Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.
Lynx cub at MN Zoo
I'm off to see the wizard, the most wonderful wizard of all.
Ok, I lied, I'm merely leaving MN to head west to Oregon. It's been such a good trip. After I left the WI state square dance convention on Sunday, I meandered up towards northern WI, to explore the Great Lakes area a bit. At one point, driving along, I saw a sign for a Wildlife Viewing Area. Down that road I went. Then, there was a sign for a "rustic road". While I have been on many roads I would consider rustic, this was the first I had seen labeled rustic, so headed off that way. And then, I was going to be detoured around this small town, because of a street festival. Instead, I joined the street festival. Had an awesome gyro, bought a cd of Native flute music, admired lots of crafts, talked to a couple of photographers, and got asked out on a date. :-) It was a good day. It was getting late, so headed up to northern Michigan (another state crossed off the list), where I camped right on the shoreline of Lake Superior, after hiking some of the trails at Porcupine State Park. You'll never guess what I saw at the park. A woodpecker! Ok, I know, that was a dirty trick. You thought it was going to be a porcupine, right? Ah, well, none were out that day. I also had a fawn cross right in front of me on the path, and since I stopped immediately and stayed really still, I was able to get some great pictures of her ambling across the path and eating grass.
The following morning, I headed towards Minneapolis. Had planned on stopping at the Apostle Islands and viewing the sights there, but the morning was dreary and rainy, and foggy, so gave up on that idea and headed inland. It's amazing that that 5 (ish) hour drive seemed to take twice as long as the 10 hour drives I had done previously, but finally made it to MSP. And there, standing in the front yard, watering the plants, as if she'd been there all along, was my long lost friend. Ok, maybe not so much lost, as working in another country, but still. I hadn't seen her (other than on Skype) in 18 months, and it was good to give her a great big hug. I spoke the other day about the mixed emotions I had on this visit, so not going to get into that again (if you haven't read it yet, just scroll back a few posts). The days passed quickly leading up to the wedding. Going dress/shoe shopping with my friend and her family. Running other errands. Doing some shopping for things she needed to take back overseas with her. Preparing for the wedding. The biggest concern for the wedding was the weather, since it had outdoor elements, and the forecast called for rain, but we were blessed with a beautiful, rainless day, and a wonderful wedding.
The main reason I stuck around after the wedding (besides the fact that I had nothing better planned!), was to help take care of the children while they were on their honeymoon. This involved just keeping tabs on the teenagers, and making sure they didn't need anything, as well as caring for an 8 and 9 year old. And then my friend's week suddenly cleared up (she was going to be busy), and so got to spend additional time with her while taking care of kids. We made a pretty good team. One day, we went to the Minnesota Zoo. There were so many baby animals there. Porcupine, lynx, monkeys, etc. I love baby animals. The following day, we headed out to Minnehaha falls, where I got lots of pictures of my friend and the kids "panning" for rocks in the swimming area at the bottom of the falls. We had a picnic lunch out in a field, and sang silly songs, and just played. Lots of other little things. Watched some movies (see previous post). Talked about life.
Sunday, the young boy, who had put up with us all week, not always enjoying the things we were doing, said he wanted to go to an arcade, when asked what was one thing he wanted to do. He's a big game player. So, I didn't tell him, but I found an arcade that you paid $5 and could play as long as you want. It had lots of older arcade games (Pac-man, Super Mario Bros, TMNT, etc), along with skee ball, ping pong, pool, racing games, Rock Band, a dance game, and lots of other fun things to do. It was also a comic shop, and toy store. We had a blast for 2 hours playing there. All of us. We probably would have stayed longer, but the parents were coming home that afternoon, and I wanted to get some things done around the house.
And so, it was a good 2 weeks (ish) in MSP. Now, it's time to hit the road again. A friend (who is over 60 and working like 90+ hours a week) asked how I was doing this instead of him. My response? Sometimes, you just have to do it. Simplify your life, figure out how to make it work and go for it. It's like having kids, you can't wait for the right time, or it will never happen. You just have to go out and do it, and eventually it all works out. Now, just to clarify, I'm not saying be irresponsible, but so many more people could do something like this than think they can. Stop fretting, stop saying what if, choose today to do something that you don't think that you can. To borrow a phrase from Nike, "JUST DO IT!!!!"