2021 in Review

As usual, to escape the cold in Ohio/No. Kentucky, I traveled to Cape Coral, Florida for 5 weeks in late January/early February.  Because I didn’t qualify for the vaccine yet, I again stayed away from people, except for a short trip to see a friend in Clearwater.  It was quite lonely, but I bicycled, walked, and even jogged some.  Went to the beach a couple of days per week to walk, jog, and read.

In March I received both of my vaccines.  So in April I visited Austin and San Antonio, Texas with a friend.  This is the San Antonio Riverwalk.  I spent my honeymoon here with my late husband back in 1994.

I began renting out my spare bedroom/bath to as an Airbnb.  I met some wonderful people – it was like the United Nations – People with roots from the Philippines, Africa, Poland, Mexico, and Jordan.  Amazon employees, traveling nurses, a med student, etc.

I planned a road trip to North and South Carolina to hike and check out waterfalls and some of the towns I’d never been to, like Greenville, S.C. (which I loved), Hendersonville, N.C., (quaint), Bryson City, N.C., Highland, N.C., and Ashville, N.C. (which I had been to).

Lake Janaluska, N.C.

I planned a trip to Alaska for 10 days in July – 2 nights Glacier Bay, 1 night Fairbanks (didn’t see it – just wanted to take the scenic train starting from there heading South), 4 nights Mt. Denali Nat’l Park, 3 nights Anchorage.  This is the view flying into Juneau.

I took a small boat cruise to see a glacier in Glacier Bay National Park

I took the scenic panoramic train all the way to Seward, stopping for 4 nights in Denali Nat’l Park.  I stayed at a lodge located 92 miles (the farthest you can travel) into the park.  And 3 nights in Anchorage.

On the 7 hr. bus ride back to the lodge, we saw some wildlife (I’m not posting all of it).

The guide told us we were so lucky because for the 4 days I was there, Mt. Denali was either in full view or mostly full.

I went hiking with a small group of people…

I went kayaking as a day trip in Seward from Anchorage on the train. 

In September I went to Ft. Lauderdale for 5 days with a guy I dated for a couple of months.  He made me laugh so much, but I found out he was an addict.  I truly had feelings for him after years of looking, and went through some emotional pain.  But, nothing could ever come close to the pain I experience since losing my son.

In October I went to the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana with a friend…

A couple of weeks after that overnight trip, I had hip surgery.  I’ve been walking and doing exercises and it’s healing.  I also got my booster shot in November.

In December, I drove 1 ½ hrs. to Richmond, Indiana to see a friend and spend the night.  We went to the Warm Glow Candle Factory.

I took a solo day trip (2 hrs.) to Columbus to the Franklin Park Conservatory.  It was lovely.  They had Chihuly glass art mixed in with flowers and the architecture.

While I was in Columbus, I went to a place called Otherworld.  It has over 40 rooms filled with lights and interesting displays.

I also spent two nights in the Ozarks in Missouri with a friend.  It was a long drive – 8 ½ hrs. each way. We hiked at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (odd name) and had lunch at J.B. Hooks Restaurant, which had a fantastic view and the food was pretty good.

I celebrated Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law, as usual.  New Year’s Eve was spent alone, grieving for my son.  That’s his birthday.  I’m hoping this coming year will be less lonely for me.  I’ve planned a month long trip to Oahu in late January/February and a 3 month trip to 5 European countries in the Spring.

2020 in Review (a little late)

The year started with three weeks in Miami, Florida in February on a solo trip. Most of my time was spent bicycling, walking on the beach, photographing, and exploring.

I was gearing up for a big year with my business, Cincinnati Urban Adventures when the pandemic hit.  Suddenly, I was alone with my grief – no travel – no business – no boyfriend.  I went to a local shelter and brought home Grayson, who has been a comfort.

I had two trips previously planned before the pandemic hit – one in May to Utah and Idaho, and the other in August to various destinations in Oregon.  I ended up cancelling the flights for both and drove 4400 miles round-trip out west to Utah and Idaho.

I’d already explored Bryce and Zion Nat’l Parks in Utah years past, so this time I went to Arches and Canyonlands. 

On the drive to Idaho, I spent a couple of nights in Salt Lake City for hiking and also had a masseuse come to my Airbnb for a 1 ½ hr. massage to treat myself on my birthday.  I hiked a 6 mile roundtrip, 3,000 ft. elevation change trail while there.  This was at the top…

Next was Idaho.  This is the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho (where Evil Knievel attempted jumping the mile wide chasm with his rocket, but failed).

Shoshone Falls Park, Twin Falls, Idaho

I visited Sun Valley, Idaho, which I found to be gorgeous.  I rented an e-bike and explored for miles.  I also hiked a lot.  I stayed away from people because of the pandemic.

Then I drove up to Stanley, Idaho in the Sawtooth Mountains and stayed in this cabin on a small river.

There was time spent with friends throughout the remainder of 2020, doing mostly outdoor activities (because of the pandemic). Lots of hiking and also get-togethers at our homes for patio dinner/cocktails.

Madison, Indiana

Rough River Lake, Kentucky for our annual ladies long weekend. I reserved a 5 bedroom/3 bath home on the lake. We rented a pontoon boat and had fun!

Bengals football game

A visit to my cousin’s place in central Ohio. He has built quite the mansion/castle – it has hidden rooms, so many things to look at – very eccentric!

Birds in my backyard…

An outdoor Thanksgiving with family…

My dear friend helped me put up my Christmas tree.  Holidays are rough when you’ve lost your parents, spouse, and only child.

Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law…

All things considered, I was doing pretty well with everything I was going through.   I tried to be grateful for what I had.

What’s Been Goin’ On…

It’s been a busy 10 days, but I wanted to catch you up on what’s been going on with me lately.  In addition to the previous senior photo shoots of Sami Jo and Vivian, I attended a Bengals football party at a friends’ house, but didn’t watch a minute of the game.  I’m not much of a sports watching fan.  I enjoy the conversation with friends at parties and love to be active, hiking, jogging, biking, etc.  I contacted an acquaintance, who is a model, to see if he’d like to meetup at an area park for a quick outdoor photo shoot and to get to know each other a bit better.  He usually does magazine or runway modeling, so I thought a fun casual shoot might be a change of pace for him.  Isn’t he cute…

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Vivian

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  ~Marianne Williamson

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.”  ~Alan Cohen

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“When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.” ~Akhenaton Continue reading

Hula Hoop Girl

I introduced you to Sami Jo in yesterday’s post and wanted to share some of her hula hooping photos from our Senior Photo shoot…

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It’s refreshing to watch someone engage in an activity they’re passionate about…

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Sami Jo

“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

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“The soul is healed by being with children.”~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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“Children see magic because they look for it.” ~Christopher Moore

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“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” ~Lady Bird Johnson Continue reading

Ash Cave and Cedar Falls

The weather forecast for Day two of our Hocking Hills hiking adventure predicted rain late in the day, so unlike the previous day, we left our rain coats, umbrellas, and waterproof camera bags back at the cabin, because we started out early.  Mistake!  While taking in the amazing scenery at Ash Cave it began to pour rain.  Fortunately for me, I was lagging behind taking photographs, under the shelter of Ash Cave, while my girlfriends were caught in the deluge.  Not a bad place to get stuck for 10 minutes!

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We ran into a photographer who was kind enough to take our photograph before the rain.  Even Evan (the dog) posed for the camera…

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The 1/2 mile trail at Cedar Falls leads to the waterfall….

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The sloped forest hillside afforded beautiful photography opportunities…

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Our cabin’s location (only a few miles from Cedar Falls) made it convenient to head back there for lunch before our afternoon hiking at the stunning Rock House, which I’ll save for tomorrow!

 

Hocking Hills Autumn Splendor

A quick two-day mid-week trip to Hocking Hills State Park for hiking followed by soaking in a hot tub with girlfriends was just what the doctor ordered!  Located in Southeastern Ohio, 2 1/2 hours from Cincinnati, the rugged cliffs, breathtaking gorges, cascading waterfalls, and flourishing forests of Hocking Hills State Park, afford visitors a pristine outdoor wonderland.  Our first hike was to Old Man’s Cave.  The well-marked one mile round trip trail, includes both man-made and natural steps.  The view from inside the mouth of the wide cave looks down onto a small stream and stone bridge…

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to visit this park…

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The Search for Autumn

My latest assignment for Cincinnati Refined was to find the most colorful “leaf popping” streets within selected Cincinnati neighborhoods, so off I went, on a 40 mile journey and was amazed that I only found a few colorful trees!  It seems that Autumn is arriving late.  This was the most vibrant tree…

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A peek at a bit more of “the” tree…

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On the way home, this bean field and sky shouted for me to stop…

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So…I’ll be going out again next week hunting for Autumn!

Foggy Morning

I woke before dawn and made my morning coffee.  Peering out the window, everything was encased in fog.  I hastily threw on a jacket over my pajamas, grabbed my tripod and camera, and wandered down the lane in my house slippers to capture the beauty.

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Do you have a favorite?

Taking Photographs on the Way to Photography Class

I know what two of my greatest passions in life are…photography and travel!  So, it’s no surprise that I couldn’t help but stop to take photographs of the sunset while on the way to photography class…

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Trees are so cool…even in winter and I love Churches!

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We are swimming in beauty and don’t always see it!

 

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A Vision of White

I awoke this morning to a vision of white all around me…glorious snow!  My kitty Katie was even in awe!

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The kind of snow that clings to every branch and creates a magical world of silence, surrounding you with nature’s calm beauty.

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Traipsing outside in my house slippers, with my camera and tripod, Katie followed me everywhere I went.  My husband nicknamed me Doctor Doolittle because our dog and kitty follow me everywhere.

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“When snow falls, nature listens.”  ~Antoinette van Kleeff

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“Snow flakes are kisses from heaven.”  ~Author Unknown

 

First Snow of the Season

The first snow of the season is always exciting…even if it’s only an inch of snow.  After the sun came up, I was outside in my house slippers to capture a bit of the magic!

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It seems odd for green or red bushes and trees to be covered with snow…

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