Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Don't Use the F Word

I can swear a blue streak if I am good and angry about something. I apologize in advance should anyone be in ear shot when I am on a roll and so steamed up the effenheimer may escape. No, that is not the F word I am referring to now. I'm talking about the F word as in fall, the season that follows summer.  I love fall, don't get me wrong, with cool nights and warm sweaters, apple picking and hay rides in pumpkin patches. However, this year, I am longing for a bit more summer. Maybe it is because we took vacation so late, and now there is only two weeks left, I feel like summer past me by. We are normally are second or third week of July vacationers, just after soccer season ends, and before fall sports, and then all of August left. It could be because I'm used to August at the lake, celebrating a slew of August birthdays, and picking up corn at the farm we pass on the way. With no cabin to go to, and all the weekends before being work weekends, there have been no lazy days of summer, except for the two days I snuck up there in June with DD2 and friends.

Two days ago I was of the mind set, "There's two full weeks of summer left-yeah!" This has turned to, "Crap, there's only two weeks left of summer." My evening laziness hasn't helped. Getting caught up at work means I have had no physical, and more importantly no mental down time during the day. I came home Monday and Tuesday night exhausted and binged watched tv on my computer, in between running DD places. I've still got stuff sitting in my suit cases. It started raining last night and is still raining hard this morning. The house feels damp and sticky and needs a very good top to bottom cleaning, as well as efforts to get all the rubbish out of the basement to get the new floors in, bathroom fixed up, and fireplace back in working order. Still, I want to squeeze a few more nights sipping a cold one on a patio or deck, grilling food and eating outdoors or packing food and heading to somewhere with water, if only for an afternoon.

Fortunately, I have these two weeks of work, but begin September with a four day weekend, plenty of time to mix work with a good day devoted to a summer pursuit. I may have to hide my computer from sight each night though. Netflix calls me like a siren to a sailor. 

Maybe a good give away win will be the jump start to fall I need. Here's a couple on right now. If you are running any drawings, feel free to leave a link in the comment section. 

Sluggy is working her magic at Don't Read This, It's Boring. Click the blog name to get to her drawing for a whole host of goodies. Be sure to read a few more posts, and watch her video on latest shopping deals-and do not mess with her and taxes. 

I'm still collecting survey responses on topics of interest and other bits of information to help me launch my new site, Sam and Coffee. Copy the survey link into your browser, or click here. One responder will win a $25 Amazon gift card. It is not a sponsored give away. i;m going with Amazon becasue of the universality of access.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

Yesterday was a laundry day, grass mowing day, and normalizing day. I'm trying to read up on my blogger friends and watch YouTube as well. Pup is sure happy to have us home and is showing it by lounging in whatever room he has the best view/awareness of us. DD1 used the washer and dryer Saturday night and hit the road back to Wisconsin about 6:00 so she would have a full day in her own place. Of all of us that need to rejuvenate after time with extended family, she needs it the most. I doubt we'll see her until the end of September when she comes home for her sisters confirmation. DH went with his brother to pick up his dog, and his mom road along as well as they wanted to swing by the cabin for a progress check. Yes, before you ask, I was slightly annoyed, as we have so much that needs to get done here. 

Apparently how I pack and DH pack up before going home from trips is different. I take things out, clean out things not needed, and repack. DH doesn't. I found DS's sweatshirt in DH's back pack. (He apparently packs like his dad and was only worried about his camera gear anyway.) I have a few other things I want to send him, so that will go in the box. 

We have two full weeks of summer schedule left, plus DD2 doesn't start school until September 7th. We need to fit in school supply shopping yet, and get some more driving lessons in. I am not checking messages until I get to work, but am going in earlier by an hour to get a head start. The days on the calendar keep going by; life moves back to a rhythm, and I need to get focused back on my own goals and health. Despite walking everywhere, going for fruits and vegetables and avoiding the never ending ice cream supply, I weighed in at 7 pounds more than before leaving on the trip. How is that much weight gain even possible? August 22 feels right for some good changes to my laziness this summer. Produce in the farmers markets and roadside stands is plentiful. If we can get through the last of the heat spells, I'll be outside more often as we move closer to fall; outside moving, outside not eating food!

The Minnesota state fair starts this week, adding parking stress near work. We won't be going, but I'm planning a day at the Renaissance Festival again, but probably the last weekend it runs. Anyone have any great plans yet before fall? Anyone else have plans to put seven pounds on in a week before summer runs out?  No? Good-send me some motivation.

Thank you to those that completed and particularly forwarded on to others my Survey Monkey.  I'm still gathering responses so click below.  Apologies to some of you that had troubles with the link and I hope you try again. Remember a $25 Amazon card is up for grabs.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Once in a Lifetime

Mendenhall Glacier-Juneau, Alaska

I think I know where and why the phrase "once in a lifetime" came about, particularly when used as an adjective to a family vacation. It means, should only be done once in a lifetime. Let's see-broken wine bottle in a suit case, misunderstanding of what travel agent said was and was not prepaid adding hundreds per family of unplanned cost (but was clearly in the printed material and we had accounted for it in our budget), teenager thinking mini bar was included, packed shoes in luggage taken off ship leaving one member without any footwear on departure day, and a left suitcase in the disembarkation center, with a $43 cab fare to get it to the airport all were part of the fun of unnecessary stress. Ironically, none of theses issues were with my family. We are home and relatively unscathed from eight days of togetherness as as part of an extended family. Heavily aided by a few cocktails along the way, I managed to get some good time with my immediate family, and keep my mind gripped during the full on group of 17. To be honest, I think the others felt the same way-we aren't exactly total peaches to spend a week with either. 

This was for my mother in law, and important to her. We had a lovely birthday celebration  for her on her birthday itself.  That night she sat with all her kids and in laws, plus two oldest grand daughters due to table arrangement.  The next night she sat with just the grand kids. One of the little guys, who hasn't really spent much time with DS in his short 5 years, found a new best friend. Yesterday at the airport in Seattle, he sat on DS's lap until it was time for us to board. DS was on a different flight of course heading back to LA, and had to take a shuttle train to another terminal before catching his later flight. 

One of my favorite animals, these sea lions were catching
some rest and giving me a good photo op.
The sites were gorgeous-beautiful mountains, glaciers, wildlife,and blue waters to appreciate the magnificence of the world. DS captured some good footage for his film real. I have mediocre at best pictures, but turned my camera over to DD2 for most of the trip.Highlights of course were having all three of my kids together. Trip specifc favorites was seeing the Mendenhall Glacier, Ketchikan, and the humpback whales. We originally were scheduled for a zodiac boat ride and guided forest hike on Monday, bu it got cancelled due to mechanical difficulties with the boat. We chose to get a refund rather than the alternative canoe trip they offered. Back on ships, we booked the glacier and whale watching in place. This was fortunate, even though it cost us another $235, becasue the whales did not disappoint.  We found a pod of 12, and one guy even jumped out twice for us.  I captured on video, so will try and upload and post a link. 

I don't know if I'll get back to Alaska in my lifetime. There are so many other places and wonders I want to see. Even though we were planning on this trip anyway, it made my MIL happy to be able to gift the bulk of the trip to her family, and have everyone come along. Back at the airport, she allowed herself to use the wheelchair service. While she departed the ship at each port, she avoided stairs on board, and it was clear the physical strain had taken its toll. Seeing her in the wheel chair was the first glimpse of recognition that she is slowing down with age. However, slowing down but not quite done with her own adventures. She has a trip planned with the town senior center for Nova Scotia next month already.

Falls from the mountais were all along the scenic coast
and interiors of Alaska. 

Not the best picture, but saw the tops of a family of humpbacks. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alaska Check In

"All are surviving on the meager rations the expedition sponsors have put together. Day five and adrenile is high after face to face encounters with hump back whales and sheets of ice flowing from what seems like the sky." Hardly my journal entry but the views make me wonder what those explorers must have been thinking when they saw this world. I know it is part of the US but it feels much different. I'm holding my own stress wise but more togetherness as a large group than my taste.The part about food was for dramatic emphasis-too much food is actually the case! We really did have the whale encounters and glaciers are miraculous to see. Lots of pics to come and if I can get some footage posted,maybe a special treat.Until next time-Sam