Posts Tagged ‘travel’

I’ve had a number of smiles that I’ve wanted to share recently but time hasn’t allowed. Then this morning, I was wakened by a sound…a wonderful sound…rain. Heavy, fast, loud rain. It had to be pretty loud because I didn’t have my hearing aids on and I heard it loud and clear. Yes, that was cause for smiling but that’s not the smile I wanted to share with you today. The rain woke me a little after 5 this morning and I’ve been wide awake since then. I’ve read my recent feed from Facebook; I played a few games of Words With Friends; I played Candy Crush. I watched the morning news. I’m having coffee. I’m dressed. And it’s still raining so I’m indoors even though I have things I need to get done later on. Is that the smile? Nope. It’s still early and there is lots of day left. It’s not quite 8 am. Is that the smile? Nope.

So while looking through my Facebook feed, I found the On This Day feed and it showed a picture of our first day in Australia! That’s the smile. I can’t believe that I took that trip with my son. For the newer readers, my son gifted me with a trip to Australia in October of 2009. It was a Mother’s Day gift. He took me with him on the trip he was planning! The thought of him wanting to take me on such a trip was enough of a gift even if it had not happened. But he followed through. And we had a wonderful two week trip visiting Melbourne, Cairns (the Great Barrier Reef), and Sydney. We only saw a tiny bit of the huge country-continent but it was an amazing trip! That’s the smile. The memories of my trip down under and of traveling with my son!

I know I posted a lot of pictures and posts after I got back but I know I didn’t share all of them. I took over 1500 pictures on that trip. Here are a few.


The #WeeklySmile is a linkup hosted by Trent. What have you smiled about this week? Come share with us!

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I don’t think there will be a California road trip with Anderson this year. However, I am taking both of the boys on an over night trip tomorrow. I don’t think I am game enough to try taking Spencer any place for any longer than that without another adult. So tomorrow we will drive south three hours. If we get there in time, we will stop at a fishery where they have a “window” that lets viewers see beneath the surface of the water to watch fish as they swim by. I think they will like that. Then we’ll go on another 5 miles to a motel where we’ll spend the night then go to the Wildlife Safari in Winston on Thursday then come home. If Thursday proves to be too long of a day, we might stay some place a second night.

I think they’ll have a good time. Today will be spent on getting them some snacks for the trip and a few little surprises to distract them should it become necessary. Legos for Anderson and cars for Spencer.

I’m looking forward to it. I think. Wildlife Safari is one of those places where you drive your car through the place and see the wildlife. We’ve gone numerous times. We’ll see lots of zebra, giraffes, elephants, lions and tigers and bears (they are kept in a guarded area behind a fence). There will be different types of goats and rams and elk. We’ll see bison. There are so many species that I can’t remember them all but there’s a lot to see. There is also a “village” where the kids can run around (think zoo) and see more animals. The only thing that worries me is that I will need to figure out the kid lock for Spencer’s door so he doesn’t open the door when we are on the drive-through portion. And I need to remember to figure out the window locks, too. We can have windows down but some animals come really close to the car and I don’t want them sticking their head in the car with Spencer because he’ll try to touch them!

Then there is the motel room. He’s tall (Spencer) for a 3 year old and he’s smart. Bad combination. He knows how to unlock doors and will just walk out of the motel room. It happened in Seaside, during the night when everyone was asleep. He woke up and let himself out of the room! If it hadn’t been for the door being noisy when it shut behind him, we would not have known! So that’s the other worry. If the door has a chain lock that is high enough that he doesn’t reach it, it will be okay. However, I’m thinking of taking a sleeping bag in case I have to sleep in front of the door!

So that’s this week’s adventure. I’m sure we’ll have fun. Of course, I might need a getaway all to myself when we’re done!

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weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still in Omaha. It has been an interesting trip ranging from really wonderful to I-wanna-go-home-right-this-minute. And it doesn’t reflect on the city but on my travel mates. One minute we are all getting along fine and the next the other two are bickering and shouting at each other. That’s not fun.

Oh well, I really need coffee right now. We were out until after one this morning and the others are still asleep and it is almost noon. There is no in-room coffee because my daughter used the packets from her room and my room yesterday and then she wouldn’t let me put out the maid service sign when we left he room because she hadn’t put her stuff away. We have a two room suite so that meant that my room didn’t get maid up either and the coffee didn’t get replenished.  Yup. I need coffee. I have snacks so I’m not starving but no coffee!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that although I haven’t seen much more than a few of the neighborhoods here and the downtown area, I like it. I would be happy here if I came here with my daughter and the boys. I imagine that we would need to get used to a lot of things but we could make it work. Today we’re supposed to go on the interstate and circle the area to see what is outside of the metro area. Of course, by the time they get up and get dressed it may be dinner time and we won’t see much because it will be dark!  Tomorrow we go to Lincoln for the afternoon and so that my daughter can meet up with one of her internet friends.

Well, I don’t have much more to say right now. I want to work on making some noise so they can get up. I’ve already texted her but she hasn’t answered. Wish me luck!

What are you like before your coffee? Have you ever been on a trip with others who are fighting and bickering constantly? How did you handle it?

See you next time!


Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go check it out!


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Up Above


Sunrise somewhere between Boise and Denver.


Looks mighty cold down there.

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What Would You Ask?

If you were checking out a place that you had never been to with the purpose of deciding whether to move there or not, what would you ask? What would you want to find out about? What would you want to see?

We are flying to Omaha early Thursday morning to see what it’s like and if we want to move there. None of us has every been there…none of us has ever been within 1000 miles of the place! So we’re going in pretty much blind.

I’m making a list (well after tomorrow when I finish NaNoWriMo) of things to look for and questions to ask.  Of course, we won’t think of everything and we may not get another opportunity to visit before making the commitment to move.  So that’s where you come in. In the comments, please tell me what you might want to know; what I should be looking for; what I should not be concerned about.

Happy Sunday.


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A Little Magic

We had been out bowling all evening.  It was my two girls and me along with my friend Lori and her daughter Abby. We were visiting Indiana from California.  It was our second night there.  We had so much fun bowling that we had played extra games so it was very dark out as we turned into Lori’s driveway.

That’s when I saw all the little lights sparkling like glitter.  At first, they startled me for just a fraction of a second then I thought maybe Lori had some kind of solar lights that sparkled in midair like that.  I must have gasped because Lori looked over at me and asked what was wrong.  I pointed to the lights in her driveway and asked what they were.

“What lights?  You mean the fireflies?”

I was confused for just a bit.  Was she pulling my leg?

Incredulous, I asked, “Fireflies?”

“Yes.  Just plain old fireflies.”  Lori drove on and the lights disappeared.

That’s when I realized she was serious.  Fireflies were real?  They must be. I had always thought they were make believe. I had never seen them, except on that pirate ride at Disneyland where everything is make believe. She had called them plain old fireflies but there was nothing plain about them to me.

We got out of the car and the fireflies were gone.  I wanted them back.  I wanted the magic.  We stayed out for a bit, looking for the fireflies.  We could see them in the distance but as we got close to them, the magic would disappear.

That trip was kind of a bust as we had gone out for a wedding that was cancelled at the last minute but what made it all worthwhile was seeing the magic.  I don’t know if I will ever see fireflies again but I hope I do.  I need that sparkle.  I need their magic.

What magic have you seen?  What is magical to you?

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Here I Go

I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight. I think I only have a half hour till they start boarding.

I’m surprised that up haven’t gotten super anxious or nervous add I usually do when I fly.  I’m looking forward to a good and easy trip, at least the actual flight. Anything after that is up in the air. I’ll be seeing the sister that doesn’t talk to me and days I am dead to get and the uncle that I choose to avoid because he is abusive. That’s how it is with family, though.

In any case, I’ll post if and when I can between now and Tuesday.  I’m sure I will have some thoughts to share.

Here goes! They’re beginning to board, early at that!

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To join in the fun of an informal “catch up”, write and post your entry then enter the URL for your weekend coffee share post in the Linky here.

If we were having coffee, I think I would want to listen more than talk. It is that kind of a day, or I guess it was that kind of a week. I don’t have a lot going on. There is a lot I want to do but still don’t have the doctor’s thumbs up so I’ll wait. I find that I tire easily these days anyway so I guess I still need to take it easy on myself.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am a little nervous about my kids. My oldest (and only son) is in Japan, working. In Tokyo. He has been there since March and will be there through June. And my youngest is leaving for Tokyo tomorrow where she will visit her big brother for ten days. I was fine with that until yesterday when word of a volcano eruption in Japan and then this morning when I woke to the news of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake which shook all of Japan, including Tokyo. Now I’m nervous. I will be happy when they are both home where I can get to them in a matter of hours.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Anderson had his last day of preschool on Wednesday. He was a bit out of sorts that day, not wanting to stay when I dropped him off. He hung on to me and they had to come and pull him from me. Then when we went to the certificate presentation, he was cuddling with one of the aides and apparently he had not wanted to participate in any of the activities that day so he just sat in the corner and watched everyone else. It makes me sad when he’s sad, especially when he doesn’t say why he’s sad.

If we were having coffee, I would talk about a movie I saw the other night. It wasn’t the first time I have seen it. I stream it often. It’s called The Way and was written by Emilio Estevez and stars Martin Sheen. The movie is about the road that people take when making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage that people have been making since the Middle Ages. It’s an inspiring movie. I’ve talked about it here before and mentioned that I would love to be able to travel that road; to make that pilgrimage. However, that was in my unhealthy days when I knew it to be physically impossible for me to do. Now that I’m healthy, the thought has entered my mind again and now it is finances that keep me from doing it but if there were any possible way for me to travel to France to begin the journey which begins in France and goes through Spain, I would do it in a heartbeat. It takes an average of a month. I’m sure it would take me longer. I need to work toward finding a travel partner to join me (or more than one would be great) and the finances with which to do it, the air fare being the biggest part for me. I don’t know that I will ever do it but it is certainly something to strive for.

Is there any kind of a trip or pilgrimage you would consider making? Why? What keeps you from doing it?

I just this week finished two Catherine Ryan Hyde novels, the first was called The Language of Hoofbeats and the second was The Electric God. I really enjoy her books. Have you read any of them? Most are familiar with her bestselling novel, Pay It Forward. I’m slowly making progress to catch up to my own reading goal of 80 books for this calendar year. I’m now only 9 books behind instead of the 17 books behind schedule! It’s doable now!

What have you been reading? Anything you would recommend?

By the way, the movie, The Way is on Amazon Instant Video Prime so if you happen to have prime on Amazon, then you can stream it for free. It is set in some of the most beautiful places and it follows the story of several people making the pilgrimage. They aren’t really making it for religious reasons. One is doing it to lose weight. Another to get over writer’s block. And the main character is completing it for his son. It’s a very interesting and thought provoking (at least for me) movie. Give it a try if you get a chance.

Movies. Have you seen anything lately you might recommend?

That’s about it for now. The sun is shining and it’s warm out so I have to find the key to my storage shed to get my oscillating fan out or I’ll have to go see if I can find one at the store as it is getting to be hot enough to need one now!

Until next time, enjoy life and family. Don’t take either for granted!

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While reading blogs yesterday, I came across this one in which the blogger wrote about how she always felt she was unlucky when she traveled by air until the one day her luck changed. It’s a nice post. You should go read it.

It reminded me of my air travel story. Well, I have a lot of them but there is one in particular that I will share today. In 2009, my son gifted me with a trip to Australia for Mother’s Day. He had planned on going by himself then on Mother’s Day, he surprised me with a travel guide to Australia, a Cheshire cat smile, and the words “you’re coming with me, Mom”! I was humbled by his thoughtfulness. And I was excited. Australia was one of those places I had always dreamed of visiting but never thought I would get there.

Our flight from San Francisco took us to Los Angeles where we then boarded Qantas headed to Melbourne. It was a 15 hour flight. The seating was better than on a domestic flight but for that long of a flight, not a lot can be comfortable. My son and I had hoped that we would have empty seats next to us or somehow be able to spread out a little bit. I’m short (only 5′) but my son is tall (he’s 6’2″) and needs more leg room. We ended up next to a 70ish couple and we were in the last row of that section so no one behind us. I let my son have the aisle seat that was assigned to me and I sat next to the woman who was teeny tiny. I don’t think they spoke English and if they did, they didn’t say a word to us during the entire flight (they spoke Japanese to each other). About an hour into the flight, the woman took a nap. That was great except for one thing. She had stretched out putting her head in her husband’s lap and her feet in my lap! No matter how much I nudged her feet off of me, she would put them back on my lap. We got through the flight without any problems other than the fact that her feet were on me. I couldn’t sleep but it was a great excuse to have some of Qantas’ complimentary Bundaberg rum…and I did as rum is my favorite boozy drink!

We had a wonderful two week adventure. At the end of the week we flew from Melbourne to Cairns with a stop in Brisbane then a few days later we flew from Cairns to Sydney. I’ve written about the trip on this blog and I think if you search it for “Australia” you will find the posts and lots of pictures. But I’ll get on with the return flight which proved to be different from the flight to Australia.

My son had tried to get us seats together on the way back but had not been able to. This made me nervous because I really don’t like sitting next to strangers and because I often need help when I travel (due to a back injury and to being so short!). I suggested that he ask at check in if there were any way we could switch seats with someone so we could sit together. However, my son has not been raised to rock the boat. He tends to (not as much anymore) accept things as they are given to him. So he didn’t ask. The flight was delayed so we sat waiting and waiting then when the check in crew arrived, I took Tony’s boarding pass along with mine and went up to the desk. Tony said don’t do it. There wasn’t anyway to change the seating, he said. But I told him that it wouldn’t hurt to ask and reminded him of what a long flight it was. Our seats were about three rows away from each other, not even close enough for me to get his attention to help me if I had needed help. So I explained to the agent at the desk that my son and I were traveling together but our seats were three rows apart and asked if there were any seats next to each other, or even aisle seats across from each other. She took the tickets and said in her Aussie accent, “Oh my lord! They didn’t put you together? We can’t have that! I’ll take care of it!” So we waited about five minutes; my son was very nervous. I don’t know what he thought would happen just for asking. Finally, she called me back to the desk and handed me new boarding passes, saying she had changed our seats. When they began to call the rows to board, I noticed that we had been put in a different section of the plane because our section was the first to be called to board. We hurried to board and when we got to our seats, we were amazed! We had been moved to a window row with only two seats. Two big, wide, roomy, comfy, leather seats! We were in business class! Along with the better seats with a lot more legroom came a better meal, more variety in the complimentary drinks, a lavatory for just a few rows, and better service. Tony’s eyes got big! He couldn’t believe it! He enjoyed the flight so much and was even able to sleep for a good portion of it. He looked at me and said, “I guess it never hurts to ask!”

So that was a good lesson for him to learn. He saw that I asked nicely. I wasn’t demanding, at all. I just asked. And they responded with courtesy, understanding, and efficiency!

And I think it might have been our reward for not being rude to the lady with her feet on my lap!

Waiting for our plane to come home

Waiting for our plane to come home

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I have spent the better part of the last three days looking for a place for my family to rent when we go see my son in Seattle for Christmas.  It’s so confusing.  You have to take account of the location and I don’t want to be more than five or ten minutes away.  Then you have to take into account the number of beds and the per person charge.  I’m finding that although a place says it sleeps 6, the price quoted is for only 2.  Anything over 2 has to pay extra, as little as $15 per person per night and up to $50 per person per night.  And children are not free.  I’m having to pay for a 1 year old and a 4 year old.  They don’t need any extra bed/bedding.  The older one sleeps with me and the little one has his own fold up bed that they travel with.  Then you have to take into consideration the cleaning fee (as little as $49 and as much as $119) and the mandatory damage insurance fee (from $69 to $99) and they do not refund at all if you cancel less than 30 days before your arrival date.

I know it’s a business for someone but the three day rental that I was looking at today is going to be over $1200 for 3 adults and 2 children.  So now I’ve realized that we should stay in one of those suite hotels.  Much cheaper and we can cancel up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival.  And they include free breakfast and kitchen and separate bedrooms and I’m saving over $500 and we’re staying a fourth night!  So I think we will be opting for the King suite with two bedrooms and a living room pull out and a full kitchen and completely refundable!  It’s about a 15 minute drive from my son but that is going to have to do.

So if anyone out there has a house/apartment/room to rent, take note.  You too can charge exhorbitant fees of unsuspecting tourists!

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