Repost: Favorite Seasons

It’s here, it’s here! My favorite time of year is finally here. I love autumn. Even more so than summer, I love fall. It seems nature’s canvas explodes in vibrant colors and the trees become pretty clusters of orange, red, and yellow hues. This time of year is the only time I miss living in Michigan. I can do without the snow, sleet, and rain, but the fall in Michigan is spectacular—especially up North. When fall rolls around in Michigan, cider mills bustle with business as people, like me, enjoy lazy afternoons of people-watching while sipping fresh apple cider and munching on warm donuts. Yum! And then there are apple orchards, where people can pick their own fruit or buy bags by the pound. What else…oh yeah, and I love the petting zoos. Mind you, I’m afraid to actually touch darn near every animal—one of my many quirks—but, I do enjoy seeing them and watching other people pet them. One of these days, I’m going to have to work up the courage to pet a little goat on the snoot, or maybe an ear, something far away from chomping teeth. Hum…or maybe not.

But even still, fall is so scenic and vibrant with crisp air and leaves that crunch beneath your feet when you walk. Of course, raking the leaves is a major chore, but hey, that’s what kids are for.

Ahhhhh…it’s here. Enjoy the season while you can. We all know how quickly autumn gives way to winter, and we’ll be singing carols before you know it.

How about you? What’s your favorite time of year?

 

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In Defense of Animals 5K Race

This past weekend I walked in the In Defense of Animals 5K run/walk in the beautiful community of St. Marlo in Duluth, Georgia. What an awesome day! We truly couldn’t have picked a better morning if we tried. The weather was perfect—not too hot and not too cold, and the walk was a great way to get the heart pumping while supporting a worthwhile cause. Those of us with dogs brought our pooches with us, and even our adorable companions had a great time.

Prior to participating in this event, I was vaguely familiar with IDA, but I had no idea the organization was so actively involved in helping animal causes all over the world. As a dog owner, I can’t imagine a person abusing an animal, and yet horrible abuse happens all over the world every day. While I was walking this past Saturday, I struck up a conversation with one of the ladies in our group, and she told me about a family who abandoned their home to let the bank take ownership. But when they vacated the house they left their dog in the basement. Thankfully, the dog survived two weeks before a neighbor finally heard it and rescued the poor animal. I can’t imagine anyone being so cruel to another living creature.

If you’re not familiar with IDA, click here to read a message from the President of the organization which sheds light on how he came to be so passionate about this cause. With a long history—25 years of fighting for the rights of animals on every continent, IDA has been a powerful force in improving the welfare of animals all over the world. If you’re interested in donating click here.

On a side note, World Go Vegan Week runs from October 24th through October 31st. Admittedly, I’m a meat eater, mostly chicken, but I’ve thought about becoming a vegetarian many times. Doggone chicken is my favorite, though. I’d probably starve without it, but I see the importance of eating less meat. But if you’re a vegan, happy vegan week!

 

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My New Full-Face Harley-Davidson Helmet – Contest

I can’t remember if I told you guys this or not, but during my first ride—the long distance trip to Alabama, a section of padding inside my helmet popped off. I want to go on record as saying I didn’t do it! It wasn’t me—that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. For those of you who don’t ride, you’ll be surprised to know there is a shelf life for helmets. Who out there can tell us the shelf life for a helmet that has not been in an accident? Each person who leaves a comment with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, my new helmet. Isn’t she a beaut? I’ve used my new lid one time, but so far I’m really liking the comfort and feel of it. I had no idea there was a process for figuring out what size helmet a person wears. Basically, it’s just a matter of trying on a few and then comparing how snug it fits on your head. I’m no expert to be sure, but here are a few tips that I learned during my helmet sizing experience.

1. The helmet should fit snug against the crown of your head.

2. If you wiggle your head from side to side, the helmet should not wiggle with your movements.

3. It’s normal to feel the padding pressed against the sides of your face, but your checks should not be scrunched up to your eyes.

4. Your ears should not be pressed into the side padding.

So there you have it—motorcycle helmet sizing 101. Oh…don’t forget the contest. Leave me a comment with the correct answer to enter the contest to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. The contest winner will be announced next Tuesday, September 20th.

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Ready for Another Vacation

Last month I vacationed in lovely Curacao (Dutch Caribbean), but I find myself thinking about taking another trip. While we were in Curacao we met a family from Brazil, and now I keep thinking that Rio de Janeiro sounds like a great place for our next getaway. But then again, I keep imagining the long flight, which is roughly 9 hours. For some people 9 hours may not seem like that much, but I always seem to get stuck either sitting next to, behind, or in front of the resident “crying baby.” If not the crying baby then I most assuredly will sit in front of the resident “seat kicker.”

On behalf of all kind-hearted travelers, let me send this plea out to all of the seat kickers around the world. Please, for the love of sanity, please stop kicking (or letting your children kick) the seat in front of you. The seat isn’t a punching bag, it’s not there for you to take out your frustrations on, nor did the seat do anything bad to hurt you. It’s just a seat—stop kicking it!

Okay, let me calm down. I had a seat kicking flashback, but I’m it’s cool now. Sorry seat kickers, I’m not trying to pick on you, but really…

Alright, I’m moving on. So where to vacation next? I’m open to ideas. Anyone? Anyone at all?

 

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My First Motorcycle Road Trip

This past Saturday I rode to Anniston, AL on the back of hubby’s new Harley-Davidson Street Glide, and I have to say it was quite a rush. My rump hurt like the dickens when we arrived home, but I made the trip, and now I’ve officially taken my first “road trip”. For those of you, who have never ridden as a motorcycle passenger, let me give it to you straight.

First, let’s look at the upside. This is a short list, but here are just a few of the benefits that make riding pretty doggone fun.

• The thrill of being in the wind and enjoying sites from a completely different perspective is invigorating to say the least.

• Spending time with your best mate is not only fun, but it also builds fond memories.

• Walking around in biker gear makes you feel bad-to-the-bone. So way cool.

And now…the downside. Here are a few things to take into consideration.

• Sitting in one position for long periods of time is hard on the knees and back after a while. Having only driven a motorcycle for a few days (I took a motorcycle riding class), I had no appreciation for the slight nuances that are completely foreign to cagers (biker lingo for people who drive cars).

o Apparently, when the passenger shifts their weight or fidgets around on the back seat, this causes the motorcycle driver to potentially lose control. If you’re wondering whether I fidgeted during the trip, the answer is heck yeah! Well how in tarnation was I supposed to know that fidgeting would causes a problem? It’s not like this sort of thing comes with an instruction manual. Needless to say, I was shifting here, shifting there, scooting here, scooting there—how was I supposed to know! All I knew was that my rump was hurting, and hitting bumps in the road at 75 miles per hour is doggone painful! This is a time when I could have used some extra padding on my rear end.

• Also, a little wind is good—fun even, but a lot of wind is tough on your eyes and face. Thank Goodness (notice the capital “T” and capital “G”) I wore a full-face helmet. Hubby tried to convince me to wear a half helmet like his, but I knew from the test ride the night before that I wouldn’t be comfortable with that much wind in my face. Speaking of wind, let’s talk about the full force of it—good golly Ms. Molly. Bugs and what not were flying at me. Thankfully, I only had a few hit my arm (poor hubby took the brunt of bug splatter), but do you know how much self-control it takes not to flail your arms shouting, “Bug guts, bug guts got on me.” Yuck! Needless to say, I will not–I repeat, I will not be wearing a half helmet anytime soon. If bug guts on the arm are disgusting, just imagine bug guts on your face! No sir, I do not need firsthand knowledge of that feeling.

All in all, though, I had a great time. Even my hubby said I did much better on the ride home than I did going down. Baby steps, y’all, baby steps….

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Give Zumba a Try

The first time I heard someone mention the word Zumba I remember thinking, what the heck is it? If you haven’t tried Zumba yet you might be wondering the same thing. I’m sure there is a fancy definition written someplace, but let me give you my take on what it is. Zumba is a form a dance exercise that fuses fun energetic music with interesting moves and combinations of dance-like steps. I saw an infomercial a few weeks ago and the inventor of Zumba, Choreographer and dancer Alberto “Beto” Perez, talked about what Zumba is and how it’s easy to pick up and learn. I have to say, I’ve only been doing Zumba for a few months, but I have to admit it’s simple, fun, and invigorating.

Zumba mixes all different types of dance together on a spectrum that ranges from salsa, to belly dance, to samba, to hip-hop, to Bollywood, and much more. If you’re a fan of Shakira, for example (love her music), or the music from Slumdog Millionaire—“Jai Ho”, or even a hip-hop/rap artist like Pit Bull or Ludacris, you’ll hear elements of this type of music in a Zumba class.

I’ve gone to a couple of different dance studios to take Zumba classes, but the one I’m really enjoying right now is called DWT Studios in Atlanta. All of the instructors I’ve had so far have been excellent, but the owner of DWT, Tawantis, is fabulous! Honestly, it almost feels like a party in one of her classes.

If you’ve never experienced Zumba before, here is a good demonstration video which will give you a feel for the steps and music. Also, check your area to see where there are classes being held and stop by to check one out. Zumba really is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to lose weight and or stay trim.

 

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Behold – The New Harley-Davidson

I am pleased to announce the latest addition to our family—big bad Harley D. No, I didn’t give birth to an 850 pound baby, but I’m a proud momma just the same. For those of you who are wondering if this bike is mine let me put your thoughts to rest. Big bad Harley D is my hubby’s new chromed-out bundle of joy. He’s been talking about getting a new Street Glide, but a few weeks ago it became real.

So now I’m an official biker chick! I even have the cool Harley-Davidson gear and everything—leather jacket, leather boots, tops, jeans, gloves. This may seem like a lot of gear for someone who doesn’t actually ride, but I did in fact take a riding course a few months ago. Unfortunately, learning to ride was far more challenging than I had thought it would be. You would be amazed at how much mental concentration goes into hopping on a motorcycle and zooming up and down the street. I think I would have been okay if it weren’t for having to learn to swerve. Sadly, I discovered that swerving and me don’t get along very well (I dropped the durn bike and took a nasty spill—so not fun). But I’ve learned that some of us are passengers, and some are riders. I’m most definitely a passenger kind of girl.

Next weekend my husband will be taking me out on the bike for the first time and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not sure where we’re going to go, but I know I’ll be with my best friend, and lots of fresh air will be involved. Can’t get much better than that.

Harley-Davidson riders and passengers make some noise! If you’re a rider, what kind of motorcycle do you have, and what kind of trips have you taken?

To Harley riders…live free, ride hard!

 

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