A Mixed Bag

We arrived at our summer destination a little over two weeks ago. Those two weeks have been filled with a mixed bag of emotions, poor energy, and stress. In addition, we celebrated an anniversary.

Wedding Anniversary

Al and I met toward the tail end of 1980 … nearly 40 years ago. That’s a lot of time to spend with one person. We’ve certainly had our fair share of ups and downs but no regrets. During the month of June, we celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary.

Our special day was spent visiting the city of Duluth, Minnesota. We had some errands to run while we were in the ‘big city’. After our errands and lunch, we strolled a Lake Superior beach and talked … reminiscing and wondering where has the time gone. Northeast Minnesota – Minnesota’s Arrowhead, will always hold a special place in our hearts.

This photo of Al was taken 38 years ago. Near Gunflint Lake, MN

Al and I used to spend our summer vacations in northeast Minnesota camping and canoeing. At the time, we worked in the airline industry; he a Pilot and me a Flight Attendant. We could’ve flown anywhere in the world for either free or mere pennies, but we chose to escape civilization and immerse ourselves in Minnesota’s Northwoods. Ah, the memories!

In light of those memories, our anniversary gift to each other was a couple of¬†Minnesota coffee mugs. We rarely set foot into a Starbucks, but when our daughter introduced us to the “been there series” of mugs, well let’s just say it was time for a Starbucks visit. These mugs make us smile every morning while enjoying our coffee.

By the way, Al spent seven years in the Navy, twenty-two years as a Commercial Airline Pilot, and twelve years as a Residential General Contractor and NEVER drank coffee. But after just two short years of living full-time in an RV with me, I was finally able to corrupt him, and for the past five years, he has been an official coffee drinker. I started drinking coffee when I was sixteen during a summer spent in Germany and it took me 35 years to bring Al to the dark side. And yes, he drinks coffee black just as I do!

Other news – RV repairs and Stress

So although we enjoyed our actual anniversary, those first two weeks in Wisconsin were very stressful and sleep-deprived. During our long drive to northern Wisconsin, we encountered some problematic issues with our RV.

Anytime the belly of the beast leaks, that’s an issue for immediate attention. Fortunately, it was not of the stinky nature, but a serious problem nonetheless.

Slicing open the belly of the RV, diagnosing the problem, AND then figuring out the fix was a stressful situation … a situation that caused many sleepless nights.

First, we wondered if this was a project we could tackle, and second if we couldn’t, would we be able to find a place to get it fixed? Oh, and we haven’t even addressed the money issue yet.

Spoiler alert – the RV is almost put back together. Al and I fixed her up and are in the testing phase to make sure there won’t be any future leaks. We’ll give her another week or so before we close up the RV belly with new material that is on order.

So while we’re almost done with this major RV project (relief), how about doing some more projects – fun projects? Insert serious eye-rolling/head shaking from husband Al. Ah, and to think he thought he’d have nothing to do all summer but fish ūüėĀ. After thirty-seven years of marriage, did he really think he could just idle away his summer? He should know better! Besides I can be rather persuasive … lots of fresh baked goods, steaming hot coffee, and logical reasoning are in his future, amongst other rewards. Stay tuned for RV Fixer Upper!


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Full-filling Dreams

June is always a time for Al and me to do a little celebrating. We have a couple of important anniversaries to celebrate. Sometimes I don’t know where the time has gone. Time can be fleeting. On one hand it seems like yesterday that I was preparing to walk down the aisle and marry my partner in crime and on the other hand it seems like a lifetime ago. The last thirty plus years have sure been one heck of a ride!

outdoor weddings
over thirty some years ago – where has the time gone
So not only did we celebrate another wedding anniversary, we celebrated our full-time RV living adventure. At the end of June, we completed four years of living in the RV full-time. Funny how what was suppose to be a year or two has now turned into five. As we enter year five, we have no immediate plans to change things up.

I was feeling a little nostalgic the other day and started reading some of my earlier blog posts about the transition of selling the house and moving into the RV. I thought I’d re-share a post I wrote back in April 2013 as we were preparing to move into the RV full-time.

outdoor wedding
let’s take a look back
¬†A look back……

Skirts AloftI came across a book titled ‚ÄúSkirts Aloft‚Äú.¬† I smile, sit down, and open the front cover.¬† On the inside of the book in handwriting it says, ‚ÄúIngrid, may all your dreams come true. Love, Mom‚ÄĚ. I had lost my mom exactly a year earlier and coming across this handwritten message brought tears to my eyes.

Ah, the memories ……

I was seven years old the first time I traveled to Europe.¬† It was the mid 1960‚Äôs and my parents had not been back to Germany since they immigrated to the United States in the late 50’s.¬† My mom had been¬†experiencing¬†twinges of home-sickness.¬† So after a year of hard work of¬†scrimping and saving, our family of five was off to Germany for a three-week vacation.

It never ceases to amaze me what memories my mind chooses to recall.  My mom, an excellent seamstress, had made matching dresses and coats for my three-year old sister, myself, and our Thumbelina dolls.  These were the years everyone dressed up to travel, white gloves and all.  Our outfits were the latest, most up to date fashion in Jackie O style.

We boarded a Lufthansa plane.  My three-year old sister sat at the window. My mom sat in the center and I sat on the aisle.  My dad sat across the aisle with my eleven year old brother.  I remember being bored and having trouble sitting still.   My mom was exasperated and embarrassed as the gentleman sitting in the seat in front of me had to repeatedly turn around and ask that I stop kicking his seat.  Come on, it’s a long trip to fly from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, and this of course, was long before any kind of technology for entertainment.

My mom thought traveling with a three-year old would be a challenge…..not….sister slept most of the time when she wasn’t eating.  What a good little girl.  The seven-year old, moi …..well, the kicking of the seat, the whining, and the frequent visits to the bathroom were just a precursor to the ensuing fun for mom.

Flight AttendantWith an hour left before landing, the crew came through the cabin taking care of last-minute clean up and paperwork.¬† I‚Äôm¬†mesmerized by the pretty gals in their navy blue uniforms adorned with bright yellow scarves.¬† This is when I tell my mother, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to be a¬†Stewardess when I grow up‚ÄĚ.¬† ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs nice honey‚ÄĚ, she responds, clearly exhausted.

As the plane starts the initial descent, that‚Äôs when I reach for the¬†first¬†barf bag.¬† Did I mention, I have a problem with motion sickness?¬† Not a big surprise for dear mom as she had plenty of practice with my car sickness.¬† Once again the three-year old sits quietly and is duly entertained by looking out the window while poor mom deals with the¬†puking¬†seven-year old.¬† Two barf bags later and an empty one in hand, we‚Äôre in my uncle‚Äôs car heading to his house.¬† That‚Äôs¬†when my mom turns to me and asks, ‚ÄúSo, you still want to be a Stewardess when you grow up?‚ÄĚ

The car is warm.¬† I‚Äôm sitting in the middle in the backseat.¬† I have my barf bag in hand.¬† Before answering mom, I dry¬†heave into the bag then respond, ‚ÄúYes mommy, I still want to be a Stewardess‚ÄĚ.¬† My dad chuckles and shakes¬†his head in total amusement, while mom clearly could use a break from this seven-year old.

Nine years later at the age of sixteen, I board a Lufthansa flight by myself bound for Frankfurt,¬†Germany,¬†for a summer abroad.¬† Hugs and kisses goodbye are plentiful.¬† Mom goes in for a second hug and whispers in my ear, ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt forget to¬†keep¬†one of ‘those’ bags within reach just in case you need to throw up‚ÄĚ.¬† ‚ÄúYes mom, thanks‚ÄĚ.¬† Yep, at sixteen I still needed one of¬†those¬†bags.¬† Oh, how embarrassing!

My summer in Germany was amazing and in many ways, life changing.  And although I still endured motion sickness, the dream to become a Stewardess did not falter.

Chicago skyline

In my early twenties I fulfilled this dream and¬†was hired as a Flight Attendant for a small airline based in Chicago.¬† My first day¬†on the job was a six leg flight schedule.¬† Each flight is referred to as a ‚Äúleg‚ÄĚ.¬† This was my flight schedule that first work day as a Flight Attendant‚Ķ..

  1. Chicago to DetroitChicago
  2. Detroit to Chicago
  3. Chicago to St. Louis
  4. St. Louis to Chicago
  5. Chicago to Detroit
  6. Detroit to Chicago

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?  Strap on throwing up eleven times!  No problem with next months weigh-in for this vomit comet.  Yes, those were the days of regular weigh-ins.  You had to maintain a certain weight or risk being fired. Heels, make-up, and nails done were also requirements back then.

My second day on the job went a little easier…..

  1. Chicago to Kansas City
  2. Kansas City to Chicago
  3. Chicago to Washington D.C.   Arrive in D.C. at 9 p.m. and spend the night.  The next morning check-in at Regan National Airport for a 6:30 a.m. departure.
  4. Washington D.C. to Chicago
  5. Chicago to Detroit
  6. Detroit to Chicago      Off for three days…..time to rehydrate.

The vomiting stopped after six weeks, but the headaches and occasional dizziness would still rear its ugly head from time to time, especially in the spring time when the cold and warm air currents were mixing.  To me, the movement felt like the gentle rolling of a sailboat riding the waves ….. NOT the kind of movement that agrees with me.

Trips to the Caribbean confirmed my lack of love for sailing.¬† I love the water but prefer a speed¬†boat,¬†jet ski, or even a canoe.¬† Cars?¬† I‚Äôll take a¬†Jeep over a Cadillac any day of the week.¬† When the airplane would encounter severe turbulence, I was fine.¬† It‚Äôs that gentle rolling motion I can‚Äôt handle.¬† I‚Äôll refrain from saying, ‚ÄúI like it rough‚ÄĚ for fear some folks might take this statement the wrong way¬†ūüėČ

It was during my third month on the job when I walked into Flight Operations to check in for a flight.   There standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall was a German-Norwegian hunk of a man in a navy blue uniform.  What is it with me and those navy blue uniforms?

outdoor weddingI¬†introduce myself, ‚ÄúHi, you must be new around here.¬† My name is Ingrid.¬† I believe we‚Äôll be working together for the next few days.‚Ä̬† I never imagined I had just introduced myself to my future husband‚Ķ. First Officer Al. And they said it wouldn’t last!

I was a Flight Attendant for five years and feel very fortunate to have¬†full-filled the dream of a once naive¬†seven-year old.¬† My mom always questioned my ability to be a Flight Attendant due to my motion sickness and encouraged me to go to school to be a nurse or a teacher. She’d say, “just in case, you know“, but she never discouraged or tried to squash my dream.

I have the fondest of memories of those years flying….the good as well as the bad.  Yes, there was plenty of bad like the Air Traffic Controllers strike in the 80’s.  A flight from Chicago to St. Louis usually takes about an hour.  We’d pull back from the gate and sit in line on the tarmac for one to two hours waiting for take off.  FAA regulations requires the Flight Attendants and passengers to remain seated at this stage….no drinks, no potty, no fun, and lots of complaints.  Not the fondest of memories.

Washington DC

Then there’s the travel benefits.  One year for her birthday, I took my mom to Washington D.C. for lunch.  We caught the first flight out of Chicago to D.C.  Several of the pilots I worked with had spent years working at the Pentagon and obviously were very familiar with the D.C. area.  A few restaurants were recommended and I chose one that was known for southern cooking, complete with black-eyed peas, and housed in a historical building.  Mom and I had a great day.

Another time, my folks joined Al and¬†me for a Boston layover and witnessed¬†us at work.¬† Al was the Captain and I the head Flight Attendant.¬† I was the one in the front of the¬†cabin doing all the talking‚Ķ..I love being in charge.¬† ‚ÄúLook, mom.¬† No puking‚ÄĚ.¬† She was proud.¬† Fun times‚Ķ‚Ķah, the stories are plentiful.

Life changes, we grow, and we move on.  New dreams are forged. With that said, time for me to get back to sorting the other boxes here in the basement …… I have a new dream chapter to get started on after all.  Here’s to all your dreams coming true!

*******************************************

That was then, this is now ….. So while Al and I toast to another year in the books, we discuss tentative plans for this next year of full-time RVing ….. plans that are written ‘in jello’ with lots of wiggle room. Although we’ve narrowed down our options, we’re still torn with choices….. our journey continues!

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Isn’t romance wonderful?

romantic weddingsLove is in the air!¬† Did you know June is one of the most popular months to get married?¬† I know, I know….. it’s July 1st and I’m posting about June weddings.¬† What can I say – I’ve been a busy gal.¬† So let’s talk about June weddings and why June is such a popular month to wed.

One¬†popular myth; most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell …….

Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet of fresh flowers when getting Married.romantic themed weddings

romantic themed outdoor wedding

Or perhaps a nicer reason might have to do with an ancient Roman goddess named Juno. Juno was the Roman goddess of marriage. For this reason, many Romans chose to honor her by tying the knot in June. Like a lot of traditions, this one seemed to stick.

romantic outdoor weddingAnother possible reason¬†couples often married in June; so they could time the conception of their first child.¬†It was important that¬†the wife wouldn’t be too far along in her pregnancy to perform the manual labor required during harvest time. Romantic, eh?

Hubby and I walked down the aisle in June over thirty years ago.¬† Yep, I was a June bride……. but I can assure you I bathed the day of the wedding and even bathed the day before.

Since I’m not a Roman, I didn’t feel a need to honor the Roman Goddess Juno.¬† AND since I was definitely a city gal at the time, agriculture and harvesting bore no scheduling in my reproductive endeavors.

MY reason for wanting to be a June bride was based strictly on weather.  Not that the weather in Chicago is ever predictable, but June seemed to put the odds in our favor for a successful outdoor wedding.  Yes sir-reeee, it was a perfect day and perfect wedding.

All of the above photos are of Al and me 31 years ago.  Where has the time gone?bride wears cowboy boots

It’s time for the next generation.¬† Time for the twenty something’s to plan their own perfect day.Colorado outdoor wedding

My daughter’s best friend chose to¬†wed in June also¬†and although I can’t attest to HER reasons for choosing to be a June bride, I’d venture a guess and say¬†her decision¬†was¬†most likely based¬†in regards to¬†weather.¬† Hmm, she did carry a large, lovely bouquet of fresh flowers that smelled wonderful¬†ūüėČ

Even though the day proved to be¬†overcast, it was non the less a perfect day, amongst perfect surroundings, and¬†a perfectly beautiful¬†wedding.Colorado outdoor weddingThe event took place¬†in the brides parent’s backyard in Conifer, Colorado.¬† And in true Colorado form, the bride and her bridesmaids all wore cowboy boots.Colorado mountain themed weddingAl and I were thrilled to be included in the celebration.¬† It brought back such found memories.¬† Although we’re not ready to walk our lovely daughter down the aisle just yet, it was fun watching her in the role of bridesmaid.

We wish the happy couple many, many years of joy, love, and happiness!
romantic Colorado


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Another Anniversary

Another year and another anniversary.¬† It’s hard to believe Al and I have been married for thirty years.¬† Yes, quite the accomplishment I’d say.¬† I’ll admit, it hasn’t always been easy, but it has been an amazing¬†journey, one¬†that I wouldn’t trade.My Wedding

anniversaryAl and I have been fortunate to have lived in some lovely houses over the years complete with plenty of room to spare and spread out….i.e. my space and¬†his space.¬† So when we embarked on our four-month¬†get away this past winter in the RV, we had our fair share of “moments”.¬† Hmm…. you know, the moments when you wonder¬†how you’ll¬†survive living in 250 square feet 24/7.

In the long run, it’s all about communication.¬† We’re able to talk about the things that work and the things that¬†don’t.¬† We still love hanging out with each other.¬†¬†We feel being able to¬†discuss past¬†faux pas¬†openly, honestly,¬†and with humor is important.¬† Contrary to popular belief, we’re not perfect ;-)Thirty years is a lot of history after all.

Full circle…….¬† Our journey together started off with just the two of us traveling in the Airline Industry.¬† It wasn’t uncommon to decide spur of the moment to¬†travel to the Caribbean for a weekend of snorkeling or to jet off to New York City for¬†a day¬†of shopping.

We’ve since raised two children, enjoyed the companionship of two¬†wonderful Brittany Spaniels, and we’re back to just the two of us.¬† Here’s to another thirty year’s of fun and¬†excitement as we ready ourselves for a new adventure…..an adventure full of travel and explorations.¬† Happy Anniversary to us ‚ô•wedding

Happy Anniversary….

Al and I have always had an interest in the “Wild West“.¬† We enjoy watching Westerns, and¬†Al is a huge John Wayne fan.¬†¬†Al grew up watching TV shows such as; The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, The Cisco Kid………note the common thread!¬† I reluctantly admit to reading romance novels, ones set in the 1800’s…….ya know, cowboys, Indians, horses, mystery, and love. ¬† Al and I will occasionally listen to these period romance novels in audio form on long travel days with the Rig.

Al and Ingrid get married…..many, many moons ago!

So when it came time to plan our wedding, our thoughts drifted to the perceived romance of times long past, BUT with a contemporary¬†twist.¬† You see, Al and I like horses but we’re not horse¬†people.¬†¬†Guided trail rides are the only way we¬†ride horses,¬†and we ride like typical city slickers.¬† Therefore, a truly¬†western style wedding was out of the question, as well as our venue was in a prestigious Chicago suburb, not conducive for a “western” wedding.

We hired a horse and carriage, complete with driver.  Prayed for good weather, not an easy feat in the midwest for an outdoor wedding.  We kept the guest list to a hundred.  Hired three violinists for the ceremony and a band for the reception.  Al wore tails while I went for something resembling turn of the century, complete with parasol.

As luck would have it, the weather was most agreeable…..in the 70’s, partly cloudy, with a light pleasant breeze.¬† We could not have¬†asked for a better day or more perfect setting.

Al and I did ALL the planning, organizing, scheduling, arranging, and paying.¬† A “wedding planner” was a relatively new concept in the 80’s, and since Al and I had been living¬†together (yes, living in sin – not as easily accepted back then as it is now) we paid for everything.¬† Somehow it seemed inappropriate to ask parents for any assistance.¬† However, our parents were rather generous and gracious with wedding gifts and had a fabulous time¬†being parents of the bride and groom.

the ceremony

It was a great day.¬† A day we’ll always remember, but it was just one day.¬† Marriage¬†is so much more than walking down an isle.¬† It’s not an isle, it’s more like a roller coaster.¬† There are fun moments, boring moments, moments of sheer terror, and moments that you think you just can’t take it anymore, but then there’s those special moments, moments¬†that you wouldn’t trade for anything.¬† Moments that make the ups and downs all worth it.

Here’s to many more years of a fun ride.¬† Happy Anniversary, hon, love ya!