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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 2: I'm not from California and yes, I'm alone...part 1

The first question I heard this morning was, "Are you from California?"

I was thinking maybe I look like some movie star, then I realized I just didn't look like everyone else...tourists of mom's and dad's with kids in tow.  It made me laugh and I sent a message to my sister who said I must look like a hippie.  She was right, I did sort of look like a hippie!  When I said I was from Indiana to the very Native American looking waiter who was helping me with breakfast I thought he was going to ask where was that?  He thought for a moment and said he had a relative who lived in Wisconsin, but their dad had a farm in Blooming??? dale, ville...I helped, "ton".  He smiled.  I should have just said I was from California.

I posted my picture with a cowboy on FB and had a friend text me and tell me to stop picking up cowboys!  After breakfast I went to a Wild West show before boarding my train to the Grand Canyon.

with my Cowboy

The train ride was wonderful!  Just over 60 miles, from Williams, AZ.  Traveling at 40 mph, it was relaxing and a great way to take in the scenery.  I chose to upgrade my tickets to the Luxury Dome ride.  Some of the perks were food, drink, an upstairs domed car, a posh downstairs car to ride in AND we got to go out on the back of the train and hang out if we wanted!  

Pictures from the Train Trip
Special Car to ride in
Sweet Treats and Drinks
Posh downstairs, with Cowboys and Conductors

We knew we were safe from Train Robbers...had the law on our side

Roaming Elk...didn't see any deer nor antelope,
maybe tomorrow though
16 year old, Nick
The Singing Cowboy

Out back!
My reflection on the back door...with tracks
from out back...looking forward

From out back...the view behind

Three baby elk with adults, in the park

Parked at the depot.
I rode in the second car from the end.

It is very late tonight here.  The Internet is super slow and I'm pooped, so I'll add pictures of the Canyon tomorrow.  I'll be traveling back via train in the late afternoon to Williams, AZ.  Planning on checking out the visitors center before I take off and the other bus routes in the park too.

What did I learn today:  

* I liked being here alone.  No complaints, no pressure to stop doing whatever it is I'm doing...because really, I could have spent the entire day just peering out at the canyon, it is just THAT awesome.  

* I do like to meet others.  Pretty much invited myself to have lunch with another lady traveling solo on my Motor Coach tour.  I really do enjoy hearing what others do, where they are from and all the rest of their life story.  Thank you Melinda for sharing your time with me!  :)

* I enjoy learning still!  (Good to know as I start Graduate school in another month and a half!) The guides were great sources of knowledge and I LOVED all they shared!!!  

I promise I'll post about my Motor Coach tour, the Sunset Tour and being asked about traveling solo by others on those tours tomorrow.  

Thanks again, kind readers, for sharing my adventure!  ~Hootie

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day One: Head in the Clouds...

Sometimes, you have to go backwards to go forward! 

What was I thinking!

Three flights in one day; one in the wrong direction, two delays. Car to rent, Hotel to find.

I had a lot of time to think today and ponder human beings.

*I took a shuttle up to the airport from Bloomington.  Six of us and the driver rode in silence for the hour long drive.  Five out of six passengers were sleeping.  Guess they weren't parents.

*Looking down on Earth from above I was able to realize what an amazing place we inhabit.  I watched the terrain change as I traveled East and then West.

*I lost a cuff bracelet that my mom gave me for a birthday long ago...left it in the plastic security basket accidentally.  It sucked realizing that I left it when I was all ready belted into my seat and ready to take off.  Hopefully someone else will enjoy it and have a great story to tell.  So I visited the feeling of loss today.  Loss sucks.

*As I was on the long plane ride from Charlotte to Phoenix I really had time to think.  Emotions started running wild and I felt tears on the edge of my lower lids threatening to spill down my cheeks.  Loss sucks.

*Tonight, as I had a very late (per my time schedule) dinner.  There were many families around tables.  It sucked to be alone!  But, I did notice I had a glass of wine and was totally enjoying it while others had soft drinks.  Being alone one feels more at ease with having a drink. Being with kids you are always on the clock.  The longer I sat and sipped my wine, the more I was able to notice that at just about every table there was tension and crankiness.  Raising a family is tough.  I felt envy as I looked at an older couple dining together.  Then it sucked to be alone again.

*Picking up my rental car I thought it would be awesome to try something different.  I booked a Prius.  Very spiffy!  Have I ever driven a Prius before? NO!  THAT was fun!  Actually it is really cool.  I usually drive a Toyota Sienna around town,  I like not being in such a boat.  :)

*Thought I'd be smart and bring our Garmin GPS with me.  Ten days of driving ahead.  After several attempts to load in Williams, AZ I gave up and had to use my dying phone to get me to my hotel.  I had the cell phone car plug packed somewhere and I eventually found it once I got to the hotel.  After dinner I realized the GPS only has maps for the eastern part of the US loaded into it.

Overall analysis of today:

Emotions: Still have them

Guilt of leaving home to do this trip: Still with me

Pride in being able to plan, execute and experience a trip like this by myself:  Off the chart happy!  Although I'd love to experience it with others and I'm sort of bummed that my husband and I never were able to bring our kids here as they were growing up.

Excitement for tomorrow's adventure:  CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU ALL!!!

Missing people and furry kids at home:  Yep.  Big time.

Best thing I saw today:  Freida.  She was with her girls across the aisle from me from Charlotte to Phoenix.  She stayed under their seats.  Very Cool!  Worried though that Winston will find out and be sad I didn't bring him.  Shh!

 Funniest Thing I Saw Today:  A collar in the Skymall Magazine to cool off a hot pooch!

NOT buying this for Winston!

Thing that made me nervous:  Maintenance repair on our Puddle Jumper just before we boarded!  And it was 117 degrees here.  The flight attendant told us if it reached 177.75 degrees they shut down the airport!  Thank goodness I made it to my final destination in a timely manner.

Tomorrow's adventure:  Train ride to the Grand Canyon and Motor Coach Tour of the South Rim, and spending one night AT the GC!  :)

I can't wait to see what I discover tomorrow!  Night all.

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Walkabout.....

--------- from Dictionary.com---------


Chiefly British .
a walking tour.
an informal public stroll taken by members of the royalfamily or by a political figure for the purpose of greetingand being seen by the public.
a brief, informal leave from work, taken by an Aborigine towander the bush, visit relatives, or return to native life.
absence from work.


a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usuallyused for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday:Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activitiesof law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
an act or instance of vacating.

In my search to remember Who I Am, I am leaving my home today to head on an adventure.  Since I am going alone, by myself, not meeting up with friends or family, I am having a hard time calling this a vacation.  Although clearly, after reviewing the definitions of vacation and walkabout on dictionary.com, it appears I am going more on a vacation.  My heart is struggling with the "alone" part...hence my desire to call this a walkabout. 

I give credit to two ladies for inspiring me to head out on my own for a short time of discovery.  First author Joan Anderson, who wrote A Year By The Sea.  I was definitely reminded as I read her book that I have spent the last 27 years of my life putting everyone else dear to me first...which mostly includes my husband and children.  The second lady I will credit is my mentor, whom I politely request to leave unnamed.   She is helping me through this transitional time in my life and her guidance and support mean the world to me.  

I'm not yet exactly sure what I expect to discover about myself over these next ten days, but I will chart my adventure here in my blog.  

Your comments, kind reader, are always welcome.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lost...Who Am I?

I am entering a time in my life where everything is changing.  I don't really like change, but in order to grow it must happen.  Times of change often find us asking questions.  The question that I am being challenged with right now, Who am I?

Along the path of life it seems I have forgotten this most fundamental element...who I am.

Growing up I believed more than anything what I was to be was a mother and a wife.  That is what I aspired to be; that was my dream.  Actually, my dream was to be the BEST mother and the PERFECT wife.

A simple dream.

I have been married for almost 27 years.  My oldest child just turned 21 and my baby just graduated from high school.  My husband and children have always been my world.

When I was first married I worked full-time, but when our oldest was born I became a full-time, stay-at-home mom.  For the first five years of my son's life, I cared for another little girl too in our household.  Along came my second child and that little girl's baby brother.  I loved being a mother!  Financially times were lean, but what my husband and I were giving our children was priceless.  During those formative years I was able to monitor television exposure, encourage curiosity, build motor skills, give praise and encouragement, know what my children were eating, who they were surrounded by and share my love.  I knew what my children were exposed to because I was the one controlling all that touched their little lives.  My husband and I laid the foundation for good life skills.  My staying at home was not a decision made solely by me.  It took both of us to agree to what it would cost in our lives. Looking back from where I am now...I don't see anything that I missed out on.  But, alas, that is only my view.

As my children are leaving the nest, I see the rewards of our efforts.  Our children are beautiful human beings.  They are kind, smart and self-assured.  They will do well in whatever path they choose.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Loss reminds me of Band-Aids, on our hearts.

When my dad suffered a major heart attack and died in his sleep, it was as if a band-aid had been ripped off my heart...pulled quickly.  Lots of sudden pain, but in the grand scheme of life, the main pain, over relatively fast.

When my mom spent seven months declining and dying of GBM (Glioblastoma Multiforme) it was sort of like that band-aid was slowly being peeled away.  The hurt went on for a long time.  But I knew it was coming and I could deal with the final pull.

Right now I have one of those dangling band-aids on my heart.  It is sort of being ripped off, but then is being put back on.  Flapping around now and then and needing attention.  Ineffective in healing, but not ready to be tossed away totally.  I can't decide where this band-aid should go: in the trash, or on the wound.

Time always seems to know exactly what is best though.  Guess I'll just wait and see what happens.

~image from: http://kannanblogchap6.blogspot.com

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recycling...I Swear!

So, if you read my blog you might know that I like to take photos when I walk my dog.  And you might know that we don't just walk, we hike several times a day.  And you might also know that I have a decent camera, not just a point and shoot.  But you probably don't know that the skorts I wear do NOT have pockets that can hold a smart phone!  I've been looking in stores and online for some time on a way to solve my dilemma of needing to hold my phone in my hand when I take it with me.  I cannot leave it at home...that is NOT an option.  I did buy a Vera Bradley wallet that can hold my cell phone, but I really do not want to take my wallet into the woods each time I head out.

I am the sort of person who knows what I'd like and if I can't find it...I'll find a way to make it.  So, looking at 'how to's' I found this:  Blog with tutorial for making a cell phone holder.

Using the bottom part of an old pair of jeans, that are now shorts, and some other scrap material this is what I did today!

Using this nifty sewing machine I got from my mom...I embroidered a cool design on the jean material

I could get addicted to this kind of crafting!

Ta Da!  

I LOVE the finished product!  I added a clip that I can easily snap on and off my camera strap.  The wrist strap is actually the hemmed bottom edge of my jeans!  The inside material is leftover from some Rip and Tear napkins I made awhile back.  Do you need that link again?  Click here:  Rip and Tear Napkins at Wee Folk Art Blog!

I tell you, we stopped using paper napkins about two years ago.  I don't think I will ever be able to go back!  :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reflections on Father's Day

My dad died in 1985.
Twenty-eight years ago...on June 20th.

                     My father was...

a family man
and handsome 
(I think he looked like Dean Martin!)

I still miss him.  

Mostly I miss his embrace.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Out With The Old!

The first change I'll mention is that our household is changing.  The baby in the house is far from being a baby anymore and is heading to college this fall!  That means our nest will be empty.

In anticipation of having too much free time on my hands come August, I met with an advisor just after the new year and made a plan on getting back into school myself.  I spent the first quarter of the year studying and preparing to take tests.  After test taking, resume and personal statement writing, soliciting letters of reference, I am happy to report that I am officially a Graduate Student at Indiana University!

I will start classes this fall when my baby starts classes.  I am one of several cohorts in the Elementary Certification Masters Program.  I can't wait to meet my other classmates.  A huge part of me wishes this August was all ready here.  I am ready to start this next stage of my life.  I feel like I am being reborn!
second nest of hatching Bluebirds this season

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


...life is filled with change.  

Are you ready to hear what is going on with me?  
Stay tuned!