travel

On the Island

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The balcony of our temporary suite

Amorgos is breathtaking. We didn’t realize the extent until we woke to the bright sunshine and gentle Aegean breeze the next morning. Having arrived in the wee hours of the morning and after taking turns showering, (there were now four of us sharing a suite until our regular rooms would be ready later that day) we selected our beds and were ready for some serious sleep. The other two girls, like us, were college friends and we were immediately comfortable in each other’s presence. We had all suffered through a long day of travel and it proved to be bonding.

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travel

Getting to Greece

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Tired but happy upon arriving at the Rafina port

On July 17th I left my family in Dewey Beach, Delaware and drove 6 hours to my home in upstate New York. I had been on the road for a week and a half, first stopping in Williamsburg, Virginia for a week at a resort we had bid on in a live auction a few months earlier (before my plans for Greece were made). There were only a few hours in between to do my laundry and pack for Greece and I was certainly cursing myself for not leaving Delaware sooner. But I wanted to squeeze every minute out of our annual family beach trip.

After a few hours of sleep, I was back on the road, this time north to Montreal. My friend and co-pilot by my side, the tune’s of XM’s Yacht Rock radio bringing us back to the memories of our youth. The three plus hour ride passed in a blink as we reminisced and talked excitedly about the trip ahead of us. There were still many hours between us and the promised views at our resort in Amorgos, Greece, one of the furthest islands from the mainland of Athens where we were flying into. It was actually closer to Turkey.

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Life

Dreams you don’t know you have

Greece was never on my bucket list and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s because I heard about their economy which had imploded. Maybe it’s that the language seemed scary and so foreign. It was nearly half a world away and the flight would be long. But, alas, when my friend mentioned she was going there for a yoga retreat every ounce of my being was aching to be there too. More for the yoga retreat than anything else.

When she asked me to go, I was elated but I never imagined I’d be able to go. I have my family and I’m unemployed – how selfish would it be to ask if I could do this. When I arrived home from the bruch where I heard about the retreat, I casually mentioned it to my husband. My brother-in-law was there and can vouch that I never outright asked to go, but within minutes it was happening. I was texting my friend- I’m in!!!!!! Yes, I’m pretty sure I used all those exclamation points. Greece. Yoga. Meditation. I can remember the joy I felt the moment I realized it was going to happen.

This was in March of this past year and the retreat was slated for the end of July. It seemed like an eternity away. I wanted to lose some stubborn weight that had been sitting and growing in my belly area for a few years. I had stopped going to yoga because our Saturdays were filled with other activities and I needed to get back at it. Life kept chugging along. I got on a nutrition program, upped my workouts and rekindled my love for Saturday yoga.

The day to leave for Greece finally came. All the work to get there was about to pay off. With a suitcase full of new clothes and my longtime friend by my side we started the trip of a lifetime. I didn’t know that it would be more than I ever imagined.

MC

travel

Oh, The places you’ll eat

What more is there to look forward to on vacation than all the places you’ll eat while you’re away? Usually when I am in Florida on my own, I’ll eat most of my meals at home, but this time I’m with a friend so it’s been fun planning where we’ll eat. Solo vs. friend trips are very different but both are awesome.

On our first day here, we decided to go with Thai food since that is what we do 90% of the time when we get together at home. It’s usually healthy and good and they have gluten free options for her. Most places these days do so it’s easy to eat just about anywhere. We were also both starving when we arrived on Thursday afternoon and decided it would be best to have a decent meal before heading to get groceries. This is always a good idea!

We ended up loading the cart with a mix of fruit, breakfast items, chips and ice cream. I am totally addicted to Popcorners Kettle Corn chips and could probably live on them for the duration of this trip but I restrained myself by buying just two bags. We are only on day three and they are just about gone. I’ve also discovered mini Klondike bars which I will eat two at a time since they are small.

Yesterday I introduced my friend to the yumminess of Zaxby’s which is a fast food chicken wing place. I was a little nervous (you know how you want someone to like something you are crazy about) but she ended up loving them too – plus wings are gluten-free. So maybe another trip before we head home?

I think today is the day to introduce her to my favorite breakfast place. They have the most amazing buttermilk biscuits, fruit plates and corned beef hash. My mouth is watering thinking about it. OK, time to get up and ready to go! Have a wonderful Saturday wherever you are and whatever you do!

MC

Life

Snakes and bugs, oh my

Snakes scare the crap out of me. They always have. Apparently they thrive in Florida because not a trip goes by without me seeing one. This time, a small red and black creature was waiting at the back door to greet me and my scream was probably exaggerated compared to the size of this little guy. I immediately slammed and locked the back door hoping it would be gone the next morning. A favorite aspect of our home in Florida is the covered patio at the back of the house so I didn’t want this standing between us.

My scream didn’t scare this little guy away – he was waiting in the same spot today – and when I opened the door he somehow managed to slither into the lanai. Oof! I ran for the broom and hastily pushed him back outside and swpt him onto a patio block in the grass. He stayed nearby as I was putting the patio furniture out but by the time I went to grab my phone for a picture, he had disappeared. I think not knowing where he went makes me a bit uncomfortable.

I’ve overcome a lot of fears in my life but bugs and snakes are something I can’t seem to get past. It took a while but I think I’ve come to accept the geckos which are the chipmunks of the south. Somehow they get inside the house and die and shrivel up between our visits here and I find their husks in the corners of the lanai.

Honestly, I could really do without seeing all these creatures even if we somehow have to coexist in the world together. I know we each have our purpose. Do you have any phobias you wish you could overcome?

MC

travel

What’s in my bag? Traveling light

Frontier Airlines charges you ala carte for all your travel needs. From checked luggage to carry-on to seat assignments, there is a fee for that. But if you are traveling light, it’s possible to scoop up a really good deal! Today I’m heading to Orlando with nothing but a personal item which will fit under the seat in front of me. This wouldn’t be at all possible without having a fully stocked home on the other end of my flight. I don’t need clothes or toiletries so that makes it a heck of a lot easier to do.

What’s in my bag? Mainly books. I’ll have my iPad Pro, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, The 6-Minute Diary, my Big Dreams journal which is part prayer book, part vision board and part darn good advice I’ve clipped along the way. I have a small bag of makeup, some electronics related stuff (cord, charger, headphones) and my card case with a little cash. And it wouldn’t be a trip without a well stocked Kindle.

Looking forward to some time in the Florida sunshine while enjoying our future retirement home. It is really the perfect time to be there because I usually come home re-invigorated to de-clutter because our Florida house has the perfect amount of stuff and no clutter. I will be ready to roll up my sleeves and tackle my clutter project in a weeks time.

MC

Life, Uncategorized

Small progress

Later today I’m leaving for a week away. When you’re unemployed, taking a vacation seems redundant but there you have it. At least it will be a change of scenery and better weather (although it’s pretty nice here in upstate New York).

I was so fired up from my last post about decluttering that I did something pretty amazing yesterday. Drumroll, please… I went to the landfill!!!! Yup, I took that old broken television and a monitor that doesn’t work and a laptop that has seen better days AND the huge box the new television came in right to the landfill. I have lived here 17 years without making a single trip to the landfill. It was a revelation!

I also mentioned my plan to my husband and I think the action I took about getting rid of these things that had become the backdrop of our life opened him to the idea of getting rid of more stuff. A lot more stuff. Of course he asked what I was going to do with my hot button items: the juicer I no longer use and the food vacuum sealer thing I bought because I was going to do freezer cooking. These are things I need to think about because I’m not using them and they were pretty expensive.

One thing he didn’t mention was my long forgotten scrapbooking hobby that has been taking up space in our very disorganized loft space. I don’t think you can call it a hobby because I never really did it. I actually went up to our loft yesterday with the intention of throwing out the scrapbooking stuff, but boy do I have a surprise for him. I’ll tell you more about that next week but I’m pretty excited about it.

I need to find my own word for ‘onward’.

MC

Writing

A Writer’s Beginning

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One thing I learned many years ago in my very first college writing class: do not begin every sentence with the word I. In fact, try to start as many sentences as possible without starting with I. This is something that despite everything else I must have learned in college, always stays with me when I am writing. The essays and stories I wrote in that class in 1987 are still boarders in the basement of my home. They have lived in a Rubbermaid bin for over 25 years and have moved with me from apartment to apartment. And there were a lot of apartments.

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Musings

Phone tech that makes life easy and better

I’m typing on my phone and I was playing around with some speech functions and now my phone is robotically repeating what I type. I am constantly amazed by technology but I have to admit this is getting pretty annoying so I’ll be right back!

It’s nice to know that feature exists, though. I’m realizing how little I know about the capabilities of my phone and it’s just a little bit scary. The one thing I do like about writing on my phone is how it completes the words I start typing. I feel like there’s probably even a setting where I could speak my blog post into it and it would simply type it as I speak but what would be the fun in that.

Sometimes I even play around with sentences where I choose from the auto fill words below. I lead a pretty exciting life, huh. But hands down, the coolest feature for me is that it delivers music and other audio directly to my hearing aids. This is especially awesome for phone calls because it brings a whole new meaning to hands free. My hearing aids are not easily detectable so if you don’t know I have this superpower you might think I’m nuts when I seem to be talking to no one.

Technology is great for everyone but it makes life for people with disabilities (although I’ve never really thought of myself as having a disability) pretty awesome.

What astounds you about the technology we have today?

MC