Myanmar in Pictures

Seth, a friend of mine that I mentioned in a previous post, I’m Afflicted with Wanderlust, who travels all the time and fills me with so much envy; traveled to Myanmar, the former country of Burma, last December. He took some amazing photo’s and had a couple of fundraisers/art shows sharing the beautiful pictures and tales of his travels. He offered one of his friends and me a tour on a recent visit to his office. (he’s a lawyer in his day job, I try not to hold that against him)

Seth proudly showing his photo’s

He also wrote a piece in the Daily Journal of Commerce about his trip where he shared some of the history of the country and a few interesting stories and misadventures. Here is an excerpt about a portion of his trip where he decided to rent a moped to head up to a hot spring outside a city he was visiting;

After a little reflection, I realized that weaving in and out of traffic (semis, buses, other mopeds), armed with a meek little horn and a broken blinker, was proof positive that I don’t value my own life quite enough. When I arrived, thankful to be counted among the living, I planted the kickstand, and that’s when I realized something else, a bit less important than the value of life. I had forgotten a towel.”

And yet he made the best of it when he decided to have a beer instead; a taxi driver found him interesting and wanted to know why he isn’t in the hot springs. Seth tells him that he forgot his towel, and the man hurries off and comes back with a longyi (According to Seth, a traditional cloth wrap worn by everyone other than tourists, replacing pants and similar to a sarong) for him to use to visit the pool.

For some reason this seems to be a typical Seth story, he forgets his towel and a man provides one, he smiles and a lady crosses the street to give him a flower(see below). No wonder he has survived months of travel and had really very little bad things happen to him.

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Flower Woman

The lovely woman in the picture above is the one from his story that offered him a flower.

“I noticed someone dodging traffic, walking towards me, with purpose. The woman stopped and handed me a bright crimson flower with a short stem. I thanked her as best I could. She didn’t speak any English, and Burmese, the mother tongue, was way beyond my pay grade.

The woman cupped one hand and motioned towards her nose. “Smell it,” she implied, without saying anything. So I did. And I’m glad I listened. The smell was incredible: rich and fragrant, anise and clover.

I carried the flower with me that day and the next, all the way to the airport, where I finally left it, wilting on a window ledge.”

Seth is full of stories from his adventure; including trying some weird goopy “peyote” like substance from a stand and enjoying it, eating mostly street cart food and never getting ill, moped rides, crazy train rides and more. You can see more of Seth’s pictures on his website.

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A Few of My Favorite Pictures

 

I now have another location on my bucket list of places to visit. Do you have a favorite place that you think I should see?

 

A New Favorite – Cooper Point Public House

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A new pub opened up just down the road from my home about 6 or 7 months ago, the Cooper Point Public House. We have been driving by it almost everyday and finally decided to stop in and give it a try as part of my quest for “discovering home.”

We were met with a cheery hello and sit anywhere by the afternoon waitress, Hanna and promptly given menu’s and water. She asked if we would like her to get started on any drinks while we looked over the menu; I asked if she had a recommendation. She recommended a “Kentucky Mule” (Bourbon and Ginger beer with lime juice). Yummy and so refreshing on a hot day.

We had rolled in right at happy hour, so we decided to sample a few goodies off that menu. Fried Chicken Sliders, Crabcake Sliders and hand-cut french fries. We loved them all! The Fried Chicken Sliders come with a side of rich coleslaw and bar-b-q sauce – we slapped a little of both on the sliders, so good.  The Crabcake sliders came with some greens that had a honey mustard dressing on them – added some of the mustardy greens to the slider; also fantastic. And who doesn’t love a good basket of hand cut french fries and these are perfect.

Sam the owner stopped by to check on our meal and offer a few other suggestions for our next visit. With three visits under our belt we are working our way through their menu. Visit number two included fish and chips for my husband; I had to steal a piece of the fish it looked so good. The batter was super light and crispy so you could taste the high quality fish. I had their happy hour Grilled Chicken Caesar, which is a great deal, it’s the same size as the regular but 4 bucks cheaper during happy hour. The salad had lightly grilled chicken, crisp romaine with just the right amount of dressing. Hanna saw me picking out the croutons and said next time to request it without and they would be happy to make it the way I liked it.

If you live in the Olympia area or are passing through, we definitely recommend a stop at the Cooper Point Public House. Oh and they serve breakfast until 4pm.

 

 

Learning Something New and Getting Off My Ass

Paddle Boarding or more specifically SUP (Stand-up Paddle) Boarding has become my new addiction, even though I am only on day four I am pretty sure I’m in for the long haul. I have been wanting to try this sport for some time now and had plans to do it on our last California road-trip instead of surfing(which I also really want to try, but am freaked out by the whole shark aspect of the sport). I had scouted out a couple of companies down around Santa Cruz where we were supposed to be headed this year and was already to go try it for the first time, but if you have read my previous post you know that our trip was canceled.

So, in an attempt to salvage my now “staycation” I went in search of a local rental/lesson board shop here around the Olympia area. Lucky me I found West Bay Paddleboards and Owner Chris Fry. I called Monday morning to see if I could get in for a lesson, “yes” he had an opening at 2pm.

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I was pretty nervous, afraid I was going to make a fool out of myself, drown or I don’t know, run into a boat. Chris gave me a demo of the basics, how to get on, how to stand up, how to turn, paddle, stop and emergency brake. He then walked me through getting on the board and paddling around on my knees a little bit to get used to the paddling strokes and the feel of the board. Then it was step by step on how to stand up, the next thing I knew I was standing, with my heart pounding and my paddle in the water heading out in the open water. Oh my goodness, even through my fears, I knew I was going to love this.

My second day I went out by myself and paddled around in relative silence watching the seals sun themselves on the log piles and seeing a few of them bob their heads up to take a look at me.  It was a great day on the water taking in the view of my city with the capital shining in the distance, the marina full of boats softly bobbing in the light waves and the huge rock in the harbor with 3 herons looking for their next meal. It was a lovely feeling of freedom and pride and happiness all rolled into one.

Capital from Budd Inlet

Capital from Budd Inlet

Day three was another perfect day and I decided to test my comfort zone a bit and headed out the furthest from shore and my dock that I had been so far. I got a bit concerned when a big black sail boat was heading right in my direction, but I busted it into high gear and got the heck out of the way. Then some out of towner who clearly wasn’t paying attention to the “no wake zone” came flying through the bay so I got to make my way through a couple of good-sized (well for a beginner on her own they were good sized) waves. I was definitely feeling more confident by the end of my third ride.

The time alone on the water seems to help me clear my head, begin to set some priorities and help me start thinking more directly about the things I want in my life. Yes, it was that good, plus it got me off my ass!

Have you been waiting to try something you have always thought would be fun?

 

 

Disappointment and Fear

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The only thing sustaining me through these last few hellish weeks of work has been the thought of going on our summer road trip. I have been having dreams about sitting on the beach with my toes in the sand watching the sunset with a nice tall G&T in my hand. For me, that is a slice of heaven, but unfortunately there will be no heaven this week.

On Friday, the day before we were supposed to leave for our trip, the day we were supposed to be loading up our car to head out on the open road my husband began spitting up blood. This is how our 10 days stint in the hospital started last December, so we took it pretty seriously. It just so happened that he had an appointment at the anticoagulation clinic scheduled for Friday morning so we decided to take him there first before trying to get any other appointments or hitting the emergency room.  It turned out that his Warfarin was way off, like almost 50% higher than it was supposed to be, and that was likely the cause of the bleeding. So with instructions on how to get his blood levels back to where they are supposed to be we headed home for a day of resting.

On Saturday morning I had high hopes that he would be feeling better and at least well enough to sit in the car while I drove us south.  He said he wanted to go and wished to go and he was feeling better, but that he was too scared to be away. “What if something happens like last time?”  I understood, but was still very, very disappointed.  I went back to bed.

His lungs are not going to get any better and he knows it, but his lungs are not in nearly as bad of shape as some people in my life have been. Still when things like this happen I think he feels like the end is near and that death is knocking on his door and he get sad, depressed and mopey. I then find myself giving him the platitude pep talk; “Do you want to live what’s left of your life sad and depressed? If you do, why keep living?”, “You are so lucky and are in a lot better shape than many men your age and you better start appreciating it, because it’s not going to get any better than it is.“,  “You have to stop wishing you were 25 again because you’re not.”, “Are you going to spend your remaining years sad and unhappy? Cause that’s no way to live!”  He then responds, “I know.” “I’ll get out of my funk”  and then he feels better and get’s out of his funk and we start to enjoy life again.

But I am still in a little funk, just bummed out that our trip didn’t happen and trying to make the best of it. I was thinking about just heading back into work this week and trying to save the vacation for another time, but I need a break from that place even if it is just at home. The weather is supposed to be sunny and hot here all week, so I think to get myself in a better state of mind I am going to try to learn something new and use a day to discover something new about home.

Do you have someone in your life that is dealing with health issues? How do you help them stay positive?

 

 

Road Tripping!

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Some Maps from the Map Box

In anticipation of our impending road-trip I have been pulling up my rough itinerary on google maps, getting out the map box and checking to see if I have the maps I want to take and also plugged a few of the stops I know we want to make into the navigation on my phone.  All of this is getting me so excited to hit the road, wondering about the new things I will get to see and do, salivating about the food I will be eating and makes me thing about wanting to try something new. Paddle boarding I think this time!

I ran across a fun article on one of my favorite blogs, Broadside, written by Caitlin Kelly called;  “Why Maps Beat GPS Every Time”  She talks about her love of maps, one of her favorite trips to Corsica, an island off the southern coast of France, and one of my favorite quotes from the article:

 I love the anticipation of reading a map and wondering how the landscape will resemble it contours.”

I love my maps too, because if there is anything I am, I am a planner. I love to plan trips, moves, purchases, events, parties, how to get something done ~ I love to plan. Sometimes I fear I love the planning part more than the actual event part, but I hope that is only marginally true.  I love my maps for the memories that they bring back to me; they are just as important to me as the pictures I take or the journal entries I make and sometimes trigger memories better than anything else.

But I also love techie stuff too and one of the favorite phone apps I discovered on our last road trip was called Field Trip.  It used your GPS on your phone to tell you about interesting things nearby and lets you customize what types of things it tells you about; like if you are interested in Historic Places and Events or looking for Zagat rated dining you can use a filter it to tell you about those things and not the amusement parks or museums or vis-a-versa if amusement parks and museums are your thing.  Pretty cool.

My husband tends to be the driver and I am the navigator, we have become a pretty good team over the years, finding interesting places on purpose and well, yes, sometimes by accident. My favorite drives have been the ones on both coasts; California along highway 1 and in the Northeast from Boston to Cape Ann with breathtaking sunsets in the west and a beautiful reason to rise early and meet the sun in the east.

Here’s to a week of fun, adventure and beautiful sunsets!

Do you have a favorite road trip that you can do again and again?  or

Do you have a favorite travel tool ~ high-tech or low-tech that you use?


Life is good Auto Accessories

Elephant Ears and Metal

One of my friends and fellow bloggers Todd Baker enjoying Olympia!! Check it out!

Todd Baker

I lived my motto last Thursday. In case you didn’t notice, my motto is up at the top of the page: Be who you are, like what you like, and do cool stuff. I understand having a motto is a bit pretentious, but so is having a blog and writing books. I appreciate your complicity.

On Thursday, being who I am included being a runner. Running is part of my daily routine as I run every day during the workweek. Spending 30 to 45 minutes of my lunch hour running away from work makes it much easier to go back and face an afternoon filled with email and meetings. The difference on this Thursday was that I was running around Capitol Lake in downtown Olympia. The lake is nowhere near my office, so I had to drive to get there. I also had to change into my running clothes in…

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Milestones and Bagel Brothers!

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This week:

  • Hit 100 subscribers on Random and Rhyme ~ Thank you everyone!
  • Posted my 85th story
  • Missed Lakefair, but discovered Bagel Brothers  ( More on them below)
  • Celebrated the 5 month anniversary of Random and Rhyme!
  • Releasing my 3rd book on BookCrossing.com  – Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott sometime during my California road trip ~ be on the lookout!

A great week and it should get even better with our California road trip just a few days away.

Bagel Brothers

I have been driving by Bagel Brothers for 11 plus years, it’s right down the street from me near the liquor store and the post office, and yet I had never stopped in for a bagel.  But this week I was on my own for lunch and trying to decide from 2 or 3 of my usual picks as I was driving by the strip mall where Bagel Brothers is located and in my quest to “Discover Home” I pulled my car in to give them a try.

In a word ~ Yummy! I had a sesame bagel with cream cheese, capers, and lox and it was delicious! The lox’s were perfect, the fresh bagel was toasted to perfection and had just the right about of cream cheese. The staff was very friendly and helpful, offering a first timer great service and excellent suggestions.

And my timing couldn’t have been better, because I found out that on Saturday they were having their 20 year anniversary and were offering plain and cheese bagels for $.20each and two for one espresso drinks. So I drug my husband down to give it a try and score some anniversary bagels. He loved it too!

Score another plus in the “try new places” column for “Discovering Home“! I now have a frequent visitor punch card with three punches, I see a free bagel in my future.

Do you have a business in your neighborhood that you have driven by a dozen times and still haven’t stopped?

 

Menehune

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The little menehune that sit upon my shelf,

smiling up at me trying to remind me to laugh at my self.

They used to sit among the clowns,

always calling me to get them down.

Smiling big with a crinkle near their eyes,

They remind me of better days and always sunny skies.

Across the great Pacific to our tiny town,

so exotic I never wanted to put them down.

A tchotchke to some, but a memory I will always treasure.

You see they belonged to my grandmother and will forever bring me pleasure.

Walking for Make-A-Wish

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The little boy in the picture is my good buddy Logan. He was diagnosed with Leigh’s disease about two years ago after years of diagnostic testing. Leigh’s is a Mitochondrial disease. You can read more about Leigh’s disease here and here. But the short explanation is:

“Leigh’s disease, genetic mutations in mitochondrial DNA interfere with the energy sources that run cells in an area of the brain that plays a role in motor movements. The primary function of mitochondria is to convert the energy in glucose and fatty acids into a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The energy in ATP drives virtually all of a cell’s metabolic functions. Genetic mutations in mitochondrial DNA, therefore, result in a chronic lack of energy in these cells, which in turn affects the central nervous system and causes progressive degeneration of motor functions.”       There is no cure.

Logan is the sweetest, funniest, smartest and kindest boy I have ever met with the strongest spirit of anyone I know. He was granted a wish from Make-A-Wish foundation to go to Disneyland last year. It was an amazing time for the family to get to relax, be taken care of and enjoy their time together. They continue to talk about what a special experience it was and the outstanding team from Make-A-Wish.

So this year, as a way of giving back to an organization that gave them such a special memory and to help other children get that same chance, Brandy (Logan’s Mom), Logan and their family are participating in the Make-A-Wish walk in September.  And lucky me, I was invited to join them at the walk and of course help them raise money for our participation.

So I have pledged to try to raise at least $100 prior to the September 14th walk and am hoping that some of my readers might want to help support my walk by pledging a donation to Make-A-Wish. Any donation, big or small would be greatly appreciated.

I promise to take lots of pictures and share the experience of the day with everyone.

Thank you for your consideration!

 

Destination Olympia ~ Compass Rose

Compass RoseThe Compass Rose is always one of my favorite stops when I do visit downtown Olympia. They have such a fun, eclectic, hard to resist assortment of merchandise with everything from my favorite Moleskine notebooks, awesome cards, cookbooks, the best kids section anywhere, covetable kitchen gadgets and always interesting jewelry and art. As their slogan says; “Fresh, Local and Always in Season.”

I stopped in just to have a look around with no intention of purchasing anything, as I was on my “walkabout” to discover new things about Olympia, and of course as always happens I find this super cool hand-made shadowbox diorama from Christine Rodrigues Schukow.

Christine Originals Dioramas It’s hard to see all the detail in my picture, it’s called “Leaving Home”. 14644567315_d4eb42e806_o

I am a sucker for anything with a dog and “Leaving Home” has a girl with a white dog heading out on a long road. Christine is a New York based artist who loved to make dioramas as a kid. She creates the diorama’s and her husband builds all the frames.

My newly installed treasure is hanging on my “Family Wall” with pictures of my dogs, my family, my husband and me. So happy I stumbled upon this perfect little treasure.

I also scored a new Moleskine notebook, a cute card and in the bargain room a favorite set of notecards at half off.

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They opened a second location in Tacoma as well and are getting ready to have their one year anniversary party on July 19th!  Looks like it will be a fun party, if you are in the area you should go.

If you are in Olympia I highly recommend you stop by and check out Compass Rose! I know you’ll be glad you did!

Do you have a favorite store in your town? Or do you have another Olympia store that you know I should check out?