Oh, Canada

Realizing I could easily write an essay on our recent trip to Canada, I decided you might be more apt to read it, if it was described in pictures.

Let me start by saying that one of the highlights for me was meeting fellow bloggers.  First was lunch with Deb from The Widow Badass.


She was just as delightful in person as she is on her blog.

I also got to meet Joanne from My Life Lived Full, who was my inspiration for this trip as she is always writing about her city, Toronto.


It was fun to meet these women face to face and solidify what, up til then, had been just an on-line friendship.

Just a few tips about Canada

If you are planning a trip to Niagara Falls:

  • Go directly to the Canadian side, it’s easier access and a much better view
  • Try to avoid arriving mid-day – on a weekend – in the summer (like we did)
  • Be prepared for crowds


  • Take the boat ride which ever side you are on


  • And, finally, go with the one you love if possible.



The largest city in Canada has one of the most efficient public transit systems.  If you go, take the subway, the bus, and the cable car!


Look for the black squirrels.


Enjoy the sites.



Visit neighborhoods.


What ever you do, you will enjoy this city.  It has something for everyone.

In closing, I just have to say that I was struck by how positive everyone was – from messages on T-shirts, to billboards, to the people we met.  The Prime Minister addressed the nation while we were there.  He stated the importance of listening to each other.  With such a diverse population, it was wonderful to see everyone getting along.  Because after all, don’t we all just want the same things in life – peace, happiness, and opportunity?

Oh, Canada, you won my heart!


Women’s March

It is nearly impossible to describe the energy and excitement of the coming together of women, children, and men of every walk of life, every color, religion, disability, or orientation.  I don’t normally like crowds and I have had some health challenges lately – but yesterday I proudly walked with my daughter, my friends, and several thousand other like minded people to express our passion for not allowing this country to move backward.


Women’s March on Washington


My latest personal outrage came from our new President’s pick for cabinet posts, many of which seemed more like a slap in the face to the position, rather than nominating a qualified candidate.  In particular, Betsy DeVos who has absolutely no knowledge or experience with public education, as his pick for Secretary of Education.  But I’m also disturbed at the terrible example he is setting  by tweeting insults every time someone disagrees with him, and by dismissing any facts that are not favorable to him, as “fake” news.

So many signs, so many people – well over 500,000 – and not one single arrest.  To me that is the most significant point of the day, this was a march of resistance, but it was a PEACEFUL march!  Everyone from the D.C.Police, to the people protesting our march, were respectful and gracious.

We heard “thank you’s” from people waving from their homes as we made our way to and from the march (our buses were parked at the RFK stadium parking lot).  The police thanked us for being there.  We had A list celebrities speaking not just in D.C., but at all the rallies across the country.

As we got closer to the rally point, it seemed that every street you looked down was full of marchers. I can’t begin to tell you how it felt, but I got teary eyed at so many things, from watching people make way for wheel chairs, to the patience of people as our little group of six chained our way through the crowds.  At one point I just had to sit or lean against something, so I made my way toward a truck where a kind gentleman offered me his portable chair.

It was a long day with many speeches, some we could hear, some we couldn’t, but all with the same message – don’t let this be one day of protest – get involved, get active, call your representatives and make sure they know how you feel.  I know our President will try to ignore this event (or spin it to favor him) but Congress knows better.  I hope Congress was watching and listening.  This is not a time to be complacent – be a doer!  Phone calls, emails, letters, whatever works for you – be a doer!

Yesterday’s event was amazing and inspiring:  smiles everywhere, love everywhere, and passion everywhere.

Seven states, 1750 miles, weather varieties

Just back from a winter getaway to the Gulf Shore.  To say we experienced a variety of weather is an understatement.  Our first 2 days in Alabama brought sunshine and upper 60 degree temps.  It was wonderful, people were playing beach volley ball, my husband got fully submerged in the gulf, we took beach walks and enjoyed nature.



That little dot in the center is my husband’s head sticking out of the water.




Then came the storm.  For Alabama, that meant heavy rains, near freezing temps and wind – lots of wind!

There’s really not much to do at the beach when the wind is blowing and the rain is everywhere, so we spent our last afternoon at the Gulf Shore in our room watching the weather channel and wondering if we would be able to get to Atlanta the next day.  I appreciate the job weather people have and how excited they get when there is a big front coming in, but they do tend to over hype most of the time.  As we were trying to come up with a plan B – Atlanta got a little ice which was completely melted by the time we rolled in to town the day after the storm.

However, it was 15 degrees with chilling winds – so we did not venture far that first night.


The next morning, the sun was shining bright and it actually warmed to a balmy 34 degrees (still plenty windy).  We spent most of the afternoon at Stone Mountain.  Having hiked Stone Mountain, NC – we had to see what Stone Mountain, GA was like. To our surprise, there was a carving of Confederate heroes.  Seriously?  Who does that?  I cannot imagine the time, energy, and skill that went into this carving!  It was impressive.


This stone mountain looked completely out of place in a rather flat part of Georgia – we didn’t think it was real at first.  (Stone Mountain, NC is actually in a mountain range.)  There is a whole village there with fun activities for the entire family.  I don’t want to know what it is like in the summer as crowded as it was on this chilly Sunday.  It’s definitely worth the $15 admission.  Although, it did bother me just a little to learn that this park is privately owned.  It is owned by the same folks who own Dollywood.

We also managed to find a couple of German restaurants in Atalanta.  The first one had a flag from the town where my husband’s grandfather was born and where his brother lives.



The second one was downtown Atlanta and had been recommended by my daughter.  It was fun getting dressed up in a drindl.


Anyway, we will go back to Atlanta when the weather is more agreeable, it was a fun city.

Driving home, we didn’t see snow until we were well into South Carolina, the accumulation was highest in North Carolina, but we did have a decent covering in our backyard in Virginia.


Even though it was a great trip, I am happy to be back in my own bed and ready to get this new year started.  Here’s to 2017!!  I hope it will be a good year for all of you!

The Holidays

It’s always fun to hear about friend’s holiday traditions and how they got started.  Since my daughter left home, my husband and I started a tradition of taking a trip for an extended weekend right before Thanksgiving.  It began with Myrtle Beach, where we discovered that on those off days you could get ocean front hotels for very little money.  Often times, my husband would be the only person brave enough to actually swim in the ocean – it can be quite cold that time of year. But it was fun to walk the beach and eat fresh seafood without the usual crowds.  We did this for about 3 years in a row before deciding we needed a change.

The next two years we spent in Nashville after becoming late in life country music fans.  Nashville is a very fun city with live music everywhere, if you have not been there, I highly recommend it.

This year I wanted to go to Asheville, NC and do some hiking.  We booked an airbnb months ago and had received many recommendations from a friend’s daughter on where the best trails and restaurants were located.  Unfortunately, forest fires have been rampant in that area and it looked like hiking would not be an option.  I quickly cancelled that reservation and booked us a couple of nights in Greenville, SC, a city that was recommended to me by friend and fellow blogger, Laurie (Life on the Bike).

Turned out to be a very fun place to visit.  A waterfall park with a 9 mile walking/biking trail is located right downtown, along with over 100 great restaurants.   So while we didn’t get to hike, we did enjoy being outdoors along with dozens of others who were enjoying the sunny fall day.




Where we go doesn’t really matter much, we just enjoy exploring new places together. And that is what I am most thankful for this year.


Hiking the City of Philadelphia

Summer is coming to an end and it won’t be long before hubby has to go back to work. After a few mini vacations in the mountains for hiking – we decided our last trip of the summer should be spent in a city.  We found a great deal on an airbnb in the heart of Philadelphia! Rittenhouse Square proved to be an excellent spot from which to walk everywhere we wanted to go.

We learned about how the city of Philadelphia came to be divided into 5 squares, and how William Penn and Benjamin Franklin are the most revered figures.  Statues of both men can be found throughout the city.


That’s William Penn on top of the City Hall.


The electrifying Ben Franklin.

When we go to a city, we like to explore as much as possible on foot.  When I say we hiked the city, we probably walked over 6 miles each day.

We love the variety of food!


Lobster salad


Salmon pizza


Chipotle Grilled Shrimp

Of course you can’t go to Philly and not have a cheese steak.  There is some debate about who has the best ones – our friend Janet recommended Jim’s Steaks so that’s where we went. It did not disappoint.



The architecture is a mix of old and new.







These mosaics are created from recycled materialsDSCN4099


The crazy parking!


The history.


This city has it all and we will have to go back several times to experience all it has to offer.  That will not be a hardship.