Thursday, January 31, 2008

This 'n that...

This is a '41 GMC truck spied at the Turkey Lake plaza on the Turnpike today. Pretty spiffy!

Long sandwich logs, along with potato salad and coleslaw for dinner here at the Monaco Traveler's Club rally in Ocala. Turning Wheel RV provided a wine and cheese party prior to dinner. There are about 34 coaches at the rally. We are parked next to brother-in-law Sherman for four nights. Lots of good stuff planned for the next few days!

Dick and I are rally masters for the '09 rally, so I took lots of pictures so that I could look back and see what the '08 hosts did and get some ideas on what needs to be done for next year. Unfortunately, my glasses are missing:-( They were hanging on my shirt when a guy gave me a big bear hug, so I safely (?) left them on the table, and Dick didn't see them when he picked up our stuff...and they weren't there when I went back to the clubhouse looking for them. Sigh. Hopefully they'll turn up and not be in the trash can! I at least have a pair of 'cheaters' that I can use for now. This is another learning experience. See me banging my head on the desk!!! Oh well, I probably needed a new pair anyway...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jose and some of the family...

Javian, Jose and Joe Perez

Chavela, Joe, Angie, Juanita kneeling (Javian's wife), Javian, Sara and Jose

Smiling Jose worked for Dick and Bob back when we were in the rock business on Jog Road, Lake Worth, back in the '70s and '80s. He was one of our best employees. They met us tonight at Sonny's BBQ, plus two of Chavela's teenagers who left after dinner. Pretty boring for them to sit around talking with old people! We understood. These are mighty good people...and we consider them family. It still feels good after all these years to sit and visit with them. We'll do it again next year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Duchess and the Bell boys...

Duchess Sandy with the solid gold plastic tiara!

Three Bell boys--Tim, Bob and Dick

Monday, January 28, 2008

John G's on the Beach...

Sandy, Lynne & Bob (and Dick playing photographer) waiting on our cinnamon nut French toast and fresh fruit cup...yummm. I left my solid gold plastic tiara safely locked up back at the coach with Parker standing guard duty.

Another Zagat best thing to room service! Now where is that sluggard cabin boy?...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

More trip pictures...

Sarge looking fetching in Bee's tiara at the poker table!

Bee with her 'royal wave' on her chariot.

Hank & Lois, tablemates and Evil Crew members.

Evil two...

Freedom, decor.

Scroll down and check out some of the other pictures that got uploaded, now that we are back at the coach. The cruise was fun, but we just didn't get a chance to really visit with all of the 'Evil Crew,' darn it. There were a lot of neat and talented (funny, crazy...) folks in the group:-)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

And the fun ship docks...

Time to empty out the safe, cram the toiletries in the bag, shut down the computer, and head out of the room so that it can be cleaned and readied for the next passengers to begin the routine again. These pictures were actually on our arrival day. The ship has wi-fi in ALL the rooms (hoorrraaay), however it was slow and wouldn't let me upload pictures. Fortunately, I had planned ahead and had a few 'canned' pictures so that the posts would have at least a little bit of color:-)
Dick and I went up to the Lido deck and met Bonnie and Charlie. She was wearing her 'solid gold plastic tiara,' complete with flashing lights befitting her position as Empress Bee of the High Sea. Being Duchess Sandy, I donned my matching tiara, and we happily exited the ship with lights flashing and made it through customs fine and dandy, with several folks giving us the royal wave (yes, real waves with all fingers, silly). The agent even remarked on my 'royalty' with a smile (do NOT crack jokes with these guys...unless they are funny first). By the time Bonnie arrived next, he actually asked her if she wanted to declare her tiara! The man certainly knew good jewelry when he saw it. We made his day not so boring. Life's too short not to laugh.

Parker conned Judy into feeding him extra good stuff while she was kitty sitting this past week, and she dubbed him "Piggy Parker" and warned us that he has maybe, um, gained a little weight while we were away. Talk about a con artist! She fell for the hungry, pitiful act that boy can (try) to pull. Sure worked with her. He'll probably want us to leave again real soon, if Judy will take care of him, that is! All is well. Bob and Lynne arrive in their motorhome tomorrow and will stay for a few days. That'll be fun. Life is good...but I missed y'all!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mayan sunset

Last night’s show was outstanding...a Beatle’s tribute called "Ticket to Ride." Good songs, props, dancing, singing...the whole works. Carnival does that well.
Today has been busy with a blogger’s lunch, a meet the press session, and a special farewell party for us bloggers. Fun.
We are back in the room now after another nice dinner, cuz it is packing time ahead of tonight’s entertainment, which is a tribute to the legends, using passenger talent. We hope there is talent, although we know for sure that Adam (an Evil Crew member) has piano and singing talent. We look forward to hearing him. At least it isn’t karaoke. We draw the line at that. The good time has to end...and we are more than ready to go home. Parker needs us:-) Later, y’all!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ocho Rios

Dunn's River Falls

Beautiful beach

This has been a beautiful day that all the beach goers probably loved. We enjoyed sleeping in, a late breakfast, and a good visit with Bee, Charlie, Bill & Jean in the only seating area with a view–outside the casino. With the casino being closed, we didn’t have to suffer the cigarette smoke that normally wafts from it.
We prefer a ship that has an upper panoramic seating area with a view of where we are going. Providing nice music is a definite plus. We’ll normally sit there to read and watch enjoy the view. That prime piece of real estate on this ship is enjoyed by of all things, the kiddie pool:-( What were they thinking??? And the decor is, well, Las Vegas tacky, in our humble opinion, but what do we know. The decorator told us on the TV about his idea of decorating sections through the various periods of history, but we still haven’t quite figured out where the snake skin decor figures in. But what do we know. Did I say that already?
The food is good, the entertainment has been good; we certainly have enjoyed cruise director John and his lovely wife, Heidi. They are a we overlook the decor. It’s the least we can do.
We are setting an all-time record for staying onboard. We haven’t been off the ship since we left Miami, and today was our last chance to do so. We weren’t interested. We liked Jamaica back in the early ‘70s when it was safe and we had good knees and could climb Dunn’s River Falls. It was fine to just sit on deck and enjoy the view from the distance, although I do miss hearing the native jargon.
Today is On Deck for the Cure photo op at 3:30. I bought a tee shirt and will proudly wear it in memory of Marj. This is the breast cancer project that Carnival has, and a worthwhile project. Bee will be there, but she is all cured. Hooray!!!! Tonight is formal night; tomorrow is a sea day. I wonder what Parker is doing right now...probably napping, something he does really well.
Cheers, mon!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John's birthday party!

John Heald's birthday cake
John's birthday dance...y'all wave!

Another sea day, but with a bit of sun for the sun worshipers...not us, of course. John, cruise director, did a live blog this morning with Q&A from folks all over the world and questions from the bloggers in the theater. He is a real hoot. Today is his 43rd bday, and the "Evil Crew" worked with John’s wife Heidi and the wonderful Carnival staff to pull off a surprise bday party for him this afternoon, complete with a beautiful sheet cake with a 3-D dog house (and dog) on top, since John is always relating on his blog that he often stays in the doghouse. The scrapbook that we all worked on was presented to him and Heidi, as well as a charm bracelet given to Heidi filled with charms representing home state of each of the Evil Crew. I supplied a State of GA charm, of course. They were both quite touched with everything.
Another good dinner tonight...and more magic tricks performed by Charlie, much to the delight of us, Bonnie, Bill and Jean. I told Charlie that he is gonna have to perform them for our kiddies when we are all back in Mayberry:-) The ‘real’ entertainer for tonight was a comedian from Valdosta! He was very funny...and could have fit in my birth family for sure!
Tomorrow we will be in Grand Cayman, and we do plan to get off the ship! I tried once again to upload a current picture, but neither Bee nor I can get it to go through, due to the slow system. That is annoying. Oh well...I’ll post a few that I have saved. Miss y’all...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday in Cozumel

Here we are all gussied up!

Bonnie and Charlie, a/k/a Bee & Sarge

Yesterday’s rain and overcast was supposed to be left behind, however it was still hanging around upon our arrival in Cozumel this morning. Our tablemates at breakfast were a bit disappointed, because they were all young and wanting to go do outside stuff that involved sun/beach. The rain pretty much stopped, but the sun is still delinquent in making an appearance.
We’ve been reading in the cabin and by pool...good project for a crummy day. We did go see the show last night after dinner, which featured songs/sets on New Orleans, which was nicely done. N/O is where the next blogger’s cruise will depart from, with hints of Elton John being onboard and possibly Brad and Angelina. Yippie skippy on the last two. We’ve met some of my fellow Evil Crew bloggers. Each day the ship is presenting us with a gift of some sort...a Best of John Heald Blog calendar for ‘08; two nylon drawstring backpacks with the "I (heart) John’s Blog Thingy" logo; a couple of personal battery operated fans, and promises of many more surprises during the remainder of the cruise.
Still having finally posted!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We're Freedom!

We are heading out the door soon to go pick up Bee and Sarge, load up all their 'stuff,' and head to the Port of Miami where we'll be joined by about 1,000 bloggers for Carnival's First Annual Bloggers' Cruise onboard the Freedom (you can click there and see the webcam). Yes, our bathing suits are packed, sunscreen, hats, paperback books, computer...all the essentials. Dick thought he was getting by w/o taking a jacket, and I don't mean the rain variety. That guy hates to get all gussied up, but he'll do least once. No tux though. That is back in Mayberry (broke his heart)...NOT!

More snow may be headed to Mayberry...we're glad we are missing that stuff. Nope, being in the land of sun 'n fun is ideal. Life is good. Y'all have fun while we are gone! Hugs...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday fun...

Here it is Friday, and the suitcases are out and getting filled up. What to take? What to leave? Those are the questions. We'll figure it out. I have all the *stuff* that us Evil Bloggers were requested to bring already packed in a special protective bag. Plus some other items that may be needed. The Evil Crew has been emailing back and forth, and I am amazed at all the talent in this group. We have a group directory, complete with pictures made by one guy. He even shrank down the pictures of everybody and did a 'face page' complete with names so that can see and identify the gang. How neat is that?! I did up a list of names and cabin numbers so that we can find each other and sent that out to the group. Another gal is putting together the scrapbook, while another is doing something special for the CD's wife. That'll be a surprise. We've got LOTS of those planned:-) Oh yes, this'll be fun.

I hope to be able to upload pics to the blog while cruising, but if not, I'll do that when we get back. I'll at least post as often as I can. The press are going to be onboard, as this is billed as the first annual bloggers' cruise, and plans for '09 will be unveiled while we are at sea. If any of you want to check out the webcam, that link to the Carnival Freedom is:

One more day to go!!! Yaaayyyy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy birthday, Marj!

Today would have been Marj's 73rd birthday, but that nasty old breast cancer took her life last April after a valiant 10-year battle. When Dick took me to Miami as a new bride back in '68, Marj was my mentor and friend. She was also his oldest sister. Marj was extremely helpful in my transition to that strange, new city...helping me learn my way around, and teaching me new sewing skills in one of her many classes as the county 4-H cooperative extension agent.

Marj had such a gentle spirit about her. She loved her family and friends. She loved traveling, especially with Sherman in the RV. We all miss her very much. Parker and I just went outside and sent some bubbles up to heaven. We hope you enjoyed them, Marj, cuz they were filled with love!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

One week to go!!!

This time next week, we'll be onboard this ship steaming away from Miami, heading for fun with the EVIL CREW. The emails have been flying daily; this new blogging group (for the most part) has never met in person, yet we've come together as friends/family already, sharing joys and sorrows just as true real and online friends do every day. What a new demension this is!

My hair has been trimmed...thank you, JJ!!! And I have two new rolling duffle bags to pack in that'll just stay in the 'basement' when we are done so that we aren't suitcaseless again. We are travelingbells...we've gotta be ready to leave with a moment's notice...and need proper containers to put our *stuff* in!

Parker on the couch

And we have a sweet neighbor who loves cats who will come over and take care of Parker while we are gone...thank you, Judy! We'll miss our boy, but he'll have the place all to himself and enjoy our bed all alone for a whole week. He'd just better not get into the catnip and throw any wild parties! Life is good!!!

Bee and I had fun working on our scrapbook pages yesterday...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Printing pictures

Today I have been looking though our digital photos so that I can find/print out some to represent our state and our family. This picture of the Union County Historical Courthouse didn't print out very well, since I found it online, so I am putting it here to show it off. I like the picture...and will have to make sure I take one of my own to have it when I want it again.
Anyway, this is for the scrapbook page that we are to take with us on the cruise, and it is to be given to someone special. Empess Bee has never scrapbooked before, so I'm going to her house tomorrow and we are gonna play together:-) That'll be fun. Y'all might even get to see some pictures of the mess we'll undoubtedly make.
We had a nice potluck dinner tonight over at the park rec hall. Tons of food, and it was all good. And what is on TV right now in the background? Do's and don't's (sic) of cruising! We're pathetic...but it sure beats all the political stuff on TV. Oh yes, our newly installed outside lights sure look good, just in case you are wondering. No, they are NOT Christmas lights (you know you are a redneck if you leave your Christmas lights up all year long). White lights are ACCENT lights. That's my story...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Minus 10 (days) and counting...

That was the greeting in my inbox this morning from Big Ed, fearless leader of the "Evil Crew." Of course, there were two dozen other emails that crept in overnight, too. The energy and enthusiasm, not to mention the "bad deeds" that are being cooked up, is amazing. We'll be kept in stitches the whole week.

After several tries yesterday, I finally found the "Rasta Wig with Cap" that Dick is gonna look soooo adorable in...NOT! whatever party he is supposed to wear it. I also found a play-dress-up outfit or two left onboard the coach, so I don't have to shop for fancy new duds...but I did have to buy two roll-on duffle bags so that we won't have to board the Freedom with our stuff in trash bags (not that Dick would care!).

We met Dan and Joan for pizza last night. Sooo good to see them, and it'll be even better when they move to Mayberry for good:-) Of course then we'll want them to be in FL in the winter for when we are down here. Life gets complicated sometimes.

Dick has wrapped our two palm trees with white lights so that they look pretty at night. He did our bushes, so that made the palms look lonely. We're about to head out to look for lights to go under our table umbrella. Not the one covering the windshield:-) When we were out on a bike ride earlier this morning, he found a discarded satellite dish waiting for trash pick up. He asked the owner if he could have it (yes), so he now has parts for whenever he needs them, plus we met another nice neighbor. The boy tries to save us $$ whenever he can:-) Stop laughing!

Having fun, y'all!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday, Monday...

Busy day today going through all the new cruiser emails. Those folks CHAT! We are doing some 'stuff' on the cruise, so I had to do a little shopping for items needed to take with us. No, not new clothes...just some fun things.

We are all to do a scrapbook page ahead of time...throw me in that briar patch. One side of the page is for us to put info/pictures about where we come from, and the reverse side is to be pictures/info about ourselves. Where to begin??? More do I narrow it down???Empress Bee sent out a plea to the group for help cuz she doesn't scrapbook, so I emailed her back that I would help with their page. Getting a few more supplies was on my shopping list for today. Haley/Amy/Joy--y'all come on down and join us in a scrappin' party!

And then tonight we enjoyed pizza at the Tieches ahead of the class reunion planning meeting for Dick and Johnnie's upcoming reunion. Where to have it? When to have it? Lots of choices/suggestions were thrown out. We go back next week to find out what folks have learned and then will make the final decisions. Fun group. We are blessed with lots of nice friends. And we'll meet some more on the upcoming cruise. Life is great!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Going cruising!

We've been on dry land too long, so we're gonna fix that, thanks to Empress Bee. She had been blogging about a bloggers cruise, so I decided to find out more details, not because I feel that I am qualified to be called an official blogger who rates being in such elite company, but because...well, it's been months since we've been on a cruise. We love cruising, so why not join Empress Bee of the High Seas and Sarge and go have some fun? Plus I might learn something worthwhile from our fearless leader, who is none other than the Senior Cruise Director of the Carnival line. Excellent plan! We're going!!!

There were only 4 cabins left on the whole ship (inside cabin) when I called this morning, so I snagged one AND signed up for all the blogging fun. Departure is 1/19 for a whole week of exciting activities. We've been to all the ports, so who cares where we go just as long as the weather and food are good! Hmmm, small problem of what to do with Parker kitty while we are gone, but we'll figger that out between now and then. I don't think we can sneak him onboard:-)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Liquid sunshine...

This picture is a prettier choice than what we are actually seeing outside. It has been overcast and raining off/on all day. At least it warmed up, but we still need a jacket when we go outside. I know y'all feel sorry for us, and we appreciate it.

I have actually spent a good part of the afternoon working on an online scrapbooking class that Haley got for me. Love it! I have a lot of old Bell photos that I'm gonna scan into the puter this winter to preserve them so that I can share with the rest of the family. Big project! And I have a very nice box of stamping goodies from Amy to play with. Wow...and a Christmas photo album from Joy to fill up. Mucho projects!!! Rainy days maybe aren't so bad after all, except for the slight snoring sounds coming from the guy on the couch:-) Gotta love him!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Brrrr...chilly, chilly!

That obviously is NOT South FL...that's what it looks like at GA's highest peak, just outside Mayberry, so we shouldn't complain about our 50 something weather down here in WPB. The arctic blast hit here, and quite frankly, I am ready for it to move on and warm up. I'm a wuss.

We went up to Schooner's for a bowl of their wonderful Fishermen's Stew, perfect on this cold, windy day. No trip out is complete w/o going to Home Depot, then we stopped at some 'girlie' places for me (TJMaxx, Stein Mart). Oh yes, shopping seems to be Florida's maybe third favorite sporting event, right behind beaches and eating out. We didn't leave FL very green today, however:-)

Dick and Parker are stretched out on the couch...Dick just started a new book. Now that the pot roast is in the crock pot, it is my turn to kick back, prop up my feet and open my book. Life is good!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!!!

Happy New Year! May you each have a very happy and healthy 2008. We celebrated quietly...ate here in the coach, sat on the patio for awhile...rode our bikes over to visit friends in the park and toasted the new year. We left early so that we could get back to watch the crowds on TV in Times Square and see the beautiful new Waterford crystal ball drop. We are such party animals.