Tag Archives: adventure

Mark and Nancy’s Great Camping Adventure

Good morning Everyone!

A conversation with Kristina over at Family.Work.Life about whether camping in a trailer or motor home as opposed to a tent is  “real” camping reminded me of a story from early on my married life.

When we moved back to Alabama from North Carolina in 1991, we ended up living in Alexander City, a town at the north end of Lake Martin, which is a huge man-made lake that powers three dams for the Alabama Power Company.  We decided to fulfill a dream of Mark’s, and bought a brand-new boat 1989 Bayliner.   Because it had been in the local boat shop’s inventory for almost three years, we managed to get quite a good deal on it.

One of the best places to enjoy Lake Martin is at Wind Creek, a state park with hundreds of camp sites, very nice boat launch facilities and just about anything else you could ever want from a state park on a lake.

Our family at that time consisted of three:  Mark, me and our first dog, Shadow.  Shadow loved riding in the boat. Mark and I decided one weekend in March that we would go camping at Wind Creek in the new four person tent we had bought, and bring the boat along with us.

It sounded like a great idea, but it wasn’t.  Wind Creek’s name, at least in March, is not meant to be aesthetically pleasing but rather descriptive, and with the prime camping spot we rented at the tip of the point, we had no shelter at all from the apparently gale force winds.

After a great deal of difficulty, we managed to get the tent put up and myself and Shadow deposited inside it to keep it from blowing away (yes, Shadow would have been enough but there was no way that dog was going to stay inside the tent by herself in that kind of wind.).  Mark then started to light the barbecue grill outside the tent while I talked to him through the door, but the wind was so strong we couldn’t keep a flame lit.  He finally gave up and took off into town to bring us back a pizza.

While he was gone, I shivered in the tent and listened to the wind roar through the pine trees and pull at our tent.  Once I had to slip outside to rescue various substantial camping paraphernalia that the wind had decided to play catch with, but fortunately the tent didn’t fly away too.  The entire time, Shadow was by my side, looking at me with sad eyes that plainly said,” We have a perfectly good house only miles from here; why on earth are we sitting out here in the wilderness fighting the wind?”  The best answer I could give her was that we were waiting for pizza.

Once Mark got back with the pizza, we ate it, sharing the obligatory portion with Shadow, who was somewhat mollified by our peace offering until the wind managed to rip out one of the tent stakes even with three of us in the tent.   It tickled me so much that I started laughing non-stop.  I was pretty useless from that point forward in any attempt to set the tent back to rights.

We finally conceded defeat about ten p.m., loaded everything back up into our pick-up truck and boat, and headed back into town, with a very relieved dog sitting in my lap.

I don’t remember us ever trying to camp again until we bought our first trailer.  I don’t even remember myself wanting to try camping again until I had a trailer, although I’m sure I mentioned it at least once or twice.

And that, my friends, is “Mark and Nancy’s Great Camping Adventure!”

Have a great day!


Seven Things You Might Not Know

Good morning everyone!

Today, we come to the last of the steps for me to finish accepting my Versatile Blogger awards, but first I need to tell you about a mistake I made.  I received the Versatile Blogger Award three times in a week, not two.  The third person who gave me the award was Mary Ann Kempher, a friend of mine from Twitter.  I told you about her blog, Conversations with Mary Ann, in yesterday’s post.  I just wanted to apologize publicly to her for omitting her name from Monday’s list of awarders.

I'm Sorry! (From Print Shop Professional 2.0)

It’s really hard to think of seven things you might find interesting about me that you don’t already know, since I already write about most of the things that I think might be interesting in my life, but I am going to give it my best shot.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Fact #1:  I met my husband at the pool at the Montgomery Athletic Club in Montgomery while I was studying my quantum physics textbook.  He walked up to me and asked, “So, does E=MC squared?”  I asked him if he knew what the equation meant, and he did, so our first conversation started with physics and went from there.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Fact #2:  Before I was 20, I had lived in the following states:  Massachusetts, Mississippi, Florida, Rhode Island, Maryland, California, Washington, Virginia, Alabama and Georgia.  In addition, I had lived in Taipei, Taiwan.  (We were a Navy family.)

U.S. Navy Star (From Print Shop Professional 2.0)

Fact #3:  Since I was 20, I have lived in North Carolina (for 3 1/2 years) and Alabama (for many, many more years).

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Fact #4:  I used to play the clarinet in junior high in California and my first two years of high school in Virginia.  I stopped once we moved to Alabama for my final two years of high school.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Fact #5:  I taught high school/junior high math for 3 1/2 years in North Carolina.  When we moved back to Alabama, I was at home for one week, then started a job as a secretary with a law firm that was just starting out.  I didn’t know what a plaintiff was, a complaint, or even a summons, and I typed abysmally slow.  What I did know was that the three machines in the corner of the office that cost $3000 were printers, not computers.  That’s the only reason I can think of that made them give me a chance.  I am still with that law firm over 20 years later, now working as an attorney.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Fact #6:  I went to Jamaica once as part of a cruise.  I was as sick as a dog with a severe upper respiratory infection, and so we had to leave the dock to go into Ocho Rios to find a pharmacy to buy some kind of cold medicine that would work for me, since the stuff we could buy on the ship wasn’t working.  We were surrounded by panhandlers once we started walking into town, and if I hadn’t been with Mark, I would have been very scared to be by myself.  After that experience, I really don’t care about going back to Jamaica, although I have to say that the ladies at the pharmacy were wonderfully kind.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Fact #7: I am Southern now, but I was born in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Have a great day everyone!


Shameless Self-Promotion

Hi Everyone!

I overslept this morning, and have been working all day, but now am waiting for a client who is late, so thought I would take a minute to 1) wish each of you a wonderful weekend, and 2) post the following links to my  prose pieces published on Yahoo Contributor and beg you to take a look at any of them you haven’t read yet.  I am at 776 total views, and need to make 100o to earn my first $1.50.  That is almost enough to buy a large soft drink at McDonalds!  Anyway, here they are:

1) Adventures of a Boston Tourist – A tale of wonderful misadventure among the narrow lanes of Boston

2)  The Model 3300 Robotic Clone Return – A short, funny science fiction story about a robotic experiment that went sadly wrong

3) Words That Let You Live – A discussion of several Bible verses and what they mean in my life

4) The First Fourth of July Fireworks As a Family  – The first Fourth of July we shared with our daughter

5) The War Begins  – A short story about a Belgian family on the eve of World War I

6) A Horse, Snakes and Scorpions – My recollections of the one trip I took to Girl Scout camp when I was a child. 

Please read them, and I think you will enjoy them!

Have a wonderful weekend!


P.S. Look out Monday for my post on “Star-Crossed Lovers.”

Content Published on Yahoo! Content

I just learned that a short story I wrote about an adventure my husband and I had in Boston got published by Yahoo! Content. Here is the link: The Adventures of a Boston Tourist:  The Unintended Parade.   If you get the chance, check it out by clicking on the link. (Disclaimer: On Yahoo! Content, I get paid per view – it takes 1000 page views, I think, for me to earn $1.25. Even so you will recognize the style from my blog and if you like my blog, you will like this story.)


The Southernmost Point

Hi Everyone!

I have covered bits and pieces of our trip to Key West over the last few weeks, and considering that the trip itself was only four days, there has been an amazing amount of material, but now we are winding down to the last few topics. 

While the Hemingway House was both intriguing and inspirational, and the visit to the Key West cemetery reflective, a trip to the Southern part of the island is simply one of those cheerful touristy things that tourists do when they go to Key West.  Over towards the Atlantic ocean side of the island, the two or three blocks that lead to the Southernmost point are covered with things dubbed the “Southernmost” – the Southernmost restaurant, the Southernmost Hotel, the Southernmost Inn, the Southernmost grocery store, the Southernmost dog (well, they didn’t really have a Southernmost dog, but I am surprised that someone didn’t think to bring a dog and hang a plaque around its neck saying so!)

The Southernmost point in the continental United States is actually not quite the Southernmost point – there is an antenna off a jetty behind a fence that you can see from the point dubbed the Southernmost point that is a little more South, but a) you can’t reach it, and b) it is built on land that was created/dredged/reclaimed by filling in the water, so in a typically pragmatic fashion, Key West has continued to call the Southernmost point, the Southernmost point.

To be sure that it is recognized, someone placed a (very colorful, can’t be missed) monument there stating that it is the southernmost point. 

Mark and I at the "Southernmost" Point

There was a line to have your picture taken at the monument, and the family in front of us was kind enough to take a picture of both of us with our camera.

Although it is kind of touristy, it is not a complete gimmick, as there are some interesting historical sites surrounding the southernmost point.

The most  recognizable site  is the Southernmost House.  The history of the Southernmost house is set out in this plaque:

The Southernmost House, itself, is a Victorian mansion complete with all the trimmings.  We did not tour the house while we were there (after all, you have to save something for the next time), but we took several pictures of it, including the following.

As the posted sign by the Southernmost House noted, the mansion was built in 1897.  Technically, it is no longer the very southernmost house anymore, as someone came in and built one house right behind it on the block leading to the Southernmost Monument that is more Southerly, but, I guess, age having its privileges. this mansion was the Southernmost House originally, so the Southernmost House it shall remain!

At the very corner of the turn to reach the monument, there is a structure known as the cable house.  It didn’t look like much, but appearances, as the placard on the cable house showed, can be deceiving.

The Cable House

Its history:

The Southernmost Point/House/Inn/Hotel/Motel was simply a fun, cheerful trip, and cost almost nothing (we even were lucky enough to find a parking spot we didn’t have to pay for!) and, in its own way, was as much a highlight of our trip as the other adventures were.

Have a great day everyone!


Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? (The 5 year old version) and Wanting a Friend in the Tub

Continuing my trips this week down memory lane, I came across the following incidents memorialized in e-mails.  These incidents were really funny and just the kind of adventure that pops up for a working mom when she least expects it!

Kayla, age 5

  • Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

One day, driving home from work and school when Kayla was 5 (she rode with me for about an hour each way that year to go to a pre-school near where I worked), she and I had the following conversation:

Kayla:   Why did the chicken cross the road?

 Mom ( promptly):            To get to the other side.

Kayla:  No, to go play in the mud.  

Kayla:   Why did the pig cross the road?

Mom:    To go play in the mud?

Kayla:   No, because his mother was calling him.

Kayla:   Why did the turkey cross the road?

Mom:    I don’t know.

Kayla:   Yes, you do.

Mom:    To get to the other side?

Kayla (proud to have gotten another one over on Mom): No, to go play with his friends.

Kayla:   Why did the horse cross the road?

Mom (firmly):     I don’t know.  

Kayla:   To go eat. 

Mom:    That’s nice.

Kayla:   Why did the chicken cross the road?

Mom:    To go play in the mud.

Kayla:   No, to go get dressed……

And so it went! 

  • A Friend in the Bathtub

Woof, around age 13

About a month before that,  due to a mishap in the kitchen one evening, I had to mop the floor, so I popped Kayla into the bathtub to take her bath while I did it.  Kayla was just at the age where she could take a bath without me being in the bathroom with her, but I would leave the door open to be sure I could hear noise from the bathroom. 

I heard her calling Woof (our oldest dog then; our only other dog at that time was Tyra) over and over, but didn’t think anything about it until after a while Kayla called for me to come in – “Mom, you have to see this!”  (Never a good sign!).  Upon entering the bathroom, I discovered a tub containing one (very unhappy) 13 year old dog and one (ecstatic) five year old daughter, who explained to me that she wanted Woof in the tub with her because she “wanted a friend with her while she took her bath.”  I removed the dog from the tub, dried the dog, removed the child from the tub but did not dry her, cleaned the tub, re-ran the water, popped the child back in the tub (with strict instructions that the dog was NOT to be pulled back in again), cleaned up the copious amounts of water on the floor from the dog and child removal (hey, at least I had the mop out already, right:?), and went back into the den (making sure both dogs were with me – this wasn’t a problem, as Woof was walking very near to me, close to a nervous breakdown) and laughed silently until Mark got home and I could tell him.

Have a great day everyone!

The Best Part of President’s Day

The excitement of yesterday afternoon having faded to the (relative) tranquillity of the morning, I can write about the fun part of yesterday.  Since it was President’s Day, which I can remember used to be Washington’s Birthday, Kayla was off from school, so I took the day off too, in part because she had to go to the orthodontist for a “records appointment.”  A records appointment is like the warm up act for the main concert – the people at Allen Orthodontics took x-rays and an impression of her mouth.  They are very nice there, and Kayla was a trooper.  I let her go back without me, because she seemed comfortable, and I heard her tell the technician that she was good listener, when she wanted to be, except at school.  Little comments like that managed to keep the entire office staff entertained throughout her visit.  Kayla asked a lot of questions, and most of them were very good.  Friday is the “main show” – they will put braces on her front teeth and a few in the back to help with the front work, but at least she will only have to have them on for about nine months.  She is very excited about getting to choose the colors in her rubber bands though, and was even more excited yesterday when she learned she gets to change colors every month!  Her first choice is orange and blue, to honor “the trees”; ie., the trees at Toomer’s Corner. 

When we finished at the orthodontist, I took her to Books A Million.  I wanted to buy her the Little House on the Prairie series, but let her look around in the children’s section for a while by herself.  When I caught back up to her, we had to open negotiations – she had picked out $90 worth of Lemony Snicket books, and I wanted to get the Little House on the Praire set.  We settled for the first three Lemony Snicket books and the Little House on the Prairie set, with a promise that when she finished reading those we would go back and get more Lemony Snicket books.  Her teacher read her the first book at school and she is wild to read more. 

After Books a Million, we met Mark at his work and went to lunch with him at Cracker Barrel.  I was amazed at the power of imagination in children;  without any other implements in hand, Kayla took the pegs that go in the triangle game that they have there, and the crayon box that comes with the children’s meal, and pretended that the pegs were people riding the bus (the crayon box) to go see a pyramid.  She even tucked one peg in the box to be the bus driver.  It was quite inventive.  Her manners to the waitress were impeccable, too; she even remembered “please ma’am” without having to be reminded at all!

After we dropped Mark back at work, Kayla and I went to a place in Opelika called Head Master’s, where I let her get her hair washed and blown dry, which is something my little princess always loves, and then as an extra special treat, I let her get a manicure next door at the Lee Spa Nails place.  She was transported with joy!  Nail polish is something she only gets on rare occasions and I let her get a little darker pink polish then she has ever been allowed before.  We even had a good ride home, without any arguments over the radio station.  (Sometimes she has a difficulty with the concept of the cockpit controls in the car being mine. You have to draw the line somewhere!)  Of couse, it was all too good to last, but how nice it was while it lasted.

My Unintended Exercise

We spent this weekend with our friends in Augusta, and in the process I managed to get quite a workout.   Our friends/cousins have a little girl also, and the two girls love to play with each other.  They also have a 19 year old cat named Muffin.  Poor Muffin was soundly harassed by the two girls, who wanted to pick her up and play with her and love on her, all while they were shrieking at the top of their lungs, until all parents finally managed to be firm enough to get across the idea that the cat had to be LEFT ALONE!  It took a few hours to get the message across, and I expect on Monday Muffin will be hiding somewhere trying to recover from a nervous breakdown

Our friends also have a dog named Sadie, who is a beautiful little black and white dog that reminds me of a border collie, only smaller.  I went to let Sadie out of the pen to go into the house, and instead she rocketed out of her pen, took a hard left instead of going straight, and ran down one of the tallest hills I have ever seen.  My friend had to stay with the girls, so I took off after Sadie.  With the help of some friendly neighbors, I followed the trail of the dog down the hill, then with the help of another neighbor across the street at the bottom of the hill, I managed to recapture the dog.  Of course, going down was a lot easier than going back up, and this time I had the dog to haul with me also.  I have tried since to guess how far up I had to climb, and I think it is the equivalent of an eight story building stretched out over about a quarter mile.  I managed to recross the street while I was carrying the dog, but then I had to stop and rest for a minute at which time the first set of neighbors who had helped me track the dog came out and offered the use of a leash, which was very gratefully accepted.  The dog thought it was a great adventure and felt like she bonded with me through the experience.  I thought it was an awfully big hill to have to climb down and back up again, but at least the dog was okay!