Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘travel’

A Beach Weekend

I complained previously, gently of course, about not having any vacation. Big problem for a woman with no job and every day is Saturday. With the busy summer, I was looking for a small change in scenery.  I finally got it.

Mid September, my daughter took an extra couple of days off work to take her car in for some extensive repairs in my little town and to take us both to the beach using my boat car.

Cannon Beach was our first stop. It rained the entire way there and most of the day. Very uptown shops for the most part and we sampled flavored vinegars and oils. Lunch was nothing worth repeating, ever. Our highlight there was the wonderful little quilt shop with the nicest ladies. My non-quilting daughter enjoyed it too. I didn’t buy much, really! Of course we found some fuzzy friends waiting out the rain.

Wet all the way and most of the day.

Wet all the way and most of the day.

She was wet and tired of the rain too.

She was wet and tired of the rain too.

Little sister was hoping for a warm spot in the book store

Little sister was hoping for a warm spot in the book store

We booked an inexpensive room with 2 beds and a kitchenette. There was no such thing in Cannon Beach so we spent our 2 nights in neighboring Seaside Beach. They are like night and day. Our motel was not fancy but fortunately, had a separate alcove for the second bed with a door. Daughter could sleep late and I could be up early having my coffee in bed reading. Perfect.

We were on the bottom floor, 4 windows in. Great access

We were on the bottom floor, 4 windows in. Great access

The Ebb Tide was the least expensive place I could find with a vacancy so my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was clean and fresh. And as a warning, when the hotel says “climate controlled” they mean that in the most literal of terms. The fireplace didn’t work but we didn’t need it. I figured out how to crack the window for air during the night. They provided a fan. How much time do you spend in a room?

Seaside was a whole different feel. Because it’s more affordable, more families and young people are there crawling all the souvenir shops. We did talk to some nice shop owners. One recommendation for dinner was as disappointing as the meal in Cannon Beach. Another shop owner who was passing out free chocolate like I had room for it recommended a place for lunch or dinner the next day in a small town called Gearhart, 6 miles up the road. She said not to blink or we would miss the town.

We set the GPS and found the sweetest place and the best food. Fortunately it was Sunday and by the time we got there, the bakery portion was closing. Whew! Service at the restaurant part was excellent and the food tasty. My kind of town.

Gearhart's Pacific Bakery/Cafe

Gearhart’s Pacific Bakery/Cafe

Poppies at the Paradise Cafe

Poppies at the Paradise Cafe

The next morning we checked out and made our way to Astoria which was not more than 30 minutes away. It was also on the way home.

We passed a chain restaurant that we had eaten breakfast in once and were not that fond of,  in favor of a hole in the wall place called Stephanie’s Cabin. It looked like a tavern but the car was going that way and I was the passenger. Oh, my goodness, what a surprise! They spent nothing on ambiance and everything on the cook. It was perfect, priced right and I let them know.  Then we finally found the quilt store in a hard to get to spot. Small, but nice people and I found gifts for my quilting friends.

Did I mention anywhere actually sitting on the beach and stuffing my toes in the sand? We took our books and just soaked it up. Seaside had the best beach access.  Sand feels so good between the toes. One of life’s greatest pleasures.

Sandy feet on the towel.

Sandy feet on the towel.

Diversity in beach housing

Diversity in beach housing

There was a little meditation time, a few photos and time to talk about things like how we want to reshape our lives. Nothing major. Isn’t that what you do on a weekend at the beach? Where do you go for a quick change of scenery?

 

change-the-scenery-of-your-life

From my heart to your,

Marlene Herself

 

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What’s in my bed?

Do you sense a theme here? Sleeping isn’t something I do much but the sleep I do get seems to be better. In spite of my discomfort with that horrid C-pap machine, I’m waking more “rested”.

Up until a few years ago, I had my little dog, Schatzie sleeping on my bed. She was quiet all night and never seemed to mind my tossing and turning or the occasional snore fest.

Lucille is my sister's new rescue. She is a year and a half and came to visit this week.

Lucille is my sister’s new rescue. She is a year and a half and came to visit this week.

Now I sleep with just books and notebooks in my bed. My headboard is littered with them and so is the bookcase beside my bed as well as the nightstand next to it. Everything in my life is designed to accommodate my books and notebooks. That includes e-readers.

The other side of the headboard looks just like this.

The other side of the headboard looks just like this.

I don’t read like a normal person. I can read four separate books in one night. Once or two chapters each. I may read a bit from a magazine, a short story book, a non-fiction and a fiction. That’s after I’ve done my journal writing and gratitude list.

 

My sister is reading and loving it now that I'm done. I'll have to order dinner next.

My sister is reading and loving it now that I’m done. I’ll have to order dinner next.

Recommending books is not something I usually do. The book a person is supposed to read will appear at the right time and place for them. I can be excited about one and tell you about it but you may not be ready for that book now…or ever.  These are just a few that I have read lately.

 

Some of the journals and books that sleep in my bed.

Some of the journals and books that sleep in my bed.

I’ve had books fall off the bookstore shelves at me, slide forward on my own shelves or just jump into my Amazon cart from nowhere. I have books on crafting, painting, sewing, quilting, writing, quantum physics, spirituality, children’s books, novels, short stories, and the list goes on. Who has time to sleep?

 

I'm not fond of white t-shirts but I loved this one so much it turned purple.

I’m not fond of white t-shirts but I loved this one so much it turned purple.

My e-reader is filled with self-help books of every manner. Many are filled with wonderful quotes that keep me in a positive frame of mind. I don’t naturally lean that way and must stay cautious. I want to learn something new each day by any means possible. Happiness to me is a bookstore or a fabric store and best viewed with a creative friend.

I couldn't put this one down.

I couldn’t put this one down.

 

There are novels on my e-reader written by fellow bloggers that only write e-books. I wouldn’t want to miss any of those. Some have to wait a bit to be read but I’m making shorter work of them as the winter projects draw to a close. I’ve read several by Maddie Cochere and Jackie Phillips. They are entertaining and light as well as have a bit of humor which sends me off to sleep with a smile. The only reading done early in the day are all the blogs I follow. That’s done over morning coffee.

This is the fourth book of Maddie's I am reading.

This is the fourth book of Maddie’s I am reading.

Jackie has this writing thing down pat

Jackie has this writing thing down pat

Another of Jackie's with more to come.

Another of Jackie’s with more to come.

As I take off for my trip to Phoenix to see a friend, there will be no hard copies of books going along. Just my journals and a notebook as writing sometimes requires pencil and paper to let the thoughts flow.

I loved this book on creativity!! Most helpful and I finished it quickly

I loved this book on creativity!! Most helpful and I finished it quickly

I will probably find a bookstore while I’m there. Hopefully my favorite in the Mesa area called Changing Hands It’s an independent book store; my favorite kind. I would probably sell my soul to own one. Right now the bookstores own me. If Heaven doesn’t have books, I’m not going.

What are you reading these days? Do you keep books by your bed or in it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of New Borders

I’m a foreigner. That holds true in every country I go. Even the one I was born in. What is it about borders that make us want to cross them and explore? I’ve been doing just that my whole life.

Crossing large bodies of waters was a normal part of my life.

Crossing large bodies of waters was a normal part of my life.

My children, adults that they are, have not used their passports. My son was very young when we went to Taiwan via the military and I don’t think we needed them at that time. He didn’t remember crossing any borders. My poor daughter has been landlocked her whole life. Until now.

Life on the water. Wouldn't it be lovely?

Life on the water. Wouldn’t it be lovely?

Ferry captains were impressive in their skill.

Ferry captains were impressive in their skill.

We were brave and reckless. Driving the five hours to Port Angeles, Washington. After a wonderful brunch and a trip through their quilt store (yes, I had to look) and their wonderful bookstore (one or maybe two came home with us), my son drove the car onto the ferry and we rode the 90 minutes to another country. This dizzy lady did just fine. It took my daughter a bit to get her sea legs. A lot of distraction and good humor kept her even keeled and we made it safe and sound to Victoria, BC Canada. Now to be truthful, I’ve been there before without a car. We used public transport and that worked quite well. It was a LONG time ago.

They had beautiful stuff but I was very strong. Love this store

They had beautiful stuff but I was very strong. Love this store

So what do you do when you cross the border? You go see pretty flowers and look around the town. Just to warn you, I will have to break this very short visit into two posts. I took over 360 photos. This is a lady who rarely ever took photos. Since I don’t see well, I point, shoot and pray that they can be fixed. My kids took even more.

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First thing on our list was a real food breakfast. We found a lovely place across from our motel. They were so polite and kind that it made our first taste of Canada even better. Then we were off to find a post office. I decided to see if I could mail a package to a Canadian friend from Canada for a bit less than mailing it from the U.S. Cost cut, one third! Do you know they have post offices open Saturday’s and Sunday’s? I was delighted and surprised.

The ABC restaurant was a nice start of our day. I wanted to take this stove home.

The ABC restaurant was a nice start of our day. I wanted to take this stove home.

So is Butchart Gardens worth a second trip? I could use a third and fourth. My feet were protesting but my camera had its buzz on. I just couldn’t stop, until lunch that is. We (my daughter and I) had high tea in the conservatory. My son had a very nice looking hamburger. He’s a guy. The food tasted so beautiful in that room and the tea was something new for them. Lemon grass and ginger. Yum. I didn’t get a photo of the food. I was lost is a sea of bliss by then. The butterflies had nothing on me that day.

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After lunch we waddled over toward the Japanese gardens passing something so fragrant it took my breath away. I felt light headed and overcome with emotion. The tears started to flow and I just couldn’t contain them. I stood there a moment trying to get a grip when the dragonflies did a dance for me and landed softly right where I could get a clear shot. I have never really seen one before. They were always so far away I could not tell what they were. As we came back out of the Japanese Garden, the same thing happened again. The smell was like lilacs but they were not. The feeling, one of unmistakeable happiness.

Who knew they were so beautiful. I was enthralled.

Who knew they were so beautiful. I was enthralled.

I don't know yet what these are but the scent was wonderful.

I don’t know yet what these are but the scent was wonderful.

We finally had to sit a few moments before shopping the gift stores and caving in to happiness and beauty overload. And our day was not done yet. That was one border I would gladly cross again and again.

A great spot to sit a spell and reflect on the wonders of the morning.

A great spot to sit a spell and reflect on the wonders of the morning.

How about you? Do you cross borders?

Stay tuned for part two.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Creative Non-fiction

Writing class started again after a months break. Class has taught me many valuable lessons. The primary lesson, I don’t know how to do fiction. I’m not good at making up stories. If I get a prompt that I have no way to relate to, I sit for days trying to make something up and it turns out awful. What I can do, is take those tiny bits of memories and embellish them to fit the prompt. So it is with this story. Most of it’s as true as I can remember but the ending was added to fit the prompt. Today, I’ll share what I’m best at, telling bits of my life.

Are We There Yet?

The house was empty. The furniture and all our belongings had been packed and taken to be shipped to our new home. Even the car was gone. Little Jimmy was getting a bath by the mother’s helper when I walked in to check how much longer it would take.

That’s when the plan started to crumble. How could Margaret not see that Jimmy had spots all over his body? Running into the living room, I announced to my parents, “Jimmy has the measles.” Mom’s face went white and dad rolled his eyes. “Are you sure” they asked? Heck, I was only 9 but I knew measles when I saw them. “Go see for yourself” I shot back.

All I heard was panic coming from the bathroom. Jimmy was whisked from the bathtub, dried and dressed. Mom said no one was to mention measles to anyone. Not one word was to come out of our mouths. They dressed him in a jacket and put a hat with ear flaps on his head. As we sat at the NCO club waiting for the bus to take us to the Frankfort airport, mom gave Jimmy orange juice and said if anyone noticed the rash, he appeared to be allergic to it. They had to make the trip because all our beds and belongings were already gone. No way was she staying behind with 4 kids alone.

Once we arrived in Frankfort, another delay. A problem with the plane seemed to be the next hold up. So we were confined to one hotel room until another flight could be arranged. Finally, we were all on the flight. Jimmy was again dressed in the unseasonably warm leather jacket and cap. Once we were airborne, we couldn’t be left behind. There was some relaxation in the parents. Until…

Ours was green

Ours was green

We waited in New York for our car to come off the boat. More confinement in a hotel room. Finally we were underway and managed to get as far as somewhere in Virginia. It has to happen. Just as Jimmy was starting to get better, the baby came down with the measles too and it made him sick enough to require a doctor. They found an emergency room and the next thing I know, blankets are tacked up all around the back-end of the station wagon. They had to keep the car dark. It also kept out any breath of air. It was late April but with no open windows we were melting in there.

Dad drove until he couldn’t. Mom had just learned to drive and there was no way dad was going to let her get us lost here. Sleep was done at roadside rest stops, then more driving down the entire length of the coast to Georgia. Meals came from a loaf of purchased bread and a package of bologna. Four kids, two of them ill, one hyperactive and one bored to tears was almost too much for anyone. Somewhere in South Carolina, mom started to cry. Her head in her hands, she wailed “aren’t we there yet?” No, we weren’t and it just kept getting hotter.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Adventure

For the last 2 weeks I have been at home alone while everyone else was working. How can I be envious of that? Everyone else doesn’t want to have to go to work but me, I have to be different. I’d like somewhere to go and interact with people. I was getting a bit of cabin fever and frustrated that the only time getting out is a possibility is when someone takes me in my own car that I can’t drive. This Bells Palsy has reduced the size of my world considerabley.

So I called the city transit center and spoke, oddly enough, to a real human being. I explained where I was planning on starting from and where I wanted to end up and asked what bus did I need to get there. After a few questions and answers, we were on the same page and I was off. I’ve been here for 3 months and finally decided it was time to give it a try. Off I went for a 20 minute walk down our street to the bus stop.

The driver was so kind and lowered the bus for me. They can do that. I use a cane for balance and wear a hat to warm my head so I guess I look in need of extra care. I started to feed my dollar bill into the fare machine and he says seniors ride free. Woo hoo! I can afford to make this trip often. I guess I look old too.

Unfortunately, I got off one stop too early and had to walk farther than was necessary but I am now more familiar with the route. I was able to buy my yarn after taking forever to find a color that worked well and some greeting cards that require careful selection without feeling like I was making someone wait on me. I bet I walked 3 miles at least so I had my exercise for the day. By the time I walked to all the places I wanted to go, walked back to the bus stop and the 20 minute walk back down our street home, my feet were no longer happy with me.

I rode the bus and the MAX in Portland, Oregon some while I was living there last year but I had help navigating the system. This one here is a bit scarier to figure out but it had to be done for personal freedoms sake. We are all interdependent in so many ways but sometimes we just want to do what we want to do. I finally just had to give it a try. It wasn’t a big adventure but it added to my potential to stand on my own anywhere I wind up in the future. I’m a big girl now. I know how to ride the bus.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene

IN SEARCH OF DIGNITY

My first flight in several years was an entirely different experience than any I’ve ever had. This was my first since becoming ill with Bells Palsy. I arrived at the airport hours early after being dropped off by my son on his way to work. It was a holiday; Veterans Day and the traffic was so very light in the morning. My son said that was the fastest he had ever made the 45 mile drive. We were able to use the carpool lane since I was with him. When I walked into the small terminal, there was no one in line to check in. So I handed over my bag and pre-printed boarding pass. I asked if my cane was going to be a problem. The jovial retort was “not unless you have a knife in there”. It would have to pass through the scanner but I would be able to keep it with me. I was asked if I needed a wheel chair. Explaining that I could walk just fine and the cane was for balance due to the balance issue they insisted that I would definitely need a chair on arrival in Seattle. I would be changing planes and the terminals were quite far apart. They were so insistent that I relented. We had a short conversation about my condition as I answered questions about what caused this. I explained that there were several theories but the general consensus was it was caused by the same dormant virus from Chicken Pox. It was also responsible for Shingles which I was lucky enough not to get. I was told that very often extreme stress or cold could be a factor by alternative health practitioners. I had both at the time in spades so who really knows. I do know that no one was aware that I’d ever had Chicken Pox as a child. I thought I was immune. So I toddled on down to my gate using my son’s backpack to hold my laptop, kindle, camera and i-pod along with my wallet and lunch. I was trying to travel light and not use my rolling laptop case. It was awkward putting the larger case in the overhead bins. But it was certainly easier to manage than all that weight on my back.
I waited for my flight enjoying some quiet reading time. As the plane was readying to board, I heard my name called to come to the check in podium. I was promptly boarded with all the others with small children and needing assistance. Well, I didn’t think I needed assistance but when I got on the plane I thought how nice it was not to have to face the crush of people while trying to negotiate with the cane and heavy backpack. I didn’t even get a chance to think about being put ahead of others it happened so fast.
When I got off the plane in Seattle, they asked at the front of the plane if I was expecting a wheel chair and asked for my name. The chair was right outside at the bottom of the steps. Now I was really embarrassed. I can walk just fine though not very straight. Crushes of people can visually throw me off balance but I have never felt comfortable taking help from my family, much less strangers. Once inside, the nice young lady said we had a long way to go and a train to ride. She wasn’t kidding. By the time she stopped at my gate I was exhausted just from the ride. I would have missed my flight trying to make it on my own. But sitting in that chair left me feeling crumpled and old. Looking sideways to a reflection on a post, I saw my own mother as the wheelchair attendant had navigated her through O’Hare airport on her last trip to Germany. I remember how she struggled with knowing she needed the help and wanting to be strong and independent. When did I get that old and crumpled? I saw myself hunched over in the chair holding tight to my backpack and cane feeling rather insignificant and a nuisance all at the same time. Once again I was boarded before the rest of the passengers and dealing with the mixture of gratitude and shame. I have all my life been the caregiver. This was new and I was not comfortable with it. I would be the first to assure you that it was perfectly ok to accept the help but I was struggling with it deeply. Now I really know how my mother felt and I didn’t like it. There are so many of us who for one reason or the other wind up needing help for a bit of time. Some need help for a lifetime and you can see them struggling with the same emotions; gratitude that others are so willing to offer help and the embarrassment of needing it. Of course I know enough to tip well. Pushing me up the hill of a concourse is no small feat. The last wheel chair driver looked about ready for retirement himself.
My trip back to my son’s home has been arranged a bit differently. I am staying with my sister a bit longer than I originally planned so I can get a straight through flight with no plane changes. It will be worth the wait. In the meantime I’m taking care of my sister who is having as much trouble as I do accepting after surgery help. It’s slightly easier since she’s had to give me so much help and I owe her big time. I know that accepting help graciously is a gift for the other person but it does take some adjustment of my internal thoughts. This is the time in life where you find all the kindest of people who want to help and let you keep your dignity intact.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene