Travel List

In the next year I would like to:

Drive the entire length of Route 1. That’s right folks, I wanna drive from Maine to Key West. Stopping along the way whenever I find a cute little town or nice bit of scenery. Why cute towns you say? For one, I’m more comfortable in small towns (remember I grew up in one). Secondly, they are highly photogenic and wonderfully relaxing.

Go to Colorado and Montana. While there I want to go snowboarding and hiking. And I’m sure there are some amazing landscape and wildlife photographic moments waiting.

Go to Kauai. I loved my time on Maui, and I really want to hit up another Hawaiian Island. My cousin lived there for a while, and my aunt and uncle thought it was amazing! It is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, which alone makes its a must see for this history and culture buff. The amazing tropical scenery is also calling my name… think of all the stunning pictures of water and coastlines, rainforests, and mountains. (If we still used film, I’m sure I’d fill dozens of rolls. And I’m sure I’ll end up maxing out the memory on my SD card.) I want to hike, bike, and swim for weeks on end.

On a related, but slightly different note, I am going to Sudan and Marocco in February/March 2016. I’m going to see where my parents live and take a family vacation. I’m super excited! When I get into Sudan we will be heading to the Nile for a cruise and then it’s off to Casablanca… where anything could happen.

Don’t forget to read more about my travels at TravelDiaryOnline 🙂

Trading Fresh Water for Salt Water

A month ago I was in the Chicago suburbs, checking to make sure I had everything packed in my two suitcases and a backpack. After surveying the house a few times my sister and I decided I had everything, and if not she would send it later. We grabbed my bags and headed to the car. It was a cool morning and I was glad I remembered my sweatshirt, or rather I was glad my sister was paying attention to the weather (thanks sis!).
The first stop was the bank, to get out money for traveling and deposit a check. After that we stopped at Norma’s, my sister got her coffee and banana bread, and I got my earl grey chai. Yes, I said earl grey chai, I know it may sound odd, but it is one of the best things on earth! And I’ve only ever seen it a Norma’s, the small local coffee shop down the street from my sister’s place.
As my sister drove towards the highway I texted friends on my phone. One of them asked me if this (my moving) felt real yet? I said no. He asked when I was leaving. I laughed and told him I was on my way to the airport. He was amused and couldn’t believe that it didn’t feel real yet. Honestly, I couldn’t either, I was on my way to the airport and I wasn’t nervous or anxious at all; I was calm, it was like any other day.
Even as I waited in the airport I was calm, cool, and collected. I guess I travel enough (though I’d love to travel more), and have moved enough, that for me, packing up and moving 1000 plus miles away in two weeks is no big deal. As I waited in the terminal I took the opportunity to wander around, and post a few updates on FB. I also did a fair amount of people watching. It’s fun to see how people interact, or don’t.
My flights were uneventful. On my last flight I had a whole row to myself! So I stretched out and took a much-needed nap. On the flight I also met a family, that had lived in various parts of the world that were moving to Hawaii. The children were well-behaved and super cute! The boy loved the dried cherries I shared with him, and the girl liked the fudge.
When I got off the plane I was glad I had packed the sweatshirt away. It was hot! Yes, I know, Hawaii’s a tropical island, it’s bound to be warm; but I spent the day on cold airplanes, and came from a mild Michigan summer. I rolled up my pant legs and made my way to bagged claim. I collected my bags and went outside to meet my ride. The sun was blindingly bright, so I rummaged through my bag and found my sun glasses. A minute or two later my boss showed up and I loaded my things into the van and climbed in.
The air-conditioned ride from the airport to my new home was nice. I looked out at the ocean, as we twisted and turned up and down cliffs, and was impressed by the amount of trees on the drive. It only took about 30 to 45 minutes to make it from the airport to Lahaina. When I got to my new house, my boss helped me take my things in, then bid me farewell until tomorrow. One of my house mates gave me a tour of the house, then let me unpack a few things. Before long she came back and asked me if I wanted to go down to the beach and watch the sunset, I of course said yes!
We wandered down the street to a small pathway that led to the ocean. The sound of the waves were reassuring and relaxing. Due to moving and unpacking things I was covered in sweat, so we waded into the water, it was cool and refreshing. We stood there, the waves lapping at our legs and talked. It was cloudy, so the sunset was masked, so after a few minutes we wandered back home, where I continued to settle in.
Since getting here I have found a more permanent place to live (yay!), gotten a bike, and gone swimming in the ocean several times. The waves in the ocean are so much bigger than I am used to, though there have been some impressive waves on Lake Michigan. And when you swallow the water from the ocean, it tastes kinda funny (though I suppose if you are used to the ocean you would say lake water tastes funny). I have yet to go snorkeling or surfing, but those will happen in time. I love not having a car! Yes, it makes shopping a little harder (that’s what baskets and backpacks are for), and I don’t always venture as far… But I can feel my leg muscles coming back, and I’m starting to feel more in shape.
I’m meeting lots of new people and enjoying the change. I pretty much live in sunscreen and shower a lot more than I did in Michigan, due to sweating lots because of the heat, but I don’t mind. I traded fresh water for salt water, and snow for sunshine. 🙂

On a completely unrelated note, I played League of Legends today for the first time in a little over a month. Some of the changes are really nice, and Gnar is a lot of fun! If you don’t know what LOL is, it’s a FREE Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. There are a variety of game modes and maps, and over 50 champions to play. Check it out at http://na.leagueoflegends.com/

To date I have 5 drafts, dating as far back as March, that I hope to finish soon. But no promises, my life is busy and I still have the thesis proposal to finish. 😉

Apologies and 4 of July Festivaties

I know I said I would write more, and I haven’t. To those out there who care to read my rantings, tidbits and care when I don’t write, I’m sorry. I currently have 4 entries that I have started, and hopefully I will finish one or two of them soon.

Summer has indeed made it to northern Michigan, and it’s hard to belie that tomorrow is July. Since Thursday it has been about 75-90, and I can generally leaves the widows open all night, and not wake up cold. There has been a steady influx of tourist for the last two weeks, and you can now see more boats on the bay, and most of the summer cottages appear to open and bustling with families enjoying summer vacation.
And the next two weeks town is going to be hopping. This weekend people in the neighborhood have been testing firecrackers, sparklers, and fireworks. The 4th of July around here is a sight to behold! Watching the fireworks over the Little Traverse Bay is breathtaking and exciting. I mean, who doesn’t like watching two fireworks displays simultaneously, from the comfort of their own boat or along the shoreline.

Fourth OF July Events in the Petoskey Area:
Thursday, July 3rd
8pm Petoskey Steel Drum Band; Village of Bay Harbor
Dusk Fireworks Display; Village of Bay Harbor

Friday, July 4th
10am – 5pm Fourth of July Art Fair; Downtown Harbor Springs
10am Parade; Bay View
11am Parade; Village of Bay Harbor
1pm Parade; Downtown Harbor Springs
7pm Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social; Petoskey Bayfront Park
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Family Fun and Street Performers; Downtown Petoskey
6:00 p.m. Parade; Downtown Petoskey
8pm Fourth Fest Patriotic Celebration; Bay View John Hall Auditorium
Dusk Fireworks; Downtown Petoskey, Bay View, and Harbor Springs (Two shows, watch to see if Harbor Springs or Petoskey goes first)

I’m sure there is more going on in the are that I have forgotten about, or don’t know about. But the list above should be a good start (and I will update it as I head more.)

Cold Day for the Farmers Market

Today, Friday June 13th Petoskey’s Farmers Market started at 8:30am. It is located on Howard Street between Mitchell and Michigan.
When I wandered down around 10am it was only 48 degrees and all the vendors were huddled in their booths wearing sweatshirts or coats. One of the vendors even went to one of the shops downtown to find gloves. Due to the cold the market was very slow: but there were a few people getting asparagus, jams, maple syrup, breads, herbs, pasta, and mushrooms.
I chose not to stick around until 1pm (when the market closes for the day) as I didn’t really need anything from the market today. I do however plan on stopping by the Petoskey Farmers Market as many Friday mornings as possible, between now and October 3rd.

Summer is Here

Last night Pennsylvania Park was home to a human chess board, a dunk tank, musicians, actors, dancers, food and more. All of which were part of the City of Petoskey’s Summer Open House. Around 4pm a section of Lake Street was closed off, and the set up in the park and street began.
Around 5pm a repetitive pinging sound could be heard around town and I smiled, then for the first time in a while the whistle of a train horn sounded. The train-tracks that run through the center of town are normally empty, as I kid (and even now) I wish trains passed by more. So last night when the Great Lakes Central Railroad Motorcar Excursion rolled into to town, it was a real treat. Granted the train was small and didn’t even fill a block on the small town, but it was still a spectacular to see and hear.
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At 6:30pm the Petoskey Steel Drum Band started to play by the train, in Pennsylvania Park. People were drawn from all over town by the hypnotic beat (including me). I wandered out of work (with permission) and walked the half block to the park. Pennsylvania Park quickly became a sea of people, some sat in the grass, others stood. While the band played, a dozen or so children got up and danced, seeing them smile and enjoy the beat was a heartwarming sight. As the band’s set continued a few people wandered around the park; looking at the train, watching the magician perform in the street, standing in line for treats from the Grain Train (the local natural food store) or inspecting the dunk tank and human sized chess board.
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Though I love music, and always enjoy our Steel Drum Band, my tummy was telling me a snack was necessary. So I wandered across the park and turned up Mitchell (the main street in town). I walked for about half a block then ducked into a pink store (Sweet Maria’s) that I expected to be packed (like it was at 2pm),but to my surprise the store was relatively empty. I smiled and greeted the man standing behind a case of dwindling cupcakes. He smiled and we chatted for a bit, all the while I eyed the two mini cupcakes that were sitting at either end of a large tray. As the conversation drew to a close I asked if I could take both, he smiled and said yes (it’s always nice to know people). I thanked him and made my way back to work, a mini cupcake in each hand.
As I walked back to work I smiled and nodded to one of the street musicians, as he played a song on his guitar and sang. As I got closer to work I saw a mass of people congregating outside our galley (Art Cats) and the one next to it. I wondered if they were all in line to get their face painted by one of the artists set up next door? When I was a few feet away I realized most of the people were just talking to each other, and enjoy the beautiful weather we were having. I slipped through the crowd into our less crowded gallery and let my co-worker pick which cupcake she wanted. Then I restocked some food on our treats table, and with a smile and nod headed back out, to enjoy my last few minutes of freedom for the night.
I hit up the park again, sat down and listened to the band for a few a while. I watched family talk with each other and kids dance. The sun felt good on my back, and the music was enthralling, I was glad summer was finally her. And I could tell that everyone else in town felt the same way. Eventually I pulled my phone out of my pocket to check the time, I needed to get back to work. As I wove my out of the sea of people I spotted someone else I knew standing across the street. I went over and said hello. After a little catching up, but mostly talking about when my parents return, I said goodbye and went back to work.
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When I arrived the gallery was bustling with people, and the treats table was in dire need of more chocolate. So I set to work, getting out more chocolate covered pretzels and assisting customers. The rest of the night was fairly busy for the gallery. I talked with a lot of customers, poured some wine, and restocked the chocolate many, many times. Around 8:30 the crowed in town started to thin out, and I was released of my duties for the night.
I hung around town for a while, talking with people and wandering. Eventually I bid everyone goodnight and headed home. On my walk back to the car I sighed with relief, one long busy day was done. I knew there would be more to come, but I didn’t mind; summer is FINALLY here, and summers in northern Michigan are (in my mind) the best.

Promise to Write More

I always seem to have my best ideas for writing at the most inconvenient times. For example this winter (though by all accounts it was supposed to be close to spring) I was driving back to northern Michigan from Chicago, when words and thoughts came flooding into my head. I started saying what I was thinking out-loud, and I thought it sounded good. So I vowed to remember it, and write it down when I got home in the next hour. Of course when I got home I didn’t write it down, because most of the words had escaped me, only a few still hung around in the back of my mind (a few still do).

In the next few days I was talking to a friend and lamenting the fact I didn’t pull off to the side of the road (not that I really could have gotten of the road with the snow as high as it was) and notate my thoughts. They suggested getting a voice recorder and taking it everywhere. Knowing my I probably argued with them a little saying I’d leave it somewhere or forget that I had it (both of which are very true). But they are right, though I probably don’t need to go out and get a voice recorder, as most phones now a days have a memo application and recording capabilities. All I need to do is open up my phone and use the handy app and voila, no more missed brilliant moments. Of course since that conversation I haven’t made any notes on my phone about random thoughts, though there have been plenty.

For years I have wanted to be a writer, that is partially why I started this blog in the first place. Over the years have looked into ways to get paid for my writing. But ultimately my searches have lead me no where. Why? Well, because I don’t write enough. I come up with ideas, and I never put pen to paper (or sit down and type my thoughts out). Instead I watch TV or play video games, and grip about my life isn’t heading in the direction I want. I blame my depression, my location and say I’m too busy, trying to find a job, working, taking care of the house. And while it is true, I am busy and depression makes it hard to get motivated and accomplish things, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write or try to pursue my dreams.

So what is my dream you ask? Well, I want to write about movies and TV shows (why else would I get a degree in Film Theory and Criticism). I also want to write about traveling, I love exploring new places and trying new things. I also want to get paid to do both, though that’s probably a no-brainer.  How am I going to make this happen? To be honest I have no idea, but I think a good start is writing more, and getting people to read what I write. So I will write more about the things I watch, the video games I play and I will write about the places I visit. Though to be honest even if I don’t go anywhere this summer I can still write about traveling. How, you ask? It just so happens I currently live (and grew up in) a tourist trap. You may have heard of it, it was number 6 on The Smithsonian’s  20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013, Petoskey, Michigan.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/the-20-best-small-towns-to-visit-in-2013-1353277/?no-ist

I thought about writing something about Petoskey over Memorial Day weekend, as that is generally when tourist season starts for the summer up here, but one thing lead to another and that post never happened. However, I will write something either Friday or Saturday after the Summer Open House.

 

Moore Warren

This fall I had the opportunity to go to the most amazing movie theater I’ve ever seen, the Moore Warren, in Moore Oklahoma. It is slightly disheveled after the tornado that hit at the beginning of the week, but is slated to re-open at the end of May/ beginning of June. If you are ever in the Moore, OK area take a trip there you will be delighted and impressed.

To a small town girl the Moore Warren was huge, easily the size of two football fields. The neon sign outside was impressive and almost daunting. I felt like I was going to a convention center, stadium or museum. We entered through a smaller door and walked into a retro diner. The staff happily greeted us in costume, though it was not quiet Halloween. Lunch was good, and the staff chatted with us as we sat on the retro stools at the bar. Like most girls I couldn’t finish my food so they boxed it up and we went to get tickets. As we walked into the lobby my jaw almost dropped; there is a tall vaulted ceiling and the walls have murals on them. One either side of the lobby there are stairs which leads to a balcony. I was told up there is a bar and fine dining. Up there are entrances to two auditoriums, which offer balcony seating and wait staff service (can you say perfect date night location!) We got our tickets and I took my leftovers into the luxurious auditorium (that’s right folks you can take your food from the diner into the auditorium). As we watched the movie in one of the 14 auditoriums (15 with the IMAX) equipped with Digital Cinema and THX technology, I munched on the remainders of my fries and wrap and wished there was something like the Moore Warren closer to home. After the movie was over we stuck around and looked around the theater. In the two main auditoriums is a smaller room that is encased with glass and wood. I was told the room was sound proof and meant for people with babies (yay! finally a place to put people with screaming kids). We ended our excursion with a walk down to the IMAX Theater, where I was equally impressed. For the IMAX there is a separate entrance that is staffed with intelligent and friendly people. I was told how big the screen was, how many seats there were and about the elevator that takes people to the top row; they said I could take a peek, but I didn’t dare. If I had I wouldn’t have wanted to leave, not that I wanted to leave anyways; I was the kid in the candy store, everywhere I looked was something unique or enjoyable about the Moore Warren.