"Wherever you go, it becomes a part of you..." ocicat's Profile

On The Road Again...

No major trips planned for '13. Instead we will be doing many small day trips to local areas we've never visited.

Into My Fabulous 50th Year

Two years ago I posted a blog about the 50 things I would like to do before I turned 50… I did 14 of them.

Those things I accomplished are:

Learn to make jewelry chain
Won a photography contest
Wrote a child's book for the babies
Traveled to Shiloh National Battlefield
Raise my own vegetables
Make a compost pile
Come up with my own hamburger
Create my own cheese cake
Create my own pasta salad
Create a signature dish
Came up with my own potato salad recipe
Learned to make sushi
Do an acceptable water color painting
Own a Clan Hanna tartan shawl

And I am well on my way on these two:

Read the Bible all the way thru--

I bought a “Bible on CD” set and I am listening to it. I love having it for my long drives up to Missouri… that’s 4 hours of listening! In fact, there have been a whole lot of changes in my relationship with God… in a very good way.

Get organized--

I have made great progress with this one. Enough that I know it will really and truly happen. I’m almost done with decluttering and organizing my shed; even as it holds things moved from my hobby room/office as I remodel it. So I have two “works-in-progress” happening and it all looks a bit chaotic right now. It’s all good!

Only finishing 14 of 50 could have been a sad thing. Could have, except for the fact that along the way I learned to finally throw my lists to the wind and accept all the incredible things the Lord has blessed me with. And those things came to a number far higher than 50!

Learned to make cheese
Learned to make a blown glass float
Took a series of mixed media classes
Put in a large herb garden
Completely remodeled a room in our house (hall bathroom)
Learned to felt
Learned to make wire wrap jewelry
Learned to make stamped jewelry
Learned to do wheel pottery
Gone to a "sea glass beach"

I became a DOTING Auntie (as opposed to just ‘being an aunt’ which actually would be something my sister did! I was already an aunt when I wrote my list. I never dreamed what those two little people would do to me. Those babies OWN me…and I love it!)

AND I did one thing that I had said in that blog was “Of course there are the ‘dream’ things – travel to Scotland,… I know those are not realistic.”

I went to Scotland!!

And that brought some many experiences I had never dreamed I would do:

Purchased a length of hand-woven Harris Tweed from its weaver
Visited the land of my Scottish ancestors: Colonsay Island and Sorbie Tower, Galloway
Traveled thru the Highlands
Been 'monster hunting' at Loch Ness
Take a falconry course
Handled a Bald Eagle
Have eaten haggis and black pudding.
Have eaten REAL fish & chips.
Photographed a wild Red Stag.
Rode on a steam train.
Rode on a double-decker bus
Rode in an old fashioned 'cabbie' taxi
Slept in a lighthouse
Slept in a castle
Slept in a converted church
Stayed a week in a private beachside cottage
Driven on the 'wrong side of the road'
Walked the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Been on the "Falkirk Wheel"
Had a picnic on a beach
Walked thru ancient standing stones (the Callanish Stones on Lewis)
Eaten at a world famous restaurant (Three Chimneys)

So that is my 50 Before 50 list. Two-thirds of it never even crossed my mind two years ago. It’s been a great journey with so much learned. I’ve learned to learn what to let go and what to keep close to me.

I’ve learned that you have to realize “Prince Charming” isn’t real but you can still “live happily ever after”. It’s not a fairy godmother’s magic wand that makes it happen; it is a lot of hard work and commitment… especially when you are tired of working hard and keeping the commitment.

I’ve learned to cut myself a break and realize I don’t have the strength or stamina of my 25 year old self. But give extra time and a few assisting tools, I can do everything I’ve ever been able to do. I just have to do it smarter.

So I’ve started my ‘Fabulous Fiftieth Year’… and I already know it’s going to be a great one!

(And there are things on that old list I still want to accomplish!)

Places to Go!!!

In the USA:

1. Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, ME
2. Grand Teton National Park, WY
3. Yellowstone, WY
4. Glacier Bay, AK
5. UN Headquarters, NYC
6. Kauai, HI
7. Pacific Coast Highway
8. Niagria Falls
9. Boston, MA
10. Chincoteague Island for pony penning
11. Saguaro National Park
12. Upper Pensulia, MI
13. Great Dismal Swamp, VA & NC
14. New England in the autumn
15. Wycliff mounds, KY
16. Sanibel Island, FL
17. Mackinac Island, MI - DONE!
18. Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO
19. Golden Spike National Historic Site, UT
20. Mount St. Helen's, WA -- DONE!!
21. Erie Canel, NY (barge ride)
22. Taos, NM
23. Hanna, WY
24. San Diego, CA
25. Zion National Park


1. Australian Outback
2. St. Petersburg, Russia
3. Thru the Panama Canal - DONE
4. Galapagos Islands
5. Scottish Highlands - DONE
6. Pyramids of Giza
7. Athens, Greece
8. Tuscany region of Italy
9. Great Wall of China
10. Cuba
11. Viet Nam
12. Prague
13. Southern Spain
14. Angkor Wat
15. Petra, Jordan
16. Jerusalem, Israel
17. Galloway region of Scotland - DONE
18. Sahara
19. Antarctica
20. Prague
21. Peru
22. The Sistine Chapel
23. The top of the Sydney Harbor bridge
24. Mt Kilimanjaro - before the snows melt
25. Morocco


States I have NOT visited:
1. Connecticut
2. Delaware
3. Hawai'i
4. Idaho
5. Louisiana
6. Maine
7. Massachusetts
8. Montana
9. Nebraska
10. New Hampshire
11. Oklahoma
12. Oregon
13. Rhode Island
14. Utah
15. Vermont
16. West Virginia

High Points

1. NC - Mt. Mitchell (4X) - 6684'
2. TN - Clingman's Dome - 6643'
3. MO - Taum Sauk - 1772'
4. GA - Brasstown Bald - 4784'
5. AR - Mt. Magazine - 2753'
6. IA - Hawkeye Point - 1670'
7. ND - White Butte - 3506'
8. IL - Charles Mound - 1235'
9. IN - Hoosier Hill - 1257'
10. OH - Campbell Hill - 1549'


Unique Stops...

Under construction

Debre Zeit, Ethiopia

Ethiopia trip 14 - 30 July 2003

My dear friend Belaynesh and I. She was teaching me how to do the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. That beautiful dress I have on was a gift from her. She made it by hand!


Those who travel...

There are the "sight seers". The "see 16 countries in 2 weeks" tours were made just for them. They've been there, done that. Have the T-shirt and post cards to prove it. You can spot them by their loud voices, bad attitudes and constant critical remarks.

Then there are the "tourist". They have come to see something in particular and have made preparations by studying up on what that is. There is appreciation for a culture different than their own. You spot them on local tours (one hosted within the area) and in the historic areas, and they are usually are a fairly happy lot. They bring home objects that remind them of the place they saw.

Finally there are the "travelers". They come to be a part of the culture - to know it from its peoples, its history, its food, its everyday life. They learn a bit about the base history of the area (to be able to hold a conversation with someone they hope to meet) but they keep their mind open to what can be taught by a person they meet. You usually DON'T spot them as they blend in with the locals or at least look like they belong there. They bring home gifts given to them by the people they have met and shared with (and to whom they have brought gifts for - because they *knew* they were going to meet someone fascinating on the trip).

Now in my 40s, my life list is about me. It's things I want to experience. Things I want to become part of my soul.

There's a quote I've heard that has embedded itself in me "But do you know what the Sistine Chapel smells like?" I don't know what the Sistine Chapel smells like (yet) but I do know the smell of an African savannah and have seen lions living free. I have stood in the spray of Yosemite Falls and felt the vibrations it causes. I know the dead and hopeless feeling of a town who has seen too much hate and killing. I have ran my hands along the wall of a place I was taught to fear when growing up (the Kremlin Wall, Moscow Russia) while standing beside my Russian friend. I have tasted Navajo fry bread, made just for me inside a hogan in Monument Valley.

These are all part of me now. And I want more. So much more...


  • Intro Updated Feb 24, 2013
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Comments (41)

  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Hope your birthday is filled with all the fun you can handle!

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Happy Biirthday TJ. I hope you have a great day followed by a wonderful, joy-filled year.

  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Happy Birthday

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Happy Birthday TJ. You're far braver than I. When we visited Scotland, I could not bring myself to try haggis. Loved the country and its people though. Hope you have a wonderful day today and many Happy Travels planned for your coming year.

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Happy Birthday TJ! Hope your "Friday the 13th" birthday is wonderful and very very lucky for you!

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Happy Birthday TJ. Looking at your "50 by 50", I'd like to know how you "Get fit" whilst coming up with your own cheesecake. If you can do it, post it; you will become instantly famous. With me it would be the cheesecake. LOL Have a wonderful birthday and many Happy Travels.

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    TJ, Happy Birthday greetings from Holland. PJ

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    I enjoyed your home page.

  • Agraichen's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    You must add New Hampshire and Vermont to your travel list. Wonderful weather and color in the fall.

  • Dec 31, 2008 at 7:49 AM

    What fun to read your blog. I am leaving with a smile on my face!

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“A person is not old until regrets replace dreams.”

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