This holiday season Maija and I took separate vacations to visit family in Michigan and New York. I few home on a red eye last Wednesday night into JFK on one of the most relaxing flights I have ever been on. About five to ten minutes after take off I put in some ear plugs, closed my eyes and dozed off into La La land. After a good 2 1/2 hours of sleeping I awoke by the flight attendant telling us we had 25 minutes before landing. Not one bump or shake of the plane. It felt as if I was floating on cloud 9. Well if anything I was floating somewhere around 36,000ft. With an easy flight I grabbed my suitcase and my Dad picked me up a few minutes thereafter. It was a cold crisp morning in New York and right away a rush of damp smoggy filled air filled my lungs. “Ah right at home I said”.
Being back in the Big Apple brought about nostalgic feelings of fresh bagels, good pizza, traffic, and family affairs. But, these feelings only last so long until I grow homesick of the mountains and all of it’s wonderment. The ocean will never replace the mountains.
I arrived home a little after 8 to meet Kramer my parents new dog for the first time. It was a bit uncanny to find a new canine friend there waiting for me; Especially in the house I grew up in. Kramer has a cage he stays in when there is no one home. He seems content laying in his cage and only gets up, filled with excitement when my father goes over to let him out. If I was to leave Frito or Cooper in a cage they would go berzerk based on their confine surroundings. Mickey, has for the most part gotten used to his cage. If we leave a bone for him to chew he usually doesn’t cause a ruckus. My father let Kramer out of the cage and he came running over to sniff me and introduce himself. This only lasted a short thirty seconds to a minute before he ran back to my father’s comfort. Dogs have a funny way of picking out the person they admire, trust, and respect the most. The first day with Kramer he barely came over to me. If I walked closer to him or showed interest in what he was doing, he would walk briskly in the opposite direction. If I ignored him, he would ignore me. This situation is something I am not used to. The majority of dogs I meet even those with serious behavioral and training problems warm up to my demeanor and energy within minutes. Kramer was definitely a challenge, a challenge I am always up for!
Not bringing my bike home posed some challenges for my training. I thought about using my Dad’s bike but after careful consideration it was not worth changing his bicycle position around to accommodate my meticulous riding regime. I thought about swimming but without proper goggles and a bathing suit, it made it hard for me to pay $10 to swim at the local aquatic center. I used to pay $2.50 with my military discount so $10 seems a bit steep! Without many other options I decided to run for the next few days while at home in New York. For my first run I took Kramer with me. Kramer is a Wheaten Terrier who at the time had a full fluffy coat of hair. Once we were away from the house I could tell he was getting used to my presence more. Sometimes it takes absence from their owner and home until a canine will show their true colors. We made it about a mile and a half before he started to slow down. Not bad for a dog who sat in a cage at a puppy mill for the first five years of his life. My parents rescued him from a Wheaten Terrier only rescue organization. It took the help of four to five volunteers to drive him to the New York area where my Dad could pick him up. If I ever happen to own a large portion of land I would love to help rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home dogs who were bound for the kill centers. Not sure Maija would like that though as she we probably want to keep all of them!
If you are ever thinking about getting a dog please take some time to contact your local rescue organization. There is an overpopulation of dogs in the United States. The good thing? There are plenty of amazing dogs that need homes! We all love specific dogs based on their demeanor, appearance, and so forth. There are plenty of “Full Breed” rescue organizations across the country which will work with you to find the right dog for your home.
My mom and I decided to go for a hike at one of the only trails left in Nassau County. The snow was coming down quite hard and I had a feeling my mom would want to postpone the adventure. Fortunately I was impressed when my mom got her hiking shoes on and was ready for the trip. We hiked out about 35 minutes before turning back and covering the same path we had just created. Only a few lonely animal footprints and one other shoe-print were all the tracks on the trail. Other activities included taking Kramer (my parent’s dog) to the West Hills Dog Park. The park is great in terms of size. It’s about two full acres and is in the shape of a square. This gives lots of room for dogs to roam and play. The downside to this park in particular was all the dog poop my dad and I realized was on the ground. We even saw one dog pooping right in front of his owner with the woman not even flinching to pick up after her dog. Normally I would have said something but I didn’t want to create a scene in case my dad decides to bring Kramer back there. The day before I left I also got to see my sister and her little boy Jack. Jack is getting bigger by the minute and is full of energy about the world. The trip to NY was relaxing and enjoyable. I’m glad I was able to drink coffee with my mom and have great conversation.
Here are some pictures from the NY Trip.
For some reason a lot of them came out unclear.
My mom and I hiking during a Long Island snowfall.
My Dad and his dog.
Kramer and my parents.
I definitely had a great time drinking coffee and eating cookies!
Isn’t that what being home is all about?!
The Flight home: My flight was not scheduled until 9:30 so I was able to spend most of the day relaxing at home and then had dinner with my parents. The weather in NY was fair but across the country it was an entirely different story. I got to the airport about an hour an half early. I’d much rather sit around reading a book or listening to my I-pod than rush to the gate. When Maija went to Michigan she had less than 30 minutes to get through security and board the plane. I think I was more stressed than her! So, with time to spare I threw headphones on and began to watch people busy themselves around the airport. Soon after dozing off to some Jack Johnson I noticed my flight was delayed 90 minutes. Ugh! I knew there was a snow storm in Denver so the only possible reason could have been it was taking a while for the plane to get here from Colorado. Finally, around 10:15 we boarded the plane. Just as my red eye flight to New York there was only one woman in the row with me. The seat in between myself and the other woman was empty. “Ah”, a sign of relief came over me. Once the plane closed it’s doors it was another 45 minutes on the runway before we even took off. Taking off from JFK is not the most fun. The runways are short and jam-packed together so the pilot has to hit the gas at full throttle. Once in the air the first two hours or so were pleasant. This was all about to change. On Jetblue flights you have a screen where you can watch TV or even view your actual flight position. From my window seat I looked out and realized we were flying over Lake Michigan. Usually when flying to Denver you go straight across the country traveling parallel with I-70. The mid-west must have been filled with bad weather too. As I’m gazing out the window I noticed we were headed straight into a storm. Things didn’t get too bad until we were over Nebraska. Then the turbulence started to kick in. Bump after bump hit the plane and my hands started to sweat. I stared out the window watching the wing flop up and down. Once we made our final descent into Denver I could see we were landing in the middle of a snow storm. The landing was so rough I could hear two people throwing up. Once on the ground I felt gratified for being able to survive such a flight. Hopefully I won’t have to fly again for a while. If I do fly however, I’m going to bring Mickey along. On my flight there was a woman with her Border Collie Mix. I asked her how she was able to bring her pup on the plane without a cage. She told me if they are a therapy dog then they can fly with you. Guess who is getting their therapy dog certification?
In other news, I got my butt whooped when I went cross-country skiing with Maija a few weeks back. Sometimes I forget just how great an athlete she really is. My competitive male ego kicks in and there are times a man needs to be put in his place. In the past, Maija and I have trained together mostly either by going for runs, or with her sitting on my wheel as we tour the rural parts of New Jersey. But, in cross-country skiing she has me at a standstill. For the time being 😉 The high country in Colorado is a site for all eyes. The sweeping views of mountains and snow let you stand in awe as you try and gaze upon it’s massive size proportions.
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