The Adventure Continues in Texas


I'm writing this from my Aunt's couch in Weatherford, Texas. It's only 50 degrees, but it's 37 at my house so I'm not complaining. I did complain yesterday though when it was warmer at home than here.


We stayed in all day for that mess. Luckily we are a family of talkers and story tellers so it was still a fun day. 

On Tuesday we went into Ft Worth to visit my cousin who works at Texas Christian University. We had lunch at a tasty place just off campus and then we visited some iconic TCU spots like these fountains


and this adorable Super Frog who is their mascot.


We had plans to have dinner with that cousin and her sister in Ft Worth later that night, so between meals my aunt and I went to the Kimbal Art Museum.


My favorite might have been this Munch painting called Girls on the Bridge.

That night we had dinner at one of my favorite places to eat in Louisiana or Texas, La Madeleine. Not only did I have delicious pasta and my own tiny baguette, I bought a giant jar of soup to take home and a pastry for the next day's breakfast.


Last weekend I was in Wichita Falls. On Sunday my friend Deb and i drove north to the Texas/Oklahoma border so we could visit the Wichita Mountains.

Did you know there were mountains there? I certainly didn't and I've spent my whole life in Kansas, one state north. They're really gorgeous. We visited the prairie dogs


and then drove up to the top of Mount Scott. It was chilly and windy up top, like it is on top of a mountain, but the view was so gorgeous.


I took this picture of Deb and I that we took at the Prarie Dogs. it might be my favorite picture of us ever, which is saying a lot because we've been taking pictures together since 1979. So I'm showing it to you.


Tonight I'm having dinner with another friend from high school. Tomorrow I head to Austin for the last stop of this adventure before I head back home. It's been a great adventure so far. I'm excited about the rest of it.



I'm off on an adventure: Tulsa & Wichita Falls

Last summer, at my family vacation I told my cousin Doug, who lives in Austin, I was going to come see him this fall. And I told my aunt who lives around Ft Worth I would stop to see her on the way. And then I told my best friend who moved to Texas I would stop at her house and of course I told my sister in Tulsa the same thing.

I didn't forget about it. When I saw that auntie last month I told her "oh yeah, I'm definitely coming." I just never really picked any dates or made any plans. But I kept saying I was going to Texas in October or November.

It was getting towards the end of October and I realized if I was going to go I'd better get on about it. I messaged everyone on my route. Picking dates was hard because everyone wanted me to visit on the weekend. I mean of course they did. The thing is, they put these pesky work days between every single weekend and I could not figure out how to work it. Eventually I decided I'd just spend all the week days with my freshly retired auntie (AJ) in FT Worth. I settled dates and rented a car (more on that later) and packed my bags and here I am.

Right now I'm sitting in my friends back yard. It is 86 degrees and sunny. At my house, it is 50 and overcast. It is the perfect time to come.


Deb and I met in 8th grade, which for us was in 1979. Just a minute ago she pointed out that in 2019, less than 2 years from now, we will have been best friends for 40 years. And wow, let me just say that is trippy. I was trying to figure out when we went from being friends to best friends. Does anyone really know when something like that happens? I guess maybe, if there was some kind of event that bonded you maybe. But I think most of the time it's more gradual than that. It happens when we didn't notice. She asked if I remembered the first thing we did together socially and I do not.

We went to a school that started in 8th grade and met each other then.. We had Debate and Band together (we were flutists who sat next to each other). But for most of that year, we each had other best friends and other crowds that we hung around with. That summer though we started going to Worlds of Fun, the semi-local amusement part, together a lot and we for sure became best friends then.

A few years ago she moved to Wichita Falls for work. I miss her terribly. I'd rather she still live in KC, but since she doesn't I will say I like that she lives here in a warm place that I can drive to and visit when I need the sunshine. It's not always warm here - but it's always warmer than Kansas.

On the way down here I stopped in Tulsa to stay with my sister.


I wanted to see her and needed to see her babies, who are also my nieces. One is 5 and one is not quite two. The older one already loves me but the younger one is not quite sure yet since we don't see each other enough and I wanted to try to win her over. I think I did. At least for now.

I had a great time in Tulsa. I played with the kids, visited with my brother in law and talked to my sister about everything. We visited the Golden Driller, a must stop on any visit to Tulsa,



had Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in actual Oklahoma, and went shopping at her Target where they always have way cuter clothes than they have in my town.

We also visited our cousin and his family that live on the other side of Tulsa. We didn't stay long - there were 4 kids under 6 and it was a school night - but oh my goodness I enjoyed it so very much. I love those guys. It was the first time I had visited their house and I promised to do it again any time I was in Tulsa.


Yesterday I left there for here. I didn't need to be in this town till dinner time and a friend of mine at home had encouraged me to stop at the Modern Art Museum on Oklahoma City to see their collection of Chihuly art so I did!


And I'm so glad I did.
That museum is going to get a post of it's own, so for now I'll just show you this.

Monday morning I'm headed off to Ft Worth. I'll be staying with my aunt, and visitng with at least some of her kids. Which is awesome. One of her daughters is one of my best cousins and I really never get to see her.

And yeah, I did say best cousins. At my Tulsa cousin's house, he told his baby "Watch out for cousin Shelly, she plays favorites." He's not wrong. And he knows this because he is one of them.

(It's not really favorites though. Just like with non-family friends, some you click with more naturally than others. I love my cousins, every single one of them.)

I'll be there all week. And dig this! A girl I went to high school with lives in Abilene. I was trying to work out stopping in her town to spend the night with her, but it wasn't working. Sad. But not! Her son has a football game in Ft Worth that week! So we're going to hang out that night and I am so super excited about that!

Then I'm off to Austin.
I have never been to Austin before, but it certainly seems like the kid of town I'll love. I actually imagine it's like a bigger, cooler LFK where people have accents and say y'all. I think(hope) we're going to hear some live music on Friday but otherwise I could not possibly care less about what we do because I just love those guys (the cousin and his wife) and want to sit around and talk to them. And hopefully listen to Doug play guitar and sing. And laugh a lot.

I mean seriously guys? I love my family so much and feel so lucky I was born into it. It is full of interesting people I love to hear tell stories. There are so many people I'm related to that I truly enjoy spending time with and so many that just make me feel the love. I am old enough to know that doesn't always happen and consider that to be such a precious gift. Seriously.

After Austin I'm heading home. It's a long trip. I am planning to stop back for one night in Tulsa on the way home, but it's also possible I'll just do the 10 hour drive straight for home. I'm going to wait on that decision.

And that's the trip so far!

If you want to see more about this trip as it happens (and I mean why wouldn't you), I'm posting about it some of Facebook, but more on my Instagram stories because I am in love with Instagram stories. This morning I learned how to share those same stories on Snapchat (I mean kinda. Snapchat is really not that intuitive to use.) so if you want to follow me on either of those -- I'm shellycentral on both.)




You guys, I have some big news.

Last Tuesday, I was at Hannah’s house meeting her cat. You may have seen a picture I’ve posted. Here’s another one, just in case.



We were hanging out, watching the kitten when I got a text from my cousin Pam who lives in London. This is what it said.


Yeah you guys.


That’s what it said.
Did you see it?

A long time ago my cousin said they were doing a thing so they’d be in virtual line to get tickets when they went on sale and wondered if I’d be interested in going, so I kind of knew it could happen, but it was a long time ago and I pretty much never thought about it so it was such a surprise. Seriously.You see my reply.

But then I remembered I do live in the real world and need to give it a bit of serious thought. I came home, talked to Danny and realized I could actually do it. I mean I have been saving and always trying to figure out a way to go back to Europe, so I was feeling like Abraham Lincoln:



And so yeah.
I’m going to Hamilton.

In the West End. Of London.
With my cousins.


I spent the first couple days stuck in “Is this real life?” mode. And then I started telling people. I got the same excitement adrenaline every time I told it. But now I want to start talking about it (maybe all the time and obsessively, I’m not sure yet) so there you go. That’s probably my biggest news this year. That might even be like top 3 best news I’ve ever heard? Is that crazy? I don’t know man but top 5 for sure.

I don’t know much about this trip yet. I know which day I will for certain be in London. That part is easy. And I’m pretty sure I’ll do that at the beginning of the trip. It’s also possible that I can work it to fly roundtrip to NYC for free with miles - a flight from there to London is much cheaper than from Kansas City. Not only would that be cheaper but I’d get to see several friends that way. Seeing friends is one of the very best parts of traveling - the fact that I’m going to spend time with family I love that I rarely see is a huge part of what makes this so fun. (And honestly the fact that my cousin loves me enough to think of me and make that offer makes me feel super loved you guys.)

So! Now I get to plan.
When I’ve gone to Europe in the past I’ve spent over a year planning the trip and now I’ve got a handful of months! But I really love the planning parts. I tend to make the people who see me regularly crazy by telling them too many details of my plans so I think I’m going to try to get all that excitement out here and tell you guys. Because you can opt out if/when it gets to be too much and maybe they won’t get so tired of me that way :).



Oh also, of course I have been on Hamilton overload for the last week. Don’t be shocked when you see me re-obsessing. (That poster came from here.) In fact you should expect it.



Just Back: Family Reunion in the Colorado Mountains


Well I say "just back" but honestly we got home on Tuesday. It's just taken me that long to get it together enough to write and share this. I think I'm finally glad to be back. 

In case you didn't know, I was at a family reunion in the mountains of Colorado. I have learned that 130 people from the same family spending a week together on a regular basis is a little unusual, but this is the family I came from so it really shouldn't surprise anyone. We've been doing this since 1977, although we've had to change locations a couple times, all but once it's been in Colorado. Some things change, most things stay the same.

We spend time doing regular tourist activities like horseback riding and whitewater rafting. I skipped both of those this time, but one morning someone asked if we wanted to go take an easy hike along the trail in a town called No Name. A few people turned into a nice group. It was beautiful, and really not rough - although when the trail started getting narrow and there was nothing on one side but a drop to that stream I was a little nervous.


Stream along No Name, CO trail Hikers on No Name Trail, CO

We have a fishing competition, and tournaments for Mahjong and Horseshoes. I got volunteered into the horseshoes which was pretty funny because the only other time I've played horseshoes was at our last reunion. I'm pretty bad at it. One time I managed to toss my shoe into the other pit (which I called a "sandbox" until some people laughed at me and set me straight), but about half time time I didn't make it to any pit at all. It was still fun (and funny), and I ended up talking with a cousin I had never talked to before. I was hoping he'd win the tournament so I could tell people, well, I lost to the champ, so... He didn't win (his grandpa did), but he did really well. Go Ian.


So we do that, but we also add in more unique things like a family No Talent Show, and giant sing alongs (that's my favorite). I don't know how all this sounds to people who aren't us, but we love it and anxiously look forward to it for all the 3 years in between.




And each reunion, someone gets awarded the "Golden Cow Patty" award. It used to be a real cow patty (ie: poop) that someone spray painted gold, but these days it's a novelty clock from a mail order place. The criteria for who gets it seems pretty vague, but I think it has something to do with the person who had the biggest pile of cow patty to deal with in regards to the reunion. The last person to receive the honor gets to choose the next recipient.

This year, I was in charge of dealing with our reunion tshirts and to say it was a giant mess is kind of an understatement. Believe it or not it wasn't even my fault. The struggle was real, and so my cousin passed it on to me. Several cousins told me to just stick in a drawer until the next reunion. One told me I was required to hang it in my living room. I compromised and put it here. I'm calling it the poop clock.


cow patty poop clock


This time (and last time) it was at a hotel in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It's a lot like any tourist town in the Rockies. Their special attractions are a lot of natural hot springs and best of all an Adventure Park at the top of a mountain. We had dinner for 100 up there. Not only did I ride the ferris wheel and the "alpine slide", one of my aunties convinced me to do the zip line! I am afraid of heights so bravo to both of us. I had quite the adrenaline rush for a while after that, so that was fun.




The best parts, though, are the times there are no activities and we all end up together anyway, talking and listening to the stories we all tell. I am lucky that most of the people in my family are people I'd want to know even if I weren't related to them. They are funny and interesting and I feel lucky to know them. They have fantastic stories to tell, and our family is full of people who know how to tell a story. Knowing them my whole life (or their whole lives for the younger ones), and sharing our rich history and years of memories - well nothing beats spending quality time with these people.

 I did not take nearly enough photos on this trip. I was too focused on chatting with my family. I did make a lot of short videos, and it's slightly possible I'll do something with those.


It's Road Trip Time!



Every 3 years, my extended family gets together in the mountains of Colorado for a week long family reunion. This is the magic year, and the week starts at the end of this month! That means it’s time to get the planning into high gear and start getting ready.

I’ve already started of course. Road trips take a little extra planning, and I’m not very familiar with the place we’re going (we’ve gone there once, at the last reunion 3 years ago).

Making any trip longer than it started out is my super power. So with the blessings of Danny & Hannah, I started trying to figure out what we could reasonably add to this trip.

The before part was easy. A few months ago the three of us were talking about the reunion and H asked if we had one time gone to a Mexican restaurant where people were doing high dives off cliffs. Oh yes, Casa Bonita. Maybe the weirdest restaurant I have ever been to. She asked if we could stop there again this time, so we'll be driving to Denver the first day and sleeping there.


this is me, on a horse, at a reunion in 1979


There were conversations between the 3 of us about driving to the Grand Canyon after the reunion. We've never been and we all want experience it. Checking out some of Route 66 on the drive back sounded really fun to me, too. But we eventually decided it was a bit too far to add to this trip. 

Instead we’re going to spend a couple nights in Manitou Springs after the reunion. Danny and Hannah have never been! I love that place (and nearby Colorado Springs) so much. When I was a little kid we went every summer, and since I’ve been grown I’ve gone several times on my own. It’s full of fun memories for me. Garden of the Gods. The Cliff Dwellings. 7 Falls. All the funky water. I love it all. (I do not love Cave of the Winds but that is another story.) I’m hoping to take the Cog Railway to the top of Pike’s Peak and even though it’s far away I’m going to advocate for doing the train through Royal Gorge.

ViewfromparkGlenwood Springs


We're staying in the town of Glenwood Springs. It's gorgeous (this is the view from their "Adventure Park" at the top of a mountain), but it's small so there's not a lot to do. It works out fine though because the week is really about visiting, keeping relationships alive and enjoying each other's company.

It's less than two weeks away, and just like before every vacation I've ever taken, I do not feel nearly ready. I'm trusting I will by the time we take off though. I'll be sharing family parts with our family, but I'll be sharing vacationy bits as well, mostly on my Instagram. I've recently become a big fan of Instagram stories. Follow me over there if you want to see.




I thought Hannah's apartment looked familiar.


Last Sunday night I was talking to my mom and she told me she'd be in Kansas City Monday morning. She asked if I wanted to drive in to see her. Where she was headed was about 35 minutes away. She lives 2 and a half hours away, so of course I did.

Monday morning I talked to my mom, then I talked to my brother while I was getting ready, and then talked to Hannah for the drive in. When I told her I was going to meet Grandma in Olathe, she pointed out it was probably close to her house and we should come over. I promised I'd mention it, but wasn't sure she'd go for it. But she did! The GPS said it was 13 minutes away so we headed over. 

As we exit off the highway, my mom says "Oh, this is over by where Megan and Lindsay used to have apartments."

She was referring to a time many years ago - more than 10 I'm sure - when my sisters lived in an apartment complex and had adjacent apartments (they shared a back wall).  As we got closer to Hannah's complex, she kept saying things like "I'm sure we're getting closer" and "I think it was right over there" and "It would have been that building in the back", each one exactly describing where we were headed. I told her about how the first time I had been there I felt sure I knew someone who had lived in that complex. I remembered following directions through those turns, and I remembered the weird street name. I thought about it every time I drove there but I could never place who it had been. I didn't even think of my sisters. But we called Lindsay and later talked to Megan and sure enough, that's where they lived! Lindsay had lived in the apartment next door to where Hannah lives now. How funny!

467 thousand people live in Kansas City, and all those girls ended up in that same complex. That's kinda trippy.
Lindsay told our mom, "Well, I was jealous you were going to see her apartment without me, but now it's not so bad because I already know what it looks like."

Life is fun sometimes.



Here we all are on Hannah's patio. 
This should be an animated gif. If it's not animated, click it. It's fun.


There is something so awesome about hanging out with your mom, and the girl you're mom to. Especially when you're all adults. I really like it.





I love to travel, but not all trips are for fun.


Last week I was in Louisiana for about the worst reason you can ever have to go out of town. My dad’s brother, my favorite uncle and my godfather passed away. He was an incredible man who lived a great life and I love him very much. 


I can’t really talk much about it or him yet, but I hope that I will soon.

Right now, I’m going to just tell you a little about the trip.


I picked up a rental car on Saturday morning. They said I'd get a Kia Rio, or something similar. The Kia wasn't there when I showed up so they were going to give me something else but then realized it didn't have bluetooth or cruise control. Whoops. "We've got a Prius." they told me. Well dang, "I'll definitely take that." I fell in love with that car so quickly I might even take on a car payment the next time we need a car.

That day I drove 4 hours to see my sister and her family in Tulsa.


That night my brother in law grilled some burgers for us, and after it got dark we had a dance party around the fire. It was chilly in Kansas, but 4 hours south in Tulsa the weather was great.


I spent all day Sunday hanging out with those guys, and then Monday morning I took off for Louisiana. It's a 9 hour drive, but with my iPod full of podcasts, and a Spotify playlist called "Drive", it didn't seem bad at all.

Most of my family showed up Tuesday around lunch time. We are all huge fans of La Madeleine, a great restaurant that's only in the south (I just looked and they have one in Tulsa!). When we realized there was one right by our hotel, we knew where we'd be eating. A lot. We took a huge group there for lunch. Yum!

Soon after that we had to get changed for the wake. And after the wake? We went back to La Madeleine for a late night dinner.

The next day was the funeral, followed by all day family time, which was comforting and quite necessary. Family helps so much when you're dealing with a loss like that.

The weirdest thing about family funerals is that you’re together with people you love a lot and don’t see enough, but you’d all really rather not be there. As everyone was making plans for who was staying where, when everyone was leaving and how everyone was getting there, I’d find myself being happy that one or another person was going and that I’d get to see them -- and then I’d remember why and it would be sad again.



I had thought I might drive to Orlando after we all left LA. It’s only a day's drive, my brother’s there, my friends are there. But the hurricane was coming. At first I thought oh i’ll just wait till it passes and then go. But then it looked so bad, and looked like it might circle around and head back to Florida. By the time it was over and Orlando ws fine, I was so tired of not deciding and had already made plans to get back home in my head, I decided to just wait. We're all heading there on the 26th so I really didn't need to go.


Saturday I spent most of the day with my family and left right after lunch for Tulsa. It was 93 degrees when I left Louisiana, and about 50 when I arrived in Tulsa. I trust I don't have to mention how I felt about that.


I got some more family time and then I drove home.

I really didn't take many pictures, or do anything except for spend time with my family. As I've told people who asked how it went, it was kinda horrible and kind of really nice, which is probably the best you can hope for.





Fun, Family Filled Few Days


For the last week I’ve been busy having a blast with my extended family. There are a lot of us. Two uncles and two aunties came in from out of state, so we got together with a few more aunts and uncles and a thousand and had several wonderful, large get togethers. On the weekend, my sister Lindsay brought her two daughter to stay at my house for a couple days!

There was lots of food and laughing and babies and tons of talking. One night we took a homes tour of sorts to visit 4 of my cousins’ houses. They have some gorgeous houses and it reminded me what we trade to be able to take too many vacations.

20160603_172255    20160603_201627

One night we went out for dinner at a long lived Kansas City steak house. But most of the time we all got together at my auntie’s house to eat and visit.


And look at tiny kittens. 


We’ve had a week of pretty nice weather, too, so we spent a lot of time sitting outside. You know I love that. 

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 8.02.33 AM

It was super fun having 2 baby nieces at my house.


Is she sleepy or has she just had enough of it already?


On Lindsay’s way out of town, we visited the BBQ that used to be my dad’s. We met up with another sister and her kid for a lunch that kept me full all day. It’s always weird going back there, but it’s good to go sometimes. And even though it’s not as good as when it was my dad’s, it’s still kinda yummy. It tastes like home or something.




A couple out of town people are still here, and another set of family might be here soon for a rare visit, so I predict even more family stuff in the future. My family always has a good time together though, so that's really good news.



My Cruise Favorites - Top 10s from my first cruise.


You've probably already read this, but I just got back from a week on Royal Cribbean's Freedom of the Seas, visiting the Western Caribbean. It flew by way too fast, and I was too busy visiting and enjoying the new experiences to really document our adventures. I still have things to tell you about it though, and I'm going to start with this - my top ten favorite things about my first cruise!
(nb: they're not in order, because that's never the way my brain works)


Visiting the ports.

As much as I really loved being on the ocean, my favorite part of the cruise was getting a glimpse at a different place, and being in the water! My favorites were Labadee, Haiti and Cozumel, Mexico. But man, the stingrays were pretty spectacular as well. I plan to write more about them in another post.

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 9.36.55 AM
this is the beach we visited in labadee in haiti

20160429_113141nachi cocum in cozumel was my mom's favorite   

Watching the water, especially at sunset!

There were doors to an outside deck (deck 4), so after our early dinner every night we'd head out to watch the water. We'd usually catch, or just barely miss, sunset. That wasn't the only time I'd watch the water though. It was my favorite shipboard activity. 

regular daytime looking at the water shot.

_DSC0206the best sunset was the last one, as we sailed past miami.


Making memories with my mom.

What do I even say about this part? That's my mom. I've known her my entire life, and she has always been one of my best friends, even after she ruined my life by having more babies (although just like every other time she knew best and they turned out to be some of my best friends). Sharing such adventures with her, and watching her laugh so much and have such a great time was priceless and my absolute favorite part!



Getting Dressed Up.

When I was first planning this cruise, getting dressed up was one of my biggest worries. Then I went shopping and suddenly it was something I was super excited about! I watched so many YouTube videos and read so many blog posts I knew I was ready, and I had plans to make my own What I Wore post or video (because every video I watched featured ladies who were younger and much smaller than me). But then we got busy and taking time for photos of my outfits didn't seem worth the time. Also I got sunburned on our first full day which definitely made me not so cute. We did get dressed up for the MDR every night though, and I liked the stuff I wore at other times too. I don't plan to eat in the MDR every night, and don't know if I'll always wear cute dresses the whole cruise in the future, but I sure had fun doing it this time. Both of these photos are from nights I had about 10 minutes to get ready because we barely made it back from our port in time!



The top decks in the dark.

Sometimes there was something going on, like the nights they showed Star Wars:The Force Awaken. Most nights I just sat in the quiet reading and/or listening to music. Under the amazing night sky in the middle of the ocean. This usually happened after my mom went to bed (around 9pm). I really loved it.

sw:tfa, on a ship, under the stars. not a bad way to roll.


K.O. on the white boad.

I took a couple white boards for my brother's room and ours so we could leave notes for each other about stuff. We ended up getting the internet package so it wasn't actually necessary, but it was fun! A few strangers wrote notes randomly but the best was our mystery cruise friend K.O., who wrote notes and signed them every day. K.O. was on their second week of a back to back and having an amazing time. I loved getting to our door and seeing what they had to say that day! I will definitely take a white board on any cruise I take in the future.

the little magnet says "the room where it happens". i don't think anyone got the hamilton reference.



My brother has the karaoke down. He's done it a hundred times, and did it almost every night of our cruise. I had never done it before and only did it our first night. I sang Sarah Smile, which is not a fun or crazy karaoke song, but it was simple and I've sang it 497million times. I would have loved to do it more, and especially to watch my brother every night, but it was late and my mom was waking me up early every morning. I hope I take another cruise sometime with other crazy people and try it a few more times.

  20160424_225213me and my brother, gearing up for the adoring crowd


That bed was amazing.

I had read a lot a people in forums miserable about how bad the new beds were and how they could barely sleep on them. I even heard one lady on the ship say they nap she got on a solarium chair was the best sleep she had gotten so far. I LOVED that bed! I will say we had a topper and maybe that made the difference, but I loved it. It was supportive, but definitely soft enough to feel like i was snuggling up. In addition to that their duvet was perfect, the pillows were squishy and the sheets were smooth and cool every night.

my mom will probably not appreciate this shot, but i didn't take any room photos

Thinking about my next cruise.

Danny and I had decided that if I liked the cruise, and thought he'd like it, I'd stop by the NextCruise office and make a reservation for us. I liked it and wanted to try it again, and I'm pretty sure Danny will really love it, so in the middle of the week I stopped in to make our reservation. I had not done enough homework, and listened to one source that I thought wouldn't steer me wrong, so I paid little attention to what cruise I was booking believing I could change it later. Well I could, but I'd loose the sweet deals I'd gotten. So Danny and I will be on the Oasis of the seas next March, sailing to Nassau, St Thomas and St Marten. I think I'd rather be visiting more ports, in warmer weather, and maybe on a smaller ship, but I'm certainly not going to complain. We have a balcony room. We also have a handicap accessible room (because Danny needs one) and dang! I had no idea that meant it was going to be so much bigger. But it is, so that will be a fun adventure and a whole different experience in itself. I made a list on this cruise of all the things I'd do differently on a next cruise (#1 was get a balcony!). Maybe I'll talk about them later. I'm super excited though, and already wondering what the countdown calendar is!




My Dad


I was trying to make a post on Facebook, but it got too long.
A million years ago today, my dad died. It was actually 14, but sometimes it feels like a million. On the other hand sometimes it feels like yesterday.
I still haven't figured out the best way to deal with this day. I'd like to forget about it and always have to wonder, "Was it the 3rd? Or was it the 13th?" But it happened on an important day in our lives so everyone in my family is always reminded. But otherwise? I still don't know. Should I try not to think about it? Should I search my brain for happy memories and picture him laughing? It's not hard to do. Maybe I should do what a friend has done and take myself on an epic adventure at this time a year. I do not know.

But before I get too maudlin let me get back to the point - I was looking for photos of me and my dad to post on Facebook. I found a couple I liked, and when I couldn't decide which one to post, I decided to put both of them here.



Here's what I remember about this photo. My parents and I were at some house full of people who were strangers to me. (I think we were visiting my cousin Angie in Colorado. Partly that's my memory and partly it's that dress. I recognize it from other pictures of Angie and me.) The reason I love it is I clearly remember feeling weird about the people, and being sure to stick right by my dad's side. I remember thinking "as long as I stay with my dad I'll be safe." Now that I'm old, I realize how lucky I was to take that for granted.

Also I love that dog, my dad's hip, wide, leather watchband that I used to play with every chance I got, and that short sleeve sweater that somehow stayed around in his dresser until I was a teenager and started wearing it.




And then there's this family photo. Are we like the biggest family of dorks in the world or what? This photo was taken in the living room of the duplex we lived in for 5 years. That was a long time. Before this I think we moved from apartment to apartment every year or so. We're sitting on a black leather chair that went with a black couch that my parents were super excited to get. The metal shelf eventually held much more stuff, but I remember some of the things on it. The red blob on the top is a red glass paperweight. It was heavy. On the shelf below are two dolls my auntie brought us from japan. They were round heads and the sat atop the wooden basis. I played with them more than I was allowed. My mom painted the ceramic egg. It was two parts with a top and bottom. I think she kept jewelry in there. I played with it more than I let my mom know. Below that is the delicate doll on a stand the same aunt brought to me, especially, from Japan. I would have played with it All The Time, but she was stapled down to the stand and her arms didn't move. Next to that is a weird pipe my dad had, that I grew up believing he smoked pot out of once or twice but my mom swears absolutely never, so...

My dad looks so young in that picture. We all do, but look at him (the Parliment Lights in his pocket and that same wide watchband).  He's 27. I'm 7. We both thought we'd live forever.


(The photos are from 1971 and 1972.)