Friday, December 19, 2008

Cookies & Kids

tonight I go to the Youth Minister's house for the Girls Night for the girls in our Youth Group....making cookies and watching Christmas movies....should be fun. Just hope I'm not in charge of the cookies or they may be Cajun style! LOL

I'm looking forward to it. We have lots of really nice teens in the high school youth group. I don't have any kids in it. Mine are long grown but I still enjoy volunteering with the kids........someone's gotta like teenagers....may as well be me! LOL

Friday, December 12, 2008

Waiting for Baby Jesus..........

.....I love is like being pregnant waiting for the birth of baby Jesus...thinking about ways to a random act of's random act was to my waitress Gina at the Golden Corral....Merry Christmas Gina..........

Prayer to Baby Jesus in the Manger
O Divine Redeemer Jesus Christ, prostrate before Thy crib, I believe Thou art the God of infinite Majesty, even though I do see Thee here as a helpless babe. I humbly adore and thank Thee for having so humbled Thyself for my salvation as to will to be born in a stable. I thank Thee for all Thou didst wish to suffer for me in Bethlehem, for Thy poverty and humility, for Thy nakedness, tears, cold and sufferings.

Would that I could show Thee that tenderness which Thy Virgin Mother had toward Thee, and love Thee as she did. Would that I could praise Thee with the joy of the angels, that I could kneel before Thee with the faith of St. Joseph, the simplicity of the shepherds. Uniting myself with these first adorers at the crib, I offer Thee the homage of my heart, and I beg that Thou wouldst be born spiritually in my soul. Make me reflect in some degree the virtues of Thy admirable nativity. Fill me with that spirit of renunciation, of poverty, of humility, which prompted Thee to assume the weakness of our nature, and to be born amid destitution and suffering. Grant that from this day forward, I may in all things seek Thy greater glory, and may enjoy that peace promised to men of good will.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Great Googa Mooga....

....I thought this economy was supposed to be in a decline? This past weekend I participated in a home craft show. I did very well. Then the next day I sold 3 of my ACEO (miniature art) on Ebay..............

so while I'm babbling on, can I tell you I'm so sick of cold weather. Now you probably are thinking Joann, it's gonna be a long time until spring.......I know, I know. I just wish I could live in a perpetual summer........but that's not gonna happen in this life I guess I will just count down the days.

.....ohhhhh but then again I was just thinking I do get a few days in Key West to visit a friend in February so that will break up the winter for I just need to think of other ways to hurry spring.........

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend at the Beach

It was a wonderful (albeit cold) weekend at the beach (Ocean City, MD). It was nice to get away with my daughter for a girls weekend. We spent most of the time shopping...not for gifts but for us! LOL neither of us usually do that so it was a nice splurge. We had breakfast every day at our favorite crape place - Bayside Skillet.

Our shopping was mostly at the Rehobith Beach outlets. What bargains and no sales tax...take that Martin O'Malley!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Surprise Delivered!

So last night Jackie and I took the icon that I spent 6 months working on for the Daughters of Charity to them for their chapel. They just moved from Catonsville to a new house in Windsor Mills. It was a very nice house. We almost passed it because it was so big that we didn't think it was theirs. Of course I got lost a couple of times on the way! My usual! It was nice to see them and pray with them at Evening Prayer.

And.............I came across this video.....Bohemian Rhapsody Santa Style....enjoy...hope it puts you in the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving......

...what are you most thankful's my list.
FAmily - husband, parents, children, grand child, brother, cousins....
Health - mine, my family and friends
The ACEO card sale I had yesterday
My pets - 2 cats and a bunny
Friends - too many to mention
Work and retirement - my retirement and part time job
All my blessings - given by God which brings me to..........
and the fact that Jesus died for our sins......for that I'm eternally grateful (no pun intented)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So Thankful

sitting here thinking about how lucky I am. I have a wonderful husband who I've been married to for 32 years. I have 2 wonderful kids, a cute grandson, a great part-time job, a nice house, great friends, loveable kitties, great health, total happiness and satisfaction with life, my parents (81 & 80), a great brother, I am able to travel a bit...........there is so much to thank God for........Thank you God.....................

Saturday, November 15, 2008


...I'm such a mess. I bought a new curling iron and it was so hot that I burned the side of my neck. Now I look like I have a big ole hicky on the side of my neck. How embarrasing. It will take forever to heal I'm sure as burns usually do. I'm going to have to wrap my neck up with a towel the next time I use it!!!! I feel like that old robot on Lost in Space...WARNING WARNING

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mixed Emotions Day

.........oh my....not sure if it's a good day or a bad day. Dad goes today to the urologist. He has blood in his urine (he's 81) and the docs have him worried it's cancer....but on the upside I'm taking some things to a craft show I have never participated in and it's mostly art so that's an outlet for that.......oh my my my...pray for my Dad please.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teaching someone to paint....

...isn't always so easy. Susan wants to learn watercolors. She brought a sketch of her dog and wanted to ink it first. It looked pretty good for some who doesn't usually paint or draw. I had her use watercolor pencils as they are easier to control (at least I think so). She did a wonderful job. And I was happy she was happy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Red Hat Queens

Yes that is what I am a Red Hat Queen and we are all meeting today at lunch at Sunset Restuarant to plan a 2009 big red hat Christmas party!!! I'm excited.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween is fun for me. I like to see the little kids in their costumes. Today I'm going to the Gem Show in Timonium and I hope to be home to see the many little ghouls and gobblins dropping by my house.

YOU GOTTA WATCH THIS YOU TUBE...MONSTER MASH! Someone did a lot of work.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Happened to Fall?

What happened to Fall...mid October we were at 80 degrees and now it's like 40.......we completely missed fall. The trees are confused. Some are dropping the leaves partially changed, some green.......what's up with that?

So today I painted like 8 or 9 pieces of china, gearing up for the local craft shows. I wish it were over...and the election. I'm tired of painting and hearing about the election. I usually am very interested in these things but having the primaries so early and hearing it for like 10 months is crazy.........

I'm hoping there is No-Bama..........

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Local Red Halloween Party

So our club went to the Red Hat Halloween Party put on by Donna of the Batty Hatties. It was in Annapolis at the Lowes. The food was great. The entertainment was awesome. The Hatties did the dance from the Thriller video...all in costume...didn't miss a step. There were red hat vendors there. Jackie (my beautiful daughter) won the Pink Hat costume for her gypsy. It was funny because we just threw that together before we left the house. Of course I was the queen. Here are some pictures.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back from Hoots Haunts & Hats

What a great time Wanda and I had at Hoots Haunts & Hats in Savannah GA. Savannah is a beautiful town but it will never be the same after 600 red hatters! :)

I did quite a bit of shopping...yippee...always need new purple clothing! We had a pj party, tea party, costume party (no one got my Jane Jetson costume boo hiss). We took a ghost tour. Memorable moments were when the trolley broke down in the middle of the intersection while the tour guide was telling us about the Indian burial grounds near us and how buildings would fall down. Later at a cemetary I was unble to take a picture of a tombstone. My camera kept shutting down. But it would let me take pictures of other things. And in a haunted house that had been on Ghost Hunters a lady standing near a piece of furniture had a drawer pull out and hit her butt and a tape of some "white nose" taped by Ghost Hunters turned on by itself.........quite an experience I would say.

I went to church in St. John the Baptist church on Sunday in driving rain. The church was very beautiful. It was hard to worship because I was distracted by the art work.......... Anyway here's some pictures.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Savannah Here I Come

Red Hat in hand, well actually on my head! Going down for the Red Hat Society Hoots, Haunts & Hats.....I'm so looking forward to getting silly.

I have my giggly eyes, crazy sunglasses and funny hats.....I'll post a picture when I get's one of my wax lips -- but alas...I left them in my car and they melted...need new lips.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sugar Baby

Sugar Baby, Sugar Baby, Sugar Baby, Sug...............So I'm typing away on my other blog. and I'm listening to a bird. That's exactly what his song sounds like to me. It makes me smile because it's probably one of those last summer moments I'm going to experience for a while. I love summer. I love the heat (but not the humidity). I love looking at the leaves out of this window bathed in the bright yellow of the sun. I love the birds songs.....Right now I'm drinking in all the beautify of the trees out of this window. Soon the leaves will be gone.

:( but for right now it's Sugar Baby, Sugar Baby, Sugar Baby, Sug

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wondering What's Right.... it right to do this "bail out" bill or is it right to let the free market take care of itself. Some say what is being done is socialization of the free market. Others say that if it doesn't pass the world as we know it is going to end.

Call your representatives or not? What do you do? What do I say? I'm not expert. I'm just leaving this in God's hand. It's way outta my control.

On a happier note it's a beautiful fall day in Maryland. I'm getting antsy because in a week or so I'll be going to Savannah, Georgia to the Red Hat Society Hoots, Haunts & Hats with a friend. I've never been to Savannah before so this is pretty darn exciting to me...........

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economy, Stocks & My Nerves

Okay Congress get your arses together and do something about this economy thing. I, like millions of Americans, am watching the tv and wondering now what? Yesterday was horrible. Peeing and moaning, the blame game from you bunch of goofballs....who needs it. We need leaders.

How do I feel about this bill? Not sure what's right. I'm not an expert. Heck I'm even numerically challenged. It would seem to me that a loan program would be much better than buying bad paper! But who am I?

I just know that I'm tired of this group of clowns acting like kids in a food fight. Pelosi is a jerk. We all knew that kind of kid on the playground didn't we. The big mouth snob in the click...that's her.

While they were moaning yesterday I watched the little box with the stock market figures in the corner....when someone said something positive it went up but then when they began all the bickering and blame it went down and down and down.

I sat there thinking should I dump my 457 growth stocks and move it into the more conservative one.....NOOOOO that would make things worse but I wondered as I saw people dump stocks.....I'm hoping it will all be good and the market will go back up. But then again I'm the eternal optomist.

AND did you notice the predominance of 7's.....Seven is a very important number in the bible.....we ended minus 777 and it was 7 percent I'm thinking it's not all bad....I take it as a sign from God, things will get better. Sure hope I'm right!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

what's the world coming to????

I sometimes wonder. You know it's no wonder things are the way they are in this country. Sometimes I feel like people just bend over and say give it to me! We elect people who rather than regulate to protect us, take $ from those who should be regulated and then take of the regulations.....and in the end we end up in the economic situation we are in............bend over.....

well I'm tired of bending over. Today the straw broke the camel's back. So I am working on a calendar for work (a handout for teachers to promote one of our programs). I give the draft to my boss who puts a note on it that she and the division director agree that I need to take religious holidays off the calendar...she crossed through EASTER....

I lost it! Here's the email I wrote back to her and the division director....

"Holidays - Religious Holidays are on our overall agency calendar--this is still a judeo - christian nation -I will delete those which are not listed on the the agency calendar.

If you make me take Easter off the calendar--- I QUIT! AND I'M NOT BEING FUNNY. IT'S ON THE AGENCY CALENDAR...I'm not being politically correct.........I AM A CHRISTIAN AND ANY CHRISTIAN WHO DENIES CHRIST WILL NOT MAKE IT TO THE PEARLY GATES! My soul is more important than this job."

The have to this point ignored my email but I will leave this place. Government or not this is ridiculous. I've about had it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Food for Thought

I got this in an email:

You couldn't get a job at McDonalds and become district manager after 143 days of experience.

You couldn't become chief of surgery after 143 days of experience of being a surgeon..

You couldn't get a job as a teacher and be the superintendent after 143 days of experience.

You couldn't join the military and become a colonel after a 143 days of experience.

You couldn't get a job as a reporter and become the nightly news anchor after 143 days of experience.


'From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate.

That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.

After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan. 143 days?

We all have to start somewhere. The senate is a good start, but after 143 days, that's all it is - a start.
AND, strangely, a large sector of the American public seems to feel comfortable with this and campaigning for him.
We wouldn't accept this in our own line of work, yet some are OK with this for the President of the United States of America ?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Husband Blues...

...I'm sick of the husband being sick. Is that bad? For almost 3 weeks he's had the kidney stone problems. I've had him to the hospital for 2 times and the doctor's once and for a test once.........I have been cancelling everything so I can be close at hand and it's suddenly driving me nuts. I feel like I escape if I even go outside for a breath of fresh air. Yesterday I ate my lunch outside for a break. I wish he'd go to a urologist and get this under control. They have been happening more and more often. I'm not cut out to be a nurse!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

so today I get an email....

....all about Sarah Palin which was absolutely hysterical. Of course being a republican it gave me quite a chuckle.......there were various pictures and cartoons in it....this was my favorite.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feeling LIke Chatty Cathy...

...but don't be alarmed I'll make this brief..........what's up in WheelerVille?

1) Preparing for a talk on the 10 commandments at Youth Group....blowing up 10 beach balls with commandments written on them...boy I'm out of breath.

2) Just helped out with a promotion for our decorative painting club at the county fair. We did make it take its with non-painters. Here's a picture of some of them and their work.

3) The husband still has kidney stones...........ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I want to scream.

4) Finally finished turning the pond into a flower bed complete with fountain. I did it myself, thanks to the DH's kidney stones and the fountain sort of leans like the leaning tower of pisa!

5) This week is the Red Hat Pirate Cruise on Talk Like a Pirate Day! ARGGGGGGGGGGG

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday thoughts

From Wikipedia:
Friday (pronunciation IPA: /ˈfraɪdeɪ, ˈfraɪdi/) is the day of the week falling between Thursday and Saturday. It is the sixth day in countries that adopt a Sunday-first convention. In ISO 8601, in work-based customs, and in countries adopting Monday-first conventions, it is the fifth day of the week. (See Days of the week for more on the different conventions.)

In most countries with a five-day work week, Friday is the last workday before the weekend and is, therefore, viewed as a cause for celebration or relief. In some offices, employees are allowed to wear less formal attire on Fridays, known as Casual Friday or Dress-Down Friday. In Saudi Arabia & Iran, however, Friday is the last day of the weekend and Saturday is the first workday. Moreover, in some countries, Friday is the first day of the weekend, and Sunday is the first workday.

The name Friday comes from the Old English frigedæg, meaning the day of Frige the Anglo-Saxon form of Frigg, a West Germanic translation of Latin dies Veneris, "day (of the planet) Venus."

My Thoughts About Friday..........................

I like Fridays mostly.
Every second Friday is my china painting club meeting.
I don't like rainy Fridays.
I don't like Fridays with husbands passing kidney stones.
I like to hear crickets on Friday nights (well actually any night would be good).
I don't like getting telephone solicitations on Friday nights.
I like Good Friday, Black Friday and Casual Fridays (although every day is casual day where I work).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th reflection......

...where was I when it happened? I was off from work. I had volunteered to help 4-H setting up for the county fair. I was watching TV and as I was eating my breakfast I saw it happen. I was stunned. All I could do was watch with wide eyes. Then as they played the tape of the first plane, a flash to a real time video of the second plane. I dropped my spoon and broke into tears. Those people. God help those people. My heart was breaking for the them, for their families for all of America watching in horror.

I immediately called my daughter at college. Was she safe? She was asleep. I pleaded with her to watch the TV. Then it was time to go to the fairgrounds.

I don't know how I drove there at day. It was all a fog. I went into the exhibition hall and no one knew what had happened. They had been there early. I had to break the news to everyone--another horror. Radios came out of the woodwork as everyone tried to listen to the news. We cried each time a tower fell.

Remaining there working in a fog, I felt safe but I worried for my children, my husband. I called them. Jackie said college was closing. She didnt' know what to do. I told her come home quickly but becareful. Joe who worked at the guitar factory over the otherside of the bay said they were closing because they were afraid the Bay Bridge would close and everyone would be stranded on the other side. I told him come to the fairgrounds. No crazy terrorist would think about the fairgrounds with no one but us and the cows there (it hadn't opened to the public yet) Glenn was at the power plant...on high alert. But he was safe.

It was the worse time of my life. I hurt for everyone who was lost that day. The tears were a continuous running faucet. Then came the silence. No planes in the air. Only the sound of jets flying over Annapolis. It was unsettling.

The next day I went to church for daily mass where usually about 30 was packed.At the end we sang God Bless America and to this day I cannot hear that song nor think of it without shedding tears.

God Bless America. God Bless those lost that day. God Bless their families. God have mercy on the souls of those who did that horrible thing. I hope never to experience something like that again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


People are crazy. Today I get a rash of scathing emails from MysticSilks on Etsy. She belongs to our DAWG Team. We have contests and donate cards for prizes. If you win, you get a prize. She got one of my art cards as a prize but the person who sent it didn't put a note it in.

So she accused me of spaming her with snailmail. Threatened me with policy violation for Etsy.....the goof didn't get it. Kept saying she didn't enter a contest. Finally she admits she entered a contest after I sent her a copy/paste of something on her ning page saying she won. Then she was insulted that we used her home address to send her something...SHE GAVE IT to the person who sent the card to her! But how DARE we use her home address.....the goof give it to us!

She's a goof.................I took her off our TEAM list........good ridence to crazy people! If you are crazy, please avoid me today...i don't need another one.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I have been featured........

.........I feel like some kind of celebrity. Please go read what I've read at Etsy Spotlight On! Here's a link click on this icon:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Night I Could Do Without!

Not much sleep last night. Ended up with the DH in the Emergency Room for his kidney stones! The fool went to work today with only 2 hours sleep or so. He's crazy.

Not much energy in me today but I have been trying to get some painting done. I finished an ACEO for a friend and another to put on Ebay...............

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Breath of Fresh Air

Sarah Palin, Vice Presidential Candidate. What a breath of fresh air! A Washington Outsider. Conservative. Prolife. Young. Dynamic. Tough Cookie. Small town advocate. Middle Class ties. Worker friendly. Pro energy independence. Energy expert. Pro USA. A woman & mother. Good choice John McCain, a wonderful pick. Now this IS the winning ticket!

Obama's ticket does the talk and your ticket does the walk!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sadly End of Summer

It's end of August and summer is almost over. The temps when in the 70's feel like winter to me. It's getting to the point that I will have to think about warmer clothing (booo hoooo) and the pony tail can come down. How sad! I love summer, what a bummer............ah a poet & dont know it! :)

This weekend is Labor Day and I have to Labor on Labor crummy is that? I haven't had a Labor Day off in 20 years as I always have to work State Fair because that's out last day and we close up the exhibit that day. But this is my last year. Someone else will be taking it over next year...yippeeeee. Twenty years of anything is enough. I love the fair but I am getting too old to work those long hours and haul and setup and pack up our stuff. I'm glad there will be new blood.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Wow Factor

I am happy to report that my state fair exhibit for my agency has the WOW factor. I generally determine if what I do has the wow factor by the following method. If a person comes through spends time with my exhibit goes around the rest of the MD DNR displays and then comes BACK, I have the WOW factor. This year I definitely have it! I have a touch tank with aquatic insects, a stream tank with stream fish, preserved aquatic insects for a demonstration of a quick stream health assessment and some live stream bugs in petri dishes............everyone LOVES them. wooohoooooooo

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fair or Not Fair?

Ha ha your attention...this has nothing to do with being fair or what's fair. It has to do with the fact that State Fair began yesterday and I'm the exhibits coordinator for my agency at the MD Department of Natural Resources.

Set up went marvelous. Everything was wonderful. I had folks bring me fish and aquatic insects. They did an outstanding job bringing a nice variety. That was Thursday. On Friday I worked the exhibit. I like to work the first and last day and then I get people from our agency to work the other days and I'm on call. Well the first day was MOBBED. This year the MD State Fair built us a building. In past years we were in a tent. What a wonderful change. We had AC!!!! So I didn't have to go through 40 lbs of ice a day for the fish!

It was much nicer and cleaner too! I only had a couple of mini-disasters during the first day. When I arrived 3 blacknose dace had jumped out of the stream tank. And there was one dead. A tadpole jumped out of the touch tank. He ended up going back in for food for the crayfish. Speaking of the crayfish, the little devils ate my stonefly! Oh well. We will be needing more aquatic insects midweek. I can see that now.

Today was the MD River of Words ceremony. I run the poetry & art contest for kids. It went really well. I had arranged for the kids to get discount ride tickets this year. So most of the pressure is off of me for this fair I guess it's fair huh? Nah, actually it's not fair, it's EXCELLENT....hope the rest of the week and breakdown goes just as well.

Friday, August 15, 2008


..........I'm really enjoying my semi-retirement. I've been retired now for ummmmm let's see 2 years or so. But I work for my employer on contract 2 days a week so I'm semi retired. Today was a typical retired person day. I got up at 8 am (much later than I normally do), painted some china, went shopping, painted some more, played around on the computer and the day is almost gone.

Thank you God for the blessing of retirement! :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wonderful Wonderful Life.... my son passed his journeyman's exam and now he's a licensed sheet metal mechanic....yeah..........I sold a blown egg for good money on Ebay....the weather's broken and it's nice and daughter is home safely from church mission is good at the Wheeler's and I thank God for all my blessings......

I feel so badly for the person killed and the people injured in the accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. A tractor trailer had an accident with 2 other cars and his truck went off the bridge into the water. He died. I pray for him and his alwful.........

Today was crazy busy at was like a little house of horrors but I made it through. Now I'm off for 2 days before I go back in. I love working 2 days a week. I'm also blessed that I can afford to retire and only work part-time. How wonderful...................Yesterday I was shopping. I love shopping...well anyway was buying some new clothes for the grandbaby, Mason......beforehand I had gone over to a friends for bruch with her, her guy friend and a friend we have in common (prior coworker) It was fun to spend time with them. Then we walked down to the beach. Boy it was hot. I sat there for an hour or two and excused myself. Needed to go get a soda and shop.............LOL.....I love shopping. My favorite hobby.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


What's up with me?? I sold 2 art cards on Ebay this week. Things have been slow so this really charged me up!

I've been teaching a friend china painting. It's been fun. She comes once a week for 2 hours. She's doing well but she's a decorative painter so some of it comes easy.

At work I'm getting ready for State Fair. This will be the last time I will be coordinating our work exhibit......thank God! Summer is always a busy time at work and now that I'm retired and working there 2 days a week on contract, it's worse because I'm only there 2 days!

Jackie is away a church mission trip to Biloxi Mississippi doing Katrina Rehab pray for her and the 12 others she's with. I sure do miss my little Sunshine.

Friday I'm going to a friends for a tea party...what fun!!!!

I've been working on a new's a surprise for the Daughters of Charity in Catonsville.......shushhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........I go to an icon painting class every other Monday. I figure it will take at least 2 more months to finish it.

So what's new with you?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thoughts of Friendship

I was just thinking this morning, how lucky I am to have so many friends. I have friends from my childhood, high school years, work friends, online friends, friends in the neighborhood, elderly friends, young friends and family who are also friends....yes most people love their relatives but not everyone LIKES their relatives........

Thank you God for blessing me with the gift of friendship!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A wonderful birthday...happy birthday to me

Well the 2nd was my birthday. I had a wonderful day. I started it with Morning Mass, then I went shopping (yeahhhh), then a friend called and invited me to a boat ride. So she, me and her husband rode by boat over to the Eastern Shore for lunch at a restuarant then came back. In the evening I went to dinner with friends and family and then later that evening went to Taize (a worship service) was a great day.

Yesterday, July 4th, we had a cookout at my parents. Of course ever since I've been alive we've celebrated my birthday on July 4th...this year was no different. Mom had bought a 5 and 3 candle for 53 but my daughter turned it around to 35! YEAH I wish! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ahhhh It Feels Like a New House!

Well almost all the carpet is in. Just one more room-familyroom needs to be done.
My brother is hard at work putting in the partition for the little wall so he can make my closet in the guestroom.

The guestroom has this little alcove thing...not sure what it's for but it's awlward to put furniture in so I'm having him make it into another closet. Now the whole wall will be closets and this gives me a 4 ft closet that I'm putting in 4 shelves to store my ebay and etsy art, jewelry, china, etc. whooo hoooooooooooooo

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's Hell Getting Old

What a horrible couple of months. My thyroid condition is worse---higher dose of meds. My blood pressure was up even with medication....a second medication. My bone density test sucked---osteoporosis---more meds. NOW vitamin D deficiency....more meds and sit in the sun..............ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I made It Through...

...through 13 hours with 11 teens in Ocean City. Actually they are a nice bunch of teens. No problems with them. Me and the other 2 adults (actually those adults are only 24 & 27--young adults) commented that it was funny, it seemed like they wanted to be where we were. So we didn't have a hard time finding them for check in.

Our church youth group has anywhere from 25-40 high schoolers come to youth group every week. I was surprised more of them didn't want to do the beach. Of course this old lady, had lots of sunscreen and spent most of the time under an umbrella.

What I want to know is why my umbrella was the only one on the beach with the "Mary Poppins Syndrome"? Every 5 minutes I was chasing it down the beach or clunking a kid in the head as it rolled over them while they were basking in the sun! It got to be a running joke.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What am I in for?

Why do I do these things to myself. Every week I volunteer with the high school youth group at church. I dont' have any kids in there but been helping out for years. Some say I'm nuts, maybe I am. So Melissa the youth minister, needed chaperones for the Ocean City trip today. Would the parents of the kids volunteer, heck no. So here I go with her and 12 kids off to the beach. Pray for good weather and patience and a sense of humor for me!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Reflection

Yesterday I spent the day at my parents. My Dad is 81 years old. Sometimes I look at him and think he looks so old. Yesterday he was working away helping me get ready for our little get together, cleaning up the screened porch. He looked old to me but then again when I watched him talk later, he reminded me of Dad as I've always known him.

I have such mixed emotions about him getting old. It's like I don't feel older but I watch my parents and I think I must be older, they are getting older...why don't I feel old????

Anyway, as Dad and I sat on the pier alone fishing, I thought I am lucky to have had such a wonderful father. He's not much of a fisherman but he's such a wonderful father. When I was little he would get me up at the crack of dawn, "gotta wake up before the fish, they get up early". We never got many fish but it was always a wonderful bonding experience. Mom didn't like to fish so it was me and Dad and my brother was our time. We might not have liked getting up early but it was fun to be out on the water.

The boat is long gone now but we still have those moments on the pier and I'm thankful for it. (and thankful I didn't catch a fish so I didn't have to clean it!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ning.....I'm all about Ning..... first there was (which is ning) that I joined.
Then there was --- my painting pals from EBAY that I joined, and then there was guess what I did -- yes I joined and now there is OF COURSE I JOINED..........

between Etsy forums, my blogs, all my ning social networking and facebook. Its a wonder I have time to paint!!!!!!

"Crazy but that's how it goes".....I'm listening to Ozzie Osburn....and he's right!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Cruise in My Future

So I decided to book another cruise. This one is to Bermuda. It's for October 2009. The last time we went to Bermuda we took my daughter so it's my son's turn.

Also booked the tickets for October 08's red hat trip to Savannah and January 09's trip to the Keys..............God I LOVE RETIREMENT

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Around the House... no trips in the very near future. The next one is October to Savannah Georgia for a Red Hat Hoots, Haunts & Hats convention. And then the next in February to the Keys in Florida.

But for now, it's work around the house. New carpet is forthcoming upstairs...we did the first floor last year. I hate replacing carpet. It's like moving, packing up and moving stuff and then putting it all back.

And that raised brick fishpond has got to go. I'm so tired of the expense and work to keep it up. I've had it for gosh maybe 10 or 15 years. Now it's going to be a raised planter. It's so big to fill up so I've been raking up yard debris, using my compost from the pile, whatever and then I'll put good soil in it. Although the compost is probably good soil.....anyway...more work but the rains have been hampering it. Today we had a Jim Dandy of a STORM! I was napping (it's great to be retired)...when it came through, loud, strong winds, scared the crap out of me. All the windows were opened so the rain just poured in.

Well here comes another storm so maybe I'd better put this laptop away!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Cruise Pictures are UPLOADED

hurrayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy finally. I took so many and it took time to weed some out and then upload them. Here's the site:

Make sure you go to the right side of each album and click on slide show.It's so much easier than trying to view them one at a time!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Last Day

Well it’s the last cruising day. It’s been such a nice relaxing trip. In some ways I want to stay floating on this ship but then again I have responsibilities and I miss my family and pets.

We played bingo 2 times today. Didn’t win either one. The last jackpot was for $8,500 and only one lady one it! Man!

Our last dinner was special. Gilbert our waiter from the Phillipines had made me a Phillipino dish Abado Chicken. It was good but very salty. I had asked him why every other nation seemed to be represented on the menu but his native land! That was very nice of him to do that. He evidentally used to own a restaurant in the Phillipines until the government decided to put a steel mill where his building was! He is married with 4 children. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be away from them 6-8 months a year. But he’s hoping for a visa where he can work in the US. I hope he gets it. He’s very hardworking. I know he will do well.

I’m going to miss our steward, Roberta too. She’s so nice. We’ve had towel monkeys, sting rays, elephants, bunnies, you name it.

Gambled the rest of my money and lost. Didn’t go to the last show. It was some comedian/juggler. I was just too darn tired for that.

So now it’s the last day….and we just went under the Key Bridge and are preparing to dock. I can close my eyes now, click my heels and say, “There’s NO place like home,” Thanks for reading my blog.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Trip Home

Well we are on the way home. It’s beautiful in the 80’s, nice breeze, blue skies. We have been so blessed with good weather on this trip. No big wins at the casino. I think in total over the week so far I’ve won almost $400 but I probably spent at least that much to win it. And Glenn has about $600.

Today I finished my book. Woooo. It’s been so long since I read a book. Usually I get all these books and get ½ way through them. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a fiction novel. I finished Fern Michael’s Hokus Pokus. It was a good mystery, adventure story. I still have another day and ½ so I think I’ll at least start Nora Roberts’s Mysterious.

Tonight is the last formal dinner. I hate those things. At this point in my life I just want to be comfortable but Glenn wants to go because they are having lobster….so I guess I will go.

We played bingo again today. No winners but we got pretty close a couple of times. Glenn likes to play bingo.

This morning Captain Rob came on and said, “Good Morning, Ladies (long pause) and gentlemen. Today I have good news and bad news. I will give you the bad news first. The bad news is we are returning to Baltimore, the good news is we have over 1,200 nautical miles to get there.” Gotta love Captain Rob. 

He also pointed out that we were over the Sargasso sea. He pointed out it’s famous for its large grass beds but I wanted him to add that it is the spawning ground for all the eels in the world…I wanted to yell it out but I thought I’d better not, someone might think I’m nuts.

Tonight the entertainment was Beatle Manics. They were very good.

It was nice not to have to worry about going to a port today. I could sleep in. I’ve been doing lots of sleeping here. Lots of naps – sometimes 2 times a day. I will be very well rested when I return. I think Glenn and I are the only people on the ship without sunburns. I’ve used a lot of sunscreen and tried to stay in the shade. Some people look like fresh cooked lobsters! Dumb dumb dumb………………..

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Labadee, Haiti

Well Labadee isn’t an island owned by Royal Caribbean. It is owned by RC but it’s actually on Haiti itself. It is stunningly beautiful. Like some kind of resort. I was a little nervous about going there because of the latest civil unrest but I’m so glad I did. Our Historical Tour guide, Lamy, is a native of Labadee. He said that when RC bought the land, they had used it for gardens and they were very angry about it. But now they are delighted and it’s the best thing that ever happened to them. I asked what about their gardens. He said they moved them to the mountain.

This one place is the major income for the country. That’s why the government protects the RC land and keeps it safe so that Haiti will benefit by the income (they get a cut of all the excursions RC offers on Labadee. Each family in Labadee has one person in their family working for RC. They pay in US dollars which is great because the gourd (currency) is devalued. When someone dies then someone else in that family has that job passed on to them. In the past the only occupations in Labadee were fishing or farming and you did whatever your father did as an occupation.

He also said that before RC came in 1985 only 25 percent of the young went to school. Now almost 95 percent go through secondary school because in secondary school you learn English and that’s the only way to get the opportunity to work for them. He said that before RC they lived in huts. Now they all have concrete block houses and a higher standard of living. However, the rest of Haiti is not so lucky. The poorest country in the western hemisphere, it was the 2nd country (right after the US) to become a free country, in fact they refer to the country as Mother Freedom. He said that it takes $400 per child to go to school. The government does not provide schooling and that’s why most in Haiti are uneducated.

Lamy believes that most of the problems in Haiti would be solved if everyone were educated. He said, “the young of Haiti (meaning his age) will be the salvation of Haiti”. He said too they need a stable government. As most people earn on average of $7 (US dollars) a day. And the reason there is fighting is that if someone doesn’t have an education and job, all they can do to earn money is wait for someone to offer them money for “doing something bad”. He said that with jobs and education the guns will go away. I pray he is right. God bless him, he thinks English is so important that he gives free English language classes in his village.

On Labadee you can do a ton of different things. We only did the tour and spent time under a palm tree in the breeze watching the ocean. RC gave us a huge lunch (free) there too. There was music. And then Glenn and I went to the Market. Where there were lots of local merchants selling locally made products. I bought another head for my collection, some soap stone carving, a painting for a friend’s birthday, some carved wood, etc. It was funny every one wanted $20 for everything and you bargained with them. But I felt so darn bad that I could hardly bargain. Glenn wasn’t happy. I’d just say, give me $20 please. I spent more $ than I should have I’m sure.

Another group of people that I need to pray for….you know we are so darn lucky to have been born in the country that we were born in at the time we were born. We have a free education (they have to pay or not go). We eat 3 meals a day (they eat 2 times a day). We can go buy clothes and food anytime we want them (they have to go to Dominican Republic 2 days a week only to shop or grow or catch it themselves). We have electricity and running water (most of them don’t). We have huge houses (their houses are maybe the size of one of my floors). We have air conditioning (they don’t). We have medical services (they still use local plants and make their own drugs or wait for Doctors Without Borders to come 2 times a year).

As you, my friends and family, are reading this I ask you three favors. 1) Pray for Lamy, Labadee & Haiti. 2) Support an organization like World Vision who helps Haiti 3) Remember to thank God everyday for your blessings, never take them for granted.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Samana, Domican Republic

We signed up for a 3 ½ hour “walking tour”. We ended being hijacked by Domani and Tomas in a bus for 5 hours. We stopped outside of a church – La Churcha, a church brought from England literally and rebuilt here by a group of Methodist. Next stop was to the Humpback Whale “Museum”. It was a one room building. With one skeleton of a humpback whale, a skeleton of a dolphin, shell of a sea turtle and some Indian artifacts. I’m sure that it is a big deal there but it was pretty sad to those who have been to museums here. We take so much for granted. We are so blessed.

Then we stopped along the way to look a cocoa, mango and banana farms. The next stop was at MaMa Juana’s……I’m sure she was a friend of his family or family or something. This was the only shopping stop we were permitted. I bought a piece of Larimar and a carved box. It was just a tiny store. They gave us a sample of some kind of wine…boy was it strong. I couldn’t drink it. Most people choked on it.

Next stop was in Las Terraras….it is some “resort” town. Beautiful scenery looking out to the ocean. The town was pathetically sad. Sidewalks maybe 2 feet and broken up into small stones. We were told to walk the sidewalk because the streets are dangerous. We had a bunch of seniors with us who were having trouble walking…I wondered why they would sign up for a walking tour! We walked one block to a restaurant of an obvious friend of his and were told this was the only place to get food. Of course there were other places. There were so many of us there, we didn’t think we would get served in the ½ hours we were told we had so Glenn and I walked the beautiful beach. Turns out it was a good thing because a coke was $12!

So our walking tour was 10 minutes of walking and 4 hours and 50 minutes of driving. I felt like I’d been kidnapped and pretty darn ticked off that we paid $32 for that tour which was not worth the money. So we got back to the boat at 3:30 pm starved because we didn’t eat lunch and just about ran to the caferteria!

Sights and impressions of D.R. – Long tender ride. A man on a roof at the dock with a rifle. Beautiful scenery & in contrast poor, small houses (maybe 500 sf at best), laundry hanging everywhere, skinny dogs, wild ranging horses – skinny too, children begging to shine your shoes—but I had flip flops. Then also lots of trees and forest areas…can’t believe there is so much forest but then again who would want to live there, what is there here for them.. Burning trash. Piles of coconut everywhere. Banks which were maybe 5 feet wide and 6 feet deep (you got to see the pictures). School is optional so there were schools with kids but lots of kids not doing anything sitting on porches. No one has screen doors, they just keep all the doors open on the house. No screens in windows, windows wide opened. People lounging inside and outside the houses. Old house made of queen palm wood (which is now illegal to harvest). New homes made of block. Lots of houses started and abandoned. Lots of mopeds and motorcycles. Gas is $4.40 a gallon. No chains like the other islands (no McDonalds, Senior frogs, etc). House are close to the street and close to each other. No red lights. Driving on the left side of the street. Lots of honking and passing in dangerous mountainous roads. Two types of toilets….some for pee-pee some for cacas (you can imagine what is caca).

Captain Rob just came on the pa…he’s so darn funny. Today he says, Good afternoon Ladies (LONG PAUSE) and Gentlemen. We are going on to Labadee Haiti or Labadee, Maybe. Maybe we get there maybe we won’t. We will get there 8 am or 0800 for those of you with an alarm clock.” He’s a hoot. The other day he said it was High Noon and he wondered how many were High at Noon today…..

Well ship is ready to get underway. I had mixed feelings about this island. One the one hand there was a great shopping center close to dock where I could have shopped but then again I would have never seen the “real” Samana warts and all. Domani said that the people on the island were not poor but were not rich sort of middle class. I would say looking at them, they are poorer than the poorest American. They live a tough life requiring hardwork, working and living off the land. Everyone is so thin.with clothes that look like they’d been second hand.

Our tour guide Domani just graduated from college after years of going to school and working. He has 4 kids and now has finished his law degree. He told us he was born in a house without water and sewage. I look around at everything I saw today and I can’t help thinking I need to pray for those people…and I will keep them in my prayers always.

Monday, May 5, 2008

St Thomas Virgin Islands

We arrived at 7 am. So beautiful a definite Kodak moment. We went on a little tour bus to the Coral World. It’s like a mini aquarium kind of place but you can go down and view the fishing and coral around it. There’s a sea turtle tank, ray tank, conch tank, shark tank. We went on a mini-sub to view the coral. There were about 20 of us. I didn’t know about (or maybe I did but don’t remember) the changes to color from light or lack thereof undersea. So I have a picture of me and Glenn blue ---- LOL

We saw numerous reef fish, a number of beautiful corals, a sea turtle, sea anemone, sea urchin, sea cucumber, conch….it was great. The way you sat straddling the sea with your face against the glass gave you maximum viewing. They had a diver come with food to feed the fish so it brought over even more fish.

I also learned about parrotfish…they eat the coral and poop it out like sand! That’s where their white beach sand comes from.

The woman who lead the trip did a wonderful job. She was funny with her pirate jokes. What is a pirate’s favorite letter? RRRRRRRRgggg She had tons of them. She was saying that a couple of years ago the ocean got to 90 degrees and the coral bleached out. They thought it was the end of them, however, the coral is coming back which is a good thing.

After the tour, it dropped us off to a shopping center near the dock. There are 7 buildings of places to shop…mostly jewelry stores. I bought something for my Mom (for Mother’s Day) and Jackie there. Then I got something for my brother. At the Coral place I got something for Mom & Dad, Joey & Katie….. We were back to the ship by 1:30. It leaves at 4 pm. I was beat. All this walking is pooping me out big time. I’m getting smarter. Typing my blog and then copy & pasting it. It was costing a fortune for me to do it on the internet……it’s so expensive but worth it to be able to share it with you.

I’m sitting on my balcony typing this, looking over the aqua blue water at a fort and pirate ship. A small – I mean tiny—island of rocks is in front of me and birds are coming and going from it. Gulls are laughing hysterically. Clouds are big white puffs on a bright blue sky. St Thomas is still full of forested areas. This place is certainly paradise. I could easily jump ship and live here forever…I can speak the language, they take dollars (with no exchange—woo hoo), and they have a subway (sandwiches), Kmart, payless shoes, beautiful white beaches, 80 degree temps, a cool breeze and happy people – yo maaaa’n how ya dooo-in?…what else does anyone want.

San Juan Puerto Rico

Okay so I have some catching up to do. Yesterday we ended up getting off the boat in Puerto Rico (San Juan) by 4 pm. I learned that Christopher Columbus discovered San Juan but he wasn’t so nice to the indigenious people. The Island is named for St. John the Baptist and there are several statues of him around locally.

We took a tour of a fort at the mouth of the Harbor, then we walked basically back to the ship. Our tour guide Bistello was very good. And funny too. We walked past important historical sites, various churches and monuments. The most interesting was the church where the remains of Pons de Leon was buried, a totem dedicated to indigenous Indians and a cool statue that was dedicated to the salvation of the island. Its really cool looking. There’s an evil person with claws which represents those who want to destroy the island, a naked woman representing the island and then another figure who represents the good who’s tearing the woman away from the evil one. Interesting.

We learned that the blue cobble stones were actually ballast for the Spanish ships. They had a problem with people knowing where their ships with gold went down because they were always the ones lowest in the ocean so they issued an edict that every ship needed to carry ballast so the gold filled ships would not be so easy to find…..not sure why they would care it seems in those days it would be difficult to get that deep anyway!
Everytime an empty ship would come it would unload it’s ballast on the docks and take on supplies. After a while there was a lot of it so they put it to good use and paved the streets with it.

We ended up at the Chapel of the Miracle. There were horse races through old San Juan. And during one of them the Lt. Governor was in the balcony of a house at the end of a street at which there was a wall that had a HUGE drop to the ocean. He noticed a horse going out of control and the horse running up the street past him. As the horse lept over the wall with the rider, the Lt. Governor said, “Christ Our Savior, Save him.” The horse died but he man lived with no injuries so they constructed a chapel at the end of the street in that spot. Tradition is that people visit there to thank God for the miracles in their lives. A wonderful place to end the trip.

Then Glenn and I walked about ½ mile down the shopping street to the ship. At the base of the street (they all go up and down, it’s mountainous) was an artistans fair. By the time we got there it was late and most had closed up. So I looked a bit and then ate a “Tripeleta”….wonderful…grilled ham, chicken and steak on a roll w/ lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup…..yum.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

San Juan Puerto Rico Today

We were supposed to be in San Juan at 2:15 pm but because of the high winds & current it will likely be 3:15. Three tours were cancelled. Not ours because it was a walking tour that can be readjusted.

The winds are incredible. I tried to walk the track today on the top deck. I made it about 15 minutes before giving up. The wind was so strong at some points it felt like a hand was holding you back. But the skies are beuatiful. No rain. Really hot. It's a little after 1 pm so at some point I need to get over to our deck to watch us pull in San Juan Harbor. That's' the nice thing about a balcony room. You don't want to worry about finding a spot for viewing.

Anyway, we played bingo today. I got close but no cigar! :( Can't wait to shop on San Juan. They say shopping is good there.

Yesterday, can't remember if I told you, we didn't go to the formal dining room but ate at the buffet. I personally like controlling my food better. But I think he wants to eat at the dining room next time.

Oh I ran into Doreen..can't remember her last name. I used to work with her when I was in high school at Shop & Rob (I mean Shop & Save). Reeney we used to call her. There's also a teen on this trip that looks strikingly like one of the girls in youth group......maybe I'll run into her again.

Yesterday Glenn & I went to play trivia. We didn't win. Another couple asked us to join us. DOn't know why he wanted us to join them. They were great by themselves.

And I went do arts and crafts yesterday. Oil pastels on a coloring page. It wasn't enough time for me to do what I think was a good job. I will work on it when I get home. (over acheiver that I am)

Well gotta go back to the room and find the DH. See you tomarrow for the next chapter in Joann Does the Caribbean.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Another Beautiful Day At Sea....

....the ocean is calm. We are somewhere below Florida...just 500 miles to go. The weather couldn't be nicer but it's so windy on deck because they are going so fast! I did a double lap this morning and nearly got blown overboard! :)

This morning we did a little more gambling. I won $140. Probably spent that much over the past couple days to get that much back.Glenn won about $100 last night after the show--which by the way was great. Made a nice purchase. Bought a beautiful caribbean sunset topaz ring. 3 carats....just beautiful. The colors are incredible. We played bingo but didn't win anything. That's okay though. I like to play because Glenn likes it. I missed the art and crafts workshop...darn.....gambling--I lost track of time. Watched the 70's line dancing class today. It was a hoot. I tried to take a picture on the top deck and my purse blew out of my hand so I'm not sure how great of a photo I got.

Last night was the Captain's Dinner. Glenn didn't want to go to the cocktail hour to meet the Captain so we just went to dinner. I'm getting tired of that place for dinner. I told Glenn I'd rather do the buffet and I can control better what I eat. Everything in the sit down dinner is really rich, salty and big portions.

I went to the gym this am too. It was pretty crowded. They are announcing hot stone seaweed facials now....ugh...I can't imagine getting hot seaweed on my face. I'm in the card room which is right next to our room. People are flooding in to play games and cards. I locked myself out of the room but it's okay because the balcony from this card room is next to ours. Glenn is sitting on the deck--that's why he couldn't hear me when I was trying to get back in earlier! Uhhhhh ohhhhhhhhhh I don't see him on the balcony...........I hope he's in the room....better go!

Friday, May 2, 2008

On the Sea

...well we are sailing, sailing o'r the deep blue sea. It's beautiful. The weather is perfect. A little chill in the air and breeze from the moving ship other than that it's perfect. We played bingo wins. We played the slots, no wins. Maybe my luck on cruise ships is going the other way.

We have 2 couples at our table. Older. One from Columbia, Lorraine and Bob. And the other from NJ, Jim and Margi. I like them alot.

Today at 4 pm I am going on a mile walk--sans Mr. Wheeler who doesn't want to go. Wish my kids were here. They'd have great fun. I miss them. If you read this and know how to contact them be sure to tell them I miss them.

We got our tickets for our excursions today too. No big purchases yet. Just a pretty blue top. Well gotta go for now. See you later! Hugs to all.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Today is the day!

Couldn't sleep.Got up ober-early. I have such mixed emotions about the trip. I'm excited but I always get "buyer's remorse" before I leave home. I'm always afraid something is going to happen while I'm gone.

So ya'll pray that things are good with my parents & children while I'm away so that I can have a wonderful trip. And in return I will pray for all my blog readers that things will be good with you too. God bless!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Last work day before the trip....

....well I haven't been able to concentrate. I don't want to work....wait isn't there a song by Todd Rungrund...oh yeah...........I'm singing it.....

I don't want to work
I want to bang on the drum all day
I don't want to play
I just want to bang on the drum all day

Every day when I get home from work
I feel so frustrated, the boss is a jerk (just kidding Cindy!)And I get backstairs, and go out through the shed
And I pound on that drum like it was the boss's head

Because I don't want to work
I want to bang on the drum all day
I don't want to play
I just want to bang on the drum all day

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clothes, why is it?

...that you always seem to have enough clothes until you go on a trip and then nothing matches or fits you right or whatever........I just don't understand it.

Today is Sunday and then there's only Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and SAIL DAY!!!!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


and packing....and packing.....why do I take so much stuff? Maybe because I might change my mind. If I would just not take so much I wouldn't change my mind wouldn't I .... of course then I would have the excuse of buying stuff on board because I didn't have it with me huh???? Maybe I should reconsider all the stuff I'm taking!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Warming Up!

Well the weather is warming up here in the Old Line State. And I was thinking this morning, I need to switch out my winter clothes for my summer clothes. I'm gonna need them for the trip. I had bought a bunch of dresses thinking I'd take them to Italy but I didn't because I didn't want to walk in heels so I'm thinking I'll take them with me (or at least some of them) for the cruise.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ready to Sail...well almost

This is our ship.....I'll have one of those balcony rooms. The last cruise I had with a balcony I saw 2 very huge white sharks below. I ran to get my camera but they were gone.....darn......this year I will be ready, when I step on the balcony I will ALWAYS have my camera in my hand! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Count down continues....10 days

A picture of me, Glenn, Jackie and a friend on the last cruise.

All this time I haven't been really focusing on this trip because I had Italy and the painting conference to concentrate on but now!!!! I'm realizing it's just 10 days away. It's been cold, rainy, dreary here. I can't wait. I absolutely love the ocean. It's where I meet God. I feel His power and prescense in the crashing of the waves.

And a cruise...well there is nothing like it. Our in the middle of the ocean with nothing around you. It makes me feel small and humbles me. I need to be reminded that I am small sometimes.

This will be my 4th cruise. I've been to the Bahama's, Bermuda, Grand Caymen and

This is our cruise
Our ports of call are: Baltimore, Maryland (our departure); San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Samana, Dominican Republic; Labadee, Haiti; Baltimore, Maryland. We have a balcony room. I just love to spend time sitting there watching the ocean.

Monday, April 21, 2008

About to Travel Again

....I'm on the countdown to my cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I called the cruise company today because I read that the Government has put out a travel warning to US Citizens for Haiti...and that's one of our ports. The cruise company said they didn't know anything about it and planned to dock there. Not sure I want to get off that boat!

But that's fine with me. There's lots to do on a cruise ship. We got one with a balcony. I love balcony rooms. AND there's internet access so I can blog....whohoooooooooo

I was going to get rid of this blog after the Italy trip but I think I will keep it for my random chatter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pictures all FINALLY up!!!

Drop by my photo site. I have weeded out the really bad pictures and uploaded about 1/2 of what I took

look in the travel folder

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Italy photos.... I took a thousand (no kidding) pictures of Rome and Assisi. It's taken me a little while to go through them. Now I'm ready to upload them for all to see.

I have uploaded the first 2 days of the trip. I can't upload the rest until I return from the conference I am attending. So you can view the first 2 days now and later (Sunday or Monday) check out the rest of the trip.

Go to my photoweb site and look in the Travel folder.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The trip home............

......5 am came early........too early. I loved it here in Italy but I am ready to go home. I miss my family and my kitties. I miss buying a coke for $'s 3.50 Euro's here...that's almost $5 and it's only a little bottle! It's so expensive there for everything it seems because the dollar is only worth 70 cents and I guess they have to import a lot of things. Our breakfasts and dinners were included but our lunches would cost $20 or more (converted into us dollars).

We had our last breakfast and then everyone got on the bus to the aeroporto...most looked like zombies since they went out and partied the night before only getting 2-3 hours of sleep. Jackie and I went to of us huh!

I wasn't impressed with Rome's airport. Not enough seats at the gate. The lines for security were HUGE...only 5 machines for thousands and thousands of people. Those 5 machines were for ALL the gates in the whole airport! Then there was the Italian soldier with the machine gun..............okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.........

We touched American soil and everyone clapped.........God Bless America..............we were home. We had one person who lost their bag so it delayed us some. Then on to the bus to go to Baltimore. We prayed the Rosary along the way.....we prayed the rosary, angelis and other prayers on all us bus rides

It was raining and was weird it was kind of sad and happy at the same time..........I stood back as I waited for Melissa's father to pick us up and watched everyone saying goodbye, hugging, etc.....for some reason I just wanted to watch rather than participate....maybe in my heart I didn't want it to end.

Thank you all for reading this blog....God Bless you......................

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Last Day in Roma

Today we had options of where to go. We could go off on our own or go with the "God Squad" as I call them--Fathers Patrick, Michael & Brian. I chose to go with the padres. We went on a walking tour with them. We saw many things but one of the most notable were the Spanish steps...They are enormous! We walked every one of them - up! There was a community of artists selling their paintings, oh how I wanted to stop but I couldn't. In the evening we went on a tour of the North American College which is where all the priests from the USA study. We had mass there with a group of pilgrims from Philadelphia and to our surprise were joined by our new Archbishop O'Brien. Afterwards we went to a restuarant for our closing banquet.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another Day in Assisi

Our room has outside shutters, a window and inside shutters. Before I went to bed, I opened the outside shutters, the window and inside shutters. We were awoken by the birds sitting on the terracotta roof across from us. I looked outside to see daybreak over the mountains with the tower of the Bascillica of Saint Francis visible. It was SOOOOOOOo incredibly quiet, peaceful. I just wanted to go outside for a walk but I remembered that we had to get ready for our breakfast with the group.

Now I love the group but sometimes I wish I could just go off and be alone especially in this beautiful town.

We had mass today in a little chapel of San Stefano (St. Steven). So tiny, plain, cold and damp but I could imagine St. Francis being there...his kind of place. Not big and ostentatious....just stone walls and floor, simple ornamentations. So it was nice to share that place with his memory.

Afterwards we were free to shop and explore town. Jackie and I went into the neighborhoods to get an idea of how the natives live. They have no idea how lucky they are to live there in that beautiful holy place.

We did do some shopping, met some wonderful artists. One woman who could not speak english but with Jackie's 2 semesters of Italian, my one conversational class and our spanish background well we were able to communicate. It was fun. We bought art from her and from another man who spoke some english a wonderful contemporary christian artist.

We saw some nuns who we didn't recognize the habit for so we stopped them an asked them. They were Franciscan sisters of the Eucharist. One was the cofoundress. They were founded in 1973 in Connecticut. Wonderful women.

Then the bus ride back to Roma......... :( When we arrived Fr. Patrick took us to the Roman Ruins and the church of St. Cosmos and Damian - early martyrs. I prayed for you again there and all your special intentions. Oh that we all might have the courage of these holy men.

We also had a tour of the place where the priests who are studying in Rome live and other places.....I could go on and write a book about all of this...we saw so much!

More trouble with finding computers...Now Assisi

There cannot be a more beautiful place in the world than Assisi. It is atop a beautiful hill. All the streets are narrow, paved with stone surrounded by houses from midievil times. Sidewalks are a part of the street just another color stone. Streets go up and and down hills (makes walking interesting). Religious (sisters, monks, brothers, priests) walk all about town. Stores are filled with religious articles and liturgical items...for all of you non-catholics, that means priests robes, chalices and other items used during mass.

There are thousands of people there but you still have a sense of quiet. Churches are like the other churches in Italy, large, cold and damp. Mainly because there were built before insulation and microphones so the only way for amplification was through large buildings engineered for that purpose.

Today we went to Santa Maria del Angelis a church built over the small chapel of St. Francis and over the small infirmary where he died. The little chapel and infirmary are completely preserved under the larger church. The chapel was so small for such a larger than life Saint. Overall so beautiful (frescos), so quiet, so peaceful, so God filled.

Then to the Bascillica of San Charia (Saint Clare - follower of St. Francis). Her body is entombed in a glass coffin. She is incorruptible.

Next was down a very steep hill to the Bascillica of San Francesco (St. Francis). There werevarious relics of St. Clare-robes & hair cut when she took her vows and Francis---robes, shoes & stocking with the blood from his stigmata. Then down to the tomb of St. Francis. His body had been placed in a column so that it would not be stolen. They have since uncovered the tomb and put an altar in front of it. THOUSANDS of people processed quietly around the column. Some stopping to pray, some touching it, some kissing it. There were a few pews around for those who wanted to spend time with the saint and was very quiet there again another place with the strong presence of brought me to tears again. (should have brought tissues along!)

The upper church was beautiful full of frescos on the walls and ceiling. We had mass in the chapel on the lower level. Our priests did the mass in Latin many other people joined us since it was near the entrance.

Our room in Assisi was lovely. Alot of charm, beautiful view. I have been keeping a sketch diary. I find if I sketch what I see, I never forget it as it is forever stamped in my memory as I study what I am drawing.

Tomorrow is another day in Assisi and mostly a free day which is good because I need some time to digest all the spiritual food I have been fed this week.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day Three

Now we are caught's today. We went to the vatican today and had mass one of the chapels in the crypt. We were surrounded by the bodies of former popes and John Paul. Other people were having masses in other chapels down there in various languages. Parts of our mass and thiers was in latin. So at some points we were all in unison ...the body of christ and the universal catholic church. I was moved to tears.

But it got even more emotional. We went up to St Peter's where there were several smaller chapels all along the sides. There were masses going on everywhere in these little chapels. Some priests giving mass with no people, some with only a few. As large as that place is it was quiet except for the sounds of the priests some singing, some praying on altars where saints bodies are laid in glass coffins under the altars. There was a large statute of St Peter that we were able to touch...thousands maybe millions had also done so and the foot was worn down. There was such an overwhelming presence of God there that I couldnt hold back the tears. It was more than I could take, I had to walk away. I prayed for you there at each site, each relic, each tomb...I prayed for you and your special intentions.

Then off to the Sistine chapel so large so beautiful, 4 yrs it took to paint that ceiling, 5 years to paint the wall. Ill never complain again about taking a long time to paint something. Then through the Vatican museum but only the first floor, then off to the catacombs...the burial place of St. Cecelia and the martyrs....I prayed for you there.......I am on spiritual overload.....tomorrow we are off to Assisi home of St. Francis....where again I will pray for you.

Day Two

this is after the fact too with the crazy italian keyboard!

We went to the Vatican today and heard the Pope. We were announced by one of the American priests. There were over 100,000 people from all over the world speaking every language you can image. Like the tower of babble. A group of French priests were in front of me and Jackie. It was drizzling and I offered them an umbrella but they turned it down so when they weren't looking I held it partly over their heads to keep them dry! Corporal work of mercy.

The vatican is very large. The first part of the day was beautiful and sunny until late when it sprinkled. We bought lunch off a cart it was some kind of pizza sandwich. Man was it good! We didn't get to see much of the vatican that was for Thursday when we return. We went on another tour of churches. This time bascillica of Mary Major where there is a piece of the true cross, the body of pope pius, relics of St. Jerome a martyr, and a 5th century icon. Next was Holy Cross were we saw another piece of the true cross, nails and thorns of the crucifiction of Jesus. There was a copy of the shroud of christ and sand from golgitha. Oh and the finger of St. Thomas. The church had been the house of constantine's mother who collected these relics when he converted and declared christianity the state religion. Then off to St. John Lateran which is dedicated to the Baptist St. John. It houses the relics of St. John the baptist, St Paul, St Peter and a piece of the last supper table. Everyday we have mass at one of the churches today it was here. A group of nuns joined us. I prayed again for you and all your special intentions. I was very moved and humbled by this day.

Day one....

.....Couldnt figure out how to get internet access so I am posting this finally after the fact....please excuse the typing as its an italian keyboard and i am having trouble with it! don't laugh!

We did a bus tour of rome since we had to wait for our hotel check in time. We saw the circus maximus, the emperor's home, the colosseum and so many churches on a walking tour. Saints Giovanni e Paulo (John and Paul), San paulo della croce, san susanna, bascillica of mary of the angels, mary of the immaculate conception, and the bone church. So impressive and so humbling to know that i was in the precense of the remains of the saints. I have been praying for all of you at each stop along the way. I am sorry that I cannot post photos but I am not on my laptop :(

My observations from the street....they have oranges and lemons blooming on the street. You can pull up on the curb and gas up....gas is about $8 us dollars. There are recycling bins on the streets. Trash is everywhere....very dirty. The cool thing is that they have palm trees, a zillion scooters, tiny cars, no speed limits, god help us and banco mats everywhere. Our room is small...beds to the knees. There are no wash cloths. Locks don't work and on tv Erkle is in Italian!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Today is the BIG DAY!

I leave in 2 hours to go to our meeting place in Baltimore. We will board a chartered bus to take us to Philadelphia for our flight to Rome. It all seems so unreal at this point even though I'm packed, etc. Pray for our safe journey. Ciao!

The postcard is of the town in Italy, Fiuggi where my grandmother and grandfather were born.

This picture is of family who never left Italy. From reading the names behind other photos I believe it to be the sister (Benedetta Pannoni) of my grandmother, Beatrice. Her husband Vincenzo and Pietro D'Amico...not sure of the girls name.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pasqua Felice

....or Happy Easter Italian Style! This is a picture of my Mom and Dad at their wedding...Theresa (nee Schmidt) and Joseph Yori (nuns at St. Leo's changed the spelling from Iori to Yori and it stuck). I wish Dad could go...long story but I will also be taking him with me in spirit. He will live his dream of going to Italy out through my pictures and experiences.

I cannot BELIEVE tomorrow evening I will be on a plane to Rome. It's like a dream. I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn just thinking about it. Then I realized it is Easter and how thankful I am that God sent his only Son to save me from my sins. And a flood of emotions came over me as I thought about the significance of this trip during this holy time of year. This morning at Mass I will have much to be thankful for. I am also thankful for all my friends and family who are going with me virtually on this journey. God Bless you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

3 Days & Counting

Here is another photo. This is of my Grandfather, Giovanni Iori. He was in the Italian Army during WWI. Handsome guy wasn't he? He was short too. I take after Grandpop.
All I can think about this the trip.....looking at the weather looks like it might be rainy and between watch. I will have packed for this type of weather and we'll get a heat wave and I'll have to buy all new clothes....well I guess that's not such a bad thing!

I just checked the itinerary. We will get there at 8 am in the morning.....I hope I get lots of sleep on the plane. I understand we have to lug around our luggage until we check into the hotel.....glad mine has wheels!

Last night I went to the Good Friday Live Stations of the Cross. Jackie was there wearing an Italy shirt! How funny was that? Well I'm counting down...............

Friday, March 21, 2008

So the countdown is.......

......4 days until I leave for Italy. I started this blog as a travel blog of sorts maybe I'll use it for all my trips. I'm going on a church pilgrimmage to Rome & Assisi. My priest Fr. Brian brought the trip to our attention (our meaning my darling daughter Jackie and me). Fr. Brian and Fr. Michael put this trip together along with lots of hard work for Michael of St. Ursula. So here we are 40 of us, 3 priests, 1 deacon and parishoners from the Archdiocese of Baltimore (St. Ursula's, St. Jane Frances and St. John's of Westminster).

Pretty exciting. We leave the day after Easter and return on the 31st. We are going to Rome and Assissi. I am just about ready. Luggage just about packed and getting together all the things one needs for a trip, money, camera, snacks for the plane (can't forget the snacks-it's an 8 hour flight!)

We are very prepared. I took a conversational italian class...of course I don't remember much and Jackie took 2 levels of Italian at the local community college.

I'm looking forward to this trip. I have always dreamed about going. I need the spiritual growth that I will find as a result of visiting these holy places and the tombs of the saints....a week of prayer and reflection in a place rich with 2000 years of Christian History. A place also that means so much to me not just spiritually but personally as it is a place of my roots (well at least 1/2 of my roots).

My paternal grandparents were from Fiuggi Italy (Iori and Pannoni). My Dad talks about how every time Grandpop heard the song Arriverderci Roma he would cry because he missed his home and beloved Rome. I'm taking him back in spirit. I have this picture of my grandpop, grandmom and grandmom's brother (we called him Zi-short for Zio uncle in Italian). I hope they are looking down from heaven knowing that I'm taking them home even if for just a short time and in spirit.
I would like to thank my daugher Jackie who has given this trip to me as a special gift. She is a special Sunshine! :)

So stay tuned folks and come along with me on my journey back home. I plan to have Jackie and others perhaps post their experiences as well.