Month: November 2013

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Couple Walking


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Couple Walking

Last year I visited a friend in Arizona and we took a day trip to Sedona. The red rock formations there are truly an amazing thing to see.

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Road Trip


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Taking a road trip is something I’ve always wanted to do but never have made the time for.  Actually I have taken trips with my kids that were kind of road trips, like bouncing from one city to the next which was fun but I mean a road trip alone; nothing but me, the road and whatever hotel I stumble across.

My view of a road trip is you get in your vehicle with a general idea of where you are headed but without necessarily having set destinations to stop at along the way. When I think about that though it sounds like a disaster with stress and road rage.

A friend I went to grade school with invited me out to California for a visit which actually sounds great but then I am looking at a 2,256 mile drive and roughly 32 hours. I know me. Driving more than 4 hours is torture let alone the thought of 32 hours on the road. I think I might be able to do close to 10 hours if I had to but that would be it so we are looking at over three days driving one way. Of course I could stop wherever I wanted and just enjoy each town I stop in.

Another problem with that trip is the six days of driving plus the five days I would like to stay in town means I would be away from work for 11 days, unacceptable. It’s unacceptable not because I would get fired, I’m self-employed, but because that’s 11 days of not making any money. I think that’s been what has stopped me from taking more than a week off at a time these past few years. That trip would require a flight but I don’t want to fly anywhere now I want to drive.

I have a friend in Tennessee who invited me to come visit anytime I wanted. Actually a couple of weekends ago he was up here and I told him about my idea to get away for a few days,  he recommended I come down and visit. Nashville is 528 miles away or just under 8 hours. I’ve driven to Tennessee twice so I know what to expect on that trip. The drive sucked both times because it’s more than 4 hours. Still that’s something I could do in one day for sure.

There’s a third option and that’s to drive north but not far north, just perhaps 4-6 hours north. I’ve been to plenty of places up north so I have a good idea where to go. There are a few secluded cabins we have stayed in over the years that would be peaceful and quite relaxing. I could go into town and buy some groceries for one, enough to get by a few days or a week. It would be simple. As nice as that sounds I know too that I would be alone in that cabin all week with nothing to do but think. I’d get lost in my thoughts, not something I want to do now. I want to clear my mind not think about what’s going on over and over playing out the years and trying to make sense of it all, that’s pointless and a waste of time. That sounds worse than driving 32 hours.

Either way I need to figure this out because I really need to get away.

Road Trip California

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Graffiti in Ypsilanti


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Graffiti in Ypsilanti

There’s a bridge over the Huron River in Ypsilanti Michigan that connects Riverside park to Frog Island park. Under the bridge there’s a section that gets a new decoration every few months.

The previous decoration was the image of a gentleman sitting down to dinner with his head being the main course, very odd. I will post it later.

Vacation

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive


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The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a scenic route within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Over the summer, actually late summer, I took my girls here while on vacation in NW Michigan. This was one of many stops on our adventure. I’ve been here a couple of times over the years with my wife and kids but this time it was just me and the girls. It was windy and being late in the summer we didn’t get to swim but it was still a great time. Despite the changes taking place in my life the summer of 2013 was one of the best in terms of vacations and spending time with my family. I wish there was a rewind button.

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Full Moon


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Photo taken in my back yard a few months ago.

Full Moon

Full Moon by Robert Hayden

No longer throne of a goddess to whom we pray,
no longer the bubble house of childhood’s
tumbling Mother Goose man,

The emphatic moon ascends–
the brilliant challenger of rocket experts,
the white hope of communications men.

Some I love who are dead
were watchers of the moon and knew its lore;
planted seeds, trimmed their hair,

Pierced their ears for gold hoop earrings
as it waxed or waned.
It shines tonight upon their graves.

And burned in the garden of Gethsemane,
its light made holy by the dazzling tears
with which it mingled.

And spread its radiance on the exile’s path
of Him who was The Glorious One,
its light made holy by His holiness.

Already a mooted goal and tomorrow perhaps
an arms base, a livid sector,
the full moon dominates the dark.

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Purple Flower


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Purple Flower

Photo taken in Phoenix Arizona while on a hike. I’ve always lived in Michigan but since my first visit to AZ I’ve thought about living there.

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Dune Grass


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Dune Grass

Despite the clouds it was hot on this day, in the 80’s. We were swimming in Lake Michigan and walking, actually more like running because of the hot sand, back to the truck. There was a patch of grass to stand on for a break from the burning of our feet. This was in Ludington Michigan over the summer when I took the boys north for a long weekend.

Ludington is one of those places that you really love to visit but then after a couple days I guess you kind of experience everything and just move on. Over the years I’ve been back a handful of times but we usually just head straight north to the Traverse City area for vacation and pass the Ludington area up. I took the boys up there twice and the girls once over the summer. All three times were as fun as I’ve ever had on the trip there. We were spontaneous with our plans just going wherever we wanted each day.

I believe when life is coming to a close there are things you will regret and things you will be grateful for. Spending time with those you love is one of those things you won’t regret.

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Lake Superior


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Lake Superior

The sand along Lake Superior is fine with a layer of black just below the surface. This photo was taken this summer while on vacation along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Visit Grandma


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Even before going to visit her I knew it would be hard to see her there, unable to talk and unconscious. Knowing that fact I talked myself up, sort of a pep talk to myself because I know that strength really isn’t there it’s just I didn’t want to fall apart. I walked in and she’s sleeping there with a look of peace on her face, the pep talk was useless. You would never know she was dying from cancer or that there was any pain at all, of course the drip of pain relief brought that peace to her. The thoughts she was having spoken in a whisper in her sleep.  She said her sisters name a couple times in almost a cry like the conversation was sad or perhaps it was happy, a happy reunion I wonder. The nurse said it’s common for people to think about and even see their loved ones when they are in that state of mind, when they are dying, and my uncle cried at that last word. I wonder if up until that moment he hadn’t grasped the idea of her dying.

As I sat there talking to my uncle the nurse came in periodically to check on her and answer any questions we had. She really was a nice lady and so helpful. Not impatient and put off like some people might be in that situation where they are forced to care for a dying person they don’t even know or love. Her words were comforting and seemed sincere.

After a while I walked up to her bed and leaned over kissing her cheek. I said “grandma this is Vince, I love you” and she heard me. Trying to lean forward like she was listening hard, opening her eyes just a little the way you might do when you want to wake up but you’re so tired you can’t fully open them all the way; she whispered “I love you Vicente.” Those were the last words I heard her speak. Two days later my brother called me and said she was gone.

Today I planed to go visit her grave. It’s not the first time I’ve made those plans and won’t be the last but I still can’t bring myself to go. Even now I think I could just go get dressed and do it but I don’t know what I would say. Besides if I can’t pull myself together at the thought of her how much worse would it be when I am standing there?