Early 2018

Hello to all and hope 2018 has been treating you well.  We haven’t made any big trips so far.  There have been 3 small excursions:  3 nights at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, NV (Jim won some money!); 4 days with cousin Dale and Diana in Stockton, CA with a day-trip to Murphy’s, CA and Ironstone Winery; and a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Imagination (didn’t get off the ship in Catalina or Ensenada, MX).

Weather wise, it has been Southern California’s usual roller-coaster of high and low temperatures (freezing last night), with only 3 inches of rain in 2018.  We also had an earthquake of 4.0 with the epicenter very near us.  It woke me with a big jolt.  Jim thought I had a bad dream and shook the bed all by myself.  Wrong!

As usual in the beginning of the year, we try to see as many of the award nominated movies as we can.  We really enjoyed “The Greatest Showman,” “Three Billboards in Ebbing, MO,” “The Post,” and “Darkest Hour.”

Our time has been filled with Pickleball play and events, Ukulele and Guitar jams, and making reservations for our big trip coming up in April.  We have scheduled hotels, transportation (planes, ship and trains) and an apartment in Torremolinos, Spain.  Jim’s sister JoAnn and husband John are joining us there for 2 weeks.

There has been another health issue for Jim; a minor one.  He had surgery a week ago for Squamous cancer on his left cheek.  They used the MoHs technique and took out a section about the size of a dime.  It is healing well and he has not had pain.  Considering his complexion and all the “pre-cancer” spots he has had, it is surprising that this is the first surgical removal.

Our grandchildren are growing up so so fast (aren’t they all?)  Jerica, our Sweet Sixteen year old continues to excel in both vocal and instrumental (trombone) music.  She has added Speech Meets to her repertoire!  So proud of her growing self-confidence.  The youngest, Lauren, at 11 is in Student Government (also showing great self-confidence), playing percussion (including the bells) in band, and still taking piano lessons. Just recently she entered the scary world of orthodontia, by getting braces on her teeth.  It seemed young to us, but good to fix them asap.

Looks like the rest of February and most of March will be the same, but Jim may find some small trip for us; he’s always looking.  Our best to all.



Happy Holidays

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying being with family and friends during this season.  I know it is bittersweet for those who have lost loved ones recently.  We lost 2 very close friends this year and think of them often, but treasure the memories.  We were with family recently, as blogged, but did not get together with any for Christmas nor for the New Year.  However, we do have some really wonderful friends to share these times with.  We performed in some Ukulele/guitar concerts and had 6 others over for Christmas dinner, yesterday.  Since all contributed, it was easy to do.  At New Years we will be with 100 others at a big party with food, dancing and more.  We usually skip these types of events on that night, but got talked into it.   It should be fun to share this night with good friends.  Our best to all and much love.

More Visits with Relatives in Louisiana and Texas

On Saturday, November 18 we visited with Jim’s 3 nieces (sister Pat’s daughters) and some grandnieces in Marksville, LA.  His other sister, JoAnn and husband John joined us there.  Tamra, Dawn and Kim grew up in Marksville, but only Kim still lives there.  We visited, partied and ate in her large outside patio.  It was great to see them all again.

The next day, we drove to JoAnn’s home in Spring, Texas and spent the next few days there, including Thanksgiving.  Her son-in-law Keith came from Atlanta and the 2 of them cooked up a great feast.  We were joined by a couple of friends for the dinner.  The weather was beautiful in both Louisiana and Texas, as you can see from the last photo.  We drove home November 24 -27 and are staying here for the rest of the holidays.  We enjoyed driving our 2017 Red Velvet Chrysler Pacifica minivan on this 5 week, 6000 mile trip (and yes, Jim drove every mile!)

For those who wondered about our home and the fires:  We so far have been very lucky.  There have been fires North West of LA, south of us and even to the east.  But we haven’t even had any smoke.  We feel so badly for all of those who had and to evacuate and especially those who lost their homes and businesses.  We have had the strong winds, dry air and are surrounded by dry underbrush, so are also vulnerable.  We would love to have some rain (it actually looked like some today, 12/16).

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to all.


Arkansas Time Share

For six days, in between relative visits in Indiana and Louisiana, we had a timeshare condo in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.  It is north of Little Rock and in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.  The area was very beautiful with lakes, rivers, hills and woods.  Most of the fall colors were gone and the leaves were falling constantly, but it there were still plenty of trees with foliage.  Our condo was 2 BR/2BA and quite large and comfortable.  This was a nice leisurely time to relax with out driving very many miles and to be by ourselves.  We took day trips to the local towns; rented movies and played our instruments- ukulele and guitar.  We even found a makeshift Pickleball court for one day of play.  There was a fully equipped kitchen, so we did quite a bit of cooking, which we both enjoy.  Next we went to Louisiana to visit with nieces and grandnieces.


Relative Road Trip

On October 23, we left Southern California in our new Chrysler Pacifica minivan (purchased in August) and headed east to visit family in many states.  It started with daughter Jina, husband Steve and grandchidren.  On the first night we attended Jerica’s vocal concert.  It was very enjoyable and they did a great job.  Then Saturday she was in an Honor Band at Doane University, also very good.  We stayed 5 nights with them.  Lauren and Cheryl played ukuleles together, there was a lot of card playing and cooking of good meals by Jina, Jim and Cheryl.  The weather was mostly mild, but there were snow flurries on the last day.

Our next visits were in Indiana.  First in Indianapolis, we met 2 of Cheryl’s high school friends for dinner.  Went to see her niece in Muncie one afternoon and spent a day with brother John and wife Donna, back in Indianapolis.  There were some beautiful fall colors in Indiana.  Then we drove to Newburgh/Evansville to spend time with brother Ben, Angie and family.  It had been 5 years since we had been in Indiana and they have not come to California to see us!

While in Evansville area we took a side trip to Owensboro, KY to visit the International Blue Grass Music Museum.  It was fun to see the history of Blue Grass in more detail and listen to the music.

We headed to The Land Between the Lakes after leaving Indiana.  First stop for lunch was in Grand River, KY at Patti’s Cafe.  Already decorated for Christmas in Big Style!  That night we stayed in Paris, TN and next in Memphis, TN.  We then went to our RCI timeshare in Arkansas, more on that later.


Island Princess Cruise

Boy, am I really behind!  It’s been a busy time since last posting.  First we did 23 days of cruising on the Island Princess, then we left on a 5-6 week road trip on October 23.  More on that trip in next post.

We started our cruise in Vancouver, BC, September 20 (flew there on the 19th and visited with good friends, Joe Jankovics), for a 3 day, non-stop trip to San Pedro.  There we stayed on the ship for a 19 day Panama Canal transit cruise.  We got to know a lot of Cruise Critic members, participated in the Princess Pop Choir, and enjoyed several ports.  We first stopped in Puerto Vallarta and were able to make contact with AZ again to be our tour guide.  We shared this day with 17 other Cruise Critic friends.

Other stops included Huatulco, MX, Puerto Quezal, Guatamala, Puntarenas Costa Rica and Manzanillo, MX.  We really enjoyed the Panama Canal (our 3rd time, but 1st time to only go to Gatun lake and turn around).  Princess cruises gave us a free day at the Sanctuary, since our cabin balcony was unusable while in the locks.  That was a nice, luxurious experience.  All was good on the cruise, except this time, Jim was the one to get the “cruise croup.”  Since he was coughing a lot, he had to drop out of the choir, but was able to be in the first performance.  A shame because he really enjoyed being in the group and getting to know the other male singers.  This choir had a larger male group than usual.  We spent many fun times with Cruise Critic friends at ports, Coffee Clatch, Happy Hours and eating meals together.


August & September, 2017

Since returning from our road trip with the Granddaughters, we have spent most of our time at home; playing Pickleball, Ukulele/Guitar and visiting with friends.  I, Cheryl, am learning to play Pickleball with my left hand since my shoulder continues to give me trouble.  The orthopedic specialist said that shoulder replacement is in my future, but if I am careful and use my left arm more, I can put that off for a while.  I’ve had cortisone shots and use pain creams, etc, so it is manageable.

Finally at the end of August, the extreme heat became too much, so we left for four days to the Central Coast:  Morro Bay, San Simeon and Pismo Beach.  It was much cooler (40 degree difference one day) and foggy some days.  We love this beautiful area.  Went to Cayucos, Cambria and to see the Elephant Seals north of San Simeon.  The coast highway is still blocked a few miles north of there by the massive mudslide this spring.  It will be another year before it opens.

This week, Jim’s sister came to Carlsbad, CA, from Houston with her husband John (his birthday was 9/12) and 2 friends.  We spent 2 days with them, touring that area, Sand Diego (Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument and downtown Gas-lamp area) and Temecula (Old Town and wineries.)

Our Sagos continue to show beautiful growth, the female looks even more “pregnant” with her large “flower head”, the male has new growth and the “pups” are thriving.

So sad to hear about the terrible destruction by both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  JoAnn and John came through ok in Northwest Houston.  Also Cheryl’s family in Tampa and Orlando, FL did not have the flooding or wind damage that was predicted.  But the Caribbean Islands will be hurting for a long time.  We have visited many of them; especially love St. Marteen, St Thomas and St. John.  Our best to all who have been so affected in all the areas, including earthquake in Mexico.  We hope that you are among the fortunate.


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