All posts for the month August, 2013

Following My Bliss: San Diego!

Published August 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward


After making my way to Maine and dipping my toes into the Atlantic Ocean, I really wanted to be able to say that I’d done the same in the Pacific Ocean within the same summer vacation!  When my Marine daughter was not able to come home on leave, I headed to the west coast to make sure I could see her.   So I did it– two oceans in one summer!

I fully believe in the Law of Attraction and that everything always has a way of working out.  When I first learned that my daughter could not come home, I wondered about how I was going to be able to finance a trip out west.  Believe it or not, the opportunity came available the very same day as Sarah’s news.

I got an email that the school district needed someone to tutor the special ed seniors who needed to retake the NYS ELA exam for two weeks…and the pay was enough to cover my plane fare!  I have always believed that the Universe provides for me whenever there is a need…and I needed to get to see my daughter!

100_0746And there she is!  The sun was in our eyes, so we have some squinting going on, but this is us at Mission Beach in San Diego.  I am so happy that I was able to be with her, even if it was only for six days.

This was the only day that week that I had a decent hair day!  😛   I certainly can’t say that same about the rest of the trip!  😀

100_0757While we were at Mission Beach, we went to the midway and rode one of the wild rides…at least wild for me!  Since I had vertigo a few years ago, I have been very shy of amusement park rides, even to the point of avoiding my favorites– roller coasters!  I do miss them because I used to ride coasters with my five kids when they were younger.   It was a leap of faith that my vertigo wouldn’t be activated on this spinning, swinging ride!  Fortunately, I made it through safe and sound, happy that I had not had lunch first!

warriorWhen we went window shopping, the silliness that we used to share started to come out!  🙂  I love how she isn’t afraid to put on masks, hats, or pick up props for photo ops!  This is my warrior…watch out!  Ooh Rah!

margaritasAfter our window shopping excursion, we went for a yummy lunch that included margaritas!  It was so good to spend time with her again…it has been far too long.

And I need to learn how to make that Margarona!  YUM!!

I also got to spend time with Sarah’s boyfriend and his daughter… we had a lot of fun!  We went to the playground, she rode her bike, we went swimming, and we even went to Disneyland!  😀

at the parkFun time at the playground!

with SarahOkay…bad hair day, but it WAS about 100 degrees and blazing sun!

100_0844Waiting for the rides! 100_0787Princess Palace!!!

100_0798And we found some friends!  Rabbit…

100_0797 Eeyore… MickeyAnd even Mickey!!

parade 2Chloe loved the parade, especially when the princesses went by!

Pirate Ship

We even rode a pirate ship…ARGH!!

rideAnd Sarah and I got silly on a spinning ride!

It was a wonderful trip, and I am so grateful that I got so spend time with my Sarah Bear!  It’s hard having one of my children living across the continent, but I have to keep telling myself that it gives me a place to go on vacation!  I miss her greatly, but I am also extremely proud of her service as a United States Marine.  She is not one little lady anyone wants to mess with!

VegasAt last it was time to head back home.  Our stopover was in Las Vegas, so I just HAD to play with the slot machines in the airport!  I didn’t win anything, but my losses only came out to eight dollars.  Not bad for 45 minutes of entertainment in between flights!

When I got my AARP magazine last month, there was an article about seeing the world within one city…Las Vegas.  Where else can you eat lunch in the shade of the Eiffel Tower, followed by a Venetian gondola ride, topped off with an evening in an Egyptian pyramid.  Yup, that’s a trip that I plan to take in the future!!

Viva, Las Vegas!!

And a wonderful visit to Southern California!  🙂


Following My Bliss: Zombie 5K!!

Published August 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward

100_0720This is the tent where zombies are created!  Although I didn’t get to be one in this race, I DID get chased by the product of all this goop and goo!

For my second 5K, I think I probably should have trained a bit more for this one.  I knew about the obstacle course, but I didn’t realize JUST how challenging it was going to be.  I mean, it’s not like the Tough Mudder!  Or was it…?

For me, this might just as well have been the Tough Mudder because it sure was tough on these bones…and muscles!  I am still hurting a week later!  As much pain as I feel in my muscles (particularly in my thighs), I want to participate in more 5K’s in the future.  I am glad my friend, Jeanette was running with me!

These are just a couple of shots of what I could see of the course from along the sidelines.  It doesn’t look all that intimidating, but once I was actually trying to run it, I realized a couple of things: 1) I didn’t train enough ahead of time, and 2) I had the WRONG sneakers on!!

100_0715 100_0714  Because I didn’t want to ruin my hot pink kicks, I dug an old pair of walking sneakers out of my closet…the kind with the rocking sole about two inches high.  Yeah…bad idea.  At one point when I was being chased by a huge swarm of brain munching infected zombies, I was trying to run around an uphill curve in these elevated sneakers.  Ouch, ouch, ouch as I turned my ankle, but I kept going.  I didn’t want to get eaten!  Limping along, I hustled as best I could and did my best to go through all the obstacles.   Zombie Run 1             I crawled in the mud…   Zombie Run 2

I climbed over barbed wire while my feet sunk ankle deep in the muck…

Zombie Run 3

Zombie Run 4

And I swam through a pit of freezing, ice cold “blood”…

Zombie Run 5And I am still standing!!

100_0723And we finished!!  Okay, so the zombies took all my flags off my belt, but I still got my medal!

I may be still sore a week later, but I am so glad I challenged myself!

Following My Bliss: Chimney Bluffs

Published August 12, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Again I woke up with a hankering for a hike!  It was a gorgeous day, so I decided that soaking up some sun along Lake Ontario was just the ticket!

But first I had to get there.

I’d taken my kids to the Bluffs a long time ago, and I basically remember how to get there.  I mean, it’s on the lake, so how can you miss it, right?  Well, one cannot just drive long the coast of Lake Ontario.  There are too many bays and inlets and not enough “straight” coastline roads.  The key is to know when to go north off route 104.

According to the internet (which I checked before leaving because I’d not been able to find the place the last two times I went out there), I was supposed to go along 104 E until I came to County Road 254, then turn left and go to the Lake.  That sounds easy, right?  Ha!  It would have been if there had been a SIGN that marked County Road 254!!  I was nearly at Oswego before I had to pull out the old GPS to have it tell me to backtrack for a good half hour!  And get this…the road is marked Route 414, not 254.  The GPS called it 254.  The internet called it 254.  The folks who made the signs call it 414.

That is a real 315-er.

But at least I finally made it! Bluffs 6

The sun was hot, so I decided to begin my trek along the coastline, and then make my way back along the top of the bluffs.

The water was much warmer than I expected.  The lake is usually pretty cold, even at this time of year.  It felt good to have the waves sloshing up over my feet as I walked along.

Bluffs 7

This was the view of the bluffs from where I entered the beach and began my hike.  They seem a long way off…it was about a mile to get to them.

Bluffs 8

I saw a lot of interesting driftwood along the way.

Bluffs 9

Some spots was just a little TOO much driftwood for my taste.  It made the going a little tougher.

Bluffs 10I am finally getting closer to the bluffs…

Let me tell you, I am going to have to bronze these $5.00 water shoes I bought this summer!  They have been on all my hikes, especially those involving creeks, lakes, and oceans!  I have two more big treks before I go back to work and they have to last.  I plan to hit Watkins Glen and San Diego in the next two weeks, so stay tuned!

Here are a few good shots of the bluffs from the beach:

Bluffs 4 Bluffs 3 Bluffs 2 Bluffs 1

The terrain certainly looks different from yesterday’s walk!

This is my attempt at being “artsy” before hauling myself up to the top of the bluffs to hike along the edge:

Bluffs 11I shot this through a fallen tree (complete with me laying on the rocks to get the bluffs through the “window”).  You can see the richness of the color of the rocks…all the reds and blues.

Bluffs 5And this was from along the top of the ridge.

I certainly have been enjoying Following My Bliss this summer…I wish it didn’t have to end in order to go back to work!  But I have had the opportunity to recharge my batteries (and it’s not like I haven’t been working in the summer…I just didn’t write about that…).  Along with continuing with my exercise routines, I have worked hard on my fitness.  I feel MUCH stronger than I have in…well, since I can’t remember!  No smoking, eating healthier, working out, and cardio via hiking!  All that with some gorgeous scenery and awesome memories that I DID IT!

Yippee!  😀

Following My Bliss: Barnes Creek Falls

Published August 11, 2013 by Susan Woodward

I woke up this morning with the decision to go for a waterfall hike already made up in my mind.   It wasn’t even like, “What shall I do today?”… it was already a given that I was going to seek a new waterfall somewhere!  So I picked up my phone and went to my All Trails Hiking App and decided to hit Barnes Creek Falls near Canandaigua Lake.

fallsWhen I first found the park, I wasn’t sure there’s even BE a waterfall based on the condition of the creek.  It was merely a trickle and didn’t seem to be enough water to have come from a waterfall of any sort.  I thought it was all dried up and would be nothing but a rock bed, and I nearly turned around to seek another place to hike.  Considering I’d driven nearly an hour to get there, I decided to keep moving forward and hope for the best.

I am so glad that I did!  Although it wasn’t a “raging” falls, there was enough water coming down to make it pretty and even refreshing to wade in the pool at the bottom.

What most caught my eye was the yellow rope that someone had attached to a tree to aid in climbing up the falls.  Hmmm….did I dare to try it?  In spite of what this picture looks like, it actually was a pretty steep ascent.  I worried a bit about my elbow (tendonitis which has not yet healed), but I figured that since I’d bothered to drive out there, I was going to try anyway.  There happened to be a family that had also followed the trickle to find the waterfall, so the Dad was there to dial 911 in the event I fell!  He agreed to keep his cell phone handy till I was either safely at the top or had safely returned to the pool.

I was surprised to find that climbing with the rope didn’t hurt my arm; that was a good sign to keep going.  Once I got past where the rope ended, I had to continue on the rock formations that kind of looked like steps…I whipped out my camera to snap a picture from where I was at the end of my rope (ha! ha!) to mark how high I’d climbed so far.  I kept falls 4going up the “steps,” but I didn’t realize how steep they were until my water shoes started slipping on the rocks while I was climbing.  I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to continue upwards (there was nothing to hold onto and I was leery about the lack of traction on my shoes).

That’s when I looked down.

Not a good move.

Looking downThat’s when I froze for a bit.  You can see from looking at the rocks how smooth they are, and even though I wasn’t going to fall from a height akin to Niagara Falls, those rocks could have done some serious damage if I wasn’t careful.

I just told myself that I’d managed to climb up there, so I could get down, too.  I had to find my footholds carefully because the more nervous I got, the slipperier the rocks seemed to become.   When I finally got back to the rope, I was so happy!  It made me feel secure, and I cannot believe how much I was able to lean out away from the rock wall when I was climbing using that rope.   I felt my aerial experiences helping me out at that time!!  🙂  Thanks, Will D’Ovidio!

falls 3

This was my view once I finally got back to the safety of the pool!

Canadaigua Lake

As I exited from the creek bed and began my ascent up the hills nearby, this was a view of Canandaigua Lake.   One of my goals is to visit the wineries throughout the Finger Lakes and do some sampling on a wine tour!  That is bliss for another day!

Lookout point

I continued along the upper trails above the creek and falls… this is one of the lookout posts.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike, and I am so glad that I woke up with that in mind!  🙂




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