Hope to be back and catch up with everyone soon but until then don't let life pass you by.
This past weekend I attended my first international event. It was not the World Cup or the Olympics but the IMAF, International Martial Arts Festival. It was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on the Walt Disney World grounds in Orlando Florida. 

I flew down to observe my nine-year-old granddaughter participate in the Korean Taekwondo events. The Taekwondo events were so unlike my practice of martial arts, Chinese Tai Chi.

We missed the first day events and it seems many others did too, including the referees! There were international teams from Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Dominica that I noticed.  Plus there were two teams from Colorado including the US Olympic team, a small team from Ohio (hooray Ohio) and of course multiple teams from Florida.

Maybe our granddaughter needed some extra well wishers because she didn't place in any of the events she competed in on day one. However on Saturday though I am proud to say she won three silver metals and one bronze metal.

It was an extremely fast paced but interesting event. There were twenty-four mats of competition and most were in use from early morning until past my normal bedtime! Those athletes seemed to have an endless supply of energy.

Congrats to our granddaughter Alli and to all of the martial arts contestants.
Last evening around the world we experienced a rare astronomical phenomena a super moon lunar eclipse also called a super blood moon.

This super blood moon was highly anticipated in that it is fairly rare only occurring about once every few decades.

As my luck would have it the night sky was cloudy where I live, unlike the previous night that was beautifully clear revealing the near full moon.

Not wanting to be detoured by the thick cloud cover I patiently waited in my backyard for the intermittent and very brief clearings in the clouds. Happily using three cameras my husband and I captured that rare phenomenon.

Behold our intriguing and mystical moon.
And for those of you that say you don't have a good camera I also used an iPhone pictures aren't as good but I have them.
The weather this year in the United States has been anything but routine. Torrential rain with record level flooding, extreme drought with government enforced water restrictions and massive forest fires plus excessively high temperatures cannot be called normal. The Pacific has had more than normal hurricanes recorded. In Europe high water has been disruptive for the ever increasingly popular river cruises.

As we now slip into fall in the northern hemisphere I wonder what will happen with our approaching winter. The past several days have been unseasonably cold for this time of year. Is it a predecessor to an extremely cold winter? Or is it as unusual as the entire year has been?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted an unusually cold and wet winter for us here in the Midwest of United States. However NOAA, the national Oceanic Atmospheric Administration has stated that due to an extreme El Niño our area will have a mild winter.

Who is correct? Maybe we need to look to the animals. Are the squirrels gathering more nuts earlier than usual? Are outdoor animals beginning to put on their “winter coats”?

All I know is that I am not ready for summer to be over…as the song goes “take me somewhere sunny & 75!”
Labor Day weekend in the United States is fast approaching a sign that summer, such as it has been, is almost over. But I'm okay with that this year because I have blue dots!

Blue dots are my indication of booked adventures.

The first set of dots on my wall size world map is in India, a long, long dream adventure of mine. While there I will get to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise, I will ride an elephant to the Red Fort and I will go on two game drives in search of the elusive Bengal tigers.

I am also going to ride a camel cart to my tent and live in the Thar Desert for two nights.

I know many of you including my daughters are thinking that I am crazy, but to me it is a grand adventure.

The second set of dots are in The Bahamas and signify a quick cruise to the Bahamas. It is just a short five days but we couldn't possibly let any vacation time go unused.

Until those adventures, other than a trip to Florida I will enjoy the rest of the weather, unpredictable, both good and bad here on Ohio's Northcoast. 
People often say they plan to travel but they are just not ready. What or when is ready?

Is ready when the house is paid for?

Is ready when the car is paid for?

When you have finished a project at work?

When the kids are grown and out of the house?

When you retire?

Before you have kids and “settle down”?

Before your health fails?

Many people live way above and beyond their means? And creditors love them! Which generally means that they will never pay off their house before their health fails. So that issue rules out when the house is paid off. Consequently again because of the house payment, some people also never retire, that rules out after I retire.

To the best of my knowledge no one really knows or can predict when their health will begin to fail. Accidents can happen or genetics can kick in.

As for employment, work is an ever-changing environment, companies merge, companies fail, rules and benefits change. 

When all of this is considered it seems to me that “ready” needs to be now.
I live in a small town. A town of about 9,000 people, one fast food restaurant and the owners of one stop light. But today I realized why I am a small town girl and I am extremely proud of my small town.

We had a tragedy in our town; a 4 year old autistic boy had gone missing. During the 48 hours of his disappearance the community as a whole came together to search for the missing child. Hundreds if not thousands of volunteers walked, rode bikes and drove around the community hunting and searching through the days and night on water and land to help find this child.

Unfortunately this incident had the worst possible ending, the child was found at the bottom of the lake. Lake Erie, our gem that can bring us so much joy and beauty also can be frightening and cause pain.
However maybe as terrible as the incident is maybe the young child fulfilled his mission for God (or whatever higher power you believe in) he brought a community together, strengthened a bond among a small town that they had not known they had. It had nothing to do with race, religion or politics, it was all about humanity.

Thank you to everyone that came together "United we Stand" and never think that you cannot make a difference because together we can.
Rest in peace Sidney
It has taking me a long time, basically my entire life, to learn that I don't need a lot of stuff. The more I travel the more I realize that stuff is a burden. I have met countless individuals that live with very little stuff to hold them down, consequently they have more freedom.

Stuff means that in your absence during your worldwide travels you need someone to take care of all of your stuff. That can mean watering, dusting, checking on or collecting. Or of course it could mean paying for storage. Sure a lot of the stuff is pretty but do I really need it especially if I'm not home to see or use it?

With this realization I have decided to start downsizing and simplifying by dematerializing. I have eliminated unnecessary magazine subscriptions and junk mail being delivered by snail mail to my house. I have eliminated live plants that need watering, pruning and attention. I have started to get rid and sell endless knickknacks that need constant dusting. (selling that stuff also gives me more money for travel!)

I haven't got a lot accomplished yet but somehow even with the small steps that I've taken I feel an increased sense of freedom.

Now I'm not saying that I'm ready to put all of my worldly goods into a backpack and a duffel (my cat would hate that) but I already feel as if a partial burden has been lifted from my life.
Decisions, how do you decide when and where you're going to travel? Is it a destination that is on your bucket list? Or do you go at the best time you're permitted by your workplace? Is it shoulder season, or at the time of year when you get the possible rate? 

I'm currently struggling with two possibilities or maybe three! 

Do I travel to a place on my bucket list during the shoulder season? It is a time that I will get the best rate but I will have weather conditions that are less than optimal. However I could take a later date spend about $300 per person more and have better weather conditions. Then there is another choice, more inclusive in the package but less days. Alternatively I could just go to a different destination altogether, one that is still on my bucket list and is a price based in between the other two prices.  

Decisions, decisions, decisions, how am I going to decide? 

Advice anyone?
According to my local meteorologist meteorological summer arrived on June 1, this is also the official beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic. 

The predictions for the 2015 Hurricane season are for a relatively quiet season, but Ironically the first storm of the season occurred before the official beginning. 

Upon my recent arrival in Florida it was obvious that hurricane season has begun. The sunshine State was anything but sunny. At first it was gray and dreary then we had monsoon type of rain. Or I guess you could say hurricane strength rain. The powerful wind tore out the screens on the lanai.

The hurricane season is upon us and we have already had the second named storm in the Atlantic. While having dinner at a restaurant the power went out due to the strong wind; and then while driving home from a long weekend trip in Pennsylvania I got acquainted with Tropical Storm Bill. My home and eastern Pennsylvania are not in the normal hurricane zones but I am already tired of them!

As with all of the other recent natural disasters everyone should make sure that they have their emergency preparedness kit available and ready to use. It sure seems we are going to need them this year.