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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I’ve seen this video at least three times and it never fails to make me laugh. The video is so cute and creative that you can’t help but get a kick out of it. Check it out…this is dad life.


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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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Music to Uplift You

I have to tell you guys, the last few weeks have been extremely challenging for me at work. Stress, for the most part, is the order of the day, and handling whatever comes my way is something I’m learning to do with God’s grace. One thing that really helps to lift my spirit is music that makes me feel energized and encouraged. During this past 4th of July holiday weekend, my brother gave me a CD with a few recent songs from his extensive music library, and one of the songs was from Mandisa’s newest CD titled “What If I Were Real” and the song is called “Stronger”.

I don’t watch the TV show American Idol, but I understand that Mandisa was a contestant in season 5, and she came in 9th place. She may not have won the top spot on American Idol, but she’s gone on to make a few CDs and she has several songs out now that I really like—“Good Morning” featuring Toby Mac is another great song.

If you have a minute or two, take a quick break and check out this video of her singing “Stronger”. She’s a beautiful young woman, and I plan to follow her career more closely now that I’ve discovered her music.


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I’m Back!

After a long, long, very long blogging hiatus yours truly is finally back in the blogging saddle and ready to start connecting with the world. I’m excited about hearing from you and sharing our collective experiences. For those of you who have faithfully followed my blog over the years, thank you so much for sticking with me. For everyone who is new to A Break for the Norm, welcome to my little part of the cyber world.

So…what have I missed? What have you guys been up to, and how is your summer going? As always, I continue to be extremely busy at work, and sadly I haven’t written one word or worked on my current writing projects at all.

Some of you may know that I finished my first novel, shopped it around, and received great feedback about my writing, voice, and storytelling. But unfortunately, the two agents who I most want to work with both feel that the timing and audience for the story isn’t quite right. With that realization out there, I moved on to writing book number two, but so far all I have are three or four sample chapters. My agent of choice (first choice) read my sample chapters, liked them, and asked that I send her the completed manuscript once the book is done. But guess what? That request/invitation was at least 9 months ago and I here I sit—still not writing, still not working on the book. Bad writer! Bad, bad writer!

But on a positive note, I received my first earnings as a writer. Yeeeeha! I’ve written a few articles for Suite101 (click here see the list of articles I’ve written), and last month I made a whopping $5.08. I’m rich, I’m rich!!! Okay, so maybe I’m not rich in terms of dollars, but I’m rich as far as feeling encouraged as a writer. It’s funny how life can often get in the way of pursuing a dream, but the key is to never let the dream die.

How about you, what is your life dream? What, if anything, is holding you back from seeing your dream realized? How are you working toward making your dream come true (teeny, tiny baby steps count)?


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