Traveling Solo…

 

        

For the most part, I think it’s safe to say that many people travel with someone;  friends,companions,family,etc. However, I just celebrated my birthday by taking a mini-excursion to a beautiful place about 45 minutes from where I live. Understandably, you may be wondering, why my trip was so close by? Well, considering where I live, 45 minutes can take you surprisingly far enough to feel like you’ve actually gone some place. You see, my whole objective was to do something different; something I’ve never done before in commemoration of my very special day. Thankfully, God blessed me with another year to explore and enjoy. For this, I am forever grateful!

Mind you, I’ve gone to catch a movie by myself, gone to breakfast by myself, even attended a concert by myself in the past. I can almost see you, the reader, scratching your head in puzzlement as to why I’ve done all these things solo. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of people to call on at the drop of a hat when I want to do something. Everyone is always busy with other things. I’ve concluded that if I wait for any one of these people to be available, I may never go anywhere. So, I took the plunge and went on a solo ‘get-away! Can I tell you? I had the best time! Of course, it would have been nice to have someone along to laugh with, dine with, and help me snap photos to capture all the surrounding beauty, but in my case, this was not an option. And it’s not a bad thing! Being alone, forced me to reach out and assert myself with perfect strangers.

Upon my arrival at this lavish hotel, I was checked in by the same wonderful customer service person by the name of Will, who made my reservation by phone. It was nice to put a face to the voice. The most refreshing thing was that Will was just as pleasant, helpful and professional in person, as he was when he initially took my reservation. He allowed me to get settled in my room. Once I re-emerged, Will was kind enough to show me around the grounds and took several photos of me out by the water and in the beautiful hotel lobby. He may not know it, but he helped me break the ice as far as asserting myself on this solo journey. As a result, I felt welcome, comfortable and special. If only this kind of outstanding customer service existed everywhere!

I had dinner in the lovely dining area of the hotel where I immediately observed a group of ladies across the room. I could tell they were definitely celebrating a special occasion as they were festively audible while doing so. From my cozy, quiet table for one, I was able to glean that it was definitely someone’s birthday in this group, but I couldn’t decipher which one. I made a promise to myself right then and there, that I was going to go over an introduce myself and find out who’s birthday it was. I braved the voice in my head telling me to sit back down and not embarrass myself. I confidently walked over, introduced myself, and inquired as to who the ‘birthday girl’ was. The lady of the hour was a beautiful mature woman that was celebrating her 76th year. She looked absolutely fantastic and I told her so! She quickly and fun-lovingly stated that she obviously had many more years on her than I did. I playfully returned that it was also my birthday and that the years were coming on much more quickly than I would like! We all just laughed and laughed. This group of ladies thought it was so awesome that I would walk over and do that! Inside my head I was thinking, “mission accomplished.” I had successfully asserted myself!

I was pleasantly surprised by the graciousness of others who had also chosen to escape to this paradise-like place in celebration of something. The next morning, I stepped out onto the private patio of my room and looked to my right. There was a sweet woman 2 doors down sitting on her patio absorbing the bright morning sun and listening to the latest tune that the birds were more than happy to sing her. We briefly introduced ourselves and shared the purpose of our stay at this marvelous place. She was there celebrating her 46th wedding anniversary with her husband. I congratulated her and disclosed that I was there celebrating my birthday. She asked me which birthday I was celebrating? I felt no invasive nature intention behind the question; only genuine interest and sincerity. So, I couldn’t help but concede my age to her. I also asked her if she would mind snapping a photo of me on the patio being that I was alone. This woman was so wonderful and was more than happy to do so. We chatted briefly about the beauty of the day, then said our goodbyes as I set off to take a walk around the grounds.

Honestly, I have no regrets about this adventure….well, except for one. I just wish I would’ve planned better and scheduled my celebration for more than just 1 day and one night. I left there definitely needing more of the peace and tranquility that surrounds that lovely place. I’m already thinking of where my next excursion will be. I think I will definitely venture further out. Maybe I’ll fly some place, now that I’ve conquered the sometimes daunting task of ‘traveling solo’. Any suggestions? What are some places you think would be great to travel to? Where would you suggest for someone traveling alone? Or maybe you don’t recommend traveling alone? Aside from the obvious, do you, the reader, feel there are any advantages/disadvantages of traveling alone? If so, what are they? Please share your thoughts, whether you are in favor of traveling ‘solo’ or not.

 

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google Images/The Inn on the Lake Photo Gallery

 

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Sundae, Fun day on Sunday Marks Memorial Day Celebration!!

This is an awesome post from my friend lucylula who is new to the blogging world. This is a beautiful piece that commemorates the Memorial Day holiday! Feel free to welcome her and show her some love by commenting. Enjoy!

Lucy Kool!!

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Correct me If I am wrong but I always remember that Memorial day was the last day of the Month. This year 2014 marks Memorial day to be celebrated on the third week of May. A little confusing I must say. Although I know what Memorial day represents, I admit I do take if for granted as much as a majority of Americans do,I suppose. If it weren’t for a Facebook status I created on marking Sunday as fun day to enjoy and have as the name implies, a delicious Sunday,fun day, sundae I would have truly not thought of the true meaning of Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter.

A friend replied with a  comment on my status stating  the following message:” Don’t forget to take a moment to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom to allow us to have a sundae on…

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Failure to Launch

 

Failure to launch…..an interesting phrase. But more than interesting, it is a serious real life occurrence that is happening more often than some may realize. First of all, you may be wondering what this phrase means? Maybe you’ve never heard of it before now. You can glean from the words that something has failed to take off. Yes, failure to launch is when our 20 something young adults still live at home with seemingly no plans to leave. This incidence seems to happen predominantly with males. Now, this could be for any number of reasons. Do you think that maybe young females are more independent and yearn to be on their own more than their male counterparts? Maybe so, maybe not. Could it be that in the instances where a young male has failed to move on and go out and find out what life is all about, is because he often comes from a single-parent female head of household? Would you agree that the lack of male influence and guidance has left him with little or nothing to go on in terms of what he should be seeking in life for himself as a young man? This may sound like a cop-out and in some ways it may be. But couldn’t these young males look at their single parent mother(s) as an example of all that she has accomplished by herself? Wouldn’t that seemingly be enough inspiration for them to take the bull by the horns and seize life? Evidently not in some instances. This scenario is very much alive and well. But why?

It would be easy to just say that some young males today are lacking in ambition and are not motivated by much of anything. The main form of stimuli for many of these males comes in the form of a video game system where they can be found any time of day glued to the screen as if they were hypnotized. You might be wondering how I know all this? Well, I happen to have a failure to launch situation of my very own! Yes….I live this every day. I have one son, age 23 and as the years go by(more and more quickly), he seems to dig his heels in deeper. It seems there is really no plan to explore life on his own any time soon. Without going into a whole lot of detail, I will say that the reason for this is the result of a combination of things.

I too am a single mother. You mothers out there know as well as I do that as women, we can only teach our ‘sons’ so much. We can teach them how to be respectful men, but we can’t teach them how to be men. A thin line to walk.  Almost so thin, it’s non-existent! Aside from all the wonderful technology that has been bestowed on society, I will admit that I have unintentionally contributed to the failure to launch issue in my home. I have often stepped in and solved a problem simply because I would not only make sure it got done, but timely. It seemed so much easier to just do whatever it was myself rather than go through the hassle of getting my son to produce results. I found myself to be very lenient when a stricter adherence to rules would have made all the difference in the world. I guess you could say, I more or less created a bit of a monster. Would you move out if everything was at your beck and call? Would you be anxious to go out into the world if it meant suddenly becoming responsible for everything? I may have raised a somewhat spoiled and entitled child, but I didn’t raise a fool. Why would anyone rock the boat who had it so good? Would you blame him?

I remember the times when my parents would encourage me and my siblings to go outside and play. We naturally triggered our imaginations as a result of always being outside in nature. My parents’ main request was that we had to be back in the house before the streetlights came on. As kids, we had a certain desire and curiosity about the good old outdoors, and bugs and the like. Television was limited and we couldn’t stay up until all hours of the night. We lived in a much more structured way of life than what many children experience today, including that which my son experienced in earlier years.We didn’t seem to have outrageous expectations and for the most part, were very satisfied with what we had.  It’s a different animal today that parents have to contend with. Technology has firmly planted the young minds of our children right where they stand; constantly enticing them to remain focused on some technological advance as opposed to some good old fashioned thinking.

So, how do parents solve this problem of failing to launch? A good starting point might be to begin reinforcing confidence and providing the proper tools to our young people in hopes of inspiring them to handle problematic situations on their own instead of waiting to be bailed out. The  cycle has to be broken at some point. The constant feelings of accomplishment will no doubt build and before you know it, you’ll be witnessing a successful launch instead of a failed attempt.  If you have a 20 something young adult still living at home, there’s a 50/50 chance you may experience this. What will you do?

A Dog-Eat-Dog World

 

    

Who would think that the beautiful island of Puerto Rico would have an escalating problem such as ‘stray’ dogs? Unfortunately, it is true and the problem only seems to be getting worse. An Emmy Award-winning film called 100,000 directed by Juan Agustin Marquez, chronicles this issue as depicted in the hair-raising and eye-opening documentary. In Puerto Rico, these abandoned or feral dogs a-k-a ‘satos’ are increasing in number and can be frequently observed wandering the streets freely.

How sad is this? Such adorable animals that just need a good home and to be cared for and loved! It’s hard to imagine seeing so many homeless dogs at any given moment just living on the streets fighting to survive every day. Not to mention the ones that are taken and abused. It would seem that they would be better off left to the streets. At least that way, their suffering wouldn’t be at the hands of those who are supposed to be human.

The 100,000 documentary largely raises the awareness of this problem and also sheds light on the volunteer efforts to assist in decreasing this problem. Unbelievably, the government has done little to provide help in finding a solution. In the meantime, the dogs continue to take their chances out on the streets of Puerto Rico. Following the airing of this film in 2010 by director Juan Agustin Marquez, he teamed up with Purina of Puerto Rico to create and initiate a 20 school film tour which allowed students to view this topic and become educated about the seriousness of this situation. As a result, students made a pledge to help these abused animals. The pledge has been taken by thousands: to decrease the overpopulation problem and to promote the proper care of dogs. Here are a few of the points covered by this pledge:

– Educate myself about dogs and think hard about it before having one.

– Adopt, instead of buying.

– Spay/neuter my dog.

– Integrate my dog to my family for his/her entire life.

– Vaccinate my dog and take him/her to the vet when he/she is sick.

– Register my dog with the microchip.

– Bathe my dog.

– Walk my dog on a leash every day.

As you can see, there are several ways that the abuse and overpopulation of animals can be stopped and prevented in Puerto Rico. Most importantly, spaying and neutering needs to be promoted and encouraged. Evidently, communication has broken down in these areas due to a kind of ‘machismo’ mindset that deters the whole idea of controlling the animal population. According to director Marquez, it is crucial that education begin at an early age as to how to care for and treat animals.

Do you think Puerto Rico will ever truly address the growing problem with these stray animals? Or will it continue to do nothing and just remain a dog-eat-dog world? What are some suggestions you might add to this pledge? What other problems do you think exist as a result of so many of these dogs roaming around without any supervision? I know many of you out there are animal lovers, as am I. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share!

 

 

Multiple Choice(s)

 

All of us have had to make choices at some point in our lives. Some have been easy and required little to no thought, while others have been difficult and required much consideration. You might be someone who finds it stressful deciding what you’re going to where to work every day. Or you might be the person that undergoes much stress in deciding which shoes go better with an outfit for an upcoming fancy gala. No matter how superficial or crucial the decision(s) may be, a choice has to be made; a stand has to be taken. Now, you can always opt to simply do nothing. But how far will that get you?

According to the Associated Press, a New York teenager by the name of Kwasi Enin has recently been the talk of the  national news media. You might question why? This student found himself in a most unique situation;one that I’m sure was the envy of many. Incredibly, Kwasi had been accepted to all 8 Ivy League Colleges. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, he was also accepted to several New York colleges. Is there no end to this teenager’s potential? And just think….he’s just getting started!

Kwasi’s parents, Ebenezer and Doreen Enin, who both emigrated from Ghana in the 80s, have always encouraged both Kwasi and his sister Adwoa to excel academically according the Associated Press reports. Evidently, the message was heard loud and clear! A.P. also states that Yale has always been a top contender for Kwasi in terms of his choice of colleges. A recent visit to this prestigious university’s campus tipped the scale as Kwasi made his decision. He liked the fact that everyone was welcoming and that he had met many geniuses during his visit. Kwasi also noted that Yale’s residential college system is good to all of the students as reported by AP.

The Associated Press reports that Kwasi wrote a passionate essay for his Yale college application where he expresses his love of music. Yes. He is also an outstanding musician! Surprised? Hardly. Even though Kwasi has a great love for music, it is not the direction he is headed. He aspires to become a physician and will be attending medical school.  Wow! Quite a lot to absorb for a student who is only 17 years old. But something tells me that he will do just fine. Kwasi Enin was faced with a huge decision and he had 8+ selections to choose from. After careful consideration, he weighed all his options and made his choice.  How would you handle it if you ever find yourself  faced with multiple choices?

Shoe machine

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while compliments of gossipgirlnetherlands. This has to be many a woman’s dream! Enjoy!

Gossip Girl

Shoe machine

Every girl should have one in their room to save up and stash some money

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Pink Dogs – A Hot Item!

 

 

Pink’s was started by Paul & Betty Pink with a $50.00 loan. They originally sold 10 cent hot dogs from a cart on a neighborhood street corner at La Brea and Melrose in 1939. Pink’s was known as the proverbial ‘mom and pop’ hot dog stand. The city of Los Angeles fell in love with this hot dog haven and after 73 years, Pink’s has become an internationally famous landmark under the operation of Paul and Betty’s family – Richard,Gloria, and Beverly. Today, Pink’s Hot Dogs is one of the top 10 Hot Dog Stands in the U.S. as named by Fox News. Is it any wonder that Pink’s has expanded while spreading their ‘hot dog’ love to ten other locations that include Southern California, Las Vegas, and Ohio?

A huge variety of hot dogs,burgers,generous portions and reasonable prices have added to Pink’s notoriety. This establishment is highly recommended to visitors as a “must do” to achieve the “Hollywood” experience that is historically associated with it. Just like anything else, celebrities enjoy a great hot dog too and have found their way to Pink’s consistently over the years! Back in the day, anyone from Orson Welles to Michael Jackson and in between, were known to frequent Pink’s. Today, Pink’s carries on its tradition of delicious food, great customer service, and nostalgically fun atmosphere to celebrities such as Jay Leno, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Betty White, Martha Stewart; just to name a few! And let’s not forget the famous celebrity chefs:  Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis, and Emeril Lagasse. Incidentally, Bill Cosby has been said to have on one occasion ordered 10,000 hot dogs to go! Imagine that! It has also been reported that Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at this famous ‘hot spot’. If the walls of this place could talk, the stories they could tell!

The walls of Pink’s have been adorned with photos of Hollywood actors prior to their big breaks, in hopes of being discovered. Even when these up and coming actors became successful, they still found themselves back at Pink’s. What a great way to pay homage to a place that was a haven during humble beginnings! This is more proof that the magic of Pink’s not only exists, but endures!

Customers have been traveling to Pink’s in every kind of moving vehicle, from pickup trucks to limousines. All in the name of satisfying their ‘hot dog’ hunger. It has been said that, “variety is the spice of life”. Pink’s seems to have this down cold, offering 30 choices of hot dogs to satisfy the hungry palettes of their loyal following. There’s even a relaxing dining room and a patio to enjoy your authentically customized ‘dog’. What more could you ask for? I don’t know about you, but Pink’s just became one of the top 10 contenders on my travel to-do list! Won’t you join me?!

Sundown Towns

 

 

 

injustice-files-sundown-towns

 

Last night’s edition of filmmaker Keith Beauchamp’s The Injustice Files: Sundown Towns on Investigation Discovery refocused attention on what is now known as “sundown towns,” places where African-Americans were not welcomed “after the sun went down” and, in some instances, purposely driven out altogether.

I had never heard of the term Sundown Towns until I recently watched a documentary on the subject on Investigation ID.  Unfortunately, this kind of ignorance is alive and well today, according to this documentary. In certain parts of the country this way of thinking seems to be thriving but has been kept hush,hush by the media.  Evidently, black people were warned by signage that they could be killed if caught after dark in these “Sundown Towns”.

A sociologist by the name of James W. Loewen, strongly believes that these “sundown town” situations occur predominately in Northern states as opposed to Southern states as he explains in his 2005 book called “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. Being a native of Illinois, Mr. Loewen focused heavily on this area and believed that this subject had a huge presence there.

The documentary I saw aired on March 21, 2014. One of the places noted in the segment was Martinsville,Indiana where a black woman by the name of Carol Jenkins was murdered at the age of 21 simply because she was caught in town selling encyclopedias ‘after dark’. Miss Jenkins had come to the home of a couple seeking help on the night of her murder. According to this couple, she was very afraid because she was being followed by a car with two men in it. The couple tried to get Miss Jenkins to stay at their home that night and pleaded with her not to go back out but she insisted on leaving and didn’t want to bother them further. Besides her murderer(s), this couple was the last to see her alive. The wife of the couple said she felt Miss Jenkins knew she was going to die that night. Tragically, that’s just what happened on September 16, 1968.

Is this as much a surprise to some of you as it was for me? Please share your thoughts on this subject.

 

Once a cheater ~ Always a cheater?

 

There’s an old adage that says, “Once a cheater, always a cheater”. Now unless you’ve dealt with someone who has cheated in some way, shape, or form, you might be inclined to believe that everyone can change. However, if  you were on the receiving end of the cheating, you might feel very differently.

Cheating comes in various forms: relationships,sports,business,etc. Even though the list goes on, I’ll stop right here with: campus students cheating. As you can see, The American Scholar magazine cover below has a caption referencing an article written by William M. Chace which states that only students can stop it. Do you agree with this statement? In essence, isn’t this a problem that the campuses and professors should be held accountable for also? After all, they set the tone for what is and isn’t acceptable, right?  What do you think would inspire students to stop participating in behavior that has been successful for them so far? How would a campus even begin to reverse that way of thinking?

 

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