Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Miss You

I've been putting off posting anything at all since the beginning of September because I haven't had the time necessary to really get into the next thing on my growing list of catch-up items.  This isn't to say that there haven't been instances of 15min. or so since then when I could have gotten in a few lines, but I am behind and travel blogging takes considerably longer than my typical ramble, as it involves recounting actual things we did, and then sorting, shrinking, and appropriately matching pictures.  It takes a couple hours, minimum, per post, and the time just hasn't been there.

But I've missed blogging; I've missed writing anything at all.  In fact, I originally wrote at the start of this post that I hadn't blogged since the end of July because it feels like it's been that long.  It took actually double checking myself to see that it's only been a couple of weeks.  At any see, I do not multi-task well.  My brain lacks the ability to split focus, so if I've got a week between events such as the last guest and the next trip, I'm all about  knocking things off the regular life list and getting things ready to go.  It so happened that yesterday was our September Writer's Group meeting downtown, pushed back a couple of weeks to allow for more attendees, and while I listened to the personal updates around the table, I had a moment to compile a list of above mentioned catch-up items.  Let's review this summer, shall we?

Last blog: Sept.1, regarding July 14-15
Had meant to finish blogging Scotland in the week we had post-Scotland before Kelly arrived.  That didn't happen; I got to day two of Scotland: Dunnottar Day.

Kelly was here from July 25 - Aug. 16, and I wrote nothing while she was here.  Had thought I could wake up earlier than her to write in the mornings, but that, too, didn't happen.

First item on catch-up list: WAS finish blogging Scotland, but since I got that done before leaving for Italy, IS NOW blog Kelly's visit.  All.  Three.  Weeks.  To include The Christopher Street Parade in Stuttgart, Venice and Verona, and life with my old roommate.

We had one week between Kelly's departure and ours to Tuscany with a big group of friends from around here, so that week was all about errands, planning, and then packing at the last minute.  Oh, AND getting the car (that we were going to drive to Italy) in and out of the shop so it was safe to drive.  More on that one later.

Item #2 on catch-up list:  Our week in Tuscany

I actually did take my laptop to Italy with honest intentions of blogging while there, but spending time with the friends we'd traveled with took precedence and here is another intention that fell flat on its face.

We had another one week stretch between Tuscany and the arrival of this year's final out-of-town guests, Katie and Nick.  Did I get in any writing?  Ha!  This last week was devoted to coming down from a solid week with 7 other families, getting pictures distributed to some of them from the trip, restocking the fridge and getting the house re-cleaned and ready for new company, and trying to figure out WHY Heidi no longer tells anybody when she needs to go out.

This brings us to yesterday, the day Katie and Nick arrived by train from Frankfurt, Writer's Group meeting day, and the writing of this list.  It is Sunday morning and I've just administered the requested wake-up call, the coffee is steeping in my lovely French press, and I'm getting in a damn blog before anyone else gets down here!

So now you've got an idea of where I've been lately, and what's to come very soon.  Katie, Nick, Chris, and I will be attending Oktoberfest in Munich next week, so that'll become item #3 for catch-up, and the time to follow with our friends while they're in town, #4.  Item #5 will be the blurb about Microluv, something I promised to do MONTHS ago, and item #6 will be about my awesome Writer's Group and a friend who's moving onto the next continent.  Something else we talked about briefly in our meeting yesterday was balance. Here's THAT list for me -
*subbing at the school (I miss the kids and the faculty, and I need to keep myself current there if there's even a remote chance of getting hired as a teacher there.)
*work for Klett
*personal writing
*focus on health, ie, making and sticking to a new work-out schedule to include several classes a week
*travel planning
and then there's all that socializing and keeping in touch with friends and family business.

And I totally forgot to mention the World Wide Photo Walk in which I participated the day before Kelly arrived back in July, so switch that to item #1, and shift everything else down a notch.  It would be ideal to get totally caught up before my birthday in mid-November - the big 3-0 - so I can start blogging current stuff by then, but we shall see.

So this is it.  This is my big, fat, To-Do list starting next Monday, and though I know I'm going to be having an awful lot of fun over the next week, I'm kind of looking forward to getting back to the normalcy of life.

Until then :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

July 14-15: The Journey Home

We ate our final Scottish breakfast, haggis and all, a little sad this morning.  We didn't want to go home.  We talked with David and dragged our things to the car, perhaps hoping a minor natural disaster would strand us there a little while longer.  But it didn't happen, so it was time to go, but not without a print-out from a fabulous website that caters to British ex-pats living all over Europe.  Mail-order haggis, my friend!  David was truly an exceptional host.

We drove to New Castle, England to catch our overnight ferry back to Continental Europe.  It was a first for us both to actually sleep over on any kind of boat, so the Princess of Norway would be a small adventure.  Our toilet may have been in the shower, but we had a decent window looking out over the sea and the bed was surprisingly comfortable.  Chris and I explored the Princess with interest, but came up empty when it came to things we might actually enjoy.  The casino (or 6 machines lined up behind a partition) isn't something we're into, and the lounge was loud with the on-board entertainment, something we could do without.  Are we just boring people?  I don't know, but the 70s Disco Hour and over-the-top singers weren't doing it for us, so we got a drink and watched the water for a little while before dinner.

When it was time for bed, what was lulling before kept us awake most of the night.  The ship rocked and stuttered here and there when a sizable wave smashed into our side of the boat head-on, and whereas the former is quite comforting, the latter was quite loud and jarred us awake.  That made for a longer drive the following day.

Regardless of how amazing a trip away has been, nothing beats the feel of coming home and sleeping in your own bed.  Scotland, however, has come the closest.


Some parting thoughts about this trip...

I can't be sure if it was just the common language that made the people connections on this trip more prevalent, but there is something entirely different about Scotland.  Maybe when part of you comes from a place it just feels more comfortable.

From the first time I set foot in the country of Ireland, I was in love with her hills and her people.  When people talked about how fantastic Scotland was, I always replied with a declaration of love for the Emerald Isle just west of there.  Even when those who had been to both places stuck to the opinion that Scotland far out-weighed Ireland, I wouldn't even consider it a possibility.  I admit, from the first moments our car rolled into the southern hills of Scotland I felt a twinge of guilt.  And now, after all is said and done, I'm afraid I've abandoned my devotion to Ireland, though I still love that place, in favor of the other.  It's a little rockier, a little more severe, and a little more magical, Scotland, and the people are phenomenal.

Funny how we spent a couple days between Belgium and England, but didn't meet a truly friendly face until we got to Stonehaven.  From Alan and his mum at the B&B, and Gary and the pub owner we couldn't understand; Ian and some other local artists near Loch Ness and in the Isle of Skye; Andrew and his dog, Nelson, in the park and Mum's guy in Edinburgh; from one of Johanna's favorite restaurants to Bernie and Sarah's dining room, this trip has been fuller of personal interaction than any other by miles.  So give credit to the fact that we didn't have to pantomime to communicate, but don't discount the beauty and love that live and breathe in Scotland.  It is now one of my favorite places in the world, and a place I will always want to revisit.