Thursday, October 10, 2013

Leon and Nancy~September 28, 2013~Wedding

 August 9, 1980 ~Forever Will We Love~ Keats

...and so their history began, with vows that were traditional and a celebratory party of their 300 closest friends and relatives. It was old fashioned chivaree resulted in hundreds of bats in the bedroom on their wedding night and Danny, beloved friend and brother-in-law trying to maim them with a tripod (wish you were here to celebrate with us now.) Nancy’s parents and sisters’ families rented a motorhome and drove across the United States to be at the took them three months to recover their relationship after the trip. 

Actually, Leon’s and Nancy’s relationship began in 1976, when a single mom with her daughter and a broken lawn mower was visited by a mechanically inclined single man. For the next several years they loved and argued, married, raised children, worked at their respective careers, and took care of ailing parents. 

Over time, it seemed apart would be better than together. They divorced, but lived next door to one another in order to allow equal access to their children and maintained an ongoing friendship. Sometimes friendly, sometimes not, but always a commitment to children and family and a connection that was never severed. 

Thirty-six years later, they come together again. Two to become one? I don’t think so, unless maybe two distinct halves of a whole.

They are, always have been and always will be different. He’s tall, she’s short, he’s blonde, she’s brown, he saves, she spends, he thinks, she talks, he walks a steady path, she zigzags all over the place, he likes mostly the same, she likes mainly variety. 

So how in the world did it happen that they are here at this place in their lives...ready to take vows to stay together... again? 

One...They love their children and grandchildren... they hold them at the very top of their list of priorities, something they couldn’t count on anyone else to do. 

Two...They know each other well...understand their issues and strengths and have found in the scheme of things, the issues aren’t so bad and their strengths are pretty darn good. 

Three...They pretty much agree on the future...retirement, kids and travel (as long as we can afford it...Leon added that.) 

But most importantly they agree on the need to tolerate... appreciate...celebrate who they are individually and what that allows them to do collectively. A lofty goal, too, of learning to love unconditionally. 

Thank you for sharing this day...and a toast to new beginnings and old friendships. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cruise to Alaska - August 2013

Anchorage from the ship
Red Dog Saloon
After spending a wonderful day in Seattle, we're in Ketchikan catching up with the cruise ship.
Mary in Ketchikan
As the first look of Alaska on our agenda, this little town didn't disappoint. Built up and around hills (had to take a tram from our room at Cape Fox Lodge) the town was full of personality. We stopped by the local Eagles (Mary and Charlie are members) and met some of the local people...all friendly, some natives, some transplants from other parts of the US, all willing to share their Ketchikan stories.

What was most compelling to me about the town is their pride in native heritage. Loved this park that showed native totems.
Example of Native Totems...beautiful
Wished I could have spent a little more time here :)

Ketchikan from the hill
A great introduction to Alaska.

Added Note: If you have been following my blog, you'll note that after 3 days on the cruise I (procrastinator) haven't finished out our journey. Here is a quick attempt to pictorially show the highlights of the cruise as well as some of our land trips.

Juneau from Mt. Roberts Tram

See the little, tiny excavator in the bottom middle of the image. Trying to show the vast expanse of this rock.

White Pass Rail trip...the views were beautiful!

Cruise to College Fjord 
Visitor on our balcony
Marjorie (Margerie seems to be the correct spelling) Glacier

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 2 - Cruise to Alaska

Fish at Farmer's Market

Space Needle...built in 1962 for World's Fair
Another day and not on the boat yet! Having missed our original connection to VanCouver, we also missed the cruise, as a last resort, we flew to Seattle...will fly to Ketchikan and board the ship.

Now...knowing me, this could have been a disaster, but coming into the trip with a 'different' mindset, it was wonderful. My travel companions...Leon Sr, Charlie and Mary are all pretty 'laid back' and handled all missed connections with ease. Our travel agent, Sandy from Travel Net was on the phone with me constantly that first day figuring out new connections, travel insurance, cruise line rules and the like. I normally schedule my own trips, but I am SO glad I had Travel Net to help me through the maze of issues encountered when missing a cruise ship (something called the Jones Law was a little intimidating at first.)

Well, back to our trip. Seattle is a destination city in and of itself. We flew into Seattle Day 1, landed in a great hotel (Doubletree Hilton) near the airport, and just enjoyed the city. We took a car downtown, visited Farmers Market and the Seattle Space Needle.

Seattle Skyline

It is refreshing to be on the West Coast again...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 1 - Cruise to Alaska...

Yeah, I know...this doesn't look much like a cruise image...and so the story begins. Day one started a little questionably as far as vacations go. We began driving down our little country road with a whop, whop and more whops. My travel partner, more attuned to these noises than I said STOP. Yikes...I did and we had a flat tire...3:00 am and on our way to the airport.

An hour or two later and at the airport on the tarmac...foggy! Our plane is long...that we missed our connection in Detroit...and the dominos started to fall resulting in our missing the cruise line connection. The next two hours were spent on the phone getting reconnected and the next four in the airport waiting for the next flight. Aargh...what a beginning. And we still have started the cruise.

Today...another day and we'll hopefully catch it in Ketchikan...I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And I also did a couple of watercolors this summer...trying to get back into painting and relearning techniques. Ok...these aren't great...but they are a start..

Didn't do a lot of design this summer...well I guess I did a logo and business card for a small business in Nokomis, Florida. Here are the options...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dishonest businesses...they really aggravate me! now I've started preparation for the northern venture and what do I run into? Crooked mechanics! I KNOW, I KNOW...they aren't all that fact my ex and my son are both very honest and very good mechanics. But let me tell you about my experience in the south. Nokomis, Florida, specifically and if any of you are looking for where NOT to bring your car for repairs, email me!

My brakes (or something) are making a screeching noise (this is a couple of weeks ago.) Aargh...since my car is a 2003 Saturn Vue with over 200,000 miles on it (I love this car and don't want to give it up) it could be anything, right? So I take it in to a Honda quick oil change and ask them to check the noise. Bringing it in right on my appointed time, the manager takes one look at me and my car and sends me down the road...says that this OTHER dealership knows a lot more about Saturns...yeah, whatever. So over to the other place I go....and after a bid of $1200 and an oil change, I leave, not willing to pay that kind of money for a repair on this old of an auto.

I'm starting to panic. I have to leave on a 2000 mile drive with two dogs and my ex in a couple of weeks! I don't want to risk car issues on the road so I spend a couple of days looking for a new car. Then I happen to think of my honest mechanic relatives up north (my ex being one and my son) and give them a call. No, no a resounding no, they say. Don't do it, don't pay it, get another opinion first. Best advice ever..why didn't I think of it. So I go into another local business, they tell me it's a quick fix and they do fix that noise for under $100. Whatever! Now comes the rub...

I know I need a couple of new tires and thinking I should get them before 'the drive' I go BACK to this the tires, ask them to replace a headlight that has recently burned out and to take a look at the abs sensor as it might need replacement. I trust these guys, right? Well, not really...because now they're telling me the rear abs sensor can't be sold or replaced by itself...has to be replaced with the attached housing (all for over $200 when the sensor costs about $50) oh and by the also need to replace your caliper (again for a couple of hundred) so by the time I'd get done with everything...about $600. I have STUPID on my forehead? Again, thank goodness for honest ex's and kids that know this kind of stuff...and my friends here in Florida all warned against having this done without another SECOND opinion.

And sure enough...that stuff about the abs sensor alone or with housing? It can be replaced alone. Another dishonest business on (or off) my list. The caliper? Rarely needs replaced and I've done it once already...but my going to fix the abs and look at the caliper BEFORE we drive back to the north.

The message in all this? Here it comes...brings out the politics in me...We have turned into a country that places profits first and damn any integrity in business. Look at the Koch Bros...look at Wall Street...look at the banks and the state of our housing/mortgage industry.You believe in all that trickle- down bulls--t that started with  ‎Reaganomics? What seems to have 'trickled down' is none of the wealth and much of the immorality in business...that's all for my rant, today.

Well not quite pool company...they do a fine job when they expect me to be here...enough said!


This week is the beginning of the summer's end, in my life anyway. It came way too quickly in some ways...and way too slowly in others.

As many of you know, I make the trek south for the summer...the only time of the year that my schedule is flexible enough to visit a house recently purchased in Florida. Sacrificing some quality time with my kids and grandkids in the north, my time in southern summer is spent teaching online, catering to my dogs, swimming, and catching up with political news and views missed during the busier parts of my season. And since time is available, my 'finish what you start' nature is aggravated with myself for ignoring my blog during the summer months. Or ignoring it all together, when writing is something so enjoyable....aaahhh...but then the water beckons.

Beach in front of Gulf Sands Beach Resort

Dock in back of the house
Pool in back of house...and Jessie
Not sure what it is about water and me...but there is definitely a link. Maybe being born in the midwest without major bodies of water around, being around them now satisfies an unknown need. Regardless...both states that I live now and the one that I spent my young adulthood have BIG bodies of water close by....the Pacific...Lake Michigan...and now the Gulf. And I think it's hereditary...all my kids seem to gravitate to activities and in relaxation.

Sorry...gotten off track intent of today's blog was to bring closure to the summer months this year as well as start and chronicle the trek north. This week will be spent in repairs, house cleaning, yard work and paying all final summer expenses. 

So...what was accomplished THIS summer that wasn't done previously? Hmmm...well, three watercolors were finished and a fourth begun. Learned a recycle trick for all those damned plastic bags that seem to accumulate in the closet. Babysat a hotel for a week (chief cleaner, office manager and the like.) Saw one current movie every week...and read at least a book a week...learned to download to my Nook from two in Michigan and one in Florida...swam daily when weather permits or unless I was too lazy that day...planted chives, avocados, tomatoes, green peppers and ate them (all but the avocados..they weren't here yet.) Transplanted two bushes, and planted lavendar...all are surviving so far. Learned to make fruit smoothies...and ate them regularly for breakfast.

Geez..the list is kind of paltry, isn't it. But I did work all summer...teaching online classes...and loved it. Going into the final two weeks of the class...and students are doing great. So, next post should begin the journey north (with a side trip to the way north...Alaska!) Can't wait :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My New Year's Resolutions..

1) Honor my family with love and respect and it daily
2) Advocate for a peaceful world for all
3) See something new and tell about it
4) Practice better health...starting with lowering blood pressure and better dietary habits
5) Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose, all the time
6) Spend quality time with good friends regularly
7) Do more art and design
8) Practice a random act of kindness at least daily
9) Maintain high teaching standards...stive to learn and improve daily
10) Keep my faithful companions (Jessie and Georgia) warm, well fed and comfortable..all the days of their lives

Much to be thankful for...
1) Great health, prosperity, peace and love for my family
2) Great friends
3) Great art and design
4) Great career that I enjoy and love going to each day
5) Great companions in Jessie and Georgia...never lonesome with these two gals to greet me when I come home from a long day at work or play

Road trip 2021

 A picture review of 2021 Sister Trip. As baby of the family, I’ve committed to visiting my three older sisters as often as possible, before...