Thursday, November 13, 2014

What makes us who we are...

My life has been a mix of the good, bad, wonderful and absolutely heartbreaking..   

The highs have been amazing, glorious, and spectacular..  

The lows have been some of the worst days of my life..  

Then there is the everyday - all that lies in between the two extremes, 

Some of my highs - Birth of our children rates right up there..   Our weddings - more  so the second one, it was more 'us'.  Our family gatherings, holidays vacations, birth of our granddaughter, watching our children blossom and grow...  

Lows - Death of my sister, then both my parents (sister health issues, mom cancer, dad suicide) - all in 2005..   Our financial struggles in the past, our Divorce,  Miscarriages, an abortion, The time a nasty neighbor called CPS on us.. (bogus but still was awful) Then there was the stretch when Daryl was laid off 7 times during 10 years.. And all the mistakes I made as a daughter, sister, wife and mom, and there were a lot. 

The in betweens have things that are good, and things that are bad..   

Good things can be as simple as clipping coupons and saving my family money that way...   or as awesome as a college acceptance letter to my child, to our son moving back to the area after being gone several hours away for a while...    Just everyday happy moments..   

Bad things are also just normal everyday stuff -   kids arguing, with each other and me..  Hearing my children tell me they hate me,  My chronic illness, Worrying about my children feeling unloved, low self esteem, breaking up with boyfriends/girlfriends..   Worries about work, money, just stuff that we have to live with....    

All of this makes me who I am..    It makes me the person my husband loves, and my kids alternately love and hate.. (I hope that once I no longer have teens, I will not be hated anymore) Makes me the person my company hired, the person my friends like, and my cat adores (and if you know me, that is important ) .

I like myself, 

I forgive myself for the things I did wrong

And I am pretty darn happy with my life now.

 I hope everyone loves themselves.. and forgives themselves. 

 We are all imperfectly perfect people.  

God loves us no matter what

Sunday, October 5, 2014

California Girls..

Last weekend Jessie and I went to San Francisco for 2 days. It was a short trip, but we packed a lot of fun into the little time we had.

She had wanted to go to Chinatown, and Alcatraz..    I wanted to see the sun set over the pacific, and drive down Lombard street..   We did all those, and even some more .   I enjoy spending time with my youngest daughter, she is so hilarious, and keeps me smiling.  She knows when traffic and really stupid drivers are upsetting me, and does everything she can to get me in a better mood. I love her so very much.

We flew in Friday morning early.. picked up our rental car - which for a really REALLY low upgrade they gave us a Mini-Cooper...   I have been wanting to drive one for ages, but now I have I know it's not a car I would want to purchase to drive all the time..  No space for stuff, or passengers in the back - unless they have no legs.. haha..  But it was great for San Francisco traffic, and a lot of fun driving it down the crookedest street - Lombard Street.
Mini Cooper we rented to drive around San Francisco

Our first stop was Chinatown..   we walked around a bit, visited a couple of little shops, bought some chopsticks, and a necklace for Jessie. 

On the streets of Chinatown

Then we went to find our hotel, it was too early to check in. So we walked to Union Street a few blocks away, and ate lunch at a nice little cafe.  

 After lunch we went for a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge..  stopped at the lookout point, got a few photos, this very nice couple took a photo of us for me also.  

View of San Francisco - to the left, and the Golden Gate Bridge

My beautiful daughter and myself  overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge

We then drove back to our hotel, got all checked in, and went to our room.. It was really small, but for the price we paid, it was good enough :)  We both rested a couple of hours, then decided to head to the beach, to see the sunset.   

Sunset over Ocean Beach - San Francisco

The Cliff House restaurant, overlooking Ocean Beach. 

Next day we got up early, checked out of our hotel (our flight was that evening) And headed to Pier 33 and get ready for our tour of Alcatraz.   That was the highlight of our visit.  We had the audio headsets, and it was a very informative, and we learned a lot of facts we never had known before.

Our ride to Alcatraz 

Alcatraz Island - from our boat. 

Jessie in a cell on cellblock D

Jess with her headset on listening to the tour narration.... San Francisco behind her across the bay. 

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Alcatraz Island

After our boat ride back to the pier, we walked down to Fisherman's Wharf.  We ate lunch at Pier 39 at the Hard Rock Cafe.  

We sat at the Grateful Dead table at the Hard Rock Cafe

Then we walked a little farther, and went to Boudins Bakery, bought a couple loaves sourdough bread, and looked around a bit.  We hit up one more souvenir shop, and then started our hike back to our car,  

Boudin Bakery - some awesome shaped loaves of bread..  
We still had several hours before our 12:20 am flight, so we drove around a bit, drove down Lombard street...  (didn't get a photo while driving, so grabbed this one from the internet.) 

Then we drove down the coast, to Pacifica, it is beautiful there..  We went and watched the water a bit, and saw whale spouts!!! It was quite exciting for us to see it was very awesome!! We had a snack at a little diner there, then drove a little farther down the coast. Stopped to look at Gray Whale Cove,  didn't see anymore whales or spouts, but it was very pretty. 

Jessie and her Vanilla shake at the Rockn' Rob's cafe in Pacifica California. 

Looking down on Gray Whale Beach

Jessie, very chilly at Gray Whale Beach

We headed to the airport a little early, stopped on the way, because after looking at flight loads, we realized we probably wouldn't make our flight tonight..  And I bought Jessie a blanket to help her snuggle down and rest at the airport overnight.  

We got to the airport by 9 pm, very early, but we returned our rental car, and got all the way through security. We went and got some supper at the airport food court. Then we just went and sat at our gate area, playing with our phone and tablet while waiting..

 I had NO clue about the fire and problems in Chicago, so was puzzled about the flights which previously had been super empty, were so overfilled now..  Gate agent mentioned that something happened in Chicago, and that all the flights were being diverted through other hubs, so flights that normally would have gone through Chicago were going through the other hubs, including DFW. So flights were filled, with passengers from other flights..  

We found a place to rest near the gate for the 6 am flight, napped, and waited.

Jess trying to get some rest by the gate, around 3 am. 

When time to load that flight came, I was not at all sure we would be able to get on it either,  We got lucky though..   I sat there and watched it fill up..   10 minutes before flight time, and right at door closing time, they called our names. Our seats were not together, I was on row behind Jess, but the lady sitting next to her was happy to switch seats with me.  

We got home around 11:30 am..  SO exhausted..  I think I slept 14 hours straight that night.  It was a fun short trip, other than our airport stress, but we got home safe and sound.  

And now Jess has been to San Francisco, so she can mark that off her list of places she wants to visit, There are still dozens more to go. Thank goodness for my job at American Airlines, otherwise none of this would be possible...  We are looking forward to our next trip already.. thinking just a day trip to DC to visit a Smithsonian museum..  we plan on doing several day trips there until we have had a day in each museum!!!! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

35th Anniversary

For our 35th anniversary, Daryl and I planned a little getaway to Tennessee.  I only had 2 vacation days, so we made it a little 4 day - 3 night getaway. 

Arrived in Knoxville on a Saturday morning, did some sightseeing in town, then went to visit some good friends, the Herrells.  Apryl, Tom, Daryl and I went to dinner -having WONDERFUL burgers,  then out for ice cream after. We had such a nice time visiting with them.  Sure do miss them being in Texas, but we absolutely loved their home, and the area.  And it is wonderful that Tom has such family history, and so many members of the family in the area.. (We were slightly envious of both the home/land, and the immediate family so close!!!)  

We stayed at a hotel near their home that night, and the next day headed towards Wears Valley where our cabin rental was..  

 That was August 24, our actual anniversary.  
 Breakfast was at Krispy Kreme..  my adorable husband told me "Sweets for his sweet"   

The drive was absolutely beautiful..   and we had NO rain the entire weekend -
despite the clouds! 

We rented our cabin from a place called Great Cabins in the Smokies

We checked in at their office, and the lady at the desk was so nice and friendly.

We were SO happy when we got to our Cabin.. it was everything and more than we expected. 

Our Cabin - isn't it BEAUTIFUL!!! 

Living room area - 

Looking towards the Kitchen

Beautiful bedroom - four poster king size bed

Bathroom.. HUGE walk in shower, and jacuzzi tub.

Bear wood carved statue on porch. I loved this little guy! 

Hot tub and rocking chairs on the deck

We really want to go back to this cabin in the winter.. to take advantage of the two fireplaces, and the Sauna :)    

That evening we went and explored Pigeon Forge..   "The Old Mill" was beautiful..    
The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge

Lots of shops, restaurants, dinner theaters and touristy stuff..   

The next morning we went Zip Lining at Wears Valley Zip Lines

View from the "lodge" at Wears Valley Zip Lines

Dudley getting Daryl all strapped in..  

Goofy getting Daryl ready for his first trip across..  

ME and Goofy.. he was awesome.. I was so nervous, but he went right behind me and I didn't feel so afraid..  

The afternoon after Ziplining, we went to visit Great Smoky Mountains National park, We did a drive through tour of Cades Cove..   Stopping a few times for photos, visiting buildings.. and bear watching. 

White tail deer in Cades Cove

One of the church buildings in the area.. we visited all of them.. 

Me and my sweetie 

Bear in the tree, right beside the road.. Rangers had people off to one side .. worrying what the little guy might do. 

Bear paparazzi  

After Cades cove, we headed back to Pigeon Forge, Ate dinner at Margaritaville 

Was kind of a disappointment, food so-so, service really bad..  But I guess you go there for the "experience". 

Next morning we got up..  tidied up our cabin, checked out and headed to the airport to turn in our car, and catch our flight home..  It was a wonderful few days, we enjoyed just being together, the two of us..  Looking forward to our next trip away..