Our Mottos

‎"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."
— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)

"It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end." - Ursula LeGuin

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 6

The second day at Glacier National Park was just with my parents. My little brother and his family were heading to other parts. Since we saw the west side the first day, we drove around the park and came in on the east side. Again, the scenery was breathtaking. We drove through the park as far as we could then headed back west. I was afraid that I would feel cheated not seeing the part we missed, but honestly, I saw so much I was content. I will definitely come back again so I can drive across the park.

Without further ado, I will let the park speak for itself:

 I literally risked my life to get this picture. I had to climb a really steep, wet hillside. I truly was scared. However, (now that I am safe) it was definitely worth it. I don't even know how he was able to stand there.

There were some wild horsed that were grazing along the side of the road.

 Picture perfect. The island out there is called Wild Goose Island.

That's my mom playing in the snow. "Its cold," she said. Well, yeah, its snow!

Brenda had to play, too. We don't see much of that white stuff in Tucson.

Brenda loves taking foot shots. I love a sandaled foot in the snow.

Look, its a glacier!

This was the end of the road for us. The plows were about two miles past this stop. You were allowed to hike it if you wanted. We decided not to.

We did a little hike along the stream. Again, being from Tucson, we don't see many rushing streams (or any water for that matter.)

 Trolls under the bridge. Oh wait, that's just Mom and Brenda during the hike.

The lake. It was so beautiful and calm. There was a tour boat on the water as well as some kayakers. I would love to try that next time.

Another picture of the lake.

Brenda hanging by the lake.

Another view of the lake. Every time we turned the bend in the road, there was another beautiful angle of the lake.

There were a bunch of mountain goats just off the side of the road. This one started heading toward us for his close-up.

You can really see him shedding his winter coat in this one.

I think Glacier National Park is one of my favorite national parks. I was so glad to get the chance to see it.

Come back tomorrow and get the next installment of the trip.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 5

The contents of this blog contain graphic pictures of grandeur and beauty. Mature audiences only!!!!!!!

What can I say!?! Glacier National Park was so incredible I don't even have the words to describe it. In fact, I don't think I will. I will let the pictures do the talking. Unfortunately, pictures cannot even honestly portray the absolute beauty of the land.

The first day there was spent with my parents and my little brother and his family. We had a great time exploring the west side of the park. The Road to the Sun was still closed due to heavy winter snows so we couldn't go all the way across. We were able to take a tram to the Avalanche area where we could then walk about 4 miles to where they were still plowing. We walked almost two miles of the road but had to get back because the last trams left the area at 5:00. I will say, it was enjoyable to leisurely walk the road and see the sights. I would imagine with the volume of traffic on that road, you would miss a lot of beautiful vistas.

Here are the pictures:

Lake McDonald


                                    Me by the stream.


                        Looking up through the trees.

 A waterfall.

                                          Snow on the mountain.


                   Walking the Road to the Sun.

Looks a little chilly!!!

Free roadside showers!

Brenda decided it was better to observe than partake of the free shower.

Heidi, Grandfather, where are you?

These are just a few of the hundreds of pictures we took. Instead of going crazy and making this a gigantic blog, I will wait until tomorrow to post the second day of Glacier National Park.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 4

So when we last left our heroines they were in Spokane exploring and eating a wonderful meal. Let's check in on them now......

Saturday was relaxing and enjoyable spending time with the nieces and nephew and my parents. The wedding was at 6:00 so we had all day to relax.

 Brenda relaxing with the kids.

Me relaxing with the kids.

OK, this was not really relaxing.

The wedding was absolutely wonderful. It was outside at a golf course my cousin works at. The scenery was just beautiful and made a picturesque backdrop. There was lots of dancing and all around fun times had. We were able to watch the sun set as the night wore on.

 This is the view that was behind the minister during the ceremony. It was absolutely gorgeous!
 As you can see, it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding.
As the sun was setting. It was a perfect ending for a perfect day.

My youngest brother dancing with his youngest daughter and my parents dancing as well.

The next morning, we had a baby shower for my cousin's daughter. I won't bore you with the pictures of all the gifts and oohing and aahing. But, it was a fun time had by all the female members of the family. Again, it was another great family sharing time.

After the shower, we all said out goodbyes. This was the last time we were all together as one big group. Some of us were heading to Glacier National Park and we would see each other there.

It felt so good to reconnect with my family. I was so amazed how well we just picked up where we left off. I know it won't be as long until we all see each other again.  It was truly a magical time.

The next chapter in this saga will be all about Glacier National Park. I warn you ahead of time that there will be lots of pictures.

So until next time, safe travels to all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 3

Well the rest of the pictures are ready, so I can now continue my recap of this great trip. Let's see, when last I left you, we were in Park City, Utah.

From Park City, we headed to Craters of the Moon National Monument. This park is small and can be completely discovered in a few hours. Here are some pictures:

 It is really interesting that the landscape is all green rolling hills until you get to the park area.
 These giant lava rock are everywhere!

Here's Brenda walking on the moon. Hehehe

After we finished up in the park, we headed over to our motel room in Arco, ID. The motel, the DK Motel, was cute. It is a small mom and pop place that had some charm.

 The room had a small kitchenette and the bed was made with real sheets. They were pink.
 Brenda is sitting at the desk checking her emails. The drawer pulls on the desk were little horse shoes. How quaint.
The ceiling was really pretty wood and beam construction.

We were in our room and settled by 3:00 in the afternoon. We took this time to relax and play catch up on the computer since the room had wifi.

We went to a really cute place for dinner called Pickle's Place. They had great food and it was a short walk from the motel. After dinner, we came back to the room and did some more relaxing because we were getting up early the next morning to head to Spokane.

The area around Arco is very, dare I say, boring scenery-wise. It is a very agricultural area and reminded me of Kansas except that there were hills.

Two hours from Arco is Challis. Here the scenery really changed and started getting into the northwest look, mountains, pine trees and fast moving streams. If I had known all this ahead of time, I probably would have driven another two hours the day before and stayed in Challis. But it was good to have some rest and relaxation time the day before.

Once we got back on the Interstate in Misoula, MT, those bad tires were given me a workout. I-90 is very mountainous and curvy and it was all I could do to keep the car up to speed and in control. I knew that we were going to get tires as soon as we got to Spokane.

We arrived in Spokane about 4:00 on Thursday afternoon. My parents had already arrived and were out with my aunt and uncle when we got in so we got settled in our room. About an hour or so later they all got back to the hotel and we went out to dinner at a local Mexican dinner located across the street from our hotel.

Friday morning, my dad and I went to Discount Tire and replaced my two front tires. I was so glad we had made it this far and could tell a difference immediately. And, my dad insisted on paying for the tires. Dad's rock!

After we got back, Mom and Dad and Brenda and I went and explored downtown Spokane. We walked around a beautiful mall then went over to the park and checked out the river.

 Did I mention I am not fond of heights or suspension bridges? Dad held my hand as I bravely crossed the bridge!
 Brenda looking marvelous!

That night, the whole family got together and we had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. This was the first time in over 35 years we were all together. We had a great time reconnecting and eating good food.

I give kudos to the staff at Old Spaghetti Factory. We had a huge party (I am thinking around 30) and yet they were so efficient and got everybody their food and drinks in a timely fashion. They even let us pay individually. I was extremely impressed!

Stayed tuned for my next post: the wedding and Glacier National Park. You won't want to miss it!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thoughts From a Rambling Retired Police Officer

Twenty five years ago today, I began a life changing journey. On July 24, 1986, I raised my right hand and swore to protect the citizens of the city of Indianapolis as a police officer for the Indianapolis Police Department. Looking back, I see how naive I was and how much I had yet to learn.

I look back in amazement as to how I even got to that point. It was always my dream to be a police officer. I don't know why. I did not know any police officers or had I ever had any contact with law enforcement. I just knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. It never occurred to be that I would anything but a police officer.

The academy was 16 grueling weeks of classroom training and physical training. We lost several people in our class as we went along. Again, it never occurred to be that I would not make it. Perhaps it was my being so naive and not knowing I couldn't succeed that caused me to succeed.

I had a very successful career. It was a job I loved from the beginning until I retired 5 years ago. Sure, there were times that were tough, but it was a lifestyle that I thrived in. There is a true brotherhood that comes with the job. We were not just fellow officers, we were family.

I had many jobs while on the department. I worked the streets, did detective work, worked undercover operations and drove the paddy wagon. In 2000, after years of studying and several attempts, I was promoted to Sergeant. I had some great assignments as a supervisor. My favorite was the supervisor over the bicycle and walking patrol downtown.

It was never my intention to retire after 20 years. I planned on working the full 32 years to receive my maximum pension. However, there were several events that changed my course.

The first was my divorce. I met my ex-husband about 3 years into my career. We were together for most of my career. He was my sergeant. Again, due to being naive and not being true to myself, it was never really a good coupling. He was mentally abusive and very promiscuous. It took a tornado for me to wake up.

In a nutshell, we lost everything in that tornado and it caused us to live apart for a while. While away from him, I began counseling to try to save our marriage. I had an awesome therapist who worked with me and helped me realize if he didn't want to try, it wasn't going to work. She also helped me realize who I really was.

After our divorce, it was difficult not to see him while I was working. It made life really hard and stressful for me. It was as if when we were dividing up all our possessions in the divorce, he got the department. I felt like I was not treated as well and it was all my fault that we had divorced. (I am sure much of this feeling was in my head, but it felt very real to me at the time. Besides, I was his 4 wife and one of his other exes was also a police officer.)

Shortly after the divorce, I met Brenda, thanks again to my therapist! My therapist was also working with both of us in a women's group she was conducting and saw the connection we had immediately. Our relationship is everything that is supposed to define a relationship.

We started talking about moving to a warmer climate. We both liked Tucson, AZ and her daughter lived out here. We visited here and knew this was were we wanted to be. I was about to complete 20 years on the department, the time needed to be vested and be able to collect a pension at age 52. We decided to put the house up for sale and see what would happen. Well, three months later, we were here in Tucson. We knew this was meant to be.

We knew that we would have to wait about 4 years before I could start collecting my pension. We figured I was young enough to find another job or even another career. So off we went.

Unfortunately, the job market out here is not the best and the pay is very low. I have worked at various jobs, most of them horrible, until I was finally able to start collecting my pension.

OK, I kind of went off course a little there.

When you become a police officer, it is not just a job. It is a lifestyle. I miss that lifestyle very much and sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had stayed there just a little longer. I really miss the action and being part of that fraternity.  On the other hand, my life is very sweet right now. Sure we have gone through some tough times out here and things didn't work out like we thought. However, things have worked out just like they were meant to.

We are very happy here and things are getting better all the time. We are finally in a position where we are not just getting by and only able to afford the basics. We are able to work on our future again and begin that process. We have a little breathing room and can actually save money. (We had saved more than enough for our vacation we just took.)

I am very proud of my years on the Indianapolis Police Department. I served my city and agency well. I did my best and received honors because of my work. Above all, I am thankful that I am earning a pension and able to only work part time if and when I want to. We are enjoying life and doing some traveling. Because of my pension, we will be able to become full time RVers and not have to worry about an income.

To all my classmates still out there fighting crime and suppressing evil-I salute you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 2

After we spent the day exploring Zion, we came back to our hotel room and got in the pool and the hot tub. It was so refreshing and nobody else was in it. As we were splashing around, we could see people setting off fireworks all around us.

The next morning we got up and headed to Park City, Utah. On the way, we decided to have a picnic at a roadside park just outside of Provo. To save money, we had packed stuff for lunches and breakfasts. We were just going to pull into a parking lot somewhere and eat, but we saw several parks along the highway. Of course, we never saw the sign for the next park until it was too late. And when we did see the signs in time, I was in the wrong lane to get to it. Finally, fate worked with us and we found a park that we were able to get to.

Here I am eating my lunch:

It was a beautiful park right along side a fast moving stream. It was beautiful. As we continued on the highway, we followed the stream. There were all kinds of small parks along the stream, so we got out a few times for photo ops.

Here's a picture from one of our stops:

We finally arrived in Park City and it was so charming and full of character. The place my brother hooked us up with to stay in was quite nice. Our room was on the third floor overlooking the main street.

After we got the car unloaded, we explored the street looking at all the shops and restaurants. We decided on a BBQ place for dinner. It was such a beautiful evening, we sat out on the patio which was actually on the main street. We ate a delicious meal, drank wonderful margaritas and did lots of people watching.

Here's Brenda deciding what to order.....tough decision.

Here's what she decided on...ribs, chicken and sweet potatoes. Very good food.

After dinner, we sat on the couch in our living room for hours just admiring the views and watching people some more. Brenda actually saw a guy change his clothes right out on the main street. It was funny because he was so careful to look around to make sure no one could see him. I guess he forgot to look up.

Here are some shots from our room:

 These were taken as the sun was setting.

Here's me enjoying the view. Can you tell how happy and content I am!?!

Stayed tuned for the next chapter of this adventure.