Adventures at Pensacola Beach

On Wednesday, September 4th, my family and I drove the remaining distance to Pensacola Beach, Florida! We saw our first palm trees of the year just across the Florida border. To get to Pensacola Beach, which is along the Gulf of Mexico, we had to cross two bridges onto the “water stick” as we call it.

Water stick—a long, narrow area of land surrounded completely by water but sitting only a short distance away from the rest of the country, accessible by one or more bridges

I don’t know where the term “water stick” came from, but we have always called them that and we have been to three of them: Pensacola Beach water stick, Daytona Beach water stick, and the Outer Banks water stick.

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We were excited to have finally reached our first real destination, and to spend more than one night there! We stayed at the lovely Hampton Beachside Resort, which was complete with a swimming pool, easy access to the ocean, and our very own balcony! And a tiki bar! Before deciding on Pensacola, we considered Panama City Beach and Destin, but Pensacola was said to be very nice and the quietest of the three beaches, so we settled on this one. We were very glad of our choice, because the three days we spent there were perfect! (The whole time, however, I could not remember the word “Pensacola” for the life of me! I either called it “Pentacola” or “Pestacola”.)

We spent lots of time swimming every day. The water felt almost hot compared to what we are used to at the beaches in Canada. At first glance, the water looks calm, blue-green and almost crystal clear, and the sand is so white it’s almost blinding! While walking to the beach, every time we reached a certain section of the sand, it would make these funny squeaky sounds when we walked, and I think we laughed every time.

When we waded into the water, we realized that there were fuzzy yellow bits of algae floating in it. Apparently, the water is usually clear of these, so we just so happened to be there at the wrong time, but we got used to them pretty quickly. There were a few small white jellyfish in the water too, which spooked me at first, but most of them had little or no tentacles so they didn’t sting when touched. What was harder for me to get used to were the fish swimming around my feet! In even the shallow parts of the water, these cute little fish swam around our feet almost constantly, brushing up against our legs and eating whatever was in the sand our feet stirred up. After a while, though, I came to really like them. They were so much fun to try to capture on my GoPro! We had a blast just relaxing and floating around in the water, videotaping the fish, and later chilling on shaded chairs beside the pool as we dried.

For supper that first night, we tried Red Fish Blue Fish, and from our seats on the outside covered deck, we watched the sun set over the water. When we returned to our room, we played some games and ate snacks. Then we went to bed early. Being outside in the sun all day is exhausting, but so much fun!

The following morning, I was awoken by a cry of, “Guys! There’s dolphins out here!!” I jumped out of bed and ran to the balcony, where Mom and Dad were pointing out in the water—and I saw a splash! We were able to witness dolphins jumping around beside the pier, and it was really cool. By the time I grabbed a camera, though, they were swimming east.

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We spent the morning and afternoon swimming some more, and we ventured a little bit west to explore around the pier. Then we decided it was time for some lunch. Unfortunately, I think I might have spent a bit too much time in the sun. You see, we Canadians are not used to the tropical Florida heat. On the way back to our room, I tried to carry my shoes, but the dry sand further from the water felt really hot, so I ran for the stairs but they were black and were even hotter. I yanked my shoes on, but while the others were rinsing the sand off their feet, I began to feel very faint and was gasping for breath, so I had to lie under the stream of foot-rinsing water until I felt well enough to stand again. In the hotel, I drank some water as we prepared to go get lunch at Rotolo’s. But I couldn’t stand or even sit without feeling dizzy and weak, so Mom and I stayed behind while Mal and my dad went to pick up our food. While they were gone, I tried eating some doritos and drinking some more water, and finally began to feel a bit better. After eating most of my penne alfredo, I felt completely fine.

A bit later, when we decided we were all fully recovered from the heat, we returned to the beach. First, I almost forgot my chair. Next, just outside our room, I accidentally dropped my glasses on the floor. Then we got on the elevator, and I suddenly realized I wasn’t wearing shoes! So I had to go back to the room to get my shoes…I wasn’t going to be running across that hot sand again!

On the beach, the wind had picked up, so there were some small waves, but nothing like Daytona Beach or the Outer Banks. We swam for a while, watched the sunset from the beach, then returned to our room and went to Marble Slabs for our first ice cream of the trip! I wasn’t too fond of the raspberry ice cream, but the strawberry was good, especially with cookie dough and Reese’s pieces mixed in. They were all laughing at me though, because they said they all tried to do themes—Mom had a pina colada theme with banana and coconut; Mal had a chocolate theme with chocolate and oreo cookies; and then there was me, just throwing everything I like into my ice cream!

Friday morning, we all got up at 7am to walk down the beach to see the dolphins. We saw a few, but didn’t get any good photos. We went swimming, this time bringing some salty doritos and water with us so I could stay hydrated and electrolyted (my newly invented word, I like it), and when we decided we were exhausted and sunburnt enough, went to Whataburger for supper. I ordered chicken strips, but they all got burgers and received them…all without patties so we were all laughing hysterically! Their customer service was excellent, however, and we got new burgers in no time, so we were very pleased with the service. Then we went to Marble Slabs for the second time.

Since it was our last night at Pensacola, we stood on the balcony overlooking the beach, listening to the laughing of the few people still outside and the gentle lapping of the waves; watching the moonlight shimmer softly off the pier as it cast long reflections into the calm water; and remembering the feeling of the glimmering turquoise water sliding softly through our hands. It was the perfect final night.

On Saturday morning, we awoke early again, this time headed to the pier in another attempt to see some dolphins. This one paid off, because we saw the dolphins and got to hear them blow out air as they surfaced in the water! Then we had our final breakfast in Pensacola. In the breakfast area, Mal told us that a guy walked up to him and said, “My friend told me that we have the same hair. But I don’t think so.” It was hilarious, because we’re always laughing at Mal’s hair. It’s long, thick, bouncy, and sometimes ends up sticking up somehow in places, and he’s always telling us, “There’s nothing wrong with my hair!” 

When we left the hotel, we drove east toward our second real destination: Daytona Beach! We had kept west until then because we wanted to avoid Hurricane Dorian, which was passing through Daytona while we were enjoying the sunny weather at Pensacola. We were able to actually follow the hurricane north, staying behind it, so we had sunny days every. single. day! It was great!

I missed Florida. Writing this, I miss it again, but I’m sure we will be back someday!

Exploring Nashville

On the third day of September, we made it to Nashville, Tennessee! It’s quite a busy city, but not as bad as some places we have been. It wasn’t quite what we expected, but we only had a few hours to spend there.

We started with the Parthenon building. We walked among the pillars, but decided not to venture inside as we didn’t have a large amount of time. There was a lake sitting near it, so we walked the perimeter and saw some squirrels, Canadian geese, and cyprus trees. I really liked the funky trees and their reflections in the water.

20190903_131935_editA short way down the road on our way to the Parthenon, we had seen a place called No Baked Cookie Dough, so we had to check it out! They give big scoops of cookie dough, kind of like ice cream in a dish but with cookie dough instead. I tried peanut butter, chocolate chip, and confetti sugar, and they were all delicious! There is also a strawberry shortcake and chocolate brownie, which were also good. Unfortunately, I looked them up online and they don’t ship to Canada, but they definitely made it onto our List of Awesome Places! (Upcoming blog post to be written about the awesome places.)

Then we drove to Broadway Street and visited the Country Music Walk of Fame. We walked around the streets a bit, ventured into a couple of stores, I found some postcards, and then we walked down the street to a bridge over the river. By that time, we were pretty much melting in the southern heat, so we had supper at a place called Rock Bottom. My chicken strips came to me organized very fancily in a nice little chicken strip mound on my plate—fancy chicken strips! They were good too. :D

After supper, we left the city and drove south toward our first real destination: Pensacola, Florida! We stopped in Montgomery, Alabama—another new state for us. Our journey will continue from there.

The Smoky Mountains

On the last day of August, as the sun had just begun to rise over the shadowy tops of the trees, my family and I departed for a two-week adventure: our second ever road trip to Florida!

Unfortunately, Day One of our adventure did not go quite as planned. We tried to get a prepaid phone plan in the US, but it was a four-hour ordeal that ended in two of our phones unable to be unlocked; we were unable to call Canada despite being told we could; and we quickly discovered that although we could text to Canada, no one from Canada could text us without being charged. The good thing was that, even though only two of our four American SIM cards could be used at a time, we did have 4GB of data to last us the duration of the trip (spent mainly on navigating and finding food and ice cream through Google Maps), so it worked out in the end. Mostly.

With our spirits still high, we managed to travel through four states that day: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Mom and Dad fell asleep in the backseat while I drove, and Mal and I made some joke about watching out for caterpillars when we saw a sign that said “Keep your eyes on the road.” Then we started actually seeing lots of little fuzzy black and orange caterpillars crossing the highway! I tried to steer away from the little blobs inching across the road. So, then of course we had to joke around about if I were to accidentally swerve off the road into the ditch trying not to hit the caterpillars, and that when Mom and Dad woke up, the conversation would go something like this:

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My thoughts exactly! We went to the Olive Garden for supper. Their “forks” only had 3 prongs!

Them: What happened?
Mal: There was a wildlife and we swerved to avoid it.
Them: What kind of wildlife? How big was it?
Mal: Uh…not that big. It was…a caterpillar…

We didn’t swerve by the way. I’m not that dumb. But then we ended up having a 23km range left on the gas tank, with (according to the GPS) 27 km to the nearest gas station. It’s not my fault!!! My mom’s car has some sort of fancy technology that I don’t know how to use. xD We made it though.

We spent our first night in Connecticut at a lovely Holiday Inn. They had the most amazing cinnamon buns for breakfast! We drove all day on Day Two, passing through five more states–New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. We went to one of our favorite American restaurants, Denny’s, for supper, and it was attached to a little convenience store. I started talking to Mal about the taffy sitting on one of the shelves, but when I turned around it was someone else standing behind me, and he had wandered away. xD So I guess I talk to myself now, and people think I’m crazy. Oh well, I always wanted to be a fruit loop in a bowl of cheerios!

On Day Three, September 2nd, we crossed the Tennessee border for the first time ever! We drove to Gatlinburg and stopped at an information center, where I bought a Smoky Mountains postcard and decided to start a collection of postcards; I’ll get one everywhere we go and put them all in a book!

We drove along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail toward the Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful road, surrounded by trees with little glimmers of sunlight flickering through the bright green leaves. We stopped at a walking trail called the Rainbow Falls trail. We contemplated whether we had enough time before dark to walk the trail, because it was 5.2 miles round trip and it was getting late, but in the end we decided to do it. We saw some lovely views of waterfalls, the mountains through the trees, and paths that went along the edges of hills. It turned out that we were actually climbing the whole way up the trail, but the waterfall at the top was beautiful and shimmered in the glow of the departing sun, and the climb was really fun and definitely worth it! We made it back to the car just as the sun was setting—I think it took us 2.5 hours total.

From there, we drove toward Nashville but stopped for the night about an hour away in Cookeville. We decided that Mom must be really tired, because we had this conversation on the way and she almost died laughing!

Mom: Shouldn’t you be in the other lane?
Mal: Well, I was passing that guy.
Mom: What guy? That guy way up there, directly in front of you?
Mal: Yeah, but then he noticed me. You have to be sneaky when you pass people, or they’re like ‘Oh no, I’m gonna lose the race! I better floor it. Then I’ll put my brakes on when I’m ahead because I don’t want to go TOO fast!’

The worst thing is, that happened way too often!! I am starting to appreciate Canadian drivers, and we all know what goes on on Canadian roads from watching Canada’s Worst Driver…right? Well, American drivers might be worse…yee. (No offense if you are a driver in either of our countries. I’m sure all you guys out there are awesome drivers who would never intentionally go faster while someone is trying to pass you, move over into the passing lane right in front of him, and then brake while staying in the passing lane, even though there are no other vehicles around for miles!)

And there ends the first chapter of our perfect trip. Road trips with family are the best—tons of road trip snacks, listening to good music, laughing about dumb stuff, and getting so tired you laugh about even more dumb stuff! What more could one ask for?

Hody/Potalo Dictionary of Phrases

TAEZ6793Mal (that would be Mr. Potalo) and I (a.k.a. Hody Pody) have come up with pretty much a whole system of words and phrases. We often use incorrect spelling while texting each other, and we say things in a way that sounds like we’re three years old sometimes, but that’s us and it’s fun. xD

I decided to write up a list of some of the recent words we’ve either invented or use often (sometimes out of the proper context), so you can join in on the fun! So, without further ado, here is the Hody/Potalo Dictionary of Commonly Used Words and Phrases!

Awesomesauce – adj. amazing or really fun
Awesomesausage – n. something that is amazing or really fun
Cool beans – a statement similar to “that’s great”
Dense – adj. dumb or ignorant, as in when a person doesn’t seem to know something
Disturbation – n. something that is disturbing
Epicalistical – adj. a longer, funner term for “epic,” as in amazing, really fun, or the best ever
Glitchy spaz – n. This is when your game is spazzing your character all over the place, usually caused by a bad Internet connection
Glug – 1. n. a drink, usually a blue one 2. v. to drink something
Gluggity chug – n. a very good drink
Hoingadoing – an exclamation usually spoken when doing something that requires effort, such as jumping over something or throwing something heavy
Laggy spaz – n. Similar to a glitchy spaz, this is when your game is very laggy and an action is completed on the game several seconds after you press the button for that action, usually caused by a bad Internet connection
Leedleedleedleedlee – the sound made when one sticks out his tongue and blows, usually a sassy gesture
Lopoloo – like “lololol” but terribly misspelled
Nifty – adj. cool or useful
Nondumpy-lookin’ – adj. fancy
Oi – an exclamation usually uttered after laughing a lot, kind of like an ashamed sigh or sometimes used instead of “lol”
Pikker – n. picture
Phlome – n. phone
Sack of bologna – n. something that is completely wrong or annoying
Scheeeeooooop – a slurping sound made when one is really hungry or sees food that is really good
Scrub – n. a person who doesn’t know what he is doing or is very dumb
Scrubby – adj. used to describe something bad or annoying
Scum – n. an extremely annoying person or one who acts mean or breaks rules
Shifty – adj. suspicious, as in when something or someone seems off
Slueueuleuleuueuuleup – a slurping sound, usually a response to “scheeeeooooop”
Smear – n. a mark left by something or someone sliding across the ground or a surface, or when a cat rubs its face against you
Smeared – adj. the state in which one is slid across the ground or a surface and usually leaves a mark, or the state in which a cat has rubbed its face against you
Smudge – n. on Fortnite, an SMG
Snip – 1. n. on Fortnite, a sniper 2. v. to snipe someone
Spaz – 1. n. something that is spazzing 2. v. when something or someone is moving or flailing awkwardly or moving all over the place, often in a game when your character is appearing in random different places due to a bad Internet connection
Spooked – adj. a state in which one is worried, scared, or hyperaware
Spooksy – adj. something that is extremely scary
Spooky – adj. something that is very scary or causes worry or hyperawareness
The “let me do what I wanna do” button – usually on a computer, the “Not now” or “I have read and agreed with the terms of service” button, or whichever option makes the questions go away so you can do whatever it is you went on the computer to do in the first place
Veddy – adj. very
What do – a question meaning either “What are you doing” or “what should we do,” depending on context
Wo – a statement meaning “Whoa,” giving the impression of amazement or pride
Yee – the sound one makes when they come across something large, squishy, green, and/or gross, similar to “ew” but nobody actually says “ew” unless they’re trying to so it usually comes out more like “yee”
Yerp – a word meaning “yes” but which is more fun to say

Okay, so I might not win an award for the best dictionary ever, but this is just for fun so enjoy! And who knows, I might have some more words to add in the future. ;D

Do you use any of these words or phrases? What are some words or phrases that you commonly use either out of context or that most people don’t use much? Come on, let me in on some of your fancy words!

Our 7th Anniversary

Yesterday was the day I first met Destiny 7 years ago. I can’t believe it’s been so long! Each and every one of those years has been special because of her. :)

I’ve been riding her the last few days, and she’s been so good! When she first was put with Molly, she never wanted to leave Molly’s side and would cry and prance around when I took her out riding or in the barn out of sight. She’s come a long way from that. When I bring her in the barn now, she doesn’t neigh at all and simply stands there, quiet and calm, with her head lowered (even though Molly’s always running around in the pasture calling for her). I can take her out on trails as well, and she’s fine being away from Molly. I’m so proud of my girl. :’)

She has a bit of mud fever on her right hind leg, which is surprising because it’s been so dry lately, so I’ve been tending to it every day and hopefully it’ll go away soon! She’s been such an angel about it.

Happy 7th Anniversary Des! <3

My Summer 2017

I hope your summer was filled with sunshine, fun, and good times! Mine was. I haven’t been actively writing posts for most of the summer, simply because it’s hard to sit down and write when it’s sunny and you want to be outside going new places and exploring! This post is just a quick update with a slideshow of photos from my summer. :)

It would be hard to explain every detail of my summer, but I’ll list some of the major points. Earlier in the summer, we took a drive down some dirt roads to an old quarry. It was quite a nice spot, and I’m hoping to go back sometime. My family and I went to this rock climbing place that my brother’s work was celebrating its anniversary at, so we all tested out the rock climbing walls, which was a lot of fun! One day, we took the four wheelers to the beach, had a little fire, and roasted hotdogs. We moved a big log close to the fire with Jacob’s four wheeler and used it as a bench – then someone came up with the idea to put a smaller log across it and use it as a teeter totter. We all took turns. Jacob also tied a couch to the back of his three wheeler one day and drug it around while Mal and I sat on it. Jacob and I got a jeep stuck in the mud out on a trail, right at the time that cell reception was down across Canada. So we had to walk to find someone to help us, wondering why our phones weren’t working until we returned to civilization and someone explained. Of course, there was also our legendary annual camping trip, which I already wrote a post about back in August.

All in all, it was a great summer and I’m sorry it’s over. Mal is back in university, so he’s away during the week, and Jacob is back in school. Work is busier than before, now that students are back, so I’m getting more hours. Luckily, the weather is still nice and I’m hoping it’ll stay warm until late into the year. :) Let me know how your summer was in the comments!

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