Spring Has Sprung

April 14, 2015

And we’re definitely taking advantage of the gorgeous weather. Tonight that meant an almost 12 mile bike ride while we prepare for the MS 150.  We weren’t the only ones enjoying the beautiful weather either. Our little trailway was packed with people walking, running, and riding. And while I loved seeing all of the people, there was also some frustrations. So, a letter to all of those people.

Dear People on the Trail,

It’s great that you’re out taking advantage of the beautiful weather and the miles of trails provided to us. But, seriously, use some common sense!

1. Don’t crowd the walkway. It’s great that you’re walking/running/riding with your friends/family. But you’re NOT the only ones out and about. Leave room for others to pass.

2. Dog people stop letting your dogs wander all over the trail, especially if you’re using a retractable leash! When I walk Ciera and Duncan I do my best to ensure they are close in to me, or if they will be at the full extent of the leash, then they are either right in front of me or off to the side on the grass. There’s nothing like actually having some decent speed, come around a corner and surprise! There’s a dog on a retractable leash stretched across the trail.

3. Bikers (and really, anyone else who has decided to take a break) when you take a break on the bridge to look down at the water, look around before you get back on your bike and start to ride again. Make sure there isn’t anyone else in the immediate vicinity that might have to make a sudden adjustment because you decided to start riding again just as that other person approaches; especially if your method of starting out involves swerving back and forth across the entire trail.

4. Bikers, I know there’s a lot of other bikers out there. But be kind and let me know when you’re passing. While I would love it if I was notified while walking the dogs (because, oddly, Duncan reacts to anything moving faster than us as it passes, except cars), at the very least you should be notifying other bikers when passing them. It’s polite. And obviously not something practiced much here.

Much appreciation for having consideration of those sharing the trails.

Christmas 2013

December 27, 2013

This was a good year. After relocating to Minnesota two months ago I was able to come back to Florida to spend time with J and our families.  The best part was surprising J and my godmother.  First was J. I told him I was flying in on Sunday but I actually arrived on Saturday.

My godmother and her husband didn’t know I was in town. So when J and I went to my parents for Christmas I called when we arrived. Dad gave the phone to godmother who said they were waiting on some guests. That’s when I walked in and said ” yeah, you’re waiting on me.” Her expression was perfect!

I got a beautiful necklace from J and my parents got us tickets to see Alton Brown. I got warm gloves from both sets of parents and an alpaca scarf from J’s parents. 

I made an afghan for J’s mom.


It’s the Barghello pattern from “Best Loved Afghans” using Caron pounds in black, light pink, rose, light green and sage green and a K hook.

And suddenly, there it was….

November 5, 2013

An address, a house I knew.  One I wasn’t expecting to see.  One that provided an emotional sock to the gut.  I was messing around on Trulia the other day and the house I saw, the house that is going to be auctioned with a starting bid of $20,000 is Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  The same house that Mom and her brother grew up in.  I can still remember attempting my first ever sleeping somewhere other than my room and my bed there.  It didn’t go well.  I remember making cookies with Grandma, and playing around with her carpet sweeper.  The dinner we had in the basement when Mom finally decided that the stupid special diet the doctor’s had me on wasn’t making a difference and I could eat whatever.  I remember when Grandma said I should give up Bobby, and to this day I still have that raggedy, one-eyed teddy bear.  Going over with Mom and just visiting.  Playing on the swingset and not eating the crab apples because they aren’t good for us.  Grandma growing corn and my brother and I playing around outside.

I also remember after Grandma died, Grandpa got together with a friend of theirs who had lost her husband several years prior.  And eventually she moved in with Grandpa.  Yet nothing in the house really changed.  Sure Ladyfriend brought her own furniture, so some of that changed.  The back bedroom became more Ladyfriend’s room with her jewelry and stuff (and to this day, I can remember thinking that it was some gaudy jewelry).  But the bones of the house never changed.  The decor stayed the same.  We always walked in the side door and into the kitchen.  They always had the little table in the dining area and I was never quite sure how four people managed to eat in that tiny spot; even though I’ve experienced it myself.  And when Grandpa and Ladyfriend got a place in Florida and became snowbirds, I stayed at the house my senior year of high school and still, nothing changed.

Until it got sold.  I was shocked to see the listing and I couldn’t resist going through the pictures.  I know that when people move into a house they want to make it their own, they want paint colors they like or to knock out a wall here, replace the kitchen, make over the bathroom.  I understand that, yet I wasn’t prepared to see all of the changes that were revealed in the pictures.  I was surprised to see almost all of the kitchen re-done with a sliding door in place of the window that used to hold Grandma’s suncatcher.  And suddenly there’s a doorway leading into the living room.  The bathroom isn’t the same anymore, and the basement has new walls.  I think a part of me somehow thought that no matter what, Grandma and Grandpa’s place would never change.

Even more colors of change

November 3, 2013

Today was very windy left the trees with the beautiful red leaves bare.  But I was able to get some more pictures of beautiful leaves.

2013-11-03_16-03-08_160 2013-11-03_16-03-13_961 2013-11-03_16-15-37_356 2013-11-03_16-15-42_978 2013-11-03_16-18-33_780

The colors of change

November 2, 2013

Last Sunday I decided to spend my day at the apple orchard; something I haven’t had a chance to do in years.  Florida isn’t exactly known for apples and the orange groves definitely are not the same experience.  In fact, they aren’t actually really an experience at all.  Given that it was the last Sunday of October, I knew that my chances of getting fresh apples from the local orchards were growing slimmer and slimmer.  So I packed myself into the car and headed to the one we’ve almost always gone to.  The drive into the orchard was gorgeous with bright bursts of colors showing on the trees.  I regretted forgetting to grab my camera as the one on my phone isn’t the best.  But I made do with what I had and managed to snap a few stunning pictures.

Image Image It turned out to be one of those perfect Minnesota fall days.  Sunny, no clouds in the sky and it warmed up to the low to mid 50’s.  Perfectly comfortable weather.  I went a little overboard and came home with a lot of apples and some yummy baked goods.  But I don’t regret going overboard, after all I got here a bit late so I don’t have as much time to enjoy as everyone else.

Today turned out to be another gorgeous day.  The friend I’m staying with lives near a park with some walking trails and apparently frisbee golf.  So I decided it would be a good day to put on my nice comfy running pants that J got me for Christmas last year, grabbed my running jacket and headed to the park.  I got a heck of a workout while tackling the hills that were there.  I can do hill work without running them, right? ‘Cause I gotta say, just walking them was difficult.  Once again I planned to bring my camera and totally blanked.  So once again, I had to make do with my phone; and managed again to grab some pretty decent pictures.


Image This is one of my favorites.  The reds were absolutely stunning! And the leaves that had already fallen made a carpet of red, which sadly doesn’t show up as well as I’d like. Image  Image Image And my absolute favorite: Image

Leaves of Change

October 24, 2013

I very recently made a huge change in my life – I quit my job and moved.  I’ve been wanting to leave Florida for quite awhile, I don’t know that I can explain the feeling of “I really don’t want to be here” that I was feeling.  It had nothing to do with the people in my life or even some of my favorite haunts (like Revolution Ice Cream that is a MUST try for anyone going anywhere near Tampa).  in fact, I’d be thrilled if I could bring those haunts/people with me.  But it was just this feeling, this desire to be anywhere but that state.  It probably had a lot to do with roasting my butt off the minute I wake up in the morning.  I didn’t even have a specific place that I wanted to go to, well, actually, I did.  I would have loved to found a job in Colorado.  But that didn’t happen.

This past spring J and I were discussing our jobs and he actually was ok with the idea of me looking for a new job in another state.  I was so happy that I started looking right away.  We actually almost ended up in Delaware, but that didn’t happen.  Instead I somehow ended up back in Minnesota; and just in time to go from roasting my butt off to freezing it off.  My last day at GAC (gigantic ass company) was two weeks ago, I took a week off to rest a little and pack what I could and last Thursday I left Florida and headed to Minnesota.  When I left Florida it was 71 at 7:30 in the morning.  When I got to Minnesota it was high 40’s and in fact on Monday, my first day at my new job, there were flurries.

J will be joining me as soon as possible; first we need to find a house and he’s currently looking for a job (anyone got one for him?).  In the meantime I’m crashing in the basement of a friend wonderful enough to let me.  My drive was pretty interesting; I’ve never driven through Tennessee during the day before and I was thoroughly enchanted by the beauty of the state.  While my timing sucked regarding the temperature differences, it definitely did not suck when it came to the fall foliage.  It was stunning!  The hills and mountains of Tennessee are just starting to change so there were gorgeous pops of red and orange among the greens.  And the drive through Wisconsin was even more beautiful.  As I drove along I had to constantly remind myself to keep my eyes on the road and drive the speed limit instead of letting it drop.  I’m looking forward to next year when J will finally be up here and we can take some trips to see the fall colors together.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and emotion.  I left a job I’d been at for almost 7 years to go to a job that I honestly wonder sometimes if I’ll be able to do it.  I know that right now those feelings are stemming from the fact I haven’t really gotten into what I’ll be doing and seen the systems or the process.  I keep reminding myself that I felt this way when I first started at GAC and had no idea what anti-money laundering even was.  I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll look back at this and scoff at myself.  But at the moment, I’m definitely wondering why I left something I know so well for something that I feel lost in.  And missing J and our mini zoo and everything and everyone else in Florida like crazy.

On the other end of the spectrum though is the contentment I feel being back here.  Even though most of the time I’m busy shivering and trying to stay warm while waiting for the train, there are still times I step outside and enjoy the chill in the air, that scent that makes one know snow is right around the corner.  I’m re-discovering the state I grew up in; and in some cases completely discovering something new.  Earlier tonight I took a road I’ve never been on before and was surprised to see so many historic markers.  I was actually feeling like playing tourist and checking them out; something I’m sure I’ll do in the near future.

On my drive up I crashed with my friend Jimmie who is a beautiful hostess.  We had dinner at Cock of the Walk, given the name, we had to! And then after we played tourist and she took me to the Grand Ole Opry hotel.  The hotel is a part of the same family as the Gaylord Palms in Orlando which I’ve been to several times, so it was interesting to see the differences between the two.

My feet are now set upon this new path and I can’t wait for J and our zoo to join me.  I’m looking forward to re-discovering so much with him by my side.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.

January 24, 2013

– Michael Althsuler

I really like this one today.  I think it’s amazing how much we forget that we’re in charge of ourselves; we’re the ones flying our plane and charting our course.  And as much as I’d like to blame my parents for where I’m at (I was just thinking this morning, if our family has a skinny gene, why couldn’t Mom and Dad have passed that onto me instead of some of the genes I did get?) I am an adult.  I have to take responsibility for the choices I make and the path I choose.  Do my parents hold some blame?  A little bit.  After all, McDonald’s for dinner before dance class probably wasn’t the best choice.  But they also taught me some good things to, like enjoying salads and how to have a balanced meal.  It’s not their fault I “over balance” my meals by eating too much.

It seems to me that there are too many people passing the buck these days.  They’re placing the blame for the negatives in their lives (not just diet and exercise either) else where.  That only works for so long.  At some point we all have to stop and realize that we are in charge of ourselves.  We are the ones capable of deciding if we want to keep our plane on autopilot on the path we were originally set on or, to quote Robert Frost, if we want to “take the path less traveled”.  And the path less traveled doesn’t necessarily mean taking a path no one else has taken before.  This is MY path and for me, it might be the less traveled path that actually mirrors a path hundreds and thousands of others have taken before.  And that’s ok.  I’ll happily travel along a path that others have forged because I can; because I choose to learn from the lessons others have already discovered. 

I was chatting with Mom via e-mail recently and she said that she had worked all weekend this past weekend.  She not only was on call for her actual paying job, but, knowing her, she also did a lot of cleaning and was, in her way, complaining about the fact she was the only one doing so.  I asked her if, when she’s on her “death bed” and no longer capable of doing stuff like cleaning, or going to that show she wanted to go to which is she going to regret not doing more.  She never really answered me; she said she was busy at work and I was confusing her.  So Mom, if you’re reading this, which one would you regret not doing more?  And do you want people to remember you because you kept the table cleaned off and the floors shiny and sparkling?  Or do you want people to remember you because you decided that hey, those dishes can sit for a little longer; this show/event/whatever won’t. Remember, you are flying your plane.  Chart your path.

On another topic, and this might in some way actually indirectly relate to today’s quote.  I was driving home last night, about 4:30.  I was going through my neighborhood just after a school bus had made its stops.  I have never realized before, in the 2 years I’ve lived there, how many kids are actually in my neighborhood.  I frequently walk the dogs and go running in this area at various times after work.  And I think I can identify maybe, MAYBE half a dozen houses that I know of where kids live.  And not because there are toys and other kid items in the yard.  Because I’ve seen the kids there.  I don’t really see or hear kids playing outside and I wonder if that’s because they are spending their leisure time playing video games or on the computer.  It saddens me that this is the thought I automatically jump to but at the same time I know it’s really reflective of our society right now.  And honestly, I’m just as guilty.  That is something I’m aware of and I really need to work harder at changing.

%d bloggers like this: