Catching up on the past 7 months...
Well technically my "All the Things" catch up is now spanning about NINE months, but who's counting? (Clearly, me...)
Anyway, I'll pick up where I left off in June(ish)...
We love hosting friends and family; I wish we had more opportunities to do so. Anyway, we were super excited to host our friend Mark when he came to visit us for a long weekend! He is a friend of Eric's who has become a dear friend of mine as well. He went to the same high school as Eric but their friendship really bloomed after he went away to college. Anyway, I only have foggy recollections of him in college (like, I may have *seen* him around but definitely didn't know him then), but am super glad he's still a part of Eric's life now and by association, mine.
He was able to see Eric "in action" at a gig one night and the next day, while Eric played another gig, I took him to see Monticello and then went to Carter Mountain Orchard to give him one of the best views of the area. We visited some historical sites and topped the visit with a yummy Korean lunch at Maru. What a special weekend with an amazing friend. It was truly meaningful to have him visit us!
I went to Big Sky, Montana shortly after Mark left in mid-June for work. It was work-y but it was also fun as the people accompanying me are some of the best.
I'd been to Montana before, but hadn't spent dedicated time there. I did a weekend in Yellowstone when I worked in the Tetons back in '95 and I did a weekend in Red Lodge around that same time. But that was about it...
What a beautiful place; the mountains were lovely and the Gallatin River... So cool. I got Ernest a rock from the Gallatin; it's quite beautiful. It now sits on my desk. I got up early every morning and went for a walk and the landscape was just gorgeous; I'll remember those mornings in particular for a long time.
While our backyard project (redneck pool) is still not completely finished, we were able to enjoy Eric's many hours of labor this summer with several "dips" in our mini oasis! Ernest even joined before we chlorinated - He LOVED it. It was actually one of the most beautiful things to watch him swimming in such a large (at least larger than anything he'd been used to) area. He loved it so much, we got him his own kiddie pool so he could continue to swim "with" us and get natural sunlight after we chlorinated.
Our July trip home to Minnesota this summer was AMAZING. We took two weeks this time and decided to drive (the cost of rental cars was ridiculous). Anyway, so glad we did - we had a spectacular time.
Reagan kept me company on the drive up; we had a day together in Minnesota (we managed to get in a trip to the Mall of America and Paisley Park) and then she flew home to house sit for us! She and Eric passed in the air as I then picked up Eric at the airport (he had a gig back home which is why he couldn't drive up with me).
The time with my girl on the drive up was special as we seem to spend less time together now that she's all grown up and all. But we're definitely making a more deliberate effort to take advantage of the time we have together while she's still living in such close proximity to us!
Anyway, we spent time with my parents and with family on both Eric's mom's and dad's side. We fished, kayaked, waterskied, swam, lounged, and ate amazing food. I "collected" handstands at all the lakes we visited and Eric bravely swam in each one (Superior was COLD). We even managed to catch up with a couple friends in the area. It was great to not be as rushed (like it had felt when we only came for a week) and we treasure that time with everyone so much.
In August I went to the first conference I'd been to in person since all the COVID banana stuff! It was in Charleston, SC and was quite the hoot! I was able to see an old friend from my hotel days, spend QT with one of my thought partners (which included Insomnia Cookies among other things) and other fab industry friends, experienced the best massage of my LIFE, and I won a crazy award! It was a fantastic trip (despite some travel delays which were not fantastic) and the return to normalcy was much needed!
I was unable to spend Reagan's birthday with her in person this year b/c I had to be at a conference for work, but we did spend the weekend before her big 24th together. We got a beautiful and yummy lunch at Bizou and then went for coffee and pedis. It was a sweet day and one for which I'm so grateful. I don't tell her nearly enough how much I love her and how proud I am of her (can you *ever* say those things enough??), but she is truly one of the most remarkable people I know.
As I mentioned above, I was out of town at a conference in San Antonio, TX over Reagan's birthday. I did manage to get a bunch of the attendees to wish her a Happy Birthday from afar... I was so thankful that so many of my industry friends enthusiastically agreed to help! Another highlight of the trip was seeing one of my favorite cousins and a morning walk with my bestie to the Alamo...
As you already know, Ernest left this earth on October 19th. It was a terrible day for us, but I know he's not suffering anymore. Doesn't make anything easier, but knowing he's not in pain is a relief.
One of the things I am super passionate about now is making sure I share my feelings about taking animals out of their natural habitats. Domestic dogs and cats are one thing, but turtles, frogs, etc... No. I'm upset that he was snatched out of his intended world out of pure voyeuristic curiosity which doomed him. I had always hoped to rehabilitate Ernest and release him; the fact that the first several weeks of his life prohibited that are frustrating at best.
I'm super thankful for my friend Jip, who took photos of Ernest before he died... I wanted to have some beautiful pics to look back on when he was no longer here. They are perfect.
Eric and I went to Florida at the end of October. Eric and I were there last year as well, and figured it would be a lovely place to spend our 10th wedding anniversary. We shared a home with a friend (and colleague) and her family. It was truly a great experience and a fun vacation! My company, Natural Retreats, is very generous in that they give employees a monetary credit each year toward a stay in one of our destinations, so this year it was fun to combine both Jessica's and my credits toward a stay in the 30A area of Florida!
We didn't realize what Red Tide was until we got there... We had heard about it but didn't really understand the effects. Well, we learned quickly! In the COVID era, the symptoms were a bit nerve-wracking until we learned that coughing, sore throats, and itchy/burning eyes/noses were typical with red tide! We powered through the first couple days when it was the worst and sat on the beach despite the pain.
The last few days of our vacation the red tide wasn't too bad but the wind was crazy. We sat through some pretty ridiculous wind/sand storms those days (again, we were at the beach so we were going to make it work!!), but admittedly, we didn't last long with the sand pelting us constantly. We even wore swim goggles (to protect the eyes) and hoodies/pants, but alas, the wind won.
We always enjoy trying to find fun, quirky things to do when we vacation and we were fortunate to experience 4 state parks and even a museum dedicated to underwater technology. Fun stuff. And of course I managed to get a couple souvenir handstands (and this time, even cartwheels on a sandbar). Oh, and we also had anniversary photos taken on the beach.
Well, that about does it. I feel like there's a lot more I could have included, but honestly, I'm exhausted after just this. LOL.
I hope you have a wonderful gravy day coming up... Refer to last year's post if you are interested in my turkey (aka gravy) recipe. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Love to all.