Monthly Archives: September 2009

Soaking up the last bits of Summer

Well, summer is officially over. That means its almost time for me to leave. My plan was to stick around for the hottest months camping, bonding with my family, regaining my health, and preparing for my next big adventure. Mission accomplished.

I was able to get out into nature quite a bit over the past few months. My mom and I decided we could squeeze in one last three day stint out at Lake Miquelon Provincial Park. I believe the kids went back to school today which is why the campground seems relatively quiet even though we are placed next door to the play park.

Last time we were out here we stuffed our faces with the biggest juiciest Saskatoons ever. Our hands and mouths were stained purple for the duration of the trip. I was on a mission to find out if one could overdose on these wild blueberry-like delights. We plucked them right off the forest of trees which were hanging heavy with the fruits. They had matured into the size of small grapes and were bursting with flavor. We talked about making a pie (or ten) but alas, I couldn’t control myself to save any. My appetite was insatiable. Although we gathered darned near a bushel, I couldn’t pass a tree without nabbing a couple and popping them in my mouth.

There are several walking tracks such as the Beaver Loop, the Fox Loop, and the Grouse Loop, the latter being almost 4km. Though we spent a couple days exploring, we didn’t encounter any other hikers on the hilly tree canopied trails.

My favorite part was discovering the old broken down abandoned homestead hidden along the path. As my mom and I peeked into the dark wooden shell of a farmhouse, I imagined what the family who lived here must have been like. My mom wondered out loud how many babies would have been born here. What a peaceful place to choose to live, nestled deep in the lush forest.

Grateful for wild berries.

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Everyone should have an EscapePod

The last time we came here a few weeks ago it was windy and a little too chilly for my taste. It was probably a good thing that the tent broke because then we were forced to look for a new one. We ended up spending a bit more and purchasing a little vintage 1979 Trillium trailer. Made of lightweight fiberglass, our 13 foot home away from home can even be towed by a car and is easy to manage. The previous owners took great pride in renovating the interior creating a charming and modern “escape pod” which can go pretty much anywhere.

I will admit that while it is much more convenient camping with electricity, I am not quite ready for the cumbersome responsibility and expense of a giant gas guzzling RV. But my Trillium is a happy compromise with a small fridge, stove, and sink proving that having a few creature comforts can up really boost the fun factor.

Even as a child, I have always liked cubbyholes. My mom would always find me hiding or sleeping in drawers, closets, under furniture, and even inside the clothes dryer. I gravitated towards small spaces so it makes senses that I would find one to travel around in.

We are using it for the first and last time this year before storing it away for the winter. As luck would have it, we have hit a three day 30 degree heat wave. Mom is having a nap before we embark on another hike aka. Project Saskatoon Collection.

Grateful for pod mobility.

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Natural Health Plan

One of my recent goals has been to achieve a high state of health which means stabilizing my energy levels and losing a bit of extra weight. I enlisted the lady who knows best about these things. Mom has been teaching me about eating raw vegan and sharing with me her innate knowledge of all things natural.

Along with reading up on health matters, I have been introducing mom to Earths General Stores’ free media library. Here there are critical documentaries and oodles of activist information. I have developed some pretty great recipes including ginger pear chips and the best fruit salad you ever did taste.

One of our staples is green smoothies which we usually drink a jar of every day. Mom likes to include avocados and bananas in hers. I like to use beets, apples (picked fresh of the tree), raspberries, and blueberries. We both add lots of greens like kale, lettuce, dandylions, various flowers and edible weeds. The cool thing is that no two ever taste the same. It’s like a daily health masterpiece and I love testing out new flavors. Luckily, we brought the Vita-Mix (the Rolls Royce of blenders) which is an integral part of the smoothie operation.

Grateful for preventative health plan.

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Lets talk about the weather

It’s Thursday afternoon now and we are still experiencing scorching temperatures. Good thing we have a fan going in here or I would be cooking! I have the radio on in the background to catch any weather warnings that may develop. Usually we get a good thunderstorm when it’s hot like this. This has been a very active year for intense weather in Alberta. Severe storms causing extensive damage (including several fatalities) have dominated the news over the past few months.

Admittedly, I tend to get rather excited when Environment Canada issues a weather watch for my region. You will find me glued to the window of my 20th floor condo monitoring any systems coming in from the west. Talk of jet streams, barometric pressure, and dew points really do it for me. Yeah, I should have been a meteorologist.

The wind has picked up a bit but the sun is still turned on full blast. Mom is napping in the shade under the trees on my yoga mat. Dad will be back tomorrow to pick us up and haul us home. Then I have to begin packing.

Grateful for climate climaxes.

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Reconstruction Zone

There are only three sleeps left before I begin my next big adventure. I am just starting to feel gurgles of excitement from the deep depths of my traveling soul. I have not traveled like this for years. It hasn’t been since my last RTW (2002-05) that I have really felt free. And if I were to be completely honest, I don’t think I have been truly happy either.

The past four years have been quite a struggle. I have faced serious health issues, major loss, and endured acute trauma. I outgrew my job at TravelPod, ended an abusive relationship, and confronted my oldest, most powerful demons.

There are some things I will never get back. Like my friend who took his life last Christmas after an unsuccessful battle with depression. And my bike that took a hit from a careless SUV last summer while I was on it. And though I am trying to maintain my eternal optimism, I am now more likely to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I guess what it comes down to is that these past few years have made me more honest with myself.

My double decade long flirtation with death finally came to an abrupt stop this past year. My moment of truth came 20 months ago when I decided that I would rather live than die. They say when it rains, it pours and I was drowning in this flash flood. My tendency towards self destructiveness was amplified from moderately toxic to lethal when suddenly, everything came crashing down at once. A dangerous combination of random events put me in a precarious position. In no time at all, I was in over my head. Normally I am pretty resilient but finally I reached my breaking point and became overwhelmed.

I was in a sharp downward spiral heading into a black hole. After crumbling to my knees at lightening speed, I identified that I was smack dab in the middle of a serious crisis. Fortunately there were a few choice moments of clarity which rocked me out of my stupor long enough to initiate a call for help. It took a lot of humility to admit just how far out of control this runaway train had gotten. It was devastated that for the first time in my life, I couldn‘t “handle“ this alone.

My predicament had gone beyond the scope of a friends and family fix so I didn’t waste time talking to them about it. After a frank discussion with my doctor, I enlisted a team of professionals. Just to be sure, I hired a second line of defense and alternates for those backups as well. As I had fallen through the cracks before so I made certain I had extra insurance. The gravity of my situation had finally hit me and I realized this was my last chance. I couldn’t afford to lose this war which had deeper roots than I had ever imagined.

I did everything right, followed all the rules, and began the harsh uphill climb that would be my recovery from a very dark dark place. In order to ensure my success, I isolated myself from anything that could knock me off track including everyone I knew. I dropped off the face of the earth for a year, informing only a few people that would be “away” for a while.

I signed up for an intensive program which had me challenge my entire belief system and deconstruct my fragmented foundation. Then it would arm me with the tools needed to start from scratch and begin rebuilding my constitution. It was a sobering moment indeed when I began to comprehend the true origins of this disaster. I did everything in my power to replace my deadly state of denial with life affirming decisions.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. I can testify. I also found it to be bitterly cold during this transitory phase. Those who know me have an idea of what lengths I will go through to avoid chilly temperatures. But there was no getting around this deep freeze. If I wanted to do it right, I had to go through and bear it before I could experience the thaw.

What learned is that there were parts of me that had been “frozen” many years ago. Certain things had happened in my past that in essence, stopped time. In order for me to heal those hurts, I had to go back and revisit them. This is not an easy task and was not only confusing but downright scary at times.

Becoming healthy became my full time job and although there was a steep learning curve, I now seem to be winning. For the most part I am keeping natural, eating well, sleeping, and exercising regularly. I know it sounds trite, but somehow adherence to these simple routines is making all the difference.

Grateful for admittance.

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The Big Fish – Victoria, BC

I am sitting on the last ferry from Victoria to Vancouver and I have barely caught my breath. I ran. After bringing in a 40 pound halibut in Pedder Bay, Shawn sped as fast as his VW Westphalia could go. Our fishing guide was clearly capable of creating excitement on land and on sea. For a few minutes I was sweating, sure that there was no way I was going to make the boat. Infact, I was the last person to board and the ship was chocoblock. It was tight.

It was a beautiful day to be in the water and although we really only caught one keeper, she was a gooder at 46 inches long. I would have liked to have tasted some of that sweet flakey fish but the transport would have been too much of a pain. I left it as a tip to Shawn contributing to his winter stash. Besides, I have been eating fish every day since I arrived. Ahhh how I love seafood. Even the worst sushi here on the coast is better than the stuff we get in landlocked Edmonton. I even went to one place twice, as a thank you to both of my kind and gracious hosts.

It was my first time to Victoria and it was much as I would have imagined. The flowers were in full bloom and the leaves were just starting to turn. There was every form of weather you could have hoped for except for snow. Thank goodness we didn’t see any of that. I was glad that most of the days were sunny and calm, making for some serene walks in the capitol city of British Columbia.

One thing that made a very strong impression on me was how friendly and polite everyone seemed to be. I was constantly caught off guard with cheerful greetings from every demographic. Now I am generally the one who spreads kind hellos to strangers without hesitation, but here they beat me to it every single time. Even the tourists have caught on. When I remarked on this phenomenon, it was a Winnipeg native who agreed it was a common occurrence here and was really quite contagious. A good habit I think it is time for me to revive.

Over here on the island the fruit is pretty flavorful but some of the prices are higher than I would have expected. All in all, I suppose the cost is higher but it is clearly reflective of the standard of living. Even the bums are friendlier. There are certainly more of them.

I went on a few good walks and was mystified by how quickly it was to immerse oneself in nature from just about anywhere in the city. The public transit was fantastic and the bus drivers were so kind I had to control myself from hugging them.

The coffee culture here is out of control. It’s a serious force to be reckoned with everywhere except for inside the sushi restaurants (they deliver caffeine in the form of green tea). The almighty java bean certainly dominated much of my visit either talking about it, drinking it, making it, or searching it out. It was bizarre to witness that at any given time, 3 out of 4 people walking on the street are carrying a cup of joe. Even the kids seem to be drinking it! I guess there are worse things to be addicted to.

It was wonderful to spend some time reflecting on the past few years with my good friend Petra who has started life anew here on the island. I guess talking it out really puts perspective on it and allows me to put stuff in the past. We are both in similar places of departure from an old self that no longer seems to fit. There was a time when I was sad about letting go, but I guess when one is ready, it becomes more of a relief.

I am starting to get excited about my trip to Asia. I am not quite there yet as I still have a few more goodbyes to make. I am on my way to visit some extended family in Vancouver from whom I have been apart from for way too long. We have lots of catching up to do over the next couple days, including meeting my cousins new babies for the first time.

I see the night lights of Vancouver dazzling the horizon of blackness. My old stomping grounds. It will be weird to revisit this part of my history. I finished high school here and needless to say, there are some key memories hidden in the crevices.

Grateful for movement.

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Fourty Days on a Cruiseship – Vancouver, BC

Today I woke up early to say my goodbyes Carley and Jonny thanking them for their generous hospitality. It was really good to finally meet my little cousins new family. She has grown up a lot over the past few years and maturing into a fine young woman. Cody also surprised me with the level of wisdom he has already attained at just 21. I am quite excited to watch him develop into his potential. I didn’t realize how much I missed my little cousins and vowed to keep better tabs on them.

I was whisked off to breakfast with Uncle Don and Lynn before they dropped me off at Canada Place. After an emotional and heartwarming discussion, I was truly grateful to be able to reconnect with my favorite uncle. I waited calmly in the long line that snaked though into customs before being able to board the cruiseship.

After dropping my stuff off in the room, I kept to my plan and headed to the gym. I was the only one in there jogging on the treadmill which was nice but I realized would probably not happen again for the duration of my trip. Workout areas are known to be very busy on long voyages such as the one that I was embarking on. I watched “Ever After” as I plugged away and realized that though I was sure I had, I don’t think I’ve seen this movie after all. It was a cute romantic comedy and just as the credits rolled, my cardio workout ended.

I was just about to jump in the shower when Darren, my cabinmate showed up. After I cleaned up, we set out to explore the ship. I think we covered a good three quarters of the public areas before we even set sail. It is Darren’s first time and I was happy to follow his lead. It was amusing to watch how excited he was to go to the very front and then the very back. He made all sorts of aft/stern/starboard jokes, all terminology I still, a seasoned cruiser haven’t bothered to memorize.

I acquired my $25 coffee card which gives me unlimited brewed coffee as long as I have it in my hot little hands. This is a must as the regular coffee is a syrup and is unpalatable even for lightweights like me. I also get 15 specialty coffees with this magical card which may come in handy on those long arduous sea days between Alaska and Japan.

Next Darren wanted to participate in the muster drill which although I resisted a bit, finally gave in. As it was his first cruise ever, I would never forgive myself if he didn’t know how to put on the giant awkward bright orange life preserver. Heaven forbid the poor boy drown because of my complacent arrogance.

After checking out a few books in the library (not a fun experience due to the rude book Nazi who snarled at me for asking a question), we headed out to the main deck to watch as the ship pulled away from downtown Vancouver. It was fun, if not a little windy, to see the lovely costal city float by. There was even a pleasant running commentary over the loudspeakers citing cultural and historical facts.

We decided to head down to dinner at around 7pm and were seated at a cozy table for two near the window. I tried to keep the meal light, having already indulged a bit too much at breakfast. It was all for naught when the decadent flourless chocolate cake and rich bananas foster over hazelnut ice cream came. I decided that I would have to spend a good half day in the gym tomorrow but hell, it was worth it.

Grateful for bargains.

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Staying fit on the Ship

I woke up really early today although I didn’t plan to. I tried to sleep in but I supposed that my internal clock wanted me up and in the gym. I tried to get myself sorted as quietly as I could so as not to wake up my roommate.

There were a few early birds wandering around the otherwise very quiet sleeping ship. The coffee shop wasn’t open yet so I headed up to the lido deck to grab a tea. Next I wandered over for some fitness but I was about 15 minutes early. I plopped myself down on a chair and watched the other hardcore health nuts pace impatiently in front of the locked gym door.

After logging a half hour on the treadmill, I squeezed myself into the overfilled stretch class. Back on the treadmill again, I watched half a movie (Bedtime Stories…Keri Russell wasn‘t able to save this Adam Sandler flop) before listening to my grumbling tummy. It was commanding some food so I grabbed a light breakfast in the busy buffet breakfast area. After noshing on some fruit, muslei, and yogurt, I felt pleasantly satiated. I was really glad to have passed up the typical eggs, bacon, and carb-fest that is available in spades at the breakfast buffet. I can only imagine what a lump I would feel like if I took part in that madness.

I took a coffee while watching the fruit and vegetable carving demonstration. It was fascinating how quickly and masterfully they made elaborate flowers out of watermelons. I chuckled at the bunny, monkey, and various cartoonish characters they produced out of cantalope, broccoli, zucchini, grapefruit and the like.

I found a peaceful quiet space up in the Skywalkers Lounge where I almost fell asleep. Just then, a group of excited Cruise Critic members showed for the meet up. I surveyed the group of mostly older couples and decided not to join them. I felt a little too subdued to try and muster up the energy for a meet and greet.

I made my way down to the room to discover a note from Darren who had indicated that he had gone swimming. I decided to read for a while down by the coffee bar when suddenly he showed up. We took a stroll through to the library then decided to go for lunch. There was a mediocre sushi bar which we both joked must have been made with rice from Japan from the last time around. All the soya sauce and wasabi in the world couldn’t revive this maki. I found a pile of juicy sweet watermelon which pleased my palate more.

Next I thought it would be nice to take a nap since I didn’t really sleep well. I laid in bed for some time before realizing that no, I wasn’t going to sleep after all. I guess the rest was sufficient though because I bounced out of bed and to the gym where I was able to crank out a solid upper body session. I am a little miffed that I my headphones seem to be failing because they are an integral component of my program. I will have to see if I can secure some in Alaska because apparently, according to an Asian couple I met in the hot tub, Japan is not a good place to go shopping.

After raising my body temperature exponentially, I slipped into the much cooler pool for some laps. The ship must have slowed down quite a bit as the water was quiet calm compared to the sloshing waves of this morning. I really enjoyed the gentle yet satisfying stretches twisting around the swimming pool gave me. I vowed to make a refreshing dip a part of my daily routine.

It was formal night but Darren and I skipped the monkey suit circus instead heading to the buffet. It was much more tame and orderly than the gong show that was lunch. I discovered some succulent spiced shrimp and paired them up with some fresh pineapple. Yum. For dessert I was able harness my self control, bypassing the cakes and ice cream completely. I opted for a healthy yogurt, apple, and walnut concoction I put together. It was most delightful and I recognized that this lighter choice will not only be happy on my lips, but more forgiving on my hips.

It is only day two of this 5 week voyage but already I am creating some discoveries that will likely keep me happy to the end. As long as I stay active, regulate my food portions, and keep peaceful, I should be able to stay in balance.

Grateful for swimming.

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One Cold Fishing Trip – Ketchikan

Woke up super early this morning in anticipation for some fishing in Ketchikan, “the salmon capital of the world”. After a light breakfast, we grabbed a coffee then headed down the gangway to meet the charter. A lovely gentleman called Greg from Australia was to join us making us four on the boat. After we squared up and bought our licenses, we climbed into the truck and Robby drove us to the pier.

The morning was a little nippy but it made for some stunning views across the lake. The surrounding mountains were shrouded in long thin flat bottomed clouds which seemed to slice them in half. It was a scene I was very accustomed to seeing in New Zealand, I sighed wistfully at the memories.

Our guide and captain Robby was a little strange to say the least. He never really looked at us, staring off up into the clouds most of the time. I tried to engage him in conversation but he wasn’t having it. He was a little rough around the edges and I never really connected with him but he seemed to like Darren a lot. He pulled out a calendar to share with him and they bonded over women jokes. It was slightly offended but I guess I shouldn’t expect much more from a dirty old fisherman. The fatherly type Greg must have sensed my discomfort and compensated by engaging me in intellectual conversation. I could tell it was designed to distract me from the crude comments made a few feet away and appreciated his effort.

After picking out numbers out of a hat, it turned out the order was me, Darren, then Greg. Over the next few hours, we all took turns reeling in the coho salmon which occasionally graced us with their presence. We got a few close encounters with some bald eagles swooping down to grab up some fish. They were strong yet graceful and everything about them emanated power.

The sun came to burn off the low fog in the distance but then went just as quickly, taking the slightly warm air with it. I zipped up my jackets and pulled my layers around me tighter. I wasn’t sure why but I couldn’t seem to shake the chill that was permeating my mood.

I was kind of relieved when it was time to pull in the lines and head in. None of us wanted to keep our catch so we let Robby have them. We were dropped off near Creek Street and wandered back slowly towards the ship. There were touristy stores full of salmon everything and tall totem poles marking certain properties.

After getting back on the ship and grabbing some lunch, I decided to lay down for a nap. I didn’t nap however and decided it would be wise to get to the gym. I hadn’t really exercised yet today and perhaps that was contributing to my lackadaisical mood. I know that in the past when I had forced myself into some kind of physical activity, it almost always elevated my state.

Just coming on was Transformers the Movie which I hadn’t seen yet so I hiked the treadmill for an hour before hitting some lower body work. There was a small crowd gathering on the deck outside the window and I glanced over to where their cameras and binoculars were pointed. Sure enough there was a pod of whales off in the distance. I smiled at how lucky I am to be able to witness such majestic beauty as a part of my day. In the empty hardwood floor aerobics studio, I finished off with some abs and pushups. It felt invigorating to stretch my spine out at the end and I was sure that I was indeed several inches taller as I walked out of the gym.

At dinner, I ordered the sole over lentil salad and a side of my favorite cooked red cabbage. I was pleasantly surprised by the spicy robust flavor of the lentils which complemented the delicate flakey white fish perfectly. The sweet cabbage balanced the dish perfectly and I made a mental note to replay this choice again at least once over the next month.

After dinner I retired to the hot tub and pool for a relaxing dip. I had pulled a muscle the other day and realize that I should find some other ways to get exercise. I swam laps in the pool for just under an hour and found it ideal for a light meditative way to keep fit. The water was warmer than usual which helped my weary muscles loosen up.

Now I am about to turn in for the night but not before I order what I would like for my fruit delivery tomorrow. Every other day they replenish a bowl which along with my growing nut collection makes for a healthy snack.

Darren is out partying with some of the crew but I just don’t have the desire to be social at the moment. I guess I understand that between the cordial chats with lunch tablemates and random meetings in the library, I have as many connections as I can handle at the moment. I need to pace myself. After all, at this point, I have barely completed 10 percent of my cruise.

Grateful for the long haul.

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Buyers Remorse – Juneau, Alaska

Today’s port was Juneau and I had a mission to accomplish. I wanted to get headphones and pick up laundry detergent. I think I failed on both accounts. I guess I kinda got some headphones but its all for naught because I think I am going to have to take them back. I sit here tired and frustrated beyond belief, wondering how the day ended up this way.

I had the best intentions and even started the day off right with a healthy egg white omlette, fruit and yogurt. It was the first time I had breakfast in the formal dining room and I was quite impressed with the accuracy of the service. I made sure to fill out a comment card so that the server would get credit for his patience with me and my gazillion special requests.

After grabbing up a coffee to go which was right beside the gangway, I pinged my ID card and went out. The day was crisp but it was a lovely view as I wandered towards the downtown. There were mountains everywhere and I was quite impressed by the magnificence of it all. As there were about six ships docked, you can imagine the crowd of cruise goers that were plowing down the narrow streets. There were 4 mega ships in port.

Jewelry, watches, perfume, smoked salmon, and furs seemed to be the things to buy here. Not to mention the loads of souvenir shops that were attempting to “liquidate” now that the season was near over. I barely glanced inside because I had seen all this before. I was not here to buy junk I couldn’t use. But try as I might, I was having trouble finding a decent pair of headphones at a fair price. I bit the bullet and decided that it would be in my best interest to head over to Costco. If they didn’t have anything, then there was a few other big box dept stores nearby that would likely suffice.

Rather than pay twenty dollars for a cab ride, which would clearly defeat the purpose of trying to save some dough, we took the bus. The high energy and humorous driver was well worth the buck fifty it cost to ride the 20 mins out of the center. This guy was small town entertainment at its finest and I really appreciated his spunk.

We jumped off when we were directed by our overzealous driver and headed into Costco where I found one lonely set of ear buds. I hummed and hawed before the iPod section caught my eye. How and why what happened next, I will never know. For some bizarre reason, I impulse bought an iPod touch. It was the silliest thing ever, especially since I barely believe in the one I have which was a gift, not a purchase I consciously made.

Sure it came with a set of headphones. Sure the return policy was solid and I could take it back to any Costco worldwide. Sure the thing connected to wi-fi. Truly, none of those reasons should have inspired me to shell out two hundred bucks on a flimsy piece of proprietary hype. Ug. I had buyers remorse almost immediately. Perhaps that is what drove me to drink.

Darren happens to be one of my beer loving friends, so I thought it would be nice for him to get to see the Alaska Brewery. It just so happened to be around the corner so we bounced in to take the tour. Sample after sample, we tasted them all (8 in total) and though I tasted the variance, I still don’t love beer. I did, however, like the pretty labels and the bubbly staff who were working there.

After drinking up a storm, Darren refused to make the second stop to find detergent. I was a little peeved because I had stopped at the brewery solely for him. I begrudgingly got back on the bus and wondered just how I was going to get my laundry done over the next month and a half. I couldn’t even secure a box of soap suds!

I tried to distract myself from my conundrum with my new toy but it wouldn’t let me play. It wouldn’t even let me turn it on until I installed iTunes on my netbook! I groaned as a second wave of buyers regret washed over me. This kind of silly game playing is precisely the reason I try to stay away from Apples sticky technological web.

I decided to just try to enjoy my small Alaskan mountain town public transit ride. The locals were a bit of a gong show and I noticed that a lot of the kids were with child or awkward gangster wanna be’s. I was glad that I didn’t have to endure this type of painful drama on a regular basis.

After hopping off the bus, I hightailed it back to the ship for lunch in hopes that maybe a spot of food would raise my mood. Turns out it didn’t work at all. I even had half a cookie but no dice. Infact, I felt worse for it. I wondered why my face was so flushed and if maybe I was having a reaction to something I had eaten. Knowing full well that I have no allergies to speak of, it finally dawned on me that it must have been the beer. It wasn’t that I drank a lot, but now that I am a non-drinker, my tolerance is really low.

I decided to sleep it off. I layed down for a few minutes with no success then popped up to head back into town. I was determined to get this new contraption working if it was the last thing I did. I seemed to have forgotten all about the laundry at this point.

I headed up to the public library in speculation that they would have some sort of internet set up. I was right and they had several terminals as well as free wi-fi. After a good fifteen minutes of trying to connect, I gave up. I waited at the equally slow elevator to head into the downtown to find a better connection. After wandering around and trying several hot-spots, my frustration was intensifying. I could get low signals but at this rate it would take me hours to download the program.

I finally ducked into a coffee shop which promised me a secure line if I bought something from them. I sipped my Americano as I scanned the room for a power outlet. Would you believe that every socket in the whole building was covered save for TWO! And of course, those two were being used. After inquiring as to how long the power hogs would be, I plopped down in a chair to wait. As my battery was at only 7 percent, I wasn’t going to start the download only to have it shut down half way through.

Finally, I was able to get it all figured out and got the silly little black rectangle to turn on. It was a bittersweet victory as I I realized I had run out of time and to hightail it back to the ship. I didn’t even have a chance to play with much less adjust the settings. As I navigated the now almost empty streets at top speed, I made the decision to work out immediately when I got back. Surely this would bring my stress levels down.

After a solid workout, I headed up for a late dinner. I found the quietest corner I could and ate a whole lotta lettuce, shrimp, and fruit. I felt a lot better and realized that rather than complicate things, I should choose the straightforward path. I suppose buying the new techie toy was perhaps not the best choice. I should have just stuck with getting the headphones. Lesson learned…when in doubt, K.I.S.S.

Grateful for simplicity.

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