Adventure Girl

I love a good adventure. I am an adventure girl, though probably not in the traditional sense most people associate with the label. I don’t mean an adventure like roughing it under the stars in a sleeping bag with a kettle of beans over a fire I built with a couple of rocks and some sticks. Heavens, no! I think we’ve already established that I’m not a fan of roughing it. But that does not mean I don’t love adventure. Just consider the definition: Adventure: (ad-ven-cher) noun, verb. N: 1. an exciting or very unusual experience. 2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises. V: 1. to take the chance of; to dare Yes, please! Sign me up!
Denali, Alaska, glacier, helicopter adventure
In glacier boots in Denali, Alaska
I will jump at the opportunity to have an exciting or unusual experience, and I love to take the chance to have one. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate undertaking, although I have ziplined through Costa Rican mountains, hiked to the top of an active volcano in Italy, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, and flown alone to Paris for a weekend. An adventure can be as simple as a road trip to the beach or taking a scenic route to somewhere familiar. For me, the adventure is in the opportunity to experience something. Something new, something unique, something exciting, something beautiful. I am always on the lookout for a new adventure. And while I certainly love the undertaking of a long trip to faraway places, I can get just as excited about planning a moonlight walk in a cemetery or a day at wildlife park. And that word “planning” is key. I am not so much a spur-of-the-moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of adventurer. (Though I secretly wish I was!) I want to know where I am going, what to expect, what not to miss, and where to eat!
adventure, fly, wing in the sun, wing and a prayer
Did you say GO? I'm there.
The planning is a huge part of the draw for me. Researching the area, looking for the best deals, mapping it out, framing an itinerary in my head—that’s all part of the anticipation and excitement for me. I love getting ready for a trip. Picking out clothes, determining accessories, checking for weather. Planning and packing and making arrangements. I get almost giddy from the combination of stress and excitement. (My family may not agree that giddy is what I get, but they can write their own blog.) And, of course, I love actually going on the adventure. Discovering new things, meeting new people, seeing new places. How is it like home? How is it different? What can I learn? What can I take away from it? What will I remember most? Luckily for me, I am blessed with a Knight who is more than willing to adventure along with me. He is the best adventure partner ever, whether we are flying to New Orleans to spend the day or driving to Cocoa to watch the moon rise over the beach. He's even planned a few adventures himself; in fact, the moonlight walk in the graveyard was his surprise for me! He indulges me in my need for adventure, and he puts up with my incessant planning of every last detail. He tries really hard to balance me out with a healthy dose of going with the flow and taking naps here and there. (Okay, so I don’t ever really just “go with the flow”, but he tries to get me to, and because of him, I do at least think about being less structured.) And he is always patient and understanding when I stop to take 500 pictures of the same thing at different angles trying to get the perfect shot!
rental car, adventure, test drive
We are intense rental car test drivers.
My Knight and I find excitement in the smallest things on our adventures. Like rental cars. We are all about a rental car. It’s like an extended test drive. We are always excited to see what we’ll get and how it measures up to what we drive every day. “Oh, I like the visor. The seat doesn’t go back far. It rides nice. That’s a great place for a clock!” We love hotel rooms. Comfy beds, comfy pillows, ice cold air conditioning, and light-blocking drapes. Coming in late, sleeping late, and occasional room service. And someone else makes the bed!  
dessert, adventure, chocolate
Best. Dessert. Ever.
Did I mention how much we love finding great eats at a hole-in-the-wall? Look for the locals, and don’t go anywhere that’s empty. If it’s a little scary looking, but full of local people, take a chance! That’s how we ended up having some of the best steak we’ve ever had when we were in Costa Rica—in a pole barn with no walls, plastic chairs and the most incredible view of an erupting volcano! For me, going on an adventure—even just for a day---refreshes me. It recharges my batteries and clears my head. It’s my therapy I guess. I read once that Sagittarians need to travel to stay grounded. And the Chinese monkey thrives on travel. So even though I don’t live my life by either of my signs, I’ll take what works to my advantage from both and use that as an excuse to travel! Some people buy designer handbags or expensive shoes. I’d rather go somewhere.
travel therapy, relax, adventure
Travel is Therapy.
It really makes a difference for me. I can tell when I haven’t gotten away in a while because life starts to completely overwhelm me. But when I can go on an adventure, it’s like I am able to take a deep breath, stretch, and then come home with a clear head and a new determination to live life to its fullest. Which brings me to the best part of an adventure. Coming home from it. As much as I love planning a trip, packing for it, traveling to it, experiencing it and enjoying it, I love coming home even more. Back to my kids, my dogs, my friends, my home. My own bed. It’s as though every time I get away, I come back ready to be home and in my own routine. Refreshed, energized, feeling blessed, and ready to tackle daily life. But always on the lookout for the next adventure, of course! What recharges you? What is it that you do that keeps you sane and happy? I’d love to know!    

Hit (and Dent) and Run: That’s RUDE!

I was picking up Dr. Smooth from a friend’s house, and as I stood talking with the friend’s mom in the driveway, Dr. Smooth noticed a dent and a hole in the front bumper of my car. “Mom! Someone hit your car!” he exclaimed.
Mazda 6, dent, accidental fender bender
That's not supposed to be there!
“What?!?” And sure enough, someone had indeed bashed the front bumper of my car.  It wasn't very big, and it wasn't very noticeable.  But someone had hit my car.  Hard enough to put a hole in the bumper with a small dent beside it. “What?!” I asked again, racking my brain to figure out where and when this could have possibly happened. “Looks like someone backed into you,” said Friend’s Mom. “Or you ran into something,” offered Dr. Smooth. “No, I think I would know if I ran into something,” I said confidently, as I pondered in my head whether or not I might have run into something.  I tried to remember if there was any time that maybe I might have.  I couldn’t think of any. “It really looks like someone backed into you the way that hole is pushed in,” said Friend’s Mom. “How would someone back into me??? Where???” I asked, a bit confused and slightly aggravated that someone had done something to me and I didn't know about it. “Probably in a parking lot,” she offered. Now I was a bit angry.  I suddenly had a lot of questions I wanted to ask society.  How could someone just back into my car, and obviously from the HOLE IN MY BUMPER they would have KNOWN that they backed into my car, and then just drive away?  I don’t get that.  How can you HIT someone’s car and just drive away?  I mean, what kind of idiot would just knock a hole in someone’s bumper and not even leave a note to say “My bad!”  Society is whacked, people!  That’s not cool.  I suddenly felt victimized. And then Dr. Smooth said, “I can’t wait to see John’s face when you tell him. He’s going to be so mad.” Oh, great.  Now on top of my own issues with this situation, I have to consider my husband’s inevitable reaction.  My Knight is slightly OCD about door dings and parking lots.  He will park 47 miles from the door at the very back of the lot to get an end spot next to a tree or something to limit the car’s vulnerability.  He will get completely out of line and totally freak out the parking lot attendants at theme parks in order to park the car by itself or at the end of a row.  And he is like a CSI detective when we get back to the car inspecting it for dings. So I was NOT looking forward to heading home to share with him that not only had I obviously parked near other cars (horrors!), but one of them had gone beyond a door ding and left a gaping hole in my front bumper.  Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that I didn’t even notice this had happened.  He was going to be thrilled beyond belief. I waited until we were about halfway through dinner.  I waited until he was no longer starving, a bit satiated, but not full and miserable. I waited until he had just put a forkful in his mouth and was in a happy place filled with shrimp scampi.  And then I casually tossed out, “Somebody hit my car and left a hole in the front bumper.”  And then I casually took a bite of scampi.  You know, like I had just said, “Pass the peas” or “It rained today.” His eyes widened, and he looked back and forth between Dr. Smooth and me as he chewed his shrimp. Dr. Smooth stoked the fire with, “Yeah, she didn’t even know about it.  I told her she probably hit something and didn’t notice.”  (Thank you Dr. Smooth!)
dent in Mazda 6
Yikes! That doesn't look good.
“No, Kim and I think that someone backed into me.  Someone hit me,” I insisted. Dr. Smooth’s ability to assist in this situation was never-ending.  “I told her I couldn’t wait to see the look on your face when she told you.”  My child has such a twisted sense of what is entertaining. “Really?” is all My Knight said.  He had finished chewing his shrimp, and I thought for a moment he was speechless as he considered this news. But then he looked at Dr. Smooth with this weird little smirk on his face and said, “Oh yeah?  Well, you might want to watch the look on your mother’s face right now.” And My Knight looked at me with a sadistic little grin and said calmly, “I hit your car.” ………………………………….What????? “I backed into your car.” ………………………………..That’s what I thought he said. “You backed into my car????” I asked as Dr. Smooth burst into laughter. “Yeah.  I backed into with the van and the trailer hitch knocked a hole in it.” He was so calm when he said it, too.  Like he was just mentioning that he got a grass stain on his jeans and needed me to use spot remover before putting them in the wash. “WAIT.” My brain was slowly catching up. “WAIT A MINUTE.  YOOOUUUUUU hit my car????” Now they were both laughing.  I was not laughing. “WHEN?????” “I don’t know.  One day last week, I think?  I’m surprised you noticed it.  I figured it would take a lot longer.”  (I didn’t bother to mention that technically I didn’t notice it….Dr. Smooth did.  Unimportant detail at that moment.) “WAIT A MINUTE.” I said again. “You hit my car??? And you didn’t even tell me????” Turns out my car was behind his company van on the street in front of the house,
Mazda 6 dent
Oops! Maybe she won't notice it!
and for reasons I still don’t fully understand, the man could not see a BRIGHT RED car behind him, and he hit my freakin’ car.  And did not even tell me. Somehow they both found this humorous.  I still have not found it humorous.  But at least I got one of those society questions from above answered.   I now know what kind of idiot um, person, would hit a car and not even leave a note.  Or mention it over dinner, breakfast, etc.  And then he had the audacity to say, "Well, it's something you can blog about." It’s a good thing I love that man so much.

Saturday Through My Lens: Rainy Day

And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down...... rain on a lanai screen roof This past week, the Sunshine State has been a little short on sun. It is gray and dreary and spooky outside.  The raindrops are too big to fit through the screen, so they form a beautiful roof of glass and crystals over my pool.  Tiny insects surf the roof in swirls and loops that leave designs for me to ponder. oak tree droppings look like spiders in the rain And the oak tree litter on the screen gives me the willies because it looks like spiders above my head.  It is not all gloom and despair though. Rosebud with Rain Drops The flowers and plants seem to rejoice as they celebrate the rain in vibrancy and vitality. Fresh Tomatoes on the Vine The water drips off them in a display of overindulgence and delight in being satiated.

Squash flower in the rain

The delicate blooms that wither and gasp in the heat and humidity of the relentless sun drink up the moisture and relish in the cool dampness.

Red Peppers Thrive in the Rain

The colors are almost surreal and too intense for a man-made lens to capture.

Bouganvillea in the Rain

And still the rain comes down.  Everything is wet.  The dry ground forms puddles, and the pond and the pool grow full with the ever-falling drops.

The raindrops dance on the water with a musical plip-plop melody. And the baby gators pop their heads up to watch the show from an eye-level seat. DSCF8071 baby alligators in the rain But if it doesn't stop soon, my pool will overflow and my rubber ducky will be carried away with a whistle. Rubber Ducky in the rain