Posts Tagged ‘Travel’


August 2014

these are my doodles as I dream about bike riding in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii on my 60th birthday


I’ve been thinking lately about what it takes to create a memorable summer. Seems like the sort of thing Adventure Barbie might enjoy though, don’t you think?

If asked to pinpoint the best summer of my life so far, I’d be weighing carefully the summers of 1967 and 1984. Both deviated from the norm; each changed my life in important ways.

Go Lite Travel TrailerNo more than two days out of 7th grade, Mom and I packed the Go Lite camping trailer, hitched it to the back of an International Harvester pickup truck and headed for Indiana, the farm country where my mother was raised. We spent four weeks visiting my aunts, uncles, and cousins before heading back to Nebraska so that Dad could join us for the next leg of the journey.

We spent the entire month of July exploring Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. I swam in the Great Salt Lake and hiked in the Grand Canyon. I waited impatiently for Old Faithful to erupt and enjoyed playing cards with new groups of kids as we changed campgrounds nearly every night. I wrote post cards to my friends at home and learned many ways to entertain myself during the long drives between sites.

Go-Lite0002In August, Mom and I traveled alone once again. I remember visiting Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, my uncle’s candy store in northern Michigan, and my twin cousin in Minnesota. On my 13th birthday I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and I struggled to prepare for my impending demise. No, I didn’t feel THAT bad, but I was convinced it was a terminal illness and that people were just being kind by saying I would be okay.

Thirty years ago this week in 1984, I voluntarily left employment as a secretary in corporate America. After Memorial Day I officially began full-time as the owner and operator of Happy Fingers Typing Service, the first secretarial service in our city to offer cutting edge “computerized word processing.” That, too, was a summer of adventure as I took on the many challenges of self employment.

The experiences of both of those summers are important to the person I am today. In 1967, I had plenty of time to imagine what I wanted for myself as an adult. I believe many of my ambitions and dreams were planted during that summer of discovery. I’m also immensely grateful to my 29-year-old self for her determination, courage, and resourcefulness as she set out on her own. My life has been shaped time and again by the challenges and opportunities of owning my own business.

Now, as I count down the weeks to my 60th birthday in August, I’m determined to make this summer memorable, one with ample doses of discovery, challenge, and adventure. This summer I am committing to stepping outside my comfort zone; to making choices that will boost my levels of courage, compassion, and creativity; and to allowing you, my readers, to hold me accountable for Creating The Best Summer of My Life (so far). Stay tuned for Regular (dare I commit to weekly?) Progress Reports.


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Standing for a Photo

I never stand with my ankles touching

  1. My Actual Hair Color – I’d gladly tell you what it is, but I’m not really sure. I’ve colored my hair for 25+ years. My hairdresser says you can tell by looking at my eyebrows. Maybe something between brown and raw umber?
  2. I never stand with my ankles touching – When I was 3, my right leg got caught in the spokes of a bicycle, resulting in a terrible compound fracture. We’re talking major blood and pain. The break didn’t heal very well, and I’ve always been self-conscious about it. I find creative ways of standing so no one notices.
  3. I’m an “only child,” and I have a half-brother – He’s 12 years older than I, and he was raised by my mother’s sister. I don’t know him. I don’t even know where he lives or how to spell his last name. I talked to him once before Mom died but not since.
  4. Dad told me that my eyes were brown because I was full of shit – When I was little, I believed him. I still do and curiously find it a source of pride.
  5. I’m musically challenged – I don’t sing well, I don’t even hum well. And I know the words to maybe three songs written after 1977. I never listen to the radio.
  6. In 1974 I won a 10-speed bike for making the most words out of the letters in a local radio station’s motto. I beat the second place person by over 3,000 words. I guess I didn’t have much to do in those ancient days before they invented Words with Friends.
  7. My mother turned 19 on the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) – My father turned 80 the day terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon (September 11, 2011) .
  8. I didn’t see the ocean in person until I was 20 – I was in awe then, and it still takes my breath away!
  9. I’ve traveled to England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, and Austria – and many of these United States. I especially love taking ranger-led hikes in national parks. My favorite place to visit is someplace I’ve never been.
  10. My top typing speed in competition was 130 wpm – I haven’t exceeded 120 since I broke my left ring finger in a water park accident. FYI – 120 is 10 keystrokes per second. I don’t know how I do it either, but it’s one of my most cherished gifts.

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