A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm very thankful to have spent time in Vegas with my two nieces and grand niece. I'm very thankful to be back in my favourite spot -my kitchen table sipping peppermint tea and surfing the 'net. Here are a few reasons I'm thankful this Thursday.

Family. Even though we're not related, we've been together for more than 30 years. That's family.

Nephews who turn 13! And his adorable though sometimes irritating little sisters.

The morning routine continues. Hi Wihela, Pie and Gabby (l to r).

The 5 year old with her own sense of style. She just had to have those boots. 

Finally, 'tis the season to celebrate, share the wealth and to take a few moments to look at the stars.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful but here are the usual suspects:

1.  My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for willingly coming to earth to sacrifice His life for me; A person who keeps messing up and begging forgiveness.

2.  My family for never letting go of me. For upholding me and for supporting me.

3.  Being an American citizen, and knowing there are certain inalienable rights that belong to me.

4.  My job. It helps give me things I want to live a lifestyle that's very good for me.

5.  My friends, some of who have stuck with me since high school days. It's always a celebration when we hook up.

6.  The NFL.

7.  The WWE. Two words: The Rock

8.  My neighbours.

9.  My two special friends who are going through their own health problems (RJ & James).  You're never far from my thoughts and prayers.

10. The smell of rain as it hits the dirt.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baking Apprentice!

Guess who learned to make and roll dough this weekend?  Yep me hahaha. My sister needed help with a peach cobbler and I volunteered. While she was a bit sceptic using an apprentice, she appreciated the help (if not the clean up afterwards). I forgot to take pics of the final product. Plus, I don't really like peach cobbler but here are some pics from this momentous occasion!
Gotta start with the best!

Nothing fake here, folks!

Slightly frozen butter chips

It's all in the wrist

Poking steam holes

Friday, November 16, 2012


Warning, long post, but lots of pics

Me & Bean in Civitavecchia

I'm out on the veranda again. Everyone's asleep. Just me, the Lord and my Cool Jazz play list out here on this beautiful ship.

It's breezy tonight.  Out in the distance I can see the dim lights of a coastal city. It could be Civitavecchia but I'm not certain.  There's also the occasional flash of lighting but no accompanying thunder so hopefully the storm's moving away from us.

Today we went in to Rome. It was completely exhilarating! It was completely exhausting!  Rome is approximately forty miles from the ship and all excursions were obscenely expensive so Bean the Explorer thought to have us catch the train to Rome.

Heading out to Rome! Earrings from Santa Margherita, shades from Barcelona

What was a "short five minute walk" for me turned out to be about twenty, then the forty-five minute ride.  I survived both, I even survived walking from St Peter's train exit to the Vatican City - another "short five minute walk" that turned out to be, well you know. There were lots of places for me to stop and rest and I was so proud of myself.  It helped that the girls were encouraging and didn't seem to mind all the stops.  I love me them!

Seeing the Vatican was an experience of joy, wonderment and humbleness.  Joyous because I've finally made it to Rome after waiting more than thirty years, wonderment at all the different races of people there to see the worldwide symbol of Catholicism, humble at all the different races of Nuns and Priests in their various habits and uniforms.  To see them and and how some people went out of their way to entreat them and speak reverently to them was amazing and absolutely amazing.  Even I spoke to the nuns, two from Africa in their gray habits with the large red Cross prominently stretched across their hearts; proudly displaying a life totally dedicated to the works of Christ.

I walked all the way!

I had to take a taxi back to the railway station from the Vatican because the walk would have been uphill and tortuous.  Bean and Mouse found me and scurried me down one platform and up another, only to be stuffed and crowded in to the train like sardines in a can.  It brought to mind the scene in Japan where conductors press bodies into the trains. It soon became impossibly crowded and unbearably hot.

Finally, after standing about twenty minutes I sat down on the stairs leading to the second level. Unfortunately for Bean, she succumbed to the oppressive heat and fainted. I think it effectively shaved several years from my life.

Bean fell at my feet so I was able to help break her fall.  All I could do was plead the Blood of Jesus over and over.  Now let me explain something to you, my new readers: I am not the person you call to help in a crisis. I'm the person who's usually so overcome by fear so that I'm paralyzed to do anything but  cry and wring my hands. My best feature during times like these is to pray, but this time, I was a NEW person!

When I began to pray "The Blood of Jesus" so that it became a chant, I was calm and took control of the situation. I asked someone for a fan and water which were promptly passed to me.  A fellow passenger took Bean’s feet and lifted them above her head while I continued to fan her. When she opened her eyes I forced water into her mouth. When she swallowed I took water and poured it over her head.  I’m from Phoenix, I wanted to make sure the head was cool hahahaha!

Finally she recovered  and the Good Samaritan put her feet down. She wanted to get up but I was not having that. Even though it was even more crowded with her on the floor like that, I would only allow her to sit while Mouse monitored her pulse. Only when Mouse gave the all clear was she able to stand. Thank God she was ok!  It could have been the other way!!

So here I am on my favourite spot on the ship - the veranda.  My feet are killing me but I’m glad I was able to see Rome!  I need to come back for a week to really see it.  All the shopping that I did was for my team and me.  I did find something for Colette too I’ll get her something else in Sicily or Tunis.

Italian street food, yum!

Up ahead, St. Peter's gate

My girls. That's Bean in front

The Coliseum

Speaking of Tunis, our table mates told us that the American Ambassador to Libya had been murdered. We hadn’t been watching the news so this was sad news.  As much as we’ve done to help Libya, they kill our Ambassador?  What horrible people to want to hurt the ones who are trying to make their lives better. Although President Obama has condemned the murder, no ensuing actions have been  outlined.  I hope this will not be another conflict where we sacrifice the lives of our boys and girls.  

Lord, cover us. Everyone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Santa Margherita, Italy

Tony Bennett may have lost his heart in San Francisco, but I lost mine in Santa Margherita, Portofino and the surrounding countryside.

Up early for breakfast on the veranda.  It's not quite seven in the morning so it's chilly and windy.  The upcoming city looks beautiful - hillsides dotted with buildings each looking like card board homes.

The shore has dozens of small boats lined up but there are not many of them out this morning.  Maybe they're late risers. There is some activity in the harbor though.  A rowing team is gliding through the water smooth as a hot knife cuts through butter, like skaters gliding on ice. Through my binoculars (because we're not close enough to them) I can see four or five teams of rowers.

The ship can't anchor close to the dock so we'll have to go ashore in one of the lifeboats they're using as tenders. It's amazing the number of people employed to help make this cruise run!

Santa Margherita is beautiful and picturesque. It brings to mind St. Thomas, VI because of how the houses are built on the hills and on top of each other.

Hello Santa Margherita, you're beautiful!
We took a city bus up to the hills to Genoa. The views were incredibly scenic and makes one awestruck!  The hillsides were dotted with olive trees, orange trees and grape vines. The winding roads are small and it seemed that every turn we were going to have head on collisions but we didn't. People park their cars on these narrow streets as if there were more than a mere hair's width of space between the vehicle and oncoming traffic, but they make it work.
I'd love to see the city and countryside during a rainstorm. To see the clouds cover the tops of the mountains or a dense fog rolling in from the bay would be beautiful I'm guessing.

We had a bit of adventure today.  On the way down the mountain from Genoa the public bus we were riding broke down. The driver tried to keep going but decided to pull over and call for help.  Standing out there in the cool day, high on that hill was nice but still a little stressful.  We had enough time to get back to the boat, but we were totally stranded. With a driver who was rude and had a serious attitude!  I don't know why he was upset. We were the ones inconvenieced!

Stranded hillside in Ligure!

Making the best of a 'bump' in plans

But, the location we had stopped overlooked the countryside and the smells from the sea, the citrus trees and grape leaves joined the smell of a fireplace and soothed.  So, we leaned against a railing and sung songs, made jokes and marveled at our environment. Talk about leaving the beaten path lolol!

The shopping down in Santa Margherita was plentiful. I bought two pairs of earrings, a beautiful leather Furla bag, postcards and of course, a scarf. After shopping we walked to the beach in search of rocks and shells.

Every woman should have one!

The girls found a cafe with free wi-fi so they stopped and called their husbands.  There was no one I wanted or needed to call so I wandered around by myself, did a bit more shopping then headed to the 
ship. I was able to walk and stand longer than I expected although there were plenty of available benches to take rest stops. I was so pleased with my physical endurance that I immediately hit the pool when I returned to the ship.

After a restful nap my nieces and I went to the first formal dinner of the cruise. We looked awesome, if I must say so myself!  It's a small world because the noisy couple next door (read the Monaco post) actually sat at our table.  I teased them about hearing the argument about him having to wear cologne he doesn't like and congratulated him for doing it to make his mate happy. His companion though, what a woman!  She brings a can of Coors Light to the table with her when she sits right? 

Turquoise & Silver earrings bought in Portofino

During the course of the meal, she's drank three more then started on the hard stuff. She wants six, yeah you read that correctly, six lobster tails but they tell her the limit is two per passenger. So while she's waiting for the second course she decides to demonstrate her DIY skills by turning her napkin in to a phallic-shaped form. Next she demonstrates her athleticism by kicking off her shoes and putting both feet in her chair so that her knees are touching her chin, all the while swilling her alcohol.  How lucky am I right now?  Time for us to make an exit before things get ugly, because she's starting to crank up and get loud. Oh brother!

So here I am again on the verandah, staring out at the darkness and jotting down these memories. Sade's on the iPhone telling me she's a soldier of love.  It's cool out here and breezy of course.  The waves crash against the boat and seem to join in with Sade's soothing alto and is making me sleepy.  Tomorrow's Rome and another day. I hope and pray it will be a fun-filled day with many souvenirs to take to the fam. I've already found what I was looking for: a leather purse from Italy. But, on the chance that I see something else, I won't think twice about buying it.

I'm gonna turn out this light and sit in the dark and wonder.  Wonder if my parents would have enjoyed this cruise. Wonder if they would be proud of me. Wonder why they had to leave me so soon.