Tag Archive | relaxing

Circus Trip 2018: East-side Michigan

Days 66 – 69, Wednesday – Saturday, September 19 – 22, 2018
Michigan

I had reached Michigan for a stay with my family. At this point, I had been on the road for more than two months. I had driven from Washington State to Maine, down to Washington, D.C., and back to Michigan. Most of the those over 60 nights on the road were spent in campgrounds, with three in hotels and seven spent with friends and family.

So how was I feeling? Pretty good! I was really enjoying being out on the road! I could set my own pace, I could go where I wanted and stay as long as I wanted.  The problem I was running into was that I wanted to stay longer at each place, and worried that I wouldn’t make it all the way around the country before I ended up having to head home.  I could relax and decompress when I needed to after a very rough couple of years.  I suppose that is a good problem to have, and looking back on this time, I recognize what an amazing experience this was, and how it helped me heal.  After another rough couple of years, I’m ready for this again.

I found myself finding so many things to do in each local area I visited.  In addition to googling things, I asked people what was around, stumbled upon activities, followed informational road signs, and headed down back roads to see what I could find.  GPS is truly a Godsend.

I arrived in Michigan a few days ahead of my cousin’s wedding, and had some time to hang out with my parents who flew in, my aunts and uncles and cousins.  It was great to have the family time.  And sadly it was the last time I really had a vacation with my Dad, but of course I didn’t know that at the time… 

Wednesday I slept in and had a lazy day, and caught up with my parents, since I hadn’t seen them for two months!  That evening I went out for dessert with my cousins and the bride’s friends; cheesecake and Sauvignon Blanc.

We decorated the hall for the wedding on Thursday, making flower arrangements with twinkle lights inside, and hanging photos.  It was fun to help.  On the way home, my mom and I visited the Bay County Historical Society Museum.  I’ll post about that separately!  

 

My mom and I went to the Christmas store in Frankenmuth on Friday.  It’s called Bronner’s and if you have never been there, you are in for a surprise.  It is a gigantic store, filled with every imaginable Christmas item.  Ornaments galore, garlands, nativities, trees, and more.  They will also personalize ornaments with names or phrases for free!  I always love visiting there when I am in Michigan.  I also went to the Black Star Farms tasting room and did a tasting and got a few bottles of bubbles and a Riesling for mom.  I had their wines several years before when I was in Michigan and I was so excited to have them again! 

Friday night was the wedding.  It was beautiful and sweet, and I loved watching my uncle walk my cousin down the aisle; his first granddaughter to get married…  It was fun to catch up with lots of my family members who came in for the wedding.

Saturday at lunch we all met up at Krzyziak’s Polish Buffet.  There were 19 of us and that is just my Dad’s side!  Yea, I have a big family when we all get together.  The Pacific Northwest doesn’t really have many Polish restaurants (or perhaps none), so I always enjoy getting back to my roots on my Michigan trips!  I also loved seeing my Dad so happy, surrounded by his sisters and all my cousins.  Family meant so much to him and he lit up when we visited.  I miss that.

 

 

Looking back those days meant a lot to me.  There weren’t really visits to places to blog about, but spending time with my family that I don’t get to see often enough (and then COVID) was truly precious. 

Me and Dad – September 2018

The next day I was off with my parents to spend a few days with my mom’s side of the family too!

 

 

Circus Trip 2018: Alexandria, Virginia

Day 63, Sunday, September 16, 2018
In and around Alexandria, Virginia

My last day in D.C. was a relaxing day with friends.  In the morning, I went horseback riding with a friend of mine in Silver Springs, Maryland.  Alexis rides at a stable there and was able to use two horses for the morning!  Mine was a 16.1 hand mare named Rosie.  She was very sweet and we had a great trail ride. 

Later in the afternoon Alexis, Jason and I went to a place called Vola’s in Alexandria for drinks and appetizers.  The day was warm and the outdoor seating was lovely.  I had a Whiskey drink and it was soooo good!  It was fun just catching up with friends.

On the way home, Jason and I stopped to check out the George Washington Masonic Memorial.  It is such an impressive memorial!  Construction was started in 1922, and it was dedicated in 1932.  However, the interior was not completed until 1970!  It is designed to look like the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt.

It is such a beautiful building!  We were there in the evening, so we didn’t have a chance to go inside, but maybe one day.  The interior is supposed to be pretty interesting, with murals and displays honoring George Washington.  We did get to walk up the stairs, so at least we got some exercise!  It was a nice, relaxing final day in the Washington, D.C. area. 

COVID Diaries: Day 592

It was a beautiful, sunny weekend, but boy was it cold!

Cora and I snuggled in for some TV watching on Friday night – we watched the 20/20 show on Gabby Petito’s disappearance and murder.  Such a sad story. 

I finished my book for my book club meeting that’s in a couple of weeks, and started the book for next time! 

I went for a couple of hikes in the mornings, just at a local park in town that has a few miles of hiking trails.  It was a good workout, and a nice relaxing time.  I also took a walk down at the waterfront and met some friends for a late lunch.  We even saw a Great Blue Heron relaxing in the sunshine!  Don’t worry, his wing was fine.

I swept all the currently accumulated leaves off my deck, and filled up most of my yard waste toter.  And I did a bit of purging in the closet and drawers, collecting a large shopping bag of shorts and pants to go to Goodwill.  I’ve been having trouble getting motivated to purge stuff, but I was happy that I managed to get some done.  So I feel decently productive.

Time to gear up for the work week, and the arrival of November!  I’m definitely not ready for winter.

COVID Diaries: Day 152

It’s been a mellow weekend, and also quite a hot one!

I was off Friday, so I have had plenty of time to relax, as well as get in some major yard work.  I’m still working on pruning some large shrubs and trees in my front yard – who landscapes a small front yard with several 30 foot shrubs and trees!?  There really ought to be better education on this topic…

I got my hair cut on Friday – getting rid of the split ends that have been building up since my last haircut in January!  It looks and feels so nice again!  I have my layers back and my curls are so bouncy again!  Except in that picture, because it’s been straightened…  Not that there’s really anyone around to see my hair, but oh well, it’s the little things…

On Wednesday Lelani and I tried out a new trail area in town, and enjoyed a short after-work walk.  Afterwards we got beer and ciders, and walked down to see the sunset over the water.  It was so peaceful!

 

I finished another book last night, so now I’m up to 26 books for the year.  Not bad so far!  Cora has been enjoying some TV binge watching too.

My aunt and uncle are in town visiting my mom, so I’ll get to hang out with them some later today.  I haven’t seen them since January!

Yesterday some creepy middle-aged guy (more middle-aged than me, btw…) decided to park his car on my grass, get out of his car and proceed to urinate in my yard.  All while I was watching him.  So of course I ran over and yelled at him to leave – I had to channel my inner little crazy girl with a number of choice expletives – so hopefully he thinks better of it next time.  Gross!  I live less than a mile away from at least a dozen places one could go to the bathroom – two grocery stores, a Walgreens, a Rite-Aid, a number of fast food joints, so I’m not sure why he thought pissing in someone’s yard in a well-populated neighborhood in the middle of the city was a great idea.  I don’t understand what’s wrong with some people.

Last Sunday Lelani, Audrey and I went up to the mountain and hiked part of the Chain Lakes Trail.  We got a late start so we didn’t do the entire trail, but it was still nice to get up into the mountains and have a peaceful respite!

At work we’ve decided to have our administrative/office staff continue to work from home through the end of the year.  Another 4.5 months at least of saving on my commute!  I’m trying to stay thinking of the positives, and not the fact that I’ve barely seen any of my coworkers since mid-March.  And… we hired my new boss!  He doesn’t start until September, but that’s one big project off my plate!

Well I need to go get some more housework done, as it’s back to “work” from home tomorrow!

 

 

 

Mount Rainier Snowshoeing 2019

In February, Paula and I did a repeat of our snowshoe weekend.  We spent two nights at Mount Rainier over the President’s Day holiday.  It was glorious!

Last year, the road up to Paradise was closed the entire time we were there, due to avalanche danger and rain.  This year, we were able to drive up to Paradise and snowshoe up there!  We got up early and headed up early, driving up just after the road opened.  We were the first ones out on most of the snowshoe trail, and had the opportunity to snowshoe through fresh, unbroken snow!

That morning, we hiked out under a partly cloudy sky, with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier!  It was so beautiful!  We took lots of photos and selfies, because when you grow up around mountains, you know that the mountain isn’t always out, and you take advantage of the view when you can get it.  I love seeing this view!

We snowshoed out a bit further in the fresh snow, and on our way back noticed that Mount Rainier was now obscured by the clouds.  We were lucky to have gotten out there when we did – there is a benefit to being the early bird!

That afternoon, we snowshoed around the Trail of the Shadows, an easy 1 mile flat loop trail. I love it because it takes you by an old turn of the century cabin, originally built by the Longmire family, as well as remnants of the old mineral baths – they were advertised as having healing properties, if you could stand to soak in the sulfur smelling waters.

We renewed our ritual of sitting on the porch to drink spiked hot chocolate and wine, and also had a good time working on a new puzzle in the game room and making new friends.  We had grass-fed burgers and blackberry cobbler.  Both were to die for!

We were sitting on the porch just after they closed the gate to Paradise at 6 pm, and Paula spotted a critter making his way near the road.  We watched him trot across the road and realized it was a fox!  It was too dark and we were too far away for photos, but he was so adorably cute from afar!  This may be the first time I’ve ever seen a fox in the wild too!  Our room this year overlooked the road in the front of the hotel – it is so pretty there!

I certainly hope that we continue this tradition, either just the two of us or with other friends as well!  It was so much fun!

Circus Trip 2018: Split Rock Creek State Park

Day 14, Sunday, July 29, 2018 – Day 16, Tuesday, July 31, 2018

After the Corn Palace and lunch at a Taco John’s (this was on the recommendation of a friend – I wasn’t that impressed), I stopped at a rest area.  I did some Googling and found a small state park in the middle of nowhere, not far across the border in Minnesota, and near my next destination of Pipestone National Monument.  A call to the state park reservation line revealed that they had a site for the next two nights.  Score!  I was going to decompress and just relax for a bit!  Instantly, I started to feel better, knowing the pressure was off.

Minnesota! My 5th State!

I made my way there, driving down back roads by farm fields, and heading off on a gravel road to the park.  I was a little unsure, thinking there surely couldn’t be a state park here.  But soon enough, I arrived.

Split Rock Creek State Park is on a man-made reservoir that was created in 1938, when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) dammed the creek in order to provide a lake and recreational area to fish during the Great Depression.  It was small, and beautiful.  My little tent site was right on the lake, with a dock that I could walk out on, and lay on to enjoy the sunshine.  The fish there were so plentiful that they were just jumping out of the water.

I took a nap when I got there, to shake off the fatigue that I had been feeling all day.  Then I set up camp and checked out my surroundings.

Split Rock Creek State Park is small, as state parks go.  There was an RV area and a tent area and a total of 55 sites; the tent area had no more than 10 sites.  I liked my site a lot, as it was just steps away from the lake and that little dock.  The lake had a little trail that followed the lake for a while, and there was a swimming area that was completely deserted the entire time I was there.  In fact, there was very little going on here; there was only one other tent camping family for the first night of my stay.  I never saw the camp hosts the entire time.  The busiest creatures there were the muskrats, which seemed to be plentiful. I saw at least four during my stay.

The dam is made from Sioux Quartzite, a red rock that is local to the area.  The dam and a nearby bridge made from the same Sioux Quartzite are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I spent two quiet and relaxing days there.  I didn’t say much more than hello to a soul there at the park.  I set up my tent to have a respite from the mosquitoes and the periodic rain showers, but slept in my car.  I wrote in my journal, relaxed on the dock, and took walks by Prairie Lake.

I enjoyed watching the muskrats working on their lakeside homes, cutting down reeds to build.  I loved seeing the fish jumping out of the water to catch bugs, even though I was never able to catch that with my camera.  I watched a snapping turtle checking me out from the middle of the lake, even though I couldn’t see what he was until I blew up the photos from home.  Deer ran in front of me while I was walking, I saw lots of bunnies, a woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Mourning Doves, and a Great Blue Heron.  It was peaceful and quiet, a true oasis tucked in among the farm fields.

I watched the sunsets each evening from the little dam over the creek.  Those sunsets were stunning!

Watching the sun sink lower in the sky, shooting rays in every direction, reminded me of the purpose of the trip.  To let go of the hard parts in my past, to be renewed, and to find joy.  And I did find joy there, tucked away in that tiny little oasis in a corner of Minnesota.  More than I possibly could have ever known.

 

Circus Trip 2018: Down Time

I’m in California; almost at the end of my long road trip.  I have driven over 13,000 miles, and have traveled within 32 states (and Washington, D.C).  10 have been states that are new to me in my adult life, although I didn’t explore a few of them at all; rather just driving through.

Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hamphire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and finally California.  It has been a long, enjoyable drive, and I have seen and done so much along the way.  I still have one more state to pass through before reaching Washington once more.

I’ve been having  some down time, in California, and as often happens with me, once I stop to rest, that is when I get sick.  I have been pretty lucky to have not been sick while on this road trip, but now I’ve gotten a cold, complete with sniffles, sneezes, coughing, and exhaustion.  I’m taking some time to recover, resting and sleeping a lot, with lots and lots of cold medicine.  The cold medicine is accompanied by strange, crazy dreams, but I guess that’s a small price to pay for being able to breathe.

Relaxing with a book on the patio

Fortunately I can take some time to get better.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what my future holds; new opportunities that weren’t clear at the beginning of this trip.  Onward…

Waterfront Walks

The weather here has been absolutely amazing – sunny and hot.  It has allowed for some mid-morning walks down to the waterfront in a tank top and shorts (and mosquito spray) to enjoy the park.  Boulevard Park is right on the bay, with an over-water boardwalk, which makes it tough to beat on a beautiful day!  Round trip it makes for a 5 mile walk with a challenging hill workout.  I love weekends like this!

 

Loving Summer!

I am pretty open with people about the fact that summer is my absolute favorite season of the year.  Hands down.  Sun.  Warmth.  White wine.  Three day weekends.  Laying on the deck with a book.  And we have some pretty amazing summers in the Pacific Northwest.

There’s nothing I love more than just relaxing with a book in the warm sunshine.  Unless it is relaxing with a book and a glass of wine!  Or relaxing on a beach with a book and a glass of wine…  But I digress…

Perfection…

 

Happy Tuesday Peeps!