Monday, November 3, 2014


Almost 2 years ago I was considering finishing my M.A. in Linguistics, so I went to a few open houses at the University I graduated from and ended up bumping into a familiar face-the husband of one of my French Professors who happened to be an adviser for the graduate studies in Liberal Arts program as well as the undergraduate studies in German. I felt very obligated to finish my M.A. even though my heart is not in it and I have no real need to complete a Master's. The truth is that I should have never even attempted graduate school, though I'm sure (fingers crosses) at some point I'll look back and see a valuable reason for all the time/money and effort spent. We talked for a long time, I told this prof my true feelings about where I stood with a graduate degree and I also mentioned my passion for languages and that if I was following my heart I'd really just want to study another language. Then he said something so simple to me- "It sounds like you want to learn German." Where I knew this, it was like hearing someone say to me was like receiving reassurance that it's ok to do what I actually wanted to do and not just what I felt like what I was supposed to do. The professor was supportive and encouraging and it hit me- 'I do not want or need to complete my Master's at this time, what I want is to learn German. So that's just what I'll do.' Now, can I even do this? Can I 'regress'? Having taking graduate level courses at another university could I even transfer back to my previous college for a second degree? I spoke to a few of the people I needed to then sent a series of emails to the advisor to which he replied with a long email and a lot of steps to go about how to begin this process. And I kept that email in my inbox for 14 months looking at it periodically, each time feeling overwhelmed and knowing this was going to be a lot of 'work' just to get myself back in. I constantly think about what that psychic said to me 'you accomplish everything you set out to do, it just takes you time.' That couldn't be more true. I started a blanket when I was 14, put it aside for a while then one day when I was 17 I thought 'I'm finishing that damn blanket-I picked it up and 3 months later surprised my grandma who had assumed I had long ago tossed it in the trash. It's like for me, I just very much have to be in the exact right mood, and one day in July I was online, probably looking at pinterest, and thought I'm going to look at the email again and just see where I need to begin. Step 1. Re apply. Ok, I'll do that right now. Several hoops needed to be jumped through in order to make this all happen and so quickly. In fact I ended up meeting the deadlines on the day of. Here I was in Maryland with my daughter getting ready to spend the day sightseeing in D.C. on the phone with the office of the registrar at my 2 Universities, sending faxes and paying hefty 'overnight' fees. Alas, I was accepted into the program!

On my first day last week, I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out mostly because I was so totally embarrassed to be the oldest person in my class (saying that makes me want to throw up)'s actually not too bad...IN FACT- I LOVE being the older one in the class. These kids kind of look up to me and ask me for help. It makes me feel needed! AND because of my extensive experience so many things are just 'old hat' to me and if there is one thing I'm good at it's learning a language. So far, it's going great! And I'm really glad I finally decided to go for it.

There are several reasons why I wanted to learn German but I feel like this post is already too long!

I found the quote below to perfectly sum up my challenges with the German language, perhaps it's only because I'm in the moment but I'm finding German grammar to be far more complex than learning the Arabic alphabet and pronunciation which was once my greatest feat.

"My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it." -Mark Twain

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Where: Castaway Cay The Island in the Bahamas owned by the Disney Cruise line.

When: September 2014

Cost: $40 Which was a total bargain! We got to spend 1 hour with the sting rays, we spent about 15 minutes feeding them-they would swim up on the board above to get their treats then we had about 45 minutes to ourselves to roam around with the 40 + "de barbed" sting rays in Disney's enclosure.

Why this is on my list: This was actually one of the main reasons I chose the Bahamas as our cruise destination. Of course I want to swim with sting rays!

Will I do it again? I LOVED this experience, it was actually one of the highlights of the trip. It was such a memorable thing to do with my friend, Tonya who joined us on the trip along with her little family. The day before we had gone swimming with dolphins which obviously was incredible HOWEVER that company left such a sour taste in my mouth I almost cancelled the sting ray adventure, I am so glad I didn't!!! I didn't realize that the sting ray thing was owned by Disney and like everything Disney was spot on. From start to finish every minute was awesome-The guides were informative, funny and as friendly as every other Disney employee, I felt safe, I liked being able roam around freely,  . There's only ONE thing I would change...I didn't have an underwater camera. After I went to Hawaii I swore that I would never again go on a tropical vacation without investing in an underwater camera. It didn't even occur to me until I was in the water with these bizarre creatures that all I had with me was my iPhone. I would totally do it again, it was affordable, safe, well organized and unforgettable, but next time I'm bringing an underwater camera!

Shout out to The Detroit Apparel Factory for sending me to the Bahamas with my 'DETROIT LOVE' tank! From now on I'll be exclusively rockin Michigan themed tees on my adventures 
-Check out their website and support your local businesses!

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Friday, September 12, 2014


Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of a snakebite and furthermore                                        always carry a small snake.

Where: North Beach Maryland.

When: July 2014 on a road trip with my daughter.

Cost: FREE!! What's better than an unplanned surprise LIFE LIST item-ONE THAT'S FREE OF COURSE! 

Why this was on my list? I certainly do not 'have a thing for snakes' by any means but I just always thought it would be cool to put a boa around my neck-why not?! I've actually searched for places online but have never found anything. I was TOTALLY surprised to see this guy letting people hold his snake (that sounds gross) for free on the boardwalk (maybe that wouldn't be so surprising). At first I was really nervous because this was just a guy hanging wasn't a secure environment with a real 'snake handler' or anything so I didn't feel like I had a lot of faith in this man when he said 'everything was going to be fine.' 

Will I do it again? At first I just held the snake, but while I was holding it, its head jolted towards my face in a quick motion-it scared the crap out of me and I did not hesitate to return the boa to its owner. I hung around debating whether or not it was worth the 'photo op'. Alas, I thought 'I'm going for it! We'll just do it reeeeaalll quick. After all, I was there, the snake was there....this was meant to be!' It certainly made for an interesting evening...but here's what I found the most interesting-here are 2 guys that what-rolled out of bed at 5h in the afternoon and said "hey man, want to take the snake to the boardwalk?" "Ya bro, let me put on a shirt-eh, screw the shirt....I'm not going to wear shoes either- let's just go."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Last Minute Road Trip to D.C.

We're back....we went!

The night before we left I was feeling very overwhelmed and thinking that maybe I should reconsider this road trip with my 3 year old. Most of my LIFE LIST items make me a little nauseous either before, during or after and with the exception of 2 of my 'adventures' I'm always so glad and proud of myself for stepping out of what's very comfortable. It's not always easy but it's ALWAYS worth it!

On our 7 day road trip I took my little one to Annapolis Maryland, Wilmington Delaware, the Chesapeake Beach, and Washington D.C. It was a TERRIFIC time!! This was actually my 20th trip to the East Coast and I have to say it was my favorite trip to the D.C. area. We got to do so many fun things, spend some quality time with my family, and what made this trip so special was watching my daughter spend time with her family. It was so endearing to see her bond with my aunt, her cousins, my brother and even with my aunt's boyfriend who is certainly a part of our family. On top of all that, I just love taking my daughter on these little adventures, I can't believe how much she's seen and experienced in just 3.5 years- everything from riding a camel to dancing with prince charming. She is such a smart little girl and there is no doubt in my mind that the reason being is a life filled with constant new experiences, after all that's the best way to learn.

Here's a quick recap of our trip in photos!

On our very first day I got to do something that I've always wanted to do but have never been able to 'find' before....this was a total surprise LIFE LIST item: WRAP A BOA AROUND MY SHOULDERS- It was a free find on North Beach Maryland.
We had a lovely afternoon in Annapolis taking a day cruise, shopping and eating crab. 

Our second day we drove 3 hours from my Aunt's house to visit my brother and his family. It was a SPECTACULAR visit and the kids had an absolute blast playing together.  

Our third day was a doozie, I drove us into Washington D.C.- this is quite a feat and was a day filled hysterically ridiculous 'events'. It was fun, wild, exciting and I was enormously proud of myself for taking on the challenges the day brought and making it a success. As a side note...I don't care how many times I've seen the White House, I get the most thrilling feeling to be at the most iconic and important place in the USA.

This was actually the first time I got to see the Reflection Pool-I don't usually go to the Lincoln Memorial and the times I have it's been under construction or I went another way. It was a really cool sight to see and MUCH bigger than I expected. 
Our second day in D.C. we were given the VIP treatment by my Aunt's boyfriend who works at the Air and Space Smithsonian so not only did we get a personal 'tour' of D.C. but even more importantly I got to park in a very exclusive parking lot! On this day we saw a butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, saw the monuments, watched protesters, rode a carousel, and went into the  National Botanic Garden. 

On our way home from D.C. we had dinner at Abner's Crab House- THE MOST PERFECT PLACE to end our day. I LOVED this restaurant, we got to eat outside, on the water and were surrounded by fishing boats. Great company, good food, excellent service-more importantly, a unique experience.

"Whenever I'm feeling blue...I go to our Nation's Capitol." 
I said this to my sister when I told her where I was going, then I realized 3 things- that's ridiculous. It's hilarious....and it's true but it always really cheers me up!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm in D.C.!

My daughter and I are on a last minute road trip to the greater Washington D.C. area, we've only been gone 4 days and we've already had loads of fun adventures, ticked off LIFE LIST items and enjoyed quality time with family. I cannot post pictures on my blog until I get home but I'm posting loads of pics daily on The Ultimate Life Lists' facebook page- check it out! If you have any ideas of 'must do' activities in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area let me know!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Our 3rd Polynesian Dance Show

After we went to Hawaii I had always thought it would be fun to learn how to hula dance...I just thought I'd take a class or two...later on in life when I had the time and could actually find hula dance lessons. I had NO clue that this little thing written on my list would turn into what it has. I had no idea that my toddler daughter would be able to do this with me, I had NO notions of us dancing in a show...and certainly not 3 years in a row!  I just love how these items on my LIFE LIST can unexpectedly turn into something wonderful that becomes a huge part of my life. My LIFE LIST is really my LIFE CHANGING LIST.

Click HERE to see the pictures from the first 2 years! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


"A birthday is just the first day of another 365 day trip around the sun...enjoy the journey"
This is mostly for my own personal enjoyment-take a peek if you're interested, these are all my birthday pictures over the last 31 (gross) years. *I am missing a few years.



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