Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The year of crazy traveling

Travel this year has been impressive!  In additional to the trips we've made just for fun, I've been travelling for work more than usual.  Last year, my boss asked if I'd be interested in enrolling in TNC's leadership training program.  Eighteen months of training--lots of conference calls and webinars, but also a half dozen in-person trainings around the US.  I've been to Austin (twice), Minneapolis, and Boulder.  There was also a conference in Memphis, Nebraska and San Diego.  Since I love my job and the folks I work with, all of these trips have been awesome!

Doug and I also got to spend "Penguin Day" with his family down in Florida. This is a special Becker family holiday celebrated (this year) in May--this holiday occurs after the Beckers don't get together for Thanksgiving day.  We also did the big family reunion up in Ontario, at the Wonnacott (Doug's Mom's side of the family) family farm.  I also got to spend a lovely family weekend on Crooked Lake in NE Indiana with the Solkowski clan, to celebrate my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary.

I'll use the completely false excuse of travelling so much to explain why we've been neglecting this blog.  And, make up for it by posting all of the trips we've done this year in rapid succession

Let's start with Aruba!

Last year, Doug and I volunteered to be bumped from a flight to score some free flights.  After a few false starts (first we tried to book Bermuda and the Dominican Republic, but failed), we booked our flights to Aruba in March.  We used airbnb.com to find a rental house, and that was the extent of our planning for the trip.  Awesome!

We arrived to balmy weather and tracked down our rental agent.   And the house was....wow.

A million dollar house just off the beach.  There were a few other people there, but since the house was a split level, we rarely saw the other folks.   We'd rented snorkeling gear for the whole week, so I managed to snorkel every day we were there.  We saw lots of fun fishes and two sea turtles!

That little blip to the right of the big rock is me!

This was a lovely little whirlwind vacation. There was time in the ocean, time in the pool, napping in hammocks, hiking and exploring (and getting lost, which is a little impressive on an island that's only 21 miles long).  On our 1st day of hiking through Aruba's Arikok National Park, we quested to find the (not so) elusive wild goats.  Which was awesome.  On the 2nd day of hiking we had a very long sweaty hike trying to get to the "natural pool".  We got lost.  Really lost. In a really pretty place on the edge of the island, but still, lost.
After we followed our trail back, I gave up the quest for the "pool" and read a book while Doug rallied for a 2nd attempt to get to it.  You see, there was this REALLY big hill...and the book just seemed so much less....sweaty.  :)

We did decide that we needed to dedicate some time on a future tropical vacation, to learning how to kite sail.  It looks completely impossible and way fun!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm going to miss that cat

Today, we unexpectedly had to say goodbye to my sweet, fractious, difficult, grouchy, wonderful cat, Agatha.

Twelve years ago, I got to bring home a tiny little handful of black and white fur. That cute little bat-earred kitten grew into a wonderful furry friend. I'm going to miss her. She was a good cat.