I Visited a Castle Today!

My husband and I went to Loveland, Ohio today to see a real castle built by hand by one guy (allegedly by a French knight, but that turns out to be more legend it seems). Here are a few of my favorite photos from the tour. First, the castle itself:

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Me, trying to look regal sitting in the throne chair, but instead doing a good giraffe impression:

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Me in black and white, dancing on the top of the turret:

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The cute, soft little buddy I found:

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We had fun, but now I’m worn out!

 

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Star Trek Exhibit Highlights at Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Over the weekend my husband and I visited Indianapolis to see the Star Trek exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. My husband was in heaven lol. I was there. I did find a few fun things to concentrate on though.

I annoyed my husband by sitting in the captain’s chair like this:

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My personal favorite in the exhibit was this painting of Data’s cat from The Next Generation, I would hang this in my house:

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My husband got assimilated and beamed up (along with a little friend):

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I did get to ride the museum’s carousel (one of my favorite things to do at any museum, zoo, or park). Unfortunately, I threw my hip out climbing onto it. I think from now on I may need to sit on the little benches on the carousel like all the other old, broken down bodies:

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I also got a photo op at Candyland:

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Now I am back home, exhausted, sore, and will probably need a few days to recuperate.

I’m Livestreaming on YouTube

I’ve started livestreaming on my YouTube channel just for something to do and another way to connect with people. I’m doing most of the streams on my personal channel, rather than my toys and books channel. My personal channel has a lot less subs (around 200 compared to over 3,000), so if you are a YouTube watcher, please consider subbing to my channel! Here are a couple recent livestreams if you are interested:

The YouTube playback for the livestreams is a bit blurrier than normal vids, but I’m working on that! You probably want to watch them in the highest quality available to minimize blurriness.

I Froze My Butt Off at a Christmas Theme Park!

I’m feeling rough tonight, maybe because last night I went to a little Christmas-themed park and got really cold, which often tends to aggravate my CFS, Fibromyalgia, and Ehlers Danlos joint issues. I had a great time though and wanted to share a few fun pics of the night.

Here is me getting cozy with the Gingerbread Man:

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Who doesn’t love a big fire pit when it’s cold out?

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Here is some crazy guy climbing the giant Christmas tree (I’m guessing he wasn’t supposed to be doing that):

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Is it just me, or are these trees a bit spooky?

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Pretty lights on the water:

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A Genuinely Good Day! I Felt Like a Kid!

Yesterday I had a genuinely good day! My husband and I went to a little new age shop that is always fun to browse through. I love all that metaphysical “woo woo” stuff, and got some cool new candles, an awesome black skull container, and a book on aromatherapy. After that, we visited a local Native American mounds park, with a beautiful waterfall:

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For lunch, we stopped at a quaint little pizza place, which sat us next to an old fireplace with ice skates hanging on it (I love little details like that!):

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After eating, we drove by an old neighborhood park near a river and decided to stop and check it out. They had really old playground equipment, like the stuff I grew up with! I couldn’t resist the temptation to play on their bouncy toys:

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Or climb to the top of the jungle gym:

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I also played on their old, flat board swingsets and a big, bouncy dinosaur that looked a lot like Barney. After playing, we took a walk along the river. I did fall at one point and woke up with a huge bruise on my thigh today. I knew I would be extremely sore today after all that activity, but it was worth it! Days like that make life worth living.

Vacations: A Harsh Reality of Chronic Illness

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Over the weekend my husband and I took a short vacation to Louisville, KY to celebrate our 15th anniversary and spend some quality time together. I did have a good time, but I must admit that I dread and sometimes even regret vacations just as much as I look forward to them.

Why? Simple. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Vacationing when you have CFS sucks. Big time. Planning the vacation wears you out. Packing wears you out. The travel wears you out. Even though I don’t do the driving, I am still exhausted by the time we even get to our destination. Often, as soon as we get to our hotel I immediately have to lay down for at least a couple hours to recuperate, even if it is only a 2 or 3 hour drive as this one was.

The main excursion we planned was to the Louisville zoo. We had never been there before and both my husband and I love animals. Luckily, it wasn’t a huge zoo, but by the time we had toured about half of it, I was in really poor shape. I had to sit on each bench we came by and rest. I even had to make do with the floor a few times and just collapsed. I was nauseated, felt like passing out, developed a migraine-like headache, and felt extremely overheated, even though it wasn’t that hot out and I stayed hydrated. Heck, most of the buildings were even air conditioned. THIS is what living with CFS is like.

I didn’t get to see much of the rest of the zoo. I was too busy looking for places to rest and recuperate for the trek back to the car. My legs ached so badly and felt so weak that I feared they would give out on me multiple times. My entire body felt like I had been run over or slammed into by something big and heavy. Somehow I did make it back to the car (after resting many, many times on the way there), and then we went directly to our hotel so I could recuperate for the rest of the day. I didn’t even have the stamina to go out for dinner a few hours later, so we ate at the hotel.

I went to bed early, hoping I would feel better in the morning, which didn’t really happen. The next day we visited a cool indie bookstore I had wanted to go to, but I was almost too tired to even enjoy that. We went and found a place by the Ohio River to sit and watch barges pass by, which was peaceful and relaxing. During the drive times to our locations, I curled up with a pillow and laid my seat back to doze.

By the time we headed back for home, I was too exhausted to care about much of anything. When we arrived home, I went almost straight to bed, even though it was only 5pm. The next day (Labor Day), my hip and back were so sore (with a pinched nerve thrown in), that I spent most of the day laying in bed watching a Lake Placid marathon on the Syfy Channel. Any form of movement was excruciating.

All of this makes me wonder if vacations are really worth the trouble. It also makes me wonder if maybe sometime soon I will need to get a motorized chair to even survive simple outings like this. I hate to give in and do that, but my worsening symptoms make it an almost certain possibility eventually.

Life Update: MRSA, Cleveland Vacation, Freelance Writing, and Book Awards!

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Me at the USS Cod Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

As June 2016 draws to a close, I thought I would do a quick life update. Things have been kind of crazy lately between health problems, summer vacations, book releases, editing and freelance writing, vlogging, etc. So here are a few highlights (or low points) of my recent days:

*We went on an actual vacation for the first time in a few years! We went up to Cleveland, Ohio and went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the USS Cod Submarine Museum, the Cleveland Zoo, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and Lake Erie. I found some awesome driftwood while walking along the beach, drooled over the Michael Jackson and Nirvana memorabilia at the Hall of Fame, rode a camel, and ate way too much junk food!

*My hubby is fighting off another MRSA infection, which makes me afraid we are both going to be passing it back and forth again. Even with all the bleaching and cleaning we do, that stuff is hard to keep from spreading!

*I am proud of the fact that my career in freelance writing and editing continues to expand, with many repeat customers and brand new clients! My favorite projects are those that align well with my natural interests (specifically children’s writing and poetry), but even some of the more technical jobs have been more fun than I expected! These jobs allow me to continue to do what I love to do and work at home!

*My YouTube vlog, Maranda’s Toys & Books, continues to grow! I have been pleasantly surprised to find out I’m not the only nerdy adult who still loves collecting dolls, ponies, action figures, and other things from her childhood! I am even getting some free toys and books to review on my channel which is pretty darn awesome!

*My new middle grade children’s book, “Creepy, Funny & Just Plain Weird: Stories and poems for kids“, has already been nominated for a children’s book award! Fingers crossed that I win! If you haven’t read it yet, please give it a try!

Those magical little moments that make life worthwhile

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For the last few days, my husband and I have been out of town, attempting to squeeze in a little vacation before summer ends. We didn’t go too far away from home, just enough to see some new sights and break up the monotony of our normal routine. While away, I bought a new book entitled “My One Line A Day”. The book is similar to a journal or diary but is set up a little differently. Each day for the next three years, I am supposed to write one line about my day in the appointed spaces in the book, leaving an interesting record to keep and reflect on after the three years are over. Honestly, I’m not sure if I will remember to write every single day, but I figured since I only had to write one line every day, that I could hopefully handle that.

I am currently on my third day writing in the book and I have noticed something interesting. First of all, it can be hard to sum up an entire day in one or two sentences! For this reason, I have decided to focus on the “highlight” or “happiest” thing I remember from each day. Interestingly, I have found that the highlights I remember are not the big things. What made me happiest the last few days wasn’t the tourist attractions, the big events or acquiring new “stuff”. Instead, I wrote about spotting a snapping turtle in a tiny runoff from a nearby creek and feeding sparrows bits of my bagel at an outdoor café. I haven’t written my line for today yet, but again I think it will probably be one of the smaller things, such as seeing my cats again after being away for several days or the delicious decadence of enjoying a chocolate covered strawberry.

I am definitely interested to see how this little project keeps going over time. It is amazing when you truly pause to think about what made you happiest on a particular day. I would encourage everyone to try something similar and see what you come up with. You may be surprised to find out what brings you the most joy and what doesn’t seem to matter that much at all by the end of the day. If you want to get one of these books for yourself to chronicle your next three years, you may be able to pick one up at your local bookstore or you can order one from Amazon or another online retailer.