Archives for category: Bucket list

IndyThis was not a miracle and my name is not “Virgin Mary”.  I added a kitten to my household yesterday.  Indy is my new kitten’s name.  Indy is short for Independence since he was born on the 4th of July.  I have sung Yankee Doodle Dandy to him so many times we are both sick of that song.  

I have an adult female named CraCra (so named because she is certifiably crazy) and so far she is interested but a wee bit standoffish.  That is so much better than angry and aggressive so I am grateful.

Indy is into everything as might be expected of an 8-week-old kitten but falls asleep in about 10 seconds regardless of where he is or what he is doing.   Sleep, play, pee/poop, eat and repeat.  His is a good life!

Just returned from a week at the beach with family.  We had good – actually great – weather and an all around great time.  Flagler Beach has no franchise restaurants so every eatery is funky cool and has some really creative menu items.  On the whole, Flagler Beach is considerably less expensive than Captiva Island which is another family favorite.  

So if anyone reads this feel free to share your favorite vacation spot or perhaps someplace you would like to visit it possible.  

Oh and here is a photo of CraCra investigating our newest family member





15 working days until I head to the beach for some R&R with family.  Passing through 3 Florida counties will not require a passport but will provide good times!

While we prefer the west coast of Florida, it is just abundantly easier to get to the east coast so we have opted to rent a condo in Flagler Beach.  We can be there in about an hour so it is quite convenient and easy.

I get antsy if I don’t have an adventure planned.  Despite my health issues and accompanying financial woe$, I just couldn’t imagine not going ANYWHERE in 2014.  I love to make packing lists, then revise them, then revise them again and hone and whittle and sharpen and…well, you get my drift.  Honestly, planning is as exciting as going.

Wanderlust is just my nature.  Anyone can work hard to conceal or control their basic nature but I don’t know that it can be changed.  So I hope cancer goes away and stays away.  I hope (and expect) to get all these bills paid quite soon.  Then I hope to get back to daydreaming and bucket list planning and experiencing the joy of discovery that makes me so happy.

I need to visit places like Cooperstown, Cumberland Island, Italy, Washington D.C., Bay of Fundy, and Yellowstone just to name a few.   FlaglerBeach   But I will start with Flagler Beach.

Comparing schedules we decided on late February 2013 for our Iceland trip.  I love to travel and love planning trips almost more than actually going on them.  So beginning in November 2012 I started my packing list, my countdown, and my online shopping spree.  Such fun I was having.  Sherri didn’t need to make many purchases since a Minnesotan already owns lots of robust cold protection items.  Besides, she was pursuing her doctorate and was keeping busy with that and all her other responsibilities.

We discussed how long to stay based on the things we really wanted to see/do.  Tops on both of our lists was witnessing the Northern Lights.  So after some research, I decided that we should spend a few days and nights in Akureyri which is the second most populated city in Iceland topping out at 30,000 hardy souls.  Sherri agreed so we made plans to land in Reykjavik at the international airport, catch the Flybus across town to the domestic airport and fly north to Akureyri later that same afternoon.  Our international flights landed within minutes of each other (which is how most of the international flights operate) so Sherri and I made plans to meet at the waiting area just after customs.

We did indeed meet there after our overnight flights and let me just say that flying Icelandaire is exceptional even in the cheap seats.  Sherri and I both loved our separate overnight flights with comfy seats and personal media in the seatback.  She and I chatted it up for a few minutes, I hit the ATM and nearly drained my bank account because I forget that commas and decimals points are reversed in Iceland and off we went to the domestic airport.  Sherri was a bit fatigued but that was to be expected for someone battling cancer.

We parked our bags at the domestic airport and had a few hours to kill so we headed to University of Iceland.  We both are drawn to academic settings and we just wanted to be on campus to get a feel for our surroundings, catch up more, and maybe get a bite to eat while we waited for our domestic flight to the north.

We were dropped off at a student center with lots of activity, a cafeteria and a bookstore.  HEAVEN!  So we chatted, browsed, noshed and marveled at the surroundings both inside and outside.

Reykjavik is tucked in between mountains and sea and the vistas are glorious.  The weather that day was just awful as we left the international airport.  We were fully prepared for awful weather the entire week and our first day was all that we expected.  But as it turned out, the worst weather we encountered was during the first 4 hours we were there.  We had moderate temps and very little precipitation for the rest of our stay.

We left campus shortly after noon and returned to the domestic airport so we could collect our bags and get checked in for our 3pm flight.  That was a huge waste of time.  Domestic flight is as convenient as catching a taxi.  You get dropped at the door or park about 20 yds away, show your ticket and check your bags and that is it.  No one sniffs your shoes or looks at you naked or makes you queue up.

The flight to Akureyri was gorgeous.  It is only about 45 minutes but you leave the bustle of Reykjavik and head north into desolate, barren, isolated territory not far from the arctic circle.  As soon as we were airborne, the landscape reflected deep, deep snow and lots of ice.  Air Iceland is the domestic carrier and they rival Icelandair for gracious hospitality.  It was a wonderful flight.

Akureyri is a ski town.  It is cozy, warm (despite the snowcover), and charming just as you would expect of a ski-town. We checked into Kea Hotel which sits at the base of the iconic church that appears in most photos of this inviting town.  This hotel offers across the street access to restaurants, sundries, shopping, and browsing.  We checked in and went exploring.  We were delighted to find the restaurant right next door offered soup and bread (sounds like prison food but it was savory and delightful) for less than $10US daily.  It was self-serve so you could eat a loaf of bread and consume a couple gallons of soup if you were so moved.

A long day chased by warm soup and a glass of wine meant an excellent night’s sleep awaited.  Heavy cloud cover all but assured there would be no chance to see the lights on our first night.  So we tucked ourselves in, and in the few seconds that separated me from deep sleep I counted myself among the luckiest on the planet.  I was pursuing a dream and loving every minute of it.


To be continued. Again.Image

Sherri and I first met in 1986.  We were both short-term contract employees working seasonally at Grand Canyon, AZ.  Sherri was from Minnesota while I was a Kentuckian.  We met just hours after I arrived simply because we sat beside each other at dinner and she introduced herself to me and we didn’t stop chatting for hours.

So we ended up doing a lot of hiking that summer and made plans to do a cross-canyon hike at the end of our contracts.  It was a nearly 50 mile hike from the South Rim, to the bottom of the canyon, up to the North Rim, back to the bottom and back to the South Rim.  This was an inordinately ambitious undertaking given that neither of us were seasoned hikers and didn’t really have proper equipment.  But we trained all summer, and ultimately did the 50 miles in  3 nights/4 days.    I guess that is when we proved to each other that we could travel well together.

I was her maid of honor when she got married, which was just days before i left for England to work with horses.  Time passed, lives changed, I moved a couple of times, Sherri had a couple of kids and we eventually lost track of each other.

In the summer of 2007 an interstate bridge collapsed in Minnesota.  It was a heavily traveled bridge and it collapsed during evening rush hour.  Around that same time, a sightseeing helicopter crashed while touring Grand Canyon.  Both events made me wonder about my long lost Minnesota friend so I began searching the internet.

Sherri had an unusual last name before she got married and I had a vague memory of her being a teacher.  So it didn’t take very long to find someone by her name teaching at a Catholic university in St. Paul.  I emailed.

It was indeed my old friend Sherri.  After a few cursory emails we made arrangements to chat via telephone on a sunday afternoon.  We talked for what seemed like forever, exchanging info and filling in all the missing details that accompany 20 years apart.  It was on that day that Sherri told me she had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

I held the phone so close to my ear it hurt.  And I listened to her describe the onset of symptoms, the diagnosis, the treatment, and the expected outcome.  “I know this isn’t going to kill me,” she concluded.  I accepted that.

We stayed in touch over the past few years and in early 2012 I hatched a plan to see the northern lights.  It was a bucket list item for me and I have been checking those off consistently since turning 50.  I discovered that Iceland offered excellent opportunities to witness the lights and then realized that Icelandaire offered direct flights from a regional airport about 20 minutes from my house.  I had already decided that I would probably have to make this trip on my own since it was a winter trip to one of the coldest places on the planet.   I casually mentioned it to Sherri and she immediately  interrupted me to ask if she could go with me.   DING DING DING DING DING DING!  Of course, I would welcome a good friend who loves cold weather and lives in cold weather and has mastered cold weather.  I’m a Floridian who has already forgotten everything I ever knew about snow and ice.

So, Sherri and I began making our plans.  We emailed and skyped and exchanged packing lists and all along Sherri would keep me up to date with current cancer  treatments and how she was feeling.  Always concluding with “I know this isn’t going to kill me”.  And I believed her because I had no reason not to.Image

So we planned our trip.

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