Places of 2013

One of the major reasons that I started this blog was to capture the various places where I spend my time– both adventuresome and mundane– in order to be more mindful and grounded about where I am and what I’m doing. But then things get crazy and busy and I don’t seem to be able to get all my ideas online. So, here it is: a summary of the places I’ve been over the past year, written from one of my favorite places of the last year– my living room!

WORK TRAVEL

The majority of the travel I do is for work, and I really appreciate that I get to go a lot of places and see cool places as part of my job. Traveling once or twice a month is generally pretty cool, and I get a lot of work done while I’m there (although I won’t be talking about actual work on this blog!). Here are some the places I went and some of the highlights:

Michigan – Sault Ste. Marie: Not too exciting, but did get poutine at a bar. Also, wore a moose hat.

Minnesota – Deer River: One of the handful of times I got to work in the woods this year (that’s a handful more than last year!). Also, I like taco salads– this trip had the best taco salad of the year.

South Carolina – Charleston: Spent most my time in meetings, but I’ll give this town best food of the year. Also, after getting a drink or two in town with a few folks and planning to get one more drink, we ended up getting cupcakes instead.

New York – Saratoga Springs: Not as much happening here in January, but it was a nice (and fancy) town with some delicious beer. Also, it had a Gap, which may have been my shopping highlight of the year: I bought 1 pair of pants and still like them 11 months later.

West Virginia – Morgantown: Wished we’d had time to get out more… in March this was a fantastic reprieve from the U.P. winter. We didn’t do much, but I did eat at an awesome brewpub. My meal: beer-braised cow tongue tacos. I’m definitely glad I tried it!  

Wisconsin – All over: including the Apostle Islands, Ashland, Eagle River, Glidden, Hayward, both Menominee the county and Menomonie the town, Madison (more great food), Mellen, Odanah, and Park Falls.  Two highlights from at least 8 trips: presenting in the state capitol building and spending a day on Stockton Island.

It's a fact: Wisconsin has the best capitol. Sure, I've never seen any other, but you won't ever convince me otherwise!
It’s a fact: Wisconsin has the best capitol. Sure, I’ve never seen any other, but you won’t ever convince me otherwise!

Vermont – Waterbury, etc.: Got ice cream at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, great food, and [many] fun cocktails!

Illinois – Chicago & O’Hare Airport: This also deserves a [not-so-honorable] mention. Not that I planned to spend much time here, but I did get held up for a total of three days this year (once for two days, once for “just” a day) on account of cancelled flights. Boo!

A happy view: what I see when the plane actually lands in our puny local airport!
A happy view: what I see when the plane actually lands in our puny local airport!

Looking back, I realize that I don’t really get out much on work trips– all that seems to stick out is the meals!

VACATIONS

My husband (we’ll call him Sexy) and I have been sticking pretty close to home these days and not going on a lot of trips, largely to save money but also because we’re both away from home a fair amount.

Minnesota – Grand Rapids & Bemidji: Two trips this year. One was in March to visit some friends we hadn’t seen in a few years. We went cross country skiing in two different places, and one of the skis included a hot dog cookout at a shelter about midway through the ski. The other trip was for the canoe triathlon!

Wisconsin – Southeast: Sexy and I went down to my hometown and then onto a family reunion near Belgium, WI. All my aunts and uncles and most of my cousins were able to make it, and it was great to see everyone. And it was interesting to see how now that I’m older, I’m actually able to have interesting conversations with my cousins that are 15-20 years older than me; up until now, I’ve been too intimidated and not had much to say.

The barn at the family farm.
The barn at the family farm. It’s been in our family well over a hundred years, and I love the haymow.

Michigan – Ludington & Manistee: Following the trip to Wisconsin, we took the car ferry  over to Michigan to see Sexy’s family for most of a week. We also spent a week with them during Christmastime. This is becoming a fairly regular thing for us, to spend a week in the summer and one in the winter, and I really enjoy it. There’s lots of family fun and excitement, but also time to be laid back. And having a national forest and great lake out the back door doesn’t hurt either.

Me and one of my sisters-in-law catching big fish on Lake Michigan.
Me and one of my sisters-in-law catching big fish on Lake Michigan.

NEARBY

I think I did more adventuring close by in the UP this year. Sexy and I paddled our canoe on a flooded, half-frozen lake in April. We went mountain biking in Copper Harbor and also took family up there sight-seeing. We saw a moose, which I don’t get to see very often. I went on a few fall color bike tours, in addition to the regular summer ones, and visited a number of new trail systems for cyclocross races. I tagged along with Sexy for duck hunting. Lots of mischief in the western UP this year.

I don't get to see these gals too often.
I don’t get to see these gals too often.

HOME

Lastly, I got to spend tons of time at home this year. Partly, it’s because when I travel so much for work and other things, I just want to hide on the weekends and not go anywhere. Plus, I got some additional time at home this fall, which allowed me to catch up on some projects and relax. So, now it’s New Year’s Eve and I decided to stay home and just relax.

I’m off to make some minty hot chocolate drinks and curl up on the couch. It will be amazing. Happy new year!

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