Starting to feel a little better over the weekend

I’ve been really tired and sore the past few weeks but this weekend I started to feel a little better.  I think we were on vacation a few weeks ago and I overdid the hiking (hiked 20 miles one day, more than I intended, and hiked/biked every other day for several hours each day) then ended my vacation two days early to fly out to client meetings and which required me to get by 3 days in a row with less than 5 hours of sleep (not good when I have chronic illness).  Then on top of that, Wife M was prepping for the MCAT and I think it was a heavy stress hanging in the house for several weeks.  At any rate, her test is done, I got an extra day of rest, I even took a couple of naps between social events on Sunday, and I just starting to feel a little less achy and a little less exhausted.  In a word, phew.  It is truly awful feeling exhausted.

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Starting to feel a little better over the weekend

I *love* Savannah, Georgia!!!

We took a weekend trip to Savannah, a trip that honestly was a stretch for us but took because of a rare “you only live once” splurge.  I’ve been battling shingles plus chronic fatigue, so the 14-hour travel day took a toll on me, and I slept 23 hours our first two nights here.   But I loved thsi trip and loved Savannah! The town is beautiful, the food unbelievably tasty, and the people warm and friendly. I rally loved this town, as much as some of the towns in France.

But hereare highlights of our trip:

  • To save money – and because of two inches of snow – we took the 5:30 AM bus and train to the airport.  8.50 and 90 minutes door-to-door.  Took an hour to de-ice the plane in Seattle, but once we took off uneventful plane travel through Detroit.
  • Day 1 Started with a sunny but cool morning walk to put our name in line at breakfast at B. Matthew, where there was a 45 minute wait.  While we waited, we walked to the Coffee Fox and had coffee outside in the sun, plus had a chocolate scone.  The coffee was amazing, and the people were friendly.  At breakfast, our server was originally from Russia, and she was very sweet.  She is going home in 24 days, not that she is counting she said.  We had bloody Marys and I had a shrimp cheese grit thing plus biscuit and gravy that were un-real.  There were a couple of graduates from one school or another, and people were congratulating them.  We are loving that about here – people talk to you, unlike in SEattle where no one makes eye contact or makes passing conversation.
  • Walked back through Savannah to a few shops that were beautiful and quaint. Went to the Savannah Hive store, which had amazing honey-based products.  We even tried Mead, and learned that Mead is the oldest alcohol by thousands of years and was discovered not invented.  It is always honey based, and we loved the beer-meets-champagne Monk’s Mead, and purchased a bottle.  We learned that the owners are a local family, and Ted the father has been keeping bees since he was 12 and even spent time in the Peace Corp where he taught people in Jaimaca and other places how to keep hives. Amazing.
  • We went to the chocolate shop, which we are told was amazing.  Again, people there made conversation with us, and some customers made recommendations as we shopped.  I can’t wait to try the chocolate!
  • We walked through town and along the reiver. The river has old walls, and not sure why that is – from the Revolutionary War?  Civil War?  Just a Sea Wall to protect the short? Not sure.  Anway, saw a square where George Washington attended church in 1791, saw a monument dedicated to Nathaniel Greene, the original church of John Wesley, and a plaque mentioning that the colonists of Georgia originally set out from ENgland in 1732.  I am thinking that Nathaniel Greene was a REvolutionary War general and that Wesley started The Great Reformation, but will have to research that later.  Anyway, I that Georgia is one the more recent colonies (well over 100years younger than New York, New England, Virginia, etc.).
  • Dinner at Cotton and Rye. Delicious whiskey based cocktails, fried chicken and buttermilk chocolate pie!  Dinner reservations were booked past 5 PM so we settled for a heavy early dinner – our second way too heavy meal of the day, but worth it 🙂
  • I am loving our taxi/uber drivers.  One is in active army duty and drives occassionally after hours for extra dollars, and two others are Savannah locals.  I am distrubed that our US Government does not pay our active force people enough – if anyone deserves a living wage, it is the people who serve on active duty. Another driver has never traveled outside Savannah and rarely can afford to eat out — here we are, eating out every night in another city and he can’t afford one night out.  That is not fair.  We need more equitable wages in this country – why should some CxO born into a privileged family deserve to eat out 7 mights a week when a person working just as hard in harder circumstances can’t afford to eat out one night.  I blame Reagan’s tax cuts for that. 🙂
  • I loved this first day.  I love the historic brick buildings, the people and the food.  More to come!
  • Took a historic ghost tour.  Learned Savannah founded in 1733 by English as a buffer between Spanish-held Florida and English colonies to the north.  Our first mansion built by a wealthy man whose father owned Haiti plantations; his first wife died of yellow fever, second wife lept to her death and Haiti slave was hung in rafters of servant houes – it is said the second wife and slave haunt the home.  We saw a video of second wife descending front steps, heard tape of slave screaming for help.  We also saw where 100s of people died in two American Revolutionary battles in 1778 and 1779, and learned that Savannah is built on top of many unmarked graveyards where the bodies still reside.  We saw a house where 100s of people died of Yellow Fever, the doctor who cared for them starved himself to death, and where there are rumored to be a demonic presence.  We saw an orphanage where orphans died in one of the great city fires and it is said that there are occassional voices heard.  
  • Second day, we had breakfast at Collins Quarter, and sat outside.  Wonderful meal and coffee — the coffee in Savannah has been better than in Seattle (more tasty and better tasting).  
  • We walked to Forsythe park, which is a large park established in the early 1800s.  It was beautiful – long and spacious with lots of trees and the massive fountain. M snapped a lot of photos so I had a lot of time to enjoy the view.
  • We walked through the squares and through the town, admiring the tree lined streets, squares, beautiful houses that line the sidewalk.  
  • We walked to River Street, and had cocktails and amazing fried green tomatoes at Rocks on the Roof. The view of the river and grasslands beyond was wonderful, and we saw a rainbow. 
  • We took a cab ride to the Bonaventure Cemetery, the famous cemetery portrayed in MIdnight int he Garden of Good and Evil. The cemetery was closed early due to hurrican clean up, but we saw it front the outside.  Towering trees over the old cemetery, and our driver told us that because of grave robbing and mismarkings we can’t necessarily believe the names on the marker, especially the more famous ones.  He was a fun driver – getting his masters degree, a Type A who finds Savannah’s slower pace of life a challenge for him 🙂 He was a sharp guy.
  • Our dinner the second night was good, but not the brest meal we had by Savannah standards.  We honetly love the Savannah food, which is perhaps only matched by the food in France as far as flavor.  We were pretty fool so focused on a lot of appetizers, which were good but not amazing.  However, I loved our server, who was friendly and is in nursing school.  SHe was originally from New York but didn’t like the cold – she was funny and attentive with a fresh/kind face and sparkingling white teeth :).
  • We took a gohost tour the second night.  This was a xombie themed tour but honestly had very little to do with zombies.  We saw the famous mansion from Midnight of Garden in Good and Evil, but learned beyond the story there have been multiple murders in the house over th years, including a boy who tragically fell from the roof but under very strange circumstances.  We were shown the spot where he fell but we could not bare to take  pictures of it, since it was such a sad story and happened only 45 years ago.  The top floor is still a rsidence – I could not live in a house with four or more murders over the centuries!  We saw 432 hosue, where it is rumored a Hag lives, where a little girl imprisoned by her father died from neglect, and which sits near an unmarked slave graveyard that is now a park (people are walking on burial sites without ralizing it); this was a creepy house, and it was good to get  away from there. Finally, we walked to the Colonial Cemetery, whose current borders are actually smaller than the actual graveyard, meaning buildings are built atop graves (like out of Poltergeist).  Next to the graveyard is a playground, which is actually built atop an unmarked orphan cemetery, orphans who basically died of abandonment when their parents died of Yellow Fever; there are two hair-raising tales: one is of a boy talking about the scary boy who wanted to play with him on the swingset, and the other is of the video shot of a ghostly white boy running through the graveyard; for only the second time in my life, that spot raised goosebumps.
  • DaY 3 we went Tybe Island, which was a nice beach during the slow season. It was pretty cloudy but at 75 degrees and a beautiful beach to ourselves, we didnt care.  
  • We also walked around Savannah, and saw the house that the huanted mansion at Disneyland was modeled after (exterior).  We snapped a photo, and I was wondering if the people who originally lived there had any choice of whether their house as used (it would be awful to have people suddenly taking pitctures  of your house, unless you bought it after it was already famous 🙂 ).  
  • We went to a pink house for dinner in the heart of Savannah.  The Old Pink House.  WOnderful service and food.
  • Finally, we had lunch at the Kaya cafe (delicious tacos) and headed home on a late flight.  

A spectacular weekend.

I *love* Savannah, Georgia!!!

First Trip to Savanna

Wife M and I are making our first trip to the south that is not in Orlando and not for business, and decided on a trip to Savannah, Georgia.  We watched Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil to prepare and my Type A wife has prepared an agenda for us, including ghost tours.  Traveling is stressful for me since I don’t feel well (I try not to say it out loud to the family so as not to ruin their trip/fun), but I will have a good time once I am there. We booked this trip before finances were tight, so it is stressful that we are going, but at the same time it will be an experience we’ll remember.

First Trip to Savanna

Thoughts on Venice (from 2013)

We spent a day in Venice in 2013, and here are my memories from it…

I loved St. Peter’s Square, the large white cathedral often seen in movies.  It was a beautiful square and a beautiful church.  I love that when I see it in movies that it takes me back to my visit there.

Movies don’t capture the smell of Venice, which wasn’t pleasant.  The water doesn’t smell good, and there is a lot of exhaust hanging about. I felt like I needed to wash my skin off from the exhaust.

It is incredibly easy to get lost on the walkways.  THere are so many back ways that look alike (not in a bad way) and they are quiet, so it is easy to lose my way 🙂

It is a wonderful, sad city.  Sad in that there is *a lot* of motorboat traffic on the main ways, it was choked with tourists in parts of town, and the water is dirty (garbage floating in it).  Wonderful in that it is fun to be there because of its fame, and it is Italy (I love Italy).

The back water ways were dreamy.  Quiet, peaceful, surreal.

With global warming and the city sinking, I can’t imagine it will be there 100s of years from nbow.

I love Italy.  I love the pace of life, the food, the apprecation for life (food, conversation, coffee, clothes, wine, etc.), that dressing is an art (you don’t see Italians in yoga pants and tennis shoes), and even the heat.  My two favorite countries I’ve spent time in are Italy and France, and I love the people and cultures of both places.  Venice was not my favorite Italian city, but it is part of Italy and I love Italy.

Thoughts on Venice (from 2013)

Daughter L worked most of the weekend and was up all night working on summer homework

Daughter L had a few books to read and a major essay (i.e. over 7 pages to write) that were assigned over the summer and due before her first class starts today at 7 AM.  It is madness that we burn our kids out before they even start the school year. Was she assigned the paper over a month ago? Yes.  But we were traveling (she traveled for 3 weeks with our family, plus 3 weeks with a school service trip) plus after taking an AP course last summer and having major assignments due over Winter and Spring breaks last year, she needed a break.  Plus, most human beings — especially teens — will procrastinate. 

I keep waiting for this age of homework — which is now over 20 years long – to end.  We have been reading for years now about how the kids have too much homework, and how that much homework does not increase learning and hampers quality of life.  But if anything it gets worse.  And this weekend it burned my daughter out before she even starts her first day of school. It is madness.

Daughter L worked most of the weekend and was up all night working on summer homework

Gave Banks Mansion (Amsterdam) a good review

I liked this hotel.   Everyone who worked there was friendly and helpful, the room was clean (very important) and it was (very important for me) centrally located.  Also, the free breakfast was suprisingly good, they had an espresso machine in the lobby, Wife M originally wanted a small and historic hotel, which I like too, but I’d stay at Banks Mansion again without hesitation, especially since we tend to spend very little time in our room other than sleep (we like to explore versus spending extra time in the hotel).    

A quick note about Free Breakfasts.  I rarely — if ever — do free breakfasts in the US, since I don’t consider foods loaded with chemicals and high fructose syrup (AKA Fructose) “free,” given the toll these take on long-term health and the body.  But so often in Europe these types of chemicals are banned, which means I can eat the breakfast without worry of poisoning myself.  

I was worried and concerned when I heard Amsterdam embraces GMO foods, since they are starting to suspect GMO foods are damaging to the body (one theory links the increase in autoimmune diseaes to GMO), and I hope that changes in the future.

Gave Banks Mansion (Amsterdam) a good review

Happiness is taking 10-minutes to give someone deserved kudos

On our vacation, we had five people who really went the extra mile to help us.  One person, in particular, took an extra 5-10 minutes to find something for us that two other of her peers said they couldn’t find (with barely an effort).  So I took 10-minutes this morning to send a note to their employers this morning to call out their service.  Why?  It is a way to thank that person, it reinforces the attitude that is is important to care about other people’s concerns, and it hopefully encourages their companies to encourage their employees to care (note: it is a two way street – employers have to treat their employees with respect and also reward them in ways that impact the pocketbook).

Of course, what very well may happen is the employer will get these notes and start enforcing habits that don’t necessarily encourage better behavior but actually soliciting more comment cards 🙂  But, I have to hope for the best.  

Happiness is taking 10-minutes to give someone deserved kudos