Fall Bucket List

 

 

We totally blew summer.  And not in a good way. Between the wet, chilly weather that seemed to intentionally time itself to occur on my weekends off, and general laziness, we just did not get in an approved amount of adventures. You know what? It wasn’t laziness, it was chaos. Our house was in disarray for months with Jessi and all her stuff preparing for her big move to Portland, Lonnie’s daily exhaustion doing the work of 10 men every day, grad school stuff, general life stuff. I just let it all clutter my mind and I think I felt like I couldn’t do fun stuff while so much needed to be done… yet I didn’t do the other stuff either, so ended up doing nothing. Super productive. Way to go, Colleen.

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This is not to say we did NOTHING… I mean we camped one night, got some kayaking in, took at trip to Boston… ok now I sound stupid whining that we blew summer, but we really did.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG……………

Jessi is happily living in an apartment complex (that looks like it should be hosting Medieval Times dinner shows, lol) in South Portland. Sean is back to school. I am taking a break from grad school and attempting to transfer to UMaine. They hired another guy to take some of the load of Lonnie’s shoulders. My house is CLEAN. Gonna say that one more time. MY. HOUSE. IS. CLEAN!

IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!! We are going to make up for any HINT of a wasted summer with an EPIC AUTUMN OF AWESOMENESS!!!!!

We even got a head start this past weekend by checking “climb a mountain” off the fall bucket list. Sean really wants to climb Mt Katahdin, but after doing Mt Megunticook this weekend, we had to break it to him that we are NOT EVEN IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD of being in physical condition for Katahdin. Hopefully next year we can make it happen for him! I shouldn’t say “hopefully.” NEXT YEAR WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR HIM!

 

Flying Solo

20170506_180454 I realize some of you out there are jet setters, but I don’t think I have ever traveled solo before and learned it’s actually quite lovely! Of course, I missed my usual travel companions, Lonnie and/or the kids. But hanging out with my own damn self is pretty great! I can eat when I want, watch makeup Youtube videos to my heart’s content, people watch. And when Delta offered up $800, meal vouchers, and a hotel stay, to people to who agree to give up their seats and fly out the following morning… I was all “GET DAT MONAAAAAY!!”  A solo night in a hotel room was a major win because when I booked the trip, I hadn’t noticed it was finals week, and despite hustling all week long to try and get all my papers and projects done before I left, I did not. I had $45(!!) in meal vouchers, so I grabbed some overpriced lobster fried rice to take back to the hotel, spread myself out on the bed with my food, my tablet, and my laptop. Snapped on the TV and TBS had on Couples Retreat and THEN 50 Shades of Grey on LIKE THEY KNEW I WAS COMING!  Screenshot_20170515-152127

When I couldn’t stand to look at my homework anymore and decided to go to sleep, I suddenly realized I had NO IDEA what time to set the alarm to give myself time to get ready and over to the airport for breakfast before my flight. Lonnie always sets his alarm, gets up and does his thing, and then wakes me up and I do mine. I started laughing (right out loud, alone, like a psycho) because I knew how foolish it was and what a lazy princess of a traveler I have become! Up until my divorce in 2012, I usually travelled only with the kids because my ex didn’t like to travel, was wracked with anxiety when he did travel,  and only liked to use his vacation time for hunting. As a result, even when the ex begrudgingly came along, I always had to take care of everything and be “on,” the whole time. Well no more, baby!! Husband #2 LOVES to travel and also loves dealing with all the little details, so I have become a little duckling just following him around in a happy daze; clueless about gate numbers, time it will take to get from gate 25C to 13B, how much cash we have, where my passport is….

Somehow I figured out what time to get up, and I did end up cutting it a little close, but it wasn’t MY fault. If you haven’t been to Laguardia lately, it’s basically like being in the future. Rather than people waiting on you, you just touch pictures of what you want on any of 4672 ipads that are all over the place, and then pick up your food when you get a text that it’s ready. Well that’s all well and good until the network goes down and then you have mass confusion and not-waiter-guys running around with post-it notes taking orders. Pretty sure Lonnie would have had built in time for such shenanigans… 😉

 

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NASHVILLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Travel Journal: Playa del Carmen. Again :)

moments_c9562aa5-a84b-4204-aa26-718e14e2005d_orig_res.jpgwp-1490135081982.jpgwp-1490135022225.jpgwp-1490135061720.jpgOK, So SOME stuff that happened in Mexico will stay in Mexico…… BUT….

This most recent trip to Playa had it all! Dancing, swimming, sunshine, sea turtles, tequila, shopping, parasailing, eating…… We had an eclectic group of people who mostly didn’t know each other and had a wide array of interests, but it worked!  Only in a place like Playa where you can walk, ferry or cab, to basically anything you could every want to do would this work so well. Everyone pretty much did their thing, and all came together from time-to-time to do stuff. No pressure. No drama. Lonnie pointed out that he was the mom of the trip, and I was the “cool dad.” So basically just like home 😉

Of course, with all that fun, we had to have a some not-fun. That part came Monday night when all the flight cancellations started rolling in to everyone’s phones and we learned that we would not be leaving Tuesday morning as planned, and not Wednesday either. and MAYBE Thursday. And we would be homeless. And also broke since we just lived it up on vacation 😉 So we had to find a cheap place to stay for a couple days.  It was…um…. interesting?  You can read my review if you want to on Tripadvisor   OK, but be ready for some challenges  I will say, the “Talking Spanish Translator App” was AMAZING and hugely helpful. I can usually get by pretty well with my very limited Spanish, but when I’m are trying to ask, “How will we get our $100 deposit back at 330am tomorrow when we leave since there is never anyone at the front desk?” I need to make extra sure nothing is lost in translation 😉

I am HUGELY BIGLY proud of my husband and kids though, and myself! We made the best of our unexpected extra days without lots of cash to throw around. Everyone stayed as positive as possible, and the last day, we actually had an awesome day of a little Mexican food, one last stop at our fav French Patisserie, and a little sunset photo shoot on the beach! A PERFECT way to end our trip and prepare for the grueling 3am-midnight day of travel ahead……..

Why Yes, I do want to see other places, someday.

“You are going there AGAIN??”

“Don’t you want to see other places?”

“There are so many places in the world.  Why do you keep going to the same one?”

Why does it bother people so much when I mention that I am going to Mexico again?

It’s beautiful.  It’s cheap.  I love to snorkel more than just about anything, and the snorkeling is great there… and you don’t have to pay for an excursion to do it unless you want to. The people are friendly.  I get to pretend I sort of know a little bit of Spanish.  I don’t spend half my time lost because I know where to go and how to get there.  It’s cheap and we aren’t rich.  The food there makes me happy happy happy. Did I mention it’s cheap?  Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel are GREAT places for large groups of people because it’s so walkable/cab-able/bus/Collectivo-able that everyone can be together, yet still do their own things.  Bar-hop. Snorkel. Swim. Lay on a beach all day. Walk around and shop. Zipline. Go 4-wheeling. Cave diving. Dancing. Cenote exploring. Boating. Paddleboarding. Parasailing. Fishing……………….

And the only reason that really matters… WE LOVE IT THERE!!

Of course I want to see other places.  And this year, we have made a point to do so by going to Vegas and Dallas.  And there is a Europe plan in the works in the distant future as well. And sure, I would LOVE to go to Bora Bora, or the Maldives, or Hawaii, and someday I’m sure I will, but for now, let’s compare a week in Hawaii to a week in Playa Del Carmen in March (From Bangor on Expedia, sorted by lowest price)…

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158 days………..

Vegas Baby!

Lonnie and I are in the midst of a weird trip.  I have to be in Dallas from August 18 thru 22nd to attend 4 day residency for school, so OF COURSE we decided to make a vacation out of it!

Plan A: fly in to Dallas on the 13th and rent a car to drive down to Austin for a few days, then drive back to Dallas for my residency.  This plan was vacation/recon for our move in a few years; to see if Austin was a place we might like to live.
This plan kind of got scrapped when Jessi moved to Richmond because now we want to stay on the east coast  (well…. We did at the time.  More on that later).

When we decided we didn’t need to check out Austin for recon, we began researching other options and learned that Vegas and New Orleans would be cheaper to fly to add stay at than even just the car rental to Austin!  After  couple weeks of weighing the options  we booked Vegas.
It’s August and Dry heat>wet heat (also we figured, correctly, Vegas would be more of an indoor air conditioned trip)
We have plenty of other trips that can involve New Orleans, NOT in August!  We plan to go on a cruise within a couple years and can sail from there.  We also would like to go down for Mardi Gras sometime.
We thought food costs would be lower in Vegas, and due to recent massive car repair bills, we had to keep this trip on a budget!

So we flew to Dallas,  spent one night at the cheapo airport quality inn, and instead of renting  car, hopped the shuttle back to the airport and hopped a quick flight to Vegas!

Gonna give Vegas it’s own post!

15 observations aka "Our Trip to Quebec"

1. The road to Quebec is very long.  And boring.  Lots and lots of trees……….

A waterfall somewhere between here and Canada

2. I thought going through the border gate would be busy… like a line of cars waiting for their turn.  It wasn’t.  It was just us both ways.  In fact fir most of the journey it seemed like we were the only people in the world.
3. We only saw 1 moose.  And Sean saw a fox.
4. While we were told that Justin Bieber was staying at our hotel, we had zero Biebs sightings.  And trust me, we tried.
5.  When you travel to Mexico a lot, other places seem very expensive. Quebec was no exception to this. Anyone want to buy a kidney?  I have a spare.
6. Day 3 of family trips is “everyone is getting on everyone else’s last nerve” day, no matter whether the trip is 3 days or 7.
7.  Justin Bieber puts on a damn good show.  …but he seems a little sad to me.  And that makes me sad for him 😦 …which makes it hard to objectify him.  😉
8. My body has a poutine threshold.  This was a surprise.
9.  Trips are no longer, “Colleen with camera.”  In fact Sean and Lonnie took 99% of them on this trip.  Which is very cool and results in some awesome pics!!

Lots and lot of pictures of dogs…. 

10.  The Fairmont Chateau de Frontenac is very nice and super fancy.  But probably a 1 time thing.  Too many other cheaper, but still very nice options. Cheaper hotels = TWO ROOMS …which makes an unbelievable difference in the sanity of all involved when  traveling with older kids/teens.
11.  The Hotel de Concorde is ALSO very nice and modernly fancy and has a great, affordable, causal Italian place on the first floor.  Definitely will stay there again.
12. Whiskey, in the form of Maple Whiskey vanilla milkshakes, cause my daughter to need an immediate nap.
13. My kids are not always the most enthusiastic of travelers.  Example:  They refused to go on the Funicular to the lower part of town because it “looked dumb.”

Could not be a more perfect illustration 😉

14. My husband, however, is excessively enthusiastic when traveling.  Except when he gets hungry and we take too long to get ready, or find a place.  …Or there is a line.  Then all bets are off.
15. Sean’s obsession with noting people’s expensive shoes and spotting fancy cars just goes off the rails in cities.

Sleepytime

I love sleeping.  So.  So. Much.  However, this is the time of year every year (Which I didn’t even realize until a blog reader noticed a trend a few years ago in my posts as years went on!), I get a case of the winter blues…. cabin fever…. whatever you want to call it.

I usually combat my malaise with a vacation to someplace sunny and warm.  This year, I let Lonnie talk me into vacationing much earlier than usual, bringing us back to Maine with lots more winter left.  This has been a VERY mild, and non-snowy winter, but it’s still winter.  I still don’t want to go outside for a walk or a run, we aren’t going out hiking and fishing and stuff on the weekends, and there is not a lot else to do around here other than shopping and the movies.

So I have been sleeping.  A LOT.  My main excuse that I use is, “I sleep late because my job keeps me up late and messes up my sleep schedule.”   Which is true sometimes.  But not every day.  Honestly, I wake up naturally around 8-9ish, and then force myself to go back to sleep thinking, “Why get up?  To just go downstairs and watch TV or clean?  Fuck that.  I may as well go back to sleep.”

On Saturday I stayed in bed til noon-ish. I felt like crap when I finally dragged myself out of bed with that all-too-familiar “slept too much” feeling.  I decided that it was time to face that I had a problem, and even to say it out loud to Lonnie.  I even threw out the “D” word (DEPRESSION, silly, not divorce!).  We decided, based on all the other symptoms I would need to have,  that I am not having the D word, but that I am in a bad habit that needs to be broken. …and very possibly toeing the line of the D word.  So I made a “contract” with him to start getting up at 9 every day (well unless I have worked an overnight shift, of course).  Even if I was up too late, or don’t want to, I GET UP!  If I am that tired, I can take a nap in the afternoon.

Today is day 3 of this, and not-gonna-lie, it’s been tough.  BUT it has also been extremely rewarding!  I don’t feel like a sloth.  Once I am up, and have dragged myself out of bed, I feel ENERGIZED!  Yesterday I had SO much time, even BEFORE I started my work shift at noon!!  I have FELT like cleaning!  I have FELT like organizing!  It honestly FEELS LIKE SPRING, even though the weather has not changed.

They say “walk the walk.”
They say “fake it til you make it.”
THEY ARE RIGHT!