#186 Sleep on the Beach

No matter how you do it or when, there’s a magical element of being able to drift off to the sound of ocean currents embracing the beach.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#186

Sleep on the beach

In the spirit of Labor Day weekend, I thought it best to remind you how amazing it is to fall asleep on the beach. Maybe not on a hot sunny day when the beach is crowded as you may expose your skin too long and/or awake with each passerby kicking sand across your back. It is amazing however, to sleep on the beach overnight – allowing the thunder of consistent wave action to lull you into a deep slumber.

These days isn’t almost impossible to pitch a tent in the dunes as they are protected along almost every coastline in the USA but… there are dozens if not hundreds of public and private campgrounds that border ocean beaches. If you’re planning well enough in advance and with a little research, you can pick a spot as close to the wave action as possible. In some areas, tying a hammock between a couple of trees may even give you a sunrise view over the top of any dunes. As an avid camper, the only drawback I’ve ever noticed about beach side camping is the amount of sand that I end up bringing home.

Perhaps the best spot in the Mid-Atlantic is Assateague State Park. It’s a bit of a pain to get to and the flies can be atrocious at times but you just can’t beat the location!  California has tons of locations as well as Florida. (I guess the more coastline you have, the better the opportunities!) The Travel Channel did a piece and after seeing the options, my bucket list just got a bit longer.

Now, this suggestion is to actually get down in the sand… form it to your body and sleep there – preferably under the stars but I’m aware that might be simply too much to ask of some people. So… with a bigger budget you can go all fancied out and rent a beachside bungalow in almost any beach community. Certainly, around the globe there are thousands of options and perhaps the only reason that people go to places like the Seychelles islands where the beach and luxury go hand and hand; where almost every sleeping option is either over sand or surf.

No matter how you do it or when, there’s a magical element of being able to drift off to the sound of ocean currents embracing the beach. Treat yourself with the experience as often as you can…

Sleep on a beach.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#190 Go Fishing

It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production…

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#190

Go Fishing

I thought it a good idea to share this tip before summer ends so if you are so inclined, you can make plans to give it a try. For some, fishing is an active sport, frequently practiced. For many more of us, it has yet to be enjoyed. There may be an ‘art’ to fishing but this suggestion is more aligned for those of you who wish to have the experience versus develop a talent – but hey… you may find your passion here.

Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you walk into a sporting goods store and know nothing as there are a variety of ‘types’ of fishing; freshwater, deep sea, fly, surf, shore, ice, boat, rock… each one sporting an individual technique and equipment type. But for most of us, keeping it simple and basic would be a good call.

Here’s a good guide on how to get started:

 

Catching Fish

In almost every case, a fishing license is required so that’s the first step. Many of the places that sell bait also sell licenses for those over the minimum age requirement. I was always a bit squeamish about putting  worms on a hook but soon discovered that there is a tool for that (looking very much like tweezers). If you are fortunate enough to actually catch fish there are size requirements (length) for most species. Catch and release is where my interest lies even though I do love to eat fresh fish… cleaning them is an entirely different story and I’ll leave that to the people with stronger convictions than me.

Why bother?

So if you are just going through all that effort but not eating your catch, why bother? Clearly, the challenge is enticing to some… the thrill of the chase – or catch. Strengthening a technique or skill – practice – is always good. But there’s more…. The development of patience. Fishing takes patience. It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production, cardiovascular health, and may improve overall body strength (assuming you’re catching big fish). It encourages family bonding which, boosts immune functioning. It may incorporate laughter, implant fond memories, and encourage travel… more tenets of good living.

Sound worthwhile? Certainly worth a try… grab a friend or family member, do a little research, watch the video above and …

Go fishing!

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

Photo by Dieter Kühl on Unsplash

#221 Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Allow the anticipation to build as you imagine yourself in a new vacation spot. It will be new and exciting…

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#221

Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Are you someone who goes to the same beach town each year? Do you have a timeshare that you visit every vacation? Do you have a mountain cabin, lake house, or beach bungalow that is your home away from home? Does that mean that you rarely see other parts of the country or of the world?? Perhaps it’s time for you to explore a little and schedule a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Ready for change

What type of landscape attracts you? What city have you always dreamed of visiting? Is there a place of solitude that has been tugging at your interest? If you weren’t tied to your family’s choice, where would you go? Are you bored to tears at the lake, looking for more nightlife than the crickets and fireflies offer or are you fed up with the traffic and city lights?

Where to go

Take a look at your calendar and a good hard look at a map… what part of the world is calling you? Maybe it’s just around the corner and is easily attainable. For destinations halfway around the world, it may take a bit more planning and saving but with dedication to the goal – still attainable. If you can’t decide then write down the top five and draw from a jar or close your eyes and point. If all else fails, try the old fashioned dart throw. After a destination is decided upon, investigate and plan. Take a look at all your options and put together a budget.

Pleasurable anticipation

Allow the anticipation to build as you imagine yourself in a new vacation spot. It will be new and exciting… perhaps a bit strange if you’ve been used to a particular location but discovering new things is responsible for pleasure more often than  not. A fresh location to experience rest and relaxation may be just the thing you need this year so go ahead and…

Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#266 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Many of us spend five dollars without blinking an eye. We drive through Starbucks and spend more than that on a Venti Latte or at Dunkin Donuts where at least we can get a couple of glazed to go with the coffee.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#266

Save $5 A Day

Who doesn’t love a sale?? We used to say that you could mark a price UP – add a ‘sale’ sign and my mom wouldn’t even notice. She loved the ‘idea’ of getting a bargain yet often spent money she didn’t have on things she didn’t need just because ‘they were on sale’.  Today…. I am suggesting that you make an effort to save FIVE dollars as you move through the day – spending what you would ordinarily spend. This isn’t a suggestion to buy something you don’t want or need for the mere fact it would save you money ‘in the long run’.

Why $5? It’s a relatively small amount that adds up quickly and over just a little time – it’s big money. In fact, it totals $35 a week and over the course of a year – with consistency – it amounts to $1800 !! What would you do with that much money? A trip to Europe? (I checked this morning and a RT ticket to Barcelona, Spain from Newark, NJ in October is only $396) What about a cruise? Perhaps you’re thinking something more practical… pay off a credit card… buy a new fridge… new carpet perhaps? How about a Christmas fund? Potentially better… how about putting that money in a savings account for emergencies or a longer term savings goal?

Many of us spend five dollars without blinking an eye. We drive through Starbucks and spend more than that on a Venti Latte or at Dunkin Donuts where at least we can get a couple of glazed to go with the coffee. If you are buying lunch every day (instead of grabbing leftovers from your home fridge), you’re spending $7 or more dollars – and perhaps throwing away those dinner remnants. With gas prices at the $3/gal mark, we might be spending five bucks just by driving without considering the most efficient route. Is there a toll road you can bypass? What about using coupons? Extreme savers buy two newspapers to double up on the coupon opportunities but we can print them from our computers too.

If you can’t save $5 – try making it. Use yard sale sites on Facebook or apps like LetGo to sell something that you no longer use. With the snap of a photo, you can transfer ownership of clothes, household goods, tools, etc… very easily. Whether you use this method or focus on saving, you’ll be amazed at how quickly to begin to accumulate funds. Financial security fosters well-being… money in savings reduces anxiety… life satisfaction increases when you stopped to consider how you can …

Save $5 A Day.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

#311 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Of course, it’s helpful to know how to read a map and have a companion as you undertake this kind of exploration unless of course, you have flares, extra food, and warm blankets.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#311

Explore

This is absolutely one of my most favorite things to do… contributing specifically to feelings of happiness, adventure, and at times… education.

Exploring can be so many things. It can be wandering through your neighborhood looking for window box or front porch decorating ideas. It can be a walk in the woods identifying trees or through a meadow looking for four-leaf clovers.

My goal however, is driving along back roads and exploring the countryside, little towns, or city neighborhoods. My father instilled a love of exploration when I was a small girl. He loved to drive and hence, Sunday’s were for piling the fam in the car and taking off to discover what jewels existed along a route we had never taken.

It may have been a waterfall, an old schoolhouse, or a new ice cream store. It was often just winding roads and beautiful scenery – more Pennsylvania mountains or rocky creek beds and we were most often able to discover a roadside-rest where we could picnic.

I still love the adventure of not knowing what lies ahead, the discovery of a quaint little museum or an artisan haven. I’ve accidentally discovered a membership only ski mountain, dozens of hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon restaurant boasting amazing bacon or french fries, a bathing location of George Washington, and an Indian arrowhead museum.

I’ve wound up on dirt roads that traveled across fields that were more than likely private property, had to drive in reverse for a half mile after hitting a marshy dead end, and come up on moose watering in a pond that perfectly reflected the fall foliage behind it.

I’ve stood in awe of nature’s beauty more times than I can count simply because I took a chance on a road that looked less travelled and I’ve prayed what I thought were my last prayers as we traveled across a switchback moving us into a redstone canyon. I drove through a population of jackrabbits in the middle of the night that scared half the wits from me and along Eastern Shore roads that led to a rope ferry.

Of course, it’s helpful to know how to read a map and have a companion as you undertake this kind of exploration unless of course, you have flares, extra food, and warm blankets. Cell service is not entirely reliable if you’re out in the boondocks.

Finding treasures, locating interesting venues, and getting away from the routine of home lends to authentic joy, peace, and contentment. It’s as simple as learning how to …

Explore

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

LA Bound – Tale #6

This roadtrip, a priceless adventure with my daughter was almost over.

Continued from LA Bound – Tale#5

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~T. S. Eliot

It wasn’t long before we saw signs for Blythe, the California town just on the west side of the border. Erin was getting excited and wanted to make sure that I was prepared to take a picture of the state sign. She had a few very specific expectations on this trip and most of them involved a picture of something that she had anticipated as important – the California sign was at the top of the list – the granddaddy – the one worth turning around for. We entered Ehrenburg (notice the pronunciation is ‘Erin’ burg – weird coincidence?) and slowed down… it turns out that the state line is in the middle of the Colorado river which divides the states and we were on a bridge, on a highway… there was no where to stop.

California has border check points especially for livestock and produce… they are very protective of their produce, thankfully. We were waved through and immediately noticed a ‘Welcome to California’ sign on the right side of the highway. We pulled off on the side of the road while eighteen wheelers whizzed past us as they accelerated back up to speed, so that Erin could stand under the sign and have me snap a few photographs. We had arrived.

And yet, we were still several hours away from our next overnight stop. Since we gained another hour of time crossing the border we agreed that we would divert through Joshua Tree National Park. While I had heard about it, I didn’t know anything about the park or about the Joshua Tree. The park consists of almost 800,000 acres where the Mojave and the Colorado deserts converge. It is home of the Joshua Tree – a unique specimen that was named by the Mormons because they believed that the tree was welcoming them to the West and urging them onward.

We entered the park on the south side and drove north toward Twentynine Palms, a city infamous for its Marine training base. It was instantly apparent that we were entering a desolate desert landscape and once again, there was basically nothing… it was as if we were on Mars, I think. I’ve never actually been on Mars, but it’s exactly what I imagine Mars to be like… rocks and fine silty sand with little variation in color.

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Looking across the landscape it was as if we were in the bottom of an empty ocean. You could clearly see the drifts of sand up against the mountains as if there was a soft gradual rise exactly opposite what we see/experience when at the shore and walk into the water on the sandy bottom. The road seemed to disappear into the gray sand and we couldn’t tell which way it went unless we happened to catch a glimpse of the sun bouncing off a car coming toward us. Only then could we decipher the road as it wound its way through the martian’esque surface. We had no cell service and no GPS… we simply followed the road; trusting that it was leading us toward something worth seeing or experiencing.

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And it did… suddenly we were facing a field full of a type of cactus that is totally ‘unworldly’. In fact, it looks like it belongs under the water or specifically in a terrarium. I imagined it to be a natural habitat for tarantulas because they kind of look alike. It was the Cholla Cactus Garden and there is a quarter mile nature trail meandering through it but thankfully, we were short on time as I am not sure I could move away from that tarantula vision long enough to motivate myself onto the trail. And so, we kept driving.

Erin was reading the brochure about what ‘sights’ were in front of us and she started reading about Jumbo Rocks… explaining that they were created by magma pushing up through the earth’s crust til just under the surface and then over millions of years, the earth around them washed away leaving the magma remains. For you Geology lovers, I included the link so you can read about it but I assure you – there is no comparison until you actually SEE them. I have yet to see a photograph that captures the magnificence of those rocks… they are massive and they are strewn across the desert in random piles. It’s not an ‘ice age’ kind of thing – it’s not similar to ‘boulder fields’ that exist in the north but it is as unique and one of the most beautiful and interesting things I’ve seen in my life. My bucket list now includes another trip there – in a camper – with time to walk and walk and see the sunset. Around every turn thereafter we were both exclaiming “oh my goodness” and “look at that”.

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Eventually we arrived at the Joshua Tree forest and it isn’t a forest per se… not the one you imagine when you say the word but I suppose it is by definition – that is, a large grouping of trees. I totally understand why there are so many UFO sightings in this part of the world… those aliens probably think they are ‘home’ when they come upon this landscape. For all of my East Coast friends and family… it will be mind blowing for you; treat yourself with a trip to Southern California and make the drive!!

We came down out of the mountains into the north side of the Palm Springs desert and once again I was amazed at the number of wind turbines capturing the currents moving through the valley. I am impressed with the implementation of alternative energy and for some reason – enthralled with wind farms. When we were in Europe a couple of years ago I stood in amazement of them and the fancy of it has not tired yet.

I arranged to meet up with a longtime friend for dinner. I would say an ‘old friend’ but we are both of the age that ‘old’ has a different connotation. We met 35 years ago when she was my boss and after my brief stint with the company, we became friends. She is one of the only people in my life still that remembers me as a young woman madly in love with my blonde prince and it was really fun seeing her again. When we arrived at the restaurant she immediately commented on how much Erin looks like the young me. I’m never sure how Erin feels about that but she is always gracious. What is odd to me, just a little … is that I left California when I was 23 – almost from that very spot and here we were connecting with someone I knew back then as my 23-year-old daughter is entering California… how weird is it to think of that night as some kind of ‘portal’ for the continuation of some cosmic unfinished business??

Ummm… sounds like a sci-fi novel and I offer it up to anyone who has the energy to create it!

We had been on the road for six entire days and it was almost over. This roadtrip, a priceless adventure with my daughter was almost over. For the benefit of our budget we opted to stay out there in the East Valley overnight and drive into the city so that Erin could view LA in the daylight. This had been a dream for almost half of her life and I wanted it to be special for her.

To be continued…

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LA Bound – Tale #5

I thought I could hear Erin’s heart beat just a little faster as the California border loomed in front of us.

Continued from LA Bound – Tale #4

“The earth has music for those who listen.” —George Santayana.

It turns out that we entered Oak Creek Canyon, a fourteen-mile drive along the Oak Creek, nestled in a gorge that has been rated as one of the Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in America by Rand McNally. It’s another of those things on our trip that we only allowed ourselves a tease of as I was determined to make it into Sedona in time to see the sun set against all of the red cliffs.  There were a dozen or more ‘retreats’ and/or resorts in the canyon and I made a mental note to look it up and think about my next ‘vacation’! Additionally, we passed a number of signs announcing a trailhead enticing me to stop and hike for a bit… but this wasn’t that trip. It was a downright chore to keep my foot on the gas pedal.

As we rounded the corner into town the sight was more intense than I had remembered. I was in Sedona about twelve years ago for a really short visit and recalled that I thought the airport which is on top of a plateau, would be a great place from which to view the town and/or the sunset and so I made a beeline there. As it turns out, it is a good place – so good in fact that there is an observation point there and you have to pay $3 to park. I had to laugh a bit as I think I may have been the only one to conform and actually grab a ticket… I didn’t stop to check that other cars had done the same as the sun was setting and I wanted Erin to see it.

There is something magical about sunsets, at least in my mind and there is something electric about Sedona. It’s known as an ‘energy’ center and there are Aura Readers and Reiki Healing signs everywhere in addition to ‘spiritual’ teachers and spas. The people there would tell you that the red rock stimulates a variety of neurological centers in your brain and the green of the pine forests promotes hope and regeneration. I suspect that almost any kind of alternative medicine or treatment available can be found in the Sedona area.

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From the airport plateau, you can see for miles and walk around to view the city in its entirety. No matter your viewpoint, it is stunning in all variations of light. There are trails around the airport complex providing benches from which to sit and take it all in. Erin and I sat on one and FaceTime’d Harlan and Sara just to offer them a tiny glimpse of our amazement. It felt as if we had to share it… somehow enjoying the experience ourselves seemed almost too selfish. Every time we changed positions, the view was just as dramatic and we both felt peaceful and overjoyed simultaneously.

As with all of our other stops on this trip – we were only there long enough to snap a few pictures and eat. We picked a little spot that was good but unnoteworthy overall; it was just a nice restaurant and then headed south just a bit for the night. As we drove down the road it was apparent that we were missing some incredible scenery as it had become quite dark with little moonlight to highlight our drive. We stopped for the night just outside the city and I tucked away the idea that we might backtrack a bit in the morning just to have one last look at the majestic ‘red rock’ that we were both so drawn toward.

The morning found us itching to make more progress in our westward movement and we had to make a decision about the route; either go back north and head out I-40 or move further south and pick up I-10. The weather made the decision easy as massive amounts of rain were moving across California and into northern Arizona and so we routed ourselves to Phoenix. The drive was uneventful except for the fields of cactus that dot the landscape there. I was more excited for Erin to see cactus than she was and after I pointed out the third or fourth one she reminded me that my ‘repeating’ fostered annoyance. *sigh*.

The service engine light was still on and we were about a thousand miles over the ‘oil change’ recommendation and so we agreed that Phoenix would be a good place to get everything checked out. In the interest of time we opted for a Jiffy Lube and set the GPS for a western Phoenix suburb. The employee who ran diagnostics on the car provided us with a report and told us to get to a Nissan dealership ASAP and that he would was unable to offer any service on the car because the error code indicated that we had a critical problem.

It was Monday morning and we were just under 400 miles from LA… we still had our 24 hour window to address any issues that came up but we were so… so… close and it was disheartening to think that we might be stuck there for even a little while. Nothing is as frustrating as the unknown and so we directed ourselves to a dealership close by and drove ourselves right into the service bay.

I won’t say that I batted my eyes or pretended to be helpless but I might have used a wee bit of feminine wiles in so much as I let them know that we had driven all the way from the East Coast and needed to finish our trip as easily as possible. We gave them the code sheets that JL had provided. I can honestly say that the service guys who worked with us there were two of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. They ‘listened’ to us – addressed our problem (agreeing that it had probably been the gas cap and reset the dash light), put air in the tires and told us we could wait on the oil change until we got to LA. They didn’t charge us a dime and offered to wash the car before we left.

If you ever get a chance to visit Coulter Nissan in Surprise, Arizona… I highly recommend them!

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We grabbed a quick bite to eat and made the turn West, crossing the southwest portion of Arizona where nothing lives except a few wiry green things. If it weren’t for the interesting sharpness of the mountains and the intensity with which they jutted up from the flat sandy desert, there would be absolutely nothing to look at. We turned on Shonda and listened intently. I thought I could hear Erin’s heart beat just a little faster as the California border loomed in front of us.

To be continued…

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