Holiday’s End

We drove home from San Diego, a whirlwind trip

(a little TOO whirlwind when I ended up getting a speeding ticket; everyone in the car agrees that there were MANY cars going faster than I was, but we had the tell-tale luggage on the hood of our car.  Plus, I was speeding.)

Odd how something like a speeding ticket can plunge one into a dark, dark place.

Or maybe it was being away from home for 2 weeks? Or the sea-sickness? (which continued to haunt me in the car; for the first time in my life I actually got car-sick on the way home…) Or maybe it was the general post-holiday blues?

For whatever reason, I had a hell of a hard few days. The kind of days where everything stupid you’ve every done in your life gets all dressed up and comes over to visit. Rough. It’s moving on, which is a wonderful thing, but I’m still feeling shaky on my feet. It’s not unlike the after-sea-sickness feeling when I wasn’t ill any more, but felt very unsteady.

I’m sure there’s a name for it, ‘post-depression-nausea’ or something like that. And, for what it’s worth, as I grow older it seems periods of sadness like this are fewer and farther between, and don’t last as long.  But they’re just as deep, which is always scary.

Depression is absolutely terrifying at times.

In the middle of my sadness I tweeted:

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 10.18.37 AMand the lovely response I got was incredibly helpful.

I felt guilty for going public like that, essentially asking, “Tell me I’m okay!  Tell me I’m loved!” but I was gratified by the kindness that came back to me.  Thank you, everyone.

I know that we all need some kindness every now and then, I’m very grateful to my friends for sending me cyber thumbs up.

Depression affects so many of us, and it makes some of us ashamed (which I know is silly) but it’s true. I hope that by writing honestly when I have my own down periods, I can help someone else feel less alone, less ashamed, less isolated than they might.


I hadn’t blogged about our last few days in SD, mostly because I was crazed with finishing some crocheted swatches and sketches for submission, packing, getting the house fit for the return of the owners, etc.

We had a magnificent time on the West Coast, and we couldn’t help but daydream about living in such beautiful surroundings.  This, obviously, is not going to happen (ch-CHING!) but visiting beautiful La Jolla and seeing so much of our HUGE country on the way there and back is something I don’t think any of us will forget.  It was my first time in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah (except for airports) and driving through the states is something that everyone should have a chance to do.

Just be sure to take your Dramamine.

Below are photographs we took in our last few days, around the house, out at Coronado Island, and at the Point Loma Lighthouse.  The weather was off-and-on rainy, but that just made for more dramatic pictures!

Repair and Renew

The sun is a wonderful thing.

I burn like paper, and I’ve devoted most of my life to staying out of the sun. I’m the only person in my family not to have a skin cancer (and the only blood relative within my immediate family who’s still alive…)

But when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 3 years ago my doctor put me on Vitamin D3 and I began to discover the link between good sunlight and my own pain-free existence.

La Jolla View

La Jolla View

Minnesota is cold, and it can be dark in the winter, and I LOVE it.  I get outside every day up there, the cold doesn’t bother me much.  But I DEFINITELY get out in the Summer more than I do in the Winter, and I feel that in my bones.

So when we had a chance to dog-sit in the beautiful village of La Jolla for a week for a knit designer friend, I jumped on it.



My hope was that I’d get a few days of sun – not sun-bathing, but actually actively moving in the sun – walking the dog by the beach, bicycling.

The drive out (see my last blog post) was great – but we’re a family that travels well together, and with both kids moving into the mid-teens we appreciate every chance we have to share a trip like this.

The home we’re staying in is absolutely lovely, the dog we’re caring for is a WONDER DOG! (He’s not unlike “Laddie” from that great Simpson’s episode)

All who meet him cannot fail to fall in love with Rusty. I’m in love, I know that!


My first foray on a bike here wasn’t great.  I got my toes caught in the clips, the bike was the wrong size for my long, long, legs, I fell over and damaged the derailléur and I totally blew it.

Guilt & disappointment, my biking companions that day.

I was more depressed than I can sensibly explain at my bike fail. The only thing making it halfway bearable was how humane our hosts have been via texts & phone calls about my fall & accident.



The Harbor in San Diego

The Harbor in San Diego


The next day I thought I’d hit a home run when I used a Groupon for a whale watching excursion, and for the first hour it was the BEST time any of us had had on a boat.

But the water got choppier, my hubris at NOT taking the Dramamine Gerry had offered came back to haunt me.

I found myself thanking heaven and the Lays company for the empty potato chip bag I found in my purse.

I was the first on the ship to go down, and I’m not proud of that. I swear that 50% of the passengers were ill, EVERY group had at least one person who was sick.

This is NOT me

This is NOT me

I knew we were in trouble when the first passenger I introduced myself to on this ‘Three Hour Tour’ was a woman named “Ginger.”  Yes, seriously.

The cabin (what a mistake it was to go THERE) was like a rocking, too-full sick ward, and I did my best to help other folks by passing out rolls of paper towels and bottles of water for cleaning off kids (& adults) and dragging garbage cans over to folks, pulling hair from faces.

Yes, I am a saint.

The Landy / Modesitt Family BEFORE

The Landy / Modesitt Family BEFORE

No, not really, but I felt that I owed everyone compassion.  They’d all been so kind to me when I got sick half an hour earlier.

Those of you who are fans of Diana Gabaldon will appreciate my sister-feeling with Jamie Frasier.  This is not something I’d want to do again, but I feel I have a tiny sense of what those awful steerage ocean voyages might have been like.

The Waves Got Choppy...

The Waves Got Choppy…

Gerry and Max were dandy. We were very afraid for both of them, and THEY took the Dramamine, and they were okay.  Actually, “dandy” isn’t exactly the word, Max spent most of the trip face-down on a sofa cushion, but neither of them was ill the way and Hannah and I were (I discovered Hannah crouched over a garbage can, swearing at her breakfast and every egg ever laid by hen.)

Obviously the trip wasn’t fun, but it had light moments.

Sea Worthy Gerry

Sea Worthy Gerry

As we rounded on not one, but TWO whales (who were very friendly and kept near us, to the delight of the captain) he kept turning the boat to the left, and the right, and the left, and the right, to stay near them so everyone could get a good look.  Yes, I saw a whale.  Thar she blows.

Just writing that last paragraph made me ill again.

At one point I was being ill into a smart-food bag when I heard the captain call giddily over the loudspeaker, “THAR SHE BLOWS!”  Yes, indeed.  There I blow.

I CANNOT commend the poor kid who helped to keep the cabin walkable and relatively clean highly enough!  I rallied a bit mid trip and did what I could to help him out, but then I collapsed again and was a lump sitting in the open air, head throbbing and stomach churning.  I was feebly aware of how much VERY unpleasant work this young man was doing. 

I stayed on the boat to tell him, “THANK YOU” and give him a small tip.
He deserved 50 times what I could give him.

Heads up, H&M Whale Watching!  You had a PRINCE of a crewman on the Sea Adventure 80’s 10:00 am Whale cruise on 12/27/12.  Give that kid a raise and a bonus!

They gave us an extra 1/2 hour on the cruise because we were seeing so many wales & dolphins (yay?) I felt well enough post-voyage to drive home, we got back around 2:00 and we were all SO wiped out that the rest of the day was devoted to recovery and a small bit of rice for dinner.


Rusty & Pippa

Rusty & Pippa


So today I was amazed at how well I felt when Rusty awakened me with some toe licking.  I hopped out of bed, showered and cleaned up the kitchen, hitched up the doggie and took him for an hour-long walk by the ocean.  He played and rolled with other dogs, developed a huge crush on Pippa, and on the way back I passed a bike rental place.  So I rented a bike.

As soon as I brought Rusty home & checked in with the family, I immediately set off on a 14-mile ride down to Mission Bay Park.  Glorious.

The Landy's At The Gallery

The Landy’s At The Gallery

The ride was swell, roses and palm trees and happy kids all over the place!  My ride around the bay was swell, I stopped for some gelato on the way home, and I managed most hills without getting off the bike and walking (it is VERY hilly here…)

I met up with the family at the Contemporary Art Museum in La Jolla and we enjoyed some lovely art (I couldn’t look at the paintings of ships, I felt a bit dizzy and ill) and mostly just enjoyed our time together.  Gerry and the kids had picked up lobster tails and salmon earlier, so Hannah’s cooking up her special broiled salmon and G’s grilling tails while I relax from my long ride.

Bike Ride View

View from the La Jolla Bike Trail

Gerry and the kids are planning on going to the Scripps Aquarium tomorrow, I’ll take the time on my own to get some swatching and sketching done.  I have the bike for one more day, tomorrow I’ll hit the tidal pools by the La Jolla Cave and maybe get some knitting in the sun in before I return the bike.  Selfish of me, but intensely enjoyable!

Non weight bearing exercise in the sun is my formula for anything that ails me, I’m lucky I found it!

What a GREAT Road Trip!

Gerry Driving

Gerry Driving

Two days into the trip Max turned to me and said, “I just want to keep on driving and driving and driving…”

I think we have a budding Road Trip aficionado on our hands.

Obviously we had our doubts about a long road trip; would it be too much for Gerry (and his back) to stand? Would the kids fight? Which one would be left standing at the end of the trip? Would we be caught in Superstorm Draco?

Max in Santa Fe

Max Regards Santa Fe

The answers proved to be No; Yes; Both; Not Really…

We left Saint Paul on Friday morning, about 2 hours later than I wanted. Note to self: Yelling up at the kids, “Are you up?” is NOT good enough. Cold water must be employed if we want to leave before 6am.

I had each family member pack a suitcase of their stuff, then we had a spare suitcase where we kept clothing for 3 days, toiletries and medicines.

According to Max, his McDonalds Bagel was "a travesty!"

According to Max, his McDonalds Bagel was “a travesty!”

The long-term suitcases went on top of the car in a Rubbermaid roof carrier, the other suitcase + a cooler + pillows & blankets + computer stuff + my knitting + a tent* went into the back of the car.

This left lots of room in the back seat for the kids, and room up front.  We had good intentions of splitting the driving, but it was hard on Gerry (the whole trip was a bit hard on him) so I ended up doing all the driving but Day 2 (Wichita to Santa Fe.)

A Day's Road Knitting

A Day’s Road Knitting

We definitely took our time.  In retrospect, we could have done it in 3 days (and we will on the way back) but doing a 6 hour day and a 7 hour day made for a much more enjoyable ride!

The hardest part of the whole drive was going through Iowa.  They got hit VERY hard with Draco, and pretty much 50 miles in from the MN border we ran into entirely packed ICE on the roads, slow going and lots of backups.  We sat at on point for over 1-1/2 hours.  We also counted almost 60 cars spun out and in ditches along the road in Iowa alone.  As I said, they got hit HARD.


Kansas – Or Oklahoma? – Or Texas?

Once through Missouri, we were in great shape road-wise.  We stopped at a Motel 6 in Wichita, it wasn’t bad, but it was the TINIEST room I’ve ever had in the US.  It felt like the cabin on a cruise ship!

We were absolutely exhausted, though, so a clean bed was all that we wanted, and we got it!

Driving through Kansas / Oklahoma / Texas was just – interminable.

For each successful hunt a brave was awarded - a lollipop?  Oy.

Apparently in Oklahoma for each successful hunt a brave was awarded – a lollipop? Oy.

Nothing terribly interesting to see, just lots of driving and listening to Artemis Fowl books!

The next night we stayed at the Lodge in Santa Fe, a priceline name-your-price deal.  For $60 it was a great room, a very nice hotel, although it’s obvious that it’s getting a little ragged around the edges.

Santa Fe was absolutely lovely, we had a great dinner and headed out the next morning for Sedona.

The scenery we passed was extraordinary, but we were in NO way prepared for the beauty of Arizona (& New Mexico in general)  Just spectacular.


Sedona Sunrise

Once in Sedona we were intrigued by the Javalinos (a type of peccary) outside the house where we were staying. We even say a tiny baby Javalino!  Going through Arizona was quite beautiful.

But I have to say outside of Dallas and Philadelphia, AZ drivers are the most aggressive I’ve ever experienced!

The last driving day wasn’t long, but it took us down by the Mexico border (the hottest driving) and up the Kumiyaay Highway (the hardest and coldest driving outside of Iowa) and into Southern California and San Diego.  And our final destination!



We’re having a VERY low-key holiday, the first time we haven’t really ‘done’ Christmas, and I think we’ve all found it enjoyable and less stressful!

The kids had small gifties this morning and we had a great home cooked breakfast this morning and Gerry and the kids took our canine charge, Rusty, out for a long walk.  Later today we’ll take him to the beach and enjoy the California sunset.

*Don’t judge me!  I wanted to be prepared…

The Winners Of The Two Books Are…

Katheryn & Rebecca, chosen entirely at random are the winners of Boyfriend Knits and Farm Animal Knits!  They’ve been notified, and as soon as I hear back with their street addresses their books will be in the mail and off to their homes!

Speaking of being off, we’re heading out for warmer parts!  We’re dog sitting for a friend in La Jolla, and a few friends have graciously agreed to pet sit for us here chez Landy, so our own warm, furry friends won’t be alone for the holidays, either!

Today is packing day, tonight is going to see the Arrow (British Advertising) Awards at the Walker (a Holiday tradition!) and tomorrow, at the crack of whenever, we’ll be up and hit the road.

stpaul_hillbilliesWe’re budgeting between 9-13 hours of driving a day, depending on how we’re feeling, road conditions (snow!) and just general stuff.  We’re nothing if not flexible.

Our modus operandi for long trips is to pack one suitcase each and put that on top of the car (in our luggage holder) then keep stuff IN the car that we’ll use on the way (a few day’s clothes, underwear, meds, toiletries, books, games, pillows, etc.)

Hannah and I went on a long trip through Ohio/WV this past summer and we grew to love our Huyndai Elantra Wagon.  I’m certain that on this trip we’ll grow to love it even more.

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 11.59.09 AMWe tend to be a family that travels well together, and we’ve picked a bevvy of good audio books we can [hopefully] all enjoy (YA plus some interesting history stuff…)

I would LOVE to introduce the kids to one of my favorite books, “A Town Like Alice” during this trip.  Usually we’re a Harry Potter listening family (LOVE Jim Dale!) but this time we’ll be immersed in Artemis Fowl & the Pathfinder series.

We also – shockers – talk a lot in the car.  I look forward to that, too!  (Or at least I will when I climb down off of my rocking chair on the roof and pick the bugs out of my teeth…)

We have found a doggie!

IMG_0160Chase is a 3-yr old poodle, a rescue dog, being fostered by a lovely family in Bloomington, MN who will keep and love him over the holidays until our return on Jan 4th.

He comes via PetFinder, and we met him in our home yesterday.  He seems calm and happy, a little uncertain (as one would expect a rescue to be) but DEFINITELY deeply in love with his foster mom.

She insists – and we’re glace to comply – that she be kept up on how he’s doing (all she’ll have to do is read the blog!)  It’s obvious that he has deep feelings and a very intelligent face & eyes.

So we’ll be rushing home to a new pet, some new breaking in, and hopefully lots of new doggie love!