Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm not kidding

Really, I am going to Mexico tomorrow. Yes, I do realize there is a new strain of flu out there, and yes, I do realize people in Mexico have died.

But really, I am still going. Our group of 4 well-educated, intelligent women includes a doctor and a nurse ... we know what we are going in to, and we know what precautions to take, and we know what the realistic risk is.

And we are going to have a terrific time! We are going to bake on the beach. We are going to laugh by the pool. We are going to feast on the patio. We are going to come back refreshed, relaxed, rejuvenated, and healthy.
I'll post pictures next week when we're back!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Just got home from visiting Brian (the new man) in Cleveland. Cleveland - yes, that's what I said. Not one of the places I ever put much thought into at all, nor on my list of preferred destinations when I dreamt of travelling. But he is there, so there I went.
And you know what? Cleveland is a really, really nice place! It's on the shore of Lake Erie - a Great Lake I had not visited before. We went out on a pier to watch the sunset one day - the weather was magnificent! So was the view.
We visited (the exterior of) the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and walked along the lakeshore park in the middle of downtown. It was 88 and sunny (back in Minneapolis it was cold & rainy - HA!) and absolutely beautiful.

I had a great time exploring the neighborhood Brian's sister lives in, trying out Malley's, the local ice cream & chocolate shop (NUM - and in looking up their URL I see they have mail order! Dangerous!), going to the soccer game and baseball game (to see Brian's nephew and brother-in-law, respectively), taking long walks at night to look at stars, and just hanging out with the family.
One night we ate at Bubba's Q, which was fabulous barbeque - kind of out of the way, sports-themed, food to die for!
The whole time I was there we kept saying "Next time, we have to do ....." and when it came time to leave, it was hard on all of us, I think!
Next time will be around Memorial Day weekend - when I go out to bring Brian back home!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life is grand

Well, it's sandal season FINALLY and today I got my first pedicure of the year! I took my friend Diane with me - she's a pedicure virgin! - and then we went out for lunch. A wonderful girls-only day. I bravely said I was through with socks for the year, about a month ago on Facebook, but frankly I did wear socks again in the days between then and now -- but now? NOW I am done with socks for the year. (well, not the entire calendar year, but until the snow flies again - except that really, I go sock-less a lot then, too, I just wear warm shoes without socks. Other than my homeknit socks, I really dislike them.)

Anywho. Life is grand these days. The housing deal is moving along nicely, the paperwork is in, the closing approaching, my plans becoming more firm. I have been researching appliances and dreaming about paint colors and carpet style and countertop options. I have met with my contractor, planned the order in which projects will be done, and while I still have a whole list of questions that need to be answered, I feel like I am moving ahead nicely - and it is all just so much fun!

The job front is also developing beautifully, PLAY it Forward is meeting so many of my needs - needs that I didn't even realize I had! I am turning back into an international traveler - which was my persona 30 years ago - which I gave up to be a wife and mom, but didn't realize how much I missed it until now it is coming back to me. It feels FANTASTIC. It feels like the real me is coming back to life after a long, long sleep.

And then there is the relationship portion of life ... tomorrow I leave for a long weekend with the new man in my life, and everything there is moving along so smoothly, and feels so right, and it's both fun and fantastic!

Add to that my general good health, the well-being of my children, and the beautiful weather, and I just keep grinning and saying life is grand!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You are invited ...

I mentioned recently that I have a new career in the making, working with PLAY it Forward Adventures. It's been a couple of weeks now, and this professional match is truly one made in heaven. I am feeling energized and renewed by working on projects which invigorate and inspire me, and Jodi - my partner in this venture - and I are excited about the expansion that is now possible with two of us combing our talents, time, and resources.

We just started setting up our 2010 Master Schedule ... and I will be leading a trip to Peru and Machu Picchu in January! Machu Picchu has long been on my list of most desirable destinations. I am fascinated by all I know about the ancient Inca tribes - the combination of mythology and legend with the archaeological finds, which show how advanced these people were in so many areas of life. Most Inca settlements were destroyed in the 15th and 16th centuries, but because of its remote location, Machu Picchu was preserved, and while some people still lived in and around the ruins (descendants of the Incas), it was virtually untouched before being rediscovered in the early 1900s. Now it is designated as a World Heritage Site, descibed as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization," and is carefully cared for so that visitors can continue to marvel in its splendor.

And I am bringing a group of women there in just 9 months! (It just occurred to me that 9 months is the time of a pregnancy ... this trip will be a sort of baby for me, so how fitting is that timeline?)

This journey will be about finding balance in your life. Over the past two and a half years I have been told time and time again that I should write a book about how my life has changed and how I have managed those changes. I will be using the time between now and January to really contemplate and analyze what has helped me, and I hope to be able to share some of that with my fellow travelers in January. But it won't be "all about me" - we are having a Yoga Instructor travel with us, so that every day we will begin with Yoga practised in the mountains of Peru - talk about inspirational - and we will also fill our days with incredible site-seeing, activities chosen to challenge our bodies and our minds, and - as in all PLAY it Forward Adventures - we will do a volunteer project to give back to the people and the land that will host us during this time.

When I woke this morning, it occurred to me that nothing would be more wonderful than to have my internet friends join me on this journey! Those of you who I only know through blogging - can you even imagine a better way to meet in person? What an incredible way to begin the new year - focusing on yourself, your connection to women, finding balance for the coming months - I get shivers thinking about it.

As we finalize the details (like dates and cost) I will let you know. Roughly - 8 days in early January, something in the $2600-2900 range (does not include your round-trip airfare to Lima), and limited to 12 participants so I expect it will fill quickly.

So I plant this seed in your brain. Mull it over, stew on it, think about it ... and I truly hope you can find a way to join me!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Celebrating EVEN MORE!!!!!!!!!!


Finally, after 3 offers on other houses that fell through, and 8 weeks of negotiating on the 4th, all the signed paperwork came through today and WE ARE MOVING.


It is looking like we are aiming for a closing date of May 19 - so just over a month from now. I am meeting with the Wells Fargo mortgage person tomorrow. I have met with my contractor to start the plans for all the renovation work needed.

Because there is a lot of work needed. Here are some pictures, to give you an idea.

Here's the living room (I am standing in the dining area to take the picture.) The walls will be painted, the fireplace resurfaced (it's hard to see, but the brick is painted a glossy pale green. Not much to be done with that.) The lovely stained carpet will be replaced - no hardwood under the carpet, unfortunately.
And here is the kitchen. Take a moment and think about the paint color here, combined with the paint color in the living & dining rooms. Christmas, all year round! The kitchen is a complete do-over. I contemplated keeping the cupboards, but the layout is not efficient, there is no place for a dishwasher, and everyone tells me I will regret it if I don't do it ... so do it, I will. (and yes, that countertop is pink.)
Here's my bedroom. Some wall issues to be addressed. But mainly just paint and refinishing of the floor to make this room perfect. Oh, and maybe new lights on the ceiling fan.

Here, on the other hand, is Ty's room - for now, anyway, eventually the boys will both be moving to new rooms in the basement. This room has the most interesting use of combination sponge-painting/wallpaper borders I have ever seen! It's much, much worse in person.The main bathroom is not too bad. The countertop - a totally artificial substance which scares me a little - has a lovely shell-shaped sink, and the toilet has a delightful padded seat with the signs of the zodiac on it. Both will be replaced. Oh - and the lighting in here? Two recessed bulbs, nicely done. But these people spatterpainted the bulbs - I can only assume for ambiance. Weird.
This is the back entry way - one door goes to the garage, one to the back patio. The red (ceiling and all!) is the same paint as in the kitchen. This will eventually be made into one big mudroom with built-in cubbies, closets, recharging station, mail station, etc. The organizational hub!
When you head downstairs, this is the first thing you see. The plan is to gut the basement as close to 100% as possible and just start over. So this will eventually be a welcoming area to what we refer to as "boy land" - the entire basement will be made into a place where teenage boys can hang out and have fun.
Here's the basement fireplace, eventually there will be a big-screen TV above it, and the walls will not be mustard-colored. In fact, some of the walls will not even be there anymore.
I don't have any pictures of the downstairs bathroom - I'll try to get some but I don't think my camera can adequately show the horribleness that is that room. We are moving the bathroom and starting completely over. Ditto for the boys' bedrooms. We will put in two egress windows and end up with 2 great rooms. Where currently there is a mess.
LOTS of work - but it will be SO GREAT when it's all done!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


YAY!!!! I went for a walk in the park today - barefoot!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Can you see the holiness in those things you take
for granted--a paved road or a washing machine?
If you concentrate on finding what is good in every
situation, you will discover that your life
will suddenly be filled with gratitude,
a feeling that nurtures the soul.
~ Rabbi Harold Kushner

Today I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

As I walked with the dogs in the park this morning, I appreciated the park, the other dogs & owners, the beautiful weather, my shoes, kleenex, the city I live in, technology, warm air, blue skies, and so much more.

Last night I got together with two friends and it was almost a magical evening. We just sat at the kitchen table, none of us were dressed up or feeling fancy, we drank questionable wine (and laughed a lot about that), we talked and shared and laughed and commiserated. We listened to what is going on in each others' lives, we offered advice when it was needed, empathy when it was needed, and perspective when it was needed. Several times during the evening I found myself thinking about how much I value the friendships of women - these two women in particular, but others, as well. The women I have collected in my life - strong, intelligent, fun, supportive, caring - each one with her own special talents and appeal, each one filling a niche in my life to help keep me healthy, happy, and moving forward - these are the pillars of my life, and I appreciate them all so very much.

This is really not a very complete way for me to say this, somehow the words are not coming easily for me today. If you are a woman, and you are reading this, you are somehow a part of my life - even you internet women whom I've never met in person - and I thank you for being who you are, and for giving what you give to my life, to make me who I am today.

I would thank you from the bottom of my heart,
but for you my heart has no bottom.
~ Anonymous

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I have a new job

I have written before about my friend Jodi, founder/president of PLAY it Forward Adventures - well, not so much about her, per se, as the company. It's a wonderful international travel company which focuses on combining adventure travel (which means doing active stuff like sea kayaking, or mountain biking, or hefty hiking ... none of which have, in the past, really been high on my list of vacation activities ... I tend to like things like beach lying, shop visiting, and the perennial favorite, pretty drink imbibing) with meaningful volunteer opportunities within the host culture.

The first time I met Jodi, I thought to myself "SHE GETS IT!" and I have never stopped thinking that. We clicked immediately, and have stayed in touch for the past few years, albeit infrequently, but earlier this year something had changed when we got together for coffee. We both must have felt the same thing, as I offered to work with her almost exactly the same time as she asked me to work with her. Thus began our professional relationship. Part time for now, hopefully full time very soon.

If you haven't looked at the PIF website, I strongly encourage you to do so now. One of the projects I am working on right now is writing trip descriptions ... and though my physical prowess is not something I brag about, I find myself really wanting to go on each and every one of these trips! I am hoping to be able to go on one very soon ... Machu Picchu in June would be #1 on my list, but since I am still hoping to be moving that month, I'm not sure I can swing it ... though I am still trying to find a way.

And if you want to do a trip but are also worried about how, let me know - we have ways you can earn trip credits!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


As of yesterday, 4/7/09, Vermont is the fourth state to recognize the right of all adults to marry the person they love.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Who are you people???

I just checked Google Analytics to see who's visiting me here lately. I have a pretty steady number of visitors on a daily basis, not big enough to swell my head by any means, but a number that makes me happy.

Two days ago that number more than doubled. Biggest peak I have had in memorable history.


Huh. Guess I better be a good hostess (however you do that??)

Please - introduce yourself! We're a small but friendly group here! Come again soon!

Monday, April 06, 2009

House Stuff

OK, this house stuff is KILLING me. I am going out for drinks tonight to try and forget. I had hoped to give a big update with photos and everything tonight, but no, that's not going to happen.

I can't even go into it. Hopefully this latest glitch will blow over and I will be able to just pretend it never even happened.

I have to go now before I SCREAM.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Laugh for the day...

Was just blog-browsing, and found these two quotes - made me hoot!

" If everyone on "24" followed Jack Bauer's
instructions, it would be called "12".
People with amnesia still remember Jack Bauer. "

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Goodbye to an old friend!

Is it crazy to cry over the end of a TV series? I just watched the final episode of ER. Fifteen years this show has been on, and honestly, I haven't watched it for the past 7 or 8 - the characters changed, the plots got strange, my life got busy ...

I didn't watch the finale on Thursday when it aired, figuring I had lost interest in the show long enough ago that I wouldn't get that much out of it, anyway. But then I noticed NBC was replaying it tonight, and since I was sitting here at home anyway, I decided to watch.

I am so glad I did. I saw pieces of the show I had loved for so many years, a decade ago. I saw old cast members who were back, I saw a few characters who had stayed the entire run of the show (and hey, they were all nurses. Very realistic, that - docs come and go but the nurses are the ones who stay and keep things running!) It was like a reunion of old friends, and I felt like I was right there in the thick of things.

They did a wonderful thing with the plot, too. Those of you who watch will know, those of you who don't watch - it would take too long to explain, but I just absolutely loved having Rachel there to bring things full circle. I loved it.

So, when the show was ending, my tears started welling up, and by the time that familiar theme song started playing, they spilled over, down my cheeks, and I was so happy that I had watched this final episode. It was a good way to end a good show.

Facebook Dilemma

Well, it's happened. This morning I found a friend request on my Facebook wall, from someone I really am not inclined to be friends with. It's someone I was once close to, many years ago, but we parted on less than civil terms, and frankly, I still get a bad taste in my mouth when I think of her.

But the Minnesotan in me agonizes over being so rude as to turn down her request to be my FB friend!

Could she be trying to reconcile? Could she have different (more positive) memories of those years?

Have you ever turned down a friend request? And, since we are sort of on the topic, have you ever "unfriended" someone? There is someone who I am already friends with who I really want to unfriend - but that makes me nervous, too! I think that they don't receive any notification of anything, so it's not obvious, but ????? (and it's none of YOU, don't worry!)

I need advice - please let me know!

Friday, April 03, 2009


We have to come up with a new meaning for IOWA. Previously it was "Idiots Out Wandering Around." Now, how about "Iowa Offers Weddings for All"

The Iowa Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY voted to legalize gay marriage in their state!

I am so pleased to hear this - for so many reasons. One is that it happened in the midwest, close to home. Two is that it was unanimous. Three is that I believe it's the first of many (or third, if you consider Massachusetts and Connecticut which already accept same sex marriages.)

I'm doing a happy dance here today!