Travels, reflection and where you lay your head

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. More than I usually do, which has led to some reflection.

The first trip was out to Oregon, to see my dad’s side of the family. My grandfather had died and I wanted to attend the funeral. I booked a plane ticket and rental car the day before the funeral and headed out. I hadn’t been back to Oregon, my birthplace, in probably 15 years. I tried so hard to remember the last time I’d been but I couldn’t remember. Too long.

The trip was bittersweet; I was here for a funeral, but I was going to see my cousins, aunt, dad, step-mom and grandmother; people I hadn’t seen in so many years. Unfortunately, the last time I’d seen my dad was for another funeral – his sister’s. Why is it that we only seem to see people for weddings and funerals? Continue reading “Travels, reflection and where you lay your head”

Five years overdue

Time gets away from us so easily. Four years ago, Dylan and I moved to Texas, a move that I would never have imagined I would do years and years ago. Texas had never been a thought, but jobs and opportunities came through, and we did it. Two years ago, we bought a house. In Austin. Another feat in this town, where houses go on the market and come off in the same day, where prices are gouged and there’s a competition on even the shack-house in the neighborhood. We’ve had our trials and our triumphs, we’ve made a few friends and explored a lot of country.

But often, we miss out or can’t do all the things we want to do in time. We’d spent four years in Texas and our friends, who moved to Phoenix had been there five, and we had never visited them. Reasons ranged from time, to money, to schedules. It doesn’t matter. We just hadn’t visited them. So we finally picked dates, bought tickets and flew out to Phoenix to visit.

We ate some great food at Bobby Que’s, The Yard,  Matt’s Big Breakfast, Joyride Tacos, among others. We climbed a modest mountain called Squaw Peak and visited the zoo, all over an extended weekend. Always, these trips are too short, but always, they’re invigorating and fun and remind you to take time away from everything to see the people you care about, because this is what really matters.

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Churn Ice Cream – delicious ice cream and awesome service
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Matt’s Big Breakfast – tasty and kept me full even after climbing a mountain
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The Yard- good food and great atmosphere for some games and drinks

Vacation, friends, family, weddings, and exhaustion

**Note: I’ve been delaying writing this but I think I’m just going to have to push forward as I haven’t written anything yet this month. I planned on writing this and adding some great pictures I took over the week but I can’t seem to find any of my cables for either camera. I did find a couple on my phone so until I find those dang cables….

We made it back in one piece from our whirlwind “vacation”. It was definitely a vacation in the sense that I used my vacation time to go up to MN to visit friends and family, but it didn’t quite feel like vacation. I didn’t get that relaxed, vacation feel. Don’t get me wrong, though. I enjoyed visiting with people and seeing Minnesota in the peak of summer, but we were so busy that it never really got too relaxing.

We got in to town Saturday mid-morning. We visited with the in-laws for a couple of hours before the hubs had to take off with friends for the Bachelor party, so off he went into the woods to go camping after driving for 20 hours. I went over to my mom’s house and hung out there the rest of the eve.

The next day, Sunday, the hubs came back and we went down to the Twin Cities to have lunch with his brother. We were there for most of the afternoon. He and his new wife and just bought a little house, so we got to tour it and chat with them about upgrades they wanted to make. It was great seeing him and his wife, and the life they are just starting to create together.

The next day, Monday, was our only day really of just doing something “recreational” or vacation-y. We went back down to the Twin Cities and went rock climbing at an indoor center called Vertical Endeavors. I hadn’t done any climbing for almost a year so my arms quickly fatigued but it was a lot of fun. We grabbed some lunch at Pizza Ranch, a delicious pizza buffet chain we do not have down here in TX sadly enough. Then we went back up to shower, change, grab some Texas beers and head back down to the cities to see an old friend we hadn’t seen for years. It had been years since the last time I’d seen her and since then, she’d divorced, remarried and had a little girl. Time is crazy that way. You don’t see someone for a long time, so you have no reference when you finally do get to see them again. Things are never the same. We had a good time catching up and getting to know her new husband and baby, then left late in the night. We got back close to midnight and crashed.

The next day, we headed back down to visit the hubs old work buddy. We had lunch at an old diner called Cecil’s. They made great sandwiches. It was one of those old-time diners that never changes, which brings in all the old-timey people who’ve been going there for forty years. It was great. There wasn’t a hipster to be found, probably because they didn’t use any organic materials and the chickens didn’t get to run around and lay their eggs wherever they wanted to. After lunch we met up with an old college friend who had recently moved to the cities with his brother. He’s now lumber-jacking for an energy company and seems to really enjoy it. I bet no one, including himself, ever saw that happening, but that’s the great thing about life. We can’t predict it, but if you keep yourself available to anything, life will open itself to all kinds of possibilities. We had some great local beers at the Yardhouse, a restaurant with more than 130 beers on tap. We sat outside under a covered patio for a couple hours, reminiscing about college and life. After filling up on food, then a couple of beers, and sun, we were headed back to the house to work off our food coma.

Wednesday was dedicated to spending with my mother-in-law and Thursday was the day for my mom. We wanted to make sure to get a day in with both moms while we were up. Spending actual time with your parents is so important, especially when we all start getting older and older and time seems to keep moving faster and faster.

Friday was the day of the rehearsal. We drove out to WI, and got our first intro to the wedding venue. It was beautiful (again, wishing I could find those dang cables and attach some pictures – I found a few on my phone at least). The wedding was outside, and the dinner was to take place in a beautiful rustic barn. Lights were strung in various places for the evening light, hay bales littered the area for seating. The place we stayed at overnight was a lake cabin that is rented out during the summer. It’s a beautiful lodge overlooking a lake, with a hammock and canoe ready for use. Two of our friends plus myself rode the canoe out to the middle of the lake and shot off TX fireworks. It was great to let loose and have some good old immature fun.IMG_5009

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On Saturday, the wedding went off without a hitch (from what I could tell). The weather was perfect, the vows were said, tears were shed, and celebrations began. Toasts were made inside the beautiful (albeit hot and stuffy) barn, but we were not in there long. Soon after the dinner, we all went outside for cupcakes, dancing and feeding goats.

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We got back into town around midnight, slept til around 6am and heading toward TX at 7:30. The trip was long but we got back into Austin around 2am Monday morning, slept for another six hours, then went to work. It’s been crazy and non-stop, but memories were made and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Vacation = stress + recharge

There’s always a certain amount of stress that goes along with a vacation. Especially one that involves 21 hours of driving and a wedding reception.
We are headed up to my brother-in-law’s wedding reception in Minnesota next week (wait…what?!). It came upon us so quickly. It was one of those things that we had planned a few months out but life got a little crazy along the way(both cars broke down within a month, bought a new one and got rid of the other, almost lost my job but it came back), that time swirled and dipped and pulled the rug from under us so that we are just a day and a week out from our drive.
I know that there will be some stressors along the way, like what to pack, what to bring for the dogs, how in the world are we going to pack the crate…I’m excited for the trip. Dylan and I have both been back home since we moved away a couple of years ago, but we’ve always been back separately. It just never works that we can both come back at the same time, so this will be the first time coming back together. And for a good cause. I’m excited for a vacation of any sort. We need a recharge. A way to get away from everything we have going on. We’ve only had weekends off, and even those don’t count because Dylan usually works on weekends. We haven’t had any more than a couple days to hang out for more than…oh I don’t even know…a couple of years? At least? I’ve lost track.
And even though this trip will be short, I’m still so excited. I’m excited to road trip, excited to be in the car with Dylan, listening to music, getting philosophical with the dogs, seeing friends and family, exploring our old college town, or heading to a park for some climbing. Whatever the adventures turn out to be, I’m welcoming them with open arms.

A Little Rock getaway

Yeah…Little Rock. Not the first place you think of when you think of getaway, but it is when you have good friends who reside within it’s piney greens. The drive to and from was even enjoyable (minus some of the traffic through Dallas on the way, and the slow semi’s on the way back on 79). Being from Minnesota, or at least living there a decent portion of my life, I’m used to summers filled with fresh cut grass, hay, pine and cow manure. In Austin, most of the land here is rockier and drier. Out east, it felt like a Minnesota summer. It was refreshing. 

Once we got to Little Rock, it was great to see Sol & Lacey. We hadn’t seen them since last July when they visited us. We walked around at the Indie Festival in the downtown area, ate at a couple of eateries, and just wandered around. Dylan tried crawfish at Eat My Crawfish for the first time – I tried the meat but refused to pull one apart. I played it safe and had some catfish and hushpuppies which were delicious. ImageImageImage

 

We walked around the waterways in Little Rock. The city has been doing a lot to revive the city, including adding a lot of bridges to walk around.

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In parts of the areas we walked around on the bridges, it felt like we were at a little zoo. There were a ton of turtles, ducks and geese. What a great way to expose children who have maybe grown up in the city all of their lives to animals in a more natural habitat than just a zoo. 

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Over the couple of days we were there, we really didn’t do a whole lot…except eat a lot. But that’s okay. I didn’t want to take the few days off I had and fill it with too much stuff to do. I feel like sometimes that’s my default activity. Fill my time with stuff to do. But sometimes I need to turn that off and just relax. Which is what I did. And I’m glad I did. Sol & Lacey are planning on visiting in July again this year. I can’t wait. Just remember that sometimes more is just too much, and doing just a little feels just right.

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