Back To Reality

Vacation is over and I’m headed back to work today. Luckily, I like my job and enjoy earning my own way in the world. All the same, I will miss the leisure time and having the opportunity to get stuff done during the week.

Scout has enjoyed it too. Here he is luxuriating with his favorite blanket and my book. If he looks irked, it’s because I woke him up taking his picture. I hate to tell him that we won’t get to relax with a book and a blanket today!

Happy New Year and Happy Monday. Here’s to new beginnings.

Back From Vacation

I was on vacation last week. It was unseasonably warm as I day tripped across the region looking at waterfalls and wind turbines, pumpkins and forest giants and all manner of things in between. I even saw an outdoor drama about Dracula as real life bats circled overhead.

I didn’t love the weather since it felt more like August than October but it was awfully nice wandering this earth and doing as I pleased for a few days. Since I work remotely most of the time, it felt especially nice leaving my house and seeing the outside world.

But I also spent some time at home doing a few chores and lounging with a book in my hand and a cat at my feet.

Fall finally found us on Saturday as temperatures dipped into the forties at night and about sixty during the day. The sky was blue and the clouds awe inspiring when I walked on the bike path at a local park. I should have been working up a sweat since I was there for exercise.

Instead, I chose a moderate clip that allowed me to appreciate my surroundings like the smell of campfire smoke and the feel of fallen leaves beneath my feet. I also liked the way a steady breeze carried a smattering of leaves as they drifted from the trees toward the ground to aid in creating Mother Nature’s patchwork quilt for the earth and creatures below.

I like my job and will be happy enough once I’ve caught up on the emails and stepped back into my routine. I do have many memories of this week to keep me warm and the knowledge that more adventures lie ahead!

This is what vacation is all about. Find the thing that makes you happy, the thing you wished you got paid to do and go do that. Just be sure to work in some rest and relaxation at some point so you’re capable of returning to work in a positive state of mind.

Happy Monday, y’all. Let’s make this one count.

The Brass Armadillo

Antique malls tend to offer a variety of goods that aren’t actual antiques. From handmade crafts to vintage toys to books, soaps and a litany of other things, it seems you never know what you’ll find.

Imagine a big treasure hunt.

It’s a fun thing to do any day but I usually seek out an antique mall on vacation. It’s a good source of unique souvenirs but it’s also interesting to see what’s available in other areas and how it’s valued.

There are huge regional differences in how many things like vintage Christmas decor, dishes or even Coca Cola products are valued. A Coke crate can be picked up for cheap in central Indiana where there’s a big manufacturing and bottling presence. Whereas they’re about twice the price in Ohio.

As an aside, the company’s iconic contoured bottle was born in Terre Haute over a hundred years ago. That’s a different story for another day.

At the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Denver I found a lot of aviation related items including a nice print and this vintage Pan American carry-on bag. It’s in great shape and was under $20.

It’s hard to even find this sort of thing locally and it would cost significantly more around here.

I also like to seek out old snapshots like the ones pictured above with the bag. These photos can be acquired for as little as fifty cents or a few dollars. The Brass Armadillo had a ton of booths with boxes of pictures and I finally just had to cut myself off. These are especially neat souvenirs as some can be found with regional interest that show local architecture and landscape.

I like vintage photography and always think it’s sad to see family photos tossed in a box for sale. So I collect the ones that draw my eye and affectionately think of them as “The Family.”

We didn’t know it at the time, but this store is actually part of a regional chain. It’s enormous with over 600 vendors and a ton of variety.

Literally, friends. You don’t know what you’ll find around the next corner.

I was dying to bring home any number of vintage suitcases but the logistics of air travel with a somewhat fragile old suitcase were too much to deal with. Another time!

If you’re in the Denver area, I highly recommend checking out the Brass Armadillo. Learn more about them on their website or maybe find a location closer to you.

Victory In Surrender

The final days before vacation can be painful. Sometimes it’s because we work to get ahead so our vacation doesn’t inconvenience coworkers or so our house is clean when we come home.

Sometimes it’s because we are so overdue for a break that the suspense of waiting for said break is almost too great to manage.

I’m officially on vacation now and can honestly say that it came not a moment too soon.

I was starting to feel put upon, irritated by people who rely on me to be the planner or the grown up when they could do things for themselves. I found myself complaining and feeling frustrated about things that shouldn’t bother me.

Our society tells us that being busy is important. Many Americans leave vacation time on the table because they feel weak for taking time off, because they feel judged by a supervisor or because they don’t want to leave coworkers short staffed.

Luckily, these aren’t issues for me. I just tend to horde time off for fear I might need it later, consequently waiting too long to take breaks.

Lying in bed one night, it occurred to me there is actually victory in surrender.

Read that again.

There is victory in surrender.

It is winning to know when it’s time to take a break. Trust your body and mind to tell you when you need to rest. You wouldn’t deny yourself a a cold glass of water on a hot summer day. Why would you deny yourself a few days of rest and relaxation outside the confines of your normal schedule?

I’m hoping to return to work better rested, more organized and less temperamental about life in general.

I know. It’s a vacation, not a magic trick… but a gal can hope!!!

Do you have vacation time in the table? I promise you will feel better after a few days of R&R.

The Open Road

The open road is calling my name. There’s a little road trip on the agenda this fall and I seriously cannot wait. It has been a long, hard year close to home and it is time to see some new things.

I’m hopeful that the social distancing and other Covid safety tactics I already employ will help me stay safe while out traveling.

This picture gives me hope. Blue skies, a fabulous barn and open road- what more could a gal want?

A Memory Of A Lifetime

Courtesy The Chicago Tribune

Facebook memories gave me a real gem yesterday and it made my day.

The statement from ten years ago simply said “I just saw B.B. King in concert. Wow.”

That one line summoned a rush of memories from an epic road trip to Memphis and Nashville. This was the trip where I stayed in a wigwam. We studied Corvettes, toured Graceland and paid our respects to Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel. In all, we celebrated the music, history and bbq of the region for over a week.

The B.B. King concert was unplanned and dumb luck. The day we rolled into town, driving down Beale Street for the first time, we saw a banner on the side of BB’s club announcing that he was doing a show the next day. We called and got the last two standing room only tickets.

We had lunch earlier in the day and scoped out the ideal place to stand – in front of the bar where we would have no seat but would have the bar to lean on.

And it was perfect.

We were at the center, in the back of a room that really isn’t that big. We had a fantastic view of the stage but we had to get there early to secure our spot in this very intimate space. Then there were literal hours worth of amazing opening acts before B.B. came out.

I don’t recall how long we were there – six or seven hours, I think, but it was so much fun I didn’t even care that I was dead on my feet.

The only wrench in the works was an older Australian man with the biggest backpack I’ve ever seen. He stood in front of me most of the night. He seemed to forget that he had the ginormous pack but the lapse in memory may have been caused by his drunkenness. Luckily, he was friendly and jovial and glad to be alive even if he was a nuisance.

Incidentally, at some point a couple of guys standing next to us got tired of seeing him stumble into me and encouraged him to move on. We got to talking to them and they were also from southern Ohio. It was nice to meet someone from home and to know that chivalry isn’t dead. At least, it wasn’t dead ten years ago.

B.B. played well into the evening with the energy of a man much younger than his 85 years. When he was done, they wheeled out a birthday cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday to the man who defined blues music for generations.

My only regret is that I didn’t hop in the autograph line. WHY didn’t I hop in the autograph line??? It was late and I was tired and my feet hurt but when you have a chance to meet a music legend, you can sleep when you’re dead. You can rest those feet later. Stand in the line. Express your admiration and get your picture taken with the legend.

B.B. is gone now but he lives on through his music, through the countless musicians he continues to inspire and through the memories of all the fans who love his music.

Incidentally, B.B. didn’t allow any kind of photography or videography during his shows. So I have no photographic evidence that I was there. But that also means I wasn’t looking through a sea of hands in the air taking pictures all night and that his audience was fully present in the moment, fully engaged in the music.

There’s something to be said for that.