Monday, September 15, 2014

Prayers Answered

We passed 9/11 with no problems thank goodness.  But we must remain vigilant.  The world is a scary place.  Just to be on the safe side I did not go to the mall after lunch with my neighbors.  

We had another new neighbor join us.  She is leasing in our neighborhood and waiting for a house to go up for sale.  Things are selling immediately around here and it is difficult to get in on the bidding quickly enough.  The house next to us sold the first day $20,000 over the asking price.  Too bad we are not looking to move right now!

Friday we met Tommy and Susan for a late lunch to get caught up.  They had some difficulty with their motorhome on a trip to Colorado and told us of their Plan B to be sure they would be able to attend the wedding in Denver after getting stuck in Amarillo.  They made and cancelled several air, hotel, car reservations to be on the safe side.  It all worked out and they were able to travel on in the motorhome.  The joys of RVing.

Our card group was down to just four couples Saturday night.  After church we joined the others for an early night of Shanghai.  When we finished, the guys watched football while we gals talked about daycare since two of the others are actively investigating local businesses for their grandchildren.  Not a subject I am well versed in.

I used my time Sunday to get all the laundry done.  Then I put my shoes and jewelry together with the clothes I have ready for packing.  I printed our electronic documents and our baggage tags.  I put a roll of tape with the tags so we can tape them on when we pick them up in LAX.  I don't think paper tags would travel well with all the tossing around so we will just wait.  We do want the bags to end up in our cabin on Deck 9!

We started up the bunco group again after a two month hiatus.  We were short a player and still had three subs.  There is a spot to be filled so we are giving everyone interested a chance to play so when we offer the spot to someone the lady will know if she wants to join us.  Not everyone clicks so we do our best to get folks that will enjoy the group.  I did not win.  : (

When I came home I went to get my hair cut.  It was getting so long on my neck I actually had to use the curling iron to keep it from sticking out like two wayward clumps.  I will get it colored and highlighted before we leave next week.  I have to stay on top of things to keep the flying monkeys in check!

Tuesday I was asked to sub at Canasta in the morning at the country club.  We had lunch afterwards.  Again, I did not win.  : (.  But I came home to a new cleaning crew and they impressed the heck out of me.  The house really needed a good going over because it has not been thoroughly cleaned in so long (sorry Chris!) and getting a lick and promise from me every now and then.  My hip works great except for getting down and crawling around.  Climbing isn't advisable either.  Ted yells at me all the time when I drag chairs over to use.  It will be nice having things all clean and shiny.

I shopped for shoes for the trip since I tossed several pairs recently.  My bunion is getting more and more bothersome.  It doesn't hurt but finding shoes is getting more difficult.  Everyone I know who has had one removed say they wouldn't do it again.  Any advice?

Our monthly Newcomers luncheon, this time with a fashion show, occurred on Thursday.  I usually don't go but Irene and Carol were both models so I went and was glad I did.  There were 150 ladies in attendance and I saw lots of friends.  It rained cats and dogs all morning and made it difficult to arrive looking presentable!  I managed with an umbrella and a ride on a golf cart from the parking lot.  Irene arranged for us to sit at the models' table so we had good seats.

We had our awards meeting for Junior Forum on Friday.  I was assigned coordinating the "fruit" people.  There are also casserole and bread people.  I arranged for blueberries, mango, peaches, melons and grapes to go with the sweet breads, muffins and breakfast casseroles from the others.  I was proud to be recognized for 100 service and support hours for last year.  

The last weekend in March is going to be busy.  At the luncheon Thursday they announced a 35 year anniversary party on that Sunday for Newcomers and at my Friday meeting they announced our annual Gala being on that last Saturday in March.  Two dinner and dancing events in one weekend?  I may get some push back from Ted!  

Last night we saw Guys and Dolls at the community theater after having dinner with Gerre and Barry where Gerre and I exchanged birthday gifts. Having to take the Czech lead crystal piece out of my luggage each time at security, I didn't want to take it through one more time going to LAX!  Ted, Gerre and I will all celebrate birthdays in one week's time on the ship.

The play was terrific and the voices of the four lead stars were outstanding.  They all did an excellent job.  The weekend after we return it will be time for the next show.  They have a great line up this year.  We always miss January and July but we give those tickets away and still feel seeing the other five makes it worthwhile being a season ticket holder.





















Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cool Front - Only Going Up To 90!

Living in the south produces some silly weather reports.  I remember FL - "clear and cold tonight, bring in your pets - 50 degrees."  We try to avoid the summer heat but travel schedules sometimes cause that to change.  I am just staying in when I can.  We did eat outside after church on Saturday with Terry and Carol.  It was actually a beautiful evening and it was fun catching up.

I spent Sunday getting ready for Canasta here on Monday.  I made the Chocolate Lasagna cake that I needed to make for Tuesday also.  It just seemed like a good idea to do a trial run with the recipe Junior Forum provided me.  

We had a new mix of ladies to play Canasta that were learning so they stayed at one table and I didn't get to talk much to them.  I hope they liked it and come back.  AND I won!  But I sent folks home with chicken salad sandwiches, cheese cubes, artichoke dip and no one ate any cake!  I was not about to make a second one for Tuesday so I was glad I made it in a foil pan with a lid.  It was going to the Senior Bingo and Lunch with me on Tuesday!

Ted had gone to Beaumont Monday so I was alone for the night.  Even Tucker went home.  He knows when Gerre and Barry ring the bell.  I don't know how but his response is different than when anyone else rings the doorbell.  It takes me a day or two to stop looking for him.

Tuesday was an "out the door by 7:45 am" morning.  I put the cake in a pan of ice to keep it cool since it was a lot of pudding and cool whip.  My bingo prize was 4 dishcloths and 2 matching dishtowels.   I picked them up this summer somewhere along the way.  I was hostess at Table 22 which was 7 ladies and one man.  In this setting that sort of makes him George Clooney!  

We had close to 200 seniors to visit while having coffee and juice, to play bingo, to be entertained by a couple singing show tunes and then have lunch.  My friend Joanne came by to visit with me for a few minutes.  Her husband Dwight is in a nursing home and she lives in senior housing in the area.  We are always hapoy to see one another.  Once they finish their lunch and dessert, the seniors are out the door.  I took a little piece of the cake that was left to taste it and it was pretty good!  After my busy 3 days I was tired when I got home and didn't do much.  Ted fixed dinner and I cleaned up.

Ted is very busy today.  He left for the men's neighborhood lunch, then went to the bank and is now at the doctor getting a new prescription for his antacid medicine before we leave again.  At 5:30 we are due at the country club for happy hour, dinner and cards.  Tomorrow is the lady's neighborhood luncheon.  Food, food, food!

Tomorrow is 9/11.  Please pray our country suffers no attack big or small.

 



Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Can't Get Turned Around

I am still falling asleep around 8 pm and getting up at 4 or 5 am.  Coming west is supposed to be easier than going east but for some reason this time it isn't working.  By the time I am on track I will be heading two hours west to LAX to start another trip!  I may become best friends with the early, early breakfast crew!

I did all the laundry the first day and my clothes are laid out on the bed ready for packing.  I went through the mail and have all that in order.  I filled out my GCT questionnaire and told them I was unhappy with KLM, did not appreciate confronting a young man who had walked onto our open bus in a rest area when the driver is supposed to stay with the bus or lock it.  It wasn't their fault but the late wake up call in Prague could have caused a problem for the travelers scheduled to go to the airport with us.  Other than that the trip was terrific, the food fabulous and our Program Director excellent.  If you don't let them know about the "bumps" they can't fix them.

I received a new roster for bunco and had some work to do on that.  We have a place to fill but several people are interested so that will be taken care of soon.  Everyone has the new info and we are good   through June 2015.

I did lose a day somewhere.  Wednesday night is Happy Hour with friends and I was amazed when on Thursday morning Ted told me I couldn't go because it was the night before!  I also received an email saying Canasta is at my house on Monday.  Sure enough I have Canasta written on my calendar but no indication it was here!  Not a problem though.  I am sure I signed up and just didn't add that info to the recurring Canasta date that gets entered automatically.

Should I be getting worried?  Am I getting forgetful or running on overload?  

Thursday we went to Sam's for paper products and I got most of what I need for Canasta.  Yesterday we hit the post office with a box of new baby clothes I purchased at the thrift shop where I volunteer.  My niece in Indiana has 3 kids and will have six grandchildren under 3.5 years old by January.  Twin girls were born last week.  A boy is coming in October and another girl in January.  I told her to give out the clothes based on sex, size and season.  We get lots of baby clothes at the thrift store with tags still in them.  A $20 Nike 3T shirt was $1.99.  In our family, someone can always use these things.  Jameson and Lilly already have some things I sent previously and enjoy Aunt Donna's boxes.

After the post office we ate at Sweet Tomatoes.  We came home and I stayed up until 9 but was snoozing on the couch before then.  I made it to 5 am this morning.  We have Tucker this week and he gets confused trying to decide if he should stay in bed with Ted or follow me to the family room!

Things gear up again next week.  I have commitments to accomplish before we head out again.




Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sixth Set of Photos - Almost There!

Some sights around Prague.  This is the lock fence.  Apparently they are popular in Europe with young lovers.  Engaged couples place a lock on the rungs of the fence to lock their love forever.  I knew there was one in Paris but apparently there are lots of them.


The water mill wheel behind the lock fence.


The little garden restaurant where we stopped.  There were red blankets over the back of the chairs and I thought perhaps it was for when it was chilly to wrap around your shoulders.  Then we noticed everyone folding them up and making chair cushions! 

 


A memorial to the U.S. firemen of 9/11.


The entrance to the Charles Bridge.  It was so crowded I was unable to take photos.  Also there were artisans lining it which made photo taking quite difficult without having their wares in your pictures.


We made our way to the metro and stopped at the Flora Atrium to check it out for dinner.  We had to take a photo of this store.
 

We found a food court with lots of restaurants and decided to get Ian and Bobbie to come back for dinner which we did.  We ate at Coyote's and it was quite good.  It was advertised as an American CafĂ© and that sounded really good after two weeks of European food which was fabulous but home is home.

The next day we went alone to Mass and then on to the 1/6 replica of the Eiffel Tower.  We walked a short way down from church to the funicular and was able to use our metro day ticket to ride it to Petrin Hill.  Besides the tower there was lots of other things to see.



Replica of Eiffel Tower.  It is only 1/6 the height of the real one but because it sits much higher above sea level, is actually as tall.

 

Saint Nicholas Church and Prague Castle area.



Charles Bridge.  You can sort of make out the black forms of all the statues that line it.




It was a cool, misty day so the resolution isn't the best.


Stone "stations of the cross" are spread throughout the park.  This is #14, Jesus is laid in the tomb.






The many beautiful rose gardens.


The roof opened just as we walked by.


The funicular track as we descended.


That evening we returned to the Prague Castle area for dinner at Lobkowicz Palace Restaurant.  Ted took a picture of the tower we had visited earlier in the day.

The next morning we left the hotel at 3:15 am for our trip home.

In the words of Woody Woodpecker "That's all Folks!"














Fifth Set of Photos

I forgot to include Kara and Bill with Ronald Reagan.  Also, the outdoor cafes draped in flowers make the streets of European cities so beautiful.  This one was along the water as we walked back to our ship.
 
 


We said goodbye to our family members and most of the passengers as 24 of us departed for our post extension in Prague.

We stopped in Slovakia and had lunch but we had little time to sight see other than our walk to the restaurant.  It is a lovely city and I would have liked more time there.  The center of town is a pedestrian way and you have trees all around you  Very pretty.


This is the American Embassy.  Bojana said each embassy is different and if we are not allowed pictures the guards will let us know soon enough.  I waited for another brave soul to take the first one.  He is still alive so I took mine!
 
 
 
This was the Performing Arts Center, a beautiful example of Old World architecture.
 

I am not sure what the story behind this is but it certainly attracted a lot of attention and produced many smiles.



I am always fascinated by buildings with the years still on them.


This is a Bratislava touring car if you have the time and don't want to walk.  Tours are good because they tell you things you wouldn't know on your own.


As we approached the restaurant.


These gold crowns in the street indicate where kings have walked to their coronation.


After lunch we boarded our bus and continued on to Prague.  We arrived in the evening and had dinner in the hotel with our friends from Virginia.  The next day we were out bright and early to visit the Prague Castle area.  This is quite a large complex and our walk was just an overview of all that is there.  We received instructions how to return - Metro A to M stop (some Czech word), then switch to Tram 22.  Easy enough!  They were changing the guard just as we arrived.




Our focus point was St. Nicholas Church.  Its spires stand visible no matter where you are so it was the meeting place if lost and all other directions were given from this reference point.  We were on our own to look around, have lunch and return for the 1:45 bus back to the hotel or we could use the metro back on our own.  We stayed awhile because we felt comfortable in finding the metro station and knew where to get on and off.


In one of the courtyards.


That evening we rode to Sychrov Castle for a short concert and dinner.  This castle was confiscated during WW II.  Can you imagine how surprised an Arizona resident was when in the 1990s the government contacted him to tell him he owned the family castle in the Czech Republic and the government was returning it to him!




The next day we visited Wallenstein Gardens.









Our next stop was so meaningful to me.  It was Our Lady Victorious Church that houses the Infant of Prague statue.  As a child I was always fascinated by the beautiful outfits that were put on these statues.  It was sort of a Barbie doll Jesus to me.  I know the story of how the statue was found after the war and the veneration that goes along with it but the clothes thing is still a mystery to me.   We learned Mass would be said in English there on Sunday at noon so we decided that was how we would spend our day.  Mass, lunch, Eiffel tower replica and then our Farewell dinner.



 
Our next stop was a complete 180, it was the John Lennon wall.  No matter how many times the city painted it, it was written on again so now they just let it go.  I think the only connection John Lennon has to it was the posting of him by someone early on.  This is our Prague tour director, Bojana.  She was fascinated by the photos of our RV.  She said she had never seen such a thing and asked me to email her our photos to show her family.
 




The purple marker Bojana gave us didn't write well but I did my best to write Love From Texas.


Ted wrote the WW II favorite, Kilroy was here.