Friday, July 26, 2013

Tee Time

Many years ago, my husband and I decided to take up golf. We joined our local country club and began learning the game with lessons, events, and private play. Living in Florida for eight years  allowed us to play twelve months of the year but the relentless summer heat curtailed our games to the cooler outings, similar to living in Wisconsin, only reverse months.

A wicked slice finally got the best of my husband's game. He told me the last time we played together at Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota that he would never play the game again. He banged his driver into the sandy loam so I knew he meant it. He kept his word. Although, his clubs are still in the attic, he hasn’t touched them in more than ten years. So, following his lead, I packed up my clubs in my pretty red bag, slipped the red knit socks on the woods, snapped on the cover and laid my bag next to his. And that's where they have been until last year.
Last summer, my son asked me if I’d be interested in playing golf again. I've always considered him to be a natural athlete and his ability to drive over two hundred yards made the game a cinch for him. Meanwhile, I’m reading my notes for the correct grip, a swing plane, and chipping tips. Did I need to wear the worn golf glove that I found in my bag or not? Waggle or no waggle? Like so many things in life, if you’ve done it in the past, it comes back to you. And my game came back to me.

We continued to give it our all last summer and played as much as we could. I loved every minute of it because it was a sport I could actually do with my son. Coupling it with “loser buys lunch” only made our golf days together even better. Those days are gone now as he is now employed with two jobs. Our golf days together are rare and have been replaced with a ladies league. 

Yesterday, I invited my father to join me in the game hoping to learn some of his techniques. Although in his 70s, he still shoots in the mid 50s for nine holes. We golfed a little nine-hole course near the Holy Hill Basilica. I finished with a score of 66 – which is not bad for me while he came in with a 62. What a blessing for me. I get to spend time with my Dad outside among nature on a beautiful course playing a game that challenges me and thrills me at the same time. As a writer, I've grown used to critiques and actually look forward to them now. The game of golf is the same way. I listen to my Dad's advice and use it. I watch videos online to correct flaws, television programs to improve my strokes, and read books like the one I'm reading now, "The Women's Guide to Golf" by Kellie Stenzel. I'm bound and determined to improve and eventually I'm sure I will.
If you’ve haven't tried golf, I encourage you to give a go. It's an opportunity to spend time with those you love and who love you.
Until then, enjoy the life we have been blessed to live.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Picture Credit: Alaskan Railroad

An Alaska Adventure
It's In the Details
It's fast approaching.

Did you know that more than a million people visit Alaska every year?

Next month, my husband and I will embark on an Alaskan cruise. Wow! It's a trip we've always wanted to take but easily put aside for simpler, less expensive vacations or, believe or not, yard work and house projects.

This year is different. We are going. Our tickets are purchased, and they are nonrefundable (not that we ever second-guessed our decision to go).

We are reading tour books rented from the library, scanning articles off the Internet, and listening to word-of-mouth advice to compile a great trip.

Without hesitation, we decided to couple the cruise with a few extra days both before and after the sail to extend our time in this faraway land. We thought as long as we are there, let's enjoy it and soak up the culture.

We live in Wisconsin and today we are topping 90 degrees with high humidity.
A pattern I tend to dislike.
On the other hand, the average temperature in Alaska in August is 63 degrees. Big change number one. One could easily consider it refreshing, and believe me, we do!

We heard about the rain - we have been told it can rain on the turn of a dime. So, a few weeks ago, we went out and bought Columbia rain gear. We are ready for the unexpected and will not allow the rain to deter our experience. Or, so we think...

Have you traveled to or otherwise? If you have, please pass along your experiences and advice. We are adventure seeking baby boomers, enough said, you get the picture.

In the days ahead, we will decide on our excursions. We have already ruled out the float plane trip to Kodiak Island. It was an opportunity to view grizzly bear during a salmon run. It was a bit out of our price range - say a couple thousand dollars worth but included a brown bag lunch :).

We are not all-day shoppers, breezing in and out of a line of touristy stores for trinkets. Instead, we look for biking, kayaking, zip lining adventures.... Share your experiences with us if you have put your fears aside and said yes to any of these activities - or others -while visiting Alaska.
Your feedback will help us in the decisions we have yet to make.

We arrive in Anchorage and are told to visit the Anchorage Museum to get a flavor of the culture, history, and people. Personally, I'm attracted to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. It's an eleven-mile bike/walking trail curling around Cook Inlet to Kincaid Park.We are told we might spot beluga whales offshore. Can you imagine!
Picture Credit: Earth Justice

Instead of renting a car or traveling by bus to the port city of Seward, we chose The Alaskan Railroad. We purchased two first-class 'Gold Star' tickets for the rail travel.
What attracted us were the double decked dome rail cars, the confirmed seats, and the priority seating in the lower level dining room showcasing original Alaska artwork along with a private outdoor viewing deck - the only one of its kind in the world.
Our intention was to start the trip off "right." Has anyone traveled by Alaskan Railroad or any railroad that left you with an impression you would like to share?

Picture Credit: Alaskan Travel

I hope you enjoy the Alaskan Adventure Posts that I will publish in the weeks to come.
Maybe I'll figure out how to upload a movie from my Galaxy smart phone.
You can count on pictures and a synopsis of the day's events for sure prefaced by our trip's preparations.
Next up, we must decide on our excursion choices; after all, the beauty and enjoyment of this trip will rest in the details.

Until then, enjoy the life we have been blessed to live.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kayaking - now that's an interesting word and even more interesting to spell! It's a sport I fell in love with last year and with all the rain Wisconsin has been receiving this year, it's a great year for paddling. What is it about kayaking that draws me in? The quiet movement across the water. The brush with nature as you coast into the shore hoping not to disturb. The physical workout of moving your body in unison with the paddles, pushing yourself to make better time than the last time you were out. Observing others who are swifter, leaner, and more beautiful as they work their bodies. The sounds, smells, the visuals, and the workout - it's all wrapped up beautifully in a ride in this little boat. Try it, you just may fall in love like I did.
Pictured here with my sister Catherine Hilt paddling the Mississippi over the fourth of July.

Contract Signed for new book: "A Perfect Fit"

It was a great day today because I signed and mailed the contract back to the publisher for my fourth book, "A Perfect Fit "...