What’s been going on in my life

Since my last entry, a lot has been going on that took my attention away from blogging over the summer and beyond. I began to actively seek new employment, mostly applying to jobs via Indeed through the mobile app. This led only to a handful of interviews at marketing companies and car dealerships. In both fields of work, I applied because they were entry-level positions and I felt that I could easily incorporate my communication skills on the job.

Although the marketing positions didn’t relate directly to travel, I would love to work in that capacity in the tourism industry. So, I figured, try these entry-level opportunities. For selling cars, I thought of how I love cars and going to car shows. That would help to show an enthusiasm in me for talking to customers about a potential new vehicle. Whichever type of work I’d find myself in, I could use social media knowledge for business purposes.

I continued my job search as the summer months passed and then in early September, my mom had a sudden emergency. She had been fine throughout the day before, even going on a few light errands with no sign of a problem. Unable to breathe, she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and they had to revive her several times. We thought it was a heart attack, much worse than the one she had back in 2010. For the next 10 days, my mom was in ICU and doctors were concerned about her brain. She was never able to respond to us or show awareness that we were in the room. Doctors said that if she were able to go home, she would never be the same. We made the decision to pull the plug. My mom had suffered from a full blockage between her heart and brain. She was out too long while EMTs tried to revive her, resulting in too severe brain damage. Only several months earlier, she was celebrating her 64th birthday.

Since then, I’ve been helping my dad with various errands and figuring out bills that my mom paid with their shared finances. That’s starting to get a bit more organized. One of them required my dad and I to go into Philadelphia; he wanted me to go so that I’d know the details as well. After leaving the city, heading along I-95 southbound, we were in a minor accident with another vehicle. Ours had too much damage to be driven and we had to call for a tow truck. Luckily, traffic was crawling at 30-35 mph at the time of the accident and our airbags didn’t even deploy. Until after Thanksgiving, I drove my dad around for further errands while awaiting the other car’s repairs to be finished. At the auto shop, we learned that the airbags fell just short of being deployed on impact.

This first holiday season without my mom has been very difficult; I wasn’t sure how we’d get through it. My dad was also in the hospital for a few days with what was thought to be pneumonia. It turned out that he had a heart attack, which we believe was brought on by the stress of my mom’s passing and the accident. A-Fib is another health issue he suffers from and had been in the hospital briefly during the summer for that as well. He’s doing better now, although things will still be difficult for a long time. Meanwhile, my job search continues with the goal of helping out financially. I’ll also have a work-from-home income to pad whatever earnings I make from traditional employment. My dad is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division and is on a fixed income.

For now, I thought I’d give this update after a long absence from blogging. I want to write more of a tribute post about my mom as well, which I’d like to do for her birthday. She and I went to a tall ship festival back in May at Penn’s Landing. It’s one of the events I wanted to post about shortly after attending, but my job search efforts picked up around that time. Anyway, my mom had a love of maritime history, inherited from her parents and I became interested as well. So, in my tribute post, I’ll go with how she loved that topic and places rich with related stories. Her favorite place was the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Those also tie in to her interest in military history and veterans’ issues; my mom was always very patriotic at heart. I have a lot of great memories by which to remember her. I just hope now that 2019 goes without any such sadness, not only for myself, but for everyone. I wish all a safe and happy new year.

Posted in Car Shows, Careers, Cars, Family, Health, History, Maritime, Military, North Carolina, OBX, Outer Banks, Patriotic, Social Media, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back to Delaware Park for spring Beers & Gears Car Show, Part 1

All week beforehand, the weather forecast was calling for rain and / or storms, but it turned out to be a nice day. Especially for the hundreds of awesome cars ready for enthusiasts to admire while strolling around in the casino’s rear lot. So many to see, where to start? I just roamed lane to lane in no organized direction, walking up to whatever cool car caught my eye.

This is what grabbed my attention first; the 1960’s television series Batmobile. I had seen it before as it headed out along the main driveway from a previous car show here, yet was unable to get a photo at the time. Finally seeing it up-close as the plain-clothes driver got out, an elderly man sitting nearby said to me, “He forgot to wear his Batman costume!”

Gotham’s crusader wasn’t the only one represented at this particular Beers & Gears; Dracula had a set of wheels as well. And a creepy clown sighting gave me a scare when I noticed it in the background of one photo. It was only a doll, kicking back in a unique iridescent Ford Mustang. A can of the beverage Monster sat on the front end, appropriately.

Not far from where the Batmobile was parked, a hotrod was rumbling behind me. I turned to see a slick black classic Camaro a lane or two away and as other admirers ventured closer for a better look at this muscle car, I joined them.

A Chevy going back to the ’50s drive-in culture had some desserts balanced on its door to take fans of classic rides to those days. I always wished there were still a lot of drive-ins across the country. The closest one to me now is probably the Delsea in New Jersey. But I would’ve loved to go check out a movie retro-style if there had been such a theater near my high school when I was a teen. Of course, cruising to it with friends in my dad’s ’67 Camaro, similar to the one driven past me in the second photo below.

Dodge Challenger was again another favorite and well-represented at Delaware Park. Spotting this one, I couldn’t help but think, Where’s Dom? If I bought this popular and powerful Dodge model, I’d go with black; I also love the racy red.

Just like the Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers, I love those red Corvettes; this is looking super fast and flashy!

Taking a peek inside of a ’69 Camaro in an eye-catching shade of blue and several cars down, a recent model with black racing stripes over shiny red. Owning either of these – ride goals!

Antiques from both Ford and Chevy; the latter dubbed a street rod within the stripes of its patriotic detailing.

Sometimes, it’s the unusual details that I love about the classics at car shows. This one kind of reminded me of The Terminator!

I noticed a flier in the window of a classic Camaro, advertising another car show, but missed it. However, I had been to that particular event several years back. It was almost all Camaros and I even took a silver convertible for a test drive in a nearby parking lot. Black racing stripes complimented the paintwork and with less effort, this Camaro was faster than my 2000!

Given the popularity of the Dodge Challenger, I’m expecting a car show dedicated to old and new models. They are so cool!

I still have a lot more photos from this mid-May event; I’m saving those for a follow-up blog post on the cool rides at Delaware Park. There’s always so many favorites here! If you love cars and have never been to Beers & Gears, definitely check it out.

Posted in Antique Cars, Car Shows, Cars, Chevy Camaro, Chevy Corvette, Classic Cars, Delaware, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wandering around cool rides at the Wheels of Wayne Car Show

This was the first of two car shows in a row that I attended for the season, capturing images of many cool rides at each one. It’s been difficult to decide which ones to share on this and an upcoming post for the second car lovers’ event. Here are some of my favorites among those featured at this year’s Wheels of Wayne, displayed in the downtown area of Wayne, Pa.

Camaro girl that I am, I voted for this ’68 model to win a People’s Choice Award and snapped a selfie with it.

I’d love one of these vans for a great camping road trip!

A new model of Steve McQueen’s Mustang from the movie “Bullitt.”

As I was parking, I turned to look out my driver’s side window, only to see this massive police rescue vehicle waiting. What an unexpected sight!

Although this Dodge Challenger SRT didn’t have a registry card for the event in its front window, it sure fit in among the cool cars there. I saw it on my way out, wondering if maybe it was a new arrival and the owner was checking in for a card.

Wheels of Wayne was held on April 29 along North Wayne Avenue and this was the first year I managed to check it out. I’m looking forward to next year’s display of stunning rides!

Next up, more favorites from a recent car show at Delaware Park Casino.

Posted in Car Shows, Cars, Chevy Camaro, Chevy Corvette, Classic Cars, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, Pennsylvania, Travel, Wayne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a bite at the Phoenixville Food Truck Festival

It’s already been a busy good-weather season, going out to events in the area and capturing so many moments in photos. Warm days finally reaching us, I’ve been wanting to go to as many places as possible which host fun outdoor activities. My first foodie-oriented excursion was the Phoenixville Food Truck Festival, set up at the lower parking lot of the Shoppes at Valley Forge.

Although I was hungry after a longer-than-expected drive, I wandered from truck to truck before diving into good food. They included Bob-O-Q Sliders & Sides, Mannino’s Cannoli Express, The Happy Pita, Mad Sandwiches, Wow Wagon, Soul Burrito, Donut NV, Dia Doce Gourmet Cupcakes, Mobile Mess Hall, What the Fork, Nick’s Roast Beef and more.

So, I let my appetite build up to the point of choosing to start with a Sweet Mama burrito from Soul Burrito. There were only a few places to sit; some people relaxed on grassy areas overlooking a creek. Most festival-goers opted to stand at one of many round tables in the lot and enjoy an on-the-go feel of sampling food. That’s what I did as I began to take a bite of my burrito.

With many tempting choices, it had been difficult to decide what to order from among Soul Burrito’s menu. But the Sweet Mama burrito did not disappoint; so delicious, full of flavor and very filling. So much that it took a while until I was ready try another bite to eat.

In the meantime, I noticed one truck’s bright green exterior detailed with a definition for any food lover:

Once I felt able to take in more festival offerings, the Mobile Mess Hall with its mac and cheese menu was up next. I’ve never tried Brie and tasting it first as a mac and cheese flavor…yum!

After the burrito and small bowl of a comfort food variation, I was all too stuffed to eat anything else. Before leaving, a 6-pack of sweets from Dia Doce Gourmet Cupcakes was picked out to take home. Customers were able to choose any six flavors from creative, crave-worthy delights. Mine included lemon lavender, simply red, chocolate salted caramel, party cake, Oreo cookies and cream and lastly, peanut butter blackout.

The Phoenixville Food Truck Festival was held on April 28 and there is another one coming up later this month in a neighboring town. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d be attending, however I plan to now as a way of remembering Anthony Bourdain and his love of food, travel and culture. There are so many more of those that I want to experience in my own life, including Philadelphia restaurants where he dined. My nearest big city still has so many places I’ve yet to visit and as I do, its flavors and culture will inspire me to take in more of what’s out there.

Posted in Culture, Dining, Festivals, Food, Food Trucks, Foodie, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imposing old ruins at Ridley Creek State Park

After my trip to Valley Forge, the drive home found me taking a familiar road which goes through Ridley Creek State Park. It was shortly past noon and the sun’s warmth took the edge off the earlier chilly wind. So, I decided to stop for a brief visit and check out huge, crumbling ruins looking out over the creek waters.

Unlike the smaller ruins beyond the waterfalls, this stony and overgrowth-covered structure didn’t have any sign with information nearby. Yet, with several old building remains in the park, they all share a connected story. This small one was a short walk down a road crossing the end of the bridge nearest to a colorful peace mural.

It amazed me to think of how many times I must’ve passed by these larger ruins going to and from school during senior high years. Looking back on my scenic bus ride, I remember other students and I gazing out into the woods in search of deer. One guy would always ask the bus driver if we could go home “the deer way.” As often she agreed to do so, we’d get into the heavier wooded area of the park. I’d try to spot some deer, headphones on as well as replaying in my mind any fun moments from school that day. Thoughts would wander to my crush and his antics in class or to dreamy wishes that he and I could visit the park together one day. In the present, I realized that I’d been distracted from wondering about those mysterious old ruins.

Getting the chance to more closely wander toward the looming walls of stone, now the structure truly had my attention. The way nature took it back, branches showing spring’s approach with green leaves were nearly hiding even this imposing piece of history.

Sometimes, I don’t want to find out the past of such sites with that factor of the unknown. They have a more romantic atmosphere that way. To me, their sense of mystery sure would compliment a nice date of exploring these places and surrounding nature with a love interest. During a previous visit to Ridley Creek State Park, it was the first time I’d gone far enough to reach a picnic spot. I thought how I’d love to make this place part of enjoying a great day with someone special. He’d be outdoorsy and have a curiosity for any storied sites along the way.

Whether solo or with someone joining me, there is still a great deal of this park’s beauty and history I’ve yet to take in. So, I’ll make several return trips over the coming months through the fall season.

Posted in Abandoned, Historic, History, Nature, Pennsylvania, Ridley Creek State Park, Ruins, Scenic, State Parks, Teen Crush, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Super Sunday in downtown Media

For this event, I decided to write about it for a local Patch instead and link to my article. I signed up to contribute to the hyper-local news outlet earlier this year. My main interest was to submit posts about various events I attend in the area. It wasn’t until the spring weather finally began to show that I had a better chance to get out there and create a story on festivals.

Check out my Spring Super Sunday post. Hope you enjoy it and I look forward to sharing more through Patch. Once I’ve built up enough stories there, I might create a new page on here with links to that work.

I’ll continue to post on here as well, especially since I love blogging about places beyond my local area. Writing on a news site is another platform on which I’d like to grow journalism work. Just as I do in my blogging, I enjoy putting together travel experiences and even inspire others to try this place or event. It may be local, yet unknown or simply missed by some residents one year or another. That’s happened to me many times and recently, in visiting a favorite state park. Whether from someone else or following my own interest, I have a new-to-me experience while enjoying a day out.

So, that’s why I’m spreading my work to Patch. I also hope to share travels in a literary form, submitting more stories to publications accepting the non-fiction genre of creative writing.

Posted in Festivals, Journalism, Media, News, Pennsylvania, Travel, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Camaro road trip dreaming

The inviting warm weather found me out at Phoenixville, Pa. for a food truck festival within the Shoppes of Valley Forge parking lot. I’ll be posting all about it and the delicious food shortly. As the sun overhead draws a crowd to take in great grub outdoors, it also makes for the perfect time to go cruising in classic cars.

While on my way home, an orange ’69 Chevy Camaro with white racing stripes roared by; its engine rumbling, sounding so cool. I love spotting these old school muscle cars out on the road. After all, how often do we get to see them? But yesterday, the car (and especially Camaro) enthusiast in me was bound for a double treat. Closer to my area, I saw this red ’67 or ’68 with black racing stripes. Except for the stripe detail, it reminded me of the ’67 my dad once owned…which I hoped to drive as I began senior year in high school. His had a narrow black stripe around the front end. To this day, it is my dream car for taking on a road trip.

If I could, I’d love to buy one from a dealer specializing in classic cars. However, I love all models of the Camaro. After lingering wintry weather, I was jumping at the first chance to hit the road with my 2000’s t-top open and windows down. Favorite tunes cranked up and wind blowing in my hair as I fully enjoy spring’s arrival.

Here’s to more sun-soaked road trips in my Camaro, as well as catching owners of classic rides take theirs for a spin!

Posted in Cars, Chevy Camaro, Classic Cars | Tagged , , | Leave a comment