Category Archives: Vacation

Thankful to be Home

Hendricks Family Take 5700 miles, 12 hours, 4 podcasts, 2 half-listened-to audio books, a lot of U2 and one puking incident. It’s been a long day, but we’re finally back in the Twin Cities after three days in Kansas (and two on the road). Lexi did great, except for the whole not sleeping well Saturday night and throwing up on the ride home. But what parent hasn’t had to clean vomit out of a car seat? I remember throwing up myself in a car seat in our old Ford pickup and my dad having to clean it up. What goes around comes around, so to speak.

It’s no secret that I love going to Kansas, and this trip was no different. We were able to spend a lot of time with family. My immediate family–my parents, my brother and his wife and daughter and my wife and daughter–were all together for the first time since my niece, Charlotte, was born. The girls had a blast together and when Lexi woke up on Friday and my brother and company had taken off, the first thing Lexi said was “Charlotte?” It took a few hours to convince her that Charlotte and Uncle Rick and Aunt Limor had gone home. And then to convince her that they had gone to their own house, and not our house.

Continue reading Thankful to be Home

No Place Like Kansas

After a delayed flight, Lexi and I returned from our daddy-daughter weekend in Kansas the other night. She slept most of the flight down and mostly entertained herself on the flight back (to the point that I could sit next to her and read a book without constant interruptions), so my worst fears weren’t realized.

Though sitting in the airport before we left was interesting. She insisted on pushing her stroller around the waiting area. Then a guy wanted to sit down and moved her teddy bear, Pinky. Lexi took interest and noticed the guy’s bag of chips. She asked for one, the guy looked to me to make sure it was OK, and then pointed the bag to Lexi. Sucker.

She ended up eating the rest of the bag (after one melt down when I dragged her away to change her diaper and another near melt down when I was going to insist she eat fruit snacks but the chip guy couldn’t handle the melt down and insisted I let her have the chips. I gave in, mainly wanting to keep Lexi in a happy mood for the flight, but also for the sake of the chip guy who wouldn’t understand that I was trying to teach Lexi that she can’t always have what she wants and that you shouldn’t eat an entire bag of a strangers’ chips. And more importantly, the chip guy wasn’t prepared to put up with her melt down in order to teach her those concepts. That’s my job, which I prefer not to inflict on strangers if I don’t have to.

Continue reading No Place Like Kansas

Off to Raymond, Kansas

Well, I’m off to the see the wizard. Lexi and I are flying to Kansas tonight to spend the Labor Day weekend with my parents and take in the 10th annual Raymond Labor Day Parade. Raymond is a town of less than 100 people and I’m supposedly related to half of them. The parade increases the population exponentially, so it’ll be quite a show.

Plus I designed the T-shirts the town is selling for the weekend, so I’m eager to see how that turns out (I really pushed for them to have T-shirts, it being the 10th annual parade and all, so I really hope they sell out).

The only part of this daddy-daughter weekend I’m not looking forward to is the part where it’s just daddy and daughter on a plane for two hours. That could be all kinds of interesting.

My 2005 in Cities

If Jason Kottke is doing it, why can’t I? Here’s my 2005 in cities (one or more nights spent in each city, cities marked with an * were visited multiple times in non-consecutive days):

St. Paul, Minn.*
Los Angeles*
San Diego
Wilmar, Minn.
Cleveland, Ohio
Mason, Wisc.
Green Bay, Wisc.*
Great Bend, Kans.

Not nearly as exciting as you might think. (Can you tell I’m sitting around with the laptop tonight? Sheesh)

Back in L.A.

I’m still recovering from my trip to L.A., more so in getting back to speed at home than anything else. It was a good trip, a quick but productive meeting and a chance to relax a little bit and hang out with some friends. Though I didn’t have much sightseeing planned, I did get to visit Manhattan Beach before my flight left. It was foggy and a little cold, but it was still the ocean. Somehow seeing something, even if it meant leaving by 6 a.m. to avoid most of the traffic, made the short trip a little more normal.

The other shot is the view from Brad’s office, the guy I work with in L.A. That’s the Foursquare Angelus Temple with the big dome in the foreground and downtown Los Angeles in the background. Nice view, huh? I can see a playground from my window, if I lean back.

Los Angeles/San Diego 2005

Ah, home sweet home. Abby and I returned home from our trip to California just as the sun was rising this morning. We took a red eye flight home, which logistically worked out pretty well, though productivity wise I’m not sure it was any better than flying back today.

We flew out Wednesday night and I had business meetings on Thursday and Friday with Foursquare and Personality. Saturday morning we drove down to San Diego for the weekend and came back late Sunday night to catch our flight.

Los Angeles was sunny and warm, and aside from the business meetings, we had dinner with my cousin and his family, had dinner with the Personality crew (where I met someone who works on the Simpsons–watch for a blog entry about that), and had some good conversations.

Saturday morning we took off for San Diego and spent most of Saturday at Sea World. I don’t know if I was that impressed. I could better appreciate the massive manatees and buluga whale swimming in a semi-natural habitat than I could the orcas and dolphins jumping and doing tricks. I think I’m more of a natural guy that way. My favorite part of Sea World was probably the Pets Rule! show. Seems dumb to be impressed at pet tricks when you can see a 9,000-lbs. whale fly out of the water, but I know Shamu can jump. I didn’t know a cat could be trained to walk a tightrope (or do much of anything for that matter).

After Sea World we headed to the beach where I kicked off my sandals and stuck my toes and eventually ankles into the cold water of the Pacific Ocean, something I was too cool to do as a teenager the only other time I was within sight of the ocean some ten years ago.

On Sunday we went to the San Diego Zoo for the usual assortment of thrilling animals, including elephants, hippos, giraffes (one of which was named Abby!), a rhino and lots of monkeys. Even though the Minnesota and Como Zoos have a lot of the same animals (and I’d say Como has one of the best primate houses), I still love seeing them. There are so many weird and funky animals. Diversity is cool. The saddest thing was seeing a number of animals that are extinct in the wild.

Of course one of the best animals was a capibera, the world’s largest rodent and namesake of our dog, Speak. Speak was named after the Tick’s dog, who wasn’t really a dog, he was a capibera. And of course, the San Diego Zoo had plenty of opportunity to exclaim, Monkey outta nowhere!

Sadly, I don’t have too many pictures yet (perhaps Abby will post more). Our digital camera quickly ran out of space and batteries, and my old school film will take some time to develop. A little more preparation would have served us better, but I’ve yet to fully experience the improvement to vacation photography that is a digital camera. I appreciate it all right (I didn’t even want to bring my film camera), I just haven’t been fully prepared for it. I blame it on the fact that the camera is my wife’s.

That’s the quickie recap, mainly because I wanted to say a few things about the trip, but don’t have the time to go much more in-depth. Besides, I’m hungry and it’s already 7:30.

Cross-country flying lessons:

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs are a great way to pass those 4-hour flights.
  2. Luggage “irregularities” are standard procedure. Northwest misplaced my luggage, forcing me to wear jeans to a business meeting, and they treated the entire thing like business as usual. I’m still waiting for a response to my complaint, though I’m not expecting much. All I really want is an apology, which they didn’t even bother to offer in the first place.

Crosswoods Fall Retreat 2004

This weekend I journeyed to northern Wisconsin for our youth group’s annual intergenerational fall retreat at Camp Crosswoods. We had a better turn out than last year and just as much fun. Despite being incredibly cold most of the weekend (it was in the 40s during the day), my constant vigilance at wearing four layers of clothing kept me from being huddled in a corner. It also helped that I picked the bed next to the heater.

Highlights included the swinging heights of the high ropes course (minus the acorn throwing), the late-night round of ‘Capture the Pookie’ (even though the running left my knee stiff and me hobbling the next day), the outdoors complete with changing leaves, and an enthusiastic crew of teens, leaders and adults.

Oh, and a speeding ticket on the way home. Nothing like breaking the law to set a good example. I had it coming though, trying to pass a winnebago on the downhill in one of the rare passing lanes with a not-so-patient truck behind me. It’s like shooting fish in a barrell. The sad part is that I’ve gone since 1999 without a ticket. This makes three, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage compared with Abby’s zero.

I went to Las Vegas and all I got was this lousy blog entry.

OK, so that’s not exactly true, but it makes for a good title. I did find myself a few monkey-related items for the office, though none of them were Vegas related. I was really hoping for a damn T-shirt from Hoover Dam (something similar to this one in idea, though definitely not execution), but all they had were crappy souvenirs (it took an act of Congress for the Bureau of Reclamation to sell “official” Hoover Dam stuffed ringtail cats). I also saw a souvenir I really wanted in the midst of an Elvis display in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: buttons that said “Elvis is a Jerk” and “I Hate Elvis.” Of course you couldn’t actually buy the buttons.

Here’s the short attention span review of the trip:

Worst part of the trip to Vegas: I didn’t see a single Elvis.
Temperature in Vegas Thursday afternoon: 113 degrees.
Temperature in St. Paul Friday evening: 62 degrees.
Total gambling losses: $4.05 (is that a tax write-off?).
Most underrated Vegas attraction: Howard Finster artwork at the House of Blues.
Best way to the airport: Limo. It cost only $2 more than a taxi.
Best contradiction: “When the Fun Stops: Understanding Problem Gambling” brochure available next to an ATM outside a casino.
Number of times we got lost in a casino: Twice (MGM & Paris).
Number of billboard-size TV screens viewable from my parents’ hotel room: Four.

For those with longer attention spans, continue reading…

Continue reading I went to Las Vegas and all I got was this lousy blog entry.

Thanksgiving in Kansas

Our Thanksgiving with the family in Kansas was good. Nothing like sitting around in flat country with not a lot to do. I did manage to avoid posting while I was there, but I couldn’t completely avoid the computer. I had to checka the e-mail, and couldn’t help but read the news (when the local paper doesn’t even mention Bush’s gutsy Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq, you kind of need to plug in). But that’s about it. It was kind of nice to disconnect from everything for a while.

I even managed to take some pictures in Raymond. For once I managed to get some pretty decent light. A couple of these shots really illustrate the flatness of Kansas. Some places are really as flat as a tabletop, and it’s more bizarre than you’d think.

The old railroad sign below is about all that’s left of what was once a booming stop on the Santa Fe line. There used to be a train depot there, built in 1905, but it was torn down in 1961 for lumber. For some reason the history of Raymond really interests me. I spent summers there as a kid with my grandpa and step-grandma, and it’s where my parents grew up. I think the town amazes me in its near-abandonment. The more history I learn about the town, the more I realize that my dad grew up watching most of the town be disassembled. I wonder what that does to your pscyhe. It’s no wonder my dad and his two siblings left for extreme ends of the country (Michigan, Arizona and California).

Railroad tracks heading southeast out of Raymond, Kansas.

Railroad crossing sign in Raymond, Kansas.

The original railroad sign for Raymond, Kansas.