A Thousand Sunsets…

20170831_193551 R B S fishing

The last week in August, my husband, canine kids and I, spent four glorious days in Door County, Wisconsin. We stayed at a quaint inn with cabins in picturesque Ephraim, Wisconsin.

Marinas and docks dotted the curvy shoreline, and sunsets were spectacular. We set aside 90 minutes each evening to meander to the inn’s private dock, complete with white Adirondack chairs.

Four evenings brought lively conversations with other guests from the inn – a family with a young boy who loved to fish, a baby boomer couple who wiled away hours during the day searching for the perfect winery, a grandma with her children, and their children who gave the dogs repeated hugs, and a doctor and her husband who hailed from flooded Houston, but were afraid to check texts and voice messages for fear they would be homeless when they returned.

Just as the people we met were unique, so were the sunsets – pastel pink clouds, blue violet strands dancing across the glassy bay, ebony silhouettes set against golden-hued horizons – no two alike, painted by God’s hands.

20170828_191948 1st night sunset

And no matter how routine our sunset ritual seemed, I welcomed the hand-holding with my husband, and the dogs’ tags jingling as we stepped lightly across the two-lane road, to settle on the wooden Adirondacks. I never tired of this. It was our time to chill. No schedules. No worries. No expectations. Nature doing what nature does best, in all its splendor.

During the day we visited new coffeehouses, ice crea20170827_192050 cherry crumblem parlors, creameries with homemade gelato, chocolate establishments, gift shops or restaurants or markets selling cherry-themed products – cherry crumble, cherry pie, cherry salsa, cherry jam, cherry granola, cherry juice, and cherry spumante. You name it, we tried it.

We hiked along fairy-forest paths that paralleled aquamarine harbors, sank our feet in sandy beaches sometimes tripping over pebbles, stood atop cliff outcroppings with lofty expectations of jumping in (well, at least my husband), traipsed through sunflower fields, visited art galleries, observed an authentic fish-boil from the porch of our tiny cottage, and frequented dog-friendly cafes and restaurants. A special thanks to Buttercups Coffee in Egg Harbor for loving on the dogs so sweetly.

DSC_2461 cana pt girl jump copyr

I’ve not felt this relaxed since our anniversary trip to Pearl Harbor, and the grandiose waterfalls, beaches, and stunning scenery in Maui, Hawaii.

But of course, travel back to that familiar place is inevitable – home.

Last evening, I listened for the beauty at our abode –

It showed me favor in the crisp fall air with crickets chirping, coyotes wailing, the faint sound of a motorcycle revving its engine in the distance, the monotonous hum of our refrigerator, and the sound of voices from the television on the lower level.

Four cats reposed in harmony – one cleaning and preening velvety fur and precious paws while sniffing night air, another curled up on the sofa, one more playing hide and seek in the tunnel of the kitty city condo, and one waiting at the garage door for Daddy to come home from a long day’s work.

Two goofy canines slumbered on the king size master bed complete with tons of throw pillows. They dreamt of running as they yelped and fidgeted.

It’s nights like these I cherish the ceiling fan pushing cool air downward from the open window as I nestle ‘snug as a bug’ under the covers.

It’s times like these that remind me of the thousand sunsets of my life I’ve been lucky enough to share with loved ones, by quieting my mind, and realizing that beauty is universal.

Stop. Listen. Observe. Feel.

Quiet your mind, and look for the sunsets in your life. What you’ll discover might just be amazing!

Peace out and love,





Intangible Vacation – a poem (for the senses)

Last fall, I attended a Saturday Writer’s workshop by poet Kelli Allen.  Kelli asked each of us to ‘think outside the box’ and also add something to our poetry, that doesn’t quite fit.

Sorry it took so long to post, but this was one of the results from that day.

Folly Beach, SC after a storm

Folly Beach, SC after a storm

I call the poem “Intangible Vacation.”

Faded –

the coal black line

on the horizon.

Subsided –


of a tempestuous storm.

Eyes closed,

the pounding sea


synchronized waves

pushing boldly

towards me.

Eyes open,

a harvest of green and yellow


The dunes roll gently

to the sand.

A runner jogs in time,

as twenty or more

seagulls rest,

basking in the golden sunrise,

reflecting from the wet,  yet powdery, shoreline.

The sky offers

Crème fraiche arms

gracefully outstretched

to envelope the atmosphere.

An Egytian sphinx

Appears in the cornflower blue space

between the clouds.


Now it’s gone.

White birds soar,

Littering the sky

and float

like paper airplanes

above the teal-grey ocean.

I sit quietly,


that my body

and not my mind

took a much-needed


 © Copyright February 2014, Sheree K. Nielsen

When Parents Are Away (in the Bahamas) Animal Children Will Play — Part Three

DSC_2034 umbrellas Nassau copryAs some of you might know, my hubby and I added a new canine child to our family about a month ago.  He’s half Bernese, half Aussie. (see photo)DSC_1697 Bo smaller file

Although we were conflicted about leaving for a travel assignment by AAA in the Bahamas (hard decision), we asked our youth minister Brandon to housesit while we were gone.

Since the arrival of the new dog, our other dog, a mini Aussie has been quite happy and content.  She was quite a gatherer.  We were used to seeing shoes, cat toys, pillows, underwear, among other household items waiting for us after we arrived home from errands.

DSC_1700 Sab and Bo nose to nose smallerThree days into our vacation, we Skyped with our house sitter and he alerted us to the fact one of the dogs must have been frustrated while we were gone.  So much so, they destroyed a bed pillow, and a ‘cuddling’ pillow the three-legged cat likes.  And the TV remote.

dog pillows torn up IMG_4699 dog pillows

I have to admit I laughed so hard, tears flowed freely when he showed us the photos.  I imagine my carefree attitude had something to do with the lovely Caribbean atmosphere of Sandals Resorts.

We called Brandon again on Tuesday, and he told us one of the dogs had destroyed their bed.  It was the big fluffy new ‘pet pad’  we purchased just weeks prior.

Still no worries.

“They’re mad.” I told him.  “Did you walk them twice today?”

Brandon hesitated.  “No.  Just once.”

“Try walking them again this evening.”


We touched base with Brandon on the way home.  He said they were doing much better.  Upon arrival, Brandon showed us the bags of fluff extracted from the dog beds and pillows.

I told him not to worry about.

I took a couple hours mending what I could, repairing what seemed salvageable.

After a day of chores, hubby and I decided to go grab a Culver’s custard.  As we walked in the house and turned the corner to the living room, this is what we saw.

We’d been gone 45 minutes.

DSC_2224I think I’ll go back to Sandals Resorts.

At least there we can get 8 hours sleep and butler service…

Trip Advisor – Top 7%

Received this email today from Trip Advisor.  Made me feel good that my reviews are being read by other vacationers and consumers.  I blocked out my online name.
I use Trip Advisor to search for hotels, airlines, restaurants and attractions before and during vacation.  I’ve always had good luck with the site, and their reviews are pretty spot-on.  I rely on Trip Advisor for good information from other people, just like me.
You’re an extremely popular person around here. Well done!
100 million
reviews and opinions
midwest********, you’re among the top 7% most-read reviewers of all time!
Thank you so much for helping make TripAdvisor what it is today: the world’s largest travel site, now with 100 million reviews and opinions.
Where have you been lately that’s worth the visit?