My Corona-cation

Our family needed to get away SO badly.  After three long months of serious quarantining with daily walks and lots of outdoor time, the walls were closing in.  When else ever in our lifetimes has the following existed: a work from home requirement, flights effectively grounded (for my traveling husband), and all kids’ sports and extra curricular activities cancelled?  Like it or hate it, this perfect storm meant we could work from anywhere.  So, we made a bold decision.

A little backstory. Back in March once school was virtual and work from home mandated, my husband and I were thinking about going away for the better part of a month; he began designing a driving tour south, through the heart of Civil Rights history, to put a personal experience to the traditional lessons and witness the more subtle insights not covered in text books.  At the last minute, we chickened out.  At the time, little was known about the coronavirus and spread of COVID-19; what if we began our drive, and states closed their borders?  So, we tabled it.  Fast forward to mid-June, states had started to reopen, albeit at different rates, but he was still grounded, and my office is still under a work from home advisory.  Most if not all camps have been cancelled.

So, we packed up the car, the kids and the dog, and headed south down I-65 watching PBS’s “Eyes on the Prize” Civil Rights documentary to prepare us, first passing through Nashville, where we as a family learned some of the first lunch counter sit-ins took place.  I-65 continued through Birmingham, Alabama, and we walked Kelly Ingram Park, where many civil rights clashes happened in the 1960s, all while listening to an audio tour of what transpired there.  For the full audio tour, click HERE. 

 

We saw the 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham’s first black church, and where in 1963 a bombing killed four Sunday school students.  I learned, the kids learned, such important parts of history that went beyond the classroom.  We saw the spot where kids where blasted with fire hoses and threatened with police dogs for peacefully assembling.  IMG_4384My kids were astonished; how this could happen?  Earlier in June, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (which was unfortunately closed) bestowed the Fred L. Shuttesworth Human Rights award to Dr. Angela Y. Davis, which she accepted virtually.  Read more about Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth HERE.

Next stop Tuscaloosa, where we stood in the doorway where Governor George Wallace blocked black students Vivian Malone and James Hood from enrolling in the University of Alabama.  We confirmed the location by comparing the building’s façade from the black and white news footage showing Deputy US Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach coming to that spot where Wallace stood. IMG_4390 Katzenbach asked Wallace three times to step aside and then temporarily departed saying “these two students will remain on campus, they will register today, they will go to school tomorrow, and they will go to this university during this summer session.”  Later that day, the national guard was federalized (for the third time in US history to integrate schools) and the students enrolled.  Today just beyond that door stands a plaza honoring those students.

Continuing south we found Selma; which has seen better days.  We parked and walked across the Edmund Pettus bridge.  This was the site of three marches from Selma to Montgomery, in protest of black citizens being denied their right to register to vote.  Did you know, in the early 1960s, there were whole counties in Mississippi who did not have IMG_4401even one black person registered to vote?  I didn’t.  There were arcane voting registration “laws” which kept blacks from voting…that I did know, but often history texts don’t give the full story.  I had learned about the marches, but not much about what led up to them.  Black citizens would sometimes wait hours or all day to be heard at the registration place, only to have one person actually get an application, and then that application would later be denied. So, back to the marches of Selma.  The first march, of approximately 500-600 people, was met by brutality, on March 7, 1965, led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams.  Many left very injured.   And then the second and third marches, a few weeks later, included John Lewis, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and others, successfully marching to the capital and peacefully assembling to push for the rights of black citizens to register to vote. I’m fielding multiple questions from my kids, among them, how does this happen?  I don’t really have a good answer.  We didn’t live it (my husband and I were born in the 1970s); but we took the opportunity to talk a lot about political culture, climate, and used a lot of documentaries to help.

Following the marcher’s footsteps, we

IMG_4423

drove the 50 mile Selma to Montgomery Historic Trail.  The original march took five days…..we did it in an hour, with air conditioning.  The city of Montgomery provided a great audio tour, mapping out the sites of the downtown area.  We visited most of them, but more importantly, we listened.  We listened to the stories and the history, and among my favorite stops included the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the birthplace of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Alabama Department of Archives, which is the oldest archives in America. We saw some peaceful protests, and beautiful murals somewhere between art and graffiti, depending on your definition.

IMG_4388It would definitely be worth it to listen to the audio tour even without being able to visit.  To access the audio tour, click Here.

I-65 continued south to the Florida panhandle and then later north home to Indy.  Sandwiched between we enjoyed several low key days at a gulf beach, with lots more social distancing, working remotely, and eating take out or cooking at home, just with much better scenery.IMG_4463

While the trip made many memories, my hope is that my children have learned so much more about the history of the Civil Rights movement, and other important parts of history, as indeed I have.  There are so many insights that run parallel to the racial challenges we continue to face today.  And I can’t think of anything more American than that.

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What This Election is Teaching our Children

There is a basic amount of decency and respect we all deserve. I learned this from my parents, I learned it from following Jesus, and I learned it from the community in rural Michigan where I grew up. And it goes without saying this election is not bringing out the decent in people. I’ve had to tell my children on more than one occasion that not everything you hear from an adults’ mouth on TV is OK…in fact, much of it is quite rude, self-serving, and downright vicious. In a culture where kids already are not taught much about empathy, this election cycle hits where it hurts. And it’s simply NOT OK. I would love to get back to a level of civility among people. What is happening in this election is setting the tone with how Americans will engage with each other. And frankly, it stinks.

I grew up Republican, but somewhere in the last 10 years, the Republican party left me. They left me in the middle. Here I am, with my economically conservative, yet socially liberal roots. I would really love a candidate who was more economically conservative, because I think it’s good for the US economy, but also was accepting of ALL the people: black, white, gay, straight, religious, non-religious (or religions different from mine).

And now I’m left with this choice that I’m not crazy about. I generally think many of the Republican ideals work – small government, letting free markets work, letting states make local decision-making. But there is something more important than all of this. And it is this question: Can I explain my choice on election day to my children? Can I tell them who I voted for, AND, am I proud for it? Do I feel good about it? Because at the end of the day, character matters. Leadership matters. Kindness Matters. It matters less to me if the government gets bigger, less to me if spending goes up, and it matters SO much more to me if I picked a candidate who extends a basic level of human decency and respect to his/her fellow person. What is most important is that we all teach our children through our actions, through our actions of voting, that we don’t name call, we don’t bully, we don’t belittle women (or anyone), no matter the cause, no matter the issue, no matter the position of power. There are some ideals that are more important than ANY of the political platforms or issues of today. So, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m crossing the aisle, I am voting for Clinton. Trump has no place in this government.

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Not Your Mama’s Conner Prairie

When we relocated to Indy last year, I remember hearing about Conner Prairie, conjuring up memories of my childhood visit there.  Once when mom or dad had a conference in the area, we got to make the trek down from Michigan for a visit.  All I really remember is a bunch of old prairie style homes.  Well, a lot has changed.

What I love about Conner Prairie is that you have different experiences every time you visit.

IMG_2046Case in point: our last visit, we got to pet a nine day old lamb, build blanket forts, and eat fresh made caramel apples.   None of these were available during our last visit, where we got to pretend-shoot rifles in the Civil War Journey, throw a tomahawk in Lenape Indian Camp, and ride in a hot air balloon.

And I always learn something new.  Did you know a group or flock of turkeys is called rafter?  We learned this as the entire rafter (quite literally) followed us through Prairie Town.  While they were harmless, the kids loved but were somewhat frightened a bit to have them within a few inches of their legs.IMG_2050

After visiting the loom house, we learned it takes nine days on a loom to make a blanket.  I think my kids had a whole new appreciation of what it takes to stay warm (or at least I did.)

IMG_2174Back to those delicious caramel apples.  My son got to experience his first, a salted caramel chocolate yellow delicious, while my daughter sampled the apple cider slushie, and even tried the apple, though she doesn’t like caramel or chocolate….miracles never cease.  The Apple Store is only open a few short months in the fall, and celebrates all things apple.  Sales benefit the charitable arm, Conner Prairie Alliance, which funds missions of Conner Prairie.  I even brought a half peck home to share from a local Indiana farm.  Delicious!

And let’s revisit the blanket fort…or aptly named the Hide Away Fort building area of the indoor Discovery Station, which is open all season.  My kids couldn’t get enough.  The area in which Conner Prairie has it right is making very simple things fun, which you could even replicate at home. IMG_2054

So, you have until the end of October run out for those caramel apples and other treats at the Apple Store.  After that, the outdoor portions close for the season (except for select events), but the indoor areas remain open.  So we’ll have to settle for blanket fort making, crafts, and how to harness wind energy, all located inside.  But somehow we don’t feel like that is settling.

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I’m a Guest Blogger: Check out “New Buffalo, Michigan: A Homecoming”

Hi All! I am so fortunate to be a guest blogger for Lisa Lubin (llworldtour.com), friend and former colleague at ABC7 Chicago! Check out my hometown update on her site at http://www.llworldtour.com/new-buffalo-michigan/!
You will love Lisa’s story. Years ago, she left the big job, sold the condo and travelled around the world. I got to live vicariously through her, as she kept a great blog about it all, to which I subscribed. What inspiration. Happy Reading!
New Buffalo Beach

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The Speedway

If you were looking for that insiders look at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this is not it. Confession: I am a complete racing novice. So, think of this post as an outsiders look at the Speedway. But one can’t live a mere 20 miles away from the IMS and not talk about it, especially this weekend, the annual running of the Indianapolis 500.

ImageBack when I worked in media, we affectionately refer to many Midwestern states the flyover states, ie, less noticed, than the coasts. Indeed, while living abroad, I found while many folks had heard of New York and L.A., the same people gave a blank stare when I mentioned Indiana, Ohio, or Michigan. Sigh. They would often speak of spending a two week vacation in America, but all of that time was either on the coasts, or at Disney World. But there are so many sites to see here, I couldn’t let the weekend pass without giving some love to my new state (as of 6 months ago), Indiana.

I went to my first race a number of years ago, while living in Chicago, but I remember it well as it was Danica Patrick’s first Indy 500 race, so there was extra excitement in the air. First impressions: it is super loud, so bring some headphones. And, my first attempts at photos were a joke. Even with a good Canon Digital rebel, the cars were out of the camera frame most of the time before I could click. Maybe I was jaded, living in a large city, but I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to park only a short distance to enter the track. Although there were crowds, it didn’t feel crowded.Image

ImageWhat I’ve discovered since becoming a Hoosier, is that the IMS has a Community Day in May, where you can visit the pit area, meet drivers and get autographs, play games; it even has a kids area with bounce houses – cool! And, if you enter at Gate 10 (and sign a waiver), you can drive the actual track in your own vehicle – way cool! (If you’ve missed this, you can visit the IMS museum and ride a bus around the track.)Image

To get in the spirit, catch the 500 Festival Parade, today at noon, in downtown Indianapolis. Or visit the Dallara Indy Car Factory, makers of the Indy car chassis, where you can watch an Indy car being made, and the kids can enjoy racing simulators, or my husband’s favorite, build your own car, pinewood derby-style. Adult guests can even pay to ride an actual indy car through the streets of Indianapolis. And cars are not the only Italian import on site; don’t miss Lino’s Coffee, for pizza, snacks, and of course, cappuccino, direct from Parma, Italy.

So, enjoy the race tomorrow. Through research I learned the Speedway is so big that Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City all could fit inside the IMS oval, which covers 253 acres. Now, if a local could just tell me why there is a golf course in the infield?  Image  

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Think Spring

Dayton 2012 March

March 2012

In case you have never been, let me tell you a little about spring in the Midwest.

weather photo 1

Tuesday

weather photo 2

Wednesday

On any given day, we can either be wearing short sleeves or have snow on the ground.  And with the winter we have had, I am seriously ready to just get in the car and drive south until I see grass.  As Spring Break season approaches, many of us will be packing up the family vehicle and trekking south.  And, with summer holiday not too far off, I thought I’d brush up on my top five travel tips with children, as we’ll be venturing off in a few short weeks to South Carolina.

  1.  Be OK with throwing your schedule out the window.  You know, I used to feel terribly inadequate when I’d meet parents whose kids all napped at the same time, ate
    Quiet dinner

    Quiet dinner

    at the same time, woke at the same time, etc, etc.  My kids never did, even with my attempts to set a schedule.  But part of living a travel-full life is being able to chuck the kids’ schedule without getting heart palpitations.  I know couples who returned to a hotel room so their kids could nap.  Maybe this works for some, but I would seriously feel like we were missing out.  Lay back the stroller or strap on the baby carrier for a walk.  But don’t stress if the naps happen at dinner time.  I specifically remember a time in 2010 when my kids both fell asleep in a cab on the way to a restaurant when we were traveling in Egypt.  They stayed asleep at the table/booth most of the meal, which equaled instant date night!  Yes, they stayed up a little later that night, but it was a decent trade off.

  2.  Snack, snacks and more snacks.  I can’t believe how often I have forgotten this one.  How easy is it to grab a handful of granola bars (or whatever packaged food your kiddos will eat) before a long day of travel?  As we prepare in a few weeks, I am not only stocking up on the tried and true snacks but also grabbing some that can be considered treats we wouldn’t normally have at home.
  3.  Technology can be your friend.  I realize screen time is a hotly debated issue these days.  However, when we are trapped in a car for 12 plus hours trying to make it to our Spring Break destination, we lower our standards.  Yes, I said it.  Perfectionist me used to hate it when people would say “lower your standards.”  I like to now think of it as being open to alternative resolutions when presented with new challenges.  When you arrive (or are on driving breaks), put the games and movies away, find a park and explore!  I usually even hide the games until the return trip.  
  4. I think a realtor in Chicago once told me that everything in negotiable.  That statement took on a whole new meaning once I had children.  I negotiate daily my way in (and out) of situations with my kids.  My husband and I are history enthusiasts and have taken our two children (ages somewhere between 1 and 6 at the time) to two presidential museums.  My son ate candy and fruit snacks out of my pocket most of the morning, and my daughter got to pick the restaurant where we ate lunch that day; meanwhile, my husband and I got to see at least part of the museum.
  5. Prepare early.  My husband laughed a few years ago when he saw me packing up the suitcases a couple weeks before we were leaving.  His fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants attitude leads him to wait until the last minute.  However, I know that with my brain only half functioning most days, which inevitably comes from a sleep drought most nights, I work better with a system of lining all suitcases in the hall, and chucking items in as I remember them; then doing one final check at the end.  This also ensures I’m not up until all hours the night before.  At least, I’m not up until all hours packing suitcases.  (Of course as soon as they are old enough, dear children will be doing their packing themselves.)

When disappointments happen, be OK with spending a little more to be happy.  Last year in Estes Park, we upgraded our room at the start (a small price to pay for functioning outlets and a closer walk to the dining hall), and we were so much happier and relaxed for it.  In San Antonio last spring, we veered off course a little to spend an extra night in a hotel near a theme park so that we could settle one of our sick children, before meeting up with family the next day.

Happy Trails!  Maybe we’ll pass each other on South I-75.

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ASCOT

As I sit watching the Kentucky Derby, kids having living room horse races,

Imagesipping a mint julep (I wish), I immediately go back to our lovely visit to Ascot Racecourse.  While living in London, a neighbour told us that “we simply MUST go to Ascot,” which is British for, it will be a very fun time for the family.

ImageSo we trekked due west of London, for almost an hour by train, to Ascot, which is about 6 miles from Windsor.  An over 300 year old racing track, Ascot began in 1711, on an idea from Queen Anne.  The original racers were English hunters, quite different from the jockeys we see today.  The first race was four miles, and bared little resemblance to today’s races.  A proper race course was erected later on the site, and a permanent building followed in 1794.  The most prestigious races happen during Royal Ascot, which is held over five days in June, and is quite a formal affair.

ImageWe attended on a beautiful April morning for Family day, which had an Alice in Wonderland theme my three year old absolutely adored.  Complete with rides on the outside lawn, delicious food booths, face painting and games, it really is an all-day outing.  We had such a great time, and I was so happy to have the experience. Now someday we really MUST go to Kentucky for the Derby.Image

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Ireland

So, what do you do, when you know your time in London may be coming to an end soon?  Well, just as one in the US could hop a plane for a 1 hour flight from Chicago to Nashville or St. Louis, we booked a long weekend in Ireland.  We ended up having 4 days, due to the bank holiday (Bank Holiday = the generic British term for that Monday holiday that gives you a 3 day weekend.)

What I’m first struck by: the topography.  Now, I don’t know about you, but having flown ovImageer the US 100s of times, this photo to the right is what one would typically see: nicely laid out square or rectangular plots of land, either farm or city, shaped in a lovely grid.  I guess that’s what one typically sees in a relatively new (~ 200 years old) country.

ImageJuxtapose that to the photo on the left, an aerial view flying into Shannon, Ireland.  Crazy lines going every which way, literally as far as the eye could see.  And yes, it goes without saying, as green as I’ve ever seen any land.

Having straightened out the Visa situation for my son, we were set. (Yes, we remembered to get his passport for going home, but totally forgot he would need a Visa to re-enter Britain.  Thank you, nice border patrol man. I’ll need a separate blog post for that experience later).  We jumped on Ryanair for the one hour flight from London to Shannon.  We were lucky in the fact that my husband spent 15 months living in Ireland about 10 years prior, so we effectively had our own built in tour guide.  He suggested flying into Shannon, driving the southern coast, including Dingle Bay, then back north through Clonmel (where he worked) and then up to Dublin, and flying out of Dublin.

ImageOne of the first things we found?  A beach!  Go figure.  I guess I was picturing green, rocky cliffs and not sandy beaches.  Not at all what I was expecting, but then again I also wasn’t planning that it would be 70 degrees F and sunny every day.   Ok, now this next photo on the left was much more in line with the Irish coast I had envisioned in my head.

ImageOne of the most beautiful drives?  Slea Head Drive, where we found a charming Bed and Breakfast that would accept children, and had a lovely time.  My 9 month old, being so mobile and at that age, detested the car drives, and as desperation got the best of us, we actually turned his rear-facing car seat around so he could see out on the drive.  Sadly, it didn’t work, as he still didn’t see the beauty that we saw. Between this and the fact that my 3 year old daughter got sick in the car nearly each time we got in (the very winding roads got her every time), we made slower than normal progress, but managed to see countless castles and numerous picnic spots, which we discovered was a far easier way to eat our lunch than finding suitable restaurants for small children, which would either take a very long time to get served, or we’d feel uncomfortable being literally the only ones with littles in the restaurant.

ImageOn arriving in Dublin, we headed straight for the Guinness Brewery, having heard they had a lovely tour.  It did not disappoint, and the view from the tower at the end was magnificent.  My daughter enjoyed it (almost) as much as we did!  A fabulous tour also not to be missed is that of the Kilmainham Gaol Museum.  A former prison and famous for its presence in dozens of movies (In the Name of the Father, anyone?), the tourImage was wonderfully guided, and we learned so much of Dublin history.  Included as its famous residents were Patrick Pearse, and James Connolly, leaders of the Easter Rising, 1916.  Here is where they and 13 other leaders were shot to by British firing squad.  And we got to stand in that very spot.

Next was a stop at the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland, where we had a wonderful stew.  Established in 1198, it also functions as a hotel.  Outside the pub was the site of the first bridge across the Liffey River, so at that time it was a bustling area of trade.

ImageAfter saying goodbye to the white cows, it was time to also bit farewell to Ireland, easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

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Up North

As I enjoyed the 70 + degree weather today, my mind goes immediately to our holiday last October, when we also experienced unseasonable 70 degree weather.  Our Indian Summer, or Autumn holiday we experienced Up North, which is a special term generally referring to a place in Michigan in the Northwest part of the state.  My husband had the idea of a Fall color tour; I researched southern Indiana, Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and some other places.  But then we both decided over Sunday breakfast one day that the State of Michigan’s economy could use our tourist dollars, and was also less driving time with kids.  So Up North was chosen.

I was born and raised in Michigan, but I never spent much time in the Northwest area of the state.

Glen Lake view

And may I say WOW!  It is beautiful!  Good Morning America’s viewers recently voted Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the most beautiful place in America (read story here) and now I see why.  You can stand on a sand dune and peek over to Lake Michigan on one side, with the Manitou Islands in view, while still seeing Little Glen and Big Glen Lakes on the other.  The trees were beginning to turn.  It was absolutely magnificent!  We could have easily spent days there, as the entire national park encompasses an area over 30 miles.

So now for a refresher geology course, courtesy of the National Lakeshore.  Glaciers carried a lot of sand and sediment, and when they melted, large hills were left.  Combined with the wind off the lake, a sand dune is formed.  Imagine how big those glaciers once were to leave such a large sand dune!  In Michigan, we are surrounded by sand dunes.  And Glen Lake actually used to be connected to Lake Michigan as glacial erosion carved out both lakes during the ice age.  Then a sand bar developed, which is actually where the present day village of Glen Arbor sits – where we lodged during our journey.

More facts we learned on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which includes both the dunes and a maple-beech forest: how the dune got its name.  The Sleeping Bear Dune has thick vegetation, resembling a bear with its dark, shaggy appearance.  And the Chippewa Indians tell this story:

“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire.  The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs lagged behind.  Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to wait for her cubs.  Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore.  The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.”

View of Lake Michigan & Manitou Islands

The two islands, now named North and South Manitou Islands, can be visited via ferry boat, daily in the summer season and less frequent in the off season.  From what I understand, they are remote camping islands, and for this family, will be visited in the future when we can do it as a day trip.

In true family fashion, we set out to climb the dune, not really understanding what was in front of us.  Sure we could see the top of one dune, but little did we know there were actually about four more ridges to climb over after that one in order to see Lake Michigan!  About half way up the first dune, we realize our two year old has a dirty diaper.  But thinking that were almost there, we trudge ahead.  By about the third ridge, a crying two year old, whining four year old (are we there yet?), and drill sergeant husband all combine to one heck of a tiring morning! But the beauty was magnificent.

After finding lunch at a local tavern, we head south toward the visitors center in Empire, Michigan.  Our children have just fallen asleep, so we seek out another scenic drive and head over to Bar Lake – it looks interesting on the map.  We pass a public beach, but much smaller and rural than ours at home, and then notice some beautiful homes in the distance.  Imagine owning a house here, literally sandwiched between Lake Michigan and Bar Lake on this sliver of land, probably no larger than 50 yards.  Needless to say I bet they don’t have basements!  The drive eventually turned into a private road so we turn around.

Chateau Grand Traverse Winery

We were lucky to have a few hours without the children to tour the wine country on Old Mission Peninsula.  And we also got an impromptu refresher on remembering how to read a map when the GPS fails.  This small sliver of a peninsula in Grand Traverse Bay offers about 7 or so wineries and the drive was absolutely beautiful.  At the tip, there was a lighthouse we could tour.  And it was not only for wine lovers; my husband also found one of his faves – the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery – and we had a nice lunch there too.

We ventured to Leelanau Peninsula on our next driving day.  While larger than Old Mission Peninsula, it was a big farther from our hotel so we really just took it as a driving tour of another magnificent scenic drive, complete with wineries and a lighthouse museum again at the tip.  Oh, and a snake family I almost stepped on at the lighthouse!  I am not a serpent lover, so I quickly hopped over them. They were either very young (imagine large worm-sized) or some type of very small species.  Yuck!

Although Traverse City is the major city in that region, we didn’t spend a lot of time there, other than some short, memory-making pit stops:

  •  Finding a playground on Grand Traverse Bay at an opportune time when my children really needed it, and my two year old wading in the Bay when we had the unseasonably warm mid-70 degree weather;
  • My husband finding another local brewery that just so happened to have a salon in the same building where we could get the kids’ haircuts;
  • Stopping for pasties at the side of the road, reminding us very much of our Cornwall, England adventure

The mission of this trip was really to explore the natural wonders of our state.  And we were so blessed to have the opportunity!  It is amazing what might be in your backyard that you never knew about.  Ahh, one of the few things I remember from my seventh grade Michigan History class, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you!”

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Real Women Have Curves!

So where can you go work out and have great conversations with other strong women of all ages?  No, it’s not your mama’s workout gym.  It’s a phenomenon that has changed women’s fitness.  It is Curves, and Curves franchises are popping up everywhere.  It is the ninth largest franchise in the country.  I have just learned there is one Curves for every two McDonalds in America.

Since I’m not walking as often as I was, living in London, I decided I needed to do something, on a regular basis, and it needed to be quick, with two small kids at home.  When I visited Curves a few months before joining, I had misgivings.

My misconceptions:

“I’ll be the only one under 40.”

“Will it be challenging enough?”

“Will it work?”

No.  Yes.  Yes!

The brilliant thing is that you can truly do it at your own pace.  The more you put in, the more you will get out of it.  The circuit takes only 30 minutes to complete.  And the time flies because usually you are chatting it up with others working out, as the circuit sits in a circle so you are facing each other.  They’ve added a workout incorporating Zumba, which is fun and challenging.

So I’ve been indoctrinated.  Now I’m a believer.  On any given day, I work out next to women in their 20s or women in their 80s (I believe my local Curves’ oldest member just turned 90 this year…go Dinah!).  So check it out.  I feel better and have more energy.  Soon I’ll be running circles around my kids…which, if you know them, this is saying a lot!

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