly praying fervently that we wouldn’t slide off the slick gravel road after a thunderstorm (that did happen fairly frequently). I still grip the door or the Oh S*** handle in the truck when I think we are too close to the white line or are driving on a narrow road. I leave handprints on the armrests on airplanes – the WHOLE flight. Jesus and I get in some serious talks in the air.

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My face when the plane takes off.

Friday, my family is traveling to Colorado for my uncle’s memorial service. A 9.5hr trip, we are taking my vehicle. My dad is driving, but he promised that if he gets too tired he’ll turn it over to one of the other five adults in the SUV. We’ve had time to process my uncle’s passing, but the sad reason for our trip will run as an undercurrent as we cover the miles.

Just the original family, no husbands or kids on this road trip. It’ll be a throwback to our childhood. I wonder if my mom will limit our Gameboy and Walkman time? Or if Dad will have ThunderDrums to play in the background as we drive across the southwest? I cross my fingers that we won’t have a freak malfunctioning door alarm that sounds every time we hit a bump…

Growing up, my parents prioritized us going on a family trip every year. One year, it was north to Turtleford, Saskatchewan, Canada to see relatives. Frequently it was to Colorado to see cousins, but with a little extra tacked on such as Mesa Verde or the Sand Dunes Natl Park. When money was tight, it was just a couple days travel across south central Nebraska to buy school supplies and stay at a B&B. Memories made everywhere we traveled no matter the destination.

Regardless- the Anxiety. I can’t help but feel that churny feeling in my stomach looking ahead to our car time. My chest is tight thinking about it. Deep breaths…

I love to travel, see new places, learn about their local history, and people watch. That’s the thing. Quite the conundrum. It’s getting started that’s hard.

 

 

Love · Perspective

Orlando

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What a beautiful whirlwind trip! First I have to thank all my family, bio and in-law, for adding my littles to their lives for a few days. They also encouraged me to relax and enjoy this trip… which was necessary as it is the third of four weekends I was out-of-state in February. By the time I touched down at the end of our 5 days, I was thoroughly convinced life needs to change.

Day 1: On the first of two flights, I sat across from a nice young lady headed for San Antonio, TX. The winds were strong on both take-off and landing and we simultaneously gripped our armrests. A quick jog thru Houston and then some seat shifting… I ended up getting to sit with my husband and a nice older man from Southern California. We chatted about various topics until we parted upon landing in Orlando. I’ve heard that is something only Midwest people do. We strike up conversations with absolute strangers and expect them to talk with us.

Fast forward thru the chaos of Orlando baggage claim… and getting our rental car… and not being sure how to turn the headlights on or dim them in said rental car at 10pm while pulling onto a busy highway… 

We’ll brush past 10-15 minutes of waiting at the four star resort/ hotel/ timeshare in line to check-in for our room that was supposed to be a nice suite, but ended up being a small room with 1980’s decor, a wall of mirrors, and fluorescent lighting with a 2-3 minute delay after you flipped the switch with two full-sized beds… but it was clean. So I’ll give them that… 

(Although we were promised a suite on Sunday, the hotel never came thru with that offer. Oh well! We weren’t in the room for much more than showers and sleep anyway.)

Our bellhop was amazing. I believe his name was Fadi. He looked to be about 20yrs old. Very helpful. Very knowledgeable. And bless his heart, he tried to get the room situation straightened out. Didn’t happen, but he gets huge bonus points for trying. He also provided us with a pizza delivery service number that would deliver until midnight, which was good since it was 11pm before we got to our room. 

Day 2: We skipped breakfast and slept. Our first stop was for an early lunch at Gator’s Dockside. I ate alligator tail! It was delicious. Honestly. As we joke in the midwimg_0566est, it “tastes like chicken.” After a tasty lunch paired with an excellent mojito, the hubs and I decided to explore the southern part of Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Cloud. 

It was like we were dating again. Jokes. Flirting. Free flowing laughter. Hand holding <– This is rare in our relationship.

Unplanned stops. Spontaneous and easy. But honestly, how did we travel before GPS???

Our ultimate goal for the day was a bowfishing trip on Lake Tohopekaliga. We are both novices at bowfishing but I’m usually up for anything that doesn’t involve claustrophobia. Riding on an air boat was also on my bucket list. Check it off!

It was a gorgeous evening on the lake. Our target was tilapia. Any tilapia we got were already spoken for by some locals (we didn’t want to freeze them and ship home). Any other fish like the gar or chub were quickly enjoyed by all the gators swimming around the lake. It was a fabulous evening and we were fairly successful for first time bowfishers.

Day 3: SeaWorld. I’ve been once before in San Antonio. Neither of us are much for amusement parks or themed anything, so Orlando is kind of a stretch in terms of entertainment. Fortunately, SeaWorld isn’t all just rollercoasters and rides. We took the time to see every single animal there. The guilty feeling was thick because we were doing this without the kids.

After cleaning ourselves up following miles upon miles of walking and multiple sunscreen applications at SeaWorld, he took me out for an extremely nice dinner. Cloth napkins. Cloth tablecloths. Salad forks. The works. Our children would not have eaten a single thing at that restaurant. And amazingly, I’m not sure we even talked about the kids at the table that night! It was all him and I conversations. We have so much more in common than just children. After almost 15+ years together, I love that we can still connect like that.

Day 4: The ARA Rental Show at Orlando Convention Center. Over 600 booths. That was our main goal for going to Orlando. We stopped at booths and checked out equipment for four hours. It was very educational for me.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not followed by dinner at Chuy’s topped off the day. 

Day 5: 2am CT/ 3am ET. That’s what time we got up. Oh Mylanta! Our rental car had to be returned to the airport after a 30 minute drive. Who knew the airport was a special kind of crazy that early in the morning??? Props to the Orlando International Airport and those hard-working people for United Airlines. They were hustling, assisting, and moving people in a pace that upon reflection, was incredible efficiency. We were thru the check-in process, baggage check and security in only 40-45 minutes.

Have I mentioned that going through airline security is a humbling experience? It puts EVERYBODY on the same playing field. Everybody is shoe-less. Everybody is arms up and imagescanned. I’ve been patted down and my bag dug around in. It doesn’t matter if you a glittering with diamonds and carrying a $1000 bag or wearing a worn out backpack with flip flops on. Everybody has to go thru security.

I’m good with it. Pat me down. Ask me questions. Root around in my stuff. Remember that fear I have of flying? I want everybody to land safe and sound. And honestly, after having babies, there isn’t anything you are going to see on that scanner that half a room full of people at the hospital didn’t already witness…

Reading Material for the Trip: I finished the book “Present over Perfect” on the trip. We were literally landing on our last flight as I read the last page. Present over Perfect. What a sea change! 

For most of this book, I shook my head in shame. It was like she was reading my internal thoughts. On this trip, I decided to be completely present with my husband. Perfect? Not even close to possible, but present. Absolutely. I’m so glad I did.

Now it’s time to start practicing it at home and with my friends. I’m starting by saying no to something going on tomorrow and yes to an invite that means hospitality. Not perfection.

Welcome. There will be dust on the floor and cups in the sink. Come on in.

 

Faith · Family · Fitness · Perspective

A Few Wednesday Reflections

Reflection #1:
I did a fair amount of traveling in the last week. My sisters and I drove eight hours (@60-75mph) to our cousin’s wedding, celebrated, then drove eight hours back. We piloted three states of roads. It’s been years, probably close to a decade since we took a “sisters only” trip anywhere. It was refreshing.

img_0475My sisters are highly intelligent. When wading thru the mundane conversations of life, the spark of a quick-witted and sharp dialogue breathes life back into my brain and soul. That was more apparent when I came back to the mish-mash of people that make up everyday life. God paints this planet with people in a variety of talents and levels. Without this variety, life would be dull and monochromatic. It is however, a nice spritzer to converse new ideas and relive memories with my sisters.

Reflection #2:
I need to figure out my direction for serving others. I want so badly to throw myself into a million different places to help and serve others. I’ve always had a heart for adoption. There are multiple children adopted into both my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family. I don’t know that this is the right time for us. We both have to be on board as a united couple. We’ve discussed fostering, but with our current schedules, we aren’t sure we could give the focus necessary to be healthy for our children, the child in need, and for ourselves. 

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There is a new opportunity for us to get more involved with providing the needs of those just outside the realm of social services – connecting directly to families who need things like clothes of a certain size, a mattress, $50 to cover an electric bill so they don’t lose electricity, etc. The idea is to provide help before the family falls down into the rabbit hole of kids going into care. It is called CarePortal and links churches directly to needs. The call then goes out to those who may be able to help in some way and hopefully that need is filled.

Helping and serving others is a thirst I need to quench, but I believe it will take a lifetime of service to help satiate it.

Reflection #3:
I’m traveling again this weekend. We’ve made the childcare arrangements for our littles. I’ve started printing out our itineraries. I fly a couple of times a year. I hate flying. It makes me want to vomit. Talk about a level of trust… I’m putting all my cells literally in the hands and competency of the people who built, service, and fly the plane (and I don’t even know them). Obviously I am trusting them – I will get on the plane. But… Ugh. Once you are up there, there is nowhere to go but down… Pray for me please.

Reflection #4:
This is Us. Is anyone else watching this show? I’ve been watching/ listening to episodes on my computer at work during breaks. The stories of these people are so beautifully raw and intertwined. Last night’s episode had me sniffling at my desk this morning. Fabulous music. The characters and emotions so real. The sites of Memphis. So so good – and this is coming from someone who watches maybe 2 hours of television a week. Maybe. Usually less. Check it out, but start at the beginning. My husband tried to watch it with me a few weeks ago – midseason. He was confused by the flashbacks and it soured him on the whole show. He’s missing out… but he also didn’t appreciate my attention for Downton Abbey or my years of Grey’s Anatomy...

Reflection #5:
I broke my toe last week. I’m astonished at how fast the tiny bones heal. It is still a rainbow of earth tones, but I am wearing running shoes today. I gave it a few trial jogs while the kids and I have been out enjoying this incredible and un-February-ish weather. I have a 10K planned for St. Patrick’s Day weekend and I need all my toes for it.

Favorite song on my playlist today: