Back into the swing of things

After a big trip it seems to always take a few days to catch up on sleep.  It takes even more days to clean up and put away everything from a big trip.  However, travel is something my husband and I love.  It is part of the reason I joined the military when I was still a teen and it is definitely why he chose a traveling job.  Last week we basically lived in Denver.  I took advantage of the quiet room to read, write book reviews, and create a literature study over The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.  He enjoyed the evening meals from our little hotel kitchenette.

 

However, the best thing about being in Denver was how close we were to our daughter.  Our love for travel taught her to not fear going where her heart takes her.  As a result she works in New Mexico at a big scout ranch. It is her job to play the fiddle, teach fly tying and fishing, and interact with backpackers.  Her days off are few and far between, but we happened to be in the same area at the same time she was taking her ‘days off’.  What a joy it was to visit with our daughter.  More so, it was a joy to see her face when we presented her with a box of coveted Twinkies.

 

Unfortunately now it’s time to get back into the swing of daily life.

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Taking Time (@2013_bak)

I’ll keep this short because today was all about family and right now is all about family.

The BAK route ran through two of my husband’s childhood areas.  One was his hometown and, we visited his grandparents graves.

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The other was his childhood stomping grounds.  Which included a drug store with an old fashion soda shop.

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Then the route took me through places in my memory and I slowed down to just enjoy the moment.  Because that is what BAK is all about.  It’s not the miles.  It’s not the destination.  Instead it is about connecting and reconnecting with people and unique places.  So tonight I chose to spend time with my family.  Tomorrow is later.

Elves on a Shelf

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I’m rather amused by this fairly new ‘Elf on a Shelf’ interest.  Last year when I first noticed the holiday trend my only thought was, “seriously?”.

Our family inherited 4 shelf elves nearly 20 years ago.  I have no idea how long they had been gracing shelves before we began hiding them in between & on top of our books. 

To be honest they are a little creepy.  The newest elves look to be as equally creepy.  However, the creep factor doesn’t deter me from setting them out every year.  Actually I like creepy, macabre things so those little elves sitting & watching people walk by…well that’s right up my ally. 

Even my teens like the little elf dolls.  Actually they just like to prop them up in odd spooky positions to see who can creep out whom the most.  Geez, I love my teens. 

However, I’m fascinated by these new over priced elf dolls.  (BTW I’m frugal so everything is overpriced.).

If you have recently purchased one I’d love to know why & how it is used during your holiday. 

For example, I have a friend who is using her elf doll to prank her normally macho boy who likes to frequently prank the family.  She has inserted wires into the arms & legs in order to make its poses more ominous.  Her son was already a little creeped out by the doll & she’s hoping to build upon his feelings. 

I’m not sure if that’s the spirit in which the author of ‘Elf on a Shelf’ wanted people to experience when they looked at the doll.  However, if it’s memories she was hoping families would create then it would be safe to say that families are certainly creating something!

Roller Prom

One of the most difficult things a parent has to deal with is the unfairness of the world which inflicts all our kids from time to time.  However, when that unfairness hits certain milestones which are supposed to be joyous occasions such as the Senior Prom, the evident hurt is much deeper for the parent because there’s nothing that can be done to make it better.  As parents, we can give our kids a hug and tell them that this will pass because we know that there will be future joys, but we also know that for our child what happened was just hurtful and unfortunate.  Really, that hurt can be almost anything and good parents will understand why this parent won’t rehash the events or the aftermath.

Then there comes along the right person at the right time.

In addition to being a high school student, my daughter also attends college.  Within the walls of higher education are a hodge podge of people from many different walks of life.  One such young man heard my about my daughter’s horrible Prom experience and announced that it was time to attend Roller Prom.  She came home perplexed, but excited.  The night would consist of getting dressed up for Prom, dinner out at a nice restaurant, and then dancing all night at the skating rink.  These college teens and young adults love the skating rink and apparently they had plans to skate anyway, but in the face of a tragedy this young man rose to the occasion of making a pretty girl feel better.  When she asked me what I thought, I told her, “You only live once.”

Of course I had to take a picture when he showed up in a suit.  She rolled her eyes and he stated that his Mom would have done the same thing.  However, neither of them knew that my diabolical plan was to ensure they would be expected at the skating rink.  This required a quick upload to Facebook as well as a name tag to my friend, Ed, who owns the skating rink.

Her night was magical.  She announced that it was the best Prom ever.  As a parent my heart soared.  Thank you to the young man who knew how to turn a negative into a positive, and thank you to the skating rink for taking the winning Prom picture.

Hughes, Ed. “Roller Prom.” Northland Rolladium Skate Center. Facebook, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2012.

Geocaching

About two weeks ago the hubby introduced me to the sport of geocaching. Some people may disagree with me about the status of sport, but I challenge naysayers to give the hunt a try.

For the most part, geocaching is a very inexpensive sport, but it requires the knowledge of how to use a GPS, even a simple older model would work. If a person does not own one of these devices, it is impossible to participate. So it is safe to say that geocaching is expensive you have to purchase a GPS just to participate. However, for those of us who own one, it is a great additional use of the tool. I have one because my husband purchased it to help keep me from becoming hopelessly lost all the time. My sense of direction really stinks.

When a person decides to hunt for a cache, he must know the exact coordinates of the treasure. A person must have the exact longitude, latitude and decimal degree of each on the x,y coordinate grid. Luckily the GPS makes life really simple by simply decoding everything and pinpointing the exact location of the device in hand.

Once you have the coordinates, the hunt begins and this is where the sport portion comes in. Yesterday the kids, hubby and I went on a geocache hunting hike. We had planned to hike ten miles anyway which should only take about four hours, but adding the eight cache hunt brought on an additional three and a half hours to our exercise.

With GPS in hand we carefully glanced at the coordinates until we reached a location that looked close the degrees of the cache. Then left the trails and began walking through the brush and trees in search of the exact coordinates. Once we had identified the location it was time to really begin hunting. You see as wonderful a device it may seem, GPS’s are machines and can be off a little. With a less expensive the device, there is a better the chance that you will have a more difficult search. However, once you find the stash the reward is worth all the thorns, squishy mud, and snagging branches. It is even worth the effort of digging out a cache from a knot in a tree, unearthing it from a dead log, or even crawling under low hanging pine braches. The creators of these caches are some of the most creative people on the planet. Containers range from ammo boxes, to bored out screws, to plastic containers and each contains a log book and usually some sort of treasure that you can trade. My children love to bring along something they no longer want like an old kid’s meal toy to trade with something more exciting like a new kid’s meal toy. Sometimes there’s an extra treat like a post card from far distance locations or even an unusual coin. However, if the hunter is really lucky he will stumble across a cache with a travel bug.

The travel bug looks like a dog tag, with a printed bar code is in the shape of a beetle. This bug, TB, can be traded for something and then later placed in a new cache. Each travel bug has a special theme. We have discovered a NASCAR TB as well as a Big Water’s TB. The description for the NASCAR TB simply states that it wants to travel to locations with NASCAR sites nearby. The Big Waters TB wants to travel the globe and over many oceans. There is an infinite amount of bugs out there to go with an infinite amount of themes.

Once the cache is located, items are read, viewed and traded and the log book signed the cacher must then put the stash back exactly as found. Then begin the hike back to the trail.

Geocaching is a sport worthy of respect. It connects people of different cultures, life styles and backgrounds through one common goal. The hung also gets people outside, walking and crouching and crawling which is something many of us have forgotten how to do properly.

So I challenge you to go to http://www.geocaching.com and give this challenging sport a try. It is certainly a better way to spend an evening than mindlessly watching a predictable television show.

Strange Youth

The young seem to think they need to gather with those of their own kind.  However, a strange thing happens with teens and especially with young women during a gathering.  This age has got to be the strangest, giggliest, noisiest on the planet.  The teen boys in the group had difficulty understanding the need for the girls to scream, jump and make strange noises over a simple comment or movement and instead chose to seek the safety of any empty room.   They stood around in silence for a few moments looking toward the door and at each other as if in fear that the girls would find them and fill that room with shrieks.  After a few minutes one boy made the comment that girls are just weird which caused all the moms in the room to smile and unsuccessfully cover our laughter.  They ignored us by turning to the piano and banging out a great sample of the Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”. 

 It seems that when young girls gather the only way they can communicate is by acting as strange as possible. Teen boys seem to look for sanity and the girls have none to offer at this early teen stage.  Perhaps this is because my daughter as well as all her friends are into the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.  All their actions and words center around the book’s plot and characters,  Good-bye Harry Potter, hello Edward. 

After a couple of hours watching these goofy girls, my only question was, “Did I act this silly when I was a teen.”  My answer is a hopeful but uncertain, “I hope not!”  After all, does anybody really know with absolute certainty that they remember of childhood with perfect clarity?  It is doubtful although I’m sure there are a select few who actually do, but I suspect many more only pretend they remember every minute detail.  For myself, I will entertain the thought that I did not act like my brain switched to the goofy mode.  

Although the girls did act strange at first, eventually everybody came together and enjoyed the afternoon.  It is unmistakable that teens need an outlet to meet and chat.  Today was just that type of day.  Here’s hoping for many more similar moments of teenage goofiness.

Proud New Aunt

Last week the family along with my baby-sister, Mary, took a trip to see my younger sister, Sarah, and her family.  We traveled to see the newest addition to the family, Gavin.  I’m a proud aunt for the ninth time and each is beautiful, handsome in Gavin’s case, and intelligent. 

Sarah and her hubby, Michael, are wonderful hosts.   As soon as we walked in the house I felt like I’d entered a second home.  Theirs is an older home with several flights of stairs, wonderful wood floors, and a fun laundry shoot.  The only thing that might be missing is the secret corridor.   Young Gavin is sure to have many years of fun exploring nooks and crannies, playing hide and seek, and finding ways to mar the walls; however, for now he is busy being cute and enjoying uninterrupted attention.

The trip gave us sisters a fabulous opportunity to catch up. We passed the time watching movies, cooking together and admiring Gavin.  Sarah also took us to a quaint coffee house where we enjoyed hot cocoa that tasted similar to Mexican Hot Chocolate topped with lots of whipped cream, so yummy! 

Thanks sis for welcoming us into your humble abode!

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