Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back to the Snow...

We have returned. Back to the ice and snow and cold and wind. No more desert, palm trees, pacific ocean, and shoes without socks. We had an amazing time.

I did not keep a journal, although the emails to home could suffice. We went to LA and saw the sights: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Blvd, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd, Hollywood and Vine, The Grove, the freeway, the Hollywood Sign and all the things I've seen on TV and wanted to see my whole life.

Very crowded. Too much traffic. How small town am I?

The drives through the deserts were amazing. Nothing like I imagined. Giant windmill farms up close.

Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Chandler were all wonderful. I could definitely live in the desert year round. Except for no ocean - that would be a problem.

Grand Canyon, Prescott, Sedona, the mountains - stunning works of nature. Overwhelming works of God's hand.

Huntington Beach, just outside of LA. Just what I thought it would be. There I could live. The ocean and sun. Together all the time. Perfection. I had my picture taken with a "real live California surfer dude (Mike)". Good guy.

At the beach, I felt strangely calm. I realized it was fulfillment. Obviously, since it took so long to figure out this particular feeling, I must not feel it too often :) Being in California. A life-long dream come true. True inner satisfaction.

I learned things:

I am not surprised at what God can do. I was speechless at the beauty of Sedona. Positively stunning. And what can you say about the Grand Canyon. But, strangely, I wasn't surprised. It's like I expect greatness from Him.

I am surprised at the tenacity of man. The DESIRE to get from one place to another. Across deserts, through or around mountain tops, canyons, water, forests - nothing stands in man's way if man wants to get from Point A to Point B. How did people find the Grand Canyon and Sedona in the first place?

I live in Canada. It's a big country. We have a national railroad and three coastlines - I know about getting from Point A to Point B. But aside from the Rockies, my country's train and road trips have revealed the space, the vastness and distance.

Man is determined. Scary thought.

On a dreadfully sad note. My cousin Cherie died while I was away. I lit a candle for her in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the red rocks of Sedona on Wednesday and she died early Friday morning. She is one of my favourite people ever.

One other thing I learned and I think it's a sign that I'm growing up. In and Out Burger, Carl's Junior, Chilis, Steinmart, Ross, TJ Maxx, etc., etc. They are just stores. Just because they are not here, doesn't make them better. They are fun, but they are just stores. This is important for me to learn and remember.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Suck It Up

I'm trying to be better. I'm trying to "suck it up" and not whine and be grateful and accept people for who they are. "Be the change I want to see".

On that note...

I have gone to the bank and exchanged money into $US (tears flowing down my cheeks, the rates are soooo bad. Why didn't we buy $US in the summer when our $$ was better???).

Holiday haircuts for me and teenager this afternoon.

Missy's (the ferret) holiday arrangements are finalized.

Practically all meals planned from now until Wednesday to minimize excess grocery shopping and to eat what is currently in the freezer.

Teenager is doing an exceptional job on getting her school work done early and after this weekend will be completely under control. What would I do without her?

Husband has a new plan to try and minimize his snoring which is greatly appreciated.

Ginormous favour asked and accepted by darling friend to look after our house and pick up mail while we are gone. That is a great weight off my shoulders and now I can leave everything in peace. I must find the perfect thank-you gift on our travels.

A lot of the yucky stuff is getting done and soon we'll have to pack and get the carry-ons ready and that is the fun stuff. Even doing laundry in preparation of packing clean clothes is fun.

I just hope lack of plan doesn't result in missing something that someone really wants to do. Have faith. I don't mind being spontaneous - I just really like the anticipation and planning. To me that's part of the fun.

The Annual Corned Beef and Cabbage is tomorrow night. Can't wait. I have been looking forward to it since last year. My plan (ha ha) is the same as last year. One good helping of corned beef, seconds of course. I may have the obligatory veggie or two to make the plate look balanced. And then, more CB for dessert.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Just a Little

Ok. I'm a little stressed. We don't travel very often. I haven't been on a plane in 5 years. Most of my trips are short road trips over the border and back to shop. Or over to the island for a few days. This 12 day adventure is a bit daunting. I feel like I'm doing all the prep work myself. That's because I am.

I am trying to make sure all the assignments, tests and project are completed and passed in before we leave, so there won't be any scary surprises upon our return. To her credit, my girl is on top of things. She knows I'm worried, so she's doing her very best at school; staying in at recess and lunch for extra help, working hard day and night. She's a good girl.

I'm trying to get the house ready, plan our packing, find someone to do the airport runs, look after the house and ferret, etc. etc. These things don't just happen on their own you know.

But the other grownup isn't really helping. Not with the practicalities or with the anticipation. I like being excited and talking about it and planning. He doesn't. He is at work until we go. At night, it's like it isn't even happening. A little depressing and not very fun at all. And I feel like we are going to land in California and then what?? After our reserved lunch at American Girl, that's it. No thoughts. We have so little time to fulfill life-long dreams I don't have any minutes to spare thinking about it in an LA parking lot.

Relax. Don't worry about it. That's what I'll have to do and what I will do, but that's no fun for me. Doing it his way is alright for him. I'm a caver. I like to talk about it and make plans and read up and have a plan of attack. I'm not talking about every minute. Just a rough idea so we don't get to the end of the trip wishing we did something but didn't have time or couldn't get there because you needed to plan in advance. I don't want anyone disappointed (yes, me too) because no one bothered to put the effort in. In this economy, spending this much money deserves a lot of effort!

So I'll put in my effort, by myself.

And tomorrow I have to go (with my sister) to visit my Mom about post-Dad stuff. Always a good time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Month That We're In!

I can't believe it's finally March 2009. That means that our long-awaited trip to California and Arizona will take place in the month that we're in. No more sleeps. Well, we aren't going until next week, but I need those sleeps to get ready :)

My whole life I have wanted to go to Los Angeles and now I finally am because it's less expensive to fly to and from there, rather than via Phoenix (our final destination). Lunch at the American Girl Doll store and a tour of all the hot spots is all that we have time for, but I'll take what we can get. A night at Huntington Beach for work but that will be fun too!

Then off to Az. To the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Tuscon, Mexico (just a hop over the border and back) and all the real, authentic mexican food we can find. My teenage girl is so excited to eat at all the chains she hears about. And the shopping. And the SUN and NO SNOW and the SUN!!!

The next week or so I'll be in a bit of a panic, but I love that five day forecast - all sun, maybe a cloud. Can't wait!