Getting Away

Sometimes one just has to get away from things for a couple of days or even just a couple of hours. I believe it’s a necessity for everyone to de-stress in a completely different environment from time to time.

Sometimes it’s work, for others it may be bills or family issues. Some may have more serious things going on. At any rate, if at all possible, getting out of your normal environment can do wonders to boost the morale. My daughter and I had a chance to get out into the country for a couple of days and it was so nice to get out of the city, away from the stress. The drive was great. We drove with the windows down and the music blasting. Just relaxing and enjoying the scenery. I love the city, but it does get to be too much at times. Being in the countryside means getting away from the noise and lights.

Without the city lights the stars were so bright. The silence so much more complete without the constant dull roar of traffic and city noise. It was just the sound of crickets and the breeze rustling through the trees. Where I live, there’s alway some lights. Maybe not in my immediate area but definitely from the major roads and businesses close by. Out there in the countryside, it seemed even darker. Maybe  it just seemed that much darker when it was completed with the absence of city noises also.

Did you know that you can actually see spiders at night? Heh, I was told to take a flashlight and shine it across the yard. Mind you, I was standing in the middle of said yard at the time of this “said experiment”…  Anyway, I shone the flashlight across the yard. They were telling me to look for the shining diamond-like dots. I looked and saw all sorts of white things floating in the air. Pollen, dust and such. Okay, fine. so I see them. No biggie.

“No, no… You’re not looking at the right things.” I was told. “Look on the ground. There are glittering white dots all across the ground, not the pollen and such floating in the air.”

Again, I took the flashlight and really focused on the ground. I found them, hundreds of glittering, pin-pricks of white lights. Some were constant while others blinked on and off. “Okay, I see them,” I said. “What are they?”

“Spiders.”

Uh…. what??? Here I am standing in the middle of the yard and you’re telling me these pin-pricks of lights are spiders?? Not cool at all. “Seriously? or are you just trying to creep me out?”

To prove it, they took me over to the closest diamond glittering light and shone the light directly on the ground. Yep, sure enough there was a spider there. Apparently their eyes reflect the light if you shine it right on them. Once I saw exactly what those glittering lights represented, being out in the middle of the field didn’t seem so enticing anymore. I was quite ready to head inside. They thought it was amusing to see my daughter and mine’s reaction to this, that’s fine. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a city girl. Just get me away from these spiders. I was still fascinated by the whole picking them out just by shining a light at them only I prefer to do it from inside or some other safer spot rather than standing right there in the field among them.

The next day we spent some time among the chickens. They were the cutest things. My daughter fell in love with them. There was a rooster and his harem of chickens. I was so amused just watching them in the yard. The rooster really does watch over his ladies. He crows an awful lot though. Seriously, if I had to live with that every single day, I’d be so annoyed with him. I don’t though. So, I can actually enjoy watching him and his constant crowing.

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You can see him here, crowing away…

And if you mess with his ladies, he gets quite upset. It was absolutely hilarious to watch. We were warned that he can be quite aggressive. That if he feels that you are messing around with his harem. Yes, I like to call it his harem because it just feels right to me. Here you have a lone male surrounded by a bunch of females. He protects them and warns them of what he feels may be impending danger. The funniest part was when he decided to chase my daughter. She was warned that he could get aggressive. “Okay fine” was her answer. It didn’t stop her from going out and trying to catch one of the chickens. Well, he had enough of her messing with his ladies and decided to give her a little charge. She skipped away and he stopped. Eh, she thought, no biggie. She didn’t view him as much of a threat. And headed back in among the chickens again. He charged her again. She started trotting away from him. This time he kept coming. We were standing over on the edge of the yard yelling at her to run and run faster. She looked behind her and he was actually gaining on her. I saw her kick her running up a notch. She still didn’t look too worried. But the rooster was determined and was absolutely not stopping. I could see that he was right on her heels and she knew it for she could feel him behind her as she ran. He was just waiting for that right moment when he could lift up with his wings and attack her with his spurs. I think at this moment she really took him seriously and began sprinting.  She was also yelling for help at this point. I have to say I was a horrible mother at that moment because I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so comical to see a creature significantly smaller than an adult sized person actually get so bold and aggressive. The only thing that saved her was the fact that she reached me and we had a dog on a leash with us. That rooster wasn’t going to mess around with a dog. At any rate, she’s got a little more respect for him now.

Here are some of his ladies…

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My favorite… bouffant lady

This one was the matriarch of the chickens. She seemed to be the head female of the bunch

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There were horses also

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Don’t let things overwhelm you. When it gets difficult, try to find a way to get out. Go someplace different. Get into a new frame of mind. Something that will take you away from problems or aggravations to relax. This may seem silly to some but for me being around the chickens kind of took my mind off of everyday issues. Watching them run around the yard and interacting with each other was a way to escape. There were also three chicks and seeing how they had three chickens assigned to take care of each of those three chicks was precious. They would stay on the ground and close to the coop with them rather than up on the perch or out in the yard with the rest of them was just so amazing to watch.

I’m good now, more relaxed and ready to face the week ahead.

 

 

The Suitcase and the Teenage Girl

Want a little chuckle in your day? Tell a teenage girl that she can only take a single, small, carryon size suitcase on a trip. Sit back and watch as she tries to pack. It’s quite amusing.

We had the opportunity to travel to NYC a few weeks ago with a school group and we were told that in order to accommodate such a large group traveling together each and every one of us needed to take nothing larger than an airline carry-on size suitcase in order to try and avoid having to spend time checking and picking up luggage. A collective moan went up around the classroom when the announcement was made. We were going to be up there for a total of four days, of course that size would be just fine. The older women, men and guys in the group had no problems with that restriction. BUT the teenage girls, that statement hit them hard. Along with the size of the luggage was the fact everyone also had to abide with the airline requirement of 3 oz. containers of liquids all contained in a small plastic bag. One could see their brains clicking along thinking of all the things that they just absolutely need and how they could possibly survive for four whole days without some of these things.

I’ve tried to get my daughter to pack light before without much success. She would always overpack and we would end up in a skirmish over how she just couldn’t possibly do without all of these items. And since these were supposed to be vacation moments for me, times to get away from the stress of work, life, bills and such… I would give in and let her take a bigger size. Stressing and arguing over the size of a suitcase just didn’t seem worth it if I wanted to enjoy my brief vacation times. Well, this time the command down to everyone so she couldn’t wheedle and plead her way out of that one. I figured I’d sit back and enjoy the show.

First of all, we were going to New York City, a place where style is first and foremost. Additionally, it was quite cold the weekend that we were there (it was in the 30’s) and we are Floridians. At home, the weather was already in the 70’s and 80’s at this point. Also, it’s kind of hard to imagine cold when our winters only drop down to the 50’s for the most part. My daughter kept trying to pick out stylish clothes that she would wear in warmer weather. I had to keep reining her in to remind her that she needed to focus on warmer clothes, on layering and staying warm. Of course selecting bulkier, warmer clothes tend to take up more space in an already small suitcase leaving very little room for additional clothes. Then she needed to be sure there was room for shoes, toiletries, and certain essentials. It took a while, days actually, she packed, repacked, dumped everything out, and packed yet again. Her room looked like a tornado whipped through it. Every drawer was agape, clothes draped and strewn about. Vials of shampoos, conditioners and makeup littered the dresser counter spaces. Her room literally had a little path leading from the door to the bed where she was packing. My suitcase on the other hand had already been packed and ready to go a week earlier, so I was able to sit back and watch. I think every mother enjoyed watching their daughters struggle with this knowing how many times we’ve tried to convince them that they only needed the bare necessities for a certain event only to be met with extreme resistance.

She did it though. She learned a few tricks along the way such as rolling things vs. folding and tucking items into others. She learned how to maximize the use of every possible space in that small, rectangular box. We even ended up coming home with a few unworn pieces AND was even able to pack in souvenirs that we picked up along the way.

Now that she’s accomplished this, there’s no way I’m allowing her to take a bigger suitcase than the one she used to NYC on a beach vacation. Who knows – I just may limit her to a backpack. That’s not an unreasonable request, I mean, we’re talking about the beach here. All one needs is a bikini, shorts, tank tops, flip-flops and some sunscreen. Should be interesting to see how that one turns out.

NEW YORK CITY!!!

NYC wasn’t necessarily one of the places that I had on my list of places to visit. I think I’d always been somewhat intimidated by New York. Everything I ever read or seen about that city was, quite frankly, overwhelming. I’m more of a beach or nature girl. I usually like things on a slower pace, BUT – big but – I had the opportunity to visit NYC and it turned out to be amazing. If I had visited NYC in my teens or twenties, I could very easily have wanted to move there even for a short while. There’s an incredible energy to the city. It’s fast paced, exciting and never a dull moment.

I went as part of a group (a LARGE group), we were there for four days and the guides took us all over the city in that short period of time. We were able to visit all five boroughs, two broadway shows, one opera and all the key NYC places that most of us hear about on television or movies. It was exciting but also quite exhausting. You see, I was a chaperone and as many of us know – being a chaperone is work. So the trip, while exciting and awesome, was also extremely stressful and tiring. We were the first ones up and the last ones asleep plus the fact that we also had night shifts where we needed to get up for hallway patrol. Smart but probably not necessary since every single day was packed with activity from early in the morning to very late at night so everyone was exhausted by the end of the day. Still… always good to make sure.

Anyway – day one. by the time we went to sleep that first day, many of us had literally been awake for some 23 to 24 hours straight. Exhausting but with the energy NYC has, I didn’t really feel it until I hit the pillows that night. We flew out about 4 am and arrived in NYC three hours later and walked out into frigid 30 degree weather. Remember – we’re Floridians. The weather in Florida for us was already in the 70’s and 80’s. 30 degrees felt quite cold to us, me in particular as I don’t take too well to cold weather. My daughter on the other hand, loved the cold. She thrives on it. We were breathing out “smoke” for most of the time we were there! In Florida, we might wake up on a cold morning where we can see our breath but that never lasts for the whole day, even on our coldest winter days.

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Me – leaving Florida and the view from the plane window as the sun started to come up.

Straight off the plane we headed out to begin our NYC tour.

One of the first places we went to was the Rockefeller center where we were able to see the NYC skyline. I have to say, I fell in love with the whole excitement that is uniquely NYC. There were so many people and they were all moving with a purpose. Being from a southern state, we take things at a much slower pace. Not that we’re lazy, but we do have our moments when we just stroll, whereas everyone I saw in New York seemed to be moving with a definite purpose. Everyone seemed to have a place to get to and in a hurry too.

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One sees this in pictures and movies all the time but it’s just totally awesome when you see it in person for the first time.

New York is an assault on the senses. There’s just no other way to say this. The city literally attacks all your senses. Sight – one just cannot stop looking at everything. There is just too much to see, buildings, people, cars…etc. Smell – there are vendors at every corner, it seems, selling food of all kinds. One also notices the exhaust from all the cars and buses and there are oh so many of them, all fighting for their space on the roads. Taste – so many places to get food. Touch – especially in the theaters, every theatre we saw had velvet covering their seats and walls. All for the sold purpose of acoustics. One can’t resist reaching out and running hands over all the luxurious materials. Sounds – there’s no end to sound, cabs zipping by, buses honking for the cars to get out of the way, people muttering under their breath when they’re trying to get around a large tour group taking up sidewalk space, music coming from street performers… there’s no end to sound in this city.

We ate at Ellen’s Stardust Diner that evening. What a place! I wouldn’t necessarily go for the food but the entertainment was so much fun. The servers are all ambitious, aspiring performers and this diner allows them an opportunity to perform for the patrons. Since the group I was touring with was involved with chorus – they were thrilled to hear many of their favorites being sung and often sang along.

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We ended the day with a performance at the Nederlander Theatre of “Newsies”. These guys put on an awesome performance. There was so much energy and passion going into this show from these actors. Despite how long we had been up that day, we were all enthralled by the performance and easily stayed awake for the whole show.

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It was an absolutely amazing first day in NYC. One that simply will not be forgotten. I’d go back in a heartbeat, but it will have to be on my own time where I’ll be able to really explore every aspect of the city without the responsibility of being a chaperone and the rush of being part of a large group.

Stay tuned for more… and feel free to share your experiences with NYC.

Life is Beautiful…

I’m around some people who don’t see beauty around them. It makes me sad when I hear them talk about suicide or being depressed. I’m not bipolar but I have had very close experiences with people who are and it’s really tough to see them go through these extreme lows.

Please, if anyone out there is interested. It’s such a precious place we live in. There’s so much beauty surrounding us. It may not be right next door but it’s definitely on our planet. Use your imagination…dream… let your mind go places that you may not be able to go physically at this moment.

I believe in the power of positive thinking. I think that when you feel that things are possible. They really can be. There’s no limitations except what you place on yourself.

I, myself, plan on traveling. I just have to wait a couple of years for my daughter to graduate school. Then I can just pick up and go. Possessions are nothing. Life, love and experiences are everything.

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A perfect rose…

 

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Skiing at midnight…

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Kayaking through the mangroves…

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A beautiful Autumn sky…

I don’t even have money to travel but yet, I can have these experiences. So if I can convince anyone that life is beautiful around the corner….I’ll be happy.

 

 

Dream Life

A lot of people have dream homes for when they retire. I have a dream life. I don’t want to be tied down nice and neat to a little apartment or house. I want the freedom to roam, most specifically across Europe. To visit places that have so much history and beauty. Hell, I want to go all over the world, but let’s be realistic here. It takes money and time to do that and I most definitely won’t have much of that, especially the former. So, for right now, I’ll start my dream off with a tour through Europe. When I’m done with that then I can move on to other continents.

I would sell off most of my crap. It’s all it is…crap that weighs people down. Probably keep a couple of properties as rentals so I’ll have some income to finance my travels. Fly out and start off in Spain, maybe along the Andalusian coast. Get a car and travel along the coast. Then move into the interior and visit some of the cities and small towns. Soak up the history of Spain and visit some of the beautiful cathedrals.

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I could see myself staying in a place like this while exploring.

Then I’d move on to France, perhaps. See the Eiffel Tower. So cliche really, but one simply cannot go to France and not at least see the Eiffel Tower. So I just have to see it, travel down along the Seine River and see all the sights. Then take off into the countryside. I would minimize my time spent in really touristy spots and try to soak up as much of the real France as I can. Spend time sipping wine at the sidewalk cafes while writing my book.

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Italy – I refuse to go to Europe without stopping in Italy. It’s always been one of my bucket list of places to visit. If I can’t make it to any other place in the world. I, at least, want to go to Italy. Not that it’s necessarily better than any of the other places, but that it’s simply been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to visit. The Amalfi Coastline is one that I don’t want to miss. The countryside and of course Venice. A trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a gondola ride through Venice.

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Now, Lake Como looks like a place that I could easily fall in love with and never leave.

Then I’d have to jump over to Greece. One of my favorite movies is “Mamma Mia” which was filmed in Greece. I have absolutely loved that movie with its scenic backdrop of the gorgeous blue waters. Since seeing it, I had to add it to my long list of places to visit.

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Could I stay here indefinitely, oh yes.

I found these pictures from the internet – Perhaps one day I will be blogging about my travels and adding my own photos.

For those of you who are already out there living that dream type of a life, you guys have it made. Enjoy every second of your life. I raise my glass of Moscato to you.

Sanibel Island – Day 5

Well the day I had been avoiding is finally here. The day we have to leave for home. While it’s always good to go back home, I’m going to miss this place.

We woke up early this morning to beautiful sunny skies. Went down to the beach for one more long walk and, of course, to find a few more treasures that the ocean washed up overnight. We stayed out there as long as we possibly could before absolutely having to get everything out of the room by check out time.

Once we checked out, we drove by the lighthouse hoping to explore a bit there before officially leaving the island but today was July 4th and everyone was off work and at the public beaches. It was impossible to find a parking place in order to walk over to the lighthouse. We agreed that we would visit it on our next trip down.

Other than that, there’s really nothing much to say except we finally ran out of excuses not to leave. We will be back though. It’s too beautiful and peaceful a place to ignore for long.

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Good bye Sanibel – thank you for taking away my stress.

Being Yourself

Does anyone really understand how important it is to retain your own identity and to remain true to yourself? I do now and I think a lot of people realize it as they get older. Hence the high divorce rates, depression, etc…

The truly lucky ones (or perhaps they’re just wise beyond their years) hold on to their essence and seek out people that share the same feelings and desires.

A fellow blogger read my posts on Sanibel Island and she sent me a link, offering to share your own traveling experiences, to her own site. As I read it, I thought how so very fortunate this couple is to have found each other. They both appear to have the same desires and goals for life and have set out to accomplish it.

My mistake started at 16 years old. I met an older man, one who had a lot of emotional problems. Bi-polar, anxiety attacks, depression, among many other issues. I felt bad for him and wanted to help him move forward. I understand that people have issues that are hard to work through and I want to help them, but in my case I allowed him to change who I was so that life was bearable for him. I wasn’t a trained therapist, I hadn’t even finished high school so how the heck did I really think I was going to help anyone with such complicated issues?

My dreams were to travel. I would have loved nothing more than to have a trusted, loving partner that was willing to pick everything up and just go. Fly somewhere and get lost. Hike, drive, canoe… whatever. Just go and explore the world. I never thought I would settle down in one place at such an early age and wait for  – well what?? retirement? For my parents to need my help? That was years away and yet, it was his excuse. We couldn’t move anywhere because my parents were getting older and I needed to stay and take care of them. Okay, I had every intention of taking care of them, but what about now? Why is it that we have to stay here and wait on that time? I wanted to move. I wanted to go and explore with the free time we had then. We wouldn’t even become parents for another 19 years.

Bottom line was he had experienced so much upheaval in his life coupled with all the emotional issues that he wanted to put down roots and establish a secure, safe place for himself. I had been safe and secure my whole life and was ready to go and seek out adventure. A person who is insecure and scared is going to push the hardest to get his way, so I ended up trying to change myself to fit his life.

He didn’t like the way I dressed. Thought I needed to be more conservative. Okay… I did that.

He didn’t like me having friends. Said friends tend to break up relationships. Fine, eventually friendships drifted away.

Anytime I wanted to try something new, go back to school and further myself in terms of making money and career, he was threatened. Felt that he would lose me if I did so and did everything to discourage it. For love, I settled.

The problem was when one tries to change so much of themselves to fit another person – that change rarely sticks. I didn’t change because I felt I needed to. I changed for him and as the years went by, I slowly but surely slipped back to who I really was. I enjoyed people. I’m a very curious person and will choose to go down that desolate, curvy road just to see where it takes me while he would rather stay on the main road where he could see everything around him. Of course fights started coming more frequently because he felt threatened by me seeking things that he didn’t want anything to do with. I felt more and more suffocated being around him. When we were together, I really had nothing to say to him. He demanded constant togetherness to the point where there was no doing something then coming home and sharing fun stories. I felt as if I were dying inside. My thoughts were that I felt suffocated and trapped with him. We were married for 23 years before I finally broke loose.

This isn’t about a bad marriage or divorce. This is to say just how important it is to know yourself and what you want out of life. And when you know this, seek out people who share those same thoughts and feelings. Don’t settle or change for anyone. It might work out in the short run but rarely for the long run.

Here’s the link to the blog that was sent to me if anyone would like to read it. This couple reminds me of who I would have liked to have been. I may still travel, but I’ll have to wait till my teenager moves on with her life and even then, I still have my mother to worry about so – it may be a while before I can experience that total freedom that I should have grabbed onto those so many years ago.

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To atruetalltale – Go for it and enjoy every moment.