Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Right Now: Fall Break Recap

Right Now

I'm listening to the chatter of colleagues as we figure out how to coordinate an early dismissal.   I'm not sure how I feel about all this winter-like weather arriving this early in the season.   Oh well-I'm here at work, safe, and warm so why not use this time to update the blog.

I'm loving that I'm still enjoying the afterglow of a near perfect Fall Break.   Breaks are always welcome, but sometimes they aren't as restorative as I wish.   Such was not the case this go around.   Things were as close to perfect as one could expect.

The adventure started with my flying out to Vegas to meet up with Hubby.   He opted to get a head start, stopping to enjoy the fall colors and stay ahead of the weather that sometimes starts to impact our exit options out of the front range. 

Our first night found us glamping along the dry lake bed just outside of Vegas. 
While it's not my favorite location for boondocking, it is free and convenient to the Las Vegas airport so I can't complain.  Hubby asked me why I don't care for this spot- and it's that I feel unsettled when we camp here- for no real reason other than perhaps I've watched too many episodes of CSI to not dream of Gil Grisham and his team showing up to investigate the cause of some bizarre crime?
 Anyways, we survived the night, and we soon found ourselves on the road to  Zion NP
taking our time to cruise through the Lake Mead National Recreational area

 before stopping for the night in St. George, UT.  Here we would have our first "Harvest Host" experience.   

What's Harvest host?   Well, it's a membership program that links glampers with businesses that are willing to let you dry camp on their property.   From farms, ranches, wineries, to museums- you can park it for the night with the only request being that you patronize the business.  That meant checking out an aircraft museum.   Yes-quite the hardship- 
A Saturday trip to Costco in St- George- yes we have happy hour snacks- no it wasn't worth braving the chaos of Costco on a Saturday...

Sunday found us joining my 2nd cousin, John and his wife Renee at the South Campground in Zion National Park.    We would also meet up with our friends the Machidas that were staying at a nearby campground for some exploring the park together.  

 Last year, Dom & I  passed through the park but stayed just long enough for a photo or two.   This time, as we planned for our Fall break travels I decided I wanted to return to Zion and actually test out some of the hikes.    

And test them out we did- I think we hiked 4 of the hikes-mostly the "easy" rated hikes with one listed at moderate.
  Since I'm nursing a frozen shoulder (a complication of my rheumatoid arthritis), easy hikes were about all I felt I should be doing.   

 And for the record, the pictures I'm sharing are all courtesy of Hubby.   Again, with the bum shoulder, I put away my phone, focused on staying upright, and left the picture taking to the others...well except for a few of my trademark goofy shots
 Bridget taking a picture from the rear view mirror of the Scarlett

 Hike a little-read a little-repeat-repeat-repeat

From Zion we headed over to Page, AZ for the sole purpose of exploring Antelope Canyon.   If it's not on your bucket list, it should be. 

 Our very friendly guide, Daniel, was charming as he shared his knowledge of this canyon in a rather millennial way "Don't worry- you will get great pictures, because , I will take the pictures for you!".   And yet at the same time, he had such pride in the history of his ancestors as he shared tidbits of the canyon's history.   It had been used for centuries by the Navajo people to hide from others, but it wasn't until the 1990s, when it was featured in National Geographic that the canyon gained in popularity.   Now with instagram-it's become a major tourist destination. 

Again, I put away my camera- and let the others take the pictures...
And with another Happy Hour
and a sunrise,
it was time for me to head out for Part B of Fall Break adventures.
Originally I was going to fly from Page, AZ to Vegas, saving hubby the drive back.   But, my flight got canceled and before I even finished cursing, Hubby had agreed to drive me back. 
After we'd successfully navigated the Las Vegas Strip in the RV
another unexpected surprise occurred- my hotel-booked through air miles, was cancelled.

Fear not, my knight in a less than shiny RV, saved the day by offering up a Plan B lodging option..
Clark County Shooting Complex!

Saturday morning- and it was time to say goodbye to Hubby 
While I waited for my partners in crime to arrive,
I soaked in the atmosphere of a Parrot Head Pool Party
I spent some time in prayer...
And joined friends in a toast
And spent a little more time poolside...
With just one more sunset before the big show...
 Anxiously awaiting...

 Lady Gaga...

I've said several times "I'm not really into concerts" but there are a few people out there that I really wanted to see perform live.   Lady Gaga was one of those individuals.   The girl can SING...and when not singing, she talked to us, sharing bits of herself and how she came to love jazz. 

I'm feeling comfortable.   Work has settled into a nice routine with the madness of the start of the year quieting down.   And here it is, the powers that be decided to dismiss school early.   So with one final preview, I shall push the publish button....

Until next time...stay warm, stay connected with friends and family and once in awhile, go a little Gaga over something out of your usual comfort zone!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Right Now- August/September Recap

Right Now-

I'm listening to my co-workers commenting on the sudden shift of weather.
  Yes, Mother Nature is up to her mischief yet again.   We've gone from summer to winter with barely a glimpse of fall.   Such is the realities of life in Colorado.

I'm loving that Fall break is but 2 days away.   Hard to believe, but we've been in school now for 9 long weeks.   There, there- it hasn't been that bad.   I get to spend my day with fabulous kids like these two.   It's really a pretty sweet gig-and even sweeter once the back to school chaos quiets down. 

So the return to school is the explanation of my blogging absence.   But I figured I should probably recap what's happened in the interval before I go and collect a bunch of new memories on our traditional Fall Break camping adventure which starts this coming weekend. 

Hubby has embraced his new found status as "kept man" and has spent the bulk of the time exploring parts of Colorado where the cell signal is weak but the beauty is magnificent.

He did link up with his college buddies for a guys trip to Key West where they all celebrated their 38+ year  friendship and upcoming 60th birthdays. 

  I had a little fun as I stalked them- using the live webcam from one of the bars they were having pre-dinner drinks at.   With his handsome good looks, it's easy to spot the Mr. in a crowd- or something like that. 
Thing 1 is enjoying his studies at the local vocational tech program.   This year he's studying computer help desk- Ah yes indeed, the perks of when the Help Desk calls you mom.   He really does seem to enjoy his studies and his classmates. I  even heard him refer to his classmates as "the guys" and gasp "my friends".   
Of course, when I went into hover-mom mode and mentioned hanging out with said guys outside of school he scoffed, reminding me his program has many dual enrolled students who are still in high school.  "Mom, I'm 22, these guys are like 17- face it, that's kinda creepy ya know".   He has a point I suppose.  

Thing 2 is finding success at the University.   He's joined the intramural tennis team (no, he's never played tennis).   His coach said he has awful form but somehow plays a halfway decent game.    He was proud to report he's put his CPR skills to use when he did the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim-I'll try to look past the details that said choking victim was drunk and high and the incident occurred in mosh pit of a punk concert- my baby saved the day and received praise from the responding team of paramedics and the lead singer from the band ("Hey mom, I got some free swag").   He's pretty excited that his future career choices (PA or RN) will include more opportunities to save a life or two.  

As for me, I found myself enjoying a fun filled ladies night in Beaver Creek.   

I helped out some friends with some pet sitting
Celebrated a belated birthday with some great friends and fabulous eats 
(albeit a tad overpriced)
Discovered the ease of ETSY

As we all worked together to shower the Lovely Miss H.
 with a classic Bridal Shower Experience.
I'm feeling curious.   Hubby and I said goodbye to the "parenting teen" era  with the younger Thing celebrating his 20th birthday in August.

  We are  now  solidly located in the "parenting young adults".  

 What adventures await these 2 things?  
 Hopefully, we will continue to see our Things blossom and grow- experiencing the joys of hard work, discovering the comforts of old friendships and the thrill of finding the loves of their lives.

Until next time...take time to experience the ups-downs-and in between moments of life

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Summer of Fun Weeks 9 & 10


SAW:  During the homestretch of my time off, I saw myself winding down and gearing up for the reality that awaits.  This year I volunteered to assist with some of the training of the newly hired school nurses- primarily around the area of special education since that is the focus of my work these days.   It was fun to meet the new hires, reflect on my own journey as a school nurse and catch a little of their enthusiasm. 

So, Tuesday (8/6/19) marks the end of the summer of fun with the return of the students. I'm starting my 3rd year working with young adults with disabilities, and starting my 10th year as a school nurse.  
 Ready of not-here they come!

HEARD:   Usually this is the most most difficult of the categories to blog about, but not this time.  During week 9 I heard some pretty amazing live music both at Red Rocks Amphitheater and the Denver Center for Performing Arts (our name for the theater district)  

For Red Rocks- we heard Killer Queen.   I know, pretty crazy name, right?   
They are actually a  tribute band from England that plays the music of Queen.   More like performs-as the band members all wear costumes/wigs to physically reflect the band Queen.   The venue alone is worth the headaches and the crowds-it is simply incredible to watch the sun set over the rocks and listen to the music as it bounces around the amphitheater. 
We had a group of 11- so meeting up with everyone was a bit of a challenge but it all worked out fine in the end.

For the play, the men folk in the family gifted me with a ticket to see the matinee of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory- the Broadway touring company making it's way across the country.
   The play was adorable-following the book rather closely, with the only child actor being Charlie.   All the other kids roles were performed by adults.   I really liked that touch- as it helped the adults see the behaviors through, well, an adult lens.     With a front row, center seat ticket- I felt a bit like royalty- you really feel like you have the theater all to yourself sitting that close to the stage

DID-Between returning to work and going to the shows, I found myself doing last minute "catch up" activities.   I met Thing 2 for dinner after the play (he lives only a mile from the Performing Arts Center) and was happy to see how settled in he looks in his new digs.

Oh look-he even has enough storage for all his shoes?!!!
I also managed to catch a  movie this past Sunday, The Farewell, a Chinese cultural film that explores the cultural practice of withholding a terminal medical diagnosis from the patient.    The extended family fabricates a wedding, so everyone can come and say farewell to the matriarch, without her knowing the real reason behind their impromptu visit.    It was well done and I enjoyed the venue (The Alamo Draft House).  

Of course, with each week, I have tried to  to make time to catch up with friends and these past 2 weeks were no different in that regard.   This week's  gatherings were some of my favorite ways to spend time with friends- 1:1 conversation, where we can really catch up and support each other. 

 There was also a larger neighborhood gathering at our Pool House  I also had a great time catching up over breakfast-lunch-and dinner with a wide range of friends.

But the really big news of what we did was something that the Hubby did this week. 
 Yep, a call came from his employer that we'd been anticipating for over 2 years and with that news, we have taken swift action to put into place the plans we've been making for him to retire.   

  It's an exciting time- as he's been tethered to the job 24/7 for the past 5 years- taking only 1 week of complete disconnect during our trip to Alaska last summer. 

Otherwise, while he's had a tremendous amount of flexibility as to where he finds that cell phone coverage, he's still had to have accessibility day and night.   

Stay tuned...as he starts to explore his "what next" chapters.   For starters- he has had some fun playing around with that popular app that "ages you"....I give you Thing 1 and Thing 2- the geriatric edition....

 I'm excited to see how he enjoys this new found, well earned, long overdue freedom!

Until next time...