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Patti Beth's Blog

Viva Italia!

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Viva Italia! We are in Sorrento, Italy. This is the country of delights for the senses. The weather is a perfect 66 degrees and any breeze that blows our way carries the fragrance of lemons and oranges which hang on the branches like over-decorated Christmas trees. Walks down little cobblestone alleys offer a tiny shop every few yards. Shelves are stacked with the leather goods that Italy is known for as that warm leather smell invites one to just touch and feel the craftsmanship of decades on display. The next little shop might offer fresh produce with strawberries ranging in size from marble to double golf ball size. The land of lemons means lemon soaps, lemon oils and, of course, Limoncello liqueur. The first glass is to make you sing, the second is to make you sleep. At least we were warned.

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Getting My Mind Packed

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As I write this, I realize that this time tomorrow, I’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean hopefully taking a nap so I can hit the ground running in Europe. No, I don’t dread the flight and no, I don’t have my suitcase packed.

People that aren’t quite as “Good to Go” will often ask me, “Don’t you hate to fly nowadays?” and more often, I get “You must keep your bag packed.” Those of us that love to travel know that both things are part of the adventure and what you put in your mind is almost as important as what you pack.

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Dreams DO Come True

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Jambo! (that's a Swahili greeting) Husband, Doug, and I are still in Kitongo, Tanzania volunteering at a girls home and school. The story of how we got here is kinda interesting. It's starts in Tulsa with a boy, a grandmother and a promise, and a trip of a lifetime. Janada Batchelor  promised her grandson, Chris Gates, that when he turned sixteen she would take him on a safari. This was Chris' dream trip as he wanted to be a exotic animal veterinarian  on the African Serengeti. But grandma had conditions. Chris must also do volunteer work at a boys orphanage that their church in Tulsa sponsored.

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You Can Quote Me on This

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I have a long time girl friend that is no longer my friend. We had a girl’s lunch to reconnect with some high school buddies and she announced to the table “Girls, you know we aren’t middle age anymore, unless you’re planning on living to 110.” Rather than slap her, we called over the cocktail waitress. Yep, it’s true. I have stood on my soapbox and proclaimed “Go while you can! Sooner, rather than later! Don’t wait! You can’t guarantee tomorrow! It won’t be easier next year!” And a few dozen other phrases that remind us that time speeds up when you hit…. well, middle-age.

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The Songs of the Fishermen

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The Bassmaster Classic is a memory for another year. ESPN sang the praises of the accomplishments of the fishermen across the world. Hubby, Doug, and I are literally across the world in  Africa hearing the songs of the fishermen.  We are on a mission trip at a girls home and school near Mwanza,Tanzania. A beautiful setting, the campus is right on the shores of Lake Victoria. This vast body of water is the major source of income for the locals who fish, and for the entire population who walk to the banks each day with plastic buckets to carry water back to their homes.

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Lizards to Luxury

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If you have been keeping up with my little adventures from Africa, then you will know the travel pros have been in Tanzania volunteering at a girl’s school. Our last report told about our frantic traverse to make a river cruise ship leaving Basel, Switzerland. Those few hours need to be elaborated on because it’s not every day that you leave living in a third world country to living aboard a 6-star ship.

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Welcome to Grand Lake!

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Photo courtesy Cheryl Franklin ~ Grove Sun

I sport the title “Fearless Leader” with pride, and I treasure the opportunity to take travelers to wonderful places all over the world. But this week, I’m hoping our local newspapers land in the hands of some of our visitors to Northeast Oklahoma. Please allow the tour guide to give you a little ten cent tour.

Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. The reason you are here is our beautiful backyard playground. We sometimes forget how lovely it is to watch the pinks and yellows of a sunrise almost everyday. And you are just in time for our fantastic winter sunsets. They fill the western sky with deep orange, streaks of red and a fire that can’t be captured with a camera. But go ahead and try. This is the week of the full moon and that big ball of light sends silver shimmers across the water like a beacon. Take the time to be there for it.

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Where's MY Fearless Leader?

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I suppose there are certain things we don’t want to hear in life, like our doctor say, “Man, I’m going to have to call a doctor and ask about that!” or our trusted auto mechanic mumble from under the hood, “whew, we may have to get a real mechanic that knows what they’re doing to figure this mess out!”

Well, you may NOT want to hear the truth in my latest travel experience, I wanted a Fearless Leader. In fact, March 19, about 1 am in Dar es Salaam, standing outside the small airport in Africa, I was whining to my travel buddy and hubby, Doug, “Where is MY Fearless Group travel leader when I need one? I want a flag to follow!”

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Weird Weather We’re Having, Huh?

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Maybe it’s my medication. I’ve been doctoring for a case of pharyngitis.  That’s what the doc called it, and somehow this seemed a bit more exotic than laryngitis. And my speech classes of yesteryear tell me that basically we are still saying sore throat, froggy voice. I’m thinking husband Doug prayed for a week of quiet. But I digress, the meds may be making me goofy, but I’m staring at a calendar that tells me it is February. My Bridal Veil Bush ignored the calendar and has bloomed, and the jonquils are poking their slick green fingers out of what should be the cold ground. Sitting here typing, a cacophony of honks allowed me to watch a gaggle of Canada Geese fly between our house and the neighbor’s house.

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