The Freedom of Dressing Up

The Freedom of Dressing Up

This weekend my husband and I took a little road trip to Todd Mission, Texas home of the yearly Renaissance Festival.

We had a wonderful time even though the temperature hovered in the high 40s and low 50s all day and there was a little rain.

But as my husband aptly put it, it is like stepping back in time. The festival is held in a forest of tall pines and other trees in which a small village has been constructed. By small I mean pretty big since it takes a good 3 hours to walk the whole park.

The village looks like it is straight out of central casting for a medieval movie set in 1400s Europe.

There are shops and eateries throughout with wonderful names like: “The King’s Swordworks” and “MiLady’s Fashions”. There are statues of dragons and suits of armor but my favorite part are the costumes.

Not only do the people who run the fair dress in period wardrobe but most of the people coming into the park come dressed as well!

The costumes are varied and elaborate and I noticed no one being self conscious or feeling out of place. They felt free to be who their character was.

We saw Queen Elizabeth and King Henry the VIII, soldiers of the realm, Scottish royalty, and lords and ladies galore. But we also saw peasants, serving wenches, and street entertainers.

Among some of the more imaginative costumes also included Jack Sparrow, Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, the witches from Hocus Pocus, and Robin Hood.

There were many dressed as famous couples too: Merlin and Morgan la Fey, Ursurla and King Triton, and the devil walking with Jesus.

My favorites are always the barbarians–because they look so–barbarous!

The beauty of the day is that everyone is there to enjoy the atmosphere and each other. Dressing in costumes frees people from their everyday realities and lets them escape into the fairyland world of the medieval forest in a trip back in time.

Enjoy the freedom someday and visit a Renaissance park-it is an experience no one should miss!

Staycation Plans

Staycation Plans

One of my favorite things to do is travel.  I credit this love to my parents, who ensured we had a vacation every year of our lives until and for several years after we had finished college.

We even took and continue to take vacations with the folks from time to time throughout our entire lives with now husbands and children in tow.  Because each experience has been wonderful–it has invariably led to a love of travel.

I have a very strong desire to visit new places, discover new cultures, foods and ideas. Traveling offers an opportunity to break from the regular routine and explore different activities as well as enjoying the time for relaxing reading and hobbying.

While I have been lucky to visit many places and have a very very long list of places I would still like to explore–sometimes my favorite vacation in a staycation.

Staycations are wonderful because they can be easily planned, can last from hours to days, you don’t have to do any major packing and you also know you will be sleeping in your own bed.

What do you do on a staycation?  Well anything you want, of course!  But here are a few ideas:

  1. Visit a state or national park close to home.
  2. Look for historical points of interest in your area.
  3. Find water features–and water sports–to enjoy near you such as tubing down a river, rafting, fishing, or enjoying the lake or the beach.
  4. Enjoy local museums of interest that are a reasonable driving distance from your house.
  5. Attend local cultural performances such as plays, concerts, and symphonies.
  6. Find  a spot at a holiday or special celebration parade in your city.
  7. Support your local sports team by going to a game.
  8. Visit a veteran’s cemetery and honor our heroes.
  9. Seek out amusement parks or extreme sports activities that you are eager to try.
  10. Participate in health walks or marathons.

Sometimes we are not aware of all the wonderful places to visit and things to do that are in our own backyard.  Planning a staycation can be fun and fulfilling, it can provide you with a good break from your regular routine and it can open you up to new experiences!

Enjoy all your travels, near or far!

The Lighthouse That Guides Us

The Lighthouse That Guides Us

As you know by now I love learning new things. Especially when those new things are about subjects that I enjoy like travel and history and America.

One thing I like to visit, especially in any coastal city, are lighthouses. Whenever possible we climb them to the top.

These are magnificent buildings that were built expressly to lead ships to harbor.

Fishermen and military ships alike could depend on lighthouses to light their way home through dark, fog and storms.

They were a beacon leading them to safety– and home.

But I wonder how many people know that one of the most important lighthouses in America was the Statue of Liberty?

In November of 1886, ordered by President Grover Cleveland, the Statue of Liberty was maintained and operated as a lighthouse in New York Harbor.

Not only has Lady Liberty served as a beacon for sailors during this time but forevermore the light–and the hope–in her torch, has welcomed so many immigrants to this wonderful nation.

She served as a lighthouse until 1902. And while that function may have ended–her light has never diminished.

Lady Liberty is our symbol of freedom and hope and the opportunity that leads us all to strive for a better life.

She is the lighthouse that leads us home.

From The New Colossus: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Road Trip

Road Trip

I love taking road trips! There is nothing more relaxing to me than driving on U.S. highways.

Especially in a state like Texas you can drive for two days and still be in the state… but the areas are so varied that the drives are beautiful.

One of my favorite part of these drives are the cows. The ranches on both sides of the highway are home to these magnificent animals.

I love these cows and over the course of many years I have come to know them by name–hereford, santa gertrudis, angus, jersey and of course the beloved longhorn.

I love watching them go by as we speed along–at the speed limit, of course–and they go about their business grazing and ignoring the noisy vehicles.

Sometimes a whole family of cows is sitting and standing under a big oak tree–at their leisure living this southern life.

I have–more than once–pulled over to watch them and sometimes take pictures of them.

On rare occasions one will look right at me. And I have to admit that for a moment it stops my heart. It is a form of communication in that one look.

It’s as if the cow is trying to understand my species as much as I would like to understand hers.

There are times, when driving as the sun is going down, when you can see them line up and follow each other over a ridge.

In silent agreement they head home to where they will rest after a long day in the sun. It is truly amazing.

Some people have commented to me how badly they feel for the cows on these farms–that they are being raised just to be killed.

And I couldn’t disagree more. These beautiful animals are living out their purpose and they do so with grace and dignity.

So I will continue to enjoy these road trips every chance I get and to admire the beautiful cows along the way.

A Flight of Fancy

A Flight of Fancy

While in Pensacola, Florida last summer we did one of my favorite things!  We went to the museum!  I love museums–but there is one in Pensacola that is one of my favorites!

The National Naval Aviation Museum is one of the best military museums I have ever seen.  I had visited it once before–over 10 years ago–and this time around it was even better than I had remembered.

It chronicles the history of Naval Aviation and has many beautiful restored airplanes on display, as well as cockpit simulators you can get into, and a giant screen theater that shows breathtaking movies about the magic of flight and combat missions from our history.

A whole other part of the museum has exhibits of the Apollo Space Program which has always captured my imagination as well. And all are free to the public at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

We had two wonderful treats while at the museum.  The first was a gentleman who is a retired Lieutenant Commander of the Navy who stopped to talk to us about the airplanes we were looking at from WWI.  

He told us all about the planes and the pilots and the challenges of flying in combat during this time. He told beautiful stories of our heroes and the death defying feats they performed and the planes that brought them home.

The second treat is that the very next day the Blue Angels would be doing their practice show and the public was welcome to come and watch!

Of course, we returned the next day to watch the amazing and terrifying acrobatics these brave pilots perform at amazing speeds and at very close proximity to each other. It was truly awe inspiring and I caught myself holding my breath more than once as they practiced their maneuvers.

Those young pilots practice and hone their skills to be the best in the world!  And their pride shows when, after the show, they sign autographs, take pictures and talk to the people they serve, protect and honor with their very lives.

Just thinking about the experience now brings the excitement of that day back and puts a smile on my face!  Go Navy!

Has there been a day when you experience the exhilaration of watching our military performing at their best?  Don’t forget to thank an enlisted person or a Veteran–it is their sacrifice that keeps us free!

Comment below!  And have fun today!

 

Let’s Take a Trip

Let’s Take a Trip

Being in an empty nest helps fuel the imagination.  I think it is the extra time and the quiet house.

It is very liberating really to be able to think about things we really enjoy that we hadn’t had time for before…like traveling.

I love to travel! I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to visit many diverse places.  I haven’t been to as many as most, but certainly more than others.  

And while I haven’t been to as many places as I’d like–we are planning on taking advantage of all the experiences that the places we visit have!

While I am extremely afraid of flying…I do fly!  I have to talk myself into it each time, do a lot of praying and once on the plane will have the tears fall–especially as we take off or are coming in for a landing. But I’ll still do it!

It is the whole plummeting to earth idea I am not cool with!

I will go off to distant places if the opportunity presents itself, and it has, and I have! However, my favorite type of travel is by car!

I love America’s highways and how different and beautiful the regions and states can be. At the same time, for me, traveling around the United States is very familiar and comforting. Because no matter where I am, I am still home.

Last summer, my husband and I drove to Pensacola, Florida from Corpus Christi, Texas to visit family and we had a great time!

The road trip itself took us 2 days to get there and 2 back, mostly because we were enjoying the scenery and were in no hurry.  It was very relaxing and since we had our two doggies along we made frequent stops so they (me) could go to the bathroom.

It was great to have that time with my husband, we got to talk about many things which I think keeps us connected as a couple and brings us closer.  I am very lucky to be married to my best friend and so even quiet times are wonderful!

Along the way, we appreciated the changes in the vegetation, the colors and the smells and how the miles just went on into the horizon. Time was our own and we were happy and fulfilled.  It is a very good place to be!

I took pictures of the Welcome signs as we entered each new state: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  We went from the coast in Texas to Piney Woods, through swampland and over the mighty Mississippi River and eventually back to the coast of Florida.  The traveling was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Spending time with family, also, to me is priceless.  As I have gotten older and hopefully matured–I am not necessarily looking for the most glamorous or adventurous place to travel to.  I am looking for that sense of belonging and relaxation.  

I enjoy the sight-seeing, the meals out and the meals in that we make together with love, conversation and especially lots of laughter.  There is also just getting to know a new place and seeing things we haven’t seen before.

Traveling is not just a special place but a special moment in time.

I am hoping, in my empty nest years, to do a great deal of traveling and experiencing. Especially as I travel to see the ones that I love the most as they create their own lives!

Have you been on a trip recently that you enjoyed?  What was your favorite part of the trip?

Comment below if you like, and join my Facebook and Pinterest–but most of all have fun!