Northern Michigan By Air

SleepingBearDune2
One benefit to my extra-long blogging hiatus is that I’ve had plenty of time to catch up on my reading – which means lots of reviews and other bookish content soon to come, but those are a little tougher to write. [Read: they take more way more time.] In the meantime, I thought I’d share a post about the family’s recent plane adventure in Northern Michigan.

For the Memorial Day weekend, Ryan flew Ruby and I to Traverse City to see my parents. Flying north for a holiday weekend beats driving every time, even if it’s a little bumpy. No traffic and crazy drivers! The forecast was also promising a sunny, cloud-free Saturday, so we took the opportunity to shirk responsibilities and take a sightseeing flight around the area. This was also my dad’s first time in a single-engine airplane!  Continue reading

Hello Again

HomeOffice2015
Screen Time Calamity
Where Have I Been?
Is this Blog On?

Those are all titles for this post that I scrapped.

See that picture up there? The one with the dual monitors and no outdoor view? That’s the view from my home office, where I work when I mean business. Business without distractions.

See the date on the last post for this blog? Yes, that’s January. These two things are related, stay with me.

In late December I began working remotely. No more office time required. Huzzah! Free time and soft pants! That was true…mostly. But the one thing that suffered in a big, ugly way? My desire to spend any more time than necessary on the computer. I know there are people who work 40-hour weeks at an office in front of a screen and maintain a thriving, visually appealing, Pinterest-and-Instagram-worthy-professional blog. I’m not sure how those people do it. Maybe that’s their only hobby? I shudder to think.

There’s got to be a balance out there somewhere. I have a few ideas up my sleeve to breathe new life into the whole working-remotely thing. (Step one: I’m doing it wrong. Remote doesn’t mean home.) My goal is that some new structure and a few plans will lead to more inspiration.

To break the increasing stage fright of posting after such a long hiatus, I had to finally DO something, even if it was short.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Frequency nurtures frequency. (Thanks, Voltaire and Gretchen Rubin!) Here’s hoping!

Slow Start – Happy 2015

2015goals
Just when you thought you’d managed to escape all those “welcome to a new year!” posts, up creeps another one, damn near into February. I took a blogging hiatus in November, focusing on fitness, changes in my job, and of course, holidays. Let’s just say I’m easing back into things.

Last year I wanted to post something every week – while that’s fantastic, I realize that’s not exactly realistic for me. That’s a “best case” kind of thing. I like to write about my travels, books I’ve read, maybe even start doing personal style or recipes. But all of those things take time to actually DO. Rather than stress out about not posting, or posting drivel (which the internet is already FULL of), I’d rather wait and create posts of substance. I’ve come across plenty of blogs that post simply for the sake of posting, and boy can you tell. So there’s my first new lesson on the year: Substance and style. Always both.

Looking back at last year’s goals, I did a pretty good job. Here’s something I learned towards the end of the year: Sometimes I’ll get into new things that just don’t fit on the blog, like working out and changing eating habits. Did I say yes, cultivate enthusiasm, reach out, and follow through? Yes on all those things. (Maybe even enough for a post, now that I’m three months down the road.) At the time it wasn’t really blog-post-Instagram-worthy stuff, but still really exciting for me. Which leads to some thoughts for 2015:

  • Be kind – on myself, on others, in the moment. 2015 will be the year of “cutting the world some slack, myself included.” There are many areas of life in which I’m just too harsh; I can be quick to judge and even quicker with a rude remark to myself. It’s not helpful. I’ve read in a few places that you should never talk to yourself any differently than you would a close friend. That’s a good place to start. (Dear inner-monologue, it’s okay to be honest, it’s not okay to be mean.)
  • Make plans – I’ve found if I don’t actually plan things, they just don’t happen. I’m perfectly content puttering around the house. It’s easier to be spontaneous once you’re already out of the house. So make plans that involve getting out of the house.
  • Say yes – I know this was one of last year’s goals, but I’m sticking with it. It’s relevant, and could lead to some great adventures. Also, saying yes will help make plans.
  • Start small – It seems everyone else is already an expert – have you noticed this? Thanks to technology, if you’re not “putting it out there,” it didn’t happen. It can be too overwhelming to even start. This year I’d like to ignore the paralyzing “expert or nothing” mindset, and just start. (That might mean some pretty rough blog posts with shoddy photography, but how else do you learn? Waiting until everything is perfect is how you end up without any posts for over two months. Oh…wait.) So start small and then remember: be kind. (See step one.)
  • Last but not least, and more of a personal memo: Don’t eat that – Pretty obvious. I’m looking at you, brownies, bagels, ice cream, waffles, fries…

The good news is that I’ve had a lot of time to stew up new ideas and projects. I’m hoping with a little diligence they’ll come to fruition.

How about you? Any little reminders you’re keeping in your pocket this year?

Evening Flight

NightFlight1
About two weeks ago, Ryan and I took my mom up in the plane for her first small-aircraft flight. With the days getting shorter in a big hurry, it ended up being primarily an evening flight. The night was crystal clear and chilly; the kind that really signifies fall is drawing to a close. We flew over to the coast of Lake Michigan and back, with a flawless touch and go landing in Muskegon. (In aviation training, the mileage flown doesn’t count unless you land somewhere, and then turn around. They call it a “touch and go.” The things you learn!) I managed to take a few photographs before dark, but spent most of the flight really taking in the scenery. The night skyline over Grand Rapids and Lansing was brilliant. My mom had a great time, snapping lots of pictures. We capped off the evening with a late dinner out to celebrate her  successful “first flight.”
NightFlight4NightFlight3 NightFlight2