Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Zipping Through the Trees, Cheaply

One of the adventures on our summer list was to head out to the mountains and zip our way through the trees for some amazing views. I'd already enjoyed my first "flying" adventure when I got my feet wet for the sport at the coast. In my mind, the mountains offered the polar opposite of my coastal experience, so I specifically wrote "Zip line in the North Carolina Mountains" on our Summer Experiences Checklist.

However, when I began perusing websites for mountain region canopy tours, sticker shock knocked me into reality. While the views are no doubt spectacular, we did not want to drop $200 just on admission fees to tick off one thing on our list. We did have other things we wanted to do this summer and we also wanted to be able to buy groceries.

Therefore, I checked out zip line venues in the Piedmont. I found one much closer to where we live, so we would save on gas. Admission would cost less for both of us than the cost of one admission anywhere else. And we would save even more by eating lunch at home rather than at a restaurant. I made an executive decision to zip line close to home and called for a reservation. When I explained to Hubby that we were not headed to the mountains, but we were saving over $150, he was perfectly content. Saving money is never bad news. 

Lessons learned from this particular adventure: 

  • It's not necessarily where you go, but who you are with and how much you can save. 
  • You don't need to empty your bank account to be adventurous. 
  • Wear jeans when you head out to the zip line (anything else, like yoga pants, and you are subjecting yourself to chafing).
  • When they ask if you want to bounce, say YES!
Here are some pictures from our zip line tour.

With Hubby at Richland Creek | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Ready to get up in the trees.
Hubby Flying at Richland Creek | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Hubby on approach to landing spot.
Richland Creek | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Exploring Richland Creek during our break.
Butterfly Richland Creek | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A little butterfly hung out with us at the creek.
With Hubby on a Bridge | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Heading to a higher platform.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the associate editor of Piedmont Parent and author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Copyright 2016 Michele Bare

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Goodbye Gallbladder

Goodbye Gallbladder | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
This was supposed to be our summer of adventure. Hubby and I created a list of things we wanted to do before the leaves begin to change. My intent was to blog about each experience. So far, we've checked three experiences off our list. I've blogged about one

The reason we're behind on having fun this summer and my excuse for not writing all about the adventures we did experience are tied to my love of cheese and onion rings. It doesn't hurt that I also adore pasta. 

When half your genes are Italian, you tend to serve a lot of cheese-topped and cheese-filled pastas. Also, we've had to travel up and down the coast a lot in recent years. A certain gas station, which also boasts made-to-order food, happens to serve excellent onion rings. When you are on the road headed to a funeral, excellent onion rings make for excellent comfort food.

However, when you also inherit genes that are not the best at processing cholesterol, cheeses and fried onion rings end up taxing a little thing called your gallbladder.

For the past few months, I've been experiencing chronic headaches, weight gain, stomach aches, upper abdominal pain and back pain. My annual physical also revealed another spike in my cholesterol and triglycerides, which I had had under control. I was surprised that one bucket of onion rings in a weak moment could undo all my dietary good work, but alas, I had other symptoms that could not be ignored. 

An ultrasound revealed what two doctors suspected after office exams. My gallbladder was inflamed and filled with stones. According to information on the Mayo Clinic's website, the bile that the gallbladder moves through the digestive system breaks down cholesterol. But if there's too much cholesterol, stones can form. There are other causes for gallstones, but mine were most likely caused by excess cholesterol.

Now, my poor gallbladder, who was only trying to do her job, must be removed. She tried, but my German-English (from my dad's side) gallbladder just could not withstand the workload from my Mediterranean (from my mom's side) palate, combined with the influence of southern cooking to which I've been exposed since my teen years. 

It is with great remorse that, on this last day with my gallbladder, I offer these words of apology and a sincere promise for the future:

My Dearest Gallbladder,

I am so very sorry for all the cheese that passed through my lips. I could have stopped at one cube or a few sprinkles atop my spaghetti. But I let my savory desires get the best of me. For all those wedges I ate by myself, I apologize. For all the times my homemade pizza included four or five kinds of cheese, I am deeply sorry.

I regret also all of the buttery, melt-in-my-mouth homemade biscuits that passed through my lips. And the fried vegetables — okra, squash, green tomato slices, green beans, pickles.

Over the years, I put you through so much. And what did you do? You worked even harder. You tried. But it became too much. When the stones began forming, did you complain? Not at first, no. You just pushed them aside and kept working. But eventually, there were too many stones. Too much swelling.

And now, it's too late.

I cannot undo what has been done. I cannot stop what must happen. But your existence and your untimely end will not be in vain. I will always remember you and all of your hard work. And I will honor your memory each and every day for the rest my life. 

Moving forward, I will stick to a healthy, low-fat diet in which moderation is a key factor. No more fried foods, not matter the occasion. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean chicken and turkey, fish, nuts and oatmeal will nourish me. I will also exercise regularly in your memory. 

You, my precious gallbladder, did what you could to help me. Now I will spend the rest of my days doing everything I can to help myself in your absence. 

Had I started this decades ago, maybe you could have been saved. I will have to live with that knowledge. And while that is sad, your demise may have saved many other organs. Healthier eating and regular exercise will serve to keep all of the rest of your fellow organs working well for as long as possible. 

Thank you for all you have done for me and my body for nearly five decades. May you rest in peace with the knowledge that the rest of me is better off for having known you.

All my best,

While I'm home recovering from surgery, maybe I'll catch up on my summer experiences blogs. Before the symptoms got too bad, we did happen to make it to Zoofari and a zip line tour. 

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the associate editor of Piedmont Parent and author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Copyright 2016 Michele Bare

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie and a Dinner

Red Cinemas | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Reclined in the Red Cinemas luxury seating
with our beer and wine, awaiting
the start of "Now You See Me 2."
One of the experiences on our summer checklist — a seasonal bucket list, if you will — was to see a movie at Greensboro's Red Cinemas and then enjoy dinner at Burger Warfare. We checked that experience off our list during Father's Day weekend. We intended to tackle either Zoofari or Hanging Rock that weekend, but neither panned out. So we took a gander at our list and realized we could easily fit the movie and dinner into our schedule. 

The purpose of seeing a movie at Red Cinemas was to take advantage of its luxury seating. But only a few auditoriums have luxury seating, so we checked the movie listings to see what was playing. It just so happened "Now You See Me 2" was playing in luxury auditorium six. 
Burger Warfare | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A giant war bot at
Burger Warfare

"Have we seen the first 'Now You See Me' movie?" I asked Hubby. 

"Yes, we watched it last year," he assured me.

"Are you sure? Isn't that the movie that Santa brought us?"

"Yes," he answered.

I countered, "Well, that movie is still shrink-wrapped. We haven't opened it yet. We haven't seen it."

"I promise, we all watched it."

"Well, I don't think so, but let's see the sequel anyway. If I like it, we can watch the first one. Kind of like as a prequel."

Hubby agreed to see "Now You See Me 2," but was adamant about our having seen the original.
Wall | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A "hole" in the wall
between the two dining
areas at Burger Warfare.

When we arrived, we bought our tickets and then headed to the concession stand. I ordered a glass of zinfandel and Hubby ordered a craft beer. The wine and beer selections are another reason we like this particular theater. 

Three minutes into the movie, I remembered first movie. We had seen it. We must have streamed in on Netflix, because the DVD Santa brought sat unopened in the movie cabinet. 

As we walked from the movie theater to Burger Warfare — the proximity of the restaurant and theater makes it a great date-night venue — Hubby mentioned he did not remember much of the first movie and suggested we watch it soon. I spent the rest of the walk recounting the entire plot of the first movie, while ignoring the fact that he was right — we had seen it already. 

We then stepped into a war zone. Not because Hubby was right about something, but rather because Burger Warfare is a themed, gourmet burger place with giant robot sculptures and canned war-type sounds periodically blasting out of speakers.
Return Trip | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My return to Burger Warfare to
retrieve my debit card. Lesson learned!

Not only was the atmosphere futuristically and whimsically fun, the food was fantastic. I couldn't quite finish my sweet potato bot tots, but I was somehow able to polish off my The Governator chicken sandwich. 

Adventures not only broaden our horizons, they teach us life lessons, too. Had I not inadvertently left my debit card at the restaurant, it would have been a nearly perfect outing. I learned a valuable lesson. Always check that you received your debit or credit card back from the server and put it back in your wallet before you leave the restaurant and drive home, especially if you live in another town in another county. A few days later, I had to drive back to Burger Warfare and pick up my debit card. That little adventure had me stuck behind a train cross arm on the way there, and then stuck in rush hour traffic on the way back. However, I was nothing but grateful. The Burger Warfare staff had immediately found my debit card and secured it in the safe until I could return.

One summer experience down. Eleven more to go. It's shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Copyright 2016 Michele Bare