Tag Archive: vacation


Our vacation home to Michigan went well, though it was cut short by a week do to unforeseen circumstances.  The above photo was taken from a tin-type and features Erick’s great*4 grandparents (the small woman center and man just to the left of her) in front of their home once located at the corner of Seven Hills Rd. (Peninsula Dr.) and Kroupa.  The rear end of the house still stands and is now used as a shed.  

Christy and Liz threw a party for me at the Old State Hospital (GT Commons).  We enjoyed homemade chocolate pie, coffee and a walk around the grounds.  I gave the girls my “ghost-hunting” equipment and they uncovered several haunted areas.  Even my shirt was haunted!

After walking and talking, we decided to take the kids over to the Civic Center for some play-time and for us, it represented some much needed chill-out time.  

I have girlfriends who really are super-women.  They made it a point to get us out and about town.  The following afternoon was spent at Grass Lakes swimming and playing with clay.  Christy and Liz worked on teaching the girls how to swim.  The following afternoon was spent trying to teach our oldest how to ride a bike.

And then there was the slip-n-slide.  Erick made it look easy and eagerly (and gingerly) showed everyone the proper jump-slide technique.  All modesty went out the window that afternoon. 

The girls loved having the freedom to play outdoors all day long and especially enjoyed Grandpa’s extended driveway on which we created a chalk roadway for them to navigate complete with stop-signs and cross-walks.

We brought new meaning to the phrase “dog-tired,” didn’t we Celli-Belle?

And lastly, my parents threw me a second 30th birthday party in Elk Rapids where my cousin, Medora, made a surprise visit.  Dori and I are the only grandkids on my mom’s side and we’re just a year apart.  She got the looks, as you can tell.  Dori has three boys to compliment our three girls.  Her father, Craig, and I shared the same birthday.  For my birthday, my mom gave me a note my father had written the morning before my birth.  It was for my uncle and it directs him to the maternity wing.  On the back, it reads, “Happy Birthday!”

And that concludes this batch of vacation photos.  Greetings from Michigan!

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Okay, I know it’s escapism, but Erick and I have been going back and forth with the notion of moving to New Zealand, known to the eloquent natives as “The Land of the Long White Cloud.”  It is a country thick with native culture, governed by a woman and governed symbolically by a queen.  NZ is home to several organic farms and was one of the first countries to initiate WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) International programs, which began in New Zealand in 1974 and supplies volunteers with opportunities to live and work on the farm, while traveling to foreign states or countries. I worked on a WWOOF farm and it’s one of the best ways to get to know locals and folks from out of town who share a love of farming and a passion for learning about sustainability.  

Imagine living cradled by a mountain with a view of the sea – NZ seems like a perfect nest perched on the edge of the world with a spectacular view of the sea and heavens.  Yeah, we’d have to visit first and even a visit could be quite a production.  Imagine moving across the world!  How strange, how wonderful, adventurous.  Would it make travel to other countries easier?  Probably not, but it might encourage us, having taken the first step to relocate to a foreign land to investigate further this incredible world around us. 

According to Wiki, NZ is home to plenty of unique flora, birds and wildlife.  And they have sharks.  How can you go wrong with sharks outside of the water?  The climate on the North Island is mild, dry.  The government is extremely protective of its fragile ecosystem, which means it recognizes the value inherent in preserving an ecosystem in the first place.  Go Kiwis!

Anyway, just some thoughts about why I might consider traveling across the US and over an ocean to visit the Land of the Long White Cloud, even if for only a week.

Fueling the argument

I’m 29 years old. I purchased my first gallon of gas for around $0.79 at age 16. Ten years later, I was paying $2.49/gallon. Today, a gallon of gasoline (regular unleaded) is $4.18 at the pump; a 430% increase over my first gallon.

Some get mad at the price. They point fingers at oil companies making record profits or at President Bush (the worst president ever) and his oil buddies or they blame the war. And they (we) should be angry, but what really angers me is the feeling that we’ll allow this rise in prices to continue unabated until our country bursts at the seams with inflation. The oil companies have a hand in everything we do from driving to work to taking a much-needed, well-deserved vacation. We had a choice in the 1970s when we saw the first dramatic spike in oil, but we sat idling in the great parking-lots of centers of energy and policy. And we have the same choice today, but for some reason, the technologies are slow-moving. Why are hybrids still too costly for the lower middle class? What does it mean when in America, the cost of driving to work, does not warrant the job itself? And today there’s more at stake than just the price of gas, we must consider also the cost of driving. What impact will current and future technologies have on our environment and well-being? So I’m not just frustrated with big oil, I’m frustrated with us. We’re not the only country in the world importing oil, but we a great country on the fragile brink of economic collapse because of a severe lack of foresight.

I’m asking now for those readers who do not normally comment, to consider posting ideas for free-energy, education, the economy, etc. We don’t need to fuel the argument; we need to power a solution.

I feel strongly that a second chance at life deserves a bit of adventure. For months, I’ve been planning a tour of the US including fossil hunting, diving with great white sharks, whale-watching (I want to see a blue whale), walking the Grand Canyon and standing beside a redwood for perspective. Of course, a trip of this magnitude must be shared with friends! Christy, my trusty friend and my personal travel agent, found these two great tours. Click on one of the images below.

whaletail.jpg pic-shark18b.jpg

(photos property of websites)

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so interested in seeing larger than life wonders. I think I need to step out of self-importance for a while. My life has been centered on survival for so long, I haven’t had an opportunity to look up and see those things that dwarf my life in comparison. Now I have a chance to live, to experience adventure, and to enjoy it with those I love.

What is your dream vacation?