We have settled into an interesting work/life pattern here. For the last two weeks I’ve been back at work, fine-tuning the ACR academic conference program (while marvelling at my co-chair Stacy Wood’s ability to party-plan), planning my field labs for next term’s Semester at Sea courses (Consumer Behavior and International Marketing) as well as working on the special issue of the Journal of Business Research I am co-editing with the ever patient Catherine Prentice. (I mean really, who takes a vacation just as the deadline for the issue comes around? Well, I did, actually). Still on my sabbatical list: revisions of a couple of papers, finalizing working papers for publication, and getting started on a book! Some many interesting projects, so little time… Well, actually, still finding time to hike! This was taken on the Hogwash trail not far from our house; this one had a lot of technically difficult sections, and we were really impressed with Joe and Jack’s emerging skills and endurance.
We are working the boys up to longer hikes, and managed a hot 5 mile one yesterday that concluded with a serious climb up to the “Devil’s Bridge.” Joe was trying out new hiking shoes, and he was tired, but he was really happy that he did it!
The routine so far is a little unorthodox. I work while Dan home schools the boys. We try and hike every couple of days, early morning before it gets too hot. Then home and school/work. Some days it is all school/work, and a late afternoon swim. The oddest thing is that we are working weekends, so when we do take a day off places we go and visit won’t be as crowded midweek. Sort of a three days on, one day off, sort of model. it’s interesting. Very productive for me, but the combination of Arizona time zone, my later start times in the day, and some weekdays “off” must be driving my Eastern time zone colleagues a little crazy! We also have some really interesting visitors. So far, two tarantulas and one scorpion have appeared. I am also quite certain I had javelinas rooting around outside during the night. But the highlight so far was the visitor we saw munching the bushes in the yard one morning.
This little guy was out on the deck in our home in Sedona when we opened the blinds today. Sort of freaked the kids out to see a tarantula, but hey, welcome to the desert!
It’s gorgeous here in Sedona (house pictures will follow in another blog) but we stopped on the way here yesterday to visit the Petrified Forest and Painted Rocks National Park. The colours were stunning, and when we took a short hike down deeper into the landscape, it felt like we were on the moon.
Jack and Joe started home schooling with Dan today, and I got back to work after this extended holiday. The view from the office area is distractingly beautiful, but I guess I will just have to learn how to cope. Oh, and it’s 35 degrees C and sunny!
What a fantastic day! Leaving Amarillo this morning we took a side trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It is the second largest canyon in the U.S. after the Grand Canyon, and we hadn’t even heard of it until we arrived in the hotel in Amarillo. It was breathtaking. Unlike the Grand Canyon, cars are able to drive to the bottom of the canyon, which gave us fantastic views and photo opportunities. We signed up for zip lining across the canyon, and the plan was for Joe to tandem with Dan.
However, when we got to the top of the platform it was too scary for Joe. But hey, look at me go!
Such a shame! The ziplining was great, and the rest of us had a blast – great views and great times.
We have a couple of days in Albuquerque, and desperately need a day off from driving! After the cold summer we Canadians had, the temps of 38 C and full sun feels wonderful.
We had a great time visiting Dan’s sister Mary and her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Joe and Jack were in dog heaven, with two Brittany Spaniels to love and play with. After a visit to Dan’s brother John’s country place in southern Missouri, and a night in Rolla, Missouri, we had a very long travel day today (over 1000 km). We are spending the night in Amarillo, Texas. Of course, that meant Texas steak for dinner. Tomorrow, on to Albuquerque for a couple of days – hopefully including some rafting on the Rio Grande.
It is starting to sink in to the kids that they aren’t going back to regular school. That could be good or bad, depending on how tough things get in “Dad School.”
Checking in from Kingsville Ontario where my parents live. Jack had a great time at Camp Big Canoe as a Senior Camper for the first time. We picked him up yesterday, with more mosquito bites than I thought a body could bare! He also had tons of rain during his 12 days in a tent, but still had a fantastic time.
Our last few days at the cottage were rainy, again, but we visited Minden and Haliburton and made the best of it. On one of our final days, Joe took to feeding one of the ducks with worms meant for the “stupid fish.” Here is a video clip of him hand feeding the mommy duck. Unfortunately, we were out of worms when she returned the next day with her babies!
We are well into week 2 in the Haliburton Highlands area (I am posting from the Haliburton Public Library). The first week saw the great views of the “super moon” we had in the area, followed by 5 straight days of rain. Dan, Joe and I were in a nice warm cottage, but Jack is at Camp Big Canoe and was sleeping in a tent the entire time.
The weather for this week looks great, and we are exploring the full area, including Minden and Haliburton. The cottage came with a canoe and a paddle boat. We all love the paddle boat, and it easily seats three!
It was wonderful seeing the boys again after their trip to Germany. They had a blast, and they were very well taken care of by Eno and the rest of their billet family in Germany. They even got to attend the last day of school with the kids in the family (Joe to elementary and Jack to the Gymnasium/high school). Sounds like the festival was wonderful for them, and we are thankful again that Original Kids Theatre is in London – they did an awesome job on this trip, and with our kids.
Joe took to the camera, coming home with more than 50 pictures. Jack, on the other hand, says that cameras “ruin the moment.” Here is a small view of the International Children’s Festival (and some of the Original Kids) through Joe’s eyes.
This week we are visiting with my sister Judy and her family. Yesterday was the (crowded but wonderful) Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, and tomorrow we head a little north for two days at Canada’s Wonderland. Saturday, it’s off to 2 weeks at the cottage for Joe, Dan and I while Jack heads off to 12 days at Camp Big Canoe. I am hoping for some semblance of summer weather while we are there!
Jack and Joe left for Germany with Original Kids last night. After a day filled with last minute thoughts, packing ideas, and advice for them both, I thought I was prepared. We took them out for a late lunch/dinner, a walk around the river and downtown, then met the group for a bus departure from Covent Garden to Toronto airport.
Both kids seemed excited and confident. Being with friends helped a lot, but I don’t think they would have been too worried either way! Lots of smiles and laughter, as OKTC staff handed out matching red hats to the cast (easier to keep track of everyone, and a brilliant idea) and small bags of Canadian merchandise to trade or give to new friends from around the world at the festival.
Rogers Television has been following the Dream Journey process from the beginning, and will be creating a series this fall for broadcast. In his final interaction, Joe already seems like a media pro.
It was surprisingly difficult to come home to the house without them. I travel away from them for work a fair bit, so I wasn’t really prepared for how different it would feel to be in our house without them. But it won’t be long before we pick them up in Toronto (Aug. 2), on the way to our next adventure!
We are less than two weeks away from the first part of the boys’ adventure. Jack and Joe are part of the Original Kids Theatre Company group that will represent Canada in the International Children’s Festival in Lingen Germany. So they leave London first, July 23.
On another front, this weekend we meet the man who is renting our house (with his family) for the year. He’s spending a year in Canada from Australia, so it will be nice to meet another adventurous family!
Lots of details still to take care of, such as five visas for each of us. But, we have had our immunizations, taken care of lots of details. Much more to come, but taking it one thing at a time.
Our family is embarking on a travel adventure this year. We are setting up a website so friends and family can read about our adventures, and see some photos and videos we take along the way. The website business is new to us, but we will learn and get better, I am sure.