31 March, 2009

Birthdays and Life Insurance...Coincidence?

Today is just like any another day, except it’s my birthday. Birthdays are one of those events I don’t typically put a lot of thought into. I don’t expect grand celebrations or lavish gifts since I would rather celebrate anything I feel like throughout the year and not reserve my celebrations to just one day.

Birthdays are inevitable events and there’s nothing you can do about them to stop them from coming. Am I concerned about growing older? Of course, but only because there are so many things I want to do and see and not enough time or resources to accomplish them all - at least not within my predetermined timeframe. I like semi-instant gratification and except to see immediate reward and its days like today that I am reminded that another year has passed and what have I accomplished since my last birthday?

Well, within the last year, I’ve traveled to Roatan, Honduras; Myrtle Beach, SC; Bonaire, Netherland Antilles and Samana, Dominican Republic. I am thankful for every opportunity I have been given throughout this past year and within my lifetime and perhaps today would be easier to handle if it wasn’t for the fact that my life insurance was also due today. Hmmm…

I've learned - that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

30 March, 2009

Blood Suckers – Reduce the Risk…(PART 3)

There are a couple of ways to reduce the risk of being attacked by roaming hoards of hungry bloodsuckers.

The first would be my preference and would solve a world of problems – simply stay out of the jungle. I hear National Geographic has already been there, so I’m pretty sure I could find a wonderful series of DVDs that would allow me to experience everything I would have otherwise encountered by going myself – minus the actual bloodsuckers, festering wounds and traumatic memories.

I don’t suspect my husband would be overly keen on the idea of traveling half way around the world, only to sit in the comfort of our hotel room and watch the National Geographic series on Borneo (not even if it was in high definition), so my second choice is to purchase a pair of leech socks.

Leech socks are the perfect fashion accessory to any piece of jungle attire. Made from ultra tough quick drying poly-something which apparently deters the burrowing effect of the leech, they are meant to be worn over your normal socks, slipped into your boots and depending on your height, should cover anywhere from below your knee to mid thigh. Think of them as the leg warmers of the jungle – not only are the fashionable, but they are a necessity.

As for my arms, neck, nose, mouth, ears – I’ll need to keep moving, check myself often and keep my mouth shut. Wish me luck – it won’t be easy to keep my mouth shut when I’m swearing at my darling husband to get the little (rhymes with suckers) off of me!

27 March, 2009

Blood Suckers – Do Not Panic…(PART 2)

O.K. I really need to stop educating myself on these damn Borneo leeches because I’m not finding much comfort in the facts. Anything I’ve read about them is not good.

I have read all about what you shouldn’t do if one attaches itself to you. Did you know that if it’s attached to you, you shouldn’t proceed to squish it like a mosquito or spider? Because it will simply regurgitate its stomach contents into your wound and this will most likely cause infection and that infection will mostly likely lead to gangrene or fleshing eating disease. I may be exaggerating about the gangrene and fleshing eating, but just because there aren’t any published medical cases on such an affliction, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

Don’t even get me started on what could happen if one happens to crawl in an exposed airway. So now, not only do I have to worry about not squishing one, but I also have to worry about not screaming bloody murder when one attaches itself to me for fear that another one might fling itself into my mouth!

With the knowledge of the adverse affects of squishing one or inhaling another, I am told that I should remain calm. Seriously? Yes, remain calm and look for the smaller end of the leech. Apparently the smaller end contains the teeth/suction cups and once you have located the correct end, you need to simply slide your fingernail under the tip of the sucker, which should be enough to break the suction. Once the suction is broken, you can then proceed to remove it (assuming it hasn’t reattached itself to your finger), fling it to the ground and stomp the shit out of it.

You will then need to run like hell of out the jungle, keeping in mind that these things sense heat and vibrations, so assuming you haven't dropped dead from heart failure, you can rest assured that there will be plenty more where that one came from.

26 March, 2009

Blood Suckers – No, not vampires or salespeople…(PART 1)

As I start to plan my 2010 trip to Borneo, I need to keep reminding myself that it will be a once in a lifetime adventure. After all, I will be traveling to one of the most bio-diverse exotic places on the planet, visiting remote locations and viewing wildlife that others can only dream off.

But as I begin to educate myself on the sites and wildlife of this wonderful place, I start to read about the “blood suckers of the jungle”. Not vampires, but leeches. Apparently these things are sensitive to heat and vibrations, so when you are trekking through the jungle, they will make their move and have be known to literally fling themselves in your direction looking for a meal. Ewww!

Supposedly, there is no cause for concern. I am to take comfort in the fact that they will first inject me with a local anesthetic, so I won’t actually feel them sucking the life force from any exposed piece of flesh. It should be noted that I will however bleed profusely once they are finished with me because they also inject an anti-coagulant into my wound. I shouldn’t be concerned though, I won’t actually loose enough blood to adversely affect my health and well-being; however the sight of my blood soaked clothing might be a bit more of a jolt than my emotional stability could otherwise normally handle. WTF…

25 March, 2009

Tiny Island, Big Adventures...

Today has been a monumental day for me, as today is the day I finally got off my ass and mailed my picture book manuscript to a few book publishers.

Tiny Island, Big Adventures” has been based upon the wild donkeys that roam free on the small Caribbean Island of Bonaire and my interpretation of their daily interactions with tourists.

Most of the island’s donkey population are wild and are left to their own devices; however there are a select few that are brave enough to approach vehicles looking for some affection or a snack and may even pose long enough for photo opportunity. It was on my first visit to Bonaire that I encountered these donkeys and even when I am not there, they hold a special place in my memories. It’s actually a part of what draws me back to this island time and again. Well, in all honesty, it’s actually the donkeys, the fantastic scuba diving, warm weather, great food, friendly people and cold Brights beer…

The book has been a work in progress for well over 4 years and although it has been completed for sometime, I haven’t been motivated enough to mail it off and have procrastinated on doing so for over a year now. Perhaps my hesitation has been driven by the fear of rejection or self-doubting in my abilities? Life is too short to second guess decisions and to be obsessed with “what ifs” – today is my day.

I am confident that I have done a great job and even if the book is not published, I will take satisfaction in knowing that at least someone has read about the adventures of the donkeys of Bonaire, but should the cosmic stars align and I do become an overnight bestseller (or even get published), a portion of the proceeds from the book sales will go to the Donkey Sanctuary of Bonaire (www.donkeysanctuary.org).

24 March, 2009

Mood Swings...

Well, I woke up this morning feeling miserable. Never mind the wrong side of the bed; I woke up in a different bedroom (at least it seemed that way). This feeling seems to be occurring a lot lately and I can’t seem to figure out why. Nonetheless, I am determined not to let it affect the rest of my day. I believe that if I can just struggle through my morning routine, I will be able to grab my coffee and regroup on my drive into work. Unfortunately the closer I got, the more my mood darkened. Perhaps it was simply foresight of things to come.

The sun is beginning to shine, so as lunch time arrives and I decide to take a quick drive to help lighten my mood. As I step out the door, the wind is gusting and it is freezing – so much for Spring and the deceitful sunshine, but I muster on. As I’m getting into my car a huge gust of wind comes up out of no where and my car door goes flying – slamming right into the car door beside me. As I dislodge my car door, I proceed to swear uncontrollably – not so much because of the large dent it left in the other door, but because it was the HR Director’s car and boy does she LOVE that car!

Can you say career limiting move? To others you might think so, but today I’m in no mood for this shit, even if it is my own fault. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely feel bad and do trudge back into the office to tell her what has just happened, although there was a point, I had an overwhelming urge to simply get into my car, drive home, get into bed and not move until tomorrow.

If I’ve learned anything from these moods - I’ve learned it’s better to go with your instincts and call in sick, so as not to risk injury to yourself or others.

23 March, 2009

Spring is in the Air...

The weekday has begun as it typically does. Four-thirty a.m., I reach up to close the window above my bed. The crack of dawn hasn’t even cracked yet, it’s still dark, but the birds haven’t seemed to have picked up on that and are busy singing a freakin tune to whoever might be listening. “Stupid birds, spring is an overrated season”, I mumble to myself as I settle back into the pillow.

Five-twenty a.m., alarm goes off. Fortunately, my husband’s swift movement has temporarily silenced the perky, caffeine-induced morning show hosts. The snooze button is a wonderful invention, although merely a band-aid solution intended to buy us ten more minutes before we have to drag our sorry butts out of bed. Actually, it’s only my sorry butt that requires dragging anywhere. My husband is a morning person (stupid man). It’s also a good thing he’s a morning person and has fearlessly taken on the task of getting my ass moving in the morning. Without him, I’d be unemployed. Without him however, I would be well-rested, able to sleep until noon!

13 March, 2009

Friday the 13th...

Well, what a week it’s been! Our internal clocks have just begun to sync themselves into some sort of normalcy thanks to the time change brought on by daylight savings time and now we are presented with Friday the 13th.

For some, 13 is an unlucky number. Many believe the number 13 will bring them bad luck. If people truly believe this then 2009 is not their year and could send some scurrying for a highover the edge because 2009 will be extremely unlucky given that there are three Friday the 13th this year. The first one was last month, then today and then the grand finale is in November. For three to occur in one year is highly unusual and apparently only happens every eleven years.

Fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia and is one of the most common fears people have. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

Not to add any more fear mongering, myth or speculation to those that already fear this day, but have you happened to notice that there has also been a full moon? In case you are one that simply avoids adventuring outdoors on these days, I would suggest that you simply remain in bed, not answer the phone or door, as you never know what might be lurking about – perhaps a sleep deprived unlucky werewolf.

Learn to laugh at yourself because if you don’t... someone else will.

11 March, 2009

Work vs. Travel vs. Lunch - Who Will Win??

I seem to be experiencing some form of ADD today. I’m not sure what’s going on with my brain, but I cannot focus on any work projects for more than ten minutes at a time and all I can think about is food and travel. I would love nothing more than to start surfing the Internet for travel deals, but then my thoughts quickly turn to lunch. Even though I’ve brought my lunch, I would love nothing more than to dump it in the trash and run out for something yummy. It’s a good thing my co-workers bring their lunch and don’t tempt me into skipping out for some tastier treats because it wouldn’t take much to break my resolve. I’m weak in the ways of food.

UGHH - now I can’t focus on work or travel plans. What is wrong with me? Perhaps I need a holiday – a little time to rejuvenate. Now, if I could only concentrate long enough to plan one. Yes, my priorities are messed up and my moral compass is off and I am well aware that I should be concentrating on earning a living so that I can afford those worldly indulgences, but days like today are hopeless. Tomorrow on the other hand is a brand new day and lunch hour is finally here.

10 March, 2009

Time Out...

Well today has started off as another one of those days I contemplate giving myself a self-imposed time out. Although time-outs are usually reserved for two year olds, I could really use one. I would have been better off staying in bed until I was able to play well with others and not have an overwhelming need to spew profanity at my poor unsuspecting family and co-workers. Having said that, we also need to understand that from time to time both family members and co-workers deserve an ass chewing for no apparent reason – it keeps them on their toes and sharpens their survival instincts.

Today I am well aware that I am miserable. Actually I am beyond miserable and am wading into the waters of self-destruction and no amount of caffeine, chocolate or French fries with gravy will cure my mood. Well the fries with gravy might, but I will end up hating myself tomorrow, so I’m better left being miserable. Nothing short of a miracle will help me salvage this one. I’ve learned in order to minimize collateral damage to myself and others, I best not speak or make eye contact with anyone. Yep, a time out is just what I need...

09 March, 2009

Daylight Savings Time – What’s the Point?

What exactly is the point of daylight savings time and why does it have to take effect on a Sunday? Why can’t it actually take place on a Friday afternoon? This would make much more sense – particularly given the fact that we have just rolled our clocks forward and have lost an hour of our weekend. While an hour isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, it’s colossal in terms of time lost in a weekend. I would gladly forgo one hour on a Friday afternoon, but having to do so on a Sunday is wrong.

Apparently, the Monday following the commencement of daylight savings time is considered one of the most dangerous times for drivers. Supposedly, more traffic accidents occur on this day than any other, which studies say is most likely from our internal clocks being out of whack. Really?? What genius came to that conclusion?

05 March, 2009

Google It....

Whether you are planning for an all-inclusive scuba diving vacation or a weekend camping trip, you can avoid a lot of disappointment and frustration by planning ahead and doing some research on your intended destination.

There is no excuse for not arriving at your destination well informed as to what you can expect during your visit. You should be able to find out everything you need to know about your resort, the food, activities, beaches and there is a simple tool to help you with your destination education - it’s called the Internet. The first rule of travel should be - don’t assume that everything will be the same at your destination as it is back at home.

There is nothing more frustrating for me than to overhear people complain about the differences from home. While on a recent holiday, I overheard a couple of statements that went something like “I didn’t know there would be so much poverty and garbage in the streets” or “we are scuba divers and there wasn’t any fish on the reefs, as they have been overfished.” It is statements like these that send me over the edge. What do these people expect from third world countries? Research the basic economy of the country and if you find that the average annual household income is less than what most people make in a month in developed countries, you can almost bet that poverty will be quite evident and standards of garbage removal and pollution control will be non-existent. As for the scuba divers and their lack of fish on the reef comment – what else are these people supposed to eat or better yet, where are they expected to get the money to pay for it?

I realize countries and their governments benefit from tourism and therefore have a responsibility to provide a great tourism experience; however we also have to realize that we are simply guests within their country and if you don’t like what you see, help do something about erasing poverty both within your home country and abroad. Better yet, stay at home and you will have less to bitch about later on - God knows we live in a perfect country without poverty, corruption or environmental issues.

As with anything in life, there may be a few unforeseen wrinkles, but keep in mind vacations are what you make of them. If you are a tightly wound individual while you are in the confines of your daily routine and you do not accept change or diversity with ease, I would suggest that travel abroad is most not likely for you.

04 March, 2009

Please Have your Passports Ready...

Always keep your passport up-to-date and your toiletry kit stocked, as you never know when the opportunity for adventure will present itself and you don’t want to be caught short with a lack of deodorant. My lust for travel is limited only by the absence of a money tree in my backyard and my moral sense of responsibility to ensure that my car is not repossessed or my house isn’t foreclosed on and my son has an post-secondary education in his future.

While I still contribute to an education fund for my son, it certainly isn’t worthy of funding a University education, so imagine my sense of relief that my child has realized he’s not academically motivated enough to attend medical school, but has instead opted for community college. Can you imagine the humiliation I would feel by having to explain to my son that he can’t go to medical school since we spent that money on our trip to Borneo? Seriously, with a confession like that, I wouldn’t win any parent of the year awards.

I wish for nothing more than having the ability to live consequence free – having the ability to pack my bag, jump on an airplane to a new destination and not worry about where my next meal will come from or when my next pay day is. I know people like that exist and I admire them and their carefree outlook on life.

My dad is one of those people. Since his divorce from my mother, he has not been in a long-term committed relationship, lived on his own or even had his own car. He has managed to live with friends or family and borrowing whatever transportation was available to him got him to where he needed to go. He has had a steady job, but getting rich certainly has not been part of his long term plan. As long as he has enough money to take the odd fishing excursion or to purchase some new fishing tackle, he is content with what life has passed his way. He is happy with what he has, which isn’t a lot, but you can rest assured that his passport is up-to-date and when the opportunity presents itself, he’s on the first mode of transportation out of Dullsville, whether it be a simple road-trip or the adventure of a lifetime, you can guarantee you’d have a traveling companion in him. Perhaps that’s where I’ve inherited my need for travel, adventure and constant change of scenery. I admire him and when I grow up, I want to be just like him - except maybe with a little more money in the bank.

03 March, 2009

Working for a Living...

My philosophy has always been – work to live, don’t live to work.

I’ve always believed that there is something better out there for me and in order to achieve it, I would simply need to work hard, treat others fairly and ensure I didn’t sacrifice my morals along the way.

Well...with my morals intact, now my days are typically spent daydreaming of winning the lottery, inheriting money or stumbling upon a bag full of cash on the side of the highway. Basically, I hope to get rich quick.

In these days of economic uncertainty, making money seems to be increasingly problematic, but keeping it is even more difficult. Not because of the increasing job losses and stock market crashes, but as result of this economic doom and gloom, we need to seek out an escape from reality, if only for an "all-inclusive" week at a time.

Money way be the root of all evil, but it is a necessary evil if we want to enjoy the finer things in life.