Category Archives: Friends

Florida and the Crown Princess Cruise

We were in Florida 4 days before the cruise and spent 2 of them with Aunt Amy and Cousin Jim.  She is 81 years old and has had major health problems, but is still a lot of fun.  Uncle Jim passed away less than a year ago, so we all talked about him and how much he is missed.

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Cheryl with Amy and Jim (cousin) by their pool in Tampa

Our cruise started on the 3rd of April, out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.  We had 7 days at sea, crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  Both of us really enjoy those sea days.  Also, we both were in the Pop Choir which rehearsed every day and performed on the 10th.  There were 20 men and 25 women, so a very nice size group.  We sounded good!

 

Our first port was Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.  We took a Princess tour (1st time ever!!) to see some of the countryside and scenery outside of town.  We stopped here once before and had walked the town.  Very lush, green and beautiful.

 

Our next port was Gibraltar, as in “Rock of G….”  It was cold, windy and raining, so we stayed on the ship.  We were there in 1989.   Had planned to walk off, but everyone was getting very wet when they left.

The next day, we docked at our third port, Cartagena, Spain.  We went on our second tour to Elche, the Palm Tree capital.  We had a very good guide, Pedro and learned a lot plus enjoyed seeing all the different palms and very old buildings in this UNESCO city.

Our last port before Barcelona was Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  We had been here 2 times before and taken the train and bus to Soller on the other side of the island.  This time, we took the city bus to Plaza de Espana and walked around.  We also had Paella for lunch.  We love that dish.

Our cruise ended in Barcelona.  We actually had one day there, prior to disembarking on the 17th.  We stepped off the ship briefly, but decided not to head into the city.  We had been there a few times before. It was a very enjoyable cruise, and we were glad we met Janet and Tom and hope to see them again.

Saying goodbye

Tom and Janet with us on deck

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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.

Anacortes, WA with Joe and Sheri

Joe and Sheri Rowe picked us up at the Cruise Terminal in Seattle on May 31.  They live part time in Corona, CA (our neighbors) and the rest in Anacortes, WA.   Their home is on a hill overlooking the Puget Sound and the house and views are beautiful.  We spent 3 days with them and, despite cold and some rain, had some fun touring Anacortes, the surrounding area, and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, via ferry.  June was a little early for good weather, but one day we did get some sunshine and a pretty sunset!  Thanks to them for a great end to our travels; flew home June 3.

More Sebourn Cruise across the Bering Sea

From May 15 to May 23 we were at sea, including the International Dateline which meant we repeated Friday, 19th.  We changed our clocks 1 hour forward at 2 p.m. for 7 days.  Again, that messed with our internal clocks, so that we woke at odd hours.  We love the days at sea, so had no problems, but it was mostly cold and cloudy with some rain.  One day the sun peeked out and though still cold, several passengers took advantage  and sat on the open deck.

On Seabourn, you can request special dinners, so one night we requested Paella and invited 6 others.  It was good, but the rice was not crunchy on the bottom.  All enjoyed, but we could not finish it, hated to sent any back!

We did get to see a sunset and Jim photographed a sunrise, but mostly sea!

Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays

Feeling for all of you who are experiencing the cold and snow, ice, etc.  We have colder weather, for us and maybe rain this weekend, but as you know, not so severe.  We are headed to Sedona, AZ for a week, 12/16-23, so will experience some cold and maybe snow!

Attaching my Christmas Letter and Fun Video.  Enjoy the Season, we hope!

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We enjoyed a fun party last Saturday night at friends’ house in Huntington Harbor; about 50 of us.  The occasion was to enjoy the Boat Parade and a fundraiser for our Pickleball group.  It was great, and all had a good time.

 

Jim is still doing well, so we feel so lucky.  Hope that everyone is feeling healthy and happy.

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Enjoying November

Today is a cooler day, more like fall, but we have been having summer like weather most of November.  We only had a a few drops of rain, so still very dry; wish our snowbird Canadian friends could have piped some of their water down here!!

Jim is now 4 weeks 3 days post Proton Treatment and doing very  well.  He added spicy food to his diet this week and has not suffered any consequences.   Do to the treatment, eating a little less at each meal, Metamucil and/or no diet coke, not sure which or all, he has lost some weight.  We are both happy about that.

He’s gotten back into the groove and planning travel.  We have the Ruby Princess cruise starting November 26 (7 days in Mexican Riviera) and an LA to Hawaiian Islands on Star Princess in January for 15 days.  Also we have reserved a condo in Sedona, AZ for a week, December 16-23.  Back to normal, almost.  In between we both have some medical tests and procedures.  Holding off on travel after January to see the results from those.

We are having a very quiet Thanksgiving; only about 5 of us getting together to share the meal.  Looks like Jim will be the only male.  Hope every one has a good time with family and friends.  Jim is talking about decorating for Christmas, including a small tree, for the first time in years.  I’m glad to see him get into the spirit.

Peace and love to all.

Thirteen days on the Crown Princess

On September 20, we boarded the Crown with Peggy and Craig in a heavy downpour.  US Customs was done right there in the Vancouver port.  Both couples had mini-suites, next to each other.  The men also paid for all-inclusive drink package for the 3 day cruise to LA.  They had done this also on the Coral Princess.  The ladies helped them a little (a few sips here and there!).  The package also included the fancy coffee drinks that Peggy enjoys.  Jim decided after these 10 days of being able to drink as much as he wanted, that it was not such a good thing.  Hee Hee.  Anyway, it was easier to get what you wanted and when you wanted it.

The three days to LA were nonstop and pretty relaxing.  Both Jim and I had mild colds (4 days and not really sick) on the Coral.  Unfortunately, Peggy got a worse case and had quite a cough on most of this trip.  Now that we are platinum on Princess, we get free wifi; even on this 3 days we had 150 minutes each, so plenty for that short period of time.  On the 10, that followed, we got 250 minutes.

In LA, Peggy and Craig left the ship, along with 4 other friends that we know from our home.  Since we had already done customs, we were able to stay on board.  We did change cabins, however and downsized to a balcony.  The cabin was quite a bit smaller, but the balcony was wider.

The September 23 to October 3 portion of the B2B cruises was the Mexican Riviera with a couple of new ports.  We first stopped in San Diego.  We got off the ship briefly to go to Rite Aid pharmacy.  Jim was not feeling well, so we paid a motorized pedicab $20 for the 1 mile round trip ride!  I thought his cold had come back, but it was more digestive problems.  He actually ate very little and did not drink that night.  The next day, he rested and we both ate very little; we even skipped the formal night.  This day was at sea.

On the 26th we anchored at Cabo San Lucas.  I did not feel well, so stayed on ship (been in Cabo many times).  Jim went ashore for a few beers with some new Cruise Critic friends: John and Suzanne and Jim and Debbie.

Senor Frogs in Cabo with friends

Senor Frogs in Cabo with friends

That day was mostly rest and very little food for me.  Jim was already better, so a quick “bug.”  It continued into that night and next day for me with worse symptoms, but no fever or nausea.  Anyway….. I was able to join the group briefly in La Paz on the 27th.  The extreme heat and humidity didn’t help!

La Paz cafe for beer and chips

La Paz cafe for beer and chips

I rested in the afternoon and felt pretty good in the evening.  So, just something quick.  Unfortunately the other Jim had a little bit of it later, but no one else.

Loreto was our next port and it was an anchor and tender in port.  Again, very hot and humid.  We paid a pedicab $5 to take us to center of town.  We are definitely not getting enough exercise during the last few days!!  Found our friends again for beers and chips!  We had been looking forward to experiencing La Paz and Loreto for the first time, but not such a great experience with illness and the extreme heat.  Maybe get another chance.

While at sea, the next day, we learned that John and Suzanne play Euchre, our favorite card game for 4 people.  We played several games during the next few days.  Also taught Jim and Debbie and found a 4th couple 2 days later.  That night, we joined John and Suzanne for the special dinner at Crab Shack; glad I was recovered enough to pig out on crab!

Crab Shack

Crab Shack

As with the last 2 visits to Puerta Vallarta, we had scheduled to do a tour with 8 others with our favorite taxi driver/tour guide, AZ.  At the Cruise Critic Meet ‘n Greet we found 10 others and emailed with AZ to get another van and driver.  We met up with the 2 of them at 10 am on the 30th and had a really fun day.  All 20 of us enjoyed the tour and our drivers (Manuel was AZ’s friends).  We visited a tequila factory, ate and drank at Chico’s paradise and had a tour of the city with viewpoints.

Our guide, AZ

Our guide, AZ

Our van friends at Los Arcos

Our van friends at Los Arcos

Tequila Factory, tasting time

Tequila Factory, tasting time

Chico's Paradise

Chico’s Paradise

After leaving PV, we had 2 days at sea, before returning to LA.  We played more Euchre and even taught some friends about LCR and got a few rounds going.  The Cruise Critic friends that we got to know and spent time with were really fun and hope to keep in contact.  As my footnote, I am posting another beautiful sunset.  Our best to all.

Sunset near La Paz

Sunset near La Paz

Vancouver and Victoria, BC

After we left he Coral Princess, we spent 4 days (Sept. 16-19) around Vancouver and Victoria.  Also saw our good friend, Joe, who lives in Lions’ Bay, north of Horseshoe Bay.  Again, the weather was cool with some rain.  On the second day, we visited a new town to us, recommended by Cruise Critic friend, Wendy.  Chemainus is very colorful with many murals.  It is on the road between Nanaimo and Victoria.  We ate lunch there and photographed many of the murals.  The town was started by a lumber mill company.

Jim with mural of band

Jim with mural of band

Beautiful lumber mill mura

Beautiful lumber mill mural

We stayed 2 nights in Victoria and of course visited the Empress Hotel and harbor area.  Another section that we first explored 2 years ago was Fisherman’s Wharf and the “floating village.”  All the houses are on floating docks and painted many colors.  Enjoyed the great clam chowder at Barb’s Seafood!

Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel

Our rent car and Empress Hotel

Our rent car and Empress Hotel

Government Building

Government Building

Craig and Peggy in the Floating Village

Craig and Peggy in the Floating Village

After staying another night in No Vancouver, we boarded the Crown Princess on September 20.  I’ll tell about those B2B cruises in my next post.

Wonderful trip to Alaska

On September 6, we flew to Anchorage, Alaska and spent 3 days going to Denali NP by train and then tour of park and back to Anchorage by bus.  We were lucky to see the trees turning colors, mostly golden Aspens with red and orange shrubbery.  Very beautiful.  We didn’t see many animals, as expected, but really enjoyed the visit.

Train to Denali

Train to Denali

Denali Bluffs hotel with fall colors

Denali Bluffs hotel with fall colors

Hotel room had beautiful wood beams

Hotel room had beautiful wood beams

More colors i Denali

More colors in Denali

Black Spruce trees with fall colors in Denali NP

Black Spruce trees with fall colors in Denali NP

Many glaciers in Glacier Bay

Many glaciers in Glacier Bay

Up close to 250 foot Margaree Glacier

Up close to 250 foot Margaree Glacier

After Glacier Bay, we stopped in 3 ports in the inside passage:  Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan.  Some rain and cold, and then sunny in Ketchikan.  Beautiful towns.  Enjoyed the 7 days onboard the Coral Princess, with JoAnn (sister) and John, and Peggy and Craig.

View of Juneau from ship

View of Juneau from ship

Peggy and Cheryl at Red Dog Saloon

Peggy and Cheryl at Red Dog Saloon

Ketchikan, Creek Steet

Ketchikan, Creek Steet

Creek Street, Kethikan

Creek Street, Kethikan

We arrived in Vancouver on September 16.  It was a very good trip and Jim was glad that we (Cheryl and JoAnn) convinced the men to do this cruise and land package.  Most of the weather was good, but we did have some rain and cold. More on BC and trip from BC south.  Cheryl

Hot and Dry

Since my last post, we have had no measurable rain and some days have been hotter than normal.  Currently we are in a heat wave, for about 5 days.  Luckily, we got our AC/Heat system replaced yesterday.  The older one was working, but noisy and not efficient.  In addition, it couldn’t make the inside temperature any colder than 15 degrees from outside; not good when it is 100 degrees.  This new one seems to be working really well!!  They also found more damage of duct work underneath by rodents and replaced or repaired that.

Currently, in addition to the rodents, ants and other varmints, we have been seeing tarantulas.  One was just inside our back door!!! Ugh!  How he got there is a mystery.  One of the AC installers encountered one underneath and really freaked.  Luckily, they only saw one.  Hopefully no more critters coming in through the ducts and vents!!

Guess we shouldn’t complain too much about the weather.  Jim’s sister in Houston is having hot and humid.  One day the actual temperature, without heat index added was 112.  We would like some rain, but don’t envy those with flooding and bad storms.  The drought is a big concern, but now they are forecasting a strong “El Nino” which should bring us some rain.  And, we always have the ocean to go visit!!

With some friends on the pier in Huntington Beach

With some friends on the pier in Huntington Beach