Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top Ten of 2017

I've seen several 2017 wrap-ups, so I decided to do my own top ten based on the posts I wrote this year that got the most hits. Surprisingly, these posts do a pretty good job of summarizing my year:

Yoga Revolution (Yoga with Adriene) Review 

Nope! Not Married! 
This Isn't the Life I Planned, But It's the Life I've Been Given 
Reflections on 30 Days of Yoga 
"This is All Good News" 
Pat's Run Weekend 
13 Reasons Why 

If you follow me on Instagram, here's my Best Nine:

1. Nighttime snack-April 12, 2017
2. Afghan 50-May 26, 2017
3. Afghan 52-July 13, 2017
4. Janis Best 5K-October 28, 2017
5. Patriot Run medal-October 18, 2017
6. All dressed up for my cousin's wedding in Wichita, Kansas-June 17, 2017
7. Supporting adoption shirt-November 5, 2017
8. Chocolate tumeric oats and peanut butter-July 14, 2017
9. One year Arizona anniversary celebrated-July 4, 2017

Which post did you enjoy most? Please share in the comments section so I know more of what you'd like to see in 2018.

To God be the glory!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I Am An Ambassador.

I have been thinking a lot about life and work lately. What is my purpose? Why am I here? Am I making a difference? I ask myself. As I have pondered these questions and asked God to reveal himself, the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to mind the words of 2 Corinthians 5:20-21:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I am Christ's ambassador. That hits me hard. I must confess that I don't always want to act like Jesus. I want to be selfish, not selfless. I want to be idolatrous, not idol free. I want to speak negativity rather than life. But I am Christ's ambassador no matter what I do, no matter where I go. To that extent, I ask myself:
  • Am I Christ's ambassador on Instagram? Do I use that platform to bring glory to myself, or to bring glory to God? 
  • Am I Christ's ambassador at work? To my coworkers? To the people I serve? To the other agencies with whom I interact? 
  • Am I kind to my family at home? 
  • Do I share truth on Facebook? 
  • Do I walk and talk in a way that the light and hope of Christ flow through me? 
  • Or at the end of the day does my life look no different from anyone else's in the world? 

To my friends and family who know I believe in Jesus as Savior and live to serve Him, I'm sorry. I'm not perfect, and therefore not a perfect ambassador of the perfect Jesus who died to save every one of us from the curse of sin. The Holy Spirit is working on me, but please forgive me and don't let my shortcomings distract you from Jesus.
If you don't know Jesus as your Savior, follow the ABC's:

"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)

A sinner needs to acknowledge that they have sinned.
All Jesus asks us to do to receive salvation is to believe in Him.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins." (1 John 1:9)

Monday, December 25, 2017

(In Some Ways) It Didn't Look Like Christmas.

In some ways, it didn't look a lot like Christmas at our home this year. In my previous jobs, I had weeks off around Christmas. This year I needed to take a day of vacation to get additional time off. That meant Christmas activities like gift wrapping happened at the last minute.

I went shopping for Christmas clothes on Saturday the 23rd, but didn't find anything on that short of notice. So I had to wear a skirt that my Mom found in the back of the closet.

Our church has gone through an intense season of change. Christmas choir wasn't thought of until the last minute, which meant we practiced for two hours instead of two four weeks. I felt very nervous as we sang.

My brothers didn't come home this year, so it was just Dad, Mom, and I for the holidays. The house felt a little empty, as did our row at the Christmas Eve service at church.

This morning, instead of opening gifts with family right away, Mom and I went for a walk out on the plains. The three of us ate breakfast alone.

(Stollen and scrambled eggs)

One of my brothers called during breakfast, so we hurried up and ate in order to talk to him and his wife via Skype. Instead of oohing and aahing over gifts with family in person, we exchanged photos via text during gift opening. 

(Modeling my new flannel shirt)

We weren't at home for Thanksgiving, so we made turkey instead of ham for Christmas dinner. We made less sides because we had less people. Dinner tasted good, but didn't seem like a Christmas meal.

The temperature got up to 64 degrees today, so I spent time this afternoon washing my car. I have work tomorrow and need to be able to see out of my car windows.

Christmas was very different this year. In some ways, it was a time of mourning what was. In other ways, however, it has been a chance to make new memories. I appreciated my time off and tried to prioritize activities to focus on what was really important instead of what wasn't. Dad, Mom, and I spent extra time driving around to look at Christmas lights, something we enjoy, but don't always do much of when we have guests. The skirt I wore to church for Christmas Eve was the one my mom wore when she and my dad got engaged 33 years ago. The Christmas choir happened because people united instead of divided. Mom and I got to see the sunrise because we walked so early in the morning. We took more pictures than usual because of being apart from family, which means we have more documentation of our time together. Christmas dinner was uniquely satisfying because it wasn't what my taste buds expected. I didn't shiver because it was so cold outside and inside. Our "different" Christmas was a chance to remember what the holiday is really about: the little baby who came to earth in a manager to redeem us and make all things  new (2 Cor 5:17).

Please comment below with unique ways that you celebrated Christmas or saw God making things new in your life.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Finding My "Why"

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you've probably picked up on the fact that this year has been hard for me. I resigned from one job and took another. I've struggled to find passion and purpose. I've dragged through many a day. 

After seeking and asking God, "Why?" for a prolonged period of time, the Holy Spirit Moment gave me an, "aha" moment through recalling the words of Ephesians 2:10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (New King James Version). In the context of that verse, I found that my  “Why” is to do the good that God sets before me. This truth affects every part of me, and even my more minute habits.

Why social media? 
-To encourage others (1 Thess 5:11) and decrease my anxiety (Phil 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7).

Why exercise? 
-Because my body is God's temple (1 Cor 6:19-20).

Why pursue sexual purity? 
-Scripture commands it (Heb 13:1).

Why use wholesome talk? 
-It builds others up (Eph 4:29).

Why go to church? 
-To not forsake assembly with other believers (Heb 10:25).

Why eat healthy food? 
-To not be mastered by anything (1 Cor 6:12).

Why pray? 
-To present my requests to God (Phil 4:6-8; 1 Thess 5:16-18).

Why practice thanksgiving? 
-Because God is good and His love endures forever (1 Chron 16:34).

Why work hard and do my best? 
-To honor God (Col 3:17, 23).

Why my career?
-To help widows and orphans (Ps 68:5; Ps 82:3; James 1:27).
-To show love to foreigners (Deut 10:18).
-To promote hope (Rom 5:3-5).
-To comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4)

Why live? 
-For Christ in me (Phil 1:21).
-To proclaim Christ (Rom 1:16).

Looking for your "why" friends? I encourage you to find it within the pages of God's Word. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Self-Love and the Christian Faith

Some time ago, I wrote about self-care and selfishness. Since then, I've see a lot of Instagram posts and blog articles about self-love. there have been other articles about how people don't need to love themselves, but rather accept themselves and where they're at. In all this, I've started to wonder how self-love intersects with my Christian faith. I don't want to idolize myself, but I don't want to fail to care for the body God has given me either. I don't want to be a self-centered glutton, or an ascetic. What is the balance?

In a sermon on 1 John 4:7-8 this weekend, the pastor reminded us that love originates from God. Boom! All of this self-love stuff started to find its place in my heart. Love for self that comes from God and an appreciation of how fearfully and wonderfully He made me (Ps 139:14) is profitable. Love for self that comes from a desire to serve myself and ignore the needs of others is self-centered (Phil 2:3-4). Love for self that includes honoring rest and the needs of the body God gave me is beneficial because it places myself and God in the correct positions (Ps 46:10). Love for self that is for my own gain is sinful and unedifying to those around me (Ps 119:36). Failing to love either myself or others is failing to acknowledge the source of love in God.

Scripture does it again and sets my wrong heart aright. Now may the Holy Spirit help me practice love for self and others in the right fashion.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

"This is All Good News"

"This is all good news." That is what the doctor said after conducting yet another nerve study of my arms and hands. I had hoped that this study would reveal the cause of the incoordination and dropsy and clenching and pain of my right hand. I even got excited when the EMG tech said my nerve responses were slow (but then he used a blow dryer to warm up my hand and that fixed the "problem").

(My marked-up, poked-up, post-EMG-test-hand)

I've been struggling with this hand issue for years now. I thought it was carpal tunnel, but then it wasn't. I went to the chiropractor. I visited the neurologist. I underwent MRIs of my neck and spine. I tried a Parkinson's medicine. I got botox. I went to physical therapy. Nothing really changed.

So when the doctor told me the test showed no cause for my problems, I felt disappointed, and angry, and discouraged. I am thankful that I do not have muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis or some incurable disease, but I wanted the doctor to find something wrong so he could fix me. The lack of results from my test wasn't good news in my world. 

My mom and I have a weekly tradition of walking and talking on Saturday mornings and on our walk today, she brought up Romans 11:33. This verse says, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" As we talked about God and his inscrutable ways, I thought about my hand and how God says he works all things together for good for those who love him (Rom 8:28). My hand issues do not feel good. The lack of diagnostic results from my test do not feel good. But I'm not on the other side of the table. I'm not the one with the medical degree and the background knowledge needed to interpret the tests. I don't know what it would really be like to get the test and have results that pointed to a terrible diagnosis.

I think it's like that with God. We pray for healing and hope and help and other good things and we don't see God come through. Life doesn't go well and we don't feel good. But we don't have infinite knowledge. We don't see our lives as the tiny specks they are in the grand scheme of God's cosmos. We don't know how our pain and sorrow and grief and other "not good" things might fit into God's eternal plan.

The "not good" of life is hard! I am not at a place where I can fully accept a diagnosis of dystonia as the only reason for my hand issues. I get angry when I can't type well or when all the tendons and muscles in my forearm hurt from trying to use my hand. I still plan to go to Phoenix to see another doctor in order to get a second opinion. I am not happy with the "good news" of my tests.

But in the midst of it all, I still have to claim and believe in God's goodness. I have to recognize God's goodness in spite of my worldly suffering. I live in light of God's goodness, and that exists in an entirely different cosmos. That otherworldly universe is about God's glory, not just about what seems and feels good to me right now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I'll Let My Body Decide.

This is the thought I had as I laid down for a nap a week ago. I had debated this event all day in my head and couldn't decide whether or not to go. So I went to bed and decided to see if my body woke me up in time. It did, but my decision to not attend the event anyway is besides the point of this post.

The point of this post is my realization that I fail to listen to my body too much of the time. I write a lot about intuition, but it is something that still needs a lot of work in my life. There are definitely some times that I just have to push through, but sometimes I just can't, and I need to learn to be okay with that. And sometimes I need to tune out the noise around me and tune into my body. 

For example, instead of listening to the media noises that I should choose "healthy" desserts, maybe I should "give in" to my body's craving for Dairy Queen and go get a blizzard. Maybe I should ignore the societal "expectation" that I should wear jeans every day and wear the more comfortable yoga pants I own. Or maybe I should resist the pressure to overeat sugar at the holiday party and go home and have a healthy dinner because that is what will make me feel healthiest. Maybe I should press pause on the project I "should" have gotten done today and just go to bed because my body and brain are tired. There are times and places for limits and accountability and boundaries, but God made my body smart. I need to listen to it more.

What about you? Are there areas where you need to tune out, and tune in? Please share below.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

This Isn't the Life I Planned, But It's the Life I've Been Given

I spent almost the entire day with my parents last Saturday. We went to the Christmas parade, shopped for groceries, took a nap, ate dinner together, and then drove through the Valley of Lights. Along the way, we had a lot of deep discussions about life, especially Dad and I. I wouldn't have fathomed the idea of such a day a year and a half ago. 

When I decided to move to Arizona, I had plans. I wanted to move in with Dad and Mom, find a job, and then move right back out into a place of my own. I even organized and packed up all my household goods according to that plan. Well, that plan didn't quite work out.

Here I am today, December 2017, still living at home with my parents, still with most of my stuff packed and in the basement. I've even added a refrigerator, bed, and dishwasher to my collection, having been a week away from closing on a house this summer. This isn't the life I wanted. 

I wanted to be independent. I wanted to do life on my own, in my own way. I wanted to be secure and settled. I'm not. But then again, in a strange way, I am. 

Over the past year and a half, I have deepened my relationship with my parents in ways that I wouldn't have considered possible. I am redeeming some of the time I spent in high school alienated and distanced from my family. I am making memories that I wouldn't have had the chance to had I lived on my own.

My parents are supporting me in amazing ways, too. Had I had what I wanted, I wouldn't have the blessing of a fresh, hot-cooked meal every night. I wouldn't have experienced the sweet salve of my dad saying, "You're going to make it," when I come home from a hard day at work and ugly cry. I wouldn't have the convenience of having Mom as an on-site nurse and Dad as an on-site mechanic. I wouldn't have the privilege of seeing my parents working on their marriage, even after 33 years. I wouldn't have experienced the mutual strengthening of faith we've had as we've weathered tough times together. I wouldn't have this life that hard as it is, is beautiful.

This isn't the life I planned, but it's the life I've been given by God Almighty. He knew that this is a season of life I needed, for however long it lasts.

*The title for this post is inspired by Georgie Morley's essay, "It's Not the Body I Asked For, It's the Body I Have."

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My Prescription for Good Mental Health

I wrote this post awhile ago, as life and work got a little crazy. I'm revisiting it now and realizing how much I need a dose of good mental health. I've stopped doing some of these things, but I need to start again.

1. Three rows of crochet: I don't get to this every day, but overall, it's an activity that calms my brain (by crossing the center line, EMDR folks) and makes me feel like I've accomplished something for the day. More than three rows is not good self-care because of my "dystonia."

2. Positive mental input via podcasts and radio: In the midst of external criticism and feelings of inadequacy, filling my mind with the good stuff (aka crowding out the criticism) is vital.

3. Daily Scripture intake: Usually via reading, but sometimes via the audio One Year Bible recording. If I'm not starting the day with truth, I'm starting the day with no foundation

4. Good nutrition: It's easy to forget eating or eat junk when I'm busy, but neither turn out very well. Meal prep and snacks are vital during this time

5. Comfy clothes: When days are long, it's not good to be uncomfortable. I'm not talking sloppy here, but wearing clothes that fit and cover me thoroughly is vital to survival. Layers are also helpful for the widely varying temperatures in Arizona.

6. Floor sitting: There's got to be some science behind this, but sitting on the floor (usually to crochet) winds me down and helps me relax before bed.

7. No social media during nighttime snack: Scrolling Instagram or Pinterest before bed isn't a good idea. I'm in a brain-numbed state and I can't seem to stop. And if I do it while eating, I often violate point four by eating junk food mindlessly.

8. Crosswords: The antidote to my social media scrolling. These engage my brain and help me not think about the day past or the day future, or much else but my intense drive to finish. (Yes, I'm competitive with myself.)

9. Creative outlets: I need to make and create, even if I'm not an artist. This also goes back to number one, but also feeds into my need to make fabric cards and cook.

10. Prayer: I often don't want to do this, but I need to, and before the crisis, not after or during. Prayer is my power connection, as well as a way to calm my mind and remind myself that I'm not in control.

11. Yoga: I am trying to get back into practicing, at least once a week. Yoga is a good way to create a quiet space to detox mind, body, and spirit. It is also a way to stretch and unwind the kinks that build up in my body after a log week of work.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect, or even that I practice these things well, but I think it's important to make a list, to realize what works and what doesn't, so on those bad days I can remind myself to "take the pill" of my prescription for good mental health and chill.

What is your prescription for good mental health? Please share in the comments section.

*This post is inspired by Georgie Morely of In It For the Long Run.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Afghan 56

With God's help, I finished another afghan! This afghan is the one jumbo skein baby blanket from Yarnspirations. I completed the blanket in Red Heart cherry red, and yes, it did take just about one skein of yarn.

This yarn was a lesson in patience and in the tolerance of imperfection, as I could not seem to keep the edges straight. I'll point out that the blanket seems a little warped in this picture, and it is, though the picot stitch edging helped. Overall, I am just glad I finished. My dystonia helps me focus on finishing my afghans, rather than on making them perfect.

As for my dystonia, I notice my hand getting worse. It is harder to type. I find my hand clenching some when I try to do things like chop food in the kitchen. My ring finger and pinkie cross in what the physical therapist called, "scissoring." Whether it's related or not, my right elbow has swollen and started to hurt. I did see the doctor on Veteran's Day, but I declined botox in favor of another EMG nerve test. That is scheduled for a few weeks out.

Will you please pray with me that I will find some answers for this issue? I am thankful that I have a hand and that it kind of works to crochet afghans like this one. Still, I am frustrated, and I'll admit a bit grumpy and mad about the issue. I just want a certain and precise diagnosis so I can either fix the problem or figure out how to deal with it. But maybe that is not my lot. Either way, I have to learn to be content, rest, and trust God about it, and I am struggling to do these things.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hiking in Arizona

I took myself for a hike last Saturday. At 79 degrees in November, I couldn't resist. Along the trail, I encountered and talked to several individuals who had not hiked this trail before. Both mentioned things that made me think they were not from around here. Those conversations led me to this post about hiking in Arizona. This is more of a how-to post than a review of the trail I hiked. (If you want more about Arizona trails, head on over to my friend's blog at The Neurotic Wanderer.)

1) Go to the bathroom before you leave. Due to lack of water at the trail heads, most trail heads either don't have bathrooms, or only have porta-potties. Hiking while needing to go to the restroom is miserable. Just go before you go!

2) Take water! I often break this rule, but Arizona heat is dry and you get dehydrated fast.

3) Sunscreen and/or a hat. The sun is bright and you will burn fast. No use suffering for a good hike!

4) Wear quality shoes. I learned the hard way that hiking in running or other athletic shoes does not work. Arizona soil is rocky, and those rocks bruise your feet, even through shoes. My mom recommended Hi-Tec hiking boots, which we buy from Big 5 Sporting Goods. I add insoles to my shoes and am good to go!

5) With your shoes wear heavy socks! I got blisters the first time I wore my hiking boots. Then Mom got me wool socks, and voila, no blisters! The wool socks wick away moisture from my feet, which also helps prevent blisters from forming.

6) Bring along a jacket (even in the summer). Temperatures in Arizona fluctuate up to 50 degrees due to the desert climate. Every year, many hikers get stranded and ill due to inadequate clothing. Yes, it's a pain to tie a jacket around your waist or put it in a backpack, but it's worth it in case of emergency.

7) Consider a backpack. If you're going to have all the supplies you need, you might as well have a backpack to stuff it in. I linked to my favorite backpack in my travel post.

(Saturday's trail)

There you have it: my recommendations for hiking in Arizona.

Fellow Arizona hikers, what hiking recommendations would you add to this list? Please post below.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wisconsin: Goodbyes

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip, and saying goodbye was extremely difficult. I consoled myself in part by writing notes to my brother and stashing them around his kitchen. I also took a photo of his filled kitchen cabinet to remind myself that I was leaving him better stocked with food.

My flight out of Madison was early Friday morning, so Brother and I snapped a quick picture and then dashed out.

I flew through Denver this time and had a little shorter of a layover. Seeing the snow-capped mountains out the terminal window was fun.

Back in Phoenix, it was time to grab my luggage and head back up the hill. My poor college-era suitcase is in an even greater state of disrepair than when I started (read: full of plastic shards due to an ever-breaking-down hard shell), but it made it. The dog wasn't too interested in my coming home, but at least he was still there.

And that's a wrap for this my Wisconsin, aka @myarizonaadventure goes North.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wisconsin: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day dawned fairly late (at least for us 5 am risers) and started with a jog at the apartment gym, since I was too scared to go outside in the cold. Afterwards, I settled in with this muesli breakfast.

Brother eats frozen berries, granola, and yogurt every morning, and after trying it, I have to say he's onto something. I might need to add this into my breakfast rotation at home!

We finished the cookies and had a little time before we needed to cook dinner, so I asked Brother to bundle up and go for a walk outside with me. Lo and behold, the sun was out, and it was beautiful!

Brother lives downtown, so we had a nice walking path and some beautiful houses along the way. 

Thanksgiving dinner was ham, green beans, and mashed potatoes. The ham and mashed potatoes were great. The green beans (usually my favorite part) however, were lackluster. Oh well. We dished everything up and ate at the granite island in my brother's kitchen.

I took a nap post dinner. I know that's a "no-no," but I did it anyway, and enjoyed it. In lieu of dinner, we had dessert and coffee and played a game of Carcassonne.

One game of Carcassonne was enough for Brother, who has memorized most of the pieces. I, however, didn't want to call it a night, so I asked to do something else. He pulled up some Penn and Teller Fool Us re-runs and we watched those for awhile. Then I tried to console myself and pack up, as I needed to leave in the morning. That didn't work so well.

More on goodbyes tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wisconsin: Day 3

Day 3 was baking day! Brother graciously took the day off his real job, so we went to work in the kitchen. We indoctrinated the new mixer by making cheesecakes.

Then we prepped pie dough for a chai spice apple pie. I made the leftover pie dough into chai spice cinnamon rolls.

We started on white chocolate cranberry cookies, but had to pause because we realized that we had no baking soda. We managed to get lunch (leftover curry for me!) and finish the pie before walking to the movies.

I'll admit that I'm a baby about the cold, so when Brother offered his sherpa hat, I accepted. We laughed about my get-up and what brother dubbed "all the colors," but you know what? It worked. And I was in a better mood because I wasn't cold.

Brother and I have very different tastes in movie, so I was glad to find a movie we could both watch. Complicated movies make my head hurt, and for some reason, I always seem to get sleepy during the action scenes, but I actually enjoyed this movie.

Murder on the Orient Express is based on an Agatha Christie book and has quite the complicated plot. I had an existential response to the movie, wondering if it is ever okay for people to get a second chance because someone lies for them. You'll have to see the movie to understand what I mean.

We intended to go to pizza for dinner, but we were tired, and while at Target to pick up the forgotten baking soda and a can-opener, we decided to get frozen dinner food. I got a chicken broccoli alfredo steamer. Brother got a frozen pizza. Brother snacked before dinner and ended up only having corn. I had my full meal.

It was relaxing to eat at home and not cook, since we'd worked at that basically all day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wisconsin: Day 2

We rose bright and early Tuesday morning so that we could head to brother's work. He lives about 30 minutes away and arrives by 7 am. Hats off to him!

I crocheted and listened to podcasts while brother went to meetings. Some of my latest favorite podcasts are:

The Chasing Joy Podcast
Sounds Good

Brother graciously took half a day off work to show me his workplace. It's pretty cool! Granted, I had to endure 30 degree cold temperatures and wind (I know, that's warm for Wisconsin, but it was cold for this sunshine girl.). First stop, seeing this tree house built with scrap lumber from the actual buildings.

Then we saw the farm campus. (Each campus has a theme.) I asked brother to take pictures of me in front of the buildings, rather than just taking scenic shots.

Each campus has a cafeteria, and we dined at one. This white bean chowder was spicy, and to be efficient, brother picked the same thing, and it was too spicy for him. I felt really bad about that!

After lunch, we visited the fountain. Brother tells me it runs until it freezes over, which is apparently a real thing up north. One stream that feeds the fountain was already partially frozen. There's a pond which eventually freezes hard enough for ice skating.

Another campus we visited had a Lord of the Rings theme. Here I am in the grip of an Ent:

Brother said we didn't see all of the campus, and I believe him! Still, we walked over four miles to see the parts we did.

We climbed quite a few stairs, as shown by the elevation map. We also went down a slide. (How cool is it that a workplace has a tube slide for adults?)

Post tour, we rested a bit at home and then hit up the grocery store for some needed Thanksgiving supplies. Let's just say the cupboards needed a little stocking:

We shopped at a two story Target. When we got to the escalator with the cart, Brother had to show me that the cart had its own escalator:

The city-folk probably laughed at me as I took pictures of the cart, but hey, I've never seen a cart escalator before. Have you?

Dinner was vegetable bao zi at The Dumpling Haus. Brother knows that I like trying new food, so he intentionally took me to exotic restaurants.

Post dinner, I sorted food and organized the kitchen. Then it was to bed for me.

Day 3 to come tomorrow.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wisconsin: Day 1

I know that some of you have been waiting to hear about my Wisconsin trip, so here begins the wrap-up. Monday morning, I got up at 4 am Arizona time and was headed out the door by 4:30 am. Even at that early hour, I hit traffic, but I still got to the airport on time. My first flight was from Phoenix to Chicago and took about three hours. I occupied myself with the in-flight magazine crossword.

I spent three hours in Chicago, which was actually not as long as it seemed. We arrived late and then I walked from the arrival gate clear to another terminal. I tracked down and ate some lunch as well.

(Are music and flashing lights in the airport supposed to increase or decrease my stress? Or just keep people moving? I'm not sure....)

From Chicago, I flew to Madison, Wisconsin. That flight was only about twenty minutes, shorter than I expected, and less than the flight itinerary predicted.

The Madison airport is small, but efficient. My brother told me it wouldn't take me long to get my suitcase at baggage claim, and he was right! I was in and out of baggage claim in about 15 minutes.

I carried my winter jacket with my through the airport and stashed a scarf in the bottom of my carry-on. Boy, was I glad I did that! I put on the scarf as soon as I felt the cold air of baggage claim and wore my jacket throughout dinner. Dinner was sweet potato curry at Curry In The Box, and boy, did it hit the spot.

I think I understand the warm food concept of hygge after this meal. When it's cold and dreary, a nice hot bowl of curry does wonders for the body and the mind!

That's Day 1. Days 2-4 to follow.