May 8 at 12:45pm · College Park, GA · TSA took great interest and swabbed by balls.... juggling balls
My "Sabbatical" Starting Off in Rare Form
I had booked a room at the Best Western Plus that was pretty much equidistant to beach and the river. I was thinking that would place me strategically in a place where I would have the access to both. It was also much cheaper than either of the locations.
And for good reason...
Rather than getting the best of both worlds, I was stuck in a no-man's-land that could have been anywhere in the country.
All of the best chain restaurants were within walking distance; as was a Walmart and several auto parts stores. But I did have a rental car, so I was able to escape rather easily.
I ended up at King Neptune, a few times a bar/restaurant near the beach which had a good mix of locals and tourists, as well as a friendly bartender, Sara, who managed to remember my name, that it was spelled without an "h" and my drink within a couple of visits.
I also bought a really cheap bike from Walmart and locked it to the fence at the car rental place for the time I had a car. I might add the reasons why the bike was so incredibly cheap. It's front wheel was bent out of shape. So much so, that I had to disengage the front brake to keep it from grinding to a halt anytime I stopped pedaling. 70% of a bikes braking power is in the front brake, which meant I was now riding on a very heavy bike with a fairly heavy person with very little ability to stop quickly.
I was fine with this at the time because, "A"- I was going to be riding along the beach so I wouldn't need to come to a quick stop very often and "B" I was going to get it fixed or buy a new front tire so it wouldn't be an issue.
The problem with this was that neither A or B ended up happening.
I drove down to the beach on what would be the perfect day for it, sunny, warm but not too hot.
Lots of cars and traffic but I managed to find a spot and then hiked over to the beach.
As I was walking along the beach with my pant legs rolled up so I could feel the as much ocean as possible, it dawned on me.
I don't like the typical beach scene.
I hate lying out and I burn to a crisp in five minutes anyways.
I don't particularly care for sand and the nuisance of cleaning it off of everything.
But I do love the ocean. I love swimming in it. I love to listen to the waves crash. I like it's incredible power and how it makes me feel so humbled.
I like to swim out as far as I can, so I don't see the shore or any other person and then just hang out, floating on my back sometimes or treading water and enjoying being part of nature. Also knowing how very far back the shore is and how tired I'll be once I get to the part where I might be struggling against a current or rip tide.
But I hadn't brought my swimming trunks so I would have to be content just walking for a bit.
While I still had a car I decided to drive down to the aquarium and check it out.
It was rather odd that the interior of the aquarium looked much like the one back in LA and the one up in Oregon. I think they were all designed and built by the same contractor. The only difference were a couple tanks that were replicas of the local coastal waters.
I drove into "historic" Wilmington and took a stroll. It felt very touristy and new. And not very interesting, but I didn't know my way around by any stretch of the imagination. I saw a sign for a museum of oddities next to a "Serpentarium" a zoo for snakes, so to speak.
Snake, Rattle and Roll
Serpentdipity or Not
Cape Fear Serpentarium owner Larry Dean Ripa murdered, wife arrested
I woke up to find all the clownfish in the tank dead. I was completely freaked out. It shouldn't have come as a big surprise as I had not properly prepared the tanks for them and the aquarium store expert had told me that they probably wouldn't make it. Skye had kept them "quarantined" for several days in a tiny temporary aquarium that also was "new" and an unlikely place for them to survive.
But survive they did, so I thought they would flourish in the tank upstairs that was almost ready.
I was wrong.
Pardon the pun.
Tank in Skye's room is empty expect of course for snails and live rock.
"Clownfish" tank in our bedroom; also empty besides snails and live rock.
Jellyfish tank downstairs; jellies are thriving.
Seahorse tank;we lost one starfish and one seahorse; otherwise starfish and seahorse are doing well
Imelda and Me
My trail name that I earned on one of our hikes on the Appalachian Trail is Imelda. I unfortunately came up with it myself and it stuck; even though you aren't technically supposed to come up with your own trail name. But this one was a keeper and my hiking buddies weren't going to let it go.
I had brought boots and a couple of other shoes to test out and decide which ones I would end up wearing. Ironically, I wore the same shoes the entire time.
My running shoes with very little cushioning or support.
Their time has finally and unfortunately come to an end.
Of course when I went to reorder them, I found out they no longer make that model and try as I might on eBay and Amazon, I could not find the shoe anywhere. So I finally gave up and ordered a different model in the same size from the same company.
And it didn't fit.
So now I'm trying out a new shoe.
Only time will tell.
Speaking About Reorders
I had sworn off running. I never really loved running. I did it to keep in shape. I liked having the capacity to be able to finish a marathon. I did enjoy running on the beach, not so practical in Atlanta. I also enjoyed trail running which is great in Atlanta, but it's at least a 30 minute drive to get to my favorite spots;not always possible or convenient.
But when my "burner" friend and organizer of the Burning Man 50K, Cherie posted about race entries for the next Ultra at Burning Man, who was I to refuse.
Then, I figured as long as I was going to start training again, I might as well try to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year and went ahead and signed up for a couple of "easy" marathons that might earn me a spot.
Searching to Sea
For a variety of reasons, the past several months have been quite challenging. To say that I'm going through a mid -life crisis would be putting it mildly. I am struggling with so many issues right now, ranging from my mental and physical health, to my career, attempting to find peace with living in Atlanta i.e. being land-locked. etc. etc.
Bouncing Down to New Orleans
I love New Orleans. From the first time I ever set foot there on a family vacation in my teens, I have felt an affinity with that place. But like Las Vegas, my birth-city, I sometimes fall for the Bacchanalian delights.
I ended up hanging out at one of my favorite dive bars in the country, Aunt Tiki's. The name comes from the fact that the owner has an antique shop around the corner which I was shopping at for a movie I was working on at the time , which is how I came to learn about Aunt Tiki's. I also found a couple more favorite dive bars.
Harry's Corner Bar
I wandered in here because it was across the street from where we were staying. And what wonderful discovery.
The bartender's take no prisoners and laissez faire attitude was refreshing. He poured me a vodka on the rocks that was more than generous. I became a "regular" within a couple of visits and my drink was poured almost as soon as sat down.
Another gem I stumbled upon. I had a great talk with the bartender about NOLA real estate; Cindy and I have been very much considering buying there for years now. Also you can't beat the $5 beer and a shot special.
One of the reasons I decided to trek down to New Orleans was because Cindy and I were once again in the market for real estate. What we've come to realize is that we didn't like being landlords the last time we had a "rental" property and that it would be risky financially as well emotionally to buy a property in NOLA. So at the very least, that was something we came to a final decision with my "escape".
I decided to take a train because I loved the romance of it.
I splurged and got a "room" in the sleeper car. It was after all an 11 and a half hour trip. It was hard to get to sleep. It was cramped and being a tall as I am I didn't really fit on the bed, but it was a lot better than only having a seat in a fixed position.
I really enjoyed the nostalgia of not rushing travel. And realizing that travel by train was the best way to go for a very long time. It made me think about how our country was shaped very much by the railroad system.
And after a couple of hours I wish that I had taken a plane. I would have already been home. But no, I still had another 9 hours of nostalgic musing to endure.
Home Sweet Home
Finally back to Atlanta.....
The train was delayed for a few hours. A few hours while Cindy patiently waited. I could see the downtown Atlanta skyline but we were stopped dead on the tracks, literally.
We eventually got moving and I was back home with my family and our wonderful menagerie of scorpion, sea horses, clown fish and of course rubber duckies.
I ordered a couple of ostrich eggs because....
It seemed like the thing to do at the time.
Once they arrived however, I realized that eating 2 dozen eggs at on sitting was not going to happen with our little family of three.
They are a great deal of fun when camping with a group when you have a lot of hungry appreciative mouths to feed.
I decided then to try hard boiling it.
It took a couple of hours but in the end. It was a success. I ended up making deviled eggs. Cindy took them into work where her crew had a nice snack.
I'm a Good Cleaner
One of my first jobs was working for a cleaning company, Maids Are Us, I think was the name of the company. They mainly did residential. We would go in teams ranging from 2-4 and do a thorough cleaning of a house that took a few hours.
After just a couple of weeks, management asked me I i would mind working solo. I had now problem with that as I was typically doing the lion's share of the work anyway.
Then the told me that what they wanted for me to do was to deal with their "unsatisfied" customers. The one's who didn't think the first team's work was what they were paying for.
And every house I did was happy and remained a customer after I had cleaned the place.
So it was this attention to detail and "deep-clean" mentality that I approached cleaning our apartment.
There is a big difference cleaning someone else's house and one's own.
You don't think about reorganizing some one else's stuff. You pick an item up, clean the surface beneath it, give it a little polish, set it down and move on.
You don't get sentimental about some else's keepsakes and family photos.
You don't worry about the condition of houseplants or ripeness of fruit in the fruit bowl.
The "deep clean" took days and I didn't make it upstairs.
April 30 at 2:22pm · Atlanta, GA · And the silliness continues; some how as I was reclined on the couch with my "laptop" balancing on my lap(which was inverted so maybe it's no longer considered a lap) computer falls from its precarious balance point and the edge cracks me across the bridge of my nose; very painful; and have had headaches off and on since it happened several hours ago; coming on the heels of a concussion a month or so back; got to get back to something safer like kick-boxing or jujitsu
Jon Danniells is an adventurer and traveler, a teacher and student, a husband and a father, a cook and a farmer, a "week-end warrior" (very amateur athlete) and has not earned any money on these labors of love.When I googled myself what showed up first was my IMDB listing, which is basically a resume for my 20 and then some year career in film, for which I fortunately do get paid.