Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Continuance of Cruise

Not sure what happened but previous post got published before it was completed. The only thing I can figure is as my fingers were flying around the key board the curser must have gotten on "publish post" somehow. Oh well I will continue.

Cruise did not start out too well--
  • Not nearly the activites as Royal Carribean
  • Pudge got sea sick the first day--fell asleep in the sun and got burnt to a crisp. He is suffering somewhat.
  • Too many smoking areas that we have to walk through to get to other places.
  • Elevators slow.
  • Nasty, mean, ornery, hateful man at our table. I had a viewpoint he did not like and he was not only rude and inappropriate to me but downright nasty and ugly.

Good things about the cruise--

  • 2 other couples at our table are really fun and great.
  • Sun is shining all the time and it feels good
  • Great people watching
  • Lots of choices of places to get food.

Going to bed. Will post more later.

Part 1 - The Cruise

Today is Saturday, April 25th. It is our last day on the boat. We will be sailing all day and night and be in Long Beach, Calif. tomorrow morning. Our flight home is at 3:00 and we are thinking we will be home about 10 pm.

On Sunday, April 19th we went to cruise terminal and dropped off luggage. Then off to Beverly Hills to check out the many mansions. I had found addresses of some of the stars homes so we put them into Sweetie (our GPS) and found some.l Jennifer Aniston's home is so tightly secure that you could not see anything--high hedges, solid gates, walls, security cameras along the walls and gates so needless to say we did not see too much. Then on to find Doris Day's place. If that truly was her place I was very surprised. It was ugly. Nothing attractive about it at all--it looked like the house was made out of old gray cinder blocks. It was behind a wrought iron gate so I was able to take a picture through the bars. It was so bad that it makes me wonder if that was really her house.

We did a lot of driving around Beverly Hills. The flowers, yards, homes, and mansions were something to see. We found a nice French restaurant and had a wonderful breakfast on their deck. It is so great to be able to eat outside in nice weather. Back to Long Beach to return our rental car. Thank God we did this early enogh because had some issues with traffic(big Gran Prix race was going on) and where to put the car. Grabbed a shuttle bus and got to the terminal. The historic Queen Mary is docked there so we were able to go on and look around. Also had a glass of wine on one of their decks and was able to see fighter planes go over for the opening of the Gran Prix races. It was awesome.

Cruise didn't start out too well--
  • do not like this ship as well as Royal Carribbean. Very much a party ship and geared toward young crowd.
  • can't stand the music by the pools. Too loud, obnoxious and

Saturday, April 18, 2009

LA and Surrounding Area

Got here just fine yesterday and have had a full 2 days of exploring and doing fun things.

Got Rent A Car and took off. There were a few "words" between us at a point in time about directions. I am going to chalk it up as he was hungry and frustrated and leave it at that. I have said the following statement about 10 times and thought it about 30 times--"."I miss Gloria and Jim."

Day is beautiful. Sun is shining so bright and everything looks green and lush.

First stop- Redondo Beach. Liked it. Had lunch sitting on a deck overlooking all kinds of people fishing. The pelicans made us laugh when they were stealing some bait and waiting for fish to be caught so they could steal them.

Driving the Pacific Coast highway. The ocean, hills, houses are awesome. Not sure what to look at. Look like the excorcist with my head spinning trying to take everything in. Stoppped in Malibu at Starbucks for coffee. We are sitting outside on their pretty courtyard in the shawdow of Pepperdine University. I would sure have a hard time attending classes there with the ocean and beaches so near. Love people watching but it is not the same without Gloria to help analyze and critique. We call them and it was great to hear their voices but still wishing they were here with us.

Went about 140 miles north following the ocean. Passed many strawberry fields and the plants are so laden with fruit that it is amazing. Got to the Danish town of Solvang about 6 pm. This town is adorable. It feels very much like Europe. It is nestled in a valley with high, rolling hills surrounding it. Got room at Solvang Inn and Cottages and took off to walk the quaint streets and alleys and check out the shops and restaurants. Much to my dismay most everything was closed. Got to look at the window displays/ There was a wine tasting going on that I got in on. No restaurants that would please Pudge. In the car and on to another neighboring town to find soomething to eat. Liked that town also. Looked like there was a lot there to see also. Did find a restaurant that was really charming and had our dinner. Back to hotel and put our weary bodies to bed. Woke about 4 am with both of us roasting to death. Pudge had cranked the heat per my request because I was so cold. Well it did the trick. We did manage to doze a little until about 5:30. Then we are more than ready to get up. All ready by 7 am. Went across street to bakery that was open and I had a hard roll and jam and of course coffee. Nothing opens till 10 am. Decided to walk the town and look at shops through the windows. We left there about 9:00. I had read about a lavender farm that we found. It wasn't too big of a deal but I enjoyed it.

Back to LA the same way we came. Once again following the ocean. The beaches are incedible. One place we wanted to see again was Santa Barbara. We had been there before and really enjoyed it. Found the Old Town. Parked car and went to a wonderful farmers market. I bought some strawberries that were so sweet and juicy. We spent some time people watching on a bench with our Starbucks coffee. Also, walked some of the Old Town. The day started out cold but warmed up nicely. Stopped in Ventura at an In and Out burger. Love those burgers.

We had a mission to reach Venice Beach and spend time there. It also is a place we have been before and really like it. It is so different. There is a huge boardwalk with vendors and shops and people, people, people. Very interesting people. Some very weird. I could spend all day just watching people. This is such a happenings place. So much going on all over the place. We walked the boardwalk from beginning to end and then to the beach and water where we spent a lot of time. Loved walking through the sand. It is a good workout and the sand feels good on your feet. Ocean was cold and my shorts got wet with some of the large waves that surprised me. I forgot to mention that it took about an hour to find a parking place it was that crowded. We did sit down at an outdoor cafe/bar and I had a glass of wine. The people watching is phenomonal. Left there about 5:30 and checked into our hotel in Long Beach. Drove to the docks where our ship will be tomorrow. Also found where we are to return the rental car. Went to WalMart, grocery store and Taco Bell for dinner. The Grand Prix races are going on in Long Beach so there are lots of people here for that.

We have settled in. ESPN is being watched by Pudge as I write this. This is a short summary of what we have done. Too many details and happenings to list. But be rest assured, dear readers that we are having a great time and enjoying every minute of it.

Tomorrow we board our ship. Probably will not have internet access.

Have to do some research on this computer so I am signing off.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter and Random

Have lots to do but decided to take time to blog a few things.

Easter prep continues. This list is more for my sake than for the readers.
Things that need to still be done:
-set table
-finish filling 12 more eggs
-pick up birthday cards, sign & seal them
-clean Patty Wagon and "spring" it up
-prepare salad, potato dish, and casserole
-run errands (pick up some necessary items)
-try to clean house somewhat. It is hard to do because workmen are still doing their thing.
-boil and dye eggs
-go to Holy Saturday service
-need to find bigger baskets from my basket collection

Things that are already done:
-fun items wrapped and color coded for kids hunt
-have filled 52 eggs
-made little centerpieces for table as well as a big one.
-bought all groceries for Easter dinner
-found the bunny ears

There is more and I will mentally add to the lists. None of this is really hard or a chore for me. I enjoy doing it. Especially now that I have more time and do not feel the pressure of work.

Glad it is supposed to be nice today and tomorrow. People are out and about by the hundreds every where you go. I know it is because we have all been starved for sun & warmth.

Attended a service at Eagle Brook church last night. Picked up Mom & Gemma. Sinead (Gemma's daughter) works there and invited us. I am so glad I went. Sinead had a video done. It was Sinead: My Story. It was incredible. It left me awestruck and emotional. The service was a lot different from the Catholic ones I am used to. There was a band playing (guitars, keyboard and I don't know what else) that was more of a performance than anything. Sinead's fiance plays in that band. It was packed. I did enjoy it but didn't feel anything like church to me.

Work is going on in my house and of course that makes everything chaotic. Nothing seems to be in the right place and the dust is enough to choke a horse. The entryway should be completed by the workmen today but then we will have to paint and possibly replace the molding around doors and floor. But then I just got word that the countertop has arrived and will be delivered Monday. We are still waiting for the sink to come in. They want to install as soon as possible. That means kitchen will be a disaster area.

We are leaving Friday, April 17th for LA and our cruise. I am looking forward to it. Have most of my clothes laying on spare bed ready to be put in suitcase.

Many birthdays this month. We will celebrate and sing Happy Birthday 6 times on Easter Sunday.

Big SWAT team bust in my neighborhood last week. Those of you with facebook know about it. It was scary, exciting and interesting. There were 2 sheriffs cars, 7 unmarked squads, about 9 officers in bullet proof vests with guns drawn, sniffing dog, cars torn apart, house stormed, man in hand cuffs. This went on for about 4 hours. I wanted to go over to see what the matter was but Pudge said no--not with all those guns out. He was probably right. Anyway the next day I noticed several men out in street and it looked like they were just wrapping up loose ends so I went over and asked if we as neighbors should be concerned. He said that the problem was an illegal immigrant. The people in the house just rented it a week ago. It appeared to me it was 3 Hispanic men. Officer said that they were legal and a relative that was illegal came. The "legals" called the police because they do not want to jeopardize their status. Now it seems to me that for what I was told and what they did was a little overkill. I mean really. So in my way of thinking I am sure I am not being told the whole story. Or maybe they thought it was going to be a bigger thing than what it was and they were using all precautions. We will probably never know.

I really have to try to put pictures on this blog. I really don't know what I am doing and I know once I start trying it could mean spending a couple of hours on this computer which I am not willing to do.

OMG!! See it is almost 10:00. I cannot believe how fast time goes.

Workman here and sanding and clouds of dust are penetrating everything.

Happy Easter, everyone!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Funeral

Josh Gunderson age 20 died in Puerta Vallarta while on spring break. He was a hockey standout at Stillwater high school and a student at St. Thomas and also played hockey there.

Many of you probably think the connection that I have with Josh would be through hockey. That is not the case. His paternal grandmother and I have been friends since childhood.

The visitation was Monday, March 30. I have never been to a bigger wake in my life. There were lines of people, cars parked blocks away. The theme (if you can call it that) was hockey. Everybody and then some who had anything to do with Stillwater/St. Thomas/youth hockey was there. Josh was cremated and they had his ashes in his hockey skates.

Funeral was Tuesday morning at St. Michaels church in Stillwater. Once again it was packed with people. During the service every cell in my body was saying, "this is not right--this is so wrong. One does not bury their grandson." My thoughts kept going to Diane. She not only had the pain of losing Josh but she had to watch her son go through the pain of losing his son. This whole thing is unspeakable and it should not be this way. What does one say or do?? Another heart wrenching thought was Diane buried her 21 year old son who was killed in a car accident about 20 years ago and now she has to go through this again.

Didn't get a chance to talk to Diane much. The few words I did have with her she seemed numb and spent (understandably so) After I got home I could not get her off my mind. Late in the afternoon the phone rang and it was her!! We talked for a long time and I felt soooo much better after. I will keep her in my prayers.