Brain Brawn & Body
Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.
Spring always makes me think of France, and specifically Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverny. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Paris twice and take a day trip to Giverny both times. One visit was in the month of May and the second was in June. The gardens were glorious both times.
In the spring months including May, you will find the garden blooming with amazing flowers. Beautifully arranged are daffodils, tulips, poppies, cherry and crabapple trees, wallflowers and pansies, fritillaries, irises and so many more.
My sister, the world traveler and scuba diver, shared one of her favorite dive trips so I could share it with you. On the other side of the world in between China and Australia lies Indonesia. The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago containing more than 13,000 islands. On the way to their scuba diving trip in Wakatobi, they first stopped on the island of Bali.
Their experience in Bali was a very spiritual and peaceful one. They stayed in the southern part of the island called South Kuta because it was near the airport. Dubbed the Detroit of Indonesia , it was crowded, dirty and didn’t make them feel safe.
This holiday season you may find yourself traveling near or far. Whichever it is for you, travel safely. Try to put aside any family discontent and enjoy each other. Be positive, kind and compassionate.
Some of the stories I’ve heard over the last month have saddened me…a man dying unexpectedly at the age of 47; a young mother in our school district passing away. She was only 40. Then yet this week, I heard of another person dying who was only 30. Life is short, so live it with gusto.
There are some of us who love words. Vicarious is one of my favorites. “Living vicariously” allows one to experience things through others without having the experience firsthand. In this case it is witnessing the amazing hippopotamus in Africa.
With her husband, my sister recently took one of her bucket list trips. She went on an African safari. Prior to the trip, she received a new camera with an amazing lens and took photography classes to enhance her picture taking skills. What she did next was wonderful.
With photo sharing on Facebook, friends and family can stay up to date on trips and photos. My sister took over 600 pictures each day on her safari, then each night she would edit them and post her favorites for family members to enjoy. We took a virtual safari with her, thus, experiencing the safari vicariously.
We have been looking forward to this vacation all summer. I always wanted to take a vacation right at the end of summer and have one last big hurrah before the children start school. Then our memories would be fresh, we’d be rested and happy to start the school year. So, this was the vacation!
For some reason, my daughter thinks it is fun(?) to get up super early and go to the airport. That is just what we had to do for our great fare deal out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Myrtle Beach. It’s also nice to have friends who will pick us up at 4:00am to get us to the airport in time. I guess if one is trying to get as much fun out of a day as possible, this combination of my daughter’s excitement and the energy of our kind friend is a great way to start.
You may think I am being facetious. I guess it depends on your ability. There is the Joy of Cooking, the Joy of Baking, the Joy of Painting, but the Joy of Golfing? Much to my surprise, there is a website titled thejoyofgolfing.com. I actually love golfing. I am a moderately skilled golfer, although the golf instructor at my local course thinks I bought the lifetime lesson membership! You are here for lessons again?! Let me tell you why I am serious in my belief that there is much joy in golfing.
I know of groups of men who live for early Saturday morning golf, our own editor Eric Von included. They thrill for the long drives, sinking the putts and in some cases, enjoying a stogie in their carts. They enjoy getting away, relaxing and testing their skills. This is great “guy time”.
2,400 miles. 6 tanks of gas. $4.19 a gallon. $157 round trip. These were the numbers I worked with as we debated to drive or fly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had been there a few years ago with some dear friends. We stayed only one night, but loved the ocean and the area. I have always wanted to return, so this year we hoped we could.
If we drove the 2,400 miles from Milwaukee to Myrtle Beach, it would be take about 6 tanks of gas costing about $75 each fill-up for a grand total of approximately $450. It would also take about 2 days and 19 hours of driving. My son would have his license, so there would be three drivers, but the thought of spending that much time in the car didn’t thrill me.
I hope you know I am talking about the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Maui. Both are beautiful places to visit and are a part of the eight major Hawaiian Islands. A friend recently asked me where I recommended she go on her upcoming vacation to Hawaii. Here is what I told her as well as the advice from another frequent Hawaii traveler.
Fortunately for my travel enjoyment, my sister lives in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. She has been there for 6 years and I have had the opportunity to visit three times. Going to a vacation spot multiple times gives you a certain level of comfort and familiarity. While I am, by no means, an expert on the island, I certainly did develop a fondness for certain beaches, restaurants and locales.
We had many plans and ideas for spring break – visit my sister in Hawaii, go to Mall of America, fly to Mexico and stay at an all-inclusive. In the end, we vacationed at home to allow us to be available for practice for my son’s high school tennis team.
If you think about it, there is usually a good reason why you chose to live in the area you do. How often do you take advantage of all that your city has to offer? A few years ago, we visited a dear friend in Durham, North Carolina. Before we arrived, we had researched the top 10 things to do in Durham. Our friends who lived in Durham had not done them either, so he felt compelled to make sure we crossed out every item on that list before we left. It was fun for us, and it showed our friends some things in their own city that they had neglected. That seems to be the case with many of us.
As soon as the plane landed on the tarmac, I had the most comforting feeling. I felt like I was home! My relatives have always claimed Swiss heritage, but on one Ellis Island document, a person with my relative’s name claimed to be French, but living in Switzerland. Maybe I was French after all, and that explained my comfort and excitement in being back in France and Paris, my favorite city.
Paris, the “city of love,” is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. With its bright lights, great dining, and rich history, Paris is definitely an exciting city. The air feels different there, the energy is different, like it is in many European cities. I am happy just walking the streets and mingling with native Parisians and street vendors. No matter what your interests are, you can fall in love with Paris too!
Paris represents culture, fashion and high class. But it also represents a way of living that has a lot of merit. People buy their food fresh each day to cook that night. They value the importance of family and friends. They work hard and they play hard. They go on vacation (holiday) religiously. I still find it amazing that in the height of summer, when the warm weather should bring the most customers for their delicious ice cream, Berthillon, my favorite ice cream store, closes shop for the month of August.
After 6 long hours of driving from Milwaukee, we pulled into downtown Detroit as the sun was setting. We circled the ice skating pond in the center of the city and passed the Hard Rock Café on the way to our hotel. The Westin Book Cadillac proved to be a nice choice as it was only three blocks from the Cobo Center – the location of the North American International Auto Show.
The Detroit Auto Show is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world. New car launches, concept cars and displays of the automakers vehicles fill up the convention center. Up to two months of design and build go into creating the perfect exhibit for each of the cars on display.
Some of this year’s interesting displays were: the newly designed Corvette Stingray - mounted on a wall looked fast standing still. The auto show is just the place you'd expect to find the world's fastest man's car - Usain Bolt’s Nissan GT-R was spinning behind a roped section. The fabulous Lincoln MKZ glistened in its glass enclosure. The displays were eye-catching, impressive and fun.