July 28 2014

Learning to Sail: Day 2

Wait! First read part one: Sailing Lessons at Gray’s Lake

DAY 2:

Jason and I took the two little girls with us, and at first we thought we might each take out a boat but at the last minute we decided to all stay on one. Another good decision-“all hands on deck” may be our sailing motto as it’s just easier to have more hands to help when we have problems. Continue reading

July 27 2014

The Trip No One Wants to Take: Looking For A Nursing Home For My Mother.

Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been gone from this page for a while. I’ve been on an unexpected side trip, one that I have very little control over that takes me places I didn’t think I’d have to go for years yet.

On the 4th of July my 61-year old mother went outside trying to see some of the fireworks, missed a step leaving the deck and fell. She laid on the sidewalk for a long time Continue reading

July 2 2014

Sailing Lessons on Gray’s Lake, Iowa

For those unfamiliar with central Iowa, Gray’s Lake is not a large lake. It’s in the middle of Des Moines near downtown, and in previous incarnations it was part of the Raccoon River and a gravel quarry. After the epic floods of 1993 destroyed the fancy Holiday Inn that dominated its south shore it was kind of a nasty run down eyesore for years. In 2001 it was re-born; a 2 mile paved trail runs all the way around it including over a pedestrian bridge, a playground and a small marina were built, and the 167-acre park quickly became a favorite of Des Moines residents. It is haven for outdoor activity with kayaks, canoes and paddleboats as well as the trails and reclaimed prairie. The water is still dirty (it is Iowa after all) but the overall effect is pleasing and people flock to it year round, walking their dogs, riding their bikes and circling the shore rain or shine.

This is where our first sailing experience takes place. Continue reading

June 20 2014

Adventures With Rental Cars In Mexico

I’m going to be back in Mexico this August for a Blogging Boot Camp with Marginal Boundaries in Palenque, then staying on for the TBEX Travel Blogging Conference in Cancun. In between I’m going to be researching in Cozumel in preparation for our move there next year. With all this moving around I considered renting a car, but previous experience makes me more inclined to take my chances on the bus. Continue reading

June 12 2014

Lost in Rio de Janeiro

It was approaching midnight in Rio de Janeiro and we were completely lost. We had only arrived 6 hours ago, and in our quest to find some fun none of us had paid attention to the name of the hotel. Or the street it was on, or the phone number, or anything else that might help us find our way back. We were at the mercy of the “Marvelous City.” Continue reading

June 9 2014

How I “Made” My Kids Love Water

It’s summer again, and the city pool is open and filled with splashing kids. Next to me is a mom wrestling a panicked child who seems convinced that she is trying to drown him; he is screaming, terrified, and refusing to get even one toe in the water. She finally lets him go and he runs away.

My kids are the opposite. They’re under the water more than they are above it, Continue reading

June 3 2014

Learning to Scuba Dive in Iowa

After several minutes sitting alone on the bottom of the pond watching bubbles float up from my regulator I felt a sharp tap on the back of my head. I thought my scuba instructor, Craig, had returned without me noticing, but when I turned around there was only a small fish floating in front of my face. A Bass maybe? Continue reading

June 1 2014

Thoughts on My 11th Wedding Anniversary

“I won’t get divorced again. If I decide I don’t like you someday I’ll just run you over with the car.”

That’s what I told my now-husband (I think it was our second date) and he agreed. No kidding. It makes our marriage a truly life-long commitment because the only way out is to die, accidentally or on purpose.

Our wedding day. I loved the kilt!
Our wedding day. I loved the kilt!

Today is my 11-year anniversary, but Continue reading

May 26 2014

A Cozumel Review

Jason and I first visited the island of Cozumel in 2012 as part of a mission trip group with Friends of Cozumel. After we came back I wrote a trip review for Independent Traveler complete with hotel, restaurant, grocery stores and entertainment information, as well as our first drift diving experience.  I rediscovered it today-talk about nostalgia! Continue reading

May 24 2014

Local Attraction: John Wayne’s Birthplace, Winterset, Iowa

Did you know that when he was born on May 26th, 1907 John Wayne weighed 13 lbs?! The celebration of his 107th birthday is underway this weekend in Winterset Iowa, and I decided to go see it for myself. Continue reading

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