Bathroom remodel

I know I owe you more from Alaska. I’m trying to find one video I know I took and saved somewhere….

I had my bathroom repainted, and chose some new accessories. Since my blog has a travel theme, I thought I would include a few links to where I have some of the decorations.

https://www.catsmeow.com/ – the figurines on the doorframe. I’ve talked to their staff, and they are just the nicest people.

Jenkinson’s Point Pleasant Boardwalk in New Jersey. Unless you like gambling and cheap imported junk, go here instead of Atlantic City

Yes, you need to watch this movie.

https://www.spoonflower.com/ – Where I bought the fabric, so many choices

Best place to find sets and gifts, and it’s side not front, lakefront is where you charter a bus, Lakeside is the catalog 🙂 https://www.lakeside.com/homels

Some find this cheesy, but I found it very sweet https://preciousmomentschapel.org/visitor-center/

https://www.paintingwithatwist.com/ A fun outing for some friends.

Wednesday Flying to Alaska

We flew out of Cincinnati on Wednesday. Neither Laura nor I fly often enough we could resist taking some photos. Like the skeleton from the Musuem Center that is at the airport while Union Terminal is being remodeled.

I had splurged on economy plus, which meant actual leg room, earlier boarding, beer or wine, upgraded snacks and dedicated overhead space. For the Minneapolis to Seattle and Seattle to Anchorage leg, it’s worth it, but the Cincinnati to Minneapolis leg is fairly short and the plane isn’t large enough that my carry-on had to be gate checked as the plane wasn’t big enough for it to fit in the overhead compartment.

The plane arrived slightly early, which was nice because we had to cross from terminal C to F or so. Luckily there was a train. We bought some shakes and split some fries at the restaurant across from the gate.

Yummy, and very much for a minimum of two people.

The flight left on time and we were early into Seattle. It was a pretty descent. The gates here were close together. We were in Seattle, and it’s, like, required to get Starbucks and Instagram it, right? #doitforthegram

The last two legs had quite a bit of leg room, which I appreciated. However, the travel day was wearing on me. Did you know that you can use text and Messenger when over 10,000 feet? You probably do if you are my friend because I was bugging you to entertain me through the four hour flight.

I was practically counting down the minutes second by second until we landed. I’ve heard that they were going to add a direct flight from Cincinnati to Seattle, but honestly, I needed the break at the airport to walk around. We landed in Alaska early even. You look around the airport and realize you could only be in Alaska.

We grabbed the suitcases and dragged them to the rental car counter which is a hike. I had a coupon from a previous rental smellling like cigarettes. Enterprise honored the 25% off, which was about $50 during one of the biggest weeks for tourism in the year. Much thanks for that. We were given a Focus. While it was newer than the one I traded-in on the 2017 Fusion, it was good to be familiar with the layout. It was cold going out to the car in the garage and the turns out were so tight, it made me happy that I used to park in the Dayton Transportation Center – and that I no longer do. Luckily the Lakefront hotel is only a couple miles away. We checked in and dropped our stuff in the room, which was an incredible far from the elevators and lobby. I posted this when we left on my Facebook page to show people because I wasn’t going to post a map to where we were staying. 🙂 The only elevators are at the top of the map, and we are the red dot at the very bottom.

We went down the the hotel restaurant for dinner. It was about 8:30 and we were tired. We were able to get a table without to much issue. I had Alaskan fish and chips but was too tired to take photos. From their shirts, I could tell that Jeff Deeter and https://blacksprucedogsledding.com/ were at the next table. I wanted to say hi, but all I could think to say was that I follow their Facebook page, which didn’t seem like a good reason to interrupt their dinner – also I knew I was so tired that I doubted my ability to speak clearly. After we finished eating, we went back to the room to unpack and sleep.

Notes on the photo – why yes, there’s a stuffed polar bear in the lobby. I think the moose lamp right inside the door of the room is very cute. The rooms are great – spacious, clean, good wifi. What else could you want? One thing, the barn door to the bathroom means there isn’t a lock and there’s a gap where you can see in if you aren’t careful.

Back to the Iditarod

I’ve been planning to write this up for the past four months and finally have started.

I don’t remember if I had posted that my parents, aunt and I planned to return to the Iditarod this past March as we had so much fun in 2017. It was all well and good until Dad had a sciatic nerve problem last fall. It’s incredibly painful but it turned out to be a blessiing as we found that Dad had a softball size malignant tumor on one of his kidneys that we had no idea existed. He had one his kidney removed at the end of January, again so thankful as we had no idea that elective surgeries (ie planned surgeries) would soon all be postponed. Because of all this, my parents and aunt made the decision to not go to Alaska but that Laura should go with me. It’s too bad I didn’t video her reaction when I invited her before church one Sunday out of the blue to her.

I’m going to do this by creating a post for each day. This one is very early Tuesday morning or rather so late Monday evening that it was after midnight and now Tuesday when I was packing up everything. I did a video of what to pack. I’m in Ohio going to Alaska in March – what do you expect and what to take? And yes, I overpack.

Here’s the video:

Back to Alaska

I know way too long without a post.

I’m going back to the Iditarod start, and I wanted to share it with you again.

I finished packing at 1:50 this morning (Woo-hoo, almost 36 hours before take off)  I did a video of what I am packing and thought you might like to see it.

What I am packing

I think when I get back, I will do another post on what I bought and what I would have changed about what I packed.

Get to Know Me – Part 1

My friend Teresa at https://henscratches.wordpress.com posted this the other day, and I decided to follow suit.  Peer pressure at its best, amiright?  She mentioned favorite books, it reminded my more of slambooks created right after the Sweet Valley High book of the same name came out.

My favorite:

Color: Pink, Purple, Red.  I like “true” colors, rather than muted ones.

Flower: IDK?  They all die around me.

Animal: Dogs, if you didn’t guess because most of the blog posts here are about the Iditarod. 🙂

Food: Seafood (crab, lobster, shrimp) LaRosa’s pizza

Drink: Lemonade with another fruit, Baja Blast.  I know I drink way too much Diet Mountain Dew, but I don’t like coffee but I do like caffeine.

Season: Summer or Fall.  When I’m traveling or doing something besides work.

Holiday: Christmas – I love the decorations and presents.  Also, I like Palm Sunday better than Easter.  There’s really great hymns, usually with brass, there’s palms to wave. We’re celebrating at church with our family versus those who just show up for Easter and crowd everyone together while you are wearing a new scratchy outfit.  Probably why a former minister commented that you can tell I grew up in the church.

Game: Angry Birds Pop or Angry Birds Match.  I probably should say a board game, if so Trivial Pursuit because I’m awesome at it, and I like to win.

Music/song/musician: Tobymac or for King and Country (Both of who I will be seeing in two weeks at Spirit Song)  Mostly Christian music, and somewhere along the line I started picking up more country.  For me though that’s more old Taylor Swift and Rascal Flats. I know that’s sacrilegious to most country fans.  DC Talk’s In the Light is still my favorite song.  Let’s hope Toby plays it!

Book/author: Laura Ingalls Wilder, LM Montgomery, some Debbie MacComber.  I really go for light things or nonfiction.  John Miller has the best biographies about Laura Ingalls Wilder

Movie/TV/actor:   I don’t know I’ve been watching a lot of Last Man Standing since Pretty Little Liars ended.  Fuller House and Alexa & Kate are probably my favorites on Netflix.  Favorite movie is probably Shag.  I dare you to cast your friends as the characters.

So now you know a little more about me!

Laura and I

Thank you Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and Honored Guests.

Close your eyes and picture with me your second grade classroom.  It’s the end of May.  The teacher has dimmed the lights to show a filmstrip!  Open your eyes.  (Note:  During that time a Powerpoint slide is put up that shows me on the front porch in DeSmet, a set of books, and a screenshot of the Beyond Little House Facebook page) This may not sound like the start of a life changing event, but it was.  The filmstrip was about the Little House book series and its’ author Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The library was already closed for the summer, but I promised myself that I would check the books out in the fall.  I began with Little House in the Big Woods and quickly moved through series.  My classmates knew that the last person to check out any book in the series would be me.  Except the Liberty Elementary library did not have a copy of On the Banks of Plum Creek.  I may have mentioned this travesty to my parents once or several dozen times. That year St. Nicholas brought me a copy in my stocking.  I’m not sure what we learned in school that day.  I learned the horrors of a grasshopper plague while reading the entire 400 page book in one day.

A couple years later in 1987, my parents bought our first minivan and said we were going to Yellowstone.  I knew enough of the US map to know that South Dakota is on the way to Wyoming.  I was successful as you can tell from the picture of me standing on the front porch of Ma and Pa Ingalls’ house in De Smet, South Dakota.  The next year as we came back from the Grand Canyon, I suggested (or insisted) that we stop by Mansfield, Missouri.  Laura and Almanzo moved there in 1894, and stayed for the rest of their lives.  By 2005, I had managed to visit all the marked “Little House” sites.  These are all in small towns.  Some might have disappeared, if not for the cash the tourists bring each year.  Before you feel too sorry for my parents, I should add that my father is a history buff.  He may have rolled his eyes when I announced a visit was part of the year’s vacation.  Once there, he appeared to greatly enjoy the sites and discussing the relationship between the books and US history with me afterwards.  In fact, the odds today of a discussion are still quite good during a long car trip.  While at these home sites, I found many supplemental.  Yes, it is quite a collection that continues to grow.

Fifteen years ago, I found the Frontier Girl message board.  To quote Anne Shirley, I had found my kindred spirits!  People who spend time debating whether “The First Four Years” was written between the Pioneer Girl manuscript and the book series or if it was written after the book series, as the timeline suggests.  Or how close daughter Rose’s short story, “Innocence” mirrors the year the Wilders’ spent in Florida.  (Consensus being that the family didn’t enjoy their time in Florida but Cousin Peter’s wife most likely didn’t try to kill Rose.)  I developed many friendships that didn’t stay just on the message board.  Many of us lived vicariously on Facebook through Jamie’s family’s recent Make-A-Wish trip to Disney.  We were thrilled when they managed to visit with several bonnetheads.

You may not be aware of it, but most textbooks for the blind are printed in Louisville.  A few Januarys ago, the company held a birthday party for Mary Ingalls to celebrate the opening of an exhibit on her life.  They noted she was one of the most well-known blind people.  Unfortunately, many people think she was married and lost a child in a fire.  Events completely created for the tv show.  Several days before, I called to RSVP.  I was told that both parties were full, but I could be added to the waiting list.  I consulted Rebecca, one of the presenters.  We agreed – if I drove down in the snow, I would not be turned away.  It was a fascinating event.  Afterwards Rebecca and I were chatting.  The coordinator told us about the 500 person waiting list.   I couldn’t believe how many shared what my friends and family consider to be my very odd hobby.  This may explain why the autobiographical Pioneer Girl sold over 100,000 more copies than originally anticipated.   This summer the Laura Ingalls Wilder Research Association held its’ fourth conference in Springfield, Missouri.  It was an amazing time to hear about upcoming projects, touring the Wilder’s final home, and staying up to four a.m. catching up and singing karaoke.  It was, also, my first conference as a Board Member, and as of the start of the year, I am thrilled to be the treasurer.  I can’t wait to give back to something that has given me so much.

I thank you for the chance to share with you how one small event in elementary school continues to affect my daily life.

One more Alaska post

img_6033.jpgSo I have conflicting feelings about this.  I was in Campus Crusade for Christ in college, so I’m familiar with the 4 Spiritual Laws.  OTOH, I feel like having an actual relationship with a person is a much better was to evangelize and share our faith.

I’ve heard before that people go to major sporting events to pass out tracts to visitors.  When we were in Alaska, we found out that the Iditarod attracts these as well.  Of course they try to strike up a conversation.  Again, I think a friendship is a much better way than random street evangelism.  So what did I do?  I mentioned that our minister was jealous that we were going to the Iditarod start (as he really was) and could I have a copy to take back to him?  I do like the correlation between the race and the Christian walk – just maybe not by random strangers. LLaws. 

North Carolina

Our girls’ weekend is finally here. We’ve been counting down the days. We left today to go down to Asheville. 


Did you know there is a Russell Stover outlet by Severville?  An excellent rest stop. Especially since L is a chocolate freak.  

As we got closer to the destination, we stopped and picked up dinner in Mars Hill. 


We recommend the pulled pork sandwiches!  We arrived at the cabin up a windy road. It’s got a great view and a pretty interior. 


I’ll let you know what we think of the hot tub!

Any Asheville recommendations?

Donut Trail

Butler County has created a donut trail.

Here’s the Enquirer’s coverage:

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/entertainment/2016/02/12/love-donuts/79707678/

Sounds fun doesn’t it?  Not going to do them all in one day because sweetness overload.  However, a friend and I are going to try to hit one each week.  We started this week with Martin’s in Trenton.

IMG_5884

Yummy!

Here’s the link to the passport if you want to start

http://www.gettothebc.com/donut-trail

Let me know if you do try it!