Many Thanks

October 14, 2001

A week or so ago I left a virtual bottle of ink in a note at another site where I keep an online journal. I left the writer About Kara the ink and suggested that she might use it to continue her story.

I suppose I should have saved myself some of the ink.

But then again it is summertime here and the choice has been to play, float in the pool, or write.

Writing lost.

Yesterday I drove 360 miles round-trip to retrieve my sailboat from the shore of Lake Michigan. Another adventure looms and I did not want to leave the boat on the beach any longer. The place where I keep the boat has many cottages and on the path to the beach one of the year-round residents had left a small display for us. Taped to a log was a poster board with pictures taken of the beach and pool house in the dead of winter. Snow and ice covered everything in the photographs. The caption was short, and descriptive; "Taken only 6 months ago."

Thanks for the reminder.

I like my winter sports, but good grief, Winter? You want to show me pictures of Winter?

Sorry Charlie, if I want to see some snow, I think I'll head on off to the mountains.

Actually, the real thanks goes not to the photographer who threw out a reminder of why they call this state a "Winter Wonderland."

Nope, the real thanks goes to another writer or two on the web who have giving intended and unintended nudges to my life.

The first nudge came early in the year when Mirror_rorriM completed one of those survey entries. Granted, those things do not have a habit of being very profound, but one line in her diary spoke volumes. She mentioned that her dad died at the age of 54.

After reading that, and noting that I was rapidly approaching 50, I decided that even if it was expensive, it was time to take the kiddies on a winter trip. I found a last minute cruise deal, we jumped into the Tahoe and drove down to meet our boat in Miami.

I know no one has any guarantees on tomorrow, but I also am becoming keenly aware that the kiddies fly the coop, and faster than you can imagine.

Just a couple of words, and I was nudged into action.

And now there is Mozart to be thankful for. Mozart and the mountains.

In less than a week Mrs and I will be boarding a jet plane and heading off for England. I earned one of those "company trips" that will revolve in and around London.

But hey, if someone else pays the freight to Europe, why not throw in a side trip to somewhere a little more exotic?

I tried.

I looked and surfed and planned and asked the kiddies about the one last great family vacation.

Then I added up the costs, and it a word, they were staggering.

My brother lives in Norway (long story) and we thought we would take the kiddies to see their cousins in the land of the Midnight Sun. But my brother and his daughter were just here weeks ago, and part of the time we wanted to be there he had work commitments.

Scratch Norway.

But, here is where another thank you very much surfaces. When I started to search out the possibilities for our trip I got some very helpful hints from another web journalist, ~karin, a world traveler who lives in Norway. Had we gone to Norway I would have finally met another web diarist.

She gave us the name of the "Southwest Airlines" of Europe, Ryanair a discount airline based in England. Last week when Mrs and I were trying to finalize our plans, we pulled up the Ryanair route map and saw all their major destinations.

We discarded hot tropical islands, and the crowded South of France, the leaning tower of Piza and ended up with Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart.

Mozart and mountains. Mrs. NSR got her stress-reduction package at one of the "small luxury hotels of the world" and then we head off to Zell am See, to hike below the snow capped peaks of the Austrian Alps.

Seems a fair trade to me... 2 nights at the hotel, 2 candlelight dinners, massages, and then 2 days on a motorcycle.

Well.. if it doesn't rain.

I don't mind the snow, but for the summertime, let's leave it on the tops of the mountains

Thanks ~karin, we could not have done it without you.