T is for Travel

Skagway, Alaska Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Skagway, Alaska
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

On a regular basis, I’m happiest at home, but I do like to travel to break me out of the rut.  I like doing new things and seeing new places.  I feel like it wakes my brain up and makes me more creative.  When I go somewhere, I try to immerse myself in the experience, which can be difficult for me, as my default setting is, “Please don’t talk to me.”

It’s not that I hate people; it’s just that I mostly prefer my own company.  I like to read and I like to make up stories about people.  When people do inevitably talk to me (I have no idea why; I’m told I appear standoffish), I do enjoy hearing their stories.

My favorite thing about traveling is to see new scenery.  I love landscapes and skies, trees and water.  I love taking pictures of beautiful places, interesting buildings, and things that are broken and decaying.  I love pictures of animals and paths.    I love to look around at everything.  I know I look like a tourist, but I don’t care.

Travel takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.  I remember the first time I went to Arizona to visit, I was enamored with how huge the sky way.  There was just so much of it, stretching in every direction.  Before going there, I never knew you could see so much sky at one time.  After 7 years of seeing it, I became numb to it.  I no longer looked up in wonder every time I went outside.  But then I traveled to Texas, and there were trees!  Everywhere!  I had grown up in Pennsylvania, so trees weren’t new to me, but after 7 years of no trees, they were new and exciting again.  My eyes had missed the green.

Travel helps me to appreciate what I have, and to enjoy different things.  While I admire people who do lots of traveling or do exciting things like backpack through Europe, it’s not for me.  After a week being somewhere else, I’m ready to come home.  Like Dorothy, I believe there’s no place like home.

Operation Noah’s Ark Complete

My new yard!

My new yard!  Very green…

Sorry for the lack of updates for almost a week.  As some of you know, I completed my move from Arizona to Texas this weekend.  My stuff moved out and into my new house two weeks ago (I’ve been camping in my living room) and this weekend, we moved the last of the things and the animals out.

We have six cats and two dogs, so the only logical and practical way to transport them is by vehicle.  So, we rented a minivan and I drove my Golf, and we took two days to drive  1,008 miles.  I had the two dogs and one cat, and the husband had the other 5 cats plus my plants.  Driving is not my favorite thing, as I consider it to be boring, so there were times on the very loooooooooong drive that I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  I thought I would just pull over to the side of the road and refuse to go any further.

Because we’re brilliant and organized, we didn’t leave until 5p.m. on Sunday.  We got to our hotel around 2 a.m.  Of course, because we got in late, we didn’t leave until late on Monday (noon), and got to our new home around 2 a.m. again!  Needless to say, between sleep deprivation, time changes, and a very long drive, I’m still tired and adjusting.  It’s going to take lots of coffee and naps before I’m back to normal (please note that I’m referring to my “normal,” not “normal normal”).

Last time we moved, the cats seemed traumatized, hiding and acting weird for weeks.  This time around, everyone is exploring, jumping on boxes, and generally having a great time.  Attitude makes a difference, even in cats!  We bought the dogs a tennis ball launcher yesterday, so they, of course, are perfectly fine.

Wish me luck unpacking!

Locks of Love

photo credit: Travels with Two

photo credit: Travels with Two

In Paris, there are two bridges that people put locks on.  They write their name and the name of their beloved, lock it onto the bridge, then throw the key in the Seine.  It’s a sweet way to declare your love for someone, and a pretty cool photo.

Since the first person carved their initials into a tree, people always find ways to declare their love.  At least it’s more romantic than writing on a bathroom wall!

Goodbye 2012! A Year in Pictures…

2012 wasn’t a bad year, but it certainly wasn’t the best year I’ve even had.  Even numbered years seem to be less successful for me, and odd numbered years seem to be a little better.  I’m excited for 2013.


In 2012, I finally got my yard done and started a garden…


I went to the Renaissance Fair, and saw a really great rainbow.


I went to a counseling conference in San Francisco, walked around, and got some great pictures.


I did quite a bit of hiking. I love the desert!


We drove to Payson to watch the solar eclipse. It was a lot of fun.


More hiking. I impressed myself with this picture.


I grew some really big cucumbers.


I learned to shoot.


We had some phenomenal lightning storms.


I went home to PA and visited family.


We got rained out of camping, and went to Jerome for the weekend instead.


… and I got a couple of great kaleidoscopes.


We painted our bathroom and hallway.


We painted our loft…


And I started a major project, repainting and updating some cabinets.


All in all, it’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to an even better 2013. Happy New Year, everyone… Stay safe!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

Hello, and welcome to today’s weekly photo challenge.  I wanted to do something really cool for this one, but I just didn’t come up with anything I liked.  So, I’m posting an old picture.  My friend and I went to Vegas in August 2010 and were fooling around with perspective style photos in the Bellagio.  They have a really awesome indoor garden with large bugs, garden trowels, etc.  Here’s one of our foolin’ around pics.

Ring of Fire Eclipse

Last night, my husband and I made the journey to Northern Arizona, to Meteor Crater in Winslow Arizona, to see the Ring of Fire Eclipse.  University of Arizona students were there, selling special glasses to watch the eclipse.  Really, they were polarized sunglasses so dark that when you put them on, you couldn’t see anything at all until you looked at the sun.  It was really cool.  I’ve been around for other eclipses, but never really looked at one before, and it wasn’t what I expected.

I expected a bit more drama, thought it would get dark as the moon blocked the sun, but that didn’t happen.  The moon and sun passed one another as the sun set, and if I hadn’t had on my special glasses, I wouldn’t have known anything at all happened.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I’m glad we made the trip.  Here’s probably my best photo of the actual eclipse, taken with my camera through my sunglasses.

This photo was taken without a filter, pointed into the sun.  As you can see, it doesn’t look like anything is happening.











If you’re interested in the complete photo collection of my adventures, you can take a look at my Facebook page, Doree Weller, as I’ll be importing them there.  Last but not least, if you want to see some good pictures of the eclipse, click this link and it will take you to a news page about the event.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Staying Home

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’m a homebody; I admit it.  I’m perfectly content to sit in my back yard or curl up on my couch and read a book.  I leave the loud clubs and the smoky rooms to other people.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out, but it always seems so much louder out in the big bad world.

I like new experiences.  I like to say I’ll try almost anything once.  The problem is that it doesn’t occur to me to seek out new experiences.  If I hear about something I’d like to try, I file it away in my brain under “To do.”  Sometimes I get around to it, sometimes not.

For the next two days, I’m going to be at a military culture training.  We’re going to be “immersed” in military culture for 32 hours.  Can I learn what it’s like to be in the military in 32 hours.  Um, no.  All I expect is a tiny taste of what those in the military experience.  I can pretty much guarantee that no one’s going to shoot at me and that nothing’s going to blow up.  At least, I hope not.

As someone in the human service field and as a writer, I think this experience is going to be invaluable.  I almost didn’t go.  I’m giving up two of my days off in order to go to a training, and I’d rather stay home.  As a person and as a writer, I try to push myself out of my comfort zone, because that’s how I learn.  As the time to start my training approaches, I’m both excited and resigned.  I’d still rather stay home for the next two days, but when I’m done with the training, I expect to have some new stories, new ideas, and a little more life experience.  That’s worth exchanging for two days of my weekend.