...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Impressions: Dictionary.com lists 11 different definitions for this word.

When I walk in the woods, I see impressions left by all who travel the same paths as myself. It's a rather short season that footprints or paths are left for me to easily follow. The conditions need to be just right for capturing my fellow wanderers tracks.

I've tried my hand to identify mice runs and dog prints,
...opossum on the ice...
...and human. Me!

I am Keen on my footwear. I have found that having the proper shoes for my hiking is paramount to my feet being happy. Winston and I hike in all weather conditions. I expect my shoes to survive a lot...rain, snow, mud, water, sticks, rocks, tall grasses, ice. I bought a pair of Keen Targhee water proof hiking shoes last May. I wore them each day when Winston and I went out hiking. They are awesome shoes, but... here's where my husband's concerns come in...after a month, the heel cup on one of my feet was wearing a little too quickly, some of the stitching along the shoelaces was separating along the material line(sign of a dull needle used in sewing) and most importantly, after another month of daily hiking, I needed to Gorilla Glue part of the tread back together. By November, I was starting to feel I needed another new pair of hiking shoes. Voicing my thoughts to my hubby that I was going to purchase another pair of Keen's, he reminded me of my repairs. I don't think my second time of using Gorilla Glue on my shoes was impressing my hubby.

I decided to wait on getting a pair of shoes. I was still convinced I wanted another pair of Keens and Christmas was approaching. Maybe I'd leave my hiking shoe purchase up to my husband. For Christmas, I did receive a new pair of Keens, but they were hiking boots, not shoes. My husband just couldn't bring himself to but me the shoes I wanted.

On December 26, I laced up my new boots and headed out for a four to five mile hike. My feet felt like they'd been wearing these shoes forever! Inspired by how wonderful Keen shoes feel on my feet, I decided to e-mail Keen and just ask...How long should I expect my shoes to last? In my old running days, I knew I should replace my shoes every 400-500 miles. Hiking shoes obviously wear too, so what should I expect?

My answer came from a very kind customer service rep., Nina. I asked my questions and stated that I was just looking for answers to convince my hubby that I was making a good choice. If you've ever lived with someone who has had the opportunity to say, "I told you so!" then you know just how annoying THAT can be. I was trying to avoid that if possible by arming myself with answers.

A few weeks later, I received a replacement pair of Keens in the mail! :)

My hubby was surprised. What did I need to do? Didn't they want my old pair? What if I made up my original ownership? He can be such a skeptic.

Winston has on his favorite foot gear, and so do I! We leave our marks all over the snowy or muddy trails.
Just last week I crossed paths with another hiker and I noticed that we all check out one an other's footwear, whether we realize it or not, and he was the one who commented..."I see you wear Keen's too!" Nina, did you plant him here? :) His name was Blue (I suppose that's a nick name and spelled that way) and both he and I went on and on about how we love our Keen shoes! He's had his for over three years.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Holiday Gold and Silver

"Make new friends, but keep the old..."

I was a girl scout when I was young and then a girl scout leader as a mom, so I certainly know this song. Just before and after the holidays this year friends visited my home.

The first friends to visit us were a family from Australia. I had not met them before they arrived. The dad of the family was last in our town when he was about 16 years old. He knew my DH when they were children and then again when they were teens. The short story on his family is that when he was a tot, around 1970, his parents brought himself, his brother and sister here from Australia for his dad to work on his Master and PHD degrees. They spent several years here the first time and became good family friends of my in-laws. They returned about 6 years later, around 1979, for a few months. Apparently Bloomington holds a little bit of this boy then teen and now man's heart...I wonder when he realized that?

Flash forward to December 2010...Now a successful Australian businessman, he had planned for over two years to bring his family to the United States for a whirl-wind, month-long tour. His family, along with four other families from his hometown, ALL travel together to LA. They spent four days, sightseeing, etc, before splitting up. All the families have their own itinerary. Periodically they met up; sometimes as just 2 families, sometimes as all 5 families! Our friends hit LA, then flew to St. Louis, drove to Bloomington, flew to Orlando, then NY, then Denver, then Las Vegas, and then to Hawaii...before heading home to Australia. Their travels included doing Disneyland, seeing the Arch, going to Universal Studios, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, celebrating Christmas on the ski slopes of Denver, ringing in the new year in Vegas and then surfing in Hawaii.

In the middle of that they dropped by Bloomington, IN. Can you imagine yourself being 15 or 17 years old and going back to see where your dad grew up after being at Disneyland?
Take a good look at these faces! BORED TEENS! My kids would have looked exactly the same!
I have to comment that for the past 24 years I have helped play hostess to whomever my mother-in-law (MIL) has decided to invite to our holiday gatherings: college students from Tunisia, China, Korea, Germany, Trinidad, etc. Each time we have guests, my children (and FIL) help host too. They, my children and FIL, grumble at first but in the end it's usually a non-event. "Why does G-ma/my wife.....?"
Now, here in Bloomington, before our guests arrived, I was hearing the normal grumbles...but THIS time the guests were actually REAL people! They had kids my own kids ages and lo-and-behold...after a tad of pushing...the kids connected!!!
Board games were played, and the Wii used too.

My kids got an early Christmas present with the weather and knew school was cancelled for the next day! Our Australian friends had not decorated gingerbread cookies before...much more fun to decorate than to eat...in my opinion. I'm a sugar cookie with frosting fan.
Winston was a nice host too and showed off his woodland trails, complete with deer!

The snow was a treat. Our friend's children had seen snow, but had not seen it fall before. A snowball fight, with hot chocolate after, took place before dinner.

Can you tell who recently had surgery on his knee and couldn't run? One of the four was an easy target!

I made the kids stop for a picture. If our friends were taking note they'd see that the American kids were planning their next move (above) .....siblings!

Within a few hours of departing, all the teens were "friends" on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook...

I was able to connect with a few of my own high school buddies. My next friends to visit happened because of the power of Facebook. Say what you will about it, for someone who grew up having a wonderful group of people to share my life experiences with, but moved away after high school, it has been a fantastic tool in helping me re-connect to my past life.

Prompted by the middle person in our photo, five of us were able to get together for a mini-reunion one evening. My husband stayed in the background, like a fly on the wall this night. Later he commented on how neat it was to listen to all of us share our memories and re-connect. That's a nice comment coming from a person who doesn't like to reminisce!

"...one is silver and the other is gold."