We are having a cold,dull gray winter without enough snow so I haven’t felt very enthused about Christmas or holidays. We spent Christmas with just the two of us old fogies, pretty dull but relaxing. Leigh spent Christmas in Indy with my family. She and Dennis had only 2 days off but we had Leigh here for Thanksgiving.
We had two vacations together this year. During my Spring Break we flew to Indianapolis (there was snow!) to see my Dad and met Leigh for a Hemingway/Frank Lloyd Wright pilgrimage in Oak Park, IL outside Chicago.
In July I reluctantly agreed to a camping trip to the Canadian Rockies (Lake Louise & Jasper) We also took in Calgary so we could have showers & do laundry. For Dennis one of the real purposes of the trip was to see real dead dinosaurs at a fantastic museum they have in the middle of nowhere Alberta. In the middle of nothing is of course where dinosaurs always lived. I have to admit the museum was way cool if you didn’t get knocked off your feet by a wild heard of 9-year-olds and could peek around the Japanese tourists posed for pictures in front of the signage. There were also a couple of tourists walking from exhibit to exhibit reading all the information, which was very extensive, into their cell phones. The museum experience has certainly changed but it was well worth the slight detour to “North Dakota, Canada.” They have some real bones and great exhibits.
Hiking at Jasper and Lake Louise was fantastic. I was dubious about this camping trip because I thought it would be cold and crowded. I got the cold right although it warmed up to a nice hiking temperature during the day. There were huge crowds at Lake Louise but they also have a huge campground which is surrounded by electrified barbed wire to keep the grizzlies out. The camp gives you the feeling of being kept in a prison camp with lots of trees. (We forgot to snap a picture.)
Jasper also has a mega-size campground and this one had an actual black bear in the neighborhood of our tent but we never saw him. It’s quite the cultural experience camping in Canadian parks. There are people from all over the world. Luckily they don’t all hit the trails and there is a lot of room up there. We hope to be in shape enough to go back and explore Jasper some more in a couple of years. We got caught in a couple of heavy rains while hiking and it will take me a year to forget cold, wet and muddy. Yoho Lake hike
The job Leigh loved in Madison with a non-profit fell apart but she was only unemployed for a month. She now has a state job with the Dept. of Natural Resources finance department. She is verifying bills and payments and making sure all the state paperwork is done correctly. “Mom have you heard of a computer system called DOS?” After having 3 non-profit jobs in three years since her college graduation her comment was: “I sold out and I haven’t regretted it yet.” Leigh is devoting the time she formerly spent in meetings & on angst working with “Progressive Dane” (county). She says it’s all good and she is very happy in Madison.
Dennis & I can’t boast anything so productive with our non-work hours but all is well.