I was here

Commute: Autumn colors at BWI

As I was returning to BWI, I grabbed my phone to get a shot of the autumn colors of the trees below.    Unfortunately, I forgot to turn my phone sideways to get a better video, but you can still see the trees/colors.



Communication: NaNoWriMo 2016

So…..here comes another challenge that I just can’t pass up another year.  Every year I hear about NaNoWriMo and think I should join this challenge and give it a shot.  But I never sign up.

This time I have signed up for NaNoWriMo.

So what is it?

NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge for people who want to write a book/novel in 30 days. National Novel Writing Month.  They do it every November.  You write at least 1,667 words every day to get to 50,000 words for the month, which is the number of words for a novel.

50,000 words in a month??? Seems ridiculous, right?  Like, who can really do that, I’m thinking to myself?  Well, people have been doing it for years.  But from what I’ve read/seen online, they use this time to get the first draft done and edit later.  Ok, I can deal with that.  Just get the thoughts down first and edit later.   Like I said, I’ve always wanted to do it but the task seems daunting and I usually write it off as an impossibility.  But something tells me to just give this a try this year.

I wish I’d prepared for it before now, however.  I have only had it on my mind for about a week so I am not prepared for this at all.  But I still want to give it a try because I know once I start writing, I can keep going for awhile……like when I start talking.  Might not say much to a stranger, but once I know you, I’ll start talking.

Anyone want to join me?  You should do it.  I think everyone has a book in them that they should write.  Check out NaNoWriMo.org and join the site.  You can find a group in your area.  I found one that had a kickoff party on Saturday and I enjoyed meeting other writers who are about to take this challenge with me.  The comraderie was great!

They also have write-ins where people get together to write for a couple of hours each evening if it’s too distracting at your house.  I might attend the one in Columbia a couple of times, to meet people and for support but I think I would do better writing at home because of the noise of my fingers on the keys of my laptop.  Once I start typing and get on a good roll, I don’t really pay attention to the noise I’m making and someone’s mentioned that to me at work once too.  I’m like that gif of the cat furiously typing at the computer if you’re ever seen that on twitter.  So I may need to stay home to write. Ha ha.

My main goal is to just write daily for a month. Always trying to challenge myself I guess.  I don’t plan to write it all here on this blog, however, only in Microsoft Word on my laptop.   Whatever I come away with by Nov. 30th will be further ahead that what I have on Nov. 1st.  And then I can go back and edit it at a leisurely pace, which will probably take me until November 2017.  🙂



Oh and in case you haven’t seen the cat typing, copy this in your browser.  Cracks me up every time.

Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Communication: Journal Prompt 113

What did you learn from a recent challenge?

The last challenge that I set for myself were two things for the month of August.

One was the Veda challenge that I did back in April.  I was all excited to start it for August but the unplanned cruise happened on July 30th and I didn’t return until August 4th.  So i didn’t have a video to post on August 1-4.  I did post on the 5th I think and got caught up over that weekend.  I went until the 10th.  Then I was preparing for my great nieces to visit.  Went to Pittsburgh to pick them up on that Saturday and we left to come back on Sunday afternoon.  Well, that was the plan.   It was a LONG trip back to Maryland.  It’s so different when I travel alone versus with someone.  Although, lately, I don’t know that I can say it was that.  That 4hr drive seems to take about 5.5 hrs now.  Many more bathroom stops for me, plus the kids having to go at different times.  Unprepared with not having my own food so had to stop for food for the three of us.  Just a longer trip than planned.  The weather was bad before we left so I decided to stay overnight in a hotel in Pgh and get some sleep.  We left about 5am the next morning and was back home in Maryland about 10am, which was great for us to have the rest of the day.

Anyway….back on topic…..during the whole time I had the great nieces, I got a few clips here and there, but I had not talked to my nieces to see if it was ok to show their kids in a video so I didn’t post a video with their kids.  I would want someone to check with me first if they were my kids.

Other than having the kids here all week, I didn’t really feel like I had any content to record for a video.  I surely didn’t have quiet time to record myself answering the prompts, and even by the time I had quiet time, it was so late that I had ZERO energy.  Those kids tire me out each time they visit, but it’s fun to have them here.  Trying to keep them from tearing up everything is another story.

So I failed at Veda this month because I haven’t recorded a video since August. 10th for Veda.  Today is the 22nd.  I don’t even feel like recording another video at this point.  I have nothing really to talk about so I’m done with that for this month.  I have ideas in my head of what I would like to do, but actually doing it……hasn’t happened.

The other challenge I had for myself this month was a blogging challenge to post a new post every day for the first seven days of August.  I didn’t even post a single post.  MAJOR FAIL.  It’s hard for me to concentrate and focus on writing when my life train is so far off the tracks.  I’m dealing with a couple of different medical issues and it’s consuming my brain until I get to the other side of this.  So I haven’t been able to really write.  I know from past writing courses, they say even if you can’t find something to write about, write that.  Anything to get your mind juices flowing.  So I just opened my laptop and wrote the post titled Standstill.  That’s exactly how it was that day.

But now it seems like I am at a standstill with my writing/blogging, my vlogging, my life in general, my health, my finances, my career, my relationships, JUST EVERYTHING!

The frustration is enormous and the anxiety is off the charts.

So both challenges….FAILED.    I hate that because when I challenged myself at the beginning, I knew that I could get them both done with planning and organization.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I knew I had it in me to get them both done.

I had such high hopes at the beginning of July for August.  Then by the time the end of July came, the train came off the tracks.  I let other people disrupt my plans and I hate that I let that happen.  Totally my own fault.

I learned I can’t afford to let it happen again.

No matter the challenge, I don’t like the feeling of failure, at all.  Failure is not something that I am used to and don’t ever want to be.



Communication: Journal Prompt 112

List as many things as you can think of in your favorite color.



autumn leaves

red/orange/yellow icing for cookies/cake

a favorite sweater






Communication: Standstill

Seems I am at a standstill with my writing.

I am no longer interested in the daily prompt because I feel like I need to write something more personal, substantial than what I’ve been writing.  I may only need to take some time to review the prompts to see if anything interests me again.

But having/taking/making the time to write like I want to isn’t something that I can do in one day when my head is in all the problems of my life right now.   I need uninterrupted time and I need other things to be done/taken care of in my life before I feel free enough to write.  It’s a miracle that I’m even doing this post now but I feel as though I should explain to my handful of readers why I haven’t been posting.

I was supposed to do a writing challenge for the first week of August.  Yet, here we are in the second week of August and I haven’t even written the first post of the challenge.

I need to get to the bottom of what is keeping me from writing.


Commute: Cruise #9 is in the books

Well, another cruise has been completed.  This makes my 9th cruise since 2000.  However this one was not planned by me.    But, I tell you, it pays to be ready for the spontaneity of life.  My passport was current and nearby.

A friend called less than two weeks before the sail date and asked if I could take a vacated spot, and I was ready!   Being single and childfree allowed this last minute trip to happen.  No husband to “check with”, and no kids to find babysitters for, so I was free to pack my suitcases.

This trip was on Royal Caribbean’s ship Grandeur of the Seas.  It was a five night cruise and we sailed from Baltimore to Bermuda.  I’d been to Bermuda before so I had the chance to return to Horseshoe Bay Beach with its pink sand.  Not quite as pink as the sand on a beach I went to in Hawaii, but it was a close second.  I like Horseshoe Bay Beach and whenever I’m in Bermuda, I will go there again.

We had quite a bit of rain one morning, but it cleared up and the weather was fine after that.

I finally figured out how to do panoramic photos with this latest camera.  The first few tries from a trip to Pittsburgh, I struggled with the timing but I got it right this time, so I do have a couple of those pics at the end of this video/slideshow.

Cruise #10 is coming up in a couple of months, but for 2017, I’m going to try something different for vacation/traveling.

Here are some photos from this cruise.

Communication: Journal Prompt 111 – Free and Available

What things in life do you think should be free and available to everyone?

Jobs, because everyone needs to be able to work and make their own money to do what they need and want to do.

Education, because having to pay student loans for 10 years is just ridiculous.  Or people not being able to go to college, again, is just ridiculous.

Healthcare, because the cost of getting healthy is ridiculous.

Assistance with certain things, like the law, because again, the cost of being represented in a legal case is ridiculous.


Communication: Journal Prompt 110 – Perfect Meal

In detail, tell me about what your perfect meal would be like.
>Main Course

Where would you be?


I’m such a plain (non-adventurous) eater that I would be totally satisfied with a simple meat and potatoes meal.

Barbecue ribs (or salmon),  mashed potatoes (or sweet potato), wheat bread.  I’m good.   That’s what I order when I go to Longhorn’s.

The mashed potatoes taste like the ones my mother used to make.  Love ’em.




Communication: Journal Prompt – 109 – First Job

Tell me about your first job. What did you do? How much were you paid? Who did you work with? What were they like? Did you have to wear a uniform?
If you haven’t had a job yet, write a list of ‘first jobs’ you would like and why?


My very first job was as a server.   I’m pretty sure it was just minimum wage that I was making.  I worked with other teenagers and a supervisor.  They all were cool.  We did not have to wear a uniform.

There was a summer lunch program available during  the summer for the kids in the public housing neighborhood.  We had to clean and setup the room everyday before the kids arrived, then again after they left.  We also had to wait for that white refrigerated truck that delivered the boxed meals for the kids. Everyone got excited when the white refrigerated truck showed up.  I think I used to feel the same way when the Good Humor truck showed up with the ice cream.  Once we were ready, the kids arrived at a certain time each day for lunch and we served them, and made sure every kid received a meal to eat that day.

It was an easy summer job but we got to help the kids.  I was 16 years old.  I was excited just to be able to buy my own school clothes that summer because it helped Mom from having to buy school clothes for all three kids.

Communication: Journal Prompt 107 – Languages

What other language(s) would you like to learn and why? Now go and find out how to say the following in one of the languages:

“Hello my name is (blank). I am (blank) years old. I live in (blank) with (blank) and I enjoy (blank), (blank), and (blank). Some of my favorite foods are (blank).”

Now introduce yourself to your journal in your new language. Action: This week, take one step towards learning your language of choice.


I mentioned this in another post already…

Italian–already started lessons, want to finish and visit Italy again and be able to understand the locals.

French–had classes years ago.  Need a refresher.

Spanish–had classes years ago.  Second language in the US, need to know how to communicate with Spanish-speaking people.

Chinese–since they pretty much run things commercially in the world, need to know how to communicate with them.  I think it would help in commerce and economics, which was my major 100 years ago.


Italian translation, thanks to Google Translator. 🙂

“Ciao il mio nome è Annie. Sono 51 anni. Io vivo in America. Mi piace la cottura, la fotografia, la scrittura e viaggiare. Alcuni dei miei cibi preferiti sono patate e cheeseburger”

French translation:

“Bonjour mon nom est Annie. Je suis âgé de 51 ans. Je vis en Amérique. J’apprécie la cuisson, la photographie, l’écriture et les voyages. Certains de mes aliments préférés sont les pommes de terre et cheeseburgers”

Spanish translation:

“Hola mi nombre es Annie. Tengo 51 años. Vivo en los Estados Unidos. Me gusta hornear, la fotografía, la escritura y los viajes. Algunos de mis comidas favoritas son las patatas y hamburguesas”

Chinese translation:


“Nǐ hǎo, wǒ jiào ānnī, wǒ 51 suì. Wǒ zhù zài měiguó. Wǒ xǐhuān hōngbèi, shèyǐng, xiězuò hé lǚxíng. Wǒ de yīxiē zuì xǐhuān de shíwù shì tǔdòu hé gānlào”