Travels
Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography

Father’s Day, the day that we honor our fathers and celebrate with them. They day that all people who are considered Fathers get to enjoy a gift of some kind from their family. Maybe its a beer at the bar in town. Or a trip out on the boat for a nice long fishing father and kid friendship relived. Could be that you get a card made from your favorite person. Whatever it is, it is usually a gift of some kind and if it’s a good or bad gift, well I guess it depends on who you raised. 

This year we already kicked off father’s day with a blast. We had the Father’s day Run down here in sunny side Florida and it started around 6:30 p.m. Along with opening the store at my part time job, I got around six hours of sleep in total, I also had to immediately go to the race once I got home and changed into proper gear. In honestly, I was so exhausted and not looking forward to this run. My legs were cramping up a little bit when I was at work and I thought that would make me way slower then I wanted to be. The sky was cloudy which was nice....until the sun came out. Then the humidity came with the heat for a little while and I thought that we would all become eggs on a sidewalk. Lastly we had this route that was so straightforward that I was sure I would die from boredom. Honestly I wanted to go to bed right there but I wanted to try and be a good sport so I ran the race with my father. 

Once the race started I felt like the actual run went quickly but I felt like my physical self was dragging behind mile by mile. At one point I really wanted to stop and just not keep going but somewhere inside of me I heard the army side of myself that I only use in exercising situations and just cursed the rest of the way to the finish line with just my thoughts alone. Really became the ending drive that made me finish up quicker than the rest of the race. When the race was over we stayed around and chatted with others of the running community. There was even a puppy that we all got to meet and play with. Up for adoption and just beautiful. The people were also very nice and enthusiastic about her. Wonderful pairing for her to take after. From there we waited while they made the finalization on the results. I chatted with this lady about Spain, the beach, art, her grandkids, her family members passing away, my blog, to then being interrupted by the results being ready for the public. They quickly went through the masters and grandmasters and to both of our surprises my Dad got Master. At first we didn’t hear him, the area was so loud with people talking that hearing someone on a mic was pretty close to non-realistic. When he finally realized it was him and got the prize we both waited anxiously to hear my name, to see if I did indeed win anything and before I knew it, bam my name was in First Place for my age group. 

Really both of us walked away with total surprises. We just didn’t see us placing so well and yet we got the prizes to show for it. Great start to a great celebration. Of course it is now father’s day and I sadly don’t have much to give this year. Really I just wanted to tell you how much he inspired me and how I think he is one of the few people in the world I respect. He knows so much about the world and I may not agree with everything he says, or like some flavors of cheese he eats, and get annoyed when he takes fifteen minutes to get to a point in a story (only sometimes) but, despite his flaws I think he is going to make it the way he wanted to make it. No tricks, no flash of a light, no fireworks and candy, just exactly the way he wanted it. Complete in a way that makes him feel good. For me these past few years have been difficult for me to go through and we both fought a lot but, were still here and I still respect and love him. He may be an old fart but he does ok at teaching me something new and is decent at air hockey and for that I can respect his ways and his character. 

Really I guess that’s all any parent can ask for, Happy Father's Day Dad! 

 

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Have you ever been hit in the face so hard that you can’t feel the pain at first? Your feet maybe go back a couple steps; you stumble, blink your eyes several times, and try to replay what just happened in your head. You know you got hurt just now. There was a bright flash of something coming towards your face. You felt the contact but where’s the pain. You maybe reach up to touch your face when out of nowhere the tears come down heavily. Your body knows you’re in pain but you just haven’t registered it yet.... have you felt that before? I have, several times. That’s what the sport soccer is for. Face injuries. The worst and most puzzling injury. Everyone that’s ever played soccer has either been hit in the face once with a soccer ball or has been very close to being hit. 

I met my friend with this injury. We happened to be placed on the same team back when we were in Middle school. I was trying to get into the conversation these two girls had. Turns out that trying to include yourself in conversation while on a soccer field means that you’re gonna get hit. This stranger just kicks the ball with all god mighty strength and it comes hurdling towards me and lands right in the middle of my face, on my nose and proceeds to press in as hard as it can before bouncing off my face and to the ground below. I was shocked at the sudden encounter with such force and I don’t remember much of what happened in that moment. I know that the stranger was trying very hard to apologize over and over again as if she were six and her mother was about to spank her. Repeated apologies. From there we quickly got to know one another and from then on our friendship became a battlefield when we played. The next year passed and we ended up on the same team and this stranger who was now my best friend was called Olivia. That year we were very close and so we decided to give ourselves nicknames. "Shotgun and "Bullet. There’s a memory somewhere of the events that lead to that name but I don’t remember all the details. More than likely we were playing a Nancy Drew game when we came up with it and we just decided to go with it. 

It actually ended up working out pretty well as we got to being put together on defense. See Olivia and I had the biggest kicks on the whole team and that was a huge advantage when it came to the ball being in just the right spot on our side. With a strong offence our team was pretty much undefeatable. Of course, playing on the same team meant more injuries for us both. Several times we had close calls and I remember distinctly when coach wanted Olivia and I to spar. We both immediately declined warning him that one of us would get injured. Thinking we were joking he put us out on the field. Olivia on defense and me on offence. Trouble is, once that happened chaos became a chasing game. We were both trying so hard to hold back that one of us eventually snapped. We were a good minute into our spar when I go for the ball and Olivia had the same reaction to hit it as hard as she could so that she could win the game. With so much force behind her kick it went straight into my nose. There was a moment I felt like the lord might just make a bloody appearance. I was so confused when I saw Olivia in front of me. The coach was telling me to sit down and I felt fine. I even said it, declared it and took a step forward when my body had collapsed from my face basically exploding into a frenzy of tears and words that became lost in the vortex of words along the way of trying to say them. It took me a whole fifteen minutes to recover and for my friend to calm down as she was hysterical. Back then she was so apologetic all the time and I just remember thinking about how ridiculous this was that we still couldn’t have a normal game. That year I believe we won the tournament and with my best friend we had awkwardly taken photos and then spent the summer together. 

We were close for a while and we had so much fun together. I have stories for days when it comes to the two of us and I’m sure I’m going to share many of them with you all but, those two moments were the ones that brought us together and made us so close for so long. Not just us playing but us bonding over the actual sport. Who knew I would meet such a quirky friend. 

 

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So for a long time I’ve been writing stories. On paper, on my computer, in my head, journals, every little story I can think of, i write it in some way. When I was in High School we used to have this club called Creative Writing Club. It had maybe ten to fifteen people in it all together and we would spend an hour going around and sharing stories if you felt like it. Each time we met I always had something new and interesting and each time I was able to entertain others. I usually thought of odd ways to share my thoughts and I remember one story in particular. It was about a boy I met in high School. He always loved adrenaline and he used to do flips and MMA fighting a lot. He thought he was invincible and was always showing off in some way. Whenever I would think of him I would associate his behavior with someone who was hurting and was in a bad situation at home. For some reason the two connected and I wrote a story about it. It’s been years since I have read this story and years since I have shared it with anybody but I thought that I would share this story with you and let you guys read it. Its old fashioned and it hasn’t been edited but, I do think that it says a lot about what I was thinking back then and this blog isn’t just about my life stories and Travels, it’s also about my thoughts and what I am feeling. I’ve been thinking about this story a lot so here it goes, this stories title is really simple, it’s called Falling. I hope you enjoy. 

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                                              Falling

Falling was my first thought. Why fall when you can fly? was my second thought. Yet I couldn't seem to move out of the first thought....falling... Never have I thought about something like falling before. Sure maybe when you're in action or when you're at a high place and you're a little scared because you’re at the top of something that was at a height you had never explored before but from the ground? Naw, I have never thought of falling from the ground.

As I walked down the streets of New York, hands in pockets and with my hood up to cover my face I thought about the sensation of falling, what it would be like to do a backflip off the top of a building and to simply feel the rush of the sensation through your body. I smirked a little. It was crazy and completely out of my proportion. I mean, who would be crazy enough to fall off of a building in New York city?

Well ok some people are crazy enough but I mean to just have a feeling of adrenaline?

“Psh, who does that kind of **** these days” I whispered as I turned a street corner not really thinking about where I was going.

Simply stated, I wanted to have the feeling of falling. Thinking about it then made me realize that maybe for a long time, deep, deep down that I always wanted to have more of that feeling when I did back flips off of dangerous heights. I mean two stories weren't enough anymore, let alone three. I was starting to get itchy from the thought of doing a backflip off of a higher place.

“You wouldn't live” I whispered to myself as I entered a building clearly arguing with myself as I went up the stairs the numbers going through my head. This building was 1,250 feet up.....and that was not including the extension on top.

“You’re crazy, why do this when you know you wouldn't survive?” I asked myself looking up as my legs wouldn't stop carrying me up the flights of stairs. I don’t know why I didn't just take the elevator, I mean it would have saved so much time then again maybe it was to get my blood pumping and to take a few moments to talk myself out of it.....if I could. I kept going up.

“You have family” I said to myself. That didn't seem to stop my legs from climbing higher.

“You have a girlfriend” I said with a slight twinge of pain from thinking about how much she would cry when she found out.. and I thought I had talked myself out of it with just that thought. Of thinking of her beautiful face shattered from hearing about how her boyfriend had been delusional and had jumped off the Empire State Building just cause he could. I could imagine her seeing the TV and sinking to her knees speechless from the information. For a moment I thought my feet were slowing to a stop...

letting out a shaky breath they started up again and I kept going up. Apparently it wasn't enough to stop myself from actually doing it. Would you call that selfish? For wanting to feel adrenaline course through your veins at any cost? well...i guess that would be a stupid question because it does sound pretty selfish when you think about it.

Finally reaching the top my feet stopped. Time slowed and I smiled. I was crazy and I couldn't help it. Walking slowly to the edge I thought about all the things I had done and how this was it. The last flip I would ever do, the last thing I would see, and the last moment to get in touch with my heart and just accept everything. getting to the edge I looked down. Tiny cars and people were going about their day not expecting anything. Not a single thing.

Turning around with my back to the other building and my eyes facing the open door that would lead to me living and seeing all I have ever known again I simply shut it out. I closed my eyes, smiled, and simply...jumped.... Spreading my arms like I was a bird I slowly turned in the air and started to sail down the side of the building going in a slow circle. It was amazing, it was so amazing. It was like opening a Christmas present you have always wanted but, better. I laughed as I feel. It was so quiet, so peaceful and beautiful.

Opening my eyes and having them instantly watering I thought of my second thought. Why fall when you can fly? and suddenly like being pulled back by a bungee cord I sailed up. Startled I looked up and saw something feather like. Moving to touch them they flapped and it hit me. Those were wings. My second thought had brought me to being able to fly. Smiling like an idiot on Halloween I instinctively took off and started to fly fast and quick. This was the dream, this was amazing, this was something that I never would have expected...for that matter nobody would have expected.

It was bright, beautiful, amazing and a whole new world.

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Most people are satisfied with a roof over their head and four walls to call their own. It’s a place where you can be warm, dry, that you can decorate to fit who you are, have private interactions, and let all frustration out without anyone seeing you. It’s a nice place to escape from the big bad people in the world. Its somewhere where you feel most relaxed and you can let it all out. Its a place of salvation and redemption. A place where you get to store you most prized processions and keep them locked away from predators who would otherwise call your stuff their stuff. An area to show off your personality and your lifestyle. It’s all in that one four walled area. A space with your name written all over it. You have the keys, you have the control. For most people in the world, just having something to call their own is enough. They live, breath, have interactions, plant roots in those four walls, and make it a place they officially call home. Home becomes a place you can go back to when you leave and go places. Home becomes a place for your fur babies to grow up. Home becomes a place you can start a family and build a career. 

For me I have seen the same four walls for years. The window looks out to the grass and fence of my next door neighbor. A place with all of my photos and frames up. A place to display my CD's, Butterflies, awards, Map with all the dots of places I’ve been, and a computer filled with the memories of thousands of pictures to show the past and present. Yet it’s not enough. I go outside my four walls and I get in my car. The engine purrs in response to my call. Once I back out of my garage and start back on this long and winding road I feel a sense of freedom, no matter how short it is. There is no wall to hold me back. There is no memory for me to stare at. There is no constant repetitiveness that makes me sigh and roll my eyes. All of the restraints are gone and I am suddenly alive. My heart beats a little faster, my smile is wide, and my eyes feel like they are shining from deep in my soul, I can breathe in the fresh air and just drive. 

Having roots means that you have somewhere you are in charge of for however long you are there. It means that you can’t detach yourself from the place and just go anywhere for as long as you desire. It’s a constant pull that you have to pay attention to. Something you have to keep on the sidelines but not too far in the sidelines that you can’t see it anymore. Roots means that your life is attached to the things that you need to survive. It means that you have to go back eventually. Sure a home is nice to have, roots can be rewarding but, it can also be the biggest pain for those who don’t want that life yet. Mobility is the biggest asset to us humans. It gives us a chance to expand. It gives us experience. It makes us step out of our comfort zone and its exhilarating. 

Every time I leave my temporary home to go somewhere new I know that at any time I can make a call and tell my Dad I’m not coming back. I know there are no roots. There’s nothing really holding me down and nothing to stop me from making that decision to just make a 360 and never come home. That’s the thing about the four walls that people don’t realize. it’s wonderful that people want to start a family, have place to call theirs and somewhere to go back to but, if you ever question that life just know that you can make a complete turn around and leave it behind. You may fight with your lover, you might have issues making it real and to do it, you have to let almost everything go but, if you decide to do it...well you may just free yourself from the roots that you planted. 

Tread carefully though, because once you do it you may never want to go back to being planted in one spot. For me, the adventure never ends, it just keeps going, twisting and winding my life. Four walls just isn’t enough for me. 

 

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For the past couple of years we have had a family tradition. Every year we take a trip up to Michigan. Usually we go to my Dad's high school reunion. It’s a beautiful campus and it’s in the middle of nowhere. They have so many cool things to see and the whole campus is engulfed in nature. You can walk around on the edge of the lake, you can run the three mile course they have which is surrounded my nature, You can go to the one and ONLY grocery store that they have and get the bare necessities of what you need, and most of all you get to enjoy the sixty degree weather that they have vs our usual ninety degree weather that we have back home. For my dad and I it’s a nice way to spend a week away from home and we enjoy it to the best of our abilities. It also allows me to meet the people that my dad grew up with and learn more stories about him. My Dad was a pretty bad kid and got away with a lot of things. Stuff now that you would never get away with in this day and age.

This year though we had to make a decision. I work a part time job and as it turns out, the week that we usually take to go to the reunion was almost impossible to get off. Everyone was going somewhere or spending time celebrating Father’s Day. My job had asked me if it was possible to move that week up or down. I had told them that it wasn’t my decision and that it was my Dad's since this was his trip. With much understanding they gave me time to ask and with no difficulty we moved the trip up a week. So we made plans, I told my job and they were happy that I could make the change. Were pretty laid back so it was an easy change to make. We then decided to go Helen Georgia to do some hiking and for me to see this little town since I had not been before.  It was quite the little town. I called it the town that magically appeared in the mountains. It pretty much was just that. Very small, you can walk all around town with a couple thousand steps and everything was laid out to be that way. It was around the seventies when we arrived and the town was bustling with people. It originally was inspired by the Germans so the architecture was magnificent and they had beer at every turn. The food was very well done and from what I understand they did most things by hand. They had Fudge shops, coffee shops, and plenty of beer stops. For me it was quite the event since it was pretty much was I imagined every town in the world would look like as a child. I had always hoped that, the world would be as beautiful as it was there and I wished it more than anything when I was younger. Now that I know reality though, it’s a nice refresher from the cities and towns that have no mountains or nature parks. It was like a little fantasy land. 


We spent the most of the evening walking around and just enjoying the air. We bought some alcohol and had some good food. We went to bed and the next day we decided to go for a hike. As it turned out we had also run into trouble that morning. We both drink coffee and my dad had gotten my hopes up with this little coffee shop that was in town. It was called Higher Ground and he said that the coffee was exceptional. That sounded amazing and that morning I had high hopes that we would get away from the usual water tasting coffee that most hotels provide. Sadly I was wrong. That morning it seemed that all the shops were still sleeping because we waited for an hour for the shops that had coffee to open and they seemed to have become ghosts. With much frustration, disappointment, and unhappiness we moved on and went for the hike without caffeine. Once we got to the road that went to the trail we ran into a part of the road that was just flooded enough so that the car couldn’t make it over and up the hill to the beginning of the trail. With a short talk about if we should go or not we decided to do the little walk up to the trail. Well a little walk turned into a uphill climb for an entire mile and a quarter. No real breaks just up the entire time. 

Instantly I became a devil. I regretted every step but I tried to stay optimistic, for the sake of my father and I. Sure i'm evil when I don’t have caffeine and I made it clear how unhappy I was with my little short dialogues. and unwillingness to be a decent human being. The reward was worth it though and once we were at the waterfall it was quite beautiful. You were so close you could look straight up at it and feel the water coming from the waterfall. It dropped a good ten degrees because you were so close and that was a good enough reward for me to feel like, even if I didn’t get my caffeine, that it was worth the crazy uphill part of the hike. It was nothing like the Grand Canyon (now that one kicked our asses) but it was definitely one for the books. 

Even if it was hard I still did it and I may have been an evil bitch in the beginning but, that’s ok. We both made it and we both thought it was worth the almost five mile trek. Even if you don’t have caffeine you can still do human like activities. It may be harder but it is still worth it. 

 

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