September 5, 2013

Our vacation this year consisted of a long weekend in the Delaware area earlier this summer.  I was contemplating a job offer in the area so we went up to check out the area.  And found that we really liked it.  We found airfare direct into the Wilmington area for pretty cheap and once we got checked into our hotel we decided to head into Philadelphia and check that out.  I’ve never been there before and J hadn’t been since he was a little (ok, littler than he is now) kid so we were looking forward to it.  Loved Philly!  I don’t think I could actually live in Philly, but I really loved the city and feel we definitely didn’t spend enough time there.

A friend told me that we needed to check out the two “famous” Philly Cheesesteak places, Geno’s and Pat’s.  So we did.  And hands down the winner for us was Pat’s.  Geno’s was touch and lacking in flavor.  While Pat’s was very tender and had fantastic flavoring.  We had planned on watching the fireworks in Philly, but we were tired and afraid we wouldn’t manage our, albeit short drive, back to Newark where we were staying.  So instead we watched the Fourth of July fireworks over the Delaware river and was it beautiful!

We spent most of the weekend just wandering around and making whatever turns sounded good.  We ended up in Maryland by accident on Friday night (we didn’t know it was only minutes from Newark) and found a really cute little town on a river that sadly looks like it’s on it’s way out.  We also went to a battlefield in Pennsylvania and saw some recreated homes from that era.  J and I both like historical sites, so we enjoyed doing that tour.

We also made a day trip to Baltimore; a city neither of us was really all that impressed by although I did get some pretty decent pictures.  Sadly that’s the only place I really took any pictures at.

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December 18, 2012

Last week I was sailing around the Eastern Caribbean on the Ruby Princess.  We visited St. Thomas, St. Martin, Grand Turks and Princess Cay.  It was beautiful and sadly I had to come home.  Here are the pictures I took, these are just from my digital camera; I also took an underwater camera with for my snorkeling adventures and haven’t gotten that developed yet.

E My vacation started on Saturday December 8, 2012.  Dad and I (J couldn’t make it due to a health issue that came up just before the trip) stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale.  This is the atrium, all rooms look out over it.

E E This was the view off of our balcony.  The pool and the Koi pond.  Not too bad of a view 🙂

" We saw this lady when we were checking in and then kept seeing her all day on Sunday.  She’s wearing very high heels with her very short dress; my friend Hip would see her, say “Code Blue” and I knew exactly what she was referring to.

R P P P The Piazza of the Ruby Princess.

R The Ruby Princess from Princess Cay


C These are from St. Martin; the ship next to us was an NCL one and I thought those looked like shark fins on the bow.

S At St. Thomas

S O Check out the old house.

V V The view of the harbors; the one on the left is a Carnival ship, on the right is the Ruby Princess.

V S C M M M  View of Megan’s BayR Replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Seat

L Hip and her husband with Megan’s Bay in the background

M I D These are from Megan’s Bay. That’s as far as Dad got into the water, he didn’t feel like going any further.  We had scattered showers throughout the day and that actually lead to some of my favorite pictures.

R R R R I promise, these have not been altered in any way. I’m thinking that one of these needs to actually be printed and hung up; but I’m not sure which one.

B B B B B B B B B We also had a tour of Blackbeard’s Castle, some old homes and the Amber museum.  The last picture is an “amber waterfall”.

D D t Lunch was at a place called Trenchtown Rock; check out their drinks 🙂 (sorry about the sideways picture, I’m not sure how that happened because it’s normal in my files).  And our transportation back to where the ship was docked was supposed to be the red pirate ship. Sadly it had mechanical issues so we had to take a regular boat back.

W G S  Ruby Princess on the left, Carnival Valor on the right.

W H T IMG_1425 IMG_1426 S G G Grand Turks, our last stop.  It was very different from St. Thomas and St. Martin, flat, sparse.  Desolate was the term that came to mind.  But man was that water gorgeous!

C C C C These were on the cigarettes for sale at port; I got a huge kick out of seeing the warnings.

G L L A Like most cruises there was an art auction.  The winter with the tree one, look closely and tell me what you see 😉  The other three I LOVED but sadly they were way out of my price range.  Bidding on the red one started at $3k!!!  The wave, $6k!

S Our last day at sea, another ship can be seen in the distance.

M Our fantastic bar waitress Milika; Dad had a bit of a crush.  But considering she quickly learned his drink of choice (and his card number 😉 ), I’m not surprised.

S Our waiter Sandro.  He is holding the glass of water over Hip’s husbands head by just a straw.  We elected to do anytime dining and most nights ended up eating around 8; we found Sandro and reserved his section every night after that; he was a fantastically awesome waiter.

B B C L The last night they had an “International Crew Show”; before the show started they gave us balloons to bat around.  The person in pink was our male cruise director.  They did a song called “If I were not upon the sea” and they each had a different job they’d be.  The first was obviously a solder, then a blackjack dealer, tennis player, naughty nurse, NY taxi driver, Lorena Bobbit and finally, ballerina.  The show was very funny.

F Sunrise in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday, vacation is over 😦

T This little boat followed us to a couple of the ports.

F There are four visible ships in port; Dad said there was also a 5th.  So with the Ruby that made 6 total.

Wheeee! Whee Whee Wheeeeeee!!

August 12, 2012

Last weekend J and I had the pleasure of meeting up with a bunch of beautiful, wonderful, funny and fabulous people for a weekend of rafting, zip lining and fun. We flew into Colorado Springs on Thursday and drove to Canon City (imagine the little wavy thing over the first n). In all I think there were about 20 people that got together for this.  We rented a house from Royal Gorge Rafting and the place was amazing! It had 6 or 7 bedrooms, a kitchen to drool over, tons of deck space and views that wouldn’t quit.   Thursday and Friday was spent relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous weather and fantastic company. On Saturday we got up at the crack of dawn (ok, it really wasn’t THAT early) and headed down the mountain and 100 yards (hah!) across the street where we split up into two groups for zip lining. J and I have done this before, we did it years ago in Belize. But we were looking forward to flying through the air over a different terrain.

Zip lining started with ground school so everyone knows what to expect. Once we all had a turn there we started on our first adventure of the day. My group had a couple of nervous people, but after that first flight they were relaxed and hooked. The zip lining took about two hours total, the time definitely did not seem long enough.   

After zip lining the group had lunch before heading to the rest of our adventure. 

White water rafting was a blast! If the water had been much lower it would have been cancelled so I’m glad it wasn’t.  Our raft guide was very lecture-y as we got going and even tried to dump us at one point. He said he did it because he wanted us to know what to do/what it was like to fall out. The two people who went over the side thankfully didn’t fall totally and completely in. We were able to get them back into the raft right away. Our trip down the Arkansas River continued and I swear every time there was anything resembling rapids our guide deliberately turned the boat so the left side (my side of course) got the brunt of it. At first the water was freezing but it didn’t take too long to get acclimated.

The official photographers were on the course in kayaks. At one point two of us (I was 1) had fallen out of the raft.  I looked back up river just in time to see my raft get yanked loose and two more people go flying overboard. Apparently the raft had gotten stuck and one of the photographers somehow got half of his kayak stuck under our raft. The photographer yanked the raft loose and that’s what sent the other two over.  Rafting was a lot of work but a lot of fun. Definitely something I’d do again.

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The experience we had with Royal Gorge was fabulous! Any time we had a question they got back to us quickly. Everyone was friendly and helpful and I definitely would recommend this company for zip lining, rafting and house rental.

Pikes Peak Panic

August 10, 2012

We had some time to kill so we were just driving around, taking in the beautiful scenery.  “Hey look. The North Pole place is that way” I told him. We already knew that it was an amusement park and we were not interested in rides. But, with time to kill, I figured we could go check out the gift shop. If we didn’t have to pay to park or anything. What he had also noticed was in that same direction was the Pikes Peak Highway. Neither one of us has ever really been to Colorado before (not counting my quick 24 hour trip for a funeral) and he really wanted to see Pikes Peak. We approached the toll booth and got in line.

“It’s a 30 minute drive to the airport” I told him. He was okay with that; he wanted to get as far up Pikes Peak as possible before we had to turn around to catch our flight. not a problem, I thought there would be plenty of scenic overlooks and shoulders to turn around when we needed to. We paid the toll and headed up the mountain. My god it was beautiful! The views were stunning.  

According to the little map, it’s 19 miles to the summit. Miles 1-9 were fine, no problems. I enjoyed the view, I looked for wild animals. Then we left the tree line. And problems. I learned something about myself this past weekend. Apparently I have an issue with heights when I’m that high on a mountain and there is no guard rail or trees and there is just a drop. Me who has never had a panic attack was almost hyperventilating.  The woman who was a human pinball was almost in tears and had a death grip on the car. I’ve never had a problem with heights before and I was fine once we re-entered the tree line heading back down. We did end up with a few interesting pictures. I would point and shoot without looking at where exactly the camera was pointing. And those pictures are being kept for posterity. (Any guesses as to which ones were taken blindly?)

We’ve decided that if/when we make it back to Colorado Springs J will head to the summit and I’ll hang out at the first rest stop/gift shop. That was at the reservoir and they had paddle boats and fishing. 

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Our turnaround was at Devil’s Playground where J climbed some rocks to get this shot. I was happy staying on solid ground at the car. 

I officially do not miss winters!

March 2, 2008

Hey everyone! J and I got home yesterday from visiting friends in Virginia. I can I definitely do not miss the winter season. Yesterday was nice and I was able to not have my jacket on between the restaurant and the car. Friday was better than Thursday, which was in the 30’s and very very windy. J was laughing at me because I was cold, but he had to put a hat on!

We had a very good time. My friends live about 30 miles from downtown DC, so they dropped us off at the metro station Thursday and Friday so we could go play tourist. Thursday we went to the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Musuem. The Air and Space also had some of the items from the American History Musuem since that building is under renovation. J also got to see the outside of the Library of Congress, plus the lobby area. We got there 15 minutes after they closed, but I can tell you the lobby area is beautiful!

Friday we walked from the metro station to the Washinton Monument, around the Reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial and then back up to the Holocast Museum. We did A LOT of walking those two days! The Holocaust Musuem was the one I wanted to do since it wasn’t there when I did the class trip in 8th grade. J calls it depressing, which in a way it is. But it’s also very poignant and heartbreaking. The biggest issue I had was there was too much reading, a problem when there are a bunch of people moving through an area. The pictures all had small plaques describing what they were and the only way those could be read was up close. Other than that, the museum was amazingly well done. It’s one of the quietest I’ve ever been in. People didn’t feel right speaking in normal tones, so there were a lot of whispers and hushed tones. Most people had rubber soled shoes on and it was very jarring when a couple went through and they were not in rubber soles shoes.

The museum has a lot of actual articles from the victims of the camps, several uniforms and personal objects. There were even actual pieces from some of the ghettos and camps, cobblestones from Warsaw and bunks from Auschwitz just to name a couple. But what really got me was seeing the shoes. People entering the camps had to give up their shoes and one of the displays was just shoe upon shoe upon shoe. It was also heartbreaking to read and hear about how the different countries first responded to the rising problem.

Ok, I’m going to stop depressing everyone. We did have a very good time and are very thankful to our friends for letting us crash on their guest bed. We got an amazing cost for air up to DC, $129 round trip, so going back again won’t break the bank! Hopefully we’ll have a much better landing the next time we head up there. For once the approach was so bumpy that my stomach felt rocky. And when we landed, we were tilted to the right, the left side tires were not on the ground at the same time as the right. But we made it safely and had a very good short vacation! And pictures can be seen at Photobucket.

Vacation’s Over :(

October 1, 2007

I’m home now. Vacation is all over. Like the last ten years, the last week just flew by. It feels like there wasn’t enough time to do all that I wanted and see all that I wanted. But I did, and had a wonderful time. It was so good to see old friends and meet new ones. And in true Minnesotan fashion, it was wonderful getting together over a good meal. There’s nothing quite like getting a chance to enjoy that food at all the childhood haunts. I’m just greatful we got to eat at Totino’s as they were supposed to be closed by the end of September and not yet opened in their new location.

The reunion provided a good time for all. I heard that Fridley lost the homecoming game. The class of ’97 alumni had already deserted the game for the local watering hole, or formerly known as DiMaggio’s. I’m glad we attended the game as there were a few people we got to see Friday that weren’t able to make Saturday’s official event. The reunion event itself was interesting. It was, to use the word again, interesting to see who had changed and who hadn’t. There were several people that looked different and many were very thankful for the name tags that were provided. It was really nice to see some old friends from High School and meet the important people in their lives. Some significant others I almost felt like I already knew. Now, the only question that remains is, will the next ten years go as quickly and how can I slow them down?

Oh, and all pictures will shortly be added to my photobucket album shortly. Keep checking for updates if you’re interested!

Greetings from Minnesota

September 24, 2007

Hey everyone! Greetings from Minnesota! John and I flew up here at the crack of dawn on Saturday and we’re in the middle of a wonderful vacation. No, I truly mean that. Ok, it didn’t start out all that great. Mostly because for some reason that we haven’t yet figured out, neither one of us got much sleep the night before. And our flight left at 7am, which meant we had to be at the airport by 5:30 or 6. I think it’s safe to say we both averaged around 2-3 hours of sleep.

We landed in Minneapolis around 11am CST and immediately headed to the Twins game. It felt like I had not spent the last 3 1/2 years attending a Twins game in a different State. It felt soooo good to be at the Dome surrounded by all the Twins fans. Granted, when I see them playing the Devil Rays, I’m still pretty much surrounded by Twins fans, but now all the music cheers and the wave (has that ever been done at a Devil Rays game?) is for the Twins as the home team. It was also my last chance to see the Twinks play at the Dome. I know, they probably won’t be in their new stadium for a few years. But I don’t see me making another game at the Dome anytime soon.

Right after the game John and I then headed north to Grand Marais. The drive went fairly quickly. We spend about an hour in Duluth playing around on Canal Park before continuing the drive. Traffic was pretty light which allowed us to make good time. I was disappointed that the leaves weren’t as colorful as I thought they’d be. But the drive back to the Twin Cities definitely made up for it.

Sunday we drove up to Canada. John’s never been to Minnesota or Canada and he wanted to go. The clerk at our hotel in Grand Marais suggested driving to a waterfall (for the life of me I can’t remember the name, but it started with a K). So we planned on doing so. However, at the end of 130 in Canada (highway?), we had a T intersection and no further directions. We ended up in Thunder Bay, had lunch and then headed back to the border. A stretch stop at the Ontario visitor’s center showed us that there were a set of falls right there. The visitor center is on Pigeon River. We had a nice short (about an hour round trip with rest break for pictures) hike to High Falls. We spent Sunday night in Two Harbors.

This morning after breakfast we headed up to Gooseberry Falls. After we did the tour of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth before heading back to the Twin Cities. The fall colors were amazing on the drive back. It partially makes me wonder why I ever decided to move to Florida. The trip North was relatively unchanged. It felt like I had never left. At times it also felt like I was back in high school. And although I’ve greatly enjoyed the trip north, I know in a very short time it’s going to be beyond freezing and I will be nice and warm in sunny Florida.

I’ve uploaded pictures to my Photobucket account. I tried to get them semi in order. It didn’t quite work out the way I planned. The titles all have a D#. The D stands for Day with D1 being Saturday Sept 22. Etc. The number after the decimal indicates the general order of the photos. For example, D2.o are the initial pictures of Sunday morning in Grand Marais. D2.1 would be the photos on the way to Canada, etc.

More pictures to follow as the week progresses. It’s going to be a full, enjoyable week. I’ll be visiting with old friends and the week will end with my ten year high school reunion. Wow! Where has the time gone!

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