Ocean City!

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Shortly after my mom died, one of my close friends of 10 years suggested a road trip and vacation for the two of us.  It culminated into a multi-day trip to Ocean City, Maryland.  I’d never been personally and my friend hadn’t been in several years.  Long story short, we made our 4 hour drive to Ocean City on Tuesday and came back Thursday in better spirits and well rested (and with better tans?)  We’re both fair skinned so it’s burn and tan or stay pale.

Since my friend had to go into work for a brief period, we left in the early part of the afternoon on Tuesday.  Along the way my friend introduced me to the Hamilton soundtrack which I have since bought/downloaded.  We won’t discuss its presence in my head or how often I’ve listened to several songs.

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We stayed at the Sea Bay Hotel and it was definitely a great choice!  We were able to walk to the beach from it and there’s a cafe inside which really came in handy since there was no formal breakfast place.  Everyone was so friendly and welcoming too.  Since we got in late and only had a snack for lunch, we went out for dinner at Shenanigans.    We poked around a few shops along the boardwalk and found a nice bookstore and shell themed shop.

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We hit the beach early Wednesday morning and stayed for a long time.  I’m sorry to say I haven’t been to the beach in six years at Perdido Key in Florida.  It was lovely to catch some sun, waves and get in some reading.

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For dinner we went to Ropewalk and it was a fantastic choice.  The salmon I had, along with the rice pilaf and green beans were fantastic.  If/when I go back to Ocean City, I’ll definitely go back.  They also have a gorgeous view of the ocean (see top photo of this post).  Afterwards we went to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and explored the Boardwalk.

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Going to a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I’ve always had a huge interest in the strange, unusual and paranormal.  Suffice to say, I have a staggering collection of books on the subject.  That said, growing up my parents had NO interest in him and even with friends very few held an interest, so I was ecstatic when my friend said she wanted to go as well.

(A structure made of camel bone and Egyptian relics or relics)

(Vampire killing kit, Captain America made of car parts and an Iron Maiden)

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On our way out Thursday morning, we made a pit stop at Fractured Prune.  My friend snagged some donuts for her husband and we are our strawberry and lemonade donuts too fast to get around to taking pictures (it was 11am and we’d only had coffee and water).

We made one last stop before coming back to Virginia in the town of Berlin, Maryland.  It was named best small town in the United States back in 2014 and I can see why.  The town center is cute and it has a natural charm to it.  It’s population of over 4,000 is the same as my small hometown, but this one has much more to offer.  If given in the chance, it’d be a great town to do a cheap/laid back overnight in.

 

Have you had any trips to the beach this year?

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June: An Ending and Beginning

June has been streaming along quickly on my end between end of the year duties and the excitement of summer vacation.  Thankfully things are rounding up on the school end of things, though it still feels that there’s a lot to get done by next Tuesday. Once my progress reports get some small edits (most were perfect!) and grades get done, I can focus on cleaning out my classroom.  I’ve already started the process, but I still have a ways to go!

As I make my way through things, I’ve finally gotten the chance to plan out more Summer activities (mostly booking hotels).  Still ironing out the details on two trips and making a list of some day trips to take!

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I got to engage in what I consider the starting point of my summer travels this weekend!  I went to an out of state CD release show (metal) with one of my best friends.  Sadly my phone died during the concert, but it was a fun show and I got to chat with some cool people.  Later that morning (!!) I traveled with my cousins to Appomattox. As you can see from the picture, it was a gorgeous day to go!

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Next weekend is Awesome Con (I’m meeting Stan Lee!!)  at Awesome Con.  I’ve been wanting to go for a few years since its pretty close and I’m finally fulfilling that want.  David Tennant, John Barrowman and others will be there too.  I met Tennant two years ago and I’m tempted to meet Barrowman as well (at the very least, I’ll go to their panels).

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(swag from Toomanygames last year)

The following weekend will be spent at Too Many Games.  This will be my third year going to it.  I’m looking forward to playing ‘too many games’, going to some panels of you tubers I follow and interacting with a great community of gamers.

Amongst the fun, exciting things I have planned, I’m looking forward to having some days of quiet and time spent with friends.  This year has easily been the most difficult year of my life due to losing my mother and  I’m looking forward to some much needed rest and happy times ahead.  Hopefully once work ends, I can cast aside the stress, anxiety, sadness and despair the first half of the year has given me.

Approaching the End

Waking up, I check the time on my phone.  I would be late to work if I woke up this late, even though the sun has barely been up.  A sense of relief washes over too as I realize that tomorrow is a day off from work.  In 23 days, at 12:30pm, I will be free until late August from work demands.  In that time there are 15 work days remaining (1 of which is a workday and two are half-days counting the last day).  It’s the end of the year, crunch time and I’m certainly counting down the time until what has been my most challenging year of teaching.

I didn’t anticipate the volume of paperwork required for the end of the year.  Progress reports (I’m a SPED teacher) and grades were things I knew and anticipated in advance.  However, I didn’t anticipate student yearly summaries, awards, checkout logs and my own paperwork to turn in before checking out.  The good thing is many things are due 2 weeks before the end of the year, with the last things due four days before.  I’ve turned in some early, but there’ll be many late nights for the other things!

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Lesson plans have been thinning out since I’ve covered most of what needed to be done in advance.  Since grades stop a week and a half before the end of the year, I plan on reviewing concepts and introducing activities and subjects students are interested in.  Once I turn in my paperwork, things should be smooth sailing, at last!

With the end near, I’m also getting into heavy planing territory with my summer plans.  I haven’t had a ‘free’ summer, without work on classes since…ever?  High school?  Do teen years even count? I have plenty of things mapped out during my months of wandering (and paid, woo!)  Planning said travels does make for a good reinforcer for completing end of the year work!

2017: The Year of Adventure

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The morning of January 1, 2017 started being in the presence of friends.  2016 seems to have been a rough year for many, myself included.  The emergence of 2017 didn’t mean an end to the strife that existed in 2016, but it did represent a new chapter, a new chance to try and make things better.

The travel bug proved stronger than my fatigue, as I was running on 5 hours of sleep.  I gave into it and drove down the interstate with no sure destination in mind.  Ultimately, I pulled over and mapped out a beach.  Sandy Point, located in Maryland was the one that popped up first.  Making my way through DC, I made it to my destination and was walking on the beach with other beach-goers before 11am.

From there, I journeyed to a nearby local coffee shop around Kent Island before heading back in time to meet up with friends for board games. In that time, I was contacted for an interview as a voice actor for a video game. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time (I have 12 years of theater experience and have only stopped it since leaving college). Update: I got it!

As I traveled, I was reminded of my big goal for the year, adventure.  I’m going into 2017 with a plan for more adventures. Given the prep/research and purchases I’ve made so far towards long distance travel I think I’m on the right course.  I’ve already volunteered out of state once (as of this writing) and if this month is setting the tone for the year, it really will be a year of adventure!  Below are my goals 15 Adventure goals for 2017

 

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1.Go hiking.

With several trails around me, this is something I just need to plan a day to do…once it gets warmer!

2. Visit at least one abandoned place

I have a huge obsession with abandoned places.  I went to an abandoned mental hospital two years ago and had some interesting things happen.  I’d love to do it again!

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3. Travel to 3 states I’ve never been to before

I’m planning on taking a road trip through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois this spring or summer, which will quickly knock this goal out.  I’m hoping to do a fall New England trip  which will add 1-2 more states covered on my travel map.

4.Visit museums

There’s a couple in Vermont and Connecticut I’d like to check out (just not the one with the Annabelle doll).  Living outside of DC, I’ll also have ample opportunity to see those as well!

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5. Attend at least 2 conventions

Generally I go to 2-3 conventions a year.  Last year I ended up going to 3, a tie for the 3 I did in 2015.  I generally have fun at them, but I’m staying clear of Wizard World based on my bad experiences at Philadelphia last year and some other issues from past cons.  Toomanygames is definitely going to be one (3rd year!)

6. Galloping Ghost

It’s in Illinois and it boasts around 500 arcade machines.  You bet I’m checking it out!

7. Visit a friend in Indiana

Three years ago one of my friends in Indiana came to visit me and another friend in Virginia.  It’s time to return the favor!

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8. Go to California

I’m trying to decide when to go (either as soon as school is out for the summer or in April).  It’ll also be my first west coast trip!

9) Volunteer for Heifer International

One of my favorite organizations and I’ve already signed up to volunteer in the spring and during the summer!

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10) Visit an abandoned theme park/location

I have a *small* obsession with abandoned places and there’s a crazy amount located in the United States.  Some that I want to check out are actually open periodically, despite being *abandoned* and I hope to pay those a visit.

11) Go abroad

Despite my love of other countries and cultures, desire to travel and what not, I haven’t been outside the United States.  I’m planning to change that come summer with a trip to the United Kingdom.  Currently my biggest debate is whether to do a group trip or look at cheaper alternatives.

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12) Restaurants and Coffee shops

When my friends visit or vice versa, we often make it a goal to check out new restaurants or coffee shops. I set a goal of 20 new restaurants & coffee shops a year and often exceed that.  I can’t be the only coffee lover who doesn’t love going to a new town and checking out the *best* local coffee shop?

13) Road Trip

There’s something about hopping in my car to go someplace, over an hour away at least, that I find exhilarating.  I plan on taking a week long road trip sometime this year (knocking out a few other adventure goals on this list) and can’t wait!

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14) Fly on an airplane

Embarrassingly, I have yet to fly in an airplane (or anything for that matter).  This is definitely a must do for me if I plan on going to California and the United Kingdom this year.  The great thing is I live near a major airport!  The bad thing is I’m very nervous about flying, but the anxiety is dimming as it becomes more of a reality I’ll face.

15) Attend more festivals, events

There’s a ton near me (living outside of DC/in the Northern Virginia area) and I’m hoping to attend more than the measly 2-3 I attended last year.

 

 

What are your adventure goals for 2017?