Friday, March 31, 2017

Day 31: Bucket List

There are places I haven't been that I'd still like to go (my "bucket list").

I want to ride through the Appenines of Italy on a motorcycle with my husband.

I want to go to Comicon and Dragoncon.

I want to go to Angkor Wat, the World Heritage Site.

I want to go to Hawaii and see a volcano and try surfing.

I want to take Caleb to swim with dolphins.

I want to go to New York with Eli again.  The last time we were there, he was 11.  I want to go back with just him and attend theatre.

I want to go to Tennessee and ride the Dragon Tail with my husband on our morotcycle.

I want to go to Busch Gardens and ride the roller coasters there.

I want to take my grandkids to Disney World.

I'd like to go with my brother on a mission trip to Nepal.

I want to go to Australia and see the Great Barrier Reef.

I'd like to go and stand on the Equator and on the Prime Meridian.

Really, my bucket list is kinda endless.  I can see some of my list happening, while other will likely remain forever dreams.  I hope I never lose the love of travel.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 30: Traveling in a U-Haul Truck

My oldest son, Eli is turning 24 in about a half an hour.  He and his wife, Sarah, are finally moving out into the world on their own.

So far, they've lived in our basement,  temporary base housing in Fort Lee, Virginia, in the barracks at Fort Hunter-Liggit, California (just Eli - Sarah stayed with us during this time), and with his cousin in Savanna, Texas.  Now they are going to move into their very own apartment in Plano, Texas.  They are both excited and terrified.

They came home this past weekend and boxed up all their stuff that's been sitting in our basement for the past couple of years.  Its all now sitting in the garage where my husband's truck normally sits.  Tomorrow, we'll load it all up on a U-Haul truck and Saturday we'll drive it down to them.

We'll meet them at their new place.  Their new lease starts on April 1.  We'll be their first guests.  It'll be a long day in a U-Haul truck, but worth it to help send our children into adulthood.

Day 29: Travel by the Numbers

1- Number of times I've had my luggage lost on an airline flight

2- Number of times I've been to Europe (London & Barcelona)

3- Number of times I've been to a Disney (2x Florida, 1x California)

4- Number of times I've been to Savannah, Georgia (3x in June, 1x over New Year's)

5- Number of major bodies of water I've been in (Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Lake Michigan, Balearic Sea

6- Number of US Mountain Ranges I've visited (Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountains, Sierra Nevada Mountains. Ozark Mountains, Boston Mountains, Ouachita Mountains

7- Number of states surrounding Missouri I've been to (Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas)

8- Number of states I've been to for gymnastics (Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Washington, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida)

9-Number of US Forts I've been to (Fort Smith, Fort Pulaski, Fort Jackson, Fort Scott, Fort Knox, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Gibson, Fort Riley, Fort Sill)

10- Number of amusement parks I've been to (Hershey, Silver Dollar City, Six Flags, Frontier City, Bells, Worlds of Fun, Cedar Point, Universal Studios, Disney, Celebration City)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 28: Glamping

Every summer my husband I go camping with our friends.  We go out to a nature retreat in Kansas about three-and-a-half hours from here, usually leaving on Wednesday and coming back on Sunday.

We have a large, orange tent.  There is both a front and side entrance, and a covered porch/entrance area.  It's large enough to house a queen-sized blow up mattress that we put up on camp cots.  Inside is also a five-foot table that we put our camping tubs under, with the table surface for our counter-top. There is room enough beside the bed to set the bedding tub up as a night table.

Outside we have an orange pop-up awning we use as our kitchen area.  We set up two more five-foot tables with our kitchen tubs and ice chests under; on top of the tables we have a small, propane grill. One of the tables is kept strictly for prep space, the other for eating from.  Underneath our entire personal area we put down tarps to protect against potential rain.

Personally, I prefer climate control, room service, and white-sand beaches.  My idea of "roughing it" would be Motel 6.  Sleeping in a tent in the wilds of Kansas is not usually my idea of a good time. But our friends have funny ideas of camping as well, and the experience isn't as bad as it could be.

Deborah is the organizer of our weekend.  Each year she is looking for the "next big thing", the newest way to make our camping trip less like camping.  Last year she really pulled off a doozie.

Outside of her tent (a large, white tent with three rooms) she has a kitchen with running water that is pumped in from storage jugs.  She also set up a jumbo circus-style tent for our group to gather in. She has music piped in by satellite.  There are several box fans and oscillating fans.  Assorted rugs cover the grass and dirt.  For your sitting pleasure there are rocking chairs, bag chairs, and outdoor couches.  This past summer there was even an 80-inch television that she brought out just for "movie night", complete with popcorn.

In front of the "social tent" there will be a volley ball net for afternoon play.  Deborah is a very social person, and she will venture into other camping areas and invite other campers over for a friendly game of beach-ball volley ball.  She keeps an ice chest stocked with water balloons so that we can defend our area should we get attacked with water guns (and yes, it does happen!).

There are tiki-torches marking pathways all around our compound.  We each go out at dusk and light the torches that lead to our personal tents from the social tent.  There are five to eight personal tents that make up our area.  Then we move out to the camp fire to sing songs and make s'mores.

As much as I moan and groan about camping, I wouldn't miss the  "glamping" trip with our friends for anything!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 27: Traveling with Mr. Kevin

I was shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected death of our friend, Kevin Owen.  I can't not talk out the heaviness inside my heart.

I have actually known Mr Kevin for a long time.  He was, even when I knew him back when, acting as a father figure to children who needed him.  He was helping parent three sisters on the gymnastics team the Mr G and I coached.  He traveled with our group on these sport trips.  We went to Atchison, McPherson, Salina, and Pittsburg, Kansas as well as in our area of Missouri.

I particularly remember one trip to Salina, Kansas.  He sat with all the parents, cheering loudly for not just his girls, but all the girls on the team.  I don't know why, but I have a very specific memory of him at this meet.  Those girls are all grown now with families of their own.

It was nice getting to know him over again when I came to work at the middle school.  He had to re-introduce himself to me since.  I hadn't recognized him - he was 15 years younger when I knew him before!  He had dark hair and a dark beard!  It was nice to see him in an environment where he had such a positive influence on young people again.

I will miss him much.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 26: The Ballet

Today I took a trip to Tulsa to see Swan Lake.  I went with my choir club friends from school.  It would seem we have started a tradition!

Last year we went to Springfield to see Wicked.  It was a wonderful afternoon with a wonderful bunch of girls who enjoy theatre as much as I do!  We had lunch out, a bit a shopping, and a great show.  We had such a great time we decided to do it again.

This year we opted for the ballet.  Tulsa Ballet Company was putting on Swan Lake, so that was our choice.  We left this afternoon from a central location in Joplin and drove to Tulsa.  We got to the PAC in time to attend a pre-show visit with the choreographer.  He talked in heavily Italian-accented English about all the different interpretations of Swan Lake, why there are so many, and which variety he prefers.  He pointed out some things we should look for in the performance.  He was so charming!

My favorite character from the ballet was the Sorcerer.  He was such a talented dancer!  His leaps and jumps exhibited so much more height and control than all the others.  The girl who danced the Swan had beautiful lines and showed her range in both the technical and emotional performance.  The costumes, especially of the Black Swan, were exquisite.  I was even impressed with the control shown by the Corp de Ballet during the long periods they had to pose completely stock-still while others danced.

After the performance we had dinner at an Italian pizzeria that also served gelato before driving home.

I can't wait until next year's day at the theatre!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day 25: Travel Souvenirs

When I travel, I like to collect mementoes of my travels.  My favorite baubles are collector pins.

I have been collecting pins since I was very small.  My parent's saw this as a good alternative to the teeshirt; teeshirts were pricy and not long-lasting.  

Unfortunately, I lost my original collection to fire.  I had Disney pin, Silver Dollar City pins, Universal City pins, Six Flags pins.  Pins from Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago, St. Louis, Orlando, Barcelona.  Harley Davidson pins from almost every place we'd ridden.

I also had a nice collection of Olympic pins from the 1980 boycotted Moscow Olympics to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.  I had mascot pins, event pins, country pins.  Summer games pins and winter games pins.  Sponsor pins, like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Kellogg's, and Nike.

Restaurant pins, city pins, special event pins;  you name the pin type, and I probably had it from one of my travels.

Its been six years since the fire and I am starting to rebuild my collection.  Friends and family have been helping; they bring me pins from places they visit they know I've been before.  And, of coarse, I am adding new pins from new places I roam.

I've got enough pins again that I'm now looking for a pin collector's book.  I am starting to be excited to play with my pins again.