It “was the cat’s meow” that drove me crazy on the hour and 25 minute flight from El Paso to San Antonio. Throw in the crying baby and the guy behind me snoring through his siesta, and I was ready to jump out at 10,000 feet. This recent flight was the first ever where someone had a kitten onboard. [Read more…]
Settings are the easiest for me to describe in my books because I try to weave in places I have actually visited and studied. Using them in my writing allows me to mentally visit them again and again and relive my experiences. Hopefully, you are traveling with me in both Keeping Faith and Promises Kept. [Read more…]
I am blessed to have met people from all over the world, and many I continue to correspond with on a regular basis. I love hearing from them in emails or on Facebook. Somehow, just hearing from them brings back the memories of the trip where we met, and I am able to re-live that experience and the mutual fun times. Of course, it is also nice when they send me a photo, holding a copy of my book. Not only is it great to know the book is in a faraway place, but that my friend has read it and shared that experience as well. [Read more…]
I miss my parents the most when I travel, because I know how they would have liked to hear of my adventures. I hadn’t traveled a great deal when they both died, but when I did it was an equal adventure for them. They couldn’t wait for my calls and for me to relate what I had done each day.
I realize now they were living that part of their lives through me, and enjoying what they were never really able to do. They did travel in the States, Mexico and Canada, but never ventured further than that. I get my “go” gene from my dad who would have taken off to lands unknown, but mother was most comfortable at home. Dad always dreamed of going to see the Holy Land; Mother couldn’t imagine being on an airplane that long, (actually she hated flying anywhere) and when they were finally financially able to go, they were past the age where they would attempt it.
It’s just as well. I know now that Mother would have hijacked the plane after the first four hours and demanded the pilot land somewhere, anywhere fast, so she could get on the first bus home.
No, they were best at home, waiting for my calls, anticipating what my next place would be, living vicariously through me. And that’s okay because I never travel that they are not on my mind. I take pictures of the scenery and think of them. I eat a new dish in a foreign country and know Daddy would not have agreed that it was good—after all it wasn’t “Momma’s cooking. I drag my bags behind me looking for someone who speaks English to tell me the right direction to go, and know that would have made them uncomfortable.
But, I thank them for giving me a sense of adventure, of courage to go to new places and see new things, most of the time as an independent traveler. And I know they are watching over me when I veer off my path.
Today I leave for Europe, first to serve as chair of a quality assurance review (accreditation visit) for a Department of Defense international school in Brunssum, The Netherlands, and then to play a few days in Amsterdam and the surrounding area. The school serves children of the Joint Command NATO forces which include a representative group from the United States, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
I fly into Dusseldorf, Germany, and will be picked up by a colleague who will be serving as my vice chair. We will then drive about an hour and a half to Brunssum which is located in the southern part of what used to be called Holland. From what I have read, it promises to be a pretty drive, and we will have time to stop along the way if we choose.
On Monday, we will meet with the commander and other officials, and then late in the day, meet members of the school team who join us from different Department of Defense schools throughout Europe. I always enjoy meeting these educators who have led extremely interesting lives, often living in many different parts of the world.
The next three days, I’ll be quite busy in the school, evaluating its programs and processes, talking to administrators, teachers, students, and parents and reviewing all matter of paperwork, etc. I’ll also spend time in classrooms.
Then, I’m off to play. I’ll either leave for Amsterdam Thursday afternoon or early Friday morning. Although I have been there before, it has been eight years. The last time I was there I had an incredible opportunity to see the Floriada, which is a gigantic international floral festival held only once every ten years.
For acres and acres, there are flowers growing representing different nations, all beautifully landscaping the hills and valleys that surround lakes and ponds. I will miss the tulips this trip, but there will be plenty of other things to see; hopefully a few windmills. I loved the canal last trip so I know I will take another boat ride.
One day I plan to visit The Hague on the North Sea, home of the International Criminal Court and the de facto judicial capital of the United Nations.
After a short visit, I’ll probably catch the train to Delft, known for its blue porcelain that is synonymous with The Netherlands. At this point, “play plans” are not carved in stone, because I always get good suggestions when I meet people in the schools. These recommendations often cause me to change my mind anyway, so who knows? I only know I will fly out of Amsterdam to come back home, but the in between is still in limbo, therefore, watch for blogs and I’ll keep you posted.
I arrived in Ruidoso, New Mexico on November 20, after several stops and hotel stays along the way. After all, it is a 16 hour trip, so no need to rush. I know it seems crazy to go west to cold country for the winter when others are traveling south to stay warm, but every now and then I like the change, and the way the mountains, trees and potential for snow add to the holiday excitement. The little village here is decorated for the Christmas season (and I do not apologize for calling it that—whoever “invented” political correctness should be burned with a yuletide log).
The twinkling lights hanging along the storefronts in mid-town look just like a holiday card, and the people bustling around the shops remind me of those described in the traditional carols playing on the radios inside the stores. It is, indeed, a magical time, and although I love South Padre, the palm trees just can’t compete this time of year with the tall pines and junipers. It just smells like Christmas here. Of course, when the temperature is 19 degrees in the morning, it definitely feels like Christmas.
Ski Apache is open, and ski racks on top of SUVs are as common a sight as fishing poles hanging out of pick-up truck beds at the island. The drive up the mountain is scary, especially if the snow refreezes over night. Even with the newly added guard rails, it is a treacherous 12 mile drive. But it doesn’t stop the die hard skiers and snow boarders. In my younger years I forged up there and skied a few times. These days, I opt for a hot toddy and a good book in front of my fireplace. Skiing is hard work, and there are not enough hot tubs to make me less sore the next day. Been there, done that, and glad to have the memories, which include landing in a snow drift and running over an old man, not to mention falling off the lift when the operator yelled jump.
They had to stop the whole lift just to keep the chair from taking off the top of my head. And I had lessons!! Think what might what have happened if I had tried this without ski school. As you know from reading earlier blogs, lessons don’t necessarily “take” with me. But I love a winter wonderland, and I’m happy to be here to celebrate the season. So close your eyes and think snow!