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Atlanta Recap Feb 24

Well, here goes my second attempt at this blog post. I do everything on a mobile device and everything I had written just went poof. Let’s try this again.

It’s been nearly 2 months since we returned from our camping trip to Atlanta. Just more proof how quickly time flies.

The drive up took a little over eight hours. It was fairly easy, but we did arrive after dark which we had hoped not to do.

It took awhile for us to get the camper situated on our site in the dark, especially since it was uneven and took quite a bit of maneuvering to get the camper level.

Once the camper was set up, we started loading in our stuff and trying to get the heater to work. While everything else that ran on propane worked, the heater refused to. There were plenty of options to keep warm still, so we went about unpacking. We were getting hungry, so we started to fix dinner. Or so we thought.

Something had happened during set up or a previous take down and the drainpipe from the sink was broken. Water filled the compartment that contained the drainpipe which also holds the fuse box for the camper.

So instead of making dinner, my husband and I start throwing towels down in the compartment to soak up the water before it can get into the electrical. As we are pulling out the soaking wet towels, we realized that they aren’t just wet but covered in mulch and dirt and other bits of nature. Now we don’t have any towels for showers for the rest of the trip.

My husband says, “We need a heater, new towels, and I need some tools to repair the sink. I’m going out to find a Walmart.” As true as his statement was, the current state of the camper was starting to make my skin crawl. But he went out to find the things we needed and I just kept going through the steps of making the beds and putting our things away one by one until they were finally done.

It only took about an hour for my husband to find the Walmart, shop and return. He also brought with him food from Wendy’s. Wendy’s has never tasted so good.

We devoured our meals, he fixed the sink, and at 11 PM we finally were able to go to bed. And from both beds, we were able to see:

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That was the best $20 I have ever spent. It just melted away all the stress of the day.

The next day went much smoother than the first. My husband is a huge fan of Diet Coke, so we had to go visit the World of Coca-Cola while we were in Atlanta. While the kids were not impressed with the exhibits, they did appreciate the holiday decorations:

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We also took them to Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. This place was AMAZING and I highly recommend it for anyone with kids under 8, for sure, tho my husband and I enjoyed it as well. The kids were moving so fast from one exhibit to another that I don’t really have any good pictures, but trust me they had a fabulous time.

We took a roundabout way back to the campground from downtown Atlanta and stopped at Fox Brothers barbecue. If you’re a fan of barbecue, this is another stop that I highly recommend. The fried pickles and jalapenos are delicious, as is the macaroni and cheese and the ribs. Honestly, in my two visits there last year, I haven’t had anything that I wouldn’t eat again.

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For our third day, our plan was to do the events at Stone Mountain Park. They offer Snow mountain at Stone Mountain and, because it was just after Christmas, we could also participate in all of their Christmas events except getting to meet Santa. Because of course he was done for the year. 😉

The kids had a fantastic time playing in the snow! Unfortunately, before the Christmas events opened, it started pouring rain and we spent the rest of the day stuck in the camper watching TV and coloring.

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Our final day in Atlanta had no agenda, so we took a short ride through the neighboring towns and then visited the old mill and quarry in the park. Again, the kids were not impressed, but were able to be outside and active and burn off some energy unlike the day before.

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On our way back to our campsite, my husband dropped the kids and I off at the playground while he went back to make dinner. They had a blast! It’s amazing what a new playground will do to a kid.

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We spent our last night attempting s’mores by the fire and packing up most of our belongings.

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Our final morning, we were up early to finish packing and get breakfast. While my husband took down the pop-up, I took the kids to the massive playground on the other side of Stone Mountain Park. It was way too big for them, as well as too wet, but they really weren’t that interested. They knew it was time to go home and were ready.

The drive home took a little over nine hours and ended with pizza and a friend stopping by to welcome us home. It was a great trip and further fueled our desire to do a US road trip in a few more years.

The Story of Prague Mar 12

I’ve hinted several times that my husband and I had an opportunity for international travel, and even wrote about the carry-on I bought and my experience with international flights, but have yet to write about the trip itself.

Strangely enough, it’s been a little over six months since we got on the plane to Frankfurt and then to Prague. It took me an entire month to relax after the flights and then it was time for a first birthday, the holidays, and then a fourth birthday. Part of me still feels like Prague was just yesterday.

When we first returned, I wasn’t sure what to think about my time in Prague. I wasn’t sure what the big deal was about the city, and why I should convince friends to go there. It’s an old capital city, with some beautiful historic locations, and a great location within Europe. It took quite awhile for me to “get” it.

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, and the people primarily speak Czech, along with German, Polish, and English. The food is hearty meat and root vegetables served in a variety of savory ways. The Czech version of a German strudel and tart are found in every food place you visit, and coffee and beer are available on every corner. My husband and I both fell in love with Kozel dark beer, which is a lot like the brown ales my husband favors. I drank more alcohol in our 8 days in Europe than I had in the 8 months prior and was never drunk or even buzzed. Beer is cheaper than water at restaurants and stands and is always served with food.

The city is split into several districts – Old Town, New Town, Little Quarter, Jewish Quarter, and Prague Castle. We stayed at the 987 Design Hotel which was a stone’s throw from the train station, the university where my husband spoke, and city center. We were just barely located on the typical tourism map. It was a great place to be. We could walk or hop a bus, tram, metro or train and be anywhere in the city without issue. And we covered most of the city by foot while we were there.

I live in central Florida, home of Walt Disney World. And unless you are on WDW property, public transportation is nearly non-existent. If you want to get somewhere in this town, you drive. Not so in Prague. We could have taken the metro instead of hotel shuttle to the airport if we’d desired. The only city in the U.S. that I’ve been to that even begins to compare? Our own nation’s capital. Prague has far more history and connection to its culture than Washington D.C., but it the closest comparison I’m aware of.

Prague has wonderful parks and greenery on most street corners, and some of the more tourist-y areas have parks in the street median. Roads begin and end at museums, because there is just that much history. Nearly all buildings are a business at street level and then two or more levels of residences with parking hidden in interior garages and courtyards.

It feels as though every restaurant offers outdoor seating, and food carts are set up near the established parks to create seating. Everyone who works in the hospitality realm speaks English, although there was one location that didn’t like that we didn’t speak their language. I got the impression that they thought we were snobby Americans, but my husband and I both speak conversational Spanish, and if I had to, I could stumble through reading some Portuguese. Oh, and we looked up some Czech phrases before we went AND had a friend give us some German basics in case we needed help in Frankfurt. There just isn’t time for a standard short vacation to learn an entirely new language. Now, if you’re going to spend more than a month in any country other than your own? Put forth the effort. Otherwise, a few phrases go far.

I’m going to use the next few (Wordless) Wednesdays to post pictures from Prague. Words just don’t do justice to the combination of history and modern day that is found there. If you have the opportunity, I’d recommend it.

FREE Book! Jan 29

My husband wrote and published his first book, with some help from Amazon. For anyone interested in learning more about Getting Started With Computer Security, check it out!

I’m sure you’re looking for a review of some sort, or words of wisdom to up and coming computer security gurus, but that’s not my forte.

What I CAN tell you is that it is well organized and easy to read. If you have recently become employed in computer security and your friends and family look confused by any statement other than, “At work,…” then this is the book for them. It does not answer all possible questions (and isn’t meant to), but it can help to bridge the gap in conversation and maybe get others to realize how much this subject means to you (and should mean to them).

My favorite section is Digital Forensics because I’m interested in investigative processes. Really, I like anything that has a process, whether investigative or not. For me, this section was too short, but I have to remind myself that this is an introduction and, with luck, there will be more to come from this series. I hope there are many others who feel the same way about the sections of this book!

The most difficult section for me to read was about certification. Because certification in any of these fields is not what I’m interested in, it turns into a jumble of alphabet soup, but would prove invaluable to someone breaking into the career field and trying to make sense of what certifications they will need.

If anyone is interested in certifications, there are resources available at INFOSEC School, and quite a few other locations.

If you’re already in an entry level position, are in the process of receiving certifications, and need an updated resume to apply for all the new positions you qualify for, CV Launch can help you on your way.

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