Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jambo from Ngorongoro!!!!

Jambo Everyone!!!

Today was a busy day with a visit to a local shop (so dangerous! LOL)  Then off to a local Farm for lunch and a tour of the farm.  There was a beautiful view that was so very relaxing.... I could have stayed there for hours!  Then off to a little village home where we learned how the women carry water back to the homes from the local water hole... how they make wedding clothes and how they lived in the past and now. Very interesting stuff.

When we left that area it was of to the Ngorongoro Crater.  Wow, what a breathtaking view!!!  It was amazing and knowing we are going down in the crater tomorrow on a game drive (including lunch) will be even better!  Animals are everywhere down there!  One of my car buddies, Jay, spotted Elephants already from up on the Crater Rim!!!  This is going to be an awesome day of viewing!!!  

The lodge we are at is in a Cave Theme and is so perfect for the scenes surrounding us.  Our room (Kelsey is my roommate for the trip, if I hadn't mentioned that) is on the lower level, over looking the crater.  We are told that animals like Elephants wander around the grounds regularly and may drop by our patio at any time!  At night they advise you stay within the covered pathways and don't leave your patio doors open.  We plan to leave the curtain open though, as the view is spectacular and we agree we wouldn't mind waking to an Elephant or other animal "in our front yard" so to speak!

Tomorrow we will leave for a game drive at 8:30, you will be sleeping as it's 12:30 your time, and go down into the Crater for the day.  We are having a picnic lunch in the crater so we can make the most of the drive and hopefully see many animals! The view from above is awesome, but I want the more up close and personal down in the crater!!!  My lenses are good, but not good enough to get the details I want from my animal shot when above.  

There is so much more I want to share but it's after 11pm here, so I need sleep!  I will try to post this tomorrow, and add more by tomorrow night.  Until then Asante Sana (thanks much) and have a wonderful day! 

Love and miss you all!  Having a heavenly time!!!!

(PS) No Ampulski, You can not have a laptop, I-Phone, I-pad, or a Silverado!!!  :-D 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lake Manyara

Jambo!!!  (Welcome in Swahli)

I've had spotty internet since I got here, but have finally gotten in!  Yesterday was the first Game Drive and we saw some beautiful animals!  Baboons, Blue Monkeys, a glimpse of Elephant, but mostly Elephant Butt!!! The kewlest part is that we got the most illusive of the Big Five, the only one I didn't get on the first trip... The Leopard!!!  Davis, our awsome driver, spotted him and got us in a location to the the shot!!!  We love our group.  Along with Davis, we have Robert Marks Moshi (our main guide), Chris Panek (CZS) and Bill Ziegler (also CZS) who rotate in the 3 cars acting as guides.  My fellow tripmates in the car are Marge, Marilyn and Jay!  Robert says we are the "Fun" car!!!  We think so and sure are having a great time!!!

Davis's Leopard!!!

As I've been having trouble getting on, I'm going to keep this short today and try to post more pics from Ngorongoro, where we will be for 2 nights.

Having a fabulous time! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Leg of Trip

Today was a hectic day... got up at 5 with a whole 3 hrs sleep.  I just wanted to be sure I was ready.  Took Amanda to the bus and hugged the stuffing out of her!  It feels so nice when she says she will miss me and that she wish's I wasn't leaving.  I miss the little stinker already!!! 

From there Steve & I got the balance of the stuff together, which included a big duffel bag full of books to donate upon arival in Tanzania.  Amanda donated a majority of them along with her friends Dylan, Jianna and Marie (The Bus Stop Group) and Mrs Blodsoe (one of her fav teachers).  I had to have help getting the big old bag to the hotel tonight and back in the morning.

So tonight I'm in Washington, 6am wakeup and off to the airport again and headed to Ethiopia.  It's a 12.5 hr flight, 3 hr layover and they a 3 hour hop to Tanzania.  The long leg is on a Dream Liner so we'll see how that flight goes.  Todays was ok, a bit turbulant, but ok.  It did leave about 45 minutes late due to problems with the luggage systems and the need to have all baggage hand scanned/dog inspecteed.  Made for a long, long wait at O'Hare.  I'll let you know some time tomorrow how the rest went.

I am really glad I'm going back to Africa!!!  Yet I miss Steve and Amanda and everyone else already.  It feels wierd not tucking in Amanda!  And I'm not sure how I'll sleep without my Ony cuddled up against me.  Onyx is so my little luv!  I'm so pathetic!!!

Everyone in the group is great!  I met the first few people in line at the airport attempting to check in, Art and Fran.  It was great getting to chat with them at least while we waited.  Then were seated with Kelsey and her parents, Cindy & Bill.  Then when we all got to the hotel we headed to Longhorn Steakhouse for a dinner on the CZS!  Great food!  I think we will have a great time and I really hope I get some great shots!!!  I got 4 of the Big Five last trip so all I need is my Leopard this time!!! But I'd love to get all Five again!!!!  Yeah, I know, I'm being greedy! 

Well, guess I'll try to get some sleep.  If I can't I guess I see if the gym is open all night and go work out,  then I'll be tired enough to sleep a good part of the flight. 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

1.5 days to go!!! OMG... loosing it!!!

It's 11:30 and I'm still up doing laundry, sorting things... oh and then there's the fact that I figured out today that I can't fit the lenses I rented in my camera backpack!!! Ughhh,.. trip to Calumet tomorrow morning.... knew I'd forget something, lets hope that is the one and only thing!!!!

I know I need to go to bed, but I have so much on my mind. I'm so excited to go back to Africa, but also so hate to leave my family!!!!  I had nothing to really miss last time... I may have been married, but my X, was barely a roommate.  Now I have an actual Husband, Steve is so there for me!!! He's my partner, my bestest friend and my Love and Lover!!!!  And Amanda wants to see me off, watch my plane take off, but she'll be in school.  I love her as if she were my own.  I'm so blessed to have then in my life!!!  And I've never had more awesome people in my life.., I have my 2 best friends, Jamie and Anna.  How lucky can I be!!! I'm afraid they will some day figure out that they are half of the same whole and that will be the end of me. LOL  And of course, there's my Grindal Family!!!! I could never be prouder of them all!!!  They have my love as my family as well.  My dad made the company that way, as an addition to his family!  That's the thing that makes Grindal Special!!! The love that goes into it and comes back out.  Awesome!!!

I'm also so blessed by my Aunt and Uncle.  They have so been there for me through so much in my life... and since Mom died, even more so, and with Dad gone now a bit over a year, well, they are my family, advisors and just plane there for me.  

Over the last years of his life, Dad and I finally got close as I'd wished all my life!  I use to run to the end of the block each night to meet him when he came home from work... just have those few minutes of just us time. I loved my mother and father so very much!!!  Mom would have loved my going to Africa the first time and would have gone absolutely nuts about the 2nd trip,,, probably not have let me wait 3 years to go back!  So know, through Aunt Adele and Uncle Ron, I will share my trip.  

And all of my extended family and friends!

Like I said, I'm just a Damn Lucky Woman!!!

Ok, enough babbling... Time to change laundry one last time and go and try to get some sleep.  I need to get up in the morning and walk my girl to the bus, tomorrow and tuesday and then I have to trust Daddy to do it for me.  I so love that she asks me to do it normally, not Daddy, but me.  It touches my heart!!! 

Good night all!  
Check back regularly!!!
Love you!

I Dream of Africa! Of Sunsets on the Mara!!! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Almost there....

I can't believe I'm leaving for Africa in 8 days!!!  I loved my trip there with Carrie back in 2010!!! We were in Kenya then and it was Amazing, Wonderful, Moving!!!  I just know this trip to Tanzania will be equal, if not better!

I'm excited of course, yet also nervous.  I'm so going to miss Steve, Amanda and our family of critters (Shilo, Onyx, Amber and Jasper).  Steve is my one true partner in life!!!  I'm lucky he never really stopped loving me and is now by my side for the rest of our lives!  Then there's Amanda, my "Bonus-Daughter".  I'll miss tucking her in at night and just spending that time just us girls.  Ok, and I know I'll sleep like crap without my Ony cuddled on me at night!!!  LOL, yes, I am that pathetic!!!

I'm not worried about work, they know what they are doing, are damn good at their jobs!  Also I will be fully reachable by them.  So that helps a lot!  I really am proud of the company my father built!  It's amazing!!!  

So this weekend I got the rest of my clothes together and got a better rolling duffle suitcase.  My Lens I sent for repair will be back the afternoon of the 21st... of course my plane leaves at 1!  So I'm going downtown on Wednesday to a place that I'm renting 2 lens's from.  I didn't really want the extra expense, but it will be worth it to have the flexibility they give me along with my 2 camera bodies.  Flip flopping lenses all the time rather was a pain last trip!!!

Today I picked up a bunch of children's books for the Book Program we are participating in as well.  I wanted to find the best price so I could get the most books for the money.  That and keeping in mind they needed to be light weight as I'm the one lugging them through the airports and such!!!  That is one of the first things we will be doing though, so that helps!  Then it leaves room in the suite case for all the gifts I need to get for people!!! It's so hard to pick stuff because there are so many unique, beautiful things!!!

I've been thinking about love a lot lately.  I'm a very lucky woman to have Steve's Love!  I was listening to someone tell me how her boyfriend was her soul mate, even though they fight, her kids don't really like him, her whole family doesn't, most of her friends don't like him either.... She cries a lot, and is alone a lot because he doesn't want to be around her family either and is rather un-sociable.  To me, that's not love, it's like an addiction, not healthy, but you can't stop... the habit is too long ingrained.  I don't know if it makes him my Soul Mate or what, but I'm so blessed to have so very much more with Steve in our 2nd incarnation of our marriage.  He truly is my partner, friend, love and lover!  He's there for me through everything!  I can't imaging a day without him in it!  He listens to the things on my mind, and even when he might not agree, he's still there for me.  Although we work together, we are not together all day, so our evenings are together.  We do things with Amanda and around the house as a family!  This family of mine is such a wonderful blessing!!!  I hope Amanda sees the right of that and someday finds the same for herself!!!  

Ok, enough for today... unless I stress out and need to vent.  LOL

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Month And Counting!!!

May 21st I head to Africa!!! I'm so excited to be going back.  I'm also nervous too!  This time I'm leaving my husband and bonus-kid behind.  I really will miss them so very much!  Every night I tuck Amanda in and in the morning after the usual crabbiness, go to the bus stop with her.  And Steve, well, we are together at work and at home.  I couldn't do it like mom and dad, constantly in the same office, at least I'm office and he's shop... just see each other when he comes in for coffee, lunch, etc. or when I go out in the shop in general.  And this time it's Grindal too!  I'm owner now, not just manager.  It does make a difference.  I trust the our Grindal Family completely!!!  But I do like to be available, be informed on what is going on, and of course, to make decisions.  I will be via e-mail and regular calls to the team.  Steve, I'll talk to daily (not sure of the time yet, have to re-figure the difference.

For the trip... we will be frying from here to Washington, and from there to Tanzania.  I have all my paperwork, but I need to get my Malaria pills.  I will be calling the Dr. tomorrow, get a physical and then the pill prescription.   All my shots are up to date for another 4 years or so.  Then there's the packing list.  I'm limited to 33 lbs for the last let of the trip.  Ughhh... camera's alone will but me tight.  I have to get some clothes since I have little summer / safari appropriate clothes that currently fit!  The best part, they are all way too big!!!  Heheheheee!!!

I also have to plan how I'll keep my exercise up while I'm there.  I can see myself now doing crunches daily and planks.  I'm rooming with Kelsy Z., and she's 20 something... she'll probably think I'm crazy!  Well, ok, she'd be right!  So, we'll see.

I'm planning on blogging nightly and I'll upload some select pics.  Then when I get home I'll do a detailed blog giving you all a feeling of what it is like in Africa!  I won't be using my standard e-mail while I'm there to limit the amount of crap I have to go through.  So if you need to reach me you'll have to contact the shop and they will send me a note. 

So... that's where I'm at tonight. 

Night all!
Luv ya!