The price of no vacations

I have not been ‘inspired’ to write anything these last many months as they have been tumultuous and heartbreaking; a fractured nose complete with concussion, the passing of my father (leaving me an orphan), my 9 year relationship dissolved, and facing the holidays for the first time without parents.

It is time to heal, push forward and grasp the limited time I have here – so no more sadness, time for the vacation updates….

It is no surprise to any one who knows me that I love to travel. I am proud to say that I am not a ‘tourist’ but rather a ‘traveler’ blending in with the locals as best I can by researching the area and culture, food and fun. The latest and greatest was a 10-day Christmas extravaGANZA to Paris with Goose.

We had both been to Paris before, me with my parents just out of high school and she with her high school french class, but this trip together was amazing.


We did hit the hot spots, Eiffel Tower (where we had our Christmas dinner complete with an out of this world bottle of Champagne! Merry Christmas to us!) Arc d’Triumph, and Notre Dame (where I lost my phone on the bus and had to spend half the afternoon tracking it down and explaining that the case that holds the phone says “don’t touch my phone” could be considered ironic…let’s ask Alanis…)


The Louvre was a bit disappointing as it was overcrowded with pushy souvenir sales people. They are hard to ignore and completely take away from the magic that surrounded us. We also walked to the Moulin Rouge – did not attend a performance as there was much more interesting things to do, see, and eat!


YUM – Charcuterie at Le Chat Noir – made a meal of it! and dessert oh my!


Have to get the selfies in – in front of Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame.      

Simply an amazing trip to add to the collection of travels and adventures we have had together… and always more to come, much more.

So to get to the title of this post – the price of no vacations — it is the stolen memories… the laughs, the adventures, the awkward conversations in broken languages, the bond created during the fantastic experience… this is the price of no vacations because it never happened.

Free the Mead

meadery bottle

Goose and I went to a wine tasting today and we both fell in love with Mead.

Now, if you are a virgin to mead as she and I were, you may be asking yourself, what the hell is mead? So let me give you the quick version: it is fermented honey and water and many times fruit or spices will be added for different tastes. It doesn’t actually taste like honey at all really, at least I did not get any of that sweet very distinctive flavor.

Mead is known to be the world’s oldest alcohol libation as far back as 3000 BC (as stated in a few articles).

1634 Meadery in Ipswich MA had several flavors but the one I enjoyed most had the raspberries infused. The women representing the company were top notched; knowledgeable and friendly (I most definitely cannot say that about all the companies represented!)

So now Goose and I have to make another road trip to Ipswich; for more fried clams, the wolf sanctuary, and a tour/tasting of their other flavors. This will be an all day event I am sure!  Because, really…. who doesn’t want to be a Viking for a little while.

meadry viking

Fool me once, shame on you Vineyard… fool me twice…..

Little colored houses in the Vineyard

Little colored houses in the Vineyard

It is not often I give someone or something a second chance; I am damn good at reading people and places. But Martha’s Vineyard – wow you got me!   MV – 2, Me – 0.

The first time was an overnight get away with the ‘man’ as the MV high season was coming to a close. They could not get us off the island fast enough. Plenty happy to take our money, but actually expect the hostess to greet us with a ‘Hello’ at the restaurant, well that was just too much to ask apparently.

We even took the bus tour where the guide pointed out every wall of bushes and trees and what high profile celebrity had their home behind it, which could not be seen, but their have a fantastic landscaper. The bus rolled up into a parking lot for a potty break and my guy leans over and says, hey look it David Letterman. No Iie. A small fact that eluded the guide which goes to support the theory they are just not that interested in having you visit. That was about 6 years ago.

Friends tell me I did not give the island a fair chance, that there is so much to do I just HAVE to go back. Well Goose had never been so why not change up the company AND the time of year.

Only for the fact that she was with me did I have a good time –  but that being said, I could be tied up in an abandon warehouse bathroom, lying on the tile floor with a crazy ass clown on a tricycle who ‘wants to play a game’ and laugh my ass off.

Me and Goose on the high waves of Nantucket Sound

Me and Goose on the high waves of Nantucket Sound

Goose you are a life saver! Martha’s Vineyard… I fart in your general direction. The.End.

Looking to build a birch bark canoe? Who isn’t?

photo by VictoriaG.

photo by VictoriaG.

If I said it once, I said it a million times…. If left to my own devices 300 years ago, I would have easily starved to death and eventually froze to death if I actually did survive.  Who am I kidding, I have the tools constantly surrounding me and still wouldn’t think to slice bread.

To look back as see how people not only lived but thrived and created something from nothing blows me away! Take this small carved sculpture for instance.

One Man's Flute... photo by VictoriaG

One Man’s Flute… photo by VictoriaG

First, I wouldn’t have a sharp object to create it with – that goes without saying even though I actually said it…  I would be just banging rocks together in hopes it would take some sort of shape. But the Mayan and Aztec people (as did other cultures) carved this piece of clay into a shape (animal, diety, etc.) and made a musical instrument. Seriously? Overachiever!

It is called an Ocarina (some of the pieces on display date back over 4,000 years ago!), and it is a type of flute if you will. Depending on where, how many, and the shapes(s) of the hole(s) or slits, would determine the sound, which then would determine in what context it would played. Example: Some ocarinas were made for a parade-type atmosphere and gave the sharp shrill of what we would today call a police-whistle. Others were a soft, mid to low hoot, almost like wind blowing through wooden tubular wind chimes or a lonely call of a bird, simply relaxing you into a trance. We could have sat listening to him play for hours.

Photo by VictoriaG

Ocarinas – Photo by VictoriaG



We watched a YouTube Video displayed at the Harvard Museum of History, the Latin American scholar José Cuellar played different ocarinas and explain their sounds and beauty. If you search for “breathing life into an ancient instrument” you will see it and others videos that he has made on the subject.

Before we move on, let me ask. Who the heck was on the archaeological dig that found these small clay pieces and decided it was a good idea to blow into them to see if it was a musical instrument? My first guess would have been a nifty little remembrance knick-knack for the one room home; musical instrument, not so much. But I digress.

Moving onto the Native American wing, we find more mind blowing creativity: building a canoe from white birch trees. We are not going to do the bare bones version of carving a canoe from one (hopefully) large tree trunk. These particular natives went full out and pieced them together, soaking and bending the ribs where needed. Again, remember I am barely surviving on the berries I have picked praying they won’t poison me and along comes some smarty-panties native throwing together a mini cruise ship to travel downstream. (sense some jealousy here?!)

how to build a canoe

Lastly, (only for this writing as I was not able to completely view the museum) we leave you with the ledger drawings of the Native Americans. Left not only on cave walls, teepees, and clothing, the Native Americans achieved something the Europeans did not; action drawings. They were even creative enough to show the ‘before and after’ in their photos in way to communicate the actual event. The one major historic lesson I learned from this section – Native Americans, at this juncture in time, had no written language; it was completely verbal (mind blown). No poetry, no stories to read in bed, no sending a letter to the next tribe asking for an extra cup of ground corn at their earliest convenience, nothing. Think how often you write (or these days, type) something down in order to remind yourself (a grocery list, on a calendar, who is picking up the kids and when…etc.) Our trip to the museum was two weeks ago and the simple statement of not having a written language sent me to dig deeper in my own tiny brain and try to understand that way of life. Let’s not get me started on their beautiful regard for life, their songs layered with notes hitting peaks and valleys, their simplicity and the value they gave everything and everyone around them….

Native American Ledger Art

Native American Ledger Art

Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and species


Come near my babies and get bitten! Try me you little brat! Where the hell are YOUR parents!?

Another adventurous outing for Goose and me – to the Zoo! Not just any zoo mind you, the one we would visit year after year when she was growing up (by now we should get a freebie); Roger Williams Zoo in Providence RI.

Whenever we get together we narrate the situation between us and then laugh our butts off.

I am waiting for my audience

I am waiting for my audience


It’s about time humans! NOW I can show off!

We have always loved it there for it size, variety of species from around the world, cleanliness, and allowing families and children of all backgrounds to visit by keeping the price very affordable.

In the past the zoo seemed to grow just a little every year adding more exhibits and upgrading those that were already there. The petting zoo is now a walk-in type where children can pet, feed and groom the mini goats. Walk through Africa, South America, and different parts of Asia.  We even took advantage of the few volunteer booths that informed us of elephant poop, their teeth and how they grow and the anteater’s claws and snout – sometimes the little things are so interesting!

I have to be honest, we originally went to the booth because the women behind the tables were alone and looked as though they thought no one was interested in what they had to say. Well, we made sure to bring them some ‘business’ staying and asking questions until other visitors saw there was something going on, and well, our job was done.


Flossing time


What the hell is grass doing in the air??

Victoria's Hungry


 Always an adventure, always a great time, always enjoying our time together as mother/daughter, best friends, and partners-in-crime.

It’s All About the Latitude


All About Latitude

It occurred to us on this particular trip that we may travel to Montreal more than we think, as the border guard asked, “are you bringing any gifts to family members?” (we had never been asked that one before…). That being said, this was the first time we had the chance to stop and take the latitude photo.

It never ceases to amaze me that the midpoint between the North Pole and equator was only a mile outside the Canadian border. Good thing this is was not a question on a game show for a million dollars, I would have easily said someplace around Virginia (currently breaking out the map…) I mean come on, I cannot be the only person that is surprised by this information (help me out dear readers!)


The actual mission of this trip had two motives: two days of rest and relaxation and to find and devour at least two of the the 30 flavors of poutine at La Banquise – both were completed I am very happy to say.

We are poutine obsessed and proud of it. With fierce determination, we walked the 45 minutes and with rationalizing the calories that we had burned off, we ordered drinks too (we were parched don’t judge..)

So many poutine combinations…. so little time…. we will be back… sooner than later…

Food Porn (that's what the kids call it, rights?)

Food Porn (?)

Food Porn (that's what the kids call it, rights?)

Food Porn (that’s what the kids call it, right?)

Without knowing the actual definition of ‘food porn’ I will take a stab and say it is when we see food that is so orgasmic we drool just by looking at it in a very Homer-Simpson-drooling sort of way.

Several years ago I made my first trip to Montreal with Goose by my side and sitting at an outdoor café, I ordered what sounded so delicious I wonder why it isn’t more popular…

French-fries (yes please and keep them coming), braised short ribs (melt in your mouth with the perfect seasoning), drizzled in the short rib gravy and topped with curds. Yes the Little Miss Muffet curds sans whey. *Side note: curds are a by-product when producing cheese. This blog is so educational, right?!

For the rest of my trip, and every time I go to Montreal or Quebec City, I have daily poutine intake.

This has put me on a quest to find a similarly fantastic tasting poutine in the States. When it is on the menu I order it to see how close they get. Typically I find they are drowning in gravy and lacking the meat or they use a very bland curd.

Now although this picture does not relate to a visual food porn, you have to believe me when I say, it tasted that good. Even more surprisingly I found it at a chain restaurant! Now let’s not get crazy, it wasn’t nearly as good as what I find in Canada but it was close.

And the search shall continue!

Goldie Locks, Get the hell out of my bed!

Who's booze was left behind on the window sill of my hotel room?

Who’s booze was left behind on the window sill of my hotel room?

Words you just don’t want to utter while on a getaway.

Here is the story: I planned a three-day ski getaway using LivingSocial. I had not had any issues with them thus far, but this was my first time using them for a ‘getaway’.

My first mistake: I throughout one of my own most important rules: due extensive online research through several different websites for every possible customer review -a mistake I will never make again.

I am by no means a high maintenance person when it comes to travelling. I am one of those types of people that does not want to spend money on the room when the only time I am there is to sleep. That being said, I do require that I am safe, have electricity and hot water, and the room is clean. Pretty simple really.

I started to question my choice when upon arrival found the parking lot (and pathway leading up to the stairs) was just a thick sheet of ice that had not been sanded or salted.

Entering the lobby my nose refused to do its part; take in oxygen. One small inhale of the mold, mildew and stench would compromise an otherwise healthy ability to smell.

The room itself had the potential to smell just as bad (I wouldn’t no I was still mouth-breathing at this point), the connecting room had a peep hole looking into my room (um….), the lamp had a shade missing (now THAT’s a party!), and the bed and pillows looked like someone just rolled out of it (no I cannot say if the bed was actually still warm, I refused to touch it).

So no. No I will not be staying in your establishment because I require oxygen and a clean environment. I didn’t even bother to ask for another room for it was clear that there were not be a suitable place in all of the building.

We packed up (I was more than happy to relinquish the full prepaid cost of the two night stay) and moved next door to another hotel. One that was clean, allowed me to breath, and I did not have to wake Goldie Locks from her slumber in order to sleep in a bed.