• Adventure,  Travel,  Writing

    Cuba: Day Two

    We woke up in La Habana. It felt surreal, dreamlike; the way Latin American authors write about magical realism, that which is true, but cannot be. Breakfast was Cuban coffee (distilled and black and delicious even to a heavy tea-drinker like me), a bowl of fresh fruit (bananas and papayas and pineapple, and something else I never quite figured out), and eggs with a slice of cheese, a slice of ham and a slice of tomato. We chatted with the other travelers at the table, and Adele, a British lady was nice enough to give me a stash of PG Tips tea bags. I had not brought any with me (I…

  • Adventure,  Travel,  Writing

    Cuba! An Introduction

    I wish I could tell you all about Cuba. But I don’t know enough. I wish I could tell you all about the history of Cuba, but I am unqualified. I wish I could tell you all about Cuba today, but there are too many things I didn’t even see. Cuba seems to change on a daily basis, a world shifting and changing to suit its own needs. I say that only as a tourist. I don’t know what it is like to be Cuban, or to live on an island nation governed by a unique set of principles. There seems to be a purposeful divide between the local daily…

  • Books,  Books Reviews,  Writing

    Best Books of 2016 Compilation

    Maybe 2016 was an all-out Dumpster Fire for you. Maybe it wasn’t. Either way, you probably missed some great books as the months sped by. I have compiled a resource list to help you choose your next book (a best book) before 2017 takes over and you have to keep up with those. I have broken them into some categories to make it easier to peruse. Perhaps you like Award winners. Committees form, discuss, celebrate a winner. Man Booker Award winners are usually great books for me because they are often quirky. However, they do not allow Americans to enter, so if you want an American experience, go instead with…

  • Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    2016 in review

    I had some big goals for 2016. Most of the goals were reasonable, but still some entirely unreasonable ones snuck in. These were the goals I wasn’t going to hold myself to because I had no control over other people’s actions, but I couldn’t help but keep these outlandish expectations as a yardstick. Maybe I watched too much Parks & Rec because I made a binder for my Writing Year, made quarterly goals, and decorated it with stickers. Some of my goals I now see as unrealistic (like blog 4 times a week. Who has time for that?), and some of them I forgot to write down, because I didn’t…

  • holiday spirits
    Happy Hour,  Writing

    Holiday Spirits 2

    December can feel like the movie Groundhog’s Day at times, donning the same clothes, going to the same parties every year. But you know what can change all of that? Fancy Boozes, that’s what. Here are two more recipes to freshen up your Holiday Spirit. The Oatmeal Cookie Some may know this as a shot, others appreciate the sophisticated shape of the martini glass it is served in. Either way, be careful with the amount of alcohol in this one. They go down fast and easy. 1.5 oz Bailey’s (Irish Cream) 3/4 oz Buttershots 1/4 oz Goldschlager 1/2-1 oz cream cinnamon & sugar Option: rim the glass with a mixture of…

  • Romanian Rib
    Adventure,  Travel,  Writing

    Romanian Rib – Red Rocks

    There are many sports metaphors that equate to struggle. Marathons, extra innings, overtime: all of these immediately conjure up the physical struggle of a human being. But perhaps we need a sports metaphor for the less demanding endurance trail. Romanian Rib could be just such a metaphor for patience. Romanian Rib is a specific route near Red Rocks National Park. The climb itself is about 1000 feet of vertical. There is a parking lot on the side of the road, and a marked, maintained trail for about half of the 1.5 mile hike-in to the base of Romanian Rib. That morning we got started a little later than usual, despite our promises…

  • Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Big Climb Prep

    In a few weeks, we are going to Red Rocks outside Las Vegas to climb. Not much for gambling, we will be subsidized by all the people do: cheap flights, cheap places to stay, easy food. I have to admit something too–I am not a great climber. Nor particularly good. Aaaaand I don’t really climb very often. (There is a sincere dearth of elevation near Savannah). For the past week or so we’ve been practicing for my benefit. I have my own rope length to practice my knots, and while I watch TV or listen to podcasts, I tie and untie my handful of knots.   I keep all of my…

  • hiking and camping
    Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    3 Sisters: Day 6

    I had not slept well. The first few nights of sleeping on the ground were great, straightening out my back in ways I didn’t know it was crooked, but the last night was painful. My side of the tent was on a gentle slope, so I tended to slide to the edge of the tent, waking every few hours, pressed against the canvas. My right shoulder hurt from my fall, so I couldn’t put my arm over my head if I laid on my stomach, and I certainly couldn’t lay on my right side. Andy got out of his bag first that day. The next water wasn’t for another two and…

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