Posts Tagged ‘postaweek2011’

I have no idea how we are even beginning 2011, much less seeing it end.  The last year has been one big blur of days flying by with work, trips out of town, and football and basketball games.  I hope that saying that time flies when you’re having fun is the actual reason the last year has whizzed past — I’d hate to think the time is just going by faster, because I’m getting older.  If that’s the case, at this rate, I’ll be 80 before I know it. 

I feel very remiss that I haven’t kept my promise to myself…I had planned to post something every week of 2011 and I missed the boat.  In fact, posts during the last six months have been almost non-existent.  I have to admit, I felt like committing to once a week sounded like a good idea, but then it started feeling like work instead of enjoyment.  And that is when I started putting off the posts.  Or starting to write, but never completing them.  I have several drafts and just can’t seem to finish them. 

So, here I am, wondering how the last six months went by so fast and how I managed to write so little.  But, does it matter?  It’s over.  All I can do is move forward.  And I feel like writing again.  I’m back.  I’m not committing to any specific number of posts per week or month.  I’ll write because I feel like writing.  It makes me happy– again.  I guess that means my New Year’s Resolution is to write when I feel like it. 

I hope each of you have found something that makes you happy, something you enjoy.  And resolve to do what makes you happy.  Happy New Year…welcome, 2012!  I hope you’re a little less frantic than 2011 was.  And a lot slower!

“In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.” ~ Sir John Lubbock


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I just got back home earlier this week from a quick trip home to Kansas.  I do consider Kansas my home state.  Although my father was in the military for my entire childhood, he was stationed in Kansas longer than anywhere else.  And I graduated from high school there, headed off to college and even my first job as an adult was in Kansas.  In fact, I lived there for over 25 years.  So, I consider it home, even though I left there over 14 years ago. 

It was such a good feeling to cross that state line into Kansas and drive through Wichita, on through the Flint Hills and up the highway all the way to Kansas City.  Yep, Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come…that’s what I was humming as I drove down the highway.  I could feel myself relax as all those familiar places flashed past my car windows.  I stopped off in Matfield Green to see the Knute Rockne memorial, in Emporia to see Soden’s Grove, in Olpe to see the Olpe Chicken House, and in Leavenworth, I saw the federal prison, the front gate to Fort Leavenworth and the Missouri River.  

Kansas may not be that huge tourist destination, but folks don’t know what they’re missing.  People in Kansas are warm and friendly, helpful, open and welcoming.  And it’s kind of like stepping back a bit in time when you stop to see the beautifully old-fashioned town squares in the small towns that line highway 40 or highway 50.  Nothing is as much fun as hanging out with friends at the local high school football or basketball game and then heading over to the mom & pop hamburger place and visiting with everyone some more. 

This trip, I went back to my college homecoming and met up with friends from my college days that I hadn’t seen in about 30 years.  It was so much fun!  How do so many people not age???  They looked like they did in college and I would have recognized most of them anywhere.  And now, I’m looking forward to next year.  They say you can never go home again…well, I don’t know who “they” are, but they are WRONG!  You can go home again.  I did.  And it was wonderful.

 “You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it, money till it’s spent, your wife till she’s joined a woman’s club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.” ~ O. Henry Porter

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Where does it all come from? How do I accumulate so much paper while living in a techy society? Even with so much still being accomplished online, we get paper, paper, and more paper in the mail, in packages that contain products we’ve ordered online, magazines (although I hope to change that when I pick up my color Nook someday) and advertising.  And receipts.  Holy cow!  I really need an industrial shredder for all of the things that need to be shredded around here.  And I need to create a better plan for separating the recycle.  I was so impressed by the Germans when we lived there.  They had large bins in town for glass recycling (separated by color of glass) and they actually fined people who threw away something that could be recycled or burned.  When we threw out our trash, we only had one very small bag a month…about the size of 1 gallon of milk.  Everything else was recycled, reused or burned in our stove.  The stove kept our apartment warm.  During the summer, we stock-piled cardboard and paper until fall and then we’d burn the stuff for heat, which then kept our utilities lower. 

Americans could learn a lot from the citizens of Germany and their stringent recycling processes.  And it would be great if “going green” could progress to the point that we didn’t get so much junk mail and stuffing in boxes that were made of paper.  Or maybe I just need to quit shopping.  My dear hubby would love that!!  Then I wouldn’t have to recycle all of those cardboard boxes and the paper stuffing. 

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. ~ New England proverb

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Or should I call it Planes, Trains and Automobiles?  You’ll understand soon enough… 

Why is it that I can plan a vacation and have all the timing down…everything goes so smoothly.  And then I get married.  Since then, it seems that vacations have a tendency to have things go wrong.  No matter what, it is a comedy of errors.  But the first vacation my hubby and I took after we got married was the worst best example of what not to do on a vacation.

We were living in Germany and trying to travel as much as possible before moving back to the states.  So, we planned a trip to England.  Or, rather, my hubby made the travel arrangements and I planned the activities.  And he’s a bargain hunter.  And his bargains aren’t always the best options for a good vacation.  He booked us on Ryan Air, which meant we flew out of an airport in Germany that was in the middle of a forest!  Nowhere near a city.  WAY out in the countryside.  Nothing around.  Since we traveled there in the day and left our car, the beginning of the trip wasn’t too bad.  In fact, we got to England and caught the train very easily up to the Lake District.  And our bed & breakfast wasn’t bad!  We had a good time with our tour and also explored on our own until it was time to travel south to see my mother’s family and visit some other areas. 

We caught the train (with our handy-dandy BritRail passes) and got to Chester…only to discover there were races going on and half of Britain was on the train or in Chester for the day.  We opted to head straight to Manchester, so we wouldn’t miss meeting up with my Uncle Ian, who was expecting us in mid-afternoon.  Wow…that was when the first problem hit.  We were lugging a fair amount of luggage and had to hop onto a train that was packed like a sardine can from a platform filled to overflowing with everyone trying to either get on or off the train.  We were finally successful on our third or fourth try. 

Our stay in Manchester was very nice, too.  And then we were off to London, to catch our plane back to Germany.  We were staying for a couple of days of sightseeing and had a wonderful time.  Until I twisted my foot on a cobblestone street — discovered much later that I must have fractured a bone in my foot.  It healed and has been nothing but pain since. 

But on to the bad part of the trip.  Or funny, depending on perspective.  I laugh about it now.  Hubby still can’t.  It was an ordeal for him and an adventure for me that gave me the opportunity to see more of Europe than originally planned.  But I’m skipping ahead.

The evening before we were supposed to leave, my dear hubby decided we should blow most of our remaining pounds Sterling on a great dinner.  We had a wonderful meal (Chinese) and went to bed early, since we needed to depart by 6am to catch the tube to the train to the airport.  Yes, it was complicated just to get to the airport.  And since my hubby didn’t want to spend the cash for the more expensive tickets, we were leaving on Friday morning EARLY to beat the rush of the British leaving for a holiday weekend to the continent.  And he didn’t want any extra pounds leftover, so he used up the rest of what we had to pay the hotel bill.  And we walked down from the hotel, lugging luggage (again) to catch the tube at 6 (when it was supposed to start running).  BUT, that is when it starts running in the inner part of London.  They hadn’t reached the outskirts until 6:30.  We hopped on the first subway train and off we went.  And caught the next one to take us to the train to the airport.  By now, we were pushing our luck!  We RAN like crazy people to the train and the doors slid shut directly in front of our noses and we stood there panting and gazing at the train getting smaller and smaller in the distance.  Fifteeen minutes later, we caught the train.  As we ran to the gate to check in at the airport, we knew it was not looking good, but figured we could catch a later plane if necessary.  NO.  We missed our boarding time by 5 minutes and there were no flights available until Monday.  It was Friday!  And all my dear hubby kept saying was, “I need to get back by 7 tonight”.  I wanted to strangle him.  He turned and looked at me and asked, “what now?”  Okay, I saw the writing on the wall.  I had thought we could just go back to our hotel and stay a couple of extra days and then go back home on Monday, but then his face told me otherwise.  He expected me to get us back.  So, I did the only thing I knew.  Get us to France.  After all, it’s next door to Germany.   

We caught the train back to London from the airport and then I checked the schedules.  I could get us on a train (using our handy-dandy BritRail passes again) and head to Dover.  Then we could catch the ferry to Calais.  After that, we had to figure out what next.  I figured there had to be an ICE train to Germany.  Well, the train from London to Dover must have stopped in every village and town along the way, picking up and dropping off passengers.  All the way, my dear hubby was in a bad mood and kept repeating, “I need to be back by 7pm.”  He had an obligation and didn’t want to contact anyone to sit in for him.  Well, we didn’t get to the ferry until 3pm.  I knew we weren’t going to make it, but we were in DOVER!  The Cliffs of Dover have always been one of my favorite sights in the world.  They are dramatic, imposing and amaze me.  I was over the moon getting to see them again and asked hubby if he wanted to go to the upper deck to see them.  No.  He wasn’t interested.  So I went off to see them. 

We arrived in Calais and immediately found the train station.  We had just missed the last train to Germany for the night.  We were going to have to rent a car or find a hotel for the night.  It was now 5pm and somehow, my hubby still was determined to get back to Germany that night.  We were NOT going to make it.  It was clear!  But he was determined.  So, we rented a car and started driving.  And got to Brussels…the dreaded ring road around Brussels was another nightmare.  We couldn’t find the right exit.  We kept going around and around.  We finally saw a miniature sign pointing off to the right and we were on our way to Germany. 

By now, it was getting darker and darker–night was falling.  And we were in the woods.  Dark woods with very tall trees.  We drove. And drove. And drove.  And drove.  My eyes were drooping and all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  But we continued on, despite having missed the deadline to get back.  Hubby had made the call for a substitute for his obligation and I wanted a hotel.  But we drove.  We were lost a couple of times and then found our way back to the right road. 

And at 3:30am, we found the airport in the woods.  And had to spend the rest of the night in our car, waiting for the airport to open and for daylight.   Each time I fell asleep in that reclined front seat, I’d sleep about 15-20 minutes and wake up cold.  Hubby would start the car and as soon as it was warm, I’d fall asleep again and he’d cut the engine.  No carbon monoxide poisoning for us!  I’d get cold again and wake up, “I’m cold, I’m cold!”  He’d start the engine and we’d warm up and I’d fall asleep.  Finally, it was morning.  We had now been traveling for 24 hours.  Yes, we could have been in London, enjoying the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.  Or we could be sleeping in a car in an airport parking lot, in the middle of the woods.  And did I mention this was our belated honeymoon??  Yep.    

So, now that it was morning, it was time to return the car and drive home.  But, the car we had rented still needed to be returned and this airport didn’t have a rental office for this car.  We had to drive to a major city to drop it off.  And I had to drive our car.  I had only been in Germany a few months and had just received my driver’s license for Germany.  I had never driven on the autobahn.  I had never driven that fast.  I was scared.  Off we went to Cologne to return the car and then we finally headed home.  I was dozing most of the way, once we were back in our car and hubby was driving.  We got home at noon, 30 hours after leaving our hotel in London. 

Exhausted, grubby and thankful to be out of a car or other mode of transportation!  At last, I turned to hubby and noticed he was still not a happy camper.  I was laughing about some of what we’d been through, but he didn’t find any of it humorous.  I hope, someday, he can laugh about this.  As we approach our 10th anniversary, I am tempted to ask him to repeat our trip to England.  But this time, no cheap flights, no crazy treks back home.  Besides, now we can’t drive back…we live in the states.

So, what disastrous vacations have you had?

“No vacation goes unpunished.” ~ Karl A. Hakkarainen

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I’ve been a big doodler since I can remember. My family contains many artists (both trained and just for fun). But I never took any drawing classes. I just love to doodle. Recently, I drew a picture of a roadrunner and have received many compliments on it. And I like to draw faces. For some reason, always female, but I draw faces. And flowers. And geometric designs. But mostly, I draw scenery…flowers, trees, grass, hills. I never use color. Always pencil. Or ink. Lately, as I get older, I have thought of taking a drawing class to change my doodles into art. But then, I worry that it might not be “just for fun” anymore.

It’s like cooking. As a child, I loved to cook. Because it was new and fun. As I’ve gotten older, I still love to cook, but only if I have the luxury of time. If pressed and trying to hurry to get dinner on the table, it isn’t quite as much fun anymore. Kind of like ironing. I loved to iron as a little girl. And then came the necessity. I now purposely buy clothes that need little or no ironing (except for the occasional screw-up where I forget to check the label). It isn’t fun anymore!

So, I still stew over this. Should I turn my doodling into art class homework? Or should I just continue to doodle away and enjoy the simplicity and lack of technique?

Every artist was first an amateur. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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All my life, I’ve been enamored of garlic.  If I smell garlic bread, garlic pasta, garlic cloves (even the “faint” aroma that lingers on my hands after cooking), my mouth will water.  In fact, if I was told that I could only use one seasoning (other than salt and pepper) for the rest of my life, it would definitely be garlic.  All this is to explain my upcoming plans. 

I’m in the middle of planning a vacation to California and discovered that I must love garlic even more than I thought.  I’ve figured out a way to detour over to Gilroy, garlic capitol of the world.  Unfortunately, we won’t be there during the Garlic Festival, but it will be close enough that I should be able to get some good garlic ideas anyway. 

My hubby has learned that, in our house, if I’m cooking and you don’t smell garlic, it must be dessert!  (Not really true, but he does think I’m a garlic fiend.)  I’m planning on checking out garlic ice cream (if they have any when the festival isn’t going on).  Then, from now on, he won’t be able to claim that I’m making dessert if there’s no garlic smell!!  🙂  It’s definitely an interesting concept (garlic ice cream), but I’m not sure I’ll enjoy it.  We’ll have to wait and see.  In the meantime, I have planned other activities for the vacation trip, so he doesn’t think I’ve gone completely over the deep end on the garlic love. 

So, what’s your favorite seasoning/flavor and have you ever made a trip somewhere to enjoy it even more? 

“What is food to one man is bitter poison to others.” ~ Lucretius

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This morning, my hubby and I went bowling. There really is a reason. The division I work in at the university is having a jamboree (staff end-of-the-year event) this week and it is at the local bowling alley. I haven’t bowled in 34 YEARS! Yes, that’s right.     34 YEARS!     I know there are people I work with who were born AFTER the last time I bowled. Needless to say, some of them bowl on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong. I used to love to bowl. And then I got tired of it or just didn’t make the time anymore. I can hardly remember. After all, it was 34…okay, enough. Anyway, I used to be good.  Pretty darn good, in fact.  I competed at the state level and placed seventh, if I remember correctly, in doubles and 11th in singles. 

So, off I went to the bowling alley this morning, with the knowledge that I am now incredibly old to be learning how to bowl (again) and with my hubby in tow.  At least the place we went was far from the house, eliminating odds of running into neighbors.  But, it was close to work.  So, I worried (needlessly, fortunately).  We had socks ready (since we were renting those LOVELY shoes that are available for the novices or non-regular bowlers).  And we had checked…it is only 99 cents per person per game on Sundays before noon.  Yes, we didn’t go to church.  We went bowling. 

Well, it started out rough.  We didn’t know where to go once we entered.  The place was mammoth!  And when we did find the desk, I blurted out, “I haven’t bowled in 34 YEARS!”  So, too late.  I have now embarrassed myself.  But I was wanting to make sure he knew up front, we didn’t know what we were doing and we were going to have stupid questions.  I had to give him my driver’s license.  HUH??  I guess that’s so you don’t leave without paying.  Boy, has the world changed in the last 34 years.  😀  Okay, I’ll stop bringing that up.  Then, he asked what size shoes.  Well, I live in south Texas.  I hardly wear shoes that cover my entire foot anymore, so I just had to guess.  And were those shoes lovely!?!  NO!  Mine were three colors and one of the shoes had a chunk of leather (?) missing on the area where it wraps below your ankle.  It looked like it had been chewed on by a rat.  But, they were broken in (really broken in) and were actually comfy.  Well, off to lane 3.  But first, put on the shoes and find a bowling ball.  Strangely, hubby and I are both left-handed.  I was worried.  But I guess they make the bowling balls generic now.  Who knew?  Back (XX years ago) in the day, there were left- and right-handed bowling balls.  So, we found bowling balls (and amazingly, they are all different colors now, too).  I had a bright pink one and hubby’s was orange–I didn’t see a black bowling ball in the entire place.  Then we sat at what looked like the Enterprise’s (reference to Star Trek) control panel and realized we had no idea what we were doing.  The guy on the next lane was nice enough to show us how to work it.  I was used to paper and pencil and keeping tabs on the score myself. 

I have now thoroughly embarrassed myself without even throwing the first ball.  But things definitely were not as bad as I expected.  My first game was a not horribly embarrassing 77.  Could have been a lot better, but could have been a lot worse.  And my second game was 130…I broke 100!!!  I’m feeling a little better about going on Wednesday to the jamboree.  I did my pre-jamboree, bowling reconnaissance and embarrassment-proofing.  Now, let’s hope I can repeat at least one of those game scores, so I’m not cringing as the bowling ball bounces across lanes (I’ve done that before) or flying behind me (again, done that) or bouncing off my foot (haven’t done that, but it’s a fear).  So, wish me luck and keep me in your thoughts on Wednesday evening as I head off to the lanes and the camaraderie of my co-workers.

“There’s a blush for won’t, and a blush for shan’t, and a blush for having done it: There’s a blush for thought and a blush for naught, and a blush for just begun it.” ~ John Keats

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