Category Archives: relaxation

Notes from Ocean 2018

Seaside Inspirations

By Emma Palova

Ft. Lauderdale, FL- Sipping coffee at a Turkish café on the corner of Sunrise and N. Ocean boulevards in Ft. Lauderdale with my daughter Emma, I found life easy.
This writer’s break from the northern vortex in West Michigan was different from the previous ones.
First of all, I changed bodies of water;that is the Gulf of Mexico for the Atlantic Ocean. Then I changed company. We all went with our adult children and the grand kids.
We stayed at an Art Deco villa five minutes from the beach. It gave us the opportunity to explore the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal.
And for the writer in me it was also good to compare the two shores; that is the Atlantic and the Gulf coast.
The weather was marvelously warm in the 80s with equally warm waves of the Atlantic splashing the beaches. Surfers were abundant unlike on the Gulf, where the waves are not big enough for surfing.

On the downside of the Atlantic, there were less shells and no shark teeth hunters. However, the lifeguards were on full duty and warned of rip currents. Our fellow traveler Maranda almost got caught in one. The lifeguard warned us with his whistle.“Always swim with the current to get out of it, never against it.”
The sounds of the waves rocked the youngest ones to the best nap in the world: on the beach.
Just listening to the ocean and watching the white combs as the waves crested was the best meditation in the world. Enhancing the motion and the sounds of the ocean were the freighters anchoring off shore. These lit up at night.

South Beach, Art Deco & Miami Yacht Show

A pretty nerve-wrecking drive south on Collins Ave and onto Ocean Blvd. took us to South Beach and the Art Deco district.
On the cusp of the 30th annual Miami Yacht Show running from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, we drove past hundreds of yachts-in-water for sale on the Indian Creek Waterway. Yacht brokers were just building entrances to the yacht in-water displays on 1.2 million square feet.

Art Deco district

As a civil engineer by trade and a history buff, I was fascinated by the chic historic Art Deco district. Sitting in the South Beach neighborhood within a short walking distance from the beach, the colorful historic buildings span three basic architectural styles: 1920s Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and MiMo or Miami Modernist architecture.
In search of Cuban fare & Daiquiri cocktails, we ate at Mango’s Tropical Café.
The beach scene beyond the Lummus Park featured colorful Art Deco lifeguard stands and the hottest fashion trends such as the thong swimwear.

Seaside Inspirations

Las Olas, Venice of America, Ft. Lauderdale

We took a pirate boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway lined by million dollar homes and mega yachts of the rich and the famous. Captain Kris took us past Steven Spielberg’s mega yacht equipped with three-quarter of a full length movie screen.
Knowledgeable about the lives of the famous, Chris told us the story of the founder of Phillips 66 petroleum company after whom the famous Grille 66 & Bar on the waterway has been named.
Then came the story of entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga known for Blockbuster Video, Waste Management & AutoNation.


We visited this small town of 6,000 north of Ft. Lauderdale twice for its walkable shopping district, the pier and snorkeling opportunities. It is full of small beach motels, unlike its high-rise neighbors.
I marveled at the sign for the local Farmer’s Market open from December through May.
In Michigan, we get first produce in June.

Fond memories

I will treasure timeless moments spent in the coarse sand, on the waves of the Atlantic, on the veranda of Ocean 2000 of the Pelican Resort and Valentine’s dinner on the deck of the Sandbar Grille.

And yes, we did also meet some Rubes, like the clerk at the Beach Shop.

However, we bargained with her for the best price for our Budweiser and Corona swimwear.

“You girls will never have to buy a drink for yourself on the beach,” she noted with a deep hollow laugh. Emma noticed her turquoise colored earrings in the shape of balls from the smallest to the big one.

Or maybe the real rube was the obnoxious bad pirate Barnacle Bill who stole our key to the treasure aboard the Bluefoot Pirate Adventures.

At the Aruba bar, women sported heart-shaped Valentine shades, and Publix was overflowing with heart-shaped balloons and cakes.

During this brief break from the freezing cold, we marked Mardi Gras, Valentine’s and Ash Wednesday, as well as the Greek Festival weekend in southern warmth and hospitality.

Alligator Alley, Everglades

However, I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention our 123 mile long drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers through the Everglades area of South Florida.

The freeway I-75 from the east coast of Florida to the west coast is appropriately called Alligator Alley, as it cuts through the Everglades for 80 miles.

I noticed hundreds of white egrets congregating on the palm trees by the river fenced off from the freeway to protect the endangered Florida panther.

According to popular lore and crime movies, dead bodies are being disposed off here at the Alligator Alley. You will find no traces of anything. What the alligators didn’t get, the birds and the panthers will. It’s called balance in nature.

Well, our time on the Atlantic Ocean came and went like the afternoon tide. But, it washed ashore thousands of precious memories.

And I close this “Notes from Ocean 2018” account with the words of the Frontier airline captain.

“Join us. We’re flying like crazy from the tip of North America to the tip of South America.”

Copyright © 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.


Lake Michigan circle tour, part 1

Crossing Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger carferry as stories like waters Unfurl

By Emma Palova

Ludington, MI – We crossed Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger on Aug. 14 from Ludington to Manitowoc, WI. It was a four-hour long voyage across the 60 miles of calm waters, as we enjoyed the breeze and the sun in the lounge chairs on the bow of the ship.

By taking the car ferry, which is part of the U.S. 10 highway system across the Midwest, we sailed a piece of history. The Badger was officially designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in February 2016 by the Secretary of the Interior in recognition of the American transportation technology in the mid-twentieth century.

The designation is rare, making U.S. 10 one of only two U.S. highways with a ferry service connection.

We sailed aboard the 410-foot ship complete with a museum, gift shop, game & movie rooms and cafes. However, unlike the luxury cruise ships in the Caribbean, this vessel was built for transporting heavy railroad cars  across the lake in 1953.

Badger has two decks below for cars, tour buses and RVs and both were full to the aft of the ship. The upper and lower passenger decks were filled with tourists and families. However, it’s not usual for passengers to Inhabit one of only 24 staterooms.

Aboard the ship, I learned the sailing lingo like the “starboard” side is the right side of the ship, while the port side is the left side.

The trip saves approximately 300 miles of driving around the lake, while providing magnificent vistas of the dunes, the lighthouses and the glistening lake.

For me, the most relaxing was just listening to the waters splash against the ship, as the sun kissed my face. The other pastime was listening to people talk about their adventures from other boats and times, as we smoothly sailed forward to the shores of Wisconsin.

Nothing inspires me more than water, whether still or in motion, being in it, on it or around it. The next best thing to water for inspiration is history. The stories like the waters or sails Unfurlin front of me.

The Badger leaves a legacy as the last coal-fired, steam-powered passenger vessel operating in the United States. The ship continues a unique and vital maritime tradition. The crew of 50 makes every effort to celebrate the heritage on board to educate and entertain the passengers.

We smoothly sailed onward to our next adventure along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

For more info about the S.S. Badger go to

Watch for next post….Pirates of Lake Superior

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.


I am exhausted and ready for a vacation. Follow me on my author’s journey deeper into the Midwest as the sands shift some more into a new book.

I need some reprieve after all the commotion with the recent book Shifting Sands Short Stories that came out in July, both in kindle and paperback on Amazon.

I still have quite a way to go before the vacation next week, so at least I can write about it. It feels good to finally be able to think about some time off.

Watch for exclusive excerpts from the book, and more author events coming to the area.

What keeps me going are my morning therapeutic walks on the gravel road into the peaceful untrodden meadows, and meditations with Deepak & Oprah.

I especially love the Desire & Destiny meditation about fulfilling your purpose in life. It seems so relevant now with the new book.

Today, I did Day 12: “Inspired Me” with the centering thought, “I am inspired. I am unstoppable.”

I found out that I’ve been pushing too hard. I need to be effortless.


Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Spring fishing for relaxation

Relaxing into the outdoors

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I am working on exploring new methods to alleviate mental distress  as expressed in the article, “Easter Fishing.”

I will take it one step at a time: First I will find the patience for morel hunting (May 2 article), second I will learn how to fish and golf and thirdly I will take on boating.

But, for now I have to get out my kayak, and hit the waters of my beloved Murray Lake.

We’re getting a one day break from the rain and cold, according to forecasts. But, who knows?

What would you do with that one awesome daybreak from the cold, wind and the dark in your life?

I am looking forward to new horizons.

Copyright  (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.