Saturday, June 29, 2019

Summer of Fun Week 4&5


SAW:  Oh my, sometimes that calendar is a cruel reminder of reality. 

As I work within a school system, week 5 marks the mid-point of summer vacation. 

 Time flies when one is having a good time! 
Last week all I had access to was my mini i-pad which in a pinch can do the job of blogging, but I was on vacation and did not feel any such pinch to ensure I did real time update. 
  I was busy soaking it all in!!!

HEARD:   In the intervening 2 weeks, I heard so much laughter from friends that I'm still grinning.  

   From the flight to Ft Lauderdale 
  and the first (of many)mojitos in Miami
All the way through to the last leg of our flight home, we had a great time.   

 Sharing funny stories, exchanging today's worries while trying not to fret too much about the "what next" chapters in all our lives. 

There really never was a dull moment with this party of hens!   
Backstory on the t-shirts and crowns:  
 When searching for a theme, we landed on the idea of "All Hens on Deck" which is what the t-shirts read.   

As for the crowns, well hello-  
We soon discovered, everyone on cruises does group t-shirts, but nobody does tiaras...Tiaras for the win!

I'm not sure what I did to be so blessed with such a supportive "tribe" of friends as these women are to me...but without a doubt I consistently heard my heart saying  "Be grateful, THIS is the real deal!"

DID:   The question really should be what didn't we do?   

There were drinks to be had
Desserts to be savored
Shows to be seen

More drinks to be had
 (hey, we signed up for the drink package-by golly I was going to get my $$ worth)
Beaches to be explored
Ft. Myers Beach, FL

Ports to say "Yeah, I think I'll pass"

Nassau, Bahamas
5 ships scheduled, 16,708 visitors in port that day!  OUCH

Slides to explore

Puzzles to be made
Sunsets to be savored

 Shells to be sought...
Success to be seen
and celebrated

Well...ya get the idea...
Without a doubt-it was a fabulous adventures for all!

As many know, I love my google-images-quotes-and well this one pretty much fits the trip to a T

Until next time...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Summer of Fun-Week 3


SAW:   I found myself getting into "travel mode" as I leave tomorrow for a trip with the Tribe...or as Hubby affectionately calls them "The coven". 

  Hair cut, colored and toenails buffed and polished (poor nail gal had her work cut out, let's just say I'm not a regular when it comes to tending to the nails and it was a long rough winter when it comes to the state of my toes).  

  Boarding pass printed, passport in my purse, luggage packed and tagged...Yep, I'd say I'm as ready as I feel I need to be.

HEARD:   Unlike last week, all the things I heard this week  were good sounds (well, maybe the news that was whispered at WW wasn't so great- but hey, it's summer time and that margarita was so worth it,!)      

  • The silence of the mountains.  
  • The laughter of friends-and their daughters (who are growing up to be really neat young ladies)
  • The silly conversational attempts of Thing 1 (No son, watching Titanic will NOT put me in a "ready to cruise" mindset).  
DID:   Sunday morning I drove back up to the camp to join hubby. 
 We took a little road trip, and found ourselves at a national forest campground.
   I suggested we park and walk around the lake.
 It was a lovely stroll through the woods but as we returned to the car, the camp host was just fixing to issue us an envelop to pay.    Seems what we thought was public parking, was actually parking for those who were planning to tent camp.   We explained our intentions and he waved us on our merry way, noting "no charge".    

  Monday, the wind picked up at the camp, so I decided to go exploring the town of Salida.   Wow, what a difference a week makes.   When I visited last week, it was a sleepy little town.    This week, just like the rising river, the tourists seemed to be out in fuller force.    I did stop by the town's indoor swimming pool-which are actually indoor hot springs...soaked for a bit and used their showers.    

Tuesday I returned home and have spent the rest of the week tending to some random chores and just hanging out.    I read just one book this week (I know, slacking off, eh?) but instead found myself binging on several different shows (Netflix-The Bodyguard-highly recommend, along with the Netflix movie "Like Dad"...hoping to find a couple engaging movies or books to help pass the 4 hr flying time to Miami tomorrow).

All in all, another great week filled with a little bit of this...a little bit of that...
Until next time...

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Summer of Fun-Week 2

SAW:  This week I saw myself really getting into the groove of my time off.   There is a meme going around that says something to the effect of teachers (and school nurses) aren't off for the summer-they are in recovery.   I chuckle in that-yes-there is some truth in such a statement.   And week 2, I'm really getting in the groove of enjoying my recovery.  
 HEARD:  The week started out with us being reminded with a loud CLUNK one of the less joyful sides of home ownership- a broken garage spring.   It happened Friday evening (5/31) , and a repair person had us up and running by Saturday afternoon.   This pushed back our plans for camping by a day- but in hindsight, it was a day well spent playing catch up and tending to some other chores around the house.

  In terms of happier sounds- A trip up to the mountains and back takes about 2.5-3 hours each way- a perfect length of time to get into a good audio book.   On the way up, I finished listening to the memoir by Anna Kendrick called "Scrappy Little Nobody".   On the way back, I started listening to a historical fiction book about the Dakota Apartment complex in New York City.   I'm enjoying the book way more than I initially thought.   A good audio book is a great way to pass the time when driving. 

DID:   The highlight of week 2 was indeed our little camping get-away. 

  As we enter our 3rd summer season owning the RV, we are becoming rather proficient on the "boondocking" camping adventures and I have to say- I really prefer it over a traditional campground and especially prefer it over an RV park.   It's not just the frugal side of me that enjoys camping for free on national forest or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.   It's the solitude that we enjoy having the place practically to ourselves.   For those unfamiliar with RV lingo- boondocking refers to camping/RV without hook-ups.   So, we use solar panels and a generator for electricity, and rely on the water we bring in to sustain us while we are camping.   It takes a bit of flexibility and creativity-but the rewards are so worth it.  

This week's adventures took us up to the town of Buena Vista- one of my favorite mountain communities.

   Located along the Arkansas River, it's a town that was first settled because of  the plentiful water and favorable conditions for agriculture.   These days, it's popular with those who enjoy outdoor activities- with an impressive river walk area, white water rafting opportunities and even a nearby hot spring (or two).  

 I took several lovely walks along the river, as I've started an exercise challenge aimed at getting this old body up and running a 5k in just 6 short weeks?   

Yeah, probably not, but I'm going to give it the old lady's best effort.   I must say-jogging is way easier when this is your view.   And look, they even had a place for me to crash after I completed my work outs?!   
I did check out one of the 2 area hot springs.   The water was indeed very hot and it felt wonderful on my weary bones. 
 But in general, this particular hot springs still needs some work to make it aesthetically as pleasing as some of the other more popular ones in our state.   

I also took a little road trip to the slightly larger town of Salida.   Sat by the river- and enjoyed a coffee- listening to the roar of the water.

It's amazing the sense of peace and calm that comes over me when I'm in the mountains.   I wonder if that feeling would linger if we ever found ourselves living somewhere like this full time?   Who knows...but I sure do enjoy the less frantic way of life.

On Thursday, we decided to switch to another area that allows free camping, south of the Poncha Pass.   
This area proved even more isolating and brought Hubby closer to some trails he was eager to check out on his motorcycle.  

On Friday, I left Hubby in the mountains to fend for himself, and headed back to town.   I'd been invited to a graduation party for a neighbor boy and I really wanted to make it to my WW meeting since my mind is finally back on track (which in turn means my eating choices are back in alignment).   

Today, I checked out an apartment with Thing 2.   Crazy how expensive things have gotten here in the metro area.   But, I think the place he found will provide him with everything he needs and hopefully set him up for success as he enters his 2nd year of college.

Thing 1 and I bonded over a bit of Netflix and popcorn.

All in all...a very productive week-a nice balance of time spent with family, friends and enjoying the beauty that my state has to offer.

Until next week....

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Summer of Fun- Week 1

Last summer was action packed with several grand adventures planned.   While this summer is considerably less structured, I do want to make sure I pause and reflect on how I spend my downtime.   Using the journaling prompts I used last summer seemed to be a good way to keep me focused in the here-and-now, so let's see how I do for the 2nd annual "Summer of Fun" weekly journaling challenge. 
SAW:  This week I saw my rheumatologist.   As I shared with him how I was feeling (not so great), he just smiled and asked "Do you want to go back on your infusions?"   Yes please!   Backing up a bit, I decided to sit out a cycle of my very expensive infusions.   I wasn't sure that I was getting my $$ worth (and really, not my money, but my insurance carrier's money).  I was curious to see how I felt without the infusion- and in a word-miserable.   I can now unequivocally say YES, it helps.   I feel better, I think clearer and I'm ready to take on a host of tasks that I've put to the side until I've felt better.   

HEARD:   Yeah, just like last summer, this one takes a bit more "out of the box" thinking.   I think I'll go back beyond the week and reflect on this past month.   I heard the words of appreciation and gratitude of my co-workers and students as they took time to celebrate Nurse's week.   Sure, the cards, sweet treats and plant was very nice, but what I most enjoyed was seeing myself as the topic of our daily team white board chat.   Each morning, one of the social workers puts up a journaling prompt.   Sometimes we are asked to share an experience or thought, and for special occasions, we are asked to give a shout of to various team members.  
 What a fun way to hear the words of my team mates, and know that my efforts are appreciated.   Finishing up my 2nd year, and yes, I am hearing loud and clear I am right where I need to be.  (even factoring in the struggles that occur at the end of the year-stress is high, patience is thin..we just need to get to that finish line so to speak.  And luckily we did- with most relationships intact.)

DID:   It was a pretty quiet month here. Mother Nature took her own sweet time to show us some warmer weather.   In fact, after a few days in the 80s, she treated us to this on 21 May. 
Talk about a lovely way to meet the new neighbors- "Hello, I'm sorry but my tree appears to have crashed into your house".  Luckily- neighbor was a good sport about it and the damage was minimal.

 Looking through the photos on my phone (never use a camera any more) I see where I got together with friends on a couple different occasions.  We joined in the crazy fun of a couple derby parties-
With my 2nd cousin and his Elizabeth..
With the usual gang back home-minus a few who had previous commitments

 There was a surprise retirement party for my dear friend S.  I offered to host something grander than our book club gathering at Panera's but she insisted she didn't want a fuss.   We still managed to get her to cry- when we all presented her with a brand new kindle, and laughed at the idea that "Yes, I have a retirement plan, I plan to read a lot of books!"
As a neighborhood, we gathered for 2 occasions to recognize the efforts of our volunteers.   First was at a swanky restaurant (not my style at all, but I did manage to snap a really great picture of two of my favorite people in the neighborhood).

  Later in the month, we went low budget-low stress and hosted a "first annual" volunteer pool party.  Mother Nature was still off her meds, so we were grateful for the loaner of a portable fire pit. 
 The evening ended when we made an emergency call to my Mr. to help jump start a dead battery (luckily, not my car this time).

In terms of week 1 of vacation- I did several "get it done tasks" in terms of running errands, renewing my CPR credentials and getting ready for summer travel that will occur in the weeks to come. 

Shopping for warm weather clothes is tough when it's still chilly here- but I managed to find a couple things but most importantly, I found my mojo to get back with my WW efforts.   Trying on clothes is way more fun when you weight a little less than I do right now.

  All in all, week 1 has been a  great way to slowly ease into the summer of fun...2019 edition. 
Until next week....