Category Archives: People

Travel Tuesday: La Grandeur de Paris

Everyday Paris

Everyday Paris

Many people will tell you that Paris is their favorite city to visit.  It’s splendor and magnificence are evidenced in the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées as well as the incredible artwork, language, and pastries.  And while all this is true, I’ve found Paris’ appeal to not come from the obvious, touristy attractions, but rather from the quaint, beautiful, everyday aspects of the city.

That is where this picture comes into play.

Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 14

Bear-Hunting
(Abi and I searching for bears)
(Photo taken by Ashley Samuelson)

Today was a sad day.  It was the day we left Yellowstone National Park.

We did add a few more stops to our trip before leaving, though, hitting the Mud Volcanoes, the Lower and Upper Falls, and Tower Fall.  We also saw tons of bison before leaving the park, as well as pronghorns.

And then there’s the questionable bear sighting.  Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 13

A Snowstorm in June
(A park ranger trying to secure the American flag in the middle of a snowstorm)

The theme for today was bear-searching!  Above all other types of wildlife, we really wanted to see a bear.  They’re supposed to be abounding here in Yellowstone; everywhere we go, there are signs telling us how to “Be Bear Aware” and what to do if you meet a bear, and how to act when you’re on your hikes to prevent a run-in with a bear.  All of these led my sisters and me to believe these amazing, furry, terrifying creatures were everywhere!

In the morning, we went on a hike called “Elephant Back Hike,” which is, according to one of the park guides, a local favorite – traipsing up a mountain peak in the woods until you finally arrive at the pinnacle, where there’s a stunning view of Yellowstone Lake with the Absaroka Mountain Range in the background.  However, we did not see a bear, let alone any wildlife!  (We did see snow, though… Weren’t we just in the desert a few days ago?!)

We arrived back to the RV only to find out that my grandma and the dogs had seen a huge bison right in front of the RV!  After bemoaning our bad luck for a bit, we made lunch and saw… Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 12

Roasting Marshmallows over a “Fire”
(I’m ashamed to even call that a fire)
(Mom and Ashley are the two in the photo here)

Yellowstone National Park.  A favorite in the country, as the oldest national park in the United States.

This is where we arrived today.  As with previous posts, I’ll post a separate one just on our main adventures in Yellowstone, leaving this post with everything extra that happened during the day today.    Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 2

Driving Towards “Oasis”

“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain…” ~Oklahoma!  (Yes, that is Hugh Jackman in the video!)

Last night we spent the night at Village Creek State Park in Arkansas.  Our time in Arkansas was brief but interesting, to say the least!

First of all, there was a toad in one of the stalls of the women’s restroom (if you ever visit this park, avoid the first stall!  The toad was still there this morning!)

Second, we had to work out sleeping arrangements.  I ended up literally sleeping on top of the kitchen table.  Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 1

“Fly Killer” Practicing on Each Other

My blog is about to take on a slightly different style.  It will be transitioning into a travel blog as I spend the next 2.5 weeks in an RV with my family, driving around the US.  Yes, that’s right.  My entire family, plus my grandma and our two dogs, in a confined space for an extended period of time.  This should make for some great experiences!  I’m hoping this blog takes on a journal-type feel mixed with inspiration from “The Everywhereist” (I highly recommend Geraldine’s blog, if you have not read it) as I document our adventure from landscapes and sights to personal stories and memories for all of us to reference in years to come.

I burst out laughing as my family pulled up to gather me from the Nashville, Tennessee airport in a huge RV, and all I could see what this tiny little white head peeking out the window in front with it’s ears perked up.  My family had arrived and, as usual, Bella (our dalmatian puppy) felt it was her job to lead the way.  I hopped into the RV and off we went, with barely time to say hello before our dogs pounced!  Bella and Abi (our black lab mix) covered me with kisses, and I almost instantly remembered that I had forgotten to take Claritin (darn those dog allergies of mine).

Finally I had a chance to breathe and reconnect with my family, as I haven’t seen them in months.  And suddenly, we’re RV-ing!  (If that isn’t a verb, it is now!)

Let me tell you, spending your day in an RV is literally only as fun as you make it.   Continue reading

Backyards and BBQs

A Cute Mess

It’s that time of year: BBQ season!  This is Memorial Day weekend, and as the weather increasingly warms, so does our desire to spend time outside.  Throughout the spring and summer, barbecues are prevalent and people want to gather together, have a good time outdoors, and eat great food on the grill.

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, surrounded by kind neighbors who were raising families.  This meant lots of kids, and lots of great memories.  Whether we had gathered for Memorial Day, Labor Day, or any day in between, there were sure to be laughter, chatting, and children running around the backyards.  Sometimes we’d have planned activities, but usually it was just mayhem.

When I was young, I loved these gatherings.  However, as I grew older (you know, being the mature age of sixteen), I found the newer generation of young kids to be crazy and the parents to be boring. Continue reading

Climbing Trees and Childhood Joie de Vivre

A Monkey-ish Moment

I’ve always wanted to climb a tree.  This desire began when I was a little girl and saw the scene in The Sound of Music where Captain Von Trapp, Max Detweiler, and the Baroness are driving to the Von Trapp house for the first time.  They drive past Maria and the children all laughing in the trees, and it looked like so much fun!  What freedom there would be from climbing a tree, being up high in the sky – removed from the world – and just enjoying life!  To unleash the child within me!

I was walking through Burns Park when I heard what sounded like chatting above me.  My initial thought was, “Have I gone crazy or do birds now know how to talk?!”   Continue reading

Man’s Best Friend: Always There for You

Puppy Love
(My youngest sister, Ashley, with one of our dogs, Abigail)

Man’s best friend.  They’re soft and furry, sometimes love to cuddle, and usually provide entertainment.  Whether you’re a cat person, a dog person, a bird person, or any other type of pet person, there’s no question that pets provide some very real therapeutic benefits.

But then there are those of us who are allergic to pets.  Like me.  I used to suffer from horrible cat allergies and then discovered with my family’s two new dogs that, instead of outgrowing my cat allergies, I suddenly became allergic to dogs as well!  (Apparently doctors still don’t know why people develop allergies, so we have yet to figure out how to outgrow them… we just know it’s possible!  There’s hope!)  However, the realization that my puppies made me sneeze constantly, my eyes water, and my lungs start to wheeze made me despair just a little…   Continue reading

Tears

So You Had a Bad Day
(That’s me, by the way)

Tears.  That warm salty liquid that runs out of your eyes when you’re both at your happiest and your most melancholic.

Most people try to avoid them at all costs, especially those arising from emotional trauma.  But I want to tell you something: Let them out!

A good cry is so necessary sometimes.  There are days when I am collapsed on my bed, overcome with the decisions that must be made, the drama around me, the unfairness of life (though usually, in retrospect, my problems are not that bad in the grand scheme of things).  And I become overwhelmed.  Tears come to my eyes, and while at first I try to hold them in, invariably they end up streaming down my face.  After a couple minutes (or – let’s face it – many minutes) of crying, I always feel better, relieved, liberated, calmed.  Every single time.

These past few days have been rough for me.  I’ve been holding in my tears because, let’s face, it, who wants to be seen crying?  It shows weakness, vulnerability, and just really isn’t that attractive.  I mean, your face contorts into strange shapes that you didn’t even think were possible, and then suddenly it’s wet!  And for me, it’s streaked black!  (All mascara-wearing ladies, if you don’t want the black-lines-down-your-face look, try my personal favorite: Maybelline waterproof mascara.  It never runs for me.  Except in this picture, when I was wearing my new organic Physician’s Formula mascara.  Someone let me know when they make organic waterproof makeup please!  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes!  The unattractiveness of crying…)   When you cry, other people look at you with pity, wanting to comfort but not wanting to intrude.  You feel awful both inside and out.  For me, right now, I feel like I couldn’t handle that… I’ve been trying to make important decisions in my life, so surely tears would affect my mental state.  But, alas, it is not so!   Continue reading