Driving with Great Music

Driving with Great Music

Driving took up half my day today, traveling from Wisconsin through Minnesota down into central Iowa. I noticed two bald eagles, one perched in a tree right on the Mississippi River near the I-90 expressway and one in Minnesota a couple of hours later, soaring over the snowy prairie fields. I hope they both got a meal. I also saw a couple hawks but what kind they were alluded me – my best guesses would be a Coopers Hawk or Red-Tailed Hawk. They were both perched looking for the gullies on the side of the highway.

To pass time when I drive a greater distance, one that takes more than an hour on the road, I always try to bring along a few CD’s. Today I grabbed an old favorite by the Boston Pops. CD

Many of the songs on here are from old Disney movies, to which I was having a hard time remembering the words. But, I knew the music. I hummed and sang along when I could, usually at the top of my lungs!  It was fun and made the trip go by fast!

Do you ever sing in the car? What type of music do you sing along with? Leave your response in the comment section! Thanks!

Writing About Nothing

Writing About Nothing

Usually, I write about something important to me.  But, I really spilled my guts in yesterday’s post, so I feel drained. Given that the Slice of Life Challenge is starting this Thursday and I have signed up to participate again, I thought I would just take today and write about nothing all that important. Another reason I do not have a lot to say is that I have a paper due for my Place Based Learning Instructional Strategy Course on Wednesday.  I have not gotten very far on it.  I love the subject matter, but seem buried in other obligations – two other grad courses, a conference presentation on March 10th (not started yet), and a trip tomorrow to visit my son at Iowa State University.  We are going to see Motown the Musical on stage at Stephens Auditorium, which is a wonderful venue.

I am looking forward to being on a college campus for a few days and spending time with my oldest son who is in his first year of graduate school. I figure that I will work on my presentations and course work in the union.  It will be relaxing and hopefully, productive.  We will meet for meals and do some fun things together, like the musical. I’ll go and have coffee, take some winter photographs, and buy some Dutch Licorice Drops at STAM Chocolatiers in Downtown Ames.  I’ve needed this getaway for a while now and excited the time is near.

Today will be about getting as much work done as possible, so I can freely relax and not worry about what needs to be done. My school obligations will all fall into place whether I worry about them or not. So, here’s my Slice of Life blog about nothing at all.

Scooters, Buses, and Taxis: Getting Around on Bermuda

Scooters, Buses, and Taxis: Getting Around on Bermuda

For anyone who has been to the island paradise of Bermuda, you will know that one of the preferred methods for getting around is the scooter.  We have been to this island three times in thirty years. In that time, we’ve gone from renting and riding a scooter to using the buses, and most recently the ferry system and a taxi cab.  The change in mode of transportation has been influenced by several factors, not the least of which is the island’s population density and crowded roadways.  The other major factors were age, cost, time, and level of risk you are willing to assume.

When we first visited Bermuda, it was 1987.  We stayed at the Elbow Beach Hotel and decided to rent a scooter to get around. It was just my husband and I, newlyweds. We rented from the scooter shop right at the hotel, after getting a quick lesson from the native gentleman in the parking lot.  The only warning we got was not to carry things in the front basket, “for your protection” – as he put it to us!  We got around the island easily, not having any navigational problems, and were able to get to each of the far ends, as well as the City of Hamilton. The only problem we ran into was being caught in some rainstorms, during which we had to “hideout” under a vie-dock.  I do not think we rented the scooter for the entire week, maybe three days. It was fun, memorable, and cost-effective. Nothing bad happened – no accidents, nothing stolen, no falls. In short, it was a great mode of transportation for our twenty-something year old selves.


Twenty years later, in 2007, we returned to the island with our three boys in tow.  We knew before arriving that we would not be renting a scooter or scooters. None of our boys were old enough to drive. We opted for five-day bus passes for each of us that allowed travel all over the island on the pink Bermuda buses by just having a card punched by the driver.  I believe there was a child-rate that saved us some money.  On that visit we stayed at the Fairmount Southhampton Resort. There was (and still is) a bus stop at the base of the hill in front of the hotel. I think it is for the #7 bus. It was convenient and allowed us to still easily get around. The native Bermudians are gentile, lovely people. Riding their bus system is easy and they welcome visitors on their public transit system without prejudice, hostility, or much judgement on any of your ineptitude. If you are unsure, ask! Any number of Bermudians will tell you what to do! But, be sure to be polite! No one likes a bold and crass tourist. Remember, it is their country.  You are the visitor. The buses offer a safe, fun, easy, and affordable way to get around the island. I do believe it was our boys’ first experience with a public transit system.


My husband and I returned this past August, in 2017.  Again, we did not intend to rent a scooter. When we visited with our sons, ten years previous, we saw the greatly increased traffic and congestion as compared to our first visit in 1987. We expected, and were not wrong, that the traffic would be as bad or even worse. This time we elected to use bus tokens, bought from the hotel concierge, as well as the free ferry from the hotel dock to Hamilton.  We purchased commercial ferry tickets to get us from Hamilton to the Royal Dockyard one day and another day took multiple buses reach the town of St. George’s. You can ride different ferry lines to St. George’s but our concern was getting back to Hamilton in time to get the free hotel ferry back to Southhampton, which left at 4:45 p.m. We happened to travel to St. George’s on a Bermudian holiday which closed most of the stores in Hamilton. This gave rise to a slight concern about bus transportation but the main terminal was still open and functioning, although it did look like the fleet was abbreviated that day.  It all worked out and we even remembered to ask for our transfer when we exited the bus which would allow us to get on another line, taking us to a different part of the island.  The buses are really convenient when you stop some place like the Swizzle Inn and have a pitcher of the island’s famous rum concoction mid-afternoon!

We had one occasion where we took a taxi on this last trip. I had pre-booked two dinners for our week-long stay on Bermuda via Open Table.  One was for a Wednesday night at the Hog Penny Pub in downtown Hamilton. During the summer tourist season, the City of Hamilton hosts Harbour Nights once a week on Wednesdays. This is basically a huge street party, complete with a parade, Gombey dance troupes, food vendors, and local merchandise all on Front Street (which is closed down) from  7 10 p.m..  Since we had early-ish dinner reservations, we asked our concierge about getting back to the hotel when front street was closed. She told us to look for the taxi stands along front street and just hail a cab. Just to be prepared, we asked her how much the fare should be from downtown Hamilton to Southhampton.  We were quoted $30 – $35.00.  Buses do run on Wednesday nights, but she said to expect a very long wait due to the large crowds at the weekly festival.  We enjoyed our dinner at the Hog Penny and strolled with the parade which was not put off by a few rain showers, but by 8 pm we were ready to head back to the hotel and really did not find more than one taxi stand – on the street that was still closed.  My husband had the great idea of walking to the Hamilton Princess Hotel, just  a short stroll from downtown on Hamilton Harbor.  This is the sister hotel of the Fairmount Southhampton. There we used the bath room facilities and chatted with the valet. He called a cab for us. It did take about 30 minutes for the cab to arrive but it was spent pleasantly chatting with the 19-year-old Bermudian valet.  Our cab arrived and drove us back to Southhampton. The fare was just what we were quoted, and of course, we tipped both the valet at the Princess and the cab driver. But, we had a nice quiet ride back to our hotel. If you can afford it, the cab was a wonderful way to travel on Bermuda as well, especially at night.


Regardless of the mode of transportation, we were able to travel the length of the island on all three trips without difficulty. No one should be in a hurry while vacationing on Bermuda. So, if it takes 30 minutes or more to get to Hamilton or St. George or any one of the beautiful beaches, so be it. Just it back and enjoy. Let the Bermudians do the driving for you! Unless you are going to rent a scooter, this is what you have to do anyway – tourists cannot rent cars.

After this last trip, were we experienced a great deal of congested traffic on the roads. We feel the ferries, buses, and taxis are the way to get around on the island of Bermuda.  When we were younger, the scooter was fun, but it seems there was much less traffic.  It is not unusual for tourists to be involved in scooter accidents, either. In fact, when we were returning from our day at Tobacco Bay and St. George’s, we saw how easily a traffic accident can happen!  The roads are twisty and crowded, many butted right up against edges of limestone and volcanic rock . Locals beep their horns at each other to say hello. This can be distracting and not meant as the usual insult a blaring horn can mean in the U.S..  One must also remember to drive on the left, as they do in the U.K., not the U.S.. Drivers, especially visiting tourists, can be impatient and be seen attempting blind passes if the traffic is not moving along at a pace akin to their liking. Unfortunately, this all spells disaster for more than few drivers each year, who find themselves in the Emergency Room of King Georges’s Hospital rather than laying on the quintessential pink sand beach.

Going to Bermuda? Leave the driving to the Bermudians, sit back, and enjoy your trip!


Sugarcane Ditch Tubing Adventure on Kauai – A Travel Post

Sugarcane Ditch Tubing Adventure on Kauai – A Travel Post

I have been wanting to do more travel posts. Today, thought I would post about a tubing adventure we took on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in July of 2013.  Prior to leaving for vacation, my husband found the Back Country Tubing Adventure website. In our travels to Hawaii, we have always found it helpful to plan and book one of our larger outings before we go. Our first trip in 2009-2010 entailed a New Year’s Day snorkeling cruise to the volcanic crater of Molokini hosted by the Pacific Whale Foundation. But, I digress. Our snorkeling experience there will have to be saved for another post.

Kauai BackCountry Adventures offered a chance to mix the history of the Hawaiian islands with a present day adventure.  The five of us arrived on a sultry July day, ready for the unknown. We were instructed to meet at the home base for the company in Lihue which ended up being a large warehouse type structure. There, we checked in, and received our helmets complete with headlamps.  After being ushered into several large conversion vans, we were taken on a very bumpy ride up into the island’s interior to the former location of the Lihue Plantation.  The ride itself was an adventure! Just let’s say you are far from civilization when you travel to the head of the ditch where the start of the tubing adventure is located. Once there, you are provided a tube and don your helmet and then jump into a large stream with steeply sloped sides. You suddenly find yourself in an old Sugarcane ditch floating along, being gently pushed by the current and other tubers!  Our youngest son, who was 11 at the time and not at all sure about the trip.  The heat had caused him to become faint and shaky, so jumping into a make-shift river on a tube was not appealing at the time. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and he joined us on the trip.


It really is amazing to think that these ditches and tunnels (you go through several – thus, the need for headlamps) were dug out by hand by native Hawaiians who lived on Kauai in the late 1800’s. The end of the tubing adventure is completed with a lunch provided to you by the adventure company. Let’s just say, do not go on this adventure for the lunch! It was adequate but nothing more. Back on the bumpy bus to the home base warehouse in Lihue.

Sugarcane Plantations long sustained Hawaii economically. Sadly, the last plantation closed on Maui in 2016. The plantation on which the ditches exist that you traverse was the Lihue Plantation, established in 1849. The ditches were made in 1870 to help divert and direct water to the sugarcane fields.  This sugarcane plantation eventually closed in November of 2000, leaving the hand-carved ditches for tourists to tube and marvel at this feat of human engineering! More history can be found on the tubing company’s website.

Backcountry sugarcane ditch tubing on Kauai is an experience worth having while visiting the lush Garden Isle. It was fun, different, and made one appreciate some of the history of this amazing place!

Silent Sunday: New York City Highlights

Silent Sunday: New York City Highlights

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Brooklyn Bridge from NYC Harbor Ferry
Central Park, Signs of Spring
Wall Street
Radio City Music Hall from the Street
Look Up in Grand Central Station for some Art Deco Style
Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center
Tippy Top of Empire State Building at Night, taken from the Observation Deck
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Lady Liberty from the Harbor
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New York City Tug
USS Intrepid Air Craft Carrier
Statue of Liberty
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“Never Forget”, 9-11 Memorial
Statue of Liberty Up Close
9-11 Memorial Pools
Drinks of Bermuda

Drinks of Bermuda

This is not my first blog piece for today, but I guess I am just not ready to post what I wrote earlier. Now, it is late in the day and I am do not feel like posting a heavy piece of writing (>1,000 words).

So, in celebration of 5 o’clock on a Friday, I will post about cocktails. I just got back from Menards which is a home improvement store in the mid-west. There I found, by total accident, Ginger Beer made by Goslings.  I laughed as I scooped the six-pack up into my already full arms.

Ginger Beer is an ingredient in a Dark n Stormy, Bermuda’s national cocktail. I am not a huge rum fan but I do have Gosling’s Dark Rum in my cupboard which is a Bermuda staple. I cannot remember ever having a Dark and Stormy, even once during my three trips to Bermuda, including this past August. But, in the comfort of my own home, knowing I can potentially dump it down the drain after sipping the cocktail without wasting a ton of money (Remember, everything is expensive in Bermuda – wine, beer, and cocktails are no exception), allows me to feel adventuresome in trying this cocktail.

I looked up the recipe online from Epicurious – Yup, the ingredients are Dark Rum, Ginger Beer, and a lime wedge.

So, recognizing the Goslings label on the Ginger Beer (isn’t beer the same as ale, as in Ginger Ale?) I thought the soda was Bermudian, and what was referred to in recipes for a Dark and Stormy, the national cocktail of the Island of Bermuda.


Of course, I was disappointed when I realized that the Ginger Beer is not from Bermuda at all. I am sure it is just Ginger Ale, just like the Schweppes, Seagrams, or Canada Dry brands.  Just because it has a cute seal on the front, aptly named “Stormy”, does not mean it is better, or from Bermuda, or will make a more tasty rum concoction.

After all my excitement, I decided on waiting to try a Dark and Stormy for another day and instead reverted back to my heart helping glass of red wine – something Thorny, instead of Stormy.



Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

November Sunrise over the Coulee, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017
Alone on the Lake, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015
Cabin Dock at Sunset on Hultman Lake,  © Carol Labuzzetta
Summer Seat, ©  Carol Labuzzetta, 2017
Summer Seat at the Cabin,  © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015
Na Pali Coast Beach on Kauai, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013
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Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017
Resting in Peace, Long Coulee Cemetary, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015
New Amsterdam Grasslands, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017
Sunset on Hultman Lake, © Carol Labuzzetta
Taro Fields on Kauai, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013
Basking Monk Seal, Kauai, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013
Pink Sunset, Kauai, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013

Inspired by the Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene