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An Open Letter and a Goodbye

The very first post for this blog by would-be jet-setters was “Can you feed the cat?” all the way back in 2012. We talk about our girl Storm and how her independence’s facilitated our love of travel. She tolerated us leaving and forgave us when we returned. She is, was, our girl. She got sick about 3 years ago at the age of 17 and needed nightly care and special food and drugs to maintain her quality of life. We didn’t really travel much during that time because she needed us. We needed her. We never begrudged the nightly I-V’s or transdermal medications or bi-monthly vet visits. She was our girl and we wanted her to feel happy, loved, and comfortable. We were able to manage her condition up until 2 weeks ago. She took a turn for the worse and we made one last visit to the vet where we held her as they pushed the syringe that ended her pain. We don’t regret doing it. It was time. The people at the vet were so kind. We wanted to share the thank you note we wrote them.

Dear Dr. Smart, Dr. Moreira, and the Staff at North Bay Animal Hospital,


We want to thank you all so much for your kindness and compassion over the last 2 years. When Storm was initially diagnosed with renal failure we didn’t know how long she would be with us. We couldn’t have even hoped for the three wonderful years we got. You seem to truly understand that to us, she is our child, and we only wanted more time than our already 19 years with her. You helped us do that. You helped us provide her with a comfortable stress-free retirement napping in the Florida sun. You help us get 730 more days of her resting in our laps. You helped her give us a bright spot every day working at home during the pandemic. 
You also helped up understand when it was time to say goodbye. 
We feel you understand the whole in our hearts her absence makes. 
The empathy you showed means the world to us in this most difficult time.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Amanda and Zeke Changuris

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365 Days and a Haircut

I like a lot of people put off getting a haircut after the pandemic started. I could have safely gotten it cut months ago but wanted to make a point to my students. I told them at the beginning of the year that you will know when the second vaccine goes in my arm when the ponytail comes off. I wanted to make a point about delayed rewards. I could have gotten it cut, but didn’t because waiting until I couldn’t infect others was just as important as they not infecting me. Well, I am fully vaccinated.

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The Chance to Reconnect

The past week has been nice. The school system is off for spring break which means no classes and no place to be. We also found this occasion to play host to my parents. The now 70-year-old couple (shots in the arm) boarded a plane in Maryland and flew down here to spend time with the son and daughter-in-law they haven’t seen in almost 2 years. The visit entailed me playing chauffeur (despite being offered a car to drive) to my parents. You see, unlike the imaginary world of House Hunters International where people want an extra bedroom so they can have family stay with them, my parents sanely chose a hotel nearby.

We were able to spend the days together having brunch one day (prepared by Amanda) before spending the afternoon at the ballpark in Sarasota watching the O’s. We got up early one day to head out to Clearwater Beach and spend the day by the water… in the water if you’re Amanda in her new wetsuit. My father and I even did our favorite beach activity – play catch – something we’ve been doing since I could hold a ball. We even had time to spend the day by the pool just doing nothing but talking and reading.

We didn’t need to do much. We didn’t need to rush all over the state to stay entertained. We simply needed to spend time face to face catching up. We hope that this visit is just the beginning of more visits – both ways.

 

 

 

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A Shot in the Arm and Closer to Normal

We don’t have much to report this week but will have plenty next week. The parents have come to town since they have their vaccines. We plan to hit the beach and watch the hits at the ballpark. We’ll tell you how things feel in the closest we’re coming to normal yet.

I also got my first shot the other day. I go back in about 2.5 weeks for the second. Amanda, unfortunately, isn’t part of a priority group so she has to wait until probably closer to May before she gets her shots.

I also find it amazing that the president said in the first 100 days a 100,000,000 vaccines would be in peoples arms… its only been 50 days since he took office, so Good Job.

I’ll check in more next week, stay safe everyone.

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Looking to Escape

I know many of you have been looking for a way to escape from lockdown or that confinement made you reevaluate your priorities and you want to feel freer. You know us by now and know that travel is how we here at No Kids feel free and one of the ways we love to travel is by sail. I’ve compiled a list, with links, to some of the best sailing youtube channels to help introduce you to the sailing way of life.

6. Sailing Uma

The story of two twenty something architects that decided that the sailing life suited them more than the office life and did a complete refit of a small boat and began sailing the world from the Caribbean to Scandinavia.

5. Sailing Delos

It is a story about sailing and travel and adventure. Capt. Brian was raised in the small land locked city of Flagstaff, Arizona. He went to school in Seattle and got and electrical engineering degree and started a small software company. He realised soon after that the steady landlocked office life wasn’t for him. He got a boat and set sail for something new. We watch him go from wanderer to dad all aboard SV Delos.

4. Lady K Sailing

I’ve really grown to love Lady K Sailing. A channel that is very nuts and bolts about the sailing lifestyle and sailing in general. The idea is go simple and go now. Tim is a sailor from Ontario who sails during the sailing seasons and returns to Ontario when the season is done. He like most sailors sails on a older boat from 70’s that might not look like much but is very practical and very affordable. He’s no frills approach is refreshing if you watch a lot of sailing channels.

3. Ruby Rose

The sailing adventures of Ruby Rose have been one of my mainstays for sailing escapism. Nick and Terysa currently are sailing the north coast of France giving us a uncommon look at France and sailing as they weather the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions while still trying to explore the unique ports of the old world.

2. Distant Shores

You could say this is the grandaddy of all the sailing channels. The adventures started back in the nineties and were broadcast on television they still are and AWE. “… Paul and Sheryl Shard, a Canadian couple who set sail from Lake Ontario with a dream of sailing south when we were in our early 30’s. We have sailed and lived aboard since 1989. We’ve learned a lot sailing to “distant shores” on 5 continents over 30 years of international cruising, putting 110,000 miles under the keel and doing 9 ocean crossings during that time.” You want to learn about sailing from experts the Shard’s are it.

  1. Gone with the Wynn’s

I love Nikki and Jason Wynn. I am even one of their patrons. The young couple started by sharing their nomadic life as they journeyed across America in their motorhome. A few years ago with no sailing experience mind you they bought a 38ft Leopard Catamaran and moved aboard. The Wynns have been showing us how to sail, visiting beautiful places, and doing some amazing journalism along the way. The visuals are stunning. I’ve donated many times to the organizations they’ve highlighted that are doing good in remote places. I most recently donated money to buy Ukulele for a library music program in Tonga. Jasons and Nikki absolutely charming and let you know what boat life is really like if you are a long term cruiser.

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Vaccine Passport?

The I.A.T.A. (International Air Transport Association) is currently lobbying governments to adopt a digital vaccine passport that can be presented at the border to prove you have the appropriate vaccines, and yes, that includes the COVID-19 vaccine. The hope is to get air travel moving again, especially international travel, not only for the sagging airline industry but the tourism industries of many countries that rely on tourism for a big part of their economy. The concept is a bit complicated so it’s best to have the I.A.T.A. explain it. I hope the idea catches on soon and we, once we are vaccinated, can take to the sky and cross those boarders once again.

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A Side Project… A Passion Project

I have for the better part of the past year been not only writing this blog, working for Honey’s Anime, and teaching full time, but have been running a podcast. The podcast is called WLNM (the Web Light Novel and Manga Podcast.) I wanted to talk to authors and share experiences, learn from them, and help them promote their books. We generally talk about the writing process and the projects they are working on. I love it. I love having the chance to explore the worlds others created. I love and support the very hard-working community of writers and artists that don’t have big contracts or agents is a simple way for me to give back.  If you like hearing how individual authors each deal with the writing process and get their ideas this is the podcast for you. I hope you have a chance to give it a chance.

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Pitching in for the Big Game

When the Super Bowl comes to town, host cities go all out to welcome partners, players, and fans. Hundreds of volunteers donate their time and talent to welcome visitors at the airport, staff game-adjacent events, and generally keep things running smoothly.

As a social media professional, I’ve been part of the teams behind the handles for a few large events, but never one as big as the Super Bowl—and never before during a pandemic.

Before every volunteer’s first shift there was training on messaging, the mission, how to use various online tools and more. We signed COVID-19 waivers and agreed to daily health screenings and 100% compliance with mask-wearing rules.

When the social media command center opened, experienced professionals and college students manned a socially distanced bank of laptops pulling in content from across social media. The vast majority of comments were positive as visitors and locals took in the Super Bowl experience. As with any subject up for discussion online, there were naysayers and malcontents as well.

People asked about the timing for fireworks displays, where to find memorabilia, if they could change their reservations at the Super Bowl Experience, if there was a wait list, etc. The command center was ready for just about anything and we spent most of our time complimenting visitors’ posts.

Hosting a Super Bowl during a pandemic is a tall order to fill, but the Tampa Bay Host Committee made sure it was memorable for all the right reasons.

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Tampa beating the Odds…

I’m not a big Tampa sports fan. I am, as you’ve seen a big sports fan, but we remain loyal to our old home town teams in Washington and Balitmore. I will say though there must be something in the water down here and we’re not talking mermaids or manatees.

The Tampa teams have been on a role recently the Tampa Bay Rays went to the world series in 2020 and lost to the LA Dodgers. The Tampa Bay Lighting hockey team won the Stanley Cup (championship) in 2020 and now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the NFL’s Superbowl. Yes, the Ray’s didn’t win and the Buc’s game isn’t until next week but they’ve already become the first NFL team to be the host city of the Superbowl and one of the teams playing. The Buc’s in many odds houses are the favorite.

The point is the odds of any city winning 3 out of 4 of the major North American championship is very slim. The Harvard Sports Anaylisis Collective puts it this way…”When we sum up the individual probabilities, we get 0.43%. Thus, ignoring the “big market” effect and assuming all franchises in a given league have a uniform probability of winning the championship, we would expect one city to win at least three out of four titles about once every 227 years.”

So, even without a Ray’s win or a Buc’s win they’ve done something amazing in this town and its worth trying to answer the question, what are the odds?

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Change is in the Air

The simple things that are already starting to change when it comes to climate change.

I have to say there is a lot of hope in the beginnings of a new administration and one of them is the US rejoining the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

ACCEPTANCE ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the Paris Agreement, done at Paris on December 12, 2015, do hereby accept the said Agreement and every article and clause thereof on behalf of the United States of America.

Done at Washington this 20th day of January 2021.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

If you are not familiar “The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Countries at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.” – United Nations Climate Change

We, Amanda and I, truly hope that this small step in rejoining the world is symbolic of the new administrations’ commitment to protecting the world we love to travel so much.