Saturday, August 31, 2013

Traveling down country roads with my Hubby!

What an amazing couple of days! Hubby and I been burning up the miles, tooling down back roads, realizing that we have finally got a new bike that both of us LOVE.  This blue beauty was custom made for hubby.  It fits him and responds to him like a second skin.

Say What??  She has her own town??

As we traveled around yesterday, we ended up following back roads with no idea whatsoever where we were.  We found so many adorable little towns that just seemed to appear in the middle of corn fields.  The heat was crazy, the wind was balancing it perfectly.   I think we easily drank a few gallons of water each.  But it was perfect!

Addieville, Illinois
Addieville, Illinois
Addieville, Illinois


Today has been hotter, it went above 100 today and it felt it!  There were a few times it felt even hotter, we were miserable for a few stretches. Nothing some ice tea and shade can't fix. 

Buffalo fritters...note to self... SKIP this forever!
On the Brussels Ferry

Hotel in Brussels... built in 1846
 We knew that we were heading to a reception for a friend of ours that got married out of town in St. Louis so we decided to head to the Great River Road.  That road is some of the best cycle riding anywhere.  Smooth, winding, a couple of ferry rides and winding beautiful country roads.  It's breath taking.  Following along the two great rivers as they merge together, the caves worn into the side of the bluffs by centuries and centuries of the mighty rivers meandering path.

Rolling hills of Brussels, Illinois
Waiting for the Golden Eagle Ferry

Hubby knows that for some reason I can't stand right turns, even on my bicycle I will avoid at all costs, and he does such a great job of making me feel calmer as we make those turns.  Sadly you cannot only make left hand turns.  He is sturdy and strong, he gently leans to the right, warning me, encouraging me to breathe.

He says I am a great rider, that I respond very intuitively.  I am not sure if he is fibbing or trying to make me feel good.  I focus on being one with him.  I would never want him to have to fight me to keep us safe.  He never scares me.

Yesterday he bought me my first pair of bike boots... between that and my wind sock for my hair, I am starting to look like a biker b*%#&... ask my daughter she will tell you.  It's kind of funny, because I will turn around and slip into my long denim skirts and work on my needlework....  I was talking to my cousin this morning, about a box I'd sent her and her daughter, I warned her it was a very eclectic mix of books... She laughed as she said "with you I would expect nothing less." It simply cracked me up that she knew that about me.  I grew up far away, our face to face time has been so minimal, and yet she knew.

I need to finish up the jerky for my boys, work on a hat, and get ready for the rest of the adventure that will happen this weekend. 

This weekend has been wonderful.  Our friend's smile... oh it makes me so happy to see.  He is so happy and his wife is beautiful.  Inside and out!  I hope he's as happy as I am.  Because I am very happy. 

Tomorrow, Hubby and I are heading out before sun up, hopefully we will make it down to the Garden of the Gods as the sun rises. If the thunderstorm has passed us by.  Riding with him is balancing out my stress levels.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Perfect Way to End the Day...

The day started kind of rocky... I was not thinking it was going to end on a positive note at all! In fact... I figured it was going to go sliding downhill really fast.  I hadn't realized what our timeline was for leaving, so I was rushing around. Feeling out of control.

We finally get to Potosi, only to receive a text from the folks we were dealing with that they were still 45 minutes out.  So after the strongest cup of coffee I have ever drank, I am fairly sure if I had put the spoon in the cup it would have stood up straight, we finally met up with them.

To say she was as charming as salt on an open wound... would be too kind.  That woman was HIGH maintenance!!  She was freaking out about a million things that no one could control or change, the poor kid at the title office looked like he had drawn the short straw for walking across a mine field.  She drove me nuts, absolutely nuts!  While I felt incredibly sorry for hubby and usually we are the exact opposite when dealing with nutty people, I walked away.  I told him that IF we ever got around to signing the quit claim deed to call me and I would come back in.  I simply was done with her.  After a full month I was ready to just get back in the car and walk away from the whole deal.

After all we still had the "stalker" wanting the property.  That guy had managed to find our house and was leaving us notes on the door.

Isn't she pretty glistening in the sunshine?
Two hours later, we finally signed all of the documents and the hubby was strapping on his helmet and drooling over his new toy!  He was like a little boy, the whole ninety minute drive his smile was evident in my rear view mirror.

Hubs had a webinar when we got home, so I sat around and kicked back while he took care of that, trying to figure out a way to put my hair that didn't cause birds nest ends.

And then...

Ahhhh... how I have missed it.  We were tooling down country back roads, taking our time with no where special to be.

The smell of fresh cut alfalfa, the sun and wind warm and soft on my face.  The heat mixed perfectly with the breeze.  The stress of life simply oozing out of every pore.

The country side passing quickly by, the deer playing in the fields, the fish scavenging along the top of  the water when we passed the Silver Creek over flow.  Kids playing in all the school yards. Clouds slipping across the pure blue sky promising cooler temperatures where coming.  Those spots where for no reason the temperature drops to chilly cold, if only for a brief moment in time.

I still don't like right turns... maybe something in a previous life, but I hate to turn right, and it isn't just on motorcycles.  I can't stand it on a bike either.  It just makes me sick to my stomach in a really big way.  Hubby tells me I handle it okay, even though I am about climbing out of my skin.

We stopped and had a Fountain Cherry Ski (or two - perfect way to beat the heat)  and a Wally burger at Wally's in Breeze.  I love it there.  One of my favorite places to go.
The home of the most amazing burgers and Ski

I am not sure why we gave up our bike before.  Because snuggled up behind him, with my eyes closed and my arms stretched out flying along, I felt pure peace.  Love and peace, the perfect blend to balance out life.

As the day was turning into night, hubby's new toy got locked up safe and sound, tomorrow we will leave early and enjoy the day.  Simply cruising around back roads, looking for something unexpected and wonderful.

Who knows what is waiting just down the road...

Saying Goodbye... moving forward... good stuff!

Very similar to what we are getting... Hello!!
Of course I am up way too early... that seems to be a standard thing with me.  There is something just wrong about waking up before five when you are on holiday!  I did need to get up a bit early, we are driving down to Potosi this morning.  It's official, we are trading our property in Sullivan for a motorcycle.  This is a good thing.

Hubby and I love to ride!  It is something that will be close at hand, not require packing, loading, unloading.  It is something we can easily make happen for us. 

Keeping up with two places with our work schedules simply wasn't happening.  I can hardly keep up with one.  Add to that the allergies I have developed concerning there, make it darn near impossible to ever go.

What we are leaving behind... Good bye!

This is a very good thing!  I am excited about exploring again.  It's amazing the number of places you can explore without ever going more than 100 miles from your own front door. 

I am a bit apprehensive. 

Hubby and I are both the kind of people that find ourselves immersed in the "hobbies" we have.  And will both ignore other things to do what we want to do.  This is concerning for me, because I am working so hard on my quilting and growing that.  And I have also committed to the craft show in October. 

This is actually what woke me up this morning. 

Three of the most recent and the black one is already sold....

I am feeling like I am not anywhere close to having enough hats ready, and that I do not have enough time to devote to getting ready.  Yikes, I am making myself panicky! I spoke with the director in charge of the show I am committing to yesterday.  It seemed so... well real!  I felt so unprepared...

I am twisting and turning inside... feeling excited, anxious and overwhelmed...

I've never ridden on a Harley, I am looking forward to riding again.  I am responsible enough to know I have committed to having a booth at the craft show and I need to be prepared.  I have a quilt ready to quilt for someone on the frame now. 

Juggling my wanna life, with my real one, just got a lot more complicated!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just DRIVE already!

Ahhh... spaghetti junction, one of the worst drive it daily
One more day of stressful traffic. Idiots who feel they have to wait until they are behind the wheel of the car to put on make-up or check Facebook.  One more day of feeling anxiety rise to almost uncontrollable levels.  I don't handle stupidity well, I handle it less well when it is put behind the wheel of a car.  If you are going to be stupid you have no business driving a car it puts other people's lives in danger.

This week I have gone to trainings and meetings all week out at our Leadership Development Center.  It's a great place to take trainings and disconnect from the branch and learn.  The challenge for me, is that without any traffic it is a full 40 minute drive from my house.  Unfortunately, the without any traffic part, isn't going to happen except possibly for 5 am on Christmas day.

There are 5 possible major routes for me to get there.  And each one has at least one, if not multiple construction sites on it.  And at least one spot where they bottleneck and come to a complete stop... That 40 minute drive has not been less than 75 minutes yet, in fact closer to 90.  I have seen so many accidents, almost accidents, stupidity and just plan ignorance.  I haven't even started getting dressed for work yet and I am already dreading the drive.

I have had the awesome opportunity to witness so many people driving stupid, acting like where they are going is far more important than observing basic road and driving etiquette. It is mind boggling.  Racing through construction zones. Dashing up to the edge of the merge and forcing others to let them in (really?  really?  you did not see the warnings that your lane ended and you had to merge for two miles prior?).

At least it isn't stopped at the moment...
Checking their email, Facebook, texting, etc... People, you are simply not that important.  If you cannot use that phone hands free without looking at it, then how about if you put it in your purse, pants pocket, under the seat even if you feel that you cannot control the urge. It is unbelievable the number of people that do not pay any attention to the road.   I watched the Jetson's too... flying cars and cars that drive themselves to their location do not exist.  If you want to check your phone that much, please take a bus, taxi, or train.  Let someone else drive.  Because you are making a mess of the highways and risking peoples lives.

I have seen drivers with the Post spread on their steering wheel, or a stack of reports they are looking at while drinking their coffee and eating their breakfast.  Just a minor suggestion, get up a few minutes earlier, do all that stuff at home and pay attention while driving.

As you can probably tell... I have more than a little bit of an issue with crazy drivers and having to commute.  I will be so glad when hubby takes back over tomorrow.  I enjoy sitting in my little bubble and working on my projects, while he safely guides us where we need to be.  I would be perfectly okay with only having a short bike or walking commute.

I simply don't like driving in the city... One more day...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Three days of Paradise!!

It's amazing how fast three days can go by.  Mini-me is home with Mom and here it is Monday morning (wow, that is a lot of  m's for one sentence).  It's like the song that says "don't blink"... It feels like I did.

The zoo yesterday was so amazing, it always is, we are so blessed to have such a gem in the heart of our city. It has been around since the 1904 Worlds Fair created the Flight Cage and the city bought it.  We've had such amazing zoo directors with foresight and passion.  The most famous of which was Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom fame. 

It seems like every year, they find another way to simply make it more amazing!  The enclosures are designed to keep the animals in more of a natural habitat.  The most recent of which is the Sea Lion enclosure.  Mini-me completely loved that!  The tunnel underneath allowed for such an amazing view and kept us busy watching for quite a bit of time. 

The Sea Lion show completely amazed her, and with Grampa's help she is the proud recipient of a Frisbee tossed to her by Benjamin (Benny) the 11 year old sea lion.  She was in a front row seat and he passed by her within inches.  She was so mesmerized that her souvenir was a build-a-bear sea lion, whom she named April (ironically, that was Benny's trainers name).

We road the train. And took a good bit of time to pet the stingrays, although she wasn't so sure about the sharks in the enclosure, me either... I will admit that I ended up pulling my hand back rather abruptly when they swam up to me.  I guess that is a fear that has been brought home pretty firmly.  Even if the guy walking around in the middle of the pool with them swimming all around insisted it was safe, sorry, just wasn't feeling that one.

Our goal was to wear her out with fun, I think she wore us out.  We rode the 4 D simulator, that was great, listening to her laugh beside me was awesome!  Found every misting fan and enjoyed the beautiful paintings.  We had our ears hurting from the call of one of the birds, we are pretty sure he didn't like Grampa, because he wasn't yelling until Grampa walked up.

We enjoyed the beautiful moon jellyfish, and crawled into the inside viewing area of the frog enclosure.  Decided we simply weren't that into goats.  And spied the gorilla's hiding in the far back shaded corner.

It was so much fun to enjoy our baby girl.  She makes us so happy!  Although she professed to wanting to stay forever, she sat in the car for 20 minutes before Mom finally got all her treasures loaded and ready to go.  I think she missed Mommy more than she wanted to admit.  But that Gramma and Grampa were acceptable substitutes.

The real world is creeping back in this morning.  It is going to be three incredibly busy days.  Then Hubby and I are going to unwind, relax and just enjoy the life.  We are taking a couple of days off to unwind and hopefully do some motorcycle riding.  We'll see... life has a way of deciding what is going to happen... and I am okay with that, because I just need a little bit of down time.  We are already sneaking up on the end of August... time is flying by this year.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making Memories with Mini-Me

Hanging out on Mars
It's been such a great weekend... I hate to see it end later today.  Our little angel has really been so much fun!  It's been so long since we've had so many days in a row with her, and we are trying to cram so much into it!

When she wakes up we are going to take her to the zoo, if she still wants to go.  Yesterday was all about the Science Center.  St. Louis, is a mecca for children.  If you have children in this area and they ever utter the words I'm bored... there is something seriously wrong!

We spent a total of 6 hours in the science center yesterday and easily could have spent another six.  There is so much we never even got a chance to do. It wasn't completely free, but that was by choice.  You can spend hours, even days there and never spend a dime.  They do not force you to pay for the extra's or eat there. But we wanted to see the Mummy exhibit and Grampa has been dying to see the Air Racers in the Omnimax Theater.  And of course after six hours we did need lunch and a snack for after the movie.
Digging up Bones

Sifting through the sands of time

Tar pits have many secrets

Wonder how big this bone is?

I can barely contain the excitement

Gotta get away from T-Rex

Is this a triceratops thigh?
 Mini-me was dashing from place to place.  Looking, touching and trying everything.  She loved exploring the "tar pits" and digging for fossils in the dinosaur lands, touching the fossils from Missouri and a real triceratops head horn. Looking at the amber and coals and learning how they came to be.  And jumping with surprise and mock terror when the huge mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex gave out a blood curdling roar.

This Camel is not cooperating!

I do not want to be a pyramid builder!

She sat on the camel, built a pyramid, saw a real mummy and sarcophagus. Learned out to seal a jar, read an archeology site, look at x-rays of bones from inside a mummy and read the hieroglyphs on the walls of the tombs in Egypt.  She hauled blocks to build pyramids pieced together broken pottery.

So that is how a windmill works

One more substation, transistor and power on!

This is a lot of work for a piece of toast

Grampa... look at how much energy I make!

Lets see how much we make together

While exploring the energizing electricity area she learned that her and Grampa can put off some serious electricity, and Gramma not so much.  We held hands and made a complete circuit, and learned how to make our own power with a bike, she built complete circuits and lit up a town.

Why yes I can lift Mars

Getting ready for the F-18 ride with Grampa

It costs how much to send me into space???

She stood over the highway, clocked the speeding cars, used telescopes to see the football game at SLU High School.  Lifted Mars and danced on the red planet, looked at a space module, rode the F-18 simulator and went into the Bermuda Triangle.
Astronaut food??
Interesting... this is their bathroom?

Touching the hands of an astronaut

Stood in the access tube to the space station and played in their private spaces.  Learned that in zero gravity she is 4'1" tall, about 3 inches taller than she really is.  Danced around the solar system and saw the stars in the planetarium.
And Go!!

Mixing music for our laser show

Lights, camera... action!  Mini-Me and Grandpa made a laser show

Mini-me and Grampa ran in the Hamster wheel to make the balls fly through the air, she learned about inertia and the power of dropping a bowling ball to make the tennis ball fly up.

Together we built and destroyed an arch, blew the roof off a house, and learned how bridges are built the strongest.

All of that happened before dinner. Mini-me burned so much energy just watching her made you tired.  The best part was watching her and all the other children with their excited smiles and laughing eyes, learning so much and never realizing it.  They were all so involved in serious deep seated play, that it never dawned on them that they were learning more than they learn in school, simply by doing.

She readily makes friends and at one point I saw her and a little boy digging through the "tar", deeply interested in what discovery they might make.  They were both passionately searching, the light from both of them so powerful.  He was maybe three, and she was so kind helping him.  We have much to learn from little ones.
Sun is sinking on our day at the St. Louis Science Center

We had thought about going to the Drive-In with her, she's never been. But honestly after all that time travel and excitement all of us were simply wiped out! Instead, we curled up in the living room and watched "The Color Purple".  I had never seen it and Grampa felt I should.  It was incredible and Mini-me loved it too.

When I headed off to bed, she was sitting in bed, unwinding, playing more educational games on my Nook.  I love things that help children learn through self discovery and both of our Nooks are loaded with them.  She thinks she was playing a game, I know she was learning math and reasoning skills.

Today will have more fun tucked into it before she heads home.  Our weekend has been full of fun and excitement, laughter and good times.  I love being a grandparent.  It is so much less stressful than being a parent was, and I had always thought that was the greatest joy in the world!