Northern BC

Hey, so I went up to the deepest wilds of Northern BC for work recently.  First time being away from the baby, which was kind of weird but 100% fine.  It helped that we had out last nursing session 3 days earlier (the milk dried up, and she was cool with it, reaching for a sippy cup when she found nothing else to drink).  But really, it was bizarrely, totally fine to be away from the kid and the husband for 4 full days.  It was a worthwhile trip, too.  It’s one thing to learn about jointed tubing, and it’s another thing to stand on a drill floor 30 meters above the ground and see what the kelly floor looks like, and how the tubing gets there, you know?

It’s also just nice to get our of town for a few days.  We flew up in a small commercial plane – small enough that there were propellers, and at row 5, I was halfway to the back of the plane. Nice smooth ride up – just bunnyhopping north and westwards.

Whee!

Whee!

Then the three of us (I was traveling with two coworkers) got to ride in a 4 seater chopper, and because I begged, I got to sit in the front with the super hot Australian pilot.  (For some reason, in the bush, all the pilots are young Australian men?  No complaints.)

DOUBLE WHEE!

DOUBLE WHEE!

I wanted to be in the front for the views – the cute pilot was just a bonus.  It’s just so vast and empty, I can’t even tell you.  There are occasional thin strands of “roads”, trails at best, made by energy companies, used by 4x4s, and quickly reclaimed by nature.  Random rivers and lakes and creeks and oxbows and it’s like a geography lesson from above.

I was reading the most recent Game of Thrones book, and these isolated strands of white trees made me think of Godswoods and being north of the Wall. I am a nerd.

I was reading the most recent Game of Thrones book, and these isolated strands of white trees made me think of Godswoods and being north of the Wall. I am a nerd.

It’s really, really far north.  Camp’s about 58 degrees north, and the Arctic Circle starts at 66 degrees.  I was there a week before Solstice.  The sun officially set around 11:30, and rose again around 3:30.  It barely got dark.  I found it hard to sleep, because at 12:30, it was still almost bright enough out to read by.

This picture was taken around 11:30 at night.

This picture was taken around 11:30 at night.

It also screwed up my schedule, because when someone said “Let’s go bear hunting”, it made sense to go, because it looked like 7pm brightness out all evening.  Of course, it was actually 10 pm, but whatever, there were bears!

Baby bear!  Mama's hiding in the bushes.

Baby bear! Mama’s hiding in the bushes.

"Bear hunting" is when you slowly drive the 22 km to the main highway and count all the bears you see, from the safety of your pickup truck.

“Bear hunting” is when you slowly drive the 20 km to the main highway and count all the bears you see, from the safety of your pickup truck.  (This photo was taken at 11 pm.)

I saw 7 bears, and was thoroughly delighted.  I’ve seen bears many times before, but it’s still a novelty.  Even after taking the Bear Awareness course at work, and seeing videos of bears climbing trees and polar bear cubs covered in seal blood.  Bears are still neat!  (If, you know, super dangerous wild animals who under no circumstances ever should you attempt to pet.)

Just call me Brian, in my super hot borrowed coveralls.

Just call me Brian, in my super hot borrowed coveralls.

Seeing the site was great, getting to walk around unescorted was nice, getting the various companies to explain their processes to me was really helpful (and understanding at least 70% of what they were saying was even better!)…  The food was excellent, as is always the case in dry, remote camps.  (12 hour shifts, no booze, nothing to do but sleep and workout when not on site…  the food HAS to be good to keep people happy.)

Flying home was a clusterfuck of epic proportions, but at least I was on a mostly empty 737, and so got my own row for all three hops.  We were unfortunately grounded in Edmonton, due to lighting and tornadoes and shit.  By grounded, I mean trapped in a plane for three fucking hours, while the plane was pulled in to the hanger.  It was terrible.  The 6 of us left on the plane could have rented a car and driven home faster, especially once they found a mechanical problem, and then had to wait for 15 other planes to take off in front of us.  I was fine being away from the baby until then, and then I got twitchy and frustrated and really wanted to be home.  (I should have beaten D and J home from work, not got there just before bedtime.)  On the upside, I got to read 650 of the Dances with Dragons book, so that was nice.

It's a good thing I'm not a nervous flier, because the landing was like an intense roller coaster ride of bouncing and tilting.

It’s a good thing I’m not a nervous flier, because the landing was like an intense roller coaster ride of bouncing and tilting.

When I finally got home, I had D bring J up to the main floor so that she could see me walk back in the front door, after watching me leave a few days earlier.  She saw me coming up the walk and got frantic with excitement, and was pawing at the door while D unlocked it.  I scooped her up in a hug and she nuzzled right in, for a second.  And then refused to even so much as glance at me for the next thirty minutes.  Wouldn’t let go of me, but was so clearly, adorably punishing me for leaving by purposefully refusing to look at me.  It was cute.  We cuddled and talked and then I read her a few books and then she was fine.

I’m glad I went, I was glad to come home.  Which is all I ask of any trip ever, basically.  Just nice that this one didn’t, you know, cost me cash dollars like all my other trips do.  Also, bears!

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Dallas

Dallas is pretty

Dallas is pretty

Oh, hey, I went to Dallas a while ago.  I think I forgot to mention that.

We got to walk on the field during out personal tour

We got to walk on the field during out personal tour

It was lovely.  A very, very relaxed week, where we had many naps and saw a bunch of things and mainly just enjoyed hanging out together, 24/10.  We had a nice hotel suite with a separate bedroom and living room, so David and I could hang out and drink and talk and play games and watch shows after J went to bed.  We went to: the zoo, the aquarium, the JFK site, the Sixth Floor Museum, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Doctor Pepper museum, a mammoth burial site, the Cowboys stadium, the Rangers field, a Stars-Flames game, an outlet mall, and the awesome Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  Which sounds like a lot, but that was spread over 10 days.  We also ate a bunch of good food, and had a long chatty lunch with Alyssa.  We enjoyed the hell out of the fact that you can buy booze in grocery stores and that fancy gastropubs have high chairs.  We also had many naps.  It was great.  (We’ll overlook the norovirus and subsequent puking in the parking lot of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.)  But all in all, a great relaxing trip.

JFK Memorial is lame

JFK Memorial is lame

PENGUINS!

PENGUINS!

SHARKS!

SHARKS!

There was an entire room of old Dr Pepper vending machines - surprisingly interesting

There was an entire room of old Dr Pepper vending machines – surprisingly interesting

Drinking Dr Pepper made by a soda jerk

Drinking Dr Pepper made by a soda jerk

Baby's first NHL game

Baby’s first NHL game

Baby lost interest in the 3rd period

Baby lost interest in the 3rd period

Cowboys Stadium is freaking massive

Cowboys Stadium is freaking massive

Happy baby loves barbeque

Happy baby loves barbeque

Mammoth burial site!  Nerdcation.

Mammoth burial site! We like to take nerd-cations.

Dinosaurs, oh my!

Dinosaurs, oh my!

On Vacations

Dallas was a nice trip.  We saw a bunch, ate some good food, bought a few things, and had more than one family nap.  (I love family naps.)  It was a relaxing, enjoyable trip, and I’ll try and get a few pictures up eventually.  The funny thing is how people have reacted to our choice of destination.  We’ve both had variations on the following conversation a few times.

“But… Dallas?  Why?”  “Why not?”  “Oh, you must have friends down there?” “No.”  “Is the weather great or something?”  “Not really – I mean, there’s no snow, but it’s still hoodie weather.”  “So what are you going to do for 10 days?”  “The JFK stuff, for sure, and otherwise, we’ll find something to do.  It’s a big city – there’s always something to see.”  “You’re not making plans??”  “Nah, we’ll wing it – I’m sure it will work out!”

And it totally did.  I stand by the fact that you can find something to do for a week in just about every place, ever, if you make some effort.  It’s certainly easier in a town with an aquarium, a zoo, a half dozen museums and a presidential assassination site, but there’s always something.  (And the less there is that you need to see, the more naps you can have.)

As for the why Dallas and not somewhere else?  Well, that one’s a little bit funnier, at least to me.

We had always planned to take a vacation right before my mat leave ends, but we held off on deciding where until the NHL strike resolved.  It finally did, and my hockey-crazy husband put down Dallas and Miami as two options.  I added New Orleans to the list on the ‘domestic’ side, and Jamaica and Cuba on the tropical side.   We decided against Cuba due to the fact that everyone we talk to complains about the food, and after getting sick on our last resort trip, we weren’t eager to go through that again.  New Orleans fell off because the timing in regards to Mardi Gras wasn’t good – not that I wouldn’t like to see it, but not so much with an 11 month baby and trying to get a hotel at the last minute.  The only logical way for us to get to Miami is through Dallas, and added 4 hours to a flight day with a baby, which would have liveable but not awesome.  So the toss up became random city wander in Dallas versus a resort trip to Jamaica.  And we’d just done a resort trip, so Dallas it was!

The Wall of Map

The Wall of Map

Plus, and this is actually no small consideration, Dallas allowed us to get THREE pins on our giant map of the world that hangs in our dining room.  It’s 6 feet long.  And we use colour coded pins to show where I’ve gone (white), David’s gone (blue), we’ve gone (red) and us plus J have gone (orange).   It’s so nerdy, but I love it.  LOVE IT.  It also handily covers up a wall that the previous owners did some form of crappy finish on, so a giant map takes away from the faux-finish, which is a nice bonus.  But really, I just love looking at maps, and looking at all the places I’ve been, and getting a daily reminder of how much I like my life.  Which is a pretty good return on a $50 piece of paper!

It’s fun to look at, too.  When we have parties, you’ll always find someone looking at the map, often comparing stories with someone else.  It’s a good conversation piece.

This shows a lot of different trips

This shows a lot of different trips

It’s also fun to look at where we’ve been.  I’ve got furthest north (Fort Nelson in northern BC), furthest east (Oman) and furthest south (Costa Rica) covered.  David wins the west with Hawaii.  The Yucatan has three pins of three different colours all clustered together – a white one for the trip to Cozumel with my parents in high school, an orange one for our trip to Cancun last year, and a red one for Chitzen Itza, which we did without J.  I totally win the Pacific North West, due to road trips years ago, and David dominates Europe, due to a post-university 3 month trip.  Interestingly, there are only 3 pins for places we’ve both been but separately: Orlando, Toronto and London.

We may

We may use this as a suggestion list when trip planning…

I won’t lie to you – some of our vacations, like Dallas, are influenced by the empty spaces in the map.  Sure, we have to want to see them, but filling in that blank southern expanse of America was a consideration on our trip.  It certainly is why we took a day trip to Waco.  I mean, that and the Dr Pepper museum, of course.  Because you on vacation – why not drive 4 hours round trip to check out a museum, a mammoth burial site and get a pin for the wall?  (Oh, yeah, we’re fun to travel with.  It’s a good thing that we both enjoy this kind of ridiculousness.)

The only one worth going to is Oman

The only one worth going to is Oman

Man, I love going on vacations.  I know I’ve said this a bunch of times, but I really, really do.  And I am so pleased that we’ve managed to integrate J in to our vacation-life as smoothly as we have.  That’s one of my biggest fears about parenthood, proven wrong.

Vacation

So I feel that there’s a few posts I should write, but let’s start with this one, about our trip to Mexico in November.

David’s little sister met a local several years ago while on vacation with a girlfriend, and it was love.  Before too long, she’d quit her job and sublet her apartment, and moved to Cancun.  4 years after they met, they got married, and we went down to be at the wedding.  (I’m calling it a destination wedding, because every person but the bride, groom and best man had to travel to a resort in Mexico.  The groom’s family live in the D.F. and San Luis Potosí, the bride’s family in Alberta.  My mother in law argued the term, but I’m going with it.)

It wasn’t the best trip we’ve ever taken.

I’m going to sound really spoiled here, but I’ve, um, got used to staying at nicer places.  4 star resorts in Mexico, minimum.  Usually higher, if we can get a good sale.  And once at a “six star” resort in Oman that did it’s best to spoil me forever.  But still, a 3 star Mexican resort wasn’t… awesome.  Nothing terrible – and no one got sick from the food more than twice – but not great.  The food was institutional, the rooms small, the drinks weak, the pool freezing.  We spent as much on this trip than we did to a substantially nicer place in Cabo 10 months earlier, because my mother in law wanted to book it really early.   Jess didn’t do that well with naps or bed times.  Oh, and everyone but me spent the week falling down drunk, so I had full baby responsibility, all the time.

Not the best trip we’ve ever taken.

But that’s the bad stuff.   The good stuff was lovely.  Jess was an ace traveler.  Like, so ace that she didn’t cry at all on the flight down there – she yelled once, but that’s because the baby being held beside of wasn’t looking at her, and Jess wants to communicate with all the other babies.  As soon as the little girl looked over, Jess was happy.  She slept on the planes, and on the bus to the hotel, and in her stroller on walks around Cancun.  Jess loved the ocean, and the pool.

Baby's first ocean

Baby’s first ocean

My mother in law looked after Jess for a day so that David and his father and I could go to Chitzen Itza.  I have a degree that part-focused on Latin America, and so I’ve taken Mesoamerican archeology classes.  I’ve been to this part of Mexico twice, but had never managed to actual see this great UNESCO site.

Chitzen Itza

Chitzen Itza

It was totally wonderful.  We had a good tour guide and I learned a lot.

At the ruins

At the ruins

We also got to swim an a 150 feet deep cenote – a limestone pool that’s part of the underground river system.  It was full of blind fish.  Floating on my back with a huge depth below me and 100 feet of cave walls above me, and watching the sun light up the tree above?  Amazing.  Coolest swim I’ve ever had.

The only picture we have of the cenote - we were too busy swimming to remember pictures

The only picture we have of the cenote – we were too busy swimming to remember pictures

The wedding was … memorable, and the party that followed pretty epic.

The wedding party was a PARTY

The wedding party was a PARTY, and what’s a party without funny hats?

The tiredest, saddest, partied out baby

The tiredest, saddest, partied out baby

We left the resort five times – once for Chitzen Itza, once to go to a grocery store (my favourite thing to do on vacation, seriously), once to go to a newly opened Yucatan history museum (a busy place that only had 6 other north american types), once to go find better food for lunch, and one night David’s sister and husband took us to their favourite street side taco stand.   It was so, SO good.  Calgary has no Mexican food to speak of, so I rarely get it, but I do love it so.

It was a great test run for future trips.  We brought WAY more than we needed, to the point we had to send stuff home with David’s cousin because we were so over our baggage allowance.  We learned that we need a better umbrella stroller – our second hand one was so bad we abandoned it there.  We learned we needed new luggage – that we can no longer get away with a couple of large carry on bags.  (Disposable diapers, man.  You need so many and they take up so much room!)

We learned that we like to travel with out favourite little person, and that we take so, so many pictures of her adorable little face.

Cute baby

Cute baby

It wasn’t the best trip we’ve ever taken, but a underwhelming week at a resort in Mexico beats the hell out of a week in wintery Calgary, every single time.  Good enough!

Update, and vacation pictures

So, I did basically stop going to the doctor’s.  The behavioural therapist wasn’t going to help – our whole half hour meeting resulted in her giving me a woman’s health centre number and recommending medication 15 times.  With a few more weeks clarity, I can see that this is at WORST moderate depression, and probably fading away to mild, and I know enough about the meds to know that the difference between the placebo and the drugs for moderate depression is minimal, and they take a month or two to work, and frankly, a month has passed and I really do feel much better, so the drugs are out.  Talk therapy doesn’t seem to be the right answer, because honestly, the things that I worry about are the things that only time will fix.  Fears about the future, especially overly specific ones, can really only be solved by, you know, being in the future.  And as for CBT, I do know what to do.  This is not my first rodeo, and I know what I need to do when I get an anxiety loop.  I just have to DO it, and it’s getting easier.

In fact, it’s all getting easier.  I’m down to about one day in 14 that involve weeping and sadness.  So yay for that!

One of my big fears when I was pregnant was that we’d be stuck – that we’d never travel again.  Travel’s pretty important to us.  Between our wedding two years ago and Jess’s birth, I went on seven vacations to eight countries, including nine American states.  Which I love.  And we kept being told how hard it is to travel once you have a baby, and I swear I felt the walls closing in on me.  So.  We got the baby a passport and took her on her first week long road trip before she turned four whole months old.

Baby’s first mountains. Waterton, Alberta.

And she was a champ.  Slept for most of the drives, slept decently in most of the hotel rooms, handled us eating in restaurants without too much fussing…

Baby’s first passport stamp. Goat Haunt, Montana.

Montana takes it to eight vacations, to eight countries, and ten American states.

Baby’s first glacier. Glacier National Park, Montana.

Admittedly, she slept through the Road to the Sun, and her first glacier, and her third boarder crossing, and all sorts of other things.  But as the nice man who stopped us on the Red Rocks walk said, you don’t travel for the kids at this age, you travel for you and what are you gonna do, leave the kid at home?

Baby’s first dam. At the falls of Great Falls, Montana

And it went fine, and we’ll do it again.  We’re booked for Mexico for David’s sister’s wedding in November, and tentative plans to visit my sister in grad school in Toronto in February.  And I’m pushing for Europe next fall, while she can still travel free.  (We’ll splurge for a real airline, with bassinets though. Not a trip to fly on the cheapest charter you can find, no.)  Or maybe Yellowstone and the Lewis and Clark Caverns next summer, if Europe is a no go.

And you know what, it helped.  The walls will only close in on me if I let them.  I plan to go back to work in 8 months, and I am sure that time will fly by.  I’m already looking at daycares.  (Ugh.)  We have a sweet, easy going baby who I hope we can keep training to tolerate road trips and vacations and strange hotel rooms with dead birds (Montana is kind of hick…).  No.  Not hope.  Will MAKE.  She’s joining our family and yes, a huge amount of our lives, especially right now, is wrapped around her needs, but we’re a family who likes to travel, and damn it, we’ll make the kid join us.  Because, what are we gonna do, leave her at home?

Gratuitous swimming picture. She was totally unfazed by the water.  I suppose it’s no big thing, after 9 months in utero.

Tidbits

Mexico was just lovely.  We went to Cabo, because it was the shortest flight from Calgary.  We saw whales in the bay during breakfast, we read books, nice young men brought me icy drinks and I lost many games of crib.  It was a wonderful week away.  It also really helped when we found out it was +25oc in Cabo and -43oc in Calgary.  We left and the weather crashed to polar temperatures.  Excellent timing, us.

I wore a bikini for the first time in my life.   I figure as I had crossed over from ‘chubby’ to ‘very deeply pregnant’ this was the perfect time to wear a black polka dot bikini on the beach.  Which, ignoring a couple of asshole comments from a group of assholes from Texas (serious, so annoying, that whole lot), was quite lovely.  I was hoping to tan enough to make the stretchmarks look less visible, but no such luck.  I will also say that being in the pool while in the third trimester is just lovely.  My belly would actually lift a couple of inches in the water.  I may have to figure out how to spend the rest of this pregnancy in a pool.  Or at the very least, a bath tub.

I’m definitely getting to the unwieldy portion of pregnancy.  Rolling over is a 5 step process that wakes me up.  And sometimes David, despite the king size of the bed.  All that flopping and flailing and sweating…

Oh, about the whole EI thing?  My mother the tax accountant reminded me that not only do I pay $800 a year in to the system, so does whatever company I work for.  So realistically, my mat leave was paid of, between my husband and I, three years ago.  I don’t think, in the end, it even really matters.  This is a social program that as a nation we’ve deemed important, and I’m really really lucky to have that.  It’s certainly not free, but on a national level it works out.  I pay in to a system, as does the company I work for, and the system pays out in times of need.  And it clearly values the role of parental child care in the critical first year of babies lives.  Yay great white north.  (Too bad about the weather.)

At the doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago, the doc told me to start taking a 150 mg zantac every 12 hours and oh my god, you guys, it worked!  I can eat FOOD AGAIN!  After 12 weeks of heartburn following closely on 10 weeks of low grade nausea, this is a miracle.  Depending on how long the day or what I ate, I don’t always even take the second pill.

Despite two and a half weeks of being able to eat food, including a week at an all inclusive resort with all the virgin coconut drinks I could consume, I still have only managed to put on 9 pounds.  My body is fighting like hell not to put on weight.  It’s weird.  My belly, however, is huge.  And my fundus measurements are dead on, and the baby is generally very active, and my blood pressure’s at the very bottom of the desirable range.  So I’m just assuming all is well.

However.  At Friday’s appointment, she mentioned something about this not being brought up before due to my lack of consistency of care at the clinic, but that I need to have an another ultrasound.  (I have every second Friday off, therefore I book all my appointments on Fridays.  However, no doctor regularly works Fridays, so I see someone new almost every time.  I don’t really mind – the appointments are so short that what does it matter who checks the heartbeat?)  It’s weird, because in Alberta, you get one around 12 weeks and another around 20 and that’s it.  Unless there is a problem.  So, only after leaving, did I realize this means there might be a problem.  Huh.  Trying pretty hard to squash my anxiety over that one.  Helps that Skipper’s being all active and constantly assuring me of it’s aliveness.  In fact, today it feels like it’s trying to climb out through my belly button and that actually really hurts.  I suppose I’m feeling the stretch mark form as I sit here.

It’s funny, my reaction to food over the last 30 weeks.  I’m normally a bit of a foodie, as much as I hate that term.  I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks, I’m an adventurous cook and eater, I’ve actually written a cookbook (Christmas gift), I can explain most terms off a fancy menu off the top of my head and I read a lot of food blogs.  I collect recipes like some people collect hockey cards.  But with the first trimester came low grade nausea and a complete indifference to food.  With the second came the crippling heartburn and my diet shifted heavily towards Lucky Charms and ice cream, the only two foods that never gave me heart burn, and sometimes even would quell it for a couple of hours. David has eaten a ton of frozen burrito lunches and dinners, along with many scrambled eggs in tortillas and random frozen meals.  I never have random frozen meals – it’s just not the way I like to cook, and to eat.  Until I got pregnant, and then, suddenly, food became resoundingly MEH.  It has really added to the sense of alien-ness of this pregnancy.  (What, I only called it alien parasite for a few months.)  My body is off doing it’s own thing with very little input from me, and now I can’t even be bothered to EAT?  WTF.  The heartburn pills are helping – when you’re not burping up acid every few breaths, it’s easier to want to eat – but I’m now 8 months along and the kid’s really pushing on my stomach and lungs, so I can’t eat as much anyway.  Actually, thinking about it, I’ve only had The Hunger once, at about 8 weeks.  It was ‘if I don’t eat now I will die/faint/kill someone’.  So I ate, and then it never happened again.
Pregnancy is so so weird.

Travels

I was thinking the other day about travel, and how clearly David and I have made it a priority in our lives.  Now, before we started dating, I’d been to a few places: Mexico (x4), Dominican Republic, Costa Rica (x2), Oman, Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, and on numerous roadtrips, primary through BC, Montana and Idaho.  But in the three years (tomorrow!) that we’ve been together, we’ve managed a ton of trips.  Especially considering work, and the 8 months he was unemployed, and buying a house right before the wedding, which we paid for.

Our first trip was to Washington DC – 10 days in April 2009 of museums and monuments and cherry blossoms.  David was unemployed shortly after we got back. 

Then for the May Long, we drove to Vancouver to visit my sister.  We hung out and ate good food and took an extra day coming home so we could mini golf in Kelowna. 

David was still unemployed when we decided that August was the time was right (and we had the money) to go to Scotland and Ireland for three weeks.  Castles and museums and ruins and cider and beer and trains and a boat and soccer and more castles in Scotland.  Giant’s Causeway and cider and beer and museums and ruins and a heartbreaking tour of Belfast and a cave tour and the Burren and a viking boat tour and Gaelic football and passage tombs and whiskey and Guinness and a proposal at a neolithic portal tomb. 

The next trip was March for our honeymoon – we went to St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and lay on the beach and rode zip lines and saw UNESCO volcanos and went to Martinique for a day and flew in a helicopter. 

In September, we took some of my inheritance and went to Europe for three and a half weeks, starting in Paris and ending in Frankfurt, via Belgium and the Chezk Republic.  We ate and drank our way, walking till my feet actually bled, and loving the whole thing (except for Prague).  We saw the highlights of Paris and Versailles, Vimy Ridge, the battlefields of Iepre, Brussels, Waterloo and two UNESCO cathedrals in western  Germany (Arras and Cologne).  We spent most of a week in Berlin, exploring the depressing history and museums and walking tours.  Prague was next, and it didn’t do much for me, but Kutna Hora and the church decorated in bones was cool.  We also saw a hockey game there.  We finished the trip via and NHL exhibition game in Mannheim, and a fabulous festival day in Frankfurt. 

David went with a friend to Detroit and Ohio for a sporting weekend – NHL, AHL, NFL, MLS and a college hockey game, all in 4 days.  I went to Vegas with some girlfriends that same weekend.  Then we went to Raleigh and Nashville for hockey games with the same hockey obsessed friend, and I got to go to Fort Nelson for work.  Though that was only an overnight trip and the weather was just above -30, so I don’t think you can count it as a vacation, but it was two chopper rides and flying in private planes, so I’ll count it. 

Then, in March, for our anniversary, we went to LA for an extended weekend and enjoyed ourselves despite the weather.  La Brea Tar Pits, of course – satisfying my childhood dreams.  Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.  The Getty.  Two hockey games – Flames road trip against LA and Anaheim.  Queen Mary and the Long Beach Aquarium.  Hollywood and Warner Brothers Studio Tour and lots of wandering around.

I’m not really going anywhere with this.  I’m just feeling very, very lucky and happy to have gone to so many places in such a short time.  I’m happy it’s been such a priority in our lives, and so happy we’ve been able to afford it.  Vacations, investments and paying off the mortgage is where almost all of our money goes, and that works for us.  I’m hoping we can squeeze at least one more trip in this year – David’s voting for Boston and/or Hawaii, and I’m leaning towards Montreal or Jamaica.  But you know there are no wrong answers here, and that whatever we do will be awesome.  Because we like the same things as we travel (museums, good food, good drinks, early evenings and endless walking) and I’m pretty much happy anywhere if he’s there beside me.