I’ve been told if you’re planning a trip overseas you should begin preparations a year in advance. Perhaps this is so but in my mother’s case her recently completed trip to Ireland (‘twas “wonderful” she sighed!) was booked barely three months prior. In any case we’re contemplating just such a grand adventure ourselves for 2015.

So. Where to go? For the last several years we’ve had serious discussions about visiting Germany. We even went so far as to contact a travel agent to learn about our options. In the beginning we seriously considered backpacking our way across the region, traversing into neighboring countries via Eurail carrying our travel necessities with us along the way. I still find this hugely appealing but perhaps only after an initial trip or two to the continent are firmly entrenched under our belts.

While Germany is still on our bucket list other countries vie for our attention (and travel dollars!) as well. With ancestral roots in Norway, Ireland and England in addition to the Deutschland we have several options to choose from. Not that lineage will be the final arbitrator in where we might go. Italy, Scotland, France and even Istanbul beckon. Disclaimer: That last option is on my list, not Bill’s. I read a fascinating book a few years ago called The Historian. It is a story rooted in the Slavic region of Europe telling the brutal tale of Vlad the Impaler, the basis of the Dracula character as we know it today. Some of the story’s action takes place in Istanbul and I was curious to learn more. After a little research and seeing some incredible photos Istanbul secured a place on my travel To Do list.

We’ve got our work cut out for us but this is my kind of labor. The planning is half the fun (or half the battle depending on your perspective). Having something to look forward to is, for me, the very spice of life: sage, cinnamon, ginger, anise, basil, coriander, cardamom and nutmeg. I love them all! And, so too, do I enjoy the dreaming, the research, the planning and the anticipation of any kind of travel expedition whether it’s a weekend getaway or a trip half way around the world.

We’ve still got a few years left before our passports expire and the Life Clock is ticking away! Stay tuned for further developments.

What is on your travel To Do list? Where do you want to go? Where have you been that you’d return to in a heartbeat? I’d love to hear from you!

Several years ago my dad commissioned an acquaintance to create a totem pole for the old homestead. He was quite proud of the results and enjoyed showing off the ‘zombies’ as he once described them to me. Fortunately it occurred to me a couple of months ago after Mom put the place up for sale that maybe I should capture their likenesses for future reference, like maybe when the Zombie Apocalypse they foretell finally does arrive. This way I’ll know what to be on the lookout for.

My mother called me today.   A week from tomorrow the movers will come to start packing it all up — fifty-five plus years of living in the same house, walking the same grounds, tending the same gardens, greeting the same morning sun each day and watching the same sun set each night.  She’ll be leaving the house where she and dad raised the six of us girls, the house where we faced down hardships and rough times and celebrated many happy occasions:  birthdays, holidays, parties, milestones, graduations and weddings.  And the arrival of eleven beautiful grandchildren.

A final send-off is planned for the night before she closes on the new house.  If the weather cooperates we’re hoping to sit around the fire pit one last time.  Contemplating this celebration of sorts today gave me pause.  I didn’t choke up — not yet.  Because I’ve been sick the entire month of July I have not been able to help with the packing so when I go up there to help for the final move I know it’s going to hit me hard.  It’s going to be a difficult time for all of us for that matter.  We need to steel ourselves for Mom’s sake.  Put on a happy, optimistic, just-think-about-what-you-have-to-look-forward-to face. Full speed ahead!

We can’t or shouldn’t deny the sense of loss and finality — it’s going to be all too real for that — but we’ll strive instead to look forward.  Mom’s moving into a house in town where there will be less upkeep, less maintenance and she’ll be closer to friends, church, appointments.  She’s excited and we’re happy for her.  But she knows and accepts that it will be hard to say goodbye.

Since my dad died seven years ago her life has been a roller-coaster ride.  Ups and downs, many changes, health issues, family drama — adjustments to a totally foreign way of life.  Mom and Dad were married for more than fifty years.  My mother is not an out-going woman.  She doesn’t like to draw attention to herself.  Not in a withdrawn, wallflower sort of way but she’s just not one to put herself out there.  She likes her alone time and yet again since Dad’s been gone being alone has been extremely difficult for her as well.

As mothers tend to do she can cause some frustration and annoyance for us, her daughters.  Sometimes its a real challenge dealing with her and her ways.  I would guess we’re not alone in that based on conversations with others and things you read and hear about!  Mom will be 79 this year.  She’s not going to change and well, none of us is perfect.  We all — yes, even you Julie! — possess that innate human ability to drive others closest to us (those we love and who love us) absolutely bonkers.  So we accept her for who she is and do what we can to make these last years as comfortable and comforting for her as we can.

So.  Here’s to you Mom.  To yet another transition and best wishes for a happy, rewarding and enjoyable life change.  Good luck, good cheer and good health — may you have all three in abundance!


I like what this blogger has to say about travel and the world and wanted to share it with all of you!

The Way I Wander

Someone recently asked me why I love to travel, and I didn’t have an immediate answer for them. It wasn’t something I’d seriously thought about before. My initial reply was simply, “Well, why wouldn’t I? It’s awesome!”

But that’s not a very good answer. And so I’ve thought about it.

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Brick & Ivy

For me there’s just something about these weathered doors , old brick and abundant greenery that makes for such a compelling scene. I wonder what this old structure, embedded in one of the bluffs in beautiful downtown Galena, Illinois, was used for back in the day. Any ideas?