Friday, January 22, 2016

Worst year ever....


2015 was extremely difficult for me that's why I haven't written in over a year. I've missed my blog and I've really missed writing and this is very hard for me to admit and even to talk about but unfortunately after 10 years of marriage I am currently going through a divorce. Both on an emotional and legal level I can't say very much about it but I will say that my heart is broken into a million pieces and I cannot imagine it will ever go back together. 

Over the past few months I've been drowning in sadness but then I started looking at pictures from the past year and realized that even though I was so down at least I was strong enough to pick myself up and CREATE my own happy memories for me and my daughter. Even though I've shed more tears and felt more broken than any person should ever know, I did laugh a lot...I became very close with some friends, saw how much people truly cared about me, I met a lot of new people, some who have changed my life if only temporarily. And I did actually have some interesting LIFE LIST experiences which was unexpected but I've turned to my list when things aren't good and the outcome is life changing.
 Typically when I post my year in review I have 30 or so items to talk about which is certainly not the case today but the experiences I did have were genuinely special and unforgettable. 

The goal of my blog used to be focused on how I lived the life I wanted on a modest budget as a stay at home mom....I guess now it'll be about how I am going to live the life I want on a single mom budget with very little free time. In the past sharing my stories with you and always receiving such positive feedback kept me very motivated and inspired me to do more - there is no doubt that it will do the same for me again but presumably this time all of these things that I write about will become moments in my life that are even more sincere and noteworthy. This blog never has been just about travel or 'just' about "LIFE LIST GOALS" every time I do something from my list it has changed me in some way. So I don't think this ever has been frivolous but it certainly will not be now.

I spent a lot of time feeling overwhelmed this past year but these are things that made me smile....


I took my daughter to a Buffalo Farm that had been on my life list for YEARS and she liked it so much we ended up having her 5th birthday party there! How I convinced 22 people to drive 2 hours away makes me think I'm in the wrong line of work!

We spent the night on the largest sailboat in Michigan-it was AMAZING!
                                                            We were on the news! I"ve always wanted to be on TV!!!
I flew a seaplane!
This proud Michigandar's dreams came true at work! 

We spent a day raspberry picking just because we had time to kill...
We took 2 amazing trips to Traverse City!
I finally bought my DREAM mattress so I could get a good nights sleep...unfortunately the little one likes it too...
Got a major ego boost from a 22 year soldier at one of the finest weddings I've ever attended ;)

In a surprise turn of events I ended up having the best birthday I've ever had...EVER!
I surprised my daughter with a kitten for her birthday!

I took over the 'plant department' beginning with very little knowledge and can now say that I'm a self taught botanical expert!


My daughter and I had our 4th Hula recital and then became part of a group where we performed at 9 other shows this past summer!! AND actually got paid!


We spent a day at trampolining...how can you not be happy when you're jumping...
I got to be very creative at work and also took on a second job that I adore and is proving to be invaluable experience. 




Along with these things I also bought the car of my dreams and I started taking Archery classes that I attend on Friday nights. So maybe it wasn't the worst year ever...it was just the year that my heart broke. 

"The more difficult something is, the more God is going to multiply you. you're not going to come out the same. You're going to come out better than you were before." 






Monday, November 3, 2014

LIFE LIST JOURNEY HAS BEGUN





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) however...it'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

LIFE LIST: SWIM WITH STING RAYS


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

LIFE LIST: PUT A BOA CONSTRICTOR AROUND MY SHOULDERS


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 out...it 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 quickly...like 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!  



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