The Helpful Little Lighthouse

Shop Amazon – Receive a $200 credit with a select camera purchase this article has been published! http://www.travelpostmonthly.com/2017/07/helpful-little-lighthouse/ 

Skyline and bug light
Skyline and bug light
For centuries lighthouses have stood guard over the rocky shores the world over. Providing safe passage to mariners and their ships traveling far and wide for industry and commerce. Portland Maine’s Breakwater “Bug” Light is no exception. For 141 years Bug light has been a small, yet mighty, protector for Portland’s rocky coast. Surrounded by a park filled with picnic tables it is a literal breath of fresh sea air. You can easily walk to Bug light and walk around it to see Casco Bay and all the islands off the coast. Not to mention a full skyline of Portland, Maine’s largest city.

Bug light, and part of the Portland sky line
Bug light, and part of the Portland sky line
Being a desert rat from the southern most parts of New Mexico, where the air is as dry as the sand, the sight of the Atlantic and surrounding battlements of old, not to mention the small but mighty Bug light took my breath away.

Picnic area at Bug Light
Picnic area at Bug Light
The sun was high, the grass a color of green I had only ever seen in a crayon box, and the water so blue and inviting I had a hard time keeping my shoes on my feet and my body out of the water (just wanting to make sure it was real since mirages look deceptively real where I’m from).

I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t 10 and throwing my shoes off and running like a maniac, who had never seen water before, into the bay was not lady-like for someone of my – not so advanced – age.  But it was so tempting.  Decorum won out in the end, after all it is a must when strangers are around.

(My husband is rolling his eyes and snorting as he reads this.)

So pretty, and what a view to enjoy your lunch.
So pretty, and what a view to enjoy your lunch.
However, if I would have had a kite on hand I just might have thrown caution to the wind and made the delicate fabric and stick ensemble fly with its ribbon tail dancing in its wake. The winds were perfect for it. (I’m sorry if “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” is now stuck in your head. It’s still stuck in mine.)

Breakwater "Bug" Lighthouse
Breakwater “Bug” Lighthouse
The walk to Bug Light is an easy stroll from the parking area, though the walkway to the lighthouse is made of granite boulders as is much of the area bordering the sea, they were easily traversed.

Closeup of Buglight and it's steps. See the door to the right of the screen? That's the helpful door.
Closeup of Buglight and it’s steps. See the door to the right of the screen? That’s the helpful door.
Walking up to the lighthouse I was taken a back by the ornate architecture of the light house.  As a minor collector of lighthouse figurines, I was expecting something…larger…and more basic.  A cylindrical post with a light and mirrors atop with a charming keepers cottaged attached. (Don’t you worry Maine’s got those too.)  Bug light is none of those, but still incredibly helpful.

closeup of architecture of Bug light
closeup of architecture of Bug light
It’s ornate columns decorated at the top with Grecian style leaves, and molding all done in cast iron make it an oxymoron in the world – as I know it – of lighthouses.

As I walked around Bug light I had to laugh out loud at just how helpful this little lighthouse really was for the tourists.  As you walk around the lighthouse, admiring it’s architecture, the sea and land surrounding it, you come to a door which tells you in bold black letters against the bright white of the body of the lighthouse, “You Are Here”.

Bug light is so helpful, this is on the door of the lighthouse.
Bug light is so helpful, this is on the door of the lighthouse.
I was so glad to see that note of help.  Living in Colorado, where you figure out your North from your South based on your proximity to the mountains, it was nice to know where I was there out on the coast of Maine. “Here”.

From the shore if you look right, while facing the sea, you’ll see Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse.

Water and skyline, so pretty and restful.
Water and skyline, so pretty and restful.
To the left you see Portland’s skyline.  Church steeples dot the sky, as the ferries bob along the horizon.  Old and new architecture meld together for a quiet and serene view, perfect for picnics and kite flying.  Benches dedicated to people who loved their time in the park dot the coastline, as people sit enjoying the quiet while eating their lunch, or chatting with acquaintances who walked past.  The entire area is so friendly and welcoming, yet understanding when you want time to yourself.  People would call out a hello, ask if I needed help finding something, and then let me be.

Bridge, and skyline of Portland Maine.
Bridge, and skyline of Portland Maine.
As I stood there admiring the ‘new of the area, and witnessing the ’old’ world contraptions still in use – granted updated with solar panels and powerful light bulbs instead of wicks and mirrors – I couldn’t help but wonder about the area’s history. The lives saved or lost. The ships the lighthouses were not able to save. History, the vessel we use to ensure we survive and have better lives than our ancestors. Oh what stories that little lighthouse could tell.

Dog friendly restaurant in Colorado Springs!!!!

I must admit that this idea has me intrigued.  My biggest complaint about traveling with Chaz is getting food.  Thankfully there are a few places we can go to eat where we can have him on the patio, and I can sit there too, but for the most part its easy (unhealthy) take out, or order and go pick up from nicer places. However, eating a steak with a plastic fork and knife in a styrofoam container…is not easy. I know I’ve tried.  I’ll have to continue to keep an eye on this and see if I can eat there when it opens.

Let me know if you hear anything about this place Pup Dog Colorado!

Book Review: A Leap Into Destiny

Are you about to head out on a trip?  Are you wanting a new book for your traveling enjoyment?  Well I have the book for you.

A Leap Into Destiny by Michelle Sullivan is a wonderful book for traveling.  It is easy to follow along, and its twist and turns keep you come back for more!

This is the perfect vacation book. Though you will want to have tissues handy at the end, happy endings have a way of making the eyes water a bit.

Simply click the image above to get your copy today!

A Day In The Life: Houdini

What do you do with a little dog who has a sensitive stomach when you need to shampoo the carpets?  Why you use the baby gate and coral him upstairs!

While this isn't the leap he took to get out from behind the gate, it still shows how easily he can fit through the railings.
While this isn’t the leap he took to get out from behind the gate, it still shows how easily he can fit through the railings.

Until he realizes he small enough to fit though the railings of the banister, and squeezes through to the stairs to come see what all the racket is about.  The shampoo, while harmless after it dries, is not something  I want on his feet for him to lick off and make him sick.

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So I gathered all of his toys, and placed them in his bed at the foot of our bed, and locked him in our bedroom.  Houdini hasn’t figured out how to escape from the gate when placed against a solid wall, yet.  I dread the day that happens.

Here he is with all of his toys, in his dog bed and he looks upset that they are there.
Here he is with all of his toys, in his dog bed and he looks upset that they are there.

MacKenzie’s Chop House

Located in Downtown Colorado Springs, 128 Tejon St. Colorado Springs, Co 80903. And reservation are recommended (719)635-3536). It is the place to go for a nice, if pricey meal, but then again... you get what you pay for, right?
Located in Downtown Colorado Springs, 128 Tejon St. Colorado Springs, Co 80903, and reservations are recommended (719) 635-3536). It is the place to go for a nice, if pricey meal, but then again… you get what you pay for, right?

Yes, I am a foodie. Want to know how I know? When I go out to eat and my plate is placed before me…I forget to take a photo of my plate to show you just how yummy it looks. I’m too busy eating said food. Ugh 😋

MacKenzie’s is our celebration spot.  There are few places in Colorado Springs that I can eat more than a salad (and then only if I bring my own dressing), and even fewer that have the proper ambiance.  Most are noisy and we come home smelling like whatever they specialize in. Not what you want after a night of celebrating.

MacKenzie’s Chop house sets the perfect tone.  Conversations are muted thanks to the dark wood walls, and thick leather seats.  While they have out door patio seating, their smoking area, and a bar area, when you enter the restaurant seating area the hubbub dies to a murmur.

You feel like you are the only ones there, most of the time, tucked into your area enjoying your time with friends and family.  The servers are very professional, taking care of you but not intruding on your time with your guests. And the food…well, it’s so good you forget to take pictures for posterity.

While I don’t mind an adult beverage from time to time, I’m not big on drinking when we eat out.  I like the good stuff and that means a high bill at the end of the evening.  I would much rather spend the money on the food than booze, because believe me their steaks, and their salmon are amazing!

However, I have it on good authority, their drinks are amazing!  Hubby got a couple of different martini like drinks when we celebrated him finishing his MBA, and said they were wonderful and you got a good amount for the price.

Now stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Hi, I have food allergies, I’m allergic to ____… and from then on, it’s one trip after another to the kitchen for the wait staff to ensure you don’t have grounds to sue them at the end of your meal.  No one wants an ambulance crew disrupting their guests dinner.

I have found a few tips that make it easier for me.  Instead of starting off with the above, I look at the menu while waiting for my water or tea or whatever I’m drinking with my meal, then I pick 2-3 things I want to eat.  So when the wait staff return with my beverage I tell them about my allergy and give them my choices to check with the Chef.

I have heard of cards you can get from your allergist with a list of things you can’t have: corn, peas, peanuts…etc,  but since my soy allergy encompasses more than the usual soy products (Soy sauce, edamame) my allergist hasn’t offered me one.  Plus when soy is in everything…mayonnaise, margarine, flavor mixes, thickening agents, face creams…even ice cream, it wouldn’t be a card I could easily put in my wallet.

Picking out a few things to focus on has helped me tremendously.  I typically ran into one of two scenarios. I either could have my pick of anything on the menu; something that was very overwhelming when you are accustomed to only having salad as an option. Or I was only allowed a salad, or something on the grill.

By picking two or three things to focus on, keeping in mind what I can usually choose from, it keeps me from being overwhelmed by tons of choices.  And typically I pick something that can easily be altered and made soy free to order.

Anyway, back to the food.  On this occasion, a night out with our daughter celebrating her making it through some tough testing so she has options where furthering her education goes, I got their Roasted Salmon.  And I loved every mouth watering, buttery, bite.

Our daughter got the New York Strip, and hubby got their tortellini (which is unusual, he’s very much a steak and potato man) but he said the tortellini was wonderful and just what his tummy was wanting.

I would highly recommend them for your next special night out.  Check them out online, and enjoy the step back in time – oh, and the food too,  only try to get photos of it, and send them to me here.

Inspiration To Travel

I recently read an article by annaeverwhere about traveling with chronic diseases and other medical issues. It really put into perspective my allergy issues.  While mine do not physically show, thankfully, they can be the cause for some very public displays of panic. However, since she isn’t letting it slow her down it has given me a little more spit and vinegar where my adventures are concerned.

We have had our home on the market for the last month or so, and each time we show the house I have to take the dog with me…after a whirlwind clean up of the house so it is show room ready, and I head for the nearest store that allows animals, or I head to the Air Force Academy so I can walk Chaz .

Today I have a showing and I’m thinking, if I cover up properly with sun clothes, and heading out to be a sightseer to areas I typically avoid because of the sun. Hopefully there will be new photos to take and no need for allergy meds.

It is just nice knowing that there are others out there, traveling and leading full lives in spite of their medical conditions.

While I do not travel on the same scale as Anna, for me just going out of the house is huge feat most days.

 

(This post was written a few days ago, go HERE to read about our adventures in Garden of the Gods.)

A Day In The Life: Another Opening, Another Show

What’s a dog to do when momma is leaving and taking him with her?…Why he hangs on tight and enjoys the ride of course.

Chaz has had quite a few interesting days in the last few weeks, and this week is proving to be more challenging than either of us thought.   I have not only moved things around on him, again, but we are going it alone this week while my husband is on travel.

So not only am I stressed all ready, but now I’m in hyper drive trying to get my To Do list done everyday, I also have to get us out of here on time when I need to for a showing, which doesn’t help his tummy troubles.

At this point even cottage cheese isn’t a guarantee for him to eat.  You know he’s stressed when even cottage cheese can’t tempt him.

Chaz and I as we headed out to Garden of the Gods. Doesn't he look enthused?
Chaz and I as we headed out to the Garden of the Gods. Doesn’t he look enthused?

So when we left for one of our showings we headed out, not to a store with lots of people and carts (stress for both of us), but to the great outdoors.  We drove to Garden of the Gods.  A wonderful tourist attraction here in Colorado Springs.

Thankfully it was partly cloudy so I got a little bit of a break from the sun. Sadly the place was packed for a Monday, no parking to be found near the famous rocks.  So I settled for a spot in lot 12, and we headed out into the great unknown…for him, I’ve been there many times.

Garden of the Gods is a huge tourist attraction here in the Springs.  Large looming rocks, red in color, that seem to come from no where. If you look closely you can see distinct shapes with in the rocks, like kissing camels. While there are many legends attached to them, they are a great place to get out and walk around, rock climb, or just take a slow drive through.  I had intended to park in the first lot, but it was at capacity, so we did the slow drive for a bit.

Once I found a spot to park, Chaz got antsy to get out and walk.

Chaz ready to get going on our walk.
Chaz ready to get going on our walk.

So I sprayed him to protect against ticks, and off we went.  It was a nice walk to a little path, that we took for a little bit.  Chaz took the walk like a champ, he got a little nervous when other people would join our path, but otherwise he just trotted along happily sniffing all the different smells we came across.

On to the red path, sniffing his way along
On to the red path, sniffing his way up the incline.

I was very thankful that the people looking at the house didn’t linger, because the sun came out and even more people began appearing on the trail.  We turned around quickly and headed home. It was a nice time out of the house, but it reminded me of just how stressful being outdoors can be. Especially at popular touristy places.

I can, thankfully, keep track of when the doors in the house are open and closed thanks to an app that works with our home alarm system.  So when I saw the people looking had arrived at the house we didn’t hang around for too long, which turned out to be a good thing as several smokers drove past immediately after we had gotten in the car to return home.

a collage of the photos I took on our walk. It is surprisingly hard to get 'good' photos when a dog is pulling on the leash.
a collage of the photos I took on our walk. It is surprisingly hard to get ‘good’ photos when a dog is pulling on the leash, even if its only a five pound dog.

I honestly don’t know which are worse the early morning showings or the early evening showings – but there is one good thing about the early morning showings…I have a good excuse to go get coffee.  You are shocked to read that, I know.

For one particularly early showing I found the grit to get out of bed, and out the door…Nemo’s!

I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks coffee, it will work in a pinch but if I have another option I will gladly go out of my way to get my morning coffee.  Nemo’s is my favorite go to spot for coffee outside of my kitchen.  They have organic coffee, coconut milk (they have other milk alternative if you require them), caramel (a must for me on hectic days, don’t judge), and on a day like this when I have the dog… a drive through and one of Chaz’s favorite dog biscuits.  Everything we need to have a successful start to our day.

Though I’m not sure how much of Chaz’s love for their dog biscuits is the biscuit and how much of it is all the attention he gets when he gets the biscuit.  Sometimes I really wish I could read his mind to figure these questions out.

Chaz is content after consuming his dog biscuit, and I have my coffee (with caramel a real treat for me).
Chaz is content after consuming his dog biscuit, and I have my coffee (with caramel a real treat for me). Check them out 2114 East Pikes Peak Ave, tell them I sent you.

Inside their mismatched tables and chairs make for a relaxed atmosphere where anyone, no matter your height, can find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy their coffee. They also boast bookshelves filled with books of every genre. Something that is very important to book worms like me.  If you aren’t like me…someone who takes books with her every where she goes – and is very thankful that someone invented the e-reader because her back is much happier when she isn’t carrying real books with her everywhere she goes… then Nemo’s is the place to be, a good book a great cup of coffee…what more could a person ask for?  Plus they have lots of goodies and most of them are made in house.

Hubby would recommend the sausage breakfast burrito, it’s his favorite regardless of the time of day. As for me I would recommend their caramel swirl coffee, I like it iced or hot with coconut milk.  It’s so incredibly wonderful!

Their motto, and it is so true their coffee with power you through anything.
Their motto, and it is so true, turtle power will get you through anything!

So with my turtle power in my system I feel just about ready for anything…provided it isn’t too out there. Ha!  Our life is so hectic right now, it’s hard to think about adding too much more to our plates.   However, our getting out there and seeing the area means I’ll have more adorable stories about Chaz’s adventures for you.

A Day In The Life: General Choas

So I was talking with the groomers the other day about what a challenge it is to get Chaz to eat his food.

But Mom...
But Mom…

Picture an adorable two year old, batting their baby blues at you as they shake their head ‘no’ at the food put before them. You know they need to eat, and yet you just can’t make them do it.

Now add into that picture a dog who refuses to eat to the point that it makes him sick. I’m not one for feeding my dog human food so something had to be done. That has been my life with Chaz since the detergent incident of 2016.

Back story: After a long field and track trip, we got home and our pet sitter  dropped the dog off. Hubby started on laundry while I sat on the couch with my feet elevated trying to relax a bit when I heard hubby say, “Chaz just licked up some detergent” but it didn’t register just how bad of a situation it was.

Come 3am and the realization of the situation hit, the disgusting smelly reality, hit.

A vet visit, and 10 days of enticing a dog at high risk of ulcers to take his meds and eat, and our lives have never been the same.

The here and now: Chaz is on a low fat GI diet (known as a prescription diet), something easy for him to digest. He refused to eat the generic vet brand so I sprung for the good, Royal Canine, stuff.

And still he wasn’t eating even half of his daily caloric quota. I was at a loss. Bribing won’t work, tuna only works sometimes, even coconut oil (his favorite at tooth brushing time) wasn’t enticing him enough to get the food down his throat.

So when the groomer suggested cottage cheese, my jaw hit the floor. I don’t eat a lot of dairy because of my anaphylaxis, it just exasperates an all ready intense reaction, so I never even considered dairy as a viable option.

She said that she had a boarder who wouldn’t eat if the parent was gone, just wouldn’t do it. So a vet she works closely with suggested a dollop of cottage cheese on the food. It helps calm the digestive tract down so the food is more palatable.

I went out and bought a small thing of low fat cottage cheese as soon as I got the dog home. And do you know what? It worked! While his evening feedings can still be a bit testy, his morning meals go much smoother. At least I know he is getting some nourishment every day. It’s no longer a hit or miss situation.

The one downside is that his breed is known to be hyper. And while I thought he was hyper when he was barely eating… He is definitely more hyper now that he’s eating more regularly. There is an up side to everything right?

Hatch Green Chile Grilled Cheese, Oh My!

In my quest to be as yeast free and dairy free as possible, I have found one flaw…Hatch green chile grilled cheese. (No I didn’t misspell chile.)

Oh. My. Word.

If you love the flavor of hatch green chile, and you love grilled cheese...this is the combo for you!
If you love the flavor of hatch green chile, and you love grilled cheese…this is the combo for you!

I am originally from New Mexico, and there is nothing that marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall more distinctly than the smell of roasting green chiles.  If they could put that smell into a candle I would be one happy woman.

And while I can find them in Colorado (they are nice enough to truck them up here), in New Mexico every Walmart, grocery store chain, and even some of the auto parts stores, have a station set up to sell and roast Hatch green chile.

However, if you love chile, and have never tried Hatch green chile, click the link above and look at their products.   If you like a lot of heat with your chile, don’t get your hopes up where this cheese is concerned. However, this cheese is packed with the most flavorful – if heat lacking – chile ever.

When we first found the Hatch green chile cheese at  Whole Foods we couldn’t help but buy it. From there it was a small jump to grilled cheese. Perfectly golden brown bread and melted cheddar cheese infused with real hatch green chile… It is an ooey gooey  bite straight out of what I imagine food will be like in heaven.

They are so good, and so worth the side effects…stuffy nose from the dairy, which means I have to be uber conscious of my surrounds for a few days since it makes my anaphylaxis reactions more severe; and the possible stomach upset from the yeast.

As for the yeast, I’m so glad I found organic sourdough bread (I prefer Rudi’s or 365 brands). The basic reason as to why I can have sourdough over, say, white bread is simple; as far as I’m able to deduce.

Dry yeast vs. Yeast culture.

While I’m still working through the whole dry yeast theory, I’ve found that when it comes to yeast cultures I do a lot better when I eat breads made from the cultures as opposed to most dry yeast products. It’s a work in progress because sometimes I can eat breads made from dry yeast without a problem. From what I’ve experienced thus far, organic is the key word for dry yeast.

Though I still have more testing to do before I can claim this theory, something I’m not working to hard to disprove, I’m sticking with eating what I don’t react to right now.

So when it comes to my yearly vice, yearly because the cheese is only available late summer – till its gone – I feel no guilt. (I’ve only ever found it at Whole Foods Market – FYI.)

I’ll take a Sudafed for the stuffy nose, and be more vigilant where my anaphylaxis is concerned. Believe me if you love chile, and grilled cheese, this is the best of both worlds.

The morale of this story is…sometimes it’s OK to eat what isn’t good for you so long as you are smart about it.

Cheers!!!