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Ceasarea – Stella Maris

Day 3 Israel
It was dark when we arrived at The Ramada Inn Hadera Resort Monday Night. I was exhausted from our 2 days of travel but felt like a child on Christmas Eve, hardly sleeping as I was anxious to start our tour.

Our room had a balcony and I could not wait for morning to see our view, I was not disappointed, the first sunlight sparkling on the Mediterranean Sea was stunning.
Breakfast at the hotel was a buffet with fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables, fresh juice and pastry.

Energized and excited about our first day, we ate a delicious breakfast and were on our way.

Usama our guide was a wealth of knowledge and shared with us the history of the places we would be visiting that day.

First stop was Caesarea and the ruins of an ancient port city built by Herod.

While there Marshall showed us what he would have looked like in ancient times.

We also had the opportunity to see the ruins of old toilets, that again Marshall was happy to be the model for.

We had the chance to put our feet and hands in the Mediterranean Sea, and look out at the beautiful blue sea from the ruins that were once a thriving city.


Next we stopped at The Church of Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) a tiny beautiful church that was built over Elijahs Cave.

This is the place where Elijah heard the “still small voice of God.”

I felt a tremendous sense of peace and spirituality in the small cave under the altar, but no whispers from God.




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Journey to Israel

Journey To Israel

Nearly twenty four hours after leaving San Antonio we flew into Tel Aviv, Israel. The city sparkled in the night sky and seemed like a beacon in the darkness that we had flown through from Germany.
From the sky it looked like every other city I had ever flown into at night, freeways filled with cars, some areas lit while others were dark. There were houses, hotels and businesses all with their signs bright enough to be seen from the night sky.
There were tall skyscrapers and hills that were lit up. The tower at the airport had revolving lights spinning in the night sky letting those who came in the Israeli airspace know they were serious about keeping their country safe.

We had taken a bus from San Antonio to Houston, then in Houston we boarded our Lufthansa flight, the largest plane I had ever been in, that surprisingly had some of the smallest passenger seats I had ever squeezed into, for our 9 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Though the seats were small, the company was excellent, and the tiny space became a cozy gathering of friends.

We had a five hour layover in Frankfurt then finally we boarded our flight to Tel Aviv. where we witnessed on the plane the devoted faith of Rabbi’s on the flight.

Some of us stopped at the Welcome to Israel sign for a quick selfie.


Then we loaded onto another bus taking us to The Ramada Inn Hadera Resort


where we had a delicious dinner of “cold cuts” aka chicken, fresh vegetables and bread.


Exhausted from 2 days of travel we go to sleep  dreaming tonight of what our adventures for the next week would be.



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View From The Lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse in Florida is a beautiful part of the Maritime History of the United States.

Open to the public, the cost of admission is $12.95 for a self guided tour, that includes entrance to the Light Keepers house, museum, outdoor gardens, and many other points of interest, and of course the Lighthouse!

The Lighthouse boasts 219 cast iron steps that lead to the top. As we climbed we were met by many people who were using the climb as part of their exercise routine making at least five trips up and down.


Climbing for pleasure or exercise, once you reach the top you will be rewarded with beautiful views of The Atlantic Ocean.

As you climb you can stop at each landing to read stories about the duties of those who lived in the lighthouse in the past.

Be sure to check out the story about the flying cat.

You even can try to lift the 5 gallon oil can that the Lighthouse keeper would haul up the steps every 2 hours.

As well as the interesting stories and great pictures on each landing, you will find words encouragement letting you know how much further you need to climb.

Just one of the many spots to put on your list when visiting St. Augustine.



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A Day with “The Real Hawai’i

A day with “The Real Hawai’i

One of our best experiences during our vacation in Oahu was the private day tour we booked with “The Real Hawai’i.”
The fee of $149.00 a person for six hours was a great deal, especially considering how most tours lasting more then 3 hours will cost you over $100.00 a person. The difference is that “most” tours are going to pile as many people as possible into a bus and take you on a regimented tour with no thought to the individuals.
With “The Real Hawai’i” plan to spend a day with a private tour guide who assists you in coming up with a custom day of places and experiences with your interest in mind. They do all the driving, worry about the parking and even know the best “local” places to get fresh delicious food.
Oahu is a beautiful Island with many cultural and scenic gems that easily could be missed. The people from “The Real Hawai’i” know the Island and all the fascinating beautiful locations that are not found in tourist pamphlets.

What I loved about our tour is that we wanted to take a path less travelled, so Dan our tour guide took us to check out the beautiful views from Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site.

Hiked through Waimea Park up to the falls.

Watched in amazement as the huge waves crashed onto the shore at Ehukai Beach (AKA The Bonzai Pipeline).

Walked through a magnificent Banyan Tree, that was used in filming Lost and Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle.

And ate delicious farm raised, fresh caught shrimp.

Dan the owner paired us with a terrific tour guide who took pictures for us, gave us some great history of the island, and taught us about local traditions.

Our day with Real Hawai’i was by far the highlight of our vacation!


If your not sure what you want to see then check out their website
where you can find a variety of ideas and prices to help you come up with your perfect day in “The Real Hawaii”
You can also check out their FB page @therealhawaiitours.
Or find them on YouTube @ The Real Hawaii




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Wake Up Call

It was 8:07 am on Saturday January 13, I had just stepped out of the shower still dressed in a towel,  I started making coffee in our hotel room in Honolulu, when I heard the emergency alert signal. It was a perfect blue sky Hawaiian day so i knew it could not be a weather warning. Before I had a chance to check my phone, my husband came into the room, “Get dressed, “ he said in a firm yet calm voice, showing  me the message on his phone, he started filling his backpack with bottled water and non perishable items. I remember thinking how silly it was that I was changing my clothes, who cares what I’m wearing when I die, but even in pending danger there is decorum.
I grabbed the Ocean Vodka and our toothbrushes in the face of death good oral hygiene still seemed important and vodka makes a great antiseptic…Yeah, Right.
With our supplies in tow we headed to the hotel lobby.
In my mind all I could think about was my children and how if these were our last moments on earth, I just wanted them to know we loved them and we were okay. I tried to call but the phone lines were jammed. I wondered, did they even know where our life insurance policies were?
Don, finally was able to reach our daughter Kat and she contacted our other children, Liz and David, who both immediately called us. We told them how much we loved them, and of course I wanted them to know where our life insurance policy’s were, though this did not seem to matter to them at that moment. My daughter Liz and her fiancée Eddie were watching the news hoping to get information for us. I kept thinking I was so thankful this was us and my children were safe on the mainland.
Our next message was to siblings and friends asking them if they were seeing anything on the news and to make sure to be there for our children.
When we reached the hotel lobby there was no panic, everyone seemed stunned looking at their phones, asking others if they had seen the message. Don asked a hotel employee what their emergency plan was and where to take shelter. The poor frightened employee told him they had no idea….by this time a small crowd had gathered, they looked at Don who did not skip a beat and calmly said “Lets come up with one”. Looking around he decided the parking garage was about as good as we were going to get. I’m not sure if it was the look of confidence in Dons eyes, or if they saw the water supply he had in his backpack but suddenly he had a following. I have always joked that in a zombie apocalypse my husband is the one person I would want to be with, as he always seems to know what to do in any situation. And there he was by far the most prepared person around. His calm and resourceful command of the situation made me feel as if we would all be okay.
Once in the parking garage our group continued to try and get information on what was going on, everyone still calm and supportive. Don was scouting out the emergency exists and I was listening to a gentleman share his memory of duck and cover during the Bay of Pigs, I remembered when I was young our drills always included getting under our desks and how silly that seemed right now.
I sent my brother Michael a text message thinking if anyone would be able to get news it would be him. And it was my nephew Lance who found the first news alert telling us this was a false alarm, I put him on speaker so everyone around me could hear what he was saying.   At the  same moment Lance was talking to us, my daughter Liz was contacting Don that she had found a Twitter message from US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard saying it was a false alarm.
It would be another ten minutes before the official all clear was sent out to the public.
We all had a moment of celebration followed by a moment of quietly taking in the events of the last 30 minutes.
I said a prayer of thanks and hugged Don so tight I that I probably cut off his circulation. We called our children and looked out at the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean, that was eerily quiet.
Back at our hotel the fire alarms started blaring. The hotel was setting them off to let people know that it had been a false alarm. Many people who had not received the initial message were now were coming out of their rooms in a panic wondering what was going on.
I felt bad for the non English speaking guests as the messages were only being given in English, as we walked through the hallways seeing people coming out of their room looking around we tried to help calm them.
The fire alarms stopped for a few minutes and I suppose someone in the office decided they should send the message out in multiple languages, and several minutes later the fire alarms went off again blasting the all clear message in other languages. I think the aftermath all clear was more chaotic then the ballistic missile warning.

Later on the news they were talking about how angry people were that this mistake had happened, and while it caused me a few new gray hairs, I can honestly say it made me appreciate so much more my precious children, family and friends and the wonderful life we have. We never know when our time will end on the earth.
It was not a fun wake up call, but it was a wake up call. So to all my friends and family out, I love each of you and appreciate having you in my life.

You often ponder how you will respond in your final minutes or seconds. You consider different scenarios and thoughts, but it is not until those final moments are upon you, that you realize how you would truly react, I was so proud of Don and how quickly he did his best to prepare us. His confidence made me feel as if Kim Jong-Un had come riding in on that missile we still would have been ok.
It wasn’t until later when it all was over that I thought, wow, that just happened!

Our joke about the event became –
We heard it was rumored that Homer Simpson was at the controls of the Hawaiian Office of Emergency Management when this happened, the last words he was heard saying were…”oooohhh red button!”
I guess we need to be more careful who we have manning those important buttons!

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A Three Hour Tour…..

When looking for adventures in Oahu we found a 3 hour tour to Gilligans Island/ AKA Coconut Island / AKA The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology. Since the tour was around a peninsula and our boats of choice would be kayaks, we felt we should be pretty safe and not experience the same fate as the 3 hour tour featured in Gilligan’s Island. The opening scene and many of the scenes from the show were filmed here, but there was no sign of Gilligan nor his ship mates when we arrived. Though the property would now be a dream Island for the professor as this is home to the Hawaiian Institute of Marine Biology.

Our guides were Natalie and Zoe our first visit and Joe the second visit, all three were excellent and had a tremendous knowledge of the area and the local marine life.
We kayaked from the mainland to the Coconut Island, along the way seeing beautiful reef, huge turtles and a variety of fish.

Once at the island we were able to snorkel for about and hour, again having the opportunity to see beautiful exotic sea life.

They provide guests with dry bags to carry anything you don’t want to get wet. Wear a bathing suit if you want to swim, bring a towel, change of clothes and sunscreen. We purchased a special sealed dry pack for my phone so I could use it to take pictures without worrying about water damage (most of these pictures were taken with my phone inside this pouch.

After a fun day of snorkling and kayaking we returned to the mainland where we were served a delicious lunch of salad,rice, fresh pineapple along with BBQ chicken and pork.

The cost of the tour is 129.00, the price included transportation from our hotel.
We loved it so much that we have returned 2 years in a row!

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Auld Lang Syne 2017

Auld Lang Syne 2017

I love the haunting melodic tune of this old Scottish Song that is played each year at the strike of midnight to bring in a new year.
But the song seems to be more of a reflection of the old year, all those things that brought us joy, times, people and memories that made the year shine.
So 2017 thank you for my days of “old long since.”
Don and I started 2017 in Los Angelas with Dons football crew, celebrating the east coast New Year since they all had to go to sleep for an early crew call.

“And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.”
It was a wonderful year
We FINALLY finished our kitchen

We travelled.
Discovering Oceans Vodka in Maui


cruised with Honeymooners in Oahu.

Don worked the Super Bowl in Houston


and I watched the game with my friends and witnessed one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl History (Go Patriots!)


Kat and I marched because we believed that every person is important


We visited Vegas in the Spring, stargazing and visiting ghosts at the Pioneer Saloon.

Had a wonderful family reunion in Dallas where I met new cousins and spent time with family.

My niece Tasha got married in Arizona


and my siblings had the chance to get together and celebrate.

Don and I panned for gold in North Carolina.

Saw The house From “The Birds” in Bodega Bay”

And visited “The House of Souls” in Sacramento.

We did a European tour of Texas.

And zip-lined over Fremont Street in Vegas


Saw “Love” with Jan and Darrell

C507374E-4DF3-45D4-A870-DD47775F7517 “When we have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;”
We floated down the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon

Whale watched in Monterrey

Saw fisherman’s Wharf

Watched Texas play in The Little League World Series in Williamsport.

I got to see my friend Deede and her husband Randy on The Big Screen.


Joan and I visited Zion National Park


We picked apples with Randy and Deede  in New England.

Visited Mystic Pizza and The Liberty Bell with my cousin Michelle.


Saw Kathy and Mrs. Bergeron for the first time in decades.

I visited my family in New England.

Spent time with my Aunt Joyce in Boulder


(where Don taught her to edit).

Searched for Ghosts at The Stanley Hotel.

Visited Chicago with my children and Deede and “Hamilton” changed our lives.

“We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.”
We spent Halloween in Sleepy Hollow New York.

Saw Madame Butterfly at The New York Met with my friend Angie and her family.

We visited New York City

Toured Washington DC.

Watched a solar eclipse

Visited Austin.

And shopped for vintage clothing in Lockhart.

Eddie released the long awaited sequel to Cathulu leaving us all wondering “Who was The Stranger in Yellow?” And my daughters rocked their parts.

Eddie and Liz announced their engagement and we began the exciting process of planning a wedding.




Kat finished college and prepared for her new life.

David started working on a late night TV show and Ani got a promotion at work.

Our dinner group that we formed as a way to support one another as young parents celebrated twenty years, and many of the couples from the beginning returned giving us the chance to celebrate Old Acquaintance that were never forgotten.

San Antonio got real snow.

We did not get by without some very sad losses.
Dons dear friend from high school Randy Schriedel passed away, and we lost an amazing voice and a good friend.

Our beloved Msgr Brosnan passed away in Ireland and though we gained an angel in heaven we lost a powerful force of kindness and compassion here on earth.

Kathy Dooley, a beautiful woman whom I had only met a couple of times but whose energy, love and ability to make every person she met feel special also was taken, again making heaven a little brighter but our world a little darker.

I end this year feeling like the wealthiest woman in the world. And though my bank account may not reflect “wealth” my treasures lay in the love of friends and family that I am privileged to surround myself with.

“And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.”
And my riches are in the memories of all those places I have had the opportunity to see and memories that will stay near to my heart for a lifetime.

So my old Acquaintances you shall never be forgot, your always in my mind. What memories I have to stay with me for Auld Lang Syne.
Happy 2018 to all my friends and family, my prayer is that this year will bring joy, prosperity and peace to all of us.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.





Posted in Family, Uncategorized

The Day after Christmas …

It’s the quiet chilly morning after Christmas. It was a wonderful day in our home yesterday, but I did not take one single picture, that is odd for someone who is always trying to capture each moment on film.

I was too busy to take pictures, busy enjoying the laughter of my family as they opened and watched us open each thoughtfully given gift.

Too busy listening to the sounds of my children, niece and nephew as they worked so hard to play and sing my favorite Christmas Song ( Night of Silence).

We shared a delicious dinner, in our warm home, we lit our Advent Candles and my children sang dutifully to make me happy as we lit each candle.

There was laughter, tears, past memories shared, future dreams discussed and new memories made.
This morning the stockings that were once hung by the chimney with care are scattered about with one single stocking remaining, the stocking for Jesus filled with our letters written over the years wishing Him a Happy Birthday.

There are no photos to remind me of the joy that filled my home this beautiful Christmas 2017, but my heart is filled with the memory and happiness of the greatest Christmas gift that any person can ever receive, the gift of family, friends, faith, hope and love.   My Christmas wish for us all is that the beauty of this season will continue in our hearts and minds long after the season is over.


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Wedge vs Slice

“Wedge” VS “Slice”.
It’s an age old question.
A debate that has caused scholars many a sleepless night and bartenders hours of frustration.
Though I normally try to avoid such hot button controversial topics such as this, I believe it to be my civic duty to impose my opinion on this very important subject.
So let us now delve into the controversial world of,
“ Wedge” vs “Slice”.

You go to a bar or restaurant and order ice tea or a vodka club. Very different refreshments but they share a unique characteristic, a lemon or lime. Sometimes they come as a wedge, sometimes they come as a slice.

Slices are for eating. If you get a slice of orange on your Blue Moon, that’s okay, because slices are for eating.
But who wants to eat a slice of lemon or lime?

Lemons and limes are for squeezing into drinks.

I challenge everyone to attempt to squeeze a slice then you too can feel our immense frustration.

So, I implore all of you in the world who have the monumental responsibility of making the decision of whether to slice or wedge your fruit, allow us the opportunity to get a good squeeze without getting sticky fingers, and citrus in our eyes.

Wedging is actually easier to do. It decreases the incident of cut fingers and temporary blindness as well as being more aesthetically pleasing to look at.
So people, go out into your local bars, restaurants, friends homes, your own kitchen and demand wedges for squeezing, and slices for eating.


Posted in Travel

Lovin’ New York


There is so much to do and see while in New York. Even 7 days in the city flew by with us wishing we had more time.


Here are a few fun things to do while in New York.

Greenwich Village Le Poisson Rouge has great food, good drinks.

5641512B-9C7B-43A6-9B88-D6CBC2885C0EThe night Thor and Friends was the featured band.


We enjoyed their unique sound and haunting melodies that kept the audience mesmerized.



Greenwich Village has a whole different vibe getting off the subway felt like stepping back into time to the late sixties.


Great music, fun people and delicious pizza are what you will find in The Village.



Museum of Natural Science –


Our visit turned into a Night at The Museum scavenger hunt.


We found a few of the displays from the movie such as Tiki Head.


Don got to sit with Teddy Roosevelt for a chat about the great out doors.

When you go to this museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art they have suggested prices listed outside, but you only have to pay what you can afford.

Radio City Music Hall Tour –


This 75 minute tour takes you on an incredible backstage tour that includes seeing costumes

meeting with a Rockette.


Hearing the history of the building and those who built it.

From the incredible bathrooms to the apartment built for the former manager in the 1920’s.

This our was well worth the $26.00 price tag and kept us inside warm and dry.

Be sure to ask to hear the story of why the elephant had to climb the stairs.

Our tour guide Joyce was fun and knowledgeable and made us feel as if we were living the experience.


Hamilton An American Musical –

So we saw his portrait at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his grave at Trinity Church. But I wanted Don to have the chance to see the show that he so generously had sent all of us to.


So we walked over to the Rogers Theater and asked again if they had tickets.


This time the answer was not only YES but they were tickets in the 9th row and for face value.

The Broadway show was fabulous, and the theater is beautiful.

Later we found out theaters have occasional cancellations and sometimes have tickets at the door. Don’t go to New York and count on getting tickets to your favorite show, but know it is a possible option.


Central Park Carriage Rides – You can book a carriage ride on line and there are a variety of prices. The average price is about $150.00 on line for an hour.


We found that just going up to the park that the drivers will offer you a pretty good deal for much less if they are having a quiet night or day.


Our driver Ishmael and his horse Scooby gave us a lovely moonlit tour of the park, pointing out several landmarks during our ride.


Church –

There is no shortage of churches in the area. But St. Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue is a true experience.

They offer many times for Mass throughout the day so many that as we were leaving one Mass they were starting the next one.


Of course while in New York, we had to visit Fox News.


Just to give Don the feeling we had taken him to The Mother Ship.


We even had a Homer Simpson spotting.


New York is a unique beautiful city, whether your cheering on the runners for The New York City Marathon.


looking for fun photo ops

or just traveling the subway

there is always something fun to see no matter how often we visit.