Monday, January 31, 2011

First Day, Second Semester

Today was the first day of my second semester at SCU.

Thanks to Minnesota weather, I arrived at campus five minutes before my first class, Latin 1120, ended.  BUMMER!  I was so excited to resume Latin. 

My second class doesn't start until 1:35, so I had time to run to the bookstore and pickup my remaining books and a folder. 

I spent the next hour in the completely remodeled gym.  Despite spending considerable (for me, anyway) time in a gym over the last several months, I was a little intimidated by the thought of entering an unknown world full of unknown people.  I haven't felt like that since I was a teenager!

Working up my courage, I not only entered the gym, I also commandeered my own treadmill.  Then I did something I never did before:  I ran for 14 minutes.  Yay me.

Incidentally, I'm not overfond of locker rooms. 

After that physical output, I wasn't hungry, but ate some soup anyway. 

My body tends to feel a little traumatized after new work outs, so making my way through the snow across campus was something of a struggle... 

Made it I did.  And I could tell within the first ten minutes of class that I'm going to love Classical Mythology.  In part, it's thanks to the professor.  She's hilarious and brilliant - a winning combination for me!  I also think it's the subject matter.  There's a great quote in the first chapter of the course textbook:
... as opposed to the discoveries of science that "will in time change and perhaps grow obsolete... art is eternal, for it reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man."
                              Classical Mythology, 9th Edition.  Mark PO Morford, et al.  Page 5.
So, yeah, I haven't changed my mind about Minnesota weather.  But I do love Winter Semester.  Even the homework's exciting - 56 pages about myths, Latin translation, some Latin exercises... 

Oh, and YAY ME again for the treadmill work.  :) :) :)


We received a new letter from our Compassion International daughter, Ana. 

Her mother was pregnant with twins and after a difficult delivery, one of the babies, a sister to Ana, died.

I'm sad for these people I've never met.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Best of All Things... Friends

Tonight we had dinner with friends. 

These friends are the kind of friends you never want to leave!!!

They had good stories. They had good food.  They had good humor.  Talking with them made me want to go back to Hawaii - and that's something I have no intention of redoing!

Tonight was a good night.

Pat and Linda:  I love you both.  I love your laughter.  I love your stories.  I love how you welcomed us.  God bless both of you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Today, in the midst of what I think is my eighth year accompanying the Kid's Choir, I resigned.

The first year, I joined because I wanted to start playing the piano in Monticello after being away a number of years. 

The choir director left after that year, so one of the moms, MJ, directed the choir.  I think it was more stressful for her than it was for me - after all, all I had to do was show up and play the piano.  She had to plan and lead and all that stuff.  Still, we became friends that year, and it's a friendship that endures.

The next director originally met me when I was in her faith formation class sometime in junior high school.  We made a good pair, and we created what I consider a ministry.

In our choir, kids sang kid music in kid voices with kid vigor.  And they did it during the Roman Mass. 

Some Catholics didn't care for the way the kids led music, but they only sang five or six times a year. 

And for those five or six hours the kids led the music, I watched other kids smiling and laughing, and I imagined them thinking, "Hey!  It's something I can do at Church!  I can participate!  I can serve Jesus!"  Seeing that unadultered joy made the house of inconvenient practice and extra hours at church worth so much more than just my own personal weekly worship.  It felt like ministry. 

This year there's a new director with a new vision and new rules.  Her ideas are great; she imagines teaching the kids more traditional songs so when they hear those songs at other Masses, they think, "Hey!  I know this song!  I can sing too!"

And I find myself thinking, if she can bring a new vision, maybe a new accompanist can bring a new vision too.  So I resigned pending a replacement agrees to take the bench.  If one doesn't, I'll wait until May when the year ends to hang up my hat.

I thought I would be sad to make the call, to start the search for a replacement, to think of not spending that time with young people.  But I'm not. 

I'm relieved I won't be torn between finishing my day at work and getting to practice on time.  I won't find myself locked out of the Church because the doors have to be locked at precisely five pm.  I won't be running from work to choir to the next choir to confirmation.  I'll have about 45 minutes to organize my evening, eat dinner with my family, and ease my own burden.

And that's really, really good.

At the end of this school year when Jakob's done with Confirmation, I'll be happy to be done teaching faith formation after doing it off and on for more than thirteen years.

I've already decided not to lead another Bible study next year (although EPIC is calling me...).

What remains is good, at least mostly.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Sure Thing

I haven't spent great amounts of time thinking about what choices are right and which ones are wrong at any time in my life.

It's not that I avoided wrongdoing; I participated in my fair share.  But even while engaging in wrongdoing, I knew it was wrong.

Yet I am finding myself floundering sometimes, wondering which choice to make and questioning my own motivation for making it.  Why does it seem the questions aren't getting more simple?

There is one sure thing, I think. 

The solution to most dilemmas have nothing to do with giving up, running away, or ignoring the people or circumstances involved.

I think that's why this verse makes so much more sense to me today than it may have when I was twenty:
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, give me wings like eagles and the strength to run without tiring! I could use a boost. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011


Every now and then I get a pang of grief.  It happens when I'm looking at one or the other of my sons, and I think, for just a moment, that I would give anything to have his little self again.

I loved my babies beyond reason.  I was glad they were both momma's boys for a time.  And I'm so thankful they grew into people I actually like.

So many people ask me if I wished for a girl. 

Here's the answer:  it never occured to me that I would have a boy.  Never.  When the doctor said, "here's your son," I was dumbfounded.  A boy?  Really?

Staci was dumbfounded too.  She was pretty sure she'd never even be able to remember his name.

But it really was a boy.  Both times.  And with boys comes a world I never knew existed.  It's a sweaty, rough-and-tumble, magical world.  I'm glad I didn't miss it.

Staci fell in love with Adam and even decided she could have a child.  She had the girl.  I was struck - often - by the wonder of Haleigh's her-ness.  Whenever we talked about that baby girl and used magical words like "her" and "she" I shivered.  Hers was a world I understood!

For the last decade I've been friends with women who have daughters - wonderful, bright young women.  I believe I've been granted a unique role in the lives of some of those daughters.  With some, I've had fashion impact - of COURSE every girl should have pink boots!  With others, I've had moments of sheer silliness.  With the rest, I've shared my faith or my music or my life theories.

But did I want a she for myself? 

Nope.  Not even a little bit.

And I'm especially happy to be mentor, friend, sister, niece, and auntie!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Giving Unto Others

For a lifetime, I've been committed to giving to others.

No matter who asks, no matter what they ask me to give, not matter what the end result, I participated.

And you know what?  No one did that for me, or for my children.

And so, no more.

There are things worthy of my dollar.

There are things worthy of my attention.

There are things worthy of my recommendation.

I love spending money on my local giving projects.

I love spending money with Compassion International.

I love spending money with Rotary International.

I hope there is not a single person who has enough who is not sharing with those who don't have enough.  And I don't mean that you're being taxed.  I mean giving from what's left.  Duh.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Great Debate

Today I read some material on the Feminists for Life website.  I found their site randomly, while doing the "who do I know that might have pages" thing on Google.

I've been pro-life a long time.  I've been Catholic longer.  I've been a feminist all of my adult life, if adult life starts at 17.

I was not always able to articulate why being pro-life IS a feminist position.  And now I don't have to.  Feminists for Life has done it for me.

The most wondrous, beautiful, life-fulfilling thing a woman can do is nurture new life. 

Men cannot do it.  They might someday, if science has its wicked way.

But we can do it.  For some of us, it's more difficult.  For others, it's far too easy.

We can protect the sacred and dependent life within us.  We can nurture that life from its beginning dependency to its goal of independence.  We can encourage others in their own endeavor on behalf of LIFE. 

Men are different than women when it comes to child rearing.  This is not a place where I espouse annotations.  This is MY blog, full of MY opinion and truth, and I don't feel the need to annotate what I say.  If you have a problem with that, look someplace else.

Men are different than women when it comes to child rearing.  Men are different than women when it comes to governing.  Men are different than women physically.  Because of all those things, men are different than women when it comes to thinking.

Why, then, do some of us want to be like men?  Why do we seek the same achievements?  Why do we let the last 2,000 plus years of male domination inform the way we think?

Because we've endured a male-dominated society for 2,000 plus years.

And how has that worked for us?

Domestically 1.6 million women a year seek abortions as an answer to their misery.  Untold millions suffer hunger and homelessness in this land of plenty.  The gap between the have and have nots grows DAILY!  Internationally, there are people who don't have clean water.  Who don't know what it means to be at peace.  Who don't know... love.

Read these blogs.  Listen to the voices of educated women who want the best for us.  Advocate for the unborn. 

Anne Maloney's post

Tons of other stuff

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Distractions, distractions, distractions...

I love that I finally know what is my work and what is distraction from it.

My job, the one and only, is to be what God asks me to be. In my case, that means wife, mother, and friend. Anything else is a distraction.

Some distractions have a facade that makes them appear worthy. After all, many of the things I agree to do are important to the body of Christ - things like leading bible study groups, making music for worship, and accompanying young choirs.

Each of those activities is, for me, a ministry. Great example: Youth choirs give kids their first opportunity to participate in a fun and very visible way, a way that they'll remember as adults.

When someone changes the nature of the activity - turns it from a unique ministry into just another hobby, I have a hard time justifying the time away from being a wife and mother.

I keep looking for a balance.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good Works, The Question

There's a huge debate that's been going on for decades - in fact, since Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis in the 1500s.

Are we required to do "good works" to be saved or not?

Today I was reading Ephesians and there was the answer!

In Ephesians, it says we are not saved because we do good works.  We are saved in order to do good works

That makes so much sense to me.

Let's do good works.  It feels good and it's why we are here.

Questions?  Go read Ephesians.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ties That Bind

I read a book this week about the ties that bind women.

In most cases, I think, the ties are natural.  They happen because of sisterhood, motherhood, or - in general - womanhood.

Artificial things break the ties.

Things like lust, artificial because until you clean up someone's socks, you have no idea what it means to connect with him.  That.  And it fades.

Things like stupidity, artificial because most men aren't stupid, they just don't understand women.  Although they sure can be stupid.

Things like competition, artificial because we need to be a village raising our children rather than competitors.  And almost everyone has something important to add to the mix.

And yet, the ties break.  The bonds that connect woman to woman sever artificially.  And when the bonds break, women flounder.  Incidentally, so do men, but that's a different post on a different day.

I wish I could protect my friends from the flounder.  But I can't.  I'm happy, in most cases, to wait until they're ready to talk about their experience.  And in those cases, I commiserate. 
In other not-so-unrelated news...  I was reading today about the women's movement.  Some philosophies assert women are downtrodden and weak because they bear and raise children.  And I wonder, if we believe that, how do we escape biology?  I wasn't made the same way a man was made.  I have the unique and awesome ability to conceive and bear children.  With that ability came the natural desire to nurture them.  I wouldn't trade that for any other super power people envision.  I also realized I cannot be a part of a movement that denigrates my biology.  There was nothing I loved more than bearing my sons.  I love how they felt inside my body and I loved every single thing I did to make them the people they are becoming - before and after birth.  Well.  Except for the screw ups.  :)  Good thing I learned early in life how to apologize.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Red Dress

I'm wearing this dress on Mother's Day.  I found it on a sale rack for $11.00 and it's the size I like to wear.

I have a lotta work to do if I want it to look nice when I wear it.

It's good to have a goal that's manageable.  It's also good to have that dress hanging where I can see it every morning and every night.

I think I'll bring it to Spain too. 
In other news... I am so excited to go back to school on January 31.  I like learning something new every day or so.  While it was nice to have time off to manage holiday things, I'm ready to go back!

This semester, it's Latin 1120 and Mythology.  If the education person ever returns my call, maybe I'll add an education class.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where Love Is Found

Tonight Joe and I ate dinner at Russell's on the Lake in Big Lake.  We had a pretty view of the frozen lake before the sun set. 

Twenty years ago, January 4, 1991, we had our groom's dinner there. 

It was yummy twenty years ago and it was yummy tonight.

And eating with Joe?  Always a pleasure.

I love him.  I love eating with him.  I love talking with him.  I love that he has different strength than I do and different weaknesses.  I love the way he smiles.  I love the reluctant laugh when he doesn't want to admit something I said is funny, even though it is.

What if we get to eat together for forty or fifty more years?

Wouldn't be a bad deal at all, especially if we both keep our teeth.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Nicaraugan Connection

We sponsor a little girl in Nicaragua through Compassion International.  She's five and has a sweet and hopeful smile, as do, I guess, most five-year olds. 

She sent us a letter.  A year from now with three "semesters" of Spanish and Latin under my belt, I should be able to read it without the translation (yahoo!).  She writes:
Esteemed sponsor, Kari Kounkel, Your girl Ana Paula... writes you, hoping when you receive this letter you're in good health next to all your family...  She also tells you that she has made many drawings on her notebook, because she learns to paint at the project in which she attends and she has fascinated the paint.  She wants to tell you that what she most likes to do is get up very early to pray and go to school.  Your girl Ana asks for you to answer her letters soon and if you can write her, besides she wants to ask, where do you live?  Do you have a big family?  Do you work?  What kind of work do you do?  Ana wants to know you someday through a picture...  She will pray for you.  Says bood bye with love and affection, your girl Ana.  God bless you.
Ana drew us a picture.  I'm glad to see her world is colorful.

How fantastic is it, that a five year old girl living so far away - not just in physical distance, but in every way imaginable - is praying for me?  That the tiny amount of money we send each month, amounting to less than one meal out, is changing her life?  That she can have new hopes and dreams because we send it? 

I stand in awe and humility at the work Compassion International does.  I am privileged to participate in their endeavor.  Even more, I'm privileged to belong to the Body of Christ.
Adam leaves for school and a brand new semester on Sunday.  It makes me so happy he loves school. 

Haleigh turns 17 this week.  What a woman she's about to be.

Jakob starts behind-the-wheel with his instructor on Monday.  He's ready for the independence driving offers.

Sometimes I long to touch once more the wee people they were, even though I really love who they are today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Crisis Doctor

Read one of the best articles about conquering crisis in Prevention magazine.  Oh to have had this article a couple years ago when I felt like everything was a crisis!

Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, offers six suggestions for conquering stress.  I stumbled upon the same six ideas but it took me a long time to reach my own conclusions!  He believes using his tips creates emotional flexibility that helps us flex in the wind of adversity like a tree in the wind.  How I love PhDs who are poetic!

First acknowledge your feelings.  Yes!  It IS sometimes okay to feel a little crazy and scared and freaked-the-hell-out!  If it's a feeling, it's real.  If we try to hide from our feelings, they haunt us anyways.  Go a step further and air your feelings - confide your feelings - start a journal or blog.  Maybe don't make my mistake of airing them to anyone who will listen.  In fact, had I the ability to do it all over again, I'd run out in the middle of the deserted golf course in my back yard and tell the trees. 

Next, erase ALL blame.  That's right.  Do it.  While it's a normal human response to try to assess blame - because blaming is an attempt to make someone pay for your pain, it's not very productive.  I've written about this in the past.  Who cares whose fault it (whatever IT is) is?  There's no changing past events no matter who was to blame.  Forgive!  Don't feel like a dormat!  Decide to let go of anger!  But don't stop there.  Do your emotional homework and recognize the changes you've made to prevent a recurrence.  AND forgive yourself.

Find a circle of support by finding your tribe and letting people help.  Yeah, you have to be a little careful.  I trusted the wrong person; the wrong person will use your personal tragedy to create additional wounds.  So, find or create the right group, but be cautious.  Not everyone is worthy of trust.

Look for ways to find meaning.  I believe we learn something every time we suffer.  Sometimes it takes a long time to be able to clearly see what we've learned, but it's there.  Endure the crisis but use it to further a cause.  There was nothing I wanted more than to understand why our 1997 bus accident happened, but I will never, ever have a REASON.  I have found ways to grow personally and professionally, and attribute that growth of knowledge with learning to deal with that crisis in the long term.  Finding meaning might mean we reorder our priorities.  It's difficult to be truly introspective and seek truth without sometimes thinking:  What would happen if I only had a year to live?  Who would I want to be?  How can I be that person?

Convince yourself you can bounce back.  Do things to create opportunity for personal growth:  exercise, step out of your comfort zone, clear the weeds choking your optimism.

Most important, connect with your spiritual side.  Maybe it's finding the spiritual in nature or creating a sacred space in your home or joining a prayer or study group.  Whatever it means for you, immerse yourself in spirituality.  Because, says Mark Schultz, when all hope is gone and we've been wounded in the shadows, He is all the strength that we will ever need.

Jeffrey Rossman, our poetic PhD, has a book, The Mind-Body Mood Solution that might be worth a read.  The article I read appeared in the January 2011 issue of Prevention.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Road Never Taken

And now for some Robert Frost...

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

                                        ~ Robert Frost

I once dreamt of law school.

It was during my first four years at college when I studied Political Science and first encountered Plato, Aristotle, and the merry crew of philosophers.

Life took a different direction.  I fell more in love with my babies than I was with thinkers, and I couldn't imagine the countless hours I would spend away from them at school - and then at work -in order to be successful.  So I went back to work for my family.

I think there are those who believe working for family is a different kind of dream come true, and that may be accurate in some cases.

In my case, it has been anything but a dream come true.  It has, however, meant Joe and I could spend the time we wanted to spend with our sons.  We could raise them rather than leaving them the majority of the time with someone else.  As they grew, it meant we could attend their events and take them places.  For that I'm eternally grateful, and it gives me peace to know I haven't wasted a single moment of my life.

I always took pride in the fact that when I was at my job, I gave all my effort and thought and energy to it.  For years I've taken work with me when I walk out the door - carrying it home or on vacation or to personal events.  When I look back on the things I've accomplished and learned so that I could be better at my job, I have reason to be proud of what I've done. I know that things happen at my job because I'm there and that when I'm no longer there, those same things won't happen.  For the first time in my life, I'm okay with that.  I'm disengaged.  Partly, I think, disengagement happens over the decades; it's impossible to maintain the energy and passion of the early years of anything.  In my case it was spurred by my parents and their nasty divorce.

The last three years have been consummed with divorce lawyers and financial experts and documents.  Thousands and thousands of pages of documents.  There are, apparently, never enough ways to document the same data.  Trust me; I've documented ad nauseum.  Trying to explain and unravel the forty years of activity is something of a waste of time since no one seems to actually understand the tangled web they've woven.  And really, who cares?  Seems to me it's as simple as this:  assign a value to everything and divide it in half.  Voila.  Divorced!  But toss into the mix some mental distress and substance abuse and greedy hands, and all hell breaks loose.

Meanwhile, our family no longer exists as it once did - and it never will again.  Resources - financial, physical, and spiritual - have been consummed and may never be replenished.  I have learned that my job is just a job and the joy in doing it is no longer there.

And the bottom line?  I've caught myself thinking of those early plans to attend law school, my road never taken.  Having worked closely with lawyers for the last three years, I'm so thankful I never had the chance to pursue law school.  It's clear to me:  my choice to be where I was has made all the difference.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Carrying the Cross

Today I read a post about how evil people - whose intent is entirely unclear - are accusing African children of witchcraft.  Bad things, including horrifying abuse and even death visit these young "witches" once the charge has been made.  The title of the article proclaims: "African Children Denounced As 'Witches' By Christian Pastors." 

First let me make this statement.  What's happening to these children is wrong.  It's evil.  Everyone involved in participating in this modern-day witchhunt is wrong.  The key to stopping it is - clearly - education and relieving poverty (read the article to understand the connection to poverty).  I will personally find a way to contribute to that effort even though the article gives no indication or information about contributing to relief financially or otherwise. 

I find it irritating and irresponsible that this issue, though, is labeled a Christian issue.  The fourth paragraph of the article states, "pastors were involved in half of the 200 cases of 'witch children' reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files."  The information in the article continues to refute its own title with phrases like:  "renegade local branches of international francises..."  Christian problem?  Of course it is!  It's a Chrisitan problem because we are the body of Christ and what happens to the least of us, happens to all of us.  That is clearly not what the article is asserting though.  This author asserts this is happening because some of the people involved proclaim to be Christian.

Eh?  What about the other half of the 200 cases?  What about the 15,000 other children that have been accused?  What about the fact that the government has recently made it illegal to declare children witches?  Doesn't that suggest this is a culteral issue, rather than a Christian issue?  Why does the article not mention all the good those same churches are doing in Africa, building wells so people can have clean water, providing education for children, ministering to the poor and suffering?  Purchasing cows for families so they have an ongoing source of nutrition as our youngest parishioners have been doing for several years.

Evil - no matter where we find it - is evil.  Perpetrated against children and other vulnerable people like the elderly and handicapped, it somehow becomes more vile and horrifying. 

I recall a debate a few years ago about how telling the story of the Passion of Christ supposedly perpetrated hatred against Jews.  I never read it that way.  I read some bad people were doing evil things and because they were hateful, Christ died in a horrific manner.

I refuse to participate in the brush-stroke mentality that paints entire races and genders and groups and affiliations in a certain light because one or more segments of the population act a certain way. 

I choose to see people as individuals who make their own choices because God gave us that ability. 

I choose to believe most people seek goodness and kindness and light, and want to share it with others, because we cannot help wanting to share the Good News that is Christ's message of love. 

I choose to trample injustice when I encounter it no matter what kind of personal persecution it earns me because we are called to do so in our baptismal and confirmatory promises

Christianity, asserts Flannery O'Conner time and again, is not for the faint of heart, but for those who will take up the cross and follow Christ through the deserts and thronging Temple, all the way up the road to Calvary.

And that, folks, is how to be a Christian: take up the cross and walk the persecuted path while doing the very best we can to ease suffering and pain and hatred when we find it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

At the Homefront

We're home. 

The luggage is unpacked and everything is back in its place.

The house is restored to its customary tidiness.  The Christmas decorations must go, but I refuse to put them away before Epiphany.  I'm sure the boys would have helped packed them had we not returned so quickly. 

The undone business paperwork is shuffled and organized and the updated reports nearly complete.

I have yet to finish uploading and adding my pictures to my blogposts, but will take care of that in the coming days.  The seven unposted entries will appear once I have those pictures and a chance to edit the posts. 

And it's officially 2011.  Our vacation felt like a week out of time, but reality has returned.  All it takes is a glance out the window at our continuing Winter Wonderland theme to see how harsh reality can be.

Though I don't do resolutions anymore, I do have a few new things on my "to do" list for 2011.  If something is important enough to do, I can't make myself wait until January 1st or Monday morning to "start" changing it.  I just change it.  Right now, there's nothing I want to change in my life. 

Nothing I want to change.

That statementcaught me off guard even as I typed it. 

How often, I wonder, have I inhabited a moment when there was nothing I wanted to change? 

And yet, here I am.

Clearly, there are still things to do.  Things like clean my friend lists, revise some of my web presence, organize a scrapbook or two, empty a closet or six, put away Christmas decorations, paint a wall...

I can live with my list of "to dos" and this perfect, wonderful, warm contentment. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunsets and Whales... Oh My!

I'll add a pic or two when Joe d/ls them for me.

In paradise for the first time in daylight, we saw some amazing and lovely sights.  Our hotel is on a "cliff" and we have a fantastic view of the ocean coupled with the delight of sitting in captain's chairs listening to the surf

We shared breakfast while debating the day's potential activities.  We agreed on a loose schedule of the things we'd like to do before stopping at the grocery store.  Groceries are always a necessity since we don't share the same sleep habits or eating habits.  Joe'd be happy to eat one massive meal once a day and I'm the six-small-meals-a-day eater in the family.  We stocked up on many of my usuals - apples, nuts, water - which were much more expensive than usual.  Still, they're cheaper than ordering a full meal I won't eat at a restaurant I don't want to patronize.

Fully organized, with full tummies, we set out for Eleele and our sunset cruise.  We saw the most beautiful sunset and watched several whales frolic.  The friendly and happy crew entertained us throughout the journey.  It was a little chilly at times, but we both enjoyed the six-hours we spent together - a sometime-rarity for the two of us since we have such differing interests and pasttimes. 

We closed the day at a guidebook-recommended restaurant.  The guidebook was accurate: delicious pizza crust.  We have some leftovers too - yet another rarity in our teenage-boy homestead!

Pictures to come!
And yay me.  Day two of 365 done.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In the Beginning...

Happy New Year!

Today was quite the beginning for Joe and I.

We left early for the airport to start our second honeymoon trip to Hawaii.  We were making great time when Joe asked about my ID.  One or the other of us usually manages all official documents when we travel.  I reached to get my license and with a rolling, yucky sick feeling realized I'd taken my license out of  my wallet so I wouldn't forget it

Turning around on the slick roads, Joe dialed Adam, still awake after his all-night New Year party.  He asked Adam to meet us at the office with our camera, also left at home.  Adam met us there at exactly the right moment and Joe grabbed the passports. 

And we were off... for the second time.

Believing there was no way we'd make our flight, I called every MSP airline.  We found a flight that would get us to our connections, but it was a little expensive.

Not far from our final exit to MSP, I was organizing my work file in our carry-on when I discovered <second, very audible gulp> my driver's license.  Oh yeah, I thought, this is exactly where I put it.  Joe didn't even roll his eyes.  Familiarity, in our case, didn't necessarily breed contempt, but maybe just... familiarity.  He knows me pretty darn well.

Thanks to our early start and Joe's fearless driving, we made it to the airport at exactly 7:15, the last possible moment to check-in for our 7:50 flight.  While I was checking the two bags, Joe was parking.  Not familiar with MSP parking, he discovered he'd have to take a tram and escalator and all kinds of nasty detours to get to security.  The very nice security fellow moved us to the front of the line since our flight was already boarding and we hauled serious ass to our gate.  We were those people we hate, the last ones on the flight.

Still, we made it.  Good thing or it's quite possible there wouldn't be a second twenty years in our future.

We flew from MSP to Chicago's O'Hare.  Our flight there was delayed by an hour, but the agents told us not to worry; we'd make our connecting flight in Denver.  We did - by minutes.  We discovered upon landing in Los Angeles that our itinerary included a stop and plane change in Los Angeles.  Interesting.  There, again, we made it by minutes.

Our luggage wasn't so lucky.  It missed the final flight to Lihue, Hawaii.  It will apparently make the journey solo tomorrow.

We learned so much today!

First, pay for the United upgrade.  It's awesome.

Second, Denver has the best bathrooms in the world of airports.  Hit the little "start" dohickey thing and the seat cycles around until there's a fresh spot in place.  I wanted a picture, but Joe had the nearly left-behind camera, and I'm too afraid to take my iPhone out of my pocket in a bathroom. 

Third, a day of travel isn't so bad if you're traveling with someone you love familiarily

And, finally, who needs luggage on a second honeymoon?  Especially when there's... Walmart.
Yep.  Walmart.  I never shop there, unless it's the only store open on New Year's Day on the first day of vacation. 

<gulp, gulp, gulp>