Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Monday, April 27, 2009

Vacations from Hell

This is the time of year when our hearts and minds turn to a summer vacation. Ah, the beach, the sun, refreshing adult beverages, dining out, sightseeing, all the things we associate with a vacation.

I am currently planning a trip to the UK to roll lazily down the canals above Oxford on a narrowboat accompanied by my husband, my sister, my daughter and my Swedish cousin and her boyfriend. We will be navigating the boat ourselves at about 3 miles per hour and basically living on the boat for 3 days and 4 nights. The boat is navigated from the rear while standing outside.

Here is what a narrowboat looks like.

Let's contemplate this for a minute. Six adults of varying ages and backgrounds living in tight quarters, navigating a boat outside in a country not known for its endless sun. Mmmm, now this could turn out to be the most relaxing vacation ever or it could turn out to be....dun da dun dun...The vacation from hell!

I have been fortunate so far in my treks in other parts of the world. No real disasters, except for that time in Italy when there was a last minute train change (the announcement was in Italian),and we missed the train while my son and his fiance ended up on the train with no tickets. But that's minor considering what could happen on vacation.

What about you? Share some vacation stories. What was your worst vacation?

Of course, you know how to avoid disastrous vacations, don't you? Planning. You can't control the weather, but if you know what to expect at your destination, you are more apt to have a good experience. The library has many resources to help you plan.

Here are some vacation ideas:

Volunteer Vacations

Hassle Free Walt Disney World

How To Rent Vacation Properties by Owner

Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for more than 250 Great Vacations

RV Vacations for Dummies

Cruise Vacations for Dummies

Fodor's South America

Gourmet Getaways

In addition to these, Sno-Isle Libraries has a wide array of travel guides from Lonely Planet to Frommer's to Fodor's to Rough Guides. So when planning that next great vacation, you need to look no further than your local library. And if you are like so many of us and feeling the pinch right now, there is always this alternative.

Backyard Adventures

Monday, April 6, 2009

Earthquake Weather

After having lived in California, not far from San Francisco, for most of my life, this time of year is often referred to as "Earthquake Weather." For Californians, it was most probably because the
Great Earthquake of San Francisco occurred April 18.
Everytime April rolled around or I was up higher than five or six stories, I used to be terrified of "The Big One." Probably didn't help that I moved to California right when everyone was talking about it falling into the ocean. California's earthquake woes were probably not foremost in the minds of Washingtonians at that time, but Seattle is also "earthquake prone," and now with this most recent earthquake in Italy, one's mind can't help but wonder about what would happen if an earthquake occurred here. Are we prepared?

At first, my concerns are strictly personal and selfish. I would hate to have to redo my house or live without my computer or Tivo. (Don't you hate it when the power goes off)? But then I start thinking of the broader picture. The devastation that could impact so many lives. I lived through the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 which brought down part of the Bay Bridge and which led to the Embarcadero Freeway being condemned. Fires ravaged the Marina district in San Francisco and cars were crushed by overpasses. Since the Embarcadero Freeway was hauntingly similar to Seattle's Viaduct, one can't help but make comparisons.

So whether you believe in "earthquake weather" or not, it doesn't hurt to assess your preparedness for any disaster, not just earthquakes. How prepared are you should a big earthquake hit the Seattle area? Do you worry about that? Do you have emergency supplies at the ready? Share what you have done to prepare for a disaster such as an earthquake. And here are some resources that can help.

Here is some information on Emergency Management and here you can

read more about earthquakes.

Here is the website for the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management.

Coincidentally, April is Disaster Preparedness Month in Washington.
Click here for more information.

The key to surviving an emergency is to be prepared and a good first step is to find out more about it at your local library.