My first time in Santa Barbara

All through high school, I made plans to travel the country after graduation.

I intended to take a gap year before college, but I did not want to go to Europe.

I’d never been able to see the country and its fantastic sights. So, I set a goal to see if I wanted to go to college or start a business. My mom was supportive of the idea and even helped me save up my money. I worked at a neighbor’s farm after school and during the holidays to get enough money. Finally, when graduation came and passed, it was time to leave. The first place on my list as a kid who grew up in the cold was somewhere with lovely weather. I flew to Santa Barbara, which was where an aunt of mine lived. When she heard about my plans from my mom, she asked me to go and stay with her for some time. From there, I’d get a chance to explore the coastal city and all its splendor. I loved everything I’d ever read and heard about this location, so I did it. After arriving in the city, I had free reign of the place. My aunt is one of those free spirits who believe adventure is the best way to find yourself. She took me on the most beautiful trips and showed me all the places I could see fabulous summer clothes to wear. Then we happened to come across some weed dispensaries and grabbed some treats. Marijuana is legal in the city, and I was of age. I’d graduated high school at 21 years old after an illness I was battling delayed my education as a kid. That’s a story for another day.
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The first day in Evansville, Indiana

We had not had a family vacation in a long time.

When the pandemic hit, we had to cancel all our plans. It was too risky to travel even within the country. Everyone was self-isolating, just trying to stay safe. After a year, we finally had a chance to do a local visit but weren’t sure where to go. We wanted somewhere we had not been to before. This was a place away from the usual tourist attractions. By summer, we had narrowed down our pick of top vacation spots to Evansville, IN. Indiana was a great state, and Evansville was strategically located on the Ohio River. We arrived late one summer evening and went straight to our hotel. Everyone wanted to be relaxed and fresh for the next day. Mom had prepared an itinerary of things to do and places to see. Day one was going to be my favorite. We got up early the following morning and went downstairs for breakfast. It was already hot outside, and the hotel had its AC unit cranked well on a cool mode to keep everyone comfortable. We took a taxi and headed to Evansville Museum of Arts and History when we left the hotel. I loved art and history because both told an endless take about a place. My parents were happy to indulge my passion, and I had been first to pick a place to go. The museum was located in the Downtown Historic District and first opened its doors in Evansville in 1874. We got there right on time to enjoy the wonderful museum highlights tour, and I loved every minute of it. It was amazing to see and learn about the art and history of this lovely city at every turn. Even a traveling exhibition and some permanent ones that even my brother found quite interesting for once.

 

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The highlight of the Denver tour was visiting Mount Evans

My boyfriend was going to be gone for a long time.

The military planned to deploy him soon, and I was so anxious about the separation.

It would be almost two years before he would be allowed to come back home again. As a way to make me feel better, he planned a trip to Denver, Colorado. I had mentioned that I had not visited this city and would want to do so one day. My boyfriend planned the whole trip, and I was pretty happy with this thoughtful gesture. It was almost winter, but we set off on the road trip anyway. We wanted to spend time in the city when there were not too many visitors. When we got to Denver, the weather was cooler. Luckily, the hotel he’d booked had a fantastic heating system which kept the atmosphere warm and comfortable at all times. We settled into our room and enjoyed a wonderful dinner alone. We were in Denver for a week, and I loved every minute of it. We were surprised to learn a lot of places did permit visitors even in winter. The excellent thing was we were alone or with only a handful of people. The highlight of the Denver trip for me was driving to Mount Evans. The views along the way were something out of a picture book. I had never stopped to marvel at so many sites before in my life. Every few meters, there was an excellent place to take in the wonders. I was glad my boyfriend had taken the time to plan this wonderful trip for us. These memories would keep him close to me when it was time for him to leave. When we finally got to the peak, I was at a loss for words.
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We were relocated to Spokane, Washington

None of us knew how to survive in the snow and ice

My husband is in the Air Force, and recently they relocated him. He took off for our new home while I packed up the house and transferred the kids’ school records to their new school. My young son was in second grade and he wanted to tell his friends where we were going. I told him we were moving to Spokane, WA. We were moving from Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida, which is near Pensacola, to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, WA in the Pacific northeast. My son pulled out a map and looked at where we were and where we were moving and his eyebrows raised. He said it had to be a million miles away. I corrected him and told him it was over three thousand, but not a million miles. I knew he was going to miss his friends, but he was also excited to move and see daddy. My older daughter wasn’t as happy with our move. She was almost fifteen and not wanting to move. She asked if they had a beach there? She didn’t want to leave Florida and move to Spokane, WA. It was cold there and if there wasn’t enough heating, we would all freeze to death. None of us knew how to survive in the snow and ice. She demanded to know why we had to move to Spokane, WA and not stay here. I assured her she would make more friends, and Spokane was not going to be that bad. There was heating and air conditioning in every home, and she would be with her dad, whom we all missed.
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Albuquerque is a great place to move my family

For the last three generations, my family has lived in New Mexico.

It’s a beautiful state with red and orange mountains. New Mexico has some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery in the midwest. I grew up in a small village about 100 miles south of the state capital, Albuquerque. I lived there for 18 years with my mother and my father and then I went to college. After school was done, I moved back to New Mexico and met my wife. We started a family and now have three young boys. I moved my family to the state capital of Albuquerque a couple of months ago. In June of 2021, marijuana was legalized in the entire state for recreational and medical use. I was awaiting the approval of recreational cannabis, because I wanted to open a dispensary. It has always been my dream to open a retail cannabis shop. I met a friend in college and he eventually moved to California. He bought some farmland and started cultivating crops of marijuana. He wants to get into the business locally in Albuquerque, so we are going into business together. He will handle growth and harvesting and I will handle sales and distribution. Albuquerque is a wonderful city filled with artists, musicians, and young people. The people have overwhelmingly agreed that they want recreational marijuana access. I am hopeful that means a strong and steady stream of business to my store. I am set to open in less than three weeks and I couldn’t be more nervous and excited at the same time.

 

 

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Fort De soto is a nice place to visit in the spring months

Living in Tampa Bay can be very difficult, especially if you aren’t used to the heat and humidity.

My family and I moved to Tampa a few months ago and we are still getting used to the heat and humidity. After noon, the outdoor temperatures can soar into the triple digits. When the kids and I want to have an outdoor activity, we try to go in the morning before it gets too hot and uncomfortable. One of my favorite places to go is Fort De Soto State Park. This state park is operated by the Pinellas County park system. It is just Southwest of St Petersburg. Fort De Soto State Park is actually five offshore keys, Madeline key, Christopher key, Bonne Fortune key, Saint Jean key and the larger island of Mullet Key. All of these small islands are connected by a bridge. The islands were used for military operations in the past, but now they are part of the State Park. Fort De Soto Park is one of my favorite places to take the kids, especially during the spring months when we can spend all day at the beach. Even during May it can be warm and humid, but April and March are the perfect time of the year to explore the beach and take a long walk. I love living near Tampa and St. Petersburg. Maybe some folks can’t stand the heat, but this is home for me and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the country. I plan to stay here until they put me into the ground.

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Tampa Bay has a great hockey team this year

Most people don’t know this, but Tampa Bay has an ice hockey team called the lightning.

Tampa Bay probably isn’t the first place that most people think of, when they think about ice hockey.

Still, Tampa Bay has the Lightning and a huge fan base. I love the team and I wasn’t a fan of hockey before I moved to the Florida city of Tampa. It’s easy to get into sports when the people at work are really into the games. They talk about hockey all the time during the seasons. I had to learn some information about the sport, so I didn’t look like an idiot in front of my new colleagues. Then one of the guys invited me to go to a game. He had two tickets and his wife was supposed to go to the game. When she had to work late, he asked me to go. I didn’t want to say no, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of hockey. The game, the lights, and the excitement were amazing. It only took one game to make me a fan of professional ice hockey. Three years later and I am one of the biggest hockey fans in all of Tampa. I love the team and I learned everything about each one of the players. Even though it might be hot and humid outside most of the time, ice hockey is alive and well in the heart of the city. Inside the stadium it’s as frigid as the arctic circle on a winter day.

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I went to college down south, but moved shortly after I was done

I grew up in rural Farm country surrounded by corn and potatoes. I wanted to get out of that place badly and I knew that college was the answer. I studied every day and every night. I didn’t go to parties or hang out with my friends. I concentrated on getting good grades so I could go to the College of my choice. After I finished high school, I had my pick of several colleges. I decided to attend a school in Tampa, Florida. I was absolutely excited to attend the Tampa University and they agreed to give me a full scholarship. My mom and dad were unhappy that I decided to move 2000 miles away from home, but I was ready to get out of that place. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it is gone and that is absolutely What occurred to me. I wanted to get out of town, but I didn’t anticipate the way I would feel after I left home. Not only did I miss my family, but I was not accustomed to the heat and humidity. The weather in Tampa is a lot different than the weather in Massachusetts. I thought it would be warmer with more heat and humidity, but it felt like hell. Every time I went outside, I was miserable. I only spent two years in Tampa before I decided to transfer back home to a school closer to my mom and dad. I thought moving to Tampa would give me a better life, but I was wrong. At least I still had a place to come back to.

 

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Tampa bay has some really nice neighborhoods

My wife and I were looking for houses in the Tampa Bay Region.

We were happy to live anywhere in Hillsborough County, but we were hoping to stay closer to Tampa Bay.

We looked for several months, because we had a list of options that we absolutely wanted to have in our new home. The place needed a pool, because Tampa has some of the most hot and humid weather during the summer months. We also wanted to find a house with a brand new Heating and air-conditioning system for the same exact reason. The weather can be downright terrible during summer months and it is absolutely important to have a proper Central AC unit in place. We looked at one house with a really nice inground pool, but the heat pump and air conditioner were terribly old and the homeowner did not want to come down on the price so we could replace the system. Luckily, Tampa Bay has a lot of really nice neighborhoods. After six weeks, the realtor found our perfect place. The 4 bedroom Ranch has a formal living room and a formal dining room. It is in a neighborhood with two community pools, water slides, and a giant playground. We don’t have our own pool, but we do have a state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning system with a smart thermostat. The house is also in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Tampa Bay. As soon as we heard the asking price, we immediately placed our bid. Sixty days later, we were moving into the house of our dreams.

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The Tampa restaurant charged my credit card twice

My girlfriend and I went out for dinner on Thursday night.

We decided to go to Tampa Bay to visit an Italian Bistro that had great reviews online.

My wife got some tortellini with seafood. It had clams, shrimp, scallops, and giant pieces of real crab. I got a more traditional veal scallopini. The total for our order was almost $100 and I paid for the meal with my credit card. dinner was really nice and both of us were tired after consuming pasta. We decided to head home. It took about an hour to drive back to our house from the Tampa area. Traffic was heavier than usual due to a three-car accident. When my girlfriend and I got home from the restaurant, I put our leftovers in the refrigerator and both of us went to bed. I got up the next morning for work and I had to stop for gas. I searched all over the car, but I couldn’t find my credit card. I looked in my wallet, the glove compartment, and all of the crevices where it might fall. I couldn’t find the credit card anywhere, so I decided to call the last place I remember having it. That was the Italian Bistro from the previous night. I didn’t know if they would have the card or not, but I thought it was worth a try. Sure enough, I left my credit card sitting on the table after I signed the bill. The dining room was open and the owner had the card waiting for me when I arrived. Unfortunately, I had to skip work that morning to make the 1 hour drive all the way to Tampa.

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