Forty One

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So, this is 41. Supposedly once you’re over 40, then you’re considered “over the hill”, right? Well maybe, maybe not. In my 20’s I did consider the 40’s as being “over the hill” and I had a picture in my head of what that would look and feel like. This is not at all what I expected. Man, am I glad.  I choose to make the most of every day.  I choose to do the things that make me feel alive. So, here’s to the 40’s. Bring it on!

*A special thanks to my three favorite people; Steve, Danica and Trey.  Steve made me feel special and let me do anything I wanted all weekend while he did my chores for me.  Trey went rock climbing with me and we had the best time.  Danica gave me the best present by coming home for the weekend to hang out with me.  To each of you… thank you for being you and thank you for being amazing.  You made me feel so very special. 

 

Ocean Magic

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For me, paddleboading can be a purely magical experience.  This week I got to experience one of those magical moments. The water was completely flat, glassy, crystal clear and calm, the ocean was filled with beautiful sea life, the wind was calm and the moon was full.  It was perfect!  I quickly remembered just how much I love paddleboarding and how grateful I am to live in a place where I can do things like this year round.

You see, two years ago (before my mom’s accident), I was out on the water every single week without fail.  Then life flipped upside down and I just never got back into the habit.  Well, I’m taking life by the horns and I’m changing that.  Doing fun active activities makes me feel better physically and emotionally. Paddleboarding is probably at the top of that activity list for me.  It makes me feel alive! Now I’m looking to add additional activities to this list; mountain bike trail riding and indoor rock climbing.  More to come on that.  In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying more time on the ocean.

Beach Photography

I have been MIA from the blog for sometime; 3 months to be exact!  WOW, how quickly time flies.  Hopefully that will change.  Soon there will be a post about my hair, the debacle and the process to recover.  I know, don’t get too excited.  In the meantime, I wanted to share my most recent little hobby with you.

If you know me at all, then you know I’m a beach lover.  It could be said that I moved my family 1600 miles to be close to the beach.  (well, that’s at least one reason anyway) The beach brings me peace.  It is my happy place.  Ok, after much  babbling, here’s the point.  I got this awesome lens set for my Samsung phone from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas.  The set came with a wide angle lens and a fish eye lens. My Galaxy s6 Active already takes great photos, but this lens takes it up a notch. Plus, it’s super easy to use.  I can’t stop taking photos.

Here are just a few pics I’ve taken in just the last three weeks.  If you follow me on Instagram, then this will be a repeat.  If you don’t follow me on Instagram, please do.  You can find me at @mamanellie_.

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What Shall It Be?

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What does a person need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? ”

― Sterling Hayden

Venetian Pool

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My, now college sophomore, daughter had only one full week off between spring and summer semesters.  I decided to sneak in some quality time with her and do something a bit touristy.  When you live in a vacation spot, it’s easy to forget about all the unique opportunities right at your finger tips.  We decided to shoot down to Miami for the afternoon and visit the Venetian Pool.

The pool was created in the 20’s from a coral rock quarry, where much of the original coral rock was used to border and further accentuate the pool.  The Venetian Pool was transformed into a paradise that is included in the National Register of Historic Places, the only swimming pool to have such a designation.

Upon walking in, you feel like you have transcended into a lush tropical vacation in Italy; waterfalls, caves, a beach, shallow lounge and, of course, the massive pool.  All of this beauty is surrounded by stone landscape and buildings architected from another time and place.  This south Florida tourist spot is a must if you are anywhere near Miami.

I thoroughly enjoyed my one-on-one time with my girl.  Now she’s off to the fun things in life like micro-biology.

Perspective

Palm in the Sky

It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors.
It was summer but it was fall I wanted: the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.
It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the Christmas season.
It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and respect.
I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle -aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit.
I was retired but it was middle-aged that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over but I never got what I wanted.

-Written by a fourteen year old boy (yes, fourteen!)

Mexico :: Day 4

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Last days are always hard; soaking in the final bits of your destination before you head back home to reality.  We took in as much of the island as possible.  One really cool part of this last day was sitting on a second story balcony of a little Mexican cantina watching the super bowl in Spanish on the TV while watching carnaval parades on the streets below during commercials. Well this was cool until the following morning.  I knew not to drink the water in Mexico.  It’s a well known fact that the water is not at all drinkable.  This was ingrained in my brain.  Little did I know that the ice in my drink at dinner while watching the super bowl (and carnaval) was not filtered.  I woke up the next morning stupid early to the sound of an alarm feeling all kinds of horrible.  I didn’t realize right away what was wrong with me.  I literally vomited my way back to the U.S.  I threw up in the airports multiple times and had to repeatedly jump out of the customs line to run to the bathroom to vomit.  When in the United States customs line, you see signs everywhere stating all these different symptoms and their related diseases.  I made sure to force my happy face when getting to the front of the VERY long customs line in the U.S. I did not what them to suspect anything strange.  I just desperately needed to get home to my bed.  Needless to say, it was the worst travel experience I’d ever had.  After thinking it through and talking to a few people who had traveled to Mexico, we narrowed it down to that one glass of ice.

Isla Mujeres was quaint, authentic and breathtakingly beautiful.  I would go again in a heartbeat but will NEVER have ice in my drink again!  Adios!

Mexico :: Day 3

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The snorkel trip had a very interesting beginning.  We went to what we thought was the dive shop that I booked the trip with.  After several back and forth trips and stringing us along, we found out that this dive shop was not who we booked with.  They were apparently trying to scam us into booking with them instead.  Luckily, a sweet lady that represented our dive shop, Isla Mujeres Trips, called our hotel to say that we were late to check-in but they would wait on us.  When getting on the boat we were a bit surprised to be the only English speaking people.  Our tour guide didn’t even speak any English. Yikes!  Steve and I looked at each other and said, “well this is going to be an interesting trip!”  After a bit of time, we found out that a young Spanish couple on the boat lived in New York and could speak English so they translated the important stuff. Thank God!

This was the only day I had actually booked ahead to do an excursion.  The only thing that I didn’t want to miss was MUSA, an underwater art that lies between the shores of Cancun and our little island.  I have to admit that I half heartedly booked the trip not expecting to see much.  Because we are not certified divers, we could only snorkel and the museum was 30 feet beneath the surface.  I thought we would be able to see hints of the sculptures at best.  Man, was I ever wrong.  The beautiful water had certainly impressed me the first day, but that was nothing compared to our snorkel of the museum.  When jumping off the boat, the first set of sculptures were the grouping of statues.  The statues were so visible and clear from 30 feet that we could see the details of their faces.  It was so clear, I felt like I was in 5 feet of water. AMAZING!  From there we went on to see the VW bug sculpture and the sculptures of people in prostrate form.

Even though the snorkel trip was MUCH colder that I liked, it was all worth it.  I love snorkeling and have seen many reefs but this snorkel trip took the cake.  It was by far the prettiest and most memorable trip of all time.  We ended the day at a restaurant (with the wavy pier) for a nice fish dinner.

Mexico :: Day 2

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Day two was shaping up to be a fairly cloudy and somewhat chilly day so we rented a golf cart and toured the island.  Isla Mujeres is so small that you can see the entire island in 2 hours via golf cart.  How cool is that?  We set out on the adventure with no agenda in mind (quite unusual for me).  There is almost no possible way to get lost since there is only one road that goes around the island (with ocean views, I might add).  We rode in the golf cart and simply stopped when we saw something of interest; a roadside restaurant with a very unstable “wavy” pier, intriguing B & B with the best piña colada I’ve ever had, random reggae bar with a live band, beautiful rocky oceanside views and a surprisingly colorful and beautiful cemetery (never thought I’d think of a cemetery in that way). It was the best day and I fell more in love with this beautiful little island and the golf cart driver.  😉

Mexico :: Day 1

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After a flight, a shuttle and a boat ride, we landed on this tiny island just off the coast of Mexico.  Isla Mujeres was all that we thought it would be and maybe even a bit more.  I was immediately taken by the views. I assumed all the pics online were touched up but I was completely wrong.  The water was a bright, crystal clear, fluorescent, turquoise dream; amazing! We were ready to start the “becoming 40” celebration.