Bucket List: Checked Off Two Items

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In the summer, I  look forward to taking a break from Florida’s hot weather to visit family and friends in Wisconsin.  This year, Hubby and I extended our vacation from four to ten days. I needed the extra time to check off two items on my Bucket List.

Visit Mama’s Gravesite in Chicago

I set aside one full day and traveled to Chicago about 90 miles from Milwaukee to visit Mama’s gravesite.  In two earlier posts, I shared:

  1. Why? – Lost Memories of Mama, and
  2. What Happened?Update: Lost Memories of Mama

Solo, 2-Day Mini Vacation in Madison, Wisconsin

I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for more than thirty years.  A solo, 2-day mini vacation, without Hubby, freed up space for me to: (1) spend quality time with my “girlfriend” family; and, (2) re-visit several of my favorite places.

I spent many quiet afternoons and evenings at a local park looking out over Lake Monona. To recapture this experience, I booked a room for two nights at the Hilton-Monona Terrace Hotel with a window view of Lake Monona.

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Because I wanted to spend time with as many family members as possible, I invited my grand-nieces and step great-granddaughters for a two-night sleepover at the hotel.  Sleepless in Madison is my best description of what it’s like to share a room with three teenagers and a nine-year-old; but, I enjoyed every minute with my girls.

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Avi and Tianna

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Avi, Lyric, Tianna

The next day, I, along with my girls, meandered through one of my favorite places in Madison, Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  

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Lyric, SeasonedSistah2, Avi, Tianna, Tierra, Kertaeja

I couldn’t stop the camera from clicking and capturing memories of a beautiful afternoon spent in the presence of nature and family.

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Tierra (Step-Granddaughter); Lyric (Step-Great-Granddaughter); and Avi (Great-Grand Niece)

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BFF and Co-Grandmother – Cebby.

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In the evening, I went to dinner at one of my favorite eating places, Paisan’s Restaurant.  It was my first visit in twenty-six years and I enjoyed a girlfriends night out of lively conversation and sharing memories with thirteen of my favorite friends and family members.   The highlight of  the evening was meeting my newest family member, Miss Jaelah.  She traveled from arm to arm throughout the evening.

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SeasonedSistah2 and Jaelah

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Jaelah

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Cebby

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Tierra, Cathy and Jane

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Hershey

The 2-day solo, mini-vacation in Madison, Wisconsin was awesome; and I am happy to have checked of two items on my Bucket List.

Tenney Park: Sad and Happy Memories

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The Photos

A long-time friend, sent me an e-mail with the attached photo:

GorgeousSky

She took the photo early one morning, on her long, long walk to her job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Getting to work is not the only reason for her early morning walks.  She also uses this time to meditate and felt this might be an option for me.  Something to consider.  But, for now, I plan to sit on the lanai at 5:00 a.m. with the fans swirling overhead, to meditate until the weather cools down in Florida.

Let me move from walking and meditating to the photo.  Having lived in Madison for more than thirty-five years, I emailed and asked, “What Lake — Monona or Mendota?”

She didn’t answer, but sent the following photos.  Then, I knew the answer – Lake Mendota.

TenneyParkSign

TenneyParkLocks

TenneyParkBeach

Summers 1970 – 1973

I remember, the summer afternoons, spent with our three children, in this park and on that beach.  It was many, many years ago; and, I have Sad and Happy Memories

Hubby and I were both full-time students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  We were living, I am certain, below the poverty level for a family of five  (GI Bill, student loans/grants, and Hubby’s part-time jobs).

Sad Memories:

Mentally, I allowed worrisome and non-productive thoughts to enter my space; and this disengaged me from spending quality time with my family.  Unanswerable questions controlled my thoughts.  Like, WHAT IF —

  • We made a mistake by returning to college at our age?
  • We can’t find a job after graduation?
  • Hubby can’t find another part-time job when this one ends?
  • We can’t pay back the student loans?

Sadly, my WHAT IF questions were continuous and endless.  And, regretfully, I was not able to enjoy and embrace what was happening in the present moment during this period of my life.

Happy Memories

Even though I was not always in the present moment during these summer days, I know our children enjoyed the time we spent at Tenney Park.

Regardless of the WHAT IFs, I have many Happy Memories of those sunny afternoons, sitting quietly, and watching our Happy children — wading in the lake, creating in the sand, and playing in the park.

Hubby joined us for dinner at the end of his work day.  Tenney Park was our evening dining place during the summer.  And, we had some of our best times and meals there.  Most days, I cooked something on our portable grill.  And, occasionally we had enough money to treat the kids with pizza or burgers from a fast food restaurant.

Happy, that today, I am learning to:

  • Let go of the past;
  • Live in the present moment; and
  • Accept what may happen in the future.

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Postscript – Thank You to Two Special Friends

The Librarian, for the photos in this post.

Cupcake, for the photos taken in an earlier post, “July Vacation Days:  Happiness in the Presence of Children.”   (Special Note:  We share a beautiful granddaughter, Little Cupcake.)