Fort Lauderdale, Florida ~ What Fun!

Recently my husband and I got to go to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a long weekend.  We left on Friday morning and returned on Monday night. 

This is not something we normally do – run away for a weekend that is…. but we just left all our cares and worries behind and did it.  We only told those who needed to know, and sorry to those of you who wondered where we were!  The main reason we did it —  was that I won this trip from – and we were so ready to get away from the cold!

View from our Window
View from our Window

First I want to say, if you don’t think people win these things — you are wrong!  They really do.  I am proof of that.  This isn’t the first time I have won a trip either — so if you do nothing else, go over to and enter to win one of their remaining giveaways.  They are giving away a prize each week for 50 weeks, and there are still lots of them to win!

This win was a surprise ~ they always are ~  and it was one in which required that we leave fairly quickly.  That was because it was centered around a performance called “Jazz in the Garden” which was happening on Saturday and Sunday night of this trip in Fort Lauderdale.

Not only did we get free passes to both nights of the performances, but we also got so much more!  We got our airfare, rental car, hotel, $50 a day for meals, and a VIP card to mention a few of the other goodies. 

We loved and used those VIP cards to visit the Bonnet House, take the Water Taxi everywhere, and to visit the Museum of Art, the Butterfly House and more.  Exploring Fort Lauderdale for a weekend was really both relaxing and fun!

So thank you – you really made this one of the best trips I have ever been on.

Pictures from the Butterfly House, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2013)
Pictures from the Butterfly House, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2013)

 **Disclosure – I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to write this piece.

Variables ~ and the 10 Year Plan

Do you have a 10 year plan?  Where do you want to be in 10 years?  Have you made any type of plan for where you want to be in the future, and how you intend to get there? or do you just let it happen?


Variables all around me in our economy and world has caused my new plan to be stalled.   Why? Because my personality doesn’t really like to make a decision (about the plan) without knowing all the variables.  I like to be able to see the path from beginning to end, and then carefully chart my course.  Checking off the milestones and making decisions along the way according to the plan is just the way I usually like to roll. 

I haven’t ever written down my plan on paper.  But I really did have a list of things I wanted to accomplish in life from when I was a child and although they were vague …. I wanted to marry, have children, have a house of my own, save a million dollars … you get the idea. Later this list became revised, to include living debt free, having a business, saving for the boys college education, and being a grandmother. 

Planning and thinking about these things helps build a framework to a goal. It gives you a direction and a reason to forgo some of life’s instant pleasures for the joy of making the goal happen.  So many people could benefit from doing this.  It isn’t easy by any means, but it gives you something to work for and towards — and it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

Just think of the things that “could be” easier to deal with, if you planned ahead.  Things like the type of education you wanted, your education costs, how much your first house might cost,  where you might like to settle down, or what you goal/dream job would be? 

Years ago, you could put together a workable plan pretty easily.  You saved a certain amount, you received actual interest that made it look like you were gaining on your goal, and you were “on your way”.   You bought a house, and knew “down the line” you could sell it for more than you paid for it ~basically a fairly secure investment in your future~ as well as it being your home.  You worked hard for an employer who had a retirement plan so that you’d have that safety net and today …. nothing is guaranteed.  Don’t get me wrong, nothing was guaranteed before either, but it was assumed to be so, and usually was — so that the plan had a secure footing to build upon.

Part of it,  I know is my personality – like it or not I do try and choose my path, and plan the way to the goal without considering if, or what “could be” if I changed that path along the way.   I do consider the variables before I start, but once en route I really don’t think about them much.  Most of the time, and through most of my life, my paths have not been hindered by large obstacles or horrific circumstances.

Today the variables seem to be all around me outnumbering the choices. All are vying for my attention – chose this way, chose that way…. oh no, don’t do that, do this instead.  Because of where the economy is, where it might be in a few years, and my age,  the variables seem to be overpowering any long term decision making.  So until I can work to “clear a reasonable path” for our next 10 years, I think I’ll put the plan on hold.

Do you “plan” and if you do, how are you getting around your obstacles to make it happen?



Sinkholes are scary, unpredictable, and so annoying. You just never know when one might happen or where. And while there are certain places where they are “more likely” to occur, thousands occur each year, and they are increasing in frequency.

Geologists estimate that approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface has the potential to be prone to sinkholes. The cause is sometimes different in each case and while some are naturally caused, others aren’t. Things like sandy or loose soil, abandoned mines, fracking, new construction, acidic groundwater, aged and leaking water pipes as well as other causes are adding to their numbers. Anytime the support system under the ground breaks down or if the weight of the land surface changes, underground collapses (and then sinkholes) can be triggered.

They are common in some places like Florida or Guatemala, but they have been occurring with regular frequency in other US states as well as in Venezuela and China.

The one that just happened last week in Florida where a man apparently lost his life (I use the word “apparently” because I read they are not going to try and recover his body) was caused by water erosion of the bedrock below the land surface of their house. It is unusual for there to be loss of life with sinkholes.

This would actually be the perfect way to “disappear off the face of the earth.” I know you are thinking, how cruel, a man lost his life after all.

But seriously, they put mementos into that approximately 60 ft. deep hole and then dumped in gravel to fill it in. It was determined that the ground around the hole was too unstable to attempt a rescue, or “recovery” attempt. I understand that we don’t want to put any more lives in danger. I know it’s unstable, but I also feel like if they could bring a dump truck full of stone and equipment to knock down the rest of the house… couldn’t they try more than just lowering a microphone and video equipment to find any signs of life. Or to be sure he was dead? I guess not. The sinkhole occurred Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, they presumed that Jeffrey was dead.

And therein lies the perfect start for a novel.