Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Plan Coming Together

LPP has wanted to study abroad for many moons. 
 She also has a plan to graduate with her teaching credential in fours years.  
That latter plan requires a strict, straightforward, no nonsense set of courses. 
Deviating can cause an extra semester in order to get the required units. 
 When we moved her in to school for her freshman year, she was already meeting with her advisor and together they worked through a plan that would allow her to study abroad and only need one summer school class....we think. 
Regardless, her plan of studying abroad took form and became a reality in August. 
And then my wander lusting spirit came forward in my mind.

She was to begin and end her semester in Northern Ireland. 
I had grand plans of spending  a week there when her semester was over...but that would be the week before Christmas.
It's COLD there in December. 
 It was going to be a tough sell to my hubby with those facts, anyway.
Nothing seemed to make sense, so I put my thoughts on the back burner.
THEN, dear friends who love to travel as much as I do, were talking to my hubby one day and shared that when their son was studying abroad, they flew over for a quick trip during his free weekend.
  Hmmm....wonder when LPP's free weekend was and where would she be?
It was then that the plans began to fall effortlessly into place.
 It was really kind of great.
She had 4 days free when she was in Berlin.
Berlin is only a few hours drive to Munich. 
Flights to Munich were less expensive than to Dublin.
Munich is less than 2 hours from our castle.
The castle where the madness that we call our life began.
In short order, I put my travel agent skills back to work and got airline quotes. 
Chris decided that he would like to join us.
 I made plans to put SPF on Independent Study at school. 
And like that, we had a trip to Germany set and ready to go.
We would be returning to our castle with all of our kidnicks.
We were to fly out of Los Angeles on Election Night arriving in Munich on Wednesday.
LPP would fly from Berlin to Munich on Thursday morning and we would go, go, go.
So, we dropped our ballots off at the polling place Tuesday morning and drove to the southland.

We parked our car and checked in painlessly.
We then spent $10.00 on SPF's first macaroon and a bottle of water.
Flying on Lufthansa was a treat. 
The food was quite good, the service wonderful and the live news shows on election night...especially THIS election night helped pass the time flying pass quickly.
It would have been nice had we been able to catch the plane as it flew over our house rather than driving to LAX, though.

We managed purchasing train tickets from the kiosk at the airport with the detailed help from Rick Steves.
I will never travel to a new city without one of his books in my purse.
We had been told by our hotel that the property was  located straight down the Schillerstrasse  500 meters. Easy Peasy. 
Well, it would have been easy peasy had we exited the correct station door and asked which of the strasses was the correct strasse. 
We trudged up and down the strasses lugging our bags looking like the typical tourist. 
It was also here that we discovered, quite abruptly, that there are bike lanes on the sidewalks. 
Theoretically, if you are in one of these bike lanes, pulling a suitcase, you will hear a bell behind you JUST prior to jumping (jumping is a term used very loosely) out of the way.
Or so I am told.
Munich also has pigeons with either a killer instinct or a wicked sense of humor. 
As we were trudging along, following Hubby and Chris,
...who had his GPS map thingy on his phone guiding us...
a large bird flew FROM the storefront side, straight at Chris' face. 
 As he batted it away, his phone flew from his hands to the ground. 
He laughed.
 People on the street laughed and I laughed until I cried.  
It was just the relief we needed at that moment.
We finally arrived at our hotel and while we unpacked,
 Hubby scoped out the neighborhood and found a wonderful Italian restaurant for dinner.
Pipas served the one of the best lasagnas Hubby has ever had.
We ended up eating there the following night as well and more than one lasagna was ordered.
After umpteen hours awake, we all hit the sack early and then had a nice conversation together in the dark at 2:00am.
Jet lag is no joke!
After breakfast at the hotel Thursday morning, we walked the very short and straight shot to the train station back to the airport.
To meet LPP's flight.
Now our vacation truly began!

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Back to Reality

     The month of November will go down in the NutHouse history books as being lightning fast, but also filled with experiences to last a lifetime. 
It included a trip across a continent and an ocean. 
It included spending time with LPP.
 It included visiting memories of old and making new ones.
 It included Thanksgiving spent with special people. 
And laundry. 
Lots of laundry.
School vacation is over today and reality has again arrived.
Today, I plan on cranking the Christmas music up as loud as I can manage and decking the halls.
This group is one of my favorites and am anxious to hear more of their new Christmas album.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Truism

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. 

~Mother Teresa

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Funny for Your Friday

Take a 5 minute break for your crazy shopping or frantic decorating and watch this.
SPF and I had tears rolling down our faces at the end.
And Happy Birthday to Mari!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful, I Am

As a little girl, we spent Thanksgiving in Dunsmuir with my Grandparents. 
I don't remember the food particularly, but I remember the family.  
The coziness. 
 The laughter. 
The feeling of gratitude for being together.  
I vividly remember the conversation and the tears that followed when I learned that after we moved here  
(in the 5th grade)
we would no longer be able to make the much longer drive to Dunsmuir for Thanksgiving. 
I could not begin to imagine how Thanksgiving was possible in any place other than at Grandma's table. 
 Looking back, I wonder if she felt the same way? 
 I wonder if my Dad felt the same way?
Grandma's candy dish holds a special spot on my Thanksgiving mantel now.

 Over the years, new traditions were made and Thanksgiving in our own home was pretty sweet. 

   Life happens. 
Kids grow up and move out and on.
It's what we raise them to do. 
It is as it should be. 
 But, as a Mom, I must admit that it stings a bit.
My nephew will not be able to come home this year for Thanksgiving. 
Our daughter will be celebrating her Thanksgiving feast in Northern Ireland with monks. 
And yet,  I sit here with tears filling my eyes for the things I am thankful for this year.
I am thankful that while my nephew will be away, his home will be filled to the brim with family. Mari and her family will be staying with my sister and we will gather on Thanksgiving to celebrate.
I am thankful that LPP is surrounded by new friends who have become family and that she will be sharing Aunt Nell's Apple Butter with them.
I am thankful that we have had a bit of rain.
I am thankful for my parents who endlessly and selflessly support and love us.
I am thankful for failed selfies.

 I am thankful for the people that God places in our path...we may not always notice, but when we do, it is powerful stuff.
I am thankful for a husband who puts up with me.
I am thankful that my babies....all of whom are or very shortly will be taller than me...are healthy.
I am thankful that on Friday I can play my Christmas music without being grumbled at that it is too early.
I am thankful for the memories of  past Thanksgivings filled with all those we loved and am thankful for the chance to make new memories.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

More Than

Birthdays are special.
They are a day on which we celebrate one person.
A day on which we attempt to make that person feel more than.
More than ordinary.
We want them to feel cherished and loved.
When that person has passed away, the day is no less important, but it becomes a day on which we honor that person by remembering.
Remembering the way that person made US feel.
If we are lucky, we remember the love.
The feeling of being cherished.
The way we were made to feel more than.
Today, we would have celebrated my father in law's 90th birthday.
At least I think that is that is the number if my math is correct.
There's a good chance it's not.
Regardless, we would have come together as a family celebrated this man who loved each of us unconditionally.
  And certainly made me feel more than.
 Happy Birthday!
We sure do miss you!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Truism

Three things cannot be long hidden:
the sun, the moon and the truth.