travel

A September to Remember, A September to Forget

Vacation!

Destination:  Utah

Nothing crazy.  Visit family.  Hiking.  A little sight-seeing.  A lot of relaxing…

I’d waited all summer.

We were about 20 minutes into the flight to Atlanta when the pilot announced that a sensor on our plane had activated and we’d have to return to the airport.  Mind you, we had to fly around for another 20 minutes or so to burn up some fuel as our plane was too heavy to land.  (Side note:   Our pilot made sure to fly over areas that were very rural.  I’m assuming that was done to minimize potential ground casualties if something would have gone wrong.)  Long story short – a missed flight and luggage delay, we made it to Utah.

Before going to Utah, I’d researched some places that I wanted to hike in Cache Valley.  The Wind Caves were at the top of my list.   One of my sons offered to carry me on a short evening hike in Dry Canyon – kind of a warm up if you will.  All I can say is when you’re live at sea level, the air in the mountains gets really, really thin.  At about 6500 feet above see level, I thought my lungs were going to collapse.  Suffocation seemed like a possibility.  I seriously drank water hoping my body could pull some oxygen from it.  Not sure how mountain folks manage to breathe “nothing” and survive.   I’m convinced they have something evolutionary happening in their bodies in real-time.

View from Dry Canyon:

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Dry Canyon, Cache Valley, Logan Utah

Rode the train out of Heber City.  Saw some sights:

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Discovered Tiger Blood flavored slushies – which is kinda like what would happen if a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada  had a baby – alcohol free of course.

And got hooked on Stranger Things – seriously hooked.

Back to North Carolina – where the air is so heavy with humidity, it feels as though you’re being hugged.  It was the best welcome home ever – the weight of the air – breathing never felt so good!

All in all – my vacation was pretty close to perfect – marked some things off my bucket list, hung out with my family and relaxed.

Hurricane Florence:

I was back at work on Monday the 10th.  On the 12th, I was evacuating for Florence.  My husband and son stayed behind to work the storm (LEOs) and for the first time, I packed my things and left them – not knowing what I’d be coming back to.

Evacuation became a semi-vacation to the mountains of North Carolina.

 

Bat Cave, North Carolina

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We (my mom and me) stayed in Bat Cave until Hurricane Florence decided that she wanted to visit the same area.  Potential mudslides had us heading to Mt. Airy.

I got home without a problem – before all the serious flooding set in.  My home was fine.  It was like God placed His hand over it – not a shingle missing.  I’m blessed.  I have friends who weren’t so fortunate.

Back to Work:  Receptionist at a busy insurance agency

Work has been stressful to say the least – long days, weekends, and the calls don’t stop.  Finished week 3 post Florence – and my brain is mush.  A visit to the chiropractor and to the massage therapist and the horrible headaches have eased.  Life is better when you’re head isn’t exploding.  For that I’m grateful.   And – strange as it may seem -I’m  grateful for Stranger Things.  That little bit of time away from all the worries and stress, where I just get sucked into the story, that’s what is keeping me sane.

During all this – my debit card was declined… At Taco Bell no less.   Why?  Because some jerk stole my card number.  Not sure where, when or how they did it but they were shopping on my dime.  (Thank goodness my credit union froze it because of suspicious activity.)   And Taco Bell – the cashier insisted I take the drink and breakfast quesadilla – because she’d been there and knew how it felt to have her account information/money stolen.   On the bright side – I got my money back.  More importantly, I was reminded that even though some people choose to be #@%%$, there are people who are just genuinely nice – like the cashier at Taco Bell.

Apologies for the long and rambling post but carrying all this inside me – it was – well, I needed to let it out and let it go.

Here’s wishing you a great October.

-Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been a while…

And I don’t know where the time went.

It started with me needing a little break from social media.  I thought a week or two might give me a reprieve.  But those couple of weeks turned into a couple of months and then some.  I never imagined my little break would last quite so long.

In that time, I traveled to New York City – tried some street food (not too shabby), visited Chinatown and made my way around on the subway.  A nice visit but not in any hurry to go back. (Mark one off the bucket list.)

arches-national-park-1I also made a trip to Utah – visited Arches National Park (Wow!) and realized that Utah may be the most random place I’ve ever been.  As we drove down an interstate – in the middle of nowhere – we watched someone parachute onto a field along side of the highway.  And the terrain – seriously, it was like driving into an old movie.  I half expected to see cowboys and wagon trains.

Then there’s school.  I started taking some night classes at the community college. Nothing crazy – just some photography and Photoshop classes.  It’s been challenging. As Albert Einstein said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

I took a hiatus from writing.  It’s been months since I’ve done more than jot down a potential scene or two.  Instead of being an escape, writing became work – and that sapped all the joy from the process.

I’ve got two grandsons now – Bodie (Bo) and Jaxon (Jax).   It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was sitting in my high school English class discussing the Canterbury Tales. It’s crazy how time flies.

Maybe it’s the age thing – knowing that 50 is only a couple months away – but time is becoming a much more precious commodity.  Spending that time in the real world has held much more appeal than hanging out in the twitter-sphere.

So – that’s an abridged version of what’s been going on in my life.  It’s been busy but good.

I’ve missed reading your posts and I’ll try to stop by a little more frequently.

Y’all take care.

 

 

NYC – Here I Come

sightseeing

Image from Microsoft Word Clipart 

It’s official!  I’m headed to New York City!

For a visit anyway…

Having never been to NYC, I’m reaching out to those of you who have.  I’ll admit it, I’m a little excited.  My trip is in November but I want to have a game plan for conquering the city in one day.  Yep.  I’ve got 12 hours to experience the Big Apple.

There are things I have to do – like buying a hotdog from a street vendor.  And seeing  as how I’ll be there the weekend before Thanksgiving, I’m assuming I can find roasted chestnuts…  Not that I’ve ever had them but with it being the Holiday season,  it seems like the seasonal thing to do.

And then there’s sightseeing…  So much to see, so little time…

If you’ve visited/lived in the city, what is your favorite “go to spot”?  Where do you find the best hotdogs, pizza and chestnuts?  What event/attraction do you suggest top my list of things to do?

Wishing you a most wonderful day!

-Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caviar Living on Fish Stick Money – Book Tour

fish sticks

Non Fiction
Date Published: April 29, 2015

“Life must be a mixture of frugality and luxury.” — Marilyn Whelan

 Caviar Living is a hand guide of home-spun lessons from a life well lived. Marilyn Whelan shares her wisdom from how to connect with your community to how to play your mortgage like a game.

With short snappy chapters Whelan gives us tips and tidbits on:

Fun ways to teach your kids and grandkids about money

How to keep a clutter-free house – and why!

Creative ways to get a tax break

How to stretch a dollar on everything from real estate to creative vacations

 Part budget guide, part spiritual manual, and a whole lotta charm, Caviar Living is a lifetime of lessons wrapped up in this 98-pages of fun.

Meet the Author:

photo1Marilyn Whelan has worked as a reporter, a district supervisor in a first time youthful offenders program, and President of Shoppers Critique International.  Her want is to die with something remaining on her bucket list, because when something is crossed off, something else is added.

Marilyn currently lives in Clearwater, Florida, where she is Granny to seven, and Great Granny to three. She loves to travel and plays Mah Jongg twice a week.

Excerpt

“The world is a book,

and those who do not travel

read only a page.”

– Saint Augustine

Travel

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Travel is and always will be my passion. My

vacations are planned around volunteering,

family, adventure, learning and fun. As long as

I can be warm, I am willing to go anywhere at

any time. I have had the good luck to experience

many different types of getaways.

Volunteer Travel

Because my husband was retired military,

this allowed us to travel on military cargo

planes. We often would sign up for five destinations

and take the first one offered. Our main

objective was to cross the ocean. We traveled

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often to Spain, Italy, Germany and England and

branched out from there.

We served a tour of duty in the United States

Peace Corps. We served in the Philippines, and

I still keep up with good friends we made there.

Many people do not realize Peace Corps volunteers

are drawn mostly from two groups: people

fresh out of college and retirees.

There are many wonderful opportunities for

volunteer-oriented vacations. Perhaps you’d like

to try an archeological dig, or pulling weeds on

a mountain trail, or counting turtles on a distant

island.

One of my favorite adventures was a month

I spent volunteering for the National Park Service

at Andersonville, GA. Andersonville was

the site of the largest prisoner of war camp in

the South for Union soldiers during the Civil

War. It is now a national park that includes a

museum devoted to POWs from all of America’s

wars. I was a greeter in the museum, helping

visitors look up their ancestors, and I sometimes

helped in the gift shop. My two days off

per week were spent touring the area. While

I was there, I stayed in a small cottage in the

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cemetery. I was the only one on the grounds

at night. It gave me lots of time to reflect, and I

took several projects with me to work on. There

was no television reception in the area, nor did

I have Internet access.

My second-favorite volunteer location was

with Pueblo Ingles. This is a for-profit agency

that helps Spanish executives perfect their English.

For the Spaniards, it is a very expensive

program paid for by their employers. The program

does not accept participants who speak

only Spanish, because the goal is for them to

totally immerse themselves in English. Once

you are accepted into the program as a volunteer,

you work with program personnel to select

a date. If you’re coming with friends, they

work with you to offer a week to your party as

a group.

We paid only for airfare. We were met in

Madrid the evening before departure for the resort

and taken to a banquet and flamenco show

with our fellow Anglos. Anglos come from all

English-speaking countries, such as the U.S.,

England, Ireland, Wales and South Africa.

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The next day we were taken by bus about 2

1/2 hours from Madrid into the mountains near

the Portugal border. The resort was beautiful.

Each of us was assigned with a Spaniard to a

casita with a bedroom and bath for the Spaniard

upstairs and a bedroom and bath downstairs

for the volunteer. We shared a small living

room and kitchen area. A chef prepared three

meals a day, with wine accompanying lunch

and dinner. It truly was an unforgettable week

for a lifetime of memories. You can learn about

this program at http://www.diverbo.com/en/jobs.

Vacations are for fun, excitement and trying

something new. Consider participating on

a cattle drive. Dryhead Ranch in Montana is

a working cattle and guest ranch. One of the

most popular activities there is driving the cattle

50 miles on Bad Pass Trail. This is a three-hour

drive that gives you to chance to get acquainted

with the beautiful Montana country. For more

information, go to http://www.dryheadranch.com