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. 

Ft. Lauderdale

November 8, 2009

Friday J and I headed over to Ft. Lauderdale to do a face to face with someone I’ve been chatting online with for almost 3 years.  Julie and I “meet” in a message board thread for those living with MS.  And after chatting for a few months oblivious me finally noticed her signature and had a lightbulb go off.  Her signature had her flicker account username as MsSmith (name changed to protect the innocent 😀 ), which happens to be Mom’s maiden name. 

Julie set up her flicker username as her soon to be married name.  A few inquiries later, mostly to Grandpa who’s memory is slowly starting to resemble swiss cheese, and it was determined that Julie’s then fiance Rob is actually a distant cousin.  So not only did I go to meet with an online buddy, but also a distant cousin.  Julie and Rob were in Ft. Lauderdale to head out on a cruise Saturday to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary.

J took a vacation day and came with so we both enjoyed a three day weekend.  For those interested in Ft. Lauderdale, fair warning.  THEY CAN’T DRIVE!  If there’s an inch of open space between you and the vehicle in front of you, someone else will decide they need to be in that space.  And no signaling either. 

Friday night was spent relaxing with Julie and Rob over dinner.  Saturday while Julie and Rob were boarding and enjoying their ship, J and I decided to play tourist.  We wanted to do a snorkle trip, but that was pretty much out of the question in part thanks to Ida hanging out in the Caribbean.  I know, it’s many many many miles away.  But we’re still feeling the effects here in Florida.  Trust me, I battled the winds the entire drive across Alligator Alley, there and back.  Here’s a video of the waves, this is a beach in Ft. Lauderdale.

Since snorkeling was out of the question we headed over to the Bonnet House.  This house was built by artist Frederic Clay Bartlett, a post impressionist.  He decided to build a plantation house, using his interpretation.  The house and grounds are beautiful and I was glad I had my camera with to take pictures. 

fountainThis was our view when we first walked into the courtyard of the house.  The fountain originally was made out of shells, but had to be recast in something sturdier when the shells broke down.

railingThis is a closer look at the railings.  They were sent from New Orleans for the house.  The red roofed building slightly behind the tree is an aviary.

OrchidAn orchid at Bonnet House.  The home owners were avid orchid fans and even had a greenhouse to grow them in.

These next few pictures are some of Frederic Bartlett’s artwork.  He painted the ceiling’s of some areas of the walkways.  Also, he set the shells in the cement for the eagle design.






These were two swans on the property.


There were also these monkey’s on the property.


Mom and baby monkey.





Dinner Saturday night was at the 15th St. Fisheries. I don’t like fish so I had the chicken tenders.  J however had their skillet, the fish for that varies depending on what was messed up while being prepared for other entrees.  The chef of course doesn’t want those items to go to waste, so they put it into the skillet, which is cooked with a wine alfredo sauce.  The sauce was amazing!  It’s really too bad I don’t like fish, otherwise I would totally have had that dish.  We ate on the main level, it was a little more casual and the menu is cheaper.  Our table looked out over the dock where we got to watch restaurant staff feeding the tarpon and jack (according to one gentleman, jack are like pirinha).  When the sun went down and it was full dark we got to watch fish swimming over the lights that are set down in the water.  YachtWe also did some speculating on the view outside our window.  Like this yacht.



And this yacht.  The bridge just beyond the yacht, when Julie and Rob’s ship departed we watched it sail past that  bridge.

We definitely had a good time in Ft. Lauderdale, but I don’t want to be there again without a horn.  And I wouldn’t want to live there.  It’s a good place to visit, on occasion.

Vacation Time!

January 18, 2009

This time tomorrow J and I will be on our way to Port Canaveral and vacation!  I’m excited, yet I haven’t even packed yet.  I do have some clothes set out to be packed, I did that last night while folding laundry.  So today will be devoted to packing and some cleaning.  I am going to head over to my parents house with the animals.  That way I can empty the litter boxes and not have to worry about doing it last minute.  I have to say, I’m really not looking forward to a 45 minute drive and listening to Boris and Tasha the whole way.  That’s all they do “meow, meow, meow”

I have one more short shift to work this evening, then I’m off until Saturday!  Woohoo!  Sadly I didn’t achieve the weight loss goal I set for myself and I’m not able to fit into the dress I really wanted to wear.  Somehow I’m thinking that even if I had achieved the goal, I still wouldn’t be able to fit the dress.  I can zip it up just fine, until I get to the top.  Then it doesn’t want to zip.  But not achieving that goal isn’t going to stop me.  I’m going to enjoy the food and desserts they offer but I’m going to be careful and eat them in moderation.  And I have my workout clothes in the pile to bring with.  So hopefully I’ll maintain this week.

Check back next weekend.  I’ll have pictures for everyone.

So far, so good

November 13, 2008

I re-joined Weight Watchers to help me try and lose some weight so I can fit into my dresses when we go on our cruise.  Yesterday was my first week weigh in date.  This followed J’s birthday a week and a half ago, his dad’s birthday this past Friday, and my birthday on Tuesday.  So there was some not quite so good for me items.  And I let myself indulge a little bit.  Mostly at my party on Saturday. 

So heading to weigh in yesterday I fully accepted the possibility of a gain.  After all, I had cake, and a few drinks, and some mozzarella sticks.  I didn’t go super overboard with any of it, but I did have it.  And that was after refusing cheese cake on Friday night.  But, I’m happy to say, I actually lost a little bit yesterday.  I was down .4, and hey, it’s a loss so I’ll take it!  That just means I’m that much closer to my goal for the cruise.

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