“How not to Get Off a Platform” [Another Short Video]

Okay, this one is hilarious!!! This was the very last challenge after all the grueling, arm-hurting, body-hanging, log-hugging challenges that we did. Stepping off a platform.

I would like to believe that I am an adrenaline junkie, a daredevil in a not so crazy way. But this one tops the cake. Memories of jumping off a 30 ft cliff into a pool of water in the Philippines come rushing to my mind. I was paralyzed with fear, literally. Someone almost pushed me off the ledge because it took me, I think, about 15 minutes before I jumped. Everyone was looking at me, either cheering me on to jump or telling me it’s okay if I don’t. But I did jump for the life of me to save my reputation.

Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Unlike the Philippines, this time, as you can see, I didn’t jump voluntarily. Many thanks to the brave soul who dared “push” me. Without him, I would probably be still up there debating with myself internally. Hehe.

Pushing yourself to your limits, thinking outside your box and challenging your body to what it can do always has this feel good effect on me. No matter how tired or hungry or angry I am.

I did finish the trail, YAY!!!

“How To Walk Through a Rope Loop and Look Graceful Doing it” [A Short Video]

So this is part two of my “adventure” blog. I had to email my best friend in Connecticut to send me the video that she took of me being pushed off the platform. Little did I know (and remember) that there was another video she took of me while high up doing the rope loops. I don’t know what they are technically called, rope loops sounded descriptive enough. This was on a more difficult trail, not THE most difficult one, but, as you can see, it was such a huge challenge! Do I make it look easy enough like I was floating on air? HAHA! Go ahead and try it.

The video itself, is raw and unedited, as I do not have the video editing skills, yet. I do not know if I will have the patience to learn it as I just found out that I cannot upload videos directly to wordpress without buying extra video space. And I am not yet ready to do that. I am enjoying my FREE wordpress account right now. To be able to upload these videos, I had to go to YouTube, open an account and upload them there first before I can even post it here. Whew! That just goes to show how technically-challenged I am! LOL!!!

Anyway, enjoy the video! You can laugh at me too, I’d really like that.

 

 

 

Up, Up in the Trees: The Adventure Park Experience

Fun and exciting things happen when you have three bottles of wine and three ladies plotting over the dinner table as to what to do the following day….

The masterminds

Hangover or not, the next morning, we woke up bright and early to bring the whole herd to this adventure place at Bridgeport, Connecticut (This was when I was doing travel nursing earlier this year). The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum is a park for the outdoor lovers and the thrill seekers. The minute I walked into its entrance, saw all the tall trees surrounding me with the wires and the ropes, I knew I would love this place!

I’ve had experience zip lining before in the Philippines on what was reputed to be Asia’s longest dual zip line at 840 meters with an elevation of 4500 feet above sea level. Throw in all the figures for added bragging rights! Now, that was something else. You felt like Superman for a few exhilarating minutes.

Whizzing past tree tops at Dahilayan Adventure Park in the Philippines
Whizzing past tree tops at Dahilayan Adventure Park in the Philippines

So when my friend mentioned going zip lining here I thought it was just literally nothing but zip lines. But, no, I was wrong. It was more than that. This place is also an aerial ropes course where platforms are built up in the trees and interconnected by bridges or cables in varying designs and heights. It definitely is not for the faint of heart.

After registering, we were given harnesses and gloves and then proceeded to the briefing area. The 15 minute or so orientation showed you how to work your carabineers which was a little tricky at first because I had to get used to twisting and turning them this way and that to lock and unlock. You need to be really sure you do it the right way because this is what is holding you and keeping you from falling 10-20 feet off the ground!

By then, the place was already packed with kids of all ages. No fears, no worries. All excited to climb and fly through the trees. I do not have a fear of heights. In fact, I love being way up high and seeing everything down below me from a different perspective. But this time, I had my concerns. Once you are on the main platform, you chose a trail based on its level of difficulty, from beginner to advanced, much like skiing, with different colors to mark them. And then you are on your own. The staff are all scattered through out the park and can verbally guide and support you from down below while you are up there having trouble navigating or completing a particular challenge. I’m sure they can go up too and help you if you get stuck somewhere.

mmexport1400525650863

Of course, we tried the easiest first as a warm up and then proceeded to the next level. This time, with more balancing skills and upper body strength needed. It doesn’t help if all of you are giggling while hanging on to a trapeze trying to swing to get to the platform across. However which way you do it, as long as you get it done.

mmexport1400525660815

mmexport1400525718101

We eventually eased our way to the second most difficult trail. This was also our last one for the day. No, I refused to do the double black trail because just the previous trails alone proved to be such a physical challenge! I had such poor upper body and arm strength that by that time, I was already exhausted. I wished there were more zip lines.

mmexport1400525681330
This is EASY!
mmexport1400525690844
This one is NOT. By far, the hardest for me.
mmexport1400525701295
Like a giant spider web

In the end, we all had an amazing day. I ended the challenge by being pushed off a platform! Regardless, it was a “necessary evil.” I don’t have a lot of pictures because I didn’t bring my camera along and I left my cell phone on purpose because I didn’t want to be distracted when I was up high in the trees. Thank you to my wonderful friends who provided me with the photos! And thank you guys for this adrenaline pumping experience. This definitely won’t be my last.

mmexport1400431369225

PS: The next day I had so many bruises on my arms to prove that I had such a grand time!

Cranbury Park in Spring: A Photo Essay

The weather was just right and the sun was out today so I decided to go hiking. Time to step out of the house and enjoy the sun and the breeze. I need this exercise. Not just for my physical well being but for my spiritual, mental and emotional health as well. Being with nature always soothes my soul and calms my frazzled nerves. I brought my big camera along too so that I can practice on my photography. Here is a collection of shots from my two hour nature walk.

Image
Gallaher mansion from the back
Image
I could sit for hours here
Image
I could be wrong but from the quick google search that I did, this appears to be a flowering pear tree
Image
Up close practicing on my bokeh
Image
So nice to see not that many people this time
Image
A hole in the tree
Image
Lonely bench
Image
There is just something about white picket fences that make for good photo subjects
Image
A playground sits to the left (unseen here) with a few moms and their kids hanging out
Image
The historic Gallaher Mansion completed in 1931 is a classic example of the Tudor revival style of architecture
Image
Discovered this cottage hidden amongst these yellow bushy flowers
Image
Forsythia blooms
Image
The rest of the park looked bleak and dreary
Image
No greens for these trees yet
Image
So why did they have to vandalize this tree?
Image
Lichen on a fallen trunk
Image
This trail stretches for 1.3 miles
Image
Stone fence
Image
The big rock in the park where I stopped to rest, drink and take a selfie
Image
The long and winding trail that I took
Image
Interesting what you can notice up close
Image
Pretty little yellow weed flowers
Image
The Tea House
Image
More bokeh
Image
No idea what these red flowers are
Image
The formal garden

Image

 

Birthday Blues

My birthday fell on a Saturday this year which made it quite convenient for us. Weekends are always almost easier to manage. And to top it off, I got lucky too that I was off for that weekend considering that I am new to the unit and the work schedule was already finalized without me having any say as to which days I work and don’t work.

I wasn’t really looking forward to this day. Most birthdays you get all hyped up and excited. Not that I’m a party person either because I rarely throw parties (the last one was last year when my parents came over to the US for a visit). I would much rather celebrate it quietly in a nice quaint restaurant or go some place new I haven’t been before. Because it will be my 40th, I have requested for a surprise trip from the hubby months before. He said he will take care of it and just to make sure I get my days off. So that I did. Little did we know that our lives will be changed in just a few months after that conversation. Funny how life has a way of dealing our cards. Suffice it to say, because of this travel nursing assignment that I took which drastically changed both our lives, my dreams of flying away to some unknown land and celebrating my birthday with foreign locals has fizzled. That was a major downer. However, looking at the bright side of things, I get three days off! Plan B to the rescue!

So hubby came on a Friday afternoon. He had only two days to spare. After much internal debate, a part of me wanted to just sulk and stay put and the other part wanted to go out and do something, I finally decided to go to this local spa resort. For one, the idea of a good massage always perks me up. I was in dire need of one after all the stress!

We drive north for almost an hour, got stuck in Friday rush traffic and then eventually get to this sleepy town of Westbrook. Just my cup of tea! No tourist crowds, no long lines.

Image

The couple’s spa was amazing. The hubby snored in the middle of it all. I wish I was that relaxed. I just have a hard time falling asleep when someone is touching you, no matter how great your massage therapist is.

Image
resort’s beachfront

We made reservations for dinner at the resort’s restaurant. We both didn’t want to go out that night and just decided to chill in the hotel after the massage. The restaurant had good reviews so why not? I had the chilean sea bass and it was just perfect. Hubby had the seafood risotto. We also had the calamari and the crab cakes as appetizers. I am a big fan of crab cakes and of anything and everything related to crabs. It was a lovely quiet dinner and the service was impeccable. A lady two tables away was celebrating her birthday with the staff bringing a cake slice with a lighted candle and singing happy birthday. I normally don’t order dessert but I had fish so it was light on my tummy and I had spare room for sweets. I got the creme brûlée. The next thing I saw was the staff coming towards our table with my creme brûlée all lighted up with a candle and singing happy birthday to me. Okay, I told the reservations people when I first called that my birthday wasn’t until Saturday. So, we can always celebrate it a day before right? And then a few minutes later, another lady had the lighted cake-happy birthday from staff treatment too. My hubby goes, anyone else? What a coincidence three people celebrating at the same restaurant. It was a good night. My next surprise came when we were ready for the check, the waitress informed us that it has been taken care of. It took us a split second of confusion before the words sunk in and my husband asked her to clarify. Someone else already paid for our dinner. Lightbulb moment! My first words, “I’m gonna kill her”. No one else knew where we were but my best friend and her family.

The next day, we went outlet shopping for a couple of hours and then proceeded to drive to Mystic, a historic seaport. I’ve read about Mystic from a Photography Magazine a couple of years back. The Mystic Seaport is the nation’s largest maritime museum and this was where we spent our afternoon. Strolling lazily along, discovering new things and taking some photos until it was time to go. We asked about Mystic Pizza (for movie buffs who are Julia Robert’s fans you’ll know what I’m talking about) but it didn’t come highly recommended by the locals.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Back in the hotel, we rested for a bit, then went out for dinner at the buffet of Mohegan Sun casino as suggested by a friend. We waited for about 30 minutes just to pay and then more waiting in line to get to be seated. For the price that we paid and the long wait, I cannot say that it was worth it. The food was just ordinary, nothing to write home about. Hubby was super disappointed that there was no steak station. The rest of the people appeared contented though. I just felt mostly disgusted looking at all the slightly obese to the dangerously obese people who were dining there. They didn’t seem to care at all! Ugh!

Image

Image
Because my husband and I don’t gamble, we decided to call it a night. The place was just too noisy and crowded and smoke filled to my liking. It was sensory overload big time. At least I can say that I’ve been to the famous Mohegan Sun with its interesting architecture and interior decorations made to resemble its natural surroundings of rock and water and sky.

Capping off our night, we came back to another surprise – bubbly champagne and chocolate covered strawberries! Thanks to my best friend, she tried to make my day special.

Image
At least now I can say my birthday is over. Happy 40th to me!