Lani's household consists of Steve, the long-suffering coding genius and computer security guru; Jim, Lani's tall, red-headed and handsome son, currently finishing his second year of college; Hunter, Jasmine, Himari, Chenault, the miraculous Onyx and the even more miraculous Resk, undisputed feline rulers of the house; and Jesse, the man-hating green-cheeked conure.
Ann's household consists of Don, who is not just a computer genius but a pilot, a builder, and a damn good father; their son Steve, the marathon-running, college-bound, funniest teenager I know; and wonder dog Tater.
Other family members are Laurie, Lani's beautiful daughter who teaches at elementary levels; her handsome son Alex, aka Alexander the Great; Mary and Bo, a/k/a Mom and Dad, and Bud and Ann, Steve's patient and wonderful parents.
That's how the past two weeks were for me; from Colorado to Florida, from layering a blouse and two sweaters and a jacket and hiking through areas where there was still snow on the ground, to watching the porpoises in the bayou behind mom's house and walking barefoot through the hot sand at the beach. Life is good sometimes, y'know?
It was absolutely gorgeous in Panama City this week. I flew down on Monday and Laurie and Alex picked me up in Tallahassee; we drove back home and went with Mom and Dad to the Bonefish for dinner, which was (as always) extremely nice. The week was relaxing and lots of fun; Laurie and I went to Seaside and poked around which was fun, and I have to say I was totally amazed at how built up 30-A is now. Do you remember, Annie, when we used to take the beach buggy down there to go crabbing and beaching with the Howells? It's like another world now.
I'm trying to think of other things to tell you. Um ... it was nice? It was quiet. We went to the Club for dinner on Wednesday night with Marshall and Ann Evans and JuliaAnn; we had Dad's birthday dinner at home on Thursday; I wasn't able to get home on Friday so Mom and I did a little antiquing; and on Saturday I left.
Oh, and Laurie and Alex and I went to the beach on Wednesday and we took some pictures that she hated, but I love.
The best, though? There were a bunch of birds on the beach. There was a little boy on the beach. The results of that combination are predictable:
You posted while I was posting! No fair, I wanted to be first!
Love Don's pictures, it sucks that you lost ANOTHER housekeeper (what do you DO to them? Seriously!) And your trip sounds like you were able to squeeze in a bit of fun. I'm glad you got to do some enjoyable stuff, and I wish I'd been able to join you but ... hey, it's honestly not like I've been lazing around since my last post. I've been busy. Not busy working (although I did work a smidgen at the beginning of the month); no, I've been busy having fun!
Steve and I headed out to Colorado on the 15th for a week of fun and relaxation. Oh fine, so he had to work two of the days we were there; I had fun and relaxed, and really isn't that what counts? We flew in on Sunday; sadly our bags flew in on Monday. Whoopsie! No big deal though, they actually arrived in the wee hours of Monday morning so when we woke up on Monday we had luggage and all was well. The first 3 days we stayed at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Interlocken (between Denver and Boulder); very nice hotel. Unusually for hotels these days, the nicest thing about this one was the staff. I seriously have never, ever stayed at a place where the staff was uniformly so helpful and eager to please. Denver is, well, it's a city. A nice city, but a city.
Boulder, now, was awesome. I had tons of fun wandering in and around Boulder, shopping in the pedestrian mall and driving out to Nederland and Gold Hill. I will say that the roads in the mountains are, um, interesting; the "highway" to Gold Hill starts out as a two-lane paved road and about halfway there turns into a dirt road. No guardrails, no nothing, a dirt road winding through the mountains. I consoled myself that once I reached Gold Hill I'd be turning onto another road and this one would surely be paved -- uh, not. The road out of Gold Hill was basically a one-lane dirt road. Interesting. Scenic. Glad I'm not driving them in winter. I took pictures ... but NOT on the scary part of the road, because, well, it was scary.
Steve finished his meetings in Boulder on Wednesday and off we went to Estes Park, to a B&B I'd booked online. Yes, I was totally crossing my fingers that it wouldn't turn out to be a hole. Yes, crossing your fingers works sometimes! We stayed at A Mountain Valley Home, if you're wondering ;) It was in a residential type neighborhood but a quiet one, with gorgeous views and herds of elk and deer wandering through the yard, and Paul and Lynn, our host and hostess, were fantastic. They have 5 rooms and the first night there were two other couples (one honeymoon, one anniversary ... it's just like that!); the second night we were the only ones there, it pays to travel midweek! Lynn made sure that everything was just what we wanted, made us dinner reservations, etc.; Paul cooked decadent breakfasts for us each morning; our room was both lovely and totally comfortable; and the entire experience was delightful.
Sadly we were really there too early in the season to be able to get into most of the Rocky Mountain National Park, but we did rent horses (and a guide, thankyouverymuch, mountain riding isn't something I've done before) and rode up into the mountains around Estes Park for several hours one day:
We rode up, and up, and further up ... it was beautiful. And yes, all of these pictures were taken on our ride. And yes ... we were both sore afterwards, but it was so worth it.
The next day, although we were both sitting and walking a little gingerly, we drove all through the open parts of the national park and did a couple of short hikes on the few open trails that were accessible sans snowshoes. We saw elk! bighorn sheep! eagles! redtailed hawks! and ... beauty.
I hated to come home. I really did. But home we came -- and I had two days at home, during which I slept almost the entire first day and gardened like a maniac on the second, and then I was off to Florida! But that's another post entirely.
It's been a very long time since I posted (sorry!) so I have lots of things to update.
Last week I was in the Netherlands and Spain, and it was a good trip though exhausting. I was travelling with Gordon, Ash, and Johan. Ash, Gordon and I did a dinner cruise in Amsterdam on Tuesday night and it was really nice. Johan lives there, so he's seen it all before I'm sure. The city has lots of canals that wind through the old part of the city, and it was great to see the city from that viewpoint. Here's one of my favorite pictures.
And here we are ready to go on the cruise.
We were in Madrid Wednesday and Thursday, and got a lot of work done as well as going out for tapas on Thursday night. That was a lot of fun. Ash's briefcase was stolen, complete with laptop and tons of other stuff, and he went through withdrawal without his PC. We were teasing him that he was like Data on StarTrek, and we got him to pose as Data with his power switch off.
It's beautiful weather here, sunny and up to 84 today. That is 20 degrees warmer than the usual, and I'm happy for it. Sandals and shorts in April in Chicago - yay! I plan to spend an hour this afternoon in the garden planting snap peas, english peas, beets, radishes and carrots. The lettuce seeds I planted last week aren't up yet, but any day now.
Lani, I know you've been down visiting Mom & Dad, and I'm jealous. We're planning on going for Memorial Day weekend, but I wish we could all be there together!
A couple of weeks ago Don flew to Florida to visit his brother, Dennis, and when he was flying back he took this picture for you, Mom. Recognize it? It's lovely Douglas, Georgia!
And I have to show you this. Don took a picture of one of his instruments, because he had a hell of a tail wind and got the plane up to 203 knots. He was very impressed, and I thought it was funny that he took a picture to prove it! I guess it's kind of boring flying long distances by yourself.
And here's Captain Dennis running the boat. Don went with him to work for a couple of days, and other than that they hung out, played golf, and I heard about a few bars too (big surprise!)
We do have a bit of sad news. Kitty Bad Girl had surgery two weeks ago to remove a lump on her leg, and it turns out it was malignant. Her prognosis is "guarded", and they told us we could remove the lymph nodes on her leg but there's no guarantee that would be do anything for her and I don't want her to have to go through that. We'll just watch her. For now, she's as snotty as ever.
And in our never-ending housekeeper saga, we lost another one. I have to tell you, I'm just done. We went last weekend and got Steve a bike, and he's going to bike to school the rest of the year. I may be ready to face it again in the fall, since he can't bike year round in the dark and cold, but I'm going to be Scarlett O'Hara and worry about that tomorrow. For now, we are on our own!
Hope all is well - and now that I've actually posted, please write back!
It all seems so long ago, even though I've just started my second week of work post-vacation.
We had a wonderful time. It was one of the best vacations I've ever had, if not the best one. The diving continued to be wonderful, and the skies cleared. We all got sunburnt, drank beer and margaritas (at least Don and I did), we ate fresh fish, we slept 9 hours a night, and it was all good. By Friday I was ready to buy a bed and breakfast and never come home, but then we got on the plane on Saturday and here I am again.
And now my favorite diving story. We are cruising along, looking at the fish and the coral, and I look up and notice that 4 of 6 divers in my group are all looking behind me and pointing. I turn around, and see Don about 6 feet behind me, and a large shark about 40 feet behind him, headed toward him. Don is oblivious, looking at the coral underneath him. Finally, when the shark is really close, Don looks up and we are all pointing behind him. He whips around, and there the shark is, right on him. Don does the startle reflex - you know, arms come up and out - and the shark veers off and cruises by all of us.
Very cool, and not nearly as scary as it sounds. The shark didn't look like he was hunting, just cruising for something smaller and easier to eat than Don. At least that's the impression he gave just slowly sliding by.
Don and I are talking about where and when the next diving vacation will be. We're eyeing this one, and thinking we might go this summer.
In other news, I had a curtain adventure that ended well, but was a little alarming. I ordered curtains on December 27, and still didn't have them until the week before we went on vacation. I figured that was long enough, and so I called. It seems that there was some confusion, because we went back and forth for a while until they told me they found them and would come out to install. I should have known . . .
So, I have three windows in the bedroom. On one of them, I had a normal curtain. On the other two, the curtain went about 2/3 of the way across the window. Thank goodness they did the measurement and not me! The installer tried to tell me that it was okay, and Don says I looked at him like he had three heads. Not okay. So, they took them away and remade them (really quick!) and I have three functional curtains as I write this. They look great, and they really block the light which was one of the reasons I had them made. Living up here, there are a couple of months in the summer that you don't get 8 hours of darkness. You barely get 6, and I start waking up when the sun is coming up, which is at 4. This summer I have the cure!
Sorry to see your snow. It snowed on me yesterday, and it's been really cold here. I can't quite make myself wear my fur in April, but I could have used it last week. Brrrr! I'm ready for spring, and ready to plant all my spring vegetables. They could probably handle the cold, but I can't. I'm not digging when it's 33 degrees out there.
Now to travel - I actually got to stay in town last week which was great. I'm in Winston Salem, North-by-God-Carolina today, and will be there until Thursday. Next week, no travel (I think it's a miracle, so that means there will be a surprise trip in there). But the week after I'll make up for it with Rotterdam and Spain, gone Sunday night to Friday. Don is in San Jose, California this week and home next week (see my comment about the miracle, we're both home!).
Hope you have a good week, and enjoy your time off later this month. I could sure use an additional two weeks off!
shouldn't be snow showers, IMO. Oh no they should not. And I'm not completely convinced they're going to bring May flowers, either, since the poor little shoots in my garden are not precisely looking perky right now. I'm just glad I had gotten too busy Tuesday before I left on my last trip to put in all my herb and vegetable starts!
So, yeah, it's been snowing pretty steadily here since the pre-dawn hours. Pretty weird; earlier this week I was wearing shorts and a bikini top to work in the back yard. It was trying to stick early on: but now it's starting to melt away. Mixed feelings on that; I don't WANT snow, but if it's going to snow on me, the least it could do is stick around and look pretty for a few hours. Anyway, I've got a big pot of soup going upstairs to console us, and my plans to do more work in the yard this weekend are shot.
In non-snowy news, Steve had to go out of town for a meeting early in the week; he left Sunday afternoon, got back Tuesday at about 8pm, and I had to get up Wednesday at 4am to leave on a 3-day. Steve wasn't overly excited about that whole development. While he was gone, though, I had fun; I redid the bedroom and living room so he came home to a complete surprise. No new furniture or anything, but new bedding, moving pictures around from one room to another, changing out accessories, all that good jazz. It turned out well; our bedroom is now all whites and pale blues and aquas, very summery and cool (just in time for the snow!) and the living room looks much less cluttered and more open and inviting. He was suitably surprised and impressed when he came home, and it was a lot of fun to do.
Unfortunately yesterday I came home to a failing Pippin. She's not doing well; she's almost 18 so we knew we didn't have forever, but we've discovered that we're really not prepared for her to go just yet. She doesn't seem to be in pain, she's just weak and lethargic. So we're hand feeding her, and walking very slowly with her out to the yard when she needs to go, and giving her lots of loving. Even the cats seem to know she isn't doing well and they come by and touch noses with her ever so often. I guess we're all hoping that she'll perk back up. I'm not going to let her suffer but I just keep thinking, only a few days ago she was bouncing around in the spring-y weather in the backyard, this has to be just ... doggy flu or something. The doggy blahs. Not old age finally catching up with her and winning. Keep your fingers crossed; she's our good girl, and we love her.