Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A get away with a purpose

Last Saturday,  my cousin called to update me on my uncle's health.  The news was not good.  On a whim, I checked to see what airfare would be to make an impromptu trip out to AZ.   "Too good to be true", "less than a tank of gas", however you choose to describe it, I took it all as a sign that I should indeed take off for another snow-bird in training adventure.  

It was a  week filled with a variety of views...
From the serious...

To the silly...

Taking in the Sunrise 
(OK, who am I kidding, I'm a snow-bird in training, no need to get up as early as the sun...this will have to do...)
And I paused to enjoy the various sunsets...
 From the view from my dad's condo...
To the full moon outside my cousin's neighborhood...

 And of course, the infamous pink-purple magic of a desert sunset...

While the primary purpose was to check in on my uncle, and support my cousin as he transitioned into Hospice care, I took advantage of this trip to spend some time with my dad...who has been a snow birder for the past 18 years (give or take a couple seasons)
My dad's "just right" condo in Sun City...
Be it running into a friend outside his favorite  thrift shop 
or checking his email...
Sipping a cocktail with Man's Best Friend 
(in this case, Jack, my uncle's dog who was lonely for his master)
to taking in a post-dinner snooze...
My dad indeed has perfected the lifestyle of a snowbird...

So while it's a few more years until I can embrace this lifestyle full time
  *the down side of being a late bloomer on the parenting adventure
 I sure did enjoy this snow-bird in training adventure...
























Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Deep in the Heart of Texas Recap

The stars at night, are big and bright....


However, on our first night in TX, we quickly realized that the canyon was  deep, and dark, with no pull through sites and more importantly no cell phone coverage.    While one could argue that the views were worth it,  and part of the concept of camping/glamping is to unplug from the trappings of technology,  I hadn't really thought it through (a common theme on this adventure I fear) and so I felt very guilty that we hadn't checked in with the Things before we descended into the base of Palo Duro Canyon for the night.     Yep, Mama Guilt was alive and well that first night of our trip.

The prairie sky is wide and high...
Not just the sky, but it seems the  entire state is wide, and we'd spend Day 2 on the road...passing Abilene and other lesser known towns, where the final destination was Austin.    We'd be chasing daylight, hoping to reach our destination before we lost daylight (another common theme of this trip).  

The Sage in Bloom, is like perfume...
While the sage didn't seem to be in bloom,there was plenty of  cedar pine pollen that had hubby and I reaching for the Flonase.  
 However, the purpose of this adventure wasn't really to experience the beauty of TX but instead, to reconnect with friends from our past.    And yes, that indeed turned out to be the sweetness of this road trip...

First up, was lunch in Brenham TX where we met my childhood friend, H.   We met way back in the mid '70s,  when my family had moved from GA back "home" to Wisconsin and H. lived in our neighborhood.   

These days, H. and her family call the Houston area home, where her hubby, J, works as a rocket scientist (seriously, he is!). It was good to meet both her boys and spend time catching up.

Next up, was dinner with a classmate from my Nurse Practitioner Days, A.
 In 1990, the Army saw fit to send me to  Fort Ord, CA where I would meet A. during my NP training.  This assignment was a time filled with lots of studying ( we crammed what usually takes 18 months to cover in just 6 short months), a fair amount of uncertainty (for it was just days into our studies when Iraq invaded Kuwait and the Army would start to send friends and colleagues over to the Gulf, there was a constant concern that instruction would be postponed and we too would deploy overseas.), and a forever friendship was formed.

Reminds me of, the one I love...
Our last visit would be with J and L.   J. and I met when she arrived at Ft. Bragg in the summer of 1988.   With us both being single nurses, we formed a fast friendship.   
I introduced J. to my neighbor, L.   Yep, you know where this story is going....After a few years of dating, J and L. got married in 1991.   Score one for Martha as the match maker!

 But that story doesn't end there.  It is now February 1994, and J and L were visiting me in MD, when L. asked if I minded if he invited his friend, Captain Chang over to a party I was having.  
 And well....the rest is history.   
Without a doubt, their friendship, does remind me of the one I love...

The Coyotes wail along the trail...

It wasn't a coyote wailing, but instead, Scarlett started to make an odd thumping sound as we returned from a day of sight-seeing.   With less than a mile to go to reach the safety of the campground, the thumping ceased and the engine seized.   

The cowboys cry Ki-yippee-yii..

Oh sure, there was probably a URAL dealer in TX that could assist with the assessment and repair of the troubled Scarlett.   But, we decided to cut our losses, and head home, having visited some of the friends we had hoped to see, and knowing that the other friends on the itinerary would understand the need to take the motorcycle back to our trusted mechanic at Unique Rides in Ft. Collins.

As the sun set on 2016, we realized that there are many more adventures for us to take in the coming year.  

As for this trip, yes, it was good to get away, and reconnect with some friends.   We took in a little bit of history, visiting both the birthplace of the TX republic and the birthplace of Admiral Nimitz in Fredricksburg, TX.  

 Anytime that Hubby and I have together is time well spent, but we both agreed, that camping/glamping in an urban setting just didn't feel right.
Too much traffic to navigate and we never experienced  that feeling of relaxation that we've enjoyed on our other adventures.

As we crossed over Raton Pass (little wind and dry roads, oh thank-heavens!), we spotted our Colorado Mountains, 

And we realized, East or West, Home is always Best!
Until next time....May you always remember to get out there and EXPLORE....

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Right Now: December

 RIGHT NOW

I'm listening to: a CD that was gifted to me with Christmas music all done by Carole King.  My favorite is titled New Year's Day and the lyrics tie in very closely to what I've been pondering for the past month. "Everything is gonna turn out alright, it'll be OK in every way, making it better".   After listening to the sage advice of my loving family, and finally acknowledging and accepting that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem, I resigned from my full time job.   



I'm loving:   that, while at times I've questioned where is the joy of the season, when I pause, I realize it really is all around me.   For I've enjoyed 
  • The Christmas lights that others display, even those who go way overboard.   
  •  The tasty treats that we seem to save for just this time of year (Hello:   Prime rib, why do you go on sale just at this time of year?  Never mind, we'll just gorge ourselves on it while we can). 
  • The laughter of  great neighbors as we gathered for an ugly sweater party and a glass (or two) of holiday cheer. 

  • The sounds of 100+ tubas belting out the classics on what was to be  the coldest day of the season

  • A candlelight Christmas eve service held early for those of us who prefer to hang close to home on the actual eve of Christmas.  
 You have to admit that life is indeed a feast for all the senses this time of year.   And I'm at peace with skipping some of the usual traditions that weight me down.  

I'm needing to:   get started on some domestic chores.   On Monday, hubby and I are headed out with Uma for a little bit of a road trip.    Hopefully, Mother Nature will  hold true to the forecast of mild weather so our departure out of town is uneventful.    Save the "eventful" weather for when we have no where to go and all day to get there.  

I"m feeling:  hopeful.  I'm determined not to let a few rough spots at work get in the way of exploring and experiencing all that is good in this world.  

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year...filled with hope and new adventures!