Storms, Sunshine and Smiles

I recently returned from a trip to Tampa, Florida.  This trip was the annual retreat for a dental study club I belong to.

For the second year in a row that my travels to Tampa were impacted by the weather.

Last year a snow storm caused a six hour delay in leaving Minnesota.  To make the most of my time, I walked around the airport.  Fun fact – if you walk to every gate of each concourse of Terminal One at MSP airport, it’s 11,266 steps and 4.6 miles.

This year, the weather in Minnesota was not a problem.  Unfortunately the weather in Florida was not so nice.  Due to strong storms and a tornado, our flight was diverted from Tampa to Melbourne, Florida (on the Atlantic side of the state) landing after 11pm.  The airport was closed, the crew was over their allowed flying time, and there was no other crew available.  After several hours, the airline eventually announced that we would be bused to Tampa but they were unable to tell us when that would happen.  So, at 1 am, with no rental cars available, we took a Lyft ride across the state.  Three and a half hours later, we finally arrived in Clearwater Beach!

Once there, we had a delightful weekend discussing all things dental, enjoying good food and walks on the beach.

On Saturday, we took a glass blowing class.  Great fun!

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George, the owner of Glass Crafters, taught us how to blow bulbs.  Using propane torches, glass frits and stringer and some “hot air”, we each had an opportunity to blow ten items. These could then be used as watering bulbs, ornaments, or just decorations. Some of our group had more hot air than I did.  Exploding bulbs make for some beautiful art!

Being very fragile, I was glad my bulbs survived the flight back to Minnesota intact.

To show them off, I cut the stems off, added bulb hangers, fused some white glass to make a mobile support, strung them with fishline and hung them in my sewing room.

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We had a great weekend, made many memories and a few crafts!

Vail – A Winter Wonderland

Okay, so I really prefer warm weather vacations.  However, having just returned from a week in Vail, Colorado, I will have to admit that the area was breathtakingly beautiful.  I hope to someday return in the summer to see what the mountain landscape looks like without all the snow.

Vail Village is a charming place, with cobblestone roads and picturesque ski lodges. Throughout the town are dozens of sculptures, wall murals and lighted decorations. My first day I spent about two hours walking around Vail Village, Lionshead Village, Cascade Village and Golden Peak.

This was our first week-long vacation in almost ten years where we were not staying someplace with a kitchen.  This meant no grocery shopping, no cooking and no dishes to wash! With restaurants abounding, each evening we selected a different place to eat.

  • Lancelot Restaurant – great weinerschnitzel
  • Almresi – here we had Austrian Hutessen – beef cooked on a flat-iron at the table, kind of a cross between grilling and sauteing
  • Up the Creek – awesome Arugula salad and Tortilla soup
  • Fall Line – the tastiest filet I have ever had!
  • Alpenrose – great German restaurant (forgot to take photos of the food here).Alpenrose

Not being a skier, I took my snowshoes along and went on several long walks.

My first trek was a guided walk through the Ford Botanical Gardens.  This walk was only about 2 miles total but was very educational. The naturalist gave some insights into the trees and plants that grow in the area.  Even though the average annual snowfall in Vail is 169 inches, the area is considered a high desert.  Due to the dry air, the snow sublimates rather than melts.  So, the amount of water available to plants is limited.  Even so, there are many lovely evergreens making the winter scenery prettier than in Minnesota with our deciduous trees.  110

On my subsequent snowshoeing walks, I headed each direction out of Vail Village.  The Gore Creek runs through Vail, so I followed the creek west one day and east the next day.  Each day, I walked for just under two miles and then headed back to the village.

For my final walk (without snowshoes), I rode Gondola One up the hill and then followed Gitalong Road and Vail Village Catwalk back down.  This path, with a few treks to get closer to some wildlife, was just under six miles in length.  Luckily it was downhill.  Unexpectedly, the downward movement made some of my muscles rather sore.

On my excursions I saw lots of wildlife as well.

We stayed at the Gasthof Gramshammer, which featured classic European ski lodge architecture.  Between a 2am fire alarm going off, the room thermostat stuck on high (we slept with the patio door open), and a constant humming noise, it was an interesting place to stay.   

Sunshine in St. Kitts

Spring Break has been a great escape from the snow of Minnesota.

Day One: MSP – MIA – SKBIMG_3215

We left behind the snow in our front yard…

Day Two:

…and after settling into our villa, we awoke to sun, sand and beautiful landscape.

Day Three: Tour of the Island

Overlooking the Southeast Peninsula of St. Kitts

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Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Ocean, Frigate’s Bay and Basseterre.

Basseterre’s sites and Wingfield Estate.

Romney Manor and Caribelle Batiks

 

Brimstone Hill Fortress

 

Convent Bay

Lots of Sheep

Day Four:

My Birthday – Time to relax in the sun

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Sunset Dinner in Frigate’s Bay

Day Five: More relaxation in the sun

And some really cute cats to play with.

Day Six:

Ferry to Nevis

First Hotel in the Caribbean and Bathhouse (the water was really, really hot!)

Montpelier Estate – really quaint hotel!

Hermitage Plantation Inn – another really nice hotel.

Lots of old churches – all still active.

Back in St. Kitt’s

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We have one more day of sunshine before heading to back to Minnesota.

Hopefully Spring will arrive soon.

Two weeks in three trips = four scarves

Living in Minnesota, the thought of hopping a plane on the weekend to go someplace warm is very inviting.  This year, I planned two trips to get away to warmer weather.  These trips, one to Clearwater Beach, Florida and one the San Francisco, were on two consecutive weekends.  Then a few days after the planned second trip, I had to make an unexpected trip to Houston.  So, that meant that in fifteen days I had three trips, including seven flights (totaling almost 2,000 miles) and numerous hours in airplanes and airports.

For me, this was a bit more travel than I would prefer.  To pass the time, I brought along some knitting and crocheting.  As a result, I was able to completed four scarves to donate.

Scarf One – Queen Anne’s Lace Crochet Scarf

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Trip One – Clearwater Beach, Florida

Scarf Two – Eyelash Yarn Knit Scarf

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Trip Two – San Francisco

Scarf Three – Cashmere Knit Scarf

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Trip Three – Houston

 

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Scarf Four – Varigated Yarn Knit Scarf

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I am looking forward to a few weeks with no need to travel!

“Throwing a girl fit”

Being a mom of four boys, I have flown with my children at various ages.  The youngest age was when my second son was only two weeks old and I needed to attend a meeting at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta.  But, other trips included a four week old to attend a national pediatric dental meeting, and various trips with the boys at ages younger than one year old.

So, I understand the anxiety of a mom having to fly with a young child and the worry about the unpredictable behavior that that children may exhibit when flying.

Yesterday,  I was returning from a stressful unexpected trip out of town and experienced a very sweet gesture by a new mom traveling with her daughter.  Before the flight took off, this mother came through the entire cabin of the plane and handed out baggies to every passenger (yep – everyone).  In the baggies were some gum, candies, ear plugs and a note.  The note read:

“Hello,
My name is Alice Rose.  I turned 4 months old on February 5, 2018.
I am flying with my mother and grandmother to Minnesota to surprise my great grandmother who turns 92 years old this coming week; and whom I have never met and who has never met me.
I promise that I will try and be good. But my mother is afraid that I will find the plane ride uncomfortable – and that I will be unpleasant – (as she says…”throwing a girl fit”).  I will try my best not to “throw a girl fit”. But, if I do, please forgive me.
Thank you so much
Alice Rose”

 

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This was a very kind gesture by a mom, and a very smart way to preempt any complaints about her child.  Everyone on the plane was very kind back to her and some sitting near her even offered to hold her daughter if the flight proved to be difficult.

Happily, little Alice Rose slept for the entire flight and we arrived in Minneapolis without even one complaint.

History 101, Summer 2017

Summer vacation is over, but it sure was fun. This past week was spent with my youngest sons visiting some of the historical places important in our countries independence.  Along the way, we took in several museums and walk around a few prestigious college campuses.

New Haven Connecticut

Points of Interest: Yale University, Yale Art Gallery, Felice Varini Perspectives  Mural Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and Yale Center for British Art.

Providence, Rhode Island

Points of Interest: First Baptist Church of America, Rhode Island School of Design, RISD Museum, Brown University, State House, and numerous historical buildings.

Boston, Massachusetts

Points of Interest: Freedom Trail, Harvard, MIT, Mass General Museum of Medical History and Innovation, and fireworks from the Esplanade.

 

New York City

Points of Interest: Storm viewed from our hotel Rooftop Patio, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, including the Modern Native Fashion exhibit.

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