Monday, October 17, 2016

R and R

My dog, Remi, knows how to rest. We often snuggle up every morning after a routine of going outside, getting fed, mama making her coffee, and finding something to sit down and read.  I finished a book last week that was so good I am having a hard time thinking about what to read next. Does that ever happen to you? So today, I sat in front of my happy light and wrote a couple of letters to friends. I wish now I had taken a few minutes to sit with Remi. I wish she could come to work with me. I wouldn't get anything done because the truth is she is not like this for long but I still wish I could have her with me all the time. She's a great companion.
I'm tired today. I didn't rest over the weekend like I told myself I was going to. Perhaps next weekend.

I need lessons in resting.

I've been thinking about those hot springs we visited in Montana a couple weeks ago. I sure felt great after spending a couple hours every day in them. I lived in Alaska for 30+ years and only visited Chena Hot Springs a couple of times and I'm not sure I even got in the pools. They were kind of stinky. Boy, if I could have that time back!

Maybe I could join a gym that has a Jacuzzi. That'd be like taking a vacation every single day.

I may be on to something.

love, susan

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Traveling with others is a tricky thing. Luckily, I have found a couple of high school friends who have turned out to be most excellent traveling partners. We just completed our third annual trip and we've got the beginnings of our next trip developing now.

What makes a good travel partner? 

For starters, having similar interests is important. For me, I need to travel with people who are easy-going and flexible. I like people who are okay with a change in plans. Some of the things my travel buddies like to do is stroll through gardens, eat at local restaurants, perhaps take a nap if needed. A little shopping, a little chatting, a little pool time. I'm not one who wants to spend a whole day lying around on the beach or spend more than an hour or two shopping. A little bit of everything goes a long ways with me.

Advantages  One of the great benefits of travel partners is dividing the costs of gas and lodging. On the last two girlfriend trips, we've been able to find great hotel accommodations that when split 3-ways affords us a nice, clean place to sleep. My husband and I are seasoned road travelers and the places we land can be a little rough for the average person who perhaps spends more of their budget on hotels than we do at motels. Truth be known, I can sleep anywhere. However, when it is us girls we go beyond the road motels for something a bit nicer. Read: hotel.  Motel = motor inn. Hotel = more like home. I don't need everything to be gold-plated but if you are the kind who does, this is information that needs to be communicated.    Budget is a consideration when booking lodging. I love it that my travel buddies are conscious of this. One of them was the owner of a travel agency for years and she knows the art of a deal. I personally don't have the patience for it so I'm happy she takes the lead in this. However, our next trip in April will be without our resident travel agent so we're on our own for finding housing. We've got months to look so I (we) should start now. We always confer with each other to make sure we're okay with the reservations. This is key is having and keeping a good travel partner.   Scheduling events for each day is important when you are traveling with others. What I've found the best about my two travel buddies is that we take a look at what there is to do in an area and take a poll to see what each person wants to do. We all try to be accommodating and with three people it's easy to let the majority rule. Each of us are flexible so this has worked very well.  Communication is truly key to a good travel buddy system. Planning ahead six months to a year is also a good rule of thumb. Our next trip to Nashville in April 2017 was placed on the calendar last year. With busy lives, it's good to get such things penciled so a person can do it all.

Do you have a travel partner or two? What have I missed here? Where are you going and do you have a travel partner, or two? Where have you been?  Tell me!

love, susan

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Montana Trip (Third Annual GF Reunion)

The grounds at Fairmont Hot Springs
 Just got back from a fantastic week-long trip with my high school buddies. This trip started with a nice dinner meet-up with a couple of brothers we went to school with who live near Yakima. It's hard to believe 40 years has passed by since our shenanigans in school but they (and we) are no worse for the wear and tear. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.
Kathy (Henderson-Crenshaw) and I took off Sunday morning on our road trip to Florence, Montana for a two night stay at Brenda Lanza's place. Brenda and her hubby, Scott, are always busy outdoors with landscaping and gardening but they love an excuse to stop for a bit and be the most gracious hosts in the history of hostessing. This year, we arrived after harvest. Something new this year was the bees Brenda has adopted for her fruit trees. She gave me an education in how the bees help the trees and then they hole up in a cute little box with holes in it and lay eggs(?) in cocoons. She'll gently remove those cocoons and place them in a little box in her fridge and then place them back outdoors in the spring so they can "morph". Fascinating! I wish Brenda would start a blog with all the interesting things she does at the property.
Back to the reunion.
City girl gone country!
We spent Monday in Missoula doing what girls do ... shopping, eating, and sittin' still for a pedicure. Soon after that, we put our feet up and roasted hot dogs on the bon fire at Brenda's place. They had just lifted the burn ban that had prevented them from having a fire all summer. Scott was more than happy to build a fire and eat cave-man style. That may have been the best hot dog I've ever had! There is something about cooking over an open fire that brings out the best in people. Nice conversation and the stars and Milky Way were great d├ęcor for a perfect evening. The icing on the day was the super cute little frog that tried to hop inside the door when we retired. Ah, country life!
The drive to Anaconda (Fairmont Hotsprings) was beautiful. Choosing the end of September for this trip was genius. The temps are still in the high 70's and the fall colors are still hanging on the trees. We stopped in Philipsburg, which is a one-horse town with great charm. We visited Montana Gems for what turned out to be one of my favorite moments of the trip ... dredging for sapphires. I learned a lot about this gem and had a blast sifting through pounds and pounds of rocks to find them. We found 10 sapphires!
The stay at the hot springs was relaxing. We had the huge pool almost to ourselves as the kids are all back in school and we chose the middle of the week to be there. On Thursday, we took a trip to Butte, which is only 18 miles from the hot springs, to tour the World Mining Museum and Berkley Pit. Butte is a photographer's dream in the old brick buildings, painted advertising on the walls, and rugged terrain. However, by one o'clock, the hot springs was calling us back and we headed to our last hours in the pool. Side note: both restaurants at Fairmont Hot Springs are something for foodies to write about. A big surprise for this traveler.
There is a petting zoo at hot springs!
I loved every minute of this trip. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have a good travel partner. I have TWO of them (besides my hubby) and feel like the luckiest friend on earth for that. We're already cooking up a plan for next year's adventure which looks like will be Victoria B.C. and Seattle.
Traveling with good travel partners makes trips affordable. This topic is a whole 'nother post that I'll write soon.
Until then, Kathy and I still have all of today to finish this week long trip before she boards a jet back to Juneau. The sun is shining and we're going to make the best of the day.
Hope you have someone to travel with and that you go as often as you can.
love, susan

You Made My Day, Dude!

A couple weeks ago while I was driving back to Portland after spending the night on the Oregon coast, we came up on some road construction ...