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Alaska - Part 1

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Alaska! How many years we've talked about a trip to Alaska! It was always that dream trip that was going to happen someday, but it always seemed that someday kept getting pushed off to a later date. There always were obstacles that would pop up: a house that we had moved out of but resisted being sold; a bite from a tiny tick that resulted in a pacemaker, the uncertainty of aging parents health, a problematic back for well over 40 years that finally ended up in surgery and then took forever to recover from. One roadblock after another - Life.

And then there was the discussions of what kind of trip it should be. Maybe we should buy a big new Harley hog and ride cross country like Peter Fonda. Or maybe we could buy a new motor home and turn the trip into a summer long adventure taking in the Canadian Rockies on the same trip. Maybe not - too long away from the grandchildren. How about one of the cruises? That seems to be one of the most popular ways to get a taste of this "Last Wilderness". An easy approach but so far cruises haven't been our style. Back to the motorhome idea, but this time we'll fly to Anchorage and rent one there and spend a couple of weeks RVing around. How does one decide where to go? Alaska is Huge!! ... and then suddenly like a midsummer storm, it just happened!

Glor (know as Luv here on SP) was researching Alaska on the internet one more time when a new approach flashes on the screen - an adventure tour of Alaska! A ten day tour with a guide that includes several hikes, white water rafting, sea kayaking, canoeing, a flight on a bush plane and maybe a glimpse of the aurora! We could pick a tour that utilized tenting or a slightly more expensive one with us staying in lodges and cabins. Hmmmm, the last tour of the year was in just 2 weeks!

Okay, why not!!! We called "Get Up and Go Tours" and there was still room for us. A little discussion and the decision was made. Let's do it! (the lodge tour though - it appeals a little bit more to this 62 year old body! LOL)

We were on our way!

Let the adventures begin!

Life is good!

to be continued

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUTDOORSDC 9/18/2011 10:46PM

    So, among the many different reasons that I love this post, there's one reason that really stands out. It has to do with your "adopted dad" status. :)

After my dad passed away (it will be five years this December), one of my brothers was sorting through his stuff. Well, my dad loved the magazine Fur, Fish and Game and collected stacks and stacks of them. He kept them in an old school metal cabinet in the hallway off of my parents' bedroom. And that's where my brother was this particular afternoon, sorting through stacks of magazines in this enormous cabinet, flipping through one of the magazines and finding an envelope full of cash. My brother was stunned, so he went to my mom and asked her what the money was all about. She had no idea. It was a surprise to all of us, and no one could say with certainty why my father had been tucking away this money in an envelope in a random magazine. He didn't even remember about it in the three months when he and my mom were putting everything in order. What on earth could it be about?

Finally, my mom decided that the money must have been something my dad had been setting aside for a big trip - probably the trip to Alaska that they had always talked about but never taken. My mom figured that my dad was going to surprise her for a birthday or anniversary present.

So in the time since my dad has passed away, I've slowly (but not always consciously) developed this hunger to live my life as fully as possible. I've discovered meditation, yoga, climbed mountains, did super long hikes. In the past few years, it's as if I can't get enough of the woods, of my backyard. I've been seeking out adventures that have been incredibly peaceful and grounding, or challenging as all get it, or scary enough that I have almost wanted to back out. This is how it's been for me, and it's been amazing.

But while I've been running around doing all of these things and seeing all of these places, my dad has always been on my mind. And so a few weeks ago, in the middle of my meditation class, I had this realization that my dad and I were both adventurers - me on an adventure to see all of the places he never had a chance to see (Alaska) and my dad on this adventure to a place that I might not see for a long time, or maybe I'll see tomorrow, but a place that I could not even begin to imagine or envision until I'm there with him.

So anyhow, the reason I'm telling you all of this is because I read your story here (proceeded by a blog post, I see, that has something to do with 40 years of marriage) and I want to tell you that...well, in your own words, life is very good! The fact that you finally made this trip - to Alaska of all places - and that you did it in the most adventurous style possible...well, it just cements for me that you are doing it all right. It also makes me feel like there's more coincidence here than just you being the the first person to invite me to the deck and you offering to be my adopted dad...

Anyhow, I can't wait to read installment 2, but I'm going to wait a bit before I read it. For now, it feels really good to just think about this wonderful trip you planned with your 40+ year partner. And the fact that you did it.

xoxo
Shelley

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MIAMIA7 9/9/2011 5:42PM

    Oh Wood...how exciting! Can't wait to here all about it! Have a wonderful time...but I know you both will!
Anne

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JAMES731 9/9/2011 10:53AM

    Like button on Spark? Yes please, good post.

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KAYOTIC 9/9/2011 10:35AM

    Ohhhh great start! I'm going to buck the trend and say I might take the tent.... emoticon especially since the lodge is getting so full!

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CAITLINATOR 9/9/2011 9:43AM

    I love when all the pieces come together like this - meant to be! Can't wait to hear part two!

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KITS4CHANGE 9/9/2011 8:54AM

    Lodges for me too! Isn't it starting to get cold up there this time of year anyway? It's their Fall, right?

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CHOCLAHOLIC 9/9/2011 7:35AM

    Love stories like this.... can't wait for part 2 ! (for me, I might have gone with the tent tour, just because it would be a bit less expensive, but then again, I'll bet those lodges were awesome!)

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KELPIE57 9/9/2011 3:16AM

    Looking forward to the rest.....lots of stories to come, I am sure!

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SNOWSNAKE 9/9/2011 12:18AM

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOh yes...Lodge all the way, thumbs up!! I can't wait to hear more, I loved what little we did have the chance to see and experience, and it left us wanting more!!I love Alaska!! emoticon

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MAUIMA 9/8/2011 11:26PM

    Love it!
Lodge and all...
Anxious and excited to hear more.
Thank you for sharing my friend.

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CASSIOEPIA 9/8/2011 11:25PM

    Woohoo! Sounds like the start of a great adventure. And I'm not 62, but I think I'd also choose the lodge over the tent in Alaska.

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40 Years With the Same Woman!

Friday, July 29, 2011

This Sunday Gloria (known here at SP as LUVQUILTING) and I will have been married 40 years!!!! That's so amazing to me in so many ways!! It really doesn't seem that long ago that I had first asked her out. Her dad wouldn't let her go out with me so I went to her house and helped paint a room. (see I knew how to win over parents LOL) In all fairness to her dad, she was only 14 at the time! Yep, we really were just kids and nobody really expected this relationship to turn into anything big! But they were wrong! It turned HUGE!

From the very beginning for us, life was full of adventures and it was always exciting! Most kids hung out at the movies or the drive-in hamburger joints. We went water-skiing, worked on my hot rods, took the motorcycle out for a ride (although I had to pick her up in my car because her mom wouldn't let her on the cycle.) Right from the start, we shared the outdoors - we hiked, we canoed, we biked!

Things didn't always go smoothly. Growing up and growing together provides a lot of opportunities to make a lot of mistakes and we made them, but fortunately we seemed to sense that what we had was good and we always somehow managed to get through the rough spots. I'm afraid that I really need to give Glor the credit here, because without a doubt I'm the one whose common sense is a little on the rare side. So doing stupid things was always pretty easy for me. But she always stuck with me and I'm so very very grateful for that!!!

The adventures never stopped for us and I think that's what keeps our lives so exciting! We've hiked to the peaks of many mountains and into the deepest of valleys. We've traveled all around the US and Canada where we've biked, climbed, kayaked and canoed, roller-bladed, skiied, boogie-boarded, and if it's done outside, we've probably done it!

....and we've danced! We've done a lot of dancing over the last 16 or so years - mostly country dancing. Wherever we travel we look for the honkey-tonks and country bars and we go dancing! In fact, we even teach it! There's very seldom a week goes by that we don't go dancing somewhere!

These 40 years together have brought about 2 amazing sons and now 5 grandchildren and we've been so blessed that our family has always shared our sense of adventure! Even as teens the boys lived the excitement with us. In fact, the teenage years were exciting filled with volleyball tournaments in our back yard, weeks on the lakes, at the shore, on the trails. They were amazing! And now the grandchildren are stepping right into the same footsteps. My 8 year old granddaughter already water-skis. All the kids are into biking and we spend many hours on the rail trails. And every year, there's the family vacation where we all spend a chaotic week of family fun.

Fourty years!!!!! What an amazing 40 years! Boredom is something we just never experienced, I guess we never had time for it, really. So now my high school sweat heart (oops, I meant sweetheart) and I are officially retired and the adventure continues and I expect it will continue for quite some time to come. I am truely the luckiest man I know.

Life is good! very very good!
Wood

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUECHRIS50 7/30/2011 10:50PM

    I can so relate Wood!I was 15 when I met my future husband.We argued all the time.I asked my gram one day,Why is it we cant get along?You are in love she replied.HMMMMM!At the tender age of 17 we got married and have been together ever since.34 years this October.Funny thing?we never argue or fight!Congrats to you on 40 YEARS!!!!! emoticon

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KITS4CHANGE 7/30/2011 8:51AM

    Happy Anniversary! Loved LuvQuilting's response to you! You truly are the perfect couple!


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SNOWSNAKE 7/29/2011 10:22PM

    Wood & Luv sitting in a tree,
K I S S I N G!
First comes LOVE....
Then comes Marriage...
then comes the couple with the baby carriage! (s)
I loved your blog, and Luv's responce...you are my kind of folks- congradulations and may you have many, many more!! ***SNOW*** emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRAZYDOGLADYBO 7/29/2011 3:54PM

    Congratulations! Have a wonderful day!

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MIAMIA7 7/29/2011 3:50PM

    Oh Wood...you brought tears to my eyes also! Happy Anniversary to you and Luv. 40 years is amazing and I can relate to the growing up and growing old together (although not a one of us is old)! Bobby and I celebrate 27 years this November! And he got a package deal with me and my 3 yr. old! What a guy! You two just keep on having so much fun...and so will we!
You are right, as usual...Life is good!
Anne

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BOBBYD31 7/29/2011 3:09PM

    happy anniversary wood! that is fantastic and what a wonderful life you guys have, really sweat


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MAUIMA 7/29/2011 3:04PM

    Happy Anniversary to you both!
Sweat and Tears for sure...but so worth it.
Wishing you both teh best year ever!

Maui

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FATBEKYGOTTAGO 7/29/2011 10:08AM

    Congrats!!!!!!!!!

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CASSIOEPIA 7/29/2011 9:22AM

    Happy anniversary LG!

emoticon

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LUVQUILTING 7/29/2011 8:57AM

    Oh my, has it really been 40 years since I thought I was in line for the Carousel and found myself on the Super Duper Looper?? Yes, and what a ride it has been - I'm not the arm raiser, screamer in the front seat, I'm the white knuckled, teeth clencher about halfway back - but still enjoying the ride and hanging on for dear life!!
You do bring tears to my eyes while you bring laughter to my soul (okay, maybe its really sweat in my eyes) but I'm anxiously awaiting what I'll find on the downhill side of the next hill climb.
Here's to many more!! love ya, "sweatheart"

Comment edited on: 7/29/2011 8:58:48 AM

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HOAGIE22 7/29/2011 8:50AM

  Git Er Done!!!!

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KIWINURSE 7/29/2011 8:30AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Happy Anniversary! Have a wonderful weekend celebrating!
Christine

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SUETEA 7/29/2011 8:29AM

    Many congratulations!

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Obstacles in our path

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I actually wrote this as a response to a friend's blog. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it here.

"Life is good"! I preach this. I believe this. I live this the best I can, BUT we humans all seem to have weaknesses that keep throwing obstacles into our paths of simple living. I think we usually recognize that we somehow have put these roadblocks there ourselves, but still we have a difficult time removing them. I've never known anyone who was in total control all of the time or neither have I met anyone who was totally happy with who they are. We all have thoughts like: I'm too fat; I'm too skinny; I wish I were a blonde: I wish I had her beautiful dark hair; my nose is too big; my nose is too little; I'm too hairy; nobody really likes me; I'll never be able to do that; I wish I wasn't so old; I wish I was old enough to be retired - never are we totally happy with who we are. I wonder why?

Then these feelings seem to control our actions: we emotionally eat; we drink too much at times; we over react and spend ridiculous amounts of time working out; we develop eating disorders; we do things to impress others that we normally wouldn't do; we beat ourselves up and we let ourselves get drug down.

Then, thankfully, most of us here have found that we're pretty much normal. We're going to sometimes lose our battles with our destructive egos, but we're going to win even more of them with the help of our friends who have recognized the same things about themselves. Many of those friends we've found here at SP and for you and me, some of those friends hang around a place we call "The Deck".

We're human - we have flaws, but we also have the ability to compensate for these flaws. Let's help each other get past the barriers in our lives and reach that place where "life is good". We can do it!

Peace!

Wood

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWSNAKE 8/12/2011 11:19AM

    Healthy, happier, stronger, more determined, yes the people on the deck have these qualities to share with others who may be having a hard time tapping into their potential. Combined with some fun, lots of imagination, and caring...the deck is my virtual place for rest, relaxation and global friendships. Your blog was as if it was meant for each of us individually on any given day...true words, discovering what controls our actions, defining "normal"....soul searching for answers to why we sometimes head towards self destruction....all topics worth thinking about,and to find laughter, hugs and support as Kay put it.....we have a delightful oasis to escape to and not be judged! ***SNOW***

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KAYOTIC 8/12/2011 10:25AM

    I love that we can all come together for support, fun, and laughter, and lots of hugs....what a wonderful world you've created on the deck!

Life is good.... emoticon

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OUTDOORSDC 7/28/2011 8:34PM

    The thing about you, Wood, is that you take everyday moments and make them beautiful. You don't try to make them perfect; you just make them simple and pure and beautiful.

I guess you know that you were the first person to invite me over to the deck. You had read one of my blogs - the one about participating - and you said that you thought you had a good place for me to visit. I was telling Maui this story the other day, and I mentioned how meaningful it was to me that you were the first person to invite me over. How symbolic it was, really, because there are things about you that remind me of my dad. So I came to the deck and then things picked up from there and I met lots of other people, but I never stopped thinking of you and the role you played in getting me there. Just like my dad, you have this very calm presence. You come and go, but you are always present. Does that make sense? And then there are other words that come to mind too - like teacher and mentor and listener - and you are all of those things, too.

Yes, you're right, it took you a little while to read my blog post, but the funny thing is that you were actually right on time. Because, as it turns out, this morning was when I needed a pick-me-up the most. And you were all of that and then some.

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MAUIMA 7/28/2011 6:36PM

    Wood- I too enjoy your words... so well said.

Cassie too...well said.

I think too, when we choose to surround ourselves with people making healthy choices...we are healthier, happier and stronger.

And yes...The Deck is just such a place.



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MIAMIA7 7/28/2011 4:16PM

    Great blog Wood! One of the most important things I learned from spark people is the mental obstacles we all throw at ourselves. I remember when I first started exercising...I was so afraid that I would hurt myself and spiral backward with symptoms of my illness. But I had to trick my brain into pushing through and it was and still is so, so worth it! Even if I do push through and have backlash..it is worth it. Because I know that I am doing all that I can to keep myself healthy. We all fight our own mental battles...I just am fighting less thanks to spark and spark friends like you who remind me of just how good life is!

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BOBBYD31 7/28/2011 9:21AM

    thank you my friend . these are all words we all should live by , and yes life is good !

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CASSIOEPIA 7/28/2011 8:53AM

    I have come to realize that:
1) we all come from dysfunctional families :)
2) we all have our own demons
3) we all are pretty much normal with all our shortcomings!

I love reading your words. Thank you for them, and its a lucky person who received them as a response to their blog.

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People make the difference

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yesterday, Luv and I participated in yet another Cancer Relay for Life. We've been doing this for several years now because it's a cause that is very close to our hearts. We like just about everyone else in the world have lost loved ones to the many demonic faces of cancer, including Luv's mother a few years back. So we walk for the cause and we earn what money we can for the research that we hope will bring a cure sometime soon.

This time we listened to a man that appeared to be in his mid thirties speak of the pain of watching his wife lose her battle in less than 6 months time. He spoke of the difficulty of trying to live as normal as possible while this went on while raising two children, keeping up with his job, spending as much time with her as he could each day. We all sat there and listened, and shared his pain and knew the impossibility of the task that faced him. A nightmare shared by thousands of others at any given time.

...and then he spoke of what makes it possible to get through this - other people - compassionate people. People from church, people from work, people from his neighborhood, friends from all over, distant relatives. People that brought food, people that sent cards, letters, emails of support; people that volunteered to pick up his kids and get them to their sports and school events; people that visited his wife and made sure she knew she was loved and cared about; people that showed up at his house and weeded his flower beds and mowed his lawns; people that were just there for him. It was people that cared that got him through this terrible ordeal.

Today, Luv and I visited her father in the nursing home that he now calls home. He's been blinded by diabetes and has suffered considerable losses over the past year. What does he talk about now when we visit? "His girls" that take care of him and make sure that his needs are met each and every day. Again it's people that get him through a very tough situation.

People that care....I'm so very lucky to know so many of these people in my life and that includes so many of you - my friends here at SP. Thanks for being "these people".

Life is good!
Wood

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWSNAKE 6/22/2011 11:25AM

    OK...I was wondering what it was that was going to "unfreeze" me from my dilema I am having with one of my clients. She has emailed me from her cell phone and writes that she is now "in hospice care" and really needs/wants a shampoo haircut, would I give her a call back as ASAP to talk about how we would do this......and I am just devastated by my gut reaction!! I am so shocked at my responce as I would think I would have called her and would have already of done the haircut thing by now! Instead- I find myself, saddened her treatments have not worked (Leukimia blood cancer- came on suddenly at 60 years old) and interpretting the hospice care as she is now being assisted in dying. This is freaking me out, doubted that I could go to see my dlient dying, possibly looking terrible, and I can't even seem to call her back or respond in any way- and I do not understand this peralysis!! I am scared to see her, I dont want to say goodbye, but my husband says this is her way of saying goodbye to me.....I get so sad and scared I dont think I can do this!
Then I read your blog...... feels like Im getting set back on track to be "one of those people " that helps, that is always there for people.....im going to call her while Im on my hike, its a good place to interspect....I think you just helped me get over my fear, I hope its not too late...thanks Wood, I owe ya one. ***SNOW***

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KAYOTIC 6/22/2011 10:09AM

    So true, it's the people we rely on to get us through, the "things" just sit there, and really are little comfort in the trying times...

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KELPIE57 6/20/2011 7:31AM

    Yes, indeed, people do make all the diffeerence.

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OUTDOORSDC 6/20/2011 7:03AM

    You could not have said a wiser thing, Wood. Unexpected or expected or whatever, people reaching out is a very powerful thing. I love this post.

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CASSIOEPIA 6/18/2011 11:42PM

    What a story to share with so many - I'm not sure I could get through it. Our small and close-knit community have lost more than a couple in the past few months, with a couple more struggling towards the end right now. Do I see it more now because I am also older, and it is affecting the friends my age? Or is it just more prevalent?

I did the Cancer Relay for LIfe with my boys a few years ago, and it was quite emotional. Like you said, most people have lost someone to cancer.

People around us that care...it's so much of what gets us through every day. Thank you for being one of my "people who care". I hope you have some kind of idea of how much you have contributed to my own "life is good" days!
emoticon

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MIAMIA7 6/18/2011 10:54PM

    Oh Wood...this is so true. And timely. I was feeling a bit down lately. We have lost a few people in our lives recently but they were elderly and lived long lives. But I also have watched a few close to me struggle. My sister...in congestive heart failure and recently put on oxygen 24/7...and my cousin whose MS has had a bad turn...struggling to gain some strength back. All I can do is support them. Be there for them. During my run this a.m. I thought about how life is constantly changing and all we can do is move along with it. Thanks for a great blog. You and Luv are wonderful people.
Anne

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BOBBYD31 6/18/2011 10:33PM

    thanks for sharing wood, you guys are wonderful caring people!!!!

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Joyce's rose

Tuesday, May 31, 2011



This is the rose I choose to add to "the Deck" in memory of Kelpie's friend, Joyce, who lost her battle with Hodgkins. I choose this one for several reasons: It's named a Merlot tea rose, which seemed very appropriate to "The Deck". It's also beautiful - femine but bold as I picture Joyce who spent much of her life in the air force. It is also disease resistent - Joyce had won her first battle with breast cancer before losing this one with Hodgkins.

So here it is "Joyce's rose", if the selection suits the rest of you "Deckies". Let it represent the bravery and strength of all our friends who do battle with cancer.

Joyce knew that "Life is good."

Wood

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWSNAKE 7/29/2011 10:32PM

    I dont spend much time reading others "blogs" however, once I read your anniversary one, I decided to read the ones you have here, You do such amazing things with concepts, nature,and your eloquent wording to put across your thoughts and feelings. thank you for sharing, ***SNOW*** emoticon

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CHOCLAHOLIC 6/1/2011 8:15AM

    Perfect... both the rose and the explanation of the choice....
emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/1/2011 8:15:48 AM

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CASSIOEPIA 5/31/2011 11:58PM

    emoticon love the comfort this brings.

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KAYOTIC 5/31/2011 10:08PM

    Wow, you really know how to pick 'em Wood, I love the meaning, and sentiments behind this beautiful flower...

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TARHEEL9 5/31/2011 1:17PM

    looks good to me very beautifull

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MAUIMA 5/31/2011 12:39PM

    Beautiful rose Wood! I love the sentiment.

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KELPIE57 5/31/2011 10:58AM

    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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BLESSEDGIGI 5/31/2011 10:07AM

    Beautiful!

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