Sunday, May 31, 2009

Venice, Italy


We will be flying into this beautiful city tonight.  We have been here several times, but that was before the age of digital cameras and photos stored on the computer, so this one is compliments of Empress Bee

Tomorrow we board the Royal Princess to begin our lovely new adventure.  Come along and join us!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sat. Riding the rails...

Moved our bags to a nearby inn, then spent a few hours riding the train along the Rhine and Mosel Rivers enjoying the beautiful scenery. Severe clear and slightly warm today...perfect! Klaus is serving up our final dinner here. Sunday we train up to D'dorf for our flight to Venice. Life is good!
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Saturday stuff

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We have to say goodbye to the birdies and this fine inn and move to another place today.  No room in the inn!  Oh well, we will find something, have no fear.  Thanks for the photos, Brian!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rhine mini-cruise

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Have a look at the dining room here at the inn. 

Dick found online where Rhine River cruises are discounted for ‘seniors’ on Monday and Friday, so the plan is to take a half day cruise today.  I hope the weather cooperates!

Friday float

Perfect day for a scenic Rhine adventure. We are about to depart on this ship for a few hours...wish you were here! Life is good!!!
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cheers from Boppard!

Our inn hosts invited all the guests to a Rhine overlook, complete with wine and sausages...and rain. Oh well. Dick and I cycled along the Rhine this morning. Life is GOOD! Cheers!!!
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Boppard accommodations

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Son Brian stayed here on his cycling trip a couple of years ago and recommended we stay here, so this is home for a few nights.  As long as we are near water, we are happy campers and the mighty Rhine River is nearby.  It is calling us!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guten tag from Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf Rhine bank tunnel

Well, I assume we have safely landed and are in Dusseldorf right now!  Tired…jet lagged…the perils of travel.

We board the Royal Princess in Venice on 6/1, so here is our cruise itinerary as promised:

June 1        Venice, Italy            7p
June 2        Ravenna, Italy        7a-6p
June 3        Split, Croatia            8a-5p
June 4        Kotor, Montenegro        8a-5p
June 5        Corfu, Greece            9a-6p
June 6        At sea
June 7        Valletta, Malta        8a-5p
June 8        Messina, Italy            8a-6p
June 9        Sorrento, Italy            7a-5p
June 10    Ajaccio, France        12p-7p
June 11    Monte Carlo, Monaco    7a-6p
June 12    Portofino, Italy        7a-5p
June 13    Rome, Italy            6a

Seven of these ports are new to us, so we are looking forward to lots of new places.

We have a flight to Cologne the day we leave the ship, making our way up to Dusseldorf.  We fly home on 6/15.

So that is it for now…I will post when I can so join us for the adventure!

Auf wiedersehen, y’all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Terrific Tuesday…travel day!

Dusseldorf, here we come!  Our flight leaves this afternoon, and after we land in D’dorf in the morning, we plan to head by train to Trier (a neat old town) for lunch, then go to Boppard and stay in an inn that Brian stayed in on his cycling trip.  We love Boppard, so this is a good choice.  We’ll do day trips out of there and putz around the Rhine River, and then head to D’dorf on 5/31 for our flight to Venice.

Come along for the journey.  Tomorrow ,I’ll tell y’all about the cruise we’ll take out of Venice.

Auf wiedersehen!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mark this for Memorial Day...

Look at this happy face. This is Mark, son of a Beta Sigma Phi sister, holding a box of homemade cookies his mama sent him. Yes, that funny looking stuff is bread...packed in the layers to help keep the cookies fresh for their long journey.

Leet has had plenty of practice sending this son of hers *stuff* while deployed, see he has served a tour in Iraq, and now he is serving another tour in Afghanistan.

This is just one serviceman protecting us and our freedom. I wanted you to see his face. He is not nameless. This is Mark. Look into his eyes and know that he is real...he loves, and is loved...very much. He is proud of what he is doing, and signs his emails "Proudly serving." I have never met Mark. In fact, I have never even met his mama face to face, but I do know her through our online chapter. And I know that she and their family are counting the days till August, when this fine fella comes back home. What rejoicing that will be!

Thanks, Mark, and please pass on thanks to all the other troops over there from all of us back here in the USA. God bless you all. Stay safe.

Y'all go over and check out my friend Sarge, one of the most patriotic fellas I know...I sure love that guy, and Dick doesn't mind a bit! Thanks to both of you for proudly serving our country!

FREEDOM is never FREE. Never forget.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Say a little prayer…


God Bless our Troops!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A rose for our vets...and a question?

This is Memorial Day weekend, and I want to say a big THANK YOU to all our vets for giving us the freedom we so enjoy. Here is a rose for you...
Here is a question for my dear any of you use an off-site back-up provider for all your computer info? I have an external hard drive that is something like 150 G...but I don't back up to it often enough, and my 8 G memory stick that I use regularly is pretty much filled up with photos (yes, I should cull them, but those 'grands' are soooo cute it is hard to sometimes hit that delete button...) And the real kicker--all our records are under this roof, and that isn't always a good thing, if know what I mean. Shudder, shudder to think of that 'fire' word. So off site sounds like a smart thing, but how hacker safe is that? Will this company be in business forever? Will rates soar? Hmm, many questions.

My local fix-it guy offers off-site back up to the tune of about $120/yr., but of course I had to check out other sources...a couple of friends recommend Carbonite. Gosh, I can get that for 3 years at the local guy's one year price. But here is an even better deal. Click here and get a 20% off coupon for Carbonite...$2.89/month...sweet! That was a long link, so if it doesn't work, go to and find it under 'Software.'

Does anyone else have a recommendation?

Enjoy your Saturday...and remember to pause and give thanks for all that is truly important in your lives.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happiness is...

Having lunch with these two...Sarge and Empress Bee...
...then picking up my FIXED computer! is good again!!! It had a problem in its memory (ain't that the way of it!), so now that is replaced; it has its innards all cleaned up and speeded up as well. We have a new computer fix-it shop in Mayberry, and this was my first experience with them, admittedly I was a little afraid of trusting my puter to someone unknown. All our records and photos are on here, and I don't want just ANYBODY looking at our *stuff*--but this place is trustworthy and very reasonable. If a blip had to happen, it's better it happend this week and not NEXT week when I would be carting around seven useless pounds of machinery! Did I mention we are going traveling again? :-)

I have 'da boyz' for the day while Amy is painting pickets for the stairwell. They are SO close to being able to move in (next door, remember?), so I have the two wee ones out of her hair, then tonight we get our two, not-so-wee girls for the night. How blessed is that?

In between all this kiddie keeping, I'll work on future posts for while we are gone so those who want to follow us will know where in the world we are. The mighty travelers compared notes at lunch yesterday about blogging and uploading photos. Bee has some photos of one port we haven't been to that she'll send to me for a post. That's what friends are for, right? We share!

We'll be home, pulling out suitcases and packing this weekend. What are you doing? I really want to know. Really, I do. Whatever you are doing, stop and give thanks for those who have given us our freedom in the past, and are still doing it today.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh noooo

See the blank screen? See the install disk? Nothing works. It has to go to the puter doc. I am not having a good day! Life is not good......join me in my pity party. I have to fire up my OLD reliable original laptop...slow, but still ticking.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A bit of peace in Paradise...

Missy and Barkley enjoying the early morning air, with sounds of birds singing in the trees this cool, but calm morning...

And one tired Scooter, all snuggled up for his morning nap. Judy, do you think he likes your beautiful, blue blanket? He now pulls it off the rail and falls asleep on top of it, and I can't blame him for that! Lucky boy...the front of his shirt says 'my parents are exhausted' and that is so true, but the house remodel is coming along nicely.
Hooray! They'll move in next door real soon. Lucky me! Life is good. Enjoy your Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You can't fix Stupid!

Just remember as you read this, this person probably drives AND votes, and may have already reproduced.

Hat tip to Roger!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just another Monday...

No one's watching...I know all I have to do is pull down that handle and make my great escape...

Rats! I've gotta grow a few more inches.
I love those wee hand prints all over my lower windows. They are proof positive of being blessed with grandchildren. Watch your step if you stop by or you might run into a toy or two. That's another sign of happiness around here. My cutie pies will all grow up too quickly...and my house can be spotless then. Maybe.
And speaking of that, yes, it is Monday and time for laundry, emptying the dishwasher (yes, the wine and cheese party went well), and all those other mundane chores that need doing. Just another day in paradise, even though we are experiencing a bit of Blackberry Winter. The locals say when we get this 'cool spell,' we'll have a good blackberry crop. It was 45 this morning, and is slated to be 38 tomorrow. I say forget the blackberry crop; I hope we'll get back to spring!
Happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Now Sunday and back home...

Our 'vintage' fashion show luncheon yesterday was a hoot. It was one of those shows that sported 'bell bottom pants' that literally had bells all around the bottom of each leg...a 'plunging neckline' contained a plunger tied to the front. You get the picture. These gals went all out on coming up with ideas and designs, and certainly entertained us well. The food wasn't bad either.
Sheila, Pam, moi, Ursula and Joy, just in case you are wondering who these fine ladies are...
Here are some of the spiffy fashions. Notice the, um, rather large 'brief case,' second from the right side! Now that would fit a hunka, hunka chunka guy!
We adopted Nel from Savannah, who was the only one from her group that could make it. That's too bad for them that they missed such a good time.
The Sock Hops entertained us with some mighty fine '60s and '70s music for our listening and dancing pleasure after dinner. They've opened up for some big name acts over the years; we were lucky to get them and would certainly love to have them back for another convention.

No, Charlie, Joy and I haven't known each other since school days. Beta Sigma Phi is an international, non-academic sorority, whose object is 'Life, Learning, and Friendship' for women of all races and ages. Joy and Pam were in the original chapter with me that formed here in 1988, and we've been friends ever since. Lucky me!
It's nice to be back in Mayberry, where I am now unpacked and am preparing to host a wine and cheese party that begins at 5. Come join us! Life is good!!! Cheers...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday stuff...and Friday report...

Joy and I both managed to help the economy of the outlet mall yesterday, finding quite a few items on our list. We then headed to the hotel to prop our feet up and get rested for our pajama party, joined by 156 other sistas. Here is Ursula giving me 'rabbit ears'...

And Pam snuggled up to the huge teddy bear...
Joy found my spot...check out the sign...
So, I stood!
We had lots of fun...our group even got up and sang karaoke for the first time, and in our pajamas! At least Joy can sing and she carried our group, but I am certain Nashville won't be calling any of us!
We have breakfast shortly, followed by some BSP Forums and a fashion show luncheon. Do we know how to have fun or what? We always have food! Then who knows what kind of trouble Joy and I will get into today.......probably at a scrapbook store.
Tonight is the sock hop. I did bring socks. Dick calls me the Sock Queen.
Enjoy your Saturday. Ours will be fun. What are you doing?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Celebrate good times...

Joy and I are on the road today, shopping our way south to the Georgia State convention of Beta Sigma Phi in Roswell, GA. We'll connect with probably 300 sistas from all over the state, seeing old friends and making new ones. Tonight will feature a pajama party. Hunh? I don't own any pajamas, but I do have something I can wear tonight that will be appropriate...maybe!

My computer is going with me, so do let me know what your plans are for the weekend. Yes, I am nosy. I'll be checking up on all of you. Go out and have some fun! Life is good!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Missy, the jumper...

I heard a noise and looked up just in time to see a black tail jumping DOWN behind the TV. Now the top of said TV is about 6' off the floor, and there isn't much room on the mantle, even for a small kitty to land on, but she jumped UP, then she jumped DOWN behind it...and can be seen ever so slightly peering out on the right-hand side of the screen. See her? Well, I fussed at her, telling her to get down......and she listened about as much as any small child would...and then what did she do next?

Yep, somehow or other she managed to get on top of the TV! Little stinker!!! I put her little adventuresome self out the door to go play outside.......which was probably what she just wanted to do in the first place.
Who said life is dull in Mayberry...Podunk is what Miss Bee calls it. And Sarge. Today won't be dull. I have 'da boyz' for awhile this morning, then we'll meet Dan and Joan for lunch. They have a new g/daughter. Bet they'll have pictures! And then I have to pack. Just me. Not Dick; he isn't going with me.
Joy and I head to Roswell Friday for a Beta Sigma Phi convention with sistas from all over the state. Think we'll have FUN? Think we'll be laughing a lot? You can count on it!
Enjoy your Thursday! The sun is now shining. And da boyz have arrived. Doodlebug brought me flowers. Life is good!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hirino Psito - Slow roasted pork

Hirino Psito - Slow roasted pork

3-4 pound boneless pork butt or shoulder
10 whole garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
½ cup dried cranberries
1 can beer

Use a 6 quart slow cooker. Put the meat into your crockpot, and pour on dry spices, and brown sugar. Flip the meat over a few times in the stoneware so the spices are kind of stuck to all sides. Peel garlic cloves and add whole. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, honey, and cranberries. Top with bay leaves. Pour in the beer.Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. Serve over rice or pasta, or on your favorite sandwich rolls.
Adapted from - love this site. She has lots of great recipes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My girls...the gang's all here!

Here are my sweet gals...look who is the 'shortie.'
And the whole gang...woohoo!!!
Everybody say CHEESEBURGER! Life isn't just's GRAND!!! That's the smile of one happy mama there in the pink. This was a great Mother's Day celebration.
Enjoy your Monday. I'll have Scooter today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Two children ordered their mother to stay in bed one Mother's Day morning. As she lay there looking forward to breakfast in bed, the smell of bacon floated up from the kitchen.

But after a good long wait she finally went downstairs to investigate. She found them both sitting at the table eating bacon and eggs.

"As a surprise for Mother's Day," one explained, "we decided to cook our own breakfast."
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers! And to our own children, you have each blessed our lives in so many ways. I love all of you very much...and thank you again for our great lunch gathering yesterday!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This is truly a story only a mother could love...

Jack is a great cat and the kids carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothers him. He is prone to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom. Well, Bill and I have two sons, aged 4 and 3 years old, and a 1-year-old daughter. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it. He keeps asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So, finally, one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to, but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Mother's Day 2008, we were having the typical rush around and trying to get ready for church with everyone crying and carrying on. The two boys had been fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I was trying to nurse my little one at the same time I was putting on my make-up. Everything was a mess. We finally had the older one and the baby loaded in the car and we were looking for Eli.

Bill and I had searched everywhere and I finally went into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chap-stick very carefully to Jack's rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now, if you have a cat, you know that he is right -- their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. Bill's eyes met mine. You know, one of those parental, mind-meld moments. The only question that came simultaneously to Bill and me at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind, or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever, because it reminds me that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.
Dedicated to Parker Boy. We sure miss you! And to Amy and Jason, parents of two small boys!
Speaking of my own kids, they are all taking us out for lunch today to avoid the Mother's Day crowd tomorrow. Life is good!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Button, button...who's got the button?

What began as a simple task of sewing on a button turned into a rainy day project.

Where did I put my needles and thread? It is in the laundry room somewhere hiding (we've been in the new house a year and I apparently haven't had the need to use either), so my search began. Bingo...they were hiding in a box on the bottom shelf of the closet (next to the un-used sewing machine), along with dozens of buttons, none of which I needed for this particular project, but which seemed to call my name to sort, throw away or whatever! So I did.

I found buttons of all types, sizes and colors; spare buttons for long-gone whatevers--blouses, skirts, dresses. Some brought back fond memories of a particular outfit; others, I was clueless as to what they were supposed to adorn. I found buttons that will be perfect to use in some of my card making, you know, stamp a flower and use a button as its center. Cutsey things like that.

The buttons are now in a pretty glass jar, sitting on my craft table...still calling my name, saying 'come find a new use for me!'

Enjoy your Friday. I sure will; I'm going to play for awhile.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Heerreee, ducky, ducky!

We normally have nesting pairs of mallards here in our cove, but this morning 3 boys were congregating and probably plotting ways to find women. I'm sure they didn't notice how the flame azaleas are popping out on the other shore.

They did notice but ignored the bread I threw down for them. Oh, they wanted it...they were just too shy to paddle over. Or...they noticed and were probably scared of Missy. Oh yes, she was on high alert... Meow! Come on, boys...make my day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless, wet Wednesday...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another cruise...

Another cruise is in the works...looks like we'll be heading to Venice at the end of the month. Surely this swine flu craziness will be settled down by then...surely.

Of course it is bad timing for some pretty important family events--Scooter's first birthday; Miss A's 11th; dance recital for three of our girls. Sigh. What's a gal gonna do? Shop and bring back some neat *stuff* probably! And take lots of pictures and bring back memories to share. And work on the family cruise for October for sure.
And, of course, it is bad timing for our economy. But........Life is short...make fun of it! Ciao, y'all!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Aww Monday...

Missy the leader---Scooter, the follower...

The race is on to get to the water bowl first...
Time to wash paws...come on, Missy!
Now we can share lunch! Don't tell anyone though...
Nobody around here likes these two critters. Nope, not a bit. Don't you feel sorry for these two?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Korean Beef with Broccoli recipe

Here is the recipe that I fixed the other night (Sandee requested):

Broccoli w/Sweet Garlic Sauce
2 C. beef stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. soy sauce
1 t. ginger, minced
½ t. red pepper flakes
1/4 C. sugar
2 bunches of broccoli, chopped
2 T. olive oil
1 ½ T. cornstarch

1. Boil the beef stock. Add the garlic, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes and sugar.
2. In a separate pan, saute the broccoli in the olive oil. Add it to the broth.
3. Using a little of the hot stock mixture, create a slurry with the cornstarch and add it into the entire stock mixture.
4. Allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes until the mixture thickens and serve over rice.

Korean Beef
1# skirt steak
½ C. soy sauce
1/4 C. rice vinegar
1/3 C. scallions, chopped
2 T. sugar
2 T. garlic, minced
1 T. sesame oil
1 ½ t. chili sauce

1. Combine all ingredients. Marinate steak for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
2. Grill or broil the steak 2-3 minutes on each side. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Now that was the recipe that I found. So what did I learn and/or do differently?

Number 1 is that you mix up the marinade and pour it over the steak and get it to marinating for the whole hour. And since there was no skirt steak in Mayberry, I used bottom round, which worked just fine. And I sliced the steak thinly across the grain.

There was no mention of what to do or not do with the (wonderful) marinade, and of course I know that anything with meat juices has to be cooked, so I simply dumped the marinade into the beef stock mixture for the broccoli, which it needed...and I used three bunches of broccoli...and cooked it a bit longer before I added the broccoli to it. The taste was simply divine...if you like ginger and if you like garlic. Yummm. Dang, I didn't think about taking a photo of it, but I will make this again.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Elbow bumps...

I just heard the latest news--no more handshaking, no more fist bumps. We should all now be doing ELBOW BUMPS!!! Who knew?
Come on people...wash your hands...a lot! Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Stay home if you are sick. This is just common sense stuff your mama taught you to do...and it still holds true today. Enough hysteria already!!! Elbow bump all you want to, but scrub/sanitize those hands!
Dick is going out for our group lake clean up...I'm heading to Haley's house to 'scrap' today. Hmm, wonder who'll have the most fun? We are celebrating National Scrapbook Day today, and her website has some great ideas posted! Gotta go gather up *stuff* to take with me.
Enjoy your Saturday.......what are you doing? Life is short...make fun of it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day views...

This was the view last Friday off our deck...notice all the brown?
And this is the view, what a difference a week makes! We see green now!
And our flowers are emerging...a few dogwood blooms are now visible outside our bathroom window...flame azalea is peeking out across the cove. And the Lady Slippers are slowly waking up. All of the above will be helped greatly by the gentle rain that is now falling. We need it. Aahhh, spring is finally here on this first day of May.
And speaking of May Day, did any of you gals wear pastel dresses and dance around the May pole at school, weaving colorful streamers over and under to dress the pole? I think we must have done that at Junior High School (shows my age, as it is now called Middle School...and no one knew about any of those other 'dance poles' at that age, so don't even think about those!).
Enjoy your May Day...and your trip down memory lane!