Pre-pubescent boys can be major butt-heads, who can make you feel like your failing as a parent. They are also full of surprises because suddenly the emotional roller coaster their on breezes through the loop-the-loop, and they can see through the haze of all their newfound feelings and the realization of his epic douche-baggery dawns on him. At which point he’ll turn to you with eyes full of salty tears and give you a hug so tight your ribs ache while he cries and apology into your chest, and thereby restoring faith in yourself as a parent.

The fact that this emotional moment happened for your son while you were standing in line to order your “lunch” of wine and friend cheese is neither here nor there.

I’m fairly certain, the pre-teens are the “Spring Training” of parenthood during the teenage years.

A photo posted by Nicóle Olea 👓 (@nickyolea) on

A few weeks ago my family and I took a day trip to Slovenia to tour the Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle in Slovenia.

According to our tour guide, Postojna Cave is the “best-known cave in the world”. If the amount of people touring the grounds and enjoying the shops and restaurants surrounding the cave on the day we visited is an indication of this fact, I would have to concur. When you enter in the summer as I did your immediately struck by it’s temperature which runs about 50 degrees year long. If traveling during the summer bring a light jacket. If you forget one the cave does offer cloaks for rent.

The cave boasts 24 kilometers or about 15 miles of underground caverns and galleries of stalactites and stalagmites. Your tour, lasts about 90 minutes and allows you to view five kilometers of the cave. Entering the cave itself is much like entering another world. I couldn’t help but think of Jules Verne’s, Journey to the Center of the Earth. The first portion of the tour takes place via the world’s only double track railway system within a cave. This railway  carries you in part of the way. The guided walking tour takes up much of your time, and allows for and up close view of some of the most beautiful formations. Please keep in mind that you shouldn’t touch any of the rocks. The path is paved, but the cement can be slippery at times, as the climate inside the cave is damp and humid. The path consists of various inclines, some at times can be steep. Your tour guide will explain part of the history of the cave, and it’s hard to imagine that humans were able to enjoy this cave, and even build a bridge (pictured below).

The tours are offered in a variety of languages. Be prepared to wait in lines to purchase tickets and upon entering the cave for the tour.

Predjama Castle is nine kilometers away from the Cave, nestled in the village of Predjama and it is a Guinness World Record holder for being the largest cave castle in the world. It was a fun building to explore, imagining how life was when it was inhabited and all the things that may have occurred. This is definitely not Cinderella’s castle, it is medieval, and beautiful, and really offers you a perspective on how it’s inhabitants lived. The history of the castle and the people who called it home is quite fascinating. The architecture – an actual castle built into a cave -is impressive to say the least especially when one considers how the “man-made” blends seamlessly into the natural. The surrounding area is very picturesque and looks like it belongs in a fairy tale. The castle itself is very interesting. When visiting the castle be prepared to climb stair cases that can be steep with steps that require you to use those leg muscles.

Europe is freckled with castles and caves, in all sorts of places, these are among the most unique.


There are a variety of experiences possible from the simple like we did to adventures for the “adrenaline junkie”. More info can be found about the cave, castle, and accommodations, and other information at:

Time Writing Life etcI can’t believe two months have past since my last post. It wasn’t my intention to stay away so long. My blog went down in July and it took a few weeks to get that sorted. Many thanks and gratitude for Debbie over at Lagniappe Media for her assistance with bringing me back online. I highly recommend you check out her website. There you can find information on blogging, as well as information on blog maintenance and security.

Besides the whole blog thing – or not being able to blog, I also was laser focused on my writing this summer. I spent a lot of time working on my outline (which I’m still working on by the way.) I hadn’t ever tried a detailed outline approach and I’m really enjoying the whole process. I will definitely share more on what I’ve learned and what I’m learning about myself along the way, in a post soon.

My boys were also home on summer break, so I spent a lot of time enjoying their company. They went back to school yesterday. How is it that I’ve one in sixth grade and another in second? It seems I ask myself this question every year. I enjoy being their mom so much. I suppose that’s my way of “pinching” myself.

I hope to get back into the habit of blogging regularly again, I’m thinking I’ll aim for three posts a week. Maybe more, probably less. However, I will definitely return to blogging more regularly, especially because I learned my niece in Miami reads my blog. (Hi Sami).



On Sunday, I turned thirty-seven years old.
Ten years ago I thought I’d be on the brink of a total holy-crap-I-am-almost-forty-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life? crisis. Heck, five years ago I had much the same thought. I dreaded getting old because I thought, with age came limitations.

I am not freaking out. In fact I am the exact opposite of freaking out.

With age comes perspective, and I realize now my train of thought a decade ago with regards to aging was stupid and limiting. Age truly is only a number and it’s the limitations our society places on us – especially women as we age; which causes this irrational fear of getting older. It doesn’t help that our society seems to value the naivete of youth more than the wisdom of age, but perhaps that-like everything else in the world will change one day too. I think it will, especially since our society is living longer than it ever has before – if that’s not worth something, then I don’t know what is.

I’m actually totally digging my life right now. I feel like I’m on a forward trajectory. I’m steadily working towards checking off some goals I set for myself early this Spring. I am-I hope giving the twenty-seven year old me a run for her money.

Somewhere along the line I realized aging is a blessing. Old age is gift denied to many and each and every single day I get to spend with the people I love is a gift. The rest is just icing on the cake or toilet paper on my shoes, temporary and superfluous.

I am blessed, and my regular acknowledgement and gratitude for all the blessings in my life, I think really helps me keep things in perspective. I also began to focus on me and make myself a priority.

Gratitude is more than simply making a list of things you’re thankful for -though it certainly can begin that way. For me, the wonderful thing that is gratitude is feeling. When one truly feels gratitude your spirit is lifted.

Yesterday I took a few moments to write down what I am grateful for and some goals for the upcoming year.

gorguss books mugInstead of re-writing or paraphrasing, it here I’m sharing verbatim from my journal.

My heart is full of many blessings: I have an amazing husband for whom I’ve never questioned his love for me. My boys are healthy, smart, loving, beautiful human beings, being their mother is the best thing ever. I live in a place where everything is new to me, though I am surrounded by history like delightful crumbly buildings left to their own devices, while corn pops up in neat rows around it…


…This year I will finish this manuscript, I’m outlining. I will then actually share it with people. Real live humans who read stuff. I will edit and edit, and edit it some more until I feel it’s good enough to send it out on submission.

I will share a short story or two in order to help me with my fear or sharing my work. I will share them with the world via the Internet and websites like Wattpad or Figment.

I will commit to exercise. Like actual regular exercise where I go to the gym more than once or twice a month. I will consume less sugar which is my kryptonite.

I will help my boys to accomplish some of their creative goals.

I will continue to volunteer – but ONLY when it doesn’t interfere with my own life. What this means is no more putting off my own life to bake cookies or spend the day cleaning out a shed when I could be writing. I have learned to say no and I will say no a lot. It is not mean. It is not selfish. (Keep telling yourself these things when you feel guilty.)

I will given in more to my wanderlust.

When the urge to yell and get impatient with my boys I will imagine them as the tiny creatures they once were, or as my friend Jen recommends as the elderly.

I will read books from genres I wouldn’t normally choose. Science fiction, or those Harlequin type of romance books might be a good start.

I am an evolving creature… sort of… 31, 34, 35,

The Best parts of your life This week I was blessed to have both a lunch and dinner with friends. One was a sort of “wash” lunch for the executive board in which I held a role last year with my spouses group. The other was a lovely dinner to celebrate my birthday (which is on Sunday) and it was so nice to be able to spend time with friends talking about nothing and everything over delicious food and wine.

I ended both meals with sore cheeks from smiling so much.

This is a good thing.

As you get older it can be difficult to find good friends because one’s tolerance for the “faux” friend grows short. I’ve been very blessed to not only find women with whom I share common interests but for whom I respect and genuinely care for. We don’t have to like the same things or read the same books, but they are genuine, real, smart, and awesome and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to move abroad and meet them.

I had to say “see you later” to one of these women yesterday as she returns to the States, and in the coming months and year I will have a lot more “see you laters” but the thing is, the friendship will remain of that I am certain.

The best parts of one’s life are the small moments you spend smiling with people who matter to you. They really are.





Cinque Terre, Italy is everything you think it will be. Charming. Picturesque. Quaint. Lovely.

Though we only spent a day, we didn’t feel as though we were missing out, but leaving was hard. As we drove out of the mountainside we kept looking over our shoulder and craning our necks to see the closely stacked buildings. We were all completely charmed and wished we had more time to spend exploring all of it’s nooks and crannies. We’ve vowed to return, and I’m already planning a trip for sometime later this summer. I can easily see us all spending a lackadaisical four day weekend among the awe inspiring cliffs and views of the five seaside fishing villages that make up this beautiful and truly unique place.











Holy Cow!
I was in a very long and slow moving line at the post office taking care of “life-stuff”, when I read the first sentence to Amanda Panitch’s debut novel Damage Done. Twenty-four hours later I resumed taking care of my “life-stuff” because this novel was absolutely unputdownable.

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch book review
Damage Done surrounds b
rother and sister Julia and Ryan.
One is a sociopath.
One… (shrugs shoulders) Is not.
Bonnie & Clyde? Maybe. Maybe not.
All you do know for sure is Julia’s life was forever altered when she exited her high school band room…alone. The sole survivor of her brother’s psychotic rampage which left “eleven skull sized blood stains” on their band room floor.
To escape her brother’s legacy Julia Vann is made to transform into Lucy Black as her parents try to blot out the existence of her brother.
Can a dysfunctional family every find function after all the bloodshed and murder? 
Can Julia Lucy live without her brother? Or will his ghost haunt her? These are the questions you will ask yourself. These are the same questions that will make an understandably skittish Lucy become a little bit more than paranoid and a little bit more of a bigger liar.
Along for the ride and to make it a true YA novel are her still alive-for-the-moment, best friend Alane (who’s name annoyed the crap out me – I don’t know why – it just did) and Evan; the unbelievably hot jock who falls madly in love with her.
V.C. Andrews would, I imagine, totally dig this book and the magnetic-(Fatal Attraction to a whole new level) relationship that underlines this whole story.
The narrator’s voice and the story she tells is both captivating and beguiling, kind of like a Venus flytrap.
Genere: YA (I’d say 14+)
Don’t wait for you library to stock a copy. Buy it now…just maybe check your mail first.
Many thanks to Netgalley who provided me with an advance digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.